Summer afternoons picking elderflowers

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up on a Sunday morning convinced I had missed the elderflower season this year. I dashed out as soon as I was up, sure that I would have missed the best of the crop! I find time every year to make elderflower cordial, even the summer when Joe was born (full heartfelt story here).

A busy couple of weeks had meant that the elderflowers had to wait this year, but luckily opposite our house is the perfect lane for picking them. It’s quite shaded by lots of other trees, so a week or so behind the main season, and I was so happy to find that there were hundreds still in bloom, calming the elderflower anxiety (first world drama crisis, ahem).

It was also the perfect opportunity to try out my new to me Bobbin bike (committed eBay searching does pay off eventually!) and so I combined a cycle ride with elderflower collecting. The bike’s lovely wicker basket was the perfect thing for collecting and transporting the flowers safely home. Even if my family all laughed at me for being a massive blogger/IG cliche!

I hadn’t ridden a bike for over ten years and had forgotten how much fun it is; just complete exhilerating freedom, cycling down a country lane in the sunshine…it was a complete rediscovered childhood pleasure, just blissful. As Mia accurately summed up the moment, ‘oh Mummy, I didn’t know you could ride a bike…now we can cycle to the cafe together!’ She has only just learned to ride her bike after a long-standing lack of cycling confidence and some previous nasty falls. So we cycled along, collecting elderflowers like something from an Enid Blyton novel, wishing that every day could be like this. But if it was we would end up with a large amount of elderflower cordial and really achey legs!

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Siblings Project (June)

Siblings June2

In between rain storms we escaped outdoors for some fresh air and strawberry picking at the nearby pyo farm this weekend. The constant wet weather has been driving Mia and Joe a little crazy recently, as they have had to stay indoors so much more than usual. Unfortunately this has lead to lots of arguments between them, broken toys, lost jigsaw pieces…you get the picture! Strawberry picking was a very welcome excuse for some fresh air and berry eating.

Siblings June7

Rectory Farm, just outside Oxford is great for fruit picking, and also has a lovely playground and cafe. They had even set up a hay bale climb, and as soon as Mia and Joe saw it they both had to climb right to the top. It was actually quite high, but they are both pretty fearless about heights. Mia was tall enough to climb up by herself, but Joe’s little legs just couldn’t quite stretch far enough! As it was too far to lift him, I had to climb up as well, and all three of us ended up on top of the hay bales. I was the only parent up there, and did feel a little bit silly, but the fun soon outweighed that. I have been finding straw in my shoes since though!

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Mia, in her typically confident style, was busy bossing other children on the hay bales around, telling them where to climb and how to get down, and even encouraging Joe to jump off!

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And Joe was happier to sit and watch everything going on for a while. It is interesting to watch this subtle change between them; he still wants to do exactly what Mia is doing, but it has become more on his own terms. He joins in with her but doesn’t follow her. I have noticed this in their games recently as well; they are together, but much more indpendent from each other. Mia used to come up with all of their game rules and instructions, but Joe now provides his own ideas and challenges hers.

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More hay bale climbing after a short break for juice and chocolate cake. The salted caramel brownies from the Barefoot cafe there really are the best, and have taken on a now legendary status amongst locals.

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Siblings June1

I joined them in this photo, or at least my toes did, for my favourite kind of family portrait. I love capturing these little moments of our everyday life, completely natural and just as it is. Of course, Mia and Joe ate hundreds of strawberries, and we picked lots to take home too. I have been making them strawberry and elderflower yoghurt ice lollies this morning…waiting for another sunny day!

I have also been joining in with the Siblings Project on Instagram at @siblings_project . Come and take a look if you’ve not joined in already!

The Me and Mine Project

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