Monthly Archives

February 2014

Elma Family Kitty Me and Mine Photography

Me and Mine – a family portrait for February


If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from this project so far it’s that it’s easy to commit to taking family photos when it’s sunny outside, when the daylight lasts long on into golden sunsets, and when you’re all spending heaps of time outside anyway.

It is not so easy to keep taking the pictures when despite all your high hopes the sunny days and the days that you’re all together do not coincide, when you’re struggling to think of anything more exciting than simply plonking the family in front of the camera, pressing the shutter and calling it quits.

But inspiration or no inspiration, sunshine or no sunshine, they’re the pictures that matter. It’s easy to add a family shot into the mix when you’ve got a camera out anyway, just as it’s easy to remember to take group shots at all the high days and holidays. It’s the pictures in between that complete the story, that tell our ordinary moments, the little changes month to month that we’re only going to see when we look back, the ones that I will be glad I took, even though it took a bit of effort at the time.

And anyway, as soon as I get the camera all set up and retrieve the magical remote trigger from it’s super top secret hiding place (to Kitty’s very evident delight) the faff and effort melts away and it’s just plain fun.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

February has been the month of snow and rainbows, of Sunday lunches followed by apple pie as I try to bake my way through a new recipe book, of a crocheted Octopus, of trips to the park and to run up and down hockey pitches, of visits from Gran and Grandad and texts from Grandpa sending a mini-postcard each day of his holiday in Venice and the Dolomites. There have been days of crazy cabin fever and days that were light and easy. Days that were stomach-knottingly stressful, and days that were full of joy. And some of them were the same day.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And there were pictures, always pictures.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Now we’re on the cusp of Spring and I am determined to take next month’s pictures outside. Even if we have to resort to umbrellas – again!

So here we are, my little family, in February.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life


dear beautiful

Family Kitty

Kittyisms – February 2014


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

“Sweetheart your shoes are on the wrong feet, please could you swap them over.”
“No they’re not!”
“Yes they are, remember, the leaves need to go on the outside.”
“Maybe they grew.”

“Daddy! Daddy! Today at [her nursery] there was a Fire Engine and I saw a Fire Human!”

(Note to concerned family – it was a planned visit, no small children went near a fire)

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And on a similar theme:

“What do you do if you see a fire?”
“And then what do you do?”
“Do you go towards it or run away from it?”
“Go towards it!”
“Yes. But only if you’re wearing a mask.”
“Are you wearing a mask?”

(more work required on that one then)

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

“Mummy! I’m a little bit married!”
“Oh right. Who are you married to lovely?”
“Umm – Daddy! And a little bit my friend Chris.”

Sitting suddenly up in bed first thing in the morning:
“Mummy! I just did waking up!”

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

“ChineseNewYear Daddy! We went to the ChineseNewYear shop and got ChineseNewYear food! For supper!”

(Never has Chinese takeaway been heralded with such joy!)

“Please Mummy may I have another stone?”
“Another what sweetie?”
“Another stone.”
“Do you mean a scone?” (Said with a short “o”)
“Yes please Mummy, another stone.”

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life


Completely MAD


I write because I can’t not. I write to process things, to let my head make order and pattern in our often chaotic lives, to consolidate my memories of this time in our family story, and in my creative work, and to make a family book that I hope my daughters will look back on fondly when they’re all big and grown up.

That’s why I write, but it isn’t exactly why I write here. If the drive was purely the need to record I could do that with a nice pen and some pretty paper, I could write completely freely without having to be aware of our safety, the longevity of the Internet and my daughters’ right to tell their own stories.

Yes, it’s lovely that our extended family flung out across the country and the world can see their tiny relations get slightly less tiny, and I do enjoy being told at family parties that I’m being stalked by Internet but I don’t know whether that would be enough by itself.

The lure, the challenge, the thing that brings me back here, to shout my words and my stories loudly into the abyss, is community. I love to get to know the people that read, to share with them their triumphs and disasters and to connect with people the world over who get why it is that at the end of a long day and with my babies tucked up snug in bed I might want to sit down and write about them a bit more.

And with that comes recognition, that magical moment when you can tell from a comment that its author really truly understood the point you were trying to make. That is what brings me here.

And it seems it’s that time of year to celebrate blogging. I’ve been blown away to be nominated for MAD awards in the Best Blog Writer and Best Craft Blog categories, truly it made me giggle like a very smiley giggly person!

At the end of the nominations the four blogs with the most nominations go through to the final, along with a wildcard entry chosen by the judges. I know that I don’t have anything like the reach or the readership of the really big parenting blogs, and I’m OK with that, and I don’t really expect to go any further than the nominations round. But… I’m still me, still just a little bit competitive and so I’m going to be remarkably un-English and throw my hat in the ring and say,

Please, pretty please – would you like to nominate me? As well as Best Craft Blog and Best Blog Writer I think I’m eligible for Best Blog Photography, Family Fun, and – in the spirit of “Go Big or Go Home” – Blog of the Year.

You just need to give an email address to nominate (to prevent multiple entries) and they’re open until midnight on 14 March, so click the button and go for it!

And if you’d also like to vote for some lovely bloggers who have a great chance of actually making it through to the final do have a peek at

Hurrah for Gin (surely a shoe-in for Best New Blog)
Dear Beautiful
Mummy Daddy And Me
 3 Children and It
Along Came Cherry
Gingerlily Tea

And after all of that shameless self promotion I shall go and have a little lie down, and perhaps a scone or two with butter and jam to restore my national stereotype to its proper place.

Elma Family Kitty Motherhood



Yesterday felt like one of those days that needs a do-over.

It was perhaps doomed from the start when I woke up with my feet sticking out of the duvet and my face pressed into the bobbly velour tummy of a giant snowman while next door a certain young lady snoozed blissfully in my bed, under my nice big duvet, cuddled up to my husband. And from then on it seemed that the momentum was irrepressibly downwards.

I cooked scrambled eggs for breakfast (specifically requested and usually a sure fire winner for both girls), and ending up the only one eating; had more discussions than I can count that started “It is not OK to …”; and discovered that the strange noise I could hear from downstairs while trying (in vain) to settle Elma for a nap, was Kitty moving one of our dining chairs through the lounge and into the kitchen to climb up onto the countertop and empty the spice rack.  I should give full marks for ingenuity, and in truth it’s never been expressly explained as something that we don’t do, mostly because I never thought of anyone doing it!

And we finished up as we started, with a bedtime that’s left me rather drained, involving repeated discussions about why small girls sleep in their own beds, not Mummy’s bed, why the landing creaks mean that I can see and hear you sneak out of your bed, and much wailing (the small daughters) and gnashing of teeth (their mother – gently – my teeth take enough punishment as it is).

It’s enough to make you want to plonk your head down in their dinner plates of cold, damp and utterly untouched spaghetti and just leave it there.

But this isn’t a pity party.  No really, it isn’t, I promise.  I can’t change yesterday, it is what it is.  All I can do is change how I feel about it, how I remember it, and whether I let it be a good day or a bad day.

So my challenge is to find five things that I’m really proud of today; five special moments that make a good day.  And, spoiler alert, if I’ve posted this you know I found five.  If I can’t get to five it will be a dark secret known only to me and my webhosting.  So let us begin:

  1. When Elma had a nap this afternoon I played a giant game of Scotch (memory game) with Kitty using all 20 pairs.  She won 13-7.
  2. We went to our lunchtime story group at a local theatre and met up with two friends from my NCT group and their little ones.  Between us we’ve got six small girls and as the theatre has an enviable dressing up box they were all in princess heaven.
  3. Rather than play jigsaw puzzles after our Scotch game, I took Kitty into the kitchen to help me make “stones” (scones).  She rubbed in the butter, stirred in the sugar and cut out a baking tray’s worth of heart shapes with only minimal ‘wastage’ of uncooked dough into a tiny tummy, and it was so lovely to spend that time just being with her.
  4. When Kitty pulled out her giant Zoo ology book we settled down in a patch of sunlight with one girl hanging off either knee and the book spread before us to look at all the different animals (and find the Chameleon on each page), and then followed up the animal theme with Slinky Malinki and Rhino’s Don’t Eat Pancakes.
  5. When I looked out of the kitchen window and saw a giant rainbow with just a hint of a double blazing down into the village we put shoes and jumpers on and went out into the front garden for a better look, and a long chat about pretty colours and the colours of a rainbow.Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life
  6. (because rules are made to be broken) I split and buttered a scone for Kitty and sent her ahead into the lounge while I made one for Elma, only to discover that by the time I got there, she had given half of hers to Elma “so that she isn’t sad Mummy” and I thought, “it’s going to be OK”.

There’s probably more I could add on both sides of the scale but I think I know which side I want to weight.  At the end it was just a day.  And tomorrow is a whole new one all 0ver again, and it’s going to be great.