Monday, 27 July 2015

Lolita shoes finally arrive! Cosplay Shields & Horse Art

The shoes Piper had been waiting for finally arrived, fresh from Japan. They are higher than in the photos and she is so tall wearing them! She is totally in love with them (and a pair of Jelly high heel shoes she bought last week too-shoe obsessed!)

Four teeth=lolita shoes (or tooth shoes as my friend called them hehe)

Meanwhile in the house of cosplay, or at least that's how it feels now my kitchen has been turned into some kind of costume making factory! Hubby has used a jigsaw and some MDF to create this new Link shield for Cordelia's new cosplay costume and she is finally getting around to priming it. It is now drying with black paint on it.

I received a lovely package from blogging and real life friend who blogs here. It was on my list of books to buy Piper and the lovely author is also a home educator! Piper read it straight away and loved it so I'm going to give it a read too.

Piper met up with her friend A and Cordelia was feeling a bit put out so I took her for a coffee and had a good chat about lots of things. Its tough being a teenage girl, especially when you are the younger sister and although I've only ever been the eldest I can imagine the feelings she must go through. Trying to be mindful of everyone's feelings in a house of four siblings is very tricky but important, the dynamics are always changing so its a constant balance board.

She also did some really lovely art work after we chatted about her doing more pencil art over digital art!

She picked a horse book and chose a refernce to draw from. Constantly amazed at her self taught talent to draw.

We had friends over for creepypasta chat, minecraft and Nerf fights. We sat and had a family movie evening with Sharknado 3-awful but everyone else seemed to enjoy it (just me who thinks its dire!). We've been really enjoying the new Yonderland series on Sky 1, its SO funny.

Today the girls started on an IGCSE English book, we have been toying with the idea of doing something more structured and the book we are working through is just right at the moment. Not sure if we will actually go through with the actual exams yet but just seeing how it goes. Ruben has got his own Minecraft Realm which we have been talking about for a while, he wants to design something pretty huge so we talked about how that will work with designs etc. He is keeping a diary alongside the designing of his project, an idea that Bailey gave him, and is really excited. He will invite his friends when it is all done to play on it but for the moment he is just concentrating on his idea. He's also started Issue 3 of his Game tips magazine, he's planning on writing a review of the National Videogame Arcade after his trip there this month.

The weather has been pretty grim so its been a full day at home for them, I popped out to run errands and meet a friend for coffee. Thankfully we took them all out yesterday to the shopping centre, where they again paired off to go off and do things, just like last Sunday. Its lovely that Bailey is spending more time with Ruben and lovely that the girls love hanging out together so much. Its becoming a bit of a Sunday ritual.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Life with teenagers...

Life with teenagers just of late has been a mixed bag, I'm amazed how quickly things can go from being "the end of the world" to laughs and giggles..Its like being on a boat on a very choppy sea-high highs and low lows. But such is the waters I find myself in these days, I'd like to say I'm getting used to it but its not all that easy to get used to. Although, like most things in life I'm learning to cope with it as best as I can.

Saturday I felt pretty low and had a total wobble about home educating, feeling that there was too much online time and not enough productivity. I've been thinking a lot about my own future job prospects lately so that probably didn't help. Ruben will be 16 in just over 4 years and if he follows in his big brothers footsteps and goes off to college that means this time in 5 years I will be out of a job, at least as a home educator. I will be a few months away from my 40th birthday. So potentially will still have 25-30 years of a possible career ahead of me, after being a stay-at-home-mum since Bailey was born I've gained so much experience that I really would like to put it to use. At the moment I'm looking at a possible career in Midwifery...but it would mean quite a bit of study so we will see...

I remember feeling like Bailey wasn't doing "enough" at around this same time and then all of a sudden he was doing two GCSE's..and now he's finished his first year at college. I'm not expecting the same of the girls because their both so different from Bailey. Neither have any idea what they want to do yet, Cordelia would possibly like to do something art based or with horses but its too early to tell yet. I'm glad they don't have the pressure of picking out which GCSE's to study in September and even more glad that they won't be sitting 24+ exams for 12 GCSE's when in fact they will probably only need a maximum of 5 GCSE's anyway! I don't even know if they will even do formal qualifications, who knows what the future holds?

I wonder if its an accumulation of summer holidays and all the "back to school" stuff that the shops are full of that's making me wobble? I always feel such a huge burden of pressure at this time of year!

Sunday rolled round and was such a contrast to Saturday, we all (yes even Bailey!) headed to Meadowhall shopping centre. Bailey took Ruben to the cinema to see Marvel's Ant Man and the girls disappeared off shopping for 3 hours together! So hubby and I had a very chilled afternoon wandering round the shops and even managed a relaxing coffee together. Its funny, in the last 6 months Hubby and I have spent more time together alone than we have done since before Bailey was born. Everyone had a lovely afternoon and everyone was in such a good mood.

Monday, Cordelia wasn't feeling well so we had a quiet day at home. Hubby and I popped to visit his grandparents, he's been helping his grandad with the garden and I had a cuppa with his nan.

Tuesday Piper had arranged to meet up with two of her friends in Leeds, Cordelia stayed home with Bailey and we took Ruben and my niece Bella into Leeds Museum. Cordelia text to say her and Bailey were going out to look for part-time jobs for Bailey and they ended up having a great time, even going out for lunch! So lovely to see Bailey spending time with his younger siblings. Piper had a wonderful time with her friends and we had a lovely afternoon with Ruben and Bella.

Love wandering around the arcades in Leeds: 

And seeing the window displays in Harvey Nichols:

There has been lots of cosplay making going off as August is looking like a busy month of events. Hubby has cut out a new shield for Cordelia to paint this time out of wood rather than foam. Ruben has been working on a Steampunk Pokemon Trainer costume and has started making a foam Pokedex ready for painting.

Cordelia has been doing lots of "Five Nights at Freddie's" themed art.

And Piper has been sewing gifts for friends and awaiting on a package from Japan containing new Lolita shoes-a gift from the Tooth Fairy for having her 4 teeth removed! She's still in a bit of discomfort from her brace fitting :(

Look how cute she looked yesterday with her Japanese inspired outfit:


Very Kawaii/Fairy Kai :)

Thursday, 16 July 2015


It's been a tough couple of days, the children have take the loss of Tallulah so much better than I thought though. I think because we knew it was going to happen we had prepared them well and had discussed several times what was best for her. I'm not coping quite as well, it's so quiet without her and I'm really missing her. I must look sad because all four children keep randomly hugging me which just makes me cry again! Hubby is missing his shadow too, Tallulah was always obsessed with him and followed him everywhere! It's such a big change...

Yesterday, we had my niece to look after so that was a good distraction. I had to take Piper for her brace fitting too, she was so brave and didn't complain once even though it looked painful. She actually loves it!

I bought some bubbles for my niece and Ruben ended up playing with them too!

In a rare step away from Minecraft...

Today we had a run out to Bakewell, a little Derbyshire village in the Peak District. Hubby and I have been visiting since we first started going out and so the children have been SO many times! But sometimes it's just good to get out and get some fresh air. The last few weeks have been a bit tough and feel like we've been indoors or at least at home a bit too much. 

We had a walk round the shops and then the girls and Ruben decided on chips for lunch, so we bought some and sat by the river watching all the Canadian Geese swim up the river:

The children kindly shared their lunch with this flock of Black Headed Gulls....

Then we bought ice creams-or in the case of the children-milkshakes and walked over to the playground, we've spent many an afternoon here with all four pesky hobbits! I took a photo of Ruben and remembered I have a photo of Bailey in this exact same spot at home...

They look so alike!

Ruben had great fun playing in the playground-he's never without his goggles at the moment!

He LOVED the roundabout

In this photo you can just see Pippi and Cordelia sat on a bench to the left. They had great fun chatting and drawing..

On the way home we called at the garden centre to get a plant, we wanted somewhere to bury Tallulah's collar so we bought a large plant pot and the children chose a beautiful Autumn Fairy Dahlia. They've been busy writing letters and pictures to put in the pot for her. It's a lovely thing to do and it means if we move house we can take it with us. We are going to do it in the morning so I've made some cupcakes too as I don't want it to be too sad.

Hubby took Cordelia up to the stables for her riding lesson which was outside this week. Lovely view!


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Saying Goodbye to our dog Tallulah

Today has been really sad, I knew it was coming and still felt totally unprepared for how sad it has made me. Our rescue dog Tallulah had to be put to sleep today. She hasn't been well and the vet today told us she had cancer so we made the decision that we've found very hard to make, to let her go. I don't believe in animal suffering anymore than I do in human suffering. She has been a lovely little dog, our only one. We've had her six years (and 3 houses!) so it's very hard to get used to her not being here today and I think it's going to take us all a while to adjust to life without her.

When we first took her in, she had been found walking the streets with no clue where she'd come from. She had waited 60 days to find a family and my mother in law brought her to us as she thought she was a lovely dog and it would have been such a sad waste for her to be put down. I'm really thankful that she got to have another six years with us, we have taken her on holidays with us, camping trips, days out and even up a mountain!

 She has been spoiled and loved and thanks to the amazing imagination of Piper we had a peek inside her thoughts through the blog Piper wrote on her behalf. She was affectionately called "Chubby or Chub" and Piper often told us what Chub was thinking, sometimes all the time!! Chub had an opinion on everything and was often dropping her waffles (that's just for us to understand I'm afraid) And so she had this rather quirky character that everyone knew about. It's a hard presence to lose and the house feels so quiet without her little paws padding all over the kitchen floor. 

I'm so glad we had such a lovely family dog that helped cure Piper and even Bailey of their fears of dogs and I'm thankful that Tallulah got to be loved by us for the last six years of her life.

Rest in Peace sweet little Chubby xxxxxx

Sunday, 12 July 2015

The end of a busy week...

More of a week summed up in photos really this week! We seem to be on some kind of wind down, maybe with the time of year and getting towards the school holidays. It really doesn't make a huge difference to us the school holidays, yes places are busier but I really love no one asking why the children aren't school so I've always loved the anonymity of them! There are usually lots of activities and events on around the city we live in too and its good to catch up with friends who are at school. When the pesky hobbits were younger they didn't enjoy the playgrounds/museums/places we visited being so busy but that's hardly an issue now as they don't really like going out that much anyway! Its been lovely to have Bailey around home the last two weeks since he has broke up from college too-although my food budget has definitely increased with him being home all week!

We took everyone out to Millhouses Park on Tuesday as we were babysitting our niece Bella, the girl did play on the swings and we saw a very dramatic duckling rescue when the duck and two of its ducklings somehow got into the boating lake. A rather enthusiastic group of miniature boat fans "helped" by trying to steer the ducklings in the right direction with the help of their motorised speedboats, the poor duckling got a bit knocked around but they did manage to get it into the net and back over to the stream with its mother and sibling. We had quite a nice hour playing in the park and water play area, hubby even showed Ruben how the Archimedes water screw worked before the heavens opened and we had to run back to the car.

Wednesday we had a catch up with friends so lots of Minecraft on the xbox/pc whilst eating cake to celebrate Ruben's BFF turning 13 the day before. Cordelia had her final HPV vaccination, thankfully they have changed it now to two injections rather than the previous three injections that Piper had to have. Cordelia was a star even though she hates needles. We had a walk in the rain to buy her chocolate-two of her favourite things!

Thursday was lovely and sunny so we headed out with our little Jack Russell Tallulah, she hasn't been so well of late and has stopped enjoy walks which is sad. The children affectionately call her "Chub" and we have had her for 6 years now, she was a rescue dog that my mother in law brought to us as she was about to be put down because they couldn't find her a home. She's been a really good dog for us to have and I'm really grateful the children have had the experience of loving a dog so much. We will probably have some difficult decisions to make in the next few weeks about her health...

Just as we arrived on the walk Chub managed to tangle up Ruben, Piper and Hubby before we had even set off!

Recently we had a lovely walk on the Trans Penine Trail so we drove a bit further over and continued a walk on there, its really quiet on a weekdays aside from the occasional cyclists and dog walkers. Ruben found a furry black caterpillar...

Chub decided she had had enough of the walk after only 20 minutes so we had to head back-walking a dog backwards is not much fun!

Another part of the trail that used to be a train station.

Hard to imagine now..

Hubby had bought  Race Night game for £1 for the car boot and so we decided to have a family game night, we bought some things for a quick and easy tea-hotdogs and nachos!

As an added incentive (I know spending time with your super cool parents should be enough by itself right???) Hubby bought the winner a bar of chocolate and there was a fiver up for grabs! It was actually a lot of fun, the children are already asking when we can do it again. I surprised myself with my competitive streak and ended up winning!

Friday Ruben and I met up with friends at the National Video Game Arcade which you can read about here. Saturday was a car boot day for Hubby and I. After the NVA Ruben was desperate for Guitar Hero and amazingly, because things like that rarely happen these days, I found it for the sum of only £5 (I remember buying the same game originally for nearer to £40!) In my opinion it has the best mix of songs..

Ruben was very impressed with my bargain! He spent most of yesterday online with Minecraft friends but did have a break to play on it and is already so good at it. He wants to try and get another guitar now for battles! Cordelia found some boots she wanted in a shop in town and begged us to take her to get them, so only an hour before they shut we managed to get there! She has been saving up for a new laptop but it seems these boots are much more important. I'm pretty jealous actually because they are really cool boots but I don't think I could ever pay that much for shoes! Good that she is learning quality over quantity though, I'm impressed.

Today we took the girls and Ruben out for lunch to Taco Bell, they've never been before but have been desperate to go. Piper really wasn't in the mood and ended up eating nothing at all, no idea how she had that willpower-Mexican is my favourite food! We were all so full afterwards so tried to walk it off in Sheffield's beautiful Botanical Garden's. A place we have always visited even before Hubby and I had babies! The gardens were really stunning today, we saw so many bees with full pollen sacs flying in and around the foxgloves. Ruben and I felt a bit sad when we saw two that were dying and I told him about the sugar syrup that you can give them to save them. He thinks we should make some and carry it around through summer just in case we see any more.. He has hardly took off the Steampunk googles he bought from Notttingham on Friday!

There were some beautiful flower displays including these ones in the colours of flags.

They looked really effective....

Back home and Bailey has been looking at University Open Days for us to all visit in the coming months, he's been working out which ones are nearest to him so he can still stay at home. Its hard to imagine him off to University in just over a year. We've had to discuss the money implications as the debt you get into is so huge now and there are no grants for travel etc it all has to be paid back, so it really needs a lot of thought. He has narrowed his choices down to 4 so will see what happens next.

Ruben is skyping/minecrafting friends, Cordelia is drawing and Piper is taking a nap because she is so tired today despite 10 hours sleep last night, hope she isn't coming down with something. Bailey just helped me make a meringue for strawberry pavlova and I've even chilled some wine for this evening...

Saturday, 11 July 2015

National Videogame Arcade Nottingham

Yesterday Ruben and I had a much anticipated visit to Nottingham's Video Game Arcade, I read about it in March when it first opened and Ruben has been desperate to go ever since. We were going to visit in May but then when we met with Ruben's friend S and her mum at the Dr Who Experience in Cardiff and when I mentioned about it they were eager to visit too. So we postponed our visit to coincide with them seeing as they had to travel 180 miles and it was only less than 40 for us. Its funny how you don't always visit places that are practically on your doorstep. We used to go to Nottingham a lot when the children were younger-and back when we used to enjoy designer shops!-I'm really not bothered about that kind of thing now but I appreciated the variety of alternative shops, and I know the girls would have too. 

Hubby dropped Ruben and I off at the train station, something I haven't done since Piper was taking part in the WW2 archiving project and we had to get the train every fortnight. It was a really easy journey in and only 10 minutes walk from the train station to the arcade. We managed to walk straight past Ruben's friend S and her mum, who were sat waiting outside a cafe, I think Ruben was so eager to get inside!

The lobby area was full of arcade games and Ruben was so excited to see the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that he and hubby had only been talking about recently! I bought our tickets which at £15 for both of us were really good value, considering we could come in and out all day and as we were there from before 11am and didn't leave until 5.30pm we definitely got our monies worth! Ruben managed a very quick play before his friend arrived and I checked out what games were playing on the three floors of galleries:

Ruben was so excited to see he could play Splatoon, he's been talking about that game for months and is already planning on a new WiiU for his birthday in November. Ruben bought his friend S a really cool cuddly Dalek that also talks-all the staff thought it was fab and I think Ruben will now be after one for himself lol! Ruben and S excitedly headed up to Gallery 3 on the top floor to play in the Minecraft marathon room. It was a really cool set up in there, Ruben was so loud-he's so used to being in his own room I think he forgets how much noise he makes when he gets excited-but the lady in there said it was fine she was used it! So I left him to it whilst I chatted to S's mum who has blogged about our visit already here.

I think it was hard at first for Ruben to play anything for too long, he wanted to play everything all at once and so was jumping from game to game! He liked the Wii bike and is a big fan of Mario Kart too.

Ruben excitedly got to play Splatoon on the WiiU

Its so funny that you can buy Minecraft cardboard heads now, Ruben made one by hand with the help of his dad back in 2013 which you can read about here, this is what he looked like back then in his hand made creeper head;

And this is him yesterday in the blue screen bit with his friend S:

Bashing heads...

Ruben really loved this game, I can't remember what it was called but basically you can build an obstacle course with all sorts of different objects-toothbrushes, tennis rackets, dustpans etc and then you use the xbox 360 controller to move cars that are projected onto the white board on the floor. Its funny when your car gets trapped inside the rackets!

Gallery 3 had several cabinets with things in and I spotted this Sega Saturn which I'd seen on a tv program recently as well as Nintendo Gamecube controllers and an original Tomagotchi!

Bailey has used one of these Occulous Rifts at college, he said it made him feel a bit sick! Their very expensive..

Took this for Cordelia as she and Ruben are big Zelda fans-Ruben actually has that hat!

For Bailey who is a huge Halo fan....Master Chief's helmet

This was Gallery 2 where the jump exhibit is. Its a really great open space and even I (with my rubbish video game skills) had a go, seen as it was a simple jotstick and one button even I could manage it!

Ruben liked this Donkey Kong arcade game and I liked the wall decal :)

So many shots of the back of Ruben's head.....

I thought this hallway was so fab, I have some of these gilded style frames at home but thought it was such a good idea to frame screens with different characters on, you could make them jump by pressing the buttons underneath..

We ended up going for another Minecraft marathon session, Ruben and S usually only play Minecraft whilst skyping the 200 mile distance! We talked to all the staff members and by the end of the day they all new us or of us, they were so friendly and I managed to get lots of advice and info for Bailey who is studying Games Design at college with the prospect of following on to University, lots of the staff are Uni students studying computer science/games design. We even got chatting to one of the directors who asked Ruben and S for their advice on his Summer Holiday leaflet. Ruben was so confident talking to him and even directing him to another part of the gallery to show him something that he might want to add on the leaflet! I love that he is so confident speaking to adults even when he doesn't know them.

Hands down the most fun game for Ruben was Guitar Hero! We used to have it when we first had a Wii console but he didn't play it that much, he become totally hooked on it during this visit though and has already requested it for the Wii at home...

We had lunch in the Toast cafe-which as the name suggests served toast or toasties. I had a really lovely cheese toastie and Mocha but Ruben didn't enjoy his ham and cheese toastie so we popped out to the little Sainsbury's next door and he had a pizza roll instead followed by ice cream in the sunshine.

He was really reluctant to leave, even when S and her mum had left to drive the 5 hours home, so we had one last game of Guitar Hero before heading to the train station. I think he could have easily arrived at 10am and have been there till 6pm. We had a great chat on the train home and he's very eager to take his best friend R there and also show hubby the TMNT arcade game so don't think it will be long at all before we are back with hubby and Bailey in tow. I'd highly recommend it to anyone with video game fans!

Hubby had a busy day doing both our gardening and his grandparents with the help of Bailey. The girls headed off into town after Hubby dropped them off with us at the train station. They had a really fun afternoon apparently.