Two things I am passionate about are food and raising children. Combining the two I am somewhat ‘obsessed’ when it comes to feeding my daughter. We try to eat organic or homegrown as much as possible. I actually slightly freak every time she drinks milk that is not organic. I know I’m ridiculous, I told you I was obsessed. As a baby she was breastfed and only once ate food that I had not prepared myself (from a jar, duh duh duuuuuuh – we were at our friends campsite – needs must and all).

Oh I forget to mention I am also a recovering perfectionist ;) I say recovering because being a perfectionist and having a child is nigh on impossible, believe me! But seriously bringing a child into the world is the single most important thing I’ve ever done, damn right I’m going to try and do it to the best of my abilities.

So this gentle introduction about me gets me nicely onto the controversial subject of breastfeeding. I have always been a firm believer that breast is best (excuse the pun). After all mother nature provides us with the kit to care for our babies and you can always trust mother nature – she rocks! My own experience of breastfeeding only serves to strengthen my conviction of how wonderful it is.

I will be honest, I did judge people who didn’t breastfeed their children. Sure I know there are plenty who cannot breastfeed for whatever reason (fine) but I also know there are plenty who can and well just won’t…. and for this I could never quite ‘get’ the reason.

Having said that I am pretty much a live and let live type, sure I have my high standards but I can’t judge everyone by them. I try to leave people to get on with things how and as they please.

Recently I have been confronted with a close friend who is breastfeeding but wanting to stop because she dislikes it. Admittedly I found it very hard to deal with, a huge lump forming in my throat as she told me “but, but, but…” struggling with “it’s her choice” and “noooooooooooooooooo”. I found myself feeling quite angry about it afterwards, again not understanding her reasons why. How could you dislike breastfeeding? She had her reasons but they all sounded like excuses to me.

Well today I saw for myself the reasons why and without going into too much personal detail, I understood. I saw her struggling, unhappy and upset with breastfeeding her own child and all of a sudden I felt very bad for judging her. She didn’t need my guilt trip as the cherry on the top of a newborn baby cake.

I will always maintain that breast is best for me but next time I judge someone who is not breastfeeding I will remember there might be a million reasons why, many I may not understand. At the end of the day only a mother knows what is best for their baby and if it is affecting their well-being and making them really miserable I don’t believe they should struggle through it.

After all a happy mummy = happy baby.

Toscana Colliverdi

I’ll set the scene.

We were young lovers and it was our first holiday. We were carefree and thirsty for adventure.

We threw the tent and our bags in the back of the car and set off into the dark night. Destination Italy. We had no places to stay, no itinerary. We followed our noses, the scent of adventure and home cooked Italian food wafting in the air.

Approaching Italy we decided to head over the mountains into the country rather than through the tunnel. Who wants to see wall to wall concrete when you can experience mountains and lakes? And what a welcome! Morning broke and our eyes were met with mint green lakes and white chalky mountains. We found our first campsite in a forest by Lago Maggiore. Our requirement was simple, picturesque with a spot for our tent and 2 trees sturdy enough to hold our 2 persons hammock (with us snuggled inside).

We are explorers. We have always been able to follow our instincts and discover the most beautiful, remote, interesting places. We always try the flaky painted door slightly ajar or the impossible little dirt track, just to see where it will take us. Sometimes it takes us horribly, horribly wrong (Remember going in search of that deserted beach and ending up having to reverse up a really, scarily steep cliff, thinking this was possibly our last adventure, babe? Me too.) But so often it takes us very right and we find a beautiful deserted monastery or secluded beach as a reward.

Our days were spent exploring San Giminiano, Pisa, Lucca, Volterra, Florence and the surrounding countryside. Our nights, chilling in the hammock watching an inky black sky peppered with stars and listening to the cricket chorus. I’m not sure how we managed to escape the crowds (of other campers, if there were any) or if it just felt like it was just us on the earth.

We moved from camping to camping every 2 days, finding little hidden gems along the way. Hill top sites overlooking the valleys filled with cypress trees, clear streams to swim in, dilapidated houses that we dreamed of making our own. We also stumbled across the best restaurant we have ever eaten in (and we’ve tried quite a few) in a tiny old church with 4 tables. We ate a 5 course meal of the finest Italian food and wine and received a bill at the end for 30 euros! Make that best AND cheapest meal I have ever eaten.

This was my first trip to Italy and the one that made me fall in love with everything Italian, the language, the culture, the food, the people. It was also the trip that made me fall in love with my (now) husband. Fast forward 10 years and we are a family of 3. I’m so looking forward to taking littlelish on her very own adventure this summer.

Now we are 3

This blog post is my entry to the Tots100/Al Fresco Holidays competition who are giving away a holiday for one lucky family with (http://www.thomsonalfresco.co.uk/) Wish me luck :)  x

I love being a mum. It is the most entertaining job I’ve ever had, where being silly and cuddling is what it takes to be the best. Littlelish is now 2.5 years old and I have been at home with her since she was born that long, hot, summers night. I tried to go back to my marketing job (the second best job I’ve ever had) when she was 5 months old but with no luck. She refused bottles (she had always been breastfed) and therefore wouldn’t eat all day. It made the choice a pretty easy one…

It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made. Sure we had to make sacrifices, without 2 full time jobs we had fewer holidays, shopping sprees and what not… but we survived, heck it even taught us a lesson or two! And in return I got to be there while this beautiful little person grows up a little more every day.

Although I throw myself wholeheartedly into being mum, littlelish hardly watches television and we are always playing, cooking or creating something, I noticed myself having the occasional wobble. Sure I was mum but what else was I? I was also the girl (I am still a girl at 30 alright!) who loved challenges, business and the satisfaction of achieving. Sure I was achieving as mummy but I kind of had that covered… Was it time for another challenge?

We decided that littlelish should start going to preschool (because it was good for her rather than because we needed her to go) and for the first time in a very long time I had some time to myself again. What now? Well I’ve started up a new business. I thought long and hard about what I want to do because returning to work was not really an option. All jobs that would be suitable for me are fulltime and neither of us are ready for that. So I turned to what I love. What I always complain I don’t have enough time for. Art and crafts. Would I make the time for it if I saw it as a business goal? And the answer is yes!

As you have probably noticed (I make no secret of it) I’ve started a web shop. I’m really only at the very beginning of it because building it up to what I desire is going to take a while! And my goodness it is no walk in the park. Finding the time to craft and create even with my mornings off is difficult. The design and creation process can be long let alone photographing, putting online and marketing it! The housewife in me stops functioning all together and I am only drawn to crafting and making more mess. The ideas pile up, oooh must make this, sew this, paint this – my brain is at bursting point. The things pile up, oooh need this piece of cardboard (and this one and this one), this fabric and soon enough we are living in one of those poor houses that you see on tv where there is a dead cat buried under the piles of stuff :/

I am nowhere near creating a healthy balance yet, hopping between making, networking oh yes and blogging! But last week I made my first 3 sales, all in one day and the feeling of pride that swelled in me when someone had chosen to buy something that I made was phenomenal.

Now I am not only a good mummy but an inspired one with a project of my own to keep my brain cells fresh and buzzing and it feels great!

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