Author Archives: Hannah

#thisismyhappy 2017

I’ve been sharing pictures for a while now on Instagram with the hashtag #thisismyhappy and I love it because it makes me focus on the here and now.  It also makes me realise that my happy can be a lot of things – breastfeeding the toddler, baking with my still little (but not for long) girl, walking in the park with my currently home educated boys, going out for dinner with the biggest boy, having my hair done, spending time with friends, collapsing on the sofa at the end of the day and watching TV with the lovely husband (I don’t generally instagram that…), and, of course, lots of introverty quiet time on my own thinking, planning, working and just being.

And today I shared a picture of my happiest start to any new year ever – a whole day of planning and working on my own, and I hope it’s a sign of things to come.  I’ve seen the writing on the wall for home ed, and I’m bowing out gracefully, though not in a hurry – I’m going to try and enjoy every last bit of this current home ed year.  And there are still the toddler years to enjoy (yes, really! – if there’s one benefit to having a fifth child, it’s being able to enjoy every stage wholeheartedly, including the really not terrible at all twos…)  But I’m also looking ahead and getting excited about doing things for me again.

planning day

I’m looking forward to so many things this year.  And there are other things that are scary unknowns, and some that are downright definitely difficult.  But I’m just going to go with the flow, and even if there are some deposits in the bank of bad days (credit to Matt Haig for this very helpful concept – even bad days can be banked as proof you can survive them), today, nothing can steal my joy.

Isaiah 43:19

19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.


I’ve been wondering for a while what it would take to make me start blogging again, then I realised it’s been a year today since my last post.  If I don’t do it now maybe I never will.  It’s been a very tough year and something had to give, but I have missed it and I think I might need it as my space to process some things.  Or maybe not, but I’ll only know if I try.  It feels like a positive step.  I’ve been feeling hard pressed on all sides for a very long time but something has lifted this week and I hope I am emerging.

Getting outside in this beautiful weather has helped.  We now have two children happy and settled in school (more on this later perhaps) and I am enjoying the time with the three home educated ones all the more because I’m aware how precious it is, and how school is creeping up on us.  We had a lovely walk to Oaks Park on Monday morning, and a fun afternoon with friends in Carshalton Park this afternoon.  I’m storing up all the happy and hoping that blogging at least some of it will help me to remember to be thankful.

Isaiah 44:2-4

This is what the Lord says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.

Mia Bambina Bibs Review

There are so many things I love about having a fifth baby, after eleven years of parenting, and it really is easier to treasure the experience this time knowing how fast it goes.  (And yes, I can say that on a day when Samuel has been more-or-less awake for 16 hours and only happy when he was in my arms.  Not the productive day I hoped for but a reminder that really nothing in my job description is more important than loving and cuddling.)

So anyway, I’m enjoying being back in the baby zone and nothing much has changed really.  Well, except the bibs.  Since when were they this shape?  I feel old.  But I have to say that my slight scepticism about the pointy bib thing has been completely transformed by discovering these beautiful ones from Mia Bambina.

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I love the range of colours and designs, and the quality is excellent.  The bibs are made from two layers of 100% organic cotton and are designed to fit babies from about 3 months to 3 years.

mia bambina 2

They are lovely and soft, so comfortable for baby as well as looking gorgeous.  The bibs fasten with adjustable press studs to give the perfect fit.

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I love all the colours but the green stripe is my favourite, and was just right for showing off at the ladies’ group at church last week.  He got lots of compliments!

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We have used them as mealtime bibs sometimes too, and they are practical as well as beautiful.

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The bibs cost £4 each or there are multibuy packs available for a discounted price.  They would make a great present for a new baby, and there is even a bib bouquet.

Thank you Mia Bambina, we love our bibs and we’ll definitely be back for more!

We were sent three bibs free of charge to review.



Baby Love

Baby boy is eight and a half months old and I am feeling happy sad.  Happy that he brings so much joy every day, but sad that the baby days seem to be going so fast.  I’ve been looking back through some more photos of the early days and feeling nostalgic.  I’ve shared photos of him on Instagram a lot but I really want more of a record on the blog.  So this post is another bit of shameless baby spam, or as I prefer to call it, baby love.

Baby love 1

Baby love 2

Baby love 3

Baby love 4


The Beginning of the End

Today.  Just another rainy day in August.  Too much to do and yet nothing to do.  I’m lacking motivation today.  Tobias is at football – the first of four sports days with his new school.  I hope he’s having fun even though he will be getting very wet and muddy.  It’s not the official start of term but it feels like it.  And ever since we took him out of school five and a half years ago, this day has been a shadow in the background.  Hardly visible most of the time but always there.  The beginning of the end of our home educating life.  In some ways it’s just a bend in the road and there’s likely to be a lot of home educating going on here for years to come.  But today it feels more like an end than a beginning.

There’s a lot to be positive about.  I’m proud of my biggest boy and I love watching him grow and gain independence.  He has chosen this next step himself, worked hard to get where his is now and is (most of the time) looking forward to this new experience.  I have loved having him at home with me for so much of his childhood and I am so glad I didn’t blink and miss it.  But I have always said it is his choice and now he is ready to move on.

I’m happy for him but I’m a little bit sad too.  Suddenly our freedom to go where we like when we like is gone, and all the children will be affected by that.  But more than that, I’m sad that Tobias’ time will be so structured.  I know there will be lots that he will enjoy at school but I don’t want him to miss out.  I wish he could have the benefits of school without giving up so much time.  Time to learn what he wants to learn and study things in depth.  Time to read a whole novel in a day.  Time to relax with friends.  Time to cook meals for the whole family.  Time to play with his baby brother.

I saw this on facebook yesterday and it summed up a lot of the things I’ve been feeling recently.


I hope we will be able to find a way to work round the edges of school, to live our lives and learn and grow, to keep school in its place as a resource, a part of the education we want our children to have but by no means all of it.

Over the years I’ve often been asked why I’m home educating.  There are many ways to answer that question but the simplest answer is this – I want them to love learning.  I’m proud of Tobias and everything he has achieved throughout his primary school years at home.  But most of all I’m proud and happy that he loves to learn and now I think he is mature enough that school, even though it isn’t perfect, won’t ever be able to take that away from him.  So that’s why I know he is ready to go.

And as I’m writing this he’s just walked through the door – wet, muddy and happy, so I think the first day was a success.  This is it – the beginning of the end.  But I’m hopeful it’s the beginning of something good too.

Tobias (I know you will read this!) – I am praying for you, that you will enjoy your time at school, have lots of fun and make new friends.  I hope and expect you will do well at school, but I want you to remember what’s really important.  Just be yourself – trustworthy and reliable; kind and generous; enthusiastic and open-minded – and then you will be able to make the most of the new challenges and opportunities that school will bring.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)





Baby Boy: some photos

I’m still trying to find a way to unblock the blogging block and I think getting some more photos of baby boy on here will help.  I wish I had managed to blog about the early weeks and months, but life got in the way.  So I’m going to start by publishing this with a few photos and just add to it when I have time.  Apologies for the baby spam – probably only of interest to me but I want them here to look back on!

baby boy 23

baby boy 24

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Me and My Girl

Yesterday I went out with my girl. We went to the hairdresser’s together and had a lovely time.

me and my girl 1 one

My beautiful girl.

me and my girl 2 two

Afterwards we went shopping. You can never have too many shoes!  And then we had lunch.

me and my girl 3 three

It was the perfect morning.

Sleeping Like a Baby

Dear Baby Boy

You are nearly five and a half months old and you are not sleeping through the night yet – let’s talk about that.  You are now two weeks older than any of your older siblings were when they slept through.  And that’s ok – if there’s one thing I’d like you to learn in life, it’s this.  It’s good to be different.  It’s good to be you.

When you were very new I remember tweeting that you were sleeping like a baby – only when you felt like it, for about twenty minutes at a time and right in the middle of the bed!  And looking back on those first few weeks, I was very happy.  Co-sleeping and breastfeeding made it easy, I loved having time just with you and I didn’t care how tired I was.  I didn’t try to do too much else because I knew those early days go too fast.

But somehow it has crept up on me.  The gaps between feeds are getting a bit longer, I’m not quite as tired, and so I’ve started taking on too much.  And I know it’s not right because I’m losing my joy and I’m feeling dragged down.  So I’m glad, my beautiful boy, that you are still waking me up in the night and reminding me of what’s important.  I love your little squeaks and snuffles and wriggles that are your way of telling me what you want.  I love having you right next to me so that you can latch on without even having to open your eyes and you almost never have to cry – well not in the night, at least.  The day times are when you sometimes have to wait, but the night times are all yours.  I love the warmth of you and the weight of you and your milky smiles and the peace that you bring to me.  And after a feed it’s sometimes hard to take my eyes off you because I love watching you sleep.  Other times I’m already asleep myself before you’ve finished!


I’ve started to make some changes, to make life more manageable, so that you and your brothers and sister can have more of my attention.  I haven’t got it all worked out but I will get there.  So don’t start sleeping through the night baby boy, not just yet.  I need you to keep reminding me to slow down and focus on the things that really matter.

I love you.


Baby Boy

I can’t sleep and I need something positive to think about so I’m going to indulge in looking back at photos of baby boy.  I need to remind myself how lucky I am.

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Birthday Interview with the boy who is 5 years old (2015)

I’ve forgotten the birthday interview again, so just squeaking it in at the end of the birthday month!

birthday boy 5

What would you like to be when you grow up?

A train driver

What’s your favourite colour?


What’s your favourite flower? (An extra question he suggested himself!)

The red ones – what are they called?  Poppies!

What’s your favourite book?

A pirate book

What’s your favourite film?


What are your favourite toys?


What is your favourite food?

Fish and chips

What is your favourite thing to wear?


What do you like doing with mummy?


What do you like doing with daddy?

Helping him cook supper

What makes you happy?

Cuddling with my soft toys

Tell me a joke

Why did the doctor go to the doctor’s?  Because he was hurt!