Great British Soap Stars

Ever since Coronation Street hit British screens way back in 1960, soap stars have formed a huge part of our celebrity culture. From the beginning, an interest in the private life of the actor, as well as the character, was apparent and the tabloids lapped up any opportunity to give us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the people who were in our homes as often as family and friends. Since the 1980s, when EastEnders and Emmerdale both emerged, the celebrity status of the soap star has gone stratospheric. Soap stories have caught our imaginations for many years now and, of course, the characters who play them out on screen have become more and more revered. Recently, Great British Bingo conducted a survey to find out who was the most popular soap star and the results were conclusive. Despite being a fairly new addition to the world of British soap, Danny Dyer has clearly made a huge impact as it was Mick Carter who ranked number one, ahead of icons such as Dot Cotton, Phil Mitchell, and even Ken Barlow, who has been portrayed by William Roach for more than 50 years.  

With bigger and bigger storylines every year, it’s clear to see that soaps, and their stars, are here to stay. It isn’t always fashionable to admit to enjoying soaps but I, for one, can’t wait to see what their futures hold. 

I’ll admit to a little crush on Danny Dyer as well…

Pacifiers, For Dummies

There has been a lot of conversation on pacifiers today, in light of the Harper Beckham story, and a lot of it has been negative. Here’s my quick guide to pacifiers, for dummies:

1) The clue is in the name

Pacifiers are used to pacify the child. To make them feel safer and more secure on difficult days and during difficult times. My children often used them to settle to sleep; they found them particularly comforting when they felt poorly. 

  
2) Just because a child uses one at 4 does not mean they will never grow out of it

Some children find pacifiers comforting until they are four or five years old. That’s ok. Very few of them will still be using them as teenagers.

  
3) How another parent chooses to use pacifiers is nothing to do with YOU

Perhaps most salient of all; please do not allow yourself to believe that you have the right to pass judgment on another parent just because they do things differently to you. This goes for anything. With regard to pacifiers, please refrain from citing medical references in your outspoken judgments. Most parents who use pacifiers will already be well aware of the potential dental and developmental problems associated. It is patronising and offensive to assume otherwise and therefore behave as though it is actually you that has the child’s best interests at heart, rather than its own parents.

  
There endeth today’s rant. 

As you were.

Being 4

Being 4 seems to be pretty awesome. The boy is racing towards his fifth birthday, and big school, and all these exciting new things. He is changing rapidly, but I am clinging on to these last few weeks of being 4. I am remembering how he was a year ago and filled with pride at how he has changed and grown. He is a real little lad now, there is definitely no baby left in him; no toddler either. Of course, the pride I feel is mixed with sadness, and for exactly the same reasons. My baby is growing up!

 

He won’t be able to wear this top for much longer…

 
One short year ago, my boy still had his milk in a bottle at bedtime. He still sat in a pushchair almost every time we went out. He wasn’t entirely dry at night. He could not write his own name. He certainly had not mastered the monkey bars! He was still too cautious to attempt a lot of the climbing he does now.

  
He would cry when I left him at nursery, cling to me and ask me not to leave. Now he skips in and barely glances back at me. He is actually excited for big school, whereas a year ago I was scared he would never be emotionally ready to leave me. He has already graduated from nursery, despite not leaving for a couple more weeks. 

  
He has formed strong friendships of his own, rather than simply being stuck playing with the younger siblings of Miss J’s friends. He has a very best friend from nursery who, I am delighted to say, is going up to school with him and will even be in the same class! 

  
He has changed from a train mad toddler to a superhero crazy little boy. My little boy. And what a beautiful boy he is too.

  
He is still a fussy eater, he can still be incredibly hard work, he still loves nothing more than a cuddle, and he still would rather run anywhere than walk. My 4 (almost five,) year old is a wonderful child and I cannot wait to celebrate him turning five… I still can’t quite believe that it is happening so soon though!

Review – Fishers Farm Park

Nestled in the heart of the West Sussex countryside is Fishers Farm Park – a truly great day out for all the family. We visited on Wednesday, which started out sunny and warm but was grey and raining intermittently by the time we arrived. Travelling by public transport from Worthing proved time consuming and costly; we had to take a train to Ford, another to Billingshurst, and then hired a taxi to travel the remaining three miles to the farm. It is a shame that there is not a shuttle bus between the train station and the farm as I am sure this would get a lot of use. It can be really difficult to venture out to countryside attractions without a car so reliable public transport would definitely have been a bonus. Alas, we made it relatively unscathed and headed to reception to make a note of the day’s itinerary. First up was a magic show, which the children enjoyed, followed by pony rides. The latter incurred an extra charge of £1 per child, though it was definitely worth it.   

Following the pony ride, we headed indoors for lunch, followed by soft play, escaping just in time to get up close to some weird and wonderful creatures in the animal barn. The boy decided not to participate, whereas Miss J couldn’t get enough!

  

  


After the animal handling, we had a quick play outside where the boy surprised me with some super climbing:

  

Next up, we enjoyed a hay ride, which involved going out into the fields on a feeding run. I think this is a great way of turning one of the more mundane farming tasks into something fun and interesting for all the family.  The children really liked seeing the animals rush over for their food and learned lots about them on the way.

  

We made it back from the hay ride just in time to meet some cute and cuddly animals back in the barn. Again, the boy preferred to watch from afar whilst Miss J got stuck in. She really enjoyed telling the staff about her new guinea  pig friends and they were only too happy to listen!

  

  

  

  

 Having said goodbye to the lovely animals, we headed outside where it was, unfortunately, starting to rain. The weather did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the children, however, and Miss J did some rather fabulous climbing on the wall, an activity which was completely free. Meanwhile, the boy enjoyed a few fairground rides, which were also included in the admission fee.

   

  

  

  

Finally, we headed over to the big pirate ship climbing frame, for a very quick play before the park closed at 5.

  

  

All the children were disappointed to have to leave, which I think is a sign of a good day! They had an interesting tea of sushi and sausage rolls on the way home, and slept really well all night!

  

If you would like your own adventure at Fishers Farm, tickets during August will set you back upwards of £12.25 per person. We definitely think this is great value for money as there is so much to see and do, as well as a large number of interactive opportunities, which the children always love.

We received complimentary entry for the purposes of this review.