Hazy days of Summer….

So it’s September. Leaves are falling and I swear you can smell Autumn in the air already. I can’t believe the summer has gone so fast. Three months. Over like that (snaps fingers in case you didn’t get that!) Someone asked me today what we did this summer and to be honest, I couldn’t really answer (except for our little holiday). It’s not that we’ve sat at home doing nothing (the weather’s been too good), but not having a car really does keep you to the local area. So to remind myself more than anything here’s a little round up of what we’ve done over the past three months.


So many parks! We’re really lucky where we live, in that we’ve got load of parks, many within walkable distance. They’re also free and provide opportunities for my active son to throw himself around. When he’s not on the swings (always with the swings). What’s not to like?


Happy on the swings at High Lane


Action shot in Grayshott Park. Plus the only one we found with a properly lockable gate. I love this park 😉


Loving the space at Hammer Park


Peekaboo in Lion Lane Park. It’s the only one we don’t really enjoy. When I say we of course, I mean me. It’s only really due to the busy roads that surround it. I’m He’s just not really ready for this one.


And while not technically a park, we loved our trips to Applegarth!

The Garden

A bit like the park, but without the swings and the potential for him to break free and head to the road. We love our garden and this year it really has become the boy’s domain. Even the veg aren’t safe from those little hands. Suffice to say we’ve had very few tomatoes this year!

Oscar's Garden

Oscar’s Garden


I’ll ‘help’ Mama!


Watering the ‘brees’ (strawberries)


Oscar through the tulips


We had so much wildlife in the garden this year. including tonnes of beautiful butterflies


Space to run


Hmm, after pulling up the onions he parked his cars in the bed….

... and then transplanted the fledgling tomatoes to the strawberry planter. Sorry Daddy!

… and then transplanted the fledgling tomatoes to the strawberry planter. Sorry Daddy!

Finding fun in everyday things

Several times this summer, on days when we’ve stayed in the house, he’s suddenly become bored of the toys he has. That’s when we raid the cupboards and see what we can find to have some fun. Again it’s cheap, or in the case of water play, free. Yes it might not look the most thrilling to us, no exploding baking soda fountains or ooblek (not that I don’t want to try these one day) but to the boy it’s just dandy!


Hoovering up lentils is supremely satisfying! I have no idea why!


Spaghetti and a bottle. And Cheerios


Shorts & wellies? That’s my boy


Burying and finding things in boxes filled with old cereal




When did the term ‘playdate’ even come into being a thing? I don’t remember it from my childhood. Ho hum, I guess it does accurately describe what we’re doing. Making a date to play. And play we have. At our house, at The Hen House, in friends gardens, in parks. There hasn’t been a week this summer when we’ve not had various people over or been out visiting.

photo 4

Our friends Lou and Leia visited from Texas.


Spending time with Autumn in her garden


We had the NCT girls over several times. Rudy & Sammy thoroughly enjoyed the teepee


First go on a trampoline in Matthew’s garden


Having dinner with the bestie

Some days were busier than others. But if it doesn't go in the diary it doesn't happen!

Some days were busier than others. But if it doesn’t go in the diary it doesn’t happen!


This year we took Oscar on his first holiday to Moonfleet Manor. I’ve written about it at length here, but suffice to say it was a super experience. Either side of the break we had something of a staycation, which involved trips to the park and ice cream at Dylans.


Perfect evening in Weymouth


The boy had chocolate, I had Raspberry Ripple.

New friends

This summer we made various new friends. Katy (aka@ModernMummy) and her girls, as well as another Katie and her son Charlie. But, this summer we have also made some tiny weeny new friends. So many of our friends have been pregnant/had babies this summer I’ve been to three baby showers and had loads of tiny baby cuddles. This summer we’ve welcomed Mollie, Lawrie, Georgia, Ella and Esmée to our world.


Mollie & Me


Baby Georgia

Handsome baby Laurie

Handsome baby Lawrie


Phew what a busy time! And yet when I was asked, I couldn’t say what we’d done! I guess it just goes so fast, it all blurs into one. It’s made me realise just how fast time can pass. As I’ve said before, Oscar starts preschool in January. It’s only four months away. And if it goes as fast as the summer, well we’ll be there in a blink of an eye. We don’t really have any plans for this ‘term’. I’d like Oscar to have as much fun with me as possible, playing with cars, or crafts or whatever he fancies and always focussing on language development (he starts a Chatterbox course at the local Sure Start centre at the end of September especially for this purpose). But sometimes I’m sure the days will pass in a blur of cheerios and Thomas the Tank Engine. I hope to have days out and I hope to see him play with his friends. Then there’s Christmas and all the potential for fun that comes with that (yup I already have a Christmas Pintrest board going).

But really, I’ll just be happy if he’s happy.

Grubby, but happy

Grubby, but happy


Cornish Gardens Confetti Company – a review

So I’m off to a wedding at the weekend and I can’t wait. I don’t know about you but one of my favourite parts of the ceremony is actually the bit where the bride and groom leave the church/venue as man and wife, usually to rapturous applause of their nearest and dearest and in a shower of confetti. I love seeing their grinning faces and I know from experience it’s one of the most sublimely happy moments of the day. At my own wedding we had strict instructions that no paper confetti was to be used (as the venue owners found it had a habit of welding itself to the stone). I was so sure people wouldn’t be able to find individual sachets of natural confetti that we provided our own, held in handmade paper cones.

Hydrangea petal confetti in handmade cones, expertly dished out by our usher Pete

Hydrangea petal confetti in handmade cones, expertly dished out by our usher Pete

I could have done away with confetti all together but I’m so glad I didn’t. It made for a beautiful moment I will never forget.

A memory to treasure

A memory to treasure

These days more and more venues are stipulating only natural biodegradable confetti be used and quite rightly so. Why should your beautiful moment be anything other than ecologically sound?

So for this Saturday I ordered two sachets of petals from the brilliant Cornish Gardens Confetti Company. It’s run by my friend, Fiona Purvis and provides individual sachets of natural confetti made from the flowers in her Cornish garden. It’s exactly what I was sure my guests wouldn’t find when I got married six years ago.

The delivery was super fast and the packaging? Wow. Who says confetti has be an afterthought in a boring box? Fiona’s sachets are beautifully printed vellum, which not only look amazing but are also the perfect size to fit in a pocket or clutch bag. After all, who goes to a wedding with their big old handbag?





The petals inside are a mixture of flowers, but contain mainly rose and hydrangea. Each sachets contains two handfuls of petals, plenty to shower the happy couple. Sachets are £3 each plus p&p and can be ordered through their Facebook page.

If you have a wedding to go to this year, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Cornish Gardens Confetti Company. If you’re like me you probably spent time and energy planning your outfit, don’t let some boring, bulky confetti box ruin the ensemble.



I paid for this confetti myself and was not asked to write this review. I just think its nice to pass on info about products I love.



Round and round….

Our garden is huge. I’m not bragging here, I’m just stating a fact. Our house is tiny (I think I may have mentioned this before 😉 ), but our garden? Well it’s at least three times the foot print of the house. It’s wider than the property, unusual in a terrace cottage like ours, and around 100ft in length. It has a shed and what was called, rather grandly in the property details, a “summer house” (we still call it that but really its a glorified 15ft wide shed, with a porch and a deck at the bottom of the garden). It’s flat all the way down (unusual in an area called the Surrey Hills!) and it’s what truly sold us the house.

We moved in just as I found out I was pregnant (typical!) but I remember thinking how exciting it would be to have all this space to play in. The first year I had Oscar the summer weather was awful. The beautiful summer maternity leave I’d been promised never truly materialised and hanging out in the garden every day we were not. Oscar went through a phase of experiencing the “witching hour”. Did your children ever do that? Inexplicably and inconsolably start wailing for around an hour, usually in the late afternoon? Mine did. Usually between 5 and 6. You could set your watch by it. And the only thing and I’m serious when I say the only thing that ever helped calm him down during these periods, was taking him, in my arms, out in to the garden. I would walk him around and he would look up at the trees and the sky and stop crying. Just like that. I willed the rain to cease every day!

But we never actually played in the garden much.

Sunshine - a rare occurrence in 2012

Sunshine – a rare occurrence in 2012

Last summer was, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this, glorious! It was a polar opposite to the previous year and there were times we had to stay in as it was just too sunny! We got good at applying suncream quickly and thoroughly and finding hats that had been dropped en-route. The garden became more of a place to hang out, but it suddenly started to show it’s dangers too. We’d baby proofed the house to within an inch of it’s life, but never considered the garden. The thought of Oscar diving off the two stone steps onto the patio face first still makes me wince. He was upset, I mean who wouldn’t have been be having just taken of half the skin on their face, but he was more upset that I would let him straight back out into the garden once I’d cleaned him up. Seriously! I liked that he wanted to be outside, but I spent the whole of last summer shouting STOP! and WAIT FOR MAMA, every time he ran down the garden. In the end my heart couldn’t take it any more and I got quotes to have fences put up all over the garden. I wanted a pen (albeit a large pen) to keep him safe in. But in the end it was so expensive, I just made a barrier out of chairs across half of the garden. Their physical presence, seemed to deter him most of the time. I mean he did climb through the legs a couple of times, but all in all my stress levels went down and I could enjoy being out there with him. And I had to be out there with him constantly. He had no interest in playing with me, but as the summer wore on he got good at stopping at the top of the steps and putting one hand in the air to indicate he wanted to descend them. He wasn’t really interested in playing with many of his toys in the garden, except his ball and his little toddler slide. And those he adored.

We went out as much as I could take sitting on the grass and watching his every move.

2013 an althogether more sunny and stressful summer

2013 an altogether more sunny and stressful summer

And now he’s nearly 2. This past week the sun has miraculously appeared. In March! Well that was that. He refused to stay in the house a moment longer. It’s not yet summer but that doesn’t matter to the boy. He has discovered the best way to tell me he wants out is to bring me his wellies (he’s an actions speak louder than words kinda guy) sometimes before he’s even dressed. He adores being allowed to run around the entire garden, now the barrier has been removed. Next door have put up the most amazingly sturdy fence where there was only bushes before so it’s much tidier and safer up at the end. He’s new domain is the deck outside the summer house. He has all his push around/ride on toys around him and he’ll push them around or lie next to them, watch their wheels in motion. He rarely rides them – too slow Mama! Gotta keep moving.  And I have discovered that I don’t have to be sat next to him every second. Maybe this is a confidence thing. I am confident in his confidence? But it’s fab! I can go and hang the washing out or tend to my herbs or take some photos, occasionally looking up to the deck to make sure he’s not pulling up Daddy’s onions or trashing the strawberries. And when I’m done I can go and sit on the deck and have a ‘chat’ with my little guy. I think the garden is good for him. He’s never unhappy in the garden. He’s only unhappy when I have to bring him in (it’s rare for him to come in of his own accord – most times I have to carry him and it worries me how I’ll cope when he gets too big to carry – maybe by then he’ll respond to bribes 😉 ).

His domain

His domain

I can see that he’s going to be out there all the time – the garden we fell in love with, is really going to come into it’s own this year.

I can see his development changes so clearly in the garden. I wonder why that is? And I truly believe he’s learning stuff too? Not academically maybe, but he’s so curious and pushing boundaries of what I thought him capable of yet. He ‘helped’ Ben plant some strawberries last weekend and he and I have looked at some ‘wiggly worms’ today. He has no concept or understanding of what these things are or mean yet, but we’ll come to that. He’s just so happy to be out there. And maybe that’s going to translate throughout his life. Maybe he’s just going to be an outdoorsy kinda kid. Ben was. Me? Well not so much. I didn’t go in for camping and tree climbing and running and all that.

Hang on, yes I did! I climbed trees in a sort of park over the road from my house, so regularly that we each had our own tree, like old men in a pub. We made dens out of fallen branches and went tadpole spotting in the stream and digging for buried treasure. I used to make Acorn ‘butter’ and rose petal ‘perfume’ with ingredients I found and blackberry crumble from wild fruit we gathered. I rode my bike everywhere, even to school, from the age of about 7 to 11. We were never indoors in the summer holidays! But I was rarely in the garden, I was all over the village where we lived. I was young, but I was courageous, adventurous and often in A&E 😉 Thank you mum for letting me be that way. I was so an outdoorsy kinda kid. Why did I think I wasn’t? What happened to make me forget?  Isn’t it crazy that it’s taken such a little person to make me remember?

Come on Oscar – lets go play!

He & Me. More similar than you'd think

He & Me. More similar than you’d think