So, it’s the end of another summer and it’s been a great one!
Lots of lovely hot sunny days spent with people I love, lots of fun days out and some pretty big changes too!
We moved house in the middle of August, we’ve got a lovely old house with a huge kitchen and a lovely cellar that Kia has turned into a cosy bedroom for herself.
Evie has a huge double bedroom to fill with her Xbox and various other bits of geekery and as always Scott and myself have drawn the short straw and have the little bedroom, which is currently filled with boxes and boxes of craft supplies including 10 very large boxes of wool!
We had so much help from our lovely friends and family moving house and Scott’s brilliant parents came all the way from Inverness to clean and decorate the new house before we moved in.
So we’ve been here a month and still not finished unpacking or putting up furniture…but otherwise its perfect, we’ve already had guests to stay.
Kias friend Penny came for 5 nights before heading home to Denmark and then Mica and her boyfriend Danny were here last week when they came home from Cheltenham for a few days.
Hopefully we’ll be unpacked and organised sooner rather than later as I’m planning a house warming party in a few weeks!
Other things we’ve enjoyed this summer is a new found love of geocaching , if you not know what geocaching is…it’s a worldwide treasure hunt, looking for containers holding one times nothing more than a teeny roll of paper on which to sign your name. You get the GPS Coordinates from the official geocaching website, and use your phone with GPS enabled or another handheld GPS device to track down the geocache, be warned if you give it a go…it’s pretty bloody addictive!
http://www.geocaching.com/ is where to look if you’re at all intrigued by it!
And finally to end our brilliant summer…we had lots of music recently in the form of a very very muddy weekend at LeedsFestival, I went with Kia, Evie and my little sister Hermione. Even though Evie and Hermione have been to festivals before, this was the first time they were really into the whole thing, the music, the silliness, the general festival spirit and of course the never ending MUD!
We saw some amazing bands including Nine Inch Nails, Fall Out Boy, Villagers, The Lumineers, System of a Down, Green Day, Foals, Is Tropical, The 1975, Chase and Status and the absolute high point of the weekend Eminem!!
And following closely on the heels of Leeds Festival was a musical evening at the bisque painting studio Les Cadeaux in our village with our very talented friend Kayla Kavanagh playing there, in the break between segments of her set Evie payed ‘Yellow Submarine’ with Neil the owner of Les Cadeaux and Evie’s guitar tutor, it was a wonderful night, Kayla is talented and funny and a lovely person too and seeing my little girl sat playing her guitar in front of a roomful of people was the icing on a big fat cake!
So, we are well and truly into September now, the weather is much, much cooler already and the nights seem to have drawn in super fast.
We are back on track with our lessons and Evie has the LEA assessor coming to visit us next week.
Our current topics are The Romans for history, Australia for geography and The Solar System for science, so lots of fun coming up with those!
That’s all for now
I know I’ve been really lax on the blogging front recently, but to be honest I’ve been very lax about everything that doesn’t involve spending as much time as possible outside in the glorious sunshine we’re having here in South Yorkshire at the mo.
We’ve been on walks, eaten picnics, had lessons in the park, camped out overnight, spent lots of time in other people’s gardens ( we only have a tiny yard), had a sneaky afternoon in the pub beer garden and a day out at Hemsworth Water Park.
We’ve seen geese standing on one leg, ducklings with their Mum and an inquisitive plump hedgehog!
The sunsets have been magnificent.
And there’s been lots of time for some lovely al fresco crochet!
And that’s it…a short but sunny post this time, keep watch though…I’ve got some interesting news coming up soon.
There’s nothing much can beat a summer weekend when there’s nothing much to do except relax and enjoy the sunshine.
Evie spent most of the weekend chasing around with Hermione and some friends, soaking each other with water pistols or squeezy bottles filled with water, which is what we used for water fights when I was a kid!
Me and Scott spent sometime painting at the village studio ‘Les Cadeaux ‘, we went to see ‘World War Z’ and we spent all this afternoon watching Andy Murray win Wimbledon!
World War Z was a really good film, I wanted to see it because I love anything with zombies and as I read the book recently it made me want to see it all the more.
I really, really enjoyed the book but couldn’t see how it would translate into a film as its just a series of interviews with survivors of the zombie war, but if you haven’t read the book or you can detach yourself from it and accept the film as a story in its own right then it’s a bloody good film!
We saw it in 3D and all I can say about that is…3D zombies…wowzers!! There was one point early on in the film where I jumped like I’ve never jumped before as a big scary 3D zombie suddenly popped up in front of me, and I do not usually scare easily!
The film was tense from the start and had a bit of a nail biting edge to it all the way through, the ending was a bit predictable and sentimental for my liking, I know I’m awful but I love miserable, depressing, unhappy endings (my all time fave film is ‘Requiem For a Dream).
Anyway if you like a bit of zombie action or a bit of Brad Pitt or just a good, jumpy story go see it!
In very brief other news, I shed a few tears when Andy Murray won the tennis this afternoon, I’m so happy that he won, he always seems so very serious and he’s such a nice guy…I hope he lightens up a bit and enjoys his moment of glory!
Until next time
Evie’s project this week is Saltaire and Sir Titus Salt, the wool manufacturer and philanthropist from Yorkshire.
Sir Titus Salt built the model village Saltaire on land he had acquired near to Shipley, he decided to relocate his mill and workers out of the it’s of Bradford after a cholera outbreak killed over 300 people in Bradord.
Salt built houses for his workers, a church, school, hospital, an educational institute and almshouses for retired workers as well as his magnificent mills.
Saltaire had everything a good village in the mid 19th century should have except a pub! Sir Titus Salt was a strict teetotaller and insisted that his workers remain sober as well.
The streets of Saltaire were mostly named after members of the Salt family and two architects who contributed to the design and building of Saltaire, a few notable exceptions include a trio of streets named after flowers popular at the time and some streets named after royalty.
These days the mill hosts an exhibition by local artist David Hockney and some excellent historical information.
A brilliant restaurant and some rather lovely shops!
And the houses once occupied by mill workers are now highly desirable properties and the shops are mostly either speciality shops or sadly empty, although we did see one, ‘Salts Village Bakery’ where my Grandma worked a long time ago, and where they make and sell the most deeee-licious spinach and feta pasties!
We also found the street where my Dad lived when him and Mum first met and where my Grandma still lived when I was first born and we spotted houses where various relatives have lived over the years.
We had a yummy picnic in Roberts Park and a good walk around it, culminating in a run around (for the kids) in the playground…although I had a quick bounce on a trampoline and our friend Helen slid down the slide a few times, looking out over the river Aire from the playground we could see a weir in the river where as a child I begged and begged to be allowed to play with all the lucky kids who were allowed to play in the water…I was never ever allowed though!!
The weather was on our side yesterday too which helped make it yet another lovely day out!
Until next time
I know I’ve only been writing this blog for a week but I want to review the whole month of June because its been a great month all round.
We’ve had some great days out, The Magna Science centre in Rotherham, Experience Barnsley, the open studio and walk around Skipton and the end of year exhibition at Batley Art School.
We’ve crafted loads.
We’ve started our homeschool adventure and completed a very successful first week.
We’ve had five amazing days in Portugal, we lost a day and a half because of the French air traffic controllers strike.
We’ve eaten some lovely food and I’ve drank endless good coffees!
We helped out at a local litter pick to make our village a nicer place for everyone and we met Dan Jarvis our MP when he unveiled a plaque commemorating the Queens coronation.
And most importantly we’ve spent lots of time with our amazing family and friends, we celebrated a 71st birthday, we had a goodbye party for my sisters mother-in-law and my good friend as she’s just moved to Exmouth, and we had a visit from our middle daughter Mica.
All in all Junes been a brill month!
When I found out one of my favourite crafty bloggers was holding her first ‘open studio’ in a town not too far from where I live I just couldn’t resist going along…
Anyone who reads crafty/crochet blogs will no doubt have come across the rather lovely Attic 24 , Lucy who writes it shares a studio with Tracy from Patchwork Chickens another lovely blog, anyway these two very talented ladies held an open studio today in the wonderful town of Skipton.
Their studio is above Coopers Cafe Bar which sells nice strong black coffee and a whole range of very tasty treats! So we stopped for a refuel before heading upstairs to investigate the studio.
Once we got upstairs all I can say is Wow! The whole place is a riot of colour and creativity…it was also a bit strange seeing all the wonderful projects I’ve followed Lucy’s progress on in ‘real life’ if you know what I mean!
Sadly we didn’t get to chat with Tracy, but Lucy was incredibly welcoming and friendly, she chatted about her projects and her yarn and her gorgeous baby cashmerino ripple blanket…which I have to admit I wanted to grab, wrap around me and run away with!
After we left the studio we decided to investigate Skipton, the weather was nice and we were in a town we didn’t know so there was no other option but to explore!
We bought ice cream from a boat on the canal!
We wandered through the market looking at stalls and in shop windows.
We had a delicious lunch at a brilliant little vegetarian restaurant called ‘Wild Oats Cafe’.
Then we wandered slowly back through the town, promising each other we’d be back soon to explore further.
Two trains later and we were back in Barnsley.
Friday has always been our weekly Stitch ‘n’ Bitch day, we’ve had loads of different venues but almost always managed to get to get together for coffee and crochet!
Today’s big difference was that Evie is now part of the group, she brought along a new craft project to work on and only put it down when she had some toast.
I’m working on a poncho for a baby, I sometimes have a craft stall at a local coffee morning and I need some new things to sell on it.
DKia is crocheting a pink striped blanket that we’ve christened ’50 Shades of Pink’ because she’s used at least 50 different pink yarns on it so far.
Evie started embroidering a design from one of her endless computer games, she drew it freehand first, then started to fill it in with colourful stitches.
We also drank lots of the delicious coffee that they serve at Corner Cafe!
That’s all for today, a short and sweet post, we are going to visit a fellow blogger tomorrow at her open studio!
Today a super new museum opened in Barnsley, ‘Experience Barnsley’ is about Barnsley, for Barnsley.
The opening ceremony was performed by the people of Barnsley, everyone cut their own bit of a huge ribbon to declare it open!
We helped with the ribbon cutting and then went inside for our first look around, it was brilliant and we’ll be back very soon.
Our middle daughter Mica lives and works in Cheltenham so we don’t see anywhere near enough of her, but she’s been home for a visit this week.
As she was leaving to go home this afternoon we decided to go for lunch at the cafe in our village. Corner Cafe is the little cafe just a few minutes walk from our home, the owners Bev and Dean are really friendly and always willing to accommodate the endless strange requests we make with our orders!
And we are a fussy bunch, in our extended family we are almost all vegetarian, some are vegan and one is a raw vegan! Then we’ve got a coeliac and a couple who want milk in their drinks, but only non dairy milk and as I had a gastric bypass last year, I only eat teeny tiny meals, which again they are happy to make for me.
Luckily for us Corner Cafe sell great food, salads, soup, panninis, breakfasts in both meat eating and meat free varieties, the most delicious ice cream ever and loads of lovely looking cakes. But most importantly of all they sell bloody good coffee, I hate to eat anywhere where the coffee is rubbish, ( there is a notable exception to this that I’ll write about another time).
Anyway what was going to be a quiet lunch for the five of us turned into a riotous lunch for 12 of us!
We had to put two tables together and squeeze around them, we were loud and there was lots of laughter and shouting up and down the table, for some reason everyone was showing off their whistling skills or lack of them in some cases…like erm…me!
I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet I’m an avid hooker and managed to fit a few rounds of my latest project in whilst I was waiting for everyone to arrive!
Mica left just after half past 2 with me promising to go to Cheltenham as soon as I can to visit her there, so hopefully I’ll get a couple of nice sunny days down there with her.
Evie has got off to a flying start with her home education. We decided that as there are only four weeks left until the end of the school year she could do a project a week for each of the next four weeks.
Shes going to include research into each subject, facts and figures, art work and creative writing.
Saltaire and Sir Titus Salt
As well as this she’s going to do some maths and read for at least half an hour a day.
To keep healthy we walk a lot and Evie has joined a karate class with her cousin Elliott.
We had a fun trip to The Range today to stock up on books, paper, pencils, pens and the ever elusive pencil sharpeners! After getting home and unpacking this lot Evie was dying to get down to some work using it all…she has never had correction fluid before until today, and she managed to make at least one mistake that needed correcting on each line of her work!
After all Evie’s hard work we spent a pleasant hour painting at Les Cadeaux, the new ceramic painting studio that opened recently in our village.
Then we were back there again this evening as it’s the new venue for our weekly craft night. Lucky us…we had a trainee masseuse giving us ‘tester’ massages tonight! Almost everyone there had one and thoroughly enjoyed it!
Until next time.
So today is the start of Evie’s home education.
We decided home education was the way forward for a number of reasons, the most important of these is my complete lack of confidence in the current UK education system.
I want Evie to grow up into a well rounded, free thinking, individual and independent person, I really don’t think any of these traits are encouraged in schools today.
Learning in schools seems to consist mostly of memorising facts for exams and learning to comply without question.
Aaaaarghhh it sounds horrible, I want my daughter to learn that there’s more to life than this and I don’t want to bring up another little robot to be ground down by which ever oppressive government we happen to have in power! (Mini rant over!).
Another reason we’ve decided to home educate is that my 12 year old sister Hermione has been educated at home since march of this year and I am very involved in her learning.
I really enjoy my time teaching Hermione and I’ve found it a huge learning curve for both of us.
Hermione was consistently let down by the education system, she missed some school after our Dad died in 2009 and slipped behind in some of her lessons, sadly the school she was at didn’t do anything at all to help her catch up, making poor Hermione feel stupid and ultimately losing all her confidence in herself and her ability to learn.
Three months down the line with her home ed and she’s blossoming into the clever kid she always has been, she asks questions about what we’re studying, she’s genuinely interested in our lessons and most importantly she really enjoys learning!
The time I’ve spent with Hermione has boosted my confidence enough that I feel I’m well able to give Evie a fun and interesting education at home now.
And the final reason I’m going to home educate Evie is the amount of pressure I saw put upon her year at school recently during their year 6 SATs, from the beginning of January onwards her lessons at school consisted almost exclusively of preparation and revision for these useless exams.
Their French lessons stopped, arts and crafts, which was practically non existent beforehand stopped altogether in the run up to SATs.
I saw how worried my little girl was about doing well and getting level 5’s and I wondered how fair is it to put so much pressure and expectation on 10-11 year old children?
So after much discussion as a family we’ve decided this is the way forward for us all.
We took the first step today and delivered a letter to Evie’s school advising them of our decision and asking them to remove her from the school register and confirm this in writing to us.
The school also have to let the local education authority know of our decision so that Evie’s progress at home can be monitored by the local assessor.
Hello and welcome to my nice shiny new blog.
A new blog to keep a record of some of the huge changes I want to make in my life…starting tomorrow!
Just a quick introduction, then I’ll get on with the changes.
Anyways I’m Emma, I live near to Barnsley in lovely South Yorkshire.
I live with my partner Scott and two of my three daughters, Kia and Evangeline as well as two cats, Coco and Deathwing and our little dog Indy.
I’m a world class procrastinator but am seriously trying to to actually ‘get things done’ now!
Anyway, as I was saying before I’ve come to a point in my life where I want to make some pretty serious changes, these are…
1. Homeschooling my 11 year old Daughter Evie.
2. Making mine and my family’s diet super healthy and getting us out and exercising more as. a family.
3. Finding a way to earn money without getting a job, in other words get my crochet sold on Etsy, Folksy, EBay etc.
4. Learn to live frugally, we waste so much food by buying it and letting it go out of date etc, I buy loads of things that I really don’t need or even ever use!
5. Get some actually money saved instead of just wishing we had savings and hoping we’ll win the lottery!
6. (This is big one, the one I’m dreading the most) Get my super chaotic messy house organised into a thing of clockwork-like organisation and beauty EEEEK!
I really hope you’ll join me on my journey of change, I’m hoping, tidying up aside it will be loads of fun!
See you soon.