#Reblog: Katinka’s Tail by Judith Kerr

Read More The post ** Katinka’s Tail by Judith Kerr Review ** appeared first on Our Fairytale Adventure.

via ** Katinka’s Tail by Judith Kerr Review ** — Our Fairytale Adventure

I picked this post to reblog because I like Judith Kerr’s writing but haven’t read this particular story to Munchkin. We’re fans of Mog and The Tiger Who Came to Tea – which we saw on stage last summer. When I read on, I realised that this post on Our Fairytale Adventure is actually a competition. So if you like Judith Kerr as much as we do, enter their competition via Rafflecopter.

Our Fairytale Adventure is a parenting, lifestyle and travel blog written by Emma. It’s a good read, so do take a look.

Mog cat, bookcase, Judith Kerr books

Not quite Katinka, but we love Mog!

Photo by WAVE:Galleries, Museums, Archives of Wolverhampton on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA


Turning into Your Mother

I’ve thought I’ve been turning into my mother for some time. By the same token, my daughter is following in my footsteps. She enjoys doing the things that I did at her age, particularly art.

When I was five, my class entered a painting competition, which I believe was run by the Brighton Book Fayre. We had to paint pictures of space creatures. I painted K9 from Doctor Who, and was then informed that we weren’t allowed to paint existing characters so I renamed him Cane Chops.

Cane Chops won the Age 5 category. The Age 6 category was also won by a girl at my school – who later became a close friend. We had to go to the book fayre at The Corn Exchange to receive our prizes. The prizes were due to be presented by a celebrity artist and we were rather disappointed to hear that he was running late and would only have a photo taken with us after someone else had presented the prizes. I think I have the photo somewhere but I won’t post it since it was the 1970s and he was subsequently jailed for indecent assault!

A year later, I won another painting competition. This one was to paint an Alice in Wonderland picture, in connection with our school fayre. My mum was on the PTA and involved with judging, though she refused to judge my age group.

I’m following in my mum’s footsteps by being involved with the Parents Association at Munchkin’s school, and Munchkin has started following in mine by winning her first drawing competition. Writer Jennifer Acton recently published her first children’s book, The Giant Kangaroo in the Colourful Hat. She ran a competition for children to draw pictures of the giant kangaroo to appear in her book. Munchkin was one of the winners. She went along to Jennifer’s book launch, where the winners were presented with a signed copy.

girl in cat costume, woman, book, balloons

Meeting Jennifer Acton

Munchkin now has a taste for winning competitions and wants to enter everything. She intends to design a snowman Christmas card, write a Christmas poem and design a new logo for the school Parents Association. The thing is, she’ll be a little disappointed if she doesn’t win.

kangaroo, child's drawing

The Giant Kangaroo in the Colourful Hat

#ThrowbackThursday: Letters to Father Christmas

I’m trying to get back into my regular blogging schedule. It’s getting to the time of year when small people write to Father Christmas, so here is a throwback to Munchkin’s first letter to him.

For the first time ever, we’ve written to Santa on Munchkin’s behalf.  It’s her third Christmas and she understands what’s going on now.  I wrote a letter, asking her what she wanted to say.  Having already decided to send a reply via santa.co.uk, I included things in her letter that I knew would be reflected in Santa’s reply.

letter, christmas scene

Letter to Father Christmas

There were five letters aimed at Munchkin’s age group, so I chose one with the story that I liked best.  The only thing that could have been better is the way the best friend’s name is used.  In some letters, the friend is referred to as “they”.  Surely it wouldn’t have been difficult to add one extra field to indicate if the friend is a boy or a girl?  The best friend thing was difficult for us in any case.  Munchkin’s closest friends are twins so it was tricky choosing which one to name.

letter, santa, rudolf

Letter from Father Christmas

We really liked the letter from Santa.  I’m not sure Munchkin was quite as impressed as the grown ups in the family, but she did like it.  Perhaps she’ll be more interested next year.

Halloween Fortnight! 🎃 👻

This post is a little late as I’ve been writing it on and off for a week. My daughter seemed to spend two whole weeks doing things with a Halloween theme. The days when All Hallows’ Eve was a religious festival celebrated on 31st October are long gone. To all the children that I know, Halloween is a time for partying and chocolate. Munchkin asked me to buy her a cat costume and it’s had a lot of use.

Our Halloween started on Friday 13th October with a Halloween fancy dress party at school. This was my first experience of helping with a children’s event there. I feel as if I’m turning into my mother, who was an active member of the PTA when I was little. The children partook in party games, dancing and biscuit decorating. I think a good time was had by all.

The cat costume came out again for the launch of The Giant Kangaroo in the Colourful Hat by Jennifer Acton. Children were invited to wear Halloween fancy dress. I was at work that day and haven’t got round to reading the book yet, but Munchkin enjoyed it. She entered a competition for drawings of the kangaroo to appear in the book and was one of the lucky winners. I won a painting competition when I was her age – though that’s a whole other story – so it feels as if she’s following in my footsteps.

Halloween celebrations continued the weekend before 31st October. We went to Warwickshire to spend the weekend with my husband’s family. Munchkin and her cousin did a Halloween Hunt and decorated spooky cupcakes. The Halloween Hunt has evolved from Easter Egg Hunts. The girls enjoyed hunting for eggs so much that they now do two hunts a year. Treats are left by the Halloween Fairy because Munchkin found the idea of a witch too scary when we first started doing this a year or two ago.

On the Saturday evening, they went to a fancy dress roller disco. Munchkin’s cousin is a much better skater than her so they spent quite a lot of doing their own things.

Finally, 31st October arrived. Last year, my husband promised Munchkin she could go trick or treating. He seemed to have forgotten but she hadn’t. Up until this year, we’ve tried to avoid trick or treaters. This year, I decided, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. We put a pumpkin out and I bought two buckets of sweets.

At this point, I should mention that trick or treating is massive where we live. I’ve never experienced an American Halloween but I imagine it would be fairly similar. Our housing estate becomes overrun with families from the surrounding area. It gets a little manic and someone has suggested that we set up a means of making charity donations next year, to make up for all the people who are getting sweets from local residents but not providing sweets for children on the estate.

The Rotary gives a cup to the best decorated house. My favourite was the Harry Potter house with the Hogwarts Express next to it but the judges had other ideas.

Next year, we’ll be buying more sweets and going out earlier. Our 2kg of sweets lasted about an hour, and several people had run out of goodies by the time we went out at about 5:15pm.

#ThrowbackThursday: Bargain Birthing and Baptism

This week’s throwback is to my pregnancy blog. I love the title, even if I say so myself! Some things never change, I’m still blogging late and having trouble finding the time for writing.

I was right about one thing, my daughter did become a gymnast. My thoughts about active birth went out the window when I was in labour. I just wanted to lie there, and the midwives told me to try and move. I also pushed like mad, despite what the ladies at yoga told me. I did tell my friend Michelle that I was expecting, though sadly we seem to have lost touch now.

I’m blogging a bit late this week because I’ve been so tired.  The so called “honeymoon period” of pregnancy, when energy levels are meant to be highest is coming to an end.  Last week I had trouble sleeping and had to leave work early one day as I was no use to anyone!  My daughter is kicking like mad as I write this – I still think she’ll be a gymnast.

When I haven’t been catching up on sleep, I’ve been trying to get baby and pregnancy bargains.  We got a lovely cot mobile half price in the Mamas and Papas sale and some bargains in Boots.  On Saturday, we went to a NCT Nearly New Sale.  I’d assumed it would be a table top sale and my husband thought it would be a sale of quality seconds!  We were both wrong (not surprising in his case), the clothes, baby equipment, toys and books were arranged according to item type and size, and you had to queue at the tills once you’d finished.  When we joined the queue, it went half way round the hall.  By the time we’d got to the front, it was snaking out of sight.  So Baby now has some cute clothes to go with the sack of stuff she got from her baby cousin.

We went to our first ante natal class last night.  It was an Active Birth Workshop followed by a tour of the maternity unit.  Active Birth is about moving around during labour, which is meant to be better for mother and baby, and encourages a speedier delivery.  It goes hand in hand with yoga (which I’m already doing) and hypnobirth (which I have mixed feelings about).  I’ve just ordered a book by Michel Odent, who advocates that kind of birth.  The ladies at yoga tell me it’s possible to give birth without pushing…I had no idea!  I always thought the baby needed a push to get things moving!  Daddy now understands how he can help during labour, rather than just offering words of “encouragement”.  The maternity unit tour was useful.  At least I know what “Triage” is now!  I didn’t have a clue, I thought you just turned up on the ward when you were in labour, but no, you phone Triage for advice on whether to come in straight away.  The labour rooms are really nice, but the post natal ward is rather clinical and unpleasant – I hope I’m not there for too long.

In a couple of weeks, we become parents of the God variety; a new experience for both of us and something I’m not entirely comfortable about.  We don’t go to church, so it doesn’t seem quite right somehow.  On the other hand, the baby’s parents know this, and they still want us to do the job.  I’m more than happy to care for her and offer moral guidance, but I’m not so sure about the religion thing, even less so because it’s at a Methodist church and my only exposure to religion has been C of E.  I’m just hoping no-one at the church asks when we’re having our baby christened.  Or worse still, they might find out I was never christened and decide I’m not allowed in the church!  Perhaps I’ll have to be christened at the same time as my God Child!

We’ve actually got a weekend with no social commitments coming up, so I’ll see if I can blog on time this coming week.  I might even manage to do some creative writing for my course and catch up with those poor friends that I’ve inadvertently forgotten since I’ve been pregnant.  I’m not even sure my friend Michelle knows I’m expecting!

#Reblog: Which Teacher Would You Thank?

A few weeks ago I was marking a set of essays and feeling a bit sorry for myself with the amount of work I was doing for what seemed like,… The post Which Teacher Would You Thank? appeared first on Mission: Mindfulness – the blog.

via Which Teacher Would You Thank? — Mission: Mindfulness – the blog

This is the post that inspired my blog post about Miss Vain. Hayley from Mission: Mindfulness has put together a crowd sourced post where a selection of parent bloggers say which teacher from their childhood they’d most like to thank.

Do check out the rest of Hayley’s blog. She is a teacher, parent and blogger, and describes herself as a busy person trying to embrace mindful living, and also someone who is qualified to help others to embrace mindfulness.

#ThrowbackThursday: Auckland to Russell – #travel

As Eva’s post on Tuesday proved, everyone loves a travel post so it’s back to my 2008 New Zealand road trip for this week’s throwback. I’ve missed writing about NZ! The main thing that strikes me about this post is that I ended up bickering with my other half because we were lost. These days we’d just use satnav and the argument would – probably – have been avoided.


Hundertwasser Public Toilets

We started our journey to the Bay of Islands on Waitangi Day.  Since it was a public holiday, there was lots of traffic on the Auckland motorway.  We stopped for lunch at a place called the Honey Centre.  The clue’s in the name, they kept bees there and sold honey products in their shop and café.  There was also a duck pond, which is always a bonus!  We felt obliged to stop off at the Hundertwasser public toilets in Kawakawa, which are decorated with coloured glass bottles and bright tiles, since they are listed as one of the New Zealand highlights in the Footprint guide!

We got the ferry to Russell and drove straight to the village centre, only to discover my step-dad and his friend looking in a shop window directly in front of where we’d parked!  We couldn’t find our accommodation, and after much bickering and accidentally driving out of the village, I phoned the bed & breakfast for directions.  (I’ve since realised that there’s a map of Russell in the Footprint Guide book!)  We stayed in Beresford House, which was a lovely place with comfortable rooms and great views.  They also had a hot tub, though we never got round to using it.  It was owned by a pleasant couple called Tony and Laure and we had a glass of wine with them before dinner.  Something we noticed in most New Zealand B&Bs is that the hosts will sit down with you for a drink in the evening and / or sit down with you for a chat over breakfast, something I’ve never come across in B&Bs back home.  The restaurants had all added a surcharge to their menus because of it being a public holiday.  We ate in a place called Sally’s.  The food was quite nice, but there seemed to be rather a lot of flavours in one dish.

#Reblog: Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo

Time for a family holiday throwback again! Who’d have thought? There’s so much to do with children in Central California. Palo Alto is famous for two things: Stanford University and the being the melting pot of Silicon Valley. About 35… Continue Reading →

via Palo Alto Junior Museum And Zoo Review — Captain Bobcat

This week’s reblog is from Eva of Captain Bobcat. Travel posts always seem to go down well, and this one relates to a trip that Eva and her family made to Central California this earlier this year. The museum and zoo sound like a great place to visit. We’re considering going to California next year so will bear this in mind.

Do check out Eva’s blog. She writes about parenting, eco-friendly and ethical lifestyle, travel, vegetarian recipes and her family adventures.

Writing Update: #amhashtag

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a writing update. As they say on Twitter, #amwriting, or at least trying to, and #amsubmitting – slowly. As it’s Half Term, I’m hoping to get a bit more written this week.

I went back to Creative Writing classes in September. This term’s theme is, ‘How to Write Believable Characters’. I’ve been using it as an opportunity to resurrect some of the characters from my long-shelved science fiction novel. I had the idea for this novel around ten years ago and bits of it see the light of day every few years. I finally (almost) feel confident enough to write the thing. The idea of writing a novel has just seemed too scary. I know my main characters and how the story begins and ends but the middle is proving more of a challenge! I wrote a poem (about one of these characters) for the first time in months.

I do wonder if I should do one of these novel writing retreats next year, but I’m a little scared they’ll sit me in a chair, confiscate my smart phone, swear at me and ply me with caffeine until I either start writing or leave the course the course as a jibbering wreck.

I submitted a science fiction story to my village’s short story competition. That was a few weeks ago and I haven’t heard anything. As one of the other writers that I follow on social media says, I’m collecting rejections! I still need to re-submit Sky Man but just haven’t had time over the past few weeks since Munchkin went back to school.

The blogging continues. This post about private schools that I wrote for Worthing Mums has been re-posted on Munchkin’s school’s website. Another Worthing blog has also asked me to write for them. Meanwhile, the views on my own blog are hit and miss. Occasionally, a post will get over a hundred views but other posts are just being ignored. My Facebook and Twitter followings are slowly growing. Please check out my pages, if you haven’t already.

Photo credit: Foter.com

#Throwback Thursday: Potty Training

I know this isn’t the most exciting of subjects, and I’d much rather be doing a throwback to my travel journal, but I’ve just contributed to a crowd-sourced post on potty training, so I thought I’d dig this one out. I went on to talk about toddler tantrums in this post, so it ties in nicely with this week’s reblog, where British society’s expectations of how children should behave are discussed.

This was written in 2014 so I’d like to think that the issues I was experiencing with Flip training pants have now been resolved. Oh, and Toddler Calm did help me understand toddlers, so it wasn’t pointless.

Nursery Munchkin is almost potty trained but Home Munchkin only uses the toilet every now and then.  It’s like I have two different children.  The Peppa Pig medal for pooing on the toilet has been awarded.  This was gained yesterday – at nursery, obviously.  When we picked her up this evening, we were told she’d been dry most of the day.  We’ve been asked to send her to nursery in knickers next week.  I’ll probably put her in the Bambino Mio training pants since she prefers those to the flipping Flip pants.

The unused Flip pants went back to Lizzie’s Real Nappies.  Lizzie said they were the best on the market, but the manufacturer hasn’t got it quite right yet.  I think we’ll use the remaining pairs but I was hoping they’d be a substitute for pull-ups and they’re clearly not.

peppa pig, medal

The Peppa Pig Pooing Medal

At home, Munchkin has regressed to only using the toilet twice a day and doing everything else in her pull-ups.  As for the tantrums – where do I start?  Public screaming fits about going to the loo and/or wearing nappies, refusing to put clothes on, refusing to go to bed… The list goes on… She’s been driving me insane.  I’ve tried ignoring her, repeating myself continuously until she gives in, negotiating, and letting her do as she pleases.  Nothing really seems to help.  My husband thinks negotiation is the way forward but I’m not so sure.  I think she’s worse for me because she senses my anxiety about her behaviour.  She’s made me cry twice this week.  I’ve reserved ToddlerCalm by Sarah Ockwell-Smith from the library.  My husband isn’t happy about this.  He says that you learn to be a parent by being a parent and books are pointless.  I’m still going to read it though!