Growing Wild – a little bit of the Jelly Maxo plan.

When Miss J was two or three, she went through a phase of being unable to pass a stag beetle without scooping it up and keeping it with her for as long as possible. She called these beetles Jelly Maxo – we have never known why but we have also never forgotten.  Jelly Maxo now means much more to us, as a family, than the brief name of a few stag beetles a couple of summers ago. Jelly Maxo has come to mean all things outdoors; sunshine; family times; getting muddy; building something from nothing; appreciating what we have; getting back to nature, and bringing the outside in, wherever possible.

We live in a ground floor flat so outdoor opportunities are not as easy for us as they are for some. We have a communal garden but we cannot dig it up, we cannot plant flowers or vegetables and we cannot allow the children to build fires or climb trees. However, we make the best of it and have, so far, raised butterflies from caterpillars, sewn seeds in pots to go on the windowsill and used our Tuff spot for sand and even compost messy play.

One of the ways in which we hope to spread a little Jelly Maxo love is by sewing wild flowers. We have collected a few packets of seeds and will be distributing their contents next time we are at the park or climbing a hill. Flowers are such an important part of life that it makes sense to let them grow wherever there is soil.

Below, I have a video for you to watch, which is all about the importance of wild flowers and how you can get involved in supporting their continued existence:

It is fascinating to think that as many as one in three mouthfuls of food relies upon pollinating insects; it is also sad to see such concrete jungles destroying their habitats.

Let’s put this right!

Let’s Grow Wild!

Painting and Printing

On Thursday, Miss J was out all day – at school and then on to a friend’s house. I took this opportunity to spend some time with the boy, painting with trains (amongst other things).


I set out various paints on plates, which made it easy for the boy to roll his trains through the colours. I also added some cookie cutters for printing and some shells and polystyrene eggs to paint. The boy was, of course, immediately drawn to the trains. I offered him paper but he said he wanted to print directly onto the Tuff spot, which I was happy with – it makes the whole session so much easier to clear up after!

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The boy has a habit of mixing colours whenever he is painting. We invariably start off with five or six vibrant choices and inevitably end up with a huge mass of sludgy brown after about five minutes. However, this is easy to do with a paintbrush but not so easy with trains! He rolled various engines through each colour but the mixing was far more contained and added an almost marbled effect to the dishes of paint.

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The boy showed little interest in using a brush during this session – he was more than content to simply wheel his beloved engines through the colours and then on to the Tuff spot, chatting away to himself as he went. He briefly experimented with the Tom and Jerry cookie cutters but quickly returned to his trains.

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Finally, with some encouragement, he made me a lovely hand-print picture. I love child-sized hand-prints!

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We had a lovely afternoon on Thursday and the session was easy to clean up after; the Tuff spot was clean after a quick rinse in the shower and the rest of the stuff went into the sink where the boy washed the paint away.

As you may have gathered, the boy is very keen on playing with his engines – if you have any tips on how we can further incorporate them into our messy play, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you.

Wedding Style


Today, Miss J and I talked weddings. We unwrapped her beautiful Autograph dress and shoes and, well, it was love at first sight for my little girl. I know I am biased, but I think she looked beautiful in them, too.


The dress is a lovely quality; it has a coloured under layer while the top layer is lacy and covered with raised white daisies. There are buttons at the back of the dress, though these are largely hidden once fastened. Miss J said it was very comfortable and quite warm, though it would be easy to add a cardigan and tights to the outfit for a cooler day.


For my wedding, I am drawn to the colours of autumn. Ideally, I would like ivory dresses for myself and Miss J, with yellow flowers in our hair and chocolate brown suits for the boys. This beautiful daisy-print dress has a pale orange backdrop so fits in well with my colour scheme; it is perfect for Miss J to change into after the ceremony. At £37, it is also well within budget.

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The shoes have beautiful embellishment in the form of beads and sequins; Miss J adores them. “I would like to wear these every day!” she said, having tried them on. They are a size too big at the moment, but I am hoping that they will be a perfect fit come October!


For the ceremony, I envisage Miss J in a miniature version of my dress, carrying a posy of burnt orange flowers; I am hopeful that my three other bridesmaids will be wearing dresses in something approaching the same colour as these flowers, though I haven’t yet found exactly what I’m looking for.

Planning a wedding is not easy, but with a little bridesmaid this beautiful, I cannot go far wrong!




We were sent this Autograph dress and shoes for the purposes of this post. All views are our own.

March Reviews

March was a busy month for reviews; the children were particularly fortunate to receive some great toys and gadgets. Miss J loved this Zelfs play set, which even made it all the way to Paris with us! She was also provided with a Pop Chef, which is a little gadget designed to make healthy eating more fun for children. The Pop Chef is easy to use and easy to clean; it also has some benefit when it comes to encouraging children to eat fruits and vegetables that they perhaps wouldn’t otherwise try. However, the boy would still not be swayed away from the foods that he knows…

Last month, I trialled a new skin care product, HealGel Eye.


From the website:

“HealGel Eye is a peerless anti-ageing formula that can help to diminish the appearance of dark circles, puffiness and fine lines.  Refreshing and lightweight it provides a perfect base for make-up or a pick-me-up for tired eyes so that you can look well-rested even if you’re not.”

I was a little sceptical at first but am now a convert and use this gel several times a week – I never wear make up, so the fact that I use this at all is quite big! It is lovely and refreshing to use first thing in the morning and I have noticed that it makes me look a little less tired. Once applied, the feeling of the skin around the eyes tightening is obvious, and any wrinkles are less apparent too. A great little product.

We have also been reviewing a yoghurt machine for Beanies coffee. For this review, we were sent a selection of yoghurt mixes and a machine. Making (and enjoying) yoghurt has never been so easy! To make a litre of yoghurt, simply add one sachet of the mix to half a litre of water, in a mixing bowl. Whisk together before adding another half a litre. Whisk until smooth and then transfer to the Yogart machine and leave for 8 hours. Even better, this yoghurt is dairy-free as well as delicious!



Finally, the cats were sent a large bag of Harringtons Natural Cat food to sample. Of course, being cats, they ate it because they would eat anything, but it was good to know that they were getting a load of nutrients as well, including taurine for a healthy heart and omega 3 to make them all shiny. The dry food also smelled a lot nicer than some we have bought in the past!



We have lots more reviews to come this month; keep an eye on the blog for more information.


Remembering magical moments