Monday, 28 March 2016

Coloured Rice For Kids: DIY

Hey everyone! So this week I made some coloured rice for our son to play with, this DIY was sparked by him always wanting to touch rice whenever we'd prepare it for cooking! (As you can imagine, in Thailand, we cook it a lot.) One day, I made an additional bowl for him to play with, and he was thrilled! I also added some bottle lids to the bowl for him to scoop with and then some plastic cups so he could fill them with rice. He loved it. And obviously, this is a great sensory activity for developing those all-important fine motor skills.  So I decided to go out and buy another big bag of rice just for him to play with, it was fun for a while, but I wanted to make it better. After a little inspiration from the internet I decided coloured rice would be a winner, and it was.

And it's the simplest thing to make. Ever.

All you need is,

White Rice
White Vinegar
Food Colouring of Your Choice.
Plastic Zip Lock Bags
Something to dry your rice in!
A tub for the finished coloured rice.

So how do you make it?

Step 1

Put as much rice as you want for one colour, in one plastic bag.
(I used 5 cups but you can use more or less).

Step 2

Add a dash of food colouring to the bag.
(It doesn't need to be much at all).

Step 3

Add about half a teaspoon of white vinegar.

Step 4

Shake the bag until all (or most) of the rice is coloured!
(I was surprised at how quick this happened!)

Step 5

Carefully empty the rice into a tray for drying!
(making sure there is enough space for the other colours!)

Then repeat for however many colours you want!

After you have tipped all of the rice in the tray, leave it overnight to dry.

In the morning, carefully tip your colours into the larger tub and then watch your child's' face light up with joy at all of the beautiful colours!

You can use anything you want to scoop the rice and it's also fun to let your kids fill up jars, muffin tins, ice cube trays etc. Whatever you have lying around basically :)

 He was playing for hours :)

All in all, an extremely successful activity!

Let me know if you have enjoyed this little post and I will make more of course :)

Don't forget to say hi in the comments too!


Monday, 21 March 2016

Asher's 20 Months Update

My baby is turning into a little boy and it's so amazing to see. He's learning so many new words and starting to do things for himself, like slipping his shoes on and wiping the floor when he spills something. His emotions are really starting to show too, he will laugh hysterically at times and throw things around when he doesn't get his way. His moody face is super cute though, I can't help but smile.

So what has changed at 20 months?

Asher has been walking for 10 months now, so he's been on his feet a while and previous to this he was running everywhere, he is very confident on his feet, he used to scream to play in the garden and whenever we'd arrive home he wouldn't want to come inside! Now, finally, at 20 months, he's chilled out a bit, he will walk inside by himself and now he likes to sit and play more. Also, when we're out and about he now loves to hold mummy's hand, as appose to just running off like before. Holding his hand when we're out is one of my absolute favourite things to do. 

With regards to language we're raising Asher to be bilingual as he has an English mummy and a Thai daddy, and he's doing pretty well so far. I've heard the best way to raise a bilingual baby is for mummy to speak in her language to their son/daughter, and daddy to speak in his language. That way he will pick up the correct form of the two languages and will be able to swap between the two and learn both. Hopefully.

At first, he seemed to pick up Thai language a lot quicker, but I've found that since 18 months he's started to develop more on the English side, I think at first Thai was easier for him to pick up because Thai words seem to be easier to say. For example, in Thai 'water' is 'nam' and the word 'milk' is 'nom' and those were words he was using a lot. English is a lot wordier than Thai. He still says some things in Thai which he can't yet say in English, he will 'sai taw' which in English is 'put your shoes on' and 'pak pak' which is 'vegetables' in English. But when I talk to him in English, for example, when I tell him to put his shoes on, he understands. At 20 months he's started to pick up more simple English words, his favourite things to say at the moment are 'moon, star, ball, tree, sun and baby'. He can say some of those things in Thai too. He will also just copy random words we say. His language really is developing a lot at 18 months. He's already getting to grips with saying the phonics alphabet, which amazes me. 

At 20 months he is still breastfeeding in the morning and evenings, and he sometimes stills falls asleep doing that on a night, however, he can also soothe himself to sleep a lot more than before and if I walk with him he will often feel relaxed and when I put him down he will turn over and go to sleep by himself. He still sleeps in our room in a bed close to us. I really love having him nearby and love seeing his face in the morning when he wakes up, which is usually about the time I get up for work, he's my little alarm. He's an amazing sleeper and hardly wakes up in the night, unless he has the sniffles. Booo!

At the moment, one of the things we are struggling with is trying to get him to eat more. It's hard to tell if he's eating enough sometimes, he's a healthy weight but sometimes it doesn't look like he's eating a lot. We try to give him a variety of food but he seems to love just eating plain rice with vegetables, fish, he LOVES fish. He also loves pasta and toast too and he loves eating pieces of cucumber, apple and mango. Now I've written this all down I feel like maybe he is eating better than I thought, but sometimes it doesn't feel a lot maybe because he tries to eat by himself a lot, his spoon control is getting much better but a lot still goes on the floor! Oh he doesn’t like food that has an odd texture and he LOVES fruit juice too and fruit shakes (they’re popular in Thailand!), he will finish a cup in two seconds flat and then want more. 

His current favourite things are:

The Moon, Stars and Trees.
Playing Football.
Climbing everything.
Standing on things.
Pouring milk on the floor.
Cleaning the milk up.
Helping mummy with food.
Putting lids on things.
Putting things away.
Scribbling with his crayons.
Playing with water.
Being cheeky.
The Phonics Alphabet
Holding mummy's hand.

He gets so excited when he sees an aeroplane, which he currently calls 'bin' which means fly in Thai! I just love him so much and he really is the best thing to ever happen to me. Although it's not all sunshine and rainbows, it is hard work and I feel like I'm constantly cleaning up after him, but it's all worth, he brings us so much joy and he is a good boy really :) <3

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Is Songkhla Province a Safe Place to Live?

Since starting my blog I've had a few people ask me where in Thailand I live, and when I tell them, I live in Hat Yai, in Songkhla province, I get responses like this....

"Why are you in Hat Yai? Isn't that a danger area?"

This is sparked by information such as that given by the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office), who advise 'all but essential travel to Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla.'

Now, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, are much more dangerous than Songkhla, with bombs on a regular basis, so it saddens me that Songkhla sometimes gets tarnished with the same brush. Although the difference seems to have been recognised by the lonely planet guide, who've said that 'Hat Yai and Songkhla, are less affected by the political turmoil plaguing the cities further south'. So that's nice to see.

Still, a lot of people don't believe me when I tell that I actually don’t feel scared living here and I actually really like living here. Which again, saddens me, because, frankly, the people with this negative view of the place, are people who have never lived here, or even visited, they have simply formed opinions by reading newspaper articles which state the fact there have been 'two bombs in the last three years', etc.

Whilst I'm not saying Hat Yai is the safest place in the world, it is true that there have been a number of bombs over the years, the latest one being in 2014. I just wanted people to look past the newspaper reports for a second and see why, a lot of people, including myself, actually really do love the place. 

So, with that in mind, I thought I'd give some personal, qualitative data, from those who live here. So I asked my friends on facebook a simple question "Do you think Songkhla province is safe?!" and these were the responses. 
Kylie Millar The thought of being a 'danger zone' was quite scary, especially when I found out I was placed there and did a Google search! But in reality, I met the most honest, helpful and genuine people ever in Hat Yai. I always tell people if you want to see 'real' Thailand, head down south. Love Hat Yai!

Lee Loftiss Hatyai is the best! I lived there for 10 years and never once considered living in any other place in Thailand. As for feeling safe; other than driving, I felt pretty safe in HY.

Tum Rocklegs Chai, Safe!

Marlon Hipolito Hatyai rocks! \m/

Igor Stankovic I lived there for 5 years. Yes, it's safe.

Dingo Egret I never felt in danger at all.

Nicholas Acton-Bond Hat Yai dangerous... Yes. If you walk around drunk or abusing people or both. But in the general sense its not dangerous. Regarding the bombs - far more dangerous to live in the capital; or any capital for that matter.

Vanessa Soulsby Despite the bombs and being mugged twice while driving (but over a 4yr period mind!) I still felt like daily life was safe and breezy! So much love for HY and Songkhla

Leojohan Lajos Szemeti Well for me I think it's safe to stay here, only on some special occasions that we much be a little more careful, but at least we always get the warning (as Thai, I don't know about foreigners, or is it because my dad is in the army ?) but anyway I always feel safe here only in the time that I'm not here that I normally get a little worried, about my family yes, but I would say that I feel pretty much safe here

Hayley Morgan Tetley As a woman on her own, I generally felt safe (despite one mugging). As long you're aware and have general common sense about getting home alone late at night and don't make yourself vulnerable in bars (all basic rules for wherever you live) you're good!

Nima Sunny · I used to live there for 2 years and I still dream about the lovely Hatyai.if I wanted to live in Thailand again, I would go back there.

Doug Walls ·I have been living in Hat Yai for over 16 years and have no plans to leave in the near future. I have never felt that I was in danger 

 I also received a few messages to my inbox. 
        My friend Nick Said:

      Yes, I feel incredibly safe living here. I never feel like I should be watching over my shoulder and feel, from experience that everyone is very trustworthy and willing to help. I feel people like seeing "white" faces around as it's not as common as somewhere like Bangkok or Lanta etc.. I don't ever feel threatened by the idea of terrorism. I wouldn't swap Hat Yai for anywhere. We have a great location to islands, we have a good balance of being traditional bit also having those home comforts at hand (should we need them)....

My friend Sammi said:

I really do feel safe here, but maybe it's because I've been here so long that I'm familiar with everything so less things scare me. or get me worried, Also with knowing the language means that you don't feel so excluded from situations as you might be otherwise, and having solid Thai friends def makes you feel very safe and protected.

So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this little insight into Hat Yai and Songkhla. Let me know your thoughts in the comments :)

If you haven't already, check out my videos on Youtube :)

Lots of love 'n' stuff :) 


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Teaching in Thailand, Get Ready With Me!

I filmed a little get ready with me video, which you can check out below.

 This is a realistic, every-day morning for me in Thailand before I hop on my motorbike to school as a teacher in Thailand. Just a little fun video to show you a few things like the time I wake up, my breakfast, my (cold) shower and products that I use as well as what I wear to school and how I get there J
I hope you enjoy it!