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Where have we been?

People have been asking me what has happened to Mama Scout, where have we been? Will we be back?

Well, I have been taking a break for a few reasons. I have been working on a few other things, a personal writing project and writing for some other websites. Both of which have been a lot of fun and progressing my writing “career” more so than Mama Scout, so for a short while they took priority.

Also I must admit I have enjoyed having family times without needing to share them with the internet. It is nice to hold back a few months just for us, to protect some of the boys childhood from being shared with the world!!

Will we be back, of course! I just need to tie up some loose ends and finish some commitments I have made and we will be back scouting and reviewing for the summer season!

Watch this space!

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Point & Shoot Wet Weekend

Well that was a rather damp weekend wasn’t it?!

Sensible families probably hid indoors and avoided the rain and wind. Not us however, my boys are like border collies they absolutely need to be exercised everyday or they start chewing the furniture. So on Saturday we hit the bowling ally in Gloucester to do some soft play and arcade machines. Then on Sunday we hit another soft play area at Blooms Garden Centre, where rather fortuitously they also sell lovely cake!

Then it was home to bake more cake, play post office and have a lovely Sunday roast, super!

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Disaster!!!

A few weeks ago the computer died, proper dead died. Couldn’t charge it and it had run out of battery so there was nothing to do but to send it back to the manufacturers for repair. Luckily it was still under warranty, unluckily it needed lots replacing and we lost everything on the hard drive.

Last year we brought an external hard drive to back up all the family photos etc (ie TO AVOID THIS EXACT SITUATION FROM OCCURRING!) but like big old idiots we hadn’t backed up since the end of the summer. I lost all the Christmas photos and most heartbreaking I lost all of Sam’s first birthday pictures. I sobbed for about an hour and then pulled myself together as there is literally nothing I can do about it. They are gone and I just have to make sure from now on I take double the amount of precious pictures and back them up EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!!!!stressed

 

 

 

 

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Quiz of the Year 2013

I am such a sucker for a quiz, so when I saw this one on the Snowingindoors blog I couldn’t resist but borrow it!

1 – What did you do in 2013 that you had never done before?

It wasn’t a huge year for firsts so this answer is a little bit boring! For the first time we committed to annual membership to something. We treated ourselves to an English Heritage family pass. It has been amazing, we just love packing up the kids and a picnic and heading out to some cool old place for some history, culture and outdoors fun!

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2 – Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make anymore for 2014?

I always make the new year’s resolution to be a better wife and mother, which I am not sure if I have done. I feel that I have grown as a mum since Daniel started school but I am not sure if I am better. I certainly don’t think I am any more patient, which is something I would really love to be. As for being a better wife, you will have to ask Leon that! I also vowed to lose the baby weight, which I did!

3 – Did anyone close to you give birth?

Last year I gained 3 nieces!

4 – Did anyone close to you die?

No, thank goodness.

5 – What countries did you visit?

Does Wales count? (I am not even 100% sure we crossed the border to Wales this year)

6 – What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

More patience!

7 – What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Moving house in April (again!), There have been lots of firsts for Sam that I wont forget. Daniel starting school, particularly the first time he read a word without help! Breaking my foot and not being able to walk for 3 weeks will probably stick in my long term memory!

8 -  What was your biggest achievement of the year?


It sounds vain, but probably my weight loss. I never really lost the baby weight from Daniel before getting pregnant with Sam, so I had double baby weight at the beginning of the year, but by the summer I was back down to my pre-kids weight and I have mostly kept it off (Christmas was a bit of a blip!).

9 – What was your biggest failure?

I haven’t kept in touch with family and friends enough. I have let life and daily chaos get in the way.

10 – Did you suffer illness or injury?

I started off the year with a killer of a throat infection that lasted about 3 weeks, that wasn’t nice! Also the aforementioned broken toes!

11 – What was the best thing you bought?

Oh, that’s a tough one! Hmmmmm, well Leon brought me an amazing hooded jumper that I love, can that count?!

12 – Where did most of your money go?

The kids, obviously!! A fair chunk went towards the car as well.

13 – What did you get really excited about?

The summer holidays. We had loads of really fun days out planned and visits to and from family members. It was amazing!

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14 – What song will always remind you of 2013?

Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus, due to the Chatroulette version on Youtube, not for the feint hearted!

15 – Compared to this time last year, are you:


– happier or sadder? The same…
– thinner or fatter? Thinner (yay!)
– richer or poorer? Not much in it!

16 – What do you wish you’d done more of?


Writing.

17 -  What do you wish you’d done less of?


Worrying.

18 – How did you spend Christmas?

Christmas day was at home just the 4 of us. The week after was a mad dash around the country visiting all our families!

19 -  What was your favorite TV program?

Game of Thrones!!

20 -  What were your favorite books of the year?

Game of Thrones!!

21 -  What was your favorite music from this year?


Not sure, I didn’t really have time to listen to new music.

22 – What were your favorite films of the year?

Both Hobbits! Erm…….I watched quite a lot of disappointing films this year!!

23 -  What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 32 and we went to Birmingham for the day. It was cold and miserable (despite being June) and I didn’t like the Bullring, win! We came home and brought a chocolate cake and a bottle of Cava which rounded things up nicely!

24 – What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Having more money so we could have afforded to rent a 3 bedroom house closer to Daniels school.

25 – What kept you sane?

Leon.

26 -  Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.


That your life can change at the drop of a hat, so above all things make sure you are adaptable.

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Happy New Year!

Excuse my break in blogging in December, most of our family outings were Christmas and family related and wouldn’t be of much use to the majority of you!

But for those of you who are as nosy as me here is an unedited rather rubbish slideshow of our Christmas, you lucky things!

We saw the New Year in in the tradition of those with small children, asleep by 11pm and cursing the fireworks that woke us up at midnight. New Years day was just hideous, so we cooked a load of sausage rolls, bundled the kids into the car and drove up to the viewpoint over Birdlip for a “car picnic”. Car picnics are a big hit in our family, during the less kind months we have them all the time. Its great to finish a good walk in the countryside with a hearty picnic in the warmth and dry of your car. Sometimes when the kids are bored we drive somewhere for the sole purpose of eating lunch in a car. I literally put whatever they were having for lunch anyway into a box and off we go, they think it is the best treat ever!

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Proof that we are all in fact loons………….

 

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There’s an Elf on our shelf!

This year my Mum has brought the Boy’s an Elf on the Shelf set. You get a toy Elf and a lovely book telling the story of how the Elf has been sent by Santa to watch over them until Christmas and report back on their behaviour. Can I get an evil Mummy laugh?!

The most fun thing is that every day you need to think of a new thing for the Elf to be doing when the kids wake up, so that they know for sure the Elf comes alive at night!

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He came with a letter from Santa while we were out at Clearwell Caves visiting Santa!

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He likes to play the DS……

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And zip wire between the lights!

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Then he brought us our Christmas tree……

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Has midnight snacks……

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Flirting with the tree Fairy!!

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And climbing up the curtains….

I wonder what he will get up to next?!

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Clearwell Caves Santa

This weekend to celebrate the start of December and all the upcoming festivities we went to visit the man himself, Old St Nick.

In 2011 we went to Clearwell Caves and decided it was gorgeous and that we would definitely be back. Last year I regret to say that having a newborn baby took its toll and we never got round to seeing Santa. So it was doubly important this year that we did it again.

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Getting There –

I have no idea, we seemed to zigzag through the forest for about 45 minutes. I have no idea where we are the second we travel west of Gloucester. Leon assures me its not difficult and that you basically drive to Coleford and then follow the signs.

It is a fairly long drive, but its worth it.

The Experience –

You are in for a treat here. Clearwell Caves are an old Iron mine (I think) and are part of a natural underground cave system. It has winding passages and impressive caverns. During Christmas they fill the place with fairy lights, loads of real Christmas trees and tonnes of presents (all labelled with every name you can think of, great fun to play “spot your present”).

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We got there about 45 minutes before it opened as I remembered from the year before that it was very busy. I am sooooooo glad we did because we practically went straight through with only a 10 min wait to see Santa, but by time we emerged from the grotto the queue was incredible. Far longer than I would have imagined, I would say that the people at the back of the queue had a good 2 hours to wait. In fact if we had arrived and seen that queue I would have gone home again!

It cost £8.50 per person (adults too) and under 2′s were free unless they wanted a present and then they cost £4. You enter the caves and walk through fairy lights and Christmas trees to join the queue for Santa. There is even a post box there so you can post your letter! You get to spend a few minutes with Santa and can take your own photos (none of this taking your photo and charging you a fiver for it here) then you get to choose a present from Santa’s workshop. They are all high quality and have a mix of ages and genders. The kids love this part! (Daniel chose a bus, to go with his other 6 buses)

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After seeing Santa you walk through a beautiful story represented in the cutest scenes set throughout the caves. This years story is “The Perfect Christmas Tree”. Each scene has an oversized story page for the children to read. I wont spoil the plot!

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Halfway through the story the caves open up into an underground market selling Christmas decorations and other crafty bits, and a cafe.

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The story then continues and takes you round to the gift shop and exit.

It really is cute, and very special.

Facilities –

This is not a place I would have thought a pushchair would be a good idea. I think you could probably get one round, but it may be more trouble than its worth. So if you have a carrier I would recommend using that instead. Although there are some low ceilings so mind that babies head!

There are toilets both before you enter the caves in a coffee shop outside and some when you get inside. They do have a changing table.

I am not sure about bottle/baby food heating. I would say its probably easier to go at a time that doesn’t coincide with feeding!

Overall –

We love this as a place to see Santa. Its really different and very special. Definitely worth the drive.

It doesn’t feel commercial or tacky. The “Elves” (which I suspect are local teens) do a fab job at talking to the kids and making it magical.

Just make sure you get there early early early!!! Although I imagine week days in term time are much quieter.

All that is left to say is HO HO HO!

 

We paid for this day out ourselves and were not asked to take part in a review. Clearwell Caves had no idea we would be visiting. You can rest assured that my opinion is my own!

All information should be checked before you go. All correct at time of writing. Remember as always to be careful!