Archives for April 2012

Diabolical Baddies, Eccentric Professors and Boy Eating Monsters!

How’s that for a blog post title?

Whilst Diabolical Baddies, view Eccentric Professors and Boy Eating Monsters might not be the snappiest title for the event we attended this afternoon at the Edinburgh Science Festival, there was indeed something extremely intriguing about the workshop that immediately caught the imagination of my five year old. Assuming we’d both be safe from any lurking hungry monsters (being girls), we popped along to the Story Telling Centre for a spot of creating and inventing with author-illustrator John Fardell.


This workshop is aimed at children ages five plus, and promises interaction and involvement for budding inventors and big imaginations. The immediate draw for my little one was the opportunity to throw out some inspired ideas of her own in order to develop a monster and machine drawings fit for a story. As a have-a-go writer, the pull for me was hearing a published author bring to life the creative process he goes through when writing and illustrating his books. We were not disappointed.

The workshop was interactive from the off with plenty of audience participation in both the making of monster sounds to accompany the story John took us through, and lots of encouragement for the children to get up on stage (which the little princess loved) and draw their own images of their imagined monsters and inventions.

Over the course of the hour the eager participants developed a monster story which saw good monsters (Mr Hairy, Sandy and Timmy) come together to defeat the terrifying and evil Squadalump who lives in the depths of a tunnel below a live Volcano under the sea. Using fantastically invented Tall Blaster and Lego Blaster machines which flew, shrunk and turned into a motor bike, and using the powers of poison in their tails the friendly monsters claimed victory.


There was a palpable energy in the small auditorium as the little ones threw up their hands, desperate to be picked to call out their ideas and develop the images and the storyline live on stage. Nia was simply bursting with ideas, and it was truly delightful to see her animated and inspired. Wither her imagination fuelled she had sketched and coloured her own boy eating monster within minutes of us arriving home, who apparently goes by the name of Spikey Lightening and only eats boys on Tuesdays – phew.


It was great to see the intricate artwork, sketches and models John makes before reworking into his final versions.  John was a joy to listen to and his interaction and encouragement of the big ideas from the little ones was just brilliant. I now have one very inspired girl who tells me tomorrow she is developing a blueprint for a Super Duper Monster Crusher Machine!

A fantastic session all round, which gets a big thumbs up from my mini inventor. Now, where’s my sketch pad..?


Family Days Out: Edinburgh Science Festival 2012

A call for bloggers from the guys at Clicket to enter the Science Festival Bloggers Challenge couldn’t go unanswered. When I saw the team were looking for parent bloggers, seek bloggers, and and generally anyone who shares experiences using facebook, flickr, blipfoto and the like to blog about their experiences at the Edinburgh Science Festival, I whizzed off my “PICK ME” 100 word entry and I’m delighted to now find myself amongst some great company in a crew of six other super bloggers who have also signed up for the challenge.

The Edinburgh Science Festival runs from 31 March – 15th April 2012 here in our glorious Scottish capital, and as it’s on our doorstep it would frankly be rude not to partake it all that it has to offer. Coinciding wonderfully with the Easter holidays and my need to broaden the horizons of the little monster and the little princess and find alternative ways to spend our days as a family, the Science Festival offers us the perfect opportunity to do just that.

See what’s been happening this far at the festival and pop back again to find out how the little princess and I fair when we go to see Diabolical Baddies, Eccentric Professors and Boy Eating Monsters* at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.

*We’ve decided to leave our own little monster at home tomorrow as we’re really not quite sure how he would fair against boy-eating monsters…. it could be dangerous!

The misfortune of the handsome shirt

A 10am kick off for a kid’s birthday party was always going to be something of a challenge for us this weekend. Not least because Super Daddy was out for ‘a few’ last night but also the ‘lost hour’ from last weekend hasn’t yet caught up with the nippers and we’re all getting lie-ins beyond 7 o’clock (bliss).

We did however make it out the door by half past nine, treat little monster smartly dressed in his self titled ‘handsome shirt’ with a smidgen of Daddy’s hair fudge for reworkable style and little princess duly following along since I’d promised her a malteaser cake at the soft play whilst her brother partied. Daddy was chauffeured to the local gym first for a spot of sponsored cycling (regretting those few last night) and then we were off on our merry way.

We took the twisty windy road for quickness as we probably should have left ten minutes earlier than we did, unhealthy but hey. With 6 minutes left until the commencement of party central, and a fifteen minute drive still to go, the little man pipes up from the back seat “Mummy, can you slow down please, I’m going to be sick.” I took a glance in the rear view and saw he was chalk white. Less than ten seconds later and we were in Barfsville, which for those in the know is just down from Puke Alley and round the corner from Vomit Lane.

“Aw, big guy!” I exclaimed, my heart going out to him as I looked on helplessly from the front whilst his sister made gagging noises and retching gestures as she frantically fumbled with the button to slide her window down beside him in the back.

“My handsome shirt.” he whimpers.

Swiftly followed by “can we still go to the party?!”

Certainly his colour had returned to his usual healthy ruddiness of the cheeks, and as a bad car traveller myself I knew it was the journey that had made him sick and not some contagious bug that would see me fall out of favour with all of the nursery mums if we did indeed spread the love at the party.

Trouble was, we stopped travelling without the usual kit and caboodle of a suitcase sized changing bag sometime ago. The depths of my handbag offered some hope however and a clean pair of trousers and a pack of baby wipes were successfully located. No replacements for the handsome shirt however. We had a problem.

Delicately peeling his sick-soaked shirt from him whilst we were haphazardly parked by the roadside, I weighed up our three options. The little monster was either going to the party bare chested, wearing his sisters cropped denim jacket or I was taking an emergency shopping trip on route to the party we were already late for.

If we’d wanted to stop for an eye test, a sandwich or a browse in a book store as we drove along the high street, we’d have been just fine, boys clothes aged 3-4 however, nada. My last hope was a mini retail park just on the outskirts of the town. We were already beyond fashionably late for the party anyway.

And there to our joy was a Peacocks. Not convinced they stocked kid’s clothes I set about exploring its wares with gusto, wondering whether my boy would be emotionally scarred if I had to fashion him a top from a ladies size 8 t-shirt.  Joy reigned however as I stumbled upon a very trendy striped polo shirt number which at six quid did just the trick.

One happy boy, one boisterous soft play party, one scary monster face paint and a quick stop off at the same Peacocks on the way home* and we’d once again started the weekend off in our usual chaotic spectacular style. C’mon on then Sunday, show us what you’ve got!


*No more sicky incidents thankfully, but spotted a few many very cute holiday numbers for the little princess on my earlier fleeting visit. Purse £74 lighter as a result however….

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