First up today, some reading matter. Although Charlie's a little young to be Google-whacking or perfecting the skills of Japanese paper-folding, I've been sent a couple of books which are likely to come into their own in the years to come. First, there's Fun and Games for the 21st Century Family, in which Steve Caplin and Simon Rose bring home-made family entertainment up-so-date with over 200 new, exciting and creative ideas from Google racing to geocaching, code breaking to filmmaking. The idea is simple: all those 21st century gadgets no home is now without (think mobiles, SatNavs, laptops, MP3 players, camcorders, and the like) and which can be the scourge of family-life are put to good use as the source of endlessly creative and energetic family-friendly forms of entertainment. I remember similar things in my day using matchboxes, cardboard tubes and car-number plates. And if you're feeling nostalgic, there are some blasts from the past in this book too. But if your kids need surgery to be separated from their iPods, this book could be a boon to family harmony. And I've one copy to give away. Leave a comment below and we'll use one of the games to select a winner next week.
Fly Origami Fly in which Mari and Roshin Ono give you instructions plus all the paper you need to make over 30 brilliant flying objects and animals all of which can be made in minutes. And even the ancient art of origami gets a 21st century with projects including origami rockets, space shuttles and other flying objects.
In other news we've been trialling the Phillips light-therapy wake-up light for about a week, waking up to our own mini-sunrise and dawn chorus. It's early days, but whether it's auto-suggestion or not it does seem to make me feel a little less groggy first thing in the morning. At least, that is, if it's allowed to work its wake-up magic before Charlie climbs into bed telling me it's time to get up. Which he did yesterday morning. At half-past five.
Although the clocks went back a couple of weeks ago, we're not quite as daylight-deprived as the inhabitants of a town called Longyearbyen, in Norway (within the Arctic Circle and with four months of almost total darkness every year). Anyway, the people of Longyearbyen are doing their very own trial of the Wake-up Light and tracking their progress on a dedicated Facebook page. If it helps them get out of bed in a morning, it'll surely help anyone.
Finally, don't you ever see a blog and wonder where the name came from? Or puzzle over a particular bloggers pseudonym? Well in an occasional series starting today, I plan to reveal all. First up, it's Julie B who blogs at The Sardine Tin. I'll let her tell the story.
I often get asked if the meaning behind my blog name is that I have a large family squashed into a small house! I have to laugh and tell people that no, actually this is not the case. The real story is that it is based on a favourite quote of mine by Alan Bennett; "Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key". As my blog is a random collection of the thoughts going round in my head (recent subjects ranging from terrorism to sandwiches), it seemed quite apt. I also had two further criteria, namely that it would be memorable (which I hope it is), and that the twitter ID would be available!
So now you know. Next week it's: BareNakedMummy. But probably not with pictures... sorry!