Monday, 6 March 2017

iFly and Skiplex

The girls had a smashing time this weekend at iFly and Skiplex.  S flew again - her 3rd one and she was confident enough to go into the holding area on her own now, so I just watched.   She did two really good flights, despite having a 'tumble' as she straightened her legs downwards too much.  She went on to have a 3rd flight and did 2 high-flies. She can't wait to go back. I'm so pleased to see her doing this and having such fun.

video

N enjoyed the first half of her skiing until she fell, ran over her finger with her ski and hurt herself. Took a little persuasion for her to go back for her second 1/4 hour but, despite some tears, she did it, along with the gentle coaxing of her instructor who went on the slope with her.  To finish off she had a go on a toboggan which she loved.  


She was learning to turn and did it well.  However, says she doesn't want to go back for her next lesson but I'm hoping she'll change her mind.  It's up to her, as it's supposed to be fun after all.

#iFly #Skiplex #Basingstoke #Children #Sport

Friday, 17 February 2017

Swimming and Hatchlands Park

Yesterday we went along to a local swimming pool. We got there early, which was a good call as the girls got at least 30 minutes before it started to get really busy. This is a good pool where they can each go on all the slides, unlike the Woking pool which has so many restrictions on the 3 slides it's no fun at all.  Having gone on the slides together a few times, we then got into the pool as the wave machine came on for the first time and enjoyed that, before having more of a splash around.  By the time our 90 minutes was almost up, it was like child soup in there so we made an exit before the whistle for our colour bands was called - smart move.


Today we went to Hatchlands Park near Clandon which is a local NT property.  We went with my friend and her grand-daughter for a walk, but, sadly, again this place is spoilt by people with dogs that are clearly not 'under control'. Everyone seemed to ignore the 'no dogs' signs on every tree around the play area and we watched one idiotic family with their dog that raced into the cows, they couldn't call it back and when it eventually went back to them, instead of putting it on a lead, they let it run off again to the cows, who this time stood up.  Finally they got it back (it ignored all their calls) and put it on a lead. Even my friend, who has a dog, was disgusted by their behaviour. How stupid can you be?  I guess two out of two for not great times here is enough (see previous blog piece).  We mentioned this to the staff at the gatehouse who said they ask all dog owners to put dogs on leads around the cows and not go into the play area - clearly they need some wardens.


We won't go back to Hatchlands again, which is a shame as it's a lovely area but clearly not for us.  Worth another try but the dog owners spoiled it for us to be honest (neither of my girls are keen on dogs and shouting "it's friendly" as one bounds up to you is no consolation!).

At least there are better NT properties around that we've really enjoyed.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Final Fantasy XV (and other Final Fantasy obsessions)

I treated myself to a PlayStation 4 just after Christmas and as well as Ratchet & Clank and Overwatch that it came with, I bought Final Fantasy XV - which is the only game I've played on it so far.

I love Final Fantasy. My love affair with the series started with FFVII - yes, that all-time classic!  I played through that game a number of times, and ensured I downloaded a walkthrough to get every single item and beat every boss.

No obsession there then.  Well, one obsession actually - Sephiroth!  If pixels could be real...sigh....


Final Fantasy VII Sephiroth
So, once I'd played FFVII, I was hooked.  I bought the earlier versions when they were released for the PlayStation. I then got FFVIII and loved that as well. When FFIX came along, I was like a woman possessed. I got my PlayStation chipped so a friend in the USA could send the game to me about 3 weeks before it was released in the UK. I took 3 days off work just to play it (with a very understanding (now) ex-husband who delivered food to my lap at intervals throughout the days).  

No obsession there then....

Final Fantasy X followed and then XII (I didn't do XI as it was online and I'm not bothered about online worlds - never really liked them) and a PlayStation 2.  Final Fantasy XIII inspired me to buy a PlayStation 3, but I never finished that game.  There was something about it that I just didn't get on with.  I got about halfway through before losing interest.  I recall the battle system being a bit odd.

Final Fantasy XV - Titan

Once again, Final Fantasy XIV slipped by me as another online game.  

So, here I am at FFXV and I love it.  Love it!  I've played for just over 80 hours so far and am mid-60s levels for my characters. I can spend hours levelling up (I know that's time well spent in Final Fantasy games).  I took 2 days off work last week to just play the game.  Such fun.

No obsession there then...

I love all the characters. Ignis is one of my favourites.  Ravus is another (even though he's a baddie).  It's that white haired thing. 

Final Fantasy XV - Ravus
No obsession there then...

I've just finished the section where I'm about to depart this fabulous land I've been wandering around and head on a ship bound to meet Lady Lunafreya again.  However, I just need to do a few more hunts and find a few more lost hunters and broken cars before I do - and get that bloody feather I need to finish a side quest (I've beaten the beastie 5 times now but no feather).

Final Fantasy XV - Gladious, Ignis, Noctis and Prompto
Will keep you posted. If you like a good old RPG, you can't go far wrong with the Final Fantasy series.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Claremont Landscape Garden National Trust

N had been poorly the last few days with a sickness bug so we were keen to get out and have some fun.  We arrived at Claremont at 9.45am but didn't realise the gates to the car park didn't open until 10am. Glad others arrived behind us queuing up too so I didn't feel so daft.

Black swan
Special little hunt for information for the children today which they enjoyed doing.  We walked up to the top of the ampitheatre where there is a 'kissing tree' filling up with little hearts and messages.  








We then headed to the cottage and had a look inside. Lovely selection of dress up and games to use.


Off to the stepping stones afterwards.


 




Then round the lake for a nice walk and back to the other side to see the doves and ducks.  S noticed two doves touching beaks and said they were 'kissing' which was sweet. I went to take a photo as this happened....oops! Walk away...


Had a nice piece of cake in the cafe before heading home.  

 

We do enjoy these places where dogs are not so prevalent (and on leads).  Well done National Trust.

Geocaching around Sunningdale

We dug out our wellies (well, my wellies as hubby doesn't have any) and headed off to do our first geocaching of the year.  In fact, it's almost the first lot of caching in a year!  We really need to sort that out.

Parked up in one of the Common car parks and headed off. I'd looked at a map beforehand and it seemed to show a crossing over the railway line near the Sunningdale bridge.  Nice walk down that way but no crossing. What does that dotted line mean then?

Walked along the road to get to the first of the caches in the woods.  Nice houses down here.  Took a while to find our first cache - Branching out -  as GPS jumping around but we got there in the end.  Think the clue needs a serious update (head height if you're a vole!).


Off to the next one along the path through the woods.  Came out at the back of Wentworth Gold Club. Next one - Slow going - took a bit of hunting and hubby made the spot in the end.  Nice one of these.


Headed past the golf course (really loud noise like a giant hairdryer by the green) to the next one - Birch tree.  Nice spot by hubby again whilst I tried to find something less obvious! ;)  Trouble is, I think I may have pushed this a bit too far in so I hope someone can get it out again (sincere apologies to cache owner if they can't).


Walk down past what looked like the golf club junk yard (they really need to sort that out as it looks awful!) and to the next one - Joining the ivy league.  Had to wait for some chaps in a little golf style car to go past first whilst we tried to work out what ICT meant if not a computer somewhere here.  Finally got it - DOH!  Pleased it didn't take long to find as not one of my favourite hiding places.


Headed off to our final one - Like falling off a log. GPS all over the place again so we were wandering from one side of the path to another.  Lots of suspects and despite turning things over and peering at the sides of many logs, nothing appeared.  After a good 20 minute search we gave up and had a nice walk back to the car.

Feel like we've blown the lack of caching cobwebs away now so looking forward to going out next time with the girls.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

National Trust - Cliveden House

We wanted to get a bit of fresh air today and decided to go to a National Trust property.  We opted for Cliveden House and gardens as it's only about 40 minutes from where we live.  I'd been there before, many years ago, once for dinner and once to stay the night but neither time had I looked around the grounds.


Centre of the maze
Parked up easily. Nice car park with toilets, information centre and shop.  Good to see that there were areas for dog walkers and areas off bounds for dogs; great signs 'We love dogs, just not here' *grin*.  Nice for people like us who don't want dogs bouncing around us as our girls are a bit nervous of them.  First port of call was the maze. The girls loved this and yes, we did get a bit lost but finally found our way into the centre.

Olivia, the Rainbows dolly, came too




It was just starting to drizzle a bit as we headed out but that wasn't going to put us off.  We headed up towards the house and the girls had a climb on a low tree near to it.  


Had a look over the gardens from the balcony and then went off to get a hot chocolate and a piece of Victoria sponge in the cafe.  Both lovely.  We shared two sponge slices between the 4 of us, but then had to go and get one more slice to share as it just wasn't enough.  I'll say one thing about National Trust cafes; their cake is always lovely!#

 



Off for a walk down to the river Thames afterwards along the road way.  Lovely house right on the edge.  What a place to live.


Its a long way up!

Phew...made it
Walked back up the steps.  The girls counted them.  They told me there were 187 steps.  Trust me, I felt every one after the first 50!  At least my FitBit has told me I've climbed 29 staircases today for that effort.



Had a look out over from the War Memorial, then walked back around the gardens to the back of the house. Up a few more steps (nooooo!) to the balcony area, and then headed back to the car via the maze again.  

Middle of the maze selfie


We'll be back in the summer with a nice picnic as the grounds are lovely.

Friday, 27 January 2017

School hit by sickness bug

The girls' school had to take the rather drastic action today of closing KS1 just after registration.  You see they have been hit with a sickness bug and have been dropping like....children hit with a sickness bug.  KS1 are in their own little building (bar one class N is in that are in the main building) and, as happens with children of 5 and 6 years old, I doubt meticulous hand washing is taking place often, and thus the bug was knocking them down like skittles.

Theme Hospital Vomit Wave - such fun
The school contacted parents to let them know that over 40% of KS1 were now off with the sickness bug so they were shutting it down today and could we collect our children and, if necessary, siblings from other classes (saving on two school runs).  So, the girls have had a bonus day at home with daddy.  I'm not entirely sure daddy was too chuffed as he'd planned a day of listening to music on full blast on the stereo - something that us poor folks with young children will appreciate only happens when they aren't around - and relaxing.  That dream was shattered at 9.30am.  Ah well, I'm home now so he's gone out for a quick walk for a 'sanity break' *grin*.

I hope we manage to steer clear of the bug in our house, although my tummy feels a bit 'off' today. School, in the meantime, is having a deep clean this weekend so hopefully we'll be back to normal on Monday. I'm pleased they took such a sensible course of action and I hope all the children who are off ill with the bug get better soon.