Sunday, 23 February 2020

This Week - 23/02/2020

An eye for an eye and the world goes blind



It was half term this week so I've spent lots of time at home with Marianna. There has been lots of drawing, reading, and finishing off every game on the CBBC apps roster. M usually has quite restricted tablet access but we let up as it was half term and the weather has been so atrocious. Plus it meant I got to watch some of my new Kojak boxset as opposed to endless repeats of Frozen or Barbie's Dreamhouse Adventures. I've only ever seen the odd episode of Kojak here and there before so I'd never properly appreciated how massively uncool Kojak should be. Only Telly Savalas could pull it off, seriously.

We did have a little movie night on Thursday to watch the Horrible Histories Rotten Romans movie. Kim Cattrall as Agrippina the Younger, mother to CBBC alumni Craig Roberts' Emperor [Mummy's Boy] Nero, was legitimately hilarious. Luckily Marianna really liked it too or else it would have just been me cackling at this film aimed at six year olds...

On Friday night a bunch of us went out for a meal to celebrate my aunt and uncle's wedding anniversary. Anthony was most upset because he had to stay in for a change - it will do his liver good. ;D Saturday we went to my mum's to watch the rugby. ...The less said about that the better!



Deal of the Week -

20% off at Serenata with promo code referral link https://serenataflowers.mention-me.com/m/ol/bk3ka-jessica-powell



This week I've posted guides to Project Mc2 and Vi & Va dolls, a couple of lyric sheets for Welsh post-punk three piece Adwaith, and two giveaways for Morgan & Cwtch and a couple of Michael Rosen parody books. For my Friday Five series I wrote a post on critically endangered European languages, as a tie in with International Mother Language Day.



Song of the Week -

FEMME - Adwaith



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Saturday, 22 February 2020

Morgan & Cwtch Giveaway!

Morgan & Cwtch

Last January we reviewed the lovely Morgan's Magic Moon by Christopher Parry. I was sold on the striking illustrations and the smooth flow of the rhyme, and Marianna was thrilled by the idea of a red headed protagonist with a small canine sidekick - just like her and my mum's dog!

So, today, I'm really pleased to be able to share a review of the next book in the series, Morgan & Cwtch. Cwtch, the name of the story's super cute dog, is a Welsh word for which there is no literal translation, but is basically a cuddly, snuggly kind of a hug.

As I said last time around, I absolutely love the stylized illustrations and the bright colour palette used by Jordan Brown. I am notoriously picky about the artwork in children's books - quietly swapping out books for editions with subjectively better illustrations is practically a full time hobby these days! - so that's no faint praise.

Morgan & Cwtch Illustrations

As for the story itself, the blurb sums it up well with: What do you do when there's fish at the window and you are under the sea? You open the door and begin to explore. Follow Morgan and Cwtch on their underwater adventures and how they come to the rescue of one of their new friends. This is a delightful children's story about helping others in need.

The story is easy to follow and, like its predecessor, the rhyme flows easily off the tongue - so important when a faltering syllable might seem like nothing until you've had to read a story twenty times over. I love that the central message is about helping others too. It sets up an easy in for further discussion without overly hammering the point home.

This time around Marianna was even able to join in with the reading; I really liked that Cwtch the dog's speech was highlighted with large letters - it provided the perfect starting point for Marianna to chip in and sound words out. The layout and text are both attractive and clear, which make it a joy to read even with little fingers wanting to trace out your progress.

Morgan & Cwtch by Christopher Parry

Marianna says: I liked it. My favourite bit was when they met the mermaid. And I liked the dog because he was really nice. He reminded me of Molly.

To pick up a copy for yourself, head on over to gwales.com where softcover copies are available for £4.99. Alternatively, fill out the Gleam widget below to get up to five chances to win one:

Morgan & Cwtch Giveaway

Morgan & Cwtch Story Book by Chris Parry



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Friday, 21 February 2020

Friday Five - Endangered Languages

Friday Five

Today is International Mother Language Day, a worldwide observance since 2000 which has its roots in the Bengali Language Movement of the 1950s. About half of the world's c. 7,000 living languages are predicted to be dead within the next 100 years, and 6% of them are already classified as being almost extinct.

In line with the day's aims, here are five European languages classified as critically endangered...



#5. Kernewek (Cornish)

Cornish, like Welsh and Breton, is a descendant of Old Brittonic. It survived well into the middle ages and only really began to lose its dominance in Cornwall after the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549. Speaker numbers fell rapidly from that point onwards and today, even with government intervention, there are estimated to be less than 1,000 fluent speakers.

The spelling is more anglicised, but you can see the similarities with Welsh from the postcard below. For more information check out Dyski Kernewek (Learn Cornish).

Cornish



#4. līvõ kēļ (Livonian)

Spoken on the Livonian Coast of Latvia, Livonian - a language closely related to Estonian - was once spoken by upwards of 30,000 people. By 1900 that number had fallen to under 3,000 and, in spite of extra language protections following the fall of the Soviet Union, the language was declared dead in 2013. It has since been fighting back though, with university courses and social media exercises.

Livonian



#3. τσακώνικα (Tsakonian)

The only living descendant of the Ancient Greek dialect of Doric, Tsakonian is today spoken by a few hundred people in the Peloponnese peninsula. It is not close enough to modern Greek to be mutually intelligible, and some of its dialects have already died out. As of 2020 it has no official language status, though efforts are being made to both preserve and promote it.

Tsakonian



#2. Gagauzça (Gagauz)

The official language of Gagauzia (The Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia in Moldova, pop. 135,000), Gagauz is a Turkic language also spoken in parts of Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Gagauz is especially interesting for the way it has been adapted to a string of different alphabets; it was first written with Greek letters, then Cyrillic, before moving to an adaption of the modern Turkish alphabet in 1996. Although it has language protection it is rarely used as an administrative language, and education in Gagauzia is mostly delivered in the medium of Russian.

To see it in action, check out the website of Ana Sözü, a Gagauz newspaper.

Gagauz Republic Flag



#1. Galick (Manx Gaelic)

Back to the UK and another Celtic language, Manx is a historic language of the Isle of Man. Although it lacks official status and was once considered all but dead, persistent efforts to keep the language alive have ensured its survival and continued relevance - Manx is now taught as a second language in the island's schools, and there is no shortage of media both produced in and translated into Manx.

Check out Learn Manx to join the c. 2,000 Manx speakers.

Manx



Are you learning an endangered language? Let me know in the comments! :)



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Friday Five

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Vi and Va

Vi and Va by MGA Entertainment

MGA Entertainment launched Vi & Va in January 2015. In addition to being Spanish for 'live', ViVa was short for Viviana and Valentina, teenaged sisters who formed the central focus of the line. Their cousins Roxxi and Felicia rounded out the set. The dolls were aimed at younger girls, promoting friendship, family, and Latina culture.

The dolls had rooted hair, screened faces, and stood 9 inches tall.



Vi and Va

Core Dolls

★ Roxxi - box front / box back.
★ Valentina - box front / box back.
★ Viviana - box front / box back.
★ Felicia - box front / box back.

Vi and Va Core Dolls in Packaging



Vi and Va Fashion Designer ValentinaVi and Va Hair Stylist Valentina


Activity Dolls

★ Fashion Designer Viviana - box front / box back.
★ Hair Stylist Valentina - box front / box back.



Vi and Va Birthday Celebration Dolls

Birthday Celebration 

The Birthday Celebration set had a Sweet Sixteen theme for big sister Vi, and a Quinceañera theme for little sister Va.

★ Birthday Celebration Vi and Va - box front / contents / box back.



Vi and Va Fashion Packs
Fashion Packs

★ Roxxi - box front / box back.
★ Viviana - box front / box back.
★ Valentina - box front / box back.
★ Felicia - box front / box back.



Vi and Va Styling Head

No MGAE doll line would be complete without ye olde styling head...

★ Styling Head - box front / contents / box back.



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Dolls



Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Parody Books Giveaway

parody books

This month's giveaway is for two fun parody books - We're Going on a Bar Hunt and The Very Hungover Caterpillar! As the latter blurb says: The perfect book for anyone who fondly remembers the original, but has now grown up and knows all too well just how painful hungover days can be.



For up to five chances to win, please fill out the Gleam widget below...

Parody Books



Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Adwaith

Adwaith

Because there are only so many Welsh nursery ryhmes anyone can take, this week I did some lyric sheets for one of my favourite Welsh language bands. Adwaith (Reaction) are a three piece post punk group from Carmarthenshire who have lyrics to make you think - and melodies to make you want to listen even when you can't understand them!

Their debut album Melyn (Yellow) came out on Libertino Records in October 2018, and they've been slowly working on conquering the Welsh music scene, playing festivals and picking up awards. They're definitely ones to watch.




Lyrics for Hey! by Adwaith

The translation is something like:

This is the end of the world
Gather together
...
Radiation in the soil
This is the hour of our lives
So precious
Run from the truth
Now I see clearly

Hey hey hey hey!
You’re not helping
Hey hey hey hey!
You fear failure
Hey hey hey hey!
It’s hard to believe
When you refuse to see with your own eyes.

Hey hey hey hey!
You’re not listening
Hey hey hey hey!
You’re not finding
Hey hey hey hey!
It’s hard to believe
When you refuse to see with your own eyes.




Lyrics for Femme by Adwaith



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Welsh Language / Iaith Cymraeg

Monday, 17 February 2020

Project Mc2

Project Mc2

MGA Entertainment launched their 11 inch Project MC2 dolls in 2015, supported by a live action Netflix series with the same name. There were initially four characters - Adrienne Attoms, Bryden Bandweth, Carmryn Coyle and McKeyla McAlister - and the line was later expanded to include Devon D'Marco and Ember Evergreen.

The premium dolls were fully articulated and even the basic 'core' ranges had inset eyes. As for the science projects, they tended to be hit or miss, but it's still a step up from the usual variety of doll accessories!



Project Mc2 Wave One Dolls

2015 - Launch Dolls

★ Camryn Coyle - box front / contents / box back. (skateboard experiment)
★ Adrienne Atoms - box front / contents / box back. (volcano experiment)
★ McKeyla McAlister - box front / contents / box back. (lava lamp experiment)
★ Bryden Bandweth - box front / contents / box back. (glow stick experiment)

Check out the really in-depth review of McKeyla over at Toybox Philosopher.

In 2016 MGA released cheaper versions of the launch dolls - painted eyes and fewer accessories - as a Big Lots exclusive. They retailed for $15 a piece.



Project Mc2 2015 Core Dolls

2015 - Core Dolls

These basic 'core' dolls lacked articulation and experiments. Instead these were straight up play dolls packaged with nothing more than a beaker shaped plastic comb.

★ Camryn Coyle - box front / contents / box back.
★ McKeyla McAlister - box front / contents / box back.
★ Adrienne Attoms - box front / contents / box back
★ Bryden Bandweth - box front / contents / box back.

This wave, too, was given a make-under in 2016 and sold for $9 a piece as a supermarket exclusive.



Project Mc2 Wave Two Dolls

Spring 2016

★ Camryn Coyle - box front / contents / box back. (robot experiment)
★ McKeyla McAlister - box front / contents / box back. (invisible ink pen)
★ Adrienne Attoms - box front / contents / box back. (perfume experiment)
★ Bryden Bandwith - box front / contents / box back. (light up bracelet)



Project Mc2 Spring 2016 Core Dolls

Spring 2016 - Core Dolls

★ Bryden Bandweth - box front / contents / box back. (emoji top)
★ McKeyla McAlister - box front / contents / box back.
★ Adrienne Attoms - box front / contents / box back.
★ Camryn Coyle - box front / contents / box back.



Project Mc2 Remote Control Car

2016 - Remote Control Car

★ Car - box front / box back.



Project Mc2 Fall 2016 Core DollsProject Mc2 Fall 2016 Core Dolls

Fall 2016 - Core Dolls

★ Bryden Bandweth - box front / contents / box back. (leather jacket)
★ Camryn Coyle - box front / contents / box back. (pink coat)
★ McKeyla McAlister - box front / contents / box back. (kilt)
★ Adrienne Attoms - box front / contents / box back. (pink top + check skirt)
★ Devon D'Marco - box front / contents / box back.
★ Ember Evergreen - box front / contents / box back. (daisy dress)



Project Mc2 Wave Three Dolls

Fall 2016

★ Bryden Bandweth - box front / contents / box back.
★ McKeyla McAlister - box front / contents / box back.
★ Adrienne Atoms - box front / contents / box back.
★ Devon D'Marco - box front / contents / box back.
★ Ember Evergreen - box front / contents / box back.

Project Mc2 Dolls MGA Entertainment

This wave had a kind of unofficial extra member in Camryn Coyle and her remote control hoverboard. Camryn was left off the promo group shots, presumably because she was selling at a higher price point.

★ Camryn Coyle - box front / contents / box back.

Project Mc2 Camryn Coyle and Remote Control Hoverboard



Project Mc2 Ball Dolls

Winter 2016

★ McKeyla McAlister - box front / contents / box back. (lava lip gloss)
★ Adrienne Atoms - box front / contents / box back. (gummies)
★ Bryden Bandweth - box front / contents / box back. (light up earrings)
★ Camryn Coyle - box front / contents / box back. (tie dye)
★ Ember Evergreen - box front / contents / box back. (glitter tattoos)



Project Mc2 Wave Five Masquerade Prom Dolls

 2017 - Masquerade Prom

★ Emryn Evergreen - box front / contents / box back. (fairy wing earrings)
★ Adrienne Attoms - box front / contents / box back. (lemon soap)
★ McKeyla - box front / contents / box back. (glue tattoos)
★ Camryn Coyle - box front / contents / box back. (nail polish)
★ Bryden Bandweth - box front / contents / box back. (phone case)



Project MC2 Wave Seven Dolls

2017 - Core Dolls

★ Bryden Bandweth - box front / contents / box back.
★ Camryn Coyle - box front / contents / box back.
★ Adrienne Attoms - box front / contents / box back.
★ McKeyla McAlister - box front / contents / box back.
★ Devon D'Marco - box front / contents / box back.
★ Ember Evergreen - box front / contents / box back.

Project Mc2 Core Devon D'Marco 2017Project Mc2 Core Ember Evergeen 2017



Project Mc2 Styling Head

Winter 2017 - Styling Head

★ McKeyla McAlister - box front / contents / box back.





2018

★ Bryden Bandwidth - box front / contents / box back. (fidget spinner)
★ McKeyla McAlister - box front / contents / box back. (cocoa bronzer)
★ Adrienne Attoms - box front / contents / box back. (hair mascara)
★ Ember Evergreen - box front / contents / box back. (lip gloss



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Dolls



Sunday, 16 February 2020

This Week - 16/02/2020

What if this is all real?



On Monday I had a meeting at Marianna's school to start the headteacher recruitment process. As chair of governors you're expected to lead on it a lot so I was hoping we'd be coming up to interviews for the new head at Croesyceiliog Secondary by now, so I could get some practice in. Sod's law means the latter process has stalled, of course, so thank God for HR support!

Then there was a school open afternoon on Tuesday, so I was back in to look through Marianna's books. She seems to be making good process and I was really impressed by the evidence base across all the kids' books. Teaching in primaries is so innovative these days - I really hope curriculum reform will start pushing it through secondaries the way it needs to be.

I chaired Children and Young People scrutiny committee on Thursday, looking at the EAS (South East Wales Educational Achievement Service) business plan. I should have been more on the ball, to be honest, as it went over time and we still didn't get through all the questions we came up with at Wednesday's pre-agenda meeting. I did manage to bring up my usual points about governor training and some of my concerns about the sustainability of school-to-school work though. You can watch the whole meeting on webcast.

Other than education stuff I had licensing committee (webcast) and various bits of casework. At home I wrote 12k of fiction for the first time in months... I barely managed to scrape 25k in the whole of last year!



Deal of the Week -

£15 off at Floom with promo code referral link https://floom.mention-me.com/m/ol/gn6iu-jessica-powell



I missed quite a few days of blogging this week so had to go and backdate some posts yesterday... I ended up with guides to Moxie Teenz and 'N Style Girls dolls, and posts about Safer Internet Day and my top five Zelfs for the Friday Five series. I also wrote a review of Dizzy Rhino's party in a box after winning one from TheSchoolRun website.



Song of the Week -

Nine in the Afternoon - Panic! At The Disco



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