Win Create-a-World from WhiteStep


Does anybody else feel like January is lasting forever? Every rainy day that we are stuck indoors Esther and William stand at the window longing to be let out. It is their new favourite thing to do and they shout … Continue reading 

Advent Book Review 12: The Big Christmas Book

big book of christmas

The Big Book of Christmas is a compilation of stories, songs, scripts and rhymes chosen by Gaby Morgan. I love her collections, Read Me 1 and Read Me 2, and read them to Esther and William every day when they … Continue reading 

Edspire Festive Forecast: Star Stacker from Toyjeanius


Earlier this year we were honoured to be chosen as a Toy Genius family for Toyjeanius. Each toy that we have been sent has been perfectly suited to Esther and William’s age, ability and interests. Our most recent delivery was … Continue reading 

Orchard Toys Old MacDonald Lotto: A Review and Giveaway for Toys R Us


Last week saw the arrival of our last Toys R Us Toyologist Box in which we received not one but two games from the fabulous Orchard Toys. Crazy Chefs, which we will review next week and Old MacDonald Lotto which … Continue reading 

Best of Brighton Baby Expo 2011


On Sunday I took David, Esther and William to the Baby Expo in Brighton. I had been following all the build up for months and was so so excited about the show. When we got there though I could not … Continue reading 

Edspire Festive Forecast: Fairies and Friends Picture Matching Game

Boards and Cards

I have an almost four year old Goddaughter who I am never sure what to buy for at Christmas. This year though I think I may have found the answer with Fairies and Friends. Fairies and Friends sell a wonderful … Continue reading 

Edspire Festive Forecast: Orchard Toys Review and Giveaway

066 - Copy

Today on the Edspire Festive Forecast we have two great products from Orchard Toys, a British brand very popular in primary schools and homes across the UK. I have used their games in maths lessons with my old year 2 … Continue reading 

Brown Bear Book Review … with a link to audio!

Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? by Eric Carle

Brown Bear Brown Bear ... again!


Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? by Eric Carle has become a firm favourite in our household over the last few weeks.  The babies, aged six months, love the words and looking at the brightly coloured pictures.  They are engrossed in the story from start to finish, sometimes looking at the pages but often looking at me as I say the words.  It is a wonderful experience sharing this book together over and over again.  We have enjoyed this story so many times that we actually no longer need the book and recite the text at any time, in any place and for any occasion.  Twice through it is the perfect length for a complicated nappy change and once through is enough to calm and sooth the most tired and tearful of babies.  Here in the Nairn Henley household, we love this book!

It can be used to learn the names of simple animals, for counting all the animals that have been seen.  It can be used to learn animal noises and the colours of the rainbow too.  We often complement the text by singing I Can Sing A Rainbow afterwards.  Esther tries really hard to join in the singing which is just sooo cute!

I really recommend this book as a first try if you are not confident at reading aloud.  The text has an easy rhythm and lends itself to being read aloud.  The babies soon learn the rhythm of the text and the intonation of my voice.  They can almost anticipate what is coming next and always giggle in the same places though I know they do not recognise the actual words.

A final tip that makes the enjoyment of this story even greater for my two is that instead of seeing just children at the end our monkey specifically sees Esther and William, and they love hearing their names in the text. 

I hope that you will try out this book for yourself if you have little ones like mine, I am certain that they will love it and you will find many uses for many ages so that it can be enjoyed time and time again.

This link will take you to a video where you can hear me reciting the text to William and singing a rainbow with Esther.

Booked It, Packed It …

I am getting so excited about my summer holidays that I have been trying to plan ahead a little.  I want our experiences to be memorable for the right reasons and not marred by the stresses of packing or travel.

This year we are going away 4 times

In April we are going to Cornwall for a few days, in June to Northumbria, July to Devon and in September to Spain.  Each of these trips involve a long car journey for us from Kent and so I have been thinking about how we will cope with the travel.  The packing and the travel!! 

Just a couple of weeks ago we drove to the Peak District for my sister’s wedding and for that we seemed to take with us the entire contents of our house!  It has taken me almost two weeks to unpack and get everything back into it’s rightful place at home.

So I am trying to compile a list of holiday essentials, the things that we will really need to take with us on each of our planned excursions.  The list is LONG!

Something to sleep in – we had been using our bedside co-sleeper for this but the twins have grown out of it now and so we need  suitable replacement.  Any ideas?  We have thought about taking a whole cot with us but I think that a travel cot or two would make our lives easier.  Any ideas?

Fisher Price Newborn to Toddler Rockers

These are great.  When Esther and William were tiny they used to nap in them in the bathroom whilst I had my morning shower.  They vibrate which the babies both seem to love and find soothing.  I used to sit E and W in these chairs to read them stories and to let them have some time sat facing each other.  In rocking mode I was also able to lull them to sleep with singing and rocking.  We still use them in this mode when either baby is unwell or unsettled.  They work really well.  The chairs in upright non rocking mode make good TV chairs.  Esther and William watch 10 minutes of Baby Einstein a day through You Tube and they love it.  They watch this whilst I prepare their tea.  The chairs are then also used as secondary feeding chairs rather than moving them to their highchairs which are used for all other meals.  This means that when we do go away the babies are used to using these seats for play, sleep and food.  A great all round rescource that have definitely been worth the money that we spent on them and I am sure that we will continue to find new uses for them as the children grown and the seasons change.  I can certainly see them moving outside for the summer as the covers are so easy to clean from any ice cream spillages!

Baby food, plates, bowls, snacks, bibs and eating implements – surely this equipment gets a box or suitcase all of it’s own?  At home I make a lot of my own food for the babies but we also use pots and pouches, again to ensure that Esther and William are familiar with them and will not refuse them when we are away.  We have practised eating them warm and cold, in case of emergencies.  We currently use coverall bibs from Mothercare which we have to wash after a single use as the babies are so messy.  I wonder if there are other recommended products that are more effective and time efficent to use, something for tiny babies that is wipe clean?


As I have mentioned before we love Lamaze toys and have a whole range of them that are easy to pack and transport.  As the babies were in NICU all of last summer however what we have no knowledge of are summer toys.  The Lamaze toys we have are plush and colourful but would not last long I feel in the garden or on the beach.  Perhaps it is not toys we need but ideas for outdoor activities with under ones?  Ideas require no packing and are very easy to carry.


For my sister’s wedding we were away for two day and two nights.  We took enough clothes to last at least a week and to my surprise we used most of it!  Esther had to change dresses three times during the wedding alone such was the rate of her dribble!!  So I am thinking that for a week away at least two weeks worth of clothing will be required and that is before we think of specialist items such as wetsuits, sunsuits, swimming costumes, all of which I know nothing about! 

You begin to see why I need to think about all of this so early on.


We have a giant double buggy and people keep suggesting that for trips away we buy two small single buggies?  We also have slings and baby carriers in various formats, will we need these aswell?  Our giant buggy is convenient as can be used in parent facing car seat mode as well as outward facing buggy.  But it does take up our entire boot space in our very large Honda estate.

I think that this covers the essentials apart from needing a tool box with a medical kit and who knows what I need to put in there?!  Nappies to begin with, wipes, cotton wool, vaseline, Savlon?, plasters, Calpol?  What would you or do you have in such a box for you travels? 

These are my wonderings for today.  My puzzlement that I am working on now to avoid holiday trauma later.  Any help and advice would be warmly appreciated.

And I actually have some advice to share in return about travel.

Below is an article from Dr Lin Day, founder of nationwide baby development classes, Baby Sensory with some top tips for travelling with children.

Top Travel Tips

 Keeping small children seated, quiet and entertained on a car or plane trip is a frightening prospect for most parents. But, with a little planning, travelling can be a fun experience for children and a relaxing one for parents. Here are some ideas on how to prepare for the journey and how to keep your child busy and happy on the way.

Planning your trip

Have everything from the entertainment to nappies, wet wipes, medicine, spare clothes and the first aid kit prepared in advance and stored within easy reach. Rubbish bags are essential to keep the car clean and they may be useful if your child suffers from motion sickness. Take enough finger food and bottled water to last the journey, and any unexpected delays, but avoid sugary snacks since these will increase energy levels. High protein foods such as slices of fruit, cucumber and cheese will fill your child up and make them drowsy.

 Start your trip an hour or so before your child’s normal nap time. Allow them to run about and let off steam before getting in the car. The chances are that they will amuse themselves for the first part of the journey and then fall asleep for the rest of it. An extra rear-view mirror will allow you to keep an eye on your child without having to turn around. 

If you are on the road, frequent stops will make the journey more bearable. Your child will enjoy stretching their legs, getting some fresh air and having a change of scenery.

Being comfortable is all-important on a long trip. Clothes made from natural fibres are more comfortable than synthetic ones. Snuggle your child up in a soft blanket or use it as a pillow. If your child is potty-training, put a training pad or small towel on the car seat so any accidents will be contained. You may be unable to stop for a toilet break on demand.

If you are catching a plane, get to the airport early. There is nothing worse than struggling through check-in when you are late. If your stress levels are high, your child will pick up on your mood, which will only make matters worse.

A pull-along suitcase will keep your child entertained and serve as a resting place when they get tired. If you are travelling with a baby put them in a metal-free sling, so that they can sleep without being disturbed during the security check-in. 

Airport regulations permit up to 100ml in the way of milk and drinks, although exceptions may be made for the under-twos. If your baby is bottle-fed, take powdered formula milk and buy bottled water in the secure area. Ask the cabin crew to top it up with boiled water during the flight. 

Changes in air pressure can make little ears pop. Sucking and swallowing helps to relieve air pressure in the middle ear, so keep drinks or pacifiers available for takeoffs and landings.

Strap children in on long-haul flights. If you fall asleep, they may wander off. Seat straps will also keep them safe during air turbulence or in the event of an emergency.

Best travel toys 

The best travel toys are quiet and compact and don’t break easily. Toys with small, moving parts are bound to end up under the seat. Favourite soft toys and books are essential, but have some new toys to provide interest and excitement. Wrap these up in paper to keep little hands busy. Offer one thing at a time, such as a plastic food container. When the novelty wears off, give your child the lid to maintain interest.


Containers that fit together are fun to play with. They can be stacked, nested or used as hiding places for toys. A fabric scarf offers endless play and learning opportunities from hand-eye coordination to peek-a-boo, tickling and texture exploration. A rattle is a must, but keep it in reserve for a difficult moment. It could save the day!

Sophie the Giraffe, a phthalate-free rubber toy that can be gripped, squeezed or mouthed is a popular baby toy. A familiar book can be comforting and your baby will enjoy turning the pages to find her favourite characters. Texture books that contain hidden surprises also provide entertainment and amusement. If you are on the road, put on a nursery rhyme CD or sing a song. A Baby Sensory baby will be instantly calmed by ‘Say Hello to the Sun’.


A reusable sticker book will keep little hands busy. Stickers can be stuck on the window or the seat without any harm being done. A toy catalogue is great fun to look at and toddlers can colour in the things they would like to have. Activity books, which include dot-to-dot, mazes and patterns, will provide entertainment and distraction. If crayons are a problem, try an ‘Etch A Sketch’. Simply draw on the wipe off mat with the magic pencil and start again without having to change the paper.

Chunky pipe cleaners that can be transformed into fascinating shapes will provide amusement. Attach them together to make animals, bracelets and necklaces. Small strips of masking tape stuck to your toddlers’ legs and arms will provide endless fun. It can be removed easily (unlike a plaster) and gives a pleasant sensation. An interesting way to entertain your toddler is to provide a straw and a drinking cup filled with ice cubes. The straw can be flicked, bent and twisted in a number of different ways and the melting ice will promote the development of many scientific concepts.

Older children

Older children may sit quietly listening to their favourite music on an MP3 player with headphones. A favourite book will keep them entranced for some time, but avoid books with small print in the car or you could end up with a sick child. Books about the geography, history, customs, animal and plant life of your destination will also keep them busy. A map and compass is great fun for children who want to help navigate the route.

Classic travel games such as connect the dots, hangman, tic-tac-toe and magnetic games such as checkers, chess and snakes and ladders can make the journey zoom by. Scrabble is an ideal game for two players, but children can invent their own crossword puzzles too. Electronic games are very popular, but make sure that they are turned off during take-off and landing or they may interfere with the aircraft’s navigational system.

 Try some of these tips on your next trip and you and your family may get to your destination in a more relaxed and happy frame of mind!


I know that I will be trying some of these but first I need to research and shop before we can begin to think about packing and travelling!  Where to start?   

I plan to review all my purchases on this blog so please do keep coming back to see how we are getting along.