Browsing Tag



The Birth of Juno Atawhai

14 April, 2014

This time last year it was my blessingway. What a beautiful day it was. I was convinced, because I felt so ready, supported and loved up on the good vibes of friends, that the baby would arrive that night, blessed into arrival!

She didn’t, and didn’t, and didn’t, for nearly a whole two weeks!

With Ramona, my first daughter, I had anticipated she would be late so was nicely surprised when my waters broke on her due date. (Read her birth story here.) Home/ Hospital Birth Story

I imagined there would be a similar situation with Juno… so going “overdue” (I don’t really believe in that term, or a “due date” – the only reason I knew any date at all was because I had an early, early scan to see if I was one week or six months preggo- had no idea. I chose not to have other scans) really knocked me for six.

I felt really bad about the baby not arriving yet. It was so strange and so ridiculous for me to be so bothered. But bothered I was – I spent a whole day crying into my pillow, willing her out with my snotty tears.

(It is crazy, I know. I take heart that every person who has gone way beyond their due date will understand the misery of this beached whale period of waiting!)

On the 25th of April, after yet another day walking purposefully about London attempting to have fun whilst mostly keeping our heads down to avoid bumping into anyone who might say something glorious like “Oh!! Still pregnant?!!”

No shit, Sherlock.

I should have thought up a fun, yes-I’m-taking-this-ten-month-pregnancy-splendidly-with-full-humour-in-tact approach “Oh no, we had that baby already- this is the third! Just joshing! Harhaha!”

My answer mostly involved a psychopathic stare and a deeply convicted “I will be the only woman to be pregnant forever” which is something I thought might be true, in those final days of pregnancy.

Back to the 25th of April 2013. That night we settled Ramona into bed and turned on a film that we had downloaded from Netflix ‘cos we joined up in that last week to get an offer of three months of free movies… oh…. Wait… *checks* Ah, crap, we are still paying out for that Netflix account. Argh, they got my disorganised self…

I leant over my birth ball (6 months of rocking on that rubber number had given me calloused knees) and WHOOOOOSH – BROKEN WATERS, YEAH BABY, ROCK ON, BEST MOMENT IN HISTORY! WHOOOOT WHOOOOT!

Just remembering the exhilaration of that second gets my heart pumping. I wasn’t going to be pregnant forever!

Ten minutes later I felt a squeeze across my middle – the certain tightening of Things Beginning.

We thought back to Ramona’s birth and considered what we should do. Continue watching the film and pretend nothing was happening? (I call this The Nonchalant Birther “I carried on cooking dinner through contractions and the baby arrived just in time for desert!” Or go straight to sleep in order to be wide awake for the action? (The Barely Believable Wisely Rested Birther “I just breathed through contractions, snatching sleep in between”) Or begin marching up and down stairs chanting BRING IT ON (the determined methods of The Prowling Wolf Active Birther? “I willed that baby out by purposeful yogic moves alone!”)

We decided to a bit of everything – Tim should be Wisely Rested and I would be Nonchalant Prowling Wolf.

I did a couple of hours of casually setting up the house for the birth pool to the sounds of my hypno birthing track, whilst spiralling my hips in active manner. I found my contractions were gaining in strength and rhythm. We called my mum and got her to come over to sleep so that in the morning, if the baby hadn’t arrived (HIGHLY unlikely, I thought… ever hopeful) she could take Ramona somewhere fun.

At about 10:30pm I had feeling that I should switch tactics so I curled into bed beside Tim and Ramona to try and get some rest. The contractions continued and I couldn’t sleep – I was also high as a kite on sheer excitement of meeting this new soul.

I got up at about 3am, unable to lie down, contractions feeling quite, quite strong. The hardest thing was the back pain. It was unrelenting and hard to breathe through. Tim pressed on my back, and a hot wheat bag helped a little.

We called our midwife Nikki at about 5am who arrived pretty promptly. I didn’t want checks done if things were seeming straightforward, so I continued to zone right on out into the surges. Home/ Hospital Birth Story

At about 6am Tim bean filling the birth pool and Ramona woke and my Mum began hanging out with her. A bit after 7am I had sort of got stuck in the spare room – I couldn’t move, was distracted by everything, was feeling quite overwhelmed and nauseous… it was exactly like a transition stage…

At about 8 am mum and Ramona set out on an adventure- I anticipated that they would be back in an hour or two to meet the New Kid On The Block….

In fact, they were going to have a marvellously long outing and Juno wouldn’t make an appearance for another TWELVE HOURS ….

*dramatic sound effect* Ba, ba, Baaaa…


Family Travel

The pockets of others

26 February, 2014

I was remembering recently some of those days when Ramona was a baby and my husband would go off to work, how I would look despairingly at the long day ahead, how it seemed to yawn on and on. 6:30pm, that exhilarating moment when Tim would open the front door, was so completely in the distance that it wasn’t even a speck on the horizon. It had dropped off a far flung cliff, like a suicidal Woody Woodpecker, a mocking laugh, a wisp of smoke.

And I LOVED being a mum. But, sheesh, those days alone just. Stretched. On,

People with one baby quite often ask “How is it with two kids?” and I begin to say “Oh, AMAZING and SO EASY!!” and then I remember that the four of us have been on the road together, in each others pockets, since Juno was four months old and really I barely have a clue about juggling the needs of two little people at one time!

How fortunate are the girls, to have their dad around so very much? And how fortunate am I, that when I am feeling a bit clung to I can easily take a breather? And that the days are full, chockablock, bursting at the seems with stuff to do, too MUCH to do?

It couldn’t be more different, these days.

(We weren’t really made to do this parenting thing solo, eh? We need gaggles of friends and neighbours and sisters to thrive. One of my friends, Jenny blogged beautifully about this very thing this week.)


We have slowly etched our way around the coastline of the North Island (of New Zealand, that is, NEW ZEALAND, a whole other STRATOSPHERE! *googles stratosphere* Oh, actually, no, I mean, WHOLE OTHER HEMISPHERE) catching up with friends. And there are new family members, children and babies, oh, so many bonny babies. It has been amazing just bustling about with them, living in each other’s pockets, doing our days all together. Charity shopping together. Pretty much mostly just charity shopping together.

We’ve been hunting through possibilities of dining tables for the bus. We had our hearts set on a formica table but in this land awash with ancient woods they KNOW the value of a nice formica table. Pfft. We have looked high and low, we’ve had every friend on the hunt with us and finally, last week we found one, HURRAH! There was much back slapping and hooting, as if Tim and I had really succeeded at something. Yep, folks, our ambition has shriveled to this.

We’ve been so inspired by the stuff our friends are up to – our friends who have an organic bulk buying co-op thing casually going on, those friends who do a great bit of co-housing, the family with the beautiful home who Know The Way Of The Vintage Tapestry.

I made new friends in Wellington, bloggers I knew from the Internet who were actual Real Life People. Thalia from Sacraparental and Tasha from Maybe Diaries. Two awesome new feminist, attachment parenty, social justice loving friends.

We went to the New Zealand Unschooling Camp and met a crowd of people who stunned us with the simple ways they were fully living their dreams, growing food and having adventures. (A whole other post about unschooling coming soon!) A family who are travelling in a bus and unschooling their FOUR BOYS for OVER A YEAR, one woman who unschools with a little tribe, a kindred-spirit mother unschooling with her awesome lad.


We’ve been busy.

So busy that I sometimes forget this little ache in my heart that just wishes my sister, Jo, and her family were close by. Her taunting me by blogging amazing recipes involving cream cheese and salted caramel doesn’t help. I want to have a cup of tea with her and eat her baking.

We are coming to the end of our nomadic stage… we are thinking of heading back to Thames this weekend, a cool little town at the start of the mightily majestic Coromandel. We might nuzzle down for a bit. Perhaps learn about growing stuff properly, search for a bit of land to call our own. (Bit more serious than a retro table, eh?) We have not at all been swayed towards Thames because they have some of the best charity shops in New Zealand. (We have.) (What, dad?! That is perfectly reasonable criteria to base a new land ownership on!)

Life might start to look slightly more normal. But we are going to cling to our sense of adventure, seek a tribe to live life with, pockets to dwell in.

And we will try as hard as we can to avoid anything that might leave one of us staring at the clock willing the minutes to pass.

This is a featured post – please see my disclosure for more on that.

Family Travel

New Year, New Home, New Zealand

28 December, 2013

Today has been our last full day in England for a while. Tomorrow we fly to New Zealand to begin something wholly new. We don’t know what, but we have a few (billion) ideas.

The last week has been a bit emosh, to say the least. My heart jumps into my throat at the littlest thing- my nephew Hudson reading Ramona her bed time story, looking at photos that have captured fun moments from the last few years, saying weepy, snotty Goodbyes to friends who’ve been my besties since I was seven.

It’s been the most overdrawn goodbye in some ways. We began properly telling everyone that we were moving to New Zealand at the start of the summer, mostly through, er, this blog. *note to self- best to tell employers about such a big move before blogging about it*

Then we said Cheerio and galavanted about Europe, than came back with a broken van, then said Laters again and trundled to Spain, then had a leaving party last week, and now, after a million farewells and six months of preparing to go, it’s here for real, quick as a flash, the time to leave.

I fall in love with New Zealand when I’m there. I really do. I moved there when I was 18 and lived there until I was 24. I met Tim there and when Tim and I were having those hypothetical conversations with each other about the possibility of marriage (you know, “If two people had only just met but really loved each other should one, like, ask the other one to get married? It’s just for a friend…”) he asked me which place I considered home. I didn’t think twice. I’d lived in New Zealand for five gleeful years already, three with my folks about and two more without them, without any family at all; “New Zealand! I never want to leave!”

We left about 18 months later, in response to an urge I had to be close to my sister while she had her first baby. And we’ve been here almost seven years…

My sister and I this week- matching blankets, coats and babies! (She is on her third now.)

For about five generations my family has been fairly nomadic- staying in places for just a couple of years at a time. Every generation, until us, have been ministers of religion, living all over the UK and the world for different vocational roles.

My grandparents, whenever anyone asked them what place they loved the most, which area they called home, would always reply, wherever they were, “Right here!”

I guess it’s in my blood a little bit, eh? This love-the-place-you-are thing.

20131228-194147.jpg My folks, this week.

Because right now I really feel I am tearing myself away from here. I feel like the London that I spent much of my childhood in has been in my bones all along. That returning to the neighbourhood I grew up in, and raising my girls for a bit here, has kind of unlocked a deep sense of home, a primal “This is my land! These are my people!” kind of thing. (Also, “These are my fried chicken bones! These are my fallen out hair weaves!” – not a patch of ground exists in South London free of these. But they weren’t actually mine, you see…)

We have just had the most wonderful 7 years here. We’ve made so many good, new friends and have rekindled old ones. We’ve had such a lot of adventures, riding our bikes, joining in protests, communal living, wandering streets, going to festivals, picnicking, swimming in rivers.

We arrive in New Zealand at 11:45pm on the 31st December- that is quarter to 2014! It’ll be weird celebrating the New Year with strangers around the baggage carousel (but I’ve had weirder, especially the one involving lots of elderly Scots and bagpipes.)

So, a new year and a new home, and lots of new adventures awaiting us. I just need to find out what a Zealand is, then I’ll get a new one of those too.

Have a lovely celebration yourself, and I wish you a great sense of hope for the year ahead.

*looks around the room at my family, has a bit more of a cry*

Family Travel, Our recycled home

Goodbye little home!

24 July, 2013

We are outies! Vamos! We made like Tom and crui- YEAH, you get it, I know.

We have officially left our little Camberwell home. Firstly, a little bit more south to stay with my folks while we get the Campervan all ship-shape. Then to Camp Bestival and then straight over the seas to begin our European bombaround.

It’s not farewell to our friends and family, as we will still be seeing them over the next 6 months. But it is Adios to our little recycled home here in Camberwell. Here are some of my favourite snaps of the space we worked so hard to create.

Recycled Home- Lulastic

Recycled Home- Lulastic

Recycled Home- Lulastic

Recycled Home- Lulastic

Recycled Home- Lulastic

Recycled Home- Lulastic

Recycled Home- Lulastic

Recycled Home- Lulastic

Recycled Home- Lulastic

Recycled Home- Lulastic

Recycled Home- Lulastic

HAHAHA Sorry, enormous photo frenzy. I couldn’t choose my favourites. Hope you enjoyed them.

Goodbye, little home.

PS What a bummer it’d be if you missed a post of mine, eh? Follow through Facebook or Bloglovin or even just enter your email to get them pinged into your inbox. I won’t be spamalot, promise!

PPS Photos mostly by the clever Jenny Hardy.

Craftiness, Thrifty

Vintage Giveaway- Have a bit of our home

14 July, 2013

Yesterday we flung the doors of our home open, sold a mountain of stuff and discovered that I have been in the WRONG job this whole time. I’m not a campaigner! I’m a wheeler dealer, a genuine, bonafide, sell a parachute to a sparrow saleswoman. I even got a fiver for our rubbish bin. (Hey, it was an awesome bin, rescued from a back alley in Soho.)

I thought I’d be sad all day, seeing our much loved treasures flying out the door. But nope, it was exciting! I was just so stoked to see people’s eyes light up at the sight of a stack of old suitcases and a collection of teapots. These were my kind! People who relish digging around a stranger’s home on the hottest day of the year all in the name of thrift.

Some were friends, some were blog readers (*extra special wave*) but most has either wandered in or heard about it somehow. Everyone left with a bursting bag and some hardcores had to come back in a van.

We are one massive step closer to our European Bombaround. Eeep…

For those of you who couldn’t swing by for a slice of the action yesterday I have a little giveaway. This bundle hopefully captures a bit of my love for vintage and craftiness and I wish the winner many cups of tea with milk lovingly poured from this jug while whipping up some magnificent doily numbers!


A vintage scrabble set- you can play it sure, but (*does creepy Little Red Riding Hood wolf voice*) far better to craft with. (I put Scrabble letters on EVERYTHING. Even a lamp.)
Three doilies again, put your cuppa on them if you like, but you also could make a million things like those stunning doily bowls.
Three vintage sewing patterns. I have to say If you are clever enough to make these then you really should do it because, my word, they are wicked- one is like a 1980’s flapper style dress -HELLO. I tend to use my sewing patterns for crafting and wrapping gifts in the coolest way.
And finally, this vintage china jug from one of the sets I collect, Keeling and Co’s Claremont. Oh. It’s so bloody beautiful. You can have it, go on, really. You have it.


Simply leave a comment to enter!

For a second entry please share on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram using the hash tag #lulasticgiveaway and let me know in the comments.

Winner will be drawn at random on our very last day in the house, Wednesday 24th July at 9pm.


Thanks my friends and mucho good luck!

Whoops didn't tag these puppies

Our European Bombaround: We need you!

28 May, 2013

In about 7 weeks time we are upping sticks and going for a 3 month bombaround Europe in our camper, Betty. We could well emerge as Gandhi like pillars of peace and wisdom; all that forestry and earthy shizzle molding us into mega living-in-the-present sages.  Alternatively,  we will all go cuckoo- living in a 2m x 3 m box with only each other for company and WITHOUT THE INTERNET. *weeps*

Betty and Ramona Ramona making a cuppa in Betty

What with selling the house (it has finally sold, HOORAY!) and getting Betty fixed up (she is all better, WHOOP!) and having a new baby (Juno arrived, WAHEY!) we haven’t had much time to focus on the #bombaround. But this morning I woke up all Action Stations.

This is a pretty epic adventure… for which we are ill prepared. We know when we are leaving – the start of August- and we will aim to be back at the end of October (ish, depending on the weather.) We are thinking of meandering through France, Italy, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany (all making sense so far)- um, and also Spain.  We are thinking Spain might still be warm at the end of the trip, you see, it’s just quite a drive away from Germany. (GAH, FRANCE! Why you have to be so big, darn you?)

We aren’t primarily going for city sightseeing (hot, sticky crowds make us shudder) but for the wild swimming and walks amongst trees (we are down with the leeches) so will be skipping a few of the obvious stops.
ramona in woods
Ramona on a secret swing in a little slice of the wilderness in South London

We hope to visit some exciting happenings… things like Nature Play project in the Black Forest, a commune on an organic farm outside of Annecy, a revolutionary childcare centre in Budapest.

Perhaps you can help us?!

Have you visited or heard of any lovely happenings or sites or projects or beautiful places in any of these countries?

Do you know any people or families in these countries who are living life a bit differently and wouldn’t mind making new friends? (They wouldn’t have to put us up as we’d be sorted in Betty.)

Also… we have other questions… (novices? us?)

Do you have any tips for travelling around as a family?

How will Ramona cope without a little gang of buddies?

What are some things we MUST TAKE? (So far on my list are; my collection of retro tins, a 3 month supply of pear drops and a few vintage crochet blankets.)

Where do we find the charity shops in Europe? (Er, addict? ME? OUTRAGEOUS)

Any advice for coping, generally?



Any tips, tricks and advice MOST GRATEFULLY received, we’ll send you a postcard….