Parenting

50 Hippie Baby Names

27 September, 2016

There is absolutely no critical thinking or social analysis here in this post. It is just hippie baby names I love. That’s it. Sometimes I am just a completely one dimensional person and that is okay. ALRIGHT?

(I suspect for Debate-weary folk this may be a bit of a relief… but just for the record: my dear American readers VOTE HILARY.)

How I came up with my hippie baby names

Well, I definitely didn’t say “hmmm, I’m a bit of a hippie so what shall by hippie babies be called?” Honestly, I didn’t. HONESTLY. I just found myself drawn to certain names.
In fact, my children’s names, Ramona and Juno, are quite classic, they are just not mainstream these days.  Ramona was popular at the end of the 1800’s and the beginning of the 1900s and when older people hear her name they often break into song, one popular back in the day. The name Ramona sprung out at me from an artist’s exhibition poster when I was outside Kings Cross Station one day when I was 5 months pregnant and I just knew that was my baby’s name. I looked it up and found it meant “nurturing hands” which struck me as being perfect.

Juno is an ancient name, the name of a Roman Goddess who was the protector of women and community and I loved the sentiment and the sound of it. There was also a not-so famous suffragette called Juno in the US. Everyone asks if our Juno was named for the movie Juno, she isn’t, although it is an awesome redemptive story of love, freedom, respect, friendship, so she may well have been in a deeply subconcious way.

I was looking for names that were:

  • Strong and fairly non-prescriptive in terms of gender
  • Not very common
  • Held meaning for me

Whilst Ramona’s name came like divine inspiration, Juno’s name was an intense quest! But in that quest I came up with what I think are flipping AWESOME names!

To save me from emailing this list of names to any more of my pregnant friends (sorry friends) I thought I would  put them out there.Hippie baby Names

What makes a name get on my list of hippie baby names? 

No real reason apart from that I like it and I am a hippy, I guess.  They are underused. Creative. Not on the list of 1000 top baby names etc. Often based on nature or social change rebels.

To me, the word “hippy” means: loving the earth and loving humankind even if acting on that love questions the status quo. To some people the word “hippy” means “tree hugger” and do you know what? I love that term too! The term tree hugger originates from the 1700’s when a community of peasant women in Northeast India refused to let the king cut down an ancient forest to build a palace. They embraced the trees with their bodies and stood strong while the foresters cut down the trees. Many of them died in this peaceful protest but it began a movement that culminated in forestry reform.

Am I a proud hippy and tree hugger? Heck, yep!

Here’s a video of the names in the back of my notebook when I was pregnant with Juno. I also discuss people trolling me online for calling my children Ramona and Juno AND a little interview with my kids about what they would call their babies… Thanks for that, Ramona, you comic:

A lot of them could be either boys or girls names I think but for ease I will start with those that are more commonly used for boys and then girls:

Hippie Baby Names for Boys

Zebedee
Obadiah
Van
Foy
Caspian
Sebastian
Jasper
Rufus
Pippin
Huckleberry

Hippie Baby Names for Girls

Blossom
Octavia
Meredith
Arietty (the Borrowers! Remember that?)
Eta
Odetta
Beatrice (this doesn’t sound too hippy but the truth is I wanted to call her Beet)
Pippi
Eartha (incredible 20th century performer and activist but I also love the reference to the earth)
Vita 

<h2My favourite hippie baby names that friend’s have used:

Fern
Hazel
Brook
River
Aniren (commonly Aneurin in Wales)
Robin
Emmi
Rafael
Jude
Meshach
Arla

Hippie Baby Names based on the Suffragettes (I was absolutely certain both  my girls would be named after suffragettes but only Juno was)

Ida
Alva
Matilda
Inez
Izetta
Lena
Maud
Sojourner
Mabel
Edith
Vera
Flora (flo! omg!)
Cicely
Nellie
Adela
Eva
Meri

Ahhh, they are all so brilliant. It makes me want to have fifty babies.

Okay, let’s go: your favourite hippie baby names?? Weirdly keen to hear them….

Parenting

Sixty Great Gift Ideas for Kids (that aren’t toys) 2016-2017

18 September, 2016

**This list of Gift Ideas for Kids has been Updated for 2016 – 2017**

We spent six months travelling around Europe in a campervan. We had a tiny stash of playthings and our three year old toddler Ramona thrived. She was a case study for how kids play in nature. She had a twig that would be a wand one minute, a baby the next, a spade in the morning and a guitar in the afternoon.

During that time I came to believe that too many toys can push a child’s imagination right under the bed and will eventually wreck the planet our children have got to enjoy for the rest of their lives. (Read my thoughts on that here.)

These days I think that rather than having such a negative view of toys we can just view them as one part of the big picture of childhood. As parents (or caring adults in a child’s life) we need to provide a nurturing environment that values fun, communal games, imagination play, art, creating, music, nature. Toys aren’t evil. They bring kids a whole heap of enjoyment, so let’s not be too harsh on them!

However, we all want to be that awesome adult that opens the doors a little more on a child’s imagination. We want to give a kid a gift that they will remember forever!BEST LIST EVER! Sixty Great gift Ideas for Kids- that aren't toys

Pin for later: Sixty Great Gift Ideas for Kids

This list of gift ideas for kids is for you. Whether it is for Christmas or a special birthday this list has a unique and awesome non-toy gift for every child.

This is a crowd sourced list of gift ideas for kids. Using Twitter and Facebook I asked 6000 people: What is the best non-toy present you ever received as a kid?

Here are sixty ways to show you care, and for the most part they fire a child’s imagination and cause less havoc for the environment. Many of them are free, or cheap and plenty of them can be found in charity shops or secondhand stores. There is a common theme of taking children seriously- of trusting them and their abilities, of giving them tools to create.

(When a celebration is coming up and it’s a pressie-giving kind of time, I reckon a good, frank chat is the best starting point. The child/ parents have a better idea about what the child would enjoy/ needs like a hole in the head. But the second port of call should be this list, for sure. Bookmark it and share it with your family members!)

Here we go….

Gift Ideas for Kids – Tools & Equipment

I am reading “Escape from Childhood” by John Holt at the moment and the thing he is really convincing me of is how much kids NEED to be useful. Exactly like adults! They love to be taken seriously, to have serious implements and to be able to truly, genuinely help and build and be busy working. When considering gift ideas for kids we should think about great it must feel for them to open up proper tools and equipment.

1-A small fruit tree to grow and nurture.

2- Same goes with a proper hammer and nails. Throw in some wheels and planks and they’ll be set for days. or perhaps a toolbox filled with things were a massive hit; rope, screws, pulleys etc.

3- Sew them a baby sling for their dolls. Here is a tutorial for an easy sling for your toddler’s doll – it has never failed to please a tot in my experience!

4- Gardening equipment- a proper trowel, some organic slug killer and some seeds.

5- A greenhouse. A reader says “When I was 9 I got a greenhouse. To this day it is still my best Christmas present ever as I spent hours with my Grandad learning how to grow food.”

6- A pocket knife. Every kid age 4+ needs a good simple pocket knife, a lesson in using it safely (sitting down, striking away from you, with an adult in range) and a bit of wood to carve.Sixty Great Gift Ideas for kids - that aren't toys

7 – Cress seeds were specified for very young children- imagine helping to feed your family at only age 2?! Plus they pop up all year round and don’t take as much patience. You can also make them a head to grow them in so it looks like hair! Classic!

8- My sister put together a survival kit for her six year old son- a good rope, pegs and a tarpaulin for den making, camo paint, a good torch. Flipping heck, that was a hit.

9 – A wind up torch. Sustainable and fascinating for children. They especially love head torches.

10 – A good baking bowl, a whisk, some scales. Show them you have faith in their ability to make something yummy.

11- The ingredients to make something yummy! One reader explains about the special thing she did for Christmas “I once gave my daughter’s friend a bag filled with the ingredients, Christmas cutters and the recipe to make their own Christmas gingerbread. They loved it.”

12 – Kitchen implements- one tweeter is getting her 2.5 year old son a peeler with a big handle as he genuinely loves helping in the kitchen. One reader received a sieve when she was young and it was her favourite present ever. I think I might get my three year old a good grater- they are so fulfilled when they are doing something worthwhile. A garlic press was another great suggestion. And every kid needs an apron.

13- Their own cookery book. Several times a week Ramona picks something out of her cookery book and bakes it. She is five.

14 – Something to pull apart- give them a screw driver and an old type writer and the afternoon to take it to bits and explore its inners.

15- A rock tumbler. A reader explains “I loved collecting rocks when I was about 9- it was so cool being able to polish them!”

16 – A magnifying glass and a book of native Insects.

17 – A microscope “I spent months finding things to look at and getting family members to guess what it was- the best was tiny slivers of onion skin.”

18 – Binoculars – plus a guide to bird and wildlife. We just bought a pair for our eight year old neighbour and you have pretty much never seen a kid more excited!!!!

19 – A calligraphy pen, nibs and ink. “I was given these age ten, and shown how to use it. I still have it!”

20 – A DIY science kit. Or DIY anything kit really!

Gift Ideas for Kids – Art and creating

The emphasis here is on good quality stuff. Just like adults, children deserve to work with good quality materials. It is frustrating scrawling on crap paper with crayons that barely make a mark. Seeing the vivid colours of acrylic paint on canvas is much more likely to stoke a child’s passion for creating art, no? These gift ideas for kids might just stoke your own memories of receiving creative crafty pressies.

21- A ball of bright coloured, good wool and instructions for finger knitting will open up a whole new meditative world.

22- Ingredients for DIY porcelain clay- a little box with corn flour and bicarb and instructions. They’ll love the making and the shaping.

23- Proper non toxic acrylic paint, high quality watercolours, and proper paintbrushes.

24 – A good quality sketch book. These are unbeatable in terms of art – acrylic and watercolours just feel and look magical with beautiful thick absorbent paper.

25- A selection of blank canvases and an easel.

26- A candle making kit. (I have made candles since I was 11 when I got my first kit and loved it. And the only fire I caused was when I was 22 and being VERY experimental. Just a shame the fire happened on my future in laws dining table.)

27 – More kits: A perfume making kit – what a cool way to learn about chemicals and stuff.

28 – A sewing machine. I got my first when I was 12 and after a fairly quick lesson from my Aunty have seen ever since. Or even just a hand sewing kit with fabric, needles and threads.

29 – How about these wonderful chalkboard puppets? Handmake some chalkboard blocks and give them along with some chalk and then, the best bit, PLAY TOGETHER!

30 -A box of craft materials that is all their own- ribbon, pipe cleaners, beads, buttons, fimo etc. Red Ted Art has a lot of gift ideas for kids in the form of arts and craft gift boxes.

31 – Jars of homemade playdough and a box of cutters and tools (found in secondhand shops.)

32 – A box. It was the third best gift, suggested by over thirty people! The best explanation comes from reader, Clare “The best ‘present’ I ever got was a great big cardboard box. I made it into a house and played in it for YEARS. The best thing about it was that my parents got really involved in it- my mum made curtains for it and they never complained about having a tatty old hoc in the living room and let me keep it as long as I wanted.”

Sixty Great Gift Ideas for Kids

Gift Ideas for Kids – Music and Culture

33- A mixtape – burn a cd with a selection of fun songs. Ramona has been given some of these and they are her favourite gift by a mile. I have gone on to make them for other children and my kids have helped select the tunes. So cool.

34 – Audiobooks- Roald Dahl stories are fantastic and tantalise imaginative minds.

35- A subscription to a magazine such as National Geographic. A reader explains how she felt about her subscription given to her by her neighbour age six, “At first, we just looked at the pictures but I read more each year as I grew. In our sleepy village,nit was a very welcome window into different cultures. And I always felt very grown up and acknowledged when I read them.”

36- Instruments! A good drum, maracas, a ukelele. A good xylophone. The brain patterns used in music are the same as those used in maths so giving kids the tools to create music is important. And fun. But make sure they are GOOD- in tune etc or children will lose interest.

37 – A song. Rope people in to help you, friends to strum chords on the guitar. Record it on YouTube and send it to them! We have done this a few times, it’s weird and fun. Write your own or just change a few lyrics to an existing one.

38 – Investment in a creative venture- for example Hadar Manor is crowd funding her new album and in return for contributing you can get anything from a shout out on the album to a personalised song, written sung and recorded for you.

39 – A poem. No, really, really! How special, for a kid to have their own poem. Written on beautiful paper. For them to treasure.

40 – A story. Ramona and Juno’s Grandad has written them both a story, printing it out into a book and gluing in photos.  It was about cats. They LOVE their personalised stories! How about writing a story about them? Or drawing a comic featuring them? It doesn’t need to be about them.

41- Lost My Name team sent Ramona and Juno personalised books featuring their name. The stories are totally unique, funny and the illustration is cracking without any rubbish gender stereotypes.

42- Books, books and more books. This was the most popular response by miles. The child especially enjoys receiving a book with meaning- one mum explains “her eyes light up when I say “this is something I loved when I was little, and I thought you’d like me to read it to you.”

43- Last Christmas we were living on the other side of the world to my husbands family. They sent over a book that they had recorded the story into- Ramona loves hearing the voices of her Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles reading to her.

44- A photo album or scrap book. Reader Sally explains that her three year old loves these.

Sixty Great Gift Ideas For Kids - that aren't toys!

Gift Ideas for Kids- Experiences

Days out were probably the second top answer after “box!” Kids love hanging out doing stuff with people who love them, and memories last WAY longer than toys. If giving an experience that doesn’t already come in the form of a card or voucher, draw them up a personalised one that they can open. It feels so much more exciting! These are gift ideas for kids that keep on giving WAY after they have been cashed in.

45 – A season pass or vouchers to something- an outdoor play area, a private woods such as Westonburt or a wildlife lark or donkey sanctuary.

46- A micro love bomb- let them have a whole evening hanging out with you, doing WHATEVER they want. Like, really, anything. (Based on Oliver James’ miraculous Love Bomb idea- a whole weekend to reset connection and attachment.)

47- A micro adventure- grab a tent, pack a little gas cooker and have a night in the local woods. Even London has accessible woods you can do this in.

48 – A visit to stables to ride on a horse- Ramona adored this for her third birthday. A reader adds that when she was seven she was given a Shetland pony-owning day “7 year old heaven!”

49 – Sew them something magnificent for their fancy dress box –  a mermaid outfit or a pair of wings- see a tutorial for easy toddler wings here, you could make them any size.Sixty Great Gift Ideas for Kids

50 – A tent and sleeping bags to camp out in the garden.

51 – A day out in a big city- the museums, a picnic, feeding the skanky pigeons, climbing the towers.

52- A voucher for a den building afternoon. Take wood, hammers and nails and build a fort together in the local woods.

53- A course. Six weeks of a children’s photography or pottery or dance classes.

54- Adopt a whale/ dog/ monkey. This is a delightful idea, the child has a sense of investment with an animal and they can make a real difference for a charity.

55- A box of second hand clothes and costume jewellery for a fancy dress department. One Tweeter said the stash she was given included a WEDDING DRESS. Brilliant.

56- An experience for a baby- a jar of threaded beads, jewels and shells for them to shake and look at.

57- And another idea for a baby- a box of tissues entirely theirs to pull out. (This is probably my favourite of them all- even at seven months old Juno has worked out how to undo the lid of the baby wipes and delights in pulling them out.)

58 – Organise a visit with a local craftsperson or skilled person.Imagine spending an hour with a beekeeper or on a tractor or hammering nails with a builder or watching an artist blowing glass or making cheese or something more specific the child loves! You could give a box of beers to the tradesperson in exchange! One reader had a day of work experience at a farm when she was a child and she cherishes that memory.

59- Car booting/ junk store shopping. Write a voucher and include ten smackeroonies and set a date and go and find the most obscure antiques you can! We bought tap shoes at a junk store for both our kids- unbelievable amounts of entertainment!!!

60- Fruit picking. One of my most treasured childhood memories is of going strawberry picking with my Nana and Grandad when I was small. I remember my Nana stuffing her face, the red juice dribbling down her chin. She was an upright, honest citizen but I think she thought eating them as you go was part of the deal! Traditional activities like this are magical – I could almost make a list of gift ideas for kids based entirely on old skool chores. Ha!

Sixty Great Gift Ideas for Kids

***

What an epic, epic list of gift ideas for kids. Thanks to everyone for sharing your ideas and stories. I am inspired and have my kid’s Christmas gifts sorted: a grater for Ramona and a box for Juno.

May your Christmas and birthday celebrations be ever imaginative and may you become a gift rockstar in the eyes of the children in your life!!!

PS We are blogging from a yurt in a forest in NZ these days – follow through Facebook or Instagram and keep up with our Youtube updates:


PPS If you are looking for creative gifts for mums and dad please check out my book 30 Days of Rewilding – designed to help families find their place amongst nature.
PPPS Check out the comments below for more gift ideas for kids – this is an organic, evolving list with people adding to it constantly via the comments!

Sixty Great Gift ideas for Kids - that aren't toys!

yurt life

A Home of Two Halves – on tidyiness, motherhood and creativity

13 September, 2016

Our home is perched on a hill. We overlook meadows and a mountain range. The beauty mostly stops at our front door. Every step into our home leads you deeper into disarray. For the first three metres of our yurt you might think “Oh, this is a nice little lived-in sort of place with a few lovely things!” but by the time you reach our back room (we call this the Snug) you will wonder who lives here? A clan of cuddly toy collecting room smashing rock stars?

to which I can only say, weeeeelllll yeah. Sort of.

But the thing is, we aim to mostly entertain in the front half. So it’s all good!

This is the compromise we have got to, as people who are generally quite messy living in a world that fetishises minimalism.

I call this method the Home of Two Halves.

I beleive, like most new concepts, it has it’s roots in the old skool. It used to be called The Parlour.  It was a front room kept shut apart from when visitors came over. We laugh at The Parlour these days. Ha! A china tea set that was used 6 times a year! Sofas that you weren’t allowed to sit on! But the thing is, we have got rid of The Parlour but we haven’t got rid of the judgment of mothers who fail to have a tidy home when unexpected visitors pop in.

I have had someone stand in the doorway of my home, shake their head at the messy room they were staring at and tell me that I am a poor housekeeper.  Never mind that I had a baby and a toddler and was writing a book at the time.

I think The Parlour was a thing that women came up with as a way of juggling people’s unrealistic expectations along with childcare, self-care and home-care.  People are not meant to be able to keep an entire home spick and span – it is unhealthy!

Like, I mean it. A bit of dirt is good for us. Even messy beds keep us healthier.

But mentally too. Stay At Home Parents (most of whom are women at this point in time) labour under this burden of respectability when actually our primary job, a job that can impact the world for better or worse, is caring and nurturing our children. The truth is, if I am rushing around trying to get my home looking clean, I struggle to dig deep for the empathy and extra help my kids might need. I wish I was a better juggler than that but I am not. I’m freaking out about someone judging my messiness and I say “Wait a sec, I have to get under this minging cabinet” instead of meeting their need.

So much research points towards this idea that meeting our kids needs empathetically will nurture a generation of empathetic, kind people. The world should be making a big deal about parents that choose to be attentive to their kids over being attentive to tidiness. I mean sometimes, just occasionally, they are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes my kids will bounce on the trampoline for 1.5 hours straight and I will have a fun time straightening things up. But sometimes I do choose to just be with my kids whilst our home is in squalor, and that is a good thing for the world’s future! Do I want an award? Yeah, okay. I’ll take an award.

Creatively too. Holy smokes if there is one thing many mothers need it is permission to be themselves and give voice to the creativity inside of them. I can’t speak for all mothers. Some mothers have a more basic need than that and my heart goes out to them. But there is a crowd of mothers with this wild urge for making who are quietly wilting because they are waiting for permission to let go of some other stuff that feels important.

What does the world need from you? Not a tidy home, that’s for sure. Do we need dreamers to dream? Yep. Do we need singers to sing and artists to paint and writers to capture that illusive string of words that will illuminate something really deeply meaningful for us? Hell yes.

“I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write… and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning… it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectabilty) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estés,

There’s probably loads of answers to this problem. Making sure everyone checks in with reality is part of it. Which is why I have done a big reveal of the shockingly messy half of our house in this video. Sink full of dishes? Normal. Teddies everywhere? Normal. More clothes out of the drawer than in? For some families this is reality. Instagram feeds with their clean white surfaces are not everyone’s reality. Ugh.

The benefit of having our yurt on the hill is that I get a good warning of an advancing party. I spy them pulling in and have chance to get the front half looking its best.

And sometimes, like yesterday, I’m busy and don’t get the advance warning and the new neighbours have arrived and our entire place looks like a volcano filled with grubby white teddy bears and dishes has exploded in the middle of everything. I sang a hallelujah for the sunshine under my breath and I shut the doors on the yurt and we had tea outside.

Pfft.

Let’s do it, my friends. Dismantle those ridiculous expectations, do what you can, ignore what you can’t, prioritise your children and follow up your creative urges. Life is to be lived, not to be sanitised.A Home of Two Halves - on tidying, motherhood, creativity

Parenting

She lets her kids get away with whatever they want!

7 September, 2016

A modern child respecting parent’s job is a balancing act.

In any split second we are juggling body autonomy, the desire to respect people around us, a critical analysis of the rules or the status quo, safety or well being and the fact that our children are actual people with minds and bodies of their own.

To some people this balancing act may look like “letting her kids do whatever they want” when actually it is “letting her kids do whatever they want – because they are free human beings with autonomy and will- as long as it isn’t harming anyone, physically or mentally.”

Child starts doing roly polys on sofa – quick assessment: causing harm, no… ROLY POLYS ARE AGOGO!

Child starts doing roly polys on sofa at GREAT AUNTY SHEILA’S house- quick assessment : causing physical harm, no, challenging normal sofa behaviour, yes, therefore causing mental harm for Great Aunty Sheila, yes… ROLY POLY’S ON SOFA ARE EMBARGOED! Or, we might get that judgment wrong and believe Aunty Sheila’s happiness isn’t dependant on normal sofa behaviour and say ROLY POLY’S ARE AGOGO when really they should have been EMBARGOED and now Aunty Sheila is cross and parents these days let their kids get away with anything!!!!!!

Arghhhh….

But I think it requires consideration, the mental harm thing. We are standing up for children and their right to be themselves in this strange, rule bound world. But we may need to take time with them to explain that sometimes grown ups don’t cope very well when rules are broken or when things don’t go their way. (Sometimes we need to tread gently this way, and then sometimes we might need to say to a grown up “This child is doing nothing wrong! She is harming no thing! Why do you desire to control her or this situation?”)

The mental and physical harm goes for mamas and papas too- it’s why the activities I don’t interfere with look different to yours, or even my husband’s. If my kids want to make a potion out of bits of food and mud and soap I won’t stop them because I can’t see the harm in it (but I can see the joy and learning they are getting from it.)

My husband, however, has different parameters and he would say that mentally he is not up to that free style potion making, so he is far more likely to step in and redirect (in an ideal world still allowing that urge to flourish, but in a less messy place/ more limited ingredients.)

Personally, I feel like I have seen urged squashed and joy diminished by breaking a child’s working bee, so I try to just let things flow for them. But I’m not going to judge people’d different parameter – especially if they are working on expanding them! (I feel like that needs a *wink* emoji!)She lets her kids get away with anything!

I wonder what people mean, when they talk about kids getting away with whatever they want? Is seeing a kid in flow upsetting?

I sometimes wonder if grumpy grown ups (myself included) when they try and quench a child’s energy or enthusiasm are being triggered by their own controlled childhood. A child’s exuberance brings up, in a deep unconscious way, all the times we were made to sit on our hands and not make a peep because we were children in an adult’s world.

I love to hang out with grown ups who celebrate a child’s wildness. Who have come to terms with their own childhood oppression and are now able to take full delight in a child’s desire to stick their fingers in a jar, climb in the furniture, pick the petals. These grown ups are the greatest!

I am laughing inside a bit, because don’t you think it’s true that children go wilder when they are in an environment that tries to control them?

A few weeks ago we went to a new friend’s home. It was filled with bits of art and sculptures and beautiful, breakable things I was a little bit terrified inside. I knew one of us was gonna shatter something.

But we were all so welcome. The children were treated with the respect and honour we were given, as guests in their home. They relished it when Ramona reached in and grabbed the last two mussels from the bowl.

After dinner, instead of rushing from corner to corner, picking every piece of pottery up and eventually breaking something, Ramona and Juno curled up on the couch and fell asleep!!! Harhahahahahaha. It was as if they just floated into dreamland on a cloud of welcome and inclusion.

I couldn’t help but compare this to other situations where it seems my children ride a wave of tension… the weight of expectation is so heavy upon their shoulders that they crumple into every bad behaviour expected of them!

But of course… we know really there is no bad behaviour…

There are only children yielding to the urges inside of them, and there are only adults finding these urges an inconvenience.

There are only children with needs unmet, trying to communicate and connect in a way that makes us uncomfortable.

How hard it must be for kids, trying to figure out this ridiculous adult world.

Where saying the word “thank you” trumps a grateful smile, or where even the word “thank you” bossed out of you opens the door to receiving something, or where you don’t see adults constantly badgering magic words out of each other…

So I won’t let the children hurt people… (but if they do hurt someone or do something unsafe you won’t find me reprimanding them or punishing them. You will -on a good day as opposed to those grumpy stressed out days that pop up- see me intervene to stop it happening, and requesting that we keep things kind and safe, then you probably won’t see anything. Because the follow up to that is an empathetic conversation and an acknowledgement of needs unmet, it’s decisions made together about how we can make sure everyone stays safe in the future. Long term, punishment impacts well being, compared to an empathetic response that promote the development of empathy… so I’m not gonna forsake their well being even if it looks like they’re getting away with something…)

Where was I?! Ah yes! We won’t let the children hurt people … and I will probably try and stop them breaking precious things… and I will absolutely ensure their safety. Aside from that, I am simply here to help them navigate this strange place, to create space for them to follow up their wishes, to personally, mentally rise to the challenge of letting kids be kids for a while.

If that is letting them get away with whatever they want….

so be it.

***
PS New Youtube video from today; non violent parenting, child shaming and unmet needs…

Natural Beauty

Big delicious crush on Green People (and sale…)

7 September, 2016

You know me, I am ALL ABOUT the makey do with the beauty supplies. However I do realise that not everyone has the time or inclination to grate a block of beeswax and stir it into the herbs you’ve been soaking in oil for six weeks. But you still want to love the earth with your face right?Green People organic make up 15% off!

So when Green People got in touch about their epic September sale (15% off! And free delivery to UK readers! And if you click my links they give me a few pence and every bit counts!) I thought I would share some of the things that are in my own basket.

Now, hopefully by now you know I don’t do this frivolously. I think I have done about 2 affiliate blog posts over the last 5 years. But Green People are the good guys. I absolutely trust them. They have meticulously chosen every product and make sure all their packaging is recyclable with absolutely no phthalates ever. So here’s a little peep at the things I am enjoying:

Volumising Microbead Free Mascara
I love big thick black lashes but I absolutely freaking hate microbeads in our oceans. Check it out here. Microbead free Mascara - 15% off

Organic Tooth Paste for Kiddies
I use coconut oil and baking soda… but the kids aren’t so keen! We always have organic kids toothpaste for them.Check it out here.  15% organic tooth paste

Self Tan
As I am getting older I am spurring sun damage. I did once use henna to tan my body. It worked! But it was well messy and time consuming. Here is an award winning way to be sun kissed ha! Check it out here.15% off organic self tan

Probiotic Deodorant
Often I just lick my fingers and swipe a bit of bicarbonate of soda on my underarms. Gross aye, and way too much detail. But that’s pits for you. But sometimes my body rejects that, it needs something less harsh and in those cases I use probiotic deodorant. Check it out here. 15% off probiotic deoderanr

So yep, there’s Green People, my new faves. To get the 15% off in September use the code Sep15 – and spread the word if you love organic, earth loving beauty.
15% off organic skin and beauty

Also, here is a little update video of our life here – it has been AGES since I did one of these. This one even includes a tour of our compost loo, because I know you want to know how that all works, I just know it.

Hope you are all well!

xx

Breastfeeding

6 Weird and Wonderful Breastfeeding Facts

6 September, 2016

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!! (Does anybody else get a little image in their head of the globe latching on? Who would it latch on to? Venus? What, you don’t tend to personify the planets ????? Personify EVERYTHING I say. That’s what life is about! Calling the brussel sprout on your plate Little Guy.)

So I made a video of my favourite breastfeeding facts…. some of them are so totally mad, you couldn’t make them up! (Turns out you can… see below.)Six Weird and Wonderful, Evidence-Based Facts about Breastfeeding

These are facts that I have come to know over half a decade of breastfeeding. I am still breastfeeding Juno, who is three, and Ramona, tokenistically, almost as if she is just checking it’s still there, every so often, who is five.

These facts are actually really weird and wonderful, and largely (yeah, kinda more below) true…. not like the “Your body produces EXACTLY the right amount of breastmilk” fact that is SO NOT A FACT. I almost drowned beneath the amount of breastmilk I produced for Juno, and the first 8 weeks of breastfeeding her were sooooo stressful, a wrangling and wrestling of positions under a shower of milk… and I know too that there are mamas who just can’t produce the milk their baby needs. So I think that “fact” could do with a little bit of a nuancing… “In most cases exactly the right about of breastmilk is produced!!” otherwise mamas just feel as if their bodies don’t work.

Woah, serious….

My video isn’t serious… it is sort of ridiculous AND factual:

So I thought I would link up these facts in the video with the science behind them. Turns out that in most cases I can do this…. and in a couple I have to sort of, y’know, *political speak* CLARIFY some stuff.

So here are the actual True Weird and Wonderful Facts about Breastfeeding.

1-  Breastmilk most resembles ice cream! “While ice cream is looked at as one of the king of junk foods, there is no question that it is more similar to human breast milk than any other food.”

2- One boob is bigger than the other! 73% of women had a more dominant breast. However it was evenly split between left and right. Hefty lefty! Mighty Righty!

3- A breastfed baby can recognise her mother’s milk through her sense of smell.  “By 2 weeks, a baby can tell the difference between the scent of his mother’s breast milk and another mom’s milk.”

4- Breastfeeding mums burn between 300 & 500 calories a day. So it’s technically anything between the equivalent of 3-5 miles of walking, not the 7 all those loooosers say it is. *Ahem*  And it should be pointed out that it doesn’t ALWAYS equal weight loss as some of us just want to EAT ALL THE FOOD while breastfeeding. 

5- Breastmilk is different at times of the day, evening milk makes babies sleepy.  (Unless you had plans to watch The Wire back to back all evening and then they will be awake, giggling and shouting and not sleeping until about 11pm. I jest!)

6- Baby’s saliva communicates health needs to mama’s nipple and mama produces the antibodies in her breastmilk. And that is the weirdest and most wonderful true fact about breastfeeding. (That link is pretty much the best article on breastfeeding on the planet, I think.)

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

More reading:
Weaning the biggest fan of breastfeeding ever

Breastfeeding Older Children Together

Nursing in public and the breastfeeding pyramid scheme

Our experience of tandem breastfeeding

Breastfeeding in public as an act of public service

100 Names for Breastfeeding from around the world

Breastfeeding in art