MOTHER'S DAY: wish list

A few things on my wish list right now, any of which would make this Mama a very happy Mama indeed on Sunday...although homemade cards, plenty of cuddles and kisses and a lie-in are hard to beat.

1. I'm currently ploughing through photos from the last 4 years to make the photobooks I've been meaning to make since Josephine was born. Artifact Uprising produces such beautiful products, a gift voucher from here will always be appreciated.
2. I have turned into a bit of a trainer fiend. I got these Adidas Stan Smiths when I was 16, with some of the money I made when my sister and I were extras for the day on Band of Brothers (which my dad was working on). I think it might be time for another pair.
3. Last summer I searched for a basket like this, and I've finally found one. Perfect for the coming months.
4. I love the Yes Mum affirmation cards, and as I try and make my photography business and other dreams come true, the Yes Mum Boss cards would the gift that keeps on giving all year.
5. OK, another pair of trainers, but black Nikes are becoming an obsession. Mine are so beat up (perfect for the park and walks) but I'd love a pair that I can keep looking a little nicer!
6. A beautiful initial necklace has been on my wish list for a while, and this Follow the Cult one would be so lovely with my girls' initials on.

What's on your wish this year?



Josephine: Sitting on the steps, talking to me about all the important things in life - namely how tricky it is having so many (imaginary) horses to look after!

Coralie: Not a baby anymore. And one of my favourite ever pictures of Coralie.



Another month gone, and I just about managed to get a shot of me and my girls. I don't seem to have been quite as inspired this month but I'm so thankful I remembered to pass the camera to my dear friend Amy this week. It really only takes twenty seconds and I'm thankful for this little project and our monthly deadline to ensure that I do get in front of the camera.

I feel like February was a tough month. Coralie has found her way into the world of Terrible Twos and Josephine is 4 going on 14. A true insight into having a teenager in the house. There have been long, hard days, and I found I spent the (long-awaited!) evenings reflecting on all the things I could have done differently, how else I could have reacted, what else I could have said; could I have done a better job?

But this week I've reminded myself of my main focus, my intention, for 2016 - thoughtfulness. I don't want to focus on the could haves and on the negatives. I want to think about what I did well, what fun we had. I think it's so easy to be hard on ourselves. To forget the giggles and quiet moments of 'I've got this' - no matter how fleeting they were.

The other night, exhausted from two weeks of broken sleep thanks to teething and horrible coughs, I sat on the sofa feeling like I'd let the girls down that day. That I'd shouted about things I shouldn't have, that the TV was on for a little longer than it should have been, that they'd had pesto pasta for dinner again. But as I climbed into bed I suddenly remembered the twenty minutes that morning that the girls and I had lied in that bed together. Laughing and cuddling and tickling. Snuggling under the covers and watching the birds fly past the window. Being clambered on and jumped on. There was no place I'd rather have been, and I'm pretty sure the girls felt the same way. It was joyful.

My eyes welled up at the thought of how easily I had forgotten that. How quickly I was to replace that memory with a moment of impatience and my telling off the girls for shouting or snatching or taking too long. Quickly I was remembering the fun they had when we were at the park for two hours, rather than my frustration at getting them to put their wellies and waterproofs and coats on as we tried to leave the house. I thought of all the hand holding and impromptu cuddles and kisses, and how many times Josephine told me she loved me without me saying it first.

I remembered that I sat with Coralie pretending to change her doll's nappy over and over for about half hour and how much she loved that. I remembered that I listened, truly listened, to every word of my conversations with Josephine and answered all her questions with thought and honesty and that she was so pleased to hear my excitement and interest in what she had to say. I remembered that I told them both that I loved them, that I was proud of them, that they were brilliant and funny and clever. That whenever they cuddled me, I held them until they let go. That I breathed in every ounce of that moment. That I played Mia and Me with them both for the hundredth time that week.

I'm done with spending the evenings scolding myself with what I could have differently. Here's to giving ourselves a pat on the back for all the things we did right. For letting our children know that we love them, that they're important, that they're safe, all day every day. That an hour (ok, ok, two hours) of Timmy Time and DinoTrux is not the end of the world and that they gobbled up every mouthful of pesto pasta so who cares if they had it yesterday too. That, after I lost my patience as we were trying to leave the house and I shouted about how unhelpful they were being, I apologised to them both for getting cross and Josephine said "It's ok Mama. I'm sorry too."

Sure there are things I want to do differently tomorrow, and every day I hope to do a little better, but actually, I'm doing a rather good job right now too. We all are. So with Mother's Day a week away, get in front of the camera and capture that moment, so that you and your children can look back and be reminded of all those little things. Then, like me, treat yourself to a hot chocolate with marshmallows or the last Jaffa Cake. You deserve it.



I know I went on about the sunshine in my last post too, but I can't get enough of it. It has inspired me to get the camera out more this week than in the last month I think.

Coralie and I spent the afternoon in the garden on Wednesday and it was so lovely. Wearing the nanny-made cardigan Josephine wore here, it's crazy to see how much Coralie has grown and changed over the winter. I'm so looking forward to getting outside with her for some one on one time on our afternoons when Phiney is at nursery. Sitting and watching her explore the garden was magical.



WEARING: [Josephine] Second hand French dress and shirt // La Coqueta tights // Clarks boots [Coralie] BabyGap blouse // Coco & Wolf bloomers // La Coqueta tights // Clarks boots.

I am definitely ready for spring. I think we all are. I'm ready for lunchtime picnics and feeling the warm sun on my face. I'm ready to leave the house without 15 minutes of layering up and the endless amount of mud (it's everywhere - on boots, coats, trousers, scooters, bikes, the carpet, the car...) And I'm ready to say goodbye to waterproof trousers for a few months.

This week we've had some beautiful spring days. Blue skies and sun have made leisurely walks so much fun, and there's something so refreshing about throwing open the windows and letting the fresh air breeze round the house. I even put some washing on the line earlier. We headed outside yesterday for a quick stroll and we didn't even wear coats. Sure the cold wind soon drove us back inside, but it felt so good.

I can't believe it's March next week, and whilst I can't wait for spring, I'm all to aware of how fast the days and weeks are going and how (as always!) I just want them to slow down.



Josephine: Looking very much like a WW2 evacuee, with her windswept, day old plaits and knitted jumper.

Coralie: Looking very at home behind the wheel of a tractor.



WEARING: [Josephine] Next dress and cardigan // La Coqueta tights // Clarks boots [Coralie] Dress found at T K Maxx // H&M cardigan // Coco & Wolf bloomers // La Coqueta tights // Clarks boots

The friendship between our girls has really developed over the last couple of months, and it makes my Mama heart so happy to see them laughing and chatting, and genuinely enjoying each other's company.

I think with Coralie changing so much since Christmas - she can talk so well now, and make herself understood much more - things are much easier for both Josephine and Coralie. There seems less frustration and arguments, and much more getting along and playing games together. It's so lovely to see.

Of course there is still friction - Coralie isn't the most delicate person, and train tracks and Playmobil scenes can get quite easily destroyed - but Phiney is appreciating that it isn't Coralie being naughty and just that she isn't quite as co-ordinated, or doesn't quite understand the game yet. For someone who is normally rather lacking in patience (just like me!) Josephine often blows me away by how calm she can remain when it comes to dealing with her little sister. Not always of course, but mostly :)

I'm so proud of these girls. So proud to be their Mama.

Also, I love the series of portraits of them outside our front door that's growing.


DYRHAM PARK: winter sunshine

We spent the morning with my Mum enjoying the glorious winter sun at Dryham Park. Neither girls were feeling 100%, so our walk quickly turned into a stop at the tea rooms and lots of chocolate cake, but hey - I'm fine with that!

The girl's both loved riding on the tractors, but I think they had the most fun on the bus that takes you back up the hill to the car park...

Photos from our last trip to Dyrham in the spring (look how small Coralie is!), and to teeny Phiney the year before that.