Children Cost Money

  “Children cost money.” This profound truth spilled eloquently from the lips of former Conservative Party Leader Iain Duncan Smith last month at his Party’s annual conference.  I once had the dubious pleasure of riding in a lift with this man, though I have to say his leery look was somewhat underwhelming. Recently I have […]

FREE Disney Frozen Activities

To get in the mood for Frozen 2 there’s plenty of fun to be had, while you wait, FOR FREE!  We were really late to the party with the original, but I think we are almost ready for a fresh dose!  Although I wasn’t all that impressed by the first film’s plot, I thought the […]

Foraged Fruit Recipes

  This might be a bit late… but here are three yummy recipes for using foraged fruit such as apples, blackberries and raspberries. Foraged Fruit Crumble Crumble is the obvious choice of course, and I discovered that an assembly line of small boys makes it light work indeed.  I actually never use a recipe for […]

Paper Plate Fruits

I was actually searching for a paper-plate based weaving activity when a tutorial for these larger-than-life slices of watermelon, apple and lemon caught our 5 year-old’s eye.  They are bright, cheerful and easy to make, all you need is plain paper plates, scissors, glue, scraps of coloured paper and some paint. The original tutorial suggested […]

Harvest Art

I love to encourage the children to just paint whatever they like with watercolours/poster paints. As mentioned elsewhere on this site I have a particular dislike for ready-mixed acrylic paint! Apart from the mess and tidying up, it has such a bold, flat, unnatural appearance. Granted, it has its place, and if you need to […]

Taking a reading

  Long have I longed for this day: my child joyfully reading entire books, entirely unprovoked. Oh what a blessing, what a relief.  All those hours of wondering, worrying – will he ever read?  No amount of anecdotes or testimonies or re-assurance from education experts – “a child growing up in a literate society/household will […]

Dig for Victory 2015: Harvest!

It’s been a bit quiet on the home (kitchen garden) front I know.  So here’s  a quick update on some of the firstfruits… What worked The French beans got off to a slow start, and for a few weeks there were only ever enough for a couple each at dinner time. Now they’re in full […]

Free Online HomeEd

  In addition to all the wonderful and simple outdoor (and indoor) pleasures of childhood – be it reading a book borrowed from the local library, blackberrying with grandma, or playing hide and seek with siblings – there is nowadays an abundance of free resources on the web intended specifically to help with the home […]

A Renaissance of the Home

Back when I decided to shift the focus of this blog towards all things home-based, I explored renaming it. I went through all those usual clichés, like Home is where the heart is, and so on, but someone had always beaten me to it. At last I thought I had got a unique one in […]

Embracing Life

  My husband recently observed that almost ­­everything we are striving for in our home is, in one way or another, either creating – or sustaining – life.  That’s our vision, our dream, our plan.  We sow cabbages; then we wipe caterpillar eggs off them. We hatch out ducklings; then we feed them and muck […]

The Science of Siblings: Health Benefits?

  The photo above shows our lavender plants in bud along the garden path. We refer collectively to our two youngest children as the Darling Buds of May. Nothing to do with the old BBC TV show of that name, but because the Buds (as they’re known for short) were both born in May (albeit […]

Dear Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister

  Here’s my letter to David Cameron asking him to value the home, and mothers in particular.   Dear Mr Cameron, Re.: Mothers at home do valuable work I am writing to implore you to consider the hundreds of thousands of mothers who do essential, worthwhile work in their homes, caring for the children who […]

Homemade Toothpaste

Easy peasy toothpaste: free from all the nasties, great for cleaning your teeth and cleansing your gums. Just mix it all up in an espresso cup or ramekin, and it will last a couple of days or so. Make up a bigger batch to store in a clean tub. Be warned, it has a strong, […]

Quick and Easy Pastry

  I have always been scared stiff of pastry. Not of eating it, but of making it.  Making one’s own pastry had always seemed the lofty heights of home-baking. What a load of nonsense! This has to be the simplest thing, after flatbreads, that I have made. Really good butter pastry is not cheap to […]

Why Every Room Needs An Egg Timer

In our house, I have decided, every room needs an egg timer. Maybe not a fuschia pink one, but a timer nonetheless. I love this twisty egg-shaped timer. Simple, mechanical, no batteries required. It makes a motivating tick-tock and a satisfying, loud rrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing. In the kitchen my pink timer is used, naturally, for baking cakes, […]

The Politics of Mothering

It’s not just any women that bring voters into the world. It’s mothers. When I first read one of Vanessa Olorenshaw’s HuffPost articles I thought: she took the words right out of my mouth. Her campaign hinges on this bold observation: that mothers who choose not to work have become persona non grata in UK […]


There's no place like home. Home is where the heart is. An Englishman's home is his castle. And so on. Cheesy cliches aside, we are nonetheless aiming for a renaissance of the home.

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