MCS’s Plastic Challenge

The Marine Conservation Society’s Plastic Challenge begins tomorrow. They want you and me to try and live without single use plastics for up to one month. This isn’t a simple challenge, it’s a mammoth battle – one of which I fear we are losing at a frightening rate. 

If you’re not sure about the devastating impact of plastics on our oceans and marine life please, please watch A Plastic Ocean:

Perhaps this will be the encouragement you need to take the challenge on and to try, in some capacity, to reduce the amount of plastics we send to landfill every second of every day. 

I’m going to start the challenge today – I’ve signed up here:

I’m using the opportunity of it being half term, and so I have a little more time, to go to our local food stores instead of Sainsbury’s. I’ll have a little more time to visit our farm shops that don’t wrap every piece of fruit and veg in single use plastic wrappings. And who sell refillable soap and washing detergent bottles. Their delicious breads aren’t wrapped in cellophane but paper. 

I’ll have a chance to look closely to what I can realistically do to stop using plastics. It won’t be easy but it’s absolutely necessary. 

Bristol – Geneva – Chamonix … hopefully

I’m sitting in Bristol airport waiting for my flight to Geneva in order to join the wedding celebrations of one of my oldest & dearest friends. But EasyJet has different plans and has delayed my flight by 5 long hours. 

I have a few options to play with. 

1. Sleep – catch up on the zzzzz’s I’ve missed over the past couple of weeks due to my littlest waking most nights. And my 4.30 am start this morning. Yawn. 

2. Drink – lots of passengers are already on the raz and it’s 7.30am. But I’m not sure I can handle a GnT so early in the day. 

3. Watch endless episodes of Offspring or flick mindlessly through my social media feeds whilst occasionally checking my BBC News app to convince myself I’m still in touch with the news of the day. 

4. Go to the Lancôme stand and have my face painted by a lovely lady who offered to do me a make over as I walked by earlier. She clearly saw my need for a massive amount of make up to disguise my ash grey circles and pasty complexion.

5. Do all of the above – get pissed, insist on a smokey eye, contouring session whilst posting endless selfies of me on Instagram and then pass out, miss my flight and end up spending another long day at Bristol airport….

Or shall I write a little blog about how frustrating it can be to wait and wait, to miss my bus connection up into the fantastic French Alps and to totally fail to be there for my best friend’s official marriage at the Marie. 

So thanks EasyJet for my £3 compensation you’ve so generously offered me but quite frankly it doesn’t even start to compensate for how your incompetence has impacted on what should have been a joyous day. 

But hey, I’ll get to the Mont Blanc Massif eventually and I’ll celebrate with a hugely special group of friends a beautiful union of two beautiful people. So when these frustrating and irritating (but unforeseeable and random) delays occur we must all try to remain pragmatic and calm… And to use our spare few hours wisely…now where’s my GnT? 

Our fearless fledglings…

It was with pride and trepidation that we released our ten Muscovy ducklings out into the big, wide world yesterday. We’ve housed them safely for two weeks and now it’s their time to stretch their little wings, to forage in the swampy grass and to take their first dip in the pond.

Our mother duck, Betty, keeps a very watchful eye over her brood but has become less anxious around us and seems comfortable in our presence. If only I could explain to her that we’re trying to protect her babies and help them on their way. But she is firmly in charge from now on.

Ducklings on their way

The girls release the ducklings

It is now up to her to shelter, nurture and care for her ducklings. We must now let nature take its course. I’m resolute (but with a heavy heart) that not all of these little creatures will survive and the girls understand and except the circle of life. It’s amazing that at such a young age, the girls can comprehend that we won’t see all of them live to maturity. It’s a very real way for Isla and Molly to start to understand that things, people and animals will all one day die.

When our young people die however, under such extreme and terrifying circumstances, I’m not sure we can ever really comes to terms with such a waste of life. Our thoughts are very much with the families of those who have tragically lost their loved ones in Manchester. These types of atrocities put all our worries and concerns into perspective, I can’t imagine how the parents of the children and teenagers who are now gone must feel. Every day, without fail as parents we do everything in our power to protect and defend our children. We always will. I hope one day their hearts will heal.

We will stand together and fight hate with love.


By clicking on this link you can donate to the Manchester bombing emergency fund – thank you.

Tucking the little ones in for the night…

Owning a modest, small-holding comes many responsibilities. The main objective is to nurture and develop the land we have and care for the animals we have living on it. We’re trying to make it a prosperous place and a centre of curiosity for Isla and Molly & along the way use the hen eggs, the Ditsum plums, and the wild water mint which grows beside our pond.

But, it’s really hard work. And, it’s very time consuming and it’s only now, that the girls are a little older that we can work in the paddock & allotment without Molly tumbling down the steep banks and landing in the pile of metre hire nettles which grow in earnest everywhere we look. We have grand plans but for now, we’re only just starting to get to grips with what’s required to manage this little piece of land.


Duckling possibly Cupcake, Love heart or Blueberry Muffin

For now, especially whilst Monty is overseas, all I can realistically do is keep everything alive. So, this evening I’ve tucked up the 10 remaining ducklings safely in our duck house. Fed the little black Ouessant sheep, given our wether pygmy goat Harris a scratch behind the ears and collected the last of the eggs laid by our ex-battery hens. We have so many good intentions but sometimes there is just not enough hours in the day to achieve them all. Plus, with small children I simply don’t have enough hands I need to control what could develop into a chaotic mess. So, I’m good with that, our time will come and for now that’s okay – keeping everything safe is enough.

The sun is slowly setting here, so good night little ones, sleep tight and see you again in the morning.

Finding motivation and brain engagement…

We, as a family, are hopefully travelling to a wild and fascinating place this summer. The location of which I can’t readily reveal but suffice to say it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for us.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to prepare as much as I can for this adventure. And, with this preparation comes the chance to engage my brain again. I’ve decided to learn basic Spanish. I’ve settled on an app, which should guide me through the basics, develop my vocabulary and improve my accent. I’ve completed the first online session and tested myself this morning to see whether I’ve actually digested and stored the information I’ve been taught. And, it’s still there! I’m delighted to say I can remember the phrases, the masculine and feminine nouns & the intonation of ‘j’s’ and ‘ll’s’. In a few months I’ll almost be fluent….

And, so came the motivation to move. After sitting for so long, focused on a screen, I knew I had to fit in a short jog to compensate for the sedentary morning I had just had. But it was raining again…finding motivation to move is hard. It’s especially so if your three year old has insisted in sleeping in your bed for the past four nights in a row, an insistence that strikes at three am. But I never regret putting on my trainers and pacing around the countryside we’re so lucky to call home. The endorphins flow, your energy (which was clearly lacking) comes to you in bounds and you feel alive – even if you’re soaked the skin and splattered with mud.

It’s something I need to reinforce in my own mind – remember you never regret moving come rain or shine – So Do It. Or in Spanish – Asi Que Hazlo!


Running in the rain

Social media mums

I’m currently in Bristol working, helping manage the day to day running of the office and our communications & online presence. It is so necessary, nowadays, for all small businesses to have a voice on the internet. In a very crowded market we are trying to up our likes, increase our click throughs, tweet our Instagram images and generally ‘go viral’. It’s a constant job.

However, it is a brilliant job for mum’s and dad’s alike who need flexibility. Becoming a digital marketer or social media manager can be hugely rewarding, connect you to like-minded communities and within it you can shape your working life around your family commitments (instead of the other way around).

I recently happened across this amazing group of women who are helping mums (specifically) gain new skills to access ‘work that works’ for them Digital Mums are worth checking out if you’re interested.

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Inevitably I had to make a choice about returning to work once my girls were older, inevitably it was a really difficult decision. But it was very much the right one for us. Returning part time meant we were financially happy, the girls gained independence and developed gorgeous relationships with their peers. Plus I had an opportunity to really start to think about me and how I’d like to shape my career in the future.

So keep clicking, liking, posting, and commenting…but not all the time. Stepping away from the virtual one and out into the real one is something I’d highly recommend……..

We miscounted 

We’ve hatched 11 possibly 12 ducklings not 6. They’re obviously very good at hiding. Here’s a photograph – as close as I could get without disturbing them too much.

The next job is to ask Molly and Isla to name them all. This will be fun.

Silent stress & how ducklings can make it a little better 

We are the proud parents of 6 white, fluffy Muscovy ducklings. It seemed to take an age for these little lovelies to arrive. We are trying to give them the very best of starts by keeping them, with their mother, safely tucked away from predators until they’re a little older.

Last year a wild duck produced 14 ducklings on our pond. Within 13 weeks there was only one left. Magpies, buzzards, foxes and stoats gradually picked them off one by one. Depleting such a beautiful plethora of new life. We are quite determined not to let this happen again.

The stress these new parents must feel, pretty much at all times, must be overwhelming but it’s a natural state to be in when you’re caring for and protecting your brood.

As a parent to two happy little girls, I at times, experience a similar type of pressure. I think we all do. One that is there constantly and silently; determining every decision you make from sunrise to sunset. It’s our job to keep them safe, provide unconditional love and support. And sometimes we all need a little break from it and a little help.

So to alleviate this silent stress, just a little, from our proud parent – we will help nurture and guard our six white, fluffy ducklings and hope that by doing so we give them the very best start in life. Good luck little ones. Photos to follow…

All the things I want to write about

I thought if I write a list of all the things I want to write about and then publish the post, I’ll have to stop watching Line of Duty and get out the laptop and start typing.

So since thinking about creating a blog, and researching why I should bother, headlines ping up in my mind about things I’d like to discuss with you, or myself, memories I’d like to share, and plans that are afoot.

So here goes:

  1. The first week of May – things seem to happen during it… BIG TICK!
  2. Becoming the Friends of our School Secretary…I should be typing minutes instead of this….and the development of what we’re trying to do in our lovely village primary school – who’s watching Big Little Lies?
  3. Awaiting the ducklings….
  4. Our animals – our past animals and our future ones….
  5. Raising little girls….

    Harvest at OV

    Harvest time at Orchard View

  6. Living by the sea….
  7. What to do with all our sheep’s wool as I can’t knit…..
  8. How to shape a job role to fit around school assemblies & painting the playground benches….
  9. Having a go at planting edible flowers and a wild flower meadow….
  10. Bees….
  11. Experimental cooking….
  12. The General Election – WTF is going to happen?

That’ll do for now I think. Best get on with those minutes.

The first week of May

The first week of May is quite a seminal week it seems.

This time last year we said a sad goodbye to our lovely boy Reuben. He was actually a little bit of a star in the dog world. He accompanied Monty on his adventures to Scotland, the Outer Hebrides and the West coast of Ireland to film three series for the BBC.

I’d walk him around town, 4 years since he appeared on BBC2 and people would stop me and ask ‘is that Reubs?’ and ‘isn’t he a handsome boy?’. It always amazed me that fans of the show, and more importantly of Reubs, could recognise a large, black bear of a dog plodding down the high street. He was obviously a very charismatic hound. Plus he had more friends on Facebook than me.13179290_10154075600615539_1817565720537284945_n

He was also a constant companion of mine, especially whilst his dad worked away so regularly. He’d guard the house and keep our family safe. He was much loved, and he is still sorely missed.

This poem by Mary Oliver describes our lovely boy so perfectly:

For there was nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest,

For there was nothing brisker than his life when in motion,

For he was the tribe of Wolf

And, during the first week of May seven years ago, I handed in my notice and cartwheeled out of the BBC to join Monty in Connemara. It was an easy decision to make and one that I’ve never regretted. To follow one’s heart over one’s head takes courage and a faith. And, most importantly love. From that decision followed diving adventures to the GBR and Oman, living in a fishing village in Cornwall, having two beautiful daughters, settling in Devon and setting up two businesses. Oh and we got married too. Plus all the other bits in between.

One incredible beginning and one heartbreaking end. Both during the first week of May.