It’s that magical time of year again and we are looking forward to some fun Christmas celebrations with the little ones at Beautiful Beginnings. Both events are free and everyone is welcome, whether you have been before or not. We always welcome new people!
Thursday December 12th – Whinlatter Forest Outing
This year at Whinlatter they are offering Stick Man trails. For those of you who haven’t heard of Stick Man it is a great book about a stick who goes on a big adventure and meets Santa! You can find out more about the book here >> The Stick Man trails are free and there will also be some reindeer up there too for us all to see. To find out more details go to the Whinlatter activities page.
We will be meeting at 1.30pm in front of the entrance to the gift shop. Some of us may be going for lunch in the cafe before, so come along if you fancy it.
Thursday December 19th – Beautiful Beginnings Christmas Party
Come along and join in the fun at our Christmas Party. There will be christmas crafts, music, dancing, games and party food. Please bring along some party food to share with everyone and some ideas of Christmas sing songs would be great too! We prefer party food to be vegetarian as most of our regulars eat a vegetarian diet. This will be our last meet before the new year so please come along, all ages welcome!
Hope to see you all this month for some Christmas festivities with friends : )
Anyone who has had the good fortune to witness children involved in creative play will know that this is a serious business. Children create their own imaginary worlds, characters and games, they explore their real life scenarios and they explore their environments and the materials around them.
This can look so simple, a baby feeling the texture of a stone or a toddler pouring water. Yet each and every moment of such play is precious and valuable in so many ways. Whilst we adults may intellectualise and assume that our kids are developing their co-ordination, learning and exploring, we can really only guess at the learning and inner experience of the child, as I have recently come to realise!
Just recently we were doing some home learning about basic physics, we talked about solids, liquids and gases, about density and what makes some materials heavier than others. My five year old led the way, saying ‘mum I know this already, I learned all about it when I played pouring water and sink or float when I was a baby!’
I was amazed. As a baby and toddler this girl spent many many hours pouring water, mixing and dropping pebbles and leaves into pots of water. She was totally absorbed. I loved to watch her play and knew she must be getting something out of it, but little did I know she was figuring out the properties of the Universe! Later that day we made birthday cards for a train-loving toddler friend. My daughter’s usual drawings are fairies and mermaids, yet here she was drawing a very accurate train, I told her I liked the details, she said, ‘yes dad taught me how to draw trains when I was three!’
As our family’s homeschooling journey develops, my kids are teaching me how their many hours of toddler play really did teach them so much, and just how valuable each and every moment really is. Our children really do learn from all of their experiences.
Never underestimate the value of spending time with your little ones and giving them the time and space to play creatively. Don’t worry about finding the most ‘educational’ toys. Your time, love and the space to play and explore their surroundings gives them everything they need to start figuring out this amazing world of ours.
I love to get out with my son and make most of the season we are in. Lately we have been collecting leaves to make pictures and also picking Elderberries together. After 5 years of living in my house I have just discovered that one of the trees is an elderberry tree and heard from a friend that they might be good to help our families never ending coughs! I did a little research and found elderberry syrup is a proven natural remedy for preventing and healing the flu, colds, excessive mucus and sore throats, as it contains large amounts of antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C. It is a perfect remedy for pregnant or breastfeeding women and children as it is completely natural too. Take a tablespoon daily to ward off illness during winter and a teaspoon every 2-3 hours while ill. You can even drizzle the delicious syrup over pancakes, yogurt, or ice cream! Find elderberries growing in gardens and forests or along rivers and roads during autumn.
Children love to help with making the recipe too and I think most would love the sweet taste, although I must admit my little boy didn’t like it. I think this might be because when picking the berries he ate a few and was sick half an hour after, which put him off. I read after that the raw berries can cause nausea, so try to keep your little ones from indulging like mine did!
Elderberry syrup recipe
1 cup of fresh elderberries
3 cups of water
1 cup raw/ manuka honey or agave syrup
1 large sterilised jar for storage
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1-2 star anaise
1. Bring the elderberries to the boil with the water and spices. Simmer for 30 mins.
2. Pour through a metal sieve into a bowl and push liquid through the berries with a fork.
3. Add a cup of honey (I used a full jar of Manuka Honey from Aldi!) and stir into mixture.
4. Pour into a large storage jar and this will keep in the fridge for 2-3 months.
This recipe and others as well as lots more inspiration from parents all around the world are featured in my online parenting magazine PARENT TRIBE, which aims to support and inspire families to be creative, be free and be together.
We are excited to let you know we are having a BB Playgroup trip the the Lake District Coast Aquarium in Maryport on Thursday 24th October.
There will be lots of fishy treats in store for all to enjoy including:
- Guided tour of the aquarium
- Fish feeding talks and demos
- The chance to touch rays and starfish
- Tropical fish like Nemo, plus sharks, eels and Octopus
- A short film in the Wild Solway Exhibition
- Colouring and play time
We are meeting at the Aquarium at 1.30 on Thursday 24th Oct so there will be no BB session at The Settlement that day.
The trip is open to members old and new. Booking Essential before Thurs 17th Oct, so please get in touch and let Hatti or Clare know if you would like to come.
Cost for entry to the aquarium:
Children over 3: £4.25
Under 3′s: Free
There are also annual membership deals available which I would definitely recommend.
To find out more check out their website at www.coastaquarium.co.uk
So we really hope many BB members can come along and enjoy the aquarium together. I have been taking my little ones for years, and there really is something for all ages to enjoy. Babies love the colourful movements of the fish, the tiny seahorses are adorable, and kids of all sizes love to get their hands wet as they try to stroke the rays and starfish.
The Aquarium shop is a real gem with lots of beautiful wooden toys, educational resources and coastline crafts.
Looking forward to seeing you there. Clare & Hatti.
For a few months now I have been running a small yoga session where mums come along to practice some simple Yoga whilst their little ones play. The great thing about this session is that mums get to do some post-natal Yoga, such as focusing on regaining core strength, and practicing relaxation techniques, yet they are able to be their for their little ones and don’t have to worry about finding childcare for an evening Yoga class.
The class is pretty informal and always fun. The babies are now crawling and toddling around, so they invariably get involved in the Yoga too. We explore simple postures and look at the ways the babies and toddlers can join in too. We sing some songs in between the postures so we are able to maintain a connection with our little ones whilst enjoying some Yoga for ourselves.
As a teacher I really enjoy exploring how Yoga can be part of our lives, alongside our children, and this class shows how possible it really is!
There is now some space in the class, so if you are a mum or dad with a little one under two who would like to do some Yoga then get in touch. The class runs once a month on a Friday morning. Come along to the Beautiful Beginnings playgroup and have a chat with Clare if you would like to find out more.
I have also started a new blog The Essence of Yoga about Yoga, Pregnancy and Family Life. There are lots of practices for pregnancy, and to enjoy with your children:
It is a really exciting time at BB just now, with 4 families expecting second and third babies in the coming months. The new mums to be are really keen to try out different baby carriers and slings so they are ready for when their new little family members are here. This coming Thursday 12th September we are all going to bring along our slings and carriers for people to try out, so if you have used a baby carrier and would like to share your tips and experience with other families you are more than welcome to come along.
With my first baby our sling was a luxury, I would use it on walks and when getting out and about or getting something done around the house, but as a first time mum I had the gift of time with my new baby. There was no need for me to be rushing around doing other stuff so I sat and fed and fed and sat and cuddled and slept my way through the first few months of our daughter’s life. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this was a truly special, and once in a life time experience! Happy memories.
With my second and third babies, a sling has been an essential, a necessity, as I have needed to continue being an available mum to my toddlers as well as a mum meeting all the needs of her tiny newborn. Our slings and wraps have been the most essential piece of parenting kit I could have wished for. The newborn has been held close and snuggled with free access to the breast, whilst I’ve been available for my two other little people. Whatever your experience of baby wearing and carrying previously, I would definitely recommend giving it a try with your baby if you have other little people to care for. It is also SO cute when the toddlers make their own slings and carry their own teddies and babies!
If you are interested in finding out more about slings and wearing your baby, come along to BB group and have a chat with other mums and try out the many different baby carriers that will be at the group this Thursday.
Happy baby wearing.
We hope you have all enjoyed some fun and sunny times with your families over the summer holidays.
Beautiful Beginnings Playgroup sessions begin again this week, starting Thursday 5th September 1:30-3:00pm at The Settlement, High Street, Maryport.
We look forward to welcoming back familiar faces as well as hopefully meeting new families too.
If you know of any families who don’t come along who may be interested in the group, do please let them know about BB.
We are looking forward to some seasonal crafts, with an autumn breeze in the air, there will be plenty of opportunities for stomping through piles of leaves and collecting autumn goodies for hand made projects.
We are also hoping to welcome the new breast feeding specialist co-ordinator for West Cumbria, Nicola Bourne, to the group one session in September. Knowing where to go for good breastfeeding info and support is essential for new breastfeeding mums. Peer supporters and experienced breastfeeding mums regularly attend BB sessions.
The Beautiful Beginnings play group is having a few weeks off for the summer and will be starting back on
THURSDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER 1.30-3.00PM
For the last few sessions we have been enjoying the sun in the beautiful Settlement garden. We finished the last session of the summer with water games and paddling pool fun, a cute toddler sports day and songs and cake in the woods.
We are planning a beach outing in August, probably at Allonby, and maybe a walk in the forest at Whinlatter too, so check the blog for details. Look out too for some simple craft ideas and general family blogging over the next few weeks.
Hatti and I would like to thank all of the beautiful families who have supported the group over the last couple of years. It has been great to see how the babies and toddlers are growing and learning, and the support and inspiration parents offer so freely is beautiful.
Have a fantastic summer and look forward to seeing you soon.
Hatti & Clare xx
Beautiful Beginnings families are invited along to a trip to Acorn Bank at Temple Sowerby near Penrith on Monday 22nd July. We are planning a teddy bear’s picnic, so do bring along your favourite teddy, blanket and picnic.
Acorn Bank is a National Trust Property with gardens, a woodland and water mill. There is also an exhibition of hand made woolen animals around the woods which is sure to be a hit with the toddlers.
To find out more about Acorn Bank visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/acorn-bank/visitor-information/
A coach is provided, leaving Maryport Co-op at 9am, Children are free and £7.00 for adults.
Booking is essential
Please contact Jane to reserve your place
We are really happy to be welcoming local potter Marilyn Ross to the Beautiful Beginnings session this week (Thursday 20th June). Marilyn is renowned locally for her signature green glazed pottery decorated with ladybirds, leaves and beautiful dragonflies etc.
Marylin has much experience in encouraging children and adults alike to get creative with clay and parents will be as welcome as their children are to explore the clay and see where their creativity takes them.
Marilyn has kindly offered to fire the clay in her kiln and add a glaze if people would like. This is a really good opportunity for children and parents to play and explore together. All Welcome.
We’ll add pictures soon! Looking forward to it.