Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Face Britain art installation projected onto Buckingham Palace

April 20, 2012 at 10:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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As a grandparent there is nothing sweeter than receiving a drawing or sketch from a grandchild. I’ve got several of my grandchildren’s portraits in the office and always get a great sense of joy from seeing them each morning.

So when I saw that Buckingham Palace is being lit up with portraits of the Queen, created by montages of over 200,000 self-portraits drawn by school children across Britain, I was delighted.

Face Britain

Face Britain Poject- Buckingham Palace

The ‘Face Britain’ campaign was created by Prince Charles’ Foundation for Children and the Arts and challenged children aged 4-16 to create their own self-portraits. Together the portraits have assembled a vibrant and charming art installing of The Queen for her Diamond Jubilee.

The art work is currently being projected onto the front of Buckingham Palace each evening until Saturday and could potentially set a Guinness World Record for the most artists to work on the same art installation.

Face Britain Project Buckingham Palace

Montages were made with self-portraits from school children

A fantastic addition to The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and rumour has it that The Queen really likes the installation.

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National Trust 50 things to do before you are 11 ¾

April 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Growing up I spent most of my time enjoying the outdoors and this is the case for most people who are my age. We’d climb trees, play conkers and go exploring all in time to be home before it got dark. It was a great way to grow up because I always knew that there was something outside to keep me and my friends entertained.

Now it’s a rarity to see children exploring the great outdoors and I don’t know if this is because parents feel that their children might be at greater risk of getting hurt or lost or because youngsters would prefer to watch the television, search the web or play on computer games.

50 things to do before you are 11 34 national trust

National Trust hopes to encourage children to enjoy the outdoors

The trust is that experiencing the outdoors when I was a child helped sculpt who I am today. I have a great fondness for animals and I believe that this is because I grew up searching for different bugs and catching butterflies. So I’m delighted to hear that National Trust has today released a list of ’50 things you should do before you are 11 ¾’.

The list includes activities which us grandparents enjoyed hugely as children; climbing trees, making mud pies, building dens, sledging and burying friends in the sand something which I used to do on every family holiday.

In an attempt to show how exciting exploring the outdoors can be the National Trust have enlisted five ‘Super Rangers’ who are all experts in their fields- a treasure hunter, bug catcher and champion stone skimmer- to teach children who visit National Trust sites how to make the best of their surrounds.

Brilliantly the National Trust has acknowledged that children won’t forget all about the technology which they enjoy so much. So they’ve created a website which children can sign up to (with parental approval) and register each of the tasks which they complete. With each completed task children receive online badges, bonus games and surprises from the National Trust which is a great incentive to get kids playing outside.

As grandparents I think that the ‘50 things to do before you are 11 ¾’ campaign is the perfect chance to champion the great outdoors because we can share all of our wonderful childhood experiences and maybe even help our grandchildren complete some of the 50 tasks too.

The campaign doesn’t officially kick off until 21st April which might be worth bearing in mind but view the list online now. Who knows it might bring back some great childhood memories.

Family days out over Easter

April 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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As the long Easter weekend is nearly upon us I thought it would be nice to share my favourite Easter family days out. When you’re planning a family outing remember to look online for discounts and offers and go early to make the most of your day!

National Trust- I’m a huge advocate of National Trust and often turn to their properties and gardens for family days out. This Easter National Trust have teamed up with Cadbury who will be hosting various different Easter Egg Trails in National Trust sites- find you’re closest here. Along with Easter Egg Hunts in the most beautiful surrounds, children will also be able to take part in Easter themed quizzes and challenges, run the egg and spoon race and get their faces painted!

National Trust Easter

Explore a National Trust site this Easter

Check out the National Trust website for specific information about events near you and special membership offers with the National Trust. I recently received a 3 month free voucher which would be worth looking into if you’re not already a member.

Cadbury World- For most children Easter is all about chocolate so a trip to Cadbury World is the perfect treat for Easter. Located in Birmingham, Cadbury World is easily accessible and offers visitors an in depth tour of Cadbury’s and how they make their legendary chocolate. During the Easter period they will be hosting an Easter Eggstravaganza with a world class Easter Egg Hunt and some of the biggest and best Easter eggs you’ll ever see. Definitely worth visiting!

Easter at Cadbury World

Go chocolate mad at Cadbury World

Local Museums Local Museums are brilliant places to visit during seasonal periods because they will both entertain and educate children. The majority of museums have a timetable of schedules activities; my local museum, The Potteries Museum, is hosting Easter craft sessions but you do need to book in advance so consider this before going along.

If you visit a museum over Easter check out which other exhibitions they are holding on the same day. Chances are it will be something which you will really enjoy and it’s a great way of making the most of your day out.

Easter craft making

Visit your local museum for Easter crafts

Local Attractions- Spring has sprung, even if we had a blip yesterday, so get out and about and enjoy your local attractions. Here in Staffordshire the Trentham Estate is a great option with an outdoor shopping village, garden centre and beautiful lakes which are a real treat especially over a Bank Holiday weekend.  And I’d imagine that the Easter bunny will be wondering around the gardens to keep children entertained too!

If all else fails check out my alterative Easter craft indoor activities from earlier this week. Enjoy!

Large babies and big families – 15 Kids and Counting

February 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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For the average family 2 children and a dog is more than enough. However, it would seem that for some the classic mantra ‘the more the merrier’ is very much true.

Channel 4’s documentary series ‘15 Kids and Counting’ gives an insight into some of Britain’s largest families. Sighting the trials and tribulations of what such large broods bring from financial woes, accommodating everyone and other people’s perception of families who have 10 plus children. It’s most certainly interesting viewing.

Watching the Radford family from Lancashire take their 14 children (Mrs Radford was pregnant with number 15) on holiday to the Canary Islands was astonishing. Ran somewhat like a military operation, as I’m sure many tasks have to be, I was amazed by how smoothly everything seemed to go.

Radford family

The Radford Family

Reflecting back to my many years as a school teacher, a day out with a class full of children was incredibly tiring and hard work, never mind a two week holiday in a foreign country. So such smooth organisation is definitely a skill mastered by the Radford’s.

However, the series hasn’t been so smooth for everyone. The Bland family were suffering from unruly sibling rivalry, which highlighted the emotional heartache which having so many brothers and sisters has on children. Whilst last night’s episode exposed the cruelty which some families have to live with from the press. Jo Watson, who provides for her children with help of benefits, has received plentiful of negative media attention affecting not only her marriage but children’s lives.

Asher Stewardson

Kendall Stewardson with baby Asher

In contrast to large families I read an article today about a super large baby. Born in America last week, baby boy Asher Stewardson was delivered naturally by mum Kendall weighing a breath-taking (and ouch crying)  13Ibs and 13oz.

Astonished by how Kendall managed to give birth naturally to such a large baby boy I researched her a little more. Only to find that, Kendall who decided with her husband to op against surgery unless essential, gave birth without pain relief.

To my surprise Asher isn’t the largest baby to be born naturally; in fact he looks small in comparison. As in 1897, Canadian Anna Bates gave birth to a baby boy weighing a whopping 23Ibs and 12oz. With no medical advances at such a time the baby sadly died shortly after but still remains in the Guinness World Record Book.

Watch 15 Kids and Counting on Channel 4’s online demand service 4OD now.

Netmums- Parent bloggers network

July 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I’m really impressed to hear about Netmums.com latest feature- The Parent bloggers network.

Netmums is a fabulous online site offering advice to parents from child friendly events, hints and tips to keeping children healthy, well behaved and generally promotes positive parenting skills.

The site seems to set itself apart from others thanks to its ability to become localised. By simply selecting your region the site transforms into a source of information which is accessible to you and your family- great if you’re looking for a summer activity or a new childcare facility.

parent bloggers network

It’s well known that Netmums is somewhat under the shadow of its high profile competitor ‘Mumsnet’, the online forum based parenting guide, which has a sister site ‘Gransnet’ aimed at grandparents and the older generation.  

However, chance could be ahead as Netmums.com has seen incredible success since launching ‘Parent bloggers network’ at the beginning of the July 2011.

Based around the concept that parents often search the web for answers to parenting questions, Netmums has cleverly design a blog network which groups parent bloggers blog’s together.

Netmums-logo

As a blogger myself I have really enjoyed browsing through the Netmums blogsphere where 588 bloggers are now featured online. The content is endless covering all areas possible from general parenting to books, working mums, single parents, healthy and event humour.

Everyone is welcome to feature their blog on the network, which is what appears to make Netmums bloggers network so successful. It’s great to think that users can find answers to their pondering questions whilst exploring hundreds of fantastic blogs.

Overall a great place to seek real advice from real Mums, Dads and Grandparents. Enjoy!

Knitting for Kindness

January 18, 2011 at 10:20 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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When I came into the Bath-Knight office this week and someone mentioned a new passion for craft making I just knew I had to write a blog. In actual fact, Lyndsay who works in our Marketing department is attempting to learn a new craft ever month this year.

What a wonderful challenge I thought to myself before I proceeded to ask what crafts she would be hurling herself into. When she said that January would bring knitting I was pleased and after realising that she was a complete novice I was overjoyed.

Today I came into work armed with my trusty knitting needles ready to show her the ropes and realised how sociable and charitable crafts can be.

I love to knit and it is something which I enjoying doing with my Mother. It is a simple craft that can end in garments such as scarfs, cardigans, cushions, quilts, blankets. But the most wonderful things that I have ever created by knitting are teddy bears. Yes, teddy bears, a small hand crafted teddy bear which is made with lots of love.

My Mother and I stumbled upon a fantastic charity, Teddies for Tragedies, an organisation which sends knitted teddy bears to disadvantaged children all over the world. The teddy bears are a small gift that can become a special, meaningful possession for children who have sometimes lost everything. 

To contribute you simply knit a teddy bear, so far my Mother and I have knitted 8 bears following the patterns available on the Teddies for Tragedies website. From there Teddies for Tragedies has a handful of charities which they work with to ensure that the cuddle toys go to children who need them.

The idea of cheering children up with such gifts came after the odd cuddly toy was packed into a medical emergency aid box, when medical staff handed out the toys along with essential medical care to countries in great need the teddy bears brought a great sense of joy and most importantly allowed children to smile!

Closer to home a local charity called Ray of Hope takes in hand crafted knit wear, anything from baby clothes, shawls, soft toys and other crafted items like cards. However, all have to have a baby theme ready for the babies which are being taken care of on the Maternity and Neonatal wards at the Leighton Hospital in Crewe.

Many of the babies here are premature so small sizes are appreciated, the charity prides itself  on having such a brilliant sense of community and are always looking for new knitters to contribute.

I can’t stress how easy it is to get involved. It is a great feeling to spend time knitting something which is not only adorable but going to a grateful home, whether that is here in a local maternity unit or thousands of miles away where a knitted bear is one of a child’s very few or sadly even their only toy.

With some luck and lots of practice Lyndsay will be posting her first knitted teddy to a very welcoming home! If you would like to be involved follow the links.

Teddies for Tragedies:http://bit.ly/kIhZJ

Ray of  Hope:http://bbc.in/dGIadC

Ray of  Hope Patterns:http://bbc.in/eavduY

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