30 Days Wild – Day 9

A bit late in posting this, but yes… you guessed it… another day in the garden for us. Seems to be our life at the moment. But we were spotting bugs as we went – this one was a favourite, as the children absolutely loved the colours. We did try and identify and it appears to be a Chrysis ruddii… but we aren’t great at bug ID so don’t quote me on that.

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30 Days Wild – Day 8

Well it’s been a long day… I didn’t manage to get a photo of the 30 Days Wild activities in action… yes like most days at the moment we have been working in the garden. Desperately clearing the ground to try and ready it for the children’s play area section.

I’m ignoring the end 10 foot of the garden, cause frankly it’s 10 foot deep, 13 feet wide and about 10 foot tall of thick bush. I’m ignoring it for a while until I feel a bit more “ready” for a challenge! (And yes that has to go too… as there’s all kinds of rubbish in that too). I have plans for it… going to be a bit of a surprise for the children when we finally get to doing it.

Only today Logan has been designated the title “Environmental Dispatch Specialist” basically rubbish locating and disposing. And Caitlin has been “Nature Safety Manager” meaning, removal of bugs to a safer location… than in the path of Mumma – “Mega Destruction Operative” hehehe

But we have the base of their playhouse laid down, slabs to the front of it laid down, the next section down has been weed-control-sheeted; wood chipped has been purchased and laid; sandpit built and filled (I recommend never buying a Blooma sand pit from B&Q – chiseled slots different sizes, wood split slotting together, pilot screw holes in incorrect positions – like not even the correct side of the wood – just don’t do it); the climbing dome pinned down and in position… a whole 18 foot in length of the 90 foot of garden needing landscaping is roughly done. The playhouse still needs to be painted and erected, but its base is in position and it’s ready to go.

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I think we have spent the best part of 10 hours outside today. With the threat of rain, but moments of sunshine. We have enjoyed meeting the worm family, the slug family, the snail family, the spiders and beetles and the random fly that looked rather peculiar, but I couldn’t describe or identify. Of course, all of the bugs we came across are most definitely from the same family, I know, cause I was scolded by Caitlin that “of course they are, they are all in our garden. They live in the same house. DUH!”

Anyhow… excuse the wonderful editing skills… my neighbours have not signed up to have their houses on show, wouldn’t want to annoy them… This is what we have left to do…

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30 Days Wild – Day 7

So… Ummmmmm…. Yeah….

Day 7. We enjoyed some time outdoors… We laughed and we tried to kill eachother…

We had a go at the Da Vinci bridge.

Turns out it’s quite difficult, especially with a child that is incapable of understanding instructions I mean quite literally can’t take them in), and one that is but has no strength… And with bent knobbly branches. But we tried. And got covered in dirt.

One to retry when Bruce is about… And with the wood I couldn’t get to in the cellar… Hehehe

30 Days Wild – Day 6

Today we built a bee home, we didn’t put it up yet, but we definitely built it.

We were given it by one of the grandparents who’d been given it free with something ages ago, and just hadn’t got a clue where we could put it (being in rentals, and not being able to make holes in things…). But now we are home owners.

It didn’t take long to build, but it’s been a busy day; it started with opticians for me and both children… but staff had call in sick, the place erupted into chaos and complications with out appointments meant we were only leaving 2.5 hours later. We did take in the sunshine on our way back and enjoy a nice walk along the river too.

30 Days Wild: Day 5

So today, I don’t really have a photo of what we got up to… because no one wants a photo of my muddy feet…

We spent some time with our feet in mud, feeling connected.

However, I can say that we also bought and built a climbing dome, which is going to not only be a focus to climb but a space to create a den too… So I’ll add a picture of that.

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Review: Brinton Park

On our little adventures, we have ended up at Brinton Park in Kidderminster.

It’s located just off centre in Kidderminster and as such would be walk-able (under a mile) from the train, or bus, station and is a fun place to meet friends for a picnic and walk. There’s a vast green parkland area and it also has a skate park, tennis court splash pad and play park. There are paths designated for cyclists and pedestrians separately.

 

The parkland was tidy, well kept and clean. And is a great area to walk in, for nature and a safe bit of freedom for the children. The play park was tidy and safe, and the splash pad surprisingly good; having been to various attempts at an outdoor water feature play area, I was impressed by the amount on offer for the children in one splash pad. The water was all shallow, but sloping to go deeper at the one end in order to get a proper “splash when exiting the slide. All in all, rated “Mumma when can we come back?” from the children so… a return is probably on the cards.

 

Review: Haven Devon Cliffs, Platinum Caravan

The week leading up to our house purchase completion, I had booked me and the children a caravan at a Haven park, Devon Cliffs in Exmouth. I have been to this park many times since I was a child and watched the changes it has undergone, and in all honesty, I am not really a fan of the Haven “in your face” entertainment style. It’s too much for me. I quite like seclusion, relaxation and idyllic scenery. But as far as a cheap last minute break away to distract the children goes, I will take it every time.

I mean – there is a beach, a fantastic swimming pool and 2p machines. Every mood of my children is covered by these 3 things. The added bonus of a couple of play parks and an easy to get to location help.

I had initially booked a lower grade caravan (prestige) and because it was term time early spring had gotten an already great deal. But they sent a message saying I could upgrade for as little as £20. So I called and asked what they had to offer – I could get the same grade but newer model for £20, same grade with decking for £30 or a platinum for £50. With platinum I could expect my 2pm check in moved forward to 1pm, complimentary towels as extras waiting for me, and decking. So I figured, why not. The Monday to Friday break had then cost me £180 once this had been considered.

We got there a little early, and went straight to lunch. Although the kitchen was still closing down from breakfast and reopening for lunch as we were so early, but they allowed us to order under the understanding that it may take a while. We didn’t mind, we just wanted to sit and chill… The children enjoyed that their sandwiches were served on a Frisbee they could take home. I went for bread and olives because I really needed to ensure I went dairy/meat free, I had had a few things that weren’t quite in the days leading up out of convenience and was already feeling the hurt. But all of the portions that came out were much bigger than I’d anticipated. Reasonably priced for sure.

 

 

After lunch we popped to the shop to get a few convenience items (the shop is well stocked, and slightly overpriced as per all holiday convenience stores) and then over to collect our keys and head to the caravan. There was parking immediately outside the caravan, and the caravan really was furnished to a high standard, with the large TV, “proper” central heating, decking and furniture, kitchen finishes such as the built in fridge, freezer and dishwasher. It was a touch of luxury to an otherwise budget trip. We were up in Hawthorn Mount. There was a problem when we got in though, and the towels/linen had not been included. I tried to call reception but I was being hung up on, or the line was engaged when i tried to call. So I had to go all the way back to reception, which was a pain. But it was very quickly resolved once I had done.

 

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It was nice to wake up the first morning and enjoy breakfast on the decking overlooking the sea. The children thought it was the most amazing breakfast.

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We are early risers – a 7am lie in is a rare treat. So once breakfast was done we were able to go for a wander around the park taking things in, like some changes I noticed: the park, which has always been a park for as long as I can remember, is no longer a park but a smaller, lower ropes course – paid activity, but they have installed a new park near the swimming pool. Which I guess makes sense for ease of location, but still nostalgia…

 

 

We made good use of the pool whilst we were there, as the children really have upped their confidence in the water. It was mostly me sat somewhere whilst they repeatedly went down different slides (there are many to chose from). And we spent a good whack of time on the beach too. They were treated to a new bucket and spade (in the tired chaos of trying to leave the house, I had forgotten to pack some the many million we own). Paddling in the sea, adventuring the rocks, building sandcastles. All items were covered.

 

On the final afternoon at the site, we had a “special” lunch at the South Beach Cafe, which I have always found expensive, but never really felt that the food lived up to the prices being charged. But still, I wanted it to feel special to the children so we did it. We sat outside above the cliff and had a meal down there. The kids menu was s expensive that when Caitlin said she wanted a Ploughman’s lunch from the adult menu I didn’t really see an issue (there was about £1’s difference to the prices of items on the kids menu) and Logan wanted the kids portion of muscles. It was alright, but I wouldn’t say it was amazing for the prices paid.

 

 

One thing of note – if you are on O2, there is very little signal on the site, definitely none on the main complex, but you may intermittently get some in the caravan and some down on/near the beach.

30 Days Wild – Day 4

So, today… me and the two children woke up feeling sorry for ourselves (sneezy and sluggish). So it’s been a bit of a slow starter.

But we made some effort to clean and dress… and then after lunch took a stroll into town via the ducks and geese armed with birdseed. Very proud that the children know not to take bread – but also they can get VERY embarrassing when out seeing other people use bread (thankfully not an issue today).

To illustrate, I’ll give you an example scenario – we go with seed to feed the ducks. A small child is there with bread and his mum (I assume) child says :
“mummy what are they feeding the ducks?”
“Seeds”
“why haven’t we got seeds?”
“yeah right, I am not made of money, they’ll like the bread anyway. Bread is just as good”
Logan has heard the whole exchange pipes up “mumma, are we made of money? Cause that idiot lady over there thinks we are, and she said bread is good for ducks…” What can I say? He’s on the ball…

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Anyhow, they really enjoyed feeding the ducks, and found the geese very funny – between the one running to us for food, and the two families fighting over whose food territory it was… lots of chuckles.

30 Days Wild – Day 3

Day 3 was spent sorting the garden again. Soon their playhouse will be able to go up, the play area will be sorted and then we can get down to business on the outdoor kitchen and fire pit area before building our veg patch area for next year.

Cannot see much past the huge comfier that’s in the way… But still it’s evident it’s becoming bare.

And I know it seems kind of opposite to the idea of appreciating nature, but seriously it was hazardous out there. Soon we’ll have a place to appreciate nature and plants all year long. (We have waterproofs… And are out in all weathers).

But appreciation was also given, in the way of loud shrieks, at the sight of more growth…

We may not be able to veg patch like we want this year, but… We are going to grow something!

NYE 2017

Knowing that the children really don’t cope with busy, choatic, loud party scenarios when they are anxious we always have a celebration at home that allows them to still experience the “New Year thing”. So we set them challenge activity bags, or envelopes, a bit similar to our advent thing, but this time purely about the night.

So this is what we did this year too… we gave them an envelope, at midday, and inside was another envelope saying that they needed to decorate for a party, move the clock forward 3 hours and have lunch. The inner envelope contained all of their envelopes for the evening with the real time noted in red and the fake time noted in black. This meant they knew we weren’t lying to them, we knew they couldn’t stay up til midnight but we could pretend like when we go on holiday to a different time zone.

The order of events:`

12 midday (3pm) – set the clock forward 3 hours, lunch and decorate for a party (basically, put the christmas lights up).
1pm (4pm) – Present Exploration: Any new things they haven’t got to explore yet for Christmas can be checked out during this hour
2pm (5pm) – Games hour – board games, so the choices ended up being jenga, uno and draughts
3pm (6pm) – Gingerbread house – what family doesn’t enjoy the building a house out of ingredients that are tricky to hold together in a confined space right?
4pm (7pm) – Magic bath time (bath bombs… plural) – they love what Lush! products do to their bath water… so naturally as it’s NYE, we may as well double up right?
5pm (8pm) – Party clothes and face paints – as previously mentioned the children love any excuse to dress up fancy… but they also love face paints. Short time frame meant they just had NYE 2017, 3 balloons and 3 popping fireworks this year, but hey – we got back on track with our timings.
6pm (9pm) – Party Feast –  exactly as it says on the tin… a feast of Party nature.
7pm (10pm) – Chocolate fountain – melted chocolate, strawberries and marshmallows. Mmmmmmm!
8pm (11pm) – Disco time – main lights off, christmas lights on, music and not plugged in microphones (and glow sticks of course)
9pm (midnight) – Midnight mocktails and countdown orange and pineapple juice with grenadine and a netflix NYE countdown

They had a lot of fun, some envelope challenges ran past the hour, but it didn’t matter. we still read the next one on time and muddled our way through. and ultimately ended the year on a high.