I have just received my first lomokino films back from the developers! The top one was taken when we were staying in Cornwall last week and the children were excited to race to the beach with their boards. The film below, was taken a few months ago when we had snow. I obviously need a lot of practice with focussing and how quickly to turn the handle, which then determines the film speed - but despite their imperfections I am completely enchanted by the grainy nostalgic results.
For three years now I've been feeding my compost bins almost daily. They have taken the waste sawdust and manure from the chicken house, the contents of the vacuum cleaner, thousands of old tea bags and coffee grinds, vegetable and fruit peelings, all of our grass cuttings, the non shiny Christmas wrapping paper ripped into tiny pieces, nettles and comfrey leaves*, crushed egg shells and I sometimes add egg boxes or cardboard loo rolls broken up if the mixture is too wet. I have turned them a few times, if I'd turned them more often they'd have broken down more quickly but I've primarily turned them to deter rats from nesting.
The bins are warm to the touch in winter as the nitrogen releases from the rotting vegetation and the thousands of worms and mini-beasts work their magic to produce a sweet smelling, crumbly compost ready for the boys to plant vegetables in their raised-bed.
My compost bins were really cheap and bought from the local council when they were promoting composting a few years back, they're not pretty and resemble big black dalek's! You can get much more attractive versions if you want to spend more money. But tucked in a corner of the garden they do no harm, and it's estimated by composting I'm saving 40% of my household waste from going into landfill, which has go to be worthwhile. And if that wasn't enough for a clear conscience, making your own compost is helping the environment too, as most compost on sale is made with peat and peat bogs are one the UK's most threatened habitats.
Tomorrow if the sun shines we'll plant out the first of our plants we've grown from seed; courgette, pea and pumpkin.
*you can make organic liquid fertiliser from nettle and comfrey leaves too.
A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013
Alfie - Cool surf dude - stood up on his board at his first attempt! His energy just amazes me.
Ted - Loved playing with his friend on holiday in Cornwall.
Stanley - My baby took his first steps this week!
Such a busy time, the sunshine at the beginning of the week has really lifted our spirits and put freckles on our noses. I have a renewed energy to get lots of jobs done next week that I have been putting off for a long time, but don't hold me to anything!
Do you holiday with friends? We've just spent the most fab bank holiday weekend with friends in Cornwall. We never used to be keen to holiday with other families but it has huge benefits such as sharing the cost of the accommodation and holidaying with babysitters! The children love it too as they have playmates readily available for constant entertainment - games such as 'who can stand on the post the longest' (who knew how entertaining that could be?)
The golden rule of holidaying with friends is to find the right accommodation, as friendships can become strained when our noisy boys wake up at the crack of dawn! This weekend we stayed at Rockpools Beach Chalet, which had a double bedroom, bunk room and shower room upstairs and a double bedroom, bunk room and family bathroom downstairs, perfect for two families to have their own space. The large open plan lounge was perfect to relax in, with a huge TV and massive DVD collection and had 'fold back' doors for that Californian feel! Being open plan also meant that there was always someone on hand to watch the baby, who chose this weekend to take his first five steps!
Outside there was an enclosed decking area which was a real sun trap and there was also a shower, meaning you could get wetsuits off easily without getting sand everywhere. We fired up the barbecue for a huge feast on Saturday evening, before watching the sunset on the front deck with a glass of wine in hand, which was supplied in the welcome pack along with milk, bread and local biscuits. There was also plenty of tea, coffee, sugar, oil, kitchen and toilet roll and washing up liquid, all the little details that made this holiday so family friendly.
We pretended that we were cool surf dudes and borrowed wetsuits and bodyboards from the chalet. On Sunday, the boys had a family surfing lesson, with not one but two amazing surfing instructors Freddie and Jackamo (who resembled a young Keano Reeves). The boys (including Pete) listened to all the safety rules and then learnt how to balance on the board before practicing in the sea. Ted stayed in the very shallow waves as he's not a very confident swimmer, whilst Alfie went in up to his waist, the instructors high-fiving them and giving them so much encouragement. Ted gave up quite quickly after getting 'wiped-out' and sat with me on the beach, whilst Alfie went on to stand up on his first attempt, I couldn't believe it! Pete unfortunately didn't quite make the 92% stand up rate of the school, but took advantage of the additional hour and a half extra board and wetsuit hire to have another go the day after and absolutely loved it ~ I fear this may be the start of a mid-life crisis!
Freddie entertained Alfie by balancing the board on a pile of sand so he could practice after getting wiped out!
One of my favourite things this weekend was discovering thePorthmeor Cafein St. Ives, that sits right on the beach underneath the huge Tate St. Ives. The narrow streets away from the main drag are just enchanting and getting up early for breakfast meant that not only could we park in the beachside car park, we could take advantage of breakfasting in one of the cafe's ultra cool heated pods, with blankets to keep the early morning breeze off our legs. We ordered saffron toast, crab and scrambled eggs and croissants with nutella from a menu beautifully decorated with old newspaper stories of shipwrecks.
You probably know by now how much I love beach huts, Rockpools is the third beach hut we've stayed in and it's by far the largest and most luxurious. It was wonderful to pretend for a few days that we lived there, right by the sea!
We stayed at Rockpools courtesy of Forever Cornwall, unique and eco-friendly self-catering holiday cottages in Cornwall and our surfing lesson was courtesy of Gwithian Surf Academy. Find more pictures here.
The birthday boy didn't want a party this year, just a walk in the woods with a few friends. He requested that his dad dressed up like a bear as he had done for his third 'we're going on a bear hunt' birthday party, but the fancy dress hire shop didn't have the costume anymore! Instead we walked through the river, looking for animal tracks. We found lots of deer slots and each child was able to make a cast with plaster of Paris to take home as a souvenir.
We then cooked sausages and our campfire favourite, damper bread on the fire before heading home tired out.
How to make Damper Bread...
You have to twist your bread around a green stick and keep turning so as not to burn it, but it tastes delicious on its own, freshly baked.
3 tablespoonsnatural sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 teaspoonbaking powder
¼ cup ofsoftened butter
1 cup ofwarm water
in the kitchen...
1. mix together all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Add water and stir. Dough should be too dry to come together into one lump.
3. Cut in butter and knead by hand just long enough to make it smooth and consistent.
4. Form into a log, wrap in plastic and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
at the campsite...
5. Prepare 1 or more sticks 1cm in diameter by shaving clean with a pocket knife.
6. Cut dough into 12 pieces. Roll into long pencil thin snakes 30cm (12 inches) and coil these around the end of the stick, ours are always quite chunky else they fall off!
7. Hold sticks high over the fire, constantly turning until the coiled dough turns golden brown.
8. Cool and eat straight off the stick! My friend from New Zealand recommends drizzling butter and jam into the hole as she did as a child.