Showing posts from December, 2010

Happiness is Simple

We've been reading "The Art of Happiness" again, it's just nice to remind ourselves of what the Dalai Lama has to say & this has led us to sign up to "The No Impact Experiment" , which starts on Sunday January 2nd. No Impact Project » The No Impact Experiment We already live by most of these principles, but it's good to continue challenging ourselves to live with less & think about ways of improving how we do things. This is what makes us happy! We got very excited before Christmas when we received a letter from Ecotricity (our electricity provider), saying that our usage has halved over the last year, so our monthly direct debits are being reduced & we got a refund for an overpayment! We've also cut our heating oil consumption too & have all got used to wearing extra layers when it's been really cold. Yesterday, was our local rubbish & recycling collection day & it never ceases to amaze us just how much "stuf

Cornwall to Carcassonne & Beyond

Another Christmas is over & it's been quite pleasant!           But most importantly, in 2 weeks time - Hugo, Sime & myself will be setting off on our trip to the south of France... Travelling amongst the volcanos of the Auvergne Stopping at Le Puy-en-Velay Venturing over the bridge of Millau To our destination just outside Carcassonne We also hope to dip into Spain & visit Barcelona  So exciting times ahead, another adventure about to begin & who knows - we might just find that place we've been waiting for... :) Kay

The lovely people of St.Austell

A nasty virus has descended upon Smith mansions, leaving the husband weakened and the wife sore of throat and unfeasibly frozen. We popped into our nearest town St.Awful, oops, I mean St.Austell to attend to various automobilical issues and to try to bring closure to the overrated pastime that is Christmas shopping. How we got through the day I cannot be sure. Trudging from one grey shop to the next in sub zero temperatures whilst we waited for the chariot to be made ready was more than mildly unpleasant. Thank goodness for the great British pub. A roaring wood burner and copious tea and coffee, thawed out the weary bloggers. Three cheers for the Western Inn !!! Yet I digress. Today I want to banter with you a while. A playful few minutes throwing around textures and tastes, highlighting the glories that make up St. Austell - Cornwall's very own Florence. St. Austell is another British "any town". Chain store shops, charity shops and pubs serving mostly  beers from the C

Magical Solstice Morning

What a beautiful start to the day - an early rise (6.30am) to watch the lunar eclipse in our back garden. Unfortunately, the photos haven't come out as well as we hoped, but it was amazing to see! Minutes before the eclipse started Half way through Minutes before the full eclipse (moon is the light above the building) Sunrise behind the house We were the only folks out in our hamlet, it was very cold & the grass was thick with frost - but it was worth every minute!!! Happy Solstice :) Kay 

Bragging Gets You Nowhere

Why is it that when people brag about something, it often backfires on them? We seem to have found ourselves in the company of quite a few poorly friends & customers this week. Not only that, but wherever we've been - there has been someone nearby, coughing & sneezing... The problem is that Sime often gets very smug about this & loves to tell anyone who'll listen; that he no longer has colds because he made the decision not to have them any more! He hasn't had one for about 2 years, but I kept saying to him that: 1) It's not very nice to say things like that to people who are ill & 2) I thought he might be "tempting fate"... Well, guess what happened - he woke up yesterday with a rattling chest, cough & cold!!! Now I'm not at all unsympathetic, but I can't help but think that it kind of serves him right (Sorry Hubster xx). He is genuinely ill (of course, no sign of man flu whatsoever), but did manage to get up yesterday because h

How to Get That Festive Feeling

1) Watch "It's a Wonderful Life"   2) Take or look at photographs of snow scenes. 3) Sing cheesy Christmas songs while working. 4) Visit friends full of Christmas Spirit. Who are very creative... ...and make delicious warming food. 5)Then dream about where you would like to be... Our perfect home... Well - it's worked for us, so now it's time to find a potted Christmas Tree... Kay :)

A Smattering of Snow

At last, we have had snow & possibly more to come tonight - hopefully, not too early as we're going out to friends' for dinner!!! These were taken in our back garden...

Setting the Record Straight

We've received an email from a very nice lady who has read our blog about the kids and is concerned in particular about our son's education. I've (hopefully) reassured her that although we don't do any formal teaching, he still is learning... From our experience, children who are home educated are eager to learn and be naturally creative. They are used to seeking answers for themselves and enjoy sharing what they find. We have a shelf with "work" books that the kids have dipped into over the years, but of course - the internet now does most of the educating. When we started out, over 10 years ago - we relied on the library to provide us with information on any topics the kids were interested in. They've all learnt basic maths, but none of them have been overly keen and if ever they want to brush up on their sums as they get older - there's always adult education classes! Our daughters decided to attend college and both managed to get on courses whi

Smithlets & Co

We've had many comments over the years about how close we are as a family & how respectful we are of each other. It's also been suggested to us that we write a book about how we've raised our kids, but the problem with that is - we have no idea what we have done that's so different to other families... Sal is our eldest, born in a hospital in Cheshire (because the consultant insisted I was too young to have a home birth), but she was at the home births of her siblings! She's a life vegetarian, was home educated from 11 - 17, is very independent, motivated & organised, gets stroppy when she's hungry, left home when she was 19 (to live with her boyfriend), takes great photographs, likes growing vegetables & wears colourful clothes. Rose is our second born, arrived at home to the tune of "Happy Birthday" (which her big sis loved)! She was at the birth of her brother & is also a life veggie, home educated from 9 - 17, she's a thinker