Saturday, 18 October 2014

58 birthdays a year

At the 2nd 5th birthday party in a week it dawned on me that, if there are 30 children in a class, between them Oscar & Cailtin could rack up 58 party invites in a year, through school friends alone. 

That's enough for one party every weekend per annum. That's a lot of cake & paint face, not to mention ringing of the ears. 

And just think of the fun we could have with 60 kids when its our turn to host....

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Oscar's idea of autumn

With the leaves turning autmnal browns, yellows and wondeful shades of red - and with 3 little people to entertain when a nursery friend came for a playdate - we went for an early morning walk, shook the dew off the leaves and collected a bin full. Oscar got really into it and this is the result. 

We also made 10 leaf rubbings and strung them up. A fun, seasonal crafty project.

Homework - the letter d

It *could* be the novelty of it but so far homework is proving really fun!

"p: Down the pirate's plate and around his face."

The week Oscar got the Golden Folder

We got caught out in a monsoon type downpour this week. By the time we arrived home (drenched in 5 minutes from park to front door) both children were crying hysterically... I had to laugh.

A rare weekend with no plans whatsoever (my favourite type) started off in the gym for all of us for the first time ever. Tennis for the parents, swimming for everyone (well, for the kids really). 

Weekend ended in an epic shopping trip to Westfield (usually avoided at all costs) to buy marble jar (bribery) presents. Result: 1 hour in playground (arrived too early for shops), £8 worth of tat from the pound shop, £12 worth of Lego, 4 hours of 'entertainment', 2 exhausted children and 1 very tired mummy with 1 eyelid that keeps trying to close by itself by flickering every 2 minutes.

Altogether a good week spent flying solo while He was away with work, culminating in Eid (first time we've marked the occasion) and early school finish on Friday. This was followed by a trip to the library to fill the 'special helper' golden folder - filled not with a Willy Wonka ticket but a request to fill it with a special book to share with their class. Oscar is the chosen keeper of said folder for this week so we have been making our way through 16 new books this weekend.

Quote of the week:
Oscar to Caitlin: "I love you." Quickly followed by: "I love your hair like that." #thethings4yearoldssay

Friday, 22 August 2014

School countdown

The First Day of School

2 weeks before school started I wrote this: After a morning like we've just had I can honestly say I have no qualms about saying I'll be happy to have time to myself. Morning consisted of abandoned play date due to Caitlin screaming, crying & generally blaming me for every slight perceived annoyance - you're pushing the swing wrong, you've forgotten to bring a tissue for my nose which is now running due to excessive crying, things like that. Things that are either not my fault, or are most definitely hers.

Fast forward 2 weeks and I have the benefit of hindsight. I realise I may have been a little rash, not to mention all out of patience, but I can honestly say the start of school has come at the right time for all of us.

I spent the 1st day of school riding my bike around the neighbourhood getting things done that I haven't been able to achieve in months. 

Things like choosing tiles... in peace... without worrying that a small person was going to break the expensive merchandise.

For the first few weeks (months) I will mostly be watching films, reading books and generally doing as little as possible. In between working 3 days a week & school pick ups I shall be cycling round town singing 'freedom'!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Our First Festival - Lollibop 2014

At Glastonbury I marvelled at the mums and dads with babies front loaded in BabaSlings or dragging buggies laden with their toddlers through the mud. I marvelled and looked on with incredulity which morphed into a kind of respect. Hats off to you if you're prepared to do it. I'm not.

But what I didn't know back then is that there's a festival especially for the under 10s. Lollibop. Bookmark it, it's really rather good.

For our two 4 year olds it was everything a festival should be. There was a host of CBeebies characters on the two main stages - Hook and Line from Swashbuckles, Mister Maker, Mr Bloom with his veggies.

Straight after the pirate act we headed for the Science Museum tent where we completed three science-y tasks and earnt a sticker. It was a real bonus that venues like the Science Museum and Southbank Centre were there - adding some 'educational' aspect to sugar-y sweetness of the free Haribos being thrown into the crowd.

My two were face painted to become a glittery flower and a glittery spider man (free in the press bit, lucky us) where we could have met Alex Winters - the Welsh one on Cbeebies and presenting on the main stage - if only I'd been a bit more clued up.

As well as the main acts there was plenty more to do and see at the Duplo tent, the Ladybird books at the Lollibooks Arena which was right next to The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre bit where two performers did a brilliant rendition of The Three Pigs to a small but attentive audience.

We got festival-ised in the Southbank Centre's Charity DJ tent where Oscar made a crown out of gold card and Pritt Stick and took part in the hat parade. We saw Natalie Cassady having a hug with Postman Pat. And Caitlin bashed on an old car wheel with a stick as part of the Junk Orchestra - another sound Southbank initiative.

As I was trying to leave we got distracted by some colouring in tables by a yoghurt stand, and then the pair of them saw the Skylanders castle and ran off to have a go at that.

Such a great day out and, dare I say it, better than Glastonbury - if you've got under 10s.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Our day out on the South Bank

The Southbank Centre is doing a Summer of Love this year with lots of great free events, slides, silver art things, and Appearing Rooms fountains to explore.

We also went to the beach, had frozen yoghurt on the top deck of a pink Routemaster bus, and zoomed around the skateboard bit on scooters. A great day out. And the views from Hungerford Bridge are worth going there for too.

Our day in pictures:

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

First World War Poppies

We went to see a beautiful art installation at the Tower of London where ceramic poppies are used to mark each of the fallen soldiers killed during WW1. It's quite a sight, and so sad to think that each one represents a life lost.

Summer so far

We have been making the most of a sunny summer in London... the paddling pool has been in constant use/abuse, we've had picnics in parks and even swum in the Serpentine. Here are a few pictures to sum summer (so far) up.

Kensington Gardens after our swim in the Serpentine, a paddle round and round the Diana Memorial fountain, and a quick look at the Serpentine Summer Pavilion.

The pirate ship playground, Kensington Gardens

Sunshine in Wendell Park

Tree climbing in Richmond Park

Paddling pool & ponies in the garden

Monday, 23 June 2014

Travelling with & without twins

We've had a week of travelling with twins back-to-back with a weekend of holidaying without them. No prizes for guessing which excursion was more peaceful.

With-twins week was a bucket and spade holiday in Norfolk with friends who have very kind friends who lent us their chi chi house near Burnham Market (think Chelsea-on-Sea). Highlights included our first experience of crabbing - we must have caught 20 of the little side-steppers - and little ones baking bread in a working windmill which also had chickens, rabbits, goats, guninea pigs, a donkey and a pony in the grounds. They even made their own cheese and had great homemade cakes plus much needed coffee.

Without-twins weekend was spent enjoying the most amazing wedding in Mallorca - "top two weddings, ever" according to Him. And it's hard to disagree. The sun trap terrace where the happy couple made their promises was perched high over Port Soller with stunning views over the sea and mountains, and the booze was free flowing. After 3 days of partying we were missing one phone and two livers...

Home now for 2 days of work followed by more play... Glastonbury. Rain is forecast, oh blow.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A month from 4

If you want to time travel, have kids! Unfortunately doing so will only enable you to hurtle forwards skipping years in your time machine... never back. 

Somehow our babies are soon to be 4. I look back at small babygrows they once fitted into and laugh, the laugh of a very relieved person, a person who is hugely relieved that they will never have to go through all that (nappies, potty training, tiredness, communicating only in screams) ever, ever again.

Four is very grown up. Caitlin comes out with enormous sentences that make me laugh. Oscar is writing without following the dots. Caitlin reads - well, she makes up stories while having a book open in front of her, but if you couldn't understand the book you'd think she was reading. So let's call it reading.

We've been to a glut of 4th birthday parties lately - the art party, the soft play party, the football party, and most recently the superheroes party. Now it's our turn to keep 20 4 year olds entertained for 2 hours. I'm slightly dreading it, or really just the clean up afterwards. This must be why birthdays only happen once a year; parents couldn't fairly be expected to host them at a higher frequency.

Plenty going on before the Big Bash - a week's holiday in Norfolk, a weekend wedding in Spain, then it's all go for Glastonbury for a few 40ths. Just don't tell the kids their birthday is being postponed so mummy and daddy can have fun in a muddy field. Fast forward 14 years and the tables will have well & truly turned!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

One month & one week

One month and one week into 2014 and here's what's happened. So far we have:

1. Applied for 2 school places
Yup, come September our little people will be going to big school - if we get a couple of places come April. With the competition for schools in our corner of London being high (people buy houses on top of the best school to guarantee entry for their offspring) we are, by comparison, somewhat laid back so it remains to be seen whether this laissez faire approach actually results in free schooling.

2. Got wet
"Parts of England have had their wettest January for more than 100 years" according to a recent headline. It feels as though it's been raining pretty much all year. The countryside is under water and it's still coming down. Basically, as a country, we're soaked. It makes going out with the 2 kids a bit of a drag when they won't wear coats and one insists on wearing ballet shoes everywhere. A trip to grandpa's house in Dorset was spent clearing up fallen trees and digging up muddy tractor tracks. Oscar was especially good at the latter.

3. Been to the theatre
Our local Bush Theatre is just brilliant. I'm a huge fan. West End quality theatre at far less than West End prices. So far this year we've seen Jumpers for Goalposts and Ciphers, both great. Jumpers for Goalposts was an amateur football comedy; Ciphers a spy mystery murder drama directed by Blanche McIntyre, a tipped for the top 32 year old who recently won best director at the 2013 TMA UK theatre awards for The Seagull for Rupert Gould's Headlong theatre company.

A third trip to the theatre, just yesterday, took us plus kids to the Lyric Hammersmith for The Feather Catcher, a sweet show about catching feathers - the most prized being an elusive blue feather. Very sweet.

4. Taken up ballet
Caitlin is a natural ballerina. She's been doing ballet in her own way for quite some time, fluttering around the sitting room. But now she's officially learning. The parents aren't allowed in so when asked what happened in the ballet class all we really know is "star jumps".

5. Learnt to swim
I thought we'd left if quite late but turns out 3 and a half is a great age to learn to swim. On lesson 3 the little fish can swim unaided with something called a noodle, a genius device made of foam which goes under their arms and, with the help of a duck to aim for, they're off, swimming.

6. Avoided dry January
I managed one dry night in dry January, yes!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Hello 2014

Our 3rd Christmas with twins and our 3 and a half year olds have finally 'got' Christmas. The absolute conviction that reindeer came and ate the oats we put out is something quite special. 

I had to put my cynicism aside and embrace the magic of it all. When I first started out I naively thought I would sidestep the whole Santa thing, to avoid the crushing disappointment you get when you realise it's all a pack of lies - and that your parents, the ones you trust the most, have been lying yo you all these years. But no. You end up getting swept along - and now there's always the bribe/ threat of "you'd better be good, or Father Christmas won't come".

Cynicism aside, it was very sweet to see the little cherubs enjoying the elaborate story & their presents. Even gifts from friends have been attributed to The Man in the Red Suit. Magic.

It was one of the few years we stayed at home - our first Christmas in our new house - and enjoyed a half empty London, bliss.

I was slightly alarmed, somewhat impressed when the children stayed up till after 1am on New Year's Eve. They'd only managed 10pm before then. But the pay off came the next day when we all got a lie-in till 11am. Certainly beats 7am with a sore head. Happy 2014!

Resolutions this year include (in no particular order):
- Blog more
- Leave work on time
- Pick up Pilates again
- Remove body hair
- Earn money
- Start new project in September when school starts

Now they're written down (not quite in stone) there are no excuses...