Author

I'm a part-time writer, full-time mother and dog-walker living in a small English village by the sea with my husband, daughter and a dog named Doc.

All posts by Dean B

Canesten Campaign Winner

We’ve picked our winner for the Intimate Conversations with Canesten.  I love what Jenny wrote:

My parents gave me a book about boys and girls/men and women and puberty when I was smaller.  I think I read more about the book instead of sitting and talking with my mum.  I wish when I was younger I had asked more about  the changes my body was going through, although my mum tried her best I think sometimes after the “talk” has been and gone, parents can forget to “check-in” with their kids… I think the “talk needs to be “talks” spread out over months, even years… not everything can be covered in one talk, and the importance of communication is key

She is so right.  It shouldn’t just be one talk, one sitting-down-moment with T.  It should be a series of talks over the years.  I hope I remember this.  Thank you Jenny!

Back-to-School School Supplies with Smiggle

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Smiggle

I know what you’re thinking, school hasn’t even ended yet.  But hey, what can I say?  My daughter is exactly like me who loves anything to do with stationary, coloured pens, and beautiful sparkly journals.  Personally, I prefer my journals not to be sparkly, but when you’re a six-year-old, I guess they prefer, one that glimmers.

I’m familiar with the brand Smiggle.  Who isn’t?  Go to any city centre and you’ll find a Smiggle shop filled with the brightest pens and everything your little one will need for school, or even just for their collection.  When the lovely people behind the brand got in touch and asked if T would like to sample some, I said yes of course.  And boy was she pleased when she opened the package which was addressed to her, she especially loves this very sparkly journal:

She spent hours just playing with the sequins alone.  By brushing across it with your fingers, you can actually change the design.  She quickly wrote her first entry down and I’m not kidding when I say that she actually slept with it.  That was how much she was pleased with this very sparkly journal from Smiggle.

She also had fun with this DIY pencil-case that has everything a child would need for school.  It has coloured felt-tip pens, a rubber, a ruler, a sharpener and scissors.

There was also a small little badge journal which smelt like candy.  T loves it! And of course, not to mention a letter T keychain which she quickly put on her backpack.  I was kinda hoping she’d save it for September, but did she listen to me?  Of course she didn’t.  When a child is that excited, you wouldn’t want to burst their bubble now would you?

Thank you Smiggle for making little T a happy bunny.

What about you?

Are you and your child crazy about stationary/school supplies too?

Summer = Paddling Pools

The word summer equals to paddling pools, especially when you have a little one.  I can’t even begin to count how many little T has had since she was a toddler.

When we moved into our new house last year, my husband bought T a big pool especially since we finally have the space for it.  Sadly, we kept the said pool in a small outbuilding in the bottom of our garden.  Even though I packed it securely (or so I thought), the mice still had a go at it.  I found this out during the “heat wave” about a month ago when T invited a friend over for some paddling pool fun.

Imagine my annoyance when I found out after cleaning the paddling pool, blowing it up only to find out that there were holes in it. I panicked and thankfully, my husband willingly (minus the grumbling) drove me to the nearest shop and bought the biggest paddling pool we could find.  Sadly, it wasn’t as big as her previous one, but once blown up, it wasn’t that bad at all.

This was T’s paddling pool last year.  The three of us could fit in it comfortably with enough space for other kids as well.

This is the new one, not as big, but it didn’t seem to bother the girls at all.

These two girls are really sporty.  They enjoyed running towards the pool and just jumping into it and having lots of giggles.

It was one of those perfect long summer days, lovely and warm.  The kids having fun in the garden, while mum can have a read in the hammock and maybe a cheeky g&t.  And the husband in the study…… Ah bliss.

And this being England of course, everything went downhill from there.  The next day, it ended with a mist.  The temperature dropped and then it rained for days.  Story of our life eh?  Here’s hoping the warm paddling pools will come back.

What about you?

Did you enjoy the heat-wave too?

Or was it just too much?

Country Kids

Intimate Conversations with Canesten: Plus a Chance to Win a £50 Voucher from Amazon

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Canesten

I’ve always wanted a daughter.  I guess it’s also because I’m close to my own mother and want to replicate the kind of relationship I have with her, and what I have with little T is even better.  She’s my little shadow. When she’s not in school, she’s always with me.  She likes to cuddle and gives kisses freely.  And we talk, we talk a lot.  We talk about everything.  I dread the day when she won’t do as much anymore or even want to be with her old mum as much as she used to, hopefully that day will never come.

Little T is a perfect combination of a little girl who loves ballet, playing her cello, gymnastics, but at the same time won’t hesitate to play rough with her best friend who happens to be a boy, or win a race on sports day.  She’s both “girly” and “boyish” though I don’t really like using labels, but she’s definitely both.

My darling daughter is turning seven in August.  How did that happen?  Where did my chubby little baby go?  I can see traces of her on her little six-year-old face, but soon, even that will be gone.  I’m not ready for T to grow another year older.  I know that sounds selfish, but time is just happening way too fast.

I’m not really looking forward to those intimate albeit awkward conversations with T, especially The Talk.    I’m imagining there will be lots of giggles, or maybe she’ll be too grossed to even want to listen to me.

What I want to say to her is this, it’s all part of being a girl, part of being female, part of being a woman.

Already she has questions about when will she have breasts, although at this age, she still refers to them as “boobies” and always said with a little giggle.  I really don’t mind talking about the changes in a girl’s body as they turn into puberty, especially once she starts having her period.  She knows what it is, when she was younger she used to call it “pyramid” and much to my embarrassment used to announce “Mummy has her pyramid today”.

And of course along with that comes the changes in a girl’s body together with the discussion of  proper care of our intimate health and common intimate conditions such as thrush, cystitis, and BV.  Some may think, isn’t it a bit too early to discuss this with your daughter?  I’m not saying I’m going to discuss all of this with her in one go.

I think it’s important to prepare them early.  And to discuss it in a manner where it comes out naturally.  If she gets used to talking about it at an early age, she won’t hesitate to come to me for more questions, at least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

I didn’t have this you see, when I was growing-up.  I never even knew what Thrush was or what the symptoms were.  I had to find them all out on my own.  As parents, we try to give our children as much life skills as we can.  I believe that this includes having these intimate conversations with them, especially for daughters, no matter how trying these conversations may be.  And to reiterate that no matter how embarrassing or difficult the question are, they can always discuss it with us.  What about you?  If you have daughters, have you had this discussion with them?

And for those who want to win a £50 Amazon voucher, all you need to do is answer the question in the comments below. The best answer will win the voucher.

What I wish I knew about intimate health when I was younger.

Terms and Conditions:
1. There is 1 prize of one £50 Amazon vouchers. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered
2. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over.
3. Closing date for entries is 17 of July 2017.
4. Entrants must leave a comment below.
5. The winner with the best answer will be chosen.
6. The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 
days or a new winner will be chosen.
7. The winner’s name will be available on request.
8. The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address.
9. This is a joint promotion between Little Steps and Canesten®
10. Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions 


Good Luck!

2017 Duck Race

Sorry for such an unimaginative title, but I’ve been writing about this yearly event since 2013 long before little T even joined the village school.  Actually let me add that my husband and I even went to the duck race long before T was born.

For those who are new here, my daughter’s school runs this annual fundraising event so their students could go on school trips and do other fun stuff without having to rely on funding from the government.  It’s actually a lovely event which everyone gladly takes part in.

Every one was praying for good weather, since last year’s event had to be cancelled because of heavy rain.  Thankfully the gods bestowed us with lovely sunshiny warm weather.

It was past eleven o’clock the night before the event, when I suddenly realised that I volunteered to make some cupcakes for the cake stall.  As you can imagine, I did panic and started baking them well before the clock struck twelve and decorated them with icing and sprinkles in the morning.

By the time we got there, all the stalls were up and T’s friends were all happily playing and spending coins on every stall.

No photos I’m afraid of the talent show.  I was too busy administering caffeine into my veins (drinking coffee).  After the talent show, it was time for the dispersal of hundreds of colourful plastic ducks down the river.

As mentioned, we’ve been attending this event for years now, but our duck never, ever wins the race.  I’m beginning to doubt if anyone does (I’m joking obviously).

After the race, little T and some of her friends, headed downstream to have fun in the water.  As much as I love our current house, I admittedly miss living in this little village by the sea, even though it’s only about a ten-minute drive from where we live.  When the weather (like that day) is great and the tide is low, we used to come down here a lot just so T and Doc could have a little play in the water, or to eat ice-cream and just sit and watch the tourists go by.  It’s lovely isn’t it?

Hopefully the weather in next year’s duck race will be as good as this one.

Have you ever been to a duck race?

Country Kids

What we did on a Summer Solstice …

If you follow me over on Instagram, chances are you’ve probably seen these photos already.  It was the summer solstice last week.  We planned on having a bbq just for the three of us and my husband had this grand plan of waiting for the longest day to end by reading Harry Potter to T on the hammock.  We also knew that it was also going to be the last day of the “heat-wave” (at least for now) and that by nightfall, the weather would turn, although we were hoping that it wouldn’t.

Little T re-reading one of her Ottoline books just before the sun hid behind thick clouds.

And sure enough, by the time our bbq was ready, the temperature dropped and the sun disappeared and I could see the mist appearing over the fields, it was like a scene from a scary movie or a Stephen King novel.

Mist descending, it actually looked really eerie.  

But my husband was still determined to go through with his plans especially since he promised T that she could stay up late(ish).  By the time I cleared our dinner away, he had somehow managed to dig out our garden lamps from the shed and made us a lovely cosy nook in the garden.

As soon as T saw this, she plonked herself down on the hammock as we finished our chores for the night.

I loved the little tea lights hanging on the tree and our big hurricane lamp which my husband laid on the garden wall.  It does give it a lovely ambiance, doesn’t it?

Once we were done with our chores, the Historian started reading to T, as I sat beside them on a lounge chair, sipping my tea also listening to the story.

It’s a lovely memory.  I hope T remembers this.  The sound of her dad reading to her on a hammock one summer solstice, amidst the mist, with just light coming from the garden lamps. We stayed on till it was too dark to read and our solar lights have lit up.  T wanted to see the owl light she got for her dad on Father’s Day lit up.

There’s her owl, surrounded by her dad’s flowers.  It’s the best Father’s Day present her dad exclaimed when he opened it.  Apologies if my photos are all blurry since I only used my phone to take photos.

What about you?

Did you celebrate the summer solstice too?

Country Kids

Someone’s Going on a “Pupnic”! … and the winner is …

If you remember last month, we did a little give-away here at Little Steps.  If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can have a read here.

The winner of that give-away, with the best comment is … drum roll please ….

Congratulations Donna! I do hope you’ll enjoy your “pupnic” in the woods with Dudley.  You and your furry family member will receive the following:

– Wicker pupnic hamper
– A pack of snacks for your pooch
– Remember to stay hydrated with a water bowl for them and water bottle for you.
– Have fun with a toy
– Be responsible, wherever your adventure takes you, with biodegradable poop scoop bags
– Prepare for irritations and itches with a microfiber cloth for a furry wipe down and give YuMEGA Itchy Dog all summer long.

Thank you all for joining!

Pet Parasite Action: Join Us!

*This is a Sponsored Post.

One of the reasons why we love our house is the location.  We are surrounded by 500 acres of farmland and Doc, little T’s dog, absolutely loves it.  He loves exploring, especially with the other farm dogs.  He likes to go up to the cows and see how long they’ll tolerate him before they moo him away.  He also likes finding the smelliest thing he can find and then roll onto it till his fur is absolutely caked in it.  Then with a smile on his face, comes home to us.

As you can see, one of Doc’s favourite thing to do is chew on sticks.

I do worry about him and all the germs he picks up when out on his adventures, especially since he likes eating the poo of the calves.  Our farmer neighbour said, they (the dogs) like eating that because it’s full of milk. So far, he hasn’t shown any bad effects from eating all that poo.  Fingers crossed, he’ll be fine.

As pet owners, we all worry about our dogs and of course, when you have children, you worry about them too.  Some of us may know that roundworms and ticks are worrying not just for our dogs, but as well as for us humans too.

Scary isn’t it?

Jenni Falconer with her dog Alfie.

In line with this, TV presenter Jenni Falconer is backing the Pet Parasite Action campaign which aims to raise awareness of the need to treat our pets.

As a dog owner and a mum I want to be sure that I do the best thing for my pet and family.  During the pet parasite action campaign I’m encouraging all pet owners to visit their vet for a simple way to help protect their pets against parasites inside and out, including those that may be harmful to the rest of the family.  Let’s act now to help protect all the members of our family, furry or otherwise.

 

According to a survey carried out by Pet Parasite Action of over 1000 dogs nationwide, lungworm worries dog owners most with 74% saying they are concerned about this parasite. While 82% of dog owners are able to correctly identify that lungworm could be fatal to their pets, while 43% said that they think dog lungworm is the parasite that poses the greatest risk to human health, when actually it’s harmless to people.

Over a third of survey respondents (36%) say that they are worried about ticks but just 48% realise that ticks can cause fatalities in dogs because of the diseases they transmit.  Also only 28% recognise that ticks (as a transmitter of Lyme disease in people) are a risk to human health.

The least worried about parasite according to the survey is probably one of the most concerning. Just 15% say they were worried about roundworms and only 7% correctly say they think roundworms could threaten human health. Yet if accidentally eaten, eggs from the roundworm Toxocara pose a significant threat to human health, potentially causing blindness or neurological disease – especially in children.

One in four people don’t realise their pet could have parasites but they might not be visible, as is often the case with lungworms, hard to find ticks and roundworms and the microscopic eggs they produce.

Around 1 in 6 say that it’s been about a year since they last treated their pet for ticks, lungworm or roundworm and despite concern about its effects, 23% say that they don’t know when their pet was last treated for lungworm.

At the end of the day, especially like Jenni, if you are a parent of young children, it’s best to make sure that your dogs are healthy by taking them to the vet regularly.  That old adage is definitely true – better be safe than sorry.

What about you?

Ready to take Pet Parasite Action too?

Join us and help spread the word.

 

What to do on Widemouth Bay when the Heat is On …

We’ve been experiencing some really lovely heat the past few days in the UK.  I know some may be struggling, finding it too hot.  Was chatting with a Spanish friend last Sunday and she asked me if the heat is too much for me.  I laughed and said, no!  Where I come from, this is the norm and some days, especially in the summer, it can be even hotter.  I asked her the same question.  She laughed too, and gave me the same answer.

And what better way to enjoy the heat, but to go to the beach!  I’ve mentioned this several times on the blog before that our go-to-beach is Widemouth Bay since it’s only about a ten-minute drive from where we live.  This is where T and her best-friend F love to go and do …

Body Boarding

And here they are, the two best-friends resting before having another go on the beach.  It’s a very safe beach to visit with little ones, since there are always (especially during peak season) life guards on duty complete with speed boats ready to use in case of emergency.

The waves though can be a little bit harsh, but all the better for the body-boarders and surfers of course.  It’s best to still keep a close eye on your little ones by being in the water with them too.

Rock Pooling/Climbing

Towards the afternoon, we decided to pack up and head for the lovely interesting rock formations found on Widemouth bay.  Apart from the long stretch of sand, those rocks and boulders is one of the reason why we love that beach.  When you’re done playing in the sand and waves, there are other things to do like climb over rocks that have been around millions of years.

And there she goes …

Just look at how unique they are… It almost looks a face is etched on the rock.

Nature never ceases to amaze me.

And when you’re done marvelling over rock formations, one can always go exploring over rock pools too. This is one of T and her dad’s favourite activity to do on the beach.  What better way to end a lovely day, by doing some exploring?

Have you been enjoying the heat too?

Or is it just a bit too much for you?

Country Kids

Prayer for the innocent lives …

lost in the Manchester attack, the recent London bridge killings, the fire that raged a tower block in London just last night, and the on-going fight in Marawi and the rest of the world.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,

and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May the souls of all the faithful departed,

through the mercy of God,

rest in peace. Amen.