A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

13 awe inspiring things to play with in the garden that aren’t toys

13 awe inspiring things to play with in the garden that aren't toys

This summer I am sure many parents will join me in nostalgically looking back and wishing they could give their children more freedom to roam. Holidays and days out afford children more outdoor playtime, but busy roads mean their roaming areas are nowhere near what their parents or grandparents had. But never fear, if you are confined to the back garden at times over the summer, stretch their imaginations with some more creative ideas for things to play with in the garden.

It’s not the same as running wild in the woods, but after years of having a lawn strewn with bits of plastic, our suburban garden seems to have come alive as a place to play since we cleared away the toys and let in things that aren’t toys. This list was inspired by watching some of the amazing things my son’s school incorporated into their playground, by trips to the beach and the fabulous outdoor play area at The National Trust’s Belton House. Continue reading

Happy and Home: My magnet collection

Intriguing Magnets

Do you have magnets in your house? A magnet collection full of reminders of holidays, people and words of wisdom adorning the fridge? We had managed to contain our fridge magnets a little, but now my magnetic wall in my office is attracting new treasures, I was lucky enough to receive some rather fabulous magnetic gifts for my birthday back in May, and I have also added a few cheeky magnets from my travels.

Above are magnetic crystals, which also happen to look like a face, I need to look up the healing powers of these particular stones, but I reckon they are bound to make me more productive, successful and happy at work right? Do let me know if you are a crystal expert? Continue reading

The Ultimate Map of over 100 Roald Dahl – icious Locations to Visit

100 Dahl Inspired Places to go-2

There has never been a better time to theme your travel adventures around the stunning places that inspired Roald Dahl’s books or were used as film locations, from the Old Man of Hoy in the Orkneys used as the giant land in The BFG, to The Headland Hotel, Newquay, location for the The Witches, these places are magical, just like Dahl’s books.  With The BFG hitting UK screens on July 22nd 2016 and Roald Dahl’s centenary on September 13th, the UK is fit to bursting with Dahl inspired adventures.

This map gives you over 100 ideas for Roald Dahl locations to visit, they are divided into three categories:

  • his life and book inspirations
  • locations from the films made of his books, including The BFG, in the UK and beyond
  • Dahl themed museums, activities, theatre and adventures

From Charlie and the Chocolate factory themed afternoon tea in York or London, to an interactive journey into Dahl’s life in Cardiff, to year long Roald Dahl inspired fun in Tatton Park, Cheshire – the possibilities are endless. We’ve even mapped out the celebrity BFG inspired ‘dream jars’ in London if you fancy coming face to face with Sadiq Khan or Zoella’s dreams.

Continue reading

Happy and Home: A peek in my Garden

A little garden tour, peony in bloom

Our garden will never be perfect, we are too busy having adventures to dedicate enough time to it, but I love the little surprises that it keeps throwing out. When I wish I had more time to be a better gardener I remind myself to be grateful for the plants that always return and the new things I discover in it each year.

I thought I would share a little update, I actually meant to post this two week’s ago, so the peonies and poppies are no more, but it’s lovely to celebrate their short little lives. Up the road, in my favourite wood, the fields around are full of poppies, it is an absolutely breathtaking site.

The hanging basket was a present for my birthday from my son G, but I have yet to hang it, it brightens up the picnic table though.

A little garden tour

I feel as if the garden has more balance since our gardening by Pip last summer, she shaped the left hand border, sunk the trampoline and made space for the swing seat.

A little garden tour

Lots of things Pip planted have come back with a vengeance this summer, I love the poppies.

A little garden tour, poppies in bloom

I have always wanted a fox glove, and lo and behold one finally appeared, the cottage garden of my dreams is coming closer to being. Plus the honeysuckle I planted is taking off.

garden blooms - 2

At one point the swing seat was surrounded by poppies.

garden blooms - 3

The cornflowers that appeared were beautiful, I love how random things keep popping up!

A little garden tour

A little garden tour

Last week on Happy and Home

On the colourful flower theme, check out Steph at 139a’s tray upcyle and wow at the colours in Becky’s Simple Parenting Blinis with Mango.

Written a post full of home love? Join up with #happyandhome

To join in, just pick a recent post that shares your love of home – it could be recipes, crafts, ideas, homes, gardens, family, friends, fun – click on the blue button to add your post link. The link up starts on Tuesday and finishes on Monday.

Add the badge or mention this post to help spread the word. I will be reading, tweeting, pinning etc. Please join in by commenting and/or sharing socially too using #happyandhome

I will share some of the posts that inspired happy homes the following week. Let’s get happy and home! Penny x

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How to Make Simple Lavender Bottles

Weaving with Lavender - Make Simple Lavender Bottles

I am really honoured to have a beautifully fragrant guest post today, from the ever so creative and nature loving Becky Goddard Hill from Simple Parenting Blog.

Oh I just adore lavender.

I like its rather wild dancing stems, its bright purple headed flowers and the sea of colour it creates as it grows in abundance. And the fragrance is just beautiful, a clean sweet scented fragrance that reminds me of lace handkerchiefs and fields and lovely spas, all at the same time.

I have longed to craft with lavender for a while but my sewing skills are rather limited and I never seem to have in what is need for bath salts and soaps. Continue reading

One Ultimate Bloody Mary Recipe (for those that don’t like Bloody Mary)

Bloody Mary

I always thought Bloody Mary was a cocktail I should like, it seemed so healthy, containing a vegetable as it does, and such a classic. Having trained myself to like Marmite, I felt confident I could overcome my disgust at the taste of cold tomato juice, but sadly it was not to be for many years. I tried the drink on cruise ships, as well as at highly regarded British and American brunch spots, thinking I would be converted, but sadly it was not to be, until… Continue reading

Happy and Home: Bring on the Summer Garden Party!

Summer Garden Party

There hasn’t been enough sun really yet has there this summer? Yesterday started with such promise and by the end of the day it was grey again. Well, at the weekend I marshalled at a 10k race and fete for Macmillan and I remembered the lovely summer garden party my neighbour and fellow blogger Emily from A Mummy Too threw recently, also for Macmillan, and it got me thinking, maybe doing something charitable, lights and colour are the way to see off a grey summer, oh, and cake of course!

Macmillan is such a great cause, they were there for us when my Mum died, they have a way of bringing people together during difficult times and that comes through beautifully in their fundraising too. I love the idea of a Summer Lights garden party for a good cause, there are more tips on how to throw your own Summer Lights party on  the Macmillan site. Here are some ideas to get you started: Continue reading

The Bumper Guide to Camp Bestival

The bumper guide to camp bestival for families, great tips, for babies, toddlers, kids and children of all ages

With Camp Bestival less than 30 days away, I am here to tempt you to take your brood down to the most brilliant family festival in the UK. If you already have plans to go, this guide will help you prepare and get excited. We’ve been four times now, so have lots of experience of taking 3-8 year olds along, which I will share thoughts and tips on. I have also asked fellow bloggers who have kids of different ages to share some of their experiences too. Sometimes it helps to just read how another family got on, and I am sure all these people will be very happy to answer questions too. Continue reading

Happy and Home: The Miniature Garden

Making a miniature garden using succulents and an old flower pot

Mr A and I took a day off to clear out the house last week, it was brilliantly cathartic. In an antique washstand in our bedroom, I found an untouched box we had put away when we nearly moved house 4 years ago. I was all set to follow the decluttering rules, to not open it and donate it all to charity. But I decided it was worth a peek inside. I found a small and tarnished silver cup and it brought back so many memories.

When my grandparents were still alive, we spent many a happy weekend helping in their garden, last week I saw a clump of London’s Pride flowers and it took me right back. If I smell a really good tomato, I am instantly transported to my Grandad’s greenhouse. The silver cup takes me back to the garden shows that were held at their village club house, proudly displayed giant onions and leeks, Grandma’s courgettes and cucumbers and my Grandad’s prize Dahlias. Every year my brother and I would enter a miniature garden.

My brother and I took it really seriously, I remember he built a shed for his out of lego and I sculpted ornaments out of clay. Over the years we won quite a few prizes. His down to earth vegetable patches and busy lego gardeners tended to appeal to the judges more than my  attempts at a Chelsea Flower Show, but the little cup was from the year I won first prize.

While tidying the garden a little I made another discovery. Miss L made this miniature garden a few months ago, it made my heart sing to see her do it, because it took me right back to the joy it brought me. Over the last few months the succulent cut offs I gave her have taken root and kept growing. It’s weathered the storms, and the washing line is still intact.

Making a miniature garden using succulents and an old flower pot

I love the way an old plastic plant pot became a castle shaped house, she simply cut open the door and drew on windows with a silver marker. The house also features a shell pond and shell rockery.

 

Last week on Happy and Home

I was blown away by the riot of lovely colour and love in all the posts linked up last week. I loved the home from home Helen from Actually Mummy found in a field, you know how much I love travel, so why shouldn’t a happy and home be a second home too? Also, it was lovely to welcome Jaime from Not that Jaime Oliver who brought along a great curry recipe. Living Hygge was my favourite new blog discovery, what a gorgeous post full of hygge happy and home ideas.

Written a post full of home love? Join up with #happyandhome

To join in, just pick a recent post that shares your love of home – it could be recipes, crafts, ideas, homes, gardens, family, friends, fun – click on the blue button to add your post link. The link up starts on Tuesday and finishes on Monday.

Add the badge or mention this post to help spread the word. I will be reading, tweeting, pinning etc. Please join in by commenting and/or sharing socially too using #happyandhome

I will share some of the posts that inspired happy homes the following week. Let’s get happy and home! Penny x

Help yourself to a badge

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Happy and Home at A Residence blog
 

 

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Also linking up with –

Growing Family

Travel – Eco Hotel Interior Inspiration, Conscious Hotels, Amsterdam

Looking for an eco and family friendly hotel? Conscious Hotels, Museumplein, Amsterdam

Have you ever stayed in an eco hotel, or given much consideration to eco design? We recently travelled to Amsterdam with KLM airlines and stayed in an eco hotel with so much character, and as someone who is generally happier outdoors than indoors, it really inspired me.

A Hip Eco Hotel

Conscious Hotels aim to make their hotels green but fun, to be hip rather than hippy, in other words they make all the eco hotel decisions, so you can relax. All the energy comes from renewable sources, you can see the windmill that provides the power on the website and there are lots of clever eco design features too. Continue reading

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