Boy Meets World was a TV programme that ran from 1993 to 2000. It followed the story of Cornelius "Cory" Matthews (played by Ben Savage) through his coming of age, and everyday life lessons with his friends and family. From his middle school days as a pre-pubescent child to his life in college as a married man.
One important person in Cory's life was Topanga (played by Danielle Fishel), who was Cory's girlfriend and who eventually became his wife.
Fast forward and we pick back up with favourites Cory and Topanga in the new Disney Channel series of Girl Meets World.
We meet Rowan Blanchard who stars as Riley Matthews, the tween daughter of Cory and Topanga Matthews, while Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel reprise the roles of one of television's favourite couples.
Made for kids and families, Girl Meets World tells the wonderfully funny, heartfelt stories that Boy Meets World is renowned for – only this time from a tween girl's perspective. It focuses on relationships with family and friends and the important, indelible values therein, as the relatable and adventurous Riley and her bold best friend Maya traverse the twists and turns of teenage years at Manhattan's John Quincy Adams Middle School where Riley's dad is their History teacher.
I caught up with Ben and Rowan to ask them all about it.
'Boy Meets World' was a great show. How did the 'Girl Meets World' idea come about?
Ben Savage: I think it was initially thought of by someone who worked at Disney, who grew up by the name of Cory Marsh. He had grown up with the idea of Boy Meets World and he was a big fan of the show, he spoke with Michael Jacobs our executive producer about bringing the show back. That's probably a boring story but it was brought up to me probably in about October of 2012. I got a phone call about it and we had a lot of discussions and talks and I think once we kind of all understood where we were coming from in terms of the show, that we weren’t just going be redoing the old show but we would be doing a modern version with a twist from a different perspective, I think we were all really excited about it. Personally for me I was excited to get a chance to play the Dad, and a teacher, I just thought that would be really exciting and I hadn’t done that role. I thought it would be really interesting to be the same character but as a dad now.
Rowan Blanchard: I got involved in the show during November 2012. They had just started auditioning girls and I actually originally auditioned for Maya who’s now played by Sabrina and somewhere in the middle we both swapped because she had originally auditioned for Riley. That’s how I got involved, I knew that when I read the script it was something different that I hadn’t seen, something fresh, something that I hadn’t seen from my generation. When I saw the names Cory and Topanga I made the connection and I was like ok that’s cool.
What do you think made 'Boy Meets World' such a huge success and can you see the same happening for 'Girl Meets World'?
Ben: What I’ve said is that I think that we tackled issues that young people deal with but we did it in a fun relatable way and were never too preachy, so I think people appreciated that, they appreciated the fact that we didn’t talk down to them but we also presented them with storylines, issues and characters that they could identify with and hopefully we did it in a fun way. That's what people have said to me throughout the years you were such an important part of my childhood because you know they trusted us to convey a message but do it in the right way. As far as Girl Meets World, we are kind of taking it one step at a time and hopefully people like the show.
Rowan: Right, and we told our story for the first season for sure and we got messages across that we wanted to get across and hopefully we will be able to do it again.
Ben, how is it for you now acting the grown up?
Ben: I’m really enjoying it again it's really fun to be playing the same character from a different perspective. He’s older, he’s hopefully a little wiser, and is much more focused in this point in his life because he is a dad with two kids and a teacher. It’s still sort of this same quirky, neurotic, fun sweet guy but that being said I think he is really endeavouring to be a good teacher and to set a good example to his kids.
What is it like working with Danielle again do you guys keep in touch?
Ben: It’s been great, I mean she is great. Her character is now a lawyer and its fun reconnecting with everyone on the show because it’s like you’re just getting to spend time with your old friends again so it’s been a lot of fun!
How do you think Cory and Topanga cope with a pre-teen on the show?
Ben: I think they cope with it exactly the way people would expect. I think Cory doesn’t want his daughter to grow up at all and he loves her so much.
Rowan: Topanga kind of accepts change because she is a girl and she understands what it's like.
Ben: So if it was up to Cory she would probably never leave the house.
So what do you think Cory and Topanga have been up to since we last saw them?
Ben: Well they have been busy obviously they moved to New York and they had two kids and as I said Topanga is now a lawyer and Cory is a full time teacher and they are very focussed again about being good parents and spending time with their family.
Can you give us a sort of sneak peak, will we see any of the 'Boy Meets World' cast appearing in the new series?
Rowan: Sure we did a holiday episode that will air at Christmas time. That is also referred to as the reunion episode and we had Shawn come back, and we had Alan and Amy who are Cory’s parents come back, and then we had, fans of the later seasons of Boy Meets World will remember Joshua who was just born and was probably two when the series ended, so he’s grown up, and he’s seventeen and he comes back for the reunion episode. Besides from the reunion episode we have an episode where Minkus comes back, an early Boy Meets World character and then we have Janitor Harley comes back.
Ben: I just want to say one more thing about the guest stars, is that we have always said that the door is always open for all the former Boy Meets World cast when they’re ready and one of the things that has been so fun this past season was that every day that we got to set there was always someone visiting or someone just stopping by to say hi and just visiting so it’s really like a family atmosphere on the set so we really enjoyed that.
Rowan, how do you feel about playing the role of Riley, it must be amazing for you?
Rowan: It’s pretty amazing, it’s a really special role for me and it’s something I’m really proud of and I know I put my best work into it. I know that people will love Riley for her realness for being so off-beat and not a perfect character. What was the other part of the question?
How do you feel about being a Disney star, and how did your family and friends react when you told them?
Rowan: To be honest my family and friends were happy for me but nothing changed, thank god!
So what kind of relationship does Riley have with her parents on the show? How would you describe it?
Rowan: I would say that the father-daughter relationship between Riley and Cory is the epitome of a father-daughter relationship, you know we argue sometimes but at the end of the day we love each other and he’s out to look for me
Ben: You mean the characters?
Rowan: Yeah that’s what I meant.
Rowan: And we are looking out for each other.
Ben: You don’t mean we argue sometimes?
Rowan: I’m talking about Riley and Cory, but that’s what I mean it’s a very real relationship. I often compare it to my dad and I’s because my dad is a lot like Cory, if he had it his way, I would never leave the house. But my relationship with Topanga is very special, it’s a lot like Topanga was in my place during the seasons of Boy Meets World, so Topanga is like the cool mom and gets that her kids need to grow up and that sometimes her kid wants to be with her friends, she is a very nurturing mother.
How do you think Riley feels about her dad teaching her school?
Rowan: I think she likes it and I think there are moments where she might be embarrassed by him but he’s her dad of course she’s going to be embarrassed by him. I think it’s very special for her top come to class and always see her dad and I think that sometimes that can be annoying because she comes home and see her dad and she goes to school to see her dad but I think she deals with it well.
And how does dad feel about teaching his daughter?
Ben: He loves it because I think it’s just more of an opportunity to spend time with his daughter. He loves being a dad and being around his daughter and I don’t know if Riley likes being around Cory as much
Ben: Ok so he loves to be around her and I also think it’s a nice opportunity for him to impart some wisdom in a different atmosphere then at home and I think it is something he really enjoys.
Where could you see this show going in the future, maybe Baby Meets World?
Rowan: Well I mean we are taking it one step at a time and however long it takes to tell our story and if there is a new story we will find that out when the time comes.
Watch Girl Meets World on The Disney Channel, starts 5.30pm, Friday, September 12.
Great Scott! I was one of the lucky ones who got to go to the Secret Cinema screening of my all-time favourite film, Back to the Future.
Anyone who knows me will know how obsessed I am about the film, from my iPhone case, to my ringtone, to collecting memorabilia, and also having the film on various formats. I even got my husband Mark, to put Back to the Future 1 and 2 films together by blending them onto the same VHS so I could watch both films in one go! And my long-suffering husband refuses to watch the films with me as I know them word for word. So yes, obsessed is the word.
I had high expectations, after the disappointing news last week that the first week of shows had to be cancelled.
Fabien Riggall, founder of the immersive film-experience company, said it was a 'myriad of reasons' for his decision to cancel the first week.
Many people took to social media to express their anger, and I could understand as people had paid for tickets, hotels, bought special fifties outfits, come from far and wide, so I had sympathy for them.
Along with my daughter, Amber, we were all dressed in fifties gear and met at Hackney Wick station. As it's Secret Cinema, you never find out the details of the events and are just given a place to turn up and will be directed when you arrive.
After a 15-minute walk we arrived at the entrance to the Olympic Park, only a venue of this size could cater for what we were about to experience. I just wish we could have met at the Olympic Park, as Hackney Wick station is a little awkward to get to.
People who had mobile phones had to give them in at the entrance, as mobiles weren't around in 1955, but it was really so pictures of the event didn't get out and spoil it for others going to the following shows.
The experience started with a walk down Riverside Drive, where there were houses from some of the characters in the film, a little disappointed with these as they were just a one room, large shed with not much inside, yes I realise they can't build full-size houses!
Walking past 1640 Riverside Drive, we looked into Doc Browns house, some nice touches in there.
As we entered the Hill Valley square, I was blown away.
Full-size clock tower, over 30 buildings including, Hill Valley High school complete with Enchantment Under the Sea dance inside, plus a very good actor playing the part of Mr Strickland. Also in the square were familiar shops from the film, the Texaco garage, Lou's diner, Roy's records, and of course Ruth's frock shop.
Everyone who registers are given a character, I was so please to be working for the Hill Valley Telegraph, and wore my press pass with pride. Amber was a student at Hill Valley high.
As we walked around taking in the sights, it was great to see almost all of the 3,500 people had made the effort to dress up, and that really made it fell like you were in 1955.
There was also a fair, complete with a ferris wheel and stalls.
As the doors opened at 5.30 and the screening didn't start until after 9pm, it was quite a long time, but we made a little base camp on the green in preparation for the film.
It was a shame we had to wait so long for food in Lou's diner, over an hour, and the toilets were ones like at a festival! But that aside, it was fantastic.
As the sun started to set over the Olympic park, the film began, to cheers from the crowd who all now sat on the green in the middle of the square.
The film was projected on to the clock tower so everyone had a great view.
At key points in the film, actors dressed as the characters treated us to some great scenes. As soon as I saw the DeLorean come out from backstage in a cloud of smoke, I knew this was going to be good.
I wasn't disappointed at all, and loved every minute. I loved the audiences reaction to certain scenes, enjoyed having a dance to Johnny Be Good and it was great to be with people who loved the film as much as I did.
Secret Cinema, I look forward to you putting on Back to the Future 2, next year as it will be the year Marty travels to in the future!
I'll have my own hoverboard by then (I wish).
Tickets available costing £53.50 (standard 16+) and £25 (child 5-15) www.secretcinema.org
The fab people at Morrisons have put together this really interesting infographic Christmas by Numbers.
It shows how they have been testing, tasting and developing everything you need for your Christmas!
Also check out this info graphic on The Great British Christmas Table.
As parents, we've all been in the situation when travelling with our kids and we need to keep them entertained.
On the Movies is a great range of kids back packs that include a 7 inch touch screen Tablet PC, allowing kids to play movies, games and go online on the move.
No more 'I'm bored' on a long journey.
No more faffing with getting a tablet out of your bag, then having to put it back in again.
This back pack has a clear window in the pocket on the front of the back pack that let's kids use the tablet while it's still in the bag!
These tablets have been specially designed with a coloured bumper protective case. As well as playing games and watching movies, kids can take their own photos with an integrated camera.
The tablet that comes with the bag has a high resolution 1024x800 screen, and 8GB of storage. Perfect amount of space for your little one, and allowing you to download photos, games, Apps, Music and movies. If you need more space, it can take up to a 32GB Micro SD card.
It comes with wide selection of educational and fun games pre-loaded, and a USB, and HDMI ports allow you to connect to other computers to download films or more apps.
The good thing about this little tablet is you get around 4 hours of play for games and movies before it needs re-charging. Perfect for any journey.
A great little idea is that the kids can plug in headphones while the tablet is still in the bag!
These cute little back packs come in four designs, Pretty Kitty, Bouncy Tiger, Cheeky Monkey, and Lucky Ladybird.
If you're flying, pack the back pack with stuff your little one needs on the flight, and they will be entertained on the flight with the tablet.
If your travelling in the car, why hang the back pack over the head rest without having to have an in-car DVD player.
You can buy the back packs with the tablet, or without.
The bags with the tablet are priced at £89.95 and the back pack on it's own without the tablet is £24.95. So if you already have a 7 inch tablet, you can buy the back pack to keep it in while you're on the move.
Available at www.onthemovies.co.uk
There's nothing I like better than getting in from a busy day at work, and arriving home just in time for our bedtime routine.
The Lost My name books are beautiful and would make a gorgeous gift for a special little person in your life.
When ours arrived for my son Jacob, he couldn't wait to read it.Read More
You know when you receive one of those letters from your child's school saying 'costume needed', it sometimes fills me with dread!
My daughter, Amber brought a letter home from school about a school trip where the kids had to dress as Victorian schoolchildren.
The Victorian era is my favourite. I started to Google what kids wore in this era. The theme for girls seemed to be a white pinafore over their dresses, to keep them clean. As I carried on reading, I found that the mums used to make these pinafores. So I bought a long black skirt and a long black top but I set about making the pinafore myself.
Now I love sewing, I mainly only have time to read about sewing so when this project came up I thought I'd give it a go.
We had an old off-white bed sheet that I thought would be perfect to use, and I also found an old piece of material from my stash (I love collecting fabric, especially from charity shops), which had a crocheted edge, I also had an old pillowcase that had lace all around the edge.
I set to work trying to figure out how I would make it. The first thing I did was find a t shirt that Amber currently wears, so I knew it fitted her. Then I folded the t-shirt in half and traced around the edge onto baking parchment (this is my cheap version of dressmakers paper). I then added an extra 1 cm all around the edge for the seam allowance.
I cropped the t-shirt pattern quite high as I noticed the Victorian children wore them like this.
From the width of Amber's t-shirt at the bottom I just roughly followed it down to create the skirt part (again adding the seam allowance).
I then went round and hemmed all the edges, I double folded and sewed down the middle. You can just zig zag stitch the edges (which would be quicker).
I ended up with 4 pieces, 2 tops (1 front, and 1 back) and 2 skirt parts (front and back).
Because I used a well washed old sheet there was no need to pre-wash, if it had been new material, it's best to pre-wash to get all the shrinkage out of it.
I cut off the crocheted piece and the lace piece off my pillowcase and fabric.
I sewed my 2 top pieces together at the top (across the shoulder), then I sewed on my crocheted fabric from the arm hole from the back, right the way up and over the top, down to the front arm hole area.
I then sewed the skirt part to the top, both front and back. I wanted a few pleats in so I made the width a little larger.
After doing this for both the front and the back, I had almost finished. I know, by looking at Google images, that most Victorian school children tied at the back, but I discovered this after I had already cut my fabric! I could have cut it up the back but I decided to put some small metal press stud fasteners on instead to hold the shape, and for ease for my daughter.
The ribbons in here hair came from a tie on an old pair of my pyjama bottoms!
I'm really pleased with the finished look to say I wasn't working from a pattern. I'd love to know what you think. Leave a comment below if you have had to make certain outfits for your kids for school.
I should have taken pictures for a tutorial, I will do next time!
Who doesn't love spending a traditional day out with the family. Forget all the gadgets for a day, and spend some good old fashioned fun on a day out with the kids. Whether it's going for a picnic, skimming stones or picking blackberries, spending quality time as a family is really important.
Traditional family activities seem to be making a come-back. This weekend my husband Mark and I will be taking our two children, Amber, ten and Jacob, three, to the seaside for a bit of rock-pooling.
VisitEngland encourages families to experience life’s simple pleasures inspired by the tales of Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin.
Enjoying a fish supper on Blackpool Pier, negotiating Hampton Court Maze and taking a stroll beside Hadrian’s Wall have been named as some of England’s greatest ‘simple pleasures’ according to a new study released today.
The new study on behalf of Egmont Publishing and supported by VisitEngland asked 2,000 parents to vote for the traditional activities, attractions and days out. The results provide a fascinating overview of the activities, which hark back to a bygone age when the great outdoors was considered the ultimate family tonic.
From learning to skim stones to fossil hunting, exploring castles and forests reaching from Northumberland to Treyarnon Bay, ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’s 25 Simple Pleasures’ were named as:
1. Enjoying a fish supper on Blackpool Pier, Lancashire
2. Indulging in afternoon tea, Devon
3. Picnicking on the shores of Windermere in the Lake District, Cumbria
4. Rock-pooling in Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall
5. Camping in the New Forest, Hampshire
6. Marvelling at Stonehenge, Wiltshire
7. Getting lost in the maze at Hampton Court Palace, Greater London
8. Taking a stroll beside Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland and Cumbria
9. Boating day out on the Broads, Norfolk and Suffolk
10. Watching the puffins on the Farne Islands, Northumberland
11. Stargazing in Exmoor National Park, Somerset and Devon
12. Taking in the vista from the peaks at the Peak District National Park, Derbyshire
13. Trying to make the Queen’s Guard laugh at Buckingham Palace
14. Watching the changing of the Guards at Windsor Castle, Berkshire
15. Fossil-hunting on Brook Beach, Isle of Wight
16. Exploring the famous White Cliffs of Dover
17. Playing Pooh Sticks at 100 Acre Wood, East Sussex
18. Rolling down the hills around Corfe Castle, Dorset
19. Visiting a honey farm in Devon
20. Skimming stones at Holy Island, Lindisfarne, Northumberland
21. Picking blackberries on Box Hill, Surrey
22. Riding a narrow boat through the canal ways, Birmingham
23. Taking in the grandeur of Chatsworth House from the park, Chatsworth, Derbyshire
24. Seeking out the deer at Richmond Park, London
25. Admiring Bamburgh Castle from the beach, Northumberland
The poll reveals that dining alfresco is a firm favourite, securing the first three slots in the top 10. No fewer than four National Parks appear in the full list of 25, highlighting our appreciation for England’s green space. Of these, two made it into the top 10.
Negotiating the maze at Hampton Court Palace was the only activity from the capital to make the top 10, although making the Queen’s Guard laugh came close at number 13. Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Woodin East Sussex, the original destination for playing Pooh Sticks in A.A. Milne’s classic novel, was voted into the 17th spot, closely followed by another favourite activity Pooh would enjoy - visiting a honey farm at number 19. Overall, the South West of England came out on top as the area that offers the best opportunity to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, closely followed by the South East and the Midlands.
Nearly half of respondents claim their fondest holiday memories are from time spent in England, with having a picnic, taking a walk and building sandcastles coming out as the most memorable activities. Interestingly the research shows that kids today get outside almost as much as their parents did, with nearly 50% of families enjoying outdoors activities. Parents also highlighted just how precious quality family time is, with over a third saying they enjoy at least one family outing a month.
The ‘Simple Pleasures’ campaign was developed by and inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh to encourage modern families to enjoy the great outdoors whilst celebrating our great English heritage. The activities reflect the core themes in A. A. Milne’s best-selling books, which centre around a series of simple adventures for Winnie-the-Pooh and his close friends in the Hundred Acre Wood - including playing the game ‘Pooh Sticks’.
The top 10 have inspired a new illustrated guide for families featuring brand new artwork by Mark Burgess, who coloured the original E.H Shepherd Black & White art and the latest book ‘Return to the Hundred Acre Wood’. The guide is available to download for free from the VisitEngland website.
James Berresford, Chief Executive, VisitEngland said: “It’s great that respondents’ fondest holiday memories are from time spent in England and we are thrilled that Pooh’s simple pleasures can be experienced across the country. We hope the guide will inspire families to discover, explore and enjoy the best of England this bank holiday.”
Sarah Bates, Publishing Director, Egmont commented: “Winnie-the-Pooh shares many a simple adventure with his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood so he is the perfect character to remind us how to enjoy the simple pleasures that England has to offer.”
To download the guide, visit www.VisitEngland.com/WinnieThePooh
With so many apps to choose from, it can be tricky to pick one that's right for your toddler.
Disney have just launched the new Disney Junior Play app and we love it!
By we, I mean my three year old son, Jacob, and I.
Jacob's face lights up every time I let him play on it. We're big fans of all things Disney, so we were really excited to see this new app.
It doesn't dissapoint. Great for little fingers, easy to navigate, quick to launch, and lots of games included.
The new iOS app Disney Junior Play is home to Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Disney Junior fans can now get even closer to their favourite characters on the go through a variety of activities including fun games, engaging video-clips and a digital sticker book.
Free to download, Disney Junior Play comes with the “Disney Junior Favourites” pack, featuring four multi-level games and a digital sticker book featuring Doc, Sofia, Jake and Mickey. Additional packs based on Disney Junior’s smash-hit shows Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are available to purchase from within the app, each containing four games, a short form video and a digital sticker book.
It's easy to create a simple profile, and little ones can easily navigate through the home screen and access the games. One of Jacob's favourites is popping the balloons with Mickey and Goofy.
The games encourage creativity, the kids learn how to solve problems, develop dexterity and the app helps with hand-eye co-ordination.
You know how much kids love stickers! Well, stickers are rewarded and collected during gameplay and can be saved in the sticker book; each pack having its own character themed sticker book and 25 stickers to collect.
Disney Junior Play will definitely keep little ones busy with fun, challenging games. Jacob didn't need muy help while playing on it, and I am pleased beacuse there are no adverts within the game, so he can't accidently click on anything. Jacob didn't want to stop playing it!
The app is free to download and you get a good variety of games with the free app. I would recommend you buy the bundle which is currently £4.99, better value which will unlock 4 more parts of the game. Or you can buy them individually at £1.99 each.
These are the games you can buy extra:
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 'Farmyard Fun'
- Doc McStuffins 'Here to Help'
- Jake and the Never Land Pirates 'Island Adventures'
- Sofia the First 'A Royal Party'
- 20+ games available, including;
- Jigsaw puzzles to encourage problem solving
- Catching games to reward fast fingers
- Dress-up games to inspire imaginative play
- Placement games to encourage logical thinking
- Hide-and-seek games to reward observation skills
- Three levels in each game
- 25 digital stickers to collect in each pack
- Catchy videos to watch again and again!
- Supports up to four profiles, so each of your children can save their progress
- Play anywhere, any time as all content works offline, including videos
- No adverts so your child can play safely
- In-app purchases are only available in the pin-protected store, so only an adult can access
- Supports iPhone 4+, iPod 4+, and iPad 2+
Check out my video review and see the app in real-time.
Each pack features a set of adventures and stimulating play topics that transport kids into the world of their favourite Disney Junior characters; from helping Doc choose the right clothes for the weather to helping Jake and his crew design a sand castle for a pirate king.
Disney Junior Play has been designed to keep little ones busy with fun, challenging games that feature everyday themes, but while a lot of fun for kids, the app has also been developed with parents in mind.
Purchases within Disney Junior Play are both safe and secure with payments facilitated only after parents have correctly passed through the child-protection screen. Once within the store parents can browse and purchase additional character themed packs to add to their Disney Junior Play collection. Each pack retails at £1.99, or can be purchased as part of a money saving bundle, all 4 games for £4.99
What are you waiting for, go an have a play on the Disney Junior Play app.
Available to download from the app store.
Disclosure: I was provided with the full app to review free of charge.
If like me, every year you’re completely stumped on what to get for Father's day. Not just for your Dad, but also for your husband or partner from the kids... then I have a few ideas for you.
Each year we leave it to the last minute and end up sneaking out to the supermarket to the generic aisle of useless, novelty items that are just going to be shoved in the drawer or in back of a cupboard to gather dust, why not get something that he’ll enjoy and even be practical.
Don't forget Father's day is on June 15.
Cool Clothing and Superior Smellies
TK Maxx Mens Accessories: Henleys Trunk Boxers (£9.99), Storm Aviator Sunglasses (£12.99) and Original Penguin Cap (£12.99).
TK Maxx have a great selection of men’s accessories either available to buy online or just browse and visit one of their 277 stores. With a wide selection of big names at affordable prices you’ll be sure to find something to suit even the most stubborn, unfashionable man! Examples here are the modern looking ‘Henleys’ cotton boxers at half price, cool and classic ‘Storm Aviator Sunglasses’ for under half price and stylish yet casual ‘Original Penguin Cap’ available in 5 different colours.
Bad Boy Clothing: Walk-in Hoodie (£49.99) and Legacy II Camo Shorts (£39.99)
For the sporty dads ‘Bad Boy Clothing’ offer a broad range of training clothing and urban casual wear for all year round and modern dads will love the vibrant colours and extreme branding. With free delivery on orders over £30 and same day dispatch, you’ve no excuse leaving it to the last minute and getting him yet another Family Guy T-shirt from a supermarket that he won’t wear! Featured are the Legacy II Camo training shorts which are great not just for the Gym but would suit a wide range of uses including cycling or even just the beach and the ‘Walk-in Hoodie’ is not your standard hoodie but high quality with a striking embroidered logo to the rear.
Gold JAY Z edt (£35), XANTHE Mens Urban Quickfix (£35) and Davidoff Cool Water (£27.99)
Now apart from Christmas, the best time to get some posh smellies for your husband is Father’s Day and let’s face it you're the one who has to smell him so why not get something you both like? Exclusive to Superdrug ‘Gold by JAY Z’ is a fantastic new eau de toilette launched by the rap legend Jay Z, spicy and rich this is no doubt a masculine fragrance but the ladies will love it too! Available online, ‘BeautyLab’ in Harley Street London make some high-end yet affordable male grooming serums and the ‘Xanthe Urban Quickfix’ is ideal for everyday anti-aging moisturizing with anti-oxidants and that all important UV sun screen. Finally if you’re really stuck on what smellies to get him, why not go for ‘Davidoff Cool Water’ from ‘The Fragrance Shop’? You can’t go wrong with this extremely fresh smelling moreish scent. Currently at a great price you even get a free luxury washbag and mini wash/balms.
Police ‘Voyager’ Watch (£99)
If you’re looking for a watch with character then what about this super timepiece from ‘Police’. The ‘Voyager’ model oozes retro yet contemporary charm. The rectangle brown watch face with chunky typeface is perfectly evocative of the 1970’s, with water resistant (5 ATM) and genuine leather strap it’s just the quality item you’d expect from this Italian designer-wear company.
Ruark R1 Tabletop DAB Radio (£179) and Maxell Retro DJ Headphones (£25)
With loads of brilliant radio stations, DAB radios have been a must in households for some years now. Early models looked cheap and dated and sound quality pretty naff too, not anymore! The splendid looking ‘Ruark R1’ not only looks great with its retro walnut veneer styling, but the radio housing acts like an amplifying speaker which certainly packs a punch for a small desktop radio. No complex buttons all over the place either, just one uncomplicated dial on top for easy navigation. The large display is crisp and easy to understand and with a light sensor, dims in low-lit rooms, with this and an alarm makes it also perfect for the bedroom. On the rear there’s auxiliary inputs so you can enjoy the superb sound of the R1 through your iPhone, additionally a headphone socket so you can’t annoy everyone with Jazz FM!
And what better way to listen through when you’re plugged in is these retro DJ headphones from ‘Maxell’. Available from QVC these very comfortable headphones have an amazing rich & full sound whilst blocking out any background noise. With the cable on just one side, tangling becomes a thing of the past and with a 6mm jack adaptor you can easily listen to multiple audio equipment.
Forge Steel 47 Piece General Tool Kit (£59.99) and Draper Ultimate Spanner Set (£39.95)
Fed up of bemoaning Dads that can never find their philips screwdriver or that he’s mislaid his tape measure? The ‘Forge Steel’ 47 Piece General Tool Kit from Screwfix not only keeps all his tools all in one place in a handy carry bag, but comes with all the general purpose tools he’ll need to my jobs done! There’s a great selection of good quality tools including 6 screwdrivers, utility knife, measuring tape, pliers and hacksaw to name but a few.
But if the men in your life have plentiful types of tools but never seem to have the right sized spanner then what else do you need but the ‘Ultimate Spanner Set’ from ‘Draper’, Ingeniously colour coordinated so you can quickly Identify what size you need, this 13 piece hi-torque, hardened steel set will last him a lifetime.
Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive (£59) and Netgear AC750 WiFi Range Extender (£64.79)
Is your PC full up of junk that you wouldn’t mind keeping but killing the performance of your machine, or are you paranoid that when your computer goes pop you’ll lose all those mp3’s and precious family photos? Then a ‘Seagate External Hard Drive’ from ‘Currys’ is definitely the answer. Much more affordably priced than they were a few years ago and now available with absolutely massive storage. Compatible with XP, Vista Windows 7 & 8 operating systems it stores data information in seconds via USB 3.0 cable by simply dragging and dropping. Also available in 500GB, 1TB, 3TB and 4TB models.
Another amazing product that’s not just essential for home PCs, laptops and tablets but smartphones too is the ‘Netgear WiFi Range Extender’ from ‘Amazon’. If you suffer from loss of WiFi signal in your home because of thick walls or lack of coverage upstairs, you just simply plug in this clever little box to boost the WiFi coverage all around your home and even the garden. There’s also a Ethernet port for you to plug in games consoles, smart TVs and bluray players.
Roku Streaming HDMI Stick (£49.99) and One For All Tablet Remote Control (£59)
Can’t find anything to watch on TV? The ‘Roku Streaming Stick’ streams 500+ TV channels via the internet all through this marvellous little stick that you plug into your TVs HDMI input. With free channels such as BBC iPlayer, You Tube, 4oD and Facebook it’s worth it alone, but there’s all the top pay channels to like Netflix, Sky Sports and Now TV. You can either control Roku through a simple remote or an app through your smartphone which via Roku apps you can send music, videos and photos to your TV.
I think at the last count we had about ten different remotes for various devices, it’s ridiculous, but the war on who controls the remote is legendary in all households across the country! Make him feel special this Father’s Day by treating him to the ‘One For All’ Tablet Remote Bridge by ‘Nevo’. It turns you iPad or android tablet into a smart remote via a WiFi Bridge and a free downloadable app. Works with 1,000s of TV brands, this device is simple to set up you can personalise your tablet to suit his needs and with one simple control to watch a programme it will switch on your TV, select the right HDMI ports and turn on your amplifier, now that’s quite special.
As I dived behind a chair at my daughter's 10th birthday celebrations, I began to think about how many photographs of our children we had taken in just a few short years.
We almost have a flicker book from when they were born to present day.
At my son's recent pre-school photograph, I was amazed that at 3 years old, the photographer took 2 shots of him and it was done. Not much coaxing or squeezing a noisy animal whilst jumping up and down behind the photographer and saying 'come on smile' was needed!
Kids are so used to having their pictures taken nowadays they aren't fazed by it. Which is ironic because with digital cameras you can take as many as you like, you only had 24 or 36 (which you could always squeeze a couple more snaps out of) pics you could take when I was young on a roll of film! Apologies if any younger people are reading this and have no idea what I'm talking about (I'm starting to feel old now). Have a look on Google!
I remember having my picture taken as a child, mostly by my Grandparents. My Grandma had one of those long thin cameras that had a tall flash that you slide on top of it, that looked liked a mini tray of ice cubes! We'd have to wait what seemed an eternity for the flash to be ready, it took so long, no wonder we had some corkers! She always managed to chop the top of our heads off which was a running joke when we had waited 2 weeks for the pics to be developed and at least one had a sticker over it saying it could be improved!
I have to say, my Grandma who has just gone 81 (don't tell her I said that, she will go mad), sends me a text at least once a week, so she has always been into modern things! She isn't on facebook, and I'd love to get her a little netbook to use it, she calls it faceache, and gets a bit annoyed because people find out things and see pictures on there before her and she was always the one to know what's going on first!
It's sad really as we never print out our digital pictures, when we had been on a family holiday when I was younger, the anticipation in waiting for the rolls of film to be developed and returned, then going to my grandparents houses and having an evening of showing those photos was a lovely thing to do. We don't do that anymore.
I love taking pictures of the kids, on my phone, with the small digital camera or my big digital SLR (still never had time to learn to use it properly).
I got a bit grumpy with my husband while on our daughter's birthday cinema and meal outing because he'd put a picture of me with our birthday girl and her friends at the cinema on to Facebook without me seeing it first!
Thank goodness for Instagram sometimes, because to be honest, that's the only time I'd be happy with a picture of me being made public, if it had gone through one of Instagrams lovely filters, oh and taken from a height, so I have no chin, erm... and only my left side, and head and shoulders only, ok!
I then started to think of how every time a photo opportunity presented itself, I would always say 'I'll take it, go on, you lot get together'.
The reason for this was I don't like my photo being taken!
This can depend on how I feel about myself that particular day.
In the last 20 years, my weight has fluctuated massively, I have clothes in 8 different sizes!
You will find plenty of pics of me when I was smaller in size!
It only occured to me at the latest get together, that my children won't have many/if any pictures of me when I'm not here anymore.
I know it sounds a bit of a morbid thing to think about, but I love to look back at old photos of my family, to bring back the memories to the front of my mind and step back in time just for a few minutes.
So I really need to pull myself together and start having my picture taken more, no matter what I feel I look like! Somethings better than nothing, right?
So here goes, the first step... here's a picture of me with my children, Jacob had chicken pox when this was taken!
I'd love to hear your thoughts. You can leave a comment below. Thanks.
The MAD Blog Awards are the Mum and Dad Awards, they are the UK's biggest awards for parent blogs.
I am putting myself up for nomination this year *gulp*.
Our Family Life website is something I have been working hard on since last year, so it's fairly new.
I'm a full-time working mum, and along with my husband Mark (who blogs on here too), who's a stay at home dad (has been for 10 years now), and our daughter Amber (who is also getting the blogging bug), and our cheeky monkey of a son Jacob, we talk about all aspects of our family life.
This whole blogging business started almost 5 years ago. I work for a national newspaper, and one day we were asked if anyone wanted to write a blog. I said 'Yes I will', then asked 'What's a blog?'
I write family features/blogs on mirror.co.uk but don't be mistaken, I'm not a writer, I'm a blogger. I write in my own voice as though I'm telling someone a story over a cup of tea! I'm the Art Editor of The Sunday People so I design pages, I don't write the stories.
As I got used to writing, I enjoyed it more and more. I decided to start our own website.
With the help of my husband, our daughter, and our son, we try and cover most things we get up to. From family days out to product reviews.
This is the first year I have put myself forward for the MAD Blog Awards and it is a little scary as the parenting blogging world is growing every year, and there are some amazing blogs out there. Every one of them done out of love, frustration, happiness, sadness and just because that's the life that's important to them!
This is the life that's important to me - my family!
I would love to be nominated as a newbie in the Best New Blog category.
If you would like to nominate me click the link below and nominate away. I would really appreciate it!
Thanks for reading!
When I was young, I loved watching both my grandmas baking yummy treats. I have such fond memories of steam filled kitchens with delicious smells floating around the house.
I have a few recipes from my grandmas, an amazing Yorkshire puddings recipe from my grandma Shaw, and another is for meat and potato pie from my grandma Brearley. Using their recipes, they are perfect every time.
I think, if you are lucky enough to have a grandma, nana, nanny or a nonna (as my children call my mum), then it's great to cook with them.
You learn so much cooking with your grandma, and just spending that bit of quality time with them is lovely.
Nowadays we always seem to be in a rush, clock watching, making sure the kids are in school on time, after school clubs, lessons, parties, or out with friends, that's before you've done the washing, sorted the house, and done everything else that comes with the mayhem of having a family.
Sherrie Hewson, has a new book out called Nana's kitchen, and it has over 100 family recipes for you to choose from.
I love Sherrie in ITV's comedy Benidorm, she has starred in some of the nation's favourite programmes including: Loose Women, Coronation Street, Crossroads and Emmerdale.
We had the perfect opportunity to test out one of her recipes when my mum, Elaine (nonna) and my grandma, Margaret (grandma great) came to stay with us for a few days.
My daughter Amber, 10, chose the recipe she wanted to make, and not surprisingly she went for the Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Popcorn Drops.
Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Popcorn Drops
Making these is messy fun and not for the faint hearted - it's guaranteed to give you a cleaning-up job, but the kids love making them, so it's worth the effort. You can leave out the nuts if anyone is allergic. The popcorn drops are just as good without.
- 350g milk chocolate (use any flavour you like, or try chocolate caramel chunks), chopped
- 120g toffee popcorn (or use 60g toffee popcorn and 60g plain popcorn
- 240g chopped cashew nuts
- Edible decorations of your choice
- Line a 24-hole mini-muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
- Melt chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring every 30 seconds.
- Place the popcorn and chopped nuts in a bowl and pour over the melted chocolate, stirring well until all the popcorn is evenly coated in chocolate.
- Place spoonfuls of the mixture into the muffin cases and, before the chocolate has chance to set, quickly add your decorations - sprinkles, mini marshmallows, chewy sweeties, small chocolate eggs... let your imagination run riot! Set aside until the chocolate has set.
We had great fun making these and Amber loved licking the spoon!
As you can imagine, the whole lot had gone later that day with the help of my husband, Mark and our son, Jacob.
They taste yummy and they are so easy to make, and such fun!
Nana’s Kitchen by Sherrie Hewson is published by Macmillan, priced £20
By Amber Jennings, age 10.
Me and mum, Adele, got up very early at 5 o'clock in the morning creeping around as to not wake my little brother and dad who was snoring his head off to drive to Heathrow airport, terminal 5.
It was still dark and cold when we left the house and we had to de-ice mums car because it was very frosty! When we finally arrived at the airport, the sun was beginning to rise as well.
We checked in and thankfully it was breakfast time too because I was starving, so we went to the Giraffe cafe for something scrummy to eat. I had scrambled egg on toast, (which was scrumptious!) and a sunrise smoothie with strawberry, banana and fresh orange.
After looking around the shops, it was time to catch our flight.
Once we found our seats on the British Airways flight and got comfy, about 15 mins after the flight had taken off, they started handing out food and drinks. I had a normal coke and mum had a diet coke, plus, we both had cheese and ham flatbread sandwiches.
I played Subway Surfers and Temple Run 1 on my iPod touch to keep me occupied during the flight and before I knew it we had landed in Italy. We went straight to the hotel, dropped our bags of at reception and got a taxi ride to the concert.
We arrived at the concert arena and got some drinks and snacks before getting seated and then the concert began! It was introduced by an Italian speaking person so I couldn't really understand that bit, but then it was super loud music and a brilliant show.
I really enjoyed seeing all the stars from Violetta and listening to the songs from the show, my ears were buzzing for a while afterwards! We then went back to the hotel and took our bags to our beautiful classical looking room.
By this time we were both getting peckish so went to find somewhere to get PIZZA!!! The pizza I had was the plain margherita pizza, THAT WAS MASSIVE!!!!!!!!! My mum had a mushroom pizza, again it was MASSIVE!
With a full tummy, we went straight back to the hotel to get into our pj's on. We watched a bit of TV, the channel was CNN (Which was American), me and mum sorted out some stuff for tomorrow, and then SLEEPY TIME!
The next morning, we got up out of bed and got dressed. After we got dressed we went straight down for breakfast. I had red orange juice, a granola mix cereal and a peach and apricot yoghurt, with bits of peach and apricot in too. We went back to our room after, and brushed our teeth and hair and went down to the cafe to get a drink of coke, to get ready for the INTERVIEWS!!!
So we got a taxi to the interviews, and there were already about fans waiting outside because their tour bus was parked outside! The place we went in is a another hotel, it was very posh and modern.
We were taken to a waiting area and waited 20 mins before we could interview them. I went to interview Violetta (Martina) and Leon. (Jorge, pronounced horrhey) JORGE SPOKE ENGLISH! I interviewed six of the cast from Violetta, including: Violetta played by Martina Stoessel, Leon played by Jorge Blanco, Francesca played by Lodovica Comello, Federico played by Ruggero Pasquarelli, Maxi played by Facundo Gambandé and Diego played by Diego Dominguez.
Here are the questions I asked and the fab answers they gave..
How did you get the part in Violetta?
Martina: 'It's a very long story! My father went to present a project at the Disney Channel and he asked if I would like to record the songs for this project. Which was not Violetta. I hadn't done anything on TV before, so of course I wanted to do it. He went and presented his project and they asked who is this girl who's singing the songs at the end. I had just turned 14 at the time. My father said this is my daughter. They had been looking for a main character and they had seen so many girls and couldn't find the right one. The asked.. would your daughter like to come and do a casting and I said of course! I danced and sang for them and had lots of auditions and then in the end that's how it all started for Violetta.'
Jorge: 'My case is different as I have now being working with Disney since 6 years ago, so this project is the first time they called me for an audition. They called me and said there's a possibility I would make this part. And I was like yeh I'm interested. They kept giving me information and one day they told me yes you're in and it was exciting, I was like wow, it was the first time they called me so it was fun.'
Ruggero: 'I received the call from Mickey Mouse asking if I'd like to participate in Violetta. It's a big adventure, huge opportunity, I went to Argentina and then my adventure began.'
Lodovica: 'I was studying in a normal academy in Milan, singing and dancing and one day the general manager of the academy called me and in 3 days some people arrived for a casting of girls for a secret project. I participated in the casting and after a week they chose me and I had to go to Buenos Aires and in 2 months with my luggage I went to Argentina.'
Facundo: 'Through a casting. It was a long casting, about 5 months long, I had to do everything, dance and sing, and it was a surprise because only 6 months later I heard that I was selected I didn't know the title of Violetta and where I was going to act or what my character was.'
Diego: 'It was different for me, I was in Madrid. It came as a surprise while I was struggling with different minor projects and I cried over the phone to my mother when I found out because she knew how important it was to me.'
Did you go to acting school?
Martina: 'Yes, I went for 3 years and did acting, I did singing and dancing. I didn't go to full-time acting school, it was at the weekend.'
Jorge: 'No, until I started working so that was my acting school.'
Ruggero: 'Yes, I spent six years in an acting school, I was a shy person and thanks to acting I developed myself, singing and guitar and now we are here.'
Lodovica: 'Me, guitar, 8 years, composition then singing and acting, it's quite important to attend acting schools.'
Facundo: 'I started with dance classes in a school and then moved onto acting and also singing lessons.'
Diego: 'I started when I was 13 and I took acting classes and since then I have always studied.'
How many hours do you rehearse during the day?
Martina: 'We did 2 months of rehearsing Monday to Friday, 6 hours a day for our European tour.'
Jorge: 'Before starting the tour we had 2 months of rehearsals everyday from Monday to Friday 6 hours a day, it was tough but it's worth it now.'
How is it being on tour, is it tiring?
Martina: 'Yes it's very tiring, but we try to enjoy it. You miss your home, bed and family and it's unique. Enjoy it.'
Jorge: 'Sometimes it's hard to get up early like everyone knows. It's like when you have to get up for school. It's what we love to do and people and our fans are our inspiration and that makes us forget feeling tired and all that and we try to have fun with our partners on stage, everyone's crazy so we never get bored.'
Are you like your character in real life?
Martina: 'The relationship with music and singing and dancing, that's what we have in common.'
Jorge: 'Me as well.'
Ruggero: 'I am Federico and my character is like me, I try to find girls, play guitar and singing. I like to be with friends and people and I'm friendly person and Federico is an easy character.'
Lodovica: 'I'm Francesca and yes we have similarities. We like music, like to be with friends, we're romantic, have dreams and like to be at peace with the world trying to find an equilibrium between villains and good people.'
Diego: 'My character really corresponds to my way of being, I tries to be in line with the essence, but of course I have to exaggerate as this is what is required. The tone, the character is slightly over the top.'
Facundo: 'Of course characters do follow stereotypes and this is like this too, in the series you have lots of ups and downs and conflicts so Maxi is of course a very normal and real character which I do have to exaggerate again slightly but in different ways. For the theatre and the film industry slightly more and for the TV you have to try to be more in line with everyday life.'
How much time do you spend recording the show?
Jorge: 'Each season is 8 months per season, it's a lot of time.'
What's your favourite type of music and artist?
Martina: 'Beyonce, she is my favourite singer.'
Jorge: 'I like a lot of types of music but especially rock and pop and my favourite artists are Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake and Maroon 5.'
Ruggero: 'I like pop music, but my artists at the moment are Bruno Mars, One Direction, Justin Bieber, they have my image so I'm trying to get from interviews what they feel, since they are my same age.'
Lodovica: 'I like pop but I also like rock and roll, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, my family are rock fans, I also like Joss Stone, I like warm voices.'
Facundo: 'I doesn't have a specific type of style I prefer. I like to listen to music and dance music, each type of music transmits something, brings something alive, of course there's different moments, when I want to relax I'll listen to calm music, if I want to dance, I listens to more rhythmic music.'
Diego: 'Music for me is getting away, whenever there is a musical sound that's fine with me.'
If you could travel back in time, who would you most like to meet?
Martina: 'Michael Jackson or Whitney Houston.'
Jorge: 'Nice question.. being a fan of rock music, Elvis Presley.'
Ruggero: 'I would like to meet Michael Jackson the King of Pop, I wish I could.'
Lodovica: 'I have 2 options, I would like to go back in time to meet Marylin Monroe. Marylin Monroe was the first star and just that period and the development of cinema and television, I would like to see her in that period and that atmosphere. And then I would like to participate in Queen's concert.'
Facundo: 'Marlon Brando.'
Diego: 'I would have liked to have met Charlie Chaplin.'
Are you studying at the moment?
Martina: 'I am still going to high school so I'm studying everything, I haven't finished yet as I'm still 16.'
Jorge: 'Well me, I'm done with school and well, college, it's like I have no time right now but maybe sometime I'd like to study music production, I'd like to add something more to my career.'
Ruggero: 'The script of Violetta! Me and Lodovica have both finished school at the moment but what we are doing is a sort of school we are singing, dancing, it's our private school.'
Lodovica: 'Yes I agree with Ruggero. What we are doing it takes a lot of time so it's our life, it's all day long so we couldn't do other things but one day when we finish we may attend school again.'
Have you been to England?
Martina and Jorge: 'No, but we'd like to visit soon.'
Ruggero: 'Yes, I like London, I like everything about London, I would like to live in London.'
Lodovica: 'Me too, I spent 4 days in London and that was sufficient to fall in love with it and I'd like to go back.'
Facundo: 'Just recently, I have been to London for the first time. I just loved London Just before coming to Rome I was in London.'
Diego: 'I haven't been yet but I'm dying to go to London and would like to meet the actor, Colin Firth.'
What do you get up to when you're not recording shows?
Martina: 'I spend time with my family and talk on the phone with my friends, I do what normal people do.'
Jorge: 'Me too, I like hanging out with my friends and I like sports, soccer or basketball, I'm very active so I'm always doing something as I get bored resting too much.'
Facundo: 'I love eating in good restaurants, spending time with friends, he likes to spend time with his dog, and he's missing his dog a lot. Listening to music and relaxing.
Diego: Likes to relax, he likes to spend one day at home relaxing, just one day because he likes to do sport and go to the movies.
In one word how would you describe the show?
How much has your life changed now you're famous?
Facundo: Completely, is changed a lot, dramatically. Now he walks into the street and people recognises him, it makes his life completely different, he can not go after a show maybe at the end of a long day and he's tired and he'd like to have a bite and the restaurant is full of fans then of course it has completely changed. He does understand that there are fans and it has changed in that sense.
Diego: Completely, he left his country, his family, his school mates, and so now this has been an additional change and he would like to go back to his family and his roots.
I had a fantastic time in Rome, and it was great to interview the cast. A big thanks to Disney for inviting me.
Catch Violetta on the Disney Channel.
More information on the shows on the Disney Channel visit: www.disney.co.uk
Here are some facts about Violetta:
- Violetta was viewed by more than 20 million people across Europe during the first quarter of 2013, and has generated more YouTube searches than Lady Gaga and Katy Perry in France, Spain and Italy.
- Five Violetta titles have topped the Italian kids book chart for the past four months.
- Violetta En Vivo live show launched earlier this year in Latin America.
- Also in Italy, its popularity was further underlined earlier this year when the premiere of season two previewed in cinemas across Italy. As a result, more than 275,000 tickets were sold ranking Violetta at the box office second only to The Great Gatsby.
- Crowds gathered in the thousands recently to get a glimpse of the cast in Italy.
- Violetta Live in Concert runs for over 100 minutes.
- There are a total of 180 costume changes per show.
- 9 changes for Martina Stoessel, 8 changes for Jorge Blanco, 6 changes for the rest of the cast.
- 7 trucks are used to tour the show.
- It takes 12 hours to set up the show when arriving at a new venue.
- It takes 8 hours to take down the show after the last performance in each city.
- Violetta Live in Concert completed the first leg of its European tour in December 2013, performing to over 150,000 people at 22 performances in 6 major cities across Spain.
While driving home the other night I was listening to the Radio 4 programme 'Bringing up Britain' presented by Mariella Frostrup. This one was about sibling rivalry, I listened with great interest.
They mentioned the age gap between children and it got me thinking.
There is a 7 year age gap between my children, and funnily enough there's the same gap between me and my brother, Jordan.
Now from what I can remember, me and my brother got on really well (he may tell you otherwise). I think it was because we never went to the same school because of our age. I am the oldest.
Of course like any brother and sister, we had our moments - like the time I hit my brother with a golf brolly and he had a lump the size of an egg on his forehead (sorry Jordan), or the time I made him watch Michael Jackson's Thriller video and he hid behind the sofa (sorry again). Or the time... ok so we had a few occasions when we didn't get on, doesn't every brother and sister! Overall we got on great, and still do.
Now I have children of my own, and just this morning (and most mornings), my 3 year old son, Jacob, happily goes into my 10 year old daughter's bedroom and says morning.
He gets about 3 steps into Amber's room and I hear a booming voice 'Get out Jacob'. Then he completely ignores her and goes to either play her guitar, or mess up her Monster High dolls, both of which get her more angry (sibling rivalry post to come at a later date)
Our daughter is 10 going on 15 at the moment and is starting to act like a teenager (yikes)!
My husband Mark is the middle child with an older sister and a younger brother. The age gap between them is.. he is 11 months younger than his sister and 21 months older than his brother. That's 3 children under 5! I just can't imagine it. Our son is such a handful on his own! I take off my virtual hat (and real one if I was wearing one) to my mother-in-law Janet and anyone else who has children this close together.
So back to the age gap. What is the right age gap? Is there one?
Well sometimes we don't have a choice.
It took us 4 years to conceive our daughter, then 2 years with our son. It just happened to be a 7 year age gap. And now I wouldn't have it any other way.
I'm just glad they have each other.
In practical ways it may become tricky when our daughter starts secondary school, because the school she would like to go to is further away than the primary that is in our village which Jacob will be attending from 2015.
But time will tell.
What's the age gap between your children?
As I sit here and look at your peaceful sleeping face, I remember all the good times we had.
It's difficult to let myself get deep in thought as it makes me so upset when I do.
Just looking round the room we are in at the moment makes me have a lump in my throat.
We had such good times together.
Your smile as we walked in to your warm, welcoming, loving home every Sunday.
You loved having us all around to your house, your 'brood' as you called us.
I just keep staring at you, watching your chest move up and down, not knowing when it will do that for the last time.
Life can be so amazing and beautiful, but it can also be selfish and sad.
I know that we all have to die someday, but it's not a thing we like to talk about.
As I sit here in this chair, looking at you sleeping. I don't know what to expect.
I'm a little afraid, but I don't want you to be alone.
It's only when we face these kind of challenges in life, that we just stop and think for a moment, at what our life is like.
Yes, I like anyone else moan about things, but when it comes down to it, we are born into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing.
You are in the very end stages of Alzheimer's, and this is one horrible disease.
Bit by bit, the person I knew and who knew me so well, started to disappear.
That little bug eating away at your brain, is selfishly taking away the grandma I know and love.
How dare it, what right does it have to do that?
How can something so small, have such a massive effect on not only your life, but the life of your loving family around you.
I lean over the bed to talk to you, stroke your hair, hold your hand, and you are asleep.
As I am a need to know person, I try to read about what happens when we die.
I think I'm trying to make sense of it and trying to understand the process.
It's my birthday today.
I'm so pleased to be able to spend it with you.
You have always been in my life, and I love everything about you.
Having to do a big swallow because one minute I'm ok, then the next I cry.
I cry at the thought of you not being here, the thought of not seeing your smiling face, the thought of never going back in time and doing the things I loved to do with you and grandad at your house.
I can see your life fading away, you are different today than you were yesterday.
So many things whizz through my mind, things from the past, the happy times, things now, watching you sleeping and wondering how long we have left with you.
To the immediate future and what is going to happen when you've gone.
Then the distant future and what my life will be like for me and my mum.
Will I be the same as you?
Will I get the same illness?
I've always been scared of dying, obviously the fear of the unknown.
Looking at you now, you look comfortable, serene, at peace in a warm bed, with people to care for you and loved ones at your bedside.
It is now my turn to make precious memories for my children.
If they have as good a memories as I had, then I will have done a good job!
I am very lucky to have been able to spend these last days with you, talking to you about times gone by, and all the lovely memories from my childhood made at your house.
Goodbye my beautiful grandma Shaw.
Time to be back with the love of your life. My grandad is waiting for you.
See you in the morning for a cup of tea and some breakfast.
Rest in peace Sheila Shaw 1932-2013
In Canada, Angelcare Monitors Inc. is voluntarily recalling about 600,000 baby monitors following the death of two infants due to strangulation caused by the cord attached to the monitor's sensor pad.
Angelcare and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have received reports of two infant cord strangulation deaths. In November 2011, a 13-month-old female died in San Diego, California, and, in August 2004, an 8-month-old female died in Salem, Oregon. In both fatalities, the cord from the sensor pads was pulled into the crib by the infant. In addition, there have been two reports of infants who became entangled in cords of Angelcare baby monitor models, which did not result in fatalities. In these incidents, it could not be determined if the “sensor pad cord” or the “monitor cord” was involved in the incident.
The recall involves the Movement and Sound Monitor manufactured by Angelcare. This design of baby monitor includes a unique sensor pad placed inside the crib, under the mattress, to monitor movement of the baby. An electrical cord about 11 feet long is permanently connected from the sensor pad to the nursery monitor unit. The hazard is created by a cord within reach of a baby inside the crib. The cord can be pulled into the crib and can wrap around the child’s neck. The recall involves all versions of Angelcare sensor monitors including model numbers: AC1100, AC201, AC300, AC401 AC601 and 49255 that did not include rigid cord covers, offered in the remedy. The model number is located on the back of the nursery monitor unit. The monitors were manufactured between 1999 and 2013.
Angelcare is providing consumers with a repair kit that includes rigid protective cord covers through which the sensor pad cords can be threaded, a new, permanent electric cord warning label about the strangulation risk, and revised instructions.
The recalled baby monitors were sold at Babies R Us/Toys R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, Meijer, Sears, Walmart, Amazon.com, Target.com, Overstock.com, and nearly 70 small baby specialty stores, from October 1999 through September 2013 for about $100to $300.
Consumers should immediately make sure cords are placed out of reach of the child and contact Angelcare toll-free at (855)355-2643 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm's website at www.angelcarebaby.com to order the free repair kit.
Today when I picked up our (soon to be 3 year old) son Jacob from pre-school, I wasn't expecting this...
'I'm really sorry to say but Jacob has bitten another child today. '
My face hit the floor.
As she is telling me this I have my son in my arms after greeting him with a big kiss and a cuddle, and he is constantly kissing my cheek, in a very cute but, I know I've done something wrong mummy, kind of way!
I can't apologise enough, I say. She adds to my horror when she says it left a bit of a mark on the other child.
I look to Jacob who by this time is running around the class with a big grin on his face.
'But he doesn't do it at home I protest', and I say I'll have a talk to him and say sorry once more.
This is the second time he has done this!
I leave feeling like the entire staff think I'm a bad mum after what my son did.
As we leave pre-school and head home, he wants to be more independent by not wanting to hold my hand and to walk on his own.
Yeh right, no chance little man, as I tighten my grip on his little slippery like a snake hand. He's wanting to open the car door and climb in himself, all well and good but I have the sneaky feeling if I let go, he's going to make a run for it. Not good when you're near a main road! I let him be as independent as is safe and he's happy with attempting to climb into his car seat by himself.
When I fasten him into his seat, I say 'Did you bite someone at school today?' He looks right at me with his big blue eyes and says 'Yes, sorry mummy'.
I then look at him and explain it's not very nice to bite other people and it hurts.
I know he loves school (even though he's only been going since September, and only goes for three morning a week), so I say to him, 'You can't go to school if you bite people'.
I can see him taking the information in, so after my firm telling off, I leave him to think about it and we drive home in silence.
When we arrive home, as soon as I open the door to get him out, he says 'Sorry mummy' again.
He is so different to our daughter Amber, who is seven years older than him. We never went through this with her. Our children have such different personalities. Which is great of course, but this is new for my husband and I to cope with our little monkeys behaviour.
I can hear lots of mums and dads now saying 'It's just a phase, he'll grow out of it'.
Let's hope so, very soon eh!
This week the Walt Disney Company celebrates 90 Years.
I love all things Disney and I've been a very big fan for as long as I can remember.
90 years on so much has happened, from the first feature length movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the first theme park, to the creation of Disney Channel, Disney Cruises, and joining in ABC, The Muppets and Star Wars! Let’s not forget all the classic Disney Movies in between – The Lion King, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Toy Story, Monsters Inc, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Tangled, Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, the music, the rides, the shows, the stores, the magic!
What a great reason to post some pictures of well-loved Disney characters.
Timeline of the history of Walt Disney Company
October 16, 1923
Walt signed a contract with M. J. Winkler to produce a series of Alice Comedies — this date is considered the start of the Disney company first known as The Disney Brothers Studio.
September 5, 1927
Release of the first Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon, Trolley Troubles.
November 18, 1928
Steamboat Willie is released at the Colony Theatre in New York -- this marks the release of the very first Mickey Mouse cartoon, and the first appearance by Minnie Mouse.
January 13, 1930
Mickey Mouse comic strip debuts.
July 30, 1932
Flowers and Trees, first full-color cartoon and first Academy Award winner, is released.
June 9, 1934
The Wise Little Hen, the first appearance of Donald Duck, is released.
February 23, 1935
The Band Concert, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon in color, is released.
December 21, 1937
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Disney's first feature-length animated film, premieres at the Carthay Circle Theatre.
December 26, 1939
The Disney Studio begins its move to Burbank, California, from the Hyperion Studio in Los Angeles.
April 2, 1940
Walt Disney Productions issues its first stock.
November 13, 1940
Disney releases one of its highly regarded classics, Fantasia.
October 1, 1949
Walt Disney Music Company is formed.
July 19, 1950
Treasure Island, Disney's first completely live-action feature, is released.
February 5, 1953
Peter Pan, based on characters created by Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie, is released.
October 27, 1954
Emmy Award-winning Disneyland television show airs on ABC, starring Walt Disney.
July 17, 1955
Disneyland, the first Disney park, opened in Anaheim, California, to an invited audience on this day. The first guests were Kristine Vess and her cousin Michael Schwartner, ages 5 and 7.
October 3, 1955
Mickey Mouse Club debuts on television.
June 23, 1963
Enchanted Tiki Room opens at Disneyland, using the first Audio-Animatronics®.
August 29, 1964
Mary Poppins, the practically perfect tale directed by Robert Stevenson, about a magical English nanny, is released.
December 15, 1966
Walt Disney, the visionary whose pioneering spirit and inimitable creativity made the impossible possible, turning dreams into reality and building the foundation of The Walt Disney Company of today, dies at age 65.
December 25, 1969
The arena show Disney on Parade, in which costumed Disney characters put on lavish dance numbers, debuts in Chicago.
October 1, 1971
Walt Disney World Resort opens with the Magic Kingdom and two hotels near Orlando, Florida.
December 20, 1971
Roy O. Disney, who, with younger brother Walt Disney, co-founded the company that is now known as The Walt Disney Company, passes away.
March 22, 1975
Walt Disney World Village, a large outdoor mall with specialty shops all built by Disney designers, which later became Disney Village Marketplace, opens.
December 3, 1980
Tokyo Disneyland groundbreaking and site dedication takes place in Urayasu, just outside of Tokyo.
October 1, 1982
EPCOT Center, a major undertaking for Disney, costing in the neighborhood of $1 billion, opens at Walt Disney World Resort.
April 15, 1983
Tokyo Disneyland, the first international Disney theme park, opens in Japan.
April 18, 1983
The Disney Channel begins broadcasting with 18 hours of programming a day.
May 25, 1983
Fantasyland, one of the original lands of Disneyland, receives a complete remodel and opens to the public.
September 23, 1984
Michael Eisner and Frank Wells become chairman/CEO and president of Walt Disney Productions.
March 24, 1987
The agreement to build Euro Disneyland, later renamed Disneyland Paris, was signed in France.
March 28, 1987
The first Disney Store opens, in Glendale, California.
May 5, 1987
First Disney Dollars sold at Disneyland.
May 1, 1989
Disney-MGM Studios, later renamed Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Pleasure Island open at Walt Disney World Resort.
May 6, 1991
The Walt Disney Company joins the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
September 26, 1991
Hyperion Books, a Disney publishing company, releases its first book, Amazing Grace.
April 12, 1992
Euro Disneyland, the first Disney theme park in Europe, which was later renamed Disneyland Paris, opens.
April 18, 1994
Beauty and the Beast, the first Disney Broadway show, opens in New York.
June 15, 1994
The Lion King opens to a limited audience in Los Angeles and New York and nationwide on June 24, 1994.
December 5, 1994
Disney Interactive, a division first intended to develop, market, and distribute cartridge games and CD-ROM software, is formed.
May 22, 1995
Disney agrees to purchase 25 percent of the California Angels baseball team from Gene Autry.
July 31, 1995
Disney agrees to purchase Capital Cities/ABC for $19 billion.
September 1, 1995
Disney Online, a division of Disney Interactive created to develop The Walt Disney Company's online presence, is formed.
October 1, 1995
The Disney Channel begins operation in the UK.
January 4, 1996
Shareholders approve the Disney merger with Capital Cities/ABC.
February 9, 1996
Final FCC approval and filing of merger documents completes the Capital Cities/ABC acquisition.
February 22, 1996
Disney Online launches Disney.com.
July 17, 1996
Disney announces plans for Disney California Adventure park in Anaheim.
November 18, 1996
Radio Disney, a live 24-hour music-intensive radio network, debuts.
March 28, 1997
Disney’s Wide World of Sports, a professional-caliber sports complex at Walt Disney Word Resort that was later renamed ESPN Wide World of Sports, opened to the public.
November 13, 1997
The Lion King stage production opens on Broadway.
March 23, 1998
ESPN Magazine debuts.
April 22, 1998
Disney’s Animal Kingdom opens at Walt Disney World Resort.
July 30, 1998
Disney Magic cruise ship departs on its inaugural cruise.
March 31, 1999
Disney completes the purchase of the Anaheim Angels.
August 15, 1999
Disney Wonder sets sail on its maiden voyage.
September 29, 1999
Euro Disney announces plans to build Walt Disney Studios theme park in France.
February 8, 2001
Disney California Adventure park opens at the Disneyland Resort, in Anaheim, California.
September 4, 2001
Tokyo DisneySea opens at Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan.
October 24, 2001
Disney acquires Fox Family Channel and renames it ABC Family.
November 1, 2001
Disney acquires Baby Einstein, a company that creates products that bring the arts and humanities to babies.
December 5, 2001
100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth.
March 16, 2002
Walt Disney Studios theme park opens in France next-door to Disneyland Paris.
May 22, 2003
Disney sells the Anaheim Angels.
May 15, 2004
Disney acquires the Muppets properties and Bear in the Big Blue House.
June 15, 2005
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts launches Adventures by Disney.
September 12, 2005
Hong Kong Disneyland opens.
October 1, 2005
Robert A. Iger becomes president and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company.
October 12, 2005
Disney is first to license TV episodes, from ABC and Disney Channel series, for download on Apple’s iTunes Music Store.
February 9, 2006
Disney re-acquires Oswald the Lucky Rabbit from Universal.
March 14, 2006
High School Musical becomes the first full-length movie to be sold via digital download, on Apple’s iTunes Music Store, followed by theatrical features in September.
May 2, 2006
During its 50th anniversary celebration, Disneyland welcomes the honorary two-billionth guest to visit a Disney theme park.
May 5, 2006
Disney acquires Pixar Animation Studios.
September 12, 2006
Disney feature films are made available on iTunes.
August 1, 2007
Disney acquires Club Penguin, a virtual world for kids.
February 13, 2009
Disney XD, a new cable network, launches.
March 10, 2009
D23: The Official Disney Fan Club launches.
April 22, 2009
Disneynature label launches with the release of Earth.
December 31, 2009
Marvel Entertainment joins the Disney family.
January 26, 2011
The Disney Dream makes its maiden voyage.
April 7, 2011
The Walt Disney Company officially breaks ground on Shanghai Disney Resort.
August 29, 2011
Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai‘i, opens to guests.
March 23, 2012
Disney Junior, a 24-hour stand-alone television network, launches in the U.S.
March 31, 2012
The Disney Fantasy makes its maiden voyage.
December 21, 2012
The Walt Disney Company completes its acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC – the global entertainment company founded by George Lucas and the home of the legendary Star Wars franchise.
For more than nine decades, the name Walt Disney has been preeminent in the field of family entertainment. From humble beginnings as a cartoon studio in the 1920s to today's global corporation, The Walt Disney Company continues to proudly provide quality entertainment for every member of the family, across America and around the world. To learn more about the history of The Walt Disney Company, click through the timeline below.