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

Couldn't live without...

I know people have mixed opinions on Baby Bjorn carriers and they certainly don't work for everyone. But I couldn't have lived without mine.
Before having Ffion I was totally unaware how 'big' babywearing was and the choice of carriers, slings etc out there! All I knew was that I loved the idea of having Ffion close to me, especially in those early days.

I first took her out in it a couple of days after I left the birthing centre, she was just five days old!
Look how tiny she was (!):

Those early weeks were so precious. She would sleep while I carried her on long walks, round town, met with friends. Fast forward 6 months and she was facing outwards, spilling out and trying to jump out getting excited about seeing the world! At 9.5 months she is too big for it now, only just. And I find her too heavy so I am on the look out for another carrier. I'm fancying a Rose & Rebellion one, as recommended by @B4kersgirl.

Baby Bjorns new can be expensive - I won mine on ebay for some ridiculously low price. And it has been worth it's weight in gold. The material is soft and well padded, it's very simple to put on and put the baby in.
It really came into it's own on a trip to Brighton (from Wales) as I managed to load our bags into and onto the pushchair (yes we have one of those too, more on that another time) and push that while carrying Ffion close to me, keeping her safe at crowded stations and on busy public transport- much more important than the safety of our baggage! I even discreetly breastfed her in it on a busy London train.

I will miss using it but am excited about our next 'babywearing' purchase.
Do you babywear? If so, what are your favourite carriers?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Quote of the Day

"Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate."  Charlotte Gray

Yesterday @KirstieMAllsopp twittered "Does it make me a coward that I can only bare to watch a very few minutes of the Great Ormond Street show?" and it reminded me of this quote.

And surely it's the same for every Mother. We ache deeper than we ever ached before watching those charity adverts or the videos from Africa during sports/comic relief,  we wait with baited breath on the results of babies in real life programs such as One Born Every Minute and Great Ormond Street, because we've reached a landmark point in our lives, we'll never be the same again, we now carry our hearts outside our bodies.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Quote of the Day

"The joys of motherhood are never fully experienced until the children are in bed" 
Author Unknown

Site Highlite - Adventures in Babywearing

I first stumbled across this site when @MrTweet suggested I follow @babysteph on Twitter.

And I'm glad he did.

Adventures in Babywearing is the lovely blog from writer, Stephanie Precourt and documents her life with her 4 beautiful children.

I read her daily post (and am guilty of never commenting, sorry!) and they always bring a smile to my face. They are a showcase of real, everyday parenting.

You will fall in love with her children, you will fall in love with her.
You will love her photographs, you will love her style, you will love her honesty.

See for yourself at

Couldn't live without...

There's things Ffion and I can't live without... (and lots we could but are lovely to have anyway) and we'd love to share them with you.

Anything you see recommended on this blog hasn't been sponsored or paid for, but is just something I think may be worth your time and perhaps money.

I'd love to know what things you couldn't live without either... products you love, clothes you treated your little one to, sites that make you smile, sites you spend far too much money on, life saving, patience saving items...!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Today mostly looked like...

Quote of the Day

"The worst feature of a new baby is its mother's singing."

I like to think that I haven't got a bad voice. I'm by no means tone deaf and can harmonise with the best of them.  What IS awful is what I sing about. 

No, I can't just sing traditional nursery rhymes (which have you noticed are pretty violent? Chopping off blind mice tails with carving knives, dying of the plague, cribs falling from trees...!).

No, we don't have twinkling stars here or cows jumping over the moon. We have poo.

Never before have I found so many words to rhyme with poo, poop, or poopie. I'd like to think I'm not the only Mum that does this (please, somebody?) ...

Our nappy changing song for example, goes like this:

"You do a little poo
It comes out of your bum
It comes from the food
That went into your tum

You do a little poopie
It comes out kinda gloopey
If friends could hear me now
They'd think I'm kinda loopey"

I'm sure as a result, Ffion's first words will be nappy related.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Quote of the Day

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."  Agatha Christie

Today mostly looked like...

Quote of the Day

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new."  Rajneesh

I know I'm biased but...

Friday, 22 January 2010

I'm back

It's been 6 months since I last posted. I've been busy being a mum!
Tomorrow this blog is starting a new chapter (and is getting a makeover too).
Pregnancy was just the most amazing, magical time. A walk in the park compared to my day to day life now. But my life now is enriched. I have never known a love like that of the love I have for my daughter. She truly is a blessing.

Who knows what adventures the two of us have in store...