My Sunday Photo

This week DD3 was invested as a cub. She’s a bit old as she’s already turned 10, but her Brownies group closed down at the end of last year and one of her friends asked if she’d like to join her cub group so they could go on a camp together!

She’s been attending the group since Easter and enjoying it very much. Last week she made her ( non religious) promise and joined the group properly.  She also attends Guides with her sisters on a different night but come September she’ll have to decide which path to follow, Scouts or Guides, as both are on the same night.

I have to admit I am hoping she will choose Guides as I haven’t worked out how I will clone myself for pick ups yet!

As you can see, our dogs had to be in the photo too. F loves to smile for the camera!

F and L cub


My Sunday Photo

My Sunday Photo

Last week I shared a photo of one of our cats who gets possessive of anyone who sits on the sofa.

This week, I’d like to introduce you to his brother who allows the kids to hold him in all sorts of weird positions. Here he is being used as a phone rest by my eldest. He doesn’t  seem to mind at all

Phone rest cat

He also tries to follow the little two to school each morning, which scares me as we have to cross roads to get there. I would hate for either of the cats to get run over but I don’t feel we’d be being fair to keep them as indoor cats.

The local wildlife would probably rejoice if we did. For the first couple of years, these cats only brought in frogs but have since graduated to mice and birds. Along with the odd camellia.

Look. My cats bring me flowers!

Things cats bring in

My Sunday Photo

Knowing What You Want To Be

We are in the middle of GCSE-choice hell here.

DD1 is 14 and in year 9, and it seems so young to be having to choose subjects to specialise in.  It seems like such a big thing right now and a lot of the advice is along the lines of keeping your A level choices in mind!

This hasn’t helped. My daughter has only a vague idea of what she’d like to do ‘when she grows up’.  She tells me a lot of her friends are quite sure and I can tell she is getting anxious about not knowing, but surely it’s not unusual?

I can’t help because I always knew what I wanted to be. When I was four, I asked my mother if animals had doctors. It’s probably indicative of my family’s life style choices that I didn’t already know that vets existed , as we always had plenty of animals. But once I knew they were a thing, that’s what I decided I’d be. I never wavered from the idea, despite less than encouraging adults in my life, and eventually I did become a vet. Whether or not it’s a career choice compatible with family life is another debate for another day.

The point is that it’s hard to be closing doors on subjects if you don’t know if they will ever be useful to you.  DD’s school is very good at making sure all the girls get a well rounded education no matter what choices they make, so I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end but if you have a child who is 14 +, do they know what they want to do for a job?

How old were you when you decided? Or do you still not know?

career choices

My Sunday Photo

Our kids go to a large suburban primary school. It has over 800 pupils at the moment which means a whole crowd of parents dropping off kids in the morning and then picking up at the end of the day.

A lot of these parents drive, which means they also need to park. And sometimes they need to be more careful not to inconvenience residents and other vehicles as they park. There is always plenty of parking if you go a bit further from the school gate ,but sometimes they might have to park as far as 5 minutes away from the school and -gasp-walk!

Unfortunately not all parents think about other people. Some of them are only worried about  making sure their little darling’s legs don’t fall off.

Here is a good example of what happens when someone parks too close to the corner of our narrow suburban roads.  The highway code advises that you should not park closer than 10 metres to a junction or opposite one and this shows why.

There is a driveway on the corner of the left hand of this photo. The BMW is parked right up against that dropped curb, probably because there had been another car  behind them.

Along comes one of the school buses that had taken some of our children out for the day and it simply can’t get around the corner. It was stuck there for a good 10 minutes, with traffic backing up behind it.

Finally the car on the right moved and the bus driver could swing around  and head off, late for his next job. A stream of angry drivers followed him, also late for where ever they were going next.

Nobody ever saw the driver of the BMW,  so they probably went on their merry way oblivious to the chaos they had caused. Maybe next time they might come back to a damaged car.

Please think before you park!
bus stuck

Choosing GCSEs. Can You Help?

DD1 is 14 and in Y9 of school and it’s time for her to make some choices.

Those of you who have children in Y9 or above will know exactly what I’m talking about; she has to choose what subjects to do for her GCSEs.

And this year it’s especially difficult as the curriculum is changing and she will be doing the ‘new’ GCSEs. No seems to know exactly how these are going to work, or what they will entail yet. Just that they will require more exams and less internal assessment, and they will be much harder. This knowledge is not doing anything for DD’s anxiety.

One of the confusing things ( for me, at least) about GCSEs, is that different schools require their pupils to do different subjects. At our school, the kids have to do the core subjects- maths, English, science-but aren’t required to do the exam component of PE and RS. They do have to choose a humanity ( RS, classics, history or geography) and a language ( French, German, Spanish or Latin), and then they get two ‘free’ choices.

DD has decided to do RS as her humanity as she enjoys the philosophy component, and is pretty sure she will take Spanish as her language but is struggling with her two free choices. Our secondary school is academically inclined so the list of other subjects is possibly not as comprehensive as it is at other schools.

DD feels that part of her problem is that she doesn’t yet know what she wants to do ‘when she grows up’. She’s a bright girl with good work habits and could pretty much do anything she wanted to. She’s not especially drawn to maths or languages but gets good marks for all her subjects.

She likes kids and animals, and likes helping people. She’s good at science, but doesn’t want to do a science for an A level and is good at music, but doesn’t want to do it for GCSE. She thinks she could possibly teach, or become a therapist of some sort but she doesn’t know.  And I can’t help as I wanted to be a vet from the age 4, and had my sights set on that throughout my school career.

A lot of her friends know what they want to do already, and this adds to her sense of unease. But surely at 14, it’s not that unusual to not know what direction you are going to go in as an adult?

Do you have older children who were in the same situation? Maybe you didn’t know either? Has anyone got any advice for my worried daughter?

choose subjects for GCSE


My Sunday Photo

It’s a year ago today that we lost our lovely Lurcher, Willow. If you want to hear the full story, you can read about it here.

If you don’t have time, all you really need to know is it involved a fox, a van and specialist vet care that cost over £8K. After which she died anyhow.

We had some insurance, but not enough. At least we know we did everything we could for her.

A year on, I have dreaded the run up to this day but now it’s here, it’s not so bad.  We’ve looked at photos and told stories about her and earlier this week I spent some time making a little Lurcher feltie that is supposed to look like her.

The dog-shaped hole she left has been filled by a rescue dog who has fitted in to our family well, but of course there is never any filling the Willow-shaped hole.

We still miss her pointy nose, hairy butt and mad zoomies last thing at night.

I just can’t believe a whole year has passed since we last saw her.

Willow Feltie

My Sunday Photo

My Sunday Photo

Our garden is quite neglected in winter. Only the dogs use it, and this morning one of them decided a little renovation was in order.

One of the planters we had tomatoes in last year was the object of his efforts.

I think you will agree with me when I say his efforts were not consistent with basic garden winter maintenance.

Or maybe he’s trying to tell us something?

Farley Mess
My Sunday Photo

My Sunday Photo

View from Mondrian

This isn’t the best photo in the world, but it is the view DH and I had last weekend from a room in the Mondrian London.

Last Saturday night we actually managed to have our third child-free night away in over 14 years. Our two older daughters were away at winter camp with Guides, and my sister and her new husband kindly took the little two so we could have 24 blissful, child-free hours.

We drank too much and ate too much and slept in without one of us having to get out of bed and referee.

The hotel, the dinner ( Omino Steakhouse) and the late breakfast ( The Breakfast Club at Spittalfields) the next day were all fantastic. I’d recommend the hotel for the view alone.  I love a water view and kept having to look out the window to see what was going on. There always seemed to be a boat or two going past, except for in this photo, which was taken at dawn. Yes, I got up especially.

Of course, we probably won’t get away again for another 4.5 years. Actually, by that time our eldest  will be 18 and probably quite capable of looking after a 12 year old, a 14 year old and a 16 year old for a bit, don’t you think?

*hopeful face*

My Sunday Photo

I Have The Needle Felting Bug

I first ‘discovered’ needle felting through Instagram and Pinterest. I saw some photos of some really lifelike little woollen animals and found myself wondering how they had been made. Felt was mentioned in the description which confused me as I knew felt to be a type of material.

Felt mushroom 1

Soon after I saw a stall of needle felting at a local craft market and a couple of months after that, a lady came to my older two girls’ guide group and did a needle felt activity with them.

I turned the resulting gingerbread men over and over in my hands as I asked my daughters how they were made.

‘You get some wool and poke it with a needle’, I was told. I didn’t understand how it could work but I liked the shape and the feel of the ornaments and thought I’d like a have a go ‘sometime’.

I don’t consider myself a very creative person, although I do sometimes feel an urge to make things. A couple of years I had a brief flirtation with crochet, but it took too long for my liking ( DH calls me instant gratification woman) and I found it difficult to read the patterns.

Felt Tardis 1

When I was doing a wishlist on Amazon for my birthday in July, I found a Heidifeathers felting kit and impulsively popped it on my list. I had never mentioned that I wanted one to another living soul before, so it got ignored and I forgot all about it.

feltfox 1

But then it was still there when I revisited my wishlist for Christmas, and this time Santa took pity on me and I was given one on December the 25th.

Felt bear with cupcake

By Boxing Day, I had it open and with the help of the little booklet included, I had soon made my first model; a little robin ( below right). It wasn’t very good but once I’d finished, I had the general idea and had learnt not to poke small models too enthusiastically when you are holding them with your bare fingers.

felt robin1 and penguin1

Next came a little penguin ( above left), which wasn’t much better, but then I decided I didn’t really like following patterns so started to try and recreate things from Pinterest and photos.

Felt pengy2

Like most things in life, practice makes – well not perfect, but hopefully you can see I have improved a little.

Felt pengchick
There are a lot of very helpful How-To videos on YouTube, as well as some very friendly Facebook groups devoted to Needle Felting.

Little felt cupcake

This is a really satisfying and easy craft where you don’t need a lot of kit to get started, so if you’ve ever fancied trying your hand at a form of sculpture you should give it a go. Making something recognisable doesn’t take long and isn’t hard.

Felt Kiwi

The main problem is it is a bit addictive and my wool stash has now outgrown the original box the kit came in. And what do you do with the finished products?

felt black lab

The kids tend to claim their favourites and I give away as many as I can. I still have a bunch left over though, but it’s okay- I have a plan.

Wonky donkey 1

My aim now is to make a few things every week and try to sell them at our school’s summer fair.

Felt Owl
With any luck I might make enough to buy some more wool and needles and start all over again.

Felt poop emoji

Do you have a favourite?