Mellow Mummy : Taking life as it comes...

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Children's Book Review :: The Impressionists

Lara is nearly 8. Just like me, she is a natural academic and yet her favourite subjects at school are all creative - Lara loves art and recently she has been learning about different artistic styles. Boolino sent her a copy of The Impressionists, a hardback spiral bound book that is part of the My First Discoveries range by Moonlight Publishing.



The Impressionists is a short introduction to the styles of the most famous impressionist painters. Lara found it interesting to think that before the 19th century, people painted for fact, not for feeling. The book explains how the impressionist movement focussed on capturing the artists own impressions of the world around them including use of light, movements and feelings.

The pages of the book are board but this little guide to impressionism cleverly uses transparent pages and cut-out pages to help highlight specific parts of some of the paintings. The last few pages of the book include images of some classic paintings from Monet, Pissarro, Seurat, Cezanne, Van Gogh and more.



I think Lara found this a handy little introduction to the impressionist movement. She and Holly both seemed to "get" it when they saw three different paintings of the same cathedral in different light conditions.  Lara has read through it a few times and I can see her taking it all in.

There isn't a lot of content in The Impressionists and I can't see either girl going back to it as reference, even if they are working on a school project, but I am pleased that it gave them some insight into some of the worlds most famous artists and perhaps a spark of artistic inspiration.


Monday, 22 May 2017

The Elephant of Frimley

Today marks the start of a blog tour by a very special elephant - The Elephant of Frimley.



The Elephant of Frimley is a rhyming illustrated book for children. The story is about two sisters and an elephant who is, to all intents and purposes, lost.  I was drawn to the book because Lara and Holly were both born in Frimley so we were all a bit curious to find out about whether or not there really was an elephant to be found there.

The book was originally written by Nicholas Rawls as a bedtime story for his own daughters and we've found it to work very well as a quiet, calming rhyming story before bed. Each page is illustrated and includes a verse of rhyming story.

The story features a sad elephant who the girls, Hannah and Emily, find has wandered into their own back garden. I think my two girls would squeal with delight if they found an elephant in our garden! I'm not sure my two would be so conscientious as the sisters in the story book though; they set themselves a challenge to find out why and where the elephant has come from.

At the end of the story the girls are thanked by a local zookeeper for returning the elephant. While I'm sitting here wondering quite where in Frimley you might find a zoo, the girls think that the very last line of the story is hilarious because of the attempts to rhyme and scan Frimley (that's what a love of phonics in school does for you).

We thought the rhyming was very clever and the illustrations were sensitive in this little children's tale.

You can find out what other children's book reviewers thought of The Elephant of Frimley by joining in the blog tour over the coming days.  You can find our friend the elephant in the following places from now until the 4th of June:


Saturday, 13 May 2017

New Kids Menu at Giggling Squid - Thai Tapas

Last weekend we took the girls for a really fun Sunday lunch - something a bit different that they definitely both enjoyed. Thai Tapas at Giggling Squid in Wokingham. There are around 20 Giggling Squid restaurants and we are lucky enough to have one in our local town but until recently we hadn't really considered taking the girls there but then last month Giggling Squid launched a new kids menu, Little Tapas for Little People so we went to give it a whirl.



The ‘Little Tapas for Little People’ menu, just like the adults tapas menu, offers a choice of flavoursome thai favourites for you to try just a little of each.  For just £5.95, kids get to choose two dishes from a selection of Giggling Squid favourites, from milder curries and noodles to rice dishes and nibbles such as dumplings and spring rolls.

Lara and Holly both chose pork dumplings with a dipping sauce and spring rolls with chilli sauce but they also joined us in trying chicken satay with peanut sauce, Thai curries and a Massaman curry. The girls got to choose a bowl of rice each to accompany their meal.  I'd have liked to have seen a few more vegetables on offer for the kids menu - our own meals were packed with beans, carrots, courgettes and oriental veg but the children's menu didn't seem to feature much (admittedly, our girls chose options that didn't even include a veggie garnish!).



For an extra £2 you can choose a pudding - our girls both chose ice cream which came beautifully presented but you can also choose a roti flatbread with sugar and condensed milk.  The grown-ups dessert menu features some amazing Thai inspired dessert ideas such as Thai basil and lemongrass sorbet.

The girls enjoyed the meal from start to finish. They devoured an entire bowl of Thai prawn crackers while colouring in their menus (there's a chance to win a family meal if you do) and playing the "match the picture" game on their menu.



Lara and Holly are both very adventurous when it comes to food, particularly oriental flavours and I think their first experience of a Thai restaurant went down really well. I can definitely see us coming back to Giggling Squid during the day time with them to enjoy lunch more frequently. The atmosphere was really relaxed and we felt we could have ordered any combination of dishes from the menu and enjoyed them all.



Disclosure: Our meal was provided for the purposes of this review but we absolutely LOVED it and the girls have already asked for us to go back and we definitely will.
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