Well, Happy New Year! It seems crazy that six weeks have gone past since my last post. Six weeks of doing nothing, really, and having a lovely time doing it! Towards the end of term we just snuggled down and did nothing in order to get Nancy over the finishing line of her first term, which we did, just about. It literally took her a week to get over it; cough, cold, random three days of walking around unable to put her heels on the ground (a state of affairs that for a first child would no doubt have generated much angst but with three of them in the picture was just put down to a virus and added to the list of random child ailments we hadn’t considered and couldn’t do anything about). Since then we have had the glorious Christmas week of nothing except sitting around in our pajamas eating turkey-related meals and Quality Streets, watching films and playing with new toys.
In terms of pro-active things we have done that I could recommend it is slim pickings, unless you count eating so much you can't do up your jeans and really enjoying the CBEEBIES stage version of The Snow Queen. A little tip that my kids have enjoyed for a couple of years now is that I always keep the previous year's Christmas cards to bring out if anyone starts to get restless; I give them a pair of scissors and some glue and suggest that they make a collage for a person of their choice. Christmas cards are so lovely it seems like a fitting way to use them, the kids love fighting over the best ones and all the snipping and gluing and whoever they choose to give them to always seem pleased (as long as directly related to them obvs).
Something we discovered this Christmas (and I know my friend Vicki will be reading this and shouting "I TOLD YOU ABOUT THIS AGES AGO YOU FOOL") is cupcake mix!! Another morning when it was lashing with rain outside and we had watched the Hey Duggee featuring Stick (a modern day masterpiece) several times, we decided to have an indoor picnic and I remembered that I had been bullied in to purchasing Frozen cupcake and Transformer cookie mix in Sainsburys several weeks previously (not by Vicki, I should add). It was cooking with children without all the flour (terrible business), but with the egg cracking (the real purpose of any cooking adventure). And they were yummy! They are definitely not high in nutritional value, but I am no Gwyneth Paltrow (!!) and have no shame in recommending them highly for kid entertainment/really quite yummy results.
We also went mad and took all three of them skating. I had big plans to go to Brighton for this milestone before Christmas but it all seemed a bit too much effort and a friend told me about Tulleys Farm (unchartered territory for us, rarely, as we are BIG farm-goers). We went on December the 30th and, whilst the whole farm had an odd abandoned atmosphere post the big Christmas spectacular (which by all accounts is very impressive), the ice rink was nice and not over-crowded, the staff were lovely and the kids really enjoyed it. Plus, there were dodgems next door (and a bar serving mulled wine). A very nice way to spend a post-Christmas afternoon. It was pricey, but I think skating is at this time of year and it was definitely an activity the kids will remember for a long time and I loved - I should point out that my husband refused to put on a pair of skates so I wobbled my way round for 40 minutes bent over at 90 degrees and am really only over it now, but at least it ticked the box of physical activity like nothing else in the last couple of weeks.
And now it is 2018. It's going to be a good one! I refuse to think about it as the year that Sam starts school until at least September 1st. I hope that it is a year of fun things, yummy food, plentiful wine, good books, lots of time splashing around outdoors, plenty of time larking around with our mates and family and good health. My new year's resolutions include more candlelit breakfasts (I miss our advent candle, a very special way to start a day) and more moisturiser and water (am getting old).
Oh yes, book of the fortnight (okay, festive period). For anyone in to pirates, we have loved Pirates Magnified by David Long, a gorgeous book that comes with its own little magnifying glass which you use to search the beautiful, heavily populated illustrations for particular items and particular pirates. A MASSIVE hit with my son. Father Christmas also bought The Ugly Five, Julia Donaldson's new one, which we have all really enjoyed and made me a bit emotional on first reading after a large glass of wine.