Summer Holidays are on the way

Oh my word! I’ve just realised Miss L breaks up from school Friday next. So I need some ideas of how to fill the following 8 weeks. So far I’ve come up with:

Decoupaching a chair like this (as spotted at our local Picture House cinema)

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Swimming
Learning Horse Riding
Trips to the North Norfolk Beaches
Rummaging in the local charity shops for project ideas.
Painting landscapes
Going to see Joss Wheldon’s ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ – yeah that one is for me!!
Despicable Me 2
Maybe a trip to London to see a Gallery or Museum – depending on train fair deals.
Would love to go back to Kentwell Hall and see the Tudors again.

What have you all go planned for the holidays? Have you got any great ideas for us to do? We would love to hear your plans!

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Writing Desk Makeover

I’ve been a terrible blogger of late, Instagram has taken over as my easy/time poor version of blogging lately. If you’re on there, come and say hi as usual I’m at @violetposy

Anyway onto what I’ve been up to the last couple of weeks? I decided that Miss L should now have a proper desk but they are SO expensive! So I went to a few local second hand shops, but no luck until I headed to our local Emmaus. Oh my word! It’s like an aladdin’s cave of wonderful old furniture and they are a brilliant charity so a win/win for me.

I spotted this little beauty, a bit rough around the edges and the veneer was peeling quite a lot but it was solid and only £50. I also thought it’d be ideal thing for me to try some Annie Sloan paint out of as I’ve been hearing it raved about.

I bought it home and asked Miss L what colour she’d like it painted and as you may have guessed – yeah she wanted purple, with pink on the inside – ‘Perfect, no ageing it Mummy!’.

I loved using the Annie Sloan paint, it was amazing, a little goes a really long way. The wood didn’t need any priming, sanding or any other prep, all I did was give it bit of a dust.  I was really pleased with it and will happily use it again, I’m thinking that the dining room bookcases can use some old white treatment 🙂

But back to the desk, the inside’s not finished yet.  I’m just waiting for some oilcloth from ebay to come and then I’ll redo the writing area inside and then wax it.  But I think it’s going to make a lovely place for Miss L to do her homework, art and dream….

 

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{The Gallery} The 80’s

Just spotted Tara’s ‘The Gallery‘ this week and it’s photos from the 80’s. Luckily or unluckily (depends on who you are) I recently bought a slide scanner and lots of embarrassing photos are seeing the light of day 🙂

So here’s a picture of me and my Mum, probably taken about 1982? So I would have been about 10 and my Mum was 31 – I wish I’d had her figure when I was 31!

Love you Mum! xx

 

 

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{Review} Wonderbook: Book of Spells

We were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the PS3 game ‘Wonderbook – Book of Spells’ by JK Rowling.  It’s based on one of the Hogwarts textbooks written by Miranda Goshawk and in the restricted section of the Hogwarts Library – yeah you can imagine how much Miss L loves this!  Here’s the official blurb about the game and what the children can do with it:

“This advanced textbook will assist students on their journey to becoming an accomplished witch or wizard. Read, discover, learn and practice spells such as Incendio, Wingardium Leviosa and Expelliarmus, as well as discover mischievous notes, spells and humorous anecdotal facts scribbled into the margins by previous Hogwarts students. J.K. Rowling has written a conundrum that leads you through the experience, providing insight into the values a witch or wizard has to learn, and inviting you to journey through the book to unlock new content, rewarding successful students along the way.”

How much fun does that sound? Well we didn’t have a PS3 so Sony kindly gave us one and the game to try out – which made Miss L’s day, she’s thrilled with it.  The whole thing was pretty easy to set up, and you don’t need masses of space for the interactive gaming, which is handy!.

The game itself is pretty impressive, you’ll need the Playstation move and eye add ons to play it – doesn’t work without them. The controller is turned into a wand on the screen and there is a book that comes with it.  The book on the face of it without the game just looks bizzare it’s full of blocks and nothing in it to read, but then put it with the game.  It is amazing, like something you would have played on at Disney 10 years ago, but it’s now in your lounge.  The book becomes a 3D augmented reality book which takes the children through the game teaching them spellings and earning them house points like they were at Hogwarts.

You can also link the game up to Pottermore, and your child’s account there so it’s all interactive with that world too.  There’s also quite a lot of reading involved – I like that kind of sneakiness in a game and it very much brings the Harry Potter world to life.   The only downside to it is that only one person can play it at a time, so if you have more than one child it’s going to have to be a team effort playing it and they will have to take turns.

Here’s Miss L’s verdict on the game:

‘This is a fun game for all the family, it’s an enjoyable game with amazing graphics.  You can create spells from a bubble head charm to a mythical animal.  My favourite part is the bubble head charm and I like spraying Mummy with water when I cast the Aguamenti spell (ed- that’s the water casting spell – she get’s to virtually spray me with water).’

And then she ran off to play it! But she’s invited most of her friends to come over and try it out, so she must be impressed.  I really hope there will be more downloadable content for it further down the line as it’s been such a hit with Miss L, it’ll be nice to carry on the adventure.

It’s available on Amazon from the 16th November – the basic game is £22.99 and the Starter Kit with the Move and Camera and Game is £59.99. And obviously in all other good shops that carry computer games 🙂

 

 

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{Review} Stampin’ Up Cookies Present Kit

We were sent a rather cool ‘Stampin’ Up‘ cookie present kit. It’s a stamp with different silicon ‘faces’ (Halloween, Snowflake and Hearts) on them to stamp the biscuits and then some lovely packaging to make them into mini presents for friends, neigbours or family.

Miss L was pretty excited as she’s been studying all things biscuit for Food Tech this term, so she was more than happy to try the kit out. We screwed up a bit and missed entirely the recipe that came with the stamps – oops! So we ended up making chocolate shortbreads which didn’t take the faces that well – well at all when they were cooked!.  Next time we’ll use the recipe that came with them, I think it might work a lot better!.

But we had lots of fun and I really loved the packaging and the stamp is lovely, wooden and solid, so we’ll be making some as stocking gifts for friends and family at Christmas. Stampin’ Up items seem to be sold through local demonstrators and not through shops (which is a shame), so have a look on the website and see if there is one near you.

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Half Term Glittery Fun

We’re on half term- hurray!  It’s so nice to have my girl home, and today we’ve been having fun with glitter, card and felt.  I bought some glitter glue, felt, cards and a ton of other craft stuff a few weeks ago in a sale and then hid them all away at the back of the cupboard so Miss L wouldn’t find them early and use them all up. She was so pleased when I got them out this morning as a surprise.

So as she’s older now I’ve pretty much let her do her own thing, and she decided to make Christmas cards for her friends and some Christmas tree decorations.  She’s been reading through Thrifty Christmas and gotten inspired, you should see the list of things we have to make this year!

The good thing about glitter glue is that it’s harder to get everywhere so much less messy than glitter and glue together – probably less fun for her but easier for me to clean up!

There’s lots leftover so she’ll have something to play with for the rest of the week. I think we’ll have Christmas cards for everyone in the school by Friday!

 

 

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Mini Bake Off

I do like it when I get sent a good book to review – especially when it involves cake!  I was sent ‘The Great British Bake Off – Learn to Bake’ which is a cookery book aimed at older children to teens I would have said.  We’re addicted to the show here and we’re all Team James for the final. He won Miss L over with his crazy gingerbread derelict barn which was just a genius recovery from something going to terribly.  A good life lesson for Miss L I felt – you can mess up and still win – good work James.

Anyway back to the book.  I must admit I know it’s aimed at kids but I’ve actually found it quite informative. It has nice concise instructions and isn’t too overwhelming but not condescending either and not like a lot of kids cookery books  just full of cupcakes with smarties on.

There’s whole sections explaining basic ingredients, equipment and what baking terms mean which is good because I had no idea what ‘whisking to ribbon’ meant.  The book much like the programme is broken down in cakes, little bakes, biscuits, bread, pastry and puddings.

Miss L has been rummaging through it for cooking ideas for the half term that’s coming up next week and apparently we HAVE to make the rather amazing looking swiss roll in the book.

Anyone who was with me in a Home Ec class in 1984 stop sniggering now – there was an incident with me, a swiss roll and a coverup by my whole amazing class – really long story.  I’m just hoping that the swiss roll murdering gene has skipped a generation and my girl is less cack handed than me – shouldn’t be hard!.

I’ll post some pictures of our baking’s next week!

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Summer Holiday Panic

For some reason the fact that Miss L finishes school for the summer this coming Friday had missed me entirely! In my head we’re still in mid June – oops!

 

I had a minor panic at the weekend and realised I’d better start planning for the next 8 weeks. I’m very lucky in that I can just stop working for the the holidays, and spend the time with my girl.  But with the weather being so unpredictable I’m going to have to have some backup plans rather than just popping to the beach or going to the park like we usually would.

So I’ve ordered a load of art supplies, a scrap book, some spelling books because she needs some extra help with that.  She doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to book a couple of horse riding lessons as a surprise because she’s never done it and has always wanted to.  I’ve emailed her friend’s parent’s for play dates and some sleepovers, as sadly where we live is on a main road and there’s nowhere to go and meet other kids to play.  I really wish we lived on an estate or a quiet cul de sac it would make life so much easier and give her more freedom.

The other thing she’s discovered she likes is photography, so I’m going to try and get out to a few places and do some ‘photowalks’ with her where we can wander round and take photos at will without having to rush anywhere.

I’ve spotted some days out and I’m going to try and visit:

Kentwell Hall

Museum of East Anglia Life

Fitzwilliam Museum

I’m also going to download Frugal and Fun: Enjoying the school holidays the frugal way to my Kindle, as I’m sure it has some great ideas if Jen’s guest post the other day is anything to go by.

Have any of you bookedmarked any good blogs or sites for holiday ideas?  I’d love hear about them if you have?

 

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{Guest Post} Frugal and Fun – Plant Pots

Today I’ve got a guest post from my friends who are starting up a new blog Frugal and Fun which I thought some of you might like? This seemed like a great idea for a project in the summer holidays so over to the gang!

Hi everyone, it is Jen from The Mad House, A Thrifty Mum and Frugal and Fun
Materials

Terracotta Plants Pots
Emulsion paint (we got some tester pots, as we only have cream in the house)
White acrylics paint
Pencil with eraser in the end.
Varnish
Plants

Method

Paint each of the plant pots and allow to dry, some may need a second coat, but this is pretty fast work.

We chose to just pop white acrylic as spots all over the pots, this way the boys could do it themselves and they really enjoyed it. By using the end of a pencil with an eraser on it was pretty simple. Now if we had more time I would have let the boys decorate each pot as they.

Again leave to dry, then cover with a layer of varnish.

We made sure that we painted the top of the inside of the pots too.

Then we added a primula in to each, et voila. Oh and it cost all of 30p for the pots, 59p each for the plants and a little paint and time.

Like this craft?  Then my not register to follow us on Frugal and Fun.  We are going to be releasing an e-book full of frugal ideas to keep you and your children happy over the summer holidays.

Do you love or loath the summer holidays?

I am in the love camp, but I do remember the time when my boys were both smaller that I dreaded them and the thought of six weeks (or more) straight with them sent me in to a tailspin.

This year you need worry no more, as we have an e-book on the way out which will show you frugal and fun ways to get through the summer holiday.

It begins with a week of preparation activities to help you get ready for the weeks ahead. The e-book will contain a recipe, an indoor activity and an outdoor activity each day within themed weeks. These activities are suitable for 3-10 years olds.

Themes include:

    • The Olympics
    • The Great Outdoors
    • Around the World
    • Heroes and Heroines
    • Home Sweet Home
    • Colours

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Kids Room – All Change!

The merry go round of motherhood is kicking off again, Miss L is about to turn 9 (where did my baby go?) and is getting all grown up. This of course means the room I thought was pretty sorted four years ago now has to accomodate a new range of activities – why did no one tell me!

Now we are having sleepovers, tons of homework, endless school paperwork, playing musical instruments, using the computer for everything, larger clothes that really don’t fit into those baby drawers anymore and to cap it off she would rather like a TV for her ninth birthday in 2 weeks.  Luckily we don’t have anything to connect to the TV aerial wise, so I’m just going to connect up and old DVD player so she can only watch DVD’s on it.

The bigger problem is the homework, she’s currently doing it on her bed whilst leaning on a book.  Stationery seems to be all over the place and more often than not something is missing.  Sharpies and Scissors spring to mind, we must have 20 Sharpies and 10 pairs of scissors, can I ever find them…..no!   So it’s really not ideal and needs resolving.

I have no idea where I’m going to put it all though. She has two power sockets in her room, and they are in the most awkward places either side of the room – thanks’s 1930’s people!  So I need to get creative and move her room around again….*palmface*

Rather than physically move all her furniture around  – because that isn’t going to make me massively popular with Paul. I’ve decided to do it virtually on a floor plan.  Pottery Barn Kids in the US have a very handy room planner site here. Obviously I don’t have Pottery Barn funiture – more’s the pity! But a single bed, wardrobe, drawers etc are all pretty standard sizes so it’s not too hard to imagine what you have and plot it.

This isn’t exact there is an old fireplace next to the cupboard which juts out a bit, and the cupboard is built into the wall next to it.  The cupboard is only a foot or so deep, so not big enough for clothes storage but I could maybe make into a cupboard desk, with storage for school work and computers?  At the moment it’s not terribly accessible because of the wardrobe and the toy chest next to it. Which is another reason to shift it all round.

So these are my options:

So I’ve ditched the unused toy chest to get some more space, and moved the bed in front of the window.  But I’m not a massive fan of this one as it means the head of the bed will be in front of the radiator and the TV won’t have any power near it – but this is the easiest by far!

I think this is my favourite, the TV would have power,  she could get to the desk in the cupboard, the chair is in the window for reading and Cello playing but I don’t know if I could get the guest z-bed in there for a sleepover?

This is the one that involves the most work, including some work on the ceiling where it’s cracked above the bed and moving all the cubbies and bookshelves.  We’d easily be able to get the guest z-bed in there for sleepovers, but it’d make getting into the cupboard desk harder.

So I think I’m going to run Layout Two with Miss L and see how she feels about it?  But that was much easier than moving furniture around the room for hours 🙂

 

 

 

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Year 4

It’s a gorgeous sunny Autumnal morning and the leaves are just turning. My house is quiet, school holidays are over and my girl has gone back to school to start Year 4. I’m not sure how that happened, it only seems five minutes ago she was starting reception.

But she was so excited to go back this morning and to meet her new teacher, play with her friends. She prepared her uniform last night, and woke early this morning so she could get in super early.

In fact she was in so much of a rush to get there we didn’t even get our ‘First Day of School’ annual photo. I take one in the same place every year so I can see how she’s grown. She did offer to do it tonight when she gets home, I can live with that 🙂

But the house is now very, very quiet and I miss her.

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Mini Kids Bedroom Makeover

Hi Everyone, thanks for the all the lovely comments on my last post they really cheered me up.  I’m now on the mend, but I’m still getting tired easily which is a bit limiting.   As I’m not up to too much, I decided to do an easy mini project in the now anonymous child’s bedroom.

She’d spotted a rather gorgeous child’s room on the Pottery Barn Kids Website (which btw is now shipping to the UK and lots of other non US Countries)

She really wanted the blossom tree in her room as she is a little nature child and I thought it looked pretty cool too. Now I know you could have made it with some brown paint and pink and green paper – but I’m not that talented, it would have gone seriously wonky!  So I bought a huge blossom tree wall sticker from eBay for £6.49 and then set about putting it up.

The first problem I ran into wasn’t the endless post-it notes that were on the walls or even the blu tacked pictures, but the bunting I’d lazily stuck up with sticky tape years ago. It had set to the wall and of course when I pulled it all the paint came away with it in massive chunks.

Luckily as I didn’t fancy re-painting a whole wall,  the new flower stickers went over the marks perfectly.

The good thing about the stickers is that they, pull off easily if you’ve put them in the wrong place. I didn’t initially realize it would be so massive and put it too low, but I just peeled it off and popped it up a bit higher. And here’s the finished result – not quite as fabulous as the Pottery Barn one, but quite pretty and cute all the same and child (I must think up an anonymous name for her) loves it.  I’m just waiting for it to be covered with new post-it notes!

 

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