Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Let Love Rule

Ok, I know I wasn't going to do any posts at the moment. I've been loving the other stuff I've been doing in the run up to Christmas and so on. We're having a party, pretty much from Friday onwards until about the 4th January. Literally. Among other celebrations, Herbie's birthday will be on the 21st, and we are going to Spain with a bunch of friends for 10 whole days from Boxing Day onwards. There's a lot to do, lots to plan, so it's all about making mince pies and tarting up the house. I've enjoyed just watching some TV of an evening or arsing around on facebook rather than having to do any serious writing. It's been really nice. I've also been gathering some amazing books for research on my book and some fantastic things are falling into place behind the scenes for some BIG changes.

But tonight I really want to write. I've been aching. Hurting. Grieving. Jeez, listening to the news on the radio over the last week had me sobbing yesterday as I drove down the A17. I was listening to a story about a boy of 9 and his mother who had been stabbed by his father before he set the house on fire. I went completely numb. Being a mother of four boys, this kind of story just hurts so much. Being any human at all makes these stories hurt. Also in the news recently a one month old baby who had been terrible abused and was fighting for his life. Then a footballer who hung himself, to everyone's complete and utter shock. The Stephen Lawrence trial was also discussed on the radio yesterday. A man blew up a bunch of innocent strangers in Belgium.... so much pain and suffering, pointless suffering...

I know there is good in the world, I know there is joy. I know there are endless kind deeds, selfless deeds committed every day, by people in every country, of every creed, race, religion. But it hurts that humanity has this capacity for such evil, for such soulessness. Humanity means everyone, including you and me. In other circumstances we might have grown up to be monsters, who were so full of pain and hurt that it could have been us who committed these atrocious acts. It's a scary thought. It hurts that somebody felt so utterly alone and isolated that they would do any of these acts.

Being alone is such a sad place for anyone to be. Which brings me to Christmas. I think everyone is collectively pretty het up about all the wrong things at Christmas-time in some ways. We agonise about having the perfect outfit to wear, the perfect meal to eat, the perfect presents, bla bla bla, perfect perfect perfect.... and yet.....isn't Christmas really about getting under each others skin? This can feel uncomfortable with those who have gotten under it for the wrong reasons, but essentially, Christmas is a time for sharing secrets and confidences, about letting our barriers down, about talking to people we might not normally have much time for? About having the heart-to-hearts with those we are too busy to talk to deeply all year round? 

Is it really about stuffing our faces, getting wazzed and buying and receiving presents that may or may not hit the spot anyway? 

Christmas is a time to spread a ripple of love out there but why should it be confined to a few days of the year? Let's spread a ripple of love and goodwill, of kindness, and favours, right now. Let's commit to it all year round. To be less uptight with each other. To ask each other the question "How are you? and mean it. 

Each good thing we do for someone will likely cause them to do a good turn themselves. It's a gift that keeps on giving, with us at the epicentre of the ripple. With just one kind word we said. Or one generous act. Or simply a smile. We can offer the gift of our ears to really listen to someone. We can give them the gift of touch. Or forgiveness. Or hope. Or confidence. Or rememberance. We can help them with  muscle or time or help or just plain wonga if that's what's most needed.

The ripples of our caring will continue to be felt in the universe and may reach the distant shores of the heart of someone about to kill, or hurt others ..... love spreads.....

Who knows how far love can travel????

Xx Peace xX

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Dear darling Blog....

Dearest Blog,

.... I've been pretty distracted with other dreams and schemes recently. I'm sorry. 

Just lately I've gotten pretty sucked into so many activities that I cannot keep up with them all and be a good Mummy too.

Tonight I read a bedtime story to my children for the first time in ages. I'd gotten so tired of being a home-edding, full-time mama that I couldn't wait to get them off to bed so I could spend time with you or some other escapist activity. I started fantasizing about you in the daytime, I wanted to be with you to escape from Pokemon talk, bouncing, drawing cartoons, making messes and having fun. But I've been thinking how precious our time is, how little of it there actually is in the big scheme of things and how I am not really as good at being a superwoman as I would like. Being a superwoman for my kiddos is more important to me really than anything else.

So I'm stepping back from you a little. I've been having an affair with a different project - writing an exciting book (sorry).... and I'm meeting some fantastic people along this journey.... so I'm going to be spending a little more time putting my energy into realising those dreams - time which I have to steal from somewhere....

I love you, I really do. But I'm going to be seeing you a lot less from now on. I'll still pour my visions and dreams out here at your place and we'll have a stack of fun doing it. Our friends will still pop in for a cuppa and we'll make them cake and biscuits, and mess around like old times. But it wont be as often as before. Just for a bit. Just while I get my shit together. And bring back more balance to this joint.

And then we'll seriously GET DOWN 'N' DIRTY again. 


Love 'n' hugs

Xx Motherfunker xX

Tuesday, 22 November 2011


Hey you beautiful people :-)

I am putting together my first book and need your help!

I've been dreaming it up for a while, and figuring out what I want it to be, and now I know.

The thing is, I am a super big fan of a lot of hippy type books on parenting, but there's very little out there that completely ticks all my boxes. 

I want a book that's a bit indie, a bit hippy, a bit retro, a bit punk. Flowery. Paisley. Electro. 

I want poetry. I want photos. I want paintings. I want a feast of colours. I want cute photos of babies in all their glorious splendour. I want pics of mamas, papas, grandparents, siblings. I want anecdotes. I want wisdom. I want nitty gritty. I want taboo. I want flippant, silly and rude. I want heartbreaking. I want breastfeeding pics. I want bottle-feeding ones. I want pics of bellys. Tattoos. 'Just after birth' pics. Placenta pics. Bonding pics. 

I want the book to be a joy to look at, to be a coffee table wonder, with unexpected random things on each page. Something for expectant mamas and papas that is delicious, succulent and wow.

What I don't want is to push any parenting style/method/philosophy. This book will not be about judgement. Or saying "Do it like this".

It will simply be an eclectic snapshot of all things baby and pregnant and groovy.

You guys will get the credit - I see myself really as just the editor/co-ordinator.

The best bit? All the proceeds from this book will go to charity. Every single penny.

At the moment it's a toss up between Warchild and Hope.

If you'd like to be involved, please drop me an email at

Can't wait to hear from you!!!


Xx Motherfunker xX


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

November Gratituesday


Well a mixed up day here in our household. Joyous, beauteous, dear things and hideous news of unforgiveable foul play and treason to a dear one, all rolled up in one day. I am sad and aching with hurt that people can be so mean, calculated and selfish, but am cradled in love and compassion in my own heart and home. Thank goodness I had my gorgeous friend Nicole here with me - she was my rock today....

I've been meaning to do a gratitude post for a while, showcasing some beautiful gifts I have received this year from friends, so I'm doing an impromptu one tonight as I feel moved to give thanks for good people, for good things, for kindness, for thoughtfulness and caring.

Take a look at these lovely lovely cards and gifts :-)

Love Love Love each of you for these. 

Finn and Herbie - I love you for those beautiful pictures you drew last night that said 'I love you Mum and Dad' - just because you felt like it... Indie and Alf thank you for all your cuddles, massages, giggles and bounces even though you drove me a little nuts today at one point (having a waterpistol fight in the house (!) and I got angry about all the wet splashes and puddles you created...

Nicole I love you for being so inspiring, for your beautiful heart, for the pretty pretty candle you made for me with a special orchid flower that was precious to you....

Viv I love you for hearing me, for never judging, for your wisdom, humour, inspiration and hugs, for the fab mug rug you sewed up for me, the poems you sent, for being a real pal....

Em I love you for your enduring friendship and strength, inspiring me to keep going when things are tough, for the beautiful scarf and card....

Lucy I love you for your vision and heart, and thank you for the fab prize gift of a needle felted hand-made pouch full of Pukka tea bags (see the angel above - isn't she lovely) made by your own fair hands....

Julie I love you for being so sweet and good-hearted - the beautiful second pair of socks - Wow! I so wanted to keep those beauties!!! Thank you...

Pete I love you as ever anyway, but thank you for the lovely gift from Paris. How the heck did you have time for that you crazy gorgeous man? XXX

Kerrie - thank you for the really brilliant Rolf Harris CD and the pretty pretty card - and for the silly fun in a field laughing and being big kids we had this summer :-)

I am thankful for my amazing circle of home ed fellow Mamas (Post on this to come soon!) - each wise, witty, resourceful, funny, kind, and a little bit nutty in their own different ways!!! I love you all truly XXX

Well my gratitude flows out to all my friends, my family, each of you who knows and loves me and vice versa - I LOVE YOU ALL stupendously, ridunkulously and freakalicious amounts. 

You make me so grateful and glad to be alive!!!


Xx Motherfunker xX

Monday, 7 November 2011

We heart Tony Hart and the boy who bit Picasso!

Well we've been having a pretty colourful time here in Cleary world!

I have a new pink hair-do, which is making me feel more colourful, vibrant and alive!

Gorgeous fireworks danced before our eyes on Saturday night, making us oooohhhh and ahhhhhh!

We went to a car-boot sale on Sunday and I discovered the best stall ever. This guy was selling art papers and old fashioned school books for writing in, dirt cheap. 12 x A4 books for £2! Lined, graph, squared in small, medium and large squares, half blank half lined - I couldn't resist. Poster paint bottles for £1 each! Pencils and pens of all colours and varieties.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I have a serious stationary fetish. I might have been dribbling a bit on that stall!

So fired up by all this colourific inspiration, we've been doing some pretty interesting art here today. The kids immediately took to the squared sheets of paper, and started producing 'pixelated art'.

 We had a K-9 pixelated Dr. Who robo-dog, a new colour-coded system devised to go outside Herbie's bedroom door, and some other interesting pixelated ork.

Which led to looking at lots of pixelated artwork on google images, which was also fun.

But then they asked to watch a programme called Mr. Maker on CBBC. This guy is scary.

I thought, ok, let's watch a little bit - but was getting really really angry watching this. This?Is?Art? Ok it's aimed at pre-schoolers, but still - is that the best they can do?

Why does everything aimed at young ones have to be so insulting to their intelligence nowadays? As if kids don't understand what you say unless you look like you are on drugs? You can't just be some normal person. No. You have to be KRAAAAZY! With a K. Uggghh. I hate it. I really hate it.

Art for children honestly seems such dumbed-down rubbish these days. If you go in most 'art' shops, or major craft stores, there is so little open ended material available. Instead it's just wave after wave of unimaginative kits which tell you exactly what to do - where's the creativity in that? Stick this here, put that there - voila! You have copied a picture someone else designed. Well done. No imagination required whatsoever! And it's all made of crap plastic horrid man-made material, totally throwaway, basically junk. Where is the beauty? Can you really call such creations 'art'? Even junk modelling makes me angry - often turning recyclable stuff into tat models that won't last till lunchtime - and in the process they now have to go to landfill because they've been made un-recyclable!

After tutting and bitching and moaning I turned Mr Psycho off. "I'm going to show you something much better than this" I promised the kids.

And so we had a fantastic couple of hours watching Tony Hart's episodes of his art programme from the late 70's and 80's called Take Hart and Hartbeat on youtube. Remember him?

Tony Hart's programmes were where Nick Park first introduced us to Morph...

Yeah ok there was still some 'disposable' art stuff going on in these programmes and in one episode there was some weird janitor guy who obviously marked the BBC's attempt to start 'getting down with the kids' by giving us a whacky idiot for 5 minutes of the otherwise excellent show to keep things exciting.
But generally, these programmes were way more experimental. More daring. They used real materials, inks, pens, colours - not just brightly coloured bits of foam and pom poms. The Gallery was a showcase of beautiful artwork sent in by children - using real materials - fantastic pictures in chalks, inks, watercolours, charcoal. Often really highly quality, and looking amazing in terms of the standard, the quality for children so young.

Have kids really become any less able? Are they really much less talented these days? I don't think so at all. They just have so many other all-singing-all-dancing activities to do instead. Computers can do art for you so you don't have to - right? I think there is perhaps a mentality of why-bother-producing anything-imperfect-when-you-can-make-a-perfect-piece-of-crap? There is a serious trend of dumbing down that I think we can't afford to go along with much longer. Will people forget how to paint? How to sew? How to make lasting artwork, to be enjoyed for generations to come? Art work that means something? Do kids know how to really look at anything any more? To savour... to see beauty in the simplest of things - in nature even?

It's insulting to children to assume they're only capable of producing art from a ready-kit.

Some element of impermanence is perfectly necessary in art - a sandcastle being the perfect example - you know the tide will come in but that doesn't stop you making it, eh?

The impermanence of nature means an ever-changing pallette, and life, as it moves on, will show up as different kinds of art throughout an artists life. That doesn't mean that as a child, it should involve simply glitter, pom-poms and glue - let them get into some real art.

Maybe for Christmas - how about buying the kids some really 'grown up' art materials? How about taking them to more art galleries, installations, and talks?

We recently went to a talk by Anthony Penrose, who wrote about his childhood friendship with Picasso, in the book

He was such a colourful, eccentric and at the same time sensible, and warm person, who we were lucky enough to sit just a metre or so away from, and my eldest son Finn just drank everything he had to say. His tales of growing up with what sounded like the most wonderful parents who were best buds with Picasso just had us in awe. At the end, after Finn patiently waited in line for about 15 minutes, he called him to the front of the queue, and drew something wonderful for him - and Finn, took one look at the picture and added his own addition - drawing a boy's face around the word 'boy'.

Anthony had a twinkle in his eye and told Finn how pleased he was that he drew on the book and encouraged him to doodle on all the other pages when he got home if he wished!

Now that is real magic and inspiration!!!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Gather round the fire....

Hey you,

How have you been?

Well I have been really touched by your messages and love and me too's, you know who you all are and thank you for letting me know how much this blog means to you, that my words are not in vain.

I was feeling a little down that more people don't comment since I know they're reading it... I guess I felt like, aw come on, I'm putting out my time and energy and love into this blog and you guys are just take take take. How am I to KNOW, that you really are diggin' what I got to say? unless ya tell me. Needy and sad I know. And I am back to not minding, so if you dont comment but read rhis, it's ok, you are safe! I am more than happy for you to be a lurker! And you guys are right. I am basically writing this first and foremost for myself, often to help me figure out how I really feel about something. Often I don't actually know the totality of how I feel until I am tasked with specifically addressing whatever issue is in my heart or mind at that time.

Writing articles has been a really amazing thing for me and I haven't done nearly enough writing recently - it helps me to try and pinpoint and verbalise the very floatiest of thoughts and feelings, but it's like nailing a shadow down. Often I'll write something that has become irrelevant by the next day, week, month or year. Having it in solid print, makes it somehow permanent - whereas in truth it may feel more fleeting. Lucy at Dreaming Aloud did a gorgeous piece recently about thoughts being like birds that fly into the landscape of your mind, and fly on. And it's nice to think of them like that. Impermanent. Part of a here and now that necessarily becomes a yesterday's thought or feeling. Left behind so you can start a new day with a fresh mind, clear heart. New perspective.

I guess feelings and thoughts are like leaves falling from a tree - they feel so colourful and vivid as they fall, so recently attached to the big tree from where they came, the soul place they came from, and when they fall down and settle, and lose their colour, their brightness, they start to break apart, to crumble and scrunch. When a friend kicks those leaves around and tumbles in them with you, makes piles with them and enjoys them for what they are, it helps you to move on, they lose the potency and power they had when you suffered them alone. The thoughts we had become lost to us in their fullness and mulch down ready to nourish and feed our roots next springtime. Or you can bonfire them up!

I'm feeling at peace again that 'm not the perfect mama I envisioned myself to be, that I so want to be - the one who never gets grumpy, or sticks on the TV when she feels her head is going to pop from the children's endless questions, shriekiness, sticky mess-making, and high jinx. Our homeschooling days are not spent in holy adoration and grace for the wholesome things in life, but have a dose of Ben 10, Smarties, tantrums and tears. And fights over computer time. It's not all Spirulina smoothies and gentleness and choosing wisely. There are sword fights and wasted plates of food, The disappointment and resentment of sulky children on amazing day trips, things that break or go wrong. Family tensions. It's a landscape of real emotions, differing opinions, hard lessons and fuck up miscalculations. Hurt prides and heartfelt sorrys. So. much. more. INTENSE than I had imagined. The reality of living with our choices can feel like really hard work. But they are our CHOICES. We chose them. We are not victims. Playing the poor me victim is soooo easy to fall into. And it actually sucks to be in that place. It's really no fun at all. Holding up an alternative greener grass parallel world-view of our family getting along beautifully every minute of every day, and never having any obstacles is so easy and ridiculous to imagine!

So thanks for bearing with me you gorgeous readers whilst those leaves of frustration, doubt, fear fell off my tree. I'm sweeping them away with a very big broom and making a nice bonfire out of them. Burning them will make pretty colours, crackles, and dancing flames lick up into the beautiful starry night sky. The moon is a waxing crescent on her way to becoming big and beautiful and bright again.

Marshmallow, anyone?

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Motherfunker in the doledrums

I haven't felt like writing for a little while 'cos things have been a bit full-on here in the Cleary household.

Been feeling a bit poo to be *really* honest. Thought about giving up the blog and giving up the internet since it seems to have been addictive just lately, and the kids have also been spending too much time on it as well. But it's so darm entertaining! And when my shoulder/neck were really buggered just recently and I could hardly move/twist my upper body it was one of the few things I could do whilst lying on my bed, the wireless keyboard and mouse being a portal into the outside world beyond the crazy exhausting kiddos, achey body and absent, forever-working husband. I so need to feel connected to the world out there, to know what's going on beyond my 'lil life.

This week has been a real winding down, being indoors lots, feel like my muscles have become so weak! I'm sure its psychological, but it really does feel physical too. We were going to be going to Paris with the kids, now maybe not, so that sucks. I've been really ratty with the kids, and they seem in turn to have gotten rattier and rattier back, so we've been cranking up in a circle of tit for tat petty whinging, annoying the heck out of each other.

Instead of happily crafting in time for a hand-made christmas all I've wanted to do is slob and watch Sarah Beeny on 4OD or some other lazy activity like that.

I've been feeling down about my writing, decided I'm not that good, that it's a waste of time. Doula training? Peh, what's the point? Who am I kidding? Mothering? Crap crap crap.

Oh the misery of negative thinking - how it creeps into every part of your soul and makes you want to give up! Light? Candles? Rainbows? Goddess happy happy stuff? Blah! No, it's all crap!

How dark the soul can feel within such a short space of time! Even just a few days!

And so today with the sense of sheer panic and gloom about what the heck we're going to do with our lives and and the sense of dissappointment that we aren't living an extraordinary life - a daring, seat-of-your-pants life - who wants an ordinary life? - I set about cheering myself up with the simple act of house-cleaning. The kids watched documentaries and I got my rubber gloves on and started to have a good clean. I cleaned the kitchen. I cleaned the fridge with its probably never discovered before new Cleary varieties of mould growing on the door tray. I cleaned doorframes, window ledges, nooks and crannies, cobwebs and icky places. And it felt goooood! It felt so so good. I actually enjoyed the simplicity and ordinariness of it. The mundanity.  The sense of making sense again and repairing and loving what I had trashed in my mind. Appreciating all our crap instead of cursing it.

Yes, I am feeling like lighting a candle again, instead of cursing the dark!

Putting me in an even better frame of mind, and quite out of the blue, I also received an award from the lovely homeschooler and aspiring writer Zoe at Barras Homeschool of Excellence , who nominated me as one of her favourite new bloggers! The official title of this (traced it back Zoe 'cos wasn't sure the actual award name) is...tada!

Woo hoo!

The Rules
  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you and link back up them.
  • Tell Readers 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass this award onto your favorite newly discovered bloggers and let them know.

So thank you Zoe, well here are 7 things about me

1)   When I grow really old I dream that I will be an old white witch and live in a cottage with my hubby
      Pete, a pretty herb garden, wood burner, lots of books, and a few of cats. And maybe an old
      fashioned motorbike for pootling into town. Maybe in another country, with beautiful views and
      stunning vistas all around us.

2)   I can't wait to see more of the world with the children - to see their wonder and surprise at exploring
      brand new yet ancient places

3)   I love my husband an insane amount. He is my earth, my sky, my sun. He knows how to soothe me
      and make me laugh in every situation imaginable!

4)   I secretly love ZZ Top.

5)   I can make a bar of chocolate disappear in the blink of an eye!

6)   In spite of the above whinge about the kids, I actually adore them. They're more amazing than I
      could have ever imagined :-)

7)   My desert Island book would be left blank so I could write my own story. My desert Island disc
      would be a mix album made for me by Pete.


I would like to pass this blog award on to so many fab bloggers I know. But I think my brand spanking new favourites of the moment, those that actually make my heart beat a bit faster, the ones that make me feel like anything is possible are :

 The Brave Girls Club:  

My Smiling Heart - personal blog by founder of Wild Sister Magazine:  

Goddess Leonie:


Maybe I won't give up the blog or the internet just yet!

Monday, 17 October 2011

This little light of mine....

I have a bit of a problem with organised religions. 

I can see how they became so organised. 

But too often I think religion can cloud a person's relationship with the divine, because they get too tangled up in the cultural traditions, politics, dogmas and so on and this actually draws them away from that relationship with what is divine. Plus I can see the wisdom in the essence, at the heart of many different religions - but buying into one - wholesale, lock stock and two smoking barrels?  Isnt that cutting off your nose to spite your face? Why the exclusivity of one faith? To me it seems that each religion is one puzzle piece, in part of a bigger puzzle - each only makes sense within the context of the others.

Just recently I have been really enjoying the free online talks available as part of 
 presented by Goddess Leonie.

I have to admit that when Lucy at Dreaming Aloud first starting gushing about Goddess Leonie, my first thought was "Ummmm, okkkk. What kind of loop calls them-self Goddess?" ..... I thought the whole concept was a bit cuckoo,  a bit OTT fairy-fairy. Not rooted in reality at all.

Oh how wrong a person can be! 

This fantastic lady turns out to be quite exceptional! By calling herself Goddess, she is simply honouring the divine within herself - not denying anyone else inner divinity. Over the last two weeks, I have listened for free to so many talks by wise women, all co-ordinated by Leonie, and feel really privileged to have been able to grow without having to physically attend some conference somewhere with all the hassle of booking time away from the family, and staying in a hotel bla bla bla. I feel like I've had counselling 1:1, business advice, creative help, inspiration, and just so much love and good energy transmitted from the project. I don't know how to repay the goodness, except to honour the wisdom I've learnt and put it out there in the world by continuing to write from the heart, and keep my projects full of spirit and positivity.

What the summit has reminded me, is to stay true to myself, go forth unafraid and proud of my own unique gifts, to celebrate everyone's creativeness and bring the best of myself to the table. and to address the best in each person I know and help them dig it out if they're feeling a bit stuck. Which is why the Namaste poem really spoke to me this morning and why I wanted to share it here.

I think the holy spirit the Christians speak of is the same thing we know from Star Wars as THE FORCE. midi-clorians, energy, spirit, its all the same divine thing. Call it God if you want.

All I know is that if we ignore it, our lives are sad and dull. If we forget that we are divine in nature, that all of nature is inter-connected, that we all have the potential to act from the divine well we have within ourselves, that runs deep, we will be a bit lost, not really fulfilling our soul purpose in life.

So remember dear, divine ones. Make love your goal. Shine a light for yourself and others.



Thursday, 13 October 2011

Oh joyous mess!

Today I was thinking how my blog has recently been bit of a showcase of beautiful, edited fantasy. Delicious bloggy eye-candy rather than how we really live.

Oh those shiny pretty pictures that mask the real truth.

I thought it was time to re-dress the balance!

You are going to get the guided tour of my home, in all its splendid messy glory.

Say hello to my sinky mess...

laundry mess...

CAPITAL mess...

Holy fuck! mess...

Toddler mess...

arty mess....

 a tiny bit of mess...

3 year old mess...

Stinky pooo boys mess...

slighty better than it was mess...

Tracy Emin mess...

 Toothpaste mess...

 Odds n sods mess...

  Fridge mess...

 postcardy mess...

 and some....

 cheeky friends....

 who make me smile....and draw my eye away from the mess!

So there you have it. The Cleary household in all it's technicoloured, MESSY, splendour!

And one happy, messy mama!

... Ready for a relaxing bath :-)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


If you've not seen this before I'm linking up with the magnificent Mama over at The Knitty Gritty Homestead, click on the Gratituesday button above to see her blog, or if you're feeling bold, why not join in with some Gratituesday appreciation and hold your own GT?

So, what am I grateful for today?

I am grateful today for such a simple thing we take for granted - to be safe and warm.

To have sanctuary from harm.

To have a kind husband, loving children, good friends.

I am grateful for the windy walk this morning with our doggy where we whooshed and whooped and shouted out how glad we were to be alive.

I am grateful to the friend who saw into my soul and did not judge.

I am grateful to the friends who enjoyed the day with us, and gave us such wonderful hugs, and big smiles.

I am grateful to the friend who says she would be delighted to help me in my daily work by being with us two whole days of every week.

I am grateful for the circle of amazing women (and men ) around the world and who touch my life  - you're only as good as the circle of folks around you.

I am grateful for a new drum in my tumble drier which has been out of action for two weeks.

I am grateful for the glass of wine I'm about to drink, and an evening with hubba - he's not working for once - hurray!

What are you grateful for tonight, dear reader?


Saturday, 8 October 2011

Taking care


Well the eating colourful food thing is going well so far. The other day I ate a whole packet of Peanut M and M's. (!) Haha. Ok, I am eating more healthy food, honestly, as well as cake. Hey ho.

Seriously though, now we're getting into the swing of Autumn, my thoughts are turning to keeping the family well through the season of snuffles and colds.

We were super lucky last year and sailed through winter with barely a sneeze between us all, but this year? Fingers crossed! What will we going to be doing to get armoured up against various lurgys? What are our fave things to keep yuck at bay?

We are big fans of...

We get the kids version for them and the adult version for ourselves. The adult version is an acquired taste but I personally really love it. The kids love theirs. And there's no hidden sweeteners or junk, but it ain't cheap.

Home-made Soups
One of my favourite things about Autumn is that I am a total soup junkie! There isn't really any kind I don't like and I love that you can make them out of all sorts of super healthy veg and leftover meaty bits and bobs. It's one of the few ways to get garlic and onions into my lot and since my soups often end up pureed, they don't whinge about yucky garlic (Sneaky!) Loads of garlic is key to winter health.


 If you want to be healthy I think contact with real live dirt is a must. This is the reason I tell myself that it is ok that our fridge is not spotlessly clean inside, and we have some dust and dirt around the fringes of things.  I am pretty suspicious of anti-bac and keep this kind of stuff to an absolute minimum (Some hand gel for caught-out-with-pooey-bum incidents) but avoid regular chemically cleaners for our kitchen work surfaces, floors and toilets. I recently bought some bleach (first time in a year) for the loos as they had gotten really rank but otherwise we generally use Ecover or Co-ops own brand or white vinegar. There's seriously way too many chemicals being sprayed all over the place in folks homes nowadays. This article talks about the dangers of an over-sanitized environment:



Fab for preventing colds - Check out this article which says that it can reduce the chance of catching a cold by more than half!

Image : Gardeners' World. com

 and I even grew some this year and didn't get my act together to harvest them - they were the last flowers to have Bumble bees visiting and I didn't want to steal them from the bees. The truth is I haven't the faintest clue how to turn my herbs into actual, usable drugs that don't just turn to brown sludge. BUT... maybe James Wong can help.... (hint hint, Father Christmas ;-)



I have recently discovered the joy of stem ginger in syrup. Oh it is pure heaven! I've used it in cakes, smoothies and just eaten the odd bit on its own. I LOVE the stuff. Very good for circulation and staveing off colds.



Finn is really the Smoothie-king in our household, and this winter I am going to make sure our fruitbowl is always well stocked so we can keep smoothie-ing all through autumn and winter.


Early bed times

Ok, we are not fans of early bed-times in the Cleary household. BUT.... it is the best way to squeeze the most amount of much-needed Vitamin D possible from the days sunshine hours. So I'm going to try really hard to shift the children's bedtimes by 1/2 hour at least.


Full blown Manuka honey costs an arm and a leg but this Queen of all honeys is the bomb for winter health. Supahoney is a 50/50 blend, half Manuka/half regular, so more affordable for everyday cooking etc... Propolis is also a must for wintery colds and flu.


My mum always brings me some back from Poland. Spicy, spirit based herbal stuff you can drink, rub on yourself like tiger balm - this stuff is like gold!



It's a no brainer why this is good for you!


Fresh air

Taking our dog (owning a dog is in itself good for your immune system) for a walk every day and getting a good daily dose of fresh air.


Pro- biotics

Prevention is better than cure, and antibiotics destroy natural immunity when they are over-used....
and our bodies don't respond to them any more. Thankfully we haven't had to use them much but I'm mighty suspicious of their over-use. Here's why:


And what about me and my man's health?

I think wine and sex are super good for your health so we'll have lots of that please, doctor!


Friday, 30 September 2011

Things are brightening up!

Following on from my last post, I thought I'd share some pics of how we are adding little touches to make the place feel sunnier and more colourful to last beyond the lovely weather we are now enjoying!

I cut out and laminated some of the Mandalas from the Kid's First Mandalas book I wrote about on my Colouring Mad post, and stuck them on hubby's newly cleaned office window right next to where he sits. I think they look awesome!

I also bought him some fabulous Gladioli, since he's working such long hours at the moment - to say thank you and make him smile.

I hung up a crystal that was sat in a silly place for a crystal to sit, and today it cast it's pretty rainbows all over the dining room.....

as you can see!

Check out this beautiful Cyclamen plant which was given to us yesterday by my mother in law - she is obviously well tuned in and hadn't even seen my last blog post - and came over with this winter-flowering beauty! Thank you Bernadette.

I thought you might this link for houseplants to brighten your home this winter :-)

I also moved this paperweight (who uses paperweights nowadays?) from a spot with no light, to the same sunny window you see in the photo above. It is now giving off it's pinky beauty when the sunbliught hits that window in the afternoons.

And look how pretty this window is now looking with a fab new orchid, and plasticine rainbow. Who needs Ikea?

and these multicoloured butterflies make my heart sing!

What to do with these pretty offcuts?

Little things, I know.

But lots of little things.... make this mama happy :-)