Little Man’s First Haircut

Now I may be a tad biased here, but I believe my son to be a very cute toddler! With his cheeky smile, big blue eyes and mop of blond hair, he knows just how to wrap me round his little finger, and does so on a daily basis.

I absolutely adore his hair. It’s so fair, and has sweet little curls in it. But as he’s grown, the curls have been getting weighed down and the hair has been becoming increasingly wayward after nap-times, so I knew it was time. People were telling me it was time. It seemed inevitable. It was time for the first haircut.

This has been avoided so far, as not only have I not wanted to mess with it, Little Man has shown a very clear dislike of going to a hairdressers. So the Husband has been keeping it in check, trimming his fringe at bath-times and cutting a little off the back here and there. But the Husband’s no stylist and the hair clearly needed more help than he could offer.

I booked both children in, as I hoped seeing Boo have hers done would help him, and I got her to talk excitedly about ‘haircut day’ in the run up to the appointment. It appeared to work, as Little Man happily set off for his haircut when the time came, only having a slight wobble when it came time to actually sit in the chair, but he did do it.

Little Man's haircut

He looked so subdued and sad in there, part of me wanted to just whisk him back out!

But apart from a moment when the hairdresser left the room to get some different scissors and Little Man thought he was finished so got out of his chair and really did not want to go back in, it was all OK! She just gave it a neatening up trim, so he has kept a few little waves and curls at the back. I don’t kid myself that they’ll stick around, as Boo had them when she was a toddler and her hair is now dead straight like mine, but I will enjoy them while they last.

And at the end, lollipops were supplied, so I think all was forgiven and forgotten! I do hope this means he’ll go along a little more happily, a little more confidently next time. One more ‘first’ out of the way and under his little belt.

Do your children like getting their hair cut?

The Reading Residence

the ordinary moments

Heroes of the City on YouTube

A little over a year ago we were first introduced to Heroes of the City. We received a DVD, book and toys and they went down well with Boo at the time. A year on and Little Man likes them, too, and we’ve also had a chance to play with and give feedback on the app. It was actually the only kids app I had on my phone (which went just this week when I upgraded my phone), and it always proved popular with my two. I like the game a bit like whack a mole, Little Man likes the painting game and Boo likes the puzzles. Something for us all! Well now, Heroes of the City is on YouTube, so I’m helping them spread the word…

Heroes of the City – a YouTube channel for Toddlers and Pre-schoolers.

Heroes of the City are an animated TV-series about rescue vehicles in a small town where everybody gets to be a hero! You will find over 6 hours of full episodes with great stories for the little ones.

The TV-series contains a lot of warmth and teaches the importance of friendship and what we can achieve by helping each other.

These are sweet stories, with gentle music, likeable characters, and both of my children are happy watching them. Cars, heroes and friendship, what’s not to love?!

Would this be one your little ones might enjoy?

The Reading Residence

Word of the Week 27/2/15

Hello and welcome to Word of the Week! Thanks to those of you that linked you last week, and being so patient with my blog playing up, it was lovely reading all of your posts. It’s a pleasure to have you all here.

If you’re new here, Word of the Week is a nice and simple weekly linky, with everyone welcome to pop by and share. You reflect back on the past week and sum it up in one word. Then share your word with us in a blog post, with as little or as much explanation as you like. It’s a fun and friendly linky, so please do be lovely and visit as many of the other blogs as you can and share with them your thoughts on their words and weeks. I do comment on every entry to the linky, and if you add the Word of the Week badge to your post to help spread the ‘word’, I also tweet them out.

My word of the week this week is:


Oh yes, it’s been all about this, this week, and it’s not something I’m especially good with!

As many of you will probably know from trying to link up last week, I had problems with my hosting last Friday into Saturday. It resulted in me upgrading the package, after too many queries and ‘live chats’ for my liking (I wanted to just spend time with Boo as she was at home), but I am hoping it will now make a difference. Time will tell, I guess.

That also happened to be the day that my phone upgrade was due, a day that I’ve been counting down to, as I explained in my post Bye, Bye, iPhone. So I’ve spent time researching new phones, finally choosing the Sony Xperia Z3, then looking for the best deal, then getting the best deal sorted and then finally getting the phone! In between the upgrade and phone’s arrival, they switched my 3G off, so I was without technology for the weekend. This bothered me initially, and then I found it rather freeing. I did miss Instagram, though! Since my phone’s arrival, I’ve been getting to grips with the change from iOS to Android, downloading new apps and transferring data. Oh, the excitement!

So technology has taken up a lot more of my thoughts and time this week than I’d normally give to it. Glad it’s not like this every week!

What about you? What one word sums up your week best? Please grab the badge, link up and share.

The Reading Residence

Linky opens at 6.30am Friday, to midnight on Sunday.

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Chinese New Year In Birmingham

At the weekend we took the children to see the Chinese New Year celebrations in Birmingham. We’ve never been and it was to be unlike anything the kids had ever seen, so Boo was really looking forward to it.

It takes place each year at Southside, around the Arcadian centre in Birmingham city centre. This year it’s the Year of the Goat, and there was a full day of events lined up, including dancing, martial arts displays, Tai Chi, singing, and Kung Fu, culminating with a fireworks display. The streets were lined with reminders and little stalls were set up as some of the area was closed off to traffic, too..

cny birmingham

The children enjoyed wandering around, taking it all in. We’ve not taken them to this area of the city before, so they were very curious. Unfortunately, shortly after we arrived, so did the rain and it did not let up. Meaning it was tricky to see the stage above the throngs of umbrellas, and hard to take some photos, too. I managed a couple..

#CNYBirmingham 2

#CNYBirmingham 6

And both Little Man and Boo loved watching the Lion Dance. Boo’s actually been imitating it every since and I think this was the stand-out moment of the day for them both. As you can see from the photo, there was a big crowd for this, lending itself to a great atmosphere, in spite of the weather…

#CNYBirmingham Lion Dance

The rain got the better of us in the end, though, and despite popping in and out of places to dry off, including the nearby Bull Ring (a trip to the Disney Store is always on our agenda if we’re in Birmingham!), we decided to call it a day…

boo at cny

As you can see, Boo did not want to leave at all, but you can probably also see that it was absolutely pouring down, and I didn’t really want to keep the kids standing around it in any more. A real shame, as they were both fascinated and enthralled by it all. Definitely one to visit again next year, and hopefully it’ll stay dry!

The Reading Residence

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Papery Peep February 2015

Another month has already rolled round, time seems to be flying. As it’s the last Wednesday of the month, it means it’s Papery Peep day, hooray! Time for me to share my month in paper with you and invite you to do the same. Whether it’s an update on your #BringBackPaper activities, this month’s stationery swap or just some books or stationery you fancy showing us, please do feel free to come share! ‘Tis a linky for all things papery!

The first big thing I wanted to share with you this month is National Stationery Week, that runs from 27 April to 3 May this year.

National Stationery Week celebrates the written word and all things stationery – the wonderful products which make it all possible, and give so much pleasure to so many people.

You can never have too much stationery!

2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, and is a reminder of how well handwriting has stood the test of time.

It also sees the launch of #WorldStationeryDay on 29 April, as part of National Stationery Week.

Well, this is the kind of thing that I am keen to support and get involved with! You may have spotted that I’m an NSW blogger, and as such, I received this rather lovely bundle…

NSW Bundle

Firstly, I want to tell you about that funky green stapler there. It’s made by Kokuyo, and is a staple free stapler – how cool is that?! It comes in a great range of colours, retailing from £8.95, and binds paper together by punching a slit into the paper. When I first tried this, it did blow my stationery mind a little! No need for staples, no risk of injury and it’s so quirky!

The Zebra pens I love. In a range of bright colours and designs, and the ink is the same colour as the pen – I really like that, as more often than not a lovely pink pen still writes blue. They have grips to make them comfortable to hold, and easy for little ones, too (Boo’s already commandeered a couple of these!), as well as the Sarasa pens having rapid dry ink.

The Nu notebooks are lovely, with that little black one there having a magnetic strip to keep it gently closed, too. Nuco International offer a great range of notebooks, from handbag sized to this larger A4 pad, which is coming in handy now for me as a blog book.

Then finally I have that rather special Sheaffer pen there. It’s their Sagaris ballpoint pen, and is so smooth to write with. It’s weighty enough to feel luxurious, but not so that it slows you down! I’ve been using mine to write in my journal this month.

You can find out more about all of these suppliers over on the National Stationery Week website, and you can follow @NatStatWeek on Twitter and use any of these hash tags to get chatting stationery there – #NatStatWeek #GetBritainWriting #GetKidsWriting #writingmatters #lovestationery I’m bound to see you there!

This month I’ve also really enjoyed running the stationery swap and seeing so many of you get involved. I loved putting my pack together for Louise at Little Hearts, Big Love, and I absolutely adored the bundle that I received from her, too…


Nothing like getting a gorgeous pile of stationery in the post!

As for my ReadWriteCreate this month, I’ve actually done OK! I’ve been continuing to write in my one line a day journal, kept my book journal updated and written a few letters. I also wrote Boo a list of all the things that I love about her, in response to her doing the same for me in my What Makes a Good Mum? post, which Boo obviously loved! My creativity with paper this month has been all about the kids, though it’s still felt nice and relaxing, so stays in my me-time bracket. Boo and I have coloured in alongside one another in our books, which was a lovely way to spend one of Little Man’s nap-times last week. We’ve also spent a lot of time doing jigsaw puzzles, and I am not generally a puzzler, as I get impatient with them quite quickly! But we really enjoyed doing them together, and it was nice mummy-daughter time. As for read, these are the books I’ve read in February so far…

books read in February

I’ve enjoyed them all, but I’d say that Skin and Bones by Tom Bale stands out the most for me as I read that one within a couple of days as it was a struggle to put it down. I’ve passed it onto the Husband to read now, which is kind of a big deal as he and I have only ever read two of the same books before, and I’m looking forward to hearing what he thinks of it. I’ve also ordered another by this author, as this was my first and I’m keen to read more!

Now it’s your turn to share. Grab the badge from my sidebar there to pop on your post, link up and please take the time to comment on a few of your fellow linkers’ paper, too. Thanks!

Linky closes at midnight Tuesday 3rd March 2015

Hope you enjoyed ‘peeping’? #BringBackPaper runs every Wednesday here, and next week I’ll be launching the March book swap, so do pop back for that!

The Reading Residence

The Reading Residence

A Zazzle Give-Away!

Have you discovered Zazzle yet? It’s the biggest online marketplace for custom goods, and if you do pop over there you’ll see that is really is huge!

I’ve been browsing, and truth be told, getting a bit lost over there! There are so many things to choose from, with categories such as Home and Pets, Office Products, Art and Posters, Electronics, Weddings, Clothing & T Shirts, and so much more. There are also gift ideas, and you can shop by suggestions that way. I found this to be handy when looking for Mother’s Day presents, and there’s a lovely range there.

These are a few of the things that caught my eye…

For Mother’s Day….

mother's day Zazzle

For the Husband….

for him Zazzle

For the Kids….

for kids Zazzle

And for me, as it’d be kind of rude not to…

for me zazzle

It’s been a fun place to shop, and very easy to navigate around the website and checkout, and delivery were also smooth. The only niggle that I had when placing an order were the shipping costs. It varies depending on the selections you make, but in my case, there were items from the US and so the costs were quite high. I know that they’re looking into this, for these cases, and that’s it not always the way, but it’s just something to be aware of when you’re shopping. That aside, I’d say this is a go-to place for customising products, and I love that you can use Instagram along with the photos you have stored on your PC for this, and there are literally hundreds of options! For example, you like a t shirt design but you want it in pink instead, yes, you can do that! You’d love a photo on a mug, iPhone case, card, cushion or hat – yep, you can do it here! Plenty of options, as well as lots of ready made and beautiful items. I’ve added a few new things to our home, as the home-ware products are gorgeous, and bought a couple of pressies, too, which I cannot reveal here for fear of ruining surprises. All in all, I’ve enjoyed my Zazzle experience

I do have a £50 Zazzle gift certificate up for grabs now, hooray! All you need to do to enter is use the rafflecopter below, and let me know what you would buy from Zazzle. Give-away open to UK residents only, and closes at midnight on 22nd March 2015. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What would you buy from Zazzle?

Disclosure: Written in collaboration with Zazzle, though all words and opinions are my own

Bye Bye, iPhone

I’ve had an iPhone for as long as I can remember. It was my first smartphone, the old iPhone 3G, and since the day that I held that little beauty in my hands, I was an iPhone convert. A little bit in love with them, to be honest.

iphoneBut now, now things have changed. I sensed the shift when people around me started switching their phones, but not to the next iPhone model, which had always been the case until now. And I sensed their frustration, and felt it, too. I’m fortunate in that my only Apple product is my phone, so I don’t feel too tied into them. Maybe if I had a Macbook and iPad I’d stick with it for an easier life. But my phone has been annoying me, buttons not working, apps and screen freezing, storage filling up, irritations adding up. All pointing for time for a change. The Husband loves his gadgets and was amongst the first of our friends to get an iPhone, way back when. But he moved over to an LG G3 a few months ago and absolutely loves it. Hmm, maybe he’s onto something then.

My upgrade was due over the weekend, and I have been literally counting down the days so that I could be free of my iPhone 5. Not to get my hands on the 6, no, but to make a clean break, Apple no longer having a hold over me. It feels a bit scary, to be honest. And all rather time-consuming, too. I’m used to how iPhone’s operate so each time I’ve upgraded before it’s not taken me long to understand any changes and I’m using my phone again as normal. This time I suspect it’ll take me a fair while longer to adjust. As long as I can get my WP and social media apps on there, and suss the camera out, I should be OK!

I did a fair bit of research, and I’ve got a brand new shiny Sony Xperia Z3 winging it’s way to me now. I read review after review, and this one was looking good. It has a fabulous 20.7 megapixel camera, a real temptation for a blogger and Instagrammer like me. And the big draw? It can get wet! Not that I’m hugely into taking photos underwater or anything, but I am at home with two young kids, and drinks, spillages and dribbles are all real risks to my phone! So it’s coming, I’ve ordered a new case for it, and I am trying to clear some time to actually be able to sit down and figure out how to use it.

So yes, I am waiting. Eagerly. If I go MIA for a day or two, you’ll know I’m still trying to work it all out! In the meantime, bye bye, iPhone…

What phone are you loving at the moment?

The Reading Residence

The Library

When I was little, and I really can’t be sure how small but I’d guess my memories go back to when I was around 4 or 5, I adored my trips to the library. I can still clearly visualise the picture book area there, along with the comfy and cosy cushions and soft toys scattered over the floor. It was somewhere I loved to be and looked forward to our trips out there.

Now I get to take my children to the library. When Boo was a toddler, we went quite regularly. She loved it there, piling up book after book before we had to whittle the pile down from around 50 to the 12 she could have! When Little Man arrived, our visits dwindled, though bookshops remained firmly on the cards. When Boo first started school in September, I decided to take Little Man, with the idea of going regularly again. Except that Little Man is not his sister. Oh no, he’s a tad different. Yes, the books were piled up, but only because he was emptying the boxes they were in so that he could sit in them! Hmm, libraries may not be the place to go then just yet….

But fast forward just a few months, and last week, it being half term, I took the two of them to the library. And joy of joys, they both enjoyed it and chose their books happily. It was interesting to see that Boo went straight to the chapter books this time, her tastes have changed that much in such a short time. Little Man found a box full of chunky board books, and selected his from there….

the library visit

Little Man was delighted to find two books about mice. I’m not sure why, but when we went to the book fair at Boo’s school a couple of weeks ago, he asked for a book about a mouse. Sadly, they didn’t have any, so the library came through for us. And yes, he does already have several books with mice in them, so I’m not sure why the sudden preoccupation with them! We read all of his that day, and then the next, and then again a few days later. As I mentioned in last week’s Word of the Week, he’s really getting into his reading of late. And with Boo, we managed to read some of her books whilst Little Man napped over the week. It was lovely daughter and mummy time, snuggled up on the sofa, each taking it in turns to read sections.

I treasured it. I enjoyed our library trip, I’ve loved reading the books and I do hope I’m creating some fond library memories for my children, too.

the ordinary moments

Word of the Week 20/2/15

Hello and welcome to Word of the Week! Thanks to those of you that linked you last week, lovely reading all of your posts. It’s a pleasure to have you all here.

If you’re new here, Word of the Week is a nice and simple weekly linky, with everyone welcome to pop by and share. You reflect back on the past week and sum it up in one word. Then share your word with us in a blog post, with as little or as much explanation as you like. It’s a fun and friendly linky, so please do be lovely and visit as many of the other blogs as you can and share with them your thoughts on their words and weeks. I do comment on every entry to the linky, and if you add the Word of the Week badge to your post to help spread the ‘word’, I also tweet them out.

My word of the week this week is:


It’s been half term here, so we’ve had Boo at home with us all week. As a result, I’d planned to have some time away from the blog, so I could spend quality time with my children, and that I did.

It’s made me feel extremely appreciative. I appreciate that the Husband supports us and backed my decision those years ago to resign and be here all the time for our kids. It’s not always been easy, plenty of sacrifices have been made, but they’ve definitely been worth it.

I appreciate that I’ve built this here blog, that allows me to continue to stay at home and equally, allows me to plan my time and take a break when I need to. I appreciate the opportunities that it’s given us, too, and this week has been no exception. I really appreciate my lovely readers, as they keep coming back, and understand that when I go a little quiet, it’s simply that I’m spending time with my family.

But most of all, I appreciate my children. I appreciate the time we have together, and that I am fortunate enough to have them in my life. We’ve had a fair bit of chilling out time this week, along with our play-dates and adventures, and I’ve ensured I’ve made the most of it. I’m not always good at that, sometimes concentrating on other things rather than the little moments with them, but this week it’s come together and we’ve all been relaxed, having lots of cuddles, stories and giggles together.

I know I’m fortunate, and for that, I’m appreciative.

What about you? What one word sums up your week best? Please grab the badge, link up and share.

The Reading Residence

Linky opens at 6.30am Friday, to midnight on Sunday.

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