sad dog


When my seven year old boy tells me he’s not clever, my heart aches with the knowledge of all that he CAN do but doesn’t realise it or it probably isn’t valued so much in the school arena.

He can run the fastest in his class, control a football with stupendous ease, make everyone he comes into contact with laugh with his perfectly timed humour, compile an amazing Power point or Keynote presentation unaided, put together complicated models and fix the hinges on the kitchen cupboards by analysing and solving the problem (all on his own).

These are just a few examples of how clever he is, but his self esteem when he talks about his learning is pretty low. Reading didn’t come that easily to him, I know he compares himself to his class mates and his twin sister, she found learning to read easy and this self comparison can be a common theme among twins, we’ve always been careful not to compare them, but they do inevitably compare themselves.

The emphasis on ‘academic’ achievement in schools and society is huge I’ve noticed and I think it’s a shame.  Recently I was speaking to a lovely guy in his early twenties who is working for a landscaping company.  He said “I didn’t do well at school” and he hung his head slightly and gave me the impression that he thought he was the one at fault and somehow a bad person for it.  Somewhere these little boys are getting lost and it pains me.

Through fantastic teachers and a lot of research and effort on my part, or perhaps just with time, my son is now finding reading easier and beginning to enjoy it.

thumbs up, happyI really wanted to share with you this website I came across and a particular section I found to be uplifting and inspiring in relation to boys reading.  The guy in the video is one of life’s heroes.

Encouraging boys

Signature large


This week I have been….

Reconnecting…we’ve finally moved back into our OWN house after three years of planning and executing our renovation!  Our dream has always been to have a sunny, open, light family space that is understated and simple and which enables us to just live simply and enjoy life and each other with minimal fuss and we’ve done it.  We have spent our time and money on the design rather than expensive, flashy stuff and it was definitely the right thing for us to do.  It’s exactly what we wanted.  Now we can just enjoy it.


Listening to… the Desert Island Disks Podcast.  Thanks to Emma Louise Trotter of The Life Edit for reminding me just how great it is, she wrote her own: Desert Island Disks and it is superbly written, she is one cool, inspiring young lady and entrepreneur (what she doesn’t know about social media and blogging is not worth knowing!)  Well, thanks and I’m addicted to it and you will be too.  Download the podcast and search for your favourite person.  It transforms a boring journey or bathroom cleaning session into an education and an inspiration!  Judy Dench, Stephen Fry, Guy Garvey, Mary Portas, a-maz-ing.

Desert Island Disks podcast on Iphone with a cup of tea

Reminding…myself to choose simplicity and enjoy my children while they’re still young enough to want to spend time with us.  We were sat having dinner tonight after a full week of school, ready to begin half term.  We had all finished eating, J went to make a quick phone call and I was about to spring up in ‘let’s get this mess cleared up sharpish’ mode, when I stopped myself, focussed on the present moment, reminded myself of what’s important and decided to just listen to my children tell me about themselves and their day, without judgement.  I really listened, it was lovely.  It was a special part of today, and so simple, just connecting and listening.  Every other meaningless task really can wait.



Signature large


This week I have been…

Creating… a craft cabinet for all of our craft supplies, which are used regularly by our children for creating art, craft and design projects.  They love it, and since we no longer have ‘screen time’ in the mornings at the weekend, they can often be found sat at the table creating, sometimes in silence on their own, sometimes nattering together or listening to music, all whilst we have a much needed lie-in or in-bed-catch-up (no innuendoes thank you!) with a nice cup of tea! They amaze me at what they create, I bloomin’ love it!  Here are yesterday’s creations:

creative art and craft for kids

Glittery dino

creative kids ideas

Barcelona badge

children's craft ideas

Life cycle of a flower

happy creative kids


Here’s the craft cabinet:

organised craft supplies for kids, best art and craft cabinet for kids


The craft supplies in each drawer are:

Paper, card (different colours, sizes and textures)

Pens, pencils, colours, felts

Scissors, glue, sellotape, hole punch, paper fasteners, stapler (teach how to use safely)

Blank cards and envelopes

Lollypop sticks

Pipe cleaners

Felt scraps

Fabric scraps






Googly eyes

Funky tapes




Tip: keep paint and glitter in either a locked container in the cabinet or somewhere out of their reach, so that they have to come to you to be able to use it and so then you are aware that they are using it and enable appropriate use (such as on a tray or newspaper, so that the excess glitter can be poured back into the containers).   I’m quite laid back about mess, but realised I could make the clean up easier for everyone by monitoring glitter and paint use.



Experimenting…with the challenging of not buying anything new for three months.  In a simplicity/minimalist blog I was reading recently, a family is doing a year long challenge of not buying anything new for that time.  My husband thinks it’s a bit gimmicky and prefers this idea:

Waiting one month between thinking you need/want to buy something (a large-ish purchase) and actually buying it. (from Clutterfree with Kids, Joshua Becker, author of the blog Becoming Minimalist.

I have personally decided to challenge myself to not buy anything new for one month with a view to repeating it again for the next month and so on.  Whichever route one chooses I just like the shift in thinking that it creates.  From the default switch being set to buy (and think about it afterwards), to being set to don’t buy (and think about what else you could do to get what you need or achieve what it is you need the item for, could you borrow it or buy it second hand).  You get me?  Hope so.

Book clu

Setting…up a book club.  I used to be in a book club but then we moved away from the area.  I really enjoyed my time in the club, I met some lovely, interesting people and read some truly great books that I would not otherwise have thought to pick up.  After trying to find an already established book club in our current area and finding that they’re all full, I’ve decided to set one up myself.  There’s tonnes of help and guidance online on how to go about doing it.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have a smashing bank holiday weekend!

Signature large