Posts filed under ‘away from the plot’

foraging wild garlic in Cranham woods (and a tale of a tick bite)

Cranham woods_toddler lifting log - nipitinthebud.co.uk

When Euan was 3 years old we went for a bimble in Cranham Woods and stumbled upon a fabulous patch of wild garlic surrounding an ancient gnarly tree. I vowed to return each year but you’ve probably already guessed that we didn’t! I was reminded of both my love of foraging and the opportunity to recreate special trips with Luca when a friend asked me if I knew of anywhere she could find wild garlic to make pesto. Having sent her my blog link from my visit with Euan it tickled my memory bank and I decided to visit with Luca, albeit a year younger than Euan was first time around. If I visit again next year when Luca is also 3 I’ll have to track down Euan’s coat and really go to town with recreating the trip down memory lane!

Cranham Woods_toddlers running - nipitinthebud.co.uk

Luca and I explored the woods with a new Mum friend and her toddler and I think we found that same gnarly tree. It seemed further away from the road than I remembered and much bigger than it seemed last time but I guess that’s nature for you and 3 years growth (I really don’t trust my baby brain recollections these days). The toddlers were in their element bimbling about picking up leaves, dragging along giant sticks and blowing out dandelion clocks.

Cranham Woods_gnarly tree - nipitinthebud.co.uk

Cranham woods_tree climbing toddler - nipitinthebud.co.uk

Cranham woods with toddlers - nipitinthebud.co.uk

Cranham woods_dandelion clock - nipitinthebud.co.uk

Woods are such a good option on a hot day but the shaded canopy from the trees made for rather yellow photos. As we walked back towards the car we spotted a rape seed field and found a break in the fencing to check it out. I love the sight of swaths of golden yellow flowers.

Cranham Woods - rape seed field - nipitinthebud.co.uk

A few days after visiting Cranham Woods I found an engorged tick on Luca’s neck. During our bimble we’d had a conversation with a couple out on their daily walk in the woods about the deer they often see so it was a fair assumption Luca’s wading through the grass may have been the cause of being nibbled on. And as it was likely to be a deer tick I was a bit concerned about the possibility of infection, most notably the development of Lymes disease.

Cranham Woodstoddler picnic - nipitinthebud.co.uk

George removed the tick with tweezers using this method as soon as we spotted it but it was 3 days after our woods visit . I did some reading about the the symptoms to look for following a tick bite and was relieved to find nothing to be concerned about and no rash around the bite. 3 days passed and then Luca developed a runny nose, napped for 3 hours and come the evening was starting to feel really hot. He was running a fever when I put him to bed. When I spoke to a friend on the phone that evening she mentioned her son had a tick bite and her homeopath had recommended a precautionary dose of Ledum immediately. Only then did it occur to me that Luca’s body might be fighting an infection from the bite he’d received 6 days earlier. I did a little more research and found this article by homeopath Kelley Callahan ,”Ease Lyme anxiety: Homeopathic treatment of acute tick bites” , particularly reassuring.

”The Ledum is stimulating the body to effectively respond to the bite; which may in turn also neutralize the Lyme bacteria and prevent the development of an infection. This is the same principle by which you give someone with a high fever Belladonna; the remedy stimulates the body in its response to whatever infection or stimuli is causing the fever, often enabling the immune system to complete its work, without moving into a full-blown illness be it cough, flu, croup, etc.

I think its important to emphasize that Ledum is treating the *tick bite* not Lyme disease. There is no Lyme disease when you get a tick bite. Yes, it *may* develop. And you *may* get the flu from someone at the grocery store. But, you might not.

This is part of changing your mindset. We need to sever the cord of tick = Lyme always”.

Cranham woods_toddling - nipitinthebud.co.uk

Luca had a high fever all night and kept scratching his neck where the tick bite had been but there was still no rash. He woke to nurse frequently and I gave him some Ledum when I went to bed and in the morning. The next day he still had a low grade fever and I thought it worth getting him checked over by the GP given the possible cause of his infection. I’m not keen on the use of antibiotics but will use them if there is an urgency around treating an infection where slow natural healing may result in complications. As Luca was no longer experiencing any symptoms and his temperature was normal the GP was happy that his immune system had dealt with the infection from the bite and there was nothing more sinister to be concerned about. I was relieved that not only had his body’s fever response done the work of burning off the infection but that the GP hadn’t been quick to prescribe a ”just in case” dose of antibiotics which I’ve known to happen sometimes for other parents. It’s 6 weeks now since our woodland adventure and Luca never did develop any further symptoms. It just shows what the body is capable of when we let it respond naturally and are nourished and rested like children are.

Cranham woods_running toddler - nipitinthebud.co.uk

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July 6, 2018 at 1:33 pm 12 comments

#myhearty life May 2018 |gratitude| success| beauty|

#myheartylife – reflecting on the beauty in every day moments, reasons to be thankful and celebrating small successes.

Highnam Park - toddler spinning - nipitinthebud.co.uk-1

You may have noticed I stopped writing my weekly #myheartylife posts? I haven’t stopped feeling grateful or finding beauty in the every day moments but measuring successes as a stay at home Mum was proving a little harder. The #myheartylife linky was created by Mary at The Hearty Life and although she’s now closed it I enjoyed sharing the gratitude|success|beauty journey and the structure it gave me for writing more regularly.

I’ve started sharing #myheartylife posts as part of a weekly positive blogging community called #BestBootForward hosted by Kate on Thin Ice and Chloe at Indigo Wilderness. There will come a point that I run out of previous posts so I thought it would be good to return to my reflections on a monthly basis as I really enjoyed the discipline of a gratitude practice. I’ve been reading a book called ”Better than before” in which Gretchen Rubin explains why some people are good at doing things for themselves and some people aren’t and need some sort of external accountability to remain motivated. Gretchen writes about four tendencies (personality profiles) which relate to your ability to meet external or internal expectations. I fall into the category of Obliger, a person who responds productively to external pressures (even though I hate the anxiety and fear that creates in me) but let myself down constantly by not following through with the things that would benefit me, even things I take pleasure in. Gretchen explains that as an Obliger I need to create a sense of external expectation in order to help me keep a commitment to myself. For example, I’m unlikely to stick to healthy eating choices simply because logic says I should or because it’s sure to benefit my own health but am highly motivated by the wish to be healthy and strong for my boys.

So I’m going to set the intention of writing each month about a few of the things that have brought me joy, some of the things I’ve struggled with and what I’ve learned along the way. I welcome your thoughts in the comments especially about what you’re feeling thankful for.

I am grateful for…
The month of May and double bank holidays. I’ve always loved May for the sudden changes you start to see in the garden and the lightness of spirit that comes with warmer weather. We had a wedding in Falmouth over the second bank holiday weekend with George’s family and extended our stay in Cornwall to spend time with one of G’s oldest friends from school. It was our first break away this year and relaxed beach days with lots of fresh air and play were just what we needed.

Helston_George and Euan

George’s birthday was in May too but juggling his various freelance jobs conspired to squeeze the time and energy he had for celebrating so I’m planning a re-run birthday lunch for him in June instead. While George’s month has been filled with work and little downtime Euan’s has been filled with wonder and excitement. He had a school trip to Cotswold Wildlife park and spent the day at Cub camp where his highlight was doing archery. My highlight was special time with my big boy at Giffords Circus where Euan was mesmorised by the difference circus acts and laughed loud and long whenever his favourite circus clown Tweedy appeared. I was so grateful to George for making space in his schedule to have Luca so I could take Euan.Giffords Circus - nipitinthebud.co.uk

Giffords Circus - nipitinthebud.co.uk

I succeeded at …
Selling more things on Ebay. I’ve been having a bit of an on-going de-clutter (not at all the method recommended by Konmari who first sparked my urge to reduce the amount of tidying we have to do by having less stuff). I’d listed several items on Ebay and was disappointed when they didn’t sell and in fact a few hadn’t even been viewed. I sought the advice of a friend who runs an Ebay shop and she gave me some pointers about how to describe items (who knew you can’t say ”velcro-fastened” shoes without Ebay hiding your listing because it breeches the use of the trade mark Velcro!). My friend also suggested listing as ‘Buy it now’ instead of as an auction. This made total sense when I realised that shoppers looking for particular items want it immediately rather than waiting for an auction to end. I’m not about to make my fortune with the £2-3 items I’m selling but I’m happy to say I’ve just packed up my 26th item. For me it’s more about re-homing good quality items and avoiding landfill than making money (unless it’s the kids toys and then I love being able to give them the money for their piggy banks). Although I could just donate to my local charity shop I think sometimes it just creates a headache for them to get rid of stock if they then find it doesn’t sell. Old technology like DVDs is a case in point and when we had our last purge we used MusicMagpie to recycle them instead.toddler with wooden ice cream - nipitinthebud.co.uk

On a mental/emotional level I succeeded at keeping a commitment to myself to attend a Mum’s group in Stroud run by Hand in Hand parenting instructor Steph Parker. I’ve had to miss the last couple of meet ups as G’s work had been falling on weekends but I made it to the May get together. George appreciates that I’m a better Mum to the boys when I have a little bit of time to myself in a space that provides support and encouragement and practical tools for creating closer connections with our children and skills to handle the challenges parenting throws up more calmly. I’ve written about Hand in Hand parenting before here and if you’re in the season of bringing up children I really recommend looking at the Hand in Hand website. There is a Hand in Hand parenting podcast which is brilliant if you’re an audible learner like me and an amazing variety of resources on their blog . Hand in Hand parenting founder Patty Wipfler has written a book called ”Listen: five simple tools to meet your everyday parenting challenges”.

I found beauty in …
Watching my 6 year old son dance his heart out at Giffords Circus. At the end of the grand finale the circus performers were reaching into the audience to help children over the barrier and into the ring. I turned to tell Euan that children could go down and join them but not before hesitating for a few breaths. It was as if I was the 6 year old child being invited down and my instinct was to hang my head and shyly refuse! For a split second I had wondered if he’d have a moment of uncertainty and want me to go down with him and I knew I didn’t want to for me but that I would for him. What was so beautiful was that the words had barely left my lips and he’d shot up and out of his back row seat and was flying down the steps two at a time. He was so topped up from a brilliant show in which he laughed and smiled and whispered ”wow look Mummy, that’s amazing” over and over that he had no hesitation or fear about joining in. He danced and twirled and this photo just makes my heart sing. I’m so happy he doesn’t have the insecurities I carried through childhood and most of my adult life and still have to activate the mute button on sometimes.Giffords Circus - happiest boy in the world

My heart sings for Luca more and more each day as well – turning two has brought with it more words, cute-isms and cheekiness. Luca’s always communicated surprisingly well with few words but it’s delightful now he’s putting two words together to such great effect and accompanying his talking with such sweet little tilts of the head or quirky actions. If he falls and gets hurt it’s a ”ba-bang’‘ and he stops to point at every ”arrar”, ”niaow” and ”gack”* on our walk to school.  He enquires ”alright?’‘ if he sees someone is hurt and if Euan cries he silently moves over to him and strokes his head (not always welcome if he’s been part of the cause of big brother’s tears!). Luca’s first three word sentence was ‘‘Mumma milk pleasch” and he’s recently discovered the word ”now” so is peppering his requests with it to great comedic effect.  Luca still can’t say Euan (Eudon has been the closest) but happily potters around the allotment calling ”Hiya Dave” or gifting every passer by a cheery ”bye bye”. It really is such a privilege to watch a little human grow and develop new skills every single day of their life. And an even greater gift to know that you have a hand in making their life experience the best it can be. There’s beauty everywhere in the ordinary moments.

What have you found beauty in this month? Are you celebrating your successes or making a regular practice of gratitude? I’d love to hear what little strategies you practice to create more contentment in your life.

* dog, cat, bird in case you didn’t guess!
Keeping it real logo - debsrandomwritings.com copy

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June 6, 2018 at 1:47 pm 15 comments

Do less, observe more, enjoy most

Porlock Weir_kids playing copy 4B
”Do less.  
19-8-17 - campsite bridge_rock collecting copy 4B
Observe more.  
16-8-17 - Luca rock painting copy 4B
Enjoy most.” – Magda Gerber

Childhood unplugged.  Beautiful memories from a care free few days camping in Porlock with friends.  I admit I find it difficult at times to be less interactive, to do less and observe more, but when you see how much children flourish when pursuing their own ideas and the joy they feel when accomplishing things themselves it makes my own struggles a easier to bear!  Granted steering my daredevil toddler past open fires and rocky drops into the river was a little nerve tattering at times but on the whole the benefits of an outdoor, child led life won out!

My favourite place in this area of Exmoor is still Dunster Beach.  G and I sat on the sand and just watched the boys at play. We admired the beautiful view out to sea and counted our blessings many times over.

19-8-17 - Dunster beach_brothers exploring seaweed copy 4B

Collage _ E writing on Dunster beach copy 4B

19-8-17 - Dunster beach_L with seaweed copy 4B
Our gorgeous bringer of light, so proud of his seaweed find (yes he did try to eat it!)

Magda Gerber quote - let the child be the scriptwriter

 

September 3, 2017 at 8:00 am 2 comments

hanging out in Birmingham

We love just hanging out doing toddlery stuff locally but it’s nice to have a treat day further afield from time to time.  Tesco reward vouchers made that possible for us recently when we met up with E’s also-2-years-old cousin at the Sealife Centre in Birmingham.  E was more interested in clambering and running than fish gazing but he very charmingly shouted ”Wow, look at that” as he zoomed past! sealife centre e and zac 4B

We lunched afterwards at Pizza Express (food for free when £2.50 in vouchers = £10 towards the meal).  E was worn out by his adventures and fell asleep on my lap much to the delight of Daddy who could indulge in his favourite chocolate ice-cream without having to share.sealife centre -pizza hat 4B

On the way home we pulled into our beloved Hillfield Gardens to stretch our legs after the journey.  E decided my vacated front seat was a much better option and cheerily refused to get out:  ”Euan doing driving”. So the boys stayed in the car and I enjoyed a peaceful sit in the scented garden, lovely.sealife centre - sricinf home 4B

I eventually managed to persuade E out of the car with leftover pizza and the promise of meeting a new doggy friend.  Here he is trying to share with Isla* dog!
Did you know that Euan would have been an Isla if he’d been a girl? sealife centre - pizza leftover 4B

It turns out Birmingham is quite a big word for a small boy to master. 
”Burmigan.  Burmingung. Burminham”.  He soon got in when I broke it down to ‘Birming-ham’.  I later overheard him saying to himself  ‘‘Birming-ham.  Yeh, that’s right.  Burming-cheese too.  Burming-breakfast’.  Burning-dinner’.  What a busy brain!
This on a day when he’d already informed me ‘‘Red light says stop.  Green lights says go go go.  Yellow light says Fix the hoover”.

April 17, 2014 at 9:00 am 1 comment

darn it!

George’s favourite wooly hat was mauled by a dog.  His head wasn’t in it at the time thankfully.  In true frugal fashion I darned the hole after teasingly asking if he wanted a Fulham Football Club badge sewn over it.  I now suspect he may be giving this idea serious consideration and if you are dearest I’m sure you’d like the privilege of sewing it on yourself?  Here’s some advice if you’re not sure where to start and I know your Dad has darned a sock or twenty in his time so you can compare notes.  On second thoughts I’d happily do it for you – I don’t fancy trading it for any of your blue jobs!

© poster from The Children’s War Exhibition in 2010 at the Imperial War Museum, London, unearthed in my drafts folder!

April 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm 1 comment

wordless wednesday

2-11-13 - Brighton_finger through hole stone 4B
2-11-13 - Brighton_stone collecting 4B
2-11-13 - Brighton_Mummy and E horizon 4B

November 27, 2013 at 6:00 am 2 comments

the ‘Ministry of food’ part 4: making mock goose for Christmas

The Ministry of Food - making Mock goose for Christmas..so what was I saying 3 years and 8 months ago.  Oh yes, that lovely mock goose I tried at the Ministry of Food exhibition at the Imperial War Museum turned out rather well when I recreated it at home.  It’s called Mock Goose because it’s flavoured with sage and was made for Christmas on rations without a bird.  I can’t say whether the aroma and flavour alone would be enough to satisfy a meat eater having never eaten goose myself but it certainly had a lovely comforting home cooked roast dinner taste and feel about it.

I didn’t write down the recipe after I made it so this is guess work on my part but from the picture….The Ministry of Food - making Mock goose for Christmas

I’d say a large potato per person, a grated apple, some grated cheese (probably not much as it would have been rationed – enough to thicken the gravy), vegetable stock, enough to cover to the top layer of potato and a liberal sprinkling of dried sage.The Ministry of Food - making Mock goose for Christmas

Bake it in the oven for an hour so the sauce goes all thick and sticky and the potatoes are softened.  The apple and cheese are such a fine combination and you’d never know they were there but for a lovely sweet richness to the gravy.The Ministry of Food - making Mock goose for Christmas
Other posts in the Ministry of Food series you might be interested in
part 2: digging for Victory
part 3: thrifty war time ways to feed your family

October 12, 2013 at 12:18 pm 5 comments

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About Nip it in the bud


Welcome to my blog about growing and cooking allotment veg since 2009 and growing sweet boys since 2012. Take a walk with us through our life in Gloucester with a boy, a baby and 3 cats.

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When your hungry toddlers go too food request is "me want cake Mum" it's good to have a savoury muffin recipe to hand. 2 minutes to whip up and 15 mins to bake. Remains to be seen whether he'll be fooled! Recipe on the blog by searching feta muffin #nipitinthebudblog #sugarfreemuffins #babyfriendly
Grief is rough at the best of times but seeing your child struggle through the pain of loss is a real knife to the heart. A friend has lent us some books to read with E and "The Sad Book" by @michaelrosenyes is going to be the key to papering over some of the cracks in our hearts I think and easing his anxiety about dying.
Beautiful wood block print from our dear friend @elluminations of our boys on a beach in the Isle of Wight at the start of the school holidays. We returned to find my Mum's health deteriorating and she died 3 weeks later. Our world has been turned upside down but when I look at this picture I can feel the peace, hear the lap of the waves and smile at the tenderness of the moment - two #bestfriendbrothers absorbed in their own present moment. Thank you El, this means so much to me (for commission's of your own photos or El's artwork as wood blocks visit her Etsy shop)
E's had a hard time the last few weeks following an incident that triggered a really big stress response for his 6 year old bereaved mind. Today we've made a worry box to help him with his anxiety symptoms and have found the advice on the @youngmindsuk website invaluable. We all need to talk about mental health more especially as it's too easy for grown ups to dismiss a child's misbehaviour without looking for the feelings underlying it. #breakingthestigma #worldmentalhealthday2018
We've had a hard few weeks and this really sums up how asking for help is the light in the dark but not always easy to do. It's #worldmentalhealthday2018 and never has it been more important to make sure our kids know asking for help is a sign of strength and courage not weakness or failure
How to get your kids to eat your home made casserole? Cover it with their favourite #cullyandsullyuk chicken soup. Winner!
I learnt a new word today and if there was an emoji for it then it would be this! PIZZLED, when your pissed off and puzzled all at the same time. Thank you #rubywaxfrazzled for the language education and Euan for the always hilarious faces (he was 4 years old and eating lunch out with his new 2 month old baby brother so his face could be saying all sorts of things!) #gloucesterlife #nipitinthebudblog
I don't suppose many people recall the exact date they found out they were pregnant or have a photo to mark their total delight. 15/8/15 we found out our second miracle Luca was on his way. We'd become second time parents in our 40s and 22 years after we started dating. Our boys were so worth the painful years of waiting. (And our picture to mark the occasion is thanks to Mum and Dad babysitting Euan so we could go to a friend's wedding evening do.)
After school chills @gloucestercathedral @gloscathedral
Best friend brothers. Our #siblingsproject post for this month (link in bio) #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife
It's so hard to grieve the loss of your Mum when just looking in the mirror each morning reminds you of what you're missing. Dad always said "thankfully you get your looks from your Mum" with a cheeky twinkle in his eye.

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