Tag Archives: family

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

A lot of people I know have written “bucket lists” for the summer holidays – a list of things to do and places to go. Now while we aren’t really on any summer holiday I still thought it would be nice to get a few ideas of things the kids would like to do over the next few weeks and really try to do these things.

Both Jasmine and Thomas have mentioned things recently that they would like to do; Jasmine wanted to make soup and we managed that last week, Thomas has asked to make bread and hopefully we will do that this week. Thomas has also asked to go swimming and Jasmine wanted to go kite flying.

Today we ticked kite flying off the list.

We went to Epsom Downs, somewhere we haven’t been before. It was a lovely warm day, not as hot as it has been recently. The sky was really beautiful.

Kite flying 1

We found somewhere to base ourselves, under a big oak tree so we had some shade. Unfortunately we seem to have picked a very still day to go kite flying! There was hardly any breeze at all. Luckily Gordon had packed a frisbee and a football as well as the kites, so the kids burnt off some energy and happily played with these for a while until we felt some wind.

kite flying 2As soon as we felt the breeze we got the kites ready. The kids have two kites each, a pocket kite and a Brookite single line fun kite. Gordon had also taken two of his kites to try and fly.

We got the Brookites out first and Jasmine and Thomas both flew theirs. It takes quite a lot of work getting the kites in the air when there isn’t much wind so we only managed two at a time today. I tried to get one of the pocket kites up for Ben but it wasn’t quite windy enough to manage on my own.

kite flying 3After another short break for football and frisbee the wind picked up again and this time Ben flew the pocket kite and Jasmine flew her Brookite butterfly again. The wind came in fits and starts and it was hard work to keep the kites in the air. When they were up they flew beautifully, but they didn’t stay up for long. It gave me and the kids a good amount of exercise though, running up and down the hill trying to get them flying!

kite flying 4After a good stint of wind we decided it was time to pack the kids kites away and get Gordon’s out. He only flew his smallest one, but it is still quite big and impressive to watch.

kite flying 5

We spent all afternoon out and had a really lovely time. We can’t wait to go back on a slightly windier day!

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Moments like these

We haven’t really done much to write about over the last two days. Yesterday we went to Twins Club in the morning and played in the garden all afternoon. Today we spent the morning playing inside at home and this afternoon we went to Caterpillar Tales house. There has been lots of playing, reading, some computer time, some TV.

But two things have happened that really stand out, really made me stop, take a step back and think.

The first one was yesterday. We were getting the kids inside for dinner and Ben strolled in and headed upstairs with Gordon for a shower, He had been playing in the mud and had obviously been having a great time!

Muddy BenI saw him as he walked in. He was so happy (although in the photo he has his “stop taking pictures of me now” face!)

And this what childhood is all about isn’t it? Playing outside and getting dirty. Some days, a patch of mud is enough.

The second moment came this morning, I was outside feeding the rabbits and I looked over towards the flower bed.

The rose that I got from my Nana’s garden after she passed away has flowered.

Nana's RoseWe only planted it in May so weren’t expecting it to flower at all this year.

It wasn’t in bud when my mum dug it from Nana’s garden, so we didn’t know what colour flowers it had. I saw it this morning and it is the same colour as the roses we placed on the coffin at the funeral. My Nana’s favourite red rose.

Thank you Nana. I miss you x

Two days. Two moments I won’t forget.

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Another day, another lavender field

After a very lazy morning this morning we met up with friends at another local lavender field this afternoon.

Mayfield Lavender is a family run lavender farm about 10 minutes from our house. It is free to visit and you can walk through the lavender, soaking up the amazing smell and view. There is a shop and cafe, where you can relax with an ice cream or purchase lavender products, gifts and plants.

Today we walked round the fields, well actually the adults walked round the fields while the kids ran, wrestled and chased each other round! They hid amongst the plants, spotted bees by the hundreds, saw many different butterflies, played Fruit Salad and Duck, Duck, Goose and had a wonderful time.

It is a lovely place to visit and we will definitely be going back soon.

Mayfield Lavender

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Lavender Picking

This weekend was our local lavender harvest fair. We went for the first time last year and really enjoyed it so we were keen to go back this year.

We arranged to meet our friends from Caterpillar Tales there but we were so late with everything this morning that we ended up arriving just as they were leaving! We chatted for a few minutes and they invited us over to their house once we had finished instead.

We collected out bucket and scissors from the Carshalton Lavender stall, and found a good spot in the field to start cutting our lavender.Lavender HarvestWe had been there about 20 minutes and collected about a handful in the bucket when all of a sudden Ben was crying and holding his hand. There was a lot of blood and he had obviously cut himself with the scissors. We rushed him to the first aid area and they did a great job of bandaging him up and keeping him calm. At this point we hadn’t managed to stop it bleeding so really thought we were going to have to take him to A&E to get it seen to.

Gordon went to pay for the lavender we had harvested and the lovely ladies who did the bandaging gave all 3 kids a lavender cake for being so good! We kept Ben’s hand elevated and walked back to the car.

Ben had calmed down quite a lot by this point so, knowing how busy A&E could be on a hot Sunday afternoon, we decided to go to Caterpillar Tales house as they only live 2 minutes away from the fields, and have a better look at the damage Ben had done. If it was still bleeding we would leave Jasmine and Thomas there and take Ben to A&E, but if not we would clean it and dress it again ourselves, knowing Caterpillar Tales would have a fully stocked First Aid box!

Thankfully, it had stopped bleeding. Once we’d cleaned it up a bit It didn’t look as bad as I had feared either. It is a bad cut, but not quite as big as I first thought, so we bandaged it up again and he went out and played happily with his friends for the afternoon. Poorly FingerWe enjoyed a lovely afternoon with our friends and Ben was only slightly disappointed that he couldn’t play in the water! He did play in the sand pit though so when we got home we changed the bandage for the third time and the cut looked much better still. I think as it is such a clean cut it will heal very quickly. Fingers crossed anyway!

I still don’t really know how he managed to cut himself. He uses scissors regularly at home and has never come close to doing this sort of damage! He did tell me just before he went to bed that he was “being silly and the scissors snipped me” so maybe it wasn’t quite as accidental as it could have been.

I guess sometimes they just have to learn the hard way don’t they, especially as a headstrong 3 year old! I don’t suppose he will do it again in a hurry!




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A picnic and fruit picking

Yesterday we spent a lovely day at Claremont Landscape Gardens and Garsons PYO Farm.

We started off at Claremont, arriving at lunch time and enjoying a delicious picnic in the shade by the lake.

Once everyone had eaten we set off round the lake to discover and explore. The kids and Gordon walked up the hill, all the way to the top, and ran back down again! Then we headed over to the woodland, explored a ditch, hunted for grasshoppers and found a cherry tree with some delicious cherries growing on it that Gordon and Ben enjoying tasting!Claremont 1As were walked round the grassy area and woodland we counted butterflies and recorded our results with the Big Butterfly Count. We saw lots of Ringlets and Small Whites and a Gatekeeper.

We continued round the lake, watching the fish jump out of the water to catch flies and the dragonflies zipping around. At one point we stopped to watch a dragonfly flying around the edge of the water and Jasmine noticed a Southern Hawker Dragonfly laying eggs in the bank right below where we were standing! We watched  it for quite a long time, having never been that close to a dragonfly before we were all amazed by how big it was!Southern Hawker DragonflyWe walked round the lake and back to the car park, and then drove the 5 minutes to Garsons Farm.

We have only been to Garsons once so far this year, for the asparagus picking, so there was lots we wanted to get today! We started with gooseberries and raspberries then went to the redcurrant field. Next was carrots, peas, mange tout and finally cucumber.Garsons PYOWhile the kids do enjoy picking the fruit and vegetables, they also enjoy taste testing what they can! I don’t mind them eating a few, however I try and make sure most of what they pick goes into the punnets!

It was so late by the time we’d finished at the farm that we decided to eat out at Pizza Hut, the kids favourite! After dinner of pizza and ice cream we went home, well past the kids normal bedtime but well worth the late night as we’d had such a lovely day.

Once all 3 kids were tucked up and asleep, Gordon and I started the long process of removing the redcurrants from the stems, ready for me to make jam today.

And that is where I must go now, The fruit was stewed and the juice strained over night. Now to begin my first jam of the year.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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The Village Fair

On our last full day in Sheffield, on Saturday, we went to the annual fair held in my mum and dads village.

The Stannington Carnival has been running for as long as I can remember (and it is a while since I lived there now!) but has got much bigger over the years. It is held in the village hall and 2 big fields full of stalls, games and rides.

When we arrived we wandered round the first field and the kids spotted the “Win a prize every time” hook a duck and fishing games so they had a go on each of these and won themselves some prizes. In the second field we stopped at the Sheffield Fire and Police Museum stand and had a look round some fire engines and a police car.Carnival 1When we were ready to move on to something else I think Thomas got distracted with one last look at the fire engine, but he didn’t tell us. As we walked round the corner I suddenly realised he wasn’t following us and we couldn’t see him. We had a very scary few minutes searching round for him. Gordon looked round the fire engines again, I looked round the neighbouring stalls but for a few minutes we had no idea where he was. Luckily the volunteers who run the fair are wonderful and had seen him and spoken to him, and we spotted him as he was being taken to the Lost Children tent. I’m not sure who was more scared, me and Gordon or Thomas. It was a horrible few minutes, but at least that was all it was and we found him quickly!

Once we were all back together we stopped and got everyone a drink while we recovered!

Jasmine then spotted a large bouncy castle slide and her and Ben asked to go on. Thomas thought he might have a go as well so I paid for all three, but he changed his mind so Jasmine and Ben got a couple of extra go’s each! Despite the look of terror on Ben’s face on the photographs they both loved it!Carnival 2After several turns on the slide we walked over to the classic cars and had a quick look around them before going to get an ice cream for everyone.Carnival 3Next to the ice cream van, the Punch and Judy show was about to start so we stayed to watch that for a bit. Just before it started there were some circus type toys for the kids to play with and Thomas and Jasmine both had a go on some bucket stilts. They were pretty good on them!Carnival 4It was boiling hot on Saturday and after about 20 minutes of the Punch and Judy show we were just too hot so decided to walk back and do one last “prize every time” game before going back to my mum’s house loaded with plastic toy prizes!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Fun at Magna Science Adventure Centre

Today we went to Magna Science Adventure Centre. We went for the first time in January (you can read about it here) and the entry ticket is valid for a year, so being back in Sheffield again the kids were keen to go.

When we got there we were told about the new exhibition, all about sound. We went to look round this first and had fun making different sounds with different instruments.Magna 1After the sound exhibition we went into the main centre and went into the Earth Pavilion. The kids had been talking about this for days and were really looking forward to using the diggers and blasting the rocks again! We spent a good 45 minutes working in the quarry!Magna 2After a picnic lunch outside, we went back in and had a look round the Water pavilion. This had changed slightly since we were there in January and they now have a water cycle display, which I thought was really good but I don’t think the kids even looked at! The kids had a great time playing in the water.Magna 3After indoor water play we headed outside to Aqua-Tek and Sci-Tek. These outdoor areas were closed in January so we had left plenty of time for the kids to play today.

Thomas went straight into Aqua-Tek and had a wonderful time splashing, running and jumping through the water and spraying water cannons. Ben went in for a few minutes but he had spotted a sand pit in Sci-Tek, so this is where he wanted to be! Jasmine didn’t want to get wet today so she played in the sand as well. Ben also explored some of the climbing frames and slides.Magna 4When Thomas had finished in Aqua-Tek we all went further down the playground in Sci-Tek and found more to explore. Even Gordon had a go at some of the climbing!Magna 5We had a great day at Magna again today, and especially liked the outdoors areas. I can see it becoming a regular place to visit when we are in Sheffield!

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In Photographs

We have had a really quiet day today and don’t seem to have done much. I mean, we’ve been busy all day, but just with”stuff”.

I took Ben to toddler group this morning and Gordon cleaned the rabbit hutch with a little help from Thomas and Jasmine, the kids played in the garden, Gordon and I sorted some stuff out, we played with the rabbits.

So because I can’t think of much to say here are some photographs I took.25th June Collage 1 25th June Collage 2 25th June Collage 3

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Saturday Stuff

After losing the plot a bit yesterday my aim for today was for it to be relaxed, easy and stress free.

I took Jasmine to gymnastics this morning and Gordon stayed home with the boys. When we got back they had been busy building a train track.Train Play They haven’t played with the trains and track recently. I always find toys go in cycles and usually a stressful day signals a change is needed. As yesterday was a stressful day, it was nice to see a change in toy choice!

They played really nicely with the trains and track for the rest of the morning while I got on with some laundry and other stuff.

After lunch I suddenly remembered there was a local church fair on today that I had planned on going to. It was at the church that Caterpillar Tales attend and is a really good event.

We got there some time around 1.45pm I think and, of course, went straight to the toy stall! I was determined not to get anything too big or too random, but as usual I failed because I find it so hard to say no to both the kids and a good bargain! Ben and Thomas got some perfect stuff for them. Ben chose a toy landrover and a dumper truck and Thomas got a selection of modelling kits (make a plaster of paris ant hill, some meccano and a Science Museum kit). Jasmine spotted a ride on toy that she has wanted for a very very long time; a Wheelybug. Several of our friends have one of these and it is always her toy of choice at their houses so I knew she’d want it. I asked how much it was (secretly hoping it would be too much!) but it was only £2.00! So she is now the very proud owner of a tiger Wheelybug!Church Fair PurchasesJasmine and Ben also got a soft toy each. Jasmine got a tiny cat and Ben found a really cute rabbit, who he promptly named Chocolate!

After toys, we went and got a cake and a drink each, had a go on various tombolas and lucky dips where we won far too many sweets and a good selection of books, had a glass of freshly pressed lemonade and came home.

The rest of the afternoon was spent building with the Science Museum kit and the meccano, and riding around on a Wheelybug!


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A hard day

Today has been hard. It has been one of those days where nothing seems to have gone right. Each individual thing by itself wouldn’t have been too bad but when they all combined I found myself struggling.

This morning I felt a migraine starting. For years I have suffered on and off with headaches and while I don’t get them very often any more, when I do they can be terrible. So I took some Migraleve and sat down for a few minutes while the kids played upstairs.

I thought they were playing with the Lego and I could hear noise so I didn’t go and check on them as usually noise indicates playing and it is silence you have to worry about! After about half an hour I went to tell them I was starting lunch and was completely shocked at what I found. Every single book from the shelves was on the floor, along with Lego, cars and every other toy that lives in the bedroom. Now, I don’t mind a bit of mess and am quite used to several boxes of toys being emptied out and strewn around the house, but the fact that they had thrown all the books on the floor as well really did disappoint and upset me. I was actually lost for words and it took me a few seconds to take it all in!

Initially I told the kids that they would have to tidy it up after Forest School but when I had got them all downstairs and gone back to have a proper look I got so cross that I took every book and toy that was on the floor and removed it from the room. I then told the kids that they wouldn’t be getting any of their things back for at least 2 days and then they had to earn it back with good behaviour and good listening. I have no idea how to actually implement this and, to be honest, we have nowhere to store the books while they are earning them back so really I imagine they’ll be back in the kids room much sooner than I would like! But hopefully even two or three days with no bedtime story will get the message across.

I think they realised how cross and upset I was because when it was time to get ready for Forest School they managed it in record time, with no nagging and repeated instructions from me at all! The journey there was quite quiet too, which was much needed and did help me calm down a little.

Whilst Thomas and Jasmine were at Forest School, Ben and I went to Richmond Park as usual. Ben wanted to go and see the rabbits again so we bought a cake from the refreshment stand and went to find the big tree and watch the rabbits with our snack. It was lovely and was the best part of the day by far.

After picking Thomas and Jasmine up from Forest School we drove home and again the car was really quiet, so I was hopeful for an improvement in the day once we got home.

Things always happen in 3’s though don’t they!

Earlier in the day I had sent a payment for an activity day we had booked in to and confirmed it had been sent. Unfortunately it seems the payment needed to be seen in the receiving bank account today and my bank doesn’t send payments quick enough, so despite me confirming I had sent the money, when we got back home I had a message to say our places had been given to someone else because I may not in fact have sent the money. First I got cross because I had indeed sent the money, but when I thought about it rationally and remembered that actually some people might not be so honest, I was just really disappointed because we had been so looking forward to taking part.

On a normal day I probably wouldn’t have let the disappointment get to me quite so much but today this was the final straw.

So when Thomas growled at me during dinner because I asked for him to sit down and eat with his fork not his fingers, I shouted. And when he moaned later on because he couldn’t find his pyjamas, I shouted. And when Ben got into a paddy because he couldn’t find the right toy to take to bed, I shouted.

I am only human and sometimes I have quite simply had enough. Today, at the end of a hard day, at the end of a hard week, I had had enough.

But then something lovely happened. I posted on facebook, asking for advice on a certain child’s behaviour and some lovely people replied.

And another lovely friend made another wonderful offer on twitter.

And friends and family sent me messages asking if I was OK, and reminded me that sometimes it is OK to have a bad day.

Because tomorrow is a new day. And tomorrow will be better.

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