Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Newstead Abbey-The Home of Lord Byron

We are doing really well at getting out and enjoying the beauty of Autumn at the moment, as well as the usual PC time, gaming, reading, cosplay and art that everyone is up to on a daily basis I feel we have a good balance at the moment.

The girls have been out and about meeting up with friends which has been lovely, I do feel for Ruben as all his social interactions are online ones but he seems more than happy with it. It's just me that worries. Its funny as I think now more than any other in our home ed journey we hardly/never see any home ed friends. So many of our friends have gone back to school/college or have just disappeared of the radar and we are so busy with life at the moment I just don't have the energy to chase friends. We have had such a lot going on in our lives of late and as usual its been the six of us pulling together over everything. We are really fortunate in that actually we just enjoying being together and are always doing things that life is never boring or stale. Maybe I am getting old but I just can't be bothered with people that require so much from me when I feel that time is needed for my husband and my children. Being a good friend to others requires a lot of energy and it can often feel like a one way street, at times when things have been tough for us recently I've really seen who has been there for us and who hasn't. I've realised that the life we have chosen is not what everyone agrees with and so its easier for me to focus my energy on the five people who need it and also appreciate it. Everyone is happy as things are so we must be doing something right..

Whilst we were driving around picking a newer car we passed the beautiful Newstead Abbey in Mansfield. We visited here before, also in Autumn! You can see that post here 


As Piper and I are currently really enjoying ITV's Victoria with Jenna Coleman we were thrilled to make the connection with Lord Byron and Queen Victoria's close friend Mr Melbourne. Mr M's wife Lady Caroline Lamb had a very public affair with Lord Byron. We also read a bit more about Lord Byron's daughter Ada Lovelace, one of the first computer programmer's.

We had a lovey walk in the grounds and it all felt very Autumnal, its our favourite time of year.


Breaking the rules!!




We managed to do a bit of Pokemon Go hunting whilst in the gardens too!


#selfie


Cordelia seems to find cat's at nearly all the property's we visit. Going to have to call her cat whisperer.


Piper and Cordelia hanging out in the gardens, love Piper's pose in this photo!


Ruben looking tall even amongst the trees..


Climbing trees!

The Japanese gardens are our favourite and tie in with a brilliant programme we have been watching on ITV with Joanna Lumely all about her journey through Japan. It's been fascinating programme. Love the colours in this photo. And obviously I'm quite fond of the children in it ;-)




Cordelia might be trying to ignore Ruben in this photo....possibly....


She has always been a poser for photo's!


Love these people more than anything in the world, I do miss Bailey coming with us but he is enjoying his first few weeks of university so much and that has been such a pleasure to watch. He's worked so hard to get there.


There was no one in the playground so we took advantage and had a little play on the swings. You can see Ruben as a blur!


He looks super imposed on to this photo!


And he is in this photo but you might not be able to make him out, he is all the way at the back laying on the steps!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

EGX

Back to reality after the holiday and we had the funeral for Hubby's uncle. It was a very hard and sad day for all of us and the first experience of a funeral for all our children. It's very hard as a parent to see your children so upset but I'm so proud of how they have dealt with everything. It's been such a tough month and I will be glad to get September over with to be honest.

We had another 4 day show at Birmingham NEC this time for EGX. It was our first show for them and we weren't sure what to expect but it was a very busy 4 days! Bailey, Ruben and Cordelia came along for the second day. Bailey came on a college trip here last year and so was very excited to come again. Ruben enjoyed it but said he preferred Insomnia, he got to play several new games on the Playstation including Horizon before the release date so that was quite exciting. He spent a lot of time in the retro gaming area in comparison to Bailey who went to several talks and even got to do some networking! He much preferred it to Insomnia.

Cordelia came in her Mettaton cosplay but ended up getting changed after an hour or so. It wasn't what she is used to at comic cons and so helped us behind the stall. It's great to be able to give the children an experience of work, so many skills learned and she really enjoyed herself. The gaming conventions are so different to comic cons and the main difference is the ratio of males; its at least 95% male which is a sharp contrast to comic cons where its more female than male.




Did't manage to get many photos unfortunately, as we were so busy but it was lovely and quiet first thing!




Bailey took this photo of Ruben for me, I managed to see these too and they were so cool!

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Swallows and Amazon's!

I took Piper, Ruben and Cordelia for a trip to the cinema to see Swallows and Amazons. It was one of their favourite books and we even went to see the theatre production. You can see my posts on Swallows and Amazons here:




It's not very often they all like to watch the same thing anymore so it was lovely to have a trip just the for of us for something we have fond memories of.






It was a little cheesy but we all really enjoyed it and its always nice to switch off in the cinema for a couple of hours.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Oxford

The last stop on our way home from a lovely week in Dorset, we only briefly stopped in Oxford years ago and as it helped break up the journey home we thought we would give it another try. It's really a beautiful place, lots of intricate architecture and stunning buildings but wow is it busy!! I think it's actually the busiest place I've ever been too. Lots of tourists and obviously students. 

Can't take credit for any of these photo's as they were all hubby's photo's-I had a dead battery thanks to Pokemon Go!










We all like the heads on this fence!


Also a Pokestop...



Beautiful gardens, was much nicer wandering through here with a coffee, much quieter and we had such a great conversation about private schools after watching a school group doing rugby.




Only had chance to have a quick look around this museum and didn't get any photo's but it reminded me of Liberty's in London on the inside. Big oak staircase and lots of chandelier style lights, glass cabinets of curiosity too!


We had around 3 hours here and it was a lovely visit, bt more difficult having Loki with us as we couldn't really go inside anything and the museums looked so good, think we will have to go back again soon. As we were walking back to the car park, Loki was getting a lot of attention and even several photos from tourists, a guy asked if he could stroke him and ended up getting on the floor and fussing over him completely. He looked really fed up pre Loki fussing and it was like watching some kind of dog therapy! Loki lapped up the attention as the super friendly puppy he is and the guy walked off smiling!

I haven't posted nearly as many blog posts this year as usual, life with teenagers is not always easy to write about and I don't think we have a fascinating enough life (at least in my eyes!) to write about it everyday. But I love writing about the places we visit and sharing our photo's because I love looking back on it all, its a great reference for me and even though it might not always come across as the most home ed blog out there, our life and the things we do, in my opinion, add to the richness and diversity of our home educating journey. So much emphasise is based on exams and what children learn in a classroom but what about the things they see when they are out in the real world, the buildings, the people and experiences being out and about gives them? The conversations we have and the time we spend as a family are some of the most important memories and experiences that I think our children will ever have and give them such a strong foundation to move forward with. I feel incredibly lucky to live this life.

Stonehenge!


Woke to a birthday breakfast of bagels and peanut butter, beautiful cards from hubby and children, a phone call from Bailey, hand drawn pictures from the girls and jewellery I had picked out from Lyme Regis yesterday. We were packed and out of the holiday cottage by 9.30am, we've had such a lovely week here and would definitely stay here again.

Wasn't feeling much like celebrating my birthday this year but then I had a call from my dad first thing to say my aunt was likely to pass away within the next 24 hours. She has been fighting terminal cancer for the last two years and so it was kind of expected but still very sad to hear. It comes on top of grieving for husband's uncle and so a difficult time. I wasn't very close to my aunt, she lives in Manchester and so I haven't seen much of her over the years but I felt very sad for her children. She has been incredibly brave and fought so very hard. *It was actually another 8 days before my aunt passed away, she was such a fighter*.

We pressed on with our plans to see Stonehenge as we had booked tickets, Piper has always wanted to visit and was so excited. It was incredibly busy and is a well oiled machine in the terms of scheduling and timing, the buses are very efficient and it only takes 5 minutes to get up to the site. I think the road here was once open to traffic but as you can see from the other side of the road it does cause traffic to slow quite heavily! There were lots of tourists from all around the world, lots of selfie sticks and everyone walking around with audio guides. We chose to just look around ourselves. The ticket price for a family of 5 was over £45 but thankfully we used our National Trust membership so it didn't cost us anything, I think if I'd paid the full ticket price I'd be quite disappointed.



It was pretty windy but the rain managed to hold off just long enough for our visit. This is as close as you can get to the stones, which is a shame but I understand the need for it to be protected.








To be honest I was a little disappointed by the whole experience but when we blocked out all the hundreds of people and just looked around at the views over the fields and thought about the actual bringing of the stones to this point, some of them from as far as Wales you can see some of the magic involved. Or at least the blood, sweat and tears that is must have required to get it to this point. There's a sign up in the exhibit area that says they aren't sure if the people involved were slaves or part of a community project-I think its a bit of a no-brainer, I can't imagine anyone moving these huge pieces of stone for a community project! Its definitely made us want to look into it further anyhow, I'd like to experience the summer solstice here, when all the ropes are taken down and you can stand next to the stones. Maybe it would feel more sacred?




The gift shop was quite an experience in itself too but we headed through quite quick and back to the car, just in time for rain!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Lyme Regis Fossil hunting


Seems quite fitting that our last full day here should be spent in Lyme Regis since our first day was spent here too! We had beautiful blue skies and plans to crab fish, fossil hunt and look around the shops-hubby and the kids wanted to buy presents for my birthday tomorrow!

Cordelia loves fishing and is very good at catching all sorts including fish, crabs and on this occasion shrimp too. She sat for a good hour and caught quite a lot including a rather large crab. Meanwhile we sat and had lunch, Hubby and I had a wander on the wall you can see in the background-it's called the Cobb and is featured in one of my all time favourite books-The French Lieutenant's Woman.


Some of Cordelia's catch


She had help in the form of a furry ball of fluff aka Loki


I can think of much worse spots to be sat to be honest....



The view from the top of the very windy cobb, actually we just missed being soaked by a rather large wave!


The view of Lyme Regis from the end of the cobb.


We headed back into town and headed into the amusements for a bit, the kids love 2p slot machines and whilst they were doing that I managed to find this Zoltar machine from the film Big! I love that film so was really excited to have a go, I got a very interesting tarot card...


No big wins on the 2p slots so we headed right round to the famous fossil beach, the one where Mary Anning found many fossils including the Ichthyosaur displayed at the Natural History Museum in London. The weather was lovely and so everyone disappeared to investigate different areas. Cordelia likes collecting sea glass so she went off to do that..




Hubby and Ruben climbed a bit higher up and tried to look for fossils in the newly fallen rocks. I love how this light beam has hit the rocks right next to them. They didn't find much because we didn't have the right tools for cracking open the rocks so Ruben has made us promise to come back next summer with tools to have another go. I can't believe how excited he got about fossil hunting, its rare these days to get him to enjoy much except being online, he used to love dinosaurs and fossils when he was younger so its nice to see him back into it a little.


Piper and I were happy to sit and watch the sea to be honest and chat! We did see some cool fossils on the rocks before we left though and had a chat with an American lady who had come all the way from Colorado! She had been to see the house from Downton Abbey and had found several fossils on the beach.


We had a look around the shops and hubby bought me some sea inspired jewellery for my birthday, Piper bought some precious stones including rose quartz which is her favourite and Ruben bought himself a fossil since he couldn't find one on the beach!