45 things we did during #30dayswild

Throughout June we took part in The Wildlife Trust’s #30wilddays initiative. The idea being that you do one ‘random act of wildness’ each day for the whole month. It wasn’t until I started writing down this list that I realised how many things we did. Nothing complicated, just quick and simple acts that helped us to enjoy nature and explore our surroundings. It’s been such a fun month and it’s really changed my outlook on life. (Yes, really.)

I thought I’d share what we got up to inspire anyone reading who would also like to incorporate a bit more ‘wild’ into their lives. Why wait until next year?!

1. Enjoyed the grass between our toes.

2. Listened to bird song.

3. Planted wild flowers.

4. Downloaded The Great British Bee Count app and logged some bees.

5. Had a mini beast hunt in the garden.

6. Went on a woodland walk.

7. Visited Westonbirt Arboretum.

8. Watched Spring Watch on the BBC.

9. Paddled in a stream.

10. Made a nature collage

11. Collected feathers

12. Went to the beach and played with sand and seaweed as well as paddling in the sea! (Brean)

13. Made a painting using feathers as paintbrushes.

14. Blew dandelions.

15. Went puddle jumping.

16. Photographed a bee (much trickier than I thought it would be!)

17. Climbed a tree.

18. Made daisy chain necklaces.

19. Went to Bristol’s Festival of Nature.

20. Got up, close and personal with an owl.

21. Had a BBQ/ate alfresco.

22. Hugged a tree!

23. Explored things that had fallen from trees.

24. Did a litter pick at the park.

25. Fed the ducks.

26. Drew and painted a picture of a gold finch.

27. Looked at spider webs.

28. Became a member of my local Wildlife Trust.

29. Watched the sunset.

30. Put a bug hotel in the garden.

31. Made a nature dreamcatcher (using sticks and feathers that we found).

32. Stacked stones on the beach.

33. Explored sea caves in Wales.

34. Did nature-inspired yoga poses in the garden.

35. Made a bee drinking station.

36. Looked at Jellyfish that had washed up on the beach. (Saundersfoot, Wales.)

37. Watched a diver bird try to catch lunch! (Saundersfoot, Wales.)

38. Played Pooh Sticks.

39. Watched the clouds.

40. Followed a Bee.

41. Went steam dipping.

42. Went butterfly spotting.

43. Discovered local nature reserves.

44. Climbed on boulders and shouted into the distance.

45. Got to know lots of other ‘wild’ enthusiasts through Instagram and Twitter.

If you took part in #30dayswild, I’d love to hear what you got up to?

 

Jenna xx

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Pancake Day Fun with Robinsons

The lovely folks at Robinsons recently got in contact with us to ask if we’d be up for the challenge of creating some Robinsons Squash inspired pancakes this pancake day. Never one to turn down a challenge, especially one that involves pancakes, I said ‘Yes, please!’

First things first, we selected a range of fresh fruit from the supermarket including; lemons, mangoes, strawberries, kiwis and oranges (all of which are fruits that are used in Robinsons Squashes).

Robinsons Fruit Squash contains no added sugar, and a 250ml serving contains 5 calories or less.

Jasmine holding her ‘dinosaur egg’. :)

Once we had our selection of fruits prepared and Robinsons squash ready to enjoy (pancake making is thirsty work) we set about making our tasty pancake creations.

This was the first year that Jasmine could really get stuck in with making the pancakes with us. She loved helping me weigh out our ingredients, prep the fruit and she quickly became Chief Whisker! We opted to make fluffy American-style pancakes using this recipe and they were THE best pancakes we’ve ever had.

 

Jasmine opted to load up her pancake with mango and strawberries.

Some of the strawberries never made it as far as the pancakes though! ;)

Stephen tucking into a strawberry pancake with added chocolate sauce (naughty!) and sprinkles. Or “sfinkles” as Jasmine calls them. Elowen looked quite jealous. You’ll have to wait a few more months yet, Baby Girl!

I enjoyed some Strawberry and Kiwi Robinsons squash – there’s real fruit in every drop!

Tucking in!

Oh so delicious!

We were kindly sent some bottles of Robinsons Fruit Squash in 3 different flavours – so here’s our 3 squash inspired pancake toppings:

Stawberry and Kiwi

Lemon – you can’t beat a good ol’ traditional lemon pancake!

Orange and Mango

What do you think of them? Which flavour do you think you’d like best?

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The Home Life Project {February 2017}

Wow, I cannot believe I’ve already taken part in my second month of The Home Life Project (hosted by Clare). We’re a little late to the party again this month as we were away from home last week, house hunting in Bristol.

It was a slow, chilled out family day as often is the case at the weekend. We didn’t do much except take a trip to the cinema and then head back home to relax for the rest of the day.

I still feel like I’m fighting a losing battle against the crappy winter lighting (or lack thereof) but hey, Spring is in sight. There are still a few photos here that I’m proud of and I am so glad I’ll have them to look back on.

Date photos were taken: Sunday 12th February 2017

Camera used: Canon G7X

Edited using: VSCO App

I woke up and pulled back the curtains to see the houses outside dusted in snow. It’s been snowing for a few days here in Suffolk but until now it hadn’t settled.

Well, at least somebody gets a lay in!

Trying to think of a non-self-deprecating caption for this photo. I can’t so I’ll move on…

Ahh, Sunday mornings… waking up slowly to the sweet sound of you daughter playing the… oh no wait. This toy sounds HIDEOUS.

My second ‘reflection’ photo of the day. I feel I’m cheating a little by using a mirror but look… cute baby!!

Heidi the snow dog.

Daddy and daughter snuggles. And a less than flattering photo of my hubby’s giant feet.

Remember last month I said I hoped our ‘For Sale’ sign would be a ‘Sold’ one in February’s photos? Hurrah!

A family trip to the cinema to see Trolls.

Unfortunately I didn’t take many photos during the latter half of the day. I was so exhausted from night feeds that I went to have an afternoon nap with Elowen and the next thing I knew we woke up at dinner time! But whatcha gonna do? My aim next month is to stay awake the whole day! ;)

Post-nap snuggles with Elowen.

A game of pirates before bedtime.

Goodnight!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’d love to know which photo is your favourite from this month’s bunch?

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Home Life Photography Project

Life Lately:
Selling up, coping with two and a career change

Selling up:

If you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know that I’ve really struggled with being lonely and isolated over the last couple of years. Motherhood can be lonely at the best of times but living hundreds of miles away from my support network has been incredibly difficult. I think it was the main factor in me developing antenatal depression whilst pregnant with Elowen. I’ve been desperate to move back down to the South West, closer to my friends and family, for so long. Finally, at long last, the wheels are in motion. We put our house up for sale over Christmas and last week we accepted an offer. I’m trying not to let myself get too excited because I know that selling and buying houses is rarely straightforward, things happen – buyers drop out, sales fall through – but we’re on the right track. Keep everything crossed for us, please.

‘Coping with two’:

We’ve been a family of four for over two whole months and I feel like I’m getting into the swing of things now. Whilst pregnant with E, I worried so much about how I would cope with two children (probably because I was in such a bad place, mentally). I didn’t believe I was cut out for it. But you know what? I feel more capable as a mother than I ever did before. It’s as if, with the birth of my second child came this new found confidence and belief in myself. I wouldn’t just ‘cope’ with two. I’d thrive. I’ve come to accept that I don’t always get it right but I am, undoubtedly, always trying my best. And my best will always be good enough.

Don’t get me wrong, adjusting to having two children is hard. There are days when I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve fallen asleep whilst sat upright playing dinosaurs with Jasmine (genuinely) or I’ve googled “Can you die from tiredness?” (genuinely). Some days, both girls will be crying at the same time and I still haven’t worked out who I should be dealing with first. Some days I want to lock myself in the bathroom and not have a 2-year-old ask me to fetch her a snack for the millionth time that morning. Or have my nipples yanked every which way by the mouth of a fussy baby. But they are just some days. The rest of the time I am so utterly besotted with my two girls and I could not imagine life being any other way. I’m embracing the chaos.

A career change: 

I’ve never really mentioned much about my work life before children on my blog before. But for those who don’t know, I’m a qualified Youth Worker and for a while that’s what I did for a living. When I moved to the other side of the country to move in with Stephen, I struggled to find paid work in the Youth sector and so I ended up bumbling through several dead-end (mostly retail-based) jobs before becoming a mum. I didn’t mind all that much, I liked going to work, doing what I had to do and coming home and thinking no more about it. I’ve never been particularly career minded. Work was a means to an ends as far I was concerned. As time went on I realised that actually, I wasn’t really missing being a youth worker. Yes it was rewarding (most of the time) but once I had children of my own, my focus was on them and I was less keen to spend my evenings being spat at and called unrepeatable things by a group of angry-at-the-world-and-all-who-sail-in-her teenagers (it wasn’t always like that but you know, it did happen).

I decided I wanted to be at home with my own children until they were both at school and that’s still very much the case. I’ve spent most of my adult life looking after other people’s offspring, I kinda want to take this time to be there for my own. And I realise that I am very, very fortunate to be able to do that. (I won’t say ‘lucky’ because my husband works hard to support us and allow me to be a SAHM – that’s not ‘luck’.) I’ve been very conscious of how quickly the time has been going and before I know it the girls will both be at school and that’s got me to wondering. What do I want to do for a job when that happens? I was worried I would never really feel that there was a particular career path for me – one that I’d feel passionate about. One that would have me jumping out of bed in the morning. I felt destined to continue going from dead-end job to dead-end job until I retired because it ‘brought in a little extra cash’. Which, in times like these, does make a difference. I think we’re all feeling the pinch and I suspect with Brexit and alike, things are probably going to get worse before they get better. But lately I’ve found myself wanting more for myself. I don’t just want ‘a job’ – I want a career. I want the opportunity to learn and grow.

This week I had a lightbulb moment. On the verge of turning 30 years old, I finally realised what I want to do ‘when I grow up’. It’s been staring me in the face for so long and whilst the thought of following this path had occurred to me the past, I brushed it off as ‘impossible’ because I wouldn’t be good enough at it, or be able to make it work around my family, or there would be people better at it than me… These excuses had always stopped me in my tracks. I was paralysed by self doubt.

A twitter friend, Nicola, recently recommended an audio book to me – ‘You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life’ by Jen Sincero. You’ve gotta love that title, right? Well anyway, I dutifully downloaded the audio book to my phone and began to listen to it whilst doing chores around the house. At first I found it a little cheesy. But by chapter six I had an epiphany, my light bulb moment. I stopped whatever it was I was doing, I paused the audio book and I just sat with happy tears streaming down my face. It’s at that moment I decided I wanted to become a Birth Doula and not only that, but I was going to do whatever it took to make it happen. 

Since then I’ve been researching courses, making contacts and coming up with plans. I don’t want to waste any more time talking myself out of this.

I can’t think of anything better to do as a ‘job’ than helping women through their pregnancies and labours. It wouldn’t just be a job. It would be a privilege. And an opportunity for me to learn and grow.

I’m sure I’ll be writing more about becoming a Birth Doula over the coming months and years. I’m thinking about maybe even starting a separate blog for that – it would great to record my journey.

But for now I am so very, very excited.

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Letters to my girls {January 2017}

 

 

I want to tell you how proud I am of you. You’ve taken to being a big sister so well – better than I ever could have hoped for. From the moment you walked into our bedroom that morning to find our newest member of the family laying on the bed, you have been obsessed with her. Several times a day you will ask me to let you hold Elowen. You sit on the sofa, hold your arms out together expectantly and say “I hold baby!” I place her in your arms and you tilt your head to look at her. “Hello Eh’wen! Hello sweetie. You’re sooo cute!” You say in a high-pitched ‘baby talk’ voice that I thought only adults were capable of.

You are so proud of your baby sister and you love to show her off to just about anyone. Not a day goes by where you haven’t gotten the attention of a stranger to say “Look – my baby!” Every time I pick you up from nursery, when you spot me standing in the doorway with Elowen, you run over to us and it’s her you are most pleased to see. “Baby, my baby!” you shout. “Look, it’s my sister!” you announce to the nursery staff, as if they had never seen her before. My heart bursts.

I know it hasn’t been easy for you, adjusting to sharing me. Trust me, it’s been hard for me too. I miss that we don’t get any one-on-one time anymore but this won’t be forever. It’s just that Elowen is so dependent on me right now (I’m exclusively breastfeeding) and I know it must be so frustrating for you that I’m always saying “In a minute, Jasmine” or “Not right now, I’m feeding baby.”

Despite all of this, you have never taken your frustrations out on Elowen. Yes, you get upset. Yes, you start to act like a baby yourself at times. And of course, you have tantrums (you are still only two-years old, after all). But you have showed nothing but kindness to your sister and I don’t think it’s ever occurred to you to be anything but gentle to her. (We’ll see how long that lasts when she starts stealing your toys!)

You often get quite upset if Elowen is crying. “Oh no poor Eh’wen. She’s shying!” You’ll tell me, as if I hadn’t noticed the wailing. “You need to calm baby up, Mummy” (I love this turn of phrase of yours). You are so incredibly caring. Elowen is lucky to have you as a big sister.

You have become so chatty over the last few months. I love the utter randomness that you come out with. There’s never a dull moment when you’re around. You like to pretend you’re a superhero and will charge around the house shouting “I’M SUPER SPEEDY!” Which, is pretty accurate to be honest.

Last weekend I took you the cinema for the second time to watch Storks. The last time I took you to see a film I was still pregnant and I remember feeling sad that we wouldn’t be able to have these mummy/daughter dates anymore once the baby arrived. I realise now that I was being silly. OK, so it’s not quite the same now that it’s the three of us but it doesn’t mean our mummy/daughter dates are any less special. I held Elowen on my lap whilst we watched the film (she slept through the whole thing) and every now and again you would turn to us, lean over and kiss her on the head. Clearly you are less bothered about sharing me than I sometimes think you are.

Every day I marvel at how cool, funny and beautiful you are. Although I’m not allowed to say any of those things out loud because you do not take compliments well! The other day you corrected me after calling you ‘cute’. “No mummy, I’m not cute. I’m spiderman.” I think that sums you up perfectly.

I love you, Spiderman.

❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

 

 

 

Or should I say Smooshy? As that is what I’ve nicknamed you – sorry about that!

You are such a mummy’s girl. I don’t know if it’s because I’m breastfeeding or it’s just the way you are – but you are one clingy baby. You cannot bear to be more than a couple of metres away from me. Poor Daddy gets frustrated that he cannot ‘calm you up’ like mummy can. And when you first started smiling – they were reserved only for me. That’s changed now though, I’ve caught you giving huge gummy smiles to strangers on the bus stop! Although, we all know you give your biggest smiles out to your sister.

Although I have started putting you in your co-sleeper cot when we go to bed at night, every morning I wake up with you in my arms. We’re both happier with that arrangement. You will spend most of your life sleeping in your own bed so I’m going to soak up those sleepy snuggles for as long as I can. (I guess this whole ‘clingy’ thing is mutual, huh?)

You will, almost certainly, be my last baby. Because of that I’m finding the speed at which you are growing a little unbearable at times. I’ve a bin bag full of outgrown baby clothes that I keep meaning to donate to charity… and yet, can’t quite bring myself to do it. The thought of it makes me feel physically sick. It’s silly really, keeping a load of too-small-for-you baby grows doesn’t achieve anything.  But I’m not ready to let them go.

I don’t like comparing you to your sister because you are two separate people. But it’s funny how differently I’m parenting this time around. At this stage with Jasmine, I’d already started implementing a bedtime routine which involved a bath every night. I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve given you a bath since you were born. Rest assured, you smell devine. Well, most of the time anyway! ;)

But seriously, routine schmootine. This time I’m just rollin’ with it…

You have recently started to coo when you smile and it sounds like you are on the cusp of producing a giggle. You are such a happy, little soul.

As I write this letter, you are asleep on my lap. I’m listening to you snore and I cannot imagine life without you. Daddy often asks why his snoring doesn’t have the same effect on me!

Elowen, you are the baby that I had been waiting for. You have brought so much joy to our family.

Thank you for making Jasmine a big sister.

Thank you for giving me and your daddy another reason to look at each other say ‘Aren’t we lucky?’.

Thank you for making me the happy, content and confident mama that has always been lurking within me. You’ve brought her to the surface.

Buckle up my girl, because our adventures have only just begun…

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