Thursday, 29 July 2010

camp kitchen...

Just found this absolutely gorgeous vintage camp kitchen in Melanie's gorgeous etsy treasury, isn't it just the bees knees! It would be perfect in the bell tent, don't you think? Not long to my birthday if anyone is wondering what to buy! (oh the cheek!)

the perfect picnic...

we are having a picnic tomorrow and I am trying to think of some nice food ideas for our tea. I am very inspired by Nikole's 'Saturday Sandwich' series over at her fab blog Forty-Sixth at Grace, and just love the mini Yorkshires! And I have wanted to make the pan bagnat pictured above, for a little while, it just looks so impressive, although it has far too many green things in for a 4 and 7 year old to eat! One things for sure, potato salad will be on the menu, we have just harvested loads from our potato patch! What makes your picnic perfect?

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

a privilege...

Sometimes, when I feel a little blue something usually happens to cheer me up, a beautiful sunrise, an air balloon flying silently overhead, a driver letting me out on a busy road, or a glimpse of something a little special, such as spotting deer in a field. Today a toad decided to hide in a watering can and he happily obliged whilst I took a few pictures and the boys gently touched him to see what he felt like, before he crawled off to the safety of a dark corner!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

back garden campout...

Seven, 7 year olds camped out, in our tiny garden at home last night! It was the last day of school and my eldest son turned seven on Thursday, and instead of a party he wanted a campout in the garden with his friends. I thought it was a wonderful idea, not expensive, and something a bit different, but I did have my reservations when the first mums I asked said, "are you mad?" But all of the boys really surprised me, despite being REALLY excited, they were all well mannered, well behaved and no one asked to go home in the middle of the night!

We had sausage and mash for tea, I can remember a book I had, as a child, called "who wants chips?" published in 1975, and on each page, a child said what their favourite food was, on one page there was a HUGE pile of mash with sausages sticking out of it! (I always wanted to do it, sometimes the best thing about having children is the fact you get to do all the things you dreamed about as a child!)

We kept them busy, first a game of football on a nearby field, then back home to toast some marshmallows on the fire, then a night time bat walk using my sons new bat detector! By the time we came home again it was 10:30pm and dark, and despite only seeing two bats, the boys had a fantastic time in the dark, flashing their torches and jumping when they discovered cats eyes glowing red in their beams!

I am so glad we did it, it was hard work, they only went to sleep at 11pm and were awake at 6am! It was really great fun and they all seemed to have had a great time with no major catastrophes'!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

snail racing...

snail racing

I went into school yesterday to help out by doing a 'snail race' to celebrate the end of term and provide a fun way to finish the children's nature topic! We painted a circular piece of MDF and all of the children found and brought into school a snail from their garden! The snails were placed in the middle of the board and the first to the edge of the board was declared the winner!

It was really good fun, and afterwards all the snails were released unharmed into the school wildlife area, and the children were all rewarded with a snail shaped biscuit!

so much fun, but so tiring!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

sometimes, I don't read them until Tuesday...

I remember the days before children, when Sunday was a day of rest. A full English breakfast would follow a luxurious lie in! The papers would be read from cover to cover, each choosing different segments, in a coordinated way. Maybe Sunday lunch would be eaten out, only to return home later, full bellied and sleepy. I love the title of the new book from lines and stripes 'Sundays are for lovers' as it makes me remember these days fondly.

Sundays are now a much different affair, often involving the chores that can't be done in the week, due to work. They are times that we spend together and we always eat together, rising in the morning when number one son does, he isn't blessed with the ability to be quiet, much like his mother! And newspapers are bought, but rarely read, until Monday or Tuesday.

Monday, 19 July 2010

picture picnic...

A few weeks ago I ran a 'picture picnic' workshop at the lovely Prema Arts Centre, in Uley Gloucestershire. It was aimed at families who wanted to take better pictures of their children with whatever camera they had, sharing my tips on how to take natural family photos by creating a relaxed atmosphere. I have never done anything like this before and still get terribly nervous about standing up in front of people, but I knew it was something I needed to tackle head on, as this is my year of being brave and challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone. I am so glad I did as I met some really lovely families and had a great time.

My exhibition also officially ended on Saturday and in total I sold five framed prints and know lots of people took the time to go and see it ~ thank you! I have received some really great comments and encouragement. Prema Arts Centre, really encourages and nurtures new talent, and I have really listened to and thought about advice given to me from both people at my opening night and from the staff at Prema. Whilst the experience was so new, it has confirmed to me that my film images are the ones that I am so passionate about and light my fire and I have so many ideas for future 'pop~up' exhibitions, I just need to find many more venues!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

a little medicine...

thank you all for your comments about advertising on my last post, it has been really interesting to read your views and opinions. I think if I do any future reviews, I will find out what the product is and ensure it would be something that is of interest to us as a family and you the readers of this blog. I certainly don't want to 'sell out' and change the tone of this space. That said, I would love a flip camera, an i-phone 4 and a family friendly car ~ so am quite happy to have those thrown at me (ha! how shallow am I?).

Anyway, on the downside, at the end of last week I crashed big style, the childhood asthma I was meant to grow out of, got really bad and I spent a few days wheezing away, with what feels like an elephant sat on my chest and daytime TV for company (urgh!). However, I do know why it has got so bad, it's because I am exhausted, not just just tired after a late night, but full on lethargy after four years worth of bad sleeping with child number two, with some added pressures and deadlines from work, and a little added parenting duties of birthday preparations for number one son, biscuit making for school, snail race board making (don't ask!) and not to mention a couple of photoshoots. I cram stuff into every waking moment, whether its work or play I am constantly on the go, so I really need to slow down and take things a little easier.

Today, I did just that and had a 'day off' taking some tonic in the form of lunch at Jamies in Bath with Susannah, Sas, Megg, Leonie, Penny and Jo. It was so lovely to see them all again, it has been so long since our retreat in January! Oh how I needed our chat, to catch up in person with these gorgeous ladies over a delicious lunch and hear all their news. We really must do this more often... ladies please?

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

If you like my blog, please vote for me here...

Dorset Cereals little awards
thank you x

fresh air and freedom...

10 reasons why children should have fresh air taken from the fantastic US website of the National Wildlife Federation:
  1. Stronger bones and lower cancer risk: Today's "indoor kids" don't get enough sun and are becoming Vitamin D deficient, causing health risks.
  2. Trimmer and more healthy kids: An hour of play a day is what doctors say is a basic tool in the effort to ward off childhood obesity and diabetes.
  3. Improved eyesight: Recent studies find that kids who get outdoor time have less nearsightedness and need for eye glasses.
  4. Less depression and hyperactivity: Outdoor time in natural setting (even tree-lined streets) soothes kids and lower their need for medications.
  5. Longer attention spans: Children who stare at TV and video games all day have less patience and shorter attention spans.
  6. Better at making friends: Children playing together outdoors relate directly with one another, create games together, choose sides and improve their "people" skills.
  7. More creative: Outdoor kids are more likely to use their own imaginations, inventions and creativity while playing.
  8. Less "acting out" at home and school: Getting kids away from TV violence and video games helps them see that violent behavior does not always solve problems.
  9. Measurably better grades in school: The healthy bodies and minds that come with outdoor play are better able to do well in school.
  10. A longer lifespan and healthier adult life: Doctors estimate that sedentary and obese children lose three to five years from their life expectancy.
If none of these practical and important reasons work for you - consider that a child who spends time outdoors breathes healthier air (than indoors), learns to see the wonders of nature, climbs trees, has more fun and learns a deeper respect for wildlife and natural surroundings.

Monday, 12 July 2010

popping up...

"pop-ups" seem to be all the rage, pictured here are the 'pop-up' yurt restaurants of Riverford's Field Kitchen, currently touring the country. I love this idea, it is so enchanting, I just wish they would come a little nearer to me! It seems that the 'pop up' concept is quite in fashion, and today Justin over at Camping Out There, is calling for 'pop-up' camp sites, as there are so few around! I second this motion, whilst I love the Cool Camping books, the glamping craze really makes it difficult to book campsites ~ some you even have to book a year in advance! So much for waiting for sunny weather...!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

fforest fun...

If you stop by here regularly, you probably know how much I love finding unusual and different holiday places to stay. I found fforest, whilst flicking through some gorgeous pictures on flickr last night! It is near Cardigan, in Wales, near where we stayed earlier this year and love dearly. Based on an old farm, there is a selection of different accommodation, the domes look so different and the croglofts just gorgeous with their outdoor kitchens and welsh blankets. There are lots of activities you can take part in from kayaking and bushcrafts too.

The only drawback is that it does come with a fairly hefty price tag, but surely a girl deserves luxury once in a while?

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

by the sea...

I dream of owning a beach chalet, one that I can stay in for the whole summer, like they do in Sweden! This one is called Driftwood and is situated at Gwithian Towans, Cornwall, I think I could live here, it is so beautifully and simply furnished! Look at the surfboards stored in the ceiling ~ how cool is that? I fell in love with these chalets, when I was a student and spent the summer here, watching the surfers on the nearby beach! Sitting on the cliff watching the sunset over St.Ives, the other side of the bay, and drinking hot chocolate in the beach cafe. 

Driftwood is now taking 2011 bookings ~ be quick I may get there first! 

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

saying goodbye...

Tomorrow might just be one of the saddest days. I may be sounding very dramatic, but after six years, tomorrow will be the last time we go to our local Steiner Parent and Toddler group!

Six years ago I went along to a lovely little wooden hut situated underneath an apple tree, in the kindergarten garden, clutching my baby son, who was only six months old at the time! I knew nothing of Steiner philosophy and knew no one in the group. In the six years I have been going, I have met some lovely people, people who share similar values, some who send their children to the school, some who like me don't. Mothers who I have admired and learnt from, who have shared advice and when my second son came along, held the baby whilst I sat worn out in the corner!

The rhythm of the Steiner parent and toddler group is the same every week. Starting with a walk around the grounds and a play in the kindergarten garden, whatever the weather! Followed by songs, a blessing and a snack, bread and jam, with cold rosehip tea for the children and drink for the grown ups. We all then tidy away together and after the children either free play while the adults do some crafting, or if it is a festival time, then we might all make something together like pom pom chicks at Easter or lanterns, to end there is a story.

Learning about Steiner education, has given me confidence in my own beliefs and convictions and when I have had concerns about my son at school, given me the opportunity to question what is best for him. And although I have entertained the thought of my boys going to a Steiner school, we simply cannot afford to send two children, so it has never been a reality.

I have loved the six years I have been going and both my sons have too, the crafts we have all done, the things we have learnt and rhythms we have introduced into our own lives, but most of all I cherish the wonderful friends that we have made.

Recommended reading...
You are Your Childs First Teacher
Free to Learn

Monday, 5 July 2010

I love film...

Find me over on Astrid's blog today, she asked me to be part of her 'Why do you shoot film...?' series. Astrid's blog 'Hei Astrid' is fab, I have been a follower for years, check it out!

boys and bushcraft...

Have you ever been bushcrafting? We did a taster day a few weeks ago, aimed at introducing families to the world of bushcraft. We spent the day foraging for food, making fire, making twine from hazel, learning about tracking, using knives safely to make spoons, drinking elderflower and nettle tea, and the boys made basic bows and arrows. As it was a hot day, I unwisely wore shorts and discovered that my Neal's Yard calendula and oat moisturised legs were quite attractive to horse flies - owch!

It really made me think more about seasons, about people who would have had these skills years ago to survive, and how out of touch we are with the natural world. I would really recommend bushcraft courses if like me, you know any budding Ray Mears' of any age!

lay a little egg for me...

So here are the girls, in the front Betty Chicken, definitely the braver, with Rosie Red Hen behind. They are yet to lay any eggs as they only arrived a few days ago, and are only just starting to explore the garden. The boys haven't given them any peace poor things, constantly checking to see if they have laid an egg and poking grass through the run for them to eat!

We chose hybrid 'ISA' hens, good layers, with calmer temperaments, which we thought best with two young boys. We may add a third hen in a few weeks, a Cream Legbar, as they have rather beautiful blue/green eggs. Our hen house is one with a loft, above a run, making the best use of limited space in our garden. They seem quite contented, inquisitive things so far, talking quietly to themselves and sunbathing on the grass!
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