If you have a prolific young artist in your family or an occassional artist who likes to work to one specific brief, we have an opportunity for you: enter our monthly Binky Picture Competition. As the entries for our current competition trickle in at a steady pace, ahead of 15th of the month deadline, I started to think about why we had decided to run monthly picture competitions in the first place.
Our first competition was back in November and Daisy from Southampton, aged just 4 ½ was our first winner. We sent Daisy a certificate with a copy of her picture featured in it, wrapped in an envelope addressed to her, along with her prize. Her mum told us how delighted Daisy was to find her big envelope next to her cereal bowl at breakfast and that her certificate is now displayed with pride on the fridge door. Continue reading this article…
When we meet our fans they are often surprised when we ask them if they have actually been on a Binky Bear trail. And then when we explain how each book is an adventure waiting to happen for them and their family and that what they hold in their hands is not just a book but a plan for a great day out, they want to know more. So for all of you out there who love our books but who have not yet actually been on a Binky trail, this blog post is for you.Continue reading this article…
By Moira Blackwell
As you know Binky Bear books are photographic picture books and all our books are illustrated with colour photographs.
Photography is a great sharing activity and encourages children to be creative and aware of the world about them. So, here are 6 ways to get your child started.
1. Having their own camera.
This may sound obvious but start by getting them their own camera, rather than lend them your mobile phone to take an odd picture now and again. So ‘their own camera’ could be your old phone or a cheap and simple digital camera. There are quite a few to choose from and at the foot of the page* we have included a link to a review of the latest digital cameras. Prices range from about £20 up. When a child has their own camera, the resulting photographs will be THEIRS too.
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Some things seem quite normal until that is, you start to explain them! Chatting today to my cousin in the US, I was talking about Bonfire Night which is tonight, 5th November. I was telling him what we were planning to do, what we have done every November 5th since I can remember and why we do it. So for all our fans, who are not living in the UK and who may be a bit mystified by the hashtag #BonfireNight across all the social media channels today, here is my explanation of what is going all over the UK tonight and this weekend!
Sometime back in the time of King James 1st (1605), there were some people (Guy Fawkes and others) who were not very happy with the King and the way he was running things and they decided to blow up the Houses of Parliament – yes the same Houses of Parliament that you can walk past in London today. In fact they placed a bomb under the House of Lords – it’s in the same building.
To celebrate the fact that the authorities found out about the plot before the bomb (a load of gunpowder in barrels) actually went off and the King was saved, the people of London lit bonfires and somehow the tradition has stuck to this day. So tonight, all over the UK there will be towns and villages and groups of friends getting together around their bonfires, which they have been building for weeks in some cases and on which they may burn a ‘Guy’ which is a straw filled, often pyjama clad effigy of a man and they will let off loads of fireworks. Traditionally we eat sausages or jacket potatoes and sip cocoa or tomato soup or something a little stronger like mulled wine.
Some villages have torchlight processions and the photo on this blogpost was taken by Moira last year in Alresford in Hampshire. Hundreds of people collect at the top of Broad Street and with flame torches (yes real flame torches) they all walk down to our local playing fields for a fantastic firework display based around a massive bonfire.
So there you have it; not odd at all! Have a great Bonfire Night everyone, wherever you are! And if you have a particular local way of celebrating Bonfire Night, let us know in the comments box below.
In fact to be precise, our lovable Binky will always be exactly the same but our website has been transformed and now reflects Binky’s world of reading books, getting outdoors and having fantastic shared experiences with your family and friends.
When people first hear about Binky Bear books they describe them as books about a teddy but what brings our fans back time and time again, to buy more books and to share Binky with their family and friends, is what lies at the heart of each story.
We are passionate about getting children outdoors and helping adults have really positive shared experiences with the children in their lives. Each Binky book tells a local story about Binky in a real geographic location. In times when it is easy to get lost in screens we want to inspire families to get out, using the maps in the books, to have a great time together without spending a lot of money. So the magic from their special day in London, Winchester or Alresford in Hampshire is the shared experience and memories which will last a lifetime.
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In August 2015 I was invited by www.MyKidsy.com to write a guest blog about my own outdoor adventures in London with my daughter. Here it is and I hope you like it!
Living about 50 miles from London in a sleepy Hampshire village, my daughter and I look forward to our day trips up to London and we try to get up each term, ideally on an Inset day when trains are not too busy. I lived and worked in London for over 15 years, commuting from the south-western suburbs and it was only when I began researching our third book Binky Goes To London and when we started to take the photographic illustrations of Binky our teddy bear character and his real animal friends in various central London locations, that I started to travel around by bus and on foot. What struck me was how previously-made tube journeys are so much faster and more interesting if you walk. So throughout the making of Binky Goes To London we travelled by bus and on foot with the occasional taxi ride, if we had a very tired corgi with us!
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By Liz Nankivell
Yes we are delighted to announce that all three books are now on sale in both Harrods and Selfridges. Binky went along to check out both stores and posed outside with his latest book Binky Goes To London.
This is a huge step for us and puts Binky firmly on the international stage. Binky Goes To London is especially popular with people visiting London with young children: not only do you get a great story to read together but you can use the map in the back of the book to have your own Binky adventure and follow in Binky’s footsteps. What better way to visit the centre of London.
Carving the perfect pumpkin should be easy but I’m afraid until we came across these 4 easy steps, our pumpkin carving was messy, and quite frankly a bit risky. Follow these four steps to have perfect pumpkins and a tip from me is, embrace the mess. It will get sticky, you will have pumpkin innards everywhere but you will have had a great time and end up with a lovely Pumpkin to put in your window or pop outside on the step, as a wellcome to all the Trick or Treaters.Continue reading this article…
By Liz Nankivell
I am passionate about getting children involved in doing things with you, whether it be handing them a map to lead you on a Binky Walk or encouraging them to help you in the kitchen but I know from my own experience that the thought of all the disorder and mess this might create, can easily put you off.
That is until I realised that children don’t really notice that they did not do everything and even playing a small part still gives them a great sense of pride in the final, delicious result.
Here’s a classic autumnal recipe for Blackberry and Apple Crumble. When I last made it, my little helper on the day, had a go at chopping apples with a plastic picnic knife and then she added all the pre-prepared ingredients to the dish. When the final result was put in front of the family, she proudly told everyone that she made it!
PS: I thought you’d like our blog illustration of Binky getting involved too. Such a clever teddy bear.
Apple and Blackberry Crumble is a British classic pudding recipe. It is simple to make and ideal for involving a little helper. This recipe will make a crumble for 4 people.
Ingredients and method:
Take a kilo of apples; Granny Smith’s or Bramleys are best. Peel and core them and then slice them thinly, adding about four handfuls of blackberries. Sprinkle over some granulated or demerara sugar – about 50 grams.* (If by the time you read this all the hedgerow blackberries are long gone, just add in an extra 100grams of apple.)
Now make the topping: mix together 225 grams of plain flour, 150 grams of soft brown sugar and 75 grams of butter. Keep mixing with your fingertips until it is quite crumbly.
Spread the topping onto the blackberries and apples and place in the oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 30-40 minutes. Let it cool down a little before you eat it.
*If you like your fruit a bit mushed up, cook first in a little water.
Serve with custard or ice-cream.
At Binky Bear we are passionate about getting children outdoors and having fantastic shared experiences with family and friends.
That’s exactly what we did back in July when fifteen brave families joined us on a sunny morning outside Alresford Station to go on the first ever organised, Binky Bear Outdoor Adventure, following the map at the back of our book, Binky’s Big Adventure.Continue reading this article…