It has been quite a while since I have written an update on the blog so hello and thank-you kindly for sticking around. Since my last post, we as a family enjoyed a few days away in beautiful Connemara, then endured a really tough few weeks of illness doing the rounds and our little cat Luna sadly died very unexpectedly, leaving us all very heartbroken, we’d had her since she was a tiny kitten and she was 10 years old. It has taken us a wee while to recuperate physically and emotionally, and to be completely honest we are still taking life nice and slow as we ease into Autumn. This is my season: the colours, the light, the preparation for darker, colder days and I am enjoying taking some time-out to savour gentle walks in nature, potter about at our allotment and read lots of wonderful books while the children are all at school. When they return, naturally the mayhem of homework, music practice, dinnertime and all the busy day-to-day fun of family life begins!
The allotment as usual has been a great haven for me to unwind in, to get my hands dirty and learn more about growing our own food – we have had a really good year with it and are continually increasing our skills and knowledge. We have also completed building a shed from pallets and I’ve installed a writing desk by the window which has great views over the Belfast hills and harbour and is also a great little spot for birdwatching while sipping a cup of tea after weeding and digging. I have been writing lots, processing the past couple of years with the pandemic and jotting down my thoughts and experiences of my time spent in nature – it is a great way to record my own personal journey through the seasons, the good times and the hard times of life and I find that reflecting via a words on the page is a truly satisfying and nourishing experience. It is a practice I have carried out on and off for years but this year I have really stuck at it and have filled numerous notepads.
In other news…I have been doing a little bit of foraging while out and about locally, the hedgerows are brimming with luscious blackberries and I have also gathered sloes to make sloe gin as Christmas gifts, and elderberries have been combined with ginger to make a lovely elderberry syrup, ideal for combatting winter sniffles.
My family also took part recently in the Great British Beach Clean – an annual UK-wide survey of the state of our beaches. We joined up with Grassroots NI, a super group of people who do a tremendous amount of good work, to collect rubbish on Ballyhornan Strand, near Strangford, Northern Ireland. It was a beautifully sunny afternoon and the fresh sea air did us all the world of good after weeks of being unwell and cooped up indoors.
Also, I recorded a podcast with the lovely Aimee Coates from the Wild Folk Studio back in August which is now available to listen to here. The episode is entitled ‘Reclaiming our Wildness’ and was so joyful to create. We discuss how outdoor exploration can help connect us to our wild selves, honouring boundaries in business, nature writing as medicine and loads more – do have a listen and let me know what you think.
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I hope you enjoy the wonderful, crisp and colourful Autumn season that is now unfolding…
Until next time