Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Tales of a Mini Shopaholic

A couple of weeks ago now, a email pinged into my inbox offering the Little Princess a place at our chosen school where, come September, she will be putting on her little purple uniform and joining her big brother. The overwhelming emotion at receiving the email was relief - we've had a bit of a saga with school places due to moving two months into Jedi Boy's Reception year (he'd been to three different schools before his sixth birthday) - but the relief was tinged with sadness at the thought of 'losing' my baby girl. As a bright, independent (and somewhat feisty) four year old, she is more than ready to start school but I'm not so sure I'm ready...

Since Jedi Boy started school almost three years ago, we've spent every Monday and Wednesday together having our 'Mummy and Daughter' days. We have a lot of fun together - we bake, we play games, we read stories, we do a host of craft activities, we hang out in the park, we have picnics in the garden with various soft toys when the sun shines - and most of all, we go shopping and have 'coffee and cake' together. The Little Princess has been a big fan of shopping from a very tender age - as a baby, she spent many happy hours being pushed around Westfield London in her buggy (well, I had to do 'something' to keep out of the rain and it was a shortish bus ride away) - and now, given a free choice of activity, she'll often plump for a trip on the train to the 'Big Shops' (now Westfield Stratford due to our house move). She loves to browse the shops and is developing a real sense of her own style - she loves everything sparkly, any type of stripes and has a bit of a penchant for leopard print (today she is accessorising a leopard-print H&M tutu-style skirt with leopard-print sunglasses, also from H&M). Accessories are a big deal, she adores handbags, shoes and sparkly hair-clips and a trip to our local shops isn't complete these days without a significant time spent browsing in Claire's Accessories and a trip to the independent shoe shop to 'visit' her ultimate fashion wish-list item, a pair of Lelli Kelly shoes.

Of course, Mummy's accessories are always better....

The Little Princess is great fun to be with. She chatters constantly, has opinions on everything and is a fabulous shopping companion. Of course, there are the occasional downsides - the constant demands for me to buy her a new 'lipstick', the occasional stand-off in the middle of the shop, the insistence that she 'really loves' a certain food, followed by the refusal to eat it when I buy it for her - but overall, we do have plenty of fun. I'm really going to miss these girlie days come September...

Monday, 28 April 2014

Back to the Meal Planning

Recently I've been slacking off with the meal-planning,as well as the blogging, but I'm planning to make a concerted effort to get back on track over the next few weeks. Today I sat down with the iPad (and a couple of cook books) and planned out this week's meals.

I've already got a Lamb and Potato Balti simmering away in the slow cooker for tonight, which will be served with some basmati rice. Monday night is always a bit manic as both children now have swimming lessons at 6pm, so I often slow-cook on a Monday to minimise preparation time. The kids tend to just have a cold tea before swimming - they take an eternity to eat anything hot so it is just easier that way. Plus, it's really nice to come home after swimming to the aroma of something tasty!

The rest of the week is looking like this...

Tuesday - Beef in black bean with stir-fried veg and noodles (quick after work dinner for the Husband and I)
Wednesday - Tuna pasta bake topped with crisps (a big favourite with the children)
Thursday - Pesto topped salmon fillets with green beans and new potatoes
Friday - Greek chicken, herby couscous and tzatziki

Not a particularly 'exciting' week but they are all tried and tested recipes which we enjoy, and hopefully next week a bit more inspiration will strike. I haven't planned the weekend as we probably won't be home much so there doesn't seem much point at this stage.

Thanks to Mrs M for the link

Monday, 14 April 2014

Tales from the Olympic Park

Last week the children and I had a day out at the newly-opened Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, along with what seemed like half of London! It was a beautiful day - relatively warm sunshine and cloudless blue skies and we had great fun exploring. Undoubtedly the 'best bit' for my two was the water play area in what is known as Tumbling Bay. Shoes and socks were quickly discarded, jeans rolled up as they got stuck into a complicated game of building / destroying dams and pumping water.  What was really lovely was the way in which so many children who'd never met before just joined forces to play - it seemed like there were two teams, one trying to control the flow of the water and the other trying to stop it by building dams.

Once dried off (stupidly I'd forgotten to take a towel so we had to improvise with the clothes that the Little Princess had discarded... we did have spare clothes for her), it was on to the amazing treehouse inspired climbing nets and rope bridges. Jedi Boy was immediately climbing across the nets and making his way up a fairly tricky rope ladder to the top of the tree... I had my heart in my mouth as he slid down the very high fireman's pole, but sometimes you just have to let them get on with it. This is a great playspace for children - it is designed to blend in with the environment without sacrificing any of the fun - and it isn't as 'safe' as some playgrounds seem to be these days. It even has a properly slippery slide!

We had a fabulous day out at the Olympic Park and will definitely be going back there in the future - there was another playground over by the Olympic Stadium which was too busy to explore properly, fountains which will be brilliant fun to splash in on hot summer days, a climbing wall (for over 11s) and plenty of quiet footpaths to explore. I'm looking forward to our next visit already!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Musings on my failure to blog...

I really want to give this blogging thing a proper go but, as you can probably see, blogging regularly isn't something I've managed to do so far. I need to get my head round the idea of blogging from the iPad so this is a bit of a test post. So far, so good - am stretched out on the comfy sofa, iPad on knees, big cup of tea beside me on the coffee table and typing doesn't seem too hard.

It's the first day of the Easter holidays. Both Jedi Boy and the Little Princess are in the other room, monopolising both the PC and the other iPad with their current obsession, Minecraft. I've stripped the beds, washing machine is spinning (loudly) and dishwasher rumbling away in the kitchen and now taking some time out before I drag the kids away from Minecraft and attempt to do something more constructive with our day, i.e take the library books back before they fine me again... Or, maybe I should just appreciate the fact that for once they are playing together, there is no bickering / telling tales and chill out for just a bit longer.

It is one of those holiday periods where, actually, we don't have much planned - a trip to see what the new bits of the Olympic Park that opened last week are like, maybe Kew Gardens if the sun shines, a Wembley trip for Jedi Boy and his Dad and our family's traditional Easter Sunday visit to the funfair on Hampstead Heath. Hopefully it will be fun!