Fencing

Tomorrow child number 3 starts her first fencing lesson at her new school.

Fencing

Totally different to any fencing her father did in his youth!

Obviously I mean this…………..

Fencing 2

 

Number plates!

The husband and I recently had new cars.  The first 2 letters and numbers are the same – but I needed to find a way to remember the last 3 letters on each car.

Mine is LCM – I’m Libby, the husband is Mark – Libby Cuddles Mark – perfect. (Even if the kids made vomming noises at this suggestion!)

His is KHG.  My immediate thought was Kana Hates Graham – using another 2 family members as reference points.  This prompted the 7 year old to ask, incredulously, ‘why does Auntie Kana hate Grandad?’   I had to explain I’d made it up purely to remember the reg – and sure enough, I won’t forget it now!!

 

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Number facts!

 

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Tomorrow our eldest gets here GCSE results – and for the first time ALL of the subjects are graded by numbers not letters – so here are some related number facts for you!

  • 1-9 is how the exams are now graded.  We’re optimistic for not too many lower ones, but so you have a comparison, an old school B is a 6, A is a 7, A* is an 8, and they’ve introduced a 9 which is nominally an A**
  • 10 is the number of subjects the daughter has sat.
  • 9 is the number of subjects she would like to have sat.  She really wanted to drop Spanish, but did too well in her mock. We bumped into some old friends on holiday whose eldest son also didn’t particularly enjoy his Spanish GCSE – although his tactic of just adding ‘O’ to the end of an English word to get the Spanish equivalent sounds like a top tip.
  • 1 is the number of Bs I got at GCSE.  And it was in Chemistry.  No one ever asked what the 8As were in – just what that annoying B was!
  • 0 is the number of GCSEs her Dad got.  This has not held him back – and he’s done brilliantly with his entrepreneurial spirit and hard work – but it’s been tricky, not for the daughter, but for other family members who argue ‘well, if Daddy / Uncle Mark hasn’t got any GCSEs, why do I need to bother?’
  • 12 is the number of years she’s worked really hard at school.  Whilst there was loads of revision and working studiously over the GCSE years at school, she’s always been really dedicated.  You can guess who she takes after!?
  • 25 is the kilograms of revision she took with us to Australia last Christmas as her mocks were just after we got back.
  • 29 is the number of years since I got my results – and as a parent, the slightly nauseous feeling on the build up to results day is incredibly reminiscent of nearly 3 decades ago when I was waiting for mine.

 

Good luck to everyone waiting for their results tomorrow – and the associated parents.

GCSE results do not define you, they are a stepping stone to the next stage in life, and only really pathetic people are still bitter about their results when they’re in their mid 40s……..

Book Review: Why Mummy Doesn’t Give A ****! by Gill Sims

May half term was the usual #funtimes #soblessed – juggling 4 kids with no childcare, the eldest child of the 4 being mid GCSEs, so eggshells were being trodden on, and we still needed to run our construction company.

Then – on the last day of the week – I was emailed by the publisher asking if I’d like to read an advanced review copy of Gill Sims new book Why Mummy Doesn’t Give A F*ck!  I was beyond excited.  I have LOVED the previous 2 books in the series – Why Mummy Drinks and Why Mummy Swears – so couldn’t wait to catch up with Ellen and co again.

Why Mummy

Here’s the blurb:

“Family begins with a capital eff.
I’m wondering how many more f*cking ‘phases’ I have to endure before my children become civilised and functioning members of society? It seems like people have been telling me ‘it’s just a phase!’ for the last fifteen bloody years. Not sleeping through the night is ‘just a phase.’ Potty training and the associated accidents ‘is just a phase’. The tantrums of the terrible twos are ‘just a phase’. The picky eating, the back chat, the obsessions. The toddler refusals to nap, the teenage inability to leave their beds before 1pm without a rocket being put up their arse. The endless singing of Frozen songs, the dabbing, the weeks where apparently making them wear pants was akin to child torture. All ‘just phases!’ When do the ‘phases’ end though? WHEN?
Mummy dreams of a quirky rural cottage with roses around the door and chatty chickens in the garden. Life, as ever, is not going quite as she planned. Paxo, Oxo and Bisto turn out to be highly rambunctious, rather than merely chatty, and the roses have jaggy thorns. Her precious moppets are now giant teenagers, and instead of wittering at her about who would win in a fight – a dragon badger or a ninja horse – they are Snapchatting the night away, stropping around the tiny cottage and communicating mainly in grunts – except when they are demanding Ellen provides taxi services in the small hours. And there is never, but never, any milk in the house. At least the one thing they can all agree on is that rescued Barry the Wolfdog may indeed be The Ugliest Dog in the World, but he is also the loveliest.”

This picks up when Jane and Peter are 15 and 13 – which is pretty much the age of my oldest 2 children.  I love that the 3 books have started with kids the age of my littlest pair, and now they’re the age of my eldest pair #relevanttome.

It is just sooooo spot on with references of life with teenagers.

I thought I was the only person whose teenage daughter refers to them as ‘mother’ in a disparaging  way – but seemingly not!

I’m also not sure I’ve ever read a book that has referenced The Suite Life On Deck (a slightly rubbish American kids TV programme which my kids loved when they were younger – and I’m not sure I’d ever realised that Zack and Cody (the twins in it) were played by the actors who played Ben in Friends – so this book is also very educational!!)

I could quote reference after reference – but I don’t want to ruin it for you – as you’ll also be nodding and laughing along when you read it.

Although – my absolute favourite part is when Ellen says that parents’ evening should be parent’s evening because she’s going on her own.  Who doesn’t love an apostrophe gag?!? (I am such a geek, sometimes I want to punch myself……….)

The book covers some big topics – death / divorce / moving house – but does it brilliantly, and with great ‘realness’ (not sure that’s even a proper word) and emotion.

On a personal level, and another brilliant reference point for me, we’ve just had chickens too – also starting off with 3 (Bertha, Wispa and Crunchie rather than Paxo, Oxo and Bisto – I’m disappointed we didn’t go for those names, particularly as they are partial to sage and onion stuffing and gravy – as a friend pointed out, feeding them that is practically pre-loading) – but have now added a cockerel, 8 further chickens (2 of which are partially sighted) and 2 micro pigs to our menagerie. I have also likened myself to Barbara from the Good Life (when I’d always wanted to be more Margot!) but without the dungarees.

chickens and pigs

Gill Sims is so bloody good at writing books.  Other parenting blogs have tried to make the leap to books and it’s just not translated as well (mentioning no names) but Gill’s books are all BRILLIANT.  If you haven’t read the first 2 (and don’t mind a bit of potty mouthed language), then download them IMMEDIATELY – and pre order this for when it’s out later this month.  I would go as far as to say this one is my favourite of the three!!

A massive thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced review copy.

 

 

 

 

Second generation of Fitbit addicts!!

My youngest 2 children decided that they wanted Fitbits a few weeks ago.  As it was just before Easter, and I knew they’d get loads of chocolate anyway, I suggested they had them as an Easter gift in lieu of an Easter egg from us. What a healthy option!

They have worn them loads since – and are very competitive with each other – and me and their Auntie!

The other night I went to put the 7 year old to bed and she said ‘I think I’m going to wear my Fitbit to sleep in tonight’

I replied ‘Oh, do you want it to monitor your sleep?’

To which she responded ‘No, but if I get up in the night for a wee, I don’t want to miss out on the steps’

I have created Fitbit monsters………….

Fitbit Alta

Parents’ evening funtimes

 

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Tonight 3/4 of the children had parents’ evening.

  1. Parents’ evening for G, year 2 – I cried*
  2. Parents’ evening for E, year 4 – I cried**
  3. Parents’evening for L, year 9 – I laughed hysterically, but at least I didn’t cry***

 

*G has been chosen, with one of her friends, to represent their class in the school talent show.  She is playing the piano whilst her friend does an interpretative dance.

**E has had the same lovely teacher for 3 of the past 4 years.  The whole class and teacher have been through some pretty traumatic stuff in that time, that no one – and especially first school kids – should have to face.  They’re all leaving first school in the summer, so it’s quite emotional.

***We sat down to talk to L’s English teacher who commented that he was such a hard working student!!!!!!!!

 

Super proud of all of my super stars – even the one who escaped parents’ evening today.  Whilst I’m chuffed with their academic achievements – I’m more pleased at the fact the teachers all seem to like them, and the other skills of caring, inclusion, empathy that the staff have talked about.   This parenting lark can be pretty stressful and unforgiving at times – but nights like tonight I am pleased we’re doing something right.  Time for a celebratory pancake!

 

The Prices Do Australia

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I said last month that I would ‘blog the sh*t’ out of our trip to Australia – but guess what, I was too busy having the holiday of a lifetime to do any blogging at all!!

But – I really want to – I want to remember every little bit of the holiday for the future – which was one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place, to have a permanent record of family ‘stuff’.

I want to remember:

the amazing Christmas lights at our friends’ house in Bunbury,

the fabulous new game for Christmas Day ‘find Daddy’s phone that he’s dropped in the ocean’,

snorkelling and diving at the Great Barrier Reef (although perhaps not the ultra unflattering photos of me in a stinger suit – which my husband has ‘kindly’ now got as his computer screen saver),

the 7 year old getting confused and asking why the kangaroo Daddy had for lunch was called Phillip (it was actually a kangaroo fillet)

the fireworks to see 2018 out and 2019 in from our hotel room overlooking Sydney harbour,

2/3rds of the family climbing Sydney harbour bridge

and lots and lots and lots more.

So my one and only New Year Resolution is to get all of the above documented properly to remember forever.

The Price family loved Australia and we will definitely be back (well, depending if we all survive the whole jetlag thing – the little 2 have been up since 3am…………….)

 

 

Cape Town – with kids! A funpacked few days in South Africa.

I’ve mentioned before that we were holidaying in Africa this summer – well, that started in the city of Cape Town.  There were 6 of us – my husband and I, and our kids – who range in age from 15 down to 6.

Here’s a random selection of things we did during our stay:

  1. Our accomodationThe Cape Grace hotel – right on the V&A Waterfront was fabulous. All of us thoroughly enjoyed our stay there.  The location was perfect, the views stunning, the service exceptional – and the wifi strong (which is a pre-requisite when travelling with children!)

    We made use of the outside pool area – although admittedly were the only people in it due to it being midwinter! And I had a couple of excellent massages in the spa as I was struggling with a dodgy back.


    The taster menu in their restaurant was stunning – but equally, room service was also excellent – and very convenient in our 3 bedroomed suite, and we even ate on the balcony being hardy Brits!

    I had a slight work crisis whilst there – and the staff were great, printing out documents for me to work on.

    The suite was stunning – and perfect for our large family. We would definitely stay there again and highly recommend it for anyone visiting whether for work, as a couple, friends or families.

  2. Random dog charitySo this is a slightly weird one – and wasn’t in our planned itinerary – but was a highlight for the kids in particular! Close to the hotel, in Nobel Square, there was a pop up dog rescue run by a charity for re-homing dogs.  Whilst adopting a dog on holiday was clearly out of the question – you could also pay to take them for a walk for 10 minutes, or to play with the puppies and we did both!


    The children loved it! You could also pay to name a dog – but there weren’t any nameless ones when we were there – however, the 8 year old has told everyone how she walked ‘Tonya Harding’ #nottheiceskater
  3. The Big Red Bus TourWe did this on our first day – and it gave us a real feel for the layout of the city and close surrounding area.  The weather was kind so we could sit on the top deck of the bus and enjoy the sunshine and commentary. We’ve done bus tours in lots of cities and it really helps you understand the geography and history (I am such a geek!!)  Sadly the cable car to the top of Table Mountain was closed for maintenance, but the bus took us to the base station which still gave amazing views across the ocean to Robben Island and beyond.

    At one point we thought we’d spotted a whale – turned out it was a rock – but we’d somehow incited the whole bus into taking photos of it………

  4. Robben IslandTalking of Robben Island (or Robin Hood Island as my husband mistakenly called it – which is only amusing if you’re familiar with Hall Green in the South of Birmingham where a traffic roundabout is called that!) We were all really looking forward to this – especially the 6 year old who had learnt about Nelson Mandela at school last year.  But we were thwarted because the weather was bad and all ferries were cancelled. So it’s the on planned thing that we missed out on during our whole trip!
  5. The Cape WheelWe’d spotted this from our balcony and thought we should give it a go.  Like the London Eye – but smaller.  You had some great views from  the top – although it did make me feel a bit motion sick!  (It doesn’t take a lot, I feel sea sick on a swing or a lilo!!)

  6. Cape TourWe had been driven from the airport to the hotel by the wonderful Nazeem from Ilios Travel – and he was our driver for our Cape Tour – assisted by the fabulous guide Rian.  It was great to be driven around by such knowledgeable people – and they were both keen to answer any questions or queries we may have had.  We visited some great locations – explained more below – but it was definitely worth investing in a private tour as it gave us such flexibility with what we wanted to see -or not see.  We would definitely recommend Ilios to anyone visiting South Africa.

    We stopped at various points on the route to admire the views.  One was the beaches in Clifton which are numbered 1 down to 4.  1 is for the beautiful (or in some cases surgically enhanced) people – the husband is convinced that would be his?!?  Then it’s beach 2 for sports activities, beach 3 for the local LGBT scene, and beach 4 for families to chill out.  I feel we are far more beach 4 than 1 but didn’t want to burst his bubble!

    We also stopped at the Farm Village in Noordhoek for a coffee where our 15 year old managed to find a tack shop.  It sold the specific fly mask she’d been after for her horse that THE WHOLE OF THE UK had sold out of – so obviously we had to buy it and bring it back!!

  7. Cape Point LighthouseThis was great – although very windy!  We caught the funicular up and down – but there is still a lot of walking up and down steps to see both lighthouses and the amazing views.  Totally worth the effort though!

  8. Cape of Good HopeI had – mistakenly (although seemingly a common mistake) – thought this was the Southern most point of Africa – but in fact, it’s the most South Westerly.  But anyway – it was beautiful to see.  The sun was shining and it was REALLY windy – but great.  We had to queue to get photos taken – but apparently it was nothing compared to the queues at the height of the season!

  9. Penguins at Boulders BeachThe penguins were fab!  You get to learn a bit about them – and see all different sizes of penguins on land – and swimming.  We’d been warned it was a bit smelly – but it wasn’t at all – perhaps because it was winter?  The kids now also know all the facts about why African penguins are different to penguins that live on snow and ice!

  10. Kirstenbosch Botanical GardensThis was our last stop on our day trip – and everyone was getting a bit tired!  But we still had a great time in the gardens.  There’s lots to see – and we probably only witnessed a fraction of it.  At least we could tick it off the list!!

  11. Two Oceans AquariumWe hadn’t planned to go to the Aquarium – but when our Robben Island trip was cancelled, we thought we’d try it (basically as we were up early and it was close to the hotel!)   We were really pleased we did as it was great.  There were lots of exhibits to look at – as well as some interactive quizzes for the kids to do.  (Oh – and free wifi – which is always a winner!)

  12. Scratch Patch – and Cave GolfWe are lucky enough to have a number of friends from – or who’ve been – to Cape Town.  A number recommended Scratch Patch – which we may not have found without the insider knowledge!  The original one was in Simon’s Town and opened in the 1970s.  This one, just behind the waterfront, was great.  Our little girls loved ‘scratching’ to find  beautiful gems to bring home from the millions of rocks covering the floor. We started off with little bags (thinking of the luggage allowance!) but ended up buying medium ones too, as there were just so many to chose from!  Whilst the girls enjoyed this – the boys played Cave Golf – an inside mini golf course (thankfully with only 2 of them playing this didn’t descend into the argumentative chaos that whole family games of crazy golf have!)

  13. The Ferryman’s TavernWe ate and drank at the Ferryman’s Tavern on the V&A waterfront 2 consecutive days – and the waiter remembered our order!  I’m not sure if this was because my husband massively over tipped him the first day due to a currency conversion issue, or because the husband was drinking gluten free beer – or just that he was a great waiter – but it made us feel like locals!!
  14. The V&A WaterfrontWe’ve already mentioned lots of places we visited on the waterfront during our stay – but it really was a great location.  Lots of places to eat and drink and watch the world go by – and great shopping.  The shopping mall was a mixture of familiar names from back home – and also familiar names from trips to the US that aren’t on the UK high street – all in all we had a great time.   Generally things in SA seem cheaper than at home – which is always a good justification to buy more!

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    Chatting to Nelson in Nobel Square

 

Having missed out on Robben Island – and the fact that as we had the kids in tow the husband and I didn’t do any wineries – we kind of feel that we have unfinished business with Cape Town – but are already looking forward to a return visit in the future.

 

 

Note:  This is not a sponsored post, we paid for everything we did.  All of it was organised by our wonderful Travel Counsellor Michelle.  We just wanted to share the amazing trip we had – and keep a record of it for us to look back on. 

 

I bless the rains down in Africa

Everybody loves the 80s Toto classic – and the people of Cape Town are particularly loving any rains due to a drought!

The Price family are off on an African adventure later in the summer.  And we’re all really excited.

This blog was supposed to be remembering family life – as well as book reviews (which are keeping me in free books, so we can’t complain, even if my family members CBA to read any book reviews unless they are specifically tagged!) but my documentation of real family life has fallen by the wayside a bit.  Real life gets in the way of blogging about real life –  and the hum drum of everyday life is probably a bit dull.

Anyway – we’re escaping hum drum to a bespoke trip to Africa – all planned by our amazing Travel Counsellor Michelle.

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We’re starting with a few nights in Cape Town – the 6 year old is well excited about visiting Robben Island. Then we’re up to the Victoria Falls area for a few nights at a safari lodge (the closest I get to camping!!) and then an Elephant Camp (although the soon to be 15 year old is traumatised by the thought of a helicopter trip over the falls).  And we’re finishing off with a week in the Seychelles to chillax, ready for the direct flight home to the UK (it only started in the Spring – but we’re very glad it did!)

With our wide age range of kids, there aren’t that many years that the youngest 2 are old enough to appreciate such adventures, and the older 2 still want to come on holiday with us (although as friends have pointed out, if we’re doing holidays like that – they’ll probably want to come with us forever!!)

The husband is so excited he’s bought special aftershave and retrieved his leopard print thong from the back of his pants drawer #luckyAfrica

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We will keep you posted of our exploits – I am nothing but honest with my reviews on here and social media – but for now, altogether now:

“It’s gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa
(I bless the rain)
I bless the rains down in Africa
I bless the rains down in Africa
(Ah, gonna take the time)
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had”

 

 

The Tooth Fairy – part 2

I’ve blogged before about how even after 15 years of parenting – and 4 kids – the tooth fairy can still be a bit rubbish in the Price household!

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Well, 2 days ago, child number 4 lost a tooth.  It was duly put under her pillow – and the next morning – was still there.

We had been having some electrical issues with the RCD in the house blowing every couple of hours  – so the husband and I had been up regularly in the night jiggling fuses about (this is not a euphemism!) and so we used that as an excuse – as clearly the tooth fairy couldn’t risk being seen by one of us.

Then yesterday the aforementioned child number 4 won a little pot at her big brother’s school fete.  I suggested that this would be perfect for the tooth to go in under her pillow – and so the tooth fairy could find it easily. This morning the pot was opened excitedly – to find the tooth and no coin inside. Whoops.  I suggested perhaps the tooth fairy couldn’t get the lid off the pretty pot, so maybe it should go under the pillow without the lid on this evening.

Half an hour ago child number 4 came downstairs as a 2nd tooth had come out!  To which I exclaimed ‘the tooth fairy must have known this was going to happen, and so that’s why she hasn’t been!  She can do two trips for the price of one tonight and leave double money.’

That tooth fairy is very clever (if a little forgetful!)