Thursday, 28 June 2012

May Bank Holiday

Usually on the early May Bank Holiday we get together with Mum and Dad and some of the family to do something for my birthday, but this year (7th May), Mum and Dad were up at the Preston Temple for their two weeks in eight. I felt slightly abandoned (well, not really, but we've never been at a loose end for the bank holiday before!) Luckily our friends the Hirsts invited us to go out for a walk and picnic at the last minute. 
It started raining as soon as we arrived at the bluebell wood we were going to picnic in! 
We had fun though, and ended up going back to the Hirsts' to eat our picnics, and for dinner. The kids all got on well and went off and played, while the grown-ups enjoyed chatting.
Lots of sword fighting going on
Slightly muddy!

My Birthday

I had a really nice 37th birthday at the beginning of May. (It's nice to finally be 37, because I have been mistakenly telling people I was 37 all year, with the kids correcting me.) 
I went out for breakfast with some of the Mums from school, and received lots of lovely gifts and cards (they know me well - there was a heavy cupcake theme going on!) 
I waited till the kids got home from school, so Lucy and I could work on the cake we planned to make - a layered toffee/peach/ cream thing. Lucy went slightly overboard with taking pictures (she took 214 to be precise)... we had fun, then all ate most the cake straight away!
In the evening we went out for a meal booked by our friends Jo and Richard Blackhurst - a very civilised and pleasant evening.

Also in the first week of May, we got the dishwasher fixed after a couple of weeks of handwashing, Lucy, Jack and I had youth choir practise, I had a youth meeting, and a youth fireside, all at Northampton. (After the fireside I had a little drive in President Hirst's new Jaguar in the carpark - very nice car!)

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The rest of April

On Saturday 14th April, we had some friends from church come over for the afternoon - Gill, the Stake Young Women's secretary, and her son Elliot (who's Jack's age). We had a meal first, then went for a walk round the local country park. It was really nice to get to know them a bit better.

Lucy and Jack went back to school on Monday 16th, then Harry and Tom the day after.
On Friday of that week (20th), I went to the hair dressers in the morning, then in the afternoon our friends from Cardiff - Ali, Pete, and their kids Charlie and Rosie came for a visit. I've known Ali since uni days in Birmingham, and it's been a few years since I last saw her, but it felt like only a couple of weeks... it was just SO good to see them, and the first time I got to meet Rosie.
Here is Scott with Rosie. She is such a gorgeous baby!
They came with me to pick up the boys from school, then stayed for tea. After they left, I went with Lucy, Jack and some of the Amos kids to Northampton for choir practice.

The next night (Saturday 21st), Scott and I went to the joint 40th birthday party of Jo Waters and Clare Garrick from church. I spent most of the day making a cake for them, then Scott and I had fun getting dressed up in our 70's clothes! Loads of the ward were there, and looked fantastic in their outfits - I didn't even recognise some people! Scott didn't stay all night, because Lucy was babysitting, but I stayed till the end, and had a great time dancing away with friends. (Though I did so in my electric blue 4 inch heeled platform sandals, and paid the price the next day!)

The Lake District

In the second week of the Easter holidays, we went to the Lake District for a couple of days (Tuesday 10th - Thursday 12th), staying for two nights in a Travelodge hotel.
When we got there, our room wasn't yet ready, so we went to Beatrix Potter's house, crossing Lake Windermere in the little ferry on the way.
Lake Windermere

On the ferry
At the Beatrix Potter's House ticket office, in a sudden heavy hail storm!
Some rabbits in Beatrix Potter's vegetable garden...
We had a tour of Beatrix Potter's home, and Harry spent the entire time looking for rat holes in the wainscotting (one of the guides told us about them). It was nice because one of the books in particular has lots of illustrations based on rooms in the house, so we bought that book afterwards.
Afterwards we went to Ambleside, and had dinner in a restaurant just down from here.
The next day we went to Consiton, to hike up the Old Man of Coniston.
Getting higher as we hiked...
Everyone else out hiking that day was all kitted up in proper walking clothes and footwear, and there we were in our jeans and trainers etc. (and in Lucy's case, plimsolls with no socks). What a bunch of townies! We also had no map, and only my vague idea that there would be a lake somewhere on the mountain - from when I was last there as a teenager! The kids all did brilliantly though, and we did eventually find the lake!
When I came here as a teenager, I had swum in the lake... not this time!
We stopped here for lunch and had a lovely time paddling.
The kids with their first ever Kendal Mint Cakes!
Back in Coniston, we had a good lunch in a hotel. Harry with his rather large burger.
We then found a park in Coniston, and the sun came out, so Lucy felt she should protect her skin...
After that, we drove down to Lake Coniston, and went for a trip round the Lake on the National Trust's restored Gondola.
Inside the boat.
Harry loved the snakes on the front of the boat.
It was a brilliant day - everyone enjoyed it thoroughly. I was glad the kids liked the Lake District as much as me.
The next day, we headed back for home, stopping off at Morecambe Bay on the way. We just had a walk along the beach. The BBC were filming some scenes for a History/Drama programme which should be showing in Sept/Oct this year. I spoke to one of the film crewe. It was nice seeing people in period clothing, and a vintage car.
We also stopped off at the Preston Temple for a few moments. The kids have never been here either.
And lastly, we stopped off at an American diner for tea, before finally getting home.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Easter Holidays

We had a really enjoyable Easter holiday, spending the first week at home. Scott only worked Monday to Wednesday.
On Monday (2nd April) I took the kids swimming, on Tuesday we met up with Zoe Dandridge-Brown and Becky Wakefield plus kids, at a local park, then on Wednesday we got on with making our own chocolate Easter creations. The kids each had a massive bar of Cadbury's chocolate, and some sweets to work with.
Jack made a solid smaller egg, which then fit inside a large hollow egg, which was reinforced with strawberry laces:
Some of Tom's wondrous creations: (You can imagine the state of the kitchen afterwards...)
 Harry's nice little assortment:
And Lucy's: (Spot the Mr. Messy who looks like he is having some intestine-hanging-out-problems.)
On Thursday 5th April we also had a kitcheny day.
For what seemed like many days, Lucy had been nurturing her German Friendship cake (adding more ingredients/stirring etc every day). Lucy called it Herman, but it was A.K.A. Norbert, Norman, Frank etc (whatever name first popped in head at time...) It felt like part of the family. On Thursday though, its time had come...
We decided that really, we didn't want to inflict it upon other poor people (one morning for instance, Tom had come down to find it had burst its banks and flowed all over the work surface, and he'd cleaned it all up, bless him), so we decided to cook the lot instead of dividing and passing on some of the mixture. There was quite a lot!
Also, on the menu for that day was homemade soup and bread. I had seen a nice Easter Bunny bread loaf on Pinterest, and decided to do the same. My bread dough bunny looked pretty good, before leaving it to rise:
...but my baked bunny looked more like road kill (or a Pokemon, as was suggested when I put the pictures on Facebook. I was glad to have provided so much entertainment for my friends!)
I think I may have left it to rise for a bit too long - we all went to the cinema to see 'The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists' (a rather mediocre film) in between. It tested pretty good though.

On Friday, Scott took the boys down to Essex to stay at his parents overnight, while he went to the temple. Lucy had already planned to go punting in Cambridge with some school friends, and I finally finished the last job in Scott's and my bedroom - putting up the shelves over the beds.
Here is a BEFORE picture of our delightful wallpaper-stripped and fillered room in January 2010: (Spot Harry hiding behind a Playmobil magazine!)
And here is the AFTER picture - how it looks now. Bit of an improvement!
On Saturday 7th April, Lucy and I went to Cambridge on the guided bus, and had a fun day out, and when Scott and the boys got back, we had our Easter egg hunts (the kids all did a pictures/clues trail for each other). We prefer to have the chocolatey bit on the Saturday before Easter, so that we can focus better on Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. We had a lovely quiet Easter all by our selves (and going to church of course).

On Monday 16th, I decorated a fruit cake I had made a few weeks before. I hadn't planned it as an Easter cake, but the timing worked out well. I'm the only one who really likes fruit cake though, so I made it for myself! Had a great time doing it, and liked how it turned out.