Making It Up as we go along Sun, 17 Jul 2016 22:38:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What’s your X Moment? Sun, 17 Jul 2016 22:02:36 +0000 Parenting, or indeed life, is full of blink and you’ll miss it moments. Once upon a time, that was what happened, if you weren’t there, you weren’t looking, you lost your chance. Then came cameras, Polaroids, digital cameras, and now most of us have that powerful camera in our pocket in the form of our phone and we can record that second for posterity, share it with family and friends.

Not all phone cameras are created equal though, they don’t all leap into life quickly, or take that perfect snap in the moment of a fast moving child, the first step, the dewdrop on a rose, a rainbow, the gold of a sunrise

kentwell sunrise
or a passing butterfly.


To support the launch of their new Xperia X smartphone, Sony are asking the British public to share some of their most precious, fleeting moments; the moments that help define who you are and the life you lead, or as Sony is calling them, ‘X Moments’.

For Sony, an X Moment is a “split second in time that means something to you that’s here and then gone. It could be a baby’s first steps, achieving a personal goal, a sporting achievement, your dog’s whimsical expression, or just a random flash of happiness and hilarity. It’s a moment that you’d love to capture perfectly that’s all too missable if you, or your phone isn’t up to the job”.

Maybe it’s your child’s first day. First smile. The moment they met their siblings. I’ve had a lot of them – one recent moment that stands out was Tigerboy’s first go on roller skates. He was so pleased with himself – I’m pleased I have a picture.

first day on skates

What’s your X moment? Feel free to share – and check out the other posts on the topic at the linky.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

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Low on words Fri, 15 Jul 2016 18:13:55 +0000 Perhaps they blew away at the beach, caught on the winds like the dreams of a child hoping to fly.

Or were they buried like treasure by a pirate’s apprentice?

Maybe they washed away in the rain, or faded with the rainbow?

Or perchance I left them in a different century…

I’ve lost them before, over the years. At times of stress, upheaval, transition. Ways to describe our world at the moment, is it any wonder that I cannot find the right responses, to events that do not, I think, have anything right that can be said of them?

I will find other ways to express myself I think. Sketch, paint, photograph, a picture speaks a thousand words?

Still here though. Yes, still here.

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When I grow up, I want to be Buffy. Mon, 11 Jul 2016 08:00:08 +0000 andIDarkenKierstenWhite
Buy And I Darken at Amazon (affiliate link)

When I was invited to write about my feminist icon as part of the And I darken blog tour, there was only one character for me. You can keep your Hermiones, Pippi Longstockings, even your Jo from Little Women – Buffy Summers has this in the bag.

And the best part about it? She just does it, with style, because it’s there to be done.

Buffy didn’t choose to be the one to save the world, she’d really rather be a cheerleader, wear nice clothes, have a cool boyfriend. But the world needs saving, so she puts on her stylish, yet affordable boots, wheels out the wisecracks and takes on each and every thing the world (or the hellmouth) throws at her. She’s got her friends and they’ve got her back, but when it comes down to it, if needed, she’ll handle it on her own.

And she’s clear on what you don’t have to do.

Yes, it’s a GIF. I think there may be a law that says you’ve got to include them if you’re talking about Buffy, yes?


Yeah, I’m sure there are other feminist icons out there that I ought to be trying to live up to. But the other thing with Buffy is she speaks across the generations. So I’ve spent the last few months watching with my daughter, and we can both appreciate the wise cracking and the superhero stuff, the sarcasm and the clothes. There aren’t many series that have stood the test of time like that, no matter how strong the characters. Buffy holds a special place in my heart, and if she could come along and wisecrack her way through straightening out everything that’s going sideways in the world today, I think we’d all be better for it.

There are a whole slew of posts about feminist icons – do check out the banner, and share your own with #AndIDarken on twitter, or your social network of choice.

Follow the Feminists blog tour banner

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It’s a beautiful day Sat, 25 Jun 2016 06:23:14 +0000 image

to be in a field with friends.

Try it sometime 🙂

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Schleich horses in the garden. Wed, 22 Jun 2016 07:42:19 +0000 image

When I was little, one of my favourite books was Fly-by-night by KM Peyton. (Amazon. ) The 11 year old Ruth is pony mad and ends up with a completely unsuitable pony in her back garden (my memory is insisting she wins a horse from a cereal competition, but the internet is not verifying this) and the story goes on from there.

This may have been the start of my pony dreams. I devoured every book about pony clubs I could get my hands on – when we did eventually get a pony of our own (long story) it didn’t work out like it did in the books. Does it ever? Despite this, I really wish there was some way we could have a pony now – I think the little ones in particular would love riding.

In the meantime, the next best thing. Schleich Horse Club toys. With the standard Schleich attention to detail (the toys are hand painted) these are durable, beautiful play sets that will last for years of imaginative play. We were sent Horse Club Schleich Eventing Rider Toy (amazon link) and Horse Club Schleich Horse Feeding Playset (amazon) and obviously headed out into the garden with them immediately.


Smallest is a huge animal fan. She played with these for hours. The foal is particularly cute, although the whole set is just gorgeous.

The eventing rider set includes removable saddle and bridle although the rider is always in a seated position, so that’s not quite as good to include off the horse. My only caveat with this would be to note that the reins do come off the bridle, and they are kind of fiddly to put back on. The toys are marked as being unsuitable for under 3s due to small pieces – I’d say this particular one is unsuitable for any child who likes dismantling things, but isn’t quite so good at putting them back together. *looks at Tigerboy*

You cannot go wrong with Schleich toys. Whether you’ve a pony fan in the family, or you just want to have one (or let’s face it, you are one yourself 😉 ) these are a wonderful addition to a toy box, and will give hours of happy play.

Disclosure: we were sent these toys for the purposes of review, Amazon links are affiliate links, all opinions are mine.

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You should be here. Tue, 21 Jun 2016 11:08:26 +0000 Once in a lifetime should have been within your years.

Miss you little sister.

And I know this song is about a parent, not a sibling, but it’s close enough.

(if you don’t know the back story, it’s here.)

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10 ways to celebrate 10 years of Augustus and his smile. Tue, 14 Jun 2016 12:21:01 +0000 Augustus and his smile by Catherine Rayner is a very lovely book. It’s about being sad, and finding ways of not being sad. Including dancing in the rain, and going on a very long walk through nature. It *always* makes me smile, and quite often inspires me to go out for one of those walks to see what I can spot, and I was thrilled to be asked to help celebrate the 10th anniversary edition. (It’s shiny and gold and really rather beautiful. See? Amazon links are affiliate links.)

Augustus and His Smile 10th Anniversary Edition

So then I wondered what I could do to celebrate. And I decided that I would come up with 10 ideas to share.

1) Buy (and/or read) the new 10th anniversary copy of the book 🙂 (Handy Amazon links above. Other bookshops are available.)
It’s got a shiny gold cover! (Did I already say that?) And if you do, a donation is made to David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s TigerTime campaign.

2) Go on a nature walk. I did exactly that this afternoon, and it was wonderful. Yes, I took my camera, why do you ask? 😉

3) Visit a tiger. We did this last week, as we went to Colchester Zoo for a home education session, and they have Amur tigers there. Obviously Tigerboy wanted to go see them, so we did, and got a really good view.


4) Sponsor or adopt a tiger.
Various zoos and organisations allow you to sponsor one of their animals. For example, Colchester:

5) Dress up as a tiger. Probably works best if you’re small and cute 😉

6) Dance in the rain. Jump in puddles. Splash!

7) Play sleeping tigers. (Wonderful excuse for a nap, and don’t we all deserve one? )

8) Paint/draw/stick your own tiger pictures.


My attempt here too.


9) Have a tiger party – tiger bread anyone? It’s stripy 🙂

10) Invite other people to come up with their own tigery suggestions – so over to you? How should we celebrate 10 years of Augustus?

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13 Sun, 29 May 2016 21:34:38 +0000 Hard to believe that I’ve two teenagers now, but I do. Small, the baby named ironically because he was anything but (9 9 since you ask) is 13 years old today.

He’s a wonderful, kind, quirky, gentle boy, full of intelligence and surprises. 

Right now he’s growing like a shoot, and has braces so his appearance is changing drastically. He’s suddenly working on tall and thin, which is how he was born come to think of it, and his main hobby just now is speedcubing (thank you to Twitter friends who recommended cubes for him!)

Let’s see what the blog remembers of him through the years 🙂 

Those are pretty good memories.

Happy birthday Small. 

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A day in pictures (snippets of Saturday) Sun, 22 May 2016 09:44:40 +0000 As I’ve mentioned on twitter, I’m going through a low period at the moment. I’ve stepped back from social media a little because it doesn’t help to see all the things happening that I’m too far out of the loop to take part in.

Yesterday though, I tried something a little different to help myself through the day. I started with a plan. Or more loosely, some goals. Not todos – a list is pretty much guaranteed to send me into a flat spin at the moment.


And then, I set to doing one thing at a time.

I did washing up and washing. (I have now located 7 pairs of daughters black school socks. This is a major triumph. )

I took small children out into the garden with musical instruments and then brought them back in and made cookies.


For cookies out of a packet they were really rather good. Must find a reliable non packet recipe – I tend to end up with over crispy giant biscuits rather than gooey crumbly joyful treats. (If you have any links/recipes suggestions gratefully accepted in the usual places.)

I went for a walk. It was short, but it involved one foot in front of another which was the aim.

I painted.


It didn’t look much like the subject, but it’s a start on something a little different. (Find the inspiration on Instagram, via the sidebar widget. )

And then we threw in a bonus family film night, watching Maleficent on Netflix. Which is utterly wonderful.

And there was (homemade) popcorn.


I didn’t sew. Or read. Or blog. So today those are higher up the list. (Hence blogging in my pjs while drinking coffee.)

All in all, it was a lovely day. And I ended it feeling brighter than I started so I’m calling that a win. Tell me about your turn it around, make it better strategies?

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Netflix and science – Project Mc2 and Adrienne’s Volcano Fri, 20 May 2016 09:19:12 +0000 Adrienne's VolcanoNetflix has been a focal part of our family life here for some time now, with everyone in the family having a favourite viewing occupation. A fair bit of our family film night viewing is supplied via Netflix too.

I hadn’t fully incorporated it in our home education though, even with discovering Magic Schoolbus is now streamed through the service. (And apparently they are making new episodes too, more on that when I have it.) However, for British Science week we were introduced to Project Mc2 with doll *and* science experiment. Well, it would be rude not to, really.

Project Mc2 Adrienne’s Volcano Core Doll with Experiment

I have to say that the doll worried me a little. About the only scientist she reminds me of is Bernadette out of Big Bang, but when I looked into the actual show it appears we just lucked out and got sent the one overly exaggerated feminine character. Basically they’re a bit like the Spice girls, with a sporty one, a geeky one, etc and we got the baby doll one. There are running jokes about her running in heels in the programme (running jokes, get it?) and there are plenty of other characters with more varied wardrobes. Basically, all tastes catered for 🙂

The experiment that came with her was the old favourite volcano. I say old favourite, as I’ve done it several times with the bigger children, but it turned out the little ones had never seen it, so there was much excitement as we set up in the garden. (Definitely an outside experiment, given the inclusion of food colouring.) Be aware that the instructions that come with this are American – not that it makes a lot of difference, but the terminology changes 🙂

Here’s a (ridiculously quick) timelapse video of the volcano in action.

Don’t blink. Sorry. Will try to film again in real time! (Thought I was being so clever…)

Anyway, the show is still a big hit here, so if you’re looking for something with a sciency take for your kids, give it a go on Netflix.

Disclosure – I have been very happy to be a part of the Netflix Streamteam. We were sent the doll/volcano to review. I have not been recompensed for this review. netflix stream team

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