Sunday, 27 April 2008

time for tea

tea and chat, originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

I have always been a bit funny about justifying treating myself and can always think of a thousand things the children need or we can do as a family before enjoying a bit of self indulgence.

Today, admittedly it was Jenny's birthday treat, we had afternoon tea in a rather lovely hotel. Just three friends and no children, no interuptions and for me no guilt! Heaven... sometimes the soul needs a bit of 'time out' from everyday life. I have come back refreshed, relaxed and a much better person than the tired mummy that left this morning - well we did treat ourselves to a spa treatment after!

Saturday, 26 April 2008

washing up

washing up 2 , originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

i love how two year olds play, they are quite insular and don't really play together or acknowledge each other. Washing up at parent and toddler group is a classic example - my little man didn't once look at his friends either side just keept his head down concentrating really hard on the task in hand! He really 'plays' now and has favourite toys, like the cooker that he makes a bee line for and guards from other children in case they may want to play with it too! It is amazing what determination children have at such a young age and I wonder where mine has gone!

Friday, 25 April 2008

I'll just rest my sleepy head...

the end of a busy week for all of us. Events and worry at work, children's parties to organise, school starting again after the Spring holidays. Our little family takes a while to gear up and prepare for busy times and even longer to settle back down to a routine again. Sometimes it feels as if we don't have a daily rhythm at all and just react to the demands placed upon us.

I tend to monitor this by the 'state of the house' if we are out a lot, holidays, evening work etc... the house general starts to fall apart. Washing ends up in piles; to be washed, needs to be ironed, sorted, unsorted to be put away. This results in morning raids of piles around the house as we hunt for a pair of socks - where do the odd ones go? We are used to living like this, but I often fantacise of storage where every thing has a place - I'm sure if every item of clothing we own was to be put away there wouldn't be enough space in the house and that a certain amount always needs to be in the cycle!

We are currently at the end of a birthday week, we are all a little weary and there are piles of clothes everywhere! But it is a sign of good times and we will use this weekend to restore ourselves again.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008


chandelier, originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

at work today we hosted a launch of a rather big project - anyway as I was listening to the keynote speaker, I couldn't help but admire the chandelier above his head! I was quite tired after party organising at the weekend and then a very big work do to organise and stage manage, sometimes I wish work colleagues could see quite how fast my legs are paddling to appear like a graceful swan and quite how often my children are snapped at when I have to make 'just one more phone call' or send 'just one more email', oh the guilt!

The project is one of the most amibitious that we have ever undertaken and quite difficult to interpret and put a 'public face' on so I was delighted today when both The Times and The Telegraph both ran with it - yipppeeee I get so excited when we get into the 'nationals'!

As I daydreamed up to the beautiful chandelier for a moment my worlds of motherhood and work became blurred and as I listened to the words, I realised that although I beat myself up about being a working mum, through work I am making a difference to the future for my children and that can't be too bad can it?

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

The "seemed like a good idea at the time" award...

production line, originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

goes to the handstitching of 12 party bags as I don't have a sewing machine. My loathing of the children's party culture and party bags in particular means that ultimately I have to practice what I preach. This year my little man was having a party on a farm, so I thought what better gift than the old ladybird books (they are so educational and have beautiful illustrations) that I grew up with in the 70's (now called 'vintage') and starting searching for 'the farm' for the two year olds and 'the farmer' for older brothers and sisters on ebay and in charity shops. I then thought I would use up the old scraps of fabric I had and bits of tape and ribbon to make little party bags. Not quite sure what I was thinking as I had twelve to make with no sewing machine! I added one gold coin into each bag and a small bottle of bubbles. The children were so tired after all the running around and rides in the tractors that I am not sure what they thought of them, but I have an exhausted but triumphant feeling that at least I got them all finished!

Monday, 21 April 2008

A little boy's dream come true!

excitment, originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

The little man's first word was "cow", he loves his farmyard books filled with animals and tractors. So I asked one of our reserve managers at work whether we could use the barn for a birthday tea and if there were tractors there we could see. He was a star, came along and let the children play all over them, they haven't stopped talking about it!

We went for a walk and met all the cows and calves on the farm and played on the blue and red tractor! A little boys dream come true!

Friday, 18 April 2008

pottery painting

mugs before being fired..., originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

I really enjoyed an evening at a local pottery cafe with friends painting and chatting and most importantly relaxing, I don't get much time for that and I had forgotten how good it felt. Working flexibly is all well and good for the modern working mum, but you don't finish, fitting in work here, there and everywhere, I have even had two meetings at home as I couldn't fit them into my working day! My mantra for next week is "slow down and say no!"

I painted two mugs for the boys with snails on because that's what little boys are made of! What do you think?

Sunday, 13 April 2008

entertaining children on holiday

My boys have never been ones to sit down and amuse themsleves for hours. They like to play with us, show us what they are doing and mostly be as active as possible, I really don't know where they get the energy from.

So a holiday in a small railway carriage was always going to be a challenge especially if we had bad weather. Which luckily we didn't until the day we left! We took books, paper and pencils for drawing and reading, we sang silly songs and my most inspired idea, was taking some masking tape and matchbox cars and turned the used cereal boxes into a garage!

More pictures here
Our next challenge is a road trip in a VW Camper Van, which has even less space!

Saturday, 12 April 2008

buy local

I recently read a newspaper article that said 95% of people staying in self catering accomodation bring food with them, thus not helping the local economy. I was really shocked by this statistic and then realised that since I have had children, I have got very organised and prepare for everything and anything and I pack for every eventuality and weather condition (which actually in the UK at the moment could happen in just one day!). The thought of going to the middle of nowhere (we do seem to choose quite remote locations) where there are no shops causes me to worry and start most sentances in the weeks leading up to our hols with "what if?". I drive my husband mad, before he met me he would take himself off "man" camping on a whim with only a tin of beans, toothbrush, sleeping bag and tent and have a great adventure.

Anyway, the holiday company we went with recommended a 'welcome box' delivery scheme and that coupled with the fact we had to walk 300 yards from our car along a coastal footpath to the railway carriage that was it, this was going to be the holiday that would change my behaviour! We got to the railway carriage and the most gorgeous local products were awaiting us; bara brith, welsh cakes, bread, eggs, milk, sausages, bacon (really top quality meat), welsh cheese, welsh tea - it lasted us a good few days. We added local produce and had a few meals out or take aways in, perfect. What I did notice is the amount of rubbish we usually generate with packaging had reduced and we didn't end up carting food back home (emergency tins of rice pudding) with us! We had a fantastic time, discovered new and exciting foods such as bara brith and local ale and supported the local economy, I am certainly not going back!

Friday, 11 April 2008

tickets please!

We have just had an amazing holiday staying in 'Wendy' the Aberporth Express, she is situated right on the Cardigan Bay coastal path, the views were amazing. She has been beautifully restored back to her glory days of the 1920's. More pictures on my flickr page:

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

bird box

birdy box, originally uploaded by Emma Bradshaw.

not content with a weekly veg box we have now discovered that Wiggly Wigglers does a bird box scheme that delivers a monthly bird seed box depending on what garden birds need at different times of year and it is grown locally! Just arrived and packed full of suet covered sunflower hearts (yum!), fatballs, high energy food (do they do human equivalent?) & mealworms (squirm). We are definately going bird crazy in our garden!

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