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..... We make
..... We explore
..... We nuture

Three children *** Two dogs *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That's us!

We've been blogging since January 2010.

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Just a thought….

"A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe."



Thank you….

  • Balsam Hill UK Blogger Love { […] order to match the rustic appeal of their cottage home, Cheryl opted to decorate her Berkshire Fir in a simple scheme. The colourful hand-crafted... }
  • Craft Mother I can't imagine not having a dog around, but I do realise that they are not everyone's cup of tea. 26 Mar
  • Craft Mother I have no idea how pre-school and KS1 teachers survive the chairs. Strong knees. I think you are right. If nothing else, at least it... 26 Mar
  • Craft Mother I suspect my daughter is put off by the idea of having braces again. I can imagine that there must be a few schools that... 26 Mar
  • Craft Mother I still feel like a newbie when it comes to crocheting. I'm sure it won't take you long. Looking forward to seeing what you make. 26 Mar
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Time to smile

"God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles."

- J B S Haldane

I’ve been featured by

tweens and confidence


Spring is in full motion in our corner of the world. I’ve woken to hear the most amazing bird songs, this week, and find myself not rushing up, but enjoying the songs. Not chirps, but full on musical movements! Like an orchestra is playing outside my window.

In the garden, bulbs are popping up overnight. Not really overnight, but I swear they weren’t there the day before. If they hadn’t been there the year before, then I’d begin to think that someone is sneaking into the garden and planting them while we sleep.

(Cyclamen with tiny bug on edge of petal)

Just buds mostly, at the moment, but full of the promise of colour and scent, ready to attract all manner of bugs to visit them. The garden will soon be full of life again.

(Lesser celandine in the woods)

On the home front, I’ve been aware of a change in the children. Especially my two daughters. If you’ve read my previous post , you’ll know that we went to see Hidden Figures over the weekend, as a family, and loved it (I’ve reviewed it, if you’re interested). Go see the film, if you haven’t already.

This week, both girls seem more confident in themselves. Just little things, mostly, but I have noticed that they seem to believe in their abilities a little bit more, especially in maths.

(pulmonaria in the garden)

Maybe I’m imagining it. Wishful thinking, but maths homework has been done without me being asked for help. They come home saying that they understand the topic they are doing in maths, more easily. They’ve helped fellow classmates. They even express the ambition to do well in the subject and how can I help them?

Has the film inspired them? I didn’t see that coming.

I took them hoping to broaden their minds to the racial issues. Giving context and a historical view, which I think it did. And more, it appears.

There is a fine line in parenting. So easy to push, when really what is needed is for eyes to be opened. It makes me wonder how else I can open their eyes to opportunities without appearing to lay out a carved-in-stone career plan. I guess that is my challenge. The fine line we all walk, bringing up children.

So not only is the garden budding up, but children as well. Reminds me why I love so much being a gardener, and a parent too.

Word of the week – budding.


The Reading Residence


Dear Daughter. About makeup.

weathervane finished square

Weathervane quilting square

Dear Daughter

I’m going to cut straight to the chase. This is the first of a series of letters that I’m going to write you. They are inspired by the Farmer’s wife sampler quilt. This was a competition where the wives of US farmer wrote letters to the next generation of farmer’s wives. Each letter had an associated quilt square or two. The squares can be put together to make one quilt. (read more here)

I am going to do the same. One letter. One square. Until I’ve made you a quilt. Using the squares from the Farmer’s wife book.

Seeing as we’ve been talking about this today, I’m focusing on the question of makeup for this first letter.

fabric choice

I know that a lot of your friends talk and brag about wearing makeup. Some even wear it to school, pushing the rules to their very limit. Like a lot about starting secondary school, this is all pretty new to you. You are an outdoors, active girl who has always been more interested in climbing mountains than the different shades of eye shadow. You would rather be stargazing than investigating the pros and cons of long-lash mascara. And I love you for it.

Let me start by putting this in perspective from a mother’s point of view. The most usual reasons that children choose to wear makeup is to look or feel older. They want to be like everyone else or they lack confidence in their own looks. They may argue differently, but there is no credible reason for most 11 to 12 year old girls to wear makeup on a daily basis.

fabric triangles

My message to you is :

First up. I want to talk about you. You are beautiful. There is no good arguing with me on this one. You need no artificial improvement. You have a natural beauty which is only improved by your smile. Even a hint of a smile is sufficient. This point is not up for debate.

Secondly: Be yourself and try not to rush through childhood. Enjoy being 11 while you can. It only lasts a year. Make the most of it.

This is the time to be silly and have fun. Start to work out what you like and don’t like. The beginning of the rules that will guide you through the rest of your life. If your friends want to wear foundation to school, then that is their choice, and they should respect your choice too. I have brought you up not to follow your friends like a sheep, but to question what you want to do. Enjoy now. There is time to be 14…..when you are 14.

Next: look after your skin. Avoid clogging your pores with lots of daily makeup. I’ve set you up with a good daily skincare regime. Make it a habit. You are good at drinking lots of water and eating healthily. At this stage you will do yourself more of a favour if you keep your complexion clear. Not spots.

cutting out fabric

Finally: you don’t need makeup to make you confident. If you are true to yourself and can look people straight in the eyes, then you will not need the mask provided by makeup. If you can be kind to yourself and believe in yourself, then you’ll wake up every morning confident and ready to face the day. No eyeliner required.

If and when you are ready to experiment with makeup, then I’m happy to help. We’ll make it fun. Start subtle and go from there.

But not to school. Not at 11 years old.

Believe in yourself.

As always

Your loving mother

letter and quilt square

Thank you for reading. If you want to learn more about this project, click here.


Linking up with Pink Oddy’s Motivational Monday  and FrontierDreams Keep Calm Craft On



There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

Copyright notice:

All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don't just take. Written permission only. Don't pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It's not nice.