Saturday, 31 March 2012

nature deficit disorder...

Yesterday the National Trust published a new report called 'Natural Childhood' by Stephen Moss. The report is one of the first of its kind in Britain to warn of a new 'cotton wool' generation of children, taking inspiration from Richard Louv's US research into 'nature deficit disorder.'

Statistics from the report reveal that things have changed dramatically and quickly in just one generation:

  • Fewer than ten per cent of kids play in wild places; down from 50 per cent a generation ago
  • The roaming radius for kids has declined by 90 per cent in one generation (thirty years)
  • Three times as many children are taken to hospital each year after falling out of bed, as from falling out of trees
  • A 2008 study showed that half of all kids had been stopped from climbing trees, 20 per cent had been banned from playing conkers or games of tag
The Trust has used this new report to launch a two month consultancy period which you can read more about here. After the consultation with experts (closing on the 25th May), The Trust plans to produce a 'roadmap' to reconnect children with nature - simple, or is it? What are your thoughts? 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

the waiting game...

So I'm now as big as a house and ready to 'pop!' I've reached that stage where you just want it to happen, even though you know how precious these last few days (possibly weeks) of quiet are. I am grateful for amazing friends and their sisters, who have loaned me all the last bits that I need, especially as I thought I was going into labour last weekend; Jenny arrived with buggies, tens machines, baby carriers, some lovely maternity clothes etc... making it all scarily real as well as bringing my favourite snack we used to live on in our student days - bacon and banana baguettes! (Don't mock it unless you've tried them.)

So to help me pass the time whilst I am twiddling my thumbs, does anyone want to play guess the weight or name? Just to amuse me? 

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

bunting & baby showers...

Isn't this a lovely scene? I am lucky to work in a team of incredibly talented and lovely people, who treated me to afternoon tea, by way of saying goodbye and good luck with the new baby. Can you guess where they arranged to go...? 

The fab Hobbs House Bakery in Nailsworth of course! Jess and Nancy had decorated the cafe with gorgeous bunting and served tea in vintage tea cups along with delicious sandwiches and plenty of cakes! Just look at the huge cake below, it had a lovely lemon curd filling, perfect in this warm weather. You can hire their pretty vintage china sets too if you fancy organising your own vintage tea party or baby shower and Hobbs House even provides all the food you need! 

I have eaten so much cake I can hardly move, I'm obviously taking advantage of these luxurious last few days of freedom and treats before I have a new little person to keep me occupied and a waistline to keep in check! 

One things for sure, I'm a very lucky girl!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

what to pack in the hospital bag...

bundles of baby clothes kindly gifted by the very lovely Kat of housewife confidential

I overpacked massively for my first two labours, taking all kinds of stuff I neither wanted or needed in labour! This time I am determined not to do the same and pack a little lighter! I have narrowed it down to this list so far - have I missed anything out?

for labour & birth...
maternity notes
dressing gown
slippers & socks
vest & loose jersey bottoms for labour
lip balm
snacks & drinks (more for the husband in case it's a long labour!)
mobile phone & charger
TENS machine
camera (note to self buy new memory card!)

for hospital ward...
loose clothes/t-shirts
favourite cardi
nursing bras
disposable/old knickers
maternity/breast pads
going home outfit
arnica tablets

for the baby...
three sleepsuits & vests
knitted baby cardi
baby blanket
nappies & cotton wool balls
baby socks & hat

Sunday, 18 March 2012

the final stretch...

picture taken of the expanding bump by my eight year old! Surprisingly I haven't been huge at all considering this is my third pregnancy, and up until a few weeks ago I could still hide the bump under smock tops and dresses! But now with only a few weeks to go, I am filling out nicely and this pic makes me look HUGE!

Friday, 16 March 2012

afternoon tea...

I tried out a new recipe today, the spinach English muffin recipe from The Fabulous Baker Brothers book. They recommend serving with hollandaise sauce and ham, for more of a morning breakfast take on Eggs Benedict, but I quite fancied them as a teatime snack today. The recipe (also available online) was quick and easy to follow, with rather pleasing results - muffins which break open to reveal a gorgeous green inside!

The book accompanies the recent Channel 4 TV series of the same name, featuring brothers Tom & Henry Herbert from local Hobbs House Bakery and Butchers and is packed with over 100 recipes. I am going to try the Beef Wellington next and may try the lardy cake recipe as I love the Hobbs House lardy cakes, they're HUGE and regularly buy them from their stall at Stroud Farmers Market for a Saturday morning treat! 

I am always so rubbish at baking bread that I rarely give it a go, but there are a whole range of recipes in this book to try to break my bread baking taboo. I also like the look of the pulled pork and lamb pittas recipes that would make great, easy meals to serve when you have a house full of hungry mouths! 

The nice thing about the book is that it reflects the 'Herbert' family values, whether you dine in the bistro, read Tom's wife Anna's blog (she hasn't shopped in a supermarket for over a year!) or shop in the butchers or bakers, they are strong advocates of shopping locally and seasonally, eating good food, using less fashionable cuts of meat and good old fashioned family values. It's lovely to see them doing so well, as they all work so hard and thoroughly deserve their success, long may it continue and inspire more of us to shop and eat better than we do! 

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

my (lack of) birth plan...

When you first have a baby, the first thing you do is buy a book. This book is usually a week-by-week guide to the stages of pregnancy and the development of your baby, it will be your bible for the next nine months. You read it out loud to your husband, as you want him to be involved every single step of the way! You tell him it's the size of a grape, apple, melon, pineapple and you grab his hand to your expanding belly so he can feel every kick.

You write lists, what does the baby need? what names do you agree on? what are you going to take in your hospital bag? your birth plan, even what frozen meals are in the freezer! Every day you wait for your first born, you shave your legs and bathe in lavender oil ready to receive the baby whilst listening to whale music! You take pride in the neutrally decorated nursery, stroking those oh so soft sheets, you pack and re-pack countless baby grows into your hospital bag, and shed a tear of relief when the tens machine you hired turns up. If you are anything like me, you even have nightmares that you don't own a teapot and matching cups for all those visitors!

When you have baby number two, your main focus becomes child number one, will they get on? how will you orchestrate their first meeting? how will they react? how much do they understand? should you move them into a big bed or should you try not to make any changes that will upset them? and so on...

By the time you get to baby number three, you wonder who that crazy person was all those years ago, as the panic sets in that with only a few weeks to go, you have nothing ready! You realise the pushchair rescued from the garage was underneath the leak in the roof and has gone rusty, no longer able to collapse! The car seat has survived as you lent it to a friend who looked after everything much better than you have, thank goodness.

So here I find myself instead of buying nice pyjamas for the hospital, this time buying the grand total of six items; arnica tablets, a new hot water bottle for the after pains, Neal's Yard Seaweed & Arnica Foaming Bath (I have used this religiously after my other two births after my midwife recommended it and healed so quickly), maternity & nursing pads and posh extra quilted luxury toilet paper - if you've ever had a baby I will say no more!

Monday, 12 March 2012

the lido...

Last week my friend and I managed to sneak away for a short spa day at The Lido, in Bristol. Tucked away on an 'up and coming' side street, near fashionable Clifton, this open air pool has been transformed into an enchanting and quirky spa with bar and restaurant too.

We treated ourselves to massages, and boy did I need it. After weeks of broken sleep, following the massage, it was all I could do to stay awake and that night, slept peacefully through the whole night. The treatments aren't cheap on their own, but there are plenty of different packages and promotions to choose from, which include the use of all the spa facilities. 

The open air pool, which doesn't use much chlorine, is the main feature with charming changing rooms and showers and alongside is the glass fronted bar and restaurant. Being quite a prude, I was a little self conscious of showing off an eight month baby bump, in a much too tight swim suit, in front of people eating their lunch! But no one seemed to notice - even as I squealed with cold, it certainly didn't feel like the 24 degrees it was meant to be. 

For lunch we ordered off the tapas menu, which speedily arrived and delicious with great hulks of fresh bread. The cakes looked amazing too, although we were feeling too virtuous to sample those. I wasn't sure about the whole 'wearing a robe into the restaurant' thing like some of others did. The spa with only a few treatment rooms, isn't big enough to have that many gowned people, and with quite a top notch menu, it was an eclectic mix of women in blue robes and flip flops, next to business men having lunch. I think this added to the charm and quirkiness of the place, but at the risk of sounding like my mother 'I would still dress for dinner!' 

The whole place has been so cleverly converted, it really is squeezed into a tiny place and over-looked by terraced houses and an office block. But the relaxed vibe, friendliness and charm - I loved the 'boudoir' equipped with straighteners and hairdryers - and the little details such as the swimming caps with funny messages written on them, will definitely see me return as much as my pennies will allow! 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

bunking off...

Is it spring yet? This weekend is glorious and with a list as long as my arm of things we need to do, ready for the impending arrival of baby number three in a few weeks, we have done what the Bradshaw's do best and bunked off the housework! 

So instead of washing all the baby clothes and scrubbing the kitchen floor yesterday, we went to our favourite pub for an afternoon on the sunny terrace with dominoes! It felt good. 

I have had a few bloggy problems, I think I was messing around with it a little to much late one night and managed to loose posts and pictures in the process. Not too many I think, but some of the little widget links that show a post, when you click on them, they don't go anywhere anymore! Oh well, the blog was due for a spring clean anyway, maybe I should delete all the old posts? 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

technical problems - I have lost a whole load of blog posts random ones going back years - is anyone else experiencing this? Where do they go?

I've never backed up my blog - does anyone else do this????


Look what I chanced upon in this month's Country Living magazine, violet cakes, aren't they fab? I really must grow and try crystallising some edible flowers this year, has anyone ever tried this? Is it easy? 

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