new birth

  • August 20, 2013 9:05 pm


I’m taking an extended holiday from my blog. I’ve had a beautiful little baby girl named Hazel Melody, so now I have two little people running me ragged and I’ve decided that right now is not the time.

Hazel was born right here in our front room at home on 6 April with just myself (obvs), Ant and our calm and wonderful midwife Karen, who arrived with 20 minutes to spare, present for the birth.

I am delighted that I was able to have a natural, drug-free birth at home, having spent the day enjoying the sunshine with my family. I was having contractions on and off throughout the day as we visited Waddesdon Manor in the morning, played at the adventure playground and had lunch in the stables cafe. In the afternoon we dropped Violet off with her Grandma and Grandpa for a sleepover and popped in to the supermarket on the way home. Ant cooked me a healthy, hearty meal whilst I spent an hour doing some yoga and gathering my thoughts. After dinner, we had a short walk down the road and when we got home I could feel that things were really starting to get going. I asked Ant to bring me a bowl of chocolate ice-cream and stick an episode of The Royle Family on Netflix and we said that we’d try to get some sleep afterwards, but the ice cream didn’t get eaten and I finally decided that now was the time to contact the midwife.

Until then I’d been very reluctant to have a midwife present, as I was determined that I did not want to be examined over and over again and told each time I managed to dilate a centimetre. Too disheartening. I was convinced my progress would be slow, as it had been when I had Violet. And whilst I did have a natural and drug-free birth with Violet, it was slow and difficult and we ended up in hospital through sheer exhaustion and fear.

Karen arrived 20 minutes after Anthony called, bringing with her an aura of calm and positivity, and Hazel arrived 20 minutes after that. It was, quite honestly, a beautiful and happy experience and Hazel is a super-smiley and relaxed little baby and I suffered no complications, which I do attribute in no small part to following Hypnobirthing techniques and the feeling of empowerment that gave us.

Watch this space, as I am slowly working towards a new project coming to your screens very soon.

Please do email me if you need to get in touch. I’m still around and look at my emails every few weeks or so!


Love and light, Emma


p.s If anyone is interested in learning about Hypnobirthing, we used the techniques and scripts from Katharine Graves, and were taught by the most fabulous woman, Nancy Keen, who teaches up and down the country, but who is fortunately based in Aylesbury and who battled sleet, freezing fog and blizzards in order to get to our house and impart her wisdom to us. What an angel! Check out her website


it aint no fun if the homies can’t have none

  • March 6, 2013 12:12 pm

I’ve been noticing recently how we teach our children about sharing and kindness from a very young age. For my pre-schooler, learning to share toys and play together co-operatively with other children of different ages is currently a central part of her personal development.

And yet, every time I turn on the radio or open a newspaper; speak with friends and acquaintances, and even listen to my own inner thoughts, it seems there is another voice declaring that those most in need deserve less and less from ‘us’. Whoever ‘we’ are. As adults, we appear to have erased the skills we learnt as children from our everyday vocabulary.

Why ought we to share with those who have given us nothing? Those with nothing to give? Our expectations on what we deserve out of life are so high, that we often, as individuals and as a society at large, forget about need and about compassion.

One of the central tenets of Buddhist practise tells us that thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

If a person has nothing to give in return, isn’t that when they are most in need? Giving and sharing isn’t a transaction. I know people who will only give gifts up to the perceived monetary value of any gifts given to them or to their children. But giving, sharing, is about so much more than what you have forked on toys in a department store. It’s about more than how much tax one person has paid in relation to another.

What we can get out of a situation seems to be the default setting of our government, and of our condition as humans on some level. It is easier to think like this than to contemplate ‘giving up’ our luxuries. We all long for the things that make our lives easier and more tolerable. But what about the things that will actually make us more happy, more fulfilled? Not just the gadgets and the trinkets, but the smiles shared with another over a cup of tea, or having a little friend to help you polish off your birthday cake, or sharing your magnificent rhubarb haul with you entire street (okay, we haven’t always been grateful for our neighbour’s lettuce loaves, but no one’s perfect…).

“Hell is other people” said Jean-Paul Sartre. How, true. And yet surely, on the flipside, Hell is aloneness? Oscar Wilde’s Selfish Giant is reflected all around us. Entitlement, nimbyism.

As we draw ever closer to the birth of our second baby, I hope we can cultivate a home for our children that inspires an appreciation of the simpler things in life, together with a sense of compassion and nurture that our daughters will take into the world with them as they grow and spread their wings.

my shining star

  • February 14, 2013 6:30 am

A couple of months after our daughter, Violet, was born (and we still lived in London), Ant took me out on a date to see Kris Drever, one of my favourite musicians, whilst the in-laws babysat the bairn.

Ever since we first met all those years ago, Ant and I bonded over a shared love of music, amongst many other things. And some songs come to form the soundtrack to specific moments spent together. The two of us, with friends, or our family.

Some are pretty silly, some are tunes we’ve danced to together, some are songs he’s made up and played for me. He’s an amazing musician albeit a modest one.

This track by Kris Drever was played at our wedding (the first one, at the Registry Office, at which only 6 people were present), and I usually well-up when I hear it nowadays.

Ant, I love you more each day. Will you be my Valentine?



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thirty weeks

  • January 30, 2013 6:02 pm

Right now I’m experiencing many feelings and desires that seem to be at odds with each other. There is so much that I want to achieve and do before this new little person arrives to live with us, there are so many things to get done around the house. Too many to go into in this space unless you have a particular interest in paint stripping, laying floors and stripping woodchip wallpaper. Nah, didn’t think so. And yet, all I want to do right now is retreat into myself and the closeness of family and reflect. At this moment, ‘doing’ things is frequently giving way to reflecting and meditating and just generally delving deeper and pondering this astounding thing that is happening and is about to happen to us.

I have finally begun, in these past few weeks, to make space and time to allow these reflections to take place. Yoga, Hypnobirthing sessions and sometimes simply taking time to have a relaxing bath or quiet time to read. Away from the clamour of life and ‘doing’. I know that the jobs won’t go away, but they will wait.

Having a specific time each week in which Ant and I focus on the baby and the birth is proving a good way to connect and to focus and to gather our thoughts and hopes together. So we are both enjoying our Hypnobirthing sessions, not only because they are aimed at helping us to have a calm birth experience, but because they afford us the luxury of time together to reflect on this unfolding new page in our lives.

Of course, we have also spent some time thinking over everything that happened as Violet was born more than three years ago, and I have begun to feel slightly differently about Violet’s birth story. It seems obvious now, but until this week it had never occurred to me that many of the small things that took place during my labour were in fact quite significant, working against me and preventing my labour from progressing easily. Too many things to go into here. But fear, uncertainty and panic were almost certainly contributing factors in what became a three day labour and a hospital  birth. And honestly, who doesn’t have those feelings the first time they give birth to another human being? Thankfully, the feelings I carry with me about Violet’s birth are only positive and I have carried that with me from the day she first arrived into our family.

But I wonder. If I had known differently. If I had understood more about what was happening to my body, would things have unfolded more or less happily and easily?


yarn along

  • January 23, 2013 2:21 pm

I have been furiously working away at finishing off a couple of projects that have been hanging around for a while, and this is one of them. A little wrap around cardigan for the baby we are expecting in April. You never really know what the weather will be like at that time of year. Sometimes it’s like summer, and sometimes we get snow. So this particular cardi seems to be erring on the side of caution, as it’s lovely and thick and snuggly. Part of me hopes we don’t really need it, and I’ve already got plans for a much lighter number for when it’s finished…

I’d like to say that I would already have finished this one, only I ran out of wool before I even got to doing the sleeves, so it’s still in progress. I have been all over the place looking for the right yarn as I couldn’t for the life of me remember what brand I had bought after casting on such a long time ago, but I finally remembered it was Sublime extra fine merino dk (which is much thicker than the fingering weight the pattern calls for but I like to rebel), and I finally  found some this morning so I hope to finish in the next few days. Again, another very simple but lovely pattern I found on Ravelry.

I did manage to find a satisfactory solution to the too-tight neck-band problem I wrote about in last week’s Yarn Along, by just unpicking the raglan seam a little way and popping on a couple of loopholes and buttons. It works well and the jumper fits Violet perfectly. Job done.

Whilst I was waiting to find the Sublime, so to speak, I’ve also cast-on for a rather blindingly pink ballet wrap cardi for Violet. I’m a bit obsessed with knitting at the moment, partly due to the freezing cold weather we are having here at the moment, making it so lovely to stay at home doing something cosy. And partly because it feels like I am doing something sort of useful when I’m actually putting off the more boring jobs I should really be doing.

After focusing so much on reading useful stuff  for myself recently (yoga, pregnancy, labour…) I have really felt the need to read something entertaining, funny, something that would take me out of myself. I recently re-watched the heart wrenching film Wilde and it made me remember how reading Oscar Wilde’s plays at school was one of the first things to really cement my love of literature and inspire me to go on to study it at university. So I’ve been reading a few old favourites and having a little giggle to myself. Not least at all the adolescent graffiti notes all over the pages.

“I love talking about nothing… it is the only thing I know anything about.”

Joining Ginny again this week

le weekend

  • January 20, 2013 11:34 pm

A fresh dump of snow had us sticking close to home this weekend. We trudged across fields, spotting robins and blackbirds against the bright white backdrop, built snowmen, baked cakes, knitted for small people and drank a lot of hot chocolate. I also napped a fair bit, and Anthony spent all weekend dressed in snowboarding gear, even when he was in the house.


I hope you have all had a wonderful weekend.