Royal Albert Hall

A view from the roof!

As a writer, inspiration comes from anywhere. During lockdown, I would cycle to work up Exhibition Road and along past the Royal Albert Hall.

Every morning and every evening, I’d cycle the hour it took to commute in my own little world, with my own little characters, on their adventures.

While I have been to the Royal Albert Hall before, I felt compelled to come again, post lockdown, to really help my imagination get the words on the paper.

It’s amazing to be here with almost no-one else!

My first time I was here, a new nanny friend had been given tickets for an Orchestral concert to Harry Potter (the second one- ps I hate snakes)

Sitting in the bar before the show, my lovely new friend ordered a bottle of pink Prosecco to which we thought we’d have to squirrel down quickly as we weren’t sure if we could take the bottle into the auditorium. When asking the bar staff, they said “it depends on your tickets” To our surprise, we were in a box, and therefore very welcome to take our bottle in. We also got lots of Harry Potter freebies!

Before the show of Harry Potter, with a real life orchestra playing.
I may have been super happy with the situation 😅

I would like to thank Andy for the wonderful tour, and answering my weird questions which out of context definitely make me sound a little crazy. I have also bought a new Royal Albert Hall note book to scribble down all my new found facts and ideas!

More to books…

So until my book comes out, why not check out this book as there really is #moretobooks than reading when it’s a fold- out history book!

Music by Nicholas O’Neill and Susan Hayes, illustrated by Ruby Taylor

Love Kat x

London

As restrictions are easing and museums are opening, being a nanny in London, I wanted to share my love for London with you all, through…you guessed it…books!

There is so much to do in London, and even if you’re not living here, your little ones can learn about it through pages.

For our older readers, The Story of London by Rob Lloyd Jones goes from the Romans to now. If you do live here, I really recommend the Museum of London.
For our little ones, this lovely visual hard book by Jane Foster depicts iconic London things.
Without being in London, you can create a mini city with your Lego bricks with this amazing book by Warren Elsmore, there really is #moretobooks when you can create iconic London things in your own home.
Or for our little ones, find things in this visual “search,find,match” book illustrated by Marion Billet.

However, if you’re lucky enough to live here or visit…

This clipboard by Erik Nash and illustrated by Clair Rossiter can bring London to life and keep boredom at bay, while learning at the same time.

I rarely share books for adults but these will help you bring learning to life with your children by sharing walks and things to do.

Jimi Famirewa has described all the amazing things to do in London and categorises them for your little ones to your big ones taking the guess work away.
My family love walking. With this book, you can take your children around London bringing history to life but also showing there is #moretobooks by seeing places from books and films in the city. Becky Jones and Claire Lewis have done all the hard work for you.
Maybe one to do as a family, this journal has pictures to colour in and activities to do. Might be fun!

What’s your favourite thing to do in London?

Love Kat x

Alice

I went to an exhibition in the V and A!

It was amazing to be back in a museum, mask and sanitiser at the ready!

I was excited to fall down a rabbit hole of my own in to the wonderful world Lewis Carroll created.

Something I didn’t know is that Lewis Carroll isn’t his real name. I don’t know how this little nugget of information passed by me but he actually translated his first and middle names into Latin and then switched them over. It made me wonder what my pen name might be, Kathryn is just Catherine so I am now Lord Elizabeth aka Dominus Suspendisse!

The exhibition did have questions for children and it was magical, but I’d say it’s not for really little children. There is a paper trail and rabbits for them to look out for.
Visually, the exhibition is stunning.
And there are moving art installations throughout.
My favourite part was the VR. I fell down the rabbit hole, drank potions, played croquet with hedgehogs and grew so tall I could see over the gardens and roof tops.
It was social distanced and they made sure everything was very clean but it did mean there was a bit of a queue. But worth it for your older children!

The most amazing thing I got from the exhibition is that Lewis Carroll or rather Charles Lutwidge Dobson was that his stories he told inspired art, music, theatre, fashion, film decade after decade!

Fashion from Vogue
Japanese fashion
This is actually a sculpture and not intended to be worn.

More to books…

For the little ones, why not learn how to count with the White Rabbit?
Enjoy the story with Helen Oxenbury’s gorgeous drawings.
Or the crazy drawings by Chris Riddell!
This is a shorter version adapted by Lewis himself, for our younger readers.
This book is quotes from Alice and the other characters. I find it fascinating when authors manage to write sentences that become known and loved!
Bring the story to life with this story box!
There is definitely more to books when you can solve puzzles.

Who is your favourite character in Alice in Wonderland?

Love Kat x

Cruella

At the end of Portobello Road, the street was shut off for filming. At the time I was working not far from there and my Dad came to visit. (Before lockdown obviously)

Being bold and brave, my Dad asked the security men what they were filming, to be told it was a baked bean commercial, to which I think he was pretty happy with.

When the filming wrapped up, I had to nip into the laundrettes that had been shut for the filming. The lovely gentlemen that worked in there then told me it was, you guessed it, CRUELLA.

So I had to take my Dad back to the scene of the baked bean commercial!

The film is a 12a which means you can take younger children to it. While it’s not scary as such, there is violence and death themes running through but then those themes run in Lion King too? It’s a very clever movie with twists so I suppose it’s down to the child. I think upper key stage 2 would love it.

Hello, Cruel heart by Maureen Johnson (photo credit- Amazon.com)

Wow! That’s all I can say. Wow! Well, I’m going to say more than that but I think Cruella has moved into the spot of my new favourite movie. But the thing is, I always believe that books are better than movies so here we are.

There really is #moretobooks than Reading and clearly, there is #moretocruella!

What also was magnificent was I paid £18 for VIP tickets and my old haunt, Burnley Reel Cinema, where both my Dad and I got orange juice, water, pop, Kit Kat’s, popcorn AND ICE CREAM. I’m pretty sure it would have cost more than £18 for all that, never mind the cinema tickets. So I suppose, get it while it’s hot!?

The stuff we didn’t eat in the cinema!
VIP seats!

It’s so good to be getting out and doing things, abiding by Covid rules. I am inspired by doing things, and I can’t wait for next weeks blog on Alice and Wonderland, just you wait!

Love Kat x

Captain Tom

30th of April was Captain Tom’s birthday. He inspired lots of people when he walked 100 lengths of his garden before his hundredth birthday last year for NHS. He aimed to raise £1000 but surpassed it by millions.

In honour of Captain Tom, there is a challenge this year to do one hundred of anything to raise money.

https://captaintom100.justgiving.com/?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_term=%2Bcaptain%20%2Btom&utm_device=m&utm_campaign=**UK-BL-Fundraising-100-Challenge-Broad&gclid=Cj0KCQjwppSEBhCGARIsANIs4p5JVrVRtHby1190O2jYi7Cwp11IsOVhmbBUpGMtXYfvs8pdZ5ylqVcaAlUnEALw_wcB

So what will you do?

Walk 100 steps?

Bake 100 cakes?

Say hello to hundred people?

100 star jumps?

Draw 100 stick men?

Read 100 books?

Little People, Big Dreams Captain Tom Moore by Maria Isabel Sànchez Vegara illustrated by Christopher Jacques

Beano at Kew Gardens

If you go down to the gardens today, you’re in for a big surprise. There are no bears, but Beano is having a birthday party.

I do feel like there’s more to books than reading, but there is also more to reading than books. The National Curriculum states that children should read a wide variety of reading material, so recipe books, newspapers, leaflets, websites and COMICS!

Beano

I also find that comic magazines and annuals support our children who are reluctant readers.

I even like books with no words as the child can use their own vocabulary to tell you what is happening. These types of books/magazines can help your child develop an imagination which helps in small world play.

Onomatopoeia! Don’t forget your exclamation marks!

Encourage word play and design by drawing the “sound” words as how they might look, like the word ‘pop’ in a balloon (with a pin nearby) or ‘crash’ with a dust cloud around. Here is where clip art comes in handy if they are on the computer.

Joke books are also a wonderful form of reading, not only does it give us a giggle, it reinforces when to use question marks and the child can learn the “question” words: did, when, where, what, how, why, do etc
I love playing with words.
Science- mirrors

If you do get to go to Kew Gardens, there is a trail of lots of fun things to see and do.

This is not Beano, but might get your little ones excited to do some purposeful screen time with their own toys, a Malaysian photographer has used forced perspective to make it look like he is interacting with his superhero miniature figures.

https://mymodernmet.com/wire-hon-forced-perspective-photography/

Alternatively, let them set up their toys, take a picture and print them for your children to add their speech bubbles to to make their own personalised comic book.

It’s also easier for some children to write in speech bubbles than in long paragraphs so use it as a writing opportunity. They still need capital letters, sentence structure and punctuation.

Head to the Beano website for lots of fun and games.https://www.beano.com/

Beano magazines are available on subscription to land on your doorstep or you can get digital copies.

What comics or magazines did you read when you were little?

Show us your little one’s with their favourite magazine!

Love Kat x

Guinness World Records

A little email dropped today.

Funnily enough, my nanny child, G8 was reading her Guinness World Record book the other week.

Why not hold your own World Records?

Use the book or the website, to see what crazy things people have been up to and do your own?

Can you make the biggest pizza you’ve ever made?

Count who has the most teddies? Which kind of teddy do you have the most of?

Who can eat the most <insert food of your choice> in 30 seconds?

Walk further than you ever have before!

Guinness World Records 2021

Show me your World Record attempts!

Why not make your own certificates for the whole family? Everyone is great at something!

Love Kat x

The Wombles

Wimbledon Common Windmill

I always get inspiration from activities that I do with the children in my Nanny job. As you know, we haven’t really been going anywhere due to lockdown. So as I live in Wimbledon and I frequent the common often, I had thought about doing a quick blog on the loveable Wombles.

Then it snowed!

The snow was magical in Wimbledon Park.
A photograph of a Snow Womble made this weekend, photo taken by Corinna Osmann-Deane from Nextdoor app

More to books…

The Snow Womble by Elisabeth Beresford, illustrated by Nick Price

(Photo taken from: books.google.co.uk)

The Wombles by Elisabeth Beresford, illustrated Nick Price (photo taken from worldofbooks.com)

I am missing libraries and book shops, so my go to website is world of books.com. It’s a second hand website with good quality books.

There is a mural of the Wombles in Wimbledon centre, across from the station.

Why not share the Wombles with your little ones during lockdown?

A sad part of lockdown is the litter being left behind, especially overflowing bins and coffee cups discarded. Perhaps litter picking isn’t advisable in these times, but we can encourage our little ones to take their litter home and be good examples, as children really are our future!

The Wombles are rare but sometimes you can get a sneaky peak of them!
When lockdown is over, hopefully, the annual half marathon will be back on, it’s such a fun day. You can cheer on all the runners and maybe spot a Womble.

Show me your snow creations or Womble fun.

Love Kat x

Zoo

I know we can’t go to the zoo. I had members tickets for the Monday that Lockdown 3.0 was announced. It was a lot of fun! It was socially distanced and we wore masks. I’m so grateful we got a tiny bit of normality before everything was shut again.

I am a meer KAT, do you get it?

If we can’t go to the zoo, why not bring the zoo to you? Go through the teddies and organise them into zoo animals and non- zoo animals with your child. Hide them around your house and visit the “zoo”

With every animal you “see”, make a fact card. Depending on your child’s age, maybe they can research using books or the internet. I know I’m all about books, but any form of reading counts. If you don’t have a book on that animal, using different forms of literature is still reading. If they can, use it as a writing opportunity too.

Penguin

Why not do some artwork from the animals in your zoo?

This is my attempt. I’m practising as I would like to illustrate my own children’s book, I am thinking.
I think he is sick of lockdown too!
Did you know Winnie the Pooh was based on a bear that was in the zoo in 1914?

More to books…

Usborne’s Peep inside the zoo illustrated by Simons Dimitri
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
For older readers, there’s a whole series of Zoe’s recuse zoo by Amelia Covb and illustrated by Sophy Williams
For younger learners, Usborne’s That’s not my sloth…

Nb I took these photos of the books on my birthday in December…the shops and cafes were shut on Monday.

Don’t forget books can be fiction and non- fiction, use magazines and the internet!

Also, you could watch Andy’s animal adventure, set in a zoo! Or even Our Planet by David Attenborough, I find even little ones are mesmerised by these.

Show me your pictures with your little one’s favourite soft toy or drawing or a zoo animal!

Love Kat x

Apple Pie

I can’t say enough how amazing cooking with children is. Home schooling is better when it’s an experience. Not only does this combat all the senses but it targets several subjects in one.

Give them a writing opportunity with a shopping list.
Peeling is a technique they’ll need when they are older.

Speaking of things they need to know how to do, my 14 year old nanny child had never used a tin opener until I taught her! I know some have ring pulls these days…I always think of apocalyptic movies when the people need to open cans!!

Melting butter safely…

I once nannied three children after school while I was a teacher and the 11 year old and I were making pancakes. The father came home and was in shock that she was at the hob…I really believe it’s our job to show them how to do all this safely at any age…

A little bit of maths

Using a scales to measure the sugar helps them put their maths into practice.

We cheated with the pastry but it’s no less fun.
She used her fingers to make the indents.
She cut out diamonds safely and I put markings on them to look like leaves.

This is where creativity may take over. I believe baking is as much an art as it is a science. The end product is their bit of creation which tastes so much more satisfying.

I love eggs! I let even really young children have a go at cracking eggs. Don’t worry about them getting shell in there. Top tip, use the bit part of the shell to fish a little bit out, it cuts through the white of the egg easily.

Glaze with egg! It’s like painting. Your really littlies can get involved!

I love when it looks like a child has made it! It’s their beautiful creation.

Also, it’s a moment to reflect on the good and bad things. What went well? What could you improve on? Make it again a few months down the line.

And enjoy!

More to books…

We used the Humming Bird Bakery book for our pie. We looked through many recipe books before settling on this one.

Books don’t have to be just for children. In baking, you’ll be supporting them. Any book is a reading opportunity.

Junior Bake off is also a great way to inspire your children to try and bake more. I love their resilience when something goes wrong. They can bake better than me!

What are your favourite recipes to do with your little ones?

Love Kat x