Today is Ada Lovelace day!

You have probably heard of Ada Lovelace but you might not be entirely clear on why she is famous or who she really was. Here are some facts you might not know about her but you definitely should!

ada lovelace

Her father was Lord Byron

Yes, that Byron. Ada’s Mum and Dad separated in 1815 when Ada was 3 months old. The mad, bad and dangerous to know poet sadly (or not so sadly, depending on your point of view) died when Ada was 8.

It was said to be that, because Ada’s Mother wanted to avoid her daughter inheriting Byron’s reckless artistic temperament, she pushed her daughter into the study of mathematics. 

She wasn’t really accepted.

Ada had to publish her work under her initials, as women were not seen to be intellectual.

Although Ada’s mother had succeeded in providing her daughter with the best education and had passed onto her a real thirst for knowledge. She hadn’t done quite so well when it came to teaching her how to be a lady in victorian England.

In an 1835 edition of the New York Mirror (Ada would have been 20) was written: “It is said that Ada Byron, sole daughter of the ‘noble bard’, is the most coarse and vulgar woman in England!” Even Babbage, her good friend, was said to have described her as having “a good deal of the Byron devil”! 

She’s buried next to the Father she never knew

She died from cancer in 1852 – at just 36 years old. At her own request, she was buried next to her well known father in a Nottinghamshire churchyard.

It took a while for the world to catch up

Lovelace’s ideas about computing were so far ahead of their time that it took nearly a century for technology to catch up. While Lovelace’s notes on Babbage’s analytical engine gained little attention at the time (they were originally published in 1843), they found a much wider audience when republished in B.V. Bowden’s 1953 book “Faster Than Thought: A Symposium on Digital Computing Machines”. As the field of computer science dawned in the 1950s, Lovelace gained a new following in the digital age.

There’s a computing language named after her

The US department of defence computer language is named Ada. Each October, Ada Lovelace Day recognizes women in maths, science and engineering, who the British Computer Society then award the ‘Ada Lovelace medal’ to.

You can read more about Ada Lovelace by following the links below:

https://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-ada-lovelace 

https://www.biography.com/people/ada-lovelace-20825323

GET INVOLVED

An official event for Ada Lovelace day, Peterborough STEM festival returns in 2018 for it’s 3rd year. It will be held at the Kingsgate Conference Centre, Peterborough on October 13th, from 9.30am until 4pm.

Promising fun activities to celebrate and experience the wonders of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This event is FREE to enter and suitable for the whole family. You just need to book your FREE tickets here:

https://www.peterboroughstemfestival.co.uk/

I am not an active parent. Despite reading all of the media warnings about screen-time for children and the importance of keeping their little bodies physically active, I am often guilty of looking out of the window and using the weather as an excuse to stay indoors and pop a movie on or play video games.

It’s a bit rubbish on my part I know but there we are. Not that I am not offering an apology, but I have been thinking about it a bit more now that both children are going to school and the long days of time together (where I could be complacent about really how much time we had) are over.

So now those long days have been shortened down to 4 hours after school. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am fortunate to have even that. It’s not much though, is it?

In a way it has improved the quality of our time together though. Because, I think, that clock is ever ticking I am determined to make the time count. So, I have been quite strict with myself and imposed a no laptop rule for ME between 3pm and 8pm. I instead spend that time concentrating on being present for Moose and Bess.

This week

We have been out in the garden this week simply playing with toys. It has been really lovely to spend time with Moose just playing without the rigmarole involved with going somewhere else!

It has been so nice this week to make the most of our outside space. Moose loved playing with the Phlat Ball V3 Flash he was sent as well as his boom bat and other toys.

Inside the ball are suckers so the ball can be squashed into a flatter frisbee style shape. We played a game of hot potato with it, when the ball pinged back to shape whoever was holding it was out!

Moose had so much fun with it and loved the flashing lights too. You can find Phlat Balls at Smyths

We also found a Minion space hopper in the shed which Moose had a lot of fun playing with and for his birthday he received a scooter and helmet. He has had a little practise on the scooter every day this week.

We hear a lot of chatter in the press about how children today have forgotten how to be children and play without the aid of technology but I disagree. Given the chance I think most children enjoy being unplugged*.

*Eventually. Even if they do initially protest that you have ruined their lives by turning their tablet off.

 

A few weeks ago something happened which stressed me out so much that my cortisol levels went haywire and it left me with a bubble of fluid in my actual eyeball. My retina to be precise. More on that later but as I am currently viewing a very wibbly wobbly world I am having to avoid driving (or going outside if I can help it).

The timing of this is not brilliant. Easter with kids means 2 weeks with the little darlings at home. Fortunately the weather has been utterly rubbish so that has limited outing options anyway. Remember last years Easter break weather?

We spent the fortnight getting cracking on the planting of stuff last year. It didn’t grow (obviously, gardening and I do not mix well) but at least we were out there I suppose.

It did occur to me though when looking back through Instagram pics that we didn’t really go anywhere last year either and despite starting this holiday feeling more than a bit guilty about it, I am actually ok with not being my child’s Minister for Entertainment. Here’s why

1 Only boring people get bored 

Having nothing planned means that your child must fill that gap themself. This encourages creativity which can only ever be a positive, right?

When your mind is full of everything in your life it is incredibly hard to think creatively – the same is true for your child. My brother used to be able to get from one end of our home to the other without ever touching the floor (as that was lava of course) and I am sure that was bred of moments of pure boredom

2 Home does not = boring

You do not need to go to a farm or a theme park. Just look em in the eye and ask them what they want to do and engage with them on their level.

Why not let your child paint some rocks and go and hide them for other children to find?

Do they love to play on their gaming console? Then grab that second controller and be their player 2. No stress, no financial outlay, just time to connect. They will love you for it. 

3 Boredom teaches independence 

You can’t always be there to tell your child what to do every step of the way, and you shouldn’t have to. Being bored teaches your kids that they have to rely on themselves. It teaches them to be independent with their learning and find ways to entertain themselves.

4 It’s a life skill

Coping with situations which they do not find very exciting or stimulating is definitely something your child will need to learn how to do as they grow. I cannot begin to count how many times this has happened as an adult but if I add up all of those work meetings, Toddler groups (sorry, they are boring. You know it and I know it) and times when my child is telling me about minecraft. Well, it’s a lot.

Being bored as a kid has allowed me to perfect my “this is so interesting” look (while mentally preparing meal plans or planning my next creative writing masterpiece) 

5 Boredom doesn’t really exist

The word “boredom” was first used by Dickens in Bleak House in 1852. Of course, tedium has been around a lot longer but the actual word boredom is relatively new. 

As an adult I quite enjoy moments of nothingness. Just silence to sit and fill with my own thoughts. As a Mum it doesn’t happen often.

not bored at home

Boredom is a choice. I choose not to get bored, instead I value the time and use it to be mindful which I think is really important for mental health and generally feeling Human again! This is something I am hoping my children will learn for themselves but what better way than to lead by example?

How do you cope with bored children over the holidays? 

 

As you know we don’t get a lot of it so when it snows here (especially here in the flat plains of the fens where it rarely ever settles) you can forgive us for getting excited.

This week has been disrupted by the white stuff. Bess enjoyed 3 glorious days of school closure but Moose’s preschool remained open throughout. This week for him was one where Moose and his friends were allowed to attend preschool in fancy dress.

Unfortunately for him, he managed to come down with something which meant that he missed out on a day. He did manage to make good use of his superhero wardrobe – which is becoming pretty extensive thanks to my weak will and the Matalan sale.

Moose has loved the snow of course.

I have loved seeing the snow through his eyes. That magic of seeing the world as your children see it is one of my favourite things about having mini humans around.

I really hate driving in the snow so much of our week was spent on foot. We headed outside to play in the white stuff a couple of times. I learned that my son is much like me in that we love the snow to look at but 5 minutes of being wet and cold is more than enough for the both of us.

He did find it hilarious to pelt me with snowballs though.

By Friday I was itching for the snow to melt and for some kind of normality to resume. G decided to travel down to his Mums with the children to give me a bit of time to myself. Something which NEVER happens.

It was so lovely to spend some time just relaxing at home without anyone else to worry about, reading my book and really just having a good rest!

 

 

January is a bit of a busy month for us. In amongst the ever growing list of birthdays is my nephew Kieran’s. This year he turned 9 and as he is one of our favourite Humans we all wanted to make it memorable for him.

When I was asked to test out a Pirate Party Kit from Baking Mad I knew exactly who we should throw a party for!

Baking Mad sell a kit which provides you with almost everything you need to make an awesome Pirate Cake with a surprise chocolate bean centre.

Included in your kit you will find

  • Allinson Self Raising Flour (1kg)
  • Silver Spoon Icing Sugar (500g)
  • Billington’s Unrefined Golden Caster Sugar (500g)
  • Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract (60ml)
  • Black Icing Writing Pen
  • Pirate Cupcake Kit with Cupcake Cases + Toppers
  • Cake Decorating Sugar Paste Brilliant White 250g
  • Cake Decorating Sugar Paste Black 250g
  • Chocolate Beans 250g
  • Cake Board – 10”
  • Recipe and Instruction Booklet

The kit doesn’t come with butter and eggs. I would say that these are things you would probably have already but since you need 9 eggs in total, you will probably need to make that trip to the shops!

The recipe says you need 500g icing sugar but I didn’t have enough and ended up adding another box to my shopping list along with those 9 eggs and 3 packs of butter – I will concede that I did make my buttercream layers quite thick!

I am not a cake maker so this was a great experience but I did also need to buy equipment. Cake tins and a palette knife for smoothing – I accept that these are things which most people own though.

The kit arrived in a lovely lidded box tied with baking mad ribbon. I really felt that the ingredients and the decorations were of a great quality and really well presented.

Kieran happened to pay me a visit a couple of days before his birthday so I showed him the kit and he was really excited. He wanted to help me make the cake so I spent a lovely evening with him baking his birthday cake!

The instructions were easy to follow but I would have liked to have had a page of tips to help out clueless non bakers like me! Luckily I was able to call my Mum and she helped me out.

Tips from my Mum

  • To get the buttercream to lay with a nice flat finish use a hot palette knife. I use a jug of boiling water (drying the knife first of course)
  • Add milk if the icing is too thick
  • Cool the cake thoroughly before icing
  • Use a sharp knife to level the sides of the cake to give an even finish.

I was pretty happy with the finished result!

 

Kierans birthday was a great success! He and his friends all enjoyed the cake (especially when it was cut open to reveal the surprise chocolate inside!) and had lots of fun playing with the Baking Mad Pirate Hats (available to purchase on the Baking Mad website)

I found the process of using a party cake kit a really interesting one. Although I think the cost of the kit might limit how much I would use the service I think it is a great way to introduce yourself to creating a really special birthday cake.

Disclaimer: This was a collaborative post. I received the Party cake kit in return for an honest review