Saturday, February 26, 2011

making, baking and generally creating

I have finally admitted to myself that my children do not play with toys, well, hardly ever. Ironic as we run an online toy shop heh? Actually, as part of this "taking a good look at myself and family" process, have realised that this does show itself in the stock we hold. Our "toys" are very much about make believe, exploring and creating. Of course not all, but it definitely leans in those directions.

We are far happier being outside or all together at the kitchen table than in a playroom. The girls' favourite Xmas presents were mini sewing machines and a new note pad and pen cause mass excitement.

They don't "get" collecting Sylvanian Animals, but will play Harry Potter with two wooden "wands" for whole afternoons. The garden is for building dens on the trampoline, or collecting petals and leaves for potions and lotions. Bedrooms are for creeping to and working out codes for spy games, or for reading and sleeping in. Jigsaws and games are "only if Mummy and Daddy really want to play".  Walks are "scavenger hunts" and time to practice singing rounds. Menagerie of pets help the ongoing "Vet Rescue"  adventure and the television is for watching old family movies on dvd (Candleshoe a current favourite).

So, when friends come to play, we have to make sure they are happy with this, which usually results in scone making or marble painting.... or both! You see it's not everybody's cup of tea, but for us;
it's a wonderful life!

Monday, February 14, 2011

living in a village

this is my view as I'm typing away and catching up on admin. The move from central London was difficult for me. I loved the hustle and bustle and Primrose Hill was like a village marooned in the centre of a big city. The "push" came from the North London schools available for us. All at the top of any "Good School" list, but highly competitive and mainly selective.

My oldest daughter is an August baby and had speech problems when tiny. She is naturally modest and shy and "failed" entry tests at 3 years old. The state schools were oversubscribed with large class sizes and we panicked. Buckinghamshire has an amazing record for good education and this was the "pull". We didn't get it right first time and moved to a suburb which had all the problems of London (no parking, high house prices etc) and none of it's benefits (for us). The school was similar too and my daughter was pretty much written off!

We sorted the school out first and the girls are now at "Malory Towers" (they are day girls as boarding option not for us!). When I say "Malory Towers", I mean it. Enid Blyton's children were at the school and she based many of the stories on it. We even have the tower! My girls skip into school each day and are both doing so well, which of course is a huge tick in our family box.

Next came me and I've found my happiness at last. We moved at the end of August to a house built in 1600's with an AGA and a beautiful garden. We are surrounded by fields full of horses and blackberry bushes and the village occupants are warm and inclusive. Sadly, we are only renting whilst we try and work out what the next step is, but don't think we'll stray far.

We are very lucky (and broke!) and have managed to keep hold of our London flat. Who knows, when the children are "all growed up", we may end up back there and enjoying the theatres and museums once more. But for now.....
"it's a wonderful life!"