Friday 18 August 2017

6 year old with a Baker's Cyst

We were out geocaching last weekend, climbing up and down hills, getting our wellies sucked off by mud and generally having fun for around 3 hours with friends.  That evening, we were due round our friends for a BBQ and my youngest, who is 6, changed from her leggings into shorts and off we went.  The girls went out to play when we got there and it was then that my friend asked what was wrong with N's leg.  We had no idea and looked and saw a huge lump behind her left knee!

N's left knee - leg straight - showing the Baker's Cyst
As you can imagine, we were really worried about it.  It wasn't bothering her at all but I wasn't leaving anything to chance and we headed to our local walk-in centre to get it checked.  N was very upset as she was worried about what would happen in hospital but with some reassurance, she calmed down a little.  The nurses were wonderful with her and not worried.  They said it was probably a Baker's Cyst, also known as a Popliteal Cyst.  Not so common in children as in adults apparently.  However, they decided to phone the paediatric doctors at our main hospital as it had come up so quickly and they also wanted to rule out DVT (deep-vein thrombosis), whilst they sorted out an ice pack for it and suggested she take Ibuprofen to help with the swelling.

The doctors at our main hospital asked to see us, so we drove straight there (hubby and other daughter were still at the BBQ as it seemed daft for us all to go).  We were seen within 5 minutes by the triage nurse and less than 10 minutes later, we were in seeing the paediatric doctor.  After a chat to N and myself, she had a look at it.  She suggested it may have been there for some time, but I am positive it had come up that day.  N has a habit of wandering around the house in her underwear so her legs are on display a lot and I'm absolutely positive I'd have noticed something the size of a golf ball sticking out the back of her leg!

Still somewhat visible when knee bent a little
The doctor went off and consulted with another doctor (more senior I assumed by the way her spoke). He came in and chatted to us and then switched off the lights and looked at the cyst with a light, pointing out the fluid in it.  He said that it looked like a Baker's Cyst but it had probably been there some time to get to that size. Again, I disagreed as we would have noticed that.  He checked her pulse down her leg and said it was all fine.  They went off to chat some more, having spoken briefly to me about an x-ray.

A few minutes later the first doctor was back with N's discharge forms.  I questioned the x-ray but it had been decided as she wasn't in pain, to phone my doctor on Monday and ask them to arrange for an ultrasound scan, which I duly did and we're now waiting for.

Having done some reading on this type of cyst, they can take from months to years to go away and have a relatively high chance of reoccurring.  There's some information on Baker's Cysts in pediatric patients here.

I have to say that the cyst doesn't bother N at all, but if I'm honest, it bothers me.  It looks very big on her tiny leg and I really want them to do something about it - drain it maybe.  I guess we'll have to see what the doctor suggests after the ultrasound is done. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday 7 August 2014

Camden Town Market (and being ripped off at the Darkside shop!)

Teen and I hopped on the train and headed to Camden.  I have to say I love my student railcard as two travelcards cost us just over £24.  That's good value!

Arriving at Camden this time, we aimed straight for the Stables Market which we entirely overlooked last time!  Wow!  This place is huge.  Absolutely adored all the wonderful horse sculptures everywhere.  Had a good look around and J got the cutest little necklace that is actually a mini pocket watch style.  What a neat idea.  There was a huge variety of styles of them but she settled for one with little wings.  She said it looked like The Golden Snitch from Harry Potter films.

Found a lovely lady selling some steampunk gear and had a good chat to her.  I'm going to need a fortune for this trend.

Having had a good look around, stopped for lunch at our favourite Chinese place at Camden Lock and ate our dishes of rice, bang bang chicken and sweet & sour chicken. Very filling. Lovely sitting on those half Vespa bikes. What a good use for old stuff like that.  Refreshed, we walked around that part of the market.

Next we headed off and picked J up a lovely H&R dress.  She looks amazing in it.  I decided to buy one two but in a different style. Having tried a couple on (quite a challenge over clothes you're already wearing) I found one that was perfect.  The stall holder wanted £85 for them both, giving me a 'saving' of £10. I said £80. He said £85 get the drift.  Anyway, we settled on the two dresses we liked, he bagged them up and I handed him £80 and said, there you go, £80 as agreed. He looked bemused. We said goodbye and walked off.  Smug face (but only for a while - I'll tell you at the end).

Then off into a shoe shop as J wanted some school shoes but a DM style. She spotted a pair she really liked and tried them on. They looked great and she said they were really comfortable. I was surprised at the price - just £30. Turns out they are vegan shoes!  I asked about leather ones and was told they had 'proper' DMs but they were almost £100.  Hey, vegan is great ;-)

Darkside Camden - come on in (and be ripped off big time!)
We then headed off to try and find a band merchandise place we'd seen last time we were there. Having walked up and down the street twice, we just couldn't spot it.  I then decided to head into Darkside to gawp at the amazing boots they have and have a look at their steampunk and Hell Bunny clothing. I spotted a cloak I'd have loved (but where would I wear it?), a 'Victorian' style outfit (hubby would have killed me at over £200 for a skirt and top) and a boddice for £90.  We then went downstairs to see some more dresses.  I tried on a Hell Bunny hell bunny one (yes, the rabbit on the dress had demonic eyes) and then a Spin Doctor - Hell Bunny's darker side - one with 3 straps at the waist and a kind of occult type pattern.  Very funky. I fell in love with the Spin Doctor one and with it costing £69.99, just £10 more than the HB one, I decided to go for it.  Yippee!  Two dresses for me.  We then headed back to the market to pick up a band t-shirt for J and I got a t-shirt with skulls on too (J liked it - it says 'forever young' which made me smile as she said I am) :)

Having now shopped for over 3 hours, we decided to head home as there was nothing else we wanted.  Nice train ride back and home late afternoon.  Hubby loved my dresses and J looked amazing in hers (without her other clothes underneath).

This is where it all goes wrong....

I decided to see what sort of bargains we had got today.  It turns out none.  Yes, you heard me, NONE!  It seems Camden Town Market and shops are now the biggest rip-off going.  Why?  Let me explain.

Firstly, Darkside.  A store selling Spin Doctor and Hell Bunny outfits to name but a few.  My dress £69.99.  I have found the same dress - THE SAME - on 5 other websites. Guess how much?  An unbelievably, ripped-off, sick feeling £49.99.  That's £20 CHEAPER than Darkside.  WTF?  I sent a stinking email and Tweet to them.  How could they possibly justify such a price hike?  Had their pricing been incorrect?  Hey, I'd like a refund of that 'extra' £20 you appear to have skimmed off me.  Their response?  Nothing. Nada. Zip. F*** all.  My advice - NEVER, EVER, EVER buy from DARKSIDE CAMDEN! Go in, try it on, then go home and order it online for far less money  (from Kate's Clothing, Violent Delights, The Gothic Shop or even Amazon!).  Use them as a glorified changing room.  I'm utterly disgusted.  Serious lesson learned.

Oh, it gets worse still. The two Hearts & Roses (H&R) dresses I bartered the market trader down to £80 for?  Yep, you guessed it.  J's is £25 through Amazon (£15 less) and mine is £35 on Amazon (£5 less). So in all, going to Camden *COST* us £40 more for the clothes we bought.

Now, all that said, we had a lovely girlie day out together which you just don't get online shopping.  But I'll tell you something for nothing, if'/when we next go, I'll be looking at Amazon's website, and places like Kate's Clothing, etc as I'm in the shop or at the stall, and will pay not a penny more than they are asking or we'll try it on, test it for fit, and buy it at home where we're not treated like mugs!

Friday 25 April 2014

Jelly and Bean - Phonics reading for Children

Jelly and Bean but who is who?
If you have not heard about these books, sit up and pay attention!  Jelly and Bean are the cutest, best books ever to get your youngster reading.

I first discovered Jelly and Bean by Marlene Greenwood when S brought one home from school as part of her daily read.  The book was so cute and really well structured to help her read with her use of phonics and blending.  This meant that immediately she was excited because she was 'reading a proper book'.  The delight of this discovery is really important in my eyes.  Reading is fun. It is not 'homework' or 'boring'.  Books like Jelly and Bean mean that children very quickly can 'read' and if they are anything like S, that means they want to read more and more.

As more Jelly and Bean books arrived home, we fell in love with the cats, the pigs and the dogs.  Super characters developing her reading potential as we went along.  Each introducing more sounds and blends including tricky words (red words her school call them).

N wanted to be involved and loved blending the sounds with words that S gave her to read herself. Yes, they shared the books. As S started to bring home books other than Jelly and Bean as her reading progressed, I decided to buy the books for N and her.

I looked everywhere for the books - usual suspects such as Amazon, Scholastic, The Book People, even eBay, but nothing. I found two listed on Amazon but they were pretty pricey for second hand.  Oh dear. Then I Googled them and there they were! I was delighted as you can imagine.  Also, what super prices for such lovely sets of books.

I ordered the original 'white' cover series as that's what S had brought home first.  They arrived and both girls wanted them.  Isn't that typical. I did tell S they were for N as she was learning and not as clever reading as her, which was accepted as the answer, providing she could read the books too. Yes, of course she could.

Each book gently introduces new sounds with sweet pictures and lots of repetition.  There is a great structure to them and their stages as they increase in complexity as children learn. Now, I'm not a teacher, but as a parent, I love that my girls want to read so for the whole of the Easter holidays, despite them being easy for her now, S read Jelly and Bean books.

At the end of the books, all the words used are on the back page. This is a great little 'check' for me to see if my girls actually know the words or were guessing from the pictures.  They love reading the words they have learned again.  In some of the books with more words we make up silly sentences like "Dad sat on a red frog".  Anything to get the giggles going.

N is 3 years and 4 months old and has now read the first lot of Jelly and Bean books I bought for her. Some words are very tricky for her such as 'Bean' and 'Wellington' (with the latter she tends to forget what the letters she's already sounded out are by the time she's reached the last one, ha, ha - but she recognised it once told what it was by sight).

My new Jelly and Bean books - reading with lunch
I've just bought the Series B books and she picked one up straight away with her lunch and started to read it.  She's not put off by any tricky words because in the whole "I can read all by myself" and "I have read a whole book" are what she says and that's super exciting for her.  And that's what matters.

So, here is my lovely collection (so far) of Jelly and Bean books.  I think the Pig Family will be next and I recall much fun about things falling into a pond so I'll have to look those up too.  If you are interested in getting your children reading and they are keen, you could do far worse than pick up Jelly and Bean.  Pop along to their website or have a chat to them on Twitter.

This review was produced out of the love of Jelly and Bean books for my girls.  I was not offered any incentive to write it.

Monday 9 September 2013

A welly full of smelly mud

No children!
S is now at big school and N started pre-school today.  She was very excited about going and I had no issues dropping her in. She just wanted to know where the paints were and off she went.  I got home and for the first time in almost 5 years, hubby and I have the house to ourselves.  It was quiet.  We were lost.  So, what better than to hoover up some local caches that we haven't picked up with the girls in tow!

Parking up in the single space that is near this area, we headed off to Mimbridge Walk 10.5 to get the 3 caches we needed to finish this circuit we started about 2 years ago.

There seemed to be quite a few DNFs on this cache so we suspected we were in for quite a search.  There are some good looking suspects around here to go through and the GPS was doing it's usual merry dance so we narrowed down the area with a bit of backwards/forwards walking and set to work searching.  The rain was drizzling upon us and we were slip-sliding away trying various acrobatics to check areas.  I even attempted to see how deep the stream was but clearly too deep (and phew, what smelly mud) for my wellingtons.  After around 15 minutes, I had an idea.  Using an implement to keep my knees dry I did some more scrabbling around and voila! there it was.  Hubby did the collect as I guided him.  A great sense of achievement with so many people not able to get this one.

Child free caching
Away we headed, in reverse, to Mimbridge Walk 10.  A quick spot here but to be honest, I thought it was just litter and nearly didn't pick it up but the GPS was insistent.  Quite surprised unless it's camoflague has come off.  Signed and off we went again.

Easy peasy
Our walk continued to Mimbridge Walk 9 where the cachers path was quite obvious.  I decided to send hubby through the stingers to make the collect as I sheltered my phone from the rain.  A quick find and then back we went to the car.

Got it
It seemed a shame to call it a day here so we decided to head off to Egham to pick up the ones that we managed to miss last time. Do you remember when we climbed through someone's garden (blog on that here)?  Yep, those ones.

We parked up and I decided to put on my hat (I am not a fan of hoods) as the rain was coming down quite hard now.  6 Egham's Wildlife Walk was first on our radar - another reverse circuit for us.  The GPS didn't like the trees and we wandered around near Callow Hill for a while and then back-tracked a little to make the find.  Recognise these quite easily now.

Off to 5 Egham's Wildlife Walk next which hubby remembered would be a footpath at the back of the Rose & Olive Pub.  I'm glad he knew where he was going as I was confused about where the path should be.  Away we went and the spot was made quite quickly as we approached.  A great little cache container but quite obvious against it's surroundings.  Signed and the ham sandwich was unwrapped (well, caching does make you peckish).

Away we went, the right side of the fence this time, to the next one.  Hubby commented that the angle of the barbed wire on top implied whoever owned the land was keeping something in, rather than out.  Umm....I still wonder what is roaming around in there that they need CCTV in the middle of a field.  There were some hole dug under the fencing so perhaps whatever it was had escaped?

Up and down
I spotted 4 Egham's Wildlife Walk as we approached as it looked a bit obvious.  I think to a non-cacher though, it would appear relatively normal.  Quick sign of the log and the crisps were deployed as we carried on.

It is very strange to be walking along at a reasonable pace not having a small person shouting "Carry me!" every now and again whilst standing in front of you so you almost fall over trying to avoid her, and another saying "Can I have another cheese sandwich?" as we go along.  Odd but kind of nice. We could certainly get a pace on.

3 Egham's Wildlife Walk was a prickly little devil so once again hubby was sent in to tackle the hidey-hole.  Nice easy find.  He then noticed that there was rusty barbed wire all along the ground here on the left hand side of the footpath as we were walking along. It was like a fence had been pulled down but the barbed wire just left as a boundary marker. We both commented about how unpleasant that would be with children with us as you could hardly see it but it ran all the way along until the large, green, metal fencing appeared.  They certainly like to keep things in/out around this area don't they!

2 Egham's Wildlife Walk needed a bit of too-ing and fro-ing for the GPS to settle under the tree cover but a relatively quick spot was made.  Spider-sense (or should that be caching-sense) working super well today in the drizzle.

Cream Teas was next on the list.  Didn't really understand the clue until we got to GZ. I thought it was rhyming-slang or something but then the penny dropped. Nice size cache container.

Back to the path and we had finished of the part where we had gone so wrong before!  Next time hubby says "I can see a path there" I'll listen to him (I didn't mention that last time did I.  Oh no, I was simply following the compass which is why it went so askew).

Stinky leg
Final one of the day we decided would be Just Log it!  We weren't quite sure which side of the little stream it would be so went round where we suspected.  Typically, we were the wrong side.  Hubby spotted a plank and went across to look.  I followed.  Unfortunately it seems my welly was overly keen to take a dip and just before I reached the other side, I slipped!  Foot off the plank straight up to my knee in mud and water - stinky mud may I say.  I shouted "Oh shit whoops a daisy" as I scrambled out holding my phone high in front of me.  Boy did I smell.  That mud is really not nice. I was laughing though as hubby made the spot.  A great cache to finish on and pleased we found it.

Now I just had to squelch my way back to the car and hope my jeans dried a bit and the smell would subside.

A fun few hours out and a shower as soon as I got in (and the washing machine on) *grin*

Thursday 29 August 2013

Sculpture Trail at RHS Wisley

We popped over to our favourite gardens today, RHS Wisley, not realising the Sculpture Trail was on.

Fun to see the creative lawn-mowing that had taken place as we entered.  Sadly I needed to be about 7' tall for you to get the full effect but you get the jist I'm sure.

Lots of very good sculptures to look at this year and still, I'm pleased to say, quite a few we had no clue what they were.

We like a bit of intrigue in our lives *grin*

The girls led the way and off we went.


Gorgeous tree - but around £16,000

This one of the tiger was excellent but I needed to get the girls round to the front quickly before they started asking too many questions as it was clearly a male *cough*

He's behind you!

Pouncing Tiger, Hidden Children

Poppy Pods

Fawn Head

Circus, Afro, Circus, polkadots though

The girls liked this one but wanted to climb on it which I don't think was the sculpture's idea really.

Lovely owl

Slightly scary owl

I told the girls it was a Monk

I couldn't quite work this one out. Something about half animal, half person (mermaid) and death.

The girls enjoyed sitting on the big stones watching the fish and ducks.

Shell made of fish

We liked this one called Seasons and the girls enjoyed looking at all the depictions of the changing seasons. S declared the swallows were in fact "flying fish as they have tails".

S said this was a see-saw. I'm not sure she was right

This was S's absolute favourite sculpture. She said it was the best thing she had seen and she loves cats.

I thought this dog was fantastic. The girls asked if it was real as we approached.  It looks just like my sister's collies before they dash off to do their agility trials.

Hare today, gone tomorrow
The grounds outside the main restaurant area were cordoned off with tents going up ready for the Wisley Flower Show which commences soon (yes, we'll be there).

Another enjoyable day but a quiet note to Wisley staff at the restaurant - open the ice cream parlour before/by Noon as children love your ice cream and so do us adults *smile*

Monday 5 August 2013

Glamping and a visit to Warwick Castle

We wanted to give our girls their first experience of camping but at a level I would find acceptable.  I did the whole camping thing when I was a mere teen and have no intention of 'roughing it' again.  I remember the fun when the sun was shining but the misery of everything just damp and smelly when it wasn't.  So, what would meet hubby's desire to get under canvas with the girls and my desire for as close to a 5* hotel as we could get the same way - Glamping (that's 'glamourous camping' to you) - sorted!

I should tell you one or two things that I will/won't do when anyone mentions a tent:
  1. I don't do sleeping bags. I get hot. I like to dangle.  I sleep with my top half cocooned and my bottom half hanging out (there's an image you can't get rid of now isn't there) so to be stuffed into a polyester bag and be zipped up so I resemble a rather large caterpillar desperately trying to turn into a beautiful butterfly (and failing) is not me.
  2. I'm not keen on communal toilet/shower blocks surrounded by grown men and women in onesies.  Some things should be banned from being out in public. I mean, really...  I'm also not that wild about walking around in my dressing gown either but I do realise there are some things I just can't have in a tent, like a flushing toilet.
  3. I don't generally like clothes or shoes from Millets.
  4. I won't stand in the rain getting drenched fiddling around with unmarked, bent poles trying to put a tent up in a mudslide.  It's just silly and pointless.  I'd rather have a caravan.
We decided to do our Glamping at Warwick Castle as my youngest two also enjoy being princesses and watching 'Mike the Knight' - tenuous connection I know - so they were very excited about visiting a real life castle. 

Historic Warwick Castle
I phoned to book and the reservations staff were brilliant.  Very helpful and an information email arrived in my inbox almost immediately.  Excellent.  We were excited.  This was only a couple of weeks away and the weather has been fabulous - into the late 20's/early 30's C every day!  Wow, what an adventure we were about to have.

The day before we left, the Glampsite called us to see if there was anything else we needed. Just one extra blow-up bed for N and we were sorted. No problem, they'd do that for us.  What service!

The day of our departure arrived. We packed up the suitcase, duvets and wellies (well, just in case) and headed for, what our phones reliably informed us, was a sunny but slightly cloudy Warwick.

As we left the outskirts of London and got further West on the M40, the skies clouded over, went grey and then finally deposited rain on us.  "There's blue sky in the distance" we kept telling ourselves but sadly it was moving away as fast as we were trying to approach.

We arrived at Warwick Castle in rain and parked up in the designated part of the car park.  The little 'emblem' you're asked to display in your windscreen helped the car park attendant spot us and direct us into the correct car park, rather than into the one that seemed miles away like everyone else was doing.

Glamping in a Bell Tent
Parking up at around midday, we knew we couldn't get into our tent until 4pm but went off to register and pick up our tickets for the castle itself.  Turns out it was the wristbands we were to wear for 2 days that were our pass in and out.  Easy, nothing to lose then.  The girls got some activity packs they wore around their necks for the Horrible Histories event that was going on.  They were excited about collecting the stamps.

Heading off to the castle, we used the fast-track entrance by the conservatory to get in, the girls immediately spotting a peacock and being surprised at the noise it made when it called.  It was at this point we realised we'd left the picnic blanket (almost essential as it has a waterproof bottom to it which is handy on soaking wet grass) in the car.  Hubby strolled back and got it while we waited.  It rained some more.

Bald Eagle
We checked the event times and headed down to what we thought was the Bird of Prey Lawn but sadly were mistaken. Oh well, picnic blanket laid under a tree and we started eating with a little protection.  It rained harder. We moved the picnic blanket a bit further under cover and waited for the jousting to start. I would have loved to get close and see the action but I was already starting to feel a bit cold and damp in my shorts and FitFlops so the preferred place to stay was under the tree and that's where we watched the action - along with many like-minded folks.  I would love to have a go at jousting.  The knights looked fantastic. York cheated but we cheered them on anyway (well, the mother-in-law is from those parts so we had to).

Is it my turn now?
Once that was over, we went over to look around the castle itself and book in for the Princess Tower. Once we had our tickets for 4pm, we got an ice cream.  Naturally, trying to hide under a nearby tree (yep, still raining hard), S turned around and the ice cream hit the floor with a thud. Hubby got another for her.  Typcial child - she ate a bit of it and didn't want anymore after all that.  We were soggy now and getting very cold so headed into Warwick itself to find a pub to sit in and dry out a bit.  

That done, the rain had eased a little and we went off and looked for some Geocaches. I was 3 away from my 500th so wanted to do those down here.  A Mega was taking place so I chatted to a couple of different cachers as we found some (people wandering around looking at phones and walking backwards and forwards or holding Garmins in front of them is a bit of a give-away.  Nice to meet King Prawn and Canal Cruisers though).  As we headed into the Castle again, I spotted #500. Not the most exciting of places but who cares, it was a cache.

J and I booked tickets for all of us for the Merlin Tower tomorrow at midday.  The ladies in the ticket booth said it would be fine for a 2 year old.  J really wants to see this 'show' as she loves the BBC series.

Battle with wooden swords
 We went to see the Stormin Normans at the top of the steps overlooking some of the grounds where the girls dressed up and did some sword fighting which they really enjoyed. I had to keep them apart though as I'm sure that N particularly, would have been well suited to being in battle!

Later we headed to the Measly Middle Ages as part of the Horrible Histories Foul Fayre that was going on.  The girls enjoyed the rat throwing here.

Bowling with rats
With hubby happy to do the princess show himself with the girls, J and I headed back to the Glampsite and unloaded the car and settled everything into our #20 tent.  They'd forgotton N's bed but they did that immediately.  Great service again.  Hubby arrived back about 20 minutes later (the princess show wasn't very long).  We settled into the tent and relaxed a little out of our soaking jackets and wet summer sandals.  The facilities were good with plenty of toilets, showers and a pamper tent filled with hairdryers and mirrors, as well as the all important plugs to charge your phones with (if any of us had brought a charger).

The only way to stop a teen using her phone
At 6pm we decided to have the BBQ that was provided (at a cost of £10 per adult and £5 per child) on the site.  N wasn't charged which was good.  This was where things went a bit wrong.  For starters, there just weren't enough tables inside as people didn't want to sit out in the rain. After about 15 minutes waiting (getting a bit irritated with one guy sitting at an empty table waiting for the rest of his friends to join him when we could have been in, eaten and out in the time it took for them to do so), we sat down.  It took another little wait and a prompt to get the table cleared away and wiped over, which wasn't done very well.  Hubby and I went up to get the food for us and the youngest two while J looked after them.  As we got to the front of the queue, the chips had run out.  Scanning the rest of the food - which wasn't quite what was described and looked so tasty in the brochure - we decided we needed chips for sure.  Another wait ensued while they finished cooking and the smallest amount were then tipped into the waiting hot area.  Unfortunately, it seems they could only cook one lot at a time and by the time us and the two people after us had theirs served up, there were none left again.  The chicken certainly wasn't BBQ'd thighs but more Birds Eye chicken in breadcrumbs - very nice though - and the roasted root veg was either missing or perhaps that was what the pan of courgettes and aubergines were supposed to be.  I have to say, very disappointing for the £10 each we paid. You could fill your plate as much as you could (not the biggest plates either) but you couldn't go back again so we didn't feel we got our money's worth and the pub may have been a better option (which we considered).  J went to get hers while we sat down.  The food was ok but about the only BBQ'd thing was the burger, which we didn't have.  I think they need to work on their food service and quality some more.  

The horses must have been strong
Dessert time and they had run out of the jelly that the girls had so wanted (we didn't do what some people were doing and pick up their meal and dessert all at the same time or run up and snatch the two or three jellies that were put out at a time - a lesson learned).  The cheesecake was very nice but both mine and hubby's was still icy inside.  Again, lack of preparation or realisation that it would be so popular.  J had the chocolate cake which she shared with N and really enjoyed.

That done it was back to the tent for some more nibbles there that we had with us in our cool bag.

We then headed off for the evenings entertainment.  

There was a Jester School, Knight School and Archery, all provided on a complimentary basis to the glampers. We did Archery which was great fun and Jester School which was brilliant. The jester himself was fantastic with the children and adults alike and I was busy trying to learn to juggle while the girls were spinning plates, walking on flower-pot stilts and having lots of fun.

N was the smallest person the archer had seen so far.  She did really well though and got a bullseye.  J was a natural and he commented on her skill. I think we'll need to find lessons for her!

We went back to the tent about 8.30pm and settled down. We knew it wouldn't be easy to get the girls to sleep but what didn't help were the one or two sets of families who thought letting their children run riot around the campsite was a good idea.  By 11pm hubby was still sitting outside the tent enjoying the evening when he told one lot of young children to clear off and be quiet.  The unruly little gits kids were running up to people's tents and shining torches into them.  There's always one as we say.

Naturally we took ages to get to sleep. The people one side of us had some boys who were just chatting and using their games consoles up loud for a while and the other side was someone who kept playing one or two cords of their guitar but never any more.  I felt like shouting "For christ's sake, give us a bloody song or shut up".  I realise now why we lived in a detached house...*grumpy old woman I am*

I must have drifted off to sleep eventually and woke around 1am to hear the rain pouring down. Now that's a sound that I love in a tent. Let's hope it's gone by the morning.

Around 3am hubby rolled over to cuddle me and was met with a "Don't touch me!".  You guessed it, I needed to go to the toilets but no way was I getting dressed and putting a coat on at this time in the morning in the pouring rain, so it would have to wait.  He survived until 5.30am then gave up and went.  I struggled on until about 7.30.  I was tempted to use N's potty at one point...

Breakfast arrived. I had already decided that I wanted just some croissants in the tent so went over and did what the other people did last night - barged into the queue while they were waiting for their full English and asking what kind of sausage it was, and picked up the final 3 croissants on the stand.  A few glares but I'm sure they were the same people who stole my children's jelly the night before so *thumb on nose* to them.  Yummy strawberry jam mini-jars in hand and back to the tent. S then announced she didn't want a croissant. Typcial.  Hubby headed off and brought back toast.  She didn't want that either.  She just wanted bread.  Off he went again.  Kids!

Brekkie done and we packed up and were ready to leave by 8.45am.  The castle didn't open until 10am but the grounds opened at 9.30am so we planned to have a little walk around Warwick again before going in.  This idea was stopped in its tracks by N having a her trousers...the only dry ones I had!  I therefore had to get her out of them and take them up to the pamper tent to blow them dry with a hairdryer. By the time I had done that, sorted her out, checked out, loaded the last bits into the car, we just walked up and were let in the castle grounds.  

He's behind you!
The girls liked the Terrible Tudors area and had their photo taken.  However, the Vile Victorians was too much for them. This involved a work-house school with the two actors taking their parts very seriously.  The girls sat down and the lesson began.  We were grinning but suddenly noticed S was crying at the little desk. She was very upset by what was going on and quite scared.  We had never thought for a second she wouldn't realise it was just role-play and fun showing them some of history but it was too scary for her. We lead her away and she was visibly distressed.  Perhaps a note for people with younger children here.

Scary Vile Victorian School Teachers
The castle was now open so we went to the ticket booth to see if we could change our 12 noon tickets for Merlin's Tower to an earlier showing as we didn't want to hang around too long today as the weather was starting to get drizzly again.  The lady at the booth said the tickets were non-transferable. I let her know that we weren't told this at the time of purchasing and surely they could not be sold out for earlier shows already, especially as this was an additional paying option.  She relented and we got a 10.30am showing so went to the castle to look around inside first.  

Arriving at Merlin's Tower we were warned that the dragons roar may be a little loud for N but just so we knew and were ready for it.  However, we didn't get that far. S was scared silly when some bookshelves collapsed in the anti-chamber (all part of the show) and had to go out the emergency exit with hubby and N. I guess it's up to each parent to decide if their child would be ok with it but not knowing quite what to expect before entering, perhaps in hindsight it shouldn't be offered to younger children.   J and I carried on.  The show lasted less than 15 minutes and really wasn't worth the money we paid. A total disappointment, especially as J loves the BBC series so much.  It really appeared to be no more than an opportunity to get you to have a photograph taken and then sell it to you for £7 on exit.  Shame.

That done, we decided to call it a day and buying some swords for the girls, we headed off to the car and home.

I think the glamping experience would have been much better in the sunshine (isn't everything though?) but that's not the fault of Warwick Castle.  However, in a British Summer, not to have a back-up plan for rain was very remiss of them and also knowing how many people they were BBQ'ing for as you had to pay in advance, and running out of food within 30 minutes of opening so people had to wait, was poor.

Warwick Castle itself is fabulous and wonderful to look around. The history and artifacts you can see are brilliant and I would recommend it for a day out.  It will certainly keep you busy and all the staff we spoke to whether at events or in the booths, were superb.

I was, however, surprised to later find out the Merlin Tower was suitable for age 3 and over (and yet we said we had a 2 year old and no-one warned us until we arrived with our tickets at the entrance) was not terribly good.

Would we go glamping again?  Well, I think hubby would and the girls say they might like to, but as for me? Well, I'll go wait for them all in a local hotel next time.