Cordelia's 12th Birthday at Whitby

Cordelia's 12th birthday saw us all up early-6.30! She happily unwrapped presents including a new camera to pursue her new found passion of photography, as well as a new Sherlock bag and lots of horsey gifts for a horse mad girl!

She had decided she wanted to go to Whitby for the day to try out her new camera so we were up and out at 8.30-almost unheard off in this house!

Its been around 4 years since we had a trip to Whitby, its a bit of a drive from where we live and took just over 2 hours but it was worth it because its such a beautiful seaside town. As it was the Easter holidays it was very busy but we had a lovely walk around the cobbled streets looking at the antique shops, goth shops and lots of arty shops. Cordelia loved the pictures in the Sutcliffe Gallery.

We had a lovely walk on the beach looking for the famous Whitby Jet, we managed to find a few small pieces of jet and Cordelia had lots of fun trying out her new camera, especially with these colourful beach huts: 


We walked back across town to see the famous church from Bram Stoker's Dracula but first you have to walk the 199 steps up to the church!


It was a real thigh-burner!


But the views were spectacular from the top:




I think all my photo's of Cordelia will now be with a camera in front of her face!


Back down the hill after admiring the beautiful gothic style Abbey on the top of the hill and also a Horse and its foal-which Cordelia must have took about 200 photos off-we took the path rather than the steps but that was just as steep so we were definitely ready for our ice creams at the bottom. There are lots of cool, individual shops at Whitby and as it has a huge Goth Weekend every year there are lots of interesting shops-especially if you like geeky things like we all do. The children spent ages looking at Adventure Time, Regular Show and Minecraft merchandise in one shop and we spotted several shops selling all of their favourite video-game characters and quote lines. Cordelia even spotted her new birthday bag in at least two shops so she was very happy-clearly Sherlock is as big there as it is in our house :)

Time for some crab fishing then, I left Hubby with Cordelia and Ruben whilst Piper, Bailey and I went and bought doughnuts-well it is the seaside!!


Because of the doughnut shopping we missed the first crab-which apparently was pretty big-but we were in time to see this little cutie...


On the way home we called at a Shopping Outlet so Cordelia could spend some of her birthday money, she wanted a Mc Donalds for her tea so we all ate in there too-although Hubby, Bailey and I had to have fish and chips from The Fisherman's Wife, the younger three enjoyed their McDonalds before we headed home for cake!

Cordelia had asked for a lemon cake so the night before I baked lemon cake with lemon frosting-she loved it



Time for a quick birthday selfie!


We had an episode of Sherlock from her new DVD before bed-we were all a bit wiped out. She had such a lovely birthday and I am so looking forward to seeing the photo's she took, she has in the last few months become so artistic and it is wonderful to see some of her hormonal angst going into something so positive and beautiful. Happy 12th Birthday to our beautiful girl, love you lots xxxxx


Less Chris Hoy more Chris Ow!

Hubby and I had a very rare date-day a couple of weeks ago and I've been meaning to write it up on the blog because it was so much fun. I don't think I've laughed so had in a long time.

Back in March I saw a Living Social deal for two adults bike riding hire at the beautiful Hassop Station, it was only £15 for a full day's hire so I thought why not? I am not much of a cyclist I have to admit-my co-ordination is rubbish really but I like trying new things so we gave it a go. My mum came and stayed with the children for the day and I got regular text updates as to how much fun they were having looking after nannan.

We managed to pick a very sunny, mild day. I have to admit though I only rode for a mile before I had to get off and have a sit down! So very, very, very unfit-my chest hurt, my thighs were burning etc....like I said I'm very unfit... But after only a short while we made it to the beautiful Monsal Viaduct....


Here we are looking smiley/delusional 


The view from the viaduct was very pretty-the Peak District is a very beautiful place.


Just as we were getting into the swing of things Hubby decided to "show-off" by cycling up a wall only to find further along there were some low-lying branches which then proceeded to hit him in the face, thus he lost his balance and fell of the wall-bike and all! I'd like to say I was of great help and comfort but in actual fact I laughed so hard I was of no use whatsoever. After I had regained composure once again (at least 10 minutes of laughing until tears streamed down my face) we checked hubby out for injuries-)to be fair he was laughing along too, maybe not quite as hard as me)-only to find that he had a rather nasty cut on his knee. This is where my status of really terrible wife comes into play-I had no first aid kit! All I had was a pack of tissues and a small pot of lipcare vaseline so I had to clean him up best I could. He was very brave though considering:




He had some very funny looks when he was back on the bike with his bloody knee though! Still we cycled on through several tunnels, it is a really beautiful spot and perfect for cycling, although personally I missed walking. I can't look at anything and cycle so I missed looking at things and being able to go at my own pace, I don't think cycling is something for me. It did get a bit chaotic at times with walkers, dogs off leads, children and other cyclists too so not sure I'd want to walk this path with the children.


We ended up cycling 12 miles in total!!



Lovely view of Bakewell at the end of the trail


Whilst I'm not sure I'd cycle it again I have to admit it was a brilliant day out, time to talk without interruptions and just enjoy the pleasure of my hubby's company, gammy knee and all. Back at the gorgeous Hassop Station Cafe for a well deserved ice cream :) 

Keepsake Boxes for My Children

I'm a terrible hoarder. Which when you have keepsake items from four children isn't necessarily a good thing. As they (and obviously I) have gotten older I have realised there are some things that are important to keep and others not so important.

With all four pregnancies I had kept baby books, I have my own baby book too somewhere and I enjoyed looking through it, plus when you have a baby-or in my case 4!-you forget some things! I always enjoyed writing in their books and keeping a record of when they did what.

We have moved house 8 times (I know its a lot!) since our first child was born and I had wittled down the children's baby clothes down to just one box. I actually wish I had just kept everything but that just wouldn't have been possible and I'm not sure the children would have appreciated that so much either...

Anyway..The clothes had all gone a little musty so I re-washed everything, I can't tell you how broody it made me to have all the baby clothes hanging up around the house! I also can't believe how tiny the clothes are, you really do forget things, especially when that teeny baby 6lbs 15ozs baby is now over 6 feet tall! Everything washed really well thankfully, I bought some acid free tissue paper and then set to wrapping each child's clothing in separate colours, it brought back some lovely memories and made me feel quite teary but I so enjoyed the flashbacks of memories. I wrote all four of them a little note and put some photographs in the envelope too-I managed to find photographs of the children wearing some of the clothes that I'd saved which I think is good because they won't remember wearing it!

I packed the boys things together in a plastic storage box with a lid and then I did the same with the girls things. I also put each of their baby books in so everything is together, I know it sounds a bit sad but I feel really pleased that everything is together and organised and as the children kept coming in and out of my bedroom whilst I was sorting it all out I know they will probably remember me taking the time to make these little boxes and hope one day, when I'm no longer around that they will still feel a little of their Mama's love.

I have put them under the bed as I read that keeping them in the garage (where they were before) or in the loft where the temperatures are too extreme will cause damage to the clothes. I don't expect the children to re-use the clothes or anything but I hope that they will treasure them as memento's of their childhood and know that they brought their mama very happy memories going back through all their teeny outfits and Christening Gowns.

I didn't photograph everything but here are a few photos from the girls box, I had already finished the boy's box when a fellow blogging friend suggested I did a blog post on it -Thank you Lisa!


Piper's Christening Dress:





First shoes for Cordelia



First shoes for Piper:


All wrapped up in acid-free tissue paper


Baby Books!

Sleepover Activities for Teens!


Last week my two girls had their best friends over for a pre-birthday sleepover. I was worried they might get a little bit bored so we had a little think and lots of google searching for some activities that they could do. We actually struggled quite a bit to find things that were free to make or things that were age related. So we had a look through our book shelves and found some craft books that were full of fun things to do.

The girls chose this eye mask to make, so we set about cutting all the materials ready to use and Piper found 4 sewing needles all ready to put each eye mask sewing kit in an envelope.


I had some lace that was perfect for the tie bits and so this is what the set looked like:


We had some leftover paper party bags that we filled with some chocolate celebrations and the girls wrote names on the bags and put them in their room ready for their friends. We also found a book which they could turn into a friendship journal/scrapbook.  I printed off some questions and gave the girls each a copy to fill in so they could add it into their book, I'm hoping over time they will add photo's and other bits and pieces in and it will be a nice record of their friendship :)

This is the finished eye mask:



The girls also busied themselves watching Sky Movies-they watched "Oz the Great and the Powerful" and ate chocolate. Cordelia had baked chocolate buns for them all to enjoy too. There were a spurt of trampoline bouncing/load giggling too.                                                                                                                                  

Yorkshire Lego Show and March Summary

It was actually ages ago that we went to the Yorkshire Lego Show, before we went to Northumberland but I just don't seem to have gotten around to much blogging during March. So in order to begin blogging more regularly I'm trying to move forward from all we did last month including the Lego show.

March

Has been a lot of boring errands like annual eye tests, dentist appointments, orthodontist appointments for Bailey, haircuts etc... nothing worth really blogging about but enough things to keep me busy and distracted not to blog (lame excuse). We had a bit of bad news with our car and its MOT so that has meant March and going into April being very frugal with some expensive car repairs to come but hey ho such is life! Before we found out about the car however we had a fab mini break in Northumberland which I blogged about here, it was really relaxing and also very inspiring to be around so much nature. Since we have come home we have been making a real effort to get outside for walks more and done lots of things in the garden. We only moved here in December 2013 and last year was a really busy one starting our new business and getting it up and running so the last few months-whilst the business has been quieter-we've had a real chance to make this house much more homely. The same can be said for the garden, its been very unloved and very overgrown and we have quite a big garden so its taken a lot of hard work and now we are beginning to see a much nicer space. Hubby, Ruben and I spent last weekend getting some vegetables planted and this week we have had courgettes, pumpkins and onions all sprouting in our mini greenhouse. I'm not much of a gardener but I like watching things grow and enjoy growing things that we will hopefully get to cook and eat! Ruben has reclaimed the playhouse we bought for the younger three several Christmas' ago and so that is our current project in the garden, he is wanting to make it into a Pokemon centre for all his pokemon figures and toys. Hopefully when the weather dries out a bit we can get on with painting it.

We had a few trips out last month too including a trip to Melton Mowbray-famous for its Pork Pies- this was manily to get Piper a pork pie as she is a huge fan! We visited the Ye Olde Pork Pie Shop, and found that the Queen had also visited! Have to admit that it was a pretty good pork pie too. Here she is with her pies:


Cordelia must be drawing over 10 pictures a day at the moment, mainly of horses but she has also drawn some excellent birds and begun experimenting with water colours too. Here is one of my favourites:


She has also been having regular horse riding lessons-its been nearly a year now since she began and she has made fabulous progress. from the minute she climbs on the horse a huge smile appears over her face and it doesn't leave until she is back off it!


Piper has been creative in a different way and really gotten back into story writing, she is currently writing a story which I've been allowed to have a sneaky preview of and its very good. I've asked her to guest post on the blog and talk us through her dolls house-its all finished now and looks amazing.

Ruben has a new xbox game which he has spent a lot of time on inbetween Minecrafting, playing lego and becoming slowly more obsessed with Superheroes. He has even been doing some reading and I've noticed when we are out he reads me signs or road name son the sat nav, the other day he told me if we were to change some letters around on a street name then it would make Bailey's name. I think he can read a lot more than what he actually lets on but I'm not pushing the issue. He has been in charge of his best friend's goldfish for the last two weeks and is being very mature in remembering to feed them and looking after them.

I think that pretty much sums up March, I'm never going to be a daily blogger, maybe when I first started the blog I could have been because we spent a lot of time going out and seeing/doing things but I'm noticing as the children all get older we are spending more and more time at home. Maybe this is just coincidence because its been winter but the girls are wanting to come out with us less and less-they's much rather be home drawing and reading, Bailey has been working really hard on his English and Math GCSE, with exams just around the corner and he's a bit of a homebody during the week. Preferring instead to spend the weekends with his friends. Either way I don't find much to blog about when we are at home all day-I think it would be boring to read!! The dynamics of our household are changing and so that has a knock on effect to everything else I feel.

 Here are some photos from our visit to the National Coal Mining Museum for the Yorkshire Brick Show:














We had chance to have a quick peek at a Pit Pony too!



Cordelia bought herself an Emmet figure:


And created this:

A Spotted Woodpecker & High Force Waterfall North Yorkshire

Our last morning at the cabin :( we were up, packed and ready to go at 8.30am-some of us may have been excited to rejoin the rest of the world with wifi and 3G but I can't possibly say who....
Since we were up so early we decided to have a last walk to the red squirrel hide, very different from last night where there wasn't a single bird in sight...this morning we were spoiled with nearly a hundred chaffinches, green finches, nuthatch's and the red squirrels :) we were also very lucky to see a spotted Woodpecker!! We could hear him in the trees and then we all watched in excited silence as he flew down and rested on one of the bird feeders:



We've been very impressed with the wildlife we have seen whilst we have been here and it has completely inspired Cordelia's creativity-she now wants to look into photography and has started drawing sketches of birds. Lovely bit of strewing!!

It was pretty cold today so we set off back home via the North Penines-what a beautiful scenic drive even if it was a bit twisty and Bailey felt car sick :( There was even some snow upon the hills and some pretty grim rain and wind. We headed towards High Force waterfall, which we had passed at the other side of on our way back from Whinfell Forest in January. It promised a wonderful sight and din't disappoint, the sound of the water was deafening before we even reached it....


A 21 metre drop into the River Tees:




Four Pesky Hobbits and their Dad :D


Walking back to the car there were lots of little bits of woodland and streams..


We've had such a wonderful, relaxing week at Keilder and its been so nice to escape from all the distractions of home.