25 September 2013

you've got the love part five

Yikes so it's only a few days to the wedding, but there's just one time to fit in one more story! I'm very excited to introduce the lovely Jordan from a great new to me blog Berlin By the Bay . Thanks for much for sharing your beautiful wedding, and some very good advice!

Today marks three wonderful (and crazy) years of marriage to my husband, Ryan.  I am so very pleased to be celebrating our anniversary by posting on Abigail's blog today.  This opportunity has allowed me to reflect upon our memorable wedding day as well as the past three years of marriage.

Our wedding was truly one of perfection. Many will warn you that things will go wrong on the big day, and to just move forward. But I can honestly say that not one thing went awry the day we got married, and I feel incredibly fortunate for this!  Leading up to the big day, I spent many an hour making invites, designing the decor, crafting napkins, and planting succulents.  However, the final few days before the wedding, and especially the day of, those closest to me really worked miracles and made my vision a reality. It was truly my friends and family whom I have to thank for such a flawless wedding.

Here are a few small tidbits of advice I have to share based on my own personal experience as a bride and a newlywed:  
First off, as the bride-to-be, I learned never get married in the middle of a desert in September.  Yes, the hotels will tell you that it cools off by September and it will be the perfect temperature.  But let me tell you- it will not!  It will be sweltering hot, and most likely, you’ll be in a full length, silk gown, and you’ll be sweating buckets.  We got married in Palm Springs in late September, and it was nearly 120 degrees.  My makeup melted right off my face (ok, come to think of it, maybe this was the one thing that did go wrong on our wedding day). DON’T DO IT!!.
Secondly, remember to eat.  I swear every former bride, as well as your mother and friends, will give you this piece of advice. And for one reason or another, most of us will choose to ignore it (myself included). My husband and I only took one quick moment to shovel a taco down our throats, and then stupidly proceeded to wolf down shots of tequila.  It didn’t take long to feel pretty knackered in 100+ degree heat with little food in our systems! Take my word for it,  it is no fun waking up with a hangover the morning after your wedding.
Consider that two pieces of advice: eat and don’t drink too much alcohol.
Thirdly, hire a videographer.  We didn’t want to add another expense to the already tight budget, and I regret it still to this day. It is extremely hard to stay in the moment, but by having a video you can recall the experience, and or see something you failed to catch at the time. I would love to relive the moment my husband said his vows to me, or watch us walking hand in hand down the aisle as husband and wife for the first time. Your wedding day will be one big whirlwind, but it will forever be one of the most memorable days of your life. Believe me, you will want it captured on film.
Lastly, have the wedding of your dreams- without breaking the bank.  Make certain the wedding is a reflection of both of you as a couple.  Don’t have a ceremony that will please your grandmother if it is not your style;  or one where you invite every long lost relative for the sake of your mother- especially if you are paying for it!  Have a wedding that pleases you and your husband only, and STAY within your means.

Now, onto my advice as a newlywed (yes, I still consider us newlyweds even after three years of marriage).
My most important piece of advice is to show love for one another on a daily basis.  This can range from the most simple acts of love: such as leaving a post it note on the mirror saying, “I adore you,” to the more grand gesture (think John Cusack’s ghetto blaster moment in Say Anything).  It is far too easy to get caught up in the routine of everyday life, and forget to cherish your partner.   If you can remind your partner just how much they mean to you on a  daily basis, I swear your marriage will last forever.
Secondly, shut off all electronics for at least an hour every evening to enjoy one another’s company.  This piece of advice has recently become a new rule in our household, and let me tell you it is a marriage saver!  Having a husband who works for Apple, we tend to be electronically obsessed in our house, and have all devices running simultaneously throughout the day.  We are constantly glued to our phone, iPad, and computer and often go hours in the night without even talking to one another.  Put down your phone and actually converse with one another about your day.
Lastly, be intimate.  Enough said.

Special thanks to Abigail for allowing me to be a part of her series.  I wish you and Rob all the best and a lifetime of love.

Photo Credit: Jared Harrell

21 September 2013

thirty-eight / fifty-two

- A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013 -

Playing secret games with daddy in the Imaginarium Wonderland from last weeks festival. The weeks are seriously whizzing by, and I've been too busy with last minute wedding preparation to really pick up the camera this week. 

I am looking forward to things returning to normal, having a tiny bit more time and to get stuck into our Autumn and back into routine. Sometimes I crave adventure, but a lot of the time I crave routine and stability. Once that has returned, it will be time for the next adventure! 

20 September 2013

wise words fesitval

I was lucky enough to be invited over to Canterbury for the Wise Words Festival happening over the weekend. As soon as I looked at the programme I was really excited to be part of it and be there to experience it.

For those of you who don't already know, the Wise Words festival takes place around various locations in the city of Canterbury. There are free events for the all, adults and children, as well as tickets for talks, performances and music. Each event showcases local and beyond talent including storytelling, poetry performance, writing workshops, spoken word street slams, alternative city tours and live music. With each one aiming to "reawaken wonder and encourage curiosity". And it certainly did!


On Saturday we awoke to some rain and hoped it wouldn't last all day. But not ones to be deterred by a slight drizzle we packed our bag for the day and headed out into town. Our first stop was at the Three Cities Garden where we stepped into a (slightly damp) Wonderland. We were invited to have a tea party with the white rabbit, who poured us pink tea into tea cups and sipped a little himself straight out of the pot. We celebrated our un-birthday, ate a biscuit or two and listened to strange facts. We then made our own red rose to please the Queen, who made a scary appearance, whilst we had to stand to attention.

After this we took a walk to visit the Yurt in the Fransiscan Garden, where Charles Bennett was just about to start a reading from his new poetry collection. As inviting as being in a dry and cosy yurt  listening to poetry was, Theo was a little to fidgety to listen! Instead we walked on to Browns cafe where we booked ourselves onto a punt for story telling later on in the day, and warmed up with a hot drink. On our way back we stopped and listened in on Tristan Gooleys fascinating walk around town to share his knowledge of Natural Navigation.

We stopped on the high street to pay a visit to the Alternative Tourist Information Station and were entertained by the Wind Up Dolls which Theo had great joy in winding up himself, and squealing in delight when they ran off to dance!

By lunchtime the rain had eased up, so we stepped off the busy high street and had our picnic in the quiet calmness of the Fransiscan Garden, before making our way back to the punts in time for our trip with Story teller Emily Parrish. We were treated to blankets and hot water bottles as we got comfy for our trip down the backs of Canterbury. We spotted fish and eels in the water as we made our way under low bridges, hearing some history and then listening to the wonderful story teller Emily. The rain held off and it was a very relaxing way to spend an hour.

Later on I whilst Theo napped I made my way with my sister to the Marlowe theatre to see Tristan Gooley give a talk about the work he does as a Natural Navigator. He is truly inspiring, and is amazing to see someone so passionate about his work and interest. He showed us examples of how to navigate the land using nature's signs, such as the direction plants and trees grow, the stars, puddles on roads and sand dunes. He shared stories of his solo voyages across the Atlantic and tales of navigation in many foreign lands, as well as those very close to home. It was a fascinating talk!

After a break and a refresh at home, my sister and I headed back into Canterbury in the evening for a storytelling performance by Xanthe Gresham. I was unsure of what to expect, but I like that about storytelling. You don't need to know anything about the subject, or the story teller, as you are instantly transported into the story and their world. We were told many stories centered around the character BabaYaga, each interlinking with the same theme running throughout. The stories were at times humorous, with the audience invited to help play parts in the story using their voices and props all the while being captivated by the storyteller. I've not been to many story telling performances, but this one really was something great!

After a jam packed day, and being a little soaked through we went to bed exhausted but inspired and happy! Ready to do it all over again!

This post was originally written for the Wise Words blog. But I thought I'd share it here too! 

17 September 2013

the terrible terrible twos

So I haven't talked a whole lot about Theo's behaviour on here, and especially not recently. It's one of those things though, it's hard to share the things that aren't so good and the things that are hard.

But hard it is. Since Theo turned two and a half we have just been going through a very rough patch, which has in turn made me feel anxious and stressed out a lot of the time. I've mentioned before that we have had problems with him hitting and pushing other children, and even though it does seem to go in waves, it feels as though we are right at the peak at the moment, and I really don't know how much I can cope with. I've talked before about how I had a fear of going to playgroups, visiting the park or basically going anywhere where there might be other children we don't know. It may sound silly to some that I have these fears, especially of the lovely parks near me, but I just don't seem to have the energy to cope with them, and I feel anxious just at the thought of them.

If we visit a place Theo will more than likely in the first few minutes manage to hit or hurt another child. It's usually fighting over a toy, or a space on the climbing frame etc, or sometimes just a bit random. It makes me feel embarrassed to write that, but that's the reality of it. It makes me feel embarrassed because I know that I'm trying my hardest to make him not do it, but it keeps happening, over and over, every single day. I've lost count of how many times we've had to have pep talks before we enter a place, how I have to take him to one side and explain how we don't hit, to use his words, to wait his turn, to calm down, how we share and take turns. But it doesn't seem to work. I know at his age all these concepts are big things to understand, but I just hope that it will start to go in at some point. It makes me feel defeated, deflated and tired. And I'm not enjoying being his parent right now.

I feel awful writing that, but I see or hear people say "I feel so privileged to be his parent" "I feel so blessed he is in our life" "they're just a joy to be around and spend time with..." etc etc, I know I just don't feel like that at the moment. Of course, of course, I still love him, more than anything, and that won't change, but it is getting spread pretty thin at the moment. I feel as though we're not friends very much at the moment, that we're constantly battling and fighting against each other. I miss my little companion and I miss feeling that way towards my child.

Obviously there are moments when things aren't so tough, when we play games, have proper conversations, and he does play well with his friends. These moments make me feel proud, happy and a little calmer, and it makes me feel bad that he might just be labelled as a bad child when he is acing out, or if that is all that people see of him. Theo's not a bad child, or a horrible child at all, he just perhaps needs a little more guidance and understanding. He's incredibly bright, lively, curious and affectionate too but I guess these good points just get overshadowed by the not so good.

I've noticed recently, that because he's such a confident child he will happily run off into a new situation or place without first taking the time to survey the situation and think about what he wants to play with first, or where and what the other children may be doing. I feel like he gets overwhelmed by the choices, frustrated that he may not be able to go on or play with what he wants to straight away, and the easiest way to vent that frustration or feeling overwhelmed is to hit. If we've been at a place for a while, or he knows it well then he is a lot calmer and can play well, and can be incredibly kind and sharing with other children. I also know that he is testing his boundaries constantly, and with that testing them with me. I know it's all part of learning, and that one day, hopefully soon it'll all start to sink into place and we can leave this awful phase behind.

I know for us the next step is getting him into preschool, and one that is the right place for him. I know it will be hugely beneficial for the both of us, and will hopefully be a step in the right direction for him learning how to behave and act around other children. But more to come on that later! 

16 September 2013

thirty-seven / fifty-two

- a portrait of my child once a week, every week in 2013 -

This weekend we took a whirlwind trip to Canterbury to see my sister and to help document the Wise Words Festival that was taking place in the city over the weekend (more to come on that later!) Even though the weather wasn't the best, we still had a fun jam packed weekend. We took a punt on the river whilst snuggling under blankets with hot water bottles, listening to history and stories from a lovely storyteller. Theo was fascinated with the passing water as we watched for fish and spotted some eels! 

15 September 2013

the summer in film; two

Whilst not being technically Summer, these collection of photos from our first trip to Tyntesfield, National Trust, were a mark in the change in seasons towards the warmer weather, longer days and more time spent outside. The trees were still slightly bare, wooly hats were worn but you could see and feel the change all around, and what a better place to experience than here!

11 September 2013


 Since my last of the summer post we have quickly moved into a more autumn feel. Even though the days are still warm, even hot when the sun shines, we are being greeted with slightly chillier mornings and cooler evenings.

On Sunday we made the most of the lingering warm sun and did a spot of blackberry picking in lanes around our neighbourhood. On a walk the other day I picked up some cooking apples on the street from someone who was giving them away as they had an abundance on their tree, so of course our aim of the day was to make a apple and blackberry crumble.

We took it quite seriously, even bringing along a step ladder so we could reach the tallest juiciest ones, adding that to Rob's height we managed to get quite a few. In the next few weeks I'm sure there will be more popping up all over the place!

Theo got really into helping, sitting on Rob's shoulders and reaching for the best ones, as well as collecting them in the little pot and his mouth!
After a successful picking we came home, put the kettle on and made a crumble all together, and I'm happy to report that it was delicious!

I love simple family days spent this way, being outside, teaching Theo new things and enjoying spending the time together. 
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