Thursday, 26 December 2019

"And if you knock knock me over, I will get back up again"

I thought this year was going to be the one where I really struggled to buy a Christmas gift for Seth as he never wants anything. Thankfully though he saved me any panic buying and told me exactly what he wanted, rollerblades! when he said it, it instantly took me back to a Christmas when I was roughly his age and asked for the exact same thing. I couldn't wait to get them on my feet and as soon as all the presents were opened I put them on and awkwardly walked over the road to knock on my friends door. Unfortunately there were some steps going down to his front door which I handled with minimal grace and hit his back fence as I lost my control and ended up in a heap.

It didn't put me off though and although I didn't keep it up for long, the time I did have skating with friends was a lot of fun. So... I decided that if Seth was learning to skate then it would be a fun thing for all of us to do together. Becci already had a pair of skates that she'd not been on for years, so I went looking for some for me and Opeie. As a nice little bit of Christmas build up excitement, when I did find some, I decided to give them him early, so we headed to a park we love with a big open basketball court and got those wheels on our feet. 

I may have jumped the gun a little as I was yet to get him any pads, but I figured he was going to be holding on to us anyway for his first few tries (and he was in very safe hands). It was amazing watching how quickly he went from sheer panic as he got up on his feet for the first time, to excited smiles as he went from one end of the court to the other. I love any activity that builds confidence and this one is clearly going to be a winner. Becci and I took it in turns to help the little dude out while we had a skate ourselves too.

Opeie's excitement was so moorish but the smiles on this cuties face was contagious. It had been me and Opeie for some time, adventuring and filling our days with spontaneous fun but its so lovely now to have someone in our life that genuinely wants to be a part of everything we do. She never says no, which is a real breath of fresh air. She was all smiles helping Opeie and skating about too, until....

... she was the first (and only one) to hit the floor (and hard). But, despite hurting her wrist and having to get a support for it, she's still up for getting those skates on again, and that's the kind PMA we need in our life, it's great for Opeie to see that (and proper does it for me... but shhhhhh...).

It turns out that I'm not anywhere near as bad as I anticipated being and ended up feeling pretty confident skating about, so I think its going to be a fun few months of skating for us. I can't wait to get Seth on his too and hopefully come summer we can all hit up somewhere like Bournemouth, with a nice long promenade to go skating along and we should be playing some interesting street hockey over the holidays, exciting times.

Monday, 9 December 2019

“Crackers!” said Dumbledore enthusiastically, offering the end of a large silver noisemaker to Snape, who took it reluctantly.”

Home ed has gone out the window a little this week, and we've decided to focus the week on Christmas craft. If I'm honest we were in the Christmas wind down zone a couple of weeks back and it seems like all our other Home Ed buddies are feeling the same. With a list of things that Opeie wants to make he decided to kick off the week with home made Christmas crackers for the tree. I disappeared upstairs looking for patterned paper to use and while rummaging I found some Doctor who magazines that had the perfect pages in to make Christmas crackers fit for a Timelord.

Becci had brought Opeie a selection of cardboard tubes round over the last few weeks (that boy loves a cardboard tube). So we cut one of the tubes down so that we could support the main body of the crackers, folded the ends of the paper and cut in diamonds into the fold for where the ribbon would be tied. Then we unfolded and rolled the paper around the tube (nice and easy).

We had picked up a roll of Harry Potter wrapping paper a few days back that Opeie had spotted in a shop and as soon as we started making the crackers he told me that he wanted to make the hats with that, So much better than the hats that you usually get in crackers.

Opeie had the time of his life writing the jokes (which obviously I wasn't allowed to see) so I'll be looking forward to hearing those on Christmas Day. All that was left to do was to find something fun to put inside them and we came up with a pretty lovely idea, but I can't reveal it on here because our Christmas guest will be reading.

The crackers were a nice easy activity to kickstart a week of Christmas fun and its already making us  feel a little more festive. 

Saturday, 7 December 2019

"you've got a bug on you"

I love a good challenge and when Opeie told me that he was changing his costume idea for comic con this weekend with 7 days notice, I revelled in the excitement. His friend Cara had decided to go as Hilda from his favourite graphic novels/TV show, so he decided as they were going together that he wanted to be Hilda's friend David. Tuesday morning we headed out combing the charity shops looking for all the bits we needed. While hunting we found some brown womens trousers that I altered, and a top a similar colour. 

I used the left over fabric from the trouser legs to make the patch, The waist strap from an apron hanging on the back of the kitchen door to make the necker and used a magic tape centre for the woggle (it wouldn't stay in position so I glue gunned a lego tyre inside it to stop it sliding). The glue gun was still hot so I glued a bug to a head band (he's always got bugs on him). Cara's brother Fynn gave us some brown socks and then we finished the outfit off with some white plimsoles, job done! and it only cost £7 boom!

We still felt like we needed to accessorise though, so as David is always eating Frazzles I 'made' Opeie eat a packet so that I could stuff it and make something fun to hang from his trousers (Its all about the little details).

'Not every victory shows up on the scoreboard'

Today was one of those days that was all smiles, I had a Cheshire Cat grin on my face the moment I woke up and I'm still smiling now writing this. Becci and I have been concentrating a lot recently on combining our two families in a gentle and nurturing way and this weekend feels like it's all starting to fall into place. The kids are quite different and we're all still getting to know each other so finding common ground and interests to share is really important. With hockey being the main thing we do together we wanted to share that with Becci and the boys, so this weekend we went out as a family to the annual Santa vs elves game at our local rink. 

I was obviously a little worried that Becci and the boys were going to hate it and find the whole thing a bit boring but the boys loved it (especially the punch up) and Becci was having a good old shout during the game too which was great. Opeie really gets on with the boys which is making the whole transition really nice to watch. We've had a good chat too about giving the things that they love a try as this really isn't going to work unless all of us are open to trying new things. Becci's boys want to go and see the latest Jumanji movie and as we haven't seen the last one yet its on our list of things to do so that we can all have a cinema trip together before Christmas.

I had no idea just how much thought was going to have to go into combining our two families, there really is quite a few emotional obstacles to get through but Becci and I are on the same page and really want what's best for all of us so the effort we are putting in is really paying off. I'm feeling so lush about everything that is going on recently, this is the happiest I've felt in a long time and the groundwork is going in for and amazing life together and a whole lot of love.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

A weekend lost in the 'Upside Frown'

Ive never bought anything LEGO that I had seen as just mine, any kits bought over the years have been inevitably broken up and the parts have vanished into our huge amount of mixed LEGO ready for future creative builds. A few weeks back though I decided to treat myself to a kit I had been pining after since I had first seen the pictures online. I picked it up just before my birthday and planned to build it on the day with Opeie. As he obviously hadn't seen Stranger Things I assumed there would be no interest in the Kit, but he would just be happy building it with me, how wrong was I! With the kit being that little bit different with the 'Upside down' aspect in the build, Opeie was hooked as soon as the two pieces where joined and saw that the upper level was flipped.

Opeie asked to get it down from the shelf a few times that week and although he loved the build he knew nothing about the characters so it was a little lost on him. While I was putting it back on the shelf one evening I looked across at the big colourful Unikitty build standing next to it and noticed Unikitty and Master Frown standing next to each other with the contrast of 'bright and positive' and 'gloomy and negative', I'm sure you can image the next thought that went through my head. yup.... Opeie needs an upside down of his own. 

So last weekend we woke up on Saturday morning after a fairly busy week with friends and decided that we were going to do nowt all weekend and slob about the house, the perfect time to start a fun team build I thought. I ran my ideas past my building assistant and he reeled off some awesome ideas of his own and we got building (well I got building, the first part of the upside down build is a large obscure shaped baseplate and as far as Opeie is concerned that part is boring and beneath his skill level). With the base plates built we started the 'Fun part'. Saturday was one of those building days where it felt like we had slipped into a black hole of bricks, before we knew it it was bedtime and we had spent the entire day rummaging for parts.

Sunday started pretty much the same way Saturday had ended. Opeie (now my 'build master') had pretty much ushered me into the lego room as soon as I was awake and on my feet, he did however make my breakfast and bring it into me with an excited 'I'm ready to build' face. By late Sunday afternoon we had built both houses but realised that we didn't have any of the pieces to hold the two together so we were straight on Bricklink to make sure they were here this week. When I had put Opeie to bed that evening I sat and built the trees that hold the houses up. I loved building the original Stranger Things kit but I got so much more out of this custom one building with Opeie. Theres something about recreating a LEGO build with an extra fun twist and not being held back by colour schemes is really satisfying (and we went all out with the colour... well it is Unikitty).

On Tuesday afternoon the beautiful sound of package hitting the hall floor filled the house with excitement. Opeie couldn't wait to get our creation clipped together. Once it was all secure and he could see it in all his glory, we really started getting stuck in to the little touches that we love so much. The build of course needed to be populated, Someone pretty amazing had bought me Unikitty's Sweetest Friends Ever, for my birthday, which was the perfect start. Opeie pointed out a whole bunch of characters we didn't have and I'd not even seen before so it was back on Bricklink, like I need an excuse to be buying more LEGO.

The build turned out to be one of the most fun things that we've built together, usually I prefer to build something completely 'US' but this fun colourful twist on a pretty amazing build was very satisfying... but what to call it? the Upside-Frown of course!

Oh and I may have also built a Unikitty Demogorgon... I get carried away, what can I say.

Monday, 2 December 2019

'Happiness comes in waves'

It's so easy during this time of year to shut ourselves away in the warm, but I'm determined to make the most of the last few weeks building up to Christmas. I refuse to let the cold wet weather put me off our random adventures. Over the last few weeks things have been a little rocky, like there has been a dark brooding cloud hanging over us threatening to rain down and because of this the sea has been calling me. Going to the beach seems to centre me and I've been itching to walk barefoot across the sand and stand in the sea. It's so nice to finally be with someone that understands this and loves the coast as much as I do.

Saturday was our day for beach fun and Becci made the decision of where to go for us with Harlech, which was perfect as neither of us had been to the beach there. The drive down was beautiful, cold, but with a low autumn sun desperate to light up our day of adventure. We passed through some quaint villages that we had never been through before, which we have added to our list of places to have a good stomp and the drive around Bala lake was really lovely, it all added to what ended up being the perfect road trip. Opeie as always was excited about going to the seaside... or maybe just the idea of having fish and chips at the beach.

I couldn't wait to get my boots off when we got there and I knew it was going to be cold but wow! after walking along the beach barefoot for half and hour and paddling in the sea I felt like my toes could have actually snapped off. Luckily as responsible adults (apparently) we had loaded more than enough winter clothing to see us through some serious winter weather.

Starting a new relationship and the big changes that come with that havn't been the easiest to navigate through especially merging two families. Trying to be as delicate as possible with all the kids involved is so hard when you are feeling so loved up and just want to dive right in. Opeie has taken the change so well the last couple of weeks though and this weekend I feel like we have all taken a huge step forward. Theres definitely some big changes coming next year and I'm so excited about that. I am absolutely loving finally being fully on the same page as someone I adore.

As soon as the sun had called it quits for the day the temperature seriously dropped so it was time to go hunting for that elusive fish and chips. The drive back (despite not being able to see anything) was lush. I don't know how it could've not been though, with my boy in the back, a hand on my leg on the way home and that smiling face looking at me out the corner of my eye every now and again. An absolutely perfect end to a mini beach adventure that we clearly all needed.

And solely for Opeie's future enjoyment 😜 a recap on what his dad looks like throwing himself down a sand dune (I think I was pretty graceful).

Friday, 22 November 2019

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”

The autumn/winter weather is definitely here to stay for a while and although its been all big coats and winter boots, Opeie is not letting the change in seasons hinder his fashionsta ways and is still donning shades when he goes out. 

I love how confident he is when it comes to what he's wearing, he reminds me so much of myself when I was a kid trying to find my own style. These retro style cats eye glasses were from Smartbuyglasses and they've got a great selection over Black Friday if (like Opeie) you are looking to stick it to this drizzly wet weather.

Monday, 18 November 2019

"I felt it in my chest as she looked at me. I knew we were bound to get together"

I never paid much attention to the lyrics of this song, until Becci sent me this cover that we added to our ever growing playlist. I love it when a song really takes your breathe away...

...Every thing really seems to be finally coming together.

Friday, 8 November 2019

"Don't cry because its over, smile because it happened"

It's been a while since me and the boy have had a break longer than a couple of days away camping. So when Becci asked us if we wanted to join her and her friends in Boscastle for a couple of days she instantly peaked my attention. Part of me was going to say no straight away as I didn't want to impose on anyones holiday. Having a stranger there is one thing but a stranger and his 8-year-old son is a lot for anyone to take on. After double checking about 20 times though we said yes (I'm such a worrier).

The morning we were leaving came with all sorts of unnecessary drama that could have easily been avoided so by go time we were desperate to get away from it all, my foot was down and we were off. The drive there was a breeze and seemed to go so quickly, I'll put that down to Opeie's DJing skills, that kid knows how to drop a beat. We arrived at Polrunny cottages where we were staying late afternoon and I was super excited to see Becci. After meeting Dean and Jenna (who are awesome) we headed out with Becci for a quick tour in the rain. Boscastle is Becci's 'Happy Place' and she showed us around the harbour, it was lush.

The following afternoon we headed off on a walk from Boscastle to Minster church to go looking for the shrine of Joan Wytte (The Fighting Fairy Woman of Bodmin) who was tried as a witch in the 1800's. It was wet and muddy but a really satisfying walk. Surrounded by ancient woodland and with the sound of the river valency at our side it was exactly where I needed to be for a full brain reset, and who better to be there with than two of my favourite people.

Halloween was the best, we were up and out fairly early and headed over to Tintagel for a good old stomp. The weather was pretty rubbish but we were all smiles and Becci was excited to show us some more of the Cornish coastal magic. Braving the weather ended up working out great for us as when we arrived at Merlins cave we were the only people on the beach and it was so peaceful. Opeie had fun climbing the walls and I was feeling really loved up. Life has changed so much over the last couple of years and thanks to a special someone, things are definitely moving forward again.

I did my usual trick within the first hour of being there and was standing too close to the water when a wave covered my boots. I spent the remainder of the afternoon with soggy, squelchy feet but it didn't dampen my mood. We had a great walk along the cliffside and sat and ate our lunch on the edge and was joined by a big fluffy caterpillar which was adorable.

We hadn't quite had our fill of the coastal fun when we left Tintagel, so we stopped off at Bossiney Cove on the way back. As we walked down the steps against the cliffside and saw the water gushing over the cliffs edge we couldn't wait to get down to the bottom and kick off our shoes. The secluded picturesque beach was so peaceful and we were all smiles as we held hands and really took it all in. 

Back at the cottage it was my turn to cook, so while I made the gang pizza, they carved pumpkins and chatted. Opeie was clearly enjoying Dean and Jenna's company and it was lovely to listen to the four of them having fun while I did my thing in the kitchen. Becci made me chuckle telling everyone that every year she has big plans for her pumpkin but then gets frustrated and ends up doing the same face. The pumpkins turned out amazing, Dean definitely took the gold though with his frankenstein's monster pumpkin, genius.

The remainder of the night was filled with movies and maybe a touch too much wine, but it was the perfect end to the most unforgettable Halloween.

The following morning we embarked and a coastal hike from Boscastle to Rocky Valley in search of some mysterious Bronze Age labyrinth carvings located near a delapidated mill on the River Trevillet. The weather started off fairly nice but then ended up very wet and very muddy. Opeie quickly lost interest in the walk but we managed to have a good laugh along the way. As we reached Rocky Valley he'd had enough until I slipped on some mud and managed to keep myself up by turning into what looked like a crazy dance with a musical soundtrack. That seemed to be all we needed to pick up everyones spirits, as Opeie and Becci took the Mickey out of me.

Five minutes later we had found the carvings and it was a pretty satisfying end to that part of the walk. The river was beautiful and although we were soaked and caked in mud I had had the most amazing day. It really does make all the difference when you are with someone that wants to get involved in the adventure and Becci has really opened my eyes to how relationships are supposed to be.

All that was left to do was to get back to the cottage, there was no way Opeie was walking much further so we decided to get the bus. Which actually ended up being the perfect end to an amazing hike along the coast. Becci laughed all the way back to Boscastle on the bus and then back to the car when the bus driver charged us £10 for a shockingly short journey, I was so shocked that I just stood there speechless and did nothing but move some change around in my hand, Is that how much buses cost these days?

The following morning was home time, I was feeling pretty anxious about travelling back into the possibly volatile situation that I'd driven away from but I had that Dr. Seuss quote rattling around in my head "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened". Life can throw some serious rubbish at you at times but if you are a good person and surround yourself with kind people and real genuine love the universe has a habit of guiding a path for you. 

Sunday, 3 November 2019

"I want to run towards something. Not away."

Autumn is by far my favourite time of year, Unlike most I'm a big fan of the temperature drop, Ive always had a thing about my coat going on, making our outdoor adventures that little more cosy. And who doesn't love the colours on the trees, that autumn change is pretty magical. For the boys it's an exciting time of year because we get to go up the loft and start bringing down those end of year decorations. It's always so nice to transform the house and make it that little more interesting and of course that always includes some spooky LEGO building. We were all wrapped up one evening with hot chocolates making Halloween characters and a big sign for the wall in The LEGO room.

Opeie requested we build a witches house another evening and despite not feeling in a creative mood we stuck with it and it all turned out pretty lovely. The LEGO building really got us into the build up to halloween festivities.

With the decorations out and the house feeling a little more spooky we were pretty excited about the fun that was going to be had. Pumpkin carving at home and maybe a spooky party.

Then at the last minute our plans changed and a couple of days before the big spooky celebration we found ourselves driving down to the Cornish coast to Boscastle to for a few nights away. With a mass of negativity starting to muscle its way into our lives at home I think we were both really needing to get away for a bit.

Halloween ended up being an awesome day at Tintagel, adventuring around Merlins cave, Stomping up some big hills and finding waterfalls, perfection.

Happy Halloween ya'll.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Your friendly neighbourhood... fairground vendor?

Over the summer holiday we didn't venture out anywhere near as much as usual and ended up spending a lot more time at home and surprisingly I absolutely loved it. During term time we're all over the place, adventuring and visiting interesting places but as soon as the holidays arrive we tend to shy away and keep ourselves to ourselves, It seems to be common practice among many home edders. The erratic weather helped with the 'parent guilt' of not doing much but I think Opeie  got as much out of the rest as I did. Because of the hermit like behaviour our weeks ended up being heavy on the LEGO building and we were been busy creating all sorts. The building of Opeie's upside frown made him realise again that a little time and effort with the building goes a long way.

So after that was finished we were having a discussion one evening about where to go next with those magical bricks. I asked him if there were any other of the larger kits that he liked the look of for a bit of inspiration. We had a little mooch through the LEGO site and Opeie decided that he really liked the look of the Ferris wheel but had a much more 'Opeie fitting' theme to base the build around.

So the following afternoon we went on a piece finding binge In hope that we had the parts for the main structure before we started putting our own spin on it. Aside from a few technics parts and some pieces for the main wheel that we had nowhere near the quantity needed, we were pretty much good to go. As expected Opeie had no interest in the start of the build, as building the main body is "Boring", he's all about the cosmetic flair. So I got a chunk of the 'boring part' out of the way while he was in bed over the first couple of nights and got the build to a point where I knew he would be excited.

While I carried on with building the main posts and the big wheel Opeie got to work on the kiosks and as you can see, the 'Opeie fitting theme' was of course Spider-man (which is why I was so excited from the get go). A Spider-man themed Ferris wheel got us talking about all sorts of creative ideas to follow up this build and the the more parts we connected the more the ideas were flowing. I could never get bored of the great ideas that Opeie comes up with, his imagination is amazing.

In no time at all we had the main structure completed, the base of the wheel filled with Spider-man themed things and we were left with the part of the build that Opeie was most excited about. We had decided early on that the twelve Ferris wheel carriages were each going to based around a different character with colour schemes matching their costumes or personalities. This part was really fun because the carts themselves were pretty basic to make and we didn't want them to be too heavy and affect the way they moved, so we had to be creative with the parts etc. My favourite was definitely J. Jonah. Jameson's carriage with his Daily Bugle desk in and Opeie's was Sandman's bumpy looking sand carriage.

Unlike other things that we have built recently there was the added satisfaction of adding the power functions in to make the wheel spin. The fact that Opeie could have it remote control made the whole thing more exciting, and there was nothing quite like the look of pure happiness on Opeie's face being the first to push the button and watch our creation spin.