Monthly Archives: July 2012

Hello Canvas – A Review

There was recently a discussion on Facebook between a few Mummys and myself about what we thought in general of photos on canvas. The majority opinion was a big thumbs up for them, but a lot depended on the image you use.

So, when I get an e-mail from Hello Canvas  inviting us to put to them to the test on their product quality, I was keen to give them a try. Thing is though – being a current Instagram fanatic, my plain old normal unedited photos seemed . . . well . . . a bit boring. So, I fling an e-mail back to them attaching my favourite Instagram image of Grace. Can this be done?

Yes! Was the reply. Yey! (Although they do advise to use the high res option within Instagram, and a high quality image over 250 kb in size. Apparently – that will make sense to some of you.)

We have a few other canvas pictures – all small, and only one other of Grace. They are all really nice, but when I opened the Hello Canvas picture it really took my breath away. In fact here’s me being all excited when it arrived:

A lovely big size and the Instagram effect translated beautifully. It looks absolutely perfect on our previously empty landing wall where other pictures had looked a bit lost. What do you think?

Here’s why I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this company:

  • They were a pleasure to deal with: personal, prompt and polite in all their correspondence.
  • The product arrived really quickly and was well packaged.
  • The picture itself was stunning. Excellent quality.

They also offer:

  • Delivery within 3 working days when you order before 4pm .
  • Money back guarantee.
  • FREE shipping.
  • Lowest price guarantee.
  • Ready to hang.

I love, love, love my picture from Hello Canvas. It was a pleasure to review for them. If you’d like to check out what they can do, have a nosy over at http://www.hellocanvas.co.uk/.

***By the way: For 5% discount as a Water Birth Please reader, just quote discount code  LBMAR2012. ***

Perhaps Grace summed it up best . . .

“S’ME MUMMY! ISSA BIG GRACIE!  . . . S’VERY PRETTY!”

Modest, isn’t she?

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OH MY GOD THE SUNS OUT!

SUN! OH MY GOD THE SUNS OUT! SUMMER’S HERE: GET BUCKETS, SPADES, TOWELS, BALLS AND HEAD TO THE COAST QUICK BEFORE WE MISS IT!

Admittedly, summer thus far has been particularly pap – weather wise, but God, the nano second we get a sniff of a warm day we all go mental. We’re so . . . .well . . . British. Out in force, sod the suncream, buckets and spades brandished, bellies out and kids running amuck. And I include my own family in this by the way. We had the first nice day in what seemed like forever yesterday, and off we dutifully trooped to the seaside. Ice cream dribbled down fingers, sand castles were built, feet were buried, shoulders were burnt, and toddlers were discouraged from investigating suspicious looking objects bobbing about in the water.  

I wonder what our continental brethren make of us? As they sit in the shade dressed impeccably in cool linens and designer shades, eating olives and sipping Evian, we charge around like mad dogs in the midday sun, barbecuing our brains out.

Ah well “stuff  it” say I! We get so little sun these days that so what if we make the most of it? I salute the deck chair and the donkey ride! Long live tucking your skirt in your knickers for a paddle in questionable water! Praise be for the beer garden and the shameless displays of beer bellies. As I sit here, nursing my sunburn northern tan  and reflecting on the two whole days we’ve now spent outside, I hereby declare, that should the sun honour us humble Brits with its presence again, I’ll make the bloody most of it. Hell – I may even sport a knotted handkerchief!

ARE YOU WITH ME PEOPLE OF BRITAIN?

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The Mozart Effect.

Did you see my post on the Stone Roses gig I went to? Did you know I love Supergrass? The Pixies? Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and The Vaccines? Pre-baby days I was a very regular Rock/indie band goer, festival fanatic, and had even been known to get up on the mic and have a bit of a strum and a song-song at the local pub’s acoustic nights.  I am also kind of hoping Gibby will grow up to be a rock drummer. Yeah! (Just wanted to get all that in before I launch into the real topic of this post, which some of you may find erring towards the geeky side.)

 I also like some classical music. I don’t know a lot about it. I don’t hear a piece on the telly or radio and start conducting whist spouting my knowledge to anyone in earshot “AAaah yes – Mass in C Minor by Tchaikov-hoven-handle-bach. Superb string arrangement . . . fnar fnar!”

But there are a few pieces I play quite often – both myself on piano, but also  just to listen to depending what mood I’m in. I used to play it a lot for Giblet when she was a baby, but for some reason, Bach has made way for The Wheels on the Bus and Tchaikovsky for the Tweenies. How’d I let that happen?

Anyhoo, I digress. Something happened in the car the other day and it got me thinking. I was playing a CD with one of my favourites on (Elizabethan Serenade by Ronald Binge . . . I know . . . “get me”) when Gibby, who had been quietly thumb-sucking and looking out the window, pipes up with “Mummy! This song like a butterfly!”

“Is it Grace?”

“YEAH! Come on!”

And as the light and floaty strings swirl out of the speakers she happily flaps her arms up and down butterfly stylee. “COME ON MUMMY! YOU A BUTTERFLY TOO!”

So with one arm on the steering wheel and the other flapping away as I join in, we both do our best butterfly impression as we bomb along the roads of Bolton.

“MUMMY I’M HAPPY!” She shouts as she flaps along.

I have since asked all who care for Grace whether they have used this music with her in connection with a butterfly activity. They haven’t. So that means that this particular piece sparked her imagination enough to think of butterflies. How lovely.

Now every time we get in the car she asks for the butterfly song. Perhaps more interestingly though, at roughly the same point she always says the same thing “Mummy, I’m happy!”

It became obvious fairly quickly that this song has a really strong effect on her.

Brace yourselves – I’ve been Googling!

It would seem that for a long time now, research has suggested that classical music can have numerous positive effects on children’s development and health (commonly referred to as the Mozart effect). These can include improvement in:

  • Communication.
  • Emotion and mood.
  • Memory.
  • Articulation of emotion.
  • Speech.
  • Spacial awareness.
  • Movement.
  • Expression.
  • Stimulation of brain and body.

There’s a ton of information on-line about this if you wanted to dig deeper. There are even albums dedicated to it (just pop ” Mozart effect” into an Amazon search and you’ll see.)

I know that since Grace’s surprising but delightful reaction to Elizabeth Serenade, I’ve been putting a little classical on in the background whenever we do  art and craft, or sometimes at bath time, and sometimes just to “butterfly” around the living room to.

If you’re curious but have no clue where to start, here are links to 3 of mine and Gibby’s favourites on YouTube which of course is free, as is Classic FM. (We only use You Tube for the music, some of the visuals are a bit random.)  I’d love to know what you think – and especially to hear from you if you try it!

  • Elizabethan Serenade by Ronald Binge – great to draw/play or flap to!
  • Canon in D by Pachelbel – Lovely and dreamy for bath time or bedtime. If you only listen to one, please sit back and give this one a try. It’s so beautiful and gets better the more it builds.
  • William Tell Overture by Rossini – Put it on loud, run around, bash any percussion you may have handy.

 RIGHT! I’m off to ROCK OUT to some Foo Fighters now. I AM COOL, DAMN IT!

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My Little Positivity Trick.

I do this thing with Grace every night. I didn’t think anything of it really, but a couple of my Mummy friends I’ve mentioned it to have said they think it’s a lovely idea, and they do it too now. So I thought I’d share it.

I can’t remember when I started doing it, but I remember why. You see, I went through a phase of reading self-help books during a low point in my mid-twenties. For the most part – they didn’t really help. However – there was one piece of advice that for some reason stuck with me. I can’t remember the book, or the exact method it recommended, but it was to do with writing down anything positive from your day before you go to bed.

Even if you’ve had the shittiest day in history, have been stressed to buggery, or it’s been mundane as hell, you can always dig deep to find something:

  • I’ve had a good chat with my friend this morning.
  • I cried and felt better for it.
  • I got to read a few chapters of a good book. 

 Etc.

I have since found out that writing down positive thoughts, and/or reasons to be grateful is quite a commonly recommended psychological practice, and has been found to be very effective in improving mood and encouraging happiness. (I could launch into the science and research behind it all at this point – but nah. I’ll keep it short and sweet I think.)

So for a while, I did this excercise religiously, and I’m sure it went some way into instilling a little positivity again. Nowadays I don’t bother for myself, but I do my own little version with Grace every night. We read our bedtime story and cuddle together. I ask her to think of three nice things about her day. Before she was as verbal, I’d tell her three nice things about her day. Now I can ask – prompt if need be – and it’s lovely.

Even after a nightmare day from hell when she’s been a little madam and I’m at my wit’s end, we always think of something. Tonight, she volunteered the following:

  • My play with Poppy.
  • My seen Grandma and Grandad.
  • My throw TEN sticks in the puddle with Mummy.

She then re-played the stick throwing – counting to ten and laughing to herself.

I’m no psychology expert. I’m definitely no parenting expert. But I love this habit we’ve developed of ending every day with nice thoughts. I suppose that deep down, I’m hoping it’ll kind of help her develop a happy mind-set. If she can learn to find the good in even the not-so-good days, then surely that’s a positive thing?

 

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Petplan post – My Dogs Dream Holiday.

Although I don’t usually do sponsored posts, PetPlan are a great company I have myself used for years, and I loved the idea they proposed: writing about what my Dogs favourite holiday would be! Brilliant. Continue reading

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