Wednesday 30 May 2012

Sun Fun

So we've been experiencing some proper summer weather here in the UK (she says, just before it all goes pear-shaped). Last weekend was gorgeous and coincided with a very low key weekend with no real plans and no monthly bad moods. Miracle.

On Saturday we made the most of our Kew Gardens membership and had a picnic there. Even on days when there are queues all the way down the road you can still find a peaceful spot if you venture off the beaten track. I didn't actually take any photos, was too busy having a snooze in the shade while the kids moved pine cones around...

Then we headed to our friends house for their two year olds birthday party. That's the birthday boy with the blond curls. Now you may think a two year olds party doesn't sound like fun... but when the two year old knows film directors and people who design swimwear for Lana Del Rey, and serves Pimms (well, his parents do) then it's a different story. The invitation was 3-5pm, but somehow we ended up being there until 8pm, I blame the aforementioned Pimms and vino that came out, which also might have had something to do with the marathon game of musical statues (we started playing when the four year olds complained at the lack of party games). The judge was so soft that no-one ever seemed to go out, my friend and I were attempting our best Beyoncé impressions. I'm sure we were dead-ringers.

Sunday we all biked to the river/playground/farmers market (so far, so cliche)... then we had some friends around in the afternoon and we sat in the garden and tried to keep as cool as possible... and by about 8pm we'd had enough food, wine and cooling off to all behave very foolishly with a child each on our shoulders, as poor Henry was getting left out while I took photos above, I had to just join in instead. 

A couple of buckets and some water. Simple pleasures eh
Apologies for all the bare-flesh photos - especially of the over-fives. Normal grumpy blogging will resume shortly!

Monday 21 May 2012

Wild West Book

This is a post about a photo album I made a few years ago.

Now of course, in the 2012 world of instagram, hipstergam, blurb, moo etc etc making a little book like this would be easy.
But, my friends, I made this back in the mists of time, in 2004 and I'm no designer, so although there was probably a much better way of making this little book took me a long time.
I also bound it by hand... printed, folded and sewed it up. I had a lot of spare time back then. I made it as a present for a friend but I ended up keeping this version as some of the page came out up-side-down.

The book is about A6 sized, and documents a camping trip. We used to do this camp annually and my friend who organises it would come up with a theme each year... so one day of camp would be spent in fancy dress.

The Wild West one included the Indians (sorry, am I allowed to call them Indians... is this all very un-pc?) stampeding the beach where the cowboys had built a (sand) fort. Well, kind of anyway.


Ooh, look at that neat stitching...

Two little Indians, and a camp cowboy.

The inevitable handstand competition.

Now I'm off to blurb to try out their software for a new book project.

Friday 18 May 2012

She Rides

Coco mastered cycling on Sunday.
Having loved her balance bike she had been somewhat cagey about riding her proper bike, but she went out with Hugh on Sunday and she cracked it.
Now there's no stopping her, and she wants to cycle everywhere.

The other day we just went out the front of the house so she could ride up and down the street. I said she could cycle to her friends house and back at the end of the road and embracing her new found freedom she peddled off. Henry was busy in his wellies, stomping around and splashing in the puddles, I got a bit distracted trying to stop him from venturing into a particularly deep (and manky) puddle but then realised I couldn't see Coco so I got a bit panicy. I called her name a couple of times, nothing, so I picked Henry up and attempted to run down the road (must have been a pretty sight with me in my cagool and pj bottoms) only to find her in the front garden of her friends house where she'd rung the bell and was busy showing off her new skills!

Thursday 17 May 2012

A Coffee at Annabel's

On Saturday I spent the afternoon hanging out with my friend Annabel. If you're ready to feel a bit jealous of a beautiful home then check out these snaps...

Her neat and tidy storage. The jars are from Jamie Oliver - I know because I copied her and got a load for myself a while back... mine don't look quite as neat as these though.

Have come to conclusion that we need some alcove shelves/storage in our sitting room, I just hope I can keeping it looking as good as hers - not that it's a competition; honest!

It was bliss to just relax in the sunshine and chat, just the two of us and the cats. I did come away feeling a bit jealous of her lovely calm home... especially...

...when I opened the door to this room when I got home - I'm meant to be sorting it out right now, so I'd better get on!

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Get Ye to the Hayward

Recently I've been hanging out at the Hayward Gallery a bit, drinking (the free) tea in the Jeremy Deller exhibition and crawling around on my hands and knees upstairs in the David Shrigley.

We did a CultureBaby event there at the end of April which required a few prep trips - and it seemed to go down very well with all the parents and their small people.

I would highly recommend both exhibitions - and they finish this weekend... what better way to spend time in London on a damp day than in gallery? I've written an article on why I think both these exhibitions are great to visit with kids in tow on West London Mum, so you can go over there and see more of my ramblings if you like.
But in a nutshell, they are both great exhibitions, and the Hayward is so NICE, big enough, small enough, civilised enough, easy to get to, near to everything... I feel like I've re-discovered a lost love.

'Do not Linger at the gate' (but apparently everyone does).

Added bonus, I asked Kerry from the Seventy Tree is she wanted to come along to our CultureBaby event with Bertie, and she did! It's so nice when my blogging world meets my real world...

And look what I was the lucky recipient of, a jiffy bag of Kerry-goods. Postcards too nice to send. You know where you'll be seeing them hanging out. Thanks again Kerry!

Tuesday 8 May 2012

A Big Birthday Card

Happy Birthday to my Dad who was 65 this weekend - so now he can retire, kick-back, relax... and have his Grandchildren to stay more often!?

Coco and I had some messy fun making a card for him last week. Well I say we had fun, but really Coco had the fun and I had the stress of trying to keep the paint contained in one area of the kitchen. Par for the course.

It was quite a challenge to get Henry to actually hold the numbers... he's much more keen on being behind the camera than in front of it these days.

I've offered my Dad the actual numbers, but he didn't seem to really want them, I'll try not to take offence.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Well Loved Books

Along with our selection of hand-me-down toys, both Hugh and I have quite a few books lovingly kept by our parents from our childhood.

The Quangle Wangle's Hat is one of Hugh's old books. The Edward Lear poem is illustrated by Helen Oxenbury - probably now most famous for her illustrations of 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt'. Her (much earlier) style here is so different... but I love it.

I'm quite tempted to scan and frame some of these spreads.

Henry is not a great reader (yet...) but he's starting to show more interest. Coco has slightly dubious taste sometimes; when I let her choose her own books from the library I do sometimes find myself yawning while reading - never a good thing. Most of the time though I do love looking at books with her and revisiting some of my old favourites and I'm excited about the years to come. I found an old copy of Charlotte's Web the other day and we've got all the Roald Dahl books to get through.
Bring it on!