Category Archives: Year Four

Beauty and the NeverBeast

Film, it’s a powerful medium. Early in my blogsproration  I noted that exposure to your first film is important and will help shape everything from conversations to friendships.

There also comes a pivotal time when the emotion of film will overwhelm you, sure, you’ll laugh long and hard but make no mistake you will cry, long and hard as well, and that moment shall forever be part of your filmic DNA.

It will come as you start being able to process and have empathy with stories and characters, as you start to  understand the story sense of films and tv. And when it happens it will hit you like an emotional bolt out of the blue.

For Isabelle this came whilst watching Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast when the lovable but misunderstood beast of the title has fulfilled its mission and most go back to sleep for nearly a thousand years before he is next needed.

Iz instantly knew that this meant that Fawn and the other fairies would never see him again, in Isabelle’s eyes he may as well have been laying down to die rather than going to sleep for a long period of time.

But then that’s what happens to pets isn’t it? They go to sleep, so quickly going to sleep in animal terms, at least  in the eyes of children, is associated with death.

And Iz has already been touched by that with Grandma and Grandad’s beloved German shepherd, Max. It isn’t that Iz doesn’t know Max isn’t dead or that she just thinks he went to sleep, she understands he was very poorly but still misses him. She says she does regularly and still talks about him constantly with an air of sadness. And it was exactly that same emotional peril she was in with the NeverBeast having to say goodbye.

She’s hidden behind her hands prior to now, most recently with Bing Bong in Inside Out and only the day previously to the NeverBeast, watching The Iron Giant for the very first time.

But her reaction to the end of Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast was on a whole new level. This was full on sobbing, sobbing that she nor the fairies will ever get to see the NeverBeast ever again as he won’t be back for 1,000 years. Iz wanted to go into his cave with him, she is such a sweet and sensitive soul.

We all have that moment occur to us though, it’s like a cinematic rites of passage. Mine, it was probably one of two films, King Kong (1976) – even if it was Rick Baker in a suit – or Anthony Hopkins TV movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1982).

Both heroes who fell to their deaths from buildings, I may not remember which film triggered the emotion first but I vividly remember crying lots and lots outside in the back garden.

At the cinema it was the horse drowning in The NeverEnding Story, scarred for life I tells yer, having not seen it for years I think I’d even convinced myself that it had been saved…I was wrong.

For many it will of course have been E.T., unless you couldn’t make it out properly on a terrible pirate copy. And that’s the thing, you don’t know what it will be that will trigger it, whether it’s the lonely alien, the man in the ape mask or furry faced NeverBeast.

Whatever film it is a pivotal moment, as it’s about or innocence but also the beginning of the loss of our innocence. We are never the same again.

What film do you remember having the first real emotional impact on you when growing up?


Happy Birthday to Doo

DSC_5405Iz wasn’t five (five, where did that time go?) until the end of August but with her birthday falling just after a Bank Holiday Monday and at the end of the summer hols, coupled with her leaving school, we thought we’d have it prior to school breaking up.

It all now seems such a longtime ago, all her friends from school were there for her Scooby-Doo themed party at The Fun Factory.

DSC_5426It’s great no mess, no fuss and all we brought along was a cake and some decorations, they even provide latter if you want. We came armed with our own Scooby-Doo ones and a rather spook-tacular Scooby-Doo cake complete with said great dane, haunted house, mystery machine and ghost.

DSC_5310As well as the soft play down the slides you can also go rock climbing or ice-skating for no extra cost, so of course wanted to have a drive on one of the bikes where there is! There was certainly no mystery as to who had the mastery of this machine.

DSC_5389Iz certainly had a fun-tastic time, although she wouldn’t have got away with having such a fab day without all those meddling kids!

A Marvel-ous lunch

AKA Spider-Newman and her Amazing Friends

Hi I’m Stan Lee*

IMG_2752Today Marvel fans we find ourselves in sunny Southend-on-Sea where we join old webhead, Spider-Woman, Iron Man and Captain America at Pizza Express.

Of course any self respecting superhero won’t be in several hundred bounds of Southend as they’ll probably be plenty busy at something like San Diego Comic Con, it was of course Isabelle who had just so happened to have donned a top featuring this fantastic foursome.

Not that it’s that often you hear a peep out of Spider-Woman – or Mrs Spider-Man as Iz called her – so that was a nice surprise for her to pop up on the top and say hi.

Iz’s Marvel-ous pink 3/4 sleeve top displays Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Spider-Woman, with the two Spider folk sporting a somewhat glittery look over their red. Not sure that will follow in the new reboot. She loved it and knew all of the characters, almost.

And it really set her pink converse off perfectly.

I spotted it in Tesco and was just genuinely pleased that there was a superhero top available for girls and not just another My Little Pony or Frozen, not that there is anything wrong with either of those franchises but it was genuinely refreshing to see that the Marvel universe wasn’t just perceived as a boys only universe. Because it isn’t.

SupergirlMarvel’s Black Widow and Sue Storm might be flying the flag for Marvel but with the new Supergirl TV series and Wonder Woman sorting out Superman and Batman , perhaps DC may be more female friendly than Marvel? Besides, Iz loves a little bit of Supergirl.

*Clearly I’m not, that’s just how the likes of The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends cartoons were introduced in the early 1980s.

Anna get your fun

DSC_5716Looking every inch the Disney princess as Anna from Frozen, Iz was looking forward to the birthday party of two of her friends.

The theme was princesses and superheroes and for Iz, always more Anna in her ways – funny, a little accident prone and loyal – than Elsa, it was nice to see this Disney princess take the centre stage. DSC_5730

And Iz had a whale of a time, popping bubbles, dancing, musical bumps, dancing, musical statues, doing the Hokey Cokey, dancing, pass the parcel and did I say dancing?

It was lovely to see thoughtful Iz go and lead a shy friend from her seat so that she could also join in the pass the parcel, the little girl in question even winning a prize.

DSC_5792Iz also proved to be something of a limbo expert, well I guess we all have hidden talents!

That was nothing compared to the conga, which was a continued source of amusement and hilarity for all involved, which Iz thought was quite literally a scream. DSC_5774

It was then time for a breather and a spot of lunch where Iz reverted back to full Anna mode, you could almost hear her and Ash saying:

Ash: I mean it’s crazy we finish each other’s

Iz: sandwiches DSC_5784

Although I don’t remember Anna creating giant lips out of onion ring crisps, like her dad she never fails to utilise a good prop to maximum effect.

Bellies full and energy recharged it was back to the dance floor for a dance competition, the search was on for the best boy and best girl. DSC_5751Busting all her best moves and wiggles, It was as if Iz was channeling the spirit of Tony Manerno from Saturday Night Fever.

Iz won best girl dancer, her popping candy prize giving her an oral round of applause for the duration of the drive home.

Star Claws

I have only ever won one item from a seaside grabber machine and that was over 20 years ago. Depressing isn’t it?

That doesn’t mean I haven’t tried and tried again, but much to Isabelle’s disappointment I’ve it always just falls from the claws grasp.

IMG_0404Step up Uncle Gavin, he only went and bagged himself an Olaf cuddly toy thus sending him to the top of the cool uncle list.

He could have bought it but it isn’t quite as valiant as it being won for you with blood, sweat and pound coins. His lucky streak continued with the prize of a baby Oleg meerkat, this time for Lily.

But then, try as he might, no other cuddly toy was successfully grappled by Gavin that day but you can be claw he’ll be back for just…one…more…go.

Don’t talk just Iz

IMG_0531This was the conversation before I went to work this morning.

Iz: I’m going to give you five kisses because I am nearly five.

Me: That’s nice, although I’m going to have to get up half-an-hour early if you are still doing that when you are 30.

Iz: I will daddy.

That certainly sets you up nicely for the day at work as she happily waved me off stood on the front step in her pyjamas.

Scooby Tat-Doo

IMG_0418Iz loves all things Scooby-Doo, so when she was given the choice of a temporary tattoo it was no mystery (machine) that she chose the cowardly crime-fighting canine.

And as you’ll see below she loved it and has been thrilled that although most of his glitter has done that the tattoo still triumphantly remains after multiple showers and baths.

I’m sure that by the time Iz starts back at school come September Scooby-Doo won’t still be haunting her arm.

She’s got a wristband to ride

It’s hard to believe that it is a week since we hot-footed it down to Clacton for the day to catch up with my brother, Gavin, and his family who were there for a short break. We soon found ourselves at the pier, drawn by the lure of the rides…something which Iz couldn’t wait for.

With wristband bought, queue joined, Iz couldn’t wait. And she didn’t have to wait long. Okay, so it may not be Busch Gardens, Alton Towers or even Adventure Island from home, Southend’s free to enter theme park was named as one of the top three in the UK don’t you know? But Iz enjoyed the various rides, just being tall enough to go on them and being able to go on them with her cousins was exciting enough.

If nothing else it showed us that this little girl is becoming less little and more independent with each passing day. I think by the end of it I started to feel a bit like one of the parents on those Disney World ads where the advert plays the yours kids are growing up fast card.

Tea for two

Iz took to the tea cups with Kai and loved being spun round and round and round and round…


Although not as speedy as the Speedy Gonzales inspired frontage suggested Iz still let out a squeak of delight on this mini-coaster, even feeling brave enough to raise her hands in the air like she just didn’t care, ably assisted by Lily.


IMG_0394With something of a penchant for pink elephants, especially those named Anxious, it was of little surprise that Iz wanted to take to the sky in one with Luke.

But she was never happier than when taking a ride on the back of her cousin, Lily, although I’m not so sure Lily would necessarily agree!


Boys toys story

FullSizeRenderMy brother and I always used to play on the arcades during our family summer holiday,one year it would be The Simpsons arcade machine, the next Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (as they were so named in the UK first time round). And if memory serves we completed the latter…several pound coins lighter.

One thing that we could never pass up was a shoot ’em up, the only proviso being that it had a gun that you could hold, so whether it was Operation: Wolf, Time Crisis 2 (damn you pesky peddles) or House of the Dead (nice pump action shotgun addition) or Area 51 we were sure to give it a go, all the while perfecting our Martin Riggs/John McClane holding the weapons stance. None of this guns held at the side Tarantino rubbish you understand.

Gavin had always been the one with the better shot, so his pound always lasted longer, with me always having a continue countdown much earlier than he. It was always the same at home as well, he always got further on everything such as Goldeneye at home as well.

And so we spied Aliens: Armageddon, the years may have passed but the oh so serious stances still remained and so was the result, yep, Gavin lasted much longer than me. Long enough even for me to create this little video.

Perhaps he can stick to the shooting and I’ll pen the witty one liners?

FullSizeRender - CopyIt was if time had frozen and we were back in the arcades on holiday almost 20 years ago…not that Frozen silly!!! (sings) Him winning never bothered me anyway!

The sound of drums

Whilst waiting for another episode of Adventure Time to download Isabelle heard David Cameron mentioned on the BBC Breakfast News. This is the conversation that followed…


Isabelle: “David Cameron, David Cameron, David Cameron.”

Dean: “How do you know his name Iz?”

Isabelle: “He was on our whiteboard at school.”

Dean: “And do you know who he is?”

FullSizeRenderIsabelle: “He’s The Master.”

(To be fair, she wasn’t especially clear on which incarnation – John Simm’s obviously WAS the Prime Minister, but she did later say that she got the word Master and Minister mixed up.)