March 2016

It is August. My laptop broke. My life is crazy busy. I stopped blogging. So I am going to do a blog for each month, and then maybe add photos, and then maybe…

SO In March I had some holiday and we went to Rome! We had a really great time. we had an airbnb apartment close to the circus maximus.

whilst we were there we went [as you do] to the forum and palatine on the first day. we could walk there and had a good walk around. my idea of heaven looking around classical antiquities! So we walked, read, looked, spotted, discussed and then for a while, if you were a tired hungry BB, grumped and played on mummy’s phone. After that we went up to the palatine, tho we had less time up there. great views from the balcony and had to distract SB from trying to pick the oranges. We did think a café somewhere in the grounds would have been an excellent idea as we were in there so long we were well and truly peckish as we rushed out at closing time. luckily there is a supermarket on the way back to the apartment and we can start with our Italian dinners!

The following day we went to the coliseum. scorching weather, hhuge queues, but we had bought a pass from the forum, so we bypassed all of that :) . just stunning really -though you have to take the opportunity of the gaps between groups. SB and I partic enjoyed it, and I think it was partic good for her as she had done the class civ gcse last year and knew the story. I had misinterpreted the distance to the trevi fountain tho, as that is were we walked to. stopped on the way for gelato tho – as you do! delish. Also a tourist shop for selected souvenirs. BB underwhelmed by the trevi, and feeling overwlaked. tho she did throw in a euro for granddad. She really really did not enjoy the tube back, as some kids tried to pickpocket and then a lady shrieked at us for the rest of the journey in Italian. BB wouldn’t go on the tube again!

BB wasnt v well the next day, and tho we all walked to the market on the island, she and I soon walked back after she had made a purchase. SB and DH shopped for longer and SB bought me a beautiful heart necklace. the rest of the time we played games, and since the apartment had wifi, worked out how to get the Netflix on dh hudl to pass through the tv screen. so a bit of a chill morning!  we eall then walkd into the centre of rome to the campidoglio SB and I wandred around together and let BB whiz around with DH. SB took some really good photos.

BB not quite right, but SB and I desperate to see Ostia Antica – interesting in its own right, and we had read all the flavia gemina books! I managed to ask  the station for a return ticket – so was impressed with that! Easy train journey and we were there. Just fab, everything you could hope for! half deserted, mixture of buildings, mosaics, time to wander and dream, and a café! where I again managed to dredge up some Italian! they also have nice toilets – important for BB. TBH prob my fav day of visiting.

for the final day we went to the Vatican. the museum has an excellent trail for kids. we went round the whole thing. the girls laughed at me being so excited by the Abyssinian relicts! TBH, although I had been before I think I hadn’t noticed all the wonderful things in the museum. we nodded to st peters, and didn’t go in. bb and I then got a taxi [!] back to the apartment as she refused the tram, train or walk options and wasn’t quite well, and DH and SB went to Spanish steps – in scaffolding, and then to the Parthenon, which I would have liked. so a great holiday and went home wanting more . bb said rome was like her uncleland – so high praise!

we visited my parents before we went to rome, always good. also SB had a ballet audition for a production. she hadn’t had any ballet lessons since her grade 6 [merit] and looked good and enjoyed it, even if she didn’t get a part [there were loads and loads of dancers!]

exam prep carried on – weds4ed with lots of chemistry and maths, and lots and lots of English practice and past papers.

oh, I applied for a part time secondment post. work has always been a bit of a stress management wise, so thought should do something a bit different!

the real work starts here!

so, since SB is back from SPain, she needs to start her exam prep. originally the plan was to do english, maths, chem, physics and spanish igcse this summer. we dropped physics due to the spanish trip, and we have now dropped spanish as she has come home. so that leaves 3! therefore her home ed is rather predictable – chem, english anad maths!!! with some music, lots of air cadets and some game playing.

she did get an early birthday present of a rauchspfeife – which i hope she continues to enjoy! and obviously that means she has also had a birthday and is now 15 [eek! how do kids grow so quickly] , visited one of her favourite friends in yorkshire for the weekend as she is a confident traveller on trains, and got a merit in her grade 6 ballet – woot woot.


BB has been continuing on with doing her 5 a day. she is getting going again with piano, galore park junior history is proving a hit, she finished her collins primary  book 2′s and is finding the 3′s a bit of a leap forwards, so we are looking for something in the interim to get her accross the leap. she has been playing more board games and we are both addicts of tv antiques programmes.


so that is our basic warp and weft for the last month!

hmmm goodbye spain

It wasnt all quite how SB needed it to be in Spain, so following some difficult moments, and lots of decision time, she came home. It was brave to go, and perhaps braver to decide to cut things short. welcome home SB!



I have no idea how spd is going to manage to finish making her kirtle skirt now tho! i did say she should just let me make the lot!

SB has been invited to Spain for some of the summer holiday, and SPD is hoping to come accross to do Kentwell in the summer.

beating the january blues!

I am not a big fan of January! christmas is over, it is often dull, grey and rainy, and it seems a long way away from Spring. So most years we have had a centerparcs holiday in spring, and this was no exception :)

first, tho, BB and I made a quick weekend visit to my parents, also feeling a bit post Xmas blueness. we had a lovely time, played lots of games and BB managed to come out ahead on buying an ex window display schleich plane with 75% off – result! goes with her safari animals :) . it snowed, which was fab


pretty much as soon as we came back, we were off to centerparcs! always wonderful. i wasnt as active this time :( as unfortunately i had some rotten chest infection after flue, so was struggling to breathe a lot of the time! however, fab friends, lots of laughter, and little B to play with in the lagoon, and I had a fab time. BB enjoyed it a lot, having J and R there were perfect companions. we played lots of games, had a wonderful reinvigorating time. perfect people for a perfect holiday! thanks friends.




back to reality!

I have to say, that my reality for the month of january has, on the whole, been a great big amount of coughing! Particularly for the first couple of weeks anyway! For DH, it has been a start of DIY spring with finally replacing the kitchen sink :) and BB has been struggling to return to the routine of some regular stuff that could be considered home ed!

we are concentrating on progressing with maths and eniglish this term. in part, because we have been doing division for ages as bb seems to have a pathological aversion to times tables. we are using conquer maths and some workooks and repetitioni. for english we are still using the collins primary english series. apart from that, lots of crafts, fact books and programmes, lego and museums.


SB in Spain – week 2 – festival of Kings

Clearly there isnt going to be so many words about SB in Spain as her Spanish hosts are not internet savvy types so I’m not going to get any photo updates or words from them, so relying on the odd photo that SB or SPD might post up, and words in our 30 mins phone call!

SB and family were v excited about the festival of kings. This is another christmas with present giving and socialisation and laughter. We had packed a lot of English gifts for all the family members we could think of, and some general foods for those that we might not as a ‘family gift’ . We also got a jolly ‘xmas’ theme t-shirt for SPD’s dad. Apparently he liked it a lot! SB got some gifts in return that she was v happy with, and also they have a lucky dip type thing for all the cousins, leaving her with a vibrating banana!!

the procession was excellent, and SB put a few photos of that up for us to see.



On the Friday, following a bit of a kerfuffle with getting all the documentation required for the Spanish school, she started there. So there is a first day at school photo! Life should settle down a bit now, as there have been lots of late nights and late starts.


SB in Spain – week 1

SO SB and DH had to get up at a very ungodly hour to go to spain by plane. she had a set of new luggage for an xmas present to set her up nicely. all of the flight and travel went v straightforwardsly. there was a little bit of a crisis over picking up the hire car, but it was all sorted out, and the drove to burgos, where she will be stating during the exchange. I have to say, that with such a difficult year, we hadnt expected SB to go out to Spain, and had thought we might just do a one way hosting. However, having met SPD and her mother, SB thought that it would work out, and was very excited and happy to be going.


when they got there, they went straight out for a meal with SPD and mum, and then wandered around the city a little bit, viewing the sights and getting a feel for where SB will be staying.



SB hasnt lived in a city since she was 4, and we are pretty rural. So will be quite different living in an appartment quite different! the evening was spent chilling in the appartment. The enxt day they went to a museum of evolution with SPD’s dad, and with quite a bit on humans. i would have loved it! DH and SB did, and DH was quite tickled by seeing SPD mooched in museums as much with her parents!


so finally DH hugged SB goodbye and made his way home. Good Luck and have a lovely time in Spain SB.

New Year’s Eve

We had a fab new years eve and day. we went to our friends’ house TB, played lots of games, laughed a lot, ate well, and drank in moderation :) . We all missed SB, but were sure that she was happy in Spain, and celebrating new years eve over there with grapes. it was great sharing this time together. now our kids are older, with some now in school, always doing multiple events at weekends and evenings, we seem to have less of these relaxed meetings than in the past. must try and build in more socialisation into our lives!



rest of christmas – the at home crew!

we had a bit of a ‘home and away’ scenario come tuesday. i was back at work, mum and dad had agreed to stay with M and E until weds, as DH was taking SB off to Spain and her en famille exchange.

so having had a goodbye to SB, the others had a chilled day at home, playing with lego, on the wii, generally being laid back after xmas. On the wed, grandad took them ice skating [i was the driver!] it was pretty windy, but dad and i found a sheltered place to stand whilst we watched them skate crazilly. only e and bb, as m wasnt so keen on skating. a treat at the cafe later and we were back home. mum and dad, m and e went home in the afternoon leaving me and bb to snggle and watch films on tv until dad came back at about midnight.


christmas 2015

I love christmas and always look forward to it. it is a celebratiion of family love and conviviality, warmth and light in the depth of winter. As BB pointed out, our family is getting smaller :( . We have lost over time Little Nanny, my sister and the FIL. Since my BIL remarried, and his new wife behaved somewhat disatrously over losing a game causing them to flounce out 2 years ago, they now don’t come (tho BIL knows there is a standing invite), meaning my nephew and niece now only come on Boxing Day. SO this year, in part due to that, and in part because I was working Xmas day, we decided to have 2 christmas eve’s and then run christmas on the 26th :) .

so it was lovely welcoming my mum and dad on the weds. I insisted since I was working the thurs and fri that they werent allowed to do tidying etc, and after all the house isn’t *that* bad! and i wanted to play games, chat and drink the rhubarb and ginger gin liquer I had bought, so we did that :) . In the late afternoon, SB’s boyfriend came over for a couple of hours, and survived the grilling/gamesplaying/baking [he made sausage rolls] trial of fire! SB decorated the xmas cake she had made, and we generally laughed a lot! work finished early on thurs, so nice to come home, and MIL had arrived, so more games and conviviality.


friday ended up being a bit odd really. I havent had to work xmas day for a while, so it was my turn. however, a 12 hour xmas shift is rubbish, and it is made even worse when it isnt busy [though that is good really] so that for swathes of time i was just catching up with paperwork. I did get a free meal at work [woohoo!] . However, clearly when i got home all this had been too much for the family, and BB in particular was quite unhappy, dad had been moochy, and they all thought it had been weird. oh well! father christmas had visited and left fantastic things – including pens ;) , puzzles, books, smellies and chocolate :) . He is certainly getting more practical as the years go by, and less edible ;) . SB got a balloon animals kit, and clearly entertained the masses with that. the lego and puzzles got bb through a lot of the day. i felt quite guilty in the end that it hadnt been possible to delay xmas day so easily in reality. it did mean that they got to watch dr who, as i try for a no tv but carols rule :) however, when i returned from work, i was given loads of hugs and cuddles and we got the xmas eve spirit going ready for xmas day!



so we were back on track saturday for our xmas day of loveliness. we got up early enough, and started making inroads into the huge pile of presents under the tree! everyone seemed v happy with presents. mum and I laughed at having got each other nearly the same thing! i was v happy with all the gifts i received, and v happy that the people i bought gifts for seemed to be v happy with theirs too. before long m and e had joined us, and BIL stayed for xmas dinner, which was delicious as usual :) . By now the festive spirit had well and truly rejoined us. So we had a lovely christmas day, even if it was a day late! and i think lots of joy and happy memories made.


we carried on on the sun and mon in much the same vein. making merry, enjoying each others company. playing games, making lego etc and eating a great sufficiency of good food.

so thankyou to my lovely family for a christmas full of warmth and light to chase away the winter blues.