Mummy, do I look pretty? {Parenting Girls}

Mummy, do I look pretty? {Parenting Girls} // 76sunflowers

Earlier today I was sat in my conservatory listening to the chatter and giggles of my 9 year old daughter, her friend and my boy as they played 'schools' upstairs.
I love these moments and it proves to me that they are still very much children throwing themselves into the world of imaginary play with no worries or concerns interrupting them.
However, I want to go back a few days to when my daughter came skipping into my room in a summer dress, hair tied up in a side pony with a questioning look on her face and she asks,

"Mummy, do I look pretty?"
 
Part of me wanted to respond with this; 
 
"Why does it matter? You're 9, you shouldn't have to worry about how 'pretty' you look, that word shouldn't be in your vocabulary. Why aren't you pulling on grey joggers and beat up trainers and throwing yourself around on the floor playing goalkeeper like I did at your age? Who do you think you need to be 'pretty' for? What crap have you watched on the television that makes you think you have to look 'pretty'? Now stop being so silly."
 
But I didn't.
I simply replied;
 
"Of course you do. But being pretty isn't everything in life."
 
And off she went.
 
Did I screw up there?
Should I have sat her down and explained her future role in life as a strong independent female who shouldn't feel the need to be led by society's expectation of her to look preened and 'pretty'?
Am I a hypocrite and sending out the wrong message whilst I put my make up on every day but can't actually explain to her that I do this as I lack in self confidence to go out bare faced?
Have I actually 'learnt' from my own mum who would have laughed off such a question and made me feel tiny for daring to ask?
Should I have wrapped her up in my arms and told her she is the prettiest girl to have ever walked the earth, because that is what I always wanted my mum to do and say to me?

I feel caught.
Caught between the realisation that she is feeling exactly how I felt - albeit much later in life for me at the age of 12 onwards - and the pull of my desire to tell her to stick two fingers up to the norms and 'expectations' and pressures in life.

So, which way do I go?
Where is the balance?!
What would you have responded with?

x x x
read more "Mummy, do I look pretty? {Parenting Girls}"

Project 365 2015 #30

The kiddos finished school this week to catch up with me so I now feel that the Summer holiday is well and truly here!
I just wish the weather would realise that too.

Project 365 #30

Project 365 2015 day 200 - 10k Race for Life // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 201 - Sunflowers // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 202 - Moth // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 203 - School's out for Summer // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 204 - Hydrangeas at Stourhead // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 205 - Rainy Friday // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 206 - Blue sky // 76sunflowers

Day 200
Today was the day I ran my 10k Race for Life in Cirencester. The weather was cloudy and cool and I loved every minute of it - although I have decided grass is not my favourite running surface! Next goal - half marathon.
Day 201
A quiet day for me as the children are still at school. I tackled the four foot dandelions and other weeds to make some space in the garden and planted out my sunflowers that I received last week. Hopefully they will survive.
Day 202
Another quiet one - I found this moth in the bathroom.
Day 203
The last day of school for the kiddos today! The weather was lovely and we stopped on the way home to take a peek at the horses in the field of hay bales.
Day 204
Today we went with a friend to Stourhead; the grown ups sat on the picnic blanket and talked and talked and the children made their own den beneath a huge tree by the lake. The hydrangeas by the pathway down to the lake were looking beautiful.
Day 205
A very soggy Friday today so we battened down the hatches, made some popcorn, crawled under the blankets and watched Maleficent.
Day 206
The blue sky and sunshine returned today and we headed to the in laws for a BBQ - I also managed to parallel park the van in the dark tonight!

x x x

read more "Project 365 2015 #30"

Project 365 2015 #29

Finally, it got here, the last week of term for me!
The kiddos still have three days next week so some quiet time for me will be planned.

Project 365 # 29

Project 365 day 193 - Snails on the run // 76sunflowers
Project 365 day 194 - Awaiting the sunflower // 76sunflowers
Project 365 day 195 - Chocolate covered flapjack // 76sunflowers
Project 365 day 196 - Birtday cake // 76sunflowers
Project 365 day 197 - Sunflowers // 76sunflowers
Project 365 day 198 - Slate heart // 76sunflowers
Project 365 day 199 - Garden lights // 76sunflowers

Day 193
Another training run in the rain today; 8k completed with a few snail obstructions along the way.
Day 194
Patiently awaiting the arrival of colour on the tallest sunflower so far.
Day 195
A day of baking for some gifts at work - chocolate covered flapjack.
Day 196
My girl turned 9 today! Not sure where those years have gone and she's growing up way too quickly for my liking. She requested a strawberry cake so a classic Victoria sponge cake was made with strawberry icing on top.
Day 197
Two sunflowers were given to me today as thank you gifts from school. My favourites!
Day 198
Last day of the Summer term for me! It has been the best year with such a gorgeous class of children and I was so grateful for some amazing gifts from the children including homemade jams, Costa & Waterstones vouchers and the lovely slate heart which is now hanging in my kitchen.
Day 199
A day of rest today as I have my 10k Race for Life tomorrow. I hung up a string of lights in the garden and tried not to worry too much about running on a mostly grassy course!

x x x
read more "Project 365 2015 #29"

Project 365 2015 #28

It is almost the end of the Summer term - and I am so ready for the holiday.
Just one more working week for me but first here is week 28 of Project 365 for 2015.

Project 365 #28

Project 365 2015 day 186 - 10k in the rain // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 187 - Bunting for Camp Bestival // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 188 - Fox ears // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 189 - Sweet peas // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 190 - Happy mail // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 191 - Tree canopy // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 192 - Cinema treat // 76sunflowers

Day 186
I did it! I reached the 10k distance with a glorious run in the rain.
Day 187
Today I started sorting out some of the important bits we needed to take to Camp Bestival at the end of the month. I pulled out all of the bunting to check we had enough - I think three very long strands will do!
Day 188
Putting the final touches to my fox ears. The tail is ready, the face paints have been delivered and now I just need a top.
Day 189
After work I went to the end of the garden with my boy and he picked a beautiful bunch of sweet peas.
Day 190
I came home to a lovely package from The Simple Things magazine - I subscribed this month and didn't realise a gift was included so this was definitely happy mail!
Day 191
A lovely trip out with my class today. We spent some time under the canopy of the trees just lying down, looking and listening - it was bliss and always nice to have a quiet moment with 4 and 5 year olds!
Day 192
We headed out to the cinema for the girl's early birthday treat today to see The Minions. This is about the only time I get a takeaway Chai Latte but I'll try and run the calories off tomorrow! The film was fab by the way.

x x x
read more "Project 365 2015 #28"

Take & make {Camp Bestival 2015}

With less than four weeks to go before Camp Bestival 2015 kicks off I have started to get prepared so am thinking about what to take and what to make!

Take & make {Camp Bestival 2015} // 76sunflowers

Year on year we have improved a lot of things; our packing technique, the 'what to take' list and those, oh so important, extras.
What follows are some ideas for adding a little bit of glamp to your camp, keeping the kiddos amused and saving some pennies.

Take & make {Camp Bestival 2015} // 76sunflowers
Take & make {Camp Bestival 2015} // 76sunflowers
Take & make {Camp Bestival 2015} // 76sunflowersTake & make {Camp Bestival 2015} // 76sunflowers

Bubbles
Good planning always involves bubbles; these are an absolute go to when the children need a bit of down time either whilst setting up camp or chilling in a festival field. We always take loads - more than we think we will actually need. If you want to buy bubbles, bubble guns, bubble swords, even a smoke filled bubble machine then there is a tent onsite that will sell you it!
Hula hoop
Last year me and my girl made a hoop in a local charity tent - it cost about £5 - where pipe was cut to fit and we could choose our own colour taping. We will definitely look to do this again as you can never have too many hula hoops!
Gym ribbon
I saw this today in the local supermarket for £2 and thought my girl would love it - something to play with while she cartwheels down the campsite hills!
Balls
These balls are those ones that light up so great for a night time game of catch!
Glow sticks and fairy lights
Glow sticks are an amazing thing - they managed to keep my children occupied for hours on the castle field last year whilst we watched the music. Get a big set with lots of adaptors to make ears and glasses and they'll be happy! The battery operated fairy lights are fantastic for glamping your camping spot as well as attaching to any buggies or trolley you may take onsite.

Take & make {Camp Bestival 2015} // 76sunflowers
Take & make {Camp Bestival 2015} // 76sunflowers
 
Tail and ears
This year's theme is Wild so I have made a fox tail - loosely following this tutorial - and ears should anyone want to partake. The boy already has a fox onesie - bought last year from the camping shop onsite - and the girl has a Pink Panther, but obviously I need something to get in the dressing up mood too! Not sure what I'm wearing on my actual body yet though?!
Bunting
An absolute must in my camping book! Every year the tent is adorned with the stuff both inside and out where we make a little 'fence' from tent to tent. It's really simple to make - I have a guide here - or you can just cut out shapes, as in the top picture, and sew to bias tape.
 
For extra lists and guides click the pictures below!

http://www.76sunflowers.co.uk/2014/07/top-ten-extras-to-bring-camp-bestival.html    http://www.76sunflowers.co.uk/2012/08/camping-with-children.html    http://www.76sunflowers.co.uk/2012/06/surviving-family-festival.html
To see what else is going on at this year's festival check out the website.
For more information on tickets click here.
x x x
 
 
 
Disclaimer: I am receiving family Camp Bestival 2015 tickets in return for previews and reviews of this year's festival. As always, views and opinions are my own.

read more "Take & make {Camp Bestival 2015}"

Project 365 2015 #27

Week 27 of Project 365 2015 has been a scorcher - I have learnt that factor 50 isn't always enough and that running in the heat is hard!

Project 365 #27
 
Project 365 2015 day 179 - Sunday run // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 180 - I love camping mug // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 181 - Sweet peas and lovely words // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 182 - Paddling pool and a Fab! // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 183 - Sun jellies // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 184 - Wild summer garden // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 185 - Knoll Beach, Studland // 76sunflowers
 
Day 179
A very lazy Sunday with my boy, whilst my girl went to see Jurassic World and the husband went to work, was capped off with a much needed run. Just the 4k as it was my first venture out since last week's niggles. Happily, it was all good!
Day 180
Supermarket day today where I spotted this in the seasonal aisle. I love camping and I love big tin mugs so all round a win win situation!
Day 181
The heat wave well and truly kicked in today so I set my alarm early for a 6a.m. start and a 6km run whilst the rest of the house slept. On my return the husband had a cup of tea waiting for me and later in the post a lovely pack of postcards came from The Simple Things magazine. And our sweet peas are doing fab this year. It was a good day to have a good day!
Day 182
Phew, it was a hot one at work today so the feet were promptly dipped in the pool and a Fab was devoured as soon as I was home.
Day 183
Me and my girl have succumbed to the sun jellies!
Day 184
A late evening wander down the garden before the weather turned for the night. The end of the garden is looking very wild, but summery.
Day 185
What a lovely day we had today! We packed up the van with the intention of heading somewhere on the south coast. First stop was Corfe Castle then it was on to the first paddle in the sea for 2015 at Knoll Beach, Studland.
 
x x x

 
read more "Project 365 2015 #27"

Embrace happy and Race for Life

Embrace Happy & Race for Life // 76sunflowers

Back in March I was lucky enough to briefly meet and listen to the inspiring words of Karin from Embrace Happy. As a result I take part in the daily #3goodthings focus on Instagram and I am pleased to report it is having a positive effect on my outlook, attitude and general well being. Alongside the #3goodthings, I have blown the dust off my running shoes and have consistently been lacing those bad boys up for regular running and training. With some fantastic online support from Run Mummy Run, I'm on a mission to run a Race for Life 10k in less than three weeks; some days I get worried about this as I haven't reached that distance yet and I have a constant fear of injury again. But, with my Embrace Happy hat on, I attempt to stay as positive as I can.
Today, with the heat wave sweeping in, I set my alarm early and was out the door at 0623 in order to beat the warmth - it was still stinking hot but I'm glad I am sitting hear in the garden typing this now and not running in the current heat at 1030. On my way round my 6k route I got a bit negative with myself, panicking about the aforementioned Race for Life, so I started to chant in my head;

You are fit, you are healthy so keep your arse moving.

Not particularly poetic I know but it worked. I dug in and kept going thinking along the way about the reasons that I am training for Race for Life and just how freaking grateful I am that I can run and I can get up everyday and I can do this.
When my race pack came through I thought about what I could write on my bib, I RACE FOR LIFE FOR... How amazing that I don't have a list of names to put on there. There is one person close to me currently recovering from an operation that removed a cancer infected kidney. Now he awaits scans and ultimately chemotherapy to hopefully eradicate the lot.
So I race for him.
And all those that have lost their battles, all those currently fighting and all those survivors.

A huge thank you to the lovely people that have sponsored me on my Just Giving page here.

x x x
read more "Embrace happy and Race for Life"

Project 365 2015 #26

Where the heck did that last week go?!

Project 365 #26

Project 365 2015 day 172 - The Gherkin // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 173 - Mirror photo // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 174 - Running puddle // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 175 - Salad bath // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 176 - Evening sun // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 177 - CDs in the woods // 76sunflowers
Project 365 2015 day 178 - Kite flying // 76sunflowers

Day 172
Time to leave London. We headed out and took in the sites and I got my first glimpse of the Gherkin!
Day 173
Today I was a lady that lunches with the lovely Ali and the lovely Aly! I love this mirror in Ali's back garden.
Day 174
Mixed feelings with my run today - it was great to be out but my planned 8k was cut short when my knee niggles flared up at 6k. Am now resting the running and focussing on core strength and yoga. Very frustrating.
Day 175
A late evening snap in the garden and the salad bath is coming on well.
Day 176
I spent some time in the garden with my girl tonight; she practised her cartwheels and I chilled on the patio.
Day 177
I went on a lovely walk today to the woods with lots of little people - we used CDs to observe the tree canopy and it was remarkably calming.
Day 178
This afternoon following a morning of chores - and reading the papers in the garden - we headed up to the Westbury White Horse with the cafetiere and kites for a bit of downtime. What else do you need?!

x x x

 

read more "Project 365 2015 #26"