Our Puppet Show

After seeing Pip and Panda at Biggar Puppet Theatre, the kids were inspired to put on their own show for me and Jana.

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Creative Kids

The kids, Ellie in particular, enjoy crafts and getting creative. Here’s a drawing Ellie did recently from her imagination…

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…. while Ben has been making his own frog.

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They both enjoyed the new washing machine…

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… and baking is always good fun.

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I think this counts as creative?  Pantsman (and pantswoman) have returned!

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Oh, and together we’ve started renovating an old Wendy House that was given to us by a neighbour.

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More on that project later…

Christmas 2015

Here are some of our pictures from the festive period.

Before Christmas, Grandpa and Noreen came up to visit…

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…and Ben made friends with a snowman at his nursery.

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On Christmas Day, we got the important stuff done – opening presents and eating food!  Jana won the competition to keep her hat on the longest.

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One of Ben’s favourite toys was his Hot Wheels track…

… while Ellie had great fun making stories from her Story Cubes.

This winter was also memorable for some freak weather. First there was the six hours I got stuck in a snowstorm driving home from work.

Then there were the Peebles floods, which got reported on the BBC News. Here’s my own photo (the river got even higher than this).

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But the good news was it snowed on Christmas Day! – late on, and not very much, but enough to create a mini winter wonderland for us on Boxing Day.

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Cycling to Glentress

This year, one of the things I’ve enjoyed doing with the kids is cycling. Ellie got a new bike earlier this year and she loves riding it.

Ben meanwhile is perfectly happy sitting behind me (not that he’s lazy or anything).

Our favourite route is to cycle along the Tweed Railway Path to Glentress Forest. It’s about 4 miles there and 4 miles back, which is plenty for five-year old (and dare I say thirty-one-year old!) legs.

Once at Glentress we either get lunch at Bony’s Steakhouse & Grill

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…or get tea and cake at Glentress Peel Cafe.

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And after working them hard, we make sure we take good care of our bikes.

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A Day at the Museum

A couple of weekends ago I took the kids for a day at the museum.

The National Museum of Scotland, to be precise!

If you’ve not been here before, do pay it a visit. It’s got a bit of everything. I think of it as like the British Museum, Natural History Museum and Royal Observatory all rolled into one reasonably-sized building.

Ben was rather taken by this curious half-plane half-helicopter contraption.

Ellie liked learning about elephants and lions.

Of course we all liked the T-Rex! (though I kept to a safe distance).

We learnt about constellations too.

After the museum, we had a walk down the Royal Mile. Ben was chuffed to find a door his size.

And we ended the day at the Scottish Parliament.

Feeling suitably cultured and educated (and exhausted) it was back on the bus home.

Driving South

During half term, I ventured with the kids down to Cheshire to stay with their grandparents. Jana stayed home so I was in sole charge of these two!

It’s a long drive, so we had a pit stop at RSPB Leighton Moss, where we ran up and down the board-walks…

…climbed their new ‘Skytower’ and admired the view…

…and found a tree to climb (of course!).

Finally, we made it to Grandpa and Noreen’s house!

The next day we headed to the delightful Tatton Park, where we kept Grandpa entertained at the playground…

…stopped for a photo op…

…then finished the day at Home Farm.

Another day, we went looking for deer at Dunham Massey. We only caught glimpses of the deer but we saw plenty of ducks and geese on the pond…

…and had lots of fun at the ‘natural playground’. (Yes, grandpa is a big kid!)

We had a lovely time. Before we headed back to Scotland, we had time to visit granny and aunty Charlie.

Oh, and Ellie wanted me to show you the tower she built.

That’s my last bit of time off work for two months. Roll on Christmas…!

The Hidden Streets of Peebles

One of the easiest ways to entertain the kids in Peebles is to go exploring down the little side-streets, ‘closes’ or ‘wynds’ that branch off the high street.

Pennel’s Close is a highlight. It’s the site of the Peebles Mural, a recently-completed commission by locally-based artist Michael Jessing that tells the history of the town. Here’s the artist at work.

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And here’s someone demonstrating the scale.

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Pennel’s Close contains a maze of hexagonal blocks, like a miniature Giant’s Causeway. It’s perfect for a spot of kiddie Parkour!

The Chambers Institution is further down the high street. It has a courtyard with a spectacular war memorial.

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School Brae meanwhile is a hotspot for craft shops…

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… and the delightful Leaven Deli.

What did the EU ever do for us?

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Parliament Square is a piece of history. It’s believed to be where the Scottish parliament once met in the fourteenth century.

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Other destinations are more prosaic. One passageway ends at a dentist’s.

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Another leads to a cute tearoom.

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This one leads to a…. is ‘hovel’ the right word?

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Some of the streets are not exactly scenic.

On a brighter note, some folk have been generous enough to open up their backyards to the public. This ‘community garden’ is a delight.

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But unfortunately this ‘secret garden’ is someone’s idea of a practical joke.

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Phew.

Being explorers is thirsty work!

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