Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Door

A door serves a purpose.
It is the means by which you can pass from one room into another, or from one confined area into another confined area.
It is a passage way but one that is not free for all to pass through. You may pass if you have the means to open the door, like opposing thumbs, or a key, or the ability to pick a lock, but if you do not have these skills or tools then access is denied. You are not welcome.
The door may be opened for you if you request it of another who has the skill or tool to open the door but then it is their decision whether they choose to open the door for you. They themselves become the door. The ability to open them, pass through, becomes one of psycholgy. Do they understand you want to pass through the door? Do they like you? Do they think you belong on the other side of the door? They are the door keeper.

But what if this is the door...

A door with no walls

Is it an invitation to challenge the etiquette of doors, ignore the rules, go invited around the door?
Is it still a door if it does not contain an area and prevent access from undesirables?
Can it call itself a door if it does not open?
Who is the keeper of this door?

Who has the key to that lock?
I knocked but noone came.

I'll try again tomorrow.


Joining in with The Gallery prompt 'Door' for Sticky Fingers Blog

TheGallery

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Schools Out

The summer holidays have started and what was to be a Summer of solo parenting has taken a curve ball already. I'm still solo parenting but the Mr was taken ill on the first day away and is now residing in a hospital 225 miles away.
The up side is he will be home in the next few days and will need some time off work to fully recover. Yay! Daddy will be home :-)
The down-side is he wont be well and it's not going to be a 'holiday', in fact we have had to cancel our holiday. Boo!

As a result of fates attempt to tip me over the edge, I had to do the hardest things this week:
Tell the kids daddy was poorly and in hospital - cue tears.
Tell the kids daddy was poorly and in hospital and it was too far to go and see him - cue more tears.
Tell the kids we couldn't go on holiday on Sunday because we will have to, as some point, go and bring Daddy home - cue even more tears.
And I thought I was going to have a whole evening without chocolate - cue weeping myself dry (until I found the 'Make your own truffles kit' from Tesco).

So we have been trying to keep our chins up:

Five Go Blogging 365project week 30 2013

Imaginary space travels on ships that out-stare you.
Having tea with 21 school friends.
Daring climbs at the park.
Guessing games over a babyccino and a dish of jelly beans
99s
Lego bed invasion
Bubble fights


Sorry for gloom. Bit p'd off. Normal service to resume as soon as the Mr is home.


Join The Boy and Me to follow more 365'ers

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

And with Make Do And Push - The week that was Instagrammed!


Saturday, 20 July 2013

Keeping my cool

Keeping my cool took on new meaning this week.

Not only did this week take scorchio, turn up the gas a bit and then add a dash of sizzle but I discovered I am going to have to be Supermum this summer holiday as I waved toodle pip to my super hard working Mr for the next 42 days. *gulp*

I'm used to him being away for a week or so, even two weeks, but this is 6 weeks, or to put it another way, 1008 hours of no lie-ins, no cups of tea in bed, no me-time during daylight hours, no snogs, no neck rubs, no 'I'll do their baths while you have a sit down', no idle chat over dinner, no popping out for a drink, no one to curtail my biscuit cravings, no snoring, no duvet wrestling, no sharing my chocolate bar, no lost sections of the Sunday paper. Okay, so there are some upsides but I'd rather his foibles than not.

As much as I am already feeling lonely, it is the children that I am thinking of and how much they are going to miss Daddy. I am also thinking of how quickly 6 weeks can pass if you are distracted by lovely summer activities so more than ever I need to tackle the Summer Holiday Bucket list and adapt it for single parenting of three children and for maximum entertainment. I feel another blog post coming on ;-)

But this week, Daddy was around and we had some fun in the sun.

Ice and a slice
Trike tipping
Just sun
Seeking shade at the play center
Re-purposing the sledge as a water play table
Alfresco darling
How long does it take to eat an ice cream? Depends how many photos you take of it on Instagram.

I look forward to telling you how I survive the first week of the holidays x

Join The Boy and Me to follow more 365'ers

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

And with the new linky on the block from Make Do And Push - The week that was Instagrammed!


Monday, 15 July 2013

Dear Sewing Machine

Dear Sewing Machine,

It has been a while since I wrestled with your upper tension for which I apologise. But you are just one of my many diversions and I was lacking textile inspiration. But then I found some funky fabric (in the form of a tunic top that would never fit around my bust but might just with a tug and a pull of its A-line silhouette be re-fashioned into a top).

Sleeveless top refashion by Five Go Blogging


This was shortly followed by a stripey maxi dress in a rainbow of summery colours begging to be shortened for the Princess to parade in.

Maxi dress

Refashioned girls dress by Five Go Blogging

I'm sorry it has been so long. I even had to dust you off a bit. But now that I have found you again I shall be getting a bit more use out of you. I hope you enjoyed your little break because I now have plans for you and you will not be getting any time off for good behaviour.

Yours sewingly
X

Saturday, 13 July 2013

A Week of Productivity

Last week I said my motto was to be more productive and make memories.

If by productive I meant sitting in the garden, playing with picture editing apps on my phone, spraying water at any small person who comes within 2 meters and crocheting a soap dish out of a plastic bag, then I think I can give myself a pat on the back.

And I can remember each and every day.

So job done. Sort of.

Five Go Blogging 365project week 28 2013

Productively using a feather as a still life subject.
Every inch of BBQ space used productively.
Using all outdoor toys from the garden productively.
My productive neighbour pruned her abundant lavender and gifted me some.
An evening productively used to exercise children.
Productive use of a bucket for garden water play.
I had actually been a bit productive and I deserved that beer.

Looking forward to another sunny productive week ;-)


Join The Boy and Me to follow more 365'ers

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

And with the new linky on the block from Make Do And Push - The week that was Instagrammed!


Friday, 12 July 2013

Plastic Bag Upcycle

I am embracing the whole upcycling vibe and stashing stuff that will be reincarnated into something useful and beautiful just as soon as I can work out what.

Yes it is bonkers, but today, a humble plastic bag will become a soap dish.

One plastic bag - Useful lifespan: about 20 minutes being the length of time to walk home with a 3 year old from the shops, empty the bag and throw it away.

Yet, with a couple of folds, snips and a flick of the crochet hook it's useful life is miraculously extended about 13,650 times assuming its reincarnated form lasts 6 months.

The first step is to convert the plastic bag into a length of plarn (plastic yarn).

Here's the best way I have found to make a continuous length of plarn. This can equally be used to cut a continuous length of tarn (t-shirt yarn).

1. Take a light weight plastic bag. (Other supermarkets are available).

the humble plastic bag

2. Trip off the seam at the bottom.

Trim off bottom seam

 3. Extend out and flatten the sides so it lies completely flat with no folds.

Lay out flat

4. Fold the bag lengthwise so the side seams are within 3cms of each other.

Fold almost in half

5. Cut a 1cm strip along the bottom through all the layers passing through one side seam but NOT all the way across to the other side seam. Stop just after you have cut through the first side seam.

Cut 1cm strips but NOT all the way across

Cut strips all the way up the bag

6. Continue to cut 1 cm strips till you are at the top of the bag. Discard the handles.


7. Open the bag out where the side seam remains intact.

8. Starting at the bottom, cut upwards and across the side seam to where the next strip has been cut. Continue to cut diagonally across the side seam until you reach the top.

Cut diagonally across side seam

9. Tah-dah - one continuous length of plarn.

Plarn in all its glory


With my plarn I crocheted a simple circle of 6 rounds using UK single crochet stitch increasing by 8 stitches on each round. I then continued to crochet around the edge 2 times to form a slight rim.

From one plastic bag you will have enough plarn to crochet up to 9 rounds to suit the size of your soap.

Here is my upcycled, hygienic soap dish. Rinse daily to remove excess soap under the tap. 



The Five Go Blogging plastic bag soap dish upcycle

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Sun


The Sun by Five Go Blogging


The sun.

You rise.
I lift my face.
You shine.
I smile.
You glow.
I feel your warmth.
You radiate.
I have hope.
You glimmer.
I shimmer.
You set.
I sigh.
I wait for tomorrow.


Joining in with Sticky Fingers and the theme of the Sun for The Gallery.


TheGallery

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Where Does A Fortnight Go?

Two weeks ago I was coming down from the Britmums Live high. Being sucked back into reality, when all I wanted to do was immerse myself in what my blog could become.

Two weeks later and I am still waiting for an opportunity (during normal waking hours) to get down to some serious blogography. But time seems to be slipping through my fingers. At times like this I am grateful for the 365project, to be able to look back at a fortnight's photos and remind myself where I was, what I was doing and what I was feeling. I'm looking back at them now and am shocked at how long ago some of those days feel yet are so close I could reach out and touch them.

Time is a complete mind bender isn't it.

Last weekend I was wifi-less at Center Parcs Elveden Forest so I didn't post my weekly summary hence this week is a double feature.

Five Go Blogging 365project week 26 2013

Ready steady go
Catching the swing at just the right moment
Overnight buds become blooms
Judging the perfect amount of time for a boy dunked in coffee
A helping pair of hands yet cleaning takes longer
Two wheels are faster than two feet
Spa time is my time

Five Go Blogging 365project week 27 2013

Sharp shooter
Ready Steady Go Take Two
Hours of fun in the forest
60 years ago she was Crowned
Squirrels hoovering up BBQ leftovers faster then I can sweep them up
Instant tattoo
I can imagine what he will look like in 10 years time

My motto for the coming week: Be productive and make memories.


Join The Boy and Me to follow more 365'ers

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

And with the new linky on the block from Make Do And Push - The week that was Instagrammed!


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Diary of Five Go To Center Parcs



When a blogger of Actually Mummys status invites you to go with them to review a Center Parcs break at Elveden Forest, it would be rude not to. BIG TIME thank you x


Day 1

Did you know you can get into your accommodation from about 3pm but if you can get there early you can make full use of all the facilities from any time on the day of arrival? Next time we are setting off at 6am.
Did you know you can pre-register online before your arrival so there's no form filling when you get there? Just hand over your booking reference and the keys are yours (plus Haribos for children. If I was being picky I would suggest Haribos for adults too).
Did you know there is a supermarket on site, you can order a family grocery pack and they can deliver takeaways? Or you can bring something to have for a meal on your first night so you don't have to order a bike with a trailer just to carry your wine back to your villa *points at Actually Mummy*

Our home from home


We stayed in a Woodland Lodge which had three bedrooms, an open plan kitchen dining sitting room, a family bathroom and a separate toilet. The patio looked out over the forest and we had regular visitors in the form of squirrels rabbits and deer. The squirrels were very brave and tried to come into the villa which was a bit over familiar I thought given we hadn't even been introduced. We had a similar problem with our neighbours! *points at Actually Mummy*

The Wildlife


The kitchen is more than adequate with a microwave, dishwasher and full oven and with the fridge pre-stocked with bacon sausages milk eggs and fruit juice, the cupboards loaded with cereal, tea, coffee, sugar, fruit, biscuits, jam, marmalade, crisps, ketchup, HP, olive oil, Pepsi, squash and water, we were only short of a chef to cook it for us.

Pick a bike. Any bike.


Did you know you can hire bikes for the weekend for all ages and abilities? Adult bikes, kids bikes of various sizes, trailers, child seats, tagalongs, tandems and adult trikes are all available. Book before you go to be sure to get the right option for you or better yet, bring your own. It's not cheap to hire. Our combination of bikes would have cost £95. They also provide locks for the bikes but look after your key! *cough - thanks Tony from the maintenance team for saving the day with your bolt cutters - cough*

Did you know that the beds in the lodges are the most comfortable I have slept in for a long while and meant that the Wee One actually slept in his own bed all night every night. It may have helped that he stayed up late every night and was wrecked by the time he got to bed.

Day 2

Did you know that the Tropical Cyclone at Elveden Forest is new this year and reaches speeds of 30 miles per hour and achieves zero gravity? I didn't either and nor will I ever be able to testify to these facts first hand. I am as far removed from a thrill seeker as it is possible to be. Scared. That is all. There are some amazing water slides, none of which are suitable for anyone with a nervous disposition which put me, the Princess and the Wee One seeking out the toddler splash area. Shame it wasn't open :-( We pootled around in the shallow area and in the lagoon which was just a bit too deep for the week one while The Big One and the Mr shrieked and whooped around the slides.
Did you know that you don't need to take bouyancy aids for toddlers? They have mini life jackets which were perfect for the young ones so the arm bands I spent 2 hours hunting down at home weren't necessary.
Did you know I didn't see a cleaner at the swimming pool once but those changing rooms were immaculate. Not a used plaster in sight.

You can't keep a blogger away from wifi for long

Did you know that there is a Spa at Center Parcs? Aqua Sana Spa - Oooooh yes. Thank you very much. I palmed the kids off on to the Mr to go ten pin bowling while I made good use of those steam rooms. Yes steam rooms plural. If you like it steamy or dry, warm or scorchio there was one for you. The heady aromas, sent my senses into overdrive and the tropical rain showers were special in their own right. I could quite happily of spent the day there, not least because it had wifi (more on that later), and a lovely peaceful cafe with not a child in sight. After my lunch I would have happily dozed on a water bed (had there been one free - Wake up bed hogs!) and then meditated/tweeted in the Jasmine garden. And *whispers* you know when you are in a sauna and your thighs get all wet and make a farting noise when you sit down on a smooth seat? Well they had little tiles on the seats at center Parcs so no embarrassing thigh farts.




Did you know that Hucks restaurant has kid sized steaks on the menu, serves starters on surfboards and pretty awesome ribs with alcohol laced ice cream sundaes for dessert? And should your darling kids actually manage to eat their way around the whole junior buffet *points at the Big One* then they can amuse themselves on the i-macs or in the play area. A useful distraction to allow parents to chat and enjoy their meal without cries of I'm bored, I found.

Day 3

Did you know that technology and a good walk can be enjoyed simultaneously? They can if you go geocaching. Imagine a geek fueled treasure hunt and you will know what I mean. Really good fun except...

Things I wish I'd known first #1- you will walk about 5k which was too far for our younger team members.
Things I wish I'd known first #2 - the order you find the clues is important or you will end up walking 10k.
Things I wish I'd known first #3 - the GPS technology can have a bad day and send you 100m the wrong way.

The Big One takes the lead

The Mr feeding his inner geek


We didn't finish as it was just too far for the Wee One, much to the Mr's disappointment but for Actually Mummy and her team who came in second it was an chance to bask in glory! 

Did you know you can do nothing at Center Parcs and still have a brilliant time? You could fill your days to overflowing with a multitude of activities that drag you across the lake with planks of wood tied to your feet (water skiing), swinging from trees, shooting arrows, or you could build your own arrow in the forest by your back door and play. 





Or play and blog *points at Actually Mummy*

To blog or not to blog?


Day 4

Did you know that you may have to check out at 10ish in the morning but you can carry on and use the facilities right up till midnight? And I would take full advantage of the 'ish' to avoid traffic jams at the exit gate and parking.

Did you know that you can't get wifi or a mobile reception in the parc unless you are at the central Village, Sports Plaza or Spa? I didn't either and missed posting IG photos and missed tweets from our friends saying where they were. On the plus side, we chatted and laughed our way through several bottles of wine rather than tweeting each other. On the down side, if there was an emergency you would have to run to find a telephone box in the parc to get help or head for the dry sauna to update your followers *points at Actually Mummy*. Not always convenient and something that I would say needs to be addressed.

Overall we had a truly lovely time and struck the balance of activities versus relaxing time well. It isn't a cheap break compared to booking your own holiday cottage but there is genuinely something for everyone to do on site, whether you are an adrenalin junky or like a more relaxed pace.

I'll leave it to the Actually Mummy and Five Go Blogging children to give you their thoughts on the weekend.


video

Disclosure: We were invited by Actually Mummy to go with them to review a Center Parcs break free of charge. All opinions are our own.