Author Archives: Jessica

Tea Towers in lock down

We wanted to share some photos of what we have been getting up to during our time in lockdown. With Rich working from home and me needing to go into work on a rota to help look after some of the children of key workers, we’ve been pretty busy, but have managed to find a little time to get up to all sorts of things as a family.

Rich proudly showing the depth of his digging

One of our first projects was to relocate our wildlife pond, much digging was done.

Sam working hard

Pond successfully relocated

Pond residents settling in nicely 🙂

Sam & Emily have both been busy with trying to earn extra Scouting and Brownie badges. We borrowed this impressive tent from a neighbour so that Sam could join in with his Scouting group’s camp from home.

Sam enjoying the immense tent
Sam enjoying his online scouting meeting

Sam also had to cook his own dinner and slept out by himself overnight.

Sam has also managed to earn his first two Scouting badges – one for Martial arts and an International badge too, as he also took part in an online Scouting international event. He is currently working towards his Naturalist badge and has plans to earn a few more as well.

Sam & Emily doing the clap for carers on St. Georges day

Emily has managed to earn one of her Brownie badges too – an Aviation badge.

Bottle rocket just before I got covered with vinegar…

It took three different attempts to get our bottle rocket off the ground but we did manage it in the end!

Emily has been working hard on getting her Archaeology badge and soon will be starting her Space badge!

Proud Emily showing off her new badge

Emily also got sent her Blue Peter badge for a letter she had sent into the show a couple of months ago with a picture she had done of our guinea pigs.

School at home

School is still happening, just about! We’ve been getting lots of work through from Sam & Emily’s school to complete at home and both Sam & Emily have been really good about working through it all each day (though they refuse to wear their school uniform to be at home!) Being at home has meant that we’ve been able to make a few bits more fun – Emily got to do a news report on our pet guinea pigs as well as building a model of a Roman Baths with Sam using Minecraft.

We have been spending quite a bit of time playing badminton in the garden as the weather here has been perfect for it recently.

Sam starting to get used to using his racket
Finding the clues

On Easter Sunday Rich set up a egg hunt that had the kids running round the house and garden solving clues to get their treats while I got to work on the very tasty roast lamb.

Gathering their Easter stash
Easter bunnies near the Brook

On our Easter walk we got to admire all the beautiful blossom on the trees as well as spotting two scooter riding bunnies.

Emily fighting the baddies with the Ring fit

Our Ring Fit computer game has been a great way to keep exercising while at home – we’ve all been playing it each week and it really works all your muscles.

Zoom Karate at home

We’ve also been able to continue our Karate lessons over Zoom with our Sensei. We’ve managed so far not to break anything in the dinning room (though Sam has bashed his arm and I managed to do an elbow strike into one of our dinning room chairs…) and none of the neighbours have complained yet about all the kiai-ing.

Emily with her lovely decoupage rainbow

We have decorated the windows with various rainbows including a beautiful rainbow dream catcher that my lovely sister Liz made.

Playing Pandemic

We’ve also been having our own go at curing a virus outbreak by playing the Pandemic board game with the kids… No luck so far but we’ll keep trying 🙂

Guinea pig cuddles

Much love to you all from all of us at Tea Towers, hope you are all safe and well, we can’t wait to see you all as soon as we can x

Family camp – bee style

Last weekend Sam and Rich got to enjoy the excitement of Cubs family camp – two nights and 2 and a half days of Bee related fun.


Sam’s group co-operating to complete a tricky challenge.

Creating their own art work and sculpture.

Meeting local twitchers on their scavenger hunt.

Time for a little relaxing axe throwing…

Enjoying the great outdoors.

And finally time to get snuggled up tight as a bee in a rug 🙂

While all that was happening I had this little bundle of mischief to keep an eye on…

French adventures

We have finally dusted off the family passports and used them to travel a little further afield than we usually manage.

On our way – first time in the channel tunnel for me and the kids!

Rich was brave enough to take on driving abroad for our trip, but I helped a little with some extra car signage…

Our holiday destination was a place called La Croix Du Vieux Pont in Northern France near Amiens. We stayed in a static mobile home which was a tiny bit more comfortable than a tent but still it had everything we needed for our stay.

Our humble French home

On our first trip out we explored the nearby Soissons where we found the beautiful ruins of the Abbey of St. Jean des Vignes.

Sam helps the remains of the Abbey to stay standing

The next day we came out to climb General Mangin’s observation tower in the forest of Domaniale de Retz – this was a reconstruction of the original tower used in WW1 to help halt the German advance.

General Mangin’s tower peeping out from the forest

We enjoyed reading all about the tower as well as finding out about the wildlife in the surrounding forest.

Dodging raindrops from the top of the tower

After a damp day in the forest (and much use of the hair dryer on wet shoes) we headed off for a day enjoying the delights of Paris.

Underneath a famous landmark… any guesses?

We queued for quite some time and managed to get tickets to travel up this iconic tower.

Loving the view from the second level.

Sam and Emily were so excited to be able to come up the tower and couldn’t believe how small the rest of Paris looked from up at this level. We had a beautiful sunny day to enjoy the view in.

The Arc de Triomphe – seemed bigger than I remember it…

Before beginning the long drive home on Friday we had one last adventure, this time to the mostly renovated and very beautiful Château de Pierrefonds.

Lots to see in this slightly crazy castle including lots of impressive beasts and monsters in all sorts of nooks around the castle.

Light show & projected images in the basement of the castle

We’ve made it home after our lovely holiday, we are slightly more confident at ordering croissants and ‘glace’ and have slightly weary legs and also have lots of great memories.

Book day 2019

It’s that time of year again, the time of year when my two decide what crazy costume idea they would like me to try and make.

Emily decided she wanted to go dressed as “Norman the Slug with the silly shell”.

She has been almost hopping everywhere with excitement about this costume and was so very pleased to get to wear it finally today. Not sure that her teachers were best pleased with having to help her into and out of it a number of times as having a giant doughnut strapped to your back makes it impossible to sit in a chair/wear a coat/walk around a class room…

Sam decided to be the disobedient dragon ‘Toothless’ from the “How to train your Dragon” series of books which he is reading at the moment. Unlike the film, the ‘Toothless’ from the stories is a green dragon with no teeth. With the help of some plastic milk bottles and plenty of paper mache and paint, I came up with a dragon hat (which I tried to make look like the descriptions in the books) to go with some dragon wings attached to his top.

Snow day

This week Tea Towers was deep in snow and so most of our local schools were closed.

Time to get on warm coats and pokemon hats and get out in the snow.

Extra socks were needed to cope with cold toes.

Though short of carrots Sam still managed to complete his snowman’s features with a handy apple.

After warming up from snowman building we popped over to a friend’s house for a quick snow battle in their garden.

Sam taking revenge for a vicious snowball head shot.

Emily ready to take on everyone.

Christmas at Tea Towers

The last month has flown by here in Tea Towers (to be honest so has all of 2018…) but I thought I would quickly share some of our festive photos from the last month…

Emily took part in her last school Christmas performance – “Christmas with the Aliens”, we’ve enjoyed hearing her singing all the songs leading up to it and in this photo she is standing along side another girl next to the Christmas tree on stage.

Sam joined his school choir in performing at our local Walkden gardens as well as at a local Residential home – “feliz navidad!”

We really enjoyed decorating the tree (and Emily) when Nanny & Granddad came to visit.

Much building of Christmas Lego also took place.

We managed to get our Gingerbread house baked and assembled without any collapsing walls this year

Many lovely presents were opened on Christmas day – thanks to everyone & Christmas thank yous to come soon!

Lake district adventures

We’ve just returned from a really lovely break away in the Lake District.

We stayed in Heaning in this lovely little cottage, one of three made from a converted barn.

We wandered up to Stockghyll force in Ambleside to admire all the lovely waterfalls there.

Careful there Rich!

Sam all togged up for his tree trekking adventure – he loved it and was racing ahead of me on the course.

Emily looks pretty happy here, unfortunately she turned out not to be a big fan of the tree top obstacle course though she managed to make it all the way round and loved the aerial slide at the end.

After so much climbing ice creams were needed.

During a wander around Grasmere lots of sheep were spotted.

Having a well earned rest from wandering.

We spent a really lovely day at Allan Bank – a lovely National Trust property with a really relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

While out looking for pumpkins around Allan Bank Rich wanted to point out yet another lovely view.

After much pumpkin spotting there was enough time for a bit of rope swinging.

Next day we made another trip to a National Trust property – this time it was Wray Castle.

We joined in with a shadow puppet performance which was great fun.

The latest local royalty enjoying their new realm.

On our way to find the Cathedral cavern we were quite amused by this road sign…

We managed to find our way up to the disused quarry – should have known it was not going to be an easy trek with having to climb up a tricky stone stile just to get on the path up to this sign.

The main cavern was very impressive.

Here is Rich and the kids waving down to me in the cavern  after a very impressive climb.

And after a bit of a struggle I managed to join my family of intrepid climbers 🙂

On our final day we visited an original 17th century farmhouse called Townend.

It was heavily wood carved by an earlier owner, I loved the room containing the library there.

Before heading home we drove over to Blackpool.

Sam said hello to the sea.

And we stayed late enough to admire the illuminations.

Ferocious Feltons

Sam & Emily tried their first Karate sparring competition today and I’m so proud of how they both did. Emily took on a much more confident fighter and even though she got a little more bashed than she is used to she kept going, even managing a beautiful head kick.

Sam sparred with the older section and got a Bronze medal in his small group of 3 fighters. He tried really hard to keep up using plenty of techniques and trying to follow all the instructions being fired at him.

I loved seeing them both give it a go – was great fun and a great way to support our fantastic Karate club.

Sweet minecraft dreams

Much Lego planning and technical wizardry has been in action in Tea Towers recently. Rich had decided Emily needed her own night light for her room and so decided to build it for her himself.

This being Rich involved an Arduino board with some (not his most elegant) code to make the 3 neo pixels (lights to the rest of us) flicker in slightly different ways to try to simulate the glow from inside the house, the water flowing on one side and the lava glimmering on the other.

Ta dah! Possibly the coolest night light around if you are a huge fan of Minecraft like Emily and Sam both are. In fact they are both so delighted about this new night light that they have agreed to a weekly rota to take turns with it.

I’m slightly worried about putting Emily/Sam to bed with a night light that has a zombie wielding an spade on top, however at least the Enderman round the side of the house is holding out a block with a flower on top.

Last days of the holidays

We are coming up fast to the end of the holidays so I thought I would quickly share a few photos of what we have been up to here in Tea Towers.

Junk modelling in the garden (homes for ‘Higgledies’)

Hama beading with friends.

Water bomb making before an epic garden water fight.

Face painting with Emily’s new favourite game character ‘Higgledy’

Building Lego castles for their ninjas.

Eating sensible lunches.

Only healthy food to see here, honest!

Improving our crown green bowling skills.

And lastly decorating cakes for a hungry daddy.