Friday, 20 November 2015

Hormones, nearly-birthdays and home ed life in Novemeber

We've had a mostly home week, mainly due to the fact we will be out at two different comic cons his weekend (so expect some photo heavy posts ahead..) We popped into town on Tuesday for me to buy a new dress and Cordelia to buy contacts for her costume...I know she is supposed to be 16 but I'm not going into battle over it. Pick your battles with daughters...really... Piper had an opticians appointment as she has been having lots of headaches which we suspect is eye strain..another sore point-too much iphone time! She needs a stronger prescription so we will pick them up next week whilst Cordelia and Ruben are having their eye tests done, they couldn't fit everyone in on the same day. Probably for the best as it used to take over two hours when all four children were in for tests.

Its been a week of lots of hormones, I always find November a tricky month with Ruben, he gets so excited about this birthday on the 30th and then there is the build up to Christmas that it all gets a bit much. Add on to that the obvious hormones that he is dealing with and its all a bit of a roller coaster ride. If he had been born on his due date his birthday would have been yesterday!

The girls have been getting along brilliantly this week though, they have spent so much time together and even now I can here them laughing in Piper's room. The downsides of them getting along so well is that it does make Ruben feel a bit lonely, well that and the sheer about of noise they make when together-deafening. Ruben is hardly seeing any of his real life friends now, which doesn't actually bother him anymore since he has several friends on skype who he plays with daily now. I do get a bit fed up with all the fallouts and drama caused by online games I have to admit and Skype is starting to feel like a dirty word in this house for me. I know it has so many benefits but I feel like 75% of my year has been sorting out Skype arguments/fallouts/misunderstandings and its quite infuriating.

I'd very much like to unplug everyone from the internet some days and miss the home ed days of playing board games and curling up on the sofa to watch a documentary together. Still I always try and enjoy the next stage we are at, we have been watching "I'm a celebrity" with Ruben as he is a big fan of Ant and Dec. We only watched it because there was a rumor that Karl Pilkington was going to be in there and Ruben has been very much enjoying his series on Sky One. I can see Ruben being like Karl when he grows up-he can be quite a grump! I haven't watched I'm a celebrity for years but have to admit to finding it quite funny this year and Ruben thinks its very funny. I have booked us a little break for Piper's birthday and we are very much looking forward to that as life is incredibly busy at the moment with this being our busiest season for business. Being self-employed at this time of year is incredibly pressured and busy but seem to just be managing..

I finally gave in on Monday and booked an acupuncture appointment for my back, it has been really taking its toll on me for the last few months and I'm in constant pain. Whilst it hasn't taken away all the pain, it has left me feeling lighter and much happier. Today I went to my first pilates class, which should really help in the long run but its brought all the pain back right now, unfortunately.

Home Education wise, in between all the hormones- we have been back on IXL, Cordelia has been building her cosplay for Sunday. It is a pretty big costume build and she is very excited (read loud, very loud!) Piper has been reading books on haunted houses in Britain, drawing and planning her lolita outfit for the weekend.Ruben finished all the Zelda books he bought in London and has re-read them all again too! :) He has finally finished his hama bead picture which worked much better after buying new peg boards. He created a pixel art background for them to go on too. 

Cordelia has again earnt herself money through drawing commissions and has also produced this beautiful Arwen picture which we are hoping will be signed by Liv Tyler on Sunday as she is a special guest.

Cordelia finally got the haircut she has been after for ages and I gave in, after years of persuading, and she now has black hair too! Piper is currently a very pretty shade of pinks and lilacs. The girls couldn't be any further away in their preference for colours really, they are very individual. Even Ruben is asking for dyed hair now *sigh* but I'm not giving into that one just yet...

By the end of the month we will have a 12, 13 and 14 year old as well as a 17 year old. Which is a bit scary. Only one more year and we will have four teenagers, gulp. That sounds more scary.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Camden Market, The British Museum, Covent Garden, Leicester Square & Piccadilly Circus!

Last weekend we had a very early start to head into London for the day, I was surprised to find we had not visited since March this year! We wanted to visit Camden Market which is somewhere none of us, even hubby and he's been to London quite a few times more than us in his previous job!-have been to. We knew the girls would particularly enjoy it, they both love clothes and anime.

We managed to get there and parked before 10am, hubby drove us down in just under 3 hours and we managed to get free parking again! We parked between Camden and the area near the British Museum so we wouldn't have as far to walk. Or at least this is always the idea and then we get to London and always walk way longer than we plan. There is just so much to see and it is always such a fascinating place! Bailey even came with us for the day which was lovely.

We thought Camden was really cool, although it was so busy! We knew it would be but not as much as it was. So many foriegn tourists speaking French, Spanish and I overheard several American and Australian accents. It was too busy for Bailey and he really didn't like the crowds. We did see some cool shops though and Cordelia's friend had told us to visit Cyberdog. We managed to find it thanks to Google maps but it was a bit of a bonkers place to be honest, it was like going into a rave. Something which I have never done by the way, since my late teens were spent being a mum and not going out to clubs! I definitely couldn't work in that shop, I would have daily migraines and I bet the music never leaves you it is so loud! I sound really old I know... the outside was cool though and it was definitely an experience....

Cordelia was excited to find a shop selling lots of Attack on Titan merch, she bought herself a t-shirt and then Piper found an Alpacasso shop! She bought herself a small one and then we later found another one selling the huge ones! They are quite cute.

The horse tunnels were really different and we even spotted a stall of an artist who was across from us at Sheffield Comic Con, he was a really nice guy and I'm glad to see he is doing well with his new business venture.

We managed to grab some lunch on the go and headed towards the British Museum. We spent a lot of time in the Egypt area and talked to Ruben about the Rosetta stone and the mummies. Piper used to be completely fascinated by ancient Egypt and her and Ruben had a really sweet moment sat in front of some hieroglyphics whilst she explained it to him. She told him how she learnt to draw her own name in hieroglyphics too.

We had a coffee outside and sat and watched the world go by for a while. Then we headed down to Forbidden Planet, which is always high on our list of shops to visit! Ruben bought three Zelda anime books and the girls and Bailey saw lots of things but didn't buy anything. Then we headed to Covent Garden, unfortunately we missed the Christmas lights going on by a few days which was a shame!We did see the big tree all set up and I got a photo of it but its not the same without the lights on. We popped into Tokyo Toys for more Anime-lots of things going on Christmas lists here :)

Then we headed to Leicester Square and sat and had tea, which was a picnic from Tesco. Even though it was dark and after 5pm it was still really busy with lots of people. There was a guy blowing huge bubbles in Piccadilly circus and the girls and Ruben thought he was brilliant. We headed back to the car and I drove home in just under 3 hours. We must have done quite a few miles because on Monday I felt like I'd been walking on my ankle bones the previous day!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Je t'aime Paris

Today is such a sad day, even the weather here reflects the somber mood, I can't help but want to write it down. I have wanted to visit Paris for so many years and when we booked our trip there in summer I was so excited. My youngest son Ruben was pretty apprehensive after what had happened in Paris in January of this year. In fact he really did not want to visit, I reassured him that something like that was highly unlikely to happen but I know he worried about it whilst we were there.

Acts of terrorism are something our children are having to grow up dealing with, it is a very sad fact of modern life and there really seems to be an end to it in sight. Although, I reassured him that nothing would happen I would be lying if it didn't cross my mind whilst we were there. But whilst we were there we felt so safe. Something which we have discussed this morning in the aftermath of the horrific, sad and unimaginable events of last nights attacks. Armed police and soldiers were around every monument in Paris and when we crossed the road one day we had to stop as several heavily guarded police, trucks and cars came flying past at top speed with sirens and police with huge guns hanging on the side. It was a bit of a scary moment but just made us feel that the police and army had a real presence, I've never seen that in any other city we have visited.

This morning when I read the news on my phone at 6.30am I sat and cried, I feel so sad for all those poor people who were going about their lives on a Friday evening. The idea that you can be enjoying a meal or a concert and be gunned down is just to much to imagine. It could have been any of us in those places, I walked round those streets with my husband and children, I saw how crammed the sidewalk cafes and restaurants can be, I'm taking my youngest daughter to her first music gig in a few weeks, that could have been us in that concert hall. I feel guilty for telling my son it would be okay.

Only yesterday morning I saw a photo of someone stood in the same spot near the Eiffel Tower where we stood in June and said to my hubby "I'd love to be there again at this time of year, it must be beautiful in Autumn". I couldn't wait to go back but now I'm questioning how I could take my children to a place where this is a risk. I am responsible for their safety and how can I tell my son he will be okay when so many people have lost their lives? I hate to think I wouldn't go anywhere because of terrorists, that means they've won and I don't like the idea of that. I will go back but I won't take my children. In fact, I'm questioning anywhere at the moment, last weekend we visited London on a very busy Sunday, if that had been tomorrow, I wouldn't be going. We planned on having another trip down before Christmas but I just can't do it.

When we were in Paris I took this photo of the Eiffel Tower view from the peace wall, its a special wall of glass that had words written on it in different languages and was mentioned in the guide book. When we saw it however, it was really vandalised and fenced off, something which seemed ironic for a wall of peace. But now I think how accurate it was. There is no peace. Everyday innocent people are being killed all over the world in suicide bombings and we can do nothing about it. It's our government that make decisions on these things whether we agree to it or not. Innocent people are innocent people wherever they are in the world, whether news stations choose to show their stories or not its still happening. I can't help wondering where it will end.

My heart goes out to all the people caught up in the horrible events of the past 24 hours

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Foggy Wednesday

Two home days in a row since our day out to the Lego exhibit, but that's cool as we have four days in a row out coming up so its been good to get caught up on laundry, housework and for free a lot of writing. I've even managed to do yoga twice this week so far, hoping it's going to help my back pain but so far its just making it a lot worse :'(

Ruben is back into making hama beads, he is doing a Nintendo theme for a frame we bought from Ikea. He made Toon Link yesterday which ironed really well but not before we had tears over the peg board. Some of the pegs have been ironed flat so just when he reached a certain point he had to empty it all back into the tub. Going to pick some more up from Hobbycraft tomorrow. 

He's started on another one today but then gone off to play Team Fortress 2 with friends. 

Cordelia has been feeling a bit rubbish this week so curled herself up in the armchair and read this graphic novel again, it was from the library and both girls say it is a really good although sad. It's called "Lighter Than My Shadow" by Kate Green and is about a girl dealing with abuse, depression and an eating disorder, I'm going to have a read of it myself later. The illustrations are beautiful, both the girls have said so. 

Cordelia has been drawing:

Love the scarf on this picture!

And Piper too:

IXL has made a comeback in the house too and there's also been cosplay making, advent calendar making (Hubby is working on a really cool idea for the kids!) and some sewing. 
I've kept with the baking theme and baked a huge box of shortbread biscuits to watch with the Apprentice tonight, although several have already been eaten.

The weather has been properly miserable with lots of fog, we were planning on a fire in the garden tomorrow night but its going to rain, bit of a rubbish Bonfire Night. Was thinking of taking the girls and Ruben to Revolution House here as its where three of the men who were plotting to overthrow James the 2nd during the Gunpowder plot met up, but its closed until December sadly.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Lego Brick City at the Harley Gallery & Cresswell Crags

We had a lovely morning out at The Harley Gallery in Worksop to see Brick City. 

Although I've been to the garden centre here I've never actually been the gallery before, its a really lovely building. It was quite busy with other families so there must be some children still on half term but the Lego models were brilliant.

Ruben's favourite was the Olympic Park:

I really loved the Trevi Fountain:

They were hard to photograph in their boxes as the light wasn't great.

The girls spotted lots of Paris buildings including the Pompidou centre that we sat outside in June!

Although they argued it wasn't as colourful as the real building itself.

This was the Macy's Parade which was really cool!

Downstairs to see the main attraction...

Lego St Pancras Station

It was huge!

There were lots of other really cool buildings on display but I don't want to put all the photo's up just in case it spoils it for someone else!
Afterwards we had a look around the garden centre, they had lots of Christmas trees out all ready which was quite exciting to see!

Cordelia's impression of Elf in the woods!

Ruben and I had to have a photo with the snowman!

We then headed to Cresswell Crags which is only 5 minutes drive the Wellbeck estate. It was closed today but we managed to park and have a walk around the caves. Ruben wants us to book a cave tour so I'm going to look into that. There has been lots of things found in these caves, flints, bones and even a hippo! There are some drawings in some of the caves too and they are sure people used them for shelter. We've been coming here for quite a few years but never made it on to any of the cave tours so might be time.

Its a lovely walk round and always very quiet. They have been trying to get UNESCO status for quite a few years but still not managed it yet,  which is a real shame.

We found a lovely spot to have our lunch by the water listening to the ducks. Something nice about having lunch outside when it is so cold and holding a hot cup of tea in the outdoors. Reminds me of camping.

Managed to get a photo of three pesky hobbits where they actually look like they are enjoying themselves...rare!

Back home for internet time and Cordelia baked a batch of nut cookies which were delicious.

Hubby, Cordelia and I sat and watched Elf for the first time this year. feeling festive after our trip to the garden centre. Ruben came off line at 9 and we had a great hour of googling some of the buildings we had seen at the Lego exhibit. Its cool that we had seen some of them in person but thank goodness for google Earth! Late night learning is always where Ruben absorbs the most. We had a great talk about the Ancient Wonders of the World and also the new ones. The next exhibit there is in 2017 and is all about the Wonders of the World, hope Ruben is still into Lego then but we'll see...