Me and Mine | April ’17

April has been busy, exhausting, fun and exciting. I have laughed more than I thought imaginable, cried more than I thought possible. I have been on 2 weekends away, both equally awesome in their own ways. I have celebrated turning 27 with a whole heap of new friends, I have missed the kids so much, I have wanted to shout at them a lot.

I went to see my wonderful friend Charlie from Farlie Photography at the beginning of the month and so of course, I had to rope in a favour and she took our pictures for the month. I love them so much, some of my favourites to date – so THANK YOU Charlie!

I can’t bloody wait to head into May. More travels, birthday celebrations and COME ON SUN!! WE NEED YOU SO BAD NOW!!

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Do go check out the other wonderful co hosts and have a nosey at their photos too. LucyAlexKatieFrithaJenny and Lucy.


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The big smoke

A weekend spent in London, wandering the streets of Shoreditch and marvelling through Brick Lane.

Great company, delicious food, good weather, lots of (some terrible) cocktails, a gig and barrels of laughs. Not so great ending hugging the loo but we don’t have to talk about that, do we?! Overall a bloody wonderful weekend and I wanted to share my snaps here.

Char x

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From coast to coast | Ordinary Moments #38

Norfolk always feels like our little home from home. From the South coast to the East coast. From countryside walks to big skies, and from one cup of tea to another, it is just our little spot of wonderful feelings.

We used to live next door to my grandparents when Joe and I first got together and whilst I got to know him, so did they. And they fast saw what I see in him too and not only do we all share a love for the outdoors, we have a good old chinwag and laugh along the way. Nothing beats a long overdue catch up over a warm cup of tea and a slice of (dairy free…) chocolate cake and that’s exactly what we did, more than once.

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I can’t stand gushy parents but HECK I am going to gush to my hearts content right now because my kids are AMAZING. Well, they were this weekend anyway and I am going to lap that shit up and tell the whole world! We didn’t hear a single moan from them for an entire 3 days and whilst that is so unheard of in our household, it was so so appreciated and we drove home feeling very proud (and smug.) of them. It makes all the effort you put in so worthwhile, and being complimented more than once by family and strangers on how well behaved they were is just music to my ears!

So, Harvey, Oliver and Elsie, THANK YOU. For being absolutely ruddy wonderful.

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We walked, we laughed, we sang and we ate. We visited a pier, saw a few fish being caught, watched a couple of surfers attempt a wave (and fail) and best of all we chilled out and completely relaxed. As you may have read in a previous post we have had a pretty stressful couple of months (being self employed is definitely not all singing all dancing. It is mainly all stressing all crying.) and this weekend away in Norfolk definitely perked us all up.

I’ll stop rambling… Here are many snaps.

Char x

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Adventuring in Rochester | Ordinary Moments #31

Joe decided to take a few days off this week and my gosh did we all need it! I had so much work going on and also wanting to get Elsie’s bedroom all finished (blog post coming soon!) and a couple of blog deadlines all mounted up to one very stressed Mother. Suffice to say the first couple of days we spent lounging around, lego playing and getting things sorted in the house. I forget how messy the house is when the children are off school. I get used to having my own little routine and it staying relatively well kept during the week. That has all gone completely out of the window and I fee like we’re living in a complete pit.

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So we escaped the house for the day on Saturday and decided to go adventuring. We didn’t have much of a plan and didn’t really know where we were heading but we loaded up the car with coats and snacks and set off. I had mentioned to Joe I fancied going near the coast and he wanted to do something slightly educational so we settled on Rochester.

There isn’t a huge amount to do in Rochester but the Cathedral and Castle are both beautiful and it was lovely to just walk around the high street popping in and out the little shops and having a general nosey! We did go into the cathedral but it isn’t really somewhere the kids were fussed about and they were more than happy to run around the grounds of the castle that do anything remotely educational 😉

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We were lucky enough to be on the high street when Old School Samba set up camp and played to a very happy crowd all in aid of Demelza charity. The atmosphere was awesome and nothing beats that feeling when live music is so loud you can feel it pumping in your chest. I think Elsie enjoyed it too!!

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It was so lovely to spend the day together with no time restraints but of course it didn’t come without the usual stories to tell, like Elsie tipping an entire mug of hot chocolate over herself (white top and yellow jeans…) with no spare clothes to hand. Thank goodness it didn’t burn her and there are 600 charity shops on the high street so a quick rummage we picked up a pair of too-big-jeans for £2 and we were off on our way again!

Please note the brown stain all over her top in 95% of the pictures. I feel it just adds to the realism of our pictures…

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We had the most delicious crepes in Crepe & Co. and dodged the rain, we found a park and rolled down banks. We laughed, some cried, and we made memories. Here’s to our next spontaneous adventure!

Char x

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www.charlotterawlesphotography.co.uk

Mayfield Lavender | Ordinary Moments #30

There’s something quite wonderful about pulling into a tourist attraction and everyone is sniffing the air and every single person has a camera in their hand!!

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We have been to Mayfield Lavender before, 2 years ago we made a detour on our way to Oxford for a camping trip and some of my all time favourite photos of the 5 of us were taken there. We have a fair few in our lounge and everyone always comments on how lovely the setting is. Of course, the 3 horrors look utterly adorable in them too 😉

I was itching to go last Summer but before we knew it September came around and we were back to the grind of school routines and busy weekends and we never got the chance to go. I promised myself we would make an extra effort to go again this Summer and recreate some of our family photos and that is what we did on Monday!

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I can’t sit here and write about how wonderfully romanticised the entire trip was, it was bloody hard work and the kids were so fed up with me we had to bribe them all to even stand still, let alone put on a false smile that actually slightly resembled happiness. There were a lot of stinging nettles at ankle level and we all got stung by them multiple times. Oliver also got stung by one of the million bees that buzzed around the fields.

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HAVING SAID THAT… It was beautiful and I just adore it there. We did get some pretty cute shots but nowhere near as gorgeous as when they were more willing to have photographs 2 years ago! A lot of squinty eyes and scrunchy noses. But hey, thats real life folks! Maybe we’ll go back when they are teenagers and it might be cool to get a good profile picture. 😉

Char x

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Camping with friends | Ordinary Moments #29

So this week saw a first for us, and what a first it was! A group of us Mums decided a few months ago we would all go camping together. Some of us seasoned campers, whilst others had never done it before. But we took the plunge and booked a couple of nights at Spring Barn Farm!

The idea of camping with no Husbands felt us all with much excitement and complete and utter dread all rolled into one!! I put my hands up and will admit that I totally take him for granted when it comes to days out and holidays. Whenever I go solo it always reminds me of how much of an input he has into family life. So camping on our own was a HUGE milestone for us. I mean, really, what could possible go wrong with 4 adults and 9 children!?

We had an utter blast together and the kids all get on incredibly well. The one thing I love about camping is how sociable it is. Everyone chats to everyone, the kids make instant friends every time we go away and who cares if you trudge around in your PJs with a jam jar full of gin, we’re all in the same boat and its socially acceptable to be a complete tramp.

Yes, it did rain on us as we were packing away. No, the adults barely slept. Yes, we drunk enough between us to sink a battle ship. No, we won’t be camping altogether again. Yes, we’ll be getting a big house instead. 😉

A few snaps from our camping trip. Absolutely GUTTED to return with a broken camera, so a few trips out since we got back haven’t been documented and i’m totally getting into a stew about it.

Char x

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Me and Mine June ’16

I am fully aware I have exhausted all outlet for holiday snaps but just let me have this one more post, okay?! 😉

We couldn’t resist having our June family photos from our holibobs from the beginning of the month. I again, had visioned them to be like this at all and I had hoped for some on the beach more, but alas I really do love a sunset so a sunset it shall be!

The bonus about going away with family is they can take your pictures for you without having to use the remote and a tripod! Thank you Harri for taking our me and mine photos for June!

You can have a look at some of my other posts about our time away here , here and here!

Char x

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Chasing the sunset | Kos ’16

One thing about being on holiday that always instantly makes you relax more is knowing that it really doesn’t matter what time you eat, go to bed or get up! There are no strict timings, it doesn’t matter if you miss breakfast, it doesn’t matter if the kids are still dancing the night away at 10pm. There is something really quite special about the way you feel whilst away. If only I could have that chilled out manner whilst getting the kids out of the door in time for school 😉

One of the things I really wanted to do whilst in Greece was watch the sunset. Unfortunately the coast line we were on in Kos the sun set behind the mountains rather than over the beach but that didn’t take away the wow effect and it was still so so beautiful. The sun set at around 8.15 which was when we were right in the middle of eating our dinner so one evening we had had a late lunch and decided to take a stroll around the hotel and out onto the beach and chase the sunset before we ate. And boy, was I glad we did! No photographer can deny the fact that that golden light is one of the most perfect times to photograph people in. The crispness of it just makes my heart happy.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I adored taking them. Elsie is by far the easiest out of the 3 of them to photograph at the minute so I went slightly over board with hers as she is always so willing!

Char x

www.charlotterawlesphotography.co.uk

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Camping with Halfords

The team at Halfords have asked me to share some fond memories of our camping trips or any UK holidays that we have shared together as a family.

Being avid campers I jumped at the chance and was thrilled when they sent me a Guide to Camping booklet to give me loads of tips and advice for future trips and holidays.

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One things for sure is that camping is definitely the perfect way to spend some quality family time. We often feel like we don’t see Joe much and with him owning a shop it means he works every Saturday. Our weekends consist of one day together and every other week we don’t have Harvey so spending a few days away is always time well cherished.

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I feel like every camping trip we have been on has a hilarious story behind it, from our middle child walking like a cow boy across the campsite after he had an accident (you don’t even want to know the details…!!) to when my husband reversed into a tree. There is always a tale to tell and so many memories made. Our camping trips are made easy by the tent we have, we were very lucky in our find and I am even going to brave a Mum’s camping holiday so i will be putting it all up myself!! You can check out the huge range of tents in Halfords right here and they also have a web only sale on at the moment so it is the perfect time to buy yours ready for the camping season.

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If it wasn’t for capturing our day to day lives on camera I would for sure forget half of the things that have happened to us. With so many campsites and holiday cottages right on our doorstep it also easily forgotten how beautiful the country we live in really is. We focus all our energy on going abroad when we have stunning coast lines, tranquil countrysides and historical towns surrounding us.

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Flicking through The Ultimate Camping Guide has made me super excited to book our next camping trip and I have had so much inspiration from it. From games to play to meals to cook and also where to stay! You can download this guide right here, it is super easy and quick and packed full of useful info!

Thank you Halfords for reigniting my love for all things camping!

Char x

*Disclosure, although this is a sponsored post, the views and opinions are completely my own.

My siblings in June ’16

So this month I had definite visions of beautiful greek sunset photos, on the beach, sand between our toes. Turns out we didn’t actually take that many of all 3 of the kiddies altogether whilst we were away. Partly because I didn’t think about it as much and also because I didn’t want to force them into a load of photos every day. We wanted to relax and enjoy our week away without turning it into a photo shoot opportunity at every turn. Alas, we did get a couple of the 3 of them but not as many as I would have liked.

I will keep this pretty short and sweet, but what I will say is Joe and I couldn’t be more proud of the 3 of them this month. They were exceptional throughout the week we were away, I rarely had to raise my voice and they had so many late nights and early starts. Along with swimming nearly all day every day and the heat, it could have been the recipe for a really horrific week for us. I love it when a plan comes together, and especially when we weren’t expecting it to go quite so well as it did.

We took these photos whilst in a little village on Nisyros Island. Which was the most perfect idyllic place you have ever been. It was our last (and hottest!) day in Greece so they weren’t playing ball as much as I had hoped but I think I will let them off… I will chat more about it all in a seperate blog post but for now… Here are a couple of my wonderful siblings this month! (totally lapping this up, lets face it, next month i’ll be telling you how my July was fuelled on gin and fudge cake and how we have re introduced time out and the cain.)

Char x

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We’re all going on a summer holiday! | Part 1

Nearly 2 weeks of no blogging can only mean one thing – holiday! I will most definitely be making up for that over the next couple of weeks and be warned – an awful lot of holiday posts will grace your computer screens! I’m also going to be sneaky and say this is our Ordinary Moments for the past 200 weeks as I seem to have forgotten to keep up with that too!!

Last year, between my parents, brothers and us we decided to go on a big group holiday in 2016. We searched and searched high and low for the perfect place and we ended up booking a beautiful villa in Spain before Christmas ’15. Things changed, plans moved and a few of us had to opt out. The villa was huge and would have been too big for just the 10 of us that wanted to still go away so we ended up booking a hotel in Kos, Greece for a week instead. And boy, are we glad we did!

We had never been able to afford to go abroad on such a big holiday, what with having babies every couple of years and starting up our businesses, moving house and getting married it just never worked out. Life has somewhat settled down for us over the past year or two and we were all so so excited to celebrate life calming down with a family holiday.

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It was the first time Oliver and Elsie had been on a plane and Harvey doesn’t remember when he went on one at 18m old, so it felt like his first time too which made it really special. They were all most excited about the flight and although Harvey was quite nervous about it, we had a marvellous journey going out so it instantly put his mind at rest. In actual fact they are all saying it was one of their favourite things about the whole week!! Travelling with family also made it really special.

Our flight was delayed by just over an hour on the way out so we didn’t arrive at our resort until nearly midnight. The kids were all running on adrenaline and what better way to start off your holiday than with midnight crepes! These then became the highlight of every breakfast every morning and all 4 children were fuelled on pancakes with nutella and lemonade!

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The resort we stayed in was called Akti Beach Club. It was perfectly located right on the beach and just a short 5 minute journey into Kardamena which during the day was quiet and quaint, the complete opposite to the nightlife we had heard about! It is quite a large complex and our rooms were situated at the far end of the resort which meant it was a few minutes walk to the main restaurant and reception area. This also meant where we were was really quiet and if you didn’t want to be near any entertainment then you could set up camp at our nearest pool and not be disturbed. I can’t get over how calm and relaxed it felt the entire holiday, you would have never have known it was such a big hotel! There wasn’t much of a fight for sun beds and there was always enough room and every meal for all 10 of us to sit together. There was always a kids pool with every main pool which meant we could sit at the side or on our sun beds and the kids could play in the pool without a worry. It was waist height on Elsie who isn’t a very tall 4 year old so it was absolutely perfect for them, and for us! It meant we could do a lot of relaxing and sunbathing whilst they were happily playing in the pool and we could join them when we needed to cool down!! It really was the perfect set up for families. Although it isn’t a hotel aimed solely at families, it was a great mix of the two. Perfect for adults and enough things to do for children that they weren’t bored.

We spent our first couple of days literally by the pool side, eating and drinking cocktails and soaking up the sun. It was super warm the first half of the week so we really made the most of it! We also did an after dinner stroll along the beach front which was utterly divine. That milky light is just perfect for photographs and although I really tried to hold back on taking 2 million photos, here are some snaps of the first few days. I am going to do a few posts about the holiday as there are too many things to talk about and too many photos to post all on one! So apologies if you are uninterested in holiday spam, maybe give it a couple of weeks before coming back 😉

We also videoed our holiday so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t already! Our first video is live!

Char x

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My Petit Canard