Monday 14 April 2014

Book Buddies Review: Around the World We Go!

Around the World We Go!

Written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Christine Tappin

This book couldn't have arrived at a better time for us. We are due to go on our first foreign holiday with our daughter in June. We're off to France for a week & I've been talking to my daughter about other languages & countries. We've been discussing how French people say 'bonjour' for hello & my daughter has been absorbing all this with great interest.

When "Around the World We Go!" arrived delivered from Parragon Books, I was pleased to have a book with which I could continue our discussions about other countries and languages. Very young children need the solid base of home and the family unit and they don't need or want to look much further than that. I think as children get older, they begin to realise there is a world out there to be discovered. My daughter is at the age where she loves to look at maps & books about the world. She is also interested in space, planets and rockets.

"Around the World We Go!" is a charming, easy to read book with beautiful illustrations. My daughter's knowledge of the wider world is growing, but some of the concepts can be hard to grasp, books like "Around the World We Go!" offer a gentle introduction to this subject. The repetition and gentle sing-song nature of the book will appeal to pre-school readers. The concept of difference and similarity between different races and countries across the globe is dealt with in a clear and direct way. It offers a good starting point for discussing these issues further with your child.

My daughter likes looking at images of the Earth, so the page with the globe, a rocket & a satellite is a particular favourite of hers. She created her own copy of that page & she often goes back to the book, lays it out on floor & draws the image of our planet. "Around the World We Go!" has struck a cord with her and often that is the sign of a good illustrated children's book. Her final image has a few extra additions, like Father Christmas & Rudolf (because he flies over the Earth), but her imagination has been fired up by Tappin's wonderful illustrations. Anything that inspires a child to be creative is good news to me!

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Parragon Books in order to write the Book Buddies review. All views expressed here are my own.

Saturday 5 April 2014

Desire to sew vs Lack of time

Every week I watch the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC 2 and I have serious sewing envy. I would love to sew my own clothes. Increasingly I don't like off-the-peg items & my clothes shopping is often done at the same time as I pick up the weekly shop in the supermarket. Don't get me wrong, some supermarkets are making some great clothes & I wouldn't have anything remotely up to date without them. But, I also know how satisfying it is to make your own clothes. Something that fits you, is sewn well & constructed using a fabric you adore.

I have a cupboard full of fabric, most of it vintage. In fact I have a cupboard, a huge trunk, another cupboard, a large leather storage box and a number of plastic boxes filled with vintage fabric. I would love to turn just a small percentage of that fabric into clothes...but I never seem to have the time.

I'm sure most women with a child (or more than one child) under the age of five know how hard it is to carve time out for themselves. Even though my daughter is a great sleeper and goes to bed at 7.30(ish) every night & I have the evenings to the time I've done the dishwasher, put all the washing away, tidied up the detritus of the day & sorted out any paperwork I need to catch up on, I'm ready to fall asleep. One contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee merrily said she gets her sewing machine out at midnight "when everyone is in bed" so that she can get some sewing done in peace. Really? I am fast asleep at midnight most nights & the thought of starting sewing a complicated garment at that time just does not appeal to me.

My Mum used to sew a lot when I was younger, and she had two children, with just a 22 months gap between us. She made clothes for herself and for me, particularly from Clothkits. I do take heart from the fact she recently told me that she didn't make things when we were at a pre-school age, perhaps I'm being to unrealistic to expect to have the headspace to sew when my daughter is so young. But, I know lots of women do find time to sew, in fact I know lots of women who run handmade businesses who make lots & lots of things and juggle that around their families. I take my (shop-bought) hat off to them. I think my time management skills must be lacking...

I feel the desire to be creative and make something is so strong sometimes that I can feel it in my fingertips...but very often my tiredness takes over and I slump in front of the TV in the evening. Then I feel bad. especially if I'm watching people whizz together an outfit on the Sewing Bee. My husband says it's the dark evenings we have in the UK, they sap your desire to get motivated in the colder months. He probably has a point & I do tend to have a burst of energy around Spring time.

So I have found this vintage pattern and I have selected some fabric. That's about as far as I've got. It's sat in my office upstairs, looking at me every time I go in there. It's crying out to be pinned, cut and sewn. I'm determined to make it. I really am.


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