creating pottery works of art

Tess & Brodie really enjoyed painting these pots. Unfortunately Tess’s princess mirror malfunctioned in the kiln, so we weren’t able to take it home. Undeterred, she chose a Hello Kitty moneybox for her next project, and Brodie chose a flying saucer one. We haven’t picked those up yet, so they will no doubt feature in a future post.

first camp of the year

We came back from Spain and headed straight out again for a weekend camp in the New Forest with a local home ed group. When packing up, we did wonder whether this was packing too much in, but we had a lovely time so were glad we went.

We camped under beautiful oak trees (which turned out to be a very good move, as the weather was sweltering) ….

Campsite activities included colouring & painting, and treasure hunts (Rob & Brodie are making a treasure map in this photo ….)

Following the clues …..

There were loads of caterpillars which kept zip-wiring down from the oak trees and were very entertaining! We think they were starting to spin their cocoons….

Off on a group walk through the forest to a stream for paddling …..

… stopping for tree trunk walking on the way ….

more wildlife ….

at the stream ……

We went to Exbury Gardens on the Sunday, as Brodie wanted to revisit the train there …

The gardens are famous for (and packed with) azaleas & rhododendrons, and this is the perfect time to see them in bloom …..

The History Tree – this was a section of tree trunk, approximately 300 years old. It was marked with different events in British history and the history of the gardens….


We had a very relaxed week in Spain. The photos just about sum it up – lots of swimming, beach trips & sleep! We did venture up into the hills an hour away from where we were staying one day, to visit our friends Richard & Marie who have restored an old ‘finca’ (house) there. We had a lovely day there, although as the photos show, it was a case of another day, another swimming pool for Tess. Tess & Brodie enjoyed themselves, and picked up a few words of Spanish – from the TV, from playing with a spanish boy who lived where we were staying and from talking to people in the cafes & shops.

Funfairs, history & sewing

A trip to the funfair at Southsea ….
A snowflake that Tess made on her own out of cotton buds ….
A trip to a local education centre with our home ed group: Tess & Brodie’s group looked at toys through time, including dressing up as children from past times and playing games that they would have played. Both Tess & Brodie really enjoyed this trip ….. Tess as a roman child ….
…. playing tiddlywinks …..
…. Tess as someone from the 1950s, looking at a Jack in the Box …..
….. hopscotch …..
… riding a wooden horse ….
…. space hoppers …….
…. and of course, a train …..
Tess & Rob made some scrummy scones when we had friends over for the afternoon …..
Team car wash ……
Tess did really well with a sewing kit we bought ……

volcanoes, product design & sushi

Tess’s Spinnaker Tower in lego …….
Brodie’s lego train …..
Tess got a soap making set for Christmas which she uses at least once a fortnight to keep us clean ……
Brodie bought a dinosaur egg & volcano set ……
That was good, but we decided we could do better ….. so we experimented and made a series of bigger and better volcanoes …..
.… and then moved onto other vinegar & baking soda experiments ….
Tess really enjoyed working with foils to create these sparkly princesses ….
Reading & acting out The Wizard of Oz from our pop-up book ……
Swinging high …..
Joint effort on painting a box house ……
Making sushi …..
A visit to Alice in Wonderland adventure park ….
Cooking …
Tess made these cards & envelopes as a birthday surprise for our friend Julia. Inside the wrapper were 2 paper gifts that Tess designed and made herself from paper. One was a holder for jewellery that Julia could ‘take to parties in case she wanted to change jewellery while she was out for the evening’. The other was a triangular handbag that could double up as a fan (unfortunately she wrapped them before I could take some pics) ……
Tess & Brodie went on to design and make some other paper products : Brodie’s intergalactic snowman …….
Tess’s ducks ….
… and handbag …….
Sometimes we use a recipe, sometimes we don’t – Tess made this chocolate cake by herself with no recipe …… Heston Blumentall eat your heart out! ….
Brodie’s was more of a creme brulee …….
One night after Brodie had gone to bed, Tess decided to set up a surprise birthday for him to wake up to. She made a card, complete with a Spot the Difference puzzle, and wrapped up loads of his favourite things to make a big pile of presents for him to unwrap. He was very surprised & delighted to discover it all in the morning ….
Tess & Brodie are enjoying playing swingball in the garden, and are getting quite good at it. They are also enjoying our weekly tennis sessions with our home ed group ……
Tess singing & dancing to one of her favourite songs ….
Watching people spinning wool at Titchfield Art Show …. (we also enjoyed looking at all the artwork by local artists on display) …..
Tess & Brodie decided to set up a stall at the end of the drive one day. They had colouring sheets & pens for people, and tried to entice passers by to visit our island paradise (the back garden with a paddling pool in it!). They used the tried & tested sales call of ‘roll up, roll up …. come & see ….’ but (happily for me!) were unable to persuade anyone into the garden. They did have a long chat with one lady who was passing, and I suspect they made her day! …..
Playing in the woods with friends ….
Just one of the very many dens that we build ……
Brodie with Postman Pat’s cat Jess. Brodie is going through a big Postman Pat phase at the moment, and loves playing with his PP toys ….
We met up with a home ed group in Portsmouth and found that a new play area had opened, complete with water fountains ……
Some colouring Tess did …..

bees, experiments, trees & curly writing

Tess decided to do a honey bee lapbook (mini project) that some other children in one of our home ed groups were working on …..

Growing cress …….
Brodie in the (very long) cardboard box (and one plastic box) train he made ….. hours and hours and hours of fun ……
Tess preparing a crystal growing kit …..
Painting Brodie’s room …..
Finding out what happens when you hang twirlers over candles/hot air …..
Making vehicles from a construction set …..
Hunting for Easter eggs …..
….. and making Easter chocolates ……
Making some sort of concoction in the kitchen ( I forget if this was a cooking experiment or a science one ….. sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference!) …..
Climbing trees and slides …….
Tess wrote this beautiful envelope for her friend Grace – she designed the writing all by herself, and also made made the foiled crown (and foiled princesses inside the envelope). We bumped into Grace in the village square on our way to deliver the envelope, and Grace was thoroughly delighted with the gift……
More cakes ……


getting ready to leave the UK ….
on the Eurostar …..
Arriving at the Fairytale hotel ……
…. and Disneyland …..
Driving was popular……
…. but the Mad Hatter’s giant tea-cups were the real winners …..
We avoided the real characters, but wooden ones were fine ….
… as were the green versions ……..
……. and the giant lollipops were definitely popular ….