Mellow Mummy : Taking life as it comes...

Monday, 1 September 2014

Netflix #StreamTeam - Music Memories

This month, as part of the Netflix Stream Team, we were asked to explore the wonderful world of music on Netflix.  Now, I'm not entirely sure that my taste in music was really what Netflix had intended this blog post to be about (the hints they sent me were all romantic musicals, not ambient electronic dance epics) so I really did need to dig into the Netflix depths to find musical documentaries, animations and movies that were suitable for our family to share together.

I find it fairly easy to view and get inspiration for very popular, mainstream content on Netflix but I rarely get offered the more obscure stuff by default in the "you might also like..." sections of the Apply TV device, or on my iPad.  I tried just searching for the word "music" and was surprised at some of the content I found.

For example, I spent a happy few hours watching obscure documentaries about Dutch house music (with subtitles) one Friday night!  I also discovered a couple of "live" festival documentaries.  But I didn't think that any of these would be right for bringing the family together.  Lara is really into air guitar at present and likes to try and reproduce the actions from dances both at home and at school so I really really wanted this month's Stream Team to involve them (even though I was encouraged to spend a night on my own indulgences).

I racked my brains for a musical movie that had made a big impression on me in the past, and which I could share with the girls.  Got it.  The Blues Brothers.

Granted, the language is a bit colourful for a 2 year old and a 5 year old but my goodness, did they love it.  What's not to love about memorable tunes, fancy dances and silly car chases.   A bit of slapstick, a lot of fun.

I loved being able to share a classic movie with my girls.  Being able to share a family moment.  A whole afternoon of us all enjoying the same fun on the television (rather than a whole afternoon of kids stuff!).

The Blues Brothers is a movie which features lots of classic tunes which get you dancing.  I challenge you to sit still on your sofa watching The Blues Brothers.  Simply Not Possible!

If you are looking for more musical inspiration, here a few ideas from Netflix.  Of course, now I shall return to my world of Dora the Explorer and the Bubble Guppies.



Barbie and the Secret Door

I will admit that I secretly quite enjoy watching Barbie DVDs with the girls.  There is something absolutely spot on about a Barbie movie - the target them so well at little girls of about Lara's age without them being unecessarily naff (which lots of kids TV is!).  The new Barbie and the Secret Door DVD is released today and I think they've got it just right again - an animation that ticks every box on ever little girl's list of movie must-haves.

In this latest Barbie musical, Barbie stars as Princess Alexa, a young girl who daydreams of having magical powers.  One day she stumbles across a magical kingdom and makes new friends, a mermaid and a fairy, who need her help to save all of the magic in the kingdom from the hands of an over-zealous ruler.

We loved the funny magical creatures with crazy noses and lively bright colours.  We loved the synchronised fairy dancing, pop musical numbers and glittery magic wands.  I can well imagine, after a few viewings, Lara trying to sing along and re-enact the songs and dancers with her friends.  If you buy the DVD I believe there is an in-pack song book to help them on their way!!!

Barbie and the Secret Door opens up a fun world of imagination - what would you do if you suddenly discovered that you had magical powers?  What parts of your world do you take for granted that others might not know about?

Barbie and the Secret Door is available to own on DVD from today.


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Start-Rite Shoes - Our Measuring and Fitting Experience

Lara starts back at school in Year 1 this Wednesday and, like families up and down the country, we have had Lara's feet measured for a new pair of fitted school shoes as part of a trial for Start-rite shoes. Start-rite interviewed us ealier this year to find out about some of the issues that we face with shoe-buying for school shoes for Lara. You can read my interview here but in summary, Lara is incredibly fussy when it comes to shoes and she is at an age when she is just beginning to take notice of fashion and will express her own tastes. Lara goes to a very outdoorsy school so her school shoes need to be up to the challenge of lots of outdoor time, especially as she spends her early evenings in the playground at after school club which can lead to scratches a-plenty.

Start-rite sent us a foot measuring gague which came with detailed instructions of how to measure Lara's feet at home, including the width fitting.  This is the important part for us because Lara really likes girlt styles of shoe which usually strap over the feet, it is really important that we get a shoe that is neither too narrow or too baggy.  I found the width measurement fairly stressful despite the printed and online instructions - because it isn't something I do regularly, I found it hard to be confident that I had measured from the right points on the foot.

Lara's feet measured at 13E which is a half-size larger than she had previously been wearing.  Start-rite sent Lara a pair of shoes in her size - these Princess Serena black leather shoes with a riptape opening.  Lara only learned to tie her own laces in the last couple of weeks so I don't think she would be ready for a pair of lace-up shoes for school just yet but it is important that she isn't simply wearing slip-ons; these are a good middle ground and are easy for her to put on.

We were sent a link to a video from Start-rite that helped us to ensure that the shoes that arrived through mail-order were indeed a good fit.  I'd say that Lara's shoes are a bit longer than I would have bought for her if I was just buying based on the feel of the shoes but, having measured them with the tool I'll admit that maybe I don't normally allow enough space at the end of the shoe.  The fit of the shoe around the main part of the foot is perfect though.

Lara, being Lara was wowed by the princess pictures on the shoebox and by the very cool clip-on charms on each buckle (a crown on one side, a heart of the other but any clip-on charm would work well).  I did warn you though that she was a fusspost and on her first outing in the shoes she had a tantrum about them being too big (this is the story of my life... too big, too small, too thin) but then inside a clothes shop on the same trip she complained about a pair of trousers being too "shmoosh" around the legs.  Sigh.  I'm hoping its just a stage.

Over the coming weeks I expect Lara to wear her new school shoes to primary school; I've a few day's left to talk her into it!  Come back soon to find out how we get on (and how the shoes stand-up to the school test).

You can find out more about fitted shoes and foot measuring from Start-rite on facebook and twitter.
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