Thursday, 30 July 2015


The boy wanted an outdoor cinema night for his birthday. So we set about rigging up a projector and white sheet screen to watch a film without even thinking about what time it goes dark in the summer! By the time it was properly dark and the film could be seen on the screen it must have been after 9.30pm so think this idea is for birthdays in Autumn/Winter in the future! oops.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015


We've been lucky enough to stay in lots of fab glamping places and quirky holiday homes but never a gypsy caravan until now! I discovered Kingfisher Camp that had both gypsy caravan and fishermans' hut and after enquiring they kindly allowed our family of five to squeeze into two double bunk beds together so we could all sleep in the gypsy caravan.

Apart from the beds and a beautiful tiny stove there wasn't room for much else in the gypsy caravan - how did travellers' fit their families in? 

We could hear cheeping coming from the shower and after further investigation we found this little wren nesting inside the gas shower unit! I managed to catch it having captured a moth to feed its young chicks! Suffice to say we didn't shower the rest of the holiday so as not to disturb them! 

The camp near Longtown, Herefordshire was in the shadow of the Black Mountains that separate England and Wales - Offa's Dyke was along the ridge on the top. I read Chatwin's On A Black Hill a few years ago and it was amazing to climb the real hill and hamlets featured in the gritty novel of rural life. 

Off grid and with no gadgets to distract us, we reconnected over a candlelit game of chess and exploration of the river below the camp. 

The fishermans' hut had a kitchen and fantastic woodburning stove that heated the hut up beautifully, which really helped as we had two solid days of rain and needed to dry our socks!

My husband caught us modern gypsies on camera (above) - soon to be seen in a lay by near you! 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Being the proud mother of three boys one of the things most important to me is that they grow up being friends. But sometimes this seems like ideology rather than reality! As they have grown older they have started to bicker and argue and it is as much as I can do as to not step in as a referee, especially when the three year old joins in!

Worse still is when they work together to get one over on their father or I - blaming each other for stealing the last biscuit for example!

But how can friendship be fostered, when tempers flare, especially in the summer holidays when they spend longer together?

Here's a few tips that I try to keep at the back of my mind to try and maintain a sense of calm;

1. Treat them fairly
Try to treat them all fairly, they constantly compare, whether it's food portion sizes or how much attention they receive from us!

2. Don't referee
I find it really hard when tempers flare not to step in and referee their arguments. Now they're older I try and let them resolve their issues on their own. 

3. Positive play
Encourage positive play and let them run off their energy, often the most arguments occur when they feel couped up, so no matter what the weather we try and get outside every day.

4. Feed their appetite
My boys have huge appetites and are constantly hungry, I am trying to reduce the amount of snacking and sugar content in our family diet as I'm sure this has an impact on behaviour.

5. Give them individual attention
They have different interests and personalities, we try and spend quality one-on-one time with each of them so they feel valued as individuals.

Saturday, 18 July 2015


my wild swimming essentials a Linen Me towel, swim suit from the White Company, warm cardi for when I get out & a vintage flask of hot chocolate

I have the wild swimming bug and am dreaming of endless summer swims. This week I ventured with the boys to the Cotswold Country Park where they organise and lifeguard open water swimming which is perfect for a beginner like me. As the boys needed to be 14 years old to do the 400 & 750 metre open water course we jumped in to the neighbouring lake with its very own beach and swam in the shallows with the ducks and a family of swans. It was a great way to spend the evening and start to get used to wild swimming temperature!

Friday, 17 July 2015


Oh my goodness, I have been sent the ultimate summer beauty essential, REN's new Moroccan Rose Gold Glow Perfect Dry Oil from the gorgeous spa at the Montpellier Chapter Spa in Cheltenham. I think I may have found a whole new career as a REN product tester!

I have to be really careful what I put on my very dry eczema prone skin, especially fragranced products and I very rarely get my legs out as I am so self conscious about my skin. And to be quite frank I really just don't have the time for a beauty regime in my hectic life, so I must admit armed with all these excuses I did eye this up quite suspiciously on the bathroom shelf, assuming I was simply not glamorous for a product like this.

But the time came to try this product, which was really quick and easy to apply with a handy spray nozzle and the fragrance is just amazing. I wafted through the village yesterday evening having covered myself with the oil in fear that a swarm of bees may just follow me thinking I was a rose! The oil absorbed quickly and really nourished all my dry patches and leaving it with a healthy glow and boosting my confidence too, I even got my legs out!

This is a truly gorgeous product that I am now using religiously this summer, it really is a summer must-have. It would be great product to take on holiday and its beautiful packaging would make it a great gift too. It can be purchased from the Montpellier Chapter Spa for £26 and features in all of their expert massages.

Thursday, 16 July 2015


I am delighted with my latest eBay purchase an old wooden card index file! Even better, it's 6"x4" in size so I am going to use it to print out and keep our favourite photo's in, then the boys can look through them when they want (not with sticky fingers though - obviously!).

I have millions of photo's saved digitally all over the place and I am constantly worrying that the PC breaks or the back up fails, so this is part of my efforts to get the important ones printed out or put into photobooks too, although where I'll get the time to do that I don't know!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


I am so delighted with my new logo for the blog, drawn by talented illustrator Claire Fletcher of my three boys and a guest appearance from Pepper the dog that we doggysat too.

I wanted something old fashioned and naturey, but not too twee, a bit Shirley Hughes, a bit Famous Five and very Bradshaw & Sons! I love Claire's work, she based the illustration on a photo that I took a few weeks ago and think it fits perfectly with the ethos of this blog, don't you?


We have made our list of all the fun things that we'd like to do together as a family this summer and rather ceremoniously pinned it to the fridge. A couple of day trips, camping in the bell tent a train ride to London, mainly simple things and lots of free fun stuff too. Although as a working mum I don't have six weeks of holiday to look forward to, I do take most of my annual leave in the school holidays so have just slightly over three weeks and luckily grandma covers the rest with a few clubs/play dates along the way.

Summer always highlights my desire to lead a simple life, making jam, enjoying walks and swimming in outdoor pools. The ordinary things in life tinted in sunshine. Obviously the reality is often days of rain and bickering children! But I can dream and it helps that we all have things to look forward to, as these are the days that a lifetime of memories are made from.

Monday, 13 July 2015


I first heard the word 'Curglaff' via Lottie, she's a bit of a wordsmith and reposted something on twitter that caught my eye! The word curglaff means 'the shock felt when one first plunges into cold water' - who knew there was actually a word and doesn't it describe the feeling perfectly?

I've loved wild swimming for a long time but hardly get any time to do any anymore. My lovely friend B however, has been completely awesome and last year trained and swam the great north swim, in the freezing cold lakes on her own! So inspired by her, I am going to get training and join her in one of her swims. There are lots throughout the country, so I'm going to train this year ready for 2016 as I really am starting from scratch as not only do I have no experience I also have a pretty poor 'I don't want to get my face wet' swimming technique!

We celebrated our new 'curglaff club' with a wild swim in the new swimming lakes at The Glove Factory Studios, Holt in Somerset on a lovely hot summer's evening last week. The evening was hosted by Daniel Start, author of the Wild Swimming books and the newly opened Sam's Kitchen did an amazing apré swim bbq. It was a lovely dip and a perfect start for our swimming journey!

Sunday, 12 July 2015


It was an absolute delight to meet Claire Thomson, the author of new family cookbook 5 O'Clock Apron and Lia Leendertz, amazing gardening writer last week, with fellow bloggers and friends, Cath of Bristol Parenting Cafe and Laura of Circle of Pines.

We ventured to the heart of one of the south west's biggest ancient woodlands on one of the hottest days of the year, where we found a hidden glade known only to the silver washed fritillary butterflies that flitted in abundance in the sunshine.

Claire had kindly offered to cater for the picnic and brought with her freshly baked foccacia, smoked mackerel, bean and sour cream salad that she decorated with courgette flowers, salad and to finish an apricot, rose and yoghurt cake. Lia also brought with her some homemade cheese and gravadlax, the spoils from a photo shoot the day before and a feast was soon laid out for us to enjoy.

It was an absolutely delicious feast and was as if Claire's recipes had just jumped off the pages of her new book!

I took with me some Bottlegreen Cotswold lemonade with mint and strawberry cordial to try out the Strawberry Tennis Cocktail, I used some borage flowers and mint leaves to garnish it.

You can buy a copy of 5 O'clock Apron by Claire Thomson on Amazon for £12.99.

Friday, 10 July 2015


With the finals at Wimbledon this weekend.bottlegreen have served up an ace with their new 'Game, Set & Match' non-alcoholic cocktail. 

The refreshing cocktail is made from bottlegreen's newly launched Cotswold lemonade & mint presse and Strawberry cordial.  It's perfect for watching the tennis, or accompanying your weekend BBQ or picnic. 

Game, Set & Match Cocktail  (serves 2)

300 ml bottlegreen Cotswold lemonade & mint presse (available from Waitrose, Ocado & Sainsbury's)
100 ml fruit cup
150 ml bottlegreen strawberry cordial (available from Waitrose, Ocado & Co-operative)
Ice cubes
Fruit or borage flowers to decorate

Fill a jug with ice and pour in ingredients, garnishing with fruit and flowers as desired.

Enjoy on a hot summer day!


The lovely folk at Green People recently sent me their brand new quinoa and artichoke shampoo and conditioner to try. I was quite delighted as I'm not that familiar with their products and I can never find hair products that suit my ridiculously lank and boring locks!

The first thing I noticed was the aroma, it's gorgeous! I have been using it for the past week and my hair feels healthier and thicker, it really does what it claims to. It's more expensive than what I would usually choose at £14.95 for 200ml for the shampoo and the same for the conditioner but the results are so much better than my usual products and with free postage I am definitely a convert.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015


The boy and I have had our heads in two really good books that I thought I'd share with you. He has been reading The Boy who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers and I have been reading Down Stream by Caitlin Davies, all about river swimming on the Thames, which is fuelling my wild swimming dreams.

I love having a good book on the go especially over the summer holidays, don't you?

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


I've always been enchanted with edible posies, nosegays and tussie mussies, in fact my wedding bouquet was full of herbs. So inspired with my abundant herb garden in a crate, I thought I'd make some edible bouquets to give as end of year gifts to my sons' teachers.

I've grown purple sage, thyme, rosemary, salad burnet, and sage and will combine them with some bramble flowers from the hedgerow too. The pink bramble flowers and green blackberry not-quite-ripe-yet fruits go really well with the leaves of the purple sage and thyme in particular.

The bouquet is quite small but smells amazing and as a bonus you can eat it all too! These aren't expensive to make and affordable pots of herbs can be bought from local WI Country Markets or found on the sale shelves in your local garden centre or farm shop.

Sunday, 5 July 2015


We picked a load of strawberries from Over Farm Market in Gloucester on Friday, they are perfectly ripe right now!

Stanley and I have been busy chopping some of them for jam, but because it's Sunday, today we made the most delicious pavlova. Meringue, cream, strawberries and a garnish of borage flowers. Simple, easy and the most delicious dessert! 

Thursday, 2 July 2015


Follow Emma Bradshaw's board Dreaming of Danish Summerhouses on Pinterest. I have only just discovered AirBnB and a whole load of countries that I have never considered visiting before. At the moment I am fixating on Parisian apartments and Scandinavian summer houses, Denmark in particular! One question though - do you get midges in summer? Tips, places to go, where to stay, things to do are most welcome.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


In partnership with This Is Your Kingdom, Village England are having a competition to name their latest bag! Village England bags are made for real life, inspired by quirky wrought iron village signs and antique horse brass, the Village England logo incorporates elements of village life and each bag is named after an English village.

So here's where you come in, they want you to suggest a village to name this gorgeous new bag after. My vote is to call the bag the 'Painswick' after my favourite Cotswold village (well actually it's a town!) and to support my campaign (I'm taking this quite seriously!) my lovely friend Anne-Marie took some pictures of me wearing the gorgeous bag around Painswick, so you can see why I think it's the perfect bag for this quintessential Cotswold village.

To enter the competition, to name (and win) this gorgeous bag worth £195 just click here to take part - it's simple! The competition ends on midnight 8th July so enter quickly now while you're thinking about it (I always forget if I click away to do something else). 


We've had a really fab 30 days making time for a little bit of 'wild' in our lives. It's made me realise just how important it is and that we need to #staywild! Here's a Steller story of our 30 days in no particular order! How did you do?
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