Baby/Toddler stuff, Playtime

Our favourite books

We love books! We always have, from bedtime stories to using them in play activities or discovery baskets. From when Dot was little we attended ‘Story Imaginory’ classes run by the wonderful Freya. These classes are themed around a letter and a book- with the class leader reading the story and guiding you through related songs/dances (with signing) and some amazing play activities- all linked to the original story.

Story imaginory

Since lockdown Story imaginory have gone virtual- with stories being read- and play activities given on a sheet to recreate at home- it’s amazing and Freya (and the other class leaders are awesome story readers).

Attending the Story Imaginory classes have inspired me with how we read and use books at home. As well as just reading stories to Dot, I try to get her more involved by encouraging her to point things out in the book, linking play activities to the book or finding books that are more interactive.

Here are some of our favourites.

The Jolly Postman– this is one I remember from my childhood- and we bought her the Festive one for Christmas. She loved it so we recently added this to our collection.

It’s wonderful as it’s really interactive; with envelopes with postcards, letters and puzzles for little ones to open and explore. It’s written in a way that it’s super easy to read and you can be really expressive too.

Play activities we’ve tried linked to this book.

  • Used it to guide writing postcards to friends and family on lockdown.
  • Made a quick postbox (out of a shoe box) and posted letters which we then delivered to her teddies and friends.

Who’s hiding on the farm. We bought this from one of our not so recent trips to a National Trust property; I find they always stock awesome books. This isn’t a story book; but a great interactive ‘lift the flap’ book, which toddlers tend to love.

We love creating ‘farm’ themed play trays with dry foods/sand/moon sand and our farm animal toys.

Why do we need a potty? Together with the book ‘what is poo?’ We are using this to help our potty training mission. It’s not going well, to be fair; but Dot does have full understanding of the toileting process, and loves to play with her babies on her potty.

Me and Daddy think these are the most bizarre books ever; but she seems to love them.

Read with Fred- local Usborne book lady

Questions and answers about plastic. Another great Usborne book; and if you follow me on insta, you’ll know I’m on an eco mission. Another lift the flap book so entertaining enough for a toddler; but I think Dot will really enjoy this book as she gets older too.

To use this book in play I encourage Dot to sort (clean) rubbish into groups- recyclable and not or plastic/paper/cardboard etc.

Zog – well we love all Julia Donaldson books; and they mostly make up our favourite bedtime books. Zog is our most recent Donaldson purchase; it’s a bit more difficult to read than others (in my opinion) but I think it’s a great story which shows Princesses aren’t just there to be pretty.

We recently read this book and made our own crafty crowns.

Rabbits Nap- another Julia Donaldson book, but definitely lesser well known. It’s a cute short, lift the flap book (so ideal for younger toddlers). We find this one links very nicely with the ‘hop little bunny’ song and dance.

First facts BUGS- a great factual book to get little ones interested in bugs. I didn’t want Dot to be scared or bugs and beasties- so bought this book and some play resources recently to help her understand their importance. She’s now loving butterflies, bees and spiders- and saying hello to them instead of running away.

For a range of awesome play resources check out The future image and use ‘ivfninja’ for discount.

I hope you’ve liked my recommendations of books and simple play ideas follow me on insta for more My insta and drop me a comment with what you think.

Eco Mum

Being Eco – one step at a time

We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. – Anne Marie Bonneau aka The Zero Waste Chef

This is one of my favourite quotes when it comes to trying to be eco-friendly. Its small steps, done one at a time; eco-friendly living can be intimidating, and think a lot of people can be put off by that, so don’t make the effort. I think it’s really important just to realise that every step you do make, is a step forward.

I’m writing this blog to help others understand simple and cost effective ways to help you ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. I think people think plastic is ‘the enemy, and long term it’s one of the enemies, but a plastic item you will reuse time after time is a keeper- so many people seem to be ‘disposing’ of plastic, to buy a ‘plastic free alternative’ without realising that’s the problem – stop wasting, and stop buying stuff you don’t need.

I’m not perfect, I’m far from it- this blog isn’t coming from a righteous position! I can’t afford to, have time to, or truly want to do all things that being an true ‘eco-warrior’ involves. I drive a diesel- although I’d love a hybrid or electric car, we still use disposable nappies (although I hate the waste we produce) as I cannot find any time in my life to do more washing, and I’m a pescatarian not vegan, nor do I want to be. Oh and I best say; otherwise they’ll be a comment from my husband, my worst habit is leaving the lights on!

You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” —Jane Goodall

Here’s some simple, cost saving or cost effective ways of reducing your impact on the earth.

Reduce:

• Do you really need this??? Don’t need it don’t buy it.

  • Reduce waste by using reusables instead! My faves are below
  • Make your own cleaning products, or buy refillable/eco options

• Buy in bulk. Even if you buy items in plastic buy the bigger bottle/bags etc. it’ll be less plastic in the long run. I buy the giant packs of dishwasher tabs, washing capsules etc.

• Avoid tiny, travel sized bottles- more plastic, more waste. If you travel, then get reusable travel size kits and fill up with you at home products.

• Don’t waste food; buy less (don’t buy multipack plastic wrapped veg, buy loose instead), freeze left overs or use the Olio app to giveaway unwanted food insert link

Reuse:

• Reuse your plastic bottles and get refills where possible, lots of products have refills which you can get in supermarkets- hand wash and washing up liquid are common; and means less plastic waste overall.

• Hand down, sell on or do swaps. Clothes, kids toys and household appliances generally get disposed of before their life is over; donate to charity shops, friends, use random acts of kindness groups on facebook, use *Thrift to sell on your clothes, sell your kids stuff at preloved sales or have swap parties with your friends.

• Fix fix fix; fix it don’t chuck it. Not skilled to fix it yourself, do a quick search and you’ll probably find local fixer cafes.

• Hoard what you’d normally waste if it can be reused; I wash and keep any glass or plastic jars and zippy bags. And use it to organise my food cupboards, craft cupboards and take to refill revolution at *Harborough Eco Village

• Hoard what you’d normally waste if it can be used for craft activities; (great if you have kids or can be donated to childminders/nurseries)loo roll inserts, packaging from parcels (shredded paper/bubble wrap/ polystyrene.

*links below

Recycle:

Do your research and find out what you can recycle locally. Think beyond your refuse collection or local tip (but obviously use these too)

• Some opticians can recycle you contact lens packaging

• Some shops offer recycling for crisp packets, squeezy pouch packaging, plastic bags.

• Use your local free-cycle page- you’ll find allsorts

‘Be part of the solution, not part of the pollution.’ – Unknown
When to buy???
When there are good plastic free or reusable items you will actually use.
    Everyone needs a nice water bottle I like klean canteen, chillys and life factory again Harborough eco village have a great range .
    If you buy a lot of coffee/tea then grab a reusable hot drinks cup – I find starbucks have the best leak proof ones.
    Stop buying kitchen roll and get reusable washable ones instead from Avocado handmade
    I do use disposable baby wipes, but only when out the house- in home we have two sets of cheeky wipes one for bums and one for hands/faces
    Make packed lunches or like picnics; grab some reusable sandwich wraps, snack bags etc. my faves are planet picnic and keep leaf available from Harborough eco village
    Period products- yes I’m going there! I love my organicup, I’ve also used a moon cup before (but lost it- somewhere in the house), honestly give them a couple of months and you won’t look back. Don’t fancy it? Why not try reusable/washable period pant or pads.
  • If it’s preloved or ethically/eco-friendly made:

    • I feel at my most smug when I’ve picked up some great clothes from a charity shop, Facebook marketplace or preloved shop. If you’re local to Market Harborough you’ve gotta try The attic, little raine or a good mooch of the charity shops
      I love Thrift + to sell and buy- when selling on thrift you can either use your credit to buy preloved clothes and accessories OR for John Lewis vouchers. You also get to choose a charity to donate some of the taking too.
      Buy eco friendly toys: my favourite are tender leaf or le toy van from The growing tree shop (use ‘ivfninja’ for discount) , Lanka kade from westlodge farm shop, plan toys or petit collage from Kidly.
      Buy well, buy once- don’t go for cheap trends. I try to buy investment buys; I’d rather buy one item that will last for years at £100 than 6 items for the same price that won’t last.
      Mooch a car boot; I hate buying plastic toys for Dorothea, but shes a toddler and loves them- I’ve bought pretty much all our Duplo from the car boot and love a mooch when the weather is good

    We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. – Howard Zinn

    Last but not least; shop local, shop small, support local businesses/individuals and organisations that are making eco efforts. Join in on that local litter pic, buy from your local farm or green grocer, support your local eco-village or refill shop- mine is Harborough eco village and its wonderful.