The Berry Saga!

My Goodness! What is it with children and the need to put things in places they really ought not to be? In this case, a berry.

BB (Before Berry)
BB (Before Berry)

Day 1
So Friday we thought it would be nice to enjoy the good weather and go along to a home ed meet up at Upton Country Park. The children enjoy going and having Nerf wars and exploring, whilst us parents drink tea and natter. We arrived at lunch time and I told the children that we could stay as long as they wanted as we had no further plans that day. Excited, they charged off, laden with various Nerf guns, in search of their friends.
All was going very well. After about 4 hours Little S walks up to me with her finger firmly wedged up her right nostril.

“Don’t put your finger up your nose, Poppet, it’s not nice” Says I.

“It’s sore” says she.

After a minute or two she takes me by the hand and walks me up to a berry bush and points at the berries.

“Do you have a berry up your nose?” I ask.

“Yes” she answers.

I have a good look and seeing no berry I send her on her way to play for a while longer before heading home.
At bedtime she complains that her nose is sore, so I have another look, this time with a torch. Still no sign of a foreign body. I know, I’ll do the “magic kiss”, I was taught it at the hospital when R put something up her nose. So I close off the good nostril and give a good blow into her mouth. Nothing pops out so I get the torch and have another look up her nose. This time though, I just glimpse something small and red up her nose. BLAST! What do I do?
Maybe another magic kiss will work, and blow that little berry out… Nope.
Hospital it is then. 9pm and we go off to A&E. It was completely empty. Great, get the berry and go home for a cuppa. Little S is good as gold, sits on the bed nicely and lets the nurse look up her nose. Nurse suggests one more magic kiss but it doesn’t work. Hmmmmm. It’s a bit high up for her to reach with tweezers. So we are sent home and told to return the next day to see a member of ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat.)

Tucking Teddy into bed
Tucking Teddy into bed

Day 2
Saturday morning and a kind ENT doctor telephones me at 10am and asks me to go down to A&E to remove the berry. We arrive at the hospital and let the receptionist know we’re there and we get called through quite quickly, so far so good. Only today Little S has decided she doesn’t like doctors and no one is going anywhere near her nose! After about an hour the doctor is able to get a tiny glimpse of the berry but by then he has already decided that we’re going to need to have it removed under general anesthetic at Southampton hospital.

Phoning the Doctor
Phoning the Doctor

Day 3
Arriving at 8:30am at the hospital slightly frazzled, sleep deprived and hungry, we go looking for our ward. As soon as we walk in we are greeted by an anesthetist who asks what happened and talks us through what they’re going to do. Name bands are attached to both Little S’s wrists and we wait patiently in the play room. ENT doctors come along and try to look at the berry, Little S doesn’t want to cooperate. So we wait for a space in theatre. And we wait. And we wait. At midday we are told that Little S can carry on drinking until 2:30pm meaning that surgery will not be before 4pm. By 2 o’clock Little S is getting quite grouchy so we go for a walk downstairs, I buy her a clear Fruitshoot as she’s not touching her water, we get her a magazine, a new teddy and go for a walk outside. I get myself a Costa hot chocolate to try and fill my tummy as I can’t possibly eat in front of my nil-by-mouth 3 year old, that would just be cruel.
We go back up to ward and they move us round to a different ward where Little S will be going after her anesthetic. There is a different playroom and a different set of toys, so it keeps her occupied for a while longer. Little S keeps the nursing staff amused by playing hopscotch on the pattern on the floor, and by giggling at absolutely everything. She keeps running up the corridor in her little hospital gown with her tiny bare bum poking out and she just looks adorable.
Eventually, at just before 7pm a member of theatre comes up to get us. We walk down to theatre with Little S asking the whole way “What’s that?” and pointing to all the different types of bed she can see. In theatre she sits on my knee and is quickly put to sleep, I lift her onto the trolley and watch as everyone bustles around putting an oxygen mask on her, checking machines and covering her in a blanket. I go back up to wait for her, grabbing myself something to eat on the way. When I get back to ward I’m told she’s in recovery. I’m still hungry.
I go to collect her and laugh as she frowns at everyone in the very cute way that she always frowns. Back at the ward she is given some toast, 24 hours after she last ate anything! An hour after coming out of recovery we are free to go home. It has been a very, very long weekend and I am mentally and physically drained. I just hope that she never puts a berry up her nose again!


Adventure Wonderland

At the beginning of September Adventure Wonderland had an offer on entry price so, as the children had been asking to visit, we went along for the day. Daddy was a little reluctant as he’s not a big theme park person but he was glad we went as the children had a fantastic day.

pirate boat

R must have gone on the pirate boat ride at least a dozen times, she loved it so much! I think we managed to go on just about every ride between us. (We even got Daddy on some rides too.) There was the giant bouncy slide, the flying elephants, the Yo-Yo’s, the teacups, and the runaway train. We had lunch by the outdoor adventure playground where the children enjoyed having a run around and a play on the swings.

Flying elephants

After lunch we went to explore the maze, the girls all ran off in different directions and we all managed to get thoroughly lost trying to find each other again. It felt like we would never get out and we kept meeting other families who were all lost too! It was R who finally managed to guide us out.

After getting lost in the Adventure Wonderland maze we needed a rest so we went indoors to the soft play area. Little S loved loading the canons and firing them. Next it was time for a well deserved ice cream and a few more rides. R once again went in search of  the pirate boat.

The heavens opened at this point and as we were already wet we went to try the water boats. E, not being keen on getting wet, didn’t want to go on the boats. Instead he went back on the Yo-yo’s by himself! I was so proud of him, it was the ride just next to where I was queuing with S, but it’s a big thing for him to do something like that.

Myself and the 4 children on the teacup ride taking a funny face selfie

After the boat ride we were all soaked to our knickers and getting quite chilly so we called it a day and went home to warm up with a hot chocolate.



August bank holiday weekend

Steam fair

August bank holiday weekend, and what a busy weekend it was! It started with a visit to the Great Dorset Steam Fair on Friday evening with friends. The children were all very excited to go on the rides. We started with the dodgems, but they were a little fierce and very noisy. We were lucky that we were able to find something suitable for each child, from 3 to 12. Little S enjoyed the “hook a duck” and won a little prize, she also found two little rides that were perfect for her.


The older ones went on the helter skelter, trampolines, a scary spinning ride and the high swings. I got dragged onto the fun house which was a little embarrassing at the end when a gust of wind was blown up from under me, sending my skirt up to my ears and attracting a few looks from passers by!! It was a good evening but by the end E was struggling with the noise, lights and busyness.


Saturday was spent at Nanny and Granddad’s with the cousins. Lots of playing, some cooking, puzzles, time at the park and a dog walk. Nanny treated all the children to a cheeky McDonald’s for dinner too. S, Little S and Little cousin E went with Nanny to help collect the food and keep Nanny company.

Sunday was a day at home playing with friends, gaming and gardening. We also helped some friends to rearrange their bedrooms, dismantling, moving and building beds. S stayed over at her friends house that night and E had two friends stay over. It was the first time he had had friends to stay overnight. 3 boys was quite an experience! Lots of silly talk and armpit farts at almost midnight before they finally fell asleep.


After a slow morning, the girls and I went off to the beach with a couple of friends. It was surprisingly quiet considering it was a nice bank holiday Monday. R was straight in the sea for a swim, she is such a water baby! The two little girls made sandcastles and collected shells, and I managed a little sunbathing. After a lovely couple of hours we packed up, said goodbye to our friends and went Granma and Granpa’s house for a BBQ.

Daddy, E and Poppy met us there. Poppy and Maisy the dogs had lots of fun playing together. There was lots of yummy food and lots to go around. We all left with full tummies and sleepy heads.

Summer Beach Fun

It’s quite rare for us to go to the beach (let alone twice in under a week) as we’re more forest and countryside kind of people. However the weather has been gorgeous and the children fancied a change. Our first trip to the beach was on a Friday evening, it was just the six of us and we had a wonderful time. S enjoyed collecting shells, and spent quite a while on her own hunting for the best ones.


The older three all enjoyed playing in the waves but it was a bit cool to go in too far. We went rock pooling to see what we could find. By far our best find was the little crab, the children liked stroking it but were not brave enough to hold it. Little S thought it was fascinating how it walked.

On the way home we talked about the meteor shower, the difference between a meteor and a meteorite, how we call them shooting stars but that they are not really stars. We talked about gravity, the atmosphere and the planets. That night Daddy and I laid in bed watching the shooting stars out of the window.sea

Our second trip to the beach was last Tuesday afternoon, we met up with another home educating family so that the children could play together. It was very warm and much busier than our trip on Friday. E found it a little overwhelming and sought solitude in the pushchair with the hood pulled down over him. He did enjoy some playtime with his friend though, making sandcastles and tracks in the sand.


Little S loved playing with some Octonauts that our friends brought along and had a good splash in the sea too. R took a body board into the sea and didn’t come back until she was turning blue! After two fun filled hours we decided to make our way home for dinner.


I think that we’ve had our fill of the beach for a while now, but it was good fun.


New Shoes

Buying new shoes for your child can be stressful. Finding something they like, that are comfortable, durable and within budget sometimes feels impossible. Add in a child that dislikes any change can be very challenging. E had his last pair of shoes for over 18 months, by the end there was barely any sole left, there were holes in the fabric on top and the Velcro fastening was falling apart. If you had seen my son walking around in these tatty, too small, and falling apart shoes you’d probably have thought me a bad mother!

But all was not lost, I was given the opportunity to try out Brantano’s website. Browsing online took the stress out and we were able to find that perfect pair of shoes. I was impressed by the great selection of boys sandals online as often boys designs can be a bit limited.  (They have a lovely range of girls sandals online too.)

He chose these gorgeous Mountain Peak sandals. I love the bright orange.

New shoes

They arrived quickly and we were both really impressed with the shoes. What’s most important for me is that he finds them really comfortable and he is happy wearing them. After almost 3 weeks we’ve no complaints about them, an active boy using them as brakes on his bike, climbing, running, jumping and they’ve not worn at all.

Although we didn’t need his feet measuring this time as they had been done recently its worth noting that Brantano do run a free fitting service.  We have used this service in the past and always found staff very friendly and accommodating especially with E’s needs.


Summer 2016

We have been so busy this summer, having so many adventures. Daddy and I have dusted off our bikes and together with the children we have cycled to Moors Valley a couple of times. Once meeting up with good friends and once just the six of us. It has been great to get out together away from screens and into the outdoors. The three older children all did so well riding all that way, Little S has a seat on the back of my bike that she loves as she get to sight see. When we went yesterday we parked our bikes at the train station and caught the train to the park, then we went off and did some of the adventure trail and had some ice cream. Later we caught the train back to our bikes and cycled home, all very tired.
Train ride
There has been lots of time spent in the garden, harvesting veggies, rearranging the play area, planting new plants, exploring the pond, jumping on the trampoline, playing football and playing in the fort. We were even able to watch the combine harvester collecting wheat from the field behind our garden.
R planned a new venture for this week, she ran a lemonade and cake stall from our front garden on today. She designed and made posters, putting them up around the village. She planned what she was going to make to sell, decided on a price list and thought about when she needed to make everything. We had lovely weather after a chilly start and plenty of customers. S and their friend M helped at the stall and they made an impressive £12.
S has been learning lots about money over the last few weeks, saving her pennies, counting them, deciding how she’d like to spend them and using them in shops. When we went grocery shopping the other day she asked if she could get some raspberries. I was already loading the checkout so, as they were nearby, I said she could go and get some herself. She came back with 2 packets as she’d seen they were on special offer! The lady at the checkout next to us told her how clever she was. She is very switched on for a 5 year old.
We looked after the girls friend last week and they spent hours doing craft together, painting, sticking, and gluing. They iced biscuits and made cakes and jelly, as well as spending lots of time playing outside together too.
On Thursday R had her piano lesson, then after lunch with Granma and Granpa we headed off to Bradbury Rings to meet up with some home ed friends. The children all went off exploring and chasing Pokemon and the mums had the chance to sit and catch up. After a while thick dark clouds appeared and we felt the pitter patter of little rain drops so we all made our way down the hill and home.
We still have lots more to do over the rest of the summer and lots of ideas.

End of term

So it is now officially the summer holidays, our past week has been filled with end of term activities. Trips to the park, picnics and parties. We’ve met with lots of other home educating families and the children have made new friends as well as playing with old ones.

A few of us playing pass the parcel
A few of us playing pass the parcel

At our last home ed group of the school year on Tuesday, we had an end of term party with pass the parcel, musical chairs and pin the tail on the donkey. We enjoyed some party food together and had a water fight at the park. All the children received a party bag too.

Bubbles in the park
Bubbles in the park

Yesterday a very young baby bird fell from it’s nest landing behind us. The nest was too high to return the bird, and the bird was too young to leave so we took it home in the hope of hand-rearing it. We made it a nest out of hay and feathers, and with some advice managed to feed it but sadly it didn’t survive. Little S was devastated, although in many ways it was a great learning experience for all

the children.

R feeding the baby bird
R feeding the baby bird

Today we spent time at Granma’s having lunch and playing, afterwards we went food shopping. I genuinely enjoy shopping with the children (most of the time) they like to help read the shopping list, look for items, and hunt for bargains and special offers. They like to add up the value of various products and work out the savings on offers. We also enjoy looking for new foods to try and new ideas of ways to cook our favourite foods.

We’re looking forward to spending lots of time with schooled friends, exploring new places and trying new things over the next few weeks.



Our adventures as a home educating family