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bug catching

Joe sticksA portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2015

Mia: bug chef…collecting toy beetles to make soup for a cuddly badger (standard summer holiday activities)
Joseph: a boy and his sticks…simple happiness
Linking up with Jodi’s beautiful portraits at Practising Simplicity for the 52 project.

Summer holiday days out: A rainy day at the Pitt Rivers, Oxford

Pitt Rivers

Rainy weekends here usually mean a trip to one of the local libraries or museums. As I’m sure any parent of young children will agree, indoors all day is never the best idea! We are very lucky to have a few really good museums and galleries nearby in Oxford. The Pitt Rivers museum, and the Museum of Natural History are together in a beautiful old building in central Oxford, and are a favourite with Mia and Joe. He loves the dinosaur skeletons, and makes loud roaring noises whilst we wander around the museum! Mia’s favourites are the jewellery and costumes in the Pitt Rivers, and she also has a very strange fascination with the display cabinet of shrunken heads. I used to visit the museum as a child, and also loved it there, but was absolutely terrified of the totem poles!

Dino Teeth Joe dinosaur teeth

This resulted in tears…even for a dedicated dinosaur fan, this was far too close!

Clipboard detective Ammonite

I love this large ammonite on display, it is impossible to walk past and not touch it.

Tricerotops shell display dna

I attempted to explain DNA to Mia and think I managed to sound semi-knowledgeable…my scientific expertise will not stand up to her questioning for much longer though I suspect! Joe thought that the model was Legos and wanted to play, hooray for two-year-olds.

Pitt Rivers interior Gift shop treasureNo trip to the museum is complete without a visit to the gift shop on the way home. A bag of plastic dinosaur treasures.


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Mia beach hatJoe beach hatA portrait of my children once a week, every week, in 2015
Mia: holding onto her sunhat
Joseph: beach baby
Linking up with Jodi’s beautiful portraits at Practising Simplicity for the 52 project.

Summer holiday days out: Charlie and Lola at Mottisfont

Mia stawberryIt was only by chance that I found out about the Charlie and Lola exhibition at Mottisfont House, near Southampton. I just happened to be watching the local news (which randomly covers the south coast, even though we live in the middle of the country!) at the right moment to catch an interview with Lauren Child. Lauren is the creator, illustrator and author of Charlie and Lola, and many other amazing children’s books. Mia and I are pretty big fans of hers, and lots of her books are story-time favourites here. Hubert HoratioThe exhibition is a retrospective of Lauren’s work, including Charlie and Lola illustrations, plus pictures from many of her other books, mini interior sets from the Princess and the Pea, and even the ‘real’ pink milk glass and orange telephone featured in so many of the Charlie and Lola stories.Charlie Lola Mia
Book sofaIt was a beautiful exhibition, with space to sit down and enjoy the illustrations, to read some of Lauren Child’s books and a craft room for little ones to do some Charlie and Lola inspired cutting and sticking. IMG_9076Mottisfont itself is a gorgeous old house with huge gardens. There was a Charlie and Lola themed treasure hunt around the house and gardens, which was a great way of seeing everything, whilst keeping Mia entertained.IMG_9082 garden shed MHunting for treasure hunt clues inside a potting shed in the rose gardens.IMG_9104 Trees shepherd's hut RatInside a Shepherd’s hut in the grounds we found another of Lauren’s characters, That Pesky Rat…and his laundry!Treasure hunt M IMG_9167 Joe treeThere were some really good play parks too, one woodland themed and another water themed park.jumping Mottisfont water play parkThe water play park was a great hit with both of them. They played at pumping the water, making dams and mud pies, and made lots of friends! We ended up being one of the last to leave the gardens at the end of the day. Mottisfont is open all year round, and the Charlie and Lola exhibition runs until 6th September.

Visiting Roskilly’s Farm and Ice Cream Parlour

Roskillys cowsWhen you visit a place and wonder how on earth you never knew about it before…I have been visiting Cornwall for so many years, and enjoyed lots of Roskilly’s delicious ice cream flavours in cafes and at the beach, but who knew you can also visit Roskilly’s farm, which is also a cafe and ice cream parlour! BurgersThe burgers were pretty good too! Handmade, with ‘proper’ salad and yummy wild leaves and really good homemade coleslaw. BlueberryAs for the ice cream, I had blueberry flavour, and I think it was actually a little bit tastier than my favourite ‘Oxford Blue’ blueberry flavour from the G&Ds ice cream cafe back home in Oxford. SundaeMia loved the idea of an ice cream sundae, and we had absolutely no idea it would be this size! Needless to say, she ate the strawberries, wafers and about one scoop of vanilla ice cream…her dad very obligingly ate the rest of it for her. Signpost Joe and sheep PiggiesThere are also a few farm animals at Roskillys, inquisitive sheep, snoozing piggies, geese, and some gorgeous fluffy chickens. the farm Roskillys Joe and the piglet geese lambsA very lovely place to visit for ice creams and lunch. I wish it was a little closer to home though, as an eight hour round trip for that blueberry ice cream is a bit much…but, next summer!