Friday, November 15, 2013

A walk in the park















We spent this Autumn's half term on a much overdue trip to England. We started off in London to celebrate fortieths with our college friends and to take the girls to museums and a show. We made it to the Science Museum and Madame Tussauds but despite promising ourselves that we would make our first ever visit to the Tower of London, we never did get there! Although Keith spent five years in London working in an office right next door to that most famous of London landmarks none of us have ever visited. When you live in a city you mostly don't see it with tourist's eyes and even though it's over a decade since we lived in London, we feel like locals as soon as we return. This also explains why I hardly picked up my camera while we were there. That and the incessant rain!

After a fun few days in London we headed up to the North East to visit Keith's family and celebrate a special birthday for his Mum. The girls were thrilled to spend time at Grandma's and meet her new dog Jake for the first time. After a wet time in London we were pleasantly surprised with some beautiful fall days and made the most of the chance to get outside and enjoy them. These photographs are from a walk from Grandma's house to the park where Daddy used to play. The play structure has been upgraded but the sledging hill is just the same, although at this time of year it was covered with leaves not snow!

Happy memories from our visit to one of the many places we call home!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Climbing Trees

A flashback post for you today - the story of what we did on this day last year whilst we were on holiday in Provence. It has been sitting in my drafts folder ever since and as it was one of our favourite French experiences it doesn't deserve to stay forgotten.

Provence parcours 1
We spent the 2012 Toussaint school holidays staying in an absolutely charming converted farmhouse just outside Apt which is right in the heart of the Luberon Valley and an easy drive from all the hill top towns that the area is so well known for. While we were there we visited Gordes, Lourmarin, Rousillon and the ultimate hill top town Les Baux de Provence (not actually in the Luberon but close enough).

I think it's safe to say that the enthusiasm for visiting all these hill top towns was mostly mine, the girls tolerated them, but Savannah, in particular, kept asking when we were going to do something fun for kids! Once she found a brochure for Colorado Aventures she was determined that we should go.

Provence parcours 2
Keith had some work to do that day so he stayed in the house with Florence and I went on my own with the girls. The location wasn't that far from where we were staying but it took some finding. Even after we finally found the car park there was a long trek up through the ochre hills with limited signage to indicate that there would indeed be a fun activity at the end of the hike. Hikes through beautiful national parks, not necessarily being considered fun in themselves by certain members of the family!

Provence parcours 3
Eventually we turned one more corner and found ourselves in the middle of the activity centre and the girls were kitted out in their gear ready to go tree climbing.

Provence parcours 4
Although these parcours - forrest obstacle courses - are everywhere in France this was the first time the girls had ever tried it so they took the easy route...

Provence parcours 6

Provence parcours 5

Provence parcours 7
...and quickly got the hang of it!

Provence parcours 8
What I hadn't expected when we set out was that I would have to climb the trees too seeing as I was the only responsible adult with them! After a nervous start I actually really loved it and the views were well worth the potential humiliation in front of my children.

Provence parcours 9

Provence parcours 10

Provence parcours 12
This place is a hidden gem and if you are lucky enough to be visiting the area, I would highly recommend a break from climbing hill towns to go climb these trees!

Friday, October 4, 2013

My Wild Berries. Ten


Weekly portraits of my children inspired by You Are My Wild


She was helping me tidy up after the birthday party wearing her sister's ballet leotard.
I spotted the pretty light shining through the trees and asked if I could take her picture.
Unexpectedly, she said yes.
Five minutes later this is what we got!

Friday, September 27, 2013

My Wild Berries. Nine


Weekly portraits of my children inspired by You Are My Wild

Oldest and Youngest

India has been away for ten days on an Outward Bound school trip in the Lake District. We really missed her. When she got home tonight Florence flew into her arms, overjoyed! This photo was taken last week before she left. India isn't always thrilled to have a baby sister around but she loves her really!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Wild Berries. Eight



Weekly portraits of my children inspired by You Are My Wild

10 plus 10

Last week, Georgia and Savannah celebrated their tenth birthdays. They asked for a lemon seed poppy cake because "a birthday's not a birthday without a lemon seed poppy cake"! Over the past ten years they have learnt to take turns blowing out the candles. This year it was Georgia's turn to go first.

I love how the two photos reflect the differences in their personalities. Georgia captured contemplating her wish for the year ahead and Savannah caught up in the excitement of the day that, despite reaching double figures, she had been counting down toward for weeks before!

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Wild Berries. Seven


Weekly portraits of my children inspired by You Are My Wild

La Rentrée

This has been our life for the last two weeks. Back to school, reuniting with friends we haven't seen all summer, homework and early bedtimes again. Florence started her first day of 'real' school. French school! So far she loves it. First day of school portraits have become an accidental tradition in our house and I love to look back on the photos from past years now. This year's made me smile. A sweet Daddy Daughter portrait for Florence's first day of Petite Section and a silly portrait (the only kind I got) of Georgia & Savannah's start to fourth grade and India's start to seventh grade.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Wild Berries. Six


Weekly portraits of my children inspired by You Are My Wild

Jet Lag
This time last week. Luckily the girls recovered in time to start school today.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The America's Cup

We are back from our trip 'home' to California and school starts tomorrow. There are lots of lovely summer memories for us to look back on and absorb but today I want to tell you about our day out in San Francisco to watch the America's Cup.

We actually got to see one of the final races in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the challenger series, that determines which boat races the defender (USA) in the America’s Cup Finals. After a month of races the last two in the race were the boats from New Zealand and Italy.

The America's Cup has been contested since 1851 making it the oldest trophy in international sport. Having grown up as the daughter of a passionate yacht racer, I've known of it's existence for as long as I could remember. We knew the 2013 race would be coming to San Francisco before we even left to live in France but it was a lucky coincidence that we happened to be back there at just the right time. Rather like cycling, yacht racing is a better participation sport than spectator sport, but this year for the first time the organizers have tried to make it more spectator friendly with a grandstand overlooking the picturesque race course.

We paid for the seats, but we could just have easily watched for free from the shore as all these people in front of us were doing. However, the thrill of being in attendance at a major sporting event and access to the beer tent just about made the seats worthwhile. I got better photos too!

Racing yachts have come a long way since 1851. The boats in this year's race are more like space ships than sailing boats and literally fly when they really get going. This is not the racing I grew up doing!

The trouble with sailing is not only is it difficult to watch, but it is also incredibly weather dependent and these super hi-tech boats are prone to breaking. A lot. Team New Zealand was way out in the lead when their dagger board became jammed and they had to abandon the race...

...leaving the Italian boat to sail home uncontested. A bit of an anti-climax for what was already a short race but that's sailing!

The New Zealand boat was soon fixed and graciously sailed in close to the grandstand so that the crowd could see better which made for much better pictures than if they had actually been racing! The crowd clicked away while the race committee decided whether the wind conditions would permit the second race of the day to go ahead.

While they deliberated, we checked out the America's Cup Village where you can see an AC45 catamaran up close. That's the angle the boats are at when they are going at high speed!

There were some fun games for little kids which kept Florence entertained.

She took a while to master the catamaran trampoline, but was so pleased with herself once she finally figured how to climb to the top. It might be a while before she's ready to take to the high seas though.

Eventually it was decided that the wind was too strong for the second race to start. However, the conditions were fine for a junior regatta of much more stable boats. Although the super yachts are amazing to watch, it was in some ways more fascinating to watch these simple races close to shore and the girls got quite into what was going on.

It is ten years this week since my Dad's premature death from cancer. He taught me to sail and he taught Keith to sail. I wish he could have taught his granddaughters to sail too. He would have absolutely loved the chance to watch the America's Cup live so I am so glad we took the opportunity to go and see it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Wild Berries. Five


Weekly portraits of my children inspired by You Are My Wild

It's been a busy week. Our last week in California visiting our home and friends before we return to Paris and start school. Not much time for writing blogposts or working on photos. While you wait for more reports from our trip to Crete, here's a fun portrait of all four girls on a windy visit to Heraklion, Crete's capital city. The more I look at this photo,the more I love it. It's the way they are!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Wild Berries. Four


Weekly portraits of my children inspired by You Are My Wild

Georgia and I went for a walk in a village in Crete
and found the perfect door and the perfect light to pose for a pretty portrait.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Crete: The Water Post


Finally, a mere month after we returned from Crete, some photos of our holiday there. We went to find some sun and relax. It didn't feel like I was taking that many photos, but once they were downloaded it turned out I did! This is the first of four posts I have planned for you.

We arrived at our villa on the night of the supermoon and woke up to blue skies and a view of the sea. We spent our mornings by the pool reading and swimming and the afternoons at the beach. After trying a few different ones, we settled on a favourite and went back every day. Most evenings we ate at the villa but on a few nights we watched the sun set over the sea while we enjoyed the local seafood.

Somedays we did summon up the energy to do some sightseeing. Next up: The City.

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