30 Jun 2014

Galt Toys Mini Masterpiece Challenge

J and I have a bit of a thing for crayons and squiggling. So when Galt Toys requested us to participate in the Mini Masterpiece challenge, we jumped at the opportunity. The challenge for this task was to recreate 'The Kiss' by master painter Gustav Klimt.

Galt Toys very kindly sent us a set of six finger paints to use in our version of the masterpiece. J is 3 years old and a master at using finger paints. But after checking out the intricate detail in the original artwork, we opted to use something a little more precise. Like crayons.
Colouring with crayons

29 Jun 2014

Sunday 29 June 2014

Silent SundayOneDad3Girls

28 Jun 2014

Mint and Yogurt Raita

We have all seen it on the menu of the local Indian take-away. And we have all seen it on the menu of the Michelin-star restaurant in the posh suburb. The mint and yogurt raita is a very ubiquitous creation that cannot escape your palate if you fancy your curries and your curry houses.

And it could not be easier to make. This is my extremely simple take on the mint and yogurt raita. Nothing fancy, just good old delicious home cooking to give you the perfect accompaniment to most dishes.

Make this mint and yoghurt raita in minutes

26 Jun 2014


My son turned 3 this week. This is an Aai's (Mother's) perspective of that wonderful milestone.


Where has the time gone? 

Feels just a moment ago
That I heard your first cry
Cradled you in my arms
Your soft face against mine.

Look at you now, my darling son
All grown up, a proper little boy
A little person in your own right
Three years gone in the blink of an eye.

Pushing limits, testing boundaries,
Baba's strong-will and gentle heart
An independent streak pushing through
Aai's quirks and quick temper to match.

Incessant pillow-talk 
Anything to stop the sleep
The questions come thick and fast
Needing answers to everything.

Chattering along without a pause
No matter who listens or what
Noticing things, big and small,
All that escapes the adult eye.

Potty-trained through the day
Climb, run, jump and play
Sleeps alone in a big-boy bed
Many adventures along the way.

Imagination running wild
Dinosaurs, spaceships abound
Technology is child's play
Aai struggles, you figure things out.

Full toothed cheeky grin
School about to start
Exploring all the world
Even that beyond Aai's grasp.

Doing your own thing
Growing up, strong and tall
Yet crying out loud, tears streaming
When things go a little wrong.

Spreading your wings, independence
As you find your way in the world
Still needing a kiss and a cuddle
My hand to hold through a sound slumber.

The Reading ResidenceProse for Thought

21 Jun 2014

7 Toddler Activities for a Sunny Day

The elusive British Summer has finally put in an appearance in our garden. So J and I have been spending increasingly more time outdoors in all our glorious summer finery. Aka shorts and t-shirts. 

It is quite amazing how a little imagination and a lot of sunshine can transform something as mundane as your back garden into a bustling haven of outdoor fun. 

Here are our top 7 tips to make the most of your garden on a sunny day. 

19 Jun 2014

Mr Men My Complete Collection - A Review

I grew up reading the Mr Men and Little Miss books by Roger Hargreaves. I remember my Mother reading them aloud to me even before I could read for myself. And that was the beginning of a love affair with these adorable characters that has survived to this day.

I always wanted my little J to enjoy the Mr Men books as much as I did. So I was absolutely delighted when the marvellous folk at The Works offered to send me the Mr Men My Complete Collection to read and review.

I had bought the occasional few Mr Men books over the years as presents for little nephews and nieces. But I had no idea the series had grown to a phenomenal 47 books! So if you opt to purchase the Mr Men My Complete Collection, that is exactly what you will get. 47 books, each dedicated to an individual Mr Men character, all neatly packed in a large colourful cardboard box.

Mr Men My Complete Collection


You stir, wake, cry out loud
With practised calm I hurry 
To pick, pat, carry and
Cradle you back to sleep.

Head touches the pillow
Not a moment has lapsed
Eyes flutter open
The screaming restarts.

Too hot, too cold, 
Tired, not quite right
Reason enough to wake 
And cry through the night.

Again and again
Always something askew
Nothing seems to settle
Sleep eludes me and you.

Night after long dark night
My patience wearing thin
I feel my strength sapping
Sanity frayed, anger within.

Oh, precious Sleep! How I covet 
Your welcoming embrace!
Peaceful, undisturbed, serene
Before the impending light of day.

Prose for Thought
The Reading Residence

16 Jun 2014

Wheat-a-Wonder Healthy Superhero

Our J is a boisterous, curious, energetic little toddler who loves his food. Not just his sweat treats and crisps, he really, really likes all his healthy foods as well. From cucumbers to berries to wholegrains to calcium-rich yogurt, he loves it all. The child even asks for healthy snacks of his own accord.

So when the time came to create our very own healthy superhero for the Plum Baby Mighty Moments challenge, we decided to model him on all the things that J enjoys eating almost every day.

Presenting Wheat-a-Wonder, our very healthy and very strong superhero.

Wheat-a-Wonder Healthy Superhero

He is made of nutritious wholegrain with curly-wurly cucumber hair. His beady eyes are grapes and he has a cheery strawberry grin. Yogurt makes his blob of a nose and he has cauliflower greens for his arms and legs. His Wheat-a-Wonder cape is made of delicious mung dal (lentils).

Wheat-a-Wonder has 5 amazing super-powers too.
  • He has super energy to play all day long without ever feeling tired.
  • He has super concentration to sit and finish all school work quickly and nicely.
  • He has super splash powers to swim in pools and splash in puddles whenever he wants.
  • He has super speech that lets him ask lots of questions without ever having to stop for breath.
  • And he has super sleep too. He sleeps in his own bed right through the night.
Wheat-a-Wonder. Every parent's dream come true!

This picture is an entry into the Tots100/Plum Baby Mighty Moments challenge

11 Jun 2014

Up The Climbing Frame

Our J has always been a quiet, good-natured sort of little boy. He is boisterous and very curious, but he is not a risk-taker and is at his happiest playing around his parents. He is not one to go wandering off to have an adventure. 

So it came as no surprise when J in his early days of toddlerhood, needed a lot of coaxing and encouragement to tackle even a couple of steps of a small garden slide. There was an incredible amount of initial resistance and reluctance. It was only when his best friend in the whole wide world was around that he would wander near a slide. We had not even ventured near a climbing frame at this stage, not even at soft play.

And then one day last summer, something clicked. Maybe it was his new pair of shoes, maybe it was the sun radiating warm sunshine. Maybe it was just that my little J was coming out of his shell and showing me his true colours.
Up the climbing frame

9 Jun 2014

The Ideal Home Show, Manchester 2014

The Ideal Home Show came to Manchester and I was delighted to be there on opening day. So there I was with a friend, our tots ensconced in their respective pushchairs. I had checked beforehand and had been assured that the venue was pushchair and wheelchair friendly. Excellent, as I would not have managed half the things I did if I had J running circles all over the place. 

The Ideal Home Show, Manchester 2014

7 Jun 2014

Sunday 8th June 2014

Silent SundayOneDad3Girls

Iberostar Albufera Playa - A Testimonial

This is the second year running that we booked to go on holiday to the Iberostar Albufera Playa Hotel on the shores of Playa de Muro, one of the best beaches in all of Majorca. That by itself is testament enough of the brilliant time we had at the Albufera Playa the first time round. But after another fantastic holiday, I just had to put down in words exactly what I think of all the facilities on offer at this Iberostar resort.

Iberostar Albufera Playa by daylight

For starters, the atmosphere in the reception lounge was relaxed and courteous. We were offered a glass of champagne (juice for J) while we were waiting to check-in. We did not feel at all rushed as we sat there sipping our drinks for some time even after all the paper work was sorted and we got handed our keys. Great start, for that is what holidays are all about in my opinion. Never being rushed to do anything.

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