Wednesday, February 5

My Phone

My phone rarely leaves my side. It is either buried among notebooks, tissues and lip balm in my bag, nestled inside my coat pocket, sitting next to me on the kitchen counter as I cook, or snoozing on my bedside table as I go to sleep.

It wakes me up with its tinkly alarm sound. It tells me what's going on in the world. It plays my music, the soundtrack to my daily life. It guides me to places when I’m lost. It reminds me things are happening, like birthdays or friends coming for tea. It brings me the weather forecast so I can plan days out or days in. It gives me creative freedom – I can photograph rainbows when they appear in the sky, or make a quick, precious, shaky-cam video of my baby’s beautiful babbling.
Its friendly ding-ding brings messages from friends, from the small stuff to the really big things. It brings me happy announcements of new life arriving into the world, or sad messages of old souls departing.

In one day, it can help me run 5k, arrange to meet a friend, conjure up lunch from whatever’s left in the fridge, catch up on Woman’s Hour while the littlest one naps, tell me the time when I’m running late for school pick-up,  and guide me through a meditation to help me sleep.
I love that it does so much. I hate the fact that it can suck me in and make me do so little.
I love that it connects me to like-minded people in the virtual world. I hate the fact that it can distance me from real people in the actual world.
When I hold my phone, I’ve got the whole world in my hands.
But when I think hard about it, I rarely actually phone anyone on it. 

This is some random writing inspired by 365 Writing Prompts.

Monday, February 3

January in Pictures

I don't know why people dislike January so much. What can possibly be so bad about a 31-day excuse to hibernate, finish off the festive chocolates, wrap up in furry coats and read books under a blanket?

I did lots of cosying up this January - Shiraz and Scrabble nights in front of the fire were a definite highlight.

There was also a lovely date day with my big girl, watching Moon Man and eating Japanese food (she wolfed down that whole plate of gyoza in the picture).

There's been lots of outdoor action too, despite endless rainy days. Long lunchtime walks in the park are keeping me sane on work days. We had an alfresco Indian breakfast at the Farmers Market. There was a naughty day where I called in sick from school for the girls and we had a lovely day in the winter sunshine at St Fagans. And we have set up a Woodcraft Folk group, which has been such a fantastic way to have some outdoor fun and meet some really lovely like-minded families. 

It was also the month of shopping local, where I banished the evil supermarkets and discovered how fantastic Cardiff market is. But more ranting and raving about this another day.

Wednesday, January 15

My 2013 in Pictures

One of the things on my list last year was to complete a photography project. And, yay, I did it! an entire 365 project, where every day I took a photo of something that made me happy.

OK, so a few days I may have forgotten and made up with two happy things the next day, but at the end of it, I have 365 images to remind me of all the loveliness in life. Here are a few of the highlights.

Wednesday, January 8

My Shop Local Challenge

So one of my main goals for 2014 is to shun supermarkets, avoid chains and shop local. Or better still, don't shop at all, but make or borrow stuff instead.

Call it my own little Occupy protest against big business, capitalism, consumerism and all other kinds of ne’r-do-wells.

I hate that every town and city is starting to look the same. I hate that high streets and indie shops are dying out. I hate that there is a Tesco Express on every corner.

I want to feel good about where I’m spending my money. I want to interact with people who are passionate about their products. I want to explore new and interesting shops.

So in order to stick two fingers up to The Man, and give mother earth a big old squeeze, I resolve to:

Buy secondhand
Make things
Shop local
Shun supermarkets
Avoid chains

So, as the Sultans of Ping FC once said, “I like your manifesto, let’s put it to the test-o”. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 4

Wilf is One (and a bit)

Dear Wilf,
You are 13 months old and you are the sweetest, smiliest, cwtchiest little boy.

You say 'Oof oof' when you hear Blod bark. You can say 'kiss'. You give us all big hugs.

You can cruise around now, and stood up completely unsupported yesterday.  And, big news, you can climb the stairs - eek!

You like emptying the tupperware cupboard, pulling all the cutlery out of the dishwasher, posting pegs through the little gap in the kitchen stool, putting things inside other things, dropping miscellaneous items into my cup of coffee, putting unsuitable things in your mouth and then laughing and crawling away really quickly when I ask what you're eating. You play peekaboo games with us all the time.

For someone who barely ate anything until a couple of months ago, we now can not seem to fill you up. You love weetabix, toast, scrambled eggs, porridge, risotto, pasta, soup, mash, dahl... but most of all, you like yoghurt and chips, which are met with excited noises and thigh slapping when you see them/hear someone talking about them and great distress when they don't get into your mouth quickly enough. You absolutely hate fruit. 

You are a very enthusiastic waver when people arrive at or leave our house, and make a very loud 'Hiyaaaaaa' type noise to accompany the waving.

You are just so bloomin' adorable, baby boy.

Lots of love,

Wednesday, January 1

Hello 2014

 Oh, hello 2014. And hello blog. Much neglected since October 2013, which was around about the time I went back to work part-time and this 'Oh, three kids is a doddle' feeling that I had went out of the window, with every spare minute I had suddenly spent washing clothes, preparing lunches or washing up really small tupperware pots.

Everyone in the blogosphere seems to have a word for the year, so I've been thinking about mine, which is SIMPLICITY. Especially after the excesses of Christmas, when I've really found the crowds, the consumerism, the rushing about, the endless socialising and way too much food, all rather overwhelming.

So simplicity for me this year means:

A home with less clutter
Practising mindfulness
Simple food, that's nourishing and easy to prepare
Shopping local, avoiding supermarkets and chains
Less screen time for everyone
Saying no to things sometimes
Being organised, so things run a bit more smoothly

And with less of the 'clutter' of everyday life, there's more room for the fun stuff. Like reading books, writing blogs, taking photos, riding bikes, walking the dog, cooking things, making stuff, growing things, dreaming big... 2014, I can't wait to see what adventures you bring.

Thursday, October 31

Wilf is 11 months

Dear Wilf,

You are swiftly changing from baby to toddler, with your big mop of hair and your expressive noises.
Although you can’t talk, you are really good at communicating with us. You have a noise for ‘Oo, what was that?” for when the phone rings, you have a noise for ‘Oh, look – a dog just came into the room’ and you have a noise for ‘Good morning – I’ve just woken up’.
You have eight teeth.

You are pulling yourself up to standing on anything you can get your hands on. Usually dangerous things, like the slippery side of the bath and the precariously balanced ‘art tower’ containing all your sisters’ art supplies.
Your mission is in life is to get your hands in the dog’s water bowl. When I put you down on the kitchen floor, you crawl full pelt towards it to try to get there before I pick it up.

You love the washing machine and tumble drier, and spend hours watching the clothes going round and round.

You like a bit of impromptu dancing to any sort of rhythm. This morning, you were groovin’ away to the beeps from my alarm clock.
If I ask for a kiss, you put your head towards me with a big open mouth. It’s adorable.
You get really excited about things and let out the most ear-piercing, high-pitched screech repeatedly – especially when we are all sitting down at the table to eat. It hurts our ears.

You are still rubbish at sleeping. We are still very tired.

Love, Mama