Friday, 25 May 2012

Shower yourself with Love

A few days ago, I stepped on the scale, and was horrified by the numbers I saw. I shared my lamentations with some Catholic lady friends. One of those wise women told me to 'love your body, Ash, just as it is.' We got into a discussion on what it means to love your body.

For the first time, thanks to these women, and my own reflections, I think I'm starting to get it.

Loving my body means treating it well. It means feeding it nutritious food, drinking plenty of water. It means moving, and laughing, and taking joy in it.

It means paying attention to my body's need for activity, for nutrients, and yes, for rest.

We feed our children their fruit and vegetables, and their meat, and their milk, because we know it's good for them. We know it's what their bodies need to be at their best. At the same time, we don't deny our children treats. When we get this balance right, our children are strong, healthy, and happy.

Seems simple and effective.

I can't say I'm fully in a place of loving and accepting my body right now, so I'm going to 'fake it 'til I make it.'

I'm going to show my body love by feeding it good healthy food. I'm going to have chocolate, and wine, and I'm going to savour it.

I'm going to eat intentionally, savouring each bite, and reflecting on the good that each type of food, in it's own way, is doing for me.

I'm going to move my body. I'm going to walk, and bend, and twist, and wiggle, until my body is warm and my eyes bright with the sheer joy of movement.

I'm going to go outside, and feel the sun on my face, and the wind in my hair.

I'm going to use my foot spa, and treat my hot, tired feet with love. I'm going to relax in scented baths. I'm going to moisturise, and paint my nails, and take feminine delight in soft skin and prettiness.

I'm going to learn to take joy in my softness, my curves, and my femininity.

I am going to treat myself lovingly.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Clearing Out and Moving On.

My family of 4 lives in a 1 bedroom flat. It's a lovely flat, and we're lucky enough to have our own, private back garden, but we've out-grown it.

We need to move.

I want to move for what I have to admit are pretty selfish reasons. I want my husband and I to have a room of our own again. I want to be able to go to bed if my husband is watching sports, put a lamp on, light a scented candle, and read. 

I want to lay a table for our meals, have a filled book-case. I want a place to hang beloved pictures and tapestries. I want the twins to be in separate cots, in their own room, which has been decorated with them in mind.

I want a family home.

To get there, we need to sell the flat, but getting it in a fit state to sell seems like a huge task. Finding space to put things while sorting out what to throw away or donate, and what to keep is hard, especially with 2 inquisitive toddlers who can reach a little bit further, a little bit higher, everyday.

I've made a decent start, but with 2 demanding little people underfoot and tugging at my legs, it's slow and frustrating work.

The task seems huge, and the only way I can get through it, is a little bit at a time. I have to keep chipping through the clutter, and the frustration, and the doubt. I need to keep doggedly at it until I reach light, and space.

We need to head for a new space that's ours'. A space where we have room to think, to grow, to breathe. 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Terrific Twosome Turn One.

The twins had their First Birthday yesterday. They are now a year old.

A year? How did that happen? When did it happen? Was I sleeping? Did I miss something?

I can't believe how much they've changed, how much life has changed. I can't imagine life without them.

Looking at them yesterday, giving big grins with mouths full of cake, I can hardly believe they are the same kids who a year ago we were struggling to give 2 ozs of formula.

I can't believe that the little boy who loves music, and his dinners, and playing with his toys, was just a year ago a poor looking infant, in special care, whimpering and gasping for breath.

I can't believe that the little girl who loves exploring, and grinning at herself in the mirror, who is standing on her own, and taking her first tentative steps without holding on to the furniture, is the same tiny girl who, like her brother, was so slow to feed, so sleepy, so small.

What huge changes in 12 months. Changes in them, changes in us, changes in life.

It's almost impossible to imagine a time when they weren't here, and how boring life was sometimes before them.

Yes, the past year has brought sleepless nights, with teething, and colic. It's brought hair-pulling moments of frustration, and doubts over whether I'm doing a good enough job.

But all that is outweighed by the joy, and fun, and laughter, and pleasure, and pride this last year has brought.

Whatever the future brings, I'm sure this first year is one I'll remember as one of the most special.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

When you Feel like a Household Appliance.

I love being my husband's wife, and my children's mummy. I truly feel I am living out my purpose in life, and that, in itself is wonderful.

It doesn't mean that it isn't hard work sometimes, or that the day to day grind doesn't get me down - I'm human, and it does.

Some days (and weeks) I think we mummies can get so caught up in the cycle of laundry, cleaning, tidying, cooking, shopping, and generally looking after the people around us, that we lose sight of the fact that we're people to.

Some days, I feel like an all-singing, all-dancing, patent-pending, household appliance.

Of course I should prioritise the needs of my family, but it does no good if it's to the detriment of myself.

Surely I can take care of my loved ones, serve them as I ought, and still feel aware of my own person hood? My own femininity?

I feel that balance is what's needed here. I'm not sure yet how to achieve it, but I think we'll all be better off when I do.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Just Like Granny Used to Make.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love baking. I mean really love it.

What a lot of people don't know, is that I also love savoury dishes that go in the oven. Anything that can be mixed with a sauce or gravy, topped with cheese, or slices of potato, and put in the oven until it's golden, with a crisp lid yielding to the soft, unctuous delights beneath.

I'm a fan of these dishes too, because they can be very thrifty. They make the most of cheap and nourishing ingredients. They are flavourful, practical, and hearty. They're rarely glamorous dishes, but they're like a favourite worn, cosy jersey. They're the kind of thing that I go back to again and again.

Last night, I made one of these old favourites for dinner. A firm, fresh cauliflower, mixed with a little macaroni. Then, a few slices of bacon, some left over mushrooms, and a thinly sliced leek, sauteed together until their flavours blend, and the leeks are soft. Mix all that with a thick, silky cheese sauce, generously laced with wholegrain mustard. Place in a dish, top with grated cheese, and let the oven turn these humble ingredients to homely gold.

Today was a sweet day. I decided to make a couple of pies, using my grandmother's recipe for sweet shortcrust pastry which my Aunt gave me. This pastry is buttery, sweet, crisp and melting, and the perfect casing for all sorts of sweet fillings, from jam, to lightly spiced apple, to tart rhubarb.

Well, it's past the twins bed time, so I'm off to administer bottles and cuddles. I hope you decide to give some old fashioned, oven baked dishes a try. Your wallet and your tummy will thank you :)