Monday, July 29, 2013

Holiday 2013 ~ Part 4 ~ Maldon & Movies

Tuesday was our 'free' day. We did try to organise meeting up with someone, but it just wasn't possible in the end. So after seeking advice on Facebook about what to do for the day we set off for Maldon Promenade. Actually it wasn't the greatest decision. There wasn't too much there for the older ones and the Splash Zone, which was the main purpose of the trip, wasn't going to open until 4pm. So the little ones played on the pirate ship for a while (which was pretty fabulous actually).

Sol was not into it the ship much though, so after a bit we all took a stroll up to the end of the 'pier'. It was very windy and pretty chilly, so even though on a sunny day (by now the sun had hidden away) that might have been nice, it wasn't really!

We headed back to the 'cafe' and bought chips etc... for lunch while we reconsidered our plan for the rest of the day! We were visited by a family of starlings while we ate, and that amused the children for a few minutes!

As we sat there it began to threaten rain - entirely putting pay to the Splash Zone idea, as it was now unlikely to even open at all in the rain! Paul, brilliant as ever, had the wonderful idea of quickly booking us all into the cinema in Braintree. The children had all asked to see Despicable Me 2 this holiday ~ and now seemed like the perfect opportunity - how to redeem the day! :D

Before we left Paul and big kids walked up the other end of the prom, to have a look at the boats (and take some pictures) and I took the smaller ones back to the park to play for a few more minutes (DD & Stitch were begging to). This time Sol warmed to the idea and they had fun playing there until the rain came...

After the cinema we had to come up with a meal plan, so we headed to an Italian 'Tutti' restaurant - thinking you can't go far wrong with pizza and pasta! The meal was very mediocre though, and, I felt, pretty expensive for what we had (and of course we didn't spot the 2 for 1 vouchers on the back of the cinema tickets until two days later!). But it was warm and edible, which was a plus! Sol, however, was past eating and Paul ended up missing out on pudding (not that he missed much) to take Sol out of the restaurant. He was just too tired to cope with the sitting nicely thing that night!

So, not the best day, but not a total disaster either... there's always tomorrow ;)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Holiday 2013 ~ Part 3 ~ BBQ Day

After a late-ish night the children got up a little later on Monday morning, but still bright and early enough :D.

Today was the day for BBQing with friends at their farm ... everyone was pretty excited about seeing everyone else!

And so the day was filled with chatting, swimming (in my friend's HUGE swim-spa), laughing, playing, eating, drinking ~ you know the story! A totally LOVELY day :D

We didn't leave there until after 11.30pm and got back to the tent at gone midnight! No struggle getting them to sleep that night ~ just a case of lifting them into their sacs!!

More pics...

Day 4 coming soon!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Holiday 2013 ~ Part 2 ~ Beach Day

Everyone woke up quite early Sunday morning, so we had some time to spare on the campsite before we set off for Church in Colchester, where it was lovely to see friends of old, many of whom were instrumental in setting us on the path we travel today :D We were last to leave ~ as always!!

It was set to be the hottest day of the year thus far, which was brilliant because it was also the day we had decided to do our beach trip! So after church we headed off to Walton-on-the-Naze (along with a good number of other similar minded people) and arrived there in time for a late fish & chips lunch on the sand!

The weather was BEAUTIFUL and we spent the rest of the day there digging, swimming, playing cricket, sunbathing (just a little) & generally just enjoying being together. We had to move up the beach at one point, when the tide came higher than we expected, but nobody wanted to go home just then, so we just re-camped!

More pictures in the slideshow...

Watch this space for Day 3...

Holiday Post ~ Part 1 ~ Audley End House

So, we've only been back three weeks!! I thought I should blog our holiday while I can still remember!

This year we headed back to Essex, prompted by wanting to visit Kentwell Hall on the Home-Ed day. Instead of being crazy and going for the day like some LOOPY friends of ours, we decided to go to the other extreme & make a week's holiday of it! This also gave us time to catch up with some of our friends-of-old ~ something the kids had been nagging to do since we last went down 4 years ago!!

I'm going to post in parts (one per day) so as to not make it SUCH an epic read ~ if you get bored feel free to skip forward. I write for our own sake as much as anything else :D

Before we went though, we need a BIGGER BUS, which Paul picked up on the Wednesday (YEAH!!!). We loaded her up (in the rain) as much as we could on the Thursday night, threw in the last few bits Friday morning and aimed to get to Essex between 2 & 3pm (for a forecast gap in the rain). The last part failed. We arrived around 5pm (due to me being too fussy at home) and it was raining again! Not too hard, but enough to feel rather damp after pitching for an hour!

Day One: Audley End House

Minnie and TP have spent most of this year learning about life in Victorian Britain, so whilst we were 'in the area' I booked us a H'Ed trip to Audley End House, which English Heritage granted us free of charge despite the Saturday being a public open day :D 

We started our day exploring the servant's wing, listening to the cooks and kitchen maids for quite some time, and watching them at work (I was listening so intently I forgot to take pictures!). Abbie bought a couple of victorian recipe cards (and has made 'Custard Ice' today - with the addition of some cocoa). The servant's wing was possibly our favourite part of the day and the one we could have spent more time at. The little boys were particularly fascinated with the heavy old 'iron's.

Next we wandered through the beautiful grounds, 

...up to the stables, where we met the horses (who are 'rescued') and played dress up for a while, which everyone enjoyed. There were also some very nice interactive displays about life in and on the grounds. 

Lunch was a bit pricey in the tea room (though nice enough), but the play area was lovely.

The day was ticking on rapidly, so we headed back through the grounds to the house. I had the privilege of walking around slowly with the bigger 5, while Paul did a whistle stop tour with the smallest 3 and then took them to romp in the gardens. It was a shame that a few of the rooms were closed to the public, for various reasons, and the one room the girls would have liked very much to see - the nursery - is not open until NEXT summer :(. All the same, a very interesting & beautiful house to visit. 

As I said, whilst we were exploring the house, Paul and the younger ones were exploring the ornamental gardens and the grounds beyond. We went out and joined them when we were done, at which point Paul managed to fall into a 7ft ditch (a 'ha ha' that was built to act as a 'boundary' between the house and the landscape) and land completely flat on his back, winding himself very badly. In the days that followed we wondered if he had maybe cracked/bruised a rib (it hurt him to cough, or breath deeply), but I am still amazed (and very glad) that he didn't do more damage to himself than that!

Drama over, we headed back to the gift shop. DD bought himself a crossbow with leftover birthday money, and Stitch bought a long-bow because he didn't have enough money for a cross-bow, which he was very sore about. We bought Sol' a short sword so he could join in and the two big boys each bought themselves giant foam planes! Everyone had an ice-cream and we headed onto the fields to play with the weapons & planes for a bit, only brought to an end by the groundsman telling us it was time to go home!

All in all a LOVELY day ~ and I think one to be repeated if ever we are nearby again - we didn't even fully explore the beautiful 'Capability' landscaped gardens :D

We rounded it off with the ever-popular decision to have tea in Frankie & Benny's :D

You can see more pictures from our day in this slideshow - if you're not bored yet!

Tune in tomorrow for Day 2...