I love reading and devour books. Last year I was invited to join a book club. I cannot even begin to express my excitement! There are 8 of us in the club and we rotate book choices through the group to make sure we read a variety of genres. We are all mums and have met through various friends and 2 other members are part of my NCT group. This year I am going to share my thoughts about the books I am reading both through the club and my own personal choices.
The first book is a book club choice we met yesterday to discuss. Among Others by Jo Walton is a fantasy/sci-fi book written in a diary entry style from the perspective of a Welsh teenage girl, Mori, who we learn has recently lost her twin sister. Set in the late 70's, the plot begins after a tragic incident which is never completely explained but has caused her twin's death and left her crippled. Mori blames the tragedy on an incident with her schizophrenic mother (who she believes to be a witch) and has run away, resulting in Mori being forced to live with her estranged Father and his somewhat odd Sisters in England, who immediately pack her off to boarding school.
Most of the narrative revolves around Mori's unhappy life at the boarding school with references back to her life before her sister died and the tragedy. There are two central themes running through the narrative; Firstly Mori believes in magic and that she can talk to fairies and, secondly, her love of books, in particular science fiction novels.
This book really divided opinion. Three people hadn't even managed to finish it despite being nearly two months since our last meeting! I must admit I struggled too. I was not gripped by the story and it the short chapter structure meant I'd read only a few pages at each sitting. Some found it more compelling but nearly all agreed it was not a page turner.
Plot wise there was a lot of discussion over whether Mori's magic was real or a defence mechanism created to escape an obviously crazy mother figure. Mori's love of science fiction novels also stimulated conversation with some loving her constant reference to sci fi authors and books (most of which none of us had heard of) whilst others found it excluding and difficult to relate to.
Overall a slow, plodding read where the most poignant element of the story happens off camera and is never properly addressed. 5/10
My chosen picture from the past week features my extended family. My Bestie is reading The Gruffalo to her son, Little B, and my Little E (who are also Besties). I was relieved not to have to read it for the 400th time this week...
Link your #FamilyPhotoFriday over on twitter via @oneformybaby12
Throughout both my pregnancies I have kept a journal recording how I've felt (emotionally and physically) and how baby is coming along. I know the date when my baby first kicked, how long my morning sickness lasted and how I felt on my birthday. When I fell pregnant with Bump I found Little E's journal very reassuring because I was able to see how I felt first time round and compare to my current symptoms. It really relieved my worries about odd strange feelings, weirdly vivid dreams and pregnancy niggles. My journals are small, diary like little books with little more than an inch or so to record each day's entries so when I was contacted about The Dodo Book of the Big Bump I was intrigued I see what it else it could offer a mum-to-be.
My first impression of the book is that it is more of an organiser than a book. It is ring bound with lots of different dividers separating it into sections so you can keep track of all your planning. The book contains 50 sheets of pre-punched paper which you can slot into the different sections as you need them to make notes and lists. If you run out (probably not likely unless your list of potential baby names is seriously long!) you can just punch some of your own paper and slot it in.
The pregnancy diary section is split by month giving you a block of space for each week. This could be a little limiting depending on the detail you want to record. Personally I prefer a daily entry so I can really record my experience in detail but I appreciate this is probably enough space for the average need.
The best bit I think are the pockets at the front of each section which you can stuff clippings, cuttings and bits and bobs into - perfect for receipts, appointment letters and leaflets. Basically all the stuff I have floating around the bottom of my bag or tucked into my pregnancy notes (ready to fall out whenever I visit the midwife). The handy elastic strap keeps everything securely together (so you won't be scrambling around the floor of the doctor's surgery like I was last Friday). The comedy quotes on each pocket also make me laugh.
Overall I really like the design of this organiser and I'd have loved this at the start of my pregnancy, especially first time around when we were starting from scratch and had so much to think about. Luckily (and very excitingly!) my Bestie has just told me she is expecting so this will be perfect for her to keep her pregnancy thoughts and plans all in one place!
The Dodo Big Book of the Bump RRP's at £17.99 is available online from http://www.dodopad.com/shop/all-products/dodo-book-of-the-big-bump.html
I was sent a Dodo Big Book of the Bump for review purposes but all opinions are my own.
This post is linked to the #PoCoLo fun over on twitter. Link up your post every Friday at http://www.vevivos.com/
This week has been great. My pelvis has been behaving itself and I have been able to tick lots off my to do list ready for Bump's arrival. I'm surprised how quickly I have forgotten about work. Within two weeks I have completely disassociated with the projects I was manically working on, staying late and losing sleep over. I am definitely missing the people and office gossip though! It was the right thing to do finishing early as fatigue is really catching up with me. One hour of activity now has to be balanced by an hour of rest to recover! Walking is also interesting as baby must bounce on my bladder with every step I take...
A new development has emerged on the sleep front. I'm generally sleeping fine (except for the constant need to switch sides all night to give each hip a rest and prevent thigh cramp). However, Little E has decided this is the perfect point in her life to start waking throughout the night demanding to sleep in our bed. Refusal to remain in her own bed has resulted in sleepless nights spent continually replacing her or giving in and sleeping on the edge of the bed with little feet kicking my back. I am wondering of the clingy behaviour is linked to the imminent arrival of Bump or just a usual phase. Either way we have three weeks to nip it in the bud!
Little E received a princess wand making kit as an early birthday present at our NCT group Secret Santa birthday lunch on Saturday. The kit is by Melissa and Doug and looked like a good way to kick off our Sunday morning.
As usual Little E wanted free reign which was fine. I managed to supervise from a safe, yet effective distance whilst she painted the wand head, mixing the colours together to form a sludgy lilac colour - a vast improvement from the usual dishwater brown. The kit contained four little pots of paint but also glitter glue tubes and sequins. Little E reacted to the glitter glue like a magpie and proceeded to squeeze the entire contents onto her wand. The effect was actually looking ok and after adding the sequin gems I was quite impressed with her design. Husband had to be called upon at this point to attach the handle to the wand head with some No More Nails as I didn't think the PVA supplied with the kit was going to stand up to toddler abuse.
Once stuck I wrapped the ribbon around the handle and secured with the PVA glue. A tense 24 hours followed as the glitter glue dried. Little E was insistent she wanted her wand but she had spread the glue so thickly I was starting to worry it would never dry. My fears were quashed though as the next morning it was playable. My only comment would be that the wand head being wooden it makes a very substantial accidental weapon as my knee found out during a 'spell'...
This post is liked to the #letkidsbekids and #minicreations linkys on Twitter.
Yesterday was funny day. It began with brunch at Harvester with Husband and Little E. I did think it was a little odd as Husband and I were going out for dinner but it meant a Full English so I didn't voice any complaints! I then had to rush over to see my Bestie's new house and help her measure up. Only when I got there the estate agent had cancelled last minute - so we sat outside relandscaping the front garden in our minds for half an hour before I toddled off home to find all my family and friends of the female persuasion in my front room and a smug looking husband about to take off to leave us all to it.
I was immediately informed that second time mums get a baby sprinkle rather than a shower which I found rather amusing! The idea is that you focus a bit more on the mum as they are already worn out, shells-of-their-former-selves due to raising baby number one. Sounds about right! My sisters-in-law had organised lots of games, my favourites being the taste and identify the jarred baby food flavour (worryingly the only one anyone could identify was cauliflower cheese) and guess the baby photo which involved everyone bringing an anonymous baby photo along and us all guessing who was who - a hard challenge as 20 odd babies look surprisingly familiar! There was lots of food courtesy of Husband (Sainsbury's party platters) and cupcakes galore made by my Bestie (yes, she did make it along after the fake house viewing ruse!) and my six year old niece/godaughter Big E.
I was thoroughly spoiled with lots of presents for Bump and pamper bits for me. My favourites being a 'I love my big sister' vest for bump and some super comfy looking yoga pants for after my C section.
What a super Husband, family and bunch if friends I have. Super lucky girl. #MagicMoments
Join in the Magic Moments fun each week over at http://theoliversmadhouse.co.uk
Pictures that have made me happy this week:
Impromptu highstreet dancing...
Refusal to remove new shoes...
And how I found Husband after his night on the sofa!
Join in on twitter #spreadalittlehappiness
Despite my good intentions, juggling work and running the home over the past couple of years has meant Little E hasn't been attending any structured classes outside of nursery. My two days a week at home with her have been reserved for visiting the grandparents, play dates with friends and trying to keep the house in some kind of order. Now I'm on maternity leave I decided it was time to find some classes for Little E to enjoy so I jumped at the chance to try out a Jo Jingles music, singing and movement class locally to us.
Jo Jingles classes are available at 700 centres around the country so they are well established and there is likely to be a class near you. Ours is at he local community centre. The classes are split into a variety of different age levels from 3mths to 7yrs and I opted to try the Jingle Juniors class aimed at 3-5yr olds. When we arrived we were warmly welcomed by Maggie, the class leader. There were 8 children in the class plus Little E (Jo Jingles cap classes at 15 children). Circle time was quickly established with a welcome song and everyone got to say hello to Jo - a stuffed toy.
The class quickly moved into action songs with the children clapping their hands and stomping feet. Each week there is a diferent theme be it colours, shapes, numbers etc and this week was loud vs quiet. So the children were singing in whispers then shouting in big loud voices. Little E wanted to dance during all the music and Maggie seemed happy to let her freestyle it out.
Then the instruments came out and Little E's face lit up. They ensure the children get to play at least two instruments a week and this week she got to play a triangle and a drum. Again we were working to the quiet and loud theme so as the children played Maggie encouraged them to alter the pressure they were using to make a variety of different sounds. I was impressed at how well the children responded to the instructions and altered how they were playing accordingly. Little E loved playing the instruments and insisted on calling her beaters 'wands' which amused Maggie no end.
The next activity was a butterfly song involving fluttering scarves from little fingers as they floated around the room following Maggie and singing along. Too cute for words! After some colour recognition activities as they put the scarves away, it was time for the next installment of Peter and the Wolf storytime. All set to music they read a segment of the story with Maggie pointing out which instruments represented each character. The children received a colouring in sheet to take home relating to the story.
The final part of the session was wind down with the children pretending to be sleeping bunnies lying down on their mats then hopping up and bouncing when they woke up. A goodbye circle song and a squeeze goodbye to Jo and the class was up. Little E was beaming and so excited by the whole experience. Whilst this activity was structured, I was impressed by how Maggie let each child have the freedom to be unique and let their unique personalities shine through.
Now for the important bit - what do the parents have to do? Well, in this age group not a lot. I basically sat next to Little E and pointed her in the right direction when necessary, such as collecting instruments. But that was about it. I did find myself singing along at times but mainly I just watched my little girl having loads of fun. We will definitely be coming back.
There is no joining or membership fee but prices vary depending on where you are in the country starting from £4.35 a class. We attended a free taster class but the usual price for our area is £5.25 a class. You can find out more about classes in your area by visiting www.jojingles.com
This taster session was provided free of charge but all views and opinions are my own.
Finally I have a family photo I can share with everyone! Whoop whoop! This was taken at Husband's surprise 30th birthday party last weekend. He hates how he looks in the picture but it is the only one I have of all three of us since Christmas so it must be shared! Fingers crossed he doesn't notice...
You can link up to #familyphotofriday each week on Twitter via @oneformybaby12
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.