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Our mini fashion show

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8 days and counting!

We’re going on our summer ‘Jolidays’, Yay! I love the lead up to a holiday, I just can’t contain my excitement, even Alfie is starting to get fed up of my sudden outbursts of joy. I’ve already been busy writing lists and preparing for the big packing session, the best part being the clothes shopping. Not for me though, I generally become moody after I’ve tried on the first garment, love handles are just not in this season! Shopping for my son however is much more fun! Cue, shopping trip!

I’d love to say Alfie was excited by this but that would be a fib. He spent the whole car journey there in a foul, miserable mood. I had to use various forms of bribery, agreeing to buy him a small gift if he was good, the promise that we’d go for some nice lunch and a half hour extension on his bedtime. You might think I’m wrong in using bribery but it works for us and I’ll be sticking to it.

It was a trip to Primark on this occasion. Alfie goes through clothes very quickly so their extremely reasonable prices are very important to us. They have a good variety of clothes and accessories and we rarely come out with less than a basket full of clothes, for a fraction of the price we can pay at others stores.

After all Alfie’s initial moaning, we actually ended up having quite a lot of fun checking out all the T-shirt slogans and funny sunglasses. We walked around the boys collection and Alfie picked out various T-shirts and shorts he liked. I had to talk him round on a few as they were a little too garish for my liking but I’m proud to say he generally has good taste. We spent quite a while picking out his outfits and trying on shoes but we were having so much fun.

beach sunglasses funny sunglasses

After we left the store we went for some lunch and also nipped to get Alfie a hot wheels car from Wilkinsons, the treat I promised him for being good. We had a lovely afternoon. I made sure this particular shopping trip was all about him but it’s my turn next, let’s see how that goes!

When we got home I suggested he put on a fashion show for me. He was so excited by this and rushed off upstairs with his bags. I was told to sit on the sofa and hum a tune when he clicked his fingers, the notification that he was about to come down the stairs and onto the ‘cat walk’. We had such a giggle strutting our stuff and striking poses.

shades orange blue shirt big deal

All in all, a delightful shopping trip. I wish they were all like this!!

x

A mini farm park visit

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When the sun actually shone for that one week, we found the chance to pop over to my Aunties house for a visit one evening. We were delighted to see all the animals out in force so we ended up spending an hour or so basking in the sunshine with them.

As soon as we got there we walked down to the stable yard to find Aunty J who was busy mucking out a stable, ready to bring old Taffy in for his dinner. After we’d helped bed him down, fill his water buckets and prepare his dinner we hurried off to collect him from the field where he was already waiting, obviously very familiar with his dinner time routine. It was only a short walk back to the stable so I asked Alfie if he wanted to ride on Taffys back, expecting the answer to be no. I was therefore really surprised when he said yes, chuffed in fact! I’d spent many a day up at our local riding school mucking out umpteen stables for free rides. I’ve always loved horses and the fact Alfie wasn’t scared of mounting one meant I could perhaps enlist him in a few riding lessons throughout the summer. Yay!

Horseback

After we had put Taffy to bed we walked back up to the house and went for a walk around the garden. The chickens made us laugh as they scurried about, Alfie following them around all the nooks and crannies of the garden. Aunty J got out some chicken feed and showed Alfie how to feed them. He wasn’t keen on letting them peck the seeds from his hand but he thoroughly enjoyed throwing it all over them instead. Poor chickens!

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Then it was time for the ducks! Alfie was surprised to see they were sunbathing as he had only really associated them with water and ponds. They were happily relaxing when we got there but not for long! Alfie was intent on making loud quacking sounds, being naturally loud and boyish… the ducks quickly ran off in the other direction. They waddled in a line at one point and I explained how they followed their mother like this when they were young. Aunty J also explained how to tell the difference between the female and male ducks – the male having curly tail feathers.

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We then waddled like the ducks around to the back of the house where Fudge resided. Fudge is a rabbit, and a pretty large rabbit at that. Aunty J told Alfie to pick some dandelion leaves for Fudge as he enjoyed these as a snack. After taking his time to select ones that looked fresh and tasty he threw them to the rabbit, without getting too close. He’s not scared of a horse but cute bunnies just aren’t his thing, strange child.

Rabbit

Similarly he didn’t want to touch the poor guinea pigs. We squeaked at them for a moment and then Alfie was fed up with them, they didn’t do much he said.

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After we had looked around the garden for a while longer, overturning rocks and searching through the foliage for mini-beasts, we decided it was getting a little late and said our goodbyes.

It had been a lovely early evening visit and Alfie has been so intrigued he hadn’t even mentioned food!

Lazy efforts

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So, I’ve already found the task of writing my posts extremely hard. I’ve an endless list of blog post ideas and a full catalogue of photographs all waiting for their debut appearances, but it seems I’m taking more time collating the information than getting it written down!

My main task of late has been to read…read a little more, and then read a lot more. There is so much information to help us newbie bloggers out there, Britmums and Tots100 being very important to my chosen path in the blogging world.

My current week is now scheduled and among the havoc of new exercise regimes (we’re going on holiday in two weeks, I’ve left it a bit late I know!), housework and my real job *cough* I plan to rectify my lack of documented episodes. I’ve already seen the shortage of regular posts can sometimes be quite a common occurrence at some point in a ‘part time’ bloggers life so I’m not too worried with my lazy efforts just yet. My lack of commitment my seem excessive at the moment, my last post being in April, but I know I’ll come back from the dead soon.

x

Is there a Doctor in the house!?

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We love role play in our house. Since Alfie’s toddler years we’ve owned a thousand cafes, treated umpteen animals at our vets surgery, put out fires around the world, delivered parcels in masses and fixed more appliances than you can shake your spanner at.

It was quite natural then, that my choice recommendation for my friends two year old, we’ll call him ‘Doctor T’ for the purposes of this review, was a Doctors medical kit.

Made by Peterkin Toys, their recommended age is 3+ but as my friends son is very nearly 3 it wasn’t something we mused over for long. In fact, we both agreed the recommended age was perfect as there are a couple of smaller parts you would need to be slightly weary of with younger children.

To begin with we took the medical instruments out one by one, showing our budding Doctor T how to use each one – eye drops, stethoscope, blood pressure monitor, syringe, thermometer… the list goes on but I’m afraid I don’t know the medical names for them! Enthralled is a good word for the response we got, he loved it. Hours have been spent on this toy since, the blood pressure monitor being his favourite although, if we could place a negative on any of the instruments it would be this one. The monitor comes apart quite a lot and you have to thread the blue air tube back into the pump and into the bit that fits on the patients arm. It’s not a massive task but it can get a little frustrating when the instrument is one of the most used.The medical kit was definitely a hit nevertheless!

DoctorskitDoctorskit

My friends only concern with this set was the fact Dr T had to injure his Teddys before he treated them. One poor teddy had several incidents with a door. This wasn’t the case with his real friends though (phew!) as later in the week Doctor T introduced his medical kit to two of his female friends, aged 2 and 4 years. They played very well together, patiently taking it in turns to perform their medical check ups on each other. There is usually some sort of battle over who gets the best toy but on this occasion there seemed to be enough to go round. No tantrums or tears this time. Hooray!

We felt the medical kit was a great way to prepare children for a real doctors visit. Alfie has always been mesmerised by our doctors apparatus, having something at home to compare the instruments to has always made it easier for me to talk about our visits. I’d do anything to take his mind off the real reasons we are going. I’ve still not found anything to help with revolting medicine administering though, have you?!

Another Super Giveaway

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I’m super excited about the latest UK giveaway from Alfie’s Attic, we’d really like to spread the word. There are also some fantastic offers running on the Facebook page. We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out!

So, to celebrate spring Alfies Attic are giving away this Melissa and Doug felt Sandwich food set. It’s perfect for rainy days play or sunny alfresco dining. Children can open their very own sandwich shop, and we all know how much fun they have doing this! Alfie is a very keen menu maker!

Their are dozens of sandwich stuffers including meats, cheeses, vegetables, condiments and more. Use white or wheat bread slices or a pita pocket to complete a multitude of special orders!

felt food

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

feltfood melissa-and-doug-Felt-Food-Sandwich-Set-Sandwich-food-pretend-play

We’ve found Melissa and Doug products to be exceptional value for money. You can even visit their website for tips on extension activities for each product. What a fantastic idea!

Felt Food Sandwich Set – More Ways to Play and Learn:

  1. Ask the child to identify each food item (other than condiments) and to categorize it by basic food group: meat, dairy, grain, fruit or vegetables.
  2. Take turns being a chef and a dining customer in a restaurant. Place an “order” for a sandwich with a variety of ingredients. Have the child assemble your order using auditory memory. Discuss which types of sandwiches are generally more appropriate for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  3. Have the child identify the colours and obvious shapes of each food item.
  4. Place all the felt food pieces in a row. Count the number of pieces. Repeat until the child is able to count them independently.
  5. Visual memory skills: Place 3-4 ingredients in front of the child. Let the child study them before asking the child to close their eyes while you remove one piece. Ask the child which piece was removed. Gradually increase the number of ingredients.

ENTER HERE

A taste of paleontology for kids

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One of my first purchases when starting up Alfie’ Attic was of a variety of ‘Gifts in a Tin’ from Apples to Pears. I really like the idea of having all you need from a gift, contained within a quirky little tin. It doesn’t surprise me that I regularly see these products wherever I go. With ranges in the garden, home, craft and toy industries the gift ideas offered by Apples to Pears is excellent. Unfortunately they only sell to trade but you can find their products popping up all over the internet.

My personal favourite is a ‘Dig your own Dinosaur’ set, the recommended age being for age 6 and over, perfect to try out on Alfie.

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Alfie was so excited to be my expert toy reviewer that I didn’t even have the heart to make him change out of his school uniform.

In the tin we found a clay block, instructions and our wooden excavation tools – a hammer, a chisel type tool and a brush. The idea is to chip away at the clay block until you find a dinosaur relic. There are four to collect and each one is slightly different. You do need a small amount of patience to carefully chisel and brush away at the clay but I felt it encouraged Alfie to take less of a ‘bull at the gate’ attitude which he has in almost every task.

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We spent a good hour excavating the first two fossils. Alfie loved pretending he was a palaeontologist, talking me through his findings whilst chipping away at the clay. My knowledge of fossils is quite  limited so we searched the internet to find out some simple facts. Did you know…

  • The word fossil comes from the latin word Fossilis which means ‘dug up’
  • Fossils are the impressions, traces and sometimes the remains of animals and plants from the past

These are just two of many – I’ll leave you to your own investigations. We spent the whole afternoon finding out all about the different kinds of fossils and how they were formed. The product really inspired us to do our research and Alfie was absolutely fascinated.

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There was a fair amount of clay dust involved but it wipes off easily and it didn’t cause any stains on Alfies clothes. The fact it was a bit messy made Alfie all the more interested, of course.

So far we’ve found an imitation fossil, a cute little dinosaur hatching out of it’s egg and a plastic dinosaur skeleton. We’re yet to find the final relic but Alfie is keen to complete his excavation. The aluminium tin is perfect for reuse and is perhaps the perfect storage space for any future discoveries!

Here is a link to our ‘dig a dinosaur gift in a tin set‘, just in case you fancy a go.

Alfie highly recommends it!

x

Man Looking

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Too many moments of my day are used up because I’m having to look for stuff. Admittedly I cause a lot of this frustration by misplacing items myself, mainly in the fridge or the wrong cupboard – the actual list of unearthly nooks and crannies our items have been found is endless. Despite the sheer annoyance these endeavours take me through, I never give up. There is, after all, no one else who will look for them.

This can not be said for the male species in our household though. The ability to find lost items in their world is…well..completely lost! A glance in the shoe cupboard for a shoe or a root through the toy box to find a toy usually fails to strike gold. My assistance to locate these ‘lost’ items is usually needed at least a couple of times a day, despite my encouragement when listing the places said items could be.

It has become such a regular occurrence that we’ve now named it ‘Man Looking’. I wouldn’t want to offend any man who is capable of finding lost goods…. it just so happens our house does not have such a male.

As Alfie is now old enough to read, we decided to devise a ‘Man Looking’ checklist. We’ve printed it and it now hangs on his bedroom wall. Apart from the obvious Monday morning rush to find school uniform and homework, there are strict rules to follow this checklist before enlisting my help.

Feel free to print it for yourself – it really does help. Alfie has used it on several occasions. One in particular was when locating the remote control for the television on Saturday evening. Alfie did have to take all the sofa cushions off the sofa (which I then had to help him put back on again afterwards) but he did it – he found the television remote all by himself. I think the list encourages him to look harder and he seems to be having fun following the steps – except number 6 of course!

manlook

A worrying Google search by my 6 year old. Advice please!

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A couple of months back I had a disconcerting moment after finding this on my mobile phone Google search app.
Alfies google search

I heard you gasp!

Ignore Cheltenham, that was me looking for a hotel, not where you’re likely to find naked ladies and privets!

As I’m sure some of you can imagine, the next next few hours of my day were spent soul searching. Was I a bad Mother? Why is my 6 year old searching these things? How could he possibly be interested in girls yet? What did I miss?…….Why can’t he spell picture correctly? (Joke).

After ringing my Mum and requesting advice from several friends (Useless though they were when in fits of hysterics) I decided to prepare myself for a ‘chat’. The initial ‘What have you been searching for on my phone lately’ question was met with a bashful gasp and a cushion to the face. He instantly knew what I was referring to. Does this mean he knew it was wrong? Is it wrong to be inquisitive though? The fact he searched for this information on my phone was not his fault, I shouldn’t have left him alone with it. Surely he would have just asked me those questions directly if the phone hadn’t been available….or perhaps that would have been far too embarrassing for him? How do you ensure your kids probe you, before the internet?

When I finally talked him out of hiding I told him it was perfectly fine to be curious about things, it’s how people learn. I explained that I would happily tell him anything he needed to know, all he had to do was ask. I think I expected his next few questions to relate to ‘kissing and cuddling’ but in fact he explained that he’d wanted to know what ‘it’, ‘ladies bits’ were called. I can’t tell you how relieved I was.

The details of what we call ‘it’ are probably of no further interest to you but I will tell you that I also told him the real name for ‘it’. Thankfully, when asking him about it again several minutes later he had forgotten how to pronounce it. Phew!

After doing a bit of my own Google searching I found this excellent advice on early sexual development. It may be useful to bookmark it. For any of you who think their kids are too young….you are wrong!

I dread to think about the teenage years!

x

You’ve been framed!

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Does any one else spend an endless amount of time trying to get a good video for a £250 award?

My son and I love having a giggle. We very often dance foolishly around the park or play ball games with over exaggerated gusto. It goes without saying, as we’re the least bit camera shy, that we try and video these mad episodes in case we find a winning film production for the ‘You’ve Been Framed’ award. This is normal, right?

There have been a few funny movies but I’ve not yet been compelled to send any of them in, despite Alfie wanting to send them all!. This one however, could be a winner…..everyone loves children and animals so why would it fail?! It’s not amazingly funny but then there are quite a few on the TV show that aren’t!

Wish us luck!

YBF

Monkey love is unconditional

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I’m not entirely sure how it happened but Max the Monkey quickly became THE favourite. I desperately tried to entice my son Alfie with soft fluffy bunny rabbits and cute cozy teddy bears, but no, my gallant efforts failed miserably. So here he is, Max the Monkey!

Max

Max

You may think he’s rather ugly, like I do, but the true extent of Alfie’s love for this cuddly creature came to light on a recent visit to Nanny’s house (my Mother).

Unfortunately for Max the Monkey it seems Alfie is not the only one who likes to suck and chew on his un-primate looking ear. We now know that Flynn, Nanny’s border collie, is also partial to a bit of lobe love too – Don’t shed a tear just yet, it’s not quite as bad as you’re expecting, thank goodness!

So, poor Max was left unattended in the presence of the stuffed toy devourer while the unsuspecting Nanny and Alfie went about their business. It was a chance glance at the dog when Nanny realised Flynn was chewing on something! Max! Argh! I can just imagine her leaping to the Monkeys rescue – it even plays in slow motion in my head. After a brief game of tug of war and a finger wagging scold Max was freed. But he was not unscathed.

Although I wasn’t present during this whole ordeal (hockey match), I can just imagine the ear piercing wail that came from Alfies mouth as his Monkey dropped from the jaws of his vanquisher. The more I think about it the more I wish I had been there to console my poor boy. My heart sinks when I think of what he felt at that precise moment. I struggle to put soft toys in the loft after a de-clutter (they’d be lonely up there!) so I can’t imagine how Alfie felt seeing his Monkey in this predicament. It wasn’t a complete horror story though, Max had only lost an ear. The stuffing was seeping out the side of his head and Alfie was traumatised, but at least it was only an ear!

Nanny and Grandad B spent the next half an hour consoling poor Alfie. The three of them studied soft toys in hope to find an appropriate candidate for a skin graft. A teddy bears arm, a rabbits ear, a camels leg, what could they use for an ear? – But Alfie didn’t want to harm them, bless him. In the end Nanny managed to talk him into letting the Lanzarote Camel help out. Out came the sewing box, off came Camels leg and ta dah!!!

Monkeyear

The operation went well and Max the Monkey got a new ear! Can you tell? I thought Nanny did a grand job, don’t you?

So where were Nanny and Alfie in Max’s hour of need? Racing cars on a playstation game! Poor Max had been neglected!

You’ll be glad to know that Alfie has fully recovered. The only person I’m worried about now is Nanny. What will her work colleagues think of her when she tells them she’s spent the weekend operating on cuddly toys?!

(We’d like to thank Lanzarote Camel for his overwhelming donation during this truly emotional time.)

camel

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