Anthony Gormley, Sea Shells And Bus Painting

Art, the sea and delectable food are one of life’s perfect combinations and for me Margate is a home to all of these.

In August the imposing cast iron sculpture from Anthony Gormley was erected on the chalk in front of the Turner Contemporary and I have been desperate to see it for myself for months.

It is one of one hundred sculptures from his ANOTHER TIME series and was as breathtaking as I imagined.

‘I wish to celebrate the still and silent nature of sculpture, ANOTHER TIME is necessarily isolated, and is an attempt to bear witness to what it is like to be alive and alone in space and time’

As I looked out to sea I thought of the words that Anthony Gormley had used to describe land work whilst listening to Oscar’s opinion on the piece.

What really stood out to me was the compassion he was showing for the man being alone. He looked on asking why he was standing alone and as we left kept looking back and worrying that he was being left alone and lonely.

It really was a sight to behold and something I’m really pleased to have shared with Oscar.

Sadly the Tuner Contemporary didn’t have a lot work on display as they were preparing to showcase the world of Tracey Emin…I think I need a trip back to see this.

We still managed to make use of the gallery though by grabbing a late breakfast and taking in the view form the beautifully light and airy cafe, and have a through the beautiful neon installation to the side of the gallery.

For the middle of October we were lucky enough to have picked a very mild day to visit and spent a good while chasing the waves, jumping over rock pools and collecting shells.

The foodie inside me was out in force and on our last visit we had passed The Bus Cafe along the sea front and I was determined to see what they had to offer on this visit.

Oscar was thrilled to climb onboard and take to the top deck to find a table.

The converted bus is run by a super friendly couple that were extremely friendly and very welcoming of little ones which is always a huge bonus for us.

The menu comprised of a selection of wraps and salads that you can mix and match to your own taste.

Fillings were plentiful and jammed packed with flavour.

Not only did Oscar enjoy the novelty of eating his lunch on a bus, he was also handed a special pen so they he could create his own masterpiece on the side of it.

He was more than about this happy to say the least!

The months of having this little one to myself during the day are passing by way to quickly and I have plans for plenty more days like this before I have to let him move onto his school life journey.

He is way more ready for this than I am!

My Mini Pop Artists At Warhol Croydon

Research from the International Child Art Foundation has found that a child that is exposed to the arts acquires a special ability to think creatively, be original, discover, innovate, and create intellectual property – key attributes for individual success and social prosperity in the twentieth century.

This is why exposing my litttle ones to as much art and culture as possible is of great importance to us as a family.

By this I don’t mean sitting in front of text books flicking through endless pages of text, but actually getting out and exploring which for me is a far more interesting way of gaining knowledge.

This weekend we took a trip into Croydon to explore the Warhol Croydon exhibition that has been bought to the streets of Croydon by the award winning RISE Gallery.

The street exhibition has been inspired by the life and works of Andy Warhol who was a leading artist in the 1960’s pop art movement.

A group of extremely talented artists have come together to create twelve instillations taken from the inspiration of his work and placed across the whole town centre.

There are plenty of free guided walks that you can book online to take part in or go it alone like we did.

The tour took us from the bustling high street full of shoppers to super quiet derelict buildings, from high rise offices to beautiful gardens and the quirky streets of Surrey Street Market.

We stopped and took time to take in each piece and the children really loved telling me their thoughts…some not so complementary and some hilarious.

It’s wonderful to see what others see when looking at the same piece of art and there is nothing thing better than seeing things through a child’s eyes.

The tour took us some time as I didn’t follow the route as marked out which from experience I would suggest doing.

With the tour complete we headed off to the Whitgift and Centrale Shopping Centre to take part in the Andy Warhol themed session that allowed Oscar and Frankie to become Mini pop artists for the afternoon.

We are familiar with Whitgift Weeenies Kids Club sessions that are put on throughout the year and are completely free to take part in.

The sessions can be anything from animal handling to art sessions and are suitable for children aged 3-10.

This session saw the children trying their hand at printing by carving out a picture into a foam board, covering it  with as much and as many different colours as they like and then creating their own Pop Art style masterpiece.

The friendly staff were at hand to help out where needed yet allowing the children free reign to really bring out their creative side.
Cleaned up and art in hand we finished off our jam packed day at RISEgallery they at the moment is homing some pieces of original artwork by Andy Warhol himself.

It certainly wasn’t a stuffy gallery that didn’t want enquisitive children around, we were infact all warmly welcomed, shown around the gallery and even had a chat about the art work that the boys had created.

The exhibition is on until the end of the month and there is still time to book in for this Sunday’s Wennies Kids Club session, so get yourself booked in as it’s something not to be missed!
*collaborated post

Design A Purfume Bottle Competition With Whitgift And Centrale Shopping Centre

I am ashamed to say that I haven’t yet had the chance to get myself into Croydon to see all the fabulous events they are going on this month to celebrate the works of the great Andy Warhol with Warhol Croydon 2017.

From guided walks to kids crafting sessions there is so much to see and do it certainly has to be on my list this week.

Croydon biggest shopping centre couldn’t miss out on all the fun and as they are currently housing a huge canvas of the iconic Andy Warhol inspired Chanel purfume bottle they have come up with a great competition to run in conjunction with this.

You have until the 21st September to get creative and come up with your own, original idea of a design for a Chanel purfume bottle.

This is open to any age and simply needs to be assessed into the comments section of their Facebook page ‘HERE’ for your chance to be a winner.

The winner will then be announced on Facebook  on the 22nd September.

Good luck and I look forward to checking out all your designs!

Sensory Paint, Window Painting And Toliet Roll Hearts

  

It’s sometimes a struggle with a large family with quiet big age gaps to find activities that suit them all.  Number one and two are only really interested in crafts that are edible now, so it’s the youngest three that get enjoyment out making things at home now.

Paint is always a cheap, versatile option for crafts and today we did three seperate activities to cover their ages.

With number five only being one, paint tends to end up in his mouth rather than anywhere else; so I came across a great idea that involves placing blobs of paint inside a plastic bag or folder and securing to the table or highchair with selotape.  I got a medium sized plastic bag that I usually use for putting gifts into, added three different coloured paints and then secured it to his highchair tray with a triple layer of selotape.

   
     

He had great fun pushing the paint around with his fingers, mixing the colours together and feeling the strange texture.  This could be done with a larger zip up folder for bigger children as the other two were very interested in it to.

For number four we did some printing with different shapes and colours.  We took a large sheet of paper and a paper plate with two different coloured paints on.  For the printing we had half a plastic egg which makes a great circle, plus a toliet roll tube that I bent into the shape of a heart.  It is really simple and creates a great effect.

   
       

After number four had decided to decorate our bathroom with felt tip this week the next activity was done well out of his eyesight!

Number three did some window painting.  I was a little dubious about trying this one as I was worried the paint would drip everywhere and be a nightmare to get off.  Suprisingly it washed off really easily and just needed a quick rub over with your usual window cleaner.

All we did was take a few different coloured poster paints and added a small drop of washing up liquid to each colour to make it easier to get off.  I then gave her free rein to design whatever window display she desired.

   
 

I would do all three of these activites again as they all went down really well.  What are your favourite painting activites?

The Mini Mes and Me

Mother’s Day gifts For Nanny

My Mum truly is one in a million, and goes way beyond her motherly duties for all of us.  My children have a very special relationship with her and she deserves to be treated by all of us on Mother’s Day.

My older two now prefer to go to the shops and select a special gift for her; but the younger ones still love to do something homemade which I alway feel is more heartfelt.




With paints at the ready we got out some coloured card and placed blobs of three different coloured paints on three paper plates.  Number 4 then covered his hand in the paint and placed it on the card to form a bunch of flowers.  He then took some green paint and painted three green lines to create the flower stems.


We did ours as a picture but this could easily be turned into a card with wording added.

The plan was to then for number 5 to make a card with an owl on the front using his cute little feet.  Once taking off his socks I began to immerse his feet in the bright purple paint which I had visions of him loving.  How wrong could I be!  He took a massively high pitched scream, kicked away the plate and covered me and the kitchen in the paint!


With number three back from drama we set about making the fingerprint necklace.  I chose DAS air drying clay on a recommendation from a friend as it is softer than most clays and will show up the fingerprint the best.  We took about half an iches worth of clay and rolled it into a ball.  We then used a pen to flatten it into an oval shape and then gently press her finger into the clay to create the impression.  Just above the fingerprint we made a hole with a toothpick to pull the thread thought once it was dry.  It took about three hours for ours to become dry enough to tread.  We pulled the length of thread so that the ends were together, they were then put through the hole from the front to the back and bought back through the loop to complete the necklace.




With everything completed and kids all tucked up in bed they can’t wait until tomorrow to give the special lady in their life the lovingly prepared gifts.

How will you all be spending Mother’s Day?

Spaghetti Sensory Tub And Paint Brushes

It was a fraught start to the morning with number three running down the stairs shouting that she had to dress up for maths day just as we were leaving the house; we called on super Nanny who rustled up a number hat that we grabbed on the way in!

Once this was all sorted we could get on with our planned craft day with number four and five.  I had seen some great paint brushes made from spaghetti a while ago and knew they would go down a treat.  They are a very simple concept that gave lots of fun.  Firsty grab a handful of spaghetti and tie around the top to secure the strands.  Next cook the pasta according to the instructions, take out of the water and leave to cool down and dry.  I then got some paper plates and put on three different colours and let number four loose to make his creation on a large piece of white paper.

I was going to let number five have a go but thought the temptation of the spaghetti would be to much to keep him from eating the paint; so I made some sensory tubs for him to play with safely.  Theses are also very simple to make.  Take a couple of handfuls of spaghetti and cook according to the instructions again, drain the pasta and split between two tubs.  To each tub add a couple of drops of colouring of your choice plus a drizzle of oil to stop it from sticking together.  Number five had great fun throwing this all over the place and I didn’t need to worry about him eating the paint!




There was a lot of clearing up of the kitchen as well as the children, but a great time was had by all.

What are your favourite messy day activities?


Quality Time With My Biggest At Mother Kitty’s 

In the blink of an eye that tiny precious little bundle that you bought home helpless and solely dependant on you will pass each wonderful milestone at such speed, that before you know it they will have become a teenager launching out and becoming their own independant person.

My number one is nearing her eighteenth birthday and is now her own person with her own interests that take her away from the family home alot.  This means it is really important to set some time aside to have a good catch up and for her younger siblings to spend some quality time with which we all love.

Our best option is somewhere the little ones will be kept occupied so we can have a natter and most importantly to any teenager free wifi!!



We picked a newly opened play cafe in Coulsdon called Mother Kitty’s.  The disused football changing rooms on Rickman Hill recreation ground have been lovingly restored to create a cosy soft play cafe with a vintage twist perfect for the under 5’s.



The play area hosts a large slide with a cute little play house tucked underneath, a mini climbing wall, ball pit and a sectioned off area to stop the littlies getting squished.  The cafe serves a good selection of sandwiches and cakes with a babychino at a bargain price of 25p. This will definitely  be a regular haunt for our catch ups from now on.



All played out and on our way back from the school run tonight number three had noticed that the evenings were getting lighter, which lead us to a discussion about the start of spring and what that entails.

Once indoors with our chat in mind and looking at my vase of yellow crysanthemums in the kitchen I decided to get the children involved on some still life painting using the beautiful flowers as inspiration.  There were certainly a personal twist on their creations but the thought was there.