Friday, March 28, 2008

The wonders of science

Olivia came home from school the other day very excited about an experiment they'd done in class (to learn about how plants move liquid around) - they put a daffodil in a cup of coloured (food colouring) water - she wanted to try it at home, so we did - here's the daffodil the next morning - as you can perhaps tell, we used blue food colouring. Hey, who am I to discourage kids when they want to do easy, non-combustible, science experiments!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dreaming of a White... Easter?

Well, no snow at Christmas, but we woke up today on Easter morning to lots of lovely big snow flurries - they have slowed down a bit - or rather, become smaller - and I'm not sure they will stick at all, but it's still fun for the kids... The wise Easter Bunny hid all the sweets in the living room, so that was ok.

I appreciate that many of you who live in more snowy parts of the world won't be impressed by our feeble attempt at snow, but don't forget, this is London!

Friday, March 21, 2008


One of the things about living in the UK rather than the US which is funny is trying to do Easter Eggs - it's very hard to get white eggs here, almost all of them are brown. There's no difference in taste or anything, it's only a matter of different hens laying different coloured eggs, and normally, I couldn't care less what colour my eggs were, as long as they are fresh and free-range. The ones from the farmers' market taste a lot nicer than supermarket ones, actually, (not suprisingly) but they are all brown. As I say, normally, it doesn't matter, but at Easter, it's nice to have white eggs, so you can make all these pretty pastel shades. Usually when we dye, we have to make do with lovely shades of dark red and purple, which have their merits, but... However, this year while looking at eggs in the supermarket, I had a stroke of luck - found duck eggs on sale, which are white - hoorah! So we have 3 formerly brown eggs and six more pastelly specimens, which started out white. We made some crayon patterns on them first, to act as a resist.

Those of you who are eagle-eyed will spot that there is a yellow dye cup on the table, but no yellow egg - the yellow just didn't really take, so Alex wanted to overdye it. Probably needed a lot more yellow in it! But anyway, fun was had, and the eggs will be consumed over the next few days- just as well we didn't have dozens, as eating them up always becomes an issue.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Back to the declutter

Now that I've stopped annoying you with lots of decluttering for a few days, I thought it was time to start boring you again. So, here are some more things which are going out - we have a selection of children's laminated placemats (counts as one) which are never used any more, a broken dalek (it had bubble bath in it, once upon a time), and an empty Cadbury's tin which had been doing duty as a drum. Also, a red nose which no longer works (it used to flash), a broken hair bobble, and two hats -one too small for the kids, one my size which I never wear. And finally, a sachet which no longer smells of anything, a bra which doesn't really feel comfortable to wear and a bottle of massage oil which I received as a gift when Alex was a baby, but which I never use. All going out - some to the charity shop (placemats, hats), one to a friend (the oil - a friend uses it) and the rest in the bin.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Not de-cluttering

Don't get me wrong, I have more de-cluttering pics, but as I think people might get bored, I thought I'd spread them out a little, with some other things. So, here's a photo of Olivia, taken along the banks of the Wandle, a local river which she is doing her school project on. This was not this past weekend but the weekend before - we all had a nice long walk along part of the Wandle Trail after a trip to the Wandle Industrial Museum, which had lots of useful information. I like this photo - it's a very typical pose of this particular daughter! I won't bother with photos of the others - the ones of Alex didn't come out well and of course Sarah won't let anyone take her photo!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

More decluttering

You may well sense a theme to this lot of decluttering - mostly it came from where I store the tablecloths etc - so here are 4 tablecloths which I no longer use because a) they are round and our table is oval (we've had one leaf in since Alex was big enough to sit at table in a highchair) and b) they no longer match the dining room, which used to be a warm golden yellow, but is now a sort of of pale terracotta pink colour. Off to the charity shop this morning! There are also some orange placemats and a variety of napkins sets we don't use (I have counted each set of napkins as one, regardless of how many there are). And finally, to cap it off (ha ha) a hat & mittens set which neither girl will wear and a pair of mittens too small for Olivia. I was keeping them for winter emergencies, but frankly, winter is nearly over, and we still have other pairs of gloves & mittens, so it's time for them to go...

We have been doing other things besides decluttering, but whether they are interesting or not is a matter for some debate - today, for instance, Olivia was dropped off from a sleepover party in late morning; I took Sarah to her tennis lesson and ran some errands (including a trip to the charity shop!); Geoff took the girls to see Jacqui Wilson's Secrets at the Polka Theatre while I took Alex to a birthday party. See how exciting our lives are?

Friday, March 07, 2008

More (or rather, less) clutter

Here's day two of the declutter exercise - I confess that I actually did this group of 10 things yesterday, which is just as well, as I wouldn't have had much time to do it today, as I ended up going on the trip with the Year 3s to the RAF museum. And consequently, lost a whole days' sewing time. Anyway. Here's what I've got to dispose of today. From the toilet room - a step stool, which Alex no longer needs to reach the toilet. We have another in the bathroom for the sink, so this one can go - might offer it to a neighbour who has a little one about 15 months old, otherwise, off to the charity shop. Two items for the recycling - a shoe box which had been serving as a home for small odd toys (and which has holes all punched in the lid and drawing inside, so isn't much use for storage) and a McDonald's happy meal box, which had been acting as a dog house for a small toy dog, who has now moved out, so the box can go. Both of those items from Alex's room. Also, the sock puppet from nursery - missing most of its bits and in the bottom of a basket, so it won't be missed. In the bin for that. And a talking Dora doll for the charity shop bag - just not played with any more. Also for the charity shop bag, a Wizard of Oz video - we have it on DVD now. And finally, four different quilt tops - two for Project Linus and two the the Teenage Cancer Trust, I think. Will post them along to their respective charities next week. And that's 20, total. Not quite as odd a collection as yesterday, but still worth clearing out.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

100 Things...

I saw on Totty's blog (there was a mention on her quilting blog, but her real efforts are on her other blog) recently an idea for decluttering - to remove 10 things a day for 10 days, resulting in 100 objects decluttered. Now I'm not the type of person who has trouble throwing things away - I'm not overly sentimental about objects and I do go through my stuff fairly regularly and get rid of things, but there are always those things that simply don't get thrown away (or whatever). Anyway, the idea has stuck in my mind, so I've decided to give it a go - not necessarily doing 10 things a day for 10 days, but I'm going to remove 10 things some days, and show what they are, because that's kind of fun in a sad, quirky way.

Anyway, here are today's offerings, with commetary... From under the sink, a gadget for keeping small children out of cupboards (all of my children are old enough to open these gadgets now which is why it's under the sink rather than on the handles - so why am I still keeping it?); a ball for using liquid detergent in the washing machine (haven't used it in years - they have these lovely liquitabs now); three net bags for using powder tablets in the washing machine (counted as one object - and I haven't used that in years, either); an old washing up brush which is a bit skanky and has been replaced by a new one - I was saving the old one "in case I needed it for something"; a free sample of fabric softener (which I don't use because Geoff is senstive to these things and it might bother his skin - so why am I keeping it?); a suds pump which doesn't work properly any more (ditto). From the little trolley with lunchboxes, placemats and other bits on it - a set of napkins rings we never, ever use and a trivet I was given years ago which I never really liked all that much and consequently don't really use. And from Alex's room - a paper "firework" which has been gathering dust for several weeks now and a shaker (otherwise known as empty bottle with beans in it). The two plastic bottles have gone into the recycling, the cupboard lock, napkin rings and trivet to the charity shop, and everything else, into the trash. Tune in tomorrow (or some day) for more exciting de-cluttering!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Post for Jacqui

Hey - nice to hear from you - but I have no way to contact you back - no email address and your blog is invitation only, so I can't even comment there. Your comment here just showed as no-reply... Anyway, email me again - katelnorth at yahoo dot com - would love to catch up a little (I did know you were down under).