Monday, 7 April 2014

The land of smiles

{images via}

In precisely one week time we will be on an aeroplane flying off into the night on our first big family adventure...

In seven days we leave for Thailand and do not plan on returning for 6 months. Our bags are pretty much packed, our visas and passports ready to go and now we are just saying farewell to our friends and family. 

Every now and then it hits me and my stomach does a little flip and my heart swells. We are well and truly treading the path we have always been too timid to follow. 

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Taking care

{image via}

With all that has been going on recently, taking care of myself seems to have fallen by the wayside again. Little by little the feelings of being overwhelmed and tired have been drawing out the little demons I had worked so hard to calm. It started with a little snap here, an unkind response there and has resulted in a full scale shouting and screaming, toddler style meltdown. Following that came the usual sequence of weeping, guilt, self loathing, guilt again, feeling like a terrible mother and a horrid role model. I could let those feelings consume me but I am trying my very hardest not to. I know that if I don't make a change now these feeling will just swing back and forth between the anger and resentment and the guilt and self loathing. I need to take care of myself so I can take care of the people around me. I need to love myself so I can love the people around me.

As a full time stay at home mummy my workload is not going to change. My daughters need my attention, time, love, understanding, empathy and patience. As much as it fills my dreams, stepping out of our life for full yoga practices and long meditations is not something that can happen at this stage in our lives, but finding a way to fit 'me time' into our days is essential.

Looking back I can see that I have been falling into a dark hole, I find that I have fallen into the habit of using my downtime to stare at screen. Removing myself from my reality without really winding down or giving my mind the rest time that it needs. Withdrawing from difficult situations by trawling Facebook instead of throwing myself wholeheartedly into my day. Not leaving the house or socialising with friends. Wearing the same clothes for days on end and pumping my body full of sugar and toxins. Planning for the future rather than living in the present. Falling back into the same bad habits.

Very much like a child, I thrive when I have a rhythm to my days, knowing where I am headed, having marker points throughout my day makes me feel anchored and safe. Having a familiar rhythm to my weeks, places to go, things to look forward to, people to meet. At the moment we are between homes, living out of bags and without any space to call our own. Finding the time needs to be separate to all of these things. Built into the fabric of the day, regardless of time or location. A habit.

Ways of taking care:

Get up earlier: This one may seem counter productive, but if in the morning there are an extra pair of hands or it is before others are awake those precious moments to breath and collect yourself before the start of the day are priceless.

Meditate: In this world our minds are constantly bombarded with information, constantly being stimulated. Meditation is an off switch for this. Just 10 minutes a day.

Yoga: For me, yoga is the 'one'. It eases the pain in my heart, head and body. There are many different styles, all wonderful in their own right; it is definitely worth experimenting and finding the one that is right for you.

Creativity: Writing, drawing, knitting, creating soothes the soul. I've started to notice that the less time I spend creating the more pent up, the more frustrated I feel.

Gratitude: It's so easy to stop seeing everything we have when we are feeling low, which is why is is so important to stop and take stock of all the things that we have. Using a journal at the end of the day to jot a few things about the day that have made you feel grateful, the small things as well as the big can help you look back, even on a bad day, in a positive way.

Feed yourself: When I feel down I have always been a real comfort eater. The worse I feel the more crap I put into my body, which always makes me feel hideous. Fill your body with food that is full of goodness, that will help give you strength to face the challenges of the day and will make you feel good about your body.

You are worth it: Wash yourself, brush your hair, put on clean clothes. Remind yourself you are worth it. You am worth taking care of, worth spending the time on.

How do you fit time for yourselves into your day? How do you strengthen yourselves to become the anchor for your children? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on this.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Busy bees

Things here have been a little bit manic. M has gone back to work and looking after little and littlest has been a new experience for me. My days have been filled with moments of pure love, and joy and moments of utter pain and frustration. We are all working hard to find the best way to make it work and some days are more challenging than others but I am getting a new insight into how to keep my babies happy in the midst of change and uncertainty. We have also taken a couple of trips to see our loved ones who live further away. A week full of birthday parties and smiles in London and a weekend by the sea meeting our friends' scrumptious new baby boy. I feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life although my heart often aches as so many of them are so far away.

This week we have been packing up the last of our bits and bobs ready to be on the move again. Our time here has been lovely and has helped us start weaving our ideas together into a full picture of our family's future. This Friday we move to my parents for a week and then on to M's parents for the following week and then...

Expending all my energy keeping my little ones happy has meant that writing has somewhat fallen by the wayside. I have a computer full of half started blog posts, a journal full of ideas and a camera left at the bottom of my bag. We have made some big plans for the coming months, fulfilling some dreams and have a lot to look forward to. Keep watching this space...

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


I was not the only one to celebrate a recent birthday. At the beginning of February Bean turned three.

We spent a lovely day with our family at @Bristol where you ran around playing with your Nanny and Baba. In a continuing gallant effort to avoid sugar we made you these yummy raw chocolate brownies which you proceeded to eat 'like a cat'.

Iris, my darling, everyday you fill my heart with joy. When I think about you my stomach does somersaults and my eyes fill with tears.

You make me laugh out loud, sometimes until my tummy aches.

When you get excited you gesticulate like crazy and scrunch your little face up trying to find the words as they tumble out at an astonishing rate

You give 'your guys' who follow you everywhere different voices and it takes us an extra half an hour to dry them all after the bath. There is barely room for you anymore.

You are still getting to grips with the nuances of language, replying when asked if coming with "Yes, I'm are". Experimenting with rhyming has resulted in you calling us some pretty interesting names, some almost a little risky (your Daddy almost collapsed laughing after you told him "don't touch me saag").

You have an phenomenal amount of energy. I have still never come across another with your ability to climb and jump. 

Despite the pain of my division of attention you never take it out on your baby sister. You cuddle and kiss her, telling her how much you love her, working hard to be her protecter. You are such a wonderful big sister.

Your first sentence is still one of your favourites and I'm sure one day we will miss the endless chorus of "read a book, read a book".

You say you don't know how to sing but as you fall asleep at night you sing songs that I didn't even know you knew

You are still learning how to share but when you do you have the most generous of hearts, happily sharing out food and toys to make sure everyone has an even share.

You are a wonder to behold and everyday I am thankful that I get to be part of your life. I can't wait to watch the woman you grow into.

But, no matter how big you get you will always be my baby.

I love you always and forever.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

A change of plans

When we first decided to move away from London our dream had been to buy a camper van and pootle around Europe for a year or as long as we could manage on the small income we were getting as rent for our flat. So we sold up most of our belongings, found an interim home to birth our daughter in and started planning. The more we planned the more we realised that driving around Europe would not only take a lot more money than we had but would also put a lot of strain on us at a time when we all needed to rest and realign . After the birth of Little Bit we came to the difficult realisation, the Europe trip was going to be too much for our little family to cope with at the moment and that we would be over stretching ourselves.  Roaming Europe has been not given up on, just postponed. Hopefully, when the girls are older and can get more from it and when we have spent a little more time planning and saving we can make it a reality.

So we are having to make a change of plans. We need somewhere where we can live as cheaply and easily as possible for as long as possible. Somewhere away from the cold and rain. Somewhere we can relax and just be together. Somewhere M can spend time with his children, watching them grow and building the relationship with Bean work constraints had prevented him from building in London. We don't need much in terms of space or luxuries, we are all currently still in a family bed in one room so a one bedroom shack would do. We are daydreaming of days playing and learning together under the sun and nights filled with starlight and the hum of cicadas.

This week I am grateful for...

  • Achey muscles
  • A moment in the sunshine
  • Having my sister around
  • A good roast
  • Rich, dark chocolate

Friday, 14 February 2014


{Photos from the best birthday as of yet}

Let's be honest. It was never going to rival dancing with a village of children under the warm Sri Lankan sun but last week I said goodbye to my 20's. 

With a toddler and a newborn to concentrate on I struggled to find much enthusiasm in regards to parties and presents, I have everything I need apart from rest! I was very lucky to get a massage and reflexology, which was exactly what my tired and achey body needed after all the hours child rearing and baring. 

Being here in the countryside has meant that for a while I have all of my family around me. It has been a very long time since we have all been together and I wish it could go on forever. We went for lunch with them and my oldest friend (we will be celebrating 25 years in 2015!). So as the rain poured down outside we talked and laughed with some good food and a bottle of wine. 

I am looking forward to my next decade. So far ageing has been a pretty wonderful thing. I have said goodbye to so many of the anxieties and issues that haunted both my twenties and my teens. I am so much more aware of who I am and what I want and am more determined than ever to find ways to achieve my dreams. So, I have made a list of my ambitions for the next decade...

Travel: This is my number one ambition. For as long as I can remember I have had wanderlust but have had no one to walk the earth with me but was too scared to do it alone. I now have a wonderful family who are ready and willing to explore this world together.

Yoga: Yoga has been a big part of my life for the last two years and has played a big part in me finding some inner peace and accepting myself physically. I would love to be able to say that I have practised yoga everyday since my 30th birthday, even if it is just a couple of sun salutations and the closing sequence, to have made it a consistent part of my life and daily routine. I am also hoping to do my yoga teacher training, one day I would love to teach, but for now just to do it for myself.

Family and friends: The recent upheaval has really brought home how important being close to the people I care about is. Although, geographically, I will never be able to be close to all the people I love as they are scattered throughout this country and others, I can work harder to keep in contact through letters, calls, Skype and emails. There are friendships that I regret not working harder to maintain, I do not want to look back on my life with that regret ever again.

Impact: I would like to find someway of making a positive impact on the wider world. There are so many issues I feel very strongly about and feel ashamed that I only contribute to the signing of internet petitions. We have started by sponsoring two young girls in our daughters names, to celebrate the blessing of our daughters by helping someone else's daughters thrive. I hope to get more involved in local issues and to volunteer as the girls get older and I am able to be away from home for longer periods. 

I hope, with work, I can make all of these ambitions a reality. 

Monday, 27 January 2014


As we tip-toe closer to the end of our time here we need to start making choices about what our future holds for us. Making plans has alway been a habit of mine, the plans are incredibly fluid and prone to change but in my little notebook there will always be an extensive plan outlining our goals and thoughts for the next few years. These plans were usually quite ambitious but always a little way in the future, but now, after our somewhat sudden upheaval, everything has been brought to the present, without our things we no longer have the ties that we were hiding behind, the reasons not to do the adventurous things, the exciting things we dreamt of. 

But, I realise now how torn I am, how much I miss the comfort of our day to day existence, the friends, the activities, the joy of a warm house. I know when our time here has come to an end how heavy my heart will be, how much being close to my family has meant to me, the opportunity for my family to get to know Bean and Little Bit a bit better, the chance to reconnect with old friends. I know tomorrow is full of adventure and excitement, the golden suns and splashing waves that my heart is yearning for on these blustery grey days but no blue sky or warm breeze will take away our need for those we love, for our friends and our families. 

We want so much to learn and explore but are  coming to realise that we will also still need roots, a home in-between wanderings, and that roots need to be planted somewhere, but the question is where? How can we marry our conflicting wants and needs? So we are trying to answer these questions and paint a vision of our future that makes our hearts sing. I am hoping soon that we will be able to share it with you. For now we will sit in the present, drinking in the things that make this moment special before our world changes again.

This week I am grateful for...
  • Nights where we are all in-sync
  • Ice cream and catch ups
  • Good friends
  • Sharing a weathered smile
  • Moments alone with Bean
  • Smooth skin and button noses
  • Knowing that even on bad days the love is still there
  • Moments of laughter on days filled with tears
  • A rare blue sky