” Exposure to nature and the outdoors as a form or component of psychotherapy “

Full springtime immersion, feeding spring lambs and poking my fingers deep into their already thick fleecy head.

Local walks stolen between school drop-off and the various obligations of the day. Over the grimy crossroad and away from the the chip-shop stink. Tripping down concrete steps littered in broken plates ’til I reach the river path. The quiet. The wild place right on my doorstep. Coming nose to nose with buds and blossoms. Feeling the tickle of the catkin pollen and fur on my cheek. Pressing my ear, my chest into the thick trunk of a tree. Guessing the things it’s seen. Whispering in it’s scaly ear… thank you.

Rare child-free weekend away. Decadent in both it’s fine hostelry and it’s long fell top walks. Hours spent drinking local ale in a cosy pub and talking, talking, talking. Baths for no other reason than the time to do so and a really large claw foot bath that needed filling with hot lakeland water. Afternoon snoozes. Books. Poems.

Muddying boots and roseying cheeks and gritting up bitten fingernails with wet moss as I scramble and scrape my way over rocky fells.

Heart thudding, breath heaving, boots marching. Up. Up. Up. Relentless. Telling myself to just keep putting one boot in front of the other and I will get there.

I will.


A visit to Yorkshire Lavender.

In a sleepless haze of nap-less desperation I bundled the girl-child into the car in the hope she would fall asleep. I wound through lanes and villages around York for half an hour before she finally closed her eyes. Being lost* I carried on driving looking for somewhere to pull in and close my own eyes for half an hour. We happened upon Yorkshire Lavender in Terrington near York, and it was the perfect spot for a bit of aimless wandering once she awoke.



Obviously we bypassed the natural splendours and headed straight for the tea room, which serves an assortment of savoury and sweet foods. Not all the sweet treats are laced with lavender, but we chose the lavender and raspberry Bakewell tart, and a lavender and blueberry muffin for the girl-child.





The lavenders are looking lush with new growth at this time of year, but no flower spikes yet. Still, there are enough spring flowers to make the gardens worthwhile if you love flowers. And taking picture of flowers… Ahem.




Coming as I do, from a hilly Pennine village, I find a proper hilltop hard to come by in these parts *sobs*. Terrington sits atop the Howardian Hills and the views from Terrington Bank back towards York are stunning, especially on a day like this one. The gardens are well maintained and landscaped in a way that I think makes them really toddler friendly, but without losing any adult appeal. We had enormous fun running up and down the “wobbly wobbly path” and when I stopped to take pictures, I knew that the girl-child couldn’t really roam too far out of my sight.

The staff were really friendly and happy to indulge the girl-child in a bit of “helping” with the weeding. Visitors are actively encouraged to touch the plants, and girl-child really enjoyed being able to wander among the lavenders and the gravel paths that wind through the herbaceous borders. At the bottom of the hill is a small paddock with a herd of deer, and along with the sculptures, giant gates and pergolas, it’s a really fun, sensory way to spend an hour or two with an active toddler. As well as the tea rooms there are a gift shop and a modest plant nursery, but entry to the gardens is free.

*I’m never lost. I’m just enjoying being on an unfamiliar road.

Mami 2 Five

Happy Things #2

The sap is definitely rising and these are some of things making me smile this week! Hurray!

1 // Seeing the first butterfly of the season, and a huge bumblebee. Hearing the birds in the hedge getting all twitterpated.

2 // Mothers Day was gorgeous. Girl-child picked out some flowers for me and kept saying “Happy mothers day” all day. We went for burgers. Burgers trump EVERYTHING in my world.

3 // Taking a family walk at Skipwith Common which is a lovely nature reserve near York. Clear blue skies, long shadows, sticks and dens. And songs from The Jungle Book.

4 // Taking some time on the yoga mat – something I’ve not been doing enough of lately but always makes me feel good about life.

5 // A long hot bath with essential oils. Lavender, rose geranium and patchouli are my favourites – relaxing and mood enhancing. Plus I whiff pretty damn good afterwards. For a change.

6 // Reading all the books. The Girl is so athletic and acrobatic at the moment, which is fantastic, but also exhausting! So it’s nice when she just want to read stories with mama.

7 // The solar eclipse! I was so excited by this event! How amazing is this little globe we inhabit in this vast universe? Events like this remind me of how small we are and how, despite modern life and all it’s craziness, nature still captivates and inspires us.


Hope you are finding plenty to put a spring in your step too? Let me know in the comments below!

I’m linking this post with Sunday Stars

Mami 2 Five

A good day for remembering.

As good as any. Anniversaries always give cause to reflect, but if truth be told, I’m not usually given to marking this day. As anyone who has ever lost someone close will tell you, the small slender spear of loss can prick your heart at any time of year, sometimes a tiny scratch on the outer surface. Other times a gaping hole bore from the inside out. It needs no prompt, no reminder, so why inflict it upon ones self just for the sake of a date?

But this year it’s 20 years, and I didn’t consciously realise it until yesterday. And it kind of explains the cloudiness of heart I’ve felt over the last few days. And today, the piercing.
And when you have a small person to entertain, who doesn’t really understand who the young lady in the photographs are, you don’t have the indulgence of just pulling the duvet over your head, closing the curtains and allowing yourself to surrender to it. Thinking of her is rarely associated with sadness. Most days I smile and chuckle at the fun memories she left us or maybe I see or hear something I think she would have appreciated. After this long though, it’s hard to know whether my memory is playing tricks. Of sensual memories, I have no doubt. Her hugs, the smell of her, the slightly crunchy sensation of touching her lacquered hair, the fine and fair downy hairs of her cheek, coated in Clinique. What kind of person she was, well, I’m the first to admit that while my memory has distilled, it may also have filtered. Is this true for all people who have been gone for a long time? The memories become hazy, what’s remembered is an essence, unique in the eye of the beholder?

She’s been gone for longer than I knew her. Twenty years ago I was aged 16, so I reflect upon that too. I think of me in the weeks and days leading up to this day – all that I was and all that I thought I could be. In hindsight, how sly yet sudden comes the shift in your sense of self. Changed forever in that fraction of a moment between her being here, then not being here.

So, after I tapped out this draft, on my phone, I got dressed, put on my make up, and went out. With the intention of trying not to let my mind follow the ruminations. I didn’t want today to be lost in pity for myself or for her. I just wanted what she would have wanted – to try and be here, today. Alive, with her granddaughter for company. The BEST company.

17th Feb collage


So there. It was the day we did all this. There were also burgers, charity shops and Monsters Inc. So, it was a GOOD day.


Lately // Winter Walks

Being something of a technological slattern, I had neither backed-up my hard drive or uploaded photo’s from the camera in approximately a gazillion months or something. It came to a head when iPhoto crashed on me last night. Momentary panic  ensued. Not too am-dram, though, I was zonked in front of my Girls box set after a long day and a run. With no wine. So, you know, a brew at 10pm. Anyway, it all came back to life (switch off and back on again) and I backed up and sorted out my photo’s.

So this was going to be about a lovely walk we did last Sunday, which was THE most gorgeous sunny day of the year so far. Then I found some of our New Years Day walk too, so here they are too.











(Spot the Instagram filters.) New years day walk was at Scarborough. You can tell which day is which by the colour of the sky… look at that blooooooo! I don’t know where the other place was, but there was a canal and lot’s of mole hills with which to clog up wellies. Our souls really needed this sunny walk after the long dark January and well, just because life. And cities. And central heating.

Hope you all are finding some little beams of spring starting to defrost the spirits, if not the bones?!

p.s. Yes, I know the first picture is THE least flattering angle for me.





A mini adventure!

I don’t have much luck with car boot sales. We turned up all prepared with wellies, sling, snacks, cash and suitably Del Boy style attire to find it was cancelled again.

Luckily, we found a nature reserve around the corner. It had everything going for it: muddy puddles in abundance, rabbits, squirrels, the most delightful cacophony of birdsong, trees, ponds and enough flouncy rhodedendrons to make it like we were all in foreign n that. And spontaneity. So without further ado here is our #microadventure in photo’s.

Apologies in advance for mish mash of photo editing styles… I am tapping this out on the phone while the little ‘un sleeps on me!








Happy bank holiday weekend! What adventures have you been up to lately?


Festival season

Sometimes you turn a corner and see this…


And all is right with the world, don’t you think?


Living Arrows 17/52

After the stress-fest of last weekend, we stayed home this weekend, taking a mooch through town and letting Little One lead us around.

Bit of decluttering, catching up on sleep (me), movies (him), stirring up some comfort food, sweet treats…. You know the vibe? Easy.




You are a natural explorer, leading your Daddy up and down theses steps among the uncurling ferns and spring flowers. And yet you seem to know you limits sometimes, stopping to reach behind for our hands to hold. This was later in the afternoon and you were already tired from not having napped earlier in the day. But on you went – up, down, up, down. You won’t be satisfied until you can come down those steps by yourself. And you look totally brilliant in your Wellies.

Photo taken on iPhone and edited in Picmonkey.


The one where we take a toddler camping…

Camping eh? Immersing yourself in the middle of forests, mountains and Lakes. Idlely swigging on a local ale by the campfire as you strum a guitar. Perhaps a spot of leisurely gourmet camp food preparation to while away those splendid al fresco hours of relaxation?


Uh-uh. Not anymore! Welcome to camping with a toddler! Last year we had several successful camping trips with the Chicken. After all, she was not yet mobile. This time, however, it was like being at home, in the garden (y’know, with wormy soil to eat and stagnant rainwater to drink direct from puddles like a puppy)? Only without fences. And with actual dog food, and dogs. And fires. And brambles and nettles. And cars. And sub zero night time temperatures and light, noisy evenings.  So. I will now share with you, what I have learned. You’re welcome.


1. Layers. If it’s freezing at night, you will need to dress your child in a bodysuit, two babygro’s, a snow suit and a sleeping bag. She may overheat and die. Or so you will think as you peel back the layers and wake your child from her slumber because she is now too cold. If your child sleeps face down, turn the hood of their snowsuit inside out, or else it will act as a carbon dioxide rebreathe tent for your sleeping child’s head. And they may die. Or so you will think. Best not to chance it I say…


2. Manage expectations. You are going for the experience. Not for all the relaxing properties listed at the top of the post. (Get over it. You have a child now.) We took turns following the wee’n around the site, while the other one prepared the food / tidied the tent / tried to eat (see points 3 & 5). A conversation was had about how to stop her from roaming about the campsite so that we could have a bit of a sit down. The obvious answer being – we can’t. Coupled with the excitement and the late nights, she was totally wired and we were totally exhausted. The culmination on day two was me folding my arms across my chest and proclaiming “Thats it. I’m not doing it again.” And then driving an hour and a half to Dad’s where a bed and a chance of rest awaited me. In terms of hardcore outdoorsiness and eco credentials, it was a fail. In terms of sanity, it was a big thumbs up.


3. Leave your inner gourmand at home. Crack open the baked beans and revel in crisps. You must not at any cost, forget the alcohol. You need it. You deserve it. You are a camping parent now.


4. Safety in numbers. Consider camping with a group of other families. We had a mixed group including another young family, but the briefest spells where the kids played nicely together close to the tent was brilliant. But never assume somebody else is watching your child unless you have asked them first. They aren’t. You need to ask. We are not good at this yet. Also with other families you can probably share out the meal preparation and therefore the hassle. (Read: pour all the tins of beans into one pan to save washing up.)


5. Plan. But be flexible. We have SO MUCH STUFF. From 8am to 8 pm on Good Friday, we packed, sat in a car, then unpacked. We only drove from Yorkshire to The Lakes. Next time, we will try to plan out the things we really need to take & try to buy food ahead of time. We also failed to check the roads, so a 2 hour journey took us 5 hours instead. With only crisps and rice cakes for the Chicken to eat. She was not impressed. Once you have the travel, food and equipment essentials covered, feel free to mount the crazy horse of spontaneity and see where that mad old mare takes you.


Camping is in itself a lot like childbirth. You get all excited about it and plan a whole “back to nature” experience. Then when it happens you are so traumatised you say “once is enough”. Then the good bits start to happen. Watching her little eyes widen at the trees all around her, and the birdsong and the ducks and sheep and rivers and flowers. And her look of disbelief when she realised that she could wander about in it all and poke stuff. Well. She loved it. Thats the new normal isn’t it? They are happy so you have to work out a way to keep that stuff happening. We are not defeated yet!

This last picture is my Living Arrows 16/52. Taken using Sony A300 DSLR. COmpletely untampered with.



Lately // In photo’s

It’s all been a bit homey and a bit quiet around here lately. Since my last written post, Spring has arrived, we had a couple of birthdays, and got ill.

I’ve been busily taking the Small along to a load of those baby groups that you are *supposed* to go to in the first year, but I have mercifully managed to avoid. Now it seems I’m well up for it, which goes to prove my stance that you don’t need to bother with any of that if you really don’t want to. They will still be there when (if) you change your mind. We’ve had a lovely 14 months soaking each other up at home and going on our own private adventures, and I’m glad about that. But. Those groups. There are germs, okay? So now we are both ill. Or rather, are emerging from the illness, thankfully. Along with the current bout of teething, it makes for some sleepless nights and some soggy chins. Another tooth emerged today – that’s the seventh. I looked it up this morning – she has another thirteen to go. THIRTEEN? Holy Bejaysus. I’m kind of hoping we are going to have a run of them to get some of those ticked off in one go, you know?

Anyway, rather than bore you with loads of words, here ‘s some pictures instead.


*Dreams, dreams* This time next year, I WILL be in the Great Britich Sewing Bee!


Hello Birthday rainbows!


Playing Out at the Museum Gardens, where Spring has got a very flouncy and ostentatious hat on.




Daring to dream of summer…


Off the healthy eating wagon for a night. In style.


Millenium Bridge, York.


Look at that sky, for goodness sake!

That’s all folks. I’m not officially doing #100happydays but jeez, we are lucky. Look at this planet we call home!

What Springy shenanigans have you been up to?