Friday, 31 October 2014

"There's no such thing as can't" - Reflections from a day at the park

My little friends Nina and Hannah came to play today. It's been a while since they've come to visit, and they've never seen the new house before. I think they approve. This is what we got up to:

We made pizza from scratch! Nina and Hanna helped with rolling, chopping and grating!
(Yes, they are in halloween costumes, and yes, Hannah is dressed as a pumpkin. I'm so used to seeing kids dressed up that it took me at least 3 minutes before I realised it was halloween today)

We ate our homemade pizzas.

Hannah's pizza is on the left, Nina's smiley pizza is on the right.

Then we walked to the park and did some climbing.

More climbing.

We found sooo many ladybirds. Such an unusual time to see so many!

We went on the exercise bikes and got confused.

We did some mini zip-lining. Nina took this photo because Hannah needed a hand, as you can tell from the concerned face that I have in this pic. They really liked this playground fixture, which had enough risk, challenge and thrill to suit both of them!

We climbed some trees.

We climbed some more trees (my mum and their mum had joined us by this point)

And then we took a photo with the shiney dinosaur. We have named it Petunia.

I had a lovely time today, and as I reflect on it, I keep getting little flashbacks of both Nina and Hannah saying out loud at various points saying "I can't do it". And then just as surely as one says it, the other one will say "there's no such thing as can't", and then they go ahead and do the thing that declared they can't do. I think that's a great life lesson there. And also a confidence building time for Nina and Hannah, as they went from, "can't" to "could" to "can". Lots of limits explored and beaten, and lots of play today!

Thanks for coming round, Hannah and Nina! Come round to play again soon! :)

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Postcardtober Fest 2014

At the beginning of the month, I announced that I was going to send a-postcard-a-day for a month, and then I went on some epic adventures which meant that I was unable to record every single one of my postings. I did get a few photographed though and with it being the last day tomorrow, I thought that I might celebrate with a collage! Hoorah!

I managed to take photos of 25 out of 31 postcards, hoorah! :)

I really enjoyed Postcardtober Fest. It was really nice reaching out to some of my friends that I haven't spoken to for a while, and re-establishing connections via post. It actually felt a little like doing my 365 project which has given me a possible idea for next year.... I think that I will at least have to participate in Postcardtober Fest again next year! Thank you Ric, for the awesome challenge! :)

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Pumpkin Time!

As you might know, every year I carefully select a pumpkin and carve it. Last year I introduced you all to Mia, and the year before that, Phil. This year, I was completely intrigued by images on the internet showing children with a drill puncturing their pumpkin. So I put an order in with Dad to get out the drills, chose me a pumpkin and then I was off. Mum took some helpful photos for us.

Here's the inside of my pumpkin, ready to be scooped out.

My dad came to watch me gut my pumpkin.

My dad also supplied me with my own drill. Mwhahahaa!

My dad was so inspired by my creation that he got his own and started drilling too!

He was making a big mess so my mum made him drill his pumpkin in a bucket.

Here are our pumpkins, almost finished.

And here are our pumpkins, all lit up. The top one is mine, the bottom one is dad's.

Dad's pumpkin is cool - it's his first ever! He went with big holes in a vague pattern.

This is my pumpkin, which I'm really chuffed with. There are 4 different sizes of holes randomly interspersed around the pumpkin. It looks really cool!

The pumpkins were a delight to drill through. Having only ever drilled through wood, being able fully control the powerdrill to create a perfect hole in today's pumpkin was somewhat addictive: it felt great! I might have to take the drilling to the extreme next year and do even more holes. But for now, I am super pleased with how this turned out and am already looking forward to more pumpkin drilling adventures!

Monday, 27 October 2014

A Pop-Up Morning

I had the pleasure of running a Pop-Up Adventure Playground at my church today. It was only a small gathering, but I had loads of fun nonetheless and the children were able to access play opportunities at their leisure. Here are some photos:

Here are two of the robots that were made today. The one in the foreground is made by my helper for the day. The little one was a homage robot. Hoorah!
These boxes donated kindly by Pat.

And then the children wanted to become robots.

This is not a robot. This is a ninja.

And here is the suspension bridge made by my Dad and Frank! Hello Dad! Hello Frank! :)
These flat boxes were donated kindly by Shazia! :)

A large portion today was spent running in a circle after a particularly energetic 6 year old. It was good fun and I got lots of exercise so there's always a plus. But I was pretty shattered by the end of it. It was good though and I'm pleased that everyone enjoyed themselves.

There wasn't as many people today as there was last time, but I think there might be plenty more to come in the future! Hoorah! :)

Sunday, 26 October 2014

GBBO 2014 - Final Week

Due to much fun and adventure with Morgan, I haven't been baking much since the final episode of the Great British Bake Off aired. I did my stripey Schichttorte and then left my Bake Off challenge hanging in the air, waiting to be finished.

So today, I finally had the time and I did my final bake - croissants!

Here's the first type of croissant I made - these had chocolate in the middle.

This is the second batch - just plain croissants :) So pleased!

To celebrate the end of the the Bake Off challenge, Shazia, Lee and I had a little get together and had Afternoon Tea for Tea! I made scones, sandwiches and quiche for the occasion and we all sat around eating our very British treats. Nom nom nom! And then we played Catan. Hahaha.

Lee brought some delicious red pesto puff pastry bites, and Shazia brought this amazing Princess Cake. It was so green and swirly.

And we decided to use Shazia's own amazing cake to celebrate her birthday early! Hoorah! Happy birthday from all of us - your cake was amazing and delicious! :)

I was seriously impressed with Shazia's handy work, and was also secretly really chuffed with my home made croissants. I rushed through the recipe a little so I'm hoping to try it again, but am totally chuffed that it came out so well! Hoorah! :)

I'm delighted that I have more friends around me who are as excited about baking as I am. Now I get to explore different recipes with them and be excited with them about our bakes. I think that the British Bake Off series has provided us with a much needed push to both explore and enjoy baking. We might however benefit from The Great British Work Out as a series to help us burn off our cake eating. Hahaha. Hoorah for baking!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

An Unexpected Adventure

After a busy week in London, I was mildly surprised to find myself driving towards Blackpool on an unexpected adventure with a new friend. Let me explain. My new friend Kylie came to visit the UK from Australia and got in touch with me so we could hang out and talk about play. Having done a lot of our chatting about play and having visited a scrapstore, we got a-talking about Australia. Then somehow we got talking about beaches, and I suggested that maybe we go to see a UK beach to compare to one Down Under... and then we set off to Blackpool! Hoorah!

This is Kylie. We were being super British and having afternoon tea :)

And then we went to Blackpool on a seemingly average grey day. Again, super British.

And then the weather turned and we ended up with gorgeous sunset - hoorah! A gift, just for Kylie!

Look at how lovely this is!

And of course I had to show off UK's best light show - the Blackpool Illuminations! This train looks amazing! :)

It's cheesy, I know, but I love Blackpool. I love the tat, I love how it's not changed for decades, I love how it's so quintessentially British that it makes me swell with pride. 

Kylie actually really enjoyed herself too. I want to make it clear that we both agreed to the trip and I didn't just force her there against her will - we had a great time, walked on the beach, ate fish and chips and cooed at the illuminations. It was a lovely trip, interspersed with great talk about play. I love my work, and I love my work so much more when I meet lovely people and then have random fun too! Thank you for the strange and wonderful day, Kylie! Hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in the UK! :)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Five Days in London

It's the end of a very productive five days here in London. I was able to host and attend Pop-Up Adventure Play's Director's Meeting, and also met up with playworkers Grant Lambie and Adrian Voce. I also managed to squeeze in a quick meet with one of the students on the Playworker Development Course. I had some fun too, hanging out at my sister and brother-in-law's place and getting re-acquainted with Bugsy.

Yesterday, Morgan headed further down south to hang out with her folks. Tomorrow I go back to Manchester via Oxford. Today, I took the day off, watched TV and made tea. It was awesome.

Oh, and I hung out with Bugsy.

Bugsy, in his spot.

Bugsy, on his favourite magazine.

Me and Bugsy.

Bugsy. Hungry.

Now for a little bit of TV before I go to bed. Maybe I will dream about bunnies. :)

Sunday, 19 October 2014

A Walk in the Park

This weekend, I came to London in order to conduct a Director's Meeting! It was filled with plans and adventures, reports and resolve. We spread it over 2 days, punctuated by sushi and sleep, so by the time we were done, my brain needed a break. So I decided to go for a walk.

I found a little bookshop that doubled as an antiques shop!

This was the first sign that I saw. Haha.

Loads of old postcards on a really nice display stand.

And of course there were loads and loads of books.

After the bookshop, I wanted to continue exploring, so I kept walking and found myself in Osterley Park. It is a beautiful park with unexpected features:

A lovely lake with lots of wildlife.

A magnificent building with columns!

I got very excited about the columns.

There were lots of other cool things in the park too including some very climbable trees, a farm shop and a second hand book shop! Two bookshops in one go just made me extremely happy! I only explored a little bit of the park and hope to go back again soon.

I bought Homo Ludens at bookshop number 2 (more on that another day), and also a bag of sprout tops I got from the farm shop. Hoorah!

I wish that every time came home, there would be a bunny there like when I am at my sister's house. There's something very comforting about being greeted by the hopping and scuffling of a friendly bunny. Here's another lovely photo of him

Bugsy, looking regal.

I feel like I've a very productive weekend, and I feel happy to my core. I am surrounded by great friends who support my work, and feel very blessed. Now I really have to allow my brain to rest and start digesting some of marvelous things we've talked about - onwards and upwards to adventures and beyond!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

London Bunny

Morgan and I have come to London on business, but that doesn't mean all work and no play. It means we have to make a compulsory visit to my favourite bunny, Bugsy. It also means stuffing our faces full of sushi with my sister, and having a detailed discussion about how-not-to-be-when-on-The-Apprentice.

Here is Bugsy, all cute and up on his back legs.

Here is Bugsy, protecting his favourite magazine.

I'm going to be down here for a few days, which is nice. Last time I was in London, I came with my cousin on the train. This time, I brought the car with me this time so my travel plans can be super flexible. Hoorah! More tomorrow.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Two Days of Post

Whenever I hear the scuffle at the door that signifies the postman having a fight with our letterbox, I always rush to the door. My love of post is no secret, but since moving to our new house, it's been difficult to receive post. Every time something - anything - manages to get to our house, I always have a little celebration in my head.

The last two days have been joyous for me, because I a) received one item of post a day, and b) it wasn't a bill! Hoorah! Double celebrations!

This postcard is from my friend Shazia whom I have been doing the Bake Off Challenge with. We're going to be celebrating our Bake Off soon - watch this space!

 This little card is from my little cousin in Hong Kong - she's copying my doodling and doing a fabulous job! Thank you Kalin! :)

Much is happening in my house at the minute - Morgan and I are preparing to pootle down to London for some Pop-Up fun. It's going to be a great weekend! :)