O'Sullivan family travels and beyond

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School holidays … hangin’ on in there

Ok – end of another week and we are still going strong ….

We made the most of the sunshine to have a lovely day at Ramsgate Boating Pool. Yes, the pedalos are a bit tatty but the kids loved it, although it must be said our steering leaves a lot to be desired. Fortunately, even with the swapping of seats and change of navigators, we didn’t fall in – and in my book that’s a success. ¬†The cafe was lovely and friendly and it’s a great way to spend a few hours. It is a bit of a hidden gem – lovely setting, reasonable prices, nice building, great views – but you just get the feeling that it could be totally amazing with a lick of paint, a bit of TLC and inflating the bouncy castle a wee bit more.

We headed home in style on the summer special open top bus. With the wind in our hair, we rode past Ramsgate Harbour, along Dumpton seafront and got a bird’s eye view on all the Folk Week revelers at Broadstairs bandstand.

This week we also made it to the fab Lark in the Park. Seamus especially loved the Fun Factory area. Aoife and Orla went into the older zone HQ , meeting up with us for our slot in the art tent. Lark is fabulous, friendly and FREE ūüôā¬† Thank you to all the organisers, fund-raisers and volunteers who make it possible for so many families to enjoy for 10 days every year.

We popped back for another day with Daddy, who despite only being in his 50s, enjoyed reading the ‘Mature Times’ in the over 60s Tea Tent the best!

And then Seamus, Orla and myself went back one final time for an evening activity – family pirate night.¬† Arrrrrr! Sadly, daddy had to stay back for our students so Aoife decided to keep him company. Most likely they probably thought themselves a bit old to be Cbeebies fans as Swashbuckle‘s Gemma was going to be there. Littlest O’Sullivan pirate Seamus loved it, especially the pirate dance that he knows from the show. An evening of piratey fun and games. Once again, thank you Lark in the Park – another fantastic event for the area. It was even more fun walking through Ramsgate on a Saturday night dressed as pirates – on our journey to the taxi rank, we passed a lot of very friendly people who had probably sampled a lot of the Captain’s rum and waved and greeted us from balconies and bars with Arrrrrrs and Ahoys all round.


We’ve joined the latest trend… hiding and finding rocks. Pok√©mon Go is soooo last year! The premise is simple: decorate your rock and seal it and ideally, write instructions on the bottom of the rock that tell the finder which Facebook group to post a photo to once it’s found. Then, hide it. The finder can choose to keep it or re-hide it. Ours will be released into the wild locally next week – let us know if you find any! Come on, dig out your paint brushes and rock your neighbourhood – just be responsible about where you source your rocks. We have only done a couple but plan more next week and then leave them for people to find.

A fab time was had at Millmead Children Centre’s Fun Day. Orla and Seamus particularly enjoyed the pony rides, whilst Aoife ventured off to handle the snakes and geckos. The kids made badges, had glitter tattoos, hooked ducks and bounced on the bouncy castles – great time. Thanks Millmead Children’s Centre


We made it to the last day of Folk Week, enjoying the atmosphere, the music and more. Soozi the Caricaturist was there … what do you think of our portrait?


The Morris dancers and the musicians were still going strong after their incredibly busy week and the bandstand was packed. If you haven’t been to Broadstairs and you love music, you really should visit during folk week.

Aoife has given up her free time to attend school drama practise every Monday of the holidays and has been taking part in beach rugby training every Sunday too. Seamus enjoyed himself at a friend’s birthday party and is now keener than ever for his own birthday to arrive!¬† We’ve done most of the boring back to school shopping (hooray!) so bar a few last minute buys and (as you can see from our photos) an overdue visit to the hairdressers, we can just enjoy the final few weeks of the summer holiday. We may have stayed local but we have still found so many things to do … …




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Keep calm and carry on – surviving the school holidays week 2

We had a lovely treat when we were met by dinosaurs on the way to the cinema. The shopping mall at Westwood Cross had a pop up dinosaur park. Seamus didn’t know which one to visit first! What a welcome surprise when you’re passing Primark. Just hope they are still there when we do the dreaded school uniform shopping!

We had gone to Westwood Cross to use our Sainbury’s Nectar Points offer at the cinema. ¬£5 worth of points gets 2 tickets, which is brilliant value. Such an appropriate offer to have on during the summer holidays – brilliant timing! Thank you #Sainsburys. After diving in to Wilkos for their bargain half price pick and mix, the unanimous decision was to see Captain Underpants, which (thankfully) was extremely funny for parents too.¬† We’re going to use more of our Sainbury’s points to exchange for tickets to see the Emoji movie later, and Ian is going to see Dunkirk with Eoin.

I had to attend a course for my new job so was away for two nights – first time husband and child free for over ten years. Boy, was it strange! Especially ordering food without having to sort out everyone else’s choices first. I found a brilliant noodle place which had meat free beef so was in veggie heaven, more so because I didn’t have to share or swap with someone who regretted their choice.¬† I was in Salisbury, so spent a little time pottering around the cathedral on my first evening (too much homework and rain on the second night!) I took Cheese string, so he can add another place to his blog page too. (p.s. in case you are wondering, I passed my course – hooray!)

While I was away, Ian took over the mantle of childcare. He took the kids to some lovely events (I left a list!)

They had a great time at National Play Day event in Ellington Park, meeting the farm animals, Creepy Claws and having a bash at boxing. It is an annual event which is free and I believe it was very well attended (judging by hubby’s moans about the queues)

Quieter but just as much fun was the MENCAP festival in Margate. With stalls and activities, the event was really well organised and seemed a lot of fun. Orla is still talking about the football and the lovely man who helped with circus skills. The festival continued into the night for adults with a learning difficulty/disability with music, a bar and more. So great to see something so positive and totally inclusive.

I got back from Salisbury just in time for the fantastic Broadstairs summer fireworks, which had been moved from its traditional Wednesday to the Thursday due to the weather. One of my favourite live bands were playing (80s music Hyperactive) and the fireworks at 9:45 were spectacular. The kids had a fab time, although Aoife was a little embarrassed due to her parents dancing. Brilliant evening – so glad I got back in time!

Yep, the weather has been a bit disappointing – wet and miserable a lot of the time, which always makes things a bit harder. On the plus side, the veggies are growing and the honesty box is going well with people taking our fresh fruit and vegetables at the weekends when we put it out.

One of the language schools, KSE, held a BBQ for host families. We had a lovely time, the kids really loved the swimming pool and the bouncy castle. Thank you Kent School of English. We have had only a brief few days without students in the past few months but were ready to collect our newest arrivals later that same evening. We’ll be busy with back to back students for the next few months or so and always hope they will have a really great time and enjoy their stay.

The rubbish weather has meant more trips to the library and movie watching at home than expected, but in between the rainy days, we’ve still tried to pop to the park when we can. We went to the beach to spend an evening with some lovely friends (an Italian family who return every year with students) Here’s hoping the weather is better for their visit next year.

With Broadstairs Folk Week around the corner, I have my fingers crossed that the sunshine will return soon.

Well, the school holidays are well and truly underway and I imagine the time will fly by….however,¬† I’m stocking up on arts and craft stuff incase the wet and miserable weather is here to stay. We can usually find fun things to do at home but the holidays can be long so it’s good to have a few ideas ready. The kids want to re-visit slime making with ‘new and improved’ recipes and ‘honest mum’ promises to help tidy afterwards. After being left with the clear up of the last session, I remain a little skeptical to say the least.

One kid has a school friend coming round for the day, another is planning a couple of play dates too and Seamus is reminding us all that it will soon be his birthday when school starts (note to self: eeek! best start planning something) so one thing’s for sure, it’s still going to be busy.


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More fun in the sun

Most people would enjoy a lovely lie in at the weekend, but having students who need breakfast and packed lunches for the trips to London, combined with children who wake at the crack of dawn means an early start – Saturday or not!

One such Saturday, the girls were both eager to try their best at Upton’s Inter Primary School Cross Country at the morning race. Thankfully the weather was a little cooler than previous days, meaning the 1km run was more manageable than expected.

The sporty theme continued with school and nursery sports days. Orla had a fabulous time, completing circuits with her class group and then individual races, resulting in when her class being the overall year group winners.

The rain held off enough for us to enjoy Aoife’s sports day later that week. She took part in the exhausting mat flipping race and the skipping race, and her class group were the overall Year 5 winners! And Seamus, who not only took part in the siblings’ race at both his sisters’ event, got a Sports Day of his own, with a non-competative nursery sporty circuit. Thankfully both Ian and I managed to escape the parents’ race at all events this year … my excuse – I am still recovering from last year!

Although not natural athlete myself, I do still like to help out with community events, so I was one of the coaches from the local rugby club volunteering my time to run some taster sessions at local primary school. After the school visit, I learned the equation: Caroline + shorts + 2(rugby socks) = a red sunburn stripe on each leg! Sun cream for the following week’s taster day was applied after session!

However, one of the most striking images of sport has to be the iconic scene from Chariots of Fire. Seamus and I went to see the Mayor’s unveiling of the blue plaque in Broadstairs. Seamus got to hold the 1948 Olympic torch and also took part in the beach run. For full effect, look at the next photos whilst listening to Vangelis’ soundtrack, ha ha.


Whilst Aoife was in Dreamland rolling skating at a friend’s birthday party, Seamus, Orla and myself went to the Turner Contemporary. We looked at the exhibits but were also able to take part in a workshop. We left the ‘masterpieces’ they both made there, so the can both now say they have work displayed in the Turner Gallery, ha ha! The weekend event workshops are great and made the visit a bit more memorable for the kids.

A week later we returned to take part in the Artgate event, which marked the first day of the Margate Festival. We attended on of the four separate pop up art sessions, then joined the Rock Choir to sing our way through Margate town centre, along the sea front to all meet at the Turner Contemporary for the Big Sing and refreshments.


Margate is looking lovely this time of year, and each time we have enjoyed walking along the seafront or having a little picnic on the grass near the Clock Tower. When the weather is this good, it is a shame to be inside!


We love seeing the unusual and the bizarre …

Art of a different nature, Aoife’s school performance of Wind in the Willows was incredibly well done. All of the kids who took part were great. She has another play later this month, which we are looking forward to watching. They have worked so hard this term and their effort has really paid off. Really proud.

School has been amazing this term, topped off with the school fayre. Both girls chose to run stalls РOrla with a Treasure Map game and Aoife setting up a craft stall where people could decorate their own bookmarks. In an hour, they raised over £21 for the school, not bad going when they priced at 20p or less.

They did enjoy other aspects of the fayre too….

Learning doesn’t just take place in school though. To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day we took part in a fantastic event delivered by Discovery Planet, with a wind turbine focus. The kids learned how electricity was generated and all about energy. They were tasked to design and make a wind turbine to be tested. Great hands on experiments, lots of encouragement and I hope, good inspiration for all three of them to consider engineering, science or mathematics as career choices.

The village fayres and fetes are coming thick and fast. We visited St Andrew’s in Reading Street and bought brownies and cupcakes. Sadly no success on the tombolas though.

We missed the St Peters fayre though as we lent our voices to the anti-austerity demonstration. Not usually overly political, but I am quite saddened of the thought of further cuts to schools and health in particular.¬† We joined the small but sweet gathering in Broadstairs, rather than the thousands in London.¬† Here’s hoping our little voices may still be heard.

Still, self sufficiency is getting closer.¬† Aoife distributed our excess courgettes, patty pans and potatoes amongst all of the neighbours, which were gratefully accepted and so lovely to see each kid taking a turn to visit a house. We do need to work on the wheelbarrow control a bit though.¬† Green fingers at the ready, we are off to Margate again tomorrow to help volunteer to make this year’s Listening Wall. We saw it last year and are so excited to be able to contribute to something in the area and actively take part in making something to be enjoyed. Be sure to see it when it’s complete.

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Manchester sadness and positive thoughts

Truly saddened by recent world events including the horrific attack in Manchester.¬† It is hard to know how best to discuss such tragedies with the kids but we’ve always tried to go with an honest approach, inviting questions as they arise.¬† The natural reaction is to want to shield the children from anything which may distress but that can give more worries and concerns as they find out information second or third hand.¬† Aoife mentioned that a friend was meant to be going to the London date of the Ariana Grande tour, as she had been given tickets for Christmas, so had obviously been talking with her friends.¬† It is so heartbreaking to think about the lives lost and the injuries and trauma to people.

Because of that, it has been difficult to summon a level of enthusiasm to do much but I am equally of the belief that fear should not limit us, so onwards we go …

Kindest to others is one way.¬† We had been busy the previous Saturday baking together. Seamus and Orla made a huge carrot cake for the family and mini cupcake sized ones to distribute to our neighbours. I take it that it was soooo delicious, Daddy obviously couldn’t wait to take a slice before we got a photo!

Seamus, who is thankfully too young to have the awareness of world events (his biggest concern this week was making sure he had the correct coloured socks for nursery photograph day) has been enjoying the glorious weather. He only attends nursery in the mornings, meaning the afternoons are free to be spent doing other stuff or chilling watching Cbeebies. He has been to the beach to collect shells and crab legs, after a little visit to knock on the Fairy Door near the High Street sweetie shop on the way.

Both girls have had a wonderful time at their respective school discos.¬† Orla doesn’t believe in dressing down for any event, so looked as if she was Pippa Middleton’s extra bridesmaid.¬† Aoife looked especially grown up too and was most pleased to be there until 9pm!

The latest craze, after the short-lived (and banned-from-school just as I ordered on ebay) fidget spinners, is now slime. Apparently there a hundreds of youtube videos showing how to make slime at home using household items. I tried to get them to stay clear of the more toxic sounding chemicals such as contact-lens solution and Borax, so our efforts may be less successful than professional blogging slimers in their stylish, unmessy kitchens. Seamus particularly liked playing with cornflour and water, watching the mixture thicken then return to liquid. His toy soldiers were well and truly covered. The girls, with a friend, mixed various potions and made some well and truly gloopy, gooey substances.

They also wanted to make edible emoji poo which as you can imagine was as delightful as it sounds. We used a Curly Wurly as it is a chocolate coated caramel. They then tried to sculpt it into the desired shape. The chocolate was a bit too crumbly, so perhaps there are more suitable chocolate bars to use, but it worked for the most part… and yes, they ate it!¬† Much hilarity and joking followed. “Are you playing with your poo?!” “Mummy, she’s eating poo”¬† Urgh – I am hoping the next craze comes along soon.

Other activities included making bracelets and pendants out of drinking straws which were melted between baking paper sheets.

The allotment, aka Ian’s Sanctuary, is in full glory at this time of year. The garlic is ready to be harvested, the broad beans are fattening, the glut of spinach is blanched and in the freezer, the strawberries are ripening (that’s if they hadn’t been picked by an over eager Seamus!) Despite the ever-changing conditions faced so far this year (mild, drought like, then frost, followed by heavy rain, now heat wave) many of Ian’s crops are doing well. The question is, does that mean we give each other a chest freezer or pickling jars as an anniversary gift?!

So half term holidays are fast approaching, and even in such saddening times, I’ve got to keep positive thoughts and get my mojo back to find fun things for the kids to do. After all, you do not fight darkness with a sword, you defeat it with light.





Autumn Montage

November’s here, the world’s still reeling from the US presidential election results (I am still recovering from the Brexit shambles, and so tired of such hatred in politics at the moment – especially as we had White Supremacists / WLM organise a march in the next town last month!) Anyway, onwards we go …

Orla has been learning about the USA at school and has been given some great homework, so we decided to embrace that. Last week she had to research the Battle of the Little Bighorn, and she was able to include info and photos from our visit to the memorial in Montana.¬† This week she has to organise an American meal, so we’re braced for her cooking hotdogs (veggie, of course) and fries. Not one to do things by halves, the next door neighbours were invited and US themed fancy dress was on the cards.¬† Goodness know what the teacher will think goes on in our house when he sees her report!

Her idea to call her pop up restaurant ‘McDonald Trumps’ has had me giggling.¬† Decorations include signs and pictures of American icons and we even included the much talked about Wall, so we’re topical too.

Seamus decided he would like to be US astronaut, Neil Armstrong – well, as he is only 4, he actually just wanted be a space man, but we’ve made it fit the theme of the evening.¬† Aoife was TOLD by Orla that she’d have to be the Statue of Liberty, as Orla had bagged the rights to be Sacajawea / Pocahontas or anyone else which means she can dress like a Native American she has so enjoyed learning about. With an array of supporting cast of Cowboys and politicians, we were all ready for a good night and – I have to type it –¬† good food …

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It’s been busy as usual at home, with language students from Italy and then Germany staying with us as well over previous weeks.¬† We have met some wonderful people and hope they have enjoyed their time in Broadstairs and their stay with our family.

A rare, student free weekend we celebrated Halloween. It was as fun as ever, and we spent it taking part in the Trick or Treat Trail in Broadstairs High Street. Such fun to see hundreds of mini witches, pumpkins and skeletons visit each of the shops for sweets and cupcakes. Aoife was lucky enough to go to a friend’s party afterwards too.

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We enjoyed carving pumpkins at home. Even Seamus managed to complete one and so did our lodger from France, Jules. We never did get round to making pumpkin pie though, despite the kind gift of an extra pumpkin from a lovely neighbour.

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However even with our best efforts, we couldn’t compete with the wonderful pumpkin grown by Ben at Beechgrove a Bruderhof Community where we have some lovely friends.¬† Check out Ben’s story in the link attached to his name to show you his project. It is an amazing video. We always appreciate spending time at Beechgrove, including the Lantern Walk. It is a place which helps us to reflect as it embodies family values, community and more. Even though we are not particularly religious, we have the utmost respect for the beliefs and works of the community, which give so much both here and around the world and thank them for their hospitality, friendship and kindness.

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To reflect our change of pace in life, Ian has been spending every waking moment at the allotment (his second home) and we’ve been fortunate enough to eat what has grown. He’s even been making chutneys with the tomatoes which didn’t ripen – Tom and Barbara from The Good Life here we come!! He’s currently encouraging the children to earn their pocket money by collecting the hops from the brewery for his compost – I would go on about exploitation and child labour laws but think the children are fleecing him!

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We all had a wonderful half term holiday recently (another Staycation!)¬† We loved our visit to the Hornby Visitor Centre near Margate. They had a Halloween themed event and the children also got to paint models to take home. The centre is great and well worth a visit. There was a treasure hunt of clues to solve as we went round the displays and of course, they loved the Scaletrix.¬† Brilliant day out and kept everyone’s interest – not easy to do with their differing ages. We’ve been before, and will be back.

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We also ventured to Rascal Bay Adventure Golf  near Manston, Ramsgate. A wee bit pricey, even for a family ticket, but it was fun. The mini golf has everything Seamus loves Рdinosaurs, pirates and as it was approaching Halloween, the surrounding moat was flowing red Рurgh! A couple of hole in ones, a few more hole in twelves!


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Orla has been busy with a inter-school running event which she enjoyed and Aoife and Seamus have been taking part in rugby each week.¬† Let’s see what the future holds as the winter approaches and what comes next …. after this election result, quite frankly anything is possible!

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Back to normality … whatever that is

September. Swapping the beach, buckets and bbqs for back-to-school and raking leaves. The weather however, continues to be wonderful – as hot as summer and so it hasn’t been too much of a shock to the system yet, although the nights are drawing in.

September is a busy time for birthdays in our house. Seamus celebrated his 4th birthday (a little early so it didn’t clash with starting nursery) I gained another year, too. The theme for Shay’s party was Ghostbusters! Fantastic costumes, especially from our neighbour who is in her 70s and made an absolutely fabulous Marshmallow Man!

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So yes, this post is a bit of a departure from a “traveling with young children travel blog” (sorry Nicky),¬† but as I have been asked for some of the details as to making a DIY Ghostbusters Party and can’t figure out Pintrest site, I’ll post what we did here ….

The decorations and costumes were all homemade. This was lots of fun and (I hope) saved a bit of money. We drew characters, made a ghost containment unit out of construction card and blu-tacked it to a picture frame. Lots of Slimers and ghostbuster logos were stuck everywhere. Green balloons and hazard tape added to the effect.

Orla made a stunning Statue of Liberty – her costume was a green bedsheet with a 99p garden light to hold. Aoife and Seamus were Ghostbusters, (I bought boiler suits and sewed on Ghostbuster patches saying Spengler and Venkman.)¬† Ian and I were Louis and Janine. Ian’s hat was made with a colendar, wires and chin strap, and I channelled my inner 80s and topped my costume off with a tacky ra-ra skirt. Guests could come as any character or anything spooky.¬† As a theme, it was different, funny and seemed to go down well.¬† Who doesn’t like the Ghostbuster theme music for pass the parcel?!

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Food – the best part of any party! This was really easy to do in comparison to other parties we have had at home.

  • lots of hot dogs (vegetarian ones, of course for our house) in finger buns, with ketchup and NY mustard
  • pizza (always a favourite)
  • meringue and marshmallow ghosts
  • green jelly (our tribute to Slimer), green grapes,
  • ghostbuster lollipops bought online
  • cheese and pineapple on USA cocktail stick flags
  • cheese and french bread for the grown ups
  • cupcakes decorated with ghosts
  • we decorated Shay’s chocolate cake with lego Ghostbusters, a statue of liberty paper crown and rice paper Slimers

Games . We tried to have games suitable for all ages which were funny, not too overwhelming and involved as many or as few people who wanted to take part.  Firstly, when guests arrived we all decorated a green paper party bag (colouring, ghostbuster stickers etc) and whenever you won a prize, these would be put int he bag to take home. Party bags also included an Americn flag, birthday cake and we made small packs of marshmallows with a thank you sticker on.

  • Musical statues – when the music stops pose as the Statue of Liberty or Ghostbuster firing his ray gun.
  • Pass the parcel – traditional, easy and fun
  • Pin the smile on the skeleton
  • Knock down ghosts (place a tennis ball in tights and wear on you head. work as a relay team to knock over¬† line of skittles / bottles) I imagine this would make a great game at an adult alcohol fuelled party!
  • Silly string spray fight
  • Chilled Chocolate Challenge (roll a dice, when you get a number 6 you run to the table and put on a large pair of green rubber gloves – just wish I had included goggles too.¬† Using¬† knife and fork, you cut a square of refridgerated chocolate. Keep going – and eating one square at a time – til the next person has rolled a six) Gets quite frantic!
  • Toilet paper mummy wrap
  • Spaghetti and marshmallow skyscraper challenge
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All in all, the party went well and Seamus is already asking when he can have another one! Every year I say, ‘never again, next time we will go out’ as the clear up is always immense. However (bar tidying up the silly string in the garden) this was a straight forward party to organise and one I would recommend for any age, or even an alternative Halloween party.

All the decorations are currently on sale on ebay so it is ‘never again’ on the Ghostbusters front for us, as I hope someone else gets a bargain and another use out of the stuff we made, saving them a bit of work. Perhaps I should set up a ‘recycled party shop’ to save parents the hassle of party prep!¬† Look out for me on Dragons Den!I require $1,000,000 for 5% stake in the buisness.


Another chance to dress up was at our visit to an event at the¬†Marvellous Micro Museum which had a James Bond theme one weekend. Of course, we rose to the challenge and went as James Bond, James Bond Jnr 003.5, Bond Girl/Russian Spy Ivana Kissyacheek (although we instantly regretted not naming her Ivana Kickyabutt) and ‘M’ aka Mummy.¬† Despite having secret identities, we made ID badges! Again this would be a great theme for a party – a few dickie bows, a Russian hat or two and hey presto, it’s almost Casino Royale. Granted we had small water pistols rather than anything more dangerous, and boy did we look cool taking the bus to Ramsgate!

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Next big event for dress up is Halloween … decisions, decisions!


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Ok, we’ve been back in the UK for 3 months now and time has flown. In some ways our travels seem a lifetime ago and it has taken me a while to get back in the swing of things.

Adjusting back, unpacking the house, re-establishing old routines, hosting language students and of course, our budget constraints meant we have stayed close to home, however we’ve still tried to be busy.¬† Perhaps we have a new appreciation for where we live, perhaps because we haven’t jumped back into the world of work we are able to enjoy more of what’s on offer locally, perhaps the glorious sunshine helped … whatever, so far we have had a lovely summer and continue to do so.

So what can we say about Broadstairs other than it is a fabulous place with lots to offer. For those who don’t know, it is a small town on the South East coast of England in the county of Kent. It is near to Margate and Ramsgate. There are beautiful beaches and we are lucky enough to live within walking distance of Joss Bay, Viking Bay, Stone Bay, Botany Bay and more! Google it and see!

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Ok, granted the weather wasn’t the best when we got back. Good job we kept the warm clothes and woolly hats. That didn’t stop us from going to Margate to see all the bikes at Margate Meltdown , a great place to see scooters, Mods, leather clad bikers and every bike imaginable. Seamus loved it! Even got to catch up with a lovely friend and her super scooter.

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Our first visit to Dreamland, we joined friends for some old-fashioned roller skating.¬† Surprised to find out that even though it must have been over 30 years, I managed to skate without the ‘Bambi on ice’ impression and have a new-found Kudos from my girls. Dreamland has been recently re-established.¬† I wasn’t here to see it in its heyday in the 60s, 70s and 80s but wished the new Dreamland had a bit more oomph and had been done better.¬† It is struggling financially, but hate to say it but I wouldn’t go back as feel it could have been so much more.¬† Yes, the skating was cool and I would do that bit again, but the rest just doesn’t live up to the expectations of what it could be. Ooops, forgot I am not on TripAdviser!

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Ok, more good stuff and less moaning.

One of the nicest bunch of people you could ever meet organise an Annual Pirate Party in Broadstairs. We love Helter Skelter Pirate Party¬†Music, fun, friends at the sunny seaside – everything an event should be.¬† They have been a big part in organising so much for the town in the past, such as Abba Dancing Queen World Record breaking dances, cinema on the beach, wonderful Trick or Treat town trails. Thank you, we love any excuse to dress up. “Aaaarrrrrrrgh!”


More wonderful community spirit with the fabulous Ramsgate event that is Lark in the Park, every year they offer tents full of free activities for every age group. Seamus loved the Fun Factory, Orla spent happy times in the art tent and Aoife enjoyed the gunging which took place in the parent-free zone that is HQ.


We  have been frequent visitors to Margate this summer. The colourful Margate Pride was great. We dressed to impress wearing as much colour as we could as the invite suggested. The town was bustling and the atmosphere was great.

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The quieter side of life saw us finding the tranquil Margate Listening Wall ; a beautiful oasis with flowers and positive messages, where people can post their thoughts privately through the post box or chalk on the board.  Gorgeous.  Topped off by the fantastic free herb garden beside where we touched, smelled and had a tiny taste of the beautiful things growing there.

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The quirky side of us loved the Super Sleuth Day in Margate Old Town. The kids met the old-fashioned bobby who was trying to solve the crime. After under taking lie detectors, fingerprinting and a visit to the court-house judge, we were (thankfully) found not guilty! Orla saved the day by saying that a vegetarian family would be unlikely to steal the pork pie in question. So we were able to head home with all three kids in tow again, phew!


The highlight for me was Broadstairs Folk Week I love the parade at the start of the festival. The weather was perfect, the town was filled with music and dancers. Great stuff. The musicians and folk dancers are wonderful to see and bring so many people to the town every year.

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The town has looked beautiful with the annual Yarn Bombing which takes place. This year there were pom poms galore, but previous years have seen knitted seagull and fish take over. Every credit to the people who patiently make them. The time and effort involved must be immense. We appreciate your talent and it makes us smile.

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Staying at home, our house has been full of students – adult language students from Iceland, teenagers from many parts of Italy and a return visit from our Sicilian friends, and we’re soon to be joined by students from Germany and Japan. We always try to make their stay interesting, as travelers ourselves we appreciated everyone who made our journey memorable.¬† One of the things we like to do is have a Harry Potter evening. The kids make invitations and we have a feast in the Grand Hall … well, dinner in the dining room! Dumbledore’s Dessert, Snape’s Shepherds Pie, Professors Pudding …. who knows what will be on the menu or whether you’ll be in Gryffindor or Slytherin!

I told you, we’ll make any excuse to dress up!!

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Great weather means we can be outdoors. Fantastic cardboard box car racing with friends from holiday club, family fun days, music events at the bandstand, the brilliant Broadstairs fireworks and camping in the garden. Can you imagine if this had been the V festival how much I would have paid?!

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So now what? Well, we’re getting ready for Seamus’ Ghostbuster 4th birthday party (dressing up of course!), looking forward to a James Bond event in Ramsgate (you guessed it, requires some dressing up) and the children have their places sorted for school and nursery (uniform – check, haircut – check, sensible bedtime – work in progress)

It has taken a while to re-adjust. Don’t get me wrong, I love it here and we are so fortunate to have so many great things and wonderful people nearby. Maybe it’s getting my head round that we are back much sooner than expected, the realisation and disappointment that we’re unlikely be able to do it again even on a smaller scale, or the fact we had to unpack and rebuild all of our furniture in order to settle back home. Who knows, it’s still early days.

The kids have settled back so quickly.¬† They have taken everything in their stride. Aoife is playing rugby. Ian has a new allotment and is slowly transforming it from the long grass a la Little House on the Prairie opening credits to a lovely plot with vegetables. He’s bound to start his own blog, I bet. He and the kids are currently sorting out some beans for next year.¬† The summer weather has been superb and we’ve had some wonderful events, such as a family wedding in Bath.

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Right, enough blogging for today as I have to get back to finishing the Ghostbusters costumes or else I will be roped into sorting beans too!