Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Be kind to yourself

This is a hard one, as children we are taught to be kind to others, to do unto other as you would have them do unto you. But the message 'be kind to yourself', well that kinda gets lost along the way. In fact, the messages we do get are 'try harder', 'do more', 'be better'. Don't get me wrong, I am not knocking striving to be your best, I believe in that, but I do think that sometimes, we should cut ourselves a little slack. 

When we are constantly focusing on what we haven't achieved yet, we so quickly forget to celebrate what we HAVE achieved. And I don't know about you, but I tend to find it much easier to reach my goals when I remind myself that I AM a strong, capable woman, rather than constantly berating myself for not being there yet.

However, it's not enough to just tell yourself that you are strong and capable, you have to give yourself concrete examples. So, here is my challenge to you. Make yourself a cup of tea, sit down and actually write out a list of the things you have achieved. My secret tip here is not just to write down those things that you have viewed as major goals in your life, but also the things that you have achieved without making them specific goals. These are the things, little and big, that millions of people fail at every day. Things that may have come easily to you, so easily that you don't even view them as achievements. But the fact that certain things come easily to you is a product of who you are, a product of your talents, and so these things too must be celebrated. 

So here is my little list, I wrote this in my head a couple weeks ago when I needed a bit of a 'pick-me-up', and and it really helped.

I have given birth naturally, with no pain medication
I have breastfed a child for over 3 years
I continue to proudly breastfeed my toddler in public
I only used cloth nappies
I have completed a BSc, BSc (Hons) and an MSc
I have quit smoking
I have stayed married for almost 6 years
I have stayed in the same relationship for over 10 years
I have lost 23kg
I have belly danced, on a stage, in public

If you want to share your own list in the comments section, that would be great. Be inspired by the achievements of others, and as proud of your own achievements as you are of those of others. 

Friday, 18 November 2011


It is still sinking in that last night I sat, mere meters away from Tori Amos, and watched as she played the most beautiful and transforming music. I don't think I'm exaggerating to say that it was akin to a religious experience.

I was first introduced to Tori 14 years ago, when I was 16, by my best friend. Since then Tori has pretty much been the sound track to our lives. We both have so much emotion, pain, joy, growth and metamorphosis wrapped up in her music. So, sitting there with her last night, watching Tori, was definitely nothing short of spiritual.

In the bus from the car to the venue - we are two VERY excited girls

I cried, laughed and squealed with excitement. I was moved and transformed, yet again, by Tori. She is older now, and to me she has become like the wise mother, and I listen to her wisdom because her music is real, powerful and honest. The pain on her face when she sang Hey Jupiter, and the emotion in her voice when she sang Me & a Gun - I felt that at my core, I was shaken. And, although she looks different now, her voice is still as powerful and beautiful as it ever was. Rich and deep, it bows to her every command.

Playing silly buggers in the bathroom before the show :)

She had total and complete respect from the audience, with absolute silence during every song she played. The few times I could bear to tear my eyes from her, everywhere I looked I saw people holding on to each other watching her, the atmosphere was so intimate, it felt like it was just you and her.

This was actually taken during the show by someone - found it online this morning

She played a staggering 17(!) songs, with no back-up or accompaniment, just Tori and her piano's - perfect. I don't know how she found the strength, but I think she knew we were like the starving and she was manna from heaven, feeding us as much as possible of her very best. She opened with Little Earthquakes, then Icicle, Silent all these years, Consitina, Hey Jupiter, Dragon, Sorta fairytale (very special to me), Bells for her, Mother, Pancake (I felt like I was hearing this for the very first time, incredible) , Me & a gun, I can't see New York and finally closed with Carry, the only song she played that was actually from Night of Hunters. For the encore she played Personal Jesus, Leather, Precious things and Tear in your hand.

I continue to remain, ever more powerfully, under her spell

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Story Time!

One of my favourite things, now that Chicken Little is almost 3, is story time before bed. When she was younger she would enjoy looking at her books with us, but didn't yet have the patients to sit through a whole story. Now she will quite happily sit through 3 or 4....or 5 or 6 stories.

The first book she fell in love with was Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss. Such a classic, the copy she has actually belonged to the Rooster when he was little. Enough said. 

Then came her Donaldson phase, The Gruffalo, Tiddler and What the Ladybird Heard - oh lordy, the imagination of this woman!

Next we moved onto Oliver Jeffers's How to Catch a Star and Lost and Found. SUCH beautiful, evocative

At the moment her favourite book is Angelina's Invitation to the Ballet. She received this for her 2nd birthday, but we only really discovered it again recently. She loves the fact that this book is full of pull-out letters, invitations and tickets to the ballet.

Looking forward to what comes next!

P.S. Chicken Little just came in and spotted this post, she was beside herself with excitement and shrieked "What did you make for me mummy?!"

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Breeding Season

So I now have four friends who are pregnant and due early next yearThree of which I found out about in the last two days! This is making me very broody and the Rooster very nervous. 

Wishing all these mamas safe and healthy pregnancies ♥

'Pregnant Women' by Steve Gribben

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Be Proud of Co-Sleeping!

An article posted today, on ABC News, really got my blood boiling - so now we're going to talk about it! 

The article (poorly) addressed the issues of co-sleeping, with a predominantly negative slant. So first, lets examine what co-sleeping is. Co-sleeping implies children sleeping in the same room as their parent, room-sharing, which includes, but is not exclusive to, sleeping in their parent bed, or bed-sharing. The American Academy of Paediatrics supports co-sleeping, but not bed-sharing - although their research does not support the hypothesis that bed-sharing can increase the possibility of SIDS. In fact, the reason that they support room-sharing is because it has been proven to reduce the possibility of SIDS. Researchers are still not sure what causes SIDS, but what they do know is that the elevated levels of Carbon dioxide, given off by the parents while they sleep, continually stimulate the baby to keep breathing. As far as I'm concerned that alone is a good enough reason to co-sleep with your child. 

There are, however, a slew of other practical, emotional and psychological benefits to co-sleeping. From a practical perspective, the disruption of night-time feeds is greatly reduced by having your baby as close to you as possible. Once mama and baby have their system down pat, the baby can usually feed with the mama barely waking up, can I get an Amen?

There are two very popular baby books at the moment, Baby Sense and Sleep Sense, which I am NOT a supporter of. I mention them though because they have been quite instrumental in encouraging parents to have babies in their own rooms, and when children resist this transition, leaving them to cry it out (also known as controlled crying), under the guise of teaching children to 'self-sooth'. However, crying is an extremely important means of communication for a young child or baby. When you respond quickly to your child's cries you teach them two things. Firstly, that they can trust you and secondly, and more importantly, that they can trust themselves to communicate their needs effectively. These are the very first build blocks of your child's self-esteem.  Young children are not meant to self-sooth. It is their parents job to provide soothing comfort, in whatever form that may take, until the child is emotionally and psychologically read to do so on their own. Being 'tough' with your child, rather than meeting their needs, does not teach them to do it themselves, rather it breaks their trust in you as a parent and protector. I look forward to the day when 'cry it out' and similar parenting techniques are considered child abuse, and responded to as such!

So I hope you can see form this post that I'm not just one crunchy parent preaching alone in the wilderness - Co-sleeping has a myriad of  benefits for both you and your child, and I have only touched on the most obvious ones here. Bed-sharing was one of the BEST decisions the  Rooster and I ever made :) I wish you all nights of peaceful slumber!

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Business of Being Born

How you get from this...

...to this

really does matter. 
And anyone who says differently has not done their homework! 

Sadly, the amount of information easily available to pregnant women has been shockingly meagre, until now. Enter The Business of Being Born

This movie should be mandatory for everyone of reproductive age. Men and woman need to be be equally well-informed about the process of birth, the options available, and the reasons why some choices actually are better than others for getting the birth experience you really want.

A woman's body was designed to give birth naturally without any medical intervention, including drugs. Most pregnant women you speak to will tell you they want a natural birth. However, most woman are also afraid of the pain of labour. What few know is that fear actually causes pain in labour. Ok, I know this is beginning to sound a bit fruity, but stick with me!

Let's take a look at other mammals. When an animal is in labour, and becomes afraid (perhaps due to a predator approaching) the fight/flight response kicks in. Massive amounts of adrenalin are released into the labouring female's system. The adrenalin has two effects. Firstly it slows down the progress of labour, and secondly, it actually causes the cervix to close up again. This protects both the mother and baby, giving her a chance to escape and find a new safe spot to continue her labour. Well folks, it's the same with humans. When a woman is afraid during labour, adrenalin is released, in effect working against the progress of labour.

So, because women are not taught how to manage their fear/pain during labour they are only too glad when the drugs arrive. Unfortunately, this is just the start of a domino effect of interventions. You have the epidural, so labour slows down, so you are given pitocin, which produces contractions that are stronger and longer than would naturally be produced. Eventually the pain overwhelms the epidural, so you get a top-up, but then you need more pitocin, and on and on it goes until the ptiocin contractions are so long and strong that they send your baby into foetal distress due to a lack of blood supply/oxygen - next thing you know you are getting a C-section and everyone is saying 'Thank God for modern medicine'.  This is not the birth that most women want, nor do they want episiotomies or vacuum and forceps deliveries.

If you know what kind of birth experience you want, but your not sure how to get it - start with this movie. The business of being born really just introduces a lot of the important information you need to be aware of, but it is easy to watch and very accessible. Take what you see and do you own research, you will be amazed at how much control you really do have as a woman over your birth experience.

It is up to women to take back our birth!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The perfect antedote to cold, wet weather....?

A candle-lit bubble bath of course!

The art of the bath is something that has evaded me until this very winter. Yes, I shamefully admit that it has taken me 30 winters to discover that I LOVE bathing (I know, I can barely call myself a woman). I'm pretty sure that I liked taking a bath as a child, and I have some fairly vivid recollections of tunelessly singing arias from the little mermaid in the bath with my sister.

But since the days of "ahhhhha" I have religiously been a shower girl. However, now that chicken little is almost 3, and I can take my top off with her attacking me for 'milky' I have started bathing with her. From a practical perspective I find it more convenient, we are saving water and it's great bonding time after a day spent apart, but it's also just so darn relaxing! 

That being said, you have to do it right, and there are certainly a few guidelines that must be followed. Firstly, small people must ALWAYS make a wee BEFORE getting in the bath - I prefer spicy scents, like sandalwood, to that of fresh baby urine. Secondly, invest in a good bath pillow, because inevitably you will always be relegated to the side of the bath with the overflow thingymibob, and no one can relax with that digging into your back. Next you have to get the products right. I am a HUGE fan of Body Thrills, particularly the Lemongrass, Lime & Neroli Bath Crystals. Mmmmmmmm delicious!

And finally, you need a little mood lighting. Candles are better than electric lights, any day of the week. My favourites are these gorgeous Charlotte Moss Left Bank Votives that my sweet sister bought me for Christmas. SO divine, again with hints of lemongrass.....sensing a trend here.

So my dears, if the weather is inclement, and you get home from work tired and freezing cold, never mind, bliss is just a bath away :)

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Are you really hungry?

I have been on a diet for almost a year....and so far I have lost 23kg :) I started the Dukan Diet on the 1st of September 2010, and it has been easier to follow than any diet I have previously tried (although there haven't been that many), but still hard to stick to all the time. Things went very well last year and I lost 16kg by Christmas. But then, well, as I said, it was Christmas. I didn't gain anything over this joyous period of over-indulgence and feasting, but I did loose my momentum. Luckily my best friend was getting married in March 2011, and I was the Maid of Honour, so that gave me the push I needed to get going again, but I only lost another 4kg by the wedding - good, but not great. Since then I have only lost another 3kg, and I want to loose 5 more, by the 1 year mark. Argh....are you bored of this story yet? Ok, I'll come to the point. So, I have decided to post this sign on my fridge in an effort to stop myself from mindless eating.

Dear Diet Fairy - PLEASE LET THIS WORK, love from the (not so big any more) red hen

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Ode to a Stripey Sock

Stripey sock you make me happy,
The way you warm my foot.
But even more than what you do,
I love the way you look.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Music I'm Loving Right Now....

I just discovered this band today, The Honey Trees, and I LOVE them!

Their sound reminds me a lot of a South African band I love, Dear Reader. The first time (okay, the first three times) I saw this music video I cried. Then I spent the weekend tracking down a copy of my very own *happy sigh*. This video is SO beautiful, SO emotive - you can feel the desperation, the euphoric giddy elation that hope brings, and the despair at the end of it all. One of my favourite videos ever.


Monday, 15 August 2011

Blogs make a difference, oh yes they do!

Blogs are important, they really REALLY are. I often feel like I navigate my life by the hazy glow of a computer screen, and you know what's on that screen?  a blog. As I change, so do my favourite blogs (although there are always a constant few  - kinda like best friends). I suppose blogs can certainly be a little voyeuristic, but if you use what you learn to better shape your life, then gaze away I say!

I first discovered blogs through my Rooster (who is very techno savvy) while I was pregnant with Chicken Little. What I didn't know was how important they would become to me once she was born.

Bread & Honey was the first blog I ever fell in love with. I was desperate, and man did I fall hard. The nature of the blog has changed over the last couple of years and we have grown apart, but in the early days it was a thing of beauty. Two young, tattooed, baking, stay-at-home mums. *swoon* After Chicken Little was born I had a rough time adjusting to mommyhood, as well as staying at home for the first time. Bread & Honey was like a life-line to me, saving me one recipe at a time! I know I could have managed without it, but would I want to have tried? no.

I owe a lot to those cool mommy's from Portland (my current crush is a mommy from Portland too), and someday perhaps I'll send them a link to this post and let them know they made a real difference to my life. But for now I'll just dedicate this blog to cool mommy's everywhere, who are making a difference through their blogs - whether they know it or not.

Saturday, 13 August 2011


Welcome to you (who ever you may be) and welcome to me! I have been toying with the idea of starting a blog for about four (4!) years now - I have dreamt up blog posts and even created a blog I never used, but now, today, at this very moment I am finally, FINALLY, starting this blog!

This will be a place for me to muse, ponder and pontificate about the life I lead and the world around me. If you are interested in green living, natural childbirth, breastfeeding, science, love, music, art and beauty, then stick around - this could get really interesting.