The Kindness Elves excitement is brewing

Kindness Elves day 1 - help decorate the treeWith December fast approaching excitement is brewing for our 3rd annual visit from the Kindness Elves. They arrive on the 13th December and stay until Christmas Eve and each morning they suggest a small act of kindness to help bring some Christmas cheer to those around us.  Last year we were so busy having fun with the kindness elves we didn’t get round to sharing our adventures in a blog post.  So here are a few highlights for you which included taking some toys and books to the Children’s Hospital and making cards and biscuits for people:
Kindness Elves - decorate christmas treeKindness elves - toys to give away
One suggestion from the Kindness Elves was to ”thank the lunch ladies at school for doing a great job”.  After school our conversation went something like this
E – ”I did say Thank you for making dinner for us every day to one lady”.
Me – ”What did she say?”
E – ”She didn’t say anything, she didn’t hear me”.
Me – ”Oh well, it was lovely that you said thank you and perhaps another kid will have heard you and it will inspire them to say thanks”

(”Make a Christmas card for the postman”, ”read a story to someone”, ”Make some biscuits to give to a friend)


Another suggestion was simply ”Give someone a lovely compliment today”.  E thought for a minute then said ‘‘Daddy your shoes are so cool.  Mummy you do lots of nice things.   I will have a think about who has nice hair…”.

Our favourite activity was ”leave some coins by a fountain with a note that says ”make a wish”. We went to Gloucester Cathedral and left some coppers in an eggbox and sat on a bench nearby to see what happened.  E was thrilled to see children run up to the box, read the message and throw a coin into the water. This is definitely an activity we’ll repeat this year (while trying to stop L from diving into the water!)
Kindness Elves day - make a wish copy
The Kindness Elves were created by parent blogger Anna at The Imagination Tree.  Many families have now adopted this lovely tradition and share their kindness activities inspiration on-line (search #thekindnesselves on Instagram for a flurry of ideas).  We bought our kindness elves from The Imagination Tree shop, complete with a little house box and it’s been the best investment.  I can’t wait for their visit this year and remain hopeful that a 1.5 year old trying to get in on the action will enhance the experience for E.
(hmmm, note to self – plan a few solo activities for E minus baby brother).
12-Days-of-Christmas-Kindness-with-the-Kindness-Elves-680x548-1 copy

November 28, 2017 at 11:25 am Leave a comment

wordless wednesday

November 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm 1 comment

And so to bed (This is Britain photo book)


Stoked. Thrilled. Overjoyed. Amazed. Delighted. Chuffed.
Just a few words to describe how I feel seeing my boys immortalised in print.

My photo of Euan and Luca reading stories with their Lumie Bed Bug was chosen by photographer Rankin from over 11,000 entries for inclusion in the ”This is Britain” photo book. What’s more all proceeds from the sale of the book are going to BBC Children in Need. Stoked. Thrilled. Overjoyed. Amazed. Delighted. Chuffed.



I submitted two other photos in the ”waking up” and ”at play” categories – they’re not included in the book but I love them just the same.

November 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

five ways with … a ton of rhubarb

So it may well be the wrong time of year to post this since your rhubarb harvest will be far from your thoughts and probably on the woody side now. But hey, let’s pretend I’m being really organised for next Spring when your rhubarb crown will be re-birthing after winter and at it’s finest! If you find yourself wondering what to do with the ton of rhubarb I hope you’ll end up with here are a few suggestions from the archives (sigh, from the good old days of having an abundant harvest from the allotment!)

rhubarb and green tomato chutney
Green tomato and rhubarb chutney - jar and rice cake 4B

rhubarb wine
nipitinthebud - 9-9-11_rhubarb and raspberry wine 4B

rhubarb relish
14-8-10 - rhubarb relish 4B

Choclette’s Rustic Rhubarb Galette

 
Choclette’s rhubarb, rose and white chocolate ice cream

 
This post has spent 5 years in drafts waiting to be finished!  The first three suggestions are my own nipitinthebud makes but growing small boys stalled any efforts to complete the post with some delicious rhubarb bakes.  So having been inspired by my husbands musical collaborations this month I decided to ask my friend Choclette at Tin and Thyme if I could feature some of her terrific rhubarb recipes.  I knew she’d come up trumps and if these ideas have whet your appetite be sure to check out her archives – she has enough suggestions for a ”10 ways with a ton of rhubarb” post!  Enjoy x

November 20, 2017 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

a first birthday (in pictures)

Having passed the 6 month anniversary of Luca’s first birthday last month (woops!) before sorting through the photos from his special day, here’s how we celebrated him.  Euan was off school with chicken pox and it was so lovely to have him home with us – it really wouldn’t have been the same without E there to “help” unwrap and play with L’s presents!  And it was lovely to have a birthday cake making helper.

November 17, 2017 at 9:53 pm 1 comment

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

wordless wednesday

November 15, 2017 at 1:44 pm 2 comments

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When a home made cake + butter icing + sweets turns into the best birthday cake for my special 6 year old.  I'd accepted I was going to have to buy one as there was no time to fit in baking around L.  And then G accidentally took the car keys to work and our walk to collect them bought clarity - we went to the park, L napped and I baked.  I feel so pleased I've maintained my tradition of making E a cake afterall :0)
#nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #birthdaycake #loveharibo And here he is, our lovely whopper!  Uncanny that I showed this picture to Euan yesterday of him aged 3 hrs old and this morning when he woke and asked if he was 6 yet it was the exact same time!!!! "But I don't feel like I'm 6 and 3 hours old Mummy". Such a wonderful life with this curious, funny, gentle, kind, Lego loving boy.  Happy Birthday beloved Euan x
#nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #10lbbabyboy 6 years ago today I took my last waddle to the allotment to pick green veg for a vitamin packed last supper.  I knew baby was on his way but had a feeling he wasn't going to be quick about it.  It's his birthday in 2 days time and I'm so excited for him, my darling Whopper (he was 10lb 2oz and my bump in this picture is 48"!)
#nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #ginormousbump  #10monthspregnant Amazing customer service from @tatterhood_ to help make sure her framed Mother poem arrived in time for my Mum's 70th birthday.  So many other wonderful poems available as postcards and her new book is also in stock on her website.  Go check her out, she's ace :0)
#motherhood #70thbirthdaygift Roadies.  When your Dad @musicalgeorgemoorey has a gig coming up and doesn't want to keep lugging his kit downstairs it becomes THE place in the room to sit!  #spacesgloucester #gloucesterlife So lush, they've made a den under the table and called for the iPad so they could watch their favourite Netflix episode inside.  #5minutespeaceandquiet
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