Thursday, 9 June 2022

a family holiday to Yorkshire

 hello all! it's been a while, i mean goodness, the last thing i wrote about on here were period pants (of course, still obsessed) - but now i've got something completely different to write about. we went on holiday! 

a few weeks before the school half-term holiday, we finally booked a place in Yorkshire, near to my dad (who's just moved there). it's been a very, very long time since i went to Yorkshire, and it was the children's first visit.

now, to give you some scale, it's a 5 hour car journey to deepest, darkest Yorkshire from here in the sunny south. and it's located in the middle of the island and much to the East. we were staying near Whitby, but thankfully outside of the hustle and bustle and noise, in a little village called Grosmont, famous for it's steam trains. 

thankfully the journey actually went perfectly. the anticipation and lots and lots of snacks kept the children going, we didn't even have to play I Spy. and also we were very grateful not to hit much traffic either. much of the journey is really pretty, and the other part is just plain interesting, as you drive through the industrial heart of the country full of warehouses and lorries. 

we arrived to a very lovely AirBnB and damp skies.

much of the holiday was spent exploring the countryside on foot. both children are really great walkers, we've even dubbed our son the 'mountain goat' of the family. and our two and a half year old daughter can climb more steps by herself than you'd think, confidently saying 'no. self' if you try to help. she's also likely to be seen carrying a bag of dried mango and her beautiful pink bunny Gigi.

we explored the coast over at Sandsend, with it's vast wintry waters. my son played for hours with the water, getting incredibly cold hands in the process, but he was obsessed with seeing how he could manipulate the water with different shapes of stones and watching it dance to and fro. as you'll spot in my video of the trip, i was just obsessed with picking up the different rocks along the shoreline, so many different types of colours and shapes and patterns. 

we did have a couple of days of good weather, which were all spent walking and exploring the plentiful becks (streams) and foss' (waterfalls). and once down an a very dodgy, very steep "path" to the Falling Foss - in which i had a confidence motivator in my six year old holding my hand very tightly and repeating 'mummy you can do this, you just need to have confidence. mummy we can do this together." honestly, if it's true that in situations of fear one's true personality shows, my kids are going to be just fine.

one day we did visit Whitby, which has very stunning views from up on the hill at Whitby Abbey and the Whitby Brewery, but is otherwise jam-packed with tourists. so we didn't stay too long, we'd much rather by romping the nearby fields all by ourselves. i don't like labels, but i don't like big crowds of people, or feeling like a sardine, and we all had a much better time on our walk later that day to Hayburn Wyke. 

if it looks as if i wore a different pair of shoes every day on holiday, and/or own more shoes than is sensible, let it be known two things: 1) the weather varied from dry to wet, and from 11c to 20c, and 2) i became a proper adult and purchased actual hiking boots during the trip (so did the husband, we feel very grown up, lol). i wear barefoot shoes 90% of the time these days, and the Merrell Mid Wrapt Waterproof Walking Shoes are the perfect half-way shoe - lots of protection for climbing and rocky surfaces, but flexible enough and with a wide enough toebox to be SUPREMELY comfortable. the price point was something we were happy with and half the price of the equivalent Vivo Barefoot boots, so win win win. 

i cannot write this blog without mentioning steam trains. the NYMR is absolutely brilliant and a must for anyone who is interested in history or trains, or both. from Grosmont you can visit the Engine Shed, which is working all day long to prep the trains, loading them, cleaning them, working on them, all for you to see. we also took a short ride from Grosmont to Goathland (which i believe is the Harry Potter station for Hogwarts), and it was easy enough to while away a few hours there, eating a yummy Yorkshire curd tart and some local ice cream.

the food of Yorkshire definitely had it's own character. as a foodie family, we were all intrigued to try local "delicacies" such as the lemon top ice cream, chicken parmo, fish & chips, curd tarts, brack, and of course the Yorkshire pudding. well, most of these we've tried elsewhere anyway or make at home, but the curd tarts were exceptional treats for us all, and we went to Fish Cottage at Sandsend for some beef dripping chips and spicy calamari. much of the time we ate at home or had a little pie for lunch at a cafe.

so much of the holiday ended up being us all bonding over some crazy walking adventure, how far we'd made it and what amount of climb was showing on Daddy's strava app. everyone felt a great joint sense of accomplishment and we all had fantastic sleep the whole trip, which was just what we all needed. 

now do you want to end with the good news or the bad news? well, the bad news is that my Dad got the dreaded Covid the week of the trip so we only got to wave at him from a bridge and drop some beers off at his doorstep. but the great news is that we get to go and do more exploring walks in the gorgeous heart of the country another time...

and in the meantime, here's the video to relax with -

thank you so much for stopping by today, i appreciate your precious time and i hope this has inspired and uplifted you x

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.