Monday, 30 September 2013

The Dilemna in the Bedroom!

Well, the title could have meant anything; I do have a dilemma in my bedroom, but it's to do with the decoration, and Lottie's sleeping arrangement; not what you were thinking.

Lottie has always spent the night sleeping in our room, we have never had a night apart; however at nearly 15 months I am starting to wonder if I should be moving her soon. Lottie has always been a very good sleeper, and sleeps from 7pm through until 7am; she is also quite a deeper sleep and will stay asleep when we watch TV in bed. I know that she would be absolutely fine sleeping away from me, and I know Ruby cannot wait for her little sister to be sharing a room with her, but there's that part of me that's being maybe a little bit selfish, and wanting to keep her a baby. I love seeing her little face as soon as she wakes up, and not having to get out of bed to bring her for her morning milk and cuddles.

I recently asked on facebook when people moved their babies into their own room, and I had a wide range of answers, from a couple of days old to 4 years old. Personally for me, I know I couldn't have put Lottie into her own room at just a few days old; I loved and still do love having the closeness to her, and occasionally we allow Ruby to sleep in our bed and watch TV as a treat; I love it, for me having my girls close to me is such a lovely feeling. I am fortunate that they don't move around in their sleep, so I still have a good nights rest.

I know there will be a time when the cot leaves our bedroom, and so I need to think about how we should decorate the room after Lottie has moved out.

My husband and I moved into our house just a few days after our return from honeymoon, so there was very little time to do the house up, and money was tight, so we just opted for a massive tub of magnolia paint and painted every room in our house with it. I don't have anything against magnolia, but I just feel the need for a change as I am finding it so boring. However, I have absolutely no idea what to do. I did consider wallpapering one wall behind the bed, but I can't find a wallpaper that takes my fancy. I love my duvet cover and love everything girlie and shabby chic, including Cath Kidston. Unfortunately, finances will not stretch to decorate my room by everything Cath Kidston!

The dressing table has since been moved to be where the cot is, and the cot is now at the bottom of the bed.

I love having lots of photos of the girls up, so I am keen to keep my feature photo wall. The carpet is in a really good condition as we had it put in just before we moved in and it's a lovely shade of green.

This is where I need your help, I would love your interior design advice: what shall I do to update my bedroom? Please share your thoughts in the comments section of this post or email me.

Thanks x.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Planning Ahead - Spring Time

We have barely even got into Autumn, let alone Winter, but now I am starting to think about Spring. I had never really given much thought to spring time before, until the last couple of years, when out of nowhere, I started to admire the lovely array of spring flowers that came bursting out of the ground. How could I have missed the beauty in these flowers? Maybe I didn't, but I never admired and loved them as much as I do now.

We were fortunate to have been left some money by Phil's grandma, which enabled us to be able to put a conservatory onto our house last year; I say conservatory, its actually the playroom! The timing of the building work was not too great, as I was due to give birth to Lottie any time. The day the foundations and brick work had been completed, my waters burst and I delivered Lottie in the early hours of the following morning at home (you can read more about her birth here). Needless to say, the builder was a bit shocked to find me cradling Lottie when he came to carry on with his work the next day!

The conservatory has certainly been worth the money as it has enabled us to have an adult lounge that isn't full of toys; it is a place where we can relax and unwind whilst the girls can have their own room full of all their toys. However, with the arrival of Lottie and the conservatory being built, it has left our garden in a bit of a mess, so this year we have been trying to make our garden beautiful, I am no expert and just pick out things that I like the look of and hope they grow!

Last weekend we set to work and went to our local garden centre to buy some spring bulbs; we had set some a couple of years ago, but we had not put enough in, so we bought over 300 bulbs, a mixture of different types of daffodils and crocuses.

Ruby lent a hand and helped to dig the holes before placing the bulbs into the ground and then hiding them again in the soil.

Ruby's favourite part of planting things in the garden is definately watering; anything to do with water and Ruby is there, even if it is a muddy puddle and she's wearing her best outfit!

Phil kindly bought me a new bird feeder which takes pride of place in the border near to our conservatory. The conservatory is at a perfect height for little faces to look out of the windows and see the birds, I wonder what types of birds we will see in the coming weeks and months?

We  can't wait to see how the bulbs grow and see what our garden looks like in the spring time.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Proud Mummy Moment

I don't tend to blog much about the children's achievements, but seeing as this blog is their diary for them to look back on as they grow older, I have decided that today's blog post is a very worthy subject to be writing about.

I am incredibly proud that this week, Ruby's teacher's have chosen her to be "pupil of the week"! I was not even aware that the school did this until Ruby came home on Monday beaming with smiles telling me she had a certificate.

I read the certificate and cried, my hormones have been all over the place this week and this really did set me off. I cannot put into words how proud I am of Ruby, she has settled into school so well, despite being one of the youngest. Her certificate states that she has been awarded pupil of the week for "settling into school well, with lots of enthusiasm!".

Not only did Ruby get a certificate, but as a special treat she was given a story bag to take home for the week. The bag contains a non-fiction book on ladybirds, a story about ladybirds, a puppet and a ladybird game - I thought this was an amazing thing to be given. Ruby's certificate has now been placed in the living room in view for all to see.

The book bag went down very well with Ruby and every evening we have been reading some of the book and story whilst also having a game of ladybirds.

I think Ruby will be sad to return this book bag next week, but as a special treat for being pupil of the week, I am going to get her a little treat as I am such an incredibly proud mummy.

Monday, 23 September 2013

You know you are a mum when ...

I recently took to the social networks to find out what my mum friends really thought about one of life's most important topics; here is what they had to say:

You know you are a mum when ...

  • You always carry a packet of baby wipes in your handbag!
  • You have some free time away from the children you feel lost!
  • Your world revolves around watching CBeebies!
  • You don't get a lie in!
  • Your ironing and washing pile is never empty!
  • You have no time for make up or hair straightening!
  • All of your spare money goes towards the children!
  • You never get time to go toilet by yourself!
  • You have a severe lack of social life!
  • You no longer think about yourself, everything revolves around children!
  • You can't wear an outfit more than once due to sticky fingers/baby sick!
  • You are constantly shattered and have forgotten what a full nights sleep is!
  • Your happy to clean up little snotty noses, bums and sick etc - and don't flinch! 
  • You don't mind getting up early to smiling faces. 

Thanks to everyone for taking part, they really did make me smile. Is there anything you would add to the list?

Here is a brilliant video that I discovered, it sums up motherhood perfectly:

PS: You have hopefully noticed by now that I have had a slight redesign of the blog to make it feel a bit cleaner and less cluttered; I would love to know your thoughts on the changes.

Saturday, 21 September 2013


Prior to having children, I had never really considered the meaning of the word 'milestones' before, but it now seems to be a word that keeps coming up time and time again; it is definitely a word that parents become very familiar with as their baby grows up.

Back when I was a first time mother to Ruby, I used to enjoy looking at the red book that the health visitor and midwives used to chart her weight and various other things including numerous childhood milestones.

Baby groups seem to be a place for competitive parenting, where parents talk about all the milestones that there child is hitting; maybe it was just me, but at the time I felt as if my baby and I were failing, as we were not reaching the milestones of a baby who was either the same age or younger. To this day I still do not like going to baby groups. We would not criticise an adult in this way, so why do we pressure a baby to achieve something by a certain age? Should we not treat them as an individual?

I enjoyed seeing Ruby reach her milestones, and was always pushing her to reach the next one as quickly as she possibly could. I could not wait for her to sit, walk, or even to talk; but then I was a first time mother! I think this is what the vast majority of first time mothers do.

Why is there no individualism nowadays? Why are we so wrapped up in red tape, and obsessed with milestones? Why can't a baby be allowed to be a baby and grow at their own pace, without pressure on them to do things before they are ready to?

For me, things completely changed when Lottie came along; I was still interested in her development and how she was progressing, but I was not in a rush for her to do anything, and I am not actively encouraging her to walk; she pulls herself up and walks holding on to things at present, but there is no push from me for her to walk. My attitude has completely changed as a second time mum, I have learnt a lot since having Ruby. I have come to the conclusion that babies grow up way too quickly, and before you know it, it is time for them to go to school.

Ruby has just started to school and on the first day she was handed some homework, as a parent I was shocked, she has only recently turned four, it seems so young to be giving out homework.  I attempted to help Ruby with her homework, but it didn't go as planned, and Ruby ended up in tears; I made the decision to put the homework to one side. I felt like such a bad parent explaining to her teacher that Ruby had not done the homework and that I was not prepared to push her any further; if I had done this, I fear that Ruby would have been put off going to school.

Milestones may have a place in certain areas, but I really wish people would open their eyes and look at the bigger and wider pictures.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Life is tough, Life is unfair!

I am sat here in tears; why is life so difficult? At times, it feels like such an uphill struggle! Before I go into my pity party, I know that I am incredibly blessed to have two healthy daughters, and mine and my husbands health are good too, but life seems to throw so much rubbish at us; why does it all have to happen all at once? I remember a dear friend once telling me that you will never get dealt more in life than you can handle; I grasp onto this when I can, but today is a day that I can't; I can't explain it, I want to scream, I want to shout, life is just unfair and really hard. I think that I am probably not alone in how I am feeling today, have you experienced a day like this, or even a few weeks, months or even years?

A line in a famous song reads, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger!"; I agree with this, and many a time have I felt that out of a somewhat negative or bad experience, things have been turned around and I have come out stronger; this is the case in so many aspects of my life. But isn't it so difficult to see how much stronger you will become whilst going through it! How do you keep a track of the light at the end of the tunnel?

I don't feel able to write or go into great detail about what is my mind, or what is happening in my life at this present time, but somehow I know I will find a way through it and sort something out.

The mantra I have at the moment is, "life will get better, as seasons change, so will circumstances". I'm not sure really why I wrote this post today, I don't want any pity or hugs, I just needed to clear my head and try and understand why things happen and why they don't.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Fruit Picking at Nana's House

This week seems to have really flown by, and I don't feel as if I have had much playtime with Ruby. The weather has really turned and I can't believe how cold and wet it's been; I don't want to say it but I think autumn is on its way! I've even had to resort to putting the heating on!

After school one afternoon this week, we went over to my mums house and managed to enjoy some outdoor fun before the rain set in!

Over in the chicken run are several fruit trees; Ruby helped Nana and Grandad pick some of the fruit from the trees.

It ended up being quite fun as my mum kept telling my step dad where she could see ripe plums, and my step dad had to keep moving the ladder and trying to reach the plums right at the top of the tree.

Lots of the plums got eaten before they were brought back to the house.

We then went into the hen house and collected some eggs which we are going to use this weekend to bake a cake.

The cooking apples were not quite ready to be picked, but I'm already desperate to eat home-made apple crumble.

My mum has got loads of plums, so if anyone has a good recipe for them, I would be very grateful?

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Two Peas In A Pod?

Before I had children, I often wondered whether I would have sons or daughters, and if they would be similar in personality or looks.

Whilst pregnant with Ruby, I assumed she would have brown hair and brown eyes like myself, as based on my knowledge of DNA, brown is a dominate gene compared to my husbands blonde hair and blue eyes. My guess was correct and as Ruby's baby blue eyes changed to brown, I thought I would get a little mini me, but she's not, even though she has my colouring she is the spit of her daddy! When I gave birth to Lottie, I was shocked to find she had very little hair, and it was blonde! Her eye colour at 14 months of age is still a lovely bright blue!

I never in a million years expected my daughters to be different colourings, but somewhere in my family, someone has blonde hair and blue eyes like my husband (this is required to override a dominant gene); I spoke to my mum about this and the only person we can come up with is my Nana, so I must have passed some genes onto Lottie from her.

In terms of the girls shape and size, they were both born at a good weight, Ruby was 7lb 15.5oz and 2 weeks and Lottie was 3 weeks early weighing in at 8lb 1oz. I am so glad I didn't go over my due dates as they would have been huge!

My husband and I are the opposite of one another, I'm very skinny and currently deemed as being underweight whereas hubbie is classed as being over. Ruby started off being quite a chunky baby and I never really put her into pretty dresses as they just did not suit her; Lottie on the other hand is very dainty and wears dresses most days. Its hard to say if Lottie will continue to be a girly girl; Ruby on the other hand has turned from tomboy to girlie girl and loves nothing more than princesses and playing with dolls.

Ruby and Lottie share a lot of my traits; both are very very strong willed and know what they want and when, however Lottie appears to be a lot more sensitive and even now will cry at the hoover or hair dryer. Lottie currently has a cold and is very clingy and unsettled, whereas Ruby is the opposite, when she is ill, she just gets on with it and she has a very stubborn personality.

I feel the girls need different forms of parenting; Lottie needs the encouragement and softly softly approach, whereas for Ruby needs us to be firmer. In some ways, it's strange looking at my girls - they were both due at the same time of the year but are so different, it's going to be interesting to see how they are similar or not in the coming years, but for the moment they are not quite two peas in a pod, I would be really interested to know your thoughts, are your children similar? Do you parent all your children in the same way or is there a difference?

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

My Blogging Journey So Far!

Ruby + Lottie has been running now for almost 6 months; it has been a huge learning curve for me as there is always something new to learn, and the pace of blogging changes very quickly. I am incredibly proud of the success of Ruby + Lottie and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people who have supported me and the blog.

I feel incredibly blessed to have made so many new friends, who have given me a great deal of support and encouragement on the journey.

I have always said that this blog was to act as a record for the girls, so that in years to come they can reflect on what they did during their childhood; and also for me personally, its my space to be able to share things that are on my heart or interest me. There are some personal things that over time I will share but at the moment I do not feel it appropriate to do so.

A number of people have contacted me in recent weeks asking for my advice on how to blog and what to write about; to be honest there is no set answer, for me blogging comes from my heart, I write about whatever is on my mind. I would encourage anyone who is wanting to start a blog to write about anything they want to, there will be people who will and people who won't wan't to read certain things, but your blog is your space to write whatever you want to. If people want to read it then great, if not then, for me, it does not matter as the blog is my diary for the girls and I.

I have started to receive regular contacts from companies wanting me to review things, however I turn down the vast majority of these, as the product did not suit what Ruby + Lottie is all about. I know from reading other blogs, that a blog just based on reviews is really boring; don't get me wrong, the odd review is great as it helps me to sometimes decide if I should buy something based on a fellow mummies opinion. 

I have never really become too bothered about statistics and data and every month; I do find it interesting to see what people have been reading on my blog, and I particularly love reading comments, but some people get so upset when their blog plummets in the latest rankings; for me, as I have said this blog will always be my diary to record the girls growing up. 

Ruby has started at school full time this week and I have decided that moving forward, I will blog  as and when something catches me, rather than being so structured as to write every day.

The most important thing I would like to say to anyone considering writing a blog, is give it a go, and see where it takes you; you won't look back!

Monday, 9 September 2013

3 Weeks Post Op

I am now three weeks post op, following my knee surgery, and to be honest I'm finding it all really difficult to get my head around. I think part of the problem is that I was not fully prepared for the operation; yes I had done some research and asked questions to my consultant etc, and he and I both thought that the procedure would be a quick and easy one to recover from... but unfortunately when he opened up my knee, it became clear that this was not going to be as easy as we had initially thought. He performed the procedure he thought was best based on his own expert opinion (following my consent), and my two week recovery time went up to six months. This came as a shock to me as I am such an active person and to be so limited as to what I can do is really hard for me. I attended my first physiotherapy session last week and after the assessment I received more bad news; that full recovery in six months is unlikely,  I should plan for a year! A year ! Initially I did not know what to say, but now I just want to cry There have been many tears of frustration and I am sure there is going to be many more as the days go by.

My painkillers are not doing a very good job, or maybe I just don't react to them very well; however my meds have been increased yet again, and wow, this new strength really does affect me differently. It's hard for me to believe that someone could become addicted to strong painkillers such as Tramadol, as for me they are awful, they make me feel on edge, tired, dizzy and feel really sick; no why could I ever imagine being addicted to them, give me a bar of chocolate any day. They do however get rid of the pain, but the side effects are so great, I wish there was another answer. The Dr I saw last week recommend that I take my painkillers regularly instead of as and when; to be honest, I'm worried I'm going to rattle, she assures me it's normal to take all these various meds, as I've had quite a big op.

I'm not really sure why I'm writing this blog post, I just needed to write to try and get my head around things. The prospect of a year of recovery scares me and even then the outcome of the operation might not have been successful. I am getting so incredibly frustrated at the things I can not do, so I wondered, do you have any advice as to how I can rest and any hobbies that I could take up to get me occupied?

Friday, 6 September 2013

A Wheelbarrow Race

Last weekend marked the 5th anniversary of the annual wheelbarrow race in our village; over recent years, it has started to become more and more popular. Its an absolutely amazing family day out that raises money for a local hospice that does such wonderful work; in fact my own grandfather was in LOROS before he sadly passed away.

The event is held at the local recreation ground and there are lots of wonderful things on show and to buy, ranging from home made cakes and jams, to knitted dolls and hand-crafted jewellery; there really was something for everyone to enjoy.

This year my sister Tegan and her boyfriend Felix had decided to enter the junior wheelbarrow race. All of the teams must dress up in fancy dress to be able to enter. Tegan went as an Indian, and Felix as a Cowboy; Ruby was a little bit jealous that she had not been allowed to dress up as Jessie from Toy Story.

Some of the other competitors dressed up as superheros, scooby doo and pirates, amongst others.

We cheered on Tegan and Felix and they came a respectable second in their junior race. After the race, we decided to have some ice cream, whilst Phil and my step Dad went off for a cheeky pint.

We then watched the adult race, which must be a good couple of miles long, as the route goes from the park, all the way into the centre of the village, around the war memorial, and back to the starting line.

The adults did amazingly well; there would be no way that I would be able to do it, I just do not have the strength or stamina. Ruby and Lottie both enjoyed the excitement of the race.

Just as we were about to leave we had one last look around at all the stalls, and Nana bought Ruby a lovely old fashioned knitted dolly that turns inside out to create a different doll; Ruby instantly fell in love with it and has been placed pride of place on her bed.

We had a fantastic day and its fair to say the countryside air made us feel very tired; even though I used my crutches and tried not to put too much pressure on my knee, it did unfortunately swell up again, so I had to spend the rest of the weekend putting my feet up.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Ruby is Handling it Better than Me!

This week seems to be absolutely flying by, how can it possibly be Thursday already? The weekend will soon be upon us.. Yay! Ruby has been at school for half days this week and she has thoroughly enjoyed putting on her uniform and has no problems going to school at all; yesterday for example, she ran straight into the playground and if I had not had shouted "Ruby where is mummy's kiss" I don't think she would have even looked back!

In a previous post I talked about the dilemma surrounding Ruby's homework, well I have spoken to Ruby's teacher, and explained that I had tried to get Ruby to draw a house, but I did not feel comfortable in pushing her too far in case it threw out of the window all her positive feelings about starting school; her teacher agreed with me that there was no need to push her into doing something she very clearly was getting upset over, this gave me a huge sense of relief but its also made me feel like a rubbish parent as I've not been able to get my daughter to do her first piece of homework. I suspect that the reason Ruby is not interested in drawing is because she finds it boring compared to other things she could be doing with her time, she has no problem being outside and using chalks to draw things that she wants to draw, I think she is also a little stubborn too, I wonder where she gets that from?

Whilst Ruby has been on half days at school, the house has been very quiet and I am sure Lottie has felt a bit off with not having her sister around to play with, as she has been a little madam at times. Even though Ruby has only been having half days at school, she is coming back home very, very tired and I am a little concerned at what she is going to be like next week when she is in for a full week. How do you manage your little ones when they are so tired from school; I could really do with some tips? I am making sure that she is having dinner early and going to bed at 7pm; she is sleeping for nearly 12 hours, but what else can I do?

The weather was absolutely beautiful when Ruby finished school yesterday, the sun was shinning and it was so warm that I put a pair of shorts on. Ruby and I had a fantastic time playing with the barbies in the garden, I'm going to miss being able to play all day every day with her; what has happened to my once little girl? She's grown up way too quickly.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Just Small Things

I am sat here in tears... I normally brush off compliments and don't allow them to even reach my brain, I am not sure why but compliments don't really sink into my soul, and I have never been very good at accepting them. Today however is different. I don't really know why but someone who I have read about and admire so much told me that I have so much to offer and that I should certainly pursue my dream to become a midwife as I would be an asset.

Over the last few weeks I have been pondering and thinking a lot about university and applying to become a midwife, its something I have wanted to do for the last 4 years, however I felt it was never a good time. Well Ruby has now gone off to school leaving just Lottie at home, don't get me wrong I love the time I have with her, but I need something for me now, and with Ruby having only been a school girl for a couple of days, it has re-empathised my feelings that I can't just sit at home and be a stay at home mum; financially we are doing OK and getting by; we don't have luxuries and some months are a struggle, but we cope. Two days into Ruby being at school and I am bored, there is only so much day time TV I can watch; I need to be doing something much more productive and satisfying.

I needed to hear the words spoken to me today, that the experiences I have had, both good and bad ones, have made the person I am today, and that these experience would be of so much benefit and help to pregnant women and I would be an asset to have in any midwifery team. With this in my mind, I have decided that this was the confirmation I had needed, I am going to apply to study from September 2014.

My mother has very very kindly agreed to look after the girls, and she lives in the village that Ruby attends school. I know that the girls would be so looked after and spoilt that I would be mad to not take up this opportunity and go off in search of my dreams.

Well, I'd better stop writing this post and start putting pen to paper by making a start on my UCAS form so that I can start making the steps towards my dream. I can't tell you how excited I am at the prospect of achieving my dream and knowing that if I get into university, I will be helping so many women through my own experiences. I can't wait for the challenges and long shifts that midwifery brings.

I will of course try and keep you all updated. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Great British Bake Off - Bread

Last week I wrote a post about how I had been inspired by the great British Bake Off, which is shown on BBC One on Tuesday night's. A new episode will be on tonight and I am really excited to see how the bakers get on. This week I will, once again, be putting my cookery skills to test.

Last week on the bake off, the bakers made bread and I decided to see if I could make a simple loaf of bread. I have never made bread before but I was a little nervous about trying.

Here is the recipe that my friend gave to me, to make a white bloomer:
  • 500g strong white flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 10g salt
  • 1 x 7g sachet of instant yeast
  • 320ml cold water
  • 40ml olive oil, plus extra for kneading


Place the dry ingredients in a bowl; do not allow salt and yeast to touch. Add the oil and 240ml of tepid tap water.

Using your hands, mix the ingredients together. Gradually add remaining water (you may not need it all), until all the flour leaves the side of the bowl and you have a soft, roughish dough.

Pour a little oil onto a clean work surface. Place dough on surface and begin to knead; do this for 5-10 mins, or until dough becomes smooth and silky. Once this consistency is reached, place dough into a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place until tripled in size. A warm airing cupboard or conservatory is great!

Once risen, place the dough onto a floured surface. Knock the dough back by folding it in on itself repeatedly. Do this until all the air is knocked out and the dough is smooth. To shape into a bloomer, flatten the dough into a rectangle shape. With long side facing you, fold each end into the middle then roll like a Swiss roll so that you have a smooth top with a seam along the base.

Very gently roll with the heel of your hands.

Place on tray lined with baking parchment paper, cover and leave to prove for 1-2 hours at room temperature, or until doubled in size.

Lightly spray with water and dust with a little flour. Make four diagonal slashes using a sharp knife across the top.

Preheat the oven to 220°C425°F/Gas 7 and place a baking tray filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven - this will create steam when bread is baking. Place loaf on middle shelf and bake for 25 mins. (Take out top shelf if you think loaf may touch when rises as it cooks) After this time lower the heat to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and bake for a further 10 mins.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Here is the end result - 

I am incredibly proud that I actually managed to bake a loaf of bread and it tasted great.

This week I even had the time to bake cakes for Phil's work to celebrate his birthday.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Homework - Can you help?

As regular readers will know, Ruby started school last week and she absolutely loved her time there; I am pleased to say that I coped well and held it together as I said good bye to her; I didn't shed a single tear! I was worried I was going to though.

I am shocked that after one day at school, Ruby has been set some work to do at home. I never expected her to be having homework this early on, it just does not seem right and it really does not sit comfortably with me. Do you think four is too young for homework? She has gone from a play school where she was able to wear what she wanted and have independent play, to a school in which she wears a uniform, the days are structured and she is in an environment very different to what she has previously experienced; I think that it is such a big transition and change for a child of any age, let alone Ruby who turned four just a few short weeks ago.

For her homework, Ruby was asked to talk to me about what makes her feel happy, what she likes to play with and what she wants to learn at school. Ruby had no problem at all talking to me and telling me that she is happy when the sun is shinning so she can play outside, making cakes with me and cuddling Lottie. She then went on to tell me that she likes to play with her play kitchen and dressing up clothes. When I asked Ruby what she is looking forward to learning and doing whilst at school she said she was looking forward to making new friends, playing with new toys and learning how to write her name.

The second part of Ruby's homework was a lot more of a challenge. Ruby has never really been interested in drawing and colouring in things, I think I may be to blame in part for this as I never actively encouraged her with pens and paper as I was always worried about the mess. Well back to the homework, Ruby was asked to draw her home along with members of her family.

I sat down at the dinning table with colouring pencils and plenty of paper, it took some persuading to get Ruby to come and sit at the table as she would much rather be outside playing. When she eventually sat at the table I explained what she needed to do, however she ended up just scribbling so I showed Ruby how to draw a house with straight lines, but she did not have the concentration or motivation to do any more. I was really disappointed but decided to not push too hard to get Ruby to draw a house as she was getting annoyed. I think I tend to forget that Ruby is one of the youngest in her school year and because she is so confident in so many areas, but drawing is certainly not one of those.

I really need your help, how can I encourage Ruby in her drawing? I am going to make more of an effort to try and get Ruby to spend more time just drawing as she pleases but what else can I do?