It 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
Dear Oxfrognews-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
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.
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.
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.
Magdalen College School
Stroll through the beautiful school gardens crossing over the white Chinese bridges.
Sunday : 12-4pm
“Pictures 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 parents 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.”
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
When you see him walking in East Oxford with his dog Norman, green wellies, relaxed, smiling, probably daydreaming –you may not believe it, but he is the star of many Oxfordian children and their parents. “As I lie here in my bed, I should be sleeping bit instead…” is one of our favourites at home, closely followed by “Let’s take a walk…” and we love singing them in the kitchen at the top of our voice whilst trying to prepare diner.
- If you don’t know Nick yet, I would really recommend that you join one of his sessions which are all over Oxford and beyond. His music captivates the whole family!
- If you know Nick already, I am sure that you will be delighted to discover a little more who this is behind trendy glasses and the guitar. Enjoy this little chat we had around tea and sparkling water.
Nick, let us make a time travel and take us with you back to your childhood: singer, book, toy – what were your number ones?
Mhhhh (he smiles and looks like when he’s singing with the children) give me some seconds to remember. My very, very first musician was… Mary Hopkins, a folk singer – she is stuck in my mind I think because Mum and Dad had an autograph from her, she sang the famous “Those were the days” Knowing that will reveal my age… (he grins).
My favourite toy, this is easy, going back to the late 60s, it’s a little figure, an astronaut called Billy Blastoff.
And then, a book read by my parents… let me think, not to confuse with the books I have read to my children… Ah yes, my favourite book was Harry the dirty dog (Gene Zion)!
When did you discover the guitar?
I was about 13! We did the recorder at school and my sister was learning the guitar from a little old lady in our village. I just couldn’t figure out, how that could possibly work when you have 8 notes but only 6 strings… I was baffled and wanted to work it out. I took some lessons with the little old lady and later started in a band, when I was about 14. Later on, I was 15 or so, we played on Saturday evenings at “The Oranges and Lemons” which was a very famous Punk Rock pub at that time (today “The Angel and Greyhound”).
As a child did you know that you will become a singer?
I guess that I was sure to do something creative, because that’s what my parents used to do. I think you often follow your parents’ footsteps. And to be in an artistic family helps when you have projects like that – you find it easier to believe in yourself. Continue Reading
What do a spoon, an action toy and a biscuit have in common? If you have no clue, ask your children. I’m pretty sure they will point you in the right direction. Behind the egg that wants to fly, a little mouse that becomes a detective and a never-ending friendship between a spoon and a dish there is one woman: Mini Grey. Acclaimed Oxford-based children’s book author.
Once you’ve opened her books, you just want to embrace every page and discover one after the other – her style is exceptional, between comic-strips, collages and drawings she lays out a world into which you plunge and never want to get out.
My favourite one? To be completed honest with you, I devoured them all with pleasure – and sadness that they all find an end. Perhaps that’s why I’m particularly in love with her last book (published in March 2014) Hermelin, the Detective Mouse. Indeed, the last pages awoke in me the secret hopes that this adventure might continue. As French I like the “British” atmosphere in the Offley street (which actually looks a lot like our street in Oxford) with all these cute neighbours that have lost something dear to them. I was (and still am) “sous charme” by our little Hermelin Mouse. He assumed the role of the detective for everyone. During the last pages my fingers got clammy: How would the people react towards a mouse as guardian angel?
I cannot hide it, I strongly recommend to you to offer Hermelin, the Detective Mouse to your child – or to yourself if you are still in love with your childhood. And if you can’t get enough, what about Three by the sea, which is my second in the top three list, just before Traction Man is here (picture cover below).
But now it’s time, not only to talk about me, but to let Mini Grey talk about herself and her passion: writing and illustrating books for children.
Reading is one of my favourite activities. I love the retreat to a calm and warm place with a good book to embark on a trip to another world.
Reading with children is often not as silent and secret – but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is less fun. It’s just different.
Remember the stars in their eyes when you read for the fourth time the same story. Or their giggly laugh when you imitate voices ands sounds or better still when the tiniest fell asleep in your arms during story time.
Here are some of my actual favourite books to share with your children… Continue Reading
I loved it and two other mums I met there, too!
Here is my feedback with parental touch and hopefully useful observations.
A Family friendly event? Yes and no! Children up to 4-5 years will love watching the fashion shows, which are incredibly realistic. Moreover, there was a nice cake stall from Donnington Doorstep Family Centre – yummy!
You can spend an excellent moment with your kids (around 1 hour) at ReFashion–also a good opportunity to show them the Town Hall: simply stunning. The different stalls are lovely – the handcrafted things can stir their creativity, some of them are nice Birthday gifts for friends, or if they have some spare pocket-money! Finally an educational point (sic!): it’s a good place to make them aware of the impact of recycling!
For younger children and to be honest, even for me, the music is definitely too loud and, as so often, the place is overheated (which isn’t a very “green state of mind”). I would recommend a stall with some crafts for the children, so that the parents can go for a little spin.
Mums or mums to be will like this event, thanks to some baby clothes to swap (you can swap one piece of adult clothes with one for a baby), or some very nice pieces sold by the Donnington Doorstep Family Centre for only £1! Good to know: Changing facilities and pushchair access.
Don’t forget! To take clothes you don’t wear anymore from the entire family – you can swap them! It’s a fun experience and there were a lot of nice pieces especially for women. I was expecting more children clothes (from 3 years onwards)… but this depends entirely on the visitor’s donations, too! Take some money to buy some handcrafted things or clothes (very nice selection!) from Charity shops (Helen&Douglas House Vintage and British Heart Foundation).
I just saw a notice in a shop window on Cowley Road. This seems to be an amazing event, I would love to go to… hopefully the naps won’t be too long on Thursday so that I can pop in…
WHEN? Thursday 27 February, 1pm to 7pm
WHERE? Oxford Town Hall
HOW MUCH? Free
INFORMATION (thanks to http://www.oxford.gov.uk/townhallevents)
Visitors are invited to bring along their unwanted clothing and textiles where they can donate, swap, mend or upcycle them into something new. One of the highlights of the ReFashion event will be the catwalks shows, where local students and schoolchildren will be showing off their inspiring upcycled fashion items. Charity shops will also showcase their pre-loved outfits.ReFashion brings together businesses, charities, students, volunteers and community groups aims to highlight the problem of disposable fashion whilst having fun at the same time.
Twitter #refashionoxford @RecycleForOxon.