My daughter likes pink… And it bugs me!

My daughter likes pink (Or Kink, as she calls it). Big surprise in our culture eh? So why does it irk me? I don’t want her to ever feel limited by the fact she’s a girl (and nor do I want Monkey to ever feel limited by being a boy) or that it means she is unable to do something. I want her to have and do whatever she wants, and she wants pink. So why am I uncomfortable about that? Is it just because it is so stereotypical?

I have to admit that I have tried to stay away from the predominantly pink clothes that are available for girls. Yes she wears pink (mainly because we have a lot of hand me downs from friends but also because I like pink and don’t want to avoid anything completely) but actually she wears all the colours of the rainbow. Her choice, though, is always pink. She prefers her pink coat, her pink shoes etc. So she does wear pink quite a lot at the moment.pink clothes

The same goes for toys, she has pink toys but she also has a lot of more multicoloured things and a lot of boys toys thanks to her older brother. I got her a red balance bike rather than a pink one… But she won’t go on it and I have to admit I am wondering whether she would be more inclined to use it if it were pink?

She shows such a preference for all things pink that it drives me crazy at times. With Monkey he was always about red and yellow when he was little, though he has moved over to blue and yellow as his main faves recently. With LM it is pink and purple. Anything pink or purple and she coos over it. I’ve just bought her a pink drinks bottle to stop the tantrums she had whenever she saw a friend with a pink cup and I tried to get her to use a blue or clear one.

It’s not that I want either of my kids to be brought up ‘gender neutral’ as I don’t really agree with that. We are born a gender and I don’t see any problem with identifying as that gender, to a point anyway. I also disagree with the boys will be boys mentality or that girls have to wear dresses and be graceful and dainty. As with most things I tend to like the middle ground. I’m a girl and I do like some pretty things and to look nice. But I also like to not bother with looking nice sometimes. I enjoy mental arithmetic, and I like cars. I want my son to know its ok to cry sometimes and for my kids to know that there aren’t different jobs for men and women.

So what does it matter what my little girl’s favourite colour is? Really? I’m a big fan of the “let toys be toys” campaign and I dislike the pink aisles for girls toys. But with a girl who loves pink so much without any prompting… I wonder if there is something about pink that girls love and that’s why the toys are pink and they know the will appeal to them? But then I am reminded of the fact that in the 19th century pink was more associated with boys than girls so it must be cultural, right? That even though I haven’t encouraged her to like pink, so much that she sees associates pink with girls.

I like Skye in the paw patrol as she is as much a part of the team as the boys, but again why is she pink to show she’s a girl? Dora wears pink, Millie in Umizoomi wears pink. Again is this because girls like pink or do girls like pink because of this constant reinforcement that pink is for girls?

Does it even matter? I have no idea. I’m going to continue to do what feels right with my kids. To play with the same things with both of them. Because girls can build and play cars and boys can play with babies and cook. To let them be who they want to be, and play with what they want to (within reason obviously, not kitchen knives lol) even if that means swallowing my own opinion or ideas. To guide them to be adults who know that men aren’t better than women and women aren’t better than men. That we have our differences, but that they don’t make either one less than the other.

And I imagine that while I am doing that, my daughter will be wearing pink.pink 1

Me and Mine, April 2017

I didn’t manage to post a me and mine last month as I didn’t really have any family photos to share. In contrast, I have a few this month!

First up, a bit of fun on our family bike ride. It’s a frame from a video so it’s not the best quality ever, but I love it as I was so surprised that LM actually stayed put long enough to capture it!

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But my faves are the two shots from our recent trip bluebell huntingcof

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I adore this picture, it is the kind of family photo I have hoped for for a long time. All happy, all smiling with a beautiful background 🙂

My birthday and bluebell hunting

It was my birthday at the weekend, and it was a very lovely birthday. It’s difficult as you get older, to know how to celebrate your birthday sometimes. We thought about having a big bbq with friends and family round but in all honesty I couldn’t be bothered. I do love hosting things like that but it is a lot of work and actually, for my birthday, I didn’t want to do it. I just wanted to relax instead.

So on Saturday I left hubs with the kids, and popped down to London to see some friends. I was armed with a picnic and hoped the weather would be kind as I headed to Greenwich Park. As it turned out the weather was perfect, warm and dry but not too hot either, and I had the loveliest day with my girls, just sitting doing nothing but chatting. It’s so rare to do something like that and I enjoyed every second.PhotoGrid_1493101586890

I was home by 11 so it wasn’t too late a night and wasn’t too hungover the next day for my actual birthday.

Thankfully LM slept in for us that Sunday Morning so I had a relaxed start with tea and presents with hubs and Monkey. I had a nice hot bath and got ready while hubs sorted a picnic for our day out bluebell hunting.

One of the things I love about having my birthday at this time of year is that it is very much bluebell season. There are some woods not far from here that I have visited regularly over the years, but this year I wanted to try somewhere new. I saw that Brampton Woods were supposed to be nice, and are only about 20 minutes away so thought we would try there.

Uncle Mark & Auntie Fran came with us and, well, we weren’t disappointed. Almost as soon as we entered the woods we were greeted by some beautiful bluebells.PhotoGrid_1493101874151

I had read online the best spot to find the bluebells so we headed in that direction and wow it wasn’t wrong. There were bluebells as far as the eye could see, it was stunning and everything I had hoped it would be.PhotoGrid_1493101975270

We spent a while larking around and taking pictures and just enjoying the bluebells, then had a lovely little picnic before carrying on exploring the woods.PhotoGrid_1493102128232

There were areas in the woods where it almost looked like it was showing, or like we were in a misty swamp or something as there were fuzzy spores everywhere. Think like the seeds from a dandelion clock, but everywhere!PhotoGrid_1493103467704

We spoke to one of the rangers and apparently it is the spores from an aspen tree. Normally they get washed or blown away but because it has been so dry recently they are just gathered together. So it’s very unusual but was kind of cool and felt pretty ethereal. Even during our picnic there were spores flying around us, at points it felt like ash falling in the scenes from Avatar after “home tree” burned down. Even though it was quite cool I was glad to be in the non fuzzy areas again as it was just everywhere and it felt like you were breathing it in!

We had great fun and it is a lovely wood as it is so diverse, with open areas and ponds as well as the more dense woodland areas.PhotoGrid_1493102559585

We had a lovely day and it was just perfect for my birthday 🙂

Our Easter Holidays 2017

The Easter holidays are over and I honestly can’t believe how quickly they have flown by. We’ve had lots of ups and down but mainly ups, thankfully, and lots of fun as a family while Monkey was being off school, so I thought I’d share a little run down of our adventures over the past couple of weeks rather than trying to write separate posts about what we got up and what is going on.

I’m going to start with the negative first as there has been a bit of a shadow cast over the last couple of weeks that I’ve hinted at but not really talked about. Deep breath, here we go. My amazing aunt was, very sadly, and shockingly diagnosed with cancer just before the start of the holidays. My aunt, who is the fittest 70 yr old I can imagine, who treks all over the world. She came back from a trip to Sri Lanka in February and got a cough. The cough got worse so she saw the Dr, they did an x ray and referred her to a chest specialist. It got worse and they got her in for a scan. The scan revealed an aggressive tumour in her lungs, another on her spine and cancer in her liver and kidneys. This all happened incredibly, incredibly fast and it was hard to catch our breath. They started radiotherapy, then she lost the use of her legs and was admitted to hospital. The speed this has happened has been mind-blowing and there’s obviously been a lot of sadness and coming to terms with things. We don’t know what the future holds exactly but we so know that she probably won’t be with us into her nineties as we had hoped previously.

I’m not going to go into it more than that, and it may sound like I’m being cold and matter of fact but that’s the way I have to handle it. My aunt is an amazing lady and she is positive and upbeat and we have to be the same on her behalf. And I have to live my life. Below the surface I am obviously incredibly sad but I can’t let that overwhelm me as I have the kids to focus on and to think about. We’ve explained to Monkey that she’s poorly and the Doctors are trying to help and that they may not be able to. And that is how it stands at the moment. I’m sure you can imagine that this has dominated the last few weeks for us so I couldn’t talk about our Easter hols without mentioning it. Well I suppose I could, but I didn’t want to.

Moving on to the lovely things we have been up to during the holidays. It got off to a brilliant start with some tree climbing for our Monkey, a lovely family bike ride and some gruffalo spotting while enjoying the gorgeous sunshine. Sadly that Sunday night our Little Miss had croup. It was nowhere near as bad as she has had previously, she didn’t have the wheeze (that they call stridor) just the horrible bark like cough. She even slept ok, while Hubs and I were awake and worrying for half the night! So we had a quiet day on the Monday as her cough thankfully became more normal. Hubs took Monkey to work with him which he loved.

On the Tuesday, hubs had some time off work so he came on a bike ride to our local country park with us which was really lovely. The kids had a whale of a time in the sand and water play area there and we had lunch together in the café. That evening my stepdad popped over for tea that evening as my Mum was down in London with my aunt.easter 1

That night I drove down to London to see my aunt and my mum. Hubs and the kids had lots of fun together the next day with another cycle ride and café trip 🙂easter 2

I was feeling pretty drained on the Thursday after the trip to London but we had previously arranged for a day out, going on a bear hunt, at our local country park. The kids loved it, though Madam did have a major tantrum (as she wanted to go to feed the ducks while we were on the trail so couldn’t) which I struggled to deal with with everything that was going on, though thankfully I had a very good friend there who supported me through it. She did get over it and once I explained that the bear was just a man in a suit, she liked him, and she loved the journey back on the little train, so all ended very happily.bear hunt

On Good Friday we did a couple of errands, one of which was looking at bikes for Monkey’s birthday next month. We were planning on just looking but there was a fantastic one, which was on offer over the holidays, and because only the display model was left available we got an even better price for it, so we couldn’t resist. It’s bigger than we thought we would get, with 20″ wheels, but Monkey is so tall and the smaller ones just felt like he would grow out of them so fast. It is much bigger and heavier than his previous bike and while he is fine when he is riding it, he did start off with lots of wobbles when he was standing up, starting or stopping bless him. My older brother came over that afternoon so Monkey loved showing him his new bike and we all went out to help and encourage him. We also did a bit of Easter baking on the Friday, with Easter nests and some Creme egg brownies, yum!easter 4

The Saturday of the Easter weekend was a beautiful day and with rain forecast on Easter Sunday we did our little easter hunt then instead. Monkey loves a good map so I made a little map for the kids to follow. We tend to just give the little eggs, and this year we gave them some little troll toys too (they aodre trolls atm). They get so much choc from all their relatives so they don’t need much from us! That afternoon my little brother and his fiance came over too.easter 5

Sunday was a roast dinner for lunch at my Mum’s which was lovely and another little Easter egg hunt there. Monday we had Hubs’ family over, including his aunt and uncle from Yorkshire for a lovely bbq. I didn’t take many photos but that afternoon we went back to Hubs’ brother’s house and the kids loved playing with their cats and tortoise including giving the tortoise a bath!easter 6

Tuesday was a quiet day for the kids and I as hubs took my parents down to London to visit my aunt in the hospital. This kids and I pottered at home and went on a bike ride to play on the play area. We also had a bit of a princess party which you may have seen! The kids were so good and it was nice to have bathtime fun with them as that is normally hubs’ time with them.easter 7

Wednesday we visited one of our favourite farms with friends and had such a lovely day. Just so full of fun and probably the fullest day I’ve ever spent at the farm so there was a tired Mummy and children that night!easter 8

Thursday was nice and chilled and we saw hubs’ parents for a play in the morning and just had a little play on another local play area in the afternoon. My phone also broke on Thursday which was just a pain, then when I took it into be repaired I was persuaded to upgrade as I only had 1 month left on the contract instead. So apologies for the pants pictures at the play park here, they were taken on a temporary phone.easter 9

Friday was at the park with friends in the morning, testing out my new phone. (more to come on that in a separate post) and we had a fab time with friends we hadn’t seen in a while. That afternoon was at my Mum’s house for the afternoon for some snuggles and hot wheels fun.easter10

So there we have it, 2 weeks went by in a flash! As mentioned there were definitely ups and downs but on the whole it was really lovely. My house is a tip though so I’m ready for Monkey to be back at school, no matter how much fun we had!!

A Disney princess picnic with Hallmark & Tesco

I’ve always loved a good Disney film, and as a kid Beauty & The Beast was a particular favourite. I’ve really looked forward to sharing all of the Disney films with my kids as they’ve gotten old enough and they both love them too. Our little lady especially has a love for all things pretty and she adored seeing Cinderella’s dress transform in the latest remake.

So when I was asked if we would like a Disney Princess themed party of some sort, I thought she would love it. With it being the Easter holidays, I thought that LM, Monkey and I could have a little princess themed picnic together for a bit of fun. We made tiaras and enjoyed some treats while watching one of our favourite Princess films. PhotoGrid_1492513088555

We were sent a fabulous set of Disney Princess themed bits from the folks at Tesco & Hallmark for the occasion, including their beautiful set of birthday cards. I adore these and think any princess would love to receive one on her special day, or give her mummy or daddy one.20170418_120132

I of course love all of the beauty and the beast themed cards and I especially love the one with the jigsaw included, how cool is that? LM loves a good jigsaw!

Tesco & Hallmark are also running an amazing competition at the moment where a little princess could win the dress of her dreams. All you need to do, is go to your local Tesco store, pick up a competition entry where you design the Princess dress you’ve always dreamt of, and who knows? You may just win. PhotoGrid_1492513184909

Do you have a little princess who would like these cards, or would love to win the dress of their dreams?

I received a box of goodies for the purpose of this blog post, however all thoughts, opinions and images are my own. 

Little Miss at 2 1/2!

Our little miss is 2 1/2. She has grown up so much recently that she really seems like a proper little girl now. Her speech is coming on in leaps an bounds and her personality is really showing through – especially the cheeky, defiant side!IMG_20170408_201124_214

We had her 30 month check with the health visitor this week and I had quite the booklet to fill in. It was quite nice to do though as I was able to tick that she could do almost everything they asked. There were some on there that I didn’t even know she was able to do until I asked her either so that was a nice surprise. I was especially pleased that she has mastered jumping in the last couple of weeks (finally!) so was able to show off her jumping skills quite nicely haha 🙂 honestly she is jumping everywhere and off everything as a result of learning how to do that!

As I mentioned above, her speech is really flying now, with new words appearing all the time. She is trying so much harder now too. Whereas previosuly if you asked her to try and say something, she would either ignore you, or say “yeah” but wouln’t actually try. Now she is properly repeating everything an trying to say anything you say. Reading a book she tries to say the words back and s of course her vocabulary is increasing all the time and it is adorable. So many family members have melted at her saying “Tahtu” (thank you) or saying their names in a more defined way.

Some of her recent words are: Hi, Bye, Hur hah (hurt hand), Zhezure (treasure), Hewo (hello), Bees (please), Reh (Red), Purpuh, Kink (Pink), Bu, Gee, Yewoah (yellow), Butfwy (butterfly),Or atroh (paw patrol), trow (trolls), ahdrow (eyebrow), tat (cat).

Honestly though that list could go on and on as there are so many more words every day. I am really pleased with her progress and know it will only continue. She starts at pre-school in a couple of weeks and I know that being around all the other children will help her speech two. Yes thats right, I said she starts pre-school soon. My little baby is going out in the world for 2 mornings a week in two weeks time. We are both so, so ready for it. We went for the induction and she loved every second. Her closest little friend already goes which helps but honestly she is such a sociable little thing that I am sure she would be fine anyway. She is such a different child to her clingy big brother so I know she will love it.IMG_20170410_135705_270She really is quite feisty, and well that is putting it mildly. She is deliberately naughty in a way that Monkey never has been really. I tell her not to do something, so she does it all the more. She always wants whatever I say she can’t have or whatever is difficult, and then screams almost endlessly when I say no.

Last week we went on a bear hunt at our local country park, but she wanted to o some of the things that we normally do there, like feed the ducks. The answer was no because we were doing the bear hunt an oh the screaming lasted forever. To start with everyone else on the outing was understanding, but as it on there were comments like “is she ok?” “oh she must be tired” and I felt like the awful parent intermittently ignoring her, or carrying her like a sack of potatoes as we had to catch up to the rest of the group and her big brother who was way ahead. She wasn’t tired, she was just tantrumming. In the end another mum let her ride on her buggy board and then sit in her pushchair. I can’t say I was hugely happy about the situation but I recognise that her tantrum was affecting everyone and wasn’t about to get into a parenting argument so just bit my tongue and thanked them. The trouble is that she is so darn cute that people melt over her but in my opinion she needs to learn that screaming doesn’t get her her own way, or even attention.IMG_20170413_200214_004

So we’ve used the naughty spot a lot more over the last week. The trouble I find with the second child, is that it is easy to sometimes let things slip. I fully recognise that I have let her get away with things and not been consistent with her at times for want of an easy life. But I always tend to find that that actually makes it harder in the long run an the time has come to be a bit firmer. The good news is that she totally gets the naughty spot now. She sits for her two minutes and apologises at the end. She is put off by even the threat of it much of the time, but when she isn’t then I have to follow through, I just have to.

So yes, she is a complete diva at times and such a madam who really knows how to push my buttons. But she is also lovely, and yes, completely adorable. She just loves to show off to all her realtives and pretty much wraps them around her little finger haha. Even out at a local soft play she had an older girl pretty much doing her bidding for her!lm 212 1

She is so full of fun too. She adores being tickled and loves to mess with people to make them laugh, So much larking around and cuteness. She’s become a lot more social too recently, saying hi to everyone we meet, and wanting to hold hands with other children, which lets face it, is just gorgeous.lm 212 2

We had a bit of a time with her being scared of dogs an cats recently, but thankfully things are improving on that front. She has gone from screaming in terror to waving and saying hello an bye bye to dogs and she even stroked her uncle’s cats at the weekend. We’ve just tried to be really positive about dogs and cats and said things like “aren’t they lovely?” instead of “dont worry, they won’t hurt you” as that didn’t seem to help (maybe it reinforced the idea in her head she needed to worry and might hurt her, who knows, the fear came almost out of nowhere so I have no idea really). She was much better visiting the local farm this week too and stroked a horse and a sheep which she would not have one previously. She also loved washing her uncle & auntie’s tortoise!lm 212 3

One of her favourite things at the moment is to go on the “chair” which is the seat on the back of my bike. She’s always loved it and since her brother has been doing so well on his bike we have been out on it nearly daily, and it is such a relief that she likes it on there so much!She adores the film Trolls, as we all do to be honest and she loves dancing around to the music, which again,, we all do haha. Otherwise her favourite thing to watch at the moment is still Dora, especially the episode with the blimmin mermaid haha. The songs get so stuck in my head!IMG_20170412_105837

She loves things pink purple, pretty and girly. Much as I have to admit it irks me slightly (will get into that in another post). She always wants the pink or purple versions of things an I’ve relented and bought her a pink cup as she always covets other children’s pink cup and refuses to drink out of our blue or other coloured ones. It just wasn’t worth the argument every time haha. She likes a pretty bow in her hear or a nice dress. She recognised Elsa & Anna on her frozen pyjamas this week, and loves flowers too. Such a girly little girl… but having said that she is fearless an climbs everywhere, loves spinning on spinny things at the playpark and as I mentioned above is now jumping off everything too so I don;t put her indresses too much, mainly for practicality! She’s clumsy too and falls over a lot so her little legs are always covered in little bruises poor thing!

She has a little bit of a thing for stones at the moment, or “roh”(rocks) as she calls them, spending ages digging around in the dirt and filling her pockets with them. She likes rlling them down the slide in front of her, then moaning when she can’t find them at the bottom. She also has a thing for putting things up her nose, which I am less than happy about, and yes, some smaller stones have gone up there too, which is really not great! She is fascinated by those little holes in her face though and almost permanently has a finger up there. I hope we are getting the message across that she stops putting things up there though! Daft child!

This is a bit of a rambly post but just a little update on our little lady as she is now, as she is growing up so so so fast these days!lm 212 4

 

 

A lovely long family bike ride

Since learning to ride his bike without stabilisers our Monkey just can’t get enough of it. He wants to go on a bike ride everyday, and often multiple times. We love it and thankfully LM loves sitting in her “chair” on the back of my bike too so we get out quite a lot.

On a very sunny Saturday last week we had no plans for the afternoon, so I came up with the idea of a slightly longer bike ride than we’d done previously. We are so lucky that we live close to a country park so most of our rides end up there or at a local playpark. I fancied a change though so we headed off to another lovely spot, a lock over the river.

It really is a longer cycle for Monkey so we thought we’d try it and see how we went, and he did brilliantly! Much of the journey is on a path next to the Nene Valley Railway line and at one point we were chasing a diesel train on the tracks. His little legs couldn’t quite keep up but Monkey certainly gave it a good try.

I originally thought we would just get to the lock over the river and turn back, but we got there in no time and Monkey was keen to continue, so onwards we went.

Down near the rowing lake are some sculptures that have been there since 1987 and that Hubs and I remember from when we were kids. This was getting quite far now, but Monkey was adamant he wasn’t ready to head back so we continued on and both kids loved seeing the sculptures… Especially the ones hubs has nicknamed “dinosaur poos” hehe can’t think why that would appeal?PhotoGrid_1491834925600

I loved the one that looked like lots of open doorways, and miraculously managed to get a family snap of us all standing in a different doorway!20170408_143654

It was such a glorious day to be out, and lovely to see Monkey enjoying his bike so much. At times he was tired and needed a breather but on the whole he was fine. It was funny cycling behind him as he was having little conversations with himself, making up scenarios and vouching and whizzing and kept bending down low when he wanted to go fast to “get the baddy” or something haha.

It was just lovely and both hubs and I feel this is such a huge step as a family, to go on proper bike rides at more than a walking pace. I can see us doing this a lot this summer I really can. Well done Monkey!

 

10 Years Ago….

10 years ago my life was very different to the way it is now.

10 years ago I had a failed engagement behind me and no clue what I wanted to do with my life after deciding a career in TV wasn’t for me after all.

10 years ago my father had recently committed suicide.P1060670

10 years ago I didn’t really know who I was or what lay in store.

10 years ago I packed my life up and headed off on a worldwide adventure.

When I say worldwide, I do mean worldwide. Over the next 12 months I visited 19 different countries and slept in goodness knows how many different places. I did a skydive, a bungee jump and a canyon swing. I got over my fear of snorkelling and even went diving. I climbed mountains and glaciers, took helicopter rides over waterfalls and the Grand Canyon. I slept in the bush in Australia and the freezing cold mountains of Canada. I walked the Great Wall and saw the sun rise over Angkor Wat in Cambodia and at Machu Piccu in Peru.travel selection

I started my adventure with my Mum in New York then I continued solo from then on. There were wobbles along the way. My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was away and I so very nearly came home. But thankfully they caught it early and she insisted I stay while she was treated. I still carry guilt about that but have to be glad that all ended so well.

I had my wallet stolen and my back up credit card cloned in South America leaving me with only the kindness of friends I met until I could have a replacement card sent to Australia . And boy did I meet some wonderful people. Some of us met up again for New Year’s eve in Sydney that year and I have met up with so many of them time and again over the last 10 years and I hope that our friendships will last a lifetime.travelling friends

It’s hard to reconcile that year with the life I have now. Now I’m a mum and am responsible for 2 tiny humans. I wouldn’t change that for the world,  but my travels and experiences are things that I am incredibly proud of. I can’t wait to return to some of these places with the kids when they are older to share it with them and the hubs.

Siblings April 2017

I’ve always loved watching the relationship between my siblings grow and develop and it’s lovely to look at how much their relationship changes month by month. IMG_20170413_200214_004

They play together a lot more now, which brings with it a lot more bickering. I was away a couple of days this week visiting my very poorly aunt (I may share more about that one day if I have the strength) and when I called hubs at one point, the first thing I heard was Monkey yelling “LM no! Don’t do that!” haha. A good reminder that life goes on. Anyway, LM loves to try and boss her brother around and he’s very sweet so sometimes he concedes, but actually it is making him stand up for himself by saying no, which is good for him. It’s funny how they learn so much from each other, it’s not a one way street and I really love that.

There’s a lot going on at the moment so I’m keeping this short and sweet, and here are a few photos of my little pair, just going about their lives, together. PhotoGrid_1492153918094

Plus I love this one that Hubs took while I was away.. IMG-20170412-WA0014

And this one really sums up their relationship I think. A very put upon little Monkey being squished by a cheeky sister who loves nothing more than trying to wind him up! (Excuse the mess of our house lol!) 20170401_160614

So there we have it, our little siblings in the last month. They do love each other though and love a good snuggle too. IMG-20170412-WA0013

Fun in the sun at Fineshade Woods with the Gruffalo Spotter App

Wasn’t the weather last weekend just stunning? A bit of sunshine can work wonders and I think almost all of us were out there in some form to make the most of us weren’t we? We had already arranged to meet friends at Fineshade Woods, which is a forestry commission forest near to where we live, and were quite pleased to be able to go there in the sunshine as we’ve only ever been on rainy or cold days before!

The biggest difference was obviously how busy it was, still we were there early enough that we managed to park and met our friends. First up was a little play on the fab play area near the visitors centre.PhotoGrid_1491833272213

Then we headed off onto their newest trail, the Gruffalo trail! They had a Gruffalo trail here previously which ended with a sculpture, but I knew this one was all about the latest app, the Gruffalo Spotter, so I had downloaded it prior to arrival. We headed off down the trail and could immediately see the difference a sunny Sunday made, as it was busy! The kids loved spotting all the signs along the way even though we sometimes had to wait a bit to get close to some of them.PhotoGrid_1491833054674

The app itself is based on an augmented reality. You scan some of the signs and then the characters from the book come to life on your device. It’s kinda cool… But I’m not that convinced I have to admit. On a bright sunny day it was tricky to see the screen… And we only had phones rather than a tablet which I guess may be better.PhotoGrid_1491832908962

But for small children, I don’t think they really got why things were on my screen but weren’t really there. Trying to get them to pose for photos was tricky too as they were standing next to a sign and didn’t really get why. Monkey grasped it a bit but LM didn’t have a clue what was going on really! It didn’t help that it was a busy day as sometimes we had to wait to get to one of the signs, which the little ones really didn’t see the point of!

Then, the worst bit for us was that the final one, with the Gruffalo… Just didn’t work. I tried a few times and restarted the app but just nothing. I don’t think we were the only ones either so it was a shame. By that point the kids were pretty hungry anyway we easily distracted them and headed to the cafe.

I don’t think the app and the downsides detracted from our enjoyment of the trail… But actually I don’t think they enhanced it either. We all loved running around and playing in the woods and looking out for clues. The images we saw and pics we took gave us a bit of a giggle but I just think that actually for my kids at least, that they would have liked something tangible they could see, more than something on a screen. It also meant I was behind my screen a lot trying to get it to work, rather than being present and joining in the fun with them.

Like I say, we had a really lovely day. Catching up with great friends and having a fun outdoor adventure in lovely woods on a gorgeous day. I’m just not sure I’d bother with the app next time!PhotoGrid_1491833176426

Have you tried the Gruffalo Spotter app? What did you think? Am I being overly negative about it or did you think the same?