Sunday, 15 July 2012

Strawberry Sundays

We were up early to walk around the car boot sales as its been quite a few weeks since its been dry enough for us to go! We picked up a lot of books today, I bought the girls over 50 Point Horror Books for £5!! I read them as a teenager and I got the girls onto them a few months back so we have been looking out for them in charity shops and at car boot sales. The girls were so excited to get this many all at once, I might even have to read through some of them for old times sake! The girls and Ruben also found some more Littlest Pet Shop figures, including a vending machine (apparently this is really cool as its featured on the Youtube video?!?) so off they went to play a huge game of LPS when we got back whilst I continued my renovating/painting/glossing of furniture in the dinning room. After a cooked lunch we had to drop Daddy off for a trip down to Sussex, we were all a bit sad as its not very often he goes away on a weekend. As we were driving back we decided to go to the strawberry fields, it was quite busy actually! But we got straight in and started picking!

 Finding some monster strawberries!
 They were really well hidden
 But abundant!
Taking home our spoils....
 After tea I made a strawberry and peach (tinned not fresh sadly!) crumble that I served with double cream and in the words of my children it was EPIC!! I have had a least two portions, well it is the weekend!!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists!!

After the rain, rain and more rain we gave up plans of going out for a walk in the country and booked cinema tickets to see "The Pirates! An Adventure with Scientists!". As it was part of the Cineworld Kids Club it was only a £! each to go and it was SO worth it, I haven't laughed so much in ages! What a fantastic film. I think what drew Hubby into booking the tickets for this film, was seeing the pirate ship used in the film whilst we were at the M SHED museum in Bristol last month. I think we all have a new appreciation for animated films after watching this and it was also a really good introduction into Charles Darwin for the children, more strewing going on here!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Queens Park

Today's Friday group was the first one in a while, due to us all being away at one point or another in the last six weeks. Guess what? It was raining when we got there, but this did not spoil it for the children, who found themselves a fantastic tree to play underneath, completely dry under there! A game, which seems to have been a cross between Minecraft and cowboys.cowgirls!? Cordelia found a caterpillar which they called Rose. She wanted to bring her home but I talked her into putting her back as she was eating a leaf that I'm sure we don't have in our garden!
Thankfully, the parents stood in the bandstand so we kept dry! The children couldn't get on the playground to play as at the same time we arrived so did a coach full of school children. Ruben and his friend M ventured across to the park only to have to physically remove a boy off them!!! Whilst another one told them they'd go to prison for not being in school, hmmmm I'm really looking forward to the six weeks holidays now...Maybe its because its Friday the 13th?

Thankfully, our children are resilient and just got on with their own game and left the school children to have the playground. I could have a rant about it but frankly, I can't be bothered. My energy is needed elsewhere at present.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Park Days

Today we met up with friends at the park, we haven't been in a while and we haven't seen our friends for a good catch up since we got back from Sussex. It was a perfect opportunity to take our minds off yesterday really, although Ruben is dealing with it much better than I had thought he would. He's obviously more mature than I thought. Today the weather was dry! Hurrah, it seems slightly miraculous after all the rain that has been falling and it was good to take advantage of the dry weather even though its cooler than it should be. The children were very excited to see R and M and wish R a belated Happy Birthday. I have no photos of the children playing becaus ethey were off having lots of fun, only returning to me for food, drinks or the use of my phone camera. What I do have is lots of photo's of Geese! Courtesy of Cordelia :) We seem to be all out of kilter with any kind of routine after having the holiday and our four nights in Hastings. Not that we usually have much of a routine but still I'm feeling a little aimless at the moment, which has not been helped by me feeling under the weather for the last month. I think I need to take a bit better care of myself and that will help, easier said than done.

Today was nice though, R got to come back and have a play, which was great, the boys played happily on Minecraft (what else at the moment?) and it was lovely to hear laughter and giggles again. We are very fortunate to have good friends to cheer us up!
Bailey has finally painted his Warhammer scenery that he has built out of polystyrene too. He is looking forward to the Warhammer home ed group starting in September, it seems ages away but I'm sure it will pass quickly. He has also been reading a book about Winston Churchill this week since we came back from Chartwell last week. He's rather taken with him. I think that's a very good "strewing" example!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Sad days, RIP Doris

We've had a really sad day today, even the grey weather reflected our moods. Last night Ruben's hamster Doris passed away, thankfully he was asleep but I had to wait until this morning to tell him. I had so many dreams about telling him and him being upset but I still found it so upsetting to tell him. I had prepared him for  it as much as I could as I knew she was nearing the end. I'm really not good with death, thankfully, I haven't had much of it to deal with so far in my life and neither have the children. Another plus point of being younger parents, I suppose. He has dealt with it so well today, I'm really proud of him. Even when Cordelia woke up to Piper telling her the news, thinking she was being helpful she was hoping Cordelia wouldn't come downstairs and set Ruben off. Cordelia was also really upset. Lots of cuddles on the sofa before breakfast, which is never a bad thing. Its very hard to see your children upset and not be able to make it all better for them, its what mama's are meant to do. There have been a few moments today when I wanted to cry but I've managed to distract both of us with other things. Bed time was tricky as Doris was in his room and we had to put a dinosaur display up so there wasn't a big space where she should be. I took Ruben out for some one on one time, I think he really needed it and the girls were being a little impatient with him this morning so it was a good idea. He picked a birthday present for his best friend R and made him a lovely card. We are meeting up with them at the park tomorrow so hopefully that will cheer him up.

Rest in Peace, little Doris

Monday, 9 July 2012

Busy children poorly mama..

I've been feeling under the weather today and this afternoon really couldn't move off the sofa so its been a quiet day. We were meant to see friends at singing, who we haven't seen in a while so the kids were a little disappointed but put a brave face on it. Thankfully as so much energy was burned last week on our many trips and visits the children seemed to relish a day at home. They've been playing a mega game of Littlest Pet Shop for three solid days now so I'm kind of waiting for it to end rather abruptly with tears from at least one of them but so far so good, no tears! Usually these big games do not end well but there's a first time for everything! I told them about a box of material squares on my sewing cabinet and they rushed off to find it and started to make furnishings for the LPS. Sleeping bags, blankets and carpets were created.

This led to a wedding scene, with a wedding dress and an outfit for the groom being made too! Last week in a charity shop in Reigate, Cordelia found a book from the "Doodle Books" range, we are big fans of the books here and have several already! It was only £1.50 and had not one doodle in it so we bought it. This encouraged the younger three to have a doodle morning, Ruben is really into Minecraft at the moment and so all his pictures featured "Steve", he thoroughly enjoyed himself. The girls argued over who could draw in the new book as its the only "girly" doodle book we've got, I talked them into doing a page together, argument side stepped! They did a pillow fight doodle together before going off to play Monster High.

 Ruben asked if he could finish the Papertoy Monster he had started with Hubby before we went away. Meet Heidi, the monster in the closet! She was a bit tricky but we managed it together!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Chartwell, The home of Sir Winston Churchill

Churchill is quoted as once saying "A day away from Chartwell is a day wasted". I can see why he'd think that. Chartwell was, and to an extent still feels, like a family home. Sometimes you visit houses in the National Trust and they can feel a little stuffy and unwelcoming but Chartwell felt like having a nosey around the neighbours house! There are lots of family photo's of Churchill's children, wife and grandchildren, some lovely portrait's. I particularly like the one of his wife, Clementine which is in the family room. From what I read around the house about her, I really like the sound of her. In the museum at the end of the house there are snippets of letters she and Winston wrote to each other and I find it all very romantic! I'm glad my husband is at home most of the time and thanks to laptops and smart phones, even when he is away we are always in touch but I like to think if we didn't have all this modern technology I'd write to him lots!

 I didn't take any photo's of the inside of the house, I presumed you can't but I never asked. It was very busy and my four were the only children in there. As yet they don't know that much about Winston Churchill (except for his cameo in Doctor Who!) but I'm hoping this will ignite their curiosity! The booklets we were given to walk around with was really useful. It told us some really interesting facts including Helen Bonham-Carter's grandmother Violet was a good friend of Sir Winston's and there is a photo of her up on the stairs. The girls liked this fact as huge Harry Potter fans!
All the children liked the museum room with all the gifts Sir Winston were presented with, especially numerous amounts of cigar cases! We were all sad to hear about the Churchill's daughter 'Marigold' who died just before her third birthday. 
I think my favourite room was the dining room, overlooking the beautiful gardens that Churchill helped build and landscape. For their Golden Wedding Anniversary the Churchill children presented their parents with a book of paintings of gold roses by numerous artists-29 in all, its a really beautiful book and such a thoughtful gift. Seems like Winston and Clementine were much loved parents. I never realised what a talented artist Churchill was either! There are numerous paintings of his throughout the house and in his own studio, which is a building within the grounds of the house. 

At the back of the house we spotted two black swans swimming in the lake

Its such a big house but felt so cosy.
 I loved this little butterfly house in the garden. An information board told how Churchill loved to watch butterflies hatching and release them into his garden.
 Another giant plant!! They were the theme of our week, along with the rain.

A really lovely morning was had here and its really triggered Bailey's curiosity about Sir Winston Churchill, he's started reading a book that we have had in the house for a while about Churchill. The rest of the afternoon was spent in Reigate going around the charity shops whilst we waited for Hubby's meeting to finish. We picked up some good books and a lovely print for the girls bedroom. Then we set off back home, a drive that should have taken 3 hours actually took us 6. So we were all shattered when we got home. A lovely week yet again in Sussex though and some great, educational trips. The NT membership has paid for itself already, just this week!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Long Man Walk

After a lovely day at the beach, we picked hubby up and some picnic supplies and had a walk up the Long Man. It was a lovely evening and the views from up there of the downs are really beautiful. You can just see the Long Man in the distance to your right.
 It didn't take long to get up to and there was no one else around which was lovely, we sat on the field (amongst a bit too much sheep poo for our liking) and ate our picnic.
 As we walked back down the hill my friend text to say she'd had her baby boy!! Wonderful news. Looking forward to meeting the little man and seeing his very proud mama.

Beaches & A Rare Appearance of the SUN!

I could moan about the rain but I think everyone is fed up with it to be fair! I pretty much just got on with it this week and then we woke up this morning and it was sunny! Woo-hoo! So we dropped Hubby off at the office and headed straight for Birling Gap, we visited earlier in the year and loved it. The sea was out when we arrived so we got on with some rockpooling. Cordelia found 7 crabs and plenty of sea anemone. 

 It was amazing watching how fast the sea came in and we decided to head off into Eastbourne

 But not before some lunch and a little play of LPS on the beach!

 Eastbourne and its beautiful, clear, blue seas.
 Time for a sisterly chat.
 Then a walk into the amusements, not my cup of tea but a right of passage for the children! They has muchas fun anyway.... well until Ruben lost
 Cordelia loves playing on the 2p slots, she turns into a granny, hugging her pot of 2 pence pieces
 Then we had a sit down on the pier, the view behind reminds me of the South of France with its shiny blue seas. Its a shame its not....
We walked up to Eastbourne's Wishing Tower, which is under renovation.
 One last play at the beach before we pick up daddy from work. It was a lovely, relaxing day. And nice to feel the sunshine on our skin for a bit...

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Wakehurst Place-Kew Gardens-Millennium Seed Bank

I first saw Wakehurst Place on BBC's Countryfile and thought it looked like a great place to visit. The Millennium Seed Bank is based here at Wakefield and in 2009 they achieved their target of 10 % of the world's flora seeds! Their new target for 2020 is 25 %.  As per the theme of my week I used my newly purchased National Trust membership and so the visit was FREE! 

As we looked at the map we realised it was a huge place and would take us all day so we went back to the car and grabbed our picnic lunch, I'm glad we did as it would have been a pain to come all the way back for it. First up we walked to the Millennium Seed Bank, it was opened by HRH Prince Charles in 2000. Its a really cool building. We sat and watched a film about how important it is to store as many of the world's flora seeds as possible. There were lots of seed models for us to look at including the double coconut palm which is huge and the tiny seeds of the Lady's Slipper Orchid, which is the size of a full stop. I loved the seeds they had displayed on the ceiling.
They were shown 20 times their actual size and were moved around by giant sloths-for the life of me I can't remember the name of them though!!

I thought it was fascinating how the lab was all set out to show you all the rooms the seeds go into and what happens to them whilst their in each room. The children loved watching the scientists at work behind the glass and one man even tried to mime what he was doing in the lab-it was very funny and we gave him a round of applause afterwards. A really  really cool place to explore and gave us so many different topics to chat about. Its quite overwhelming when you realise how dependent we are on plants/trees, its a scary thought to think we could lose so many of the worlds plants. Its such a great project.
As we walked around we loved looking at what the plants Latin names were. I think this was my favourite.
Cordelia saw on the BBC's Planet Earth Live how some baby bears were digging their claws into one of these redwood trees and how the bark all comes off, she asked me to take this photo.
We spotted some fungi growing on these wooden steps.
This is Wakefield Mansion, we didn't go inside but it looked very impressive. Lord Henry Price bequeathed Wakefield to the National Trust in 1963, he and his wife Eve were passionate about plants and there still remains some of the plants they originally planted.
I loved these ancient trees on the way to the maze, with the boys running off ahead, they look so tiny next to these giants
Making it to the maze, making friends and fighting all part of the course of our day! Being a bit tired myself didn't help. Sometimes distraction is the key...
Finger maze!! My work here is done.....
What a lovely spot to have our lunch, in the rain....

This was part of the Water Gardens, very beautiful
More giant plants!!!!
The view from this point was really beautiful, even the children stopped squabbling for two minutes to look at it.

And then they were shined by these talking totem poles, boys and girls were united in their excitement and competition.

A moment of peace.

A really fab place to visit, we'll be visiting again here soon, the next time we are in Sussex.