Monday, 29 February 2016

Doing It By Himself

Well Bear is all grown up. He doesn't need any help from Grandad or Nanny to have his bottle in the mornings. Or to drink water from an open cup. He doesn't need a morning nap either. He's doing it by himself.

Woe betide a helping hand! Teddy's will be thrown. There will be stomping of feet and slamming of doors. Then tears. 
We have to guess what it was we have done wrong, stop doing it and then all is right with the world.

He's a big boy now. He's 16¾ months old. He's doing it by himself. I just can't wait until he's a teenager.

toddler lying on floor with head on cushion, blanket over lap, drinking milk from bottle
Lots of tears and shouts before we got this exactly right. Happy grown up Bear.

toddler in highchair with orange cup drinking water
Drinking from an open cup. Put it to your mouth, tip, drink!

toddler leaning over drawer front. Feet off floor and head in drawer
I can reach

toddler reaching up to door handle
I can get my own coat

toddler sat on floor staring blankly, looks like he's about to nod off
I don't need a morning nap, I'm not even sleepy

toddler asleep in car seat
Just resting my eyes on the way to the shops....

reflection in mirror of toddler asleep in car seat with dummy
......Oh and on the way home too.

toddler playing in garden, sun shining
Water. If there is any water in the garden I can find it.

toddler alone running up ramp
I don't need anyone I know where I'm going.

toddler sat in shopping trolley
You are allowed to push me as long as I don't have to sit in that awful seat.

Happy toddler sat in washing basket with mouth wide open as if shouting
Smile for Mummy!

Toddler stood by open front door looking out
C'mon Grandad! I'm waiting.

Toddler and Aunty selfie both saying cheese
Selfie with Aunty Sarah. Say cheese.

What's new this week?

It looks like Bear has dropped his morning nap. It makes him super tired by the afternoon  but we were wasting at least an hour in the mornings trying to get him to nap, and failing.

He can drink out of a cup without spilling it all down his front

He continues to understand more complex instructions "Your sleeves are too long" Bear looks at his hands" Let me turn them up" Bear offers his arm for the sleeve to be rolled up.

He has a wicked sense of humour and laughs easily. For example. He was pointing at things for me to tell him the colour, blue bowl, white tray. He pointed faster and faster until I couldn't keep up and using noises and hands pretended my head exploded. He just fell about laughing....then we did it all over again.

He is starting to understand how to put glue onto paper to stick things. He made a daffodil at Tots for St David's Day and he did all the glue himself.

No new words but the ones he already uses are spoken clearer. He is a great mimic too. 
Sing a word or phrase. Bear will copy. 

Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do 

The crows make a racket. Bear will "caw" loudly.

Do you have a grown-up toddler? 


Sunday, 28 February 2016

#MySundayPhoto Number 9

#MySundayPhoto this week is of our Magnolia Stellata just breaking into flower. The day was glorious, the sun shone and out of the wind it was warm.

The sky was blue and just one bud had burst. Spring is really on it's way.

Lots more lovely photo's at  @Photalife  #MySundayPhoto 


Friday, 26 February 2016

A Cardiff Garden In February

Welcome to my Cardiff Garden. February has given us beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Cold frosty days, more rain and days so warm I thought Summer couldn't be too far away. Lots of plants have continued to flower throughout the year and we can welcome a few new ones too.

The mild weather brings pests. The usual slugs and something that has attacked the passion flower. A few days ago it was looking beautiful and now it is looking so very brown and sad. Lets hope whatever it is doesn't kill it!

We are also seeing more wildlife in the garden although catching them on camera is proving difficult.

I hope you enjoy my pictures of a Cardiff Garden.

A blue-tit on a fat ball feeder
Blue-tit through the glass patio doors so a bit hazy

Monday, 22 February 2016

Half Term Hibernation

It's half term this week so all of us who have only pre-school children have hidden away and hibernated until the big children go back to school and give us our peace and quiet back. Everything costs more and is so busy. I know that's how it is but if you have a couple of school age children it just works out so expensive. Although idle hands.......

Toddler bent over in kitchen drawer, onions scattered across the foor
Bear throwing onions out of the drawer, potatoes next.

Dishwasher with utilities bill place in the plate rack
Bear helped to load the dishwasher.

toddler sat on bottom stair with head to one side looking innocent
Me? Naughty? Not me!

The weather has been glorious. Very cold and sunny and it only rained on Wednesday.

Bear just loves being outside and is just getting over his sore throat and ear infection so we wrapped him up all warm and went in search of swings. Our local playground had removed the swings for upgrading so we ventured a little further (in the car not walking unfortunately) and found our other favourite playground chained up!

metal yellow gate and black fence chained together and padlocked
Chained up gate to our playground

empty playground
No children playing on a sunny day at half term. They are outside looking in.

Bear didn't mind he's too young to realise he couldn't go on the swings so we made the best of it.

Four pictures of a toddler on a climbing frame. Lots of smiles
Bear enjoying the climbing frame 

toddler walking on path in park carrying daffodil.
Bear legging it with his golden treasure- a daffodil

Back of a toddler walking on path next to a quiet road in sunshine

We spent lots of time in the garden just pottering, splashing in puddles and moving stones. Bear likes to move the gravel from the greenhouse floor to anywhere else at all. I have no idea how we will mow the lawn in the spring!

toddler in greenhouse with trowel and gravel in bucket
Ooh! Stones make a splash when dropped into water

Grandad carrying toddler in garden, looks like they looking at something and are talking to each other.
What have they found?

toddler crouched in puddle touching the water with his hand
A puddle!

What's new this week?

He points to the dentinox and puts his finger into his mouth and rubs his teeth

His favourite new word this week is dark. He also grunts and points when he wants something. I think we may need to work on that a little.

If we read together he is more involved, he knows what comes next.

When we read his first books for babies if I ask "where's the ......" he points to the picture. It used to be just simple things like balloons, cats, dogs, ducks. Now he knows so many more. Clever Bear.

Did you hibernate for half term or face the crowds? 


Sunday, 21 February 2016

#MySundayPhoto Number 8

This week #MySundayPhoto is of Bear and a daffodil. 

We had gone to the park and the playground was shut. It was a beautiful sunny day but very cold. We found a patch of daffodils and Bear found one just lying on the floor. He grabbed it like it was treasure and legged it! 


Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Meningitis B Vaccination - Who Should Pay?

In the news this week has been the devastating story of Faye Burdett, a toddler who died from sepsis caused by meningitis. The family had the most awful choice. Major surgery, involving multiple amputations, that had a really high risk of killing their 2 year old or allow her to pass away peacefully. They chose the second option. I do not know what I would choose and I hope I never have to.

What is really tragic is that this illness can be vaccinated against. The vaccine is safe and gives 90% immunity. So why didn't they get their precious baby vaccinated? Were they one of the parents that do not agree with vaccinations? No, this vaccine is only available on the NHS to babies born after 1st July 2015. 

Their baby was too old.

Faye was two years old.

My grandson is too old. 

He's 16 months old and too old for this government to protect him from this awful disease. He was born 10 months to soon. If he has any siblings or cousins they will be protected. They will be born after July 2015.

So should I pay to have him protected? 

The meningitis B vaccine is available privately and it would take (depending on age) about three doses. The cost to the NHS is £75 + vat. To you and me it would cost a minimum of £125+ for each dose. That's £375 for the full vaccination. Is my grandson worth it? Absolutely! He's worth his weight in gold. Should I pay for it? 

What about all the children that have no-one that can pay for it? Should they be disadvantaged? Children under five, teenagers and young people are most at risk. They should all be vaccinated on the NHS.

Parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, friends should never have to experience this. It is preventable and that is what the NHS should be doing, preventing illness. If Faye had survived she would have been seriously handicapped, not just physically but possibly mentally too. This disease is of the membranes around the brain, there is a very high risk of damage to the brain. 

The effects of meningitis cost the nation vast amount of money and heartache. It is preventable. Young people are the major transmitters of this disease. University's are the ideal environment for transfer from one individual to another. It is thought that vaccinating young people would drastically reduce the risk of contracting meningitis.

The Government must give the NHS funding to roll this out to all children as soon as possible. There is a petition to ask the government to fund this here. I've signed it.

Most of my facts were found on this excellent website. 

Should we pay to protect our children? Have you paid to have your child/grandchild vaccinated? 


Monday, 15 February 2016

Why I'm A Proud Grandmother

I'm a proud Grandmother.

Every day Bear does something that makes me laugh or gaze in wonderment at his new achievement. He is a really happy, mischievous little boy.

So what did he do this this week that made me so proud?

He hasn't been well for what seems like ages. Teething, cold, just off colour. This makes him short tempered and clingy.

I want to sit there, no not sit, carry me...not you! Put me down, pick me up...oh 

Whatever we do will be wrong. It's been that sort of week. (Update - Bear went to the Dr's on Friday and has a sore throat and an ear infection. He needed antibiotics too. No wonder he was grumpy)

Wednesday was Tot's club and off we went a little late. We are always late! It was heaving. Every toddler from North Cardiff must have turned up.

toddler looking into full room

We squeezed ourselves in and Bear went off to play. He found a nice little friend and they played happily at a table with tea cups, plates, that sort of thing. Then the inevitable happened...they both wanted the teapot. Neither was going to give in and a tug of war was about to develop when suddenly Bear let the boy have the teapot. He looked at Grandad and me, gave a huge smile and applauded himself! We, of course, praised him and he waited. It wasn't long before the other boy became bored with the teapot and Bear had his turn.

He could have pulled hard, he was slightly bigger than the other boy. He could have had a tantrum but no. He shared. What is more amazing is that he doesn't have to share at home or with us. He is an only child, everything is his.

That's why I am a very proud Grandmother.

Two toddlers playing with cups and teapots
Playing nicely. They are about the same size, the other toddler is sitting down.

Two toddlers playing with cups and teapots
Still good friends....

Two toddlers both wanting the teapot
Tug of war at it's best

The weather has been quite dry but cold this week so we went to our local park but sadly the swings are gone and it's being refurbished. That is fantastic news but what I don't understand is that the sign says work will begin on March 21st, and it's already dismantled. Next week is half term, I wonder why they didn't wait another week?

picture of frame without swings in park
No Swings. Frame nicely painted though.

sign saying work will start on 21st March, it's now only 11th Feb
Work will start on March 21st, mmm it's only 11th February

picture of fence isolating work in park
No big swings either

They did leave the wavy thing that I had no idea what it was. Bear knew and he's just the perfect height.

three pictures of a toddler walking through and under a metal frame

We tried painting this week. I really don't mind messy play at all so was happy for hands, face and more to get covered. Bear had other ideas. he hated it on his hands and just wanted to wash them. I will try again next week.

picture of a painting in red and a toddlers hand at a sink covered in red paint
Bear didn't like hand painting, or a brush, so straight to the sink to wash it off.

What's Bear been saying this week?

Nothing as amazing as "Don't touch" last week;

Poon                for spoon
I don't know     mostly copying one of us saying it
Tick Tock        at both digital and analogue clocks

He is starting to recognise colours. I quite often say things like "Green. Grass is green, and this ball, and your socks, they are all green" pointing to the object in question.

On Thursday I was giving him some orange and doing the same "this is orange, and that ball is orange and your cup is orange". Pointing to each in turn, and then he pointed to the orange fox on his dungerees!

He still refuses to call me Nanny. He just laughs if I ask him to say it. He is well aware of who we all are and will happily point at each of us in turn, including himself, when we say the names.

So I'm thinking of changing my name. I quite like Gorgeous or Darling, what do you think? 


Sunday, 14 February 2016

#MySundayPhoto Number 7

#MySundayPhoto this week is a picture of the beautiful table, decorated by her friends, at my daughters hen night.

It was a great night at the Cosy Club. Fantastic friends, delicious food and not too much to drink. It was very elegant and we laughed so much!


Saturday, 13 February 2016

Cosy Club Cardiff - Review

The Cosy Club Cardiff is a popular restaurant in the City Centre. I have been for lunch on a few occasions and the food is scrummy!

Cosy Club Cardiff Menu

My daughter is getting married at the end of February and her friends chose the Cosy Club for her hen night. They are not drinkers and they wanted somewhere we could all talk, so not too noisy, and that had great food.
The Cosy Club were happy for the table to be decorated and being a Sunday evening it wasn't too busy.

Friday, 12 February 2016

How to Sew a Crochet Hook Roll - Perfect Gift For Mothers Day

Are you looking for something special for a Mothers Day Gift? This would also be perfect for a birthday or Christmas present. If you can sew a straight line then this is an easy and perfect gift for anyone who loves to crochet.

My daughter in law loves to crochet and she bought herself some fabric, buttons and lace from The Works. It was not at all expensive. With a sketch from her and my notes when I made myself a knitting needle roll I made a crochet hook roll. I practised with some Rosalind Rose fat quarters from Higgs and Higgs . A stunningly beautiful floral, with a complimentary polka dot and a plain lemon cotton. I just love their fabrics. After I did my practice run I changed the pattern slightly and made my daughter in laws. Both are just so practical and pretty.

The amount of fabric needed is small. It could be cut from your favourite remnants or even from clothing no longer worn, maybe a skirt or blouse.

This roll has slots for crochet hooks and a pair of scissors. It has a little pocket for needles and a ribbon to hang stitch/row markers.

The completed size is approx 6½" high and 13½" long. When rolled it is approx 2½" wide, depending on how many hooks you squeeze in!

crochet hook roll in flower print fabric
Beautiful Crochet Hook Roll

crochet hook roll showing inside
The inside is as pretty as the outside and so practical

 All seams are ¼".

You will need;

Sewing machine
Iron & board
Ribbon or lace about 28" long
Measuring Tape
Scissors or rotary cutter and cutting board
Fabric fat quarters or remnants

    A- Main Fabric
    B- Pouch          
    C- Lining          

three different coordinating fabrics


Press fabric and cut the following rectangles.

Fabric A

A1 one piece   10" x 15¾"    Outside
A2 one piece   11¼" x 8½"   Pouch
A3 one piece     4" x 4"         Pocket Flap

Fabric B

B1 one piece   11¼" x 7"      Pouch
B2 one piece     4" x 3"         Pocket

Fabric C

C one piece   10" x 15¾"      Lining

fabric cut into rectangles


Take both pouches, A2 and B1, fold in half right sides together and sew one end. Cut across corners

ends of fabric sewn


Turn right sides out and press. Push corner out with something pointy like a knitting needle.

pouches turn right way out and pressed


Take piece A3, the pocket flap, fold in half right sides together and sew around the edge leaving a gap on one long side.

flap sewn on three sides

turned right side out showing opening


Press flat turning under raw edge so that it looks neat.

flap pressed with raw edges tucked in


On the pocket, trim the corners. Fold ¼" and press. Sew a seam on one long edge. This will be the opening at the top of the pocket.

pocket with two edges teurned in and corners trimmed


Place the 2 pouches onto the lining fabric and pin. Ensure the sewn edge is to the right and the raw edge to the left.

pouches placed onto lining and pinned


Top stitch 7 straight lines ¾" apart starting at the raw edge. This makes the pockets for the crochet hooks. Only sew to the top of the pouch. The 8th line of sewing will be very close to the finished edge. this makes a larger pocket for scissors. I used a guide but you could draw lines using a vanishing fabric marker.

On my practice piece I varied the size of the pockets and found that ¾" was  the ideal size. I also added the lace for the row markers later but thought it looked messy so before you sew the final edge add your lace or ribbon. (see pictures below)

sewing machine foot and top stitching

picture showing first attempt at placing ribbon
My first attempt at placing the ribbon looks a bit messy

picture showing where to place ribbon
Tucked into both seams is so much neater


Place the pocket and and sew in place on three sides.

pocket and flap placed and sewn into position


Pull all the lose threads through to the back, tie and cut short

picture of sewing needle through loop of thread to pull through to wrong side


Make reinforcement for the button. Cut a circle of fabric and place where you are going to put the button. The best place is where the ribbon will be inserted. Sew button into place through the circle of fabric.

circle of fabric and thread through it


Place lining and outside fabric right sides together. Sew three sides and on the fourth leave a gap of about 3" so it can be turned the right way. Ensure the lace/ribbon for the row markers is flat and is caught in the side seam.

Cut across the corners. Turn right side out. Push corners with something pointy and press. Make sure the opening has the edges turned in to match the seam.

lining and outside placed together and sewn on three sides


Fold ribbon/lace in half and insert folded end into gap. Top stitch the opening closed.
On my practice piece I put the button away from the edge but it is better closer to the ribbon.

placement of ribbon and diagram on hwere to place button


Fold over the top. Press, fill with your hooks and roll up!

finished crochet hook roll with top folded over
Pretty fabric from The Works.

finished crochet hook roll with top turned back showing fold

filled crochet hook roll

two finished crochet hook rolls
Left - My first attempt             Right - One for my daughter in law 

It can easily be adapted to hold knitting needles. This one I made years ago has an extra pouch and holds all my needles and hooks.

inside of filled knitting needle roll. cream lining and dark blue edging
My original, full to bursting!

I didn't put a button on, just used a shoe lace and tucked it in.

rolled knitting needle roll. Blue material with gold stars

Please let me know if you make one, I'd love to see your finished project.

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