Friday, 29 March 2013

For the hundredth time - it's a 5 not an S!

Witch way now?
Back in September 2011, we went off to get our first 5* difficulty cache (which now seems to be a 4.5* difficulty - but trust me it was hard).  Here's the tale of our adventure and why it is sometimes hard to go caching with your better other half!

Hubby and I decided to give a shot to one of these caches and see if we were up to it.  We had to search for an inventor in Surrey, crack a code to lead us to a Micro which, in turn, had a second part to the puzzle where we had to find someone born in the same area as the inventor but much further back in time.  Off we went to the PC being sure this could be a doddle.  A bit of Google later and I was amazed at how many inventors this county had produced.  However, I was sure I had the right one but how he related to the code was a mystery.

Never mind, move on to the 2nd part.  Almost immediately I found the person we needed to complete the micro that would eventually lead us to the cache.  Gosh, these 5* caches aren’t very hard then are they!  So, back to the inventor and how to break the code.  Surely that therefore couldn’t be hard. After all, I had read the logs and lots of people struggled to find the ‘older’ person.  Despite not being able to crack the code, I thought I had the right person and decided to check with the cache owner but it seems they are no longer caching. What to do now?

The last person who found this cache was in March 2011so I thought it worth a shot to contact them.  Fortunately they were still caching and remembered this one well.  They kindly told me I had the right older person and the inventor was correct, but not for this X cache!  Umm...another X to do later then.  They gave me a hint which I did not get at all so I was back to square one with the inventor.

Hubby tried searching but we kept coming up with the same ones and none related to the code.  OK, I’m beginning to think a 5* cache was tough now.  After about 3 weeks of coming back to this one and much frustrated Googling in the evenings, I finally found the inventor and his invention!  Fantastic. The clue the previous finder had given me now made sense.

I only wish the code did.  I stared at it repeatedly.  Hubby stared at it.  Other cacher friends had been round staring at it but nobody was the wiser.  We had all wondered how numerals to make up the location could have one line longer than the other.

Hubby suggested the code was borne out of a variation on the invention which made perfect sense, but still the code did not work, despite there being quite a few things that came about from it.  I repeatedly looked at the invention as something was bugging me.  I knew we were close but something just wasn't clicking in the old grey matter.

One night I sat and stared at my PC for 3 hours and would you believe at 11.45pm BAM! it was right in front of me!  The code finally fell into place.Why had I not seen it before?  I wrote it down and worked out the coordinates.  Now I know why the cache owner said they had used ‘artistic license’.  Yes, would you believe we even looked up ciphers around those words.  Basically, you name it, we tried to find a code in it from Incas to Morse!  Anyway, I was so excited to get the code at last that i ran upstairs, burst into the bedroom calling hubby's name. He sat up with a start and asked what the heck was wrong?  I told him I'd got the clue finally and found the coordinates for the cache.  He was less than impressed I can tell you.

A week later we headed out, picnic and girls in the car and went on our adventure. Hubby found the micro quickly and we got down to solving the clue to get to the cache.  Unfortunately, the girls started to (baby) cry and (toddler) demand lunch so I scribbled it down quickly and we tried to find a picnic spot.  Epic fail. We seem to have found the only area of West Sussex with nowhere to picnic!  We ended up in a bit of scrub land off a potholed road but that didn't matter to our toddler who only requires grass for it to be a great adventure.  Sandwiches eaten and back we went to the suspected co-ordinates and set off for a nice walk.

We ended up not far from the mirco – that’s good then as it said less than 1 mile – and headed down a country lane.  The GPS pointed to the edge of a field.  Yes, this had to be it.  Hubby asked if the coordinates I had worked out were correct. Of course they are!  Why had I put a figure that didn't add up next to the 'S' he said. It wasn't an 'S' but a '5' I replied. 

We found that the lane didn’t seem to have access to the field but we had spotted a public footpath which lead us to the church and cemetery.  We went back and down that.  A path lead us through the cemetery and along the edge of another field.  At the end of about 500m we turned left and found an open gateway into the cache field.  Off we went over ruts and bumps.  We got to GZ and began to search.

The clue had said “to the South of the path” but we weren’t on any path.  Hubby asked if I was sure that the thing I had written was a ‘5’ not an ‘S’.  I said I could read my own handwriting and it was a 5. We carried on searching. There were no logs there either.  Could this cache have been removed now as it hadn’t been found for so long?

We went back into the cemetery where there was a path and it was to the South and walked up and down it 4 times.  Hubby was beginning to lose patience with this. Her asked again about the S that didn't make sense. I repeated it was not an S but a 5.  I got grumpy and said we were going to keep looking a while.  After about 30 minutes in the area and being spotted about 5 times by the man mowing the grass, I sat down again to try and work out the coordinates to see if I could possibly be wrong.

Hubby suggested again that the ‘5’ was in fact an ‘S’.  I said it bloody well was not but now the sums didn’t add up.  We decided to head back to the mirco and check again before we filed for divorce!  Yes, tensions were mounting a bit.

It occurred to me that perhaps - just perhaps - I may have made a mistake with the numbers but now I'd rewritten them so many times I didn't know what was right or wrong.  Clearly that would be hubby's fault for keep asking!  To be honest, I secretly was confused as to how I’d got one number at all now.  

Hubby went and retrieved the micro again. Huge DOH! moment.  Yes, it was an ‘S’ not a ‘5’.  New co-ordinates in and off we went.  Same place as the micro, just a bit further away. Not a cemetery in sight then *blush*.

A nice stroll later and the cache was ours after we had watched some cows crossing from one field to another.  A few muggles cycled past but that was no problem.  Toddler was delighted with the cache and took the witch toy which seemed appropriate as the cache was called “X Marks the Spot - Witch Way Now”.  We left some energy mints for the next finders as they may well need them!

Fabulous fun and such a sense of achievement when we finally got it.  We are, I’m pleased to say, no longer considering divorce based upon the grounds of ‘uncoordinated caching’ 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Mr Maker clearly has much better glue

Oo-la-la-la-la Mr Maker
We got our fabulous Mr Maker craft kit this morning.  The girls love doing all things 'crafty' so when I spotted this lovely kit in the Yellow Moon catalogue, it was a must buy.  Yellow Moon are a great company that donate money to specified charities when you buy things from them.

It contains (among other things) tissue paper, pom poms, pipe cleaners (not called that now as it's probably politically incorrect to have such things in a child's craft box), various shapes, lolly sticks (I nearly screamed at spotting those), card, glue sticks and,of course, googly eyes (we all know Mr Maker loves his googly eyes).

Naturally, the moment it arrived the girls wanted to make something but we had plans. Once back in the house though, the box came out and off we went.

First project was to make a bug for each of the girls.  They selected their lolly stick (eugh) and then stuck the pom poms on with the 'glue stick' provided.  They fell off straight away.  The glue stick (yes, Pritt with a different name) was no good at all for such tasks so I got out the PVA glue I have.  Sadly, as with all children, they expect it stuck in seconds so much waving around of pom poms on sticks resulted in them falling off and me almost sticking my fingers together as I had so much glue on the go trying to get the pom poms to stay on while being spun through the air by over-excited children.
Keep it *very* still
 Calming down the excitement, I found the wing template and the girls chose their tissue paper colours for the wings.  Naturally, we have multi-coloured bugs in this house and each was different.  I cut them out and then cut the pipe cleaner to length (they chose the same colour for this - pink) and made the wings. As I wound them around the lolly stick between the pom poms, the bloody things fell off again. I was losing my patience with them at this point.
Yeah, here it is. What else is in the box?
Keeping calm, I stuck the pom poms on for about the 100th time and proceeded to then let the girls get two googly eyes each.  Of course trying to stick those to the pom poms with fingers already covered in glue just meant....yep, the pom poms fell off again!  Glad I had the girls sitting looking at me so happily or I'd have gone into total Tourettes at that point.  I persevered and they look kind of good don't they.

They wanted to play with the bugs immediately. As they waved them around, yep, you guessed it, the blasted pom poms fell off again. What glue does Mr Maker actually use because I want some as it must be better than Superglue!

A plan formulated.

I got out the sewing kit.

The girls looked puzzled.

I sat down and sewed the pom poms onto the lolly stick!  Ta-da!  Dare you to try and fall off now you fluffy lump of...err....fluff.
No stitching to bee seen (see what I did there?)
The bugs are now happily drying on the radiator and I am comfortable in the knowledge that the wings may tear and the googly eyes will probably fall off and get stuck fast in the carpet or on the sole of my foot but those pom poms will stay on the stick forever.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Game of Thrones is coming

Oh yes, Season 3 of Game of Thrones starts for us in the UK on 1st April and that's no joke!   I can't wait.

Knowing how exciting the last two seasons were (and having read all the books), I can't wait for this next season.  I know what's coming up!

As some of the character stories have become so deep, it makes me curious to see how they handle it on the screen.  I did wonder if they would merge a couple of books but it seems the directors have said it will pretty much follow A Storm of Swords but may go into A Feast for Crows just a little.  We'll see.

So, who's new this season?

Mance Rayder: Originally from the Night’s Watch, but he became King Beyond The Wall and leader of the Wildlings.

Daario Naharis: The Tyroshi captain of the Stormcrows, a band of mercenaries (and oh how I loved him in the books and so did someone else...).

Jojen and Meera Reed: A sibling duo capable of special insights who have some interesting things to tell Bron.

Edmure Tully: Head of the House Tully. Will probably have a beard.

Ser Brynden Tully: Catelyn Stark’s uncle. Also known as ‘the Blackfish’. Bit of a bad ass.

Lady Selyse Florent: Stannis Baratheon’s wife (and not anywhere near as good looking as his Red Woman according to the book).

Shireen: Stannis’ daughter who has some health problems of her own.

Olenna Redwyne: Margaery Tyrell’s sharp witted grandmother.  I love her!

Beric Dondarrion: Leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners, a band of outlaw types.

Thoros of Myr: A red priest of the same religion as Melisandre.

Tormund Giantsbane: A Wildling raider with a frankly awesome name.

As characters arrive, often characters 'leave'.  You know nothing Jon Snow...

I am looking forward to hating Joffrey (As Bronn said, "There's no cure for being a cunt") even more, loving Tyrion's wit, learning more about what is beyond the wall and seeing the 'Red Wedding'.  I have a certain fondness for Jamie Lannister too (yes, I do) so am looking forward to how his story develops and watching Theon squirm.  I'd better not say too much more...

Hope you like our House Sigil. You can make your own at Join the Realm.

Have a look at the extended trailer for the season below.  Excited much?

Monday, 25 March 2013

M&S Jeans for £1

Yes, it's true.  This morning I popped to my local M&S to get myself another pair of jeans.  I was going to splash out and spend £12.50 again (I'm a bit wild like that) on their lovely 'economy' range that fit me so well, so arriving I had a nose through the rails.  Sadly the medium length was sold out so it was short or long.  Long is just that bit too long for me but I took a pair anyway and thought about (a) higher heels or (b) wonder web!

As I was passing another stand, I spotted some 'slim boot' cut jeans which looked very nice but were £19.50 a pair.  Wow, I was pushing the boat out now. I found a medium in those and went to the changing room.

Having tried both pairs on, I decided to opt for the slightly pricier pair and headed for the till.

The lady scanned the jeans.  The till said £1.  She said the tills have been playing up. I laughed saying hey I'd buy them for £1.  She scanned them again and even tried another till. Yep, £1.  She called over another lady who looked at them, scanned them and agreed they were £1 and that is what I was charged.  I handed over a shiny coin.  I never normally have this kind of luck so I said "I'm off to get another pair at that price" and the till lady agreed it would be silly not too.  I grabbed another pair and brought them back to the till. She scanned them - £19.50.  Oh.  What?  She compared bar codes. It seems the one pair I picked up originally were 'old stock' and hence had been reduced to £1 and other other was 'new stock'.  We couldn't see anything different about them other than the bar code - same style, size, colour, trim.  Hey, I was delighted anyway. I did peek at the bar codes of the other medium lengths while I was heading to the food hall but no other bar codes like the ones I had.  What luck!

Arriving at the food hall and getting my shopping, I went to the self check-out till, rang up my items and tried to by with my debit card.  Declined. What?  I tried again.  Declined.  I called the lady over. She explained they were having a lot of problems with the tills. She tried.  Declined.  She asked me and another couple of customers who were also having problems to come to the service desk with her.  Off we trundled.  They tried all of our cards. Declined. All of us.  They tried again.  Declined.  A queue was building up by the tills of people with declined cards.  I decided that rather than risk my card being stopped for being tried so many times, I would head to the cashpoint and get some real money.  A few others did the same.  Cash in hand I went back and paid for my goods.  I can only imagine the problems that M&S are going to have today.  One of the chaps behind the counter said it started last week but is getting worse.  I bet he's glad he doesn't work in a central London store!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Snug as a (travel) Bug

Before the threatened snow appeared, we wanted to get out today and stretch our legs.  More importantly, I had some travel bugs that unfortunately I had held on to for around a month (lack of time and weather to get out with the little cachers) and I really wanted somewhere to leave them so they may reach their goals.

We had going to Halfords this morning and bought a bicycle for N which was being made so it was an even better excuse to waste an hour or so at our favourite pastime.

A quick glance at the map and the little village of Lightwater looked a good option. You may recall that N is walking everywhere now and sometimes she doesn't want to go too far so we need a few caches with some parking nearby.

We stopped at the first one cleverly called Turfhill Travel Bug Motel and parked up. This area is quite close to the M3 so I was hoping that the bugs would get a good rest and then be off on their journeys.  The path was quite muddy but we had brought our wellies and away we went.  It was only a 200m walk to GZ and an easy spot.

The girls liked the little 'sleeping bag' for travel bugs.  It was nice and cosy so I popped the Buddha that wants to get to Sicily into it as he was likely to get coldest.  S said goodbye to him first.

Hope Sicily is warmer!
I also placed in Hopper Cachekinz which N wanted to hold and place in.  He's off to Bath first.

Yeah, here it is, what else is in the box?
Lastly a lovely Geocoin as you can see from the top picture.

All logged and back to the car we went and away to our next couple of caches.  We parked up at an area we did not even know existed (another one!) at Lightwater Country Park.  Off we went through the trees to Toad in the Hole.  Quite an obvious place but we started at the wrong side as the GPS was bouncing a bit under the coverage.  A quick spot by hubby (who went to the other side) and the retrieve was left to N who was delighted to find it as you can see.

Off to our next one Welcome to Lightwater 3 which was across a little pond/lake. There were some people here feeding the ducks and you could walk over a little bridge or through the 'dip' which the girls natually chose.  A good way to clean off your wellies!

Clean those wellingtons
The cache was soon in hand, nicely found by S.  We'd seen quite a few of these before so it was an easy spot - even for a 4 year old.

Back we went to the children's playground for a quick go on the swings and slide before we left (no, I don't mean we did, the girls did of course).  A few caches in hand and a new bicycle ready to collect.  Not a bad hours fun.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Orchids in the Glasshouse at RHS Wisley

We went over to RHS Wisley today to finally get a good walk and some fresh air.  As we arrived, I suddenly realised I had left my purse at home.  Panic!  My RHS Membership card was in said purse which was happily hanging in the closet at home.  Thinking we wouldn't be able to get in, we enquired at the entry kiosk but the lovely lady took some details from me and let us through.  Phew!  Thank you so much for that as even though we don't live too far away, we didn't have enough time due to S's swimming lesson today to get back home and back to the garden.

Firstly we wandered through the Pinetum and down to the bird hide. I think I've finally managed to walk (almost) all of Wisley Gardens now but hubby has not and this is an area he hadn't been to before.  We managed to spot some birds at the hide and wrote them on the blackboard.  We may have cheated slightly with 'Robin' as he was outside before we went in.  I'm sure no-one will mind.  N saw a lot more than the rest of us did but I think many such as the eagle were possibly from her imagination (unless someone at Wisley can tell me there is a Golden Eagle flying around the gardens?)

We then took a nice walk back along the stream to the Glasshouse. There is currently a wonderful exhibition on there of Orchids (from 16th March to 14th April).  I know that you will always find them in the glasshouse but this really is something to behold. The people who do the displays at Wisley are amazing and this was no exception.  In the smaller room to the right as you enter, was a film show about orchids and many of the plants displayed beautifully in 'frames' with black backgrounds along with notes as to the variety and, in some cases, where they liked to live around your house.  

Outside of this area were some fantastic displays of the orchids.  The girls were fascinated by their aerial roots.  I, of course, adore orchids and I have to say the displays here were almost as good as the one I have on my kitchen windowsill at home *grin*

We then went into the glasshouse proper (S wanted to know where the 'curtains' had gone as the plastic had been there last time we came to see the butterflies - and then, of course, where the butterflies had gone to).  A few people in waders were setting up another part of the display in the small pond so we headed upstairs to look at all the plants there. All of the railings had plants hanging from them and the displays and smells were amazing.

Down the steps we went to look at even more varieties. I have been astounded at how varied in shape, size and colour they are.  A real education.

Once we had finished, we headed off towards the car park, spotting these funny looking ducks who were settling down on the grass for a rest.  

Another really enjoyable visit to our favourite gardens.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Just a little bit addicted

And there's more...
I need help.

Yes, I have to admit to an addiction.  

I'm finally owning up to being just a tiny bit of an eBay addict.  

You guessed that right?

I have found that I am doing a daily search for the brands that we like for me, hubby and all the girls.  I've even bought the teen a summer dress. 

Last night I got another 3 dresses for the youngest two, have bid on 2 more shirts for hubby and 3 more tops for me.  I've even got a bid on a fancy dress outfit for S.  Addicted?  Yep!  And why not.

If you can knock your pride to one side, what is wrong with buying something that someone else once owned? After all, many people have been doing that for years.  There is even a song in the charts at the moment called 'Thrift Shop' about a chap buying old clothes and looking fantastic in them and questioning why others are buying a t-shirt for $50.  I like that song.  

...and there's more!
Charity shops used to be viewed as the place to go for 'old tat' and a resource for those with very little money. Not any more.  Some of them sell the most amazing things.  Our town centre store has 'new' (how does that work?) bridal gowns.  Go to an upmarket area and you'd be amazed the designer labels you can find in a charity shop.

If that's not for you but you don't want to keep paying High Street prices - especially for designer labels - there are a host of 50/50 shops around.  One of our nearest ones is located in Sunningdale - not exactly a rough and ready area!  To be fair, it is hard to imagine anyone 'used' some of the things on offer.  I suspect many of the ladies buy dresses to be worn once at Ascot and then discarded for fear that someone will recognise that they have worn it before - oh the shame.  Mind you, with these items comes the associated price.  You can easily spend £100-200 on an evening dress there, and that's 2nd hand!  Talk about extremes of price.

So I am proud to say I am rarely buying 'new' clothes now and even prouder to say that our wardrobes are simply busting with gorgeous new (to us) outfits.  The nicest thing? The girls faces when a new dress turns up for them. My little thrifty fashionistas.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

If it's not on eBay, I don't want it

I needed to get the girls some summer dresses ready for....well...summer (I'm confident we will have a proper one this year) so was on the point of heading off to town to see what was in the sales when I had a lightbulb moment and thought I would check out eBay first.

The variety of dresses was fabulous as you may imagine.  I have bought both girls about 5 dresses each and they are gorgeous (most have arrived already), all from brands such as Next, M&S, Monsoon and Debenhams.  Now, generally to buy such brands you would expect to pay upwards of £18 for a dress but oh no, not me. I got most for around £5-6 including P&P.  There isn't a ropey one among them.  Let's face it, with the summers we have had and how fast children grow out of clothes, they aren't likely to be worn out and most sellers are also very honest.  I also got them a party dress each (we have a few coming up) with little matching cardigans.  They have been so excited to get their 'presents' in the post.

Not to be outdone, hubby said nothing arrives for him ever. Well, I had to address that didn't I (after all, it is his money I am spending!)  We sat down together and he got himself a couple of Paul Smith shirts (one brand new) for £20 each, a Ben Sherman and one other that has slipped my mind.  They are perfect. Even the 'used' one was like it had just come out of a shop.

As for me, you guessed it, I still have more tops arriving daily. I've also ordered a little owl 'junk jewellery' necklace and a set of tumblers (not the people, the glasses).  Bit random I know but I'm probably getting just a tiny bit addicted to eBay.

To be honest, in these days of austerity and everyone tightening their belts, the charity shops and eBay are a booming business. One of my friends gets almost all of her (very nice I might say) clothes from charity shops and the bargains she picks up have amazed me - from shoes to coats, dresses, skirts and everything in between. She really is the Queen of Charity.  It's less easy for me to wander around various charity shops with two little 'uns in tow so my bargain hunting is done online.

The only things I cannot buy on eBay are dresses, skirts and trousers. There are too many different variables. In some shops I am a 12 and others a 14 but even that can vary depending upon the cut or fit so for that I still have to hit the bricks and mortar buildings but that's a small price to pay.

I should add that I also sell on eBay to fund my habit.  In actual fact, I even sell on things I bought from there in the first place if they don't fit.  I'm chuffed to say that last week I received two things that didn't fit properly (a new brand I tried) but fortunately I put them back onto eBay and made money on both!  That's the way to do it.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

I'm going back to school

Well, not exactly school, but university.

I have just been accepted to commence a research degree (PhD) to start in September of this year.  I'm so excited.

I had my second interview at the university yesterday and they made the offer there and then which was a huge surprise.  I had to stop myself from leaping up and hugging the two gentlemen who will now be my supervisor and adviser.  Full steam ahead now then.

I have wanted to do a PhD for years and it was only considering the point that N would be starting nursery in September and S would be at full-time school, that I realised here was my opportunity.

Originally, I started by thinking about going into teaching as a job (combining academia and a salary) but decided quite quickly that may not be for me.

I then considered going back to work but into an academic environment such as a school or university perhaps in an administration role.  Of course my feelings were mixed because I felt that hubby had, after all, supported us and worked hard for the last almost 5 years and I really should go get a job but the other side of me wanted to now do something for me. Selfish?  Maybe.  Fortunately my hubby didn't see it that way.

So, I will be a student at the end of this year. An 'mature' student that's for sure!  I'm not sure I will get away with the type of clothes that many of the students were wearing at the university yesterday - they must all be horse riders or else jodhpurs and riding boots are now all the fashion.

You can follow my new blog all about getting ready for (and eventually dealing with) student life as someone a tad *cough* past 40 at The 40 Year Old Student

Thursday, 7 March 2013

There's a hole my jeans

The invisible woman
 in jeans
Now I don't know about you but I do have a bit of a nightmare in some shops trying to find jeans in particular. With the variety of cuts and lengths, sometimes it seems an impossible task to get a pair to fit.

I am clearly an odd shape. I have a small waist, big bum hips and quite chunky large thighs but neat calves. In the old days I believe it was called 'curvy'. Today it seems to be a size no-one caters for as the manufacturers seem to have thought us women all go straight down from our waists to our ankles.

I have worn my favourite jeans so much they have a hole in one knee. None of this 'pre-worn look', oh no, this is genuine wear.  No matter how trendy it is, it makes me realise my jeans are, quite frankly, knackered. Hubby suggested I nip out today and pick up a few pairs for myself to go along with the range of tops I now possess.

I decided to head to M&S to get a few.  Hubby was aghast and said didn't I want to go into town and get some 'proper' ones.  By this I think he was referring to Levi's or Wranglers (actually, do the latter still exist?).  However, the jeans I love and live in are all Per Una ones from Marks so I'm was on a mission today to find some more.

Arriving at M&S I immediately spot lots of jeans in various colours (who does wear those really, really deep blue ones?), styles and sizes.  I happily wander the aisles and get myself a good armful of different ones and head to the changing room. I even picked up M&S own 'economy' version of straight leg jeans which retail at £12.50. Oh come on, they are bound to be shite a bit basic but they are worth a try on just for a laugh.

I should mention that having now lost some weight (and hopefully I'll never find it again) it was lovely to just take one size in to try on.  Last time I had to take two different sizes as my thighs would not allow my bum to even say hello to some of them!

The trying on began.  I like my jeans with a bit of stretch to them.  My mum would probably have described them as being 'comfortable' but I hesitate to say that as it paints a picture I really do not want of my clothes...

All of them were lovely and I was especially impressed with the Marilyn style jeans which literally fitted me like a glove.  Despite my lumps and bumps, having a small waist normally means to get jeans to fit all the slightly larger bits, I used to end up with 6" of material flapping about around my waist which only a belt would get under control. Jeans and a belt.  I shudder at the thought.

Once I'd narrowed it down to the particular colours and style I wanted and liked the best, I decided to go for two pairs.

I chose a lovely pair of kind of 'jousers'. They are not quite trousers and not quite jeans - a bit of both see?  I just made that up but you never know, it may catch on. Who'd have thought anyone would buy something called jeggings?

And the second pair?  Yep, you guessed it, the £12.50 ones!  You could have knocked me down with a plastic M&S jeans belt.  It goes to show that you don't always need to pay lots to get good fit.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

I want to get on/off/on/off/on....

Drive on S!
The girls have enjoyed a lovely afternoon in the garden yesterday.  The difference fresh air makes really shows in this house.

For one, they both go to sleep so much quicker after playing outside.

It doesn't seem to matter how much they run around indoors, they never tire themselves out as well.  There is something about playing outdoors  that no amount of indoor play can compete with.

They both wanted to go in their car.  They are, however, getting a bit big to squeeze in together.  No matter, they still manage it and enjoy the fact that S drives and N is a kind of 'side-seat-driver' mostly adjusting the mirrors and telling S where to go.  Sounds like most couples!  N can drive herself now too but she tends to simply crash into the chairs/table/wall and shout until S or I go and show her how to go in the other direction. She's equally happy crashing in forward or reverse though which is nice.

They also spent about 45 minutes on the trampoline. A couple of times it was a bit like this:

N: "I want to trampoline"
So I put her on
S: "I want to go on too"
So I put her on
S: "I want to get off now"
So I take her off
N: "I want to get off too"
So I go to take her off to be met with....
N: "No, I am staying on now"
Fine, so I sit down in my chair again when....
N: "I want to get off now"
So I get her off
S: "I want to get on again"
So I put her on
N: "I want to get on too"
So I put her back on 30 seconds after getting her off

All this combined with putting wellies on and off, zipping and unzipping the safety net and putting the ladder in place because, of course, they both want to get on and off 'themselves' now.

But they love the fresh air so despite the fact that trying to sit on my chair was like doing some kind of demented squats, it was fun.

I can't wait for Spring and Summer as we can spend all our days in the garden, over Wisley or out for walks then. What could be better?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Geocaching with Terrible Two (year old)

It started well
Unfortunately N, who is only just 2, has decided that walking is something she is no longer that bothered about doing.  Now, let me put this in context.  She can walk along with us for around 60 minutes but anything more than that and she invariably has a meltdown and wants to be carried. Trouble is she is heavy.  Other problem is that she only ever wants to be carried by me and not by hubby who could ably carry her around for miles!  So a limit of 30 minutes there and 30 minutes back to the car is what we have to work with. Today, we went out for 90 minutes. Oh dear.

We needed some fresh air so went off to pick up another couple of caches near Fairoaks Airport.  This is a lovely area to stroll around (a bit muddy this time of year admittedly) but you can stand literally at the end of the little airstrip and watch planes taking off and landing right over your head.

We parked the car in a little car park nearby and strolled up to the runway.  Typically, about five minutes after leaving the car, N trips over her own wellies and goes down with a thump. She's fine about it and we head off, she just has one slightly dirty hand now. No point cleaning it off until we stop for the sandwiches as she's bound to fall over again (see how well I know my kids?!).

It's a nice walk over some little wooden bridges and around various cowpats as the animals are grazing behind an electric fence nearby.

We reach the airstrip and stop to have a cheese sandwich. Hey, you know all about these by now don't you.  I give each girls hand a wipe first and that's when I see that under the bit of dirt that is left on N's hand, she has a fairly large, clean cut, about an inch long.  She had obviously landed on a bit of gravel that had cut her. Poor little mite.

Now, I'm a clever mummy and carry around Sudocrem, plasters and all sorts in my bag.  The bag that I left in boot of the car...
Waving to the planes (with a sandwich)
We watched some planes taking off and the crews of each waved to the girls as they got to the end of the runway before they revved up and disappeared into the distance.  Nothing was landing so we decided to go off and find the first of the four caches we needed to finish the Mimbridge ring.

The path wasn't the easiest to negotiate as it was a narrow footway beside a small stream, so it was a kind of weird single file hoppy walk trying to hold onto the girls hands between us.  A few horses and sheep watched our endeavors.

We finally reached the cache at the far end of the path near a road we recognised (sadly no parking on it as that would have been very handy) and signed the log.  This was where it all went wrong.

N suddenly decided that she no longer wanted to walk and wanted me to carry her.  I wasn't about to do this as the path was not large and I am prone to wobbling about at the best of times and certainly didn't want to do that near a stream with her in my arms. I could see us both having a very cold dip!  So I said no but hubby said he would take her.  He picked her up and within 3 seconds, she was in full meltdown screaming "NO! Mummy do it!" at the top of her voice.  She then started kicking and trying to hit hubby.  How have we managed to raise such a little monster?

I love my children....I love my children....

Hubby put her down and she cried waiting for me and S to catch up.  She wanted me to pick her up. I said no again but I would hold her hand and walk with her.  This was not good enough.  She tried to throw herself backwards - right by a barbed wire fence!  Hubby and I both saw what was coming and managed to grab her.

I love my children....I love my children....

She then went into total tantrum and was trying to flip herself onto the ground with me holding her arm.  I told her off which just added to her annoyance.  Hubby picked her up kind of sideways and you'd have thought he'd stuck her with a red hot poker!

I love my children....I love my children....

The screams of "Mummy!" were so loud that I'm sure anyone would have thought he was trying to steal her. He put her down again and she just stood there crying. I came up to her and she asked again for me to pick her up and I said no.  She finally held my hand and we did the hoppy, crabby walk back along the path, through the kissing gate and then across the field and bridges back to the car.  Yes, I did carry her once we reached solid, not rutted ground, but only for a few minutes as she really is quite heavy and her suit is wonderfully slippery to hold too.

We got back home and in the door.  Hubby was feeling quite angsty as she is hard work now to go out and about with. She can have a tantrum at the drop of...well, herself most of the time.  We also no longer have a pushchair (not that she would sit in one anyway now without meltdown happening - we know, we tried) to take her anywhere off-road in so I have come to the conclusion that we can only go caching (a) around streets with pavements, (b) by car where we can park next to the cache and hubby or I can jump out or (and we like this one best) (c) when we have someone else to look after N at home. 

It's a shame as S adores going out but N is so unpredictable now that any event where I can't just shove her into her pushchair and live with the screaming down the road is pretty much ruled out.  

We are just hoping that in the next few months this terrible two stage goes away and we get back our nice little girl or I may just eBay her with a note saying 'no returns' ;-)

Friday, 1 March 2013

S(m)ell this on eBay

Since one of my lovely friends gave me a gorgeous Julien Macdonald Star top for helping her put a load of things on eBay, I'm addicted to this style and want more of these lovely outfits.

I decided that rather than spend a fortune in Debenhams, I would buy some more from eBay.  Off I went scanning for items and have been a busy bunny bidding on lots.  I've won five so far (I set a limit of what I will pay) and out of the four that have arrived, two are brilliant, one is a bit short for my existing muffin top and the other is a little tight around the chest (clearly not designed for slightly larger boobies!).  But I'm happy with them all.

Today, the fourth one arrived and what struck me as I opened the package was the smell. It wasn't anything nasty I'm pleased to say - I guess it could have been stale cigarettes and wet dog - but it reeked of perfume. It smelled like the previous owner had spilled an entire bottle of 'L'eau Cheap' all over it.  It knocked you backwards.  The top itself is lovely but what possesses anyone to sell something without putting it through the wash first?  I mean, surely you're not going to sell something you've just worn out for the evening...are you?

I would never consider selling any item of clothing without giving it a wash first.  It seems that may be just me though.

I'm also selling a bunch of items right now (trying to offset the things I'm buying you see) and I had to laugh at the cheek of one potential buyer.  I got an email this morning saying:

"If you don't get any bids on the Armani shirt, I will buy it from you for £7.50 including postage."

Hey, thanks.  Let me, fuck off!  Firstly, I have it advertised for £15 as it was only worn once and cost over £100 to buy.  Secondly, I am not about to include postage in the price.  What was this person honestly thinking?