Monthly Archives

August 2015


In the Pocket Handkerchief Garden: 27 August 2015


Space for the Butterflies - The Pocket Handkerchief Garden

It’s still alive! If there’s one thing you can have absolute confidence in it is of course the British Summer’s ability to water your vegetable patch while you galavant around Europe in a tent for three weeks.  It may have rained on us in the French Alps and snowed on us in the Swiss Alps but back home as far as I can gather we’ve had the drippy damp kind of summer that vegetables love.  And love it they have. Well some of them.

Space for the Butterflies - The Pocket Handkerchief Garden

Most notably the blackcurrant bush which not only has not died (phew) but is now covered with an aura of leafy green so that it both looks and faintly smells blackcurranty.  My instructions tell me that next summer I have to prune away to make a central crown of branches and as they’ve got me this far I will be instruction following to the letter in the hope of a nice crop of currants next autumn.

Space for the Butterflies - The Pocket Handkerchief Garden

The beans are also happy; all the shoots have flowers and apart from a couple of rebels who went for the netting, most of them are spiralling up my bean wigwam.  Before we went away I took the netting off the beans, blackcurrant and courgettes; it struck me that while the netting is performing superbly in keeping the cat out of the garden it might also be keeping away the bees.  And while it’s been a while since I studied biology, even I can remember that you need bees to pollinate.  Judging by the results the gamble paid off, we have no sign of the cat and there are some teeny tiny little beans.

Space for the Butterflies - The Pocket Handkerchief Garden

I think the netting may have done for the courgettes though.  The plant that had the flowers that fell off has now produced some small green yellow courgettes that also fell off in a squishy brown sort of way and I think we can all agree that my two courgette plants were clearly just not that into each other.  I do love courgettes though so roll on next year and we’ll have another go.

Space for the Butterflies - The Pocket Handkerchief Garden

Space for the Butterflies - The Pocket Handkerchief Garden

Meanwhile in the back garden my lone tomato plant has been thriving.  We have lots and lots of green tomatoes just waiting for some sunshine, and as a welcome home present, three perfectly ripe ones to add to supper.

Space for the Butterflies - The Pocket Handkerchief Garden

And while not technically veggies, the sunflowers have been going up up and away, and I’m so pleased we’re home in time to see them.  They are just so cheerful to look out onto, sunshine even on a rainy day.

Space for the Butterflies - The Pocket Handkerchief Garden

The Pocket Handkerchief Garden so far:

6 August 2015

30 July 2015

23 July 2015

16 July 2015

9 July 2015

3 July 2015

25 June 2015

18 June 2015

11 June 2015

4 June 2015

28 May 2015

21 May 2015

14 May 2015

Birthdays Family Milestones Photography Pip

And now you are one


Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one

Oh my lovely boy.  A year ago today I sat in the post natal ward, holding in my arms a very long, still pink and slightly scrumpled looking brand new baby.  The noises of the rest of the ward ebbed and flowed around us and I just sat, staring, drinking in every inch of you, and falling more and more in love by the second.  I remember those moments like they were yesterday, they’re so strong in my mind, despite the sleep deprivation (then and now) and there’s a little part of me that just says that no that really can’t have been a whole year ago.  Or perhaps just doesn’t want it to have been a year ago.  I set out to cherish and treasure this first year of yours, knowing from experience how fast the days turn to weeks and months, and I think for the most part I have done that, I just want time to slow down even more, to have even more time with my lovely baby before you become all little boy.

Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one

Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one

But the evidence is incontrovertible; I looked at you yesterday evening as you tucked into your mash, wielding a baby spoon in one hand and the fork which you’d purloined from H’s plate and thought how much the baby is fading and the little boy coming through.  It’s lovely and wonderful and exciting and happening so very very fast.

So before I blink and you’re two, what can I tell you about you at one.

Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one

Well you may be one, but you’re wearing either 18-24 month clothes or age 2.  I keep joking that you’ll have caught up with Elma soon, but then when I was searching for clean pyjamas I put a pair of tartan reindeer jammies on Elma, looked in your rather empty cupboard, decided that half a centimetre of wrist showing meant she’d grown out of them and promptly put them on you, and they fit.  We’ve had to add squishy corners to tables that never needed them before and move everything that isn’t little boy friendly higher and further back.  You pull up against the side of the desk in the lounge and try to pinch my phone or the keyboard, against the sofa in search of the knitting and yesterday I found you climbing into the basket of trains to reach a wooden pirate that Kitty had put on the windowsill.

Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one

You’re getting pretty good at climbing the stairs whenever we’re not watching, though I’ve only found you on the half way landing once, but then again, once was quite enough.  You love to roam around the ground floor of the house to come to find us or watch the washing machine and though you’re not walking or even really cruising yet, you’ve got a high speed crawl and the rest won’t be far off now.

I keep thinking that you’re teething too but so far it’s always turned out to be a cold and you still have the most gorgeous gummy grin.  It’s probably a good thing too given that you give kisses by trying to take a nice bite out of someone’s cheek.  It’s very affectionate and very slobbery.

Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one

You do love your food though, teeth or no teeth, especially mash, pasta shapes and sausages, along with cucumber sticks and just about any type of fruit, and you get very cross if you see someone else eating and they’re not offering you a bite.  No amount of substitution or distraction is going to work, you want what we have, which means Mummy and Daddy may have been slightly more relaxed with their third baby than they were with their first when it comes to the question of feeding the said baby tiny morsels of cake.

You love to chatter; you have a good “Amamama” for me and a “Dada” for H but your favourite word is “Da!” which generally means yes. No is a big shake of the head and backing away.

In looks I see so much of your biggest sister as a baby; the two of you are very alike in colouring, especially now that your hair has gone full on blond in the summer sunshine, and in expressions, and I think you’re all three very easily identifiable as siblings.

Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one

I think it’s fair to say that you are happiest surrounded by your family.  You’re not terribly keen on new people or places until you’ve had a chance to warm up to them, and many of our visits to family and friends have involved you climbing into my arms and staying put for the duration or until you decide it’s safe to come out.  I loved that when we were camping you became comfortable with the tent so quickly, and you loved that you slept every night curled up in my arms.  You love your Daddy and your Kitty and your Elma, but just right now, Mama is the favourite and you’re quite happy to shout at anyone else who tried to comfort you until I appear.

Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one


Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one


Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one

You have your moments when you’re not impressed with the world; when I take a phone or the computer keyboard back off you, when you realise that I’m in the room but not actually holding you, or when someone shuts the lounge door to save having to retrieve you from the stairs for the umpteenth time that day, but on the whole you are a sunny little boy, with an ever ready smile and a gorgeous giggle.

Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one

Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one


And after a year of being a family of five it feels like it has always been this way; Mummy, Daddy, Kitty, Elma and Pip.  I can remember what life was like as a four, but mostly by remembering specific occasions or activities, the sense of rightness about being a foursome has gone as if it never was.  Instead it feels as if you have always had your place in our family ready and waiting for you, that five has always been the right number.  You have made that jump from four to five feel so very natural and easy, and now it is our wonderful everyday ordinary.

Space for the Butterflies - Now you are one

So have a very Happy Very First Birthday my darling little Pip Squeak.  We love you x



Birthdays Family Milestones Photography Pip Video

Pip – before you were one


This time last year, the girls and I had gone for a walk with my Dad to get out of the house despite the pouring rain.  And one good march around Upton, a golf buggy ride back up the bumpy drive and with some words of encouragement from his biggest sister, Pip was on his way.  I know I say this with every child and every birthday but it’s true; time is passing faster and faster and I simply cannot believe that my snuggly tall little baby is about to be one.  And that can only mean that it’s time for a little look back on everything that has happened in Pip’s first year, everything that happened before you were one…

Elma Family Kitty Pip



Space for the Butterflies

We’re home.  Back to walls and carpets and comfy chairs and flat surfaces, to sturdy furniture, beds that don’t deflate overnight and a lot more space than we’re used to. It’s so strange, the house seems too quiet; for the first time in weeks we can’t hear the birds or the trees or the stream or in one case, the commuter trains to Paris, and the electric lights are too bright for people used to sitting out under the stars.

We have had the most amazing adventure; travelling through Normandy, to Paris, down to Annecy (south east France), over the border to Switzerland, up to Zermatt to see the snow if not the Alps, up on into Germany and the Black Forest and finally back to Cherbourg again, a beach, and the late ferry home.  It has been amazing, breathtaking, exhilarating and exhausting.  There were moments that felt like some of the toughest we’d worked through as parents and moments when H and I would look at each other as if to say “can you believe we’re here! This is so awesome!!”  It was one of the best decisions we have ever made.

We could easily have stayed away another few weeks, and we kept joking that we’d be the parents turning up with Kitty just as school started, hustling her out of camping clothes and into her uniform in the car park, while tent poles and sleeping bags spilled out of the car, but what we really wanted was a time machine, a chance to travel longer, but still arrive back in the UK with the same length of time before Pip’s birthday and Kitty’s start date, and the elephant in the corner that is my own restart.  It was the right time to come home.  To come home and start planning next year anyway.

I have so many stories to tell you; postcards home of the wonderful places we visited and the people we met along the way, thoughts on camping and travelling and a few of our top tips and tricks, and hopefully all fingers crossed I might even have some pictures too; my camera memory card, with all of the 1300 photos I’d taken up until that point, went all CHA error on me in Annecy and I have all my fingers and toes crossed that we’ll be able to recover them.

But that will have to wait for a little while at least.  Our car is as fully laden as it is possible to lade a car.  There isn’t a cubby hole, hidey place or niche that doesn’t have something squished in it, and unpacking it is going to be an adventure itself.  There are bags full of laundry long overdue an appointment with the washing machine, a tent to clean and air and in the practical sorting out, a chance to let my brain process it all.  And sleep. Sleep would also be good.

Thank you so much to everyone who visited and left comments while we were travelling, I loved reading all of them, I was just sorry that having very limited data meant I couldn’t reply, but I am so looking forward to visiting everyone’s Siblings posts, and catching up on at least some of the 1,000 plus posts in my feed reader!

Oh and there’s just the little matter of someone’s first birthday tomorrow too!

Family Living Arrows Photography Pip

Living Arrows 2015: 34/52


Living Arrows: a little moment of the week to pause, savour and treasure

Space for the Butterflies - Living Arrows 

Never has waiting for a ferry looked so good; we drove out of Cherbourg and along the coast until we found a beautiful beach, sandy with seashells, a view of the ferries coming in and out and lots and lots of sandy shallow rock pools just perfect for our baby zebra.  I posted a couple of pictures to Instagram yesterday and couldn’t resist sharing another one here.