Unputdownables 2016 - Toddler Edition!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

If you read my Usbourne Books post a little while ago, you know how I feel about reading with kids - it's so important, and such an easy way to switch off from technology and the busy pace of life. We spend a lot of bonding time reading, and talking about the characters and ideas presented in books.

Luckily for kids these days, there is an unbelievable selection of beautiful, funny, quirky, and imaginative children's books out there. So this year I've decided to do a little round up of my daughter's favourites!

The Day the Crayons Quit - Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

We got this from the library this year and repeatedly renewed it. It's now on my 'to-buy' list. I love Oliver Jeffers, but The Day the Crayons Quit is just the funniest, sweetest book we've read together in a while. (I think children's books should get bonus points if they're funny enough to keep entertaining everyone even after the fiftieth re-read).

Duncan's crayons have gone on strike. They've all got a bone to pick with him - they are overworked, tired, bored, and frustrated. Each of them has an individual reason why they refuse to do any more colouring - and they've let Duncan know in a series of letters that they have left for him to find.

I really love this book. Maybe this year we'll have a look at the sequel ...

Peep Inside ... books - Usbourne

What makes these books so interesting is how beautifully made they are. Little holes in one page reveal something exciting on the next. Little doors open and close ... you can even use the flaps to dress up a knight in the Castle one.

They're like next level lift the flap books. Informative, too!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Michael Rosen

Bear Hunt is one of those books that I knew I wanted to buy for my kids before I had them. It's a classic that you may remember from your own childhoods.

For a little while this year, Jellybean became extremely fixated with Bear Hunt. We had to act it out when we went for walks. (Which is fun to do in front of strangers walking their dogs in the park.)

Littleland Around the World - Marion Billet

A current favourite of Jellybean's. The Littleland books are really cute (I've reviewed one before here), happy books about a nursery of small animals. They are look-and-find books, as in 'can you see a map? Can you see a fountain? Can you see a camel?' and so on. Times a million.

Thankfully it is a Nosy Crow book (home of Pip and Posy!) and it comes with a QR code for an audio version, so instead of having to read this at bedtimes, a nice girl reads it for us instead. Which is a relief because it is fifteen minutes long.

Hairy Maclary - Lynley Dodd

I picked this up from a charity shop for £2 a long time ago. And it's still one of Jellybean's favourites. It contains five stories about Hairy Maclary and all his friends (and mortal enemies like Scarface Claw). He's a classic character for a reason!

Mr Big - Ed Vere

This was a 10p bargain in the library. It's tatty and old and obviously well-read and it's one of Jellybean's ultimate favourites. Mr Big is, well, big. A big, intimidating gorilla with a heart of gold who just wants to make friends ... however, Mr Big is so big that everyone is a bit scared of him. He expresses his sadness and loneliness through jazz music, and then ...

I won't give away the ending. It's good though. And very very sweet. And a little bit silly. Perfect!

Princess Polly's Potty

This was the book that prepared Jellybean for potty training. It covers everything kids need to know about the whole process in a simple to understand way. And it has a button which makes a cheering noise.

(It's very annoying after the 1000th press. Just FYI.)

The Official Pokemon Handbook - Maria S.Barbo

I've mentioned this before, but I had this book when I was little and loved it. It sparked an obsession with Pokemon that is still going strong. To the point where we replaced the book with a lovely new one.

I Want My Hat Back - Jon Klassen

(Jellybean laughs out loud every time we get to this page)

I caught Chris reading this and chuckling in Foyles back in the summer. We love this book. It follows a bear on a desperate hunt for his beloved red hat. When he finds out what happened to it, well ... he's not best pleased.

The Lion Inside - Rachel Bright and Jim Field

I LOVE this book. The illustrations are beautiful, the message is really empowering ... we bought it for Jellybean's third birthday to see if it helped her to feel more brave as a result.

It is seriously sweet. One of those books that makes you melt a little inside.

So that's it - toddler unputdownables! What have been your kids favourites this year? Let me know in the comments!

Linking up with:

Talk of the Town

The Memory Jar.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

On the first of January 2016, I found an old jar and wrote on it with a sharpie. The idea was that, over the year, we would write down little happy moments on bits of paper - things we might not necessarily remember otherwise - fold them up, and pop them in the jar. Ready to open at the end of the year.

Yesterday we tipped them out and took a look at them.

These little notes - along with tickets and wristbands and receipts and stuff - were a really lovely reminder of all the good stuff that happened last year. Admittedly there are some months that have no entries because I kept forgetting, but we still found some little, happy moments to recall and feel grateful for that we had forgotten about.

It made me realise that 2016 was a really good year for us.

In the spirit of looking back in happiness, here's a few big things that happened.


Chris and I have grown another year older together. This year marked our ten year anniversary. Ten years since we kissed goodnight in his car and my life changed forever.

Then and now. 

I would mourn how old I feel but I don't feel bad about it. In fact, I love it. Older, wiser, happier, more grateful, is what we are. Although I do still feel like it's the early noughties and am surprised when I remember we're in the late teens now.

Our little girl turned three this year.

I had another year at home with her. Another year of waking up at ridiculous hours and counting 8 a.m as the world's most extravagant lie-in. Another year of adventure and fun and silliness and laughter and tears (both of us). I love the very bones of this girl.

She's changing. She's funny, and smart, and sweet, and cheeky, and occasionally a bit of a challenge ;) three is an awesome age. It's all dinosaurs and dancing, tea parties with soft toys and fort-making.

I love her unabashed zest for life. 'This is my favourite song/book/game in the WHOLED WIDE WORLD!' is said at least once a day.

And this year she got to become a big sister. I'll never forget the look on her face when we told her. Or the look on her face when she stumbled sleepily into our bedroom at three in the morning to find her baby brother there, in our bed, as if he'd arrived by magic.

(LOL I wish)

She's had to grow up a lot this year. At times, she's had to do things for me. Weirdly, I think that's made the transition to Big Sisterhood a bit easier.


Speaking of that ... one day this year my husband innocently unwrapped an Easter egg in the kitchen (after Jellybean had gone to bed, obviously. We're not idiots) and I ran out of the room, gagging.

Chris peeped his head around the corner and said 'Yeah, I think you might be pregnant.'

Enter this guy:

Alright, it took 40 weeks and a lot of effort to grow him. In fact, this pregnancy made me feel so awful that it dominated most of the year, with Chris having to do pretty much everything because I had to give up a lot of stuff (hoovering, mopping, changing sheets, tidying, bathing our toddler, unloading the dishwasher, and, well, walking around). However, he was definitely worth the feeling of being totally useless for most of the year.

Because look!

This is, as far as we are concerned, our last baby, and I know now that they are only this tiny for a short space of time. So I'm enjoying it, a lot. I like seeing him wake up a bit more. I like all the little things about him: the cheeky satisfied look he gives me when he's feeding, the way he goes cross-eyed when he tries to focus, his little crumpled looking ears, how much he loves to study the face of his big sister.

Now I have two little people to love so much that it kind of feels like my heart might break.


Most of our other memories from this year are little things. The feeling of discovering a tiny, beautiful little beach on our campsite when we went on holiday (it was one of my favourite holidays so far, despite the rain, even torrential rain on the last day when we all got soaked trying to spot wild cats at Exmoor zoo). Days out here and there. Weddings, family gatherings. Many board games with our friends. As many walks as my hip could manage.

I'm not sure what's to come for 2017. There is a good chance my time as a stay at home Mum will come to an end at some point this year, which is mostly good, I think. Other than that, we are not entirely sure what's going to happen. But then again, does anyone? We've never been ten-year-plan people anyway.

But I'm excited to see what is to come.

The jar is empty and waiting ...

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