Monday, 30 June 2014

June: Pictured

June has flown by - so much so that this round-up post that I'd intended to write as a replacement for my weekly posts (that seem to have beaten me into submission recently) is being hastily constructed with only a few June hours left in the day.

June has been a month of green. Plenty of sunshine (and plenty of rain too). Days have been spent out in the garden, at the park, or out walking. It doesn't take much to keep a toddler busy in the summer really - chalk, daisies, sticks and water = happy girl.

a very damp visit to Giffords Circus / my gardening helper / chalking in the garden / post-tea dancing / concentration face / collecting daisies / blowsy blooms from my husband / books in the garden / wildflower meadow at Witley Court / curly girl - I have such hair envy / holding the hosepipe is a coveted job / wandering in the willow cathedral  

Sunday, 29 June 2014



A late afternoon wander through the long grass at Longrun Meadow with Grandma and Grandad. Spotting butterflies, a kingfisher and blowing the dandelions proved very popular with this little one. (Note that Hop the bunny even got dropped on the floor so that she could hold the dandelion!)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

We Like to Read: Counting Birds by Alice Melvin

You know a book's going to be good when the inside cover is as beautiful as it is in this one. This is most definitely a shelf book - not one to be casually flung by toddler hands into the wooden book box in the living room, or stepped on as she clambers around the sofa. Oh no no no! This is one for sharing - one for looking at the pictures together, counting all the birds and spotting the cat at the end. "Miaoowwwww!"

This book is a toddler hit in our house because it features so many of her favourite things - birds, a cat and the number 8. The illustrations are in Alice Melvin's distinctive style - simple, yet highly patterned. And all in a delicious colour scheme of yellow, orange, blue and green.

It's been a long time since I wrote about the books we're reading at home. Plenty of new favourites have been discovered in the past few months so I think I'll have to get writing these WLTR posts once more. Next up, 'Shh! We have a plan' by Chris Haughton.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014


Dear my favourite girl,

Now you are 2! (Well, 2 and a month as I'm a bit late in getting this written...) You had a day at the wildlife park for your birthday. What was the animal you were desperate to see? The lions? The giraffes? No. The cows. Must be because you're 1/8 dairy farmer.

Your current favourites:

Playing hide and seek (you always hide under the crochet blanket, sitting in the bean bag in front of the window. Every. Single. Time. My acting skills are increasing dramatically as I search high and low for you.

Making tea in the kitchen. When we got back from holiday a few weeks ago, your first word on entering the house was "tea!" and you immediately set to work with the tap, the cups and the milk jug. The kitchen also turns into a hairdressing salon, with a spoon for drying and styling the hair.

Playing shops with your monies. Most of the time you pay...

Wearing your 'eyes' (sunglasses).

Reading books to yourself - bears seem to be the popular theme at the moment with 'I want my hat back' (aka 'bear hat') and 'We're going on a bear hunt' (aka 'tiptoe tiptoe') the top choices at the moment.

My current favourites:

The way you say 'nose'. And 'lunchtime'. And 'nope'. And 'peeeeees' when you really want something.

That silly, crinkly eyed smile you do.

The way you say 'ooh woowwww' when I give you your breakfast/lunch/tea. Tis good for the self esteem.

Picking you up out of the car when you're asleep. You nuzzle into my neck, all heavy and warm, only rearranging yourself to find your thumb and a piece of my hair.

Your dancing. You've recently graduated from the one arm 'whisking' move to a two arm waggle. Both are brilliant.

birthday girl / helping me water the plants leads to paddling / snoozing / a quick bench break with teddy / lining things up / tunnel & hearing a sheep baa = good / upside-down / ribbon-waving / breakfast-waiting / that hiding place.

*All of these are IG pictures - I seem to frequent Instagram more than the blog at the moment. Easier and quicker which is good when time is limited I suppose. Come find me! 

Sunday, 22 June 2014



The sorting-out and chucking-away has carried on this week with the discovery of some long-forgotten treasures, both for her and I. She was very pleased when we found this old 'tamra' (an old instant waterproof camera) and has been carrying it round the house with her, taking 'pickchas'.

Sunday, 8 June 2014


Today has mostly been about clearing out our attic rooms ready for wallpaper stripping, new electrics, radiators, plastering and painting. We've been sorting and clearing, unpacking some boxes that have remained untouched since we moved in two and a half years ago. We seem to be winning against the clutter now though - as the empty box testifies. On seeing it, she immediately said "house!" and set to work making herself at home with baby and teddy. After a week of taking very few photos, I couldn't resist a quick snap as she played in it between rain showers.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Year in Books: June

I seem to have rather fallen behind on my TYIB posts - I have a feeling the last time I wrote about reading matter, it was March. Ah well, a quick recap of what I've been reading over the past few months...

The most recent book I finished was The Red House by Mark Haddon, he of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time fame. It was good, there's no denying. It was a bit of a departure from my normal reading material though, as I don't tend to read male authors - not through any conscious choice, they're just generally not the books I'm drawn to. I really enjoyed both of Mark Haddon's previous books (A Spot of Bother is the other) so when I found this for cheap in a local charity shop, I thought I'd give it a go. He has a real knack of getting inside a character's head - you feel like you know the characters almost instantly. The subject matter did err on the side of dark and depressing, but he shows the complex relationships between family and the mundanity of family life in a very honest, if slightly bleak, way. Bleak could well sum up The Red House, but don't let that put you off. It's well worth a read, but don't rely on it to cheer you up.

During April I devoured Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. I was completely absorbed by it and wished I could just curl up on the sofa and spend whole days reading it. Once I'd got my head around the chronological jumps, I found it utterly fascinating. Mapping how someone's life could be changed depending on tiny choices that were made makes for a really interesting book. A definite recommendation - I have yet to meet someone that hasn't enjoyed it.

I've also been dipping into The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy, which I first started way back in August 2013 after taking it on holiday. It was published in the same year as Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and centres around Sally Jay Gorce who (and this is the bit that first sold it to me) glumly notes that her clothes divide themselves in three great looks: Tyrolean Peasant, Bar Girl and Dreaded Librarian. It's a funny read, and I really hope I can keep renewing it from the library until I get it finished... 

June's book is Donna Tartt's The Secret History. After loving The Goldfinch so much, I really wanted to read this earlier book. Judging by the online reviews, it's a good one. 

What are you currently reading?

Joining up with Laura for #theyearinbooks

The Garden Diaries: May

May has been a green month. Plenty of hot sunshine, but also plenty of rain. The garden's growth has sped up, and every week there's something new or different appearing.

With assistance from my toddler-sized sous-gardener, we've got many things planted this month - not all the lines of seeds may be straight, but she's so excited to help that it doesn't really matter. "Shall we plant some of these seeds?" "YES PEES!"

The raised beds are coming along nicely - the local cat population have adopted them as their XL litter tray which irks me greatly though (I've been googling supersoakers with the view to hunting down the main culprits...) But the peas, courgette, butternut squash and newly sown salads are going great guns, despite their feline visitors.

I've read that 2014 will be the year of the slug, thanks to the wet winter (it's like an alternative, and slightly slimier, Chinese calendar perhaps) and it certainly seems the case in our garden. Copper tape around pots works pretty well for now. After reading a recent piece of Alys Fowler's, I do feel I should be slightly more philosophical about what's getting eaten...but I find it hard to smile benevolently upon them when they've munched a baby plant and all I want to do is pour salt on them.

May in photos:

Lilac (all but over now, unfortunately) / Rain bedecked Alchamilla mollis / Chive flowers (and sage flowers behind) have been beautiful this year. Sadly all going over now, and I'm kicking myself for not being more culinary adventurous with them after reading about a chive flower vinegar in IG / Late afternoon sunshine and foxgloves are a good combination / As is sunshine and French lavender / Our first radish harvest / And the first pea to appear / For the first time ever, the blueberry bush looks like it might actually be productive. Only 6 years after I first bought it. / Cornflowers are springing up - I'm hoping for a few brighter blooms in addition to pink / I forget the name of this but I love the blue shot with purple / Foxgloves = bee heaven.

So that's May's garden. How's yours looking? (And any tips for ridding the garden of cats are greatly appreciated!)

Monday, 2 June 2014



Looking at the lellows in the carpark above Llangranog. She wasn't sure about these tall flowers - but was very keen to pick them and make us all give them a sniff.