We shall go to the show

Woke up early worrying about where I had put the tickets for Skye’s dance show this weekend…..had an idea where they could be and just HAD to look…TA DA!! Found them! πŸ™‚ So pleased – its been bothering me all week – been hunting around like crazy – very unlike me to misplace important things!

So, girls still asleep – realised that with our busy day ahead would need to take lunch with us – ah, no bread but plenty of bread mix and bread flour πŸ™‚ It was my intention to wait until the girls had woken up to let them make bread (from a mix as its considerably quicker) but really couldn’t wait so made it myself and by the time they had got themselves up, dressed and downstairs it was baking in the oven. Maybe it was the smell of fresh bread that woke them πŸ™‚

Maths – Poppy continued work from yesterday on sorting and rounding decimals and converting to fractions. Skye looked at converting and simplifying fractions. Think she got out of bed a little too early – wasn’t terribly focused this morning 😦

After throwing together a picnic type lunch, the girls went riding – Skye very pleased that she is now able to trot properly πŸ™‚ – then into town for my hair appointment. Girls sat in the waiting area and read. We were a little early to go to drums, so called into the local garden centre for a mooch around the animals and fish. Drums went well, Poppy played in the garden with T whilst Skye had her lesson.

Home, tea then dropped Skye at Scouts. Poppy and I watched Monkey Life πŸ™‚ Picked Skye up – had a fab time. Played golf, did some map work and something else involving being blindfolded and guided by a rope. Came home with her ‘Creative’ badge – more sewing!

Another late night for the girls – can’t sleep because of the heat! 😦

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Water-lot of fun!

Woke up this morning to another gorgeous sunny day πŸ™‚ I could get used to this – having breakfast ‘al fresco’.

Both girls were not up particularly early, mainly due to taking so long to get to sleep last night as it was so warm!

One they had breakfasted, dressed etc, they started to make greetings cards (which they sell to family and friends to earn pocket-money :)) until we ran out of double-sided sticky tape – honestly! Interrupted the morning to go for an interview for a job to work one weekend a month, which incidentally I think went fairly well. Mum sat with the girls whilst they got on with some maths, Poppy surprised me by working on a Year 6 workbook. Skye carried on working through the exercises from Singapore maths. Both girls did some work from their Letts Science workbooks about hygiene, caring for your teeth. Also managed to fit in some reading – I was a very happy Mummy when I arrived home πŸ™‚

Grabbed swimming costumes and towels and we spent the afternoon at the Puddles. That, to be honest, sums up how their garden looked when we left!! Full of puddles. The girls had a fab time though!

Max very kindly did the dancing run, leaving Merry and I to continue our chatter, leaving Poppy and Maddy to play – which they do very well πŸ™‚

Home, girls bathed, had dinner, tv, story (Poppy finally finished a book she has been reading for what seems like months!) – and to bed.

Back into the swing

After our lovely holiday it was time to get back to some kind of routine.

Both girls have worked through some English on BBC Bitesize – suffixes and prefixes. Aimed at KS2, both found it rather easy and whizzed through the exercises. Both have been using GP Junior English. OK for Poppy but Skye really needs to move on GP English book 1 – need to source one fairly soon. Had some fun with maths – looking at Roman Numerals, solving maths problems written in RN – they enjoyed that πŸ™‚

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We decided to brighten up our very tidy garden [thank you Mum and Dad :)] by decorating some old jars with colourful bead handles to make candle holders.

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Both girls wrote about one of their holiday highlights in whatever form they wished – both chose to write about the pony hack we went on, Skye wrote a short diary-type entry and Poppy chose to write a poem. I have set them up a blog page each which will hopefully encourage a bit more writing – not so much a problem for Skye but Poppy avoids writing anything!! She can create so many funny and interesting stories in her head – if only she would get then down on paper! At least they have both made a start – each blogged one thing so far, Poppy about Geocaching and Skye about their visit to the East of England Show.

We have had some lovely days with the Puddle chicks over the last couple of weeks. The first get together after our holiday, they spent most of the day in the garden doing gym and playing with playmobil. Generally making a good effort to stay out of our way so we didn’t give them work to do!! The other days have been mainly art led – Merry has bought some ‘samples’ from work to test out and the girls have done some fantastic pictures – including writing on my patio doors! We have taken our ‘art’ sessions outside and met up at Ferry Meadows for a couple of hours and the girls and I have also sat on the lovely green area at the front of our house to do some sketching πŸ™‚ We are liking art very much πŸ™‚

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The girls and I sat one afternoon doing some watercolour pencil drawings. Wanting to incorporate some varied art activities, I checked out ‘Sketch Tuesday’ which Merry and I had been discussing. Basically you are given a theme to work on and you need to draw a picture relating to the given theme and then email it over and she displays it on Flickr and her blog. Thought we would give it a go, the theme being Wild Ones – Everglades. I told the girls a little bit about the Everglades and they set to researching animals that can be found there. Poppy drew a wading bird and Skye drew a Key Deer – I think both are rather fabulous!

Wading bird

Skye's watercolour pencil drawing - Key Deer

In keeping with an ‘arty’ theme we watched the last of the recorded Dr Who which featured Vincent Van Gogh and prompted discussion about him. (Definitely my favourite episode so far this series, I found it very emotional). Skye and Poppy decided to look at more of his work on the internet which they found rather interesting. They noticed that art doesn’t have to be perfect to be fantastic! We have made a mental note to visit the Museum d’Orsay on our trip to Paris in September πŸ™‚

Had a bit of a geocache frenzy over the last couple of weeks – had a lovely day in Oundle on the hunt for 14 but only managed to find 4! Mainly due to the enormous stinging nettles we had to wade through which hindered our searching somewhat! Had a fab time though, love geocaching – it really does take us off the beaten track to places that we would never have known about!

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A very exciting day…our biggest geocache find so far πŸ™‚

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Both girls doing more reading. Trying to encourage Skye to read books other than Horrible History/Geography/Science (not that I want her to stop reading them because they are great books) but I think she needs some variety – she’s a very competent reader but she’s a bit like me though, enjoys reading but I struggle to find books myself, better if they are recommended to me. So following an afternoon with Merry, I came home with two of her favourites to read πŸ™‚ Skye has started to read Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo, triggered by something in the GP Junior English book – she did start to read it a couple of years ago but we’ll see if she can stick it out to the end this time! I won’t hold my breath though!

I was getting rather worried about Poppy’s lack of reading on holiday – always managed to find something else to occupy her mind! However Wayne was reading a paper and she read out some lines from it pretty fluently even managing to read trickier words with confidence! Worry over πŸ™‚

Poppy has spent some time on Grid Club – maths and grammar, having to correctly answer questions to complete a quest. Also looked at Victorians section – she is desperate to do a Victorian’s project, complete with dressing up! Maybe we’ll have to arrange it as a group activity – would be much more fun with a larger group.

Drum practice is going well, Skye said its getting trickier now and my cousin suggested that we might need to start looking for a drum kit so she can practice between lessons! Will have to look out for a cheap (if there is such a thing) electric one.

What else….

Poppy lost a tooth – I think it was helped out – she has a habit of doing that! It was placed safely under her pillow ready for the tooth fairy’s visit. She thinks that the same fairy comes to her every time and that they have a computer screen which flashes up every time she loses a tooth so they know when to come. πŸ˜€ Poppy woke up very happy the following morning, the tooth fairy had been very generous, leaving her Β£2!!

To mark the start of the World Cup, Wayne had a World Cup themed Friday – they looked at the flags of those countries taking part and each chose a country to read up on and learn some interesting facts about. Poppy chose France and Skye chose Germany. Wayne also informed me that they spent a lot of time ‘discussing things’ but can’t remember what!!

I have also sourced a place for the girls to ride, although it may only be a short-term arrangement as the lady has to move premises at the beginning of July from fantastic stables, arena and paddocks to a field with no stables or arena 😦 But for the meantime its working well – the girls have been spending a couple of hours a week, learning how to tack up, clean tack and groom three lovely ponies, including an adorable Shetland; then having a ride either in the arena or going out on a hack down the country lane. Such a shame she has to move on 😦

We’ve also had visits to the East Of England show, making pasty’s, learning the art of one stroke painting with the ladies from the WI tent! There is a knack to it and for a first attempt I don’t think the girls have done too bad πŸ™‚

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The highlight for them though would have to be getting up close and playing with the beagles and hounds. Very cute πŸ™‚

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There is probably so much I have missed but I think I need to just draw a line and finish this post!

Allotment diary #4, 5 and 6

Whilst we were on holiday my Dad very kindly looked after our allotment and planted some runner beans and celery.

About a week after our return from holiday, the girls and I went up to see how things were going – OH MY!!! – we have lettuce overload! Good job we like salad! We have 3 or 4 beetroot growing, only 2 carrots so Poppy picked one just to see πŸ™‚ Brussels now stand about a foot tall, we picked some red onions which are not huge but we are desperate to use our own produce πŸ™‚

Went back up last night with Skye to give all the plants a drink and collect more lettuce!

Holiday to France

After collecting Skye from Scout Camp, which apparently went very well. The weather held out for them and Skye had a jam-packed weekend of climbing, glass etching, archery amongst other things, we began our long drive down to the South of France.

Stopped in Dover overnight to catch an early ferry on Monday – planned our stop in Bourges but the drive was going well so we decided to drive a little further – BIG mistake! All that happened was we ended up with tired, hot, hungry children whilst we were desperately trying to look for a hotel! Note to self; next time, stick with Plan A!

Continued our journey down on the following day and arrived at the site shortly after lunch, whilst we were waiting for our accommodation, the girls had a well deserved swim. The pool area was fantastic – four bumpy slides, a curly tube slide, two large pools, jacuzzi and a lovely toddler area. A big thumbs up from the girls πŸ™‚

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Poppy learnt to dive – she is very proud of herself! Took her forever to build up the courage to do it, but once she did, there was no stopping her! Skye desperately wanted to have a go but was a little more wary and unfortunately didn’t manage it 😦

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For the duration of our holiday, we had beautiful weather, blue skies and blazing sunshine so spent most of the holiday by the pool or at the beach!

A little photography fun at the beach πŸ™‚

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Tried out a couple of geocaches, only one successful find but had some lovely walks trying to locate others, one of which took us into some vineyards where we abandoned our car on a dirt track when we could drive no further, then we climbed a fairly steep, craggy hill (in flip-flops)! From the top of the hill we had a fantastic panoramic view of the Pyrenees, the mountains of Agde, the sea and the Caroux. Beautiful πŸ™‚ Despite a long and thorough search, we didn’t find the cache – we must have been so close! It was a very hot day and we were all disappointed that we were unable to find it.

This is the one we did find πŸ™‚

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We had a drive through the Cirque de Moureze, a vast jumble of dolomitic rocks, criss-crossed by footpaths, forming a magnificent natural amphitheatre covering over 340 acres! The village of Moureze is beautifully picturesque, with narrow street and quaint little houses.

On the drive back to the campsite, we stopped off for a picnic lunch at the Lac de Salagou – a huge man-made lake, filled in 1968, and was constructed to limit the rise in water level of the HΓ©rault when it is in spate and act as a reservoir for irrigation purposes surrounded by an exceptional landscape of vibrant African colours, a land of red soils and volcanoes.

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Driving through the vast landscape of red soil, we stopped off so the girls could leave their mark…

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…there were hundreds of ‘signatures’ for about a 2 mile stretch!

I think the highlight of the holiday for the girls at least, was going on a pony hack. On arrival at the stables, we were allocated a horse; Poppy rode Nougat, Skye rode Rizzel and I rode Flamenca – I was very excited, I have not been on a horse since I was six years old! We had a fantastic hack through fields and I felt very safe with the two instructors who rode with us. It gave me a good opportunity to practice my French, although one of the guides, David, spoke very good English! We were out for just over an hour – my legs felt like jelly when I dismounted and know that I would feel muscles I didn’t know I had in the morning! Arrived back on site in time for a quick swim to cool off πŸ™‚

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The girls spent a lot of time whizzing around on their scooters and looking for and catching lizards.

We discovered Cap d’Adge – beautiful beach, crystal clear, shallow sea. What initially lured us to this beach was that they were doing sand sculptures on the beach. They were amazing!

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Poppy, inspired by what she had seen, got to work on her own masterpiece…

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Wayne and the girls were very happy – lots of rock pooling opportunity, they found rock gobis, crabs, even an enourmous sea cucumber – a very odd-looking thing!

Spent a morning in Sete – parked overlooking the sea then took a walk into the town by the harbour. Visited Beziers, not terribly impressed with the town centre but the views from the Cathedral were stunning, so not a totally wasted trip! On the way back, we stopped off at Valras Plage, a lovelly seaside town with a harbour and a fabulous play area on the beach. Turns out that we visited the same beach on our last visit to the are in 2003!

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Skye and Poppy made friends with some girls from the north of England and spent every day of the last week with them, their parents were lovely too so Wayne and I spent a couple of evenings with them whilst the girls played happily together πŸ™‚

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Had a fantastic, relaxing break but not long enough!!

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