Words every new parent needs to hear

I was once asked by a friend, Catherine, what words I think every new parent needs to hear. I thought I had it down with:

Be prepared, for a good few years, to never tear a piece of toilet paper off an intact roll. From one to four, unwinding toilet paper will be your child’s hobby and life passion. Start convincing yourself now that loo roll on the roll is overrated and you will face the toddler years triumphantly.

But then she told me she wanted to put my message in an e-bundle filled with messages from authors, poets and artists.

And I thought I’d have another crack.

I wrote a piece called “Changing the world – whilst changing nappies” and it is about being persuaded by Gandhi that good parenting is the most important task we can do if we care about creating a fair, just and beautiful society.

(I see your Loo Roll and I raise you GANDHI.)

I write “When we raise our children gently, with compassion and kindness, they will multiply that goodness and pass it on. When we stand back and allow them to grow in autonomy, we are raising people who will question injustice. When we nurture attachment we are encouraging fearlessness. When we treat our tiniest babies with the utmost respect we are ensuring they will tread with respect in the future. When we love our kids with abandon, in turn they too will love others.”

My article went in to this bundle, the New Mama Pack, and became part of the most INCREDIBLE resource for new mothers in that most vulnerable, and courageous, fourth trimester. (The fourth trimester is that three month period straight after birth when most mammal babies are still in utero but because humans have to get out of their bed to release their inconceivably pressured and tiny bladder at night we get our new tikes early.) The babies are new, the mums are new, and there is a massive need for support. The New Mama pack is a whole tribe of Mamas welcoming the newness and holding your hand with songs, videos, articles, ebooks. It is some of the most creative mums out there articulating the words they think every new parent needs whispered in their ears…Breastfeeding Ramona
(Ramona and I in all our messy, jumbled, unshowered-but-at-least-I’m-out-of-PJs- newness!)

I am STOKED to let you know that for 72 hours there is a MAHOOOSIVE SALE! It has gone from £290 to £29 and it is only available for two more days. If you are a new mum DELVE ON IN, or if you have a friend about to give birth, please consider this as a baby shower present. (Infinitely better than yet another pair of booties. Yes, those teeny weeny booties make you want to die of cute but they will FIT FOR A DAY.)
sale
Click here to purchase this e-bundle through my affiliate link at this whoppingly discounted price (sale lasts until Friday…)

And here is another little bit from my own article, words from Mother Teresa. Words that I want to scribble on to every new mum’s palm so they grab her eyes as she wearily sits down for the fifty millionth feed of the day…

“Following her address a member of the audience stood and asked “You’ve done so much to make the world a better place, what can we do?” He clearly wanted to assist her work. Mother Theresa smiled and said simply “Love your children.” The questioner seemed perplexed and was about to speak again when Mother Theresa raised her hand. “There are other things you can do,” She said, “But that is the best. Love your children as much as you can. Love your children. That is the best.”

What words do you want every new mum to hear?

Posted in Parenting | 1 Comment

Oi, Beetroot Face! Homemade, Natural Blusher

In my latest experiment for Cosmo I’ve tackled something I’ve wanted to do for a while- Beetroot Rouge! Yep, a quick, easy, natural homemade blusher using my absolute FAVE root vegetable. Homemade Natural Rouge - Beetroot Blusher

It was SO MUCH fun and effective.

You will need:

A small vestibule (I used a vintage tobacco tin, obviously)

A whole, fresh beetroot sliced very thinly

An oven or dehydrator

A coffee grinder or nut/grain mill

No children (for some reason they are intrigued with these little mounds of bright pink dust and think playing with it is just as much fun as I think it is, pah!)

Get the How To and the results right here…diy beetroot blusher

Posted in Thrifty | 3 Comments

Let’s mobilise in hope and anger

Don’t mention the NZ election to me. Unless you want swears and tears.

I’m so mad. The main losers of this right wing party settling in for their third term, with a MAJORITY (62 seats!!!) are New Zealand’s poor people… And women … And children… And our conservation areas… Also, equality took a big hit… And climate change.

This government is especially terrible at acting like climate change is happening. For a country known for being “clean and green” it does a suspiciously large amount of fossil fuel pushing. And for a country whose very close Pacific neighbours are among the first experiencing the devastating consequences of rising sea levels RIGHT NOW, it buries it’s head in the sand far too much.

You would never know, from NZ’s media, that people here care about the climate. On Sunday, alongside millions of people all over the world, Kiwis rallied for a People’s Climate March. Stuff.co.nz covered the march in Brazil, the UK and Australia but failed to mention the gatherings in NZ. (Just like pretty much every NZ media outlet failed to let people know the extent of National’s deceit and corruption. Please, please, please read Hager’s Dirty Politics if you still feel an element of trust in this government. It leaves no room for doubt. National’s political gaming and duping of voters belongs in some Elizabethan backwater not this thriving, creative and intelligent society.)

I am going to be a pain in the lazy arse of NZ’s journos this year. If you are an NZer, could you do this too? A bit of civillian action to hold NZ media to account? Phone them up/ send an email/ write a comment. (I’ve done all three this week.) Let’s become a dog with a bone on this because if we can transform the bias media here we can transform the political landscape, I’m convinced.

Anyway, YAY, climate change rallies around the world! Just when you think no one cares about whole Islands getting washed over hundreds and thousands of people turn up in every major city across the world to show they really bloody do!climate change rally thames nz

We had a gathering of 200 (not to be sniffed at for a small town!) with beautiful protest artwork, awesome music and inspiring speakers.
climate change rally thames nz
(Not counting our National MP Scott Simpson who turned up for the photo opportunity -he won’t meet with constituents but wherever there is a camera, he will be found. He literally just used his few words to GLOAT about his party’s win – oh, and he managed to name “protest” as one of the negative forces of society. I also overheard a small kid ask him, quite innocently, if he “Kills trees” – his response was an immensely snide, juvenile and irresponsible “No, SHE does” – and he pointed at the Green Party politician, Catherine Delahunty. Who used her speech to big up the grassroots and to call for immediate action on climate change. Sort of how you’d want a speech at a climate change rally to go, y’know?)

Climate change is undoubtedly the biggest threat facing us at the moment. It should be the first priority of every government. And should govern the actions of every individual.

If we care about poverty and injustice we need to care about climate change. If we care about our future grandchildren, we need to call for action NOW. climate change rally thames nz

There were farmers and anarchists and children and Grandparents rallying in Thames on Sunday. Power to the people indeed. It is really these people, the people who will hold our leaders to account through protest, that give me hope.climate change rally thames nz

What Scott Simpson failed to remember when he called out protest as a negative thing was New Zealand’s astonishingly rich history of it. It was New Zealand who first gave women the vote as a result of their excellent mobilisation, it was New Zealand who played a part in taking the anti-apartheid movement to the next level when nuns and fans and salt-of-the-earth Kiwis disrupted rugby games by piling on the pitch and barricading gates when the South African team toured here in 1981 and Kiwi’s have courageously been taking to the seas for decades to protest climate-destroying nuclear and deep sea drilling. (Read the tragic story of the 1985 Rainbow Warrior and more recent expedition including 2013 former leader of the Greens Jeanette Fitzsimons.)

There is one good thing about having a corrupt, unjust and environment-hating government in power. Sometimes, under more progressive governments, the grassroots can get complacent. We saw a bit of this under Labour in the UK. But when the government persistently show contempt for its people we get mad and we mobilise. This election result has upset a lot of people, but let’s harness that emotion. Let’s protest like its the Eighties. Let’s gather, and plan, and march, and strategise. And there let hope be born.

Are you cross enough to mobilise? Tell me what you are thinking…

And did you attend a People’s Climate March? I’d love to hear about it..

PS, Er, yes, sorry. I realise I did go and “mention the election.” This post was intended to be quite a positive one. WHOOPS!!!

PPS Pictures by Bella Pacific Media

Posted in Activism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Birthdays and baths and breastfeeding mermaids

I read this lovely post yesterday by Ruth. Just a simple, whimsical look at their bath time tradition. Reading it was like soaking in a hot bubble bath – just the soothing thing I needed. Most of my social media time this week has been taken up by the NZ election. I feel permanently angry and despairing about the media’s shocking bias towards National and the general population’s tendency to swallow it whole.

Reading Ruth’s post made me feel sorry for you lot, my lovely blog readers. You come on here and then I slap you you round the head with a rant about politics or parenting. Well out of order.

I thought I’d just give a little catch up on our lives – hoping some gentle musings might provide an antidote to all my ra-rah clamour.

So…

Tim has finished the yurt extension and installing some solar panels. We now sit in a little cabin add- on in the evenings, with the lights on, reading and talking and feeling properly smug and snug! It is only about 3m x 3m but we are absolutely stoked and are filling it up with treasure found in the local dump shop.
photo (1)

I turned 32 last week and for the third year in a row we went camping. This time last year we were broken down in Italy – can you BELEIVE that has been a year? This time we managed to not break down but we visited our most favourite place in NZ. You dig a whole on the beach and it feels with hot water from a deep spring (imaginatively called Hot Water Beach hehehe.) We made an epic pool and sat there until the tide came in and swept cold waves in amongst our spa.photo (3)

This is my breastfeeding mermaid look. Someone needs to design a nursing wetsuit, thanks. photo (2)

We are trying to be kind to ourselves. We’ve had a few disappointments/ hurts over the last couple of weeks. Somehow we manage to both internalise and externalise this by being mean to ourselves and grumpy each other. What is up with that? Warped I tell you. We are trying to go easy, seek out simple joys. We are lucky to have formed some deep and lovely friendships already here. If it wasn’t for our new friends this would have been a madly homesick kind of a week.

I have joined the library and am ravishing mountains of books. This is partly about being kind to myself but also because I read somewhere that the SINGLE thing a child needs to learn how to read is just lots of books and reading going on around them. No need to teach. It may happen much later, but it will happen. So bunkering down on the sofa with a good novel while the girls unravel loo rolls/ take every single tin out of the cupboard/ cover themselves in paint is very much a part of their education, thanks. (Any book recommendations HEARTILY received.)

Ramona keeps growing. (What is up with kids growing, eh?) Taking on new extreme challenges. I have always wondered about Ramona’s inability to jump. Perhaps it is a body memory of falling and breaking her leg when she was a baby, but she has never, ever been able to jump off things more than a foot high. However. This week she has begun to jump. Like, parkour styles. Off things bigger than her. Twice as high as her. Backwards. I just love the constant reminders from our children that we can keep our subtle encouragements to ourselves, they don’t need a push towards anything. They will get there, they will find their courage, in their own sweet time.

Juno, meanwhile, has been free running for about six months, stampeding through life. She is Sonic the Hedgehog but less blue. Christopher Wren with blocks. And she has begun saying “Uh Oh!” with stella comic timing.

That is us, for now. How are YOU?!

Treat yourself kindly, my friends. Read a book, take a bath, gobble chocolate.

(And Vote! Just don’t read your Facebook feed until Monday, when you can carry on pretending all your friends are as sensibly progressive as you. Teehee)

Posted in Parenting | 14 Comments

5 things you need to enjoy the outdoors

1 A jar of peanut butter
*sings* Just a spoonful of peanut butter makes the hiking go down! This is my must-take to ay sort of activity outside. We always have a stash of PB in our bag be it a hike or a festival! We eat in by the spoonful and spread it on wraps. It provides instant energy and shorts any potential low blood sugar outbursts!

2 A pair of hiking boots
I have never been one for owning a pair of these but a pal turned up with a perfectly worn pair from the local Oppy and now I want to wear them even when I am in town. They are water proof and sturdy and if you want to take a proper hike you might want to look at investing in a good pair of walking boots (there is a good range available online at Tesco).
3 A sling
Oh, little legs. Sometimes they cope, sometimes they just don’t. We tend to all march up the hill but then put the kids in the back packs for the descent. We have a baby sling and one designed especially for big kids and I just don’t know how families enjoy walking trips wihout one.
4 A raincoat
There is no such thing as bad weather…yadeyadeyada. But, tis true, In fact. I LOVE sloshing about in proper rain as long as I am tucked up in my waterproof- then I feel like a smug, snug bird of a feather. “Nice weather for ducks!” I feel much beter about the kids spending yonks outdoors when they are fully esconsed in their waterpoof onesies! (Wish I had one!)
5 A carrying device
Because YOU KNOW you are going to come back with 7 different sticks, 3 lumps of mud (one possibly a dog turd) and 59 different leaves. I first had “A basket” down as the title for Number 5 as if we whimsically swan about carrying a wicker basket filled with nature. Actually it is nearly always a torn plastic carier bag from the local supermarket that I had stuffed in the foot well of the car. Not quite so folksy, but at least you are not clutching those twigs and turds under your arm.
Tesco provided me with some insights to make this post possible, but all opinions are my own…- please see my disclosure about that!
Posted in collaborative | Leave a comment