Saturday, December 30, 2006

Mummy's taking us to the zoo tomorrow...

Here's Olivia on the bridge crossing Regent's Canal, on the way to the zoo - we had to take Grandma Lucy up to St Pancras Station to go back home, and it was a very nice day, very mild, so we decided to head up to the zoo, which is quite close to St Pancras. Olivia had been before on a school trip, but none of the rest of us had been. London Zoo used to have a reputation for being one of those dismal Victorian Zoos (which it probably was, to be fair) but they've obviously put a lot of work into making it a nicer place, and I enjoyed the visit. We didn't manage to see all the animals, even, so we may well go back, perhaps when Grandma Kathy is here in February. Apparently, if you save your tickets, you can get re-admission for half-price within the next 12 months, and as it's not cheap, I think that might be well worth doing.
They had a number of seasonal activities on, as well, including having a photo taken with a reindeer (which we didn't do, though I did take a photo of the reindeer - Alex kept telling me that the reindeer wasn't supposed to be here, it was supposed to be at the North Pole) and making Christmas crackers for the squirrel monkeys (which we did do - with nuts and seeds inside) - then you can watch as they give them to the squirrel monkeys, who of course fight over them and tear them apart - worked very well, I thought. Alex wouldn't do the activitiy, just wanted to hold onto my legs, but the girls enjoyed it. At Easter next year, they are opening a new gorilla area, and reopening the small mammal house, which should be fun. Perhaps my friend Barbara, who is into gorillas in a big way, will come visit and take a trip to the Zoo...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Tis the season to... bake!

Well, here's a sample plate of this year's Christmas baking. Sarah and I (and the other two kids, off an on, but mostly off) baked up a storm yesterday and ended up with all these: Butterscotch shortbread (the shapes), Butterhorn cookies ( the crescent shaped ones - a family tradition & my dad's favourite, not that he gets them very often any more), Candy Cane cookies (which are a bit of a fiddle, but look so pretty with the others), fudge meltaways and no-bake peanut butter squares (neither of which is cooked, and both of which are easy and done in trays), coconut meringues (a change from all the heavy chocolate stuff) and orange cranberry bread. We like a variety, but to keep up all from gaining even more weight than normal during the holidays (or rather, to keep ME from that weight gain, Geoff being one of those annoying people who never seems to put on weight regardless of what he eats) I make up plates of goodies for a number of my friends & neighbours, to share the wealth. We also send a few to school for the teachers. Then we can have great variety without huge numbers of goodies. My friend Lorayne was delighted when I showed up on her doorstep this morning - she said "Oh lovely, I was hoping you'd been baking this weekend." And she promptly hid the plate from her kids. A girl after my own heart!

Monday, December 11, 2006

December strikes again

You'd think I've been round long enough to know how much December just eats up your time, but somehow I always manage to forget... And isn't it funny how I can be so busy and yet still never think of anything to blog about! This week is the week of Christmas plays - this year, I am only going to one, as Sarah is singing in a Carol Concert - or rather, she isn't singing in it, as it's on the same evening as her Brownie Christmas outing, at Build-a-Bear Workshop in Wimbledon, which she's been dying to go to for ages. But Alex and Olivia are in the same play, which is nice, and Geoff and I are seeing it on Thursday - Alex is a shepherd, Olivia is a reindeer (the Boss reindeer - no typecasting there!). Will let you know how it goes and if she remembers all her lines.