Monday, 31 December 2012



Just as I was saying I was craving something all new and shiny to enjoy with Alf, along came this!

I'm in lurve!

Enjoy, and happy new year Motherfunkers 


And check out this youtube video:

and click below to listen to a fabulous podcast and loads more links to all the fun that is Okido!


Saturday, 29 December 2012

Fishing for inspiration

Hey lovely readers.

I have a question for you.

I have been playing some of the same games and reading the same stories to all my kids for ten years now and whilst some of them are just beautiful, other favourites are truly driving me up the wall! I love, love love the Gruffalo. But for the three hundredth time?

No matter how good our faves are it gets boring doing them over and over again.

I'd love to hear some ideas from you mamas of new things to do, new places to go, new books to read or games to play. New apps or artists. New websites. A recipe you love doing with your kids. A new club you've discovered.

I want some new year's inspiration, from real live mamas.

Tell me some new shiny things, people!

Friday, 28 December 2012

New Year, New Blog, New Business, New Book!

2012 has been a wild year for mama Cleary.

After a painful first half of the year, so many cool things have happened for us in the second half and whilst it's been great travelling etc, life goes forwards, and we are looking ahead of us now rather than reminiscing. 2013 is calling and it feels good.

There have been lots of openings for me to do exciting things and as this new year beckons, I'm aware that I want to change some things in my work life, now I have more opportunity to really get my teeth into the dream jobs I have flirting with till now.

This year I will be spending more time concentrating on writing projects - articles for Juno and EOS, and my book, and less time on social media and other online activities.

I will be building a website, with Pete's help, to channel my passion for birth towards those who actively seek it. So there will no longer be any birth stuff here on FeetOnTheGroundHeadInTheClouds  as this will now be moved over to a new blog which will be attached to my Doula website.

With Daddy Cleary sharing the home edding with our children, I look forward to family times together with other home elders, and getting the kids out and about to more interesting clubs and independent activities. But on a personal and professional level, I will also be aiming to spend more of my week out and about than previously, away from the family, and would like the opportunity to get to know better the many wonderful Doulas I know around here in East Anglia and whom I always seem to be too busy meet up with on any regular basis. If we stay in this area, and don't move house in 2013, I may even set up a new hub for Doulas, Birthworkers and Healers if there is demand for it and enough interest for such an informal network. I would like to set up a group unlike any others that already exist, so ideas please if you are working in complimentary health and just want to network and gather here at my place - lets make it happen!

This year I may blog here much less than I do now, so those posts I do write, will be fewer and far-between!

Which kinds of posts would you like to read more of in 2013? Tell me, tell me, tell me!

I have big dreams for 2013, and after devoting myself so singularly to home and kids for the last few years, I plan to be more outward looking this year. In 2012 I have been so grateful for all the alternative forums and blogs and writers and mentors who are on my wavelength, and who have such interesting things to say and this year I want to spend more time having those chats face to face than online. I have gained so much strength from online champions in the birth field, this year I want to meet more of them in the flesh, make more time to know them personally! This includes many wonderful women locally to me who I don't see enough of in real life :-)

I have been yearning to have the kind of 'free time' that this year presents to me, and I plan to use it well, to be more productive and focused, to write from the heart, to doula from the heart, and to get better at both.

I have Pam England's 'Birthing from within' course awaiting me in April.

I have an opening as a back-up-doula in January and helping at my sisters birthing in February, both of which are very different kind of roles, and which I am looking forward to immensely.

And this year I will be exploring the world of bartering for payment. I like the idea that people can give one another more than money and be creative with payment. Not in some tax-avoiding way, but as a valid means of living in the 21st Century, in a world where money can often obscure the real value of things. There's something kind of juicy about trading and exchanging favours and homemade treats, hard work, time, love and energy!

So an exciting year ahead! We may move home this year, we may travel, but one thing is certain -

2013 is going to kick ass!!!!!!

Friday, 21 December 2012

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!

Did the Romans know the exact day that their empire had collapsed? Did the Egyptians know the exact day their civilization had ended? Did someone look at their watch, and say um yep, tools down, the Egyptain period is now over. Go home everyone! How do we know the dates when things change, when the world shifts, when the old is replaced by the new?

Sometimes changes are brought about on the waves of a cataclysmic KA-BOOM!!!!!! And sometimes civilisations topple without a fuss. We reach the end of a journey and hit a brick wall, or dead end, forcing us to turn back.

Is the end of the world the Mayans predicted a literal ending? Or a seismic shift, a chapter closing in the book of humanity?

I remember during my A-levels getting turned onto the concept of history as being like a gyre - a rising and falling of beliefs and civilisations, behaving like overlapping back-to-back cones - ideas starting with a pin-point moment and then widening to their peak before retracting again just as another new idea takes seed.There's something rather beautiful, mathematical, geometrical - even  poetic about all this swirling isn't there? It pulsates and swells in an endless movement, graceful and completely perfect.

I love the sense of movement and dance suggested in this way of looking at the world. The thread of time becomes a whirling dancing dervish. Isn't there something beautiful about this flow, this endless flow -  onwards.... onwards... onwards...

I believe we are dancers in this life, swirling and swaying, swimming and flying on the tides. Making the world turn with our actions and thoughts. Sometimes we ride the waves and sometimes they get the better of us - Learning how to surf the waves of life seems the only way to go happily with the flow.

How should we embrace the un-apocalypse? The end of the world that the mayans predicted? The moment that things shifted but we barely felt it? The end of this civilisation to make way for the next?

Gandhi once said "Be the change you want to see in the world"

I plan to embrace and be the change gently but with passion in 2013 and beyond. I hope to ride the turning tides towards saner, more healing times.

I was really surprised when a friend turned to me today and said "You know what ? I have had such a shitty year. But coming to your home has been like soul medicine for me. I come here, and breathe slower, I feel calmer. I feel more at peace with everything, and find it really relaxing just being around you"

I laughed at first. I was like "Are you serious? I always think my house is a really lively place with the boys flaring up at each other throughout the day, mess everywhere, and an atmosphere chaos!!!"

She said "No, seriously. I come here and feel calm, leaving a little less stressed than when I arrived."

Many others have said the same thing to me.

I think I sometimes forget that my family, my home, actually has a healing effect on others, because I get so caught up in the chaos of it all, the swirling, crazy whirling dervish of it all! It can be hard to look past the mess, the paddies and tantrums, and see something beautiful, something peaceful! Maybe it is because of our dancing, because of our chaos that others are drawn to us?

And maybe you do that too.

Maybe you forget that just being you is pretty fucking awesome too. In all your messy, and flawed  glory. That your gifts to the world are all inside you.

It's not about what you have on the outside, your external success or material stuff. All that is just the dressing, the wrapper. In the wider sense, the Western world needs to step back from being so unsustainably materialistic, so constantly obsessed with more more more. With how things look on the outside. With how much stuff they have, and the pursuit of it - at what cost?

So as the old world ends, what will you do to heal yourself and the others around you? How will you honour your gifts to the world? This is surely our real work on this earth - no? To be a medicine to each other?

Everyone, everyone has their part to play, everyone has their own unique gifts and contribution.

Through my birth work, I hope to play my little part in the revolution towards gentler birth after the rise of male-dominated, sterile and rather brutal birthings became the norm.

I hope to help keep the world turning in my own small way, with healing hands, healing touch and healing presence. I hope to offer up a really useful birth book to contribute to the great body of work from the loving writer-midwives and Doulas who have come up with such amazing books that have shaped a gentle way forwards out of the overly clinical era we have found ourselves in.

This is my contribution but there are so many millions of actions we can all do to heal the earth we're all part of, that we're all connected to, that we all share, and that we are all dancing upon. Each person dances their own dance, dreams their own dream, and heals the world in their own particular way just by being true to themself.

Happy Solstice, Welcome back sun, and happy new world everyone!!!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Read about us in EOS magazine :-)

Recognize these kids on the front of the latest issue of EOS magazine?

Yep, it's the Cleary boys!

Just click on the link below to read all about our journey, and find out more about what's going on in the world of Home Ed :-)

Friday, 14 December 2012

Heave-ho! And lots of snow!

Well I can’t believe it – it’s nearly the end of our journey! 

And I must say I am now really ready to come home. Living in our bus has been fun but I don’t know how we have coped for 9 weeks. Ok 8 weeks. 8 weeks!!!! Six of us and a stinky dog. We have coped with ants, bees, mosquitos and, my personal favourite - nits. Yay, nothing like having nits whilst in a small space with limited means to wash everything – especially upholstery. Woop woop for the nits.

We have, at times, lived in pretty squalid conditions – especially at those times with no laundry facilities!

We’ve survived tantrums and tears.

There’s been glorious, glorious, glad-to-be-alive moments, and days that felt like hell. And days that contained both feelings simoultaneously!

We’ve been in woods and on beaches, by lakes, by oceans and rivers. Inner city hell-hole suburbs, and cutesy upmarket bijou places. 

We’ve been in wild beautiful quiet places and barely seen a soul, and been in really busy spots. Seen flamingos and eagles and vultures in the wild. 

Been up tall buildings and monuments, and deep down inside caves. 

Marveled at Roman villages and monuments. Been to a dormant Volcano. 

Driven through ochre-red Sierras, along wiggling, winding ocean-facing roads, up and down snowy and green mountains. 

Seen oranges in Seville and grapes in France. 

Been to modernist edgy buildings and ancient ones. 

Seen thousands of artworks.  

We’ve met some funny people, some grumpy, some shy, some not, some extra-kind, some not so, some naked!

We’ve eaten like kings and queens on some days and like paupers the next.

And the last leg of our journey has been a slooow winding down, acclimatising ourselves, back to winter, back to the cold, back home. It has been a brilliant week but pretty trying at the same time. Let me tell you all about it.

So where did I leave off? I think we had left Tarifa and were in Ronda. Well Ronda was really lovely, all medieval charm and pretty cobbled streets. We thought it was chilly there – ha! That was nothing! But that’s to come.

First we went to Seville, where we stayed at a lovely campsite in a horrid neighbourhood - It was the only campsite in Seville so we had no choice, but it was easy to get in on the bus and it did not disappoint. Here we soaked up the autumn and enjoyed the orange trees around us, blue skies and crisp leaves underfoot. 

We took it in turns to go into Seville itself and since it was a festival day on both days we went in, both parties got to soak up the atmosphere in town. 

We felt pretty scruffy compared to the smart Sevillians out with their families but we didn’t care. There was loads of street entertainment and a Christmassy atmosphere so it was really lovely.

Moving on, we did a craaaazy journey! Leaving Seville at 11am, we drove till gone midnight to the North of Spain, pulling up at an aire in freezing fog, and slept in -2 conditions in the bus. (We have no heating on the bus at all) Actually it was ok. We survived. It was good to toughen up a bit after being down south and we knew we must get used to the cold to come back to England.

Next morning, we awoke and drove off into foggy mountains heading towards Santillana del Mar, west of Santander. After an hour of driving the fog lifted and we found ourselves in the most beautiful properly snowy mountains and little villages. It felt like we were in Switzerland, not Spain!

The north of Spain had been a blank to me ‘til then. I just figured it would be a boring version of the south, a little cooler in temperature and kind of bland in comparison. How wrong I was. This was SO much more beautiful. Wow. Wow. Wow! Eagles flew all around and above us as we drove towards properly snowy mountains.

We pulled over to go for a walk in the beautiful village of Salces, and walked around a woodland lake with a very special feel.

Afterwards we pushed on and arrived in the late afternoon at Santillana del Mar– a very, very, pretty medieval village with an Alpine mountain feel. We stayed here for a few days and walked into the village a few times and went to the local zoo where we saw lions, tigers, orangutans and bears. Not what we expected at all.  And we slept in verrrry cold conditions again!

And as I write, we sail across the seas, homewards, homewards, home. Our crossing has been rough - poor Pete has been sick ten times, and the weekends ferry crossings have been cancelled because this is supposedly the last safe time to cross before it gets even rougher! He might "look like a long-haired Captain Haddock, but he's really a yellow bellied land-lubber". (In his words). I can't imagine it being any rougher - If Sean or Sara or Dave or Janine is reading this - it's been as rocky as our plane landing at New Year's but all night. Bleugh! Only a few more hours of swaying and lurching....

Yay for land! Yay for Eng-land! Yay for seeing our beloved friends and family! Yay for winter and Christmas and cuddles with babies and friends and neighbours.

Yay for the end of our trip!

We did it, we really did it.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Free Agnes Gereb!

Haven't written anything birth-related for a while but I wanted to bring to your attention the plight of a much loved and really special lady who has suffered a campaign of persecution by Hungarian authorities.

Her name is Agnes Gereb.


She has worked as a midwife in Hungary for many years, where homebirth has not been illegal as such but legislation around it was always fluffy. Agnes founded the Hungarian Alternatal Foundation in 1992, co-founded the European Network of Childbirth Assosiations (ENCA) in 1993, and the Association of Independent Midwives in 2008.

Agnes delivered several thousand babies into the world with great love and care, as many mothers will testify, but the authorities chose to pick on a couple of cases where the babies got into difficulties and died. Agnes, a very capable, compassionate, skilled midwife did everything correctly, and the babies tragically didn't make it - something which incidentally the mothers themselves do not blame Agnes for.

Thousands of women around the world and many leading midwives, obstetricians, lawyers, and childbirth educators are trying to bring awareness to the plight of Agnes.

Throughout her time of being imprisoned on and off, and even under house arrest, she has continued to have a faithful following of dedicated parents and loyal supporters who know her well and know that she is no monster, that she is not reckless, that she is a compassionate and highly skilled birth attendant.

So I am writing this post for you Agnes.

I believe in you. Don't give up.

Thank you for your love and care and for your dedication and loving service to women and babies.

I love you Agnes!

Please sign your name on the petition and spread the word about this most wronged lady.

Peace xxx

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Homeward Bound

I must confess to feeling a little low now that we have reached the furthest edge of our boomerang journey and are making our way home.

I don't mean to. I know it's been fun and that all good things come to an end.

I know I will be returning to good friends, and a warm, freshly painted home (Thanks Woz!).

We're coming home to two Christmas days with our respective families, to some fun and games for Herbie's Birthday and will be celebrating New Years with friends.

I am excited that we'll be seeing everyone again.

But the cold - oh the cold! The buggering, shitting, cold.

I had a little cry this morning after spending another evening of everyone shivering in this freezing bus - being up in the mountains is a verrrry different story from the coast. Night-time is fine because we just cuddle up super close which is great, but the evenings are just cold. Hence why I keep swigging Captain Morgan's from the bottle - hahahaha!!! Indie scared the hell out of me by collapsing after he threw up the other night - thought he might have meningitis for a minute or two, he seemed a bit gibberish and weak,  but when I asked him he knew who he was and his address etc so I relaxed after that. But a horrid scary moment nonetheless. We woke up today to ice again, with our cold breath filling the van.....Tommorow we were going to go head north to Madrid but -2' at night????? Brrrrrrr!!!! If our van was heated it wouldn't matter.....

So after faffing a bit today - "Shall we go to Cordoba or Seville? Or go back to Tarifa where we know it will be warmer?"  We have decided to head for Seville tommorow. As tempting as it is to go back to the coast, it feels like we'd be going backwards. Nope, we are just going to have to suck it up and keep going, like true adventurers!

I am grateful today for lots of things today too - in case this sounds too much like whingeing....

* I am grateful for lovely Carmen who we have befriended these last few days who is a real darling.

* My amazing hubba who just served up home-made lemonade and burgers for the whole family, and is all-round fantastic.

* The fact that we are in Ronda - an incredibly pretty old town with this famous bridge

* The fact that we have lots and lots of blankets for the cold cold nights!!!!!!! (And more Captain Morgan's)

*  I am truly grateful for this whole adventure and can't believe it is nearly at an end.

No more whingeing.

Slowly slowly homeward we go....where I know that Christmas and New Year are going to kick ass!!!!