Posts Tagged With: children

Word of the Week #4

My latest Word of the Week was captured in a magical moment at the dinner table on Friday night. We’d just started eating when out of nowhere, completely unprompted, Little Miss gleefully shouted ‘appy’ and beamed at us both. It was just lovely.

And since the week as a whole has generally been a very positive one, with work deadlines met, fun times playing at the park – watching our little girl grow in confidence – and today a big family gathering for a birthday, I think Little Miss couldn’t have put it better than…


This post is part of the Word of the Week linky run by fellow blogger Jocelyn over at The Reading Residence. The idea is very simple, every week you come up with one word to sum up your week.

My previous words have been Can, Relieved and Midnight.

The Reading Residence
Categories: Mummy memories, Toddlerdom, Word of the Week | Tags: , , , | 18 Comments

Twin your toilet…

Toilet twin graphicAs the mother of a toddler I sometimes find myself reminiscing about the days when I could go to the toilet without being accompanied by an over-excited little person, who points at me shouting “mummy wee wee, mummy wee wee!” before making a grab for the loo roll.

But toddler issues aside, here in the UK we enjoy constant easy access to toilets that are generally safe, hygienic and private. I was recently shocked to discover that 2.5 billion people across the world don’t have access to what should be a basic human right for all.

That’s 1 in 3 people across the world, 40% of the global population, who have to use fields, streams, rivers, railway lines, canal banks, roadsides, plastic bags, or squalid, disease breeding buckets.

Here, we take it for granted that we’re never too far away from a half-decent loo. In the first world, our biggest toilet concerns are likely to be whether or not there’s a queue, did the last user pee on the seat and will there be any paper left. While they might not always be pristine, even the grubbier public loos are unlikely to give you a serious illness or prove to be dangerous.

But in some places in the world the simple act of going to the loo can prove deadly – and it’s women and children who are at greatest risk.

Bad sanitation is one of the world’s biggest killers. Every minute, three children under the age of five die because of dirty water and poor sanitation. Right this minute, around half the people in the world have an illness caused by bad sanitation.

In Africa, half of young girls who drop out of school do so because they need to collect water – often from many miles away – or because the school hasn’t got a basic toilet. The lack of a loo can also make women and girls easy targets for sexual assault as they have to go in the open, late at night.

ID-100165996In 2000, 189 countries signed up to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. The sanitation target for 2015 is currently way off-target and at this rate won’t be met in sub-Saharan African until the 23rd century!

It’s appalling when you think about it, almost unimaginable.

I found out about toilet twinning when a local teenager spoke (very impressively) about it at a recent church service we were at. It’s a
ridiculously simple idea but one that can have a huge impact. Basically, for every £60 raised you can twin a toilet at home, work, school or wherever with a purpose-built latrine in the developing world.

toilet picToilet Twinning raises funds for founder charities Cord and Tearfund to help bring safe, clean and hygienic sanitation to families and communities by helping to pay for latrines, hygiene education and clean water projects.

And in return for twinning your toilet you get a certificate of your toilet’s twin, containing a photo, its location and its GPS coordinates so you can look it up on Google Maps.

So we’re planning to save our pennies – excuse the pun – and raise our £60 so we can twin our home toilet. Once we’ve done this I’ll hang our certificate in the bathroom as a reminder that even though life may be less than perfect at times, at least we have safe, hygienic access to one of life’s necessities. I hope you’ll consider doing the same.

You can find out more at


Facts and statistics from

Main image credit: nuttakit/

Second image: cbenjasuwan/

Third image:

Categories: Good causes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Countdown to Christmas

imageIt’s getting closer and this year I’m feeling far more excited than usual! I’ve always steadfastly avoided embracing the festive spirit too early. It seems slightly crazy that supermarkets start selling the Christmas chocs when we’re still trying to enjoy the final dregs of British summertime. OK, I will confess that I bought a present back in September but that was purely a budgetary decision – it was a big item and on a really good deal. Otherwise I don’t usually think too much about Christmas until at least late November.

This year, though, my festive spirit has been starting to waken much earlier than usual. Our daughter is now almost 20 months old so, although this will technically be her second Christmas, she will be much more aware this year and I’m really looking forward to sharing some magical moments with her.

Once December 1st hits, I want to make sure she has as much fun as possible and enjoys this special time of year. Here are some of the things I’m looking forward to.

Starting her advent calendar/book

I bought it this week, as you can see from the picture above. We wanted to get something quite traditional, rather than chocolate-based, and this has loads for  her to look at. The book opens out into a big, free-standing nativity scene cartoon. The  windows to open are all sorts of shapes and sizes and  the nativity story is told on the back of the book flaps to help children understand the importance of the festive season. It also comes with a colouring sheet. We bought ours locally but you can also buy them on Amazon.

Putting her nativity set out

Little Miss was Christened on December 2nd last year (another reason the beginning of December will feel even more special) and we bought her a lovely little nativity set as a present. It has a few small bits in so is still more of an ornament than something to play with but having it out again will bring back happy memories of sharing her special day with family and friends.

wpid-20131123_114816Decorating the house

This one is also making us slightly nervous! I love getting the decorations out and buying a new tree. Little Miss will be absolutely fascinated by all the lights, tinsel and sparkly baubles  and I’m sure she’ll want to join in with making the house look festive. Our challenge will be to find a way to make it toddler-proof at the same time! This week Daddy came home with this stylish but sturdy wooden owl from Sainsbury’s – a real hit as Little Miss loves owls!

Twinkling lights on nearby houses

We’re lucky to live in an area where a lot of people make a big effort with their outdoor decorations. We don’t as it must cost a small fortune. But we love driving home when it’s dark and looking at everybody else’s lights, especially those on the biggest houses. I’m sure Little Miss will love coming home from nursery past the lights.

imageReading festive stories

It will be great to read some Christmassy books together. We’ve already got In The Night Garden: Everybody Loves Christmas, which Nanny bought, and the more traditional It Was the Night Before Christmas, which I adored as a child (I can still remember most of the lines!). I’ve also spotted a well-stocked special Christmas section in our local library with plenty of toddler-friendly titles so we’ll have lots to keep us busy.

Seeing Santa and his reindeer

I’m looking forward to taking Little Miss to a Christmas event at one of our favourite local garden centre haunts. I’m very aware things could go either way in terms of her meeting Santa as she tends to be very wary of strangers at the moment, but we’ll give it a go. And given her love of animals, I’m hoping the real reindeer will at least go down well.

Next setFestive fashion

I always said I wouldn’t get sucked into it but I find it hard to resist some of the cute Christmas clothes for small people. I won’t buy much as, let’s face it, they can only wear it for a very limited time but I figure if I get a few bits early on then we can get more use out of them at all the festive gatherings in December. I like to keep it a little bit subtle so I love this top and tights set from Next.

Christmas music

Little Miss loves her music and now requests we put the stereo on for her, so I’m looking forward to getting the Christmas CDs out and having a sing and a dance. I may even buy a new one so we have some toddler-friendly tunes to enjoy.

Opening presents

Of course I’m looking forward to this. We’ve bought Little Miss some things we’re sure she’ll love. Her main gift is a play kitchen (shush, don’t tell!) and we know Granny is getting her a new doll. We’re always told she loves playing with the dolls, or ‘babies’ as she calls them, at nursery. She has one doll at home too but it is quite small for her now so I’m sure she’ll be thrilled with one that’s more her size now and I’m looking forward to her pretending to cook us dinner!

What are you looking forward to most about the Christmas season?

Categories: Festive fun | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What we’ve been reading

I love sharing books with my little one. Some of my earliest memories are of my parents reading bedtime stories to me when I was about three or four years old and as I grew up I used to loved losing myself in a good book, often by torchlight under the covers. I still love reading now, although these days the torch isn’t usually necessary! So it has always been important to me to encourage my daughter to enjoy books and thankfully she clearly does.

Our latest trio of favourites has been: It’s Mine by Rod Campbell, Stripy Horse: Hide and Seek by Jim Helmore and Karen Wall and In the Night Garden Party: Come to the Party by Andrew Davenport. The first two have been borrowed from the library (we’re big fans of the library) and the latter is a much-treasured present from Granny. I think I now know all three off by heart! And all are hard cover board books so can stand a fair bit of toddler wear and tear.

20131016_154506It’s Mine

I remember Rod Campbell’s classic lift-the-flap book Dear Zoo from when I was a kid but It’s Mine was a new find for me (although it’s apparently been around since 1988). This book is just as quirky, if not more so. It takes young readers on a journey through the jungle where we find lots of different animals. Each is initially obscured except for a visible body part, leading you to ask ‘who does the green tail belong to?’And you turn the page to find out – ‘it’s mine says the crocodile’. The illustrations are simple and bright and there’s lots to see and talk about with your toddler. Our daughter loves naming animals and body parts so this book has been perfect for encouraging this. At the end of the jungle journey there’s an exciting pop-up surprise and also a page where you can find and count all the animals featured.

Stripy Horse: Hide and Seek

This is a less elaborate book than It’s Mine but Little Miss loves it just as much. This has been our first encounter with the adorable Stripy Horse character but we’ll definitely be checking out more of his adventures. As the title suggests, this particular story takes readers on a game of hide and seek, always a toddler favourite. The simple, rhyming text is very endearing and it also gently introduces the concept of opposites – low/high, in/out, in front/behind. And the brightly coloured illustrations are just lovely.

In the Night Garden: Come to the Party

Little Miss loves the In the Night Garden characters, and she actually got to know them first in books before we unleashed the TV version! This book is by far her favourite at the moment. The story is very simple – Upsy Daisy is having a party and wants all her Night Garden friends to come. It has wonderful, vibrant illustrations with a lot of extra hidden detail that you may not notice at first. A highlight for Little Miss is the page where she has to spot where Igglepiggle is hiding. Finding the teeny tiny Pontipines, who are hidden on many of the pages, is also great fun – and has showed us just how observant our little one can be.

Based on how much our toddler has enjoyed these titles, I’d thoroughly recommend them all. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve renewed the two that are library books! We must be nearing the renewal limit on them but it will be sad to see them go.

I’d love to hear what others have been reading and any recommendations for us to try next.

Categories: Baby bookworm | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fanfare for a poo!

Potty2A momentous thing happened two nights ago. I never thought this was a topic I’d get  excited about, let alone write about, but I’m feeling very proud of my little lady so can’t help it. To cut a long story short, it was the first time my 19-month-old told me she’d had a poo in her nappy!

We were sitting down together relaxing after dinner when suddenly, out of nowhere, she turned to me and a little bit sheepishly said ‘poo poo’. There was something about it that made me think it might not be a false alarm, though I still half expected it to be. I started to wonder if I’d misheard and she’d said ‘choo, choo’ as we live close to a railway line. But there was something in the way she said it that made me think not. Trains are usually heralded with much more excitement. Anyway, a quick mummy sniff proved suspicious but inconclusive so we checked her nappy and it turned out that the poo was indeed very real! Cue much praise from mummy and a warm glow of pride, followed by the  realisation that she really is growing up now.

The little milestones seem to be coming thick and fast at the moment. Every day she seems to grow in confidence and want to be that little bit more independent. There’s a daily stream of new words, or at least attempts at them. Anything we’re doing she wants to try to do.
She suddenly seems to be more a little girl than that tiny little baby.

Anyway, without wanting to get too far ahead of ourselves, she has repeated the feat once since then so I’m thinking I need to add reading up on potty training to the ‘to do’ list.

Anyone got any tips to get us started?!

Categories: Motherhood, Toddlerdom | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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