A Worthy Ambition

My boy Jake is a thoughtful little fella, this much I have learned.

We were in the reception area of the children’s gym, where the 3 of  us were resting between the running, climbing & jumping that we so enjoy there.

He was enjoying eating a ‘treat': a little chocolate bar.

Thoughtfully, he said to me, between mouthfuls:

“Daddy, you know how I’ve said to you that I want to be a Scientist?”

(It’s true: he has, on many occasions.)

“Yes”

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“Well, I think I know what sort of Scientist I want to be. Do you know what sort of Scientist I want to be?”

(An unusually talkative one, probably!)

“No, I don’t: what sort of Scientist do you want to be?”

“I want to be a Chocolate Scientist!”

He likes investigating things, & he likes eating chocolate: it’s just logical!

He was delighted to learn that it is actually a real job, that he can indeed be a Chocolate Scientist! Although I suspect the job spec may not involve as much chocolate eating as he probably expects…

Still, I wish him luck: watch this space!

 

How (Not) to Install & Remove Stairgates: A JallieDaddy DIY Masterclass

Our bouncy little twinnies have been too big & too clever to need stairgates for some time now.

So came the momentous moment – a real “our 2 little babies aren’t little babies any more!” milestone actually – when it came to remove them.

The bottom one was fine. When I removed the top one however there was this:

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There’s a HOLE! A big one! In my WALL!

To be honest, I’m not really sure what happened.

I blame the kids. Or the Government.

The dog ate my spanner?

It’s possible, I suppose, that I may have fastened it on a little too tightly….

I ought to get around to filling it up  – with plaster, probably – and painting it.

After this though I’m a little scared to touch it!

And just in case you are still in need of my expert DIY advice, here’s how NOT to fix a broken shed door:

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Happy housefixing!

This is my entry for my DIY confession to Polesdirect.com’s ‘Changing Attitudes and Values’ DIY Blogger Challenge.

 

 

The Saga of the Climbing Frame

Our intentions were good.

For Jake & Ellie’s birthday – back in early March – we bought them a fantastic climbing frame. We thought they’d love it!

Unfortunately we hadn’t quite thought it through…

The garden in the new house is a good size but when we looked at the space the thing needed we realised that it just wasn’t big enough!

At first we thought we’d have to knock down the very useful shed & rip out most of the beautiful flower garden just to fit it in!

After a lot of head-scratching & measuring with bits of string we finally found  a place it could go without too much damage, leaving both the shed & the flowers intact. We just needed to have a lot of the paving & a small tree ripped out & replaced with turf.

Then – almost inevitably –  we had many problems finding a contractor to do the work. It must have been about half a dozen of them who looked at the work, said they’d get back in touch – then didn’t.

Finally I found a good guy who could do the work at a reasonable price. He said he would talk to us before starting work: he didn’t! Instead he let himself in while no-one was there & ripped out ALL of the paving, not just the bits we wanted taken out! He took out, for instance, the back patio we use for eating outside, the area outside the side door, & a border we wanted left in.

We came back to a garden that looked like a bombsite: my wife was devastated! All the paving stones had been ripped out & put into big piles that looked like slag-heaps!

In the doom & gloom, cue Mr Brightside!

Jake noticed that one brick had been left sitting all by itself in the middle of the Plain of Desolation, and said:

“Well, at least he still left one.”

Fantastic! We all laughed: what a great way of lifting the edge off of a sad situation!

Sometime it needs the innocent & happy outlook of a small child to give us jaded grown-ups some perspective!

1-DSCN1000Happily the contractor came back promptly & was able to restore the paving he took out in error, & install the turf. The garden now looks great & we hope to have the shiny new climbing frame up & running very soon!

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Wot So Funee?

Trouble Sleeping?

1-DSCN0993I’ve had a bit of this lately: circumstances, sort of thing.

Fortunately I’ve come across a meditation music app that really helps!

It’s called ‘Soothing Sounds’ & is available for your Android phone or tablet.

Does it work? Yes: this app is great!

I often get myself off to sleep with a ‘Mellow’ playlist on my ‘phone. This is good, but the playlist wasn’t designed for that & more often than not songs come up that are a bit too lively & delay the process. I also use TV, although I know I shouldn’t; it’s generally been shown to be a bad idea. I’m often woken up in the middle of the night by noisy ads or a bright screen.

This however works ‘like a charm’, & I’ve been using it regularly ever since I downloaded it.
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It has a large variety of relaxing ambient sounds to choose from: for instance beach, binaural, birds, crickets, frogs, a ticking clock, a heartbeat, rain, a rainforest, flowing water, a Tibetan bowl, whalesong, white noise, wind & a some ‘new-age’ style music.

Each sound is configurable: you change both volume & intensity.

You can select each sound individually or in groups of up to 10;  you can then save any of the groups you create for later use.

I found it was as fun to play around with as it is useful as a sleep-aid!

I do have a couple of minor quibbles however. The app is quite big, & if you’re like me & have a budget ‘phone with limited memory you may struggle to find space for it.

I also had trouble getting the options to work. You can set silence, alarm & wake-up timers but I found the keys unresponsive.

To be honest I’ve had similar trouble with other apps so it may well be my ‘phone’s fault. If not it just needs a simple patch.

I usually charge my ‘phone overnight anyway so I’ve often just left it on all night. It’s actually pretty good to wake up to!

The bottom line however: it works, it’s fun & it costs spare change, so I can recommend it!

In my experience anything that helps you sleep when you’re having trouble dropping off is worth it, & ‘Soothing Sounds’ does exactly that.

Review written in collaboration with Lost Ego Studios 

 

 

 

The Story Behind the Photo

Jake & Ellie, balloons, a clown, the seafront: that was my Silent Sunday Photo yesterday, & a lovely one too I think.

What is it they say? “A picture paints 1000 words”. There are definitely a few words behind this one!

The town we live in was having a ‘Seafront Festival’ , promising rides, stalls & entertainment. There were plenty of stalls alright, & good entertainment, but only 1 ‘ride’ – a sort of long soft-play bouncy castle. Probably just as well actually, as it was £2 for 5 minutes, & of course with us everything is x2!

After an oom-pah band the entertainment was this clown, a Mr T Ricks. He did a great show: he was funny, had great rapport with the kids, made some balloons then did a great ‘Punch & Judy’ show. The twins, & the many other children there, loved it.

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We then wandered off for an over-priced lunch in a nearby cafe, then it was back to the seafront where Jake & Ellie selected their promised “1 treat & 1 toy” – both small! – each, the deal which had been thrashed out in earlier negotiations.

Jake found an ‘Angry Birds’ Pez ,which he loved, & Ellie a slurpy licky sugary juicy thing, which she didn’t. They both decided on loud horns for their toys. Oh goody…

I’d forgotten my earplugs! They sounded a lot like Vuvuzelas.

I hate Vuvuzelas!

After getting ‘tattoos’  – free from the lovely Mr Ricks – they decided they wanted to see his show again.

We’d grabbed a couple of (small!) balloons on the way – Jake a Spiderman one, & Ellie an Elsa & Anna one from her beloved ‘Frozen’. They were helium but were wrapped around their wrists so they wouldn’t fly away.

They were sitting down enjoying the show when their balloons become tangled in the wind. I stepped in to untangle them but somehow in the process Ellie’s came loose & flew off up into the sky!

She was very upset. She cried!

The lovely Mr T Ricks noticed, & actually stopped his show for her! He called her up, & made a special balloon, just for her! It took quite a while, & all the time he was making a fuss of her. And it really was a special balloon – a green-stemmed big white flower with a red love-heart inside the petal!

She still missed her ‘Frozen’ balloon but was very happy with her new one. Mr Ricks sir – you are a star!

We then walked back ‘home’. I was leading the way carrying Ellie’s flower balloon, Jake his Spiderman one, & they were tooting on their horns nearly all the way. We were like a mini-parade, & I was a little surprised all the children within earshot didn’t try to fall in line with us! We certainly got noticed!

We paraded all the way to – strange but true – the Library!

They do a weekly reading & crafting session there, 1 of the twins’ favourite activities. They made sparkly fish, & did a ‘monster-hunt’ treasure trail, & really enjoyed it all.

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Some trees we prepared earlier!

A great day, including a real Magic Moment, courtesy of a very kind clown!

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