The 52 Project: Spring ’18

September 7, 2018

Photography / Pregnancy + Parenting

Considering we’re swiftly heading towards the end of summer, I’m so far behind on keeping up with my 52 Project. It’s so lovely to look back on these little snapshots though so I hope you enjoy this little bomb of Casper cuteness.

8 weeks is a long time in baby days and you can really see the change in this set. He goes from barely wanting to hold himself up to being able to sit up unaided! 💔

project 52 baby tummy time at 4 months

Week 15 // Still not sure about tummy time. 

baby froggy legs at 4 months

Week 16 // Those little froggy legs.

Week 17 // My little dribble monster (shot by Kasia Kiliszek)

baby on sheep skin at 4 months

Week 18 // Recreating a snap of Daddy around the same age.

baby on sheep skin in the sun at 4 months

Week 19 // His first taste of warmer weather.

baby sat on sofa at 5 months

Week 20 // B is for Baby and Bowie.

baby in Ergo carrier in the park at 5 months

Week 21 // Discovering the world strapped to daddy’s chest.

baby in the park at 4 months

Week 22 // Park life.

Discoveries | 01

August 7, 2018

Inspiration

Cocorrina & Co

Cocorrina & Co

These images to leave you awe-inspired…

I’m just so into these gorgeous creations by Corina Nika. I discovered her magical Instagram the same week as the lunar eclipse which seemed pretty perfect to me. I’ve got wonderfully lost delving into her feed and the design work on her site. It’s safe to say I’m obsessed.

These cards to send to a friend in need…

I love the ethos of The Paper Elephant Project “Whilst the sending of cards for a physical health problem is entirely commonplace in society, research has shown that those experiencing mental health problems very rarely receive a card at all.” Their cards include phrases like ‘I am so proud of your courage’ and ‘You’re not alone in this’. Such simple but powerful sentiments to send to someone going through a tough time.

This podcast which will make you long for a pen pal…

A new find for me last week and I’ve already binged my way through most of the back catalogue. ‘Dispatch to a Friend’ is a podcast sharing the correspondence between two friends. In their letters, they discuss recipes, gardening, books and share little everyday moments from their lives. It’s the most delightful listen.

These words to lift your spirits…

I came across the following passage a few weeks ago and it spoke deeply to my soul. I wasn’t aware of Morgan Harper Nichols previously but I’m so glad I have found her beautiful writing.

“Perhaps, even here, I am growing.
When the days are long and I do not feel as strong and when the hours go by slower than they ever have before,
and the sun is shining and I am lost indoors,
perhaps even here I am growing…”

A few things I’m grateful for right now.

July 11, 2018

Life

Photography. Feet in the morning light

How are you handling the heat? I’ve found that this weather, although glorious, can be a little challenging to manage with a baby. Restless nights have been followed by early starts and sticky and sweaty days that have involved a lot of hiding in the shade. That said, in trying to avoid being hot and bothered, there’s been so much to enjoy over the last few weeks. I’ve been embracing a slow holiday-vibe pace of life and really noticing and enjoying life’s little pleasures.

Here are a few things that I’ve been grateful for and which have brought me joy recently…

☾ Diffusing summery scents in the morning whilst the early light dances around the room.
☾ Creating a shady nest in our garden for snoozy outdoor feeds with my babe.
☾ Clean washing drying on the line and the satisfaction of getting to the bottom of the laundry pile – thank you heatwave 🙏🏻.
☾ The euphoric feeling of swimming in deep, cool salt water.
☾ Dancing like only the baby is watching!
☾ Fresh veg delivered to our door (our Able & Cole delivery makes me so happy each week).
☾ A messy little yoghurt covered face.
☾ Beautiful sunshiny weekends spent with friends.
☾ Salad days for days.
☾ Football.
☾ Deliveroo *finally* serving our postcode!
☾ An electric fan in the bedroom at night.
☾ Sharing homemade ice lollies with my little buddy.
☾ Dinners in the garden.
☾ The vibrancy of the city in the summer.
☾ Escaping the city at weekends for fresh air.

What’s been bringing a little extra sunshine to your life on these warm days?

The 52 Project: A Catch Up

May 30, 2018

Photography / Pregnancy + Parenting

A portrait of my baby every week for a year.

I guess it was pretty inevitable that I’d fall behind on the 52 Project. Despite there being no shortage of photos of this little bub, blogging has undoubtedly taken a back seat whilst the weeks and months have continued to fly on by. So here’s a little catch up on Casper’s portraits from early in the year. It already seems like such a long time ago – the weather and the baby are almost unrecognisable!

You can see my previous 52 Project post here.

(Above) Week 5 // Everything is so exciting when you’re 10 weeks old!

Baby photography 2 months old

Week 6 // Watching him learn to play and figure things out is such a joy.

Baby photography 2 months old

Week 8 // Mummy’s little pumpkin!

Baby photography in the snow 3 months old

Week 9 // All wrapped up in the snow. I wonder how long it’ll be until he sees another snowfall like the one we had this winter.

Baby photography 3 months old

Week 11 // My little bandit’s first trip to see family in Devon.

Baby photography 3 months old

Week 12 // My little spotty baby. It’s funny looking back on pictures that show his baby acne

As this has only taken us up to week 12 I’ve still got another couple post planned to catch up on – hope you don’t mind the baby spam!😉

Intentions for May

May 1, 2018

Life / Wellbeing

Tea with flowers

The thing about wanting to live more intentionally, mindfully, gently or slowly is that it’s a constant work in progress. For me, it’s a balance between cultivating the habits that help me feel more aligned in my day-to-day but also learning to let go of internal expectations that cause frustration and stress. So often it’s much more about a mindset rather than anything practical. My intentions this month are all about working on that mindset shift and reminding myself that it’s ok to prioritise the things that fill me up.

I’ve purposely steered away from goal-setting so far this year during the first part of my maternity leave, but inspired by Jen Carrington’s weekly letter I decided to add some goals to go along with my intentions for May. Aligning with my intentions, these are gentle goals and things that will make me happy to achieve.

My intentions for May

Let go of the of-do list stress – House chores, life admin, Instagram posts…all the things that “need” to be done will be there whether I stress over them or not. I’m always coming back to trying to accept the fact that I can’t do ALL of the things and if I don’t prioritise the stuff that fills me up and feels good then I’ll never find time for it.

Practice presence – It might not always be the easiest thing but I know I’m always happier on the days I spent living a little more in the moment and not with half a mind on that aforementioned to-do list.

Make time for creativity – For their May ‘slow experiment’ the hosts of The Slow Home Podcast are doing something creative every day this month, with the point being that it’s about enjoying the process rather than creating something to share. This week’s episode made me want to crack out my sewing machine and material box, but I think I’ll have to find something that fits in a bit better with the baby.

More reading (less scrolling) – I recently joined our lovely local library. I would like to use some of that time I’m spending stuck underneath a feeding baby to slowly but surely make it through a paperback!

My goals for May

Write my birth story –  I’m heading into the sixth month since Casper arrived and I’d love to write up the story of how he joined us in the world in time for his half-birthday.

Make a start on a new project – My friend Franky and I have been hatching plans to launch a new creative project together (you can probably guess what!). This month I’d like to flesh out our plans and set a schedule for launch.

Back up and print some photos – Always a job I say I’ll stay on top of but it gets out of hand so quickly! I’d be heartbroken if I lost all the baby snaps so it’s definitely time to back up those memories.

Plan and book our holidays – Over the years we’ve been pretty ‘last minute’ when it comes to booking time away. It’s always worked out fine for us but I’m certain that now we’ve got a baby in the mix we can’t really continue with such a laid-back attitude. We’d like to get away for a mini-break soon and plan a longer trip in the summer using the remainder of my husband’s generous paternity leave.

Pump it up! – I’m yet to pump a drop of milk or try Casper on a bottle. While this has been fine for us so far it would definitely be nice to let Dad do the odd feed here and there!

Do you have any goals or intentions for this month? I’d love to hear about them. Let me know on Instagram and use #MyIntentionalYear for any posts.

Embracing The Fourth Trimester

March 22, 2018

Pregnancy + Parenting / Wellbeing

Maternity Photography, Floaty, feminine, baby bump

Early in March my baby turned three months old, this means I have now come to the end of my ‘fourth trimester’ – the last stage of pregnancy. The fourth trimester is a phrase coined to acknowledge the significance of the first twelve weeks after birth for both mother and baby. There’s plenty to read online about a baby’s development in the early months and how certain things may help ease their transition into life outside the womb. However, that time after birth is also a period of great change for a woman and embracing the concept of a fourth trimester can help us connect with the idea that birth is not quite the end of our pregnancy journey.

While I was pregnant, I set the intention to really let these first few months be a time for recovery and adjustment. To go slowly and not to put pressure on myself (or my body) to do or achieve too much. For me, this has meant deciding not to worry, or even think about certain things during this fourth trimester. It hasn’t been a time for routines, to-do lists or getting back to pre-baby shape; but for bonding with my baby and gently adapting to a new way of life.

Maternity Photography, Maternity Photography, Floaty, feminine, baby bump Maternity Photography, Floaty, feminine, baby bump

This is not to say that embracing the fourth trimester has meant new parenthood has been easy. I’ve had days when I’ve been blue, felt exasperated and overwhelmed, have fought with my partner and cried over the tiniest things…basically, I’ve been as exhausted and hormonal as any other new mamma. Surrender is the word which has accompanied this time. I’ve done my best to surrender to the extreme tiredness, the three-nappy-changes, being covered in puke and screamed at. “This too shall pass”…and all too quickly. Surrendering to the tough moments may not make them any easier but it has definitely helped manage my wellbeing and my headspace.

Now I’m three months postpartum I’m not planning on changing things suddenly. I’m not about to go on a diet, become obsessed with getting into a routine or returning to starting an exercise regime. To see the three-month mark as some sort of end point, I feel, would somewhat defeat the point of a gentle transition period. This is only the beginning of this parenthood journey and I know the adjusting and adapting is now pretty much a constant, life-long process.

I do believe embracing the forth trimester has helped see me through the crazy newborn haze and I would encourage any pregnant women or new mammas to do the same. It’s been so important to honour the final stage of pregnancy.

Images by the brilliant Kasia Kiliszek (www.kasiakiliszek.co.uk) shot for an upcoming story on thisiswomb.com.

Read on… Me & My Bump: Body Confidence In Pregnancy

The 52 Project: January 2017

February 4, 2018

Pregnancy + Parenting

52 project one month baby and daddy A portrait of my baby every week for a year.

I definitely day dreamed about joining in with The 52 Project way before Casper was a twinkle in my eye! I discovered the photography project back in the day through Bleubird Vintage blog and James’s gorgeous portraits of her kids. I’ve always enjoyed watching others bloggers document their little ones growing week by week. I’ll admit that I’m pretty excited to join in with a blog series that has contributed to a fair amount of broodiness over the years!

52 project one month baby and daddy Week one // Our little squidge in Daddy’s arms

52 project one month baby on daddyWeek two // Those eyes. Sometimes they are the deepest blue and sometimes grey. At times like in this photo they make him look quite solemn. They always make my heart burst.

52 project one month babyWeek three // Our baby seems to live in a cosy cloud of grey and white. It’s all very calming and angelic…and super handy for hiding at those milky stains.

52 project one month baby on sheepskin rugWeek four // Suddenly so awake and engaged. I can tell we’re gonna have fun this boy and I!

Are you taking part in the 52 Project this year? Let me know so I can follow along.

My Intentional Year: A Gentle January

January 27, 2018

Wellbeing

A Gentle January blog title

In my last post I shared that I’ve not made any resolutions this New Year, instead of focusing on plans and goals I’d like 2018 to be the year for being more mindful and intentional. Rather than think about what I want to achieve each month, when I take some time to set my intentions for the coming few weeks I’ll be thinking about how I want things to feel and what mindset I want to cultivate as I navigate through my days. To help guide me I’m choosing a word for the month that encapsulates these feelings.

This month, I knew that more than anything I wanted to prioritise going slowly, taking things easy and being kind to myself and my family as we adjust our new lives together. So my guiding word for January has been gentle. Although you’d hope a new mum would know not to put too much pressure on herself I’m afraid it’s all too easy to let those nagging, negative thoughts creep in. When overwhelmed by tiredness – thinking I should be doing better or achieving more, it’s been helpful to come back to the idea of gentle and g e n t l y reassess how I’m approaching or feeling about a moment or situation.

bunch of gypsophila baby's breath lace ribbon handsbunch of gypsophila baby's breath lace ribbon

New baby aside, I think we all need a reminder, especially at this time of year, to approach things in life more gently. You’d think that after a month dedicated to spreading joy and cheer it wouldn’t be so difficult, but it seems as though after the excess of the festive season, January brings about a collective guilt trip. Dry January, Vegan January, a plastic-free month – as worthwhile as these lifestyle changes may be, I can’t help but feel that they still come from a place of beating ourselves up!

Last week’s Blue Monday may be mainly there to give marketers something to Tweet about during a slow season, but there certainly seems to be more people suffering from the blues during January. Even us ardent winter-lovers are searching for signs of spring! When things seem a little bleak ‘gentle’ seems to be a good solution. Gentle doesn’t tell you to “cheer up” or “try harder”; Gentle instead speaks of not being to hard on yourself and of sitting with those uncomfortable feelings knowing they will pass.

And yes, I know there’s only a few days left of January, but maybe, as we come to the end of this long month, it’s the perfect time to have a little check in. And if your 2018 hasn’t got off to the best start I hope you can choose to be gentle with yourself.

Join the conversation on Instagram using the hashtag #myintentionalyear to share your gentle moments this month.

My Intentional Year

January 8, 2018

Wellbeing

My Intentional Year

It’s that time of year for reflecting on the past twelve months and making plans for the next. Although I love that fresh start, clean slate feeling that January brings, it seems these days, we’re mostly in agreement that a ‘new year new me’ mentality is not a sustainable way of bringing about real change. Read more, eat well, buy better, declutter, write more, exercise – whatever your list looks like, a generic and vague set of life ‘improvements’ only serves to become something to beat ourselves up about come the end of a long winter. That’s why this new year, I’m choosing to focus on intentions rather than outcomes or achievements.

If there are goals, dreams or habit-shifts you’d like to see come about in 2018, then by all means, lay them out and take steps to work towards them. However, I think it’s important not to get caught up in the big picture and be sure to focus on what is needed for this particular season, month or moment of your life.

This is especially apparent for me right now as I start the year as a new mum with a one-month-old baby. I have no idea what the next couple of weeks will look like or demand from me, let alone the next few months or rest of the year. That said, although I might not know what to expect from our day-to-day, I do have an idea of how I’d like to navigate our new lives together.I want to prioritise quality time and connection. I would like to be present in the moment as much as possible; to remember all the fleeting little details and find meaningful ways to document them. I want to be mindful of my emotions and ride out the tougher times without spiralling into negativity and becoming overwhelmed.

dried hydrangea petals in hands dried hydrangea petals

I know that when I’m living more intentionally I’m calmer and more content. Not mindlessly scrolling on my phone; knowing my limitations and not trying to do everything at once, taking time for reflection, meditation and mindfulness – the actions that help me feel aligned may well look different now my priorities have changed but by keeping intentionality at the forefront I hope to be able to bring about that same sense of calm.

I’m starting my intentional year by deliberately taking January gently and slowly. If you’re not feeling the New Year buzz (or maybe you’ve already lost it) then I recommend emerging into 2018 gradually, without putting pressure on yourself this month. I’ll be publishing a post later this week on having a gentle January.

My plan intention is to share my journey into a more intentional year here on the blog and over on Instagram using the hashtag #MyIntentionalYear. I’d love it if you would like to join in with the tag to share your own moments of intentional living this year.

How are you feeling about the new year? My friends online seemed to fall into two camps –  those who are raring to go and those who would rather ease themselves gently into the new year.

The Babe With The Power

January 7, 2018

Pregnancy + Parenting

New Born photography baby boy

Casper Bowie Swift, our baby boy, made his grand entrance into the world a month ago on December the sixth at 4.06 in the afternoon, weighing in at 6lb 6.

He was born in water and delivered at the wonderful midwife-led centre in Bristol, Cossham Hospital. I’ll save my birth story for another time, but the experience was everything I could have hoped for – natural, intimate, intense but also very calm.

With a due date of the twelfth, we had spent much of the last nine months worrying that our baby’s birthday would be very near or even on Christmas Day. I joke about it, but I honestly would not have believed any child of mine would be early. Anyhow, at 39 weeks he was good and ready to join us Earth-side, in plenty of time to be completely oblivious to our quiet Christmas Day celebrations a few weeks later as a new family of three.

A month in and he’s already changed so much. Our diddy delicate little newborn is transforming before our eyes as he grows. His kicks are getting strong and those little headbutts he throws hurt!! I must have already kissed that head over a thousand times and have taken hundreds of photos. I want to remember all the little details of this first stage; his little hand gestures that seem to convey so much expression; the manic wild thing he becomes when he’s ready to feed; the sweet satisfied coos and sighs; the way he stares with his old-soul eyes, taking in the new world around him.New Born photography baby boy

New born photography baby boy

The first month of parenthood has been beautiful, raw and humbling. I’ve quickly surrendered to being woken after 45 minutes sleep, being covered in bodily fluid and having to do most things one handed. There’s been tougher times and tears but the magical moments have far outweighed the overwhelming ones.

I’m already bursting with love and pride for this little person I’m only just getting to know. As we pack away his first newborn outfits the feelings are bittersweet, I can’t believe how quickly this first month together has flown by but I’m so excited to see him grow and see my little Starman’s personality emerge.

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