Anyone for pom pom sushi?

Every time my nephews and nieces get together, we try a new craft activity. They range from 4 to 15 so it’s quite challenging to find something that they’ll all enjoy. Since I’m always searching for new ideas (I actually keep a whole Pinterest board just for this – its become a tradition and the pressure is on for each to be better than the previous one), Let’s Make Pom Poms caught my attention.

I didn’t realise there were so many things you could do with a pompom, although I’m not sure anyone will ever need sushi pom poms? My personal favourite was the key ring but the kids voted for the Easter chicks, and since that’s seasonal, and I had some left over yellow wool from another project, that was easy.

There are other seasonal projects too. The spiders would be a great Halloween project, but I’d use black wool. And the snowman is a must for Christmas.

The instructions in the book are clear and simple. My only criticism is that it could do with measurements so you can make your own cardboard rings (old school style, using a cereal box), rather than having to buy the plastic ones. Cheaper, and more environmentally friendly. And it’s not difficult. As I didn’t want to buy seven rings just for one afternoon activity, I guesstimated. Obviously I miscalculated a bit as our chicks are hens. It was great fun though.

I love a spot of crafting and happily recommend this as a family friendly activity.

Let’s Make Pom Poms

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Fun and easy makes for all the family. Get crafty with pom poms with 15 easy to follow step by step guides. Make your own set of fluffy dice, sushi that looks good enough to eat and an everlasting Christmas tree as well as many other exciting projects

Purchase Links:

UK – https://amzn.to/2PdVBax

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KZLCBPG

 

Author Bio – Katie Scott is a craft and book blogger who lives in the county of Kent, UK. Living at home with her husband and infant daughter, Katie loves nothing more than long evenings in with a good book, a pile of crafting goodies and a very large pot of tea.

Let’s Make Pom Poms is her first crafting book.

Find more work from Katie Scott on her blog: https://www.bloomingfiction.co.uk

Social Media Links –

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bloomingfiction

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/BloomingFiction/

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/bloomingfiction/

Pinterest- https://www.pinterest.co.uk/bfbookblog/pins/

 

 

 

 

(Legal) street art for all ages

“Please bring in some of the art you’ve done at home,” the teacher asks.

That’s going to be a little bit tricky …

Don’t worry, the garage doors were being replaced, and I’m thrilled with my colourful garage interior.

I adore street art. Several years ago Chichester did an amazing street art exhibition. These make a very teenager friendly alternative art tour. Plus I’m always up for a bit of stealth education.

Sadly my favourite, “King of Cats”, was whitewashed over recently by the council following complaints about antisocial behaviour. Personally I’m happy that the Belgian artist, Joachim, has provided a new masterpiece for us to enjoy. The Chichester Observer reported

Joachim’s management said he had been ‘horrified’ to hear his King of Cats mural ‘attracted antisocial behaviour’ within the city of Chichester and took it upon himself to put things right. Knowing that cats can be rather antisocial by nature, Joachim decided to paint ‘The Watchdog’ to watch over the streets and keep the neighbourhood safe.

King of Cats

King of Cats by Belgian artist Joaquim

Back to our budding vandal. It was really no surprise that he wanted a graffiti birthday party. Near Waterloo Station in London is Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel where anyone, armed with a spray can or two, is permitted to make their mark, without getting arrested. The tunnel was originally created by Banksy although his artwork is long gone.

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Luckily, his friends are urban cool, and their parents super chilled, so there was barely a raised eyebrow.

The toughest decision was what to paint over, because all the art was amazing, but eventually the spot was chosen and after a tentative start they all got into it.

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Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel

Top tips if you’re thinking of taking the kids

  • buy the cheapest spray paint you can as they race through it
  • painting masks from the DIY store hopefully helped with the fumes, but it was outdoors so it wasn’t too bad
  • surgical gloves are a very good idea! I bought a box of 100 from the local chemist.

The other artists working on the same day were super friendly and showed the kids how they used stencils in their designs.

There are official “street art” walking tours in various towns if you’re interested in exploring but unsure where to start. I was looking at the Shoreditch Street Art tour which I haven’t done but it’s on the list.

And since this is also a book blog, here’s a little bit of bookish news

Purely by coincidence, I just finished reading Revenge on the Rye by Alice Castle about the murder of a street artist, which I highly recommend. I blogged about this a few weeks ago.

 

Easy guide to illustration apps for kids

Sometimes you meet people whose talent just blows your mind! So today I have the very great pleasure of introducing Charlotte who is going to share her illustration app tips. She’s already planning a career in art and I see a bright future for her.

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She entered my illustration competition, and not only were her drawings amazing, but she was the only computer based entry which really caught my attention. I asked her, via her Dad, if she would mind sharing her knowledge on computer based illustration to help other youngsters try it out. I’m delighted too share this blog from her, and being a super cool tech-savvy kid, she’s made us a YouTube video too!

So over to Charlotte …

Hi, I’m Charlotte and I am 11 years old. I love to draw; it’s one of the things that I like to do most in my free time and I hope to someday make a career out of it. 

I mostly draw on my an iPad using the Apple Pencil, which I prefer, but I also enjoy drawing on paper. The reason why I enjoy digital drawing more is that you can do so much with colours, shading, and layers. Layers are really useful as they can help you build up your artwork and allow you to experiment with your drawing without ruining it.

The app I draw with most is Autodesk SketchBook but I do have a few more, including: Adobe Sketch, Adobe Draw and MediBang Paint. Even though drawing is my speciality, I do like to animate as well. The FlipaClip app is a very good app to animate with, and so is Toonator (a website), but I would say FlipaClip is better.

I have an art style that the Japanese created called Manga. I feel Manga is probably easier than drawing realistic art. The reason why I like Manga so much is because it has that cute cartoony look to it but you can also make it realistic. So it’s like a mix between cartoony and real life. Also, I think eyes in Manga are just beautiful and there are so many ways to draw them.

If you are starting to draw on paper or on a digital tablet, here are some tips:

– Firstly, find out what your art style is first before you start doing anything. E.g. realistic, manga, cartoony, abstract (and lots more).

– Secondly, picture your drawing in your mind and then sketch it roughly.

– Thirdly, when you’re happy with the outline, start to build up the detail in your drawing.

This is how I draw step by step:

– Sketch the thing you want to draw (It can be messy).

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– Go over it in a black pen or press hard on a pencil – go for the pen it’s easier.

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– Colour it in or go for the monochrome look (Black and white).

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Once I’m happy with the colours, I start to shade in a deeper colour than the original colour that I started with. Also, a great way to record your artwork is to have a paper sketchbook. It could help you over the years until you fill it up with all sorts of things, then you can look through everything you created and see if you have improved. Then you could try and see if you could learn a different art style.

Going back to the drawing apps, the best thing about using a good digital pencil/stylus is that if you press harder when drawing it makes it darker and thicker and if you press softer it’s thinner and lighter. If you select the pencil tool in the app when using an Apple Pencil (or similar digital stylus), tilting the pencil slightly creates shading very similar to drawing with a real pencil on paper, but the app makes it easier to correct your mistakes and doesn’t leave any marks or traces of the pencil behind. You can also make your pencil thicker and thinner just by changing the settings of that tool and can adjust the opacity of it too (see-through).

I hope you find these tips useful, Charlotte.

Migraine health plan handbook and GIVEAWAY

This book caught my eye as my dad suffers from vertigo. He eats a very “traditional” British home cooked diet with zero fast food and limited sugar anyway, so I was curious what changes he could make.

The Migraine Relief Plan 9781572842090

I found the eight-week transition plan made the shift seem entirely manageable: week one is just assessing the current position, then you have a whole week to sort your fridge and another to sort your freezer. Then you tackle changing breakfasts, then lunches then dinners.

There is a checklist of good/ bad foods, but the best bit is the recipes. These are proper easy meals that my family enjoyed. They are American, but conversions are included, and most of the ingredients are recognisable. In fact my only criticism is, as with all cookbooks, I find them hard to use on a kindle.

To prove just how achievable the recipes are, here’s an example …

SALMON, ASPARAGUS, AND THYME OMELET

Makes 2 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 12–15 minutes

Passive time: N/A

Budget friendly: Very

Per serving: 21g protein, 2g carbohydrates, 21g fat, 5g saturated fat, 129mg sodium, 383mg potassium, 0g fiber

You’ll find that omelets are an easy way to get breakfast or dinner on the table. This simple recipe came about when I had just a small amount of baked salmon left over, and we didn’t eat all the asparagus spears the previous night. I’m lucky to have fresh thyme growing in my garden, which adds lovely flavor, but dried thyme also works perfectly. Asparagus is high in insulin, one of the prebiotic fibers that feeds your good gut bacteria, and is another anti-inflammatory powerhouse.

4 ounces (120g) cooked salmon

3–4 spears fresh or frozen asparagus

12 sprigs fresh thyme, or ¼teaspoon dried thyme (optional)

2 eggs

1–2 tablespoons (15–30mL) heavy cream, half-and-half, or coconut milk

1 tablespoon ghee, organic extra virgin olive oil, or extra virgin coconut oil

  1. Flake the salmon into a bowl.
  2. Cut the asparagus into bite-sized chunks and, if using fresh thyme, strip off the leaves (discard the stems).
  3. Whisk the eggs with the cream and add the thyme leaves or dried thyme. Set aside.
  4. Place a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, add the ghee, and swirl the pan to coat. Look for the ghee to start to shimmer before adding the asparagus.
  5. Add the asparagus and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Add the salmon and sauté another 2 to 3 minutes until the pieces start to turn golden.
  7. Add the egg mixture to the pan. Cook about 5 minutes until nearly set, tilting the pan if necessary to move unset eggs to the edges.
  8. Slide a flexible spatula under the omelet, loosening it, then fold in half.
  9. Cook another 5 minutes, or until completely set. Serve right away.

COOKS’ NOTE: This is the perfect way to use up leftover cooked salmon, which never tastes good microwaved. Canned, unsmoked salmon with no salt added is a fine substitute. Smoked salmon is not included on the migraine diet because smoked and preserved foods contain tyramine, a monoamine compound that triggers migraine attacks in some people. If using leftover pre-cooked asparagus, add it with the salmon during Step 6.

Reprinted with permission from The Migraine Relief Planby Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC, Agate Surrey, 2017

 

Or I bet you can’t resist this …

Happy Book Birthday-all

Giveaway

I’m so excited about this giveaway, I wish I could enter myself as I only had a kindle copy and I really need a paperback for ease of reference.

Exclusive for readers of my Book Blast Blog, you can win either a signed copy of The Migraine Relief Plan for US winners, or an unsigned copy of The Migraine Relief Plan for UK winners. To enter, just follow my blog, and tag @Lexi_Rees and @sweavermph and on a tweet telling us why you would like a copy.

The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health

In The Migraine Relief Plan, certified health and wellness coach Stephanie Weaver outlines a new, step-by-step lifestyle approach to reducing migraine frequency and severity.

Using the latest research, her own migraine diagnosis, and extensive testing, Weaver has designed an accessible plan to help those living with migraine, headaches, or Meniere’s disease. Over the course of eight weeks, the plan gradually transitions readers into a healthier lifestyle, including key behaviors such as regular sleep, trigger-free eating, gentle exercise, and relaxation techniques. The book also collects resources—shopping lists, meal plans, symptom tracking charts, and kitchen-tested recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—to provide readers with the tools they need to be successful.

The Migraine Relief Planencourages readers to eat within the guidelines while still helping them follow personal dietary choices, like vegan or Paleo, and navigate challenges, such as parties, work, and travel. A must-have resource for anyone who lives with head pain, this book will inspire you to rethink your attitude toward health and wellness.

Purchase Linkhttp://bit.ly/MRPlan

Author Bio

The Migraine - VerticalBlueDoor

Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC, is an author, blogger, and certified wellness and health coach. Her recipes have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Parade, and more. She lives in San Diego, CA.

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/stephanieweavermph

Twitter.com/sweavermph

Instagram.com/sweavermph

 

 

How to boost your child’s emotional intelligence with journalling

Journalling can be an effective tool for exploring your emotions – it can help you put things in perspective, understand and process your feelings, and focus on positives. At this time of year, the stationery shops are overflowing with gorgeous diaries. I can’t resist a fresh notebook for a fresh new year, even if I mainly use it to make lists.

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But keeping a diary doesn’t appeal to every child, so prompts are a really useful tool. I was shown The Happy Self Journal at an event and totally fell in love with it. It’s beautifully packaged, comes with some free stickers (who doesn’t love a sticker!), and it’s a fab bright yellow colour with a good strong cover. Those aren’t the important points though …

  • Firstly, it’s gender neutral. If we’re avoiding stereotyping girls and boys emotions, thats obviously important.
  • Secondly, you don’t have to work through it chronologically like a diary. It’s like a colouring book – flick through and the child can pick whatever activity that appeals. I guess if you wanted them to explore a particular theme, you could point out a few pages.
  • Thirdly, of course, it’s not overwhelming in quantity – just a few sentences is all that it takes so its also good for reluctant writers.

 

It says its aimed at 6-12 year olds, but I’d probably narrow that to a core of 7-10 year olds. If you’d like to check it out, here’s the link https://happyselfjournal.com

I’m thrilled to have a copy to giveaway – just comment and share this post on Twitter tagging @lexi_rees and @HappySelf_. Competition is only open in the UK. Closing date 30 November 2018.

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NLP and Parenting

I’d heard of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) for adults, but I hadn’t considered its applicability for children. I thought I should find out a bit more so I’m delighted to invite NLP specialist Arantxa de Dios onto my blog today to share her thoughts. My take-away is that the term NLP makes it sound a lot scarier and more complicated than it actually is: NLP is basically the language of the brain, i.e. communication. That’s like parenting 101, but we all need tools to help us put common sense into practice, so over to her …

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Hi, I’m Arantxa. Parenting was, and continues to be, the most challenging thing I have ever done! Before starting my self-development journey, I would get cross and frustrated with my child and ultimately with myself. I knew that what I was doing wasn’t working: it wasn’t getting the result I wanted and often seemed to make things worse. And I didn’t like myself for what I was saying and doing, day in day out … but I didn’t know what else to do. I seem to be saying no all the time shouting and “losing it” focusing on the negatives and feeling guilty.

I wanted to become more confident and competent as a parent to feeling more in control and least of myself!  I wanted something better something more useful and sustainable for myself and my children. I wanted to be the best version of me. And I decided to become a life coach and then I trained as a neuro – linguistic programming (NLP) and hypnotherapist practitioner.

With NLP which focuses on getting the results you want, especially using languages and behaviour to positively influence those around you. It had an immediate and major impact on my life for the better. I’m a calmer and happier Mum!!

Good communication skills are often overlooked or taken for granted and yet they are at the heart of positive, fulfilling relationships. How you relate to and communicate with your child makes all the difference!

NLP gives you methods for communicating effectively with your children, nurturing mutual respect, confidence and happiness in your relationships. It gives you ways to:

  • choose words that work to get great results, quickly and easily
  • use actions that help you understand your child better
  • change your thoughts in challenging situations, to find new solutions
  • be in a better mood more of the time, for everyone’s benefit
  • enjoy learning alongside your children on your parenting journey.

In parenting is very important you focus on YOUR needs, as well as the needs of your children. You are a key part of the relationship and have a major effect on the results you get.

YOUR CHILDREN NEED YOU

When it comes to parenting, they are not the right answers, no universal solutions, no absolute truths. There is only the here and now of what is going to work for you and your children, moment by moment, on your parenting journey.  You are the expert on your family and your children. You are in the front line no matter how well intentioned the advice of others, it is you who must decide…and who must live with the consequences.

Parenting can be frustrating, overwhelming and sometimes utterly exhausting. But it can also be the most rewarding, inspiring and joyful experience too. I’m here to show you how you can make parenting easier, so you can feel confident and enjoy your precious time with your children.

Enjoy your Journey!

Arantxa De Dios

Transformational LIFE COACH, NLP & HYPNOTHERAPIST.

arantxa@arantxadedios.com

http://www.arantxadedios.com

WORKSHOP OPPORTUNITY

If you’re based in London, you might be interested in this workshop that Arantxa is running.

PARENTING WORKSHOP: POWERFUL NLP METHODS TO STAY ON TOP OF CHALLENGING SITUATIONS.

RESULT= YOU FEEL MORE IN CONTROL – CALMER – HAPPIER AND MORE POSITIVE.

More details here:

https://www.facebook.com/1945663648979600/posts/2141771592702137/

 

 

Do bugs wear shoes? Book review

This is a brilliant book for the curious young non-fiction fan. The bright colours and eye-catching and appealing layouts are spot on for 4-7 year olds, so although the blurb pitches this for ages 6-10, I think it’s a great joint read for younger kids and at only 33 pages of content it’s just the right length.

tu-bugbook-pinterest-pins-halloween

There’s a great selection of random facts that we just HAVE to know the answer to, like Can bugs dance? and Are there bugs in Antarctica? Warning – this will raise a lot of additional questions from young readers so be prepared to do more research! Helpfully, the book includes a list of further resources, and some free worksheets.

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Since I never miss an opportunity for stealth education, this seems a great time to do some bug counting in the garden or on a walk. Check out this blog on other easy STEM activities for youngsters.

The blurb

A colorful, fun-filled book packed with answers to all your silliest bug questions! 
Learn what happens when a bug goes to space, to school, and to the gym. Find out if bugs have feelings like people do. Discover robot bugs, dancing bugs, bugs that poop and so much more!
Filled with illustrations, photographs and interactive videos, Do Bugs Wear Shoes will have kids laughing and learning as they discover awe-inspiring facts about the insect world. This beautifully designed book is organized into colorful two-page spreads that each focus on a different question, making it easy and fun to read for children and big kids alike.

BOOK EXTRAS include videos and printable worksheets for extended learning. Great for educators and at-home learning.

PLUS, vote on the world’s most beautiful bug!

Recommended for ages 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and up.

Don’t miss out on the chance to bug out!

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Do-Bugs-Wear-Shoes-Questions-ebook/dp/B07HVT9W73

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Do-Bugs-Wear-Shoes-Questions-ebook/dp/B07HVT9W73

Author Bio –

Two Umbrellas is an educational publishing company that fuses education and storytelling.  We offer books and activities to help parents and educators empower tomorrow’s leaders.

Our founders, Anthony Puttee and Addie Broussard, love to travel.  Anthony’s favorite trip was to Antarctica and he has included some of his personal photos in this book.  Addie has traveled solo around the world. While in Portugal, she encountered a unique insect, which inspired a children’s book called The Beedog, which was published in 2018. The idea for Do Bugs Wear Shoescame from a playful team meeting on a rooftop in Mexico.

 

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Social Media Links –

https://www.pinterest.com.mx/twoumbrellas0254/pins/

https://twitter.com/TwoUmbrellasPls

https://www.instagram.com/twoumbrellasplease/

https://www.facebook.com/TwoUmbrellasPlease

Book resources at https://twoumbrellasplease.com