Wednesday, 27 May 2015

My Thursday Breaktime #5

One of the things I've noticed about #mythursdaybreaktime is what a huge part the weather plays in our how we spend our break times. Last week's gallery was bursting with sunshine moments!

The sun literally shone through so many beautiful shots, from sitting out at lunchtime, to quiet moment sat on the grass at the end of the day. One lovely Mama had the right idea picking up fish and chips and enjoying teatime on the beach!

We enjoyed a sunny trip to the park in the morning last Thursday. We had lots of fun picking buttercups, did you ever test to see if you liked butter with them when you were younger?! However, come the afternoon, there was little time for a daytime break for me. While Anwen slept and Wilf was at nursery I had an early birthday tea to sort out. Thanks to a helping hand with the nursery pick up, I managed to just about pull off some pre-birthday fun for Wilf and his friends in just under 3 hours! More on that in my next post.

When I did manage to grab a moment, here is what my Thursday breaktimes looked like.
Once again I loved the variety of the moments shared last week. It was so tricky choosing favourites and I was amazed at how many people joined in! I am truly SO pleased that so many people are capturing the essence of what this simple project is all about. When I was charging about on Thursday, and I mean literally running around Morrisons after the nursery drop off and then around my garden hanging bunting, it really made me appreciate the quieter, recharging moments I had in my day.

I love the calming tones of these photos, they're relaxing just to look at! They're just a few of my favourites from last week.
@allenandbear  @winsome_ginger
@atouchofdomesticity  @rachaelcooper_
One of the things I often find myself doing when I have a quiet moment is scrolling through old photos on my phone. So I could absolutely appreciate the capture of this stunning shot by @Kikuhouse.
It's a photo taken at Osaka aquarium back in 2007 (that's some impressive phone storage there!) It made me think of the sun in a deep blue sky as soon as I saw it, so it fitted perfectly with all the warm sunny shots last week too.

Tomorrow we will be celebrating Wilf's ACTUAL third birthday. Thankfully there will be no charging about for me as we're staying at Granny and Grandpa's and will be enjoying a day of fun, picnics on the lawn and playtime. I'm sure I'll share a snap or two amid the present opening and look forward to catching up on all your snaps when my THREE YEAR OLD (how?!?) is tucked up in bed. Hopefully the sun will be shining for all of us again too!

Anyone can join in with #mythursdaybreaktime simply share a photo of your breaktime moment(s) on Instagram and tag #mythursdaybreaktime and @littlemaldod so I can join you in saying yes to pressing pause for a moment or two in this busy old life!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Wonder in the Woods

You may remember I posted recently about a special Spring Watch we had at my parent's house. I wrote (here) about our adventures checking bird boxes that they have in their garden. Well, I thought I would give you a little update.
Last Monday I drove down to collect the children from a weekend stay at my parent's house. When I arrived Wilf was excited to tell me that fairies had visited the woods and couldn't wait to take me out to show me where they were hiding.

Wellies on we strolled up past the stream and towards the Bluebells and were quickly greeted by our first winged little friend. Hidden at the base of a tree was a peach adorned little fairy (let's call her Peach) nestled into the grass and keeping an eye on the pond. Having no idea where Peach's friends were hiding, I asked Wilf to show me where the next fairy was hiding.
As we carried on up through the freshly mown path through the Bluebells he pointed and excitedly cried out "there's one!" This time she was sat in the shade, at the bottom of a curly, perfect-for-climbing, tree.
We walked a bit further and after a few minutes of looking (I had no idea where they were) we decided to head back to tell Babdi and Dadcu all about it. As we walked, Wilf told me about the little nuts and coins that the fairies had left for him the day before. I wonder what he'll find next time he pays them a visit.
Later that day I asked my Dad if it was time to check the bird boxes and was delighted when he said they were due to be done.
This time it was Babdi (my Mum), Wilf and I who headed off with our stepladder, paper spreadsheet and code book tucked under our arms.
We had a treat waiting for us at the first box. Last time it had half a dozen speckled eggs in and this time we found some fluffy feathers and could make out a couple of tiny beaks. It was hard to tell how many chicks were squashed into the tiny nest but happily wrote down that there were at least two.
Our excitement continued with the next few boxes and Wilf was able to look inside and see the tiny new chicks, waiting for the parents to return with food.
It was amazing to see how, after a few short weeks since we last checked them, that each box had developed onto the next stage in a nest's cycle. Where before there had been a fully lined nest, there were now nesting birds (boldly refusing to budge this time) and where before there were eggs, there were now chicks.
All of the chicks were at different stages and I was lucky enough to be able to photograph them so we could look at them properly when we got home. There was one box of Blue Tit chicks which had at least 7 tiny, totally balled, newly hatched chicks in it. Wilf made me laugh when I showed him the photo and he said "they're naked? They don't have any clothes on?" He then later told Dadcu that they didn't have clothes on because they were going to go swimming! How a little mind works!

I'm writing this as dawn breaks on a sunny bank holiday Monday. We're staying with friends at a beautiful house in Sussex which has an amazing garden and woodland. I couldn't resist climbing up to have a nose inside a box that sits in a tree near where we've been sat over the weekend.
Unfortunately, without a lid to open up I couldn't see inside properly but there was definitely evidence of a nest having been built at some point.

I can hear the chorus of birds chirping outside the window. I can't help but wonder how many nests and chicks are hidden away in the trees and woods outside.

Isn't it wonderful how nature just quietly gets on with 'life', often quite hidden from view. Much like the fairies tucked away in the woods, waiting to be discovered. I'm so pleased to be able to share a little of this wonder that we've found and hope I can report back again soon with an update on the nests... and maybe the rest of the fairies.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

#mythursdaybreaktime #4

Time for another little round up of #mythursdaybreaktime! I really feel like I'm getting to join in on lots of lovely breaks and starting to feel a great sense of community through those sharing! Yay!

I don't know about you, but last Thursday was a complete washout for us. It rained heavily ALL day! Thankfully my parents happened to be in town and saved the day by doing the nursery drop off for me. I managed to borrow some waterproof trousers and didn't get too wet on the way back! Needless to say I had two very wound up children by the end of the day having been cooped up. This was a brief moment of calm.
In between dashing out in the rain and refereeing this pair, I did manage a few moments of calm. Here's my breaktime moments.
One thing I'm loving about #mythursdaybreaktime is that everyone shares something different, it's not always cup-of-tea-sit-downs. This grid shows just that! 
@beautythrumylens  @clothkat
@poppifleur  @theordinarylovely
From a quick 15 minute faff with flowers, to planting out pansys to homemade cake and reminiscing about days gone by. It's great to see how you all spend those precious, quiet moments in your day. 

Not that I want to dwell too much on the showers last week, although it's great for the allotment (and yes I can hear my Dad saying that) but I thought this raindrop image by @lucy_fisk was something special.
I love the amazing close up of each beautiful droplet, they're a nice distraction from the grey day in the background.

That's the lovely thing about sharing photos, you can find beauty in the everyday, quite ordinary moments. I look forward to seeing how you capture your breaktime moments tomorrow.

Lowri x

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Little Introductions

This morning I'm excited to be launching a fun and exciting series on Instagram called 'Little Introductions'.
I don't know about you but I love knowing more about people, who they are, where they come from, what their story is. I'm a people person and there's nothing I like more than making new connections, forming and nurturing friendships and spending time chatting one to one. That said, I can be quite shy, can lack in confidence and am certainly not a care free 'mingler'. I'd be the introvert end of extrovert in a personality quiz!

One of the things I love about social media, and especially Instagram, is that you can interact with followers/friends and customers so easily. However, I'm constantly conscious about balancing posts which represent my 'brand' and the products I sell with those that tell a little about me, the maker and person behind it.

Yesterday, on my two long car journeys to collect the kids from my parents, I pondered the idea of starting a series of prompts which would enable me, and anyone who'd like to join in, to share a little about themselves. Then last night I took part in a fantastic #makeitsewcial chat hosted by the fabulous Allison Sadler with Fiona Humberstone the wonder woman behind 'The Brand Stylist' and author of new book 'How to Style your Brand' (absolutely on my wish list!) Through chatting to these ladies and other fellow business owners I realised the importance of sharing personality behind your brand and it gave me the push I needed to just go with this little idea.
Photo by Fiona Humberstone
So, from today I will be sharing a weekly prompt every Tuesday for the next 6 weeks. The prompts will be simple, fun and easy to join in with. They will be geared towards those running independent shops, creative businesses and bloggers but anybody is welcome to join in. Simply tag your photos with #littleintroductions and make sure you tag me @littlemaldod so I can discover (that's a nice word for 'nosey') more about the wonderful people behind those lovely little squares!

To kick things off this week's prompt is simply 'Pleased to meet you'. Tell me a bit about you, your name, how old you are (IF you want to!!), are you married, single, a mother or a father, perhaps a pet owner?! Feel free to keep it simple or share as much as you like. Right, off to introduce myself X

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

My Thursday Breaktime #3

I'm loving getting glimpses into those 'downtime' moments in your days through Instagram and #mythursdaybreaktime. Be it a quick cuppa at elevenses, coffee in the car or a relaxing evening painting toenails!
A big thank you to all those joining in.

My Thursday last week was a lovely one. The kids and I had a quiet morning, the weather stayed dry for the nursery run (nearly ALWAYS a run as I'm forever late) and I had a very enjoyable few hours potter while Anwen napped. My husband was working at the polling station (from early to late) so I was solo parenting all day and relished the quiet time of the afternoon. Here are my breaktime moments.
I'm a big tea fan and rarely does a breaktime pass for me without putting the kettle on. It would seem that that's the case for a lot of you too. These lovely tea inspired breaktimes caught my eye this week. 
@themilkcollective  @capturebylucy
@brickdustandglitter  @_mandybe
However it was this lovely image by Emily and her pooch Ted (shared by @allenandbear) that caught my eye.
I love all the contrasting colour in it and Ted's jet black paws! He looks as if he's about to race off into the sea of yellow. I love the confetti like blossom and its nice to savour it as much as possible as its all but blown away round these parts!

Lisa, who's photo I picked as my favourite last week, made my day when she commented that:
"Breaktime, for me, is the cornerstone of my day, so I really love seeing what everyone else gets up to! Looking forward to tomorrow."

I couldn't agree more.

Anyone can join in, simply snap your breaktime at any point tomorrow (Thursday) on Instagram and tag #mythursdaybreaktime and @littlemaldod

See you then! X 

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Styling the Seasons - May

May is one of my favourite months. My birthday is in May, just (I'm a day away from June) and my son, my first born, arrived into this world 3 years ago later this month (how did that happen?!)

The beginning of May, with its bluebell woods, sweet forget-me-nots and bold tulips always feels like Spring is in full swing. Lighter evenings make for happy, productive evenings in the garden and a busy time of seed sowing for us.

Its at this point that the garden's growth really steps up a gear and from now, right through to early Autumn, I love that I can pick flowers straight from my back door. One of my greatest joys is snipping away at our home grown flowers and filling up all manner of containers, jars and bottles to dot around the house.
On Thursday evening when the kids were down, I did just that. Armed with my scissors and phone (to catch some photos before the light faded) I enjoyed a little mosy. It was then that I spotted my inspiration for this month's Styling the Seasons post.
Tucked away amongst some grass and growing next to our Willow arch was a few tiny sprigs of Lily of the Valley. I thought I'd spotted its distinctive leaf a week or two ago and remembered planting some bulbs a few years back but as nothing flowered last year I wasn't sure if they'd died. As I knelt down to take these photos their beautiful perfume was unmistakable.
Lily of the Valley is the flower for May. I remember being given Lily of the Valley soaps when I was younger and my Gran telling me that it was my birth flower. The smell of them instantly takes me back to her spare bedroom where she told me about it as I opened up the soaps.
So, despite there only being a couple of delicate, bell adorned stems I knew I had to bring one in to the house. I also knew that it had to be placed somewhere where its scent could be enjoyed and decided that nowhere would be better but my beside my bed. I wasn't sure how long it would last when cut (I cut some clematis that did NOT like being brought in yesterday) and wanted to see it as much as possible while it didn't look too sorry for itself.
One thing I love about Styling the Seasons is that it encourages me to look at a surface in a new way and to bring in other objects and items that weren't there before. One of the items I wanted to include when styling this surface was this little glass Chinese tree.
This ornament was one of the things I chose from my Gran's house when she sold it about 3 years ago. It's moved about to various spots in our bedroom and has gathered a lot of dust on its delicate branches. However since losing Gran a few weeks ago, every item I've had from her has suddenly gained even greater significance to me. Just as this flower brings back memories of her home, it's lovely to have a part of it in my own home.
I have to say it did require a lot of wiping down with a handy wet wipe before it was ready to be photographed though!

I couldn't finish this post without talking about that tiny footprint you can see on the lamp. My husband's incredibly talented Aunt is a Ceramicist and made the lamp for us after our daughter Anwen was born. She makes these stunning lamps by taking a cast from sand and I was lucky enough to be given one by my kids (ahem, Sam) for my birthday last year.

Linda wanted to try out adding footprints to these lamps so when Anwen came along she asked us to take a cast off her tiny feet in some clay. When we next visited I was blown away at this incredible piece of art that she presented us with. It is so special, truly unique and looks amazing when it's lit.

You can take a look at more of Linda's stunning work here. If you live in the South East then you can also see her work in Brighton Open Houses every weekend in May. Linda will be showing her work at:
- Dog House, 15 Hampstead Road and
- 202 Ditchling Road
Well worth a visit, especially as you can see and buy her work in person.
So there we are, a special surface full of memories for a special month full of celebration.

Thank you for reading. X

Wednesday, 6 May 2015


I'm absolutely loving seeing the photos being tagged each Thursday (well the last two at least) for my #mythursdaybreaktime on Instagram. It's so lovely to see and celebrate the special break time moments in your days!

Here's my little lady taking a break from crawling about (non stop) and taking a moment with her dolly.
Cups of tea and coffee featured again last Thursday, along with rhubarb, blue sky walks, crumpets and a gorgeous chicken (yes, a chicken and what a lovely photo it was too!)
@rachaelcooper_  @dreamingofthecountry
@lovelylollyb @sew_simone
I adore the pastel images in this grid. I could absolutely scoff that dounut and the other three photos are so calming.

It was the vibrant sea of colour in this floral shot by @waler76 that caught my eye straight away though. Isn't it stunning!
Lisa is lucky enough to work with flowers for a living (a dream job of mine!) Not only is she Mama to two gorgeous little chaps she is also a talented florist and her arrangements are simply beautiful.
I reckon I could spend all my breaktimes playing with flowers.

How do you like to spend yours? I'd love it if you fancied joining me in sharing your breaktime on Instagram by tagging #mythursdaybreaktime at anytime tomorrow.

I look forward to seeing you then! X

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Twenty Speckled Eggs

We enjoyed our own little Spring Watch this weekend on a visit back to my parent's house, tucked away in the Pembrokeshire countryside.
After a busy week with lots of family gathering together for my Gran's Memorial Service it was lovely to all (12 of us in total) get away and spend time together. We laughed, cried, enjoyed good food, wine and reminisced. It was very special.
My parent's live in an old Welsh Farmhouse and are blessed with a magical garden. With woods, meadow, river and a lake it is a haven for wildlife and flowers. Last year they were asked by a friend who works for the RSPB if they would like to have some bird boxes to record the activity of nesting birds each Spring. They didn't need to think twice and 13 boxes were put up in various spots around the garden.

Yesterday, Wilfred and I accompanied my Dad to check the boxes. Once upon a time I was a Business Analyst, so when my Dad gave me a handdrawn spreadsheet and a guide to the various codes to write down I was sadly overly enthused and excited!
We headed out to the first box which is closest to the house and next to the stream. My Dad, along with his step ladder, climbed up, tapped the box to gently warn any nesting Mum and opened the lid. On the previous check it was coded as having a fully built nest so we were delighted to find 6 tiny speckled eggs sat there. Dad asked me to put my hand into the nest as we needed to check to see if the eggs were warm. I gently popped my hand into the perfectly formed nest and carefully felt the delicate eggs with my finger tips. Wilf was allowed to take a LOOK too and was fascinated. He did ask, "can I eat them?" though so not sure if he fully grasped that they were bird's and not chocolate mini eggs!
The next box had a nest ready and waiting and was duly recorded with NL (did I mention I like spreadsheets?) Number 3 was unfortunately empty but box number 4 had another treat for us. This time, when my Dad opened the box he whispered that there was a Blue Tit sat in it. He climbed down from the ladder and invited me to take a look. Well! I nearly fell off the ladder in fright when the Tit shot out of the little hole at about 100 miles an hour! Dad told me to quickly count how many eggs she was sat on, 8 in total, and we swifly shut it back up to the sound of her chirping (protectively) on a nearby branch.
This careful, precise and wonderful pattern continued around the field, into the woods and back to the house. Wilf wasn't satisified with the response "there's no nest in that one so there's nothing to see", of COURSE he wanted to look inside every single box regardless.
We counted 20 eggs in total and found a more confident Great Tit nesting in box number 11 so who knows how many more eggs were there too.

In the haste of trying to do things quickly I didn't get a chance to photograph any eggs but this wonderful picture (taken by my Mum) of a Song Thush's nest recently is just beautiful!
Sadly, this nest was built too low to the ground (not in a box) and was knocked down, probably buy a badger, and the eggs were lost. When my Dad text us a few weeks ago to tell us about his discovery we were all very sad. Such is the way of nature though I suppose. All my parents can do, and us when we go to visit, is to quietly observe, record (did I mention I like spreadsheets?!) and enjoy the absolute wonder of it all.

We're going back down again in a few weeks and I really hope I get to join in again, hopefully we'll be able to record the activity of some little chicks by then.

Here's to Spring and new life!

Lowri x