Saturday, 20 September 2014

September So Far

The start of September always means the start of a new school year. 
And this September meant the start of both children going into the upper years of their respective school.
At S's junior school the children stay in the same class from when they begin in Year 3 until they leave in Year 6. However late last term a decision was made by senior staff that, for various reasons, the classes would be mixed around so when S returned to start Year 5 it was with some children she knew and some she didn't. So far things are going well and S is especially pleased that each Monday until the beginning of December part of their day includes a swimming lesson.


T went back to school a day later. Year 10 pupils didn't have to be there until 11am, unless they had volunteered to be peer mentors for the new Year 7's. T is a peer mentor and so had to be at school 10 minutes earlier than normal. He was really looking forward to receiving his name badge, maybe that's why he looks for happy in his back to school photo!


The weekend after the return to school we did something we haven't done for ages, we went for a walk. 
Of course if you're going to go for a good long walk you need to make sure you are fully nourished before hand. We thought going to the local Harvester for one of their new all you can eat buffet breakfasts would be just the ticket. It certainly did the trick.
We have walked other parts of the Itchen Navigation trail and decided to try and complete another section of it. We chose to do the Otter Trail but in order to get to the start of it we had to walk part of the water vole way which we had done last May. 


S liked the look of this rope swing we saw on the opposite bank



and along the way we met a herd of friendly cows grazing in a field


and at a small holding we laughed at a litter of piglets who were racing each other to get to mum for feeding time


and of course we saw ducks, though maybe not the kind you would normally expect.



Blackberries were in abundance but our energy levels weren't. It had been so long since we'd been out for a decent walk and it was such a hot day that when we stopped for a drink and G consulted the trail map and he saw we could miss out a mile or so of the 6 miles we had planned he suggested we tweak our route.



Once agreed on this amended course we set off across a deserted field towards Otterbourne Woods. Our walk had been lovely and picturesque up until that point. The path in the words was horribly overgrown with snagging brambles and made for a bit of a disappointing and prickly end.



Allbrook Lock is where the Otter trail meets the Water Vole way and the water rushing downhill was a sight to see.



We made our way back into Eastleigh and discovered a new coffee shop, one to try another day. We liked the colourful chairs on the pavement




and I spied a fab wooden crate inside used to display fruit for sale. Although Grandad must have his veg patch in an exotic place judging by the contents.



The other note worthy occurrence in September has been I have been offered a new job.
There are lots of reasons I have wanted to leave my current job. I was so excited to have started it last November, full of optimism for a new challenge after 22 years in the civil service, but it just wasn't to be. Mid October I will be starting work as a receptionist within a doctor's surgery. I'm expecting it to be an extremely busy working environment which I'm used to. One thing which I'm not used to though will be the occasional working alongside a family member as my sister works there too. Could prove to be interesting........

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Random

The weeks of the school holiday are slipping past and so it's about time I made a quick record of the things we've been doing.

Last weekend G, S and I went for a walk round the Common, we've been to visit friends who have recently acquired three chickens, I've been out for the evening with friends having a good catch up, G's mum and sister and family friend J came to visit yesterday, me T and S went to a mid week car boot sale where we sold lots of their unwanted bits and bobs with varying degrees of monetary success and G's been to hospital to have two teeth removed.
Ouch.

T has been going out and about with various friends and last weekend he went and stayed with Grandma, so he's been off doing his own funky thing and keeping busy.
S has had friends D and M over and gone to play at R's house twice. She spent the night at my mum's last Sunday due to G's aforementioned early morning hospital appointment. 

So there has been plenty going on, but not many photo opportunities.
Instead I'm going to share some random things from the last week and a bit.

I read ages ago, possibly on Pinterest, about how if you store your jumpers and cardis in drawers in a rolled up fashion rather than a piled on top of one other fashion it's easier to see what you actually have when you open the drawer. It sounded like a good idea and something I always planned to do but never got round to.
Until now that is.
 I sorted through my three drawers in about 10 minutes.
An unexpected bonus is that I now have more room so can buy more cardis.


Our walk around the Common also included a pitstop in the cafe for lunch. The staff are friendly and helpful, the food is reasonably priced and tastes good and if you have a milkshake you get rainbow drops sprinkled on top.
What's not to like.
As you can see S liked it so much she couldn't wait for me to take a photo before she demolished half of the topping.


Last Saturday G and I played this trivia quiz.
I read out the questions he answered them. There was some really obscure stuff in there. One answer he gave made me laugh so much my tummy and sides ached, I could not stop laughing.
The question was 'Which actress played the part of Alf Garnett's daughter in Til Death Do Us Part and what was her character called?'
G answered (with absolute certainty) 'Well the actress was Uma Thurman'
I know it doesn't sound like something that would set you off laughing so much you felt like you'd never stop but G saying Uma Thurman instead of Una Stubbs and the difference in the two actresses just set me going. 
One of those 'you had to be there to appreciate it' moments I suppose.



I like the smell of cucumber, it is one of the smells of summer, but I can't stand eating it. I feel like I would enjoy it because it smells so fresh but I am a fussy eater and textures as well as tastes are an issue for me.
When I saw this in Tesco I thought I'd give it a go.
Verdict : Let's just say I won't be buying it again.


A birthday brooch sent to me by G's niece.
The next best thing to real cake, one you can wear.


One afternoon S had been playing with her Barbie styling head and as the hair had become a bit tangled she washed it through in the bath and left it in there to dry.
Only T didn't know about it and when he went into the bathroom later on that night and turned on the light all he saw was a head in the bath.
Apparently it freaked him out a bit!
Maybe I'm just cruel but I would love to have been a fly on the wall to have seen his reaction.



It was one of those boring jobs this week, taking the car for it's MOT. Whilst it was being tested S and I went over to the park and that's where we found our first conker of the year. Not very brown and shiny but still a happy find if you like conkers as much as I do.



Lastly another brooch and another birthday present from another member of G's family. This one was given to me by D when she visited yesterday.
Lucky me.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Past Week

My last post recorded our summer holiday up until last Wednesday so this one is from Thursday until today to bring us right up to date.

T has pretty much been doing his own thing. He has been spending lots of time with H and I'm thankful he has made such a good friend. H is a very calm person and has got T to relax a little and chat which is A Very Good Thing.
However, T did come out with us last Thursday. My sister was off work for the week and we arranged for her and mum to join us for a picnic at RVCP.
We spent three hours in the sun eating, drinking, playing with the bats and balls and general larking about.
I'm really pleased with these photos, I hope my mum and sister will be too.



S's friend D came and spent the night on Thursday and Friday morning we trotted into town for a couple of hours at the girls request.
Later on in the day I took them to a local fun fair. S wanted to try the bigger rides but was worried about how fast and scary they looked. That's kind of the idea I told her. With a little cajoling she decided to give the umbrella chairs a go. When it started to tip on it's side and she came whooshing down that first time I thought she was going to cry, the next time she came round she was grinning from ear to ear!



And this is the ride she went on next. You sit in a little car and travel up the inside of this tower coming down on the track to then do a circuit of a very small rollercoastery type of arrangement. I predict no more sedate fun fair visits for S in the future.


The three of us spent some time in the garden on Saturday playing games. In this one G and S each both had the same measuring jug containing the same amount of water and washing up liquid. They were then both given the same mini whisk. The first one to whisk up enough bubbles until they rose up and spilled out the top was the winner.



I made S a big bubble wand and a batch of bubble mixture and with them we made these enormous bubbles. Oh it was a lot of fun but also a bit frustrating as it was breezy and they popped too easily. A stiller day would be better for giving this a go. We still have mix left so we'll try again soon.


Sunday was a day of two halves. The weather was wet and windy as forecast but then it cleared up and the sun came out. Bored with being indoors I suggested a short wander along the shore. I had to go out anyway for bread and milk so why not grab the sunshine whilst it was there and have a stroll.
We parked the car at one end of the shore and walked to the other where the ice cream van is situated.
Our mission was to buy a jazzer.
What's a jazzer?
This is a jazzer. 
A vanilla and strawberry whippy ice cream complete with, sauce and sprinkles, a flake and a giant marshmallow.



We stood by the shore enjoying our ice creams and lollies when we noticed that over to our right where the docks are there appeared to be some very dark clouds making an appearance and you may just be able to see in the top left of the photo that there was a lot of rain falling from them.


OK time to make a dash for the car. This is just about half way back and rain had started to fall in big fat drops. See how dark those clouds are but notice how clearly you can see the tower blocks.



We ran the last 100 metres or so so we could wait it out in one of the shelters along the shore, along with another family and a little group of dog walkers. It was absolutely lashing it down now and we could hardly see the docks to the right of us


or the tower blocks which were now behind us. Need to say we were soaked as although we were inside the shelter the wind whipped the rain sideways into us.
S was still eating her jazzer though, she's made of strong stuff! 


As quickly as the clouds arrived they were gone again and five minutes later it was back to sunshine and blue sky and normal visibility.
The rest of the day was spent indoors! Card and dice games and more sedate activities was the way to go.


A few weeks back I bought an old, but still boxed and never used, plastic syringe biscuit maker from a charity shop and on Monday we gave it a go. There are different discs which pipe out different shaped biscuits such as stars and flowers.

Some of them came out perfectly formed,



others less so!



No photos from yesterday. 
T was out with H again and S had L round for the afternoon.
Today both T and S are out with friends.
I'd like to say that I have been busy and achieved lots seeing as my presence hasn't been required as much by either of the children but it seems the less I do the less I want to do. I haven't been totally lazy and have ticked a few things off my to do list and more or less kept up with the housework which always seems to slide during the 6 weeks, but there is a nagging voice in my head telling me I should be making more of this 'extra' time. I'm off to vacuum the stairs, maybe the sound of the hoover will drown it out!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Sunday to Wednesday


Needless to say that since our return from Norfolk I've been busy with the usual post holiday mountain of washing and ironing but there has been some other more interesting stuff going on too.

Sunday was a bit of a moochy kind of day for all and involved nothing more strenuous than trip to the supermarket for me and S whilst T went off into town to meet up with a friend.

There was yet more shopping on Monday. T was having a friend stay over and I had promised them some suitable snacks for their planned movie watching so they joined me and S.
 As well as the essentials a couple of pink sparkly items made their way into the trolley. The hula hoop and baton were put to good use in the garden in the afternoon.



The pink theme continued in the afternoon with a bit of baking, a strawberry yoghurt cake which came out the oven looking more like a discus than a cake but tasted ok.


Both children were occupied with friends on Tuesday. H was still with us and just after 10 we picked up S's friend R and headed off to the park. They had a great time messing around in the playground, although S is getting too big for some of the equipment.



Whilst they were busy I took the opportunity to sit down with my new diary and a notepad, taken in the floral bag which was a recent birthday present from my mother-in-law, and I caught up with a bit of list writing.


The girls got along really well until the middle of the afternoon and so I stepped in and suggested they make some fruit and oat balls which I had seen in the free Sainsburys magazine. Just a few ingredients were needed, bananas, apple sauce, oats and cinnamon. They were super quick and easy to do. Our mixture was a bit sloppier than it should have been as it wasn't possible to roll it into balls so we just scooped it out and made cookies instead. All were eaten with exclamations of how tasty they were.


Next I made them each a bubble snake. It was an instant hit. R kept popping into the house to say how much fun they were having which was a delight to hear. 
In the end we didn't take R home until nearly 9!


Today we have been to the library, had a really good result at the charity shop and then we got a bit crafty. I have a transfer sheet of Sylvanian Family characters which I ironed on to a t-shirt and then S coloured them in. 
Meet the Badger Family.


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Holiday A-Z

Thank you for the recommendations of places to visit whilst we were away and for the happy holiday wishes.
We arrived home late yesterday afternoon from our week in Sheringham and although in the end we didn't venture much further than the beach we had lots of fun over the week.
I have decided to do an A-Z of our week, although it has to be said some examples are more tenuous than others, to record as many things as possible, so this is going to be a photo heavy post.

A is for Artwork. Both G and I like the art work of the old railway advertising posters and so a print of Sheringham was the ideal holiday momento for us to bring home.


Along the prom at Sheringham is an Art Trail recording aspects of living by the sea, animals living in the sea and seaside activities like eating ice cream! I wish I had taken more photos of it, but I managed one of the seals.


One of my favourite photos because of the different textures, I love the sun Bleached colour of the wood.



On our way to the beach each day we had to pass a row of the prettiest houses and this one on the corner had a Conservatory on the back. I really like the duck egg blue it's been painted and then the seaside sign and bunting just make it look so jolly. Shame about the buddleia, a rambling rose would have been nicer but now I'm just being picky!



With my blogging head on, now D is for Doors. I know there are many who, like me, like an attractively painted door so here are two for your delectation.



When the tide goes out at Sheringham there is such an Expanse of sandy beach and the water was warm enough for some paddling too. 


Fish and chips, eaten for tea on the sea front on our first night. Just had to be done, it's the law on holiday!


As well as being a good blogger and snapping away at random doors, there was also plenty of attractive stained Glass. These windows were on a building in Ipswich.


On our many strolls along the prom I tried to have a good (but hopefully not to obvious) nosy inside some of the beach Huts. Some were really pretty kitted out in CK accessories and other such goodies.



T's eldest brother is going to uni in September and so is now living in Ipswich so we went and visited him on Monday. It was our first visit to the city and although it has it's fair share of grand buildings, such as the old Post Office below, we didn't think it's as attractive as Norwich. 


We also went out for the day on Tuesday. Hopping just two stops on the train down to Cromer where I busied myself on the beach.


This is the Keyhole to the cottage we stayed in. Random I know but it had to be included as when we arrived T opened the door and commented to me he knew I would like it, he knows me so well!


This sign on the Launderette just down the road from our cottage really made G chuckle when he first saw it. Never mind all the local attractions, this is THE reason to visit North Norfolk.



A beautiful Mosaic spotted as we walked past the entrance to one of the hotels in Cromer.


Something else I could have possibly used under 'A' for advertising but I decided to use as N for Nippy.



The Oddest thing to have been spotted this week was Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in someone's garden.


Cromer Pier. We didn't wander down it, I did suggest it but others had pressing needs such as finding somewhere to buy an ice cream.




Quite a lot of the houses had pebbles over the front of them, excellent natural protection against the elements so close to the sea and it looks so good too. This is the house with the lovely conservatory and bunting.


Red poppies were everywhere, down by the sea, in the churchyard at Cromer, on the war memorial in Sheringham and the local steam railway is named the Poppy Line.



S is for our beautiful S, looking suitable happy in full holiday mode with one of the many ice creams she consumed over the week. 



And T is for a very handsome and very happy T who as we were leaving Sheringham and made a dash to the supermarket to make sure we had lunch to eat for our journey home, finally found a bottle of cola with his name on it! 


As I have mentioned before finding things with the children's names on is extremely difficult. So imagine how surprised and thrilled we were when coming up from the Underground at Victoria we saw this shop. S's birth parents chose her name and the spelling without the H on the end makes it even more unusual.


A View of Sheringham beach one morning, with the tide in, as we took a stroll looking for a place to spend our the day.



We started our holiday with a one night stop off in London as on the Friday night G had booked for us to go and see Wicked. It's something we have all wanted to see for a while and what a fantastic way it was to kick off our time away. A fabulous show with some great songs. 


This was an eXtremely strange find. I bought this very same bangle in a charity shop a couple of weeks ago for 99p and nearly fell over when I spotted it in the window of a vintage shop for £22. The shop was closed but I went back a day or two later and asked the owner about it. He said it was made from lucite which is why he had priced so high. I just thought it was something cheap and cheerful from somewhere like Primark.



Y is for Yummy milkshake but it's really just a good way of getting in one of my favourite photos of T from the week. He doesn't really do smiling and posing for the camera but I managed to snap this whilst he was talking to his brother and he didn't realise I was taking it.


There were a lot of people in Sheringham with dogs. I don't know whether there are a lot of dog owners locally or whether it's a particularly dog friendly holiday destination but there were lots of them. We didn't meet many cats, probably they are wise to the dog situation and stay well out of the way, like this one enjoying a few zzzzzzz's.



As well as the places above we did also manage a trip to Norwich on Friday to see T's nan. Given the reason for our last visit there it felt a little strange this time round but it was important we went.
There were so many more places we could have gone but as the children were happy to go down to the beach we just kept things simple. Although one afternoon when G's mum had a hospital appointment and he needed a signal on his mobile to check in with her, he and T took a walk high up along the coastal path.
It was a lovely week with lots of sunshine and a fab start to the summer holidays.