Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Evie's first birthday

Evie turned one on Monday! It was a beautiful sunny day, just like the Sunday on which she was born. We remembered everything that happened last year, with Evie born at home; the amazing midwives who helped us; Evie born in her waters and us first holding her in the pool; Isla meeting her new sister the next morning.

On Monday, Evie and Isla opened Evie's birthday presents bright and early and then we went downstairs to play. Evie really enjoyed the balloons we had blown up the night before!

They unwrapped the discovery tree from granny Margaret and grandad David, and had great fun playing with it by popping balls in the top and listening to the music.

They opened a musical plane from granny Ilene and grandpa Alan and had fun with that too!

Evie has been playing with her new duck from mummy, daddy and Isla:

We spent lots of time in the garden, where Evie loves going on the see saw with her sister and can climb on to it herself. She can also climb up onto our trampoline and jump on it herself.

We made some face paints and Isla enjoyed painting us all, and being painted as a tiger herself:

After dinner, Evie had a bit of help blowing out her candle and then enjoyed making a start on her Charlie birthday cake until daddy came home for a reinactment of the happy birthday song!

Today we had a meal out with our 3 year old and 1 year old daughters, which included a VERY greedy chocolate brownie.

Evie amused herself by attempting to repot our plant and putting the soil everywhere after dinner tonight:

Evie playing with a pompom the other day:

Isla with one of her mini beast catches in her new bug pot. It is a crane fly. Today, she has also caught two flies, a snail and a hoverfly.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Norfolk Broads

Last week we went to Essex and visited my mum and dad and brother. Isla loved playing in the garden and especially doing some pond dipping with mum:

There was a beautiful borage field behind the house, which had been visible on t.v. during the tour de France coverage.

Ahh shark attack! at soft play in Essex.

We drove to Wroxham in Norfolk and boarded our vessel, Fair Sovereign I. Evie immediately became Admiral of the vessel from her seat of authority on the deck:

We ate dinner on the river Bure and then went on to Hoveton Little Broad for the night, where we mud weighted. Isla had a companion called Fair Bear for the week.

It was lovely watching the sun go down in the tranquil setting and then getting up in the morning to feed the geese and have breakfast on deck.

Andrew pulling up our mud weight anchor the next morning:

We went on down the river through Horning and found ourselves one of the first boats on the river as we were up so early.

We moored at Cockshoot Broad after some clever manoeuvring of the boat by Capt. Andrew and some expert tying up by myself!

We set off again with me multitasking (wearing a sleeping Evie and steering the boat) and then swapped around a bit.

We stopped for a walk and lunch at Ranworth where Evie enjoyed some crawling on the grass.

We had to negotiate a very low bridge (height of about 8'6" when our boat was 8'2" with our table collapsed) but emerged the other side on the picturesque river Ant with many windmills and sailing boats.

We moored up for the night at How Hill nature reserve, where Andrew and Isla got chased by an angry swan:

A cormorant and black headed gull on windmill sails:

We stopped at St Benet's abbey and mill ruins the next day. I was hoping to see the elusive swallowtail butterfly but was out of luck with that! We did see many dragonflies though.

Everyone on the other boats was very friendly, waving at us the whole time. Isla felt like a film star.

A cute stripey grebe with an adult grebe:

We stopped at a busier mooring for the next night, with loads of geese for feeding and people fishing from their boats. Overnight, Evie had gained two new teeth, her front top two.

We had a brilliant time at Ranworth Broad nature reserve the next day. They had a great children's area with giant bittern jigsaws and skulls of deer and birds to look at.

Isla found an amber snail. These can get parasitised giving them bright flashing green eyes so that they are easier to spot by foraging birds, although none of the ones we saw had the parasite.

Lunch at the Maltsters Arms! Spot the giant centipede......!

Some more crawling practice and running about:

Ranworth broad nature reserve from the water:

We moored up at Wroxham broad that evening and were the only boat there. We fed a swan family who later came and pecked at our boat in the early hours of the morning along with loads of geese.

The next morning, we dropped off our boat, said bye to Fair Bear and headed to a pub for breakfast. After that we went to BeWilderwood, a huge adventure park based on a series of fantasy children's books about boggles, twiggles and crocklebogs. It was a fun place to be and Isla enjoyed the swings, zip wire and den building as well as a high bridge adventure.

After visiting a friend at Acle, we spent the rest of our wedding anniversary having a meal at a little chef and a night in a travelodge.

The next day, we met up with my mum and dad at Duxford Imperial War Museum where we all enjoyed looking at the planes.