My Sunday Photo

DD3 turned 11 last week.

This giant Gummi Bear, weighing over two kilograms, was the only thing on her wish list we could afford. The girl has has very expensive technological tastes.

She’s eaten the feet and head already but the torso is residing in the only tupperware container in the house big enough for it. Every day she takes it out and has a chew on it.

Yes it’s disgusting, but it’s one of those presents that she’ll remember for the rest of her life. And so will we, for different reasons!

It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime gift.

Sunday photo


My Sunday Photo

DS turned 9 this week and so we had the annual hunt for a suitable birthday party.

Can I just say, I can’t believe my youngest is now 9? That means next year he’s 10- a tweenager!

It’s a PITA having a child born soon after Christmas. If you aren’t super organised, and I’m not, then trying to get together contact details for the children your child wants to invite to their party can be a nightmare.

And I’m always worn out after the festive season . The thought of organising anything vaguely celebratory once December the 25th has come and gone strikes horror deep into my soul. I needed a party idea where I had to do as little as possible,and after asking around someone suggested I look into hiring a Gamewagon.

A Gamewagon is basically a bus that is fitted out with video game consoles and screens, so your children get to play games of their choice with their friends for 90 minutes. Best of all they do this on the bus, OUT OF YOUR HOUSE, and under the watchful eye of a Game Experience Manager who makes sure no one gets left out or upset. It is an inspired concept.

We managed to scrape a list of avaliable friends together and thanks to the wonders of modern technology (aka WhatsApp), I was able to send out last minute electronic invites. And almost everyone came!

Here they are, lining up and ready to be entertained. I know the bus doesn’t actually look that big, but there was plenty of room for 13 8 and 9 year olds and two full grown men. The house was quiet for a full 90 minutes and they were not excessively hyped when they come in for lunch.


It was far and away the easiest birthday party I’ve ever organised, so I’d have to recommend it to the parents of any child who enjoys playing video games.

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

Astro slide Knebworth
We’ve just had the last week of our summer break and the weather has been lovely. After our washout of a summer holiday in Ireland, we had to make the most of it so got out and about as much as possible.

One of the places we visited was Knebworth House. We’d never been there before despite it only being 40ish minutes from home. It could do with a lick of paint but though it was a bit young for the 14 and 13 year olds, the 8 and 10 year olds had a great time on the slides and adventure playgrounds. Be aware there are some height restrictions on the slides, but DS is the shortest of us at 133cm and he could go on everything.

We got an icecream, which was reasonably priced and the younger two got a bit wet playing under the water feature, but dried off pretty quickly afterwards.

Then we drove up to the house and gardens (observing the 10mph speed limit so the kids could hatch a couple of Pokemon eggs) and had a stroll around the gardens and maze. DS liked the dinosaurs, DD3 liked climbing the hills and rolling down and the teens tore themselves away from their phones long enough to appreciate beauty of the house itself.

Knebworth House
So, in short, it’s a nice place to visit especially if your kids are 10 and under. There seemed to be plenty of things for under 8s to do as well.

There weren’t too many wasps, I didn’t feel like we had been ripped off by the entry price and it was much more fun than school shoe shopping.

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

More new car photos! I am learning to love our Seat Alhambra.

Firstly, the dogs have finally learnt to jump in the back instead of being allowed to ride on the second row of  seats as they were in the old car.

For the first few days I had to actually had to physically wrangle them into the back, which wasn’t easy as they are both Labrador sized. I was very relieved when they started jumping in on their own.

The one on the left is particularly unimpressed as he doesn’t like the way the boot closes automatically but he’s worked out that car= walkies so he puts up with it and just makes faces.

dogs alhambra
Secondly, the fun bit about getting a new car is finding out what all the bells and whistles do.

This car has heated front seats which will be lovely come winter and it’s useful to know exactly how long I can leave it before having to find a petrol diesel station.

But the best thing so far are the little symbols that tell me whether the kids have put their seat belts on or not.

They haven’t worked out how I always seem to  know yet…

Alhambra seatbelts

Sunday photo

My Sunday Photo

My eldest girls did Brownies, then moved onto Guides and both still attend now. They are 12 and 14 and DD1 is about to move on to the Senior Section.

DD3 did the Brownies thing too, but then she and a friend wanted to join cubs as well.  Now they are both 10, in the next month or so they are going to start the move to Scouts.

Part of the reason DD3 wanted to go to Scouts is because they do real camping in tents their parents they put up themselves. The Brownie and Guide groups around here tend to do indoor camps where the girls stay in dorms or perhaps already-erected tipis.

DD’s kit listed included ‘up to two soft toys’ to make bedtime easier. These are the two that DDs chose, AND I had to evict a 4 foot snake and 3 ft teddy from the black bag under the sleep mat.

She wouldn’t give up the wolf or the lion though and we drove them out to the campgrounds and lugged them across the fields to the site. I was expecting Akela to say no, but the other girl DD3 was sharing with didn’t mind, so the soft toys got to stay the weekend.

Next time I think Akela may be adding dimensions to the kit list.

Cuddly toys for cub camp

Sunday photo

Things That No One Else In This House Ever Seems To Do

There are six people in this house. Me and five others. So I refuse to do everything, just because I’m not working full time out of the house.

Don’t get me wrong.  Other members of the family do do stuff. They wash, cook, feed and clean out animals and usually keep their rooms tidy.

DH does his fair share considering he works long hours and the kids do stuff when asked. Usually. This is not a rant about anyone specifically.

But there are some things that no one else in this damn house ever seems to see, or do anything about, unless I get on their case.

These are, in no particular order:

1/ The post. Our mail slot is in our front door so any mail just ends up in the hall way. No matter how many people get into the house before me, it gets left there. Sometimes when I finally pick it up, it has footprints on it.

2/Sofa cushions. The kids always throw our sofa cushions on the floor rather than just moving them to the other end or sitting on them. And it seems they would rather step over or on them than pick them up and put them back.

3/ The table. Apparently ‘Clean up after your tea’ does not mean ‘wipe the table free of crumbs and spilled ribena’ to my offspring.  Can I just say that no one in this house seems to know how to clean up ribena properly.

4/ Towels in general. Bath towels, hand towels, tea towels, it doesn’t matter. Apparently they dry just as well when left in a heap on the floor.

5/ Coats. Coats are for throwing in the direction of the coat rack or kitchen chair. Who cares if they end up on the floor?

6/ Rubbish.  This belongs in the bin, not on the table, the floors, the windowsills, the bookshelves or down the back of the sofa. And of course if I ask someone to sort this out, then they always say ‘It wasn’t me’. I ignore this and ask them to bin it anyway.

7/ Dirty socks.  Six pairs of feet can add up to a lot of abandoned socks. These get left where they are taken off. In the hall, on the sofa, on the bottom step, in the toilet!!! I want them ssafely delivered to the dirty washing basket or utility room. Is this unreasonable?

I am not a martyr, I do not suffer in silence.

I am forever asking people to sort these things out, but it’s like Groundhog day. The next time the post comes or there is a pile of towels on the floor, no one does anything about it unless I ask/tell them to.

I am determined that one day, someone will pick the damn sofa cushions off the floor without prompting.

And I can’t wait until the kids are old enough to have houses of their own to look after. I’m going to go and visit and drop my coat on the floor all the bloody time.

mail in hall

Eight Is Great.

Today DS, my youngest, has turned eight.

He was born just after 6am, so he’s the only one of my kids who wakes up on their birthday the age they are going to be. The girls were all born in the early evening.

DS arrived 4 days after his EDD and was the only non induced baby I had. Ironically, my waters broke at midnight as I lay in hospital waiting to be induced. I wanted an epidural, but there wasn’t time and I had to make do with diamorphine and gas and air. The midwife didn’t believe me when I said I wanted to push and DS was born in a such a rush that she had her back turned, and DH had to catch his son. Luckily he was standing in just the right place.

newborn boy
DS weighed 10lbs 13oz, so was the second biggest of my brood. You can see he had a very noticeable stork mark on his forehead when he was born. These are also known as salmon patches and all of my babies had one. They usually fade by the time the child is fours years old, but DS’s is still visible if he is emotional or active. Most of the time it’s completely invisible.

My baby has had a few issues. He had Verbal Dyspraxia and didn’t start speaking until he was three. He’s had a lot of speech therapy and most people can now understand most of what he says.

Now his speech delay has been dealt with, and he’s getting on well academically, it seems that he has some other issues. We’ve always known he has hypermobility  and hypotonia, but it looks he is also dyspraxic as well. He is terribly accident prone and is always losing and forgetting things. One of my priorities this year is to get him assessed and access any help available for him as I know from experience that these problems only get worse.

As he’s our only boy, there is always the temptation to point to various aspects of his personality and label them ‘boy things’. We try not to do this, but he is a lot more active than his sisters. He always seems to be rolling around, bouncing, climbing and or fidgeting with something. He likes lego and star wars and minecraft. He likes to kick or throw a ball around.

DS doesn’t have an easy life, having three older sisters. He is alternatively mothered and bullied, depending on who he is in the vicinity of and what kind of mood they are in. He’s very in touch with his emotions and likes music. At school he seems to prefer the company of girls, although he does hang around with boys too. He’s bright, but doesn’t like to apply himself too seriously. Homework is a huge issue.

I look at him now and can see that he is no longer a little boy. He’s getting taller and I get glimpses of the adult he is going to be. We have only a couple of years until he reaches double figures and we’ll be thinking about secondary schools.

These years go by so quickly. Happy Birthday to You.

8 years old