Repetition and variation: Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day

Can you believe that the movie Groundhog Day is now 23 years old? I remember going to see it at the cinema in 1993 with my friend Karen – it was the end of my first year at University and Karen’s year abroad in the UK (from the US). It took a while to get one’s head around the story – I remember my initial reaction being “what was that all about?” – I was hooked on the desire for things to always be properly explained – abstraction, for a while, seemed unacceptable.

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Pursuing Happiness…

The Pursuit of Happiness

I am currently reading Ruth Whippman’s book The Pursuit of Happiness (and how it’s making us anxious) and although I haven’t quite reached the end yet I’m finding it fascinating. As a former Happiness Project disciple I have begun to feel thoroughly de-constructed. A pin has most definitely been unceremoniously jabbed into my little Americanised bubble. I say Americanised, but only half of me seems to be have been converted.

Several times throughout the book Whippman points out the marked difference between the British psyche and that of our Atlantic cousins – the former deeply entrenched in *reality* – with a heavy dose of ‘this is all a bit rubbish’ bubbling under the surface, whilst the latter remain perkily upbeat, optimistic and outwardly positive at all times. She remarks on the way in which us Brits have been involved in a huge sea change towards the American way (citing the changes she’s noticed in the things her British friends share on Facebook these days and the fact that we have also been enraptured by the idea of happiness as a goal we can achieve through activities like yoga, meditation and mindfulness).

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Being human…


I read a book over the weekend. Let me just state that again: I-READ-A-BOOK-OVER-THE-WEEKEND. It’s news in my world simply because I think I’ve probably managed to read about 2 books in the last year, so mentally crowded is my life with the demands of motherhood and work and (lately) commuting and threenage tantrums combined with a general need to spend the two hours of the day I have to myself vegetating in front of the iPlayer.

I guess that must say something about this book. It’s called The Humans and it’s written by a guy called Matt Haig. I’ve read one of his other books, The Radleys, but I bought this one for my sister as a gift a while ago after reading an intriguing review. It just so happens that she gave it a rave review herself and recently lent me her copy – an actual hard copy as well (I’m so used to reading everything on Kindle nowadays).

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Fire station activity book and playset review

Firestation book and play set

When I went to the Britmums conference back in June I was excited to become a Parragon Book Buddy – essentially a monthly reviewer. Unfortunately I chose an age group that was too advanced for my two but I have finally got around to changing that and we were recently sent this fab Fire Station activity book and play set to test.

I have to say that when I first opened up the envelope and EJ saw what was inside it was like all his Christmasses had come at once! He absolutely loves fire engines and has several toys already, but the beauty of this book/toy is that it has a whole pop out and build cardboard fire engine, fire station and loads of little extras – from firemen and women with hoses, fire hydrants, road block fences, and even a cat stuck up a tree!

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I Want My Hat Back at the NT – a review

I Want My Hat Back at The National Theatre Photo Credit: ©Richard Davenport 2015,, 07545642134

I Want My Hat Back at The National Theatre
Photo Credit: ©Richard Davenport 2015,, 07545642134

When I was a child I remember seeing some fabulous shows at the National Theatre including an adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic picture book Where The Wild Things Are. In keeping with the art of adaptation the NT is currently running their own version of I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. It is a sparsely worded tale which myself and the children were unfamiliar with – the story of a sleepy bear with a much loved red pointy hat and a cheeky rabbit who takes a shine to said headgear and steals it whilst the bear is napping.

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Review of The Tiger Who Came to Tea at the Lyric

London, UK. 03.07.2014. THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA roars into the West End. Adapted from Judith Kerr's book, and directed by, David  Wood, the children's show opens at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. Abbey Norman plays the little girl, Sophie,  Jenanne Redman, her mummy, and Matthew Dudley, the tiger, Sophie's daddy, the Milkman and the Postman. Photograph © Jane Hobson.

Photograph © Jane Hobson.

Last weekend we were invited to the Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue to review their current show: an adaptation of the classic picture book The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. I recently took the kids to another picture book adaptation, I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen at the National Theatre which I decided to review without being asked (it was brilliant!), so I was interested to see how the adaptations compared – from both an adult and a child’s perspective.

The first thing I have to say is that I loved having an excuse to take the kids to a beautiful old London West End theatre and it was a complete contrast to the very modern temporary theatre at the National which we had experienced the week before.

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On missing Blogfest 2015

Rabbit jumpingBack in June 2014, a year into my blogging journey, I missed the first Britmums Live conference I had the chance to attend – even though I’d bought a ticket. As I’ve mentioned before I managed to double book myself that year and our family holiday took precedence. However, despite having a really lovely holiday, I was really gutted at the time. I remember sitting in the car as we drove home from Norfolk flicking through my Twitter feed relentlessly, torn between the desire to pretend it wasn’t happening and wanting to feel in some way connected to events. I took in every Morrisons cake and staged selfie and worried that I’d missed the boat as far as bonding with the people I’d been chatting with for many months was concerned.

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A review of Squires Badshot Lea Ice Grotto ADVENT-ture

Elf with clue

Ever since having children I have been a big fan of our local garden centre. I would go as far as to say that I could probably count the number of times I visited a garden centre before children on two hands. However, as any desperate parent of demanding munchkins will know, any venue which provides the combination of coffee/café, live pets, and in the case of Badshot Lea, an outdoor play area and Cbeebies on telly (!!) is a venue which will become a regular part of your world very quickly. I even go there on my own sometimes to browse the scented candles and Katie Alice cookware in peace, but I digress.

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A review of Shorefield Country Park, Hampshire

Cyril & Sybil

This year we decided to split our holidays between April and October and skip summer (all bar our one aborted camping trip!). Although I do sometimes yearn for a proper summer holiday, now we are forced to take our breaks in school holidays at the very least most leisure parks and attractions are geared up for kids at these times and no more so than in the Halloween half term.

As I mentioned before we were lucky enough to be able to get a substantial discount on a ‘static caravan’ at the five-star rated holiday park ‘Shorefield’ in Milton on Sea, in the New Forest. From looking at their range of accommodation online it would appear that the place we stayed fell about in the middle of the basic-luxury spectrum – what they call ‘Select Plus’.

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An impromptu picnic at Farnham Park with Trespass Picnic Rucksack

EJ in Farnham Park

Over the summer holidays we visited beautiful, picturesque Farnham Park once or twice and noticed that construction was taking place to replace the old play structures with something completely unique. Unfortunately the work didn’t actually finish until the kids were back at school, however I took my two along last Sunday and we discovered this wonderful wooden wonderland filled with forts, trip trap bridges, never ending balance beams, wobbly bridges, giant spiders with climbing webs and, thankfully, the old zipwire still in place!

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