jeudi 28 mai 2009

Morning sailing and afternoon on the ile du Gaou

Marie-Kate and her kite.

As I said in an earlier post, I have been busy of late, after a morning of sailing with Gaby's class of CM1, I had to juggle lunch and hand over the children to French hubby, who was charged to take them back to school, leaving me time to go to a nearby Island where Marie-Kate was spending the afternoon with her class (moyenne section) all aged 4 or 5.
Christophe who helped the children with their project.

Her class have been learning about the wind, and they'd all made their own kites to fly on the Island
I think it's a butterfly

La Voile/ Sailing (Gaby's class)

Our little town by the sea

I have been busy lately with helping out at school with different activities, one of which is the sailing class, an easy job which consists of walking the 400 metres from the school to the sailing club, taking photos for the class blog and hurrying the children up at the end, to get changed so they get back to school for lunch or home-time (this isn't so easy, these kids talk a lot).

These guys are lucky to sail in spring and not the autumn

Just next to the sailing school I found this. Apparently this boat has been in this position for a year after a big storm caused it to tip over. Now, it's blocking about twenty boats that can't leave quay! The boat's owned by an association and they can't afford to have it rescued.

The class on its way back after two hours of sailing.

Solar Pizza Box Oven

After our disastrous attempt with our solar can oven for a unplug project the other week, we tried again, this time using instructions found on the net, to make a solar oven using a used pizza box.
We found the warmest place in the garden

We thought it would be wise to try something easy this time, so we melted some mozzarella and cook a couple of baby tomatoes.

After an hour the cheese had half melted, however the tomatoes were the same as before, and as the children were hungry (what's new) they ate the lot...maybe the cheese would have fully melted, if we'd had waited another hour...

samedi 16 mai 2009

Il y a de soleil (enfin)unplugged project

To celebrate the sun's belated return to a rather rainy south of France, we decided to experiment with a solar oven (rudimentary one), and cook an egg for this weeks unplugged project. First, Alexis painted a the outside of a tin can black.
Then he put some aluminumn foil inside

He popped the can in a hole in the sunniest part of the garden, making sure he didn't put soil in the can, he cracked open an egg and lost most of it on the soil (never mind)
He placed a piece of glass on top and hour later, nothing had changed ( temperature today in the shade 23°c) so we resorted to further measures, we attached one of Marie-Kate's mirrors onto a bamboo and orientated it, to have the sun's reflection on the glass.

Two hours later, no change, moved the mirror a bit more, now we'll wait.

A couple of hours later, no change, oh dear, never mind, doesn't anyone have an idea just how hot it needs to be to cook an egg using this method?

Even though our unplugged project didn't quite turn out as it should have, we're not going to give up. Next weekend we're going to attempt to build a solar oven using a pizza box.
Two hours later, no change, moved the mirror a bit more, now we'll wait.

Update, lunch-time the following day, the egg looks half-cooked, however, it could just be dry...

dimanche 10 mai 2009

National Gallery London

outside The National Gallery

Take one 7 year old, a lively boy, and ask him, which museum he prefered while in London, what would he say? The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum maybe.....well not Alexis, he adored The National Gallery. He spend ages sketching the portrait of Charles I painted by Van Dyke ( to come soon).

The Picasso expo was super (we are big fans of Picasso). Another favourite was the crabs by Van Gogh.

British Museum

First full day in London, first visit, The British Museum.

This museum is exceptional, the children loved loved the Mummy Section (we didn't visit the whole museum).

Here's a photo of the Rosette Stone, it's kind of funny that they try to minimize Champollion's contribution to the translation of the hieroglyphs inscribed on it.

Last restaurant: Imli

Imli(wall decor)

Imli is in Soho on Wardour Street. It's best to go there before 6pm with children because they have a special children's 3 course meal for £5.99, we didn't know that before, we never eat that early. On arriving in the restaurant, we weren't told that, never mind, it was still worth eating in with the children. The staff helped us choosing suitable food for the children (not too spicy) and Alain and I had the tasting menu for two. The lamb was fantastic, the smoked fish too.
I was a bit disappointed with the dessert, carrot fudge, it was a little dry and the ice-cream wasn't so good either.

It was the most expensive restaurant we dined in while in London, costing £92 including tips and wine. With hindsight, it's probably better to eat here with older children, Marie-Kate found the food still too spicy for her liking.

Fish & Chips at The North Sea Fish Restaurant

Before going to London, I read that this was one of the best Fish & Chip restaurants to go to in London, and as the children had never eaten this national dish before, we thought we'd try it.
As soon as we walked through the door we felt even more that we were in England, it was very authentic, very good fish and very large portions. The English(Bombarder) beer wasn't bad either.

You can' find chips like this in France.

You can't eat Fish & Chips without trying some mushy peas. Their home-made tartare sauce was just amazing, yet another thing on my list to try and make at home.

Marie-Kate's favourite restaurant, and Alain loved it too.

As for price, we paid £56, it was less expensive than Wahaca, however we didn't have a dessert nor wine, we did share two bottle's of Bombarder beer though.

Covent Garden

We were really lucky during our stay in London, in didn't rain, infact the weather was better in London than back at home in the south of France.

Covent Garden was buzzing with activity, we managed to catch the end of this performance.

I wondered how he was going to get down. He made it look easy!

London: Super Mexican Restaurant

Wahaca was really a great place to eat, fun, spicy and in. Just of Covent Garden, this place was Gabrielle's and perhaps my favourite restaurant that we dined in.

The children were really made to feel welcome, the staff gave them crayons to colour their menus, and they helped us choose suitable things for them to eat.
We arrived just before the rush and were lucky to have a place without waiting.

We shared some heavenly guacamole (best I've ever tasted), ate plenty of great food, shared a bottle of good wine and finished off with some churros and some mango sorbet for £70 with tips, the cheapest place we ate inIf only I knew how to make guacamole like this.

Next year this restaurant is first on my list to re-visit.

Spinning Tops/Toupie's

Alexis and Marie-Kate made a couple of spinning tops using some scratched cd's today.
They painted them

Then they with a cork (cut in two) and a tooth pick, they were ready

Since participating in the "Annual Turn Off Week" I haven't been on-line much. Next week, I'll try and blog more about our trip to London and our new vegetable garden.