Tuesday, 29 March 2011

wildlife film making...



Over the weekend I had the opportunity to test two stealth cameras before I handed them over today to some colleagues who are going to use these cameras to try and capture wildlife on film on Adam Henson's farm for BBC Countryfile this week!

To learn this fine art I enlisted the help of class three from my sons school, and over the course of three days we captured on film two badgers, a squirrel, fox, roe deer and a jay! The cameras were fun and easy to set up and use and worked a treat in the school nature area. A really fab activity for children to really understand what wildlife lives close by.

*This is part of a series of blog posts documenting my involvement in outdoor education activities with the reception class of my local school. The aim is to encourage children to discover the natural world through simple activities and play. I hope by sharing these activities here on my blog, others may be inspired to try some of the activities at home or even, like me, approach their local school to help out.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

pooh sticks...


Today, is the world pooh-sticks championships in Little Wittenham, near Didcot. Why don't you have your own championship on a river near you? You can find the rules here.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

i ♥ saturdays...


watched the little man play football, he scored a great goal today despite losing 7-1!


then we stopped in at a salvage yard to lust after roll top baths (above) and 'so naff they're cool' old tiles (below).


then a quick stop for some junk shop rummaging, and treated myself to two blue and white striped mugs, and matching egg cup and a silver toast rack.


finally we rewarded ourselves with a stop for ice creams in the sunshine. Naughty, but very very nice!


p.s. I just can't stop using the instagram app, hence all my pics now appearing in a similar format on the blog at the moment, in case you were wondering? I hope its just a phase I'm going through!

Friday, 25 March 2011

tea and biscuits...


Friday is treat day, after school I let the boys choose a fancy biscuit instead of a plain one. Of course I join in too!

shop local...


I really try and shop locally, but to be honest as a family on a budget, I find it quite difficult both in terms of cost and in terms of the time I have available to visit lots of local shops opposed to one! 

Instead I try and order veg boxes, not local but at least mainly from the UK instead of using air miles. At weekends if we have nothing else on, we go to the farmers market and buy cheese, cider, charcuterie, nice bread, veg and sometimes meat if its not too expensive or for a special occasion. I like shopping like this, having real money in my hand and understanding its value instead of a piece of plastic. Planning meals that are seasonal and loading ourselves up until we can't carry any more! 

But this is by no means the norm, and we are still too reliant on supermarkets for our food. I read with interest fellow bloggers She Shops Local and MamaUK as they feed their families and I want to get better. I am going to try to plan ahead, reduce our weekly supermarket shop and buy more locally! 

Thursday, 24 March 2011

housework tip of the day!


let chickens in to peck up the crumbs from under the table! Is that cheating?

feeling the sun on my face...


oh how I love the sunshine, the warmth on my face, the squinting as I can't find my sunglasses, not daring to look in the dressing up box where I think they have inevitably ended up (along with many a brooch, belt, hat and scarf!). Excuse the size of my nostrils in the pic above! 


Treated myself to a very berry smoothie (strawberry, raspberry & cranberry) today, as I'm feeling out of sorts and need a pick me up after an incredibly difficult/challenging/busy* week/month/year* at work. I had my stitches out today, after a skin biopsy last week and I'm waiting to hear that all is OK and there is nothing to worry about. But some awful news yesterday from one of my favourite people in the world put everything into perspective, and today I'm trying to digest it all and take stock of what really matters in the great scheme of things.

*delete applicable

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

fact or fiction...


My eldest has never been one for story books, preferring encyclopedias and fact based books instead. His teacher said this is quite true of boys, often schools try to teach boys to read with fiction, when fact books engage them more.

At home we read about dinosaurs, flags of the world, pirates, knights and castles and have a shared impatience of the Biff and Chip phonic books, used at school to teach early years reading. Our favourites are old ladybird books, that use lovely language and lots of detail to satisfy enquiring minds! Tonight he read to me, dinosaurs with great latin names and geological time periods to twist our tongues around! It reminds me of when my cousin was his age, he really struggled at school until he was diagnosed with dyslexia. Despite not being able to read a book, he could read all the players names in the football world cup sticker album 1986 and dinosaur names!

Monday, 21 March 2011

roast beef and middle age spread...


I have never dieted in my life before! The truth is (a.) I have no willpower (b.) I don't believe in diets and (c.) life is too short. But a few weeks ago, I realised that I am getting older and I'm quite unhappy with my frumpiness and level of fitness, so tonight I went for a run.

I found an old pair of trainers, baggy t-shirt and with an ipod full of upbeat tunes I ran round the block under the cover of darkness! Don't laugh -  it's a start! My theory is, that if I exercise, I won't need to diet too much and cut back on roast dinners, like the delicious roast beef lunch we had yesterday. I'm determined to loose a little so I feel comfortable in my swimming costume on the beach this year! Any tips, motivational shoulder rubbing most welcome!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

i ♥ saturdays...


Saturdays were made for breakfasts in cool cafe's, with walls covered in vintage mirrors, that serve great chocolate croissants and latte.


Getting a haircut at the coolest hairdressers ever! Huge mirrors, stuffed animals, piles of old Beano comics and real antique barber's chairs!


a naughty trip to Bailey's Home & Garden in Ross-on-Wye, as I had to do a quick photoshoot close by, any excuse! Where I bought (another) old crate on wheels, three sundae glasses, some brown luggage tags, two large boxes of french matches and two pots of daffodils.


They had the most gorgeous old dolls house, with wallpapered rooms and lights. Sometimes, just sometimes, I yearn for a girl!


or maybe a dog, look who was parked outside the shop! Hope your Saturday was as much fun? Don't forget to head for the hills tonight and look for the supermoon.

Friday, 18 March 2011

read all about it...


my picture {and family for that matter} is on the front cover of a fab local paper this week! It gives me butterflies to see it there and the feature I compiled inside with even more pics! The feature celebrates the 50th anniversary of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, which was founded in 1961 by a group of volunteers including the amazing Sir Peter Scott, who also founded the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and drew the WWF panda logo! 

My photograph was taken on the top of the amazing Elliott nature reserve, at Swift's Hill, Slad near Stroud, the hill is a fab place to see wild orchids, or to roll down the steep hill and on a good day you can see all the way down the valley to the Severn bridges in the distance! I'm so proud to work for such an amazing charity and constantly amazed when I see my words and images in print. 

Sunday, 13 March 2011

thermos travels...


An early start to visit a beautiful woodland to try and glimpse the beautiful march ritual of brown hare's boxing! We filled our trusty thermos flask with porridge to eat on our early morning walk. 


We found a lovely little bridge, which made a perfect place for a picnic! The woodland was covered with fresh green shoots of wild garlic. 




We found great sticks to make bows and arrows and deer antlers with! And when little legs got tired, we tied my scarf round the little mans middle and played horse!    


It was so good to be out in the spring sunshine, we had a 'bad hare day' and didn't see any boxing hares, probably due to our noise level! But we had a fab day out on our travels anyway! 

arty farty...



Some of my prints are featuring in Gloucestershire Wildlife Trusts - Wild Art exhibition at Woodruffs Organic Cafe, High Street, Stroud from 12th March ~ 30th April 2011.

The prints are on sale to raise money for the local nature conservation charity, in recycled/repurposed frames and were all taken on Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust nature reserves. I am hoping they will inspire others to get outside and discover bluebell woodlands and have picnics on riverbanks!

Friday, 11 March 2011

adventures of a country girl...

shopping at night

I remember years ago when I was 18, with a student card in my pocket, I would take myself off on little jaunts on the national express coach! I would always go to London as it was only £12 return and I would discover shops, museums and places that I would read about in glossy magazines! I would visit new and exciting shops with all my savings, and walk down streets I had heard of; Kings Road, Portobello Road or Camden High Street, then I would go and find a museum and I would just sit and absorb, the place, the architecture, the people and occasionally the exhibits! There was always a quiet corner in the V&A or the bustle of the Natural History Museums entrance hall, where I would climb to a high balcony and watch the excited children and the amazing dinosaur skeletons down below! 

peeping through shop windows

These days London just doesn't appeal, the hustle and bustle seems a bit to much for a girl from the Cotswolds and since having children I have the perfect reason to indulge the homebody that I am! But this week I had to go to the city for a few days for work, I put it to the back of my mind, relying on colleagues to book accommodation/travel etc. Despite my dread, I had a fab time, exploring places I had never been to before, and pressing my nose against the windows of shops long closed for the night! We had dinner of steak and ale pie's at The Albion Cafe, and stumbled across Labour and Wait, just as well for my purse strings that it was shut!

giant cookies

Maybe it's time to renew my excitement of exploring this huge city, and introduce my boys to some urban adventures!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

as busy as a bee...


have been so busy with work at the mo, finding it hard to find time to stop in and blog! A rare trip to the big smoke this week for work and squeezed in supper at The Albion Cafe! Looking forward to the weekend...

Monday, 7 March 2011

edit...


I have been putting off a job for AGES. Editing the thousands of photo's I have taken over the last two years, in fact it was number 31 on this (still unfinished) list! I've deleted 3,000 so far and now just have 15,000 to sort through and back up! Best thing about this arduous task is all the reminiscing that goes with it. 

Saturday, 5 March 2011

lick the spoon...


Saturday is a foodie day in our house, we may shop at the farmers market for fresh and local ingredients, or fill the house with delicious baking smells. The boys made fairy cakes today, to take in their school packed lunch boxes this week, chocolate ones with a buttercream icing and blueberries on top!
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