Happy Things #8

So many things this time around, and this isn’t even the fully up to date version. Lucky me!

My birthday was in February. We spend a gorgeous very early Spring day at Flamborough Head, visiting the Living Seas Centre run by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. For a tiny wee cabin it offers loads to do and I definitely want to go back and tag along with one of the guided walks along the shores. Rock Pooling is one of those romantic concepts that enchanted me as a child. It must have been Enid Blyton, or maybe something out of the Sunday supplements in the summer holidays. Or maybe it was just that Lancashire beaches are not particularly rock-pooly – favouring long and broad sandy sealess expanses. Ergo, rock pools were possibly the height of pre-teen geek exoticism. Whatever it is, I am just desperate to uncover an anemone, or a fossil or a live crab. It’s gonna happen. It will be a dream come true when it does.

It is HERE. There are blossoms, and burgeoning shoots, all turgid and expectant. And colour. At this time of year the colour is so precious, every shade standing proud against a background of black earth, grey sky or saturated grass. Before it’s rarity is lost amongst the brassy extravagance of summer.

Leaving February and into March, I was feeling the come-down from my birthday and was starting to get a bit shitty and fed up with all the grey. (Why? I don’t know, clearly I forgot to review my photo library – case in point above….) A long weekend in the Lake District was an absolute saviour for all of us. I didn’t know how much we all needed it until we arrived. It just felt like that was the place we all need to be, right at that very moment. All of the shitty just faded away. And how can you… just how, can anybody fail to be revived and jolted into happy by the sight of rainy north west mists rising up over the tops of those mountains? Some people are wary to visit the Lakes because of the reputation for rain. But honestly, it hardly rains as much as you plan for. And it moves and changes so much, the blue sky is never far behind. What glory. What drama.

So, there you have it. Until next time, adios amigos 😉

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December: Joy and Peace.

Things are still plodding along slowly in the post-flood recovery. Mostly, we are in a normal routine again, albeit in a different house, with less stuff. Sometimes, I miss the stuff, other times, I plan a huge declutter upon our return. I feel an unease, that I suppose comes along with times of uncertainty (we still don’t really know how long it will be until we return), and there are occasional pangs of impatience. I just want to be back in our home.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some pictures of December, because it was a really lovely Christmas this year. I felt like I really got ahead of the game with planning, which left us a lot more time to spend in December, just immersing ourselves in the festive fun. It was the first Christmas in our newly decorated living room, and I wanted to go all out with the cosy, natural vibe this year.

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Joy and peace were not only the typical words of the season, but really how I felt, having so much time to make and do. The girl child is at a fun stage where she really loves it when I start pulling down all the crafty stuff and covering the kitchen table in glitter, and glue and twigs, paper, cards, string. She’s pretty messy, but so am I. The glitter got everywhere, but I didn’t care a jot. For the first time, I didn’t get hung up on making things perfect either. I just got on with it. Even the ‘Peace’ banner – I ended up cutting it out freehand after realising the printer was out of ink. I like it better than a perfect font would have turned out.

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I really loved how the spinning jennies turned out, dipped in glitter. I sprinkled them on the Christmas table, instead of plastic confetti. The 3D glitter bells (there’s a theme here…..) were great fun to do – we all had a go. I always think bells have gone a bit out of fashion in recent years, but as a child they were really popular, especially for crafts involving…. glitter!

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I couldn’t quite capture all of the candles we had going on. I went for tapers this year, but struggled to find a nice holder for them so ended up shoving them into these preserving bottles I hadn’t gotten around to using in the summer. Result! Especially when I further tarted them up with sprigs of conifer and glitter encrusted acorns. Obvs.

This is sheer vanity and pride. I was SO chuffed to find this gorgeous dress in Dog and Bone vintage shop in York. It was the perfect fit and I LOVE it. Especially with my new metallic, bargain brogues from Clarkes. I felt like a folk dancer from space and let me tell you, it was a fiiiiine feeling *clicks heels*.
  

December was unseasonably wet, but mild. When the rain did abate, we managed some outdoor time. Including the first solo, self-directed and successful tree climbing event in the back garden. She rocks my world.

So, I hope you didn’t mind me rewinding a little and indulging in a little love for the month that was December.

 

Jumping Puddles.

Let today be the day the girl child had her first full day at playgroup by herself. She jumped in puddles and got her socks wet, “played and played and played” but at what or with whom she cannot say. She required a full change of clothing due to wee (bottom half) and general water messing (top half). She blagged her way into the kitchen and tried to charm an extra yoghurt from one of the staff members “mmm… that smells good…!?” Despite it only being her first week, in a room full of settled-in boys and girls, she has, I’m told, got her feet firmly under the table, as if she has always been there. No tears. No emergencies.  

Up until now, I have mainly been on childcare duties interspersed with phone calls and internet research, with Mister being at the house, sorting out the dirty hands-on flood stuff. Today we both tackled it. I got emotional about the sausage butties and tea from the phenomenal Fossy’s Flossy’s voluntary food wagon. Because I get that. Food. That’s what I want to do in a crisis – feed people. So to be fed by somebody who doesn’t know me, and who isn’t getting paid, with donated food, while they freeze to death in their little wagon. It gets me. Then there was the visit to Homebase, and the sight of people nonchalantly browsing sale items to beautify their homes. And me, in my bright yellow waterproof trousers, blue jacket and bright pink Wellies. Although admittedly, I selected the Wellies for sheer comedy value. Because if you can’t look like a clown when you are cleaning shitty water off a hula hoop, when can you?

 
The skies over York have been a talking point, tonight. At sunset, the most beautiful golden light bouncing gloriously off panes of glass, hanging low on the horizon, beneath the strangest cloud formations. Truly ethereal.IMG_5367The first tentative murmurings of Spring can be found fighting their way out from the mire today, including the first snowdrop in our garden. Its clean white bud swinging delicately over a puddle. Hope.  

 

After The Flood.

Christmas Day 2015 was the best. Ever. Then it was Boxing Day.

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1 // The water creeping up the garden. You can see the River Foss just over the fence. It’s never breached the back fence before. Not while we have lived here at least.

2 // Preparing for the worst – thinking it might end up being a bit of a faff seeing as we’d have to come and put it all back the next day.

3 // View from across “the river”. The bottom of our from door is 4 steps up from the level of the road itself. We had only remarked a couple of days before Christmas “if we flood the whole of York will be under”

4 // After the flood. Filth everywhere.

I’m surprised I haven’t cried more at this point. It’s not really the things that need replacing as much as the inconvenience of it all that bothers me the most. I got upset about the thought of the original fireplace and surround which will have to go, because I felt sad for the house, and all the people who had lived here before us. I felt sad about it being the two rooms that we had put so much of ourselves into creating – the lounge and the kitchen. The builder friend of ours who had built it and done such an impeccable job of every last detail. I was sorry for his ruined craftsmanship. The emotional impact of the constant lists whirring around inside my mind. Things not to forget to do. Trying to keep things on an even keel for the girl child. Sleeping in a different bed, waking throughout the night. Strange dreams, the by-product of unsettled times.

And yet, life continues. We deal with the insurers, and builders and whoever else we need to deal with. Taking it day by day.

We are lucky we have somewhere safe and dry to stay.

We are lucky that the efforts of yorks voluntary army have been so strong (particular gratitude to the men and women serving hot food and tea in our neighbourhood).

We are lucky that we have our families and friends to lean on. The offers of help and good wishes are countless.

We are lucky we managed to save most of our possessions. And also amazed at how much stuff we don’t really care about 😉

We are lucky we had the money to pay our insurance premiums.

We are lucky we have a 3 year old to make us laugh on a daily basis.

X

Ghosts in the House.

Do all mothers have this feeling when the house is empty? Mister is away and girl-child is at her Grandad’s and I have this empty house and all these hours. I knew it was coming and I’d thought of all the brilliant child-free things I was going to do: knitting, writing, cleaning, baking, studying, crafting, meditating, yoga, Pilates. But now I feel panicked by what to do first. All these things I dream of doing when I don’t have time to do them (well maybe I don’t dream of cleaning ha) and now I have the time, I don’t know where to begin.

Last night when I went to bed, I thought how strange it was not to hear the distant rumble of Mister watching a film downstairs. I went into girl-childs room and closed the curtains, looked at her bed, her things, wondered if she was asleep yet. In the night I awoke a couple of times thinking I could hear her sleepy sighs through the baby monitor.

I’ve always known that I like to be alone. I need to be. At times, I crave it so much it drives me mad to not just have it. So it’s a bit of a mind-boggler to find that when I am alone, I just miss them.

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Autumn

The garden is damp. The plants have flopped over, or been battered down by the rain. The earth has tilted, so light becomes scarce. There is a 4ft sq of light that spans the edge of the garden and the hedge, and it creeps silently along that one edge of the garden from morning until mid afternoon, when all light is gone completely. I don’t love my garden in Autumn, it has to be said. The grass never dries out, the dew sits on the branches all day, quietly dripping onto the humus below. There are glimpses of joy – fat garden spiders hanging out in their copious webs, the leaves on the potted blueberry, which turn all the colours of autumn. The magenta stars of the asters, and the small blue flowers of the borage that has self seeded itself in the bath. The bath, which I planted earlier in summer to be a sensory seat – chamomile, lavender, thyme – is gushing forth, still. And the birds visiting the fat balls and peanuts we put out together. They peek their little heads out gof the hedge first to see if the coast is clear, then out they flutter for a nibble or a drink.

Generally though, I have to go a bit further afield than my garden in order to enjoy the splendour of the season, and so far I haven’t. I’m not sure why exactly. Mister and the girl child have – but I’ve opted to stay home and nest. To be alone, pottering, listening to podcasts, gathering my thoughts. It feels right somehow.

On a bright day, I have sat on the bench outside the back door, with steaming tea, breathing in the wet air, and I like that. When the heating comes on, and we must enshroud ourselves in restrictive layers and coats, those damp micro-droplets in the air feel so thirst quenching to my skin and my lungs. Maybe I will take off my shoes and socks and spread my toes out in the wet grass. Yes, I should do that.

In the meantime, here are some photo’s. Fat berries and luscious light *sighs*

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Did you see the little hairs on the Borage? In my lightless garden… Hmmm – insert meaningful Pinteresty quote here _____ (or below…?)

Bye for now – hopefully I will not leave it as long between posts this time!

Happy Things #6

  

1 // Reading. On my bookshelf at the moment I have ‘Sane new world’ by Ruby Wax and ‘The Jewel Garden’ by Monty and Sarah Don. Knowledge is power and, as it happens, out of my three years of undergraduate Physiology, neuroscience was the most interesting module to me. As a Physio too, the physiology of pain fascinates me, so this was never going to be a tricky read for me… If anything I’m left wanting. Recognising there is a physiological process contributing to my low mood is helping me to accept it and move forward. The Jewel Garden is inspiring me to get my hands dirty to cleanse my mind.

2 // The garden is looking lovely, as I’ve already posted. Since then, the French lavender and our dusky pink aquilegia have exploded bringing some very definite floral focal point to the garden. 

3 // The first of the summer swallows arrived and I feel hopeful in my heart just thinking of lying in the garden looking up through the trees to watch them swoop and dive for flies. 

4 // Cow parsley and Lilacs frothing over the edges of our nearby cycle track, and Hawthorne blossoms filling the air with summer scent that reminds me of childhoods playing in the fields near our home. 

5 // Bringing some regularity and importance back to my meditation and mindfulness practice. Ruby Wax proving some practical tips in her book, Headspace guiding me in my meditation practice and Lotus Bell app reminding me to breathe and take a mindful moment at random times through the day. Discipline is all my own. 

What are you happy about or grateful for this week? Any recommendations for further reading…?!

Happy Things #5

I haven’t written much lately or taken many photos. I guess I am trying to be more in the moment and using any spare time to read, stretch, potter. I’m doing what feels good to me, and it’s thrown up some more happy moments… Hurray! 

   
1 // Girl Childs first trip to the dentist – she was awesome. Hopped straight up into the chair, chatted away with the dentist and didn’t even flinch when he examined her teeth! So proud!

2 // Might sound weird, but sharing my post about my low mood last week. It opened a door for me and I started to reach out a bit more. I’ve felt more positive and more hopeful since that day.

3 // The following words: “Whats this for?” *indicates garden wire* “Just thought it would come in handy for little garden jobs. Why?” “I might make a selfie helmet.” *Cue lots of running up and down stairs and then out of the front door* Maybe you had to be there but it tickled me all evening. It was a bit of a Tom and Barbara moment! 

4 // Being sociable and having our friends round for a curry night. Remember the times when you used to hang around with your mates talking all kinds of crap, dreaming, laughing? Well, we set the world to rights and we now know what that dangly thing at the back of your mouth is for. It’s called an uvula and it stops food going into your nose. Nice, eh? 

Have a lovely weekend folks! X

Happy Things #4 

Er, May? What the Billy-o?

Also: Spring where have ye gone? Nevermind… Still plenty to be thankful for of late methinks.

1 // Lots of garden activity at the weekend. Tidying, planting, buying too many plants… Oops. Hearing the girl-child asking if she can “do gardening” and standing there with her little watering can and hopeful eyes, as if she was asking for the best, naughtiest treat that she’d never be allowed.

2 // Chasing butterflies in the garden and, rain or shine, watching the birds poking their little head out of the shuddering hedge before visiting the bird table. Girl child, if she is in the garden, will talk to the wildlife as if it’s a baby “hello little bird. Are you ok? Do you want a cuddle?”

3 // Lovely new bright yellow raincoat for the girl child. Is it wrong to wear the same as your daughter? She looks awesome, and the colour of sunshine was invented solely for her.

4 // Getting a little time out for a bike ride along the river for some much needed head clearing. More please!

5 // Getting into some box set happiness. How is it that I am so late to the Girls AND House of Cards parties? House of Cards is so intriguing and Kevin Spacey is brilliant.

Bring on May!

What’s been putting a smile on your face lately? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Things #3

I felt like the last post was a bit moany, so I looked back through my photos and found loads of really happy sunny times! Classic example of how the brain can cling to the negatives. Those seductive little blighters. So here are some happy things from the last few weeks. In your FACE, pesky brain poo’s!

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1 // The sun is here! The sun is here! The sun is here!

2 // Wriggling my toes in the sand. Eeeee!

3 // Lying on a soft mossy leafy wooded hillside in the quiet morning, listening to nothing but the birds and the sound of a nearby stream. Wherever it is, it’s the best place on earth.

4 // Eating fresh, simple, summery flavours again, like avocados and tomatoes on garlic toast. Quick, simple and delish.

5 // Feeling the motivation to move my body again after a few weeks hiatus. Boom shake shake shake the room. Or the wobbly bits. Whatever.

What have you been up to? Let me know in the comments below!

p.s. Linking this post with Mum’s Days & YouBabyMeMummy’s #TheList!

 

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