Papier Mache Easter Eggs

papier mache easter eggs I’ve been busy getting ready for our Easter Egg hunt. I’ve bought plastic eggs (£1 for a bag of 8 from Hobbycraft) and made larger papier mache eggs and plan to fill both with a mixture of little gifts (play jewellery, bubbles and sweets).

papier mache easter eggs

Seren and I made the papier eggs together, she loved spreading glue over the balloons but didn’t like getting her fingers too sticky with the paper bit. I enjoyed making these though and think the bright colours will look great nestled amongst the plants in the garden.

If you would like to make some, you will need:  

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* Ripped up paper, enough to cover each balloon two or three times – we used tissue paper
* Small balloons – we used 5 inch balloons from eBay though water bomb balloons would be great for this
* Scissors
* PVA glue
* Water
* Brush or glue spreader
* Bowls for glue and paper
* Cups to stand the balloons on
* Vaseline or a similar barrier cream
* Filling – shredded paper, messages, sweets, chocolate, gifts – whatever you fancy

How to do it:

papier mache easter eggs

1. Blow up balloons to desired size.
2. Cover balloon in vaseline (this makes it easier to remove the balloon afterwards).
3. Mix PVA with water (about 2/3 PVA to 1/3 water) in a small bowl. 

papier mache easter eggs

4. Cover a small section of balloon with the glue mix and stick bits of paper on, brushing glue over the top of the paper too to make sure it’s all stuck down.

papier mache easter eggs5. Continue until you’ve covered all the balloon, though don’t cover over the balloon knot at the bottom.

papier mache easter eggs6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’ve done 1 or 2 more layers, depending on how thick your paper is (we did 3 layers). You can leave it to dry in between layers but it’s not necessary. I dried mine by resting them on the cups and turning over after a while to make sure both ends dried out.

papier mache easter eggs7. Once dry, you can pop the balloon with your scissors! This is fun. It should come out pretty easily. leaving the papier mache ‘egg’ in tact.

papier mache easter eggs papier mache easter eggs papier mache easter eggs8. You can now fill the egg, either directly through the whole at the bottom if you have small items or cut into the egg for larger items. Cut a cross incision at the bottom for medium sized things or cut it completely in half lengthways for bigger items. Once filled, you then re-seal the egg with more paper mache, leaving a small gap at the bottom so little fingers to rip the egg open.

papier mache easter eggs papier mache easter eggs9. Then have fun hiding them or popping them straight into your little one’s Easter basket!

papier mache easter eggs

I also made a couple of eggs using paper doilies for a table centrepiece. I used only the bottom half of the balloon for these and cut the edges to look like a broken egg. Then I filled with shredded paper and Easter treats! They also work well to hold the complete papier mache eggs in too!

papier mache easter eggsHappy Easter crafting whatever you’re making!

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Books for Spring

preschool books for springWe sorted through our books last week making sure we had all the ‘spring’ themed ones out (Mother’s Day, Easter, farm, bug and rabbit stories mainly!) and put away some of the other books. I prefer to rotate books, toys, clothes etc so we can see the wood from the trees! We got some new books for Seren too and got some old favourite toddler books out for Imogen.

preschool books for spring

I especially wanted to mention one of the books in the photo above, Spring by Gerda Muller. The books contains no words, just beautiful illustrations of the story! We make up our own story about what the characters and animals are up to (led by Seren) and they are sightly different each time. I’ve been trying to get her to use pictures to help her follow books on her own and quite often she counters, saying that she can’t do that as she doesn’t know the words. I’m hoping that this wordless book will show her that you don’t need to know the words to follow the story!

preschool books for spring

Seren’s spring books (aged 3 and a half):

Spot’s First Easter Eric Hill
Peppa Pig: Peppa’s Easter Egg Hunt
Oh Dear Rod Campbell 
Noisy Farm Rod Campbell
Spot Loves His Mum Eric Hill (Spot books are popular here at the moment!)
What The Ladybird Heard Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks
Superworm Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
Spring Gerda Muller
The Rhyming Rabbit Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks
The Secret Garden Susanna Davidson (an Usborne abridged version of the original by Frances Hodgson Burnett)
Animal Seasons: Rabbit’s Spring Adventure Anita Loughrey and Daniel Howart

preschool books for spring preschool books for spring

Imogen’s spring books (aged 10 months):

Baby Bunny Emily Bolam
Each Peach Pear Plum Janet and Allan Ahlberg (just realised that this was Seren’s autumn list too – we love this book!).
Peter Rabbit Finger Puppet Book
Peepo! Janet and Allan Ahlberg 
Farmyard! Philip Dauncey and Sarah Lawrence
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Sound Book Eric Carle
Busy Bug Book Ben Mantle and Fiona Watt (an Usborne book where each page has a track for a pull-back ladybird)

We’re also reading That’s Not My Lamb by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells with Imogen but I couldn’t find it for the photo! Had to include the photo of Imogen picking up the books, she keeps photobombing my blog photos! I’m guessing she’d rather I was taking photos of her instead.

If you have any recommendations for great spring themed books then please let me know in the comments!

Pre-schooler books for autumn

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Living Arrows 13/52

first-steps little nut brown hare

Living Arrows is the weekly portrait project run by which we take part in. It’s a lovely way of choosing my favourite photo or photos of the girls from the week before. The photos above of Imogen are pretty terrible but first steps, first steps! Well, one step, fall down, one step fall down etc. I quickly managed to capture some of it before going back to being the Big Nutbrown Hare to Seren’s Little Nutbrown Hare at drama club.

Living Arrows 12/52

Living Arrows
Living Arrows | A Weekly Portrait Project
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Imogen at 10 months

Imogen-10-months Imo-10-MonthsThe big news this month is that she has another tooth! One of her top front teeth is now through making 3 in total. Feels like a long time since she got the bottom 2 back in November time and seems like she’s been teething ever since! The other top front tooth is trying to come through now making her pretty grumpy.

imogen 10 months

Teething aside, sleep is still much improved. Most nights she sleeps through from 7.30/8pm to 7.30/8am. Sometimes we wakes up upset once and we settle her back with milk and a cuddle. Nap times are still hit and miss and she seems to be consolidating them into a longer after lunch nap toddler-style. I’ve realised that, whereas Seren was always very pleased to see us post-nap, Imogen is grumpy and has an annoyed “I can’t believe you left me here to sleep” face!

imogen 10 months

She is cruising with confidence now, holding on with one hand and standing unaided for a few seconds. She’s still crawling at speed and I really struggle to contain her when I need to! I let her explore the playground yesterday and she LOVED it. Better than sitting in the pram watching everyone else. We turned the seat round in the pram recently so she is out facing the world which she likes.  Seren and I miss smiling at her though!

imogen 10 months

We are still doing a music group without big sis and we went swimming just the two of us last week to review a Turtle Tots class (more on that soon), which she loved. Seren has been doing ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ with her this week and Imogen has been babbling back ‘row, row, row, row, row’.

Physically, her hair is growing (she has much more than Seren at the same age) and her eyes have changed colour slightly, she now has a band of hazel around her pupils. The rest are still blue but I wonder if they are about to change colour?

Month on month photos:

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Imogen at 9 months

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Living Arrows 12/52

living arrows 12/52We spent a lot of time in the park last week. Playing in the playground, jumping over stones across the stream and once, without Seren, I pushed a sleeping Imogen right round the perimeter. On a couple of the days it was bright enough for sunglasses and quite warm in the sunshine too. Seren pushed and pushed to be allowed to have a blue bubblegum lolly after I said she could have a mini milk. Her tongue and lips were blue for the rest of the afternoon. She refused to wear her coat too so I wonder if some people thought her blue lips were down to it getting colder!

Living Arrows 11/52

Living Arrows
Living Arrows | A Weekly Portrait Project
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Review: Milton Mini Portable Soother Steriliser

Milton MiniThe lovely folk at Milton recently sent us one of their Mini Portable Soother Sterilisers to try out. This is a product that has come onto the market since Seren was a baby. Quite often I think “if I didn’t need it the first time, I don’t it the second time” but I’ve heard a few mums sing the praises of this mini steriliser and I was thrilled to try it out. To be honest, the reason I hadn’t bought one myself yet is, whereas Seren was a dummy addict, Imogen can only be soothed by a dummy about one time in every ten tries. But we’re still trying!

Milton Mini

The Milton Mini is basically 2 sponges soaked with Milton solution (in the form of specially designed tablets) inside a stylish waterproof pot. If you’re familiar with the ‘cold water sterilisation’ method then this is essentially that but portable.

Milton Mini Milton Mini

So you wash the container and sponges, add the tablet and cold water to the container, pop in the sponges and then a dummy. Fifteen minutes later, the dummy is sterilised and will stay that way for up to 24 hours when you need to wash and add new sterilising solution. Attach the Milton Mini to your bag or buggy and whip out the dummy when the one your baby left the house with gets thrown on the floor. Wipe off any debris from the dirty dummy and put it in the container to be sterilised, 15 minutes later then that one is germ free too.

Milton Mini

I found the reality of the product lived up to both the recommendations and the product blurb. I can see how it is fairly easy to remember to wash out and re-sterilise the container (you are probably doing that anyway with bottles). The only blip we had was that the first dummy I tried out half filled up with the solution (see photo above), I think it must have had a tiny hole in it. This didn’t happen with the other dummies I tried though.

Milton Mini

If the Milton Mini had been available when Seren was a baby, it would’ve been invaluable and saved me from asking for boiling water in cafes to try to sterilise dropped dummies. Given that Imogen will take a dummy about once every 3 days (and it’s not a big deal really if we don’t have one when we’re out), I’m not sure how much we will get to use this. But, if your baby is reliant on a dummy then this is a super handy and effective product to ensure you always have a clean dummy when you need one!

The Milton Mini Portable Soother Steriliser is available from a wide range of retailers priced around £6.99. The steriliser comes with an initial pack of sterilising tablets with more tablets available in packs of 50 for around £2.99. 

We're going on an adventure
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Whitewebbs Museum of Transport

whitewebbs museum of transporIf you’ve seen my Living Arrows photo from yesterday then you’ll know that we went to a local transport museum last week. The Whitewebbs Museum of Transport is run by the Enfield and District Veteran Vehicle Trust. It’s based in a lovely 1898 pumping station which pumped water from the well beneath it to the New River. I’d been meaning to go for ages but it’s only open on Tuesdays and occasional Sundays, so invariably I’d only remember about it when it was closed. We finally made it there last Tuesday afternoon.

whitewebbs museum of transporThe museum is run by volunteers. I’ll be honest, a couple could do with a bit of customer service training, but most are very friendly and super knowledgable about the exhibits. We were strongly advised by the chap on the door to not bring in the buggy in as the top two floors are only accessible by stairs. So, I popped Imogen into the sling and after paying my entrance fee in the shop (£4 for me, kids free) we went up in the lift to the first floor cafe as Imogen had slept through lunch.

whitewebbs museum of transportI was impressed to see a highchair in the cafe and bought drinks for Seren and I before settling down to feed Imogen. The girls were a hit amongst the ladies running the cafe! When we were almost finished, Seren announced that she needed to go to the toilet right away. The toilets were back on the ground floor, so we hurriedly packed away and went downstairs. I didn’t see a baby changing table by the way, but I was happy to change Imogen on the grass outside later on. At this point I decided that there was enough to do on the ground floor for this visit and I would really be happier with the buggy so we went back to get it.

whitewebbs museum of transpor whitewebbs museum of transportFinally it was time to see an exhibit! We started in the yard area and got onboard an old train carriage to see the model railway. A volunteer popped up to start the little trains and the girls stood up on boxes to watch them go round and round which they found fascinating!

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This was thirsty work for Imogen who was ready for her milk by the time we left the train. We sat in the picnic area in the lovely late winter / early spring sunshine, watching the horses in the next field.

whitewebbs museum of transpor

Next we went to see the vintage fire engines. The volunteer we chatted to here had been in the fire service, joining in the 1960s, and we were able to climb inside the cab of a 1970 fire engine and he gave Seren a yellow toy hat to wear.

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Then we worked our way round the rest of the yard, peering into rooms with old machinery in, not just transport related items but things like vintage radios, old signs and we spied a rocking horse too.

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Back in the main building we looked at the cars, vans and motorbikes on the ground floor. Seren was getting tired by this point, so I had to be quick. The volunteers on the ground floor were eager to share the exhibits’ stories with us and one was working on the museum’s oldest car, trying to get it working again. I loved seeing a 1920s delivery van which has been used in the ITV drama, Mr Selfridge! It has been painted in the Selfridge’s livery for the programme.

whitewebbs museum of transpor

There is also a 1919 Ford Model T which I remember learning about at school! I was interested in why it was navy blue as I thought they had only been made in black (“You can have it in any colour you like, as long as it’s black” Henry Ford is meant to have said). Apparently a range of colours were available prior to WW1 but only black paint was available during the later stages of the war.

whitewebbs museum of transpor

The 1930s Ford in the photo below has a sad story. It was owned from new by a young pilot who used it to commute from Cambridge to RAF Duxford from 1936-1939. He had been shot down during his first wartime flight in 1939 and his car had sat unused for decades before being sold on and finding its way to the museum. The car still has it’s tax disc from 1939 and has only done around 13,000 miles. It’s in beautiful condition, inside and out.

whitewebbs museum of transpor

Then it was time to leave but there was a lot we didn’t get to see, so it’s definitely somewhere I would go to again perhaps on a Sunday so daddy can come too. Seren’s favourite bit was sitting in the fire engine so I would say it’s worth going for that alone!

Whitewebbs Museum of Transport
Whitewebbs Road, Enfield, EN2 9HW

020 8367 1898

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Living Arrows 11/52

living arrows 11/52 living arrows 11/52We went to a local transport museum for the afternoon last week. It’s run by volunteers and has some real gems including this 1970 fire engine that Seren is standing in front of. She got to sit in the cabin and wear a hat too! I’m going to post more about our trip soon.

Living Arrows 10/52

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Living Arrows | A Weekly Portrait Project
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Make Your Face Funny For Money!

Comic Relief | Make Your Face Funny for MoneyLike lots of households we’ve been in full Comic Relief swing this week, starting with different events at nursery and some fun at home making funny faces yesterday. An interesting outcome of the different dress-up days is that I was able to encourage Seren to wear something sensible for Tumble Tots yesterday by telling her it was still ‘wear red day’. Then when she was upset at having to wear odd socks, I told her it was ‘odd sock day’! She really embraced that theme and put on odd wellies too.

Anyway, we picked up a wig for our selfies from Claire’s who are selling a range of official Comic Relief selfie props and got our noses from Oxfam. I printed out the face-painting templates from the Comic Relief site, though that was probably too ambitious for a 3 year old who just wanted to freely paint her own face then mine too. Though I suggested she use red, but she chose a scary witch theme for me so I had lots of black streaks. Imogen grabbed my red nose and started to eat it just before the photo was taken.

We texted FUNNY to 70011 to donate £1 and get sent a link to send our selfie to the Comic Relief team (link to ours here). If you do the same, there’s a chance your photo could be used in the Comic Relief campaign!

We’re off to Charlotte’s house this afternoon for a Comic Relief Crafternoon! I hope you’ve had or get the chance to have some Comic Relief fun and raise some money along the way!

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Mother’s Day | Easy Children’s Art DIY

mother's day easy canvas DIYIf you’re still looking for a Mother’s Day gift for this Sunday and are tempted to go down the homemade route then look no further! This canvas DIY is super easy to make and even older babies / toddlers can help too (if they are old enough to do sit up and play with paint then they are old enough to do this!). Basically you create a message or pattern onto a canvas using washi tape then let the kids have fun painting over the tape. Once dry, pull off the tape to reveal your picture. So easy!

Here’s what you’ll need:

mother's day easy canvas DIY

1 canvas (ours was 25cm x 30 cm) – you can buy canvasses in art or craft shops or our local 99p shop sells them too. You could use card instead and frame that afterwards if you wanted to.
Washi tape or plain masking tape - I used washi tape as it was to hand.
A selection of paint – I love these neon and metallic paints from IKEA.
Paintbrush or sponge – even better a selection of different brushes or sponges to add different textures.
Glitter – optional!

mother's day easy canvas DIY

1) Start by painting all the canvas and edges with your background colour. You’ll need a colour that will stand out against the colours you will use on top. I chose a mustard yellow colour (a sample of wall paint we had) and painted this bit myself.
2) Allow the paint to dry completely (you can speed this up using a hairdryer).

mother's day easy canvas DIY
3) Use your tape to write a message and make some other patterns. I did this step too though I’m sure older children would be able to do it themselves. For the example shown, we wrote ‘mummy’ and made simple hearts by creating ‘v’ shapes with two bits of tape and rounding the top of the ‘v’ with scissors. You can also make flower shapes by making a ‘x’ shape and round off all four edges with scissors or simple triangles would look great too. Another idea is to use any stickers you have which have obvious outline shapes. You could make a longer message like ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ or ‘I Love You’ if you have the space or a smaller message such as simply ‘mum’ or ‘nana’ and add more shapes.

mother's day easy canvas DIY mother's day easy canvas DIY

4) Now it’s time for the fun part – the top paint coats! Seren enjoyed squeezing different paints onto the canvas first then using the brush to spread them out and mix the colours. She also ‘dabbed’ the brush onto the canvas which created a dappled effect. You need to make sure the whole canvas is well covered, especially the parts with the tape on. Seren did two layers of paint (no need to let the paint dry in between coats).

mother's day easy canvas DIY mother's day easy canvas DIY

5) When you’ve finished painting, sprinkle glitter (if using) then leave to dry.

mother's day easy canvas DIY

6) Once dry, remove the tape to reveal your message! You will probably need to touch up the base coat on some of the lettering or pattern where the top coats of paint have bled through.

7) All done! Though if you wanted to you could add more embellishments such as stickers, buttons glued on or add a message around the side edge using a marker pen.

Then wrap it up and you’re good to go!

 For more gift ideas see yesterday’s Top 5 | Mother’s Day Gift Ideas post. 

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