Friday, 31 July 2009

Good Game, Good Game!

take one messy bedroom
two stroppy children
and a packet of starburst (opal fruits to all the over 35's!)

count out 'x' amount of starburst, depending on how many jobs to be done.
give each colour sweety a 'task'.
place sweets in a bag.
ask first child to pick a sweet without looking, refer to task chart to see what colour job they have.
when child completes that job they get to eat the sweet and pick out the next one.

result? two happy children, one tidy bedroom and not too many tantrums!

I love it when a plan comes together!

Sunday, 26 July 2009


Said small vomitty child is currently running around the house with a Halloween pumpkin bucket on her head.....................................................

Sweet Morning, Sweet Smell?

A morning of two smells, one far more pleasant than the other!

I was awoken at 6.30am by smallest child informing she had been sick. Again. this time all down side of the bed, and over the bedroom floor *sigh*.

Having dealt with all that, I decided that at 7am I would be daft to go back to bed, only to wake again 2 hours later feeling groggy and the kids causing chaos downstairs, so I came downstairs and started ironing - and started to watch ' a beautiful mind' with Russell Crowe. A very good movie, yet quite distressing in places.

I popped out into the garden whilst the iron was warming up and saw that the one remaining sweet pea plant that the slugs had not eaten, had produced some flowers, and of course we all know its important to cut sweet pea flowers to encourage growth. So those four pretty little flowers sat beside me whilst I ironed. The smell is amazing, just four little flowers producing such an intoxicating scent. thank you mother nature!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Cardiff, but couldn't find Capt Jack anywhere!

I want to make this an upbeat blog entry, because we had a fantastic day in Cardiff on Wednesday. However when I logged on to the internet last night I received some heartbreaking and devastating news about a friend. It is personal and I don't feel right sharing it with the world, I couldn't post this entry without giving a mention. they are in my thoughts.

and so Cardiff, very nice place is Cardiff. Although they (Cardiff City council) arent very helpful when it comes to finding somewhere to park!

after finally parking in a car park that cost less than £12 for the day, we set off to find Cardiff Castle to pick up the sight seeing bus. mmmmm easier said than done, Cardiff has an amazing amount of regeneration going on which = lots and lots of building work, which in turn = lots and lots of diversions, paths closed and general confusion!
At least it wasn't raining and eventually we saw the castle in the distance and arrived with only a short detour for a toilet stop and a buy-some-packets-of-crisps- stops!
Aboard the bus (top deck, open air!) we see some of the lovely sights Cardiff has to offer

some fantastic examples of how wonderful everything looks now
and reminders of Cardiffs industrial past.

we were only caught in one downpour on the bus (how surreal, sitting on a bus with your umbrella up!)
but it was so very windy!
We had lunch at the famous Harry Ramsdens (but weren't impressed, and for the only time on the holiday I complained, but that resulted in 50% off the bill which I really cant grumble at. I wont go back to them though!)
We had ice creams looking over Cardiff Bay
We tried to get into the Torchwood unit

and were deleted by cybermen (and exterminated by Daleks, resulting in tears from the small child!)
We admired the magnificence of the millennium centre
and wondered at the beauty of the modern architecture of the welsh assembly debating rooms

strange sights were seen at the Cardiff National Museum

But we struggled to see what all the fuss was about with the millenium stadium
So much was seen and done in Cardiff its hard to remember all of it. Cardiff is a very beautiful city, with amazingly friendly residents. New and old sits side by side with ease

yes all in all Cardiff was a wonderful city, I need to go back - it wasn't possible to see everything in one visit.

the Children were exhausted and slept like angels!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


The next day should really have been Wednesday, and then I could have called it a wet Wednesday in Wales. But it wasn’t, it was definitely Tuesday, and the rain was coming down in stair rods, the tops of the hills weren’t visible and it was obvious a steam train ride into the mountains would be a waste of time (and money).

First stop of the day; the good old swimming pool for another hour plus splash around, and a small amount of swimming practice. I sit so far away from where middle daughter has her lessons I hadn’t noticed how good she had got (hard to see what a little pink dot is doing at that distance!) I was amazed to see her whizzing up and down the pool, and swimming under water so well – what a star! Smallest child has now mastered the art of swimming on her back, all be it with arm bands on, but watching her swim with her face under water is a sight to behold; she kind of puts her face under, pushes her bum in the air and pedals her legs like she is on a bicycle!

Hoping the rain would have stopped as the morning wore on, we came out of the pool ready to head off to the train, only to be disappointed to see the rain even heavier than before. With no idea what to do we dashed back to the hotel, I thought perhaps to look on the interweb to see if there are any indoor play barn type thingies around. But as we whizzed past cinema I noticed that they have a morning movie session, just £1.70 a ticket and adults free! Monsters vs. aliens, something we hadn’t seen – and it started in 15 minutes! This was smallest Childs first trip to the cinema, and apart from being a bit scared at the movie was a little star.

Now what do you think would the weather have changed whilst we were in there?! Nope even heavier! A dash across the road to Frankie and Bennies for lunch (yum-blooming-yum) I have never been to one before and was very surprised at the lovely food, good service and fun atmosphere.

Tummies full, we made our way out into the afternoon hoping to get to the train – guess what? Yes you got it still raining!

At this point desperation was setting in (for me) and an excess of energy was setting in (for the kids!) a quick scout round the web found a castle not far from here, which was free to get in Cyrfarthfa castle.

Mmmmmmm rather an interesting little place; lucky it was free as it only killed about 30 minutes! The gardens were lovely (and soggy)

and the views were fantastic (would be better still on a sunny day, you would be able to see top of hills!)

The kids had a great day, middle child thanked me frequently for cinema trip, so not a disaster, but not really the sightseeing day on a train day I had planned!

Monday, 20 July 2009

What did Monday bring?

A panic in the middle of the night, leading to a text message to Mr.B at 3 am about the MOT on our car!

I mentioned briefly in yesterday’s entry that we are in Wales on holiday. It was *supposed* to be, Mr.B and me, and the 2 smallest. Or me and all the girls and no Mr.B. I booked the Travelodge room in Merthyr Tydfil back in November when they had their £9 a night sale on. Then Mr.B couldn’t get time off, and the eldest daughter got a job working Sundays and Mondays! So with much dread I approached the few days away on my own with the girls (who are at a particularly bothersome squabbling stage).

Plans were made for the journey, one in the front with me and one in the back. The one in the back had the iPod to listen to (with audio books downloaded from iTunes chosen by said child); child in front got to keep me company! Halfway through journey seats are swapped.

The journey was amazing, the girls were well behaved and the traffic wasn’t too bad. Can’t say I enjoyed driving over the Severn Bridge, a combination of a fear of heights and a fear of dying! And then to pay £5.40 for the privilege!

Our Travelodge is a new one, and the room is very nice and spacious. Love the funky uplighter behind the headboard!

Flat screen TV on the wall; bathroom in red and white; even trendy bucket seats (but no bedside tables or drawers for clothes?!).

Anyway back to Monday, Mr.B confirms that the MOT has indeed expired – so I have my usual chicken-without-a-head-panic until I manage to make an appointment at a local garage (recommended by lovely receptionist here), but of course without a current MOT I can’t drive the car. Luckily the motel is situated in a new leisure park – complete with a lovely leisure centre with swimming pool. So that’s where we spent the morning in the pool (bargain at £2.90 for me and kids go free!) with a Jacuzzi, flumes, slides and toadstool waterfall. The girls had a blast and we were exhausted and very pruney when we came out.

Back to room, to watch a DVD and have lunch. Then out for an hour’s walk to burn off a bit more energy we crossed a lovely river on a foot bridge.

Then off to the MOT station, I felt so nervous (no reason for car to fail but I do like a good panic!) full of what if’s. I mean how would I get home from Wales if the car was a write off MOT wise? (Car is only 4 years old and very low mileage!)

But of course it passed now problem. We took the long route back to motel and found a mountain steam railway, which we are going to go back to tomorrow.

Good old MacDonald’s for tea, and now I have 2 very tired little girls in bed dosing off.

Looking forward to another swim tomorrow, and an exciting train ride.

managed to update today to add photos, more later

Sunday, 19 July 2009

My Garden

We have an allotment, and until this year I have really enjoyed being there and growing things. Eating what you have grown yourself, from seed, is incredibly satisfying (not to mention cheaper than paying Mr. Tesco for it!)

During this year, whilst I have been doing my access course at college, I have found I have had less and less time to spend there, which makes me feel so guilty.

When the invoice arrived in March for this year’s rent I decided to give up half the plot to make it more manageable, and also to give it over to Mr. B to take care of.

As a result we haven’t been bogged down with veggies. This is for 2 main reasons;
1. We did nothing with the plot during last autumn and in the early part of this year, and I didn’t sow any seeds in the seed trays so nothing was ready to go in
2. Mr. B is an amateur gardener (like I was 3 years ago) and as a result doesn’t know his kohl rabi from his hogweed! Hopefully next year we will get some more results.

In his defence I should add that Mr. B has managed to bring home some potatoes, 1 radish (!?!?) and some leeks, lettuce and onions (hang on though those last 3 were given to him by other plot holders!)

So back to my garden, it is very small and is used by all 5 of us to varying degrees - from the 4 year old who whizzes up and down on her scooter, through the 8 year old who occasionally joins in and at other times reads, the 17 year old who sometimes ventures out to sunbathe, me to hang the washing out and Mr.B to make a mess and cut down my plants in the name of strimming! We also have a cat who likes to invite his mates around to poo in it!

I was missing my home grown veggies and decided to utilise what little space we have, admittedly too late to grow things from seed I took the cheats option and bought some ‘plugs’ from the garden centre.

WOW! I made the right choice; the plants have been doing incredibly well. The lemon balm smells gorgeous, we now have cucumbers growing, runners making an appearance, pumpkins flowering and pepper and chilli plants putting in an effort. Even the aubergine and melon plants are trying to do something. The carrots are looking bushy (although not sure if anything orange is happening underneath) and the cut and come again lettuces are abundant (so maybe 12 heads was quite a lot – although middle child has discovered a liking for it!). On Thursday I added some climbing French beans to the collection – which I am hoping Mr.B will plant for me against the garage wall whilst I am away in Wales (which is where I am doing this blog entry from, a lovely Travelodge room in Merthyr Tydfil! – whilst the littlies sleep) and some lovage which I still need to find a home for.

So feast your eyes on my plants (and weeds!),

admire my lavender (planted in a row under the washing line so as the rotary dryer goes round it brushes against the flower heads letting off a lovely scent),

wonder at the snap dragons (very pretty colours)
and admire my wee froglets (nurtured from a dollop of spawn, gathered from the allotment pond and placed in a tank in the garden, about a dozen froglets taken back to plot pond, along with about a dozen tadpoles sprouting legs and getting ready to be frogs!)