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Archive for the ‘good times’ Category

We went to  Strasbourg the other weekend, before we left as usual I looked what was to see and do in the area. Strasbourg is close to the German border and I read that Baden-Baden was a good little side trip, obviously the people suggesting this are people with no kids and have probably flown to Strasbourg. it’s about 45-60 mins from Strasbourg, so not far added a total of 3 and a bit hours to a trip. I read that the Altes Scholoss was the place to visit or the casino having money left over as all the shops were closed it was tempting to go, but we thought it more educational to look at a ruined castle.

It’s a bit of a steep climb into the ruined castle but if you’re fighting fit like us it’s a breeze :p it’s also free to visit.

The views are SPECTACULAR

Baden-Baden nestled in the Black Forest

My husband climbed right to the top of the castle, which is fine if you have older children, if you have 1 feral nearly two year old it’s a scary place that is filled with certain death. So we decided to stay on safe ground and explore. Jerry was happy with this idea.

Eliza kept asking if it was time to go to the cafe and led is back into the ruined castle, she knows the way YOU KNOW

I’m happy to let her take the lead and realise I am the one who is always right around here.

Few things we noticed, everyone speaks English and when you speak German like a 10 month old child they are even more willing to speak English to you. They remind me of Italians and Spanish where they seem to want to know and learn more English words, When in France I get a real impression I must speak French and perfectly and I speak like a 15 month old child in France a VAST improvement on my German.

One of the best things about traveling for weekend breaks like this is exposing the kids to new languages and we get them to also speak it. We even had to ask Eliza what a French word was as she had some French lessons and we were kind of hoping she remembered. She didn’t but that was a bit embarrassing having to ask your four year old if she knew what please was LOL

We’d really like to go back to Baden-Baden one day as it’s so beautiful there!

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Where can he be?

Monkey Music is a music program for children it’s different to others out there. Eliza and I started music classes before she could actually sit up on her own she was close to 6 months when we started Kindermusik in Sydney, Australia. To say she loved it was an understatement she rocked furiously and had a grin ear to ear. I was sold. I bought every musical instrument I could find, that she could grasp in those enormous fat rubber band hands of hers.

When we moved to Marylebone, London, I looked for music classes I found there was no Monkey Music and No Kindermusik what were I to do now? So I took it upon myself to sing with her along with the Kindermusik CD and use the instruments we had bought. She loved that.

Eventually I found a organisation which has since closed down that had music classes they were run by a guy called Neal from the band Sigue Sigue Sputnik he was fantastic, he sang all songs we  all know old McDonald, Twinkle Twinkle little Star and he played his guitar the whole time the kids really got into it and he had fabulous energy. Then he took a break to focus on his record producing and childrens albums I had Jeremiah and we didn’t return.

Then my friends and I decided to hire the local Kindermusik woman to give us a private class. We did this by organise enough of us to make it worth while and we held it in my Friends house. This was great the kids had a great time, but it was a painful term due to the teacher not being able to actually sing, she was a sweetie and a lovely woman but hmm not the vocal quality our ears had hoped for. After that we erm didn’t hire her again and we were once again left without music in our lives.

After our lovely May holiday in France and Spain we came home. Two days later we- got-  ahem Married after 12 years of love and hate and decided to move to the burbs. Unal was out of work, I was out of patience and we decided on Kent. And here we were.

I had to find classes I had to get out I had to find something anything to occupy both kids. Now here’s the issue. I am a full time stay at home mum. I am also one of those mums who pretends she’s supermum. I don’t send Eliza to Nursery although most days I wish I did. I instead do all my own ironing (oh I miss my ironing lady) I take the kids on walks to the woods and I scream and cry and tell my husband I hate him and then well you know..

So I had heard about Monkey music so I thought “bet that is out here in the countryside” and it was. And I was so happy, happy I could go, or could I? I had two children 2 years apart they should be in separate classes, how could I go? I spoke to Helen the co-ordinator for this area she was happy to place us in the middle class so both could benefit. They both LOVE it. each Wednesday when I tell them “lets go to Monkey Music” they both get very excited Eliza mostly banters on about how good she will be and how she will tell her teacher she does Ballet and loves Horses and then spends most of the class firmly planted on my knees.

Jeremiah also LOVES it although he hates giving anything back and occasionally has a fit rolls around the floor and I do what I normally do laugh and pray I’m the only one who can see what’s happening. I got so concerned that I emailed Helen to ask if I should even come back, I was told I was OK and that no matter what class he’s in he will have to give things back. OK phew I am not an out cast.

Eliza has stated “monkey music is boring” but each week asks “monkey music today?” “I love monkey music!” poor child I think she’s confused about the word boredom I’m hoping that lasts a bit longer I’m not ready to deal with “I’m bored” what does one do then?

Anyway you’d think I work for them, but I don’t I am just a very grateful mum who has the chance to take her kids to a fun class where they can actually learn to sit still, listen to a teacher, play in time (you listening Jerry). I get a welcome break despite busting some serious dance moves (you’d never know I was an extra as a dancer on moulin rouge) I get to sit and enjoy it. I get to see my kids holding hands, and sharing. I get be with other people who don’t follow me to the toilet or ask me for a drink. I like that.

It makes me want to go for an hour a day.  can’t wait for the new year and despite miss 3.5 stating “it’s boring” she has said “maybe we can go to Monkey Music again” She has said this about all her classes which is a good sign this means she wants more.

I’m hoping next year I can co-ordinate a few more classes for master J. He only has Monkey Music.

Life’s hard when you’re super-mum and have to tow along big sis. But we’ll get there. One day she’ll thank me and if she doesn’t well. I’ll take away her toys 😀

Monkey music fun for everyone!

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Hever Castle

My husband is always desperate to go do things on the weekend, I am not. I am not sure why because once in the car and at the destination I have a fantabulous time and then talk his ears off for the rest of the night about what a great day we had, and he always says “yes once we got you out of the house”

I do love it once I’m on my way that is.

Hubby was desperate to do something out-doorsy which is pretty hard right now as there seems to be a bit of rain in the UK it’s really bad. But there was a 3 hour window in which it was meant to NOT rain, we showered as fast as possible and set of to Hever.

After much debate about my husband saying “I dunno if I want to go there” honestly we spend 40 minutes always having a go at each other. Him about me not wanting to leave the house and me telling him every suggestion I make he doesn’t like” anyone else do this crap?

We got there and then it started raining, well what a surprise the weather board got it wrong. Eliza is a total princess and despite wearing 14 layers of clothing and a fleece and a wind and waterproof coat she was cold. I kept pointing out the castle in a very excited manner, and maybe there was a princess in there.

We raced down to the bridge and stopped for a quick jump in some puddles and then crossed the moat’s bridge where Eliza decided she would fall through one of the cracks and die. Daddy came to her rescue. he did point out to her that the cracks were not that big she could fall down between them.

Standing in the Entrance was a guide, under her breath I heard her say “children” to another guide, you could see the dread in her face. The desperation of yet more toddlers touching a tapestry or knocking a 1795 vase on to the floor started to flood my mind. You watch Eliza, I’ll take Jerry. I told my husband which is normally pointless as he forgets he’s meant to be watching one or other of them and I end up watching both of them, why is that? Hello, hello anyone out there or am I talking to myself…

Eliza is pretty good in places like this, she’s very interested in Artwork she wants to know who every single person is and what the painting is about, I try to get her to tell me what she thinks the paintings are about, and we look at them and talk about what we can see. Jerry has no time for this sadly might have something to do with the fact he is 17 months old.

She then says very loudly “IS THIS THE HOUSE OF THE QUEEN WHO HAD HER HEAD CUT OFF?” To say I was surprised was a understatement. back in July/August we had gone to Hever with friends, we didn’t go in the castle but the kids had a great time in the Gardens they also have a fantastic Adventure playground and water maze. I had told Eliza back then about Anne Boleyn I was so surprised she remember that and so proud, she has an amazing memory when she wants to, funny she can’t remember me saying 7347364 times a day to stop snatching and pushing her brother.

You’re not allowed to take photo’s in the house sadly so obviously I didn’t. Thankfully after a cup of tea the rain stopped and we headed back into the gardens I was relectunt to walk around as the kids had both been so sick last week, but they seemed fine.

Steps in the Italian Garden

The colours right now are lovely, was nice to let my eye photograph some thing else for a change.

Lots & lots of puddles!

It was flooded in parts and the kids had enormous fun, they got so wet! Luckily I had spare clothes for them both!

I just love this image.

Someone likes Swans

What the hell is going on here? She’s all nekkid and making out with a swan, it’s just wrong.

It really started to get very cold and the kids by this point were very wet, and I was very worried they were going to get ill again so we changed their clothes, banged the heating up, by the point I had driven a mile they were both fast asleep. A good day me thinks! We bought a Annual membership which means we now have access to the Castle and Gardens for a year. I can’t wait!

Definitely worth a day out even just to the gardens!

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wellies

I think we’ve been having some extreme weather here in the UK. I think where I am we’ve escaped the serious side of nature, few trees down, few floods, but nothing life or insurance threatening.

But in between the radical downpours is where I am so happy to have my own garden. The kids can throw on their winter coats which by the way I just bought for a snip, both come with removable fleeces and are wind and waterproof, they are both like little furnaces when you take them off! I digress

But they love to play in the muddy puddles, they love to race though wet grass, and the best part. I didn’t have to leave the house. When they get bored they can come in, change their dirty clothes and have a hot milk.

I’m starting to like living out in suburbia a little bit

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As some of you know I like photography, I do really enjoy it. I enjoy doing it, I enjoy looking at it. I adore documentary photography mostly the works of Salgado they are usually not enjoyable photographs to look at and I am sure they were awful to shoot but they are truly amazing and if you’re in a bookshop check his work out, it’s very moving.

When I was learning about photography I was using film and a Lecia M4-P which is fully manual. I had to estimate the light and get it right. It wasn’t easy and I made a lot of mistakes and to this day I get muddled I tell you I am special.

I decided to do some learning documentary shots it’s not easy to get pictures like these when you’re using a 50mm. As I took this a group turned up and I had to tell them to be quiet so not to wake him as I was getting closer and closer. I am certain there is now 20 people in Japan with a picture of me taking this picture!

bench


bench2

I had to get so close to this chap and he wasn’t asleep, He asked me what I was doing and I said documenting people living rough in Sydney, he grunted OK.

homeless

Me Sneaky nooooo. This guy was sleeping on a HUGE man hole cover which accesses a sewer why he chose to lie on it I will never know.lib

A scene you would often see on the steps of Sydney Library  these guys were not so happy at me taking their photograph I think this was one of my first images of trying to capture living rough in Sydney and I didn’t really know how to be stealthy!

I would like to point out that Sydney is not a homeless haven and that there is minimal homeless people compared to say London. It’s just that at the time I wanted to try my hand at documenting something that could happen to any of us.

Shall I end with a nice photo of Chinaman beach, a stunning place very beautiful near Huskisson NSW

chinaman beachOne day I would love to travel to a remote part of the world and document people. It’s been done a thousand times before, but you have to have goals!

*All photos are copyright, if you use them, please link me and all photo’s are available to purchase as usual.

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Sounds like a title to a violent movie LOL

Well we did get out of here Yesterday. We decided to drive to Salisbury I was a real spoil sport however the evening before complaining how it was to far and how I hate the British and how I don’t want to spend my hard earned oh wait I don’t work, how I don’t want to spend money here in Broken Britian. I am amazed my husband still wanted to go any where with me ever again after my tirade of hatred of the UK..

I did however mention that Salisbury is a beautiful place, well the Cathedral and err and erm the Cathedral and did I mention the Cathedral?

sals1Not to mention it’s a beautiful time of year in the UK where the leaves are changing and the weather is sunny yet cool it’s almost perfect. ALMOST

sals4here’s the Suburban family in Salisbury era 1946 we don’t age.

Stunning loving the colours great time to learn about seasons and colours with the kids

sals2It really is lovely we only really hung out at the Cathedral we were going to have a look at the Manga Carta but they had copies in the shop so we just looked at that I would imagine the real one is the same only in a glass box with a rope around it.

sals3On the way home we decided to stop by Stonehenge, Stonehenge bores me to the core. I think I saw it to many times  as a child, I think my parents thought it was worthy of taking a child under the age of 10 there every year to see the stones, why I’ll never know. I get it mum, big stones, 3000BC no one knows what they are for or why they are there. Really how many times do I need to be told this?

Moving on I decided that my husband had been there already and I started to protest yet again what a waste of time it was there and the last time I visited it was bitterly cold. I was in car trip hell with my adoptive mother who was intent on making my life a living hell more than usual by taking me to Stonehenge while in 3 hours I was meant to be back on a flight to Australia. I HATED it. that was my last visit. I had to fight demons to go there. I almost cried with the memories. But Unal got me through I fought it and I LOVED it. It was magical it was so nice, so nice to be there with people I love, people who are my life. I chased our kids around I ran I laughed I kissed my husband we hugged we kissed some more I felt nothing but love.

me at stonehenge

HUGE shout-out to  my husband for helping me to fight fear, for helping to believe bad memories can be over come and for just being him. I promise I won’t make such a fuss when we go to Glastonbury in a few weeks. Just don’t make me go and see King Arthur’s supposed grave OK!!

Yours in I won’t whine anymoresville

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Last weekend we went to Belgium. We caught the Eurotunnel from Folkstone and arrived in Calais VERY early it was only just becoming light. We were both a little tired, as we had been awake since 2.30am. You see Miss 3.5 joined us in bed and then woke us both up and we couldn’t sleep.

Anyay we flew down the freeway as best we could due to dense fog and arrived an hour after we got of the Eurotunnel. Isn’t that amazing? I think so. 3 hours before we had been in the UK and in 2 hours we had been in 3 countries lol I digress.

I booked the Hotel Navarra Best western I was a little worried but it was in the actual town and this was a good start I was hoping. It was to say the least above our expectations and the room was enormous they had on site parking and allowed us the next day to stay parked there so we didn’t have to go to a parking station. The first day we just wandered around

bruge17It is a very beautiful city, easy to walk around. It was heaving with Tourists OMG HEAVING there are horse and carts everywhere and for €35 you can ride in one, it’s totally worth it they tell you all the little nitty gritty stories about some of the older buildings which unless you were on a tour you wouldn’t know. The kids LOVED the horse ride goodness me absoulte highlight of the whole trip for Eliza

bruge26Ugh am I a yummy mummy or what check that muffin top out………

We bought some Lace, we felt compelled the tourist lace shops where everywhere. We’ve stuck it in the guest room so we rarely have to see the grandma affect to often. But we assume our guests will appreciate that little Belgie touch lol

We ate at a very nice seafood restaurant which when you have got a nearly 16 month old child who hates sitting down, who hates crowds, who hates pretty much anything you want him to do makes for a very long lunch and a lot of dirty looks. Unal drank his last beer on his own I think that says it all.

The people are fabulous just don’t let your kids out of your sight, no seriously. Seriously they are lovely people they all speak English better than any other foreign country I have been to, they are not offended when you don’t speak their native tongue immediately. Very welcoming.

bruge2I highly recommend visiting it’s small so the weekend was kind of enough really, but If you are staying in Brussels I would say it’s a place you don’t want to miss out on!

SMUK in travelbugsville

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