28 May 2012

adventures in the sun

  Somedays are made for spending outdoors. We've had a lot of those days recently. Ice cream anyone? 

23 May 2012

Edie's dream

 Edie has a dream and that dream is to fly.

 She sits in front of the TV and watches Peter Pan and Wendy fly across London to Neverland and then turns to me and says,

 "Mummy, I wish I could fly"

(for the hundredth time) and the desire to prove to her that wonderful things can happen to little girls like her is overwhelming.

 Heaven knows, if I could help her achieve her dreams I would. I'd find those fairies, cast those spells, make that magic. I'd love to have a pocket full of pixie dust.

 But although I can't wave my wand and turn her world into a fairy tale I can help her find her own kind of magic. The magic of the great outdoors, the magic of story telling and books, the magic of make believe and play, the magic of creating things that come from inside yourself and blossom out into the  world like little miracles.

 These things are the real magic of life. The bedtime book, the woodland walks, the game where we're both horses, the stories that she makes up and I write down, faithfully, word for word.

Photograph: Chris Ison/PA
 Kids grow up so fast these days, I want her to find her magic now so that she has enough to see her through those grown-up times that come all too soon.

 Don't you remember the magic? The feeling of Christmas Eve, of swimming in the sea, of hiding in a closet to read the book you were hooked on. The world was full of possibilities and miracles. Anything could happen. Make your own magic.

 I tell her every day that if she tries really hard and practices enough then she can do anything, be anything. Because I believe that she can, and there's magic there, in that.

21 May 2012

lost little portraits and words in a notebook

 I found these little portraits tucked away inside an old sketchbook. It's funny how when you come back to forgotten things you've made, or drawn, or written you either love them far more than when you created them or you feel a bit squirmy about them, a bit embarrassed.

 Well, I love these. I don't think I thought much of them at the time I drew them but now I'm pleased with them. 

 I found one of my old notebooks also. Thirteen years ago I wrote in this book and whew, the stuff that was going on in my head... I was so fired up, creative, so full of thoughts and words all coming tumbling a million miles an hour onto the page. 

 I'd written a list of things I loved, some of it is suitable to share, some of it... squirm. 

the edited segment...
fire, oranges, lying on my mother's bed with her at night, my books, talking, riding, the sea, crying, car rides at night, mirrors, dancing when I don't care, New York, the night sky, good dreams, writing, drunk, Wales, whales, hugging my Nan

 Not much has changed, except I don't get the chance to lie on my mother's bed with her at night any longer. Now my daughter lies on mine. It's a full circle kinda thing.

 And I still get to hug my Nan. So thankful for that.

 Add to that I no longer ride. But I can still recall the high I got from galloping the mountains alone on horseback. Honestly, a seriously sublime feeling, totally in the moment, totally at one with the world. 

 Dancing when I don't care? Done at home, not in a dingy club at 2am.

 Oh, and mirrors, since we moved we have no decent mirrors. Just the one on the bathroom cabinet that you have to stand in the bath to use. And one propped up against the bedroom wall that I can see my feet in. Maybe I need to fall in love with mirrors again. Not because I'm vain, but because I like to see myself everyone once in a while, to say hello. 

 So my little lost portraits, I hope you like them. I'm going to make some prints and frame them up. I'm going to be proud of them and let them loose into the world. But not the notebook, oh no, that's being closed and tucked away again, full of secrets that make me squirm.

9 May 2012

on the weekend

 We sped off down West this weekend and in a wonderfully unexpected turn of events the rain clouds departed for two whole days so that we could enjoy some fun in the sun. 

What a life, eh?

 We've had huge amounts of rain recently and so the blue skies were a little miracle. And it was so quiet everywhere, as if no one else had dared to venture to those seaside parts on a bank holiday what with the torrential rain and low temperatures of the last few weeks.


 It was a lazy, wandering, paddling, tree-house-climbing kind of weekend and everything seemed bright, almost hyper-real, the grass so green, the blossom so pink. Just beautiful.

 I started to re-read Tove Jansson's The Summer Book. It must be a decade since I read it last. Maybe longer.

“I can dive", Sophia said. "Do you know what it feels like when you dive?"
Of course I do," her grandmother said. "You let go of everything and get ready and just dive. You can feel the seaweed against your legs. It's brown, and the water's clear, lighter towards the top, with lots of bubbles. And you glide. You hold your breath and glide and turn and come up, let yourself rise and breathe out. And then you float. Just float."

 And now we're home and the rain is back, sweeping constantly past the window. Time to light the fire and put my cardi on I think.

1 May 2012

mostly, I've been reading

It could be because something wonderful happened, something that made me burst with happiness and marvel at how freaking awesome life is, or it could be because something a bit shitty happened, but either way I haven't blogged, written or drawn in weeks. 

 The good, the bad, the ugly... 

 But here I am, moving on, getting back into the swing, sitting in front of the screen with the little cursor winking away at me excitedly, hello, you're back! Yes I am, but no pressure, please. 

 What I have done these last weeks is read. Gobbled up books in a delirium of other worldliness; there was a haunted stately home, a make-up artist who did it with a film star, a girl who could taste emotions in food, a woman who meddled in the lives of her friends and a boy who could see monsters. Oh, and the Hunger Games trilogy. 

 I'm an all or nothing kinda girl when it comes to reading. I'm either reading whilst blow drying my hair/as I'm ironing/during sex or I don't pick up a book for months. Which works out well as it gives my frazzled ends/burnt fingers/sex life time to recover.

 I just finished a book last night. Now I have the choice of diving in head first to another, or letting the natural ebb and flow of my reading habits take me into a book free month or two. Albeit a month or two during which I still compulsively read magazines, blogs and the back of shampoo bottles whilst I'm on the loo (in a voice like I'm doing the voice-over for the advert, you know? ...enriched with chamomile, almond & aloe vera to help eliminate dullness, revealing  radiant tones that shimmer & shine... I know you do it too).

 Maybe I should tackle, Vanity Fair, a book my A level teacher told me was wonderful and hilarious, but which I can never get into. Maybe I should read some poetry; short, sharp but hard to digest, something that takes little time to gobble up but takes up thinking space. (I bought a second hand book of love poetry a few weeks back and the inscription inside reads, To my first love, Clair, on your 21st birthday, with love, Tom XXX And she gave it away? He must have been a creep. Maybe Tom broke Clair's heart.)

 Anyway, the point is... books are medicine, books are life affirming, books are escape, books are opportunities and wisdom and encouragement, books change our worlds. 

 Books make things better. 

 So which books have you flung yourselves into? Which ones have been there for you to crawl into when you need an escape hatch? I would love to know.