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…

House of Dreams

When I was little I read about so many different houses. A few stand out in my mind still, somewhat mashed together to shape my dream house. Green Gables is up there, obviously, along with the little house in the big woods, Rapunzel’s tower, the wild yet beautiful secret garden, and (every child’s dream) the gingerbread cottage. As I moved into adulthood, more houses were added to the collection in my mind: Bridget Jones’ London flat, various townhouses from chick lit novels, a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors, and the Burrow. 

Each of these places captures the essence of me in some form. Rapunzel’s tower and the house on the moors speak to the part of me that craves solitude. Green Gables, the house in the woods, and that mysterious garden reflect my desire to be surrounded by nature. The Burrow, the townhouses, and even Bridget Jones’ flat convey the warmth of family and friendships that are so important to me, and the gingerbread house is a bit of whimsy that we all need once in a while.

There are many more clambering for space, competing for a chance to feature in my final dream house. I say final, because Kevin and I have been planning our dream house for years. Even before we were married we had decided that one day we will build our house. We’ve never faltered from that dream. We’ve never once said maybe not. 

Our first house was rented – a tiny, one bedroom flat near the centre of the town. We moved into it six months before we were married. It needed modernising a bit, plus the heating and hot water never worked, but it was our home. It’s where Kevin carried me over the threshold after our wedding. It’s where I commuted to my first teaching job from. It’s where we discovered we were going to be parents. 

Impending parenthood was the catalyst for us seeking out a new home. We were extremely fortunate to have family offering to help us with the purchase of a house, so we set to looking for one that would be suitable for bringing up a child.

We quickly found a house that was close to both sides of the family, had good transport links, a garden, and three bedrooms. The extra bedroom meant that we would have space for another child, should we be blessed with another. Little did we know that our family of two would expand to a family of six within nine years!

As our family has grown, so has our dream house. We’ve designed and changed and designed some more. Sometimes we’ve clashed on aspects of structure, but usually manage to compromise and make both of our ideas work together. For example, Kevin is a big fan of open-plan spaces, whereas I like cosy and intimate pockets. We’ve compromised, by designing an open-plan space that is divided up into the cosy areas by furniture. Grand Designs helps us keep our dream alive, and we are avid watchers of the programme, taking note of what works and mistakes to avoid. Our vision is likely to go through several more changes before we get to our final plan.

Owing to the fact that we’ve been living on one income since we moved into our current house, and the fact that we have a big family, we haven’t been able to realise our dream as quickly as we’d hoped. We are undeterred though, and have been squirreling away funds to put towards our build. Once I’m working again we’ll be able to save at a faster rate, and can begin looking for a plot of land that will be turned into our own grand design.

People frequently ask if we’re planning to move soon, more so since Jessica arrived. The short answer to that question is no. Although it can seem a bit squashed sometimes, especially when we have family and friends over, we’re actually comfortable enough at the moment. We also don’t want to fritter away any of our precious house-building funds on something that will only do for a short while. We  always have the bigger picture in our minds. 

Our dream house isn’t something I talk about very often. The few times I’ve mentioned it, it’s been shot down with oh but it’s everyone’s dream really, isn’t it?! and quiet disbelief. I don’t know why people feel the need to do that – is it jealousy? The feeling that our aspirations need to be brought down a peg or two? Who knows? Whether or not it’s everyone’s dream…well, I can’t speak for everyone else. I can only speak for us and our dream. A dream that is getting closer to becoming a reality every day. 

What does your dream house look like?

The Sparkly Grimoire

Since I’ve started exploring my witchy side, I thought it would be a good idea to write everything down. In doing so, I hope to learn what works for me, what doesn’t work, plus I can log all of the new discoveries I make along the way.

A few years ago I looked at bullet journals (bujo) and thought I’d start one of my own. There were so many beautiful spreads on Pinterest, and the styles really appealed to me. Just one catch – I’m artistic in the creative sense, but I can’t draw for toffee! I laboured over the first five pages of my bujo, but a weekly spread took me about two weeks to get “just right”, so I abandoned it. There are so many ways of creating a bujo without using the artistic spreads, but by the time I came across them, I was scunnered with it all!

I kept diaries in my early teens, and it’s always been my intention to start one up again, but apart from my brief liaison with a bujo, I’ve never got round to it.

Until now.

In my post The Magick Within I talk about how I’m not following any specific witchy tradition. I want to discover what works for me; what resonates most with me, without feeling the need to follow any strict teachings. There will of course be some rules that must be adhered to. However, there are certain rules which must be followed in cooking, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment or mix things up a bit.

I’m going to write down everything witchy that appeals to me. I’ll include moon phases, the elements, herbal remedies, and spells. I’ll also note my experiences with oracle and tarot cards, plus Sabbat celebrations. I have plans for a magickal garden space too. Anything and everything I come across on my spiritual journey will be included, so that I can adjust if and when I need to. It’s also a wonderful heirloom to pass down to my children, should it be a path they wish to follow.

A witch’s journal can be known as a grimoire or a book of shadows. There are many different images on Pinterest and Instagram of beautiful leather-bound books, covered in magickal symbols. My grimoire is an A4 gold sparkly notebook that I bought on sale at my local supermarket! It looks like it’s been sprinkled with gold faery dust, which suits me just fine, as it looks like magick just waiting to happen!

Do you have a special way of recording your path? Is there anything else you would include in a sparkly grimoire? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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!