Just What Kind of Mother Are You? #weektoview

DSC02263Hope you had an amazing Easter break? Ours was great, although a huge challenge to juggle work and children. I really enjoyed just hanging out in Nottingham with the kids for once. It was a chance to reconnect, to recharge some flagging batteries and to rethink. Having worked hard on some travel blogging press trips as a family we kept our days out low key, and the photos too. Although we did go to one blogging event, Next’s Summer 14 for Kids day, more on that in another post. hello Continue reading

Top 10 tips to take Beautiful Christmas Photos

2011-12-24Do you think much about your Christmas photos? Over Christmas we take lots of pictures indoors, there is the least amount of daylight in the whole year and we’re all a bit preoccupied with other things: hardly a recipe for great photos. I have lots of pretty rubbish shots from over the years.

The ones above were taken two years ago, I was really pleased, much better than last year, but it took me until this week to click why. Continue reading

How to do a DIY family photoshoot

Love Mister G’s photobombing of Miss L’s shot of me and Mr A. We did a bit of a family photoshoot recently, we needed a picture of all four of us in a hurry. The results made me realise it was something we should do more often, rather than waiting for the perfect moment to happen or paying for a photographer. I’ve listed the ingredients for a perfect shoot and a lovely Photo Box Photo Mugs giveaway too, the perfect way to celebrate your efforts.
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What’s the story

First day of the school holidays and we have car issues. We were rescued by our local friendly garage Ludlow Hill MOT Centre who also kept the kids entertained with disposable blue gloves. Bonus! Thanks Ludlow Hill MOT and Service Centre, Nottingham.

Then it was onwards and upwards and off to drop Miss L at her cousins. G went to nursery for his last two days while I worked. L had a magic time with her Aunty, until my sister in law broke her ankle, so now it is my turn to step up, today I have 5 kids and next door’s dog. It’s like famous five, but there are six of them.

Have a great week! joining up with this fab linky over at Podcast

An amazing Cornish wedding

We went to an amazing wedding in Cornwall at the weekend. The groom is a good friend, and colleague of Mr A who goes back to our Brighton days. The bride, one of the self-titled WAGS, the gang of gorgeous girls I befriended when we all found ourselves following our other halves to new lives in Nottingham a few year’s back. They are a lovely couple, the sort of people you would happily drive to the end of the UK for, which is lucky, as that is what we did. Continue reading

Two little Vikings went out hiking…

An utterly magical day out at Sherwood Pines, Nottingham’s Forestry Commission site, with the Vikings and Saxons of the Regia Anglorum who create living history encampments around the UK and Conroi de Vey the Nottingham branch of Regia Anglorum.

I’ve seen a few living history groups in action, but I have never seen one get children so involved, or be so keen, not just to re-enact fights, but to talk about everything from food, to medicine, to coins, to needles, to burials. In fact while the battle was taking place, my two were busy learning how to make bread and grilling those left in camp for clues as to the missing silver cup.

All children got a sheet with details of the crime and suspects and were encouraged to quiz the camp residents. It was great fun and really helped to get everyone talking and learning quite effortlessly.

Of course the forest is a perfect setting, given that a Viking roadway, or the’ Dark Age M1′ was recently discovered in Nottingham forest. I thought it was a really moving reminder of the history of our land, the narration that accompanied the battle really drew this out.

I was torn away by the kids to the walkways in the forest to play in, the den building area and the cafe. I will have to go back for a quiet contemplation of the Saxons and Vikings part in history. I love forests!

I am joining the Where I Live linky over at The American Resident, click the button to travel there!

The American Resident

What do the images in your home mean to you?

I read a list of decluttering tips that made me rather sad recently. It suggested going back to the Victorian trend of reserving photo frames in your home only for people who are dead. For me images in my home are about capturing life: adventures, moments, people and feelings you want to remember.

When I was asked to review a next day delivery canvas service from Your Image 2 Canvas, I immediately knew I wanted pictures that would remind me of our outdoor adventures. Pictures that would bring the outdoors inside and encourage us to continue to get out. I haven’t quite decided where to put them up yet as we are in the midst of a huge reorganisation, so I thought it was appropriate to photograph them outdoors. Continue reading

Camp Bestival Line Up 2013

We had an amazing time at Camp Bestival last year, so I was looking forward to see the line up for 2013! We’re most excited about the Levellers and Horrible Histories in the Alexander Residence, although I firmly believe you have to go with the flow, you will have great fun whatever you end up seeing.

I’ve linked up my packing and review posts and a video below in case you fancy some more insights into what a family festival with a 3 and a 5 year old is like, plus our tips on making the most of it!

Our packing…

Camp Bestival: We fell in love Continue reading

Baking and Learning #goodwork

Photographing Mummy Barrow and Mammasaurus taking photos of Davina, taking photos of a 3year old boy whose mum has worked at the Virtutious Women’s Bakery for 7 years and trains other women how to make and hawk bread.

Today’s visits to projects here in Ghana has been amazing, inspiring, exhausting, hot, but more than anything full of stories I am bursting to tell, from talking to Davina about motherhood and women’s rights, to experiencing first hand some of the amazing ways projects funded by Comic Relief help to change lives and empower people.

Here is a little video I made to unpack my day, it talks through the pictures I have included below it:

Children singing in the creche as their mothers work in the bakery across the courtyard

Dough arrives carried in by Veronica, who featured in the Comic Relief Great British Bake Off

Inspiring and caring teachers

Preparing to grease 200 tins

Expert hands get to work on the dough

Production Line

Proudly showing off her chalk board

Watching mum at work, while looking after the little ones

Blowing bubbles at the end of our visit

Assante, project worker in Agbogbloshie Slum takes us on a tour, he tells me of the challenges of lack of sanitation, running water, drugs, prostitution, HIV and the amazing opportunities created by Comic Relief funded projects.

Ground floor of the school in the midst of the slum, originally a shack with 20 students, it now educates over 200.

Older children learning more formally upstairs in the school

View over Agbogbloshie slum from the school building

Assante introduces Aishetu who came to the city slum from a small village after her parents died. Training as a hairdresser has brought her financial security and pays for her younger sister to attend school.

Mercy set up her bead making business with support from Comic Relief funded projects.

Tuesday 4th February was Comic Relief’s 25th birthday, so much to celebrate, believe me today I saw it first hand.

For the past 25 years the money raised through Red Nose Day has been changing the lives of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa. Please share this post. Let’s Keep Up the #GoodWork.

Find out how at rednoseday.com and click on the badge to find out more about how bloggers can help.



Polarno O Pyret

Polarno O Pyret spotty dress

Miss L got wind of the fact I am away with work for a few days soon, so we agreed to calm her wobbles about missing me with a mum and daughter morning. It was also two years to the day since my Mum died, so finding mother and daughter time seemed like the right thing for the day.

I’ve been reading lots about Oliver James’s book Lovebombing, the idea of resetting a child’s emotional thermostat through quality time together, where they set the agenda. So I let Miss L choose the activities. We baked cakes that didn’t rise properly because she didn’t want to go and buy the right ingredients, we iced them with brown, vanilla flavoured glace icing and a whole box of sprinkles. Continue reading

Me, My Dad and the snowy walk


Me and my Dad took a snowy walk in one of my favourite places, Ilam, in the Peak District. Ilam has a stunning Youth Hostel, an amazing National Trust cafe and the grounds are a paradise for children and grown ups. In Summer it is wonderful for picnics, in Autumn the trees burn every shade of auburn, red and gold and in Winter, well, it’s he first time I have visited, but in Dad’s words, ‘it’s like fairy land’.

We started at Ilam and walked across snowy fields to the Dovedale stepping stones. Continue reading