Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hello Miss Evelyn!

We've had a lovely day today at my aunt's house - my sister and her troups came along too so we met her new daughter Evelyn for the first time! She was born on 30th June at a massive 11 pounds 4 ounces! We've seen photos, but today was the first meeting and she is totally gorgeous...

Walk-In Run

We're having a bit of a change around with the chickens at the moment. We had got them living in an Egglu Cube, with the bottom third-ish of the garden fenced off for them to peck around in - having experimented with them having full run of the garden and watch it slowly turn into a grassless bog over the winter months, they have been confined to their own area for a while now!

But Leigh wants to get a bit of that garden back and has been thinking about a walk-in run for a while - we have finally gone for it! It's 3m x 2m on the ground but also 2m high, so although it feels as though they have lost some ground space, we can put large logs and things in so that they can climb and use the height of the new run as well. Leigh and I put the run together last night (which was reasonably straightforward if time-consuming - and we both have lots of insect bites to show for our efforts today!), then moved everything around today and the new one is in place - they still have the Egglu for night time and egg laying, but their daytime activities are all within the new run now. The bottom end of the garden doesn't need to be fenced off any longer and the whole area looks bigger just with the old fence gone.

The plan is to plant up some grass seed and also have a vegetable patch to reclaim the previously chickenified piece of garden.

Here's how it looked before...

Here's our handy helpers getting everything unpacked...

And how it looks now


Saturday, August 18, 2012


I've recently visited a couple of local attractions with the boys recently - both places which I have been to before and liked, but this time really impressed me!

The first was Nottingham Castle. Now, to be fair, I don't think I've actually been inside since I was at university (which was *cough cough* years ago!) but I had to drop my Mum off at Nottingham station last week and I thought it might be a good place to go for the morning before that. The gardens are lovely and there's a big open space where they have open air theatre productions, but also has some climbing structures and slides with a castle theme. Nice. Inside there are several displays and exhibitions, some which the boys weren't really interested in but there was well enough for us to have a good hour in there. The first room we went in displayed interesting and fascinating objects - and had a huge Noah's Ark display on one wall with lots of sounds to listen to and animals to find under the flaps.

In the long gallery with the painting exhibition (again in itself would not have captivated the boys),  they had added a sensory/musical element which had been designed by a local organisation for the disabled. There were huge square units which you could carry round a specified part of the gallery - when they came in range they would play different musical instruments, and holding 2 of them close together made a duet play. The boys very much enjoyed this, although the blocks were almost too heavy for them to carry!

There was a lovely room which had been decorated around a boat theme, with a boat reading corner (complete with sail overhead and clouds hanging from the ceiling), a unit with lots of different toys in drawers, some dressing up and some paintings to look at. It was really well done and we could have spent much longer in there exploring everything.

Finally in the basement (below the Story of Nottingham exhibition) they have a room called "Hood's in the Wood." The whole room is decorated as though it is a house in a forest, there's lots of snippets of information about Robin Hood, some TV bits (didn't really see what they were), a kitchen area to explore, lots of dressing up, some colouring and other things. Again it was extremely well put together, interested the boys and both Mum and I really enjoyed it too!

There was lots in the museum we didn't really look at, or only in passing, but it was still well worth the entrance fee and we could have spent much longer there. Definitely going back!

We've also been to Gulliver's Kingdom this week - it's a theme park set into a hillside at Matlock Bath. I have been there before - we took Zachary when he was about one and a half, so he was still relying on the pushchair a lot, and I was about 3/4 months away from giving birth to Leo. So my memories of that visit are that it was very hot, very steep, hard work and Zachary didn't go on very much.

However this visit was totally different - Leo and Zachary are both able to get themselves around now (with just a small amount of carrying for Leo!), and as they are both over 90cm tall, they can go on nearly everything (there were only 1 or 2 really big rides you had to be 120cm to go on) and did! I think the log flume was their favourite and as we started at the top entrance, we were able to work through the park going downhill most of the time, and then used the chair lift to go back up to the top and work down again to the entrance we needed! It worked brilliantly and was a great day.

Okay, so where else can we go and revisit now??!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Milky Fun

The other day we drove past a local park where a Fun Fair was advertised. Zachary read the signs and started asking if we could go - just as we passed the park however, we saw a milk float and both the boys were very excited - oddly!

Anyway, we planned to go to Gulliver's Kingdom yesterday, and to try and explain what it was like I said it was like a fun fair - Leo asks "with a milk man?" And now, everytime a fun fair is mentioned, Leo asks if there's going to be a milk man there! He's connected the 2 random events and now they are forever intertwined. He is lovely!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

2 days down

It has been an interesting and good start to working again.

I had been very apprehensive about starting - mostly because I wasn't sure how Zachary would take to the change in routine. In the past he has sometimes found it a little difficult to adjust to big changes - or at least it has taken some time for things to settle down, but fortunately he seems to really enjoy the holiday club at the private nursery we use and even got to touch a snake and a frog this afternoon (under carefully controlled conditions at 'Zoo Lab' of course!). There's also a pool table in the games room there so I think he's almost in heaven having 'snooking' on tap!

And that's not to say I wasn't nervous for Leo as well - it's just that he generally seems to be a lot more easy-going about changes and dealt with the transition to nursery about 6 months ago much more smoothly than Zachary did when he started at 2. But these are long days now - they're at the nursery 8 til 5, yet based on the 2 days they've had there, both of the boys seem to have settled well - and fingers crossed it continues. There's only 1 day left this week for me at work and then Thursday and Friday I'm with the boys. I do find I am missing them when I'm at work - but it's more that I want them there with me, than wanting to be back at home!

Otherwise, I am really enjoying being back at work although I had forgotten how dull inductions are! At least I haven't spent the first 2 days thinking I've made a huge mistake. I spent most of yesterday being shown systems and procedures, and finally managed to get stuck into some files today. It seems to be coming back to me and it almost (although not quite!) feels as though I haven't been away! It's refreshing to interact with people who don't know me as a mum and work with them on a wholly different basis, and I'm actually in charge of someone! It certainly seems at the moment that the firm had some problems with my predecessor, and I've got a lot of sorting out to do, but providing I'm well organised and proactive about the work, I should be okay. Hopefully things will continue as smoothly as the last couple of days - I've got 3 weeks at work now, then 2 weeks off. One of those weeks is a family holiday in Ibiza with the in-laws and the second week Zachary starts school - another new beginning.