Friday, 31 July 2015

Scented Playdough and Miniature Gardens

On Monday morning Wilf and I set about making something I've been wanting to make for ages. We made playdough. Not just any old playdough though, it was playdough which later on would form the base of the most beautiful miniature gardens I've ever seen.
I remember playing with homemade playdough as a child and used to love it, there's something about the salty feel on your hands after using it. We have plenty of dry, mixed up pots of shop bought playdough already but I fancied having a go at a scented, more natural dough. I found a SUPER easy recipe for fresh Mint dough from The Imagination Tree (which you can find here),  got a Peppermint Teapigs bag out the cupboard and popped the kettle on.
The playdough itself was really quick to make and Wilf enjoyed helping to knead the dough after it was mixed.

In the afternoon, when his sister was sleeping, we headed out into the garden to find flowers and foliage to stick into it. Obviously rocks and stones were gathered and added to the trug for good measure too.
We then set about rolling balls of dough and crating miniature gardens with our cuttings. I have to admit I did close my eyes at one point and pretend I was a lady from the WI in a flower arranging class.....
Amongst our cuttings were sprigs of Thyme, Rosemary and Sage as well as Sweetpeas. Along with the Mint that I'd added to infuse the box, the smell coming from the table was amazing.
My Mum visited later that day and was presented with her own garden to take home with her. I'm not sure how long the poor flowers lasted in the salty 'earth' but they left the house looking very pretty.
It was such a simple activity but one that I'm looking forward to recreating in different guises time and time again. Next time I'm getting the glitter out.
I've shared a photo from this post over on Instagram with the hashtag #summerholidaysideasswap
If you're on it, I can recommend a browse of the gallery for some great ideas.

Thanks for reading today, I hope a wonderful weekend awaits you. x

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Monkey Business

As I write this I'm curled up on the sofa, a big cup of tea in hand, warming up from a soaking on a walk earlier. Where on earth did the Summer go?!

I'm not complaining, it's not like I'm not used to living in Wales (would be the scenario anywhere in Britain mind!) But the wet, grey days do have a knack of hampering outdoor plans.

One rainy day activity we never get bored of though is dressing up. Yesterday I finally got round to finding an empty basket and filled it with dressing up clothes and hats that had been scattered about. Anwen didn't take long to discover it and presented me with her choice of clothing for today...
Which brings me nicely to my favourite photo from last week's #mythursdaybreaktime. I couldn't help but smile when I saw this fun picture by @frenchieparker I love how 'in character' Sarah and her little one are having, pure joy!
The lovely images below also caught my eye last week. Baked treats, a lovely creative corner and that Unicorn!!! Pop over to Instagram to discover these galleries and more gorgeous photos.
@brickdustandglitter  @suevaunallison
@hellomrsh @dreamingofthecountry
Tomorrow is the last Thursday to join in with the fabulous giveaway in partnership with Bloom & Wild. Simply tag your breaktime moment with #mythursdaybreaktime and tag in @bloomandwild and me @littlemaldod to be in with a chance of winning THREE months of flowers delivered to your door. I'll choose my favourite image from July and announce the lucky winner on here on Friday!
(UPDATED: Winner will be announced Saturday 1st August!)

Good Luck, I'm so looking forward to seeing your photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

My Afternoon in London and a Wobblegate Wedding

Last Thursday, whilst we staying down in Sussex with Sam's parents ahead of a wedding, I took a little trip. A trip to London, on my own.
I realise that might not sound like a big deal to some of you but with two small children (almost constantly within a few feet of me), a solo trip to Morrisons is quite an achievement! So imagine my excitement at the prospect of an afternoon in London, with no plans before an evening workshop I'd booked with Quill London.

After some consideration of how to spend my few hours before the workshop, when someone suggested a trip to Liberty (via Instagram), I couldn't believe it hadn't already been at the top of my to-do list.
In my usual over ambitious belief in having 'loads of time' I thought I might manage a trip there AND a quick gallery visit, but who was I kidding? No, I managed to wander around every floor for over 2 hours, finishing off with an overdue make up lesson at the Bobbi Brown counter. Every moment was absolute bliss.
Each, creaky floor was a delight and I could have strolled around stroking the fabrics in the haberdashery all day long.
 And that floral display? Only at Liberty!
The Brush Lettering workshop that I went to afterwards didn't disappoint either. It was everything I'd hoped it would be and more. I loved learning a skill I've been wanting to try for ages. The workshop was run by Teri from The Lovely Drawer and Emma Block. They are both absolutely lovely and so talented, I felt quite in awe!
I was too busy practicing and chatting to some lovely people on my table to take many pictures. I did manage to take this though to celebrate a perfect Thursday breaktime.
On Friday, the theme of the day was floral once again. A best friend of mine had asked me to put together the bridesmaid boquets for her wedding, which of course I was delighted about. It was such a treat to be presented with bunches of beautiful roses and foliage and told to do whatever I thought. Thankfully the bride-to-be was happy with the final result.
The weather on Saturday, the wedding day, was perfect and we all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw the sun in the morning. This stunning view of the South Downs was taken from the marquee. You could barely see to the end of the field through the rain when we finished the flowers 24 hours before!
The wedding took place on a farm in Sussex at the home of Wobblegate Apple juice (Tom, the groom bosses the juice). It was the perfect setting for the most relaxed and lovely day. Sitting on hay bails, warmed by the sunshine and nestled in a row of apple trees, we watched Kate and Tom give their vows to each other, becoming Mr and Mrs amid stumbled lines and lots of laughter.
My sister was a bridesmaid and I could have burst with love for the bride when I listened to the bridesmaids' speech about her. It's a special day indeed when someone so dear gets wed!
The evening sun shone down as guests sat on hay bales and benches, chatting and enjoying the cider while dancing kicked off under canvas.
The fact that I got to hang out with these two, my Mum and sister and my two favourite ladies in the whole world, was the icing on the cake.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Baking, Blooms and a Sneaky Squirrel

I can't tell you how much I love seeing your breaktime moments every Thursday.  In fact, putting my feet up and scrolling through the gallery to peek at your breaks has become part of my Thursday.
I'm especially looking forward to seeing your Summer holidays appearing in the gallery. Thanks to the rain, I've spent some of this week wishing I was joining in on some of your Mediterranean and Agean adventures!

Last Thursday Wilf had his last day at his Welsh Nursery (Big Welsh Nursery as he calls it). Despite my frantic elderflower bottling escapades at 10:10 am (we were supposed to be there for a concert at 10:20) and quickly scrawling thank you's, we made it there just in time.
I was flustered to say the least but when I saw him stood hand in hand with one of his best friends, my heart sang and memories of the stressful morning evaporated.

I was however very glad for the quiet afternoon that lay ahead. We enjoyed some stories on the sofa together and spent time baking at his request. We have a whole summer of quiet afternoons in each others company (while his sister sleeps) and I'm so looking forward to it.
I wanted to share an extra couple of posts that caught my attention last week. The very lovely Emily from @allenandbear posted this photo and I loved it. Tea really does revive you.
Later though, Emily posted this photo and a recipe for her delicious looking chocolate and biscuit bars.
Pop over to find the recipe under this photo in Emily's feed if you fancy giving it a go. I'm yet to try it but something tells me Wilf will definitely be up for helping me make (eat) it sometime soon.

These stunning photos all caught my eye last week.
@wolvesinlondon  @myfandfriend
@shirleyrainbow_tb @martha_andthe_meadow
I adore each one individually and the colours are just stunning. Mint green is one of my favourite Summer colours this year and when it's teamed up with pink it's an absolute winner!

This brilliant capture of a sneaky, strawberry pinching squirrel had to be my favourite last week though.
Kat (@clothkat) had such perfect timing to capture this furry thief, brazenly strutting his stuff with a juicy strawb stuffed his mouth.

Kat who runs the awesome ClothKat is one of the most positive, cheerful and fun people that I've come across through Instagram. If you don't already follow her then pop over to her feed, I promise you her colourful posts will never fail to make you smile.

This week we're spending our Thursday back in Sussex, staying with family and catching up with best friends. Then this afternoon I'm off to London to attend
Quill London's brush lettering workshop, I simply can't wait.

I won a place on the workshop through a last minute entry into a giveaway they ran on Instagram earlier this year. You know what I'm going to say next don't you?! That's right, don't forget you could WIN an amazing 3 months worth of flowers from Bloom & Wild for simply posting your Thursday breaktime.  There's just 2 weeks left in July to enter and my favourite shot for the month will win and be announced next Friday 1st August.

Anyone can enter, simply tag your photos into #mythursdaybreaktime tagging me @littlemaldod and @bloomandwild

Looking forward to popping by and seeing all your lovely moments tomorrow and wishing you a very happy Thursday x

Monday, 20 July 2015

Twenty Five Drawers

I'll let you in to a little secret. My home isn't quite as tidy as my Instagram profile(s) might have you believe. Although I have a sneaky feeling nobody's is!
If you're anything like me, you run around tidying things away (read, scooping things into drawers) before visitors arrive. That's just how I feel about sharing photos of my home, I'm much happier posting the odd tidy little corner or specific areas I've styled, than messy, disorganised clutter traps.
I've decided it's time to tackle those traps though and whip my home into the organised shape I'd love it to be. There's plenty of areas that could do with a sort out (don't get me started on the toy baskets) but I've decided to start with the main culprit, drawers!!!
I find it all too easy to open a drawer and throw the mess on top into it. Yes it solves the visual problem but it's still there and I've decided I can't ignore the hidden mess any longer.  I'm hoping that by sorting through them I'll be able to keep on top of things, as everything will have a set place to 'live.' It might even save me some time when I'm looking for something. Anyone else spend ages looking for things that could be in one of about ten different places?!
But given that we have 25 disorganised drawers to sort through (yes I've counted), the task seems daunting and something I simply don't have the time to tackle in one go. So I've decided to do things 'just one drawer at a time'. Giving up 10 to 15 minutes each day to sort through JUST ONE drawer. I'll stop myself if I'm tempted to do any more than that as it'll then turn into the mammoth job that I want to avoid.

I'm hoping that over the course of the next couple of weeks (OK it'll probably take me the whole summer holidays) I'll have things a little more ship shape round here.
Thankfully I'm never short of a helper willing to empty out the entire contents of a drawer.

Anyone else fancy joining me?

Friday, 17 July 2015

Bowls Full of Berries

We're enjoying bowl fulls of allotment fruit at the moment, something I'd been looking forward to ever since we were given our neglected, overgrown plot in December.

The pickings are so frequent that we're only just keeping up with the berries that are coming from the fruit cage. The children adore fruit, so much so that "burrberries" and "barbberries" are amongst Anwen's first words.

On Wednesday this week I opened the fridge and noticed a few tubs and bowls of berries which had gone from plump and juicy looking to soggy and squished. They were beyond looking appetising so I decided to make a spontaneous pudding to use them all up.

Made up of just three simple elements, it was so easy but absolutely delicious, so I thought I'd share it with you here.

I'm calling it my 'Nearly-over-but-still-delicious Summer berry pudding'

I started off with a third of a pack of ginger biscuits, and then stirred in a knob of melted butter.
I pressed the biscuit base down into a ramekin (using my handy lemon squeezer).
I added a couple of spoon fulls of warm fruit compote (including raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants) which I had gently stewed in a pan.
Then topped it off with a few scoops of Vanilla ice cream.
The ginger biscuit base complimented the fruit really well and the cold ice cream melted into the fruit beautifully. A truely simple Summertime pud. 

Do let me know if you give it a go or try your own variations this weekend.

Lowri x

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Dinosaurs, Dressing Up and a Moment With Monet.

Where do the weeks go? I realised at teatime tonight that it was Wednesday evening already and I'd still not written up a round up of last week's My Thursday Breaktime. So better late than never...

All of our week last week was a breaktime as we were on 'holiday at home' and enjoying (half) day trips out and lots of lazing about in front of Wimbledon in the afternoons. It was good to slow the pace down a bit, spend some quality time together and go to local places that we never normally have the time for.
On Thursday we headed into Cardiff and took the kids to the Welsh Museum, somewhere I'd been looking forward to taking them to for ages. We enjoyed the dinosaurs, dressing up as Scientists and looking at bugs. Then managed a quick walk through the Impressionist gallery before they became a bit wild and in need of lunch and fresh air.
 One of my favourite photos in the #mythursdaybreaktime gallery last week was of this gorgeous pair, taken while I was wandering close by, lost in a world of Monet.
I'm absolutely bias and I love that my husband appreciates Instagram and joins in with this weekly challenge. Of course I've told him he's not allowed to be considered for the monthly prize (as much as I'd love flowers delivered to the door for 3 months!)
@lindiespatch  @aptapothecary
@lyndaybuchanan_  @buildarocketbickers
Family photos aside, this beautiful and bright bunch of photos caught my eye. I love the vibrant pops of colour that burst out, perfectly summery in every way.
It's this serene capture by @sarahhemsley that I keep coming back to when I scroll through the gallery though. I love the light palette of colours, they're such a change from the vibrant blooms I'm cutting from the garden at the moment. Sarah is a woman after my own heart, there's nothing I enjoy more than pottering with flowers when I get a break in my day.

In fact when I arranged this month's giveaway with Bloom & Wild, they told me that their customers often comment that arranging flowers after they've been delivered is a lovely break. Flowers and a bit of 'down' time, what could be better than that?!

A cup of tea I hear you say? Well you'll just have to wait for next month's giveaway....

Back to July though. If you fancy the chance of winning THREE month's worth of flowers, simply post your breaktime moments on Instagram at any point on Thursday and tag in @littlemaldod and @bloomandwild. I'll pick my favourite shot of the month on the 31st July and the flowers are yours!
Tomorrow afternoon I'll be hanging out with my 'nursery graduate' little boy (sob) who has his final day at his Welsh nursery in the morning. There's a huge amount of Sweetpeas to be picked and plenty of dead heading to do so I'll be enlisting his gardening skills while his sister naps.

I look forward in to checking in to seeing what you're all up to too.

See you then! 
Lowri x

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Slowing Things Down

Flying in for a quick hello and round up of last week's My Thursday Breaktime.We're having a week's holiday at home this week and thoroughly enjoying slowing things down a bit and some quality time as a family.

We usually try to go away for our holidays, booking into a small cottage, usually hidden away in West Wales, but this week we decided to stay put and enjoy some adventures closer to home. We've dipped into our family fun jar (you can read more about it here) and spent Monday morning swimming. Today we've had fun with the animals at Cefn Mably Farm Park and tomorrow we're off to wonder at the dinosaurs and relics at the Museum.
In amongst the day trips we've enjoyed lazing on the sofa with Wimbledon on in the background, pottering in the garden and lazy mornings in bed. It feels good to just slow things down.
A beautiful reminder by @windramdesign
That's what I love about My Thursday Breaktime, it's a celebration of pressing the pause button in our busy lives and slowing things down a little. Even if for a moment (and enough time to take and post a photograph).

These gorgeous photos caught my eye in the gallery last week. I love the hint of lemon in each of them, and that cake.... it had me craving a slice by mid morning last Thursday!
@live_and_bloom  @blossomandbear
@xxbirdhouse  @lyndsaybuchanan_
It was this photo by @darlingbudsofme and the words below that stopped my in my tracks though.
I sat and read through Lisa's words (go and check them out) and tears trickled down my cheeks. Simply beautiful in every way.

Don't forget that this month I've teamed up with the fantastic Bloom & Wild. At the end of the month, one lucky person (who posts my favourite shot of the month) will win 3 months worth of flowers delivered straight to their door (I KNOW!)
To be in with a chance, simply post your breaktime moments on Instagram with #mythursdaybreaktime and tag in me @littlemaldod and @bloomandwild.

I'm keeping my phone use at bay this week (trying to anyway) as I always feel more 'present' when it's firmly put down and left in another room. I'll certainly be checking in with you all at some point tomorrow though and looking forward to seeing your breaktime moments.

Lowri x