Wednesday, 10 February 2016


Oh my goodness how gorgeous are these cartoon long John's? They are from this season's mini Boden collection and my cartoon loving nine year-old adores them, not only for their design featuring Sprout the super dog but for their comfort too. They come in a pack of two, one pair cartoon (pictured above), the second pair a grey stripe and the boy changes in to them as soon as he's home from school! We have a fab local Red Cross book shop that sells old copies of the Beano - this one he's reading is from 1983, I'm sure I read it first time around!

They are perfect for lounging in or wrestling with your brothers in too but hopefully they will last a long enough to be handed down to the next boy!

*thank you Boden for sending me these ones to review, the boy was especially delighted for having something new and not having to wear his older brothers hand-me-downs!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016


We enjoyed making pancakes in the woods for Shrove Tuesday using our new Kelly Kettle. I much prefer fluffy American pancakes at the moment, making them smaller than I would usually make pancakes, more like drop scones in size.

How to make American Pancakes

150g plain flour
150ml milk
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 large free-range egg
1 teaspoon of baking soda
& 2 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter.

I simply sift the dry ingredients into a one bowl and all the wet ingredients into another, whisking the wet mixture lightly before adding the wet mixture to the dry, slowing stirring.

I then whisk together until there aren't any lumps!

To cook, heat some butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and drop spoonfuls of the mixture slowly into the pan until to form palm size circles.

Once the mixture starts to bubble then I flip over to cook the other side, it take just a couple of minutes each side.

Serve with bacon & maple syrup, banana, or lemon juice and sugar!

Monday, 8 February 2016


It's been such a wet and windy week this week that we've hardly been outside at all, instead preferring to stay warm by the fireside. When we did venture out we were surprised to see lots of spring bulbs starting to venture out and catkins on trees. We found these catkins blown off a hazel tree on the edge of a beech woodland. We also discovered that catkins get their name from kittens tails which they resemble! I also think they resemble the lambs tails on the front of this gorgeous ladybird book too.

Saturday, 6 February 2016


It feels as if it's been raining for days! The fields near us are so muddy and so many sports matches have been cancelled, which means loads of catch up mid-week fixtures come April and May time. We've been darting outside between the showers to jump in puddles and get stuck in the mud, but today I really couldn't face it and stayed by the fire nursing a horrible cough.

Friday, 5 February 2016


Last summer the boys went to Camp Wilderness an all-inclusive residential summer camp in Oxfordshire for children aged 7 - 14 years old. Summer camps are something of an American institution with over 11 million children going on a camp each year according to the American Camp Association in 2010. But they haven't really caught on in the UK, until now. 

"It really is a different type of adventure where the children truly get to grips with bushcraft, and have lots of fun while doing it. We pride ourselves in providing a back-to-nature experience that children will remember for the rest of their lives. Not only do they make new friends and learn new skills, with Camp Wilderness they are able to spend time in the most beautiful woodlands, getting away from technology!" explained Jade Forbes-Wattley of Camp Wilderness.  

The action-packed camp is held in beautiful safari-style tented camps combing traditional bush craft with fun activities that include archery, bush tucker BBQ's and wild swimming. With children spending less time than ever outdoors, these camps offer a wonderful alternative to TV, games consoles and online distractions.

I had butterflies about the boys going away, especially as the nine year old has never been away from home without us before, but the butterflies soon disappeared as we arrived at camp to the best welcome ever. We were waved in from the road and as we opened the car doors we were greeted and bags were carried for us, it was so lovely and so friendly I knew the boys were going to have the best time and my nerves were instantly calmed.

Research has shown that children going away to camp encourages self-esteem as they learn to look after themselves and solve problems, it helps them to make friends often with a more diverse groups of friends than they may have at home. It brings them closer to nature and give children experiences they wouldn't have in their everyday lives such as wild swimming or even seeing a frog up close!

Camp also gives children an opportunity to take on new and different roles, quiet children find a new confidence and leadership skills, and hyperactive children can find calm in new surroundings. It also gives them fresh air and exercise and wonderful memories.    

Camp Wilderness takes place in four picturesque locations in the UK and solves a problem of child care that we face each and every school holiday as despite having a flexible working contract and supportive employers, there are only so many hours that the grandparents can entertain my very active brood!

As I write this we have been looking at the website to plan the next trip, find out more about Camp Wilderness and book your childrens' summer holiday adventure.

Thursday, 4 February 2016


I watch my three boys and how they interact with each other and often wonder how birth order will shape their lives. I parent them differently too, I'd be lying if I said I didn't. I've learned how to be a parent through the eldest, he is the one that tests boundaries, whereas the youngest gets away with murder!

My eldest child was the one that I'd check that he was still breathing in the middle of the night and make purees from only the best organic fruit and veg! Firstborns are said to be confident and assertive, the leaders of the pack they are supposedly organised and reliable.

When the second child came along I was much more relaxed as a parent. Of course he wasn't the youngest for long and with a new baby bother he now has the position of middle child! A middle child is meant to be a people-pleaser, with many friends and a rebellious stubborn streak, this is certainly true of mine.

The lastborn child being brought up in a more relaxed way is thought to be fun loving and have more freedom but also attention seeking and self-centered. It's a little early to tell if this is true of my youngest but he certainly has just started to act the fool to get smiles from his older brothers.

I don't know whether their birth order will affect them as they get older but sometimes it helps me to understand them, their arguments and their frustrations.

Sunday, 31 January 2016


This week's nature table has a range of different things today. Some winter flowering cherry, a teasel, a Roman snail shell and a fossil.

Did you know? Fuller's teasel (a bit different than the one pictured above) was used years ago in textile mills to raise the nap of fabrics such as wool. We find a lot of Roman snail shells here in the Cotswolds but they aren't found all over the country, unlike garden snails that were brought over by the Roman's at the same time!
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