Sunday, 31 January 2016

Blue Peter Badge

S has been beyond delighted of late. She received her Blue Peter Badge (Blue badge) in December for a lovely piece of art she sent in to the show about her visit to the Hawk Conservancy Trust last year.  She did wonder if she would get a badge as it takes a little while to come through but then we came home one day to find the badge had arrived. What an excited little girl and wow!, how worth it is a Blue Peter badge!

She can get into all sorts of attractions now for free up until she is 16 years old. That is amazing isn't it.

She's now applied for her Purple Badge and will be eagerly awaiting to see if she gets that as well. She'd quite like to be a Blue Peter presenter when she gets older she's told me "doing art on the show".  Go little one!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

DVD or Sky Movie?

Hubby and I were relaxing last night going through the 75% of recorded stuff we have on our Sky box unable to decide what to watch. This is a common occurrence in our house.  I suggested we watch a new film - Legend - and perhaps just get it on Box Office.  Looking at the price, it was £5.49 for HD or £4.49 for SD.  Now, is it just me or is that a pretty high price?

Legend [DVD]

You see, I can buy Legend from Amazon on DVD for £9.99 or Sainsburys for £10.  For that, I can watch it as much as I like.  I can buy the film and DVD from Sky for £13.99 and for that I get to watch it as much as I like on my Sky box (or tablet or phone if I wanted to see it on such a small device). If I can do that, why would I want the DVD then? It doesn't make sense to me.

The other issue I have is that when I watch a Box Office film from Sky it's in stereo. Yes, you heard me, stereo. None of your surround sound. Oh no.  BUT when I watch a normal film on one of the Sky movie channels, it's in glorious surround sound.  I'd like to know why this is as clearly Sky can give us multi-channel output so why make the sound so crap on their Box Office selection which we have to pay for on top of any subscription to their services?  Sky - would love to know your answer to this!

So, I hesitated over the 'purchase' button to have the film for 24 hours in stereo but then fortunately common sense kicked  in and I bought it on Amazon instead.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Flowering Bromelia

Sounds like a Cathering Cookson novel doesn't it, but it's not. I popped down to my favourite garden centre - Longacres - the other day and picked up another house plant, a Bromelia (yes, and I bought another pot too). Isn't it fantastic?

Within a few days it has begun to flower! I was stunned to see purple flowers popping out of it.  It's already an amazing colour and has become a firm favourite of mine.  

It's sitting on the windowsill in my kitchen (with all my orchids) and seems to be very happy there. It gets a good deal of light but not direct sunshine until mid-afternoon.  It also gets a bit steamed up at times in there with cooking so it's quite a tropical environment for my plants *grin*.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Snowmen (very small ones)

It snowed today. Just a little. Enough for the girls to want to go into the garden to build a snowman. Some ingenuity by hubby to scrape snow from my car, the climbing frame and trampoline and they produced these.  Two happy girls.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Holmwood Geocaching

We decided to go for a nice walk out today as we've not been geocaching for a while.  It was chilly but at least it wasn't raining so we wrapped up and drove over to Holmwood, just outside Dorking in Surrey. Parking was easy as lots of little National Trust car parks around the edge of this area and we headed off. 

Our first of the day was HC 6.6 Holmwood Common Extra which was a nice easy find.  A lot more muddy than I expected it to be around here but fortunately the girls were in their wellies and waterproof trousers so it wasn't a problem. Bit slippery with iced over parts of paths though in places.

HC 6.7 was next.  Quite an easy spot but pretty boggy around it. I went in for the retrieve as I had my wellies on too (hubby in walking boots).  Water around it was quite smelly and unpleasant.  We missed the next one and aimed for 6.9 but the ground was getting more and more boggy and difficult to walk in.  

Just before we were going to reach the next cache, there was quite a large piece of flooding which was too deep for hubby to get through with his boots and may well have ended up going over the top of the girls wellies too. We had to turn around and head back and round.  I think we were all glad of the detour as it was hard going.  We decided to carry on with a walk and pick up a few caches if we saw them nearby. Probably a better plan today to be honest.

HC 6.9 was a nice one for one of our girls to find (which they love doing).  We then headed down quite a slope which was very muddy as well.  Not the easiest decent but we got there.

HC 6.2 was in a lovely location next to a little stream.  There was a bridge you could walk across one or a little ford next to it.  We went across the bridge and then through the ford which gave us a chance to wash our boots off a bit as the mud was really sticking to them.

HC 6.1 was another good little find for one of our girls. N was delighted to make the retrieve here.

HC 5.5 ended up being our last of the walk and a good retrieve for S.  We decided to head back at this point as hubby's knee was hurting from twisting it a bit walking down the slope so best to call it a day.

Lovely walk back along the path, past the nice houses and through the ford, turning left at the top onto the main path which took us nicely back to the car park.  We'll be back to finish this off at another time.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

R.I.P. Alan Rickman

My goodness, another favourite taken by cancer at the age of 69.  Such sad news today.  We will miss you Snape.  

Here is Mr Rickman as one of my favourite characters - the Sheriff of Nottingham.  

A favourite quote from the Robin Hood film to finish:

Sheriff of Nottingham [to a wench] "You.  My room. 10.30 tonight." [to another wench] "You. 10.45. And bring a friend!"

Monday, 11 January 2016

R.I.P. David Bowie

He was inspirational.  An amazing character and I grew up with so much of his music around.  I loved is re-invention of himself. I loved him (just a little bit).  I saw him at the Milton Keynes Bowl in 1990 during his Sound and Vision tour. My husband went to the Glass Spider tour.  He was an icon of music.

One of my favourite films that featured Mr Bowie was Labyrinth.  Instead of Ziggy Stardust, I give you my memory - Jareth, the Goblin King. R.I.P. Mr Bowie.

Monday, 4 January 2016

A new year starts

Back to school. Back to work (for me, hubby's been back for a while), and back to the PhD. The Christmas holiday is almost over.  

It's been great at home with the girls and just having family time.  I'm going to miss having them around all day, building camps and playing games.  I'm not one of these parents you see whinging on Facebook or Twitter saying they can't wait for their children to go back to school. I happen to love having my children around.  They are wonderful little people who are basically each other's best friends.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Claremont Garden New Years Day Walk

Today hubby was off so, at the girls' request, we headed off to Claremont Gardens again.  Early arrival this time and got parked easily (it was filling up fast though).  Wellies on and away we went.  We decided to definitely get to The Belvedere Tower this time as I realised we missed quite a bit of the walk yesterday after hearing from the NT on Twitter.  To be honest, I didn't even realise there *was* a Belvedere Tower as we didn't get a map yesterday, but the girls picked one up today.  

Poor N fell walking up the first bit of hill by the ampitheatre and grazed her hands and knees. My fault as I left her old wellies at home because they had a leak yesterday and gave her some other ones to wear.  Yet another parenting fail.  Oh dear.  

We found the 9-pin bowling this time (although not all the pins were there so a bit more 7-pin bowling really) and the girls and hubby had fun doing that for a while.  We were still too early to get to The Belvedere Tower as it didn't open until 11am so we went along the path and round to where someone had built a teepee out of branches and then onto the stepping stones.  As we left the stepping stones to head back to the tower, some poor chap with his two children slid down the bank, lost his footing and landed in the mud.  I couldn't help but laugh (sorry).

We queued for the tower and you could see quite a long way off. Probably nice on a bright, cloudless day.  

Girls weren't that interested in looking around any more and we headed down the spiral staircase to go back to the car and head home for some lunch. We are looking forward to coming here for a picnic in the summer.  Seems this may become another favourite place for us along with Wisley :)