Becoming a Waldorf doll maker!

   So, looking back on this year, 2016, one of my biggest achievements and also biggest joys has to be that I became a doll maker! I was drawn to make a Waldorf doll for each of my smallest children, and literally fell in love with the process! I began researching lots of books and tutorials and tips about making these beautiful natural toys and started my doll making journey! I soon felt happy enough with the quality of the dolls I was producing to list some for sale in my etsy shop, and to my complete joy, they began to sell!
   I am lucky enough to have lots of supportive friends who have commissioned me to make dolls for their little ones too, so even though I only began making these sweeties this summer 2016, I have already sold quite a few.
   I feel like I have found my dream job and I quite simply cannot stop making Waldorf dolls! I remember clearly when I left school, not really having a clue about 'what I wanted to do when I grew up' and I give so many thanks for the years between then and now, travelling, adventures, falling in love, having babies, starting my little business selling handmade hemp yoga mat bags, then handmade children's clothing, and finally, aged 37 finding out what I really really want to do and doing that! I feel so fortunate, and I probably would never have dreamed back then, aged 16 that my dream job was doll maker!

If you would like to see more of my dolls or purchase one, please visit my shop            
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My home birthing chronicles - Part 4. The birth of Shiin

Here is the final installment of my home birthing chronicles, and the story of the birth of my first born child, my gateway into motherhood, my opener of the ways! I give so many thanks for the awesome adventure that is motherhood and to each of my children for the blessings they have brought to my world!

My pregnancy with my first born child, Shiin, had mostly been my love and I travelling around Italy, Switzerland and France in our little blue camper van, without too much contact with friends and family, and definitely no books on the subject of pregnancy and birth and no internet! I didn't really know what to expect, but I focused on trusting my body and my baby to know what to do when the time came.
    Back in Glastonbury, my labour began early one morning. We were parked at the top of Wearyall hill. My waters began leaking straight away and mild contractions came and went. I was super excited and a bit scared too. My beloved made me as comfortable as possible and reassured me that this was early stages and could take quite a while, so we settled into a rhythm on the hill for a while. I remember being sick and the contractions getting quite a bit stronger. I was starting to really moan through them and we decided to go and find our Doula friend Joy. Rer drove us into town to get some supplies and there was a surreal few moments of labouring like a primal mama behind the curtains of our little van, whilst parked in the middle of the High Street! We then drove to the White spring to collect spring water and finally found our doula. At this point the contractions were almost overwhelming. I started to feel like I couldn't cope, and Joy arriving was like a cool gentle breeze to my fire. She wrapped herself round my back quite maternally, and made soothing sounds, and helped me to remember to breathe deep into my womb with each rush. Rer drove us to my parent's farm in a nearby village, where we had prepared one of the outbuildings as a birthing room with an old wood burner, some carpet and crystals. They helped me down from the van and into 'the nest' as we called our birthing room. Joy went up to fill my parents in on the progress then returned. I felt so relieved to be in our little safe space.
    Rer lit the burner and candles and made the place magical. I roared on my hands and knees. The midwife arrived quickly and she gave me an internal examination which was excruciating and put me off my flow for a bit. I was on my hands and knees and felt shocked at how powerful the contractions were. I don't know what I expected, but I think I thought actually pushing the baby out would be painful but the contractions wouldn't be!  Well I quickly learned that baby moving down the birth canal was a new and indescribable sensation! I would not exactly describe it as pain, but it was all consuming, powerful, strong, intense and required all my attention! Rer was repeating my birthing mantra, 'down, good, open, yes!' with Joy which helped my focus stay right down in my womb and out of the fear zone! I felt safe and held energetically by Rer and Joy as my body opened up to birth my baby.
   I could feel my body pushing on its own now. I was in a timeless altered space completely in my body now.  I was screaming and bellowing, and I think it was obvious to everyone but me that the baby was almost ready to be born. The midwife came and sat by my head and gently instructed me when to breathe and when to push and when to stop pushing. I followed exactly what she said and very soon felt the baby crowning, which at the time felt like I was a balloon just about to pop! It was sharp and stingy and the most powerful and huge sensation I have ever felt! The baby's head came out and the utter relief of having birthed his skull through my maiden's portal was immense! One more push and his body was out too. I felt such a mixture of feelings in that moment. The room went very quiet and Rer passed me my baby through my legs. He was very blue and did not seem to be breathing. I held him close to my breast and laughed and cried and talked to him and implored him to breathe. What seemed like ages ( but was probably just moments) later, he breathed and cried and started turning pink. Our little boy! He was so beautiful! I found it astonishing that he had been the one in my tummy all that time, with his little face and I didn't know what he looked like till that moment! He started feeding pretty quickly and we wrapped him in a towel. I can't really remember birthing the placenta but I think it happened fairly quickly. Rer put it in a big bowl to bury in the garden later. The feeling of joy and utter bliss was complete. The midwife examined me and found no tears or damage. My sweet Rer had rubbed cocoa butter into my perineum most days for at least two months prior to birthing which I am sure helped me to be stretchy!
   ( In my subsequent three births I found that my body knew exactly what to do and when, but I was only 23 back then, and extremely ignorant about the birthing process back then, so it was a bit more scary.)  I cuddled up with Rer and our little baba while the midwife completed forms and Joy went and told my parents they had a new Grandson! I am so grateful to have had a safe, beautiful home birth. Our little boy was 8 pounds 3 ounces and we decided to name him Shiin, which is an old Celtic name, but also means ' from the sacred lake of the double truth come waves' in ancient Egyptian.
Thank yo so much for reading my story. I hope it is helpful and inspirational to someone somewhere! Blessings x
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I wanted to share with you all a poem that I wrote back in 2000. It is one of my favourite pieces that I have written over the years and I dedicate it to the Starchild within us all!
   (Thank you Kiya and Sylvie for being such beautiful little faeries for this picture!)

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My home birthing chronicles - Part 3. The birth of Zoser

 I have decided to share with you the stories of my four home births in ' My home birthing chronicles'. When I was pregnant each time, I loved reading other women's positive birth stories, so here is the third installment of mine, in the hope that it will inspire someone somewhere for their own birthing journey.
  This part three is the story of the birth of my son Zoser.

   Zoser's story begins on a gorgeous sunny February morning. I was lying in bed with my beloved Rer and our adorable baby boy Shiin. We were staying at my parents farm in a converted outbuilding that we had previously given birth to our first boy Shiin in 20 months before, as our actual home at that point was a tiny little camper van! The wood burner crackled merrily taking the chill off the morning. It was about 6 am when I felt my first contraction. I remember feeling a mixture of emotions. So happy to bringing my new baby forth, and a bit scared of giving birth again, also bursting with love for my baby boy Shiin, wondering if I would ever be able to love another baby as much as I loved him! We all snuggled there in the early morning light for another hour or so as a family of three, while I nursed Shiin and the contractions gently came and went. Rer took Shiin up to the house to my parents so they could look after him while I laboured. 
   Rer razzed up the burner and lit many many candles all round the hearth, it was so beautiful. I moved around the room, stopping to hold onto things while I contracted. The labour gently progressed, with Rer feeding me spoonfuls of honey and molasses to keep my energy up and drinks of water, and both of us repeating our birthing mantra, 'down, good, open, yes!'. A little later the rushes started coming on quite strong. I was vocalizing quite loudly through them by this time. Rer was supporting me beautifully, rubbing my back and toning with me. The wild black cat Poppy, who lived on the land at the farm came in and set up residence by the door. She looked like a sphinx, a guardian of the gate and I felt a very protective energy coming from her. A bit later, Rer wrapped me in my dressing gown and took me a little walk down into the orchard. It was difficult to walk and the contractions were really strong. I felt vulnerable outside and just wanted to be back safe in our little birthing nest. I had to lean on Rer for support and we slowly made our way back to the nest. 
   Rer called our friend and doula Anara and she soon arrived. Rer and Anara did a lovely protection invoking prayer and lit more candles. We had a beautiful shrine and the energy in the room was so lovely. I started to feel the bearing down sensations. I knelt on the floor at the foot of the bed. I think I was there for a while, but time didn't make much sense to me at that point! I was pushing quite hard but baby wasn't coming out yet. Rer and Anara decided to lift me up to a standing so gravity and a change of position could help. Almost as soon as I stood up, the waters broke and baby's head crowned. I was bellowing like a tribal Mama! One more push and his head was out. Then on the next contraction his body flew out and down onto the cushions. They helped me down onto my knees again and I picked him up. We realized that his cord had ripped in half, it must have been quite short, so baba was in my arms and his placenta and most of his cord was still inside me. It was so quick in the end that I felt quite in shock, as baba must have done too. Rer quickly tied hemp string around his cord and we wrapped him up and put him to the breast. He latched on pretty quick. Anara gave me homeopathic Arnica for the shock and this helped. It seemed to take absolutely ages to birth the placenta, but finally it came out and Rer put it in a bowl, and helped me to bed. 
   A burst of winter sunshine beamed in through the window and Rer wrapped Zoser up and took him outside the door briefly to see the sun for the first time, before tucking him back into my arms. The midwife arrived and checked me and baby over and filled in all the notes, then left. Poppy the cat jumped up onto the covers and snuggled up between my legs! She stayed there all night like a proper little guardian.
(Still covered in blood and exhausted but elated in this photo! Zoser is tucked up in the crook of my arm here under the covers!)
   So my beautiful boy was born without his parachute! I feel that he was in a hurry to be born as he knew he had business here on this planet! He is a proper little earth warrior, but he is also very dreamy, even now! I chose his name when I was pregnant with him. We visited Egypt and went to a place called Saqquara, where there is a step pyramid built by Pharoah Zoser. I didn't know for sure, but I felt strongly I was carrying a boy child, and I decided that Zoser would be a great name for him. The whole labour and birth lasted 8 hours and I give so many thanks for his safe arrival, especially when it was so dramatic! Zoser weighed in at 8 pounds and 5 ounces. I needn't have worried about not loving this baby as much as my boy Shiin. As soon as I saw him, my heart expanded massively to fit both my baby boys easily into my love!!!

(Top picture is baby Zoser and Poppy in our giant bed. We moved into our yurt, bought from our magical doula friend Anara and her man,  after Zoser was born. Bottom picture is my baby boys together! Lucky mama!!! )

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Thankful for the breath of Spring

   Today I am thankful for the promise of spring. The sweet sounds of the birds busy with their nest building. The yellow daffodils springing up everywhere. The fact that it is not completely necessary to do coats up. The quality of the sunlight subtly changing. The energy of spring permeating my being. I feel so much more energetic and full of creative ideas. My sewing machine has barely stopped as I create new ranges for my etsy shop and new outfits for my little people. I feel a kind of slow anticipation building as the weather gets warmer and I know that full on spring is just around the corner!
   Although autumn is my absolute favourite season, I find myself enjoying spring more and more as I get older. I love the Easter crafting with my kids, and the flowers starting to bloom. I love trips to the bluebell woods and seeing lambs everywhere! Most of all I give thanks for the sheer power of nature, the constant turn of the seasons, for Mother Nature ever abundant, and the promise of the return of the sun!

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My home birthing chronicles - Part 2. The birth of Kiya

  I have decided to share with you the stories of my four home births in ' My home birthing chronicles'. When I was pregnant each time, I loved reading other women's positive birth stories, so here is the second installment of mine, in the hope that it will inspire someone somewhere for their own birthing journey.
  This part two is the story of the birth of my daughter Kiya.

   Kiya's birth story begins approximately six weeks before she was actually born, at Glastonbury festival. I was already hugely pregnant and so was my friend Beth. We both got a lift into the festival with Beth's partner Tara, to Rer, my partner who was helping with the sacred fire in the teepee field. It was extremely bumpy riding over the festival site and we both sat clutching our big bellies as we bounced over every pothole and bump! Later that night, I experienced strong contractions all night and I thought I was in early labour. The next day Rer and I got a lift off site, and as soon as we got home, the contractions stopped! 
   I experienced really strong braxton hicks  contractions on and off for weeks, which was quite confusing as I hadn't had them with my first two pregnancies. In the two weeks prior to Kiya's birth, I felt like I was in labour every night between about 11pm and 2am, but come the morning, everything stopped again. I was starting to get really impatient and disheartened. Was this baby EVER going to show up? I knew exactly when I had conceived as I had been taking my temperatures religiously whilst attempting to conceive this baby, so I knew I was almost 43 weeks pregnant and so big I actually had to walk with a big stick and sleep in the comfy chair in the living room! The midwives were very cool and left the ball in my court. They knew I had had two successful home births and didn't want any intervention. I believe that a baby will be born when s/he is ready, but as I hit the 43 week mark, I knew that the midwives were wanting to induce or at least do a cervical sweep (where they manually dislodge some or all of the mucous plug with a finger to get labour started). My partner Rer looked up how to do a cervical sweep online and the day before the midwife was due for the sweep, we decided to do it ourselves. I certainly would prefer the finger of my beloved opening our babies  door rather than a relative stranger. I certainly would not recommend anyone do this unless they are at least three weeks over and have weighed it up very seriously. I kept checking in with my tummy baby and on that morning with the sun streaming in and a feeling of peace pervading our house, it felt right. 
   I sat and meditated with my baby for a couple of hours and prayed for her to begin her journey earthside before any medical intervention was pressed upon us. I took a big homeopathic remedy and some herbal tincture too, all the while talking to my baby and asking her to please come today! In the afternoon my friend Sam came round and gave me some acupuncture too. I had been having mild contractions through the day, but that was nothing new, and I didn't want to get my hopes up too much, but by the time Sam finished the acupuncture and left, the contractions were much stronger. I kept feeling my feet as I read somewhere that when a woman goes into labour her feet go cold, as all the heat rises to the womb! 
  My dear friend Becky arrived. She was supposed to be with us for the birth and was coming to stay the night just in case! By this time I was sitting on my birthing ball, holding on to my big stick, feeling like a tribal mama, and starting to moan through the contractions. This definitely felt at this point like it could be the day! Rer lit loads of candles and nightlights and made a gorgeous shrine area on the table with crystals and stones. At this point there was a knock on the door and our friend Jaine came in. She said she couldn't stop thinking about me that day and felt to come and check I was OK. She was really excited to arrive during my labour and it felt right to ask if she wanted to stay, which she did! 
   The atmosphere was so lovely, dark and candle lit, with quiet chatter and laughs between contractions and everyone focusing on breathing with me through the rushes. Jaine gave me my birthing mantra for my first birth and I used it every time. 'Down, good, open, yes!' My other dear friend Jess arrived as she was invited to be at this birth too. I had been at the birth of her son a few years before and I really wanted her with me this time. The labour was progressing pretty much text book. I stripped off my leopard print pyjama's and sat naked on a towel on my trusty birthing ball. The contractions were getting really strong, and seemed quite close together. I remember at one point having an arm each round Becky and Jess and practically pulling them down to the floor during these strong contractions! Jady, our lovely friend and doula arrived next and our birthing team was complete. 
   All this time my beloved Rer was near me and rubbing my back when I needed it, and cleaning up the messy parts of giving birth, God bless him! I started to feel 'pushy'. The sweet baby working so hard to get born. At this point, I was on my knees, leaning over the ball, with Becky on one side, Jess on the other, Jaine and Rer behind me and Jady in front. I was squeezing Jady's hands so hard and roaring like a lioness. Rer even gave me his hand to bite down on at some point! He kept reminding me to bring the pitch of my roars  from high to low as this really helped to bring me out of fear and into empowerment again. He also held in my piles for each contraction, now that's true love! I started to push the baby out and felt the familiar crowning, splitting sensation. It seemed to go on for ages. It took quite a few contractions to get the babies head out and I felt great relief when it was finally out, but her shoulder and body were stuck fast. I pushed and pushed and moved and pushed, but she wouldn't come. Jady reached in and hooked her finger under the babies armpit and twisted and pulled her out. Blessed relief! I felt exhausted and elated! I remember hearing Rer exclaiming ' You've got a daughter Arisha!'. These were some of the sweetest words I have ever heard. After two beautiful sons I had yearned for a daughter and here she was! I picked her up and marveled at her beautiful little face and perfect little yoni! She was born at around 1.18am.  The next moments seemed to go in slow motion. It seemed  to take ages to birth the placenta and all I wanted to do was snuggle up with my baby girl, but I had to crouch over a bowl while her daddy gave her his first cuddles. I think the midwife arrived at this point. Eventually the placenta came out and I lay down with our little girl. Everyone cleaned up around me, I think we used every towel in the house! 
   As I looked at her I suddenly knew her name was Kiya. I hadn't really got any girls names ready, as I didn't dare hope I would be blessed with a daughter, but she seemed to come in with her own name ready! I didn't sleep all night, but gazed upon our beautiful angel and relived her birth in my mind. She latched on a little and sucked some colostrum, but mostly she slept. In the morning my parents arrived with our lovely boys and they met their little sister for the first time, and my parents met their first grand-daughter and brought a mahoosive bunch of pink flowers and the cutest little pink butterfy suit! Later that day, Kiya weighed in at a hefty 10 pounds 10 oz! I give so many thanks for her safe arrival and the loving support of Rer and our fantastic birthing team! 

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Following the golden thread of the perfect flow

   Do you ever feel like you are trying to ice skate uphill? Something that I have learned the hard way over the years, is that if I try to push against the natural flow of the day, then it really does feel like trying to swim upstream. If I have a certain amount of things that I 'have' to get done that day, and I steam ahead even if I have really low energy that day, or the kids need me more than usual, or my instinct is screaming at me not to do it, then things do not go right, obstacles happen all over the place and the day does not flow in a balanced way.
   I am learning to listen with a kind of sixth sense to the natural, balanced flow through each moment of my day. It is like a little voice in my heart that prompts me to be where I am supposed to be and do what I am supposed to be doing. Of course there are some times when you do have to keep going even when you don't feel like it, but what I am talking about is like a delicate golden thread that gently pulls you forward into the right places and situations. If you listen and follow it, you find magic happening around you on a daily basis, and things just feel 'right'!
   My children are all very good at naturally following their perfect flow's. They are great teachers to me. Due to the nature of our homeschooling environment, they get to do much more of what they feel like doing, rather than being forced into a prescribed format against their flow. I see them move seamlessly from one activity to the next, without any force or strain. They naturally follow their own golden thread of the perfect flow. They come to me when they need something (a question answered, some stationary or art materials, a website recommendation, food etc) but mostly they go about their day's, studying, learning, and playing without any hesitation. I watch them in awe of how self contained they are and how easily aligned with their own natural perfect flow.
   To sum up, when we listen to, and act upon the gentle tug of our own personal golden thread of perfect natural flow, things feel 'right' and much easier. When we ignore the gentle tug and pull in the other direction, things feel difficult, like we are bashing our head's against a brick wall, and simply not 'right'. If you start to really tune in and feel for your golden thread each day from moment to moment, you may find your life becoming less like an uphill struggle and more like drifting gently down the stream!

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My home birthing chronicles - Part 1. The birth of Phoenix

I have decided to share with you the stories of my four home births in ' My home birthing chronicles'. When I was pregnant each time, I loved reading other women's positive birth stories, so here is the first installment of mine, in the hope that it will inspire someone somewhere for their own birthing journey.
  This part one is the story of the birth of my youngest child Phoenix.

 Before I begin I wanted to mention that during my eldest son Shiin's birth I had an internal examination very near the end and it was excruciating and put me right off my natural rhythm and flow, so with all my other births I chose not to have any internal exams and to trust that my body and my baby knew the perfect timings. This has proved to work perfectly each time and probably would have during Shiin's birth too, but I was only 23 then and he was my first baby, my opener of the ways and I was scared! Since then we have birthed our other three children without the presence of a midwife. 
 So, this story takes place in our home town of Glastonbury on a cold April day in 2013. I am hugely pregnant (I have big babies... Kiya was 10 pounds 10 ounces!). It is a very cold day and our boiler has packed up the day before so our house is pretty chilly. For whatever reasons our baba chose this day to begin his journey earth-side. 
 So anyway, I have promised my boys a trip to the next town, so I struggle into my sandals, (I was rocking the socks and sandals look in late pregnancy as I could barely reach my feet let alone do up laces!) and me and the kids clamber into the van. It is bitterly cold. My daughter Kiya has insisted on wearing her new flip flops despite the arctic weather and her feet soon turn deep reddish blue, but she doesn't care! I waddle about Street with the children doing stuff then we drive home.
 I sit down and start cutting patches for the quilts I am making for the kids. Soon I get what I assume to be a Braxton Hicks contraction. I have been having them on and off for a couple of weeks now. Then another one comes, this is around 5pm. Rer makes me some tea and we chat away while I cut patches and he sits at the computer. After more contractions I request my birthing ball to sit on and my wooden pole to hold onto and the children bring them. I roll through a few more before I decide to move upstairs. My dad drops by and upon discovering my labor has most probably begun, rushes off to buy a small halogen heater, God bless him! Once dad delivers the heater and leaves, Rer sets it up in our room and lights some candles- much better! 
 I sit on the ball and breathe through contractions with Kiya playing next to me. She reminds me to look at mama monkey when contractions start getting stronger for inspiration.(Mama monkey is a big smiling monkey toy who for some reason has a zip in her yoni area, which encouraged lots of birth simulation play from my boys when I was pregnant with Kiya. Mama monkey has a big kind smile and has birthed many babies over the years, so she was my mascot and birthing guru! )
 I explain to Kiya what is happening and she happily plays next to me. I go for a pee and lots of water keeps coming out so I stand over a bucket. I call Rer and tell him I think the waters have broken. This is now around 7.30pm. A few more rushes and more water comes out with each one, then part of the mucous plug- so this is really it then! Excitement! At last! Back to the bedroom, plastic sheets and towels down and back onto the ball. Moaning deeply now with each expansion/contraction, sometimes standing up holding onto the chest of drawers. Rushes getting stronger but still seem short to me and plenty of time between them. 
 I call down to Rer 'Please call Jady now!'. Jady is our dear friend and doula. She eased Kiya out with her small strong hands when her shoulders got stuck a few years previously. She is a marvelously intuitive, sweet lady who gives herself in service to others on a regular basis as a doula and all round lovely person. I call her Jady angel! 
 Rer phones her, she will come in an hour. I am starting to need all my focus to get through the rushes now, water coming out with each one, vocalizing and picturing opening up and sweet baby moving down. DOWN GOOD OPEN YES! My trusty birthing mantra. Ouch, this is starting to hurt quite a bit. 'Rer I need you!' I have been feeling his loving strength and support from downstairs where he is tidying and and making everything lush, but suddenly I need his physical presence with me.
 Jady arrives. She and Rer fully focus on helping me through the increasingly intense rushes. Rer reminds me to bring the pitch of my moans low again as they have risen high, this helps. Each contraction now feels like a huge band of deep hard bruising round my womb, my legs are shaking. Very full on, this seems much more painful than my previous labors. 
 Things moving fast. I am on my hands and knees now. Blessed Rer holds my hemorrhoids in for each rush!  Jady massages my back, Rer now holding my hands. At some point he says to me 'Your back is so beautiful' and it gives me such heart and strength. Jady is behind me now. Feeling 'pushy'. I love that feeling, my strong body naturally bringing my baby closer and closer to my arms. There is a feeling of inevitability when your body starts to naturally push of its own accord and an excitement that it will all soon be over, this wonderfully massive experience of birthing a baby. 
 Much encouragement from Rer and Jady. She asks me to feel inside and I feel the babies head, WOW! Never done that before! Come on baby! Bearing down, screaming and shouting. I start to feel the splitting, crowning sensation of the head coming through. Rer calls the children who all want to be present for the birth. They are all around, excited, not minding the noise I am making. Kiya shouts through some of the contractions with me and puts her hands over her ears for others! 
 The head starts to come out, such hard work. Push push push! Running commentary from Shiin. 'Arisha! I can see the eyes!' In wonderment. Push push push! 'Arisha, I can see the nose!' PUSH PUSH PUSH! 'Arisha! I can see the mouth!' Finally the head is out. More pushing, the babies body is stuck fast, just like his sister's had been. 
 Rer and Jady moving my legs and position. Rer holding me up, Jady reaching inside to pull the baby out. Whoosh! Relief! Baby is out! 'You've done it Arisha!' Cries an elated Rer. I lean over the ball, utterly spent. 'It's a boy!' Wow, we were convinced he was a girl! 
 'Pass him to his mama! Arisha likes her babies on her straight away!' instructs Rer from behind. I sit up and take hold of my slippery little baby. Come on baby, breathe, cry. A gurgle, then a good strong cry, he cries quite a bit in my arms. He is beautiful. His little nose is mashed to one side from the time his head was half out during some contractions. I look at Rer and we smile and fall in love with our newest family member.
 The midwife arrives. Rer gets a bowl for the placenta. Jady helps me to the toilet and puts the bowl in there. After a short while I feel a mild contraction and push out the placenta. I get helped back to our room and into bed. Our little guy is wrapped up in a towel and latches on to my boobie for his first taste of colostrum. He had a big meconium poo as soon as he was born and is now peaceful after his initial long cry. We are so pleased with him. He was born at around 11.35pm. The midwife checks my yoni and finds a small tear inside and an intact perineum. Yey! Rer ties hemp string around his cord and cuts it . Jady puts a suit and nappy on baba as I am too shaky. She gives me homeopathic remedies and herbal tinctures then heads home. I am so grateful to her for pulling the baby out safely. 
 Kiya sits on the bed and proclaims 'Let's call him Phoenix!'. Wow! What a great name! He looks like a Phoenix too. The midwife spends ages filling in notes then leaves. Kiya sets up her covers and pillow next to Phoenix and goes to sleep. Rer curls up round my feet and goes to sleep. Phoenix feeds then sleeps all night. I stay awake all night gazing at him and re-living his birth in my head and giving so many thanks for the miracle of his life and also for the preservation of my own life too and for my beautiful family. 
 Birth is such a portal and each time I have experienced it, I have had to surrender to the fact that I and my baby are facing the possibility of going forth through the death portal as well as coming through the birth portal. I am sure that facing that before each birth has meant less emotional and mental blocks and therefore easier births. I am so lucky to have birthed four gorgeous babies safely and I give thanks to the God/dess and angels for assisting us so beautifully! 
We found out the next day that Phoenix Heru Ausar James David Aahmau weighed in at a hefty 10 pounds and 12 ounces! Heru and Ausar are the egyptian Gods Horus and Osiris, James was Rers father and David is my father. Aahmau is our family surname which means 'mooncat' in ancient egyptian. Thank you for reading our story.

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The little things in life...

Today I am grateful for the little things in life. I am grateful for welly boots and coats so my little ones can wrap up warm and play in the garden, I am grateful for the first blossom in our garden, I am grateful to my big sons for doing the dishes, I am grateful to my partner for continual cups of tea and wise words, I am grateful for the Elsa Beskow books (especially 'The children of the forest) for their sweet illustrations and nature themes, that remind us to live closer to nature and get outside to play even when it is cold outside!

 I have been a bit poorly the last few days and spent hours lying on the sofa cuddled up with my hot water bottle, watching my family go about their activities as life goes on around me. I am not very good at just being still and not 'doing' anything, so sometimes my body forces me with a migraine or in this case crippling period cramps! I have so enjoyed watching the ebb and flow of the day as my kids go about their studies, work and play. I feel so privileged to be the mother of such a lovely brood.

The boys took on the mountain of dishes that had accumulated over the last couple of days, practicing Japanese phrases with each other in the process. I watched the two little ones in a waveform of different games and role playing activities. Usually I am so busy with house work, food prep, work, shopping, homeschooling etc, that I miss actually, really watching the details of their beautiful interactions with each other! Sure, there are scratchy moments through the day too, but I give so many thanks for the whole picture of our messy, patchwork life, as it is all these tiny little moments of treasure that make up a happy life!

 Today I give thanks for the little moments that make up the whole picture! I am a lucky Mama!
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My top 10 inspirational books!

All these books have been extremely instrumental in helping me on my journey, at different times in my life. I could easily have made this a much longer list, but I will save the rest for another day! Here are the first ten, in no particular order:

1) 'The Return of Merlin' by Deepak Chopra
This book has so many layers. The first time I read it, I immediately re-opened it and read it again! There is so much wisdom encoded into the story, it is one of those books that every time you read it, you notice something else potent and poignant.

2) 'The Alchemist' by Paolo Coelho
Such a classic book. It reminds me that there is a natural , universal force/ flow, and if you listen well, you can dance to the true balanced flow and tap into the perfect timings through your life.

3) 'Barefoot Doctor's Handbook for the Urban Warrior' by Barefoot Doctor
My Mum gave me a copy of this, when I was about 16 and I usually get it out at some point every year. It is full of effective meditations, visualizations and tips for your spiritual growth in this modern world. It is written in such a humorous, easy to read and visual form, that it makes the content easy to absorb and put into practice. I have almost all of Barefoot Doctor's books, but this one remains my favourite!

4) 'Moon Time' by Johanna Paungger & Thomas Poppe
This is an absolute gem of a book. Packed with ancient knowledge handed down from generation to generation about when is the best timings to do just about anything in harmony with the moon's cycles for maximum benefit. I wonderful book that I recommend everyone to add to their bookshelf.

5) 'The Hobbit' by J. R. Tolkien
This book gave me the adventure itch! I have a beautifully illustrated copy, and I found myself planning adventures to far off lands after reading it as a teenager! In my adult life I have been lucky enough to do a fair bit of travelling, to some magical places and I can trace my dreams of adventure all the way back to this book!

6) 'The Prophet' by Kahlil Gibran
This book came into my life when I desperately needed to make changes and take a new direction. It gave me the courage to step into the unknown, and I am so glad I did! My life got extremely more magical and wonderful!

7) 'Inner Wisdom' by Louise. L. Hay
This is a book I like to pick up and choose a random page, oracle style! So many positive affirmations, and I always seem to pick one that is pertinent to what is going on in my life.

8) 'Raw Emotions' by Angela Stokes Monarch
I greatly admire Angela Stokes Monarch. This book is well written and helpful for changing patterns that no longer serve you, and choosing  life options that help you become more healthy and happy.

9) 'Primal Mothering In A Modern World' by Hygeia Halfmoon
I was given a copy of this book just before I gave birth to my first child. It always gives me courage to follow my instincts and heart, no matter what the world is telling me!

10) 'Dreaming With The Faeries' by Arisha Aahmau
I have included my own little self published book for two reasons. Firstly, it is a rhyme to inspire children and adults to dream up a better world and live their dreams, and secondly, writing and producing this book has been so instrumental in my own journey. I have learned so much from the conception of the idea of the book, all through to the first real copy arriving in my hand, and beyond to the new things it has led me to.

I hope this list may give someone some ideas for transformative reading material to discover or re-read!

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Smile meditation

My partner introduced to me the concept of the smile meditation many years ago now. I must admit, at first I was not keen and thought the practice a bit pretentious and annoying. I soon discovered though,  that doing the smile meditation often completely changed the energy of a situation into real laughter!  Essentially the practice is this: if you are experiencing negative emotions of any sort, put a huge smile on your face and hold it till your emotions begin to shift. This may happen straight away or it may take a while. The smile is completely fake to start with, but soon, the very fact that you are sitting with a huge maniacal grin on your face becomes hilarious and you may begin to feel the need to laugh for real! This is such a good way to shift yourself out of an angry or irritated space and move past it into a more balanced and positive mood. Try it... you may find yourself experiencing a feeling of empowerment as you take responsibility for creating your own positive reality and not being a victim of negativity!
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A beautiful experience from a challenging one!

Today I am grateful for a beautiful, positive experience that followed a challenging one! I was in the supermarket today with my two smallest children. My little boy Phoenix saw the kid's comics and grabbed one with particularly garish plastic toys attached to the front. I told him I was not going to buy the comic, and then followed a total screaming meltdown. My boy went red in the face and screamed extremely loudly. I knelt down and held him while he screamed, then after a bit, I picked him up and held him close in my arms, cuddling and making soothing noises. He calmed down and we continued round the shop.
   When we got home my 6 year old daughter Kiya started bustling round the house collecting items. About half an hour later she appeared with a homemade comic for her little brother consisting of lots of her own drawings bound together and a few of her own little toys attached to the front! Phoenix was very excited about it and loved every minute of Kiya showing him all the pages and telling him the story of her drawings! I was so moved by her love and creativity and realized that if I had simply given in in the shop to avoid a tantrum, we would have missed out on the beautiful creation that Kiya made! I give so many thanks for the experience of being present while my son expressed his big feelings, I give thanks for him feeling safe enough to express himself then moving on and getting over it,  and I give thanks for the sweet generous spirit of my daughter, soothing his hurt with her creations and love!
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Welcome to my gratitude lounge

Hi there, I am Arisha. This blog is a place for me to share inspirations, insight and experiences with you, mainly on the subject of gratitude. Giving thanks as a daily practice has brought me so much happiness and peace of heart, and has turned so many experiences around from bad to good, or fear to joy. I wanted a little place on the internet to share what I have learned/ am learning in the hope that I can help someone somewhere to improve their life as so many people have helped me, in so many ways! Thanks for reading, Arisha x
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Attitude of gratitude

I have come to believe that one of the biggest secrets to a happy life is to give thanks every single day. The practice of counting your blessings is a wonderful and rewarding one. I have found that giving thanks, no matter what is going on in my life, has brought me peace of heart and happiness through good times and more challenging times too. There is always something to be thankful for... the air we breathe, the food in our belly, the friends and family in our lives, the baby who smiled at us in the checkout queue etc etc...
  Sometimes it is easier than others to focus on the things we are grateful for, but I promise you it is worth the effort when you do. When we create a part of our minds that is continually reminding us to give thanks, our attention naturally brings those area's into focus more and more. The law of attraction tells us that we attract what we focus our energy on, so it makes sense to put our attention into positive thought and feelings of gratitude, then we will bring more of that into our every day realities. 
  I have been consciously practicing this for more than 15 years now, and I would say it is one of the most magical and transformative things that a person can do to improve their life!
  So next time you are having an awful day, or even just a difficult moment, breathe deeply and think of something you give thanks for in your life, and notice what a difference it makes to your head-space! Do this on a daily basis and you may find miracles start happening! 
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