Sunday, June 12, 2011

Affordable nursery decor and other titbits

Things I saw and liked today on a successful 'look but don't touch/spend' stroll through the Flower & Gardening Festival at Oxford Castle:

Beads wrapped in vintage fabric and strung into necklaces and bracelets by Annabelle Lou Jewellery.

Animal Alphabet wrapping paper by Phoenix Trading which, for a quid, doubles as a barginous nursery poster. Ok, I admit to bending my no spending rule at this point. It matched Little Sis's bunting and charity shop wall hanging so well I couldn't resist.

Pygmy goats, ginger pigs and an Eglu full of ducklings. Aaaah.

Oh, and lots of beautiful garden plants. We are renting at the mo and I crave an outside space of our very own to work a little green magic on.

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

I grew up in a TV-just-once-a-week household and although I thought it pretty mean at the time I seem to be taking the same approach with our kids - for fear of turning their brains to blamange with hours and hours of the stuff. More on this neurosis of mine another time perhaps... I am aware there's a happy medium out there somewhere - let me know if you find it.

Anyway, Ginger (now almost 5) is currently obsessed with all things Animal so his TV ration is currently used on endless David Attenborough. Hooray for DVD box sets: Blue Planet and Planet Earth are faves. I picked these up on eBay and they've been worth their weight in gold. Us growups were totally hooked on the beeb's latest epic - Human Planet. This proved too 'exciting' (scary) for Ginger but the accompanying kids series 'Little Human Planet' is great if frustratingly short (5 min episodes). Check it out on iPlayer before its too late or read more in this 'Little Human Planet' blog posting by series producer Dale Templar.

Here are a few of our favourite web adventures on the animal theme:

Bembo's zoo has fabulous animal animations built from letters of the alphabet (above); google image or youtube searches for 'snow leapard' or whatever his heart desires; exploring slideshows and videos on ARKIVE - 'the ultimate multimedia guide to the world's endangered animals' (amazing quality); another goodie is DK's online animal encyclopedia; and for the most beautiful images check out the Wildlife Photographer of the Year online gallery, or even better see the exhibition in person - it is currently touring the UK. Be warned, the talent in the kids section is enough to make you weep.

You may not be surprised to hear that this latest phase includes a declaration from Ginger that he will be a wildlife photographer (complete with helicopter) when he grows up. Nice work if you can get it.

Our latest battle of wills is whether we will take Ginger to Africa on safari (we will not!). He's quite keen to go (understatement) and currently thinks pester power and the 'please, please, purleeeease' approach will work the way I can sometimes be persuaded to allow an extra episode of Planet Earth. Oh dear...