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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My Inspirational Women

It is international woman’s day and with this in mind, I thought I would take time to mention some of the women who I find fascinating, strong and some who have changed the course of my life forever.

Woman’s day is an opportunity to talk about issues facing woman in this modern world. Although, when you list all the challenges that woman have to face in this modern society, it doesn’t feel very modern at all. It almost seems surreal that we should still have to deal with issues such as the gender pay gap, harassment and the more sinister forced marriage, abuse, female genital mutilation and other horrors. But the world is full of amazing, inspirational stories of strength, resilience and breaking all barriers. It is these woman who lead by example and make me feel so positive and full of hope for our future.

Of course, there are so many inspirational women that it would take me an eternity to mention all of them. However, these women have made a difference to MY life.

1 – Anne Frank

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Anne Frank’s journal made her famous and highlighted her short time in hiding from the Nazi’s during WWII. Her entire family hid in a secret annex that was situated behind a bookcase, above the Opekta offices (one of the businesses Anne’s father owned) in Amsterdam. Her entries are terrifying and sad while some of them sweet and humorous. She talks about life with her older sister and all the typical sibling rivalry as well as a love interest when another family joins them in hiding. She also talks about living in terrible conditions, desperately afraid everyday of being caught. I first heard of her as a little girl when South Africa was going though tremendous change. I had no understanding of what was happening around me but through her diary, I realised that a spirit of inclusion for ALL people was vital for a good future. She provides a message of love and not hatred and she challenges our internal prejudices… “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” Anne Frank

2- Maya Angelou

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Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist, poet and author. She worked with Martin Luther King Jnr and Malcolm X during the civil rights movement, was a journalist in Africa during the decolonisation and wrote a number of books and autobiographies. She is an inspiration to me because of her will to fight in the face of injustice. I love her outlook on life and some of her poems are simply beautiful. She stood up and had a voice when no one wanted to listen, especially if your voice was female African American. That takes guts and courage, guts I wish I had sometimes! Her words have brought me comfort and strength at times when I needed them most. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

3- Natalie du Toit

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When Natalie was 17, she was riding her scooter home after swimming practice. She was hit by a car and due to her injuries, lost her left leg. She was back in the pool before she had learnt to walk again with the aid of a prosthetic. She inspires me because she never allowed anything to get in the way of her dreams. Despite the tragedy she faced, she was determined to reach her goals. She has won countless medals and in 2008 qualified for the Olympics and competed against able bodied swimmers. She is an inspiration to me because… well, do I even need to explain? She is just amazing! What a superstar! “I have always had a dream to take part in an Olympic Games, and losing my leg didn’t change anything.” Natalie du Toit

4- My Aunt Betty

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Where do I even start. This woman literally saved my life! My mom passed away when I was 14 and my sister was 12. My gran then died shortly after that and I wasn’t sure how we were going to cope. She saw the living conditions we were left in with our stepfather and decided she couldn’t turn a blind eye. She took us in, loved us, looked after us, guided us and without her, I do not think we would have survived. To me, she is the ultimate inspirational woman. She never ceases to amaze me. Constantly giving without any expectation of receiving anything in return. This is the woman I most want to be like. The everyday superwoman. I love her more than words could ever imagine and I try to live my life in such a way that makes the sacrifices she made and risks she took to bring us up, worth it! Thank you Aunty B for being my ultimate inspirational woman!

There are so many more inspirational woman and I surely do not have the space on this blog or the time to write about all of them. So as we celebrate all the wonderful, amazing woman today, let’s spend some time looking inwards… What are YOU doing today to inspire someone? Are you making a difference? Are you standing up and making your voice heard? Be the change you want to see in this world… be the solution. Happy woman’s Day!

Some other inspirational woman:
Oprah Winfrey (Came from nothing to become a global phenomenon)
Thuli Madonsela (Girls got guts to publicaly stand up against our corrupt SA president)
Mother Teresa (She had an overflowing capacity to love and make a difference)
Aung Sang Suu Kyi (Spent 15 years in house arrest for standing up for democracy in Burma)

 

 

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!

 

 

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?