The UnNatural Mother

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I have been very open about Harry’s struggle with reading and writing over the last 12 months. The problem itself is not Harry’s ability more his attention span. He is not a child who likes to sit down and read stories, preferring something more interactive like an educational game on the Ipad or being outside on his bike. I am constantly having to come up with new ideas to get him interested in phonic’s and to work on increasing his attention span. This week alone I have had a 1-1 meeting with Harry’s teacher to request more phonics-based homework and I have attended a parents class on how to inspire your child to read more. I sometimes wonder if I am doing the right thing by writing about Harry’s struggle with reading as I don’t want to portray him as an underachiever , but this is real life and however much I would love to be one of the mum’s stood in the playground bragging that my child had just read War & Peace, I can’t. What I can be is one of the mum’s who sees a weakness, acknowledges it and finds creative ways to solve the issue.

The Life Tree

The Life Tree

This brings me to The Life Tree   , our newest adventure into the wonderful world of Phonics, Imagination, and storytelling. One of the benefits of being so honest about Harry’s struggle is that amazing companies like The Life Tree get in contact with you to see if they can help. The Life Tree is a beautifully illustrated piece of story art that children can interact with. Each Life Tree is totally unique and comes with a hidden name or message for the child to find. As well as the artwork each Life Tree comes with a certificate of ownership, The Life Tree storybook and access to The Life Tree app which reads along with the book.

The Life Tree

 

Harry was gifted his very own Life Tree last week by the creator of The Life Tree and we are going to be enjoying the interactive artwork over the next few weeks along with the book of 31 captivating Verses of Wisdom & app to see if we can capture Harry’s imagination and help him in this adventure with phonics.The Life Tree is so beautiful we have decided to hang it in our hallway for all of the family to enjoy. We have now been late for school three times since it arrived because Harry loves making his own stories up and telling them to me & Charley just before we are due to get in the car. Some things are worth being late for !!

The Life Tree

Can you find Harry’s name in the picture?

 

I will be reporting back to you in a couple of weeks with Harry’s progress and how our The Life Tree adventure goes. If you would like to know more about purchasing The Life Tree for your little ( or big ) one then just click here .For every Life Tree sold, a donation of £5 is given to both The Joshua Tree ( supporting families who children have cancer )and The Aspinall Foundation ( a world-renowned conservation charity ) so you know that with your purchase you are also helping support lives across the world.

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When you think about twinning outfits you always think about 2 little girls or 2 little boys. I have the great pleasure of having one of each and didn’t want to miss out on this ultra cute craze so I thought it would be fun to buy them matching outfits. Now looking back on the day I photographed them both, ‘fun’ is definitely not the word I would now use but after a short course of Prozac & 10 sessions of intense therapy, It was worth all the tears ( all mine ) to get these beautiful photos.

Harry & Charley wearing Me&I clothing

Harry wearing the Chubby Bat Top £29.95 & Charley wearing the Chubby Bat Tunic £25.95

I have previously written about my love of the clothes from Me&I  in my post  Style & Ease with Me&I  back in July. Charley & I both reviewed dresses from the brand and I am pleased to say that thanks to the great quality and cut of the clothes both dresses are still going strong and still being worn.When they asked if we would like to be involved in their Autumn/Winter campaign I thought this would be a great opportunity to trying out a bit of matchy, matchy twinning.

Harry & Charley wearing Me&I clothing

Both wearing Monster long sleeve top £20.95

As Charley idolises her big brother and is a Little Miss Tomboy we choose designs featuring bats, monsters & aliens. Not quite your standard twinning outfits but I knew they would both be comfortable in these designs. The styles available on the Me&I website are different to anything you find on the high street in the UK. The brand was launched in Sweden back in by Susan Engvall and Helene Nyrell from the kitchen table in their homes in Barsebäck, Southern Sweden. Even just looking at the photo’s you can see how good the quality of the fabric is and you know that it’s built to last. Even with 2 mini Tasmanian Devils running around all day.

Harry & Charley wearing Me&I clothing

Both wearing Space Pyjamas £30.95

When you have little ones you want them to look 1/2 presentable and at least give the impression that as a mother you have some of your S*it together. This is much harder said than done with 5-year-olds who bathe in mud and 2-year-olds who wear their dinner down their tops. At least with Me&I you know that however bad the stain the clothes will withstand a hot wash without losing their shape.

 

So If you too would like to twin your offspring checkout Me&I’s website for some Swedish style.I hope today’s post has given you some ‘twinning’ inspiration and you have enjoyed our little photo shoot. Mummy could be found drinking Gin & muttering swear words under her breath by the 3rd outfit change.

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A picture of swimfreak swimming goggles

On our family holiday this year Harry got a bit too brave, dispensed with his armbands and had a go at swimming ( or in his case sinking ). I make light of the incident but it was pretty scary stuff at the time. I got to him just as he took his foot off the last step and managed to grab him before he went under. Harry did attend swimming lessons while I was off on maternity leave with Charley but as soon as he went to school and I went back to work we couldn’t commit to a certain day or time each week.After the ‘incident’ and now I can work more flexible around the kids Harry has been attending intensive swimming lessons and is coming on really well. We still are nowhere near taking his bands off but his confidence has grown and he is happy to be in the water.

a picture of Harry wearing swimfreak swimming goggles

This wasn’t the case in early September. Even though he said he was o.k at the time, Harry had really scared himself and getting him to get changed into his swimming gear was a challenge in its self. His first lesson went well right up until 5 minutes before the finish when one of the other kids splashed him by accident and he freaked. I spent the next 10 minutes trying to get him to calm down and Harry spent the next 6 days dreading going back to the lessons.Week 2 was o.k and no real issues but Harry wasn’t enjoying his swimming lessons and i needed to make a decision of what to do. I had already paid £100 upfront for a 5-week course which was nonrefundable, but I didn’t want to force Harry into something he wasn’t ready for. After a long chat with Harry, he decided he wanted to be brave and keep going. He didn’t like getting water in his eyes and he didn’t feel confident enough for me to sit on the side ( I go in the water with him ). As a mum, there is a fine line between pushing our children to be independent and letting go too quick. My decision was to remain in the water with Harry during his classes but also to get him to believe he could do it on his own. So how did I do that? Harry believes Spiderman is the ultimate hero so my 1st stop was to buy him some extra special Spiderman swimming shorts, next stop was the biggest and most robust armbands I could find and then I threw away his £2.99 Home Bargains swimming goggles and ordered him a pair of Olympic standard, best of the best swimming goggles from SwimFreak. It helps that the googles had mirrored UV lens so when he wears them he looks like Spiderman. Always one to go above and beyond I took the extra step to mix up some ‘confidence dust’  ( 2 types of glitter and a few stars thrown in for good measure). Harry thinks the fairies gave it me and each week I pretend to sprinkle a bit on his head before each lesson. The combination of SuperHeroes, Fairies, and watertight swimming goggles has really helped Harry with his confidence and now he no longer dreads his lessons or the occasional splash of water on his face. It’s one of the best feelings in the world to see your child overcome a fear and with a little of a magic and the purchase of good quality equipment he is well on the way to Olympic Gold ( Well I can dream too, cant I ? )

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Swimfreak kindly sent us a pair of their Pro Goggles in exchange for a review. All my thoughts & opinions are my own.