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

Week 2: Favourite

Tony, Savannah and me (is that correct!!!) went to Hythe today to take some pictures. It has been a beautiful day with lots of lovely sunshine. A little chilly but gorgeous. This weeks theme for my photography  is “Favourite” and I have decided to visit somewhere that I love and means a lot to me. My grandparents lived in Hythe and I spent many summers and Christmas’s there as well as day visits with my parents. We would walk along the promenade and the canal and I have many many fond memories of these walks with my Grandad, Dad, Uncle Keith and others whilst my mum and nan stayed at home and chatted.

So here are some pictures of my ‘Favourite’ place. _DSC0126.jpg_DSC0140.jpg_DSC0146.jpg_DSC0088.jpg_DSC0111.jpg_DSC0113.jpg

Day 5

We have nothing planned today. My sister was hoping to move house so we were going to help but it has been delayed so we find ourselves with a day to fill.

And what exciting stuff we have planned. We are going to Westwood Cross to see if we can find Imogen a winter coat and to get Savannah school shoes. I need to pop to Homebase to get some lawn edging to make the edges of my border neater. We bought some solar fairy lights last year that have never been hung out so we have just hung them up. They are not really where I had originally planned them to be but they will be easy to move once we have the garden looking the way we want it to look. I am now on the hunt for a table top patio heater so we can sit out in the garden in the evening and enjoy what little is left of our summer. Although I think that will be something for next summer now as I think our summer may be done.

It really does feel like time is speeding by. The harvest is early this year, according to the farmers on the news, by about 4 weeks and for some reason it feels like the evenings have really drawn in already. It was so chilly the other evening that we even laughed about putting the heating on (we did resist that I am pleased to say, no heating until at least October, jumpers before then 🙂 ).

Anyway I must be off I need to get ready to go shopping. I hope to get some pictures of our twinkly lights later and will post them for you to see.

TTFN x

Broadstairs Water Gala Fireworks

I have been playing with a longer exposure on my Canon D3200 this evening to get some firework pictures.

 

My favourite firework picture of the evening

My favourite firework picture of the evening

 

I like the red firework at the top of this picture

I like the red firework at the top of this picture

Triple fun

Triple fun

Day 4 tomorrow and off to London to see my friend before she goes back to Australia at the end of the week.

TTFN x

Reculver Bike Ride

Day 2 of our holiday and today was the planned ride to Reculver. According to Google it is approximately an 8 mile ride along the promenade from Margate to Reculver. Savannah has only just learned how to ride a bike without stabilisers so we were a bit worried whether she could make it or not.

We set off from home at 10:15 and with quite a strong headwind cycled to Minnis Bay. This took 1 hour and 5 mins and was fairly hard work. Savannah decided she wanted to carry on to Reculver so we did and arrived there 2 hours after leaving home and after 1 hour and 45 minutes of riding.

Panorama at Reculver

Panorama at Reculver

After a break for food and toilet and a look around the ruins we started off for home and what a difference. 1 hour and 12 mins later we arrived back at our front door.

I rode my Pashley today for the first long ride since I bought it. It is such a dream to ride. It is heavy to pick up and get in and out of my house but not excessively so and I manage ok. It is challenging in the wind as I am basically a wind break with the basket on the front but once I had got used to this cycling was not a problem albeit a bit on the hard side facing into the wind. Cycling home was much more pleasurable. I used my Map my Fitness app on my iPhone and we averaged 5.4 mph on the way to Reculver and 7.9mph on the way home. The whole journey was a little short of 20 miles and Savannah did amazingly well.

Savannah at Reculver Towers

Savannah at Reculver Towers

IMG_2836 IMG_2835

Pashley Sovereign

Pashley Sovereign

 

Sadly Imogen did not want to join us today as she is not a fan of cycling but we will return to the sea wall between Minnis Bay and Reculver as there were some fab photography opportunities there to be had.

Day 3 tomorrow and off to Broadstairs Water Gala

TTFN x

Homemade soup a la Ben and Holly’s Magic Kingdom

So Savannah was watching an episode of Ben and Holly’s Magic Kingdom and Nanny Plum made a soup and yesterday Savannah decided she wanted to have it for tea today. Ingredients were potato, carrot, onion, peas and cheese. To say I was a little apprehensive was an understatement but trying to be a good mummy I bought the ingredients and googled ways to flavour soups without using stock. I made it this evening and OMG it was absolutely gorgeous. A couple of people have asked for the recipe so here is my Vegetable soup a la Ben and Holly.

3 small potatoes

2 large carrots

1 red onion

cup of peas

parmesan shavings

salt and pepper to taste

splash of soy sauce

double cream

cheese and garlic croutons

1) peel and cut up carrots and potatoes into approx 1 inch pieces and boil in a saucepan of hot water for 10 mins (large saucepan half full of water)

2) chop up the onion and fry it for a few mins to soften

3) tip away approx half of the water and return to the heat.

4) add the fried onion and peas to the saucepan with carrots and potatoes

5) bring to boil and simmer for 15 mins, add salt and pepper to taste and splash of soy sauce.

6) blend into a creamy soup, add handful of parmesan shavings and approx 50ml double cream to soup and mix in

7) serve with more parmesan cheese and crouton on to and crusty roll

8) enjoy!

Hope you enjoyed it, sorry it did not hang around long enough for me to take pictures. I will be making more for the winter to freeze, fab on this cold winter evenings after a walk on the beach.

TTFN xx

PS Savannah didn’t like it!!!

 

 

Autumn and conkers

Today I have made my Christmas cake ready for a weekly dose of brandy before I decorate it in December. I have never made one before so this is a bit of an experiment. Tony and I have bought a bottle of brandy goodness knows if it is a good one or not but the proof of the cooking is in the eating (is that right!!!!).

While the cake was in the oven cooking (3 hours can you believe) we went for a walk to the cemetery. As grim as that sounds it is a beautiful place to go for a peaceful walk. The conkers are all falling from the trees and the beauty of this place is that the local kids have not found them and trashed the trees to get them down. I took my macro lens for my iPhone with me and managed to get some lovely shots.

Conkers IMG_1781

I am trying to enjoy this time of year but I am struggling a bit at the moment. Work has presented me with some challenges of late which have significantly stressed me out. I am trying to deal with them and little things like today help me calm down and get some perspective.

Anyhoo, must go to feed the cake. Pictures to follow

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.

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