Saturday, 28 February 2015

Wisley Walk...and a bit of a bump

The girls wanted to go out somewhere today so, of course, our favourite garden was the place to head.  Nice and quiet when we arrived at 9.30 and for about an hour we seemed to be the only people walking around!  As usual, the girls set the pace.  Nice and cosy in their waterproof outfits as it was drizzling a bit this morning.  Today's mission - collect petals for pictures at home later.

So nice to see all the little flowers coming up everywhere and the beginnings of the bulbs growing. Another few weeks and the place will be covered in daffodils and tulips.

We noticed a sign over this side of the garden saying people had been stealing flowers. Whatever next!  Can you imagine turning up here and digging out a couple of plants and heading out with them under your coat? Really, the things some people will do.  The girls were very worried when I read this sign to them as they had pockets full of petals. I'm sure Wisley won't arrest them for making off with some petals that were on the ground *grin*

I'm practising my 'prune' face here like all the celebs do when they get their photo taken. It's just not working is is...

The girls love looking in the little individual gardens.  They were disappointed there weren't many flowers about but I did point out that it's not quite Spring yet.

A mini-snack break under some shelter after this and then we headed to the Alpine houses.  The girls now want to make a rock garden in our garden too. I think that may be a project for the summer.  They loved how the plants were each in their own little buried flowerpot.

It all went wrong at this point.  We were about to go down the 'steps' by the waterfalls and N was very excited about the rock garden. She turned around to tell me about some little flowers she had seen and went to walk forward, not having seen a little 12" wall sticking out.  Poor little soul went over it straight down onto her hands and face, scraping her shins too.  I rushed over and she started to scream and cry.  Blood was coming out of her mouth. Oh no!  I tried to calm her down a bit and then took her to the bench to assess the damage.  Seems her tooth had gone into her top lip and her gum had split just a tiny bit. Also a bruise on her nose.  Bless.  Mopped her up and decided to seek some first aid before we went home. She was so upset S started to cry too. She hates to see her little sister hurt.  As we were about to leave, this Robin came down and perched right next to us and began to sing. It was amazing. He was about an arms length from me singing his heart out. I said to N that he was singing to cheer her up and it did - for a moment anyway.  I then walked this little crying person down to the membership area where they called a first aider for us.  The lovely lady was very gentle with her and sorted her out - wiping the last of the blood away and giving her a cold pack for her swollen lip.  Thank you for your kindness.

We headed home and the girls settled straight in to making their petal pictures.  Despite the bump, a lovely walk.

Friday, 27 February 2015

What will they remember? Videoing us.

I have recently avoided being in photographs too much. Actually, I'll rephrase that - I vet the photographs and don't put them in the family photobook unless I look reasonably ok in them.  I don't want to look like a banshee with wild hair and bags under my eyes (my normal morning look).  I guess this is a bit of personal vanity for whomever may see the photobook.  Having said all that it just occurred to me that who would be bloody well interested in the photobook bar myself and my family - who you will also remember see me like said banshee.

Whenever you experience a loss, I think you weigh up your life a bit.  It occurred to me today - the day that Leonard Nimoy died - that when you are a celebrity or film star, there is a lot to remember you by: interviews, movies, appearances, etc.  But what do we have as 'ordinary' people?  This is when the light bulb went on.  I video the children all the time - first crawl across the carpet, first steps, first bike ride without what is wrong with videoing all of us.  I know, crazy right?  I mean, I'm a few *cough* pounds heavier than I would like to be and sometimes I dress in no more than horrible grey jogging bottoms and a t-shirt, BUT that is how my family see me.  I'm just mum - not mum in the grey jogging bottoms or mum in the pretty dress, just mum.  Same for hubby, he's plain old dad.  So, if we're having fun, dancing on the Wii or sitting doing Lego, why not video it?  Could there be anything nicer than having a video memory?  A walking, talking (or sitting, building in the case of Lego) memory in fact.

What caused this nostalgia? Mostly the fact that my girls asked about my mum and dad.  I showed them some photos but oh how I wished I had some video or a recording to hear their voices again too.  How lovely would that have been?  I'm sure somewhere, in a loft, hidden away, is a recording that someone in the family or a friend has of one of our holiday moments as I remember mum putting a tape recorder in the middle of a table at the keller bar in Austria and just recording 60 minutes of us all chatting with music playing, etc.  How amazing would it be to find that!

So, extra few pounds and no make-up aside, I'm going to video a lot more of this family and have some super, fun memories to keep - for us all.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Breastfeeding Selfie

OK, I know by their very nature, a selfie is all about you.  I've done a few myself - mostly because giving my phone to my 4 or 6 year old to take a photo of me when we're out without hubby normally means I'm at a 45 degree angle or it's just my knees or headless body in the picture.  However, the latest 'craze' seems to be the breastfeeding selfie or (heavens above it has a name already) the #brelfie.  Good grief.

Hang on, I need a selfie...
Now I don't mind people taking pictures of themselves, and nor am I anti-breastfeeding (I fed my two youngest this way quite happily) but do you really need a photo of every part of your lives now?  I have one of each of my girls when I was breastfeeding - in hospital just after they were born.  They are nowhere but in our family album. Private.  Come on.  Really?  What next, the "I'm taking a sh*t" selfie?  Well, why not - it's up to the individual right?

I find this sudden desire to have to photograph yourself feeding your baby just plain odd. I suppose it's the same people who photograph their lunch and dinner for the world to yawn at on Twitter so it's nothing new for them but like with the aforementioned photos, who really cares?

Don't panic, I'm just as fed up seeing pictures retweeted of young (or old) women almost totally exposed bar a piece of string for a top and another for knickers, sticking it all out in your face.  I hasten to add I don't actually follow anyone who did that (or I'd soon unfollow them if they did take such a photo).  I agree that social media sites like Facebook are hypocritical for taking down or banning a user who posts a breastfeeding selfie but leaving up some under-age teen in her underwear.

Despite having been a breastfeeding mum, I like to think I always did it with discretion and made both myself and people around me feel perfectly comfortable.  I'm not one for displaying my assets to the general public anyway (I don't go topless on the beach) but I'm not a prude.  Despite living in a world where everyone seems out for themselves at times, I do like to show a little respect and compassion for those around me. When I used to sit in a cafe or restaurant breastfeeding, I was happy to tuck my girls under my lovely (specially designed) top and relax knowing I was at ease and no-one around me would feel uncomfortable.  Perhaps that's just me but flopping it all out on a park bench in the middle of a bustling town centre wasn't my style.  In fact, I find that tasteless.  Make of that what you will - and I'm sure some of you will and will tell me what an awful person I am for saying such a hideous thing.  I just like to think that some things are very personal and gentle and don't need your phone involved.

I'm sure the argument about this will go on for, well, a few days anyway until it becomes yesterdays dull story and another selfie craze takes over - 'here's me at the doctors having my scrape' perhaps?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

TV excitement - The Walking Dead and Broadchurch

Last night's The Walking Dead - oh my goodness. I have a bad feeling in my bones.  Rick didn't asked the 3 questions for starters.  Bit late when Michonne remembered this fact as they were driving to Aaron's sanctuary - Alexandria.

Children's laughter coming through the gate as they arrived. Aaron said earlier that you couldn't hear anything from outside the walls.  Be afraid then.

No guards.  Anywhere.

No people in the photographs that Aaron showed to Rick and the group. Apparently the one of the whole group didn't come out. Just too suspicious.

I can't wait until next week to see what Alexandria is all about.

As for the finale of series 2 of Broadchurch - if I'd been Mark Latimer, I'd have bundled Joe into the van, driven to the edge of that huge cliff and thrown him off of it.  Just saying....

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Children and tablets (the electronic kind) - too much, too young?

Christmas 2013 we bought both of our girls Android tablets as their main present.  The girls wanted to play different games hubby and I had on our phones so rather than use all our battery life when we may actually need to make a call at some point (I know, shocking right?) we decided it would be a good idea to get them their own tablets to use.

As I'm not an Apple person (unless it's the fruit), I'm therefore also no mug so we found some great little tablets on eBay - new - and got them for less than £50 each with a case.  The girls loved their tablets. They had all sorts of educational games on them ranging from Letter Eggs through to counting and alphabet puzzles.  Of course, gradually they also had Farm Heroes Saga, Rayman and many other pure 'games' that they wanted too.

We used to let them use their tablets after school whilst I was cooking dinner. A bit of 'down time' for everyone. TV off, tablets for fun.  But then the problems started.

I noticed that the girls were not getting to sleep well. I thought it was a phase and never honestly considered it was their tablet use that was causing it at first.  The phase went on.  Sleep was becoming an issue. They just seemed to be wide awake still at 9pm!  This was crazy. They go to bed at 7 and yet, although physically in bed, they didn't sleep. They would chat, giggle, screech, cry...pretty much everything happened nearly every night.  Hubby and I were baffled.  We aren't daft folk but sometimes you can't see the problem even when you're staring straight at it with children as they have quite a few quirks during their growing up years!

One weekend, their tablets ran out of battery quite quickly as I'd forgotten to charge them up the night before.  They played for about 30 minutes before they both went off.  Of course, the girls went back to colouring, watching some TV, reading, etc and do you know what...yep, you guessed it - they went to bed just fine.

Hubby and I thought about this.  We decided that tablets were not to be used after school any more and only at weekends, during the day (well before bedtime) and even then, an hour maximum.  Bedtime problems ceased.  The girls still enjoyed their time on the tablets, but now they focused back on other games and toys too and stopped constantly wanting the tablets.

Over-stimulation was all we could think.  Despite them not playing with the tablets for hours on end, clearly the games/screen brightness was affecting them. I mentioned this to a friend who commented that one of her friends was having problems with her son with the same sleep issues and he was also using a tablet after school. She was going to pass on our thoughts.  I hope it helped.

We're not stodgy parents.  We are, in fact, quite relaxed.  However, the girls do not need the TV on or the tablets in front of them to have fun. They do just as well colouring, reading, dressing up their Barbies or making Lego creations.  I think sometimes we become too dependent on technology and think our children should be exposed to it as 'they need to be for school' or 'I don't want them to not be able to use a mouse to properly navigate around the PC' but as I child, I never had this. It didn't affect my ability to use a computer later in life.  It's great that our children are so tech aware but let's remember - they are still children. That old problem of them being stuck in front of the TV for too long is still there - except now it's portable technology!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Norman Reedus

One of my best friends fails to understand why I find Norman Reedus so hot. I know the pictures of him in The Walking Dead probably don't do him justice for 'normal' people who don't watch the show, but for us TWD fans, he's the bomb!

"..then move the strawberry to the left to make a line of 3..."
Most comments are "he looks like he needs a bath" - yes, so would you in a zombie infested world as a shower is probably the last thing on your mind (along with a shave and a haircut).  I'd still happily snuggle up to him (don't tell hubby!).

Mmmmm....eye candy.  I think I'm having a hot flush...

Monday, 16 February 2015

Game of Thrones Exhibition followed by a bit of Sherlock Holmes

Today my teen, J, and I went to the O2 to the Sky Atlantic Game of Thrones Exhibition. We got up at 6am to get ready but hardly felt tired as we were both a tad excited.  We both dressed up a bit for it (what the heck right?).  As we expected, hardly an eyebrow was raised as a robed woman and Danaerys Targaryen got on the train at Woking.

We arrived early as every bus/train/tube was waiting for us as we got to the destinations and so we stopped and had a coffee in Costa. Probably not too often Danaerys Targaryen is having a hot chocolate checking her phone.  Having said that, we saw a lovely tweet by Andrew Horner (who is playing Jon Snow at the front of the exhibition) who got that name on his Starbucks so who knows.


First we went to the movie area where we got some photos taken with dragons and walkers and sat on the Iron Throne.

We then headed into the merchandise area and picked up a Khal Drogo (well, we had to right?) and got in the queue.  We weren't excited at all.  Ok, just a little bit.

The exhibition was fantastic.  It was really well organised and so nice to see the costumes and props from the set.

Sansa Stark

Arya Stark

Danaerys Targaryen

Unsullied helmet

Margaery Tyrell and Oberyn Martell

Gregor Clegane

Margaery's crown

Pin of The Hand of the King

Joffrey's crown

Jaime Lannister and Cersei Lannister

Margaery and Joffrey

Tyrion's crossbow


Not scared of the White Walkers

Brilliant close up

Stannis and The Red Woman (Melisandre)

Tormund Giantsbane

Jon Snow and Samwell Tarly

Going up The Wall in the lift

4D was absolutely amazing! 

I was burnt by a dragon (clearly J couldn't do this as Dany) and got a great video of it when I got home.  Going up The Wall using the Oculus Rift was absolutely incredible!  Just being able to look out as you went up and seeing all around you was incredible. Then you turned around and walked to the edge - this was the point that I reached out and grabbed on despite knowing it wasn't real. It was bloody high up said my mind and I believed it!

Once we had done that we headed out and couldn't resist one more seat on the Iron Throne.

Finally, we got one last photo of J with Jon Snow before we left and got changed for our journey home.

Or maybe we didn't.  Maybe I got turned into a White Walker....

We had a super time. It took about an hour to do the whole exhibition including the lift but it was absolutely worth it.  It's not often you get something for nothing so I'm so glad I persevered with the web and got my free tickets for us.

We got back onto the tube and J noticed that it went to Baker Street. She is a crazy Sherlock fan so I said would she like to go and see 221b?  Of course the answer was yes so we headed off there too.  Easy to find as you come out of the tube station but it is now a museum and next door is a gift shop.  We went in and got a couple of tickets and queued up to go inside.

About 25 minutes later, we were in having had a couple of photos taken first.  It is incredibly narrow and is on three floors, with the privvy right at the top (boy would I be fit if I lived there)!

J said it was the best day out ever.  Two of the things she loves.  Can't be bad eh?  We even got a McDonalds at the station.  Guess what? Our train was waiting with 2 minutes to go when we boarded it and sat down to eat our lunch.  And when we got back to Woking...the bus was pulling in.  How cool is all that.  Perfect timing for a perfect day out (and we missed the rain!).