Marmite is a yeast extract that can be eaten, spread on hot buttered toast. It is a typically British product, made from the leftover yeasty paste you get after brewing beer. Because Marmite has a very salty taste, people tend to have a strong reaction to its smell and flavour, and the idea that you either “love it or hate it”.
In our house, we LOVE Marmite! It is a regular topping for our breakfast toast, a tasty addition to cheese sandwiches, and an ingredient to flavour gravy. And it’s not just the humans in our house who like Marmite – the cat is a big fan too! Whenver we open the Marmite jar, he comes sniffing around to find out if he can have a lick.
And my 5-year-old wants to know why does FishFingers like the smell of Marmite?
Cats sleep a lot! Our cat likes to find a cosy, warm spot on a blanket or cushion in one of the bedrooms to snooze whilst we’re at work and school. Sometimes, when he’s sleeping, he snores and makes funny squeaking noises, and his paws and whiskers twitch and move. So my girls think he might be dreaming.
But can cats dream? And, if so, what do they dream about?
Bedtime is one of my favourites times of the day. For me, going to bed is a time to get comfy and snuggle down under my duvet, head on pillow, for a good night’s sleep. Lovely.
But my daughters have other ideas at their bedtimes – they want to stay up late, read books, watch TV or play games. I insist on a routine of calming down (no TV or games!), cleaning teeth and brushing hair, maybe a bath, a short story and getting off to sleep as quickly and quietly as possible.
And our cat sleeps for most of the day and the night – he thinks sleeping is great!
So why is it so important to go to bed? What good does sleep do?
Hamsters are the latest pet obsession in our house – the 8-year-old wants one but Daddy has said “No”.
The girls have friends and cousins with hamster pets and they know lots of facts about the furry little creatures. “Apparently, they hibernate in the Winter” our eldest told us, as she and her sister tried to list all the animals they could think of that hibernate. “But what about sharks?” asked the 4-year-old. “Can they hibernate?”
Burping (or, as some people call it, belching) is a normal part of being a human being. Everybody does it. That’s because when we eat and drink (especially if we’re talking at the same time!) some of the air that we breathe gets swallowed down to our stomachs. And then, that air has to find its way back out of our bodies. It either gets pushed back up to our mouths and comes out as a burp, or it gets pushed down to our bottoms and comes out as a fart.
But my girls want to know if humans are the only animals that burp. What about cats and dogs – can they burp too?
Thumb-sucking is something my 8-year-old does. She has sucked her thumb (usually the one on her right hand) since she was a few weeks old. She says it helps her to get to sleep and she most often sucks her thumb when she is feeling tired.
Thumb-sucking has become a habit for my daughter, which means that it’s something she does regularly. But often, she doesn’t even notice she’s doing it! And the dentist has said she must try to stop sucking her thumb because otherwise she’ll get wonky teeth.
But breaking a habit is hard – especially when it’s something you’ve done nearly every day of your whole life!
The dog in this photo is Teddy. He lives with my parents. Teddy is a kind of dog called a Bichon Frise (pronounced: bee-shawn-free-say). He’s small with curly white fur and a loud bark!
Teddy likes to run around, chasing a ball or playing with his favourite toy. He also likes to chase away any birds that land in my parents’ garden. And when he’s finished chasing the birds, he sits down for a good pant.
Panting is a kind of quick breathing. But why does Teddy pant? What is panting for? Let’s find out…
It’s Winter time here in the UK and the temperature outside has been close to freezing for several days. We’ve had a flurry of snow, a little ice and plenty of frosty mornings. Sometimes, the water in the bird bath is frozen, so I melt it with warm water from the tap and leave out some bread and fruit for the birds to eat if they visit our garden.
My 7-year-old has noticed the birds plumping themselves up as they sit in the bushes and hop around the bird-table. “Why do they make themselves look fat?” she wondered. Let’s find out…!
Hedgehogs are small mammals that live in hedgerows, grasslands, woodlands and meadows. They are found in Europe, Asia and parts of Africa and can live for about 7 years.
Hedgehogs can be easily recognised because of the spiky prickles (called ‘spines’) they have all over their backs and the grunting, snuffling noises they make. They look cute but you shouldn’t try to pick one up because it might feel frightened and try to prickle you with its spines.
But my daughters want to know why hedgehogs are prickly and whether they are prickly when they are born?
Moths, like the one in the photo above, are insects with scaly wings. If you disturb one, you might see what looks like dust falling from its wings but the ‘dust’ will actually be some of the tiny scales dropping off. Like butterflies, they have two pairs of wings and long, rolled-up tongues (probosces) but, unlike butterflies, moths tend to have thick, hairy bodies and their antenna may be feathery and don’t have a ball-shaped ‘club’ at the end.
Many types of moth are ‘nocturnal’, which means that they are active at night but sleep during the day. You might have seen moths in the evening-time when it starts to get dark because they can be attracted to the lights in our houses when they are fluttering about. So, why do moths like the night-time? And if they like light, why don’t they just come out during the day?