Spotlight Sunday: Christina

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Tell us about yourself.

My name is Christina, also known as Dina to my charges, Axton to my friends, and @nannyoutnumbered on Instagram. I’m 31, I love travelling, cocktails and a project! I am a Norland Nanny, qualified Maternity Nurse with specialist training in Postnatal Depression and Special Needs. I’ve worked as a nanny for 12 years in a variety of positions, including both residential and daily.  I’ve also worked overseas and in Early Years Education. I am a Registered Children’s Nurse and work full-time in Neonatal Intensive Care whilst working part-time as a nanny for multiples. I have a passion for multiples and have cared for twins, triplets, quads and even quints. This interest began when I became a volunteer for TAMBA (Twins and Multiple Births Association), who through the Helping Hands Supporting Families in Crisis service provide short term practical support to families who are in desperate need.  I was lucky enough to be awarded the inaugural ‘Helping Hands Volunteer of the Year’ award in 2016.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

I was born prematurely at 30 weeks gestation, weighing just 900 grams (roughly 2 lbs) and for most of my childhood I was the smallest person everywhere I went due to my prematurity and being growth-restricted. This was until one day my childminder had a new charge, a baby called Timmy.  He was only small and I guess you could say he was my first ever charge! Apparently, my parents tell me all I wanted to do was care for Timmy and look after him. I was only 3 at the time but it became a life-long passion, caring for those who need it most.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Practical, resourceful, fun-loving, tenacious, supportive.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

I feel that once you have more than two children in the house it’s a case of, “the more the merrier!” I believe in being realistic, not striving for perfection. Children learn best when they are given opportunities to explore and make mistakes in a safe environment. Start with love and you will never go far wrong. I am a big believer in encouraging children to be independent, empowering them and empowering parents. I feel parents are raising children at a very hard time  –  it’s a total minefield to know what to do for the best for your children. With much often conflicting advice on child-care, there’s a real lack of parents following their instincts. I like to ensure that I provide a solid foundation for parents to utilise, to navigate 21st century parenting. I love to provide all children with equal opportunities to enable them to reach their full potential, so if there are any obstacles in the way of this, I will always try to remove them. I can be relentlessly positive when it comes to facilitating change!

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

The flexibility! Unlike working in a nursery, if my charges wake up in the morning and want to learn about the sea, we can take a trip to the beach or the aquarium. I also love having the ability to get to know one family really well and building a rapport with them which enables me to support both the children and the parents and to grow with them as a family.  You will also find me making something out of nothing and being resourceful.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

Talking about money! I find it often becomes the elephant in the room.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her nannying career?

Know your own worth, and make sure you communicate effectively at all times, not just on email or text but by having regular sit downs with your employers to discuss plans and how things are going. Make sure you have time for yourself!  You cannot pour from an empty cup!

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

My days vary massively.  However, my nanny jobs usually run 7am -7pm, depending on the role. Although every day is different, there are consistent themes when you have multiples around. I find the key to success is preparation, preparation, and more preparation! For this reason, I tend to start my day before the children wake to make sure I’m ahead of the game, so to speak. I always try to get out of the house with the children in the morning and the afternoon, with at least one meal a week out and about.  This might be a picnic or lunch at a restaurant. I try to make sure we do a variety of trips, including museums, playdates, and creative classes. I am a big believer in routine with multiples so regular sleep times are important. They also give me the opportunity to do more preparation, including laundry, activity planning, and cooking fresh and nutritious food. In the afternoon, we often do an activity at home, such as craft or imaginative play, followed by the teatime, bathtime, bedtime routine which can be rather hectic but I love to find some time for nappies off and baby massage.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Anything that can be wiped clean with a babywipe!

How do you wind down after a long day on the job?

I find that winding down from work can be tough, especially if it’s been a busy day. I love  to work my way through a good boxset to help switch off, and a couple of cocktails with friends is also the perfect tonic on a Friday evening.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain by Sue Gerhardt, Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, Having a Premature Baby by Tommy’sThe Nursery School by Margaret McMillan.

The gals behind Not Quite Mary Poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelves. What are your favorite children’s books?

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Peanut: A Storybook for Mighty Preemie Babies by Lindsay Nolan, You Must Bring a Hat by Simon Philip, Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, Freight Train by Donald Crews.


Disclaimer: Not Quite Mary Poppins obtains legal permission from a parent or guardian though a signed media release form for any photos that display children’s faces. All identifiable photos are posted with express permission.

Nap time Reads

Hi Caregivers of all kinds!


Happy Friday. This week we found quite a few articles on self care and emotions. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

 

We love Britney. She is such an amazing caregiver. We also loved reading her thoughts on Nanny Guilt.

Yes, this article was written for moms. But sometimes Nannies have really similar emotional days. I love how the author takes a moment to say that it’s OK that we have emotions. It is!

It is important to own those feelings, apologize if you do unleash them on others, and take the steps necessary to cope with them…

 

What is it to be a Nanny? Christine does an amazing job of describing the indescribable. The crazy days, the highest highs, the firsts, and the goodbyes. We love the way she puts it.

 

Mackenzie is a huge fan of simplicity. She loves simple toys, simple living, and her tiny home. So she was ecstatic to be able to share an article on how simplicity can bring out the extraordinary aspects of childhood. It may also guard against Mackenzie then also ran off to go find a copy of Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne!

 

YES to this beautiful study on how storytelling is just as complex and involved as music and mathematics. It can help children learn creativity, complexity, and empathy. Teaching storytelling instead of or with grammar is just as compelling! I love this compelling argument to put storytelling into more curriculum material.


 

So, we hope you enjoy the articles this week!
Enjoy your weekend too!

Best,
Mackenzie and Kathryn

Spotlight Sunday: Krista

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Tell us about yourself!

Hi! I’m Krista. I am 22 years old and live in Northeast Ohio. I have been a nanny for four years. I currently work for an amazing family with triplet 3 year olds and a seven year old. In my free time I enjoy playing soccer, working out, or binge watching Netflix.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

My family actually steered me towards nannying. I have always been amazing with children, so when it was time to choose a future career they mentioned a nanny training school. Truthfully, I turned down the idea at first after seeing the uniforms and thinking there’s no way I can be that proper all the time. I ended up reconsidering it after a lot of research and I I am so happy I did!

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Silly, energetic, loving, adventurous, helpful.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

Routine! The first thing I do when I start with a family is figure out a good routine and then we stick with it. I think all children need a routine they can count on to know what to expect, but with multiples I think it is so much more important to keep them on a strict schedule.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

Seeing children smile. I love seeing their cute little faces light up with self pride when they finally learn how to spell their name or do a cartwheel for the first time.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

Leaving! It is so difficult to leave the children after spending so much time together and sharing so many memories with each other. I am already dreading the day when I have to leave my sweet charges.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her nanny career?

Be your own advocate. Ask to have a meeting as soon as a problem arises – don’t wait for it to become a bigger issue. Communication is the key to a successful nanny/family relationship.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Running shorts, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes.

How do you wind down after a long day on the job?

I will either put on my headphones and go for a run at the park or just go home and relax in front of the tv.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

I like The Five Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively by Gary D. Chapman & Ross Campbell and Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun by Bobbi Conner.

The gals behind Not Quite Mary Poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelves. What are your favorite children’s books?

Help! The Wolf is Coming! by Cadric Ramadier, Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff, and Go, Little Green Truck! by Roni Schotter.

Naptime Reads

Hello Friends!

 

Happy August! Summer is winding down, so enjoy the poolside picnics and playground days as long as you can! We’ll just be soaking up enough Vitamin D to last the winter (yes, we know that isn’t how it works, but we can wish it was!). We hope you enjoy the sunshine and these articles as much as we do!

 

We love this article on the importance of empathy. When child learns to see through other people’s eyes they are less likely to hurt other feelings. Let’s teach our kids to care about each other.

 

Speaking of how we raise kids, we’re loving Jenn Hallak’s writings about raising them wild. Mackenzie actually cried a little while reading it.

“So, let’s let our kids get dirt on their fingers and mud on their toes because if they’re able to experience that feeling of pure joy, of pure happiness in literal dirt, then we’ve done well as parents. Let’s let them pick up sticks and play in the mud and touch caterpillars and roll on the grass. Stains on their clothes can wash away but those memories will last a lifetime.” – Jenn Hallak

 

As a Nanny, we are constantly wondering what the day of other nannies looks like. It’s one of the reasons we love Spotlight Sunday’s so much! We were really excited to see Nanny Counsel write A Day in the Life of A Professional Nanny. Following Allie around was a blast!

 

Brooke from Nanny Counsel wrote a great article on nanny rights this week. In our ever evolving profession it’s important to know what the laws and standards are. Typically we are our own HR department, so we love that Brooke offers sound council on how we can do that.

 

Are you a personality test junkie? You’ll love Psychology Junkie’s article on the struggles on being an INFJ child. We’ll be hoping to find a series on each Meyer’s Briggs type for children!

 

Happy weekend!

Mackenzie and Kathryn

Spotlight Sunday: Nickey

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Tell us about yourself.

Hey! I’m Nickey. I have been a professional career nanny for the past 13+ years and have had the privilege working with some pretty rad kiddos all over the world! Some of my jobs have included travel nanny adventures and working in high profile positions. I am also the founder of The Nannyhood! The Nannyhood creates community & fosters friendships for nannies in their cities through “Hoods” (meet up groups)! It places value on, resources, & advocates for Nannyhood. After a few difficult nanny jobs and a little burn out, I realized as a nanny that my life was WAY better when I wasn’t doing life alone. No one really understands nannies like other nannies- and community/support is so important.

And just so you can get to know my personality a little better, here are some INCREDIBLY important facts about me (you may want to write these down):

  • Disneyland is my happy place. When I lived in LA I used to spend my days off there journaling and munching on churros.
  • I had a moose who lived in my backyard growing up -and sometimes I’d feed it pancakes.
  • I name random strangers and try to guess their back stories. A lot. It’s a real problem.
  • I have a major taco addiction. I could eat them for every meal.
  • I collect children’s books.
  • I make my bed everyday- even if it’s before I go to sleep.
  • I pretend I’m in a movie on a daily basis.
  • I collect people’s stories and turn them into art. People are the coolest.

Let’s be friends! You can also link up with my adventures and the Nannyhood on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

Honestly, (like many others) I fell into it. I have always adored children and grew up sitting all the time. I was offered a full time nanny gig by an acquaintance when I was 18 years old and I never looked back!

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Fun, adventurous, creative, structured, magical.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

I would say that my nannying approach is a great balance of boundaries/routine and spontaneous fun (and a pinch of magic!). I believe that kids need a structure/routines to help them feel safe (and that loving them doesn’t look like giving into their every whim). While I do plan out most all the week with outings, playdates, crafts, sensory play time, and other fun things- I believe in letting them “be bored” sometimes. I believe that children need that space to learn how to entertain themselves. By not constantly feeling like you have to fill every single moment of their days with enriching activities, outings, camps, etc. they will learn to become more self aware, innovative, and learn to think creatively.

I also believe in instilling love and kindness. I love to teach my charges to use their creativity for kindness. Some of our favorite ways to show kindness in our community is to make art pieces and little gift to leave out around town for strangers to find. It’s so sweet to watch them light up as they make a complete strangers day and put a little more love back into the world.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

The magic. I love that I have the opportunity to keep the magic of childhood alive everyday while I am at work. When I think about how much my childhood impacted me and how often I think back on it, I am always trying to be mindful of how I am treating and what I am teaching the littles in my care. I heard quote once that, “they may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” I want them to remember that I made them feel safe and special. I love to get them using their imaginations and seeing all of the wonderful stories, worlds, and artwork that they create. It’s all magic.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

I would say that there are two things that are most challenging to me. The first would definitely be bringing up any issues or drawing boundaries with my employers. It’s not always easy to chat through a breach of contract, saying no to staying late every night, asking for a raise, or telling them you need to chat about any behavioral issues happening with their kiddo (to name a few). Nannying is not like any other job on the planet, it’s so intimate.

The second would have to be leaving my kiddos when a job wraps up. I don’t know about you, but when I nanny . . . I do it with all of my heart. It’s just the way I am wired. I can’t just be “the help”- I thrive in family. Because of this I have a very big grieving process when a nanny job ends and I transition into not seeing them everyday. I have been blessed that most all of my families allow to/help keep in touch with all of my former charges, but I have moved quite a few times and the distance can be hard.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her nanny career?

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Make nanny friends! You need to find your tribe. Support and friendship when nannying is vital. No one will fully understand what you are going through at work like other nannies will. Also, I think finding your unicorn family is so important in this profession. If you see red flags in an interview, go with your gut! Nannying can be such an amazing job when you find a family who respects you (and loves you back). It can be very difficult if you are with a family who doesn’t value what you do or disrespects you. Be your own best advocate!

What does a typical day look like for you?

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It is a different season for me at the moment. Normally I would be working a full time nanny job, but at the moment I am working a couple of part time nanny gigs while I am working on the launch of The Nannyhood. A typical day for me is working in a local coffee shop on Nannyhood for half the day and nannying for the other part of the day. Sometimes my nanny half day with look like breakfast, outings/classes/playdates, lunch, and nap time. Sometimes it will look like nap time, outings/classes/playdates, dinner, bath time, bedtime routine.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Oh, man! Leggings… all day every day! And a graphic tee. Those are my usual go-to’s. I also have been known to rock the occasional over sized cozy sweater, tunic, or beanie. I am all about comfort when I am at work chasing toddlers and rocking babies.

How do you wind down after a long day on the job?

I love to journal, do creative writing, painting, talking to strangers….But after an especially demanding day at my nanny job, it’s dinner and Netflix in bed for the win! No shame.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

Finding some online nanny groups for support and camaraderie is super helpful! Here are some of my favorites…

Some of the blogs/articles I love are…

I don’t know about you, but I love me some nanny swag. If you haven’t already hit up these shops, do it!

The gals behind Not Quite Mary Poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelves. What are your favorite children’s books?

I collect children’s books… so narrowing this down to a few is painful, ha! ANYTHING by Dallas Clayton. I adore him.

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Spotlight Sunday: Christopher

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Tell us about yourself.

Hello hello!!! My name is Chris Alderton, 28 year old male nanny in England, specialising in twins & new-borns. I am qualified sleep trainer, breastfeeding consultant and PND (postnatal depression) specialist. I currently work with one family and do a lot of childcare consulting for families all over the world. My main nanny job is for twin girls aged 3yrs. Being a male nanny wasn’t easy in the first few years. Lots of people would say to me “I get that men work with older children, but why do you want to work with babies?” This never upset me, it me it just motivated me more to prove that men are just as capable and passionate about working with children under 5 years. I am really big on equality and a huge feminist myself, so I love to make sure the girls know that they can achieve anything they want to be. When I am not being a nanny or consulting, I volunteer. I have worked with Great Ormond Street Hospital as volunteer but now, I volunteer for the Terrence Higgins Trust.

What led you to becoming a nanny?

My mum worked with young children for years so I kind of just fell into it. I studied at college and when I was on my first placement I just know that I had found my calling.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Pro-active, energetic, creative, loving, kind.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

Positivity is the way forward! Having a positive approach to the way I manage the children and our day always works for me. I believe in setting out clear boundaries from the get go. Teaching respect, kindness and emotional well- being is key. Making children socially and emotionally developed is of the utmost importance in my childcare style. Everything else will follow naturally. Children feel safe, secure and loved with firm expectations. Being firm and consistent is one of the greatest kindness you can show your child, making sure that with everything there is fun and loving.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

Being part of a family team. The family I work for and I now call ourselves “THE TEAM.” It’s so lovely to guide and help a family bring up their little ones. It is incredible to give children the skills and tools they need to grow, explore and develop. Then the best part is getting to watch them achieve and accomplish. It never gets old when you see the huge smile on their faces. Plus all the cuddles are an added bonus of the job. As well as an endless supply of babybel cheese in the fridge!!!!!

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

I think most nannies would agree with me when I say it’s the leaving the families. It can be so difficult to leave them when you have spent however long caring for them, but it’s part of the job and they know its coming. Plus change is a good thing for both the children and the nanny. Luckily, I have a good relationship with all my past nanny families. I am actually a godfather to the first twin girls I looked after.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her nannying career?

The relationship with the parents is the key thing you must get right. If you love children, then you will love whoever you look after. By making sure that you gel with the parents, you work out what kind of nanny work life it will be (shared care or sole charge). Honesty is always a vital make-up of being a nanny. If I have problem at work with something, I bring it up straight away with the parents so that it doesn’t build to something more than it needs to be. It works both ways, so they do the same with me. This means we are always on the same page, and that way everyone stays happy.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

My weeks change all the time. Once a month I also look after their baby cousin (boy 6 months). Typically I work Mon-Wed 7am to 7pm, then Thursday 8am to 2pm. I arrive and the girls have just woken. We say bye to the parents and have a relaxed first hour. I ask them if they slept the night before and if they went straight to sleep. If they did, they get a button in their button jar as a reward. The goals is 10 buttons for a treat, which tends to be pancakes for breakfast. We play for an hour, which is normally hairdressers and doctors at the same time. Then we watch the weather and change our weather board. The mornings are either filled with playdates, creative activities, learning games, or sometimes they have a class. I love making treasure baskets and doing imaginative play.  The girls have nursery in the afternoons for 3 hours. But on Monday one girl goes alone and then the other Tuesday. This way the get to have a little independence themselves and some one-on-one time with me. I pick them up at 4pm we go home, play a game again, and have supper around 5pm. Then its quiet time, bath at 6pm, then one parent will come home to do bedtime for 7pm. On Thursday the mum and I share care, so I arrive later and we all have breakfast together. Then we spend the mooring doing something all together. After that I take the girls to nursery and leave at 2pm. This is great because it means the care the girls receive is always consistent. We are constantly on the same page. I gave up doing 5 days a few years ago so I could focus on other things.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

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I love clothes and shop way too much. It can vary from tartan trousers to jeans, but always something oversized and floaty on top in all the patterns possible. When in doubt, it’s double denim!

How do you wind down after a long day on the job?

I have a busy social life seeing friends and hanging out with my fiancé. Generally on my long nanny days I go home to binge watch House of Cards and Orange is the New Black with a glass of red wine. I also listen to music and podcasts. Woman’s Hour and Stuff You Should Know are my favourite podcasts at the moment.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

For childcare books I love anything by Tracey Hogg. Plus the Millponds Sleep Clinic have a fabulous book called Teach Your Child to Sleep. It’s a must-have in my eyes for any parent. The website I get regular articles from the best is Aha! Parenting. It’s brilliant for parents and nannies.

The gals behind Not Quite Mary Poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelves. What are your favorite children’s books?

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My Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone is a great book for learning to count and the illustrations are just beautiful. What’s a Penguin to Think When He Wakes Up Pink! by Lynne Rickards is a lovely book that teaching children that it’s ok to not fit in with the crowd and be different. This is such an important lesson to learn. The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord is just a classic that I had when I was little, so I just love it for that.

 

Spotlight Sunday: Anita

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Tell us about yourself.

I’ve been looking after children in one way or another for almost 16 years. I started out with babysitting jobs for local families, then worked my way through univeristy at the local nursery and summer camps in the USA. After I finished uni I went on to train at Norland College. Over the past 9 years since leaving I’ve worked around the world, and loved every minute of it. I took a couple of years out of being a nanny to work for Disney Cruise Line as a performer in the Youth Activities department, which was literally a dream come true. I am a HUGE Disney fan and spend a lot of my free time doing something Disney related (if I’m not doing a ballet or tap class). For the past 3 ½ years I have been working for an amazing family in London, and hopefully will be with them for many years to come.

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[Note: Anita blogs some fantastic arts and crafts ideas over at My Baba. Check out her column here].

What led you to becoming a nanny?

Part of me has always wanted to work with children, but it was during University that some people at my church suggested that I go to Norland and train to be a Nanny. I interviewed during my 2nd year and started after I got my degree.

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Always working to be better.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

I have two: Every child is different.  There is no one size fits all to looking after children, even within the same family. Every child should be treated as an individual and I try to change my approach for each of them, what works for one wont necessarily work for another. My other philosophy is actually the motto for Norland – “Love Never Faileth.”

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

Being with my charges, I can’t wait for them to come home from school. We are always getting up to something, be it arts and crafts/ playing/ going on mini adventures.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

The cooking! I’m actually a really good cook and my charges (thankfully) are great eaters. But still, I find it the most challenging, especially the cleaning up.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her nannying career?

Listen to what your employers want, but don’t be afraid to stand up for things you believe in. Also, don’t let them take advantage of you. You are there to look after their children and you can’t do that if you have cleaning a house and running errands all day long.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

Mine is slightly weird as I do 24hr care from Monday 1pm until Friday 1pm. Generally, I help get the children up at 7 and have breakfast waiting for 7:30, which the whole family have together. Then I wave the older 2 children off to school and get my youngest charge ready for the day. We spend the morning together, and over the next few months we will start to go out to play groups or museums. During his afternoon naps I start preparing dinner. By around 4pm my oldest 2 have gotten back from school and we start homework together. Then until dinner at 6 we play or do some sort of craft/activity. After that we are into the bedtime routine of bath, story and bed by 7:30. After they are in bed I will then go and clean up dinner and do the laundry.  

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

Jeans and a rugby jumper for colder weather or jeans and a t-shirt for summer.

How do you wind down after a long day on the job?

Reading, anything Disney related, cross stitching and more recently I have started to knit.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

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Mybaba.com is a wonderful place to find recipes, crafts and activities and advice. Also, French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman and How To Crack An Egg with One Hand by Francesca Beauman.

The gals behind Not Quite Mary Poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelves. What are your favorite children’s books?

Gosh I have sooooooo many. 

The Malory Towers Series &  The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy. The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Thomplison. The Enormous Crocodile  George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. The Horrible Histories Series by Terry Deary. Goosebumps by R. L. Stein. The Grimms Complete Fairy Tales by the Grimms Brothers. Aesop’s FablesCan’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell. No Matter What by Debi Gliori. My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.