The school years are a great opportunity to enjoy playing a musical instrument. To get the most out of it, your child will benefit from your support. But do you know what you’re in for? I’ve divided up our experiences into six stages, to look at more closely. 1. School Recorder or Ukelele Although the ukelele is becoming more popular it’s still common for primary children to learn recorder in groups. It makes a fantastic squeak when you blow too hard on it. The novelty will probably wear off – stay hopeful! Mastering “three blind mice” on the recorder can…

View Post

From my own very British experience I have discovered 8 ways to not cope with rain on holiday. Get very cross Fail to bring the right coats and shoes Have no backup plans of things to do Fail to make the most of the gaps between the rain Have nowhere to dry out Have nothing else to enjoy about the holiday other than the outdoors Plan nothing else to look forward to after the holiday Spend too much time being cold We’ve just had a camping weekend in the Lake District with some extended family. It was a great weekend,…

View Post

The leaflet for Newby Hall and Gardens near Ripon, North Yorkshire declares “so much to see and do!” There is a lot of truth in that statement. Visiting a stately home with a tween and teenager I did expect to run out of entertainment quite quickly. However teens are like toddlers in at least one respect; if you keep moving, there’s a chance they won’t get bored. We had a leisurely arrival in time for lunch. Just outside the entrance is a large, fenced picnic area. This time we decided to treat ourselves to lunch in the conservatory self-service restaurant.…

View Post

At nearly 12 years old my youngest daughter finally asked for makeup to experiment with. She’s waited until she is quite old to let me know she is interested. If she practices over time she can learn to apply it neatly. But if she thinks she can wear a ton of black eye-liner to go shopping in town with her friends, I will have something to say about it! I’m sure that won’t happen. Why do I think my opinion on my child’s makeup matters? After all, we have to pick our battles and there are bigger issues like homework. I can’t…

View Post

I can’t remember quite how we ended up deciding to visit the National Memorial Arboretum. We were staying in a Youth Hostel nearby in a large extended family group. What we really wanted was somewhere to stretch our legs and chat to each other, and the other thing we wanted was lunch. The thing that clinched it was the free admission, so off we went. Arrival and Entrance We managed to find a very winding country route to get there, which was probably us being daft. In fact the National Memorial Arboretum is in Staffordshire just off the A38 between…

View Post