Intentional Christmas Shopping. How to shop intentionally?

For many people, Christmas is the most beautiful, magical time of the year. They love the smell of freshly baked cakes and cookies, enchanted lights, Christmas carols. Gingerbread houses. The shiny decorations. Sometimes though, behind the scenes, there is a lot of pressure on the parents, who decide to take a loan to buy al the Christmas gifts they think their children need.

I am not here to tell you how to spend your hard-earned money. I am here to remind you that in case you feel pressured by anyone in your circle, or by the social media to have to buy everything for your children, that you don't have to do that

Sometimes we are made to believe that without a certain toy or game, our children won't have a chance to develop a specific skill, or that they will somehow miss out on something important. They won't. They will be just fine. 

So if you need to have a bit of a detox, please keep on reading. I will help you to shop intentionally this year.


Buying new things is exciting. Waiting for the delivery guy is exciting. Opening the boxes is exciting. But trying to fit 30 new toys on a shelf that is already overflowing with stuff is not fun. And for a small child, having to find that one special toy between 300 others, is frustrating. And that's why more and more often we see rooms filled with amazing collections of beautiful items, and children watching screens from morning till night, because they are tired, overwhelmed, overstimulated, and unable to find anything inspiring to play with.

Buy your child something they really want, something that will fill them with joy. Maybe something that will inspire them to learn a skill, or develop a new hobby. Something that will bond the family members together. Something that will excite the child. Allow them to express themselves and their creativity. 
It doesn't have to be fancy. It doesn't have to cost you a fortune. You don't have to take a loan to try to keep up with the cool families on social media. Because the pretty things and perfectly styled playrooms didn't give them happiness. If they are truly happy, it wasn't that £5k toy collection that brought them that happiness. It was the decision to raise the kids with love, with respect and having quality time with them. It's free. Some people want us to believe that things will fulfil us, but I know a bunch of lonely people driving Porsches and Ferraris, and carrying the most expensive watches on their wrists. 


Making a list of what your child wants, and what you want to buy for them is an important step. I usually divide the paper into 4 columns, where I write what Kian wants, what he needs, what I want to buy for him, and what I think he needs.

Then I write down all of the gift ideas. Next, I grab the red pen, and I am ready to cross all the unnecessary stuff that off of that list.

Before crossing anything off the list, I ask myself questions: does he really want to have this? Was he the one who said he needed it? How receiving this gift would make him feel? How much use would he get out of this toy? Would he play with it, or would it just look nice on the shelf/ pictures? 

And for the items that I thought he needed, I ask myself: What made me feel like he needs this toy? Do I like/ agree with the person who made me feel like I need to buy this? How do I feel about this toy/item, do I feel like it is going to really make my child happy/help them grow, or do I feel that it is cool to show others that we own this item? If you care about the toys being eco-friendly, you can ask yourself whether this item was sustainably made, and who made it.

We have to remember that we vote with our money. Our coins and notes not only buy us things and pay our bills, but they also give out points to different companies/ ideas. 

Step 2: Setting up a budget and further removing items off the list

When you know what your budget is, you can check whether you can afford the gifts you want to buy for your child/ children. It may happen that you won't be able to afford all of them. Then you either will have to cross some of them off the list, or find some alternatives

In our family, we have worked out a system that is perfect for us all. My family members usually ask what Kian wants, and I ask about the budget they have for his gift. Then together (me and Kian) we choose something from his wish list that fits into that budget. Personally, I ensure to stay a little bit below that amount, but this is just my choice.

I have so much respect for my family member's time and money, that I want to ensure that whatever they buy for my child, my child will play with it. And I would never put them in a situation where I would expect anything they couldn't afford or feel uncomfortable buying for him.

STEP 3: Take it, when you need additional motivation to keep it intentional

If you know that your child has a lot of stuff already, but you are still feeling pressured to buy them a lot of new toys, you can take these few following steps:

  1. Go to their bedroom/playroom. Look at their shelves or toy storage. How does it make you feel? Are you overwhelmed by the amount of toys on the shelves? If you wanted to pick something to play with, would you able to grab it easily? Can you close that drawer or shelf easily? Are the toys in the basket overflowing? Is it easy to find the toy you need?
  2. Look closely at their toys. Can you recall your child playing with all of them? 
  3. Is your child able to keep their room fairly tidy (taking into consideration their age, of course)? Generally speaking, if the room is a mess it is usually because the child has too many toys to manage and they are just not capable of doing it.

I hope you're well. I hope you're not too anxious and worried about the xmas season coming up. I wish you all the best. Thank you so much for your time! x


Montessori Wild Cats Unit: activities

Books: 'Big Cats' Usborne, 'Animal Kingdom' Steve Parker, 'Nature Hide and Seek: Jungles; Wild Republic Puzzle

Hi, thanks for stopping by! I have a 4-years-old, animals-obsessed son, and for the past few weeks, we have been working on a wild cats unit. 
In my previous article, I have reviewed all of the books we have been working with, so if you are interested, please check it out here. Today I will show you the wild cats-related activities I set up for him. Some of them may seem a little advanced, but because my son has always loved animals more than anything else, he already knows quite a lot about them. If you're interested to learn how to introduce the unit study to a much younger child, and how to support their interests, please let me know. I would be pleased to write an article on it too.
I am going to divide this article into two parts: activities, and then the breakdown of topics we went through with my son. 


Lioness: Collecta, Lynx: Nayab, tiger: Schleich, cheetahs: AAA


Wild cats are predominantly nocturnal, except for cheetahs, who are primarily active during the day. This sorting activity helps the child to memorise that. 

Tiger: AAA, book: Children's Picture Atlas


I strongly believe that hands-on learning is highly beneficial for the child. Matching the photos of animals or animal figurines (or even stuffed animals) to the map provides a better learning experience than memorising that cheetahs live in Africa and Iran, lions in Africa and Gir Forest in India, without even once looking at the map. 

Lynx: Nayab, small and large cheetah: AAA


In this activity, the child orders the animal figurines from the smallest to the largest. For beginners, I would suggest choosing three very distinctive in size figurines to allow the child to understand the concept of ordering better. Younger kids can also compare which toy is smaller, and which larger. 

Tiger cub: no name, lioness: Collecta, tiger: AAA


This activity is very similar to the previous one, however here the child focuses on ordering the figurines based on their weight. Once again, choosing models of very different weights is advised. 

Tiger cub: AAA, tiger: Schleich; the lion family: Collecta


Lions and tigers eat in a different order. First of all, a vast majority of lions live in groups called prides, where females do most of the hunting. However, the male lions eat first, then the lionesses, and the cubs at the very end.

Tigers, on the other hand, lead solitary lives, but when a tigress is caring for her cubs, the cubs eat first, she eats as the last. 

We have first read about it a few times, discussed it, and then I prepared an activity for Kian, to provide him with a hands-on learning experience. 

I asked him to present the eating orders by assigning numbers to the figurines.

The rights belong to:  Osama Muhammad (the photo of a snow leopard), Andrew Cline (closeup of snow leopard's skin), Joao Carlos Medau (ocelot), jaguar's skin closeup: found on Pinterest


Wild cats' furs are beautiful, so why not teach the kids how to distinguish them?

For this activity, I printed the fur closeups and photos of wild cats off of the internet. I displayed them on my son's shelves so he can access them anytime he wants, but we also work with them together. We match the skins to their owners, and we analyse the differences between the species. 

Wild Republic Rainforest Animal 6-in-1 block puzzle


I found this set of block puzzle in a second-hand store a while ago. It fits into this unit study perfectly, because it features two wild cats: jaguar and tiger. 



Kian is currently eagerly learning phonics and letters, so I always add some phonic study into his unit. He is now learning 't' for tiger and 'l' for lion. When preparing the baskets, I 'shop' around the house, trying to find the right objects I could use. 


Books: 'Tigress' Nick Dowson, Purnell's Picture Dictionary; Large tiger: AAA; tiger: Schleich, white tiger cub: Schleich


  • cat and big cat characteristics,
  • wild cat's senses,
  • wild cat's communication.


  • native to Africa and Gir Forest in India,
  • unlike other wild cats, they live in groups called prides,
  • male lion's mane protects their neck during fights, and it becomes darker as they get older,
  • female lions do most of the hunting,
  • the order lions eat in (male lions eat first, followed by lionesses, and the cubs eat as last),
  • lion's body characteristics (glow in the dark eyes, white patches of fur, tail tassel etc.).


  • they live solitary lives, and the female is the only one looking after the cubs,
  • their order of eating (cubs eat first, then the female),
  • the types of tigers,
  • the fact that tigers are excellent swimmers and love being in the water,
  • the fact that it is normal for them to walk long distances to catch their prey. 


  • the differences between leopards and jaguars,
  • their habitats (mostly tropical rainforests of Central and South America, always close to lakes and rivers),
  • the fact that they can hunt on the land, in the water and on the trees,
  • they are good swimmers, often hunt alligators, turtles and fish,
  • they are the only wild cats to kill the prey by biting through the skull. 


  • native to Africa and Iran, they live on open grasslands,
  • they cant roar,
  • fastest land mammals in the world,
  • excellent sprinters, but can't run for long, 
  • they are diurnal,
  • their body shape resembles a greyhound more than a wild cat,
  • their body characteristics and their importance (long tail, flexible backbone, dew claw and more). 


  • live in mountainous areas of Central and South Asia,
  • the way they hunt (they often surprise their prey by jumping on it from above),
  • they can adapt to changing weather (hot summers and very cold winters),
  • their paws are wide and flat, which helps them not to sink into the snow. 


  • they live in the forests of Southeast Asia,
  • good climbers, hunt monkeys and birds in trees,
  • they have long canine teeth (only slightly smaller than the lions),
  • they can kill larger prey like wild pigs and deer on the ground.


  • they like to rest in trees and are good climbers,
  • native to Africa and Southern Asia,
  • they are nocturnal,
  • their varied diet allows them to survive in many different places and habitats,
  • they can easily drag their prey onto the tree,
  • the differences between leopards and jaguars.


  • we learned some general info (habitats, distinctive body characteristics etc.) about pumas, servals, lynxes, margays, caracals, leopard cats, Palla's cats, black-footed cats and ocelots.

Thank you so much for your time! I truly hope that you have enjoyed reading this article and found some inspirations here. If you want to know what wild cats-related books we are working with, please check out my previous article

Have a wonderful day! 

Gosia x


Body shaming and its impact on children's self-esteem and mental health. Body image in childhood.


A few days ago somewhere on Instagram, I saw a picture of a girl I once watched a video about. She has the world's longest legs, and she is the sweetest, most humble, beautiful girl. Do you know what bothered me, though? The fact that I couldn't remember her name, but I could vividly remember how her mother body-shamed her. It was heartbreaking.

So the body shaming is something I want to talk about today. 

I grew up in a very specific environment, where I was constantly body shamed. Since I was a little girl. My teeth were crooked, so I was shamed for that. I was body-shamed for having a weird, nasal voice, small breasts, being short, having weak hair and big feet. When I hit puberty, I was body-shamed for having stretch marks. And obviously, my weight fluctuations were the main reason of body-shaming. Oh, and that's not everything. The list goes on.

What is this crazy world we are living in, that we aim for all women to be the same, or at least to be as close to the ideal face and body as possible? Almost all of the women on the planet won't live up to that. How can 3,5 billion women or 4 billion men all look the same or very similar to one another? 

We can't expect a Native American girl to look White, or White to look Black. A short person to have legs as long as a very tall person has. But these insane beauty standards aren't the only reasons for body shaming. Here are some more:

  • Bullying. Bullying is socially acceptable. 
  • Laughing on the ginger kids, fat kids, thin kids and kids wearing glasses are normalised.
  • Women are treated as sexual objects and as if their main life purpose was pleasing men. 
  • Men are shamed for the size of their genitals and their height like that was something they had any control of.
  • We are being fed and brainwashed by mass media on a daily basis. 

Body shaming is directly linked to low self-esteem, self-harm, eating disorders, substance abuse and depression

Many parents think that if they fat-shame their child, the child will magically find that legendary will power and lose weight in a blink of an eye.

If fat shaming worked, there would be no obesity today. It doesn't work. 

It is more harmful than you think. If your child has a problem, take them to the doctor and check their health. Obesity is usually a side effect of something. Check their hormones. Ask your child what can you do for them, and if they want you to do anything at all. 

If you laugh on your daughters ginger hair, you make her hate them. And, obviously, you won't let her colour her hair either, so what can she do? 

Is there something she can do? Can she modify her genetics? Is there a potion she can make to change them? And what is most important, is there anything wrong with having ginger hair? I love ginger hair, and I never understood why do people have a problem with them.

I can tell you with all honesty that all that body-shaming did nothing good to me. My voice hasn't changed, I am not any taller, my eyes aren't bigger, and feet smaller. I still have stretch marks, and my weight still fluctuates. 

Would I be healthier if I wasn't body shamed? for sure. Mentally, definitely. All of that made me just dislike myself, and think that I don't deserve certain things. It led to an eating disorder. I am 28 years old and I still don't love myself enough. 

I'll tell you more. I know a man who is in good health, but even if there was a fire or an explosion right behind him, he wouldn't run.

He has a blockade, something isn't allowing him to run. Do you know what that is?

When he was a young boy, his father watched him play with some kids, and later that day yelled at him and beat him up because he wasn't running 'manly' enough. The guy won't run even if a freaking polar bear is trying to attack him. No chance. 

We have to break that vicious cycle of body shaming and abuse, and protect our children at all costs. Model a healthy lifestyle, model healthy approach to one's body. Let's stop punishing our kids for things they have no control over, like genetics

Instead, let's focus on appreciating our children's unique personalities, good hearts, curiosity, persistence, and all that makes them THEM. 

And, first of all, let's not raise bullies. 

If you don't want to over-compliment your child, tell them that they are perfect just the way they are. Because they are perfect. Just do that and watch them fly. They will be unstoppable. 

Let me know what your thoughts are, please. Thank you for your time!

Gosia x


What is currently on Kian's Montessori-inspired shelves: fun and educational activities for preschoolers

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Today I want to show you what activities are currently out on Kian's shelves. His shelving unit is pretty small and narrow to fit our small space. It works perfectly fine for us, though. 

I will first talk you through all the activities, and then I will answer some questions regarding them which my followers asked me on Instagram (@whatmumloves)

On the top shelf, there is a medium-sized Grimms rainbow. Kian uses it in many ways, but mainly he incorporates its pieces into his wooden block creations. We have the basket with the blocks right next to the shelving unit, that's why I like to keep the rainbow on the shelves. 

On the second shelf, there is a Nine Men Morris board game, which we use a little bit differently than intended. I made a few cards for Kian with different patterns of pegs, and he picks one of the cards and tries to copy the pattern onto the board. 

This activity not only stimulates concentration, problem solving and logic, but also allows the child to practice fine motor skills. These pegs are very small, so it takes practice to place them correctly in the holes. 

On the third and fourth shelves, we have some phonics works. I have collected some items, like animals, vehicles, magnetic and wooden letters etc. and put them into baskets and bowls. They provide a fantastic opportunity for hands-on learning for the child. It makes learning much faster and more effective. 

On the last shelf, there is a simple counting activity which comes with a bunch of conkers, a pair of handy scoopers, a dice, a bowl and a wooden plate. The child rolls the dice and then transfers an exact number of conkers as the thrown number of dots on the dice. If you want to recreate this activity but you don't have the scoopers, do not worry. Your child can use a spoon, and ice cream scoop or a ladle instead. 

After showing the shelves on my Instagram, I got two questions from my followers. I thought that I would include them in my blog post because I found them very helpful.


Q: How often do you put out new activities on the shelves?

A: It honestly depends on Kian. Usually, the activities stay on the shelf for two weeks. Also, I don't display all activities he is working on on these shelves, because I don't want him to get too bored too quickly. I just get them out of the stash when we want to work on them.


Q: What do you do with all the stuff after 2 weeks?

I put them back into my stash and we are going to work on them again and again sometime in the future. When he outgrows an activity, then I pass it onto another child. 




Please let me know in the comment section below, should you have any question. I will happily answer them all :) Have a great day, and thank you so much for your time!


Gosia x

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