Thursday, 21 May 2009

green...

We have been having a lot of rain this week, a lot I tell you! But it's OK as it makes everything very green! It has gone from bright sunshine to very heavy rain back to bright sunshine throughout the week, playing cat and mouse with anyone who has gone out without an umbrella! 

I am loving the blog title ideas, thank you all for your comments, I really like the cloud ones so will mull it over for a little while. I have decided to take a little blog break for a few weeks, to plan some changes and re-charge batteries, so I am going to leave you with some link love...

my favourite bloggers are here, here and here

I am inspired by this.

I wish I could be here

and if I had to choose {!} to use just one camera it would be this one

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

laugh and the world laughs with you...

I am making indian headdresses at the moment for our family - I think mine needs a few more feathers! I am using a cotton ribbon for the band and sewing feathers on to it, found from our many nature walks left for us by many different birds! I took this picture after discovering photo booth on my mac last night after staying up way too late reading blogs. For some reason I found it very funny, to take a picture of myself in the middle of the night and no I wasn't drinking! This maybe the first signs of madness! 

Monday, 18 May 2009

what's in a name...

photo of me by Susannah 

I need your help, when I started blogging a few years ago, I couldn't think of a name for this blog as I didn't really know how it was going to evolve or what I was going to write about. I ended up choosing my own name as I just couldn't think of anything better or something that wasn't already being used by another blogger! 

I try to write about family and naturey stuff and enjoying naturey stuff with children, laced with the odd recipe, foraging fun, holiday tales and adoration of vintage things. I try not to write about me {unsuccessfully!}. But two years on I still can't think of a name! So I put it to you dear reader to succeed where I have failed and come up with a name for my blog. If you are up for the challenge, please comment below and if I choose your idea, in return, I will send you my 'elderflower champagne' postcard set along with my {very tried and tested - hic!} recipe, just in time for elderflower season! I hope it's a fair swap? I am then planning a little blog make-over along with some new ideas, hopefully launched mid-June. So thanks in advance, I look forward to reading your suggestions...

Sunday, 17 May 2009

losing myself...

I had a moment of realisation last week in a changing room, when I was forced to admit {by reading the label} that I was larger than I ever thought I would be and I that had let myself go. I was just another frumpy lady that as a teenager I would serve {when I worked as a Saturday girl in a high street store} and that I had back then vowed never to be. Almost faceless, dressing for practicality and comfort - not really caring too much. 
I find it very hard as a mother to justify spending any amount of time or money on myself, I expect that is true of most mothers. I also realised that actually I am not happy about this, I want to look better, so I am damn well going to have to do something about it! So today, with Jenny, we went to be pampered, I had a pedicure, ready for getting my feet out for the summer {and yes it hasn't stopped raining since!}. It made me feel a whole lot better, a few hours to myself, to talk to Jenny, without children around our ankles and to be able to finish our sentences! 

It also meant that I can cross off number 22 from 'the list'. The pedicure was also very timely as last night I did a 'moonwalk' - which is basically an organised walk at night, wearing decorated bra's {mine pictured above} raising money for breast cancer research. The original moonwalk takes place annually in London and is 26 miles the same as the marathon, but the one I did, after persuasion from my friend Gina, was just a few miles around her village, with wine and sweetie stops! A few small steps to getting fitter and finding me again! 

Friday, 15 May 2009

may day...

Last week, we celebrated may day with some traditional may pole dancing at parent and toddler group. I have been going to this group at our local Steiner Waldorf school for over four years now and I love it. It has taught me so much as a parent and given me the strength in my own convictions of what is right for our family. It has taught me about rhythms of the day and being calm, it has reignited my love of crafting, something that wasn't cool where I grew up! The best thing of all is that I have met lots of other lovely families, who share the same values that are important to me.

The day follows the same rhythm each week, a walk when we get there, followed by play in the garden ~ usually the sandpit with watering cans and spades. Then inside to wash hands and sit together around a low table children in front, parents behind. We light a candle, say our blessing and then share the bread {mmm home baked} and rosehip tea around, the children use small wooden knives to spread their own butter and jam. Afterwards one child gives out the flannels, that have been washed with lavender, for the little ones to clean their jammy hands and faces, another child will collect. Then we sing some songs together with actions and then help to clear up. Afterwards it's play for the children and crafting for the grown ups, sometimes we will do something together if it is festival time, like lanterns at martinmas. We end with a story and goodbye song. 

The parent and toddler group shares the kindergarten garden, which is the most beautiful garden, full of mature apple trees, a water pipe, a huge sandpit, vegetable plots and silver birches. I watch as the kindergarten children play in all weather dressing in their all-in-one suits and how they dig, climb and play, calmly with their teachers in the background, allowing them to explore. I stop and listen to the older children, singing in harmony, the sound just carrying through the whole school. 

Every Thursday I leave with a smile on my face, I just wish we could afford to send our children there. 

Thursday, 14 May 2009

wild garlic...

Wild garlic soup - a restorative soup for people who need a little pick me up! I tried this soup recipe and love it, make sure you pick the wild garlic (ramsons) before flowering, else they can have an acid taste. 

serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 (about 270g) potato, peeled and chopped
1 (about 240g) onion, roughly chopped
180g wild garlic, roughly chopped
500ml vegetable stock
Creme fraiche to serve

Method

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add potato, onion and seasoning. Saute for 5 minutes, add wild garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until softened. Add stock to cover and cook for 40 minutes. Cool slightly, then blend in a food processor. Transfer to pan, warm gently, then serve with creme fraiche. 

recipe taken from Jamie Oliver's magazine

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

car boot bargains...


A friend introduced me to a local car boot sale on Sunday morning, it was huge and busy and packed with bargains. I picked up this pre-decimalisation vintage till, to go in our play shop. It is in really great condition, considering it is over 30 years old. The boys have been loving playing with it, although competition has been fierce over who gets to be the shopkeeper!

I also met this lady, whose lovely blog I discovered last year and who is even funnier in real life! I have been waiting to see if she blogs about a windbreak this week! I had seen a small camping table for our bell tent but not bought it, she had picked it up and had plans to cover it with a bit of Cath Kidston oilcloth to make it gorgeous and new, I wish I had vision like that! Oh and Julia if you happen to read this I will buy it off you for a good price once it has been covered, if you are looking for a sale!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

picnic on the beach...

The Sunday papers, fresh bread, feta stuffed olives {my fav}, a goats cheese and caramelised onion tart, grapes, apples and fresh fruit juice. I just love food. I am however unable to use 'baby weight' as an excuse to cover the couple of stones that I am still carrying, now that Ted is three! I went clothes shopping at the weekend and could of sobbed out load in the changing rooms as I realised I had crept up yet another dress size. The trouble is after putting so much energy into everyone else the last thing I want to do is exercise. With Ted still getting up in the night too, just makes me tired and even more hungry! It's no good I am going to have to start watching what I eat and exercising too... urgh, but where to start?

Monday, 11 May 2009

wish you were here...

Just a little thank you to Snail Trail for choosing our photograph last year in their 'happy snappies' competition, so that we could enjoy another weekend in a Snail Trail VW Camper Van. The campers are a delicious mixture of vintage decor and modern reliability and they know just where to go to have a good time! Prudence took us to Norfolk and Betty to Suffolk, we fancy Ruby next - who knows where she likes to adventure, I think she may like somewhere a little more exciting! So thank you Steven and Lucy, here is a mosaic of all of our entries to this years competition!

Love, the Bradshaws x

Oh and Lucy, such a good tip ~ the Golden Galleon Fish and Chip shop in Aldeburgh.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

so grown up...

Sometimes I am so busy with life; working, cleaning, shopping, school, the list goes on and on... that I don't often take a step back and notice what is right in front of my nose. This picture is of my youngest son and time is flying by far too quickly. Last month he turned three and started play group. Like his older brother he takes it all in his stride and tells me that he is a big boy now. The trouble is, it's me that's not ready! Not ready for the growth spurts, the waving goodbye in the playground, no more daytime naps, teddies and baby books. Secretly when he wakes in the middle of the night and we bring him into our bed, he cuddles up close and I savour every second, knowing that soon he will sleep the night in his own bed and not need me anymore. He puts his hand on my face, when he goes to sleep and when he is asleep, I can't imagine when he's not there anymore arms and legs spreadeagle in the middle as we cling onto the edge...! I guess I'll have to cuddle the husband instead!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

cool camping...

ah, the good life... Spending quality time with family, no phones and no computer. Time to wind down from busy lives. Discovering new places, new campsites and beaches. Tired from a day spent outdoors. Big appetites from playing on the beach. Noticing the weather, the stars, the sounds of the seagulls and not noticing what the time is. Smelling the sea, bacon frying and the fresh fish for sale in the fishermen's huts along the coast. Listening to two boys snoring loudly in the pop top, dreaming of a day spent chasing the sea and reading my book under the stars...  

Thursday, 7 May 2009

i hear voices...

This is the most beautiful sculpture that we found on Aldeburgh beach, called scallop by the artist Maggi Hambling. At over four metres high, you can climb on its stainless steel frame and sit and watch the sea. I love how the early evening light glistened behind the words of Benjamin Britten "I hear those voices that will not be drowned." You can read more about it here and if you would like to own this picture taken with my vintage polaroid then you can buy it as a print from here

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

travelling in a VW Camper Van with a family...

1. Plan your first night and book your campsite ahead. Since camping has become trendy again, campsites can get very busy in school holidays and may require a minimum number of nights stay. If you have read about it in a book or newspaper so have hundreds of others. The best campsites we have found, we have just chanced upon! 
2. We had to drive three hours to collect Betty, before driving off again to the coast, so remember your journey is in two parts and children need an exercise or food break. 
3. Space is limited, take essentials only, so you can enjoy your space. We hired an awning to put the children's car seats in and our bags, although it was a bit of a faff to put up!
4. Don't take loads of food with you, make planning your meals part of the holiday and buy fresh local produce. Remember some areas rely on tourism, so for you to take food with you effects the local economy. Buy from farm shops and local produce where you can and support local businesses. 
5. Give children a bag so that they can choose what toys, games and books they take. Mine usually have pencils, a book to draw in, a sleepy time toy and a couple of books each. We also take some balls and bucket and spade too! I usually buy the small boxes of breakfast cereal as with a bit of masking tape, they are often turned into works of art! 
6. Make a mix tape/CD with cool driving tunes to sing along to. 
7. Take sleeping bags and pillows, they work best for sleeping in. 
8. Wave/flash/salute ALL other camper vans ~ you are part of the 'club'. If you don't they will know you are hiring it! This is part of the fun and cause of much excitement as you see another one! 
9. Look down your nose at modern, large caravans, equipped with TV and microwaves - they just don't get it!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

betty blue... we love you x

Bank holiday sunshine, a free weekend in Betty {a vw camper van after winning this competition} and that flowery dress again! This photo was taken for Susannah... mmwah x 

Plus it's 'roid week 2009 yay!
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