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We are going to the Circus! – The Moscow State Circus #Review

What a great start of our half term holidays we had on Saturday visiting the Moscow State Circus at Event City in Manchester. We were kindly invited to review the show. It was a fun family experience indeed.

It had been ages since I went to the circus. Actually, my mum who is visiting us from Barcelona, told me that the first time they took me I was only one year old, just the same age as our little boy now. On Saturday morning we went to the box office to collect the tickets.  We were assigned the Grandstand area, which gave us a good view of the stage. But I would say, if possible, get the VIP ringside seats, you will be just in front and have more chances to engage with the artists.

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Our 5 year old was super excited! We didn’t know what to expect since we had never been in a circus in UK before, but it definitely exceeded our expectations. We got there 45 minutes before the show since our seats weren’t numbered. Our day had been full of things from very early in the morning so we kind of had to rush a bit to get to Event City. Luckily for us this is quite local and we had no problem finding it. They also have parking available, if not right next to it, at intu Trafford Centre, the Barton Square area. We decided to leave the pushchair inside the car, but we could have actually taken it with us since they have a space where you can leave them.

Before the show starts you have some time to hang out at the cafeteria and get some snacks.  We had some popcorn and a couple of drinks for 8 pounds. J wanted us to buy some cotton candy but we thought that was going to be too much “excitement” for her! You know the show is soon to start cause it gets crowded and people start to line up. When they let you in you feel like sardines in a can but once you go inside it clears out and you are able to get the most convenient seats for you.

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Finally we got them! at the top, right in front of the stage. Our little J had a crisis of “OMG I Ccircus quoteAN’T SEE ANYTHING!!” she started crying and we had to change seats with her I can’t recall how many times… the truth is that she could see the stage perfectly but for some reason she just panicked. All that went away when the clown entered the stage. She loved it! Definitely her favourite one of all the artists.  She loved it so much that at the end of the show she told us she wanted to marry him. Oh well, another one to add to her long list of candidates! haha…

 

The performances were outstanding. All of us, adults and children, were amazed at all the things they could do. They challenged gravity in the most creative ways. It was all well thought and organised cause in between you would always have little acts with the clown who would make sure that everyone had a good laugh. The best parts were when he would be looking for volunteers to go up to the stage with him and do something. So get ready, if you go, you could be the next one playing clowns! lol

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We had a 20 minutes break in the middle of the show, which is good for the little ones cause the show lasts for about a couple of hours. Little E needed to have a nappy change so Sam took him to the baby changing area, which was right outside in some facilities they had arranged for families. They were clean and well looked after, so that’s a plus if you go with children.

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The second half of the show will leave you with the mouths opened for sure. Everyone was in awe and we can definitely say the artists deserved the final big applause they received from all the audience. My favourite part was the woman who did all sorts of acrobatics inside a sphere representing like she was up in the moon, with “Hijo de la Luna” (Son of the Moon) a Mecano’s song, playing in the background. I love that Spanish group from the 90’s and that’s a beautiful song. As soon as J heard it she turned around and said to me “Mum! That’s Spanish! Probably that girl (the artist) speaks Spanish!” haha…so cute. I was happy she could recognise one of the 3 languages she speaks.

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We can definitely say that the Moscow State Circus was a great family experience. Everyone enjoyed themselves. My recommendation if you have young children is to get the early session so they don’t feel that tired at the end. But even our 1 year old loved it! He clapped along with everyone and danced on his seat with the music. Our 5 year old wanted to meet the clown, but we had to leave that for another occasion. As for us, adults, can say that we were quite surprised and astonished with the show. You enjoy 2 hours of performances but if you think about it -can you imagine how many hours of training they must go through?!- That is just a prove to me that nothing is impossible if we work hard enough to achieve it. Just like they did! The Moscow State Circus.

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“Moscow, Moscow Join us for a casatchok, We’ll be dancing ’round the clock, Ha ha ha ha ha Hey!”

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You are still on time to see them! They will be at Event City, Manchester, until Sunday 26th February. Visit their website to choose the best option to buy the tickets.

**Tickets were given to us for the purpose of this review but all our opinions are genuine and our own.

 

Letter to my son on his first birthday

Today it’s your first birthday! Behind there are those two years where we were searching for you in a thousand different ways. Fears, concerns, frustration and sometimes even despair. Today we celebrate that we have been together for 12 months, growing together, sharing beautiful moments that we will always treasure.

In a near future all of this will be engraved upon the very bottom of your memories and your heart. I doubt you will be able to remember them, that’s why I’d like you to know a few things so that when you’ve reached the age when you can not only read them but also understand them you will be able to appreciate them:

The day you were born was the most painful one I have ever lived in my life, but you know what they say out there is true, the moment I saw you and held you in my arms all the pain just vanished. Thank you so much for giving away so much love on just the first look without even barely known us at all, apart from what you’ve probably been told up there 😉

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When we finally got home your big sister didn’t know how to handle so much excitement. We had never seen her so happy and cheerful before. You are her favourite people, although she squashes you sometimes, hugs you to the point of almost make you choke yourself or kisses you  until she leaves you breathless. I know you kinda like it too. I can see how you look at her, how you search for her and need her. One day, not too far away, you will become the support of one another, you will trust one another, and that relationship, if you both take care of it, will never be able to get broken.

Thank you little E, though you were always be my baby, I won’t be able to call you so for too much longer, we are eternally grateful to you because in a world of so much darkness you have brought us light. Your name means Eternal, Constant, Everlasting. That’s what you are for us, along with your sister, an eternal blessing that reminds us of a family’s true worth.

You still have many adventures to live, you’re not running yet, even though you would love to and you’re very close to achieve it. You haven’t said your first sentence although there’s probably interesting conversations up in your mind. We look forward to sharing all those amazing moments with you, we pray daily to our Heavenly Father so that we can be the type of parents you need to keep growing up, developing and reaching your fullest potential.

With our dearest love,

Your family that adores you,

Sam, Eli & J

guarderia feature

#InfoUK – Type of nurseries and how to apply if you live in UK

If you have children between the age of 2 and 4 the big question if you’re living in UK will be:

How do i apply for a nursery place in uk?

We are many the mums that come to a new country with many questions and doubts. You can only prepare yourself that much but once you arrive you must be ready for any sudden changes that can happen. Since this is our fourth year in this country and taking advantage of our family blog every month we will share with you a post dedicated to #InfoUK. We hope that our experience along with many hours of searching will help you solve some of those doubts that you may have.

So you’ve just come to the UK and have the children with you. This is not like other countries, such as Spain, where kids will start preschool when they turn 3 years old. So if you want to work or just simply need or think it’s a good idea for your kids to start attending nursery you’ll probably have many questions in your mind. Let’s start for the beginning then:

what type of nursery will i find in the united kingdom?

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Private Day Nursery: it’s the typical nursery, not run by the government, but a private company itself. They usually cover the hours from 8am to 6pm and accept children as young as 0 months old to 5 years old. Some of them will be able to offer you after school club and/or breakfast club. (where they pick up and drop off children from school, taking them to the nursery where they will play and do different activities until their parents come for them. Moreover, they will usually be open during the school holidays. Every area usually counts with a few of this type of nursery. The fees may vary according to your needs, but usually for a 5h session from 8am to 1pm will cost around 20-25 pounds, based on our own experience. You would need to confirm all these details with the ones that have got your attention.

Nursery school: is the school nursery that will accept children aged 3 and 4 years olds. It will follow the school calendar and the same schedule but unlike “nursery classes in school” they will only usually offer you a part time schedule. Most likely the 15 hours will be spread through Monday to Friday, 3 hours each day. So that means, you don’t pay for this type of nursery.

Nursery classes in School: this option would be the closest one to the ones we have in Spain. Nursery belongs to a Primary school and it’s offered to 3 years old children. They will have the same schedule that the school does and therefore your kid will be there Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm. You only pay for the school meals, unless you are on certain type of benefits. But don’t worry, if nothing changes, once they start Reception (their first year in Primary) they will have free school meals, regardless of your circumstances. Only for that year though.

*Childminders: this is a person who is been qualified to look after a group of children. She or He will take care of your kid and a few more. Usually no more than 5 people. With this it will be a matter of meeting with the person and seeing if it’s the right match for your child. They usually try to follow a schedule where they teach them through games and dynamics the basics according to their age.

“nurseries” that are not so much nurseries

*Preschool and Playgroups: as a general rule these groups will offer the parents the opportunity to meet with other families and for the children to play around and get to know each other. The people who run them though won’t look after your children, you must be with them all the time. Some will give you this option and even be a more economical than a private nursery, but it will be a matter of going there and finding it out for yourself.

*Sure Start/Children’s centre: it’s a centre located in your neighbourhoud aimed to families with children under 5 years old. They offer a wide range of activities, from baby massage to breastfeeding groups, among many others, including the possibility to meet with a health visitor there.

So we know what options are out there for us. What’s the next step:

how do we find nurseries in UK?

Google, as usual, it’s always there.

But trying to access a more accurate source you may also want to visit your Local Council website and search for “Find a nursery/ childcare” They will most likely show you a list with the schools that have this option, as well as the other type we have talked about above.

Another trustworthy source? Sure Start/Children Centre. My advice is for you to visit them as often as you can. You meet with other families, practice the language (if English is not your mother tongue) They’re usually quite kind and friendly and will share all the information they have available. In our case, when we went to the closest one in our area of that time, we asked the receptionist and she printed a whole lists of local nurseries for us.

Now what? May the search begin!

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What did we do  back then? We searched online those ones that had caught our attention and once they were pre-selected we gave them a call and arranged a time to go see them. We’re talking about our kids here, we don’t want to leave them in the wrong hands. So become as familiar as possible. At least for me I always try to do that. I get all the information I can, and then follow my “maternal instinct” It has rarely let me down.. 😉 haha

finally! We’ve got the chosen one! How do i apply now?how much is going to cost me?how do i get the 15 hours of free childcare?

You will probably think this is the hardest bit but not at all. Once you’ve chosen the one you like and made sure it’s Oftsted registered you should go and speak with the manager. Being Oftsted registered means they will be able to accept free childcare. Usually once you’ve made up your mind you will be given a form to fill out with your child’s and yourselves’s details. They will take care of the 15hours part. No need to worry about that. You will only need to agree which days you’d like your children to be in. The most frequent option is 3 days per week of 5 hours each day.

That’s in the case we’re talking about a Day Nursery, Nursery School, Playgroup o Childminder.

If we’re talking about Nursery classes in school  you will have to visit the school you are interested in and ask for an application form. They’re usually quite popular and according to the area you will have to hurry on this if you want to go for this option. They will follow their own admission criteria, such as: proximity to the school, if they have siblings already attending, etc. Furthermore, many of them will ask you to apply online through your local council website. And they will have the same deadlines than for a school place, which is around mid January for a place in September. You will get the results in April.

when is my child eligible for the 15 hours free childcare?

The UK Government has established that all children aged 3 and 4 will be eligible for 15 hours of free childcare per week. According to your circumstances, if you are under certain type of benefits you may also be eligible since they’re 2 years old.  For more information you can visit the Government website **

So the When will depend on your little one’s birthdate:

If they were born between You can apply
1 January to 31 March The beginning of the term or after 1 April
1 April to 31 August The beginning of the term or after 1 September
1 September to 31 December The beginning of the term or after 1 January
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K.O. on her first week of nursery!

Pretty soon you may have your little one as exhausted as our little J during her first week of nursery, completely knocked out! 🙂 Her key worker took this picture of her so we could see she was doing fine. The truth is we were quite anxious about the whole thing because back then she was only two years old, but we are so pleased of the relationships she built not only with the staff but also with her mates.

We hope this post will have given you some orientation at least and things will sound a bit more familiar now. If you’ve got any questions here we are and if not you can always have a look at the links below that we cheked ourselves in order to add more information to our own personal experience.

Links of Interest:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/parents/types_of_schools/

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/219167/v01-2012ukes.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/free-childcare-and-education-for-2-to-4-year-olds

https://www.salford.gov.uk/children-and-families/childcare/types-of-childcare/

https://www.salford.gov.uk/children-and-families/childcare/finding-childcare-in-salford/

** Some locations in the UK are currently offering 30hours per week but that hasn’t been extended to all the country yet. And you must qualify for them as well. You can find more information on the link below:

http://www.madeformums.com/news-and-gossip/30-hours-of-free-childcare—will-my-child

#WordlessWednesday – Who’s behind us?!

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Who’s behind us? 3 men riding a camel on the beach…it could only be, The Wise Men! 😀

This is my entry to the Spanish Version of #WW (Wordless Wednesday) Linky called #MiércolesMudo created by Naturalmente Mama. Just as it says in the name, it’s a post with only a picture/s with a short caption, not too many words needed.

It’ s easy to participate, you only need to publish a picture/s without writing anything to explain it. (that’s where “wordless” comes from) Then don’t forget to join the linky below and leave a comment in every blog you decide to visit. To understand how “MiercolesMudo” was born and its rules, you can click here. (*if you click remember everything will be written in Spanish) 😉

Happy Wednesday !!

 

#VDLN- Mecano “Another Year”

If you’re from the 90’s and lived in Spain around that time, you are already humming this song, yes or no? Actually, this Spanish band started back in 1981 according to what I’ve read around, but I still know by heart some of their lyrics that I remember listening during my childhood and adolescence.

For this Spanish #Linky called “Viernes Dando la Nota” (Stand Out Friday) I have chosen the song “Un año mas” (Another year) because who really stood out a couple of weeks ago was my mum and I, during our Christmas visit to Barcelona.

This thing of having a smartTV makes you watch YouTube all the time, so my mum decided to search for that song. Without further ado and no plan at all we started our little duet with all our might and heart! with very little ear but loads of enthusiasm. Our special audience, my husband and little boy, didn’t try to leave the room while we were singing and trying to match the right syllables with the broken words.

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In case you’re curious to see who were the “artist” of this unplanned Karaoke! 😉

And these are the special moments why I love music so much. Because if I already liked the most well-known hits of this band, from now on, “Un año mas” will bring back to my mind the memory of my mother and I, in unison, laughing at ourselves and completely into this duet of spontaneity.

Here they are, some other popular songs of this group, in case you feel like doing some Karaoke during the weekend. 😉

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#MovieReview- Spanish movies that actually made us laugh

Nothing like watching a good comedy to get a smile or even a loud laugh from you to help you relax and release some stress. That’s why we bring you our own personal selection of the 4 Spanish movies that actually made us laugh.

Now if you’re an English speaking person you might not fancy the idea of watching a foreign movie, but trust me, if you give it a go, you might be quite surprised of the outcome. We love movies in general, but we are usually quite picky as well, because not only in the Spanish cinema industry but in other productions, many times there are explicit scenes that, from our point of view, are of no use at all to get the message across.  So finding a clean, family comedy, sometimes it can be a whole achievement.

So here it goes, 4 films where we laughed out loud and enjoyed as a family! Oh! by the way, the order doesn’t refer to quality, it’s just to organise them. 😉

#1 Que se mueran los feos (Hell to the Ugly)

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This is the tender story of a not so “good-looking” man that due to his mother’s death he decides to relocate to the village of his childhood where he will cross paths with a not too “attractive” sister-in-law that has recently been cheated by the husband. The situations that will come out and the sense of humour will make you have a good time watching this movie.

#2 Perdiendo el Norte (Losing the North)

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It might be because we are expats ourselves just like the main characters but if you have gone through an immigration adventure you will feel related to many things of this film. It basically talks about this two young men who, after finished their studies, they decide to relocate from Spain to Germany looking for better job opportunities. Encouraged by a TV program that shows what they think will be their real experience they arrived to the new country facing the  cruel truth  of the story.

#3 Ocho Apellidos Vascos (Eight Basque Surnames)

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Not the Catalonian ones please. You know what they say that “second parts were never good”, well, in this case, that’s completely accurate. Without intending to be a mean film critique that will rip the movie apart we just want to say that we didn’t enjoy the second part. The jokes, the dialogue was too forced, it didn’t flow naturally like in the first one.

But, hey, straight to the point. Eight Basque Surnames was a whole surprise to us! A romantic comedy between a Sevillian (someone from the south of Spain) and a Basque (someone from the north) two opposite cities with very different cultures that will make you giggle and have a good time as you watch it.

#4 Cuerpo de élite (Elite Squad)

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We had never heard about this one before but it was a good Christmas treat! Since we went back home, to Barcelona, for the holidays our family there recommended it to us. We couldn’t stop laughing throughout the whole movie. This “elite” squad get you to laugh out loud thanks to their very few individual skills but great team work. You’ve got the very Spanish patriotic (Ecuadorian), the guy from Catalonia, the one from Madrid, a Basque one, and a Sevillian woman. What can happen with such a mix, right?!

So here you have! We hope it was of help if you didn’t know what to watch during this weekend of blanket&tv. 🙂 What are some good comedies that you would recommend to us?

Dear Bear and Beany

Living arrows 3/52 – Falling asleep

I loved that quote that inspired this linky “Living Arrows” by Kahlil Gibran that says “You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth” cause it gives me the opportunity to share with you some simple but special moments of the lives of my two treasures.

Moments, like this one, that I don’t want to forget. The day when my 11 months old baby boy was so tired he fell asleep on his high chair for the very first time.

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If you have kids you will have probably experienced something similar to this. It used to happen to our 5 year old little girl when she was around that age.

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We just think it’s so adorable! They’re so full of energy. They never want to stop playing, pulling your hair, jumping up and down or basically just being kids, but when they are exhausted like this they can’t help it. They start nodding with their heads. That’s what my little boy was doing as we watched him fall asleep. At least he didn’t have anything in his mouth! Our little girl used to do it while she was still chewing the food…lol 😀

So what was your #livingarrows moments this last week? Looking forward to reading them.

Living Arrows

2017 The year we conquer ourselves

Of the many new year resolutions we could have chosen, this 2017, we have decided to conquer ourselves. Let me explain why:

We decided to move to UK to improve our financial stability, which unfortunately we didn’t have when we lived in Barcelona, despite of having pursued our respected professional paths. This coming June it will be 4 years since we packed our stuff and relocated from sunny Mediterranean city to Manchester wet valley. We feel we have achieved that goal in the sense we can now provide for our own family within our means. You won’t see me wearing expensive outfits or going out to luxurious places but we’re actually quite a humble family in terms of materials things anyway, and if I could wear my pjs all the time I would be the happiest woman on earth…haha

“God give me strength to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom

to know the difference. “

We still don’t feel we have reached our full potential though, or that have got out the most of this immigrating experience. After laying it all out on one of my most recent posts “Confessions of a frustrated immigrant” we have decided to be the agents of our choices. Conquer ourselves for us means overcoming the weaknesses that won’t let us grow in every way.

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For example, I could tell you that I want to lose weight and feel better with my physical appearance but my problem doesn’t have to do with food really, it has more to do with my diligence, my commitment and my perseverance to endure to the end. My constancy to not move away from my priorities.

This is the year when we need to be our very best. The year, where no matter the circumstances, I will build my character, I will be stronger, I will be a powerful woman. Not with the “power” that maybe the world can think of, but with the power to love others, to love myself, to be diligent, to understand God’s will for me and my family. This 2017 is all about US. It’s all about shaping our personalities so that we cannot only maintain our stability but have the power to move forward, to feel fulfilled with ourselves.

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Are you ready for 2017? What has been your approach to the new year? Share it with us!

ethannevelyn

#WordlessWednesday – At the farm…shall I brush it or feed it?!

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At the farm…shall I brush it or feed it?!

This is my entry to the Spanish Version of #WW (Wordless Wednesday) Linky called #MiércolesMudo created by Naturalmente Mama. Just as it says in the name, it’s a post with only a picture/s with a short caption, not too many words needed.

It’ s easy to participate, you only need to publish a picture/s without writing anything to explain it. (that’s where “wordless” comes from) Then don’t forget to join the linky below and leave a comment in every blog you decide to visit. To understand how “MiercolesMudo” was born and its rules, you can click here. (*if you click remember everything will be written in Spanish) 😉

Happy Wednesday !!

A new Facebook group for parent bloggers who write in Spanish

**This post has been written thinking on the Spanish speaking community of bloggers but feel more than welcome to read its translation into English:

With the new year I have rolled up my sleeves, organise myself and my time and finally decided to create a Facebook group for mums and dads bloggers who write in Spanish. 

This is the thing, when I started getting more involve with blogging, back in April last year, I came across several groups for bloggers who write in English. Living in UK and since my blog is bilingual I decided to join a few. You learn by experience, and must admit I enjoyed some more than others, but in their majority, all of them helped me somehow. One in particular, UK Parent Bloggers  created by Donna from What the Red Head said, was let’s say, my inspiration, to shape my idea of creating a community of fellow parent bloggers who speak Spanish.

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https://www.facebook.com/groups/mamasypapasbloguerosespanol/

A group where we could all ask freely our doubts and queries regarding blogging, family life -motherhood, fatherhood, raising children- sharing opportunities to work with brands, or even posting threads, every once in a while, where we can follow one another.

I’ve missed that type of group in my own language and finally I thought that since I hadn’t been able to find one till now and/or nobody had created one, then somebody needed to take the first step, don’t you think? So here we are! One of my small blogging goals for this year achieved. Now it’s only a matter of growing it so we can all enjoy it! 😀

Join the party!

Petite Pudding