Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Not quite the Christmas we'd planned ....

Well for those of you that don't already know, on Friday 28th November (black Friday, oh the irony!) we had a fire in the kitchen.

My day went something like this ....

7am - woke up late, worlds quickest shower, got the children up, went to school.

9am - in the school office, sat on the floor doing stuff for the PTA.

10am - rushed home, emptied the tumble dryer, popped it on top of the hob like always (so out of the reach of the boys), decided not to put another load in as it could be a fire hazard (more irony there), put laptop on side in kitchen - printed out a poem for school, rushed out the door.

10.15 - Went to school to drop off poem and ask for 190 copies to be made to stick on paper plates over the weekend.

10.30 - I put my rubber gloves on, and helped my friend scrub her house as she was moving out.

12.30 - I got home to find the road cordoned off and the fire brigade putting my house out...

It would appear that somehow, the hob got turned on. Whether I knocked it with the laptop, caught it with the basket or one of the boys somehow got in and turned it on I do not know, and never will. Needless to say, it was a bit of a shock. I had to phone mum and dad who were in Germany at the time to ask if we could sleep at their house that night, and we are currently residing in a hotel whilst our home is sorted out.

You can't really tell from this photo but the front room is all streaky, and needless to say I need new nets and curtains.

And our lovely dining room ...

And our kitchen ...

However, I am a big believer in the power of being positive, and despite the odd day where I have been tearful, I have tried very hard to be upbeat. I have been so touched by the kindness we have been shown by neighbours, mums from school, friends and of course my family. I have had people donate clothes, toys, do our laundry and someone even sent me some money so I could buy the children some new clothes (we only took a handful of clothes with us to the hotel). The hotel we are in bought us a box of celebrations for Christmas and they have loaned us a Christmas tree. I must admit, it doesn't feel very Christmas like but I am sure that on the day, we will have a lovely time because we will be with family, and family are what make Christmas special after all.

And on that note, we would like to wish each and every one of you a very Healthy, Happy and Safe Christmas.

Lots of love Jemma, Stuart, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac x x x x x x x

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Happy 9th Birthday April xx

Our kind, caring daughter turned 9 on Thursday. April is such a friendly girl, she is so thoughtful and always puts others first. She is very generous with her time and love and I am very, very proud to call her my child.

 A very happy girl with her dollies from "Frozen". Isaac is being a little bit cheeky there in the background!

See! I can do a cake other than "Hungry Hippos" 

April said her cake was yummy - I sandwiched it together with Nutella as she doesn't like jam.

Happy Birthday April - you are amazing xx

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Enjoying half term

We are enjoying the half term break so far. We have been to a Vintage and Handmade fair, Barneys play barn, enjoyed a pyjama day, enjoyed a day out at Belton House with Pippa and family and tonight the big 3 are sleeping in the front room on air beds. I will sleep on the sofa and keep the monitor nearby so I can hear the twins. I never cared much for sleep anyway, it's over rated ....

I wonder how long it will last .....

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A blast from the past!

Here are Samuel and Isaac wearing Noel's old clothes - a real blast from the past!

Samuel has also cottoned on that Hermione likes to play babies - so he has found a new way of transportation ....

It's very wet, cold and dark here today. I hope the weather is better where you are.

Lots of love Jemma, Stuart, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac x x x x x x x

Friday, 10 October 2014

Forces Day

Noel, April and Hermione have gone to school today wearing Red, White and Blue to support the forces (well, the £1 each donation does).

Hermione absolutely loves school, and I've noticed her behaviour seems to be a lot better since she started too.

This morning the sun has been shining (for a change, after a week of rain and wind) so the boys and I have been out in the garden all morning putting all the toys to bed for winter. We are now ready for some lunch and a nap (all of us, but sadly I won't be getting into bed today!)

I've just had a message from school to say that Noel and April are both in the golden book so I'm looking forward finding out why later.

Enjoy your weekend.

Lots of love Jemma, Stuart, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac x x x x x x x

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

It looks like Autumn is finally here!

Mum came over today to see us all and help with the children and taking April to Brownies. She's just taken the boys out to the park so I can get a few jobs done (or even, drink a cup of tea whilst it's hot!) Given the sudden change of weather, we've dug out the snow suits. I couldn't resist taking a little picture, I thought I'd share it with you.

As you can see, the boys adore their Nanna - and rightly so!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Getting into the swing of things

Things have settled into a nice, steady routine here and everyone seems happy in their new classes at school.

One thing that I do find quite challenging, is the amount of homework 3 children have to do! Every day I listen to them read, test them on their times tables and spellings and any of other assorted tasks they may have.

Every week they bring home a big piece of topic work to do. They have a week to complete it but because of the lack of time in the week, I like to have ours done by the end of the weekend. It also helps that Stuart is usually around in case I need back up, an extra pair of hands or some help myself!!

This week, Hermione has been doing about "people who help us in the community". Her brief was to create something linked with this topic. So this morning she dressed up as a police officer and we took some photos of her carrying out her duties ...

Helping a lost child ...

Stopping a naughty thief in his tracks - he was trying to steal an old lady's handbag

Helping an old lady cross the road safely

Directing the traffic

We had lots of fun putting it together. I'm sure we could have thought of more ideas but everyone started playing so I left it there.

In other news, Noel and I have been to look around the local high school.  I have put his name down already for a place but I want him to take every chance to become familiar with the school before he starts next year. We are going for a guided tour in a weeks time too when he can see what goes on during lessons.

And on that note, it's time for me to get back to the homework.....

Lots of love Jem, Stu, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac x x x x x x x 

Monday, 1 September 2014

And then there were 2 ....

Hermione is now officially a school girl! She started today and she will be attending from 1.15 until 2.45 all week. Stu has taken the next 2 days off to offer some moral support (for me, Hermione is fine!) She went off with Daddy (as she wanted Daddy to take her) and she was all smiles.

Enjoy your first day at school, Hermione!

And now for some lunch with Mr Wills, and the long wait for home time.

Lots of love Jemma, Stuart, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac x x x x xx x

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Back to school

Noel and April started back at school on Thursday. Noel is now in year 6 and April is in year 4.

As you can see, Noel is delighted at going back to school. He would NOT smile for his photo although he did come out of school all smiles.

April was looking forward to going back to see her friends.

Hermione doesn't start until Monday afternoon so she smiled the most.

All ready for our first school run of this academic year. 

Thankfully the sun came out for us on the way and the walk back was really nice.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Lots of love, Jemma, Stuart, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac x x x x x x x 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday Samuel and Isaac!

Gosh, time flies when you don't have enough of it in the day! Our little twinnies turned 2 today!

I took the children to Snibston Discovery park today and we had a lovely time. We spent the morning outdoors playing in the sand and the park area, and eating our picnic (even better as it was party food from yesterday!) and then we had a walk around the museum itself.

Isaac and Samuel having fun in the sandpit. As you can see from my shadow it was nice and sunny!

April also enjoying the sand!

Isaac absolutely loved the slide. As you can see he's a bit dribbly, I think he's cutting a tooth.

Samuel concentrating

When we got home the boys opened their presents. They have been thoroughly spoilt by friends and family and they have lots and lots of lovely new toys to play with. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of this as Stuart filmed it and Isaac sat on my knee crying the whole time so I wasn't able to take any photographs. Won't that be a fond film to look back on in years to come!!

Just the one cake this year - when they're older and they are having friends round I will be happy to make a cake each but for now, they had to share.

After a birthday tea and a slice of birthday cake, we gave Samuel and Isaac their present from us. We've bought them a small bouncy castle. They seemed to have lots of fun on it and it looks reasonably easy to put up. As long as I have Noel around to help when it comes to doing it, I should be ok....

Having lots and lots of fun on their bouncy castle

We also gave Hermione her main present from us. I didn't give it to her on Thursday so that Stu could be there when we gave it to her. We bought her a balance bike. She seems to really love it, but I draw the line at her riding it to school just yet - it takes long enough to walk there as it is!

Hmm, I think Stuart chose this one with me in mind really, rather then Hermione!

Then it was bath time for everyone (pesky sand gets everywhere!) and bedtime stories. The boys have got their new pyjamas on but Isaac wasn't in the mood for a photograph and Samuel's nose is running on his (I think he may also be cutting a tooth) so I'll leave those off the blog for now and try again tomorrow.

Lots of love - Jem, Stu, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac x x x x x x x 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Teddy Bear's Picnic

We had such a lovely time today at our Teddy Bears picnic. We started off setting everything up indoors as it was raining but then just as everyone arrived, the sun shone and we quickly moved out into the garden. It was much better outside, more room and plenty of outdoor toys for the children to entertain themselves with. 

We had an hour of play and then some picnic food. In the end, I don't remember anyone even eating their picnic with their teddy! But everyone enjoyed themselves, and that is all that matters. Then at the end of the party, everyone took home their teddy bear biscuits and some sweeties. We got a nice little collection of things for the church food bank which I shall drop off next week, so I'm very pleased about that too.

Some Teddy Bear cakes I made...

Please sir may I have some more ....

April and Hermione having a quiet moment

Noel having fun pushing his little mate Jensen about

Samuel tucking in

I've made the boy's birthday cake as well ready for the big tomorrow. I've only made the one this year as they're not really old enough to get the gist of birthdays yet and let's face it, any cake left over will be going straight on to my hips!  It's amazing to think that this time 2 years ago I was in the throes of labour and worrying that they were going to send Stuart home before I got up to the delivery suite. Thankfully, we just made it before the Dad's curfew ended, even if he did curl up and fall asleep just before Samuel was born ...

The boy's Batman cake for tomorrow. I iced the names and the number 2, Mr Wills iced the batman logo on for me. Just to prove I can provide a non-Hungry Hippos cake!!

All being well we are off to Snibston Discovery Park tomorrow for the boys birthdays as we won some free tickets in the school raffle. We will be taking left over party food for our picnic so it's a cheap day out all round!

Enjoy your bank holiday!

Lots of love Jemma, Stuart, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac x x x x x x x 


Hermione was well and truly spoilt on her birthday, she is a very lucky girl. One of her gifts was a supermarket trolley, which we asked Grandma and Grandad to buy. Yesterday, we took it to the supermarket to buy a few little treats for the teddy bears picnic later on today.

All smiles when we first arrive.

Helping mummy buy some soap for Noel's trip to Bude.

After this, it all went a bit downhill. The trolley wheels kept spinning around and Hermione was getting a bit frustrated. So Noel kindly pushed it and Hermione got in my trolley with the boys.

And also, a gift for me! When my friend Sue came a few weeks ago, I mentioned to her how much I love Waitrose Baby Bottom Butter. It smells gorgeous and it's the only thing I've found that sorts out my dry cracked heels. At one point I used to have 2 tubs on the go, one for the boys, and one for me. But now that we have stopped shopping with Ocado, and we shop with Sainsburys, I can't get any. So imagine my utter delight when this little parcel arrived in the post on Thursday....

A tub for Mummy and a tub for Samuel and Isaac!

I really do have some lovely, kind thoughtful friends. What a lovely thing to do, thank you Sue xxxx

The sun is shining today so I'm hopeful the weather will hold for our little picnic later. A few friends are bringing gifts for the food bank, and my Mum is coming to help, so it all looks promising.

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend, whatever you're up to.

Lots of love Jem, Stu, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac x x x x x x x

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Happy 4th Birthday Hermione xx

Hermione has been a very excitable little girl today. She first came in to my bedroom at 3.30am, followed by 4.30am and then ten minutes later. At that point I told her to get into bed with me and  when the alarm clock said 6.00 she could get up. I must have dozed off again as she woke me up, very excitedly telling me it was 6.00 Mummy! So we've both very tired today.

I like to film the children on their birthdays, as a reminder for years to come, and because Stuart isn't usually there. I also usually ask the children to wait until after their breakfast to open their gifts. But this year I decided to let Hermione open her presents, all by herself in my bed. I knew that if she took them downstairs she would have 2 little toddler helpers, so it seemed the most sensible solution. I still filmed her and I managed to take a couple of photographs as well.

Holding up the obligatory "I am 4" birthday card.

Because I had a rough night with Isaac, and a rather rude awakening this morning with Hermione, we spent the day at home. We are going out tomorrow as one of Hermione's presents was a shopping trolley and she wants to take it around the supermarket. If it's dry, we'll carry on to Calke Abbey and have one last morning in the garden of imagination. I also need to make some more gingerbread lollipops for saturday, in case any break. So that's my project for tomorrow afternoon.

As you can see, friends and family have truly spoilt her!

One of the presents we bought Hermione was this ballerina dress from Ebay. She has worn it all day - in a fetching combination with her new bike helmet, and whilst pushing her supermarket trolley. It's lovely being 4 isn't it, no one judges you.

Hermione asked me to take her photograph with April. Is it me, or does she look very grown up here?

Blowing out her candle.

Happy Birthday to our charismatic, confident, determined little Hermione. We love you very much.

Lots of love - Jem, Stu, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac x x x x x x x 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Great Birthday Bake Off

Tomorrow, our little Hermione Ann Lesley Wills will be 4. So today has been about making cakes! I asked her what sort of birthday cake she would like, and she answered "Hungry Hippos!" Mr Wills remarked that she perhaps doesn't know there is any other type of birthday cake as it's the only sort of cake I ever seem to make. Secretly, I'm quite relieved as if she was to ask me for a "Frozen" cake or a mini sculpture of the Statue of Liberty I would be a bit bamboozled.  So, a Hungry Hippos cake it is ....

My  'Signature bake'

I've also made some cupcakes. The first batch I made had too much in the case, as I need them to be flat. The idea is to decorate them with chocolate buttons and smarties to make paw prints for the Teddy Bear's picnic. So, we will have the first batch tomorrow as part of the party tea (because you can never have too much cake!). Keen readers will notice that there is one missing from the cupcake holder - that is because I gave it to my Dad as a thank you for doing a little job for me.

So, I've now made a second batch of cupcakes, these are much flatter and will have a better base for the decorations. I shall freeze them and decorate them on Saturday morning so they are nice and fresh, rather than leaving them in the cupboard for 3 days. 

I also made some gingerbread teddy bear lollies. These are for the guests on Saturday to take home instead of a partybag. There is a big teddy bear for the guest and a little one for their teddy bear to enjoy. I'm not going down the traditional party bag route, as it's not a birthday party as such. I've asked guests not to bring birthday presents, as 3 birthdays is a lot to buy for. If they've asked me if they can bring something, I've asked for a gift for the food bank. This way everyone is happy.

Big Teddies and Little Teddies for party guests to enjoy - hopefully better than boiled sweets and plastic toys (or maybe not, but that's what they're getting!!)

Hermione is very excitable today. She is bouncing about like a springy frog!  I tried to take her photo this morning. As you can see, Sam wanted to get in there first!

Samuel photobombing his sister's pre-birthday photo!

And on that note, I am taking a very excitable little girl, and her 3 brothers, out for a walk to fetch her big sister from a play date and to let off some steam.

Lots of love - Jem, Stu, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac x x x x x x x 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Learning to sew

Now that the twins are older, I am finally managing to find pockets of time to myself. I've decided that it's about time I learnt to sew. I'm nearly 40 and with 5 young children there is never a shortage of brownie badges, swimming badges and repair work to do, plus there are hems to take up. I can do a bit of hand sewing - I've managed the art of sewing name tapes in and badges on, but I'd really like to make something.

Imagine my delight when the other day, Mr Postman brought me a lovely book - courtesy of my best friend Susan.

Its a fabulous book, full of step by step instructions. So I've decided to tackle my first project - an apron.

I'm quite sure my apron won't be quite as good as the one in photograph, but as it's my first project in a long time (the last thing I made with a sewing machine was a pump bag for April to take to play school!) I'm trying to remember that everyone has to start somewhere.

I have started off by unpicking a pillowcase to use the fabric. That way, if it goes horribly wrong I haven't wasted any new fabric, and I can utilise it for something else (hopefully).

Hermione "helped" me to unpick it all and then measure the pieces ready for cutting.

I now have the main part of the apron measured and cut and both ties are cut too. The process of the unpicking, measuring and cutting (plus a bit of reading) took up the whole of the twin's nap time. So tomorrow, when they go for their nap I will have a go at hemming the fabric. 

While I was sat the table with my little project, this is what everyone else was up to ...

April sat reading - why she can't sit on the sofa I don't know!

That would be why then - Noel was sulking because there is no "screen time" on Sundays - it's family day. I know what you're thinking - but you have a sofa Jemma....

... So I do!

I hope you've all enjoyed your sunday as much as we have.

Lots of love - Jemma, Stuart, Noel, April, Hermione, Samuel and Isaac xxxxxxx