REVIEW: Nana’s Knickers

Bedtime in our house is my favourite time of the day, and I imagine it is the same throughout the households of the world! So as you can imagine I was over the moon when we were given the opportunity to review a copy of ‘Nana’s Knickers’. Each night I read my DD a different story every night, so to throw in a new one into the mix was good.

NK

The author, Nico Russell wrote the book after his niece and nephew were hungry for new literature and the process of postulation to paperback has taken just over two years. He says ‘Everyone thinks they could write a children’s book: plots are simple, characters are often one dimensional, and as long as there are bright colours and a giraffe involved somewhere, you should be on to a winner. But just like peeling a melon, writing a good children’s book is a lot harder than you might think. The process of postulation to paperback has taken me just over two years, and being children, they didn’t hold back on any criticisms they had about my efforts along the way. Finally, and thankfully, the critics were happy.’

Nico approached numerous publishers but they were unwilling to take a risk on a new author. Ultimately, Nico decided to set up his own publishing house, BlueFluffBooks, and went on to publish ‘Nana’s Knickers’ himself. He has taken his book into numerous schools and libraries and has received nothing but positive feedback and praise, and further praise from the publishing houses he first sent the original typescript.

NK1

When bedtime came, my DD and I sat down on our usual chair in her bedroom and we began to read Nana’s Knickers. From the first glance at the book she was engaged; the colourful designs and hand painted illustrations by Charlie Meyer were enticing. My DD made a loud “woooooooow Mummy!” despite her being 23 months old she was prepared! When we began reading, was an unexpected surprise to find the rhyming, (although Nico is known for being the youngest ever winner of the National Poetry Competition in 2012) which had been thought out in much detail and wasn’t as stereotypical as the usual children’s books.  When reading, the story takes the reader and listeners on a fast paced adventure as Nana wakes up and can’t find her favourite pair of knickers. Her grandchildren advise her to retrace her steps throughout the following day to help her find them! Nana finds her knickers (spoiler!) and the book ends leaving advice to the reader to look back to find something which you may have lost. My DD was very engaged with the book and sat quiet and listened through the whole thing (which is a rare occasion in our house!). On a personal level I can see why Nico said that both children and adults will find his book entertaining as I found myself laughing whilst reading it. Nana is beaming with personality; from having a scone with the vicar to dancing the Fandango! She teachers the children a valuable lesson that some things are just not disposable and the slightest things are priceless but have value at the same time – despite it being a pair of 30 year old knickers!

NK2

Since reading the book for the first time my DD has been eager to read it over and over asking for “Nana” and pointing to the book.

The illustrations are hand painted and they capture the attention of young children with the bright colours, whilst helping to tell a different part of the story on each page. Nico has taken into consideration his audience by selecting a font to help young children who are learning to read, learning shapes etc, making it easier for new readers but not too simple for the more advanced readers. He has also taken into consideration those who suffer from dyslexia by painting the backgrounds yellow to enable those with the disability to see the text more clearly.

I would personally, really recommend this book and we wish Nico all the success with Nana’s Knickers and any future books he may publish in the future.

Click here to find out more about Nico, Charlie and ‘Nana’s Knickers’.

Click here to order your copy of ‘Nana’s Knickers’

Advertisements

REVIEW: Boomerang Jam Kids Festival 2014

Local residents, hoping to try out a new family friendly festival were bitterly disappointed over the Bank Holiday weekend, Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th May when they attended Boomerang Jam, organised by Grace & Tailor at The Tetley Brewery, Leeds.

Boomerang Jam

We were invited on behalf of Mumsnet Wakefield to review the Boomerang Jam event at The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, LS10 1JQ in receipt of two free tickets; Mumsnet Local was unable to attend the event as planned, but we were very saddened to hear of so many negative experiences. Our area could really use more children-centred events like this and it’s a shame there are so many unsatisfied customers. Mumsnet Wakefield still promised to provide a review of the reviews made by customers.

The event took place over the Bank Holiday weekend – 25th/26th May 2014 and The Tetley, Leeds. Sponsors included, Grace and Tailor, Heart Yorkshire, The Tetley, Yorkshire Evening Post and David Lloyd.

  170x170_0004_heart   

The event seemed popular and they had previously arranged something successful at Harewood with 6,000 visitors so they expected around 5,000 – 10,000 visitors over the two days. The tickets were priced at £15 per adult and £10 per child, 2s and under went free and a family ticket at £42. Advertised on the Boomerang Jam website before the event was:

Promised appearances from: Peppa Pig, Bob The Builder, Fireman Sam and Shocksquatch from Ben 10 Omniverse.

Half Pipe and Pro Performers  Main Stage  Arena  Dance Tent Food Demonstrations  Mini Farm  Rock  Climbing Inflatables  Fair Ground  Graffiti Artists  Arts and Crafts Stalls ● Competitions ● Breakdancing ● Beatboxing performances  and much much more.

Part of The Leeds Food & Drink Festival 2014

The ‘What’s On’ section advertised on their website was the most enticing with great names to attract;

Main Stage, Jam Bam Arena, Boom Street Extreme, Tip Top Tent, Guzzle Alley, Bouncy Bonzana, Mini Bam Jam Farm, The Rock Dock, Fun Fair Zone and The Big Chill. These offered everything from inflatables, to food demos to bean bags; There really was something for all the family.

 

As the event started, the reviews starting coming in via the Boomerang Jam Facebook page.  Unfortunately, these reviews were not reflecting the event well:

“Worst….Event….Ever.”

“This was a complete shambles for over £40 plus rip off rides. Set within the demolished foundations of the Tetley factory with minimal effort to make the ground safe. We ended up sitting on the floor of the “bar tent” as there were limited sheltered places elsewhere to eat our overpriced burger van fare. Where did our £45 go??”

“A kids festival with a food and drink festival was promised. The reality was very different. £23 for the ticket & £4 car parking & £2 per ride of which I would only allow my begging child to go on three. The atmosphere was awful as all parents felt ripped off. It was in an uneven car park, not ideal for a toddler unsteady on their feet. It was an extremely disappointing family day out. It would have been disappointing had it been free. I have no idea what the entrance fee went towards. Boomerang jam would you like to answer this?” 

“A complete rip off. My bag was searched and I was asked to remove a baby water cup upon entry. No changing facilities for babies. Rough terrain far from child friendly and you had to pay for everything inside despite the £40 entrance fee. One of the worst ‘planned’ event I have ever been to.”

The Mumsnet Local listing of the event was subsequently flooded by the tide of negative experiences local families had undergone.

“We attended Boomerang Jam on the Sunday after winning a family ticket through the YEP. I’m unsure what you actually get for your £40 entrance fee. There were lots of fairground rides £2 upwards!! I would have thought these would have been included in the price. The climbing wall and petting zoo was welcomed by my daughter however everything else was dire! It was all in all a very disappointing day out at what was billed to be a great bank holiday kids festival.”

“What a let down this event was….half of the advertised events for the day didn’t even run, the admission price was an absolute joke, a family ticket for £40 to gain entry to a car park with so many health and safety issues, nowhere to sit, the food stalls consisted of a hot dog stall, a burger stall and a crepe stall….I’d already raised my concerns about food and was assured there were lots of options and were not allowed to take our own food and drink…..just a total let down, I’ve already emailed the organisers and asked for a refund.”

 

bj bj8

Views of the main stage taken by the public.

bj1 bj2 bj3

Images of the attractions taken by the public.

  bj7  bj9

Images of the abandoned attractions taken by the public.

bj6bj5bj10

Images of shut off entertainment area to children, concrete slabs and abandoned atmosphere taken by the public.

 

You can see more reviews on the Mumsnet Wakefield website.

The Mumsnet Local talk board was subsequently flooded by the tide of negative experiences local families had undergone. Under the mist, out came some positive feedback of the event:

“Even though it was raining, me and my family still managed to have a fantastic time at the Boomerang Jam event… Loved it, and will definitely come again tomorrow”

“I went with my 2y 10m daughter in the Monday. The weather was good and we arrived at 10 am. There were only two of us. 

At first I was disappointed by the rides and the concrete ground (like a lot of people) but I soon realised that was my expectation not my daughter’s. Mostly I thought that I’d expect it to be better but that this was the first year. Next year should be better but won’t be if everyone complains and gets there money back. I’d much rather have this than no kids festival at all. 

Honestly my daughter loved it. We milked a life size pretend Cow, decorated cakes, saw Peppa and touched her tail, danced with Bob the builder, went on a huge bouncy castle slide, sprayed water cannons (£1), saw an eight year old body popper, saw two dance troupes, ate cheeseburgers (good ones £4), loved but couldn’t touch a big friendly monster and finally cuddled six rabbits and three guinea pigs.

We were there for over four hours and she never stopped doing stuff.”

bj1  bj4

Images of the animals: Courtesy of Boomerang Jam.

bj3

Image of the rock wall: Courtesy of Boomerang Jam.

 bj5 bj2

Images of the entertainment: Courtesy of Boomerang Jam.

 

Despite the many negative reviews that were flooding in via social media, there were many families who enjoyed the event and had a fantastic time.

Heading back to our talk boards, we asked our users what they could recommend to the organisers to change and improve for future events;

“These is what I’d improve… 
– more seating for lunch
– more food choices
– smart phone timetable so you know what’s happening when”

“Free entry/payment for entry but free attractions inside”

“More food and drink stalls! The cost was absolutely ridiculous and there wasn’t a lot to choose from. Either that or allow us to bring our own food and drink”

“Inform the public of any changes as soon as possible! The majority of the disappointment could have been avoided if you would of informed us via social media of the acts and businesses that didn’t turn up”

“Maybe next time they could select a better venue to make it child friendly rather than a derelict car park”

 

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said:

“We are aware of the issues around Boomerang Jam and are concerned to hear that a number of people had a negative experience. Although we were not involved in the organisation of the event, nor did we sponsor it, we did want to share some of the events going on in the city over the bank holiday with families in Leeds via our website and Twitter. However we are reliant on the event organisers to deliver appropriate facilities and activities at their venues when using materials to promote Child Friendly Leeds, and we will be looking at how we can regulate this more effectively in the future. We are aware there were other organisations who also promoted the event in good faith and who are similarly concerned about the feedback from families.

We have contacted the organisers to pass on the comments we have received and to express our concerns. If your members wish to do the same the email address is: info@boomerangjam.co.uk or you can visit their website. Hopefully this feedback will enable the organisers to deliver a better service in future.”

After the event had passed, we wanted to give the organisers of Boomerang Jam the right to reply and here is their response;

“Dear All

We are very sorry for the disappointment that has been caused to people who attended the event on Sunday and Monday. We are also very disappointed as the event did not go as we had planned and subsequently we take full responsibility.

We are facing this and everyone who emails us will receive a response.

Individuals in our team have been the target of personal attacks both online and offline. They have been frightened and upset. They are working really hard to make sure that everyone receives a positive outcome, please allow them to do so without intrusion or threat.

The event ended 48 hours ago, so we are still organising the process of refunding you. We will refund you as quickly as we can and thank you for your continued patience.

If you wish to contact us please email info@boomerangjam.co.uk.

The Organisers of Boomerang Jam”

We hope that the organisers of Boomerang Jam take the responses they received and use them to improve the organisation and outcome of further events as on this occasion the event looked great on paper, but to the majority, the reality wasn’t what was anticipated.

 

If you attended the event and left feeling disappointed with your experience please feel free to leave a review in our comments.

Acknowledgements: Mumsnet Wakefield would like to thank Boomerang Jam for providing a free family ticket in return for a review.

For a personal review please see Blogizing

Difficult Birth, A Dad’s Perspective – by Mark Bullows

I have had seven babies in total, only one of them was a normal birth. My eldest was diagnosed with a heart condition during pregnancy. Of the five I’ve had with Claire we lost our first due to prematurity and then went on to have four more premature births with Claire spending much of her pregnancies threatening to go into labour.

There are three that really stand out on the subject of a dad’s perspective, my eldest son with his heart condition, my eldest surviving baby with Claire, and our youngest daughter who was Claire’s VBA2C (that’s vaginal birth after two sections). 

When my first wife was 20 weeks pregnant with our first baby we went along for the scan – excited expectant parents like everyone else. Then we had that classic silent moment, where you know something is wrong. We went round to see my wife’s consultant and he explained that they thought they had found something wrong with the heart. He told us that there wasn’t anything we could do until the birth but they would run tests to investigate the extent of the problem. Throughout the remainder of the pregnancy, the hospitals looking after my wife and baby couldn’t do enough to make sure we were fully informed, answered every question we had. At 38 weeks they induced my wife, scheduled a theatre and had an ambulance on standby. When our son was born she had enough time to look at him before he was rushed off. I followed behind and got to the hospital with enough time to have some paperwork thrust at me to sign before he was taken into theatre. When they brought my son out of theatre and I got to see him properly for the first time I couldn’t believe what I was seeing: he was covered in tubes and wires. Despite how awful it all was, we felt prepared and were able to cope with it. I really have nothing but praise for the hospitals.

Three babies later and despite what we’ve been through, me with my son and losing our first daughter, Claire and I were happy expecting another daughter. She had an easy pregnancy and we had no reason to think anything would go wrong. As she got to the late 20s Claire had started to track her Braxton Hicks. She didn’t get them often but they were quite strong and regular when she did. She even had an overnight stay because of them. So at 31 weeks when Claire went off to B&Q with her dad and a notebook and pen to write her Braxton Hicks in, we didn’t really think much of it. After an hour I got a call saying to get myself ready and be waiting with her green notes.

Claire had had a scan that morning and had been having contractions during the scan which they’d said weren’t anything worrying, so we didn’t think they’d be too worried. They sent us around to the waiting room and gave her a sample pot. After Claire cried out during a contraction, one of the midwives came around and said “was that your pain?” and she got us straight into a delivery room. Even strapped onto the monitor, with a drip set up to stop the contractions and steroids already administered we didn’t think anything would come of it. We were laughing together, I’ve never been forgiven for coming back from the shop with a coat full of chocolate and drink and opening it as (Claire describes) like a dodgy watch salesman and asking if she wanted anything followed by “Oh you can’t can you? You’re nil-by-mouth!”

After an hour the doctor came back to examine Claire to see if anything had changed. He just calmly said “we need to get this baby out now” and suddenly the room was full of people. Claire had her nail varnish cleaned, her jewellery removed, her drip capped off, three consent forms explained to her which she had to sign and her clothes changed for theatre, all at the same time. Neither of us really knew what was going on and, as it was a crash and she was having a general anaesthetic, all I could do was sit outside with her mum. I saw our daughter in passing as she was wheeled past on her way to the neonatal unit. They took a long time to do the operation and Claire took a long time to come round but no one explained what was happening or why things had gone like they did. Really my son’s birth should have been the hardest of the two, but the lack of information in this one made it the hardest.

Claire went on to have another section under similar circumstances but slower and things felt better having already been there.

Then Claire got pregnant again and she decided as it would be her last she was going to get a Doula and she would try VBAC. The team that Claire was under were brilliant, they were very supportive and came up with a plan that we were all happy with. We met some lovely people along the way who agreed with our decision and Claire felt confident going into the birth. Sadly on the day we had a team who were determined she wasn’t going to get the birth she wanted. There was a lot of shouting, they forced her into stirrups which she knew was bad for her because she has pelvis issues. The midwife and doula tried to stop them but they were yelling at me to hold my wife still. It’s very difficult as a man when you see the woman you love in distress but being told by medical staff that you need to do something that is going to make her worse. I wish I had understood better before the birth why she kept saying “Mark, remember, stirrups bad” because for a long time it has been a source of guilt for me, even though Claire says it’s unnecessary. Our daughter was born APGAR 9, pink and screaming after 6 minutes of unaided pushing.

 

I know I could have done things differently to support Claire better and I think that would have helped how I felt afterwards, so here is my advice to expectant dads:

1. Take an interest, there’s a good chance she knows why she is saying what she’s wants.

2. Memorise her birth plan, get her to tell you what is non-negotiable, what you need to know about any health issues.

3. If you can, get a doula, as they’re an extra brain to remember these things and it’s their speciality anyway so it comes naturally to them. If you do get a doula, attend antenatal sessions with her too, you can work as an amazing team to support your partner if you do.

4. Don’t be scared to question the staff, if there genuinely is no time you will know it, but make sure they explain to you both afterwards. Don’t be scared to tell them no either, practice your best authoritative voice saying “She said no. She does not consent to that!” It is always the mother’s word that goes, even in birth and if she doesn’t want something done to her that’s her decision.

I learnt a little acronym that helps: TBRAINS, it means:

  • Time/ Talk: do we have time/ can we talk?
  • Benefits: why do you want to do this?
  • Risks: what could happen if you do that?
  • Alternatives: what else can you do?
  • Instinct: what does my instinct tell me (or hers, she even has the say over you, sorry)?
  • Nothing: what if we do nothing and just wait to see what happens?
  • Smile! It’ll help keep you calm, the staff are more likely to listen to you and calmness is good for a birthing mother as adrenaline can complicate the labour.

I highly recommend antenatal classes too. Claire dragged me to one when she was expecting our youngest. I’ve had 6 babies before, what can I learn from an antenatal class? Actually I found it really useful.

The last thing to remember, debrief afterwards, especially if the birth was particularly difficult. Whether that’s down the pub with your mates, your Doula, or you make an appointment to see a Supervisor of Midwives (amazing people, if doc says no, ask the SoM!) Don’t try to hide it from your partner either, you are in it together not separately, you don’t have to be strong for her, you need to be with her.

 

Credit to Mark Bullows

Welcome to Mumsnet Wakefield – The Blog!

Mumsnet Wakefield Logo

Still being relatively new, we have been running the well established popular parenting site, Mumsnet Wakefield for a few months. In this time we have got to know our members, the local businesses and built up a rapport with a trustworthy collective.

We at Mumsnet provide coverage of what is important to you, what local people are looking for, reviews on events and businesses and help to promote events and businesses. Don’t be fooled by the name, all residents in Wakefield are welcome to the site regardless of age, gender, whether or not you have children.

As our headline says, this site is by local parents for local parents so if there’s something you desperately want to cover or see covered then drop us a line at: wakefield@mumsnetlocal.com