Rollercoaster Mum: July 2013


Monday, 29 July 2013

Macro Monday - the Caterpillar one.

I don't know whether it has been the sunny weather or whether we have just been better at spotting them this year but we seem to have seen loads of caterpillars and butterflies this year. I have managed to capture a few of the caterpillars (although not very well in some cases) on camera and I thought you might like to see them.

The first is the caterpillar of the Peacock Butterfly. We saw these coming home from school a couple of weeks ago and there were dozens of them. Very bizarrely there were crossing the pavement and determinedly crossing the road. Nothing seemed to stop them - cars, people, grass - nothing. It was a very strange sight. I believe they all leave their 'nest' at once and look for food (which is mainly nettles) but there were nettles on the side of the road where we were so I have no idea what the compulsion to cross it was.

Caterpillar of Peacock Butterfly

This second caterpillar I found munching away on our raspberry plants. Not something I normally encourage but I left it there in this case! I am not quite sure what this one is but after a bit of research I think it is the caterpillar of the Buff Ermine Moth.

Brown hairy Caterpillar UK possibly Buff Ermine Moth

Lastly is this rather striking caterpillar which we found on the Ranges when we went for our picnic recently. It was feeding on Ragwort and it is the caterpillar of the equally striking Cinnabar Moth.

Caterpillar of Cinnabar Moth on Ragwort

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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Silent Sunday

storm clouds and sunshine

A Year in Pictures - Week 30

What a whirlwind of a week. I cannot believe that it is only 7 days since the girls broke up from school - it has been non-stop. There has been camping, festivals, plenty of picnics, days out with friends, BBQs and even the odd book as well as work as usual for the grown-ups (boo!)

This time last week I was camping in a field with 2500 other people in Lewes, East Sussex at the awesome Mumford and Sons Gentleman of the Road Festival! This was followed by a brief rest chilling out in Grandma's garden on Sunday but even this was interrupted with a visit to a kids church festival in the town. We had trips to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the The Vyne, National Trust as well as a quick visit to the library to get the girls first stickers in their Summer Reading Challenge - Creepy House. We even squeezed in making a cake!  I have taken about a million photos so choosing has been hard and time to post almost non-existent. Here they are...

Lewes GOTR - Mumford and Sons
An epic couple of days!

Circus skills for kids
Circus skills!

Picnic - Longmoor ranges
Picnic after the rain

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard - Spinnaker Tower
Old, new and a bit of climbing at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
in the Hidden Realm - The Vyne National Trust
The kids loved loved loved the Hidden Realm playground at the Vyne, a National Trust property - more of that next week!

Do go and check out the others at The Boy and Me and see how all those summer holidays are going.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 26 July 2013

How does Grandma's Garden grow?

This week I thought I would give you a taste of Grandma Rollercoaster's garden which is far far superior to mine. We don't visit as often as we should but the girls were there last weekend and Rollercoaster Dad and I made a fleeting visit on Sunday after living it large at the Mumford and Sons Gentleman of the Road festival. Grandma's small walled garden was a perfect place to chill out and adjust to a return to reality.

There is a profusion of colourful flowers (very different from our garden - no profusion there as yet!)

Walled garden

Walled garden

Orange dahlias

A smallish but perfectly formed veg patch and a greenhouse that turns Rollercoaster Dad green with envy - as does the height of the Runner Beans - it's like Jack and the Beanstalk!

veg patch

Some of my favourite flowers are the fuchsias - so like little ballerinas.

Fuchsia flowers

And these candy striped Phlox - the furled buds look like little ice-cream cones.

candy striped Phlox flowers

The Hydrangea flowers are all enormous and I love the ones with the lacy edges.

white lace Hydrangea flowers

This Allium seed head is pretty impressive too.

Giant Allium seed head

 Peaceful though it was there were signs of the grandchildren dotted around!

The Faraway Tree in the garden

But no doubt peace has now returned and the fountain will be burbling quietly to the fish once more...

Lavender by the fountain

Do I have garden envy? - just a tad!

Linking up with How Does my Garden Grow as usual which is hosted by the lovely Helvetia Handmade this week as Mammasaurus is gadding about on a holiday (really - how could she!!) Do go over and pay her a visit to see all those other lovely gardens.

Helvetia Handmade

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Macro Monday

It's all about these gorgeous ruby red beauties this week..

redcurrant jewels

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Sunday, 21 July 2013

Silent Sunday

Hogweed - Heracleum sphondylium

Friday, 19 July 2013

A Year in Pictures - Week 29

At last the summer of childhood memories - hot baked earth, warm winds, mum watering the garden, fruit blushing, searching for shade, ice-pops after school, fields of corn ripening, hot walks through bleached grasses, playing in tents, paddling pools and picnics.Summer how it should be. I hope it lasts.

Woolbeding Countryside - National Trust
A gorgeous summer evening's walk and picnic and some of the creatures we found this week

British Summer
Ripening corn
Summer days
including making the teacher's presents

ice pops
It was also the last week of school with goodbyes to the star award and to a much appreciated Head Teacher
Do pop over and see the others at the Boy and Me:

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

How does our garden grow?

The answer this week is that at last things are growing - flowers are finally appearing, vegetables are growing and fruit ripening. The grass is dying and brown but who cares about that - our 'lawn' is rubbish anyway. Everything else with the aid of watering every two days is growing pretty well - at last. Worth that hour or so watering even if it does stop me from blogging, speaking of which, enough blether - here's some pictures (only collages mind as time has slipped through my fingers this week.)

Sweet peas, Mallow,
Flowers happening at last (from top left clockwise)- the Sweet Peas are out, a self-seeded Mallow (very pretty but can get a bit messy), my new posh daisy type perennials are flowering and the Eryngium is soo close, Verbena Buenos Aires (another newbie) and finally the Coriander has gone to seed and flowered so now we will wait to harvest the seeds.

veg patch
The veg patch is prospering too (from top left clockwise) - the runner beans have finally beaten the slugs and snails and made it to the top of the wigwam, there's a nice pair of blueberries (especially for Mammasaurus that one!) , flowers on the runner beans have appeared (usually scarlet but these are a rather lovely salmon pink), at least 3 courgettes are growing- a miracle if you had seen the state of these plants when we got back from our holiday 6 weeks ago and finally we have lift off with the tomatoes with their little yellow flowers.

How is your garden doing? For loads more garden inspiration check out the linky over at Mammasaurus. 
Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Inexpensive Teacher's gifts - my first PinAddicts Challenge

Yarn wrapped pen pots - teacher's gifts
The finished article! 
As usual I leave it until the last minute (well almost) to think about teacher's gifts. Now I'm not one to spend a fortune. At Christmas they get a token gesture (homemade biscuits, sweets or mince pies), I don't bother at Easter but it is nice to give them something at the end of the year if you think they've done a good job. I have in the past given those Oxfam gifts, jars of jam and last year I did resort to wine (but I was particularly impressed).

This year I had the problem with both girls at school that although one teacher definitely deserved wine I wasn't so sure about the other one and then of course you have the teaching assistants - it goes on. I'm sure it would be noticed in the staff room if you favoured one teacher over another! So I turned to Google and Pinterest. One popular idea that I hadn't thought of was to give teachers pens.

This seemed like a great idea and then I discovered a pin on wool (or yarn) wrapped loo roll tubes to make a pen pot. Aha! Light bulb moment. My only issue was this was that we didn't have enough of these and no time to save them, so I thought maybe we could use jam jars (also wrappable) and then I found a pin on yarn wrapped plant pots - perfect. It was also a craft that was simple enough for the girls to do so they get to make their teacher's presents too - even more perfect.

Cue visit to Wilkos - terracotta plant pots 60p each, pack of 10 biros 25p, two posher pens £1.20, wool we already had but you can buy a roll of wool for £1 in there, PVA glue we already have. I also got a cheap place mat to cut up and stick in the bottom to cover the hole. (25p per teacher - you could also use felt or card) and some ribbon to tie the pens (about 40p per teacher). The only other thing we used was felt tips to write and draw on the rim of the plant pot and some tissue paper to pretty them up. Total per teacher - about £2.70. OK not super cheap but less than wine!

So here's how you do it: I used the original tutorial over at Celebrations at Home as a guide to help me.

yarn wrapped pen pots

1. Plant pots tend to have holes so we cut out circles of the place mat (or use felt or card) and stuck them in the bottom of the pots using PVA glue.

2. Now to wrap the pots (the one in the picture is actually a plastic pot but for the teachers gifts we used terracotta clay pots). First cover the pot in PVA glue - you may need to use more so keep it to hand. Take your wool and carefully lay it around the top of the pot under the lip, pulling it fairly taut. Keep wrapping the wool layer by layer around the pot until you want to change colour. Take your second colour of wool and after recovering and refreshing your pot with more glue (it doesn't matter if you use too much as PVA dries clear) carefully lay the second colour of wool slightly over the last bit of wool and wrap slightly over it so that the wools seem to merge. Keep doing this until your whole pot is covered. The last few layers can be a bit tricky so you may need to use loads of glue. Leave to dry.

3. Lastly the pens - take your selection of pens an carefully tie a piece of ribbon around them - tie the ribbon in a bow. Place the pens in your pot with a bit of coloured tissue paper to keep them in and look pretty. Lastly write a message or name around the lip of the pot.

Et voila! Pretty, inexpensive, practical and hopefully appreciated teacher's presents. (And if you haven't got anything yet you've probably still got time to do this - it doesn't take long - even when the kids do it!)

Oh and do pop over to the PinAddicts Challenge below for some far more experienced and superior crafters to me!

PinAddicts Challenge

Monday, 15 July 2013

Macro Monday

It's been so gorgeous and sunny this week that I haven't had time for massive inspiration so I am revisiting the wild flowers/ weeds theme to show you the flower and the seed head of the Hawkweed. They are very like dandelions but the flower is smaller.

Hawkweed or Hieracium flower
Such a fabulous colour. 

Hieracium seed head
It looks so fluffy! 

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Sunday, 14 July 2013

Silent Sunday

 Bread and Jam dress

Saturday, 13 July 2013

A Year in Pictures - Week 28

I do believe it is actually summer - at least for a week or so - woohoo! Unfortunately the kids are not yet off school but it does just make you feel so much happier. The week started with a day off for us when both girls went to a district girlguiding fun day last weekend - what to do without children for a few hours on a sunny Saturday? The answer being a pub lunch and a mooch around a garden centre in peace - bliss! We even bought a couple of new fish for the aquarium. As for the rest of the week, well water was played with, bikes were ridden, butterflys released, BBQ's had and tents and dens built - the beauty of being able to play outside. The highlight for me though was Little Miss Sunshine's school assembly by their Reception class - sooo sweet and I will have 'Alice the Camel' ringing in my ears for weeks but unfortunately no photos as they all had other children in them.
Angel fish
Our new fish - they look like they just glide through the water! 
water slide
One way to cool down! 

Bread and Jam dress
Now we can ride our bike we even rode to a party on it!
Painted Lady butterfly
And we finally got a butterfly - only one successfully metamorphosised so far though!

Insect Lore butterfly
Releasing our butterfly to freedom - good luck Flutterbye! 

For loads more awesome photos click on the badge to find The Boy and Me and all those 365ers.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky
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