Category Archives: family/friends

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.

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.

Summer with the Tea Towers two

We are all delighted that the Summer holidays are finally here and our days have been pretty packed so far with meeting up with local friends, fish sitting for friends on holiday, working on the local library Summer reading challenge and a few other busy things.

We joined the Sale Wombles helping to litter pick in our local play park with lots of other enthusiastic helpers. Sam and Emily were really excited by the chance to help clear up by using the litter pickers and did a fantastic job.

Sam & Emily had a good explore around the National Coal Mining Museum with Emily getting to go underground 140 metres to find out more about what mining was like.

We’ve also spent a day exploring the lovely Beeston Castle with friends.

Sam and Emily got to have a try learning some basic sword fighting moves to become apprentice knights. We then had a trek up to the top and into the main keep and when we had recovered (we’re not used to going up hills in lovely flat Sale) we blew bubbles from the top.


Latest happenings

Things have been busy as always here at Tea Towers so I thought it high time I shared a few recent photos of what we’ve been up to…







Our furry friends have come back outside from their garage home winter home and have been getting plenty of cuddles.

Sam has been learning how to fly his new drone at the park and seems to be doing pretty well at it, though occasionally has to discourage curious dogs.

We took our Rainbows group out on parade with a large number of other guiding and scouting groups from the district.

Sam also joined his Cub group in the parade around the park.

Emily had an important lady come to visit who had two policemen with her and she informs me also runs the country… though she isn’t too sure of her name.






Lastly we’ve also been busy in the kitchen making healthy snacks like these dark chocolate and peanut butter brownies 🙂

World book day

Sam and Emily have been super excited about World book day this year, over the past week I’ve been putting together their costumes and they couldn’t wait to put them on this morning.

Sam and I have recently started reading the first Harry Potter book together which he is loving and so it was unsurprising that he wanted to dress as Harry. His costume was quite easy to put together with the help of the lovely internet…

Felt tie –

School robes –

Gryffindor badge –

Wizard’s wand –

Now Emily had other ideas when it came to how to choose her World book day costume… she decided to choose the outfit she liked best and say that the book containing that character was her favourite. So she asked to be Lettice the rabbit from the well known title “Lettice – the Birthday party”.

Unfortunately no online help avaliable for this one so I had to come up with a sparkly petal skirt, sequined top (though first attempt to simply glue glitter to the first top using watered down white glue ended up with a unbendable top that would no longer stretch over Emily’s head…), tiara attached to bunny ears and then a pom pom tail at the back.

She loved it and has been in character all evening 🙂

Half term fun

Sam, Emily and I have had a lovely half term week together doing all the important things that we’ve been too busy to get done over the last couple of months.

We’ve spent some time writing letters to our friends over in Australia.

Learning how to do some proper stunt scooting on the local ramp.

Searching out the first signs of Spring.

Exercising the frisbee.

Making some new Pokemon cards with friends

Planting out seeds in the hopes of growing some new flowers and tasty veggies.

And playing lots and lots of board games together.

Sporting stars

Over the summer holidays Rich got hold of some exciting tickets for us to attend an iTV sports day on the film set of Coronation Street.


We got to pretend to be sporting stars in our own Team GB t-shirts – don’t we all look fine with our groovy matching headbands?


Sam meet a real olympian – Bianca Walkden who won a bronze medal in the Woman’s Taekwondo.


We all had a try at the different sports avaliable, Emily really got into the table tennis (see that look of fierce concentration on her face) and Sam did a great job on the climbing walls. Rich got to do some badminton with Sam and before leaving we all did some hula hooping!