Elma Family Photography {the ordinary moments}

Primrose washing


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

With the sunshine has come the garden.  Our back garden is a little pocket sized and during the winter the moss flourishes in the grass and the claggy soil turns it into a bit of a quagmire, with muddy paths worn underneath each washing line, and that ominous squelching noise whenever I step onto the grass.  But with the spring and the sunshine and the absolutely glorious weather we’ve had in the last couple of weeks our garden is dry, the grass is thick and green again and we’ve spent the most part of every day outside again.

We’ve had picnics outside, the girls race their scooter and bikey, or play yet another game of shop, and Pip has even had his first go on the swing.  It’s lovely watching the girls create an entire imaginary world outside while I hang up laundry; or getting to join in as the shopkeeper who can reach the really high shelves.  They’ve got lots of wonderful toys, most of which we’ve tried to make open ended and very inviting towards make believe, and I try to make sure that their playspace is uncluttered and they can actually see the wood for the trees but even my bravest simplifications pale in comparison to outside.  We have a slide, a swing, a mini trampoline and the monkey swing, oh and the laundry whirligig too. And with that their imaginations make school, or traffic junctions or something involving fairies and ice cream that I really never got to grips with.

They seem to come up with so much more imaginative play outside, and spend longer in it that I’m sure there’s a lesson to be learned in terms of their space inside.

Last week they spent hours watering the newly cleaned off patio table and this week they borrowed the clothes airer to make a tent with a fitted sheet that I bought for our bed as my obligatory impulse purchase the last time I was at IKEA but found it was huge in just about every direction, including depth. Clearly Swedish people have bigger beds than we do, but H and my loss is the girls’ gain as it makes an excellent tent.  And once it was up they moved in, curling up in garden chairs and borrowing a footstool from the kitchen to be a table for their tea party.

And as it was outside there seemed no reason not to say yes when they asked for some water for the play teapot.  Quite how we got from teapots to a full washing up bowl of bubbly water that mysteriously evaporated and had to be replenished every couple of minutes while my patio looked the dampest it has since Christmas is anyone’s guess, but the wetter they got the happier they were and as all parents know, the only rule more sacrosanct than “never wake a sleeping baby” is “if they are happy, playing together, and nothing and no-one is in any immediate danger, leave them to it” so Pip and I played happily just inside the door and I listened and hide a smile or two, at Kitty’s “I must have a seat to do washing up, you sit down to do it” and Elma’s “I get it…!” as she dashed off to the kitchen for the other footstool to be a seat.

It’s a pattern that has repeated itself almost every day this week, even on the days when Kitty was at nursery Elma still asked for a bowl of water and this time Pip and I went outside with her.  The game was washing up, but in lieu of the tea service which Kitty had put back into the box, Elma looked around for something else that she thought really needed cleaning up.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And that’s how we found ourselves sat in the sunshine watching my baby girl wash the primroses.  Quite why she thought they needed it remains a mystery, but they made such a pretty pattern floating on the water and the splashes glittered in the sunshine so why not give them a bath.Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It was a lovely moment, of tranquility and ease in what has been a busy and at times rather exhausting week and I really hope it’s the start of many wonderful sunny afternoons spent flooding the patio to make a puddle or washing the daisies; it sounds pretty perfect to me.



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  • Potty Mouthed Mummy 19/04/2015 at 8:49 am

    Oh look at her little concentration face! Such a sweet thing to do. H loves washing random things here and there, think they like to copy us! Gorgeous images xx

    • Carie 19/04/2015 at 2:00 pm

      I could get the copying when they were washing their tea service but I’m not sure she’s ever seen me wash flowers – it was just adorable though!

  • Mandycharlie 19/04/2015 at 10:38 am

    They do look pretty floating away.

    • Carie 19/04/2015 at 2:00 pm

      Don’t they just!

  • Seychellesmama 19/04/2015 at 1:45 pm

    This just sounds so gorgeous!! So lovely for them to be playing so nicely together too! There’s definitely something special about playing outside!! Xx

    • Carie 19/04/2015 at 1:55 pm

      It’s definitely the best part of the turn in the seasons for me – and it means that the house stays so much tidier!

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 19/04/2015 at 2:28 pm

    I love how their imaginations are developing so much, there is nothing better to me than hearing Mads and LL play and create role plays- and it’s getting more and more each day as LL becomes more communicative. I am loving the fact we can get out and about in the garden more this past couple of weeks- and let’s face it, any game involving a Spring day and a bucket of water is a pretty perfect game for a 4 and 2 year old! x

    • Carie 19/04/2015 at 2:36 pm

      It’s the same with us – the more they play together the more they seem to get it – definitely a taste of the future when they won’t need us anymore!

  • Kathy 19/04/2015 at 2:46 pm

    Such beautiful pictures and kids and the outdoors and imagination is a wonderful thing. Get some old cake and muffin tins from the charity/2nd hand shops so they can put mud in them and pretend to bake…. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave lovely comments on my blog by the way, always lovely to read. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

    • Carie 21/04/2015 at 10:19 am

      That’s such a good idea – I shall have to have a look out next time we go to town!

  • Sarah (@tobygoesbananas) 19/04/2015 at 4:34 pm

    So cute! It must be wonderful to hear them playing together. Toby has been playing in our garden the last couple of days, it’s the first chance he’s ever really had to get out there. So far his favourite game seems to be moving stones around the place, my own little Makka Pakka!

    • Carie 21/04/2015 at 10:18 am

      Aww that just sounds so cute!!

  • Jemma 19/04/2015 at 9:30 pm

    Ah…mine make potions ALL the time which is a tad messier! I love your rule and I also live by it…..if they’re playing happily- leave them to it, but if it gets a little bit too quiet……get there quickly!! Xx

    • Carie 21/04/2015 at 10:17 am

      Yes too quite is definitely a code for run quickly in their direction!

  • sustainablemum 19/04/2015 at 10:00 pm

    It sounds perfect to me too! I hope you have many more days like it 🙂

    • Carie 21/04/2015 at 10:19 am

      Me too!

  • Mackenzie Glanville (reflectionsfromme.com) 20/04/2015 at 8:55 am

    Must admit it does sound like a perfect day, so relaxing

    • Carie 21/04/2015 at 10:13 am

      Definitely my favourite sort of day – long may they continue!

  • Jess @ Picnics in the Rain 20/04/2015 at 2:17 pm

    This is lovely, she looks so engrossed in the washing of the primroses, I just wonder what was going on in her little head in that moment?

    • Carie 21/04/2015 at 10:08 am

      It’s one of those things you’d always love to know isn’t it!

  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 21/04/2015 at 12:20 am

    Interesting isn’t it… My girls are just the same – their imaginations just seem to run wild the minute they get outside! It’s just been so wonderful to get out in the sunshine, hasn’t it??!

    • Carie 21/04/2015 at 9:53 am

      Oh the sunshine is just the best – as I’m writing we are outside; they’re now dressed as Snow White and Minnie but we’ve already had Ariel and a flower fairy this morning!!

  • sally 22/04/2015 at 8:00 pm

    A very sweet activity! You will have the cleanest primroses for miles! And everything seems easier and more relaxed when the sun is shining and we can migrate to outdoor play and eating.

    • Carie 22/04/2015 at 10:43 pm

      Oh doesn’t it just! The weather is supposed to turn tomorrow and I’m not looking forward to having to relocate everything back inside!