Living Arrows #85

We’ve been down south since Thursday, so we’ve been outdoors a lot. It’s been lovely. We’ve seen the sea, swans, New Forest ponies, a fibreglass hippo in a river, the Charlie and Lola exhibition at Mottisfont Abbey and Arthur has noticed puddles for the first time. Actually, he’s probably seen puddles before, but this was the weekend he finally got decked out in waterproofs and wellies and could explore all the muddy and wet things as much as he liked. Unsurprisingly for a fifteen month old child, there is nothing finer than walking through an ankle-deep puddle, splashing around. It’s wonderful how something so simple can spark so much joy, isn’t it?

Living Arrows

Arthur doing his best Breaking Bad impression there. The only problem with Art’s wellies is that he can’t stand back up after falling over, I think the soles are just too firm for him to really move his feet around, but it doesn’t seem to bother him, he’d just happily sit in the water or ditch.

Living Arrows

Living Arrows

Living Arrows

Oh Betsy, I’m sure she is happiest when she gets to run free. She has loved being down here and exploring, but she’s hated not having as much autonomy at times as she’d like. It’s like this full moon has made her even more wild and head strong. Tell me that’s not just me?

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Living Arrows

The circus at the Olympic park

Queen Elizabeth stadium-18

A couple of weekends back, we set of to Stratford to see NoFit State Circus’ Open House show. Betsy hadn’t seen anything like this before, but we knew she’s love it and I was keen to see the Olympic park, having not been there since the Paralympics.

You get through the park by walking through the outside part of Westfield (exit the Tube station and in front of you you’ll see lifts and stairs – go up them. It is signposted, but not amazingly well). There’s a Shake Shack there now! I need to visit that.

Queen Elizabeth stadium-2

Walk past the Aquatics Centre, over the wide bridge crossing the River Lea and you come to the stadium. As you walk towards it, you’ll spot some fountains next to the Orbit, along with the rest of the park visitors. These fountains are brilliant and worth a trip to the park in itself. A long sinuous line formed of little fountains, people can run through and play with them to their hearts content. It’s hugely popular and on a scorching day like the day we visited, it was crowded, but it didn’t seem overly so. Even Arthur found a little spot to play with the water.

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Thoroughly soaked, we explored the park and found a spot to picnic. The planting is fantastic, gorgeous colours and lots of trees, although there were very few trees to actually sit under and shelter from the sun.

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Queen Elizabeth stadium-9

Queen Elizabeth stadium-10

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Queen Elizabeth stadium-11

Queen Elizabeth stadium-13

The playground looks pretty good, but we didn’t use it. Apparently there is an even better playground to the north of the park (which we didn’t explore, it was too hot to do much walking with the little ones).

Queen Elizabeth stadium-11

It was amazing walking around the park again. Perhaps it was the weather, perhaps it was the dance show that had set up in a corner, but there was a real festival feel to the park. It really felt as if it had kept some of that amazing atmosphere the place had during 2012. People were happy and smiling and chatty to each other. Everyone was just having a very nice time in the park. I actually got quite emotional walking around and remembering where a then nine month old Betsy and I walked three years ago. But then, I’m an overly emotional thing anyway, so that’s hardly surprising.

Even Dave, who hates sports with a passion and the thought of being close to a stadium gives him hives (I exaggerate slightly), enjoyed it here.

Queen Elizabeth stadium

Queen Elizabeth stadium-17

But the circus. That was why we were here, and boy was it worth the journey! Part show, part workshop, we had performers all around us, encouraging people to join in at parts or letting people just sit back and watch some of the show. The ringmaster (if you call him that) was brilliant with a constant commentary of everything happening, from the giant human pyramid happening in one corner to the majestic trapeze artist in the centre of the mini arena.

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Everything was backed with a great soundtrack from a fantastic soundtrack – sort of gypsy, sort of folky. Both children were entranced, and hopefully we’ll get to see something like this again in the near future. I’ve done a tiny video of the event, a moving postcard if you will, to give you a small taster of what we saw.

Week In The Life – Sunday

Hmm, so it seems to be that I’ve reached the end of this week-long project not with a bang, but was a bit of a damp squib. Many reasons for this. I was tired. I woke up with a terrible headache, so was grumpy. Dave was up til 1am the previous night gaming so was tired and grumpy. Betsy was grumpy with everything. Oh well, at least the week has been bookended with grumpiness! I also forgot to bring my camera up to bed with me last night which I found really put myself in the right frame of mind to take pictures (the camera phone didn’t count here). There are so few photos of the day, I sort of want to do another day in its place, but that doesn’t seem right.

Week In The Life - Sunday

Once we got out the house, things got a lot better. We travelled up to Trent Park to meet up with a friend who did little photo shoot with us. She took some gorgeous photos of us, and I think I’ll pop a couple of shots in my album. Once that is done we had a lunch in the park cafe, sitting outside with Betsy saying hello to all the dogs that walk by.

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We have cake at home, watching the rain outside.

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I decide to walk into town to get some exercise and come home to see this:

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I love it when Ian is outside. He can hear us walking up the road and will run to greet us. I suspect he does this to any pedestrian who doesn’t have a dog with them, and it’s in the hope of food, but I fool myself into thinking it’s because he loves us.

Arthur crashes at half five, so it’s a very early bed for him. That means a bit of quality time with Betsy and the three of us enjoy a breakfast for dinner (fried leftover potatoes from yesterday, bacon, beans and scrambled eggs.)

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And that’s that week. It’s been so good to do and I’ve found myself today (Monday) missing the constant photo and note taking, especially as I had a lovely day with the kiddos. I can’t wait to do this again, and thank you all for reading and commenting. Big, super hugs and love to Dave especially who’s had to put up with all this more than anyone. Thanks for letting me take your photo even when you didn’t want me too, lover!

A couple of lists I think I’ll be adding to the WITL album that you may be interested in:

Most listened to music:
Along with an awful lot of 6Music, these are the top eight songs from the week:

Most watched TV:
Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom
Charlie and Lola
Sarah and Duck
The Great British Bake Off
The Great British Bake Off – An Extra Slice
9 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown
(I tended to blog and edit photos rather than watch TV. Children’s TV rules in this house. Can you tell?)

Living Arrows #84

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
– Khalil Gibran

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So it’s been a busy week what with me doing A Week In The Life. It’s been a very, ordinary, quiet week, but the act of trying to record as much as possible actually takes quite a bit out of you. It’s all been worth it though, I’ve taken some shots I’m really pleased with and I think this us my favourite ever picture of Arthur. That glint in his eye! Love it. He looks a lot older here too, more boy than baby.

Living Arrows

Week In The Life – Saturday

Week In The Life - Saturday

What a scorcher Saturday was! We took it easy in the morning, getting up and getting dressed late. Watching Ben and Holly and playing games on my phone.

Week In The Life - Saturday

We went swimming today. Usually we go to the local pool, but as the day was so sunny and hot, we decided to check out Ware Lido. On the way, we needed to stop for fuel – one of Betsy’s things she loves to do is stand next to you and watch the car being filled up.

Week In The Life - Saturday

Week In The Life - Saturday

The story behind this photo is the little spider you can’t quite see. It’s been living in Dave’s wing mirror for a while, well over a week, and you always get a few shrieks of glee from Boo whenever it decides to make an appearance. It’s been there for so long, Betsy has decided it is now our pet.

Week In The Life - Saturday

The lido is fantastic. It’s not really been changed since it was built in the 60s, so it has a very retro feel to the place. There’s bunting, a little playground, two pools and it all backs onto a lovely park. There’s a great atmosphere to the place, it feels like half of Ware have come down to stay for the morning. The kids love it, Arthur especially doesn’t want to leave the water. He’s in Betsy’s old suit that has foam floats around the middle so he can attempt a bit of a doggy paddle and Betsy has her shark fin on and happily treads water. Both prefer the big pool that’s far too deep for them. No photos for this bit, I only manage to sneak that picture of the lamp above. Such a shame really, it’s such a happy place. We will have to come back soon and I’ll try and get a release form signed so I can take pics.

After swimming, we go into the park next door, eat ice creams and lunch and cool down in the shade of a tree.

Week In The Life - Saturday

Week In The Life - Saturday

Week In The Life - Saturday

We don’t stay too long as everyone is very tired, so we make our way home and play in the garden. Dave gets the paddling pool out and Betsy and I dig up the potatoes we planted. It’s not a bad crop! I cook them for dinner along with some trout and we eat outside along with a glass of Pimms, celebrating what will probably be one of the last hot, sunny summer days.

Week In The Life - Saturday

Week In The Life - Saturday

Week In The Life - Saturday

Week In The Life - Saturday

Week In The Life - Saturday

Week In The Life – Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Friday was one of those days where on the surface not a lot happens, but the pictures say otherwise. Normally when we stay in the house all day we get a bit stir crazy, but today was fun, and we managed to get out for dinner too, so bonus. Today was all about the simple pleasures:

Week In The Life - Friday

Hugs goodbye.

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Drawing around feet. Betsy noticed holes in my tights yesterday and by colouring in my toes the holes won’t be seen next time I wear them. Nice logic!

Week In The Life - Friday

Post.

Week In The Life - Friday

Watching the pasta almost boil over.

Week In The Life - Friday

A lunch enjoyed and eaten by all.

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Painting.

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Naps.

Week In The Life - Friday

Biscuits.

Week In The Life - Friday

A twinkle.

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

An evening walk.

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Fish and chips in the park.

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Week In The Life - Friday

Suddenly being tall enough to reach the light switch.

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Bedtime.

Week In The Life – Thursday

We’re over halfway on this project! I’m really, really enjoying it so far. It has been a very ordinary week, some would say dull, but the beauty of Week In The Life with the rigmarole of regularly taking photos and notes of that day mean that even on days that I would normally see as mundane or quiet with not a lot happening I can see all the little bright things that actually make the day different. Even if I never get round to actually making an album of this week (although I really, really hope I do) it’s been so worthwhile blogging about it. I feel it’s made a difference in my photography too. Anyway, Thursday.

Week In The Life - Thursday

Week In The Life - Thursday

Week In The Life - Thursday

Everyone sleeps in a bit after the late night last night. It takes some persuading to get Betsy dressed. She definitely doesn’t want to go to nursery today, it’s apparently “boring” without her best friends Amy and Caspar there. Dave and co give me a lift to the Tube on the way to nursery. In the car Betsy is listening to the Puppini Sisters’ version of Mr Sandman (or the bum bum bum song as Boo calls it) and Arthur dances in his seat.

I get off at Leicester Square tube this morning and walk down through Trafalger Square and Whitehall. How lucky am I to get to walk past all this amazing history where people from all over the world come to see?

Week In The Life - Thursday

Week In The Life - Thursday

Week In The Life - Thursday

Week In The Life - Thursday

(love what’s been done to the scaffold around Banqueting House by the way)

Work is work. Lots and lots of barcoding today.

Week In The Life - Thursday

By the time we finish at four we have entered over 1000 tapes into the database, which is 1/40 of the amount that needs to be done!

I get home first, realise that I’ve not got anything prepared for dinner, shrug and make myself some tea and toast and write up the day in my WITL journal. We have beans on toast for dinner.

Week In The Life - Thursday

Week In The Life - Thursday

Just want to leave this photo of me and Dave getting ready for bed here. I think my most favourite pictures of us are the ones where we’re goofing around a little, and this one makes me smile a lot. This is definitely going in the album.

Week In The Life - Thursday

Week In The Life – Wednesday

Here’s what I did on Wednesday. I’m discovering it’s really hard to write about my working day. It’s so labourious at the moment and as I’m in a dark basement it’s very difficult to conjure any enthusiasm to take photos. At least it’s only for three days out of the week! It’s also a very one-sided day, the details I get about everyone else’s days are vague at best.

Week In The Life - Wednesday

Ah, Wednesday, the middle of the working week. Betsy wakes up super early and comes in for a cuddle while Art and I doze. Ian the cat then decides to sit on me, almost smothering me and purring loudly in my ear while I feed Art. I think he wants his breakfast.

Week In The Life - Wednesday

Week In The Life - Wednesday

That’s the Dada Train. The kids sit on Dave’s knee while he slowly goes down the stairs on his bottom making Ivor the Engine noises. The kiddos love it!

I’m late for work again, luckily it’s recess so it’s not a biggie, but I need to get back in the rhythm of getting up and ready earlier for when the House comes back in September. Eh. I get the train from Enfield Chase and because of my lateness, there’s plenty of seats. Swings and roundabouts.

Week In The Life - Wednesday

Nab the last rock cake in the work canteen for breakfast and as only about five of them are made each day this feels like a WIN. This will probably be the most exciting part of the working day.

Week In The Life - Wednesday

We’re barcoding and entering all our video tapes into a database for most of the day. I try not to get too distracted by the WITL group of Facebook (love you guys!). I’m grateful for the help and company from a colleague who normally works with Hansard. I have 6Music on and I manage to write a sneaky blog post, so it’s not all bad.

Week In The Life - Wednesday

Overnight oats for afternoon snack. They’re delicious. I’m fast realising that the highlights of my working day revolve around food. Hmm.

Finally, it’s home time. I feel tired and run down. Super glad I manage to get my favourite seat on the train, where I can spot Alexandra Palace. There’s a couple of ponds next to the tracks too, and you can usually catch sight of a heron or cormorant, but not today.

Week In The Life - Wednesday

Week In The Life - Wednesday

That is the face I see most days when I open the front door. I’d like to think that Ian is just pleased to have my company again, but we all know that those big green eyes are just shouting FEED ME. I get his dinner then I prepare the family’s. Tonight it’s sausages and mash.

Week In The Life - Wednesday

Dave gets in with the kiddos and we chat over dinner and persuades me to go to the Women’s Institute Knit and Natter meeting when I’m not really feeling it. Betsy entertains herself with a sticker book we got for her and it’s been the best £1.50 we have ever spent. She loves it and has spent hours playing with it. Need to get more for long train and car journeys.

Week In The Life - Wednesday

Week In The Life - Wednesday

I’m late for the WI so I dash out of the house, get halfway to the station only to realise I’ve not brought a project with me to do! I have to run back and I grab the first thing I see which is the new issue of Mollie Makes magazine which came through the door today. The cover project/gift is crochet bracelets. I can’t crochet, but it will have to do. I finally arrive and spot a few mum chums I’ve not seen in ages and I’m immediately pleased I came along. It’s good to see them, I relax, have a drink and I learn how to do a DC stitch. I didn’t quite manage to make a bracelet, but that doesn’t matter.

Week In The Life - Wednesday

I walk home in the rain, which I love when it’s late at night. There’s no one else around, apart from a fox who walks and keeps a cautious eye on me as we both walk up my road.

Week In The Life - Wednesday

Week In The Life – Tuesday

Week In The Life - Tuesday

Well today certainly wasn’t as good as yesterday. I wake up in a much better mood this morning, although we’re all feeling sluggish and no one really wants to get up. We stay in bed for as long as we can. Thank goodness for my coffee maker that’s essentially a fancy Teasmaid and makes fresh coffee before I’m even awake. Thank goodness for Dave even more who brings me up a cup of it while I’m feeding Arthur.

Week In The Life - Tuesday

It takes ages to get ready this morning. Betsy and Arthur are off to Warwick Castle today with Nanny and Grandad so I pack lots of snacks and waterproofs. One of these days I’ll be organised enough to do these things on the evening before! Get a lift to Enfield Town station and drink my coffee on the platform waiting for a train. When it does arrive, it’s an old train, bt super comfy with big seats. It’s a longer way into work going from ENF, but I always get a seat and it’s so much more relaxing than going from Enfield Chase and changing at Finsbury Park. Luckily it’s the summer recess at work, so it doesn’t matter too much if I’m a bit late. There is a definite autumnal feeling in the air today, maybe it’s why we’ve all been sluggish this morning. It’s tights weather.

Week In The Life - Tuesday

Week In The Life - Tuesday

Week In The Life - Tuesday

Bit of background – I work in Parliament as part of the video archive, if anybody needs footage from inside the chambers, they come to my office. Today I’m encoding footage for George Galloway’s crowdfunded documentary, The Killings of Tony Blair. The BFI used to hold our tapes, but we’re going to be digitising everything soon, so all our tapes are with us now. There’s about 47,000 of them and they’re in every nook and cranny we can fit them into. Of course the tapes I need are in the darkest corners of an old office! I eat my lunch listening to anti Iraq war speeches while I’m capturing the footage.

Week In The Life - Tuesday

Week In The Life - Tuesday

I get home and I’m surprised to see that Betsy and Art are home already. They had a fantastic time. We have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and it’s the most eaten meal in a long time. Big hit, and that was with a super healthy tomato sauce in there too *gold star*.

Week In The Life - Tuesday

Week In The Life - Tuesday

Both kids have been lovely company tonight. Arthur playful and Betsy affectionate. Boo and I cuddle on the sofa watching Sarah and Duck while Art has his bath.

Week In The Life - Tuesday

Week In The Life - Tuesday

Best part of the night, the whole day really, was a very spontaneous hug from Betsy, just after we brushed her teeth. *squeeze* “I love you, Mama. You’re my best friend”

Week In The Life - Tuesday

Week In The Life – Monday

Week In The Life (WITL) is a week long project created by Ali Edwards where you document the ordinary and the day to day routine. It’s about the little things you wouldn’t normally write about, or photograph and at the end I’ll make an album all about it. I recently wrote about my preparations for the project here. I wasn’t sure if I was going to write about each day on this blog, but I’ve found the whole process so invigorating, and I think writing here will help with the journalling side of things when it comes to making the album later on.

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

I wake up at six in the foulest mood and I’m instantly grumpy with everyone, even poor Arthur who has the audacity to play next to me in bed. Not the best start to the week! Bloody hormones. I go downstairs, make myself a coffee and Dave, who isn’t working today, gives me a pep talk and acts silly and cheers me up no end. We eat breakfast and all go upstairs to get dressed, but end up tickling and playing in one of the bedrooms for a while.

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

Once dressed, we head out into town, do a spot of shopping, go to the library to pick up a couple of books and head out into Town Park for lunch.

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

We spend quite a bit of time in the park. Managing to avoid the playground, we set up camp underneath an oak tree and Betsy and Arthur run free while Dave and I relax. The kids have been playing together really well recently and it was heartwarming to catch Betsy reading one of the library books to Arthur. We also have fun with the self timer on my camera and get a couple of wonky shots of all of us together.

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

Betsy is fascinated by these seeds heads. They are, of course, fairies who grant wishes. We all grab a few and make a wish. Betsy wished for “a lovely watering can” that has bees, flowers and ants on there.

Once home, we all chill out a bit. Betsy naps and I nurse Arthur on the sofa. Once everyone is a bit more awake, I prepare my lunches for work and get dinner on the go (mash and leftover meat and veg from yesterday’s roast dinner at Uncle Martin and Auntie Karen’s) while Dave plays with the kiddos downstairs.

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

Just before dinner, we have a Skype chat with my folks, but as it’s all a bit chaotic and I can’t really have a conversation with them, I end up ringing them after five minutes! Was good to see them though and Betsy loves it.

Week In The Life - Monday

Week In The Life - Monday

I stop taking photos after dinner to concentrate on bedtimes and then photo editing, but it’s been a really lovely day. Very easy to photograph too, although making sure that I’m in some of the photos is weird and I’m still not comfortable in front of the lens, but an album like WITL would be weird without me in them, so I’ll just have to suck it up!