Friday, 30 December 2016

Ring the bells... by Leonard Cohen

Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There's a crack - a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Shopping impulse control (aka a later look online)

Last week I took the girls to see Santa (amazingly, he had set up camp at a garden centre not far from us). I have to say, it was magical. There was a delightful woodland walk too, and all in all, it was a great experience. The girls were mesmerised.

Monday, 12 December 2016

PARTY SEASON – dealing with the day after the night before

Want to know how to help with your hangover? Life As It Is got in touch with nutritional therapist Shona Wilkinson for some expert advice in the run up to the party season…

Lots of us have experienced the discomfort and frustration of alcohol hangover at some time or other. But let’s face it, with Christmas and New Year knocking on our doors, and the party season soon to be in full swing, there’s potential for many sore heads looming. So why and how does a hangover occur and what can we do to help ourselves?    

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

LUTON HOO HOTEL, GOLF & SPA - a travel review

Born of aristocracy, the luxury five-star Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa is a destination where you can revel in playing at Lady Grantham. Actually forget that, the Luton Hoo mansion house experience knocks Downton Abbey into a cocked hat. You see its rich history spans the 3rd Earl of Bute, Tsar Nicholas I and Winston Churchill. Royalty has been entertained here. And since it is now a charming hotel, you can be too. Live like a king (or queen for that matter); arrive conveniently by helicopter if it suits? Whatever your preference, this stately home appears to be able to accommodate every request, no matter how bespoke.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

LIFE AS IT MAYBE for you my girls

Esme Grace and Sofia Faith, although you are but 8 & 5, as far as living your life my girls, here's a glimpse into what I hope your future holds... Remember at the end of the day, LOVE is the only thing that matters.

1. You find yourselves laughing. A lot. Out loud.

2. That you never take yourselves too seriously.

3. That if you want to, you can lasso the moon. And the stars.

4. That you always try to give everything a really good go and that you don't give up easily. And that if and when you do make a hash of it, you can resort to number one on this list.

5. That you continue to be honest and brave.

6. That you appreciate the beauty that surrounds you, the earth and all life on it.

7. That along with kind and generous you are humble and grateful too.

8. That you are always yourselves - and although you'll care about one another's opinion, you won't worry about other people's.

9. That you are able to express anger as and when you need to, but then can quickly let it go.

10. That you always appreciate one another. My goodness girls, you are so lucky to have eachother.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

47/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year...

Esme shows her true colours when it comes to colouring in a comic football strip
(Foolish girl)

Friday, 18 November 2016

2016 Top Ten Christmas Gifts from Laurence King

Over the course of the year I have worked with Laurence King. It's not the first time, indeed you may recall this Life As It Is post showcasing many of my faves from last year. However 2016 has seen some fabulous new releases. Let me update you with the current top ten LK gifts - just in case you were looking for any Christmas present shopping inspiration:

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Transformed by freedom no longer precious about them padding around parks, gardens, forests barefoot. I have been reintroduced to the purpose of play for play's sake; as a means to natural movement, to free up that sedentary spine. But the latter would not have been possible without the lifting and clearing of the old debris - the stuff that weighs us all down, and fools us into thinking that we can't, or shouldn't, or mustn't.
Somehow over the course of the next few weeks, I transform. It is slow going, but the dedication you give to the retreat stays with you. There is no other way now that these freer instincts feel so natural. The day after the retreat, flung straight back into work, I wake with the darkest circles under my eyes that I've ever had. Once the working day is done, I sleep and sleep and sleep, and meditate, and place crystals around my home, and read books, and feel as though my eyes are wide open for the first time since childhood. I see my children in a different light. I want to learn and grow and heal. I want to be a better mother and ensure my children live free of my own mistakes and misgivings. I stop blow-drying my hair. I donate half of my clothes. I clear out my cupboards. We collect wood from the forest and make bonfires and sing in the garden. We map the stars. We marvel at the moon. We retreat back to a place where the good things live... and vow never to lose sight of them again.

What an exquisitely inspirational excerpt from the Nov 2016 Psychologies magazine, 
written by Health + Wellness Director, Eminé Rushton 

Friday, 11 November 2016

Lest we forget

Today I've been for my usual Friday walk taking in the National Trust café up top. Except of course it isn't a usual Friday.

Today is Armistice day, and although the café was full, it wasn't so busy that everyone didn't stop and share 11am.

We all managed to find a moment of stillness. Peaceful quiet, give or take a little one's mutterings, which somehow made it feel all the more poignant.

Peaceful quiet? When guns and bombs compose the rhythm of the soundtrack, and blood shed, tears cried, life lost; the score.

My peaceful quiet moved from loss to futility to hope. We all know that even though the war dead are glorious, war itself is certainly not.

Not a usual Friday then. November the 11th caught me unaware. I didn't expect to pause and remember those gone before, those leaving now, and those preparing to fall, when I set off on such a sunny morning. Nor for that matter, did I expect to share the moment with an entire café of strangers.

It was moving.

And more than death, it reminded me of life.

This post also appeared here

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Oh neglected blog space, how are you?

Oh neglected blog space, how are you?
How is Life As It Is?

Bloody marvellous to be honest.
Didn't expect that now did you?

Work, health, family, all is well and I can't complain.

I can't write you either. It's hectic.

Work is busy and so, alas personal blog writing takes a backseat.

Health is healthier than ever (that kind of happens when you have a football removed from your insides).

Family, well I ought to always find the time to write about you - and I will. Girls you are my life. And your father is my all.

I'll check in again, but for now I'll keep posting the art every Sunday.

I cherish the art.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

44/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year...

As Esme settled into a collage, her sister happened upon a garden snail. She eventually put it back again - complete with sticker.

Thursday, 27 October 2016


Whether you’re planning a party or heading over to someone else’s, these ideas are bound to inspire terrific tricks and treats for all the family to enjoy.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Is it morning yet?

Even on those mornings when they could potentially lay in, there's often a mishap. Take this morning - "Mum, it's 7.10 and the clock's up."

It's 6.10 and frankly the clock needs throwing out. Fat lot of good it's ever done. The idea behind it is that when the sun comes up (i.e the smiley face turns from blue to yellow) the children are able to see it's time to wake too. Unfortunately, even on the days the clock hasn't been tampered with, they've always been wide-eyed way before the sunshine ever put in its appearance.

Such a shame I'm not.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016


As the evenings draw in and the half term draws closer, LIFE AS IT IS gets inspired. Here are ten great things to do with the children throughout Autumn...

1) Totally Thames, London
The river comes to life with a month of free events, including open days, art, family fun, talks, walks and plenty of boats. 1-30 Sept

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Inspiring, allowing, providing our children the joy of reading

Educating our primary school children cannot be done by talking alone. It cannot be done by reading and writing alone. Teaching our children to be the best they can possibly be, is ultimately done by inspiring, allowing, providing. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Schools testing kills joy of reading says War Horse author

War Horse author and former Children’s Laureate calls for schools to make time for stories by reinstating Storytime in primary schools

The former Children’s Laureate and President of BookTrust, speaking at the inaugural BookTrust Lecture this evening, will state that we are all as a society responsible “both for the successes and failures of our literacy and our society.” Morpurgo says that it is not just the fault of successive governments, “who corral schools and pressure teachers into teaching literacy fearfully, who insist that measurable outcomes and results are the be all and end all of the education process.”

Friday, 16 September 2016

REST EASY - guide to a good night’s sleep

REST EASY - guide to a good night’s sleep

As September heralds in the autumn, in a sense the changing season brings forth a fresh start – a new year if you like. It’s the beginning of the academic calendar, and as such a return to routine. So how as a family can you help yourself with that routine? A good night’s sleep for all is essential. But often, that is easier said than done.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Feeling wistful - the end of an era (off to school)

So the summer holidays came and went, six weeks off school to relax and enjoy. Weeks that were so good this year. The weather saw to that. And the girls. They've grown up so much. This motherhood malarkey that I once thought sucked, has slowly morphed into pretty wonderful. I always used to dream about them reaching 7&4. Now they've arrived at 8&5, I actually want to press pause. Imagine that.

Monday, 5 September 2016


Recent surveys reveal that over 71% of parents in the UK are not aware that legally a child needs to be in a car seat/booster until they are 12 years old, and that SUVs are the choice of car for modern mums looking to keep their family safe…

Sunday, 28 August 2016

35/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year...

Esme was born on her great grandmother's 90th birthday, and this year they turned 8 and 98. The cake was decorated by the GraceFaith girls, and is the art project that we have most enjoyed this week in August 2016.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Princess Peppa's Carriage - A toy review

We stop to watch her if we catch her on TV. We've seen her on stage (cue the Bong Bing Boo song), and we would give anything to head back to her theme park once again... so just what is it about the pink phenomenon that is Peppa Pig? 

Saturday, 13 August 2016



Sometimes in life, things just don’t go as planned. But when your firstborn suddenly ends up in special care… well no one plans for that. Here, writer Emma Oliver remembers bonding with her baby and speaks to a baby wellness and childcare expert...

Sunday, 7 August 2016

32/52 The GraceFaith year long art project

Choosing a favourite piece of art, each week of the year...

Fia designs (has designs) on a mobile

Esme designs (has designs) on a pair of shoes

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Olympics (then and now)

On the day that Rio held its 2016 opening ceremony, we are excited. In our house we love the Olympics. We love the chance to enjoy the world's greatest sporting extravaganza, and to settle back together in awe of the 10,500 athletes from 206 teams competing in sixteen days of world class sport.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories - A book review

With featured artists including European greats like Michelangelo and Rembrandt, as well as global art visionaries such as Katsushika Hokusai and Frida Kahlo...

Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories
Author: Michael Bird
Illustrated by: Kate Evans
For: children aged 9+
Published: August 2016 by Laurence King
Available from: All good bookshops 
Priced: £19.95
ISBN: 978-1-78067-614-2

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


…and the holidays are happening. Here’s how to keep the children engaged on your trip away (and consequently, how to keep the whole family happy).

Want to make the most of your family holiday and enjoy the chance of all being together? Planning not pressure is key. From travelling with tots to finding a break that will suit all the family, the holidays ought to be fun for everyone. Follow this helpful guide to make your break away, the best it can be…

Thursday, 21 July 2016

i-spy ON A CAR JOURNEY - Book review

Wanting something to keep the children occupied that doesn't involve a screen? These timeless classics have been around for sixty years and two weeks ago were newly released by Collins.