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?
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