Now that the long, summer holidays are over, we are returning to our normal routine. Or return to ‘auld claes and porridge’…View Post
#capturingtheday – the hashtag for everyone!
“Forever is composed of nows” ~ Emily Dickinson
I have always loved photographs, as a girl I used to spend hours looking through photo albums. I loved how it prompted me to recall memories – good and bad.
These days, I am more inclined to look at these photos – and videos – on a phone or ipad. However, the joy that I get from this is still the same. I often marvel at how much the boys of grown, or how young I look in some of the photos I look at (although I still feel in my early twenties, those days are sadly behind me!).
Anyone that has followed my Instagram account will have noticed that I have discovered a new passion for this platform. I have loved sharing snaps of the monkey’s adventures and showing a different element of our life. I feel this platform provides me with an outlet that I am unable to capture fully through my blog.
The hashtag communities I have discovered have taken me by surprise. There are so many incredible photos being shared.
There is so much talent out there. I love having that glimpse into people’s lives.
The sun setting behind the fountain in Trafalgar Square. It really was a glorious day for strolling about the city. #London #londonphoto #trafalgarsquare #fountain #water #sunsunset #pblogger #ukparentbloggers #rememberingthesedays #summer #summerholiday #instalondon #insta_london #ldn #water #waterfountain #summerinthecity
So with this all in mind I am SOOO excited to be able to announce a new hashtag community as I partner up with one of my best blogging friends, Gem at Life is Knutts.
Anyone following my blog will have heard me mention Gem and her fabulous work before. She is one of the funniest and kindest people I have met since I started this crazy blogging journey.
#capturingtheday NEEDS YOU!
Are you showcasing an achievement?
Are you posting a family photo that you love?
Do you have a fantastic photo that you are proud of?
If you answer yes to these questions, then we need you to help build our friendly community.
Variety is the spice of life
Through #capturingtheday, we want to see a variety of different photos.
We follow so many amazing bloggers and Instagram accounts. Each photo unique, individual and with a personal touch.
We didn’t want a hashtag that just represented one niche because we want to see them all. You don’t have to be a blogger to take part, everyone is welcome!
It is so easy to join, next time you post a photo tag us using: #capturingtheday.
Every Sunday we will do a blog post and every week we will feature our eight favourite photos – four each.
These featured images will also appear on our Instagram account with a tag back to your account.
So what are you waiting for? Join us as we are #capturingtheday
“Life is a game, play it;
Life is a challenge, Meet it;
Life is an opportunity, Capture it.”
Scotland: no matter how many years pass that I don’t live there, I will always call it home. Even though I have not lived there for 13 years!
I still have family that live there and I try to take the monkey’s back whenever money and holidays allow.
A Good Knees Up
There is no better excuse to return to the homeland that a good old party. This time we had the excuse of a party and a wedding! Double the excuse.
So, two weeks ago we packed bags and made our way to the airport.
You will be glad to know that this time we remembered our passports!
The flight was fairly problem free, a miracle for us to be honest. The boys loved looking at the airplanes as they took off and landed.
The boys loved the plane and loved that Grandad monkey was there to meet us. We were seriously impressed with the TV screens in Glasgow airport. After you get off the plane you can see who is waiting for you. This just added to the excitement as you can imagine.
It wasn’t long until we were at my parents house, and were enjoying some rays of sunshine in my parents back garden.
At the risk of going off on a tangent, I have to tell you my parents garden is spectacular. If you want to see some examples head over to our Instagram page.
After a day of relaxing, eating and getting my haircut, we were soon getting ready for the wedding, which was one of the reasons for the trip to Scotland.
We had a lovely time on the day, the kids enjoyed meeting everyone and dancing. They especially loved that they got to stay up late!
A Week of Fun
For the rest of the weeks holiday we had so many fun activities lined up for our Scotland trip.
On the Sunday we went to Wellsfield Farm, near Stirling. This is such a fab place, with loads to do for kids. I am not going to talk about it to much on this post, mainly because it is worthy of its own post. So look out for that on the blog towards the end of the month.
One of the best days we had on our holiday, was our visit to the Time Capsule and the Glasgow Transport Museum.
The boys loved the Time Capsule. For those that don’t know it is a swimming pool near Glasgow. There are plenty of slides, river rapids and a wave machine to keep everyone happy.
The transport museum was a huge hit and everyone loved it. We were pleasantly surprised with the huge selection in the museum, so much to see! I loved the recreated victorian street that you could walk down, I always love stuff like that.
I have posted a photo of the impressive Kelpies on my Instagram account, and I have had a few people ask what they were.
They are impressive structures that you can walk around, and we were lucky enough to enjoy it on a sunny day. There were lovely places to have coffee and/or ice-cream all around and the park a few minutes walk away was a huge hit.
I was really lucky to get a child-free night out with one of closest friends when we were away. I got the train through to Edinburgh and we enjoyed a lovely meal.
August is a great time of year to be in Edinburgh, as the festival takes place. The atmosphere is fantastic!
We found a lovely square which has a small lake in the middle, we enjoyed a glass of wine from the pop up bars around the square. I would recommend going to Edinburgh at any time, but especially at this time of year. If you can get tickets to the Tattoo display at the castle, even better!
The last day of the holiday saw us attend a birthday birthday party. Auntie Lou Lou is a huge hit with the boys and we loved being able to celebrate with everyone !
When it was time to go home, I had to take on the challenge of travelling solo with the kids. It all went surprisingly well – the boys were so well behaved.
We had such a great time in Scotland. If you are ever visiting that way, I would recommend trying out some of the places mentioned above.
My Big Tree, is the new children’s book by author Maria Ashworth. A few weeks ago I was speaking to Maria on twitter and I was thrilled to be asked to review her book which is currently available on Amazon.
This is her second published book. It follows Step One, Step Two, Step Three and Four. She also has a couple of other books on the go, Iggy Loo is due out in November and Tommy James, The Littlest Cowboy In Reckon’ (1st in series).
Premise – My Big Tree
Soon the little bird is feeling a bit fed up with sharing her space, so decides to move on. She finds a new tree but something is missing.
In the end the bird decides there is one thing way more valuable than nesting in her favourite tree.
Now something that I have not seen before, is a book trailer! I was pretty excited to see that My Big Tree had just that.
Check it out:
What I really love about this trailer, is that it gives you a nice feel for the book design.
Bob D: “I like the doggy mummy, can we get a doggy?” (I quickly changed the subject)
Bob L: “ohhh I would like to climb that tree mummy. Can we read it again?”
I thought this book was a lovely bedtime read. The boys loved looking at the pictures and identifying the different animals.
The thing that swung this book for me was the moral message behind it. I think we all need friends and it important that we remember this in our day-to-day life.
Furthermore, the thing I took away from this book is be careful what you wish for.
I would definitely recommend this book, it is a lovely bedtime read for little ones.
And for something a bit different…
As I mentioned above, I have been lucky enough to speak to the author of this endearing book.
I caught up with Maria the other day and she was kind enough to answer a couple of questions.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I volunteers for the Maud Marks Library Friends Board in Katy Texas where I serve as President, as well as a Member-At-Large for the Friends of the Harris County Library. I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Some of my picture books and middle grade novels manuscripts have been nominated as finalists in several contests. I have also published a handful of short stories through contests and a women’s anthology.
What inspired you to start writing children’s books?
I always had a love of writing as a kid. During my divorce in 2007, I chronicled the events and was seriously thinking about making it into a book to help inspire others. Then I met a man who had five kids and my daughter loved him but not the boys coming in the house even though she had a brother. I tried finding books on having new step siblings but there was nothing out there. So I tried my hand at a picture book and the manuscript was born. My husband and daughter thought I had talent to be a writer. I went to my first Houston SCBWI conference and was inspired. I’ve never stopped writing.
What is your favourite thing about My Big Tree?
When I sought out the illustrator I didn’t have an idea but knew when I found the right illustrator I’d know. Ms. Beougher had a knack for creating sweet dogs. I was hooked. I’m in love with each one of them. I was going to publish it myself, but I met with Clear Fork Publishing about my other work and showed her my illustrated PDF and they loved it. The rest is history.
What advice to you have for aspiring writers?
Don’t let anyone tell you no. I have 235 rejections. Keeping every one of them until I landed a publisher. I held onto a few. The rejections gave me the drive to prove myself.
What are you most looking forward to when it comes to your next project?
My text coming to life!!
So there we have it, from a published author: Don’t give up on your dreams!
And that is not all…
Maria has been kind enough to offer some fun teaching tools, for you to use with your little ones:
My Big Tree Unscramble Worksheet
My Big Tree Phonic Shape Puzzle Worksheet
My Big Tree Phonic Answer Sheet
If you want to find out more about Maria, you can visit her here:
Author: Maria Ashworth
Publisher: Spork imprint of Clear Fork Publishing Media
Date of Publication: August 9, 2016
I WAS GIFTED A COPY OF THIS BOOK IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
Last Month I was tagged in The Mummy Tag by the super lovely Angela, who blogs over at Days in Bed. If you have not already done so, please pop over and visit her blog, she is an incredible lady with a lot to share about her incredible health journey.
The Mummy Tag
1. Are you a Stay at Home Mum or a Working Mum?
I am a working mum. I work part-time, 25 hours a week. Oh and then there is blogging on top of that.
However, I was a stay at home mum for the first three years.
2. Would you have it any other way?
No, I am incredibly happy with my current routine. I feel like it is a good balance of working, blogging and parenting. The kids get picked up at 3 every day and 12.00 on a Friday, so I still get time with them each day. It is perfect.
3. Do you co-sleep?
I always set out not too, but I have to admit I did at points. There was a time when one of the monkeys was ill, suffering from allergies and no one could tell us what was wrong. I was so worried about him, I co-slept with him to ensure he was ok. I felt much happier being near him just in case. This has meant whenever they are ill, they climb in with us for cuddles.
If I had my time again, I would definitely buy a co-sleeper cot and make it part of our routine.
4. What is your one must-have item for your baby?
Oh gosh, it is hard to pick just one! For me a baby carrier / sling was an essential item. As a twin mummy it helped in so many ways, however the main thing was i could baby carry one and just have the other in a single buggy. This was essential for busy London streets.
5. How many kids do you plan on having?
We planned on having four. About two days into this parenting malarky, the hubby and I both agreed that two would suit us just fine.
6. Date nights? How often do you have them?
Not often enough. Maybe about once every six months! That is product of living abroad and away from close friends and family. Maybe when we move back to the UK next year we can improve on this a bit more.
7. Your child’s favourite show?
Oh this is tricky as they have so many. I think I have to do a list: Paw Patrol, Go Jetters, Ninja Turtles, Charlie and Lola, Octonauts and Blaze and the Monster Machine. They love just about anything with Justin from CBeebies in – Gigglebiz and Justin’s house in particular.
8. Name one thing you brought before you had the baby and never ended up using?
Just about everything I took with me in my hospital bag!
In all seriousness, I cant think of anything for the kids that we didn’t use. Actually that is not true, we had far too many clothes for them for the first few months, some were passed onto others with the tags still on them. No one warned me that they grow so quickly.
9. Your child’s favourite food?
Chicken Nuggets and chips are there favourite dinner by a mile, closely followed by pizza.
10. How many cars does your family have?
Just the one, but it is a people wagon so couldnt really justify another car on top of that!
11. Weight gain, before pregnancy, during, after and now?
Well, I was pregnant with twins so I stopped paying attention to my weight after a few months. Suffice to say I was MASSIVE! It took a little while to get back to my pre-pregnant weight. However, I need to be a bit better at this as I feel like I have put more weight on again this summer, due to a rather pesky pelvic floor problem. Anyway, I plan to get back on track after the boys birthday. No way am I missing out on cake!
12. Dream holiday with your kids?
Disney World or Disney Land – I don’t mind which one but I cannot wait to take them there.
13. Dream holiday without your kids?
A remote beach, somewhere hot, cocktail in hand. Oh and lots and lots of sleeping and reading.
14. How has your life changed since having kids?
My life is unrecognisable.
My pre-mummy self, worked in a job in the City of London. Life always busy, mostly stressed and on hindsight pretty unhappy. I always felt like there was something missing, I guess I was just ready to become a mum.
I worked all week and partied all weekend. It was just not sustainable!
Now I have a fabulous balance of work and home. I am fulfilled and happy in a way I never thought possible. Oh, and I don’t miss the nights out at all, which I find surprising.
15. Finish the sentence “It makes heart melt when…”
… the kids tell me they love me and ask for a squeeze cuddle. Who couldn’t melt at that.
16. Where do you shop for your kids?
I buy the majority of there clothes in Primark, Boots or at the supermarket. My favourite place to shop is Gap Kids, but I am yet to find one in Germany, maybe that is a good thing for my bank balance?
17. Favourite make-up and skincare products?
My staple day-to-day make up is foundation, mascara and eyeliner. I wont leave the house without that on as a bare minimum – I wouldn’t want to scare people!
I found a really fab felt eyeliner from Boots when I went to London last month. It is so easy to apply and doesnt smudge easily, I love it!
18. Huggies or Pampers?
Pampers for every day. Huggies for swimming.
19. Have you always wanted kids?
Yes, always. I used to daydream about how many I would have and what it would be like to be a mum.
20. Best part of being a mum?
Seeing those little faces look up at me – dimples and all – every day!
I’m tagging the following people if they would like to join in: