30 Jan 2015

Snow Celebrations



A kiss and a cuddle
Me and my Snowman

My three year old little boy has given me cause to celebrate every day since the day I found out I was going to be his Mum. 

This is the beauty of being a parent. There are so many reasons that call for a celebration. Big ones, little ones, the really important ones, and the ones that are considered really important. 

Like properly experiencing snow for the very first time. Not the little flurry that lasted all of ten minutes. And not that time when it was so late in the evening, all you could do was sit at the window and watch as it enveloped dark silhouettes in its silver cloak.

Today was different. The snow started falling even before breakfast was done. The cold grey sky, heaving under its burden, looked ready to burst. 

And so the snow fell, on and on through the morning, large flakes tumbling down thick and fast. Till all was covered in a pristine blanket of incandescent white.

All that remained was to wrap up in woolly layers and head out to revel in the warmth that only a first snowfall can radiate.

Then there was the business of throwing snowballs, using the Mother for target practice. She was game enough, what with it being another monumental first. 

Until she had had enough and threatened immediate withdrawal from the scene of action and a capping of all further snow-related fun. 

The focus shifted immediately to the more sedate task of building a snowman. Another first worthy of celebration. 

There was much snow-rolling, patting, pruning and thumping, before a vaguely snowmanesque shape emerged from the mounds of white that were beginning to form all around. 

The best thing about a first is that there is no precedent to follow. So even when shrivelled leaves become eyes and a lump of snow becomes the nose, the end result is still endearing in all its frozen entirety. 

Enough to warrant a kiss and a cuddle.



mumturnedmom

28 Jan 2015

Spring, already?

School Run Colours
Is it spring already,
In the middle of January?

Dipping temperatures, snow
Pink buds on every bough
A vibrant visual feast
Confusing, to say the least!

Shivering bones belie
Sights that greet the eye
No cause yet to rejoice
Toes as cold as ice.

How then, this burst of pink,
An aberration, you think?
A fallout of global warming
The cause of every problem.

A plant too eager to show
Pretty pink buds on every bough
What's a little hail or snow
Swathed warm in spring's glow.

But it can't be spring, really
Not at the end of January.



School Run Colours
Prose for Thought
You Baby Me Mummy

27 Jan 2015

School Run Colours 28 Jan 2015

Welcome to a brand new edition of School Run Colours. If you, like me, have decided to undergo a lifestyle change for the better, this link-up is the one thing that is likely to keep you going.

Think about it. Walk the school (or work or errand) run instead of driving the car. You save a few (petrol) pennies, you shed a few (weight) pounds. A win-win if you ask me. 

There is more. Take the opportunity to admire your surroundings, appreciate the colours that abound even on the darkest of evenings and let it ignite that dormant creative spark. Perhaps to take a photograph or to pen a few words. 

If you are new to the School Run Colours linky, you can read more about it here.  To find out how I ended up being inspired to start this linky, please visit my previous post School Run Colours - My Brand New Linky


I would love it if you add the School Run Colours badge to your post, and if you follow me on twitter (@vaichin). Please use the hashtag #SchoolRunColours when sharing your posts on social media, so we can spread the word. I will be pinning all linked up posts to my Pinterest board School Run Colours. It will be great if you could follow the board too. One last thing. Please visit and comment on fellow linkers' posts, so we are sharing the comment love.

A huge thank you to Bek and Pixiedusk for linking up last week. I hope we can continue to do School Run Colours together, picking up more like-minded people along the way. 


School Run Colours

25 Jan 2015

The Weekend Box: Review & Trial Code

J and I were both delighted and excited in equal measures when the Weekend Box arrived through our letterbox and landed on the doormat some time last week. Our Aztec themed box was preceded by an email from the team (they will always email you a list of ingredients before your box arrives, just so you are prepared for when it does), listing all the things that we would need to get started with the cooking section of our Weekend Box. The list was not long, just four ingredients, two of which were chocolate! No wonder we were delighted and excited to get started with our box.

The Weekend Box

The Phantom Listeners by Lydia Kakabadse: Review and Giveaway

The Phantom Listeners by Lydia Kakabadse
I love music, always have, always will. There are certain genres I gravitate to more than others depending on the time of day. Classical music, be it Western or Hindustani, has always featured heavily on my aural list. I enjoy both the traditional as well as contemporary forms, in addition to well-orchestrated fusion music if it does justice to all the influences that it draws from. Lydia Kakabadse's new album, The Phantom Listeners, qualifies on all these fronts and more.

Lydia grew up in a quiet market town in Cheshire, and has been composing music since the young age of thirteen. Working as a solicitor in previous years, she has a talent for writing both chamber and choral music. Drawing inspiration from a diverse range of influences such as Middle Eastern Music, mythology, nineteenth century poets and Latin literature, Lydia has concocted a potent five-piece album which is both majestic and chimerical.

21 Jan 2015

The Solitary Sentinel


School Run Colours
Alone, watchful, standing tall
Through mornings cold and grey
Lighting up long black nights
Inky darkness fades away.

Years go by gazing down 
As the world passes in a daze
Not a soul to look up, notice
The steady glow ablaze.

Unobtrusive and unfazed,
Weathering storms and rain
The solitary sentinel stands guard
Against Shadow's dark domain.


School Run Colours
Prose for Thought
snowingindoors
mumturnedmom

Paleo Bars from The Primal Pantry: Review and Giveaway

I was first introduced to Paleo bars from The Primal Pantry when I reviewed them a couple of months ago. The Primal Pantry have added a new flavour to their existing repertoire, and we now have a scrumptious Apple & Pecan Paleo Bar to go with the other four.

Apple & Pecan Paleo Bar from The Primal Pantry

20 Jan 2015

School Run Colours 21 Jan 2015

Welcome to a brand new edition of School Run Colours. If you, like me, have decided to undergo a lifestyle change for the better, this link-up is the one thing that is likely to keep you going.

Think about it. Walk the school (or work or errand) run instead of driving the car. You save a few (petrol) pennies, you shed a few (weight) pounds. A win-win if you ask me. 

There is more. Take the opportunity to admire your surroundings, appreciate the colours that abound even on the darkest of evenings and let it ignite that dormant creative spark. Perhaps to take a photograph or to pen a few words. 

If you are new to the School Run Colours linky, you can read more about it here.  To find out how I ended up being inspired to start this linky, please visit my previous post School Run Colours - My Brand New Linky

I would love it if you add the School Run Colours badge to your post, and if you follow me on twitter (@vaichin). Please use the hashtag #SchoolRunColours when sharing your posts on social media, so we can spread the word. I will be pinning all linked up posts to my Pinterest board School Run Colours. It will be great if you could follow the board too. One last thing. Please visit and comment on fellow linkers' posts, so we are sharing the comment love.

A huge thank you to Ness and Pixiedusk for linking up last week. I hope we can continue to do School Run Colours together, picking up more like-minded people along the way. 


School Run Colours

16 Jan 2015

Focus


This was a tough prompt to write to, the most difficult one I have encountered so far. Focus! The word brought with it a flood of ideas, so many, that I found it impossible to actually focus on one single concept for this post. I flitted from one to the next, and then on to the other.

13 Jan 2015

School Run Colours 14 Jan 2015

Welcome to a brand new edition of School Run Colours. If you, like me, have decided to undergo a lifestyle change for the better, this link-up is the one thing that is likely to keep you going.

Think about it. Walk the school (or work or errand) run instead of driving the car. You save a few (petrol) pennies, you shed a few (weight) pounds. A win-win if you ask me. 

There is more. Take the opportunity to admire your surroundings, appreciate the colours that abound even on the darkest of evenings and let it ignite that dormant creative spark. Perhaps to take a photograph or to pen a few words. 

If you are new to the School Run Colours linky, you can read more about it here.  To find out how I ended up being inspired to start this linky, please visit my previous post School Run Colours - My Brand New Linky

I would love it if you add the School Run Colours badge to your post, and if you follow me on twitter (@vaichin). Please use the hashtag #SchoolRunColours when sharing your posts on social media, so we can spread the word. I will be pinning all linked up posts to my Pinterest board School Run Colours. It will be great if you could follow the board too. One last thing. Please visit and comment on fellow linkers' posts, so we are sharing the comment love.

A huge thank you to Bek and Pixiedusk for linking up last week. I hope we can continue to do School Run Colours together, picking up more like-minded people along the way.

School Run Colours

Memories



When all around me 
Lie leafless, barren trees
I find one that clings  
To dry, crumbling leaves.

Knobbly and gnarled
Like a withered old claw
Reaching up to hold
The burden of winter's sky.

Brown painting over green
 Forgotten summer dreams
Grasping fingers clutch
Yesterday's memories.


These are my School Run Colours for the week. The photograph I clicked when walking the school run has inspired these verses.

I am also linking up with a couple of other linkies, Prose for Thought and My Sunday Photo.

School Run ColoursProse for Thought
OneDad3Girls

Upcycling Large Cardboard Packaging

J’s room underwent a DIY upgrade last summer and ended up looking like one of those display rooms in Ikea. Not surprising, as almost all the things that went in came out of a whirlwind shopping spree at Ikea. Right from the very blue pendant lamp to his ‘big boy’ bed.

Which brings me to the reason behind this post. Once everything was assembled and put into its rightful place in J’s room, we were left with a truckload of packing material. From bubblewrap to plastic covers to cardboard boxes. Most of it ended up in landfill, sadly, as nobody seems to know what to do with bubblewrap and plastic sheets when it comes to recycling. Nobody wants to so much as touch them with a barge pole. The paper and most of the cardboard did go in to be recycled.

All we were left with was one large cardboard box, which had housed the various planks and pieces that are now J’s bed. It too would have found itself being pulped into a newspaper or some such. The only reason it ended up with a different fate was because our paper-recycling bin was bursting at the seams.

So we held on to this great big cardboard box and hoisted it in the hallway along the stairs. And there it stayed, as we procrastinated its fate. Until I was struck with inspiration one rainy day when J was being a typical three-year old and I was being a hormonal middle-aged woman.

11 Jan 2015

Badger and the Great Storm - Book Review and Giveaway

Little Tiger Press sent us a book titled Badger and the Great Storm by Suzanne Chiew and Caroline Pedler to kick-start our reading habit in the New Year.


Badger and the Great Storm

J and I love a good story. We love it even more if colourful pictures accompany that story. Badger and the Great Storm is a book that fulfils these exacting criteria. The story is all about kindness and selflessness. It is about helping friends in need even in the face of a raging storm. It is about bravery and courage, and about new beginnings.

The story is brought to life by beautiful full-page illustrations that span the book from cover to cover. The characters are cute, the colours are vibrant and the pictures are wonderfully detailed. I think this is very important when the aim is to capture the imagination of a 3 year old and instil a love of reading.

For when we read a book, my son hears me say the words, but his eyes are scanning the pictures, sparking a million questions that may or may not have anything to do with the narrative. “What is badger doing? What happened to the tree? Where are they going now?” to quote but a few.

Badger and the Great Storm

We have read Badger and the Great Storm a few times since receiving the book, and I can envision multiple more narrations with many more, as yet unanswered questions springing up with each new telling. The paper quality of the book is excellent, as is the binding, and I can rest assured that Badger will survive many more exciting readings.

Little Tiger Press is happy to give one of my readers a copy of Badger and the Great Storm. So if you know a little boy or girl who would enjoy this Badger's story, all you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of the book for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.



6 Jan 2015

School Run Colours 7 Jan 2015

Happy New Year! Welcome to a brand new edition of School Run Colours, the first of this new year. If you, like me, have decided to undergo a lifestyle change for the better, this link-up is the one thing that is likely to keep you going.

Think about it. Walk the school (or work or errand) run instead of driving the car. You save a few (petrol) pennies, you shed a few (weight) pounds. A win-win if you ask me. 

There is more. Take the opportunity to admire your surroundings, appreciate the colours that abound even on the darkest of evenings and let it ignite the creative spark in you. Perhaps to take a photograph or to pen a few words. 

Here are my School Run Colours for this week. And a Haiku inspired by them.

Leafless shoots grasping
Gold in a blue winter sky
Cloak of shrouding mist

School Run Colours

If you are new to the School Run Colours linky, you can read more about it here.  To find out how I ended up being inspired to start this linky, please visit my previous post School Run Colours - My Brand New Linky

I would love it if you add the School Run Colours badge to your post, and if you follow me on twitter (@vaichin). Please use the hashtag #SchoolRunColours when sharing your posts on social media, so we can spread the word. I will be pinning all linked up posts to my Pinterest board School Run Colours. It will be great if you could follow the board too.

School Run Colours

Prose for Thought

5 Jan 2015

Of Lifestyle Changes and Nando's Cockerel

At the beginning of last year, I made a pledge. A pledge to have a radical lifestyle overhaul, swapping all those ill-gotten traits of many years for more healthy habits. Needless to say, I failed. For want of trying hard enough and for yielding to temptations that seem to lurk behind every closed kitchen door and on every supermarket shelf when you are trying your best to be good.

This year, I have decided to take it a step further in the hope that it will shock me into doing the unthinkable. Achieve that elusive salubrious lifestyle. Before it is too late and my aching back and creaking bones make it impossible for me to climb up the stairs. Or down for that matter.

I have decided to put it all out there in the public domain. And I mean all of it. My very personal reason for hankering after a more healthy me. I hope that by blogging about it, by putting it where I can read it along with anyone else with access to the internet, I am actually making myself liable to honour my pledge.

1 Jan 2015

Looking Forward to 2015


2014. I sit here on New Year's Day 2015, pondering about the year that has been. From right-wing victories to fanatic atrocities, from virus epidemics to aircraft vanishings to senseless killings. It has been a topsy-turvy year with the world pulling out surprises like it does year after year. The only thing that seems constant is the expressions of love, compassion and humanity that follow each heart-wrenching tragedy, re-inforcing belief in the goodness of mankind.

Closer to home, it has been quite a year on both the personal and blogging fronts. A bit topsy-turvy, but a lot more manageable than the world at large.

My fledgling blog did rather well in this last year, and has blossomed beyond my wildest expectations. Here are my highlights from the year that was.

1) My poem, Summer Dreams, won me a place in the Center Parcs Family Blogger Club. I was invited to spend a short break with my family at Center Parcs as an ambassador of the programme. Without meaning to sound cliched, I would like to say we really had the time of our lives at the Whinfell Forest site.

2) There were a few more wins, one with Warner Holidays, the other with Robinsons Fruit Shoot, and another with Unilever and #ClearAPlate. The fact that my writing, be it poems, stories or posts, is being read and appreciated is the best thing I could ask for as a writer and a blogger.

3) I wrote a haiku for the first time in my life. My blog has been a creative outlet for me since I started, and I felt adventurous enough to delve into this fascinating form of poetry. 

4) After toying with the idea for a long time, I finally decided to start my very own blog linky. It is called School Run Colours, and is all about swapping the car for a walk and capturing colour when you do. It doesn't have to be the school run, you can swap the car when going to work, running an errand, going to the shops, going just about anywhere really.

5) I broke into the top 500 of the Tots ranking and shot up to 101 in the Teads. My page rank and domain rank rose through the year as well. I know, I shouldn't really be focusing too much on numbers, but it does feel nice to know your baby is (blog in this case, not J, though it's always nice to know he is too) doing well. 

6) I ran my first ever blog competition in the year gone, and went on to run a few more successful ones through the year. This was something new and exciting for me to do as a blogger, something I had not planned on when I first started writing my blog. But the more I did it, the more I realised it was a fun way of sharing some lovely stuff with you, my dear reader. Be it tickets to events or goody bags, these competitions ensured I could give my lovely readers an opportunity to get something in return from following me and my blog.

As far as Rambling Through Parenthood is concerned, I hope to carry on where I left off in 2014, writing more poetry, dabbling in creative writing, carrying on with my School Run Colours linky. I hope to widen my horizons and venture out into the world of video-blogging. 


There are also some exciting developments afoot, and I am eyeing a collaboration with a big name in the world of UK parent blogging in the coming year. One that promises to inject a dose of humour into your reading repertoire. Watch this space.


On a personal front, I hate to say it, but I am nowhere near achieving the radical life-style change I set out to achieve at the beginning of last year. I am still eating, drinking and making merry, though I have incorporated a bit more exercise into my life as I now walk on the school run. I do count my blessings as often as I can remember to, and hope to carry on doing so through 2015. 


Gentle parenting. Hmmm, something I can really work on in this new year. Learning to keep my wits about me in the face of a raging, stormy three-year old. Now here is a challenge that will test me, but one that I am willing to meet head on. 


2014 saw me return to my love of music when I took up the chance to sing in a local choir. And managed to hold my tune (I like to think I did) through a couple of performances over Christmas.


The year also saw M and me rekindle our 18 year old romance, which had gone a bit cold, as romances usually do, after the birth of our son. Simply put, there was trouble in paradise. It took a radical wake-up call to shake us both out of our state of complacency and reignite that langushing spark. All is now well with the world.


2015. What a year it promises to be. I am not making any New Year resolutions, no. They always seem to get broken by the time the new year is a couple of days old. Instead, I will be focusing on a few things that need to be done in the coming year. Like learning to read music, trying to achieve that elusive healthy lifestyle, writing more often, and smiling in the face of testing times.


Here's to a fun, fantastic and fulfilling 2015. May the New Year see a reign of love, peace and prosperity. x



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