Thursday, 25 June 2015

#BringBackRealSportsDays -An underwhelmed first primary school sports day

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As you all know Alex is in  reception, and like many school this is sports day prime time.

I was really excited about it, I have to admit to being the kid at school who got excited about anything sport related as it was one of my big likes-and a chance to get away form the classroom!

Alex was excited too, now he doesn't go to any sports clubs as frankly we can't afford them so this was my chance to see him in some sporty action.

I even donned my trainers that morning just in case there was the all important Mum's race!

Now I arrived with my friend (whose boy is also in Alex's class), already it looked like nothing I remember our sports days being like.

There was a roped area in the middle of the field and activities set up around the edges. So basically all the parents were penned in like animals, desperately trying to get at the front to be able to see the children-which you first had to spot because they weren't going around in classes they were going in house groups of around 10 (KS1 and KS2 done separately)-cue lots of parents running around like blue arsed flies!

The roped area was just madness, especially with Sam's pushchair because
a. I nearly took everyone's ankles out
b. I couldn't follow Alex around well after every event as it was just chaos
c. Sam wanted to pull on the rope if we ever did make it to the front!
d. Some tall selfish Dad (I'm talking 6ft 3 plus) thought it would be great to get at the front every time and block a lot of the view for anyone trying to see behind him!

They had 5 minutes at each activity, now I thought that meant they had allowed enough time for it to be completed, but no they had to carry on doing that event until the 5 min whistle went off...I found this out after watching a bunch of 5-7 year olds stand behind one another passing a ball over their head, thinking that the first team that went full circle would sit down and be the winners and cheer-but no they carried on...and so we waited...

The kids were bored and and not even paying attention, in fact I spent most of those first 5 minutes watching one kid hold the ball above the head whilst the rest of line watched someone else, picked their nose or chat to the person behind them (the nose picker was embarrassingly my own)!

A few of the activities were quite underwhelming, we had to endure 5 minutes of them passing the ball through their legs with much the same result as passing it over their heads, try and watch 5 year olds skip with ropes that I thought looked far too small for even the shortest there, the dressing up race was a bit beyond some of them (including my son as the bibs they had to put on kept getting tangled up).

Now don't get me wrong there were some good activities too that were much more sporty, dribbling the ball, mini hurdles, putting/collecting bean bags from cones, dribble and hockey ball, the obligatory egg and spoon etc, but it is so hard to watch when there are no winners.

As a parent there really isn't much point in cheering, we all just spotted our child said well done 'insert name here', keep going team yellow...It really wasn't much fun and I was very underwhelmed.

And at the end of it they managed to pick a winner which I am very unsure of how they did it, unless KS2 had winners as of course I was only watching KS1. But my friend and I were a little baffled!

Now I remember at my old primary school even from the age of 4/5 in reception we had class events, and the winners would go to the headteacher in the middle of the school with a house colour tag in their hands and there would be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, each receiving a certain amount of points for their team, it would all be tallied up and there would be a big loud cheer for the winning team.

I don't remember there being many tears, people were happy, the children actually tried and wanted to win, the parents could actually cheer-and also be able to see and touch their own children without it being a problem! In fact we used to have a big picnic with the parents afterwards (or before I can't remember what time it was held) and stay in our P.E kits all day which is always a novelty at that ages-saved our parents having to worry about bringing the school uniform in too!

But this sports day there were no normal races on the track that was painted on the field. There were no parent races for the parents to get competitive over or the children to get excited and giggle over. There was no competitiveness, no cheers, no real excitement, no winners, no losers.

What sort of life lesson is that for children? Hell my two throw the biggest hissy fits when they loose a game at home, but I better they wouldn't so much at school. I think they need to learn they can't always be winners, that being a happy loser can be a good thing, that winning something you are good at can be euphoric.

There wasn't any chance for the sporty children to really succeed, and we all no that there is always at least one who may not be as academic but exceeds with sports. Where is their chance to shine? The academic children get it most days, sports day is just once a year...

Needless to say I left a bit flat and I am really hoping that there is a big change next year!

#BringBackRealSportsDays


Out of interest what are your children's primary school sports days like?


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Thursday, 4 June 2015

Handmade teacher notebooks

I really can't believe that another school year is coming to an end soon. 

Especially this year, Alex's first year at school!

I really don't know where the time has gone ( I know we all say it all the time)!

He came home with the copy of his class photo yesterday which was just so cute! 

With the end of the school year it is time to think about thank you gifts for teachers, now I don't know about you but I think they deserve a medal with 30 or so kids-unfortunately not may people's budgets stretch to solid blocks of ;)

I have made a couple of handy notebooks instead, which would be nice on there own or with something else too. 

One of these is for Alex's TA and the other just an example perhaps more suited to a male teacher? I can make them personalised and suited to your needs. 



They are £2.50 + p&p

Do pop over to my Facebook business page Danielle Louise Designs if you'd like to order (or have a look at other things I make too)!









Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Competition-Win a Dickins and Jones cushion with House of Fraser

I have a fab competition for you today.

How would like to win yourself this Dickins and Jones Multi Cushion?



Know I don't know about you but lounges can sometimes be quite bland and plain so it it great to try and add a pop of colour to the room with some bright and vibrant cushions. I know my Mother in law likes to change her cushions with the seasons!

Why not brighten up your lounge this summer with some great cushions from House of Fraser, because let's face the sun has been a bit absent of late!

And if you are too afraid of the bight colours there are some fab neutral ones too, and so much choice too!

I have my eye on a few for our recently decorated lounge...

Like this Orla Keily duck egg blue one
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Or this Linea HOME one
Anyway for your chance to win the Dickins and Jones cushion enter your details in the raflecopter below, UK entrants only, the winner will be notified and their details passed onto the promoter. 

We received one as part of this competition and it is so so soft and lovely, the original photo didn't do it justice!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 18 May 2015

Life lately

Oh my, has it really been nearly two month's since I last posted!!

Is it really already half way through May already!?

This year seems to be going by in a flash, Alex has nearly completed his first year at school, which is pretty scary! He is doing well there though, and enjoys it as much as any 5 year old boy would-he does complain on a day where they "had to do writing", and getting him to do his homework can be a bit of a chore! It's amazing how much they get even at such a young age! Must admit, as much as I say I am going to be organised with it we always leave it until last minute!!

Talking of schools, I finally heard back about Sam's preschool place in April, luckily he did get a place (I had been worried that he hadn't got in as a few other's had heard weeks before me). Unfortunately he didn't get given a full day as they didn't have the space and not the full 15 hours either (which doesn't bother me too much for next year anyway), which is a bit of a pain for me with not driving and it taking me 20mins each way-I won't get my town shopping without kids just yet! It's scary to think that come January I will have him at preschool though, my little one growing up! Mind you I am already wishing for those few hours of just simple peace and quiet...

Being in our new house (which I really most post some photos of) has made the world of difference recently, the boys have been enjoying their new addition to the garden-a trampoline (paid for with xmas vouchers), it's just a shame that the weather has been a bit pants the last couple of weeks for them to really try it out. We have made the most of having a garden and have already had 3 BBQ's-making up for the lost time of not having a garden for the past 5 years, our neighbours probably think we are a bit mad!

I am enjoying having my own little craft space to make and create for my own small business Danielle Louise Designs, although I still haven't sold anything to anyone other than friends and family yet so I would like things to pick up a bit, it is so hard to be seen when there are so many people trying to make themselves seen in the same sort of market. It really does eat up so much time too, and I do find it hard to balance it all!

We have just booked a weeks holiday to the south of France with my parents, one of my brothers and my Aunt with her family, so have that to look forward to at the end of July. Looking forward to a bit of sun (hopefully) and James has already found out there is a large water park nearby too! It will be nice to show James the sort of holiday's I went on as a child-he has been very spoilt and gone to Florida far too many times over the years but hasn't really experienced a more cultural holiday in the most recent years (unless you count Mickey Mouse as cultural)!! I am not sure my parents will find it as relaxing as they may be hoping for with my two in the mobile home too-fingers crossed my two will sleep in a bit (crosses everything)!

Now only a few more days of the school run (probably in the rain, what is with the weather at the moment?) and then it's half term, we have 2 TD days tagged on at the end of it too, my parents are off to a Greek island too so don't even have my Mum as a half term saviour (we often meet up over the holidays a lot as she works in a school and with me not driving she often takes us to places I can't get to very well) so half term could prove interesting!!



Sunday, 29 March 2015

Family Time

This day in age it's so easy to just get caught up with it all, the days, weeks and months just roll into each other...before we knew it was Mother's day!

We had a lovely family day, the boy's bought in their handmade cards, it was lovely as Alex made such a beautiful one at school. Still no flowers, chocs, or cake or anything else though-James can't have got the hint...again!

We spent he day with my parents and headed out to Bristol Zoo, it was a really cold day so a lot of the animals were hiding but it was a really great outing. I'd not been there since primary school-I had images of it being bigger, but in fact it's quite a small zoo and it's funny seeing all the houses around it too.

We were extremely lucky to see one lion, he even walked right in front of us, I don't think her of them made an appearance the rest of that day!


The gorilla enclosure was really brilliant, although I always feel a bit odd watching the gorillas as it feels like you are staring at humans in some ways with all our similarities. We watched the talk & feed which was really interesting and was a great opportunity to see them all.


The boy's enjoyed the penguin and seal area-especially when the seals were play fighting! The both loved walking under the water too.

As it was cold the reptile house etc was perfect to warm up!



We also all had a bit of a race to see how fast we could run (it was meant to be for kids but me and mum also had a go), I was just pleased I won and that it warmed me up a little too! 

Sam loved the monkeys, and Alex found a drill that was less than impressed when Alex waved to her-but the boy's found it hilarious when she would hit the window each time he did it.

We popped into Ikea afterwards as I needed some more frames for my business, and then headed back for a perfect family roast.

Last weekend it was nice to take some more time out. We went to the Isle of Wight after Alex finished school-one advantage of him finishing early on a Friday! We went with James' family and shared a lodge with his sister and her boyfriend at Woodside coastal retreat.

We turned up to the lodges when it was dark so didn't really know exactly where we were as such, so it was a fabulous surprise on the Saturday morning opening the lounge curtains to find a sea view and blue skies too!


The lodges were really lovely, decorated fantastically and kept nice and clean with everything you need- I would definitely recommend.

We took it easy each morning but packed a lot in, in the 2 days there, We had planned on going on the steam train on the Saturday but it was only open Sunday's (Sam was so upset about this bless him and nearly cried, he kept asking to go on the train the rest of the day!), instead we took a trip to Amazon Zoo.


A small zoo but nice enough for a few hours, there is a good park on site too, and if you are staying for longer you can have a free return pass valid for a week too. The lemur enclosure was great, they were jumping up on a few of us and also there was a tiny 6 week old baby jumping  around too! Everyone found the talking parrot great too; I'm not sure if we timed it right but all the animals seemed really active, I for one have never seen a red panda wandering about as they are usually asleep!



We quickly popped to the Garlic Farm too, and tried a few samples, their makes are delicious, I think I would like to actually eat here one day for lunch-it smelt amazing.



We then had an early dinner at the White Mouse Inn, perfect for families as there is a decent sized play area-with a view of the sea too.

After dinner we popped quickly to the beach to watch the sun set, and wow the temperature dropped when it did!



The Sunday us 4 and James' sister and boyfriend popped to the beach which was less than a 2 minute walk from the beach, the boy's had great fun throwing the stones in the water whilst I had fun collected a bucket-load of shells, I say bucket-load but we had no bucket we had to use Alex's coat hood (he never wears his coat as doesn't feel the cold).



Then much to Sam's happiness we went to the steam railway, he was in his element with his wooden train whistle too, I think he thought he'd made the sound once when in actual fact in was the train's which was quite amusing.



They had some falcons and owls there when we visited, and Alex was brave enough to hold one (certainly helps having his young uncles to copy sometimes I think), I was really surprised he did it, i think he was proud about it too, he chose to hold Elsa the barn owl.



We then had lunch with everyone at James' parent's lodge and enjoyed another hour on the beach before the ferry. It certainly made the journey go quicker when a cruise liner went past and the boats played horn wars with the boat horns, the boy's (James included) loved this.



It was so nice having a couple of weekends to forget about the housework, school home work, and the 'to do' list, it was definitely needed-even if it does build up for afterwards!



Saturday, 28 March 2015

Green bean and radish warm salad with Peter Rabbit #Tastytales


I've been invited to take part in the Happy Feaster Blog Tour by Ladybird Books and The Happy Foodie.   We have been asked to take storytelling from the page to the kitchen by creating a Spring recipe inspired by the Tales of Peter Rabbit!  I've decided to create a green bean and radish salad with my little bunnies (Alex 5 and Sam 2). 

For more Spring recipes, inspired by Peter Rabbit and friends, why not head over to The Happy Foodie and discover how celebrity chefs and their children are joining in!

As part of this campaign we were given 3 brilliant Peter rabbit books to inspire our ingredients or ideas behind our recipe. 
Sam and Alex both like this selection of short board books, with brief short stories of the main characters in the Peter Rabbit tales. we love that the reverse of all the books create an image if put in the correct order-we only discovered this a few days after we had first read them!

I love how this is a great decoration/backdrop as well as a short story too.


A special edition for Penguin's 80th anniversary. A really lovely story-we didn't have any Peter Rabbit stories beforehand (I must ask Mum if she kept my collection I had as as a child!) and Alex and Sam have both sat down and listened nicely to the story.

It was the original Peter Rabbit tale where we got our recipe inspiration from:
Peter Rabbit is partial to pinching some of Mr McGregor's radishes after all!

"First he ate some lettuces and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes"


Green bean and radish warm salad
A small bag of green beans
1 small red onion (diced finely)
2 cloves of garlic (diced finely)
1 tsp of grainy mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
A small handful of radishes

Method:
-Chop the ends off the green beans and put on to boil for 4-5 minutes.
-Slice the other vegetables finely.
-In another pan sweat the onions and garlic for a few minutes, meanwhile mix the oil, mustard, and lemon juice in a small jug, season to taste.
-Add the onions and garlic to the oil dressing.
-Drain the beans and mix with the radishes, toss with the dressing.
-Enjoy!



This dish will be the perfect side dish to barbecues, we enjoyed it last night with chicken and sautéed potatoes.

If you've enjoyed this then why not stop by Over 40 and a mum to one tomorrow to check out what delicious Easter ideas she has for enjoying with your families. 

Also follow the hashtag #tastytales to see what other people and bloggers have been inspired to make. 

We also did a quick bunny bake last night, now I am sure if you have little ones you would've sung the song 'Peter Rabbit's got a fly upon his nose'...

Well with that in mind we a quick batch of biscuits-with cinnamon cranberries for the fly upon his nose! I don't think the people at Biscuiteers have got anything to worry about as it's not a patch on the surprise Peter Rabbit biscuit we received-we haven't had the heart to eat it yet as it just feels wrong as it looks so good!


Friday, 6 March 2015

Apologies-my blog has been a bit quiet of late, and also apologies to any blogs I normally read too-I just haven't had the time/have been far too tired when I do.

I have been busy trying to get my craft business up and running-even got around to letting the tax man know about me last week (not that I will be making that much from it!).

It is going quite well, slow and steady but I am getting a few orders in and spreading the word (and my work) out there a bit.

In our new house I am lucky enough to have a craftroom, my husband still calls it his office but the desk is usually covered in felt, a glue gun, buttons and papers so I think I win there.

It is so nice to finally have a space where I can a. do any craft I want to and b. be able to leave it all out, exactly as I want and come back to it when I can. I feel very lucky to have this as it is something I have pretty much been dreaming about for years!

The last few weeks have seen me busy with new home makes and Mother's day makes too, I am thankful that my friends have given me a chance in ordering some of my items too.

Here's a little peak at some of my recent makes:

A personalised new home make

Mother's day doesn't have to just be for Mum's :) felt rose heart
This colour card has been popular with my netball friends-Mother's Day card
I must admit the hardest part of having this business on the side is the feeling that I am not really being there for my family as much, far too often the tv has come to keep the kids entertained whilst I have been up stairs making. So time management is something I really have to work on a bit!

I also get a bit anxious when sending out parcels as to whether they will get there ok, I am always worried the glass will break and with the cards I am worried they will get badly bent-but then I always like something to worry about don't I!?

If you like what you see I would be ever so grateful (if you are on facebook) to give my small business a like, just remember when you buy handmade you aren't paying for some fat cat at the top to enjoy a swanky holiday you are helping a small family save for day's out, clothes, or after school activities.

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