Katch Up: Why I didn’t blog about my brother’s wedding

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Mr A Suit by Daks, my dress is from Toast and Miss L’s dress is John Lewis

There are moments I take so many photos of, and moments I feel I really should blog. But then they just become too big in my head, the task of doing them justice, of picking the right shots lies so heavy in my heart that I procrastinate.

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What you waiting for punk? Blog it, make my day.

My brother’s wedding was one such occasion. It also doesn’t feel right either, to share the whole event online, it was a family moment, a special day we shared. I was too caught up in the wonderful people, that I barely took any arty shots of all the lovely touches that make a wedding fascinating to those who weren’t there. Believe me there were loads. Like at my own wedding, I didn’t stop talking and smiling all day.

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I am learning that I don’t have to share every moment of my life online, it’s okay to keep stuff back, even when I am bursting to share it, even when it is as precious as a wedding.

I can never do it justice in a blog post. Some wedding posts are forming in my mind, but they are much more about words than pictures, there are so many things I want to say about this beautiful momentous occasion, but for now, those images I took are still so clear.

So I am putting together a scrapbook on Katch Up, a photo sharing application. Its easy to use and all about creating moments on a timeline, which you can choose to share with certain people as and when, simply by entering their email. The images are private and saved at the same resolution as you upload, so friends and family can print and make copies.

The display is also gorgeous, so pretty, and in a Pinterest style brings all the images together capturing brilliantly the mood, colour and atmosphere of a day.

The minute my brother got back from honeymoon he clicked on the link in his email and had his photos to see. My Dad also accessed them via email. I’m about to send it to my Aunt and my cousins in France. Easy peasy, no more extra uploading and emailing shots, and best of all a pretty gallery of my life.

See how I used it to share photos of a weekend with the girls over on A Residence.

Katch Up Giveaway and Premium Membership Offer

I would love you to be able to try Katch Up, it’s free. If you sign up now you could win a family holiday to Martinhal resort Portugal with flights from Monarch, an iPad or a Canon EOS 1200D Camera!

CODE: KPENNY0814

This code unlocks 50% off Premium Membership and can be entered upon registration, or in your account settings if you are already a member of the KatchUp family.

Current and new users should enter the code now. Premium Memberships will be ready by the end of August. Until then users can still upload photos and videos, taking advantage of the huge 1GB of storage available to them for free. Once KatchUp Premium is up and running, you’ll automatically get an email from the team letting you know they’re ready to upgrade you to Premium.

What kids really get up to when asked to review Princess Alexa Barbie #giveaway

barbie and the secret door

We were sent a Princess Alexa Barbie to review. With hindsight, at 7 nearly 8, maybe Miss L may be a bit old for this particular Barbie, but as you will see, well maybe not.

I’ve blogged about why I don’t worry too much about Barbies, we can see her representation of women as negative or we can use her as a tool to explore the representation and role of women and celebrate femininity. Femininity and feminism can coexist.

As you can see from my daughter’s doll collection, she has customised them, one got a chop and ended up with a blue pixie cut, and the doll on the right got a rather neat bob. Sometimes they are naked, sometimes they wear ball dresses, sometimes they hang out with Ken, sometimes they are busy being scientists.

barbie-world

The Barbie and the Secret Door movie is all about Princess Alexa Barbie meeting Romy a mermaid who has lost her tail and Nori, a fairy who has lost her wings. They team up to save the kingdom and restore the magic. Alexa learns to be confident and to have the courage to stand up for what is right. It doesn’t come out until 1st September, although the doll is available now. A lovely story to encourage play scenarios in younger children.

Alexa is a particularly pink princessy Barbie, but again I have no problem with celebrating femininity, as long as pink princesses aren’t the only role models on offer. I listened in to Miss L playing with her, Alexa sings two songs from the forthcoming Barbie movie when you waggle her arm and her dress lights up which is pretty cool.

My daughter was overheard saying to Alexa ‘Oh you think you are so cool don’t you?’ Which made me snigger. I am not sure how long Princess Alexa Barbie will keep her ballgown or her hair, no doubt she will get a dressing down or a make over. But that’s part of the fun I remember from my own play.

As I was taking the photos I was struck by how quickly the dolls encourage you to re-enact scenarios and to play. I was soon rearranging their outfits. ‘Let’s make a pop video with the dolls,’ I found myself saying out loud. Both kids were in immediately.

It took a bit of convincing Ken to behave.

The result wasn’t perfect, but it shows what the doll can do, and both kids got really into the idea of movie making too. No doubt Princess Alexa will have had a few new adventures before the movie comes out in September.

I have a Princess Alexa to giveaway, just follow the rafflecopter instructions! What do your kids’ Barbies get up to?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/princess-alexa-light-and-singing-barbie#sthash.toI2Swds.dpuf

Do you have a rainy day fund?

Today’s collaborative post focuses on British spending and saving habits…

At one time, saving for a rainy day was something everyone did. You’d get your wage and you’d put a portion, no matter how small directly into your savings.

These days, things have definitely changed. Saving money can sometimes seem like an impossible task. Families can find it tough to make ends meet, let alone creating a rainy day fund.

MYJAR have created a great infographic that shows how you can save for the future. The infographic shows that around 52% of Brits have admitted they would benefit from speaking to a financial advisor. Continue reading

20 cool things my kids loved and learned at Camp Bestival

20 cool things my kids learnt and loved at Camp Bestival

This year was our third Camp Bestival and we found so many amazing new things to do and revisited some old favourites. Mr A made us all get up early on Friday to sign up for the wood crafting workshops. These are one thing that book up fast, most things you can just turn up to of course, and Camp Bestival added lots more amazing kids activities, it would be impossible to do them all I think, but we had a good go! I have a 5yo boy and 7yo girl, here’s what we got up to!

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One. Miss L wanted to try out the Badger Printing press. She has an old printers block full of nick nacks in her room and so this was the perfect chance to show her what it would have been used for. At first printing may not seem such a big deal, but as I watched I realised giving kids the chance to emblazon their words onto paper and reconnect with type was powerful indeed. I loved the slogans they came up with! £5 for 3 prints.

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Two. The Soul Park had a wonderful free challenge for kids which we wanted to do but kept getting sidetracked. The field with its spa, massage, reiki and tarot tents, peacock cafe and wood fired pizzas and campfire was a lovely place to be. This gold budda in a tree fascinated my kids and we had some great chats about what we thought our soul was, spirituality and Buddas. The kids challenge was Free.

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Three. my kids loved lying in the BIG TOP watching some kids animations, until David Bond came in and ruined that by asking which kids liked playing outdoors and showing his awesome film project Wild Thing, about getting kids outdoors. They watched the first 20 minutes, then dragged me and Mr A off to the Dingly Dell for some WILD TIME. We couldn’t say no of course.

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I wanted to finish watching the film as I had the pleasure of meeting David at the National Trust. I saw him later in the Dingly Dell and wanted to congratulate him, but my son was in danger of cracking his chin on a log, and David looked busy trying to help one of his kids shimmy down a muddy hill, so I left it. But the twenty minutes we saw of the film, set the tone for a lot of conversations over the weekend, both ours and other parents, about how we re-engage kids with nature. Free.

Four. Oberon’s Observatory was an amazing structure, containing a miniature cinema with films showing other worlds. On the roof top are two telescopes.

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In a mysterious meeting with one of the actors in the observatory I managed to solve the riddle and our family was invited back at nighttime to meet Oberon and to see the stars from the giant telescope in the roof! Mr G was so excited to be out at dark. Free.

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Five. Miss L and I made willow head dresses. I was invited to participate by the workshop leader and it was the most blissful and satisfying ritual. You have to warm up the willow, here Miss L gives it a HUG!

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It was also my 16th anniversary of meeting Mr A, so it seemed like and appropriate day to make a head dress! We wove in lavender and peacock feathers. £5 per headdress for an 45 min workshop.

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Six We met up with the boys again and made wooded pirate boats together. It was lovely to see how Mr G got stuck in and how easily he could weave the willow.

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It was also really lovely to work with the kids to finish their boats off with sails and a mast. We bought a book of nature crafts recently and this really inspired us to get stuck in! £10 per boat for an hour workshop.

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He was so pleased with the final result!

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As was she!

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Seven Miss L and I learnt how to finger knit in a really happy and peaceful half hour in the Knitting tent, which has armchairs and floor cushions. Wool is only a £1 a ball and staff there will get you started with a one to one lesson for free.

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Eight Miss L tried her hand at chromatography in the Science Tent, she’s is learning about pigments in colour and the weight of pigments. The Science tent really was awesome this year, so many great organisations teamed up to provide some amazing opportunities. Miss L did really well in Science this year, so it was fab to inspire her further with some ideas we can try out at home too. Free.

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Isn’t Science amazingly pretty?

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Nine We loved the potions kitchen, which is part of Lizzie’s Way, a wonderfully creative outdoor play area constructed for the festival, in the forest. I think we have to make a potions kitchen at home now, and I know the charity shops are bursting with great things we could use! Free.

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Ten. My two were digging for ages trying to find gold coins in a specially prepared plot. So easy once again to play at home! Free.

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Eleven Project Wild Thing invited them to take each other on a blindfold walk through the forest. Prior to this they had just been arguing, yet suddenly they were arms round each other, completely willing to trust each other and I might add, utterly respectful of each other’s lack of sight. Free.

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Twelve We have always taken a little bit of Lego or some small play things to the festival as it lets the kids chill out while we watch bands. So Lego actually being there made sense. Mr A took them while I went to Knackered Mother’s Wine tasting, you can read all about that on A Residence my other blog. They all three built something, you can use whatever bricks you like for this. A pint sized tub of Lego plus whatever you make, £12.

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Thirteen Making new friends. Here my two hang out with Mari from Mari’s World’s gorgeous girls. Miss L loved being a ‘twin’ for the day. Free.

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Fourteen Being brave. It was the first year Miss L went on the Big Wheel without a grown up! £2.50

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Fifteen. Helping to paint the giant cardboard castle in Art Town. A happy half hour was passed! Free.

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Sixteen Watching the insect circus and then trying out some skills using Dad. Both free.

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Seventeen Learning about Fossils with Bournemouth University students, and then painting a cast of one. Free.

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Eighteen Learning how to make a circuit with LEDS, buzzers and play dough. Mr G had to be coerced away from the buzzer with ice cream, let’s just say the lady from Technology Will Save Us, who make ace science kits for kids, was very patient with him! Free.

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Nineteen Miss L made coconut and lavender flavour sea shell shaped red soap, again in the Science tent. Free.

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A lovely souvenir of an an incredible weekend! And just what was needed after four days in a field :)

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Twenty Mr G made a bow and a sword, except Mr A was having so much fun making it he forgot to take a picture of the sword. This isn’t Mr A, but one of the lovely artists who ran the workshop. £10 per sword.

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Thanks for having us Camp Bestival. You rocked! Or in the words of L, This is EPIC! I should also add all the staff and artists who led activities were wonderfully attentive, caring and patient, which really added to the experience.

Do read a more grown up post about the wine and cocktails and grown up offerings over on A Residence and I will leave you with some video evidence of all the fun from 2012, why we first fell in love with Camp Bestival, what we loved last year 2013 and a packing list.

Early Bird tickets for Camp Bestival 2015 go on sale Friday 8th August 2014, and there is a payment plan, so catch the bargains while you can!

Disclosure – we were given tickets to the festival in return for preview and review and live coverage – in other words, I worked hard to party hard.

Camp Bestival

5 Classic Caribbean Cocktail Recipes

5 caribbean cocktails

In a little celebration of the Commonwealth Games, and having cruised the Caribbean earlier this year, I thought it would be a great excuse to serve up some drinks inspired by the Caribbean teams participating in the games. I bring you 5 classic caribbean cocktail recipes.

If you want a genuine Jamaican cocktail then Planter’s Punch is a classic and often served in a pineapple. Here my daughter and I are enjoying a mocktail version for her, and a cocktail for me, on board Carnival Breeze.

Children learn about what kind of drinker they will become by watching their parents, so for me, as she enters the ‘curious’ stage, it is about me modelling responsible drinking, and seeing a cocktail as a special treat, a long drink to be savoured as part of the holiday ritual. Not as one of many.

Pina Colada was invented by a gentleman from Barcelona, in the Carribbean, because the story goes, the coconut cutters went on strike and he needed something else to put his hotel guest’s drinks in. The strained pineapple was added to his coconut cocktail and the Pina Colada was born.

I used a Funkin Cocktails cocktail mixer added to white rum, and topped with a cocktail cherry and a slice of pineapple – easy peasy!

Bahama Mama is of course, a cocktail of the Bahamas, it is thought it was made during the Prohibition era when the Bahamas was a smuggling hotspot. With coffee added to the rum, pineapple and coconut mix it will keep you a little more alert, here is the recipe.

Nutmeg is celebrated all over Greneda as a signature crop and so it is no wonder it turns up in a cocktail, why not try a Nutmeg Creeper?

Or you could always opt for the Dominican Mama Juana, which is used as everything from a flu remedy to an aphrodisiac. Rum, red wine, honey, tree bark and herbs, marinaded for a long time. Me, I am sticking to a Pina Colada!

Hope you have enjoyed my 5 classic caribbean cocktail recipes. Drink responsibly, and for more information on approaches to discussing and modelling drinking with children, please read about my day with Drinkaware.

Scents to change your life – Love Aroma

travel scented candle

Love Aroma have totally changed my perception of scented candles. They were something I bought, or occasionally was given, then forgot about. But Love Aroma’s product range is impossible to forget.

When my Love Aroma package arrived, it was beautifully wrapped and scented, with Heyland and Whittle Citrus and Lavender, because I told Lewis at Love Aroma these were my favourite scents. The empty box lay in the hall for a few days,  and hit me with amazing wafts of scent every time I cam home – it really made coming home a joy.

Next I tried a Melt candle, ‘Joy’ comes in a tin, Lewis suggested as a keen traveller that I might enjoy taking a candle in my bag, to keep my clothes smelling amazing and to add some ambience while on holiday.  Joy has floral notes on a fresh bed of sparkling citrus, if it was a perfume I would definitely wear it, it is a very sexy and sophisticated scent.

On the living room mantlepiece we then tried Stoneglow Candles’ Nature’s Friend Lemongrass and Lime, a lovely punchy, zesty scent perfect for perking us up at the end of a long summer day and for bringing the outside in.

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My absolute favourite was Parfum’s Linen and Lavender Snow Crystal Candle. I burnt this at my desk and it sent subtle wafts of the most exquisite fragrance through the house. The premise here is couture perfume and it really delivers a highly sophisticated scent; the whole week, even when it wasn’t burning, the candle made my office smell incredible. It is a very rejuvenating, mood enhancing scent, it made all the clutter and chaos melt away.

Parfum’s candles are candles with a conscience, handmade in the UK with biodegradable, natural wax and perfume which is carbon neutral and non toxic.

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I have really reconsidered scented candles and what an incredible, uplifting role they can play in my life at home, and when travelling. I thought the service from Love Aroma showed excellent attention to detail and would definitely use them to treat myself or a friend to a gift. Although, of course, now I think candles should be part of the everyday, not just occasional gifts!

 

Keeping the Kids Busy this Summer: Five Awesome Ideas

keep the kids busy this summer

Today’s guest post has some great tricks up your sleeve for putting the wow into their Summer holiday.

It’s probably fair to say that when it comes to the words, ‘I’m bored’, the chances of them being said soar during the summer holidays because of the number of weeks that the kids have to spend at home, away from their schoolmates and their classes that keep a modicum of busyness to their days.

As soon as the summer holidays hit, you need to keep on your toes. If you don’t have anything planned, it won’t be long before the squabbling starts, as your bored kids vie for your attention and beg you for something to do. However, if you have a few ideas up your sleeve ready to go, the monotony of the 6 weeks holiday will disappear. Here are five fabulous ideas that may help to keep the kids busy away from home.

City Break 

City breaks aren’t just for couples and friends, you know. What’s stopping you from taking the kids to a different city for a couple of days? Choose one that has plenty of family-friendly attractions available, so that kids (and adults) of all ages can enjoy their time away from home. Book into some reasonably priced accommodation, such as a Travelodge hotel in Edinburgh, London or Manchester, and plan your time in your chosen city wisely so that your time is utilised in the best way possible.

Museum

Kids who say that museums are boring have obviously not been to the good ones. Take a trip to one of the fun-filled, hands-on museums across the country, such as the Science Museum in London, or Thinktank in Birmingham, and your kids will be able to appreciate the various exhibitions without even a hint of boredom setting in.

Seaside

What kids don’t love the seaside? While we can’t guarantee the good weather, we can guarantee that a day at the seaside can be as fun in the rain as it is in the sunshine. Well, maybe not quite as fun, but still worthwhile. Spend a day on the beach, go crabbing in the rock pools, eat fish and chips, enjoy donkey rides, watch a Punch & Judy show… the options are endless. And that’s without even mentioning the penny arcades…

Theme Park

With so many awesome theme parks across the country, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Opt for one that suits your child’s needs perfectly, though. For example, Paulton’s Park in the south would be perfect for tots who love Peppa Pig, Alton Towers has something for everyone, and Thorpe Park is geared towards adrenaline junkies, for sure! Make use of any coupons, online discounts and other offers, to save you money wherever possible.

Castles 

Take the kids to one of the gorgeous castles that our country is home to. While somewhere like Warwick Castle is very much visitor-orientated, with plenty of events and activities in store, other castles, such as Portchester Castle, are more secluded and perfect for a picnic and a relaxing afternoon. It’s your call, really!

Make a list of ideas in advance so that you can provide your children with plenty of options. Whether it’s the summer break, or any other time away from school, if you have an arsenal of ideas ready to go, boredom won’t stand a chance.

Collaborative post

Razor A5 Lux Scooter: less pushing, more riding

picking the right scooter

My daughter likes to dawdle on the school run, she reminds me of my mum, head in a weed growing out the side of a wall, rescuing snails and watching wood lice. It’s lovely when you aren’t in a rush, but, because my son gets similarly absorbed in play, but inside the house, we rarely have much time on the way to school. On the way home she can dawdle all she likes, but the way there we zoom,  that’s the deal. Just when the school run was starting to really lag, Asda sent Miss L a Razor A5 Lux Scooter to test. With it’s big wheels and larger frame she was suddenly making a lot more headway.

This scooter is very good because it is very fast. It makes me feel on top of the world, like when I climbed Mount Etna!
Miss L aged 7 3/4

Mr G had his eye on her old scooter, so that was both of them suddenly sorted. I also can’t quite believe L has finished Infants and is off to Juniors, the sites are 10 minutes away from each other, so we will really need the scooters come September.

I’m impressed with the Razor A5 Lux Scooter, at first the big wheels seemed strange and a couple of kids commented on them on the school run. But when you see it in action, it makes perfect sense, you cover more ground with less effort. Spend less time pushing and more time riding. Suddenly Miss L can make up the time spent dawdling really easily.

The only downside is it is a little bigger and bulkier than other scooters, and we have both banged our ankles on it a few times getting used to it, which can be painful, but again, all new things take time. Miss L is not quite 8, so at the bottom end of the age bracket, so it is going to seem especially big to her. It does fold down easily to fit in the car.

Features:

  • Smooth rolling 200mm urethane wheels with RZR Pro bearings
  • Aircraft grade aluminium deck
  • Steel handlebars
  • Kick stand
  • Pro-style T-bar handlebar
  • Prostyle non-folding rigid down tube
  • Double head tube clamp
  • Patented rear fender brake
  • Freestyle rubber grips
  • Max rider weight: 100 kg
  • Age 8 plus

The scooter is £79.97 which seems a very fair price to me for this kind of kit. If you have a child who is using it to get from A to B with less effort, then this could be the perfect scooter.

How to stop siblings fighting – with six words.

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We all want to know how to stop siblings fighting, I think I’ve found a brilliantly simple trick. Disclaimer – I should say conflict is normal and healthy and part of life, you won’t stop it completely, but recently we changed one thing about the way we handle fighting and it made a massive difference.

I think you might like to know about this technique too, because it doesn’t involve massive changes to your routine, sticker charts, bribes, money or exhausting days where you don’t see your other half/have a moment’s peace/manage to talk to another adult, because you are hell bent trying to keep the kids apart.

The biggest thing I was doing wrong was jumping in and taking sides. I didn’t even really think I was taking sides, just trying to solve the issue quickly and fairly with my adult wisdom hat on, but what I was actually doing was playing judge. And it was back firing hugely. For example…

We picked up my 5yo from a party, he wouldn’t give my 7yo anything from his party bag. So I asked him to, immediately and without realising almost, I had taken sides. So he dug his heels in more and things got nastier. He ate all the cake and the sweets in one gulp (alright well not quite, but it was fast) and he threw the wrapper at my 7yo. She grabbed him by the collar, and they were fighting.

After a bit of googling ‘how to stop siblings fighting’ I saw the error of my ways. All it takes is six words, ‘How can you make this better?’.

Sounds too simple, but what you are doing is giving kids the chance to sort the problem out for themselves. This is amazingly effective in that it means they learn to problem solve and deal with conflict, you don’t get stuck playing judge and things don’t escalate so fast.

It puts the ball in their court. So when my daughter refused to let my son have a go on her new roller-skates, he started shouting. They were about to start physically fighting, but all I said was, how can you make this better? They both suggested deals, they were both a bit unfair to start, I mediated a bit, but didn’t judge.

Then, as if by magic, they struck a deal they both loved. He got to go up and down, to the lamppost 10 times, but she would give him lessons. It was amazing to watch her help him.

Then a massive storm came, so we ran for shelter together, my 5yo on rollerskates in the middle of me and my 7yo. We laughed so much. When the storm passed he kept skating, on his own this time, through puddles, and my 7yo didn’t ask for them back, instead we just giggled and smiled at the rollerskating ninja.

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What works and doesn’t work for you? Have you got any wisdoms on how to stop siblings fighting?

Distraction is also great. My good friend Anya suggested her six words would be Do you wanna watch Lego movie? I also like How about you play Smashing Planets? their new favourite app.

For more down to earth updates and simple insights into parentshaped life you can follow me @Aresidence on Twitter, facebook, PinterestInstagram and Google plus.

Moshi Monsters at the Sea Life Centre, Birmingham

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Looking back at the photos, I am not sure, even for my Moshi Monster Mad kids, that having Moshi Monsters at the Sea Life centre, was the main attraction. Beforehand my husband and I debated, over a cup of tea, about how to ‘pitch’ the day to them. Was it about Moshis or was it about sea life?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Moshi Monsters, I videoed some children recently talking about their favourite toys and I was really amazed by the way they suddenly came alive on camera when talking about their Moshi Monsters.  They were so verbal and full of their own stories about the characters, so full of play ideas. I think they are a great toy for encouraging imagination to develop.

There’s a Moshi swap shop where your kids can swop figures, there’s a Moshi trail where you can hunt the Moshis in the tanks and there are Moshi characters available for photo opportunities. You can also have a photo taken against a Moshi green screen. If you’ve been before its a new way of looking at the exhibitions and a great chance to swap a Moshi figure too.

My 7yo had a good crack at finding Moshi Monsters at the Sea life Centre, there are six hidden in tanks around the centre and diligently filled in her quiz questions too. She learnt a few things from answering the questions, we now know what mermaid’s purse is and what it contains for example and how many seahorses babies are born each time.

moshi monsters sea life centre

My 7yo completed this quiz, but lost interest when she realised the prize was a Moshi token for the online game, as did I, as we have been trying to avoid paying out for it, maybe I should, what do you think, is it worth it?

My 5yo was happy to forgo the Moshi hunt on paper and just steam round looking at the tanks. My daughter had eagle eyes and spotted all six.

I think they were more interested in the sea life at the end of the day, and whenever museums have quizzes I sometimes think they encourage kids to rush rather than just take things in. Although, it is lovely to see my 7yo take charge and own a new space like a museum full of confidence and ready to tackle the clues, it slowed her down too, so we could take in more.

penguins

Last time we went there weren’t any Gentoo penguins. I was in two minds about this. It was an utterly incredible privilege to watch, Gentoos are the fastest swimmers of all penguins – Mr A was awestruck by the way they leap out of the water a spilt second from the edge,  I loved watching the way the penguins interacted with the keepers and the children, watching them is fascinating, they are clearly very cheeky and curious. They are from Antarctica and it is easy to replicate their climate in a tank. But I just kept seeing that scene in Happy Feet…

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Then the 3D film was a ten minute version of Happy Feet, with its message about working together to make the world better for sea life. Sea Life centres are involved in conservation and in education, they definitely got us thinking about important messages like dwindling penguin colonies, conservation, recycling, picking up rubbish at the sea side.  Ultimately the penguins looked happy and healthy and protected from harm of predators, rubbish and losing their land to humans. I would love to see them have more room though.

I have been looking up more facts about where all the sea life in the centre comes from, I know The Gentoos were bred bred together at Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Centre in Auckland. Over 150 turtles and seals were rescued by Sea Life in the last month. I found an article explaining one of the turtles in a centre was rescued from a meat factory with horrible conditions, to go from this to having your own tank must be incredible. I discovered the penguins are part of the Breed, Rescue, Protect programme, they are also studied by PhD students. The centres also breed enough seahorses not to take them out of the wild and discourage visitors from doing so.

My kids were really enthused by what they saw, getting so close to nature and wildlife is a real privilege and an inspiration.

Moshi Monsters at the Sea Life Centre, Birmingham until 31st August 2014.