Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A Birthday Tea

Another birthday tea, this time for me. I even made myself some paper chains to pretty the place up! Lily lovingly decorated my birthday cake and Emma decorated the fairy cakes. Everyone helped to eat them!

I had the novel experience of snow on my April birthday this year (definitely a first!) and a hailstorm, complete with thunder and lightening in the afternoon. Not exactly your typical spring day! I had a lovely day spent with the people I love, plus some new Folio Society books...a pretty good birthday on the whole, peculiar weather notwithstanding!

Baked by me, decorated by Lily. She did a lovely job on it.

Emma decorated the fairy cakes after I iced them for her. They are so pretty! 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

A Royal Tea

I thought it would be nice to mark the the 90th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen today, so we celebrated with a little birthday tea this evening. Lily even had us sing 'Happy Birthday'! 


When we moved into this house nearly nine years ago, my dad brought some primroses from his garden for me. I have never split them, so they now burst forth in glorious profusion every spring and are so pretty. I have several clumps around the garden, but these are by far the largest. I've always thought of them as a little piece of Devon growing in my garden and they gladden my heart whenever I see them.

A Quiet Sunday

After our late night on Saturday, we wanted a nice gentle Sunday to minimise potential crankiness amongst the small folk. The weather was glorious, so we thought a gentle walk in Biddulph Grange Gardens was just the ticket. We bought some fish food, intending to feed the goldfish in the lake, but unfortunately they were so full they just weren't interested. The Podlings were a bit disappointed, but they still enjoyed a lovely walk round the gardens.

We've been here many times and we seem to find something new every time we come. This time we discovered a new part of the China garden we hadn't seen before. We finished up, as always, in the little second hand bookshop where I found a delightful book full of beautiful watercolour paintings of English flowers. We enjoyed a quick tea and some biscuits in the car park before picking up fish and chips for tea on the way home. A perfect end to a lovely day.  

A boy and his ball.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Snow in the Lakes

We love the Lake District and are very lucky that we only live about 90 minutes away from the bottom of the National Park. We try to pop up there whenever we can and last Saturday was already our second visit of the year. We got up there quite late in the day and were surprised to see snow on the high ground. We were even more surprised to find ourselves driving through heavy snowfall! We pressed through the snow shower and found the sunshine waiting for us in Whinlatter Forest.

The Podlings had a wonderful time playing in the fantastic adventure playground. The last time we came to Whinlatter was a warm bank holiday weekend and the playground was heaving. Today, because it was cold and late in the day, the Podlings had the entire playground to themselves and they relished every minute of it. They were delighted when the snow briefly caught up with us. It was quite magical, standing in the quiet forest amongst the carved wooden toadstools and fairy doors as the snow drifted gently down through the trees. The shower was short lived and then the sun came out again. Afterwards, we took a drive through Kirkstone Pass and treated the Podlings to KFC for tea before heading home for a very late night. Another lovely day with my favourite people. I love my life! 

Ten minutes after I took this photo it started snowing!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Fun at the Farm

We took a trip to Derbyshire on Sunday to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday with the family. We met up with Mark's parents and his two brothers and their families at Bluebell Dairy Farm on the outskirts of Derby. The Podlings had a wonderful time wandering through the mud to see the animals. We all loved the sheep, who were very friendly and let you pet them. Emma was very brave and let them eat straight out of her hand. Alex loved getting to touch the 'baa baas' and found the whole excursion quite delightful. It being spring, there were lambs and chicks to delight us, as well as rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks, goats, a couple of pigs and the ugliest turkey you ever did see! We were rather taken with Twinkle the Donkey, who is nearly 30 years old!

The Podlings loved the playground and Alex particularly liked the sandpit. You can imagine the state of us as we left the farm, covered in mud, sand and goodness knows what else! We cleaned ourselves up the best we could in time for a celebration dinner at a local pub later in the afternoon.

It was a wonderful day and a lovely chance to catch up with my nieces and nephew, who are growing fast. It won't be long before they will be running around the playground with their older cousins. Family get togethers are set to become very interesting when that happens!

Twinkle the Donkey

Friday, 8 April 2016

Alexander's First Bubble Bath

Alex had his first bubble bath tonight! This probably doesn't sound like a big thing, in fact most people would probably wonder why we waited until he was 22 months old before we gave the poor boy some bubbles in his bath. For me, though, this is a big thing. Alexander was born with the smoothest, clearest skin I have ever seen on a newborn baby. It was beautiful! Within a couple of weeks however he started to get a few spots on his face and body and by four weeks old my sweet baby boy was covered in eczema. I remember wanting to weep at his beautiful little face all covered with angry red patches of eczema. I slathered the little thing in Epaderm and thankfully by a few months old the eczema had cleared from everywhere except his legs. We were able to keep the worst of it at bay by not bathing him everyday, using special emollients in his bath when we did and with a regular moisturising regime. Any perfumes, soaps and bubble baths were an absolute no-no. I did occasionally have to use steroids during a flare up, but the eczema never went above his knees again after those first few months. Until we took him swimming...

Last year on holiday his skin was looking clear enough that we thought we'd chance taking him swimming for the first time. After being initially timid at all the noise in the pool, he soon found that he loved it and had a wonderful time. We took him again the next day and again he loved it. He's a real water baby! Later that day, however, I noticed spots appearing on his torso and within a couple of days his entire torso, front and back, was covered in eczema. It took months to clear it up completely, just from two trips to the swimming pool. My poor baby boy!

Over the past six months, I have seen a huge improvement in his skin. He hasn't had any eczema now for months and although I still am afraid to bathe him daily I am cautiously optimistic that he may have outgrown his eczema, as most sufferers of infantile eczema usually do. Tom also suffered from it as a baby, but had largely outgrown it by the age of two. When I was in Boots the other day I bought a very mild bubble bath (Mega Mild Bubbly Bath by Cussons Mum & Me if you are interested.) and thought we'd give it a go. He absolutely loved it, saying "Bubbles! Bubbles!" excitedly from the second he walked in the bathroom.  The photos show far more than words can how much he enjoyed his first bubble bath.

Alex will still have very sensitive skin, so I will still be very careful. I will watch his skin like a hawk for the next few days for any signs of dryness or redness, but fingers crossed my baby boy can finally enjoy the occasional bubble bath like most little children. Here's hoping we have left the eczema behind us.

Temporary Post

Greetings to anyone who still bothers to read my poor, neglected blog!

I'm bored with playing catch-up with the blog now. I miss blogging life as it happens. I am going to start posting life as it happens again and will post my backlog below this post (you might want to scroll below occasionally to see if I have updated). When the blog is up to date again, I will delete this post.

That is all!