Our story

Hello! I’m Jess, originally from Somerset but currently living in West Berkshire with my husband Jim and beautiful daughters Rosalie and Matilda.

I first met Jim at University way back in 2001; after being together for eight years we finally got married in April 2011. It was a truly amazing day, and well worth the wait!

In December 2013 Rosalie came along, transforming our lives overnight and turning us into a proper little family. Then in February 2017 our rainbow – little Matilda  – was born, giving us a much longed for second baby, and a sibling for Rosalie.


We are a home educating family who believe in finding happiness in the simple things and this blog documents life as our little family, in words, photos and occasionally videos.

I love creating this record of such a wonderful and ever-changing time in our lives; I’m already discovering things I’ve forgotten as I read through old posts and watch past videos. Hopefully Rosalie and Matilda will enjoy having all this to look back on when they are older too.

Nurturing imagination and curiosity

Children are curious by nature, they ask a lot of questions, and rightly so; the world is a complex place for little ones to comprehend, and it is our responsibility to nurture that curiosity. I strongly believe that by encouraging imagination and curiosity in our toddlers we are setting them up for a lifelong love of learning. This is also why we made the decision not to send Rosalie to school, but instead to home educate her, allowing her to continue learning through play alongside some semi-structured learning by igniting her curiosity and following her interests.

icy lake

At Picnics in the Rain you will find posts on home education. playful learning, ideas for sensory play, crafts, messy play, exploring, reading and music, which are just some of the ways I try to nurture the girls’ imagination and curiosity.

Why ‘Picnics in the Rain’?

I want Picnics in the Rain to symbolise the childlike enthusiasm thrown into all activities that I remember from those halcyon days of my youth. Looking back, I remember spending the whole summer holidays in my swimming costume, in the garden, in the paddling pool, on the swing; but I know that can’t be the case, can it?

I also remember many many family picnics, sometimes planned and well executed at the beach, other times as part of a long walk, sitting on bin sacks in unpredictable weather, sipping soup from a thermos held with chilly fingers.

I remember learning words and reading books, getting smiley face stickers when I did well with maths and playing my recorder (badly) with my sisters. We cycled the lanes, made perfume from petals and grew beans and radishes in the garden. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it?

Well, I want Picnics in the Rain to be about finding the jolly side of everything, seeing the good in the bad and staying positive when the odds are stacked against you.

This blog is about finding happiness in the simple things as we attempt to give Rosalie a childhood akin to that which I had (all be it viewed through rose tinted glasses!).

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