Saturday, 31 July 2010

Ye - ha!

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Miles' first riding lesson took place this week. The instructor was fabulous and really encouraged Miles to 'do' things as opposed to just sitting there. He was helping to use the reigns, placing his hands on his heads to develop his balance, trotting and more.
If you're looking for a riding school for your little ones and your round my neck of the woods then drop me a line - I highly recommend this place.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Sculpting/casting body parts

I think I have mentioned before that I liaise with a local community arts organisation to provide art workshops for local home ed children. Well, we had one such workshop this week and it was a blast! The theme was sculpture and body parts, having particular regard to Antony Gormley as we are very close to the Angel of the North sculpture.

We did a few things and learned lots of techniques with sand, clay and plaster, which I will get round to blogging about in time, but for now here are some of our clingfilm and sellotape body part casts.

First wrap clingfilm loosely around the body part to be cast. Here's Hermione doing Nana's foot.

Once your chosen body part is covered in clingfilm, then laugh and enjoy while your friends cover the area with a few layers of sellotape. Use smallish pieces and don't pull too tight.

Once done, cut down the cast on one side. You may choose to do this your self or have someone else do it. If you have pulled the clingfilm too tight it may be difficult to get off without hurting.

Have more sellotape at the ready to close up the cut you have just made to remove it. There you have it - Nana's foot immortalized in clingfilm and sellotape.

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Thursday, 29 July 2010

Bees and blooms

Miles and I spent a lovely morning earlier this week at out local Botanic Gardens. We admired the waterlilies.

Wandered by great swathes of wild flowers.

Watched in awe as the worker bees did their thing. We're going to keep coming back throughout the summer to monitor the progress of the bees. There is a lot of comb yet to be pulled out and filled.

The on site cafe has been revamped and we found a cosy corner to cuddle up with a drink and finish reading My Father's Dragon. Miles really enjoyed this book and I have to say that I preferred it on my second visit - I wasn't that keen when I read it a few years ago with Hermione.

We later met up with Hermione who was anything but chilled - more hyper I would say after a two hour Street Dance workshop!

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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Ouch!! Laid bare challenge.

I'm really enjoying a blog I have recently discovered called Childhood Magic. It is written by a lady who was herself home schooled in the Steiner method and is now homeschooling her own children that way. Her blog is buzzing, colourful and beautiful.

I was really interested to read this post. My appearance, well my weight to be precise, causes me great anxieties. I have pondered for the last couple of days and have decided that it would probably be beneficial to me to stop hiding and 'come out' for want of a better word.

So, without further ado, here I am. Firstly from a distance. Let's do this gently.

Secondly, looking rather docile in the mirror. It's trickier than you think this photographing yourself!

Lastly a close up - warts and all. Well, not so much warts, thankfully that's one of few things I don't actually have, but crows feet, visible pores, one eye completely different to the other and a rather odd mouth too.

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Hey ho, there you go! I've not even pressed 'publish' yet and I'm feeling a sense of liberation. Am I tempting you to take the plunge? Please leave a comment to let me know if you decide to.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Great girly day

Hermione and I hit the town today - on our own!
No large or small boys, just frizolous girly fun.

Oxfam has done me proud today. We are blessed to have not only a bog standard Oxfam Shop in town, but also an Oxfam Boutique and an Oxfam Book Shop.

I found some spangly scholl's in the boutique. A bargain at only £7.99 when they have scarcely been worn. I couldn't wait to get them on and clip clop about on our cobbled streets. There was a morris dancing event on in town today but I think I gave them a run for their money *grin*.

One of the dance groups really caught my eye. I've found them on the web because they had their name on their drums. They were the Flag Crackers of Craven. Should they pass by your town I suggest you go and check them out. They were fun.

On to the Book Shop I indulged my love of old Ladybird books. I've not come across this one before. It was published well before my youth, back in 1952. So, not one for reminiscing, rather for discovering afresh - with the children of course!

I had forgotten all about Hannibal till I spotted these two titles. This series was published in 1976 and I loved it as a child. I'm seriously excited about reading these to the children.

For lunch we decided to try somewhere we've not been before. We ended up in one of the smallest, quaintest cafes I have ever visited. I didn't have my camera with me but someone else has blogged about their visit and you can see lots of good pictures here. I was caught out because they didn't accept any form of plastic so Hermione and I ended up sharing a savoury pancake (Mediterranean vegetables with pine nuts) and then a sweet pancake (milk chocolate, pecan syrup and vanilla ice cream). Despite sharing we were both satisfied and all fired up to hit the shops again. I hope to go back here with friends soon.
Having picked up a few more odds and ends, to include fabric dye and elastic bands for a tie dying project, we hit the spa. Swimming, steaming and lounging in the dimly lit sauna eased away the shopping induced aches and pains. A cappuccino, a leisurely flick through some magazines and a dip in the jacuzzi rounded our day off nicely.
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Friday, 23 July 2010

Poppy heads 'n' stuff

Quick round up of the week.
I finished reading The Iron Man to Miles. As expected, he liked it a lot. There has been much talk round here of monsters flying to the sun.
We cosied in front of the fire one rainy afternoon and built duplo towers to the ceiling.

When the sun shone I sat in the garden and sewed poppy heads to a willow wreath..

...and watched young love.

We went on a home ed trip to Durham Cathedral with the younger age group. I think it was a success. We certainly enjoyed it and I've had good feed back. The children helped a large monk puppet called Eggfroth to find animals which he had lost. Each animal revealed a story about the Cathedral.

It's good that we are building a positive relationship with the education staff there. They are happy to chat with me about facilitating tours and workshops for any age and on any topic connected to the Cathedral - art, architecture, history, religion etc. They gave me details of new workshops they will be putting on later in the year. Providing I can muster the time and energy I will arrange one for the younger group and one for the older group.

Hermione and I watched Pride and Prejudice on DVD. We are going to see it at the theatre later this year so thought it would be an idea to familiarise Hermione with the plot in advance. I enjoyed it. I think it is the first time I have actually preferred a film to the book. Having said that I'm not a huge Jane Austen fan.

We've had a couple of picnics with friends and played lots of ball games in the garden. I'm really delighted that the children love being active and out in the garden - I only wish they didn't expect such high levels of activity from me! I've never played dodgeball so much in my life as I have in the last week!

I have borrowed this book from the library at our Parent and Child Group. I was delighted to see it there as I've heard good things about it but haven't yet saved the pennies to buy it. I've just glanced through it so far but it looks good .

Got to go. Hermione has just asked if we can talk about gerbil nutrition. She's concerned that her gerbils may not be getting enough fibre and also that their balance of starchy/sugary carbs is not right. Off to have another one of those conversations that I never thought possible before becoming a mama.

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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Raw, Dens, Nasreddin and Brass...

I've got onto a bit of a roll with the Steiner inspired home/play styling. We now have a floaty den in the play room. It's cute. We've all enjoyed cosying up in it. Miles wanted to go to sleep in there tonight! I wonder how long it will last. It's not entirely robust.

Yesterday we enjoyed some street entertainment in the form of a selection of brass bands. They were performing as part of our city's Brass Festival. Some of it was seriously cool. The children were very enthusiastic about it too - although in fairness I think their enthusiasm waned well before mine, particularly in light of the persistent drizzle.

Sensing that Craig was struggling with one kite and two very eager children this morning, I quickly knocked up this contraption below. I'd like to say it was all my own idea, but wasn't. The children played with something just like this at friend's a couple of weeks ago.

It's a bean bag, (or out of date rice bag in our case), with a small handle sewn to one end and lots of ribbons sewn to the other end. You throw it up high and it comes whizzing down with ribbons flailing on up behind it. It only took five minutes or so to make once I had found the bits and pieces and I was ever so pleased with myself when I called out the door, 'look' and threw it up to show them. PLOP. It landed on the roof. Thankfully it just landed on a single story and Craig managed to retrieve it with a stick.

Once the novelty had worn off kite flying and the ribbon dive bombery thingery Craig took the children swimming and to the park. Usually I hate being away from the children, even if they are out with Craig or Nana, but today I welcomed the opportunity for more head space. I finished lots of itty bitty jobs that had been playing on my mind. I tapped into and felt totally inspired by a couple of raw friends. So inspired that I rustled up a raw chocolaty concoction which went down ever so well with a nice cuppa chai.

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I called a couple of friends who I had not spoken to for a wee while and had a really long catch up. Precious peeps.
I also read a story about Mullah Nasreddin and how he was one day found on his hands and knees, searching for his keys, right outside of his house. When asked where he had last had them, he explained that he had last seen them inside of his house, but that it was easier to search for them outside in the light rather than inside in the darkness. This really resonated with me today. Over the past couple of days I have felt overwhelmed at times. I realise now that it's good to search wide, but I mustn't stop looking within.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Wind gifts and Waldorf doll

We walked out yesterday to visit some horses in a near by field. Sadly they weren't around.

I can't say I noticed at the time, but there's something quite entrancing about that cloud scape.

It certainly wasn't a wasted trip though. We filled our lungs with an ever so fresh breeze and collected many wind gifts on the journey. Back at home Miles laid them out in patterns on the table before arranging them in a basket. Prized possessions indeed!

With the children tucked up sound in bed I set to making a Waldorf doll. As it was my first attempt I used a kit which I picked up for a couple of pounds at our local Steiner gathering. I'm quite pleased with how it has turned out for a first attempt. I think I'll modify the pattern before making another though - the arms are very King Kong - like.

One thing I really regret is coming to crafts relatively late in the children's early years. Before becoming a mama I wasn't at all crafty. I now realise that I could have been getting lots of relaxation and pleasure form it for much longer - and my children could have had things like Waldorf dollies when they were actually more interested in dollies than they are now! Ho hum, I'll be quick off the mark with the dolly making when I become a granny *grin*.
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Wednesday, 14 July 2010


No amount of persuasion has managed to convince Hermione that she would like to go to a mother and daughter Zumba class. I'll keep trying.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Working the balance

It's a funny old world don't you think? Doing this. Doing that. Working the balance. Manifesting dreams. All in between the hum drum and ecstasy that is.

Goodness, the whole 'balance' business still eludes me most of the time.

So, what have I done today? I've kept a calm head and not shed a tear despite the realisation that there is something sadly wrong with the whole of my potato crop. I don't know what it is. They look fine. Looks aren't everything though - potatoes shouldn't have a soapy after taste and give you a sore throat! I've even kept a calm head when Craig has attempted to humour me by talking in an Irish accent, (the Potato Famine and all that you know). Perhaps I shouldn't mention that for fear of causing offence. He means no offence - he's just very immature *grin*.

I discovered today that litmus paper can be fun. I've always wanted to do some dipping but the closest I have ever come to it are those odd pregnancy tests where you have to insert the stick into a plastic tub. We tested vinegar and orange juice. We've a tub outside to collect rainwater for testing too. We all hope our little tadders, soon to be little froglets, aren't swimming in very acid rain.

I'm loving the fact that the children can now make dinner. As a combined effort they made pasties, from scratch, with millet, spring onion and cheese filling. Not a usual high street combo but delicious all the same. Even Craig ate it - but then it was a pastie!

We've also been swimming today. We'd not been for well over a week which is very unusual for us. What with my dodgy eye then a few days away it's just not been possible. It was good to be back and hopefully we'll soon get back into our 'every other day' swim rhythm.

I've also spent rather a lot of time today thinking about the Raoul Moat situation - a man who, last week, sparked one of the largest manhunts in recent British history. It all happened a bit close for comfort. I know people who live in the area where the first shootings took place and also have good friends who live in Rothbury where he hid out and was finally surrounded. My friends in Rothbury opted to leave their home as the situation escalated, for the safety of their child, and stayed with other friends out of the vicinity.

I've been thinking back to my studies in criminology as part of my law degree, many many moons ago that is! My mind has been pounding over the well trodden arguments about incarceration, retribution and rehabilitation. Trying to think how it could have been different. Trying to think of a way in which this could have ended differently. So desperately sad on a levels and I can't figure out if it is (as suggested by some media sources) due to a failure of 'the system' or is it one of those things that, 'just is'?

On a lighter note I've been manifesting a trip here, hopefully later this year. I think I could get into the Glamping. Nu nite, I'm off to bed imagining lying in a four poster bed with a luxury bathroom right on hand - whilst in a tent!

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