ET Speaks From Home

Cuisine & Culture the Chinese Family Way

ET Speaks From Home

Rockford’s Rock Opera Review

Rockford’s Rock Opera is about the story of a boy from Battersea called Moog and his Dog, Rockford who get drawn into an adventure in sound that threatens the entire human race.  It was first launched in 2009 on the web as an enhanced audio book.  Combining pictures, animation, songs and dialogue the story was unique in its format and delivery.

Throughout 2009 Rockford’s Rock Opera built a loyal fan base among children, families and schools (so much so that lesson plans were created around the story).  Then, in 2012 the project’s creators, husband and wife team, Matthew and Elaine Sweetapple working with writer and comedian, Steve Punt, launched the story as Apple and Android story apps and, before long, with no promotion, the story became one of the world’s most downloaded children’s audiobook apps.

Now, with top selling mobile and tablet Apps for both Apple and Android, a stage show, video game and a feature film in production, the creators of Rockford’s Rock Opera are creating more Rockford stories and looking forward to the next chapter for the heart-warming audio story they wrote and recorded at home, in an attic, in Barnet, North London.

Although principally aimed at 6 – 12 year olds and their families, via Apps the story is now reaching a far wider audience, from pre-school children to teenagers and grandparents.

On the web, the first hour of the story is available free as a stream or downloads, you can then buy the whole story on CD (running time of 2 hours 35 minutes), as downloads or streamed as an animated picture book and read-along:

Rockford's Rock Opera DVDAs for the app, there are 4 parts to the story and the first part is free to download in Apple App store and Google Play.  Parts 2, 3 and 4 are available as paid.

In each Part, there are four chapters.

Part One: They are Chapter 1 to 4: Moog, Rockford and Ick; Colonel Utensil and Squid Squad; There’s no going back!; Snow, Lost Dogs and Anonymous Moth.

Part Two: Chapter 5 – 8: Together on Infinity; Humans and Extinction; The Herculous Bird; A Journey Begins.

Part Three: Chapter 9 – 12: The World Wonders; The Trip and the Hullabaloo; A Chase to the Fossil Record Office; The Spooos and Bad News.

Part Four: Chapter 13 – 16: A Battle to Save the World; Farewells and Promises; Distant Generation and Return; New World Dawning and Credits.

Splash Page Part 4What did we think?

I think this is a very well written and unique story with enjoyable and catchy music.  The music is light hearted and there are words on the page to help you to sing along if you want too!

The illustrations might not be the best graphically that I have seen but they make each strange looking character very colourful and attractive. 

RockfordMy son enjoys listening to the story and he loves those strange creatures too.  It did took him a while to understand the story, which helped when we gave him a brief synopsis.  The storyline is fresh and engaging. 

If you have not heard nor seen it before, try out their first part and check it out! 

Disclosure: We have received the DVD and free codes to download to do an honest review. Images used with permission.

Chinese Wedding Yue Lao

Following my recent theme on Chinese traditions, I decided to write about Yue Lao who is the god of marriage.  Without him, there wouldn’t be any wedding.  According to legend, Yue Lao appeared as an old man under the moon.  He is like cupid but instead of holding a bow and arrow, he is holding a red string.  If he ties the red string onto the couple, they will fall in love and get married. 

In the traditional Chinese wedding custom, the bride and bridegroom walks together holding a length of red cloth with a big red ribbon in the middle.  This is symbolism of their match by Yue Lao.  I don’t think this has been commonly practised in Singapore.

There are many temples and shrines for the worship of Yue Lao praying for a happy marriage.  Singles will pray for love or elderly parents will pray for their single children to be married.

In some of the shrines, he is holding the book of marriage 姻缘簿, in his left hand and red threads in his right hand along with a couple.  In some, he is holding a red thread/ribbon.  Thanks to my uncle for sharing these photos with me again!

People believe that the relationship breaks down when the red string is broken or Yue Lao had cut them off.  For those who have no luck getting marry, they only have a tiny red string across their ankle that it is impossible to connect to any other person’s red string.

If you happen to travel around Asian countries, look out for Yue Lao in the temples!

Yue Lao in Taiwan

Win a Hare Blackboard Wall Decals worth £29

The Brit PackIntroducing The Brit Pack: A New Voice for British Made Children’s Brands

If you haven’t already read about The Brit Pack let me tell you more…   It’s a collaboration formed of brands that design and manufacture quality goods here in the UK, specifically within the children’s arena.  The collaboration is the inspiration of Grubbies – the ‘dungaree evangelists’ – made Great in Britain!

A day out at Barton Marina

Recently, I wrote a local guide for Lichfield for tots100 – if you have not seen it, click here.  Barton Marina is one of the places I mentioned.  It is a unique Trent & Mersey canal-side attraction with fantastic cafés and restaurants, shopping and fabulous walks around the beautiful lakes and woodlands.  We love to take our children there for a bike ride around the lakes and to eat ice cream.

Yesterday, we had our photo shoot to update our blog photo with our regular photographer – Susannah Conway Photography.  I am so excited that I can’t wait to update it soon!  After that, we drove down to Barton Marina for Thai food!  It had been a long time since we last ate Thai food!  They had a buffet menu and there was a good selection of foods.  It was very delicious and I would recommend going again.

Barton Marina Thai Food

How to cook BBQ Pork Slice (Bak Kwa)

BBQ Pork Slice homemade bak kwaEarlier this year, I wrote about Singapore BBQ Pork Slice which are available all year round and they are like pork jerky except that it has been barbecued.  It’s one of my favourite snacks.  Whenever I am in Singapore, I will buy at least 200g each time and finish it in no time!  They are sweet, chewy, meaty and delicious.  They are ready to be eaten and can be kept for a couple of days.  They are best consumed at room temperature rather than cold.

Markwins Cosmetic and Beauty collections for Young Girls

A year ago, I raised a question with UK beauty bloggers if they knew anything about nail polish for children but didn’t get anywhere.  Ms C is a big fan of nail polish.  I had bought her a few adult nail polishes while we were out shopping.  With the various chemicals in nail polish, I always worry that she might accidentally ingest it or that it would harm her tiny nails.  Long term use of nail polish will dull the colour of the nail if you don’t look after it properly.  Therefore, I am so glad to come across Markwins on Twitter.

Markwins have been expertly designing cosmetic and beauty collections for over 25 years based on three simple concepts – Quality, Value and Innovation.  They offer fabulous value, innovative packaging, inspiring concepts and affordable beauty products to women and girls around the world, without sacrificing quality.

Bio Persil Small and Mighty Review

It seems my children’s clothing are a magnet for paint, ink, food or mud.  Mr K is the main culprit.  Yesterday, he and his friend were play fighting and rolling around the field and came back home very muddy indeed.  Luckily, we had the Persil solution to put to the test.

bio PersilSwapping to Persil’s liquid solution, we instantly noticed the fresh laundry smell after the wash.  Our noses have become accustomed to our usual Fairy laundry powder and so maybe it’s a good time to swap our usual laundry product as I miss those strong laundry smells!

Orion Early Reader Book Review: Where Are My Lambs?

Where Are My LambsWhere Are My Lambs? is a book written by Francesca Simon and illustrated by Emily Bolam. This is the blue Early Reader and is perfect for sharing and reading together. It was released on 8th December 2011 and published by Orion Books.

The book is paperback containing about 64 pages with many beautiful water colour illustrations. The font varies in size.  Before the story begins, there are a few pages to introduce Potter’s Barn, the animals and along with a farm map.