Sunday, 23 December 2012

That Christmassy Feeling

Unfortunately it's been hard to get in the Christmas preparations this year.  Since coming home from Germany I've been very sick.  I caught a stomach bug which left me totally devoid of any energy for at least two weeks after.
I had such great plans for handmade presents for my family and friends.  I had patterns ready and materials sourced.   So as difficult as I found it to admit, I just couldn't face to follow through with my plans.  This year I didn't want any extra stress and just wanted to focus on enjoying this precious time with my family.
So decision made, I packed away all my material and wool into the attic and took down the decorations.  The preparation is probably what I like most about Christmas.  Dressing the tree with my kids, the dog sitting at my feet and Christmas songs on the radio, singing along out of tune but at the top of our voices.
Going shopping with the kids as we pick out presents for the family.  Going home and wrapping all we bought, sitting on the floor surrounded by ribbons, bow and multicoloured paper.
Preparing the turkey bath...yes we do give our turkey a bath of spices and oranges and we leave it for about 12 hours before roasting.  This recipe that I got from Nigella Lawson and so worth a try.  The turkey never dries out when cooking.
 Lighting the candle in the lantern that gives a warm welcoming glow at the front door, guiding visitors in the thick fog that we've been having lately.
And last but not least, I love the smell of Christmas.  The smell of the bowl of pine cones mixed with star anise, cinnamon and dried orange pieces which fills the air with the most beautiful aroma.
We have a full house for Christmas dinner but I'm determined to relax and enjoy it and not get at all stressed out.
Have you many for Christmas dinner?
What's your favourite preparations?
Rosie xx

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A Late Start To Advent

Unfortunately I missed the start of Advent because I was away.  But the children were very understanding and I made sure that I was home on time to write their letters to St. Nicholas.

It is wonderful how traditions evolve from when you were a child yourself to when you have your own little family.  As a child we always celebrated St. Nicholas' day on 6th December.  We would  always wake up to plates of colourful foil wrapped chocolate Santas or coins.  Now with my children, on the night of 5th we write to St. Nicholas with their wish list for Christmas morning and leave them out with a glass of milk, some cookies and an apple or two for Rudolf.  As soon as they are finished getting the table ready, the kids rush up to bed so that they are asleep before the big man himself appears in the house and rings the Christmas bell on the landing.  This year they woke up to a sewing kit each and a small plate of treats.  This for our family marks the beginning of Christmas.

We did not finish the wreath until the second Sunday of Advent.  Growing up there was always a wreath for Advent and I loved the smell of the candles burning.  People always differ on the candle colours but my German father always said that there should be three red and one purple one for the fourth Sunday.  Hence the mismatched shapes.
 Just before Advent each year my father travelled to Germany and in his case when he returned there was always an Advent calendar for each of us.  The little cardboard ones and I would hang it up on my bedroom wall and open a window each day.
But now with my children we have our Advent calendar on the stairs.  We spend a long afternoon decorating it with holly, pine cones, cinnamon, lights and ribbons.  Patrick and Lucy each hang their own little red bag from the side. Two of Santa's Elves sit in the evergreen trees in front of our house and watch to see if they go to bed on time and behave well during the day.  If the have, then when they awake the next morning they will find that the Elves have come in and left a little chocolate sweet in each of their bags.
Christmas with the kids is so magical.  I just love it!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Part Two Of My Journey

There was so much to see when I was away and I drove everybody around me because I was stopping to take pictures every two minutes.  The light my not have been great at times because the sky was grey with snow laden clouds but still I could not help but try.

We stopped in a roadside restaurant one day and I could not help but drool at the food that was on display there.  And just inside the main entrance was this little giant beauty of a gingerbread house.  i don't think that I've ever seen such attention to detail in one before.  It even had gorgeous shutters on the windows.
If you can see the man standing behind it.  You can get some idea of the scale of this thing.  I think that I would have eaten half of it before I even managed to decorate it.  Yum diddily yumshious.

The same day we went for a short walk around a small lake, the name of which I can't spell so I'm leaving it out.  The snow fell lightly and it was so fine and dry that it sat on our hats and eyelashes like icing sugar.
This tree with steps that children climb so that they can jump from it into the water, sits dormant and sleeping over the semi-frozen lake while it waits for it's playmates to return in the heat of the summer.
At a small local Christmas market on the way back to the house we stopped and drank some Glühwein and ate hot waffles sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. This kept us warmed up nicely as we stood and chatted about Christmas and all the nice biscuits and sweets that we wanted  had to bring home and how on earth we were going to squeeze them into our suitcases.  We just couldn't go home and not bring a selection (of everything) home for the holiday season.  I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that the cake shops are heaven on earth!

Our last big trip was to the Salzburg Christmas market.  We went at night so that we could experience the true magic of it.  It was beautiful to see the stalls lit up with candle and fairy lights.  The choir stood on the steps of the Cathedral and sang carols in the cold night air.  This would get even Ebeneezer Scrooge into the Christmas spirit.

I love the colours of all the liqueurs and schnapps here. I had never realised that they could look so appetising and appealing.  Just look at that blue and pink!
Traditional nutcrackers stand to attention and proudly.  So beautifully handcrafted.
And finally row upon row of smoker dolls of every type and description stand in a blast of colour in the dark cold evening.

And last but most definitely now least, as a family we have had some excellent news in this last week.  My son was diagnosed with petit mal epilepsy when he was four years old and his specialist has decided that now as everything is in his favour, EEG results and MRI, he can finally try and come off his medication.  Needless to say we are all very happy bunnies about that one.  The best Christmas present that we could have ever asked for.  We are just going to take it one step at a time together.

Thanks for taking the time to visit and read my ramblings.
Rosie xx

Friday, 7 December 2012

Home From Germany!

As we arrived in Germany last week we were greeted by my brother and his girlfriend with two beautiful posies of flowers.  Aren't they fantastic?  Such a gorgeous welcome it was.  I felt like I was arriving to my second home and as we drove away from the airport, I realised how much I've missed Germany in the last year.  My brother always makes me feel very at home in his house, so walking in the door it was like putting on a forgotten pair of slippers.  Comfortable and familiar.  
The first day it was cold but dry, so we decided to a Christmas market at Hellbrunner.  It is situated in the grounds of an old palace.  And even though the cold air was nipping at our cheeks, the people were very warm and welcoming.  There was so much to see here and not only the market stalls.  
This gentleman was selling traditional German horns and every few minutes he would stand up, select an instrument and give a demonstration.  Such a wonder to hear.  
There was plenty there too for kids.  There was a petting zoo with some ever so cute farm animals...
reindeers walking around and some of the sweetest sheep that I've ever seen.  They also lit a large campfire where the kids would sit around and listen to stories of legends.  Their little faces entraled and fixated on the storyteller.  There was a large baking house too and the children would sit at long tables and make their own Christmas cookies and then watch them as they bake in the old stone oven and then later decorate them when they cooled.  I can't wait until I can bring my Lucy and Patrick to share in this too.  They would love it!
The following day we went to Hintersee.  There is a beautiful walk around the lake with the most spectacular views.

This truly has to be one of my most favourite places in the world.  It is peaceful and utterly breathtaking.  I love to just sit there and wonder at the beauty of mother nature.

The water here is crystal clear but the colour of emeralds because it is so nutrient rich.

We hoped for snow every day and it seemed to fall everywhere but where we were in Freilässing!  So my brother decided to drive us through the Austrian Alps to see the snow there.  The mountains looked like they were dusted with icing sugar and were awe inspiring.  I've never seen anything like them in my life.  I just sat in the back of the car in silence as I gaped out every window to watch the scenery pass by as we whizzed in and out of the tunnels.

On the Austrian side of the Alps there was less snow, unfortunately.  But we did spot this huge castle.  It looks like something out of Merlin!  I couldn't get close enough to get a proper picture and my Mother certainly wasn't fit to walk to the top.  So some better photos will have to wait until next time.  What a place that would be to live, surrounded by all those mountains.  So long as you didn't forget the milk for your tea!
Well I have a lot more to show and tell you but I'm exhausted after our day travelling home.  I was hoping to get blogging over there but I was having problems uploading my photos.  I hope to do another couple of posts over the weekend.  I hope that you enjoy reading it and looking at my pictures and that I haven't turned into one of those very boring people who make you sit down and go through all of their holiday photos before they even make you a cup of tea.
Cup of tea anyone?

Rosie xx

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Things That I've Learned From My Kids

The other morning when the kids and I were staying in my mothers house, my son and Mum were sitting in the kitchen while I was watching some kids telly in the next room....  It just happened to be on. Honest!  They could hear me laughing uncontrollably at the program that was on.  My mother, giggling, said, "I really don't know who is the biggest kid in this family?  Your mother is just a great big baby".  My son looked at her smiling and said, "but Nanny that's what I love most about her.  She is just like us".
This absolutely melted my heart when my Mum told me later and it got me thinking a lot about how my kids have changed my life completely. " Well doh obviously!", I hear you say.  Well no not really.
My own childhood was marred by bullying at a young age and this left it very difficult for me to form friendships or even talk to people at times.  But when I had my own kids it felt like I had a chance to relive my childhood.  Not through them but with them as my best friends.  Like the ones that I always wished I had growing up.
My kids have taught me how to laugh and by that I mean real laughing.  The type that comes from right down in the pit of your stomach and leaves you breathless and with a pain in your side.
They have shown how to be fearless.  They don't worry about what other people think of them.  They just enjoy being who they are and living in the moment.  I realise now that I've wasted far too much of my life caring about others opinion of me.  So now I've been known to skip happily down the main street in town or sing (very badly I must admit) at the top of my voice while pushing the trolly around the supermarket.  Singing songs that we have changed the words of so that they make us laugh.  Even though Patrick’s favourite songs all involve poo and bottoms!
I found that the kids really bring out my creative side. I love sitting on the floor with them building things out of Lego or play dough.  And it is amazing how many really great things that can be made from these if you take the time to do it.  The kids may say to me that maybe I should try making a certain design out of material and they may even tweak it just a little so that I can see what they mean.  For me hearing “Mammy will you knit me this” or “Mammy will you sew that for me”.  Is music to my ears because they often come up with ideas that I've never even thought of.  I may love to feed their imagination but they also feed mine.
Patrick and Lucy have shown me how kind and understanding people can be.  Through my worst days they make me laugh or just make a bed out of blankets for me on the sofa.
I love to sit and watch cartoons with them when I can or go for an adventure in the forest with them.  Their words paint images to help me to see the world through their eyes.  And I love it!  My Mum might think I’m a big baby but I’m one happy big baby.

Sorry about the soppy post today but this has been on my mind the last few days.  AND tomorrow I'm off to Germany for a week.  So I know I'm going to miss them lots.  
Hopefully I'll get some nice piccies for you at the Christmas markets in Salzburg and Munich.

Rosie xx
PS I hope that this makes a bit of sense and not like some mad ramblings.  What have your kids taught you?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Going Vintage

Chaos has reigned once more on this little house of mine.  After labouring to clean all of the linen in our hotpress, or airing cupboard to everybody else, after the builders left the house caked in cement dust, my heart sank this weekend to discover that the pipes in the house next door had burst and the water had seeped into our hotpress and destroyed all of the contents once more!  Much screaming and pulling of already thinning hair ensued!
So to cheer myself up a little, I headed off to the local antique fair.  And with my beady little eye I found a beautiful set of dessert plates just begging me to bring them home.  They may not be perfect with their little chips and cracked glaze but I love them more for their little imperfections.  I shows that they were well loved and used plenty.  And they are certainly going to be well used here too.

This is the cake plate.  It may be a little cracked and warn but just look at the beautiful detailing on it.  Who couldn't just fall in love with it!

There are five cake plates in total and the design on each is completely different.

I was also going through some of my material stash because I've started my chrimbo present sewing and I found an old tablecloth that my mother used to use in her house a lot when we were growing up.  Because some naughty little mouse had a nibble one or two corners of it, it was put aside to be made into a bag of some description.  But when I saw it, it brought back a lot of memories and I no longer have the heart to take the scissors to it.  I love it just the way it is.  Perfect!
Well obviously it could do with a bit of an ironing!  But I never did say that I was the queen of the rubber glove and feather duster brigade and I am severely allergic to the iron.  Well that is what I tell the Hubbie anyway!

I also finally managed to finish my purple waistcoat from the pattern by Kyoko Nakayosho.  I really struggled to find a button that I really liked for it.  The only problem that I had with the pattern was that the number of stitches for the arm ribbing was very small and I had to rip them back and pick up extra ones.  Other than that it was a great challenge and now I am quite happy with the final result.
The light wasn't great today so sorry that the pic isn't that good.

Oh and one more thing I forgot to show you the finished mittens.  I really love them.  I knitted them in fine merino and they are so snug and warm.  I'm wearing them all the time.  I decided to cast off the top and thumb a little snug on them so that they don't get all baggy and loose because that is one thing that really drives me batty.  So far it has worked!

Well that was my weekend.  Eventful as ever.  Hope that you had a good weekend too.
Rosie xx

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Out Of The Mouth Of Babes

This was the conversation between my daughter Lucy and myself at bedtime last night;

Lucy: Mammy how did you catch that thing that you have?
Me: What thing Lucy?
Lucy: That fibrobibo thing that you have?  Who did you get it from?
Me: Well it's not like a cold.  You don't just catch it.
Lucy: How did you get it then?
Me: The doctors don't know.  sometimes something goes wrong in the body and it doesn't work properly.
Lucy:  So why are you in pain all the time.  What's broken?
Me:  When you get a cut on your finger, there is a little signal sent to the brain saying that you are in pain.  But with me it's like a a cd with a scratch in it.  The same message is being sent over and over again.
Lucy: So you're not really in pain.  So if we just distracted you all the time and made you think of other things, then the messages wouldn't get through.
Me: Giggle.  Yea Lucy maybe we could try that!
Lucy:  Well what are the doctors going to do to fix it?
Me:  The doctors don't know how to fix it.
Lucy:  Well then I've got a good plan Mammy.  When I say my prayers tonight, I'm going to ask God what can be done to fix you.  During the night God will tell me and then I'll tell you and then you can tell the doctors and then you can be fixed.  Hey Presto!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Some Silly Ramblings

Things have not been too easy the last few days.  I had to go to the clinic and get some steroid injections into my hips!  I know, yuk or what?  If I'm really honest it is quite embarrassing  getting this done.  After my appointment with the doc, I then have to move into the nurses office while she gets the injections ready for the doctor.  While waiting I need to pull down my trousers and lie on the bed with my knicker clad bum sticking out over the side like an avalanche on pause.  This time I decided to wear a giant pair of  pink hippo undies that say "does my bum look big in this?"  Well it definitely eased the tension in the room! But the down side of getting these done is that is that it limits my agility for a couple of days.
Last night I just spent a relaxing evening cutting pieces of fabric squares with the kids to make a patchwork table runner for Chrimbo.  We agreed that they are going to decide the lay-out while I do the stitching on the machine.  Wish us luck.  It'll be my first attempt at patchwork.
I had a fantastic thrift shop find the other day.  When I walked into the shop this little beauty was sitting on the counter and I knew it just had to be mine.  It's a lovely 70's Roly light with all of the original fittings intact.  And all for only a fiver!  The Hubbie put it up last night and it looks better than I would have expected.
And last but not least, I finally got a photo of the Molly dog in the car.  I  really do think that she's under the impression that she's a meerkat.  She comes in the car everywhere with me, even on the two minute journey to the kids school. From 2:30 each day she sits at the front door waiting to go and pick up the kids.  How do they do that?

Sorry for all the mad ramblings today. Must be all the pain killers!  Have you got a funny doctor story?  Or a dog that can tell the time?

Chat you all soon,

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Lucy's Beanie

Poor little Lucy has been home from school this week with a very bad throat infection.  She is rarely sick but when she is it hits her hard.  I feel so sorry for her as she hasn't been able to eat for the last few days.  So to cheer her up and keep her warm in this horrible damp weather, I knit her a little beanie.
It is in a Mirasol wool and silk blend yarn and if I'm honest it wasn't much of a pleasure to knit.  Seed stitch is pretty when finished but tedious to do.  I know that I wouldn't ever do a jumper in it.  I'd loose my mind!  But I also found the yarn very hard on my hands.  It brought me out in a horrible rash on my hands and especially between my fingers.  I certainly wasn't sorry to come to the end of the beanie.
After giving a good wash in some soft wool soap, Lucy tried it on.  It fits her perfectly but I think that she'll only get this winter out of it. 
Best of all though is that she loves it.  So that makes it all worth while.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Ta Dah!

I've been determined to knit a pair of fingerless mittens for myself before I go to Germany.  I've made plenty in the past but always the simple ones that have no thumb gusset.  I was totally terrified starting this one if I'm totally honest.  Thumb gussets are one of those things that I've forever been afraid of, like fair isle knitting, aran jumpers (and people wearing them!), the size of a crocheted bedspread, the boogy man under my bed and a running gingerbread man!
But I decided that I was going to face at least one of these fears and I signed up for the 'Gloves and Mittens Galore' course on I love craftsy courses. They really help when there are no classes available to you.  And living in the Irish midlands believe me when I say that there are absolutely NO classes being run in the area.  But with craftsy they are alwaya there whenever I have time to spare.
I was much more hopeful after watching the class and so I picked up my dpns and started a pattern that I got from ravelry by designer Susie Rogers.  Here's how the first mitten turned out:
Very blurry picture.  Sorry about that but I was trying one-handed photography.
I'm really proud of the thumb gusset.  It's not totally perfect but not bad for a first attempt.  There'll be no stopping me now.
What are you scared of?  Is there an obstacle that you've overcome lately?
Chat you soon,
Rosie xx

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Best Ever

I'm just after having an absolutely brilliant night. Today after school I dropped the kids and the dog down to my mothers house and myself and the Hubbie headed off on the two hour journey up to the O2 in Dublin to see the Liverpudlian comedian John Bishop. It's not often enough the we get to spend some quality grown up time together, so we stopped off on the way for a gorgeous dinner before tackling the horrendous traffic into the city. But the frustration and if I'm honest a little bit of road rage while sitting in traffic for over a hour, was all worth it. I laughed so much at the show that by the end my face and stomach hurt. And as they say laughter is the best medicine so I was determined to squeeze every drop out. Afterwards the Hubbie, who slept all the way through the second half even with a hyena like me laughing wildly beside him, was too tired to drive home. And even though I was nervous about driving two hours in the dark, I'm proud to say I managed it with no problems. Two years ago I thought that I wouldn't be able to do something like that again because of the effect of my meds on my eyes. I'm clapping myself loudly on my back just as I type!
When we parked outside my mums at 1:30am Molly, the dog, was sitting at the kitchen window watching and waiting for us. She cried and squirmed and jumped like a mad thing when I walked in as if she hadn't seen me in weeks. She didn't settle down until I let her give me a lick on the ear ( her form of a kiss). I know you're probably thinking 'how gross is that?' But she's my little buddy and never leaves my side, even though she's really my daughters dog.
So Rosie actually has a full weekend planned. For a change! I'm going to see the gorgeous Jack L, the Irish singer with a voice like honey, on Friday night with my sister-in-law. And on Saturday night I'll be going to dinner with a good friend that I only see about twice a year. So there'll be lots of gossiping and nattering going on. I'll probably be hoarse after it all but I can't wait! Roll on the weekend. Do you have anything nice planned for this weekend? I hope so!
Lots of love and giggles,
Rosie xx

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

So Much To Do......

If I'm honest I don't really know what I'm at these days.  Christmas is coming and there is a lot of crafting to be done.  I'm full of ideas for presents and decorations for the house and I still haven't got my mincemeat made for my mince pies.  My problem is that I just don't know where to start!  And another of my big problems is that I've got a habit of starting a tonne of projects all at the same time and never seem to get anything finished.  I get too bored doing one project at a time and it's only been a few times that I've managed it.  And there are so many beautiful patterns out there to inspire me and tempt me to cast on a fresh set of stitches.
I do love that great feeling of achievement I get when I see a project finished.  It's something that I don't get from anything else.  I like to sit down to a nice meal that I've cooked or a scrumptious cake but I never feel like jumping around and shouting out the window, "look what I've made".  I can clean the house and do all my chores until the house gleams but I don't ever want to walk proudly into my knitting group wearing a nice Mr. Muscle shiny bathtub now do I?
Tomorrow I'm going to be brave and sit down with my dear little notepad and make my Christmas list (not for Santa...that one will come later on St. Nicholas' Day.  Hopefully he'll listen this year.)
The most important jobs first.  Sewing during the day because I can knit at night and when the kids are doing their homework.  I'm heading to Germany at the end of this month with my mother to visit the big bro.  We are going for a week so that is going to take more time off me.  And then when we get back, advent will have started.  And advent is such a big thing here in this house for us.  The stairs have to be decorated and small sweet bags hung out for Santa's elves to fill for the kids if they have been good that day.
Ahhhh I think I'm going to go mad.  But if I'm really honest with myself, I'm looking forward to Chrimbo this year for the first time in a long long time.  I'm more relaxed in myself.  More secure and I've finally accepted my condition.  As somebody once told me "it is possible to find happiness in acceptance".
Another promise I'm making to myself is that I want to take care of my blog properly and update it more often.  Every time I sit down on the sofa and take my laptop out, my dog Molly, jumps up beside me and lies right across the keyboard, nudging me and giving me those endearing eyes that say "please tickle my belly".  And if that wasn't bad enough, one of my cats, Nina, has a habit of sitting on the back of the couch behind me rubbing my head with her paw!
I often sign on to blogger land intending to write a post but I get so distracted by everybody elses beautiful pages that I spend all my time reading them and before I know it, it's already bed time.
So I'm hoping that with all the crafting I'll be doing over the next two months, I'll definitely be posting more news.  And hopefully there'll be some fab pictures from Munich and Salzburg.

Thanks for listening to my mindless rambling,
Rosie xx

PS  Can anybody out there help me please?  Whenever I have found new blogs that I would like to follow, I would click on the Google Follow This Blog button and that blog would automatically pop up on my reading list.  But the last few times that I did that, I had to copy and paste the address into my reading list.  Does anybody know what I'm doing wrong here?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Insomnia and Revamping An Old Knit

With all the disruption over the last couple of weeks I've really struggled with sleeping.  Walking around the house at four in the morning looking for something to do is no fun at all!  One night my daughter put her big teddy, whom we call Abominable, into my bed so that a cuddle from him would help me sleep like it helps her.  Well I'm not joking you when I say that I squeezed that poor teddy senseless that night.  And you'll never guess what... I slept the whole night!  Needless to say I've brought him to bed every night since and I've always slept like a baby...literally.  Maybe Lucy discovered a cure for insomnia.
One of the nights I was up and looking for something to do I decided to revamp one of my handknits.  I made a short little cardi a couple of years ago from some lovely wine Rowan Cashmere chunky.  Sadly I've put on some weight since and so I haven't worn it much lately.  I crocheted on a trim and some button loops in a dark green merino and found a nice set of buttons in the jar.  

Sorry for the poor piccies. I think that its turned out okay.  What do you think?

Chat you soon,
Rosie xx

All A Little Topsy Turvy

The last two weeks has seen our house turned upside down.  We had to have the chimney rebuilt before the really bad weather set in.  They told us that it would only take two or three days but when they started they discovered that is was going to be a much bigger job than expected.  So I had to evacuate the kids and myself down to my mothers house.  I was lost without my laptop and internet connection.  I couldn't keep up with all of the bloggers.
Then days after the work started I could start cleaning the house.  When i walked in I felt like crying my eyes out.  The dust covered every surface and got into every press and wardrobe.  Four days of cleaning and laundry and finally I think that I'm finished.  The kids moved back home yesterday and they were delighted to get settled back in their beds with their teddies.

But we did manage to have some fun at halloween.  We all dressed up and went trick or treating (I dressed up as a cat and Lucy drew whiskers on my face.  What a wally I looked!)  The hubbie did a fantastic firework display which we watched while a bonfire kept us warm on a very frosty night. There was of course the usual pumpkins at the door which the kids cut out themselves.
 And of course the face painting ....
And essential party party games like the flour dunking game where you have to make a pyramid of flour and put a raisin on the top.  They each have a turn in cutting away a slice of the pyramid and the one who makes the raisin fall has to dunk their face into the flour.....

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Gruffalo Forrest

As we approach the forest that we visit every Sunday afternoon for a walk, Molly the dog sits like a meerkat  in the back of the car and strains her neck to see out of the front window.  Here is a place where she knows that she can run wild and sniff every tree to her hearts content.
As children my parents brought us around this forest in buggies and pottered alongside of us when we were toddlers.  The Sunday walk carried right on through to our teens and as soon as my kids could walk I started up the tradition once more.  Every turn brings back another memory and each special place has a story to tell.  This I love sharing these with my kids and making memories of our own.
This place is teeming with wildlife and it is so beautiful to see it in it's natural environment.  We have seen deers wandering lazily across our path without a care but to Lucy's constant disappointment are always well hidden from view when we get to where they were standing.  Pine martins run along the river hunting for food.  There are squirrels gathering up their acorns for the winter months and in the spring the little pond is so full of frog spawn that the water almost looks like jelly.
But there are two main reasons why my kids love visiting here so much.  Two elusive creatures that we have never seen but found plenty of evidence that they do live here.
The first is the Easter Bunny.  In the centre of the forest there is a clearing under the tree canopy and it is full of rabbit burrows.This is where the Easter Bunny and all his helpers have their egg factory.  Making, wrapping and painting the eggs.  Each Easter Sunday we visit this secret place with our little empty baskets and a great felling of excitement.  It is always a wonderful sight to see the bright multicoloured eggs hanging from branches or lying snugly at the feet of trees.  The kids are always in seventh heaven, running around filling their baskets as fast as they can so that they can sit on the forest floor feasting on chocolate until their bellies are full and swollen.
Also in this magical place is where the Gruffalo and his child live.  They sleep in the deep, dark forest and only come out at night.  But we can see things that they have done when they get up to mischief at night when they come out to play.  Like this tree has to have been knocked down by something strong.  And my kids decided that the Gruffalo when he was chasing some poor woodland creature.  There also was two chairs and a table carved out of tree trunks that we have found hidden away in the forest.
Patrick and Lucy also think that these wild clematis vines would make a great climbing frame for the Gruffalo's child.
Here are some more pictures from this wonderful place.
The trees have toes here and late at night when nobody can see them, they move around.
 The veins are on the outside of the tree.  It'S life force visible to all.
There is a multitude of fungi growing here of all sizes, shapes and colour.  Wonderful to see.

I believe that a childs imagination is like its body.  It needs to be feed and nurtured in order to grow.  And what is a childhood without imagination.

Thanks for calling in and looking around the Gruffalo's Forest with me.  Have you got a magical place to go to, to let your imagination run wild?
Rosie xx