Hosting an Under the Sea Party

Hosting an under the sea birthday party is pretty easy and a lot of fun.

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The first thing I made was the invites. I went with a take on a wedding invite on pinterest and made an oyster shell from pearlised card. To make it draw the shell and cut out the top half leaving the bottom piece of card attached, then fold it over, trace around the top and cut out the bottom half to have matching pieces.

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Cut some lines for the gaps in the shell.

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Print out the information for the party on paper and cut the shape of the shell around it only slightly smaller then glue in.

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For decoration I largely used coloured crepe streamers and A LOT of balloons, all bought fairly cheaply from ebay. I picked out sea green, teal, pale blue and pinks.

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A simple net from ebay allowed a balloon net on the ceiling.

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And crepe streamers over the windows gave a real aquatic, underwater feel.

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More balloons up the corners of the walls looked like bubbles, and were just stuck on rather than helium filled.

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Shower caps and crepe made jelly fish to hang.

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For the cakes I adapted a pinterest idea to fit our colour scheme and made a layered ombre green cake with waves on the sides, sand from brown sugar on top and a crab!

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I also made a number one cake from the left over icing.

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We had quite a spread in the end too…

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…a watermelon shark…

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…sea jellies…

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…banana dolphins…

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… and a pepper octopus!

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I also made fish and chips in the oven (oven chips and scampi pieces) and served them in these pokes which I obtained after MUCH searching only to discover the name for these is actually a “fries scoop”.

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I made her banner but painting a large roll of paper in blues and greens then cutting out a whale shape. Then I stuck on letters cut from pink paper.

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Roslyn seemed to enjoy it so I think it was a hit!

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Roslyn’s Under the Sea Party!

We had a fabulous time last weekend hosting Roslyn’s Under the Sea First Birthday party!

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I had an under the sea party for my first birthday so I love that Rozzie had one for her first too.

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We splashed out on a mega fireworks candle which was quite exciting.

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Roslyn was only too happy to taste test the chocolate seashells at the bottom of her cake. She okayed them to be offered to all her guests shortly after.

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With Auntie Fran and Uncle Jamie.

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And Daddy.

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Sandy had a ball too playing with his friends and cousins. In fact I saw very little of him through the party as he was mostly outside playing football!

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Roslyn dressed up as a mermaid for the event; it’s probably the frilliest she will be til her wedding day.

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She wore the tutu well with a chocolate covered face. Proud Mum right here.

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We had some ocean inspired snacks…

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I’m particularly proud of the shark!

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A Roslyn’s eye view of the party: lots of peoples’ feet.

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With her Pa.

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Pheobe and Esme chilling outside.

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Auntie Allison (Roslyn’s midwife) came too which was lovely. Roslyn took her for a walk!

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We played pass the parcel and there was a shocking turn of events when Sandy won it :S

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Roslyn was pretty chuffed (and surprisingly not averse to opening yet more presents) but in the end Sandy gave it to his friend Esme for her baby sister who was at the party, Lucy. Her first birthday party at only six days old!!

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There was time for a few more cards…

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…and presents…

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…before the party was over and we all crashed in a heap after all the fun. Well, the kids did. Stuart and I tidied up.

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Happy Birthday again to my little pudding! And only a few months until it’s time to party it up again for the Sandman’s 3rd!

Birthday Butterflies and Snake Handling!

For Roslyn’s birthday treat we took her to Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World.

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She was pretty taken with all the butterflies, pointing at them and shouting “da”.

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Sandy loved the “fast water”.

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However, he had a little run in with the flying friends. We hadn’t been there more than ten minutes when a butterfly the size of your hand landed on his shoulder. He was looking in the opposite direction at the time…

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This picture was taken just as he turned his head and the butterfly had flown off. Miliseconds later he saw his new friend and freaked out, then spent the rest of the visit with his arms batting about the top of his head just in case!

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We went into the insect area and Sandy loved finding all the different creatures to look at.

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Roslyn mostly loved crawling around pretending to be chased and walking on my fingers.

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Despite the butterfly incident Sandy was particularly brave in going into the nocturnal room…

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…and then back into the butterfly area to see the turtles.

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After a brief snack we then went to the handling session. They had already had a milipede and a cameleon out but we were just in time for the snake!

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Sandy was so ridiculously proud of himself for holding the snake, whose name was Johnny.

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And when Roslyn had a go Johnny stuck her tongue out at her and Rozzie stuck hers out too…

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We had a fabulous day for our little Rozzie and I think she thoroughly enjoyed herself!

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Roslyn’s 1st Birthday

We celebrated Roslyn’s first birthday on the 7th of May.

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The little bear woke to a small pile of presents and a brother very eager to help her open them.

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Birthday morning’s are so special. I love all the opening of presents in pyjamas and inevitably sugar filled breakfast that follows.

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Our main present to Roslyn was a new charm for her bracelet. We got her a charm bracelet with an “R” charm for her first christmas, and now have the joy of picking out new charms each year to add for her.

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I thought that I’d got her an adult size but it turns out it’s a child one. It’s good though because she can wear it and then we will upgrade it for her when she’s bigger. So she tried it on for the first time.

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We picked her out a ladybird. When I was pregnant with her and convinced she was a girl I kept seeing ladybirds. And now that she’s here she has had them land on her several times, so a ladybird for our lady seemed ideal!

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Tate and Pa came bearing gifts too and bought her TWO MORE CHARMS, lucky little thing that she is!

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One that they got her was the bear one we had been swithering over before deciding on the ladybird…

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…and the other was a horse, because our girl loves horses and her toy stable!

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Daddy got Roslyn a pair of polkadot Vans which she helped pick a few weeks ago when we went en mass family shoe shopping to Schuh!

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Her toy gift was a push a long lawnmower that Sandy’s pal Rohan has. They were both pretty taken with it and if the weather ever improves they can help out when we do the garden.

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Here’s a little sneak preview of Roslyn’s under the sea party which I will post on very soon…!

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Pa’s charges.

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Sandy got a token gift or two as well. A Shirt from us and a thomas book from tate and pa which he was pretty happy to receive.

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And then it was cake time!

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When Sandy received his first birthday cake he immediately face planted it and we had hoped for the same with Roslyn but, true to form, she was faaaaar too lady like for that and instead daintily poked at it and scraped a tiny sliver of icing into her mouth.

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Sandy did show her how to do it but she wasn’t impressed.

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Gran, Granda and Auntie Nicola came over too and Roslyn was spoiled with presents too, including a buggy for the baby to go in, lovely clothes and Tomy eggs!

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All in all she had a fabulous day!

David Livingston Centre

Having signed up to our National Trust membership at our recent visit to Bannockburn I decided to take the littles to a local trust property for the afternoon; the David Livingston Centre in Blantyre.

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First things first we hit up the park. It was a largely wet day so we made the most of the brief dry spell to play.

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Side note: I finally unearthed this little waterproof of Sandy’s for Roslyn to wear! One of my favourites and she rocks it!

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Boing Boing Boing

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Sandy’s getting to the stage where he can now happily look after his sister. Such as holding her on to this giraffe so I could get a picture of them. Useful little chap ;)

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One of the less happy to be posing together pictures I have engineered in my time as a mum of two…

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It occured to me that these little horses are probably Kelpies! Or Selkies, depending on whether that is meant to be fresh or salty water…

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And shortly after this picture Sandy bummed Roslyn off the seat entirely. Oops.

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Working on their day compared to a young David Livingston’s. Turns out he only slept five hours a night!! To be fair, if Roslyn had her way so would all of us.

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There was a game to look at pictures of African items David Livingston would have encountered on his travels as a missionary. Sandy guessed that this was a basket…

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…and that this was a light. Fairly perceptive and intelligent guesses for a two year old I think! His imagination and brain development is constantly impressing me at the moment!

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We had a great time there and the staff were all lovely. My Mum said something about it being a bit dated but I kind of liked that, I think it adds to it’s charm. There is a lot of focus on modernising everything in the tourism sector and while these modernisations are undoubtedly beneficial to the experience there is a part of me that worries that the heritage of heritage itself is getting lost. So I was happy to embrace the old school feel to the centre and we will definitely be back again!

Happy 1st Birthday Roslyn Constance

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At precisely this moment a year ago we welcomed Roslyn to the world. I was leaning over the side of the birth pool feeling the most immense relief as she came earthside into her Daddy’s waiting hands.

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As we brought her up through the water we both felt this weird de ja vu, as if it was baby Sandy all over again. They looked so similar and still do. I often get told she is “just like Sandy, only more delicate”.

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Roslyn merged into our family with immense ease. Despite the tough parts of any newborn phase (the restless evenings, the cluster feeding, the screamy car journeys) it was soon like she’d always been there.

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I knew when it was just the three of us that we weren’t finished having babies. Stuart told me on numerous occasions that it was okay for me not to have more, that he didn’t expect it. The trauma from my first experience was still fresh. But I just couldn’t comprehend just having one. So we conceived Roslyn shortly after Sandy’s first birthday. I didn’t give all that much thought to the age gap, and our decision was a sort of get the horrors of pregnancy out the way as soon as possible type scenario. However I have loved this age gap. The way Sandy and and Roslyn are together melts my heart on a daily basis.

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As soon as we got her though I knew our family was complete. She brought our numbers even and our boy-girl ratio up to 2:2. It felt right. I’m not saying that I don’t get broody. At work I wander around the park on tour and see squishy newborn faces and wrinkly tiny hands and have a fleeting moment of “oh it wouldn’t be that bad an idea…” but it soon passes. Honestly, I’m not willing to compromise how things are at the moment (perfect) or to punish myself with another pregnancy, just because of hormonal urges. We are complete and couldn’t be happier.

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It’s been a busy year for our Roslyn, as any first year is. She came on so quickly. Perhaps it was just the way time flies, or that she is a child GENIUS, or because she had her brother’s footsteps to follow in. She smiled at 2.5 weeks old. And no, it wasn’t wind.

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She interacted with her brother straight away. In fact, she has spent most of her first year transfixed by him. There must be something innate in babies telling them to learn from the other little people around them. Indeed her third word (after mumum and dada) was “dee” (Sandy).

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Saying that, she has always been a Mummy’s girl. Sandy as a baby was treated similarly to Roslyn. We breastfed, we co-slept til seven months, and we babywore consistently. Yet Roslyn has proved to be far more clingy. Sandy from four months would happily go out with anyone. His Pa, his Gran, Tate, Auntie Kels… he would easily transfer to them and happily enjoy time away from me. It’s not to say he wasn’t happy to be back with me, but he never exhibited the stranger danger that babies often get.
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Roslyn on the other hand was reluctant to ever be away from me. Not only when little but to this day. I think partly Sandy’s taking a dummy helped as he had that comfort with others. Roslyn never entertained the dummy and gagged when given it, which I think has contributed to her reliance on me. I stopped feeding Sandy at 7.5 months but Roslyn is still going strong and I don’t know when we will stop, probably not for a long time.

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It took a while to get Roslyn to a place where she could go out with other people. She was always happy with her Daddy as the only acceptable alternative to me and would spend time with him and Sandy but when it came to going with other family members, we had to ease her into it. I remember the first time she went out with Tate and she lasted almost an hour before getting upset. We started slowly with her taking an hour or two at a time with tate or gran. Luckily she had Sandy with her and it was only a matter of time before she was happy away from me. To this day though, if I am there, she won’t leave me alone. She reaches for me constantly when she would be happy if I wasn’t present. I’m not going to lie, I love the way she wants me.

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Roslyn’s sleep through the first year has been, well, pretty dire. At first she slept well. We were lulled into a false sense of security and then four month regression hit and actually has barely improved since. We did manage to get her from our bed to her cot, and then taking bottles from Daddy, but she’s still up several times a night. A night with just two wakes is a good one. Honestly though, we really aren’t feeling it this time like we did with Sandy. She will get there in the end I’m sure!

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Roslyn is a very smiley girl. She never stops. And she has this chuckle like a rotund 60 year old with a pint in his hand. It’s adorable. She’s tickly, very tickly. She finds it hilarious to blow raspberries on my stomach then ends herself laughing. She throws herself on the ground and rolls about. We are never short of entertainment with our Rozzie around.

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Roslyn has garnered probably more nicknames than Sandy did. Rozzie. Rozziebear. Chicken. Chickenbear. Chickenchops. Rositano. Rosichanna. Channa. Channabear. Channachops… I won’t keep going but I easily could!

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Of course her most common name is babee. When she was born Sandy called her babee and it stuck. Even her grandparents routinely call her it.

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Roslyn’s eating is hit or miss. She was never a massive eater. She’s a little thing. She does love toast, blueberries, porridge, chicken and yoghurt though. We are far more chilled about it this time round.

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Thankfully her two visits to the hospital were short lived and she’s not been back. In fact she hasn’t had to use inhalers or steroids since February so here’s hoping she has now grown out of oversensitive airways issues!

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Roslyn sat up at five months, crawled at seven and stood up (holding on) at 8. I’m sure she is moments away from standing unaided. She can walk on a walker easily now so walking shouldn’t be far off either.

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She has started talking a lot recently and can say and identify mummy, daddy, sandy, tate, juice, cat, food, and toast.

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Rozzie loves water so swimming and baths are favourite activities, along with going on swings and exploring the garden.

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We are so proud and blessed to have our baby girl as part of our family. She’s the best girl in the world and we couldn’t be happier.

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Happy Birthday little Roslyn! x

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Bannockburn

We went to the battle of bannockburn visitor centre having heard it was top notch. It really was a great experience, with 3d effect visual shows and the chance to take part in the battle game which was a bit like risk but with 30 people!

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We had a snack in the cafe after then headed out to the actual battlefield but it was a tad wet so we didn’t spend long. It didn’t detract from the visit though as the centre was so good. We actually signed up for national trust memberships too so now have a whole host of other places to visit for no more cost! Anyway, it’s a short post today because birthday plans and arrangements for a certain little lady’s first continue to gather pace! So watch this space for a birthday celebration of one year of Roslyn on Thursday!

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Pollok Country Park

Last weekend we went to Pollok Country Park in Glasgow for a picnic day out.

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Pollok hosts a fleet of clydesdales owned by the council including Duke, one of the two models for the Kelpies. They were grazing in a field by the river and roaming in the water itself. Lovely horses!

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This funny face was in good spirits for once. It feels like most days she is grumpy over her teeth these days. 9-12 months sucks!

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We had our picnic by the river with the wonderful Pollok house in the background.

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Sandy was very keen on the “big hosses”

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And Roslyn was taken with being able to roam freely somewhere other than our front room.

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Ghost boy.

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Sandy’s day was made with finding “Thomas’s tunnel” as he is VERY into thomas the tank engine at present.

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Looking out to…river.

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Here was the first failed attempt at roslyn’s nap. But she did finally doze off and we went for a wander in the woods.

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LOVE IN.

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There were so many logs to climb so Sandy was in his element.

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As was Daddy.

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No need for us to attach any wishes to the tree as at present we don’t find ourselves wanting for anything…

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HOORAY!

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Squishy face had woken up….

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…and just in time for more posing.

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It was a perfect day. Here’s to a whole summer of days like it!

New Job (Kelpies Tour Guide) and Kelpies Anniversary

The beginning of this year was a busy time for me. Not only was I rushing to get my full PhD draft completed I was job hunting to avoid a gap between my funding running out and my first wage slip arriving. Somehow I managed it and as the draft went in my new contract went off. This is actually the first time I’ve posted about my new job though as I wanted to ensure it was all in the bag.

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I posted a few months back about the Kelpies – equine sculptures situated in Falkirk just off the M9 – and our visit there. The reason for the visit, not only because it’s an excellent day out, was as a scouting mission for my interview. Thankfully the interview went well and my presentation was well received and I got the job. So now I am a tour guide for the Kelpies!

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I’m not going to tell you all about them so you come and visit and go on one of the amazing tours we run. But a few tasters are that kelpies are shapeshifters who EAT humans; the sculptures weigh 300 tonnes and they are based on real life Clydesdale horses. Ask for Helen if you come in to go on one of my tours.

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Tour guiding was never something I saw myself doing, largely because of my own failings. I’ve been consistently criticised through my life for speaking too quickly. It’s partly a Scottish thing but partly just me. I have a fear that someone will get bored of me and stop listening so I speed up to get it out before that happens. Not ideal. But strangely when I did my interview and training, the speed at which I spoke was not an issue. It turns out having children has done my vocal abilities a world of good, speaking clearly and slowly has become essential and all those bed time stories have paid off.

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Honestly? I don’t like guided tours. Well, I didn’t like them. But after experiencing and giving our ones my mind is changed. We do things differently from the scripted, dull and overly fact-filled tours which I’ve been on in the past. Our tours tell stories, and are engaging, entertaining and enthralling. I find myself sometimes as much of an actor as a guide. So if you head up to the Kelpies and are swithering about the 45 minute tour, DO IT, because it is so worth it! Also you get to go inside the sculpture which you can’t do unless on a tour!

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So I’ve been there for over a month now, and I’ve been touring for several weeks. Last Tuesday though was a special day, it was the anniversary of the opening of the Kelpies. We had two Clydesdale horses there – one of which, Duke, was the model for head down Kelpie – and a piped procession culminating in a photo shoot with local schools and the artist, Andy Scott, we were lucky enough to meet. Not only that, he and his wife took some of my Kelpie birthday cake for their trip home and he complimented my cake engineering!

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We were on the BBC news, though you can barely see me, such is the size of the Clydesdales!! Sandy and Roslyn came up with Tate, Pa and Uncle Jamie for the day and loved it. Sandy ran round shouting “LOOK! KALPIES!” and Roslyn cried because she was teething, poor lamb.

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My guys all came on my tour and Sandy helped demonstrate the door into the Kelpie for me which was fabulous. It was a great day and made me feel awfully lucky to work in such an amazing space and capacity.

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I became a bit of a clydesdale groupie on the day too. Ha!

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Me and my team. They are a lovely bunch of people, couldn’t have asked for nicer colleagues.

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We were also celebrating a million visitors to the Kelpies in their first year, so here’s hoping there will be two million to celebrate in 2016!

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Sandy & Rozzie – handmade baby and kids clothing, toys and accessories

Recently I completed the full draft of my PhD. I’m not going to say it’s by any means complete but the days of all my spare time getting spent on it are over for now. I recently got a job as a tour guide for the Kelpies sculptures, which is part time. I am loving it but I have also been able to devote some time to my other calling; making STUFF.

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For years and years I’ve sat with my mum over coffee, in the car, at home discussing our fantasy businesses. A B&B, a shop, a café. Well finally we have started something and it is called Sandy & Rozzie!

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Sandy & Rozzie makes handmade and hand knitted baby and children’s clothing, toys and accessories. I am master of the sewing machine and my Mum is knitting needle commander.

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We make hand knitted baby and children’s hats and brooches; kid’s aprons and backpacks; baby bandana dribble bibs and feeding bibs; and felt soft toys. Here are a selection of our products and they are available to purchase at www.sandyandrozzie.co.uk

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We are really excited about our new venture and are hosting a craft fair at Granny Would Be Proud in the west end of Glasgow on Sunday 26th April. You can find the details of the event at our facebook page www.facebook.com/sandyandrozzie

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