{Day Trip} The Tower of London

Miss L and I headed down to London on Monday for our first Day Trip of the Easter Holidays – The Tower of London. As you’ll see from the photos it was bit of a miserable rainy day but we were determined to enjoy our trip.  I love the Tower of London, I used to work nearby and I made a point of walking past it most days. Most of the important moments in British History happened at the Tower. From William the Conqueror building it in 1078 with stone shipped from France to Anne Boleyn’s execution there and to the more present day with the Kray Twins being some of the last prisoners to be held there (who knew?).

Miss L was especially fascinated with the ‘Bloody Tower’ where The Princes in the Tower were murdered  – mainly because they spiral stairs are tiny, so she realised how small people were a few hundred year ago.  Also she loved seeing the Crown Jewels which are housed at the Tower and I have to say they are very impressive, but I was pretty amused at the Indian guys behind us who wanted to take the Koh i Noor Diamond back home with them, they were hilarious!

Obviously a lot of The Tower is well old castle forbidding and ancient – even ‘Traitor’s Gate’ which is pretty has such a horrid past it’s hard to overlook it.

tower collage

But my favourite parts are some of the ‘newer’ areas – well if you can call Tudor and Georgian parts newer? How adorable are these houses which were built a couple of hundred years ago.

housecollage

Then it started pouring with rain so we decided to head to Spitalfields to go to the shops Cath Kidston (I got a flour sprinkler).  I love Spitalfields, it’s one of the older parts of London (It was built on a Roman Cemetery) and the people who live there are dedicated to retaining the old charm of the buildings. The Georgian Houses there still look like they are waiting for a horse and carriage to draw up in front of them, they look authentic not some Disney version of what Georgian should look like.  I find it especially interesting as one of my great grandfather’s is listed as living in the area as an cabinetmaker apprentice in 1851 – he’d moved up from Somerset.

And this store front just had me – look at the fonts and

But my favourite shop by far was Verde & Co Ltd which is an Organic Food store which is part on the Slow Food movement (of which I’m a fan anyway) and is owned by the author Jeanette Winterson. It was tiny inside but obviously based on an actual Georgian shop, I love everything about it the signage, shutters – perfection.  Next time we go down I’m getting something from there fore lunch.

Miss L loved the old buildings and was facinated at the though that her family had lived there, worked there and had their families there. I think I may have triggered a new love of social history, which I’m very pleased about you can’t learn that from just a book.

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{The Gallery} Outside my Front Door

It’s Week 5 of Sticky Fingers ‘The Gallery’ – over to Tara..

This week’s theme is: Outside my front door. Not literally outside your front door (although if it’s a great photo opportunity then go for it!) But I want to see where you live. What sort of environment are you in? Is it leafy, is it built up, is it rural, is it crowded? Is it sunny, is it cold, is it picturesque, is it urban?’

So here’s mine – my favourite part of town in the ancient part behind the Cathedral..

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Respect Organics Cake Review

I get sent a lot of PR requests and I turn most of them down I tend to only go with ones from companies I’d actually ever use. Also most of them are baby related, trying to get a 7 year old into a baby buggy to test it really isn’t that easy 😉  But how could I turn down reviewing cake? Especially when three of them Carrot, Banana and Ginger are Dairy free and all of them are organic?

Respect Organics sent me 4 of their cakes, Chocolate, Carrot, Banana and Ginger Crush – you should have seen my face when the courier delivered them, there may have been a happy dance thrown in!

Paul and I dived into the Ginger Crush cake first as it was a work coffee break  – light and moist it was lovely, the only bit neither of us were that keen on was the actual bits of stem ginger in it as neither of us are ginger fans. So I’ll give it a 4/5 because of the stem ginger but that is a personal like or dislike.

Up next was the chocolate cake which was an afterschool treat for Miss L (and me!). It’s a beautiful moist cake with a deep layer of chocolate frosting.  I really liked it, but I think it’s a ‘grown’ up chocolate cake as Miss L thought the frosting was a bit too much – I’ve never seen frosting beat her! 🙂  But she ate all the sponge and asked for seconds so it must have been ok!  4/5 from me and a 3/5 from Miss L.

We left it a few days to try the Banana Cake and the Carrot Cake as we were a bit caked out for a few days as there’s only the three of us.  But the Banana Cake was a handy ‘Elevenies’ on Friday – light moist and just delightful. I’m a big Banana cake fan and this was my favourite.  Ummm I might not have shared this one with the rest of the family, and it’s still in hiding waiting to be finishes – 5/5 from me!

The Carrot Cake I’m saving for Easter Sunday to take to my Mum’s and share with the rest of the family.  It’s my Mum’s best friends birthday and she adores Carrot Cake so I’m going to use it as her Birthday cake.  If it’s anything like the Chocolate Cake – she is going to be a happy woman.  When we’ve tried it, I’ll update this post and give it, it’s rating.

All in all it was a lovely experience and I’d like to thank Respect Organics for sending us such beautiful cakes to try out.

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1940s and Nanny McPhee

We’ve just got back from seeing ‘Nanny Mc Phee and the Big Bang‘ – which is as good as the first one, and great if you want to keep the kids entertained for a couple of hours during the holidays.

The thing that caught my eye about the film, apart from the sets which were stunning, was the selection of gorgeous 1940’s Tea Dresses that Maggie Gyllenhaal  was wearing.  I had back in the early 1990’s the most perfect tea dress which I wore to death, I really wish now I’d kept it and had new ones made from it.

But as I didn’t,  I’ve just had a look through my affiliate sites to see if there are any about. Of course Cath Kidston has some, but they only go to a size 16 and I’m an 18 (bad Cath Kidston!).

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notonthehighstreet.com has the Tatoo Tea Dress, but only up to a size 14

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But that was about it!  I’ve had a look at Monsoon and Boden but nothing doing there so now I’m going to scour Ebay and see what’s on there or I might have to go on a diet…or get one made!.  If you love the look check out Vivien of Holloway and the excellent blog Diary of a Vintage Girl which I adore and is all about 1940’s style. Have fun!

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Easter Holiday Entertainment Ideas

DSC01039The Easter holidays are here (how did that happen?) and I have 3 weeks of school holidays in which entertain my lovely daughter. Honestly you think I’d be used to this by now, but sending them to school makes you lazy and you get used to doing less with them.  So this holiday I’m going to find fun, educational, stimulating stuff to do with her – I’ve even taken 3 weeks out of working to spend the time with her – they aren’t little forever and I’m going to make the most of it.

So are my holiday ideas:

Day trips to London –  we’ve had a chat and settled on The Science Museum one day and Tower of London the another.

Gardening – we’re going to grow lots of veggies in bags and plant up the beautiful flower seeds that Debs at Carrots and Kids sent me.  I’m going to help her clear her own area of the garden round the playhouse and help her plant it up. I’m also going to try and get round to painting the sheds depending on the weather – but she’s an excellent painter so she’ll love getting messy.

Bike – Finish teaching her how to ride her bike without stabilisers – she’s nearly there but just needs a little more confidence and practice.

Easter Egg Hunt – the traditional egg hunt at my parents, Mum keeps hoping Miss L is too big, but she still wants one every year. She’ll still want one at 18 – ha ha!

Art – I want to get her to a gallery – she announced that the National Gallery would be ‘BORING!’ but I know my daughter and I think that she would love the Monet’s and the Van Gogh’s. Might try and sneak it in there 🙂

But if we don’t get to do that making pretty easter art (all my inspiration for that is coming from Tip Junkie – great ideas there, painted eggs, glitter paintings, and do some of the art kits she was given for her birthday.

The Beach – fingers crossed that by the end of the holidays it will have warmed up enough for us to get up to Brancaster in North Norfolk and have picnics and build massive sandcastles.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Easter Break!

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Teaching Children Finance

*Disclaimer Post*

I’m rubbish with money, I really am and it drives Paul absolutely insane. I try really hard to be good and budget but it just escapes me somehow.  Although my parents were quite good at teaching me about money, in hindsight maybe they didn’t go far enough for example I never really had a proper concept of Credit Cards or Loans – to me they were just free money that I borrowed to go on some really fabulous holidays!

So where to start with Miss L’s financial education?

We’ve started off by giving her household jobs to do – dusting, folding laundry and the odd bit of drying up – so she can earn her pound a week pocket money. She knows that it’s her money to spend on what she likes, toys, sweets, books but she has to save up to say buy a book or a more expensive toy like a Build a Bear and once that money is gone it’s gone and she has to save again.

But where does it go, now she’s getting older?  I’m thinking of opening a children’s bank account for her so she can learn about saving.  For example she can save up all her change and then taking it to the bank and put it into an account.  The idea behind this is that by her being able to withdraw money lead naturally onto teaching her about credit cards and loans – a scary amount of young adults have no idea about APR or how easy and quickly you can get into a lot of debt.

When she’s older maybe 12ish, we’re going to give her clothes allowance to teach her about budgeting (and to save on arguments!) so she can buy her own out of school clothes – obviously we’ll still buy school uniforms.

But what else is there that you can do?  What age do you think children should understand about money? How have you or will you teach your children about money and finance?

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The Gallery – Me

Tara’s Gallery challenge this week is a picture of ‘Me’.  Over to Tara – ‘I want a picture which reflects who you are. It doesn’t have to be a self-portrait if you don’t want to. Just something which says: Me’.

Now I’ve tried to be clever with this and think of a cute body part (don’t have any!), something that represents me – who wants a picture of an iPhone?

So I’ve gone with a comedy photo of Miss L and I playing with Photo Booth when we first got it.

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Great Ormond Street Hospital – Peter Pan Week 26-30th April

peter-pan-week-logoOne of Miss L’s best friends has spent a lot of her young life in and out of Great Ormond Street hospital having excellent treatment for a genetic disease. So I was delighted when I was contacted by their fund-raising arm to raise awareness of their Peter Pan week 26th -30th April 2010.

Join thousands of people across the country in the biggest ever Peter Pan dress up day. The record attempt takes place on Friday 30 April at 9.15am and lasts 10 minutes.

For more information on how to take part or how to make your costume please visit their Peter Pan site here

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Dr Who – Series 5 Trailer

Here’s the latest trailer. I know, I know it’s not David Tennant…..but it does look good (I’ve loved Steven Moffat’s writing since Press Gang)….and Matt Smith is starting to win me over, he’s a little bit cute. The new series of Dr Who starts on 3rd April BBC1, I can’t wait!.

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Up Review *Small Spoilers*

I’ve been made a ‘Disney Blu-Ray Ambassador’ which basically means that every now and again Disney will send me Blu-Ray DVD’s to review – hard life eh?  I love Disney movies and one of the joys of being a parent is getting to make popcorn, and snuggle on the sofa to watch movies together – love it!

So this week I received ‘Up’ which we missed at the cinema entirely, so I was made up to have it on Blu-ray to watch.  My favourite thing about Disney movies is that they bundle the new Blu-Ray format in with a DVD as well – so if you have 2 different players say a Blu-Ray in the lounge and a DVD in the playroom/bedroom it can be watched on both machines.

But back to ‘Up’, it’s the story of Carl a retired Balloon seller.  The story tracks Carl from his childhood when he meets his future wife Ellie, through their lives together living in the same house that they played in together as children.  The first 15 minutes of the film is single handed the most poignant, moving piece of animation I’ve ever seen.  I sat there and sobbed my eyes out while my ever cynical 7 year old told me to ‘pull yourself together woman!’  Kids eh! But there is lots in the film for the kids to love, Russell the Wilderness Scout who’s never been further than his garden, Kevin the bird and Dug the dog are hilarious for the kids.

Without telling you the whole story and thereby spoiling it, it’s one of the best Disney/Pixar films I’ve seen in a long time. It’s touching funny, and the animation looks just amazing in the Blu-Ray format.  The extra’s on the Blu-Ray are really good as well, there are a few short movies, some games and a very interesting ‘making of’ I love that the animators visited some South American jungle to get the look of the movie right – you can see it all over the movie.

Here’s what Miss L thought about it:

‘I like the bit where he keeps on shutting the door on Russ, it was very funny.  When Dug the dog talks and the Dug’s Mission extra DVD bit.’

So all in all the film and the extras on the Blu-ray get 10/10 from the VioletPosy Household!

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National Trust – Free Weekend!

F1030031We had our wedding reception at Polesden Lacey in Surrey which is a National Trust property, and I’ve had a soft spot for The National Trust ever since.

So I was pleased to see that this weekend 20-21 March 2010 you can get into participating National Trust properties for free.  If you’re looking for something to do this weekend pop over the National Trust website to learn more.

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