Category: Little T

Christmas Gift Suggestions for your Little Book Worms (ages 6+)

If you’ve been reading our little space for some time now you may have come across most of the titles on this list, all books are from little T’s collection and are her personal favourites.  Some of the books, her Dad or I have read them to T, or do a combined reading, taking turns to read a paragraph.  But a couple of them she reads on her own.  We have a very long bedtime routine you see, it starts off with her Dad reading her a story, then I read to her too.  Then she reads on her own, or if there’s a book from school, she reads that book to me.

Hope you enjoy our list!

1. Goth Girl Books by Chris Riddell

Again, we’ve mentioned Chris Riddel so many times in our little blog, since he is obviously T’s favourite.  Last October, we drove all the way to Bath in a day just to meet the Children’s Laureate at the Bath Literary Festival and have him sign her book.  He was absolutely lovely.  Ever since meeting him, I’m a big fan now too.

If your child is anything like T who let’s just say likes a bit of goth, then they’ll enjoy Goth Girl.  The books are about the adventures of Ada Goth, who is roughly around nine years old and lives with her father, Lord Goth who is known to be “bad and dangerous to gnomes”.  Sadly, he lost his wife when Ada was really young.  The author based Lord Goth on the poet Lord Byron, whose daughter also happened to be called Ada.

As of writing, there are four Goth Girl books written and illustrated by Chris Riddell: Goth Girl and the Ghost of the Mouse, Goth Girl and a Fete Worse than Death, Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright, and Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen.  As you can tell, all books are caricatures of well-loved classics.  Chris also happens to be a political cartoonist of the Observer.

T loves them all.  My husband read all of the Goth Girl books to T.  Many times I would hear both giggling away, at times, I’d hear my husband laugh-out-loud followed by an explanation to his daughter why the belly laugh moment.

2.  Ottoline Books by Chris Riddell

And then there’s Ottoline Brown who lives with Mr. Munroe (her sort-of guardian), a creature (looks a lot like cousin It from the Adams Family) whom her parents found living in a bog in Norway.  Like Goth Girl, the Ottoline Books are about her adventures with Mr. Munroe.  As of writing, there are three Ottoline books:  Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, Ottoline goes to School and Ottoline at Sea.  These books are very much of T’s age range, so yes, she can read this on her own, although my husband enjoyed this too.

3.  Clarice Bean Books by Lauren Child

The well-loved creator-author of the very popular Charlie and Lola series, it won’t come as a surprise to some that Clarice Bean also reads a lot like an older version of Lola.  Like Lola, Clarice is very inquisitive and a very individual kind of little girl.  There are seven books in this series: Clarice Bean, That’s me. My Uncle is a Hunkie, says Clarice Bean. Clarice Bean, Guess Who’s Babysitting, What Planet are you from, Clarice bean? Utterly me, Clarice Bean, Clarice Bean Spells Trouble and Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now.

4.  Harper Books by Cerrie Brunell

Harper lives in the city of clouds with her Aunt.  She can play lots of instruments like the cello and the harp to name a few.  And her life is as fun and adventurous as Goth Girl and Ottoline.  Thse charming books are penned by Cbeebies host Cerrie Brunell and has written three books in this series:  Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella, Harper, The Circus of Dreams, Harper and the Sea of Secrets

5.  Isadora Moon by Harriet Muncaster

Isadora Moon is little T’s latest find.  The heroine is half-vampire half fairy, for my six-year-old, what’s not to like?  Of all the books, this is probably the one that’s best suited for her age.  When I say that, it means, she can read this on her own without any help from us.  She likes to sit up in bed and read her Isadora Moon books on her own.

There’s an Isadora Moon Goes to Ballet, Isadora Moon Has a Birthday, Isadora Moon Goes to School and Isadora Moon Goes Camping.

These books can be bought in any bookstores whether in the highstreet or online.

Have you seen anything on our list your little one would be interested in?  Or perhaps would make a lovely Christmas present?

Do share.

‘Better than Mary Poppins!’

… exclaimed little T and her friend A, as the applause faded and the final encore was over.  “Hmm, I liked it too, but I don’t think I agree with them”. I whispered to my husband as we waited for the people beside us to move from their seats.  Having said that though, we both thoroughly enjoyed watching Wind in the Willows, the Musical.

Is it really better than Mary Poppins?  No.  But then again, I think it’s unfair to compare it to the show, the film of which starred Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke.  Everybody, well at least, most people know a few lyrics of the songs from that famous musical.  Who hasn’t heard of “Just a spoonful of sugar, makes the medicine go down?”  I bet most can sing to that.

Wind in the Willows is a new musical.  The songs are new and no one in the audience could sing to any of the songs.  The set wasn’t as grand as Mary Poppins, but boy did they deliver in performance!

The cast were superb and the actor who played Mr. Toad, Rufus Hound stole the show.  He was just fabulous, along with David Birrel (Badger), Fra Fee (Mole), Thomas Howes (Ratty), Neil McDermott (who played the Chief Weasel as a World War II era spiv), and Sophia Nomvete (who played Mrs. Otter).  In the book of course, Otter is male and has a son called Portly.  In the musical, Mrs. Otter has a daughter called Portia.

It’s a charming, lovely and entertaining show, with catchy songs and although it’s a pre-run to their West End opening, it is still definitely worth watching.  And I have no doubt that Wind in the Willows in the long run, will also be as big as any of the other West End musicals.

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Then again, if T and her friend A (who are both six), not to mention A’s sister (who is nine-years-old) think that Wind in the Willows is better than Mary Poppins, it must be true then.  After all children are known to be brutally honest 😉

You can catch Wind in the Willows at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth.  A must see!

Halloween Disco 2016

I think little T’s obsession with skeletons, skulls and the macabre all began when we first got her The Nightmare before Christmas and Corpses Bride DVDs (both Tim Burton creations), two of her favourite movies of all time.  And then she discovered The Book of Life as mentioned on an old post.  It’s not surprising then that this Halloween, she chose to dress up as La Muerte, the Ruler, also known as the Queen of the Land of the Remembered.

Thanks to Amazon, we found a sugar-skull dress which is close enough(ish) to he dress.  After all, sugar-skulls are known to be used as decorative or even edible skulls used in Mexican celebration of the day of the dead.

I also had to google and search for tutorials that would teach me how to paint T’s face as La Muerte.  I’m not artist.  I can only draw stick figures and can barely paint anything that will resemble a work of art, unless we’re talking about abstracts.  I also had to make do with the colours we had from the face-paint I bought last week.

It was a difficult one, especially with a fidgety and impatient child.  But at least, I tried.

little_lamuerte

Lesson learned:  Take photo of child right after face has been painted.  I think this was about 30 mins or so after I’ve done up her face and somehow she managed to smudge most of it.  It’s not that bad, is it?

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Of course, by the time the school disco was over, there was hardly any face paint left apart from the blue-paint which took ages to remove.  She’s invited to a birthday/Halloween party on Friday and of course, she’ll want her face painted again, not to mention, on All Hallow’s Eve itself.  I wonder if we’ll have enough face paint to last us till then?

Life with kids eh?

Wind in the Willows, The Musical

“The smell of that buttered toast simply spoke to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cozy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.”
― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

My in-laws gave T a lovely hardbound and beautifully illustrated book, Wind in the Willows many years ago.  I think she was barely one when they gave that book to her.  Apparently, it’s a standing tradition for them to give their grandchildren a copy of Wind in the Willows.  All her cousins have them, and she has one too.

Admittedly, T is still too young for this particular book.  It’s too wordy, although the illustrations are beautiful, the paragraphs are too long for a six-year-old.  When my husband reads it to her, he abridges it himself, just to stop T from fidgeting.

Months ago, when booking our tickets to see Mary Poppins, my husband saw an announcement on the Theatre Royal website about the new musical “The Wind in the Willows”.  Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes wrote the musical, along with the same people who did the spectacular musical Mary Poppins.  Excited, he quickly booked tickets for us.  And ever since then, T who loves musicals have been doing a countdown.  As of tonight, it’s only going to be one sleep left!  To make things even more fun, we are going to see it with one of T’s closest friend and her family.

This week it has definitely been all about going to the theatre for us.

Do you like the book Wind in the Willows?

The Reading Residence
***

On a side-note, I’m over at the lovely blog “Little Hearts, Big love“, talking about parenting.  I know, as if I know much about it 😉  Do head over and have a visit.

Have a lovely weekend folks!

A Country Kid’s Post: Rugby Fun

I’m not a sporty person.  I can swim but I’m not a strong swimmer.  I can ride a bike, but won’t win any race.  I know some of you may think, it’s not too late to try.  But if I’m honest, I might just give this one a miss.  I’d rather cheer the others from the sideline, or maybe wait from the comforts of a lovely nice pub.

My husband on the other hand, while he claims not to be good in sports, does gig-rowing (although admittedly doesn’t have time to do it anymore), is a good swimmer, used to fence at Uni, played football and cricket when he was younger, so I guess it’s safe to say T got her interests in sports from him.

At the moment, she goes to gymnastics and swimming class.  We were pleased though when she signed up for a rugby game in another school.  They are actually lucky to have a teacher who happened to be an ex football player, so it’s not surprising that he pushes his students to do well in sports (among other things of course).

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Mr. R was very pleased with his kids, especially when a local rugby coach announced that they were the best team there.

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Apparently, little T was really fast, but refused to tackle.  I laughed when this was reported back to me.  But Mr. R plans to start a football team and include the year 2s.  I don’t know what it’s like in other schools, but while the boys can join the football team young, the girls on the other hand have to be older than T.  I know, it’s so unfair isn’t it?  As parents of a younger girl, we were really happy when he said that he will start them this year.  He wants T in his team 🙂

What about you?

Are you into sports?

We’re Going to the Children’s Bath Literature Festival

My husband and I have always been readers long before we met each other.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why we ended up together?  And now that we have a little girl, it’s lovely that she shares the same passion for books even without having to prompt her.

Even when she was a baby little T had her own growing collection.  Now that she’s six, she’s managed to accumulate enough books to have her own little library even though we’ve gotten rid of some of her baby ones already.

She went through phases from the usual Julia Donaldson books of the Gruffalo fame, to the Kipper series of books and the adventures of Slinky Malinki the cat by Lynley Dodd and a whole load of others.  At the moment,  her current favourite author is Chris Riddell (who also happens to be a cartoonist for the Observer), he has written a series of books for children about a little girl called Ada Goth (Goth Girl) and another one Ottoline who is being taken care of Mr. Munroe, who looks a lot like cousin It from the Adams Family movie, while her parents are away.

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T loves his characters.  Ada and Ottoline are both very independent and individual type of girls, who are a bit different from the usual characters you find in children’s books.

When we found out that Chris Riddell was going to be at the Children’s Bath Literary Festival, we quickly signed up for her to see him in person.  I’m hoping that she’ll have a chance to really meet him and maybe even ask to sign one of her many books, although to be fair she does have his signature already, since the Coraline book (by Neil Gaiman) was illustrated by Chris Riddel, turned out to be a signed copy by both the author and the artist.

We also wanted to take her to meet Cbeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell who also wrote the Harper books series which she also likes, but it falls on a Friday and we don’t really want T to miss school.  Hopefully she’ll have a chance to meet her maybe Ms. Burnell will be around again next year?

The Festival will run from the 1st till the 9th of October.  Click here for more details.

Have you been to Children’s Bath Literary Festival?

Do share.

Confession Time: First Day School Blues

School Girl

It’s not T that’s for sure.  It’s actually me!  What’s even more embarrassing about this, is that this isn’t T’s first day in school, she came back as a Year 2 and is now actually considered one of the “older kids”.  I know I really should get a grip with myself.  I’ve been a bundle of emotions ever since she turned six.  Come on woman, stiff-upper lip!  No more of this nonsense! Yes, I have been trying to snap out of this soppiness.  I’m hoping it will be all gone come Monday morning.

Thank goodness T breezed through first day with nary a whinge or a tear.  Yes, she stood by my side and didn’t run around the playground like the other kids and only moved away from me when her friends came over to collect her.  When the bell rang, my husband and I said goodbye and she trotted off without even looking back, so different from the tearful reception girl two years ago.

As for me? I came home with a heavy heart.  I’m glad though that a good friend (mum of one of T’s closest friends) came home with me and as we chatted and sipped our coffee I felt a wave of emptiness wash over me.  My friend felt it too, even though she still has another child at home with her, we bemoaned what felt like the loss of our kids, even though in reality they were in school probably running around like loonies in the playground, not thinking about their over-emotional parents at all.

The truth is, if my husband and I had a choice we’d like little T to stay with us at home and wouldn’t mind homeschooling her.  I read blogs by mums who home educate their little ones and envy how much time they spend with their kids.  My husband and I love having our daughter with us. We love her company, doing things with her, and having little chats with her.  We genuinely like having her with us.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why we’ve never used a babysitter.  If we can’t go to a place or attend an event that won’t allow us to bring her, then we’re not going.  It’s as simple as that.  Our daughter goes where we go.  But as much as we would love for her to be home-schooled, I’m afraid it won’t be a good option for T.

My little girl is a lot like me, you see.  We’re both quiet and reserved people.  T is friendly and will smile at anyone who smiles at her, but she won’t run up to other kids like her friends until she’s feeling comfortable enough to do so.  It takes her awhile to warm up, but once she has, she’ll run around like a loony and be like any other child her age.

We feel that home-schooling her might make her feel wary of people and other children.  I’m not saying all home-schooled children are like that.  All kids are different and we know our daughter well.

On the one hand though, she has an inner strength I really admire.  When her friends were quitting gymnastics because it got too “scary” for them, my little T persevered and didn’t quit.  She’s not a quitter and I’m really proud of her.  At the moment, we’re lucky that the village school she goes to is a lovely one, where the teachers and students are supportive and she loves it there. We will only consider other options, if the wind changes.  For now, we’re staying put.

What about you?

Would you consider home-schooling your kids too?

Do share.

The Mummy Tag

The Mummy Tag

I haven’t done this in a while, so when the lovely Yvonne from Double the Monkey Business tagged me, I thought it would be fun to reply.  Do visit her blog if you haven’t, it’s a must-read!

1. ARE YOU A STAY AT HOME MUM OR A WORKING MUM?

At the moment, I’m a stay at home mum and also do a bit of freelance writing on the side, although I must admit I haven’t had a decent writing contract in ages!

2. WOULD YOU HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY?

When T was younger, no, but now that she’s older, would love to go back to work since I’ve always worked since finishing Uni.  But at the moment and because of where we live, there isn’t much available work for me.  Thankfully, I do earn a bit from this thing called “blogging” 😉

3. DO YOU CO-SLEEP?

We did, yes and still occasionally do and I wouldn’t change it for the world no matter how some “parenting experts” think it’s not good “parenting”.  I love cuddling her in bed and waking up next to my little girl.  My husband knows how much I love sleeping with our daughter in between us, so when he wakes up, the first thing he does is carry her to our bed and we snuggle together till it’s time to get up.

4. WHAT IS YOUR ONE MUST-HAVE ITEM FOR YOUR BABY?

T is six-years-old now, so we I don’t really have any must have item in my bag, although we do always have wipes in the car and when we do day trips out, I make sure I also have some wipes in my bag.

5. HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU PLAN ON HAVING?

I married late and had T when I was 37.  Would love to have another one, but looks like it’s not going to happen.  It took awhile for me to come into terms with it, but I’m fine with right now.  I’m just thankful that I have her.

6. DATE NIGHTS? HOW OFTEN DO YOU HAVE THEM?

I’m afraid at the moment the only date-nights we have are watching DVDs in our lounge with T asleep on her bed.

7. YOUR CHILD’S FAVOURITE SHOW?

Like most little girls, she likes “My Little Pony”.

8. NAME ONE THING YOU BROUGHT BEFORE YOU HAD THE BABY AND NEVER ENDED UP USING?

We bought a dummy for T thinking it would help soothe her especially when she started teething.  The first time she had it in her mouth, she spat it out and didn’t like it.  On hindsight, I’m so glad she did just that.

9. YOUR CHILD’S FAVOURITE FOOD?

She loves jacket potatoes.  I didn’t even know that till she started having meals at school and every time we’d ask her what she had for lunch, she’d reply “Jacket potato”.  The weird thing is, she doesn’t seem to like it as much when we cook it for her at home.

10. HOW MANY CARS DOES YOUR FAMILY HAVE?

Just one.

11. WEIGHT GAIN, BEFORE PREGNANCY, DURING, AFTER AND NOW?

Oh yes!  I haven’t even lost the additional weight I gained after having T.  I used to be a size 6 before getting pregnant.  Now I’m somewhere between a size 10-12.  I know some people may think that’s not much, but when you’re short like I am, believe me, it matters … A LOT!  I know I have to do something about it, but honestly, I can’t be bothered right now, especially since I’ve realised that the trick there is to wear the right clothes 🙂

12. DREAM HOLIDAY WITH YOUR KIDS?

We’ve been to Disneyland Paris and would love to go to the one in the States, either in California or Florida, especially since we have family and close friends living there.

13. DREAM HOLIDAY WITHOUT YOUR KIDS?

I can’t imagine going on holiday without little T.  I’ll end up really missing her.  It wouldn’t be a dream holiday if I didn’t have my little girl with me.

14. HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED SINCE HAVING KIDS?

A lot.  I used to work full-time.  I used to have a life.  I used to have friends.  My life is different now, but I’m loving it too of course.  I love being a mum, even though admittedly I don’t really have much of a life outside motherhood.  But I’m fine with that too.  I’m lucky I had a good career and life before getting married and having her, otherwise I’d probably be feeling different now.

15. FINISH THE SENTENCE “IT MAKES HEART MELT WHEN…”

I see my daughter’s face 🙂

16. WHERE DO YOU SHOP FOR YOUR KIDS?

I buy most of T’s stuff from Zara kids, because I find them really cute and affordable.

17. FAVOURITE MAKE-UP AND SKINCARE PRODUCTS?

I don’t wear make-up.  The only skin care products I use are moisturisers and lotion.

18. HUGGIES OR PAMPERS?

Neither.  T is six 🙂

19. HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED KIDS?

Yes!  Like I mentioned, it would’ve been nice to have more than one, but I’m just really thankful that I have her.

20. BEST PART OF BEING A MUM?

Being with my daughter.  I just love every minute of it, even when she’s being difficult.

Thanks for the tag Yvonne!

I’m tagging the following lovely mums if they want to join:

Laura of Dear Bear and Beany

Louise of Little Hearts, Big Love

Laura of Five Little Doves

Jordanne of Life of a Glasgow Girl

 Kim of Northumberland Mam

Over to you ladies!

What the Little Girl Said

Feeling emotional just after her birthday I told little T. “Where has my little baby gone?” And gave her an exaggerated sad face.  For more dramatic effect, I added “My baby is gone!”  Gave her another woebegone expression and repeated …  My baby is gone!  Ended it with wailing sounds, giving Meryl Streep a run for her money and awards.  Then I turned to T and said “Instead … I have a little girl now!

T sighed and looked at me in the eye “But mum, if you didn’t have me.  You’d be sadder”, she said matter-of-factly.  Wise words indeed.  Wasn’t it Antoine de Saint-Exupéry author of the much loved children’s book Little Prince who said:

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

T must have been thinking just that by the look on her face and the tone of her voice. Today, my ever-so wise child goes back to school as a Year 2 student.

Yikes!

Does your child seem too wise for their age too?

Do share.

Little Hearts, Big Love

A Birthday Girl, Bad Weather and Mary Poppins

Birthday Cake with Lit candles

I took a week off blogging because my little girl turned six last Friday.  I look at her now and wonder how did my baby suddenly turn into a “proper” little girl.  She suddenly looks, talks and acts a bit different now.  The “baby” is gone.  She’s lost her baby fat, can explain herself too darn-well, it’s amazing how much she’s grown.  I want to cry out “Oh do slow down a bit, I’m afraid mummy doesn’t really want you to grow-up too fast.  You may be ready, I’m not“.  Sob, sob.

I have a video of her barely two-years-old, she’s running towards me in the headland and stops and says “Mummy run!  Mummy run!”  She gets frustrated because I wouldn’t run and was too busy filming her.  If I could just freeze or go back to that day, that perfect summer day, when it was warm enough for her to wear a cute summer dress and hat and she was absolutely beautiful, my little baby.

birthday_girl

Now at six, she suddenly looks all grown-up.  I keep asking myself, how did that happen?  I spent the week doing absolutely nothing and everything with her.  We had some close friends visit early in the week too and had a lovely time with them on the beach.

There were talks of a beach party for her and her friend (whose birthday was six days before hers) but the Cornish weather didn’t allow it and so we opted for a spontaneous “camping birthday” instead and only invited a few of her closest friends.

On the day itself though, even as my husband and I pitched our tents on our garden and in spite glaring and shaking our fists at the sky “declaring war” if it decided to pour, sods law, it did rain as her little guests started arriving.  What was supposed to be a barbecue ended up a “grilled-dinner” inside our home.  In spite the wet weather, and giggling girls (and one boy), we all managed to get some sleep in our tents.

tents

After breakfast, the next day we sang little T “Happy Birthday” and had birthday.  The sun then decided to grace us, so I took the water-slide out and assembled it in our lawn and all the kids had fun sliding down before calling it a day.

water_slide

Little T opened presents from family when her guests were gone and before we knew it, it was time to get ready to go and see Mary Poppins at Plymouth.

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If you haven’t seen it and have little ones, go grab some tickets!  We were thoroughly entertained, the cast, the costumes, the choreography was just absolutely amazing.

My daughter is now six. I still can’t believe it.  She and I have this ritual after saying goodnight and exchanging “I love yous”, I say “On the day you were born, and T likes to end it with “It was the happiest day of your life”.  It’s certainly true.  And I want to say to her, everyday with her is a happy one.  And as author Suzanne Finnamore once said …

You are the closest I will ever come to magic.

Here’s a little video I decided to mark her “growing-up” years.

 Do you also feel that time is happening way too fast and you just want it to slow down?

Do share.