Wednesday, 30 March 2022

modibodi and my moon cycle

hello gorgeous friend. today's post is really important to me, it's been on my mind for a long time, and i'm extremely happy that it's finally out of my head and into the ether. for you to take into your life, to help i hope. 

let's start by going back in time, to my first period. i was sixteen, it was a long wait, i was one of the last and i was so excited. i started with pads and never really left. i liked the convenience (for the most part), and i liked that i didn't really have to get to know my body any better. my only other option was tampons, and i did not want to figure out how to do that. 

i've always seen the whole thing as a nuisance. each month at some point i would bleed for a week, but for a long time it was really sporadic. which meant i couldn't plan swim dates or spa dates, and had whole holidays abroad in the heat where i wouldn't wear a swimsuit or white clothes. i used to be so bitter about all the things i would have to cancel. i would rail against this expectation that 'that' part of being a woman 'shouldn't get in the way' of your life. that we ought to take a (magic) pill and just carry on regardless, pretend it wasn't happening and hope that dictating our hormones didn't harm us in any way long term. or at least that's what most people did... i hope that expectation shifts. i hope more people embrace a quiet week once a month, allow themselves to say 'no' when they need to, not be embarrassed or shamed, and plan their lives around their periods instead of the other way around.

it's such a full subject, with so much emotion. i am so sorry if you've suffered in any way with your periods, i know lots of people do. and i've struggled with a variety of them too. 

fast forward in my story to last year, when i finally started my period again after the birth of my daughter, and i finally got my first pair of period underwear. it was LIFE CHANGING. well, at least it was "period changing". 

instead of changing every few hours and worrying about leaks, instead of thinking of that ripping sound of a pad in a public toilet, instead of wondering if i'd remembered to bring spares with me, i could just stop worrying.

now i just change before bed, sometimes in the morning too, rinse and wash once a day, and that's it. i actually love the fact it connects me more with my body, and is just a much more modern version of what women have been doing for centuries. 

in the last few years i've come to start tracking my cycle, watching when my period arrives and leaves, but also tracking my cervical mucus so i know what's normal (this is a useful guide if you're not sure where to begin). i also love following the work of Dr Aviva Romm, who discusses the women's cycle as the 6th vital sign and a key indicator of your health and wellbeing - read her article here. i love learning the science of it. 

i've also come to understand that my cycle doesn't follow the calendar, instead it follows the moon. in fact, each month i start my flow on the day after the full moon. how crazy cool is that? there are various apps you can use to follow your cycle, but simple pen and paper works well too. the more you get to know what's normal for you, the more you'll understand your body and can work with it, instead of against it. to lean into the sad and the happy, the low and high energy times, and start to enjoy it instead of resent it.

and to watch me talk more about my experience with Modibodi (not sponsored, i just love them), watch this video:

FYI, for £15 off when you spend at least £55 at Modibodi use my Refer a Friend code ;)

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

i'm obsessed with my spring garden

 ok, well the title of this post isn't exactly a shocker for die-hard followers, i've been a keen gardener for over a decade. it all started with my allotment, and then easy shrubs and homegrown salad leaves in containers. and the garden in our current home, has been completely stripped back, and replanted, slowly, a few plants at a time each season, seeing what likes where, adding nourishment back as we go along.

last summer it was fantastic, i took photos for posterity, and today is much the same. at the end of the post, if you haven't seen it yet, there's a video tour of the garden at the end of February, so you can scroll on down and see it more in depth. 

it's so lovely to see the garden i've worked so hard on, start to really show some abundance, some lush growth, flowers through the seasons, enough to put in pots, evergreen leaves sprinkled amongst the borders, purple leaves, variegation, tall plants, small plants, climbers, edibles. my garden is a real mix of things, it's not got much definition, like 'oh this is my herb bed', instead it's like 'oh, here's a space, what's something useful or pretty that can go there, let's try it'. sometimes it doesn't work, sometimes the seasons mean things don't flower well, sometimes our giant oak tree provides shade at the wrong time of day for certain varieties. 

my mum said lately that she can now see the garden i spent so long talking about - like two years ago when it was just a big patch of very bare earth, i knew what it could become and that's how i saw it and talked about it. everyone else just saw that bare earth. 

first off, let me wax lyrical about the hellebores. because if you follow me on instagram, you'll know i'm particularly keen on them (read: obsessed, and i've bought a few more varieties to enjoy next winter). how they provide green all year round, flowers in the shade, shape and colour and structure  throughout the winter months, there's not much i don't love about them. did i mention they are perennial, and they require basically zero effort to look after? i think so many suburban garden could do with more of these in their shady patches. 

my muscari and tulip container is flowering dutifully again this year - i simply let it sit round a half-shaded corner around the house and forgot about it over summer and they seemed to have adored being left alone. 

i have purchased a few more plants for the garden, as i always do each season. including some fresh violas (below). but mostly i've found myself planting out bulbs, ones that have been forced indoors and then can go outside ready for next year to be triumphant. i've loved the approach of appreciating the colour inside and then knowing that they'll last forever, and it's now a gift i give to lots of friends and family too. 

this little comfrey (i think it's a comfrey?) volunteered itself to the garden, and i couldn't be happier, it looks so pretty and then when it's finished i can turn it into fertiliser. happy days. 

you know our garden is a space where children play and where i have visited because there are shells in various spots, and i love the feeling of nostalgia they bring to our space. they fill it automatically with memories, and they're also useful tools for digging or mixing or creating some fantastic mud structure.

this next photo may not look like much, but to me it says 'hope'. this is a tayberry that you can see tied up to the posts, and it's coming in to leaf more abundantly than i've ever seen before, so there's a chance that this year i may get more than three actual tayberries! not that i suppose i'll see them - that'll probably be for the kids... 

there's a surprising amount of colour at this time of year, and that fills me with such joy. yellow daffodils, blue muscari, pink anemones, purple vinca and violas, pink hellebores, red tulips, white comfrey... the list goes on.

one of other top surprising favourites is this, iberis sempervirens, which is looking so good this year and providing lots of bright white flowers in a half shaded patch, and looks especially good on dark rainy days. i spotted this all around my local area at the beginning of lockdown and finally bought one last year for our home, and it fits very happily into this spot. 

the tulips have started flowering, which my littlest calls 'lips' and keeps being surprised that there are more each day. she stands and counts in her own special way '2, 3, 6, 8, 4, wow, 4 mummy!'

so there you go, my reader friends, a little insight into my garden, a little hope, a little lightness. because we all need a little more lightness in our lives, things are awful heavy in 2022. 

i shall leave you with the video, i hope you enjoy it! all those buds coming up... so much to look forward to.