Britain’s Got Talent 2015 Week 5 round-up

I apologise for the lateness of this post. Parts of the reviews I made on the day, others later but where I have reviewed at a later time I’ve tried my best to give the thoughts I had at the time of first viewing. Week 5 auditions were on Saturday 9 May 2015.

I did a quick round-up of week 1’s audition amongst another post, which you can find here. For week 2, click here, week 3 here and week 4’s.

NB: This post gives a quick explanation of the golden buzzer. Remember too that this is just my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the view of the act or ITV/ Britain’s Got Talent. If you haven’t seen the acts below I’m sure you can find them on ITV’s website, or the app if you are in the UK, if not use that trusty search engine (looks a bit like the word goggle) to see if you can find videos of them. 


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Was there any stand out acts for me tonight? Yes for various reasons, here they are: 

Vladimir Georgievsky – a middle aged, married dad of 2. His kids have a trampoline and he brought it to do his act. Amanda’s said that it was just like a throwback to the silent movie era. Why? Because he did trampolining  slapstick style. It didn’t feel dated though, it was a fresh act that I really enjoyed. I just hope he was wearing padding, under his professoresque suit, from his neck down to his ankles as I’m guessing it hurt. A lot.

Entity Allstars –  a dance group of kids aged 10-15. From their shirts I thought maybe country/line dancing but nope. Street dance/hip hop style. Simon recognised one of the boys, as he had been a dancer for his sister, Lauren Platt, who was a contestant on X Factor. Entity Allstars were pretty good, and Alesha loved them so much she gave them her golden buzzer.

DJ John –  a man who got the crowd, 3 out of 4 judges (not Simon) on his side and Ant & Dec, dancing along to a tune he brought with him (he didn’t make the song nor remix it). In fact Ant & Dec put on a t-shirt with his name and joined him on stage to dance. I wouldn’t say he has talent but gets a mention due to how much of a smile and laugh I got from Simon’s expressions.

Ella Shaw – a 18 year old singer-songwriter. She played the piano as she sang her own song called Summertime. Her vocals were beautiful to listen to and she played the piano so well. Some of the lyrics in her own song could do with refining but nonetheless she has a talent.

OK Worldwide – group of 4 guys doing a combination of dance, acrobatics, gymnastics and free running. They brought with them, what can only be described as a low level coffee table that they did some of their act upon, by bouncing on and of it. I loved their Mexican wave styled backflips. A good bit of energy packed variety.

UDI – a group of young men from Siberia who brought a friend with them to be their translator. At first they are somewhat comparable to Attraction (winners of BGT 2013). Do you know what though? I can’t really describe their act other than behind a screen they do their act and it starts out like a disney film then seems to cross over into a kind of live action video game. I became so engrossed watching the story unfold.

Alison Jiear – a mum who came to sing. Having been a backing singer for 30 years, she can sing but wants to show what else she can do. Is she good enough to be a singer on her own, not just backing vocals? Yes she is. Simon said “that was probably one of the best vocals we’ve ever had on the show.”. I hope she gets through to semi-finals.

Another round of auditions over and I’m truly surprised and overwhelmed by the amount of acts I loved tonight. Was tonight’s auditions the best yet? What did you enjoy? 

Britain’s Got Talent 2015 Week 4 round-up

I did a quick round-up of week 1’s audition amongst another post, which you can find here. For week 2, click here and week 3 here.

NB: This post gives a quick explanation of the golden buzzer. Remember too that this is just my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the view of the act or ITV/ Britain’s Got Talent. If you haven’t seen the acts below I’m sure you can find them on ITV’s website, or the app if you are in the UK, if not use that trusty search engine (looks a bit like the word goggle) to see if you can find videos of them. 


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What acts are stood out for me tonight? Read on then: 

Misstasia – an upbeat group of 4 woman in their early twenties. They like all things princess-y and happy. Their joy spilled out of them resulting in a spreading of happiness, especially since there was pictures of flying butterflies added in editing on the pre- and post audition clips. Singing a lesser known but wonderful Disney movie song, it will be great to see them again and continue their Disney songs and spreading cheer.

The Neales –  a delightful singing group of a dad and his 3 sons. They formed due to their dad needing to a more relaxed life after a heart attack 10 years ago, although it took him 3 years to convice his sons to auction with him! Their voices, song choice and singing style throw me back to the 50’s and 60’s (of course being in my twenties I wasn’t there but you get what I mean – I well I hope you do). They should be in the semi-finals. I think David’s comment about “beautiful blend of voices” is the best way to describe them.

Old Men Grooving –  a group of older men dancing. They started out quite boring but the music changed and I think everyone watching had their opinion changed. They did some very cool street dancing, a old guy Diversity (dance group who won BGT 2009) if you will. David – “You’ve made dad dancing cool”. Simon – “I could watch you all night”.

Maia Gough – a beautiful 12 year old singer who managed to hit the notes on a Whitney Houston song. With a standing ovation and 4 judges giving a yes she is through to the next round. David said something along the lines of children often do better than the adults and you proved that today. I totally agree, sometimes the kids are far more talented than the adults who audition.

In this week’s round of auditions I found myself agreeing with David a lot. Which judge did you find yourself most agreeing with? Did you like my comments? Leave your comments below and thank you for reading.


Britain’s Got Talent 2015 Week 3 round-up

I did a quick round-up of week 1’s audition amongst another post, which you can find here. For week 2, click here.

NB: This post gives a quick explanation of the golden buzzer. Remember too that this is just my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the view of the act or ITV/ Britain’s Got Talent. If you haven’t seen the acts below I’m sure you can find them on ITV’s website, or the app if you are in the UK, if not use that trusty search engine (looks a bit like the word goggle) to see if you can find videos of them. 


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What acts are noteworthy for me tonight? Here they come: 

Lisa Sampson – a very smiley, bubbly hula hooper. I never once noted a mistake in her routine, she obviously has come along way, as she told the judges that one day she picked up her daughter’s hula hoop to have a go and broke furniture. At one point it looked like she had a slinky around her. Lisa has a natural stage presence. She got a standing ovation from the crowd and judges. David saying “relentlessly entertaining” sums it up.

Isaac Waddington – an amazing piano player and singer. The camera a few times showed in the audience Isaac’s little brother watching his performance, and he had tears streaming down his face. No wonder, as his brother was doing so well the audience was silent, leading to a standing ovation once Isaac had finished with each judge saying yes.

IMD Legion –  a dance crew. The minute they started it was easy enough to see the quality was on par with Diversity (dance group who won BGT 2009). A group of 9-17 (or 18, can’t remember which) year olds who let their youthful energy fill the stage in a action packed routine. They even have in their dance crew, from last year’s BGT, Lauren & Terrell.

Revelation Avenue – a singing group who sang “Roar” by Katy Perry and got Amanda’s golden buzzer.

So another week of auditions over. Did you enjoy tonight’s show? Do you agree with my comments? Let me know your thoughts below and thank you for reading.



Learning Logs

Bambi’s class now, like the older children’s classes in his school, does learning log homework and has been since the start of this year. If you’re like me you may well be saying “What is a learning log?” and “Is it a good idea for homework?”.

In short the answer to the latter is yes and no. I’m guessing for those who came across this post, while trying to find out what their child’s homework is all about and if it is a good technique for teachers to use, my answer of yes and no is maybe a teensy bit annoying. Sorry. I will however explain to the best of my knowledge about this homework technique and why it is good and bad, though to be honest it is mainly good.

Rather than assign a task and specify the ins and outs of how it is to be complete with a one-size-fits-all attitude, learning logs allow individuality and to accommodate different learning styles, abilities and levels. For example, one consistent feature of Bambi’s learning log homework is English. The teacher has a print-out of some of the common words they have been learning to spell and write that week or phonetic sounds, and encourages the children to learn them at home, and make at least one copy of each of the words or some words that contain the phonetic sound. Now they could simply write them out in their black pencil and have ‘done’ their homework, but the teacher also lists some other ideas they could do and encourages the parents and children to also come up with ideas and then use them in the learning log. For the example of the English common words, she suggests things like writing the words in coloured pencils, maybe a different colour for each word, or use cut-outs from magazines etc to spell the words (note: every time I read that when doing Bambi’s homework with him, I can’t help but have the mental image of mini hostages showing their ransom notes to their teacher). Bambi has been struggling a bit with writing the words as his hands get very tired and he lacks some co-ordination/ fine motor skills (thankfully this was picked up early when he started school and he was taken out of class, along with a few others who were struggling, a couple of times a week for some work on their fine motor skills). With Bambi struggling to write and seeing the way he was beginning to resent homework I came up with some creative ways for him to do homework. I suggest something to Bambi and if he wants to do fine, if not it’s okay, after all this is his learning log and he can do as little to meet the requirements that week or as much as he wants. (That is one of the good and bad things about learning logs – doing a little or a lot. If a child does the best he can but it is just a little that’s great but if he does a little to just meet the requirements of the task but has the capability to do more but just can’t be bothered then that’s where the bad part of this style of homework comes in.)

Some ideas I have came up with for Bambi’s learning log were, using fridge magnets to spell out some words that had the sounds he was working on that week, for example we came up with the word photo for the ‘ph’ sound. I let him set up the magnets on the fridge, I took a photo of the words he made on my iPad then went and printed it off and included it in his learning log for that week. Another idea was when he was asked to make sentences with the common words, he just put all the words he had that week in a one big list. He couldn’t grasp the concept of making a sentence out of those words. I recalled that before going to school Bambi used his imagination. A lot. Bambi could tell such convincing stories others would believe they were real. Once he told his ‘nursery ladies’ (the staff at the nursery/pre-school he went to and where Cinderella still goes) mummy and daddy took Cinderella and me out in the car. (Note: some parts I can’t quite remember but am doing my best to retell this story) We were driving really fast and the car fell down into a river. The car went under water and mummy and daddy had to get out the car and they struggled to get the door open to get out me and Cinderella. I was scared but mummy and daddy got us out the car (Note: he had the staff all really worried and fussing over him by this time and they were even more concerned as Cinderella was only about 4 months old at the time but he made them realise in the next line that this story was just that, a story) and then the sharks came and tried to eat us. Yeah the sharks was his downfall in his convincing story. Anyway I reminded Bambi how much I loved his stories and asked if he could make one up, but he had to include at least one of the words from his homework list. He readily agreed and it became a bit of a feature of his learning log for a while. I’d remind him which words he could use, then recorded him telling a story on my iPad, I’d spend about 5 minutes playing then pausing then writing what he had said until I got the whole story down on paper, sometimes he’d write one of the sentences he had made other times I ended up copying the whole story myself into his learning log, while he went and watched TV because he was finished homework. Still I was happy I’d helped my nephew to overcome a challenge in his homework, even if I was doing quite a bit of it for him. On a side note, I also love the quality time we spend together doing his homework and it results in our bond deepening.

So all the above was just for a small section of English homework, but hopefully you can see how the principle is applied to various topics and age groups. I think in a world were we now know more about learning difficulties and how people can having different learning styles, such as some people are verbal learners (they learn from what they hear and read so a teacher at the front of the class talking about the subject would help them learn), others are visual learners (give them graphs and pictures etc and they will learn) and there is a few more type of learners and some might learn in a combination of styles. My point though was with what we now know I think learning logs are a good idea as it allows the child to do homework in a way that is going to be best for him/her. Learning logs also allow for creativity and if it is fun they are more likely to remember what they are being taught. I often think I didn’t take much in of school as it was often a teacher at front of class discussing something, and as willing as I was to particpate (I loved putting my hand up trying to answer questions even if I got it wrong), what I’d been taught wouldn’t stick around for long in my mind, why? Because I wasn’t much of a verbal learner. If I’d had learning log homework when I was in school I’d probably have remembered more as I would have be able to tackle the homework and school work in a way that was fun and that fitted in with my learning style. In summary if your kid is getting learning log homework I think it will be good for them as it is flexible and easy to adapt for your child’s needs and learning style. 

For the first time I’m more positive, because if Bambi (and Cinderella once she starts school) gets learning log homework for the majority of their school life then learning will be fun for them and they are bound to remember more of what they learned. I think teachers have found the point where learning and fun meet.

  

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

I hope if you came across this post as you were trying to understand learning log homework that I’ve helped explain it a bit for you. If not feel free to ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer, but I’m not any teacher etc to explain it properly it would be based upon what I’ve read and researched and my experiences with helping my nephew do his homework. Feel free to leave a comment.

P.s. I’m happy I’m finally publishing this post as I started it back on 21st of January, but in some ways I’m glad I hadn’t finished it until now as when I first started it Bambi had only had a few learning log tasks. Whereas now he’s had well over 10, I have had more experiences of learning log homework to be able to share to help explain learning logs. If you want to find out more about me read more posts here.

Britain’s Got Talent 2015 Week 2 round-up

I did a quick round-up of week 1’s audition amongst another post, which you can find here.

NB: This post gives a quick explanation of the golden buzzer. Remember too that this is just my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the view of the act or ITV/ Britain’s Got Talent. If you haven’t seen the acts below I’m sure you can find them on ITV’s website, or the app if you are in the UK, if not use that trusty search engine (looks a bit like the word goggle) to see if you can find videos of them. 

  

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tonight my stand-out acts were: 

Boyband – a group of 5 male dancers, not singers as their name may suggest and they had a lot of energy. Once again I found I wasn’t excited by them but just like last week when Simon hit his buzzer for Calum Scott, Ant and Dec must have been excited because Boyband are Ant and Dec’s golden buzzer act this year.

Becky O’Brien – a wonderful singer. Before she began singing we got a bit of her life story, she shared that she is a single mum to 5 kids, including premature twins which meant she had be putting their life first. She escaped an abusive marriage. It was her eldest child Jack, who is 11 years old, at the end of last year’s BGT told his mum to audition and said “why don’t you show Simon how it is done?”. Even without her back story I’d love her, as she is a true natural singer. You should definitely try to hear her singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. All through her performance I kept thinking what or who is she reminding me of, and I think Alesha got it right when she commented “Your voice, it’s like it’s from a different era”. I think Simon’s comment summed up her performance though with a simple “Wow”. I’m not surprised she got a yes from each judge but I am surprised she did not get the golden buzzer.

Jeffrey Drayton – Jeffrey describes himself as a magical entertainer. I’d personally call him a comedian. He’s one of those people who has a talent for making others laugh while being oblivious that what he is doing or saying is hilarious. Jeffrey was on roller skates and had a puppet through which he did such awfully bad ventriloquism it was actually very entertaining. He had Ant and Dec select a card before he went on stage then they had to throw a pack of cards containing the one they selected in the air as he shot the puppet out of a canon. If you’re struggling to understand what I just typed as it seems bizarre, don’t worry, it was the bizarreness of the act that if you get the chance to watch will, am sure, make you love it too.

Well that’s another week of auditions over. Did you love this week? What acts did you enjoy? I’d be very happy to read your thoughts, so go ahead and comment and thanks for reading this post.

So much to write

I have more than enough to write about, yet I don’t seem to write about it. Mainly I guess it’s the effort of forming the words, editing a post, etc which is a lot for me (yes I will write about my illness, some day, not sure when, which will hopefully explain all). So there you go an example of material for at least one post, my illness, another is I’ve been meaning to provide a 3D shapes pack for preschoolers, I have another post started a couple of months ago about Bambi and plenty more to write about.

One thing which is fairly easy for me to do is blog about BGT, as I have a sort of template from last year’s Britains Got Talent. Yes it’s back. I hadn’t realised until the day it came on TV, I mean I knew it was coming up I just hadn’t known how soon. It started back on Saturday (11/4/15) and a lot of my family including me were away for a weekend break with the kids. The place we were staying was a holiday park that has caravans to rent, places to pitch tents/ caravans/ motorhomes etc and had a kind of clubhouse on site that had things like a swimming pool, soft play area, arcade games, a bar, a restaurant etc. When I was a kid we went to these type of caravan parks at least once a year and I loved the clubhouses on site (it was a chain of caravan sites owned by same company so similar set-ups at each site). The kids seemed to love it too which am glad about, that said it could just be that they loved their time away with family that took up 3 caravans, meaning lots of places to run up and down and play hide and seek lol.

  
Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Anyway in the restaurant at the clubhouse they provided free wifi, but I never went there (on the last night the rest of the family did but I was on dog-sitting duty for 3 dogs- my dog and both of my brothers dogs). As I had no internet access expect via data on my phone (which I only used to check emails etc as the connection was poor) I couldn’t blog about BGT. I would then have blogged when I got back but alas my illness combined with a cold (I’m sniffling and coughing as I type) meant I didn’t, but ahead of this Saturday’s BGT episode I wanted to mention the couple of acts I did enjoy. I don’t know if it was just last Saturday’s episode line-up or if it’s going to be the standard for this year’s BGT but the general standard of acts was bad. Last year per episode I was able to find 3-5 acts I enjoyed but not so far this year, oh well.

 
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 NB: This post gives a quick explanation of the golden buzzer. Remember too that this is just my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the view of the act or ITV/ Britain’s Got Talent. If you haven’t seen the acts below I’m sure you can find them on ITV’s website, or the app if you are in the UK, if not use that trusty search engine (looks a bit like the word goggle) to see if you can find videos of them. 

On Saturday my stand-out acts were: 

Billy and Emily England a dancing brother and sister act. They danced on roller skates and reminded me a lot of figure skating, they even did a version of the head banger. You then hear Dec saying “I don’t like it. Make it stop.” as he squirms and looks the other way. They definitely have a talent for dancing on roller skates, but sadly they are giving the judges and viewers heart failure from some of their moves.

One man & his dog was a dog act. The owner, David, claimed Max could sing and the act was comparable to Ashleigh and Pudsey (the dog act that won BGT 2012). In fact he said they had been doing this act for 5 years. We will never know whether this act was great though, unless they come back next year as the dog had his own agenda. What was his agenda I hear you wonder, and quite simply it was growling and barking at the co-host Ant. I’m sorry Ant if you’re reading this but I couldn’t stop laughing, every time David tried to talk about the act to Ant, Max voiced his dislike. When David did get in front of the judges, and tried to start his act Max ran off the stage to again voice his opinions of Ant and kept doing so, again cue my laughter. The first time he ran off what made it more funny was Dec saying “Ant it’s coming for you”. If you do get the chance to see this I’m sure you won’t be disappointed and will indeed laugh as well.

Calum Scott was a singer who auditioned straight after his sister who did not get through. I think he was good but not great, but Simon must disagree with me. Why do I say that? Simon hit the golden buzzer.

So did you enjoy the return of BGT? Do you think standards have slipped a little? Do you agree with my opinions? Or are you just glad to see that I’m blogging again, or not as the case may be?

Changes

Well my app shows the last post I did was in July!
Sorry.

I had started another post after the doggie rice pudding but never got round to finishing it. No point in making you endure a half thought, as I can barely mind where it was headed. If I do, I might at some point finish it.

I think it didn’t get to the completion stage for numerous reasons. One being I’m still working on my cupboard. Well just the finishing touches really and trying to squeeze everything in there.

Two my dear little Bambi turned 5, which means in Scotland he had to start formal education in August. Not that we haven’t been teaching him from day 1. I use every opportunity I can to impart something new to him each time I see him and I try to teach Cinderella too. My sister-in-law works 4 days a week and my brother has his own business and he has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism (hence why my mum and I are heavily involved in my nephew and niece’s lives). Therefore they chose to send him to a local “state” school. The emotions and the dynamics of our relationship therefore have changed. I’m getting use to him no longer being a baby or toddler and he is getting use to having to put education first, and our facilitating that, then he gets to play. Monday this week was very poignant for me as I got to help him, after a little snack and play to unwind, do homework. I did my best not to well up as once again I came face-to-face with the change in our relationship. Right up until the day he started school I was allowed to call him “my baby boy” but I was promptly told after his first day of school “I’m your school boy now”. I was glad my sister-in-law brought him to see us after his first day and I got photos of him. I’ll always treasure them. Look at me I sound like he’s an adult and just left home…and he ain’t even my kid lol! So with all this going on I haven’t had time or the heart to focus on my blog.

Adult helping a child with homework, just like I did for Bambi.

Adult helping a child with homework, just like I did for Bambi. Image courtesy of DavidCastilloDominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 

Third reason you haven’t heard from me – my illness has been up and down. I’ve decided I will write about it at some point to help those out there who face similar issues. Just not right now as there is not enough time.

Fourthly I’ve been pondering a thought that has plagued me for sometime, in some ways making me regret the decision to redo my cupboard but it really did need done either way as for the foreseeable future I’m still living with my parents. The decision was in conjunction with my health. I need a place of my own set up to accommodate my illness and although my mum is fabulous when it comes to my illness, in fact accommodating all her kids and their issues they may have, I need a permanent arrangement which of course will be made clear when I finally post on my health issues. So I’ve been taking steps to find my own place.

Finally, and related to the previous two points is I’ve been looking at and started trying recipes for a concept known as Once A Month Meals.I had never heard of it myself to so in case you haven’t heard of it either I’ll give you a basic overview of the concept in a second. I came across this idea when I’d begun looking for recipes that could be easily made and frozen in batches. For example, for years I’ve made macaroni cheese and always made enough to have one portion be frozen for use on another time. I only had to defrost it and then put in the oven to heat it up and give it a lovely golden brown bubbling top. I was looking for those kind of recipes but stumbled upon this Once A Month Meals concept. The basic idea behind it is do all your preparation at same time, freeze “prepped” meals (many do it so they’ll have enough prepped meals for every night of a month hence the name), defrost prepped meals overnight and then put in slow cooker in morning for hassle free meals. It makes getting a nutritious homemade meal easier, as just taking a little longer than your usual preparation time for a meal means you have lots of nights worth of meals prepared and ready to cook. For me it will be great with my health and living alone, as I will have meals ready to cook on days I’m not up to cooking. Also have you ever found a recipe calls for some ingredient that will perish fast but that no other meals you will be making in the foreseeable future calls for that ingredient? It’s happened to me a lot and inevitably it ends up being thrown out. Living alone will mean I won’t be able to afford to do that as much, let alone what it does to the environment. With the Once A Month Meals concept I don’t have to worry as I’d be able to make a few batches of that prepped meal to able to reduce the amount I’d have to throw out. We all look for ways to save our money and this is a pretty good one. I hope to post some of the recipes I’ve tried soon, so far I’ve only tried two but intend to try more.

So to my readers who are still out there a big thank you. Hopefully you won’t haven’t to wait to long to hear from me again. If you want to comment go ahead.

Doggie Rice Pudding Recipe

I promised you I would give you the recipe for rice pudding that I use for Max. I’ve adapted it slightly from a recipe I got in a dog magazine. It was a series of magazines and each issue focused on a different breed, so this is a recipe that has quantities set for a westie, so if you have a larger/ smaller breed you would obviously have to adapt the quantities to satisfy your pooch. Quantities given are for one day’s daily allowance (so other than treats your dog won’t need food).

As I said in my post here, this recipe is given to Max when he is continually being sick as he is allergic to lots of foods or as a little treat. We always used a ceramic dish but cleaning the dish it gets cooked in can be a nightmare, so the last couple of times we have made it in one of those disposable foil trays and it works just as well.

I decided to make the recipe as a free print-out for you, so if you wish to print it out it will be easy for you. As I put in the print-out, the original recipe had full fat milk but I have substituted semi-skimmed milk in the past when we didn’t have full fat milk. The semi-skimmed milk works just as well for creating the rice pudding, but from a nutrition standpoint I don’t know if this substitution changes the amount of nutrients your dog will get, so I recommend getting full fat milk but if you can’t then try semi-skimmed milk.

If you’re a dog owner are you going to give this recipe a try for a treat for your loyal friend? Or does your dog suffer with allergies too and you’re trying to find something that agrees with him/her? Or are you someone who loves to cook, and is going to try this recipe? (I wouldn’t quite recommend this recipe for humans as it might be “plain” tasting, but if you wish to try it go ahead). Leave a comment if you wish.

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Image courtesy of debspoons/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A trip to Ikea with kids

For my regular readers you may remember my post about my ambitious plans to redo my cupboard in my bedroom. I also mentioned how I planned to go with my mum and my little darling nephew and niece to Ikea to get various items like shelves and rails to accomplish this. I promised to give feedback on how my plans went so here it goes (I may go back and forth in present and past tense, but just the fact I lived to tell the tale should qualify me a break in proper English grammar). I have also included a few graphics as it is a long post, which I don’t normally do and I hope to do a bit more often, as having something visual can help to break up the long read. So here goes my epic tale:

We got to Ikea a little wet from the rain, as well it’s Scotland, but no harm done we are used to it. Cinderella is potty training at the moment (she initiated the training herself asking for “peepee” whilst trying to get her nappy off and running to the toilet so my brother and sister-in-law knew it was time to start her training). So where was I in this narrative account of a day at Ikea with under 5’s? Oh yeah so we had arrived a little wet, when Cinderella was doing some of her tell-tale signs that she may need to potty after us just navigating our way into Ikea through revolving doors. (On a side note, I’ve never notice before but do all Ikea’s have revolving front doors or is it just our nearest one that does?). My mum took her and she went potty and Bambi and I congratulated her, got in the lift and arrived at the restaurant.

I don’t think I’ve ever gave much thought to that word but it does seem to imply you go there to relax and rest, well in that case crazyaurant seems to fit better. We navigated our way to the hot food counter Bambi and Cinderella got a kids plate each of sausages and hash browns. I got a bacon roll and my mum a set 6 item breakfast. Then came to picking up cups and mugs for my mum and I to have a hot drink each. Got one, put on tray. Cinderella breaks free from holding my hand, run after Cinderella. Get Cinderella back, go to my mum who is at the till. Mum: “Have you got your Ikea card?”. I then rummage through my enormous bag (think about one and a half long side of a A4 size for height and the width about A4 long side and depth about average persons thumb, maybe two thumbs actually), for my Ikea Family Card as I get a free hot drink. My mum says there will be milk for Cinderella and two hot drinks and the guy looks at tray for only one cup/mug for hot drinks. Me: “Sorry I forgot” ( I can’t remember exact words but it would have been that or similar). Go back and try to wrestle and “excuse me” my way back to cups/mugs spot to get another, when a kind customer who seen the chaos just smiled and handed me one as he was next to the cups/mugs. Back to my mum and the kids for more chat about something or other, I think it was Bambi saying how he needs to help me get things at Ikea so my cupboard will be better. The till man by this point gave a nodding look as if to say I get it now, I’m surprised you even made it to Ikea this early, so how you managed to get one cup/mug on the tray is astounding. I say to Bambi and Cinderella as granny pays that we will find a seat, so off we go and I get Bambi and Cinderella sat at a table.

Granny becomes a real favourite as she arrives with the tray of food, and for me I loved her arrival as I could get to go get my drink now. No wait Cinderella is having milk, take her cup to milk dispenser get it filled, take it back to happy kids, then go back to get knives and forks. Now I get to take the cups/mugs for granny and I to get drinks – granny wants tea. Where is the tea button on this machine?!?! Finally find that it is tea bags and there is hot water button. Now to my coffee, as I watched it pour into my cup I think I could have opened my mouth and stuck it under the nozzle. I was weary and we hadn’t been in store for more than 20 minutes. Annoyed at how little space for milk there was I tilted a bit out of mug, went to milk dispenser and poured in milk. Sat down added sugar stirred and sipped. It was quite a rich coffee, not normally something I like but I sure appreciated it at that moment.

My caffeine life-line to survive a trip to Ikea with under 5's.

My caffeine life-line to survive a trip to Ikea with under 5’s.

We all ate our breakfast, Cinderella had only ate some (she was hungry when she woke up so her mum had to give her something) and therefore as we waited for Bambi to finish, I sipped my caffeine life-saver and Cinderella got a bit impatient. My mum spotted a mini play area in the crazyaurant and took her there. When Bambi was finished he joined them and I cleared the table. After a while of play my mum said she’d go get a trolley and take Cinderella. Bambi gets upset and wants to go to, therefore aunt is left holding bags and jackets and well everything. Kids and granny come back with a trolley and a mini trolley. Oh dear someone is going to get “run over” or we are going to have a huge bill in repairs to Ikea for damaged goods.I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I had held onto from seeing the mini trolley, and the fearful thoughts about damage and told myself they are kids, it is going to be fun, for them at least.

I then get those mini Ikea pencils and give them one and pull out from my bag a shopping list each for Bambi and Cinderella and show them how to use them (me: “See those big boxes over there that have cushions in them(or whatever it was), look out for them boxes around Ikea and if they have in them any of the pictures on your shopping list let me know and there is extra paper if you want to draw pictures”). And off we go around Ikea.

Maybe I should have designed their list a little more like this?

Maybe I should have designed their list a little more like this?

We come across one of the items on their list, pretty quickly on a shelving full of products. Me: “hmm*points to shelving* I wonder if on this shelf there is anything on Bambi and Cinderella’s list?” Bambi excitedly: “Oh yes”. Bambi walks over and picks it up and puts it in his trolley and Cinderella watches from her strapped in position in the big trolley. Me: “That’s good. Well done Bambi for finding it. Now you tick it off.” Bambi gets out his list from his trolley and looks down at the paper with his pencil and hesitates. Me: “Bambi do you know how to do ticks?” Bambi: “No” before he gets upset about not being able to do ticks Me: “Do you want aunt to show you how to do them?” I then get him to hold pencil and I guide it in the shape of a tick. He is then happy he can do ticks and so am I. Cinderella is happy to just scribble on her list and joins in the fun.

I then keep checking my list as we weave our way around Ikea as I know my list has everything on it and with two kids it could be easy to miss something on the big list as I’m too busy helping them with their list. We come across the sofa area and Cinderella no longer likes being in the trolley, why? Bambi is trying out the kids Poang chair and now she wants to try it out too. We therefore “park” the trolleys out the way of other customers and get Cinderella out of her restraints. Is she happy now that she is getting to try out the chair just like big brother did? No. Now she sits back demands her “paper” and uses this time to begin her artwork. This girl loves drawing and if we hadn’t insisted on going she would have sat there all day drawing.

Cinderella gets up and starts pushing Bambi’s trolley. Cue a meltdown from Bambi, which is quickly averted by pointing out a piece of furniture and me saying “Can Cinderella push it to there? Then we will put her back in the trolley and you can push it again.”. Bambi nods in agreement, if only Cinderella knew she only had the trolley for a bit. Come to said piece of furniture Me: “Right Cinderella it’s Bambi’s turn again.”. Cinderella: *shakes finger* “No,No ” as granny and I wrestle her back into trolley. Granny: “You will get another turn later. It is Bambi’s turn”. She accepts granny telling her it Bambi’s turn.

I ask Bambi again to look out for things on his list and he happily pushes his trolley looking for things. After a while we let Cinderella have another turn and she is much happier this time going back into trolley now she realises she will get turns to push the trolley. Bambi is also happy as he knows it’s not a long turn she gets.

Spotting another little boy who has his damage basket on wheels, I get Bambi to stick to one side so there will be no crash and cries. Bambi comments about on the little boy having a trolley too, saying something like “he has a trolley just like me”. Me: “Yes that little boy is pushing his trolley too” (again might not be exact words). Little boy to his mum: “I’m not a little boy!”. I find myself trying not to laugh as I apologise for calling a little boy well a little boy. Kids sure are funny and a lot of work.

After more weaving throughout a maze we reach the boisterous madhouse AKA the children’s area. And, chaos. Bambi and Cinderella see it as playtime and run wild, just like the rest of the kids. We let them have a bit of fun, more structured though. Playing with the demo toys of things like wooden kitchens and trains. We then get one more thing on my list before heading downstairs via the lift to the Market Hall.

Staff of Ikea take note, consider installing some traffic signals like these lights or...

Staff of Ikea take note, consider installing some traffic signals like these lights or…

or like these give way signs, to avoid customers colliding with other customers or your shelves.

… like these give way signs, to avoid customers colliding with other customers or your shelves. (Just a joke it would be impractical to install lights or signs in a shop).

Arriving in the Market Hall was like, well try to imagine arriving in a street in London (in a busy area like Knightsbridge) that had no traffic lights, no pedestrian crossings and no road signs. It was chaotic. I found somewhere that was not crowded and directed Bambi down there. Granny went with Cinderella to get her own mini trolley to stop her asking for “turn” all the time. She had been good with Bambi’s so she had earned the right to have one to herself. So off we all go, again somehow we end up at a spot that forgot to get the memo to install traffic lights so I suggest diving into one of the rows, plus I had seen an item similar to something on my list so figured my item might be about there. Big mistake, my item was not there and remember how I had fought to get rid of the thoughts about the damage on wheels, well they quickly resurfaced. We had entered the area that had tonnes of drinking glasses. I had to direct my trolley, help Bambi to make sure he didn’t add to my bill by causing smashes and granny directed Cinderella. We soon got out of that part and I sighed relief and noticeably relaxed, well just a little as two kids having free rein over a metal object with wheels in a shop still made me nervous wreck.

We soon discovered more things I was after such as the bygel rail, and some things to hang from it for organising. Bambi and I walked over to the shelves with them and left granny with Cinderella and the trolleys. I was happy with Bambi carrying the small bygel rail to granny to put in the trolley as he only had a short distance and he is fairly reliable when it comes to carry things if he has a destination to go to. Cinderella then wanted to come and join us to carry things and I had a mini heart attack as she used this as an excuse to run around the store. Firstly I was worried for her safety in the sense of being in a crowded store and someone may use that to snatch her. Secondly she was headed back to perilous glass filled shelves and I had images of the lot coming off the shelves as she ran into them and the crowd including her being hurt by shattering glass. Thirdly I was worried as my bank balance wouldn’t cover the damage. Grabbing her before damage could be done I returned her to granny and we put her back in the big trolley and strapped her in explaining that she was allowed to come to me to help but as she had run away she was getting put back into the trolley. Being a typical two-year old, she understood why she was put back in the trolley but it didn’t make her any happier about it.

Bambi and I continued to consult our shopping lists adding to the trolley as we discovered the items. Most things on the kids list fitted in his trolley which made him happy. I arrived where the fabrics were and found out you get to cut the cloth yourself (well I had always seen the rolls of fabric just never used them before). Bambi and I looked for the one I wanted then I got to work unravelling the fabric to the right size, cutting the fabric and then finding a member of staff to price it. I must admit I didn’t cut exactly a straight line as I knew we still had more to get and we had been in Ikea for ages as it was, so did a quick but as straight a cut as I could manage. Plus I had fears of a child (well not Cinderella as she was in trolley, but Bambi or some random child) wandering up behind me whilst I wasn’t looking and accidentally hurting them with the sharp scissors.

This is more of a ribbon than fabric but you get the idea.

This is more of a ribbon than fabric but you get the idea.

Since Cinderella had been good we allowed her out again, and she was good, but only for a couple of minutes did she push her trolley. Cinderella abandoned her trolley and I ended up chasing her through bathroom products as granny watched Bambi and the trolleys. This time we agreed she was not getting back out the trolley until we at least got through the checkout.

If you are still reading well done to you for sticking with this epic tale, but I warn you we still have a bit to go in relating this trip to Ikea with kids. With Cinderella secured we made our way round looking out for items, and we then came to the end of the Market Hall which was where the storage boxes were. I found the ones I was looking for and granny decided to buy Bambi a yellow cardboard storage box (his favourite colour) and Cinderella a pink cardboard storage box (she often chooses this colour and we believe it to be her favourite). As I tried to get my boxes secured on the tray below the trolley I managed to give myself a deep paper cut, so into my bottomless bag I rummaged until I found my packet of tissues to stop the bleeding. Unfortunately it did nothing for the classic stingy feeling you get in a paper cut. I don’t know why I do it, and in fact why a lot of people do it, but somehow shaking my hand up and down did nothing to relieve the sting in my finger either.

Then we entered the self-service area of Ikea. Bambi got to practice his number recognition by looking at the list, calling out the numbers and looking out for them and he did so well once he knew where the numbers were (the aisle numbers up high and the location on the shelves). I tried to hold onto my tissue to prevent bleeding from the paper cut and lift the light items of the shelf for Bambi to carry, like a shelf bracket, to the trolley and I carried the heavier items like the actual shelves. Cinderella did not like that Bambi had the ability to walk about but she didn’t. We would have loved to have her walk (to give more space in the trolley and to push along her little trolley that we had to push because she was now in trolley) but sadly we couldn’t trust her not to run away.

Eventually I had found everything I could on my list so we headed to the checkout. I began piling up the products on the conveyor belt and once it was “full”, I would use those moments to dig around my bag for my bank cards and re-find my Ikea Family Card and then sort what was left to be put on the conveyor belt. Once the person in front of me left the checkout, I gave Bambi my Ikea Family Card to give to the member of staff, who scanned it and gave it back to Bambi to give to me. Granny then took the kids down to the other end to get all the items and once I had the last item out, I let the member of staff scan the products on the tray underneath the trolley that would have been too awkward to put on the conveyor belt. I pushed the trolley down to the other end and helped my mum load up the trolley, until the last item got scanned, then went back to the member of staff to pay. We were not too fussed about how we put the things back in the trolley, as long as nothing broke in there as we had already planned to go to the wrapping station (I think that was what it was called, if not it was very similar). The wrapping station is a place where scissors, rope and brown paper are provided free of charge to pack fragile items. As I wrapped up some glass items I had purchased, Bambi and Cinderella went with granny to the toilet (which was literally right beside the wrapping station, in fact on the opposite side of the wall the wrapping station was up against was the toilet).

Bambi came out first and he was fascinated by this station. I let him “wrap” up some things (non-breakable items) to keep him busy as I sorted out the trolley. I was putting smaller items and the breakables into some of the storage boxes I had purchased for ease of carrying and to make sure the breakable items didn’t move around too much. The fabric I had bought came in quite handy for wrapping around them. Cinderella and granny soon joined us as I was finishing up sorting, so we all headed outside once I was done.

I put the two kids trolleys out of the way as Bambi and I sat waiting for granny and Cinderella to bring the car round to the loading area. Granny and I put the kids in the car as we loaded up the car. By then it was lunchtime and I was desperate for a drink as the coffee effects were wearing off. So we all headed back inside to the bistro at the checkouts. I checked what I wanted from the menu, and told my mum. We checked what the kids wanted then my mum ordered.

As soon as we got the paper cups I took them to the self-service to get us all our drinks, then took the kids to the seating area. Unfortunately at the bistro the only seats with a table are of the bar stool type, the only other seats were of the garden bench style but no table so I opted for the bar stool type to give the kids a place to put their drinks and food. As their granny was waiting for the food I had the task of lifting the kids up onto the stools and pushing them into the table.

Bambi preferred just the sausage whereas Cinderella preferred the bun. Kids.

Bambi preferred just the sausage whereas Cinderella preferred the bun. Kids.

I enjoyed my vegetarian hotdog and lingonberry juice, and the kids enjoyed their hotdog and lingonberry juice. Granny had a hotdog and cola. Anyone with kids will understand what I’m about to say, waiting for the eternity for them to eat and drink after I was finished(I hadn’t even been eating that fast) was getting a bit much, especially as I knew I wanted to buy some Ikea food to take home. With granny watching the kids I wandered off to the shop and got cartons of the lingonberry juice(I love that stuff but can only ever find it in Ikea) and some other Ikea foods. I was in a bit of a queue at the food checkout and had taken a few minutes locating the various items in the shop, yet when I got back to the kids and my mum, Bambi and Cinderella were still eating.

With both of the kids loving the lingonberry juice granny decided to go buy them the jar of lingonberry syrup, which you dilute at home to make the lingonberry juice, for them to be able take back to their own house for their mummy and daddy to make for them. Granny got back and they were still eating.

We waited until they finished their hotdogs then granny put the rubbish in the bin and we headed back to the car with their drinks to finish whilst we drove back home. Having secured Bambi and Cinderella in their car seats we headed back home. We hadn’t drove far when we noticed Cinderella freely moving her arms about, as she had got her arms out of the restraints. We pulled in as soon as it was safe to do so and I got out and re-strapped her in the restraints. We were soon on the motorway to head back and were not on the motorway long when Cinderella fell asleep. All the while Bambi talked away telling us things, pointing out animals and structures along the motorway and asking a thousand questions as he is naturally very curious. Bambi will repeat a question until he gets an answer, and if he is not entirely satisfied with the answer will ask more questions until he feels a satisfactory answer has been given. That can make a car journey feel so much longer than it is, but we were soon home.

With Cinderella asleep, Bambi and I went inside to set up the couch for her to nap on and calm Max down as he was so excited that we were home. Granny brought Cinderella inside and we got her settled on the couch. Bambi was wanting the Ikea purchases set up then and there but we explained to him that we would need granddad to help me put up the shelves etc. We did however use the time Cinderella was asleep to carry some things upstairs to my room. Bambi was delighted to help me carry up small products, as once again I explained where everything would be going in the cupboard.

So here we are about two months later, as I went to Ikea on Monday the 12th of May. As I look back on that trip, I’m happy to have wrecked my nerves that day, as I got what I needed but most importantly the kids were safe, happy and had a great time creating memories and learning various skills as we went around the store.

Top Tips just coming...

Top Tips just coming…

Again looking back I can see the shopping list idea worked very well for Bambi, whereas Cinderella was more happy with the blank paper to scribble on. With this in mind, what would be my top tips be for planning a trip to Ikea with kids?:

 

  1. Don’t go shopping to Ikea with kids, but if you insist then follow these other tips:
  2. If it is a lot you are planning to get, schedule in breaks at the restaurant and bistro. Kids tend to be happier when fed.
  3. Bring things to keep the kids amused, like I had blank paper for them to scribble on and let them play in the children’s Ikea section with the demo toys.
  4. Get them involved in the process. If you know some of what you plan to get, let them know what products to look out for. If it is their room you are decorating, or getting furniture for, let them try the furniture out and help decide. One it will keep them busy while you decide and two they are more likely to want to use the product you have just bought if they feel they have contributed to the decision to purchase it.
  5. If you really need to go to Ikea but don’t want your kids around your feet interrupting your thoughts (I’m not judging, I understand), consider using the Creche facilities. I know our nearest store has one, and am sure most if not all have Creche facilities.
  6. If you haven’t already get a Ikea Family Card, as you get discounts on your purchases and often in the restaurant and bistro too (see tip 2, as some savings in the restaurant could come in handy, plus as I mentioned away back at the start of my epic tale with the Ikea Family Card I got a free cup of  a caffeine life-saver  coffee.)

 

Have any of my readers tried lists for kids before for big shops like Ikea? Do you use lists for your kids on grocery shops? Has my tale inspired you to try the lists or have my woes put you off even taking the kids anywhere near a store like Ikea? Any ideas in my tips you wish to try out?  I look forward to reading your comments.  

Images for this post all come from pixabay.

A little update

So yesterday I finally managed to do my post on my views of the winner of Britain’s Got Talent, but other than that you haven’t heard from me for over a month so I thought I’d give my loyal readers a little update.

I’ve been working on my post about my trip to Ikea since May. Yes I know that is a long time to take on one post but as I said in this post I’m not currently doing big posts and as this will be a huge post I’m doing it a couple of paragraphs at a time.

Max, my dog, is a very nervous wee dog and one with quite a few allergies. He is allergic like many westies to chicken, but most westies have a reaction on the skin. Max ends up with vomiting and diarrhoea to chicken, in fact to all poultry and lamb. I refuse to give him rabbit (having pet rabbits in the past and the fact my brother and sister-in-law recently got bunnies for Bambi and Cinderella might have something to do with it). Max may therefore be fine with rabbit, but I’ll never know, that said when we have gave him game before he has vomited that too so he would probably end up sick with rabbit anyway. He can handle a small amount of ham/bacon but too big a portion and he again will vomit. The only meat he is fine with is beef and he can handle fish though he is not particularly fond of dog food with fish, he prefers fresh home cooked fish.

Recently Max had been so unwell we stripped back his diet to sticking to one type of treat (we chose a biscuit brand he likes and is fine with) and put him on hypoallergenic food. Even that didn’t help much so I did what we do when he is really bad and gave him rice pudding. It is a recipe I got out of a dog magazine and I will share it with you in a future post. We use this recipe when we either want to give him a little change and a treat or as I said when he is very sick. The few days with that rice pudding recipe has now settled his poor tummy and we are beginning to reintroduce foods back into diet.

I’m not quite ready yet to go back to my challenge but hopefully soon I will be. As I said earlier I’m working on my post about my trip with Bambi and Cinderella to Ikea. I will also do a post about the rice pudding recipe for dogs. I will also do a post as promised with a 3-D shapes printable pack.

Leave your comments below. If you have a dog with food allergies what foods have you found to work for them? I’m always looking for ideas due to Max being super sensitive.