Growing so fast!

Dear Mummy, you’ve noticed a big change in me recently. Ever since my 2nd Birthday I’ve been trying to string sentences together. Words and mumble-jumble tumbling out of my mouth. A bit like verbal diarrhoea. I’ve started to have conversations with myself (or my invisible friend?!) one minute I’ll be quiet, tucking my dolly in her bedding, then the next I’ll be chatting to her whispering “shhhh” picking her up and patting her on her back.

I copy my mummy and daddy a lot these days. If they say a word, I’ll try to repeat it. If they do a silly dance move I’ll try to mimic them. It’s really quite funny. One thing my mummy finds touching is the way I behave around my dollies. I treat them like real live babies! Carrying them in the crook of my arms, or over my shoulder and supporting their head. When I put them to sleep I lay down pillows and cover them with small blankets. I even rub their heads and tummies and give them a peck on the cheek and wish them goodnight. It makes my mummy’s heart melt.

We even visited Kids-n-Action (a soft play area in Berkshire) over the weekend and I was caring for multiple babies in their hospital/baby ward room. It’s so cute.

My mummy says there is nothing better than watching me play on my own, often she watches me through the window at nursery or at home from the doorway. She finds it fascinating that only a year and a bit ago I couldn’t walk or feed myself and now I have transformed into a caring little girl.

Time goes way too fast, my mummy thinks. In a blink of an eye I’ll be heading to pre-school and my baby and toddler days will be gone. So for this short time she will hold me like a baby, treat me like a toddler and educate me like a child.

Love Bella x

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Pots 2 Paint, Basingstoke, Hampshire

Dear mummy, it’s the start of the February half term and it’s miserable. Heavy rain, high winds and all the local soft play centres are packed. Oh mummy, after a horrible trip to a nearby soft play centre for an hour we retreat back home to put on our comfy clothes and watch some telly.

Pots 2 Paint Review 4Luckily my mummy had thought ahead this half term and anticipated the bad weather. She heard of a company called Pots2Paint. It’s a small local company based in Viables Craft Centre, Basingstoke, Hampshire.

Pots2Paint is a ‘Paint your own Ceramics’ and Crafts studio with space for up to 20 people. A lovely little converted outbuilding which has a studio space for artists and crafters to come down, chill out and paint pots. But we weren’t visiting the studio on this occasion, we were hiring out materials to make our own little studio at home.

My mummy had rung up the day before to organise the hire of all the materials over the phone and spoke to lovely ladies called Stephany and Bethany. She chose her pots and from their Facebook Gallery as she had never visited before.

Pots 2 Paint studio spaceThe hamper hire is a relatively new service which allows customers to pick up hampers full of paint, brushes and sponges to decorate their pots. You pay the standard studio fee, like you would if you were painting there. It’s £4 per person which covers the cost of the materials. You then select and pay for the items you’d like to decorate. Prices range from £6 for small items like egg cups up to larger items from £14. My mummy selected 1 x large plate, 1 x heart plate, 1 x star plate, 1 x vase and a mug.

pots 2 paint studioPots2Paint don’t just stock functional ceramic pieces like plates and mugs, they also have money banks, clocks and collectible items such as dragons, dolphins, cats and dogs. On their shelves in the studio they have stencils, stamps and sponges to help with the less confident painter and inspire. There’s something for all ages and the only limitation is your imagination!

On the day of the collection it was a bit hectic. Parking is free but it’s a bit trickier on busier days as the car park is small. My mummy had to double park to run in and get the hamper. It’s busy in the studio – which is a good sign, as it shows a thriving local business.

Pots 2 Paint Review 1The hamper was ready and waiting for us when my mummy arrived. It had a great selection of little paint pots, however we could have done with a bit more of the popular colours like yellow and pink, as we ran out of yellow halfway through painting one of the plates and had no pink. We were given lots of blues and greens in different shades though which was great for my mummy’s plate.

My mummy didn’t really check the hamper on collection as it was busy in the studio and she was double parked. However she could see that the pottery was carefully wrapped in bubble wrap to protect it for the journey home.

There were plenty of brushes and my mummy grabbed some sponges from the selection on the shelves as painting aids. No painting trays were supplied so we ended up using our own but they did supply aprons when asked which was good.

When my mummy got back home we unload the hamper and it was like Christmas! My eyes light up at the thought of painting! We decant all the little pots of paint and start to paint straight away. It’s always satisfying to get mucky with paint.

Pots 2 Paint Review 3Even my Grandma gets involved painting her own plate. We’re all quietly painting, tongues out and eyes transfixed. It’s very therapeutic and we all throughly enjoy it. We have the time to really concentrate and paint all the items. It’s great to have the space and time to paint at our leisure and even when my attention fades, we take a break and play with some toys and have lunch then return back to painting.

This is a very relaxed way to paint and we wouldn’t ordinarily get the opportunity to do that at the studio. A toddler running a round the pottery studio probably wouldn’t be the best idea! All family members get an opportunity to put their mark on the pottery before it finalised.

Pots 2 Paint Review 2We have the hire over Valentine’s weekend and until half way through half term which is great! However, I think usually the time limit for the hamper packages would be a couple of days depending on how busy they are. Steph and her team at Pots2Paint seem very flexible and they are friendly, so just pick up the phone and ask for a longer hire.

So how does it work then?

1) Browse Pots2Paint’s extensive range of pottery and ceramic pieces and select the one you wish to paint. Pots 2 Paint have shelves full of items to paint with prices, but you can also see the pieces on their Facebook page and website.

2) Once you have your items and a design in your mind’s eye choose your colours and paint your item. It’s good that Pots2Paint have a large range of stencils, stamps and sponges, my mummy used the little bunny rabbit stamp to decorate her plate. Whether you hire and paint at home or at their studio you’re guaranteed good fun.

3) Paint on the light colours first and build up 3 coats of every colour to ensure a great finish. We used the sponges to build up the colour and give texture to the backgrounds.

4) Once you are finished with your masterpiece hand it back to the friendly staff where they will glaze and fire your item.

5) Collect your masterpiece within 1 week from the studio.

Pots2Paint also provide other opportunities to capture moments of artist genius called First Impressions.

Pots 2 Paint Review 5Children’s handprints, footprints, fingerprints, written messages and works of art can be imprinted in fine silver jewellery and soft clay so you can treasure them forever.

So if your little artist has made a work of art or written messages it can be reproduced in miniature without damaging the original. This is a service we’d love to try out and would make a beautiful gift for a loved one. Pots2Paint will be able to advise you whether it can be reproduced in miniature or not.

Pots 2 Paint studio MottoThey also offer children’s party’s and adult occasions like wine evenings where mummies (or daddies) can go and chill out and paint in the studio with their friends after hours. Painting together would be a great bonding activity for friends and even colleagues.

Pots2Paint can also visit your meeting place at no extra cost within 10 mile radius of the studio.

Pots 2 Paint Review 6Look at our wonderful creations! We can’t wait to pick them up next week and show the finished articles to you all! A brilliant way to spend a day indoors, we had so much fun and laughed a lot.

A great experience and it was lovely to spend some quality family time together. We can’t wait to pop down to the studio next time and say hi! Stay posted to see our wonderful glazed creations next week.

Love Bella x

Mini Creations
Family Fever

#Living Arrows 7 and #SatCap

Dear mummy, you got a new camera for Christmas 2014, a Canon 700D. Makes a change from using your iPhone. In 2015 you’ve set yourself the target of learning about photography and mastering the skill of taking beautiful photographs. It’s something you’ve been wanting to do for years. Posting one best image a week as part of the #LivingArrows project sounds like a great way to see how far you’ve come on with your photography.

And “Stretch” it out! All the worries and troubles will just evaporate when you see me playing silly buggers :) This photo was taken on a recent trip to Cliveden, National Trust. My mummy just about managed to capture the moment before it was all gone.

This was too good not to put into #SatCap as well hosted by the lovely ChelseaMamma. x Looking forward to reading all your captions to our photo!

Love Bella x

Bella Yoga

Living Arrows


Our Valentine’s Day Weekend in Pictures

Cliveden 1It’s been an interesting past couple of days. The weather has been a bit hit and miss in Hampshire, we’ve had glorious sunshine and then heavy downpours. We’ve had days outside in the fresh air and others cooped up in the house.

Valentines Cakes from WaitroseOn Valentine’s Day we feasted on goodies from Waitrose and painted some pots from Pots 2 Paint (full review coming soon)

Pots 2 Paint 1My Grandparents came round and we had some ‘quality’ family time. Sometimes it’s nice to be stuck indoors as it gives you the chance to sit and chill out.

Cliveden-snowdropsOn Sunday the weather was beautiful, so we headed a bit further afield from the comfort of our sofa. We visited Cliveden to see their snowdrops and play in the StoryBook Den. It wasn’t our first time here and you can read about our past adventures to this great National Trust Estate here.

Cliveden-BellaWe hope you like our quick snapshot of our weekend in photos. We’re joining up with #PointShoot this week hosted by the fabulous Snowing Indoors and You Baby Me Mummy.

Love Bella x


Vintage Fisher Price Toy

Dear Mummy, Woweee! Look at this little toy you found at Molly’s Den, Winchester. As soon as you saw it your heart-strings went. You see it’s no ordinary toy. When you were my age you used to fall asleep watching the clock dial and listening to the familiar music. It’s very rare to find items from your childhood in a condition as good as this. It’s over 30 years old! This time you won’t let it slip out of your hands….it may not be the exact one you had….but it might be.

I’m going to enjoy listening to this as well and we will keep it in the family for future generations. Love Bella x

Vintage Fisher Price Toy


Melissa and Doug – Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks

Dear Mummy, it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago and we’re slowly working our way through opening my presents and trying out all my new toys. My mummy wants to do it in stages as not to overload my senses with all these new toys!

Melissa and Doug stacking blocksToday we are playing with these colourful cardboard stacking blocks from Melissa and Doug. They come nestled in a A4-ish square box with a red rope handle.

All the stacking blocks fit inside each other and we have fun pulling them all out, more and more keep appearing which makes me giggle. It’s a really great idea that the hollow blocks can be nested inside each other and it makes it easier to store.

Melissa and Doug are renown for making beautiful bright toys for children. They are an American brand founded by Melissa and Doug Bernstein in their basement in 1988. They can be found online at Tescos and through discount outlets like Achica, Zulily and Amazon. They are a very quirky and fashionable brand too. Melissa and Doug make a wide range of toys like dolls houses, wooden toys, toys for special needs, pretend play toys and baby and toddler toys.

Melissa and Doug stacking blocks 1The Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks have cute cartoon animals on the sides. There are 10 cardboard blocks and when stacked they form a tower nearly 3ft high! That’s nearly as big as me!!! I love the bright colours and laminated shiny finish of the printed cardboard.

They are super lightweight too as they aren’t like big heavy wooden blocks that you usual get.

I can build them up and knock them down really easily without hurting myself too which is reassuring for my mummy. Even though they are square blocks the corners aren’t sharp due to the soften cardboard. You would think the cardboard is flimsy but it’s very durable because it’s laminated.

Melissa and Doug stacking blocks 2The recommended age is 2+ years but we think younger children could also play with them just as long as they aren’t gnawing on them!

They are great for family time, when you are stuck indoors. Mummy and I spend a good 20 minutes playing with them before I lose interest.

It’s one toy I will always revisit though, which is good. The patterns on the top of the blocks are fun too. I love the star motif and the trippy squares inside squares.

Melissa and Doug stacking blocks 3My favourite characters are the dinosaur and the turtle and I point at them and squeal in delight!

A great fun and educational toy for children. Toy blocks are great to help with motor skills and hand-eye coordination. I also love to solve a problem by fitting the right blocks back into the nesting compartment when we tidy up.

Well done Melissa and Doug. It’s a super transportable way to learn your ABC’s! They range from £7.99 to £12.99 on most websites and well worth the money :)

Love Bella xx

Family Fever