Saturday, 25 May 2013

Saturday Sunshine

Finally it seems as if the sun has come out to play again; it was so cold we had to put the fire on last night,  at the end of May!

An end to all the rain makes  it is even more exciting to be able to be outside today.
The washing is hanging, the younger kids are  jumping and there is a stray football being kicked about.

Small boy looks innocent enough for now...

 not for long!

A beautiful girl has been ordered to collect the lost ball

and is happy to give a silly smile on the way.

I hope you find a little bit of sunshine to enjoy today,  let's hope it lasts all weekend.

Have you found some sunshine today?

Monday, 20 May 2013

Today I will be...

Loving my new  not yet hanging basket,

Avoiding another not quite as nice  basket,

Missing a lovely girl away from home,

Enjoying sweet  little smiles, 

Remembering truth as I wash  dishes,

Relishing the quiet while small girl is eating,

Hoping this will be the biggest decision of the day


 Thankful for my amazing husband who surprised me by cleaning the oven before he left for school at silly o'clock this morning.  

How are you spending 
your day?

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Seize the moment

Such a lovely morning yesterday catching up with old friends. It is so good having time to catch up with people and one of the many benefits of not working. I'm happy to trade less money for fun times laughing with special people especially when small girl was at forest school and babe was asleep and adorable.  Time to chat, listen and laugh about your wrinkles is pretty rare when you have small attachments.

As I was leaving one of the lovely ladies said let's take a picture of you and your babe. Handing her my phone she used her amazing artistic eye to capture that moment in time. The result is my favourite photo of myself in years.   Although we have thousands of photos hardly any are of me, I am much more comfortable behind the lens. Maybe I am trying to fool myself I still look like I did twenty years ago,  avoiding the the reality of the lens.  I have been waiting to look better before I  felt happy to capture myself.  Must be the fact I am nearly forty (huge gulp at getting so old) but I am finally realising if I wait until I am totally happy with what I think I look like it will never happen.

Having been sadly reminded of the preciousness of life by an untimely death of a beautiful friend in a tragic car accident recently, I have made an effort to overcome my reticence in front of the lens  and feature in a few family snaps. Knowing that if anything ever happened to me,  a photograph would be very precious to those left behind. 

Same image as above but cropped
and changed to b & w.
Not such a good angle

The angle of the phone was very kind and my haggered post natal body nicely hidden beneath my beautiful babe. I look so much better in the picture on the left simply because of the position of my head (nicely hiding my chin and ageing neck!)

As I looked  at the photos  and actually liked what I saw, I remembered an article I read in a magazine recently. It was the story of a photographer who felt her mission in life was to take a portrait of real women to show them how beautiful they were. I cannot remember the full story or which magazine it was from (it was in an pile at the doctors) but I was struck with the way a beautiful photo had raised the self esteem of all these women. They all reported at how good it made them feel to see a   nice photo of themselves.

What an amazing gift this photographer was giving when she showed these women what she saw when she looked at them: 
Self esteem is priceless.

Get someone to take a photo of you very soon, just give them your phone or camera and see what happens. Maybe not a toddler or small person unless you want a close up view of your stomach!  Remember it is all about the angle, if the person taking the picture is higher than you and the camera looking down, it is so much kinder. A simple edit can change the effect too, I did this on my phone but it is easy to do using something like pic monkey. Such a fun way to spend a few moments.

Seize a moment today, maybe shared with someone you love, and find someone to capture it. Who knows, it could be a very precious memory to them one day.

What is your favourite photo of yourself and why?

Monday, 13 May 2013

A legacy

The house is still, silent apart from the gentle ticking of the kitchen clock.  I sit and realise this is the first moment of quiet I have felt in months.   The baby and toddler are  asleep, the builder  has  finally finished  and life for a short while seems calm.  So much has happened in the last few months and it is good to finally have a time to reflect  on life changing events.

Hilda Smith 1919 - 2013

Our baby was born on Palm Sunday and on the Wednesday, very early in the morning my Grandma passed away. She was ninety four and had lived a good life but it was  still sad to hear the news so close to the birth of a grandchild she would never meet. Birth and death remind us of the rhythms of life;  the only certainty  in this crazy world we inhabit.   What we do with the life we have been given is our choice, to use our time wisely or waste it aimlessly.

Old & Young - meeting Ruby  for the first time

My Grandma was born just   after the end of the first world war and  lived through huge world turmoil and discovery , it is incredible to think of all the change she has known.  I wonder what changes our new baby will see in the world if she lives as long? 

The baby she will never meet (although she saw this photo).

Last week we held a celebration thanksgiving for the life of Hilda Smith, know to me as Grandma.  I had the privilege of speaking at the service and am so glad I had the chance to honour the life of someone who certainly spent her life making a difference. It was very special to be able to share my memories and listen to the  memories of others at her thanksgiving service which was a very positive celebration of all she had achieved in her life. 

"....for really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live, as the greatest he...."

Thomas Rainsborough (1647)

This was the quote she had above her desk when she was a social worker in Southwark, London.  It epitomises her approach to life. She was a real believer in the value of education, probably because she had left school at a young age needing to help support her family, although returned to study later on in life. At the thanksgiving service  I learnt so much about her and all the ways she had fought politically, a true feminist before it was fashionable, she was a strong believer in enabling women to achieve.    She was  responsible for setting up the first creche at the Labour party conference to make it easier for women to attend.   A strong woman, when faced with a crisis, such as her husband having a stroke,  she used it as an opportunity to set up a  new stroke club so others could benefit.  

As a child  I used to love listening to stories about family members I would never meet.  Her roots in the working class north were strong and even though she had moved south  many years previously, she remained a Lancashire lass for life. After I had my own children I realised the enormity of some of the situations she had faced in life.  Suffering from TB, she spent a long time away from her twin boys recovering:  To be  apart from your children from the age of eighteen months to five years must have been incredibly hard. She had only been given a few years to live after treatment, living to ninety four is a true reflection of her strength  in not letting an illness defeat her.

We all laughed at the memory of the shoes she wore to my parents Ruby wedding anniversary;  Grandma took great delight in telling us they were the same pair she wore to their wedding forty years previously!

As we celebrated and gave thanks for a life well lived I reflected on the legacy that she has left me.  She always encouraged me to achieve and  not settle.  

Her legacy to me is this:

Do not be afraid to be the one making a change.

What will your legacy be?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Beautiful Baby Makes

Thank you to everyone who has helped welcome our new sweet girl into this world.  As a family we have felt overwhelmed with the love and care shown to us. Every meal, cake, coffee,  card  and gift has been valued and appreciated.

This was a bonus little babe, and it has taken time for the surprise and shock to fade. She announced her presence just before Christmas and was born  on Palm Sunday.  Not a long time to accept and get ready to welcome  new disruption into our lives.  Our full stop baby has brought with her a lot of joy, added so much to our family already and has given  a fantastic reason to create beautiful baby  makes.

Ideas to Inspire : Baby Vest Beautifying

I am going to share some of these baby makes over time and hope they inspire you to create something special for a small person. Some things made by me and some by creative pals.  Of course I take no credit for these ideas from a whole range of amazing friends.

The first one was sent by a super talented lady who recently moved across the big pond and can spend her days sewing in the sunshine  state. We spent a lot of lovely time together last year chatting and drinking tea as we made items for the craft stall at the school fayre.

A plain white baby vest with a something lovely embroidered on the front.  My mind is buzzing with ideas inspired by these;  I have plans to sew her name with small purple flowers (violets)   or maybe a little sun or simple words such as cuddle me or feed me.

Totally my sort of craft being quick, simple and not expensive, I know I will be making lots.

I have just realised the sleep suit  small babe is wearing  has  embroidered animals on, another idea....

Such a simple idea but very effective, an easy and quick baby gift.

Thank you  for the gift and the inspiration.

What would you put on the front of a baby vest?