Elma Family Kitty Photography Pip {the ordinary moments}

The magic of time standing still


Next week Kitty goes back to school.  It’s been a great Easter holiday but for me a funny holiday too in some respects.  I had enough holiday left at the end of last year that my Christmas holiday matched Kitty’s exactly which was wonderful and lovely in so many ways, and so this was the first proper holiday where she’s been at home but I haven’t.  I loved that on my working from home days I got to have lunch with the whole family, and even just hearing their giggles and racket as they ran around in the background, and being able to nip out of the studio for hugs when I went for a drink has me blessing the power of modern technology ten times over.  But even having done everything within my power to be as present as possible, I still got to the end of the week with a little bit of a feeling as if I’d missed out on some of the fun, which I admit may possibly have been brought on a little by seeing how much fun they all had exploring the new Cass Art in Birmingham without me.  So when H headed out of the door quite ridiculously early on Saturday morning leaving us golf orphans and widow, we decided to find a little fun of our own.

And with a brief detour to the supermarket for the only pair of wellies which they had in Elma’s size, which fortunately came with Cinderella all over them and therefore are her favourite shoes ever ever ever, we headed to one of our happy places, Charlecote Park.Space for the Butterflies - the magic of time standing still

When I was on maternity leave, and before H had resigned from work, we used to come here all the time.  If the children were being fractious, if I’d just run out of ideas of what to do or where to go, if it was raining, if it was Thursday; we’d head to Charlecote.  It is actually entirely possible that I have on more than one occasion turned up well before they opened because by 9.30 in the morning it was apparent that we all needed to get out of the house.  But this time it wasn’t driven by cabin fever so much as wanting to go back to somewhere we all love.Space for the Butterflies - the magic of time standing still

We started under grey skies, walking out across the park to where the deer had set up camp for the day, already attracting an admiring crowd of fans and a few tripods and humongous lenses.  Elma has a pair of pink Hatley pyjamas covered with deer that I think are possibly the cutest things ever (they’re these ones) so she was fascinated by watching actual real life deer, she kept telling me:

“they’re like my pyjamas! but they move!”

Space for the Butterflies - the magic of time standing still

We wandered along, going at whatever pace the girls fancied; sitting for a while in the bird hide to see if we could spot anything interesting, and mostly seeing the ducks, I think we were too noisy for anything else.  Kitty suggested a game of Pooh Sticks off the bridge and thanks to all the recent rain the stream was high enough and flowing fast enough to manage a gentle game – we have a history of playing Pooh Sticks off that bridge and having to give up because the stream is going very slowly one way and the prevailing wind is blowing hard the other way and everything just stops dead in the water – but yesterday Mama won, Kitty and Elma came joint second and Pip brought up the rear, which was pretty impressive given I dropped Pip’s and my own at the same time.

Space for the Butterflies - the magic of time standing still

Space for the Butterflies - the magic of time standing still

Space for the Butterflies - the magic of time standing still

If my daughters grow up to be serious experts on 18th century carriages I’ll know it’s because of their obsession with the Charlecote “Cinderella carriages”; the girls could happily spend hours in the carriage displays talking about which carriage is which and who would have driven them, and which one they’d have for which particular journey.  I tried to break it to them gently that, at least from my side of the family, as their great-great-great-aunt Nance was a ladies’ maid and their great-great-great-grandfather was a butler, they’d have been far more likely to be clinging to the roof seats or sat with the driver than ever inside but they promised me solemnly that they’d hold on tightly.

Hungry tummies finally propelled us in the direction of the cafe, and we sat outside in the gorgeous sunshine, munching away and laughing and talking and people watching, and although we knew H was home from golf no one was in any hurry to head back.  So we explored a bit further, ran down gravel paths lined with flower beds bursting with daffodils and all the signs of spring.  Out in the park there are a few old trees that have fallen but been left as the perfect sort of natural climbing frame, and all three little ones headed for the nearest one at speed.  And when they’d had enough of climbing the girls spread their waterproofs on the grass and we all just sat in the sunshine;  Elma snuggled up under one arm, Kitty laid with her head in my lap, and Pip nearby digging up a molehill with his fingers   And it was as we sat that I had one of those moments where life is just so unbelievably utterly perfect in its contented ordinariness that I never wanted it to end.

Space for the Butterflies - the magic of time standing still

Even though the children are all older, and in Pip’s case, much more mobile, and even though I’ve been back at work six months, it was as if it had all fallen away and we were back where we were last summer. My little gang of four, back in the rhythm of the days when we didn’t have deadlines and school runs and there was no pressure to do anything or be anywhere, we could just be who we were and where we were.  And perhaps it’s that that I miss; the peace at the centre of our family, when time is immaterial and nothing else matters but that here and now.Space for the Butterflies - the magic of time standing still

Whatever the magic, it was so good to capture it again, even if on Monday morning I need to pull on a suit and head off for the train, and the perfect way to mark the end of the Easter holidays, with a little Mama time when time stood still.

Joining Katie at Mummy Daddy Me for The Ordinary Moments

And yes, I’m still asking, I promise the nominations round ends soon and then I’ll stop, but if you do have a minute over the weekend I would love a nomination in the MADs and the BiBs blogging awards for writer, craft, or family/school days (all the details are here). I realised when it came to the Food category that I don’t actually read too many food blogs so if you have anyone you’re championing please shout it out in the comments; my choices, if only I could pick all of them, would be Lets Talk Mommy, Taming Twins or Jam and Clotted Cream (even if as a Devonian I keep wanting to call it Clotted Cream and Jam!).

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  • Lindsay 03/04/2016 at 7:31 am

    I too have loved the freedom of the holidays and that park looks like an amazing place to unwind and let off steam.

  • Jodie 03/04/2016 at 8:05 am

    This looks like a gorgeous place to visit, it’s so nice sometimes to go back to places that you often visit and just take it slow. Can’t beat a game of good ol’ pooh sticks haha! Sounds like you had a lovely day 🙂 xx

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 03/04/2016 at 8:24 am

    I am glad you have managed to try and be as present as possible in the holidays Carie, but I can imagine it must have been hard. I am glad you had a lovely day together in your favourite place to make up for it. It looks like a gorgeous place for them to unwind and let off steam and these are lovely photos. x

  • Louise | Squished blueberries 03/04/2016 at 9:23 am

    That looks like a beautiful place to explore! I love those moments when everything just feels right. It must be so hard in the holidays, knowing they are having fun that you can’t join in with. I would be the same, I hate to feel like I’ve missed out. Although there’s been a couple of days this week when I’ve briefly wished I could switch places with Carl and be the one swanning off to the land of hot coffee and adult conversation

  • Sherry 03/04/2016 at 9:27 am

    This place looks amazing and sounds like you had an amazing day. I don’t know how I will cope with both of us working full time when J goes to school, but I can only imagine how hard it must be. Lovely photos x

  • LauraCYMFT 03/04/2016 at 10:30 am

    Sounds like a wonderful place to visit and spend the day. It’s hard when you are working and the kids are off. At least you managed to enjoy a fun day together before you head back to work and Kitty back to school.

  • Donna 03/04/2016 at 12:13 pm

    It sounds like you had such a lovely day. We’ve only been to Charlecote Park once but loved it – such a beautiful place. The perfect place for time to go back to last summer. I hope you have many more moments just like that x

  • Kim 03/04/2016 at 1:18 pm

    This is a beautiful post Carie. I am so happy your found this time to soak up with your littles. Wishing you many more days like this over the next few months.

  • Laura @ Little Ladies Big World 03/04/2016 at 2:22 pm

    Beautiful photos and it sounds like such a nice day. We too have our go to place and sometimes it’s nice to appreciate wanting to go there not just having to xx

  • Caroline 03/04/2016 at 7:45 pm

    Looks like you had a fabulous trip to make up for any missed time over the holidays.

  • Rachel In Real Life 03/04/2016 at 10:31 pm

    Charlecote Park sounds (and looks!) like a beautiful place. That contented feeling, when you feel life is just about perfect is wonderful and so precious. I love what Elma said about the deer and her pyjamas, how adorable!

  • You Baby Me Mummy 04/04/2016 at 10:35 pm

    Wow what a wonderful place to explore. Such gorgeous pictures too. x

    • Carie 05/04/2016 at 2:12 pm

      thank you lovely

  • sustainablemum 05/04/2016 at 11:22 am

    I too love those days when you don’t have to rush. I try and ensure that all our time outside is like that, but I don’t always manage it……..hope you can fit more of them in this year.

    • Carie 05/04/2016 at 2:07 pm

      Oh I hope so too – it does make me miss the days before we had school and I was working and we had all the time in the world!