Sunday, 11 November 2012


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John Mccrae May 1915

So thankful to live in peace today and very grateful to all those who laid down their lives for that privilege.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Half way ......

Exactly in the middle of  Two and Three today,  the littlest member of our house has been a real superstar all summer. 

Almost there with toilet training, the little blue potty has followed us on our adventures over the past few weeks.  She was happy to use it in B & Q car park and delighted with the resulting Peppa Pig rewards.  Ever increasing in her bossiness our little lady loves to tell us all what to do from the safety of her little blue plastic throne!

Exploring with her older brother  on a recent Forest School visit

Such delightful chatter and comments on  the happenings of the day have reminded us she is very quickly growing up.  Loving the attention of older sisters she is very proud of her new green painted toenails.  Times are a changing as Ruby starts Forest School in a few weeks;  such a wonderful and happy environment in which to learn and play.  Freedom to run around and explore the woods, watching out for the fire and painting with feathers on hanging sheets.  

Perfect  first steps into her education experience.

Staying safe near the fire

Older brother very much enjoyed running around and exploring,  this would have been a fantastic place for him to run off some of his energy when he was younger!  He had a birthday last week and loves to tell us that Ruby is halfway between him and zero,  that she is  exactly  half his age.  Very important in a five year old life to know this.  Almost as important as letting me know he is actually now  Superman,  there have been far too many daredevil superhero inspired jumps across furniture and in the garden already this holiday. 

We love it  most of all when this whirlwind of energy  falls asleep,

 how can this be comfortable?

What is the most unusual place you or a small person you love has fallen asleep?

Monday, 20 August 2012

To the lighthouse

A five hour drive in a car crammed  full of camping equipment, beach kit,  food, a happy dog and excited children meant that after the trailer tent was finally erected  the tribe were very ready to explore their new Cornish home.

The beautiful beach glowed in the sunset, the waves crashed against the sand and our little group of weary campers began to feel relaxed as we drank in the sea air.  We camped with friends who had made an excellent choice of the campsite, a short walk over the sand dunes and we were on the secluded beach.  The lighthouse in the distance watching over all our frolics.

For those of you literary types this was the lighthouse  that inspired Virginia Woolf's famous novel and what an inspiration this part of the world is.  The grassy dunes were planted last century to stop the local village from being  covered in sand  as the beautiful breeze which creates the  surf is fairly strong.

The beach was almost as deserted the next morning  and we spent many happy hours here whilst we were away.

Coco loved the freedom of the beach and the sea, although had to wait until the evening to be allowed to explore.

The weather was the usual british summer mix of glorious and drizzle but   we   don't let that stop us having fun.      

A flask and a raincoat are pretty much camping necessities! 

If you are ever  in the area I really recommend visiting this beautiful unspoilt beach near  Gwithian; super for surfing, sandcastle building, rock pooling and feeling relaxed.  

I know we will be returning.   

What is your favourite family beach?          


Friday, 27 July 2012

All dressed up and ready to Olympic party!

Escaping the madness of potty training and house tidying I took the older girls to town this morning.  I haven't been for a while and it looked so pretty all dressed up for the Olympics.

We walked through the cathedral and the colourful bunting looked happy and welcoming gently dancing in the breeze.

The big screen live link up was being prepared, what a beautiful setting to view a great sporting achievement. 

The high street was busy and the colourful bunting looked fantastic hanging from the old buildings.

Two girls humouring their camera obsessed mother!

Our little city is ready and it seems as if our big city is also ready to welcome the Olympics 2012.  

The excitement is building, even our tiny  local church joined the nation to celebrate by ringing the bells at 8.12 this morning.

What a special day to celebrate.

 Today would have been my Grandad's one hundredth birthday.

I love the fact his special day has been marked in such a memorable way: A fitting  tribute to such a special man.

Is your town looking colourful in an Olympic way?

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Two & five and a little bit naughty!

The start of the summer holidays always  seems to prompt a huge clear up, de clutter and tidy in our house.  Is it just us, or does anyone else do this? It does seem a little ridiculous to tidy up before the six weeks of toy playing and chaos but it seems to help with the first few days of the holiday. Always takes a few days to settle down  and get used to   being with each other; I am  so so thankful to be married to a teacher  who acts as my co referee and share the role of fight master.  All is well after those initial squabbles and we probably ease the stress by cleaning and sorting.

This afternoon I was tidying the food cupboards and found some very out of date baby jars, while I was reminiscing about baby days the "baby" found a huge jar of chocolate spread.  Independent as ever she helped herself to a spoon and rapidly ate as much as she could, she knows a sibling will be along to share it if she isn't quick.  My children are super fast at eating sweets (to avoid sharing) and particularly nice food on the table will go in a flash!  

She saw me and made a quick exit  into the garden. 

Ever the fashionista she paused to choose her footwear  before running away, this girl loves shoes so much - why not have a different one on each foot?

Flip flopping up the garden still with a chocolatey spoon and a dress on back to front!

Time is going by so fast and we are hoping to leave nappy days behind soon, this sunny weather has arrived just in time  for her  to start wearing big girl pants and using the potty. Two years and five months seems a good age and she is always telling me to change her nappy. Even though I have done   it five times before I seem to have  blissfully forgotten about the joys of potty training!

Any top potty training tips anyone?

Enjoy the sunshine this week...

Friday, 20 July 2012

All Change

Today was the last day of school for this year, and with it came change.  I have been working mainly with a year six class in a local village school this year and their last day of primary school is a curious mix of emotions:  Happiness that they have reached a point of maturity and are  equipped  to take the leap from primary to secondary education, mixed with huge relief that they are able to move on as they have pretty much outgrown their small school.  Sadness to see them depart,  combined with joy at seeing the amazing people they are becoming and knowing in some small way you have been a part of the shaping and guiding process.  That is only the teachers emotions, there were several sobbing parents at the leavers' assembly this morning.

Being a teacher is an immense privilege, the amazing feeling at being able to inspire and motivate children is what keeps you going on those days  when the job feels never ending, usually a wet playtime day.

The picture above is  me  by a talented young artist in the class and was  the  chosen for the school website, her mum wrote a card to me   today thanking me for "helping my daughter to have confidence in herself".  I felt very overwhelmed  and again thankful for the way in which my everyday job can have a big impact on a child's life.  What a responsibility!

A very old photo - I must take some more pictures of this very english village

It was a reflective day for me as I too am moving to another school  and will miss the pretty Hampshire village and surrounding countryside.  The kind words by parents meant so much; if you have a child at school do make an effort to thank their teachers as words are very much appreciated.  Another emotional moment was the parents presenting me with beautiful gifts in assembly, being appreciated and thanked means a lot.  

Continuing my emotional moments,  I glanced  at a pile of papers left by the printer and read the words my teacher husband spoke at a speech he gave about a leaving colleague this afternoon;

"As a teacher, always believe that you can change the lives of young people for the better.  Be generous with your time and with your love....."

Have you ever had a teacher who changed your life for the better?

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Olympic Torch - Day 54

The Olympic flame came to our part of the world this afternoon. Following hot on the heels of the Winchester Festival more commonly known as the hat fair, this meant the town was in full celebratory mode. The anticipation  of the Olympic entourage was swathed in patriotic excitement; such  a fantastic atmosphere and the sun even remembered to shine as we waited in the beautiful surroundings to share our historic moment. 

The atmosphere started with  entertainment by a group from the middle ages.

Girls giggled  and postmen perched as we waited  by the side of the road.

A little boy made us all smile.

The Olympic entourage began with police motorbikes,  closely  followed by different buses adding to the momentum with loud music and lots of waving. 

Live footage on the side of the coach!

We were in prime position to see the flame and cheer the bearer on.

Then suddenly it was all over.

Our Olympic moment - an amazing experience!

Have you seen the flame?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

water, water...

It looks very much as if summer has bypassed us this year; the dreary and  dismal rain seeming to cloud everything in it grey wake.  To cheer myself up I spent a moment sorting through happier more sun filled pictures,  beautiful memories  of our France trip last summer certainly made me smile.  The sparkly water fountain in the Normandy sea side town  reminded me of a happy day wandering around the pretty streets.

The buildings were colourful and the whole place was alive with the hustle and bustle of a busy market scene, very reminiscent of Cornwall this was a popular haunt of Monet and other impressionist artists towards the end  of   last century.  

We like to think we enhanced the arty vintage vibe by our presence, a lovely thought!

I have such a longing to jump into this cute little car and drive to a sunny   courtyard where I can sit in peace with a yummy patisserie  and strong coffee.

A beautiful fountain to look at and warm sun would make it perfect.

Do you want to join me?

If you are looking for an easy escape with your family, this offer still stands.

Thank you to everyone who follows, reads and comments ..... I love my little creative and happy escape  and it is made even better to know others do as well.

Have a brilliant day all, despite the wet!

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Busy Being...

Three weeks until the end of term people,

and  I think I may have  finally  found the perfect teacher thank you gift!

Every teacher will be counting down the days amid writing reports, assessment, new class meeting, sports days  and all the many things that have to be done before the school year is wrapped up.  Busy Mums will be rushing to get all those jobs done before the children are around and the mum entertainment and taxi service takes on a new dimension.  In a house of two teachers and six children the end of the summer term is always a busy time.

Knowing how  hard teachers work and being very thankful for the wonderful people who care for them daily, I always like to say thank you and show my appreciation for all they have done for my child over the academic year.  It can be hard to know what to give; bottles of wine are always appreciated but are very heavy (and expensive when multiplied by six) chocolates are good but thirty boxes are not, it is a dilemma.  

The solution was clear when I saw these gorgeous prints designed by a local artist who I first met at a craft fair.  I love the typography and the bold colour of these  prints.  I bought one of her first designs last year 'being a Mum', it hangs  next to my kitchen sink and has very much kept me going during those crazy tea time hours of the day.

I do need to get  very  busy tidying the kitchen but at least one of the many to do lists can be ticked off by buying these prints  as teacher thank you gifts.  Have a look at the many colours and prints  available, so hard to choose a favourite. The mum range is perfect for a new baby gift, the girl and boy range just adorable....  I could easily fill our house with all of them.  The teacher prints are hot off the press so you may need to contact her  or like her on facebook to see the full range.

If you had to design a 'busy being' print, what would yours be?

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Craft Stall

After much hard work and months of preparation the day of the school summer fete arrived.  It did not feel much like summer as the wind forced us to abandon the gazebos we had planned to set up on the school field.  Amidst the hustle and bustle of tables being moved outside, van loads of donated toys and books being carried to their rather blustery table, hooking with ducks and pig racing stalls being arranged  and the barbecue being lit  our little craft table very calmly took a coveted place inside the school hall. 

The weather was good to us and by the end of the afternoon we wished we were outside watching all the amazing Olympic themed events.  We had a prime spot next to the delicious International foods stall   which made up for missing some of the action on the field.

Here are some of the lovely things we had to sell, there was lots more.

The cutest teddy bears, very keen to find a new home and  handmade in different and gorgeous fabrics.  Perfect for a little child to hold  and love, a few made their way home to the oldpolicehouse and have been very played with.

Little aprons for messy play, and some rather gorgeous olympic theme aprons which I forgot to photograph!  A collection of little bags to carry those precious things around in.

 A quick and simple make and popular with young fans of the game "angry birds", we laminated and cut out pictures of the game characters and glued them to pencils.  A cheap pocket money buy.

The other birds were much less angry and were sold either as hanging birds or hanging off a special coat hanger, to brighten up your wall.  We also made hanging hearts which were pretty gorgeous as well.

A few Grandparents helped swell our stocks and among their makes were these mug hugs, perfect for keeping a cuppa warm when gardening or camping.  Perfect for bringing a bit of happy colour into the day.

I took photos of the stall on my daughters camera but we have mislaid the lead so photos of the actual set up and looking beautiful stall will follow soon.  This was a section of the stock laid out ready for pricing.

It was so hard to decide on the right price, we wanted to sell it and cover our costs but as it was a  school fete and not a craft market we had to gauge our market differently.  At least we had a few people to bounce ideas and argue price with, it must be so hard for sellers on their own, we did not factor in our time either as it was for the school.  I have fresh admiration for those setting up their own small craft business, it must be very hard to actually make any profit.

It was all worth it though as the stall made over two hundred pounds, the actual fete made nearly four and a half thousand pounds, a fantastic result! We have enough left to stock a christmas table which is a bonus.

Craft sellers, how do you decide your do you make any  profit?

What would you have bought from our stall?