My First Cinderella by the English National Ballet

Children's BalletWe’ve just got back from the Ballet, My First Cinderella by ENB2.  We went to My First Sleeping Beauty last year and it was magical.  This one was good, but not as good as last year but that may have something to do with the cantankerous grandmother behind me and the obnoxious yummy mummy in front of me using her phone, which was brighter than Blackpool!

Rude Cow!

When we arrived, the seating wasn’t brilliant so we tried to rearrange our kids so they were sitting behind other kids so their view was not as obstructed.  Unfortunately, the theatre didn’t have booster seats.  The grandmother, then leans forward and says ‘do you mind not blocking my granddaughter’s view’.

I did, very politely, which is unlike me, suggest that she may want to swap seats with her grand-child so she too would be sitting behind a child.  But no!  What did she want me to do, lie on the floor!  I was tempted to say, stop being so tight and you could have spent some of the inheritance on a better seat, but I didn’t!

But as you will see it didn’t take away from Madame’s enjoyment, just like last year she was transfixed and during the interval turned into a Ballerina.

I do hope they carry on this programme as it’s an excellent way to get kids to appreciate and enjoy the arts.  However, I was really looking forward to a grand wedding scene at the end.

 Disclosure:  Our tickets were complimentary.

Bucket list for Kids: Fifty things to do before you’re 11 ¾

I really liked this list published by the National Trust, except for the addition of the health and safety bits which annoyed me and contradicted the entire article.   However, the article made me rather nostalgic, thinking back to when I was growing up in Canada in the great outdoors.  We were chucked out the door first thing in the morning and wouldn’t return until dinnertime.  The majority of time was spent roaming the neighbourhood and playing in the woods with very little parental interference or direction.

However, I was saddened to read that fewer than one in ten children play in wild places regularly, a third have not climbed trees, and one tenth cannot ride a bicycle.  I have to admit that as a family we don’t spend as much time ‘doing’ nature as we should.

I had a long discussion on the phone with a researcher from the Globe and Mail, discussing why this might be the case and honestly, I can’t pinpoint one exact reason.  Is it over protective parenting?  Is this the fault of the media for putting the fear of god in us about stranger danger and cyber stalking?  Is it overcrowding/busy streets? Unrealistic expectations on parents? Could it be lack of time due to work commitments?  Or knowing what to do with our kids when we do have time?  Can we blame the weather?  Seriously, what is it?

I’m taking this as a ‘gentle’ reminder to get my daughter out more as there are so many benefits from ‘green’ play; I think a lot of us should really.  I can’t wait to have a go at geo-caching now that I’ve worked out what it is.  However, I’m not too keen on my daughter catching crabs!?!?!

I think we haven’t made too bad of a start so far.  The plan is to keep updating it as time goes on.

1. Climb a tree
2. Roll down a really big hill
3. Camp out in the wild

4. Build a den

5. Skim a stone
6. Run around in the rain

7. Fly a kite

8. Catch a fish with a net

9. Eat an apple straight from a tree
10. Play conkers
11. Throw some snow

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach
13. Make a mud pie
14. Dam a stream
15. Go sledging

16. Bury someone in the sand
17. Set up a snail race

18. Balance on a fallen tree
19. Swing on a rope swing

20. Make a mud slide
21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild
22. Take a look inside a tree
23. Visit an island
24. Feel like you’re flying in the wind

25. Make a grass trumpet
26. Hunt for fossils and bones
27. Watch the sun wake up
28. Climb a huge hill

29.  Get behind a waterfall
30. Feed a bird from your hand
31. Hunt for bugs
32. Find some frogspawn
33. Catch a butterfly in a net
34. Track wild animals
35. Discover what’s in a pond
36. Call an owl
37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool

38. Bring up a butterfly
39. Catch a crab
40. Go on a nature walk at night
41. Plant it, grow it, eat it
42. Go wild swimming
43. Go rafting
44. Light a fire without matches
45. Find your way with a map and compass
46. Try bouldering
47. Cook on a campfire

48. Try abseiling
49. Find a geocache
50. Canoe down a river

I’d love to hear your thoughts on why kids aren’t spending enough time outside.  Please do leave a comment below.


Kids don’t watch TV!

I found this comment from Alice Taylor, a Bafta award-winning gamer, very interesting.  It was during a panel discussion at Microsoft Soho Studios.  Kinect has recently added National Geographic and Sesame Street to the Xbox peripheral allowing children to be more interactive with the games.  They’re trying to move away from the Dora style attempt at interaction on TV, where she asks a question, pauses a moment and then applauds the child even if they get it wrong or have walked out of the room.

Ever since my daughter was little we’ve worried about the amount of TV she watches.  I remember sitting in the waiting room to see the health care visitor and chatting with a more experienced mother.  Embarrassingly, almost in a ‘holier-than-thou-new-mum’ type of way I professed that we restricted her TV watching to 30 minutes a day.  She looked at me in that ‘bless you’ type of way and said ‘don’t worry you’ll get over that’.  I have to admit that it’s been a slippery slope since and she watches more TV than I’d like her to.

However, I have absolutely no problem with my daughter playing games as long as there is some kind of educational content.  This may have something to do with me being an ICT consultant in education.  She’s been using my iPhone since she was two and flies around my Ipad.  I have more apps on it for her than myself.  I’m constantly amazed at the quality of ‘edutainment’ content that is out there.  As a parent, I have to say I’m more comfortable with her playing educational games than watching TV especially if they get her off the sofa jumping around.

However, it’s another thing for us parents to worry about.  I lump computers, Ipads, Smartphones and games consuls into one larger category which I call screen time and as a parent I’m going to do my best to try to balance these with playing outdoors, eating mud, cooking, crafting and socializing.

And when I come to think of it, I watch very little TV except the odd episode of Embarrassing Bodies or Strictly on the Weekend.  However, I spend far too much time on the PC but in my defence I’m not watching soaps or reality TV, I don’t knit and this is my hobby.  Unlike television where there is very little social interaction, as it’s a very passive activity, my online activities are very social and educational.  I spend most nights chatting with others via twitter/facebook, composing blog posts (hoping to engage others in discussion via comments) or commenting on others blogs, so I guess I’m not a crusty after all!

I’d love to hear your comments on this.  Does this worry you?  Do you allow your kids to play games?

Disclosure:  I was paid to attend this event

Canada’s National Dish

I’ve just booked flights home to Canada in the summer and I’m a bit excited so thought I would teach you something about Canada.  As Canada is such a diverse place the national dish is debatable. Most people tend to associate Maple Syrup with Canada but contrary to popular belief it doesn’t flow through our veins.  However, if you’re from the West coast it may be Salmon and Wild Rice while in Montreal its Poutine.

What is Poutine I hear you ask???  Basically, it’s a heart attack on a plate:  Chips, Gravy and Cheese Curd but boy is it lovely!

Photo Credit

Here is a recipe if you want to have a go!

The first ever World Poutine Eating Contest was held in Toronto last week and Pat Bertoletti ate 13lbs of the stuff in 10 minutes!