Nick Copes latest trick! The Pirate’s Breakfast

Gregre pirate2It was one of those uncreative moments in the middle of the afternoon when you just feel you need a break. Luckily, I found Nick Copes last CD in my bag , hidden from my daughters eyes. She grabs everything which is pink, her favourite color.

His voice sort of like a big brother, if you don’t have you would love to have: Clear, hilarious yet sincere.

His guitar is dynamic, engaging, it really gets off your feet and dancing!

His music is a fantastic mood booster!

Whilst discovering his new songs, I remember my first session with Nick Cope as a young mother with an eight month old active little girl. A friend tempted me with the comment, “you will love it”. And indeed, he is the first musician I have ever encountered who makes fab music not only for kids but for parents as well. Continue Reading

A time for Mums!

Choir for MumsBe honest, dear Mummies, we all love that: having a time only for us! Those precious moments where you can relax, be yourself, just enjoy yourself. “That was my original idea, acknowledged Emily with a smile, “I thought about a choir for mumsthat the babies love it too is fantastic, but really just a side effect!
Passionate about music, Emily is a mother of two adolescents who is warm and full of energy. Her voice is soft and yet powerful; she feels the rhythm as she sings and shares it with all the mums and babies who join in at her Rattle & Hum Choir.
It’s amazing what singing can do with you,” underlines Emily, “it makes you feel good, you dive into another world… and the babies love their mum’s voice, they don’t mind if you don’t sound exactly in tune!Continue Reading

Oxford’s Playgroups in every language – PART 1

sun-451441_640At the start of the bilingual (or even trilingual) trip of life with kids you often are looking for places where they can meet and play with other children. It’s also (which is not less important) a moment when you can reconnect with your home country, take time to chat in your mother-tongue around a cup of coffee!
Oxford is packed with lots of different playgroups and little language schools! All these places give you the opportunity to connect with other multilingual families and to share cultural events and customs. It’s a new way for your children to explore your and their home-culture in another environment than at home. We do certainly all agree that this is extremely useful. It is during these meetings that they realise that they are part of a cultural and linguistic community.
I discovered the importance of such places since we are expatriates and as part of my work on Bilingual Families: Bringing Up Children between Cultures. That’s why I was thrilled to discover all the different playgroups and schools for children with an international background. Continue Reading

Somewhere to feel at home : Donnington Doorstep

Donnington Doorstep 1  Donnington Doorstep 4The Family Centre is slightly hidden behind some trees and bushes. These also give the place a cosy garden-atmosphere when you are outside the centre. And in fact, it’s a special spot, once the gate and two doors passed, you discover a rather unexpected venue. A giant place, like an enormous tent decorated with windows to see the sky… I can barely describe this incredible construction.
Entering Donnington Doorstep Family Centre feels like a harbour where you simply want to sit down to a cup of coffee and let your children play. A baby-corner, messy-play area, some tables with toys or craft activities, a place with books and some role-play equipment… your kids will be spoiled for choice!

For whom? Mums, dads, grandparents and carers with kids! There is also a Youth Group (read more: Good to know!).

Where? Townsend Square, OX4 4BB, Oxford. Contact: 72 77 21

Opening times? The family drop-in sessions are every day except for Sunday. Mon-Tue-Thu-Fri 10am-3pm, Wed 10am-1pm, Sat 10.30am-3pm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat for? Lots of fun plays for Toddlers. The volunteers prepare every day tables with new activities. But the kids can also play outside, in a sandpit, cruise around with little cars or do some painting. Some days, the Centre offers special activities: Mondays Cooking in the afternoon, Tuesdays Singing with Lizzie (1.30pm-2pm), Wednesdays Bonfire in the garden, Saturdays Cooking session (11am). One of Donnington Doorsteps favourite activities is the messy-play (inside or outside). Be prepared and do not dress up your children in their best Sunday-clothes, in spite of some aprons to protect and some wellies to go out in the sand or if it’s raining in the mud 🙂 Continue Reading

Oxford Mommy explores the Pegasus Café

Pegasus Cafe interior BLOGIf you’re in East Oxford, you’ve got access to many family-friendly places, including parks, restaurants, and cultural gems. One of the best places to spend an hour or two with children is the Pegasus Café, located on the first floor of the Pegasus Theatre. It’s no secret that it’s great for families – in fact, every time I’ve been there, every table included children!
The main menu includes sandwiches, soup, salads (but no hot mains), and cakes/treats, as well as tea and coffee. The kids’ menu features easy favourites such as cheese on toast and ham sandwiches. The Pegasus Café has free WiFi if you would like to stay a while and get online. Staff are always friendly and helpful and will bring your order to your table if you need assistance. Continue Reading

Open doors in Oxford: SPECIAL FAMILIES

Dear OGregre St Marysxfrognews-followers !
Six months ago I launched this blog with my dear chap Gregre. Together we went to different events, playgrounds as far as Russia! We met as well Oxfordian stars like Nick Cope and Mini Grey! Thank you so much for sharing these explorations with us.
For this week, a very quick reminder about the Oxford Preservation Trust and the Open Doors which is a unique opportunity to explore Oxford’s heritage and sneak into some Colleges. It takes place this weekend 13-14.09.2014.
Don’t be misled and think this event revolving around old stones and famous architecture is only for grown ups. A lot of venues offer activities for kids and the whole family! Have a lovely weekend (all the activities can be found here)!

Here is my personal selection of the top 5

Fire Station
Bring the children to see fire engines and find out what happens at the station and appliance bay, demos & displays of equipment and fire safety and wider work.
Saturday: 9am-5pm
Sunday: 9am-5pm

Oxford Bus Museum
Take a trip back in time celebrating 100 years of motor buses in the city, free vintage bus rides. For timetable and bus stops see website.
Saturday 10-4pm.

Story Museum
Free child-friendly activities. Drop in handprinting demonstrations…
Saturday 11am-1pm, 2-4pm.

St Micheal at the North Gate Church
Visit Oxford’s ancient City Church and climb its Saxon tower for wonderful views on the ‘dreaming spire’. See inside the working clockmechanism and the cell door of Cranmer.
Saturday: 10.30-5.30pm
Sunday: 2-5.30pm

Magdalen College School
Stroll through the beautiful school gardens crossing over the white Chinese bridges.
Sunday : 12-4pm

 

 

A parent-friendly Oxfam-shop on Cowley Road

Oxfam  1postIn the heart of the vibrant centre on Cowley Road – which is by the way the best place where you can find charity shops next to one another (ok, second best if you take Headington into account)– there is a good old Oxfam charity shop. A lovely meeting with the shop manager Nikoletsa (on the picture with Francesca, volunteer [left]) offered some interesting details about giving a second life to toys, children’s’ books and clothes!
There is no hazard! In 1943 when Oxfam’s adventure began the aim was to support the Greek population during World War II “when the shopmanager where I worked as a volunteer told me this, it became very special to me, I couldn’t imagine to work for any other charity…” tells Nikoletsa, who is herself Greek. She loves working here and underlines that she never looks at her watch whilst she is managing her volunteer-team and the Cowley Road shop.

A spot for second hand children’s stuff
Mother herself, Nikoletsa admits “I try to keep the children’s area stocked up and encourage to donate things. I know how important it is to find affordable things which are also in good quality. And for us at Oxfam we always remember that one or two pounds maybe seem to be not much here, but are hugely important in countries we support, like for example South Soudan.” Continue Reading

Hinksey – not just splash, but also play!

  Hinksey 1You can’t miss the playground between Abingdon Road and the famous Hinksey Splash Park! We discovered it on a somewhat “catastrophic” day in the summer of 2013, while the water games didn’t work. The neat recreational park looked like a rescue area back then! We had a memorable time – mothers sitting with their babies in the shade of the trees and children discovering the different games offered by the park.

Some months laterHinksey water (1), there was a flood at the playground and a part of it went underwater, however this didn’t stop the children from playing… It’s a good option when you think to yourself  “gosh, where can we go to change a bit from the usual playground down the street?”

What?  The Hinksey Park Playground

Where? Lake Street, off Abingdon Road, Oxford, OX1 4RP

How can I go there? Several busses coming from Oxford’s City Centre stop close to the park. You can also cycle there from the City Centre (Abingdon Road) or from East Oxford via Donnington Bridge (take the fabulous walk close to the Isis and then left [before the University College Boathouse], pass by the Four Pillars Hotel and here you are in front of the Hinksey Park Playground.) Continue Reading

Explore new playgrounds in Oxford: Bury Knowle Park

Bury Knowle BLOG3Are you looking for a change?  Do you feel like trying some exciting new slides or games? We recently went on a bike excursion to the Bury Knowles Park in Headington! Wait a minute, don’t lose interest… Headington is not that far away from Oxford as you might imagine… Frankly, this playground is worth seeing! Everything is about the atmosphere here. When you get in, you are not just crossing a gate, you are walking through a wardrobe as in Narnia’s story…
You will find that the playground games are full of fun and very imaginative: unicorn and crocodile see-saws, great swings and slides and a pirate ship immersed in sand with a water game area. I couldn’t resist trying a special spinning swing with my other half, the kind where you fly around in seconds… our children just howled on!

What? The Bury Knowle Park -London Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9HX

How can I go there? Several busses coming from Oxford’s City Centre stop nearby. You can also cycle there: take the Morell Avenue to avoid the Headington hill, then the Gipsy Lane which leads onto Headington Road.

Suitable for Babies and Toddlers? Bury Knowle BLOG2Yes! The playground is divided in two main parts: one of them –enclosed by yellow gates- is more suitable for the younger ones, up to toddle age. Outside this area (see picture) you have some exciting playground games for older or more adventures children (spinning swings, zip wire, climbing spaces).

Continue Reading

Bring some Journl in your life!

Journl Blog2Pictures on our phone, some documents in our Dropbox, others on our hard disc, a to-do list in the pocket another one in the kitchen… we are struggling every day to remember where we put our stuff” tells Lina smiling, she is chief marketing officer at Journl. Based at the Centre for Innovation in Oxford the twelve people team is passionate about the idea to develop a virtual place where you can put your notes down in notebooks, store photos, documents and bills, collect emails, create to-do lists, check shopping-lists or other kinds of lists… Together they animate Journl, a service to help you get better organized! “It’s particularly useful for families who have lots of things to plan ahead for, for the Journl Blog3parents as well as for their children. You might have a big wall calendar in the kitchen but as soon as you are out of the house, you can’t access the information, emphasizes Lina; and you would probably agree, organisation is not just about using a calendar. Journl offers among other things different tools like shopping, money and to-do lists…” As a matter of fact you can also store and collect as much documents as you want in different sections. “A clear design, easy of use tools, a well organised front page where I can put my own sections like Family, Me, Projects… it’s very appealing, tells Dana, mother of two and self-employed. My favourite tool at Journl is the check-list where you can really tick off and see all the done work.”Journl Blog5
Currently Journl is available to one user who has the option to share a section for example with a partner, or a group of friends. This can be very useful when you plan holidays together! Concerned about security? Continue Reading