Outdoor Messy Play!

It’s the best place for it, in my experience. ‘Outdoors’, that is. The clue’s in the name: Messy Play. It’s messy!

It all started with an old tin of Smash* I found in the kitchen cupboard.

It was spotted.

“What’s that, Daddy?”

Such innocent little faces. Such a loaded question. Continue reading “Outdoor Messy Play!”


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?

A Taste of Spring!

What a strange day it was yesterday!

For the first time in months, a) it wasn’t raining, b) there wasn’t much wind, c) it wasn’t too cold, & d) there was that strange stuff about that I remember referring to as “Sunshine”!

We had a ton of things to do at home but we knew that the weather wasn’t supposed to last so we made the most of it & headed out for the some Fun in the Sun!
Continue reading “A Taste of Spring!”

Memories, Old & New

Blog posts can take many forms. There are quick ones, funny ones, photo posts, wordy posts, posts for others.

Then there are those posts where you write from the heart, when you feel moved enough that you have something you really want to say.”Blackberries” was one of those posts.

Those first 2 years in what I still think of as our home, when I was with Jake & Ellie nearly all the time, weren’t without their difficulties but hold so many precious memories. Like picking blackberries together.
Continue reading “Memories, Old & New”


DSCF3876For the first 2 years of your lives we all lived together in our big house in the Midlands. The “big old house”, with the big old garden.

You don’t remember it. I do.

I remember how I was your full-time, stay-at-home Daddy. For your first year with Mummy, and for your second year by myself when Mummy went back to work, with reduced hours.

034I remember it all so well. You don’t.
Continue reading “Blackberries”

Ode to Sitting on a Windowsill

I like it here

The dandelions are lovely

There are clouds

By Ellie, age 3 1/2

Apologies to anyone who’s already seen this in an earlier post. I just thought it was worth repeating, here 🙂

For more posts like this just click the pic:

Crazy With Twins


A Brief History of Messy Play

It’s been long time since I did a messy play post; not since April in fact. Too long!

The main reason is that I take a lot of photos so going thorough them, selecting the best ones, adding my watermark etc. takes time – time that I often don’t have.

So here at last is what we’ve been up to, messy-stylee!

Jake & Ellie’s favourite type of messy play is probably foody play.

Back in April & May we had several sessions, & they loved it. We got very messy; me included.

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We just grab any old or cheap foodstuffs we find lying around, stick them in little bowls & give them a big bowl each. They then mix it up in their bowls while I add water on demand. Until their bowls are full, that is: even now they still don’t seem to have the concept of “too much water”.

We use – for instance – flour, old or unwanted breakfast cereals, lentils, whole or crunched-up old organix crisps, old bread / breadcrumbs, old biscuits, sometimes old fruit. They love it!

I’d love it more if they’d help with the clean-up operation, but that’ll come. I hope…

At other times they like to try their hand at ‘gardening’ – a.k.a. playing with dirt!

Later in May they decided to take the remains of foody messy play & plant them! Obviously if you put food into a pot of dirt, add compost & water then it will grow into plants which you can then pick & eat.


Fortunately for us they seemed to forget about this project soon afterwards, so they weren’t disappointed at seeing no reward for their toil!

Also in May they did some painting which I think is their most creative yet. I set them loose in the garden with a big slab of cardboard, paints & brushes & let them at it! I was delighted with what they came up with. Totally unbidden by me they started sticking bits & pieces from the garden onto the wet paint: sticks from plants I’d pruned, dandelions, grass.

Their painting became an ‘Installation’: Tate Gallery here we come!


Later on, with a little help from me, Jake worked out that combining different coloured paints together made a new colour! He then spent the rest of the session as The Mixer: making new colours for Ellie to paint with.


I’m not sure what happened in June; it seems to have been a MessyPlay-Free Zone. I do know that we grown-ups were pretty busy with house-hunting.

In July however they did some more great painting, this time in our new house. Jake was once again doing some great mixing, & I love the vibrant colours he produced!



More recently we bought a little cardboard house for them to paint & decorate, & they’ve really enjoyed it.


That deserves a post of its own though I think: sometime in the next 4 months. Hopefully sooner!

I’m linking this post up with Jennie’s ‘Messy Play for Matilda Mae’ blog-hop: for more Messy Play posts like this just click here.

Edspire  Messy Play

Saturday is Caption Day! The Masterchef Edition

We had a great messy play session on Thursday evening, at Jake & Ellie’s request.

Their creations were, variously, “a fat tummy” (too much flour), “peanut butter” & “cake”.

I was very tempted to put in 2 photos, but I resisted!

I hope to do a proper Messy Play post about it tonight, time & energy permitting.

In the meantime, what do you think? What’s going on here?

As ever your witty comments are much appreciated!


Then click the little boy’s head for more: enjoy!

Saturday is Caption Day: Little House on the Scary?


So is anyone else thinking “scary movies”? Captions please!

Our usual host Mammasaurus is STILL on her hol’s so the SatCap linky is today being hosted over at “Cake Photos Life”.  Just click the link to see more SatCap posts or to join in. And, as ever, have fun!

Saturday is a Very Wet Caption Day!


Got a witty, profound or just plain silly caption for this picture? Then leave it in the comments below! Then click on the little boy’s head here & you will be magically transported to the funsome Mammasaurus’ blog for many more pictures crying out for a witty / pithy #satcap caption.