Sunday, 29 August 2010

Day out in London...

I had such a fabulous day out yesterday with my friends Louise and Rachel! We met up at lunch time and had a good wander around played with cameras, took photos and chatted! Absolutely ideal and just what the doctor ordered! It felt so fantastic to just take pictures for me again:




Very freeing!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

What to do with a weekend to myself....

Paul is taking the girls to his parents for Saturday night so I have almost 24 hrs to myself. I love them all dearly but I really can't describe how much I am looking forward to being On My Own for a while!

I have a photography day out planned with friends on Saturday. I am going to help them get to know their cameras a bit better and give some ideas on cool shots etc. Should be good fun, and it will be the first time I have gone out with camera for fun in quite some time. Bonus trip to John Lewis with them too... and the haberdashery dept to look at buying the fabric so I can make my dress for my wee sisters wedding.

Then I am coming home to an empty house, and I plan on doing a spot of decluttering and toy box pruning. A license to throw things away... yay! Perhaps a spot of sewing on the Sunday too... I have a project that needs completing by the end of next week so I will make a start on that!

I am really looking forward to it, I haven't had any proper down time since the start of the holiday so it will be nice to just please myself for 24hrs!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

The Big Three....

Ok I have a confession... I delayed Clara's birthday this year! Her birthday is actually on the 20th August... we were going to Disney Land on the 21st and under threes are free [meaningful look].

It was very odd on the eve of her real birthday as 3 years before, myself and 3 people had been sat in a living room, brownies baking in the oven and 3 years later it was almost the same. Three main differences were a, I wasn't giving birth 2nd time and b, my Independent Midwife Kerry Taylor had been replaced by Mike in the 2nd cast and c, we were in France not South London! It was very odd not celebrating her birthday on the 20th, didn't feel quite right really!

We actually celebrated on the Sunday 22nd, we had taken a few presents with us. Her Great Aunt and Uncle had left her a pair of Disney PJs in France for her, Grannie had left a fairy dress and Aunty Liz had bought a Disney Princess dress to take with us for her to potentially wear to Disney Land (it was too hot alas!). So she had lots and lots to open there and everything else was waiting for her at home. Thanks to the fantastic boulangerie down the road we bought a pink pastry for her (we decided on an individual one as Lexi couldn't eat it, Rowan wouldn't eat it so there didn't seem much point in a big one). We even managed to get a candle for her to blow out!

In true Clara fashion she insisted on wearing the fairy dress all the way home. Fine, although she did get some funny looks on the ferry all dolled up to the nines! She is such a funny precocious little girl, beyond her years in her social graces. Jane describes her as Princess Margaret Reincarnated... always ready for a party! It is very true too... Clara is always happiest in a party dress and does love a good social occasion to talk to people. She is very complimentary and will always find something to compliment about you. She loves telling people they are her best friend (ok so this is usually based on proximity and is approximately a half hour ticket!). But, if you piss her off... beware the kid can hold a grudge!


Houston, we are GO for Threenager.... again!

Disney Land Paris...

We sat, we thought, we decided we couldn't drive through France without going with 4 Disney fluent children! So, we got in the car on Friday afternoon after tidying up that morning (ok, Guilt ridden here wasn't able to do much in the way of tidying on account of the back spasms from Hell!) and we drove to Mike's Aunt Meg's house near Paris. Somehow we managed to end up driving all but through Paris so there was much excitement in the car when we saw The Eiffel Tower, we attempted to point this sighting out to the children but they were oblivious to the excitement (curse you in car DVD players!). We arrived at Meg's house and it was glorious... un-finished but a totally beautiful collection of taste and style! She had some fabulous smoked trout, cheeses and a gorgeous apple tart waiting for us once we had poured the children into bed!

The next morning we got up early and finally revealed to the children what "The Big Treat" was... well you don't think we actually TOLD them in advance did you?! It was brilliant:



Worth it a thousand times over for their faces!
Then we piled into the car and drove around Paris to find the park itself. Once again we were able to see The Eiffel Tower, this time we were more successful at pointing it out to the kids, possibly it had something to do with the addition of "from Ratatouille" into the description of it! Ah well... it was a Disney day!

It was a bit of an arse to find, we aren't quite sure how it was but it was! And a hell of a trek from the carpark but we made it! Took a while getting into the park too... note to self, book tickets online next time! Once we made it in it was like a different world! We happened to get there just in time for a mini parade and a car with some of the new characters came out (Clara has just run up to tell me for the millionth time about "the biggest Wall.e in the world on the car!"). There was much cheering and waving from the kids. Then we got them to do the traditional line in front of the castle:


After that I think it is better to go into What We Learned That Day:

Rides with a ! next to them are scary (Pinnochio and Snow White and the 7 dwarves, great for 7 yr old boys, will scare shit out of the average 5 and under girl... oops). The Carousel and Teacups were much more preferred by the girlies, even if the music near the tea cups nearly sent the parents round the bend! Oh and and I haven't lost my fishwifely abilities after I lost it on our second go (later in the day I should add) when an adult pushed in front of Rowan on the ride meaning we had to get off as there were no more seats for us all. Thank heavens for Lexi's fast pass meaning we didn't have to queue up again, oh and the staff were suddenly very helpful to me getting 4 children seated together on the carousel!


The Parade will keep all 4 children spell bound (and cripple the mothers!) There is a bad guy float... Lexi was thrilled, his favourite disney character is Chernabog (the Devil at the end of Fantasia), the girls were less than thrilled and there was a lot of covering of eyes!


Captain Hook does a very good line in girly wussing when you shout TICK TOCK at him!


The Princess float was much admired by the girls, Cinders waved at Clara... she was thrilled. Cinders is her favourite Princess!


The Mummies may have started welling up upon seeing how thrilled their children were to see their heros and heroines!

We invented rules on purchases. We told the kids that it was the rule there that as soon as you bought a teddy then you had to leave. And they believed it too!

And finally... even Mummies can get lost! Jane and I went on a (noble) search for either DVDs or something with Chernabog on it for Lexi and then we (by which I mean all 4 adults...) got muddled as to where we were reconvening. Meaning Paul, Mike and the kids were in one location and Jane and I were in another... without a phone! The payphones wouldn't take the money we had and declined the credit cards (no idea why!) and in the end I had to ask a soldier (btw, why on earth are there armed guards at EuroDisney?! Stop the characters getting out?!) if we could borrow his phone to quickly call the other half of our party to let them know where we were. Oops!

Still it was a fabulous day and I think Lexi's last words before passing out in bed sum it up nicely

"I went to Disneyland today.... it was the best day EVER!"

Sunday, 22 August 2010

You have 3 countries on your doorstep why not visit one!

Where we are in the Alps is on the doorstep of Switzerland and Italy so we thought we would pop over to Geneva to see some friends what live there. Of course it was this morning the children chose to oversleep so we were late out of the door (someone show me a parent who doesn't use their child as an alarm clock?!). Anyway after a brief magical mystery tour of Geneva and the surrounding countryside (Tomtom not a fan of the Swiss obviously!) we arrived at the train station where we were meeting the lovely Sarah and Rob.

They shepherded us onto a train, and then a bus and then a short walk to The Botanical Gardens. We had a marvellous picnic with them and then released the beasts on the play area near by. Much fun was had when the Carousel opened back up after it's lunch break and they 4 childerbeast got to ride on it. It really is the most fantastic Carousel any of us had ever seen:


Rowan and Lexi decided on the tortoise:


Phoebe decided upon the horse (surprise surprise!)


and Clara shot upstairs and sat in the basket of the flying frog where no one could see her!

Then came the moment that I knew was going to happen, it always happens, it is one of the basic underlying principles of my universe. Phoebe saw water... Phoebe striped off naked... Phoebe frolicked in water. I have a lovely friend who says it wouldn't be an occasion worth it's salt without one of my girls stripping at some point. Apparently the look on Paul's face was one of utter resignation when he was informed of his eldest child's antics! Ah well, noone appears too scarred from that particular event!

It was a fantastic day and wonderful to meet Sarah and Rob too! Now I am home I must get some bourbons  in the post to them!

Fun with Crisps...

Whilst enjoying ourselves in St Gervais at the local park, post swimming in the rain! We decided to establish exactly how much Rowan loves Crisps... turns out it's a lot!



Monday, 16 August 2010

Fun En France! Part Une.

Well after a 19 (count em!) hour journey across France, which whilst long was miraculously uneventful. Miraculously because 4 children ranging from almost 3 - 7 who were exceptionally well behaved is nothing short of miraculous, particularly when the 3 youngest are girls renowned for their screechy default settings!

Jane and Mike set off from their house at about 00:45, arrived with us an hour and a bit later we packed and then got en route for Dover and arrived there for 4am. We had had the forsight to book with priority boarding so got on the boat really quickly and had a reasonable crossing. Then we unloaded the car from ferry and made our way from Calais to St Gervais... a journey of approximately 882 km or 548 miles! It took us all day, with plenty of stops but as I said was uneventful!

On Sunday we mostly attempted a recovery, with much muttering about how daft it is that major supermarkets are closed when we NEEDED to shop! However we went to a local town and shopped there, because they have better parking than St G. We did however venture into St G for lunch, a little nervously as Lexi is allergic to all things dairy. Amazingly we had a cracking meal in a lovely restaurant who were happy to cater to the various requirements (including the fussy eaters... I am looking at you Rowan and Phoebe!).

Today we tried to find another restaurant that would accommodate so well, but we failed so drove back up the mountain to go back to yesterdays! You live and learn really! Alas today's lunch was called a little short for Lexi, Jane and Paul as Lexi went an attractive shade of Grey and had to be taken home. The girls, Mike and I enjoyed the rest of our meals before calling for a lift back too. We (well we gave the girls options) then decided that Face Painting would be the order of the day:


L-R we have Phoebe the Dog, Clara the Rabbit and Rowan the Butterfly. They were then absorbed in playing a game which involved one of them going out onto the balcony and miming their animal! Alas poor Lexi was in bed and being poorly at the moment so was unable to join in the fun. He was less than impressed with his lack of Tiger so tomorrow we go on the White Face Paint search to have some more face painty fun!

We also negotiated that instead of bedtime stories they could watch some TV, on the proviso that if they were noisy we would remember they were there and we would send them to bed. Amazingly this worked and they all Shut Up for at least 40 minutes AND they were so tired by the time they hit their beds we didn't hear a ruddy peep.... RESULT! Never have 4 children been so delighted at bedtime!



This left us sufficient time to make a baked bacon and pea risotto and lo, it was GORGEOUS. Note to self: Make risotto more.... mmmmmmmmmm!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

What I have been up to for the last week in, mostly, pictures!

Ok aside from having The Headache From Hell I have been active (well childerbeast don't give you days off the inconsiderate little toads!).

On Monday we went to The Science Museum and V & A with Mahri-Claire, Greg, Annabel and associated childerbeast.







On Wednesday we went to Brighton to meet up with Dad and Jane to celebrate Dad's 60th:


( I made the cushion with some pictures the girlies drew and then embroidered and made up the rest!)




On Thursday we went to the Library with Becky and her girls and built a robot out of recycled materials:





A fabby week despite the immovable neck and banging bonce! I have also since seen the GP and been given beautifully strong pain killers that can be taken alongside brufen and seen the Osteopath who straightened me out nicely (5 ENORMOUS cracks out of my neck & back!). I am now in France so expect tales of foreign parts!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Apologies for being AWOL

I have done *something* to my neck / back and am in a lot of pain. So blogging is a bit far down my To Do list. I am seeing the Osteopath tomorrow and possibly also the GP if I can get an emergency appt.

I have a new found respect for people who live with Chronic pain, this has been utterly bloody. It started last Saturday when I woke up with a headache that was so painful I could feel a thought burning through my brain. It was all I could do to sob at poor Paul and beg for pain killers. Since then I have had a constant headache, painkillers don't kill it only dull it. As for my neck and back, well the pain is radiating down to my knees now and it HURTS! I tried a super dooper painkiller tonight, I won't be taking it again having just had a meaningful conversation with the toilet... yuck.

I am hoping the Osteo can work miracles tomorrow as we are going on holidays as of Friday night / Saturday morning and I want to be fit as a fiddle to enjoy it all!

Friday, 6 August 2010

It is my sewing anniversary (well... ish!)

On the 1st August 2009 I ordered my first sewing machine, it arrived shortly afterwards so I reckon my first proper stitches would have been about now! I can't believe I have only been sewing for a year now, it is such a big part of my life now! So much that at Christmas I took the opportunity of upgrading my sewing machine to a lovely one with tonnes of stitches and a range of feet!

I have come so far too! My first proper project was a Morsbag, since then I have made costumes, clothes for me and the girls, all the Christmas gifts last year, bags and so much more! I have a fabric stash that takes over 2 huge laundry bags and all my sewing stuff seems to take over the dining room! I can't share my current projects yet...  I will, but not just yet! However I have recently learned piping and am planning on abusing that new project!

Kindly the Gods have decided to aide me in my quest of crafty goodness and have inspired the good makers of Hobbycraft to open a shop near me. Better yet, John Lewis are opening a home dept near me too (I nearly crashed the car when I saw that!). That will be open on the 26th August and I absolutely cannot wait! I can hear my debit card weeping already (and it has already had a pounding in Hobbycraft!).

How have I celebrated my anniversary?! Well I purchased a walking foot today from Ebay and am happily awaiting it's delivery so I can finish off Phoebe's quilt.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Impetigo attack.

Urgh, I finally took Phoebe to the doctors about her dribble rash that I suspected might have been impetigo. I was right and the doctor suggested that a topical cream might be better as it is only a small batch. However as Phoebe has been having screaming ab dabs about us putting any cream on her I asked for oral anti biotics. She prescribed flucloxacillin which is possibly the most revolting tasting medicine known to man. So far I have tried bribery: FAIL, masking it: FAIL, forcing it: FAIL. I am at a loss as to what to try next to be honest.

I am going to call the doctors tomorrow and beg for a new prescription of cream for her. Pesky children!

Damn you advertising!

My girls are thankfully mostly pretty blasé to the ridiculous level of advertising inbetween TV shows on Tiny POP! etc. It is admittedly less controlable since Phoebe learned how to flick through the TV channels (well the 4 we have... I am too tight to pay for the rest of them!). Thankfully they seem to bore her and she changes the channel. However in the last couple of days it seems they aren't as immune as I had hoped!

Exhibit One:

In Sainsbury's in the cleaners aisle a little voice pops up with:

Daddy do we need more Cilit Bang? Bang! And the dirt is gone!

Exhibit Two:

Purchasing Phoebe's school shoes in M&S

Mummy are these Lellie Kellies

(My response: No, and you will only get those over my dead body sweetie).

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

You know what irks me about children?!

Nothing is EVER enough. Take today for example:

I took them to "Making Music" at the library where they got to make musical instruments. Phoebe made a drum and Clara a twiddly drum. By the time we were half way through they were asking about lunch (it was 11am!). At 12 o'clock we went to lunch in Yo Sushi, half way through that they started asking about pudding. I needed to do some shopping (mostly for them) and by the time we had done one shop the whinging for pudding was reaching cataclysmic proportions. I threatened that if they didn't stop they couldn't have pudding, they stopped so we got pudding. Then they moaned their legs were tired from scooting. Now they are moaning they are bored!

I know they will become grateful soon but it is very soul destroying day after day when everything you do is never enough!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Survival of the grimmest!

Yesterday I was rather like a zombie, the previous night having only got approximately 2 hrs sleep on account of a sore throat and being irritatingly bunged up but with no, erm, movement! Thankfully the girls were on good form and were reasonably well behaved all day which was good as I spent a lot of it dozing on the sofa!

Phoebe's genius idea was for me to drive them to the park so they could play and then for me to leave them there so I could come home and sleep! She was a bit miffed when I said no to that one.

Still I slept last night (Benylin Day and Night,  how I love you!) so am feeling marginally more human today. This means we can manage swimming and a few basic chores around the house at least. I am hoping this vile cold sods off soon as I hate being poorly!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Toy Story Outings.

What fun we had on Saturday when we were joined by our lovely friends Mahri-Claire, Greg and Mike and assorted children. The plan was for the Daddies to take them to Toy Story whilst the Mummies enjoyed the fabled quiet lunch. Everyone arrived and were fed with sausages or pasta depending on preference and then the cinema party was ushered out and myself and Mahri-Claire took ourselves and Baby 'Thaniel off to a local tapas restaurant.

There was only one little hiccup in that Sebastian, the smallest of the cinema party, did not like the cinema on account of it being too noisy. So Greg popped him back to us in the restaurant and then headed back to enjoy the movie. It wasn't a problem at all and Sebastian charmed all the waiters and was so well behaved we barely knew he was there!

When we all got home the children were buzzing (no pun intended) from seeing a fab movie and having a fab time! And the Mummies were feeling suitably relaxed and happy following a lovely lunch!

My triumph came at tea time when feeding the children more sausages and pasta we realised that frankfurters weren't suitable for Lexi as they have dairy in them. So we gave him chicken nuggets, fine not a problem except he declared he hated fish fingers and wouldn't eat them! At this point Rowan, who is a fussy pants and whose usual fair is sausages, sausages or sausages, piped up that she loved them so we handed them over under the guise of fish fingers... not only did she eat the lot but I had to cook more for her! Hurrah!

It is so wonderful spending time with people who parent like you do, and who parent as a group rather than only seeing to their own children. I trust these people implicitly with my children and know that if they get up to no good then they get a ticking off, similarly if they need a hug or comforting it is there in droves! I hope they feel the same about myself and Paul.

Sunday, 1 August 2010