Monday, 30 September 2013

Wisley apples and pears

Here comes trouble!
On Friday of last week, N and I decided to have a nice walk around together at our favourite place, RHS Wisley.  I wanted a bit of fresh air and to wear those little legs out so what better place to go.

Now smell these ones mummy

As usual, N took the lead and away we went.  She had me crouching down sniffing lots of roses before we saw a sign saying that you could pick your own fruit that day, but sadly later than we could stay.

No, this one isn't any good
N was a bit disappointed about this but with fruit dropping everywhere, I suggested that we could see if we could find a little apple on the ground for her.  Her face lit up.

Off we went through the orchards and the first thing she found was a pear in the 'market garden' area.  I was amazed how good it looked as I was expecting her to pick it up and see it all rotten on one side.  I suggested she put it down but no way was she having this. Trust me Wisley, you do not want to see her tantrums *grin*

Look at the size of this apple
Off we toddled to the orchard and she found two apples that were good (ok, admittedly, she picked up lots that weren't) and therefore she came away with 3 pieces of fruit.

Look what I found!
I hope I won't get in trouble for that!

A quick wander around the Glasshouse, spotting a sleeping duck first, before we headed home.

She loved the big red apple and ate it as soon as we got in.  The pear is sitting on our windowsill in the hope it will ripen and the other apple she carried carefully all the way home then dropped on our stone kitchen floor. Typical huh?

We never knew you could do fruit picking at Wisley so we'll keep an eye out for it next time. The girls would adore picking their own fruit and I think that's a great thing to get children into.  What a fun but educational experience at the same time.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Geocaching in Maidenhead

Gate to nowhere
 Yesterday, J and I headed off to Maidenhead to pick up a few geocaches.  It's been a stressful couple of days for me (or should I say evenings/nights) with the youngest two of late so hubby arrived home from work early to give me a bit of time to relax.

Our first was a quick stop in a road I've never been down before (nice houses) and a little stroll back to the Gate to Nowhere.  We spotted it as we went past and, as you can see from the picture, it really is a gate to nowhere. I wonder what was once here?

Took us a few minutes to locate the cache, which was done when I stuck my head through the middle part much to J's amusement.

Guards Park
Away we went again and parked up near the Thames to pick up another couple of caches. First was the lovely On Guard at the Park (another place I never knew existed).  It took us a few minutes to locate the cache but it was soon in hand.  We sat on a nearby bench to sign it.  There was a little bridge that led over to an island but we decided to not go explore that today, as we had already decided to walk along the riverside to our next find.

Away we went to find Where the trains go by, by, by (8).  The stroll over the bridge and down the roadway was nice and we were soon by the bridge.  It was interesting to read about the two main spans and of course J had to try the echo out underneath, which certainly worked well.

A party boat went past as we were approaching our final location. It was a very sedate party though - no booze cruise here - as most of the travellers must have been 60+.  They were clearly having a good time though and the sun had made an appearance.

A fisherman watched us as we strolled along but was fortunately distracted enough as we neared GZ.  I made the grab as J does not like spiders/webs and we soon had the log signed.  Afterwards we went and sat on the big steps nearby and watched some boats going up and down, and pondered on how much the houses opposite with their own moorings would be worth.

A few caches to finish our day and a lovely time with my teen.  Well worth a little Sunday stroll.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

First full week over

Last week was the first 'proper' week of school for both girls.  J has moved to Year 10 and is not getting on with starting her GCSE studies.  The two youngest though, had their first experiences of school last week.

S had been the week before for a few days but last week was her first proper week.  Now, she's been to nursery in a school before so I was expecting it to be a breeze for her.  Sadly not.  S is quite a sensitive, anxious little girl and the new environment was just a bit too much for her.  She cried pretty much every single morning which is really hard to cope with as a parent.  Even worse is having to physically untangle yourself from your crying child, hand them over to someone else who holds on to them while you beat a hasty retreat, hearing them crying for you as you leave.  Not good.  We hoped that given a few days she would settle down but she hasn't.  We hoped that having a friend she has known since a baby there would help ease the transition. It hasn't.

She does not want to go to school every day (not much we can do about that).

She does not like lunchtime. We give her a packed lunch (which she does enjoy) but she finds the dinner hall too noisy (again, not much we can do there).

We tried talking gently to her about school. She cried.

We tried ignoring the subject of school (hard to do).  She still cried.

We tried explaining more about all the fun she would have at school and all the wonderful things she would learn.  She cried.

Her sleep has been disrupted and her levels of anxious have gone up significantly.  She has started scratching her leg behind her knee and has made it very sore. I don't think she has an itch - I think she's very unsure and scared.

She has made a lovely little friend whom she talks about incessantly (and vice-versa her friends' mummy tells me).  Her little friend has an older sister at the school who also loves S and looks after her every break time.  She still is very sad and upset at school although she tells me "I only cried 5 times today mummy" like that is a good thing. I hope she settles down soon.

Yesterday her little friend's sister told me that she had suggested S do the 'wiggle dance' when she feels nervous or a bit scared.  Apparently they do it in their house to 'wiggle out the worry'. I thought that was lovely.  S wiggled quite a bit yesterday her friend told me.

She always comes out of school smiling but I would love to see her go in that way. I'm sure it will come.  I'm proud of her regardless as I know it's very hard for her at the moment but I'm sure those nerves will subside.

As for N, she started at nursery in a school on Monday.  She goes 3 full days a week.  She loves it.  She can't wait to go and was disappointed when it came to Thursday to hear that S was going to school and she wasn't.  What a difference.

Day 1 of N's nursery, she walked in, said hello to her teacher, found her name, put her things where they should be and asked if she could do some painting.  Result!

She has had a few tears though. She also found the dining hall noisy (she has a school lunch as she's not a fuss-pot like S) and had a little cry. The teachers settled her though.  She also had one after she woke up from her nap as she wanted me and was a bit confused by where she was.  Other than those kind of minor things, she's fine.  She mixed well with the other girls, listened well to the teachers and joined in conversations.  I'm very proud of her.

On Wednesday I had to leave them both for an extended day as it was my first school run without hubby (fortunately he'd had a few days off work which fitted in with their schools starting). They both start at the same time but finish 30 minutes apart (N being the later finish).  I therefore decided that S would go to breakfast club and be picked up on time and N would go in on time and go to after-school club.

I dropped a crying S off early trying to sound excited about play before school.  She didn't cling so much but was still in floods of tears. The teachers at the breakfast club were so kind and I was sure she'd settle down soon.  N just turned to her and said "You need to stop crying and be a big girl like me".  Great coming from you sister who is 2 years younger than you.

Off N and I went and I left a happy girl at school. I picked S up as usual and we came home, got her changed and headed off to get N.  As we walked around to the classroom where the girls were who were staying for after-school care, there she was sitting quietly eating her cheese sandwich chatting to the other girls.  How cute. She was very excited to see us both and rushed up for a cuddle. She then told me she hadn't finished her sandwich and water so went and sat back down to do so!  I was amazed at her relaxed attitude. Some of the girls S knew from her time there so they were all saying hello and excited to see one another which was lovely for S.   N finished up and we came home, not before all the teachers said how lovely she was and how affectionate and bright little girl. My heart swells with pride for all of my girls.

I hope by the end of next week S will have settled down more and be enjoying going to school a bit.  As for N, I have no worries.

I hope anyone else who had children start school or nursery this week had a lovely time.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Wriggly Rascals

The lovely folk over at Wriggly Rascals parenting site are offering a super promotion to new members for the next couple of months.

You can get yourself FREE Three Months Membership to the subscription area of the site, worth £8.85, if you sign up this month.  Definitely worth it to check out what they have to offer and get lots of information from both professionals and other mums.  What have you got to lose?

Next month (October) the promotion goes to two months free membership and then in November it's just the month so you still have time to get a deal if you're unsure.

It's easy to join, just click the lovely logo on the right of this blog and you'll be magically whizzed off to sign up.

Have fun!

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*

Friday, 6 September 2013

Diddy (aka Lamaze Princess Sophie)

Diddy - Before and After
I have to take my hat off to Lamaze toys.  We bought quite a mountain of them when S was born almost 5 years ago and they have been (L)amazing (see what I did there?).  We've sold some that they girls have grown out of now on eBay and they've looked as good as new.

There is an exception though...and for very good reason.  Diddy, also known as Princess Sophie.

We bought this for S just after she was born.  You may guess that there is a connection here between the toy and our daughter *smile*.  However, whilst she was mildly interested in the colours and playing with her at times, her big love from very early on was her blankie bear (he still is).

When N was born, we passed all the lovely Lamaze toys to her and, like a little limpit, she went for Princess Sophie and adopted her as her own very special toy.  She loves her more than anything.  Her name is now "Diddy".  Here's an old blog piece I wrote in 2011 about her.

Diddy was supposed to be attached to a cot or pram by the rather neat 'hook' but N never liked this, oh no.  Diddy had to be held and cuddled.  All we could hear when she was moved from the Moses basket to the cot was this almighty clanking of the hook being bashed around.  We were convinced she'd give herself a right thud with it but she never has done - the rest of us, however, have been bumped and bashed by it too many times to count.  Heaven help us too if Diddy drops out of bed in the night now as N won't go back to sleep without her.

Now there is just one thing you should know about N's form of cuddling of this lovely dolly.  She does it upside down, rubbing and sniffing her feet! Yep, you heard me.  Poor Diddy has spent her life with her feet in the air, skirt over her head hanging upside down.

How she lives her life
She comes everywhere with N, feet first! She's been on holiday, in the car, around the supermarket, even geocaching!  The cutest thing is that if N can't find her she puts her hand to her mouth and calls "Diddy, where are you?" and then puts her hand to her ear expecting an answer.

So, Lamaze, Diddy...sorry, Princess Sophie is almost 5 years old and still going strong. I'd love to know if you have any others still being so well loved on a daily basis as this little bio-hazard doll.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Can you be organised at home with babies and young children?

I wrote a blog post for Wriggly Rascals recently about how on earth you could be more organised or, for that matter, just live a relatively normal life with babies and young children in tow.  Was it possible to manage to cook and run a house as well as be children's entertainer? I think so.  Have a look to see what you think here.

The folks at Wriggly Rascals would love it if you shared your experience of coping with being organised and having children, so give this link a click and pop on over to their site to share your experiences with other mums or just click the linky on the right.  Have fun!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Enjoy "Big School" my Little Girl

So, today was the day.  Big school has officially started for you. How exciting.

For the past (almost) 5 years I have had you with me pretty much all the time.

When you were 3 we put you into a fabulous pre-school so that you could have fun with other girls, and get the lovely introduction to learning that we knew you would like.  So for 3 mornings a week, N and I were on our own, always waiting for you to join us at lunchtime.  A morning goes past very quickly.

You had tears about starting 'big school' the last few nights but today you were excited to put on your new uniform and go. It is a bonus that your favourite colour is purple and that's the new school colour for your book bag, PE kit and cardigan, as well as the cutest little purple check summer dress that you said you might like to wear tomorrow.  We live close enough now that you can cycle or scoot to school to so that will be fun won't it.

Daddy and I took you to school while Eddie's mummy looked after N.  Your new Head Teacher came and escorted you to your new classroom holding your hand all the way - a nice touch - then she handed you over to your new class teacher as daddy and I stood back a little.

We walked around with you while you were shown where to put your PE kit/coat/cardigan, another shelf for your lovely ladybird lunchbox, another for your heart wellies, another for your book bag and finally a little peg to show the teachers what you wanted to play with and whether that was inside or out.

I forgot to ask where the toilets were which was one of the things that had worried you. I was a bit overwhelmed and so was daddy. I'm sure the teacher won't keep the toilet a secret though.

You smiled and headed off to play as we were gently told "Mummy and daddy are going now".  We are counting down until 3pm when we can collect you.

What a change this is going to be for us all.  We have enjoyed having 'term time' to go out  with you and N without everywhere being crowded.

We have loved Toddler Splash at our local swimming pool.

We visited your favourite place - RHS Wisley Gardens - multiple times every month (as everyone can see from the crazy amount of posts of flowers on this blog).

We didn't have the alarm set every day.


So, my little big girl, enjoy "big school".  Have fun.

Paint and draw us wonderful pictures.

Love every minute of learning more about letters and numbers.  Enjoy learning to write. Show us all the wonderful things you have made and tell us of the things you have done during your day.

Bring home a book for us to read together (if N will stay quiet enough for us to hear it) and show us how you are learning to read.

Make friends.  Be good.

Remember always that we love you so much and are so very, very proud of you.

Mummy and Daddy

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Wisley - more sculptures and getting ready for the Flower Show

We popped over to RHS Wisley today to have an hours walk around and some fresh air. We also wanted to see the sculptures that we had missed last time and how the preparations for the Flower Show were coming along.

Sadly, this is the last weekday I can take S with me as she starts 'big school' tomorrow so we will be limited to weekends and school holidays with her *sniff*

Things are certainly in full flow for the Wisley Flower Show which commences tomorrow (4th September - 8th September inclusive).

The stands were being laid out, displays organised and a there was a real buzz about the place.

If you've never been to the Wisley Flower Show, you really should get along.  There are some amazing displays and inspirational ideas.

Our favourite place

Getting ready

Tomatoes outside the Conservatory Cafe

Colour already appearing
Sisters and best friends
Robin on a Fork (£300) - very cute
The girls enjoyed trying to work out what some of the sculptures were.  S said these two looked like candles.

N said this was a cabbage and why would someone make a rock cabbage.  They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder don't they *grin*

It was extremely busy inside the Glasshouse. The cut flower displays were all being prepared and quite a few areas were cordoned off. It was lovely to see all the work going into the presentations and we are looking forward to seeing many of the final creations during the Show itself.

Sushi?  No, flowers!  Amazing displays

Diving In - very appropriate (£1,200)

Preparations through the waterfall
This plant fascinated the girls. They said it looked like some kind of spidery bug.  I thought it looked quite like an alien (think The Abyss).

Of course no walk around the Glasshouse would be complete without me sighing and smiling at the beautiful orchids on display.


Stunning pink Passion Flower

These reminded me of War of the Worlds
Scary woman!

The displays were coming on great guns over this side. People were pushing and pulling carts of beautiful flowers along and setting up their tents.

S said this statue looked like a fairy because of the wings. She wanted to know where her arms were and said she could not use a wand properly without hands.  Fair comment. N wanted to know why she was bald.
Ephemora (Mayfly) £1,250

Rearing Horse £995
Yes £1,100
Skyform £1,600

African Heads

Man for All Seasons £280

Tattooed Lady £295 - where?

Made from bicycle chains - fabulous (£215)

Saved £1,900

Girl with Plait £2,500
If you're thinking my memory was terrific in getting the proper names and titles for some of the sculptures, don't be fooled. I remembered to pick up a Surrey Sculpture Society Trail leaflet this time!

If you are off to the Flower Show, enjoy yourselves.  You may well spot a little flower fairy in the shape of N wandering around with us over the next few days.