Daniel is Six!!!

I can hardly believe that today Daniel turned six!  Where has that time gone?!  He’s had a fantastic day at school and we went for ice cream this afternoon.  As usual, I asked him the annual questions…

1. What is your favourite colour?

Green

2. What is your favourite animal?

Dogs and horses

3. What is your favourite food?

Sausages and porridge and coco pops porridge (which Josh gave him as his birthday present)

4. What is your favourite drink?

I’ve got loads: water, squash, milkshake and Fruit Shoot

5. What is your favourite thing to play with?

I think the iPad

6. What is your favourite song?

Maybe if you’re a firework (Firework by Katy Perry) and Uptown Funk

7. What is your favourite book?

The Book With No Pictures

8. What is your favourite TV programme?

Let’s all go to Okido (Apparently this is actually called Messy Goes to Okido), Swashbuckle and Footy Pups

9. Who is your best friend?

Tabi, Emily R and Noah, Sinead, and Emily D

10. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A fireman or a policeman

Christmas 2015 in Pictures

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Josh’s Fourth Birthday

Today we celebrated Josh’s fourth birthday.  We’ve had a lovely day, going to McDonalds for lunch and meeting some friends at Arrosto, our local ice cream parlour, in the afternoon.  This evening we watched fireworks at the Marina which were for the the departure of Aurora on her world cruise.

This morning I asked Josh the following questions and here are his answers this year:

1. What is your favourite colour?

Orange and yellow

2. What is your favourite animal?

A cow

3. What is your favourite food?

Crispies (Pringles)

4. What is your favourite drink?

Volcano (a mixture of both orange and apple and blackcurrant squash)

5. What is your favourite thing to play with?

Cars

6. What is your favourite song?

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (once I caught a fish alive)

7. What is your favourite book?

Topsy and Tim

8. What is your favourite TV programme?

Topsy and Tim

9. Who is your best friend?

Freddy

10. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A policeman

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Book Review: The Wisdom House

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I have recently enjoyed reading The Wisdom House by Rob Parsons.  I have enjoyed hearing Rob Parsons speak at Spring Harvest over the last couple of years and he has a real ability to connect with parents.  Last Easter he talked about his most recent book, The Wisdom House, in which he writes a series of letters or monologues to his grandchildren, sharing snippets of wisdom he has learnt from over the years.

Parsons explains that the idea behind the title of the book comes from a story his mother told him about a village where every elderly person would write down a life lesson to pass on to future generations.  These lessons were placed in a hut in the centre of the village to be read by and shared with future generations.  I love this idea of passing on the wisdom learnt by your ancestors and was interested to see what Parsons himself felt was significant enough to write down and record in his book.

The book was light and easy to read, good for dipping into when I had five minutes to spare.  Parsons shares his wisdom alongside interesting stories and anecdotes which helps what he is saying to really stick in your memory.  Above all, he challenges us to strive to fulfil our potential despite whatever setbacks, fears or criticism we might come across.  As he says,

“the greatest pain is not in failing, but in looking back when we are old and thinking, ‘I should have tried.'”

Paultons Christmas Wonderland

Yesterday we all went to Paultons Christmas Wonderland with Chris’ sister Ali and her new husband Geoff.  I currently have a season ticket for Paultons Park and Josh and I visit fairly regularly so I had high expectations of the Christmas Wonderland experience.  Although we all had a really lovely day, there were a number of ways in which the Paultons Christmas Wonderland sadly did not live fully up to my expectations.

As a season ticket holder, I was eligible for a discount on my ticket yesterday.  The tickets for Chris and the children were £23 each. Bearing in mind that Josh and I could both have had free entry to the park, we paid £37.75 extra for Josh and I to go through the Christmas Wonderland and see Father Christmas.  I’m sad to say that I do not think this was worth it.  Most of the Wonderland experience consisted of trudging along a slow-moving queue through some animatronics that although were reasonably ok, were no better than those we saw two years ago at Polhill Garden Centre (currently £10 per child with accompanying adults free).  The time in with Father Christmas was good and he spoke to the children by name and we did not feel too rushed or anything.  Both boys also loved their presents (a plastic car filled with building blocks for Josh and a set of toy cars and motorbikes for Daniel).  I did feel, though, that Josh and I could have quite happily skipped the slow crawl through the animatronics that Josh found a little overwhelming and spent the almost £40 of ticket costs in the gift shop.

Another disappointment for me was the absence of an advertised ‘festive menu’ at the main restaurant, Wildwoods.  Both the Paultons Park website and an information slip enclosed with our tickets talked of a special festive menu including traditional Christmas lunch.  I thought it would make the day extra special to have a Christmas lunch there and so this was what we planned to do.  When we got there, there was no sign of a special festive menu and when I enquired I was told this didn’t start until December.  To be honest I was quite disappointed given their Christmas Wonderland experience starts in November and there was nowhere I could see on their advertising to suggest that this didn’t include the festive menu options.

Having said all this, we did have a lovely day and the children didn’t share my disappointments.  We enjoyed the rides in the park and also our first experience of the 4D cinema which was great fun.  I continue to be a huge fan of Paultons Park and think we are incredibly lucky to have it so close by.  If you would ordinarily have to pay full price for a Paultons Park ticket then the Christmas Wonderland is probably worth going to.  However, if you are a season ticket holder or have a child under 1 metre tall then I would consider skipping the Christmas Wonderland and you could then have more money to spend in the gift shop which has a fantastic range.

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24 Things to do in Advent

I recently came across Flame: Creative Children’s Ministry‘s booklet of 24 things to do during Advent.  As well as printing the booklet for personal use, they suggest it could be given out to families in church.  I could see how it could work well given out along with publicity for Christmas services or at toddler groups etc.  The one on the Flame website is a booklet with a number of activities included.  I have adapted it slightly and made a single page grid of activity ideas that I can work through with the boys.  Feel free to adapt and use it yourself if you wish.

24 Things to do in Advent

Hen Day – Making Fascinators!

Today I spent the day in Bath for the hen do of a very lovely friend who I lived with back in my university days.  Much of the day had been kept a surprise from us all and I was very excited when we arrived at The Makery and learned we were going to be making our own fascinators!

The Makery is a wonderful craft shop and workshop located in the centre of Bath.  They offer a number of party packages including today’s fascinator workshop for hen parties.

To start with we were all given some sinamay strips in a variety of colours to choose from.  We had to damp this down with a water spray to make it easier to work with.

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We were then able to shape our sinamay as we wished and pinned it in place before using a needle and thread to secure the shape.

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Once we had our shape sorted, there were a number of embellishments we could use including buttons, feathers and sequins.  It was then time to attach our design to a clip, comb or alice band ready to wear.

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Some of the fascinators the girls made were incredible and could easily be mistaken for proper shop-bought ones.  Mine was by no means up to the standard of the others but it was so much fun and even I was proud of the finished result.  A lovely idea for a hen party!

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