The summer of 2016 in photos

I’ve spent the evening labelling school uniform, digging out book bags and coordinating school drop offs with Matt – the summer holidays are officially over and its nearly time for the obligatory first day of the school year photograph in front of the door.

We’ve had a busy summer packed full of activities and trips.  Of course, with both Matt and I working full-time, we’ve relied on a lot of support to get through the long school break.  Sophie was delighted to be back full-time with her childminder and all her little friends over the Summer, and enjoyed trips to the zoo and the seaside.

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Alex has tried several local holiday camps, experiencing weeks at two different local multi-sport camps (which he loved) and his second year at the Stagecoach Summer School.  After last year’s Shrek success, Alex was so excited about being part of The Lion King in a week.  He was hoping to be cast as Simba (not lacking for confidence, my boy!), but ended up being a hyena!  After days of hyena laughing practice, and much singing and dancing in our kitchen, we were treated to a fabulous performance of the show!  Alex looked great in his costume:

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He remembered all his lines and I was so impressed at how well he recalled all the dance moves – we didn’t take many pictures this year, but here are a few so I don’t forget:

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The show was nearly an hour long, and at one point it all got a bit much for Alex, and he had a little rest on the floor!  Not sure that’s quite what the director had in mind!

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He loved the experience, and I’m sure he’ll be back at Stagecoach again soon.  We’ve just signed him up for street dancing classes this Autumn!

Sophie seemed to enjoy watching her big brother perform, and wants to take part herself next year, but I think she preferred playing in the huge sports fields outside the theatre better!  She exhausted herself running around – I love her pose on the left here – that’s her “on your marks, get set, go!” pose.

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She also enjoyed another random game of hide and seek where she barely hides!  She finds this hilarious!

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Just before the Summer holidays got underway, we had the fabulous Lambeth Country Show.  We were joined for the weekend by Katharine and Emilia.  Here are Sophie and Emilia looking very cute with their friend Una – gorgeous girls!

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The Lambeth Country Show 2016 was crazy busy, boiling hot and completely overwhelming as usual!  But we found a few spots where we could properly explore the exhibits and find a bit of space to have some fun.  The children made their first attempt at Twister and made a pretty decent show of it!

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The girls enjoyed admiring the owls and choosing their favourites:

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And, as usual, we spent lots of time in the city farm and the playground.

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I think the highlight for the children were the donkeys, and we went on rides on both days we visited the fair.

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We certainly had three very hot and tired children on the bus home!

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And they were so tired that they weren’t too silly at bedtime, even with Emilia joining them for a sleepover on the floor of their bedroom!

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Another lovely weekend trip this Summer was a visit to Eltham Palace.  Eltham is fast becoming one of our favourite London day trips – after focusing on the actual Palace interiors on our first visit, we made the most of the glorious sunshine to explore the stunning grounds.

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We didn’t get far though, as it turned out that the Palace had a packed programme of performances for children – and as we arrived, a pair of actors were taking a group of children through the story of the Peasants’ Revolt of England in 1381!  Alex was quickly engrossed, so we settled down to enjoy the show!  All the children took on roles and Alex made a very convincing peasant! He enjoyed it so much, we were back under the tree an hour later to experience the War of the Roses – with this time Alex playing the role of the Warwick the Kingmaker!

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Around the performances, we did get to see some of the gardens, stopping for a lovely picnic in shade of the trees.  We still didn’t see it all, so we’ll be back in the Autumn for more!

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With the weather so lovely over the last few weeks, we’ve spent loads of time outside in our local parks.  We cycled and fed the ducks in Belair Park:

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Built dens and explored ruins in Sydenham Hill Woods:

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And climbed and swung in Sunray Gardens:

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In Brockwell Park, Alex took part in his very first Junior Park Run – a weekly, free 2km run for children.  He managed to run the whole way and was so proud of himself – just a little bit disappointed he didn’t win and get a medal.  He’s so competitive!

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He’s changed so much this Summer – his swimming has come on in leaps and bounds – with daily swimming on holiday in Italy (more on that in a future blog) and in the holiday sports camps as well as in Brockwell Park Lido for the first time.  It’s suddenly clicked, and he’s swimming confidently by himself.  In Italy, he suddenly swam 30 lengths of our 15m pool with minimal stops – we couldn’t quite believe it!   When not running and swimming, he’s also made a giant leap with his reading.  He’s discovered the joy of reading books, and is devouring chapter books by himself.  We’ve finally started going to the local library every week to feed his habit!

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Closer to home, we bought a swingball for the garden, and have spent many evenings “playing tennis” together.

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I’ve loved the long summer days with my duo – hoping the warm weather lasts a bit longer so we can get in a bit more outdoor fun before the dark winter evenings set in.

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