Orbi Science Museum

“We are heading out to Orbi on Tuesday, fancy joining us?” A friend invited. 

“Sure” I replied not knowing what I was signing up for. 

It turns out that Orbi is a collaboration between Sega and BBC Earth. It is a multisensory venue (museum just feels so wrong) where there are a variety of exhibits about animals. 


I wouldn’t say that the children learnt lots, but it was a wonderful way to escape the Tokyo heat and the children had a super time and would happily go back!

Entering Orbi, you walk into a large hall. There is a huge screen with animals on it, and when you put your hands up, your bracelet activates the screen in front of you. (Like a Wii), where you can interact and learn about the various animals. 

The children then moved into the main hall, where they had great fun giving themselves animal skins, creating fish and seeing how they’d look if the had a set of horns on. I’m not sure how the machines work, but they were good fun!

There are various exhibition halls leading off the main hall including some 4D movies. J didn’t enjoy the gorilla one as he found it rather scary, so he and I sat out of the elephant one.
If you’ve never been into a 4D movie, the basic breakdown is as follows: the movie is filmed in 3D, so you are given a set of 3D glasses so the characters are right in front of you, which in itself is quite a surreal experience. The fourth dimension is the sense of touch- so there will be wind blowing in flying scenes, a light spray of water when a gorilla sneezes (YUCK!) or a wire flicking your leg as the gorilla runs passed you grabbing a branch. The sound, of course, is also surround sound which adds to the whole experience. 

So while the others went into the Elephant 4D movie, J and I went and played with the photo creator. Here you choose your pose and then pose with a green screen behind you. Once the photo is taken the computer superimposes you onto various characters. This room provided huge amounts of entertainment for the children.


Other exhibits included an aerial view a route from Canada to South America- I presume the route a bird would take as it migrates for the winter, a meerkat movie, under the sea and the most unforgettable- the cold room, as my three call it. Mount Kenya apparently has a variety of temperatures as you ascend it, so the first room you enter is 10 deg C, which is what you would experience as you would ascend the peak. As you near the summit the temperature drops to zero (room 2), where there is a chance of gale force winds creating a feels like factor of -20deg C. (Room 3). It was quite an experience! 

Once we had visited all the exhibits on the main floor, we headed up to the second floor for the animal studio.

Every half hour, they open the doors to the studio, where you can hold, stroke or admire various animals and birds. My children were a little disappointed as they weren’t able to hold some of the animals. We couldn’t fathom the reason, other than the fact that it seemed that the guides seemed nervous of the animals. (We were given a demonstration of the rabbit being grumpy- by the guide sticking his fingers in front of the rabbit and saying- see he’ll bite. Admittedly I didn’t take much heed to his advice… I’ve handled plenty of rabbits in my life, our stick your finger in front of any animal, it is going to move closer to you and sniff it, and a rodent will most likely nibble as part of its investigation. ). We did get to handle some of the animals and the children had a ball in that room. 

Orbi is a wonderful place and the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Exit is through the shop so there is plenty of opportunities to bring home a souvenir of the trip- be it a soft toy, trinket, or photographs from the various activities that you’ve participate in. 

We caught the train to Orbi, alighting at Minatomirai station which is only a 3 minute walk from the building. It is located on the fifth floor of the MARK IS building, which apparently has parking where you get your parking ticket price back when you pay for your entrance ticket. 
Have you been to Orbi? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

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Legoland Discovery Center

Over the summer break, the only thing ‘J’ wanted to do was head out to Legoland Discovery Center in Odaiba. 


So on a hot Friday morning, we headed out. 

LDC- has a couple of rides, but it is more… of a…. discovery Center where there are a variety of activities. 

The first room (Lego Factory) introduces how Lego is made. There are opportunities here for the children to turn dials and press out some Lego shapes, before moving onto the rides, models and making. 

Room 2, is the Kingdom Quest Ride- a ride where we had to shoot the ‘baddies’ with a laser gun for points. I managed knight status, J hunter status. 


We whizzed through Mini World- an amazingly lifelike Tokyo built entirely out of Lego bricks. Having visited twice before, J knew exactly where he wanted to go! I find the city fascinating, so I dawdled a bit. They show it in day and night mode, and the lighting of Tokyo is SO realistic. 


Just before you enter the main hall, there is an opportunity to sign up for the Creative Workshop. This is basically an opportunity for the children to build something following a set of instructions shown on a screen. J found it a touch slow, but he enjoyed it and was happy to receive a certificate and a copy of the instructions at the end.


The main hall has a variety of areas, a Ninjago soft play area, duplo soft play area, 4D Theatre, Sorcerers Apprentice ride, cafe and a Build and test. 


Heading downstairs was the primary purpose for our trip. The Train World. It here that J spent an hour pushing trains along the tracks, while I composed this post!


This was a fun few hours for J and I. With the building fully air conditioned, it was a great escape from the summer heat! 
Legoland is found in Decks, Odaiba and is easy to get to by train (2 minute walk from the Odaiba-Kaihin Koen station), or by car (there is a car park as part of the Decks complex and if you spent over ¥5000, you can get 4 hours free parking. 

The opening hours are from 10am and ticket prices are from ¥2400. 

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50 Summer Activities for Older Children Part 4

Today sees the final post of my Summer Series- 50 Activities for older children. I have been working through the list alphabetically and have come to the final three sections.


Outdoors

Go Geocaching
I love this activity as it can be played wherever you are. Once, when we were exploring Hakone with friends, we logged on as we were walking between two tourist spots and discovered a cache nearby. Yoyogi park has 2 inside it and 2 just outside. (Though the one inside we couldn’t find!)

Go for a hike.
A River, a mountain, a coastline, through a valley. The options of getting out are limited by your imagination and physical ability.

Take a trip to the beach

Always a great hit!

Make a fairy garden
This seems to be all the rage at the moment. I’ve yet to try it.

Create a herb pot
Buy little pots of herbs and plant them up into larger pots. You could have just your favourites or round a theme. How about a ‘pizza’ pot with basil, tomato, garlic and oregano?

Make a scarecrow
My children loved making this. They can work as a group, or individually. I’ve seen some fantastic ideas at Garden Shows and on Pinterest.

Make a bird scarer using cds
The reflection of the light as the cds move is what supposedly chases the bird away.
I love this idea, but I’ve yet to try it!

This book has some awesome gardening project ideas for children. 

Outings
I often get accused of being restless, that I’m always wanting to head out. Perhaps there is some truth to that, but planning some trips out is always fun!

Visit a museum
Most museums are free or a nominal fee, so it a good budget trip out. (Especially if you have a ‘no spend’ rule in place)
Most cities and towns have something available.

Visit an art gallery
I headed out recently to the Eric Carle exhibition recently and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and how inspired I was to get creating in his style. The children were unimpressed, until we gave them a notebook and a pencil and suggested they copy one of the artwork. They definitely became more engaged.

Head out to a local outdoor poolEdit

Outdoor pools in Tokyo are only open from early July until mid September, and they have a variety of rules that are required to be followed. It does remove a fair about of the fun involved, but it’s still great to be able to go and cool off.

Go for a picnic
Pick a park, patch of grass, or a beach. Perhaps even get the children to create their own picnic. Or learn how to make scotch eggs or wraps or such like.

Photography challenge of local buildings/ greenery/ ……
This is limited by your imagination. The children could even then take their photographs and create a collage of the photos. (Mine love Pic Collage)

Skills

Learn to touch type
I’ve used Keyboard classroom which I really like, particularly the finger guide. A friend is doing this challenge with her children over the summer and she is using the BBC bitesize Dance Mat Typing and is very happy with it. 

This is a life skill that isn’t taught in many schools, yet is should be as it’s a skill that is becoming more and more valuable. 

Cook a meal

It can be basic- scrambled egg and toast, to a full on 3 course meal. Depends on your child’s skill level. Of course the vital skill to learn alongside is to tidy as you go along and wash up afterwards.

Learn to sail


Or scuba dive, or throw a pot or play a new sport. The possibilities are endless.
What do you want to do? What are you passionate about? Perhaps your children are too. Perhaps you learn the new skill together…
Hopefully this list will help you to feel like the summer isn’t so daunting or scary.
Please do let me know what you have tried. What was your children favourite? Have you any other suggestions? Leave a comment and I will send you a copy of my printable list.


This post contains affiliate links. By buying through my website, you are supporting and encouraging me along my journey at no extra cost to yourself. 

Thank you for your support. 

C



Related posts:

50 Summer Activities for Older Children
50 Summer Activities for Older Children; Part 2
50 Summer Activities for Older Children Part 3
Shimoda
Exploring, Exploring: My 5 Favourite Beaches near Tokyo
Exploring, exploring: My 5 favourite places in Tokyo on a rainy day.

Category- Tokyo with kids!



Some useful items:

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50 Summer Activities for Older Children Part 3

We are halfway through the  series and a third of the way through our summer holidays. I hope you’re finding this series useful, and have found activities to do with your brood. We’ve headed out on a few adventures- some pricier than others, some free and I believe my three are having a great time. (I won’t ask them in case they prove me otherwise!)


So what else is on the Activity list?

Explore

I love travelling and exploring, so this chapter is close to my heart!

( I even have an entire category for exploring Tokyo with kids!)

Be a tourist in your locality
Trip Advisor is a great starting point to find out what there is to do in the local area. I also just google ‘Things to do in….’ when I’m heading out about what there is to do in a locality. It is how I’m creating my Japan bucket list and I have found some pretty cool things so far.

Learn about the history/ geography of your local area
Tourist information sites, Trip Advisor, Google are all great places to start. In the U.K., the local library might have information about the history of the village. (Which is another way of teaching our children about local services!)

Create a map of an area- locality, stream, woods 
Give them a clipboard, paper and pencil and head on out. It could be as detailed/ basic as to your child’s ability. You can compare it to the Google maps afterwards too should you fancy.

Games

Playing games is always a winner.

Have a board game evening
My children are currently enjoying Catan junior, though the adult game Settlers of Catan is perfectly manageable for older children.

Learn a new card game
UNO is the go to card game at the moment, but knowing an arsenal of card games to play with an ordinary pack of cards is definitely worthwhile. Kidspot has a 12 games that are suitable for children.

Have a square game challenge 
Simple, yet a great pastime if at a restaurant or somewhere ‘boring’

Create your own categories game
There is a board game of this game, but we used to play our own version in the car. Take an A4 paper (landscape) (1 per player) and draw a table with any number of columns, 5-7 is usually good. Create a heading for each column, suggestions being: boys names, girls names, food, car types, animal, city, rivers, countries, famous person and the final column labelled total.
On another sheet write out the alphabet- perhaps omitting Q,X and Z.

To play, a person shuts his eyes and randomly picks a letter. On start, everyone tries to write down their categories for the letter (1 in each column) as quickly as they can. The first person to finish shouts stop. (Or you can use a timer for 1 minute). Read out the answers- each unique answer scores 10, each duplicated answer is worth 5.
Record the individual total and play the next round.

Indoors

Create a movie using movie making app
My older children love using iMovie, while J loves making movies on Lego Movie App.

Perform a concert
Dance, acrobatics, musical instruments, write/ perform a skit, performing poetry… the list can seem endless and there are always ‘willing’ parents to watch the performance!

Write a book
‘E’ loves Story Bird website. This website is a great spot to encourage writers of all ages. Poetry, stories or theme related writing challenges are just some of the activities available.


Create a comic strip

There are plenty of blank templates available, yet if your children are older they can create their own grid. With my Cubs and Beavers, I gave them the outline of a person (think gingerbread man) and got them to draw a Super hero, asking them about the super hero qualities, the uniform, who the villain was and how he was defeated. The Cubs (ages 8-10) then wrote a comic for their super hero. They truly enjoyed it.

Do a lego challenge
For anything Lego, I have to hand that honour over to Sarah and her family at Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls. They’ve even written a book on Lego ideas.

Problem solving challenge using cups, blocks and popsicle sticks. 

This activity (from Sarah at Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls) was a great hit with my Cubs and Beavers. I loved the designs that the various children came up with.

Indoor obstacle course
There are some great ideas on Pinterest. I personally love this one: Indoor obstacle course

Indoor camping
If you have the room- pitch a tent indoors, otherwise get the children to build a fort and then fill it with duvets and cushions.

And if all else fails, check out this post- 87 Energy busting indoor activities for kids.

Friday, will see the last post in this series. I hope that you are enjoying it so far. Have you tried anything so far? What do you want to try? Leave a comment and I will send you a copy of my printable list.


This post contains affiliate links. By buying through my website, you are supporting and encouraging me along my journey at no extra cost to yourself. 

Thank you for your support. 

C



Related posts:

50 Summer Activities for Older Children
50 Summer Activities for Older Children; Part 2
Shimoda
Exploring, Exploring: My 5 Favourite Beaches near Tokyo
Exploring, exploring: My 5 favourite places in Tokyo on a rainy day.



Some useful items:

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50 Summer Activities for Older Children; Part 2

Keeping children entertained so there’s less fighting, limited amounts of time saying- ‘I’m bored’ or getting up to mischief due to boredom. That’s the aim of the list. Hopefully some of these activities are not too adult intensive and I’ve also tried to find a variety of activities at a variety of prices.
So Part 2:


Arts n Crafts

Create a masterpiece in the style of an artist.

This was inspired by our visit to the Eric Carle exhibition at the Setagaya Art Museum. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photographs inside- not even when J sat down and drew E.C’s porqupine. Eric Carle’s website does have instructions how to do the art his style, so it’s definitely something on our summer bucket list.

Paper mache bowl
This is something I’ve always wanted to do with the children. It’s great for their fine motor skills and tactile/ sensory aspect. Creating paper mache material is simple and you can find the instructions here:

To make a bowl, find instructions here: Watermelon Paper mache bowl

Mosaic art
I found this awesome idea on Pinterest for a mosaic bird bath and I think it looked lovely. I wonder whether I can add this onto the paper mache bowl- I’ll keep you posted.

Knit a toy
There are many basic patterns out there and why should a child’s first knitting project be a scarf? ‘K’ loves this book: Crafty Creatures by Jane Bull

Pebble creatures 
Surely my children aren’t the only ones who return from the beach with pockets filled with pebbles? Pinterest has a great selection of ideas. But otherwise, provide your darlings with glue, paint, markers and googly eyes and see what they come up with.

Make an origami card
We’ve made an origami thank you card and on the whole it’s very easy to do:

Take your favourite origami shape (after our visit to Hiroshima, K can turn out cranes with phenomenal ease.), stick it onto some backing card/ paper with double sided tape, stick that card onto an A5 card that has been folded in half. Voila!

This List has 29 Fun crafts which is also worth a visit if you’re in need of more ideas!

Community

Litter pick up

Cubs and Beavers collecting litter at Enoshima beach

This one is easy. Arm each child with a rubbish bag and a pair of gloves. Head out to your chosen destination and collect the rubbish. You can create it into a competition as to who can fill their bag the quickest/ fill the most bags or such like.

Visit a old age home
Please check this one beforehand with your chosen home. Arm your children with a board game, and some suggestions for them to talk about with the elderly.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen/ Volunteer at an animal rescue Center
Again, these will need permission beforehand and some preparation of the children as to what to expect. If you don’t want another pet in the house, then that had better be something you make very clear too!

Organise a Street Store 
I love this concept- hosting a pop up store foe homeless people to come and choose their own clothes. This is charity that started in South Africa and has now spread worldwide. Do take a look at their website and see whether it is something that a family could organise.
So part 2 complete.

Which activity would you like most to do with your children, which one do they want to do the most? Let me now in the comments and I will email you a printable version of the list.

This post contains affiliate links. By buying through my website, you are supporting and encouraging me along my journey at no extra cost to yourself. 

Thank you for your support. 

C


Related posts:

50 Summer Activities for Older Children

Origami Santa

Thank You Cards

Some useful items:



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50 Summer Activities for Older Children

The summer holidays, I’m excited and anxious. This year our children broke up on the 30th June, going back on the 4th September. It’s great, but we are spending July in Tokyo and in the summer, Tokyo isn’t pleasant. (30+ deg C temperatures with a humidity of over 70%) The other challenge is the plague of mosquitos that take over Japan in the summer months.

I need a plan. Some ideas and activities that my 3 will enjoy. Surprisingly the internet was not wonderfully helpful. I could find a massive amount of printable lists for preschoolers, but little for older children.

So the teacher in me, kicked in and I created a daily routine. (The Mum in me struggles to follow it!) and the Scout Leader in me brainstormed a list of ideas and activities that (like Scouting) encompassed a large variety of activities.
Over the next two weeks, I will go into more details of the activities. Should you want a copy of my printable list, then leave a comment below about which activity you would most like to do with your children.
Here are today’s instalment, in alphabetical order:


Active

Use the local sport club facilities

Most sports clubs will offer holiday camps where the children can learn a new sport or a variety of sports. Here in Tokyo, I am signing up J for a couple of the football sessions. Super expensive compared to UK sports camps, but hey- that’s Tokyo for you.


Go fly a kite

From the cheap and cheerful kites that are available to the stunning, exciting stunt kites. The beaches on the Cape Town west coast are littered with stunt kites, kite surfers and kite buggies. With older children there is less chance of the child being flown off by a strong gust of wind.


Learn skipping games 

“I know how to skip Mum” was the response when I showed my girls the list. But I’m talking about skipping games with a long rope. The Japanese love their skipping and it’s not uncommon to see some 20-something year olds skipping with two ropes and doing some fancy tricks. Skip-hop has a great list of games and suggestions about suitable rope lengths.


Adventure

Go on a high ropes course

My Cubs and Beavers loved this activity and one I would highly recommend. In Japan, Forest Adventure have various bases. Their Hakone site is more suitable for younger children, whereas their Odawara site is manageable for a 7 year old, it is quite daunting to be trusting said 7 year old to safely affix himself onto a 100m zip line, with the adult at the other end.

The UK equivalent is Go Ape.

Go on an outride

We’ve only done this in the UK. Devon, Cornwall, Wales… oh wait- most of the UK will have places where you can climb onto a horse and explore the local area. Japan on the other hand….. I’ve not found a place where we can tackle that in Japan, but I must confess, the language barrier and potentially bank breaking cost has stopped me from even looking.


Ride on a banana boat

Mainly a beach activity, but there are lakes where this can be offered.


Head out rafting

This is at the top of my children’s summer bucket lists. The girls thoroughly enjoyed this when I took the Cubs and Beavers and are truly keen to do it again.


Head to a water park

Japanese summer is from 1 July- 15 September, so for that short window is when all the outdoor pools are open. Bizarre as the average temperature for June is 26 deg C and this year the lowest max temperature in June was 20 deg C (1 day) yet there were 11 days with temperatures of 28 deg C+.

But now that we are in July, the waterparks are starting to open (some only in mid July in time for the Japanese schools summer break)

Our favourite in Tokyo is Summerlands. We head out on the first week of the holidays during the working week, so there aren’t many people at the park and definitely not like the Summerlands Website!


Hike along a river 

The Thames River has a trail from the source to the mouth. A challenge could be to hike it over a few days, camping or staying over at BnBs enroute or to do stretches over weekends at a time.

The Tama River (Japan) has a trail along its length too. I’m not sure if it’s from source to mouth like the Thames.

If you head into the mountain regions in Japan and hike up a gorge, I’m pretty sure that the “accidental” falling in to the river to cool off wouldn’t be a problem!

So that’s the first instalment. I will continue with the rest of the features over the next two weeks. Should you want a copy of my printable list, then leave a comment below about which activity you would most like to do with your children.
This post contains affiliate links. By buying through my website, you are supporting and encouraging me along my journey at no extra cost to yourself. 

Thank you for your support. 

C

Related posts:

Tamagawa Rafting Fun 

Mosquito To Quit-o



Some useful items:

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Shimoda

Shimoda is a resort town on the Izu peninsula about 180km from Tokyo with some of the most beautiful beaches, we have found in Japan so far. We have visited Shimoda five times so far, and we are not the only “gaijins” to do it! 


Shimoda as a town has an interesting history. It was here that Commodore Perry negotiated the opening of the Japanese ports to foreign trade (read American) and signed the Convention of Kanagawa treaty on 31 March 1854. America opened their first consulate in Japan at Gyokusen-ji temple and trade agreements with Imperial Russia were also negotiated here.

Today, Shimoda’s economy is based primarily on tourism (hot springs and beach) and commercial fishing. As a tourist, there are a fair few options to enjoy when visiting Shimoda.

The beaches are our primary pull when we come to visit Shimoda as they are just beautiful. The sea is a pleasant temperature and the sands almost white. There are a few options to visit- we mainly visit at Ohama beach, only because it is walking distance from where we’ve stayed.

Tatadohama and Iritahama beaches are also very popular, with Iritahama being voted the most beautiful Japanese beach for a number of years. Iritahama beach is the primary surfing beach and Tatadohama is ideal as a family beach.

Iritahama

Surfing is a popular past time here and there are a number of surf schools available, should you wish to learn.

Should you need a break from the beach- there are other sight seeing options.

Within walking distance from the station is the ropeway up to Mount Nesugatat.  This park has some beautiful gardens and an even more specatular view of the town and bay. On a clear day, you can even see some of the Izu Islands.  A return ticket costs Y1030 for an adult and the cablecar runs every 15 minutes.

Back in town, you can take a walk along Perry street, where the buildings have fascinating criss-cross facades, explore the temple, the museum or spend a few hours at the aquarium.

The aquarium is unique to others I have visited as part of it is floating on a pontoon and the cove has been cordoned off and the dolphins swim freely in the cove. There were plenty of demonstrations at the various tanks, so wonderful opportunities to learn about the various animals. (Should you speak Japanese) That said, we still enjoyed a wonderful couple of hours there.

Dolphin Cove

The Izu Peninsula is a certified National Geopark* and has a few Geosites** around Shimoda. On the south east peninsular there are some fascinating rock formations. Like Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland, these giant columnar joints have been created by cooling lava. There is a  viewpoint which is a 10 minute walk from the car park. I believe it’s possible to head onto Tawaraiso beach where they’re are, but the path from our viewpoint was blocked off, and with temperatures over 33 deg c, my children and dog were not intending on doing any further walking- even if it had a potential beach at the end!

Still the viewpoint was impressive!


Heading westwards, past White Beach hotel are another two Geosites.

Here you’ll find a spectacular spot to go sand surfing (bring your own board) and Ryugukutsu cave is just stunning. From above, the cave has a heart shape, but from inside it is a beautiful round.

Getting to and from Shimoda is relatively easy. By train, it’s 3 hours from Tokyo. By car, the drive is scenic and relatively easy.  Our most recent visit took us a smooth 3 hours there, and a snail pace 7 hours to get back! (It’s only 180km!!)

The recommendation is that you leave either at lunchtime, or after 6pm if you’re planning to drive back. Sure wished I had followed that advice. Also, not matter how tempting it is- DON’T leave the Expressway to find an alternative route!!


*A geopark is a nature park that features sites that show the Earth’s activity.

** A Geosite is a designated area within a Geopark

For more information about the geological history of the Izu peninsular, please visit the Geopark website

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June’s Mountains

The final stretch down into the summer holidays has meant that I have been very focussed on getting things done. It has been been very empowering and motivating.

Mountain 1: Physical Mountain
This month:

No mountain climbed. In fact, I haven’t even managed a hike this month. Not sure whether I will make one next month.

I also seriously doubt whether I will manage Mt Fuji- I’m truly not fit enough to contemplate it.
Sigh!

Mountain 2: Mountain of Weight
This month:
2kg lost.

Yay!

Admittedly I had an epiphany:

At the beginning of the month I took my Cubs and Beavers to Forest Adventure. We had a super time, but there were times when I was pulling myself up rope ladders, or nets that I found it rather challenging. ( the mental challenge was a different story!).

Function vs Form.

I have new motivation to do the exercises that the Physio and Personal trainer has given me. To increase my strength and build my fitness so I can get out, adventuring with my family.

Function, fully functional!

But as the month has gone on, I felt the need to lose the flab, to show the form that resulting from the improved function. I have been adding more vegetables to my family’s meals (and mine obviously) as a starting block to moving them away from a meat and carb heavy diet onto more of a plant based diet. For myself, I have significantly reduced the amount of sugar I am consuming in the form of sweet foods, carbs and wine. I also stopped being so dependent on stepping onto my scale.

Next month:
The increased strength and toned arms that working with the personal trainer has definitely given me increased motivation. Over the summer holidays, I will be continuing with the exercises at home- to increase the strength and thus improve their function, yet keep on with the healthier eating, so that their new form will become more visible.

Mountain 3: Mountain of Paperwork
This month:
I have managed some paperwork, but not as much as I had hoped.

Again.
Sigh!

But.

I have completed my scout training. My Mum’s comment when I told her was- but I thought you were already a scout leader. I was. I am. To start to run a pack, we have to complete 3 Modules, the rest of the modules, are to be covered within two years of the appointment. They don’t take that long to do and what this course has shown me is that I lack the motivation to study at home. Giving myself the deadline and making an appointment with the training advisor to discuss the assignments meant that I had the motivation to complete it.

I might add that I was encouraged to take on the role of Group Leader (managerial role) as a fair amount of the modules that I needed to be a Cub and Beaver Leader (Section Leader) are needed for the managerial role, so they could be validated twice. So not only did I achieve my Section Leader Wood Badge, I also managed to achieve my Group Scout Leader Wood Badge. Whoop Whoop!

Next month:
Complete all the other paperwork??? I’m pretty sure it is like the Scout stuff- once I actually get down to doing it, I discover that it wasn’t so onerous!

Mountain 4: Mountains of Photographs
This month:
A bit done. Not as much as I would have like.

Next month:
I’ll keep up with the small steps: of working through the folders of photographs while I’m watching tv.

Mountain 6: Mountains of Creative Projects
This month:
Looking at my list for I haven’t managed much:

:Scrap 1 double page.
Nope.

: Knitted 10cm of the second side of my jumper.
I’ve managed about 5cm.

: Sew all badges onto the camp blankets.
Nope.

I did make a Groot outfit for ‘J’, for space day. (By hand) I’m pretty impressed.

IMG_4019

Next month:
The summer should be very creative. But with my children.

Whether I get any of my creative projects done will be a different story, but I’m not fussed. Being creative with my 3 will be far more fun!

Mountain 1: Mountains of Books
This month:
I’ve been reading! Ok- listening rather than reading. But it’s been great!

So, using my Audible credits, I have listened to If I Run and
If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock. Christian novels that while fall under the genre of Christian Romance, they were more a crime drama. I’ve been left hanging and am desperately waiting for the third book, which is only due out next March!
I got so into listening to a book, that I then downloaded The Peacock Emporium by Jojo Moyes.
So three books this month is definitely an improvement. I haven’t picked up Desert God by Wilbur Smith, recently but I will finish it over the summer. I am still working my way through a book about improving habits called Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin, which I need to finish soon as my friend who lent it to me is returning to the UK next month.

Next month:
Finish Desert God and Better than Before, listen to one on Audible and complete two more books.
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I would also love to make a serious impact on my Bible in One Year Reading. That’s not going too well…

This month has definitely helped me towards getting back on track. My children broke up for their summer break on the 30th, and have July and August on holiday. I won’t post in this series until September where I will do a joint summer break post. If I can achieve some Mountains over the summer great- but my biggest summer goal is to create some awesome memories with my children.

This post contains affiliate links. By buying through my website, you are supporting and encouraging me along my journey at no extra cost to yourself. 
Thank you for your support. 
C

Previous posts in the series:

Mountains of Goals…

January’s Mountains

February’s Mountain

March’s Mountains

May’s Mountains

Resources that have helped me:
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May’s Mountains

June. Yikes- this year is flying by. I had an amazing holiday with my family in South Africa, and I don’t think that I managed any of the mountains. Which I was fine with. Let’s be honest- spending quality time with family and friends is far more valuable than ticking off a list.

Getting back on track has proven to be quite a challenge. But as I head towards the summer, hopefully I will be able to attain some more mountains.

Mountain 1: Physical Mountain
This month:

No mountain climbed. Not even Table Mountain. No-one in my family was keen and when I did find someone, I had run out of holiday time. 
Sigh!

Mountain 2: Mountain of Weight
This month:
The mountain has grown.
Sigh!

Next month:
I don’t actually know, if I’m truly honest. I’m worried I’m developing a mental hang up, and my 10 year old daughter is getting concerned about her weight. So I’m trying to work out how I can serve healthier meals, and lose weight while not give her a hang up about dieting and her body size (which is normal I might add, but living in a country where people are naturally petite and her friends are petite, I can understand where the thoughts can stem from.)

I am getting help from a trainer to build my fitness and strength, something that’s come about as my body aches and pains have returned!  I am also starting to use my FitBit to help me get moving regularly again. 

To that end, I think I will focus on getting my strength and fitness back and try and move towards a more plant based form of eating. 

Mountain 3: Mountain of Paperwork
This month:
I have managed some paperwork, but not as much as I had hoped.
Sigh!

Next month:
Complete my scout training. This is a huge mountain in my life and it just needs me to take the time and tackle it. I have given myself a deadline and have been in touch with my training advisor to that end. 

Mountain 4: Mountains of Photographs
This month:
Nothing done.
Sigh!

Next month:
Small steps: I’ll work through 10 other folders of photographs. Something that should be perfectly doable while I’m watching tv. 

Mountain 6: Mountains of Creative Projects
This month:
I have managed to complete a few tasks that have been sitting in my sewing box. My top that I have been knitting for the last 18 months has finally got one side complete. 

Next month:
I think I will aim small as this last month of the school year is manic and my diary for June is already very full. So I shall:

:Scrap 1 double page
: Knitted 10cm of the second side of my jumper.
: Sew all badges onto the camp blankets. (I might get my girls to do their own. Actually what am I saying, all 3 of mine can sew their badges on. It doesn’t matter if J’s aren’t super neat!) 

Mountain 1: Mountains of Books
This month:
Reading is beginning to feature again!
Yay!
I read After You by Jojo Moyesand I’m currently reading Desert God by Wilbur Smith. I am also enjoying a book about improving habits called Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Next month:
Finish Desert God and Better than Before, listen to one on Audible and start another book. 
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This has definitely been the Month of Sighs! 

Still looking at the positive, I have managed somethings. And to quote a U.K. superstore’s slogan- “Every Little Bit Helps”

This post contains affiliate links. By buying through my website, you are supporting and encouraging me along my journey at no extra cost to yourself. 
Thank you for your support. 
C

Previous posts in the series:

Mountains of Goals…

January’s Mountains

February’s Mountain

March’s Mountains
Resources that have helped me:

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South Africa- why it’s worth a visit.

Ok- so I’m heavily biased in this regard. I’m South African born and while I left South Africa nearly 20 years ago, Africa still beats in my blood and while I would love to move back, I just can’t seem to convince my husband to do that!

So why visit South Africa?


1: It’s affordable.

It is quite possible to spend a fortune visiting the country as there are plenty of high end hotels, private game reserves, wine farms and restaurants. But there are also other places where you can get value for money (even before we bring in the exchange rate). BnBs are common place, and camp sites have to keep a number of sites open for passing traffic. Perfect if you have no set itinerary.
2: There’s no language issue. (Unless you can’t speak English)

South Africa has 11 official languages yet all South Africans can speak some level of English. The store keeper might greet you in Afrikaans or Zulu, but if you answer in English, they will reply in English.

3: It’s family friendly

Family rooms, interleading doors and such like-are not hard to find in hotels. Self catering accommodation is common place and Air BnB is taking off in South Africa.

Restaurants often have a kids menu, and it’s not uncommon for them to provide some form of entertainment (usually in the form of an indoor play area). Spur and The Dros are my family’s favourites. Both of them steakhouses, with a value for money menu that is just scrumptious. But the best part of these restaurant chains? The indoor play area with an attendant so the adults can sit and relax while waiting for the order to arrive.

4: There is so much to see….

Cape Town– Table Mountain from Blouberg Beach, the Two Oceans Aquarium, V&A Waterfront, Kirstenbosch gardens, great white sharks leaping out of the water or penguins waddling on the beach.

Garden Route- Knysna heads, surfers in Jeffery’s Bay, Tsitsikama forest, ostriches in Oudshoorn, dolphins enjoying the surf near Knysna.

KwaZulu Natal- game reserves (most are in malaria free areas), wonderful coastlines and warm seas to swim in. Nelson Mandela’s capture site. The magnificent Drakensberg Mountains.

Mpumalanga– the variety of waterfalls near the Kruger National Park, Pilgrims Rest, Blyde River Canyon and of course- visit Kruger Park

5: …And do.

Cape Town– hike up Table Mountain, enjoy sundowners on the beach (Clifton or Lladudno are popular) or on a cruise, visit Robben Island, go wine tasting or head to Cape Point where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic.

Garden Route– try oysters grown in the Knysna lagoon, relax on the beach, hike the Harkerville trail or Otter Trail and if you’re truly daring- bunjee jump the highest bunjee jump in the world.

KwaZulu Natal- going for a guided game drive, surf or swim in the wonderful  warm seas. Hike up the amphitheatre in the magnificent Drakensberg Mountains. Go diving with grey nurse sharks. Head round the Midlands Meander for an artisan shopping experience. Visit uShaka Marine World.

Mpumalanga– go on a night drive in Kruger Park, zip line across a canyon, learn about the history of the South African gold industry.

South Africa does have a safety issue- for that reason I would give Johannesburg a miss, but on the whole if you’re sensible with what you do, watch your belongings while you’re out n about (which you would do in most cities) and be careful about the areas you go into (there are parts of New York and London that tourists should keep away from), then it shouldn’t be a problem to visit South Africa.


If I have tempted you and you want to know more, please follow my blog as I will be sharing more, or email me your questions and I will happily answer them.

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