Sunday, 12 November 2017

Remembrance Rocks

We've recently been enjoying the new craze that's been sweeping the country, locally named "Norfolk Rocks."
I'm not sure where this craze first started, it has stemmed from Rocks of Kindness as far as I can see.
This involves decorating rocks with paints, permanent markers, glitter or embellishments, basically whatever you can that stays on the rock, many people also varnish their rocks to seal them.

Photo from www.shibleysmiles.com/pbc-rocks-palm-beach-county-rocks-rockin/

Then place them around the area when you are out and about, we've found some that were well hidden and others that have been placed within clear view.
We found our first rock during late summer, just before returning to school and were soon hooked into the craze.


Have a quick search on Facebook and you'll most likely find a painted rocks group in your area. I joined up to Norfolk Rocks (UK) and the excitement grew. 


Hiding and finding these little tokens of kindness, some beautifully painted by toddlers and children, some stunning examples from artistic people, some not so talented (me) but are still fun to find.
Many people like to include a little message of hope or kindness too.
Generally people write on the bottom instructing you to take a photo and put on to the Facebook page, then keep or re hide the rock. Many include a hashtag followed by their name but that's entirely up to you.


Following on from the Ladybird Rocks event we held in early October another event sprang to mind!
Along with my friend and fellow rock enthusiast Ceara (the Photo Queen!) we started the Remembrance Rocks event.

This was to encourage people to paint a rock with poppies or other Remembrance symbols and to place them at the Monument on St George's Park, Great Yarmouth on Saturday 11th November. 
(Not wanting to be in the way during the Remembrance Sunday Service.)


One the day we met up at the Monument at 10.30am, some of our other friends had joined us, as had a few other members from the Norfolk Rocks (UK) Facebook page.

I had taken a few spare rocks and Sharpie pens with us to keep the children busy and for any other members of the public who were interested.

(All photos unless specified otherwise are courtesy of Ceara Manifold.)




We noticed a few official gentlemen gathering, a Veteran, a Vicar, others in uniform and we realised that there was going to be a small service whilst we were there.
Emily then approached one of the men with a poppy rock and passed it to him, telling him what we were doing.

Pretty soon we had him and the Vicar joining in with the rock decorating!



We explained why we were doing this and how it was helping the children to understand what Remembrance Day was really about. It can be such an abstract concept for children nowadays, our children are fortunate enough to live in relative peace and I imagine there are very few who have Grandparents or even Great Grandparents who were around World War 2, let alone World War 1!

The rocks made quite an impact once they were placed, a total of 117 encompassed the Monument in total. (We actually removed these on the day and returned them the next morning at the request of the Officiators who wanted them to be part of the Remembrance Sunday ceremony!)


(these photos courtesy of Nicola Lambert.)

The children took the last of our spare rocks and politely asked the Veteran whether he would like to add to the collection. I will admit this was quite an emotional moment!
 

We then took part in the small service and observed the two minute silence at 11am. 
As we stood there, children with bowed heads and a few of them holding each others hands, I couldn't help but feel extraordinarily proud of them all.

During the silence I was acutely aware of the general humdrum of everyday life going on around us; the joyous play of children on the nearby play area, the birds, the drone of traffic and it struck me how ironic it was.
This everyday life going on around us and we were seemingly oblivious to it, and how in our world today wars, fighting and terror continue to effect people all around the world and yet we still go on with our lives.

We spent a little more time with those involved in the ceremony, Mr Mason from Norfolk Fire Service and Rev, Ward taking time out from their day to talk to the children and really take an interest in what they were doing. They also took time to pose with the children and the rocks on the monument.

As us parents watched on, pride swelling inside at how mature and respectful the children were behaving, how much they were taking in and the thanks they gave without prompt not only to these men but approaching the Veteran there to Thank him also.



As we cleared up after ourselves I noticed that the children had wandered up to the monument and were quietly reading the names of the fallen soldiers. We gave them some quite so they could take their time. 
My two spotted a familiar surname amongst those honoured on the monument.
A soldier's name - S.D. Millichamp, my maiden name.



Lest We Forget
1914-1918


















Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Education.com - Resource website

I was recently introduced to Education.com, a great resource for introducing fun and educational activities to young children from 2-11 years of age. No matter what their starting ability is you can utilise the site to put together stimulating activities for your child. With links to lessons plans (great for those home educators) and worksheets, exercises, stories and games there is something for everyone.
Education.com has over 30,000 educational activities available! Plus Guided lessons and progress trackers. You can subscribe to Education.com from $9,99 per month, or a one off payment of $298 gives you unlimited lifetime membership!


Activity: 

Make Math Fun with Buttons!



 


 



Kindergarten Math Activities: Make Math Fun with Buttons!

What You Need:

  • An assortment of buttons (from your own collection or a bag at the craft store)
  • Bowl
  • Sheet of construction paper or card stock
  • Glue

What You Do:

  1. Sort the buttons. Dump the buttons onto the table or floor. Point out all the pretty colours and different sizes. Can she put them into separate piles? Have her sort them by colour first, then by shape, and then by size. Can she sort by two descriptors: colour and size?
  2. Count the buttons. How high can she count? Have her drop the buttons into a bowl while counting. This will help her with one-to-one correspondence. Make sure what she says matches the corresponding button.
  3. Button PatternsShow her an AB pattern, such as red, blue, red, blue… Can she continue the pattern? Can she make other AB patterns? How about an ABC, or other three-colored pattern?
  4. Make a Button Letter. Using the glue, write the first letter of her name on the construction paper. Have her glue the buttons on. Now she has a tactile letter to trace with her fingers. Make more letters as your child encounters them in school or at home, and she'll learn the alphabet in no time!

Monday, 9 October 2017

**COMPETITION** The Cliff Hotel 90's Explosion! Friday 27th October 2017




TO ENTER OUR COMPETITION TO WIN 10 TICKETS TO THIS EVENT PLEASE CLICK HERE!!!

Join the Cliff Hotel for a totally 90's Explosion! on Friday 27th October. 

With music from 

Urban Cookie Collective


Capella


AND Rozalla!




Tickets are just £17.50 per person and not only include these fabulous artists and we don't mean tribute acts but the ACTUAL artists, but the Cliff Hotel's resident DJ Chris Speed will be at the decks to warm you up with a mix of the 90's greatest hits and then bringing the night to a close with fantastic tunes from the decade.


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Mermaid School in Aqua Natura


Having just spent the afternoon reminiscing holidays in the sun with friends, I took a look back through our short break at Magic Natura, Benidorm. Ours was a Jet2Holiday booked via Holiday Hamster.
Whilst there we had unlimited all inclusive access to Aqua Natura, the hotel's onsite water park.
A great water park with a wonderful added attraction - Mermaid School!


This is situated on a little island in the centre of the main pool, a small walkway over the pool brings you to the entrance. 

The experience costs 20 Euros per person and includes costume, make over, accessories, photo shoot, time using the tail in the water and a photo.

The kiosk opens just after midday, we booked over at the Customer Services desk and were given a receipt to hand over. (I found out later that we could of booked this at a discounted rate direct from our hotel, this would of cost 18 Euros per person, however, we were happy to pay the 20 Euros and still considered this value for money.)

We were greeted with great enthusiasm as we arrived, the lady who works the kiosk also performs as a Mermaid in the water park and we had been watching her just before booking the girls in. 

We were able to stay with the girls as they selected their tails and tops, then on to accessories.


There was a whole array of tiaras, flowers, lei lei's, necklaces you name it they had it and it a vast rainbow of colours. The girls spent quite a while choosing, trying on various items before finally making their selection.


After this we helped the girls into their costumes and were asked to wait in the entrance, by now there were several other children who had joined the girls, all keen to become Mermaids.

On to a mermaid makeover next, beautiful swirls, flowers, sparkle, diamont(es) adorned the girls faces in colours to compliment their mermaid tails.


Now it was time for the girls photo shoot. they were taken to pool side and the assistant helped them to wiggle into their tails and attach the mono fins. They had individual photos taken and several of them together. They certainly seemed in their element throughout this, lapping up the attention!


Finally it was the time the girls had been waiting for, time to get into the pool!

Mollie entered the water first, whilst Emily was having her individual photos taken, and very quickly got to grips with the tail and impressed us with her confidence using it. The lady guiding her allowed Mollie to explore the tail but stayed close by in case she got into trouble. Shortly it was time for Ems to join them, she also took to the tail well, not quite as confidently as Mollie but she managed to glide herself through the water.


In all the girls were in Mermaid School for over an hour, a good half of which was in the water using the tails. The quality of the photos they took were exceptional and as well as the one included (your choice of those that were taken) we purchased a few more. I heard that the mono fins were for sale at the water park (but never actually found them or found out how much they were.) From where we were standing we had a great view of them using the tails, diving down under the water and gliding along.

The girls really enjoyed the experience, using a mono fin has been on their Bucket List for some time now and they weren't disappointed. The make up used was waterproof so stayed on during the swim and throughout the rest of the day. 

Highly recommended if you are visiting the area.








Monday, 2 October 2017

Lovely Ladybirds with Norfolk Rocks!

We've recently been enjoying the new craze that's been sweeping the country, locally named "Norfolk Rocks."
I'm not sure where this craze first started, it has stemmed from Rocks of Kindness as far as I can see.
This involves decorating rocks with paints, permanent markers, glitter or embellishments, basically whatever you can that stays on the rock, many people also varnish their rocks to seal them.

Photo from www.shibleysmiles.com/pbc-rocks-palm-beach-county-rocks-rockin/

Then place them around the area when you are out and about, we've found some that were well hidden and others that have been placed within clear view.
We found our first rock during late summer, just before returning to school and were soon hooked into the craze.


Have a quick search on Facebook and you'll most likely find a painted rocks group in your area. I joined up to Norfolk Rocks (UK) and the excitement grew. 


Hiding and finding these little tokens of kindness, some beautifully painted by toddlers and children, some stunning examples from artistic people, some not so talented (me) but are still fun to find.
Many people like to include a little message of hope or kindness too.
Generally people write on the bottom instructing you to take a photo and put on to the Facebook page, then keep or re hide the rock. Many include a hashtag followed by their name but that's entirely up to you.

C.Manifold

After reading about a gathering of painted rocks in Southend I was inspired to give this a try locally. 
I place an event in the Norfolk Rocks (UK) group inviting people to decorate their rocks as ladybirds and to bring them to Gorleston Yacht Pond one evening.



To be honest, I didn't expect much and told the girls that if no one turns up then we will still have fun hiding our rocks. 

C.Manifold

We set off a little early and started to place our ladybirds around the perimeter wall. Soon I was joined by another two families and they started adding.

C.Manifold
C.Manifold

Then this lovely lady.

C.Manifold

Another couple and more and the ladybird line grew!
After 45 minutes we had a wonderful row of 81 ladybirds and friends!

C.Manifold
We were thrilled that so many others had taken part, the children involved had all been ecstatically happy seeing the ladybirds arrive (plus having lots of fun on our beautiful beach) 

C.Manifold
C.Manifold
C.Manifold

The next day the Facebook page was full of excitement as people discovered the ladybirds, sharing their photos, their happiness at seeing them gathered, their swaps and re hides!

81 smiles made that day!



We are now planning a Remembrance Rocks at St Georges Park, Great Yarmouth and we are hoping for enough Poppy Rocks to make a trail leading up to the Memorial Monument. It would be lovely if you could join us, Saturday 11th November, we'll be there between 10.30-11.30am and will mark the minute silence at 11am.

Remember, if you're painting rocks then please do not take them from the beach.


You can buy bags of rocks from DIY shops and garden centre for under £10.

Painted rocks are a great way to involve the family in a little art, a bit of giving and lots of fun, plus you get the health benefits of getting out in the fresh air and taking a walk.

C.Manifold





Saturday, 16 September 2017

Redwings Horse Sanctuary Caldecott


Redwings Horse Sanctuary is situated in Caldecott, Norfolk. It is one of 5 horse sanctuarys ran by Redwings and it is their largest. Easy to find on the A143 opposite Fritton Lake. With ample free parking and free entry Redwings is a great place to pay a visit.

Opening times
Redwings Caldecott is open all year round, every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 10am to 4pm (closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays). 

I must admit, we hadn't visited Redwings for years but a couple of friends of mine were planning to go and invited the girls and I to join them. As we pulled into the car park we had to make our way carefully across to park as the ground was very bumpy and had lots of large dips, just make your way carefully and you will be fine.

To the left as you enter there is a large wooden play area for young children.


After checking in at the Visitors Centre, where we found the staff friendly and helpful, we went through to to take a look at the gift shop and information centre. 
Just outside the girls spotted a food donation box which they are now planning on filling!


We then enjoyed a relaxing hour wandering around the fields and stables. The animals all looked well looked after and had large enclosures and comfortable stables. 


The animals are calm and seemingly very used to human interaction, as we approached each enclosure we found that there would be several horses or donkeys that would come trotting over to be fussed, much to Em's delight!


Redwings also offer an adoption package, priced at just £12.50 and we are now looking into this for Emily. She is busy saving her pocket money and doing extra chores to earn money. Once she has saved enough we will take her back to visit and talk to the staff about adopting a horse or donkey.

After we had walked round the enclosures we decided to pay the cafe a visit. This is cutely called "Nosebag Cafe" and has a reasonably priced menu.


The girls choose ice creams whilst I opted for a Mocha Latte, I have to say it was a good coffee! Proper coffee, Yum!

Whilst us adults enjoyed a sit down, the children all had a run around the play area again and enjoyed hanging out on the fresh air and chatting.

Dotted around the centre were information boards which gave details of the animals in the enclosures and explanations about things we had noticed such as the horses wearing face masks and the empty "overgrown" enclosures.


We finished off with a walk along the stables and a quick goodbye to the horses. 



It was a lovely few hours visit, it's not often that you can get free entry to places these days and when we left we popped a donation in the visitors centre. We'll definitely be back for a return visit in the near future.
To find out more visit their website or find them on Facebook.