BBC Music Awards

As you may have already heard (given I have been shouting about it enough!) I was lucky enough to attend the BBC Music Awards on Monday night. I have mentioned on previous posts how much I absolutely love music, especially live music. I adore going to gigs. Usually I have a definite soft spot for more intimate venues, but going to a music awards show is pretty exciting to say the least! 

I was running late, as always – this has become abit of a theme lately- hazard of juggling parenthood and nights out! (One day I might make it with time to spare and shock everyone, you never know!) Unfortunately traffic was bad too, but we listened to the pre-show excitement on BBC radio and did our own version of carpool karaoke to pass the time. But I digress…

We arrived at London Excel with very little time to spare but thankfully parking was easy (carpark costs £15 flat rate for 24 hours) and I picked up our tickets from the box office with no problem. With about two minutes to spare before BBC One began filming live, I skipped getting a drink from the crowded bar and headed inside to find the perfect spot to stand. For those who don’t know, there were multiple stages to allow set-up time for each act whilst maintaining a seamless transition for live tv. I decided it would be better to pick a side stage and get a great close-up view of some of the performances, rather than aim for the middle but be further back in the thick of the crowd. This turned out to be the best decision in my opinion! 

The awards were hosted by Fearne Cotton, Claudia Winkleman and Gemma Cairney, who I felt made a good trio and complimented each other well, with live performances by The 1975, Lukas Graham, Emilie Sande, Izzy Bizu, John Legend, Kaiser Chiefs, Craig David, Zara Larsson and Robbie Williams. There were also appearances from Rick Astley, Lulu, Gerry Horner, Matt Goss, Pixie Lott, Adam Lambert and Rebecca Ferguson to present awards; shame they weren’t singing too, I would have loved to see all of them perform live! Hopefully I didn’t miss anyone there. 

I have read some very negative reviews of the awards, including comments along the lines that the audience was static and unimpressed, but I totally disagree. There was a great atmosphere live at the event and, certainly near the front where I was, everyone was getting into it and enjoying themselves! (I didn’t spend much time looking at the crowd behind me to see what they were doing of course!) 


I admit I was abit underwhelmed by Robbie‘s new single and his performance to be honest, and I would consider myself a fan of his music generally. However, his backstage interview was quite entertaining and his short speech on behalf of Adele while accepting an award on her behalf was really sweet. I really enjoyed Izzy Bizu‘s performance of White Tiger, she has such an amazing voice. Craig David went down surprisingly well with the older crowd in particular (and who can blame them!) But the biggest highlights for me personally were the performances by Zara Larsson and Kaiser Chiefs.

Ricky Wilson going undercover as alter-ego Sandi Branchline to interview fellow stars of the awards was amusing in a somewhat silly but fun way, and reactions were entertaining, especially John Legend‘s mixed expression as he sussed it out. All part of the fun from an award show that clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously. And quite frankly I find that refreshing. Was it perfect? No. There were numerous hiccups and flaws throughout. But that’s real life. Personally I’d take the down to earth vibe over perfection any day. Of course, if someone wants to invite me to the Brits to compare, I’ll very happily oblige… Until then, would I recommend something like this if you ever get a chance? Absolutely!

I’ll leave you with a compilation of my video clip highlights from the night… 

The five awards presented at the BBC Music Awards 2016 are as follows (winners in brackets): 

Song of the Year (Adele)

BBC Music British Artist of the Year (Coldplay)

BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year (Izzy Bizu)

BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge Performance of the Year (The 1975)

BBC Radio 2 Album of the Year (Adele)

What Do Parents Do To Unwind Around The Home?

I mentioned in a recent post about the importance of having time to myself as a parent, and what an achievement it can be to actually find time to relax! But what are my favourite ways to unwind at home? A few things come to mind; I enjoy sitting in the garden, meditating or doing some yoga, or chilling in the living room on the sofa either writing or watching TV.

Rattan Direct, survey, home and garden, relaxing, what parents do to unwind
Relaxing in the garden

Rattan Direct are conducting a survey about how parents unwind at home, and they will share the results with us soon. If you would take a moment to complete the survey, that would be really helpful, thank you.

www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/37BFHD9

The survey is in three parts:

1. How do parents unwind around the home?

2. How are you going to celebrate Christmas this year?

3. Has Brexit actually affected your spending habits around the home and garden?

Part one I already answered, but I did leave something out earlier! One of my very favourite things to do to unwind is to have my own little silent disco once Squiggle has gone to bed- I stick on headphones so I can listen to the music as loud as I want and dance around the living room!

Rattan Direct, survey, home and garden, relaxing, what parents do to unwind, music
I love dancing around the living room to my silent disco!

Ooh, and they mentioned the C word in part two! Given it’s now practically November I am very much starting to think about Christmas now and get my head in that zone. Christmas tends to be very low key for us, to meet Squiggle’s needs. We try not to overwhelm her with too much going on or too many visitors, so we spend Christmas day at home and just have one or two family members pop over for a short time to wish a Merry Christmas, spend some time together and exchange gifts. Most of our family lives fairly local anyway, so nobody has far to travel, and we probably see them just as much, if not more, during the rest of the year compared to Christmas. We also do lots of festive days out in the lead up to Christmas too though, so there a nice balance!

Rattan Direct, survey, home and garden, relaxing, what parents do to unwind, Christmas
We have a quiet Christmas at home

As for Brexit, I have been trying not to think too much about it to be honest. It hasn’t affected my spending around the home and garden as yet, but who knows how I will feel in future. I do think house prices have been affected though, as I know a few friends are having problems with that. Let’s hope it settles soon. But for me personally, there has not really been any difference.

What are your thoughts?

DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Rattan Direct.

#Blogtober 2016 – Day 26: Top 10 All-Time Favourite Songs

Top 10 all-time favourite songs is far too hard, there is no way I could narrow my favourite ever songs down to just ten; impossible task! So I decided to attempt my top ten albums of all time instead, which I am still working on so will have to post that separately when it’s finished. But I have made a (much) longer playlist of songs that were favourites at sometime in my life, are somehow significant to me or represent a phase of my life. So I guess it’s sort of my own version of ‘Soundtrack of my Life’ done a little differently.

So here it is, in chronological order, including any stories or explanations to go with each song that I would like to share with you all too! 

1. Love of the Common People – Paul Young: I used to listen to this loads as a young child and I remember my parents singing it. It is the one song that really sticks in my mind from early childhood.

2. When Will I Be Famous- Bros: The first band I was ever really a massive fan of. I loved all of their songs, I had their cassette (I think the first album I personally ever chose to buy myself perhaps?) and their posters were on my wall!

3. Song For Whoever – The Beautiful South: I loved their whole album (it makes my top ten list of all time) but I just picked out one song at random to represent them on my soundtrack. This was also my first concert.

4. Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer: I wasn’t sure where to put Bon Jovi in terms of chronology of my life as it reminds me of many parts of my life in various ways, spanning over decades. So I have put them at the beginning; when they remind me of my mum. Not on the list but Cliff Richard and Simply Red also remind me of my mum watching their music videos (on VHS!) 

5. Holiday – Madonna: This reminds me of our concert at the end of Primary School, when the year 6 leavers put on a talent show; we choreographed a dance to this song! 

6. Wig Wam Bam – Sweet: This one reminds me of holidays with my dad and cousin as a young teenager. Fond memories.

7. Gangstas Paradise – Coolio: As a teenager of about 15/ 16, a group of us used to go to a local hangout called The Coconut Club. This is one of many songs I could have chosen to represent that era, but this one was a particular favourite. 

8. Killing Me Softly – Fugees: Same era but this one reminds me of hanging out at school revising for GCSE exams with friends. 

9. Oasis, Spice Girls and Alanis Morrisette are all representive of my teenage years; parties, hanging with friends etc… I struggled to pick a particular song for each band, so I went for any song just to symbolise the actual bands. What’s The Story Morning Glory by Oasis and Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrisette make my top ten albums of all time. Definitely. I loved Blur too though and am now wondering why I haven’t included them in my list .. especially when I totally used to fangirl over Damon Albarn! 

10. Laid – James: American Pie and venture scout parties!!!

11. Build Me Up Buttercup, Love Shack and Copacabana (or anything Barry Manilow!) represents my not-very-secret love of cheesy music. This phase lasted many years from late teens to mid 20’s (ok…and beyond), alongside other styles of music. Other contenders to represent this phase could be I’m A Believer, Tragedy, Barbie Girl, Come on Eileen and many more… Grease songs also need to fit in here even though not included because I LOVED the film and went to see the musical in theatre over half a dozen times with my mum and dad! 

12. I chose Rhythm is a Dancer for the playlist but any 90s dance anthems: reminds me of my first parent- free holidays abroad with friends! Oh and then I moved to Tenerife to PR for a season at 18-19 years old too of course!

13. High – Feeder: My housemates introduced me to this band early in their career while we were house sharing in our late teens and they became a firm favourite. It also reminds me of going to indie gigs. 

14. Angels – Robbie: My mum loved him. This was her funeral song. Moving swiftly on…

15. Remix To Ignition – R Kelly: This and any other noughties R ‘n’ B is for my uni days. I also put I’ll Be There (For You) by Rembrants on to symbolise my massive love of Friends!

16. Left Outside Alone – Anastasia: My first teaching job (a collegue played it everyday!) 

17. McFly, Busted, Blink182, Girls Aloud, Pussy Cat Dolls, Nelly Furtado etc… all remind me of my mid 20’s parties during weekends away. (I listed my top faves in the playlist but loved so many more!) Different era but Squiggle calls Underground the mummy song because I used to sing it loads, so that’s on there for both reasons! 

18. Come As You Are – Nirvana: I love Nirvana and their songs would fit in to any point of my life as significant to that time. But I put them here to symbolise my huge love of Singstar in my mid 20’s lol! I also included It’s Tricky, Somewhere Only We Know by Keane and Light Up by Snow Patrol for the same reasons, but could also be any of the other million fun Singstar karaoke songs! 

19. Foo fighters, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Killers and Kaiser Chiefs all remind me of festivals and gigs. They are all also easily on my top favourite artists and albums lists of all time. Easily. (See what I did? ;)) And I will never forget screaming the lyrics to Best Of You with 100,000s of others! 

Kings of Leon, Razorlight and Snow Patrol are on my list  plus many other songs that I didn’t include, because they are also from this festival and gigs part of my life too.

20. She Moves In Her Own Way – Kooks: This also remind me of Reading festival, this is possibly the only gig I ever watched alone and was totally worth it. Another solid album for my list too. (Squiggle also loves Seaside, not listed). 

21. Poker Face – Lady Gaga: By now I’m a mum and my young toddler loves ‘singing’ to Lady Gaga with me, we love the whole album but especially this one.

22. Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling, and Holiday by Dizzee Rascal remind me of Squiggle as an older toddler dancing around, as do a few others that I didn’t list. 

23. Badman – awesome song, awesome album. Another hit with Squiggle when she was younger too. Another of her big favourites of the time was ‘Forget You’. For me, One Day Like This by Elbow is a stand out feel good song of roughly this time too. 

24. Bills is included to bring us into the present (this is Squiggle’s Haven song!) So here we are back in the now with songs such as Shake It Off, Price Tag, Cheerleader and Happy that are representative of Squiggle and I in recent times (e.g. from our fun dance classes together). Plus for me, not included on the list, but I love dancing around at home to songs like Shut Up and Dance and Cake by The Ocean. I also love the entire Stay Together album by Kaiser Chiefs and have been to their gigs recently, so have included Hole In My Soul to represent this. (And some of the songs chosen for previous parts of my life are also just as relevant in my life now too, as they are often still played currently by cover bands on nights out!)

Phew! As you can see, I have a varied musical taste… And I love music too much to be selective about it!!! I admit 50 songs is a rather mammoth playlist lol!

Full playlist is here: YouTube – Soundtrack Of My Life  

I have just realised it would have been a great idea to do Top Ten Favourite Songs of 80’s, 90’s, 00’s etc… Doh, annoying I only just thought of doing it like that!!! But I will do this sometime anyway, maybe as a series of future blog posts, it will be fun and abit easier than all time faves lol! 

What songs make your list? 

#Blogtober16

#Blogtober 2016 – Day 17: Favourite Concert Attended

Ooh, today is a great theme! Going to gigs is one of my very favourite things to do, I LOVE live music. I have enjoyed a wide variety of different gigs; from watching unsigned friends just starting out to seeing top international artists on sell out tours, from pubs to festivals, and from massive stadiums to tiny intimate venues (or sometimes even just in their living room!) 

My taste in music is quite varied, I will happily listen to (and dance to!) all sorts of music and would struggle to pick a favourite type. But in terms of live music specifically, I do particularly love indie rock/ rock bands. I love original bands but I really like good cover bands too, and there are also some brilliant tribute acts around! 

The most recent gig I went to was just last week, Kaiser Chiefs at New Slang Club in Kingston, London. I have been lucky enough to see them a few times now, and they never disappoint! They are one of my fave all time bands anyway, but they are certainly one of the best to watch live, they have so much energy and really connect with their audience, absolutely love them. Also, as much as I do love bigger concerts, I feel the intimate gigs are even better still, so this was a great venue too.

New album #StayTogether, favourite band, concert, blogtober, blogging challengeKaiser Chiefs

New album #StayTogether, favourite band, concert, blogtober, blogging challenge

Other particularly memorable music events I have attended include the 2004 Tsunami Benefit Concert in Cardiff, Live 8 at Hyde Park in 2005, and the absolutely amazing buzz of various festivals, especially Reading festival. 

In terms of smaller gigs, aside from my favourites the Kaiser Chiefs, I particularly enjoyed Feeder and Red Hot Chilli Peppers (which was actually a big venue but we were in a sectioned off area at the front so it felt intimate!) I also loved watching Bon Jovi UK recently, best tribute band I have ever seen. And there have been a few really good local cover bands at nearby music venues that have made for a great night out too! 

My first ever concert, I think, was Beautiful South with my mum. I remember they were supported by The Lightning Seeds and there was a technical hitch which meant their equipment suddenly stopped working after a couple of songs, so they gave up and walked off the stage! It was still a brilliant (and memorable!) night though.

Last but not least, the most iconic venue I have ever watched live music probably has to be The Viper Room in LA. I can’t even remember which band was playing the night we were there but it was a cool atmosphere.

Phew, I think that sums it up… not that it was a simple answer! But wow, so many AMAZING memories!!! 

#Blogtober16

#Blogtober 2016 – Day 5: What Career Did You Have Planned As A Child? 

What were my childhood dreams, career-wise? What did I want to be when I grew up? Good question! I am not really sure I ever had an answer to that question, I think I had ideas of the kind of thing I might like but never anything specific.

As mentioned before, I used to dream of being in a band but I knew this would never be achievable! More realistically, I was absolutely obsessed with animals and wanted to run some kind of shelter. 

One thing I do remember is how my cousin was absolutely adament that she wanted to be a flight attendent so she could travel the world. She now does exactly that. I guess some people have that level of direction from a very young age whilst others take longer. And that’s ok. 

#Blogtober16

#Blogtober 2016 – Day One: Who Are You?

​Hi everyone! 

I’m taking part in #Blogtober16 (at the 11th hour I might add!) so today is all about ME!!! For those who don’t know, blogtober 2016 is 31 days of posts with a different set theme each day, hosted by www.hexmumblog.com 

#Blogtober16

I am also doing the Project Green Challenge too this month so October is a busy month for me, and I am really just hoping to at least sort of keep up with both… eek! #PGC2016 is an inspiring (and life- changing) intiative set up by Turning Green. Each challenge starts at 6am PT (2pm here in UK) so I am hoping the time difference will work in my favour. (Of course I could also schedule some of my Blogtober posts, but I am not that organised!) 

So anyway, about me… 

My about us page probably sums me up quite well, so I will begin by cheating abit and sending you off to look there… 

livinglifeourway.com/about-us

Ok, so aside from that, here are 3 random facts about me…

1. As soon as I finished my A Levels, I moved to Tenerife to work as a club PR for a season. It was hard work 7 nights per week and I barely made enough for basic food rations but had the time of my life! I find it IMPOSSIBLE to believe that was almost 20 years ago now.

Playa de las Americas Tenerife PR team
Tenerife days

2. I have a scar across my forehead from an accident aged 4 years old, when I tripped over my own feet, smashing my head open on our coffee table. I also fractured my arm by falling off the top of a toddler slide when I was 10 and landing badly. These are possibly two of the most cringy-worthy ways of sustaining an injury; when people ask about my scar I would at least like a cool Harry Potter style story to tell lol! 

3. I LOVE music, absolutely love it. But sadly don’t actually have a musical note in my entire body; I can’t play an instrument and am totally tone deaf. This somewhat shattered my childhood dream of being in a band!

What else do you want to know? If you have a specific question then please post in comments and I will answer you. 

I  would also love for you to share a random fact about yourself too, leave in comments or tweet me @followourpath

I look forward to reading!

Highlights of April

Some of our activities in April included art group, music class, dance class, nature walks, several parks, Langleybury Farm, planting in our garden, a variety of creative activities and Easter activities (see previous blog post).

(I chose the song Price Tag because this was the one Squiggle learned a routine to in dance class and so we have listened to it ALOT this month! It also led to a nice discussion on materialism/ priorities).

May 2015

Memories from May…

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Seaside fun
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Physical development
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Creative movement/ interpretive dance- a plant growing
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Planting more fruit and veg in our growing area
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Sensory fun and physical games in the garden
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General fun in the garden
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Playing various sylvanian games, including measuring the height in hula hoops.
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Maths- 'going shopping' for bunny food
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Music class
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Local playgrounds for sensory input and physical exercise
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Designing her own playground for her toys in the garden
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Reading- letters from penpals, my list of things that I found in the garden (a reading and writing observation game she made up herself) and 'shop' price list
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Writing- letters to penpals, birthday cards and letters to mummy from her toys
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Drawings (we also went to art group but no pictures of that)
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Making a playmat for her toys based on a map she drew
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Squiggle invented this rainbow game
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Designed own mini skittles game
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Van Hague- peacock spreading its feathers
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Living Crafts at Hatfield House
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Butterfly World
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Park walks- spotting nature and exploring
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Who lives in a house like this? Discussion about habitats
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More park walks- Squiggle decided her toy cat Rain was interested in flowers so we took her on a flower walk
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Mini topic on flowers- Venn diagram, parts of a plant, following written instructions, making own book and designing own activity
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Willows Farm
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Fun at the fair

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Cassiobury park

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Squiggle's party

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Happy 7th birthday to my wonderful little girl. Mini tea party at home with buffet, cake, pass the parcel, musical chairs, pressies and playing! Plus a bike ride too.

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A friend's birthday party

April 2015

Ok, since I have gotten lazy about blogging lately here is April all rolled into one…

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Spring walks
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Highfield Park, including some of the tree trail with friends
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Growing our own food
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Science experiment- celery in food colouring
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Sand and water play
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Problem solving- how to patch up a leak with resources available
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Art group- foam marbling
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General garden fun
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Squiggle designed a carrier bag kite and parachute
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Quality time with our cats
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Observing and discussing the sky above- including clouds, rainbows, sunrise and sunset
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Playdate at home
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Writing
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Princess Diana Playground, Kensington
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Aldenham SEN playground
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Designing own games and activities
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Art and crafts
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Fun at a park
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Physical games- cone activities
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More playground fun- with grandad
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Butterfly World
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New 'Music Meadow' at Butterfly World
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Seaside- yes, she did steal daddys cardigan for a short while!
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Art group
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Art group- butterfly symmetry painting
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Art and Science! Put a few drops of food colouring into milk. Then put some washing liquid on a cotton bud, dip it in and let the colours disperse. Makes an interesting 'painting'
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Exploring instruments- lots of singing and dancing too!
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Park with a friend

We also did lots of Easter activities, which I blogged about separately, and have been to music class but haven’t got any photos of that! Last but not least, we did various circus themed activities, but that needs it’s own post!