Work, rest and play are so intertwined here at Bodylushious. There’s a lot of guilt as a mum, for the things you do or don’t do. It can feel unrelenting. That’s why so much of what Bodylushious is about focuses on wellbeing and finding ways to thrive, whether that means being more comfortable in your own skin, or nurturing friendships which, let’s be honest, can be difficult to find time for. Every now and again I try to think outside the box, find time to celebrate the little things that can fly by if you don’t stop to catch them.
This month, Poppit had a “Growing up/good behaviour” party. The week before, it occurred to me that in the year since we’d been living in Burntisland my wee man had achieved so much. As a parent and, well, as a human actually, there is so much focus on what next, and although the days can seem really long with children, so much of my attention as a parent is spent on cajoling Poppit into doing the next thing… be it getting dressed or undressed, out the door, in the door, in the car, out the car… you get the drift. And then the bigger stuff: “you need to go to nursery to play, learn to be a big boy and make new friends”, or “you’re not a baby anymore, you don’t need a nappy, how about the potty”, or “it would make me so happy if you were to share your toys, the way that mummy shares hers” … again, you get my drift. The stuff these wee people are learning, practising and mastering in what is actually a short space of time in relation to their years in the world is nothing short of OUTSTANDING when you think about it. And in our society the only day we celebrate them and only them is their birthday. (Well, yes, I know – every day is about them, right, and we get to the end of days feeling depleted and exhausted because they’ve drawn out every last bit of energy and patience we have). But stand aside for a moment and just look at how amazing it is all that they’re achieving. Somehow, even with a birthday, or even Christmas, Easter, school holidays, whatever event is happening that ends up feeling all about ‘them’, actually really isn’t. A party is about “what will we feed all the guests, what would I like you to wear and who would I like you to invite, and do we really need to invite the entire class, what gift will we send away with the guests, is Jo Bloggs going to be happy to come along, will it be too much for the grandparents, how do I tell people to chill out on buying gifts, there’s just so much to do for this party…” It’s madness. When you look at this from a child’s point of view, I’m sure all they want is a day spent in a way THEY decide for themselves. That realisation is where my proudest moment happened:
Let’s have a party for Poppit where he gets to make ALL the decisions, and we celebrate all he has achieved in getting to this point right now.
My word, you’ve never seen a child so excited. His wishlist was very simple:
o Party guests would be mummy, daddy and himself
o Light savers, one each for mummy, daddy and himself to do light savering’ (no I’ve not mis-spelled, that’s what he calls them).
o Christmas Decorations
o Bits and Pieces (food)
o Specials and not specials (junk food and non-junk food)
I won’t go into all the details as I’ll just get carried away, but the actual party was so sweet, and so simple. We ‘light savered’ each other for about half an hour indoors then after food ventured outdoors for a couple of hours. Cue more Light Savering and playing football, Poppit chose to make a camp fire (by collecting and piling up grass, sticks and leaves) and in the process attracted the interest of two young boys who really got into it, these new pals and Poppit playing so well together.
When I reflect back, I remember reading or hearing when Poppit was 2 that you should invite the number of guests to match the age the child is turning (and I really like that idea, despite not ever achieving it). Here we were as Poppit approaches 4, in the Meadows in Edinburgh, Poppit and 4 of us making a campfire and eating chocolate cake on his special day. Crazy how it all worked out – perfect you could say.
Thanks for reading. Hope you find time to celebrate something little this week! Bronwyn x
If you follow us on social media, you'll almost certainly know how much I value time spent outdoors as part of daily life for me and my son. You may also have seen that, on 11th April, Bodylushious is hosting a screening of the documentary 'Project Wild Thing' in the place where I live. So... What on earth is ‘Project Wild Thing' & Rewilding Childhood all about and why am I so passionate about the subject?
The dictionary has this to say:
restore (an area of land) to its natural uncultivated state (used especially with reference to the reintroduction of species of wild animal that have been driven out or exterminated).
In the context of childhood, this means, in a nutshell, allowing children to Roam Free & Play Wild.
A few months back on a random visit to my local cafe, I came across an article in 'Families' magazine on the phenomenon known as Rewilding Childhood. I got on with life knowing I would return to the topic. When time allowed I delved a little deeper and discovered The Wild Network, and the documentary 'Project Wild Thing', which explores how best to market the wonders of Nature to kids. Watching the film, I was astounded at how deeply it resonated with what I thought I was doing with my son in relation to really being and connecting with the outdoors. Around the same time, I was introduced to an inspirational human by the name of Mike Delaitre, all the way from Mauritius living right here in Burntisland. One of his many projects just now is on the impact of the Scottish winter on people from other countries. We shared some really amazing conversations and Mike filmed me for his documentary 'Winter: The Coldest Season'.
So, a powerful combination of happenings that triggered a shake-up in me that I knew would benefit both me and my son. A kind of shake up that would allow me to take myself and my son on a journey back to my own childhood of growing up as a child in New Zealand. I set the wheels in motion for a screening of the film in Burntisland (it's happening on 11th April) and set about incorporating rewilding into our lives in a more intentional way. Here's what Rewilding looks like for us, and 10 Ways we've overcome barriers to make it work:
1 | It's become a top priority
I’m organising each day around the time we’ll spend outside. E.g. Wanting to take Poppit seal spotting at the Burntisland Boating Club. That outing there and back lasted 3 hours, and we even saw a seal!
2 | Involving Poppit in the decision making process as much as possible
E.g. we share all day on Tuesday together, I asked him recently what he’d like to do on ‘special Tuesday’ along with making some outdoor suggestions. He chose the Forest (Binn) and the Beach.
3 | We go at his pace
On the journey or when we get there, we go at his pace. On this trip up the Binn, he trekked up precarious edges, making his own pathways and directing me on the best route to take.
4 | Where possible we try to remove time barriers
This is where the good stuff happens… On a visit to Pettycur Bay beach with ice lollies we sat and watched the two currently-resident humpback whales breaching no less than 10 times!
5 | Time inside is much easier…calmer….nicer
In general our meal, dressing and bed times have been sooo much better. Sleep is coming much easier too…. hello winner!
6 | Being prepared with snacks and keep-warm-gear
During winter I daren’t leave the house without a flask of hot chocolate, a bag of food and warm clothes. Poppit has his own agenda and brings sticks, shovels and rope. I’m fortunate enough to carry those too!
7 | Thinking outside the box/ the shed
When the snow hit a few weeks back, it was a test of our commitment to being out for a long time. However we managed to convert the shed in the front garden into a café for Poppit and his friends. I was even allowed in when there was space! It was such a winner. It meant we could spend the morning baking then come and go effortlessly between Poppit's Café and snowball fights.
8 | I’ve had to re-learn how to be a child again and authentically engage in play to model to Poppit to really ‘get into’ the outdoors
Best of all, once he’s hooked I can step away and he relaxes more comfortably into free play. E.g. I have a thing about pallets. I use them as shoe racks, bed bases, I want to convert all the household furniture basically….but that’s a whole new topic. Anyway, I retrieved one from the back garden and thought it would make it a good surface for Poppit to bang nails into and hang things from. He wasn’t up for that at all, so I propped it against the bins to get it out the way, next thing Poppit's using it as a ladder and climbing up onto bins and the shed…. kept the boy entertained for A G E S. Awesome.
9 | Allowing my son the freedom to do what he wants to do and trusting that he knows his limits
For Christmas the only present I bought him was a real tool kit, he’s always been around and used his daddy and grandad's tools so I figured, why not get him his own kit. It’s funny, he has ‘play tools’ and he uses those, and will only ever use his ‘real tools’ for ‘real jobs’. Kids are pretty good at knowing what they need when we as parents let them.
10 | It’s a great opportunity for us both to get a little more up close and personal with nature...
... and what’s not good about that!
So that's how our days have been looking lately. But what's Rewilding Childhood got to do with Natural Skincare and the work I do? Great question! Rewilding provides an awesome way to incorporate nature and natural living into the way I spend time with my son. He knows a Rosemary hedge and a Rose bush when he sees one because his mummy uses them in her soaps. In fact, he sees it as his job to direct my attention. It creates a conversation that we might otherwise not have. So in terms of running a business that complements the kind of person I am and the mum I believe myself to be, Bodylushious is a pretty good choice.
With that in mind, I am proud to announce the screening of 'Project Wild Thing' at Potter About, Burntisland High Street on Wednesday 11th April, 6 - 8.30pm + discussion afterwards. If you're local, come along (and bring your wild things!) If you're further afield and keen, why not plan a screening in your area? All the info can be found at The Wild Network website.
Hope to see you there! What are some of your favourite ways to overcome barriers and get outdoors? I'd love to hear your tips and suggestions in the comments below!
Have a wild and wonderful week! Bronwyn x
I recently underwent one of the most challenging episodes I hope I’ll ever have as a mum. Poppit (3.5) tested my boundaries big time, was being fussy and digging his heels in deeper and deeper, and the more difficult he became the more intense I became…..or was it the other way around? We both shouted, we both threw a soft toy across the room, and I knew only one of us was behaving their age. I knew that we both needed to step away from the situation, and called on a friend to play with Poppit for ten minutes while I went in search of fresh air and my breath! A similar situation played out a couple of nights later, leaving Poppit in tears and me feeling bereft and guilty. With a heavy heart and head I sat on the couch for 2 hours after he'd gone to bed, digging around for insight/ strength to be better. Better not just for Poppit, but for myself. It was at that point I knew some things needed to change and I needed to do things differently. To keep the things that work, dispose of those that didn’t and dig around for the additional tools I needed in my role as a single mum, stuck living on the other side of the world from my family, while trying to parent and live my life as consciously as possible. So here’s a hit list of some changes I made and practices I’ve ingrained.
1 | Spending more time outdoors
We’re averaging 1 - 4 hours each day! (Ha, pretty big average but never less and seldom more….it's been snowing remember). This has been largely motivated through conversations with a friend who is doing a project on the impact of weather and its effect on foreigners living in Scotland www.mikedelaitre.co.uk/winter , along with my new craze for rewilding both myself and childhood for Poppit. We’ll be hosting a screening of a documentary on this topic in April.
2 | Prioritize proper downtime…rest…sleep.
A time to stop all the freneticism that is life, lists and long overdue tasks. A time for the body, mind and soul to rest. Even for a little while, it really really helps to chill out and put all those lists into perspective. Last night I filled a bucket with warm water, popped some Epsom Salts in it and dunked my feet in for half an hour while I read. To begin with my mind was racing while I came down from the busyness I’d wound myself up in, but I could literally feel the build up of energy drain away, and my feet and lower legs felt amazing. And be really careful about your bedtime. A friend introduced me to Sleep Hygiene years ago, yes I know…weird name. Anyway I’m not always good at it but geez when I am, life is easier. Think of something you always manage to find time for like, I dunno, going to the toilet… well downtime is as important as that. MAKE TIME for it.
3 | Self-respect and modelling this to those around you.
For me this was so important at the time I was struggling. I took stock of what was and wasn’t serving me in life and immediately disposed of the things that were doing me no good. I quit a job I was working on. It was sooooo liberating when I realised I was only doing it because it was a job and I was trying not to let the business owner down. I got this sense of ‘Bronwyn, you’re worth it, don’t do what’s not worth it'….. deep. I had a difficult conversation that needed to be had, as there were circumstances within a close family relationship that were affecting my life. I don’t know that much there will change, but I felt better for being truthful. And lastly, making some changes to my relationship with Poppit, that’s covered next in ‘setting limits’.
4 | Setting Limits
I clued into the fact that I was afraid of upsetting Poppit and not knowing how best to cope with his emotional state if he was upset. I would do anything to avoid that – including letting him run the show at the expense of my mental state and his security in what is OK and what isn’t. I have been an avid follower of Hand in Hand Parenting principles, I knew from previous times that it was time to enforce some loving limits. I’ve managed to do that in a really loving and consistent way, and it's made a difference. He was going through this stage of throwing all his toys everywhere with more zest than playing with them. Once I got over the fact that this was annoying and was able to communicate to him in a respectful and honest way that he was creating more work for me, he actually took notice and started tidying up after himself. Being mindful of the decisions I would allow Poppit to make and setting very clear boundaries has transformed the way we spend our time together. He’s much more secure and confident and I’m, well…take a guess, (clue….something like really freaking happy and pleased with myself).
5 | Reach out and connect/confide in others.
For me, phoning a nearby friend to come and be present with Charlie, phoning friends here and overseas for a whinge, wining dining and more confiding with friends, and finally setting up a Listening Partnership (as recommended in Hand in Hand Parenting), psyched me up enough to feel better and clearer about what needed to change and tackling the situation.
6 | Reach out for support in the form of tools and resources.
Again, I can’t recommend Hand in Hand Parenting highly enough.
7 | Be organised to better manage times of heightened stress!
This is a winner and has dramatically improved things around here. We’re eating better and earlier and don’t have the same battle with getting out the door or ready for bed. We actually play together for an hour after dinner and before bed… that’s the stuff I had hoped for 3 years ago. With some organisation it turns out it's actually possible!
8 | Spirituality, whatever that means for you.
This is a new and big topic for me, as it’s something I’m giving more time, energy, head and heart space to. I’m curious and delving into understanding this side of things more, in an attempt at bringing more peace, calm and happiness about in my life. It’s a really BIG topic, but what I’m putting in is working.
9 | Do something meaningful each day
Be it a really nice meal, a snowball fight, a phone call to someone who you miss/ can laugh with/ be honest with, whatever equals meaningful to you.
10 | Be brave, be bold and courageous
Do something you have thought about doing but haven’t prioritised, or had the courage to start. It's worth it. For me, this is without a doubt going along to Nia and Groove dance and movement classes, they are delightful….fun…..energizing….they are just altogether AMAZING.
So on the matter of Self Respect, I accept I’m worth it, and you are too! If you don’t believe it then try some of the above to bring it into your life. I’d love to hear what tips you have for strengthening yours!
Have a week of making time to be brave, bold and courageous! Bronwyn x
This week has seen us Fife folk snowed in and hunkered down, with some serious shows of community and random acts of kindness going on. With schools closed and everyone trying to re-jig our days to accommodate all our responsibilities, it can feel almost impossible to steal a moment to yourself. Which brings me onto this blog post. Podcasts have been the soundtrack to many a late night and early morning spent making or packaging here at Bodylushious. Unlike TV, which demands your full attention, podcasts can be playing unobtrusively in the background while you give your focus to the task in hand. There are thousands of inspiring podcasts out there, all with the ability to uplift a day or inspire change or wanderlust or just make your brain tick a little faster. These are some of my favourites...
Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert
This podcast and book was an enormous inspiration in hurdling over the fears and getting Bodylushious out into the world. Start at Series 1. It's easy listening, often hilarious, and motivating | LISTEN
An all-round inspiring listen, with a focus on toxin-free living and family wellness. Katie's blog is a great resource if you're looking for the hows and whys of simplifying everyday family life | LISTEN
TED Talks Daily
No podcast list would be complete without TED Talks. With talks on every subject imaginable, they're informative, digestible and thought-provoking | LISTEN
Goddess Hour with Jennifer Cain
Jennifer Cain speaks to women about their own paths towards empowerment and self-healing. With just the right amount of, as Jennifer would say, "woo woo" mixed with inspiring stories and take-away advice | LISTEN
Untangle by The Meditation Studio
Combining the scientific and the anecdotal, to share stories about how daily practices of mindfulness can shift your mindset for the better | LISTEN
I hope you find something in the list to brighten up your day whether you're snowed in or not! What else are you listening to? I'd love to hear your recommendations. Leave your favourites in the comments below...
Have a nourishing week! Bronwyn x