New Forest and Hampshire County Show

Not quite sure why the idea of going to the show appealed to us so much, probably something tied to the amount of times we’ve read Charlotte’s Web, but the idea really appealed to both boys and me too).

And we had a fantastic day ūüôā Apologies for the ridiculously long post but there was so much to see and do!

We got to see (and climb on) some farm machinery

picture of Sam on a tractor
Sam on a tractor
Picture of Jack on a tractor
Jack on a tractor


We saw some old fashioned machinery and farm equipment.

Picture of Jack, Sam and a Traction Engine
For Grandpa Bob - Jack, Sam and a Traction Engine
Picture of Jack, Sam and some old fashioned milking equipment
Sam liked the old milking stuff


There were displays to watch, including Falconry.

picture of Jack and Sam Watching a display
Watching a display
picture of a Kestrel
a Kestrel
picture of a Spectacled Owl
a Spectacled Owl
picture of a flying falcon
A flying falcon


There were nice things to eat

picture of Sam eating strawberries and cream
Sam eating strawberries and cream


We had a surprising amount of fun in the Vegetable tent, exclaiming over ridiculously big onions and cabbages. Although itchy nose and eyes meant we skipped the flowers

picture of a vegetable display at county show
One is Sam and ones a scarecrow not sure which...


There were lots of animals to see.

picture of rabbits
Pic of Chickens at the county show
picture of ponies at the county show
Ponies and Horses - lots of ponies and horses!
picture of pig at the county show
Big pigs...
picture of piglets at the county show
...and little piglets.

This little chap was hilarious, a definite trouble maker. ¬†All the other piglets and mum were asleep, and he spent a good 5 minutes running about, jumping on and climbing over the other pigs and nosing them up the bum until they were all awake and running around. ¬†Reminds me of a younger Jack, once he was awake it was necessary that everyone else in the house was asap. Even to this day he has a tendency to wake Sam up… ¬†Sam loved it and spent 5 mins squealing like a pig himself in joy and amusement, like only he can.

There were also lots of sheep, cattle and even some alpacas that I couldn’t be bothered to photograph.

There was a ‘Discovery’ area for kids where they got to…

Light fires,Picture of Sam lighting a firepicture of sam having lit a fire

And make things from wood

picture of jack and sam making pencils
carving pencils
picture of Jack and Sam testing pencils
and testing them.
picture of Jack drilling
Drilling a hole
picture of jack with a wooden necktag make a nametag.


They could play in dens

Picture of sam and den

And handle skulls and other natural items

picture of Sam and a skullThere was loads more activities, such as minibeast hunts, that we didn’t do.

There were loads of tradestalls with very tempting items to buy and further things to do.

Sam had a go at spinning which I am quite jealous about and am wondering if I can set a session up for the HE group (so I can have a go!).

picture of Sam spinning wool

Picture of Sam with his spun wool
Sam with his spun wool wrapped around a wooden sheep.


There was also the obligatory fun fair

picture of jack and sam on the teacup ride

On the bus back to the station we got to spot lots of New Forest ponies to round the day off.

picture of Food from the county show
My treasures - all from the Food Hall, Pork pies and porks scratchings for Pete, flavoured cheese for me and some bread and cake mixes for everyone ūüôā
picture of Sam's soft toys
Sam not surprisingly ended up with a load of soft toys, bear from a lucky dip and 2 Jack won for him playing darts.
picture of Jack and sword
And Jack also won a plastic sword ūüôĀ


Fabulous day out and surprisingly easy by public transport.  Suspect we may well be going back next year.

Art work

I like to give the boys the opportunity to try out a variety of different media.

Weds was the turn of a cheap set of eye shadow and lipstick (that two days later I am still stained with) and me as a canvas.

And then they took a photo (or several)

picture of me with face painted by Sam
Sam's handiwork
picture of me with face painted by Jack
Jack's handiwork
another picture of me with face painted by Jack
It is supposed to look like my eyes are empty sockets apparently, nice!


Guiding Family Fun Day

On Saturday I’d helped to organise a fun sports day for the local Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and ¬†their families. ¬†Thanks to holidays and weather turn out was low but Jack came with me (Sam was too busy building forts from Jenga bricks and playing with his airfix soldiers) and we had a good time.

He is racing other people, honest. ¬†But for obvious reasons don’t want to put up photos with the rainbows and brownies in.

picture of Jack in the egg and spoon race
egg and spoon race
picture of Jack in hula hoop race
hula hoop race
picture of Jack in the sack race
sack race
picture of Jack in the bean bag on head race
bean bag on head race



Southsea Castle

Friday brought a break from the heavy rain that had poured down all week.

We joined the home ed group at Southsea Castle for a look around. ¬†Most of castle was closed for repair so there wasn’t actually much to look at. ¬†But we played with the stocks.

pic of Sam in the stocks
Sam in the stocks
pic of Jack in the stocks
Jack in the stocks

And went up into the Keep, where they watched a video about the history of Southsea Castle and posed with Henry VIII.

Picture of Meeting Henry VIII
Meeting Henry VIII


We had a picnic and the kids played around the courtyard happily until we parents were scared off by the evil looks we were getting from a member of staff and retreated to the field outside.

Then it was Gunwharf for an ice cream and treating Sam to the Gap hoodie that he has been¬†coveting¬†for months so he could join the ‘club’.

Picture of Jack, Sam and Hannah in their Gap tops
The 'Gap freaks'

Random Creativity

When I do Rainbows the boys are expected to entertain themselves reasonably quietly out of the way. ¬†Sometimes they play outside, sometimes they take turns with their friend’s PSP, sometimes they read or chat in the corner, sometimes they join in or sometimes they steal craft supplies from the Rainbow cupboard and have undirected bursts of creativity.

picture of Jack's crafty face
Jack's crafty face
picture of Sam's crafty face
Sam's crafty face


Is it really only 11am?

Day not going well!

My drama star unfortunately insists on turning the simplest tasks into massive dramas.

Long time until bedtime ūüôĀ

Solutions and Stories

Jack is looking at solutions so we have been

image of testing whether different substances dissolve
Testing whether different substances dissolve.
Image of Jack testing whether stirring speeds up dissolving.
Testing whether stirring speeds up dissolving.
image of Jack with a penguin that you grow with crystals
Growing crystals
picture of penguin grown from crystals
I'm impressed it worked!


Sam on the other hand has been working on telling stories. ¬†We’ve used story maps, puppets and today we used ‘scene’ cards to start a story.

Here’s one effort

There was a huge castle and a knight who lived there called Icarus. Icarus was really nice but the castle was ruled by an evil king. Everyone in the castle hated the king.

After 12 months war broke out. 16 of the soldiers were attacking their own castle because they didn’t want the king any more because the king was an evil man and ruthless.

Soon the King was overwhelmed by the rebel fighters. And the was no one left of the big, bad king except some blood and the rest of the remains of the evil king were bones.

And they all lived happily ever after.



End of Year Drama play

Yesterday was Jack’s drama class’s end of year production.
Don’t get me wrong I love seeing Jack in the end of year play but in practice I hate the actual day.
The theatre is in a town north of Portsmouth, takes taxi (no buses that early on a Sunday), ferry and 2 buses to get there. ¬†Leaving at 8 to get there for 10.15 for morning rehearsals. ¬†Then we have to hang around until 12 before they open the theatre (and they are always late) and it’s in a massive housing estate with nowhere to get coffee at 10.30 on a Sunday morning, nowhere to sit and it kept pouring down;(
Then we have to sit through 4 plays on very uncomfy seats, whole thing goes on for well over an hour with presentations. ¬†Final play was I guess 11-14yo, some of whom had been having lessons for 8years apparently and you couldn’t hear a word! ¬†20 mins of my life watching other peoples tweens and teens mumbling at the floor is not what I call fun.
On the positive side, slightly biased but I think, Jack’s play was again by far the best. ¬†On the whole the kids all projected their voices so you could follow it (only one of the 4 you could) and they all knew their lines to perfection. ¬†I am trying to move Jack to a new drama class in September as the class is very small and the rest of the class are 6/7 yo girls. ¬†But very sad about it as his teacher is absolutely brilliant. But although he is happy there feel he needs to be in a class with older kids for him to get the most out of drama.¬†If anyone knows any good local (inc Portsmouth) classes love to hear of them.
Back to Sunday, Jack was a Lion Tamer who lost his lion.  He seems to have a bit of a gift for comic timing and did really well.  Proud Mummy moment Рall the fuss was completely worth it.
image of Jack as Rudolpho the Lion Tamer
Jack as Rudolpho the Lion Tamer

Harry Potter and Lego

We’ve been being creative

image of Harry Potter wands
Harry Potter wands
image of paper plate golden snitch
Golden Snitch
image of our crafted Harry Potter glasses
Harry Potter glasses
image of Jack's spellbook
Jack's Spellbook
image of Front of Jack's Marauder's Map
Front of Jack's Marauder's Map
image of Jack's Marauders Map
Jack's Marauders Map


If anyone wants to make their own, instructions are on Activity Village or click on the pictures above to go direct to the relevant activity.

And, our Saturday morning project isn’t he brilliant? ¬†He’s nearly as tall as Sam!

picture of a lego man
Lego Man

Marwell Zoo

Grandpa Bob was visiting at the start of the week so we took the opportunity of having transport to go to Marwell Zoo for the day.

Gave Jack the camera so there are A LOT of photos.  Will try and be selective.

Humboldt Penguin
Freaky Flamingos. They did this seemingly 'choreographed dance' where they all stood there turning their heads from side to side and then as one spread their wings and turned and scratched their bum. Scary!
White haired bob
Jack looking out over the 'African Valley'
Comparing the boys to a giraffe.
Jack got tyred
Sam and a tiger
Wild Animals
Macaque (I think!)
Giant Stick Insect
Leopard Tortoise
Statue of Liberty - 1
Statue of Liberty - 2