family

Holidays at home

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Summer holidays at home are for bare feet and late nights. For dining on ice cream instead of vegetables, watching Netflix instead of deadlines, and reading trashy novels instead of weighty text-books. They are for heatwaves and plummeting rain and, when the rain clears, for a million petals carpeting the footpath like confetti.   Holidays are for languid afternoons and lazy nonchalance,…

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Stop just a minute

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This is all happening too fast. It’s not just the growing, it’s the developing, the knowing, the maturing. “Stop growing up, start growing down,” I tell them, and they roar with laughter. “Again?” requests Ralph, “Will you tell me to grow down?” (“Grow down,” I obligingly order him. “NO!” he yells in evident delight). Ralph…

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Anatomy of a pyjama day

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Winter solstice

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I welcomed the sunrise on the morning after the winter solstice in the solitude of my still-sleeping house. The first cup of tea of the day was beside me on the window-sill, making miniature mist on the cold glass. Slowly the long, long night – the longest night of the year – burned away into…

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Anticipation

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When you are nearly four, anticipation is palpable. Tangible. It dominates your mealtimes. What will my cake look like? Will all my friends sing Happy Birthday? Can we have hot chocolate? And your friendships. I am nearly four. Am I older than my other friends? Will my hair be longer than all my friends’ hair now?…

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Animal etiquette

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“No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter.” – Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows We are recovering from Scout’s fourth birthday party yesterday. As luck would have it, today is a public holiday, so I…

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Scout says, Ralph says

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“‘If you knew how great is a mother’s love,’ Wendy told them triumphantly, ‘you would have no fear.’” JM Barrie, Peter Pan   Ralph has taken to calling me “Big Mamma,” which is not particularly flattering, but relates adorably to “Little Mamma,” his sister. During an argument… Ralph: I put you in the bin, Scout!…

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Mother’s Day

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There are two pairs of tiny, mud-covered wellies in the hallway by our front door. And if you are aged two or three, you will know that that is a sign of a day well spent: muddy wellies suggest explorations, rain-soaked adventures, (Ralph’s curls gone wild), and, of course, the time-honoured joy of jumping up…

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Scout says Ralph says

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Scout (rubbing her belly): These pancakes are delicious. My tummy says yum-my. Ralph (rubbing his belly): My yellow t-shirt says YUMMY too.   At bed time… Scout: I love you to the aliens’ planet, and a million. Ralph: I love you to my rocket ship and I also love the aliens’ planet.   At another bedtime, when…

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Disorganised Easter

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Can you believe Easter will be here in less than a week? It’s so early this year! Last year I was all over the Easter craft, and loving it. If you’d like to learn a wonderful, natural (easy!) way of dying eggs and creating beautiful botanical prints on them, like these below, here is a…

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Gifts for a first birthday

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Our friend’s daughter is turning one next week, and it has got me thinking about the sorts of gifts to buy for this birthday. It’s always a tricky one. The parents are SO PROUD, and rightly so. They have made it through a whole year with their new baby and managed to keep them alive….

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What’s up doc?

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Have you heard? Our garden is heaven! One of these days I will share some before and after photos of this tiny garden, which was a miserable, grubby, slimy courtyard until August, after which it became… heaven. I am sitting in the garden as I type this, leaning up against the cubby house with my…

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