Monday, 15 November 2010

Arts, crafts and little boys

This weekend I spent a lovely afternoon at Masterchef Live at London's Olympia. As my husband pointed out I am a real housewife at heart and I like nothing more than to while away my time nibbling on samples of fudge and cheddar cheese, which is good as pretty much every other stand in the place was touting the 'creamiest' local fudge or cheese.

My absolute favourite stand of all was Mad Cow Fudge (from 'Uddersfield, geddit?), not only do they genuinely sell the best ever treacle toffee the lovely lady who served us was the most hilariously bitchy girl I have ever met.

Clearly this Northern lass was unimpressed by the London crowd, particularly the woman who demanded a sample, only to screw up her face in disgust declaring 'I don't like fudge'. 'So why did you ask for a sample?' asks our stalwart server. 'I just wanted to check that I still didn't like it'. I ask you. I am sure they went away convinced that it was grim down south.

We also tried our  hand, courtesy of the lovely PR for Plenty kitchen towels at making Christmas chocolate. Much cackling ensued as jokes about getting coated in chocolate were cracked via text to our absent husbands, one of whom was convinced that we had strayed into the Erotica expo. Sadly that is next weekend and the only sausages we tasted were of the ourdoor-reared pure pork variety.

It was great fun as we got to play finger printing with melted chocolate, although my attempts at this delicate art looked as if I had let my toddler twins have a go. Which brings me neatly onto the preposterous suggestion that our teacher made that we try this at home with our children. My friend, who has a nice, well behaved six-year-old girl was very taken with this idea. But with my four unruly boys I was horrified.

If I were to let loose my pack of little boys on a pot of molten chocolate, I would not end up with some pretty decorations for the tree, instead my whole house would be redecorated in sticky brown - not a colour I would choose from the Dulux chart.

The thing is, try as I did when my first was tiny, boys and arts and crafts mix like lemon juice and milk. In otherwords a revolting mess is the only way things ever end. My mother once let my son have a go doing some glitter cards for Christmas - and we were still picking shimmering flakes out of the carpet when we moved out three years later.

Mess is not the only problem. It takes time to set up a craft activity, laying out protective newspaper, finding scissors that are sharp enough to cut, glue that hasn't dessicated with disuse and play dough pots that still have their lids. This wouldn't be a problem if my boys actually played with all the paints and pens for more than a nanosecond, before losing interest and drifting off towards the nearest gadget with a screen.

I think perhaps I found the answer at Fine Burger Company in the O2 Centre yesterday though. It has touch screen computers set up at the tables where you can do finger painting and stamping onscreen. Needless to say the boys were transfixed and I had the most peaceful meal out with children that I have had since the first one was born.


  1. Yes, friends with girls keep suggesting activities such as pottery painting and ceramics with the kids. They just cannot understand that with little boys, this is nigh on impossible. On the occasions we've tried it, they got bored after 5 minutes and started splashing paint around.

    I think it does improve though. Littleboy 1 is quite good at colouring now, and will actually sit and do it for 20 minutes. A thing I thought I would never see.