threekidsintow

O'Sullivan family travels and beyond


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The Beast from the East ….. brrrr

Brrrr...the Beast from the East (wintery blasts from Siberia) has arrived and we’re really feeling the chill. Walking to school in below zero temps – even before you lower it further for the ‘wind chill’ factor – has been bracing to say the least. But we’re made of sturdy stuff and have wrapped up warm and made it to school on time every day.

It has meant that we needed to wear layers of clothes under the costumes to celebrate World Book Day this year. We had a good time thinking about our favourite characters before making home-made costumes combined with a few ebay bargains and funny face paint.

Seamus embraced the Gruffalo with much enthusiasm, Orla decided to be a character from 101 Dalmatians and Aoife went as Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games; a book she hasn’t read, made into a film she’s not allowed to see! Thankfully they chose warm and cosy costumes. All looked great and had lots of fun with book related activities at their schools. It is always amusing to see Harry Potter or The Cat in the Hat on the way to school in the morning. However, for many the day was cut short with parents collecting them from school early due to worsening weather conditions.

 

Not to be outdone with the costumes, there was even a little competition at Baby Sensory. Sadly some of the classes had to be cancelled due to the weather, so I didn’t get to see baby Hungry Caterpillars and Sleeping Beauties but those who posted photos so far look great. I was Mr Tickle (as a result of having a leftover costume Aoife and Orla refused to wear) and the Baby Sensory dolly was Mr Strong, however on reflection I should have made him Mr Small. Next year guys, next year ….

Back to the cold weather … Orla really faced it when she took part in the Primary School Cross Country. She joined nearly 900 children (divided into their different year groups) on a bitterly cold Saturday morning to run her 1.5km. Go Orla!

The next day Aoife attended the Thanet Music, Drama and Dance Festival. She was fantastic and despite having chronic ear ache, she delivered her part well and received brilliant feedback. Her school won their category and achieved a distinction. Aoife plays the part of the school teacher in a musical drama set in the 1940s. The drama group gave a really impressive performance and looked spectacular in their costumes They will be performing in local care homes later this year, which I am sure will go down a treat.

We’ve been involved in more arty stuff which has been going on locally, attending AIR (Arts In Ramsgate), where we are making our Mad Hatters’ hats ready for the Easter Parade. The parade will be on 1st April and has an Alice in Wonderland theme. The hats are coming along nicely but have taken some time as they have had to be completely made from scratch, cutting cardboard, shaping and sticking. I am sure they’ll look even more impressive when they are decorated.

Time for something tasty – We celebrated Shrove Tuesday (well, Shrove Saturday) in style and had an evening of great fun at a pancake party held at the local church hall. Sadly Aoife wasn’t well enough to join us, but Orla and Seamus made sure they enjoyed her share of the pancakes on her behalf!  Seamus loved the pancake flipping challenge … is 4 a new world record?! We had fun playing the Beetle Drive, enjoyed a sing-a-long and had lovely home-made soup before topping our pancakes with a choice of strawberries, chocolate sauce, bananas, cream, marshmallows, golden syrup or lemon and sugar. Thank you to those who organise it and to our friends who joined us and were such good company.

So despite the weather, and many things we were looking forward to being cancelled or postponed, we’ve still been busy and had some giggles, and enjoyed a hot chocolate or two to keep us cosy and warm. We’ve not been beaten by the Beast from the East, we’ve had some fun in the snow but roll on spring … we ready to thaw out now!

 

 

 


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Margate Rocks

Well the final week of the holiday whizzed by. We enjoyed attending a wedding in Margate over the Bank Holiday. The weather was glorious and the couple looked fabulous – especially when they drove off on their scooters.

We made another visit to Margate to see the new installation of Antony Gormley’s Another Time, part of his series of one hundred, solid cast-iron figures. The solitary man looks fab … although admittedly we got the tide timings wrong on our first visit!

 

While we were there we popped into the nearby Lifeboat station and to have a look around, making sure we left a donation during our visit.

Margate seafront looks great in the summer. We saw families enjoying the beach as we traveled along in style on the Seaside Special open top bus. The kids loved waving at folk and we passed The Turner Gallery and Margate’s iconic Dreamland on the way.

   

There are some lovely hidden gems around Margate. We love the Old Town in particular – it’s always encouraging to see improvements, refurbishments and new businesses pop up and we are hopeful that continues to bring more to the town. Not just financially, but culturally, socially and to bring that much-needed positive vibe. There are parts which still need incredible amounts of investment and care, including sadly the sparse High Street and near the station, but even there we found some wonderful art and things that made us smile.

Making the most of the sunshine, we had fun at the playground in Cliftonville. The kids love it there as it is large with lots of equipment and it is suitable for older children too. It is always busy, especially on a sunny day but it’s a great place to visit with lovely views of the sea. I imagine you get the best view from the top of the pirate ship but I’ll take the kids’ word for it rather than risk getting myself stuck!

As the week went on, we had a truly fabulous day at Quex Park, the estate of John Powell (1721-1783).  We explored the Maize Maze, taking turns to try to find the markers. Goodness knows how many miles we covered (especially when Seamus was leading the way) but we made our way out eventually, only to try our luck in the next one!

 

After we refueled with our picnic, the kids loved playing at the outdoor fun area. With the huge jumping pillow, the hidden nature play obstacles and the pony rides, there was something for everyone. However, most giggles lay in store for the cheeky chicken coop ride, where you sit in the trailer with a huge water pistol shooting targets on the trees as the tractor rides around Quex’s grounds. More than once, a full size chicken leaps out and squirts you back! We shared the ride with a couple of enthusiastic teenagers and another family with a soaking wet grandpa. It was bumpy, funny and very, very wet! If you try it, bring a poncho, towel or spare clothes. Thankfully we didn’t have to go straight home so we had time to dry off a little in the sun as we went to explore the gardens.

 

We topped off the day by popping into the Powell Cotton Museum and gardens. The museum houses natural history specimens and cultural objects collected on the family’s expeditions to Asia and Africa and has diorama displays mounted animals against backdrops of their natural habitats. We used our Children’s Centre card for £1 entry. It was more than worth it; I think it has improved since out last visit, especially with the addition of the handling area where you can touch bones, artifacts and even dress up. The grounds are particularly lovely and the children loved the dens and the interesting hiding spots under the trees.

I had a really lovely birthday treat at Chez Nous. Thank you to Aoife for organising and cooking such a brilliant meal (pasta with homemade tomato sauce) followed by fresh fruit cheesecake. Thanks to Orla for the excellent interval entertainment of surprisingly funny jokes, Seamus for being such a great waiter despite ensuring he had the first slice of birthday cake and big thanks to Ian for his patience in overseeing all of this, including the emergency dash to the shops for forgotten ingredients. Oh, and thanks for buying number candles, ha blooming ha, very funny!

And now it’s time for school as the new academic year begins. The uniform is all pressed and labelled (I hope that saves me from rummaging in the lost property box for at least the first few weeks), the PE bags are packed with clean kit and the busy routine begins again. Shay starts his journey into education next week which we are sure he will love, until then he can enjoy a few visits to the park ‘sans sisters’.

We’ve a few more exciting local events happening over the next few weeks and another family birthday to look forward to. The rugby season has begun and the nights are noticeably starting to draw in. The shops are stocking Christmas wrapping paper (groan!) and we are already noticing subtle changes as autumn approaches and we look back on our action packed, if not consistently warm, six weeks of summer.

#threekidsintow