When my sister moved to Swansea a few years ago, she discovered some intriguing folklore we’d not heard of before – Calennig.
So Calennig is the tradition of New Year gift-giving – Giving these little apple delights pictured, to friends and neighbours will bring them good luck!
My boys, aged 11 and 9 areintrigued by this tradition and we are duly planning to visit our neighbours with apples punched with cloves, and ever-green leaves, and three little stick tripod legs – they are strangely delighted by this, and are dying to add some googly eyes (this idea has horrified several Welsh people!)
Another fun tradition is the Spanish Las doce uvas de la suerte, or “The twelve grapes of luck” – where a grape is eaten by the New Year’s Eve party goers on every chime at midnight, that’s 12 grapes, stuffed into one’s mouth, so much hilarity and spluttering of grape juice is had! The boys can’t wait to try this one this year, so for the adults we’re going to freeze the grapes for three hours, and serve them with dark chocolate (Divine being my chocolate of choice) and some Grappa, and for the kids, the smallest seedless grapes we can find for safety!!
For more top tips for New Year’s Eve ideas, from Maggy, Anthea and Kellycheck out the round up over on redtedart.com and for a bit of fun, watch us in a google+ hangout where we showcase LOADS of ideas on your screen here.
You’d think that once the boys get to 9 and 10 they’d be so ‘OVER’ Dinosaurs right? Well, wrong, I was massively surprised at the love this new book has received from them, they’ve literally been PORING over this fabulous encyclopedia, and really – I can see why.
Uncover the prehistoric world – even I’ve read it! I’ve just been to look for it to take a photo for you of the spreads, and found it under 10yo’s pillow – much coveted and hidden from his little brother.
Chapters include: Attack and Defence, Armour and Crests and The Mystery of Extinction – and although suggested suitable for children over 8, our young neighbours next door, age 3 and 6, loved looking at the pictures too (I’m sure this one will take longer to be handed down to them…)
I had recently been singing the praises of Rococo Chocolate on twitter, as earlier this month I had wolfed down a couple of delicious ‘grown-up’ birthday bars (all to myself)….
As a designer by trade, I’ve always loved the packaging, with the repeat patterns of the old chocolate moulds – There’s just something so appealing about the classic blue prints.
We were welcomed by Julie Rosenberg, the events manager for Rococo, with delicious hot chocolate, and were given a really informative ‘lesson’ on how cocoa is grown, and becomes the chocolate we were then to try.
Julie led us down to the kitchen (which we had spied through the glass window in the floor!) and our Chocolate School continued, with egg decorating, and the fun bit of gluing the two halves of our eggs together!
It’s such a great idea for a birthday or hen party….have a chat with Julie for more info…there’s a Half Term Children’s Chocolate Bar Workshop coming up which looks great!
So, we even got to take home the eggs we had decorated (yes, mine IS supposed to be an owl!)
All this talk of Roald Dahl has got 8yo all of a twitter… (find it hard to use that word in this context, but bear with me!)
This is his collection of Roald Dahl books (Laura Dockrill’s favourite writer, and the cause of this desire to take this photo on the ‘big camera’ to tweet to Laura – bless).
His ultimate favourite is the Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, which was no.1 on the bedtime reading list before Daddy took over that job, reading Harry Potter to them every night, over the phone on loud-speaker (that’s another story altogether).
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me I think was first choice, because, (A) it was a LONG book to read at bedtime, so they get to stay up later, and (B) the language is so beautiful, (how many little boys do you know who call the loo the ‘Lavatory Pan’? thank you Roald).
The story is fabulous, and even without the Quentin Blake illustrations, and your eyes shut, your imagination marvels at the wonder of Billy’s sweet shop, the incredibly TALL house, a giraffe with an extending neck, a pelican with an over-sized beak, a dancing monkey, and the quite bonkers, His Grace the Duke of Hampshire.
Oh, and there is some ‘gun action’ always goes down well with little boys I find!
We did venture several years ago, when they were much younger, to the Little Angel Theatre and this wonderful puppet performance delighted and engaged both boys, because they knew the story so well.
So, thank you Laura Dockrill, for dragging small children back to their childhood with your fab book Darcy Burdock, and talk of Roald Dahl again… 8yo is currently reading George’s Marvellous Medicine aloud to me, and polishing off Matilda when he’s meant to have his LIGHTS OUT!
Really simple to do with the kids, and to involve them with planting the seeds and beans. We also made some cute little labels – thank you Life at the Zoo for the inspiration!
And along with the toilet roll tubes, these can be popped straight into the earth in the garden – although, it’s so cold here at the moment, I think we’ll keep them on the window sill for a little longer!
We’ve popped these on the sitting room window sill, it’s only little greenhouse, and keep a little plastic milk bottle beside the seeds, with a few holes punched into the lid so that we don’t forget to water them… something 8yo feels proud to ‘be in charge of’ – and excited every day at their growth rate!
Well, 10yo and I were lucky enough to be able to meet the wonderful Laura Dockrill in Chiswick recently – she’s so delightful it’s tricky not to completely fall in love with her!
So, if you’ve not heard of her, you really must check her out most immediately…Her new book is about ten-year-old Darcy Burdock, who sees the extraordinary in the everyday and the wonder in the world around her. It’s charming and very funny (my boys roared with laughter at a seagull-kicking-incident, as her Dad says, it’s not Darcy’s ‘proudest moment’… say no more…).
In this first book, we are introduced to her Mum and Dad her younger siblings, Hector and Poppy, who Darcy likes dressing up in ridiculous outfits and having dance-offs with, respectively. Plus there’s her non-bleating pet lamb, Lamb-Beth and best friend, Will, to have adventures with.
Laura on writing for Children:
Roald Dahl has and always will be my largest inspiration. He is a prominent figure and inspiration for me and what I do. Flitting between poetry, short stories and novels for both adults and children he is really, very important for me and what I do. In my view, Dahl breaks boundaries, he is a storyteller in its most honest and natural form and was my first admiration for writing- he taught me how to write
It’s a great read, and we were indeed very lucky to meet Laura, and hear her read. 10yo was enchanted, and related completely to the anger-management issues (Darcy turns into an Angrosaurus who can only be calmed with Maltesers!)
We asked lovely Laura if we could give another family the opportunity to enjoy this fabulous book. So yes! We have a SIGNED copy of Darcy Burdock and a packet of (Fairtrade) Maltesers to give away!
THIS PRIZE DRAW HAS NOW CLOSED. THE LUCKY WINNER IS TIFFANY-LEE, thank you all for taking the time to enter, we’ve really enjoyed reading all of the entries! xx
How to enter
1 – Laura’s inspiration is Roald Dahl; Comment below to tell us your favourite Roald Dahl story? (ours is the Giraffe and the Pelly and me!)
5 – For an extra entry, Add KidsChaos into your circles in Google + and comment below to tell us you’ve done so.
Terms and Conditions
– Entrants must be over 18 and in the UK – By entering this prize draw, the player assigns to KidsChaos.com all exclusive rights to reproduce and represent the copy related to this competition on any media (both online and offline) – Entries close Midnight 28th March (the last day of School Term, how apt) – The winners will be notified personally – KidsChaos’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to and no cash alternative will be offered – This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Google+
Woah… try this, take one Fairtrade banana, mush it up with a fork, add two free range eggs, mix vigorously…for this quick pancake recipe Melt butter in a little non-stick frying pan (ooh, you know how much I ‘heart’ my little orange Le Creuset (this is not a sponsored post!)…
You may have been following our latest ‘growing’ kitchen fun on twitter; we’ve been overwhelmed by this amazing phenomena – growing our own mushrooms on the kitchen windowsill…
This fabulous invention, the Espresso Mushroom Kitchen Garden has been the talk of our kitchen – This little ‘garden’ uses recycled coffee grounds and we grew our own oyster mushrooms in just two weeks.
Both kids have really enjoyed the experience of spraying the mushrooms with water, and rushing in from school to see how they’ve grown. 8yo even wrote a recipe (pictured) which we duly followed, when our mushrooms were ready to harvest – fried them up, served with chopped parsley on a couple of slices of toast. De-Lish-ious….
We had been talking to Alex at Espresso Mushroom about just how much we wanted to tell the world about their mushrooms, and have joined forces with them and our friends at Cafédirect to offer you the chance to win this fab prize. We have some tasty espresso coffee from Cafédirect and an Espresso Mushroom Kitchen Garden gift voucher, so you can WIN and grow your own Pearl Oyster Mushrooms – it’s such fun!
This prize draw has now closed, thank you for all of your entries, the lucky winner is Eileen from Staffordshire. 🙂 xx
How to enter:
1 – Comment below to tell us how you’d cook your mushrooms
3 – ‘LIKE’ Espresso Mushroom on Facebook and comment below to tell us you’ve done so.
4 – For an extra entry, Add KidsChaos into your circles in Google + and comment below to tell us you’ve done so.
5 – And another add Espresso Mushroom into your circles on Google + and comment below to tell us you’ve done so.
Terms and Conditions
– Entrants must be over 18 and in the UK – By entering this competition, the player assigns to KidsChaos.com all exclusive rights to reproduce and represent the copy related to this competition on any media (both online and offline) – Entries close Midnight on the 20th of December – The winners will be notified personally – KidsChaos’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered in to and no cash alternative will be offered – This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Google+
Living in London, we are lucky enough to have a great deal of WW2 history at our fingertips which is useful when you have kids in Key Stage 1 and 2.
Our children can totally relate to the reality, and horrors of the London Bombing circa 1940 when we showed them this photograph given to me by a friend and neighbour, in our adjacent street in South West London. Coincidentally, last week everyone was talking about a FANTASTIC new website www.bombsight.org which maps the WW2 bomb census in a most beautifully graphic way…. Our neighbour’s house pictured, was not rebuilt until 1945 – we sadly wonder what happened to the family who lived there…