Monthly Archives

April 2014

Elma Family Kitty Me and Mine Photography

Me and Mine – a family portrait for April


If there’s been a theme to this month (other than, oh my goodness, where has all the time gone and how soon is this baby arriving!!!) it has been family.

From snatched moments as a family of four, made all the more precious because they’ve seemed a little thin on the ground, to the very great pleasure of days spent with aunties and uncles, or Grandpa, or Grandma and Grandad, or, just so as not to overwhelm ourselves, Grandma, Grandad, Great-Gran, four Great-Aunts, two Great-Uncles and four first cousins once removed (H’s first cousins if that level of family arithmetic makes you want to stand on your head to figure it all out)!

And so it seems only appropriate that our family photos this month should be pictures taken by family, while with family.

The first set were taken by H’s sister, at least in part to keep the little ones occupied while an Easter bunny that would at a casual glance seem to resemble Grandad to a remarkable degree, hopped about the front garden, scattering foil wrapped goodies in his wake.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Clearly, all the focus is on the chocolate, and Kitty it seems was just not convinced that that one lone bunny would be safe,even if it stayed in view at all times. Well you never do know what those impish bunnies might get up to if you’re not careful.  It must be rescued at all costs!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And then my favourite (despite Elma’s rather worried expression), taken by Grandad last weekend as we all gathered again to celebrate the baptism of the tiniest member of the family. The little wee man was as cute as a button and I think was asleep for the actual moment of his baptism although he made his feelings about the whole situation very loudly known beforehand (according to some of the older ladies in our church that shows you’ve done it properly!).

Kitty spent half the service carefully watching the baby (because the surrounding adults might not know what they’re doing) and then playing with Grandma’s glasses and Elma tired of giving me a running commentary of her toddling up and down at the back of the church (from where I’m told she was barely audible) to give careful scrutiny, and a little taste test, to Grandma’s charm bracelet.

And more to the point; they got to wear their Easter dresses without raincoats this time!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

My little family, in April.

dear beautiful

Books Elma Family Kitty Reading what we're reading

My Mummy Says {what we’re reading}


Growing up on the coast we spent a lot of our summers at the beach. There were the quick trips down to the shingle strip nearest our house for an afternoon bathe, or the summer when we borrowed a Topper (small dinghy, fits on a roof rack) and sailed out from the beach along the bay with at least one passenger perched on the foredeck cuddled up to the mast trying not to lean back too far and turn us into a temporary submarine.

And then there were the trips to the beaches with a capital B. Not big beaches in the way that Bournemouth would be a big beach, mile after mile of sand and suncreamed people on every spare inch, but Beaches because they were somewhere to go for the whole day. Lannacombe, Gara Rock, Black Cove, Bantham, they all required a little planning (is it a day for surfboard? or buckets and spades? or both? Should we take the boules or the cricket?) and a lot of pack lunch.

We had our favourite spots to pitch camp on each depending on tide and height of sand and the routine was always fairly similar; mark out our ‘spot’, then peel off into bathers and go for a swim or a surf as soon as possible, followed by a little running around to warm up again and then lunch.

It was a pattern followed more or less but just about every family up and down the beach and as the remnants of packed lunches were gathered up again and the parents settled down to read the paper or a book or have a snooze with the strict instruction that no one was to go back in the sea for an hour while their lunches settled, we children started to drift together, and, in the way that only truly works when you’re under 10, within five minutes we’d all be new best friends, all working together to dam the stream, or make a really big ball castle that someone’s Daddy would be encouraged to join in with to do the all important tunnel through the middle.

We were inseparable, right up until the end of the day, when we’d all go our separate ways soon to forget names and faces, only the enjoyment lingering in our memories.

If it all sounds like we spent the summer straight out of an Enid Blyton book, well (a) perhaps, and (b) no ginger beer – but it was awesome!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life - What we're Reading - My Mummy Says

And it’s those memories that came to mind when I picked up My Mummy Says because it’s the story of a trip to the seaside for two little ones and their Mummies.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life - What we're Reading - My Mummy Says

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life - What we're Reading - My Mummy Says

There’s all the planning and packing and travelling that I remember, the excitement of arriving, and the feel of the sand under your toes, the friendships made, and the sleepy journey home, and while I knew Elma would love it (because it has pages, which is her primary, and frequently sole requirement in a book at the moment), it’s Kitty who’s claimed it as bedtime story this week.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life - What we're Reading - My Mummy Says

It’s a great bedtime story, it ends at a bedtime, with sleepy little ones tucked up dreaming of sandy toes and buckets and spades, and the words, and pacing are all the gentle lullaby of the sea, combined with softly coloured illustrations, and perhaps just a little bit of that retro feel.

After all, if I can’t get the girls to the beach, the least I can do is have them longing for it!

Space for the Butterflies: What We're Reading

If you missed out last week then do go and take a peek at  Anne-Marie’s review of Blast Off, a tortoise and hare for the space race age perhaps! And Vickie shared the brilliant tale of a frog-collector turned dog fancier who decided that in fact, a duck was his perfect new best friend in Wanted: The perfect pet!

If you have a favourite, please do share it with us; each linky stays open for a week so there’s plenty of time to join in. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you!

Elma Family Kitty Living Arrows Photography

Living Arrows 17/52





Happiness is an afternoon in the sunshine at Great-Gran’s house.

Because if it wasn’t enough that we have a Kitty and Elma sized monkey swing seat in our back garden for the girls to enjoy, it turns out that if you’re at Great-Gran’s house, she’s got a swing seat that fits everybody!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Well, perhaps not the whole extended family, but certainly your sister, Daddy and a favourite cousin.  Although, if you kick the big people off you get even more space to play,



Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family lifeand pull funny faces,Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family lifeand have a really good swing!

And, when you’re at Great-Gran’s house, there are lots and lots of people to practice walking with!Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

What more could any girl want?

living arrows
Elma Family Kitty {the ordinary moments}

Lazy Sunny Good Friday


One of the loveliest things about this Easter was getting to spend time with the bits of the family we don’t manage to see half as often as we’d like.  We’d headed up north early on Good Friday and as H’s brother and his wife managed to both get the day off at the same time (they’re both hospital based doctors so that’s actually quite an achievement on a bank holiday) and so they came over to spend the day with their nieces.

Other than “travel to Yorkshire” we had absolutely no plans, and that turned out to be the very best way to spend the day.  The girls revelled in the attention; Elma tottering from one friendly knee to another and Kitty alternately running around in the sunshine and rediscovering all her favourite corners of Grandma and Grandad’s house.

Such a simple moment; out on the front drive in the lunchtime sunshine, with the little stream trickling into the fishpond in the background.  H and his brother had gravitated to the garage (as always) in search of some sort of a game, and pulled out a few tennis balls and the cricket set, and Elma decided that she could walk perfectly well enough to start mastering spin bowling,

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life


with just a little help from Grandad.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Kitty was sat on a footstool at the open french windows, serenading us with a variety of slightly different notes blown with great puff on a french horn that is almost as big as she is, and I perched on the front rocker, just watching and basking in the sunshine – and taking pictures every now and then.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It was family time at its best; relaxed, unhurried, with no plan or timetable to stick to; each of us utterly contented just in being with the people we love.  And it’s pretty much how we spent the rest of the day, although the cricket set did get swapped out for the pop-up pool table at one point and despite my 3-0 defeat by H, I’m still convinced that outdoor pool should definitely be a thing!

mummy daddy me

Elma Family Kitty

The Great Eggstravaganza


Easter was amazing. It might have been cold, it might have been raining off and on, and the girls’ adorable matching Easter dresses might have been accessorised with their winter coats, but we still had a wonderful time.

We headed up to H’s parents in Yorkshire for the long weekend and surrounded ourselves with family of all sorts of degrees of extended and close, from Great-Gran all the way down to H’s very tiny, and very cute 12 week old baby cousin who was generally adored, never lacked for cuddles and, after careful examination, was pronounced to be “bay-bee!” by an Elma rather delighted to find someone smaller than herself.

But the highlight has to have been the Easter bunny hunt. I rather suspect two things: One; my parents-in-law are unable to walk past a display of chocolate bunnies in the supermarket without adding a pair to the basket, and two; they’re going to be finding little chocolate eggs in the flower beds for the rest of the summer.



The garden fairly bloomed with little chocolatey blossoms and glittery bunnies colonised every vantage point.

Kitty, who had spotted a good few of the goodies through the kitchen window needed no encouragement to fill her basket and Elma cottoned on pretty quickly too, limited only by the speed of her tiny feet as she pottered across the grass in pursuit of her sister.

And when we’d searched and searched down low, and got to the point that we were 90% certain that we’d found everything, there perched up in the trees, far out of reach of tiny fingers, were three big eggs, one each for Daddy, Mummy and Auntie A.

In what remained of the smattering of sunshine we retired to the front drive where the ladies set about lining up their treasure (Kitty) and eating it (Elma).

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Never in the history of an Easter Egg hunt have I seen so much chocolate all in one place outside of a tour around the Cadbury factory, but from the looks on Kitty and Elma’s faces it was about so much more than the chocolate itself (though don’t get me wrong, they’ve been heartily enjoying it – as have my colleagues who reaped the benefit of a little parental ‘culling’); they loved the chase, the running around looking for shiny wrappers, the excitement of a special treat having been laid on for them, and the infectious joy of their grandparents watching them having so much fun.

Despite, or perhaps because of the weather, and everyone’s determination that it wasn’t going to make a blind bit of difference to our plans, it was an epic Easter Egg hunt.