Saturday, 27 July 2013

The holidays have begun

Our first three days of the school holiday have been lovely. A steady wind down easing us into the school break.
We had to go into town on Wednesday, generally mundane things needed doing, except for one.
Whether we like it or not out little girl is growing up and I have had a couple of very light hearted conversations with her along with the use of this book. After our first chat I asked her if she had any questions. Just one, how old do you need to be to have your ears pierced. 
I told her i had to wait until I was 10, but when I got mine done my younger sisters got theirs done too. I was more than a little miffed!
Anyway we had a chat with G about it and although he wasn't entirely happy about it he did agree she could.
We took S to Claire's Accessories where the staff were really good. The first choice S had to make was which flavour lollipop would she like for afterwards only after this important decision was made did she then have to pick which pair of ear-rings she wanted. She was given a teddy bear to cuddle whilst the deed was done, both ears pierced at the same time by two members of staff so it was all over in one hit. 

We were at home on Thursday. G's friend from work came over with his daughter. The girls played together whilst T, G and K sat around chatting. I ironed. Not exactly exciting but essential and now most of new clothes are in my wardrobe ready to wear.
I like T's flip flop fashion statement. After being in all day we spent an hour wandering along by the shore in the evening sun and for some reason T decided this was the way to go in the footwear department. And why not.

Yesterday was my mum's birthday and we took her out to Hillier's Arboretum. The four of us had a lovely day out there a few years ago, wandering around the gardens and finding the different sculptures in the art in the park exhibition they hold each year.

A lot of time was also spent at the treehouse. T and S playing 'it' and G and T coaxing S up the climbing wall.

From there we walked through the pine trees which led us to the bottom of this slope. T and S had a race up to the top and back again, then it was mine and G's turn. We didn't make it up very far! T ran back up again to meet us and he and I rolled part of the way back down. I couldn't do it for long as my head was spinning, but it was good fun!

I took loads of photos and wanted to include as many as possible to remember our day by.

Bees and butterflies were everywhere

Ever wondered what to do with all your plastic plant pots? These were huge and looked magnificent hanging from the branches of a tree quite near the entrance to the arboretum.

There was an outdoor art exhibition, subjects from the natural world made from plastics, wool and materials by art students from a local college.

This little wooden rope bridge was hung above a stream and T took great delight in rocking it to and fro whilst his nan and sister were making their way across, thankfully they found it just as amusing as he did!

Last time we were here I was amazed at the size of the gunnera leaves and this time it was mum who couldn't believe how large they grow.

These 'Rusty Poppies' are for sale at £25 each and they were one of my favourite things on the sculpture trail.

More metal flower seed heads,

These glass bubbles had models of butterflies and dragonflies inside.

There were lots of animal sculptures around the gardens, the deer was very majestic and if I had a spare £1,795 I would have bought the 'Steel Wool' sheep. I thought that the way the chains of metal had been used to show the shagginess of it's fleece was such a creative way to give the animal it's texture.

Whilst some of us admired the art, some messed about!

The children's educational garden was divided up into lots of different sections with so much to see. There was a pond dipping area and an allotment area where this rustic bench was set.

Much fun was had with this unusual water pump which the children used for cooling down by throwing water over each other.

T asked which one of these heads looked most like G but he said none of them as they all had too much hair!

Last set of photos contain some of the most amazing sculptures including two views of my absolute favourite. At just under £6,000 The Wedding Guest is one of the most expensive but she is also stunning and so elegant.
Which one of these works of art would you buy?

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Pimms and Presents

Wasn't it a glorious weekend.
Most of ours was spent outside enjoying each other's company and also that of friends and family.

I don't have any photos from Saturday which is a shame as it was such a lovely day but I kept forgetting to take the camera outside.

During the week I had spent an hour or so checking out my Pinterest boards for school holiday activity ideas and so I had a list of odds and ends I needed in order to have everything on hand. With S having had her friend L stay over night on Friday I thought I would nip to the local shops to see if I could get the things I needed and maybe the girls could play a couple of games in the garden. Unfortunately they didn't have all the items but I did manage to buy a tarpaulin and a bottle of baby shampoo. 
As I was laying out the tarpaulin on the grass T came out to see what I was doing. I explained that the tarpaulin would be doused in water and then the shampoo added, along with a good splodge of it on the tummy. Hopefully the surface would then be good for slipping and sliding across. T grinned and said 'Mum we aren't otters you know,' which really made me laugh.
The girls loved it, shrieking with delight when T chucked more cold water over them. They also loved laying on their backs making soapy angels.

Later in the afternoon we were joined for a short time by some friends and that's when the Pimms, or more accurately Lidl's Austin's, was enjoyed by the adults. It's cheaper than Pimms but tastes just as good!

We ate our tea outside, grilling the vegeburgers on a BBQ and once they were eaten we threaded some skewers with chunks of mars bar and others with jelly babies and melted them over the BBQ too. The mars bar was delish, the jelly babies were just too sickly sweet.

I spent time playing on the trampoline with T and S. We made up our own games but the thing they enjoyed most was my discomfort at being bounced around by them, little darlings!
Eventually when we calmed down all three of us were laying on the trampoline and I had T snuggled into me on the right and S snuggled on my left and we were watching the wisps of clouds floating across the sky trying to find shapes in them.
It was one of those moments when I wanted to press the freeze frame button.

Sunday morning I woke up and I was another year older.
It was 45th birthday and I even got a card from Russell Brand!
OK, so it wasn't actually from him but G had got it for me because part of my present from him is tickets to see RB in November. So excited!!!! 

I had so many other wonderful presents, here's just a selection of goodies.
The big toadstool is a money box and was from one sister, the small toadstool is from my other sister and the strawberry mug is from the children.

Cute mini sized tin from G to keep my ear plugs in, essential for a good night's sleep.

As usual I received a huge pile of pre-loved presents from my sister C which included 7 new tops, this one was my absolute favourite.

No birthday is complete without jewellery. How fab is that pearl bracelet with the heart on. I plan to take the crocheted cherries off of the keyring and make them into a brooch, they are just so sweet.

I haven't decided where this glass lantern from my mum is going to live yet, somewhere where I can use it everyday would be good

Huge excitement when I unwrapped a parcel from Diane as she had very kindly and very cleverly made me my very own jewellery holder just like the one on her blog. It's going to look really good hung up in our bedroom when we have finished decorating it. Thanks again Diane for such a thoughtful gift.

I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do on my birthday. There were a few things going on locally which we thought about going to, but my concern was with the weather being so very hot it could all become a little hard work with little (and big ) people possibly becoming over heated and no-one wants to be dealing with frayed tempers and mardiness on their birthday, so in the end we thought a gentle saunter around the car boot would do before firstly spending time in my sister's garden and then coming back home to ours.

I did really well at the car boot too.
As if I hadn't already been spoiled enough by G he then bought me the purple dress, purple top, two grey cardis and the blue beaded bracelet. We did get a funny look from a chap who was stood next to us when G was paying. As I thanked G he said 'I looked at so many different pieces of clothing in so many charity shops to buy you for your birthday, but just couldn't be sure you would like any.' I think that possibly the chap thought it was a bit strange G would be looking in charity shops for his wife's birthday gifts, but that's the way we like to do things round here!

I spent a further £1 on the stripy top, 50p on the red bag made from material decorated with ice cream sundaes and another £1 on two Ladybird books.

Needless to say the washing machine has been extremely busy since Sunday.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Lacock (part two)

The final instalment of our trip.
Saturday morning we went to visit Lacock Abbey
As well as access to the grounds and abbey cloisters and the Fox Talbot museum you can also upgrade your entrance ticket to gain access to the abbey rooms. On this occasion we chose not to do that and in the end we didn't make it to looking around the museum either because by then we were flagging from the heat.

Just to the left as you look at this is a huge gated entrance to the front of the abbey. In my mind I could see guests arriving with the staff lined up by these steps, too many episodes of Downton Abbey!

Who doesn't like doors painted in National Trust shades?

It was beautifully cool inside the abbey. This is part of the sacristy. Precious items were washed here on the left and then taken through (the now bricked up) entrance to the church for use in services.

This staircase tucked away in one corner of the cloister was for use by the abbess 

from where through this window called a 'squint; she would be able to spy of the nuns and make sure they weren't doing anything they shouldn't!

Lacock abbey has been used for film locations such as The Other Boleyn Girl and two Harry Potter movies. I haven't seen them myself by apparently this cauldron appears in one of them.

The cauldron and this bath(!) are housed in the warming room.

The botanical gardens were my favourite part of the grounds.
There was an information board in the greenhouse which said that the family enjoyed a the fruit and vegetables produced by the gardeners all year round, even when they went on holiday to Scotland wicker hampers of produce were sent up to them.

This is one of my favourite photos ever, so cottage garden.

When I saw the steps cut into this tree trunk I wished that T and S were with us as I knew they would have liked to have walked up them. I could just imagine the chants of 'I'm the King of the Castle'.

G took the opportunity for a quick knock of croquet, I sat in the shade and watched.

An unusual tree in the orchard

which grew bubble filled glass paperweights and turned the world upside down within them.

This umbrella could be spun round and whilst the glitter ball reflected tiny droplets of light against the wall of the building opposite

the canopy was set with little prisms which cast miniature rainbows on the ground.