Mayfair is approaching – attempt at Rag curls

Life as a parent, living in Torrington, starts to get completely manic this week as Mayfair approaches.

From Wiki:

Mayfair is an annual folk festival believed to date back to 1554 in which the children of Torrington dance around a maypole set up in the town square. The event takes place on the first Thursday in May. The junior school kids elect a May Queen and she is crowned in the town square after a procession with attendants. There is then Maypole dancing after which the kids go off to the fair and the adults wonder around the public houses.

My son will be doing maypole dancing (which is compulsory for year 5 & 6 students) and my daughter will be doing country dancing in the morning and street dance in the afternoon. My daughter decided that she would like her hair rag curled, so on Friday night I decided to do a trial run.

Rag curling hair


Here she is with the rags in her hair. It was actually quite simple to do. I watched this youtube video for a product called Rageaze to work out the method. I tore up some old fabric into to strips (approx 30cm long and 3cm wide). I sprayed her hair with water to make it damp and then applied setting lotion. I then placed my daughter comfortably on a cushion and began the process of rolling the hair around the rags. It probably took about an hour to complete.

Here is the result:

Rag CurlsRag Curls

Rag Curls

At first she hated it and refused to leave the house. We had to go into town and nearly everyone we met commented on how lovely it looked so she has decided she would actually like it curled for mayfair.

Today was a big rehearsal for all the Streetz dance crew. It is the first time that all 90+ children have got together to finalise the dances to be performed during the Wednesday night “dress rehearsal” and on Thursdays Mayfair day. The dances look brilliant and the Streetz dance crew have all worked really hard over the past few months. It’s great to watch it all come together. Even the adults joined in with the dances they knew. My daughter is really, really nervous about performing and says she already has butterflies, bless her!

RHS Garden Rosemoor

The North Devon Journal was offering Devon residents free entry to RHS Garden Rosemoor this weekend so I decided to take the kids along for the afternoon. Rosemoor had offered free entry a couple weeks back and we had intended to go then, but the weather was awful that day. It’s only a five minute drive from our house (in fact we can see it out of the kids bedroom window)! Fortunately the weather stayed dry and we had an enjoyable visit. The kids and I took it in turns taking photos. Here’s some of the shots from today.

RHS Rosemoor

RHS Rosemoor

RHS Rosemoor

RHS Rosemoor

RHS Rosemoor

RHS Rosemoor

This is a shot looking back towards Torrington from the gardens

Torrington from RHS Rosemoor


Due to being bored at home, a couple weeks ago I decided to start entering competitions to pass the time. I mainly enter competitions posted on the MoneySavingExpert competitions forum but I occasionally visit Loquax too.


Last Friday (4th) I got an email telling me I had won a Meyer Circulon Steel Elite saucepan set worth £150 and it arrived yesterday morning.

It’s very posh compared to my old flimsy saucepan set. The pans are really heavy.

Then on Monday I won a £50 Virgin Experience voucher on the ‘Big Snap‘ competition. This competition is brilliant as there is a prize every hour and it runs for about 8 weeks in total. My kids have even got into it and we all rush to get clicking on the hour to see if we win. I’m hoping to win again so that I can get enough to treat the kids and I to a nice experience day as £50 doesn’t get you much.

Finally on Tuesday I received an order confirmation email for a Yeoman Tools Gift Set that I hadn’t ordered. I gave the company a ring and they confirmed that I had actually won a competition. For this gorgeous pink gardening set. I haven’t received this yet but here is the picture off of the competition page:

Yeoman Gardening set

Shiny new oven!

I mentioned to my landlord that our oven was now rather noisy and expected him to get it repaired.  He came and took a look at it and decided it would be better having a new oven so we had it installed on Thursday. It’s all shiny and clean (I must keep it that way too)!



As you can see the old one was in a bit of a state. It was very clean inside (my landlord even commented that i have a clean oven!!! fnar fnar!), but the streaks down the inside of the glass on the door are from where I cleaned it. The cleaning solution ran inside the glass and I was unable to unscrew the glass to clean inside that too. The dial on the left hand side had perished so I needed to use pliers to turn the oven dial! I think it’s a silly idea having a white oven anyway. The kitchen sink is also white (ack!).

new oven


The new oven is shiny, shiny chrome. It’s much more efficient than the old one – so much so that I burnt the first meal I cooked in it! It actually came with a hob, but the landlord has decided not to have that installed yet as it would cost extra. I would like a shiny, shiny hob though. *sulk*

Big Sheep Grand National!

Whilst flicking through my local free newspaper the North Devon Gazette, I noticed that they were offering free entry to the nearby ‘Big Sheep‘ attraction, after 3pm. I mentioned it to my friend and we decided we’d take the kids along for the afternoon.

The Big Sheep have sheep racing and they were doing a Grand National special event! My friend paid for the children to bet on a sheep and the sheep my children chose won! They got a “winners badge” and a mug. We gave the mug to my friend (after all she paid)!

Here’s some photos from the day.

Sheep racing

The Race

The commentator had built up the atmosphere and the crowd were going wild (hmmm… maybe not)! This first picture is the sheep racing round what I think is called “ewetree corner”. Our winning sheep (woolly jumper) with a clear lead already. Our “jockey” was wearing a multi colour sweater. They’d even made little hurdles for the sheep to jump. Apparently during rehearsals the day before they got to the hurdles then turned around and ran back the other way!

In the paddock!

Sheep racing

Just before we left we had a quick look round the animals (mainly sheep… well the attraction is called “Big Sheep”).

Curious Sheep

Big Sheep

Newborn Lamb

Newborn Lamb

And what the kids enjoyed the most (and I might have had a quick go or two….)!

Big Sheep Big Slide

Willow creations and a dash of sunshine

It’s been quite a hectic week, hence the lack of blogging!

The weather has been glorious. It seems to have got warmer and sunnier as the week has progressed. Today was fantastic t-shirt weather and definitely ideal for hanging the washing out (hence the photo of my pegs on the washing line)!! It really feels like summer is coming now. I just hope that this fantastic weather stays with us for the half term holiday which started today.

Pegs on the washing line

I have also appreciated the sunshine during Forest School. We’ve had a couple of lovely sessions this week. On Monday with the year 6 class we made willow platters. When the task was being demonstrated to the class it looked really complicated. I envisaged the children encountering difficulty with the task, but actually they embraced it and produced brilliant finished pieces.

Here’s my sons willow platter:
Willow Platter


  1. You will need approx 6 – 10 pieces of willow.
  2. First you need to create a hoop from the willow. Starting with the thick end, twist it into a small hoop (approx 4″ – 6″ diameter) and then weave around the remainder. Tuck in the end piece to keep it neat. Then you need to cut two centre “braces” which are about 1″- 2″ longer than the diameter. These will sit across the centre of your hoop – initially they will be loose but as you weave in the willow they will become steady. You might find it easier to use just one brace at first, until you have woven in a few pieces.
  3. You are now ready to start weaving in willow pieces. Cut off lengths of willow that are about 1″- 2″ longer than the diameter of the hoop. Starting in the centre, weave the first piece over the hoop edge, then under the centre braces, finishing off over the hoop edge again. The next piece will then weave under the hoop edge, over the centre braces and back under the hoop edge. Carry on weaving in pieces alternating each one.
  4. It will start to look like this.
    Willow Platter
  5. As you go along push all the pieces together, keeping them tightly packed together.
  6. Carry on weaving in pieces until there is not space to add any more. It should now look like this.
    Willow Platter
  7. Finally, you will need to neaten it all up by trimming off all the excess willow using a pair of secateurs. Leave about 0.5″ around the edge, following the line of the hoop.
    Willow Platter
  8. Now after all your hard work you can grab yourself a drink, which you can place on your willow platter!
    Willow Platter Coaster

On Tuesdays Forest School session we made willow “fish mobiles”. These are a bit too complicated for a novice like me to provide instructions! I had a go at making one. They are quite fiddly and the children (year 4) found it quite frustrating. They required quite a bit of assistance (which was hard for me as I didn’t really know what I was doing either)!

Here is my finished mobile, now hanging outside the back door along with my daughters:

Willow Fish Mobile