Have you seen the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert? 

The theme is family, togetherness, that sort of thing. It’s been made using stop frame animation and it apparently took 420 hours to film the stop frame part, with another eight weeks post production time on top of this. You can watch it here if you’ve not seen it already:

As part of their Christmas activity this year, Sainsbury’s is also supporting Great Ormond Street Hospital through the sale of stop frame animation kits and gingerbread ‘Daves’. All the profits from the sale of these items will go to the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

Sainsbury's Christmas advert Great Ormond Street

Sainsbury’s sent me and Belle one of their animation kits to have a look at, along with a couple of gingerbread Daves, which we sort of accidentally ate straight away. (Just in case you’re wondering why these don’t appear in the animation.) The kit is really well put together and comes in a sturdy box that folds out to create two different sets. You get a well-written film-maker’s guide, a few props and some cardboard characters. View Post


How well do you know your children?

Reasonably well, I’d hope, but they can still surprise you. Yesterday afternoon, while Bee was visiting, I made mine fill out these 20 questions to ask your children from Shepherds Friendly. Have a look at the link and you can download and print off the list to do with your own children.

Here are our results:

img_0927 View Post


One of Belle’s favourite teddies is a rather strange looking creature named Frogmal.

I made Frogmal myself as a Christmas present after a visit to Camp Bestival one summer about six or so years ago. There was a vintage caravan there, selling these home made stuffed toys that were deliberately a bit quirky and wonky looking. They had parcel tags tied around their necks with unusual names on them. I’m sure you can picture the scene.

‘I want one of those for Christmas!’ said a small at the time Belle.

‘Pah!’ said me, also probably a little smaller, waist wise, ‘I could make you one of those!’

I remember Belle looking sceptical. She doesn’t forget though, bless her, so for the next six months I had weekly reminders about the toy I had promised her. Christmas got closer, and the toy remained unmade, until I was forced, probably on around December 23rd, to scrabble around for bit of fabric and a needle. I found an old dress of Bee’s and got stitching. I didn’t have a sewing machine and it took bloody ages.

The end result wasn’t exactly the artisan craft we’d seen at the festival, but Belle seemed to like it. Petplan insurance View Post


Yesterday we went to Bee’s graduation. 

Here we are see: 

Bee's graduation

(Bee has a mini can of gin and tonic, which she made me stop and buy her on the way.)

I’m not going to lie to you, as ceremonies go, it was pretty boring. I love Bee and everything, but I wasn’t that fussed about the 469 other people who took turns to go up onto the stage and be given a fake scroll. I amused myself through Applied Sciences by sending Bee sneaky messages under the programme. Her phone was in my bag, but I thought she might like to read them afterwards.

It was worth it, as apparently they were the best bit.

Although the ceremony was fairly dull, I wanted to write this post for two reasons. Partly, Bee has been on at me lately to write something about her.

‘What do you want me to write?’ I asked her.

‘I don’t know, anecdotes or cute stories or something.’

Also though, I wanted Bee (and everyone else) to know that even though I could probably have got by without the whole ‘and now the prize for outstanding achievement in applied baking technologies’ thing, that it doesn’t actually matter. I don’t need a ceremony to remind me how clever she is you see, or to make me feel proud, because I already am. I’ve always been proud.

I was proud when she said she wanted to go to university in London. I was proud when she went, and didn’t run home again even though she was lonely and it was a bit scary and she gets anxious about stuff. I’m proud that she stayed there for three years, working hard, managing panic attacks on her own, and getting on with things. I’m proud that she came home in the holidays to work nearby for extra money and experience. I’m proud that she supported herself working weekends in a call centre. I’m proud that she started her own blog and writes really funny, thoughtful posts.

And I’m proud that she was drinking a gin and tonic before 11am.

Good work Bee.


What TV shows did you like to watch as a child? I guess it depends on your age, but given that Sesame Street began life in the US way back in 1969, chances are you’ll have watched it at some point in your life. In fact, a 1996 survey found that 95% of all American preschoolers had watched the show by the time they were three years old. (That’s fun fact number one for you right there.)

Strangely, Sesame Street wasn’t quite so quick to catch on the UK. The BBC hated it, and refused to show it, and ITV showed it reluctantly, but in a limited way. It wasn’t until the 1980s that it established itself properly on Channel 4, where it stayed until 2001.

I got to watch Sesame Street twice over then – once in the 1980s when I was little, and then again in the late 1990s when Bee was small. (It does feel a bit weird that I was watching kids’ TV only a decade apart from my own daughter!)

I seem to remember it being on over lunchtime when Bee was small – a 12-1pm slot maybe? We didn’t have the vast array of choice that we have now, and no Sky or cable TV, let alone the internet. When a show came along then that Bee enjoyed, (and that I did too), we seized upon it as a beacon of light relief in what could otherwise be a very long day. (Life with a toddler can be pretty dull when you are 19 and have zero money.)

Sesame Street was that beacon.

Sesame Street View Post