Thursday, 30 April 2015

Raffle away

I got a bit fed up the other day and decided to try and get some prizes for S's summer fayre in June.  Looking at the kind of thing N's school were getting (golf membership, villa holidays, gym membership, etc), I thought we must be able to do better than a local pub lunch (not that there's anything wrong with that of course).  So, I emailed a lot of people I know and they have been fantastic.

I've got a train ride on a miniature railway, mini-driving school lesson for children, someone to paint a wall mural in your house, a teepee designed to your own specification, wine vouchers from a vineyard, soft play entry, wine from a local supermarket, handmade bows and hairbands, pirate golf for a family, dance lessons and even some concert tickets.  I hope that the school are happy with all of these prizes and that the summer fayre is a great success.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Trippy Hippy

Today I went to an area of our university called 'The Hub'. It's a place to eat, socialise and relax.  My friend wanted a 'Bubble Tea' - don't ask - and I fancied a Starbucks so we headed into The Hub and downstairs to the area called 'Imagine'.  Oh boy do you need your sunglasses to be in this place.  It looks like an explosion in a paint factory crossed with everything 60s and 70s bad taste - I love it!

Here's me swinging from the ceiling (no, not like that) in a great chair straight out of an Austin Powers movie - groovy baby, yeah!  There are two of these mad things.  My friend had the other one.  We had been gently swinging away when we read the sign on the wall "One person per chair. Do not swing the chairs".  Swinging chairs you can't sssssccchhhhwing?  No, surely not.  We were only swinging gently anyway, hardly like crazy adult playground stuff.

Get that wallpaper?  Next to this is a chair that almost completely surrounds you - like being in a weaver bird's nest.  Some odd looking designer chairs that, well, look like you kind of lay down and rock in them.  Lots of bean bags, sofas with colours that DFS would shudder to sell and multicoloured tables and chairs.

The more I think of it, the more I've decided it was designed by someone on a very heavy acid trip!  All it's missing is pear drops.  I'll say no more.  Anyway, I still love it.

Here's a snippet from a 360 tour on the campus website. Get the drift?  Promise next time I'm in there, I'll get photos to show you.

Monday, 20 April 2015

House stuff

It was a busy weekend. I'm sure that the sun coming out has an effect on this household. Suddenly, we were spurred on to do all sorts of jobs around the house and think about changes we wanted to make.

Earlier this week (another sunny day) I headed off and bought some paint for the kitchen walls and also we are going to re-paint the garage and outside cupboard doors so I got some for that too.  I also ordered some Hozelock hoses for the front and back garden and had some curtains on order for the lounge and dining room.  Saturday arrived and we were at it!

Curtains up in lounge and dining room.  Pinned at the bottom as, typically, we have 87" drop not 90!  A friend is going to take them up properly for me save me hand stitching 4 90" curtains - phew.  Hubby put the wall mounted hose up at the front and the one at the back too.  Hose reels were now required to pull the hose through. Good old Amazon Prime came through with those (and at a lot less than Squires) and they arrived on Sunday, so he did those then.

Off we went to a nursery to pick up hanging baskets.  I also got a couple of new doormats in Wickes.  Hubby then decided to dig in the turf we had and we got one part of the garden sorted with that.  Spurred on, I decided that the Mexican Orange had to go and cut that down (it had a kind of blight anyway) and we borrowed the neighbours green bin as ours was full and filled that up too!  Next plan is to dig out the roots of said shrub and then pave over the area, giving us more space for the girls trampoline and play house.

Sunday, whilst hubby was in the garden doing more stuff, my friend and I blitzed the kitchen giving it a really deep clean ready for painting.  I even mopped the floor (yeah, I know, I am crap at such house-worky type stuff).

So, we are motoring along getting the house in order for this year. Next on the agenda - after the painting - is a new downstairs cloakroom suite.  How did all this start?  I wanted some new taps for the cloakroom!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Children - the things they say!

In the car with N when we move over for an ambulance to pass.
N: "Ambulances help people who are hurt. Fire engines put out fires."
Me: "Who stops naughty people then?"
N: "Santa"
I have no words....

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Scholl Express Pedi - my Amazon review

I have suffered hard skin on my heels and round my big toes for years. My husband simply can't afford the number of beach holidays we would require for me to keep my feet nice and soft from walking on all that lovely, white sand. So, with heavy heart, I looked for another cure for my rotten old hard skin.

I read a lot of reviews on this Scholl Pedi Express but was a little concerned about people saying if they pressed hard with it, it stopped rotating. Would it be enough to cure my beach-free feet? It arrived yesterday and I got straight to it whilst looking at a brochure of the Maldives to get me feeling a little less sad. It's fantastic. For the first time I can have my fitflops on without heels that look like crazy paving! I could put some pressure on around my big toe and nothing stopped working. Heavens - how fippin' hard were these people pushing? Simple on/off switch and two AA batteries so no problems there. Neat little cover over the top. I hear the rollers wear out and need replacing which is quite pricey but this as this is the best solution for my feet in years (tried files, egg things and pumice to no avail), I'm happy to buy new rollers as and when.

I even ended up covered in fine white sand..oh, wait, no...that's my skin...argh! I really would recommend this product to anyone who cannot afford 30 beach holidays a year ;-)

Monday, 13 April 2015

End of Easter break

It's been a lovely Easter break for us. First a holiday to enjoy abroad (of course the Easter bunny made it to Tunisia to deliver the girls an egg each) and then to come back to relatively nice weather in the UK.  Nice enough for the girls to take advantage of the garden.

The day after our holiday mainly consisted of me putting things into the washing machine, taking them out and putting them into the tumble dryer, taking them out and popping them into the airing cupboard. Interspersed with planting all my pots outside with geraniums. This spree was motivated by the fact that we have joined 'adopt a pot' at her school whereby parents get a plant pot (in our case she chose a bright pink one) and plant it with whatever we want, then tend it at school and bring it home in the summer months to take care of too.  This is a nice way for the school to have lots of flowers around to brighten up the play areas more. I like the idea but, of course, I had done nothing about it before we went away so it was a quick dash to Squires to get some earth and plants and away I went.  Not a bad distraction for a day.

The next day, Friday, the girls went round a friends for a play date and then we went to TGI Fridays for lunch to kind of finish off the week nicely.  J and I managed a whole rack of Jack Daniels ribs each and the girls had crispy chicken strips.  Very nice it was too.  All washed down with the most fabulous milkshakes.  I just needed a lay down (and to undo the button on my jeans!) when we finished.  

Saturday was a party for N - although I'm not sure why I bothered as she didn't really want to join in the play, with the exception of 5 minutes on the bouncy castle, and didn't want the party food so we even left before they sang happy birthday and not even a party bag to show for it - and then over to see the outlaws for a few hours.  Very pleasant.

Sunday mainly consisted of ironing all the things in my very full airing cupboard, while the girls played outside in the garden.  I also did a bit more DJing (ok, putting together a playlist) for our big party at the end of the year.  It was a lovely day just relaxing and fiddling about.

Today, I should officially be back at study/work but it's S's inset day so we've got some friends coming over at 11 and will be baking a few cakes before they do in a minute.  Tomorrow will be all systems go again and I'm glad that the Dadinator is off tomorrow as N is not back to school until next week but I have so much to do I'll need him to be the distractor *grin*

I hope you had a lovely break too.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Tunisian Geocache

Got my first (and probably last) geocache in Tunisia when we were on holiday there last week.  Before going on holiday, naturally I had a quick peep to see if any geocaches were local.  Hooray, quite a few were. On investigating further, it seems some are being logged even after reviewers were putting them as disabled. I didn't want to do that as it just doesn't seem right so I wanted to find a 'proper' one not too far away.

Villa Sebastian at Hammamet seemed ideal. The cache had been muggled a few times so now it was sending the answer to the cache owner relating to a statue in the grounds.  A good excuse for a few hours out of the hotel too.

We arrived by taxi and arranged for them to pick us up about an hour later.  Paid our 5DT to get in plus an additional 1DT for a drink at the villa itself and walked on up the path.  The villa was quite quirky.  It seems a little run down now and dated but then I had to remind myself it was built in the 1920s and was the height of luxury at that time.  It had been used by many artists to paint and design in peace and quiet.  It was also used by Churchill when he was writing his memoirs and by Rommel too (although clearly not at the same time!) so the curator told us.  Yes, there was a curator who showed us around and also took us to Sebastian's private quarters upstairs and then said we needed to pay him for his services.  Not sure that would catch on at our museums and places of interest. Fortunately I had 2DT (about 70p) on me so I gave him that!

We walked round the path and found the geocache, noting down the details to send to the CO.  Yay! A Tunisian geocache for me and a nice visit for my personal TB.

We had a walk around the gardens and through the citrus trees and then back to the house for a quick lemonade made with real lemons from the garden before heading back to the taxis.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Tunisian Holiday

We have just come back from our first holiday in 3 years. We decided to try Tunisia as we had never been there. Of course we were a little worried after the recent events (see this post) but we went ahead anyway and glad we did.

The people are very friendly.  Odd to see armed police on the streets but strangely comforting too.  I enjoyed bartering at the medina and shops, and walking around the resort. I call it a 'resort' but it is a little more limited than perhaps we are used to in Europe. Great to see that cultural difference though.

I did a review on TripAdvisor about the hotel and you can read all about it here.  Here are a few pictures from our time there.

View from our room to the Marina

The pool area

Pirate ships...arrrr

Belly dancer

The Pool

Moon in the afternoon

J and I

Walls of the Medina at Hammamet

Blue mermaids at Hammamet


The beach

Fun at the edge of the pool (it was freezing!)

Palm and blue sky

Hannabal at the entrance to the local medina

Girls at Villa Sebastian

Villa Sebastian architecture

Wild tortoise walking down the pavement

Lobby of the hotel

J doing well at archery

Bird of Paradise flower

One of the animation team with S's hedgehog toy


S, J and N - 3 sisters and lights of my life!