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.

Life of a Mum

My advice for coping with ‘lockdown’

As you’ll already know I’m ‘shielding’ at home for at least 12 weeks due to the COVID pandemic. This is because of my immunodeficiency due to treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

Government shielding info

It’s challenging being at home with a toddler and limited outside access- so here’s my advice to cope with this. Sending love to all.

  1. Try and maintain a routine. Getting up showered and dressed each morning really helps. Don’t stay up late watching movies as you’ll just sleep through the next morning. I like to get up by 8- have a coffee- shower and dress and get on with some work or housework.
  2. Eat well – we try to eat healthy balanced meals as a family. Dorothea loves our ‘feasts’ and often comments it feels like holiday. Good is the main topic of communication with us; we are enjoying baking, online shopping for home cooked meals, and we are even making our own sour dough bread.
  3. Plan and list some days I struggled to be productive; so I try and give myself a few daily and weekly goals. What work needs to be done (I’m doing some of my usual role from home), what needs cleaning, writing some blogs, creating some content and sorting play activities for Dorothea.
  4. Self care I’m trying to spend sometime looking after myself; the first few weeks of shielding I was a mess, rarely put make up on or did my hair. So now trying to do weekly face masks- apply some makeup and wash and style my hair (fringe needs a trim though). I’m loving my young living essential oils more than ever- and diffuse them when working and relaxing. I’m loving Albany Aesthetics facial treatments in a bag. Albany Aesthetics insta
  5. Support others checking on friends, sending cards or small gifts gives me a boost (and a nice walk to the post box). It’s good to let others know you’re thinking of them; and as always tough times really show you who your friends are. I’d also include shopping local in this- as supporting your small local businesses is really important at this time; I’m finding so many wonderful doorstep delivery options too. Viva vino wines delivered (Leicestershire) Enchanted Pantry- cakes/bakes delivered (Leicestershire)
  6. Zoom!!! I’m loving so many zoom options- they seem to be my only outside communication. From online workshops and fitness classes, to online chats with friends and family- and even work meetings! Seeing and hearing people really helps to maintain a little bit of ‘normal’. Apples and apps online fitness
  7. Keep active so obvious- but staying in means you’re naturally much more of a couch potato! I’m really making an effort to get out for a little walk (not strictly allowed when shielding- so we ensure zero contact with others) I’m also starting to enjoy some online fitness classes and plan to do more in the coming weeks. Online Barre classes
  8. Find beauty sounds a bit wishy washy- but I’m loving finding beauty in everything-doing some gardening, having fresh flowers every week and taking pretty pictures.
  9. A tipple I wouldn’t be me without mentioning my love of a gin or red wine. Obviously in moderation- I limit myself to 3 drinks and try to have 2 booze free days a week. I’m loving making pretty cocktails, or a fresh a fruity jug of sangria, my fave gins are from Warner’s – use ‘ivfninja15’ for discount (valid in May) Shop at Warner’s  
  10. Having fun thank goodness for Dorothea- having a toddler in the house means plenty of opportunities for silliness and fun. We love planning and playing with play trays, water beads, play doh and doing science experiments. We love the future image shop for play resources- use ‘ivfninja’ for discount- Future image shop

Drop me comments on how you’re coping and any tips.