Saturday, 27 September 2014

Autumn in North-East Scotland: for MultiCultural Kids Blog

 Autumn has officially arrived in North-East Scotland.  Did you know that autumn begins officially on September 21st?  We spent that day in the "Duff House Woodies" as our local forest is known.
 Malika and Ameenah loved collecting conkers, leafs and a whole host of other Autumn goodies such as oak tree leaves and pet worms!
 We decided to get crafty with out Autumn Goodies and used this 10 minute craft book for inspiration.
These bookwork caterpillar leaf bookmarks are easy to make and really really beautiful!
 Although our bookmark turned out rather large!
 Last week I ran an art class for adults with learning disabilities in our local Banff Castle.  They all loved this activity also and really enjoyed all the stages from gathering leaves to choosing their favourite buttons for decoration.
 Malika learned this Harvest song at school and I think she sings it beautifully with help from her wonderful assistant Ameenah! 
 Did you know in Scotland children get two weeks holiday in October called the "Tattie holidays."  "Tattie" is Doric (our local dialect) for potato and this holiday was originally given so that children could go and help harvest potatoes to keep Britain fed in the 1940's! 
 From first light children as young as primary age were out in frosty fields doing back-breaking work, but they and their families were happy for the money — and a hard worker could make a decent day’s pay.
At its post-war height in 1949 nearly 44,000 Scottish school children flocked to the country’s potato fields to take part in a crucial harvest that helped keep Britain fed.
 Thankfully times have changed and now the "Tattie holidays" are really about having time off school and having fun...We are going to Belgium this Tattie holiday to stay with my best friend, and Malika's god-mum Pammy, who is a Michelin Star chef!  We can not wait and are grateful that we don't have the spend our holidays digging potatoes anymore!

"Enjoy these beautiful Autumn Days wherever you are in the world"
Love Malika and Ameenah xxx

Multicultural Kid Blogs  Thank you Leanna at Multicultural Kid Blogs for asking us to join the Autumn Blog xxxx

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Princess Nevaeh - Book Review!

My daughter Malika Afif-Watt who is four years old reviewed this book.  Here she is in her Estonian princess dress!  This picture was taken when we were in Tallin in July 2014.

"I really liked this book - please can you send me more Princess books!  I loved the pictures and illustrations.  I liked the story - it was amazing!  I liked learning about how to be a princess and I am going to tell my friends at school how to be a princess.  The story taught me about how to be kind - be helpful and say nice things and nice words.  This is better than saying ugly or smelly words!  Yes indeed! 
I think after reading this that a princess should fold her clothes and hang them the right way. 
I like doing a book review because it is fun.  If you come to Scotland or I go to your country, I will share my princess book with you anytime!" Malika Afif-Watt

Malika and I enjoyed reading this book together and it makes a refreshing change to find a princess book about emotions and behaviour instead of image.  (Although we love the books Princess and the Pigsty and The Worst Princess which also promote the idea of non-conformity!)

This book asks us to "Look inside your heart!" and focusses on positive behaviour.  Mimi, Princess Naevah's grandmother, tells us that Princesses "never hit, kick or bite." 

My youngest daughter Ameenah bit Malika on the arm tonight so I think I will have to read it again!

Anyway an enjoyable read with a positive message - Thanks!  Emma Afif-Watt

Here is a link to the authors home-page:

And to our Amazon review:

Thank you to Leanna at Multicultural Kid Blogs for organising this....

Multicultural Kid Blogs

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Busy on the YES Campaign Trail! xx

Wow - We have been so busy the last few weeks with Malika starting school and getting settled into the new routines.  She is at school from 9am-3pm which is quite a long day for a four year old.  On top of this there is a lot of homework, words to learn, books to review, messy letters to write...
She has started Highland Dancing on Monday evenings in the draughty local church hall and will start Rainbows in a few weeks.  I have no idea how I will manage this when I'm back at University in a few weeks but hopefully awesome Granny will step in again!
Anyway right now I am glued to the newspapers at all times for the latest referendum news...IN eight days time in Scotland voters have one simple question to answer: Should Scotland be an independent country?  And here in Fife Street, Banff we will answer a big fat:

I'd made my mind up a long time ago, way before the referendum was on the table.  I studied Scottish Literature and History at Glasgow University and was so impressed after reading Alasdair Gray's brilliant "Why the Scots should rule Scotland."
When the Tory government were re-elected for a fourth term in 1992 Scotland was plunged into a constitutional crisis. An unelected unwanted government with alien social values had been imposed on the people of Scotland. Again. The concept of “a democratic deficit” gathered political momentum and from the low of 1992 Scots slowly but inexorably stirred, rose to our feet, and began to assert our right to exist as a self-governing nation.
Into this cauldron of questioning and cultural renaissance author Alasdair Gray published an incendiary pamphlet titled ‘Why Scots Should Rule Scotland.’

13 years after graduating (from that degree!) and with two daughters assisting me, we spent last weekend musing on Gray's wise words as we assisted on the campaign trail with Dr Eilidh Whiteford SNP MP at Westminster.  Malika and Ameenah are the youngest Banff and Buchan Yes Campaigners and we had such fun delivering the latest YES Campaign newsletters all over town.

As a full-time working mum, I really want Scotland to become independent.  One of the flagship policies in the White Paper is that a comprehensive childcare system will be introduced for all children over the age of one.  This will be funded through scrapping our nuclear weapons which cost the taxpayer billions to maintain every year.

During my recent social work internship in Finland my mum and I were honoured to meet and befriend so many strong, active, interesting and powerful women.  Award-winning tattooists, University Professors, Heads of City Planning, Art Gallery curators, Chefs etc etc...And I really believe these women have such power in Finnish society because they have such awesome and comprehensive child care facilities all over the country at minimal cost.  Finnish mums also have the option of THREE years maternity/paternity leave - if it's a no vote on the 18th my bags are packed!

Back in Scotland current childcare facilities are really inadequate and prohibitively expensive.  If Malika and Ameenah were full time in childcare I would have to pay around £1500 per month.  So this would present the absurd situation whereby I would have to pay to work because of the steep childcare costs!  It's completely absurd, it doesn't serve women, it doesn't help me or my family at all, it doesn't aid me to raise Malika and Ameenah as strong independent powerful women -It is definitely time to become an Independent People and elect leaders who want to ensure that half the population are holding up half the sky.

I want to show Malika and Ameenah these pictures when they are older and show  them that we tried to ensure our wee voices were heard.  And they did have such fun racing to see who could deliver the most leaflets...

Stay tuned folks.  Not long now...and remember to vote