Sunday, 10 February 2013

LOVEGATHERING: Mother blessing

A mother blessing (or blessingway) is kind of an alternative to a baby shower... but not. Originating from the Indian American culture, it's a gathering that acknowledges a rite of passage - that of womanhood to motherhood. Myself and H organised a mother blessing for our friend Gem, consisting of good friends, food and frivoility. Whilst not too heavy on the potential ceremonial aspect of a blessingway, we catered to the taste of our friend, it was her shindig afterall!

In preparation for the big evening, (it seemed big to us as we'd left the older children with Dads!) we had asked all participants to bring a bead for the mother, some food and their birth stories. Not the story of their children's birth but, of how their mother gave birth to them. Some interesting nuggets popped up, none of which i shall post here. Discretion and all that jazz. So with henna in hand... we arrived to reign chaos upon the mother's tummy. In a gentle, loving way!

A mama's gift to the mother. Stones wishing the baby and mother positive vibes
Being palpated! Luckily Gem's Mum is a midwife! 
And the artistry begins!

Ta dah! And yes, we may have got a little silly...
You can see in the last photo that Gem is wearing a red bracelet. We made these from red wool, plaited and each participant was asked to wear one, only cutting it after the birth when we knew mama and baby were safe. It kind of represents the umbilical cord and our connection to each other through friendship. Yes, yes, very hippy. But sweet. Several participants made gifts for the mother, the blessing stones, a herbal tea mix and chocolate brownies! Every milking mama needs brownies for those midnight feeds!

We giggled late into the night and the oxytocin was flowing in abundance. I wish I could say that she went into labour there and then... but alas her bubba stayed safe and warm for a week longer. However, Mama Gem gave birth to a happy, healthy baby boy and they're currently being snuggly and cute - which is making me far too broody!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy 2013!!

Last night we welcomed the new year in the company of our wonderful friends, and managed to combine it with a housewarming! There was much food, wine & merriment with quite a serious game of BN1 in progress. The children managed to stay up 'til well, well past midnight which made for some rather random conversations on the way home...

Those silly adults! Hoping 2013 creates many more happy memories x

Saturday, 22 December 2012

BOOKS: Currently reading


1. Piglet & papa by Margaret Wild & Stephen Michael king. 2. Yes by Jez Alborough. 3. Ten little fingers and ten little toes by Mem Fox & Helen Oxenbury.

We absolutely love Ten little fingers and ten little toes, it's rhyme and repetition make it a favourite for S to 'read' to us at bedtime. We've been reading these books most days, as we've got a new batch of books to read once Father Christmas has visited! Very exciting. (It's ok, I know Father Christmas isn't real but the amount of Yuletide excitement there is here at the moment it is quite something!)


Everyone has thoughts about food - right? "What's for dinner", "what's left in the fridge that needs using up before it goes 'off'"... "Oh my, that looks delicious" and "who ate all the chocolate?". But, what if... what if food was a constant thought? A constant worry. Is that normal, obsessive or is it being a more conscious person? Because holy smokes, I think I might be on the side of obsessive just ever so slightly...

When S was at the weaning stage, I decided that I didn't want her to be the picky eater I'd been nor that her diet should be limited due to allergies like her Pa. So we started ordering a veg and fruit box from a lovely, local organic farm. I very quickly realised that I couldn't identify half the vegetables we'd have delivered! Embarrassing, oh most definitely. It was about 18 months later that a close friend had an opportunity to take on an allotment, with me as her trusty (read: pushy) co-worker at her side. The first year was a very steep learning curve, but learning nonetheless. From these two inception points, I began to ponder about the quality of our food, the origin of our food and as to what is a balanced diet? What exactly does the human animal need to eat to become a strong and healthy individual? 

After reading some Michael Pollan, I concurred that this 'science' of nutrition was in fact a pseudo-science that has lead to the over scientification (not sure that's actually a word?) of eating. Plain and simple. I then read Tamar Adler's 'An everlasting meal', Barbra Kingsolver's 'Animal, vegetable, miracle', Shannon Hayes 'Radical Homemakers' and my head began to whirr. We've forgotten how to eat. As human beings, we don't know how to live seasonal and use what we have available. I sure didn't and wouldn't claim to know it all now, but I do believe that we as a family are definitely moving to a more sustainable, traditional eating habits. Over thousands of years our bodies adapted to a certain type of diet specific to our country of origin - for example, how are the French one of the 'healthiest' nations when their mainstay appears to be cheese, bread and wine? Nutritionists across the globe throw their hands up in terror and shudder at the saturated fats! Perhaps eating what we ate prior to fast food, ready meals and alike are exactly how we breed strong, healthy humans?

Cooking within the home has taken a back step, for most it's a chore or people don't have the time to cook due to work/social commitments. Make time. There's nothing quite as satisfying as sharing a table of good food with family and friends. Learn about food, I'm an advocate for food becoming a subject in schools. All aspects of real food, none of this 'food technology' malarkey. Food is facing a battle, we can continue to lose the culinary history we've had for thousands of years to global corporations or we can make a case for food. Cookery books are no longer about cooking, they're simply a list of ingredients and how one or two individuals believe they should be put together to produce a particular outcome. It's factory line cookery. A cookery book should be about cooking, rather than specific quantities perhaps being more ambiguous - a dash or a glass of wine to the sauce, you choose. It's your meal. Modern cookery is about having some celebrity chef create some kind of cult following for them to make their living from, fair play. But what about inspiring people, invoking passion and confidence for the ingredients around them. Using less of something simply because it's more expensive but it's such better quality. Less is more! Experiment. Gather friends and experiment on them, let them experiment on you. Don't be afraid to fail!. I've served numerous dishes that the family has refused to eat, but we've added cheese, salt to make it all the more edible. Food is a vehicle to express yourself, to allow people the opportunity to catch their breath, to share, to gather and nourish each other. And hopefully, just maybe, those friends will prevent you from becoming completely obsessed with food!

Saturday, 15 December 2012


It seems we've lost it, focus. Thought it might have been hidden in the draw... not there. Checked the laundry bag... still no sign. It appears that after what felt like a 'big-bang-child-enthused-about learning-parents-feeling-like-they-have-a-clear-philosophy' occurred a couple of weeks back, S has given no signal that she intends to begin learning her letters any further. No request for reading eggs, not wanting stories during the daytime, not anything. Standstill. Did we become eager too quickly I wonder? Who knows, maybe it's simply a change of season, a period of downtime in which to absorb other topics... Who knows.

M and I had agreed that we should start a homeschool rhythm come the New Year, but with rest periods such as these I'm wondering whether a rhythm is an option? Surely having set opportunities to concentrate on letters/reading may create a feeling of 'chore' around it for her. Little steps I tell myself, little steps. I have to remind myself she's 3 and a half, with a lifetime ahead of her. But sometimes she talks and acts so skilfully that I think I apply too much emotional and intellectual understanding to her. I'm often impatient, with her, with life, and have to hold back to prevent overwhelming her with talk of the world, respect, and a thousand other topics that I want to enthuse with her about. But not now, maybe when she's older and we meet in a cafe for a coffee to talk of life. Maybe then I'll tell her all of the subjects that swim around in my head every time I see her learn, question, and jump up and down with excitement. A friend asked me once 'at what point do you think children stop demonstrating their excitement with their entire bodies?' I hope it's never. Whilst I'm eager for S to learn of herself and her world, there's a part of me that anticipates a part of her soul will still drive her to clap with glee when she sees Christmas lights or bounce around deliriously when she sees an old friend. 

Focus is shifting to the now... I hope. 
I'm learning to embrace it. 
With my daughter as my teacher.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

BOOKS: Currently reading



 A dog called Rod by Tim Hopgood. 2.Little Friend by Colleen McKeown. 3.Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett. 4.Hop on Pop by Dr Seuss.

Monkey and me is a firm favourite in this house as it has a rhythm than most children seem to be able to memorise and simple, mischievous drawings. Just took 'Hop on Pop' out from the library, it has rhyming word sets at the top of each page and a short sentence including them underneath, perfect for children just beginning to sound out words phonetically. As for the adult reading in the house... who gets time?? But am trying to find my way through the 'Well-trained mind' book.

"..she's small and very funny"

Playing 'Run, run, as fast as you can"
Trip to the library
Time to defrost from the wintery walk home

All too often, the important parts of life pass us by whilst we're busy 'doing'. And all too often my child reminds me of this.

We moved to Brighton a few moons ago, leaving behind the only family I'd really spent time with. My friends. Watching the girls today reminded me that true friendships last a lifetime, and that I'm thankful for those wonderful people around us. (Barf!)