Oh Brilliant Bookbuggy!

Sometimes, as a parent, you come across genius ideas that you want to shout about and let every other parent know about. This happened a lot to me when I was a new mum – discovering new things that made my life a bit easier happened a lot back then.

First there was the Snoozeshade – I met Cara who invented the product and started the business at The Baby Show in London and bought one there and then. Then there was the Bebe au Lait feeding cover, which saved my blushes as I breastfed my daughter in Starbucks (I never could do it subtly, I always had to wang them out for every other mocha-drinking customer to see). I even remember waxing lyrical about Gap baby socks – the ONLY brand that I found stayed on my little baby’s little feet. Every other brand wriggled its way off her foot and ended up dropping to the ground outside Sainsbury’s.

And now, Bookbuggy is a discovery that I find myself wanting to tell everyone about. Bookbuggy is a website that sends you a personally curated pack of children’s books every month. Set up by couple Mehmood and Jyoti, who are parents to their son, Dara, Bookbuggy is something you can sign up to for three months or twelve months, or even just buy one month’s worth to try it out.

When you register, you fill in details about your child – age is important of course, but you can also tell them what the child loves, things they enjoy doing, books they have loved reading in the past – pretty much anything you like. It all helps them build up a picture of your child and send books that they think will be loved. Then they send you a package with three to four books in. The books’ RRP will never be less than the price you pay and if you receive a book you’ve already got? Just give it to a friend and Bookbuggy will send you a different one. For real!

Mehmood and Jyoti pride themselves in curating fantastic must-read books and when your books arrive (in gorgeous packaging) they flag up to you which skills each book will help develop in your child.

We were asked to trial Bookbuggy, and the books we received were brilliant…

Bookbuggy books

We got Lucy Ladyburd by Sharon King-Chai, Julia Donaldson’s Jack and the Flum Flum Tree and 100 Things by Mayayuki Sebe. I could tell immediately we’d love them all – isn’t it funny how you just sometimes know?

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Our Favourite Children’s Book

Like most parents of three-year-olds, we get through a lot of book reading each week. My current favourite book to read at bedtime is Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou!
by Julia Donaldson – it allows me to put on my very best scary ghost voice and my daughter LOVES to make the “Oooooh!” noise with me. Her number one favourite book, however is The Gruffalo also by Julia Donaldson) and we read it at least once a week. We don’t even need the book, now, we both know it off by heart.

What is it about The Gruffalo that kids and parents love so much? It could be that the mouse (the underdog) outwits the three ‘baddies’ (the snake, the fox and the owl) and the Gruffalo that appeals to me. For my three-year-old, I think it’s the repetition of the story she loves – each time the mouse meets a creature, the conversation is similar, with a few key differences. And of course, when we watch the animation of the book, with the haunting music and fantastic voice acting, it brings it all to life in such a magical way. I get goosebumps every time I hear the opening music.

Our favourite part of the book is when the mouse comes face to face (or face to foot, since he’s so small) with the Gruffalo…

“What’s a Gruffal – Oh.”

That’s when my daughter puts on her best deep, gruff voice and says: “You’ll taste good on a slice of bread!”

So it seemed obvious that when Heinz asked bloggers to spell out their favourite children’s book quote in Alphabetti pasta, we chose this line. And also! Alphabetti DOES taste good on a slice of bread (well, toast) so it is apt.

Heinz-pasta-quotes

 

I’ve got strong memories of eating Alphabetti as a child. Back then, I had so much fun spelling out my name (oh OK and vaguely rude words like “willy”) and now that my three-year-old is recognising letters and enjoying spelling her name, it’s a fun, quick snack for her. No rude words from her yet, thankfully.

What’s your favourite children’s book at the moment?

Psst! This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Heinz competition to support Children’s Book Week.

 

10 Photos Every Parent Posts On Instagram

Are you a parent? Are you on Instagram? I’ll bet you’ve uploaded a few of these photos… drink a shot for every pic you’ve posted (kidding! Or, you know, not…)

1. The much-needed morning caffeine hit

Whether you’ve had a disturbed night because of a little person, or your kiddos just like to get up at 4.45am EVERY MORNING, that first morning #mycuppa is the best.

2. The (often rare) night out selfie

When I post this kind of pic, I’m thinking ‘Look at meeeee! I’m wearing heels! I’m going out!’ It’s one of those moments you just have to share with the world, right?

3. Kids’ shoes

They’re so small. And cute. How can we not add them to Insta-history?

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Bad Mums’ Club: The Art Of Bribery

art-of-bribery

Gina Ford. Jo Frost. Heidi Murkoff. These people all have their own theories on how to best deal with your baby or child. They have pearls of wisdom about sleep training, controlled crying, routines, feeding on demand, behavioural issues and more. (Whether you choose to follow their advice is another matter altogether…) Strangely, though, none of them advocate my favourite method of parenting: bribery.

I am an unashamed fan of bribing my daughter. I use anything and everything I can – ice cream, use of the iPad, going swimming at the weekend, extra bedtime stories and the general vague promise of ‘doing something really fun tomorrow’. Basically, if it’s something she loves, it’s used to bribe her. And now that she is approaching four, I find myself turning to this method more and more, and in different ways…

Bribing her to behave

Take the other day, for example. She asked for an ice cream at the zoo. “If you’re a REALLY good girl all afternoon at the zoo, you can have an ice cream before we leave.” This was followed by gentle reminders every time she started to whine about her legs being tired/her arms being cold/her face paint rubbing off. “Remember, you need to be good if you want your ice cream….” In the end, she traded in her ice cream for a go on the bouncy castle (those fickle pre-schoolers!) but the bribery was still there. And she behaved… for the most part. Continue reading

Our Super Hero Spy Mission

I don’t know about your kids, but my three-year-old is really into make believe at the moment. At the weekend, she kept telling us to say hello to her invisible friend, Georgina, and her invisible baby, Gracie. She regularly makes us all swap names/roles, so that she is Mummy and I am Baby (I suspect she likes bossing me about…) and she often jumps from the bottom step shouting “Spider-Man!”

Superhero backpack

This superhero backpack is right up her street. Sent to us by online boutique Gigi Brooks, to try out, we took it for a road-test the other day. “Let’s go for a walk!” I suggested to the three-year-old. “Can I take my buggy and baby?” she asked. “Well, you could,” I replied. “But we need to go on a special spy mission, so baby might get scared.” She thought for a minute. “OK Mummy, I’ll just put baby down to sleep in the living room, and then I’ll be ready.” A few minutes later, she was back, put on her special backpack and we headed out.

“What’s the special spy mission?” she asked, as we walked along. We had not long been to The Discover Centre in Stratford where they have an interactive spy session. She’d been a little scared by that (I think she thought there really was an evil Russian doctor hiding in the next room) but this was a spy mission she could get on board with. “Well,” I said. “We have to walk to the end of our road, like this, pretending everything it completely normal…. and then when we get to the end of our street, we have to hide behind a wall, and transform into a superhero ready for our mission.”

Superhero cape

Excited, she legged it along our street. At the end, I showed her how her a pouch at the top of the backpack unzipped to reveal A SUPERHERO CAPE! And in another pouch was A SUPERHERO MASK! Within seconds, the transformation was complete, and we set about our mission: to look for things that rhymed. Continue reading