Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Loving being outside again

We all loved the warmer weather this past weekend.  
 Alice had a great time watering all the plants.  The tulips got A LOT of water before we persuaded her to move on to some of the flower pots ;)
 The thing that struck us most is the fact that she's grown up so much since last summer. Before she would have just tipped the watering can upside down but now she actually waters things properly.
 We also have a fairly large step up to the grass area in our back garden. Last summer we had to help her get up on to the grass and get down again.  Not any more - she climbs up on her own and then makes her way down carefully.
 Megan wasn't sure what was going on when we went outside but soon realised it was quite pleasant being in the sunshine.  She was so relaxed and happy and fell asleep in the warmth.
Despite telling you how much she's grown up, this photo reminds me that she is still just a little girl :)

One of the cutest things that day was Alice saying "I love being outside" and "I'm so happy!"
Looking forward to some more warm weather again this week.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Sunday spent in the Minor Injury Unit / A&E

 Claire called on Sunday morning to say that Alice had slipped from her arms and landed awkwardly on her leg.  She seemed to be in pain and wouldn't walk on it.  I phoned back a little while later to see if there was any improvement but, unfortunately, there wasn't.
We headed off to the local Minor Injuries Unit where we spent some time in the children's waiting room before being seen and Alice assessed.  The results were inconclusive and we were advised to take her to the A&E unit 30 minutes from here to get her checked over by the Paediatriac unit.
Long story short, they don't think she has broken anything and it's possible that she's got a sprain but nothing definite.  For now, we've to watch her and see how she gets on and if she gets worse or we're worried about her we've to take her back.  She is absolutely fine in herself but has obviously had a fright and is worried about falling and hurting herself. At this stage she's still not wanting to put any weight on her left leg but is super speedy crawling around the house. We're hoping her foot/leg will start healing soon and that she'll be back to her usual self again.


Monday, 22 April 2013

Hello Monday

I'm a bit later getting this posted today, but here goes ....

HELLO to last minute preparations for Norma's arrival.
HELLO to some warmer weather.
HELLO to Norma and Caelen arriving tomorrow (they are flying as I type this).
HELLO to taking Norma to see Mum and Dad, I know they're so looking forward to seeing her.
HELLO to lots of chats and catching up.
HELLO to Alice and Megan getting to know their Great Aunt and cousin. After all, according to Alice, it's her they're coming to see ;o)
HELLO to seeing Caelen for the first time in about 8 years.
HELLO to going for breakfast with friends.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Megan's first tooth

Although it's not easy to see, Megan's first tooth  (front, bottom right) has started peeping through. Her gums have been quite bumpy for a while but this week Claire felt, and then saw it for the first time.  Fortunately there have been no sleepless night or problems associated with teething - other than a lot of dribbling ;o).


Monday, 15 April 2013

HELLO Monday

HELLO to an inset day for Emily on Monday, before going back to school on Tuesday.
HELLO to a quieter week this week.
HELLO to having the house to myself for the first time in ages!
HELLO to Jon going 10 Pin Bowling for team building on Tuesday evening.
HELLO to Emily and I getting our hair cut on Wednesday.
HELLO to coffee with a friend on Thursday afternoon.

Norma and Emily (taken in Oxford - June 2011)

HELLO to a week on Tuesday until Norma and Caelen arrive in the UK.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Victoria Sponge

A few weeks ago I wanted to make a cake quickly and decided to try this recipe. I admit, I wasn't a huge fan of Victoria Sponge cakes as I've found them quite dry in the past but this recipe has certainly changed that opinion. It's delicious and so easy to make!  Big thank you to Mary Berry for changing my mind and for this recipe :o)

Victoria Sponge

225g (8 oz)  Butter or Marg
225g (8 oz)  Self Raising flour
225g (8 oz)  Caster Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
4 eggs

Lightly grease 2 x 8" sandwich tins (deep sided) and line the bases with parchment paper. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.
Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat for approximately 2 minutes with an electric mixer until the mixture is blended. (This can of course be beaten by hand but may take longer than 2 minutes).
Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and level the surface with the back of a metal spoon.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until well risen and golden.
Leave the cakes in the ins for a few minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the tkns to free the sides of the cakes. Turn out on to wire racks, peel off the paper and leave to cool completely.

For the filling and topping
About 4 tablespoons of jam (strawberry or raspberry)
A little caster sugar

Choose the cake with the best top, then put the other cake top downwards on a serving plate. Spread with jam, put the other cake on top (top upwards) and sprinkle with caster sugar to serve.

Recipe taken from Mary Berry's Simple Cakes

Well worth making :o)


Saturday, 13 April 2013


Alice is such a funny little girl.  I was washing some dishes the other day when she decided she wanted to splash in the water.  I emptied the dirty water and put some clean water in for her then picked her up to sit at the side of the sink - thinking she was going to put her hands in and splash around. Oh no ;o)  she started putting her feet in! A bit of quick thinking and her trousers and sleeves were pulled up to be on the safe side. 

 It all started off quite gently but it didn't take long before the splashing became a lot more energetic.
 These photos don't do it any justice as they were all taken soon after she went in to splash. After a short time I had to put down my camera and be ready to steady or catch if required because Alice was standing up and having a great time.

 Slowly the clothes were stripped off as they became wet, first the trousers and top, then the vest and finally the nappy! She had us in stitches as she splashed and soaked us - the sponge became her shower and was held above her head and the water squeezed over her hair.
 Even Megan found Alice's antics amusing :)

 In the end I'd had to take her out because she was cold, her feet and hands were like prunes and she was covered in goosebumps. Fortunately after being towelled dry we could put her in her pyjamas and get her warmed up again.

I wish I'd had a video camera to hand, it would have made a great little film for when she's older.


Friday, 12 April 2013

Claire's birthday

Of our three children, Claire has always been the one who loves her birthday - no matter how old she is.  The excitement starts weeks in advance and builds up to the day itself - with regular reminders along the way of how long it is till her birthday and a countdown for the last 10 days or so.  

Tuesday was Claire's birthday! We started the day off quite early with breakfast at Wetherspoons in town.  The last time Emily and I went for breakfast Claire had commented that she also wanted to go for breakfast, so it seemed like a good way to start her day.

By the time we got back to our house I think both Alice and Claire were more than ready to get the present opening started.  If Claire thought she'd get to open her presents herself, she should have known better ;o)  
I know a hoover/vacuum cleaner doesn't seem like a very exciting present but I'm happy to say Claire did like it! She'd been wanting a new cleaner since she moved into her new house so I knew it would come in handy if nothing else.
As it was, a couple of days before when we were talking to Alice about it being Mummy's birthday soon and she'd be opening her presents, Alice had piped up and said "And I'll be opening my presents too!!"  Oops!  Needless to say Grandma then went out to get Alice a present so she'd have something to open.  Alice's present was also a hoover - the same as Mummy's but miniature.  She doesn't like hoovers and I was hoping this would make it seem more fun but I'm not sure that it's worked.
Claire also got Photoshop Elements 11 because her trial version had run out and she'd got used to using it. Seeing as she's been doing Project Life this year I know it'll be something she'll use.  

Caught this one of Claire and Alice as they sat in the bay windown - hence the blown out background.
 Megan couldn't be left out so she also got a little present on Mummy's birthday but in this shot you'd think Mummy was enjoying it more (lol)
 It fell to Emily to bring the birthday cake in this year.  Megan was quite fascinated with the candles.
 Uncle Hugh had to pick Alice up to let her help with blowing out the candles
 and because blowing them out once is never enough, we had to light them again! (I love the expression on Megan's face in this one!) 
The balloon is a big hit with the little ones.  We weren't sure if Megan could see her reflection in it but she lay looking at the balloon for ages.

Megan is certainly a Mummy's girl and Claire gets lots of smiles and chuckles from her. We are so proud of Claire and the way she's bringing up her two little girls. They are absolutely delightful and such a credit to her. They're very lucky to have her as their Mummy :)


Monday, 8 April 2013

Hello Monday

HELLO to the second week of half term.
HELLO to Jon starting a new contract - only a 5 minute drive from home.
HELLO to Claire's 23rd birthday on Tuesday :)

HELLO to Chinese take away for Claire's birthday.
HELLO to only 2 weeks on Tuesday till Norma and Caelen arrive.
HELLO to lunch with the coffee ladies on Thursday.
HELLO to starting to do the painting I didn't get round to doing last week.
HELLO to getting back to doing some course work.
HELLO to another week of Clean and Simple and possibly another layout made.


Friday, 5 April 2013

Clean and Simple

After being undecided about whether to sign up for Cathy's latest class over at Big Picture Classes, a money off code in my emails this morning tipped the balance and I signed up. This afternoon I went through the course work and this evening I put the layout together. As I knew Cathy's instructions are clear and easy to follow. I had a couple of hiccups but after leaving a comment on the message board, she got back to me really quickly and I was back on track.

This is the first layout I've made in a very long time - it was fun to be scrapbooking again and I'm looking forward to seeing what else I learn from this class.

Have any of you signed up for this class too?


Thursday, 4 April 2013

Tuesday at The O2 Arena

Fortunately, Tuesday dawned bright and sunny - no snow, no grey sky but, unfortunately, no warmer either ;o)  The Sat Nav set and it was time to go and pick up Emily's friend, Emily and head up to London to The O2 Arena for the girls to see One Direction.

 My Emily is definitely more sensibly dressed in this photo - she takes after her mother and doesn't like the cold!  We stopped for a quick photo with the Dome in the background and then headed inside to get some lunch before the doors opened.

We ended up in TGI Fridays because we know we'll enjoy the food and each time we've been we've been lucky enough to get seated straight away. Unfortunately, this time we were seated outside and it was still really cold because although you're in the dome, it's not much warmer than outside - you just don't have the wind chill to contend with.

We finished our meal around the time that the doors were due to open so, after a trip to the Ladies, we headed to the doors where they were to go in. I saw them into the queue and then left them too it.  This was their queue waiting to go in (and it did stretch a bit further back too). 
 I decided I'd take a walk outside and had seen the signs pointing down to the river.  We had been going to walk down to the river once before but by the time we'd eaten it was dark outside so we had to abort that idea. This time I just followed the signs and was there in no time.  I'm not sure what this sculpture is meant to be but it was quite interesting to look at.
 The cable cars come over the river to the other side but that's not something I'd be bothered about doing (I don't like heights!).  I don't know what I'd expected but there certainly wasn't much to see at the river so I just had a little walk and then turned round to head back again.
 One of the buildings next to The O2.
 A few boats moored off shore.
 The covered walkway down to the river cruise.
 The Dome to the left and walkway to the right.
 As you can see, these reeds were being blown quite strongly. I think I was out there for about 3/4 of an hour but was so cold I was more than ready to get inside again.

There were a lot of Mums who had dropped their daughters off and the coffee shops were doing a roaring trade.  I went in to Starbucks and as I got served a table became free and I was able to get a seat. Another Mum came over and asked if she could join me - we chatted for a little while and then both settled down to read our books.  We were able to spend a few hours in the warmth of Starbucks before going out to wait for the girls to come out of the concert.
I took this photo as I waited where I'd said I would. the people in front of me were all waiting for children to come out. It was interesting listening to the languages being spoken, there must have been people from all across Europe. I certainly heard French, Italian and Spanish as well as other languages I didn't recognise.

The girls had had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed the concert. We hit rush hour traffic as we headed home and it was about 7pm by the time we got back. Watching/listening to the videos Emily had taken was quite amusing - there was a lot of screaming going on as well as some singing along. I'm glad they had such a good time!


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Easter Sunday (photo heavy)

Easter Sunday dawned with the clocks having gone forward an hour during the night. It threw me a little bit but we were soon all up and ready for Claire and the girls to come over.  Alice had had an Easter Egg Hunt at home before coming to us so knew what to expect.  She walked in the door and started spotting eggs straight away - no time for Grandma to be there with her camera first, no time to take off coat and shoes, just straight in and find the eggs ;)  It was so sweet to watch her get excited about hunting them out.

 Her little Easter bunny bag to collect the eggs in.
 Aunty Em was happy to be included in the hunting 
 and at times was even allowed to help with getting the eggs.
 Alice would run backwards and forwards putting the eggs in her little bag
 Mini eggs are certainly a favourite :)
 But so were the duck chocolate lollies she got
 Finding some more
 There were a few presents to open too :)
 Showing Mummy her chocolate lolly 
 And the final little Lindt bunny 
 goes into the bag :)
 Once the Easter Egg Hunt was finished, Alice helped to open Megan's presents too. After opening each one she would say "Here's your present Megan!"  and pop it on top of the car seat (where Megan was blissfully unaware of all the madness and mayhem going on around her as she slept through it all).
 A little later, having woken and had a feed, Megan was quite happy to lie on the quilt and get to know her new dolly :)
 She's showing much more interest in everything around her now and we're getting some lovely smiles
 Lots of talking
 And even a few chuckles.

Imagine how different next year will be with two little girls running around collecting eggs :)  I can't wait!!