But First…Coffee and Duplo!

I haven’t posted anything in a while. There are a few reasons for this: Kevin is abroad this week, so I’m flying solo with parental/household responsibilities; last week was a busy one, so the social exhaustion has taken hold of me; my rambunctious toddler has also left me without a spare five minutes here and there to jot down my thoughts.

Lack of ideas is not an issue. I currently have no less than five posts sitting in draft – not including the Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes posts that will now be shelved until next year – and a notebook filled with other potential post ideas. Sometimes when I’m writing, the words just flow onto the page with little effort. Other posts need piecing together like a puzzle. Sometimes I’ll start writing about one thing, and by the time I’m finished it ends up being about something completely different. Those posts are my favourites! I love that the words can take me to places that I hadn’t even considered.

Earlier in the year I started to keep a diary again. I find it to be an essential part of my self care (sometimes it’s the only bit of self care I manage to do!) I also find it helps generate ideas for future posts. A whole blog post can spring forth from a single random thought. Just think of how many books/businesses/inventions have started in the same way! One of my lovely friends bought me a blogging journal a while back, so that I could keep all of my ideas in one place. Now when I have a lightbulb moment, it goes in that navy spiral notebook.

Not eveything I write can be published. Sometimes I’ll tap something out on a whim, but then realise it’s too personal to share. I did publish one such post last year, but deleted it not long afterwards, as I felt it wasn’t really in keeping with the rest of my blog. Some things just aren’t meant to be put out there. Some things are best left between the pages of my diary.

As for the posts that can be published – they will materialise when they’re meant to. I’m off to make my third coffee of the morning now, and then settle down for some more epic Duplo building with my littlest girly-woo…

A Blogiversary Top 10

Today marks my first ever blogiversary!

I started my first blog back in 2014, but I got as far as one post before the PND hit. I’d been thinking about starting another one for ages, and last year decided to just go for it. At first I just wanted to log my thoughts and experiences – mainly the good ones – but it took a bit of a turn when I realised I had lots more ideas that I wanted to share. I outlined my plans for a new set-up in Bright Blogging Days but although I have the ideas and the motivation, everyday life comes first.

Still…37 posts later I’m still going. To celebrate I thought I’d share my top 10 of my blogging year.

  1. Getting to know people from all different communities in the blogosphere. Having a mix of subjects on my blog has led to interaction with a range of different people.
  2. Writing a guest post for the Sewcialists page. You can read my contribution to the #sewstripes challenge here.
  3. Having a place to share my witchy side. It’s not something I talk about with most of the people in my life, so it’s nice to have a place where I can be more open about practising magick.
  4. Breaking the silence on my experience with PND. Mental health needs to be discussed more openly.
  5. A world of inspiration awaits me in my feed. So many different people writing about different things in different ways!
  6. Gathering followers – this wasn’t ever one of my aims, as I started this blog for me. I’ve been amazed at how many people have stuck with me though, and taken the time to read what I have to say.
  7. Giving myself a voice. I have a lot to say, but sometimes find I can put across my point more coherently when it’s written down.
  8. Logging my family’s adventures. The blog acts as a way of recording our time together.
  9. Encouraging me to actually do the things I think/talk about doing – then to blog about them!
  10. Celebrating one year of blogging.

Thank you to everyone who has read, liked and commented on my posts. It’s nice to know that my voice is being heard. Any ideas on improving the blog/posts you’d like to see will be welcomed in the comments. I’m working on some new post ideas for the upcoming weeks, so watch this space.

Here’s to a bigger, bloggier second year!

Thank You and Hello!

I realised the other day that I now have over 50 followers! I don’t quite know how that happened, but I’m so pleased and thankful that you’ve all taken time out of your lives to have a read at my musings. I’m thinking that if I ever get to 100 followers, I may do a wee giveaway of sorts – possibly something that fits in with my whole eco-warrior self!

A while back I wrote a post called Bright Blogging Days, where I outlined my plans for how my blog was going to look. It started off well, but life got in the way and my writing fell by the wayside. I’m taking back control though, so expect more regular posts from me – on anything and everything!

I also realised that although I talk about my life and family a lot, I haven’t actually said much about us as individuals and how we fit together.

So here goes!

I’m Mags, a SAHM to 4 children, and I’m currently exploring my witchy side. I love to see the beauty in nature, as well as observe how people act towards one another. I’m happiest pottering around at home or in my garden, although I won’t say no to a night at the karaoke, especially if cocktails are involved! My family are everything to me, and although I’m fairly laidback, I’d willingly fight anyone who threatened their happiness!

My husband is Kevin, and he’s the cleverest person I know! He’s a lecturer and researcher in the Aerospace department at a well-established university. He also does a lot of outreach in his role as a STEM ambassador. Patient and mild-mannered, he’s a brilliant role-model for our children, and he does his utmost to make sure we’re all happy. He started us on our eco journey before we were married, and has been the brains behind a lot of the positive changes we’ve made. We’ll be celebrating 12 years of marriage at the end of this month!

Andrew is our oldest child, and our only boy. At 9-and-a-half, he is intent on becoming a marine biologist – a famous one at that! His dream is to swim with sharks, and he’ll happily talk for hours on the subject, his brain soaking up and retaining any fact he reads. He reads anything he comes across, including Shakespeare (the children’s versions) and Dickens (the original versions.) My little man is also a whizz with Lego, and can build anything he thinks up, with only his imagination as his guide. He’s quiet and patient – a virtue needed with 3 sisters raiding his room on a daily basis! When he finds something funny, his infectious giggles can send a ripple of laughter through a room in seconds.

7-and-a-half-year-old Julia is our oldest daughter. I’d describe her as a free spirit with a built-in risk assessment feature! Out of all of my children she’s the most interested in my witchy explorations. She’s started collecting crystals and stones, determined to find out as much as she can about them. She’s extremely tactile, and will generally use her hands to look at something. She has her own ideas about fashion and hobbies, and it’s my aim to encourage her to believe in herself more. She can be quiet, but is very observant about her surroundings – about people in particular. She can be a bit of a worrier, but she also has a knack for calming people down with a simple cuddle, or by slipping her small hand into yours.

Keira is our 5-and-a-half-year-old whirlwind! She literally bounces around from the minute she wakes up until the minute she goes to bed. Her cheeky smile lights up her whole face, and she moves through the day singing, and living in her own little rainbows-and-unicorns world! She is also scarily clever! She could write at the age of 3, and exceeded expectations in all areas on her first school report card. She loves being a big sister, and spends a lot of time teaching her baby sister how to make funny faces.

Jessica is the baby. At 16 months, she’s developing her own wee personality. She’s finding her place in our family, and will quite happily “join in” with the conversation at the dinner table. She loves to play, which usually involves chewing on her toys and then hiding them in my wellies!

Family time is important to Kevin and I, and we make sure that we create time for talking about the serious issues with our children, as well as playing games, reading stories, or simply being available for a cuddle. Our children are great kids – they are loving, empathetic, and understand what fairness looks like. They are often complimented on their behaviour and manners when we’re out, and I have no problem taking part of the credit for that! They also bicker, annoy each other, and somehow manage to smear toothpaste on the loo when brushing their teeth! They make our family what it is though – toothpaste-smeared loo and all!

So there you have it – my beautiful little family. As in previous posts, I’ll be mentioning them a lot, so hopefully I’ve painted a picture of who we are and how we work!

Thanks for reading and sticking with me. Stay tuned for various musings, family antics, and lots more!

Follow Friday: Go Eco! (Part 1)

Welcome to the first instalment of Follow Friday here at Sunbeams and Sass! These posts will be a small round-up of fellow bloggers that I stumble upon and wish to share with you. I’ll give a general overview of what their blog is about and a brief outline of their most recent post.

This week I’m looking at blogs which talk about an eco-friendly life. I’m calling it Part 1, as I follow quite a few eco bloggers, and won’t fit them all into one post. I also foresee me finding new eco blogs, and making Go Eco! a series gives me the opportunity to give them a shout-out in future posts.

First up, we have A Reusable Life. Heather is mum to two boys and her blog is based widely around reusable/ethical products – cloth nappies in particular. Once you start using cloth nappies, you begin to look at other changes you can make with regards to hygiene products. Her latest post talks about the Bloom and Nora cloth sanitary pads gift box. Take a peek if you want to know more.

Freerangemummy is about Clare and her quest for a more eco-friendly lifestyle. She, her husband, and their two boys are striving to live a life “which doesn’t harm people or the planet.” They have just given up their family car, in a further step to reduce their carbon footprint. Read about how they coped with their family holiday without a car in her latest blog post.

In Naturally Sus(tainable), Lisa is passionate about the environment, but understands that some people can feel overwhelmed when trying to make changes. Her aim is to share her experiences, and gently guide us through what we can do to live a more environmentally sustainable life. In her most recent post, she gives a rundown of eco gifts to give this Christmas. If you’re stuck for ideas and fancy giving the gift of sustainability, head on over to her page.

Sustainable Girl, Material World is where A shares her successes and her failures in living a simpler, more sustainable life. I like her blog, as it gives hope to those who are perhaps on the verge of giving up after a bad run. Her latest post tells us how she and her husband fared in their eco-living journey when they both got sick. Inspiring. (The song Get Back up Again from Trolls runs through my head when I read her posts!)

In My Journey to a Plastic Free Life Beth is going plastic free in an effort to save our planet from destruction. She shares her journey with us, as well as giving helpful tips for anyone who wants to join her (and why wouldn’t you?!) Her most recent post gives tips for how to go plastic free at Christmas – it’s not too late to start caring for our planet!

It’s so interesting to see how different bloggers approach the same principles and topics in different ways. There are so many things we can do to ‘go eco’ – the trick is to take baby steps and try not to do everything at once. If we all took this approach, we’d see the benefits very quickly. Spread the love for the eco bloggers! Do you have a favourite eco blog you’d like to give a shout-out to? Share in the comments!

Still here…

I’m late on this week’s Monday Musings and Whimsical Wednesday. I love blogging, but everyday life comes first! There have been Christmas shows, carol singing and laundry to catch up on this week. I do have tomorrow’s Follow Friday all prepped and ready to go though, as well as a few other posts in draft. Stay tuned! Please…😙

Whimsical Wednesday: Lotsa Lists!

Welcome to the first instalment of Whimsical Wednesday here at Sunbeams and Sass! These posts will include any whimsy that takes my fancy – be it a list, seasonal antics, or crafty things!

I’m going to kick things off with a list. I love lists, and have been making them since I could hold a pencil. Even though they trick me into thinking I’m organised, I wouldn’t be without them. I have notebooks full of lists stashed all over the house. They help me organise my thoughts, as well as my tasks; if I didn’t use them, my brain would be fried! I write to-do lists and include stuff I’ve already done, just so that I can score them off! I know I’m not alone in that sneaky wee tactic! Anything to feel a sense of achievement, even if it’s merely to say that I put the clean washing away…although come to think of it, that’s a pretty huge feat in our house…

My lists take many different forms:

  • illegible scrawls on old receipts
  • neater scribbles in plain notebooks/jotters
  • categorised inventories beautifully inscribed in exquisite journals

There are less of the latter and more of the former, but there is something therapeutic about taking the time to write something out artistically. Thanks to the digital age, pen and paper are used less frequently nowadays, but to me they bring a hint of nostalgia. I get ridiculously excited over a new notebook and pen!

Today’s list is a list of…well…lists! There are so many lists I want to make, that I need to write them all down. I was trying to find out the name given to someone obsessed with lists – the best I could find was a ‘listophile’. Works for me! 

My list of lists reads (to date) as follows:

  • books to read (this one grows on a daily basis)
  • recipes to try
  • cakes to bake (separate from recipes, as I do love to bake!)
  • films to watch (and which ones to see after I’ve read the book)
  • television shows to watch
  • cloth nappies I want my littlest ray to try
  • ways to be more eco friendly/produce less waste
  • cleaning jobs in each room of the house
  • DIY jobs in each room of the house
  • plants/veg/herbs to grow in our garden
  • places I want to visit (both locally and abroad)
  • skills I’d like to learn/hone
  • crochet projects
  • knitting projects
  • sewing projects
  • clothes I want to make for myself
  • festivities throughout the year and the different ways they are celebrated
  • craft projects to do with my children
  • gift ideas for family and friends
  • cocktails I’d like to make (and drink)
  • restaurants to dine in
  • ways to embrace hygge
  • things I’d do if/when I win the lottery
  • natural beauty products I want to make
  • summer fun with my children
  • books I want to read with my children
  • winter projects/fun with my children
  • different ways to be spiritual
  • self-care
  • date ideas for my husband and I (both at home and on the rare occasions we get to go out)
  • budgeting/saving ideas
  • ways to show my husband how much I love him (he knows, but I like to show it with little gestures)
  • general bucket list
  • party ideas
  • ways to increase confidence in my children
  • ditto confidence in myself
  • classes to do with my littlest ray
  • routines
  • exercises to try
  • meal plans
  • favourite words
  • blog posts I want to write

This is just a snapshot of the lists I have floating around in my head, taking up room! None of them are ever complete, as there are always new discoveries to make, new titbits of information for us to chew over. I’ll keep adding to my lists, as well as my list of lists. I’m always on the lookout for new lists to make. What are your favourite lists to write? Feel free to share them in the comments (this is a sharing kind of place!) Happy listing!

Bright Blogging Days

I’ve been thinking about how I can be more active on my blog, and create more of a presence for myself in the blogging world. I’m good at thinking up ideas, but then procrastinate until the cows come home. This has resulted in some big time lapses between posts. 

One of the reasons for this is that I’ve been trying to work out my niche – where I fit in the blogosphere. It occurred to me today, however, that I don’t need a niche to write. I’m interested in lots of different things, therefore I want to write about different things. I originally intended this to be my log of sunbeams – little moments of pleasure in an unpredictable world. I then went off on a tangent and had a wee rant about some issues that bother me. So I expanded my original intentions and included rants too! As a mum of four, I have a lot going on – all day, every day. My children love to learn, be it through playtime, crafts, reading, food, television and more. I also have a lot of interests: sewing, knitting, crochet, baking, reading, cocktails (yes, it is a legit interest), education, eco-living, spirituality, gardening…

And so I expanded yet again… This shouldn’t surprise me, as I’ve always had a bit of an eclectic personality. Music, books, fashion – I like a wide range of everything.

So how do I fit all of this into one blog? Simple – different instalments on different days:

  • Mags’ Monday Musings – a longer post, detailing whichever sunbeam or rant that has caught my attention that week.
  • Whimsical Wednesdays – usually a list of whatever takes my fancy (oh I do so love a list!), or details of any seasonal antics that my family have been up to.
  • Follow Friday – a round up of some fellow bloggers that have caught my attention.

So there we have it. My plan to stay active in the blogging world. It may expand again, but that’s ok. If we’re not constantly expanding our thoughts and ideas, we’re at risk of stagnating – and that’s not what I want. Stay tuned for more alliterative/sibilant/assonant titles!