Saturday, 26 June 2010

everything in the garden's rosy...

Oh how I love the summer, I turn my now freckled nose towards the sun, like a sunflower that turns her golden head. I spend the warm evenings watering the fast growing plants, and trying to deter little beasties from eating them! I push in hazel sticks to support the peas and beans as they quickly climb and push empty sea and snail shell on their ends to stop children from gouging out their eyes! Today we have swept out the treehouse so that we can have afternoon tea on an upturned crate and sit on cushions, just like the secret seven do in the stories we are reading at bedtime!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

treat hamper...

I put together a hamper of treats for the children attending my photographic exhibition. As it was past bedtime, I thought it may help! I put in it cups and cordial ~ that the big ones were responsible for pouring for the little ones, paper and pencils, face paints (thanks Beth), fruit strings, yoghurt covered raisins and fruit pots! I got the idea from this John Lewis Hungry Caterpillar Picnic Hamper, and made my own for a fraction of the price and a lot less sugar!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

home sweet home...

We have had our gorgeous bell tent for three years now and she has been on many adventures with us! I fell in love with bell tents after reading an interview with the authors of the fantastic 'The Happy Campers' book, and with two very small children, it was perfect, I loved the fact it wasn't too big and we would all sleep together.

But although our four metre diameter tent is big enough for our needs, I can't help sneaking back to the website where we bought her and looking enviously at the five metre deluxe version with the optional room inserts! Surely our boys are growing so fast, it won't be long until they crave their own space, or we crave ours? And have you seen the gorgeous 'glamping' accessories you can get - this handmade mattress, coir matting and cast iron dutch oven and tripod. Things have really moved on, in fact when we camped at the weekend, it was the first time we had seen another bell tent, we have always been the only one!

I am wondering whether with bell tents retaining a good resell value on ebay, we should sell and upgrade our second home?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

summer time...

sunshine, blue skies, strap lines on feet left by sandals, ice cream, the smell of ripening tomatoes, fluffy clouds, winstone's ice cream, digging up new potatoes from the garden, summers here, outdoor swimming pool, freckled noses, smell of sun tan lotion, barbecues, air balloons in the sky, ice cubes, salads, buzzing bees, picking strawberries, wearing shorts, washing on the line, making jam, sleeping on top of the sheets, sand between our toes...

what does summer mean to you?

p.s. check out summer over at 'words to shoot by'

Sunday, 20 June 2010

quick camping...

an overnight camping trip this weekend for father's day and to meet up with a group of friends, and a chance to discover a new campsite, at Abbey Home Farm, Cirencester. A lovely site, a very basic field on an organic farm, one side with gorgeous views but very windy, the other side protected behind a hedge. Two water taps, a bucket shower and a compost loo with treetop views are the only facilities on site, but you are a short woodland walk away from an organic farm shop and cafe, which is nice but quite pricey, but we took daddy for a fathers day Sunday lunch as a treat.

I'm not much of a fan of just camping for one night, but the Mr. wanted to watch the football on Friday night, so we packed and unpacked the car in 24 hours! It was worth it, despite the challenges of getting 13 three to seven year olds into bed and a very cold night with number two son, waking up loads due a bad cough! And the bad 1am decision by me to say "get in my sleeping bag" to stop him from being upset and then spending the rest of the night squashed like a sardine (try it - a single sleeping bag and a wriggly four year old) he did warm me up mind you. Now, we just need to catch up on our beauty sleep!

p.s. the picture is not our bell tent, we were sheltered from the wind behind the less picturesque hedge! This was someone else who bravely pitched into the wind and was rewarded with a field to themselves with wonderful views!

p.p.s. check out this new camping blog, you might know someone featured on there! 

happy camper...

this month's (July 2010) Sainsburys magazine has got one of my pictures in! Can you see it? It is the fish one! It was passed to them, by the lovely Lizzie, owner of Cornish Tipi Holidays, to illustrate a very gorgeously designed camping layout in which the tipi's feature. I had no idea it was in there, so huge thanks for letting me know! The only downside is that it isn't credited, but hey ho ~ a national magazine no less!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

these two just make me laugh...

No, it's not Batman and Robin, but just my two little men, running with their capes on. The capes were made by their lovely Aunty Jenny, from two skirts she found in a charity shop, the first a lovely velvet in dark maroon, the other a red satin, both trimmed with two gold button and chain, and a little elastic loop, easy for little fingers to fasten!

They are fantastic for role playing and have so many uses, from a wizards robe, to a knights cape to the superheroes pictured above. I just love this picture, taken on film, it is from the angle, which I view them most - behind!

What is making you laugh today?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

the morning after the night before...

a glimpse of my exhibition

My exhibition has been some what of a journey, it has taken a lot of energy and emotion to put 'me' on the walls. Last night it was as if I 'came out' as a photographer, with Prema giving me the opportunity to stand up and do this. In the end I chose to show a selection of work, from my favourite film prints of the flask, clouds and the caravan to some of the family commissions I have taken on, I wanted to show the variety of my work. Last night it also gave me the chance to stick two fingers up at the examiners who failed me at GCSE art back in 1990 (I got a 'D' for not having enough observation drawing!) and realise that I am now back on the path that I always should of been on, OK so its taken 20 years but I got here!

Last night I was surrounded by a group of wonderful friends, people that I love and who have given me some great advice and challenged me. Most of them are new friends, people I have met in the past few years and who I hope will remain in my life forever, I want to thank each and every one of you for your love, support, inspiration and belief in me...

Pete, Alfie and Ted, My mum, Gina, Jenny, Susannah, Abby & Noah, Jo & Evie, Beth & Martin, Vicki & Dan, Marie, Kate, Barbara, Sarah, Sam & Mark, Christina & Kevin, Rachel & Nick, Juliet & Dan, Anne, Leonie, Penny, Sas, Megg, Lisa.

and finally I want to thank YOU, yes you reading this, every click on this blog, every comment you make and every time you 'favourite' a picture on flickr, it gives me the confidence I need to walk this path and to carry on blogging about it!

I think I am a little emotional today, I'll blame it on the tiredness!

Friday, 11 June 2010

tonight's the night...

a peatini

tonight is the opening night of my first ever photography exhibition, at Prema Arts Centre, I am a bundle of nerves and excitement. Am busying myself making peatini's for the guests to drink, this past week my pea shoots have either been eaten or haven't grown enough! now the task of deciding what to wear....

Thursday, 10 June 2010

campfire cooking...

Life on a campsite revolves around food, what to eat, when to eat, where to buy it and who is cooking! I guess with few conveniences and no fridge or freezer, you actually have to buy fresh and it is a good opportunity to buy local too! We take little food with us, to save space and also after reading a few years ago that 95% of people that stay in self catering accommodation, take their own food with them and therefore don't support the local economy!

We almost always start the day with a cooked breakfast "to set us up for the day!", a light lunch and snacks, then cooked evening meal, of something like fish or lamb kebabs. Last week we also tried the cheese fondue, recommended on a previous post, thanks sanne it was amazing! Cooking on a real fire is quite an art, but so rewarding, so few campsites have real fires.

P.s. Do let me know if you know of any campsites allowing real fires, we stayed at Cloud Farm Campsite in Devon last year, but don't know of any others?

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

baths in buckets...

When the little man refuses to shower, there is nothing else for it, he goes in the bucket! One of the most important things about camping is keeping clean, both yourself and the camp. I take a trug like the one above for bathing in, it also doubles as a washing up bowl. I also take some antibacterial hand gel, a dustpan and brush to sweep out the tent and doormat for wiping muddy shoes as people go in and out. Do you have any camping essentials?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

wigwams and woodsmoke...

I don't believe in going on holiday to the same place more than once, as there are so many places I want to visit, but last week saw us return to Cornish Tipi Holidays.

I love Cornish Tipi Holidays, it is everything a camping holiday should be; camping, real fires, a beautiful campsite and lots of wildlife all set in gorgeous Cornwall. It is a place I wish I had discovered before we had children, as it would of been ridiculously romantic to stay in a tipi in a private site, underneath hawthorn blossom and to picnic on the pontoon in the middle of the lake.

The tipi's are spread around a large lake, some are grouped together in 'village' fields, perfect for camping in groups, whilst others are hidden in secluded clearings on their own. We choose the latter, which came with its own water standpipe, a fire pit and picnic bench.

I had forgotten how noisy it was, not from the usual campsite noise of car doors slamming (cars are kept off site here) and music in the shower block. But nature's noise of birdsong, bats clicking overhead and the rustling undergrowth. In fact, thats what you pay for here, you pay for a site thats stripped back of modern conveniences, here you chop your own wood, boil your own hot water and you can even fish for your own supper, a trout caught straight from the lake.

It was lovely to return, to go back to somewhere familiar, to greet the frog at dusk in the toilet and wonder whether it was the same one that I almost stepped on last year and the deer wandering up the lane. More tipi tales to follow and many more pictures to post!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

going batty...

For our little man's seventh birthday in a months time, oh my will he be seven already? We have bought him a bat detector, nothing very fancy, but good enough to pick up the ultrasonic clicks that bats make as they echo locate to navigate their flight. It has a simple dial on it, which you turn to detect which frequency that the bat is clicking at, and this helps you to identify what species it is. There is also a really good Field Studies id chart, that as well as giving you the frequencies for the different species, also shows the different flight paths too.

It will be a real treat to stay up late and have twilight walks together, taking a flask of hot chocolate and our detector together and being real nature detectives!
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