Sunday, 29 April 2012

inducing labour...

A week ago today, I was 42 weeks pregnant and booked in to be induced the following day. I tried everything to try to encourage spontaneous labour but baby number three seemed not to be interested in going anywhere! I had even tried 'sod's law' e.g. get the carpets cleaned - my waters will be bound to break on them! 

Annoyed by my family, who didn't seem to take any interest in my impending plight, I took myself off for a long walk, I walked about four miles, up hills, along muddy stream paths, over styles (not easy!) and through glades of gorgeously smelling wild garlic. It did me good as I had been feeling quite teary and emotional all day. 

Of course it didn't make any difference! But it did enforce my belief in the power of nature's medicine, I took shelter from a rain shower under a holly bush and cried great big tears in the rain. My biggest concern throughout the pregnancy had always been ending up in a big hospital rather than our local small midwife led maternity unit and here I was with that inevitable feeling. 

Of course, our biggest fears are often not realised, but that's another story to tell...

*It is important to note that anything I write about pregnancy and giving birth is from my own experience and of my own opinion. I wouldn't wish to influence anyone about childbirth and each of my three pregnancies and deliveries have been very different. Always listen to expert advice and ask questions, your midwife is there for you. 

Saturday, 28 April 2012

barn owls and birthdays...

We had a fab owl party today at The Barn Owl Centre in Gloucester for my son's sixth birthday, all the children got to fly an owl! We'd made some mini owl pellet dissection kits to go in the party bags earlier this month and my wonderful friend Jenny made the most AMAZING barn owl cake, pictured above.

The baby arrived so late, he ended up being born just one day before his brothers birthday this week! Which meant celebrating his actual birthday in hospital which I was quite sad about, I had taken a few animals in with me after seeing this picture as my worst fear was that we wouldn't be at home, so instead we scoffed chocolate hidden behind the bedside curtains!

But now I am pooped after our first family outing and such a busy week!

Friday, 27 April 2012


We have spent most of the day in bed. I blame this little man - he likes to party at midnight! 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

there's a new boy in town...

yay! finally he's here. 
All went really well and we are now at home adjusting to life with a houseful of boys! 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

story catchers...

I don't know about you but I hate having my picture taken, I don't photograph well as I'm too self conscious and awkward. I am happiest hiding behind the camera, taking pictures of others and hundreds of my family - you may have noticed?

Anyway, with this third pregnancy I realised I didn't have ANY pictures of my first two pregnancies, and now was my opportunity to capture this very weird time when you have the most humungus belly! Of course I'm not talking Demi Moore belly shots but something that captured not only the lump, but the boys too.

I am extremely lucky to count the uber talented Pen McKinley-Rogers as a good friend, she is the most amazing wedding photographer, check out the gorgeous pictures she takes with husband Cam for their business McKinley-Rodgers Photography. She agreed to come and capture a little slice of the chaos that is Bradshaw life.

These are just a few shots, if you want to see some more then check out this lovely video montage that she has put together. The reason that Pete is laughing so much is that we have never used the vintage cups at home before and he never walks through the door in the evening to a freshly baked cake! (or a photographer for that matter!) You can read about the shoot on Pen's blog and how it didn't go according to plan at all, with a child poorly on the sofa and our aim to get outside hampered by one of the bleakest fog's that just didn't lift!

The best thing is that Pen and Cam have just launched their new business, Story Catchers, and you too can hire them to capture your family's lives, a moment in time to treasure for ever. I am delighted with the results, Pen has captured 'us' perfectly and I hadn't even noticed her taking most of the shots! What do you think?

p.s. if you are local there is a limited introductory offer on now, although you'll have to be quick!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

thank you...

A quick thank you to whoever nominated me for a 'Mad Award', it was really kind of you as there are many amazing bloggers who are listed this year. I have been nominated in the 'best schooldays' category, and nominations are still open if you know of any fab blogs that should be recognised. If I make it through the shortlist process - I'll be pestering you all for votes! (and I claim I'm not competitive!)

Monday, 16 April 2012

playdoh with little P...

Had morning coffee and delicious ham and cheese croissant at Anna's (aka She Shops Local) with her very gorgeous daughter, as yes I'm still waiting for the baby to arrive! They were busy making natural playdoh, which I haven't made for years and had forgotten how much fun and entertaining it was. It made me think of all the fun things I will get to do again with a new little one at home. 

The easiest recipe I have used to make playdoh in the past is this one...

2 cups of plain flour
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of salt
1-2 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of cream of tartar

Put all the ingredients in a pan over a low heat and stir until it all comes together. I'm going to have a go making it again soon - or make some salt dough (2 cups plain flour, 2 cups salt & 1 cup of water) which would be fab to capture the boys and the new baby's hand & footprints in. 

Thanks Anna & little P for entertaining the HUGE, tired, pregnant lady today x 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

day 286...

reading stories in bed with giant belly!

I am now 'overdue' and playing the waiting game, both my previous children were late so this should be no surprise, but for the third time my impatience has the better of me!

I have been looking up natural ways to encourage labour, as my first baby was induced and would prefer not to take that route again unless medically necessary. I've tried a few things like eating lots of pineapple and curry, homeopathic remedies and very long walks but I'm feeling more chirpy and fitter than ever with no twinges or anything! 

One of the midwives that I saw last week said that they see an increase in births after school holidays, as if mum's are holding on until children go back to school, so we'll test that one tomorrow! 

Friday, 13 April 2012

blue carpets...

The woodlands near me are beginning to burst with carpets of delicate bluebells. This is my favourite time of year as the birds wake me up singing their dawn chorus, we pick wild garlic leaves to make pesto and soup and the lilac tree in our garden puts on a short lived display of vibrant purple flowers. 

As this baby doesn't seem to be planning an appearance anytime soon, I'm hoping for nice weather this weekend, so that we can get out with a flask to enjoy our beautiful countryside. 

Hope you have a lovely weekend too! 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

dyeing easter eggs naturally...

Every year we dye our Easter eggs, 'egg'sperimenting with different natural dyes; coffee, spinach, kale, red onion, turmeric - however we are always seduced by the gorgeous blue and brown colours that you get from the red cabbage and red onion! 

The boys do it all, from blowing the eggs to using kitchen knives, they find it hard not to break the shells and I find it hard not to want to take over the cutting! But it is important that they learn how to  use knives safely and responsibly.

We boil up the dye by chopping the vegetables into a big pan with some vinegar and water, the vinegar is meant to rough up the egg shells so they absorb the colour better. 

Then we carefully put the strained dye into a jar with the eggs, until our curiosity gets the better of us (usually overnight) and we have to open it up! 

We cut a few springs of hazel from our tree outside and pop in the middle of the table in a mason jar full of water. We hang the eggs by threading a tiny amount of cotton thread around a small piece of broken matchstick carefully pushed through the hole in the egg, which enables them to be hung on the tree. 

and there we have it - our Easter tree and table centrepiece! 

Happy Easter! 

Saturday, 7 April 2012

pimping with patchwork...

I absolutely loathe frilly and character baby stuff, sorry but there you go, I am not one to decorate a nursery with a theme and find it infuriating that shops only seem to sell baby things in pastel pink or pale blue. 

My work kindly gifted us a moses basket as a maternity leave present, we borrowed one for baby number one, just used the cot for baby number two - but as he turned out to be the worst sleeper ever, are trying a basket again for baby number three! The moses basket they gave us is a beautifully plain one costing just £7.90 (+ P&P) and plain stand, that they accompanied with a lovely natural mattress from Greenbaby to go in it - just perfect for our simple tastes. 

I bought a lightly padded liner to go in it for only £10 (see top picture) and then set about on what can only be described as a 'whim' in pimping the basket with patchwork! I have never tried patchworking before and hand stitched it as I had returned my friends sewing machine the week before thinking I had run out of time for fanciful and ambitious ideas such as this. But it doesn't look too bad, I just need to run around the seems again to tidy it up and cut out some pieces where it has bunched around the bends! But it will do for now. 

What do you think? I have run out of patience to do a similar patchwork quilt and changing mat, and now understand quite why patchwork quilts cost what they do, they really are a labour of love! 

For the eagle eyed amongst you, the fabric I used has been in my craft cupboard for years and has featured in many a project over the years since I bought to make party bags it for my sons tractor party in 2008! 

Friday, 6 April 2012

all change...

how much can you prepare a child for the birth of a sibling? I never quite know how much/little to tell them. They haven't asked me much at all, not even "where is it coming out of?" or "how did in get in there?" questions! I do however make sure I answer all of their questions and ensure they know exactly what is going to happen, that babies do cry and mummy will be tired!

Their behaviour however gives the game away, in terms of the impact of impending change upon them, the oldest especially. Creeping into our bed at night, demanding more security from us in the form of attention and cuddles, and constant bickering between them, which is testing my patience to its limits. However I am trying to be gentle, guilty that the desire for a big family is causing so much change and upheaval to the balance of their little lives. 

The worst thing for them at the moment is me not being able to be very active, I'm only days away from birth and I am really tired and teary. At the park yesterday all they wanted was for me to 'watch, push, run, catch' all I wanted to do was sit! I have a reprieve, at least daddy is home this weekend to entertain them and I get to sit, sleep, hoover, clean, dust, polish, cook, shop!* 

*I'm exaggerating of course and have had a massive lie in already this morning! 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

barn owl pellets...

Today, we have been learning more about barn owls as it's a horrible cold and wet day. We are making alternative 'party bags' for the little man's birthday party in a few weeks time, that are essentially little boxes with owl pellets, an identification sheet and cocktail sticks in ~ mini dissection kits. 

Owls swallow their food whole, mainly mice, voles and the occasional shrew and small bird, but can't digest the fur and bones so bring this up in the form of small pellets (pictured above). All owls do this and you can often find pellets below nesting sites, under trees or in barns. To dissect an owl pellet all you need is some cocktail sticks, and a little patience. You can find skulls, leg bones sometimes even tiny weeny teeth. If you want to learn more then we also use this fab book published by the Mammal Society called 'The Analysis of Owl Pellets' which is £3.95. You can also get owl pellets online but I'm not sure what they are like. 

We have also been glued to the Dorset Wildlife Trust's barn owl nest box cam too! 
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