The Joys of Autumn

I posted this photograph on my photography business Instagram page recently and every time I scroll past I pause at it – something about it draws me in – the colours and homeliness of the image and what it represents…

cambridgeshire family photographer

The apples were picked from the tree in our garden and are a juicy Cox hybrid from Bedfordshire (Laxton’s Fortune). The tree has been bursting this year. We usually make cider from them but this year we decided to make enormous crumbles (which did not last very long!) We added in some deliciously sweet wild blackberries picked locally from a secret spot.

Autumn, for me, is a bittersweet time of year. I adore the colours, snuggling up in the evenings, putting the fire on and collecting treasures such as acorns and conkers with the kids. We’ve had such an amazing summer as a family and I feel a bit sad that the warm sun on my back at the beach will be but a memory waiting to return next year. Now I sense the nights pulling in, a chill in the evening air. It seems as soon as school returned last week autumn took its cue.

But with this new season comes so much good – family traditions, an immense display of colour from nature, making the most of the last warm days, feeling like you’ve stolen a little extra from summer. Harvest festivals, firework displays and warm bonfires with chilli jacket potatoes and warm cider are some of my favourite things.

Autumn has a lot of magic. What makes your autumnal heart sing?

 

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My Quest For A Chemical Free Lifestyle

Earlier this year I was introduced to Tropic Skincare by a lovely friend of mine and instantly I felt that it was something I needed to learn more about. I’ve always had a niggling worry in the back of my mind since having children about the amount of chemicals we use on a daily basis, whether it be in make up, toiletries, cleaning products and air fresheners.

I’m a bit obsessive (to say the least!) about having a home that’s clean and smells fresh so I have a tendency to overuse cleaning products and plug ins. I also adore it when my kids come out of the bath smelling sweetly and are then tucked into fresh bed sheets!

So I knew something needed to change but had no idea where to start – do I make my own cosmetics or would there be an alternative brand to use? Enter Tropic. I was immediately hooked. Having tried some of the products at a friend’s house I went home smelling like I’d been to a spa.

Before I knew it I was signed up and we have now changed over all our cosmetics and make up products to Tropic’s naturally derived alternatives. The best thing about Tropic is that you can use them guilt free. All bar one can be used safely on babies and children (a skin resurfacing serum – their skin is already perfect!) which is a huge plus. We have an enormous family history of eczema and other skin irritations including psoriasis and since using Tropic these have been massively improved. (I’ll share more about these!) And my kids smell even more amazing after their bath!

Having been through IVF and with my husband in remission from testicular cancer I do need to ask myself what part has our chemical filled past lifestyle had to play in this? If we reduce the carcinogens and toxic ingredients we put on our skin and in our air could we prevent these serious issues? Our skin is semi-permeable – apparently 60-70% of what we apply to our bodies is absorbed into our bloodstream and I know when I look on the ingredients list of many products I couldn’t even tell you what they are and that to me is pretty scary.

If you’d like to know more about the products you use at home check out the Think Dirty app. It’s unbiased and rates products from 0-10 with 10s being at the worst end and 0 the best, listing the ingredients and how good or bad for you they are. You can scan product barcodes but I find it easier to search from products as sometimes it doesn’t recognise the barcodes. The results may shock and surprise you!

How does you bathroom rate? Let me know what you find out!

Disclaimer: I am a Tropic Skincare Ambassador and use their products daily, however I have not been paid or asked by Tropic to write this post and all views are my own.

Be Still Mama Heart

So tonight I tucked my babies into bed, just like every other evening. But this evening feels different – tomorrow is the first day back at school after the summer holidays and my heart feels heavy.

The summer has been one of fun, one full of new memories and adventures.

Thomas turned five, he grew up a little more than I’d have liked but the boy he’s turning into this mama is extremely proud of. He cares for his little brother and sister, guides them gently down the stairs, then makes each of our water bottles up in the morning, excited to see each of us when we wake.

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All ready for the morning school routine again

And tomorrow someone else gets to share him with me. Another gets the hours I’ve treasured so greatly over the last six weeks. I hope they take good care of him, and nurture his little inquisitive mind.

Don’t get me wrong he needs school. Even though he’s one of the youngest in his class this little mind still needs to be challenged. And he’s excited to return.

But as I wave him off tomorrow, I’ll turn and take two little twin hands, never looking up for fear of acknowledging the feeling inside, and wait for 3pm when I can hear about all the fun he’s had.

Be still Mama heart.