I’ve never been into football in my life and the closest thing I’ve owned to a football strip is a Celtic shirt that H got for me many moons ago by collecting the ring pulls from coke cans. But he has fond memories of dressing up in football kit to support his teams and his stories must have sparked something in my girls because they both have suddenly got very interested in the England team, and Elma in particular has become obsessed with the idea of having a strip.
Genuine England strip for three small but rapidly growing children is way way way out of our budget, but by pottering around the supermarket looking for school socks I discovered that Sainsburys has stepped into the breach.
The far left shirt is Elma’s, as part of a shirt and shorts set for £11 (the shorts are navy blue with a little England shield on the bottom left leg), the middle is Kitty’s (aged 9!) which doesn’t come as a set but matches some comfy red shorts similar to Elma’s but with white stripes down the side, and Pip’s is the little one, which comes in all sizes up to adult.
Elma’s face when she saw hers was pure open mouthed glee – I don’t think she stopped hopping around the lounge for a full half hour. Alas I was not there to witness the expression of their Scottish grandfather when they all turned up to visit him in England tshirts, but I’m reliably informed that he rapidly asked whether Sainsburys sell Scotland shirts, to which H’s response was “do Scotland still even have a team?”
A little while ago we were sent a review copy of Ocean Tales, by Stuart Lightman. It’s a published on demand little pocket sized story book and in the world where we seem to be being told every other week that real books are struggling (despite my ever groaning bookcases that would argue to the contrary) I love that modern technology is opening up proper hold it in your hand publishing. I’ve got books on my Kindle app and they’re great for always having something to read on the commute, but I could never do away with the pleasure of sitting down with a nice solid paperback; an app can never quite recreate that new book smell.
And speaking of stories – I discovered Sparkle Stories when casting about the Internet for audiobooks for the children. They are American so some of the pronunciation is obviously different but they are lovely gentle stories, especially the bedtime stories which have proved perfect for the times when light evenings make it hard for little eyes to get to sleep. We’ve got a subscription but they recently released a series of podcasts which are equally lovely and a great introduction to their repertoire.
I am trying really really hard not to join in with the Modern Quilters Ireland Rainbow Rose Quilt Along. Really hard. It’s a beautiful pattern and I’ve always wanted to make a single block quilt, and I keep telling myself that I’m already doing the Sugarblock Club, and I haven’t finished the Fishing Net quilt yet (I am quilting it in the evenings at the moment so there is some progress), and I’ve got the bits and bobs I need for the next quilt I’m planning and …..
I should just go and start pulling a fabric selection now shouldn’t I. Anyone want to join me?
This article from the Artful Parent on the perils of colouring books really got me thinking. I can see where it’s coming from; if you are always just colouring in you’re never drawing, you’re never being fully creative, and I would hate it if either of my girls stopped drawing and only did colouring. I can see how a culture of perfectionism could creep in and the concerns that come with it.
But I also know that firstly, colouring doesn’t entirely lack creativity – you still have to decide which colour to use and how to match and blend them – and secondly, it isn’t always a bad thing to let your brain have a little rest.
Kitty does most of her colouring when she gets home from school; it lets her focus on using her hands, on the pretty colours in her crayon box, and on the swirls and loops of the picture in front of her (she’s currently working her way through Lost Ocean), and it calms her and settles her. That she is so tired at the end of a school day that she needs this is perhaps a topic for a different blog post.
I think that there is a place for colouring books, as much as for drawing and painting and sticky glitter and everything else crafty, as long as we know what we’re expecting from them. Colouring in time is not when my children most stretch their creative muscles, it’s a soothing down time to play with pretty colours while someone else has done half the work for you. What do you think?