Wednesday, 28 December 2011

London with little ones #1- Museum of London

Today we had a day out in London with some friends. Our plan was to visit the Museum of London and take part in the under 5's Christmas event. This we did but once completed we were a little lost as what to do next. Ideally we wanted somewhere for the kids to run off some energy! I'm sure there is a great book out there which locates all the best places to take children when visiting London but we didn't have it. Thankfully we remained positive and discovered some great things for children to do when in the Barbican area of London. Should you ever find yourself in a similar situation I hope you remember this blog post!!!

Having got off the train at Liverpool Street station we walked along London Wall Road to the Museum of London (it is just under 1 mile). The Museum of London is a great place to take children. If it doesn't have any special events on you can still pick up some children's worksheets and pencils at the information desk. Today we attended the 'Victorian Trinkett' event. This included a quick history of a Victorian Christmas, followed by making your own cornucopia for your Christmas tree and ending with an interactive story time.
We then had a quick trip round the museum followed by lunch in the cafe.

I knew we were on the edge of the Barbican Centre so thought perhaps we would find an outside, but enclosed place for the kids to run around but all we could find was the area outside the restaurant. This area was by the water and without any barriers from the waters edge we felt nervous letting the kids run free. However we did discover a Children's library. This would be a fantastic place to hang out on a rainy day and even though it was dry today we still had a little story time and explore of the library. The librarian then directed us to a near by park.

Fortune Street Park is an ideal place for some outdoor fun. It is a short (approx. 500m) distance north of the Barbican Centre. On the way is a Waitrose which is very useful when you have a child who needs a nappy change and a Mother without any nappies! And the park has the ever so important coffee shop with buy one get one free on croissants...the croissant deal was perhaps because the seller wanted to close up shop and may not always be available :).

When we had had enough of the park it was time to head back to Liverpool street and catch our train home.

As I put MJ to bed he said that he could stay up tonight as he did not have a busy day!!! Kids!!!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Feeling Christmassy!

This past week we have been busy getting into the spirit of Christmas.

It is fantastic to watch MJ discover and appreciate the Christmas story and his excitement is making me appreciate it anew. On Saturday we spent a long time looking at and talking about the 'Adoration of the shepherds' by Reni at the National Gallery, London.

We watched him take part in his school's nativity play. A very cute camel!

We have been making Christmas pudding truffles as a gift to MJ's teachers.

I have made my annual Christmas decoration. Although I may make a number of decorations each year, I try to take special time and attention with one so that it will last for years to come.

My knitting progresses to a Raglan style jumper for MJ.

And finally, I just had to include one of MJ's monster pictures. I do love kids drawings.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Winter woollies

I struggle with winter. I dislike the lack of light and the hot to cold and back again which happens all day as we move from inside to outside. Our conservatory becomes too cold to use (unless I am organised and pre heat it) which means I have no where to use my sewing machine. I crave chocolate even more and become disinterested in being active and creative. So, at the beginning of the year I was in 'embrace the seasons' mood and knowing that I can't do much sewing over winter I decided I would concentrate on learning to knit. When I say 'learn' to knit. I could already knit but I tended to stick to the basic which doesn't require a pattern. So the aim was to learn to knit following a pattern and therefore widen my knitting achievements.

First, I started with Kelly Hindrich's pattern, In threes. It is a great pattern. Easy to follow and gives rapid results. 


Then I decided it would be cute for Lj to wear a Christmas pudding hat. She loves her hats, which is just as well as she needs them alot these days! I couldn't find the pattern I needed so used Woolly Wormhead's Jester pattern to get me started. My first attempt was too small but it gave me a good template for the next attempt. 

Next, I feel MJ needs a winter woolly so am going to attempt a stripped jumper for him (another first!).

I really want to embrace winter and learn to enjoy this season. I find Soulemama really fact her blog was one that encouraged me to start blogging. She loves winter, so I'm going to try and tap into her energry and see what happens.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Sticker lady

I'm not sure I really need to say anything about these is fairly clear that my daughter has a slight obsession with stickers!!!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The boy who refused to have his face painted

  Until very recently MJ would always refuse to have his face painted. Then one day I thought perhaps if I bought a set he might allow me to paint his face. It turned out that he still refused until I offered that he paint mine. Since then, he can't seem to have enough of it and we are having a great time. I love painting him and he loves having it done. This week we were a monster, pudsey bear for his school charity day and a pirate. Who knows what he will want to be tomorrow, but I look forward to it already!!! LJ is unable to sit still long enough but we have managed a heart and butterfly on her hand!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

October recap

October was a busy month so this is really just a recap for my own memories sake!

Another Amelia Rose...another line of bunting.

and a baby girl card to send with the bunting!

The first of my Christmas cushions.

Farming fields for a farming crazy boy.

A dress for my neice who turns 1 just before Christmas.

The back of the dress!

We had a lovely half term trip to Chester and Liverpool. Staying with family, visiting friends, train ride to Liverpool and checking out Tate Liverpool, Liverpool museum and the docks.

Outside the new Museum of Liverpool.

Bird watching at the Rye Meads Reserve.

Filling our Operation Christmas Child boxes.

A visit to the National Space centre.

A card for twins, Michael and James.

October was a fun, fast paced month while November is turning out to be a slower, 'back to normal' (as MJ would say) kind of month!

Monday, 14 November 2011

War: who looses?

'A thousand splendid suns' by Khaled Hosseini is a fantastic book and one that I was unable to put down. It opened my eyes to the reality of life on the streets of Afghanistan and helped me understand a little of the wars the country has had to endure in the past 30 years. It's portrayal of the innocent victims of a war torn country was captivating but also heart breaking.

Friday was Armistice day and as my parents were visiting we decided to go along to the American War Memorial for the 11am rememberance service.We considered and remembered those who bravely found in battles only to loose their lives.

I am struggling with the way we celebrate the lives of soliders who go to war and those who loose their lives to war. Do we ever consider the millions who are simply living their day to day life when their world is turned upside down by war, their families are torn apart by war and they are left with devastation in every way. Even now as I type, parents and children are being separated, homes being destroyed and many many living in continual fear. Who are the real victims of war...those who choose to go and fight or those ordinary people who are in the worng place at the wrong time?

I wish I could eloquently articulate my thoughts but writing is not my strength so I suggest instead that you read this book!

Friday, 4 November 2011

A bargain filled month

I'm sure I have mentioned my local charity shop on here before. Our house is full of things we have purchased there and everything we no longer use finds itself there. Over the last few weeks we have found some interesting, useful and fun things to buy.

A 201k Singer...I watched a lady drop it off and knew that although I don't need another sewing machine I just couldn't pass it by. To my eye it is the most beautiful thing. This picture doesn't do it justice. Last night I read online a bit more about the 201k Singer and it turns out my £10 purchase was a huge bargain...not that I will ever want to sell it on.

6 metal Thomas and Friends engines... On a Friday when we pick MJ up from school he gets his pocket money and can choose to save it, spend it in the charity shop or in the sweet shop. His £1 pocket money went far in the charity shop today! The engines are very well worn but as M loves to paint warhammer models he is thinking of repainting them...I don't think MJ had noticed how worn they are!

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly rhyme book...This is a curious rhyme which always intrigued me as a child. I was delighted to find this book which is so beautifully illustrated. It turns out that MJ and Lj are also equally thrilled with this 25p purchase.

Large word cards...MJ is reading! I thought to help him along I would like word cards. I fondly remember my word tin from primary school...the tins were perfect for storing our words and were used again and again. I wonder what the tins originally held! I also wonder if this is where my love of storage boxes began! Before I ordered some word cards for MJ online I found this set which looked like it had never been opened. Now as he learns a new word we find it in the pack and stick it to his wardrobe door. It is so exciting to watch him learn to read.

And finally...a little girls buggy! I had planned to get Lj a baby buggy for Christmas but why spend £10 on a new one when we could spend £2, save on landfill and support a charity all at the same time...the only issue is I couldn't resist letting her have a play straight away and I'm not sure I have the heart to put it away til Christmas.

So would you agree...we live beside the best charity shop...ever!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Zara Marion

'Baby Zara' (as my children call her) has it was time to make another quilt. I kept this one plain and simple.

I think I'm improving with the freestyle is difficult to see here as I used a purple thread.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Lj and her bag

When out for a walk Lj loves to pick up acorns, cones, apples, stones or whatever her little chubby hands can carry. So for a long time I have been meaning to make her a little bag for her to store her treasures until she gets home. Yesterday when in town I almost bought her a little Cath Kidson bag. Indeed it was very cute but I'm not sure Lj would really have appreciated it. So I felt spurred on to make her one myself.

It was finished just in time for a walk in Hatfield forest.

Tonight as the kids were in the bath, I decided it needed a little embellishment. So some little felt flowers with a button in the centre were added.

MJ keeps remarking on how much he likes Lj's new bag, so perhaps I need to make him a slightly more manly one!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Kooky children

Lj- An explorer. Afraid of nothing. Has a love of bags, shoes, dress up and phones! I thought if I zipped my knitting bag up the yarn inside would be safe...apparently not!

MJ- I can't believe I considered keeping him at home to home school him! A child who wanted me to play with him all of the time, in a unfamiliar place would cling to my legs, wouldn't play dress up and didn't want to be taught numbers or letters has  become a different child since he has started school. Of course there will always be negatives involved, a bit more back chat, more toilet talk and more desire to play fighting games but in my eyes the good is out weighing the bad. He is so much more confident, he loves dress up, plays in his room on his own for long stretches and actually enjoys sharing his new phonics with me.