Thursday, 14 July 2011

Loving all things horse!

I've always loved horses. I used to fill in WH Smith's Win a Pony competition every year, and pray fervently that I would win. Anyone remember that competition? I'm sure I wasn't alone, though few of my friends at school shared my absolute obsession with horses. I never did win it. My family didn't have money to spare, but they supported me as much as they could - I rode every 8 weeks or so (and it was much cheaper then!) and on our annual summer holiday they would treat me to one or two hacks from whatever the local stables were. I never did enough to satisfy my craving, but it was something.

I love everything about them. I love that they are all different - different personalities, different coats, different sizes - but also that they are always so keen to please. I love the complexity - the fact they can sense your mood sometimes before you can. Humans have heaped so much on them, and still they work for us, and often work so hard for little if no gain. So it's been a real treat to have a couple of days away with my youngest immersing ourselves in all things horse... and discovering lots of other animals along the way. Funniest of all were a pair of alpacas we christened Sally and Sue - not their names... they turned out to be male in fact - but we thought the names rather suited them. Here's Sue:

We said hello to all sorts of horses, from the smallest:

to the biggest:

He is beautiful (all the horses we had the pleasure of meeting were - these are seriously well looked after horses, and pretty special ones as well, and it shows in their whole demeanor). But he really is a stunner. He has a lovely nature and he loves people. I've never heard a horse winny so desperately when we left each time we visited him. Unfortunately he bullies other horses, so there's nobody he can share his field with. Horses hate to be kept alone - it's unfair as it makes them very insecure. So he shares with...

...a whole load of cows (and there seemed to be some bullocks in there as well). It was very funny to see him cuddled up with them whenever we visited. Not the ideal, but if he bullies other horses, there's not an easy answer and he seems to rather like the company.

You may be able to spot him in the centre of the herd above. Apparently he's brilliant when used by the local hunt.

We read extracts from this book, much of which explains the horse-human thing better than anything I've ever read and my littleun loved the extracts:

And we stumbled on the inevitable barn kittens, all well cared for:

So, it was a lovely and memorable trip away.

Now he (youngest) wants to learn to ride. Serious gulp at the expense. He had one lesson while we were away and it was fabulous. He's tricky to please in terms of activities, but horse riding seems to really encourage his confidence in so many ways. We met some wonderful people, and had a ball.

He was a star, and it's been fab to share some precious time.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Cath Kidston and summer with the kids sorted. Thank you!

When I was young, we had a wigwam (I think they are now called teepees!). As a child, my parents had little money and a lot of my entertainment centred around our small garden. Hence, we got so much use out of that wigwam. I absolutely loved it, and spent hours with friends. It was basic, with eight bamboo rods and a fabric covering, but it did the job. We also made dens, plenty of them, and my kids have always picked up on this, making dens everywhere out of sheets and chairs and tables, and whatever else they can find. Den building is fun. Tents are fun. But if you're a kid, teepees and wigwams can be the beez-neez!

So I was so excited to see Cath Kidston had brought out a teepee. It wasn't too girly or too boy-sey - very important when you have a combination of both! It's a basic teepee shape and it even has a flag, for goodness sake! I jumped at it.

If I'm going to be quibbling about anything, it's only because the fabric print runs the wrong way on the sides. But I love the fact it has a back and a front entrance. I know this is going to see us through many summer days. The kids were so excited, and I have nothing but praise for it. They easily put it up themselves, and have spent a night in it already. They added blankets for the floor.

And one or two (!) cuddly toys.

Being a camper, I highly doubt I would ever take it away to camp in - it is not double skinned at this price, and I can't imagine it would therefore withstand rain or condensation (though the rain thing hasn't been tested out in our garden yet), but for an overnighter in the garden on a warm night, it's perfect.

I love everything about it. It's plenty roomy, easy to put up, is fun in terms of shape, and to top all that is in one of their best kids prints. What's not to like!

Related to this and regarding the cost - I think it's a bargain for what you get. I read recently that parents spend on average £2,000-£3,000 per child on summer holidays. I've no idea why it would be that much - no parent I know spends that on their children, and most find good entertainment at home, squeezing activities in around work. But there's no doubt that taking children out now can be expensive - take the theme parks, which can be around £100 for a family. A theme park is fab, but is over in a day. I think we're sorted for plenty of days for a portion of that cost.

And, no, I haven't been sponsored by Cath Kidston. I'm just one very happy customer! :-)

Edit to add: I just want to say, I love all the comments I receive and always look at the blogs from the commentators. However, I've been having problems leaving comments on blogs - it just won't go through. So if you leave a comment, I'll comment below, but do know I appreciate each and every one. x

Thursday, 7 July 2011

My mobile phone cases and the phone I want...

I've been busy making lots and lots of mobile phone/gadget cases. I find these are always popular, especially at craft fairs. I love them as I get to work with so many different fabrics.

The clock fabric is a particular favourite of mine. And spot that phone?!

That's not mine, but it's a Nokia. Remember my rant about my Samsung a couple of posts back? Well, I may have persuaded the owner of this particular phone to swap. I so want to return to a Nokia. So much easier for me to use. And this one's pink! Hot pink! Double fab!!!

Fingers are tightly crossed! :-)