At the start of the year my garden was very bare. I planted some evergreen and perennial plants last year, which meant there were some plants alive come Spring. But on the whole I started again, moving plants to better locations and adding lots of new additions. I wanted to encourage wildlife and help the bees, so planted flowers and provided places to nest. My efforts worked well and the garden is now constantly buzzing with activity. If you want to know how to attract wildlife to your own garden (no matter the size), I’ve shared what worked for me.
If you’ve come to this post hoping for a great pickled onion recipe, I can only apologise. I don’t think this is one that will be handed down through the generations of our family. And I’m side-eying my radioactive looking pickled onions in the cupboard, wondering if they’ll even be edible come Christmas. It’s more a tale of endurance, of inflated expectations thanks to Pinterest. And something to show for my months of work, given the pickled onions look highly suspect.
One of my favourite things to do is sneak off to the bath once the baby is tucked up in bed and listen to my favourite podcasts. I like that I can get through them at my own pace, whilst having a steady stream of entertainment. I’m always looking for new podcasts to follow, but some of my favourites have been with me for years.
I was asked to share my top podcast recommendations in collaboration with the Panasonic Waterproof Bluetooth speaker and so I’ve whittled it down to my top 5. I wanted to include a range of genres but I can never get enough of true crime.
Mummy makeover, tummy, squad, blog … Into the bin. “Give Mummy a cuddle” is perfectly acceptable in my book (with the caveat that the baby must be in room and the one being offered said cuddle). “Hello Mummy” when directed at me as a greeting from anyone besides my baby (and the occasional slip up from my tired Husband) is creepy, annoying and slightly reductionist. After all before this exciting new chapter in my life, I was never greeted as ‘hello front-end web developer’; Or woman / wife / sister / daughter … You get the idea.
Whilst reading about motherhood I started to come across different ‘Mummy’ labels. Like exclusive clubs, with groups of Mums neatly categorised based on their parenting styles and appearance. slummy, crunchy, yummy. We wouldn’t categorise women like that generally, so why does having a child change that? I’m as slummy as I ever was -pretty slummy to be fair- have a few life choices like not eating meat that may score the odd crunchy point. And with enough makeup and decent lighting, I could just about fake a yummy moment for my annual selfie. But what does any of that say about my parenting? Or who I am as a person? Zilch.
Parenting styles aren’t fashion statements. I had a mosher phase in my teenage years, this isn’t my ‘crunchy’ phase because I bought some organic formula. Wearing a messy bun and no makeup during the week doesn’t demote me from yummy to slummy. Just as bothering to slap on some highlighter doesn’t make me any better of a person or mother than the girl with a fresh face. In short, it’s bollocks.
If you’re a Mum who wears your Mummy title with pride, good for you. This post isn’t aimed at putting anyone else down. Labels mean different things to different people. They can feel inclusive and motherhood at times lonely, so I get that. But personally I find generalising about what a Mum should be like, a bit problematic. Those same labels which help create a sense of community and support can be used to make Mums feel guilty. They can be used to compare us to one another. And to pile on even more expectation as to what a ‘Mummy’ should be.
You can still be a Mummy to your small human whilst being whatever you were before. But you do have to fight for that part of you to stay at the forefront. And anything which discourages that is rubbish in my book.
This year I’ve spent a lot of time in the garden and have learned so much along the way. For the first time I had a go at planting from seed, planting a wildflower area (read: to cut back on the amount of lawn to cut), giant pumpkins and some flowers in my raised beds. There’s something weirdly rewarding about it. Scattering a packet of seeds, forgetting about it and then having a load of pretty flowers appear. I appreciate I’m explaining basic science, but even so I was chuffed when my haphazard gardening efforts paid off. And I think that’s largely because I’ve failed massively with seeds in the past.
They talk on the packet about planting in greenhouses first, then arranging in little grids. But more often than not, I’ve just attempted scattering from the packet and hoping.
I came across Seedball on Instagram, who create products which make growing from seed really easy. And they want to make it easy for all of us to encourage wildlife in our gardens in the process. Co-founder and conservation scientist Ana got in touch and invited me to try Seedball. Sending me a salad mix as it’s a little late in the year to grow wildflowers.
This is another post it’s taken me a long time to write. I initially had to fill in the many gaps in my memory through conversations with Aaron. Then a friend suggested writing it down as a way of processing it, which helped. But it wasn’t blog ready, or particularly coherent. I always intended to share my birth story on my blog, not only because I’m nosy and enjoyed reading other women’s birth stories, but to kind of reclaim it as a positive memory.
PND set in a couple of days after my daughter was born and in that time I had literally just a few hours sleep. Meaning it felt like one continuous day. This tainted the whole experience for a long time, when in reality my labour had nothing to do with the PND.
I didn’t get the labour I hoped for, in fact very little went to plan. Although I wouldn’t change it, because it was ours. And for anyone pregnant reading this (firstly, don’t), the soundbite you’ll hear a lot: “you won’t remember it” is actually very true. Eight months on and I feel almost nostalgic writing this, which I know I would have found absurd at the time. My catch phrase for weeks was “I’ll never do this again. EVER”.
Before deciding to banish products tested on animals from my makeup bag, I had a preconception that going cruelty-free would be quite limiting. However the majority of brands -big and small- are actually entirely cruelty-free. Whilst I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much of my favourite makeup and skincare is cruelty-free, it does highlight that those who aren’t really have no excuse. MAC Cosmetics were one of the first makeup brands I got into and I’ve got a lot of MAC in my collection. And whilst I’ve moved away from them over the years, one product remains a firm favourite: Prep & Prime Fix+.
As my current bottle has got ever closer to being finished, I went on the hunt for a suitable replacement from a cruelty-free brand. I’m a big believer in making small changes and just swapping out one product for a cruelty-free alternative is a move in the right direction.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m really into gardening. Like, really into it. My free Saturday mornings are spent grabbing a coffee and heading straight to the nearest garden centre. And -I’m particularly ashamed of this next admission- I’ve spent the past couple of Friday nights watching Gardener’s World in my PJs. I mean, who needs nights out and debauchery when you’ve got good old Monty Don?
Most of Aurora’s clothes come from H&M Baby. They have such an adorable, fashionable -yet practical- range, I can’t help but keep picking bits up. And without a doubt, one of my absolute favourite nursery decor brands is Stockholm based, Mrs Mighetto. I’ve got Mrs Mighetto print wallpaper -which if I’m being honest, I’d quite like to use in my own room- for Aurora’s bedroom. So you can imagine my delight upon discovering H&M Baby’s first ever collab was going to be with them (Spoiler alert, I went into meltdown and ordered nearly all of it).
Tromsø is one of the most magical places I’ve been to. A bustling city tucked amongst the fjords, 190 miles North of the Arctic circle. Parts of Tromsø feel so otherworldly, but at the same time so entirely familiar. There’s a busy road network, international airport and the World’s most Northerly university. If you wander the streets after dark (which during Winter is … Almost all of the day) you’re equally as likely to stumble across the Northern lights as a pub playing Norwegian death metal.