Saturday, 28 February 2015

Hassop Station-Monsal Trail

An early morning start for me at least, I had a terrible nights sleep of only 90 minutes and came downstairs at 5am. I'm never, ever up before anyone let alone everyone. Ruben was especially shocked to see me. Hubby and I popped to the supermarket and then it was an early lunch before heading out to meet friends at Hassop Station in the Peak District. Hubby and I came here for our cycle ride date last April!

It was a bit overcast but dry thankfully so we set off to see the tunnels. This trail used to be the old railway but it's for cyclists/walkers now. It's a good path because it's flat with beautiful views but it can be a nightmare dodging the cyclists.

I brought the kids and their little friends R & E some paper and crayons to do some drawing:

Ruben drawing sheep:

Beautiful views

Hard to tell in this photo but this mossy wall was dripping with water, looked very pretty:

The first big tunnel we came too! It's very long and our little friend R said it was 407 steps from one side to the other! You can't see the end from this side of the tunnel and even though it's lit up its still pretty dark in there!

Lovely views standing on the Viaduct from the other side of the tunnel. Time for hot chocolates and cookies for the troops:

It was really cold on the way back but the children happily walked and chatted, collecting sticks and branches resembling trees! I love how easily Ruben plays with younger children, R is 6 and E 3 and they played lovely. Cordelia held their hands and chatted to them. Our friends kindly made us a warm cuppa in their camper van back at the car park whilst R & E showed Ruben around their super cool camper van. They had great fun sitting up in the roof!

Back home for tea, minecraft, youtube and a bit of Skype. We sat and watched Ruben's favourite TV show "Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway" with popcorn before he headed to bed. Now watching I Robot with Bailey and Piper-I can't believe I'm still awake!

Friday, 27 February 2015

Friday Thoughts

A Spring-is-in-the-air kind of feeling today which meant cleaning and tidying. Obviously inspired by Piper's tidying of her room yesterday, both Ruben and Cordelia tidied their rooms too today. Piper woke up feeling much better so we think it was a migraine attack yesterday :(

She has been busy today with her new Fimo, making some yummy looking sweets to glue onto hair slides.

Hubby spent nearly two hours this morning helping Ruben to make a magazine/newspaper about gaming. He is hoping to email it out to some friends but wants to print some copies out too and post them out. Will try and put a pdf  up when it's finished, he's talked Cordelia and Bailey into having a column each! Not sure where the idea came from, just happy to have him in a better, brighter mood this morning. He went for a walk with Hubby and the dog and then sat doing hama beads, he has been making Pokemon badge.

Cordelia baked some yummy chocolate chip cookies, as well as her usual drawing and her and Piper spent quite a while just hanging out and squealing rather loudly.

Homemade shepherds pie for tea and a quiet start to the weekend :)

Review of Earth Conscious Washable Sanitary Towels

Periods are something I've blogged about before, you can read one of my most popular blog posts here about my daughters and periods. Its such a taboo subject, which is just ridiculous considering how many of us have periods on a daily basis. I've read quite a lot of articles on sanitary products and the downsides of using them, its an issue that concerns me not only as a woman but also as a mother. I don't want periods to get in the way of my daughters going about their normal day to day lives but I'm also concerned with the chemicals used, the environmental impact and choice of sanitary products for teens too. 

I think the actual choice in sanitary products is pretty poor and also very expensive, especially given there are now 3 of us having periods. So when a friend and business owner Angela from offered to send the girls a free sample of their bamboo washable sanitary towels I happily accepted.

My eldest daughter Piper wasn't 100% convinced but my younger daughter Cordelia, who suffers much worse periods, was very happy to try. They arrived very nicely wrapped in tissue paper, always lovely to receive something so pretty in the post! They each had a lovely soft and colourful towel each to use and a very sweet and handy zipped bag to carry them around. Here are the photo's:

The girls first impressions of them were very good-Cordelia did ask if you could buy them in black which made me laugh, goths would prefer to use black washable towels apparently! But they each picked one and a bag.

The girls thought the towels were very soft and comfortable, easy to use, they just need to be rinsed with cold water after use and then they put them in the washable bags and I put them straight in the washing machine. Both girls found that easy enough. Both girls said they moved about a little when they were used, which didn't affect their experience, that might just need getting used to in comparsion to disposable stick down pads. There were no leaks, something which Cordelia normally experiences frequently. I thought they were really easy to wash and put them in the tumble dryer, they came out lovely and soft and washed fine on a 40 degree wash. The girls continued to use them throughout their periods when they had been washed, I think they would need around 9-12 each if only using washable towels.

Piper: "Wasn't sure at first but was really surprised to find how comfortable they were".

Cordelia: "The pads were really good, very comfortable and I would use them again".

The washable towels the girls used come in different colours, patterns and sizes and are currently on sale at £10 for a set of 3, you can view them here. Given that I spend around £15 a month just on the girls sanitary products, this averages £150 a year, so the towels would cost around a half of our normal yearly spend (working on the girls having 4 sets of 3 towels, so 12 in total) in the first year and then nothing every year after that! That is quite a saving. Not only that but the environmental benefits would be much better, like when I used washable nappies for the girls as babies! Not to mention the health benefits for the girls not being subjected to so many chemicals.

i'm going to order myself some and give them a try too, they get a big thumbs up from both girls!

Disclaimer: The products were sent to us free of charge, opinions are all our own.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Thursday Draws

Finally a home day! Feel a bit shattered after several busy days and still not 100% after the flu.

Ruben has been busy online today, he and his friend S made presents and a cake for their friend on the minecraft server, was gratefully received which made him happy. He's been on YouTube and lots of DS time plus reading book number 6 of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, as well as Lego and a few meltdowns-seems I'm not the only tired one today!

Piper had a huge bedroom tidy even though she has the tidest room in the house! She has been working on this piece of manga style art for a couple of days, I love the eyes:

Meanwhile Cordelia drew a very good picture of Loki which she then painted using watercolours, such detail in the armour and facial expression:

After yesterday's visit to Duxford we got talking about Northern Ireland, there were several items in the last gallery we visited that related to the troubles in Northern Ireland. We managed to find a couple of Youtube videos that better helped us try and explain it. We didn't get into too much depth about it, more of an introduction. We'll see where it goes.

Cordelia had her horse riding lesson with no bucking horse this time! Phew! And I made pizzas for tea. Pipers not well this evening-will we ever escape all this illness? 

Duxford Imperial War Museum

Yesterday we had a great day at Duxford Imperial War Museum, I had emailed in advance asking if we could have the education discount rate. I had to fill in a form for our visit and email it back to them but it saved us quite a bit, a ticket for 5 of us would be over £50 normally but all we had to pay was one extra adult at £13.20. Definitely worth emailing in advance.
It took two hours to get there as thankfully we didn't hit any traffic. The first part of the museum was Airspace, upstairs there was a huge area with plenty of hands on activities for the children to try. We all got a bit competitive with the pilot hearing test-you had to respond by pressing the blue button in under 0.25 seconds, I was winning with 0.17 but then Ruben got 0.01!!!! Not sure he will fancy being a pilot since he has a real fear of flying/aeroplanes.....

The gallery view was really brilliant:

Have to admit to getting excited about the concorde! Its such a strange shape though, the wings are huge..

Inside was much smaller than I had imagined, very cramped and I think I'd have been unimpressed with a £7000 price ticket, its not exactly luxury but I suppose speed over luxury was the selling point! Three and a half hours to New York is pretty fast. Ruben didn't like it in here at all.

He did like looking at them just not being inside of the planes!

A Rolls Royce engine:

Ruben said this was his favourite plane, the wings were pretty big and it had what looked like small boats on the end of each wing. It was an American Catalina, 650 of these were operated by the RAF.

I liked the art work on some of the planes-I haven't seen the film though!

This was a spitfire, there were quite a few of these so I think they might stay in our head. Especially given their significance to WW2.

The children spotted the name on this one "Ferocious Frankie" (after the pilot's wife!) and also the stickers on the window representing how many enemy planes they had shot down:

I thought this was a model submarine but its actually a one-man submarine from Germany. It was found off the coast of Dover and sadly the solider inside had died from Carbon Monoxide poisoning after not sealing it properly.

I loved the paint on this helicopter!

The American Air museum was quite a walk away but was worth it, the building was really cool-it won building of the year in 1998 when it opened-Hubby got really excited about the Blackbird spy plane, which looked like something out of Avengers!

I loved the artwork on this plane

Trying on the very heavy helmets...

The view as you entered the American gallery:

My favourite I think was the Stratofortress-it was HUGE, the wings must have only just fitted into the building. I can't even imagine something that wide actually being able to fly.

The last building we visited was the Land Warfare, it was brilliantly displayed with lots of tanks being surrounded by sandbags, bricks and mud/sand. Some of the tanks were even inside bombed buildings or shops like this one:

Was incredibly realistic. There was also a good exhibit on the D-Day landings including an area which gave you opportunity to hold the heavy backpacks, guns, hand grenades, helmets and even boots so you could see how heavy they were. I have no idea how soldiers could carry all of that and then fight too and think it brought it home to the children too.
A really good place to visit, and I much preferred it to the London Imperial War Museum but maybe because it was so much bigger and spread out that it didn't feel as busy.
Back home in two hours, in time to watch the Brit Awards and poor Madonna taking a fall down the stairs #capegate

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Doodles in the coffee shop

We were up and out at 8.40am this morning-I've no idea how that happened! After dropping B at college we headed over to my sisters to pick up my niece. We were taking her shoe shopping for her christening present. The girls and even Ruben (who really doesn't do babies!) love spending time with her. It's hard not to she's incredibly sweet and ever so smiley. After the shoe shopping we visited The Bear Factory-not been in there for years- The Disney Shop and had a good play in the Lego shop. Mega excitement over the new Lego Avengers Helli carrier with figures a snip at £280!  Then we had an early lunch at McDonalds before setting out to look for shoes & a bag for Piper's Lolita outfit. Baby nap time whilst hubby and I had a coffee-all this toddler business is knackering!

Cordelia brought her drawing pens and doodled on Starbucks napkins:

Ruben had a go too:

Cordelia's horse:

She took Loki out for some peasant fun, I think he enjoyed lunch.......

What's lovely about looking after my niece is a new opportunity to look at things through her eyes, everything is exciting and new and it's infectious! The girls love holding her hands whilst she walks in between them, they fight over whose turn it is to push the pram and they love chatting to her. After all this time though I've forgotten how exhausting it is to have toddlers, because she isn't mine I feel even more cautious so daren't take my eyes off her for a second! I have no idea how I managed to have a newborn, 1 year old, 2 year old and a 5 year old all at once AND leave the house by myself. I must have been so organised and so, so knackered!!

After dropping my niece back with my sister we headed to Pipers appointment at the dental hospital. She needs to have 4 teeth removed in the next few weeks under general anaesthetic which is a bit scary to be honest but the hospital were pretty good-late-but good. We'll see how that goes....

Back home for Piper's Fimo parcel to arrive-6 new colours to try! Ruben did more Hama beads, Cordelia her digital art, Piper did some actual art and just generally chilled out.

Yesterday Hubby finished painting the fireplace and we put up our clay heart garland which Ruben, Cordelia and I made for Valentines but liked it so much I'm keeping it up. I love the red against the grey:

Monday, 23 February 2015

Reading, Art & Hama beads

This weekend we said a bit of a sad goodbye to our old sofa. We've had it since before Ruben was 1 so it feels like a lifetime but it was really ready to go. Four children, two parents, a Jack Russell, three cats and 5 houses have left there mark on it. Hubby was sadder than I thought he'd be when he said "40 kids birthdays on this sofa, 11 christmas days..." But onwards and upwards!

We've had a pretty rubbish week of illness but thankfully by Saturday we were feeling a little better. We popped out for a bit to the shops but that was about all I could manage!

Sunday we had my nieces christening, I was godmother so I'm glad I was feeling better, it was really lovely to see the kids playing with their cousins too. I think we all enjoyed a bit of socialising to be honest!

This morning hubby dropped Bailey back at college, Ruben skyped with his friend S and the girls and I watched last nights "The Big Painting Challenge" whilst Cordelia doodled:

My third Amazon delivery arrived-all three deliveries this week have contained Diary of a Wimpy Kid books! Ruben is on book 5 already after only starting them last week!!! The girls are reading the later ones too. (well Piper finished the last two books this afternoon!) I ordered this book for the girls after watching the author Helena on BBC breakfast last week, she was so lovely, so confident for a 15yr old!

This afternoon we popped into Chesterfield for a library trip and to Hobbycraft. Ruben has been inspired by his friend S and her mums epic Dr Who Hama bead creations you can see them here:

After getting our own Hama bead collection out of the cupboard we found it very depleted so a trip to Hobbycraft to refresh stock! Cordelia got some new drawing pens and we had a look at Fimo for Piper-it was cheaper on eBay so we've ordered some for her to have a go with.

We dropped Cordelia off at Pony Club and headed home for tea. I've been thinking a lot about the books the girls have been reading-or not reading!- and so have decided to read some of them myself. Ten pages into one of the new library books Cordelia got out and I gave up-was terrible! So I tried another one, halfway through already and it's very well written. 

Ruben made a start on some Hama beads which I managed to iron whilst making tea.