Saturday, 27 August 2016

Newark and Little Walsingham

I think I spoke too soon regarding an early night last night!  We stayed at a Premier Inn in Newark and although the staff were exceptional the inn was suffocatingly hot due to a lack of air conditioning.  You would be forgiven in thinking that surely a British hotel chain would not need air con, especially since we were experiencing autumnal weather only a few days ago :-)  The reality however is that the rooms have triple glazed windows and are great at retaining heat.  Upon entering the room we were hit by a wall of heat and both kids did not settle until way after midnight!  I finally settled at 3am only to be woken by Pip at 6:30am ready for breakfast.  She lasted until 7am whereupon I gave in and the two of us strolled across to the restaurant.  The Premier Inn chain pride themselves on the " good night guarantee" and if this should not be the case then the cost of the room is refunded to the customer, so a refund was promptly made into our account.

 Playing cards at 11:45pm

 This is actually a control for the heating, but the room temperature felt like well over 30 degrees.

 Blue skies and wheat fields.

 Our cottage in Little Walsingham.

On our way into the big tent.

 Pip asleep during the praise and worship and reconciliation :-)

One word:  AWESOME x 

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Here, There, Everywhere

Last week we were out of the house every single day and most of my time was spent up and down the motorway.  We had one disastrous journey on the Friday whereby a one hour journey did in fact take over four hours!  In amongst the travelling we also had a freezer breakdown, so yes last week was certainly eventful :-)

Pip completed the second part of her Mad Science camp this week, which gave me the chance to catch up on laundry and packing.  We are currently in Newark on our way to this festival in Norfolk tomorrow. The festival lasts until the Monday but we are staying until the Thursday.  The journey down was a bit tortuous in parts with poor visability, rain and water spray from the articulated lorries, boy was I glad to finally stop the car for our overnight stay!

Here are some photos of the past week:

 Benedict over the moon, a room full of Lego and a Lego computer game!

 Lego Wii after a long while jumping up and down on the trampoline!  One very tired and zonked out toddler!

 The long awaited BFG cinema trip :-)

A felted phone case for me and made by Pip

 One Little Flower birthday celebration and a long hoped for ...

... our generation doll.  Each of The Little Flower girls now have a special doll of their own.  I think we will be busy crafting sashes and dresses for these Little Flower Friends!

I think I might actually manage an early night for a change which is good since we have another busy day tomorrow, a museum trip and the last leg of our journey.  We also have WiFi at the cottage so I should hopefully be able to daily blog; the only time I manage to blog regularly is when we are away :-) 

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The sun actually shone today :-)

The weather this past week or so has definitely had an autumnal nip in the air, in fact on Saturday I was wearing three layers at one point!  So yay, for blue clouds and warmth today:

 After a picnic lunch the kids set forth and the craft supplies tumbled out onto the lawn.

 This is a really great book.  It is  full of plenty of ideas that make good use of the odds and ends found around the home.

 Pip's elephant with a butterfly trim for Aunty Maureen :-)

 The reward was a well deserved fruit twirl iced lolly!

It has been a busy few weeks with maintenance jobs around the home, crafting creations, a science camp and rabbit trails for the up coming homeschool year:

 Pip working on her wooden Stephenson's Rocket.

 Benedict has taken over the majority of the kitchen chores this summer and he has done great job, roast dinners, casseroles, salads, soups and herb flat breads have been amongst his repertoire.

 Still having bags of energy despite having attended a three day mad science camp last week :-)

 Only a gaming mad boy could come up with this ace idea!

When the weather was unsavoury last week I spent several days in the loft room, sorting through resources and crafting away:

 Three woolly projects on the go, practically unheard of!!  One colourful crochet bag, one lilac jumper and one pair of denim coloured socks.  The socks are knit using the continental method which if you are curious about there are plenty of you tube videos demonstrating this method :-)  I was determined to master this form of knitting as it reduces repetitive strain on the wrists and fingers and I am pleased to report that this is the case.

 Self care that is the question!  I am really working on this one and apart from a late bedtime tonight in order to write this, I have managed to rein in the bedtimes to 11pm at the latest.  This is a vast improvment considering the past few weeks they have been hovering around the 1am mark :-(

 More permaculture ponderings.

Making good use of what we already have.

So, I think that is me caught up with the past week.  We have a couple of day trips planned for the latter part of the week and a cinema treat for Pip and I to see "The BFG" needless to say she is super excited and is counting down the days until Saturday.

Hope the sun is shining on your corner :-)

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Ikea Effect

On Friday we travelled to the Ikea store at Warrington, Cheshire.  Our main reason for the trip was to sort out much needed storage for the front room.  The trip which should have taken just over an hour took in excess of two hours, traffic jams and road works were the order of the day :-)  We love the Ikea store most particularly the Swedish ability to shoe horn massive amounts of storage in the smallest of spaces.  What we find difficult is the one way system around the store which is exhausting for someone like me who lives with an invisible chronic illness.  At one point those comfy beds all lined in a row were incredibly inviting!  Needless to say coffee, analgesics and anti-inflammatories have been my main stay since the weekend but the pain and exhaustion have been worth it :-)

 A pip juice for a Pip :-)

 A paper mobile.

 Perler bead fun.

 A mine craft creeper in the making.

 A wooden grid.


 A cheeky face.

 Working on the doors.

 A happy helper.

 All done!  Well almost :-)  There are two doors still needing to be finished but we ran out of steam!  The average bedtime for the adults in the house has been midnight at the earliest ;-)  I had hoped for an early night but we are currently on diabetes watch.  Benedict has encountered a pump problem and so we are back on emergency injections until a new pump can be dispatched and so it is a two hourly check and further injections if needed throughout the night. 

Monday, 18 July 2016

Crochet :: Permaculture :: Food Intolerances

We have actually had sunshine and blazing heat today!!  Time seems to be whizzing past and this is the first time I've had chance to pop on here to say, "Hello!"

Our home school learning journey is progressing well and we will continue during the summer, interspersed with summer camp activities for both kids.

I've had fun working on a long forgotten project:

 A stripey crochet blanket.

 Double crochet stitch and treble crochet stitch.

 The main section was made using left over yarn from previous projects.  The edging consists of wool purchased from a charity shop last Thursday.  The colours are lovely but I had forgotten that somewhere along the line I have become a "yarn snob" and working with pure acrylic wool is awful!

I have also been busy reading.  The Moneyless Man was not only informative but a very honest and enjoyable read.  Mark Boyle offered a no holds barred account of his year living without money; he bartered, skip (dumpster) dived and even managed to thumb a lift to his parents' family home in Ireland in time for Christmas.  He began the journey providing a free meal for several hundred people and closed the project with a one day festival.  Not only does the book challenge us to look at different ways of doing things, it also reminds us that true value and worth cannot be solely ascribed to a monetary value.  There are some things in life that you cannot quantify, one of which is the work done in the home, either by one parent or both.  Running a home and the caring and educating of children is a formidable task, if each individual task were undertaken by another person, the weekly cost would run into several hundred pounds!

 I am still reading "Radical Contentment" and so I will hopefully offer a commentary once it is finished.

In addition to the usual daily round I am working on an initial permaculture design for the running of the home, the home school programme and how to proceed with my obligation for "working" an additional 16 hours per week.  Using permaculture principles is a positive way of addressing what is going on with the reminder that, "the problem is the solution!"  As in all things nothing is ever set in stone and so the design is re-evaluated and adapted time and time again.  My first design looked great on paper but it became apparent that it was not sustainable on a long term basis!  Not when it meant that in a 24 hour period that 23 of those hours were assigned a task and accounted for!!  Eight of those hours did include sleep, I hasten to add!

 Looby Macnamara is a well known permaculture tutor.  This book is packed full of information and questions for self reflection.

Pip had a blood test over a week ago and we received the results on Friday.  She tested positive for IG(g) antibodies for gluten, dairy, soya, peanuts and egg.  We are no strangers to avoiding gluten but the latest results means a whole lot more label reading and checking the ingredients when out and about:

 Waiting for a gluten free fish and chip supper early last week, I'm hoping that this place will continue to be an option for us :-)

Hope whatever you are doing that life is treating you kindly x 

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Little Flowers Tea

We had our first ever Little Flowers Tea on Sunday.  Despite the weather forecast predicting rain, the sun shone and a lovely time was had by all.  The food was in three courses interspersed with quizzes and games.

 Saints bunting made by the girls and mums.

 Three of the flowers.

 Gluten free scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream.

 Table decorations, flower posy, paper tea cups and spoons holding a scented rose and three rose candy melts as party favours.

 A small selection of food :-)

The girls worked really hard, they made beautiful hanging rose baubles, bunting and mini saint pictures as well as serving the sit down tea to their guests, over twenty in all.  The tea was declared a success by one and all x 

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Ribchester Romans

We have had another busy home school week.  The kids are working on a joint unit The Romans.  I know that Benedict has looked at this period before but there is always something new to explore.

 Pip had fun finding common place names and seeing their Roman counterpart, Gloucester was Glevum but London had kept its Roman heritage.

 Tombstone Carving.

 Domestic bowls and flagons.

 Locks and bolts.

 Pottery fragments including some Samian pottery from Gaul.

 Animal bones.

 Roman Cobbler.

The museum grounds are also home to a full time archaeological dig which involves students from the University of Central Lancashire.  We were given a tour of the site and also had the opportunity to chat with one of the professors in charge of the dig:

 That little black splodge in the middle of the sieve is in fact a Roman barley grain!

 All samples are placed in this "washing machine."   The silt and clay soil sinks to the bottom and the finds are caught in a very fine sieve.

 Samples hung out to dry.

 Fragments of animal bone and a Roman nail.

We concluded our trip with a visit to the church next door:

 A prayer tree, Pip and I placed a leaf for Daddy :-)

We made it to the car just before the heavens opened!  

A successful day :-)