Holy mackerel where does the time go?

I have to admit that I am not sure if this blog thing is going to continue. I don’t feel the urge to keep going right now, mostly because I don’t seem to have anything to write about that may even be remotely interesting for you all to read. Writing a blog of my life and the stuff in it needs to be interesting and quite frankly it isn’t.

Whilst I contemplate the whole blog thing I may as well provide an update on the Worldwich of Sam.

Flipping heck what has happened since February…… Well the summer holidays are upon us. for once the weather seems to be holding up. I am off for the next 2 weeks but there are no plans cos hubby has changed his job and is now a taxi driver. He loves this …. a lot. Maybe my blog can be full of the stories he comes home with… and maybe not! Because of this recent change in work there has been a slight impact on the finances and going away anywhere is off the cards. Thats 2 years on the trot as it happened last year when I changed my job and cocked up the holiday plans. Anyway we are staying at home. Yesterday was a trip to Wingham Wildlife park near Canterbury. Pleasantly surprised actually. Better than Howletts Zoo to be honest and many many more of the animals were actually visible. I guess that the anti caged animals lobby may argue that this is not a good thing and quite frankly I have no desire to get into the semantics of this but we had a good few hours watching the lemurs climb over people and the meerkats standing up on their hind legs and the otters who are quite simply so fricking gorgeous.

I have bought Savannah a sewing machine and am introducing her to the world of sewing but again I am struggling with mojo and don’t know what to sew. we are trying to learn the basics like threading up the machine and winding the bobbin on etc so its early days but she has made a fully lined tote bag with my support and seemed to enjoy it a lot.

Other plans include a maybe trip to London (finances pending), Broadstairs water gala next Wednesday oh and Pokemon hunting. I am not going to apologise for being one of “the masses” playing this game as I am thoroughly enjoying it. I get out of the house gets my steps up for my Fitbit and generally stay fit. I am not running at the moment due to potential arthritis in my big toe and I don’t really know how this is going to pan out but walking is good.

Anyway going to leave you with some pictures of bags and animals until next time TTFN xx

Oh my goodness me….. it’s been awhile

Firstly I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and got everything that you put on your list. I hope you are all gearing up for the New Year and all that it may bring you. It has been such a long time since I wrote and I have no idea why. Maybe my blog mojo pottered off for a little siesta, maybe I have been so busy in my life that I had little time for blogging but I am still here and still plodding along.

Summer has been and gone and I have been hard studying with my asthma module and then in October I began my Prescribing module at University. This is a challenging module and needs me to be focused and organised.

From a photography and sewing perspective not much has been happening but I keep trying to dabble and will keep on doing so cos I enjoy it.

Then all of a sudden it was Christmas. Savannah got a Kindle and is totally made up with it. We also got her a metal detector that she has asked for for the last 2 years and a walk on the beach the day after Boxing day turned up 3 pence, 2 rusted pieces of iron, 1 nut and 1 washer. I feel that there may be many evenings on the beach in the summer with this gift and lots of fun.

Imogen got so many bits and pieces for Christmas, she was going to have driving lessons but has changed her mind for the moment. She has such a busy year coming up, interviews for University are already lined up, trips to Disney with her Health and Social group, 18th Birthday in the summer. I can’t believe my little girl is nearly 18, how time flies.

Anyway enough babble for the moment, Happy New Year to you all, may you all have health, happiness and wealth.

TTFN xx

Day 3

Broadstairs Water Gala day today.

A lovely lie in was followed by application form completion for my Independent and Supplementary Nurse Prescribing module that I am due to commence in October. Fortunately these work related things soon were completed and relaxation time commenced. A nice surprise was that Imogen joined us for a while today as well.

We got into Broadstairs at around 1 ish and pottered around the craft stalls (and the usual smattering of tut stalls pretending to be craft). Savannah and I had a go on the Mexican hat swing ride and I realised that I am no longer much good at fairground rides which does not bode well for our planned visit to Chessington next week 😦

Savannah met Elsa and Anna whilst sitting at the bandstand which is always a big hit with her. And she had a go at the Skip 2 B fit challenge. Apparently this is not a trendy thing for 17 year olds to do or have their photo with so no pictures of Imogen today.

Skip 2 B fit 2 minute challenge

Skip 2 B fit 2 minute challenge

Savannah meets Elsa and Anna

Savannah meets Elsa and Anna

Ice cream sundae at Morellis was then followed by a solo airplane display. Sadly I missed his smoke love heart as I was not quick enough with the camera and it is still a bit breezy today but it was quite clever.

Anyway we have popped home for some dinner and then Tony is off to play squash whilst Savannah and I go back to Broadstairs to see the fireworks later this evening. I will try to get some pictures of the fireworks later and pop them up for you to see.

TTFN x

Disneyland Paris 2013


Meeting Goofy
Sleeping Beauty's castle Meeting Rapunzel Minnie Mouse at Cafe Mickey Meeting Snow White

5 days in Disneyland Paris have come to an end. On one hand I am sad, we have had a fabulous time meeting Minnie and Mickey, Goofy, Eyeore, Tigger, Rapunzel, Snow White etc etc I am sure you get the idea.

On the other hand I am so completely exhausted I can’t wait to get home and flake out. If you have never been and you are thinking about it prepare to be more tired than you have ever been in your life and then double it. Your feet and legs will literally not feel like they belong to you, your back will ache but your children will be excited, delighted and completely subsumed by the whole Disney brand. Actually if I am honest so are the parents.

My husband and I have had several discussions about the whole trip and I thought I would share some things with those of you who are considering the trip but who are Disney ‘virgins’. I am not employed by Disney and these comments are purely my own opinion and do not necessarily reflect those of Disney.

Disney hotel

We stayed at the Sequoia Lodge Hotel. It is a 3 star hotel. 4 nights and 5 days B&B for 3 adults and 1 child cost around £1300 (bearing in mind it is the first week of the summer holiday). We added the half board plus option for some £400 or so making a total cost of £1700 for a 5 day break. We drove to Disney as the Eurostar quote was for approx £1000 !!!!!!!!!!!!!! The drive was very straight forward and only apptox 3 hours. The ferry cost £70 return to Dover although we incurred a £60 fee for arriving at Calais early and getting an earlier ferry. Still it was a lot cheaper than the train and less restricting time wise.

The hotel was completely fine. I don’t recommend reading the Trip Advisor comments as they consist of people moaning about how very expensive it is and how little you get for your money. Yes it is expensive but think of what you are doing. Disney is perhaps one of the biggest brands in the world. You are paying for the brand. The hotel is not 5 star but you are simply using it as a place to shower, sleep and eat. Does it need to be anything spectacular? There are daily meet and greets with Disney characters in the hotel with ample photo opportunities. There is no compulsion to buy the ‘official’ photo and you are very welcome to take your own photos, in fact several times the official photographer happily took pictures of us as a family with our own camera. You are paying for beautiful amazing memories. For many this kind of trip would be once in a lifetime. Ok including spending money a 5 day holiday has cost £3000 but I have beautiful pictures and memories of 2 children who quite simply have not stopped smiling.

Eating in Disney – I strongly recommend getting the half board plus option it will save you money. I also recommend booking your restaurants on arrival especially Cafe Mickey. They get booked up very quickly. I think there is an option to book online before you arrive but don’t quote me!  You can check on the website. Expect to pay upwards of €30 per adult for a meal. A meal for us cost approx €120, we made considerable saving by getting half board plus. We highly recommend the Cafe Mickey experience. The kids loved eating their meal while meeting Disney characters. The characters were brilliant. They interacted really well with adults and children alike and posed for photos very happily.

Trip Advisor reviews mentioned the fact that breakfast was a bit like a scrum. This was not our experience. When you book in you are asked what time you would like breakfast. You get given cards for each of the days you are having breakfast and that’s it. You go down for breakfast, get shown to your table and it is a buffet style continental breakfast. Toast, croissants, pain au chocolate, 3 cereals, fruit, cheese, ham, yoghurts, coffee, tea and juice. You can pay for a cooked breakfast if you really want one!

The parks themselves

There are 2 parks. Disneyland and Walt Disney studios. We did 4 days in Disneyland and 1 in Walt Disney studios. Recommended rides are Tower of Terror, Rock and Roll Rollercoaster, both in Walt Disney Studios. In Disneyland park our youngest daughter loved the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and It’s a Small World. Space Mountain was awesome but broke down with my husband and eldest daughter on it so they had to walk from the highest point to the exit. The Dumbo ride and Rocket ride were ok and the Alice in Wonderland Maze entertained for a while.

The highlight for both girls was meeting a princess in the Princess Pavilion. This involves queuing for a reservation ticket which gives you a time to go to the Pavilion. You then queue again at your alloted time and finally meet 1 princess. You don’t get told who is there and it is pot luck who you get. The look on both my daughters faces as they walked round the corner to be greeted by Rapunzel was priceless and quite frankly made the expense worth it. If you have girls (and there were quite a few boys too) this HAS to be done.

A final word on queuing. Be prepared to queue. Be prepared for a variety of definitions on what ” to queue”  actually is. There is nothing like a queue to bring out the indignant English in a person and boy did I get indignant. That said queuing is part of the experience too and there has been thought into the queuing experience. Most of the queues are covered protecting people from the sun. There are lots and lots of places to buy

drinks and also water fountains with drinking water available. Fast passes are available for some rides but we did not try this out.

Make sure you see the evening parade at 7 pm each day. We all enjoyed that a lot worth sitting on a kerb for hour to get a decent space.

Without fail every employee was smiling. There were polite, they engaged with the kids at every opportunity. The temperatures during our stay topped 38 degrees C and there were characters out meeting and greeting. They must have been so hot but they remained professional and did their job without any deterioration in quality of performance.

Would we go again? Oh yes definitely. Would we stay at the hotel again? Yes definitely. Go to Disney, immerse yourself in the magic, find your inner child again and have fun and make some amazing brilliant memories.

The wolf huffed and puffed ……

…….and the house of sticks fell down.

We have been for a walk today to King’s Wood nr Ashford in Kent. It was fairly bracing but very nice to see the sun and blow way the winter cobwebs.

Savannah had this idea to build a shelter from the wood she found. However, this was soon found to be fairly impractical so a small bridge over a large muddy puddle sufficed but such imagination bless her.

I hope you all had a lovely Easter and I hope that the sun continues and we soon get some warmth.

TTFN x

My workspace

My workspace by Samantha Halliwell
My workspace, a photo by Samantha Halliwell on Flickr.

So I have had a tidy up and reorganised my work area. I have put one of the centre sections of the table in and made it longer to fit my computer and sewing machine on it. This allows me to watch iPlayer when I am sewing LOL.
I have tidied up my fabric stash and am a little sad that I have not got as much material as I thought. Still I hope to remedy that gradually, can never have to much fabric eh!
Things have settled down a little more in the Halliwell house. Tony is getting his head round his new job at DPD. It has changed a lot since he worked for Parceline 10 years ago some stuff is better some is not! we are all finding it hard not seeing much of him, he is out of the house at 5 in the morning and gets home about 7 in the evening and is generally in bed by 9:30. This means that weekends have become extremely special family time. This is also challenging as not much housework gets done during the week as I am working full time too, the girls are being fab and stepping up to the mark with helping out with their chores. I do have to do a considerable amount of nagging tho to remind them to do them LOL.
Tony is currently cooking a roast dinner for us and Savannah is feeding her new obsession with Minecraft on the XBox. Roll on summer so we can go out in the warm and enjoy long evenings together.
Right best be off, happy Sunday to you all
TTFN xx

My eldest daughter

My eldest daughter by Samantha Halliwell
My eldest daughter, a photo by Samantha Halliwell on Flickr.

Ok so its not the best photo in the world….but…..what a laugh doing it. I have discovered that my iPhone 4s has a “panorama” mode. Now putting aside the fact that my husband thinks I am stupid and it is panoramic not panorama…thats a TV programme (huh!!!!!), I think this is a nifty little option with a lot of potential.
Take this picture of Imogen for example, one continuous shot 3 images. Not exactly rocket science to work out how I did it, I am probably not the first nor will I be the last but it is quite funny.
There will be more.

Happy New Year to you all and best wishes for 2013.
TTFN xx

Gotta love this time of year!!

Savannah by Samantha Halliwell
Savannah, a photo by Samantha Halliwell on Flickr.

So here we are 3 sleeps till Christmas and yup, no2 daughter is poorly. It is my fault because only last week I was boasting that she is never unwell and now here we are with a temperature of 38.5, headache and generally feeling appalling. She even took herself to bed for a couple of hours this afternoon. This is unheard of.

I did manage to use the time productively by finally getting some presents wrapped but now cabin fever is setting in. Not with me you understand but with my husband. He cannot stand being cooped up indoors for more than a few hours so a day at home is pure and simple torture. Added to that the fact that the car is on the fritz, Christmas is sooo expensive and the weather is quite simply appalling going out anywhere was simply never an option.
Christmas boredom sets in and it is still 3 days away!!!!

TTFN x

Out for a walk

Savannah has been busting my head to go for a walk to the cemetery. That is not as morbid as it sounds. There is lots of nature to be seen up there and some of the graveyard is very very old and some of the stones and tombs are very beautiful.

We pottered off up there this morning once the sun had finally decided it was coming out and I took my camera with me. I thought I would share some of the photos with you.

I really like this photo. I want to call it “Angels in Waiting”. I am not sure what they are waiting for but they all look like they are.

There were a few squirrels to be seen whilst we were walking around and surprisingly they were very very tame. We soon found out why when we bumped into a chap taking pictures and feeding them monkey nuts from his pockets. He told us that they would sometimes take the food from your hand so Tony tried and got bit for his troubles but they were certainly very willing to come up close to us.

There were also a bunch of rooks around. At least I think they were rooks. I always remember my mum saying the “if you see a rook on its own its a crow and if you see crows together they are usually rooks”. I have no idea if this is true or not but I do remember that rooks live in a Rookery and crows are solitary creatures and as there were a bunch of these together I am assuming they are rooks.So anyway after an hour or so we realised that it was actually quite cold so we left the squirrels and rooks alone and came home for a lovely cup of hot chocolate and warmed ourselves up.

TTFN x

Happy Halloween and things that scare.

In the true spirit of Halloween I am listening to Radio 2 (I know I am old!!!!!) and they are playing songs on the theme of this, the spookiest of days. They have just played Blue Oyster Cult “Don’t fear the reaper” which has set me off thinking bout things that scare you. I am a huge Stephen King fan and his post apocalyptic book written in the late 1970’s called “The Stand” had this tune in the starting sequence and to this day reminds me of this book.
I love post apocalyptic literature. Being a child of the 80’s I remember spending my time being very very stressed about the very real threat of nuclear war. There is something about reading how people coped with the end of the world and the struggles to cope with everyday life once everything we take for granted has gone or no longer works. Most of all though I remember being absolutely terrified by these things.
I have just started to read “Swan Song” by Robert McCammon which I am happy to say is another post apocalyptic novel written in the late 80’s. once again I find myself becoming entrenched into the struggle between good and evil alongside just simply being able to survive day to day in devastated environments. Imogen has just asked me what I am reading as I have disappeared into a little place that I go when I am engrossed in a good book. I have tried to explain what it was like living in the 80’s with the threat of war ever present and bless her she does not get it. Do you know what her fear is?
This generation is dealing with another end of the world scenario but this one is a little more precise. December 21st 2012 to be exact. This day represents the end of the Mayan calendar and is being touted as the end of the world. Imogen is genuinely scared by this thought. The recent superstorm Sandy in the USA has been reported as being a once in a lifetime storm or the storm of the century and Imogen suggested that this was related to the end of the world. She did say this jokingly but as a child of the nuclear threat I detected a nervous undercurrent, of not being to sure if she believed it or not.
What scares you? What memories do you have that shape your fears?
Happy Halloween guys, have a lovely evening, be safe with whatever you do.
TTFN x