Capturing The Wonder Of Mayfield Lavender With Rachel Thornhill

For the past few years the Mayfield Lavender fields in Banstead have been my first glimpse that summer has arrived. The magnificent sea of purple that fills the landscape and the beautiful smell that engulfs the air is a sight to be seen and one that I never ever tire of.

Mayfield Lavender has really gone from strength to strength and not only does it offer you the chance to enjoy this natural wonder there is also the opportunity to enjoy a huge range of scrutipous food and drink from the cafe such as juicy hotdogs, delectable homemade cakes and even a lavender cream tea which is still on my wishlist to try.

The shop is also fully stocked with goodies from tolliteries to lavender flavour sweets and of course a change to take home some of your very own lavender.

My little ones love being able to just run free through the fields but if you want a little more adventure then hop onboard the tractor for a ride around the fields to get a completly different perspective.

I am always the one holding the camera on our trips which I absolutly love, but this year it was a little different as we went along to meet the lovely Rachel Thornhill who is an expert when it comes to photography…especially at Mayfield Lavender.

Rachel is in fact one of the photographers recommend by Brendan Maye – The owner of Mayfield lavender and the moment I meet her I could understand why.

Her friendly smile and calm, welcoming nature put us all at ease when we arrived and she chatted at length with the children about what our morning was going to entail and how to care for the fields and the nature living there during the shoot.

I am not a fan of posed images and much prefer a playful, natural style of picture and this is exactly what Rachel tries to create. Capturing the children at play or us all in deep conversation creates a much more natural image and one that tells a story allowing it to be a more memorable capture and something to treasure for years to come.

During our shoot that lasted a little over an hour we got the change to explore, play, chat and giggle and at no point did the children get bored or restless as Rachel worked her magic and kept them happy and engaged throughout, she even managed to keep shooting when Oscar bundled in for cuddles.

What really sets her apart from other photographers is that she creates bespoke museum quality wall art and framed prints personal to you and hand made by professional printers in both the UK and Italy that are designed to stand the test of time, and become a part of your family story. The products are not available to buy from anywhere other than professional photographers, so really quite special?

Mayfield Lavender is a truly magical place that is pretty hard to find in the UK. It is a place to make special memories to keep for a lifetime and with something like a photoshoot with Rachel these special moments can be captured and remembered for many years to come.

*collaborated post

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twenty One

It has been a pretty quiet week which has made it perfect for my ‘Celebrating The Small Things’ series.

My Little Personal Shopper – Over the years clothes shopping on the High Street has become somewhat of a distant memory for me.

With the rise and ease in internet shopping and the number of children I had increasing the lure of shoppers by centres became less and less and now nearly all of my clothing purchases are done online.

The other day I had to get some last minute bits before our camping trip which ended up being a thoroughly enjoyable trip with Oscar.

We chatted over a babychino, stocked up on goodies for our trip and my most memorable moment was Oscar picking out outfits for me and giving his expert opinion on what looks good and what not so!

Daisy Chains – Sometimes the simple things in life pass us by and one thing that I hadn’t done for such a long time was to make a daisy chain. It’s such a simple task and the kids absolutely loved it.

How We Eat – The other day was actually a pretty big one as we had Mumset come into our home to film the way we eat as a family.

This was a pretty nerve wrecking experience as my kids can be pretty unpredictable at times and goodness knows what little gems they could have come out with!

Although the day was a huge thing for all of us I came away from the day extremely thankful of the fact I get to share dinner time with all my crazy loons!

Handprint Flowers: #BostikBloggers

This months challenge for BostikBloggers was based on flowers. As I had chosen a more complicated craft based on a flower for Easter I decided to do something that the little ones could join in with this time.

Handprint Flowers

What you need:

Coloured Card
Wooden Skewers
Thin Green Paper
Textured Green Felt
Scicorrs
Glue
Sellotape

First take your coloured card and draw round your little ones hands.

Next cut out the handprints to form the flower head and put to one side.

Next take your wooden skewers and wrap in a little of the thin, green paper and fix along the edge with glue to create a flower stem.

Whilst the glue is drying draw varied leaf shapes on the felt and cut out ready to attach to the stem.

Once the glue has dried on the stem attach the hand prints to one end with a couple of strips of sellotape.

On the other end of the stem take a little glue and attach the leaves that you have cut out.

Once the glue has hardened the flowers are all good to go. My boys decided to give theirs to their Nanny, who would you gift yours too?

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Eight

This week has been a pretty quiet one but some small changes in different areas of our lives have bought some joy to this pretty miserable time of year.

Spring Has Sprung: There has been a little bit of sunshine peeping through the clouds and my favourite daffodils have been showing their pretty heads which always gives me a bit of light relief after the harshness of winter.
It has got me thinking about festivals, holidays and getting outside more and I really can’t wait.

Big Improvements In Frankie’s Reading: For a long time I felt that Frankie was progressing slower than he should as far as his reading and writing was concerned. I tried not to compare him to his siblings and his peers but it is always something thats hard not to.
Thankfully though a few months ago his teacher had had the same concerns and felt that he was showing signs of dyslexia and this was why he was struggling so much.
With the help of a special coloured filter that he places over his books his reading has really improved and with this so has his confidence and I am so grateful that he has such a wonderful teacher that has picked up on this so early on in his schooling.

Getting Back Into Crafting: I’ve has a love hate relationship with crafting over the years. With my older children is wasn’t something I ever did at home as I couldn’t stand the mess and always wanted things to turn out perfecting, not allowing the children to use it to express how they feel and interpret their own ideas.
Things have certainly changed as I got older and I now love giving the children free reign, even if it does involve a few glitter explosions!
This year I was chosen as a Bostik Blogger which allows me to get crafty with the kids every month and its something we have all loved getting involved in.

Pop Out Tulip Easter Card #BostikBloggers

The first glimpses of spring have started to show over the past few weeks from longer evenings and sunny spells to my favourite blooms showing their pretty heads.

Daffodils and tulips are my absolute favs and with Easter not to far away I thought I would create a card that sums up the beauty and brightness of spring with a pop out tulip card for my #BostikBloggers project this month.

Pop Out Tulip Easter Card

What you need:

Ready made blank card and envelope
Yellow card
Green card
Pencil
Glue stick

Firstly take the yellow card and draw the shape of six tulip heads of the same size, then take the green card and draw four leaves and one stem for the bottom of the tulip.

Cut out each of the components and discard of the rubbish.

Take each tulip head and make a fold down the centre of each one, then take the glue stick and apply glue to one side and stick another of the heads to each side.

When they are all attached stick the flower into the top centre of the blank card.

From the bottom on the flower head stick the stem to the card. Then take the leaves and bend them slightly at the top and stick to the bottom of the stem.

Once everyone is in place then the card is complete.

* I was given a craft box from Bostik for the purpose of this review.

Father’s Day At Flower Farm

I have to say that when it comes to Father’s Day I am a little selfish with the plans I make!

My husband doesn’t really share the love for the great outdoors as much as me, so when I announced we were heading off to pick strawberries his face didn’t exactly light up at the prospect.

The children however were hugely excited as it is certainly a highlight of the summer for them.

Sadly it seems that PYO farms are few and far between these days but we are lucky enough to have one right on our doorstep.

Flower Farm in Godstone is a small farm that has very reasonably priced PYO strawberries  and raspberries come July, with the great addition of a well stocked farm shop and lovely tea room where you can grab light bites and of course a delicious afternoon tea.

The sun was beating down on us whilst picking but this didn’t put us off, even my husband got stuck in and said he was throughly enjoying it.

I love activities like this that cost very little money and bring us all together as a family.

It actually gave me time to reflect on the fact I am incredibly lucky to have my husband who always goes out of his way to make us all happy, and maybe this should be reflected in my choice of activity next year! 

Country Kids

When The Kids Just Aren’t Feeling It

for the past couple of years my love for photography has grown massively.

I love looking at other people’s styles of photography, I love seeking out places that I think would look good to take photographs of and I always have the best props to hand…my children.

I have had no formal training when it comes to photography so I’m still very much a point and shoot kind of lady and just hope that I am going to capture the image I have in my head.

The kids apart from my 14 year old don’t have a problem with my continual photo taking and to be honest don’t notice to much as I prefer to try and get pics as the play rather than staged shots.

However from time to time I do try and get some images I have to get them to work with me for.

Today however was probably not the best day to try this as they clearly were not in the mood for it and this was captured magnificently in my photos!

I got home after standing in a field of rape flowers disappointed with them not looking how I wanted, when actually they tell a really good story.

I hadn’t asked permission to be there so I was half freaking out I was going to get attacked by the farmer whilst my children gave me their best ‘natural’ poses!

All I will say is their personalities shine through immensely in these images and now I love them more than the perfect ones I had in my head…well almost!

My Top Five Places For Snowdrop Hunting In Surrey

One of the biggest things I love about the UK are our changing seasons. 

I may moan continually about the amount of cold weather we have here but once those first signs of Spring start to show I get super excited about the warmer weather we have to look forward to, and start plans for when we are going to get out and enjoy the longer days and the glimmers of sunshine.

For me one of the first signs that Spring is on its way is the arrival of the pretty snowdrops and here are my top five places to go and enjoy them for the short time they are around.

Gatton Park, Reigate

We took a trip to Gatton Park the other day as always were really pleased with the display of snowdrops and pretty yellow aconites that cover the banks and are scattered throughout the stunning Japanesse gardens.

There are often activities put on for the children too. We didn’t see any on our trip last week but enjoyed some snowdrop related crafts last year.

Painshill, Cobham

Painshill is a favourite destination for us at Christmas time but is also very special at this time of year.

You can take in the sights of the beaufiful spring flowers whist visiting the stunning crystal grotto and gothic towers that Painshill is so rightly famous for.

Wisley, Woking

The snowdrops at Wisley cover a few different areas and are a beautiful sight to see.

Whist you are there a trip to the butterflies is a must, as well as taking in the sights of the vast, gorgeously cultivated gardens.

Polsden Lacey, Great Bookham

The magnificent home and gardens of Polsden Lacey make the perfect home for a beautiful trail of snowdrops that line Lime Walk all the way from the reception to the grounds at the back of the house.

A trip to the adventure playground is also well worth a visit!

Winkworth Arboretum, Godalming

Another National Trust favourite for snowdrop hunting is Winkworth Arboretum that hosts thousands of varieties covering the beautiful grounds that are perfect for exploring at this time of year.