Posts filed under ‘Gloucestershire’

#myheartylife 15 – gratitude| success| beauty

Reflecting weekly on the beauty in every day moments, reasons to be thankful and celebrating small successes with the #myhearty life linky.

12-4-18- Slimbridge visit playground

I am grateful for …
Living near to Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetland Centre.  The school holidays have been a bit dreary weather wise and while we’ve loved our indoor time over the Easter weekend we’ve also had to cancel some activities when being out in a downpour would have been a bit miserable or created epic muddy clean up jobs.  When you have a special place you like to visit as a family it’s easier to push through any reluctance and as we only had one day this week with George we made it work for a trip to Slimbridge.  It was cold but dry and we had a lovely time doing the Dusty Duck Easter hunt and then claiming the prize of a delicious Pulsin bar.  Luca was in his element bimbling about saying “Hiya” to the birds and calling every bird variety we saw “wack“.

12-4-18- Slimbridge visit_12-4-18- Slimbridge visit with Dusty Duck12-4-18- Slimbridge visit stepping stones

I succeeded at
Creating our first video review.  I’d not used iMovie before but George has been making trailers for his Spaces music project.  He gave me a few pointers and we put together a short video of the boys bimbling about on Selsley Common with their OXO Tot water bottles.   My initial plan had been for E to talk about why the bottles are so great but that proved tricky to capture and edit as I’ve never used my camera for video before!  I did get some lovely footage and some funny outtakes but quality was poor from shooting indoors and it just didn’t stitch together very well.  So I decided to use the small amount of outdoor footage from our Easter Sunday amble.  The funniest thing about the whole process for me was being named a ‘composer‘ by GarageBand when we used it to create the music for the video.  GarageBand was George’s solution to my question ”how do you put Music on it without having to worry about copyright?’‘.  I wouldn’t have dreamed of making my own track but when you know someone who can their confidence and ease rubs off.  Of course, it wasn’t really like I made my own song as the loops were samples but if matchmaking two country style loops, inspired by Luca’s Benny Hill like bimbling, is successfully writing a theme song I’ll take it.  Anyway here’s an outtake from our first video making attempt when I didn’t even realise you couldn’t shoot in portrait!

I found beauty in ..
Wildlife and seeing how much pleasure our boys (and kids in general) get from being around animals.  First at Slimbridge feeding the birds and seeking out Euan’s favourite otters.  And then during a visit to our local city farm where we saw lambs, cows, pigs, guinea pigs, rabbits, goats, ducks and chickens. I loved watching how curious Luca was peering into the guinea pig hutches and E running up to tell him what they were and read their names out. Parenting outside feels easier too, they’re not the only ones who feel lighter for the fresh air!

Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetland Centre swans
Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetland Centre
My previous #myheartylife reflections can be found here

If you’re publishing a blog post that fits in with one or all of the #myheartylife prompts why not join the linky? Simply add your blog link at the bottom of Mary’s latest post here. Sharing comments with other #myheartylife bloggers is always lovely and if posting your cheerful moments on social media too please use the tag #myheartylife. Enjoy living and sharing your hearty life.

April 13, 2018 at 2:42 pm 1 comment

5 reasons to love the OXO Tot twist top water bottle (a review with a pair of thirsty explorers)

boy drinking from OXO twist top water bottle on Selsley Common - nipitinthebud.co.ukIf you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know how much we love OXO kitchen tools and utensils.  If you’re a new visitor here thank you for taking the time to hang out with us – you might like to read our other OXO product reviews after you finish here.  We first reviewed the OXO Tot twist top bottle when Euan was 18 months old.  3 years later when his baby brother Luca was in need of his first drinking cup we returned to the OXO website and reviewed it again.   Luca was 9 months old in our second review but soon got the hang of drinking from the straw (the packaging recommends 18 months + but in our experience there are no safety issues for children younger than that, they just might find it tricky to hold the bottle or drink from the straw).  We wanted to try something a bit different for this review so we took our bottles out for an Easter Sunday bimble on Selsley common and this is the result.

If you already love these water bottles you’ll understand why we kept our video short.  It illustrates all you need to know really – that this water bottle is easy to drink from with or without hands, it’s lightweight and easy to carry and it’s strong enough to handle whatever a toddler may throw at it.  If you’re not familiar with the OXO Tot brand and need a little more persuading here are 5 reasons why we love their twist top bottle and think you will too:

1/  the flexible rubber drinking straw

There’s something about straws that just makes drinking easier.  I share Luca’s water bottle during the day and find it much easier for both of us to stay hydrated than drinking from a cup.  Luca likes drinking from it because we share it and he feels so grown up having the same bottle as his big brother.  Euan likes it because when he’s  drawing at the table he doesn’t even have to pick it up (did you spot Luca carrying it by the straw in his teeth in the video?).  It’s a brilliant water bottle for travelling as children can’t tip their head back in their car seat to drink from a normal cup or bottle.  Or when the boys are poorly or need a drink in the night it’s much less disturbing to their sleep to just turn them on their side and put the straw to their mouth for small sips than sitting them up to drink from a cup.  We all agree water just tastes better from a straw! If that’s not been your experience because of plastic mould growing straws the OXO designers have thought of that too.  Their rubber straw is in two sections and comes apart easily for cleaning.  If you do find it starts to deteriorate, gets lost or your toddler bites through it using it as a carry handle (the texture is quite appealling to teethy toddlers) you can buy a replacement (2 for £4) .  It makes good environmental sense to make sure a perfectly good water bottle doesn’t need to be discarded when the straw goes astray.
30-3-18- OXO Tot water bottles for review

2/  It doesn’t leak. 

This is like the holy grail of claims with baby/toddler food and drink storage.  The twist top design of the OXO water bottle means the straw disappears inside when the lid is closed creating an airtight seal.  There will be a few drips if the bottle is opened and shaken about as a little water from the last sip remains in the straw and even OXOs brilliant design can’t defy gravity! (as demonstrated by Luca below).  But I’d take a few drips over less effective designs any day.  Of course the clever design can’t account for user error so we have had leaks on the sofa or carpet when Luca has cast it aside unnoticed with the straw still out (he’s a wanderer afterall).  And I have had a leak in my bag when he helpfully posted the bottle into it upside down and I didn’t notice it was not shut properly.  To be really sure of no leaks you’ll want to take on responsibility of closure with smaller children.  Euan can be trusted to close it properly, Luca cannot and is not physically able to at under 2 years old.

3/  it’s easy to measure your fluid intake

This might sound obvious as it’s a see through bottle but it’s a really important feature for us.  At a glance Euan can see exactly how many fingers worth of water he’s drunk.   If I wanted to be really precise about how much he’s had from a full 300ml bottle there’s a measuring guage on the side.  Between losing his previous twist top bottle and receiving this new one Euan didn’t get on too well with staying hydrated at school.  He was taking in a plastic Lego water bottle which is opaque and every day it was coming home full.  At 6 years old he found it too hard to remember to drink from it when he didn’t have the visual prompt of seeing the water level inside the bottle.  It was such a relief when his replacement OXO bottle arrived!  When he has a cough or a cold I put cooled herbal tea in it as that also encourages him to pick up his bottle more when the drink inside is an interesting colour.  In the summer the nice wide opening at the top of the bottle means ice cubes can be added easily to keep drinks cooler.

4/ it has an easy grip handle for hands big or small

The bottle can hold 300ml so it’s not too heavy for children and is a nice clutchable size even for a toddler like Luca.  It’s easy to hook your finger through the carry handle on the top as shown by Euan running along after Luca in the video.  If you didn’t want to carry it by hand you can use a caribiner to clip it on to almost anything – a bag, on the buggy, through a coat button hole etc.
toddler holding OXO twist top water bottle on Selsley Common

5/ it’s strong, durable and made of BPA free plastic

Our bottle was unscathed by Luca’s ”kick, kick” experiment down the hill.  He’s heading towards 2 years old with throwing arms in full force and so far his bottle has shown no signs of distress being thrown down the stairs and launched down the slide at the park.  We’ve never know any OXO Tot products to break and unlike some other clear plastic items in our cupboard it doesn’t even look scratched or cloudy from daily use.
OXO Tot twist top water bottles on Selsley Common

Disclosure: I requested and was sent a replacement OXO Tot twist top water bottle to review.  I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

The OXO Tot twist top bottle is available to buy from the OXO website and costs £8

April 13, 2018 at 6:58 am 6 comments

#myheartylife | 14 – Gratitude| Success| Beauty

Reflecting weekly on the beauty in every day moments, reasons to be thankful and celebrating small successes with the #myhearty life linky.
(all rather Easter orientated this week!)

Father and son looking at bugs inside a fallen down tree trunk

G and 3 year old E bug hunting in a fallen down tree

I’m grateful for . . .
The school holidays and not having to rush to get up and out in the morning. Euan has stayed in his pyjamas all day a couple of times and he says it’s one of his favourite things about school holidays.  As Easter approached I had that feeling that we should make the most of the break and visit somewhere using our National Trust membership like we did last Easter.  The poor weather however made it easy to choose the opposite, to switch gears and savour the slow pace of staying in. On slow mode, no timescales, no agenda.  Our days over the Easter weekend were a lovely blur of playing, lego making, snacking and hiding mini eggs.  We did attempt an Easter egg hunt at Woodchester Park on Sunday but the rest of Gloucestershire obviously had the same idea and cars were lining the entry road for half a mile or more from the car park.  We’d had to make an emergency stop en-route for E who felt car sick so we turned tail and headed for nearby Selsley Common for some fresh air.  It was the right decision as poor E emptied his stomach as G turned off the engine and immediately felt better.  Our amble on the common was just what we needed and the boys enjoyed being the masters of our route with us following slowly behind them. They barely noticed we were there as raced off happily (can you tell from that first photo that G is running to keep up with L!). They loved exploring in their own little world of imaginative play in the dip of a small quarry calling out from time to time only to point out something interesting they’d spotted or had made. Luca gave a few dog walkers a surprise when he kept scrambling up steep slopes and appearing as if from nowhere over the top.Easter sunday walk Selsley common_Dad and toddler running - nipitinthebud.co.uk
Easter sunday walk Selsley common_boys making names using rocks - nipitinthebud.co.uk

I succeeded with …
Containing the chocolate fest that is Easter to the weekend and letting the boys decide how much they ate. It sounds mad even reading it like that but when presented with an Easter egg the size of your head you’re not going to easily wrestle it from a toddler’s grip. E didn’t even have his first Easter egg until he was about 4 years old and it lasted for about a month. Luca’s first egg at age nearly two lasted an hour, albeit shared beautifully with his brother who was happy to delay opening his realising it meant double chocolate for him in the long run. In the afternoon E wanted to re-hide the eggs from his morning hunt, a concept L just couldn’t grasp so he was given his share of eggs. My instincts were screaming ‘just one, save them, think of how much sugar that is if he eats them all” but I rolled with letting him work his way through them. And it turned out he really liked the process of unpeeling the foil wrappers, would take a bite and then move on to the next one. So the total amount of chocolate he ate was not even half as much as it looked like. And the result, no adverse change in behaviour or affect on sleep overnight (he did have more energy by bedtime than he would normally after a 2 hour bimble outside!). Confirming perhaps that by limiting sweet treats as part of a healthy lifestyle the seasonal blow outs aren’t going to do much harm. And an important lesson noted that children do stop when they feel they’ve had enough and it’s important to give them that experience occasionally rather than always leaving them with the sense of wanting more.

I found beauty in …
Hiding Easter eggs around the house and watching the boys race off to find them. It was probably a common sight in many homes last weekend but what moved me so much was how it spoke to the relationship between my boys. There’s 4 years and 3 months between them so it could be understandably annoying to have your nearly 2 year old brother trailing round after you. But E is always so nurturing with Luca and they share in a way that pours right out of their heart and not because anyone tells them too (this was evident in Luca sharing with E but grabbing his egg to his chest saying ”my, my” when I asked if he had a bite for me.  If these brothers continue to be the best friends they are at age 2 and 6 then I know I’ll have done a good job of parenting.
Easter Sunday egg hunt_brothers sharing eggs
My previous #myheartylife reflections can be found here

If you’re publishing a blog post that fits in with one or all of the #myheartylife prompts why not join the linky? Simply add your blog link at the bottom of Mary’s latest post here. Sharing comments with other #myheartylife bloggers is always lovely and if posting your cheerful moments on social media too please use the tag #myheartylife. Enjoy living and sharing your hearty life.

April 6, 2018 at 8:50 pm 3 comments

musical stories inspired by life in Gloucester

Imagine it’s 2010 and you’re reading this in the week that I actually wrote it ….

‘Sorry I haven’t a clue’ on BBC Radio 4 was broadcast from Cheltenham a couple of weeks ago and Jack Dee set the scene by saying ‘Cheltenham is often referred to as the gateway to the Cotswolds‘.  Proud ‘mmms’ rippled through the audience and then laughter when he added ‘and if that’s the case then Gloucester is the ASDA of the Malverns’.  Having lived in Cheltenham for the first half of my life and Gloucester for most of the second half I can happily say I’d choose ASDA City over Cotswolds Town! Gloucester has a lot of heart and is a down to earth patchwork of people and cultures and with a rich history.  

We’ve lived in Gloucester for over 12 years and made some good friends here.  The naming of ‘best friends‘ that seemed so important as a child ceased being necessary when I married my best friend in 1998.  Our dearest friends come hand in hand with lovely others now so how could I possibly single out any one person, other than G.  Well I couldn’t but I completely understand the affection with which some people are able to name that one special ”best friend” in their life.  G is one of them when it comes to our friend Dan.  And what makes Dan worthy of this title?  Well, I won’t embarrass him by sharing all his wonderful qualities and endearing quirks here but the strength of Dan and George’s connection is tied to their shared passion and talent for music.  They’ve created some of the most moving tracks I’ve had the good fortune to smile, sway and cry to and I’m sure the quality of their music making is rooted in the depth of their friendship and their openness to love and let go in equal measure.  Music reviewer Stephen Morris said ‘their music is as sumptuous and gorgeous as it is poignant and imaginative”.

Nocturnal City Journal album cover copy

(click on the album cover to listen to Nocturnal City Journal)

The music Stephen was referring to was ”Nocturnal City Journal’‘ , an album of 10 tracks telling the stories of imaginary residents of the old worn out historic English city of Gloucester.  Big Blue Sun made a limited run of CDs and once these sold chose to make their music as widely available as possible on-line.  So you can listen and download any of their 4 album recordings from Soundcloud or Bandcamp.   

One of my favourite Dan/George collaborations is ‘Wisdom is Blue’ which contains the thought provoking lyrics

”How come making war can be called keeping peace? 
How come lovers are the ones we mistreat? 
How come everything is equal till you’re sitting in my seat? 
Wisdom’s a colour and the colour is blue.” 

Thanks for bearing with me if you’re still reading thus far. It probably seems a bit random to have tweaked this post rather than hitting delete on 7 year old copy. But it serves to remind me how G’s need to craft beautiful, meaningful music runs through him like the writing through a stick of rock.  Although Dan no longer lives in Gloucester G continues to be inspired by the City we live in and has been awarded funding by the Arts Council to develop his creative practice making music inspired by and performed in 8 iconic spaces around the City.

G recorded his first piece of new music last week in St Mary de Crypt Church with a choir and string section.  It’s going to be an amazing musical journey you can follow each month via his Musical George Moorey Instagram page.

G is such a natural networker and collaborator and his SPACES project is bringing together not just musicians but writers, poets, photographers and film makers.  Each performance is being filmed and will culminate in an interactive trail next year as part of Gloucestershire’s History Festival.

Image credits:  Dan and George with guitars on the beach in Brighton in 2007 – shot by Tom Oldham.  Photographs on Big Blue Sun album cover and the Spaces project photographs – shot by Shane Young.  Film maker Chris Watkins discussing documenting the St Mary de Crypt recording.

November 17, 2017 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

the best part of education – bugs, berries and butterflies

“Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs,
mud turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb.
Brooks to wade, water lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets;
and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of
the best part of education.”

– Luther Burbank

Crickley Hill_E on top of a fallen tree wearing DUNS willow top

I’m not sure I’d recognise a wood chuck if I saw one and I certainly wouldn’t willingly expose my children to snakes in the wild or hornets but using the outdoors as a classroom is certainly something we embrace.  We are lucky to have some fabulous areas of outstanding natural beauty in Gloucestershire and one of our favourites, Crickley Hill, is just 15 minutes away by car.

Crickley Hill - E butterfly trail wearing DUNS willow top
Whenever I take the boys up Crickley Hill I know it’s for my benefit as much as theirs to amble about the escarpment and meander through the woods.  The National Trust manage the site and last year joined forces with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to encourage more wildlife onto Crickley Hill.  All through the summer there were different nature trails on offer for young explorers and E enjoyed learning about different butterfly species as he raced around the escarpment.

Crickley Hill - the best part of education_family bimble

I spent a lot of time at Crickley Hill as a child so for someone who’s a bit inept when it comes to map reading it’s nice not having to give any mental energy to staying on the right track.  My internal sat nav at Crickley at least is finely tuned and I always know instinctively how to get back to the car park.  It’s lovely to think that this will become a special place for E and L not only for the family time we spend here but the adventures we have with friends exploring dens and climbing on fallen trees.

Crickley Hill_E and Fin copy 4B

I have a picture of 2 year old E emerging from a  den in the woods at Crickley on the picture shelf in his room.  It’s a only a simple A4 landscape size but I love it because it serves as a reminder to keep things simple when it comes to spending quality time with children.  They don’t need lots of input when taken to places that fire their imagination, just warm, attentive interaction.  The next time we visited Crickley Hill after taking this photo I felt sad to see this den had been dismantled where some other explorers had used the branches to fashion their own den elsewhere.  So this snapshot of E’s childhood adventures also serves to remind me that the joy is in the journey not the destination and the memories live on long after the creation has fallen apart.

10-4-14 - Crickley Hill_E outside den 4B

In case you’re wondering about baby L, he had a lovely time too.  I only carried him for the last 20 minutes of a 3 hour bimble when he ran out of steam.  He was a back-of-the-head blurr in the photos I snapped on my phone so here’s one of him receiving the best part of education from one of our cats.  Billy has been teaching him that gentle downward strokes on the head are rewarded with purrs and hammer-like bops with scratches!
IMG_20170911_222412

September 20, 2017 at 12:26 pm 1 comment

being a Gruffalo spotter at Beechenhurst Lodge

Gruffalo trail with mouse 4B copy
We’re lucky enough to live within 30 minutes drive of some of the most beautiful woodlands in the UK.  Yesterday we had a fabulous afternoon following the Gruffalo trail at Beechenhurst Lodge in the Forest of Dean with Nana and Grandad.  If you download the Gruffalo Spotters app to your phone you can point the app at special markers on the trail and watch the characters from The Gruffalo come to life!
(our app crashed on the final character, the Gruffalo, but we didn’t mind. It was such a lovely day out we’re excited about returning when G is free to join us).

March 27, 2017 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Supporting Wildfowl and Wetlands Centres


We visited Llanelli Wildfowl and Wetland Centre while holidaying in Wales this summer.  E loved feeding the birds and reading the information about them so much we decided to become members. Afterall we’re lucky enough to live 25 minutes drive from Slimbridge which was the first centre for conservation set up by Peter Scott, son of the Antarctic explorer Captain Scott, in 1946 (you can read more about that here)

Euan’s first visit to Slimbridge was on a  warm autumn weekend.  We spent the whole day immersed in feeding birds, searching for giant Lego animals, talking to Otters and playing in Welly Boot Land in the late afternoon sun.


For the rest of the week at school pick up E asked “can we go to the bird park again“. When we visited after school that Friday it was virtually deserted which made the job of finding the lego animals we’d missed first time round a lot easier.

Slimbridge is already a great day out but if they can fundraise £1.6 million they can release a Heritage Lottery Fund award of £4.4 million to further develop the site. We shall watch with excitement to see what that means for our little explorers…

November 25, 2016 at 12:07 pm 1 comment

Older Posts


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.

If you like what you found why not receive stories straight into your inbox

Follow Nip it in the bud on WordPress.com

Blog Stats

  • 448,958 hits

Archives

Follow me on Instagram

The boys and I had the most gorgeous morning at the allotment. I was pleasantly surprised how much we achieved despite a wandering toddler. We returned with lovely forced pink rhubarb from our plot grandad Dave and also some greener rhubarb from our old plot neighbour. #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #allotmentgardening #growingwithkids #pinkforcedrhubarb
So happy and proud of the infinity Lego cube he's just made. Thank you @sarahfrugalfunforboys for the inspiration and video link #welovelego #gloucesterlife
Not a bad view for my walk home after singing with @musicalgeorgemoorey . I agree with the graffiti! #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #loveglos @gloucestercathedral
Wow, what a way to spend an hour, singing our hearts out on George's final #spacesgloucester recording. So proud of this guy and the beautiful music he's made in collaboration with some other beautiful musicians #gloucesterlife #lookcloserlistendeeper
A beautiful bright sunny evening and I'm excited to be joining @musicalgeorgemoorey here for the final recording of his #spacesgloucester music project.
NOURISH for #mindfulapril with @mamas_scrapbook - a scrambled egg start to my day. A carb heavy diet makes me lethargic and effects my mood so this sets me off on the right foot. Toddler L also loves it and it eases my mind about what else he eats in the day if I know he's had a good breakfast. #gloucesterlife #nipitinthebudblog
GROWTH - day 18 of #mindfulapril. One son the size of an emperor penguin and one the size of a Gremlin! #gloucesterlife thebudblog #glou
Obsessed with anything with wheels, I turn round to see Luca has nabbed someone's scooter at the park and is legging it! #gloucesterlife #nipitinthebudblog #scootingtoddler
Well this has been interesting! After a conversation with @pocketfulofconkers I did a Myers Briggs personality test and it seems to be pretty accurate (ISFJ 'Defender'). Do you know your personality type? How has it helped you to understand yourself or the challenges you have with others? #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #myersbriggspersonalitytype
BREATHE - day 17 of #mindfulapril. 6 years old and so happy to be doing this for the first time. His nearly 2 year old brother would try it right now if only he could reach! I'm definitely go to have to learn to pause and breathe when he's bigger. #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #mumbloggeruk
#mindfulapril day 16 - LIGHT. Luca, our little "bringer of light" bored of life on the outside when he was just a day old. Crazy to think he'll be two in just over a week. He brings us so much joy but is also a good metaphor for accepting the shadows that come with the light (aka he's a right monkey!) #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #lucabringeroflight
Missing this fella now he's back at school today. We'd happily go to @wwtslimbridge every day if we home schooled! #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #loveglos #slimbridgewwt #outdoorexplorers #mumbloggeruk

Follow me on Twitter

Featured posts elsewhere

A Gardeners Voice Featured Blog!
TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs