Observations on hosting boy girl playdates (#mysundayphoto)

Recently I have been hosting boy girl playdates with my daughter and various boys in her class. They’ve been fascinating to witness. Continue reading Observations on hosting boy girl playdates (#mysundayphoto)

Girl with a Spider-Man camera (#MySundayPhoto)

It was love at first sight when our daughter spotted this Spider-Man camera toy.

She has never really been one to use pester power too much, and if she was I’m sure my wife and I wouldn’t easily acquiesce to her demands.

That said, on the rare occasions that she DOES beg me to buy her something I tend to go along with it, as this happens so rarely. TBH, it helps a lot if it’s something I think is cool. Continue reading Girl with a Spider-Man camera (#MySundayPhoto)

LEGO Friends – Emma’s Photo Studio, Mia’s Beach Scooter, Stephanie’s Friendship Cakes

My daughter was sent a trio of LEGO Friends products to try out – Mia’s Beach Scooter, Emma’s Photo Studio, and Stephanie’s Friendship Cakes.

I’ve not been the biggest fan of LEGO Friends in the past, but have been impressed with how the brand has broadened the type of sets they offer.

Previously, it was mainly passive themes of spas and the like, but now there are more active themes, with more complex building required. Pink & pastels remain dominant colours though.

These three sets kind of fit the more active label, but it is a little bit of a stretch overall.

LEGO Friends Emma’s Photo Studio (41305)LEGO Friends 41305 Emma's Photo Studio Building Toy  

Emma has her own photo studio, and appears to like taking pictures of cats. But her studio is well equipped with an SLR camera, lights, props, and some kind of printer. She also seems to have an accessory table for the cat, with a bow, flowers, and even a tiara!

As a theme this is kind of a mixed bag – there are many stereotypically girly elements, however the set is about someone being a photographer, and taking their craft seriously – even it is is mostly about cats!

LEGO Friends Mia’s Beach Scooter (41306)

LEGO Friends 41306 Mia's Beach Scooter Building Toy

This was my favourite set. Mia seems to be a lifeguard, or perhaps she just likes hanging out by the lifeguard station. Either way, she also has a scooter with a sidecar for her dog (a pug?), and a surfboard. There is another surfboard on the lookout chair, which also has binoculars and flippers.

This is a nice active theme, with some quirky details – like the dog having sunglasses!

LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Friendship Cakes (41308) 

LEGO Friends 41308 Stephanie's Friendship Cakes Building Toy

This is probably the most traditionally ‘LEGO Friends’ set of them all, but it is also an active theme of Stephanie baking in a pretty well equipped kitchen.

Again, the cake/baking theme is stereotypically girly, but it is an inventively put together kitchen, with mixer, stove, fridge, and other culinary elements.

Verdict?

These are on the cusp for me, as they are either on – or even the wrong side – of playing up to gender stereotypes. However, there’s a nice range of themes and it could clearly be a lot worse.

Our daughter really liked them – and was at pains to tell me that these are for boys as well as girls. She’s obviously been paying attention to me.

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All three sets have an RRP of £8.99. We were sent them free of charge for the purposes of this review.

How – and why – ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is based on ‘The Wizard of Oz’

The Force Awakens has been frequently dismissed as a lazy rip-off of Star Wars, and it’s easy to see why – Death Star type threat, desert planet, stolen data in a droid, etc. But it’s clear to me that another story has been a key influence – The Wizard of Oz. Continue reading How – and why – ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ is based on ‘The Wizard of Oz’

Riding her bike without stabilisers #MySundayPhoto

I have a strong memory of riding my bike for the first time without stabilisers. We were at our old house, so I was no older than 6. It was on the street outside, which was safe as this was a time with far fewer cars. And my dad was holding the bike as I tried to balance. I kept asking for reassurance that he was holding on, and he assured me he was. Only at this moment he wasn’t, and I was still keeping upright. I was cycling.

While I was happy to be cycling without stabilisers, I still remember that moment of being lied to by my father. Sure, you could say it was for my own good, but I think it’s telling that I still recall this deception decades later and it remains the dominating aspect of the memory. If this were the Pixar movie Inside Out, this would be a core memory – and a bittersweet one.

As I still carry this memory of being lied to with me, one thing has always been clear in my mind as a parent – I will never lie to my daughter. Sure I may be disingenuous at times (“Daddy, is Father Christmas real?”, “Well, I’ve never seen him” I reply), I do not lie – and with riding a bike I tell her when I am going to let go.

I recall growing up with stabilisers on my bike, so was always of the mind that our daughter will learn this way too. I ignored the balance bikes that most parents seem to favour these days. But I now realise this was probably a mistake. Learning to balance is the key aspect of cycling that she simply couldn’t master, and wasn’t going to be able to with stabilisers. I recently read that children learn to ride despite having stabilisers on their bikes, not because of them.

So, we recently thought screw this – and ditched them. And within a few sessions, our 5-year-old daughter had learned to balance – and ride her bike for real. This photo isn’t the moment she learned – that was series of incremental incidents that extended in length from split seconds upwards, and they likely first occurred with her mother – but it was the first one I captured.

And I explained to her I was going to stand back and take a photo before she set off.
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Photalife