Saturday, 18 July 2015


my wild swimming essentials a Linen Me towel, swim suit from the White Company, warm cardi for when I get out & a vintage flask of hot chocolate

I have the wild swimming bug and am dreaming of endless summer swims. This week I ventured with the boys to the Cotswold Country Park where they organise and lifeguard open water swimming which is perfect for a beginner like me. As the boys needed to be 14 years old to do the 400 & 750 metre open water course we jumped in to the neighbouring lake with its very own beach and swam in the shallows with the ducks and a family of swans. It was a great way to spend the evening and start to get used to wild swimming temperature!

Friday, 17 July 2015


Oh my goodness, I have been sent the ultimate summer beauty essential, REN's new Moroccan Rose Gold Glow Perfect Dry Oil from the gorgeous spa at the Montpellier Chapter Spa in Cheltenham. I think I may have found a whole new career as a REN product tester!

I have to be really careful what I put on my very dry eczema prone skin, especially fragranced products and I very rarely get my legs out as I am so self conscious about my skin. And to be quite frank I really just don't have the time for a beauty regime in my hectic life, so I must admit armed with all these excuses I did eye this up quite suspiciously on the bathroom shelf, assuming I was simply not glamorous for a product like this.

But the time came to try this product, which was really quick and easy to apply with a handy spray nozzle and the fragrance is just amazing. I wafted through the village yesterday evening having covered myself with the oil in fear that a swarm of bees may just follow me thinking I was a rose! The oil absorbed quickly and really nourished all my dry patches and leaving it with a healthy glow and boosting my confidence too, I even got my legs out!

This is a truly gorgeous product that I am now using religiously this summer, it really is a summer must-have. It would be great product to take on holiday and its beautiful packaging would make it a great gift too. It can be purchased from the Montpellier Chapter Spa for £26 and features in all of their expert massages.

Thursday, 16 July 2015


I am delighted with my latest eBay purchase an old wooden card index file! Even better, it's 6"x4" in size so I am going to use it to print out and keep our favourite photo's in, then the boys can look through them when they want (not with sticky fingers though - obviously!).

I have millions of photo's saved digitally all over the place and I am constantly worrying that the PC breaks or the back up fails, so this is part of my efforts to get the important ones printed out or put into photobooks too, although where I'll get the time to do that I don't know!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


I am so delighted with my new logo for the blog, drawn by talented illustrator Claire Fletcher of my three boys and a guest appearance from Pepper the dog that we doggysat too.

I wanted something old fashioned and naturey, but not too twee, a bit Shirley Hughes, a bit Famous Five and very Bradshaw & Sons! I love Claire's work, she based the illustration on a photo that I took a few weeks ago and think it fits perfectly with the ethos of this blog, don't you?


We have made our list of all the fun things that we'd like to do together as a family this summer and rather ceremoniously pinned it to the fridge. A couple of day trips, camping in the bell tent a train ride to London, mainly simple things and lots of free fun stuff too. Although as a working mum I don't have six weeks of holiday to look forward to, I do take most of my annual leave in the school holidays so have just slightly over three weeks and luckily grandma covers the rest with a few clubs/play dates along the way.

Summer always highlights my desire to lead a simple life, making jam, enjoying walks and swimming in outdoor pools. The ordinary things in life tinted in sunshine. Obviously the reality is often days of rain and bickering children! But I can dream and it helps that we all have things to look forward to, as these are the days that a lifetime of memories are made from.

Monday, 13 July 2015


I first heard the word 'Curglaff' via Lottie, she's a bit of a wordsmith and reposted something on twitter that caught my eye! The word curglaff means 'the shock felt when one first plunges into cold water' - who knew there was actually a word and doesn't it describe the feeling perfectly?

I've loved wild swimming for a long time but hardly get any time to do any anymore. My lovely friend B however, has been completely awesome and last year trained and swam the great north swim, in the freezing cold lakes on her own! So inspired by her, I am going to get training and join her in one of her swims. There are lots throughout the country, so I'm going to train this year ready for 2016 as I really am starting from scratch as not only do I have no experience I also have a pretty poor 'I don't want to get my face wet' swimming technique!

We celebrated our new 'curglaff club' with a wild swim in the new swimming lakes at The Glove Factory Studios, Holt in Somerset on a lovely hot summer's evening last week. The evening was hosted by Daniel Start, author of the Wild Swimming books and the newly opened Sam's Kitchen did an amazing apré swim bbq. It was a lovely dip and a perfect start for our swimming journey!

Sunday, 12 July 2015


It was an absolute delight to meet Claire Thomson, the author of new family cookbook 5 O'Clock Apron and Lia Leendertz, amazing gardening writer last week, with fellow bloggers and friends, Cath of Bristol Parenting Cafe and Laura of Circle of Pines.

We ventured to the heart of one of the south west's biggest ancient woodlands on one of the hottest days of the year, where we found a hidden glade known only to the silver washed fritillary butterflies that flitted in abundance in the sunshine.

Claire had kindly offered to cater for the picnic and brought with her freshly baked foccacia, smoked mackerel, bean and sour cream salad that she decorated with courgette flowers, salad and to finish an apricot, rose and yoghurt cake. Lia also brought with her some homemade cheese and gravadlax, the spoils from a photo shoot the day before and a feast was soon laid out for us to enjoy.

It was an absolutely delicious feast and was as if Claire's recipes had just jumped off the pages of her new book!

I took with me some Bottlegreen Cotswold lemonade with mint and strawberry cordial to try out the Strawberry Tennis Cocktail, I used some borage flowers and mint leaves to garnish it.

You can buy a copy of 5 O'clock Apron by Claire Thomson on Amazon for £12.99.
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