easter activities garden fun spring

Easter family fun in the garden

Our family got together for Easter weekend recently and as usual enjoyed a great time together. Jude and I enjoyed the company of Jude’s mum, our children Jamie and Jodie, their spouses  Sam and  Rob and our grand daughter two year old Arabella.

On the Saturday we sat around our dining table in the garden room painting Easter eggs, bunnies and chicks and created works with all sorts of craft materials. Young Rosa from next door joined us and loved being with Arabella and helping her. We had a lovely messy time!



On the Sunday we arranged an Easter Egg Hunt around the back garden. Jude and I got up early and set up signs for the trail which ended up at the summerhouse. Please enjoy my gallery of photos chronicling the egg adventures.

steam power Wales

Family Fun on the Snowdon Mountain Railway

While enjoying a family holiday on Anglesey we decided it would be a great day out if we all went on the Snowdon Mountain Railway, something that none of us had ever done before. The idea was that we would all go up to the summit of Snowdon on the railway and our children with their spouses would walk back down. Jude and I with Arabella would make the descent by train.

We had a brilliant family day out! We began at the train station at the bottom of the mountain railway track, booked our tickets and waited for the off. It was a busy little station painted brightly in yellow and green, decorated with carved wooden detailing. It loked so cheerful on this sunny day. We had time for refreshment in the station buffet as we waited for the arrival of our train. Excitement rose as it pulled in to the station. Our engine was called Padarn. The huge smile on Arabella’s face reflected our excitement.

There is something so special about riding a steam train but the thought of this little engine pulling us up a mountain added extra frisson.


The slow ascent accompanied by the sounds and smells of the steam engine, took us through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. We all felt so lucky. Everyone smiled for the whole journey and excitedly commentated to their friends or family. Passengers who began the ascent as strangers were soon talking and chatting like old friends – the power of steam nostalgia.


At the summit we had a short time to appreciate the engine and the view, enjoy a coffee and watch Jamie, Sam, Jo and Rob set off walking down the mountain, the tallest mountain in England and Wales.


We have waited ages to get around to making the journey of the steam railway to the summit of Mount Snowdon and back, but it was most certainly worth the wait. I don’t think it will be long before we return to do it all over again.





family time

Take one girl and a pair of sunglasses.

A while ago I published a post called “One little girl and a hat!” and here is a follow up. It is another Arabella adventure of determination and patience. Enjoy!

Arabella at 18 months old was as determined to get things as right as any adult and just didn’t want to give in. So trying to get a pair of sunglasses on Jude’s nose and ears proved quite a challenge.


A few weeks before Arabella was enjoying wearing her own sunglasses, not always up the right way!

So we have had a post about Arabella and a hat and now one about Arabella and a pair of sunglasses. Who knows if another of these posts will come along, only time will tell!



A Family Holiday in Scotland – Part 2 – strolling down the glen

Part 2 of this little series concerning our family holiday in the Scottish Borders, explores a gentle stroll down a beautiful Scottish glen. But first let’s share with you our lovely holiday cottage, a Scottish longbarn conversion, and its amazing grounds.

If the weather is sunny and there are any plants in the garden Arabella loves watering them, but usually has to water her feet first.


Come for us now for a wander around the cottage’s grounds and up its driveway, full of wildflowers, scented plants and mature native trees.


Whenever we went out for the day we began by driving down that lovely driveway which was a great way to start the day. Early on in our week Jude and I with son Jamie, daughter-in-law Sam and 18 month old granddaughter Arabella took off to visit a local glen.

So, come with us on our little walk, a slow walk at Arabella pace.


We were amazed by how many wildflowers we spotted in both quantity and numbers of different ones. Wildlife seemed to really appraciate these plants.

I think the best way to share our walk with you is via a gallery of my photographs, so please click on the first picture and then navigate using the right arrow. Enjoy!

We hope you enjoyed visiting our holiday cottage and its grounds and sharing our walk in the beautiful glen.


A family holiday in Scotland – Part 1 – Pooh Sticks in the park

Back in the summer of 2018 we spent a family holiday up in the Scottish Borders. Jude and I with our children and their spouses, Jamie and Sam, Jo and Rob and our granddaughter Arabella stayed in a beautifully converted Scottish longbarn. So here is a series of posts all about a super week.

“Pooh Sticks” is becoming a bit of a family tradition and a favourite activity wherever a stream and bridge can be found. Such an opportunity was presented to us at the beginning of our family holiday in Scotland.

A beautiful little clear stream made its way through the public park, which was at the centre of Biggar village, close to our family holiday home. This was just what we needed for our Pooh Sticks challenge fun. We have taken part in the World Pooh Sticks Championships in the past which was great fun but somewhat marred by some entrants who took it far too seriously, so we decided a family version would be far more leisurely and enjoyable.

We prepared about colourd 50 sticks (a very time consuming job!) and cut them to length. The whole group then did a serious check of the stream and bridge.


We were then ready for the off! Two at a time we each skillfully dropped a stick into the stream. Little Arabella soon grasped the rules and won a few rounds.  As we slowly worked our way through many heats contestants got knocked out and our numbers reduced until the grand final when just two contestants were left. Tensions ran high!


After we crowned Vicky the champion we celebrated with a picnic at the huge table just a few yards from the stream and its bridge. Arabella always loves a picnic and was ready and waiting even before Graham arrived with the picnic from the car.


After a picnic break and a quick game of family football with Arabella’s little plastic colourful ball it was time to explore and enjoy the playground, swings first, with Arabella calling out “Higher! Higher!”



Followed by the crows’ nest.


We spent hours in the park that day and really enjoyed family time. It was to prove a great start to a great holiday. See part 2 for the next adventure.






family time

One little girl and a hat!

Almost 18 months ago Jude and I were looking after our granddaughter, Arabella for a day which is always great fun as although she was just 18 months old at the time she has a brilliant sense of humour and is full of fun. She likes sharing things that belong to me especially my food and my walking stick. As the weather promised to be sunny and warm we decided to take her to Sudbury Hall to wander around the park and gardens. Arabella enjoys walking but will give in and reluctantly accept a lift in her pushchair when she tires out.

It was only a matter of a few minutes of being pushed along when she called me and asked for my hat. This is what happened over the next half hour. Enjoy!


That was fun!


Christmas traditions Uncategorized

Our Christmas Traditions

Recently, Judy wrote on her blog,, about their family traditions at Christmas time. Check out her post to read her words. She suggests other bloggers post about their family traditions too, so here is a summary of my family’s Christmas traditions.

Firstly we have to have a real green tree, no artificial ones allowed by request of the guests who descend on our home every Christmas Eve. We have three generations celebrating every year but this year we gain a fourth, Jude and I of course, Jude’s mother Sheila, our children Jamie and Jo and their spouses Sam and Rob, and this year a little one year old joins us, our granddaughter Arabella (the fourth generation). We have to decorate the tree before they arrive and place presents beneath and around it.

Christmas Eve means a family evening meal, with log burner and open fire lit and glowing nicely. We all intend to go to bed early and inevitably fail especially Jude and I. Jude has to be Father Christmas later when the house goes quiet – she has to drop off “Christmas Stockings” for everyone outside their bedroom doors. Aren’t we strange!

Chrsitmas Day is a day of chaos and feasting, from the first brew of tea to wake us up through the all too big feast, Christmas dinner itself and regular snacking of sweet or chocolate items throughout. Presents are unwrapped in the morning after a traditional English breakfast and mugs of coffee. Friends and family are contacted during the day to thank them for presents and cards and to wish them a Happy Christmas.

A good doze is the order of the day once the feast has been demolished. The day ends with an evening when the family play board games, eating chocolates until we collapse and retire to our beds.

The day after is Boxing Day, a day of relaxation and walks for those fit enough. It feels very quiet and calm!

So that is it – our traditions of Christmas Day.


Our Two Gifted Children

Looking back into our families’ past when we researched our family histories we discovered that on my side, the Mollarts, a common thread was that of creativity. We found ancestors who were pottery workers in Stoke including pattern designers and model makers, silk workers and gardeners. We found that one of my pottery ancestors was involved in creating the famous Willow Pattern and one of my gardener ancestors helped with the creation of the Tuilleries in Paris. so it comes as no surprise that our own children, Jamie and Jodie and several of their cousins have creative streaks in them.

Our children are now 39 and 37 years old but we still feel the same sense of pride when they come good. This year has seen important times for both of our offspring.

In April our son Jamie had his first novel published. We attended the launch and book signing in a book store in Leicester, where he now lives. We were proud when we spotted the window display in the local bookstore. We couldn’t wait to get inside to see how Jamie was coping with the anticipation.

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He was easy to find. A big piles of new books awaited with lots of bubbly!

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The crowds gathered as Jamie prepared to read sections of his book in between being interviewed about writing “The Zoo”.

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The book reading began and we felt so nervous for him, but it soon became apparent we didn’t need to be.

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It is interesting to see the changing expressions of the interviewer and interviewee!

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Book signing followed. Sister, Jodie looked proud of her big brother as he signed her copy of the book, closely followed by more friends and family.

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Jude, aka the Undergardener, waited patiently looking proudly on until her turn to have a book signed arrived.

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Luckily for Jamie that big pile of books kept getting smaller!


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So from that day on Jamie’s “The Zoo” was on sale! We longed to get home and start reading our own signed copies.

In July our daughter, Jodie put on an exhibition of her jewelry work, following courses on working with silver and gold. Her display at Westhope College showed final pieces and all the work it took to prepare for their completion.

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We always enjoy studying the plans and sketchbooks of artists and craftspersons at exhibitions. Jodie displayed this aspect of her work well and showed just how important these stages are.



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The centre piece of the display was this amazing necklace.

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And so it has been a good year for our two and of course for us as well!