Living Arrows week 36 2019

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Each week I like to (try and) link up to a series called Living arrows which is about celebrating childhood. You can find out more here

The first photo this week was taken on a trip we made to our local farm. Moose had a real issue with his nerves (or so I thought) and always seemed to hesitate when trying new things – especially physical things. Since he started wearing glasses to correct a lazy eye he seems to have become a bit braver. Maybe it wasn’t his nerves after all!

The second photo is of Bess and Moose on their first day back to school. Summer flew by and now I have a little boy in year 1 (which seems so much bigger than having a little one in reception somehow?) and Bess is starting year 9. Year 9 means the beginning of GCSE’s for Bess. GCSE’s! Already! The school has decided to stretch what was a 2 year course in my day (aka eons ago) to a 3 year course. I think it will be a good thing for the students but time will tell on that one..



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Living Arrows Week 24 2019

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Moose had an inset day on Friday so he was home for an extra day. Yay! Of course I had nothing planned for us to do and it turned out that my car was still in the garage while they waited on a part for it anyway. So, I had to get a bit inventive.

We ended up having a pretty good day. Cakes were baked (with minimal input from me) and LEGO was played with and we managed to shoehorn in a movie with popcorn – not to mention the epic battle sequence Moose and I sat down to draw.

Moose likes to make up Superheroes and draw them having a battle. We don’t call it violence <ahem> it’s “action”…



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Living Arrows Week 20 2019

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

Last week we had to head back to the opticians to pick up some specs for Moose. He was absolutely adamant that he definitely didn’t need to wear them but a short visit to the eye clinic at our local hospital and a diagnosis of a lazy eye with a prescription of +4 said different.

I was a bit worried that the choice wouldn’t be there and to be honest being left to stand around feeling utterly clueless for half an hour. No, I am not exaggerating. Before a very nice man came to tell me that the pairs I had finally plucked from the shelves were entirely unsuitable did not help with the anxiety.

It didn’t take long to find a pair to suit Moose. He is of course, adorable.

However, he has inherited my big head so that cancelled off a big percentage of the frames on display. He settled on a pair with a Transformers character on them along with some super cool Spiderman sunglasses.

Then we went to Tesco where he successfully managed to time his request for LEGO with a massive wave of Mum guilt over not noticing his lazy eye up until now. Not that I actually noticed it at all. Thank Dog for school nurses and their checks!

He has now had his frames for a week and he has been so much better than I thought at wearing them. I presumed it would be a hard sell but they must be really helping his vision because he rarely takes them off which is great!

Moose had also completed 10 days of being dry overnight so we are having a pretty good time at the moment parenting wise. Of course, the reward he wanted for this accomplishment was more LEGO so now we are just resigned to being poor forever. Can’t win em all though.



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Ways To Introduce Your Child To Shakespeare

When Bess was very young it became pretty obvious that she had inherited my love of books. She devoured everything from books meant for children to literally anything. Road signs to recipes, she would proudly read them aloud.

Something I did a bit by accident was to get her interested in Shakespeare quite early on. We all know that teenagers will at some point study a play written by Shakespeare in secondary school but by Christ, aren’t they dull at the time? I genuinely don’t know how my English teacher managed to suck all of the passion out of Romeo and Juliet, but manage it he did!

I came across a set of books. Bess was about 7 I suppose. It was a selection of classics by Shakespeare but they were written in wording suitable for children – and adults who missed the point a bit of some of the works when she last read them <cough>

As today happens to be Shakespeare’s birthday I wanted to talk about ideas you could try to get your child interested in the bard. If you want to, I mean, you have a choice in this of course.

Talk about the words and phrases Shakespeare gave us.

shakespeare phrases and words


There are a lot. More importantly they will be phrases that your child has used or at least heard! You could even research from which works the phrases are taken.

 Watch Tv

Over the years there have been some really great adaptations of Shakespeare’s works made into Tv and Movies. Obviously you have to keep it age appropriate but even for younger children there are some great short animations on YouTube. I can’t vouch for them all but I have watched a couple and they were really engaging and totally age appropriate.

You could, of course, take your child to a 3 hour production at the theatre. If you think they could cope then great. Personally, I would rather wait for that until they have an interest already. It’s kinder to everyone involved I think.

Choose the right play for your child

Its not that there is a hard and fast order that I think you should use but depending on you child and their age you can pick and choose. It’s not like there is a shortage to choose from!

Personally, I chose to introduce these plays first

  • A Midsummer Nights Dream
  • Much ado about nothing
  • Twelfth Night

I was tempted to launch her straight into Macbeth but figured that my then 7 year old fairy obsessed daughter would be better suited to Titania et al. I don’t know your kid though, you do. Choose something which matches their interests and you will already have won half the battle.

If you have a much younger child you could introduce them to the characters (for example) from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and make up your own little stories for them.

Simplify the stories

My best friend in this endeavour was a set of books I came across online. They are called The Shakespeare Stories Collection by Andrew Matthews & Tony Ross and they are wonderful.

The premise of the collection is simple. Shakespeare’s works in language that children will not find so intimidating. That’s the biggest challenge I think. Teens are introduced to it all a bit too late. I wanted Bess to be able to approach the plays of Shakespeare with a basic understanding of the story. In the hope that it would give her confidence later, in class and encourage her and make her thirsty for more.

The stories that are included are;

  • Julius Caesar
  • King Lear
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • Twelfth Night
  • As you Like it
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • The Tempest
  • Henry V
  • Macbeth
  • Othello
  • Richard III
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Hamlet

That’s a lot of knowledge for less than £10. I bought the set from The Book People and I loved it so much that I bought another set for my Nephew. Unlike Bess, he hasn’t really read them I don’t think. Perhaps he would be more suited to the Shakespeare comics that you can also buy online. I think Shakespeare would have approved of those too.

I really believe that anything that makes old stories accessible to children is worth exploring. Any reading is good reading.

Learn about Elizabethan England

Lastly, to understand an Elizabethan writer it makes sense to learn about Elizabethan England. You could use the internet to look at the foods they ate or perhaps make some paper dolls and paper clothes to dress them with. There are some great exhibits at lots of museums around the Uk with tons of Elizabethan artefacts to learn about.

There are even open air museums which allow you to step into history. We are planning a trip to the Weald and Downland museum in Sussex later this year. It looks fabulous!

There are loads of resources online for teaching children about Shakespeare too. You could watch the stories, you could reenact the plays together putting on voices for the different characters perhaps. You could create a family tree for the characters from a story or write out lines from plays and guess which one they belong to. BBC bitesize is great for older children too.

I truly believe that there is a play by Shakespeare to suit most (if not every) persons taste. It’s just a matter of how you approach it all. The key is to start with what your child will naturally be interested in and go from there. It’s supposed to be fun though!

What’s your favourite play by Shakespeare?


Living Arrows – Week 16 2019

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”

This week has been pretty much perfect. A bold statement, I know, but stick with me.

The Easter break from school seems to have suited us all really well. 2 weeks of having the children at home and being self employed can be seriously challenging but this time around they have been great. No shouts of “I’m bored” or any squabbling really.

We paid a visit to a local zoo which has a fantastic outdoor playground. We took cousin Milly along with us. You may think that voluntarily taking an extra child would equal extra work but that’s not the case at all. Milly is the same age as Moose and I love it when they get the chance to spend time together because she really encourages him to put himself ‘out there’ a bit more than he usually would. They adore each other and have been the best of friends forever.

Later in the week we were invited along by my sister to try out a new wall climbing place fairly close to where we live. One of the unfortunate things I have found with my illness is that I can no longer drive as far as I would have previously done. Luckily my brother and sister have been great about being my driver on occasion or inviting us to places.

I genuinely didn’t think that either Moose nor Bess would be interested in this though. We are not a family known for its love of active activities after all.

I was right about Moose, he wasn’t a fan of climbing at all. He did try but found it a bit scary. Bess, however, proved me wrong completely and took to it really well! She tried out loads of the different walls. I was really proud of her for getting stuck in!

The main attraction of this week was of course, Easter! Bess insisted on organising an egg hunt for Moose complete with clues for him to solve. She wrote him 10 clues and it was really sweet watching him solve them and find his eggs. I snapped this pic and the way he is looking at her makes my heart melt. He loves his big sister so much. There are 9 years between them. it feels sometimes like they have nothing at all in common but I don’t worry about the age gap too much. After all, there is the same gap between my sister and I and we are really close!



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