Monday, 31 March 2008


tender , originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

my new career as a photographer! my friend Gina asked me to take some pictures of her daughter and this was my favourite - a baby kiss - my son kisses just like this too - big sloppy kiss with his mouth wide open! At such a young age, tee hee!

Friday, 28 March 2008

being less than perfect

being less than perfect, originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

I am far from perfect and spend way too much time at work and on flickr! - so I carry a lot of guilt and stress. I take only the nice pictures of our lives - I keep meaning to start "the flip side" group with pictures of what is going on behind me - such as crayon on the wall, crumbs on the floor, dust around the skirting board and two boys wrestling over toys. But I am a firm believer that dirt is good and playing with children is the best thing you can do, the housework can wait! (although I use that excuse way too much). This picture is the kitchen on a relatively tidy day! the "dangerous" shelf which is home to swords that have been used too realistically, broken toys waiting to be glued or mended and some wooden eggs that turned into missiles. The blackboard with shopping list on to aid my memory, although it is hard to explain now to a one year old that you can't write on EVERY wall! and the piles of paperwork that pile up everywhere around the house, things we are reading, articles we want to keep, pictures that inspire us - each one of us hoards treasure in a different way!

It's funny one of my little man's school friends was teasing him yesterday that he didn't watch the Simpsons (he is 4!) and it started a panic in me! - is he being teased at school? do people think we are strange parents and he is missing out? Are we being over protective and not letting him grow up as quickly? Should we have sent him to a Steiner school where there are parents who share the same values as we do? I know I monitor what he watches on TV - usually David Attenborough natural history programmes and avoid anything superhero branded and Disney, but is this all that is talked about in the playground? - all these worries. I feel inside we are doing the right thing even if it feels as if we are little fish swimming against a big current.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

our nature table and the importance of environmental education

This is our our nature table, an old fashioned concept but something, years ago, you would find in most class rooms. but not today, which is why we have our own at home as we think it is very important. Did you know that environmental education was not on the school curriculum for key stages one and two in the UK? I was shocked to learn this and promptly signed the petition (linked below) to get it into the curriculum. My little boy attends a rural school overlooking beautiful green countryside, they go outside and play on a concrete playground and he hasn't ever been into the wildlife area, which is overgrown, I find this very, very sad indeed.

If global climate change is at the heart of the world's problems, then environmental education must be at the heart of the school curriculum. NAEE (National Association for Environmental Education) believes that Environmental Education provides young people with the knowledge, attitudes and skills needed to understand why we should all adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, and equips them to take the positive action outlined in the 'Sustainable Schools' strategy.

Environmental Education was a cross-curricular theme just over a decade ago; its seven topics encompassed the recurring issues relating to climate, biodiversity, waste minimisation, conservation of energy, water and the earth's natural resources. This approach fitted primary and secondary schools alike, and its emphasis on experiential learning outside the classroom suited all age and ability ranges. NAEE proposes a similar approach should be included in today's curriculum.


nest, originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

After getting inspiration from here... I decided to have a go and make some nests for Easter. I didn't realise how tricky they would be - I really don't know how birds do it! I gave up with the sticks and opted for a paper mache, leave, soil, moss and sheeps wool instead! and there were three attempts before I was happy with this one! It doesn't look much like a nest but more like a delicate bowl!

Monday, 24 March 2008


jenny, originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

everyone needs a godmother like Jenny. She is beautiful, kind and the best cake maker in the world and we love her x She has boundless energy and is so good with the boys, always getting down on the floor to play with them. It is easy to take family and friends for granted and one of the best things about taking pictures is the moments you capture that sometimes you don't appreciate at the time, when I look at this picture I see the three little boys happily reading and gently competing for her attention. Gone are the days where we have grown up conversation, we are left with little snatches of conversation between and over the noise of our children, and many, too many, unfinished sentances!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

easter egg hunt

treasure , originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

hunting for Easter eggs in the garden, which lasted minutes! - small garden mind you. They were very good and allowed one egg before lunch and one after.

This celebration typifies one of my biggest annoyances as a parent - this over indulgent society that we live in - children don't need chocolate and fancy toys all the time, exposed to it they come to expect it and not appreciate it. Years ago chocolate was a luxury and therefore a treat - today it is asked for everytime you go into a food shop or cafe. I remember my son coming away from a party when he was two with a goody bag that I let him have in the car whilst driving home. Only to get him out and find wrappers from seven sugar packed sweets and chocolate cake - I couldn't get him down from the ceiling for the rest of the day!

Whilst I am on a role there is only one thing that annoys me more than this and that is PACKAGING - especially if the toy is plastic and shipped from China - you go through layers of cardboard, then plastic then ties just to get to a toy that needs batteries and will end up unloved at the bottom of the toybox broken! It's the parents fault, you are now judged by what present you take to a party and the unwritten rules state it always has to be bigger and more expensive than the cost of the goody bag!

I sound very very ungrateful - but I am always looking at the BIGGER picture - as parents we may not be able to afford these guys university fees, driving lessons, a car, or help them with a mortgage. I think we should put all this money into a money box and buy something saved up for, to treasure or as an investment for the future. They are not going without, children don't know rich or poor when they are young all they crave is attention and love from their family and that is the only wealth that they need - Plus we will help to save the environment at the same time in not buying over packaged toys and we all need to do that. That's the end of my Easter sermon!

Saturday, 22 March 2008

a making & baking day

Making and Baking Day, originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

I have just bought a book 'Baking Bread with Children' by Warren Lee Cohen that has inspired me to learn to bake bread - everytime I try it never rises! But it is one of my goals to bake fresh bread for us all to enjoy. I will let you know how it turns out!

Friday, 21 March 2008

life on a narrowboat

narrowboat , originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

...dreaming of life on a narrowboat, traveling and adventures, not having any room for clutter, watching as swans glide by the window, chopping wood for the stove, living at a slower pace...

Monday, 10 March 2008

road trip

road trip, originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

There is a horrible storm outside with gales of up to 80 miles an hour - so what better than a bit of holiday road trip planning!

Plus a secret passion revealed - I LOVE maps, I could quite happily spent hours poured over an ordnance survey map if I was allowed!

Sunday, 9 March 2008

capturing a moment

capturing a moment , originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

Every once in a while the camera captures a moment, a glimpse into a relationship or a preview into what the future holds. This is one of those shots, Ted is a mama's boy, his older brother has always preferred daddy. We didn't do anything to make it that way it just evolved over time and is hard to understand how it happened and whether it will continue. The strange thing that I have started to notice is that Ted is actually very like his father, so laid back and always smily and Alfie a lot more like me!

So I was delighted with this picture (I only took it as I was trying to learn how to use my new flash - another story!) as here they are, two peas in a pod and always laughing x

Friday, 7 March 2008

wall apples

wall apples, originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

An interesting fact that I have learned this week: the garden snail used to be called a 'wall apple' in the UK as it was eaten a lot more than it is now! I think that's a rather enchanting name for a snail.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

nature club: dissecting owl pellets

lining up the finds , originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

Owl pellets are what owls regurgitate after feeding and are compacted full of bones and fur of mice, voles, shrew, moles and even rats! They are great for understanding about owls and their diet and also the abundance of their food source the small mammals in the area.

Pete brought three home for Alfie and I to dissect and try to work out what the barn owl had eaten! I thought for a four year old he wouldn't be patient and delicate enough to manage it, but for an hour (a very long time for Alfie) he sat and carefully prized apart the pellets to reveal skulls and bones and even matched them up against an ID sheet too! He found loads more than I did! A budding ecologist in the making.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Afternoon tea on Mother's Day

Afternoon tea with my boys, Nana and Grandma. Although Grandma was late and Nana didn't feel like eating, so by the time everyone arrived my little mice had been pinching crumbs from around the Victoria Sponge! which as you can see from the picture looks slightly dented. It reminded me of when my cousin Neil and I were young and a batch of freshly made cakes were put on the table we would stick our fingers into the one we wanted, so no one else would eat it! How naughty is that! Don't tell my little ones... shhhhhh.

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