Saturday 27 June 2015

One Saturday in May

I've long been an admirer of Xanthe Berkeley's mini films. I finally signed up to her mini time capsules course yesterday and I stayed up until long past my bedtime last night editing a little film of one day in May.

One Saturday from Alexis Allan on Vimeo.

The children have watched this over and over this morning already and I must say that I too am rather pleased with the results. It was a lovely day and I'm glad I captured lots of it - there was a trip to Maltby Street market in the morning followed by pottering in the garden while Coco was at a party and then hanging out in the pub garden before Hugh and I went out to the cinema. Saturday's like that are pretty good. And the weird side effect of the video is that it sparks off lots of images in my memory that I didn't manage to capture. Maybe that's why I like it, because my mind is filling in the gaps

Hope you all enjoy your Saturday and thank you Xanthe for being an INSPIRATION!
The course is brilliant - needless to say I'll be shooting what we get up to today!

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Children in Animal Print - Wearing Saltskin

saltskin animal print wetsuits for children

Coco loves the water - and is pretty tolerant of cold British seas, swimming pools, paddling pools, ponds or sprinklers (you get the picture)... but despite this over the last few years we've got into the wetsuit habit. If she is in a wetsuit it just means she can spend that bit more time in the water before she starts going blue.

We are lucky enough to have a good wetsuit connection - one of Coco's school friends entrepreneurial parents saw a gap in the market and decided to create a collection of animal print wetsuits. Their company Saltskin is breaking the unwritten all black on the beach rule. The wetsuits are excellent quality with the all important extra long zip pull - which both my kids love.

When we went to Dorset Saltskin kindly lent our friends some samples too so the kids could be matching on the beach - they absolutely loved it. Coco and Maja were in giraffe print all week and Henry and his friend Zefi had shorties in bee and leopard print.
They looked so good... so I took masses of photos (naturally!). But keep scrolling as Saltskin have kindly set up an offer for you readers...

saltskin animal print wetsuits for children

saltskin animal print wetsuits for children

saltskin animal print wetsuits for children

saltskin animal print wetsuits for children

saltskin animal print wetsuits for children

saltskin animal print wetsuits for kids

This one is not so sure about the cold water.

saltskin animal print wetsuits for kids

saltskin animal print wetsuits for kids

They also make animal print sun suits for hotter climates - much more interesting that the normal pink or blue options that are the only ones I ever seem to see in the shops. Both Henry and Coco have typically English skin - we tend to use all day sun lotion but when the sun is high it's good to just be able to keep them covered up.

saltskin animal print wetsuits for kids

This is what happens when you ask children to smile for a photo... 

saltskin animal print wetsuits for kids

15% Discount on all Wetsuits
Saltskin have kindly set up an offer for you lovely people!
For 15% off all wetsuits and free delivery for wetsuits and sun-suits use the discount code 'SUMMER15' on
There are lots more prints to choose from as well how about having a zebra or tiger on the beach with you?
Offer is available until midnight on Sunday (28th June 2015). Lets get ready for the scorching summer we're about to have!?

saltskin animal print wetsuits for kids

saltskin animal print wetsuits for kids

Monday 22 June 2015

A British Beach Holiday - Our Half Term in Dorset

Staying at Hive Beach House in Dorset by Alexis at

Over half term we spent a few nights living the dream in a tiny house right on the beach in Dorset.

Staying at Hive Beach House in Dorset by Alexis at

Views over Burton Bradstock Beach - Hive Beach House, Dorset

We had an amazing week, Henry & Coco did not stop the whole time. We swam in the sea, flew kites in the field behind the house, built rock sculptures on the beach, we cooked fresh fish on a fire as the sun dipped down and had a delicious gourmet lunch a few meters from our door at The Seaside Boarding House. And although it all sounds action packed I feel like I also managed to totally relax.
We went away with our friends so workloads were shared and the children entertained themselves - spending a lot of time in the hot tub (yep, our kids now has hot-tub expectations of holidays... what have we done!?).

A fire on the cliff above the Beach - Burton Bradstock Beach - Hive Beach House, Dorset

Staying at Hive Beach House in Dorset by Alexis at

An alfresco breakfast with a view...

May Styling the season - Hive Beach House by Alexis at

Staying right ON the beach was quite a revelation, no time wasted packing bags to go to the beach. In fact at some points we parents hardly knew what to do with ourselves (I guess we're out of practice at doing nothing)... so much so that on one afternoon we took our little gas burner 400 yards up the shore to make a cup of tea on the beach; just because we could. I did spend some time faffing with a cow parsley posy picked from the meadows on the cliffs - I was planning on posting this as my May Styling the Seasons post but kind of missed the boat with that one.

Staying at Hive Beach House in Dorset by Alexis at

Coco wearing a giraffe print wetsuit made by Saltskin

Sea swimming made much more bearable for the kids in their saltskin wetsuits.

Henry wearing a leopard print wetsuit made by Saltskin

Kite flying near Burton Bradstock Beach

Kite flying near Burton Bradstock Beach

Henry taking the controls.

Kite flying near Burton Bradstock Beach

The countryside was deliciously lush with buttercups and hedgerows full of wild flowers - I do think May is my favourite - it's the time when you can really see the summer stretching out ahead of you.

Walking near The Seaside Boarding House, Hive Beach, Dorset

Beautiful English countryside -  Burton Bradstock Beach - Hive Beach House, Dorset

The Details

We stayed at Hive Beach House where there were enough beds for all eight of us with all the kids sharing the loft bedroom. The living space is a bit on the wee side but fine if you have good weather, it would have been too small if we'd have had to be inside, but as it was we were mainly outside on the deck above the beach (feeling a bit like lords of the manor)! The house itself is really nicely done, it has a classic beach-hut feel, with warm wood underfoot (and lovely heated tiles in the bathroom). There is something so nostagic for me about padding around on wooden floors with sand between my toes.
The kitchen was really well equipped for all eight of us - except in sharp knives but that is always the same in holiday homes I find. 

Staying at Hive Beach House in Dorset by Alexis at

Staying at Hive Beach House in Dorset by Alexis at

Staying at Hive Beach House in Dorset by Alexis at

We ate in: We bought supplies for our BBQs in the fish shop at West Bay and the fish was wonderful. Loads of people fish along the beach and one guy offered us some of his mackerel - next time it would be great to try to catch our supper. The rest of our shopping we got in Bridport a couple of miles away where there are two fab butchers and Palmers for locally brewed beer - they also have a very good wine selection in their shop.
We got our daily bread from The Hive Beach Cafe and it was delicious - the sourdough loaf in particular, we also bought a mouth wateringly good Dorset apple cake from there to go with our beach tea.

Eating bouillabaisse soup at the Seaside Boarding House, Burton Bradstock Dorset

We ate out: On the one day when the wind was really up we retreated to The Seaside Boarding House for a long, boozy and very delicious lunch. Prices are pretty steep for the area but the food was very good and the ingredients all really fresh and seasonal. The bouillabaisse soup was particularly good. The children were made very welcome too. I would have loved to have a nose around the rooms, would be a great spot to escape to for a weekend, right by the beach and with beautiful views across the bay.

Staying at Hive Beach House in Dorset by Alexis at

All in all a very good week - and at the end of the week Flora picked me up for the Sisterhood camp which I've still got to write about in full... but in the meantime you can read all about it via some of the other people I was there with...
By Sarah LouMelanie, Sara, Jeska or Laura, or by Emma B, Flora, Heather, Xanthe or by Hannah, Katy, Caroline, Bethan or Emma or of course by the sisterhood camp leader Lou

This post is NOT sponsored - just genuine views on stuff we've done...

Thursday 4 June 2015

A Blog Roll Update: From M - Z (and numbers too)

The second installment of my blog roll update - (see here for A-L)
.... follow the links and enjoy! You are welcome... x

Me & Orla
I like the way Sara writes, it's honest and sometimes quite raw. She is also pretty funny. Her posts are always illustrated with her signature style images from her forever home in a very dreamy looking Yorkshire.

Mini Eats
Phillipa's blog is full of recipes and the family stories that come along with them, a great heirloom for her daughter Lexie and new arrival Finn.

Only Saying What You're Thinking
Charlotte's blog kept me nodding along from 2011 and I was gutted when she stopped ranting blogging  - I was very happy when she started a new blog Baby I'm the Realest  - but as of a few weeks ago she's returned to her original blog - I for one am very happy she couldn't keep away from this blogging life for long. She says it how it is.

On the First Day of Marriage
Nell's blog is very much a diary of married life with children, I've been reading her blog since before her oldest Phinny was born. She distills her life into beautiful photos which seem to capture a happy, simple home. It's kind of relaxing to visit.

Oyster & Pearl
Lottie weaves a story of life with children, home inspiration and recipes into her blog and oftens points me in the direction of some new place to visit - both real & virtual.

Lynne's old blog was one of the first I started reading - this is the place to go if you love stationery. You will find a kindred spirit. And her shop is awesome.

Peonies and Poloroids
Raw honesty, reading Cara's blog often makes me feel like I'm not alone in being confused about how to be a grown up (in a good way, Cara!) We're currently on a cliff hanger to see where Cara, Nye and family end up living after leaving London... at present they are somewhere in the French countryside.

Scraps of Us
Beach combing and family life combined; a sort of behind-the-scenes of one of the most stunning instagram feeds around.

Seeds & Stitches
When Davina & Hannah decided to combine their blogs into one I think I may have squealed, or clapped... or something. This is the place to find eco-inspiring ideas for decor and making - always creative and often on a shoe-string. Just the way I like it.

Tangerine Canteen
Lia's blog makes my mouth water - so much so that I often have to go shopping, buy obscure ingredients and get in the kitchen. I have her to thank for spicy sweet potato wedges and our regular taco nights.

Through the Round Window
I just met Flora last weekend and with a cup of tea in hand I've had a good read of through the last few months of her life - I'm now dreaming of a studio in a county town by the sea and developing a craft skill (Flora is a decorative stained glass artist). The beauty of blogs - they transport you briefly to someone else's life.

Wild & Grizzly
Graphic designer Lori shares tales of travels and city life in Bristol. Her little boy has an enviable collection of picture books - a great place to look for some children's book inspiration.

Xanthe Berkeley
The place to go for an injection of colour. You'll also find amazing video time capsules that capture Xanthe's life with her gorgeously gangly sons. Her site makes me want to video everything.

Philippa's instagram feed is beautiful and her blog is a wonderful backdrop to her feed. All she needs is her kitchen table and some flower petals - her compositions with objects and colours are much imitated, but somehow, you can always tell which is an original 5ftinf.

940 Sundays
Fiona is a sporadic blogger,  - much like I feel I am too these days - but her blog posts always bring a smile to my face. Always. ALWAYS.

I dip into loads of other blogs - I'm going to move my complete list to a permanent home linked to from over there <<<<
somewhere I can add to as I remember who I've forgotten and make new finds too.

Also; in this late spring cleaning frenzy I'm updating my 'about me' page - a lovely way to spend a few hours cringing at yourself. I've put in links to lots of old posts because, you know, I'm self indulgent like that. One day very soon I may get around to updating that old banner at the top. One day.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

A Blog Roll Update: From A - L

I've been writing my blog for nearly five years and have found so many great blog-reads along the way; some have come and gone while new ones are created everyday... so I thought it was about time I shared a little love for the blogs I read and gave my blog roll over there on the left an update (in that area I've been meaning to spruce up forever).
(I never write my blog on a laptop in the sunshine, but you know, an opportunity was there so...)

Here are some of the UK blogs that I love; a few I check out everyday, others I dip into occasionally... but they are all good. I sometimes feel like in the blog world I've found my tribe - women (yep - for whatever reason this is an 100% female shortlist!) who create: some on a small scale and some on an impressively large scale. They write beautifully, create great images and inspire me in all sorts of ways.
It's quite a long list so I've split it into two. A - L today and the rest of the alphabet to follow... so if you have some time on your hands make a cup of tea and have a look...

Abigail and the Future
I think I first got drawn into Abigail's blog because her little boy Theo is the same age as Henry... her photography is fantastic and she shares some great idea on activities to do with pre-school age children plus thoughtful musings on family and photography which always seems to strike a chord with me.

Apartment Apothocary 
As the name suggests Katy's blog is interiors focused - her and her partner have tackled some big projects at home  - you get really good before and after shots here and also a good dose of practical decorating ideas.

A Quiet Corner
A photographic journal of life with four big children - more often than not documenting the quite moments in what must be a busy household. Woodland and hilltop walks and lovely photos of England at it's best.

A Quiet Style
Exactly what it says... a gentle and simple blog full of beautiful and peaceful style, more often than not involving flowers. Her monthly posts with the florist Wild Rubus are inspiring tutorials.

Bradshaw & Sons
I think of Emma's family of kind of the opposite of ours, they are are country family making the most of their surroundings. Lots of DIY's to do with and for children - DIY's & recipes I've actually done too (this one was a goodun).

Circle of Pine Trees
Another girl with three boys! Laura's blog is full of simple pleasures - of camping and stomping through mud and leaves with her three small boys. She has a monthly link-up 'A Year In Books' if you're looking for a book recommendation then this would be a good place to start.

Found Now Home
Leigh is a uber sewer - I'm in awe of her sewing crafts. I also wouldn't mind moving into her house. She has loads of nice things and gives good tips for places to go in her 'hood too (South Londoners)!

Gathered Cheer
Ruth's blog is full of stylish ideas on interiors and celebrations - she also organises amazing social gatherings where she connects people together - she wants to get us all inspiring each other IRL!

Geoffry & Grace
A little piece of vintage heaven. Lots of making, a cute little one and thoughtful words - I love Melanie's 'rooms' series too. 

Growing Spaces
Heather's blog is one of my favourites. With a definite interiors edge; Heather takes on styling challenges, does DIY's and she seems to have a knack of finding the best interiors images to round up (she is an interiors journalist... so I think she's had practice) She also shares tales of her five year twins.

I think I can safely blame Artemis of Junkaholic for getting me hooked on blogs way back in 2009... consistently lovely images, creative and inspiring projects by someone who just seems to love making things, for herself, her husband and now for her adorable looking toddler too.

Lapin Blu
Sarah Lou and her family are creating a gorgeous home in Sussex - lots of nice ideas and her home has a healthy mix of old and new. I just want to see more! She also runs the Everyday Spruce project with Heather of Growing Spaces - lots of practical ideas for updating your space.

Little Green Shed
Lou is one of those amazing bloggers who blogs almost everyday bringing me my daily dose of swoony images and tales of adventures with her boys. (Sorry, is swoony a word? You know what I mean; dappled light, flowers, friends, simple pleasures...) Lou also runs the weekly #natureinthehome hashtag on IG.

Lobster & Swan
A whimsical seaside life & dreamy styling by Jeska - plus her and her husband run a shop so there's always the opportunity to copy be inspired by her style.

London Loafing
Lucy is a fellow Londoner who has as much of an interest in interiors as I do and writes a very good monthly to-do list which often sparks off some adventure or other over here. She has dreams of opening her own coffee shop and is sharing her research (you know, her visits to nice cafes)!

Lotts and Lots
Charlotte shares lots of pretty stuff on her blog - the jewellery she makes and lovely home projects too. There is a lot to be inspired by here!

Next up - from M - Z (and numbers too...)

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Sisterhood Mojito

I'm decompressing from the most amazing few days - first in a beach hut in Dorset with my crew and then in a field with 25 inspiring women. I was lucky enough to be invited to the first Sisterhood Camp which was organised by Lou of Little Green Shed and her beautiful partner in crime Hannah of Seeds and Stitches. It really was a magical weekend and my camera is, in theory, full of the most wonderful blog content... but I'm on a bit of a come down and don't know where to start...

So first things first. A drink.

My new road trip / waterfall swimming / pod buddy Flora had the genius idea to make some mojitos with her freshly made elderflower cordial. I assisted and tried to record the making - which was lucky as now I can share it with you... it made a mighty good drink.

I already shared this recipe on Steller (and it was selected to be featured in one of their collections - is that normal)? I've just joined up - because 1) Melanie and Sara were raving about it and 2) I really need some more social media in my life.
I don't know why I was resisting it as to be honest it's right up my street. Words, images, story, bookish page turning. The graphics above are a total rip off inspired by one of their lovely templates.
Oh, if only I had more hours in the day.