Rollercoaster Mum: February 2014

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Friday, 28 February 2014

We love Florentine and Pig

Florentine and Pig - 'who are they?' I hear you ask. Well they are the newest kids on the picture book block and even though we are getting a little old for picture books in the Rollercoaster household (Little Miss does like them for her bedtime story still) we have all fallen just a little bit in love with Florentine and Pig

I first came across them on facebook and I remember loving the whole design and ethos. We didn't actually read their delightful first book ' Florentine and Pig Have a Very Lovely Picnic' until we borrowed it from the library last summer and then I had to persuade Little Miss to take it back. So she was super pleased when we received two more Florentine and Pig books to review a while back. 

The first is 'Florentine and Pig and the Lost Pirate Treasure' where Florentine and Pig wake up to find that it is pouring with rain so they decide to play pirates and look for Florentine's lost 'ever so sparkly button'. All the books inspire creative play and imagination as well as providing some lovely simple recipes and crafts, along with the charming stories by Eva Katzler and Jess Mikhail's gorgeous illustrations. They are books that positively plead to be picked up and looked at and unlike some others they do not disappoint. 

book review of Florentine and Pig and the Lost Pirate Treasure

And here is Little Miss's review of the Lost Pirate Treasure - I love her picture of Pig diving into the fishbowl to get the 'ever-so sparkly button'. Normally she will say she 'can't do' pictures but she was so enthusiastic about this that she threw herself into it with gusto!

Kid's book review - Florentine and Pig and the Lost Pirate Treasure

We even made some of the 'X-marks the spot biscuits'. You may notice they are a little burnt but they still tasted scrummy and I think I may have made a small mistake by not following the recipe exactly (oops - sorry Pig!). Bigger Miss is very keen to try put the Malted Milk next.


Florentine and Pig - X-Marks the Spot Cookies - #homebaking

We were very lucky people and we must be super special friends of Pig's as we also got sent a copy of 'Florentine and Pig and the Spooky Forest' which isn't even published until June this year (you can preorder it though either from Amazon or even direct from the lovely people at Bloomsbury.)

Book review - Florentine and Pig and the Spooky Forest

Once again Little Miss willingly did a little book review for me - although I'm not sure about 'the meeting'' she mentions! They hear a strange noise one night and think it might be a 'the growling, prowling BogMog' monster so they set off on a monster hunt camping expedition - complete with delicious camp supper of course! Little Miss has provided a bit of a spoiler for the ending though!!

kid's book review - Florentine and Pig and the Spooky Forest Adventure

We had a go at one of the crafts from this book and made some pretty 'Twinkly Jam Jar Lanterns.' They really were super easy and the best part about all the crafts in the books is that they are actually simple enough for little kids and use stuff that even I have in the cupboard. Bigger Miss loves joining in with the crafts and cooking just as much as Little Miss!

Florentine and Pig - Twinkly Jam Jar Lanterns - simple #kidscrafts

Florentine and Pig's Twinkly Jam Jar Lanterns

I completely adore these books and I am just rather sad that my kids will soon be too old for them as I am sure there will be more in the series. The illustrations are adorable, the text uses lots of great alliterative and superlative words that kids love and the crafts and recipes are brilliant. Anyone who has small children should get at least one. Not only will you read it again and again you can also use it for the recipes and the crafts - bargain! 

You can find them on Amazon, from Bloomsbury direct or even at your local library (although they might well be on loan already!) They also have a great little website (with even more crafts and recipes) and an active facebook page. 

Disclosure: I was sent copies of the books to review but I have received no other form of recompense payment and all words and views are my own (and my children's!)

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

How does Grandma's Garden grow? the Winter Edition

Our garden really is just a muddy, mossy, soggy, depressing mess - there are a couple of spring flowers peeping their heads through but they really don't provide enough photo opportunities for an even vaguely interesting post. Hence we are back in Grandma's garden for a winter visit. We had a wee sojourn at her house at half term after she had kindly looked after the girls when we were off dancing the night away to Frank Turner (there seems to be a theme to our visits here !) It's not quite as colourful as in the summer but it still looks a damn site better than ours!

pink winter cyclamen
There are tubs of pretty pink winter cyclamen (when I tried growing them they all got eaten by the sodding slugs)

wall grown variegated ivy
This rather magnificent old ivy got blown down in the storms before Christmas and this is all that is left now it has been neatened up. 

leaf bud - Hydrangea
OK - so not the clearest photo but a pretty Hydrangea leaf bud in the sunshine all the same.

a flurry of snowdrops
A  positive flurry of snowdrops.

sunshine yellow crocus #springflowers
Some sunny yellow crocuses (or is it croci!)

delicate white snowdrop flowers
More of those pretty, delicate snowdrops

Male (Daddy) Blackbird with red berries
Mr. Blackbird checking out the bird table - it had lost it's roof in the storms but he didn't care! 

Winter veg - leeks and celeriac
There's even still some great looking veggies - one lone celeriac and a few leeks.

hybrid Hellebore flower
And just look at this gorgeous hellebore flower - I do love the Hellebores at this time of year. Another slightly fuzzy close up I'm afraid - struggling slightly with the macro pics on my new camera! 

candy pink Camellia flower
I didn't expect to see the Camellias in flower - beautiful. Did you know that Camellias are related to the tea plant?

yellow primroses, spring flowers
And lastly the primroses - another wonderful spring flower. 
So that was Grandma's garden in the winter - not quite as pretty as summer but a darn site better than mine. Hope you are all surviving the mud and floods. For lots more garden love head on over to Mammasaurus:

Mammasaurus and How Does Your Garden Grow?

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Silent Sunday #MySundayPhoto

woodland adventures, lake reflections, Lake Wood, Woodland Trust



OneDad3Girls

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Year 2014 in Photos - Week 8

Last week I left you a little early as I had a gig to go to and oh boy it was a good one, hot, sweaty and tiring but good - Wessex Boy Frank Turner you rock and we did 'want to dance'. We stayed the night at the Ibis Hotel just down the road where the public areas were really quite cool, the room basic but clean and the corridors plainly weird.

Rollercoaster Dad and I then had a lazy Valentines day with a spot of shopping and lunch out followed by a rather wet drive to be reunited with the girls at Grandma's. There we made good use of her dog by taking him for some fabulous walks at a local Woodland Trust wood which has a lake, tunnels and rocks and all manner of exciting places to explore. I was planning a Country Kids post on these this week but it will have to wait until the girls go back to school as I just haven't had the time.

Back home chaos reigns. Remember that bathroom - well that's finished but we have started on Bigger Miss's bedroom - so they are still sharing and her furniture and stuff is filling our living room. What with that and working my normal days, half-term has been a little stressful at times but we have managed a couple of activities. Maybe next week normality will return...

Frank Turner - almost crowdsurfing - Portsmouth Guildhall Feb 2014
Frank Turner - epic gig at the Portsmouth Guildhall


walking the dog with Grandma, Woodland Trust
Walking the dog with Grandma. 

sunshine on water, Lake Wood, Woodland Trust
Sunshine (yay!) glinting on the water - I have dozens of photos from our dog walks last weekend but keeping the best for a Country Kids post! 

home-made pizza - much better than from the shops!
We managed a home-made pizza one night after work and the girls loved designing their pizzas, something we have done lots of times before but not for a while (mental note - must do more often!)

Twinkly Jam Jar Lanterns from Florentine and Pig
In preparation for a much overdue review of the fabulous Florentine and Pig books we made Twinkly Jam Jar Lanterns (think I may be busy with all these posts next week!) 

For more half-term fun head on over to the Boy and Me:

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Silent Sunday #MySundayPhoto


don't go there..., red flag flying, army land


OneDad3Girls

Friday, 14 February 2014

The Year 2014 in Photos - Week 7 and some Country Kids

Honestly - very few photos taken this week. The world's costliest smallest room is progressing slowly but surely, meanwhile we are squished and squashed even more in our wee house and it has rained and rained and rained. Thankfully we are not being flooded (although we do have a small roof issue) so we cannot really complain and my thoughts go out to those that are.

However most of the photos were taken when I dragged the girls out on the Ranges on Sunday. The sun was spotted in the sky and they were going out no matter what and we did feel so much better for it. I have said before how much I love going over there - it has a stark beauty and great light for photos (check out tomorrow's Sunday photo too).

Oh and Rollercoaster Dad and I went to a concert - you might even call it a gig and had a night away but because of that I am having to write this early so the only pic you have is of the tickets! Oh and I guess I should wish you all Happy Valentines - it hasn't really figured in my week though.

climbing trees
'Look at me!'  -our favourite tree climbing tree

puddle jumping
Trying to jump together in a very small puddle

flooded army ranges
The water has flooded the main ranges but they are very beautiful.

tree in the floods
The trees look like they are paddling too! 
Very deep puddle - almost over wellies
'Look Mum - the water's almost over my wellies!'

skimming stones in puddles
Other ways of making a splash in a puddle - throwing stones in it! 

textures of tree bark
Meanwhile I was looking at the fantastic textures that you get on trees.

More water for the birds
and looking out for the birds - who are quite enjoying the flooded ranges. 

Frank Turner Portsmouth Guildhall tickets
And lastly - the gig tickets! 
 For some slightly less one dimensional weeks check out the Boy and Me as always and for lots more countryside adventures check out Coombe Mill's Country Kids ....

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Silent Sunday #MySundayPhoto

Flower ceiling light


OneDad3Girls

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Year 2014 in Photos - Week 6

It's been a dull old week mostly - both the weather and life itself. The girls are sharing a room while we have the miniscule downstairs shower room (and what will quite possibly be the most expensive few square feet in the house) fixed up so it's been a tad stressful. Still hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll be able to show you some photos of our sparkling new 'smallest room' along with Bigger Miss's room all smartened up. In the meanwhile the most exciting news was:

happy smiles
Little Miss got to see her bestest friend ever last weekend for a couple of hours of play. She hadn't seen her since August as they moved away last year and you'd never have known it - they were sooo happy! 

blue tit finds new home...
We were all very excited to see that we might have a new family moving into the bird box Bigger Miss made at Brownies last year.

signs of spring - yellow primrose
In all this horrendous weather it's lovely to see small signs of spring - I always look forward to seeing the primroses on the way to school. 
And this one's an update - I forgot to include it first time around but it is the reason for my unproductivity this week. I have caught up with the whole of series 2 of The Bridge in a week - terrifying, gripping, dark and quite possibly the best thing on television.

Celebrating with cake
And lastly the biggest and best news of the week - Little Miss got the Star Award for most improved pupil in her class which called for cake celebrations as is now traditional since they have both now had the award twice in their school careers - clever girls! Little Miss was especially pleased to be able to get warm milk (as she likes it - not that frothy stuff ) and in a posh bone chine teacup to boot!


For all other news from in week 6 of 2014 check out the linky at the Boy and Me:

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky
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