Friday, 31 August 2012

Shepreth Wildlife Park

Today we visited which is great because we can go on the train from Cambridge and it is about a 2 minute walk from the train station. You also get money off entry prices with a valid train ticket!

The girls had a great time. The place isn't huge but most sees include the big cats, wolves, otters (my girls' favourite), a cool walk though bat cave with them flying around you, a bit where you can stroke bunnies and a large indoor and outdoor play area. You could easily spend most of a day here, especially if you take a picnic.

I suppose some of the cages are a little small and some of the animals pace up and down looking a little stressed but I don't think it is any worse (and probably better) than a lot of other small zoos.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

22 things to do before you are 113/4

So of the NT list what can we, as a family, cross off (and the ones we have left to do are in orange)....

1, Climb a tree - The girls do this all the time; they love a good tree to climb. They don't always go high but they do climb. In fact we are lucky in that at the girls school there are trees to climb!

2. Roll down a really big hill - did this at Alnwick castle and at the Botanical gardens in Birmingham
3. Camp out in the wild - how wild do we need to go? Does glamping count???
4. Build a den - we did this at Bewilderwood and when we went camping.
5. Skim a stone 
6. Run around in the rain - we are often out in the rain anyway

7. Fly a kite  did this on holiday on the beach in Bamburgh

8. Catch a fish with a net 
9. Eat an apple straight from a tree we have apple trees in our garden, although I hasn't as she doesn't eat fruit YET

10. Play conkers 

11. Throw some snow 

12. Hunt for treasure on the beach - don't know about treasure but we found lots of lots of shells

13. Make a mud pie- in the garden

14. Dam a stream - last year om the beach and when we stayed at the yurt

15. Go sledging last winter

16. Bury someone in the sand  - this summer

17. Set up a snail race 

18. Balance on a fallen tree- often do this at Wandlebury

19. Swing on a rope swing - when we glamped this year

20. Make a mud slide 

21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild - when we stayed in Swanage we did a walk over the headland where there were lots and lots of lovely blackberries ripe and yummy

22. Take a look inside a tree- at Wandlebury

23. Visit an island- take your pick we have been to Lundy, Brownsea and Holy Island

24. Feel like you're flying in the wind 

25. Make a grass trumpet 

26. Hunt for fossils and bones - we found some in Lyme Regis

27. Watch the sun wake up 

28. Climb a huge hill- in the lake district

29. Get behind a waterfall 

30. Feed a bird from your hand- do my chickens count?

31. Hunt for bugs- often look when we are in the garden and went on a bug hunt last summer

32. Find some frogspawn- when we were walking in the lakes we found some

33. Catch a butterfly in a net 

34. Track wild animals 

35. Discover what's in a pond- we went pond dipping at Wandlebury

36. Call an owl 

37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool 

38. Bring up a butterfly- we grow some painted ladies this summer

39. Catch a crab- we did this in Norfolk 2 years ago

40. Go on a nature walk at night 

41. Plant it, grow it, eat it we have grown tomatoes and cucumbers

42. Go wild swimming 

43. Go rafting 

44. Light a fire without matches 

45. Find your way with a map and compass 

46Try bouldering 

47. Cook on a campfire- (although I supose Miss I has done this at guide camp)
48. Try abseiling 

49. Find a geocache
50. Canoe down a river

So not bad - just some hard ones left to do! Some not suitable for the younger ones and some will need some planning!

100 things to achieve before 2013,

 SO at the start of the year I set myself a list of things I would like to achieve ... some I failed at in January and others I have yet to do! Those I have done are crossed out and those I have failed at I have highlighted in yellow. There are more to do ......
1.       Read the bible every day - have failed although I am trying to do it a few tines a week

2.       Finish my psychology degree

3.       Make an effort to see friends once a month

4.       Run at least once a week - hurt my leg and failed at this early on but am going to try and get back in to this

5.       Run 10k

6.       Row at least 9K 4 times a week

7.       Play with each of the children for at least 15 minutes most weekends - I feel quite sad I can't achieve this but I so often have P with me I rarely play with someone without P.

8.       Read 12 (adult) books

9.       Have other people’s children over to play at least 12 times

10.   Grow some tomatoes - too wet

11.   Make some sloe gin

12.   Make some elderflower cordial - was too wet when it was time to pick the elderflowers

13.   Make a Christmas cake

14.   Make a Christmas pudding

15.   Learn to mend a bike puncture

16.   Have a riding lesson

17.   Clean the windows

18.   Paint a wall

19.   Watch some rowing at the Olympics

20.   Look at the snowdrops at Anglesey abbey

21.   See the lambing at Wimpole

22.   Go to the science festival

23.   Not be late to a child’s extra curricula activity 2 times in a row

24.   Go on a course about assessment

25.   Go to the pub with Tim

26.   Hold a murder mystery night

27.   Knit a doll’s blanket

28.   Go to Northumberland

29.   Drink 12 different types of wine and keep notes

30.   Go to Yo Sushi!

31.   Watch a Shakespeare in a college garden - too rainy and too busy watching the Olympics

32.   Walk more than 12 miles in a single journey

33.   Learn to make choux pastry

34.   Go on a photography course

35.   Make a book with photos taken

36.   Blog once a week

37.   Have more structured time (at least 20 minutes sat and sun) with the girls

38.   Go ice-skating

39.   Visit 3 new national trust places

40.   Go to a concert

41.   Go out for lunch with just my mother

42.   Drive tim’s car once

43.   Learn to check the car tyre pressure

44.   Learn to re-fill the car’s washer fluid level

45.   Have a day out in London with the family

46.   Go punting

47.   Go bowling with the family

48.   Have a bbq

49.   Visit a castle

50.   Get to and maintain weight to [women's]  lightweight rower level

51.   Finish sorting out playroom

52.   Go on a family walk at least 6 times a year

Potato Printing

Today, with some potatoes left over from Sunday lunch I got the girls to do some printing with them. P was happy with just half a potato but G and E wanted shapes. I used a biscuit cutter for a basic shape and with a knife I cut away the parts of the potato that fell outside the shape. We then pressed the potato in to the paint. (To change colours, rinse the potato in running water and pat dry if you wish.)
G enjoyed making patterns and mixing the paints into new colours.
E was able to follow my pattern and start one of own.
P enjoyed moving the potato round the paper and seeing what happened.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Feet Painting

Today I rolled out a large sheet of white paper and at each end put a baking tray with some paint in. The girls soon found it and started walking up and down on it with much giggling! They really enjoyed the experience of the paint. This was good for messy play, colour mixing and numeracy (how has the biggest feet, who can make the biggest gap between prints - this could extend to measuring). The only thing is it can get quite slippery so we painted on the grass where it didn't matter about the mess or falling over!

50 things to do before you are 113/4

I love challenges and if they get us outdoors so much the better. The National Trust has come up with a list of 50 things to do before you are 11 and 3/4 (Not long with Isabelle). You can see the list here: or pick up a booklet from NT places. The 50 things are:

1. Climb a tree
2. Roll down a really big hill
3. Camp out in the wild
4. Build a den
5. Skim a stone
6. Run around in the rain
7. Fly a kite
8. Catch a fish with a net
9. Eat an apple straight from a tree
10. Play conkers
11. Throw some snow
12. Hunt for treasure on the beach
13. Make a mud pie
14. Dam a stream
15. Go sledging
16. Bury someone in the sand
17. Set up a snail race
18. Balance on a fallen tree
19. Swing on a rope swing
20. Make a mud slide
21. Eat blackberries growing in the wild
22. Take a look inside a tree
23. Visit an island
24. Feel like you're flying in the wind
25. Make a grass trumpet
26. Hunt for fossils and bones
27. Watch the sun wake up
28. Climb a huge hill
29. Get behind a waterfall
30. Feed a bird from your hand
31. Hunt for bugs
32. Find some frogspawn
33. Catch a butterfly in a net
34. Track wild animals
35. Discover what's in a pond
36. Call an owl
37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool
38. Bring up a butterfly
39. Catch a crab
40. Go on a nature walk at night
41. Plant it, grow it, eat it
42. Go wild swimming
43. Go rafting
44. Light a fire without matches
45. Find your way with a map and compass
46. Try bouldering
47. Cook on a campfire
48. Try abseiling
49. Find a geocache
50. Canoe down a river

Some of them we have done already ... some of them will need some thinking about but they all look like fun.

glamping in York

To follow on from our holiday we went glamping at a place called Jollydays ( The campsite was huge in a woodland with safari like tents. We hired a luxury tent with proper beds, a 2 ring gas stove and a shower and toilet. The tent was huge, but dark even in the daytime. The beds were super comfortable. The kids had a great time playing in the woods with other children. WE went off at 8 and came back to eat and we rounded them up when it was dark. They loved the wooden rope swings, toasting marshmallows on the central camp fire (I was so impressed as they shared their marshmallows with all their new friends without being asked) and just the freedom camping offers. The only downsides was the cost compared to normal camping and they said they sold cake and marshmallows in the tea tent which I never saw any marshmallows and the cakes seemed to be the same all the time we were there. BUT it was a fab holiday and the kids are keen to go back.

 Whilst we were in York we visited the Jorkvik centre which was all about York's viking history and the minister.

fab holiday in Northumberland

We are just back from an amazing holiday in Bamburgh, Northumberland. We enjoyed empty  enormous sandy beaches, castles and islands. We flew kites, paddled in the sea, ran down dunes, made sand castles, played cricket. The list goes on! Bamburgh itself is a fab village - with a lovely butchers, deli and shop with home grown vegetables, plus lots of pubs and a nice tea room.

We rented this lovely cottage ( - it was beautiful and so handy for the beach. The girls loved the large climbing frame in the garden.

Tim and I also enjoyed a walk from Crasters back to Bamburgh on our own with my parents looking after the girls. We went to Lindsfarne and the Farne Islands, Alnwick castle and gardens.

I loved Northumberland - helped because the weather was great. No rain, windy and some days very warm (not hot but it is up north after all).