52 weeks of happy mash up, weeks 12, 13 and 14

Just for the sake of completeness I am going to amalgamate my last few 52 weeks of happy posts in to one and then normal ‘service’ can resume.

Week 12/52 – March 19th to 25th

IMG_1929My haul of yarn from a charity shop. Four almost complete balls of 100% cotton and six and a bit balls of  Shetland, 100% wool, lace weight. All for less than £4 and bought whilst having a sociable, child free, morning out with an old friend.

IMG_6613Starting my bunny making extravaganza. Making the centres was the easy part…

IMG_6626Doing some ‘research’ for a suitable birthday cake recipe.

IMG_6620Not a great photo but a magic moment. The Middle Miss is really beginning to enjoy reading to herself and these Usborne phonics books are just right for her.

Week 13/52 March 26th – April 1st

IMG_6691Making an aubergine parmigiana with my little helper (I can’t help but think of Miranda Hart’s Extreme Mothering article in the Telegraph every time I make this). We got cooking oil everywhere and I was slightly nervous about the proximity to a smoking hot griddle pan but the end result was very tasty. Even Son Number One ate it up. I had to laugh at his verdict “Hmm, it smells good, like a nice pizza but it looks horrible.” He had a fair point. My advice was to shut his eyes while he ate it…

IMG_6703More reading, this time ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ by the great Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Everything about this makes me happy – the fact that she can read, the fact that she loves it so much, the fact that she read to her little brother and the fact that he listened intently. Happy, happy, happy.

IMG_6708The arrival of The Easter Basket from school. The Middle Miss was so excited about doing this. Also, bringing it home marked the start of the holidays, which meant we could go….

IMG_2051here! It may look a bit cold, dark and brooding in this photo but trust me, it is a beautiful spot. I have loads and loads and loads of photos to upload of our happy holiday with friends and family. If you want to see more, take a peek at last year’s lambing time visit by clicking here.

Week 14/52 April 2nd – 8th

IMG_6715A real fire in our holiday accommodation – bliss, especially when the electricity went off one day.

IMG_2066

Don’t ask me why but taking photos of hens makes me happy. Perhaps it is because they don’t mind it when you get close to them, perhaps it is because they are good subjects and often stay relatively still. There’s just something appealing about them, despite the fact they are the ultimate recyclers and eat anything.

IMG_2004My older children, their cousin and some blue sky!!! Yes, yes there is quite a bit of snow too but when it is piled up in dramatic drifts I don’t mind that, even in April. This photo is all about the freedom that holidays bring.

IMG_6746Freedom that extends to me too. It’s lovely to be on holiday with friends and family but one of the bonuses is that I can escape for a little walk, all on my own, down the lane in the clear, cold, twilight. If only my camera had been able to really capture the light and the landscape.

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The joy of…..Lambing time

Son Number One is in love with the farming experience. At Christmas, when I asked him if anything was as exciting as the festive season he replied “Well, maybe lambing time”. I remember feeling the same excitement as a child when we visitied a friend’s farm. There must be some deep connection with our collective agricultural past. As you may know, sister and brother-in-law live on a Cumbrian hill farm. It’s in a beautiful, quiet spot on the far eastern side of the Lake District National Park. The hill on the horizon is Loadpot Hill, this picture was taken on the footpath to Whale (yes, there is a little hamlet called that). The River Lowther is just below the first row of trees. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you will see a white spot next to my arrow. That is the gable end of their home.

We set off for our Easter fix of lambing time activities straight away as school broke up on the 29th of March. This year we had arranged to stay with some friends in the holiday cottage. It’s actually the old farm house and looks out onto a yard full of cows. Our boys were very much looking forward to being involved in the working of the farm. I think it’s fair to say their expectations were exceeded!

Our car parked up in front of the cottage

The (sheep’s eye) view from the kitchen window. The mesh is to ensure they don’t decide to join you at lunch time.

Stove in living room

Did I mention the yard and the cows?

The children were given small jobs to do and that definitely added to their enjoyment. All six year olds like to think that they can do a task as well as an adult, and in the farming world, sometimes they can. No wonder Son Number One’s confidence goes up in leaps and bounds with each visit.

In this day and age, when freedom to play outdoors is limited, what small child could fail to enjoy building a straw bale den, covering their wellies in muck and then washing it off in a tumbling stream, collecting eggs ‘straight from the hen’s bottom’ or herding sheep in a family team. There are few adults who don’t get some pleasure from the experience of bottle feeding a hungry lamb. We did all those things.

Last weekend we sneaked back for one last fix of lambing time. I would be misleading you if I said it was a perfect weekend because actually, we had a fair bit of sickness in the family. All the children have had a bug, which I suspect was ‘slapped cheek disease/fifth disease’. However, I would still do it again. You can’t beat chasing sheep in such a beautiful location, especially when you find out that it rained at home and was fine ‘down on the farm’.

I will leave you with some more images of our trips. Don’t forget, if you fancy a visit yourself, you can find details here. The rates are very reasonable and I think there is still some summer holiday availability.



Wild Weather

These pictures were taken last Friday, the 30th of December over at my Sister and Brother in-law’s farm in Cumbria. As you can see, it was rather damp. Not damp enough to deter Son Number One who is farm obsessed.

It had been so wet in earlier weeks that their little valley had been flooded.  The evidence of that event was still lying all over the fields. Several dry stone walls have been knocked down and spread around. The space under the bridge was so blocked up with debris that the stream was teaming over the top. I suspect that after the wind and rain we’ve had this week the fields will be in a worse state.

Thankfully there are always cosy indoor activities: as much wooden train track as you can fit into the lounge and a friendly Jack Russell to get acquainted with.

If you want to get an idea of how lovely it normally is in this neck of the woods, take a look at this and this. Don’t forget, if you want to see my pictures in a bit more detail you can click on them and they will open up in a separate window (still as a mosaic though).