|FUN|coin price labels

T loves playing shops, the problem is that we don't have a till and he always wants to be the shop keeper with the till.  He's not going to have a till (unless one is donated or found very cheap second hand!) he doesn't need one and needs to understand that he is not going to have every single toy he sees.

For this activity T asked if we could go and buy a till!  I said no but that we could use his coins and that I'd make him some price labels, he was happy with this!

I set out by taking photos of some of his coins and re-sized them to make 3 x 3 inch cards, on the back I added the corresponding number, then laminated.

Using washi, I attached the labels to wooden pegs and we clipped them onto our play food baskets.  On this occasion I didn't get our Market stall out, I just brought down some display baskets, that we use - well actually they are the containers that fruit and veg come in at the supermarket!

T asked if he could be shopkeeper, I then shopped!  I asked for items he had laid out and asked him how many coins I needed to buy it!  He counted the coins on the labels to do this and I counted the coins over to him.  I'm hoping we'll be able to extend this eventually by him reading the number on the back of the label.

 We then swapped places and I asked T to count the coins over to me when he made his 'purchases'.

We went on to do some basic addition, I set out the coins needed to buy 2 items and T counted them all together, also as shop keepers we counted up our 'takings'.

I'm looking forward to developing new ways of playing with T as he gets older and introducing a little basic learning along the way.

I think T enjoyed this activity just as much as he would have had using a plastic bleeping till, he really enjoyed the interaction we had whilst playing.
You can print your own copy of our coin labels here if you like.  Usual disclaimer applies, this is a really basic, thrown together printable, but if you are looking for something really quick to print and use on a rainy afternoon, it should fit the bill!

Sad the weekend is nearly over, Lx


|REVIEW|the carrington arms, moulsoe (J14 -M1)

Last weekend, the hubs and I enjoyed a night away, it was a colleagues wedding reception and we decided to stay over in a local hotel so that we could  both have a drink.

Because I'm obsessed with Four in a bed and because I thought this might be an ideal place to stay at for the mummy Bloggers Meet-up, I thought I'd do a little review. 

The Carrington Arms is just off of junction 14 of the M1, so ideal for anyone visiting Milton Keynes, we actually only live about 20 miles away but the price of a taxi back to our village would be a similar price to the price of this B&B, so we thought we'd have a little getaway and peace and quiet!

We checked in at about 14.30, check-in time is from 14.00, we sat and enjoyed a drink in the lovely bar/restaurant, we were advised to book a table for dinner to avoid disappointment but on this occasion we weren't eating. At £10.55 for a peroni and large glass of Pinot Grigio the bar prices were pretty average.

Our room was number 1, the first in a block of 8 rooms situated in out-buildings just away from the main building.  Our room was very nice, the bed was comfortable, there was a large TV and a proper wardrobe, the window overlooked the carpark and onto fields. The bed had mattress and pillow protectors with a good quality mattress underneath.

I was happy to see a fridge, if the hubs and I are staying in a hotel with no plans, we would usually have a bottle of wine or two to enjoy so this was a welcome sight - we usually store it in cold water in the sink!

The complimentary tray was well stocked, although The Hubs was disappointed that there were no Hot chocolate sachets. The tea and coffee were both branded, there was a large kettle which was clean, the cups could have done with a little bleach but were clean.

I was also very pleased to see a bath, if we'd have had more time, I'd have definitely enjoyed a relaxing bath, sadly I fell asleep so didn't have time. There was plenty of hot water both in the evening and morning and the shower was really powerful.
The complimentary toiletries were good quality and there were 2 each of Shampoo, shower/bath gel, moisturiser & soap, although I only took 1 of each home (well they come in soooo useful!)
In true Four in a bed style, we went checking for dust, there was a little on the flower arrangements, on top of the wardrobe and pictures and on the toilet roll holder.

The shower and grout could have done with a little bleach as it was quite grubby.

And the ceiling in the bathroom needed a little attention.

We both had a good, restful and peaceful nights sleep.

Breakfast was not included in the room rate of £40.00, but we decided to have breakfast at an extra charge of £17.00 for us both. The breakfast was particularly good, The hubs was chuffed with his and my scrambled eggs were done just as I like them (without being asked!). There were no vegetarian full English options on the menu, but when I asked if any were offered, I was advised that I could choose any of the individual items to make my breakfast, this was perfect for me.

Our total B&B bill came to £57.00, The Hubs and I agreed that this was fantastic value.

If you want somewhere to stay for the Mummy Bloggers meet-up, you couldn't go far wrong with a stay in The Carrington Arms, especially if you'd like something a bit different to the corporate chains in the city centre.

We stayed at The Carrington Arms of our own accord and have received no financial benefit for this review.  However, if you are a hotel or B&B and would like us to review your accommodation we'd be happy to oblige :)

Enjoy the weekend! Lx 

|BRING BACK PAPER|papery peep - august 2014

Since finding Joceyln at The Reading Residence and following her Bring Back Paper 'campaign' I've been really inspired to get back to a few paper based hobbies I've loved and allowed to fall along the wayside and I've started a brand new hobby in the process.

Firstly Jocelyn's post circle post really inspired me to sign up, I am now a member of the post circle quails group and am absolutely loving being part of a wonderful, diverse and friendly group.  This is a completely new hobby to me and I'm so glad I've joined.  It's even prompted me to join in with a couple of swaps too!  A book swap hosted by Jocelyn and a stationery swap at the begining of September. 

Secondly Joceyln and everyone using #bringbackpaper have inspired me to start reading again!  Pre-T I was an avid reader, thinking nothing of reading 3 novels in a week and having 3 or 4 other reference books or magazines on the go at the same time.  The day I had T I actually read a book inbetween staring at him in his hospital cradle next to me, reading used to be my main method of relaxation.  However, the many sleepless nights and general tiredness put my book reading to the bottom of my priority list when I probably should have been prioritising my 'me' relaxation time, I wasn't and so following Jocelyn and participating in the book swap has unwittingly encouraged me to start reading again.

This leads me on to part 2.5!  T is really taking a fascination in reading, his nursery have a lovely quiet area where they read books, T is starting to 'read' books now, telling the stories in accordance to the pictures on the pages, some stories (We're going on a Bear Hunt) he knows word for word on each page (along with actions!) because we've read them so much, we also look up his favourite books on YouTube, T loves sitting with his book whilst it's being read by someone more interesting than me on the iPad!

I now make a point of buying T a few books each month, sometimes from eBay, sometimes Amazon and sometimes from our local selling pages on Facebook.

Thirdly, T has started to get excited by receiving mail in the post, last week he received a package of stickers from my friend, his Auntie Wendy and a thank you letter from our Nephew Jack.  As soon as he saw the stickers he said, I want to give these to Jack, and so we set about decorating an envelope so that we could post some stickers on to Jack.

Apparently Jack loved receiving his letter too, so this is something my sister and I have agreed to do every other week or so, nothing big, just the cost of a regular stamp, a letter or drawing and some stickers or something similar.
After a successful trial of the 'weekend' box I decided to subscribe, again as T is thrilled when it arrives and I'm sure he likes looking in each of the packages just as much as the actual contents!

Forth in line, I've signed up for the 30 days of lists workshop again.  I loved participating for the time I did it during March, this time I shall keep a mini photo album to record my lists.

And finally, when I saw The #31daysofpaper challenge, I just had to join in. I am a couple of days behind but plan to be caught up by the 31st!

So there you have it, the papery things I've got in the pipeline at the moment, I'm loving exploring and using paper and books more again and hope my obsession will continue to grow and influence T to understand how important reading and the written word are.
I've linked up to Papery Peep August on The Reading Residence's blog.
The Reading Residence

|COOK|fun food friday - car lunch

Our final transport themed lunch.
I used one of our egg moulds as a little container for some coleslaw, adding some pepper and cucumber at T's request!  This car egg mould can be purchased from Eats Amazing.  I'm trying to find alternative uses for our egg moulds (we have 9!) but T decided a while back that he no longer likes boiled eggs, and anyway, our chickens eggs are quite small and so don't work in the moulds.

I decided to draw a car on T's crackers, using a food pen I drew around a foam sticker and then attempted to colour it in.  Next time I try something like this, I think I will paint the inside with food colouring, but I didn't have time for the crackers to dry this occasion!
Follow our transport Pinterest board for a collection of activity ideas.  You can also follow our food and activities by using #booboxtransport on instagramtwitter and google+
We'd love to see your transport activities and food too!  Either use #booboxtransport or leave us a link in the comments.

|FUN|activities, food ideas & guest bloggers required

Good afternoon, I'm trying something a bit different for me for our September theme month.  Our theme is 'ocean' and I'm looking to do some collaborations with fellow bloggers and parents.  I'll still be posting my usual 4 activities and 4 meal ideas but I'm wanting to extend the themed posts offered by including other bloggers ideas.
I'm hoping that there might be a few of you out there who might like to write a guest post, allow me to link to a existing post you have in your archives, provide links to your ocean themed pinterest boards or recommend any books, toys or films that we could add to our supporting posts.  You don't have to be a blogger, if you have a great idea and are able to write a post in word (or similar) with photo's I'll be happy to turn that into a blog post and link back to any social media you use.
The sort of posts I'm looking for are toddler/child/family activities, food and meals, book/film/venue reviews.  If there is enough interest I'd also love to provide a weekly linky, so please spread the word so together we can make this happen.
So like I said the theme I'm looking for is 'ocean' if you have any ideas or posts in your archives or anything else that I could include I'd love to hear from you, either pop a note in the comments or email me at larabeeuk@hotmail.co.uk
In return a link back, tweet or mention to the post you are featured in would be appreciated.
A huge thank you to Aparna at The weaving ideas who provided the inspiration for this idea and who has kindly allowed me to link to one of her posts, so look out for that next week.
Our ocean theme activities, posts and ideas will be tagged with #booboxocean and you can follow our ocean pinterest board here if you'd like to be able to pin your own items to this board drop me a message on pinterest so I can follow you and add you to the pinners group.
Just as a heads-up our October theme will be 'around the world' so I'll also be looking for bloggers and parents from different countries and cultures, to help me provide a varied and diverse range of activities and food from around the world.  Contact me in the same way if you'd like to join in.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post and I really hope that we can get a little bit of interest to try and start building a little community.

|FUN|vehicle tracks

This is our final transport activity for our transport month.
I decided that we would explore the different tyre tracks on T's cars and trains and where better to drive them than through some homemade play dough.  I was going to make some black/grey playdough for this activity, but I remembered that I had this pink glittery playdough still from our valentines playdate back in Feburary!
I used a recipe I found on instagram - all the details can be found here on our hot cross bun post (I left this one uncovered so it dried up!)
As you can see, this recipe keeps really well, I did wrap it in clingfilm and have stored it in one of those fresh soup containers, in areas it was a little dry but I'm sure if I'd have given it a good kneed before rolling it would have been fine.

So onto the activity, I rolled out the playdough and set it out on a tray, this is where T first decided to 'change' this activity!  He decided that he'd rather roll out the playdough than roll his cars through it.  This kept him entertained for a while!

I then showed him how to roll his cars and trains through the dough to make tracks, we talked about the different tracks that trains and cars made and introduced some diggers which made great tracks.

T then decided he had enough of making tracks and just wanted to make imprints in the playdough, so we talked about how many imprints the trains made with lots of wheels and that the cars had less wheels.
T then pointed out that one set of prints were bigger than the others, so we talked about that and did more comparisons for a bit.

We spent quite a while playing with the vehicles and playdough, T really enjoyed it and didn't care that I used glittery pink playdough!!
We are sure to do this activity again, next time I'd like to push T a little further and create tracks and ask him to identify which vehicle created them.  Although I need to find some vehicles with different tyre patterns, ours all seem to be smooth and the same!!!
Follow our Pinterest board for a collection of transport activity ideas.  You can also follow our food and activities by using #booboxtransport on instagramtwitter and google+

|CREATE|painted wooden spoons

A little quick make for you today, these 'painted' wooden spoons are cheap, quick and easy and would make great Christmas gifts.

I ordered this pack of 5 wooden spoons from ebay, they were £1.50 for 5, they are not great but I'm on the lookout for some more and will mix these with some better quality ones.  The paints were all testers I had already, you could even use the kids poster paints if you like.

Using washi tape, create a masked area to be painted.

Using a clean paintbrush, paint the end of the spoon.

Leave to dry, mine took about an hour to completely dry.

Carefully remove the washi tape, you are left with a lovely crisp edge.

Now, raid your nail kit and find some clear nail varnish that you never use.

Cover the paint with varnish to provide a seal.
There you have them, pretty wooden spoons, which can be created for each recipient.  An older tween or a teen would be able to do these, no trouble so they would make lovely Christmas gifts or even for Grandparents day on 7th September.
I'm going to be making some more of these and will be back with a pretty packaging idea for Christmas. Lx

This post is linked up to the Cherished Bliss Moonlight & Mason Jars Link Party