Toffee apples and love

[This a guest post from the sweet & lovely Emma Bradshaw]

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” ~ Pablo Picasso

I believe we are all creative beings, and that creativity manifests itself differently in all of us. I worry that society doesn’t encourage creativity and our eduction system doesn’t place a value on it as much as reading, writing and numeracy. I failed GCSE art for being too creative and not having enough observational drawings – pah!

Years after leaving school and having suppressed any creative urges, I was profiled for team building at work — have you ever had that done? Not surprising my personality was outed as being creative, although personally I think it was quite obvious as I often get sidetracked by the detail and have pictures in my head of how projects may look or feel. So I finally had a label, even if I hadn’t quite managed the GCSE at school.

I was brought up quite humbly, but with a constant supply paper and pencils which I’d use to write stories and draw pictures. I loved drawing maps of magical places and lands far away and reading — I would read for hours and hours. My mother would tell you she wasn’t creative, but she was queen of make do and mend, and all of my clothes were knitted or handmade, way before it was fashionable. While I drifted away from this childhood, finding my husband and setting up home together years later somehow unlocked the door to my creativity. I even made our wedding rings in a jewellery workshop.

Now I strive to ensure that our children have the opportunity to be creative and influences like TV and computers are kept to a minimum. We try to go out into nature as much as possible and summer holidays are for camping and exploring. We’ve a huge craft cupboard at home full of pots, paper, glue and fabric that the boys can use to make all kinds of weird and wonderful inventions. They even love to help me in the kitchen where we make everything from toffee apples and rainbow cakes to huge bowls of bangers & mash. My children now inspire me to be creative — I love how the world looks through their eyes…

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Emma Bradshaw lives in the Cotswolds with her young family and has loved photography since she first looked through the viewfinder of her mum’s Kodak Brownie. She delights in the details of simple everyday life: the clouds in the sky, picking blackberries and flasks full of hot chocolate! She blogs regularly at, hangs out on Twitter occasionally and sells prints in her Etsy store.

[all photos by Emma Bradshaw]

10 responses
  1. sas

    em will you adopt me? xxx

  2. Ed Clayton

    Lovely Pictures and a great outlook on life. I hope when I have children I can encourage their creative side and get them to play in the garden instead of on an xbox!

  3. Bénédicte Prouvost

    Those photos are gorgeous and the way Emma lives her life is so inspiring. I always admire people who live a full creative life with their family outside the cities. Maybe because I secretly wish I could do the same. Thanks for brightening my day!

  4. alexandra

    amazing photos ; )


  5. Mother0fPurl

    Lovely post- I share lots of your views and was never any good at drawing or painting at school. It’s funny because a lot of people I went to school with seem to have this memory of being very arty and creative even though I droped all the arty subjects as soon as I could aged 13. Such pretty pictures x

  6. nimblefingersandsteadyeyebrows

    Gorgeous photos and a fantastic approach to mothering. Lovely, thank you Emma. I hope I can do the same with my own boys. Laura x

  7. se7en

    Totally love this happy optimistic post and the photographs are just “PURE JOY”…

  8. Tricia Karp

    Emma, your photos are to die for… they make me want to be there with you right now!

    What a gorgeous mum you must be.

    So inspiring x

  9. Sandie Cottee

    Oh I love this blog. Takes me back to when I home educated my two children… days of exploring and playing outdoors… and full of creativity. It’s the best way to learn.
    Now I enjoy my two granddaughters. This week they came to spend time with me and my four year old drew an amazing ‘bendy bus’ having seen her first last week on a visit to London. I didn’t realise how much she took in as it passed by.
    Your experience of school… being tooooooo creative… is exactly why I home educated.
    I love your photos, and your approach to life and motherhood, keep up the great work Emma!

  10. Emma Bradshaw

    I’d love to adopt you Sas :D

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