Tag Archives: flowers



“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

This week, fuelled by sunshine and jet lag, we have mainly been getting the house ready for summer.

As part of this, on Sunday morning, we went to our local garden centre. Arthur was lured along enthusiastically by the promise of a visit to their play area, and was initially a little put out when we couldn’t go there STRAIGHT AWAY.

Actually, though, I think he surprised himself by how much he enjoyed looking at flowers. When we walked out to the back, basking in proper summer sun, he exclaimed “It’s so beautiful!”. And it really was. We meandered between the rows and through the poly-tunnels, picking up things that looked pretty and not too easy to kill.

Arthur was tremendously careful with the trays he was given to carry, and loved being part of our little garden project almost as much as he loved being let loose on the climbing frame when we were done.

And now, after a couple of hours of planting, we have a garden resplendent with colourful troughs. Arthur disappeared off around the corner this morning, and when I asked where he was going he said he just wanted to look at the flowers.

Now I just need to remember to keep them watered and fed…

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity for The 52 Project. 

Deconstructing daffodils

The unschooling diaries: week eight

Between Valentine’s, an anniversary and Mother’s Day we have had a lot of flowers in the house recently. Which of course has been lovely, but for Arthur has also proved an irresistible draw. Several times I have come into the kitchen and found him looking sheepish with pollen on his fingers and petals scattered on the floor at his feet. It’s hard to get cross, because I know he’s just curious. So this week I thought I’d play him at his own game…


Our garden is generally looking a little sorry for itself at the moment, but in the midst of all the work that needs doing there is a determined patch of daffodils that Arthur and I have watched grow and flower into a sea of yellow and green. One particularly dreary morning I ventured out whilst Arthur watched me through the rain in his pyjamas, sticking a tentative toe over the threshold before deciding that inside was a much better place to be.

I picked out a daffodil and handed it over, explaining that I thought it might be interesting to break it apart together and see what was inside. He was a bit reticent at first, taking time to hold and admire the whole flower as the rain broke and sun began streaming in through the windows. I’d never actually seen him handle a flower so carefully. Still, it didn’t take him long before he took me up on my offer.

He explored the daffodil’s trumpet before taking it apart in strips, then gently peeling away the petals. I encouraged him to smooth the pollen with his fingertip, and we paused at that point to talk about what it was all for.

We talked about the bright yellow colour attracting the bees, who buzzed around between the flowers and took the pollen from stigma to stamen so the flowers could make babies. He was curious, so I found a video on YouTube showing a bee doing exactly that, and he watched, intrigued. He’s generally quite interested in bees at the moment because of his current obsession with Winne the Pooh (when I asked him what he thought the pollen might taste of he answered quite confidently ‘honey’), but that’s another story…

After our little introduction to botany he wandered off to do something else for a while, and when he came back I’d set out paper and glue so he could stick the parts of the daffodil on. He was keen to cut up the stem at this point – a good time to practise using scissors, and discover that the metal ones were much more effective for the job than plastic. We talked too about how the stem was like a straw, sucking up water to keep the flower alive.


I had thought of labelling the parts of the flower once he’d stuck them down, but he’d lost interest by that point and it probably would have been a step too far anyway! As it was he began to understand, I think, a little about the fascinating construction of a flower, laying down foundations for future conversations when we’re out and about.

And now I come to think of it he has held back from randomly destroying any flowers since, so maybe it has served to satisfy the curiousity that was driving him – for now at least.


*A little note of caution: daffodils, whilst fascinating, are not edible and are actually toxic if consumed. I made sure Arthur was aware of this and washed his hands carefully after our exploration. Please make sure you supervise your little ones closely and seek medical attention if they do accidentally ingest any part of a daffodil.*

Five signs that spring has (almost) sprung

Alongside everything I have been doing this week – creeping ever closer to a completed third draft of my novel, keeping up with Arthur’s ever-expanding social calendar, and supporting Leigh through another wave of deadlines – there has been the faint bubble of anticipation. The sense that, after weeks and months of the dark and the cold of winter, spring might finally, actually, be just around the corner.


Arthur and I were at my parents’ place last weekend. Although they’re less than an hour away, and still on the sea (well, the estuary anyway), the environment there feels very different. They are surrounded by countryside, and there is no escaping the shifting seasons. So it was there I noticed spring first. It took me almost by surprise, but it has not disappeared since we returned to Brixham.


Arthur has learnt the words for primrose, snowdrop and daffodil this week. He sought out the little patches of colour as we traversed the woodland, and I couldn’t help but notice the shoots beginning to seep from winter branches. Back home we saw that our own daffodils had finally burst out from their buds, trumpeting the promise of warmer, lighter days to anyone who cared to listen.



For the past few months my parents’ chickens have refused to lay. The flock was expanded at the end of last year, and ever since their nest has remained empty. In the past few weeks they have seemed to call an end to their strike. Looking at the beautiful eggs they are now producing in abundance it seemed way too coincidental to have nothing to do with the coming of spring: and on doing a little research I discovered that sure enough, the longer days have much to do with the chickens’ willingness to release their eggs into the world.

We travelled home on Monday with a collection of them, almost too lovely to eat.

I am pleased to report that they were delicious.



One thing that spring can be guaranteed to bring is crazy weather, and this week has most definitely not disappointed on that front. On Tuesday, we were woken up by a hailstorm at three am – it was so insanely loud I thought for a while it might dislodge the slate on the roof. A few hours later, we woke again to pink skies reflecting off the sheen of an almost perfectly still bay, the only sound being the squark of seagulls and the distant drone of fishing boats heading out to sea.


A text came through from a friend as I was getting Arthur organised to head out to his drama class, saying that we should make the most of the glorious day. Just as I was sending my agreement, the rain rolled in. Yet by the time we were ready to leave it was beautiful once again. Dark clouds gathered before the day was done.

The weather this week has most definitely been unpredictable, but not entirely unpleasant.



In the moments when the sun has come out, there has been no denying this week that it is starting to get warmer. There have been points when I’ve almost been able to taste those delicious summer days, children laughing as they play for hours in the great outdoors, parents watching over them whilst basking in the rays themselves,

We had music today at Lupton House, followed by the precious coffee and catch-up I’ve come to so look forward to. Afterwards us mums stood and chatted as the children played, tentatively exclaiming our delight at the warmth which filled the air.



This is perhaps the least tangible of the signs that spring is on its way, but it’s no less important for that. I cope with winter better than I used to, but still during the past few weeks I’ve felt a little like I’ve been wading through treacle just to manage the tasks which make up the day to day.

But this week that sense of drudgery has been replaced with hope, with the anticipation of spring rolling into summer, of leaving the house without a coat and returning in the evening whilst it is still light.

I suppose deep down I love the seasons, all of them, for the contrasts they bring. But I cannot deny that I have my favourites, and spring is most certainly one of them.

My word of the week this week is spring.

The Reading Residence
Mums' Days