Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Gallery - Nature

This weeks Gallery theme is Nature, and is sponsored by organic chocolate makers Green and Blacks.

(You can help them out by doing a very quick online survey here. I've done it, it only takes 3 mins - yes I timed it!)

A real indulgence for me is a bar of Green and Blacks Maya Gold. Yum!
(Did you know Maya Gold was the first product in the UK to be awarded a Fairtrade status?)

What has this got to do with my Nature post you may ask?
Green and Blacks are passionate about ethical, fair trade and organic products. And this is something that is close to my heart. 
Just as their products are 'created without compromise', I hope to raise Ffion without compromise, with a passion for the world she lives in - the nature that surrounds her, nurtures her, feeds her, clothes her. 

The nature that can give so plentifully but also take away. 

I hope she will embrace and enjoy all elements of nature - the mountains and rivers, trees and flowers, the animals and her fellow humans - but in the same breath, hold a deep respect for it.

Raised without Compromise

Just a photo I snapped on my phone (I've taken nearly 2000 images on my phone since having it in October!). 

She's just started walking - just a few months and she'll be able to help me collect the eggs from our free-range chickens and pick veg from the garden, we'll paddle in the river, climb the trees, we'll run in the rain, cuddle up by the log-burner on snowy nights, run our fingers through the meadow flowers in the summer, we'll learn bird calls and how to recognise trees and their leaves. I'm so excited just thinking about it.

Follow this link to check all the wonderful Gallery entries this week. 
Read and comment on as many as you can, enjoy the pictures and the beautiful stories behind them.

For more information on Buying Organic check out the Soil Associations website.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The Gallery - A Novel Idea

It's been far too long since my last post, for several reasons, but there we are...!

This weeks Gallery theme is 'A Novel Idea'
"A photograph which you think represents a favourite book or novel or even children's tale"

A few books immediately came to mind, but for one book in particular, several photos came to mind with it (that were taken this Winter at our home).

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
As a child this was easily one of my favourite books. I have my childhood box-set of The Chronicles of Narnia ready to pass on to Ffion when she is older.
Believe it or not, I haven't seen the (fairly) recently made movie, however the BBC series in the 80's was a weekly staple in our house. 

I remember exploring the depths of wardrobes in the hope of stumbling into Narnia, I remember every time it snowed, imagining I was there. I remember wearing my Nan's fur coat, and playing Lucy where "it's always Winter and never Christmas!".

And to this day, every time a blanket of snow covers the ground I picture myself in that snowy wood, lit by a single lamp-post and meeting Mr. Tumnus the faun.

This winter was no exception.

Come through the wardrobe into my Narnia...

"Narnia! It's all in the wardrobe like I told you!"

"Winter is almost over."

Don't forget to visit here on Wednesday to see all the other fabulous Gallery posts.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Gallery - Creatures

The Creatures of Min Yr Afon

Our lovely Chickens

Dylan - our beautiful labradoodle.

Ffion getting over excited at the tadpoles from our pond!

This post was for this weeks Gallery theme - Creatures. Click the link to view all the wonderful entries this week.

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Gallery - Motherhood

As many others have, I've struggled to decide on an image to sum up Motherhood. Like many of you I have poured over every image I have (hundreds!). How does one sum up the love, the joy, the tears and pain in one photo? What do people think of when they think of Motherhood?

Being a mum is hands down the hardest thing I've ever done. I thought I would be a natural - I thought wrong!

It's taught me the real meaning of the word exhaustion. 
But it's also taught me the real meaning of the word joy.

It has taught me how thin my patience wears after not sleeping for the best part of a year. 
But it's taught me that you can always find the energy from somewhere to make it through the day, finding quiet moments to restore your soul.

After scrolling through all those images, this one was actually taken today. Ffion was helping me mow the lawn on the ride-on, helping holding the steering wheel, bouncing on my knee (I know, I know, health and stafety)... then all of a sudden amidst the noise and movement, she cwtched into me and just fell asleep. (Ffion never does 'just falling asleep'). I cannot tell you how my heart filled, the love, the protection, the calm, I stopped the engine, got up and carried her inside and we sat. And my mum captured this moment.

A quiet moment that restored my soul
(click  for enlarged image)

During the image hunting I also came across a few other images I'd like to share, I hope you don't mind.

Then and Now
(click  for enlarged image)
Four years old, holding my baby brother, and holding my baby daughter 20yrs later. Probably feeling the exact same emotions - total fear and excitement!

(click  for enlarged image)
Moments of Motherhood

This post was for this weeks Gallery. Click the link to view all the wonderful entries this week.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Gallery - Self Portrait

The theme of this weeks Gallery by Tara Cain is Self Portrait - "Imagine in years to come, your children looking back over photographs of their childhood. Are you in it? Are you always behind the camera? Our photographs are the story of our lives, and even if you aren't a parent you need to be in it."

When I was pregnant I took an added interest in all our childhood photos, pondering what my unborn child would look like (would she be like me?) Would I be a good mum? What would life hold for us? I am so glad there are so many photos of us all growing up. I have my Dad to thank for that, which means sadly he's hardly in any pictures as he was always the one behind the camera.

Ffion's dad isn't in her photos, but for a very different reason. I literally take hundreds of photos of Ffion but I make sure there is lots of the two of us. We're a team. I want to have a record of all our time together, all our adventures together. That's one of the reasons I started blogging. It's also the reason I have kept a keepsake journal for her, so when she has her own children, or when I'm not here anymore, she can look back with fondness...

To My Daughter:

You are just minutes old here! Look how happy I am.

Five days old... look how tiny you are!

Our First Christmas together

You aren't yet one and look at all the adventures we've already had together...
We've (I've!) climbed the highest mountain in South Wales together, we've been to the beach, you've experienced your first snow, soon we're getting Chickens - I wonder what you'll make of them? Soon you'll help me collect the eggs, maybe we'll get some goats too one day?
Some days, pickle I find this all so much work, I get so tired, I get impatient with you and I feel like I'm being a terrible mother. 
But you need to know more than anything how much joy you bring me. I hope you will look back on these and know as much happiness as you have given to me.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The Gallery - Men

The theme of this weeks Gallery by Tara Cain is Men - "Pictures of the men in your life - dads, sons, uncles, teachers..."

This is my Dad
And me. All 6lb 6oz of me!
Look how uncomfortable he looks. Bless.

When I found out I was pregnant, it took me months to tell my parents. It wasn't how it was meant to be... the excited couple calling the parents/in-laws to tell them the good news. No. I was terrified and alone.

Dad scooped me up in his arms. And told me everything was going to be ok. That's all I needed to hear in that moment.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Gallery - The World We Live In

Bannau Sir Gaer and the Lady of the Lake

The Brecon Beacons National Park welcomes some 3.8 million visitors a year. Before I moved to Wales, I was very familiar with the area. Or thought I was.

Pen Y Fan - the highest peak in Britain south of Snowdon, is a well walked, well loved area of the Park. Some days, the path to the top is like a motorway. Due to the well maintained paths I have seen people take the ascent in ugg boots, even flip flops - not accounting for the unpredictable weather that mountains can present you with. There are also popular and stunning waterfall walks.

Travel a little further to the West however, and you will find The Black Mountain.
This part of the Brecon Beacons National Park is a long way from the crowds and erosion found around Pen-y-Fan, yet offers, in my opinion, superior "off the beaten track" walks and superb views - On a clear day, the views take in most of the Brecon Beacons, extend north over Mid Wales and the Cambrian Mountains and south over Swansea Bay and the Pembrokeshire coast. There are also other sites to take in such as Carreg Cennen Castle - which itself is very much worth a visit. 
The lake is connected with folklore legend - The Lady of the Lake, follow the link if you are interested to read more.

My photos above were taken earlier this year when I walked with Mum, Ffion and the dog. The snow was still thick on the top, but the sun was shining and the view to the coast with the setting sun was just spectacular. If you are ever in the area, do check out "the world I live in".

This post is inspired by Tara Cain's weekly Gallery here who "launched it to showcase all the amazing photographs I see dotted around the blogs I visit".

Thursday, 29 April 2010

The Gallery - Portraits

I decided to join in the photographic fun!
This post is inspired by my lovely Twitter friends @debcw (who blogs here) and by @B4kersgirl (who blogs here), who were in turn inspired by Tara Cain's weekly Gallery here who "launched it to showcase all the amazing photographs I see dotted around the blogs I visit".

My Portrait
A Portrait of Pregnancy
I really miss being pregnant. Morning sickness and tiredness aside, I was fortunate enough to have a very easy pregnancy - completely textbook. I can't wait to be pregnant again, I loved it. I loved my changing body. I loved learning about fetal development . 
One thing I know for sure though is next time I don't want to go it alone. I want to share it with a husband. I want someone to lay their hands on my belly and talk to our baby.

I was 40 weeks + 3 days in this photo (Ffion was born three days later). I was tired and anxious and spent every waking hour on my feet in an effort to get things going - even watching TV.

(I also have selected this photo as my dad is an excellent portrait painter and photographer, and collector of art, which you can see on the wall behind me.)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Quote of the Day

"My mother had morning sickness after I was born." 
Rodney Dangerfield