28 June 2014

A Visit to Peveril Castle

Whilst in the Peak District the other week we also visited Peveril Castle, well the ruins of the castle anyway.

High upon a hill overlooking Castleton the steep hill was well worth a climb for the stunning views that we got.

The hills also meant the children could spend some time rolling down them, we pretty much had the castle grounds to ourselves so we took the time to embrace a great childhood activity.

Climbing the very, very steep hill to the castle...

Looking out over the beautiful peak district...

Reading about the castle and the gorgeous view...

Rolling down the hill and looking out over the hills...

The beautiful castle ruins...

We had a fabulous time at the top of the hill looking out over the beautiful peak district, the colours were gorgeous and we were so high up.

We had a lovely time at Peveril, it's a wonderful view from up there and Castleton is a beautiful little village with lots of pubs, shops and cafes.

We will definitely be back to this beautiful part of the world, helpfully for a weekend.

Linking up to Country Kids on Coombe Mill

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

27 June 2014

My Word of the Week

This week saw me turn a year older, in fact it's a whole 21 years since I celebrated my 11th birthday.

So my word of the week relates to this, I had a wonderful birthday filled with lots of love and I mean lots of love.

So my word of the week has to be...

Grateful because of the beautiful people in my life, from my beautiful family who treated me to breakfast in bed and flowers. To my wonderful friend whom I have never actually met, but who means so much to me and sent me a lovely basket with wine and a gorgeous plant in (you know who you are). To the wonderful Kelly at Sun Jellies who sent me a little something and to everyone who texted and left messages on my Facebook wall.

Grateful to my wonderful mum who arranged a family get together and made me a cake and to my next door neighbour who plied me with some rather potent Pimms.

Grateful for my albeit slightly ailing health, but that I get to spend every day with my beautiful little family.

Linking up to The Reading Residence Word of the Week

The Reading Residence

26 June 2014

Weleda Insight Day

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be invited to one of the Weleda Insight Days up at their UK head office in Ilkeston. Having worked just up the road for the last 9 years I felt terrible that I didn't know they were there.

Weleda is a brand that most of us will have come into contact with at some point in our lives, my memory is always of their Calendolon Ointment (now Calendula Skin Salve) that my mum called magic cream, it was her go-to antiseptic cream for bumps and scrapes.

On arrival at Weleda, we were taken into a lovely open space with tea, coffee and drinks whilst we chatted and waited for the day to start. An introduction to Weleda and how the business started was the first of many 'i never knew thats' from me. Rudolph Stiener, who I knew of from the Stiener schools, was the person that helped start Weleda.

Off to the gardens, again I never knew this is where they were, having driven past them several times.  We were greeted by Michael Bates who was a gardener at Weleda for 30 years before retiring, his wealth of knowledge on the plants, how they work and the whole Weleda philosophy knew no bounds.

I think we all stood in awe at the information being presented to us, I know I have much more of an appreciation for plants now than I had before. Have you ever taken the time to look at the leaves on a plant? How they change as you move from the roots to the flower, if you hold up a St Johns Wort leaf to the light it has tiny holes in it. Amazing stuff!

There were so many wonderful flowers in the garden, including the beautiful Chamomile flower, the properties of this useful flower know no bounds. I promptly had a cup of chamomile tea when we got back after hearing of its medicinal properties. On the flip side, we also saw poison ivy and a few other not so pleasant plants.

And finally onto the flower I know best, in relation to Weleda anyway, the beautiful calendula flower (part of the marigold family). The plot with them on was vibrant orange and beautifully swaying in the breeze.

Afterwards we got to see a demo with one of the other gardeners, she showed us how they take the plants and turn them into a tincture. I got to be one of the helpers and was pretty proud of my chopping.

After lunch, which was not only beautiful but from my the deli local to my work, it was divine and a lovely break in the day.

In the afternoon, we got to test lots of Weleda products, trying them out and learning about the lead plants (the one which is is the main ingredient). My favourite has to be the Sea Buckthorn. I am really excited to have found this, in fact I am hoping the Sea Buckthorn Juice might help with my Fibromyalgia and the tiredness.

All of the different smells were amazing, I am really looking forward to using the citrus hand and nail cream which we were lucky enough to get a sample of, a review will be up later of this great product and some others too.

Overall what I learned about this company and what they do has made me all the more determined to get me and my family using more if not all natural products.

NB. I was invited to the Weleda Insight Day and received a bag of goodies, however no payment has been received for this post and all thoughts and opinions are my own.


23 June 2014

Strawberry Picking Fun

I have been wanting to go strawberry picking with the children for a few years now and the weather has been nice we decided to go and get some as a treat for my birthday.

The kids loved looking for the biggest juiciest strawberries...

Daddy helping them look...

Lots of strawberries picked, we also picked some rhubarb on the way back to the car...

We had lots of fun picking strawberries, i've got a couple of recipes planned to use up any we don't manage to eat. But it was lots of fun and I can highly recommend stopping buy your local pick you own farm if you have one.

If you are local to Nottingham we visited Hills pick your own in Kirklington.

Linking up to Magic Moments on The Olivers Madhouse blog.


21 June 2014

The Beautiful Longshaw Estate in the Peak District

Monday was an inset day at my son's school, so we headed off to the beautiful Peak District for a day out, having adventures and making memories.

First stop was the Longshaw Estate, a beautiful National Trust site that was full of things to do and see for us and the children.

Used during the first world war as an auxiliary hospital, the main building is a beautiful property that is steeped in history, I can only imagine the peace and tranquillity this offered for those soldiers recovering from the trauma of the front line.

One of the main features of the estate are the bogs and the aptly named boggarts, small goblin-like creatures that live in the bogs, ok so we know they aren’t real but for my son this was an exciting prospect which lead to a few hours of fruitless searching!

With several trails around the estate we opted for the Hairy Wood Ant trail, on this trail you are in for a treat as you search for one of Britain’s biggest ants! It is about a mile walk, although with some serious detours for boggart hunting we probably did more like 2 miles.

The boggart trail is really great for kids, it gets their imagination racing and hopefully this will be a memory the children have when they grow older, first stop boggart view for a spot of balancing and boggart spotting.

Then onto boggart burrow, walking under the huge and stunning rhodendrons was a real treat for us all, the branches were just so beautiful, we didn’t spot a boggart but we did find some tracks and scratches.

The stunning lake and unbelievably lush green grass was beautiful, we walked across the fields to find some sheep and some big rocks to climb, making sure to spot the wildlife and pretty wildflowers.

Further round the trail we found boggart hole, a couple of falls and mucky bottoms later we finally spotted the ants, the size of them kinda made me squeal! Not really a huge ant fan but these were pretty impressive, we could see them climbing up the tree in a line and carrying leaves and bits of debris, I even managed to capture two ‘fighting’ as my son said, I prefer to think they are giving each other a kiss.

After this it was spot the ant hill, my son and husband went off in search of more rock and came across a few ant hills and then as we walked further round and knew what we were looking for we found more, all in all about 20. There is plenty of space to play games, hide and seek is our current favourite and the view from the side of the hill was stunning!

It really is a great estate, back at the house there is boggart rise with lots of little doors carved into some trees, I made the children knock before opening to see if there was anything there, we had taken little torches for the children so they could do some proper investigating, these came in handy on a few occasions.

Finally we went into the den building area, an area put aside for you to build dens, this is really big at the moment and we have been to a few places that have branches and an area you can build in.

We continued on into the Peak District and visited Peveril castle in Castleton, but as this post has gone on longer than I’d expected i'll talk more about that next time...

Linking up with Country Kids on Coombe Mill

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

20 June 2014

Rocket and Rose Competition

Today I would like to introduce you to a lovely small business called Rocket and Rose, I've chatted with Gemma the owner for a while now on Instagram, she works hard and is an inspiration to the small business world and I am amazed at how much she does.

Polka Dot Apron

Running an online business selling clothing is difficult enough, I should know having run one. But making personalised items is a whole different ball game,  her items are beautiful and can be custom made to your requirements.

Big Brother Tee
From birthday to race for life t-shirts, mugs to canvases, she does it all, here is a little about why Gemma does what she does.
"My idea for Rocket & Rose started back in November 2011.  My twin girls were very tiny and whilst they napped I started designing tutus and outfits for them and for family and friends.  I decided to venture into boys fashion and my ideas and drawing and practise outfits and clothing items soon escalated into the wonderful world of Rocket & Rose and here we are now! 
I design and create all the items you can see on the Rocket & Rose website whilst still raising my gorgeous Twinklies.  I am a part time working Mum and Wife, hence why there is a short waiting list for my items - but I have been assured they are worth the wait! 
I studied fashion and textiles at the Kent Institute of Art and Design, followed by a degree in Theatre Costume Design for the Performing Arts at the London College of Fashion, so I am delighted to be able to use my skills more than 15 years later in a career that I absolutely adore. 
Along with my husband, Dan we run the business from a lovely workshop in the heart of the Devon countryside." 
I hope you’ll agree she is a pretty amazing lady, not only does she run this business she also has three young children too.

Finally she has offered a brilliant competition prize, one lucky person will win a £25 voucher to spend on the Rocket and Rose website. So whether it is something for your little one to dress up in or some goodies for a birthday or Christmas there is something for everyone.

Entry is via the Rafflecopter form below, T&Cs apply. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

19 June 2014

What My Sight Means To Me

Growing up my brother had many trips in and out of hospital, he had a severe lazy eye and at about 4 years old he had to go into hospital for a procedure to correct his eye muscles and to stop it being lazy.

I remember this vividly, but what if we didn't live in this country? Would he have been left with poor sight in one eye?

Having needed glasses since the age of 11 for reading and using a computer I've become only too aware of what it's like to have a problem with your eyes. I am one of the lucky ones really, only needing them for a few activities.

As a mum I cannot imagine what it would be like to be blind or partially sighted, not to be able see your children or the pictures they draw, their wedding day or any number of the other special moments in their lives.

Devastating is an understatement and for your child to face this would be even worse, for them never to see the beauty of the world, pictures in a book, it is truly unimaginable.

So this week Becky over at Baby Budgeting has been raising awareness for Sightsavers a charity that helps provide sight saving treatments and care across the globe to people who might otherwise end up blind.

It's difficult to put their work into words so I have linked to the Sightsavers video which shows some of what they do, if you have a few minutes to share it or a few pounds to donate it could be the difference between someone seeing the world around them or being blind for the rest of their lives.

For as little as £4 you can pay for cataract operation to give a child their sight back, thats pretty amazing don't you think.


18 June 2014

Q&A Session with British Bag Maker Emma Cornes

On the blog today I have an inspiring Q&A session with a fab British bag maker.

Firstly, tell me a bit about yourself

I’m Emma Cornes. I’m growing our British Bagmaking business that started as a hobby in our spare bedroom in our Cheshire home. We now send bags around the world and it’s a full time job for my husband and I.

Sounds exciting, what is your job within the business?

Everything and anything related to our little business. Everything from the fun bits like designing bags and sourcing amazing materials, to the dull bits like the accounts and cleaning our workshop. I used to make every single bag too, but I started to get far too many grey hairs and just couldn’t keep up so now we get help from a British manufacturer.

You sound like a busy lady, when did you start your business?

Just under two years ago, when I got married.

What made you decide to take the plunge and start your own business?

My bag making journey started when I bought my first sewing machine. I set up my little Singer on the kitchen table and ran off a few hundred metres of bunting for my wedding. Then while visiting family in Scotland’s Tweed valley where I grew up I happened across one of the mills making tweed.

I’m the kind of person who only ever has one bag at a time. It has to work for every occasion. I’d use them until they were threadbare, and then struggle to find a replacement. So I thought maybe I could make the bag I wanted with the tweed I’d found. I guess I probably shouldn’t be a bagmaker!

After watching a few YouTube videos on how to make bags I got started. The first few months were spent making really terrible bags, but then I started to get the hand of things and people liked what I was doing.

Very impressive, what do you love best about working for yourself?

There are so many reasons. The freedom to do what I want. Not having to answer to anyone, no commute, no office politics, only working with people who love what they’re doing too – that’s a really important.

No commute is great, is there anything you don't like about working for yourself?

It can be easy to not see another person, other than my husband for days. I start to feel a bit like I’m living in a bubble. Now I make the effort to leave the house more often – having a puppy helps!

Looking back is there anything you’d do differently?

I’d have got help with manufacture sooner. I hadn’t realised how much toll making every bag was having on me and the business. If I’d handed it over sooner I’d have had much more time to do the fun stuff that actually helps sell more bags.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about starting their own business?

If you think you’ve got a good idea, don’t spend too much time agonising over it. Find a way to test it out on your target market – make up some samples and get out there.

Make sure you get the right people to help you with your visual identity from the start (stuff like your logo and how everything looks). First impressions count. 

Websites – I’ve seen so many people fall down here. There are good web developers who listen to what you want and build it, but there seem to be lots of not so good ones out there. You need to be really clear about what you want. Get a recommendation from someone who already has a good business website. Make sure you draw a wireframe of what you want where and create a of map of how you want someone to use it and what the outcome should be.

Thank you Emma for a wonderful insight into the running of your business, it was super interesting and an inspiration to anyone out there thinking about starting there own business.

About Emma Cornes bags

Emma Cornes bags are made in Britain using the very best British fabrics. Emma takes inspiration from the landscapes that inspire the Scottish estate tweeds that she’s best known for using. As well as striking designs, her bags include details inspired by how people really use their bags – whether that’s using waterproof canvas for the liner or the range of handy pockets on the inside.


You can only buy them at www.emmacornes.co.uk or at the handful of shows Emma visits each year.

17 June 2014

Making Childhood Memories

Yesterday was an inset day for my son so we set off out for some fun in the Peak District, we found a couple of great places to visit in the area, it's so beautiful around there.

Our last stop was Peveril castle, the ruins of this 11th century castle are on the top of a hill and there was plenty of space and grass to roll down, the kids both loved it and if they could have would have spent the whole day rolling down it.

If my neck and back weren't so bad i'd have definitely joined them, it looked like so much fun.

Lots of fun and our Magic Moment this week, linking up to The Olivers Madhouse

14 June 2014

Stonebridge City Farm

We are very lucky in Nottingham to have a farm right in the city centre, it isn't a massive farm but it has all your standard farm animals, from chickens to cows and even some bees.

The vegetable garden is stocked full of everything from strawberries to gooseberries and carrots to beetroot.

First up running to see the chickens and turkeys, we loved the fluffy chicken...

stonebridge city farm nottingham

Feeding the goats...

stonebridge city farm nottingham

More goats, or at least we think this one was a goat. It was very fluffy and had lovely curly hair, the pigs were a hit wallowing in mud...

Off to see the cows, they didn't want any food they seemed happy eating a tree they'd been given...

stone bridge city farm nottingham

Off to see the gardens, you can just see the beehives, there were lots of bees buzzing round...

stonebridge city farm nottingham

Lot's of pretty flowers and fruit, there was an abundance of red currants and we got to see some courgettes and gooseberries growing too. I remember my grandparents having a gooseberry bush in their old garden, such cute fruit...

stonebridge city farm nottingham

Looking at the pollytunnels, we saw some garlic being dried and lot's of vegetables waiting to be  planted outside....

stonebridge city farm nottingham

Lot's of flowers around for the bees...

stonebridge city farm nottingham

This amazing farm is in the centre of Nottingham but you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, it's a brilliant place to just get out and visit, they sell their veg, honey and eggs and lots of plants so there is an opportunity to take a piece of this fab farm home with you.

stonebridge city farm nottingham

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall