right now (September 2016)

October 1, 2016

We kicked off the month perfectly with a week in Provence with my parents. It was really lovely to have a change of scenery (wow, pretty great scenery) and spend time with my parents. Our rental house had a pool, trampoline, swings, petanque course, tree house – Kaya was officially in paradise. We also got to visit friends nearby at their beautiful vineyard, which was very special. The rest of the month included a week at my parent’s, a family wedding, and the joys of potty training…

Here’s what I’ve been into this month (linking up with Leigh Kramer and the lovely people who turn up there every month to inspire my reading/listening/cooking).



Oh the joys of holidays with grandparents!! Time to read!

I finally, finally, finished The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd. It’s the memoir of her personal exploration of the feminine divine and it’s been entirely fascinating and challenging reading. If this is an area of spirituality and theology/thealogy that you are interested in already, definitely give it a read.

I also read through Danielle Mayfield’s Assimilate or Go Home. It was a book I probably should have read super slowly because of the number of thoughts and emotions is was producing in me but I really really wanted to actually finish it in less than a year (hello, I started that last book in April last year). There is so much to love about Assimilate or Go Home that I’m not sure where to start. It probably deserves its own post but in the meantime, highly recommended.

I discovered a new-to-me poet by randomly picking up a book at the library. Jackie Kay’s collection Fiere is inspired by her search for her Nigerian and Scottish Highlands birth-parents, and the poems are beautiful and moving. I just picked this up last week so will be savouring these for a bit longer before letting it go back to the library.



I discovered the newish podcast The Road Back to You, which is about looking at life through the lens of the Enneagram (an ancient personality type system that describes how human beings are wired). I’m about to stop making any sense if you’re not familiar with the Enneagram, but I initially thought I was a 2, but recently a friend who knows a lot more than me told me outright that I was wrong, I was definitely a 4. And ohmygoodness I am so a 4. It’s a little scary how 4ish I am. All that to say, I am enjoying the conversations and insights from this podcast.



Yes, Great British Bake Off has begun again and I am in my happy place every Wednesday at 8pm. It just gives me all the warm tinglies to watch an hour of baking in all its glorious Britishness. Also, I just love how ridiculously nice they all are. A gingerbread house collapsing? All hands on deck to keep it upright. Not enough time to get those filo pastry hors d’oeuvres off the baking tray and onto the plate? Here’s you competitor coming to help you out. It’s just lovely.



This warm lentils with fennel, sweet potato and halloumi was a simple and yummy vegetarian dish.

I made this pear and ginger cake for my mum’s birthday. It sank in the middle a bit (as said half the commenters – ugh, always read the recipe comments first!) but it tasted really yummy so I might try and tweak it and make it again. They’re the perfect autumn flavours for a loaf cake.

Another almost-good new recipe was this Harvest Loaf. It tasted good, but mine burnt pretty badly on the bottom and I ended up scraping it out of the dish. The top half was yummy though, so I just need to try a different dish maybe? I’m going to attempt to bake bread from scratch a little more often, so let me know if you have any good recipes?



South Bank with toddlers


in London.

We’ve been away a lot this month so no new spots for us. But I did take Oskar and Kaya with some friends to South Bank last week. It’s one of my favourite places in London, and perfect with little ones because there is no traffic and lots to see – boats! buskers! buses on bridges! We started with coffee at Borough Market, walked past the Golden Hind ship (the quay had been drained and it was getting a hose down which was endlessly fascinating for the little ones), under the lights of The Clink, past The Globe theatre and the Millenium footbridge, and up to the Tate Modern (you can just keep going if you don’t have tired tinies).


on the blog.

I talked about how it feels to begin trusting my own desires as signposts from God; about a quilt my mum made in her college accounting lectures (for She Loves); the end of an era as the tree of my childhood garden was felled; and a few thoughts inspired by the autumn equinox this month.


Grandpa's 87th Birthday


family birthdays. September is a full month around here – both my parents, my Grandpa, and my niece. Kaya has enthusiastically embraced the birthday concept and we must have HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAKE WITH CANDLES (it’s nearly always shouted passionately when she says it). It was most special to get to spend my Grandpa’s 87th birthday with him. We took him cupcakes, blew out the candle, and then played with duplo on the floor.

family weddings. My cousin Pete married the beautiful and lovely Hannah this month. I love our whole extended family so it was such a treat to spend the day together with lots of them, including a bunch of USA-based cousins I hadn’t seen in years. In true baby-parent style we spent half the ceremony in the church creche, missed the groom’s speech while feeding the baby, and left before the dancing began because we were about as exhausted as our kids. But it was still pretty much wonderful.


hosting friends. Yet another old friend was in London for work this month and we got to host him overnight and eat sushi and talk about everything important. It’s one of the many reasons I love living in this city – it’s such an epicentre of business and travel, that eventually nearly everyone you love passes through and you get to have them stay.

sushi. We ordered in sushi when our friend was in town and I realised it was the first time I’d eaten it since we moved to London. Which is far.too.long. I love sushi.


motherhood, seasons

Always new beginnings

September 28, 2016
Drawing Chalk on the Path

Some days it can feel that my life has slowed way down since I became a mama. I expected it of course, and yet it’s a whole different thing to experience it. This week we are attempting potty training for the first time, which means we’re out and about even less than usual, enjoying simple tasks like colouring chalk on the garden path, making granola, building duplo towers and boats. It’s so lovely in many ways, but I still find myself yearning for a faster pace – my plans and ideas haven’t slowed down.

What wise friends keep reminding me, is that this is just another season in this journey of life, with its cycles and beginnings and endings.

This year, and one week after the autumn equinox, it strikes me that even as I experience the gradual turning away from the sun, someone far far south, is seeing the world around them begin to brighten again.

It’s always this way too. As parts of our lives slow down or go into hibernation, perhaps even die, other parts are stirring in the belly, being brought to life, rising up through the soil.

We sat on the bench outside the garden door this morning drinking our coffee and babycino, and Kaya pointed up at the tree. “Look, orange!” One large loan leaf bravely beginning to cycle through the wheel of fiery colours towards it’s dropping.

Letting go, even allowing something to end, can be a stunningly beautiful thing in the right season.

May I be a woman who always sees what is rising, notices what is beginning, as well as what is disappearing, and my I see the beauty in the letting go.

memories, She Loves Magazine, women

Mum’s Accounting Quilt (a story about being all of who you are)

September 21, 2016
Accounting Quilt

When my mum finished secondary school, she had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. The school’s careers adviser apparently passed her an A-Z book of careers and told her to pick. She got as far as Ac – Accounting – and decided, I could do that.

In the UK in the 70s, not a lot of women were training to be accountants. Lectures were routinely 90% male so to say my mum was outnumbered is something of an understatement. I’ve always been proud that she chose that path, that she had the courage and belief in herself to walk into a hall where she stood out and say, I belong here. And then go on to be a successful business owner. Her drive and her leadership skills inspire me.

But perhaps my favourite story from those college years is one about a quilt.

Mum tells us that some lectures (like the ones on tax law) were information heavy and you spent the hour furiously scribbling notes. Others though, were less about note taking and more sitting and listening. My mum is not one for sitting still without something to do. If you put a blank notepad in front of her it will be full of doodles within ten minutes. She says it helps her to concentrate when her hands are busy.

And so she started bringing her quilting to class. Small bits of material from the dressmaking scraps of clothes my Granny was making at the time or old dresses of her own. One by one they were stitched into neat little hexagons ready to be sewn together once she got home that night…


It’s my mum’s birthday today (Happy Birthday!!) so it seems fitting that my monthly SheLoves post is a story about her, a story of one way she chose to embrace all of who she was, unapologetically. I’m telling it for her (coz even the strongest women need reminding of their worth) and also for you, for any woman who needs the reminder that you don’t have to quieten or hide any part of yourself in order to be acceptable.

We need you with all your beautiful contradictions, all your stereotype-defying qualities and interests, all your this-is-who-I-am boldness. Read the rest of the story over at She Loves Magazine.