Thursday, 31 December 2015

Walk on Clent Hills

Today we went for lovely walk, in glorious sunshine, on the Clent Hills which are 10 miles out of Birmingham.

This is the view from the summit of Adam's Hill, at a height of 304 metres (997 feet). A 'toposcope', or carved stone platform showing the direction and distance of local (and distant) points of interest, sits at the top. From here it is possible to see the Black Country, the Birmingham skyline, and other features as far away as the South Shropshire Hills and the Welsh Borders.
We also enjoyed the viewpoint from the Four Stones Folly, a Victorian folly erected by a former owner of nearby Hagley Hall.
G prefered splashing in puddles :).

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

December 23rd - Make a Christingle

Today we made christingles.  Christingle means ‘Christ’s Light’ and it is a symbol of the Christian faith. Lots of churches hold Christingle services around Christmas time. The custom of giving out lighted candles in these services began in Germany in 1747 but it wasn't introduced to the Anglican Church in England until 1968.Christingles are made up of different parts, each one being there to remind us of something.
  • The orange represents the world.
  • The candle reminds Christians of Jesus who they believe to be the light of the world. (We used a small glo-stick)
  • The red ribbon goes all round the 'world' and being the colour of blood, reminds Christians that Jesus died. (Actually we used Strawberry laces!)
  • The four cocktail sticks could have either of two meanings; the four seasons or the four corners of the world.
  • The sweets (or sometimes dried fruit) remind Christians of God's gifts to the world including kindness and love.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

December 22nd - Theatre trip

Today my mum and I, G and E went to watch The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at the Birmingham Rep

The play was well done with a small but talented cast!  The transformation from English country house wardrobe to the winter landscape of Narnia is simply quite magical. There were amazing fantastical animal costumes and a most impressive Dwarf puppet and a three-man sized puppet version of the Lion, Aslan, very reminiscent of the War Horse creation. The songs were also very catchy!  All in all a great show!

Monday, 21 December 2015

December 21st - Visit Hogwarts in the Snow

Today we went for a festive(ish) walk in the mud at Wimpole before vising the Warner Brothers Studio.

Having visited a few years ago it was good to take the girls back, especially as the younger two are more into Harry Potter.  We had tried and failed to watch the films before we went...still there is always January!  From the moment you enter the entrance hall the magic begins.  The girls loved the biggest Christmas tree and spotting photo of cast members on the wall.  The great hall set has been decorated for Christmas, complete with Christmas trees with flying witch toppers, Christmas food, flaming puddings and effects to make it look like it was snowing through the windows!

Then you are through into the Props room which is massive and has many many things to see.  I loved the sets such as the Gryffindor common room and the potions room.

New to this visit was the Hogwarts Express!  It was just like being at King's Cross!  Each compartment in the carriage is from a different film.

We also tried and didn't like Butter Beer!  We enjoyed the few larger sets just outside. We saw  the huge knight bus, the Dursley's residence - Number 4, Privet Drive, the Hogwarts bridge and the wreck of a house where the Potters were murdered by Voldemort in Godric's Hollow.  

The special effect's room was fascinating to see. The  Monster Book of Monsters made P jump every time it moved!  

Then the tour is nearly over, but not before a meander along Diagon Alley, a chance to see how sets are designed from initial ideas to detailed drawings to scale paper models before seeing the breath taking scale model of Hogwarts.

YtttTh   Over all we had a fab three and bit hours - well worth a trip!  And so lovely to see it all Christmassy!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

December 20th - Visit Father Christmas

Today I took the small 2 to Lapland UK. It was about a an hour and three quarters from Cambridge. We had a magical time... right from when the girls found their invites on their car seats waiting for them to the moment we arrived!  They loved making the toys (I wish I put a Rudolph on our Christmas list because they were fab!) and the gingerbread.  The snow amused them... they both kept picking it up and saying "Well it's not real is it?".  We had late lunch in their cafe which was a little pricey but the food was child friendly. We then went ice-skating and P loved being whizzed around on a penguin by an elf. Then we looked in the shops and although we didn't buy anything pricey they loved being able to choose some sweets.  We also loved meeting Star and Susie the huskeys!  Then it was off to see Father Christmas and we even spotted his reindeer.

Yes it is expensive and no its not perfect... if you look for cracks you will find them!  But as multiple others have shown you cannot do this kind of thing for less!! I loved it and hope to back next year (whilst they are still little enough - even the big 2 want to come!  Best get saving!)

Saturday, 19 December 2015

December 19th - crafts at Wandlebury

Today we went Wandlebury for their children's Christmas crafts. The girls enjoyed making Mexican eyes, wreaths from willow and painting on pieces of wood.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

December 17th - Make gingerbread

Today using Mary Berry's gingerbread recipe the girls made a start on their gingerbread house.

You need:
  • 375g unsalted butter
  • 300g dark muscovado sugar
  • 150g golden syrup
  • 900g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger

  1. Preheat the oven to (fan 180C.
  2. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup together in a large pan. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger together into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the melted butter mixture, stir it in and, when cool enough to handle, knead to a stiff dough.
  3. Cut out the pieces using cutters or a mould (we have a lakeland one).
  4. Bake the gingerbread for 7-8 minutes

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

December 15th -Ice-cream cone Christmas trees.

Today the girls made ice-cream cone Christmas trees.

You need:
  • Pointy Sugar Cones
  • Green frosting (or G made green buttercream icing)
  • Assorted Candies for “Christmas Tree Ornaments”
  • Shredded Coconut
  1. Place the ice cream cone, pointy side up on a paper plate.
  2. Cover the entire outside of the cone with the green tinted frosting (gently as not to break your cone - we had several breakages!).
  3. Decorated with your desired sweets.

Monday, 14 December 2015

December 14th - E turns 8 and we go ice-skating

Today we E's birthday.

Favourite colour: Orange
Favourite book: Roma the Robber's daughter
Dream Job: A writer
Favourite activity: playing the flute
Worst thing: Maths lessons
Favourite food: Spaghetti and meatballs

She opened her presents in the morning and then went to school.

In the afternoon, we went ice-skating at the North Pole, Cambridge. E was still the best but by the end of the session P was going round on her own.

After ice-skating, at E's suggestion, we went to 5-Guys - an expensive fast food burger joint.