Raising Elves

As wild as nature. Myself, parenting and natural remedies blog.


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Animal documentaries on Netflix

We love documentaries here and I often find alot of Elf’s questions are answered while watching them. I try to watch them first though, to make sure they are suitable for younglings.

Here is what is streaming on Netflix for World Animal Day today – an international day to mark the importance of animal rights and welfare.

 Blackfish

This fascinating documentary examines the life of performing killer whale Tilikum, who has caused the deaths of several people while in captivity

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Tyke Elephant Outlaw

A rogue elephant. A city paralyzed by fear. And a gruesome ending that’s forcing humans to ask some tough questions

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Netflix Original Virunga

Rebels. Poachers. Oil companies. The endangered mountain gorilla has many enemies, and one friend: local park rangers

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Terra

We’ve pushed nature out of our lives, eradicating entire species. But it’s not too late to turn back. 

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Netflix Original Mission Blue

This documentary follows oceanographer Sylvia Earle’s campaign to save the world’s oceans from threats such as overfishing and toxic waste.

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All streaming NOW on Netflix.


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How watching My Little Pony helped my 4 year old

A friend recommended My Little Pony on Netflix. She described it as not too PC but appropriate and relatively watchable for adults too.

I have found myself grateful for My Little Pony in how it has helped Elf figure some things out in relation to socialising, friendship and so on, which is a challenging area for her. I don’t think I’d have had the ability to teach her the subtleties and politics of friendship, especially because I always struggled to navigate those areas of life myself.

The recommendation wasn’t wasted breath and I am so surprised by the good that has come out of My Little Pony and here are just a few simple examples as to why:

Friendship is Magic: The overall theme of MLP is friendship. The series’ as a whole runs through the ins and outs of friendship, the good and bad, how friendship is an investment, why friends are important etc etc. My (mostly) introverted and (easily) hurt/offended Elf has really needed help in this area and MLP has given her the opportunity to process that there is a value to being a good friend and also how to cope when others aren’t quite as friendly.

Archetype identification: Each character has a characteristic and virtue that allows children (particularly girls) the opportunity to find an identifiable archetype that is beyond the scope of pretty, agreeable little girlies. Not that there is anything wrong with that but it is nice to allow girls the opportunity to explore beyond the stereotype. The reality is, each pony symbolises a little of some ‘virtues’ we might find in us all and I’ve been able to appreciate my girls’ leniency toward different archetypes and through that I feel like I understand them more as individuals.

Music: How do I get to turn the TV off without a row? I tell them they can listen to the MLP music on Spotify. The music is surprisingly tolerable for a kids TV show and it’s clear that a lot of effort went into it. After a while we know all the words and have a sing song in the car. Even Dad doesn’t mind it. I love watching Elf as she sits beside the computer with her eyes off in the distance as she really open her ears to the lyrics and rhythm of the different songs.

I never thought I’d have written something like this over a kids’ TV show but here you have it.

All of the My Little Pony series’ and the Equestria movies are on Netflix.

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It’s the small things that hold me together

The latest offering by Netflix (coming in March), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, really got me thinking.

The character, Kimmy, arrives in NYC after being locked up in a cult’s post-apocalyptic bunker for fifteen years and my guess is that we will watch her naively breaking through cynical 21st Century contemporary society and (maybe) helping us see life in a simpler way through childish eyes.

I’ve been whingeing for a while now that we haven’t had any daycent comedies in ages and this seems to be exactly what I’ve been hoping for.

There is a line in the trailer (link here) that grabs me:

“You can either curl up in a ball and die or you can stand up and say we’re different and you can’t break us”

It makes me think of my own life right now as a parent and how challenging it is in so many ways. The exhaustion, the lack of space or silence, the dilly-dallying, the food waste, the illnesses, the whingeing, the tantrums, the medical bills, the losing of oneself. Merciful’our, the list could go on!

And on.

And on.

(Insert photo of shattered mother here).

Yet there is so much more to it than that. Moments that I can miss if my mind is not in the right place.

The magic, the beauty, the love. The innocence, creativity and music. Playfulness, drama, mess. Chaos, go-with-the-flow, the hunger.

The hunger for food and love, for life and fresh air. Hunger for learning and company. Hunger for acceptance, approval. Peckish for fun. Starving for comfort in this challenging human condition.

As a parent it feels like all I do is feed feed feed but if I just alter my angle slightly I realise that if I could just learn to receive from my child I would be full to the brim of positivity, drive and excitement for life.

I do not give them the magic, they give it to me.

So today I started anew.

I am counting my blessings. Those ‘unbreakable moments’ that help me get through the crazy fabulous experience that is parenting.

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I started by putting out an intention. I lit a candle with Elf and put it out there that today I will be patient and positive. This small gesture is one of my biggest coping mechanisms and I approach it from a whole mind-body-spirit connection. By lighting a candle I am taken my visions, wishes and thoughts out of my being and making them tangible through the symbolism of a candle flame.

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I’m fed up wasting my children’s early years on tiredness, grumpiness and desires to run away go off on my own for a couple of days. OK that fantasy still exists but I’ll at least quieten it until the kiddos go to bed, ok?

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If you would like to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter you will see all these moments that hold me together which I will be continuing to share.

Tell me, what holds you together?

BTW: I am part of the Netflix Streamteam and today’s post has been inspired by Netflix correspondence and I am hoping to win a trip to the London premiere of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. All my thoughts and inspirations are genuine and the words are all mine, though.


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A little bit of Telly

As kids, the only bit of ‘telly’ (local lingo for TV) we watched was on a Friday night and Saturday morning.

Friday night wrestling was watched religiously by my brother and I, up in our box room, lying in the lower bunk bed, hands on chins as my dad stuck a hanger in my nana’s old old old ancient tiny black and white TV.

photo credit: Daniel Y. Go via photopin cc

photo credit: Daniel Y. Go via photopin cc

On Saturday morning the ‘funnies’ (Iocal lingo for cartoons) started at 9am (how very reasonable) and ended at 12pm when we would start our chores. I got to polish the skirting while my bro… pretended to do something somewhere in the house. Our two elder sisters got to do the hard stuff. Suckers.

That was it. Oh wait! The Simpsons of a Sunday evening. We would all sit on Nana’s thin brown swirly carpet floor that smelt of Grandad’s pipe and watch the Simpsons at six o’clock on Sky One, or was it seven o’clock?

Things have changed greatly as we all know.

We don’t have cable because we don’t watch enough on TV for it to be worth our while. We have been using Freeview for the ‘funnies’ for a couple of years but generally we used to buy series’ boxsets for us to watch at night.

Then came along Netflix (Hurray!). An on-demand subscription service via wifi.

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We were one of their first customers a few years ago but at that stage their selection wasn’t great so we cancelled. We recently re-connected with them though and I must say the variety of shows and movies have quadrupled in size.

I do try to restrict screen time in the house (adults included) especially as I am trying to give my children as nature inspired lives as possible in a world where technology takes precedence.

Saying that, telly has been a little bit of a saviour since Elf stopped napping. She still needs a rest and telly gives her that chance to stop moving for a while.

Her current favourites are Dora, Diego, Lego Ninjago as well as the Walking with Dinosaurs series. They are short enough that I can say to her that she can watch one or two, depending on the day. She turns it off herself once her time is up.

We love having Saturday night movie too where we have popcorn and all sit on the couch after a nice walk by the lakes although with the Winter coming in that will draw to a close.

Netflix have set up an online ‘Streamteam’ where some bloggers write for them once a month. I’ve recently joined too and they’ve sent me out an Apple TV (just a streaming device! Not an actual TV) and one years subscription. Sometimes blogging has perks, eh?

There have already been more than enough posts go through my mind while watching different shows or movies on Netflix. It’s been a saviour while trying to establish breastfeeding.

I love that you can pause and resume movies as well as separate viewers so you can restrict children’s viewing. I’ve watched quite a few oldies from the 80’s and 90’s, bringing me back to my childhood.

To find out more about Netflix click here.

We upgraded our broadband to this unlimited Vodafone package which has been working really well with the streaming.

As always, thanks for reading.

Laura