Thursday, 22 February 2018

Harry Potter #SeenOnScreen

Harry Potter Malham Cove

When we think about the magical world of Harry Potter are minds instinctively wander to faraway places, but when the books were projected onto the big screen for us all to marvel at and lose ourselves within, we forget that often we weren't just admiring witchcraft and wizardry but the natural wonders of our world. Our real world, that the producers and film crew brought the magic into.

Did you know that when you are admiring the landscapes in Harry Potter you are actually looking out over Yorkshire in some cases?  

If Harry Potter shoot locations are your cup of tea then you will have to keep an eye on who are going to be releasing an eBook all about this! 

For now though... I will share a few of the shoot locations with you!

Malham Cove

For instance let me take you back to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, remember the scene where Harry and Hermione are trying to hide away from the Dark Lord, Voldemort... Or he who must not be named in the rocky camp? This natural limestone formation is actually Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales.

Once upon a time a river ran over the rocks and creates the beautiful pattern that we admire today.

Harry Potter Goathland Station

Next on the Harry Potter Yorkshire list is Goathland Station, can anyone hazard a guess at where this may have been used? No? Well Goathland Station in the North York Moors actually served as Hogsmeade Station in the films. The station actually runs between Whitby and Pickering (Not Hogsmeade and Hogwarts unfortunately). You might also recognise this station from the television series Heartbeat (which I absolutely adored as a child!)

It's pretty amazing visiting somewhere that you have #SeenOnScreen - As a child I actually lived in Yorkshire, Barnsley, and I remember one day my parents taking me to where they filmed Emmerdale. We even went for a drink in the Woolpack which was just crazy (Because it's a real pub!), now it might not be in the same leagues as Harry Potter, but it was pretty cool nonetheless.

 If Harry Potter is your calling though, then I can highly recommend a visit to the Harry Potter Studio Tour!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

5 Reasons It’s Great to Involve the Kids in Fruit and Veg Growing

5 Reasons It’s Great to Involve the Kids in Fruit and Veg Growing

It probably goes without saying that the great outdoors offers us plenty of benefits, from breathing in fresh air to getting some much-needed exercise. But did you know there are also some developmental benefits to getting the kids involved in gardening?

Here are five reasons why you might want to get the kids growing their own produce, even in

1. It Enhances Their Senses 
Your kids’ senses are incredibly sensitive, which is why this is one of the best ways for them to learn. For example, when they’re knee deep in dirt they can touch the vegetables, seeds and soil; they can smell the fruits of their labour and they can see all of the different shapes, sizes and textures of the veg. 

By making sure their senses are engaged, this helps you ensure your children know what gardening entails while also enabling them to understand the science and maths that go into it. 

2. It Encourages Them to Eat Healthily 
There’s nothing quite like tasting food you’ve gone to the effort of growing yourself, and that’s exactly what your children (and you!) can do when you have your own veggie patch. Having them grow a number of different healthy foods will make them keen to taste what they’ve planted themselves. This not only encourages them to eat those greens but it also adds to their eagerness to grow new things to see what unique flavours these have too. 

3. It Allows Them to Explore Scientific Concepts 
Gardening’s fun, which is why it’s an interactive way of introducing kids to biology, chemistry and botany. Once they’ve planted their seeds they’ll be intrigued as to what will happen next, then they’ll monitor how these things change and develop, and these processes give them an understanding of a number of scientific concepts. Equally, by getting specialist equipment from places like Premier Polytunnels, you’ll be able to show them how different things can influence how their plants grow. 

4. It Adds to Their Fine Motor Development 
From picking out seeds to digging up dirt and pouring water on plants, there’s plenty of fine motor control needed in gardening. Therefore, as your children get to grips with the garden, they’ll develop these crucial skills, which will ultimately enhance their schooling, including cutting, typing and writing.

5. It Provides You with Important Family Time 
Finally, when you and the kids team up to grow things in the garden, it provides you with plenty of heart-warming family time. As you grow things, you and the kids will get a great sense of achievement, and it also provides you with the perfect opportunity to try new recipes using the fresh ingredients you’ve produced. 

Gardening needn’t take up a lot of space, time or money but, as you can see, it’s got so much to
offer you and your children.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Take me to New York

Empire Sate Building from Top Of The Rock

I always seem to find my mind wandering to warmer climates when Autumn arrives, don't get me wrong. I love the changing seasons and there is definitely something refreshing about the crisp mornings and cooler temperatures that can be felt now, but it has got to the point where I did use the hair dryer to warm my bed for the first time last night (yes, apparently the hair dryer is the modern day equivalent to the bed warming pan). Maybe I should just admit defeat now and stick the heated blanket on the bed...

Luke and I were talking the other day about holiday's and where we would like to jet off to next. Realistically if we want to go anywhere next year, we do need to start thinking about it right now so that the finances are in place to accommodate such luxurious dreams. There are a few ideas that come to mind when we start shooting destinations back and forth between the two of us (and these change again when you Leo jumps in!). 

New York, California, Costa Rica, Mexico and Australia.

As you can see we are quite indecisive, these are the 5 parts of the world that keep coming back into the conversation... 

Empire Sate Building from Top Of The Rock

We seem to keep landing back at New York though, and it does seem to be a pretty good place to start.

Leo is already very well travelled in Europe (I hadn't even been abroad at his age), and has so far visited France, Tenerife, Cyprus and Crete twice, but  he has wanted to visit New York ever since I flew out there in November of 2016. 

Leo has seen it in the movies, he has admired my pictures and now he wants to visit the concrete jungle that is the big apple for himself. It's something that I really want him to see too, I was completely blown away for the whole time I spent in this rather wonderful city. You never do stop looking up at the buildings, you can't help walking along the sidewalk and just marvelling up, I couldn't help wondering how anyone ever found anything.

We were only there for 3 days, we had flown from London and used Purple Parking for the car while we were Stateside. 3 days was not enough time to do everything that we wanted to do, and I long to go back and walk around the 9/11 memorial, I will never forget the feeling of standing at the foot of where the twin towers once stood, it was still a very raw place even all of these years later. It was hard to wrap my head around that I was stood exactly where the events unravelled all of those years ago, where all of those people lost their lives. 

Ground Zero - 9/11 Memorial New York

We walked into Brooklyn over the world famous Brooklyn Bridge, took a boat ride out to see the Statue of Liberty and did all of the typical touristy things that you would do when in New York, but the whole time I was there I kept thinking how much Leo and Luke would love this experience too. 

Brookyln Bridge

Statue of Liberty - New York

Leo talks about going all the time, and I can't help looking at deals to fly back out, and it would be so nice to go during the festive season again. We were lucky with the weather and the sun shone throughout the entire time that we were there (creating some absolute stunning backdrops over the iconic city), and we even saw them preparing the Rockefella Christmas Tree. 

Then there was Ice Skating in Central Park, you know, where the bad guys in Home Alone 2 Lost in New York go skating! 

Central Park Ice Skating  - New York

There is so much to see and do in New York, but of course this kind of experience doesn't come cheap. Once you have taken into account your flights and accommodation you have to remember that food costs on top with the additional tips that are even applicable on drinks that you may order from a bar (This completely threw me!), it can get pretty pricey. 

What an experience though? When I arrived home, I felt like I had been gone for weeks. I had never left Leo for this duration before, and it felt like a lifetime. When I go back here, we will be going as a family, as I want to show my boys just how amazing New York really is, and we will most definitely be going for longer so that we can fit EVERYTHING in.