If I am honest I have spent a large proportion of 2014 sitting in front of my computer on facebook with hundreds of notifications from 38 team honk groups around the country. But on Sunday that changed. On Sunday we could finally see that the Team Honk Lands End to John O Groats relay we’d dreamt about for Sport Relief was going to happen. So I closed my laptop, picked up my new Hi-Tec Infinity trainers and I went for a run. It felt amazing. Continue reading
Seven year old Miss L was lucky enough to get a Leappad Ultra to try out this Christmas. I will admit I was dubious about them. Many people had said to me, just buy a tablet. But saying that I think there are problems with giving kids tablets too. I have friends who rave about the Leappad, particularly those who are less tech-savvy themselves. So if you are thinking about investing here are the pros and cons as I see them: Continue reading
I am 5…6…maybe 7 years old. I am wobbling down one side of the cul-de-sac on my second hand red bike. Dad is holding tight to the back, running along with me. I am calling out to him.
‘You’re doing it!’ he calls. I notice his voice sounds further and further away.
‘Noooooo!’ I call, ‘waghhhhhhh! you let go!’
But I keep pedalling and I realise… I am a cyclist!
It all seems simple in my memory. Learning to ride a bike. Hmmm, fast forward to 2014 Continue reading
So I am back at my desk after the Winter festivities and my inbox is full of emails, mainly of links to ideas from Mr A about the dream home we are going to build one day. We’re a way off being in the position to do it, but he reckons if we start dreaming up plans, maybe even starting a joint blog about our journey, then it will happen.
Much as I love the idea of the suggestions he sent me today – a secret room, a book den under the stairs and a hammock mezzanine – in my current draughty, rough round the edges, but much loved home, I would really just like a wood burning stove, as would Max the greyhound. Continue reading
We might be smiling, but we have no real idea what we are getting into at this point, except for a harness. When I suggested a day off without the kids at Go Ape, I was thinking it would be a great way to mark my new found freedoms, now they are both at school, as the day looms I am less sure.
Our Go Ape instructor at Sherwood Pines, Nottingham is John, he is brilliant, he’s a TV stunt man. He tells us about his work, on Casualty, The Bill, Inspector Morse to name a few. Part of a stunt man’s job is to test whether stunts can be performed by actors and what safety gear is needed, so we immediately feel like we are in really safe hands. John’s also very at home in nature and really helps us to distract us from our fears so we can appreciate our time in the forest.
Once you are in the trees, you have the routine of clipping and unclipping your safety cables to keep you grounded in the now and stop your mind worrying.
Once you learn to trust the harness to hold you, you can relax and enjoy. Mr A is heading for the bit where you jump off and rope swing into a net.
The course really helps to build your confidence. We really look forward to the zip wire at the end of each of the six sections, some of them are really long and the feeling of whizzing through the forest is amazing. Here comes Tarzan.
Mr A is less keen than me on heights, but he is quicker to pick up how the course works and takes it all massively in his stride. He gets to go first on the adrenalin junkie bit, jumping from the apple picking tower, the second highest point in the course, on a rope swing. Except this time there is a bit of a drop before your harness registers, so it feels a lot like you are free falling. Like when squirrels do this:
I clip myself to the rope swing and call down to John to give me my instructions without even looking down. It is scary, but also a huge adrenalin rush as you hit the net.
With that out the way, we’re feeling quite euphoric, it is back to enjoying our time in the forest, John convinces me to try the tightrope hands free, just for a little bit. I really enjoy swinging through the trees, it is a really liberating feeling.
You can see the satisfaction at completing the course right there in our faces!
Then it is off to the pub for lunch before school pick up.
Rate the date
Mr A said: I give it an 7.5/10 – She definitely took me out of my comfort zone or this would have been higher, we got on well and I hope to see her again, though this time it’ll be my turn to choose where we go!
Mrs A said: I give it an 9 out of 10. It was great to have a date that took us into the outdoors and to face a new challenge. He was brave, if he was out of his comfort zone he hid it well. I just hope he doesn’t expect me to do anything too scary for the next date, I’m worried John gave him some ideas.
Disclosure – the tickets were a gift for writing a post about Go Ape earlier this year.
This isn’t an easy post to pitch, so I will probably make a lot of crap jokes. A couple of experiences over the last week made me realise how hard single parents work, and how -even though I am often found complaining about my other half’s belief in some kind of Christmas fairy – at Christmas that load gets so much bigger.
My good friend Natalie and her gorgeous son went to the National Theatre’s The Shed to review the Elephantom, for A Residence last week. It is one of our all time favourite kid’s books, and just looking at the photos I want to be there!
Natalie is a drama teacher who I had the pleasure of working with in my teaching days. Isn’t her youngest gorgeous (below), looks like he was loving the South Bank. Find out how they got on… Continue reading
Do you think much about your Christmas photos? Over Christmas we take lots of pictures indoors, there is the least amount of daylight in the whole year and we’re all a bit preoccupied with other things: hardly a recipe for great photos. I have lots of pretty rubbish shots from over the years.
The ones above were taken two years ago, I was really pleased, much better than last year, but it took me until this week to click why. Continue reading
I really got the travel bug this year. Now my kids are older, but while Christmas is still full of magic, here are six places I would love to travel to as a family at Christmas. Don’t forget to leave room in your suitcase for all the amazing present buying opportunities. Continue reading
Laura Ashley sent me a gorgeous tartan cranberry throw and challenged me and 15 other bloggers to come up with a use for it. You can see the results over on the Laura Ashley blog. Having spent my previous career teaching fun drama improvisation games like ‘what can we pretend this stick is?’ I was very up for the challenge.
The Tartan rug looks fab on our black sofa and is big enough for all four of us to snuggle under. It transforms the sofa into a cosy den to snuggle and watch a film. But that is too obvious.
Aha, did someone say den… the classic use for a throw. My kids are driving me crackers, and not the Christmas kind. Endoftermitis has struck, they so needed to break up last week (god forbid I need them at school to get stuff done). The struggle to get them to and from school is killing me. I am counting down the days.
So with four whole days left to survive, I surprised them with this Christmas den. The perfect place for them to be
out of my hair hang out after school. I even made it Christmassy.
Do you know what, it only took me 10 minutes to put together and it made them really happy and calm. I’m feeling all warm and festive now.
So, I lied a bit in the title, I don’t have 101 uses yet, so perhaps we can pass the throw on and play ‘what would you do with a Tartan throw?’ But I bet you are dying to know what the other 15 bloggers involved did with their throws, check this out!
Post in colloboration with Laura Ashley
I am feeling a little bit mouton enrage today, (French for someone who loses their temper, literally an ‘enraged sheep’. Too much to do, overtired kids, and not enough time. The language course provider Rosetta Stone sent me these crackers and I haven’t even had chance to make them because this time of year is bonkers.
If you are fed up of jokes in Christmas crackers, and fancy livening up Christmas dinner then take a look at Rosetta Stone’s alternative cracker inserts, ten cut out unusual words picked from languages around the globe.
The dog woke me for some silly reason at 5.30 and as we wandered though the dark house to see if he needed a wee in the back garden, (he didn’t), I had a distinct feeling of Hira Hira. Japanese for the feeling you have when you walk into a dark and decrepit old house in the middle of the night. I feel like stuff is caving in on me, the Christmas tree was the final straw, the house is overflowing.
I’ve lost my Yupinalle too, or the kids have hidden it down the sofa. Swedish for mobile phone, literally, yuppy teddy, like a security blanket.
Anyway, only 3 days of school left and then I hope we will have the time and energy to make these lovely crackers.
I love the word Tartle, I do it alot. It is Scottish for hesitating when you are introducing someone whose name you can’t remember. Only the Welsh could have a moment for the sound the grandfather clock makes before it chimes, and what a beautiful word it is too, Gwarlingo. I imagine there will be lots of Poronkusemas on Christmas Eve, Finnish for the exact distance a reindeer can travel without a comfort break.
Anyway my point is, language, it is beautiful and it makes a fabulous gift. Rosetta Stone offer language courses on CD Rom and online. The software is interactive and can be downloaded on two different computers for use by up to five people, making it easy for a couple, or family to follow a language course together.
I have been threatening to learn Italian for sometime. Rosetta Stone kindly sent me a six month trial of their Italian language course, so next time we go to Italy I can do more than order coffee and pizza, badly.
Here is the pdf of the cracker inserts in case you fancy livening up the conversation over Christmas.
If like me you were wondering why Rosetta Stone…
The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptianhieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek. Because it presents essentially the same text in all three scripts (with some minor differences among them), it provided the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Post in collaboration with Rosetta Stone.