Monthly Archives: December 2007

A Great ’08


To all our readers –

metm162.jpgSeasons Greetings!

And Best Wishes for a Fun & Fulfilling 2008!

Mini-et-Moi will be back 14 January 2008 when we’ll bring you the very latest tips, advice and ideas for a Great ’08.

What Mini says:
Do you think they’ll let me near the brandy butter?

You can still win in Our Sorting Basket competition is the ultimate review site for London mums, babies and toddlers. Click here to read more about our reviews of classes, activities and great things for Mum and baby or toddler.

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Play D’oh!

– Easy recipe for perfect home-made dough

 With the holidays fast approaching and all those bank holidays looming, you may want to add these ingredients to your shopping list (unless, of course, you are a domestic goddess, in which case your larder is full!). Yes, we know how long you’ve spent buying the perfect Christmas gifts for your little elf … but once in a while he may need a little sensory play of the home-made variety.

This recipe makes a long-lasting play dough that is pliable and has a lovely elastic consistency. It’s also edible (in case the elf takes a nibble).

1 cups flour
¼ – ½ cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food colouring – as on the cat walks, purple and orange are big this season.

In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Whisk together the water, oil and food colouring in a separate bowl. Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook and stir over low heat until the dough thickens and is no longer sticky. Add the vanilla extract and stir until blended. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Once cooled, knead the dough to make it soft and pliable. Store in sealed bag or air tight container. Do not refrigerate.

What Mini says:
I loved mashing this into the new cream carpet … you’ve been warned!

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Filed under Great ideas!


– bright and sturdy wooden sorting basket

Mother’s Checklist:
metm21.JPGProvide hours of play. Tick.
Present educational opportunities. Tick.
Identify colours. Tick.
Enhance appreciation of shapes. Tick.
Teach sorting actions. Tick.

And all before elevenses.

With the brightly coloured, wooden sorting basket from John Crane, your genius-in-the-making will have hours of fun sorting and posting small objects (admittedly, this is only a temporary diversion from the fun that is your handbag). And there’s the added multitasking benefit of knowing he’s learning a thing or two. Plus, the sturdy design means that, unlike other sorters, the junior genius is not frustrated when the goal posts, quite literally, move before his eyes.

A morning’s fun. Sorted. Gold Star.

The Sorting Basket by Pintoy is distributed by John Crane Limited (RSP £12). Call  01604 77 49 49  for local stockists.

What Mini says:
Rhombus, Isosceles Triangle and Trapezoid … I do love sorting shapes.

Win a Sorting Basket for your Genius-in-the-Making!
Mini-et-Moi has 2 Sorting Baskets to give away. All you need to do is send an e-mail to (or hit reply to this mail) and include your answer to this simple question: Who distributes the sorting basket?

(Competition closes at noon on 24 December 2007. One entry per subscriber. See our Competition Rules.)

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Mini-Manual – Tips for Taking Great Baby Shots (Part 2)

See yourself as the next Annie Liebowitz? Use our Tips on Taking Great Baby Pics to get into the game. (Of course we know that in time to come your subject will be as famous as Annie’s). In Part 2 of our Mini-Manual, you’ll learn how to set the scene and take some great action shots. (Click here for Part 1).

metm9.gifTip 4 – More is well, more
Even professional photographers snap loads just to get a few great shots. The more pictures you take the better your chances of taking that perfect shot. You never know when a great opportunity will arise. Take the camera wherever you go – turn your change bag into a camera bag. (Of course you can squeeze one more thing into it.) And get creative! Use different settings and different perspectives. (You can always delete the ones you don’t want.) If you’re feeling really adventurous, try the multi exposure setting which lets you take many shots in a short period of time.

Tip 5 – Setting the Scene
Keep the setting or background simple. Avoid too much distracting stuff. You don’t want to detract from the focus of your photos – your little angel. If you have to contend with objects in the natural environment, zoom in close. Getting part of your treasure’s head is better than losing her in the midst of a blasted heath. Or leave the background out of focus by staying close to your little work of art and moving her slightly forward, away from the background.

Sometimes other people and items can help to frame baby or focus his attention – perhaps a favourite toy or household item (you know how much he loves your Anja Hindmarch purse). If you can handle it, make bath time picture time.

Tip 6 – Action Shots
Getting your baby to sit still for pictures can be challenging but with the right techniques, you can capture great photos — even on the move. Prevent shutter lag (the time lag from the moment you press the shutter to when the camera actually takes the picture) by pressing the shutter down lightly to lock the focus on your subject. Continue to hold the button down until you’re ready to shoot. This lets you take the picture much faster because you’re already in focus. Many cameras also have an action mode which speeds up your shutter speed and helps avoid blur.

Happy snapping!

What Mini says:
Where’s the cheese everyone keeps talking about? is the ultimate review site for London mums, babies and toddlers. Click here to read more about our reviews of classes, activities and great things for Mum and baby or toddler.


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Tut, Tut, Tut

<!–[endif]–>Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs at the O2

After a sell-out world tour, the boy king and his entourage (we don’t mean your little monarch) has metm4.jpgarrived in London. The boy king of Egypt – not Ealing – is here, in all his riches and magnificence.

And it is magnificent. Covering 11 galleries, the extensive exhibition contextualises the social and political scene to Tut’s rule and 130 artefacts bring history to dazzling life. We were mesmerized by the fine workmanship, and even the Junior Egyptologist enjoyed looking at the sparkling gold and inlaid coloured glass and semi-precious stones of the statuettes and artefacts.

The long queues and tight crowd-control would make this a difficult day out for more mobile munchkins. If you can brave it, you’ll be more than rewarded by the beauty and generosity of the exhibition.

But, But, But – A Short Note on Long Logistics
There is disabled access at the North Greenwich Tube. Access once in the venue is good and staff guided us to the exhibition lift (without even being asked). The change facilities in the O2 are cold and drafty – a far cry from Egyptian heat and a little tough on the tot. Also, its worth noting that there are no toilets after entering the exhibition and re-entry is prohibited. There are extensive food choices around the O2.

What Mini says:
Tut, tut, tut … It’s not that hard to say … its’ Toot-An-Car-Man.

Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs runs until 30 August 2008. Tickets (from £15) are timed-entry and admission is between 10h00 and 19h00 daily. Advanced online booking is highly recommended. (We learned that entry at 10h00 or 18h30 is quietest.)

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Boom Boom Bébé

multilingual CDs for babies and toddlers

By the time I go to nurserymetm131.gif I’ll be très cosmopolitan. Not for me, the perils of learning a new language. When French classes start, I’ll be rearing to go. “Ici,” I’ll sigh as the teacher calls my name. Luckily, my mummy bought me the Baby Boom Boom CD so I’m well on my way to reaching my ambition.

The CDs contain well-known nursery rhymes sang in English and a second language and the theory is that listening to it will help familiarise me with sounds and basic vocabulary. Not so much of an Amelia anymore, I’ll be known as Amelie. I’ll wear only the very best French brands and enjoy nibbling on small macaroons (from Ladurée, bien sûr) and sipping chocolat chaud.

The Baby Boom Boom CDs are available in either English and French or English and Spanish (RSP £9.99) and are available to purchase online.

What Moi says:
Très chic to parlez Français on the Champs-Élysées.


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Mini-Manual – Tips for Taking Great Baby Shots (Part 1)

Introducing the Mini-Manual
A little longer than our usual missives, the Mini-Manual provides practical, how-to advice on life avec bébé. As we approach the silly season, this Mini Manual looks at taking great baby shots.

Feel the urge to take endless baby pics but fed-up when your works of art are not quite what you’d imagined? Use our tips to become the next Anne Geddes (cute get-ups optional).

1 – Natural lighting
As you’ve probably worked out, babies are especially sensitive to bright light. This includes harsh sunlight and flash photography. If possible, take photos during the day either outside in a natural setting or out of direct sunlight but with all the indoor lights on (this gives a softer tone on baby’s fair skin).

If you’re feeling more adventurous, take photos early in the morning or late in the evening right before the sun sets. Use your flash outside to produce stunning results.

2 – On your knees
Now may not be the moment for those 4 inch heels … get down to the level of your tot. It will make them more comfortable and give you a better view of their features. Never photograph from above. (When taking photos of a baby on its back, stand directly over the baby and shoot straight down.)

3 – Mood
We’re not talking candle-lit dinners to set the tone! But be sensitive to your baby’s mood. If you want pictures of a smiling baby then don’t start a photo session when your little world wide wailer is cranky. But do capture a range of emotions – all moods can make for beautiful pictures. And be sure to get rid of any distractions – too many people, anything that moves or makes a noise.

(A good tip is to shoot using the LCD screen and not the viewfinder so that the tyke can see and react to you. Do whatever it takes to make your little one smile!)

Don’t limit yourself to colour photos. Black and white pics have a timeless quality perfectly suited to baby photos. And with photo-shop you can really have some fun!


What Mini says:
“Alright Mr DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.”

In Part 2 of the Mini-Manual learn to Set the Scene and take Action Shots. Don’t miss it! is the ultimate review site for London mums, babies and toddlers. Click here to read more about our reviews of classes, activities and great things for Mum and baby or toddler.


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