Sunday, 12 April 2015

Clinging onto Childhood

“Well, you know what grown-ups are,' said Dinah. 'They don't think the same way as we do. I expect when we grow up, we shall think like them - but let's hope we remember what it was like to think in the way children do, and understand the boys and the girls that are growing up when we're men and women.” 

Watching Matilda delight in the garden, playing with our neighbour's son over the fence, singing to herself whilst sat on the tree stump admiring the daffodils reminded me that childhood should really be a most wondrous thing. The quote above taken from Enid Blyton's The Island of Adventure, I think just about sums it up.

With the arrival of Spring days, the garden has become Matilda's playground. Flowers are picked, stories are imagined with little scenarios acted out. She takes her 'bird watchning' very seriously and takes great pride in filling up the bird feeder once the birds have exhausted supplies. A little woodpecker made an appearance on Friday causing all sorts of excitement. It's the simple things that give us the best memories to hold on to in times of difficulty. I hope she treasures these images as adulthood forces her to relinquish her childhood curiousity. Though thankfully we've got a number of years left to enjoy Matilda as a little girl and beyond that we'll be clinging on to the magic of childhood.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Easter Adventures

The Easter came and went, the sun came and has stayed for the last few days allowing for a lot of outdoor adventure. Climbing sandbanks at Brancaster Beach, eating ice cream, stroking new born lambs at Church Farm in Downham Market, cooing at baby chicks, messing around the streets of Cambridge. A busy, fun few days have been had. Admittedly, it's mostly been about showing off her new Boden Spring jacket which we've all fallen in love for the last few days of Matilda's Easter holiday it'll be juggling work with a few more outings if this Spring weather continues.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Our Easter Sunday

For one reason or another this year (mostly due to a heavy work schedules leaving little time to organise - really must take a leaf out of my own book and get myself my very own virtual assistant!) we decided to stay home at Easter. Strangely having moved out of a big city, I don't feel the overwhelming need to escape as I did when I lived in London. As a city dweller I craved green open space, fresh air and privacy whereas now I have these things in my life every day.

Here is a brief glimpse into our peaceful day which was all about indulgence, delicious food, good wine followed by flopping on the sofa to watch my Easter surprise, Paddington Bear...hope you're all having a wonderful Easter break so far.

Monday, 30 March 2015

An Easter Trail at Wimpole Hall

The Easter holidays have begun. A full two weeks of being with my girl. Mind you I'll probably be ready to hand her back to school by the end of it!

She's kicked off her holiday by being the bubbly, chatty, excitable little girl she is. We headed to Wimpole to take part in their Easter trail.  A lovely lunch in their restaurant fuelled the windswept walk around the gardens finding clues which would inevitably lead to a Cadbury's egg which was promptly scoffed by a chocolate hungry girl. Not satisfied with just Mummy for company she made friends with two older boys, George and William, with whom she had a great deal of fun running around searching for the well hidden clues whilst exploring the Reflections Sculpture trail. These are a number of impressive installations by the artist Theo Gayer-Anderson that sit nestled amongst the gardens, highlighting their natural surroundings.

Wimpole Hall is a magnificent house with plenty for little inquisitive eyes to explore, Matilda particularly enjoyed counting the horses on all the paintings in the house (there were rather a lot of them I might add). For the first time she demonstrated great interest in how people lived in 'olden times' and was especially intrigued by an original newspaper with photos of the Queen's Coronation. Being a huge fan of these old houses I was delighted with her curiosity in history and how we used to live. I hope this is only the beginning of Matilda's fascination with the beauty in the ordinary things that surround us.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Springtime Surprise Project

When Lucy from Capture by Lucy announced her Springtime Surprise Project, where a community of strangers are picked at random to send each other a small gift up to the value of £5, I leapt to join the group. The idea being that gifts would make their way to their recipients just in time to welcome the start of Spring.

Over 300 people signed up including my good self. Such a wonderful achievement to rally people from across the world to stop and create a beautiful gift for a complete stranger. In a world where we live our lives through our computers or phones, where the only post you receive are generally bills or letters from the Inland Revenue, this was the most exciting happy post ever. It was also a celebration of the good friends we make across social media, the huge amount of support one gets from those you've never met particularly on Instagram is quite astounding. We share in each others joyful moments as well as the low times. Messages of kindness are sent around the world on a daily basis to people you will perhaps never have the opportunity to meet so this is a perfect way to bring this community closer.

I can't pretend it was easy to gather gifts for someone I don't know, it's bad enough when you do know them (my Husband will attest to that). I kept changing my mind up until the very last minute but a lot of thought went in and I really hope Debbie liked her gifts.

Debbie of An Organised Mess was my partner in crime. She obviously got me down to a T, lots of lovely stationery, a nice choice in tea bags and some gorgeous toiletries...Thank you so much Debbie for ensuring a super start to Spring! Also a huge thank you goes to Lucy for organising this special project. You star. This lovely act of kindness has I'm sure made many people happy as they opened their surprise gifts to discover how someone can guess so accurately the other's tastes.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Taking nothing for granted in this world...

I was struck by the poignant post from one of my favourite bloggers Lobster and Swan yesterday urging us to stop, watch and listen to what's around us. Just as children who are full of life and curiosity we should learn to find time in our hectic lives to appreciate our surroundings. Spring, when mother nature awakens from its long Winter sleep is a perfect time to absorb the world that surrounds our daily lives.

Hot on the heels of Lobster and Swan's five ways to heighten your senses, I looked at Facebook this morning to find the husband had posted a video which moved me to tears. It was shot by the French Installation and Conceptual artist Sophie Calle, who filmed a series of shorts, together with photographs, conveying the reactions of 15 people from Istanbul who were seeing the sea for the very first time. Simply named 'Voir La Mer' translated as 'To see the Sea', this is one of the most moving shorts I've seen. We take the sea, the countryside all for granted, well those of us privileged enough to be able to travel. We forget that there's many a person across the world that will never leave their hometown, never have need of a passport, will never get on an airplane. To those of us that think nothing of jumping on a plane for a long weekend or even getting in the car for a day trip, it doesn't even cross our minds that something as simple as seeing the sea, breathing in it's magical salt air is not a reality for so many.

Watching this film again and again today, reminded me to appreciate all that I have and be forever grateful of the opportunities that have come my way. In future I shall attempt to not take anything for granted, I shall probably fail at times but if I do I'll recall Voir La Mer and take a step back to recall...

Voir la Me2011. © 2015 Sophie Calle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy of Sophie Calle and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Thriplow Daffodil Weekend

Matilda and I headed off this afternoon to the Thriplow Daffodil Weekend. After a rather grizzly start the sun fought it's way through just as we left home providing perfect Spring conditions for Daffodil spotting. The first Daffodil weekend took place in 1969 when the residents of the village threw open their garden gates serving tea and cake to visitors in order to raise funds for the church roof. £206 was raised that first weekend sparking the community to do the same the following year, and so the Daffodil weekend was born. Still to this day, the whole community come together to play their part, whether it be baking cakes, running stalls or helping to clear up at the end. Today the money raised is distributed amongst many local charities.

The committee was awarded The Queens Award for Voluntary Service, the charity equivalent of an MBE, in honour of their efforts supporting local causes.

Run over two days, the village becomes a traffic free zone giving us a little taste of the olden days before cars, shire horses ferry people across the village. It was a wonderful sight to see children running freely along the road without fear of oncoming traffic, music filled the streets as people shopped in the craft areas or sat eating food in the sun provided by local companies including one of my favourites Steak and Honour. There are magic shows, Pony rides, sheep dog shows everything you'd expect from an English Country event. Aside from all the brilliant entertainment the daffodils do remain at the heart of this quintessential event for they are everywhere tis a sight to behold...Thousands travel from near and far to see the daffodils, now I understand why. This will remain firmly in my diary from now on.