• Making my Heart Smile

    13 March 2021

    ‘The kettle’s boiling’, three words that bring a smile to my heart. It’s always been the little things, but as we age we can stop pretending it’s the big things that make us happy. I’d rather stroke a new empty notebook than receive a surprise present. I’d rather an earl grey than a cocktail (most of the time, and always at home!). Slippers over high heels. Bed over party. Book over phone call. Yarn and hooks in my lap, old…

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  • Pen

    8 March 2021

    The sun shining on this pen leaves a shadow pen dancing, looping, and sailing across the page. It’s quite hypnotic to watch. Like someone else, something else having thoughts before me, or trying to communicate to me. We’re both hesitant at what to say next. What point is it making?

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  • Returning Light

    1 March 2021

    This morning, as I sit in my bed, cup of tea in hand, the sun is flooding my covers and, for the first time since autumn, hitting me in the face. It should feel a very welcome return, a sign of spring and returning light to be appreciated. And yet… The sunny early spring days are no doubt energising and uplifting, after the long days of dark. Their warmth feels strengthening on my skin and on our garden. But I…

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  • At-Home-Schooling Starter Kit

    5 January 2021

    My suddenly-homeschooling first aid kit. As the UK enters another lockdown, with schools and colleges back to remote learning, and parents and teachers scrabbling to deliver the National Curriculum to kids from their homes, I’m sharing my starter-kit for more peaceful home learning. The majority of the effort and energy needed in a home school /home education, isn’t in fact from the kids, or even from the resources you need/choose to use. It’s from you. The learning coach, the supportive…

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  • Reflections

    31 December 2020

    2020 was the year I bought an A1 wall planner, so that the kids could see the whole exciting twelve months ahead of us. This time last year I was fixing it to our kitchen pinboard, labelling and decorating it with pretty washi tapes to mark the weddings (both of our younger siblings), the parties (extended wedding celebrations), holidays, trips, birthdays, and festivals we were happily anticipating. Turns out, you can’t plan a year. As each week passed, each washi…

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  • The Gift of Yule

    21 December 2020

    And so it turns. Apparently the days will get brighter and longer from now on. There are many cold, hard days ahead before the strength returns to the sun and the Oak King, but the cyclic turning of the wheel of the year has to be comforting, especially this year. There has been so much goodness, appreciation, growth, light, and love this year. We are a very lucky family. We love and care for many other people, and know we…

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  • A Walk Through the Trees

    12 November 2020

    Exploring the forest with my kids is probably one of my favourite things to do. But there is something magical and life-giving about using my child-free Thursdays to get out in the forest alone. To listen to the wind in the trees, the birds hiding in the bushes, and my own breathing as I get to carry a brisk pace. Without little legs and imaginative meanderings, I get to raise my heart-rate and pound out some stress. Today’s walk was…

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  • Passing Time

    27 October 2020

    Picking pumpkins during the wettest rain of the week – that was the last minute plan. I pulled on my big girl boots, rounded up the hibernating troops and a plethora of waterproof gear and headed over the river in search of seasonal rituals. But the clouds burst in such quick succession, we were treated to a sunny double rainbow over the fields. Our usual trick of timing our pumpkin ‘harvesting’ to the favoured day between there being full fields…

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  • Deer

    27 September 2020

    There’s magic in the air. Can’t you just smell it, feel it, see it at this time of year? Yesterday Sam insisted on bringing our DSLR camera on a walk in the woods with his grandparents, as he wanted to “take photos of the deer”. Apparently the deer have been illusive out there all week, but five minutes into our walk, a small herd of Fallow deer appeared from the tree line on the next ridge. Slowly, one at a…

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  • Tip of the Iceberg

    2 September 2020

    The tip of the iceberg. What we choose to put in the educational feast we spread, or the rabbit holes we fall down pursuing interests, are but the tip of the iceberg of our children’s (and our) educations. The deep, hidden work of personal development, relationships, life skills, health, and love of learning as an approach to life, all sits on top of this pretty arbitrary feast. The what is there to teach the how. And the whole shebang works…

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  • That September Feeling

    26 August 2020

    Our kids don’t think in ‘terms’. They don’t think of curriculum or standards or ‘catching up’. They don’t think about pressure to perform, how they look to peers or which grades things they produce will achieve. But every summer, as we naturally ease up table time, and increase time outdoors or lounging with stories, I increase my time reflecting on who our kids currently are. What makes them tick? How do they like to pick up skills and knowledge? Where…

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  • Grounded

    20 August 2020

    This new moon and personal circumstances have found me feeling frustrated, trapped, panicked by the passing of their childhoods, and altogether ungrounded. Today the forest and all things green and smelling of early autumn called to me. But my family had other plans. Seizing the last of the warm summer weather, we headed to the beach, fish and chips in hand (my first takeaway). We got battered by the rolling break, gritty and salty. But we got grounded. Seems the…

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  • Carrying

    17 July 2020

    We carry, we point, we enthuse, we stomp, we tell, we collect. And then, at some forgotten moment, they pull ahead. They carry, they point, they enthuse, stomp, tell and collect. And we try to keep up (obviously we’re still expected to carry their collections…).

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  • Lockdown Life

    11 May 2020

    There’s more time on screens, but there’s also more time in the garden. There’s less time with friends, but also more time to work through recurring sibling issues. There’s more disagreements, but more time to see their personalities and interests. There’s more time in our unfinished house but more time to push through some projects. There’s less things that can go on our to-do lists but more time to consider what should be on them. There’s more to worry about,…

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  • Betwixt: A Portrait of Family Life in Between

    2 May 2020

    Maturing Spring, waiting to accomplish Summer. One boy halfway between four and fourteen. A cosy spot, between the outdoors and the in; Halfway out the window, halfway in the green. One on his job, one hard at play. Both learning, brains working, toe to toe. Safety and freedom by staying constrained. Life crystallised and basic, Feelings numb betwixt extremes.

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  • The lapping season

    25 February 2020

    The in-between season. Embracing still the quiet reservedness of Winter. The headspace. The concentration and relaxation. The cozy and the sleepy. The coolness, the naked branches, the pause. But Spring feels tangibly close. It’s in the wings, waiting for its cue. The colours, the music, the hints of warmth on cool breezes. The new air greeting our lungs, stirring our souls to look outward, get out and embrace the world beyond our walls and fires. The lapping of Imbolc on…

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  • Family Chords

    12 November 2019

    Harmony: “the blending of simultaneous sounds of different pitches or quality”. Harmonies can turn a good song into a great song. Harmony can be considered as a concept to aim for in family life: Different temperaments, personalities, preferences blended together to become something better than the sum of their parts. All members of the family respected, allowed to be themselves and learning the ‘filler’ of life – how to all get along together. Harmony at home brings flow to life.…

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  • Birthdays

    15 February 2019

    Why as adults do we often look backwards to how young we have been or forward to how old we’re getting, rather than celebrating a year of good times

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