Mellow Mummy : Taking life as it comes...

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Little Hankies Children's Handkerchief Review

I can very clearly remember the day when I first "met" Charlotte from Little Hankies on twitter.  Discovering wonderful new products and small businesses on twitter is one of the things I most love about blogging and on this day in question I can remember the feeling of discovery.  That little sparkle of something special that I just "knew" was going to be brilliant.

The other thing I remember is embarrassment.  It felt very weird to admit that my two girls would have no idea what a hankie was.  Growing up, I always used handkerchiefs and tissues were a bit of a rarity.  But as someone who likes to make small changes that can make a green difference to the environment, it occurred to me that maybe I should rediscover the simple handkerchief!

Little Hankies make children's handkerchiefs.  These aren't plain old white things, they are beautifully patterned printed hankies with designs to appeal to lots of different children's tastes.  From dinosaurs to bears, from snowflakes to fairies.  Each hankie is 24cm square and beautifully finished at the edges.


Lara and Holly sat with me online to choose their own designs of Little Hankies children's handkerchief.  Lara chose a loom band design and Holly chose wild flowers.  Each Hankie costs £4.49 which feels like quite a lot but a hankie can be used time after time after time.  Just pop it in your next regular wash when it has been used too much and then use it all over again.

When our Little Hankies arrived in their gorgeous hand-wrapped packaging, I did have to explain to Lara and Holly all over again about how a Hankie worked.  It's like a tissue, but you don't throw it away after you've blown your nose!  Lara can just about comprehend this now and asks for hers when it has disappeared into the wash, but I don't think Holly has quite grasped the concept!  But for Holly a hankie is so much more practical than a tissue; she has such sensitive skin that is easily irritated by a tissue... a soft cotton fabric is much kinder to the skin.

I have definitely been re-converted to hankies (and in fact I'm on the lookout for some groovy grown-up ones now).  In the future, I'd love to see selection packs of 3 or more hankies from Little Hankies so that you always have one available!

You can find out more about these fun children's Handkerchiefs on twitter, facebook and pinterest.

Monday, 23 March 2015

#TeamChallenge10 My First Half Marathon!

"It has been an eventful month since I last updated you on my 10 mile challenge.  One in which I have, indeed, run the full 10 miles.  Last March it had still never crossed my mind to run anywhere.  I was the heaviest I have ever been and did almost zero exercise.  Yesterday, 9 months after I went for my first jog/walk experiment, I ran my first half marathon.  Bonkers.  I still can't quite get my head around it.

I ran the Vitality Reading Half Marathon yesterday in 2 hours, 27 minutes and 43 seconds.  It was well within my 2.5 hour goal but still a long way off my original plan.  The weather was gorgeous (I got a bit sun-burned!) and I loved every second of it.  I just wish my legs hadn't felt so tired as my head and my lungs wanted to go faster.

My training went well right up until Christmas when I experienced a groin injury.  It has been a slow recovery and I only just feel like I'm approaching the same level of fitness that I had back in December.

In the past month I have completed my long training runs, 10 miles, 11 miles and then 13 miles.  I had a two week taper (for taper read... eat lots of food and watch TV instead of going running).  I knew I could manage the distance but until I crossed the start line yesterday morning, I had no idea what my game plan was going to be.  I just went with the flow of things and waited to see how I felt.

The Reading route included two long, hard hills but it did also include some great town-centre areas where the crowds were excellent.  The shouts of support definitely helped and there were two occasions where I managed aeroplane arms down the hills.  It was great fun and I'd definitely do it again.

Today my knees and legs are a bit sore and I have one small blister but I think I got off lightly.

So is that it?  Have I completed my 10 mile challenge?  No way - there is so much more to come.  a team 10 mile challenge, another half marathon, a sub 60 minute 10k and my little girl's first 5k race are all to come this summer.  I can't wait.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Technology Will Save Us - a DIY Thirsty Plant Kit

Lara has really discovered the joys of science in the past few weeks.  As a family we have made volcanoes, simulated shadows and explained the solar eclipse.  This week has been British Science Week so we have been eager to encourage this new-found interest for Lara and what better way than with a hands-on science kit from Technology Will Save Us?

This week, during the evenings, Lara, Holly and Daddy have been building their own DIY Thirsty Plan Kit.  This is a hands-on electronics project for children to build themselves.  It is designed for children aged 10 upwards because it has some small fiddly pieces to construct but Lara and Daddy built it together (with a little assistance from Holly!).  

The kit provides everything you need to make a solar-powered moisture sensor which will alert you when your house plant needs watering.  Lara thought this was really clever and couldn't wait to get started.  The little kit contained all of the materials and electronic components and the instructions can be found online.  First up, the girls mixed a plaster of paris concoction which is used to create the sensor with a pair of nails.  Then you twist the wires and LEDs to build the circuit.  There isn't any soldering required (much to Mr. B's disappointment!)

Testing out her circuit!

I thought this DIY Thirsty Plant Kit was a good introduction to electronics, though perhaps not as a child's very first experience of circuits which I think probably requires something a bit more immediate like a switch or a buzzer to explain the concept of basic electrical circuits.  But, armed with the basic skills and experience for creating a sensor can be the beginning of a fascinating science journey for older, eager minds and its great to see that Technology Will Save Us provide little tempting snippets to try and encourage this thought process about what you might do next once you've built your first sensor... perhaps you might wire it up to a twitter account to tell the world when your plant needs watering?!

Our sensor is now taking care of my prize chilli seedling!

You can find out more about Technology Will Save Us (as a child, parent or teacher) over at
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