About Me

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I am a home educating mum of 2 living in the Northwest of England. I long to travel with my family (including the fluffs) to see the world and have amazing adventures, because life is too short to worry about paying off a mortgage!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Illuminasia - Bright Lights Fantasy Lands

We recently found ourselves bored on yet another rainy day and so headed out to an exhibition we'd spotted on at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool called Illuminasia.

Huge Chinese lanterns transformed the vast space into dazzling scenes spread out over themed rooms, including a nod to 'Honey I Shrunk The Kid' (remember that film?), a Chinese garden, an underwater world and a wonders of the world collection.

Miss L and JJ loved running from room to room and spotting the large gold coins we had to find for the special coin trail (you get a prize at the end if you spot them all) and I enjoyed the scratch card quiz for which I earned myself a certificate! (A proud moment!).

Stairway to another world
It's the perfect rainy day activity, the kids can have a good explore, burn some energy and it's interesting enough for us adults.

The bonus? It's not another bloody soft play area that's simultaneously guaranteed to give energy busting peace for an hour as well as a dose of some viral disease! Sorry I have a love hate relationship with soft play, phew glad that's out in the open.

Knowing that a small team have travelled to create these masterpieces including hand making the fabric covers and hand painting the effects makes you really appreciate the effort that has gone into the creation of this exhibition, and although that notion is wasted on the kids it made me want to just sit and absorb the atmosphere for a bit longer.

Surreal giant's garden complete with dog, bird and insects!

They were in the middle of putting up a dinosaur room when we visited so it's a great reason to head back there on an, inevitably, crap day (probably somewhere around August time).
It's also a great starting point to get the kids asking questions around arts, environments and culture, if they stand still long enough that is.....

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hooray - Learning Really Does Happen Everywhere (i.e. my kids do sometimes listen to me!)

One thing you hear a lot when starting out with home ed is that kids will learn anywhere, especially if they're interested. It's a theory that's really difficult as a parent to put your full trust in, especially having been through the school system where you're told that learning only happens in a classroom with a teacher.

So I was pretty thrilled this morning when Miss L came bounding up the stairs with this picture she'd drawn (a regular occurrence in this household, she loves drawing).

This is her masterpiece of the morning

To explain, the main picture is of a bean plant growing and the orange bit is it being watered.
The icons across the top are everything that "a plant needs to grow" (her words not mine!). These include dirt, seeds, sun, water, the shoot and the final plant.

To add some context, a few weeks ago we started a Spring board (more on our boards in another post!) and Miss L expressed an interest in growing something, so after some rooting around we found some random beans and planted those. We had a natter at the time about plant cycles and what a plant needs and in true 5 year old fashion it looked as though not a lot of what I said had really gone in. 

Our wild random bean growing experiment

Yet here is the living proof, tah-dah, that some things clearly stick. It's actually a pattern I've started to notice emerging. We'll visit somewhere, chat about something or do some kind of activity where the attention at the time seems non existent, then somehow 1-2 weeks later (sometimes longer) they'll suddenly utter some pearl of wisdom gleaned from earlier activities and I'll be surprised at how much they were actually paying attention to (also sometimes not, honestly there are times it's like I'm talking to a brick wall!).

I think it just goes to show that placing a bit of faith in a child's desire and ability to learn and that their natural curiosity will shine through isn't a bad thing and that they will pick things up, despite how it may look at the time!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Who Doesn't Love Lazy Mornings?

Who doesn't love a nice chilled morning?

No frantic school runs for us, the kids full of colds (again!), the rain trickling outside and after a busy week today is going to be a nice quiet day.

So what better way to start it than a yummy toast breakfast sat in front of a live Crufts feed?
We're thoroughly enjoying watching the agility heats, the kids are seeing how it should be done at a highly competitive level and I'm trying to (unsuccessfully) get Bow to watch and learn - soak it up pup,soak it up...

As you can see the toast is far more interesting than the agility dogs...

Our recipe for days like these goes a little something like this:

  • Long pick 'n' mix breakfast
  • Film cosied up in the lounge under throws, possibly with popcorn
  • Baking (anything)
  • Tonnes of Lego building
  • Copious amounts of book reading

This is how Bow 'chills' in front of a film...

You've got to love days like these right?!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

An Unexpected Benefit of HE

I've been attending a beginners agility class with my dog Bow for a few weeks now which we've been thoroughly enjoying (despite it starting at a motivation sapping 7:45pm, a time usually reserved for pj's, wine, TV and peace!)

After relaying the evening's classes to L each morning over breakfast it seemed to capture her interest and she started asking to go with me.

Not totally sure whether it was a genuine interest or just the lure of a late night we spent ages debating the lateness and pondering the consequences of her not getting to bed till gone 9 before eventually deciding, in the spirit of home ed, that we're lucky to have the flexibility (and lie ins if need be) so why not?

So far so good I'm happy to say. She loves helping put the poles on the jumps, giving Bow a yummy cheese reward when he jumps and she's seeing how much time and effort we have to put in to improve which I hope can only be a good thing.  Best of all she's seeing me stick at something and get better (sadly not one of my strong points).

It's little moments like these that I'm so glad we've taken the home ed route, it just wouldn't be practical if she was in school. Instead I get to share my interests which is actually pretty awesome. I've also found an added bonus; her eagerness is great for my motivation. When the sofa's calling at the end of a busy day her moaning that we need to go to agility makes me get my act together and actually turn up, it's a win win!!   

Monday, March 6, 2017

Just a Bit of A Change - Home Ed, Travel and Other Additions

So a little bit shocking but it's been a long while (*sigh* ok I admit it a year) since I last posted an entry here, and with the arrival of Spring that is all about to change.

There have been lots of musings in our household throughout 2016 and a huge desire to make things happen.
Fed up of being a part of a system we still don't fully understand or even know if we like we are making changes to any parts of our lives that we can easily control (depressingly few when you take into account commitments; financial and otherwise.)
Then I figured why not write about it here? Worst case scenario we can use it to reflect on our decisions, best case it actually helps someone else!

So in a nutshell here is the roadmap for the year....

1) Home educating our two children, allowing them to love learning whilst giving us the freedom and flexibility to....

2) Travel. We want to see the world, how do other people live, what are other places like, the cuisine, the sights, the experiences and most importantly for me; being bloody warm!

3) Including our little fluffs. Allow me to introduce Bella and Bow (if you read earlier entries there are more detailed introductions to these two bundles of trouble but for speed here's a mini bio)

Bella (left) is nearly 2, she's a Yorkie, mini Poodle cross. She's had luxating patellas and a short lived dabble in agility but until her left knee is operated on is having a break from the dazzling world of jumps. She loves nothing more than a cuddle, but is most happiest pissing every visitor to our home off by leaving her toy in front of them and whining/grizzling/yipping incessantly for them to throw the damn thing.

Bow (right) is nearly 18 months, he's a Chuihuahua, mini Poodle cross. He's currently starting out in the world of agility and has nearly completed his 10 week beginners course. He loves to chew, eat rancid things and would happily be cuddled 24/7; so much so that the slings for dogs no longer get ridiculed in our house and have actally been added to an Amazon wish list in an insane 'seriously the dog would love this' moment!

I think that's a great place to start and a good place to leave this intro post, so here's to adventures and excitement, cos 2017 better be filled with lots of them.