My Sunday Photo 24/7/16: Meet The Band!

Introducing…The Jallie Band!

Featuring: Jake on metal gazoo, and Ellie on mouth organ! And Daddy banging rhythmically on whatever is to hand. (Sounds of wild applause and cheering)

They were pretty good too!

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OneDad3Girls
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Wednesday Words

I’ll sing myself to sleep, a song from the darkest hour
Secrets I can’t keep inside of the day
Swing from high to deep: extremes of sweet and sour
Hope that God exists; I hope, I pray

Drawn by the undertow my life is out of control
I believe this wave will bear my weight so let it flow

Oh sit down!
Sit down next to me
Sit down, down, down, down, down – in sympathy

Now I’m relieved to hear that you’ve been to some far out places
It’s hard to carry on when you feel all alone
Now I’ve swung back down again it’s worse than it was before
If I hadn’t seen such riches I could live with being poor

Oh sit down!
Sit down next to me
Sit down, down, down, down, down – in sympathy

Those who feel the breath of sadness:
Sit down next to me
Those who find they’re touched by madness:
Sit down next to me
Those who find themselves ridiculous:
Sit down next to me

In love, in fear, in hate, in tears
In love, in fear, in hate, in tears
In love, in fear, in hate, in tears
In love, in fear, in hate…

Down
Down

Oh sit down!
Sit down next to me
Sit down, down, down, down, down – in sympathy

Down

“Sit Down” by James. Writers: Tim Booth, Lawrence Gott, Gavan Whelan, James Patrick Glennie, Philip James Selway, Jonathan Richard, Guy Greenwood, Edward John O’Brien, Thomas Edward Yorke, Colin Charles Greenwood, James Lawrence Gott
Copyright: Blue Mountain Music Ltd., Warner/Chappell Music Ltd., Stage Three Music Publishing Limited

Crazy With Twins

My Sunday Photo: Horsing Around!

 

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It may not be immediately obvious from this photo, but this is from Jake & Ellie’s first horse-riding session!

We have been taking them to dance (ballet & tap), gym & music classes. They went over the age limit for Monkey Music, they seemed a bit bored with the gym classes as they didn’t seem challenging enough, & although Ellie enjoyed the dancing Jake seemed less keen.

So when they turned 5 we decided that they were old enough to decide what they wanted to do, rather than what we thought they should do.

Jake chose Tae-Kwon-Do! I’m not sure how we found out about it, but there’s a great session at our local YMCA, & they’re both loving it. (There’s a funny story about that: ask me later…)

Ellie was mad to do horse-riding. So we did.

It was great! Sadly my ‘phone’s battery ran out just before they got on their horses, so I couldn’t get any more photos.

It took a long time to get going, which is OK as you’re dealing with animals & you have to get the health & safety right. Then they all lined up in the field on their magnificent ponies, our 2 first-timers especially looking very pleased with themselves.

We thought they’d just plod around the field, but they took to the streets! They all rode around country lanes for nearly an hour, & even broke into a trot!

Jake & Ellie both loved it; they were so happy when they came back!

We’re definitely planning to it again; the main problem of course is that it’s not cheap. Great fun though 🙂

Trouble Sleeping?

1-DSCN0993I’ve had a bit of this lately: circumstances, sort of thing.

Fortunately I’ve come across a meditation music app that really helps!

It’s called ‘Soothing Sounds’ & is available for your Android phone or tablet.

Does it work? Yes: this app is great!

I often get myself off to sleep with a ‘Mellow’ playlist on my ‘phone. This is good, but the playlist wasn’t designed for that & more often than not songs come up that are a bit too lively & delay the process. I also use TV, although I know I shouldn’t; it’s generally been shown to be a bad idea. I’m often woken up in the middle of the night by noisy ads or a bright screen.

This however works ‘like a charm’, & I’ve been using it regularly ever since I downloaded it.
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It has a large variety of relaxing ambient sounds to choose from: for instance beach, binaural, birds, crickets, frogs, a ticking clock, a heartbeat, rain, a rainforest, flowing water, a Tibetan bowl, whalesong, white noise, wind & a some ‘new-age’ style music.

Each sound is configurable: you change both volume & intensity.

You can select each sound individually or in groups of up to 10;  you can then save any of the groups you create for later use.

I found it was as fun to play around with as it is useful as a sleep-aid!

I do have a couple of minor quibbles however. The app is quite big, & if you’re like me & have a budget ‘phone with limited memory you may struggle to find space for it.

I also had trouble getting the options to work. You can set silence, alarm & wake-up timers but I found the keys unresponsive.

To be honest I’ve had similar trouble with other apps so it may well be my ‘phone’s fault. If not it just needs a simple patch.

I usually charge my ‘phone overnight anyway so I’ve often just left it on all night. It’s actually pretty good to wake up to!

The bottom line however: it works, it’s fun & it costs spare change, so I can recommend it!

In my experience anything that helps you sleep when you’re having trouble dropping off is worth it, & ‘Soothing Sounds’ does exactly that.

Review written in collaboration with Lost Ego Studios 

 

 

 

The Princess and the Poo

Jake was heading on upstairs & asked for my company.

What that actually means is that he wanted me to play music from ‘Frozen’ on my ‘phone while he had a poo. That’s become something of a tradition here. 

After ‘Frozen Heart’ (his favourite) & a little ‘For the First Time in Forever’ Ellie decided to join us.

“Hello Ellie”

“I’m not Ellie, my name is Shakora”

I don’t even know where she gets this one from.
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Music Appreciation

frozen_ver8_xlgIn December we took Jake & Ellie to the cinema for the first time: we saw Disney’s ‘Frozen’ & they both absolutely loved it!

I was impressed as well. Although it’s a children’s film I thought everything about it was top quality: the voice acting, the animation & visuals, the characterisation, the dialogue, its humour were all outstanding. I also particularly liked the way it dealt with quite heavy themes in a way that was palatable even to 3-year-olds.

Then of course there’s the music. It was excellent – in a Disney context of course –  & unsurprisingly the musical is already being planned & is heading to Broadway, then presumably here as well.

Music plays a major part in my life & it has in Jake & Ellie’s too. I love to play music for & enjoy it with them, & have a collection on my ‘phone of 100s of songs that they like. I knew they’d love the music from ‘Frozen’ so I bought the soundtrack album for them.

I wasn’t wrong! 

We listened to it for the first time in the car on the way back from ‘Monkey Music’ last week: they were ecstatic, especially Ellie! When ‘Let It Go’ came on they were  singing along with utter abandon at the tops of their voices, heads raised, gesticulating wildly, arms waving about as if in a manic West End musical!

At home we played the songs in order; instead of the usual TV or tablet games – which sadly has become the norm in the new house while our unpacking has been delayed – they just sat listening on the sofa. While listening they were talking together & with me about the songs, remembering what happened in the film when a particular song was sung, talking about the characters & the story, enjoying the pictures in the sleeve notes & trying to read the song titles & lyrics there.

The power of Music!

It was wonderful

For more Magic Moments just click the pic:

 

 

 

 

 

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Tired, scared, sore, smelly & frozen!

Us and Them

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I can’t help thinking of Syria, & especially of its children & the terrible suffering so many are enduring.

Chemical weapon attacks on city suburbs.

A school bombed with napalm.

Horror almost too great to contemplate.

It’s trite, yes: but someone, somewhere has to do something, don’t they?

Don’t we?

Don’t I?

Dinosaurs! And Magic

We enjoyed our recent visit to the Dinosaur Park.

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As well as the obvious Jake & Ellie really enjoyed playing with a baby dinosaur newly emerged from its egg. Ellie in particular: she had to be dragged away protesting as we left! There were also great tube-slides down dinosaurs’ necks which they spent a long time on.

I was quite interested in the sets of standing stones there & their history, but that will probably have to wait until our next visit.

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There were certainly plenty of dinosaurs!

This one is Mammasaurus’ Mum, apparently

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There was a hidden lake! I was very impressed when Jake identified this as “a crocodile, or an alligator”. A big one!

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Watching over Wales?

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The watering-hole:

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There was also a recreation of a stone-age village there, including a preserved ‘real’ spring held to be sacred by the Druids. People had thrown coins into it & Jake was fascinated by it. I attempted to explain by saying that people believed that when they threw coins into the spring that something magic might happen. So of course I had to produce a coin for him to throw in! He was very excited.

At home that evening I was playing music from my iPod wirelessly from my little bluetooth speakers. Jake wanted to know how the music was coming out of the little box.

After toying with the idea of trying to explain bluetooth technology to a 3-year-old I resorted to the Daddy Pig solution: “It’s magic!”.

I can’t tell you how excited he was! Jumping around the room like a mad thing, he decided that he had made magic: that this was from his throwing the coin into the magic water!

He went to bed a very happy little boy 🙂

Father, Son

Lately I’ve been listening to the music of Peter Gabriel.

No bad thing: the man’s been making incredible, innovative music for the best part of half a century.

Genius? I think so.

This is one of his newer songs and one I’d not heard until recently.

It’s a grower: the more I played it the more I loved it.

And now I really love it.

I find it, & the video (directed by Gabriel’s daughter), very moving.

If my son, & of course daughter, grow up to feel the same respect & love that this man does for his Dad then my life will have been worth living.

Our First Festival!

On Sunday we took Jake & Ellie to their first festival! Sort of…

The Big Welsh Bite, in Pontypridd.

The weather could have been better…

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Jake & Ellie didn’t seem to mind at all; certainly a lot less than I did!

After buying them some juice & the biggest chocolate brownies they had ever seen we ventured out!

There were rumours of a children’s face-painter across the way; when I tracked down their location I found they’d given up & gone home…

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We did however find a working carousel, which they really enjoyed! It was the first, & possibly only, time it had been used all day.

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After my being forced into buying them each a plastic sword filled with fake Smarties we headed back to the comfort of our tent.

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It was “our tent” because the Mummy was there manning a stall for a charity she’s involved with, PONT: building a ‘Bridge’ between Rhondda Cynon Taf and Mbale in Uganda. It’s a terrific project & one we’re delighted to be involved with.

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I’d been tipped off that there was a harpist singing & playing for the children, & sure enough it was true! After a little sing-song where Jallie & others sang along & added percussion they were given a chance to have a go on a harp themselves.

As you can probably see they loved it!

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Rain, mud, strange food & drink, an adventure or 2, tents, music, enjoying ourselves despite the weather – a typically British festival, and hopefully the first of many!