Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Botanical Gardens & Pippi Goes Emo

Sheffield is one of the greenest cities in the UK, so on a very sunny morning we made the most of it! Sheffield's Botanical Gardens has long been a popular visit destination for our family. It was one of the first places we took a newborn Bailey on his first trip out in his pram and I have happy memories watching him feed the squirrels when he was a toddler. Its strange to be here without him but he is immersed in a world of exams at the moment...

Its a great place for our budding photographer to take some photographs though:-)

The huge glass pavilion was re-opened in 2003 after years of being very rundown and unloved, sadly it wasn't open this morning as we were here so early which is a shame as we love inside going to look at the banana tree! 

Cordelia taking shots on her camera (must do a blog post on some of her beautiful photo's)

We managed to locate the bear pit.....

And found the bear waiting inside for us....

After our walk we headed up to a specialist hairdresser for Piper to have a much coveted "Emo" haircut, she has wanted one now for about a month but I said she should really think before having so much of her hair cut off..... here she is before:

And after:

She loves it and I think it looks fabulous but I have to admit to wanting to have a little cry watching huge chunks of her hair falling to the floor-the hairdresser even gave me a piece. My baby girl is all grown up...

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter from the Superhero Eggs

Easter is always a quiet affair in this house and this year we kicked back and did some egg painting on Easter Sunday. T'was a nice break in between stuffing our faces with chocolate!

Hubby decided against my advice and didn't hard boil them first, which meant our clumsy teenage son sat down and almost immediately knocked his egg on the floor.....thankfully we had spares:

Piper decided against a superhero and did Jake the dog from Adventure Time. Bailey did-actually I have no idea who he is but it's the one on the far right of the photo-it was very good but mums are pretty rubbish at remembering all the superheroes or at least this mum is! Hubby did the Hulk, Ruben did-again no idea but the yellow one? I did Superman(was slightly disappointed how much the kids praised my paint job, anyone would think I'm totally rubbish at painting :-p) Piper's Jake is next and then Cordelia did Spider-Man.

I think the inspiration for these little superhero beauty's could be the constant viewing of Superhero movies in our house at present. This month alone we have watched: Avengers, Iron Man, Iron Man 3, The Dark Knight Rises, Spider-Man-both versions with Toby Maguire and the Garfield guy? Forget his name! Hell Boy, Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer, X-Men, Wolverine I'm sure there are more but I can't remember. We are a house of movie lovers!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

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 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 :) 

Monday, 14 April 2014

A Minecrafting Playhouse for Ruben

For a while now I have been wanting to do something with the children's old playhouse. They never really used it that much but we put it up last year, just after we moved here and put a new roof on. It's a shame it's not being used and I'm well aware they are all getting a bit old for it so Ruben and I came up with a bit of a plan to spruce it up a bit.

He sat and drew some Pokemon posters to go inside:

This is what it looked like before:

We went to Wilkinson's and bought some green garden paint-Ruben chose the colour. One we started painting it I thought it looked a bit like a Minecraft house so we came up with the name MineHut. Ruben painted a sign to go over the door from a piece of leftover wood. I bought some green bunting off Ebay to make the outside look a bit cheery. Here's what it looked like when we'd finished:

Ruben made some clubhouse rules which we put on the inside of the door:

We put all his Pokemon posters up:

And some Lego posters, he also drew a Minecraft poster:

Hubby found some old pieces of wood in the garage and made some shelves to display the hundreds of Pokemon figures he has:

We managed to fashion a bench of sorts from some spare wood in the garage and I used some old garden cushions to make it comfy to sit on. I managed to pick a few cushions up from the car boot sales for a £1 each which make it much more homely. I will recover them at some point with something more Minecraft-ish. 
I had some material from IKEA so managed to make two curtains which easily threaded on to some bamboo canes which hubby then hooked on to the wall. 

Here is the finished hut:

A happy boy in his MineHut and all for the grand total of about £18!

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!