Thursday, 29 April 2010

lay a little egg for me...

I have always wanted chickens, ever since I watched the 'Good Life' on TV as a child. I have even bought many beautiful 'how to keep chicken' books! With a small garden and two young children, I thought my dream wouldn't be possible, but after watching Alys Fowler's fantastic 'Edible Garden' TV series, and seeing her 'garden loft' chicken run, I am thinking we may just be able to fit a couple in, after all. A little creativity may be needed to move things around a little to squeeze two hens in, with enough space for them, but it may, just may, be possible! Do you keep hens? Do you have any chicken advice? I would love to hear from you...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

virtual curators...

I am finding it really hard to choose which pictures to exhibit, so I thought I would ask you for your help with a little bit of 'virtual curating'! Listed above are some of my favourites photographs, which I feel reflect my style the most. I have chosen the film shots, which I do prefer over digital, although you may not agree? Which of the pictures above should I take and have I left any out? Are your favourites there? If not, which shall I add? You can find many more over on my flickr pages! Please let me know your thoughts and vote for your favourites by leaving a comment and I will include it in the exhibition...

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

making an exhibition of oneself...

I have been a little shy about announcing my first photography exhibition! It runs from 9th June - 17th July at Prema Arts Centre in Gloucestershire. I am feeling in equal measure excited, nervous and very unworthy! I am busy shooting some new material for the exhibition, but I will also feature a lot of my favourites, like the one above!

I haven't even begun to think about frames yet either! I have been looking for some old wooden ones at the car boot sale, which will compliment the film photographs, but all there seems to be are modern plasticky ones! I'm really not going to have any fingernails left to bite after this!

Monday, 26 April 2010


one of the little mans birthday presents was this rather fine 3D tree puzzle. I had seen Eren's beautiful home-made version a little while ago on her blog, 'this vintage chica' and vowed to have a go myself, until this arrived. As far as puzzles go it is really beautiful and although it says it is for children aged from six years, our four year old has no problem putting the pieces together at all! In fact it has us all captivated as we figure which bits to put where and argue who gets to put the owl on the top!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

cowboys love ketchup...

for our four year old's cowboy birthday party, we kept the food really simple. We had a campfire and cooked sausages, corn on the cob and damper bread on it. Damper or campfire bread is great to do with children, you make the dough before hand, and then give the children a little bit for them to roll into a thin pencil/sausage shape before winding it around a stick. We used the recipe from the book 'Baking bread with children' by Warren Lee Cohen. Then just hold over the fire, turning so it doesn't burn! Yum!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

cowboys and indians...

little man's birthday party today, with a cowboys and indians theme. The play tipi was finished, after some late night sewing {method and pictures to follow when I get film developed}, a party in a beautiful woodland glade with sausages, corn on the cob and damper bread cooked on sticks over a campfire. The birthday cake, was campfire inspired, with a mini tipi and embroidered flags on top, inspired by this cake. Good friends to play with in the sunshine, wearing feathers in their hair. Happy days, tired feet and my little boy one year older!

Thursday, 22 April 2010

tipi update...

four metres of gorgeous cotton canvas has arrived from Whaleys of Bradford and I have just cut out six panels ready to sew into the tipi {fingers crossed!}. Typically as I have left everything to the last minute, I woke up this morning with a huge headache, causing me to spend most of the day in bed! Right, enough of this chat and procrastination, I'm off to hand sew twelve metres of seams! Can it be done in time?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

sheer delight...

when was the last time you felt this good? Did you run, did you jump, did you roll down the highest hill? Apparently a child smiles on average 400 times a day, compared to an adult who only manages about 18!

Monday, 19 April 2010


Our four nights away last week seem so long ago already. The cottage we stayed in, had no TV and we didn't take the laptop, so for an amazing five days we were cut off from the world, which is a bit of an exaggeration as there was a radio! The first two nights, I went to bed absolutely shattered, only to realise when taking off my watch it was only 9pm! Without any distractions I listened to what my body was telling me and it was telling me to rest. I have felt so tired recently and the more tired I feel, the more uncreative I am, which is awful! Maybe a few more early nights are called for?

Sunday, 18 April 2010

How MAD?

I have just received a lovely comment on a previous post, letting me know I had been nominated for a 'MAD' award! On visiting the 'MAD' website, I found these are new awards to celebrate the UK's mum and dad bloggers! Well, I believe I am nominated for "MAD Blogger of the Year" and "best MAD blog photography" (huge thanks to whoever nominated me), how cool is that? I am fluffing out my feathers in pride! The prestigious blogger of the year comes with a prize of an iPhone 3G, a Flip digital camcorder and a Dell laptop, which is causing me to hyperventilate with giddy excitement!

So, what do you think? Am I a worthy candidate for MAD Blogger of the Year? There is however, some serious competition!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

the girl next door...

We met a lovely little girl called Nora on our holiday. She gave the boys and I fistfuls of flowers from her garden, hellebores, daffodils, lemon balm, and rocket. The boys adored her, and it was lovely to see them form such a strong friendship so quickly - they were so upset to leave! We decorated the little cottage with the flowers during our holiday and rather than leave them, we have pressed them in our new flower press, so we can send them back to Nora in a few weeks time! I bought a large flower press, most childrens tend to be quite small and fiddly for small hands, and with two boys sharing, I thought it best to buy one slightly bigger to fit the whole flower in. We also bought a slightly smaller one to give as a gift with a book, The Flowers Festival by Elsa Beskow, to another little girl we know, who will be five this weekend.

Friday, 16 April 2010

I believe...

I believe in roaring fires
I believe in hot water bottles with knitted covers
I believe in comfortable beds
I believe that Welsh cottages should have Welsh blankets
I believe in holidays and exploring new places
I believe in local pubs that sell locally brewed beer
I believe that sunny days were made for playing in sand dunes
I believe all holiday cottages should be as beautifully restored as this one
I believe in cooked breakfasts
I believe that domino's is one of the best games ever!
I believe that a posy of flowers hand-picked and given as a gift by a four year is to be treasured
I believe in eating fish and chips by the sea
I believe in holiday's with no TV or computer for distraction
I believe that sat navs will never replace an ordnance survey map
I believe that childhood friendships are remembered forever
& I believe that coming home from a great holiday, is very sad indeed!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

top UK family holidays...

for the ultimate 'posh' camping experience, where you have a mattress, toilet and the most amazing tent with a woodburner try, feather down farms or the new country house hideout

Adventurers, why not try a vw camper van? None are finer than the Snail Trail fleet of ladies in delicious colours, with interiors to match. I would love to hire the entire fleet and take off on our own little rally!

Little indians will love staying in a tipi at Cornish Tipi Holidays, set around the most magnificent lake, where you while away hours in a boat catching a trout for tea, to be cooked on your real campfire, this will be a holiday that will be talked about for years to come!

Real fires are also allowed at Cloud Farm campsite, in Exmoor, where camping is in the most beautiful riverside meadows. Pony trekking and a tea shop that sells the biggest range of homemade cakes are simply 'the icing on the cake!'

Under the Thatch takes properties, that are often derelict, restores them in an environmentally friendly way and then rents them out at affordable prices, thus ensuring they are rented throughout the year, not just in summer, supporting the local economy. Each is unique, but nothing beats the Aberporth Express a railway carriage over looking the sea!

surf dudes will love this Cornish beach chalet, near one of the loveliest beaches with surf lessons run from a nearby cafe. I would secretly like to live here!

...and when you have had enough of the family! pack the children off to grandma's and book out this shack on it's very own private beach!

Friday, 9 April 2010

weekend adventures...

last weekend we had a go on a pottery wheel at a small local pottery. It was amazing to see that with minimal instruction, how easily the boys picked it up. My three year old was especially good at it! I think art is so important for a child's development and I recently discovered moomah in New York, which combines all my favourite things: art, family, nature and a coffee shop! I wish we had one here, I think I would live in it! Now, I wonder how much it costs to set up a fab shop like this?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Picture Picnic Workshop

I'm so excited, I'm leading a workshop on the 3rd July at Prema Arts Centre, Uley, Gloucestershire. It's called Picture Picnic and I will be showing families how to take beautiful pictures with their own camera, using props and dressing up, to entertain and distract their children, while they click away! The day will be fun, relaxed and informal and participants should leave with beautiful pictures and hopefully lots of tips and inspiration. For more information visit my photography website or download the gorgeous Prema brochure (yes I made the front cover!). Right, having neglected to make tea for the family, I'm off to skip excitedly around the kitchen!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

handmade tipi's...

I was delighted to find this handmade tipi featuring on poppytalk today, as my soon to be four-year-old-son has just asked for one for his birthday! He wants a cowboys and indians party, complete with a tipi, just like this one that we stayed in on our holiday last year. After a quick search on the internet, I just couldn't find anything affordable at all, the nearest I got to something plain was from native play designs. So, I decided to make one! Grandad is mocking up a scale version in paper, so I can figure out how much fabric I need (thank goodness for boys who like nothing better than making models, no matter how old they are!) Then we need to find some cotton canvas fabric and make it in three weeks ~ a tall order? Just a bit!

Monday, 5 April 2010

spawn watch

In just one week our frog spawn has gone from tiny black dots surrounded by jelly to tiny tadpoles, that are now swimming about. We are transfixed by watching them daily, anticipating the tiny daily changes, as they change into frogs! The boys are using a chart, to plot the changes and are excited as it looks as if their tiny legs are starting to develop!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

easter eggs, to dye for...

thank you for your recommendations, we used red cabbage to dye our eggs blue as we did last year, but we also tried the onion skins as suggested by some of you a few week's ago. The red onion skins turned the eggs a lovely chestnut colour, and we tried to make prints on them using fern leaves. I love this little tradition of ours, which starts by a trip to the farmers market to find the best eggs, will they be large brown ones or will they be white duck eggs? we usually buy from different stalls and compare the results. Although today hasn't just been full of dyed eggs, we have had plenty of chocolate ones too!

Friday, 2 April 2010

april showers...

a woodland walk started with sunshine, but April showers soon followed. Just for a few minutes I was by myself as the boys ran downhill. All I could hear was the rain falling, all I could see were bluebell shoots on the woodland floor and all I could smell was the young wild garlic shoots I had just trodden on. It was a lovely moment, I wish my quick video could of done it justice! More rain is forecast over the weekend, but don't stay indoors, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes! We get our waterproof gear from Muddy Puddles, trousers with bibs, mean that you can get as wet and muddy as you like, you just peel it all off. I recommend investing in this rain hat and the bib and braces, they have lasted us for years!
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