This week’s picture was taken on Sunday when we had roast dinner. Poor Chris doesn’t look great but its a picture of the girls so nevermind!
Last weekend we headed off on a very last minute camping trip down to Chichester. We were loaned a brand new tent (a Vango Airbeam Evoque) which we needed to pick up on the way and didn’t arrive until 10pm. We had huge amounts of fun, putting up this brand new tent, in the pitch black, with only my car headbeams to light the way. However the tent is awesome – did you know you could get fully inflatable tents that don’t require poles?!
Anyway after pretty much arriving and going to sleep (it was midnight by then mind you), we woke around 7am the next morning and got ready for a day at Chichester Marina. The girls grandparents have a boat there and they had invited us all down for the day. I have to admit I always feel at home with Bob and Andrea (the grandparents) even though I’m separated from their son. After nipping out to the nearby village and getting some cash out (to pay for camping), we arranged to travel to the marina and meet Bob and Andrea. We parked the car and boarded the boat for the day.
The day was beautiful and the water was really calm, at least until we got out of the main marina area. We spent quite a few hours just “driving” around, before mooring up and having some lunch. Andrea made a fab spread and I was given a glass of prosecco and wine too. It was so relaxing. Next we moved the boat slightly and the girls went crabbing off a dock. Lily wasn’t really sure she was up for the idea but I persuaded her into it and both of them seemed to enjoy themselves. After what seemed like ages, Megan finally caught a crab and Lily freaked out and refused to fish for them after that. It was pretty funny. We named the crab Kevin and fed him bacon lardons, while trying to catch some more. However we were unsuccessful and in the end just placed Kevin back in the water.
Finally we headed back towards the marina to dock the boat and go for dinner. The girls both had a go at steering, as did Chris. However when we got near to the marina, Bob took over. Sadly there is a lock that you need to go through and there was a queue, so we ended up delayed for about an hour. In the end we moored up and headed to a place called The Boat House Cafe. Bob and Andrea had already told us it was there treat so it was lovely to enjoy a nice meal out. Chris, Lily and I all had burgers, while Megan had BBQ chicken breast. There was lots of wine flowing and it was such a pleasant evening. Lily ended up playing Pokemon on my phone, while Megan drew on the serviette. It was just very relaxing.
We headed back the campsite and relaxed for a while before grabbing an early night. The next morning we were up early again but this time we needed to pack up the tent and head home. It took quite a lot longer than we expected so it was around 10am when we set off. We stopped for food on the way home, but ultimately we were getting back for my sister’s house warming party so we didn’t have much time to spare.
It was a very rushed trip and a long way to go for the weekend but we had a great time. I’d love to go again next summer, but maybe for a week so we can see more of the south coast.
Not this weekend just gone but the one before, myself and my best friend Nat took Megan and Lily with us to Nottingham, to a Harry Potter convention and then followed by a Yule Ball. We’d had it booked since about February and we were all looking forward to it. We had a hotel booked for the night, but also so we could get changed in between the convention and the ball. Although we had a weekend ticket for the convention, we had pretty much decided we would only attend on the Saturday (unless it was really good and then we might go again on the Sunday morning). However in the end we actually decided to only go Saturday after, checking into the hotel (Premier Inn) first and then walking around.
In the morning I still needed to work but while doing that I made us all bows. Megan was Ravenclaw, Lily Gryffindor and since I sway between Gryffindor and Slytherin, I picked Slytherin. Nat is Gryffindor too so she decided on a Deathly Hallows inspired Gryffindor bow. We all wore Harry Potter t-shirts too. We set off for Nottingham around 2pm and were there for about 3pm. We checked into the Premier Inn and then walked the 10 minutes to the convention.
When we got to where the convention was (Nottingham Conference Centre), there was a blue ford Anglia car outside and a replica of Hagrid’s bike. Sadly I don’t think either were genuine. We headed inside and there definitely wasn’t much of a wow. Outside were some owls, inside were some stalls (both upstairs and downstairs). Apparently there were some workshops and special effects stuff but there was no timetable or map to carry around so we just looked at stalls. Megan bought a watch and Lily bought a pokemon (yeah not HP related). We spotted a reptile area on the way out but otherwise we spent about an hour looking at stalls and nothing else.
We headed back to the Premier Inn, grabbed a cup of tea and sat for a while before deciding we should get ready for the Ball. Nat curled Megan’s hair, while I did Lily’s. We had attempted to do Lily’s hair beforehand with the help of some Curlformers I’d bought but sadly they had mostly fallen out. It took about an hour to get them both ready and then about the same again for Nat and I. We put on our dresses and makeup, heading out of the hotel around 7.30pm (the ball was due to start 6.30pm but we didn’t want to be too early).
When we got to the conference centre, it wasn’t really that clear where to go so we asked. There was a bar and the ball upstairs and a hog roast outside. We headed for the bar first and got drinks, then into the ball which was like a wedding no one wanted to be at. There was a band playing but everyone was sat down looking miserable. After about five minutes we decided to head out to the hog roast instead. Luckily, this was amazing and sitting outside was nice too. After not being there long, a string quartet started up and it was quite enjoyable to sit there and listen.
Though to be honest, Nat and I could quite easily have left at this point, Megan was all for it too, Lily asked if we could go back into the Ball. As we headed inside there was a photobooth (pretty rubbish at that) so we had a picture taken and then went back up. Lucky that we did really as a few people were dancing and we bit the bullet and joined in. Within 15 minutes everyone was up, the live band were back and the lights were dimmed. This last hour was the best of all and thanks to Lily we ended on a high note. Though we didn’t stay quite till 10, we made the most of the evening and enjoyed it despite its lameness. I’m glad we went but it wasn’t worth £25 each.
We headed back to the hotel, got changed and climbed into bed. It had been a pretty nice evening but really we had made it enjoyable between the four of us, rather than the event itself being good.
This week we’ve been lucky enough to get some great weather for a change. Monday was incredibly hot and Tuesday was even warmer. After than it cooled a little but not enough to actually have rain or cold days. This means we’ve had park days, water fights, ice cream and car washing! It’s been so nice to enjoy the weather for a change.
As you know, we’ve recently re-decorated our house from top to bottom. In fact, I wrote about it in my “Look at my House” series. However it honestly wouldn’t have been possible without a whole load of help! When we first moved in, my brother offered a lot of help (as did my mum, though mostly financially – bless her). Over the years we lived here, my best friend Nat also helped out on the odd days here and there. However, while the bulk of the work has always fallen on Chris and I, the girls have always been keen to help too.
In collaboration with Dyno, I was asked to share my trials, tribulations and even triumphs when it came to kids helping out with DIY. I have to be honest and say that sometimes having their help is more hassle than it’s worth, but that’s not to say they don’t both try! For the most part, we decorated while they were at school, but they would often come back after school and want to help then. Here is some tips I would like to offer:
- An old set of clothes for them is absolutely essential. Its completely unrealistic to expect that they will manage to paint without getting paint all over them – both skin and clothes. Usually I picked something they didn’t particularly like anyway, or something they were pretty much outgrowing. Tying hair out of the way is also a good idea.
- Make sure you cover the floor, skirting boards etc. even more than you would normally. I always throw covers over furniture when we’re painting the ceiling, but sometimes I’m less concerned when I know its in a place I can just be careful. However with the kids helping out, there are bound to be drips, spillages and goodness knows what, so cover up those floors even more, put masking tape on the skirting boards and keep a close eye on them!
- I have to admit that my girls are fairly well behaved anyway but I would recommend not leaving them alone for too long. When you have to nip off and get that extra brush or a new tin of paint, the chances are it won’t be long before they find it funny to start painting each other!
- Small brushes. I’m sure this one goes without saying really but the smaller the brush, the smaller the possible accident, mess, mistake etc. Sure you might have to go over the parts they’ve done but you stop the risk of having a big paintbrush mark when it gets dropped or swiped over a part of wall you didn’t want painting.
- Expect that they will get bored. Kids have a fairly short attention span to most things and if they’re not especially enjoying themselves, they will get bored and ditch you. Maybe adding some music to the equation or making it fun, will make them stick around but be prepared to finish off by yourself!
The kids helped us out in pretty much every room of the house, in some way or another. They can be a great asset but also a huge hassle. The nice thing is, they’re nearly always willing and love the thought of helping out. In reality, the job probably isn’t as fun as they expected or they’d rather be sat playing on an iPad or something. However every now and again they might surprise you and you’ll really appreciate their help – or maybe just their company. Not to mention, the other they get, the more likely they are to be of use to you!