Category Archives: Family-friendly Gadgets
I’ve decided to start a new weekly post called ‘Treasure Box Tuesday’ to showcase some of the awesome toys, gadgets and ‘stuff’ I’ve come across for both the kids & parents, in fact families in general and also take a trip down memory lane to take a look at some treasures from the past, like Weeble Wobbles are they still around? I LOVED those as a kid, I think they still make them but the originals were the best as this retro blog I discovered shows. The Squigglet is now 20 months old and starting to really get into ‘building and making’ types of activities so we’ve acquired a few great toys along these lines recently, which have been a lifesaver as we are currently staying in London for Io’s work for a few weeks and have to keep busy all day living out of 1 room!
Needless to say we go on extended buggy marathons quite frequently to visit nearby parks, kids activities and shopping areas during which we have discovered some amazing little stores selling toys, gifts, furniture, pretty paper – all sorts – and after living in a small country town for the last few years my shopping sensors have gone into overload!
This combined with my slight obsession with internet window shopping has lead to quite a collection of things on the wish list and as I love to find out about awesome stuff from real people, I am going to share the awesome stuff I stumble across too – kind of like on Pinterest but in blog form. This won’t be limited to my London finds as by Mid July our little family will be new residents in Cornwall, which is very exciting by itself not to mention all the new and quirky adventures and trinkets awaiting discovery down there.
First up is an awesome ‘Soft Stuff’ Bumper Activity Jar I got from the Early Learning Centre. I’d never heard of Soft Stuff before and thought that Playdoh ruled supreme in the the world of kids squishy playstuff, but I was really thrilled to find this huge jar filled with all sorts of moulding tools, shapes, presses, rollers and a few sealed packets of Soft Stuff for £10. Squigglet plays with this set numerous times every day, usually starting at the crack of dawn when my enthusiasm for making dough spaghetti is not exactly brimming.
The only major downside to this kit is the actual Soft Stuff dough, as it doesn’t come with storage containers like Playdoh has, it dries out very fast so make sure you put it in airtight containers after each use. I cheated and bought Playdoh after the original stuff had gone dry but I will most likely use it with home-made dough in the future when we are back in our own place.
Next up are not specifically designed for kids but I was sucked in by their cartoon food character cuteness. I happened to stop by a Paperchase store in Islington the other day and was mesmerised by all the pretty colours, cards, giftwrap, random little things that reminded me very much of some of the amazing stationary and gift emporiums in Japan. It wasn’t humanly possible for me to leave the store without something so I picked up this great little food container set £7 which will be handy for picnics/beach trips/lunchbox/leftovers and a character drink bottle £4. Another happy outcome of this purchase is Squigglet loves to play with the containers and has spent hours happily taking the lids on and off and sorting them into sizes….see educational and cute kitchenware. Totally justified purchase….ahem.
Right, off to hunt out next Tuesday’s treasures……
I remember loving creative activities as a kid – writing little stories, creating plays, making crafts or painting pictures, it never occured to me to question whether I was good at it or not, I just did it for pure enjoyment. Once high school came along and the judgements of peers and teachers came into play, it suddenly seemed important to be ‘talented’ as skills would be tested according to someone elses idea of art, language etc etc. The fear of failure or lack of confidence in ability is a powerful antedote to creativity and sure enough I soon opted to stop pursuing my love of creating things and focus on the practical mission of getting through with decent grades.
Now as a stay at home mum, I am experiencing something of a creative renaissance, which I attribute partly to the hours of imaginative play with my daughter and partly because I am not pre-occupied with the pressures of work. That could well change in the near future as my partner will assume the house-husband role when I return to the workforce, but for now I am planning to enjoy it and share this joy with Rhiannon.
So after that rather long-winded ponderence my first project was to make some bunting for Rhi’s room, which admittedly I talked about doing for quite a few months before I actually starting anything. In my entire life the grand sum of my sewing achievements can be narrowed down to a pillowcase, a pair of hideous elasticated purple shorts (in home ec), a smock for a musical costume and 2 unfunished cushion covers. Needless to say, I am no snappy seamstress and have trouble achieving a straight line but after a comment from my other half about all my proposed projects not materialising it was enough to get me motivated.
Thank goodness for the internet, I soon found a helpful tutorial which even I could manage and after a few stops and starts, here is the finished product, which may not seem much but I am ridiculously pleased that I completed it and it turned out quite well.
This has fuelled a fire for pursuing more projects for both myself and Rhiannon to get hands-on. I have been thinking about making a button name portrait on canvas for some time and just found Kellie Christie’s blog for inspiration – this is the next task, now lets see how long it takes me to get around to collecting all those buttons as I checked out new ones and some of them are pretty pricey! Charity shops here I come.
I’d love to hear of any other cool, easy for beginners crafts, blogs or sites – quite interested in decoupage, glass jar lanterns, paper jewellery….oh the list goes on!
Now for those buttons!