Making Sandcastles By The Sea

When you are age three and visiting Grandma by the sea, the beach is a very exciting place to spend time. Whether its early morning walks along the sand, counting jelly fish that have been unfortunate enough to be marooned on the shore until the next tide, or mid day visits to explore; sand and water are of high interest and making sandcastles is great fun.

Shells are great for collecting and sorting, and we always take a bucket along to fill with these. Being able to show you something they have discovered independently is great fun for younger children – and grown ups!


Activities and toys that enable fun and discovery on the beach are always of interest. This morning when looking for new toys / ideas for the coming weekend I discovered Alto @toyella.

This advanced form of bucket appears to allow your little one not only to have the excitement of filling the bucket full of wet sand, but also then the success of the sandcastle turning out looking like a sandcastle.

The three tiered design appears to have a system to let your child build independently without the disappointment that often follows digging and filling. Avoiding the feeling of failure when, as the excitement peaks, they tip over the bucket and tap, lift the bucket slowly … and the sand flops to the ground or stays in the bucket in a messy mound.

The image below from the Alto site seems to demonstrate what appears to be towers of sand which would allow any three year old to become a sand architect!

Alto bucket for the beach

If any of you have tried and tested this product I would love to hear from you.

Why Dont You Just Ask Google

Sometimes small moments capture a child’s perception of the adult world that surrounds them. This weekend I was lucky enough to overhear a conversation my son was having with his very young daughter:

My son was patiently talking to his daughter about the next days activities, when she suddenly interjected with:

Daddy can I ask Google something on your phone?

Just ask googleThe availability of expert advice had been shared with her the previous week and she was  keen to use it whenever a suitable question occurred. As she had been far too busy so far that day at the park followed by cutting, sticking and painting, this was perhaps her first potential moment.

Without prompting she sat quietly for a second and then lean’t forward and said:

Google what’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?

Google promptly answered her question with:

The weather in … is going to be 18° with showers

She thought for a split second and then said:

Actually Google Id like sunshine.

She then sat back, smiled and said to her Dad:

There I’ve sorted it, its going to be sunny now!

My son and I looked at each other and both realised that to our lovely three year old little girl, Google had taken on the role of God.

So Google, you have a lot to live up to!

Save the day for Grandparent’s Day

For those of you like me who have reached the stage where you are Grandparents – you will know that it crept up on you and that you feel absolutely no different age wise as a grandparent than you did before.

What you do feel in my case is incredibly lucky. I have so much fun being a Grandma! Weekends are full of crazy golf, beach walks and frog hunts. Glue, paints and shells are regular activities, and time flies.

Being a grandparent for me, means so much fun! Letting the parents have time to just be themselves is important. Time to breathe in busy weeks of work and parenting; so going to grandma’s holiday house by the sea is for my Granddaughter regular a weekend event.

parenting concept

I have just discovered that there is a special day for Grandparents, in the UK it falls on 2nd October 2016: Grandparents Day. This is something this year I’ve decided to celebrate! So on 2nd October,which is a Sunday, I am going to arrange a family get together.

Gathering the generations, because for us we aren’t the only grandparents – there are great grandparents too (we are the mere youngsters!)

Grandparents Day will give us a great excuse to gather, talk, laugh and eat!! I think I will gather gifts for all grandparents and my granddaughter is going to help me choose them.

I have decided to take advantage of the sales going on and gather a few sneaky surprises over the coming weeks

If you feel like doing the same take a look at Chums menswear for Grandads’ – great savings

For ladies you might want to explore the Marks and Spencer sale or Chums again- I found these two presents that won’t break the bank and will definitely bring a smile (I saved them to Pinterest as I gathered my list!)

If you are celebrating Grandparents day – I hope your preparations are underway, whether its a hug and a kiss and a home made card,  a present or flowers – this is another day that you can choose if you wish to celebrate your family.

For this occasion I am not going vintage, but it might be fun next time to consider vintage gifts or even vintage clothes as gifts, as I have mentioned before vintage fabric always starts discussion as associated memories flow!

Why Can’t We Drill For Shells Grandma

Beach combing is always something I have loved.

Its really relaxing, walking along and focussing upon the sand. Letting your eyes select appropriate drift wood, pebbles or shells you selection and collection.

This weekend, I thought therefore that I was totally prepared and equipped when taking my grand daughter beach combing.

We had the obligatory bag to collect the shells in, Wellington boots, lots of layers, rain proof jackets and sunglasses – you never know when it might, rain, or the sun might shine!

As we got ready to leave, my three year old granddaughter surprised me. She had brought along her toy drill and announced quite seriously…

“Why can’t we drill for shells Grandma?”

I must admit I didn’t have an answer, other than good idea, lets give it a go.

So off we went and I soon, watching Mia comb the beach, realised what she was doing, she now due to regular attendance on the beach, considered the shells on the top, easy prey, and instead was drilling she announced for

“The ones I cant see”

I loved this idea!

Next time we visit the beach, we have decided to take a spade along. That way when Mia drills down (all of 2 inches) if she hits something like a shell or pebble hidden under the sand, we are going to dig down and discover what she has found!

We Found Pirate Ships On The Beach

If you feel like you need some fresh air and exercise after all of your Easter eggs this weekend, why not visit the seaside?

Last weekend we popped to the beach on Sunday morning. The Spring tide had created a treasure trove of shells, pebbles and driftwood for us to explore. My top tip is to be prepared for this and take a bag to store your collection. Continue reading We Found Pirate Ships On The Beach

What’s so special about being a Grandma?


So what is so special about being a Grandma? I suppose the simple answer to that one is ….my granddaughter

I have only the one granddaughter and as I am sure most grandmas are, I am convinced that she, at the age of three is a budding genius!

This weeks new skill for example is hopping. Not simply on one foot but both. The joy this gives! After weeks of trying to take off from the ground on just one foot. Determined concentration on her face, as she placed one slipper to rest on the other only to put it back down onto the floor at the moment of take off,  her hop turning into a jump. She has now mastered the art of hopping, so she hops everywhere.

Climbing – she could scale a mountain she thinks but for now the back of the sofa will do

Singing, she is just beginning to learn the word to songs when listening to music. When recently in the car, watching her sing along in her child seat in the back to “Soul Man” one of my Motown favourites, she beemed at the end and said “I like that snow man song” puzzled I thought about this for a moment, then realised she had replaced the word soul with snow and had been singing “I’m a snow man…”

Her art work here depicts a very flattering portrait of me. I don’t have to worry about looking too large as my body is missing completely – which suits me. Although hair on top of my head is missing, I have some amazing eyelashes, and it looks to me like she thinks I am good fun – that I have discovered is really important to me… we are best friends.


Grandmas portrait

We both enjoy most weekends together and get up to a very wide variety of things. We plan at the end of one weekend what we are going to try to squeeze into the next. Our efforts include baking, painting, walking, beach combing, gluing, visiting the coffee shop (myself for a coffee, her for a treat) and the latest favourite of cutting.

The joy of a granddaughter is that they know, even before trying out something new, that they can do it.

Confidence, enthusiasm and the joy of new discoveries. For example she is certain, absolutely certain, that I should take a rest and let her drive the car!

Beach combing is another favourite pass  time of ours. Endless hours, me walking, her running across the sands looking for magical shells, driftwood that may obviously have come from a pirate ship, glass that has rounded and been moulded into smooth pebbles that are safe to hold in tiny palms and store away as treasure.

“Grandmas and Grandpas are everything nice.
Like presents and candy and raspberry ice.And chocolate fudge sundaes, with cherries on top.
And popcorn and peanuts and grape soda pop.In winter or summer, in rain or in sun,
Grandmas and Grandpas are wonderful fun!!!”

-Unknown Author

My amazing granddaughter and I have many adventures and through this blog I am looking forward to sharing some of them with you.

Take a look at our great day at Windmill Farm talking to the animals and saving scrapbook photos or messy play preparations for Easter Crafts

Alternatively for a gentle retreat for mums or grandmas take a look t my Grandmas retreat – an interior mix of the vintage and modern.


Send for the Nurse

Imaginative play, fun learning and laughter

Children love to feel grown up and to help. When I was ill recently after a stay in hospital – where I was very well cared for, I returned home to a very eager carer. My granddaughter was ready  to look after me.

Her dedication to duty knew no bounds – armed with a stethoscope, pretend scissors, and tweezers and in full uniform I couldn’t have been in better hands!

After listening intently to her own heart beat she then went on to listen to mine. Declaring head to one side, serious expression and serious tone of voce that  I was okay, but really poorly and I needed…my hair cut!

scissor nurse

She had found the pretend scissors in the nurses kit. They were supposed to be there to pretend to cut bandages, but age 3,  she had connected them with hairdressing; fabulous!

She climbed up onto the couch and proceeded to pretend to cut my hair with the play scissors. She then listened to my heart beat again and declared me well!

She  was praised by everyone and we all laughed and I must admit that I really did feel much better:

laughter quote

Watching her at play, enjoying her imaginative role brought back memories. When very young I had also had a nurses costume, in which I had hours of role play fun. Although many things have changed over the years some things appear strangely unchanged.

When I was well again, I was thinking about her nurse role play and I took a look to see if I had remembered things correctly –  such as an old ladybird book I had as a child. Strangely enough the costume really did appear very similar, I did notice one book though that made me think. My Hero, My Dad the Nurse:


Things had changed. So next time when she wants to pretend, perhaps I will ask her if she is a doctor or consultant. I will let you know if at that point, when she has more responsibility, I my need my head shaving rather than just a hair cut!

For other imaginative play you might want to read our Small World Big Imagination post

International scrapbooking day today


Today it is international scrapbooking day which has brought back lots of lovely memories from my childhood!

I used to love filling A3 scrapbooks with coloured pages. My themes varies from Animals, Fashion to Greek Mythology. I filled them with cut outs, pictures I had drawn and information I found in magazines or copied from old books. I loved it and as there was no internet then, collecting these different snippets of information involved going to the library, getting magazines or comics and drawing from books.

It has inspired me to start a scrapbook with Mia. She loves animals so I think it will be an animal scrapbook. She likes cutting and sticking at the moment and ours will probably be  a paper book, but I did ponder about Pinterest.

We might do both as I do think Pinterest is like an online scrapbook and I love using it.

We will start a Pinterest board with these lovely images of our day out at a farm.

One lovely moment was when Mia began a conversation with a goat kid. She bend down hands on knees and said “Hello” – now Mia calls the other children of the same age at nursery “little kids”, so when we had explained this was a little kid she had looked rather dubious! Hello little kid”

The young animal had then made its way over towards her and she continued to ask how he was and was he having a nice day. To those who saw this the baby goat looked to all the world as if he was listening and thinking about what she was saying. Moving its head and looking intently towards her. It was a lovely moment and very sweet. If you would like to read more outdoor adventures take a look at why not build a snowcat


See other colder outdoor fun at Why not make a snowcat

Our favourite bedtime read


Can’t you sleep little bear is an all time favourite read of mine for bedtime with my grand daughter. It is really difficult to choose from so many wonderful #bedtimestories.

Reading at bedtime is a routine that I believe is really important. A fun but calming, bonding time at the end of the day.

Mia’s bedroom has a desk completely filled with beautiful children’s books. These have been gathered over her three years, but she doesn’t want to let the older ones go. Sometimes I catch her going through her very young books and reading them to herself smiling. She uses the intonation I used to use when reading these to her, and it is so lovely that she remembers this.

On world book day it is a lovely time to start a new family tradition. If you do your child as they grow will probably take not only the skill of reading but the love of reading with them.

I also let Mia see me enjoying a good book sometimes, as children do love to copy.

If you are looking for a good #bedtimestory download mummy (and grandmummy!) bloggers favourites free at Adjustable beds UK FREE DOWNLOAD

Another favourite childrens story shared here for World book Day

A Change of Pace in London

london 1

A weekend in Kensington gave a great opportunity to just be me. A surprise trip organized by my better half.

We were fortunate enough to enjoy Thriller Live and then emerged from the atmospheric theatre into busy and vibrant Picadilly.

This wasn’t a weekend with the Grand daughter  she would much prefer the beach and parks. But I took pleasure in simply “watching” and absorbing. Although within the same country, sights and sounds couldn’t have been more different.

The pace was hectic. Picadilly at night is a maelstrom of sights and sounds.

london 2

It was interesting to simply stand and observe, but standing still wasn’t really an option. Being swept along in a crowd was the only way to go.

In a couple of years I will look forward to taking Mia with us, but for once it was nice to just be a couple.

Keep exploring an evening in London with sights of Chinatown