Life is an adventure of the heart, an adventure into love

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Motherhood, the early days

Fleurie is 9 days old. That sounds like such a long time and such a short time. She is beautiful. I fell in love with her straight away. Her tiny perfectness, fully complete, fully there, I am lucky, blessed, full of love. She has a lovely shock of velvety smooth dark hair, and dark blue beady eyes. Newborns are divine, pure and simple. They have a language all of their own which says love me, nurture me, protect me, I'm oh so cute and oh so vulnerable. At the same time, how could one so small look so infinitely wise, with eyes so deep, and ancient like the night sky full of stars, other-wordly, beyond time. It is such a privilege to live out my day simply giving love, Motherhood is a beautiful gift and I am unwrapping it slowly, savouring every moment of the experience.

Fleurie is my third baby, and experience has taught me so much. I learnt through the other two and I am still learning every day. I've learnt to chill out, at the end of the day babies are very simple creatures (if they are fit and well), and my philosophy is to parent in the way that most minimises stress, happy parents, happy children. If routines make you stressed, don't do them, if they make you feel more confident, go for it. Try not to think too much about what's right or wrong, not thinking, but being and flowing with the moment seems to be a much easier way to function. Experience has taught me that although life revolves entirely around children right now, it won't be that way for long, so enjoy those baby snuggles while they last. Sleep will return, and so will grown up evenings, suck up all the goodness of newborn smells, toddler first words and five year olds first stories. One day they'll be calling you from some other country and you'll miss the time that naughty little girl was sneaking out of bed just for one last bit of contact from you (even if it was a cross word!).

We could talk until the cows come home about what children need, how to discipline, ways to show love, but the simple truth underneath it all is that everything they need is inside your heart. Loving starts with you, so feel the wonder of your breath, the life within your bones, sit in the stillness and let love fill you up. Know how infinitely precious you are and then snuggle those babies, let love surround you all.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Amber's Panda Party

Wow, I am so behind here. I'm not sure why I haven't felt like blogging recently, but I've just kinda gone with it, fully expecting that side of me to come back when the time is right. I wanted to share some pictures of Amber's party that we had recently. She is Panda mad, so we wanted a panda theme. When I started looking online for some party things I realised that not many children go for a Panda party (oh I do love my unconventional family) so I had to be a little more creative to make the party special. So without further ado here are some pictures, I hope it inspires anyone who has panda crazy children like me!

Panda balloon- from Amazon

I decided to get plain pink party boxes and then I decorated them by designing a panda and sticking it on. I used black card for the back, then I stuck on white paper for the tummy and face and then used a black marker to draw on the eye and eye patch and nose and mouth. I then stuck a felt flower (pre made) onto the head to add that girly touch. The boxes had sandwiches and various other party food in them as I felt that would be the easiest way to feed everyone, even better my very generous Mother in law made all the food and filled them for me, which was a real blessing. We also had lime green and hot pink party hats, party poppers, cups and umbrella straws and roses on the table.

We hired a local hall which limited us slightly because we weren't allowed to use blue tack or attach things to the walls unless there was already a hook there. I overcame this using lots of helium balloons in green and pink. Some had balloon weights and some were tied to chairs. I got the balloons and helium from an online party supplies website and we filled them on the day. I also strung some chinese lanterns across the room, I loved them, so vibrant.

The panda cake! My husband made the pandas out of icing and used cocktail sticks for bamboo. We glazed it all with honey.


All the activities went down really well, we only had girls which made the planning so much easier. The biscuit decorating was definitely the biggest success, some girls sat there and just decorated one after another!

My husband took the girls outside for some games after lunch, including the panda chases rabbit game, where whoever has the panda toy has to chase the person with the rabbit toy until they can get back to their place- like duck duck goose! They also had a relay race going on with various jungle animals in a bucket that they had to collect.

We had a wonderful time, and really enjoyed celebrating our little princess. I can't believe she's 5 already, it sounds so grown up.

Non credited photos taken by essentially you photography in low res form here, but really show the mood I think.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Thoughts on fear vs faith

It's a really tough time for me at the moment. I feel a lot of self doubt and my mind is going around and around with lots of questions. I went to baby group today and I felt very vulnerable and like I didn't really feel sure of myself or anything I had to say. I hate feeling this way. When the sun is shining and the birds are singing, but I feel flat and empty, when there are a million things I could be excited about or doing, but I feel caged up and held back.

The money thing has been really getting me down, and at the same time I've been really annoyed that it's been affecting me so much, because it feels like such a small pitiful problem compared to what other people are going through. Like why am I so hung up that I can't afford things when other friends have health issues? Then I feel like, well it's OK, it's how you feel because you let fear in, so just accept that you've been feeling that way and then move on. The way I'm feeling right now if someone gave me £1000 it would be gone within an hour, I am in total 'I want, I need' mode. It's being 30 weeks pregnant too and wanting to feel as safe as possible about the change that's coming. But I want to be content now, I don't want to prepare for this baby girl in fear, I want to prepare for her in love. I want to throw all this mind and fear stuff out of the window and feel some freedom again.

It's a constant tightrope walk, will I choose fear or love today? Without love I don't feel the wind of inspiration carrying me effortlessly from one thing to the next, I feel the wind of fear and I struggle uphill exhausted and angry. How do I get out of fear and jump into love? I don't really have the answer. Maybe it happens when I'm ready to let go, when I'm too exhausted to cling onto the cliff edge anymore, I let go and find that the ground was inches below my feet all along. The solid rock of love. I can rest, knowing that all good things will happen at the right times. That I am enough whatever I choose to do. That it will be OK if I do nothing. Really it's knowing that I am OK, worthy of love, worthy of joy, worthy of life.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Being true

I've been in a bit of a dry spell recently, in terms of creative expression. This came up in conversation with Jonny the other evening and talking it through with him gave me some real clarity. I told him how I felt embarrassed of my original drawings for Sophie Sailboat, the ones that I made into cards, how I felt like they weren't good enough and I wouldn't want to push them out there any more. It was interesting processing why I've felt this. We realised together that when I did those original drawings, I was just myself making art for fun and taking my stuff seriously for the first time. This then became the launch of having my own little business and doing a few card sales and things. I think when I had my own business, I began to put pressure on myself- like "I'm an artist, therefore what I create should be 'good'." I began to limit my expression which ultimately meant a dry spell creatively.

Talking things through was sooo good, because it reminded me of what art really means to me and why I love to draw. For me, it has to be a way of expressing how I feel and making that into a visual picture to share with the world. It has to be authentic because that is what makes it feel magical. This goes for any creative expression, music, art, writing and so on, I think you can tell immediately if something is a true expression as it moves you in a way that you can't really explain- it just feels so good. It is the human heart being true to the beauty that it really is.

Anyway, I decided to just go and sit and see what came out of me rather than prescribe to myself what 'should' come out, and to be honest it was really hard at first, but once my idea was down on paper it was great fun. I love how it expresses so much of how I have been feeling recently. My hand represents openness and vulnerability of heart and the bird represents the inspiration or dream that I want to share. I like that it's a blackbird because I think sometimes it can be very scary to let our dreams out, and I wanted to keep the bird black for this reason. Then the song that is expressed by what feels like such a humble creature blossoms and branches out into the world and impacts far more than we could ever have guessed.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012


What a glorious day outside and a much needed walk in the sun. I've been feeling a bit cramped recently, a bit limited, like I'm ready for circumstances in our lives to shift and why won't they, now?! As I was walking my mind was refreshed with the simple realisation that all of us are limited in some way by our circumstances, no matter what they may be, but that all of us also have control over our perspective. What do we focus on and where do we put our energy?

Do we think about how much better things will be when... or if only I had that then I'd feel free. Ah, we're missing out on so much if we focus on lack rather than on the abundance that we already have in our lives. What do I have today that I can be grateful for? What do I have today that I can be creative with? These are all a completely different perspective that will set your heart free in your situation. If you take the example of a birthing Mum, she may be desperate to be holding that baby in her arms, but she still has to go through every process of labour in order to get to the part at the end. She still has to let go and listern to her body and surrender to the process. She still has push when her body says push. She has to trust her gut and go with her instinct to get that baby out.

What I'm trying to say here, is that being present where you are and enjoying what you have will set you free. You will no longer feel tied down by your circumstances, you will feel free within them.

We have a 2 bedroomed cottage and a baby number 3 due in a few months time. Rather than focusing on 'We need more space', I have decided to love our home and try and find ways to be creative with our space. This makes me incredibly happy, rather than frustrated that we can't move right away. We can all choose to look up rather than down. There's a big blue sky up there that speaks of peace and freedom. A child will always try and find a way to play, whatever the circumstances (and what fun games can be had with pots and pans, sticks and mud)! That is my word for right now, 'play', play, play, play with whatever you can, wherever you are, make it fun, make it interesting.

I have realised that situations that seem so limiting are often blessings in disguise. For example, if Jonny and I booked a holiday in a month's time and I made a decision to 'just get by' until the holiday, I would be making a decision to just survive for a whole month of my life in order to finally get to that holiday. And then oh my, when the holiday came, the pressure to relax would be so overwhelming. Not having a holiday on the horizon means I have to find creative ways to make the 'right now' a mini holiday. I have to find ways to 'fill up' every day. I end up enjoying my life and not needing a holiday, but rather being thankful for one (and the fresh adventure it would bring) if it did come my way. My husband is very good at analogies and we were having a chat the other day along these lines, and he said - 'see yourself as a bucket, right now you're empty, and all you have is today- find a way of filling it, because an empty bucket isn't a happy one.'

Find a way to fill your bucket, right now with what you have, where you are. This is the lesson I'm learning.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Things I'm enjoying right now

 I asked my little girl what she liked best about the day at Suppertime and she turned and smiled , "Right now!" I responded with a smile, because I've learnt that enjoying the 'right now' is a wonderful place to be. So without further ado, here are some of the things that have made me very happy this week...

 Fresh coffee and an almond croissant in the morning with my best friend (that's my man- the big one, not the little one!).

 Romantic dinners by the fire, especially when my husband cooks pasta. Here we had linguine with prawns, garlic, chilli, white wine and parsley, delish!

Beautiful, friendly horses with their velvety, proud noses and warm horsey breath.

Happy little birds, especially the inquisitive little robins because I can actually capture them on camera before they flit away! I want to take my zoom lens next time as I saw some sweet great and blue tits and some chaffinches as well. They all seem to be paring up for Spring!

Little nests exposed in the Winter hedgerows.

Feeling small- in the good way, small and safe.

Sketching natural things, not worrying about perfection but instead focusing on expression. Wood makes me happy.

Poplar trees. I love how they are planted in rows, they make a real statement. There have been Poplar trees in the gardens of both this current house and the one before, and I love them because their leaves sound like rainfall in the Spring and Summer and like cracking fire in the Autumn.

 Bark that I immediately want to touch, like hard old Elephant skin.

Where I live. It's the kind of place I could imagine Elizabeth Bennett from 'Pride and Prejudice' walking, so green and quintessentially English.

Mystical Pine groves that I happen upon during my walk.

Baby Christmas trees on a local farm, they're so sweet!

And again, where we live :)

My Children loving each other, their friendship and love for each other makes me so happy.