Monday, 30 June 2014


Lots of minibeast fun yesterday.  I noticed that the stick insect was shedding its skin, so we all watched a while.  Here it's hanging from the old skin.

We released the butterflies.  One of them had its proboscis in the watermelon, it was cool to see that.   We examined the empty chrysalises, and found they felt paper-like. 

A bee flew into the house.  I caught it in a glass and noticed it had bright yellow pollen sacs on its legs.  I showed the kids, adding to our other insect observations of the day!

Betsy made another snail habitat.  I'm considering getting a a see through box with air holes for her, as she seems to love making temporary homes for little critters.

Rob and Meg went to allotment and came home with these:

Rob's making jam tonight!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Colourscape at Waddesdon

I've let our National Trust membership lapse, as we hadn't been using it as much as usual.  I follow a couple of our local properties on Twitter though, and I saw a tweet about a great arts experience that was coming to Waddesdon.  It's called Colourscape, and it's fabulous.

So we went today, and I rejoined with a home ed membership (£39 for a family, week day term times only, which suits us as I find weekends a bit busy).  The kids were a bit reluctant to come but I was totally convinced they would *love* Colourscape.  I wasn't wrong!

It's wonderful.  The tunnels are red, blue, green.  The red and the green are very intense, the blue is a real visual rest.  The staff give you a loose primary colour vest to wear, so that you become part of the installation - the colours change as you walk through the different segments.  In one section there were two musicians making all sorts of sounds with keyboards, pipes, a squeaky toy, percussion, voice.  The sounds echo through the structure.

The kids liked hiding and finding each other again, and just being there.  It was a such a sensory experience.  

I chatted with one of the staff and she said that they have a much larger one that comes to Clapham Common for a week-long festival in September.  It's 8 times as big!  It's open at the weekend, or weekdays for prearranged school visits.  I've emailed to see if I can arrange a home ed trip.

I'm so glad we went, and now we have NT membership again I can plan a trip to Cliveden's big slide!

Mixed bag catch up!

It's been a busy week or so.  Last Thursday we went to Zoomania, which was having a free entrance week. That saved me £22 or so!  Of course, it was very busy with lots of toddlers, but never mind.

After that the kids had a photo shoot at the Chiltern Open Air Museum.  They have a new playground, and the playground builders wanted some photos.  Mum saw on Facebook that the COAM were looking for 5-10 year olds who would be available from about 3pm, and they'd be paid £25 each.  I asked the kids and they jumped at the chance!

The photographers were lovely.  They travel up and down the country taking photos of the company's play equipment. 

The kids each spent some money in the gift shop.  Fred tried on all the helmets, and spent a while deciding what sort of weapon or armour he wanted.  In the end he chose a spear.

Meg headed for the weapons and helmets too.

Betsy was interested in the gem stones, and she couldn't resist a little cuddly toy.

It was an interesting afternoon, and the kids loved getting paid to play!

On Friday it was a Mohawk Social (the same as normal except no sessions, so it keeps the cost down).  The kids loved it - playing with friends all day.  Unusually, Betsy and Meg spent much of the time apart, Meg with me and Betsy with some other children.

At the weekend it was hot and sunny.  I got the paddling pool out.  Rob spent a few hours at the allotment and came back with loads of strawberries and raspberries.  Rob, Fred and Betsy washed the car.  The local kids came over to play.

On Monday we travelled to Rob's parents.  We were there by lunchtime, and in the afternoon we had a lovely walk along the lane to the pub.  Of course, it being a) Monday, b)4pm and c) in the countryside, the pub was closed.  Humph.

Tuesday was Meg's birthday.  Hooray!  She was so happy and excited!

We spent the day at Alton Towers.  We got the monorail from the car park to the entrance. Meg was loving it!

As we have Merlin passes we could get in an hour before everyone else, so no queues on the Runaway Mine Train.

Rob and I managed a go each on the Nemesis.  We both loved it.  Apart from that, me and the kids went on the Blade (like a pirate ship ride - Rob can't stomach those), and we all did the log flume, river rapids, Ice Age 4D show, a brilliant pirate ship ride where you soak other people and they soak you (I nearly wet myself laughing), the cable cars, and the aquarium. Fred and Betsy went in those inflatable balls on water, and really enjoyed it.

Back to Granny and Grandad's for birthday cake via McDonalds.

We came back on Wednesday evening.  We spent yesterday at home.  I caught up on laundry.  I dug out some tracing paper I'd bought years ago from ELC, and Betsy had a go. Later Betsy and Meg got the music toys out and had a parade on the trampoline.

We went to a great place today, but that deserves it's own post!