Category Archives: NURTURE

Thank you April: monthly gratitudes

May 7, 2019

JOURNAL / NURTURE

Toddler in the sun

I just love the timelessness of the pictures I’m sharing alongside this month’s gratitudes. They remind me of photos of myself as a toddler, sat in a washing up bowl of cool water on a warm sunny day. I’m sure the exact same scenes sit in your old family albums too don’t they?

I don’t know about you, but to me, it seemed as though April just flew by. In that way time has a habit of doing when your days are full of trips and activities. Busy but in a good intinional way. With the sun coaxing us outside, there were picnics and park visits and a beautiful long Easter weekend spent with friends and family in the gardens of my childhood. Much to feel grateful and thankful for…

  • Frothy blossom everywhere.
  • Our first park picnic dinner of the year.
  • My own mamma coming to stay and Casper spending sweet quality time with his Granny Annie.
  • Launching my newsletter (finally!)
  • Baking biscuits with my little bud but deciding that we both prefer the unbaked dough so rebranding them cereal bars instead.
  • Casper and his cousin’s first Easter egg hunt together.
  • Planting seeds and bulbs in our little urban garden. Spending time with my hands in the earth and the smell of damp soil.
  • Best friends becoming parents and getting to snuggle their two-week young squidge.
  • Toddler making animal noises all day long. Moo! Baa! Quack!
  • Woodland walks in dappled sunlight.
  • Water play.
  • Our first trip to children’s A&E being thankfully only a precaution.
  • That beautiful sunshiney Easter weekend.
  • Too much chocolate!
  • Me and both my siblings in the same place at the same time – a rare occurrence.
  • T-shirts, sunhats and the smell of lotion on warm soft skin.

What little joys did the month of April bring for you?

Toddler in a bucket paddling pool the sun, he looks away from the cameraBreastfeeding mother nursing her toddler in the shade of a small treeToddler and daddy kiss in black and whiteToddler in the sunWomen standing next to a cherry blossom tree. She has a toddler on her hip and they are both look up at the pink frothy blossom.Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Baking with baby (…and some thoughts about blogging for the joy of it)

March 29, 2019

CREATE / NURTURE

Baking with baby Baking with babyBaking with baby

A funny thing about blogging, Instagramming and sharing your life online is that it’s hard not to end up viewing things in terms of content and strategy. I find this, in turn, leads to a whole lot of rules and ‘SHOULDS’ to follow. Things such as; I should mix up my content to keep it interesting, not post too much of the same thing. I should be following a content plan that fits into my business strategy to attract new creative mentoring clients. And I should always, but always, be mindful of the value of my content for YOU dear reader! And of course, these things are worth considering as guidance when thinking about what you are creating and sharing with the world. But, do you ever find that over-worrying about all the rules you should be following can totally zap the joy out of posting? That sometimes the SHOULDS get in the way of you actually creating and sharing at all?

I definitely do. Take this post. I’ve delayed posting it for ages because I found myself massively overthinking what I’m sharing on my blog – “I should break up two baby photo heavy posts in a row. There’s no value. It’s not shareable. No one cares!” When all I really wanted to do was share in my little corner of the internet a morning I spent making flapjacks with my son. It sounds pretty silly when written down like that doesn’t it? I wouldn’t blame you for having a little giggle at the ridiculousness of it all. But I maybe a few of you might be nodding along.

There’s so much (usually) brilliant advice out there when it comes to how to make the most of sharing content online, but, I think we can have a tendency to get hung up on particular points and use them as a stick to beat ourselves with.  For me, it seems to be worrying about whether what I’m sharing seems ‘valuable’. Thinking that posts need to be more useful or at least inspirational in some way. But what seems particularly silly, is that the blogs I love the most, are exactly those that share simple snippets of everyday family life. Ones such as Homesong or Deer Circus. Reading about the little moments in people’s lives is joyful, and actually often very inspiring, to me.

More and more I’m feeling like what I want this space to be for is simply sharing little stories of my life, as and when I feel the urge. Sure, sometimes they may well be stories about business or creativity but sometimes they might just be tales of motherhood that go a little something like this…

Baking with babyBaking with babyBaking with babyThere’s something about baking in the morning that just sets you up for a good day. It’s hard not to feel smug happy when by 11 am you’ve made a batch of homemade baby-friendly snacks to last the next few days. Well, a few days in theory. In practice, as they are also rather mama-friendly, they don’t last all that long at all!

I’m loving that we can do more hands-on activities together as Casper gets older. He’s absolutely not a baby anymore! It’s a learning curve, figuring out how we can do things like baking and crafts together in a way that is enjoyable for us both. It’s not always smooth sailing. But on this morning, flapjacks were a success – albeit a very messy, oats everywhere kind of successAnd let’s not even talk about food hygiene practice.

Despite being eaten in little fistfuls and strewn across the dining room, enough mixture seemed to find it’s way into the oven and soon filled the house with that deliciously comforting baking smell.

And briefly to get back to my point about blogging for the joy of it… As I write the first draft of this post, on the notes app on my phone, Casper is snoozing on my chest. We had a rough night and I woke up feeling tired and touched out. But as I quietly tap away on my phone, as his cheek rest against my breast, I’m gently carving out some time for me and my creativity. I’m writing just for the joy of it and in the process, managing to reconnect with myself and my baby. And you know what? I think making another batch of flapjacks is just what we need this afternoon.baby friendly Flapjacks

By the way, we followed this recipe as a great base for sugar-free baby-friendly flapjacks, making some additions and adjustments along the way based on what we had in our cupboard – it just might be this post is kind of useful to you after all  😉

The 52 Project: January

February 14, 2019

NURTURE

A portrait of my child every week for a year.

After just a few posts, I failed entirely to keep up with last year’s 52 project (although I’m pretty set on catching up and backdating the posts when I have a moment, just so I can look back on the year – any other bloggers do that?!) Anyway, I’m starting this year how I mean to go on with a shiny new camera to boot. All these were shot on my Fuji X-T2 with a 35mm lens. I’m very much learning as I go with the new kit, having mainly been snapping on my iPhone for the last few years. I’m doing my best to shoot a little every day and keeping my camera handy to capture these precious little moments.

Week 1 // Post nap play time. Just look at that tousled bed head.

Week 2 // Teaching Casper Bowie about his namesake on the anniversary of the starman’s death. (It’s only now looking at this shot on my Mac that I can see how it’s really quite blurred, I was tempted to swap it out but I love the capture and this process is a creative learning exercise for me – so it’s staying!)

Week 3 // Baby + box = classic mamma photo op.

Week 4 // Always finding a spot to perch.

The lovely Sarah Furguson at Brass Buttons and Confidence has started a new hashtag to share her 52 project and it’s nice to see lots of people sharing their kids’ portraits on Instagram. Are you joining in this year?

 

Nest, Nourish, Nurture: preparing to welcome autumn

September 26, 2018

NEST / NOURISH / NURTURE

Nest, Nourish, Nurture: A list for the beginning of Autumn With the Autumn Equinox on Sunday, this week marks the true beginning of the new season. When I woke up on Monday morning  I swear I could sense the change in the air. Sure, that might have had something to do with the cool 15 degrees the temperature in our bedroom had dropped to, but whilst my husband grumbled about the cold I couldn’t help but feel a flutter of excitement about the seasonal shift.

Along with an undeniable love for the autumnal aesthetic, there’s something about the season which genuinely lifts my spirits. I find myself with a renewed energy as the weather gets cooler. I can’t wait for crisp days, gorgeous early golden hours and cosy nights.

Sat in bed with a warm cup of tea and my baby playing next to me I began to write my to-do list for the week but it quickly turned into more of a list of tasks and plans for the coming few weeks. So here are some of my ideas for welcoming autumn; things to do and prepare around the home, in the kitchen and beyond.

Autumnal walk

NEST

// Bleed radiators.
// Wash blankets and sheepskins and (preferably) dry in the sun.
// Pack away summer clothes for another year and replace with winter wardrobe items – bring on the woollies and tweeds.
// Have a little wardrobe clear out while I’m at it, do a charity shop drop and consider what items I need in my closet for the cooler months.
// Prep the house for colder weather. I’ve got floorboards gaps to fill and some very drafty drafts to exclude!
// Get the windows cleaned.
// Switch up fragrances in the oil burner. Out with citrus and florals in with wood and spice.
// Stock up on candles and tea lights.
// Treat yourself to some deliciously scented new products for the bathroom.

NOURISH

// Clear out the freezer and turn those scraps you’ve been saving into stock and bone broth. And on that note…
// Dust off the slow cooker.
// Fill your larder with immune boosters – echinacea, manuka, turmeric, ginger and lemons. I plan on staving off those sniffles before the begin.
// Eat all the figs! I forget just how much I love fig season.
// Stock up on oats and porridge toppings for a warming start on cold days.
// Bake – especially on Tuesday to accompany GBB.
// Plan brunch with friends.
// Fill your home with pumpkins!

NURTURE

// Set some manageable business goals for Q4 that will set you up well to head into a new year.
// Do some autumn hashtag research. There are so many lovely Instagram challenges and hashtag to join in with at this time of year (including my own #squashwatch).
// Start a new habit for the last quarter of the year – why wait till January?
// Go for a walk at golden hour and collect leaves for Instagram for a garland
// Dig out your favourite autumn playlist.
// Keep a journal.
// Borrow some autumnal reads from the library.

 

The 52 Project: Spring ’18

September 7, 2018

NURTURE

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.

The 52 Project: A Catch Up

May 30, 2018

NURTURE

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!😉

Embracing The Fourth Trimester

March 22, 2018

INTENTION / NURTURE

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

NURTURE

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.

The Babe With The Power

January 7, 2018

NURTURE

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.

Taking Stock: The end of the third trimester at the begining of December

December 5, 2017

NURTURE

Taking Stock December

Back with Blogmas day five. I maaay have cheated a little and backdated the last couple of post to catch up but hey, done is better than perfect and all that.

For today’s post, I’ve taken inspiration from my friend Franky who recently shared a Taking Stock post on her blog Love Audrey. I believe the original prompt comes via meetmeatmikes.com. I thought it was a lovely way to have a little catch-up and capture a snapshot of this moment in time. Of course for me right now that means all things nesting, christmassy and waiting for the arrival of baby swift.

Here’s what I’m…

Making // A birth playlist. Going for mellow, chilled out folky albums and some favourite soundtracks. What did you have on yours?
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Cooking // Hearty dishes batch cooked and frozen for eating during those postpartum days, although our tiny freezer is now full!
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Drinking // Raspberry leaf tea as I’ve heard it helps to strengthen the uterus wall! Might as well give these things a go eh?
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Reading // ‘The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother‘ and rereading Northern Lights for some cosy non-pregnancy related escapism.
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Trawling // Online for a unisex baby sleep sack which isn’t overly cutesy and not too pricey. Went for this one, our baby’s wardrobe features so much grey!
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Wanting // To sleep through the night, pregnancy insomnia is still going strong. And, yes I know, sleep is soon to be a thing of the past anyhow.
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Looking // Forward to this new chapter of life.
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Deciding // To join Me & Orla’s new ‘Gloom & Grow’ course. Even though I know I’m not be able to follow along in the next few weeks.
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Wishing // My tax return could do itself.
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Enjoying // Stocking our cupboards with Christmassy treats.
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Waiting // For any signs of labour. Could be tomorrow, could be another three weeks – it’s a funny time not knowing when it will happen.
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Liking // Getting friends and family to place their bets on when the baby will arrive. You can add your guess to my Instagram post here.
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Wondering // Who’s in there?!
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Loving // Our new La Redoute rug and leather vintage armchair – upping the cosiness of our living room ten-fold.
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Pondering // On the culture of ‘pink for girls and blue for boys’ and how to achieve a balanced gender-neutral approach without going OTT and driving myself mad.
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Listening // To our Hypno-birthing relaxation track and birth affirmations.
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Considering // What to cook for a Christmas for two. We’ll be at home with a newborn so I know it has to be easy and simple but still…it’s Christmas!
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Buying // Oh so much – even trying to keep things minimal this baby-prep requires a whole lot of stuff!
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Watching // The OA on Netflix finally.
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Hoping // That I get to enjoy a little while longer on maternity leave before the baby arrives, but also that they are here before Christmas…asking for too much?!
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Marvelling // Constantly at just how chilly our house gets!
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Cringing // At the idea that people are going to hear me on Lucy’s What She Said podcast – but honoured to be interviewed!
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Needing // The last couple of items for the hospital bag – big black knickers and nipple cream…TMI?
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Smelling // That real Christmas tree smell!
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Wearing // Stretchy trousers, my new Mere Souer tee and a big cosy cardie.
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Noticing // Little feet in my ribs and baby hiccups almost everyday.
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Knowing // Life is about to change forever.
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Trouble-shooting // Our central heating.
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Thinking // About everything and everyone I’m grateful for. Especially such a wonderfully supportive husband, who is taking his role of birthing partner very seriously.
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Admiring // Everything in the gorgeous new collection from A Woodland Gathering.
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Bookmarking // Instagram posts from amazing, inspiring mammas. I love the way the IG community shares their struggles along with the joy and I’m saving posts I know I can return to for a boost of support and solidarity when needed.
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Opening // Chocolate that I was saving for Christmas.
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Closing // Up shop. After just over a year of being self-employed I’m taking stock and taking a break as I start maternity leave. It’s scary and exciting!
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Feeling // Full of energy on some days and all tuckered-out on others.
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Dreaming // About birth a lot, some are amazing empowering dreams, some straight-up nightmares.
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Hearing // That husband of mine learning to play Christmas songs on his ukulele.
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Celebrating // Good friends getting married and a fair few baby showers too.
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Embracing // Nesting and resting on repeat!

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