Monthly Archives: November 2014

Biff, Chip and Kipper – Where are they now?

This was the question posed to me  a week or so ago by an enquiring follower.

She got a few sensible responses (they are still about; my daughter still reads them) and a few not so sensible.  I think I suggested Biff had become a scientist (know it all), Chip is a drug addict and Kipper was dead…..

It’s ok…nothing of the sort has happened. They are still the same and haven’t aged a bit!  I was being mischievous.

However I did get the opportunity to try out the new apps for Biff, Chip and Kipper which was perfect timing as I had just had a little panic attack about the fact The Monster still can’t say his name properly and he’s starting school in September.

First of all we tried out Level 3, 4 & 6 for my (not quite) 7-year-old.  She read her little brother one of the books and seemed to enjoy it.  She especially liked that some pages were different and zoomed in and out whilst the text stayed the same.  She then complained they were too easy, but I think she’s now used to more words on the page, I have no doubt she’ll be back reading them again.

Next we tried Level 1-3 for The Monster (TM).  We started on the Level 1: Getting Ready to Read books.  I read one story but Pickle started fidgeting so I decided to keep those for another day and we headed down to the lower bookshelf on the app and selected Kipper’s Alphabet I Spy.  Now, this was right up TM’s street.  Actually Pickle thoroughly enjoyed doing this as well.  He not only had a go at writing the letter (following the dotted lines) but he got to choose which objects on the right hand side started with the letter.  We all had great fun working our way through this and it was a great opportunity (I don’t get many) to get TM to try saying words and listen to the start of them.

Biff and Chip app

We then tried Chip’s Letter Sounds which worked some more on tracing the letters but, most importantly, spend a lot of time saying the sound.  They then got to find objects in a picture starting with that sound.  Both of them loved this.  TM started by finding the 5 easiest ones (with help) and then Pickle would find the other 5 (or not — a few tricky ones were in there).

Needless to say the books have gone down a storm in our house.  TM gets excited at the prospect of using the iPad and then happily sits down to practice “my words” and I get (vaguely) excited that I’m actually putting some effort into trying to get my son (and second born) into some sort of acceptable state for school in September.

I would thoroughly recommend them (especially for younger children) as a good introduction to phonics and reading.  They have been a very welcome addition to our iPad.


This is NOT a sponsored post.  I was offered a free version of these book apps with no obligation to write a post (honestly – happy to drag the email out for you if you want).  I have written this post by choice as I liked them.

The apps are available for £4.99 each




Freefalling into…. the patio steps

I had a fall on Saturday.

Yes, I’m aware that it has made me sound like I’m in my 80’s, because I used to say “I fell over”, but somehow this fall felt like “a fall”.  Not very nice.

I have very very good balance, always have had. I do yoga at home once a week as well. I consider myself someone who can handle herself on a wobbly path or a slippery path.

Sadly on Saturday evening I dashed up the narrow patio steps to our raised garden to shut the chickens in their coop and something went wrong. I don’t exactly know what, but before I knew it I was falling in slow motion and trying desperately to stop my face from making contact with the gravelly patio ground.

It was one of those falls that has lots of different parts to it, A move here, then a move there to counteract the first move, then another. I must have looked pretty pathetic trying to stop the inevitable. Trying to prevent some pain.

I finally came to rest having got my hands down at some point, but my centre of gravity was very low, my cheek was almost grazing the ground and my knee (an area that I have disease in) came down pretty hard on the steps.

I was in considerable pain. Walked around the lower patio area for 5 minutes swearing and pacing and clutching my hands together.  Eventually I went and shut the chickens in before it got completely dark.

I felt like such a numpty.

I felt so old.

The patio steps in question

The patio steps in question

I’ve done a bit of research and can’t find anything on HOW older people fall, just lots about WHY they fall.  I do know I’ve read research in recent years that the more old people fear falling, the more they fall.  Makes sense. Confidence is essential for preventing falls, as is exercise and balance.

I likened my fall to that of a small child.  Like a prolonged Frank Spencer fall.  Sometime, when you are in your teens and 20’s, you just come down when you fall.  Or perhaps it just feels like you do.  Maybe it’s just because you’re usually drunk. I don’t know.

My bruised hand

My bruised hand

All I know is that it was bloody scary and a little knock to my confidence. I think part of the trouble was my lack of arm strength and I’m going to go back and do some more exercises on my arms again. See if I can get some strength back.

So for the time being, I will rub my still sore hands and arms (yes, still hurt), be kind to my sore knee and try to pass this off as just one of those things, because I’m not 80. I’m 40 and this sort of thing should not be happening.