Sunday, 29 November 2009

wet and windy weekends...

pet shop photograph by me

this wet and windy weekend has seen us...
  • playing shops ~ this week our pet shop has been open!
  • getting the Christmas box down from the attic, with the advent calendars in ready for Tuesday!
  • visiting our nearest Steiner school Christmas Fair, buying lots crafting supplies and trips through the 'crystal cave' where the children put on goggles, a head torch, hardhat and armed with a pick axe, journey into a darkened room/cave, where there are crystals buried in the walls (I think it may of been plaster of Paris that the walls were made of), for the children to dig out! We went through many, many times! I don't know what the gnomes will say when they find all the crystals have gone!
  • playing lots of board games ~ snakes and ladders and ludo
  • writing lists for Christmas, card lists, present lists, shopping lists, menu's and a horrible housework list!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

happy birthday...

herriott~grace is celebrating its first birthday today, hip hip hooray! To celebrate Nikole is having a little birthday giveaway on her blog forty-sixth at grace. I have just browsed the shop which is brimming with gorgeous wooden spoons, cake plates and salt dishes carved by Nikole's very talented father. If you haven't started your Christmas shopping I would recommend you take a look. As for me, I can't take my eyes off the chocolate cake!

Friday, 27 November 2009

who is teaching who...?

my little man came home with a certificate from school today for 'working well in everything and being kind to others', now rest assured, I am not telling you this to boast, I am sharing this as we have had a rather challenging couple of months with him. He had been coming home from school in such a bad mood, tired and angry all the time. Then after a meeting with his teacher we were dismayed to learn that although popular, he was involved in a lot of rough and tumble at playtimes, that needed to stop.

The first thing we did, was look our parenting and I realised the more challenging that he was becoming with his behaviour, the more I was relenting, therefore his anger and frustration was being rewarded by being allowed to play, as I was trying to keep the peace for an easy life. We have also gone though such a couple of months of poor sleep with our youngest, that I noticed our tolerance level had dwindled and we were snapping at our children. It was so clear when standing back how he was just mirroring our behaviour!

So I have been spending more time with my little man, being calm, firm and trying to focus more on him and his needs these past few weeks. I have had complete days without turning the laptop on {you may have noticed I haven't been around as much?} as we try to bring in a rhythm to our day again of play, making supper together and doing crafty things. His dad has been taking him to football practice which he has been loving too and although I am not keen on after school clubs and driving children all over the place, this is working well as it is a good place for him to release his energy and something his good behaviour is rewarded with.

It just serves to remind me that you can't get complacent with this parenting lark and the more time, hard work and energy you put in, the more you all get out. His certificate today makes me so proud of my little man and reminds me how important to him, good parenting from me is.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

words to shoot by...

photography by Steph Parke

I am very excited to have been asked by Steph Parke to be one of the new contributors on the Words to Shoot By photo collaboration. I met Steph through taking part in the Nectar and Light photo trade last year, when we were paired together and I have followed her beautiful photography ever since. The 'words to shoot by' collaboration is lovely, every two weeks a word is set and the contributors interpret it through a triptych of photographs. I can't wait to start...

Monday, 23 November 2009

so I hid them under the bed...

I have been under the weather for a few days now and spent most of the weekend in bed, feeling sorry for myself, and often not sleeping due to my mind racing {don't you just hate that?}. Today I feel even more rubbish, especially as I missed a day in London yesterday, catching up with the BBC (aka: Susannah, Jo, Penny, Leonie and Sas ~ Megg couldn't make it either!). I must have been feeling rubbish for a little while now as my online shopping has increased again, something I usually only indulge in when feeling, down, stressed or insecure. Clothes shopping is my armour, I am a bit like Worzel Gummidge (a scarecrow with a head for every occasion or to give him a certain skill), when I feel vulnerable, I like to think I look OK, or that I dress to achieve a certain image, businesswomen, yummy mummy etc...

So this week I have bought a knitted hat, two Paris books and a pair of cowboy (ish) boots, which I promptly thanked the delivery driver for and hid them under my bed! I didn't want to have to explain to the husband why I needed yet another pair of brown boots or spent money we haven't got! I caught my reflection in the mirror and wondered what on earth a 35 year old was doing? I am still wondering and yes, they are still under the bed!

p.s. picture of boots to follow!

Friday, 20 November 2009

friday flickr faves...

Today, I am lusting over battered old leather chairs, wrist warmers and cupcakes! happy weekend, Emma x

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

can I introduce you to...

Emma Bradshaw, the photographer. Yes, finally after a lot of nagging {sorry encouragement} from some very straight talking friends and listening to their advice and words of wisdom, I have finally launched Emma Bradshaw Photography. I have been steadily taking on more and more commissions over the last year for friends and family, which have gone really well and through word of mouth, I have a few more lined up in the next few weeks. So it was time to 'come out' so to speak!

Of course I have created a new site and to celebrate my official launch, I am offering limited edition gift vouchers just in time for Christmas! Here's to busy times ahead.

Monday, 16 November 2009

nature club: making terrariums

this weekend we made some terrariums. We put some horticultural grit at the bottom, a layer of charcoal and then compost on the top. We have added moss in ours and a couple of animals, but we need to buy a couple of plants to plant in them too, maybe some ferns would look good?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

always at this time of year...

...especially when it gets cold, I start thinking about next years holidays, firstly as we have already started planning next year at work and if you don't remember to keep a few weeks clear, they quickly get filled up. And my youngest starts school in September, which is a momentous thing indeed, and one that needs building up to and using up every last minute I have left with him before he starts!

but where to go? We have had some wonderful holidays over the last few years from a feather down farm, to a railways carriage called Wendy. Two breaks in VW campers called Betty and Prudence, a tipi and the most gorgeous pink Welsh cottage. Plus some amazing camping trips. But for next year I am not sure where to go, we love Cornwall, should we go back again? If so where? We have been most places and it is all so expensive nowadays. Should we go further afield to the Lake District or Scotland or even abroad {note to self: will need to buy three passports!} I love looking at the Scandinavian countries and the lovely wooden summer houses by the sea. We love quirky holidays, something in a beautiful property or place, somewhere unique or by the sea, we loathe holiday cottages that all look like an ikea showroom inside, especially when they are so old and beautiful on the outside. Any ideas gratefully received...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

simply the best...

sunday lunch in the world, at The Black Horse, Cranham. The food is so good, consistently good and cooked to order in a tiny Cotswold Pub Kitchen. You have to be prepared to wait for food this good and a busy lunchtime can see long waiting times! So go prepared, take good company, the Sunday papers and get there early to secure a seat by the fire and laugh as people who are dining there for the first time, get cross and irate as they have to wait! (when did we get so impatient?) Those who have the audacity to complain are sent packing to 'chain' pubs nearby, who microwave their food! Don't expect to move for the rest of the day as this is good hearty food and you may require an afternoon nap straight after!

Monday, 9 November 2009

gunpowder, treason and plot...

sparkler by me

We celebrated Guy Fawkes Day with a bonfire, fireworks and food with friends. We found a rather nice menu in the free Waitrose 'Seasons' booklet, the soup is delicious, we made ours with butternut squash.

Bonfire Night Menu

Pumpkin soup with tortilla chips
'Hog Roast' rolls with bramley apple sauce
Chocolate fudge fondue
Caramel popcorn
all washed down with some mulled cider and warm apple juice!

I did have a brainwave of popping the corn over the bonfire in tin foil parcels on the end of sticks, but I forgot to put any oil in and ended up burning it ~ whoops!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

children's party

he didn't quite understand why he had to get off the chair, to play musical chairs! He was quite happy to sit and watch with his little friend whilst the older ones raced around him. His older brother on the other hand turned into a wild thing, racing everywhere, so over excited!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

when November brings rain...

pictures by me

...we shelter in cafes and coffee shops, playing games, drinking warm milk and hot chocolate. We read books and take colouring books to colour in. Then we pull on our wellies and waterproofs and go outside and jump in all the puddles!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

is this my fifteen minutes of fame?

Well here I am, on page number 309 in the December edition of Red Magazine (UK). It is a really great edition, packed full of good features, interiors and food. The article is good too even if there is the caption "I eat three mince pies, one after another" over my head, resulting in my husband chanting "who ate all the pies!" The advice from Jane Clarke, nutritionist and Samuele Serreli, personal trainer, is realistic too, which is great. I was afraid I had said something awful, that would just haunt me, but it is a lovely well written piece by Andrea Childs with good advice, great styling from Lucy (she even lent me her necklace in the pic!) and hair and make-up by Lindsay Poole, not to mention the great (and very flattering) photography by Sarah Dunn, who was just so lovely. I would recommend if anyone else has the opportunity to do anything similar ~ be brave and go for it (I wish I could do it all over again!).

I wonder if this is my fifteen minutes of fame? What do you think? Have I scrubbed up OK? Do I look like me? I could scream with excitement and hide behind a pillow full of silly embarrassment at the same time! I wonder if anyone I know reads the magazine (or this blog for that matter?) and will recognise me? I wish I had taken Julie and Laura's email addresses (the other girls in the feature) too, so I could email them and find out what they think! OK I am thinking about this way too much ~ I'll stop now - I promise!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

pinch me ~ was it a dream...?

in the chair by me

do you remember, a few weeks ago I shared with you my trip to London, to be photographed for a Christmas feature in Red magazine? Well as promised here is the second half of the story...

I walked in and met the lovely team from Red magazine, not at all "Ab Fab" but gorgeous down to earth people. They had selected a range of clothes that were hanging on a rail for us to choose from. Goodness, I thumbed through, found some lovely things, but I was of course choosing the type of thing I usually wear. I asked Lucy, the fashion assistant, what she thought, I mean, I am hardly going to do this again, so I may as well take advice and go for something a little more different, don't you think? She handed me some skinny jeans (moi? - I tried to disguise my shock, so as not to appear like the untrendy mid 30's mum that I actually am!), but surprisingly they were amazingly flattering and made my legs look long and not really like my legs at all! Although then she gave me the highest pair of heels I have ever seen, could I walk in them? No, I sort of just tottered! I confessed I never wore heels, I had to, I was standing swaying as if I was a six year old dressing up in her mums shoes! She teamed up the jeans with a couple of vests and a sequined jacket, which I hope look more rock chick than bingo caller!

I then had hair and make up done, again I put myself in their hands, and they curled my short hair, painted my finger nails black and gave me smoky eyes! There were two other gorgeous ladies, taking part in the feature and they took individual shots and then a group shot of us together, what with trying to smile and trying to stand up in the outrageously high heels, I forgot to breathe in! All too quickly it was over and my Cinderella moment came to an end, it seems like a dream now. I wish I hadn't been so embarrassed to get my camera out (what with a professional photographer there, I felt a bit nerdy!), but not to worry, in just a few weeks the Christmas edition of Red will be in the shops, aaaahhhhhh ~ I have butterflies just thinking about it...

Monday, 2 November 2009

I still can't crochet!

crochet by me

I ripped a pattern out of an old Martha Stewart magazine years ago as I just loved the crochet snowflakes in it. I haven't got around to learning yet, despite a few kind offers to teach me, but my lovely crafting friend Christina crochets beautifully and has already made a few at our Wednesday night crafting sessions! I am going to have to learn as I quite fancy a garland of these sewn together for Christmas and that's not far away at all!
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