Thursday, 28 August 2014

Owlfit of the Week

As we are in Holland this week, I thought it only right to share one of Little Owl's Dutch outfits that I bought on our last trip here in June.  Both the hoody and the shorts come from a shop called Hema which is a department store selling low priced products.  It was only after I bought them that I spotted the label on the shorts saying 'boy' - oh well!  I love the wide waist band on the hoody and the big cuffs, which as well as looking good, help to keep Little Owl snug too!

The hat from H&M is beginning to look a bit small (I think its age 6-9 months) and is soon to be put away, and with the recent cooler weather, I suspect the days of the Livie and Luca sandals are numbered too!  But not to worry - I've just ordered Little Owl some more Livie and Luca shoes!

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Monday, 25 August 2014

Cross Monday Week 23

The detail in the tree I am working on really doesn't show in the photos!  The flowers are made up of 5 stitches of 3 different colours.  Nearly done now!  Looking forward to finishing this section and starting on something new!  Now I have a confession to make - I took this photo on Saturday as I'm going to be spending Monday traveling from Belguim to Holland... well not the whole day obviously as it isn't that far but I'm not sure if I will have any internet for the next week, if I don't that might mean I get a lot of stitching done though!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Little Owl's First Hike

This is a Post by Papa Owl.

The outdoors plays a huge part in my life as a qualified Mountain Leader and member of the Institute of Outdoor Learning.  I spend a large part of my working life there and love climbing, hillwalking and mountain biking in my leisure time. I am passionate about the physical and mental benefits of spending time Outdoors. You can challenge yourself, learn how to take risks and just have fun. 

It was only natural therefore that we would want to make it a large part of Little Owl’s life. Well, the craziness of family life and renovating a falling down Victorian house has meant that I really haven’t done as much ‘outdoorsy’ stuff with Little Owl as I should. When Laughing Owl asked me if I could look after Little Owl for a day I decided it was time we went on a hike.

I decided that a short walk along the South Downs around Firle Beacon would be a good route. We could park on top of the downs so no steep climbs and there would be loads of flexibility in how far we could walk. We didn’t complete a major expedition and walked about a mile from the car park to the top of Firle Beacon. It would normally take me about 15 minutes but it took the best part of an hour. We stopped a lot to look at the sheep, at the birds, the cows feeding their calves and to eat lots of Haribo’s! I learnt on a previous walk with Little Owl and her cousins that some form of extrinsic motivation was required. The phrase "you will get your next sweet when we get to the gate" was used a lot! She already knows that we only have sweets when we go hiking.

When we got to the top we put on an extra jacket, it was windy and chilly even on an August day, and tucked into our packed lunch. I had insisted that Little Owl carried her own sandwiches in her rucksack as when we do longer walks or even overnight camps in years to come I want her to carry some of her own kit so it’s worth starting good habits early. After lunch we walked back to the car which took about an hour again with lots more to look at, especially with my binoculars. A quick trip to the playground in Firle followed and then we drove home with Little Owl fast asleep nearly the whole way. 

So, what tips have I got for parents taking their little ones hiking…. 
  1. Be flexible.  Make sure you can adapt your route according to weather, tiredness and sweet supplies.
  2. You will not necessarily go very far, but that’s ok. It’s not about you.
  3. Make sure you have plenty to do along the way. Things like binoculars, bird identification books and cameras are great. Farm animals and wildlife are also really good distractions.
  4. If you are cold it’s not fun, plenty of layers needed even in summer.
Would I take her again? YOU BET! I had a great time and can’t wait for our next adventure!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Owlfit of the Week

I love this Cath Kidston dress!  I bought it in one of their stores in Windsor, March of last year and if memory serves me correctly, it cost £18 which I was pleasantly surprised by.  I bought it for Little Owl's baptism which was in May last year, just after she turned one.  It is an age one dress, so I was really pleased when it fitted her still this summer.  It comes with a matching pair of pants which work great on their own or over a nappy.

Now British Summer being what it is, you can't often get away with a sleeveless dress, so I team it up with this white cardigan from H&M.  At her baptism, Little Owl also wore white tights with this dress, and white shoes from H&M.  These sandals are from Livie & Luca.

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Baking with a Toddler

The lovely Baked Potato Mummy recently posted The Importance of Baking With Toddlers.

"Do it" she said.  "It'll be fun" she said.

Papa Owl has done some baking with Little Owl, mainly when they have been visiting his parents, and it did look fun, so what could there be to loose?

Now I don't exactly come from a long line of bakers.  My mother is to baking as hurricanes are to camping, but to be fair, she has never set fire to the house and all injuries were non-life threatening after hospital treatment.

I dug out Little Owl's hat and apron which she was given last Christmas, and also a baking tray with cake cases which I picked up at the supermarket a couple of weeks ago and got started.  "All of the gear and no idea" kept springing to mind, which is also a family trait.

Doesn't that look fun?  The perfect toddler activity, learning to use the knife, sorting out the cake cases, delicately filling the tray with cake mix, edible cakes at the end?!!

Let me tell you.  This was a NIGHTMARE!!!  Little Owl was determined to eat the cake mix at every opportunity including when it was just butter in the bowl.  She would press her hands down on the scales so I was unable to measure anything accurately.  The ripe bananas were so ripe that they got up and took themselves to the bin leaving me with one small banana for a recipe that works best with two or three, ok so that wasn't Little Owl's fault... but....

Little Owl loves to play in mud kitchens, and can often be found pouring and mixing, but given the task of pouring the milk in the bowl and it ends up all over the table.  Mixing became eating.  Don't even mention sieving the flour. We played tug of war with the bowl, the spoon and just about everything else.  The kitchen was a mess.

Cakes finally in the oven and I sent Little Owl into the living room to play with her toys, while I tidied up and thought about pouring myself a large gin.  Something caught my eye and I turned round to see Little Owl with her oven glove on one hand and her other hand on the door of the oven!!!!


When the cakes finally came out, they tasted crap.  More banana needed.  Little Owl was then on a sugar high for the rest of the day and I was twitching for gin.

So look at the pictures and don't ever be fooled again - baking with a toddler is HARD WORK!

To be fair to Baked Potato Mummy, she can bake better than me and therefore produces edible food, she mentions courgette quiche, and Little Owl did love it.  Baked Potato Mummy also made some brilliant suggestions on how cooking with older children can help their maths skills, including measures and conversions, and ratio questions if you want to use a recipe for different amount - which appears on both the Higher and Foundation GCSEs.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Rainy Days

This past week have been what we lovingly refer to as "the Great British Summer".  Waking up each day, not knowing what to wear and whether you can go outside to play.  The red flags have been flying on the prom, and the wind and kite surfers have been having a great time.  Not what you would call beach weather!  But actually, this is when I think the beach is at its best!
I dug out Little Owl's waterproofs, popped on her wellies and off we went!  That makes it sound like a great distance, but we were at my parents so all we had to do was cross the road!  Little Owl had a whale of a time, the tide was low and with all the extra rainfall, there were small streams of water for her to play in.  She picked up pebbles and moved them about, found shells, splashed in puddles and the wet sand.  I suspect she could have spent hours there, but the tide was coming in and I was after a cuppa!  

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Owlfit of the Week

This week Little Owl is living it up in her sari! I bought this beautiful sari on our last night in India so she never got the chance to wear it before we came home.  The sari came ready made with a matching blouse.  Baby saris cheat a little as rather than being one long piece of fabric, they are sewn ready to wear!  The skirt part has a draw string cord so it can be tightened round the waist and the pleats are sewn into this.  The pleats have been sewn into the pallu (the pretty bit that hangs off the shoulder) meaning all you need to do is wrap it round and pin it to the shoulder of the blouse.  Sounds complicated?  Its dead easy if you know how to tie a sari but really isn't too difficult even if you don't.

For anyone traveling to Sangam or Pune, the shop where I bought this sari (and several other children's outfits) is in the Laxmi Road area.  The shop is on Shanipa Mandai Road, which runs from Phule Market to the Black Palace, parallel to Tulshibaug and Laxmi Road.  Its on the same side of the road as the Tulshibaug Temple near the junction with Bajirao Road.  This google map might help, its very near where Cympac Software Solutions Pvt Ltd is labelled!

Now we just need to find some occasions to wear this - it wasn't overly practical at the playground!

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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Little Owl @ Two and a Quarter

Little Owl is two-and-a-quarter!  A proper two year old - no more pretending!

Physically, I guess she is a bit taller, she has probably grown out of her size 6 shoes but has been living in sandals so I haven't got her measured in a while. Her hair is growing slowly still but she is beginning to develop lovely curls.

Little Owl's speech and conversational skills are amazing me every day, and her ability to link subjects and understand concepts.  She understands big and small (she is a small girl by the way), and uses the word animals as a collective term.  Also Little Owl's recalls things that happened before she could speak so clearly, suggesting that she picked up the language and stored the words in her head although she couldn't say them at the time, and yet now she says them so clearly. 

She made me laugh one day when she handed me a broken hairband and said quite firmly "tell Grandmadad to fix it".

The dreaded "why?" has started. Seriously - where do kids pick this stuff up from?  "Why Mummy why?"  So far I am treating this as a statement rather than a question and therefore ignoring it - and its working!  Little Owl doesn't seem to expect a response and so I don't waste time explaining things only to be followed by another "why".

Little Owl still adds in the occasional sign.  She'll sign please or thank you if her mouth is too full to speak, and nearly always signs sorry.  And cuddle because she knows I find that hard to refuse.  But she'll also use signs in conversation to emphasis certain words such as 'where' which is always accompanied by the sign.

I was tickling Little Owl's belly and she giggled, then said 'laugh' while signing 'fun', which was followed by a great big belly laugh!

I also find it useful to use signs with her, reminding her to say please and thank you but also when we are in a crowded place where she may not hear me.  We were recently at a playground and there was a fence that I had told her not to climb, I said we would go home if she climbed it again.  As soon as I took my eyes off of her, she was back at the fence and I yelled to get her attention.  Little Owl turned round immediately but I realised I was too far away to do anything other than yell, and if I ran towards her, she would think it was a game.  So I signed 'no' and 'home', Little Owl looked at me for a moment and then went off to play with something else.

Little Owl is out of nappies during the day, and showing signs of being dry at night.  She knows her numbers up to 10 and while she can't recite them in order, if I count with her, she generally knows which number comes next.  

Little Owl's swimming is also coming on.  There was a break through a couple of weeks ago where she was able to swim back to the side from the teacher instead of turning round halfway and grabbing on to the teacher.  The trouble is now she thinks she can swim which makes it pretty hairy when I take her, so we've gone back to putting the float belt on her to give her freedom of movement in the water when she isn't with a teacher.

Little Owl is just an incredible little girl who I am in awe of and love with all of my heart.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Cross Monday Week 21

A bit more stitching to show this week as Papa Owl has been in Scotland climbing mountains, leaving me home along in the evenings.  So far I haven't minded repeating the pattern too much - actually I've found it easier as I've been copying that rather than the pattern. My target for next week is to complete the pink flowers, hopefully more!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Play Days in the Park

Last summer Papa Owl and I took Little Owl to our local park for a Play Day.  We really didn't have high expectations and were overwhelmed with the activities on offer!

So this year Little Owl and I headed down to the park with bag full of food, water and a change of clothes (for Little Owl, not me!). 

I had images of us flitting from one activity to another.  There were so many activities that Little Owl was well, too little for last year.

We weren't disappointed!  The field was packed with things to do, assault courses, dressing up, woodwork, clay, story telling, tree climbing and a whole section marked out for the under 5s.  It was great!  We walked from one end to the other, waving at friends and looking at everything there was to do.  I started making a mental list of what was suitable and which order we would do it it... but then...


That was it.  For the rest of the afternoon Little Owl was playing in the kitchen, only occasionally popping over to me to grab a bite to eat and then back again!
Little Owl was as happy as a pig in... well, mud of course!

A big thanks to Hastings & St Leonards Children's Centres and all of the other organisations who help to put this event on!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Owlfit of the Week

This.  This is Little Owl's Owlfit of the summer!  I was so excited when I ordered this, that when it arrived I wasn't sure if it was going to live up to my expectations but it does!  This beautiful two piece outfit is from Monsoon and cost £22 (but is currently half price in the sale).  As a friend said to me "its just so Little Owl".  

As I have said previously, I am new to buying clothes from Monsoon but I am so impressed with the quality.  The shorts have an elasticated waist which is very stretchy (sometimes I find they can be quite stiff but these aren't at all).  The straps on the top button onto the front and they have two sets of button holes allowing for growth!  Going further than that, the straps are currently crossed over at the back and so the top could last even longer if they went straight over!

Can you tell that I love this Owlfit and want Little Owl to be in it for ever?!!!

The sunglasses are also from Monsoon and the shoes as ever are from Livie and Luca.

Fashion Friday on
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