My final little installment about The Nursery goes beyond that one day workshop and all the technical teachings. It's about how it taught me a little of myself. The importance of continued learning throughout our lives, and the importance of being the best person and woman I can be, to ensure I am the best Mama and role model I can be. 

I've always been a bit of a geek when it comes to education. I loved school, happily attended optional lectures at university, spent study periods in the library actually studying (a rarity, I always found!) and have completed courses since entering the workplace. But after leaving my job as a journalist to have Josephine, there's been little I've been taught or taught myself...you know, apart from how to meander my way through the most important job in the universe; being a mother. In all honesty I'd forgotten how much I loved to learn. To sit, notepad in hand, and to find out something new; to be enlightened and amazed, then to put those teachings into practice and feel excited and confident in the results. 

But I think the biggest thing I learnt that day was the importance of taking time for myself. In the weeks leading up to my big day out, Josephine (and therefore I) had had a rough time with her teeth. She was pretty clingy and moany and in all honesty I was fast approaching the end of my tether. As I stepped off the coach after the workshop though, I felt refreshed, replenished and back to myself; ready to tackle teething with a returned feeling of compassion and lightness rather than the impatience and irritability that had begun to creep in. 

It was never my plan to have nearly 17 months without more than four hours to myself (and that was only on one occasion; most 'me time' was a couple of hours max that was normally spent doing something exciting like going to the dentist or having a meeting at work). Time just flies, and before we knew it, all that time had passed. When I got home from London, Ben said that I needed more occasions like these. Time, here and there, away from home doing something I love; dinner with girlfriends, a trip to the movies, a little shopping trip. And, whereas before maybe I felt that this was a bad reflection on me as a mother or that it indicated I didn't love love spending all my time with Josephine (which of course, is in no way the case) I now realise that having that time in fact makes me a better mother. That in being the best of myself I hope to be the type of woman and parent Josephine admires and respects and wants to learn from, and also that the time we do spend together and the experiences we share are so much more valuable.

This revelation included, I feel over the last month or so I've started a journey of enlightenment in the way I want to parent a little person. While we were pregnant, Ben and I discussed so many things. How we wanted to breastfeed and then let our baby discover the joy of food and eating with baby-led weaning; how we would read to our baby all the time, prefer wooden toys over plastic and say no to TV. Now we're entering toddlerdom, there are new challenges and adventures to pursue and a whole new bunch of thoughts on how to overcome and react and enjoy them. I'm finding such comfort and revelation in Sarah Napthali's Buddism for Mothers, and will be sure to write more about what I'm learning from that brilliant read in the near future too.

Above are some of my favourite captures from the last few weeks, since Tim's fantastic workshop. I've been taking around 200 pictures a day, nearly every day, to hone my art and learn more about photography. I'm loving every second and it's most definitely my favourite hobby right now. 


  1. Your photos are lovely Nell and Tim's workshop sounds wonderful. Your post really hit home with me. I too have rarely had much time to myself in all four years since becoming a mother and my husband is telling me to go out for more dinners with girlfriends and other outings for myself. For me, finding someone to mind my girls is the biggest issue. I do think that taking a little 'me time' does refresh you though and in fact make you a better mother because of it... I will have to try and make more of an effort in the second half of this year...

  2. These photographs are just wonderful, Nell. Makes me sadder than ever I missed The Nursery!

    I couldn't bear to be apart from my first child; it pained me. But when I had to go back to work I discovered a new relationship and a new way of parenting which, I think, was a stronger one. And I wanted my kids to understand that, although I might be away from them three days a week, parenting comes in different forms, and when I'm with them I'm really WITH them. T is going to pre-school in September and it feels like the clock is ticking and these toddler days are on their way out. Painful.

  3. So true, I felt the same after attending Tim's workshop,
    Beautiful captures x

  4. Wow - 200 images a day, that is so good Nell - you have really thrown yourself into it and your photos are looking fantastic. Your lines are all beautifully horizontal/vertical too - I'm really seeing lines everywhere now! Obsessed!
    Agree with all you say and Lottie says... balance is hard to achieve, even when you are a full time parent.

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