Little Loves

Happy Friday! This week I’m joining in with But Why Mummy, Why? and her weekly #LittleLoves linky. It’s a great way to sum up the week just gone and a wonderful rabbit hole reading everybody else’s posts too. Come and join me!


The Blade Itself - Little Loves
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. SO GOOD. It’s fantasy and gritty and funny and bloody brilliant. Every character is fantastic and I find that I look forward to the commute into work just so I can read it. Who needs Game of Thrones?


Glastonbury Festival Leon Bridges

Photo: BBC

All the Glastonbury coverage! The BBC coverage has been amazing again with recording so much from the festival, it’s been the soundtrack of this week. Highlights for me are The Fall, FFS, Leon Bridges, Run the Jewels and Lionel, obviously. Kanye was a bit crap though, wasn’t he?


What I wore: Awesome cat skirt

A bit of a cheat, as this is from last week, but I can’t resist showing off my amazing (if I do say so myself) vintage cat skirt that I wore to the House of Mamas launch.


This episode of Radio 4’s The Food Programme which follows the working day of the catering department of the House of Commons. It’s fascinating stuff and good to hear a few old colleagues are still in the kitchens from when I was a chef there (Butch!)


Clothkits dress - Little Loves

We have a new sewing machine! It’s a fancy one too, we’ve been saving up for it for about two years now. I finished my first project this week, a dress for Betsy. I won’t reveal all yet as I want that to be a separate post.

And lastly…’s a gif that makes me laugh a bit too much. Have a good weekend, everyone! Enjoy the tennis!
Kirk and Bones do tennis


Summer wish list

Yay! Summer! Time for holidays and time off work and doing THINGS. Although I’m not actually going to be taking any time off work as I used all of my leave to extend my maternity leave for as long as possible and so Betsy will continue to go to nursery, but yay! Summer! There’s quite a thing on the net to write a summer bucket list – that is to write a list of the things that you want to do before summer’s end, but there’s something about the term ‘bucket list’ I’m not really keen on, so here it is just a simple wish list. Betsy wold like to point out that eating ice cream should be the most important thing on the list and ‘mucking about’ should also be on there too. Quite right.

summer bucket list

Go to the beach
We haven’t been down to Milford since Easter and we are more than due again. I’d also like to see Brighton and visit Margate for the first time too.

Make doughnuts
Who doesn’t want to make doughnuts? I’ve never tried it before, the amount of hot oil needed scares me a bit, but there is nothing finer than a freshly made doughnut, especially if it’s a St John recipe.

Visit Epping Forest
We are not far from Epping Forest at all, yet I’ve not been for about six years. Time to pack a picnic and a map and start exploring.

Go to ALL the school fêtes.
I mentioned this on Living Arrows, but we have to apply for Betsy’s school place this autumn term and so we’re checking out all the local schools. And you can’t beat a good school fête, can you? Dave won two bottles of wine at one tombola last weekend, wooo!

Sew some dresses for Betsy
I’ve got a shiny new sewing machine! It’s blooming lovely. Project number one has already started and it’s looking okay. Wearable, but not perfect. It’s lovely to be creating something again though.

Do the lettering course
Somewhere in my Studio Calico account is a Love Your Lettering course I enrolled for months ago, but I still haven’t properly sat down with it. Time to do it now!

Start Couch to 5K
I’m still really unfit despite upping my walking since January. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m not a runner and there’s no way I can run five kilometers, but there’s also a part of me that really wants to give it a go and prove myself wrong. I wouldn’t normally make something like this so public, but I feel I need to put it out here so I have no excuse to not do it. Also, does anyone fancy doing it with me? I could do with the moral support! (although I may wait for this bit of really hot weather passes otherwise I’ll kill myself)

Fly a kite
Betsy is mad on kite flying, but we’ve yet had the chance to do it (or when we’ve had it with us, there’s not been enough wind). Maybe we’ll take it on the beach with us?

Eat homemade ice-cream
We have a very under-used ice cream maker, which is shocking and wrong. It’s so easy to make ice cream, really need to make more of it, especially in this weather!

Visit the pick your own farm
I love our trips to Parkside Farm and I’ve finally used up all the raspberries I picked last year. More please!

…and make some jam
Because we will never eat all of that fruit fresh.

Start decluttering
Like everyone else in the world, I’ve been reading and loving The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. She’s such a sweet and gentle writer and her number one rule of only keep what brings you joy is a winner. Totally inspiring and I’ve not stopped nodding as I read. We’re getting a bit buried in stuff here and need a jolly good sort out!

Blog more!
Yes. I’ve got out of my stride (again) and there’s so much to say, like lunches! And a farm! And disco dancing!

Take Betsy and Arthur to the theatre
I’ve meaning to do this for ages. Before Arthur, Betsy and I saw loads of things together, but Arthur hasn’t been to anything, the poor neglected second child! We have a great local theatre near us (Chickenshed) who do a kids show aimed at 0-6 year old so perfect for my two and I have a couple of tickets for their summer show, which will be nice. I am also going to take Boo down into London and see another show as a nice daughter/mama thing. One of her favourite books at the moment is Tiddler, so we’ll be taking a trip to the Leicester Square Theatre and see the adaptation of that, she’ll love it!

Go camping
One of Dave’s ambitions is to take the kiddos camping soon for a couple of nights, and I’m totally up for that – it’s the closet thing we’ll be getting to a holiday for this year!

Visit the zoo
It’s been over a month since we were last at Whipsnade so we are more than due a visit. A year or so ago we popped in the week before the schools broke up and we practically had the place to ourselves. It was glorious. Must do that again.

So that’s our list. It’s quite small, but enough to keep us (me) busy. There are also plans to do more to the garden, but that’s a separate blog post! What are your plans for the summer?

Living Arrows #76

It’s been a good week I think? I can’t really remember. I think most of the week was fairly average, but this weekend has been a bit special and more than made up for the mediocrity of the working days. We had a mini Glastonbury. And when I say we had a mini Glastonbury, what I mean is that what we did was nothing like Glastonbury, but we listened to good music, had good friends round, drank cider and had a fire on and wished we were at the festival rather than Enfield (I have missed the last three Glastonburys now, and I am feeling the pull towards Somerset more than ever). We also popped round to a local school fête. We’re going to be applying for Betsy’s school place at the end of the year (eeeep) so we’re starting to look round places. This place seemed really nice. Betsy is wondering if there will be trampolines and horse rides there every day.

Living Arrows

Living Arrows

Ah this little guy. He just gets more and more cuddly as the days go past. This morning I spent ten minutes massaging his feet and the other day he’d crawl onto my lap so I could give him a back rub. He’s also much more active now he does his little tyrannosaurus rex walk and wants to try everything, especially this that go fast like the roundabout and tea-cup thing in the park.

Have a good week, everyone!

Living Arrows

Living Arrows #75

Oh, the Golden Hour, how bloody glorious is it? I wish I could shoot in that light all the time, it makes everything brilliant, even poorly framed pictures.

Living Arrows

Living Arrows

Dave was on late shift last week and I had the brilliant idea (if I do say myself) of having a picnic dinner in Trent Park one evening. We went to the same spot where we held Arthur’s birthday (I STILL need to write about that) and it’s a lovely place. The grass doesn’t get cut here, apart from a few paths, so you can sit in gorgeous meadow surrounded by buttercups. As it’s evening, there’s hardly anyone around so we get to blow bubbles, run around and picnic in quiet too. Our own private park (with the exception of one dog who bounded up to us and then ate our quiche and Arthur’s cheese from his hand *shakes fist at its owner*)

Living Arrows

The Blogtacular Photowalk

The Blogtacular Photowalk

So Blogtacular was amazing. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed that on Saturday. I’m still trying to process it at the moment, there was so much information, inspiration and lovely people and new blogs to read that I’m trying to sort everything out in my head before I write something down. In the meantime, here are some pictures from the photowalk. About 50 Blogtacular attendees met up next to the London Eye with Samee Lapham and Xanthe Berkley and we wandered around the South Bank snapping and Instagramming. It was pretty cold and bloody early (I had to leave the house at half five to get there), but it was so much fun, so nice to just take pictures and do nothing else and was a fantastic way to get chatting to other attendees before the main event. And there were massive balloons to play with too!

The Blogtacular Photowalk

The Blogtacular Photowalk

The Blogtacular Photowalk

The Blogtacular Photowalk

The Blogtacular Photowalk

The Blogtacular Photowalk

The Blogtacular Photowalk

Saltwaters – The Blogger’s shoe

The Blogtacular Photowalk

The Blogtacular Photowalk

The Blogtacular Photowalk

The Blogtacular Photowalk

The Blogtacular Photowalk

I loved the balloons! Such a good time, I want to do it again!

Living Arrows #74

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
– Khalil Gibran

Oh my goodness. What a week. What a weekend! I feel a little broken. Blogtacular was spectacular and Sunday we popped down to the South Bank for Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dancehall which was brilliant as ever.

Living Arrows
Arthur at Monski Mouse. He loved it! He particularly loved the step that took you to the dance floor and crawled up and down it for most of the afternoon, but he also loved, loved, loved being held and danced with while looking at all the lights. I’ll be writing about this again soon, it was a great day.

Living Arrows
First strawberry! Betsy has been nurturing these strawberry plants since we got them and now she gets to reap her rewards. She held it in her hand for about half an hour just looking at it before finally eating it. Apparently it was very nice.

Living Arrows

I’m going to Blogtacular

In case you haven’t noticed on my Twitter feed, I’m off to Blogtacular this week. I also mentioned it last week here and I’m pretty much telling anyone who’ll listen (or not) face to face. I bought my ticket last summer so it feels a bit weird that it’s actually going to be happening very, very soon. I am rather excited, although I have to admit that I’m finding myself more and more nervous as we get closer to the date, but everyone who takes part in the Blogtacular Twitter chat every Wednesday all seem really lovely and it’s going to be nice to meet people.

This is all the stuff I’m going to be taking. I don’t know if it’s too much or not enough, but it’s going to be a long day for me and my arm will fall off if I take anything more.

I'm going to Blogtacular

It’s really hard to take photos like this with an Arthur around.

1. Wallet. Mostly for buying coffee at half six in the morning just before I meet everyone for the photowalk.
2. Notebook. I saw this notebook in TK Maxx the other day and I thought the sentiment on the cover was just perfect for this event:

I'm going to Blogtacular

3. Pens.
4. Business cards. It feels a bit weird having business cards for something that is essentially my hobby, but they’re nice!
5. Limeaid, this carries an extra four charges for my phone which I will need because I’m going to be Instagramming the hell out of this day.
6.Extra camera battery and my 50mm lens.
6. Phone, obviously.
7. Oyster card. (why yes, that is District Line moquette)
8. Breast pump. I’m going to be out of the house for about 18 hours this Saturday. My boobs WILL explode if I don’t pump at some point.
9. Make-up bag

It’s going to be interesting to see how I’ll be once I’m there. If I were to describe myself in three words it would be ‘socially awkward introvert’. I am truly terrible at speaking to people, I am always the one standing in the corner hoping that people will come to me and say hello as that’s the only way I can talk. Dave will often say that the first few dates he and I had consisted of him talking all the time or face sitting in silence (I think he liked me to have put up with that?). Also I find it really weird talking about this blog in real life. Someone in my WI group randomly asked if I blogged in our meeting last week and rather saying something along the lines of “yes I do! It’s called Baking Betsy! It’s got nice things in there! You should have a look! Here’s my card!”, I mumbled about how it’s just lots of pictures of the children and it’s all a bit wanky and pretentious really. I am not very good at bigging myself up and it’s incredibly unfair on me too considering what a labour of love and the amount of hours I put into this is.

Out of everything I see in Blogtacular’s website, Twitter chats and newsletters, it’s not necessarily the speakers, or the photowalk, or the Pinterest party that get me most excited about this conference (although they all do a lot), it’s the feeling of immense sisterhood. I am going to be surrounded by hundreds of like-minded women (mostly women) who are creative, intelligent and we are all there to learn and celebrate each other and the things that we do and love. It’s going to be great and so incredibly inspiring and even if I do only end up speaking to one person in the entire day, I hope I’ll be able to say “hello! My blog is quite good! Have a card!”

Living Arrows #73

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
– Khalil Gibran

Hatfield Park Farm

2015-06-07 10.40.00 1

Slightly different format to this week’s Living Arrows. I wanted to write about a day out we had last Sunday at Hatfield House, but didn’t have enough photos for a post all by itself, but what I did get of the children were perfect Living Arrows portraits.

When we went, I forgot my camera like a doofus, so all photos were taken by my phone, thank goodness for VSCOCam which makes everything nicer!

Turns out we’re only a 20 minute drive from Hatfield House and mostly along one road so I’m wondering why it’s taken us this long to finally get here. Ticket pricing is confusing. It costs a lot if you want to visit inside the house and the gardens (£16 for an adult), but with that ticket you can then use it again and again to visit the gardens for the rest of the season. There are also tickets just to visit the gardens (which look lovely, and I wouldn’t mind a visit myself with my proper camera) and separate ticket to the farm, which is where we went to (£5 for adults, £2 for children 3 and over). It’s not really a farm, strictly speaking, just a few paddocks holding the usual farm animals – lots of sheep and goats, chickens, some very friendly donkeys and a couple of pigs.

The animals were well used to being fed by visitors so were always close to fences. Arthur loved that he could get so close to them and almost touch them while Betsy loved the donkeys, but far preferred the two sand pits and miniature train ride.

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2015-06-07 10.40.01 2

The railway was lovely actually. It goes pretty fast for something that sounds like a lawnmower and the driver was a sweetie, inviting the children on the train to help him change the points towards the end of the ride (there were only three kids though!) and letting Betsy have a sit in the cab afterwards too which she was pleased as punch by.

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There was also a tractor ride that we jumped onto, but the absolute highlight of the day was visiting Bloody Hollow, the adventure playground. It’s a pretty impressive playground with a big zipwire, the usual slides and climbing frames all under trees and picnic tables, but in the centre is a model of Hatfield House itself, climbable and with two floors to explore, Betsy spent almost an hour pretending she was in Elsa’s palace – she was in heaven and keeps on asking when we can go back.

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Living Arrows

Project 365 2015 Days 150-156

150/365 Buttercups picked in the field we held Arthur’s birthday party shining in the sunlight. They really are lovely flowers, aren’t they?

babychino time
151/365 An afternoon spent in Love13 drinking babychinos and crafting.

152/365 Walked a slightly different way into work this morning and snapped the Royal Air Force memorial on the way.

zig zag building
153/365 The Zig Zag building along Victoria Street

committee room 10
154/365 Committee Room 10. Love the Pugin wallpaper!

155/365 I left my phone at work the previous evening like an idiot so I dragged the kids down to the office to pick it up. Not a bad day actually. Betsy loved the water cooler and Arthur pushed the buggy all around Victoria Tower Gardens.

156/365 There is not one thing in focus in this photo! Oh well. Playing in the fountain at our local library.

Cheery things – Blogtacular Special!

In two weekends time I will be attending Blogtacular, a conference about blogging for creative types. I’m not sure if I’m quite creative enough to really go, but the line up of speakers and workshops are too good to miss – and there’s a party hosted by Pinterest! And a dinner with everyone the night before! And a photowalk at seven in the morning! I think I’m going to come home very, very tired, but also super inspired. I’m so excited to stand in the corner of a room too shy to say hello chat to some of my favourite bloggers that every day I do a little squee every time I think about it. To celebrate, here’s a few things for sale from some of the people who will either be speaking, selling or are a sponsor at Blogtacular. I’m also going to come away from this conference very poor too!

Cheery Things Blogtacular Special 01
1. Beautiful Cat from Poppy’s Papercuts
2 & 3. Whistlejacket by Stubbs iron-on transfer and London pop-up card by Jennie Maizels
4 & 5. Iconic 2 Way pastel pen set and floral weekly desk planner from The Hambledon.

Cheery Things Blogtacular Special 02
1. Swallow banner stamp from Lollipop
2. Happy sad rainbow necklace by Lucky Dip Club
3. Whale ring holder from West Elm
4. Fox post earrings by And Smile
5. Fabric crown from Bambino goodies


Some (non-blogtacular related) internet reads for the weekend for you:

  • Post general election colouring-in
  • How photo filters affect online engagement
  • I fooled millions into thinking chocolate helps weight loss. This is a fascinating read.
  • Reality doesn’t exist until we measure it.
  • For those who haven’t read it yet, Alistair Campbell’s piece on Charles Kennedy is superb and touching and a great tribute. I met him once (Charles Kennedy, not Alistair Campbell) and he was one of the nicest, politest MPs to wander down to our offices and I found myself rather starstruck in his presence. He will be missed by many, really was one of the good guys in Parliament.

    Have a good weekend everyone!