Category: Children

Cornwall x

We’ve blown away the winter cobwebs with a week with family in beautiful Cornwall.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather.  Each day the sky was kingfisher blue, though it was a matter of how hot your blood was whether you braved the cold of the spring sea..

The surf gang preparing to face the waves. Note Grandpa Jack behind in three coats, hat..and eventually gloves!

And in!

Cousin love.

This was the natural rock pool close to where we were staying on Treyarnon Bay, large enough to swim in…

(There was this framed postcard of the very spot at the cottage. Shows it even better.)

Watergate Bay and meeting with friends.

The perfect natural slate plate for the perfect hot dog: Barbie on Constantine Bay.

And then a cheeky seagull actually stole a hot sausage off the barbie!

Impromptu wine chiller.

Bruce heading to the surf.

Sophie-bond-girl-extraordinaire following suit.

Charlie and Lexie.

Finding sea diamonds.

At a diamond place.

Laters, Kate x

First Craft x

Monday madness, first day of the hols and the sun was shining…we spent it in the garden with lovely friends marbling everything we could find.

We used these marbling inks from Brian Clegg for £9.50, ordered from Ebay..

(Plus the metallic set of 10 for the same price…they added a certain sparkle)

They couldn’t have been easier to use – drop on to water, mix with a skewer if you fancy, lay paper on top then peel off and dry..

The results were impressive.

This could be the wallpaper for the downstairs toilet..

So easy, so joyful!

Laters, Kate x

Wood Craft x

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It’s half term so we’ve been busy doing very little.  One thing we have achieved is a bit of stick weaving…a strangely satisfying art form…first you need to find a good selection on Y-shaped sticks = outside jaunt.

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Then wrap each side of the Y.

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To do this you tie the string on, then create a loop at the back.

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Then bring the other end through the loop and pull tight.

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Continue till both sides are done.

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We measured two arm lengths of string for the next bit.  (This is Bella doing her Christ the Redeemer impression)

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Using a large darning needle (new it would come in useful) weave between the two sides to create the horizontal lines.

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Ta-dah!

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Finally weave wool in V shapes vertically from one side to the next. This is Bella’s finished creation.

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Being an adult, I wanted mine tighter…therefore it’s still a work in progress…

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Surprisingly satisfying.

Laters, Kate x

Design Classic x

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Camilla Lundsten is a former designer for Ikea who then published a highly successful series of childrens books’ based around a little red elephant called Littlephant.

 

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Demands from friends and family persuaded her to launch of her own homeware/toybrand…and the making of this drool house and  future design classic.

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Her philosophy presses many happy polka dot buttons: ‘To simplify everyday life with long-lasting objects that are practical and as eco-friendly as possible’.

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Combine that with the alchemy of faultless design, iconic textiles, hours of play, rampant imagination and the urge to make more yourself just to add to the ongoing joy…and it’s product made in heaven.

 

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(All pics from Littlephant.com)

Bella doesn’t get a look in. I want.

Laters, Kate x

Snow Babies..

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I’ve read that personalities can be divided into two camps – cowboys and farmers. The cowboys are the restless ones, always roaming and seeking new pastures whilst the farmers solidly plough the same field over and over again. Our ski holiday embraced everything cowboy: Constantly on the go, incredible scenery, crisp air, the smell of wood smoke, peace (piste…and pissed as well) as well as a true sense of wonder.

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A fusion of manmade and natural – an icicle chandelier.

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We were in La Rosiere on the French side of the Aosta valley, ski-able into Italy. And by all accounts, were lucky to have snow.

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They were using snow cannons when we first arrived, but as the runs were in full sun it still made for great conditions.  And then it snowed.

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I’ve never seen this before – three rainbows, one on top of the other, made by the sun refracting through ice crystals in the air.

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It always amazes me how slopes look flat in pictures!

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We decided Charlie is really a secret snowboarder!

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And what did I wear?? John’s old two-piece from the eighties! Maybe not quite pure vintage swagger, but on a ski slope..the joy is no-one cares!

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And now I suppose it’s time to return to farming…and wrestling with the Einstein quote that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The silver lining is our holiday proved that perfectly decent wheels can aways be reinvented..

Laters, Kate x

Christmas Fair x

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It sort of reached peak Christmas in the Bentley household at the end of last week – a festive mishmash of hosting meals for many, nights out and the culmination of 4 weeks of creative playdates with Bella and 4 friends to help produce stock to sell at the School Christmas Fair. The idea was simple – to show them the cost and effort it takes to turn raw ingerdients into real money.

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But it played into my love as well – to me, sitting around a table making is what Christmas is all about.

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We had an amazing amount and variety of stock. Spot the pompom Christmas puds? An excellent seller!

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And we virtualy sold out – before costs, the girls made £395 on the day! Not to be sniffed at.

Damn. They might want to do it again…

Laters, Kate x

Mwaohahahaaaaaaaa!

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We embraced the chaos of Halloween last night..so much so I have very few pictures, hence this is a montage produced from various sources with thanks to all who had their fingers – severed or otherwise – on the button!

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Until next year!

Laters, Kate x

Hastings..2016

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It was pure fluke we arranged a  holiday in Hastings at the exact time of their 1066 celebrations to mark 950 years since the famous battle which changed English history.

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The enactment put on by English Heritage was epic, both in terms of scale and quality:  The sheer attention to detail was a joy to behold with every costume cared for down to the last buttonhole.

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Running up to the battlefield was a row of shops to supply us and any soldiers with their daily needs: boar hides, leather satchels, knives, jewellery, bone needles, hand loomed blankets, buckles and beer all hewn and authentically made so that seeing enactors interacting genuinely felt like a step back in time.

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On either side of the battlefield were the camps of the Normans and Saxons, true living and breathing hives of activity.

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From cooking food and tending livestock to weaving and making music.

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The day was packed with individual events, including a falconry show.  This is the closest I’ve ever got to a real golden eagle.

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And so the battle began..

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(The irony of the jester watching on..)

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It was fabulous!

Laters, Kate x

Bella Bella x

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So this post was originally written two years ago, to celebrate Bella’s eighth birthday.  On the day of her tenth birthday, I don’t think I can improve on the sentiment contained, except to say the words grow more concentrated with each passing day x

We’ve been in the garden county of Kent for the first week of half-term (it’s a two week break for us)  – and I thought I was prepared for the black hole of social media that this part of the UK has historically proved to be by taking a dongle with us, but even that was no match for the rich eiderdown of life that seems to squash the very lifeblood of the internet to nothing in these parts. On the plus side, life without the internet is a lot simpler..more old fashioned..and in the end, there was really nothing for it but to embrace the holiday spirit and go with the flow..it’s been a great break!

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We also celebrated Bella’s eighth birthday..it’s hard to believe, it seems only yesterday I was holding that tiny baby, watching the face of Big Ben tick round that first night we spent together in St Thomas’ hospital.  I look at her now and have the most enormous chest restricting rush – she is my open-heart production – vibrant, living, learning..I never used to worry so much about life, now there’s more grey..I’ve become an observer, teacher and pupil too. it’s weird – you think your helpless child will be totally reliant on you and you have your experience and the need to guide and help, but it’s just not true.  Instead it’s a constant balancing act that I don’t think anyone can get totally right: You want to lead, but you don’t want to helicopter. You want to love and cuddle, but you don’t want to smother.  There’s an undeniable pleasure in growing together in habits, tastes and socks…but the easiest thing as a parent is to see your child as a mini-you where you now have the ability to correct all the imperfections..or to see the person they are now as the character they will always be and deny them the space to grow..thoughts like that just end up passing the negativity down the food-chain, or so it seems to me..but then who am I to say?

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I know I don’t want her to be the child that has everything – but even deciding that is choosing a course of action, adding an intrinsic quality, another detail.  I don’t believe that love is materialistic, instead I believe adversity supports initiative – one of the greatest gifts a parent can bestow.  To that I add manners, self-respect and confidence  – far more important in real life than examination certificates.  I want her to have the space to find out who she is away from any expectations of mine and to be able to express that in any situation.  I want her to have the confidence to stand up and say her opinion whether it’s right or wrong.  I want her to make mistakes, whether it’s in her maths homework or something bigger, to learn there are always solutions if you look hard enough and mistakes are part of the stepping stones of life and shouldn’t be avoided…sometimes they lead you forward.IMG_0474

Life is as delicate as a falling feather but should always be a glorious caper..I hope she has a wonderfully misspent youth with sunshine smiles and audacious bursts of laughter, she is my joy, my love, my heart…and I hope that when the time comes, I have the sense to set my treasure free..

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Does mother know best? You dream about it..but ultimately kids appear from nowhere and have wills of their own and you’re just ordinary people trying to get through life the very best way you can, showing them life and hopefully a way of looking at things that opens the door to where the magic lies….

 

Laters, Kate x