Archives for January 2016

Fire Station Activity Book: A Parragon Book Buddies review

Our December offering from Parragon Books arrived just before Christmas but as it was a busy time, I popped it in the back of my wardrobe and promptly forgot about it, until just before New Year!

Mushroom was very excited when I remembered, and told him we had a package to open… “I had so many books at Christmas Mummy I forgot about my letter book” (he loves to see that big white envelope each month!*). He was even more excited when we realised it was an activity set. “Can we do it right now?”

That's a lot of pieces!

Mr B had a friend round and we were all in the living room so building the fire station was the perfect activity for us to be around and part of the conversation without Mushroom getting bored. We opened up all the pieces and at first I thought it looked a bit too complicated! Then Mushroom showed me the instructions… I used to always read the instructions first. Now I live life a little closer to the edge, making stuff up as I go along 😉

Instructions: Making life less complicated

We put the fire engine together first but couldn’t fit it in the station so we parked it outside while the cat and dog were rescued from a burning fire engine and a tree!

Mr B’s friend was very impressed with the set and especially with all the fire fighters – great to see a diverse range of characters, especially as so many of these sets still come with only white male options.

Once Mr B’s friend had left and we tired of role play, we moved to the kitchen where Mushroom sat at the table and worked his way through the activity book while I prepared dinner. He often skips some pages in the activity books I buy him but with this one, he worked his way through every page, exclaiming at the end “I did the whole book so quickly! I’m sad now because I want to do it again…”

I want to do it all over again!

This is a great set as there is so much to do. I loved that we built the set together and then he was able to do the activity book with little supervision. I’m sure the fire engine will be played with until it falls apart too – lots of creative play with this one. I highly recommend it and in fact am already thinking of it as a birthday present for a certain fireman-mad little boy we know! If you know any budding firemen or women, you can get yours from The Book Depository for £7.58. Of course it’s also available from Amazon (at the same price).

*Disclosure: Mushroom and I are Parragon Book Buddies and receive a new book to read and review each month. All views are our own. Read my full PR and disclosure policy here.

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Conversations with Mushroom: What makes a good Mummy?


Last week when I picked Mushroom up after school, he handed me a folded piece of paper with ‘Mummy’ on the front and told me he had ‘written’ a note for me. It was a child’s handwriting but Mushroom’s is not quite that legible yet so I asked if he really had written it. He said “A big boy helped me at teatime club, I told him my words.” When we got home, I opened up the note to read it. It said:

“I love you Mummy because you are a good Mummy and you are always kind to me.”

I melted.

Me: Mushroom, that is a beautiful, thoughtful note. I will keep it somewhere special.

Mushroom: *proud, slightly bemused* Mummy why is your voice all funny? Are you crying?

Me: No, I’m just full up of love for you. I always am but I’m really feeling it right now.

Mushroom: That’s good..?

Me: Yes, yes it is. Mushroom? What makes a good Mummy, do you think?

Mushroom: *shrugs* I don’t know. Good Mummies do good listening.

Me: All the time?

Mushroom: Yes, even when they are mean.

Me: Are good mummies mean then?

Mushroom: Yes. They have to be when the children are naughty. You were mean to me this morning…

Me: I told you off, yes…

Mushroom: See? But you do good listening. Some Mummies just don’t listen. You don’t listen very well when you do your phone…

Me: I know. That’s why I put my phone away more now.

Mushroom: *nods* Can we play now?

Me: You need to get changed first. And I want to ask you one more thing about good Mummies…

Mushroom: *sighs* Go on then.

Me: Do good Mummies play all the time, and let you eat sweets and watch TV whenever you want..?

Mushroom: *laughs* No! No no no no. Good mummies have to look after you and you can’t have too much sweeties and you need to be good children as well. I am good..?

Me: Most of the time, yes. I guess we are both good, most of the time…

Mushroom: It’s hard to be good all the time…

Me: I know…

Mushroom: Can we finish talking about being good now?

So there you have it. If you do good listening and are ‘mean’ in response to bad behaviour, then you’re a good enough Mummy – according to my four-year old. And it’s ok to be less than perfect*, because “it’s hard to be good all the time”!

What do your kids say about being a good Mummy…?

*If you’re still struggling to let go of your idea of perfection (because it is just that, an idea!), then you may be interested in my brand new four-week course, Proudly Imperfect Parents, which will help you to really let go and embrace all the positives of your perfectly imperfect parenting. The course starts on 22 February and is open for booking now.

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Hello 2016, Goodbye Mushroom’s Mouth*

Happy New Year Everyone!

It’s been a while since my last post, which was just after I started school! I’ve done a whole term now and there’s so much to tell you… So I’ll start at the beginning, shall I?


I am used to school now. I’d rather be at home with Mummy but then it was a bit boring during the holidays when we ran out of friends to play with. I think playing all day makes Mummy a bit tired, too. I’d be tired if I had to do computer work and talk to grown-ups all day though. Each to their own, I guess.

School doesn’t seem quite as big and scary as it did when I first started. I’ve made some good friends and learned lots of cool things. When I got sick and had to stay home for a few days, I was really annoyed that I was missing out! I’m still very quiet with the teachers but am learning to use a bigger voice when I’m in a small group. Mummy says she used to be very shy when she was little. She’s not shy now though (I actually think she’s a bit of a show off sometimes)! So maybe I’ll feel less scared when I am bigger.

Half term

Mummy had to work a bit in half-term so I went to a holiday club for two days. It was called Fit for Sport and I loved it! We did running, jumping, swimming and make and do activities. All my favourite things! The teachers were called ‘Coaches’ and I made a friend who is bigger than me. I wanted to stay all week but Mummy had plans for us. We had some nice days together but I missed my friend. I hope he is there when I go back again in February.


2015-12-24 18.28.03I have been excited for Christmas ALL YEAR! When it finally came I did my nativity at school (I was a chicken), and Mummy helped me choose Daddy’s present. I chose a chocolate tool! And I managed to keep it a surprise until Christmas Day. Daddy was very impressed.

On Christmas eve I suggested we make a cake for Father Christmas instead of mince pies. We made a chocolate mint cake (it looks like mint choc chip ice cream, see!) and Mummy said she thought it would go best with a chocolate Baileys. So that’s what we left out, along with a carrot for the reindeer (does he only feed one reindeer at each house, I wonder..?).

Of course, in the morning I got lots of presents! I enjoyed taking turns opening things with Mummy and Daddy and playing all morning while Daddy put together my best present – my new bike!


I eventually actually went outside on my bike and did so every day until I had to go back to school. Daddy was just tricking me. 😉


On New Year’s day Mummy and Daddy took me out for a special lunch. I rode my new bike all the way to the next town and we had breakfast for lunch (I had scrambled eggs on toast)..! Then afterwards I got to play in a giant sandpit (In January. Yes, really) until I got cold. It was awesome. I then had a couple more days of lie-ins before it was time to go back to school…

As for school, well, Mummy’s told you how I felt about my first day back to school this year but actually, it was ok in the end. I enjoyed seeing my friends again and we had cake for dessert at lunchtime. That never happens at home! So far this term, I have been learning abut police, bad guys and the letter sound ‘kwa’ (Q).

2015OpenJoy_MoheringMushroomLast week we opened our Joy Jar from 2015 and read about all the things that made us happy last year. It made me really happy to remember having fun with my nursery friends (can you believe I was still at nursery last year? I can’t!) and all the fun things that Mummy and I did over the summer. We’ve started our 2016 Jar now and I can’t wait to fill it up – with my proper writing this time (last time I only drew pictures)!

Finally, while we were remembering our fun times from 2015, Mummy told me about New Year’s resolutions (although she says she prefers to have intentions and goals) and asked me if I have any. I told her that I intend to follow our updated rules (we updated these together over Christmas) all the time (well, I’ll try. That’s what intend means, right..?) and my goal is to be able to ride my bike without stabilisers this summer.

I hope you had a good Christmas break and, as I sign out of Mushroom’s mouth for the last time*, I wish you all the best for 2016!

Over and out (I like to say this into my walkie talkie, It sounds cool),

Mushroom. Xx

*Apart from his annual interview, which I’ll continue to share as long as I blog here, this will be the last post from Mushroom’s Mouth! I have been writing as Mushroom for a couple of years now and having given it some thought over the holidays, I decided to stop now that he has a much stronger voice of his own! Perhaps he’ll start blogging himself, in time. We’ll see. In the meantime, there will still be plenty of Conversations with Mushroom, and if you enjoyed this post you can always head back the archives for more from Mushroom’s Mouth.

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Conversations with Mushroom #10: Back to School

Mushroom and I are walking past his school on his last day off before term starts. It’s the end of an inset day and the teachers are in their classrooms no doubt preparing for today’s lessons.

Mushroom is curious about what he’ll be learning when he goes back and asks if I can see what Miss S (his teacher) is doing. She’s walking between her classroom and the nursery so that tells us nothing. I say I’m sure she has an interesting day planned (and am hoping it’ll be easy going as the kids transition back into their routines). I turn to Mushroom and, knowing that he’s not keen to go back, I think I’ll help him come up with reasons to be happy about returning to school.

Me: What are you most looking forward to about school? Seeing your friends? Your teachers? Learning new things? The mud kitchen in the playground *I’m thinking this one has to be a ‘win’*… Or something else..?

Mushroom: Hometime.

Me: What else?

Mushroom: Just hometime and Mummy.

Me: Ok. What will you enjoy until hometime..?

Mushroom: Waiting for hometime.

I think he’s made himself pretty clear! I wasn’t too excited about getting up before 6am today but it’s ok. I’m enjoying the silence…. So maybe he’ll find things to be happy about by the end of the day! Wish us luck 😉

Did you go back to school/work yesterday? I hope both you and your kids found something positive about it all!


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