Mellow Mummy : Taking life as it comes...

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Early Readers and Spring Fun with Pat-A-Cake

Children are never too young to start enjoying books - I've brought up two little bookworms with a love of story books and picture books that has set them off perfectly in life.  A Pat-A-Cake board book makes a perfect introduction to books for even the tiniest babies; with red, black and white contrast for helping to perfect early vision and robust interactive board pages that your baby and toddler can watch you use, and then learn to use themselves, Pat-A-Cake have mastered the art of baby's first books.



As with reading, there are several other life skills that you needn't be afraid to introduce your baby to from a very young age and build into your daily routine.  This spring my girls couldn't wait to get out into the garden with us to start planting fruit and vegetables - watching a seed grow into a plant is a great way of getting little people involved in gardening and it's a fun family activity in the spring sunshine.




Over the last few weekends we've also done a lot of baking; Lara and Holly both started helping me to cook as soon as they were able to sit up unaided in their highchair. We've baked Easter cupcakes, hot cross buns and marble cakes together over the last few weekends and last night Lara even helped me make satay chicken.


Pat a Cake's First Baby Days On the Move Book inspired this blog post looking back on the habits we started early with Lara and Holly and which I'm so glad we did.  You can find out more about Pat A Cake Books' range of books for  new babies, pre-school and early years on Facebook, twitter and Instagram.

 


Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Mystery Buns - Easter Hot Cross Buns from NOW TV #TotCrossBuns

Yesterday was a very lazy day for me, recovering from an epic, hot marathon, the girls promised me that it would be an honorary Mother's day. The day started well with toast and coffee made by the girls, then they did the washing and sorted out the ironing.  In the afternoon we did some Easter baking together inspired by some of the range of kids TV programmes available on Now TV with a NOW TV Kids Pass.



We discovered NOW TV at Christmas thanks to an offer on a pizza (!) and we've watched a movie or show on it almost every night since! The girls have just started to explore what's available in the kids content too; there are some big names to look out for because you can watch channels which aren't available on Freeview including Cartoonito, Nick Jr. Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

NOW TV sent us some Easter recipe cards with instructions on how to get the girls cooking their own Tot Cross Buns, each one inspired by a different NOW TV show. The girls chose to make the Mystery Bun.  A fairly normal looking Hot Cross Bun but with a mystery on the inside, inspired by Be Cool Scooby Doo.



Hot Cross Buns are notoriously hard to bake well but Lara is always up for a challenge. We were following a recipe by Candice of Bake-Off fame so Lara took it very seriously (she is a BIG fan). Our basic dough recipe was supplemented with chocolate chips and fudge chips and then topped off with an almond chocolate biscuit in the shape of a Scooby Snack, all dipped in a butterscotch caramel.

Lara had great fun making the bone biscuits - anything with chocolate in gets her interested. We didn't have a bone-shaped biscuit cutter so she did these ones by hand. I thought the biscuits added an interesting touch to an Easter classic and especially yummy when drizzled in butterscotch sauce.



Also in the range of Tot Cross Buns kids Easter recipes was:
  • The Hot X Bun inspired by the Powerpuff Girls
  • Iced pink cinnamon buns topped with marshmallows, popping candy and strawberry laces for a cross
  • Bun-der the Sea inspired by Spongebob Squarepants
  • Pineapple and blueberry buns topped with starfish
  • Ninja Buns inspired by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Savoury, pizza-like buns with pepperoni, cheese and tomato



Monday, 10 April 2017

Pirate Pete and his Smelly Feet - Childrens Book Review

Holly loves rhyming stories at present - I think all her foundation work with phonics really helps her to recognise the art of rhyming words. Pirate Pete and his smelly feet is a fun and fast-paced rhyming picture book about a gang of pirates who've had enough of one of their shipmate's odorous feet and Holly thinks it is great fun.



First Pete has to walk the plank. Then he wanders all alone through the wilderness but finally, his old crew need him back to help out - Pete's cheesy feet are quite good at warding off shoals of sharks.  The story is written by Lucy Rowland and the illustrations are by Mark Chambers.

The paperback book comes with a sheet of stinky stickers for you to use throughout the book; scratch the stickers to release a very cheesy whiff indeed.  Holly and Lara both rushed to have a go before they'd even read the book!

I really loved the rhymes in this book - it always makes it so much easier to read out loud to the girls when the rhyme just works naturally. I found the story fun and fast and I particularly liked the way that the illustrations worked with the text to suggest passing of time as Pete sinks into the ocean and when he is wandering over the island.



The illustrations are bight and fun with lots of bright yellow whiffy, cheesiness and lots of piratey goodness to be found on ships, islands and oceans. Holly and I think it's a fabulous book that is lots and lots of fun.

Pirate Pete and his Smelly Feet is published by Pan Macmillan children's books and costs around £6.99.
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