Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Trick or Treat!

As I wait for my next trick or treater, I thought I'd share some of my Halloween photos with you. People over here in the US have decorations everywhere.
 
This I saw in NYC. Rather realistic looking rats. Eeeek!

Here was a pretty enthusiastic house in Boston. There were loads more things sticking out from other places too.

This house I found in Rochester. Yes, this is the decorations from one house. I was astounded. I actually couldn't step back far enough to get it all on the photo! Most of the inflatables were 6 feet tall!

Here's a closer look at some of the inflatables. Absolutely crazy! I like the Frankenstein!

And here's Phil and me, waiting to answer the door to all the trick or treaters. There are lots! So far, I think I've seen over 40 children! And it's only half 7!

Now, I don't personally celebrate witches, ghouls, evil and spooky things, but I think that Halloween is a nice event where children have to learn about courage (to knock on the door of a stranger), self control (not to eat all the candy) and creativity (to dream up their own costumes). So Halloween could constitute as play, or if not, it's a rite of passage for children. Maybe. I never did it as a child, but I can imagine it being really exciting, and really quite memorable.

I'm also really glad that the rain and wind stopped this morning to give way for a dry evening. My thoughts go out to all the children nearer the coast who aren't having such a great halloween.

So I guess I'm saying hoorah for halloween, and hoorah for the making of childhood memories.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Nothing but Glitch

I've not really been able to do much in the last few days apart from work on the computer, and play Glitch. Glitch is a marvelous MMO browser game which is free to play, colourful to look at, curiously exciting. The most important thing about the game is I CAN'T DIE. I'm not sure if I've ever said, but I love video games! However, I'm not very good at them. Not being able to die is a wonderful feature of the game.

That's my house, that's my fruit tree, my gnome, my rock and my butler. I'll let you work out which each of those things are!

So there we go. That's how I pass them time. At least that's what I do when I have the internet and no cardboard boxes. And when I'm not baking. And when I'm not making something. Hmm. Hahaha. Hoorah for computer games! :)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Frankenstorm!

As I sit here, watching Big Bang Theory in a house that's anticipating a power-cut, I'm musing over various ideas I've had since the wind picked up. Apparently I shouldn't learn to fly today. I also shouldn't fly a kite, go out to play ball or frisbee. Or wander around outside with a parachute. OoOoh, I probably shouldn't learn to use a crossbow, and climb a tree. Stupid halloween storm. I wanted to do all of those things today.

I did make a list of things that I could do to pass the time. Well, stuff I can do while I still have power.


Turns out, I really like drawing on the computer using Inkscape. It's a really smart program, and it's completely free which makes it doubly awesome. :) And it allows me to share the doodles I normally draw on paper. You like my Frankenstorm outfit doodle? Hehehehe! :)

Of course, the superstorm has put a dampener on my spy mission to take photos of people's halloween decorations. I might have collected a few snaps along the way. There's still time. Right now, it's time to ride the storm! 

Phil's Alive!

Remember a while ago, I went to adopt Phil? From a field of pumpkins, I selected him and took him home. He's been keeping me company ever since.

Today, I thought I'd give Phil a makeover. For some reason, this was more difficult than usual, but it's all good! I still have all 10 of my fingers and I tried a new carving technique! Ladies and gentlemen, an encouraging round of applause please......

Hahaha! Isn't he awesome? :D He has hands on both sides of his head too!

I was worried that Phil wouldn't show up in the dark but I was pleasantly surprised when it worked out for me! Who woulda known that pumpkins are actually see-through! Hello Phil! 


I'm so chuffed that Phil's new makeover worked out so well! All in time for halloween too! Hoorah! :) I shall proudly display him in the darkest part of the house when the trick-or-treaters come! So excited! :) Only a few days to go! :) Hoorah! :)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Storm Tag

So every channel on TV is talking about a potentially crazy storm that we're about to have. Apparently a winter storm to the west of me and a hurricane to the west of me is about to do battle in the middle and give us a fun new phenomena - a superstorm!

I hadn't realised much was happening to be honest because I'd been hit by a weird cold and hibernated for a few days. And now I look out of the window and it's grey, but not really very exciting. So I'm not sure what the fuss is about.

Here's a pic that I obviously didn't take and have pinched from the Online Journal. Looks cool eh? I have no idea what's going on in it, but it's swirly!

I don't have a good track record with severe weather warnings, with me being stuck in Chicago because of snow, and being stuck in NY because of a hurricane. I'm glad I went to Boston and New York last week instead of this week, but I'm soooo sure that this superstorm will affect me somehow. Watch this space! :)

Friday, 26 October 2012

Freebie Fridays - a spectacular hoard!

I'm so pleased with the amount of stuff I got this week! I was soooo pleased that I didn't even bother waiting for the Friday post to come and took the photo yesterday! Little things please little people like me. Well, and it also made my horrible cold a tiny bit less horrible. Here's the pic!

This week I got:
a greeting card and envelope
a leopard print makeup bag
a small thingy of moisturiser
a little roll-on deodeorant
a big bottle of root beer
5 pairs of shampoo/conditioner/hair care treatment from different companies
a sachet of body lotion
and a little thingy of face primer
Total = 12 items!

There's a magical twist this tale. I can't have possibly had so many items of post this week; some of this stuff came to me in a pack! What a surprise it was to receive a little box in the post that had:

All of the things with stars in the corner inside the leopard print pouch! Happy days!

I'm honestly a little worried about going back to the UK - what happens if I can't beat the amount of crazy freebies I can get over here in the US? My Freebie Friday hall of fame definitely looks awesome, be it stuff from the UK or the US. Well, I'm happy either way because there's more free stuff for me! Hoorah! :)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Choo choo....!

As I type this, I am sitting on an Amtrak train that's lazily snaking it's way from Boston MA, to Rochester NY. I've been here for about 5 hours now - only another 7 hours to go! I thought ahead and brought a whole series of one of my favourite BBC shows, Hustle, with me because, as I suspected, there is no wifi on the train!

Yesterday, I hung out with three lovely people who I've previously been on adventures with - Anna, David and Maayan. This time, I was on their turf in Boston and they showed me round a little bit. It was good to hear about their stories and what they had been up to and just to get to know them. I even visited a school! I've never been in an American school before - they're so big!

Chatting doesn't make well for good photos though, so I only have a couple to show you. I wish the sky was blue right now for photos, but the weird greyness is just making me slightly sleepy and contemplative. So here are the pics:

Look at that sky!

Fun shadow photo.

Anna in a paint smock

Maayan and me eating delicious cupcakes

A huge painted mural to make Boston more colourful.

And this is most definitely the laziest food thing I've ever seen - pre-boiled, pre-shelled eggs. Wow.

I had a lovely trip, and saw SO many people. I think I met up with a total of 10 people that I know on my 6 day trip, and I'm totally chuffed! So a special thank you must go to: Madelyn, Sharon, Krystina, Anna, Ken, Alex, Eliza, David, Janette and Maayan for making my trip so awesome. Oh, and a mention to Megan, Paige, Trish and Jason who are all new friends. Hoorah for adventures, and a yay for a lovely little trip! :)

1, 2, 3, Pumpkinfest

I was delighted to have the chance to stay with my lovely friend and Pop-Up Adventure Play colleague, Anna, and had lots and lots of play time with her two little girls. We played at home, played at the park and played at the Pumpkinfest! Here are the delightful pics:

This is Alex proudly showing us what she made from the loose parts I brought to her.

This is Eliza "going to work". 

Here is Alex having fun at the park. 

This is Eliza, swooshing down the slide.

This is Alex at the Pumpkinfest, enjoying a ride that spins round and round. I felt queasy just watching her.

And here is Eliza. just after Pumpkinfest, covering herself in leaves.

I had a lot of fun with Anna and the girls. A huge thank you to Anna, Ken, Alex and Eliza for taking me into their home and having lots of fun with me! Woohooo! See you again soon! :)

Monday, 22 October 2012

New York, New York

I had a really quick trip to New York filled with lots of very intense thoughts and ideas and food! Here are some of the highlights:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is America's answer to Tunnock's teacakes but for some reason, these are more delicious and seasonal! Yes, the Mallomars is only available from about September to about November and then you have to wait for a whole year for more! Sharon and I didn't eat a whole box in a day. Promise. o.O

I went to the MoMA Child in the City of Play Symposium! There wasn't a huge crowd of people but the theatre was full up with an exclusive crowd of play enthusiasts and designers alike! There were some excellent speakers!

A marching band came to visit at the end of the symposium and it was AWESOME. And also, embarrassingly hilarious!

I went to Central Park in NYC for the first time and discovered that birds here are not scared of people. Instead, they perch on your table and attempt to share your food! Hahaa. So awesome.

This is me, enjoying one of many playgrounds in Central park. This one was particularly awesome because it was created in the 1930s and was featured in the opening credits of Sesame Street once upon a time! And it also calls itself an "Adventure Playground"!

Here is Paige Johnson, a blogger that I have been following for years with a blog full of wonderful playscapes. I met her and she was really lovely. Together with a whole bunch of other enthusiasts, we went touring around Central Park, looking at all the different play areas that were on offer.

And here is a little boy, secretly photographed having the time of his life stood on top of a round stone pedestal. He was singing and dancing for at least 20 minutes when I was there, and carried on after we were gone. He wasn't looking for an audience, he was simply there to enjoy his time on his spot.

I had a wonderful time in New York, albeit short. It was a lot more productive and rewarding than I thought it would be! People always say that New York is where stuff happens, and I have to admit that this time, I have to agree! Watch this space for more thoughts! :)

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Freebie Friday (on Sunday) - food!

This is a fleeting post, and an exclamation really:

This week I got:
A DOZEN FREE EGGS!
And more chocolate!

I don't think I've ever had anything as useful as free eggs before! So exciting! It was coupon freebie too which made me pretty happy, and I was SO chuffed when I proudly presented my coupon to the cashier. Wooooo!

Anyway, more next week!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Contemplation

I've been thinking through some stuff, both alone and with lots of people. It's a growth process with highs and lows but it's good to be in the company of lots of people who are both part of the solution and part of the plan. I know that thinking, reflecting, digesting, and consolidating information is very important. The process isn't easy, but I like the outcomes so far.

When I am talking through some of my thoughts, I make stuff. :)

Tomorrow is going to be a big day. I'm excited - especially for the symposium! At MoMA! It's gonna be a goooood day! Hoorah! :)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A Delightful Sunset

I snap snap snapped at the sky when I was flying over New York. I've been busy busy busy too, so all I have to offer you is my best pic of the sunset.

It's gorgeous, right? This makes me sooo happy!

I'm either really shattered, or my travel sickness pills are taking over. Either way, it's time to sleep! More work work work tomorrow! Woooohoooo! :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Planes, Trains and Automobiles!

I've been static for some time, doing lots of work and making lots of connections, but I'm off on an adventure tomorrow! I'm very excited because I'll be seeing lots of lovely people.

First, I will be travelling by plane to NYC where I will stay with Madelyn one of the most generous hosts that I know. I'll hang out with her for a few days with a visit from my friend and colleague, Sharon, and then I'm going to the Child in the City of Play Symposium! I'm excited about this event because a) I've never been to a symposium before, and b) because there are going to be some pretty awesome people there. After that, I think I'm going to be hanging out with Paige Johnson of Playscapes - a blog I've been following for ages!

Next, I will be getting a bus to Boston where I will be hanging out with another one of my friends and colleague, Anna and her family. I think we're going to something called a Pumpkinfest (which apparently doesn't involve many pumpkins) and just hanging out. After that, I think I'm eating with David Ramsey and family, who I recently took on adventure around Adventure Playgrounds in Wrexham. We're going to eat, plot and scheme, maybe visit a school and then I'm going to be left in the capable hands of my friend Maayan, who also came to the UK to visit play stuff. I escorted him to Wrexham too!

Finally I will be taking an 11 hour train back to Upstate New York. It astounds me that 11 hours on a train in the US only takes me across one State, but 11 hours of train in the UK takes me to a completely new country. Baffling.

So I'm eagerly awaiting an intense but very exciting adventure using multiple transportation modes! I'm almost packed, and will be blogging on the road. Stay tuned for excitement!


Saturday, 13 October 2012

You've Caught My Eye

I talk about the little things in life all the time, and recently there have been a few little things that have caught my eye and made me really quite happy.

This is an ice cream cupcake. It's not only a cupcake, but it's also filled with icecream. In fact, having extensively studied her during consumption, I can tell you that there's buttercream frosting, sweet cream ice cream, chocolate fudge filling and red velvet cake encased in a chocolate casing. IT WAS DELICIOUS!

This is a photo of a window in a building that looks like it's seen better days. It caught my eye because it was the only pane in the whole building that had this pattern, and it was a genuinely fascinating design. SO PRETTY!

I've always wanted to see a real sousaphone and here it is. It was part of a marching band! IT WAS SO COOL!

And finally, another photo of the multicoloured chickens. I went to visit them again because they were so awesome. I managed to herd them all together this time so you can see the rainbow of colours! I WANT ONE!

So there you go. Things that make me happy. It doesn't take much! :) Hoorah! :)

Friday, 12 October 2012

Freebie Fridays - drinks, make-up and chocolate

I'm excited about this week's freebies! I don't have loads but I had to work for them! Haha. I got my first free item via coupon, like I said I would try for last week, and it makes me happy! Hoorah!

We have:
A thing of mascara
A sachet of iced tea
Two thingies of hot chocolate
and an entire bag of truffle chocolates!

The chocolates were my big score this week! It was a combination of coupons but I didn't pay a penny for them! Hoorah! I'm kinda chuffed that I got some mascara too! People are going to have some really interesting leaving presents from me when buzz off home! Haha! Hoorah for freebies! :)

Mini Pineapple

I have been chronicling super huge fruit/vegetables for a few months now and have found a giant tomato, lemon, onion and pepper. But then I started seeing mini fruit and veg too! I have found mini pumpkins, peppers and now...

MINI PINEAPPLE! Isn't it cute? So happy!

Seeing the blue thumb in the pic there I just glanced at my hands and I think it's time for the nail varnish to come off. It's kinda chipping off in random patches. Of course, it does provide a pop of colour for my pineapple pic so it was worth having it :) Hehehe! 

Fruit and veg are funny when they aren't the size you're expecting! Hahaa. Hoorah! :)

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A Little Pop of Colour

Every-so-often I colour a nail. It might be done with a pen, or a marker, I think it's been tippex before, and also real paint, but sometimes it's just with nail varnish. And sometimes it's a couple of fingers, or just the thumb. Today, I picked a bluey-purple gloss varnish. It's kinda pops doesn't it?

Pop! Blue! Or purple! Fun!

My lovely friend and colleague Morgan has been persuading me for ages to put nail varnish on with little to no effect. I think she's going to be surprised! It's nothing like her funky nails, but it's still cool :)

Hoorah for colour. And hoorah for a little bit of something different, every-so-often :)

Saturday, 6 October 2012

My Non-Cardboard Day

I woke up today with excitement, knowing that it was a big day for play! There wasn't any events near enough to visit though so I decided to have fun with my day anyway:

I found lots of different colours of broccoli type vegetables

Pokemon in disguise

Crazy looking pumpkin things

Some super colourful graffiti

And of course, as my homage to the Global Cardboard Challenge, a really excitingly shaped cardboard box!

Hope everyone had a great day and took some time out to play! :) Hoorah! :)

Freebie Fridays - hair stuff and drugs

There's a less-than-impressive stash of freebies this week, but good news, more drugs! Haha.

We have:
heartburn medicine - two more of the same ones as last week. Amusingly, I need 5 more free samples for a full course to treat the heartburn. 
and a complimenting set of shampoo and conditioner

I really hope that next week's freebies will be more exciting. I've sent off for a whole load of stuff, but coupons/vouchers are far more precedent over here in the US. I'm not kidding, there are SO many coupons, everywhere. I have a pocketful of coupons which I won't ever get round to using! Anyway, we'll have to wait and see what happens next week. Maybe I'll get a coupon for something free! :)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Happy Birthday, Papa Zan :)

Today is my dad's birthday!


My Dad is wonderful, caring and quietly thoughtful man. Today, he had a very quiet birthday - just him and mum - at TGI Fridays for a lovely little meal. I think that's the way he likes things - quiet, uncomplicated and fuss-free. And yummy food, of course.

Happy happy birthday to a lovely lovely Dad! I owe you another awesome pizza! :)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Two Pop-Up Projects

There's always something going on at Pop-Up Adventure Play, and I have the pleasure of telling you about the two projects we're working on. Brace yourself for utter awesomeness!

The Global Cardboard Challenge
By now, you must have seen the video on Caine's Arcade. It's a very moving video about a boy who had a play idea, was given the time and space to do it, and then was flashmobbed to success. Well, on the back of that one young boy, a whole foundation has been set up in support of him. And this foundation has declared the 6th October The Global Cardboard Challenge day! Woohooo!

The fun thing is that this celebration is very much like a Pop-Up Adventure Playground! And the awesome thing is that Pop-Up Adventure Play is working with a few different organisations around the world to have their very own Pop-Up for the Global Cardboard Challenge! I've been so excited I've completely lost track of where these places are, but I do know that we have stuff going on in Costa Rica, Egypt and Cairo! I can't even point these places out on a map! But it's SO exciting!

This is the poster for our Costa Rica contacts, Bellelli EducaciĆ³n - isn't it kind of awesome? Take a peek at the Pop-Up blog for more details :)

When I think back to the first time I worked with Pop-Up we were just 4 people coming together with the same goal, in the USA, but now we operate in the UK as a charity, and in loads of other countries as regular events! It seems to be kind of incredible. I'm truly thankful to God for that.

Keep Calm And Play On
I've posted on this before, but I will post about it all over again! We're taking Marc Armitage to the US and we're EXCITED! He's going to be touring the US East Coast stopping off in Washington DC, Philadelphia PA, New York NY and Boston MA. 

We're currently looking for people to host Marc during his tour. If you or anyone you know has space for training, and some time to promote, it would definitely worth getting in touch to bring Marc to your area to talk about his wealth of experience in the UK play scene. 


Check out our facebook page to get updated information about the tour, and if you have the time, please share with your network of friends and family! Tell everyone how awesome Marc is, find out how much play impact the lives of children and their families!

Hoorah for Pop-Up Adventure Play, the beginnings of our global network, and the worldwide spread of playwork awesomeness! :)