I've been hankering to own a tent for a few years - ideally an old-fashioned canvas one and although I spent a lot of time on tent websites summer passed with us borrowing from friends instead of having our own. I finally found a tent that ticked all my boxes last summer - canvas, big enought for five and tall enough for me to stand in (hurrah!). I kept my eye on it for months and eventually in December it popped up in a 50% sale and I made my purchase. Hurrah!
It's spent winter in the attic but this half-term we took it for it's first outing and we all had the best time.
We stayed with a bunch of friends on a campsite in Uffington - the sun shone, campfires were lit and trees were climbed. It was a much needed break for all of us and made me look forward to warmth and sun and all that summer brings. The campsite itself was lovely, very laid back and allowed just a short walk was the most stunning views - perfect kite-flying conditions!
I think I may finally be getting used to January. It's a gloomy month for everyone, I know, but I'm gradually learning to like it. Having an open fire during the evening helps and having space in the (new) house makes staying in much easier. Cocooning rather than being cooped up is a nicer way of looking at things. I've also been using January to plan the year ahead. We've booked a cottage in Herefordshire for the first week of the Easter holidays and even have a few festivals lined up for the summer.
To add colour to winter, I make these colourful stars each year. This year they are in the girls' bedroom which catches the sun first thing in the morning. I wrote about these and popped some instructions on how to make them here.
It's been such a beautiful autumn this year - it really is the best time of year if the rain stays away!
A few weeks ago we visited the autumn fair at our local Steiner Kindergarden (where V went when she was littler). The Steiner fairs are beautifully decorated and have lovely seasonal crafts for the children. We made autumnal crowns using hops, berries, hyrdangeas and honesty plant seeds. They are very simple using willow for the crown base and floral wire to attach the decorations.
Here is E modelling her crown on the walk home.
If you missed the autumn fair there is a Christmas fair on 22nd November at the main Steiner School on Redland Hill.
I have an 8 year old!
Here Ziggy is with Secret Agent Black Fox 686, who happened to fly into Bristol on the day of his party and initiate Z and his friends into the secret world of international espionage. I think I loved it as much as the children! Black Fox was amazing and held the children pretty much spell-bound for two hours using various spy and spy-detection gadgets. Amongst other things, they learnt Morse Code, how to use a metal detector, operate spy lasers and (my personal favourite) had Ziggy rigged up to a lie detector. This was amazingly accurate and I'd quite like to have one permanently in the house. Here Ziggy is not sure whether to tell the truth or not!
I've never used a party outfit before as I've never been really taken by any of the themes but this was really unusual and the boys were thrilled with it. The company I used started out in London but have recently opened up in Bristol and you can read a bit more about them here.
That's all the children's birthday's out of the way now until next year (I always breathe a sigh of relief come the end of summer!)
Jamie designed this lovely invitation to celebrate my 40th birthday. It's at one of my fave Bristol summer spots, the Clifton Lido. I originally designed diy temporary tattoos but although they looked great they didn't work well so it was back to the drawing board.
The final invite used this gorgeous poolside photograph taken in Athens in the 1960's by American photographer Slim Aarrons who made a career from "photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places" which makes me think how much more elegant celebrities and socialites were 50 years ago!
I'll post more from the party night itself but before then I have Violet's 4th birthday Friday so am busy planning a little celebration for her too.
The littlest member of our family has been embracing our recent May sunshine in a new pair of navy Saltwaters. I know Saltwaters are 'having a moment' but they are great sandals. I first bought some last summer (Eloise in pink and mine in red) and being waterproof, they were brilliant for rock pooling on the beaches of Cornwall.
We bought ours from our fave and now nearest (yay!) shoe shop, Oddsox. It's a lovely independent children's shoe specialist that sell great shoes. One of the owners, Jo has children at the same school as Z and E and whilst we never manage to catch each other for more than five minutes at the school gates (she has 3 children too) I often see her whizzing by on her bicycle.
Oddsox is very much my type of shoe shop (you'll never have to take a numbered ticket and wait 20 minutes to be called and the girls shoes don't just come in pink - hurrah!). They also sell Campers, Birkenstocks and Pom d'Api summer shoes too. They're the only Bristol Salt-Water stockists (size 3 - 8) but are selling out fast (I was too late for a navy pair so have gone for tan this year). Look out for them on my Instagram!
Magic returns to Leigh Woods this weekend with our favourite Whispering Wood Folk performing tonight and tomorrow. Their shows have become one of our regular family events (see here and here) and are a mixture of story telling, acrobatics and live music. This year they have secured additional arts funding so it will be wonderful to see what they have created. We're heading there tomorrow so do come and join the fun - I pretty much guarantee you'll love it!