Starting The New School Year With BEAR

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As summer seems to have changed so suddenly into Autumn, I have started to think about spending more time exploring the woods again with my little ones. Whilst warm sunny weather means trips to the beach and the river as often as we can, the rest of the year is woods time! They love nothing more than to pull on their welly boots and head off to nearby woodland to run about for a couple of hours. Now that they are both back at school and pre-school, I find that they really need time at weekends to unwind and release some energy outdoors. The woods is ultimate freedom to them, no boundaries or rules, or having to try and keep their clothes clean. Mud is alright in my opinion!

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For days spent outdoors and for the school lunchboxes, I am always looking for snacks that are a good combination of truly healthy and nutritious, but also simple and easy to pack into bags for the day. BEAR make snacks that fit perfectly with this; healthy fruity Yoyos without any additives and nasties, that are just 100% pure fruit. The best thing is that Mia and Joe think that BEAR Yoyos are completely delicious! I have to admit that I occasionally include one in my own work lunchbox as a healthy treat! I can see why they love them, and we all agree that the mango flavour is best of all, but you won’t find anyone saying no to a raspberry or strawberry Yoyo!

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This weekend we took a trip to one of our favourite conservation areas to visit Neptune Woods, which was planted only ten years ago, by hundreds of volunteers, local school children and community groups. It’s a really peaceful place, with so much wildlife and plenty of scenic spots to stop for a little rest. It’s the perfect place to relax and lovely for a quiet wander and picnic. Every good woodland explorer needs a backpack and the kind people at BEAR recently sent Joe a lovely Skiphop lunchbox to help with his back to school, and start of pre-school journey. And of course, somewhere to store important supplies of Yoyos to keep him going! Even intrepid explorers need to eat their 5 a day!

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As you can see he is delighted with his super cool monkey lunchbox and has suddenly become a lot more interested in packing his bag for pre-school!

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I would love to do a ‘what’s in my bag’ style post with Joe and his pre-school lunchbox, it would be so funny! A healthy mixture of tasty snacks and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures, with a few things (usually stationery items) stolen from Mia’s bedroom!

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Joe desparately wants to go to school like his big sister and asks at least once a week if he can join the foundation stage class at Mia’s school. We walk past their classroom to collect Mia from her ‘grown up’ juniors class every day, and he can see the lovely craft activities, pet guinea pigs and waterproofs all set out for forest school sessions. I can see why he’s keen to join in, even though he has only just turned 3! It’s great that he is keen though, I’m just hoping it lasts until next summer, when he really does start school!

For now though, he is very happy at his pre-school nursery, which also includes some forest school time each week, and this is something he thrives on. Time spent outdoors, learning from nature has always been something I have encouraged with both of them, and it’s great that this is increasingly being included as a regular part of the week at many nurseries and schools.

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Whilst walking through the woods, I encourage Mia and Joe to look around and see if we can name all of the different trees, to identify flowers or pick blackberries, or a really good stick for crafting with. Sometimes we just try to be quiet so that we can listen to the birds and grasshoppers, and occasionally if we are lucky, we hear or see deer.

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An important fruity pit-stop snack for a little bit of natural pure fruit energy.

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How cheeky do they look here?! Goodness knows what the woodland wildlife makes of them! I expect the birds and deer are probably quite glad of some peace and quiet once Mia and Joe go home at the end of the day.

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A trail of things left behind by my children…a BEAR card for their collection and a pretty flower that Mia had found on the walk. Both perfect for keeping as a record of their weekend exploring.

For more back to school adventures with BEAR take a look at their Twitter feed @follow_the_bear

This is a collaborative post with BEAR. All words and opinions given are entirely my own.

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Siblings Project (September)

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Only a couple of weeks ago we were on holiday and every day was a beach day. It feels like such a short time ago, and yet we have already settled back into the school routine of early mornings, spellings practice and dance lessons! Mia and Joe have returned to their fairly seperate weekly routines and are seeing much less of each other than over the summer break. I took these photos on one of the very last days of the holidays, at the end of a lovely day at the beach. They are waiting at the edge of the sand dunes, tired and covered in sand, for their dad to bring the car from the car park to pick them up! And yet, there is always time for silliness and messing around with these two. Showing off and seeing who can make the other laugh the most.

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Joe may be four years younger than Mia but he contributes just as much to their crazy games and is often the instigator of the maddness.

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Here he is mid-dinosaur dance move whilst Mia is singing invented pop songs very loudly. Just occasionally I stop to wonder what strangers must think of our funny little family group. I think that most are quite amused, and some initially startled by the noise and enthusiasm of their games. I notice that older people, possibly grandparents and parents themselves, often just smile kindly. Perhaps they are remembering these sweet times with their own family (…well that’s what I tell myself anyway!)

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I have also been joining in with the Siblings Project on Instagram at @siblings_project . Come and take a look if you’ve not joined in already!

The Me and Mine Project

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