August 28, 2019

Travelling corner: We found our favourite family-friendly beach!

We went there once and immediately fell in love with everything we saw, so we needed to return the following day… Why!? It’s quiet, just off the coastal path, has soft sand, and it is just the right size (not too crowded/not too deserted). The sea is calm (with moderate waves), the water temperature is tolerable (no, it’s not freezing cold!) and it has a beautiful colour (greenish/blueish). The beach is located about 15-minute’s walk from the National Trust car park and a NT café (with some delicious local ice-cream—just saying 😉 ). And there is a bonus: on the way to the beach, you can meet many friendly cows!

Where is the beach? Barafundle Bay in South Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK.

What’s your favourite family-friendly beach?

Kinga Macalla

August 21, 2019

Travelling corner: Bristol by bike (part 1)

In my humble opinion, Bristol is not the easiest place to cycle as it’s quite hilly, but the bike trips I want to recommend today are not too challenging – they’re definitely family-friendly 🙂 I usually cycle with my family at weekends and we use a bike trailer for our two daughters who enjoy observing the world from there (or having short naps, why not?!). I planned to include more bike trips in this blog post, but my post-partum stamina is still weak (another blog post with more bike trips is coming this autumn). OK, off we go! 3 bike trips are coming:

Blaise Castle (cycling route no 41)

It’s a fantastic place for the whole family. You can picnic there or have some serious fun on the playgrounds. How to get there by bike? We usually cycle from Shirehampton by cycling route no 41. The cycling route can be found just behind the Nova primary school. Later, you’ll pass the city farm in Lawrence Weston where you can have a short break (if you fancy doing so!). Once you’ve reached the street, turn left and then again left and up. It’s a bit hilly for the last few meters, but then you can race down on your way back!

Lamplighter’s walk

This is a short bike trip. You start by the Lamplighters Pub (there is a small sandpit playground behind it), turn left and cycle by the side of the River Avon. Nice views and a good place to have a picnic (you’ll find a picnic table in the middle of the route).

Portishead (cycling route no 26)

This’s my favourite! It’s long (for me!, cca 1,5 hrs one way), sometimes hilly, with some beautiful and wild nature. You start in Shirehampton at Lower High Street, you go towards Avonmouth and then turn left to go to the M5 motorway. Once off the M5, turn right and follow the cycling route no 26 to Portishead. In Portishead, you can relax in the park, have a walk around the marina or go swimming in the indoor or open-air swimming pools (aka lido).

What are your favourite cycling routes in Bristol? Let me know in the comments below.

Kinga Macalla

August 14, 2019

Book review: Language strategies for bilingual families. The one-parent-one-language approach by Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert

This is an interesting and useful publication for bilingual families. Mainly, because each chapter finishes with some comments from the parents on the topics discussed in the given chapter. I think it’s a very good addition to the research-based theory, the real voice of bilingual parents.

What is the one-parent-one-language approach (OPOL)? “The original term came from a French linguist, Maurice Grammont, who […] introduced the idea of une personne; une langue”. Literally translated from the French as one person; one language”. (p. 1) OPOL means that each parent speaks their language to the child. (p. 213)

Suzanne Bareon-Hauwaert, the author of Language strategies for bilingual families is an expert on bilingualism both academically, through her extensive research and practically, as a mum to her three multilingual children. In her publication, she discusses various topics linked with bilingual upbringing and OPOL, from a child’s refusal to speak one language, mixing languages, homework, grandparents’ involvement, trilingualism (multilingualism), the advantages and disadvantages of bilingualism to biculturalism. Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert also discusses the philosophy behind being successful in bilingual upbringing and I personally found it fascinating, not only in regards to bilingual upbringing, but also in other aspects of the child’s life (e.g. education or interests/hobbies). So, what guarantees successful active bilingual upbringing? Interestingly, the families who are most successful are those who are passionately committed to their kids’ bilingualism. “[They] discuss, read, and plan their children bilingualism well in advance of the child‘s arrival (…). They highly value bilingualism and its benefits to both the individual and society.” (p. 112)

Do you follow OPOL? How does this approach work in your bilingual family setting? Please let me know in the comments below.

Kinga Macalla

August 7, 2019

Book review: Zen: The Art of Simple Living. by Shunmyō Masuno

Zen is a perfect bed-time read. It’ll calm you down and give you some perspective on your worries, stress, sadness, but also all the positive aspects of your life. It’s written by Shunmyō Masuno, a Japanese Zen Buddhist who very gently, but also practically, leads us into the Zen philosophy, how to enrich and simplify our lives through introducing some Zen day-to-day solutions and practices. The book is beautifully published with the illustrations designed by the talented Zanna and Harry Goldhawk. The book is divided into four main chapters and a hundred mini-chapters on how to live a more Zen life.

I often read the book before bed-time, depending on what I feel, I look for the right mini-chapter to resonate with my feelings (or even a heading, if I’m very sleepy). Reading the book has definitely brought more tranquillity into my life and sleep and also makes me think that everything is figureoutable and that being surrounded by nature can heal our bodies and minds.

To bring the book and the Zen philosophy closer to you, below I present some of my favourite chapter titles and quotations:

Savour the morning air (p. 22)

Don’t waste time worrying about things you cannot control (p. 58)

Don’t put off what you can do today (p. 74)

You cannot regret the future (p. 74)

Try your best to do what you can now (p. 76)

Don’t be troubled by things that have not yet happened (p. 82)

Joy is to be found within yourself (p. 84)

Don’t compare yourself to others (p. 92)

Cultivate your sense of gratitude (p. 146)

See things for what they are (p. 162)

Make someone happy (p. 178)

Be here now (p. 184)

Be positive (p. 190)

Make the most of life (p. 222)

Have you read Zen. The Art of Simple Living.? What are your favourite chapters? Please let me know in the comments below.

Kinga Macalla