Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Review: 'The Usborne Book of Night Time' by Laura Cowan and Bonnie Pang

You know you're a competition addict when you receive a package and have no idea where it's come from! That happened with me just before Christmas, when a gorgeous hardback book arrived. I'm pretty sure it's not a review copy, it didn't look like someone had sent it as a gift, but I also wasn't contacted to say I'd won it. So I'm just going to assume it was from one of the many book giveaways I enter, and write a review anyway because it's just so pretty!!

'The Usborne Book of Night Time' is exactly what you'd expect and so much more. It's an exploration of what happens when the sun goes down in different places - the city, countryside, even in factories and the ISS!

I love this first spread, not only for all the little details but also because it shows how different jobs involve working at different times. I imagine this would be really good for children of shift workers, to see their family represented and understand how their parents' routines differ from others. I also love that it shows families in an apartment block - so often you see family life represented in big suburban semis, so it's great to acknowledge different family homes.

I think the countryside spread would be a big hit with a lot of children - animals are always a winner! Although it might be a bit upsetting to see predators out catching mice and so on, it's a good way to start introducing the idea of food chains. I also really like that it shows scientists studying moths, showing that science covers lots of different areas. The use of light and shade in the illustrations is beautiful, as it is throughout the book

I was really torn about which spreads to show in this review as they're all gorgeous, but I really love the colours in the sea illustrations. I found it rally fascinating reading about coral, there are facts in there I didn't even know!

This would be a fantastic book for preschoolers and early school-age children to learn about all sorts of different topics through the uniting theme of night time. It may even make children who are afraid of the dark feel a bit better about the night time by exploring it more deeply. I've only scratched the surface in this review - there are pages about night time in other parts of the world, covering topics such as transport, astronomy and space exploration too.

There really is lots to learn and discuss in this book. I'm really looking forward to reading it with Toddler when he's a bit older, at the moment he doesn't really have the attention span or understanding but I think it'll be a great book to explore together in a few months time.

Linking up with #ReadWithMe hosted by Mama Mummy Mum and Kids Love To Read 
Read With Me

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Things We've Done To Be Greener In ... January

In some ways it's been a bit of a demoralising month in my effort to live a greener life. Toddler has completely regressed with potty training but now won't stay still enough to have a cloth nappy on, and having failed to find reusable training pants that contain his wees I've resorted to pull ups in the day. He's still in cloth at night, and at least I've avoided a lot of nappies going in the bin over the past two and a half years, but I still feel a bit disheartened. Hopefully when the weather is better we can have another go at potty training.

I've also discovered a few random things I've been recycling that I really shouldn't - shop receipts, for instance, are usually coated in BPA, who knew? And apparently our local recycling plant can't accept black plastic because it doesn't show up on the conveyor belt. Which seems ridiculous to me, but hey, I'm not an expert.

So what have we managed to do a bit more greenly in January? Well ...

Had a low waste party

Girl Child's birthday is at the end of December but to give everyone chance to recover from Christmas we had her party mid-January. Parties can be massively wasteful, but luckily we're not too far from Waste Not Parties, a small business that hires out reusable party kits. The kit included crockery and cutlery, tablecloth and napkins, and decorations that can all be used over and over. They even clean everything up for you! Looks great, don't you think?

I also avoided having party bags full of little plastic toys by making up little craft kits for the kids to do at home. We did mess up by over-catering, but whatever wasn't actually picked up by a child was put in tubs and taken home for us to eat, so I think overall it was a success!

Conscious Decluttering

That sounds a bit Gwyneth Paltrow, doesn't it? Sorry about that.

KonMari seems to be a big thing at the moment, and while I am totally on board with decluttering, the implication that we should just throw out anything that doesn't 'spark joy' just doesn't sit right with me. So while I have been trying to declutter, I've been doing so in a way that won't add to waste disposal issues. Anything that's still usable I've tried to re-home with friends or good causes. I am trying to sell some of the bigger, nicer stuff but that's a battle to be honest so if anyone has any tips on reselling I'd love to hear them. Unusable stuff has been sent to recycling as much as possible, including textile recycling for tatty old clothes (I have more than enough rags now!). I still feel like there's a long way to go but I feel determined to get rid of our clutter without turning it into trash!!

Have you found any tricks or tips to be greener in the last month?