Nature in the Home - Winter week 7

Hello! I’m back and joining in with Lou’s Nature in the Home themes for the run-up to Christmas, the first of which is a table centrepiece.

Earlier this week, I popped into the gorgeous interiors shop in town that stocks my cards to collect the November takings (yay! I made sales!!!) and rather than pocketing my profits, I made the fatal error of having an ooh and an aah over Sarah’s new stock. 

I am steadily building up a wish list and would gladly buy everything in there, but this is at the very top of my list. One day….

Anyway, in the window were three beautifully planted bay trees in whitewashed pots, overlaid with a square of sackcloth and grey velvet ribbon. Well, I thought. One of those WOULD look rather beautiful on my kitchen table. And then I remembered NITH. And I decided it was fate. 

So I handed over my profit and a bit more besides and came away with my bay. Sort of OK right?

Next week the theme is handmade wreaths, which is rather good as I am hosting a wreath-making-mulled-wine-drinking evening next week to make 40 of the things along with some other mums for our school fair. Should be plenty of photo opportunities for that one!

A laid-back country wedding

On Saturday I had the enormous pleasure of photographing the wedding of Chantel and Simon. It was the most wonderful laid-back, happy occasion.

The full set of photographs will be ready when Mr & Mrs Frankum return from their honeymoon, but for now, here is a 50-photo taster of the day.

Chantel and Simon were married in Woodstock and held their riverside reception here. They stayed here.

If you’d like to see more of my wedding photography, have a look over here.

52 Weeks of Happy (36/52)

The sun shone, the skies were blue, the evenings started drawing out and the swallows returned to soar and dive above our cottage. Tractors began rumbling up and down the fields and hedgerows seemed to grow in front of out eyes, falling over the narrow track roads in glorious abundance.

This week, as the tell-tale signs of early summer in the country began to show - it has been easy to find happy things in every day life. Hoorah for that.

This week’s happies:

∆ A perfectly fragile dandelion clock. Crouching down on the side of the path, holding the little stem and waiting for the wind to die down was worth it, just for this shot. I did a little cheer when I downloaded it.

∆ Xavi’s sunflower plants grew in time for his party - yay!

∆ Xavi normally comes to wake us in the morning but on his birthday he stayed in bed and shouted down to us to ask if the secret squirrels had finished wrapping his presents and if it was safe for him to come down yet. Secret squirrels were responsible for a lot of my birthday surprises when I was a kid and I am happy they have made it into our family folklore now too!

∆ Finding time in the day to stop and go for a walk. Just me and the sound of the country. Yes, I have work to do but an hour a day to just walk is making me very happy indeed. I hope I can stick to it.

Have a happy week everyone. What with all that has been going on here recently with holidays, birthdays, parties and festivals, I don’t feel I’ve had nearly enough time to visit my favourite blogs. I am sorry if I have neglected you or if you have written a comment which I have not replied to. I do read every one and love to get them so please keep them coming and I will do my best to get over and visit your sides of the t'internet soon I promise! x

52 Weeks of Happy (32 & 33/52)

I missed last week’s happy post (having too much fun on holiday) so this week is a bumper two-week special…

My happies for week 32/52:

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∆ Returning to Porthmeor Cafe for several breakfasts with the boys and savouring the views (and the food - excellent as always).

∆ Watching Xavi’s excited little ritual each morning as he stood on a chair in the kitchen to grab his sign then hung it on our front door as we headed out for the day.

∆ Saltwaters and sand. Made for each other.

∆ Having Dennis, our campervan, lowered at the same time as his annual service. Soooo much easier to drive now!

And here are my happies for week 33/52:

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∆ Precious ‘memory stones’ carefully carried back from the beach and home in the boys’ overflowing buckets. Each one is special and has a name. So too do the crabs’ legs they insisted on hauling up the A30. Those are currently stinking out the carport…

∆ Beating the rain on Saturday morning and walking with my mum, dad, Spence and the boys down to the remains of a Roman Villa from 4AD near our home.

∆ Commander Chris Hadfield’s amazing, awe-inspiring and jaw-droppingly beautiful Space Oddity from on-board the ISS. Watching Louis glued to the screen and knowing THAT moment, right there will influence the career choices he makes in his future.

∆ I know this project isn’t about material happies but the arrival of my Kelly Moore 2 Sues pro camera bag had me dancing a jig like no-one was watching in my kitchen. I’m still as excited as a five-year old about it now!


I can’t wait to see what’s been making you all happy these last couple of weeks, I have a lot of catch-up blog reading to do!

16/52

* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 *

Goodness, we’re four months in already. With this and the 52 Weeks of Happy project, I am really noticing how time is flying by.

Louis - a portrait.

Xavi - an anti-portrait. Captured just before I jettisoned the camera to stop him falling down the steps. Playing ‘worms’ apparently…

As ever, I’m joining in with Jodi and all the other lovely people participating in the weekly portrait series. I tend to be contributor 240 out of 240 at the moment - what DOES that say about my time-keeping I wonder?!

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15/52

* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2013 *

Oh so late with this week’s portraits. Tsk. I blame the school holidays, my fractured working schedule, a weekend sleepover and trips out in the campervan. In short, we’ve been a bit busy.

Xavi - or as he likes to be known, the Great Xavendo.

Louis - doing his best ‘album cover’ pose.

As ever, I’m joining in with Jodi and all the other lovely people participating in the weekly portrait series. I haven’t had much time to check out other people’s pictures this week, but I’ll be back to a bit of blog visiting next week, I promise.

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52 Weeks of Happy (28/52)

Joining in with Jen at Little Birdie and a whole lot of other nice people, inspired by the quote below.

“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”

∆ Xavi went to a pottery painting party (ten 5-6-year old boys - madness) which Louis totally derided until he spotted the decopatching kits. One very peaceful afternoon of craft ensued. We discovered if we can get past the gaudy colours, decopatching is quite cool.

∆ Xavi is taking such care watering his little pumpkin seeds.

∆ We spent a beautiful day at the weekend in the company of our very good friends in the town where we used to live. Lovely food, excellent company and a trip to our once local park where Xavi (a previous non rider) got on his little pal’s bike and just pedalled away. No stabilisers, no wobbling, just proper balancing and pedalling. Proud! Also at said park, we bumped into A Crafty Chai who I knew lived locally but had never met. We fell in love with Poppydog and had a good old chat in the late afternoon sun.

∆ Our little pop-up art project is gathering pace! We have the beginnings of website, we’ve been on the radio and we’re starting to put a programme of events together for our first pop-up. Watch this space!

So, now over to you - what has made you happy this week?

Nature in the home - a series...

This week, two plants for the price of one! Well, four actually if you count each clump of surprisingly hot cress growing away in those little peat pots.

Do you have set spots in your house where you site your indoor plants and flowers? I tend to always have a pot or vase of something or other on the kitchen table, then a rotating display on the kitchen windowsill (at the moment, it’s tiny pumpkin plants-to-be). I like to have the odd tiny spray of flowers in our bedroom and always keep my less-than-attractive rescue plants in the utility room.

Then there’s an orchid at the top of the house and a little cactus on my desk. They’ve all pretty much sat in the same spots since we moved in. I wonder if I should be more mobile with my plants - do they like one happy home or are they glad to be shuffled about and rearranged as much as I rearrange the cushions do you think?

52 Weeks of Happy (27/52)

As ever, I’m joining in with Jen at Little Birdie and lots of other seekers of happiness in the every day, inspired by the quote that “the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”

My happies for week 27/52:

∆ Can you see their feet? The school holidays make us happy, a chance to unwind, have leisurely breakfasts and stay in pyjamas all day if we want to.

∆ I bought a new crochet book this week and some creamy-natural yarn. I’m going to master doubles and slip stitches. At the moment, I think I am sort of making it up so it’s time to do some proper research. That granny square blanket to keep us warm in the camper van won’t make itself you know…

∆ Having a bit of precious solo time with Louis whilst Xav was at a party this week. He’s growing so much now. None of his trousers fit him and he has an appetite like a horse. It only seems like yesterday he was a little gurgling bundle in blue.

∆ Sometimes all you need to do when it is snowing (yes, snowing in April) is curl up on the sofa and watch a DVD.

So those are mine, what are your happies for this week?

Nature in the home - a series...

Oh my, when will this cold weather give way to spring? As I type, a flurry of snowflakes falls outside my window.

These fressias are sitting on the mantelpiece in our bedroom wafting their gorgeous scent around the room. I love having fresh cut flowers where I sleep. When we go camping, I often pick a little posy for the campervan. My husband and boys think I am mad but in a houseful of men, you have to engineer a few moments of girliness to restore the balance right?

Joining in with Lou’s Nature in the home series, last week I couldn’t get enough of Gillian’s gorgeous idea and Laura’s blossoms were just beautiful.

52 Weeks of Happy (26/52)

Halfway! A whole half-year of posting a weekly set of pictures to honour the maxim that “the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”

In a six-month round-up type-of-thing, you can see all my previous posts for this project here. And you can see more happies over with Jen from Little Birdie, who we have to thank for this lovely project.

And so, on to this week’s happies…

∆ This little boy. He’s had us worried in the last few weeks, causing us more than a few sleepless nights and a tear or two but he seems to have turned a corner. He’s an amazing ‘human bean’ and has been a great source of happy this week (along with his brother of course!).

∆ His homework. So neat. So funny. So legible. He’s coming on in leaps and bounds and it’s great to see.

∆ There might be snow on the ground but I’m forcing it to feel like spring in our kitchen. It’s nearly Easter for heaven’s sake.

∆ For the first time in ages, we had a really relaxing Saturday and Sunday. Sports clubs were cancelled, there was only one party to go to and five out of six of our weekend meals were eaten all together as a family, around our kitchen table. We had proper down time and it did us all good. No DVDs, no screens, the boys listened to their Horrible History CDs and played together whilst we did the housework (I KNOW!) on Saturday and on Sunday afternoon we even experimented with natural dyeing eggs for our Easter branches - I will share the results soon.

Not pictured but also cause for much excitement this week - booking tickets to see The Who play Quadrophenia in my home town in June and Spence’s band possibly playing at the same festival as one of my most favourite bands this summer - woo hoo!

So those are mine, what were your happies this week?

12/52

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*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013*

Xavi - growing up a little more each day. More independent, more confident, more trouble (sometimes). His first big tooth has pushed through his gum, much to his delight. Brushing his teeth has never been such fun.

Louis - strumming on his guitar, bashing a rhythm out on his drum kit. He has a real ear for music this one. This week moodiness akin to that of a teenage boy has hit our house. I am consoling myself with the thought that by the time he IS a hormonal fifteen year old, I will have had seven years of practice…

Last week I loved the composition of these shots, particularly the first one. It is great having a whizz around other contributors’ blogs, I’m discovering so many good ones!

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52 Weeks of Happy (25/52)

The palindromic week that is week 25/52! Joining in with Jen at Little Birdie.

∆ This smiley face appeared on my hyacinth pot overnight :-)

∆ Catkins, can’t get enough of their furry feel-goodness (that’s a word, right?) and this skeleton - is it from an abutilon maybe - blew onto my back doorstep just begging to be included in the gang

∆ An impromptu play date on Monday afternoon coincided with a rare example of domestication (ie. me cooking roast chicken for dinner) which impressed the school mums no end, ho yes…

∆ The calm before the storm. I took this photograph just before going to pick up the boys from school on Friday afternoon. It made me smile as someone mentioned on twitter that it looked like it contained the ingredients for the perfect after-school storm. Check!

11/52

A weekly set of portraits of my boys, joining in with Jodi over at Che and Fidel. This is such an ace project. I can’t believe there are over 300 bloggers taking part. Amazing. And a bit special.

I have had a very jolly time whizzing around the various corners of the interweb looking at everyone else’s photographs this week - my word you’re a talented bunch! I’ve listed a couple of particular favourites below.

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013*

Xavi - sometimes school and the myriad of after school clubs he goes to are a bit much come Friday night. Boots discarded, socks peeled off, t-shirt removed and curled up with a blanket and his favourite cat. All is right with the world and the weekend downtime can commence.

Louis - the country’s biggest fundraiser* still hasn’t taken off his deely boppers. He and his friends came 2nd in Friday’s school talent show. Their mini sketch show ‘Smoke Riders’ won 150 votes. He’s eating a jam tart and I’m noticing the threadbare heels in yet another pair of socks with a sigh…


(* if fundraising was judged by how many red noses one person could amass.)

Last week I loved the precious post-nap look on this little lady’s face and these two really caught my eye - the tone and the compositions, just gorgeous.

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52 Weeks of Happy (24/52)

Firstly, thanks for all your comments recently. I’m still on a bit of catch-up after our weekend away but I have read each one I promise!

This week has been one of routine and chores. The weather has taken on a distinctly chilly air so my happies are all home-based, nothing glamorous or exciting to see here I’m afraid…

∆ We went on a little seed buying expedition at the weekend. The boys are keen to grow more of their own vegetables this year after our adventure in bean growing last year so we’ve chosen carrots, runner beans, tomatoes, garlic, potatoes and pumpkins. And the obligatory sunflowers of course.

∆ The farmers market was back in town on Saturday so Xav and I went shopping. He loves ‘doing the money’ and went round each stall, asking for the things he wanted and handing over his cash. Under my supervision he bought several pots of tete-a-tete, organic bread, fudge, sushi (I know, mad right?) and sausages from our local farm shop stall. On the way home he requested toad in the hole for supper so that’s what we did.

∆ Our tete-a-tetes on the windowsill. I was going to keep this shot back for Lou’s Nature in the Home series which I’m going to be joining in with from this Wednesday, but it made me smile so I have stuck it here. With the muddy football print on the window behind the pot, it sums up our weekend perfectly!

∆ Coffee on Saturday morning. And Saturday evening. And Sunday morning too come to think of it. In a favourite mug.

So those are my happies for this week, although I should probably also mention Mothers’ Day on Sunday which also made me happy. The boys’ handmade cards and their excitement in the morning put a real smile on my face. As did the bottle of perfume, pot of roses and Xavi’s clay face self-portrait. And the banana in bed (not quite a full breakfast but probably the best option given the chaos that could have ensued with a full-on breakfast creation).

Looking forward to seeing all your happy things for this week!

10/52 (and 9/52)

I’m playing catch-up with a double set of pictures for Jodi’s portrait a week project this weekend. I missed last week’s post because we were away so here is a bumper package of life in the weeks of two small(ish) boys.

*A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013*

Xavi - turned 5 ¾ this week. A big milestone for one who measures his weeks in distance too and from his next birthday party.

Louis - needs a big dose of fresh air this weekend. His pallid skin and bags under his eyes betray many a late night reading and cartoon drawing session.

And here are my shots for 9/52:

Xavi - BUSTED! on his late night reading-by-torchlight session.

Louis - putting his treat package sketch pad to good use. His latest character is Bum-Man…

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