Thursday, 31 March 2011

Tips for watching The Royal Wedding in London

1.5 million wedding watchers are expected in London for the Royal Wedding. People will be travelling from all over the World to catch a glimpse of the newly weds in their carriage. The atmosphere will be unforgettable...A real moment in time never to be forgotten. That is why I will be jumping on the tube and joining in on the celebrations.

If you are planning on being there too then it is advisable to plan your day in advance. Decide which tube station you will use, plan where you would like to watch the wedding, download a map of the Royal parks and make sure you know where the public loo's are.

Tube stations:

Stations close to the procession route are: Embankment, Charing Cross, Waterloo, Westminster, Hyde Park Corner and Green Park. For stations that wont be as busy and you don't mind walking then go to Piccadilly Circus or Sloane Square. Step free access will be at Westminster. Victoria and Charing Cross stations are expected to be the busiest.

Within the next week or so I will be ordering our flags and hats for the day probably from Woolies online . I strongly advise buying these before you go because the kids will only whinge for them when you get there and in London they will be very very expensive. Prices in Woolies at the moment are; Bowler hats - 99p each, Red, white and Blue Flower Lei - 99p each and Pack 12 flags - £4.99.

Once you have all your union jack stuff to wave at the Royals make sure you have a Thermos flask for tea/coffee, a waterproof jacket or even better cheap rain capes that fold flat in your bag, I got mine for 99p each from a local factory shop. A loo roll or tissues in case the public loo's run out. Take a picnic and some cold drinks for the kids as soft drinks will be pricier than usual in London on the day.

Pack it all in a back pack which leaves your hands free for waving your flags and lifting the kids up to see. Wear comfy shoes, you'll be on your feet a lot. Fully charge your mobile phone and camera battery the night before. Set off early.

The Procession

10.30am - Prince William and Kate will travel separately to the service. Kate will travel by royal car either from Buckingham Palace or Clarence House and head along the Mall, cross the Horse Guards Parade and head towards Parliament Square.

11:00am - The ceremony will start at Westminster Abbey.

12:00pm – The newly married couple will proceed along the same route back to Buckingham Palace via horse-drawn carriage, The 1902 State Landau which is the same carriage Charles and Di used for their 1981 wedding. This is weather permitting, if it rains they will travel in The Glass coach.

1:30pm - William and Kate should be making an appearance on the balcony at Buckingham palace to hopefully kiss and wave to the crowds.

(photo source - London wedding car)

Prime viewing Spots

1) You might struggle to reach the number one spot but the wedding will take place at Westminster Abbey, so if you can get there and don't mind a little pushing and shoving head that way.

(Photo source - The Fine Print)

Warning - It will be heaving here so if you really want to view from Westminster get there early. People will be picking their spots from dawn or even camping overnight.

2) My personal favourite is The Mall although I'm expecting it will be chocka block with watchers. I Love the wide open, tree lined red road which will of course be closed to traffic. This is probably where I will head as it is smack bang in the middle of St James Park which will be buzzing and have a carnival atmosphere. If I don't get a good spot here I will probably head down the road to Trafalgar Square where a giant screen will be broadcasting the event.

( Photo source - Ask jeeves)

3) Horse Guards Parade which is situated at the bottom of The Mall will also be very busy but will be a good place to watch.
4) Whitehall and Parliament Square are prime spots also, however I expect these area's will be extremely crowded as they are so close to Westminster Abbey.

(photo source - Wikipedia)

5) Duke of York Statue - A less obvious spot, the steps under the statue will be a good view point - The statue faces southwest towards where The Mall and St James Park meet.
(photo source - qwiki)

*St James's Park - (Download park map) here you will find a bar, barbecue, ice creams and a party atmosphere.

*Toilets - You will also find two sets of lav's in the park - one north of Blue Bridge, at the other at the east end of the park opposite Horse Guards. There are also loo's beneath the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, opposite the Abbey. There will be portaloos dotted about in various places.

*Hyde Park - You will find a giant screen broadcasting the event. In the middle of the park near the Bandstand in Serpentine Road there is the celebration wheel which is quite reasonably priced at £20 for 2 adults & 2 children plus if you book in advance online you will get a discount of 10%. 

(photo source - Matluckins)

* The London Eye will be lit up at night in red, white and blue but I'll be on my way home by then knackered.

* Big Screens will be located across the UK broadcasting the wedding so if you can't make it into London and would rather stay local then check out the locations here.

So will you be celebrating the Royal wedding? If so how? Popping into London, watching it on TV or a street party?

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Gallery - Hair

For this weeks Gallery over at Sticky Fingers the theme is hair. Over the years I have had every style and every colour. I have always been very brave when it comes to my hair and will try anything. I really wish I had a photo of the time I shaved tram lines in the side of my head...My Mum went absolutely ballistic and grounded me for what felt like forever.

Anyway the worst and funniest hair I can remember having was The Perm. Why oh why did we do it? I really do not understand what we were thinking. This photo was taken in early 1990 just after the birth of my first baby. I was nineteen and after feeling thrumpy after the nine months of pregnancy I yearned for a new look so Papa sent me down the hairdressers with 40 quid in my purse and said "Treat yourself"

Oh I treated myself alright...To a very stylish perm. As some of you may remember when you have a perm it takes a few days to 'drop' and this photo was taken the day I had it done. When I got home from the hairdressers and walked through the front door I looked like a cross between Kevin Keegan and a poodle. The house erupted into a volcano of laughter. I naturally stormed upstairs in a huff and Papa followed me up and took this photo. I was not impressed! Oh and yes that is shoulder pads I have in my tracksuit top, just to finish the look off perfectly, lol! They were the days.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Why wont my baby stop crying?

Let's go back nearly twenty one years. I was a young, first time mum not quite twenty, newly wed and as Papa and I were so young we moved in with Mum just to give us that bit of breathing space while we looked for our first home together. Mum offered lots of support and it was cheaper to live back at home while we saved our pennies. Papa worked full time while I stayed home with my lovely new baby. My Mum was glad to have us there, newly divorced from my Step dad she was a bit lonely and needed to pay the mortgage so having us there paying rent and me helping out with my younger brothers by childminding while she went to work was ideal for all of us.

I had been around babies all my life. Being the eldest of six children I'd watched Mum care for all her babies and being the only girl I was always eager to help. So I guess you could say motherhood came quite naturally to me. What I didn't anticipate was the overwhelming, surge of unconditional love that I would feel the moment I held my own child in my arms.

Of course I loved my brothers very much but it was different because they were not reliant on me, I was not responsible for them, they had Mum for that but my baby was totally dependant on me and Papa. With that new responsibility came an element of anxiety. An anxiety that I had never experienced before.

I knew how to care for a baby, how to change nappies, make up the bottles, sterilise, bath and dress baby, you know all the essential day to day stuff. None of that stuff really worried me but I did feel a certain nervousness. I began questioning everything...his breathing, little rashes he got, his development, his weight. I so wanted to be a good Mum and to raise a happy child.

I was very lucky that I had Papa to reassure me. He has always been a very hands on father, even though he was only nineteen when we had our first and from day one he was more than capable of caring for our child as much as me. I have never worried about leaving the kids in his care, it has always been very 50/50 parenting and twenty one years later it still is.

The anxiety didn't last that long, only a few months and I always had Mum on hand if I was ever worried about anything, in fact I constantly asked her "Is this right Mum?" "Does this look ok?" "What d'ya think this rash is?" "what nappy rash cream is best?" "What nappies are best?" Etc Etc. You name it I asked it.

Then Mum went on holiday for two weeks and we were quite excited to have the house to ourselves, Just me, Papa and Baby. It was the first time we had been totally left on our own for a long period of time and everything was fine until one night baby wouldn't stop screaming. We tried everything to pacify him, his bottle, a dummy, a warm bath, rocking him, walking him round the house in his pram, he just wouldn't settle. I became convinced he must be ill and that his crying was a cry of pain. I started to panic and took him down to A&E. I was pretty upset and by this point at the end of my tether.

A big stern looking nurse came into our little side room. "What's the problem?" she asked in a gruff voice.

"He wont stop crying...I think he might be ill" I replied, close to tears.

"Have you fed him?" She asked

"Of course I have" I answered, shocked she would even asked such a ridiculous question.

"Lets just try him with a bottle shall we"

I rolled my eyes and got a bottle out of my bag. Papa began feeding baby and to my utter disbelief baby started gulping his bottle down as if I'd been starving him.

The nurse looked at me with raised eyebrows "Nothing wrong with this baby...He's just hungry"

If the ground could have opened up at the point and swallowed me whole I would have welcomed it. I felt like a right twit.

When Mum returned from her holiday and I told her all about our adventure she rolled around laughing, she thought it was hilarious and I had to was pretty funny. However, no matter how embarrassed I felt I really don't regret rushing baby to A&E because it could quite easily have been something serious. Better to be safe than sorry and I'd have rather felt my cheeks burning red than the awful regret I'd feel if there was a problem.

Have you ever made any embarrassing parenting blunders? Has your baby ever made you look like you are being completely neurotic? I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Magpie Monday - Ebay and The Tip

Ok so I didn't get to the charity shop this week, I know I know...Shocking! I've been quite busy and My 11 year old was off school with a cold so I didn't get round to going. For this weeks Magpie Monday over at Me and My Shadow I'm going to show you some items of furniture I've managed to get my hands on for next to nothing.

Firstly when I moved into this house 18 months ago I had no wardrobes because my old house had built in ones so I was living out of boxes at first and felt so frustrated. Then after being here about two weeks Papa popped to the tip to throw away some junk and as he got there he pulled up next to a fella who was dragging a wardrobe from the back of a 4 x 4.

Hubby asked him "Are you throwing that?"

The Fella answered "yes...would you like it?" Then added "It is brand new...I had it handmade for my place a couple of years back and never ended up using it. It's been collecting dust in my barn ever since"

I was thrilled and I know pine is a bit dated now but it is a really good, solid piece of furniture and I'll probably end up painting it eventually with a nice Cath Kidston paint.

My second item is a bench set that I won on ebay for a fiver. They are still selling in Ikea for £46 per stool and £90 for the bench. That's a saving of £224! Result!

Pop over to Magpie Monday to see everyone else's bargains

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Top 15 Things to do before you are 12

1) Hill rolling on a sunny day

2) plant seeds

3) Eat something you have grown

4) go on a fairy or elf hunt

5) rockpooling

6) paddle in the sea

7) Build sandcastles

8) Bake cakes

9) Cart wheels

10) Hold wiggly worms

11) Go on a long bike ride

12) collect ladybirds

13) Have a water fight

15) Feed farm animals

Follow The River and you will find The Sea

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Listography - Time Travel

Ok so jump aboard my time machine and let me show you the places I would visit as part of this weeks Listography over at Kate Takes 5. The theme is Time Travel.

First stop back to the early 90's when me and Papa were a young family in our early 20's. I'd pack us all up and move us onto an eco village in the woods. A village a bit like Tinkers Bubble in Somerset but it would be in North Devon by the sea, where I would spend my days growing our food, making soap, home schooling my kids and surfing.

Next stop is definately to the future and the day we discover a cure for Cancer. I would grab some of the the cure and bring it back for my Mum so she would never have died from it. Mum would then join me at the eco village.

Then I would zip ahead to the future again a good few thousand years to the day we make communication with extra terrestrials. Now this could go one of two ways...either really good or really really bad. Either way it's a moment in time that I'd love to witness.

Next stop the Neolithic period and Wiltshire for Silbury Hill and Avebury stone circle at the time of construction. I would love to see how it was built and more importantly WHY? They would be bombarded with questions. As Avebury is older than Stonehenge the reason for its existance would probally be the same for stonehenge. Archaeologists believe that Wiltshire and particularly Silbury Hill was a very important area and they even believe that the Egyptians got their idea for the pyramids from Silbury Hill. Very Cool place.

And Lastly I would visit my ancestors in Barnstaple, North Devon and tell them not to go to London for work but to become fishermen instead and continue to raise their family in the countryside. I'd also make sure I popped over to see Papa's ancestors and persuade them to move to Devon too (Just to guarantee me & Papa would meet)

I would love it if My whole family lived in Devon...Bliss.


Fearne Cotton to host The Royal Wedding

As a lot of you probably already know I'm a huge Prince William fan. I love the Royal Family, particularly William who I think will make a fabulous future King. I would describe myself as quite patriotic really and I think The Royals bring so much to our little country and I'm very proud of our Monarchy.

Of course we all know they bring a huge amount of money into the country via tourism but I think they also give our country an identity to be proud of. The Queen and her family visit many countries are are highly respected worldwide, they play a huge role in retaining good relations with them.

Anyway I think the Royal wedding this year will go a long way towards helping dig our country out of the financial mess we are in right now. Tourists will be flocking here, spending lots of money and the many Businesses producing royal memorabilia will be raking in the extra pennies. All good for our country.

On the day of the wedding I will probably head into London on the Tube just as I did for the Queen's Golden jubilee in 2002. Thermos and camera in hand hoping to catch a glimpse of the lovely bride and groom. I know the atmosphere will be electric and I can not wait to suck it all up.

For the many thousands of people who will be watching the Big day on TV will be treated to coverage probably all day. But who will be commentating on this momentous event?

Well, it has been reported that Radio One's Fearne cotton and Edith Bowman are confirmed hosts of the event.
Also appearing on the BBC's broadcast of the ceremony will be Vernon Kay, Formula 1 frontman Jake Humphrey and Alex Jones from The One Show.

David Dimbleby has been the voice of many previous state occasions and is now being replaced by a younger Huw Edwards. The BBC of course are denying favouring a more 'youthful' line up of presenters over the more mature presenters of the past.

There has been some criticism over the choice of presenters from the likes of politician Anne Widdecombe who blasts the decision.

Widdecombe believes that the younger presenters hold no 'Gravitas' and that "the chosen stars are not dignified enough for the occasion."
What a load of Toffee! I think the younger presenters will bring a much needed 'zing' to the occasion because I think they will appeal to the younger generation who really can not e bothered with stuffy commentators. I think people like Fearne Cotton will give the future King and his missus some street cred. I think its a great idea.
What do you think...Do you feel the younger presenters will bring some fun and bounce to the day or do you think they have no 'Gravitas' like Anne believes the occasion needs?

Friday, 25 March 2011

My Daughters Blog

Introducing my teenage Daughters new blog - Cupcake's, fashion and an ice cream passion - A blog about a girl. She will be blogging about baking, fashion and other teenage interests. I know she would be thrilled if you popped over and said Hi.
You can find her blog here.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

flashback friday - The Golden Jubilee

These photo's for Flashback Friday were taken in 2002 during the Queen's Golden jubilee. They are a handful of snaps that my Mum took during our day trip into London. We went up to Trafalgar square where we sat on the grass with thousand's of other people and had lunch before we waved to the Queen and prince Philip as they travelled past us in their stunning Golden carriage.

There was also a fantastic carnival that day, the sun was shining and we all had a superb day. I was there with my four kids, one of my best friend's and her kids and My Mum, brothers and a couple of other friends.

I'm the one on the end, on the right, in the red T-shirt with the 'Trotters independent Traders' three wheeled buggy, haha. We are massive 'Only fools & Horses' fans and we nicknamed the buggy 'Del boy'...It was actually one of the best buggies I've ever used albeit a little on the 'Bright' side. The Golden Jubilee was also around the same time as The World Cup so that is why most of us are wearing England tops and caps.

The Crowds were huge.

We were joined by the London pearly Kings & Queens. Each London borough has a Pearly King & Queen and its an old tradition that originated at the beginning of the 19th century. Pearly Kings & Queens decorate their clothing with hundreds of pearl buttons and collect money for charities. I always love to spot a pearly King, they look fab!

And of course Mum loved the carnival so much she wanted in on the action, so she got chatting to one of the carnival girls and they gave her a hat to try on. It absolutely made Mum's day.

Please pop over to the lovely Karin over at Cafe Bebe and take a look at the other Flasback Friday entries.

Handmade Thursday - Crochet

For today's Handmade Thursday over at White Lily Green I thought I'd show you some of my crochet. I learnt to crochet when I was eleven and was taught by a lovely ex partner of my Dad's. Her name was Wendy and I loved her because she really liked me and my brothers and she encouraged Dad to have a relationship with us (unlike his current wife). I know that it must have taken her a hell of a lot of patience to teach an eleven year old child to work the hook and wool. Its a craft I adore and will always remember Wendy for teaching me such a lovely skill.
So in the photo above is me wearing one of my handmade ripple scarf's in different shades of grey and the box below is full of the same scarves that I crocheted for our nieces a couple of Christmases ago.

I crocheted the boys hats...including one for my Brother Mr T who rarely takes it off, bless him he loves it even though its old and worn now.

So pop over to Lily White Green's for some more homemade goodies.


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