Monthly Archives

March 2015

Elma Family Kitty Me and Mine Photography Pip

Me and Mine 2015: March


After the roaring and only slightly lopsided success of buggy-tripod last month it seemed only fair that I should capitalise on that achievement and do another set of Me and Mine photos using the same trick. Well that and I haven’t taken the remote trigger out of my handbag yet (and in fact it may now have a permanent place there) so there’s no escape for the family now.

And it’s worth it, these pictures were all taken on one of H’s rare and treasured holiday days. We’d been in to town for lunch and full of the most delicious burgers, pulled pork and all sorts of other lovely things we headed down to the gardens to run off a little excess energy brought on by the application of fish and chips to small daughters.  It was a glorious afternoon, warm to the point of hot in the sun, peaceful, and really just perfect being there all five of us.  Pip giggled from his pram, Kitty and Elma raced up and over a row of blocks meant as stepping stones through the grass and H and I sat and basked in the sunshine.

The gardens have a lot of wooden sculptures; a couple of years ago a huge tree had to come down because the roots had become diseased and it was liable to topple at any moment.  But rather than just chopping it up and carting it away for firewood or something similar, they employed a sculptor.  The stump of the tree was left a little taller than me and cut at an angle; one half was carved with different pictures of bits of the park, all at roughly the point of the tree’s rings that correlate to it’s age at the time they were built and round the back there’s a little cubby hole for curling up and hiding in.  We watched it being carved when Kitty was tiny and I absolutely love it.  Other chunks have been made into seats, a tree to climb, and then there’s the crocodile.

Technically it is supposed to be a dragon although we’ve yet to discover if there’s a particular significance to dragons and Warwickshire or whether the sculptor just likes dragons (fair enough) but it makes a comfy seat and it’s hugely popular with little people for clambering over and if the girls want it to be a crocodile then I can definitely see where they’re coming from.





So the girls clambered, Pip wriggled and H and I looked around at all these children and knew in a silent look that we have everything we ever dreamed of and more.



My family, Kitty, Elma, Pip, H and me, in March.


And as for the outtakes – well my favourite has to be my two best boys having a chat!


dear beautiful

Elma Family Kitty Living Arrows Photography

Living Arrows 2015: 13/52


Once upon a time H went to a hockey festival. Back in the day we both used to go, travelling down later after work on Friday and camping out in the field next to the pitches and playing increasingly tipsy games of hockey. Our club never won, as much by accident as design. But where we did succeed was in the fancy dress costumes. There was the year of Where’s Wally, a year where everyone had to be something with the letter P (lots of pirates), an official pirate year  and Hawaii Five-0 (which just happened to be the one summer that no one seemed to be selling Hawaiian shirts!). And then there was the super hero year. And as the traditional superheros all seem to favour rather more skin tight lycra than can truly be comfortable H decided his superhero of choice had to be Professor Chaos, Butters’ alter ego from South Park.  South Park was part of our university life and Butters was always our favourite character so it was an easy choice and H had shorts and a t-shirt in the right sort of colour so we were half way there. And one evening, while he made a helmet out of tinfoil and craft foam, I set to making him a cape.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It’s made to be floor length on a 6’1″ H, draped and pinched and sewn together out of forest green lining for the costume side and a sparkly lining for a bit of extra magic.  We painted two giant buttons with silver airfoil paint and originally it had a chain that held the two together – long since lost on a field near Milton Keynes.  But the coat itself survived and came home to live in our dressing up box.  And I think it might just be our girls’ favourite.  Because as should be immediately obvious, this is no longer Professor Chaos’ cape, not this is “my Elsa cape!”. Happily it’s still technically Daddy’s so all disputes over ownership are solved by handing it over to H but it does make me giggle how much they love it.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

I’ve found it being used for a tent, snuggled with in bed and most often worn by some small girl sprinting through the house yelling “let it go!” or “stay away! you be safe from me! atchurly were not!” (that would be Elma).  Seeing them play with something I’ve made and choosing it over and above all the lovely sparkly glitter-shedding dresses that overflow from our dressing up box gives me a huge sense of satisfaction, possibly even tinging on the smug but we’ll gloss over that, and more to the point I am absolutely certain that I need to buy some more lengths of lining fabric and find time to sew up some cloaks for the girls that are the right sort of size based on a bit of measuring and draping onto them if they can stand still.  Probably in pink and purple.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

But for the meantime they can run and swish and turn and get all caught up in it and know that they’re truly being Elsa.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Elma Family Kitty Pip {the ordinary moments}

Two little girls and one little boy


It is amazing how much laundry five people can accumulate.  Even when two of the five are really rather small and another has a serious shortage of wearable outfits.  But with Pip utterly determined to wear as much of his dinner as he eats and Elma regarding her drawers as a really lovely dressing up box that she dips into every time she feels like a change and Mummy’s back is turned it all builds up.  And so we bung it all in the washing machine and watch it swirl around and I offer up prayers of thanks to the washing machine fairy that installed a child lock on it, and then haul it outside to peg it up on the line.

And once we’ve got several baskets full we pull out the bits and bobs that need ironing (I’m not big on ironing; it’s not a lot) and take the rest upstairs and dump it on my bed to be sorted.  The girls have got really into helping me out and they love climbing up on the head of the bed to grab their clothes for their baskets and nine times out of ten they get it right, and anything else gets sorted out when I come to fold and put things away.  It’s lovely to have their company and we can chat or sing along to the radio while we get through what to be honest can be quite a big task.  Of course there are times when they don’t want to or have a pixie moment or two and clothes go flying and I try to take a deep breath and start again (sometimes with more success than others) but mostly it’s a fun part of our week.

I love hearing their giggles when they think they’re totally hidden under the duvet, or when there little smiley faces pop up as they play peepo over the edge.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Pip generally hangs out in the sling but as he’s got bigger and bigger and decidedly heavier he gets a bit cumbersome if you want to bend up and down between baskets and drawers so I’ve started to tuck him into bed between his sisters for a little sibling hang out while I tuck the clothes back where they belong.  One day in the not too distant future I know he will be seen by the girls as a playfellow.  Probably not quite an equal because he’ll always be their little brother and I think he’ll be taller than me before he looses the “little” tag, but more so than now.  

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Now he is their baby, their little munchkin, someone to kiss and cuddle and pet, and someone who gives them the most enormous smiles when they do. And I love it. I love watching them together and seeing how happy they make each other. And I really love it when we’re all done and we can all cuddle up together or play tents under the duvet.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

We’ve just had Kitty’s last day of ballet for this term and I’m so horribly aware that this means we’ve got one term, and the summer, and then moments like this will be fewer and further between.  There will be days of the five of us at the weekend, and half terms and holidays but the rhythm of our days will be different, and it won’t be the three and me in quite the same way any more. I don’t think it’s a bad thing exactly, but it will be very different and it seems to be a change that’s hurtling towards us at great speed.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Now is the time for me to soak in every little moment of our daily pattern as it is now; cuddles with the laundry and all.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life



Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip The 52 Project

13/52 {The 52 Project}


A portrait of each of my children once every week for 2015.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life    

Kitty: Your latest skill has been learning to tie your own hair up. It’s still sometimes a little haphazard but you’re definitely getting there and there are people who pay vast sums of money to hairdressers for a messy ponytail as good as that.

(Nikon D80, 60mm 2.8 lens – 1/400, f/3.2, ISO 100)

 Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Elma: Your Daddy was working from home this week and after lunch you went in to sit on the floor next to him and draw pictures while I settled your brother and hung out the laundry.  And while I was busy you scrambled up onto the little artist’s chair, pulled your blankie after you and fell fast asleep with your head on Daddy’s knee.  It didn’t look too comfy so her scooped you up and brought you out to me in the garden but you didn’t wake up even then so we tucked you up on the sofa to finish your nap.  You’re so very very little when you’re asleep, I hope you were dreaming of beautiful things.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/320, f/2.8, ISO 100)

 Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Pip:  I lay a quilt out on the grass and gently tuck you down in the middle of it. And the moment my back is turned you start your rolling, round and round and round until you’re lying in the grass trying to chew last autumn’s leaves and laughing at the suggestion that you’d stay where I put you. Not now, not now there’s rolling to be done.  Just don’t eat too much of the grass ok sweetheart.

(Nikon D80, 35mm 1.8 lens – 1/250, f/2.8, ISO 100)