Time flies, I cannot believe we are in the second week of the holidays. I always find that these 6 weeks fly by and we are always looking forward to the next summer holidays which makes the year go even faster.... I shouldn't get sentimental now. Anyway here's the diary of the first week and a bit. Nothing much happened, it was very much party, park, party, relax for those of you who can't read through the next part!
Day 1 : Liverpool
Today the tall ships left Liverpool to start their journey around Scotland, towards Norway and onto Holland. My friend's little girl needed a new passport so we all tagged along to this fabulous parade. It was such a beautiful day, very warm and sunny but also very crowded. We managed to have a quick lunch at the Tate Cafe where the food is always great and a quick browse at the bookshop before we went to see the parade. The first ship was the Stavros Niarchos, very impressive but there were some bigger and beautifully decorated ones following. The Mexican was very impressive, the German loud (well the music played, but very jolly though) and the Dutch were represented with a couple. I remember that my brother often went to see them when I lived in Holland but I never made the effort somehow. And of course I have to show the Brazilian ship as the monkeys are a quarter Brazilian!
On the way back home from the train station I got the monkeys a little treat. They had been so good all day, not that I can complain on the whole but they had to stand up the whole way on the way there in the train and walked for miles and miles in the heat and through the crowds. So when we walked past the pound store and they saw these dinosaur eggs I couldn't resist. One of their friends had one and they grow really big I was told.
Day 2 : Whitworth Art Gallery
Hey we are back again! I told the lady at the desk we would be coming every week and so far so good. My friend and I were under the impression that the Arty Picnics had started in the museum but we had to wait another week we were told so we spend a long, long time in the Thinkspace Makespace again. Our 4 little ones had a lovely time making lots of drawings in their sketch books and we did some ourselves. I actually made some designs for Christmas decorations. Can you believe it in this heat?
We then walked on to the Manchester Museum, dubbed the Dinosaur Museum by most children here where we had our picnic, did some more drawing and then went to see the stuffed birds and the live reptiles. The monkeys were most excited about all of them although the geckos got the most outcries. How nice it is to just wander around enjoying yourself....
Day 3 : yet another children's party!
We've had lots of them in the last few weeks, the children might not be worn out but I am absolutely exhausted going from one place to the next with my hands full of presents, cakes, party bags, balloons. However this one today was at my friend's house, very relaxed. Her boy is mad about dinosaurs which is great as we were in the right place yesterday to buy his presents : we got him a dinosaur egg too, dinosaur tattoos (I bet he is going to love these), play dinosaurs, fossils, balls with dinosaurs in them. I was thrilled to get these goodies, we knew they were going to be a hit. The monkeys had a ball, all the little ones were running around in the garden, jumping in the paddling pool and having balloon races. I wish life would stay this simple forever sometimes.
Look how our little babies have grown. Sorry only just realised the funny position they are in!
Day 4 & 5 : lazy days
After the busy last few weeks and the first few busy days of the holidays we had some quiet time at home. Well I say at home, we spent our mornings doing nothing and then went for picnics and playtime in the park. Just lovely, Manchester is great when the sun shines!
In the holidays I usually make the kids 'poffertjes'. These are little Dutch pancakes and are eaten with butter and icing sugar traditionally. Occasionally a Dutch vendor comes to town and only brings the sugar and lots of squirty bottles with toppings full of e-numbers because he seems to believe that the English do not like butter but I think the best way to eat them is the traditional way. Today though was too hot to turn around about 100 little ones so we made some normal size pancakes, they were yummie!
And look at the size and shape of girl monkey's radiccio! She planted a lot of seeds in a small pots some time ago which I tried to transfer to a bigger one when they began to sprout but I think they were all too close together to grow. It was so lovely though that she had done it all by herself as a surprise and we managed to get two big ones out. This one was 10 cm! It tasted lovely, she was so pleased.
Day 6 : Party, party & party
Yep three parties. How did this happen? Girl monkey had been invited to another one but we were lucky to make it to three as they were all one after the other. But hey as it is the holidays we should have fun and I was only too pleased that one of them was for adults even though the children were still jumping on the bouncy castle. It is amazing how much better the social life of my little ones is compared to mine, what happened to all my parties?
Day 7 : Garden Party
The invitation read along the lines of there will be music, cocktails, games and some surprises. This sounded absolutely lovely for a Sunday afternoon. But hey, hang on, who's invited? Ah it will be girl monkey. She really dressed up for the occasion, I was almost jealous. Boy monkey was very upset but as it turned out he was the only boy allowed to stay and I was the only mum! I did accept gladly as Mr Betsy had a car accident this morning so I needed to relax a little. Thank goodness he was absolutely fine but it could have been so bad. Anyway seven hours and some glasses of Rose later we all had a smile on our face!
Day 8 : Liverpool again
Today was a rare occasion as we went en famille to Liverpool. Mr Betsy had been on call the day before so he was able to join us. It wasn't a smooth journey as the train had been cancelled, we had just missed our hourly bus and of course the car was wrecked but we got there just in time to see the first major Gustav Klimt exhibition in this country. It was a nice display but couldn't really interest the monkeys. They were most interested in the architectural models and we tried desperately to have them looking at all the other works. It is amazing how different you start to look at art with little ones around you. I never thought I would try to find monkeys and knights, flowers and patterns in works before admiring the composition.
Day 9 : Whitworth again!
I need to come up with something else quickly before you give up reading! Today we did manage to join the Arty Picnic though. This was so well organised. The staff had laid out a number of picnic rugs around one of the galleries where families could sit down to eat their packed lunches. They provided nice cakes, biscuits and drinks and great craft materials. The craft object today was a camel which we then had to go and find in the gallery next door. Boy monkey got very excited and made a blue hairy one (with a bit of help from mum) and girl monkey carefully cut hers out and then went on to make two sets of headphones. You can always rely on her to bring some stage related object in the picture. It might sound boring but we will certainly go back again. I can thoroughly recommend this place.
After spending some more time in the Thinkspace Makespace (where this time they had more fun playing with the cushions then drawing!) we went to the park next door where all the boys had to join girl monkey in her band. A branch and a lot of sticks were used to create a lovely drum set. Girl monkey put her hat in front of her as a little busker and was most surprised that no one had put money in it. Such a little entrepreneur.
Day 10 : Lazy day
Well at least for the monkeys. After a hectic morning for me we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the park. I had to do some crafting though today. So far the days have gone so quickly that I haven't managed to do anything so when I noticed the handles on my favourite shopping bag fraying I got some fabric, covered them and added a jolly Suffolk puff (I believe some people call them yo-yo's). You can't really see but it is perched on top of a book case that I am painting. I found this discarded in the alley way at the back of our house, slightly bruised and weathered from some rainfall last week but it is going to be a beauty.
I had to include this by request from girl monkey : her dessert creation today. Ice cream, peaches and marshmellows. It was truly tasty.
My smoothie of the day was made with :
1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt
1 glass of orange juice
1 large pear
1 small very ripe banana