September sun

There’s something about sunshine in September that makes you that little bit more grateful and gets you racing to head outdoors. In fact I remember when my sister got married on the 10th October in 2010 and it felt like the hottest day of the year - in October! Instead of the lazy hazy days of summer where juggling school holidays, adventures and work seem to halt our impromptu outings, the start of the change in the seasons makes me become a stereotypical Brit, discuss nothing but the weather and desperate to hold onto sandals and summer dresses. To make the most of those golden hours. 

School routines have brought back shouty morning memories, me clapping at them like a mother hen hurrying her chicks to get dressed and out of the door and we start each day in a muddle. We've tried getting up earlier, we lay the clothes out the night before but everything has become a battle before 8am, unless Granny is stopping over and my feral school boys are replaced with golden angels.

Sammy has careered off into Year 3 and lower school and hasn't looked back. He has a sports bag almost as big as him, and I can hear his voice changing. More eloquent in just a couple of weeks back at school. My timelines and feeds that were full of school uniforms, happy toothy grins have slowly drifted back to cat videos, (I'm more of a dog person myself but the one where they eat ice cream - hilarious) celebrity gossip and even a few Christmas countdowns - umm no way jose - I am still living in a white dress. I loved every little and large nervous excited face and every status bursting with pride. 

Because I loved how positive the internet was, everyone wanting to share those precious milestone moments. Babies to big kids.

September is like starting the year all over again, a month to unsettle summer habits and a month to settle back in again. We are all trying to work out what our roles are and where are jobs are going, boys testing boundaries as their confidence grows in relation to the size of the playground they now hare around in, on the cusp of something bigger for Rich maybe, if the wind stays blowing in the same direction. 

We are just trying to work hard and be nice. And sometimes it takes longer to get somewhere that way. 

You can feel that slight dip in the temperature as the sun sets signalling the cooler winds of autumn are riding the airwaves but on a bright day, when the golden rays are blasting down onto our faces, I forget that we are not in a mid July daze. 

I've felt better about myself, felt happier with a glow.

We Heaths are not ready to pack up the flip flops just yet. 

Weekends are back to being being pepper potted with school parties, reading books and housework but on the sunniest of Saturdays we headed off from home with the dogs in search of a corn field we’d spied the week before. The boys had been talking about this incredible maze with “storks taller than you Mama” and when we found it we peeked through the rows before heading to a grassy spot in the garden for a picnic. Luckily the local farmers all know us as it's a small village and no one gave a second look as we hopped the gate for a nose. 

It’s like they were chasing the light. I could hear giggles and rustling as they hurried past me to catch up with each other. When you run through a field you realise why children love it so much. You just can’t help but scream like an excitable 5 year old and we watched as they disappeared into the green. 

I made a promise to the boys last year to try and play as much as possible over this summer and we’ve had the time of our lives. An absolute whale of a time. Little moments like these are what they remember. Bonus weekends. Simple pleasures like a surprise picnic with all their favourite things to eat bursting from the basket. 

We sat, we ate, we tried not to let the dogs hoover up all the salami and sausages and we packed the leftovers back into our hamper, to save for after school snacks. And I know we are not the only ones who appreciate those unexpected sunny days. I love seeing other families, sharing their photos, making the most of this borrowed time before we are all cooped up, hiding from the drizzle.

September be glorious for us, show us the summer’s last hurrah!

This isn't really a sponsored post but I wanted to say thank you to Joules for a lovely surprise birthday gift and these outfits. We've lived in them!

Coming home • A week on my feet featuring Luxury Flooring

I love how it's become completely normal in the age of Insta-lives to stand in the middle of a street or a shop doorway and hold your phone or camera to your feet. No one really bats an eyelid and incredibly (When you think about it feet aren't the prettiest thing in the world to photograph!) they tell such a story that they are often some of the most captivating. Sharing just a hint of where you are in the world or where you are heading.

And I'm not the only one who loves it, there are 404,000 plus photos posted to the #ihavethisthingwithfloors gallery which I can get totally lost in lusting after the tiled floors in Morocco, Hollywood stars, chalk messages left on pavements and sidewalks and little people and fur babies poking their heads into the frame. So this was my coming home week and a couple of days, in floors, joining in with the a week on my feet campaign with Luxury Flooring. Can you tell I bought a new dress for holidays and barely took it off?! I did have another in my new favourite fretwork white dress but it looked like I never wash my clothes!

My week starts with my solo adventure with the boys. I almost wish I snapped one of these of the three of our pairs of feet at every new place we visited. They look so little and I love how they lived in these towelling robes which I bought a size too big so they will last for next year, meaning you can hardly see their hands in any of our holiday photos!

We went back to the same beach at Calpe a few times because of it's beautiful golden sand, there's always a lounger free for those of us who have run out of hands (and inclination) to carry fold up chairs under the weight of inflatables and picnic bags and gentle waves that the boys barely stopped jumping for 5 hours. We had our own little routine where we would make a base camp, play in the sea and then after lunch head along the promenade people watching towards an ice cream stand and sit in the shade on the walled planters filled with palm trees and I'd watch as they frantically tried to lick their lollies before they dripped down their arms and legs onto the patterned tiles.

We have this saying in our family "Gala dinner night" and it's our phrase for the penultimate or last night of the holiday where we go some a little bit fancy for a special meal as a celebration of the holiday. We headed into Altea old town which is a glorious traditional area with a historical central square around the church. There's a dozen cobbled stepped streets that veer off from the main courtyard which fills up with little stands selling gifts and handmade wooden toys, ceramics and paintings. It's beyond picturesque and there's not a cheap bit of tat in sight! Every street is a photo opportunity and one day I will take a trip there on my own as they boys' patience for endless "ooh hang on look at this pretty bike resting against a wall" only lasts so long. There's a viewing platform that looks out over the sea and where everyone tourist or not stop for a family photo. But I stopped for the compass!. 

I had planned to take a photo of our three feet at the airport but between pushing all the luggage on my own, car seats that kept falling off the precarious stack of suitcases and boys who were on totally uncoordinated toilet trips (are you sure you don't need to go? No - oh wait three minutes later - I need to go now!) I ran out of time and was just thankful we made it onto the plane still smiling. We had a heroes welcome home from Rich after 2 weeks of him working at home and us sunning ourselves in Spain, a banner tapped to the garage door and the dogs tails couldn't have wagged anymore wildly. And the next day a beautiful bouquet arrived in the post from a new Instagram friend. I walked in the garden to take a photo and noticed how the petals have started to drop in the flower beds filling up the cracks in the path. The misshapen pathways that lead you around the back of the house and down to the vegetable patch are one of my favourite things about the house. Sometimes I wonder what it would look like with a perfectly laid patio, without moss and odd corners but I don't think it would suit us at all. It's organised chaos. A bit like us. 

My feet barely touched the ground when we got back from Spain and I am not complaining in the slightest. I feel like the boys and I have had the time of our lives this summer. I couldn't have packed in any more if I tried and in the few days we had at home before our next adventure I popped to my favourite shop in Mere, Sprout and Flower for a browse and a few carrots for a fireside Christmas shoot I needed to upload for a lovely client. It's all Christmas deadlines at this time of year!

I could spend an hour capturing all the little details in Sarah's green grocers and flower shop, everything from the painted green doorway with vintage watering cans hanging between the bunting, to the beautiful tiles at the entrance. Perfectly imperfect. I took a couple of shots of the basket of sweet peas on the counter, the Cheddar strawberries and left with one purchase, plus the carrots. You'll never guess what it was!

So my new love is the one I found at the green grocers - totally normal to buy a shutter instead of fruit and veg right?! My neighbour who grows the most beautiful cut flowers (my patch is looking in a rather sorry state being so unloved over the summer) drops a bucket full in our porch on a Thursday before she heads to the local WI market on a Friday. These were delivered before I got home and were just going over as we packed the car to head to Southbourne for a last holiday with all my family and I couldn't leave without hastily taking a few photos that I will share on Instagram over the next few weeks, it felt criminal to leave them without a bit of faffing!

Southbourne is my happy place. I've been pushed along the high street in a pram at 6 weeks, toddled along to Elizabeth's bakery in sandals in the summer, wellies in the winter for a poppy seed plait and dragged my boys in a wagon along to my favourite shop Coastal Creatives for a browse through all the driftwood gifts and pretty things. There's a few lovely doorways, but I spotted this marble mosaic one which was getting a serious makeover. The builders inside the shop who were refitting all the shop furniture gave me a smile as I stopped and snapped my feet and I gave them an embarrassed wave as I scuttled off!

The end of a whirlwind whole summer really was a 24 hour blast to the big smoke. I helped Rich at a big food trade show before the boys went back to school and they had a last sleepover at their grandparents in Poole. We literally dumped the suitcases from Southbourne on the living room floor and packed up a rental van with tea, crates, business cards and leaflets and set off for London Olympia. The traffic wasn't very kind and we finally got to bed at the hotel Rich was calling home for three nights at almost midnight after a very late dinner at the pizza place around the corner. Shattered.com. And that was before the show started!

We stayed at a budget hotel that had picture perfect London monochrome tiled doorways and just before the taxi arrived to pick us up at 8am I snapped a quick photo. It was a little bit like "look what you could have won" as we raced through the empty Sunday streets to the exhibition hall. No time for a saunter around the Kensington streets and I let out a comedy weep as we flashed past pretty bakeries adored with floral arches, pastel front doors and Figaro cars parked outside wrought iron railings almost begging to be photographed!

I collapsed onto the train at Waterloo late on Saturday evening and nose dived into bed, in an empty house. I don't think I've ever stayed here completely on my own with no boys, no Rich and no dogs and with the cases still littered all over the floor I woke up feeling desperate to get back to some normal routine. Back to ballet pumps and jeans and darting between home and school, pjs and barefeet on weekends and some time standing still.

Where have you been this week? Have you snapped your feet?! 

In collaboration with Luxury Flooring

Me and all of mine - A Family Portrait Project August

I think I am in denial. I'm still in flip flops (oh yes even in the rather nippy dew first thing in the morning) and I have barely looked at a pair of trousers for almost 8 weeks. For me, this is the endless summer and I am not remotely ready to admit it's September. 

So much so that I have squeezed every last minute out of the school holidays and have found it incredibly hard to open the laptop for anything other than work that absolutely can't wait - Christmas photography deadlines wait for no holiday! You know that feeling when you have so much to say and so many photos you'd like to share that it feels totally overwhelming? Yep that's been my problem this week. 

Out of the 4 weeks of August I've been home for just one of them. August has been a month of conquering fears, challenging my parenting skills and realising how much I needed to reconnect with my boys. I had totally underestimated just how much they were craving that illusive quality time we all talk about and rolls off the tongue but with busy lives often gets forgotten about. That I thought I was giving them my attention when really I had become so distracted. There's too much I want to share about my solo trip to Spain so instead I want to share this week, or rather almost two weeks ago it's taken that long to upload and write. We've been down in Southbourne at my grandparents old flat by the sea with all my favourites, I've taken hundreds of photos of the cousins scampering on the beach, toes running in and out of the waves and sentimental snaps of our famous 5. My brother, sister in law and baby niece flew back to England for the first time since she was born and at last my mum had all 5 of her grandchildren in the same place.

It's been a haze of happy memories and noise. 2 babies, one preschooler and two school boys and all of us trying to make the most of every second, knowing that it will be almost exactly a year before we all see each other again. And I just haven't stopped to write. But I really want to record this time and it's a wonderful thing having a blog that our rabble will be able to read one day and as this is the second month in a row I've been behind on my monthly Me and Mine post I'll be kicked out of the gang if I'm not careful! But I think this is the best excuse, to have sat in the evenings clinking glasses, playing games, watching old episodes of our favourite tv shows and ticking off a couple of things on my 35 before 35 bucket list. Ok the Fifty Shades film wasn't as bad as I have been led to believe and I could have easily picked up the second book to find out what happens next.  

These posts are probably the most precious I write and without the team of bloggers who prompt this monthly round up I know my blog would be worse off without them. Family life feels so full at the moment, the boys, especially Ollie, have changed so much in the last 12 months since starting school and documenting a snap shot each month gives me the freedom to indulge in sharing my love for my family. Not just my unit of four but for the others who make up this passionate and fiercely loyal gang.

It's always an intense experience when we welcome the American contingent home. As much as we say we won't build it up, it's impossible. You could almost hear trumpets sounding their arrival on the gravel when they finally battled through the A303 traffic at Stonehenge and the boys screamed at the top of their voices "They are here! They are here!" and ran to the car barefoot. We spent a magical day in our garden and unbelievably I didn't take a single photo of us all. Not even the one I'd been planning for months of the 5 cousins down at the rickety pond gate to recreate each year. Literally the moment we all packed the cars and headed to Southbourne on Saturday morning I physically exclaimed with a comedy gasp "Oh no! We didn't get them all down at the bottom of the gate!" But for once I was truly in a moment.

I know it must read like I'm wearing rose tinted glasses but it really was just perfect that day. We lollopped. On the sofas, in the garden, on a picnic rug and took it in turns to drift from side to side in the swinging chair under a tree, rocking each of the babies in turn. We ate until we popped and didn't leave the house all day. Yesterday my brother sent me a couple of videos he'd taken and it couldn't have been more of a traditional English summer day. I must have watched them ten times over and although now I kind of wish I'd picked up the camera, even just handful of times, for once I didn't bombard them all with a big lens. Of course that all changed when we got to the seaside...! 

These 5 are reliving our childhood. They play the same games by the groynes, they eat the same picnic at the hut. They even use the same towels we drag out of the tiny cupboard in the downstairs bedroom in our upside down flat. The concrete 60's block is nothing special to look at but it's so special to me. 

We eat the same food as we did 20 years ago, we pack up the pushchair and wagon and drag bags full of picnic, bottles of bubbly and plastic cups and plates that we've washed from the day before. We literally need nothing else. In all honesty we could easily spend an entire week at the beach hut. 

I treasure this time with my sister and her family and I know that having Pat and Carlotta and Juliette is an added bonus. It might not happen every year, so we absolutely make the most of the time we have. It's boisterous, intense, boils over and I wouldn't change it. I look at my mum and think I hope I am as lucky as she is in a couple of decades time, to have children who are best friends, and grandchildren who adore each other.

I've used the same word over and over this summer. Glorious. For the simple food we've cooked down at the hut (ok we never need to see another sausage ever again) for the views from the zig zag path and for the sights we have seen. Children running, in brilliant sunshine, sunsets that make you race outside armed with your camera.

I've lived more of this summer than ever before. I know this post is full of cheesy smiles, looking at the camera but I love it. Because I lived all the in-between moments. I'd usher everyone into a photo and then the camera would get shoved in a sandy bag at the back of the hut. 

I have less photos than I'd normally take but I have the ones that matter the most. The ones I've already rushed to print and frame and will wrap and send to my mum as a thank you for being such a support to all of us. 

You only need one photo. Your me and mine photo. 

So again there's a few more in my Me and Mine photo than just the Heaths. But they are all of mine. People who see me at my best and worst, who I can be myself with, who know my secrets, help me when I'm vulnerable, encourage me when I'm doubtful and who I support just the same. They are my friends as well as my family and if I had to choose people to spend time with it would be them. I miss them so much this morning it gives me a gentle ache in my chest.

But the best thing is that even if it's a whole year until the next time, there will be a next time.

August - I couldn't have packed more into you if I tried!

Come and join in with you and yours and me and mine. And Lucy, Katie, Fritha, Alex and Jenny.

Sisterhood Camp 2016 • Lessons to learn & words to live by

I couldn’t think a more appropriate post to break my accidental blog holiday over this summer. In fact I’m not sure I’ve been quite the same since this weekend back in May. It opened my eyes in a way that no other conference or event has before. And it wasn’t because of the heavenly styling or that the “sister” guest list read like a who's who of the impossibly cool Instagram gang, with their ability to capture a muted moment and turn it into something magical on their phones, it was for no other reason that I remembered who I was and not a single one of them made me feel as though I had to be anyone else.

In the age of being a millennial mum, a Facebook friend and a text fiend, so much of what we do everyday is shared online. And in so many ways we all lived charmed lives. We share the pretty, the "oh I'm keeping it real - but life is still pretty cool", the holidays, Sunday lunches, new outfits, kids' sports days and everything in between. 

And when you get immersed in the blogging world where sharing your family life and work becomes second nature, if not your livelihood, it's really easy to think that the real life that is curated and published isn't that real at all. And it goes on, events seem too perfectly styled to have any sense of realness, but one does.

From the moment I booked my ticket to the Sisterhood Camp I knew it was going to be a special experience. Time with people I admire, respect, photo opportunities galore and in all honesty one the things I was most looking forward to, was proper time with one of my closest friends I've met online Lowri. We had been counting down the sleeps, planned our car snacks for the journey from her house in Cardiff and I knew I could cling to her if there was a moment my nerves got the better of me. And I felt the same about her husband as he bundled her wicker wine carrier and straw hat into my boot (I did lots of ooh that's lovely noises as we packed up) and I genuinely think if we lived down the road our families would be best friends. 

I had shared with her over late night messages that I had built up in my mind that this was going to be a weekend with the cool crowd. An elite group who would be overwhelming and unapproachable in the flesh. A room or rather camp fire full of people with more noughts after their social media handles than most of the UK High Street brands, illustrious Instagram suggested users and I would feel completely out of my depth and out of place in my bright yellow mac and red wellies.

Turns out I'd wasted hours of energy worrying about whether I'd fit in, there were at least 4 others in canary yellow, but more than that, this group was more intent about celebrating the differences between us than I could have imagined. 

Gentle is the way I would describe the weekend. There was an itinerary but no rushing. There was a pace, but we were ushered slowly. No one had to get up for anything, there were sleepy faces and blankets over shoulders. It was like stepping into a Pinterest cuddle. Inexplicably gorgeous little details, that showed that behind the now carefree smiles of our hosts, that there had been an immense amount of planning in the months beforehand. And a camp full of people who appreciated every single one. 

People mingled over breakfast, saying new hellos to those they missed at the dinner the night before. Picture the scene. Twinkling lights strung from the ceiling of an old barn, rows of wooden trestle tables and mis matched fold up chairs sandwiched between flickering candles and huge vintage enamel pots and bowls bursting with hearty, homemade food. There was too much for us all to finish and jugs of water and bottles of wine were passed around over a roar of laughter and excitement. That sort of giggly excitement that takes over a room and you find yourself leaning right over the table to hear what the person opposite is telling you because the place has filled with a cacophony of wonderful noise. I took two photos that night, because once you were sat down all you wanted to do was enjoy it.

We knew the next morning the weather wasn't going to be kind. But no one cared about wandering the hedgerows with raindrops dripping down their fringes, we pottered, vessels and scissors in arms collecting foliage for the floral demonstration with Erin later that morning. No one really batted an eyelid at the rain lashing down on the canvas roof as we were taught the art of making a small arrangement, all our petals getting battered and the less than seasonal chill in the air on the Saturday morning.

And that was the theme for me for the whole weekend. No one gave two hoots what you were wearing, whether you had a face full of make up and had blow dried your hair or whether you've never worn a scrap of make up in your whole life. No one gave a monkeys how many followers you have, nor could those with life changing numbers have spoken more humbly. Not a whiff of superiority. 

It was a revelation. And I wanted to slap myself for even letting myself think for a second that anyone would be anything other than welcoming. 

All of the women I had the pleasure of spending time with seemed content in their own skin. They had ambition, fears and questions like anyone else that were bandied around the campfire over glasses of Prosecco and enamel mugs of steaming tea, but they were honest, empathetic and real. No one has it all completely figured out, but it was a real relief to me that this group I had put on a pedestal were my kind of people.

A group of supportive women who want to put as much distance between them and the competitive world of blogging as possible. And not everyone was a blogger, I listened to several insanely talented photographers, crafters, writers, painters, stylists and met some wonderful women who had no interest in social media for anything more than a hobby really, they were there for the experience. 

Lunch was cooked on a campfire by one of my very favourite food bloggers Elinor from Beach Hut Cook. Elinor is someone I aspire to be like. She has two pretty much grown up boys and the way she talks about them and the barrage of text messages she received from them and her husband to find out how her workshop session had gone was heart warming. I hugged her tightly as she tapped on her phone, with tears of relief in her eyes. Elinor is a natural in front and behind the camera and we could see that this weekend gave her the boost of confidence to create videos and present to camera. Plus she makes ridiculously amazing cocktails, in pretty jars. I love her. 

Afternoon tea was another feast after a full schedule of workshops in the afternoon. People dipped in and out, some took an hour to compose some still life photographs, others made videos, some did every workshop available and I was happy joining in with Kate and the ceramics session and then sat chatting over tea. 

Everyone did their own thing but together. 

At one point it did feel a little dreamy, as silly as that might sound as I tap away on my keyboard, but there was this aura on the decking, which made you breathe a huge sigh of relief. 

I learnt more about being part of a community in one weekend and what I want to do with my space on the internet than I have in a long time. It's easy at conferences to hide your vulnerability in the haze of excitable hugs and big kisses,

I'd been desperate to wander to the beach and planned a little saunter after the tea break in the afternoon. Turned out everyone had thought the same and without any real rallying of troops we all just headed for the sea. I walked down the windy but wide path with Xanthe, watching the light bounce between the trees as she effortlessly wafted her camera from side to side, capturing the very real moments of the weekend in one of her impressive videos. There are people I don't see very often but who I trust and she is one of them. We debated the pros and cons of sponsored content, monetising your Instagram feed and as always, I found her advice invaluable. She is someone who teaches me to really think about the long term, the relationships you build rather than a quick pound. That authenticity always wins, even if it might take you a little longer to get there. 

Blogging feels incestuous. Mostly because it can be just that. There's sometimes school ground politics, infighting over opportunities, and unhelpful comments left in Facebook groups and on twitter. 99% of which I am sure are regretted the next morning. Having a considered opinion is a strength, harbouring resentment is a weight on your shoulders and it will grind you down. The best thing we can all be is ourselves and look for a new opportunity rather than going over the ones you miss out on. 

I laughed when I took this photo. Can you guess which stone was mine?! As we waited for lunch everyone passed round stones led by Emma and helped themselves to brushes and a makeshift palette. No one coordinated their brushes they just painted, and this tranquil theme of golds and blues transcended over the session. All pretty much except one. Mine. 

For me it totally summed up my experience. That you can still fit in being different. That you can have more in common than you can possibly realise. That when you find the right group of inclusive, open minded people you will feel more inspired than being in a room full of people you think are exactly like you. Getting out of my comfort zone is the only way I really challenge myself and create something more exciting to offer you. Not just to read or like but for the future. Something that grows with my family, an idea that I can develop with my sister Natalie and a way that I can better behind the camera and more confident in front of it (this was pretty much the only photo I took that I was in). In tiny amounts...!

Sisterhood is so much more than just pretty pictures and whimsical stories. There was not one ounce of pretence just a collection of creative, some exhausted (like me), determined, supportive individuals all with something to share. Lou's vision and Hannah's execution is a sight to behold. Make sure you get your ticket for the next one.

Me and Mine - A Family Portrait Project July

I know there are people who don't look forward to another birthday, being another year older, but I am not one of them. I love the balloons, the cake, the bunting and the bubbles. I like my brother in law finding a grey hair less so but I look around and think, do you know for almost 35 life is pretty good.

I actually had a few family photos to share this month, Ollie's party, our holiday to Greece but I couldn't do them justice this weekend. After thinking I'd hardly taken any photos on holiday, not really picking up my camera until day 4, there were a good few hundred to look through when we came home!

My sister has been here for 5 days for a mini break in the country! Firsts for Yazzy, raspberry picking, a trip to the library and homemade pizzas and a chance for the boys to have some proper time with Logan. They both love him so fiercely and want to constantly hold him that when we see each other for short bursts it feels like they've never had enough time to smother him in love!

My brother in law headed to us on a train from London after work on Friday and we've had a simple weekend celebrating my birthday a little early. A park trip, a coffee table picnic, games in the garden and my sister has whipped me into some sort of shape, sorting old magazines, reorganising the kitchen to free up some space for the lovely new presents they gave me (yes to a sister who understands an Anthropologie butter dish is a top gift) and a pamper evening with face packs, a make up tutorial and a cheesy film. 

So I know technically this isn't my family of four for my Me and Mine photo this month but I think the concept of this family portrait project is what is important. What it means to you.

It's not because I saw these extra two come into the world that I feel this overwhelming love for them, it's because I feel like they are mine. When we are all together my sister and I are interchangeable with the kids, Yazzy has a home from home here, staking a claim on the little bedroom as her own. I have all these ideas of making that room into a cousins' den, with built in bunk beds and embroidered hoops with their names on the wall, but right now it's all too much. The to do list of jobs to finish around the house is so overwhelming we've simply put it on hold. 

Instead this summer is about relishing all the things we are so lucky to have, the people we are lucky to share them with and everything else can wait. I feel like I need to make the most of the special people, all my favourites, our family and friends. We've squeezed in mid week sleepover dates, filled up the last free weekend until November because why not? Some of our best friends have had a really awful year and deserve to be spoilt, looked after and have something to look forward to. I'm just about keeping my head above water with work and tomorrow I'll be driving to my mum's to stay the night before the boys and I fly off to Spain on Tuesday morning. 

I'm taking them away for 2 weeks by myself and my mum is coming out to rescue/help me in the second week. When you both work from home the holidays become a logistical challenge and we've both had moments when you resent the boys being off school instead of enjoying their company. Because we can't just down tools for weeks on end and 3 weeks in to the long summer break, I've muttered under my breath a few times, "Urgh is it time to go back to school yet." 

And I feel ghastly. Because I remember my school summer holidays and have nothing but happy memories. Games of 40/40 with neighbours who had gates into our garden from theirs, holidays with my cousins down at our family home in Southbourne and going to bed with grass stained feet.

So on Tuesday it's the start of my first real adventure with them on my own. Time to bond with my boys, be present during the day and then work like mad in the evenings. And give Rich some time to really concentrate and focus on his work instead of constantly saying "Yes in a minute." 

Then we will all be together again in Southbourne when my me and mine brood will grow a little bigger and my brother, sister in law and baby niece Juliette come for her first holiday. All our babies have spent their first real holidays there just like we all did and then we can have that precious photo of all 5. Barefoot babes on the beach. 

Happy July everyone. Come and join in and share your family - in whatever size, shape or form that might be.

Pop over and see what Lucy, Fritha, Alex, Jenny and Katie have been up to this month. I feel there's going to be lots of sunshine in the photos!