Tag Archives: Days out

A Frugal Bank Holiday Challenge

A Frugal Bank Holiday Challenge

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Bedlam Clan battled with The Frugal Bank Holiday Challenge.  Their allies were blinds-supermarket.co.uk      Valiantly they faced the task, which was to survive a Bank Holiday without succumbing to the forces of Being Absolutely Skint.

This is their story.

(You have to imagine this text on a scrolling screen, filled with stars)

The Bedlam Clan woke early and  got into their spaceship….erm car, and set a course for a Star Wars Fan Fun Day.  On arrival, they were confronted by an army of Storm Troopers and a queue of intergalactic proportions.

Darth Vader and his minions tried to arrest Sausage but he escaped!

Darth Vader and his minions tried to arrest Sausage but he escaped their clutches!

They tried to use Jedi skills to get in without paying: “‘This is not the £6 per adult and £3 per child’ you are looking for.”  Sadly they were immune to their powers, and the Galactic Credits were reluctantly handed over.

The Bedlam Clan dodged their adversaries narrowly escaping arrest.

The Bedlam Clan dodged their adversaries, narrowly avoiding arrest.

Princess Kay thought that some of the Storm Troopers needed a good bath to be honest.

Storm Troopers are too tough to use soap and water.

Storm Troopers think that soap and water are for wusses.

The Jawas kidnapped the younglings!

Dastardly Jawas tried to sneak away with the younglings.

The Dastardly Jawas nearly ran off with them.

Slightly shaken, but by no means beaten, the Bedlam Clan proceeded to the Star Wars Fun Day.  Having fought their way through the queue, they snook in through the entrance, carefully checking for guards.

Sausage swung his light sabre, left to right; jumped up and down like a space-kangaroo and laughed in the face of danger and a really weird looking tin can thing.

Sausage swung his light sabre, left to right; jumped up and down like a space-kangaroo and laughed in the face of danger and a really weird looking tin can thing.

Darth Vader used The Force, sadly they were powerless to resist. £20 changed hands for an autographed photograph of him.  Princess Kaye tried to object, but Count Dookoo held her back.

Princess Kay: 'We must not give Darth Vader £20 worth of galactic credits, he'll only spend it on asthma inhalers and cheap booze!'

Princess Kay: ‘We must not give Darth Vader £20 worth of galactic credits, he’ll only spend it on asthma inhalers and cheap booze!’

It was no use, Darth Vader took the hard earned cash and retired to the Cantina to fleece even more unsuspecting Jedis.

Tall and intimidating, Darth Vader strode through the crowds, signing autographs and wheezing.

Tall and intimidating, Darth Vader strode through the crowds, signing autographs and wheezing.

Princess Kay and her entourage darted through the crowds, ducking, diving and weaving.  Stalls sold space-sweets, tiny action figures, posters, autographs, models, lego, anything and everything….including Dr Who memorabilia which confused the young Jedi greatly.  Briefly they were distracted by refreshments.

‘Two quid for a hot dog?!’ Horace Sky-Walker was shocked, but the Younglings were starving and in need of nutrition.  Again, galactic credits were surrendered

The battle against Absolute Skintness was looking hopeless, would the Bedlam Clan survive?  They thought they had found an escape, a Millennium Falcon would get them out of there wouldn’t it?

Only £150 including, 12 months MOT.  Unfortunately it was only a very small model and they were unable to fit in it.

Only £150 including, 12 months MOT. Unfortunately it was only a very small model and they were unable to fit in it.

Eventually, they had to admit defeat.  Princess Amidale met them as they left the Star Wars Fun Day, she reassured them that at least they had lived to fight another day and then gave Princess Kay some great hints and tips on how to make really, really excessively frilly floaty white dresses, which was nice.

Apparently net curtains are very useful.

Apparently net curtains are very useful.

The Bedlam Clan returned home to walk the Wookie, erm….dog.  They had an epic Star Wars themed day and vowed to return in 2015.

*Many thanks to blinds-supermarket.co.uk for allowing us to take part in the Frugal Bank Holiday Challenge*  :O)

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Holiday Plans

Holiday Plans.

The summer holidays are looming on the near horizon and I’m frankly bricking it.  Six weeks is a long time to fill and my kids are active little munchkins.  In addition to this I can’t drive so getting places for days out is a nightmare, or at least a huge challenge which usually involves a massive rucksack, public transport and a lot of patience. Hey ho, at least we have a week away to look forward to.

I wrote a post a while ago about how difficult it is to find a sensibly priced holiday for a family over the summer break, and after a lot of umming and aahing, we have decided to borrow my husband’s, gran’s caravan for a week.  It is actually in quite a local location so we won’t have to travel so far and there’s a playground there and a river for them to play in if the weather is good enough.  I can’t wait!  I just hope against hope that it doesn’t rain.  I know rain is necessary for plants to grow, that it fills reservoirs and that it sounds quite nice pattering on a caravan roof…..but it’s wet, that’s the huge drawback.  Soggy coats, muddy shoes and cabin fever is not pleasant.  Anyway, I’m hoping for a heatwave – ever the optimist!

I'm hoping for lazy days by the river, fishing for tiddlers and finding water worn fossils.

I’m hoping for lazy days by the river, fishing for tiddlers and finding water worn fossils.

We’d consider camping, but after a particularly disastrous week’s holiday in Scotland a few years ago, I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than go under canvas again.  I have vivid memories of packing and going home early, the highlight of which was lying flat on my face like a steam rollered starfish, desperately trying to brush away the torrents of rainwater running all over the tent which made it incredibly heavy and impossible to pack up.  This is whilst the wind howled and the rain persisted it down – to put it politely.  I wasn’t polite at the time, I think I was probably swearing.  Bad mum.

Typical camping garb and weather.  Never, ever, ever again!

Typical camping garb and weather. Never, ever, ever again!

So, back to what I was saying, a caravan, in the sunshine, by a river, that’ll do nicely fank oo!  I’d love to go on one of these Center Parc breaks, or maybe one of those working farm holidays, but I’d have to go rob a bank or compare credit cards with a richer friend than me and see if they have more credit spare, and then smile sweetly at them and ask for their pin number.  Not gonna happen, I suspect that wouldn’t make me very popular with my friends either.  I have actually considered trading in ye olde bank debit card and looking for the best reward credit card so we could afford a little more, that would give us more spare cash, but I think we’ll just have a cosy holiday in a caravan instead and make do with what we have.  Who needs a working farm holiday when the kids bring in ‘cute earwigs’ and slugs on their shoes, I suspect we’ll have all the animals and wildlife we can cope with anyway.

A particularly fine example of a caravan made the kids.  Thankfully we will be staying in a slightly larger version of this.

A particularly fine example of a caravan made the kids. Thankfully we will be staying in a slightly larger version of this.

So there we have it, a conclusion to the ‘Where the hell are we going to take the kids this year?’ conundrum.  The thing is, we could spend a fortune and still have a crappy time or vice versa.  It’s about making the best of it.  As long we can laugh (maybe half hysterically) at the weather, go for days out, spend quality time together, it’ll be fun.   Yay for making happy summer holiday memories. :O)

 

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre!

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre! 

ldc-centre-logo

As part of the Blogs Up North group we were invited to attend the Legoland Discovery Centre and Cadwaladers Ice-Cream and Coffee Cafe at the Trafford Centre.  How excited were we?  Very.  The kids were bouncing off the walls when they heard where we were going.  Here’s how the trip went!

We also went to Cadwaladers Coffee and Ice-Cream Cafe which was the icing on the cake for kids.

The start of a Lego adventure!

The queue for the pre-paid tickets was longer than the one for walk in customers which seemed a little strange, but we weren’t waiting long as we were part of the bloggers group. So in we went!  This is map of the delights we had in store:

Tons of stuff to do, I wondered how on earth they'd fitted it all into one building.

Tons of stuff to do, I wondered how on earth they’d squished it all into one building.

First of all we went into the Lego Factory where they had an interactive talk and a display about how lego is made.  It was short enough and fun enough so that the kids didn’t lose interest.  They had them jumping up and down and joining in.  It was a very good start.  I’ll admit I was jumping up and down with the kids at one point.  Great interaction with the audience.

IMG_4822

After that we headed into the main attraction area and oh my lord it was packed!  I’ll admit I took a deep breath and thought ‘Well, if there’s room for them, there’s room for us.’  Some parents said that they had visited at other times when it was even busier, so I don’t know how manic it must get in there sometimes.  It was the last day of the holidays and a rainy one at that, so it was bound to be busy though

The kids actually enjoyed queuing for rides because there were little lego play areas along the queuing line. A nice touch I thought.

The kids actually enjoyed queuing for rides because there were little lego play areas along the queuing line. A nice touch I thought.

The Kingdom Quest was brilliant.  We sat in a little car which whizzed us around a lego shooting range.  Each of us had a ‘gun’ which looked more like a fire-hose to be honest (I loved this, as I hate guns) and we fired at targets en route and got points for accuracy that were tallied on screens at the front of the car. Loadsa fun!  I lost, but then I am a terrible shot.

IMG_4827Next we went to the Lego Forest City Pursuit, where children could drive cars around a huge lego set.  It was very well supervised by staff and I didn’t notice any  bumping or road rage.

IMG_4848Following that, it all gets a bit blurry.  Our two little munchkins wanted to do everything at once. They made lego cars and raced them at the Lego Racers Build and Test Site, dived around in the Lego pit (think ball pool and substitute masses of Lego), made huge lego towers in the Duplo Village, played at being kareoke superstars in the Lego Friends area and much more.  There’s really an awful lot to fit in, and my two were up to the challenge.

There were some amazing lego characters scattered around the building.

There were some amazing lego characters scattered around the building.

My only real criticism is this sort of thing:

We got lunch, had to fight for somewhere to sit as it was so busy, and when I went to find a spoon for my coffee, it looked like this.  Ew!

We got lunch, had to fight for somewhere to sit as it was so busy, and when I went to find a spoon for my coffee, it looked like this. Ew!

I didn’t see a single member of staff cleaning or clearing any of the tables.  We were supposed to clear our own tables, but many don’t and there were a number of tables covered with dirty plates and cups.  It’s just not nice.  The kids packed lunches were a little limited too, they had cheese sandwiches and chicken and mayonnaise sandwiches choices available for their packed lunches which seemed an odd combo.  Ye olde ham sarnies are usually on offer at these places.  Sausage had a 50g adult sized packet of crisps in his packed lunch which was a bit excessive and although it was ok, I didn’t rate their catering for children very much and his lunch alone cost £4.50.  This is to be expected at attractions I suppose, but still, I was a bit disappointed.  There are no facilities for packed lunches either, you aren’t supposed to take in your own refreshments, although there is a food court in the Trafford Centre of course.

The 4D Cinema was fun though, Darlek and Sausage squealed and laughed when they were doused with a light spray of water and bubbles as the film played.  The glasses made me laugh, cool dudes aren’t we!

IMG_4951

Miniland was breathtaking, really pretty. It did make me laugh that the whole place seemed infested with little white lego bunnies, there were bunnies in the water, bunnies on the balconies, bunnies playing chicken with the lego cars, bunnies everywhere.  Either they were there because it was Easter or one of the lego builders had a nervous breakdown and had just gone bunny mad.

Miniland was breathtaking, really pretty.

Bunny Invasion!

Bunny Invasion!

It did make me laugh that the whole place seemed infested with little white lego bunnies, there were bunnies in the water, bunnies on the balconies, bunnies playing chicken with the lego cars, bunnies everywhere. Either they were there because it was Easter or one of the lego builders had a nervous breakdown and had just gone bunny mad.

cadwaladers-logo

The visit to Cadwaladers was a lovely calm break.  They were so nice there.  The kids both had ice-creams and we had two well-earned lattes.

A fantastic range of ice-creams ranging from Turkish Delight to Bubblegum.

A fantastic range of ice-creams ranging from Turkish Delight to Bubblegum.

MMMMmmmmmm.....

MMMMmmmmmm…..

Clean tables, great coffee, lush ice-cream.  10/10 :O)

Clean tables, great coffee, lush ice-cream. 10/10 :O)

So how would I rate our visit to Legoland? The kids absolutely adored the place, so much to do and so many other children to play with.  Personally I found it all a bit claustraphobic, but that’s just me being an awkward so and so.  The staff were so helpful, especially as I lost the kids’ coats whilst there so I had to ask for them to have a quick look around for them.  My only quibble as I said before was the Legoland cafe, maybe they were understaffed, but with so many people in there, they did need to be more on the ball with keeping the area clean and tidy.

It’s a fun day out for the kids, they certainly won’t ever be bored.  How they fitted so much under one roof, I do not know. Our two are even more obsessed with lego than they were before and we did have a lovely day out thanks to the generosity of the Legoland Discovery Centre and Cadwaladers.  Many thanks for inviting us all and making us feel so welcome.

This is a sponsored post, we were supplied with complementary tickets at Legoland and ice-creams and coffees at Cadwaladers.  I feel so privileged to be a blogger and to get the chance to visit such fantastic places.

Make Tracks to the National Railway Museum This Half Term!

Make Tracks to the National Railway Museum This Half Term!

NRM

The National Railway Museum is hosting nine days of Big Fun with Little Trains this February half term.

From 16- 24th February, the National Railway Museum is hosting a free nine day celebration of toys and model trains.  Visitors of all ages will be enthralled  by the range of little locos from children’s pedal trains, to rides on indoor and outdoor miniature railways* that the whole family can enjoy.

miniature trains

Children will be able to get hands-on in the museum play areas and enjoy rides of all shapes and sizes.  Meccano and Lego workshops and the G-Wizz garden railway (complete with grass, plants and its own water feature) will add to the fun.  Family friendly model layouts will be on display and visitors can take part in a Chuggington(C) challenge to stack your track as high as possible.  As well as the toy train fun, visitors can enjoy the regular school holiday activities including explosive science shows, turntable demonstrations and rides behind a real steam engine*.  The 100 year old signal school, used to train would-be signallers, will also be open for visitors to marvel at.

Chuggington

As well as taking part in the wide range of activities on offer across the museum’s enormous site, visitors can also explore the Warehouse to discover an intriguing array of model railway objects including a model railway that is so small it fits into a banjo case, and a collection of model railway vehicles which boast a Guinness World Record for being the largest collection made by one person.

Trains again

Zoe Roberts, Public Programme Developer said:  ‘With this February set to be freezing, parents who are desperate to get out of the house with the kids should make tracks to the National Railway Museum!  We have a range of fun activities to keep children and their parents entertained throughout half term and all under one roof!  Big Fun with Little Trains opens on 16th February.’

* Small charge may apply.

  • The Museum houses a Guinness world record holding collection – the largest collection of model railway vehicles built by one man.  James Peel Richards’ dedication to model building led him to construct 610  model railway vehicles during his lifetime.  His aim was to build the entire LNWR fleet of locomotives, carriages and wagons as they would have appeared on one day on the railway.
  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts over 700,000 visitors per year.
  • The National Railway Museum’s collection includes over 300  locomotives and rolling stock, 628 coins and medals, 4899 pieces of railway uniform and costume, railway equipment, documents, records, artwork and railway photographs.
  • The National Railway (I feel like a parrot here….) houses a world class collection of Royal trains, which includes a collection of Royal carriages, from those used by Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II.
  • The National Railway Museum’s (Squark!) vast art collection comprises of 11,270 posters, 2,358 prints and drawings, 1052 paintings, and 1,750,000 photographs, many of which have never been on public display.
  • The National Railway Museum (flaps wings a bit) forms part of the Science Museum Group along with the Science Museum in London, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, the National Media Museum in Bradford and the National Railway Museum in Shildon.
  • Admission to the National Railway Museum is free.
  • For more information visit nrm.org.uk
  • Follow them on Twitter HERE.
  • Join them on Facebook HERE. 
  • This is a sponsored post.  Can you tell?

Paddington Bear at the National Railway Museum!

Paddington Bear at the

National Railway Museum!

This is a press release I received from the National Railway Museum which outlines some brilliant October half term events.  They look fab and I think we may be going along, if only to meet Paddington Bear!  I’ll be honest and say the kids aren’t sure who he is, but I certainly do!  He’s a really messy bear and I lurve him!  Forget Iggle-Irritating-Piggle and Upsy-Squeaksy-Daisy, I want to meet one of my childhood heros!  I’m selfish I am!

I thought it was a great excuse to include one of the episodes, a classic!  Enjoy!  And if you want to go to the National Railway Museum and take part in more Paddington Bear activities (and look at trains of course) you can find the press release below the video clip.

National Railway Museum Makes Half Term Bearable!

Paddington Bear (TM) will be popping in to the National Railway Museum from the 27th October to 4th November for a week of half term fun.

As well as getting up close and personal to the museum’s stunning collection of locomotives, wagons and carriages, the week long event will see children on a teddy bear treasure hunt, ‘Wang a Welly’, take part in craft events and stroytelling, follow an interactive family trail and enjoy science shows.  The nation’s favourite bear will also be making appearances throughout the week whilst mums and dads can feast on home-made marmalade sandwiches, tea and cakes.  The event is ideal for children aged 3-8.

Zoe Roberts, Public Programme Developer said: ‘We are delighted to have Paddington pop in to visit us over half-term!  Having the nation’s favourite travelling bear (he was after all, found in a railways station) come to visit us is a real privelege.   So don your duffle coats and join us for a week of family fun.’

Paddington Fact File:

  • Paddington Bear loves marmalade and keeps spare sandwiches under his hat.
  • Famous fans of Paddington Bear include Stephen Fry, Jeremy Clarkson and Suri Cruise.
  • There is a life size bronze statue of Paddington Bear at London’s Paddington Station.
  • Do you know what Paddington Bear’s suitcase contains?  A photo of his beloved Aunty Lucy and a secret compartment.
  • Paddington Bear is named after Paddington Station near to where Michael Bond, his creator lived.
  • A Bear Called Paddington was published in October in 1958.

Notes to Editors: Paddington Bear (TM) (C) Paddington ad Company Limited 2012. Paddington Bear (TM), Paddington (TM) and PB(TM) are trademarks of Paddington and Company Limited.  Licensed by Copyrights Group.

  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts over 700,000 visitors per year.
  • The National Railway Museum’s collection includes over 300 locomotives and rolling stock, 628 coins and medals, 4899 pieces of railway uniform and costume, railway equipment, documents, records, artwork and railway related photographs.

Chooo-Chooooo!

  • The National Railway Museum houses a world class collection of Royal trains, which includes a collection of Royal carriages, from those used by Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II.
  • The National Railway Museum’s vast art collection comprises of 11,270 posters, 2.358 prints and drawings, 1052 paintings and 1, 750,000 photographs, many of which have never been on public display.

As this is a press release I feel bound to write this as it has been typed on the sheet of paper I have in front of me, so I shall go against all my natural inclination to start a new paragraph with a new phrase dammit, and repeat yet again:

  • The National Railway Museum….. forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Museum of Science and Industry (Mosi) in Manchester, the National Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion – the National Railway Museum in Shildon.

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by. RL Stevenson. Any excuse to include a bit of poetry!

  • Admission to the National Railway Museum is free!

For more information visit nrm.org.uk which is HERE!

Follow us at twitter.com/railwaymuseum.

Join us at Facebook.com/nationalrailwaymuseum.

If I have to write the phrase ‘The National Railway Museum’ one more time I may just go mad.

This is a sponsored post and I was sent a very cute little Paddington Bear in a miniature suitcase in return for my time – no other financial reward was given.

Railfest 2012!

Britain’s Biggest Rail Celebration!

This was an event I was gutted to have missed out on, it sounded fabulous, but we simply weren’t able to attend.  I should also have blogged about it last week so I am apologising profusely here, and encouraging people to attend next year instead or at least to go visit when they can!  If previous events at the National Railway Museum have been anything to go by, this year’s Railfest was no nothing short of traintastic!  

Here’s the press release they sent me, so you can see how much they had on offer, and so you can keep an eye out for future events. 

RailFest 2012

The nine day celebraton of Britain’s railways will see an enormous space the size of 11 football pitches bustling with an awe-inspiring line up of more than 50 locomotives from across the UK.  A wide variety of railway-related activities, attractions, sights, sounds and smells will add to the exciting atmosphere with the opportunity to get up close to the exhibits.

The festival will bring together over 30 record-breaking locomotives that have made their mark on rail history for being the fastest, strongest, first, last and oldest.  Among the confirmed record-breaking attendees is holder of the record for the world’s fastest steam locomotive at 126 mph Mallard; the newest mainline steam locomotive in operation, Tornado; and the most powerful industrial tank engine built for use in the UK, Mardy Monster.  The first steam locomotive to reach 100mph, Flying Scotsman is also set to attend the event.  The locomotive is currently undergoing major restoration work and will be on display to the public during Railfest with further work being carried out on Flying Scotsman after the event.   Railfest 2012 will welcome the largest gathering of railway record breakers ever brought together in one place.

With key support from the leading rail magazine titles; RAIL, Steam Railway and Model Rail, the festival is expected to draw railway fans from far and wide.

Steve Davies, Director of the National Railway Museum, said:

‘Our previous railfest in 2004 celebrated the bicenenary of Britain’s railways and proved to be a huge success by attracing over 60,000 visitors.  This year we hope to top this by providing an even bigger and better event.  We’re certain that rail fans young and old will be well catered for and we look forward to making 2012 a year to remember at the National Railway Museum.’

The action -packed event will invite visitors to get-up even closer to the exhibits and locomotives by climbing into the drive’s cab, taking a ride behind working engines of all sizes and speaking to inspiring railway characters.  Hundreds of stalls, refreshment areas and live music will also add to the bustling and exciting atmosphere.

For a traintastic time at Railfest, famiiles are encouraged to bring their Koko, Brewster and Wilson fans (whether young or old) to the Chuggington Activity Area.  Every fan who visits the Depot will receive a special Chuggington book which links the animated favourites to their original vehicles (look out for two at Railfest!).  Attendees are reminded to bring their camera as younger trainspotters will get the chance to dress up as one of the famous Chuggers.

Families can also get crafty with a Deltic and Brewster make-and-take activity and thre will be a giant Wilson model made out of Megablocks with visitors having the chance to win a huge Chuggington prize by guessing the number of blocks used.

Need a break fom the hustle and bustle of the event?  The Family Chill-out Area is the perfect plave to let off steam with a variety of train-themed TV shows on the big screen and a chance to play with Brewster and other toys in the special Chuggington Playspace.

Tickets were £8 for children aged 2-15 years, and £13 for an adult.  Family tickets and group offers were available.  Railfest was hosted in an outdoor area at the museum with entry to the rest of the museum remaining free to visitors during the 9 day event.   For all the latest updates and announcements please sign-up to receive the museum’s email newsletter which you can find on this site link HERE.

Summer is the Bees Knees!

Summer is the Bees Knees!

Well, when it’s summery it’s the bees knees anyway!  Yes I know it has been tipping it down this last week and it’s not felt like summer at all, but prior to that it was gorgeous, you have to admit it.

Cloud busting!

Today we spent almost all day in our living room, with rain splattered windows and the wind racing around our battered back garden.  It was ok though, the kids played Rabbid Rabbits or some other such daft named game, on the Wii and jumped about like crazy things for ages, so that kept them occupied.  I had a headache mostly, still have in fact.  You know the sort that makes you feel like your brain is in an invisible vice. Nice. Every yell of ‘Jump on the rabbit!!!’ made my eyes water, I swear.  (I probably did swear inwardly too).  But they’ve been happy enough and that’s what counts.

Now the day is over I’d like to revisit a lovely day we had last weekend, when the sun shone down like a golden god, and the wild flowers bounced in the light breeze.  A much calmer day than the one we’ve just had!  Horace’s parents and our rabble went to Nostell Priory which is a huge old country house (we didn’t go inside) which boasts a gorgeous fish filled, water-birds aplenty lake, meadows and a strange old gateway thing called the Obelisk which was the grand entrance way for visitors in days of yore.

There’s loads to do there, but we only had limited time so we went for a walk among the lush green meadows and soaked up some of the summer rays.  The kids boinged along grabbing dandylions and long grass, usually whipping us with them too.  That was fun at first, but when they started swiping us in the face with the soily ends they’d dragged up from the ground with the grass, I did get a bit mumsy and had to ask them to stop. I know, I know, I’m a spoilsport!

Chocolate ice-creams make great face cream so I’ve heard. Sausage is covered in the stuff if you look carefully.  Horace in soft focus, he should do shampoo adverts I think.

We saw whole flotillas of baby birds and their mums, most of them looking hopefully at us, I think they expected bread.  We saw cygnets, ducklings and even about 5 or so tiny moorhen chicks.  There was a massive carp too, swimming around like a submarine in the middle of the lake.

This was a very beautiful, very bossy swan. It definitely wanted feeding, and we were witness to inter-species brawling. The ducks lost I think.

Grandma Sweara and I spotted Golden Rattle flowers, Speedwell, Plantain, Dandylions (of course!), and other wild flowers I can’t remember the name of, and we discussed the complexity of grasses and how impossible they are to identify.  Or maybe that’s just me being dense.  We saw at least 5 or 6 ladybirds too, lazily clambering around on leaves searching for greenfly dinners.

The sky was a fantastic bright blue, my cardie was too warm, the kids sulked a little because they were hungry, but all in all it was a gorgeous summer’s day walk.  One of those postcard days that I’ll have to mentally mail to myself when the days get all wet and windy like they did today.

And finally a photo that makes me laugh.  I look like an absolute troll, and considered not including this for that very reason, but wasn’t there some king or other that said he wanted his picture painting with ‘warts an all?’  I admire his spirit, so here I am, double chin an’ all. Horace just makes me laugh in this, it’s a kind of ‘This is all just too much to cope with!’ pose.  Darlek shows off her fangs too here, she’s lost almost all her front teeth and is trying desperately to grow them back so she can learn to whistle properly.  Sausage is being his usual cheeky self – I reckon we look like the Royle family or something.  (That’s definitely ‘Royle’ family, not Royal’ Family…..)

Honestly, I look amazing when I wear make-up. *clutches at straws*

Oh and a little indulgence.  I drew a bee this weekend, I was rather proud of it, even though it has seven legs.  I can count, I just got mixed up.

Its wing is a bit broken too, if it was real it would fly in circles a lot.