Using Less Plastic For 2019

We’re planning on using less plastic for 2019. It’s no secret we use plastic far too much all around the world. We produce over 300 million tons of plastic every year with 8 million tons being dumped in our oceans. It is important more of us use alternatives where we can to reduce this waste.

Using Less Plastic For 2019

Using Too Much Plastic

I’m not going to pretend, I use far more plastic than I should. For 2019 I want to make an effort to change that. Last year we swapped from plastic shopping bags to bags for life and tote bags. We also reuse plastic bottles and packaging where we can. Also, we use refillable razors instead of disposable and we have reusable cups & bottles. I realise this just simply isn’t enough though and would love to keep finding new ways to go plastic free.

Using Less Plastic For 2019

Having been introduced to Eco Food Wrap last year for school packed lunches, we have reduced our plastic use. We’ve been sent a few more lovely samples recently too which will be used instead of plastic film and food bags. When I think about how many food bags alone we go through, it’s quite shocking really! Cheese is something that uses a lot of clingfilm being opened and re-wrapped across the week. Eco Food Wraps really reduces that constant waste.

Children love straws and my girls are no different but plastic straws should only be available to those who genuinely need them. There is definitely a need for plastic straws but the majority of us are perfectly able to use a different option. Paper straws we find aren’t always that great, those we have tried so far have gone soft and mushy long before the drink is finished.

Instead, we ordered 16 Bambooz Bamboo drinking straws. These came with a cleaning brush and a pouch for them to stay in. These straws can be washed and reused and with 16 we should be ok for a while. The girls have already found they prefer Bambooz straws as they are sturdier. Being able to wash them with the handy brush makes it easy to keep them clean.

Next, I am looking at shampoo bars to reduce our waste in the bathroom too. We go through a lot of shampoo and conditioner with 3 of us having hair long enough to sit on! I know Lush have a few so we will check there and online.

I’ll be looking for other ways to go plastic free this year too so if you know of a fab product then please do leave a comment of get in touch!

Are you trying to use less plastic?

First Parents Evening This School Year – Feeling Proud

The girls first parents evening for this school year came round quickly. I’ve missed several of Eva’s due to the school’s lack of organisation, cancelling then rebooking for the same time. It can be rather frustrating before you even get to the actual appointment. Luckily things have really improved this year and we attended last Tuesday.

First Parents Evening This School Year - Feeling Proud

Previous Parents Evenings

I love hearing how well Eva is doing and finding out any concerns we can resolve. My main worry is that the teachers miss far too much. I don’t feel the last few teachers have spent enough time around Eva to get to know her and how she is actually getting on. Her first teacher was amazing, she had Eva figured out instantly, worked out issues we could work on together and I couldn’t have been happier. Ever since then it hasn’t felt the same at all.

Frustrating

Eva’s last school report mentioned she needed to find an author she loves which infuriated me as at the time she had re-read ALL of the Harry Potter series 4/5 times and loves any J.K.Rowlings book she has discovered so far. For her teacher to have missed this huge obsession of hers was a shock to me.

The report also said she needed to read a variety of books, anyone who has read our blog for some time will have seen several of Eva’s book reviews. She literally reads anything and everything! She’s even bugged her dad to help her find more material and ended up reading a few of his old Commando comics. We visit the library almost every week and the girls quite often reach their 14 books limit. She is known as a bookworm yet somehow her teacher missed that for an entire year!?

Improvements

I’m glad the school has finally organised a better booking system for parents evening as it meant I can book both appointments closer together. As I don’t do the school runs, I try to make a point of attending parents evening myself.

Big girls off to school!

Eva’s Parents Evening 

Eva’s appointment was first, we met with her teacher in her classroom and we looked at Eva’s report so far. I have to say I felt immensely proud to see Eva is working above expectations. Her teacher had such lovely things to say about Eva, how clever, happy and kind she is. I had to breathe deep not to cry in all honesty!

Her teacher admitted at first they missed how well Eva was doing but moving her seat helped and she’s doing fantastic. To hear she writes amazing stories at school too was lovely. I left that classroom beaming with pride! Eva’s teacher seems perfect for her this year and I am so pleased she is getting the praise and encouragement she deserves in school as well as at home. 

First Parents Evening For Izzy

I have to admit I was nervous about Izzy’s parents evening. Having not been to nursery, I was unsure how she had adapted to school life. Whilst she was a little emotional in class to start, Izzy has grown much more confident and really enjoying school. We told her teacher about My Mood Stars and sent them in the next day for the class to use. I explained I hadn’t sent Izzy to a nursery which her teacher hadn’t realised. We discussed how instead we learnt through play at home. Her teacher seemed quite pleased with her progresss far although her full observation wasn’t due until this week.

Izzy showing Happy Stars

Due to being born with tongue tie we discussed her speech issues and the school feel she will improve with some sessions which is great! To hear she has a best friend already was lovely but to hear her friend has cerebral palsy and Izzy is extremely caring and helpful with her is absolutely beautiful! Izzy has such a caring, motherly nature that it doesn’t surprise me but makes me so proud of her.

Feeling Proud

I can’t really explain just how proud I feel of my girls, they are beautiful inside and out. Their teachers this year are both fantastic and I love that they have got to know the girls well already. The fact a teacher has finally realised Eva’s abilities is brilliant and I can see why Eva’s confidence has been boosted these last few months. Even if it has come with a little attitude at home, haha! 

Have you had your first parents evening yet this year? How did you child/ren get on?

Soothing Skin With Eucerin #MyAquaphor

I’m using a Soothing Skin Balm from Eucerin called Aquaphor. Having sensitive skin due to Eczema I often struggle to find products that help.

Soothing Skin with Eucerin Aquaphor

Soothing Skin Balm

I was kindly sent a sample of Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm to try out. Designed to give dry to very dry, cracked and irritated skin the SOS care it needs for all the family. Containing only 8 ingredients, Aquaphor is gentle enough to use on highly irritated skin, babies skin and as a nappy cream.

#MyAquaphor

Protecting skin by creating a breathable protective barrier, Eucerin Aquaphor soothing skin balm allows the skin to breathe. Allowing oxygen and water vapor to circulate to and from the skin helps strengthen it natural barrier function.

Dry Skin

Izzy fell over at school a few weeks back and ended up with a big graze on her chin. Of course, she picked this like mad at first and other creams have done very little. It was so dry and cracked from the cold weather but no longer weeping so I decided to see if Eucerin Aquaphor would help. After a bath, I put some on Izzy’s chin and left it. As you can see below it was quite bad to begin with!

Unicorn Crown

I then forgot to use Eucerin Aquaphor for a day or so and you could see her chin was beginning to irritate Izzy again. We’ve started using it again and it is slowly helping. As you can see below it has gone from an almost heart-shaped scab to 2 smaller scabs and the skin is healing around it at last. Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin balm is amazing!

Izzy's chin is healing using Eucerin Aquaphor

Eczema

I have Eczema and really struggle during the winter with my skin. My arms are full of makes from tearing my arms apart so I thought I’d try using Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm for myself too. After a bath, I slathered my arms in the balm and it instantly felt soothing. Usually, my arms feel on fire even after a cool bath or shower and I can’t stop scratching!

Eczema calming with Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm

I forgot to take a before photo but the photo above shows my arm after a week of use. I suddenly realised I hadn’t been scratching anywhere near as much. There aren’t any fresh scabs where my skin feels much calmer and it is a lovely relief. I can see Eucerin Aquaphor becoming a household essential for us and can see why it has been a household stable since it was first introduced to the US market in 1925.

Have you used Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm before?

*This post is an entry for the BritMums #MyAquaphor Challenge, sponsored by Eucerin. Discover the benefits of Eucerin https://www.eucerin.co.uk/products/aquaphor/soothing-skin-balm-45ml

Library And Lunch Dates With The Girls

Saturday’s are Library and lunch dates with the girls. We go to the library most weekends and occasionally we would stop somewhere for lunch after.

Library and lunch dates

Library and Lunch Routine

It has become a routine for us to leave the Mr to hoover the flat and bring him home something nice for lunch. We drop back our borrowed books and browse the children’s section of the library for a while. Once the girls have chosen a billion (slight exaggeration!) books and loaded them into the trolley we go for lunch.

Eva’s recent Book Finds

Library Haul

Eva is discovering more authors like Terry Pratchett and Adam Blade who wrote the Beast Quest and Sea Quest series she is fond of.

Eva's library haul

It’s lovely to see her discovering new authors and series. I had thought she would be re-reading all the Harry Potter books for life at one point! 

Izzy’s Recent Book Finds

Izzy's library haul

Izzy loves a good storybook, Titchy Witch is a favourite but she loves classics too! She likes picking out books at random which can be fun too.

History books

She is really big on facts and history right now. It’s actually quite lovely, her favourite topics are Ancient Egypt, the Romans and the Kings & Queens of Britain. Every night we sit together and read one of these fact books with Eva helping me read. She also loves a Julia Donaldson story! Cave Baby is her most recent favourite book.

Thameside Coffee Shop

The girls decided one weekend they wanted to eat at the Thameside Coffee shop as it is in the same building. Because of my Anxiety, I’ve been tempted so many times to stop for a hot chocolate but walked away. With the girls with me, we finally gave it a try and now it’s our favourite place!

Izzy eating

The coffee shop serves a range of food and drinks and some great meal deals. After our first visit, the girls decided we had to go EVERY weekend. Of course, I’ve mostly given in! It’s a lovely atmosphere, a family run place where the staff already recognise us.

The Best Hot Chocolate and Brownie

I love that the girls can order and pay without a fuss and are getting to know the staff. And most importantly, they make THE BEST Hot Chocolate and Brownies! Their cheese and ham paninis are tasty too and I feel relaxed enough to eat there. It makes our Saturdays even more enjoyable and we love our library and lunch dates.

An Afternoon Of Reading

Once we have grabbed any shopping we need in town, we head home to get reading! This afternoon we have been reading about Lost & Found Tombs around the world. It’s fascinating learning about different types of tombs and burial rituals. I really enjoy our reading sessions (when Izzy isn’t interrupting haha!) and hearing Eva’s confidence grow when reading aloud.

Lost and found Tombs

Our Library and Lunch dates are a great way to end the week. The girls love to read in bed at the weekends so it’s great to stock up on books. Stopping for lunch we chat and get a chance to catch up after the school week and be a bit silly. I’m quite enjoying our new routine and it’s helped me pace myself across the week knowing I need to be up to the walk. With the weather getting colder it’s nice we can go out at the weekend and stay in the warm too! 

Do you have a weekend routine? 


Izzy’s First Term At School

Izzy’s first term at school went surprisingly well. I was a little nervous for her to be honest but after running straight off to the paint table on the first day, I knew she’d settle ok. She goes into class happily each day and comes running out at home time happy. Starting reception has gone fairly well!

First Term

Izzy’s First Term – Toilet Training

As some of my regular readers may remember, Izzy started toilet training a few weeks before starting school. I am extremely thankful she’s managed a whole term with only one small accident at school. I expected a fair few more accidents! Izzy is confident using toilets anywhere, she can change herself if she does have an accident too which I am really pleased about. 

Pranking Teachers

Anyone that has met Izzy will know she is a joker! She loves to make people laugh and has a fantastic sense of humour. Izzy made this clear to her teachers from day one. For the first week or so children wear name badges to help teachers learn their names. Izzy is of course Isobella, so we reminded her this is what was on her name badge. Obviously Izzy’s mischievous brain decided that was a great way to prank her teachers. 

Several teachers spent a while calling Isobella, she acted oblivious. A learning support aid sat with her for a while and asked if her hearing was ok. She told Izzy teachers kept calling her but she wasn’t responding. Her reply? ‘I can hear them fine but I prefer Izzy!’. So of course the LSA suggested changing her name label to Izzy but she refused, leaving teachers confused all day! 

When the Mr collected her at the end of the first day he asked for Isobella, the teacher laughed and asked if he meant Izzy and explained what had happened. Izzy came bouncing out laughing her head off as she had pranked her teachers on the first day of school!!!

Making Friends

As anyone with a 4/5 year old in reception will know, you never hear the full story! Izzy says she has no friends yet according to the Mr comes out chatting to other children daily.

Eva was meeting Izzy at the dividing fence between upper and lower school for the first few weeks. Unfortunately, this led to Izzy getting upset each time Eva went back to class. I was also worried this may make it harder for Izzy to make friends at break time. The girls weren’t too happy about it but I encouraged them to play with their friends and catch up on the way home from school instead. 

Lunch Times

Izzy has a mix of packed lunches and school dinners across the week. She gets on well with her school dinners but I’m finding packed lunches can be tricky for her. She struggles to open her drink and some packets so occasionally she has come home with half her lunch & drink untouched. We have been using half term to teach her to do these things properly so hopefully next term there won’t be any issue.

Getting Ready

The idea of getting both girls ready each morning filled me with dread to be honest. Eva isn’t one for just getting on and doing what’s needed, she needs constant reminders which can be stressful! Thankfully Izzy is ready in under 5 minutes and can mostly dress herself, put on her shoes etc. This makes mornings easier than I had imagined, now I’m only left chasing one child around.

A Great Start

Overall, Izzy has had a great start in reception. She likes her teacher, loves the sandpit, paint table & play dough (nothing new there!) and seems to be getting on ok. She has moments where she say she doesn’t like school, but that’s more because she’d rather snuggle up with a film and mummy! 

How did your little ones get on in their first term?

Bassetts Vitamins Omega-3 & Multivitamins

Bassetts Vitamins Omega-3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles for 3-6 years come in a juicy orange flavour. We were kindly sent some samples to see what we thought about the multivitamins.


Bassetts Vitamins Omega-3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles
These Bassetts Vitamins are tasty, soft and chewy multivitamins. With no added sugar, natural flavours & colours, Bassetts Vitamins Omega-3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles contain some of the necessary nutrients to help support the health of three to six year olds.


Giving Your Child A Smart Start


With children starting nursery or school around these ages it gives you peace of mind knowing your child is getting some of the essential vitamins each day. Bassetts Vitamins Omega-3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles contain Vitamin B6 to support normal psychological function and Vitamin B5 which contributes to mental performance to support a smart way to start the day.

Bassetts Vitamins Omega-3 %  Multivitamins

Izzy’s Thoughts

Izzy thought the chewy multivitamin was juicy and delicious! She said it reminded her of trying the juiciest orange she ever had. She thought it was so juicy she could just squeeze all the juice out of it to make orange juice and drew this picture of the ‘juiciest orange ever!’. It’s definitely a thumbs up from Izzy.

*Sponsored Post

*Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet

Why Is Home-Schooling Increasing?

Do you wonder why is home-schooling increasing rapidly? Surely everyone sends their children to school? It’s the done thing! But what if schooling isn’t right for your child? Your Thurrock reported this week on the increase of home-schooling in Thurrock and unfortunately, I hardly find it surprising at all.

Why Is Home-Schooling Increasing?

When the figures are compared to the rest of the county, the number of children home-schooled in Thurrock in 2017 is equal to 43 percent of the total number of children being home-schooled across the county.

The figures released by the county council show that 750 children are currently being home-schooled in Essex, excluding the unitary authorities of Southend and Thurrock. Your Thurrock

Home-schooling is an option many parents are desperately turning to as a last resort. Parents are seeing their children struggle with the workload, the expectations, the social expectations & being bullied and the effects it has on their children’s mental health.

Mental Health

Mental health is one of the major concerns for parents when it comes to schooling. Often schools are so over-crowded many students struggle to be heard in class when they need help. Many are overlooked for simply behaving well whilst teachers focus on those that aren’t behaving and disrupting the class. This leaves many children feeling lost and unsure with little to no confidence. Often Home-schooling is introduced to help the child build confidence with one to one learning.

The stress and strain of arriving on time, every day, perfectly dressed and homework completed can be too much for some children. Children are feeling more anxious than ever over schooling. Homework is increasing from as early as Reception with Maths, English, Reading and creative homework to fit in weekly. Often children have after-school clubs to attend on top. With little or no downtime for children and so many pressures, this often leads to meltdowns at home, where the child feels comfortable enough to let it all out. Sometimes this can be too much for the family all around. Often leading to the decision that home-schooling may be the best option.

School is overwhelming for many, being cramped in a small classroom with 30 other students chatting, homework demands, keeping track of personal belongings. For some children, it is simply too much to cope with. Eva struggled with headaches when she started in the year, with so many others making noise and so many demands, it was overwhelming her. Even now she often comes home desperate to unwind, and then I have to present homework to her. She loves school and learning but there are times we have seriously considered home-schooling. Eva, like many children, works best with one on one learning and schools just can’t provide this for every child.

Bullying

Bullying is of course now much worse than it has ever been. There is often no escape for children these days thanks to social media and mobile phones. Many children are hounded and harassed at home, school and online, with no escape. Being constantly connected makes it difficult for schools to fully monitor the situation and much is missed. This obviously has an extremely severe impact on a child’s mental health and this stays with them all their life.

As a parent of a child who has been bullied, I can honestly say there was not enough done to improve the situation. Children are left mostly unattended at lunchtime when most of the bullying occurs and often children are too scared to let a teacher know what is going on.

Bullying can cause self-harm and suicidal thoughts which teachers are generally oblivious to. Schools may try to tackle bullying but often it leads to the bullied child having to move school or turn to home-schooling.

Better Education

As I mentioned further up the post, many classes are crowded with 30 or more students. When you have 30 children and maybe 2 or at maximum 3 teachers in that class that’s 10-15 children each. How many of those children get ignored because they are quiet? How many are too shy to ask or help and feel they are bothering the teachers? How many sit through a class completely confused? And how many finish up without completing the work or have a basic understanding of the topic?

Many are turning to home-schooling because they know they can provide a better education for their children. Home-schooling allows one to one support with learning styles tailored to the child, not just a ‘one size fits all’. With that extra support, many children whose education has previously suffered at school have now flourished being home-schooled.

Mr Kitney from Inside Martyns Thoughts home schools his eldest son whose education has flourished where he had previously struggled in a school environment. When you see such a huge change in a child you can genuinely see why home-schooling is increasing rapidly.

Why Is Home-schooling Increasing?

Parents want to provide a good education for their children but not at the risk of their children’s mental health. As parents, we want to know that schools are protecting our children, that they aren’t at risk of being bullied, self-harming, feeling suicidal and struggling. Unfortunately for many, schools just aren’t equipped to ensure that happens. We know the educational system is failing many of our children, this is why more parents are deciding home-schooling is a better option for their child.

What do you think about the increase of home-schooling?

Starting Reception & Toilet Training

Izzy is starting Reception today and she is so excited! She is really confident about going to school like Eva, she can’t wait to learn more and make friends. I guess having spent a lot of time picking Eva up from school and at school events, she feels confident about where she will be. It’s lovely to see her so excited but shocking realising how quickly these 4 years have flown by.

Starting Reception

Starting Reception

We’ve been waiting to hear from the school and finally got the call last week to collect the final forms. Having filled out & handed in the forms on Monday we were given Izzy’s start date. Her first day will be a half day followed by a week of half days, some before lunch, some after. She will get to take a packed lunch one day & have school dinners on the final 2 days to get used to the school day routine. Following that week she will be going full time like Eva (as she keeps pointing out!). 

Big girls off to school!

We’d been eagerly preparing with all her uniform, shoes, bag & coat bought just in time. She can’t wait to show off her Unicorn lunch bag, Mermaid name tags from MyNameTags & of course our new favourite food wrappings, Eco Food Wrap. Izzy loves her fruit and vegetables which requires a lot of packaging across a week. Our Eco Food Wraps will save us a lot of money, not to mention plastic waste!

Excited for reception

Toilet Training

Knowing Izzy was starting reception this September we knew we had to get on with toilet training. So far it’s mostly been a success, during the day pull-ups haven’t been needed in almost 3 weeks! Unlike Eva at that age, Izzy has no fear of toilets & will happily take herself. Something I’m rather grateful for as toilet training can be so scary for some children. Night times are going surprisingly well too. She’s stayed dry most nights and we’ll be giving no pull-ups a go over the weekend.

I can’t wait to see how Izzy gets on with her first day of school as she was so excited. Fingers crossed she is just as excited to return on Monday. Hopefully, the toilet training at night is as much of a success as the daytime has been!

Back To School With Spearmark

It’s back to school time again and Spearmark kindly sent us some back to school goodies to help us out. Spearmark has a fantastic range of lunch bags, water bottles, snack pots & more. Whatever your needs, Spearmark products are just perfect for back to school!

When we buy back to school supplies, Eva loves anything pink! She is easily spotted in her bright pink coat and bag at school already. Why not have a matching lunch bag and water bottle too!? Spearmark sent us the perfect products!

Back to School With Spearmark

Back To School

Pink Glitter Backpack Lunch Bag

This very glittery pink backpack lunch bag had Eva squealing with excitement! We love the backpack style with its main compartment and front pocket. Eva loves the cute heart zips and can’t wait to show it off at school! She knows her friends will love it too! The handy front pocket is great for storing her break time snack. Available exclusively from Sainsbury’s along with some other great Spearmark lunch bags and products.

Cool Gear Water Bottle 828ml/28floz

Of course, you need the perfect water bottle to match a pink glittery backpack lunch bag & we love the Cool Gear Water bottles. Simply fill the freezer stick and freeze overnight to keep drinks cool all day. It’s so important kids stay hydrated at school & a warm drink is a little discouraging. Knowing you have a nice cold drink waiting for you across the day will ensure your children stay hydrated. These water bottles come in a range of sizes and colours including Eva’s favourite, pink! 

Locksy Ultra Clip Snack Pack 440ML

The Locksy Ultraclip snack pack is perfect for all kinds of snacks and is guaranteed not to leak! Perfect for fruit, pasta, rice and so much more, these handy little pots will take the stress out of emptying lunch bags. Discovering a leaky pot in a lunch bag is such a pain, these pots put an end to that!

Which Spearmark back to school product do you love?

Toilet Training Izzy For School

We’re toilet training Izzy for school at the moment. Like Eva, Izzy has shown interest in the toilet but only on her terms since about a year old. Just like Eva she also made sure it really was only on her terms.

At home with her 2 in 1 toilet seat and steps, she will happily have a wee 60% of the time on the toilet. Anywhere else has been an absolute no! Until this week!

With Izzy starting reception in a few weeks we needed to push a little harder. I know talking things through with Izzy tends to work best so I sat her down for a chat.

Talking It Through

We talked about how good she is at using the toilet by herself at home now. Then I reminded her at school there are no steps so we really need to work out using the toilet without.

Reassurance

I reassured her I’d hold her until she felt comfortable and we’d practice for a few days at home. Once she felt comfortable we would try using one elsewhere, then try going out close to home without pull-ups.

Izzy had other ideas. Suddenly she folded her steps up and said to put them in the bin! We decided to put them in the cupboard for now and she has spent all day showing we she doesn’t need steps. She’s a big girl now she’s 4!

Using A Toilet Somewhere New

We headed out to the library for an hour and Izzy surprised me by using the toilet there too! We’ve discussed speeding up our original plan since and I’m really pleased she suddenly feels ready at last! I got stressed with Eva toilet training, feeling pressured by others. This time around I’ve done things my way and so far it seems to be going smoothly!

Toilet Training At Last!

We’re now on day 3 since ditching the steps and Izzy is doing really well. She’s using the toilet all day until bedtime and I think we are almost ready to start going out to nearby places with toilets without pull-ups.. hopefully, haha! Toilet training is in full swing at last and I think Izzy is finally ready to ditch the pull-ups during the day and hopefully, it won’t be long until she is dry at night too. She has started to wake up for the toilet in the night and we are cutting down evening drinks to help.

Feeling Positive

With just a few weeks to go until she starts reception, we feel Izzy will definitely be ready to use the toilet alone. I’m relieved I haven’t got as stressed this time around, I knew she’d be ready in her own time!

Are you toilet training at the moment? How is it going?