We have moved…

This blog will remain here for as long as I can afford to pay the bill, but I’ve finally chosen a new one. Thanks for all your suggestions, though I opted finally for something more succinct than most offerings, and also a domain that was on special offer – can’t resist a bargain, me.

* 2016 update: empin.us has moved to plansclan.net! *

New Blog Site!

I can’t guarantee there will be anything there yet, but I hope to at least upload my first 6 days of writing!



I’m not really here, as I wanted to start afresh. I’m still blogging like crazy, but only in text files at the moment, as we won’t get broadband til 9th July. I’m stealing some unencrypted wireless to post this, but also still struggling with a name for my new place!


The Last Supper

Just a quick post to say I’m just about to have my last supper in the UK for a while, though, a visit in December is being mooted. This last month has gone really fast, mostly because we spent it running around doing fun stuff with the kids.

Tomorrow I attempt to sit in a small metal box for 7 hours with two toddlers – bet David Blaine wouldn’t even try that one. Pertinently, the Sunday Times contains an article with advice about flying with small children. The advice was, basically, don’t. I don’t know how it’s going to go. If we survive and I make it to Boston with both boys, I’ll let you know. I have actually had some good advice from friends with small children, the most important of which is to not expect any rest, so that any you do get is a bonus. I expect Thomas to be ok, as sitting in front of a screen for 7 hours is his idea of heaven anyway. Ollie, on the other hand, likes to be outside, and running, or eating. I am carrying my own bodyweight in snacks in my hand luggage.

Anyway, we are having grilled salmon for dinner, as a light and easily digestible meal. I shall miss these perks of not having to cook and clean – in fact it’s been so long, I’ve forgotten how to!

The next post may well be from our new home in the states. I still haven’t decided on a title for my new blog. Answers on a postcard etc etc…

Bye from over here.



No, I’m not referring to the Drum n’ Bass track by Adam F, but the fact that Ollie has suddenly got into circles in a big way. He calls them ‘Os’. Everything on the picture is his own work apart from the purple pen marks.

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small family barbecue

We have been very lucky with the weather this month – pretty much since I moved into mum and dad’s it’s been warm and sunny, so the boys have been outside most of the time.

Today, we decided to have a barbecue, which was a lot of fun!







birthday and watercress

Yesterday, I walked past a pub where I’d spent my 21st birthday. I was suddenly filled with feelings of guilt when I realised what a horrifically long time ago it was…! All this moaning about how I’m too young to have to knuckle down and behave like a grown-up, well it trurns out, I’ve grown up without noticing. Thankfully I was never hedonistic-above-all-else, but now that the kids are slightly more independent, I’m remembering the things I did with my time before I was constantly dealing with nappies, sick, healthy eating and dribble, and I want to do them again!

This has all sprung to the front of my mind as I’ve just had another birthday, we went out for lunch:

Then I got tea and cake and G&Ts on the terrace with Viv and Len, who are people I never get to spend as much time with as I would like to, so that was a real treat. I even got taken out for dinner by Aunty Jo, so really I couldn’t have had a better birthday.

Today we took Ollie, and dragged Thomas to see a steam railway. We did have a good time, and the boys were quite interested in the train, but ultimately they were a bit too young for this trip. Now that we know the layout and which stations are good for a picnic, we can plan our next visit if Ollie continues his passion for trains.





Guildford paddling pool

A long long time ago I worked for Social Services taking kids out for fun days and stuff in the holidays. Somewhere in a dark dusty cupboard in my brain, I remembered a lovely place with a fantastic outdoor paddling pool where we had once taken some of the kids. Somehow, we managed to find it again. My mum was driving, and thankfully patient with the last fiddly bit where we ended up in small car parks until we found the right place!

It was absolutely as brilliant as I’d remembered it, only quieter, as we got there at 10.30 and it’s not the holidays.


Even bedstemor had a paddle:

In other news, the final stages of our big move have been set into motion. David managed to sell my car on ebay for me for £450! It was a terrible experience for him, which I will leave for him to tell, but he came out alive, and thankfully it’s now all sorted. He has now landed in Boston and is making his way to Hanover on the Dartmouth shuttle bus. I’m waiting to hear about the house, our stuff and our new car.

Ollie is really talking away now – I think he will also be as chatty as Thomas, in which case I’m going to start wearing an ipod during the day. When I was asking them to help put the toys away, Thomas turned around and said, “Mum, you’re treating us like servants!”


lastminute tourists

As we are about to leave, we decided to rush around doing all the touristy things we wouldn’t have bothered with otherwise. As I said to David, the most comfortable place to be a tourist is in your own patch.

David and I managed to go clubbing thanks to some great friends who got us organised. We had a fantastic night at “Matter” at the O2, and got to see Tom Middleton and Moby, but missed Trentemøller through being too old and having young kids. We still had a fantastic time, and on the way home the next morning took our trip on the London Eye, in case they finally decided on dismantling it before we’re back again!

Then on Friday last, we took the kids for a day out. Ollie is happy enough just to go on a train:

Just outside Waterloo:

We posed for photos on the river (especially the boys):

…and touristy ones:

…and silly ones:

We had lunch at the Giraffe on the South Bank, which the kids loved (for balloon purposes anyway). The took the ferry from Festival Pier to Greenwich. I’ve been wanting to go to the Royal Observatory for ages, so I’m glad we finally made it:
That was, obviously, the Prime Meridian, 0 degrees longitude, so Thomas and I had one foot in the East and one in the West.
We actually took hundreds of photos, but I’ll put them all up some other time.



I just had to write about this one:

Thomas is bawling his eyes out with real tears, because his best friend, the only friend he really really really loves, has run away from him. Yes, Henry the woodlouse who he met 5 minutes ago, has decided the friendship was really becoming old and stale, and needed to move on, perhaps to find another buddy. Thomas is devastated and is still telling me how much he misses his best friend. Luckily, he’s decided that Henry was a silly name, so he’s changed it to Ellie. He is now telling me he can’t even play because he’s lost his best, best friend…

I’ve had enough of this now.



We are making the best of what feels a bit like a holiday, and of course having a willing extra pair of hands to help with extraordinary activities, so we made it to the beach. It wasn’t the warmest day at the seaside I’ve ever had, but not the coldest either… Thomas was freezing and needed two extra layers. Ollie wasn’t bothered at all and just got stuck into what he took for a giant sandpit.