Sunday 31 October 2010


Knowing quite a few pagans I started to look into Samhain as the root of Halloween, especially as Luke and Alec are not keen on Halloween.

As has been said in many other places before here, Samhain is such a more respectful celebration than the present day Halloween. A rememberance of the dead, remembering what has gone before, what needs changing. Looking at the dying of the natural year, and awaiting the rebirth of the sun. All which is far more palatable than spooks, tricks and a massive overload of sugar.

This year we are having a community party on the green our houses surround. Different households are bringing different types of food. Luke, aka master firelighter, is doing a firebowl, and I suppose a few marshmallows may sneak in! The children are dressing up, but there will be no trick or treating. A few games will be had, and hopefully it will be as close as we can get (with many mainstream families) to a more respectful Halloween.

Wishing you all Samhain Blessings.


Wednesday 27 October 2010

A splashy, sploshy kind of day

A trip to Slimbridge with friends Rachel, Ian, Jake and Roo. The last time I went there I was probably about Luke's age, and went on a coach trip with my Nan. It made some lovely memories for me, especially the flamingoes and Hawaiian geese. So it was somewhere I had wanted to take the children for quite a while, and luck would have it it was pretty much half way between us and Rachel!

So it all started off as you'd expect. Meeting birds...
laughing at the flamingoes (sorry flamingoes, but boys being boys thought that you did sound rather funny!)
Seeing a line of ducks squeaking there way across a lake.
And of course feeding them...
...and asking for more!
But I would say the main chunk of the day was spent splashing and sploshing about in all the puddles.

A bit of tree climbing on the way...
...followed by more sploshing...

...and topped off with more wet play in welly boot land!

The end result was inevitable. Some very wet children! But fortunately Rachel had forewarned us, so there were changes of clothes in the car!

A fantastic day was had by all, and an even quieter night. Sploshing must be "the" way of inducing a peaceful nights sleep!

Sunday 24 October 2010

Christmas Plans

Sorry, but I've got to do it, with just two months to go til Christmas, I've got to think about what I am making. Well, to be truthful, I haven't stopped thinking about things, and am trying to find enough people to give all these wonderful ideas to. In reality though, I doubt I will get to do all my ideas!

Here's the ideas:
Crocheted baskets filled with homemade lip balm, tie dyed hanky, and some of Shells wonderful soap - WIP
Winter hat - WIP
Felted bag - WIP
Felted pencil cases -WIP
Crocheted guitar strap
Paint brush roll
Selection of damson gin, sloe gin, and redcurrant rum in Morsbags - WIP
Chutneys and jams in Morsbags - WIP
lemon curd
Felted book marks
Cross stitch book mark - WIP
Noticeboard made from spent wine corks
Padded slip cases for scalextric cars
Crocheted blanket for dolls - WIP

Still got to think of some things for specific people, but this should keep me busy in the meantime!

Friday 22 October 2010

Ordinary Life Magic

Every now and again I feel as if we ought to go to toddler group. But once we are there, I wonder why we go, as Sophie just plays with all the toys that she plays with at home, along with some toys I'd rather she didn't play with!

However, this morning, I decided we should go, as I want to do a few more special things with Sophie now. As usual, I didn't think much of toddlers, but LOVED walking there chatting away with Sophie in the sling. Her imagination is something to behold, the corner of the sling became a snake, which was kissed, fed and stroked! Then, on the way back she decided to walk some of the way, and that is where the magic came into it. Counting the stones 2...4...6...
Finding conkers...
...throwing conkers...
...kicking leaves...
...and finding mouldy apples!!
I think next time we ought to just go for a walk, we both seem to get so much more out of it!

Monday 18 October 2010

Mama-Made Monday - My first attempts

I thought I would share a few of my first attempts at things, spanning from prior to Luke being born, to soon after Sophie was born. In between my first born and last born, not much crafting happened, but that was because "I" had been lost, throwing myself into motherhood completely, "I" had disappeared. The re-emergence of my crafting has coincided with a new found identity of "me".

My first attempt at crafting for many years was making some french knitting butterflies and flowers, and turning them into a mobile for Sophie's room. I then had a go at sewing, with a sewing machine bought for me by my Mum.
The dress was made from some curtains I picked up in a charity shop, a little bit of new fabric to line it with and make the floral part of the flower, and some mother of pearl buttons from my button stash. As for the pattern, I just drew around a dress Sophie already had!
And this cardigan is the one and only item of clothing I managed to create since I was expecting Luke (until I rediscovered my creative side more recently). Admittedly it didn't have the flower on the hood when worn by Luke, Alec or Ethan! But it will now be packed away with cedar wood ready for grandchildren!

Thursday 14 October 2010

Soul food

I can't remember if I mentioned I got a cello for my birthday. After wanting to play for many years, I got a second-hand cello as a gift from Stuart. So, since August I have been having a play about with it, teaching myself a little bit, but I could only play open strings, and felt I could benefit from some lessons.

So today was my first lesson. How wonderful! I had an hour to concentrate on the cello, to learn technique, to discover muscles I never knew I had. It really is a rather physical instrument. But, the sound, when I get it right, sings to my soul!

So a bit of practising tonight, and before you know it, it will be time for my next lesson! Sophie was a star too, waving me off and staying with Mum for a couple of hours, without any fuss at all.
Ethan was living dangerously here though, he very nearly got a bow in his ear!
I'm hoping too that with the boys seeing me practising, it will encourage them to practise too, as they are all now learning different instruments. Luke on the drums, Alec on the guitar, and Ethan the keyboard! A friend suggested we could all go busking, I think we may have to, to pay for all these music lessons!!

Wednesday 13 October 2010

A stern talking to...

... is what is needed for me. I seem to be a bit down more than I am up at the moment. Silly little things like the tumble dryer not working, and trying to sort it out by myself, have ended up with somebody looking at it for 2 minutes, and quoting over £200 to get it fixed (but they happen to have one much cheaper in their shop). So now I feel taken advantage of, and like a silly little girl!

Having looked after a dog in the summer holidays we now have a flea infestation. I have found 7 on me alone in the last 24 hours. So I am faced with spraying insecticide everywhere, which I hate having to do, but it is getting me so stressed finding these b*ggers everywhere I cannot relax in my own home, and cannot wait for more gentler methods to take effect.

We never seem to have enough provisions in the house, this is mainly due to the fact that Sophie is so hard to take to the shops. But I am going to have to bite the bullet today, as we are completely out of toilet roll, and that is one thing we cannot do without!

Despite me trying to be organised, everything seems to be taking so much longer at the moment. It is my own fault for taking on so many things when I already have enough on my plate ie 4 children! But I do not want to give up anything like the allotment, my cello, breastfeeding support.

So what to do?

I know many people facing far greater worries, and far greater problems at the moment. So I am grateful I only have these silly things to deal with. I am going to face these things head on, deal with them, stop thinking about them and start doing something about it, and try to be in a slightly happier mood for when the boys return home from school!

Sunday 10 October 2010


I commented to Stuart the other day, how we seem to raising a whole troop of homebirds! None of us particularly ever feel the need for going anywhere in particular (except perhaps the allotment for me!). Weekends are very much a time for chilling out, playing, doing our own thing. Not for "doing" jobs etc.

It got me thinking. Is it a bad thing that we have no sense of adventure? Should we be offering the children more opportunities to go out and "do" stuff? Or should we be grateful that they feel that they already have everything they need, right here at home?

I tend to agree with the latter. They spend all week at school, they need as much time as possible to just do whatever they fancy, whether it be playing out, building lego, getting lost in one of their epic imaginary games (a wonder to eavesdrop on), painting WarHammer models, playing music. No wonder we very rarely hear those dreaded word "I'm bored"! I think if we tried to go out too much we would be met with alot of resistance!

But I think we are going to try and get out for a few more walks etc, the woods should be great with all those leaves to kick through! Besides, a bit of exercise and fresh air, is just what we need to try and stave off all those bugs that fly around at this time of year ;)

Friday 8 October 2010

Bramble - an update

It would seem it was not meant to be that Bramble the cat would come to live with us. Our house is too close to a main road for this particular cat sanctuary to be happy with. From the time I picked her up to take her to the vet to see if she was micro-chipped, worrying that I was being an interfering busy body, I fell in love with her.

Why didn't I trust my instincts then? Why did I listen to the vet who seemed to think she had a home. Why didn't I bring her home when she was obviously pregnant? Why didn't I visit the house she had started to frequent just a few hours earlier, in order to get to her before the animal sanctuary did? Why did it have to be the sanctuary with the strictest rehoming policy?

I can only assume the universe has other plans for me, but I will miss Bramble. Sophie still asks where she is when we walk past the spot where she used to come out to be fed. Sophie loves cats, we have to stop and fuss every cat we see, crossing roads to see them! Bramble would have had a lovely life with us, I know it. I just hope she goes to a loving family, as that is what she deserves.

Monday 4 October 2010

Mama Made Monday - For my Mama

A Morsbag made with some material given to me from a neighbour whose sister works for Per Una, apparently big swatches of material like this are thrown away regularly, so I have managed to give them some dignity!

We filled the bag with homemade apple chutney, green tomato chutney, and ginger and marrow jam. Along with a book, and a book token.

Happy Birthday Mama.

Saturday 2 October 2010

Natural Joys

Perhaps it is just that I am easily pleased, but today has brought some wonderful joys from the allotment. Just look at the pattern of the seeds on this sunflower head, I could look at it for ages.
It has taken me 3 years to grow a decent carrot, so was very proud when I pulled this one out of the ground today!
Still got lots of sunny calendula, so harvested some as I was pulling up the plants to clear the beds. I just love the colour and the smell, and the fact it is so wonderful to use on our bodies. I've also wondered whether it has contributed to the carrot harvest, as it was growing amongst the carrots, and does have quite a strong smell, so may well have masked the smell of the carrots, therefore detering carrot fly. I'll try it again next year, and see if I get the same result.
Some of the calendula has gone into olive oil with comfrey root and comfrey leaf to make a healing nappy balm. It's supposed to have St. John's Wort too, but I can never find any of that!
And sweetcorn has been another success this year, which has made us all happy, as we all like corn on the cob!
I think I've got a thing for patterns at the moment. I just love the patterns made by sweetcorn, as well as the pattern made as you peel back the papery leaves.
As I said, easily pleased!

Friday 1 October 2010


Wetness has definitely been a theme of late. Firstly, the tumble-drier packed up, so I am seeing how we can manage as a family of six, with one in cloth nappies (bamboo of all kinds whic take an age to dry!) without a tumble drier. The weather is not helping (very inconsiderate!), and at this time of year we get no sun in the back garden, so even line drying on a good day is not very effective. I am perservering for now, but I'm not sure I can last all winter like this!!

Sophie spent a bit of her birthday money on a bargain yesterday. A water table, which has kept her occupied all afternoon. An added bonus is that kitchen floor has never been so clean, but I think we are down to our last dry tea towel!! The chickens were looking decidely sorry for themselves. I gave them the run of the garden today (they are confined to the bottom of the garden usually now, so that the rest of the garden can recover!), but they spent most of their time under the shelter of the trampoline.
I do think Hetty (the one at the front) has a certain psychotic look about her when she is wet!
And the dahlias needed rescuing from the front garden, as some had their stems broken off with the force of the rain. Not that I am upset, I can now admire their beauty inside and close up. Does anyone remember how people used to sell Chrysanthemums in buckets outside their house? I haven't seen someone doing that for years. I think I will just have to grow some next year, and I might just get myself a bucket too!