Thursday, 15 January 2015

To have

I started this post wanting to rage on about how stopping feeding has left me shattered and emotional, how life has changed in unexpected ways since having Alba, the people that have become negative as time has passed and how sad it's made me, parental divorce, my health worries and the lack of sun. Worries about what people think. But what the hell, this isn't a place for that. More to the point, that's not me. Hello to those worries up there ^ ^ yeh, you, I see you and I hear you, but I have given you too much of my time already. And I don't give a damn, so go and float up into the sky and begone!

My other tabs open have had me trying to fast forward again. I am off and away in some land where the sun shines, Alba is swimming blissfully and I have a book and a pair of enormous sunglasses. We have patio doors wide open, there are cicadas in the trees and the warmth of the sun tells me it's around midday. Always the vision. Always the same wish for every birthday, Christmas and moment of self propel - zoom. A rush. A flutter.

Staying in right now, where life is happening for real, I have to say that my eyes well up when I think about how lucky I am. Sometimes it leaves me with a gasp, the love that consumes me in the most natural way in the world now, as a parent. She's a wild thing, with a vibrant sense of humour and tricks up every sleeve, a twinkle in the eye and a cackle I now know so well. Words she understands and conversations are made every which way. Kind, sweet and with such attention to detail, loves books, animated discussions and cats. Yogurt, porridge and fruit loaf are her favourite foods and she like her mama, she knows breakfast is Queen.

Also, my Mr and the cats. We dance, fight, chatter, slouch, walk, ponder and gesticulate at each other. Emails, errors, kisses, feasts, wine, discussions, devil's advocates, dark chocolate. He's so funny and annoying and I like him. I mostly like the cats, but one needs so many hugs during the night, the other is sweet, silly and messy. The smaller cuddled up to me the other night when I was feeling down in the valley of despair (drama is more extreme at 3am) at night and that comfort sent me off to sleep.

Acts of kindness from you, to you and to yourself. That's what I have learnt. Be kind. Think outside of yourself and love what you HAVE. The flutter.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Alba Elise

There is nothing but the hum of the cars driving down the hill outside our flat and the soft breathing of my baby girl strapped to me in a fabric sling. Little mouth open, one arm up and fist slightly clenched.

At 3.50am on September 30th, Alba Elise came into our world and made everything brighter, shinier, more fun, exciting and full of a new and wonderful kindness and love. Oh the love for our family of three. In the 22 days that we have known her, our love for this little girl of ours as each day's sun rises has somehow grown and blossomed even more than I thought possible. 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Iiiiit's harvest time!

We watched a documentary on food in America. I was lured in by Jeff Bridges but enamoured with the details within this programme. Over 50 million hungry Americans. An abundance of desert areas - places where you can't buy fruit or vegetables without getting on two buses. The fact that since the 80s, fruit and vegetable prices have soared 40% in price, whereas the high calorie aka junk food, has decreased in price by the same equivalent. Obesity and hunger walk side by side and are far more interlinked than you might expect. The fact is, fruit and vegetables are costly - they are not subsidised, small farms don't bring the advantages to the Government that the large global companies do. Money. Greed.

Ironically, in the 70s hunger was nearly eliminated in America - then CORN happened (thanks to Nixon and Earl Butz, an academic). Enormous and addictively 'good' chips, burgers, fries and pop thanks to astonishingly large corn crops, invested in by the Government. For America, corn meant money, money, money. Then high fructose corn syrup was added to the mix and pumped into every food, from pizzas, to coleslaw and meat. HFCS provides that 'just baked' sheen we see as so American, sweetening everything and extending its shelf life to years. Now all that cheap bad food has made people fat, unhealthy and hungry. The cost of greed.. 50 million people. I know, I've said it before and I'll say it again, FIFTY million people.

For such a 'powerful', 'influential' and 'developed' country, how can this figure be so high? Cuts. Greed. Cuts. Greed. Funding for food (stamps and schools) is down, as is the price of trashy food - down. Feed your people trash by not providing enough money for them to buy healthily - and let's not forget the interest the Government has in the sugar world - have more money in the piggy bank. 'The problem is not food shortage, but poverty,' says the doc. People with morals - why would you feed people trash and make them sick? Why would you feed kids for $1 a day at school and subsequently feed them orange, chemically filled food that gives them poor concentration and a terrible attitude to nutrition that will stay with them forever, possibly causing health problems in their future which will not be helped by a lack of insurance to pay for their required healthcare - because their development may have been hindered in class (studies have proven the importance of nutrition in early life for physical and mental development) and insurance is expensive? Where is the CARE? How can such a country be in this position?

On a personal note, it makes me feel very lucky to be in a position to buy the nutritional food we need to be healthy. However, I know that we live in a bubble. I know that many families are unable to get by and struggle to buy food, relying on food banks. The cost of living is so enormous, wages have frozen and it must be impossible to prioritise the necessities. We, as a couple, complain that we are unable to save very much, that we coast along because our rent is enormous, as are our bills - of course we will have less when the baby is here - but we can afford good food. We will teach the kid all about nutrition and looking after yourself. To enjoy the beauty of good food.

It makes me really sad that so many Americans are not able to do this - as well as those in the UK. Food is so basic, we should be able to provide it - as a country. We have a surplus of it! It's so essential. Just imagine going to school and trying to concentrate as a child with a growling belly, then coming home to only junk food for tea. Awful, tiring and miserable. Even not having breakfast sets me back, it's imperative to a productive day, while living off sugar can only ultimately get you down.

I'm not sure what to do, the situation we all know so well - it surrounds us (vending machines and corner shops filled with confectionary, deals on sweet everything). But I know that healthy food should not be a luxury and if we can make little steps here, growing food in our gardens for example and delivering the extra produce to food banks - that's moving in a good direction. As is educating people on nutrition so they can shun the trash. There are ways to solve this, surely?

Sugar giants and the greedy Governments though, are another story.


Friday, 27 September 2013


a family getting it right

I'm still here, waiting for this baby to decide now is the time. It almost seems not real now, the past 12 days have been so incredibly long. The good news is that I have banned Dr Google from my life, he has been culled. Since he suggested that it's because I have unresolved issues that my baby is not coming remotely on time. Who would say a thing like that? Am I supposed to smash in some therapy for these issues and old cervix, old chap, will open up like a flower? Not my analogy. I think not. I have already had a massage and acupuncture (therapy) and he tiger will tell you I'm not one to keep my issues in. And don't we all have issues anyway?

Are you 'supposed' to not only be married, with a purchased home, cash in the bank, a sizeable car and a Stocke pushchair - drowning in Weleda (actually very nice) - but you're also to have all issues unresolved in your life so help you, you are now perfect? Well, we have none of these things. NONE. Does this supposed cavern of emptiness in our lives mean that I have to wait for my baby to arrive? That I will not be the perfect parent? Well, the latter - yes, I know I will not be the perfect parent. But regardless of on time baby, what a frikkin ridiculous world pushing material, financial and psychological 'assets' upon us all. the. time.

However, I CAN see that being relaxed is a good thing. (I AM!)

I will try my best and I will teach the kid everything I can and hope to inspire it to be an adventurer, an explorer, ambitious and a person that doesn't worry about 'should' and want as a prerequisite for happiness.

Simple is good. We are lucky. We are alive. Google is not alive.

Tomorrow I will be talking about nutrition.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

the details

Book circa 2004 - Classy.

I used to keep tat safe. I really did. A pebble? Yes, thanks. An old sparkler from that time we twirled sparklers on the roof with the sea as our background? Go on then. How about an empty sweet packet from the 247 shop purchased while travelling? Yes, please I was pretty much addicted to them. And an autograph from that surfer, Taj? Err, yeh! That cute email? Definitely.

Let's keep it in a notebook that has swelled to such a degree due to its glued in contents, it's exploding, shall we? And a box. A memory box is a good idea. Sellotape round it to secure it and reinforce it, that's right. It's nice to keep these things, isn't it? All the senses triggered through the words and images gaffer taped together.

I consider writing an extension of this, that's why I write a blog. So why do I prefer only people I don't really know so well to be reading this? I guess I have always been pretty private in lots of ways. But depending on who. I know that I love to have those conversations, when you launch straight in with the non-chit chat. Let's get the wine and crank up Bill C. That's what I thought was brilliant about travel - the ones that don't ask what/where/when to brand you up, but swoop in for the jugular. That's the way. I guess this blog is like my mini launching in for the jugular. Not that I write everything here, but it's the bit of me that's always been whimsical. The bit that is private and was my escape growing up and still now.

So essentially, perhaps I should write this in a notebook instead of on the world wide web. Letting this part of myself be open to all doesn't work, but then it's strange that through my writing you can find my - I guess, true self and that frankly, I don't want everyone to know/have/see this. Not just writing about myself (you cackle), but the way I see things. Whether it's on a boat in Thailand (nice holiday), or the way that it's difficult to be crafty in a craft world. Being obsessed with the sea. It's kind of sacred, like the sparkler and the pebble. Blogs are just really odd creations. Though I like the F.R.I.E.N.D.S set up, I guess all this is why I also consider myself a 'frequent flyer'  - ooph, let's just peruse some flights to Cali. Let's go somewhere where no one knows your name.

Regarding the tat - truth be told, I still keep tat. But less so now. It's all in the details though, right? I like to remember the details.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


Well there's nothing like waiting around. As much as I assumed the baby would probably be overdue, I thought walking up and down city dale, would instigate a slightly on time baby. Not a very late baby, as is the sitch - where's your watch, rabbit?

I've just come back from the hospital for some monitoring and delightful procedures. The baby fell asleep as I lay on the light blue reclining bed with monitors strapped all over the bump - the laziness of this baby.  So as I lay there, listening to the process of induction I slowly destroyed a melting Snickers bar to encourage lazy to wake up. 'He' likes Snickers turns out and thumped me hard when the chocolate hit the belly, heart rate soaring with excitement.

A couple came in with the same long passed due date as us. She was having contractions however, thick and fast. As I relaxed, polishing off my Snickers, I said to the baby I want that right there. You need your birthday, kid. Turned out with the arrival and general activity, 30 minutes of baby monitoring went quite fast. I didn't need the Hello! magazine he had delivered to me from the waiting room.

The whole process of being overdue is not that great. Most of the time, I've been OK, but sometimes it's enormously emotional. Wondering, waiting, walking... constantly replying to people asking if the baby has arrived yet. 'Ah, I thought your due date was...' Reply: 'It doesn't work like that, I will tell you when it's here. Smiley happy face.' *Read: RAGHH*. It's lovely that people care, but irrationality is a beast and it's hard not to feel like an anti-climax, like you're failing in some way. Disclaimer: I KNOW this is ridiculous.

With those who are still pregnant, I have tried to be upbeat as much as possible. 'Overdue isn't too bad, just going with the flow, it's all good.' I've just eaten four pineapples, drank two litres of raspberry leaf tea, walked five miles, bounced on my birth ball for the duration of Mad Men series six, had some uncomfortable time with the midwife and soon I am about to get punctured by mini needles in an acupuncture session.

Oh! I said, irrationality and overly emotional is part of this! But actually, it's not bad - I'm filling my days with nice things too, lots of baking, walking in the autumn sunshine, drinking tea, sitting in coffee shops, watching films, reading... the only less favourable/DOMINATING bit is being in limbo. Breathe and relax.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

baby style

The idea of dressing the baby is something that makes me happy. Babies are cute, right? Especially in snowsuits – it hasn't gone unnoticed that the baby will be a winter baby and thus suitable for knitwear and sheepskin garms. Although he and I are summer lovers, knitwear has to be acknowledged as one of the best things created for you and I - and baby - to wear. 

I especially love Tootsa Macginty's knitwear collection and was lucky enough to receive their little aran knit for the baby at my baby shower. It's frankly, amazing. I also love this little knit, above. (No, I can't stop saying little). I would quite like to list all the (many) independent designers I would like to purchase from, but I will save that for now. They are too tempting as I wait for the baby diva to arrive.

In terms of gender specific outfits, obviously it could be a boy or a girl and more to the point I prefer the neutral and so have gone for plain sleepsuits with cute sheepskin booties. That's not to say that I won't (probably will) dress the bebe a bit like he or I when we find out. It's our 'style', right? Just. Can't. Help. It. One thing's for sure, lots of knitwear, dungarees and mini plaid - regardless of girl/boy - this kid's going to be an explorer!

If it's a girl... this! (Karen Walker sunnies, though maybe not the actual KW's) Of course, they will love this.