Saturday, 6 August 2022

Making and Creating

 In the past few months both Pip and I have been busy with all sorts of projects.  I've spent quite a bit of time in my outside work room and made a selection of placemats, aprons and bunting for friends.  I've also been busy making bunting to sell in my folksy shop which will be resurrected over the next week or so 😊. 

A Floral Apron.

A Woodland Christmas.

Shades of Green.

Red, gold and green.

Candy Cane Colours.

Red, White and Blue.

Pretty Pastels.

A Vibrant Variety

A Parade of Animals.

Pip has been busy at her desk creating all sorts of funky images ❤️. She has a distinctive design and either devises her own designs or tweaks a standard image with her own interpretation 😊

Pip's friend Anna from Interhigh. 
 During the same trip where we met Eva and family, we also spent the weekend with Anna and her Mum.  Sadly we were unable to meet her Dad as he was poorly that weekend.

One of Pip's ace designs ❤️. 
I love the whole effect including the clever colour combinations but I think the lace up boots are my favourite part of the whole outfit.

Pip's handmade birthday card for her best friend Beth.  She scanned the drawing onto the Moonpig website and was able to type in an individual birthday message using a quote from Albus Dumbledore:

It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow up to be.

Thanks also to a really brilliant book called 'The First 40 Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing The New Mother,' I was able to make a big batch of Gourmand Granola and Postnatal Recovery Stew for Kathryn.  The stew was so good that I made some for the family and it was the only thing Ben could eat when he had Flu followed by a throat infection a few weeks ago.

Gourmand Granola made with oats, nuts, seeds, shredded and flaked coconut, cocoa, peanut butter and chocolate chips.

Recovery Stew: carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, leeks, mushrooms, lentils, cashew nuts, turmeric, garlic, ginger, bone broth and one can of coconut milk.  I cooked it in the Instant Pot for 18 minutes and the flavours wonderfully mingle.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Welcome Ottilie Grae ❤️

 This cutie was born yesterday afternoon at 2:31pm weighing in at 7lbs 14oz:

Mary is absolutely delighted :-) 
She thought that she was having a tour of the hospital and had no idea that her little sister had arrived!

Proud Dad ❤️

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Out of Hibernation

 I read a post somewhere about the person involved describing their depression as a form of hibernation and I though it was quite apt.  I've been away from here for the longest time ever, sure I've taken a month off here and there but not nearly eight months!  For the early part of the year I was busy finishing up my final piece for my red tent doula qualification, my piece was entitled "Unravelling birth stories using creative writing and art therapy."  I had a final session with my doula mentor and my final piece was well received and a certificate was duly despatched.

Somewhere around the middle of February I noticed that things were slightly off and not only did I withdraw from various online connections (this place included) I was really having to force myself to get dressed, have a shower and do basic daily things each day.  I had a lovely appointment with my GP and  we both reached the same conclusion that I was suffering from mild depression.  A plan of action was devised which included talking therapy and a series of online 'Zoom' sessions based on well being and gratitude.  I'm pleased to report I've made it through the other side and back to my usual self :-)

Despite having some really tough days we have had a lot of good things happen in these intervening few months so I though I would share a small selection of photos capturing this time:

Eva and her family were in London for the third time and we finally got to meet them in person!

Dave and Peter

Pip with Miriam, Veronika and Flora.

Eva and I.

I was really proud of myself dealing with London traffic.  We were staying in Guildford and since the A3 into London was closed due to a road traffic accident. I literally had to go around all the houses!  Eva cooked some beautiful food that catered for all of our dietary requirements which is no mean feat for sure :-)

A Flying Visit from Sr Emma

Em and Sr Karen her companion made a flying visit.  I had a phone call on the Friday to say that the flight was booked for the Sunday and they would return home on the Thursday!  It was a whistle stop tour of seeing family interspersed with daily mass and fit to fly Covid tests!

Almost all of us (Sara and Tom were working and not able to switch out their work schedule) including an extra addition nestled in Kath's tum!  Grandchild number three and granddaughter number two due any day now!

Confirmation Weekend

Pip was confirmed on Pentecost Sunday (June 5th).  She chose Chiara Badano as her confirmation saint.  Dave's mum stopped for the weekend and our longstanding Little Flower's friend Kara was Pip's confirmation sponsor.  Sadly photos were not allowed in the church but some official snaps were taken, we are just awaiting a copy.  We did however have a really lovely day and that is all that matters.


Party Food

Pip and her friend Rosey (Kara's eldest daughter).

A post Pip hospital treat the following day and before Nanna returned home.

The Annual Fairy Day

Every year we celebrate a midsummer fairy day for Pip since her actual birthday is literally just before Christmas.  Her best friend spends the day with us and they have a whole heap of fun :-)  Once again ETSY came up trumps and they did a 'Night at The Museum' escape room which then earned them both a copy of the Hogwarts Baking Book.  Their task was to make Hagrid's Rock Cakes for an after tea dessert and the kitchen survived two giggly teenage girls - thankfully not much mess amidst the mayhem!

Confirmation Pilgrimage to Lindisfarne

We wanted to mark Pip's confirmation in a special way and so we took both her and Rosey to the North East of the UK.  We stopped at the Youth Hostel at Alnwick, visited Barter Books, Lindisfarne also known as Holy Island, had fish and chips at Seahouses and on our last day home stopped off at the Roman Army Museum just outside of Hexham.

Choosing a holiday read from Barter Books.

Barter Books Tea Room.

The girls in charge of tea on the first night: beef burgers, oven chips and mixed veg.

St Mary's Church Lindisfarne.

Fish and Chips at Seahouses.

The Front of the YHA.

Last stop before home.

I think that's me caught up!  I really am hoping to pop by more frequently over here and on folks blogs as I've missed catching up with some blogging friends.  Take care folks x 

Friday, 7 January 2022


 We have decided to keep the tree up until Candlemas, I think we did the same last year!  I'm just not ready to let go of its comforting presence and it is so cheery to look at too:

Where The Map Begins ~ A Blessing for Epiphany

This is not any map you know,

Forget Longitude, 

Forget Latitude,

Do not think of distance or of plotting the most direct route,

Astrolabe, sextant, compass

these will not help here.

This is the map that begins with a star,

This is the chart that starts with a fire,

With blazing,

with ancient light

that has outlasted

generations, empires,

cultures and wars.

Look starward once

and then look away,

Close your eyes and see how the map begins to blossom

behind your lids,

how it constellates

its lines stretching out

from where you stand.

You cannot see it all,

cannot divine the way

it will turn and spiral

cannot perceive how the road you walk

will lead you finally inside,

through the labyrinth

of your own heart

and belly

and lungs.

But you step out

and you will know

what the wise who travelled this path before you knew,

the treasure in this map

is buried not at journey's end

but at its beginning.

Jan Richardson, 'Circle of Grace, A Book of Blessings for Each Season.'

I love that the treasure is found at the beginning of the journey and not at the end, that gives me a sense of hope and very much ties in with a Benedictine philosophy that, 'each day we begin again' and listen with the ear of our heart to your words O Lord.

I will not lie, I'm struggling with awful inflammation in my low spine and at one point it became too painful to even sit.  I have some pretty strong anti- inflammatory medication that has begun to take down the swelling and the gentle walking is helping to try and shift everything into place.  I also have an Osteopath appointment next week, Praise God!  However, if I'm not careful pain can really start to drag me down, so having these challenges such as an outdoor hour keep me focused and distracted. Seeing the little shapes being coloured in on the nature mandala wheel is also a real encouragement to keep going. 

Since the 2nd of January I have so far clocked up a total of seven hours outside, which is no mean feat for someone with a chronic health condition.  It has not all been plain sailing and there have been times when I have wanted to stay huddled next to the fire, but every time I have ignored that inclination my spirits have lifted for being in nature.  This morning I took a very slow walk to the nearby river and I sat on the bench to soak up the sounds, finish my prayers and just be in God's presence:

In addition to the challenges we also have a joy jar on the table with squares of paper and a pencil and it is openly available for folk to add something that brought them joy that day.  I'm hoping by the end of the year it will be full of such moments that we can share and reflect upon.

Whilst I was on my walk Pip was busy turning this masterpiece into thank you cards for family and friends:

Monday, 3 January 2022

Christmas Week and New Year

Ben travelled back with Mum H on the 27th and so  we decided to be brave and take Pip out for lunch on the 30th as we figured it would be crazy come New Year's Eve.   In fact it was positively heaving at our chosen venue, however thanks to be God, we had a table at the far side and were sheltered by a huge Christmas tree.  I was so relieved we were not seated in the main part of the restaurant it resembled a rugby scrum 🙄. Despite the nagging Covid worry rambling around in my brain we all enjoyed our meal:

Pip taking a photo of her food to show Ben as he'd been out for lunch with Nanna earlier in the week - she had Chicken Caesar Salad.

Dave had Tuna Nicoise.

Mine was goats cheese and beetroot salad and sweet potato fries.  It was utterly delicious but I no longer seem to be able to tolerate any dairy including goats cheese/milk which is a shame. 

On New Year's Eve we had a visit from some friends, it was lovely to catch up with them and the kids had a fab time.  By the end of their stay I wasn't feeling too great (not Covid just a usual chronic health crash) and in truth I just wanted to go to bed but had promised to make dessert for our New Year's Day family meal and so I set too in making keto friendly Boston Cream Cake. To my surprise and delight it was a real winner 😊

Gluten free, dairy free and very low carb Keto cake.

I've not had a word of the year for several years but felt called to have one this time round and my word this year is 'Faith.'  My faith has most definitely been tested this two years and not entirely due to Covid!!  I haven't lost my faith in fact I'm incredibly grateful to have a real person who is so much bigger than me and knows every hair on my head that I can turn to.  What I have missed is living the liturgical year and feeling safe enough to attend mass in person, assuming we are well enough to attend in the first place.  My hope and prayer is that this year we will live out our faith more liturgically.

In addition to spiritual matters I've decided to have a go at three rather broad year long challenges - de-cluttering 2022 things in 2022, 1000 hours outside and adopting some of the #Home Front Solutions adopted by women and families during the second world war.  I always do better when I have a focus and even if I don't complete all the challenges it's the trying that counts!  I'm also a visual person and had a lot of fun decluttering some magazines, cutting out relevant pictures and making a vision board for 2022:

I love the phrase 'put a pause in your day' a reminder to sit down with a cup of tea and recharge and most importantly to spend time with God.  I've welcomed the return of alfresco breakfast and coffee time with God for the last few mornings:

Outdoor Hours Chart.

Welcome blue skies this morning.

Yesterday's breakfast on a rather damp and dreary day ❤️