Experiencing a new culture #newthings

It’s our last week of being involved with CSMA Newthings bloggers challenge. We have really enjoyed trying out new things as a family especially our trip into London to visit film locations of Harry Potter. Spending time together and enjoying each others company has been a big part of this challenge. As my boys grow up I have noticed that they are doing more and more individually and as Jak is now 12 he has been enjoying his new-found independence and going out with his friends instead of wanting to spend his spare time with us. So having set days where we get to spend time together and enjoy experiencing new things has been a delight. This week challenge was to experience a new culture, although i would have loved to embark on a once in a life time trip to India to teach the children about their culture  it just wasn’t possible so we brought India to our little livingroom in Greater London instead. We visited a restaurant where we ordered some food from the counter to take away. The aroma coming from the shop was tantalizing and was definitely exciting our senses. My tummy was rumbling at the sight of all the lovely colourful food to choose from. We ordered Naan Bread, chappatis, tandoori roti and chicken curry, Joseph chose them all. I like to invite the children into choosing their food as they then seem to be more enthusiastic in wanting to taste it. We watched the chef cook make up the naan from the dough bread and then he placed it into a cylindrical clay oven, called a Tandoor. DSC_0195 Once we arrived the boys draped some material over their shoulders just like the Indian dress. We researched on the internet about traditional clothing and found out that it varies from region to region depending on ethnicity, geography, climate and cultural traditions. A sarong is a traditional garment in India for men and a sari for women.The material used is colourful and can be patterned.

While the boys were waiting for their food they did a puzzle of a traditional hindu family eating their dinner, it was this picture that we tried to reenact in our own living room.

 

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I served up our food on a tray and placed it on the floor, using our fingers we used the naan and chappatis to dip into the chicken curry. The boys loved it and soon all of the food was gone!

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Once we was full up we watched an indian music video on Youtube, the boys danced around the living room just like they were on the video. Indian songs mostly come from Indian films .

After a few minutes of dancing we all sat down and I attempted at doing some Henna on the boys feet. Henna is a paste made out of crushed leaves and twigs of a henna plant. When the paste has been applied to skin and left for a few hours, it leaves an orange stain on it (which fades away after 7 days). Mehndi is a long-standing tradition stemming from ancient cultures and is originally used on the palms of the hands. Henna serves as a symbol of good luck, health and sensuality.

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We didn’t cover the foot as the boys have school, so we only tried a little tattoo. It was quite easy to use but the boys found it ticklish and wouldn’t sit still lol.

We really enjoyed finding finding about a new culture, the children especially enjoyed the hennna tattoo. They now have something to show their friends of our cultural night in.

Have you tried a new culture this week?

Thank you to CSMA for inviting us along on the NewThings challenge, I hope you have all enjoyed reading about all the new things that we as a family have had fun doing.

FAMILY

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CSMA challenge: Crispy bacon, houmous and cheese topped Pork chops #newthings

This week our challenge set by CSMA was to try a new food, well I have been a bit lazy on the blog from what with returning to work and the children going back to school and I have found it difficult to get back into a routine. I left it too late to do a shop (I had something extravagant to try out) but instead I had to result with trying out anew recipe with what i had left in the fridge/cupboards. I guess that is just normal life!

This is week 3 of 4 for the CSMA challenge, last week it was Try out a new game, which we wrote about Balloon Pop and the week before it was to visit a new place, we went to London and done a Harry Potter tour.

My family love to try new food and don’t shy away with tasting something that is new to them, anything to tickle their taste buds. The boys get quite excited when they are served up a new recipe to try. I have always taught them to taste it first before complaining that they don’t like it as sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised at how something tastes as to what it looks like. The youngest loves his seafood, with his favourite being mussels from the shell and The eldest is beginning to enjoy eating lots more spicy food and has even started to be adventurous in cooking them

A well-balanced diet, Eating a variety of food is good for our health. Each week we try to introduce a new food into the house, wether it be a new spice, new recipe or a new fruit to try. The children now like to pick out foods at the supermarket and ask me if we can try it at home, i like to encourage this and when we are cooking it I get them to watch and help out.

Unfortunately this week we wasn’t so adventurous with our food but it was still a new recipe to try.

Pork chops Pizza

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Ingredients:

Pork chop medallions

Tomato Puree

Half a small onion chopped finely

2 garlic cloves

6 slices Bacon chopped and cubed (remove the rind)

houmous

Grated cheese

Oliver oil

Mixed herbs

Method:

  • Place the chops under the grill until the pinkness has gone, and turn over for a few minutes.
  • Fry off the onions adding the garlic and bacon in some olive oil until the bacon is nice and crispy
  • Once one side of the chops are cooked and the other side has lost its pinkness, spread some tomato puree over them adding a big dollop of houmous and place back under the grill for a minute.
  • Top the chops with the bacon mixture and add some of the cheese on top, place back under the grill until the cheese melts
  • Repeat the last instructions
  • Take out of the grill and plate it up adding some more of the bacon on top and some mixed herbs

Serve with baby potatoes and greens

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We used caramised onion houmous and make sure you are generous with it, it gives a smoothness to the taste.

Hope you enjoy.

If you looking for inspiration on new recipes why not take a look at CSMA Smart Spending page for some recipe ideas on a budget

FAMILY



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CSMA Challenge: Boom Pop Balloon #NewThings

Have you tried anything new this week?

It’s week two of four into the CSMA Newthings bloggers challenge and this week was as a family to try a new game. This week has been extremely busy for us, not only did the two eldest boys return to school but i also returned to work after having 5 weeks off over the summer. The eldest boy started his new adventures into secondary school, plus we celebrated his 12th birthday today, so we have all been kept rather busy… although not too busy to enjoy playing a new game together.

As it was the eldest birthday there was quite a few balloons lying around the livingroom floor and as i was sitting their thinking about what game we could play, i quickly remembered reading about a party game involving balloons.

BOOM POP BALLOON

You will need a selection of different coloured balloons, inside one place a small gold star. Inflate, tie and leave to one sideDSC_0133

Next gather the children in front of you and tell them that you are going to throw the balloons up in the air – one balloon per child

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As you throw the balloons in the air give them an instruction to follow that they must do with one balloon

  • Catch the balloon with your right/left hand
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  • Catch the balloon with your feet

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  • Catch the balloon with one foot and one hand
  • Bounce the balloon with your head 5 times then sit down
  • Try to keep the balloon off of the floor by bouncing it high with your hands/feet/nose/elbow as many times as possible

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If you have quite a few children you could play a kind of musical chairs game but instead of taking a chair away each time take a balloon away and the child left without holding a balloon has to sit out.

My boys are very competitive and was funny to see how the littlest was eager to win by pushing his older brother aside and standing in front of him so that he could reach his balloon first.

Remember the balloon with the golden star inside….Well! Now this is the fun part. Gather the children together and ask them to pop all of the balloons because inside one of them there is a little star and whoever finds that star will be the lucky child who will receive a goody.

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Watch out for the POP!

After a few minutes of bottom bouncing, one of the boys found the golden star but as I am a nice mummy I let both of the boys have a sweetie.

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We had giggles, uncontrollable laughter, some pushing and shoving but most of all lots of fun. My boys love to play together especially when it’s a new exciting game to play. Balloon Pop Boom is a fun but active game and can keep them busy for hours. Give a child a balloon and watch in amazement on how long they will run around the room bouncing it around.

If you have done anything that has involved trying something new this week, why not link up below. I would love to read them 🙂

If you need any inspiration, CSMA Club has plenty of ideas for free attractions and places to visit around the country on the Time Out section of its Smart Spending hub. Don’t forget to use the #newthings hashtag whenever you’re sharing.

FAMILY


This is our entry into the CSMA week 2 challenge

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A London Harry Potter Tour #NewThings

The boys and I have been invited along with a selection of other bloggers to become New Things Ambassadors, a project run by CSMA. Over the next coming month we have been asked to help inspire other families in trying something new.

Read all about the NewThings project here This week the challenge is to visit a New Place.

This week we visited London. Ok, it’s not a new city for us to visit as we are up there at least once a month but it was the fact that we visited lots of new places in London that we have never been to before. London has a vast amount of hidden treasures that we may pass every day and not know they are there.

The boys and myself are huge Harry Potter fans, like many we have read the books and watched the films, we even have a few Harry potter toys lying around the house but we have never been to the Harry Potter studio tours, as It is slightly too expensive for us to go to as a family. So we took to the internet and found a perfect website to help us out with our OWN tour of London, visiting many of the locations that Harry Potter movies were filmed.

First up we caught the underground train to Leicester Square, we exited onto Charing Cross Road.

This is where the opening scene of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was filmed when the Death Eaters swoop down over Trafalgar Square, heading down Charing Cross Road leading a trail of destruction behind.

leicester square station

Next we made our way along Cranbourne Street, taking a right at the end onto St Martin’s Lane. Go left onto New Row and a little along the road we saw Hardy’s Original Sweet Shop

hardy sweet shop

Just like Honeyduke’s sweets shop in Harry Potter, Once inside this shop you are instantly surrounded by shelves that are stacked to the brim of all types of sweets. We bought a bag made up of Harry Potter themed sweets, costing £10 – not bad considering one of the packs cost 3.99 on its own! Inside is a long jelly basilisk, a chocolate wizard, a pack of liquorice wands, a pack of sherbet lemon sweets, a chocolate frog, a packet of popping candy and very famous every flavour beans.

will it be dirt, vomit or even booger flavour?
will it be dirt, vomit or even booger flavour?

Once stocked with some Harry Potter themed goodies, we headed on over to the other side of the road where we went right into Bedfordbury. Just along on the right hand side there is a passageway tucked away called Goodwins Court. This wasn’t in the Film but it has a magical feel to it with the lamps above the doorways. We must have passed this alleyway many times before but had no idea what was down it, until now!

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So Pretty!

At the end of Goodwins Court, cross over St Martins lane, veering left and head down Cecil Court. The court has such a magical, mysterious feel to it, not used in the HP Films but believed that Cecil Court was the influence of Diagon Alley. With curious antique and book shops, there is plenty to look at, most of the shops even have Harry Potter items on display for sale.

book store

Magic Money
Magic Money

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Next we headed on over to Leicester Square, where we walked towards Shaftesbury Avenue. This is where Ron, Hermione and Harry apparate to in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and nearly get run over by a number 19 bus.

Number 19 bus
Number 19 bus

As you walk along Shaftesbury Avenue you are taking the exact route that Harry, Hermione and Ron took in the film when discussing the Theatres. A little along the road you will see an arcade with large globe lights over head

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The same route that the young wizards took as they discuss about missing Harry’s birthday.

From here we made our way towards Nelson Column at Trafalgar Square, this is where the Death Eaters launch an attack on London from the air in the opening sequences of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. 

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Looking at Trafalgar Square in a different way and trying to remember clips of the film, made it feel quite real for us.

Next we headed on over to The Entrance of Ministry Of Magic which is actually on Great Scotland Yard and on the corner of Scotland Place.

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In the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and Mr Weasley enter through the ‘visitors entrance’ which was in a red telephone box located to the left of the brown door. The telephone box was a prop that was lowered down onto set and removed once the filming had finished, there are many telephone boxes scattered around London we found some great ones on Parliament Street to have a photo taken in.

On the other corner of Scotland Place, it was used in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part one , where the young wizards drink the polyjuice potion to get into the Ministry of Magic.

If you head along towards Horse Guards Parade towards Horse Guards Avenue, standing with your back towards the Spencer Comptons statue, you will notice that this is where the Staff entrance into the Ministry of Magic was. The entrance was in fact a ‘gentleman’s Toilet’ and was only a prop that was placed in the middle of the road.

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About to enter the Ministry of Magic
About to enter the Ministry of Magic

 

On the next part of the tour we headed to the Train Station to catch a train to Temple. Exiting the station we walked up the steps to the left and turned right. At the end of the road turn left into Milford Lane and walk up the steep flight of steps ahead along to Essex Street. At the top of the street you will find that you are on the Strand, turn left and ahead on the right hand side you will see Austraila House: Gringotts Bank. Look inside and see the magnificent crystal chandelier and the glorious marble floor. the boys said it really was Gringotts Bank!

We made our way back to Temple Station where we caught the underground train to Monument, here we headed up Fish Street Hill, crossing over Eastcheap and turning left along Gracechurch Street. Keep on walking along over Fenchurch Street and turning right into Bull’s Head Passage.

Here we found a blue optician doorway which was used in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as the entrance into The leaky cauldron.

leaky couldronKeeping ahead and walking into the Victorian Leadenhall Market, this was used in the films for the exterior shots of Diagon Alley.

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On the last part of our NewPlaces tour was to head to Kings Cross Station, where we was going to see if we could enter through Platform 9 3/4 to catch the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts. We caught the Northern Line train from Bank to Kings Cross and headed to KIngs Cross St.Pancras. There was no way we could have missed where the Platform was as there was a queue of people waiting to photograph the famous Platform 9 3/4 sign. There is even a luggage cart placed against the wall, where you can pose for photo.

jak kingscross

joseph kingscross

oliver kingscross

 

Kings Cross station was in every Harry Potter Film as it was the location where young wizards caught the Hogwarts Express from to journey to Hogwarts.

We had a fabulous day in London visiting places that we never knew were there, London really is the City with hidden treasures. We saw London with open eyes and noticed how beautiful buildings were and how magical and mysterious the City really is. We had fun as a family and I enjoyed being with the children in such a wonderful City. If you’re looking for ideas on days out then why not take a look at CSMA 10 Cheap things to do with the kids.

We found all of the locations with the help of downloading the guide from www.the-magician.co.uk

We would like you to join in and share your experiences with us too, they don’t have to be the same as our challenge, they could be trying new clothes on, visiting a new country or playing a new sport for the first time, join in with the linky or just use the hashtag #NewThings

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NewThings

The boys and I have been invited along with a selection of other bloggers to become New Things Ambassadors, a project run by CSMA. Over the next coming month we have been asked to help inspire other families in trying something new.

Why ‘New Things’? UK psychologist Dr. David Holmes came up with a scientific formula to booking the perfect holiday which stated that the best holiday memories are created when you try something new. Whether it’s introducing your family to a new recipe, visiting an attraction you’ve never seen before or just playing a new game, a unique activity leaves a stronger impression in your memory and helps you and your family remember the fun times you had together.

Each week from 25th August for one month, we will be set some challenges/topic that we will focus on a new experience. Our challenge is to encourage others to join in and try something new, using our imagination and creativity.

Over the course of a month, we will be sharing with you about our new experiences, how we enjoyed it and what we thought of it:

Week one (25th 31st August)  – visit a new place

Week two (1st – 7th September) – play a new game

Week three (8th – 14th September) – try a new food

Week four (15th – 21st September) – experience a new culture

We would like you to join in and share your experiences with us too, they don’t have to be the same as our challenge, they could be trying new clothes on, visiting a new country or playing a new sport for the first time

FAMILY

 

Linky will be open frome friday and will close on Monday, each week for the next month. Hopefully the linky will be a success and it will be continued after the months is up.

Join in using the hashtag #NewThings

Thank you 🙂

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