Thursday, 20 April 2017

Nothing beats a good old book

I have two little men who both love sitting down to listen to a good story. We have different ways of reading a book, usually depending on how hyper they are.

-The conventional sit with mama or daddy and listen to us read the story. This is Mr S favourite and he will settle for no less than a million books. Mr B likes this until page 3, when he gets bored and starts eating the pages.

- Let them tell the story from what they can see, or from memory if it’s one of the favourites. Honestly if they love a story we read it that many times both me and them can repeat it while we sleep. You think I’m kidding......I once sleep talked we’re going on a bear hunt.

- Just talk about the pictures. Who is he? What is she doing? Can you see a .... insert random animal?

- The good old bed time story. Lie down and listen because as soon as I’ve finished this story about a hungry tiger who needs room on a Broom while heading to space to find a friend, I’m drinking alcohol. Thank God for the bedtime story, it’s like the alarm bells for the start of mama bear time.

Because books play such a huge part in our house I thought I would share with you our favourites. As voted for by Mr S and Mr B. If I’m honest some of them are actually quite a good read for mama's too, (maybe I've just spent too much time with the kids).

1. Funny bones - Janet and Allan Ahlberg

This was one of my favourite books as a child and now it’s one of my boys faves. Every time they choose this one off the book shelf, I revert back to child me choosing it from the school library over and over again. A couple of days ago I explained to Mr S that inside his skin is a skeleton like the funny bones, he cried and asked me to take his bones. #mamafail

2. Room on the Broom - Julia Donaldson

Who doesn’t love a Julia Donaldson book. They got a set of her books as a joint present at Christmas. With all her amazing reads to chose from how did we pick this one. Well apparently this one is so good because it has a frog and a dragon, from the mouths of babes.

3. Starting School - Julia and Allan Ahlberg

Another one from this pair made our list. This book is beautifully written, especially if you have a little one gearing up for school. It documents the school year from day one in a simple, easy to digest way.

4. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s dairy - Lynley Dodd

This is one of those books that Mr S knows the words by heart it’s quite a repetitive story, but in a good way that gets their little memories working. There is a full catalogue of Hairy Maclary stories too, which means we have more adventures to come.

5. The Tiger who came to tea - Judith Kerr

This is one of those timeless books. Everything about it makes you feel warm and happy. The illustrations are timeless and detailed. **Spoiler alert** if a tiger knocks at your door, DO NOT LET IT IN.

6. The first hippo on the moon- David Walliams

This is a new one to our collection and I was hesitant that a comedian had written a children’s book. I didn’t need to be. The story is so well written and made me laugh, as well as the kids. The ending was a little harsh for a toddler, but that hippo had it coming.

7. Five minutes peace - Jill Murphy

This book is like my auto biography except with more trunks. A beautiful story about real life as a mum. Even better it was only 49p in home bargains. We have all the books in this collection as there all so damm good.

8. The Stick man - Julia Donaldson

Another Julia Donaldson sneaked in, but when she writes them so good, how could I resist. Mr S and Mr B love this book, its also hubbys favourite. You can see from the picture how well worn the cover is from constant reading. Another bonus is there is a TV version of the book, which is a great watch alongside the book. I love that her books rhyme so well. This is also a part Christmas story.

9. Press here - Hervè Tullet

This isn’t a story, it is an interactive book which focuses on colour and space. The boys think this book is magic. I picked it up second hand for 2p and it has been worth every penny. It has helped Mr S become more colour aware. I would recommend this for children who struggle to sit and read, it keeps them engaged.

10. Dear zoo - Rod Campbell

This is both of the boys absolute favourite. Our version has flaps too. They know every word and are able to read it to me. We have purchased a puzzle with the story on as well, because they love it that much. They have to have a turn each at pulling open the flaps and making the animal noise and then telling me why they sent him back. Thank you Rod Campbell, you have brought my boys so much happiness.

This was a tough list to make as we have so many books on our shelf, it was hard to whittle them down. If you don’t have these books on your shelf, you need them. We own so many books, because i buy them so cheap. I refuse to buy books brand new. If a book has been looked after then second hand is just as good as brand new. Thank God for amazon, the book depository and wordery, who have almost every children’s book in the world for sometimes pennies.

Seriously though my post man probably thinks I have a problem, there is at least 1 book a week coming through the door at the minute.

I hope you enjoyed our chart and id love to hear your favourites, or places to buy cheap kids books.

Good day to you.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Mama bear on the stage.

I love the theatre. I have since being a child. I remember my dad used to take me to see shows at the royal exchange in Manchester and my love grew from there. When the house lights went down and the stage lights came up my tummy used to flip with excitement. It was so much better than cinema or television because it was real, you were part of what was happening and they are some of the dearest memories I hold.

It didn't matter what kind of show it was, I loved them all. Pantomimes, musicals, plays. They all gave me that same feeling of amazement and wonder. They were an education. They got me intrested in subjects I'd never even heard of.

I became obsessed with not only watching performances but also performing. I joined theatre groups and community theatre projects where I became confident and outgoing. I developed both my imagination and social skills all while having fun. Theatre has played a huge part in shaping the person I am today.

For all of those reasons I want my children to experience theatre from a young age. I learnt so much from watching those people up on the stage, about both the world and myself, I want my boys to have the opportunity to gain that knowledge to.

They have attended two children's performances so far the 'sooty show', which was amazing and held both of their interests from start to finish and 'in the night garden' which did the same.

This year I was so pleased when I discovered the lowry theatre was showing a stage show of two of our favourite books. 'Room on the Broom' and 'The Tiger who came to tea'. I showed the boys the poster and watched them squeal with excitement. So we headed to the theatre to get some more information.

The tickets were priced at £16 for myself and hubby which seemed quite reasonable. As Mr S and Mr B are so young, (1 and 2), I knew they wouldn't really need seats as they would want to sit on our knees. I put this request to the gentlemen in the box office who informed me this was not possible.  From 18 months they would have to have their own seat. I knew they wouldn't use it but it would be fine, it could just sit empty. I asked how much a child's ticket was, I was horrified to find out there is no such thing. The ticket price is the same. £16 each for a 1 and 2 year old is shocking. Surely there should be some sort of price bracket for toddlers. This would mean it would have cost me £64 for our tickets.

The man clearly saw my shock at this price so tried to offer me a 'better option'. A £54 family ticket. I'm sure you can imagine I was still unimpressed.

How are family's supposed to introduce their children to a world of performing arts and culture when these are the standard prices. How can you justify charging this amount for a toddler. You may not agree with me on this one but this just seems to be greed. Surely there should be a pricing structure which takes toddlers into account.

I know things like theatre trips are not a necessity in life but I do think they are important. They play a part in a child's love of books, the arts and reading while getting them away from a screen.

Good day to you.