Little Discoveries 

The beauty of life…it’s full of a continuum of little discoveries, little smatterings of joy that add a little sparkle to the odd day here and there.

I like these little hidden gems that were laying in wait just waiting to be found. It makes me feel that there are so many others out there to ‘happen upon’ and take a slice of joy from. What’s even better? I get to share the joy with others too! One such time was finding the amazing Pinkman’s bakery, which does the most delicious vegan hot chocolate! And spectacular looking doughnuts (which unfortunately I cannot try, but Mr B got to sample that delight!).

Another hidden gem was the Royal Forthouse gardens, which provided a beautiful walk and taste of nature between lectures…just what I needed to refresh my brain for more complex concepts!?

I’m sure there’s many more little discoveries laying out there in wait…can’t wait to find them!

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We had a beautiful walk along the River Severn for Ben’s birthday. We lucked out with amazing weather and stunning views. It was just wonderful to be together! It seems quite rare at the moment! So I drink it all in when I can. More memories to treasure.

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You may have thought the loom banding craze was over…not in our house! It is very much alive and well! Lots of love happening from everyone here for the joy and contentment it brings to us all.

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Fancy a Date with a Pliosaurus?

Have you ever met a Pliosaurus? Did you know it had ever existed? Me either, but thanks to an exciting, family friendly, interactive exhibition at Bristol City Museum we had a great time learning loads of lovely facts about how the Pliosaurus was discovered. 

We learnt all about how fossils are discovered, excavated and assembled to recreate the life size creature they once were. How they chose the colours of the skin of the Pliosaurus and the techniques they used. We got to compare the weight and size of the each of us to the size of the Pliosaurus so we got an idea of its immense proportions.

There were a wide range of interactive games and activities that even I could join in with and the children could stamp their card as they competed each activity with a beautiful embossing stamp.

My absolute favourite were the giant top trump cards, with lots of fun dinosaur facts. We had so much fun playing with those (except maybe D when she kept losing!?). It was a shame there weren’t any in the shop to purchase at the end…we love top trumps in our house!

The great news is that the exhibition is on until January 2018, so still plenty of time to get down there and enjoy! (I might sneak in a second trip!).

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September Highlights 

September was a month of change and new starts for the majority of our household, with new schools and starting a university course. Even after a few weeks it all still feels like treading new ground, with so many things to try and get my head around. But even in between the madness, there has been some time to have a little fun.

  • The month began with a fabulous family wedding, on a beautiful autumn day. How am I old enough to have a nephew get married???
  • Family visits and visiting family, always a lovely treat! The rain held off long enough to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
  • We had a fantastic day out at Bristol Museum, taking part in their interactive Pliosaurus exhibition. It was great for families (and it’s on until 7th January!).
  • M went to a secondary school open evening!!! I was ok until I got there, then I felt quite unprepared for this next change to come!
  • The girls were in an amazing concert through school and isingpop, who came in to teach them songs and dance moves with a positive message. They even had the parents up and dancing at the end!
  • We have also squeezed in a fire pit, trips to the park, painting, baking and some autumn walks. Not too shabby!
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It’s been so busy this week it felt like a real treat squeezing a little bit of time to do some baking with E. Due to play dates, we ended up with an unexpected slice of time to do something frivolous like baking and decorating cupcakes, just the two of us! It was very precious!

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A Lesson Learnt from a Trail Blazer

Do you ever fall into the mythical idea that success just springs upon those trail blazers of times past? Sometimes the success is so celebrated that the pathway towards it is obscured by the shining glory of that moment of genius. I have! And I’ve realised it works quite well as a water tight alibi for not putting myself out there too much in case it all falls into a piling heap of failure. It has taken me time, alongside many reminders along the way, to realise maybe there’s some whopping great holes in that theory! A visit to Lacock Abbey was not only beautiful and fascinating, as so many National Trust properties are, but also an enlightening insight into the life and studies of Mr Fox Talbot who resided there.

I had heard of Fox Talbot many years ago whilst studying photography, and glanced over the facts without too much thought, taking for granted the fact that the whole reason I had the subject of photography to study was partly down to the dedication and passion this person had for the science behind capturing and retaining a photographic image.

Photography began very much as a scientific pursuit, alongside the creative benefits. This was perfect for Fox Talbot who had both an interest in and experience with chemistry as well as a keen interest in the study of botany. Due to his lack of artistic ability, he wanted to find a way to capture images of specimens without the need to be a skilled artist. His motivation and passion for the photographic world was born out of a lack of artistic skill; rather than letting this bring him into a deep gloom it pushed him on to make many scientific discoveries by exploring his curiosity. That’s a great set of life skills right there!

There were many failures along the way, but curiosity, determination and resilience came through, and look where we are today! In his words:

“…I do not profess to have perfected an Art, but to have commenced one; the limits of which it is not possible at present exactly to ascertain.

I only claim to have based this new Art upon a secure foundation: it will be for more skilful hands than mine to rear the superstructure.”

– Fox Talbot 1839

A truly inspiring moment in history, for which I’m grateful, as I get to enjoy this wonderful art form pretty much everyday. What a different world it would be without photography in it!


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The photo says it all!

(Well maybe just omit the last word and ignore the bit about fly tipping!?).

Going back to study I have to try and repress a strong desire to regress back to those blissful care-free days of undergraduate studies, where there appeared to be so much more free time than study time (except at assessment points). I keep reminding myself, this is hard core study! Plus now I am also a responsible adult with dependents….there is a rather bizarre dichotomy in my mind at the moment as I find a new definition of student life.

A few things have changed since I studied last, virtual learning environments were only just being utilised, but they’re now in full swing – which is so helpful, especially as I’m commuting into university. They are the font of all knowledge for everything course related. Taking photos of lecture slides using smartphones; this really took me by surprise! There was no way phones would be out during a lecture, apart from some surreptitious texting beneath the table. I definitely am on board with taking a quick snapshot of a bulk of information to refer to later, ingenious!

Plus….and maybe I’ll reveal my own stupidity here….I actually thought someone was coming towards me and being super friendly, striking up a spontaneous conversation even though they had no clue who I was….no, no, no! They were talking on their phone…through headphones I hasten to add! I do recognise what a mobile phone looks like!? I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for headphone wires in future.

It’s a learning environment in every sense of the word!

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Autumn Equinox 

What a beautiful introduction to Autumn, the warmth of the sun with blue skies and a slight bite in the air. We know it’s arrived when the condensation forms on our ancient windows…another job to add to the morning list of chores. There’s a reticence to leave the warmth of the house and venture out to meet the protests of hungry chickens and a noisy cockerel. 

I welcome the change of seasons, each one bringing its own unique gifts and a change of pace. September often feels like its own kind of new beginning, with the start of a new school year…although this year has been full of nerves for all of us, with new starts and big changes. It still feels like we’re in an adjustment phase, so it seems even more important to soak up the little things.

These are some of the little things I’ll be enjoying during autumn:

  • The beautiful, low light with its intense warmth in the fading hour of the day.
  • Pulling on cosy jumpers and snuggling beneath blankets.
  • Comfort food…out with the salads and in with the soups and stews.
  • Changing colours and views. There is a house I love to watch each year covered in ivy that changes to a deep red before shedding all of its leaves.
  • Popping the electric blanket on and jumping into a toasty warm bed.
  • Shoving on wellies for walks down muddy country lanes.
  • Consuming a lot of apple crumble! And possibly putting on some winter insulation!?

All of this when I don’t have my head in books, attempting to soak in some knowledge!

If you want to get yourself into that autumn feeling, Radio 4 had some lovely autumnal poetry read throughout the day. Enjoy!

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Enjoying a mild, autumn evening with windfall apples and hot chocolate by the fire. There’s something so comforting sitting by the fire listening to the crackle and snap of the wood alongside the flickering flames. 

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