so long

And so I say farewell to this blogging space. Hope to see you over at my new home really soon.

My first post has just gone live.



a new venture

I have a new home for this blog, this blog I love so much.

After three years of writing The Blooming Times, I was surprised to find that I wanted to keep on writing regularly and also that I had the time(!) and wanted to expand and do new things that wouldn't work so well in this blogspot space. So after much deliberation I have decided to move to a dedicated domain, www.potterandbloom.com, and a new host, squarespace.

I have loved this blogger host, it could not have been kinder. It's such an easy system to use especially for complete blogging novices such as me, three years ago, green at the gills and more than a bit stupid and confused. Blogger is not only completely free but I have never had a problem with it, not one, in all the time I've been using it. It's fair to say that I will be sad to see it go.

But my new space is just fricking awesome! I love it and I love my new name which is a combination of my real and my blogging surnames (I have a blogging surname, I'm such a dick!). I've got new stuff going on; a compilation of all my favourite quotes called love notes, a free 100 lovely lists workbook for subscribers, a new facebook page and all manner of stuff and nonsense.

I hope you will be happy to join me over at Potter & Bloom. You can follow me on all the usual readers such as Feedly and Bloglovin or alternatively you can subscribe by email thus never missing an issue.

It's been a ball.

Peace. Out.


a weekend away

Iggle Piggle came away with us last weekend. We went to Center Parcs at Elveden Forest. He loved it especially when he realised Makka Pakka came too.

This weekend is one of those funny life anomolies because I don't particularly like Center Parcs. There's the silly spelling, its Centre Parks really, too many people, too many children (argh other people's children! en masse!!), too much 'organised' fun (you bloody well will have fun or else!), it's most definitely NOT my holiday destination of choice and yet I have been there too many times to mention.

Just don't ask me why I've been so much, I simply don't know the answer to this question.

we saw peacocks and shit
It is however one of the best places to go on a group holiday, which is precisely what we did. You can have lots of fun if you are with the people and the dogs you love and you get to do ridiculous stuff like play crazy golf with a toddler.

Can you imagine how this went down, picture the queue of people behind us waiting for their turn. Waiting patiently for their turn with hard metal clubs in their hands!

And you can take your dogs, although the irony of being in the middle of a massive forest and not being able to take Tilly off the lead was not lost on us. The dog walking area, the only place dogs are allowed off the lead, was smaller than our kitchen!

Tilly loved it though, in a confused, what the frick is going on way. She has been really poorly recently, had a lot of very painful trips to the vets and had been every day in the run-up to this holiday, so she couldn't relax. She was expecting to be taken back to the vets at any minute, this expectation making her shake all over so badly that her teeth chattered! Oh my lovely girl.

Tilly chattering notwithstanding, we were able to enjoy ourselves; ate a lot of food, played trivial pursuit, swam in the 'mega pool' (I didn't though, no way, I saw a poo in there once!), did drawings on blackboards, ate cake, chips and pancakes, sang Happy Birthday a few times and watched crazy brave critters come right up to the patio doors. How do Center Parcs arrange that, is the wildlife on the payroll?

I am one ugly ass deer

great wifi, zero mobile phone signal
We chilled out, I tried to not let it bother me that Betsy was chalking all over my amazing flowers!, and it was lovely.

It was great spending some time away and more importantly the wifi was amazingly fast!

The villas were lush, very Scandinavian, warm and lovely and we were lucky with the weather (can't write a British holiday post without talking about the weather for frigs sake!), given that it was tipping down when we arrived and tipping down when we left but lovely for the whole in between bit. Awesome.



Home is where I can be alone. Be myself.

Home is where I feel comfortable, warm, happy and secure.

Home is calm. Home is peace.

Home is solitude and familiarity.

It isn't about the stuff that fills it, it isn't about the bricks and mortar. It's the essence of home that I crave, the feeling of home, the comfort of home. I could live in any house and feel at home just as long as my loves are living in it with me.

When I was younger, wilder, and adrift in the world with no safe place to go, I had a fantasy home imprinted in my mind. This home was a tiny cottage at the base of a hill, it is winter time in this fantasy and cold outside. There is warm light in the windows and smoke curling out of the chimney. This was accompanied by a feeling that I belonged to somebody and they were on their way home to me. The atmosphere was calming and peaceful and I wanted those things so badly, it would often make me feel sick.

They call it homesick for a reason. At school you would sometimes find yourself floored by a wave of homesickness, the feeling coming out of nowhere in response to a smell, a sound or a memory. I would often feel homesick in the dinner queue, or watching the Eastenders omnibus on a Sunday. One summer term, when I was ten, I felt homesick every single night and had to be given 'sleeping tablets' by matron which seemed to work and which I later found out were nothing but paracetamol.

I have that longed for comfort now, so I cherish and guard it with a passion. I try not to be away from home for any extended length of time (yes holidays are a wrench), or socialise on consecutive days. When the weekend calendar is empty, I rejoice, for sitting on the sofa with a book reigns supreme. I am happy when it's raining outside because it means I have an excuse to stay in all day and when the snow comes and traps us in our houses, you will find me doing a dance, I am in heaven.

I used to feel embarrassed that I felt this way, being an introvert in a world of extroverts can be difficult at the best of times. But I'm too old to be embarrassed of who I am now, plus you get to forty and realise that you don't give a shit what anyone else thinks anyway.


be yourself

Don't be like everybody else.

Be yourself. Be your true, weird, nerdy self and be unapologetic about it too.

: source :


crochet star garland

This crocheted star garland has already had several incarnations. I just can't seem to get happy with it.

A present for Betsy's birthday, in it's original guise it had smaller stars inbetween each large star, but this caused lots of strange stretching and pulling and flapping (flapping!), and I just didn't like it. Sometimes a project with defy you, will make you sorry you ever started and wonder just how the frick you are going to finish. This is that project.

So today I took it apart and rearranged the stars differently, joined them from the top in an attempt to resolve the 'flapping' issues and removed the small stars out altogether, I'm much happier with the result, it hangs better for sure but it seems a bit, um, boring now.

Should I add something to it?

I suppose it can't hurt to try but I'm just feeling a bit meh about the whole thing now. Learning serious garlandy lessons here, I always thought they were a bish, bosh, bash, kind of project. You know, a can't go wrong and anything goes type of project.

I was wrong.

You need some skills to make these pretty things on string work.

The smaller stars are in fact very cute, and probably need a project of their own now they've been rejected and are sitting in a heap on the dining table looking sad.

For info the large star pattern is from Nicki Trench's Cute and Easy Crocheted Baby Clothes and the smaller stars are my own design.



The power of transformation intrigues me.

Our ability (or not) to change and grow, sometimes drastically, often subtly, is a constant source of interest. I'm obsessed with stories of transformation, I devour them hungrily, perhaps as a way to justify my own mutable life, or perhaps because I enjoy discovering the courageous ones who told themselves they could and so they did.

I like stories where people say no to the accepted way that things are, the different ways they have learned to accept themselves; those thighs, that glass of wine, these feelings. I like people who slough off old skins and transform themselves, people who radically change their world for the pure unadulterated betterment of themselves.

Lifestyle, physical, attitude changes, anything adopted in the name of a happier life is inspirational. These people have tapped into the great, largely unmapped, territory of "I deserve better than this", when we are often led to believe that we don't. These are the special ones who have realised that transformation is there for the taking. As Glinda the Good Witch tells Dorothy "you had the power all along my dear".

I salute you transformers (robots in disguise), I wait with anticipation to hear news about exciting things happening in your lives. I try, with some small success, to emulate your gritted determination. Yes, I want to be Dorothy too.

A small shift in mindset, a tiny shift in perception and a determination to effect change and we can do anything we want, we can be anything we want. Magical creatures every single one of us.



I did Wordsworth at school, did you?

I can remember the lovely bounce of Daffodils as it tripped off my tongue but apart from that I wasn't really interested. Bit dull. Plus there were boys to be thinking about, Wordsworth could get stuffed.

Then I visited Ullswater in the spring and I understood why all the fuss, Wordsworth was onto something after all. I discovered he was much more than the sum of his lonely wanderings, his poetry moved me, it moves me still, I understand him.

This ode: intimations on immortality, is my favourite. The first line feels like a half-remembered secret, did I know that? Who told me? When?

I have forgotten.

Words travel across the years to reach us all at different moments in time, always at the right time. These words came to me, reached in to my soul and gave it a squeeze and Will's timing could not have been better.


her second birthday

Today she turned two.

I don't know where the time has gone, it seems like yesterday we were having her first Birthday parties and marvelling at her skippy joie de vivre, and here we are doing it all over again.

We have had a day of sugar sprinkles and wig-wams, talking teddy bears, grandparents and pizza. We have puffed air into balloons, thrown streamers, lit candles, guzzled caffeine and kissed sweet little toddler cheeks a thousand times.

She loves an audience does our girl, even more so than last year. She spent the day spinning and twirling and demanding her dues.

She doesn't want cuddles, she doesn't want cake she just wants to be wild and free. We love her.

Happy Birthday Betsy.


quick and easy root vegetable soup

Autumn days are made for root vegetable soup. When the leaves are turning, the wind's picking up and the harvest crops are flooding the shops, we make soup.

And no better soup than a quick and easy soup, because I can't be arsed with any other type. Call me quick, call me easy and I am there with apron on, chopping up my veggies, grappling my gourds.

This Saturday I happened to hit the root vegetable jackpot and I didn't even mean too, I had to improvise lunch because I didn't have enough leeks to make leek and potato soup. And strictly speaking a squash is not a root vegetable but you will forgive this faux pas when you give this soup a try because it's busting at the seams with goodness, it's hot, it's sweet and very earthy. You are going to love it and not least because it's orange. Orange is the new soup.


3 or 4 large carrots

1 big or 4/5 small potatoes

1 sweet potato

1 squash

2 tablespoons of sunflower or olive oil

1 tablespoon of butter

1 pint of vegetable stock plus 1 pint of boiling water

2 teaspoons of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of chilli flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

Single cream (optional)


Cut all the vegetables into smallish chunks. Melt the oil and butter in a big saucepan and add the veg letting it cook away happily for 10 or 15 minutes and giving it the odd stir.

Add the stock, the ground cumin and the chilli flakes and simmer for 20 or 30 minutes. I use one pint of stock and one pint of water because the Marigold Bouillon stock I use is very salty, you can use all stock if you prefer.

Liquidise the soup and return to the pan, heat through and season to taste.

That is it. Soup is on the table. Serve on its own or add a swirl of single cream and enjoy.


never settle for less

Let's start this most brilliant of months off with my current favourite words of wisdom.

Never settle for less than you deserve people and if you think you deserve better then bloody well go out and get it.



candy coloured knitted baby blanket

I started making this blanket a long time ago and somehow, it got lost. It got that special kind of lost, the kind that only knitters and crocheters know, the kind that signifies some other project blustering it's way in, eclipsing any other yarn thoughts and destroying all current, hopeful project's dreams.

And so after the brightest of starts it got forgotten, in a bag, all alone.

Until I realised that firstly I was making this blanket for a particular someone so I better pull my bloody finger out and secondly I can't very well start new projects until I finish some old ones that are sitting in bags around the house and this one didn't really have that much work left to do. I had already completed the brown and baby blue colours so I grabbed some more colours and went for it.

The pattern is the Little Ridge Blanket from Pickles, Oslo - oh how I love these gals and their patterns.

The yarn is Rooster Almerino Aran in mushroom, sugared almond, custard, brighton rock and strawberry cream. Dreamy stuff to work with, dreamy stuff to make baby blankets from, the aran is the big sister of the Rooster Almerino DK I used to make Betsy's Springtime Throw and I love their colour range, so pretty, so candy, so right for little ones.

The garter stitch makes this blanket all stretchy and cuddly, seriously stretchy, this thing actually bounces! Perfect for wrapping a cute bundle of baby loveliness in, I know it's going to be a winner.

yarn porn!
The way this pattern works, which left me completely baffled for the entire period of knitting it, is the square shape comes about from creating two opposing increases either side of a central stitch. Such a simple idea, easy to follow (it's garter stitch, no prizes for whizzy stitchy woo here), but completely baffling. I mean it.

You just can't see what it is going to look like until you cast it off and then it was like all my cogs finally started whirring and turning, I put on my goofy, mouth open face as the lights finally came on and I realised what I had done.

"OH I SEEEEEEEEEE!" I cried, all chuffed and pleased with myself, not rocket science but near as dammit!

The pattern calls for casting off loosely (LOOSELY GIRL!) and gives the method they use, which I had never heard of before nor ever tried. To make matters worse, the magic of the square will only be realised with a stretchy, loose, lovely cast off. Pressure?

The only way to cast off that I know is the standard knit two, move the first stitch over and off and I know from experience that this creates a really solid and tight cast off.  To make it all the way to the end of this beauty and mess it up at the casting off stage was just not an option so I looked it up (thank all the heavens for YouTube) and practised it a couple of times before allowing my fat fingers of destruction anywhere near.

I managed it. I had a good knitting day. I cast off the final stitch and thought simultaneously "thank you" and "god I'm ACE". This woolly lushness is now lovingly wrapped in tissue paper to await it's grand moment in it's new home.

To prove that this kind of knitting smugness ("god I'm ACE", I mean come on), is not rewarded well by said gods, I started my next project at the weekend, a really difficult one that gives me the nervous sweats just thinking about it. After three days of deep concentration, intense video watching (wrap and turn anyone?), Betsy came running at me like a wild thing, landed and pulled the wool out of my hand.....and about 10 stitches with it, stitches that had been wrapped, increased and lord knows what else thus leaving me with no option but to rip and start over....I haven't started over as yet, I. can't. even.


and whilst I'm at it remember....

Never, ever. Never, ever, ever give up. Don't you dare.

Although knowing when you should stop flogging a dead horse helps.

Saw this lovely print whilst pinning and found the original source which makes me very happy.

why you bloody CAN try for a baby when you're 40

I sometimes get a bit sick of the tide of commentary on the rise of the older mum. Or to be more precise, the plight of the older woman trying to get pregnant most recently dragged up again here by supposed friend of the people Kirstie Allsop.

Why do we beat women up for what is essentially their own choice and none of our business? We can think for ourselves, we can make informed decisions and we should certainly not be made to feel bad if we decide to wait until we're in our late thirties or even early forties to procreate. So what is the deal here? Have we found a new way to beat women up?

It's also offensive that the assumption is we don't already know how reduced our chances are going to be. I mean come on, you'd have to be from Mars or at least incredibly stupid to not know that your fertility rapidly declines after the age of thirty five. We are quite literally bombarded with the negative aspects of modern fertility choices all the time not only from the media and 'well meaning' celebrity breeders but also our friends and family regardless of how supportive they think they are. "Don't you dare wait, don't have a career, you'll be sorry, have your babies early", ...blah, blah blah, yeah, yeah, we hear you.

And the thing that really gets me roaring with feminine rage is the fact that in most of these articles the presumption is made that women make a choice to have their babies later on in life when in fact I would dare to predict that only a small percentage of women actually do think consciously to themselves, "I know, I'll build a career and then have a couple of babies when I'm forty. Sure, it's a bit more difficult to have a baby at that age but there's always IVF, right?".

It just doesn't happen like that.

Let me tell you what usually happens.

A generation of girls grew up knowing that they had choices. We knew there were options in life other than getting married and having babies and so we exercised those choices and bloody loved doing it too. However a perilous result of this emancipated womanhood was strength, balls, independence and courage. No longer would we put up with the lily-livered boyfriend - kick that one into touch - or the one with the wife - cheating bastard - nor the bullying coward - leave that one and never look back. The result of this increasingly selective tribe of females is that more and more of us ended up still single in our thirties, or married to the completely wrong man as in my case but that is a whole other story.  Are you still with me? Am I ranting?

So here we are womenfolk, we are strong, we are independent, we are listening to Destiny's Child on repeat, alas we are single.  What happened? Where have all the good men gone? Why am I suddenly always the single one at parties, weddings, funerals? Better get myself a boyfriend before all my eggs run out!! Panic! Panic! Get me the internet right now!

I'm sure there are a million different versions of this story that could be told by a million different lovely ladies who most certainly did not expect to be like me and looking at the number 40 on a birthday card before having had any children. I think every single one of those ladies deserves our love, our wishes of luck, love and good fallopian fortune.

Our support and our sisterhood are essential because whilst it isn't easy to get pregnant at forty, and none of us expect it to be, it is possible. Yes naysayers I am daring to say it, you can get pregnant, you bloody can, I am living proof of it and I am surrounded by other ladies who also managed it. True that massive amounts of shagging are required (and perhaps a shot of clomid) and at our age who can really be bothered when there's tea and Downton Abbey, but shag my dears and you have every potential of conceiving - total respect due for my incredibly eloquent words of wisdom.

So that is my message. You bloody can get pregnant, just try and try and try again and listen only to positive vibes, ignore the mass media, your smug 'got pregnant on the first go' friends and family. Ignore the doctors who are all mean and negative and will basically tell you that you are too old to have a baby and most of all ignore bloody Kirstie Allsop who should know better given she was no spring chicken when she had her babies and who should think herself lucky that she did and who would do well to remember the large number of women in their forties who are still looking, trying, hoping, praying and those who might never be lucky enough to experience the joys, the pains, the muckiness of motherhood.

Here endeth my ranty moan, I'll get back to my knitting now.


why I write

It started off small, this desire to write. I never meant it to carry on for this long. In fact I'm amazed nearly all the time that it has.

It began on a whim with a tale of wild flowers in August 2011 and for the last three years I have bungled along, morphing, crafting and creating this place of mine through trial and error (a lot of errors!) to be what it is today. I've experimented with style and substance, taken the most incredible amount of pictures, deleted the most stupid amount of crappy posts, met the loveliest people and basically been on a wild adventure and enjoyed every minute of it.

Writing has turned into a pleasure. I can't quite believe that it has but there you have it, I enjoy it, it creates space inside me, space to explore how I think, feel and experience the world. The pleasure has grown exponentially since I started keeping a journal (I've always wanted to use the word exponentially in a blog post!), and also since I read Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, a magical book, life-changing for me, about rediscovering or just plain discovering your creative self.

In it Julia says this which I love:

"The process of identifying a self inevitably involves loss as well as gain. We discover our boundaries, and those boundaries by definition separate us from our fellows. As we clarify our perceptions, we lose our misconceptions. As we eliminate ambiguity, we lose illusion as well. We arrive at clarity, and clarity creates change."

Ah, clarity and change my two favourite c-words apart from cake.

Since getting into the habit of writing every day, everything about the way I think and behave has changed. The clarity of finally understanding things about yourself that have been right in front of your eyes and making you miserable is priceless. Writing gently removes layer after layer of accumulated social conditioning and after a while you start to recognise small glimmers of your authentic self.

These tiny cracks at first feel like a kind of madness because you abandon long held beliefs, duties, desires. You wonder if it's a kind of crisis (mid-life or otherwise) because suddenly you don't want to wear make up every day or high heels, you dig out old music, start reading poetry, prioritise people who make you feel joyful, find yourself dancing, running, meditating, making time for yourself and you start to feel alive.

All this and more is why I write, why I want to write and why I will continue to write, doors have been opened that can never be shut, it has become a way of life, become my life, become me.

I was asked to write this post by Cat from That Bettie Thing, it was supposed to be part of the summer long blog-along type thing that I can never usually be arsed with but Cat asked me so nicely and I liked the idea for a post so thank you Cat and sorry for getting in there with this post before you but I do believe you are moving house right now so you can be excused.


how to make time for yourself when you have a toddler

I am an expert on this subject. I was born to write this post.

The answer is unless you are blessed with a baby Jesus type child (as apparently my darling husband was when he was small), you are fucked! Yes you are. Add a small person to your life equation and you have one seriously big fly in the solitude ointment, peace might as well be a small town in Alabama with a toddler running around your house.

As an introvert I feel this pain more than most. I absolutely have to spend some time all alone every day otherwise I go completely bat shit crazy. The times are too numerous to count when I have just handed over the baby baton to Darren as he walks in the door from work and scurried up the stairs to the soothing calm of the darkened bedroom leaving him alone to deal with the chaos queen and her bag of intrepid toddler magic.

Single mothers I salute you.

I am eternally grateful also for the famous toddler nap. Betsy still naps, Betsy loves naps. Long may the napping continue. God bless the nap. All hail the lunchtime nap.

Fully two hours of time alone every single day and it is heavenly, I literally am in love with it. I can tidy up, eat some food, do some yoga/reading/crochet/knitting/writing, have a poo all by myself (only those with toddlers know this joy), drink a full cup of coffee, watch something other than Team Umizoomi on the telly and sometimes I will just sit there and be; drifting off, spacing out, unplugging for a bit.

Spacing out is one seriously underrated pastime.

The trick is to really, really enjoy the little parcels of time you get alone. Whether it's a sneaky wee whilst everybody crazy shakes (she loves that Umi shit) or the chance to crochet a row whilst food is being devoured, own that time, flood it with love potion and you'll be on the right track.

When little smellbum wakes up from her lunchtime nap the fun and fury begins all over again but I've got my mojo back, I'm loaded up with coffee, carbs and tolerance and letting chaos reign ain't no big thing.

Just don't ask me what I'm going to do when the napping stops!

ps. illustration by the amazing saskia.


back to school

Yeah, me and my bro circa 1970 something or another....evidence, if evidence was ever needed, that I have always looked slightly evil and menacing...Darren is seeing a distinct similarity between me and Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining! I'm inclined to see his point.

Back to school is the theme for today, this week, this month, for obvious reasons. My girl isn't old enough for me to get stressed/excited about uniform buying, how to make a school cardy last a whole year or whether to buy the Dora or the Hello Kitty lunch box. Instead I'll share my excitement of the season via the medium of blog because there must be more than a few of you who also love that whole new pencil case, new shoes, change of season back to school feeling?

I still do and it has been twenty six years since I left school, the excitement doesn't go away, I might be quite insane.

The difference in the air from summer, still nice but with a cooler edge always makes me think of the long drive back to boarding school every September, full of excitement with new shoes on and a school bag loaded up with pens, pencils and all manner of pretty stuff ready to be swiped, destroyed and lost over the coming weeks and months.

Hundreds of us would arrive back at school slightly dazed at how quickly the summer holidays had gone but stupidly excited at seeing one another again, immediately slipping back into old ways and alliances, happy to be free from parental supervision and boredom.

Now I no longer get shipped off to another world, I still find September to be a productive and busy month after the long, lounging days of August. I feel all ready for action and set myself a new timetable for getting shit done. Not quite so easy with an almost two year old who requires plenty of amusement pretty much all day long and who laughs in the face of plans.

I've got lists about lists, timetables and action plans, I am an all round geek and organiser of stuff - mundane and inconsequential for the most part - but that's the point for me, making the mundane a bit more colourful.

I have a filofax for organising life, a filofax for organising blog stuff, my phone organiser, a business book, a journal, a writing book and a calendar on the kitchen wall too - it's a full-time job to keep my organisers organised, says she with mock disdain.

Now I just need me some lessons to go to, a new PE kit, bad haircut and Clarks shoes. I will then be suitably prepped and ready for the new school year.


the last few august photo challenge pictures

I did it. I completed a photo challenge and am suitably amazed because I'm usually such a lazy arse about these things.

Occasionally, and more often than is acceptable to my self-imposed, often ridiculous high personal standards, I'll start projects and then get bored halfway through; can't be bothered, forget, fanny about doing other things, procrastinate and since having a baby, who I swear sucked all the brains out of me, am unable to summon the mental energy required to complete the most simple of tasks.

Argh some days were definitely harder than others, the selfie day was the worst, I hate the shit out of them bitches. I wasn't keen on the jump day either, tried to get a shot of Darren jumping and it was an epic fail, or the my guilty pleasure day because I don't feel guilty about my pleasures cos life is way to short for guilt isn't it. Yep.

Anyway my favourite picture is the last one. Me and my love.

For soft, well there isn't one thing softer than this gal.

Nature excited me so much I took two pictures. One of an apple tree that we walk past every day on our afternoon walk that Betsy is obsessed with "apple, apple, apple, apple, apple" soon as we get to the apple and I hold her up to it so she can touch it, she freaks out, her head turns away and "you do it mummy" hmm.

Then this moment presented itself in the park. Too good to miss and dog photo bombed as well, brilliant.

That's me done then. I completed the challenge and am well pleased with the results and with myself. What I love most is that it provides a snapshot of my life in August 2014 that I will treasure forever.

It shows my life, how I'm living right now; all toddler, dog, toddler, husband, writing, toddler and a smattering of pretty stuff. I only wish it hadn't taken me this long to getting round to doing a photo challenge. Probably just make it an annual event though, still lazy.


sharing summer with a one year old

It has been the best summer ever has 2014.

How ace that I got to spend it with my gorgeous, growing girl, we've been busy feasting off the full cupboard of life, romping in meadows, skipping through daisies, that kind of thing.

It is quite safe to say that Betsy has had the greatest summer a one year old could have, technically she has been 20 to 22 months so a bit older and more able to enjoy doing summer stuff, I know non-parents hate us saying "she's 22 months blah blah blah" rather than she is one but there is a massive difference in a 12 month old to a 22 month old so deal with it.

She has become a pro dog walker and swing swinger, proficient in French, lover of tarte aux framboises and in possession of the most amazing bouncy ball collection and summer wardrobe I've ever seen (thank the lord for h&m and her aunties Vicky and Emily). I love her dresses, skirts, patterns, pinkness and brightness, I'm gutted it's all going to get packed away and won't fit next year. She has a quite unique style of her own, in the way that toddler girls do, a combination of bizarre hat choices, upside down sunglasses, a bracelet obsession and her habit of carrying a bear with her wherever she goes.

erm nothing to see here, move along
She loves walking, which is a good thing given that it's the main thing that we do and given that we have a giant dog to exercise regularly. It's our 'thing' is walking, we walk mornings, we walk afternoons, we walk up the road, round the park and if stopped by the evil that is a rainy day (you have to be a parent of a toddler to appreciate the bad juju a rainy day brings), we are flummoxed, stumped, bored, left twiddling our fingers. She is quite tall and very slim even though she eats enough pasta to sink a battleship most days, I think all the walking burns what she eats off, not to mention the running ("race you mummy"), ball kicking ("you kick it") and Tilly chasing she does.

She loves Peppa Pig (what kid doesn't), her wellies, her mama and her daddy, Bruno and Bunny, apples, sleep, chocolate buttons, blueberries and yoga, man does she ever do a mean downward facing dog. She happily goes down for her nap at twelve, sleeps for two to three hours and then happily goes off to bed again at seven, she loves baths, showers, swimming and colouring.

bunny and bruno are swingers
She does not like being off routine, gets all confused and grumpy, she doesn't like jelly, giving kisses or having her nappy changed when she's had a pooh (?), she is fierce and independent, confused by ice lollies, not cuddly in the slightest, chatty, polite and full of energy. I love everything about her.

She has a curl that kills me every. single. day. I love it, it's the most commented on thing about her, the killer curl. Sometimes I'm half tempted to cut the gorgeous thing off and keep it in a box for a forever memory but it becomes her, it's her statement, her gorgeous, lovely statement so it remains and maybe one day there will be more curls and I can cut one off and not feel like I'm snipping a little piece of personality away.

I'm sensing a pink theme, are you sensing a pink theme? We like pink in this house.

What I will say about sharing summer with a one year is this. I am knackered, we are knackered. We are like her servants, following her around and providing for her every whim, she is exhausting because she is so full of energy and life. I feel bad sometimes that I'm so old and so knackered, I would like to keep up with her but honestly the girl got some super strength life force going on and I'm struggling. I would like some sleep, I need some more sleep, have fantasies about sleep, I would sell a kidney for some sleep and she isn't even that early a riser so that tells you something about what it feels like to have a toddler when you're in your forties!

In conclusion I know I'm the lucky one, I know I have many more exhausting days and sleepless nights ahead of me but they are going to be so bloody worth it so I put my slap on to cover the bags, drink a gallon of tea every morning and just get on with my job.