30 August 2014

The Weeks That Were / Project 365 no. 34 and 35

My goodness are you lot in for a treat this week - two lots for the price of one! Yes, we've been on our summer holiday and as I decided to take a proper break from the blog, I'm including both week 34 and week 35, today.

By a stroke of luck, we managed to escape the most miserable week of the summer holidays (weather-wise), venturing into deepest, darkest Scotland. We spent just over a week on Tiree - a little-known island on the west coast of Scotland. 

Tiree is a place where many of my childhood memories were made. Practically all of our summer holidays were spent on Tiree, as my dad's family were born and brought up on the island. They now own a holiday home on Tiree and mainly due to distance, we've not ventured there for 11 years! 

So, without further ado, THIS is what we've been up to during week 34 of 2014 (and no, Reggie doesn't make any appearance!)....

Sunday - The day before we left for our epic journey, we spent a lovely afternoon with friends, celebrating their son's birthday and enjoying a barbecue together. The ever-faithful Twister had an airing.

Monday - After a 7 hour car journey, we arrived at our overnight location of Lanark, in the Scottish borders. We stayed in the New Lanark Mill and this was the view from our bedroom window.

Tuesday - Another 3 hour car journey to Oban and a 4 hour ferry crossing, brought us to the pier and our first sighting of Tiree. It's been a long time!

Wednesday - "This is the best beach I've ever seen!" were the words that came out of the boy's mouth as we took his football down to a deserted beach. Stunning white sands and a turquoise sea made it look like the Caribbean - if only the temperature wasn't 13 degrees!

Thursday - One of the things the kids wanted to do whilst here, was learn to surf. They had their first surfing lesson today and I think The Teenager has now got 'the bug'. 

Friday - This stunning stretch of beach was just a 15 minute walk from the house. It was cold but the kids still cast off their shoes and enjoyed making footprints in the sand.

Saturday - Just one of the many beautiful sunsets we experienced on Tiree. This was the view from the sitting room window. 

And on to Week 35....

Sunday - It was a lovely evening with very little wind so we decided to take the 5 minute stroll down to the cove, armed with firewood, chocolate and a bottle of wine. The Boy was in his element stoking the fire!

Monday - The OH and I had a lovely morning battling the elements on the one and only golf course. It was incredibly windy but look at the view from the 5th tee!

Tuesday - We took a little hike across fields to reach this secluded cove. It was really warm in the shelter, so much so that The Boy and The Tween were disappointed they hadn't taken their swimmers. The best bit? There was no one else there!

Wednesday - We left Tiree this morning and began our 15 hour hike back home. This is the view of Oban as the boat comes into the harbour. Another beautiful day.

Thursday - Back home and I'm so pleased that the sheep's skull made it back in one piece (detect the hint of sarcasm here?). We've got The Boy to thank for this!

Friday - The Boy and I went to work today and the girls were left at home, baking cakes with their friends. They were delicious! The trail of destruction left behind was definitely worth it. 

Saturday - Coca Cola sent us their new Coca Cola Life drink to try out. We set up a taste test challenge. More on that later....

And if you've made it to the end, you really do deserve a medal! I can honestly say I was totally spoilt for choice with images to include over the last two weeks. If you're looking for a beautiful location to practice some photography, then Tiree is the place. I am certain that more photos will appear over the next week or so. 

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky


29 August 2014

It's Time

Yes I know I've been absent without trace for the last 10 days *blows tumble weed off blog* but I've been busy breaking up fights having fun with my kids. This year I vowed to make the most of the 6 week break, (rather than wishing it away) and I think I've achieved that. But there are still 7 days to go and quite frankly, we've all come to the end of our fairly short fuses.

Am I allowed to admit that I was secretly pleased to read this Facebook status by a fellow blogger last week?

"Have had to ban singing and whistling. They irritate children and cause monumental fights apparently. How depressing is that?"

Don't get me wrong, I'm not into celebrating other people's misery, I was just relieved to see that I'm not alone. The reality is, that after 6 weeks in one another's company, it's time. Time for a break from one another. Do you recognise any of these signs? 

  • The let's-think-of-at-least-one-nice-thing-to-say-about-each-other game is being aired far too regularly.
  • All attempts to limit screen time have gone out the window - the whatever-keeps-them-quiet option seems more preferable.
  • The 'b-word' is heard earlier and earlier each day. No, not that b-word. B-O-R-E-D.
  • Similarly, the "I am not running a cafe" line is wearing thin.
  • You've tried pretty much every brand of wine in Tesco and your liver could do with a break.
  • A staple diet of crisps, fish finger sandwiches and kit-kats is beginning to take its toll on the waistline.
  • The thought of doing some cleaning seems like a welcome break - it would be nice to see the floor again one day.
  • A countdown tick sheet entitled 'How Many Days til School' has been erected in the kitchen and it wasn't made by you.
  • Lovingly prepared pancakes for breakfast, has been replaced with "get your own and make sure you clear up after yourself!"
  • You have a dolphin, a raccoon, a turtle, a panda bear and minions with various expressions cluttering up the house - yes, they've made every loom band creation You Tube has to offer.

Who is most ready for 'back to school' in your house - you or the kids? 

What would you add to this list of tell-tale signs? 

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16 August 2014

The Week That Was / Project 365 Week 33

I hold my hands up and apologise - the sudden change in weather this week was no doubt due to my remark last week about the wonderful weather we were having. Asking for trouble with that kind of talk! Every day this week we've had sunshine one minute and showers the next and sadly the flip flops haven't been out quite as much as I would have liked. 

Despite the weather, we've tried to enjoy as much outdoors time as possible. Can you believe the summer holidays are zipping by so fast? Here's what we've been up to in week 33 of 2014. Don't forget to look out for Reggie because he's back! 

Sunday - Our time spent in Wales is never complete without the obligatory photograph of cousins, this time with the addition of two dogs!

Monday - Our sweetcorn was finally ready to be picked! We had some for tea and it was delicious - so full of flavour.

Tuesday - The Teenager was in charge today. After dry skiing, she wanted to visit our local farm. This piglet was lapping up the attention.

Wednesday - The Tween made these butterfly cakes all my herself. Despite the radioactive icing, they were yummy.

Thursday - A day out at Claremont National Trust Gardens with friends today. The kids spent about an hour rolling down this hill and decided to throw a bit of human 10 pin bowling in for fun!

Friday - Today we met up with my friends and between us, we had 16 children! The boys immediately bonded over a game of football and as you can see, the girls made a bee line for the baby!

Saturday - The Teenager has spent another week fixated on loom band creations. She made these two little pen top creatures this week, which I think are rather cool.

* * *

What was your highlight this week? I hope it's been a good one. 

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky


15 August 2014

Are our children growing up too fast?

Seven years ago, our best friends left this soil for sunnier climes and a more laid-back lifestyle. Despite experiencing periods of homesickness and the inevitable wobbles over their decision, all five of them have recently been declared Australian citizens. 

A few months ago, my husband's best friend returned to the UK for a fleeting business trip. I was aware that at one time, they had planned to return to the UK after gaining the freedom of citizenship. So I took the opportunity to enquire if this was still in their plan....

"Kids grow up too fast in the UK" he declared. Feeling a little protective of my homeland and most of all, the decision to bring up our family in this country, I immediately questioned his bold statement. Without really getting to the root, I dismissed it as unjust and entirely unfounded.

But his words have played on my mind ever since. Not so much that it tempts me to flee the country, but enough to make me watch my children with a concerned eye. Are they being forced to grow up too fast here in the UK?

During the summer holidays, I've spent a lot of time alone with my children (probably far more than is healthy, but that's a story for another day!). During this time, I've noticed two factors that could be contributing to our children's quest to grow up faster than they should....

1) We are too scared to say "no".

I think this comes back to peer pressure, sadly still as prevalent when we're 40 as it was when we were 14! Have you ever been swayed by the over-used "everyone else is allowed"  line?  Perhaps you're stronger than me. But now that we are entering the teenage years, I realise more than ever that as parents we must stick to our guns. We need to stand up for what we believe in and if that's protecting our offspring's childhood, then so be it. What better reason is there?

2) We make hasty assumptions.  

This week we did two things that we haven't done for a long while: visited a farm and spent the afternoon rolling down grassy hills. I think I had wrongly assumed that my 14 year old would no longer enjoy the fun activities of her childhood. I was wrong. Very wrong. And in making these assumptions, I realise that I have probably denied my youngest child opportunities that when they were his age, The Tween and The Teenager were still  very much embracing.

I think we have the ability to fall into these traps wherever we choose to reside. Perhaps the good people of Australia have a different outlook on life and therefore the pressures are just not the same. Whatever the answer, I am certainly going to be encouraging more good old-fashioned fun from my 14, 12 and (almost) 10 year old. No one is too old for rolling down a hill, right?

Do you think children in Britain grow up too fast? What do you think are the contributing factors? Are we partly to blame as parents? 

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