Letting Go On The Ocean Breeze

I haven’t posted here for a while and there are reasons for this. My first post for the year was so full of joy, hope and expectation for a great year with wonderful things to look forward to. Truth is, this year has been tough. Tougher than I ever imagined it would be… I never anticipated for one second that I would have a miscarriage. When we found out we were pregnant, we were overjoyed! A sibling for Emily! How wonderful. We started to talk about the baby room, if it was a boy or a girl, how we wanted to spend the next 8 months before baby arrived, how we were going to break the news to Emily when the time was right… But then, everything changed.

That moment you begin to bleed but it takes you a second to register… “But, I’m pregnant, this does not seem right??!!” You go to the doctor and she confirms what you have been dreading… you are miscarrying. It’s taboo, nobody talks about it… like you are ashamed of your body and how it has ‘malfunctioned’ and left you with a gaping hole in your soul. Grief overtakes and your heart breaks into millions of tiny little pieces. All the joy, excitement and hope, shattered.

I am not new to loss or grief. My father has never been around. My mother died when I was 13, my gran shortly after, leaving my sister and I with virtually no family except my wonderful Aunt and Uncle and each other. Life has been hard, a roller coaster and I have hated life and the hand I have been dealt and other times, I feel liberated for my struggles because I am the person I am today because of my hardships. Hindsight is a wonderful thing… Emily was born on the same date my mother died. It was like God saying to me, enough sorrow and heartache, here take this child, be it’s mother. I am giving you something back for your loss.

When you are in the midst of your grief, it can be difficult to see the woods for the trees, and months later, I still sometimes feel this way. I find it difficult to comprehend, to digest and sometimes, I struggle to believe it even happened. “Why me?”. “What did I do wrong?”. “It’s my fault!”. “Was there something I could have done to prevent it?” These are some of the the things that have been on repeat in my head. But the truth is, miscarriage happens… to many woman. I am not alone in my suffering. I never realised just how many woman trudge their way through this life experience in silence, until I started to talk about it. I realised that most woman I know have experienced miscarriage at some point and in some way it is comforting. Please don’t get me wrong, I would never wish this on anyone but knowing that there are other people out there who know what you are going through, can offer words of comfort and advice makes me feel less isolated, less alone and that in itself is part of the healing process.

I am also acutely aware that this happened to Matthew too. Sometimes we can forget that although the dads are not carrying the child, they feel the loss the same way we do. Although he has suffered so much through this, he has been a rock and my strength. We have leaned on each other and we are stronger for weathering this together.

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We recently spent time back in South Africa with family and friends. We took some time out one day in Cape Town and drove around the west coast. We arrived in Melkbosstrand and took a walk on the beach. There is something about the ocean that is healing and restorative. Some of my biggest decisions in my life have been made while walking along one of the beaches of South Africa. As we were walking I separated from Matthew and Emily and took a few minutes to myself. I watched the two of them walk, laugh and collect shells together and my heart filled with joy. I am lucky to have the family I have and I am so grateful for them. And while I still find my mind drifting to our baby and how far I would be in my pregnancy now, I took that moment and let him/her go. Like as if the wind on the beach that day scooped him/her up and drifted out to sea. I cried and then let go. Turned around to face my family and busied myself with helping my daughter pick up the best shells on the beach we could find. We have not fallen pregnant since the miscarriage and I have no idea what the future holds for our family but if you ever wondered if we would like to have another child… My answer would simply be, Yes!… desperately.

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*Thank you to family and friends who have been such a lifeline and support. We are so grateful to each of you for asking how we are doing, allowing us to talk about it openly and for allowing me to cry on your shoulders. Some of you are so far away but so dear to our hearts.*

 

 

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New Year, new beginnings

So, 2016 has rolled around and I have spent some time thinking about how I intend to spend the year. I took some time away from the blog, not because I wasn’t enjoying it… because actually, I love this little space I have created but because I wanted to re-evaluate this little site. I do find it challenging to keep writing regular posts while at the same time juggling work and family life. I was seriously considering letting the blog go because I felt that if I couldn’t post regularly, then I wasn’t doing this whole blog thing right…

We celebrated the New Year in Cornwall this year. Just the 3 of us… which is a first and honestly, it was great! We spent some wonderful time together as a little family. We ate fish and chips at Rick Stein’s fish and chip restaurant in Padstow. Walked the beaches in Fowey and explored the Eden project. Most of all, we spoke about the new year, our goals, dreams and wishes as a family.

I decided that I love blogging and wanted to keep the site. I need to allocate more time to doing this which I hope to do this year. I have begun planning posts already as well as having a think about some of the messages I want to put out there this year. What’s my ethos? And how best do I get these messages across? I also realised that the blog should really be anything I want it to be. It is by me for me, well… at least it is for now. It’s an archive of some of my happiest moments and I am fond of this little space.

Aside from this, I have decided to focus on other areas of my life such as my health and eating clean. Focusing on our house and doing up the some of the rooms that have been lacking attention. We also want to travel a bit this year and we have a list of some of the places we would like to visit. So this year is looking good. Exciting even. So here is to 2016. May it be a year full of adventure, love and excitement!

 

 

The Mother Lode of All Tantrums

If you ever thought you were alone when it comes to your toddler putting on an incredible performance, well I can assure you…you are not.

Emily’s tantrum last night was certainly something to behold. I was busy cooking dinner and she likes to play this little game… where she dresses her doll up, packs her bag and knocks on the kitchen door to drop Rosie (her doll) off at school (I’m the teacher) and heads off to “work”. It’s a cute game and I enjoy playing it with her. She was taking a while so I opened the door and stuck my head around to see where she was… Well, I don’t know why, but this made her so upset she slumped to the floor and began to cry. “Sorry Emi, come knock on the door” I say to her…that seemed to offend her even more. So I figure, OK… a bath may help. I get her in but now she refuses to brush her teeth, normally I can brush her teeth for her once she is out the bath and in her towel… when I attempted to do this well she screamed so loud I thought she was actually going to make herself sick. I cuddled her a bit to see if I could calm her, nope…nothing worked. In the end, I lay her on her bed, cuddled her, gave her a kiss and said she must call me if she needs me. She lay there for about 15 minutes having a good cry and she then called out “Mamma, I are ready!”

By this time daddy had arrived home which offered a distraction and she then calmed down. Sjoe!! I needed a glass of wine after that!

As I think back, I could have done a few things differently to change the situation or handled some aspects of her tantrum better but also on reflection, I think she just needed a good cry. Most of us hold our kids to an incredibly high standard. Sometimes higher than we could ever achieve ourselves and we forget that they are little humans with emotions and feelings. I know I have been guilty of doing this! But as a “grown up” (as she likes to call us) I realise that I have my days where I am in a bad mood, I am snappy, miserable and sometimes sulk in a corner and cry.

If us as adults do this regularly, how on earth can we expect our children not to? I am on this journey of discovery and there are many lessons I am learning along the way but one thing I have leant is to show some understanding to my little girl and let them know that you are there for them through thick and thin.

This morning was like nothing had happened and she was back to her happy, lively and playful self. Nothing a good cry can’t fix eh?

Thanks Emily for teaching me about humility and to watch myself and my actions but also, thanks Emi for being you!

Summertime fun so far!

We wait with baited breathe for the sun to come out and the weather to warm up so we can officially call it summertime!! I know, sad really… But one thing could not be more true… Britain (particularly London) is one of the most wonderful places on earth during the summertime and I am happy to be here.

It is a crazy busy time of year as everyone tries to make the most of the good weather by spending as much time outdoors. I saw an advert for a supermarket that read: “Sunshine… Quick!! BBQ” Made me chuckle cause this is really what it is like and we have been no different. It has been a lovely summer so far and these are some of the things we have gotten up to.

DIY Projects
We have been busy in the garden and doing up various bits of the house. Matthew does most of the heavy lifting, sawing, and sanding etc and I am always on the sideline shouting instructions! We have completed our new headboard with left over pallet wood and our pallet furniture for outside is almost complete. We have painted the table in our kitchen and the next project will be the chairs. We have also built a new outdoor table with left over decking boards. It is so rewarding to see the transformation although, I cannot take the credit… Matthew is a DIY machine!

A day on the beach
The weather has been great the last few weeks and we decided to make the most of it! We both took the day off and spent the day on Camber beach in Rye. It only takes about 2.5 hours to get there. We started by having breakfast at The Ship Inn in Rye. They have the BEST French toast. The most delicious door stop piece of eggy bread with cinnamon, blueberries, bacon and syrup. Even though gluten does not agree with me, I made an exception on this occasion.

We then spent the rest of the day basking in the sunshine! Emily, of course, was in her element! Running around on the sandy beach, building sand castles with daddy (her favourite thing to do) and collecting shells. It fills your heart with joy to see your child run around with wild abandon. We ended the day with an ice cream before heading home at which point Emily passed out.

Cycling the Wandle Trail
If you live in South West London, I can highly recommend this trail for walking and cycling. We love cycling and to be able to do it as a family makes it even more special. We don’t head out on the bikes as often as we used to but whenever we feel the need, we haul them out and head off for a few hours of exercise. We love the Wandle Trail and it has been recently redone with new paths and bridges which make your cycling experience that much better. Morden Hall Park is our stop off point where we have a cup of coffee, go for a walk and pick flowers. This park has a number of activities throughout the summer such as outdoor cinema, beer on the river, summer food fares and camping nights with night trails for kids. Check out their website for more details. Put both the trail and the park on your “to do” list for the summer holidays.

Picking Carshalton Lavender
Carshalton is known for its lavendar and every year they open up the fields to the public to go picking. We didn’t do it last year but this year we decided to give it a go. As you walk into the field, you get these little wafts of lavender and with the beautiful surroundings, you really feel like you are away from it all. Emily enjoyed picking the flowers and smelling them. “Mmmm, beautiful!” She says. I love doing things like this with her. We have a strawberry plant in the garden that Matthew bought for her and they would go out every day to see how the plant grew little flowers which then turned into fruit. I feel like it teaches her patience and appreciation for the things around her. What a lovely morning! Of course, we took our pickings home and dotted small bunches all around the house.

So much love for the summertime and while we have a couple months of summer left, we certainly have a few other activities up our sleeve. Some great Summer ideas are:
Udderbelly festival on the south bank
-Visit a “pick your own” farm
-The beach near the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
-Camping in the garden/or camping at a camp site
-Local summer festivals (check your council website)
-Do a wine tasting tour
Outdoor Cinema
-Picnic in your local park

There are loads of activities for adults and kids alike. Have a look at your local council and parks for ideas. Make hay while the sun shines and enjoy the rest of the beautiful British summer. Happy long, lazy summer days to you all.

Have you got any great summertime activity ideas?

A Salt Dough Garland

We woke up on Sunday morning and felt really disappointed to see the overcast weather and I thought to myself, what am I going to do with a toddler indoors all day today??

I then remembered that I wanted to make salt dough ornaments for the Christmas tree last Christmas, but I just didn’t get round to it. As it requires ingredients in every kitchen, I figured… today is as good a day as any!

Recipe:
1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water

Mix everything together to form a fairly wet and sticky dough.

I then scooped the dough from the bowl onto a floured table and let Emily really get stuck in. She absolutely loved it!

Once the dough becomes more workable from kneading and playing with it, you can then roll it out with a rolling pin.

We then used Emily’s choice of cookie cutter, which on this occasion was a whale, and cut out our shapes (Tip: the dough needs to be quite thick)

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We then poked holes into the shapes with a skewer and placed them onto baking paper and baked in an oven (100°c for 2 hours).

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Once they were cool, I strung them up to make a garland and Emily and I walked around the house and garden to figure out where she wanted to hang her new creation.

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With a little persuasion from dad, she agreed that the chalkboard wall was a good place. We were both very chuffed with our creation and luckily, by the time we were done, the sun had come out and we decided to go out for a family walk with Emily on her scooter.

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Of course there are many things you can do with these. You can add food colouring during the dough phase or paint them once they are are dry and cool. I have seen some of them with a dried flower embedded into the ornament. You can also use a twig from the garden to make pretty impressions. Be as creative as you like.

We thoroughly enjoyed our arts and crafts day and hopefully, this will provide hours of entertainment for you too!

Bank Holiday Weekend – Staycation

The bank holiday weekend is here!! Normally, we would try and do something exciting like go away for a city break somewhere but having just come back from a South African holiday; we will be staycationing this weekend. I thought I would include a few things that we plan to get up.

Go for a stroll in the park
This is always a favourite of ours. We have a beautiful park a short walk from our house with a duck pond that Emily loves! It is always wonderful to get outdoors as a family and get some fresh air.

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Go Cycling
This is one of our all-time favourite summer activities… We absolutely love cycling and Emily adores being on the back of the bike. If the weather permits, it is always a great few hours to hop on the bike and set off through some of London’s beautiful forests and cycling routes.

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Braai/BBQ
YES…. For us weather is never a problem when it comes to having a braai and rain or shine, it is a MUST on a bank holiday weekend! This is a great time to catch up with friends and family. Sometimes, Matthew and I will braai just the 2 of us, open a bottle of wine and sit in the garden while the sun sets.

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Do some Gardening
Now is the perfect time to wonder down to your local nursery and purchase a few seasonal flowers to jazz up your garden! Emily really enjoys being daddy’s little helper in the garden and she is such a smart little thing, she has already been asking about buying flowers for the garden.

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Visit your favourite coffee shop
Bank holiday weekends are a great excuse to hide away in your favourite café with a cup of coffee and a book. One of my favourite cafes is Le Pain Quotidien. They have the most delicious food and fantastic coffee!

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Bake something delicious
I really enjoy being in my kitchen and while I am a much better cook than I am a baker, it is a great excuse to spend some time trying out a new recipe. Emily loves to help around the kitchen and the messier, the better.

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So, if you are staying at home for this bank holiday weekend, there are loads of great things to do that will rejuvenate your body and mind. For me, there is nothing more wonderful than spending quality time with my family and friends during my time off work. They truly are my oasis and my life line and I cannot think of a better way to spend my extra time! What are you getting up to this weekend??