Sunday, 17 February 2019

Guest Post: How to Find the Best Educational Activities on Holiday in Italy

As regular readers to our blog will know, we are passionate about teaching and learning languages and inspiring youngsters to become more culturally aware

This week, I am delighted to bring you a fantastic guest post from Mammaprada's Kristie, who will introduce you to the amazing opportunities on offer from Arte al Sole. So if you're considering a holiday in Italy this year, read on to discover how to find the best educational activities on offer for the family...and maybe even some child-free time for yourselves! 


Firstly, thank you Rachel for allowing me to write on your lovely blog this week! We share a lot of the same values and interests, so it’s wonderful to talk to your readers and share my experiences.

I’m Kristie and I write at Mammaprada. I’m English, married to an Italian. We live in London and are raising two bilingual bambini! Raising children with two languages and cultures is quite full on sometimes. We’re very passionate about learning, not just in terms of words and phrases, but also sharing our cultures with our children.

We’re big believers in education coming in many forms and not being confined to a classroom.

I’m always on the lookout for interesting products or programmes. Or meeting (even virtually!) other determined parents or those with a desire to make a positive impact on their little ones.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Our Favourite Places to Visit in North Staffs: Westport Lake

In this series, we will be telling you all about our favourite places to visit in our local area, North Staffordshire. We are lucky enough to live right on the edge of the Staffordshire Moorlands and the beautiful Peak District, so we are spoilt for choice when it comes to the great outdoors! We're also a stone's throw away from the hustle and bustle of busy towns and of course Stoke-on-Trent city centre, not to mention the M6. So with the best of both worlds on our doorstep, we have plenty of places to visit!

The first place featured in our series is Westport Lake. It's the perfect nearby place to go to get outdoors for a few hours.


Where is it?

Westport Lake is located in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, near Middleport and Tunstall. It's Stoke-on-Trent's largest expanse of water and was created along side the Trent and Mersey Canal. Just off the A500, it's easily accessible by car. Once you're there, you can't really tell you're in the middle of a built up area on the border of the city!

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

A - Z of Multisensory Language Learning for Kids: Letter E

As you may know, in this series, I'll be sharing some multisensory language learning ideas, which will help you to teach languages to your young children in a fun, engaging way. If you're not teaching languages however, most of these activities can be adapted to fit many themes in your own language too! I'm sorry there's been such a big delay in getting the letter E to you - life just seems so busy at the moment!

You can find quick links to our previous posts in this series, including other language learning blog posts on our Language Learning Adventure page. 

E is for...

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Time for Positivi-Tea! Can a Good Cuppa Really Solve Anything?

There's nothing quite like a good cup of tea! It's our nation's favourite drink, with the average Brit drinking 3 to 4 cups a day! But can a good brew really solve anything? Well, of course boiling the kettle isn't going to end world hunger or find a cure for disease, but on a day-to-day basis, so many of us seek solace in a cuppa.

There are so many varieties of tea available now, there seems to be a tea to compliment every mood and ailment! Do you seek comfort in a cup of traditional English breakfast, or relaxation with a cup of chamomile and lavender? Perhaps you prefer the soothing benefits of a cup of peppermint or ginger tea, or the rejuvenating qualities of a cup of green?

There's even a tea to help you get ready for labour - although I'm not sure it did much for me other than send me on more toilet trips than I care to remember! As if my bladder didn't already have enough to cope with!

Shibui Tea

Edinburgh born tea company Shibui Tea's philosophy is all about sourcing and sharing great quality tea. The company was even set up over a few pots of the good stuff! They specialise in seeking out great ingredients from all over the world, and combining them to create many distinct flavours of loose tea and pyramid tea bags.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

How to Stay Positive During the Winter Months

The winter months are finally upon us! Yay, it's nearly Christmas! One of my favourite times of year! But sometimes the darkness seems to wrap around us like a cloak, from the minute we open our eyes to the crisp, cold mornings to the second we climb back into bed. Its easy for the positivity and joyful bounce to subside and for the pessimism and misery to set in during the winter months! 

For some, leaving the house for work or school and arriving back home in the pitch black can sometimes make you feel like you've missed a whole day! For others, the gloominess is overwhelming and claustrophobic and can make you feel like hibernating along with the animals! 

It's at this time of year that many people suffer with general "winter blues." Others may develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (or aptly named SAD for short), a "winter depression" that is usually more severe in the winter months. 

So how can we pull ourselves out of the winter blues and stay positive during the darker months? We can learn a lot about surviving and embracing the winter from the Scandinavians, many of whom spend up to 6 months of the year in twilight and never-ending darkness! 

Norwegians have this lovely word, "koselig." It's quite hard to define as it's more of feeling that is created! That cosy, warm feeling you might get when enjoying a traditional roast dinner by a country pub fire, or how you feel when wrapped up in blankets watching Christmas films with the kids on the sofa, complete with hot chocolate and marshmallows! 

Koselig embodies warmth, cosiness, happiness and content. So how can we make our lives more koselig and fight off those winter blues? Here are some simple ideas!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

A letter to my daughter as she turns 3: The little things I love about you...

To my beautiful little girl,

I know it's a cliche, but the last three years with you really have gone past in the blink of an eye! The transition from 1 to 2 years old didn't seem as emotional, but going from 2 to 3 feels much more poignant.

Perhaps it's because my little girl no longer has her baby features; your face has changed shape from squidgy and round to slim an oval, you've gotten so tall and your hair is beautifully long.

Maybe it's because I can have a conversation with you as if you were an adult! You are wise beyond your years and you know so much - thanks in part to having an older brother to lead the way!

It could be that you will be starting nursery in January, and you're sooo excited about this! "I won't cry when I start nursery Mummy, I'm a big, brave girl now!" You certainly are my darling.

Whatever it is that makes me sad to see my baby growing up (and even more so as you will probably - or if you ask your Daddy - definitely - be my last), there are so many little things about you that I love right now, the things that bring me joy every day, even if I'm feeling a little blue. Every day you always make me smile!

So on the eve of your 3rd birthday, here is a snapshot of a moment in your life.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Craniosacral Therapy Awareness Week: What is CST and How Can it Help You?

October 15th 2018 marks the beginning of Craniosacral Therapy Awareness Week. I was fortunate enough to be invited along to Torus Wellbeing Clinic in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire to find out more about this complementary therapy, and to experience a Craniosacral Therapy (CST) taster session for myself.

What is Craniosacral Therapy?

The Craniosacral Therapy Association (CSTA) describes Craniosacral Therapy as "a gentle way of working with the body using light touch." It often focuses on the head and spine, however CST aims to work with the whole person in body, mind and spirit. 

In the 1900s, it was found that the fluid that surrounds our brain and central nervous system was essential for our health and full body functioning. Research showed that the cranial bones (in the head) and the sacrum (a big triangular bone in the base of the spine) were linked, and the ebb and flow of this fluid could be encouraged by slight movements of the cranium. 

The Craniosacral Therapist is trained to use their hands to "listen" to your body, and may use gentle adjustments to help to harmonise its natural body rhythms, encouraging the body to self-correct and heal itself. 

As CST is a non-invasive, gentle treatment, it is suitable for babies, children and adults. It can be used as a complementary therapy alongside traditional medicines or as a stand-alone alternative therapy. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

5 Fun, Easy Ways to Introduce Languages at Home

You don't have to come from a multilingual family to introduce foreign languages to your children at home! But why should you bother? And how can you introduce languages at home in fun, easy ways? 

The best time to learn a second language is during early childhood, when the brain is like a "sponge," and is more open to learning new words. Children are already used to imitating sounds with great pronunciation, so learning accents comes naturally at this stage. They have no inhibitions and are willing to try out new things too. Language is therefore acquired faster and remembered better at an early age.