The Gathered by Claire Podcast - Ep. 5 Tracking your cycle using the fertility awareness method & learning to trust your body with Rona Mirimi

20 May 2019



Oh I loved chatting to Rona Mirimi in this episode.  She is one of my heroes and is super passionate about trusting your body, learning to love your body and understanding how it all works.  We chat about the fertility awareness method, periods, hormones and contraception and how they affect our body and the way it works.

LINKS:

Rona's Website.
Rona on Facebook.
Rona on Instagram.




DIY Framed Flower Art | Mother's Day Craft Idea

10 May 2019



It's Mother's Day in South Africa on Sunday and I am not sure about you but a handmade item made with so much love and attention means the world to me.  It is so important to let your children pour their love into something to give you.  And my kids are always keen to do some arts and crafts.  This idea is something that is super affordable, gets them outside and looks so pretty hung up in your house.



All you need is:
Cardboard cut into frames
Pens/Crayons
Flowers/leaves/grass from the garden or a walk at the park
Contact Paper
Scissors

I cut the cardboard without the kids with my craft knife - just much easier, quicker and safer without little fingers wanting to help!

I then gave them the cardboard frames to colour in and do as they please.
Once they were finished, they picked some flowers - I pressed some overnight and others were fresh on the day.  It didn't make that much of a difference so don't worry if this is a last minute gift!  Just pick flowers without a thick stem.



We then put the gathered nature on the contact paper's sticky side and placed the frame over it.  I left enough contact paper below the frame to cover the front - So the contact paper is on both sides of the frame and keeping the flowers stuck.




You can trim any excess contact paper and you are done!  They look beautiful stuck onto glass.
Isn't nature amazing?

A simple, beautiful and lovingly put together craft that would make any mom feel special.




The Gathered By Claire Podcast - Ep 4: Chiropractics, wellbeing and getting out of your comfort zone with Dr Greg Venning

29 April 2019



This week I am chatting to Dr Greg Venning - a Certified Wellness Practioner, Chiropractor and Speaker.

In this episode we chat about chiropractic care and how this can benefit your wellbeing and learning about our bodies.

We also dive into finding your why and getting out of your comfort zone to make things happen.

As described on his website:

"Dr Greg Venning is the author of the powerful book Thrive, founder of Peak Chiropractic and developer of Upgrade Your Life. He is passionate in helping you and your family your to get more out of life. Dr Greg Venning is not like most doctors. He is interested in your human potential and personal performance and helping you live your bigger life, a life of significance and fulfil your dreams. He helps people like you to create health, not just treat disease."

I really enjoyed chatting with Greg and I hope you find it as interesting as I did!

LINKS:

The Thrive book
Peak Chiropractic
Dr Greg Venning on Facebook




5 simple ways to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle and VOTE for your favourite charity with Jislaaik

18 April 2019

Living a more "eco-friendly" lifestyle is something we are all aware of nowadays.

Less plastic, more sustainable options are so much more available to us all but it is not easy to always make the changes.  I often feel or hear - "I don't have time" or "I wouldn't be able to do that" or "I don't have the money".

But my friends - there is always something you can do to make a small difference.
ALWAYS.
And can you just imagine if we all made small changes - no matter how small - what a BIG difference we could make?

I have spoken more about this here - I know it can be overwhelming but we have to take some sort of responsibility - we can't fob it off to someone else.  Have you ever thought about some simple changes you can make to your lifestyle to produce less waste?

If not - or you have no idea where to start, I thought I would share some ideas with you that I have personally done the past few months - maybe this can inspire you to try some out too?

1. Menstrual Cup
Now I know this one especially can be overwhelming - but OH MY WORD it has changed my life.  No more tampons, no waste, less money and it is so empowering.  Rona Mirimi stocks these and can help you with the right style and size.  And there are so many places you can pick these up from.  Rona explains are the facts and has all the information you need on her website here.  GO AND READ IT!

2. Eco-friendly household cleaners
Whilst I haven't purchased these products yet from The Green Bee, they are on my shopping list for the end of the month.  I have stopped buying any cleaning products from the shops and have been using vinegar, bicarb, lemon and essential oils to make my own cleaners.  But how amazing are their products - I LOVE the fact they come in 5l bottles - dishwashing liquid, all purpose cleaner, handwash, laundry liquid, dishwasher powder! So amazing! You could also make your own of course, but we don't always have time!

3. Weekly Vegetable Box
If you follow me on instagram you would have seen my weekly vegetable boxes that I get from Abalimi Harvest of Hope and these have changed my life.  Fresh, organic produce, supporting local brands as well as giving me more inspiration to cook healthy, wholesome food.  Such a win in my book.  Go and check out all the details.  AND no more plastic packaging waste - the best!

4. Toiletries - toothbrush and soap
Recently I bought a bamboo toothbrush for me and the boys.  I love them and I can just pop them on the compost heap after 3 months.  No more plastic waste.  Our aim by the end of the year is to have a plastic free bathroom.  We started with the toothbrushes and we no longer use shower gel - beautifully made soap with essential oils, hemp, beeswax and the like are what we use now.  I buy different brands depending on what shop I get to.  But so much better for our skin, no chemicals - just natural stuff and no plastic wrapping or bottles.  My next goal is to go natural for shampoo and conditioners and getting one of these stainless steel razors from Raw Co.

5. A ban on plastic straws and bags.
If I forget my fabric bags when I go shopping I either buy another one or just carry the shopping.  I refuse to buy plastic bags anymore.  And I am so happy to see so many places offering paper straws now.  So amazing.  You can pick up an reusable silicon straw from Silistraw.  They are easily cleaned, foldable and stored in a little capsule you can carry easily in your handbag!

I'll also tell you a little tip a friends told me which really helped me to be more aware of what waste I produce.  Imagine if you personally, had to get rid of your rubbish.  Every bit of plastic, wrapping, packaging, box and bag....let that sink in for a minute.  It is quite scary isn't it!  We put stuff in the bin and then just watch it get taken away and out of sight out of mind.  And more than likely it ends up in the sea.



Some scary facts for you: (taken from the Jislaain SOS tees post)

  • According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), South Africans use between 30kg and 50kg of plastic per person per year.
  • More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped in our oceans every year. – plasticoceans.org
  • There are 5 giant garbage patches floating in the ocean of which the largest one contains more than 80,000 tonnes of plastic. – theoceancleanup.com
  • Have you ever thought that some of your trash might be in those patches? Or that something you threw into your dustbin ended up killing an animal?

You might have seen recently that I teamed up with Jislaaik Online Shop who are running an AWESOME  Jislaain campaign at the moment.  You can read more about it here but the basics are that they have launched a range of Save our seas t-shirts and proceeds from each t-shirt sold will be donated to a charity - and we have some awesome nominations for charities that have come in.


Check them out:

The Retrade Project - an organisation that encourages families or individuals to collect recycable junk and they can bring it every Friday to a location where it is assessed and in return for their recycables they gain points which they can use to buy goods in the trade store.  Based in P.E.

All Hearts Foundation
An organisation passionate about different causes whether it be animal welfare or such as rescuing the Canadian Timber Wolves, the spaying and feeding of feral cats and community outreach.

Owl Rescue Centre
Dedicated to protection of owls in Southern Africa - they help create awareness of the owl as well as rehabilitate and are involved in conservation projects around South Africa.

Green Pop SA
A social enterprise who are on a mission to reconnect people with the planet and plant trees in communities that need them. Such an awesome and fun initiative!

Go and read up on what these amazing charities are doing and vote with your favourite one so we can decide who the donation can go to this month!  You can vote in the comments or over on my instagram grid or stories.

And let me know what small changes you are currently planning or doing so I can cheer you on!





The Gathered By Claire Podcast - Ep 3: My Story with Alcohol

15 April 2019



This week it's just me chatting about my story with alcohol.  I quit drinking 7 years ago this month and often get emails and messages from strangers, to old school friends as well as family and close friends who ask me questions about how I stopped drinking.

So I thought I would tell you a bit about why I stopped, the cycle I got into and get really honest about how drinking can deeply effect your life.

Remember - I am not a medical professional - this is purely my experience.  If you or anyone you know is an addict then seek professional help.



LINKS

All my blog posts on drinking are here.
Kitty Talks podcast with Clare Pooley.
Clare Pooley's blog - Mummy was a secret drinker.
The 12 Steps of AA.

Doing your bit for the planet and a GIVEAWAY with Rawco

8 April 2019

 I was listening to my friends Siobhan's podcast the other day about The Lost Art of Compassion (you can find it here) and I really resonated with the words that were spoken.  Her guest, Dane was chatting about compassion and how we may feel quite powerless to make changes for the planet as our actions or choices we make, may be insignificant to the crisis going on in the world at the moment.

Like, how on earth am I going to change anything - my actions will have little to no impact.  He goes on to say that the problem with this thinking is that it gives us this magical get out of jail free card and absolves us of old habits and cultural norms because everyone does it and going against the grain would be futile.

Such wise and true words and it made me realise we need to face the truth - we can all make a change-  and you can do this by living according to your core values like being kind to others, not exploiting animals and reducing your impact on the environment.



You can make a simple choice by doing no harm to our planet - in whatever form you feel you can.

And that leads me onto Raw Co. - which represents authentic, sustainable and a responsible approach to life.



RAW Co. stands for Real & Authentic Ware which is a collective of products made from natural and recyclable materials.  I am giving away a Cotton netting bag which is perfect for taking to the shops to pop in some loose fruit or veg or any small items.

You see - if we all make a small effort - and none of us used the plastic bags at the shops then there would be less of a need for them.  We all have to take some responsibility.



I also got some hemp scrubbies for cleaning but you can also use them as a body scrubber too.  You could even clean your veggies with them.


The next item on my wishlist is this razor - a plastic-free alternative to those awful ones you get in the shops.  It comes in its own travel case with 4 blades.

So to enter the giveaway and stand a chance to win the bag and make a change to our planet all you need to do is:

1. Follow me @claire_choudhry on Instagram
2. Follow @rawco_za on Instagram
3. Comment below with a small change you are going to make to be kinder to our planet.
4. Tag ONE friend who you think would be inspired by this.

Winner will be announced on Friday 12th April.
The bag will be shipped to the winner direct from Rawco.

♥♥♥

The Gathered By Claire Podcast - Ep 2: Being Vegan, empowering yourself & seasons of our body with Keri Bainborough

1 April 2019


In this episode I talk with Keri Bainborough - a mom, a writer, a bit of an entrepreneur and, of course, a creative. We touch on a few subjects including having a strong spirit, seasons of our body, empowering ourselves as women, sex education and being vegan.

Keri is very kindly offering a 10% discount on her journals and guide for wildflowers (her beautifully put together vegan cookbook) - use the code WILDFLOWERS10 to claim your discount.







Links:
Coffee & Crumbs podcast episode - talking with kids about sex
Walking with Wildflowers podcast episode - Dat Vegan Mama life with Dani De Douza
Delciously Ella podcast episode - Veganism & Climate Change with Joseph Poore
La Luna La Femme Moon Journals

You can listen here:



The Gathered By Claire Podcast - Introductory Episode

27 March 2019



And here it is!  My introductory episode to my brand new podcast - Gathered By Claire.
Conversations about creativity, wellbeing, small business and living a life with purpose and intention.  My passion is to share the stories of others in the hope to inspire you and help you live your best life.

Sorry it is a few days late, I only submitted my podcast for approval on the weekend and it got approved yesterday.

Let me know what you think and remember to use the hashtag #gatheredbyclairepodcast and tag me on any posts on social media.

You can find me on Instagram on @claire_choudhry

You can find my podcast feed on itunes and will shortly be available on spotify and acaste.





DIY: Easy colourful playdough

7 March 2019

By far, our most popular go-to activity in our house is playdough.  I started off a few years ago, purchasing the play-doh brand tubs but that can get a bit pricey!
Since being given a homemade recipe from a wonderful friend - we haven't looked back!



It lasts for months in an airtight container and you can add some essential oils to it to make it smell nice too!  I don't often make multiple colours as it just gets all mushed together and goes a greeny brown colour so I tend to make one colour at a time.  I don't pressure my kids into not mixing the colours - I am a firm believer in just letting them do what they want with the playdough (when it comes to playing!  Not eating or other hehe)

All you need is:

1 cup flour
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar

Place a pot on the stove and turn the hob onto a low heat.  Add all the ingredients and mix gently until it starts forming a dough.  Remove off the heat once stiff, add the food colouring until is is mixed in properly.

And that's it!  Sometimes I add in some extra essential oils at the end to make it smell nice too!



I have these AWESOME rollers from Panda Post which are amazing for creating different patterns and ridges in the playdough.  Harry loves to feel the different textures they make.  We also have a few play-doh branded accessories and some Melissa & Doug scissors which they enjoy cutting the playdough with.


Harry especially, can spend up to an hour just faffing at the table while I cook supper.  It is such a lovely thing to have an activity that you know is a sure-fire way of keeping the kiddo's busy!

Enjoy ♥

Conversations with Creatives: Danielle Smith

4 March 2019


I decided to start this series to inspire others by sharing the stories of some of the woman who I admire in the creative industry.  Creativity comes in many different forms and we can learn so much from each other.  I hope you learn something from each of these amazing women and find yourself nodding along when you read through these posts.May these words help you along your creative journey and that you find others who can cheer you on.

♥♥♥♥♥

This week I have Danielle Smith who is sharing her story with us.  I know Dee through our boys who both attend the same playschool.  We always use to just say hello and then one day we found each other on instagram and realised we had a LOT in common.  Dee creates the most beautiful woven hangings, works full time and has two small kiddos, basically a superwoman in my eyes.  Anyway...lets see what she has to say!




Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you are doing at the moment?
Well, during working hours I try my best to be a decent molecular geneticist, and the rest of the time I try my best to be a decent wife and mom.  I’m married to Graeme, and we have two kids – Evan is nearly 3 and Cara is 9 months old.  We live in the beautiful city of Cape Town.
When I’m not sciencing/wifing/momming, I enjoy making pretty things.

How did Woven Whimsy start?
When I was on maternity leave after having Cara, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest (as one does when one is constantly breastfeeding and/or trapped under a sleeping baby).  The tapestry weaving trend caught my eye, and I thought to myself “Hey, I’d like to try that”.  So I hammered some nails into an old picture frame, founds some bits of wool, and made my first wall hanging (which was terrible, by the way!).  I soon realised that my poor husband was terrified of having every available surface in our home covered with wall hangings, so I thought that I’d try to sell a few.  And that was the birth of Woven Whimsy.



What does a typical day look like for you?
Our kids will usually wake up around 6, which is followed by the usual chaos routine of everyone getting dressed and eating breakfast.  At 7:30 I drop Evan off at school and head into work.  I try to be home by 16:30 so that I can spend a bit of quality time with the kids before supper and bed time.  The kids are usually asleep by 19:30, which gives us a bit of quiet time to watch series or read (or weave, in my case).  My mental health is very dependent on a good night’s sleep, so I try to be in bed by 22:00.

What are some of your favourite things to do on the weekend with the kids?
We fortunate enough to have a lovely big garden, so we spend a lot of time playing outside and pottering around at home.  When cabin fever hits we’ll usually take a walk to one of the parks in our suburb, or head to Green Point Park or the Sea Point promenade.

 You juggle a full-time job, two small kiddo’s and a side-hustle (along with the other list of things like grocery shopping and life admin!) – how do make the time?
To be honest, a lot of the time I don’t make the time!  I am, however, blessed with the most incredible support system – we have a wonderful nanny who keeps our home in order, Graeme does a lot of the cooking and grocery shopping, and my mom helps a lot with the kids.  Apart from that, I try to be organised, and I’m also working on setting realistic expectations for myself.  The reality at the moment is that there are only so many hours in the day, so I’m trying to make peace with my current capacity, rather than getting frustrated because I’m not getting everything done 😊

Favourite Instagram accounts at the moment?
In terms of local creative “celebs”, I enjoy Michael Chandler (@mrchandlerhouse) and Heather Moore (@skinnylaminx), mostly because they make me see the world differently.
On the weaving side I love @hellohydrangea because she is so generous with her knowledge, and I’m also swooning over the botanical tapestries by @solipdiy.

Website link https://hellopretty.co.za/woven-whimsy or www.thingsdeeloves.com (if you want to read my dormant blog 😊)
Instagram - @wovenwhimsy and @thingsdeeloves

You can also find me on Twitter (@thingsdeeloves) and Pinterest (@dee_smith).

↠↠↠↠↠↠↠↠↠↠↠

Thank you Danielle for sharing with us and for inspiring me and always supporting my creativity. ♥

Missed the other conversations - click here to read them all!

The importance of date night

28 February 2019



So recently, it's been a bit of a tough time for Mani and I.  Work, money, having young kids and everyday stresses of life can make you drift apart a bit if you don't maintain and work on your marriage.  It's a hard balance to get right, but like anything good in life, you have to work at it.  Kindness, compassion, compromise and quality time are a few of the key things to making sure you keep connected to each other.

Friends suggested we start doing a weekly date night.  One week I cook and Mani chooses a movie and the following week he cooks and I choose the movie.  We have each had a turn now and it has been amazing.  For me, having a meal cooked for me is something I deeply appreciate - as would anyone who does most of the cooking in one's household.  (I don't mind cooking at all - it's just nice to have a break once in a while!).  And also taking a night off from technology (cellphones/ipads), sewing, blogging, working and just sitting on the couch together after a lovely meal is a great way to relax and unwind in each others company.

So last week Mani cooked a delicious Chickpea Curry and we watched A Star is Born.  Obviously - by the end of the movie, I was sobbing - for those of you who have watched it you will understand.  Right?  It is a freaking AMAZING movie and I would watch it again.



So this week when it was my turn I started to think what I would cook - to be honest - I had no idea what to do and I wanted to do something different.  Then I remembered my friend Natalie had shared a post about her friend who had started curating seasonal snack boxes of delicious food, delivered to your door.  So I ordered a box (ours was plant-based), paid for it and it was personally delivered to my door by Gabi of Beuno Boards.  And it did not disappoint.  (To note - I did check with Mani that this adhered to the date night code since I would not technically be cooking and he obliged!)




While Mani put the kids to bed, I draped a blanket over our coffee table in the lounge, lit some candles and printed off this date night quiz for us to do - super fun!!.  We then enjoyed some very tasty food - fresh fruit, beetroot hummus, bread, crackers, nuts, veg rice paper rolls, date free chocolate peanut balls, fresh olives and dried fruit.  It was the perfect amount of food and really was such a treat.  At R350 including delivery I honestly think you can't go wrong!  Gabi also offers a classic board which includes cured meats, olives,cheeses, bread, fresh fruit and crackers with a dip.

And in Gabi's words; "Simply put, Beuno Boards has been an idea for over a year.  This is the way my family & friends eat when we're together: really good produce, lots of "everything" and mostly whole foods.  It takes courage to keep food simple while still expecting loads of deliciousness from it."  Such simple but wise words - and I can safely say that Gabi has started something amazing here!



And...if you fancy one for this weekend for a special date night or a treat just for you, a picnic with friends or supper on the beach - pop Gabi an email gabi.beunoboards(at)gmail.com and mention this blog post and you will get 10% off your box!  Easy peasy!  Now, go and book some quality time in your calendar with someone you love.  It is so important.

♥♥♥♥♥

This post is not sponsored and all views are my own.

Conversations with Creatives: Natalie Jepson

25 February 2019


I decided to start this series to inspire others by sharing the stories of some of the woman who I admire in the creative industry.  Creativity comes in many different forms and we can learn so much from each other.  I hope you learn something from each of these amazing women and find yourself nodding along when you read through these posts.May these words help you along your creative journey and that you find others who can cheer you on.

♥♥♥♥♥

I found Natalie via my friend Keri Bainborough (who was featured in this series last week).  She is an online & retail manager by day and started RitualKind as her passion project.  She recently launched her brand new website which is stunning.  I bought a smudge stick from her - my very first one - and I can confirm that by partaking in a ritual of self-care it has given me space to accept myself and manifest my goals to the universe.  Let's see what she has to say...


Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you are doing at the moment?

My full-time job is pretty diverse! I am an Online and Retail Manager with a strong focus on customer service, interaction and customer based brand building for a local SA based Company. In RitualKind news, I have just launched my new website and I am too excited!

How did RitualKind come to fruition?

I had been dreaming up creating a side hustle with a strong holistic focus and decided that I wanted to start making and creating something local and beautiful with meaning. A friend of mine and I had chatted about smudge sticks and she made one to help clear the energy in her home. I was immediately drawn to smudging and the spiritual meaning. After I lost my dad I found myself in a place of self neglect and struggling to carve out time to heal, focus on self-love and ultimately just found I had fallen in to the patter of being INCREDIBLY hard on myself. I needed to shift focus and find a way to create something to heel myself and others. RitualKind was born from the need to release and find ways of creating space for ones self through ritual and self kindness. It was my shining light that unlocked all the creative energy I had been holding back and really allowed me to find flow with nature, intuition and tapping in to my own feminine energy.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I am up from about 5am - compliments of our cat :) I start the day outside always, barefoot with a cup of chaga tea or coffee, currently giving the celery juice a go when I remember to buy celery! The 40min drive to work is usually spent listening to podcasts, voice notes or music. I get to work by 7:30am followed by a quick catch up with one of my friends at work and we usually take a walk and grab a coffee and chat before we start the day. The phones, email and work day starts from 8am and its a flurry of coordinating, custom queries, assisting in the retail space and working on projects. Home time is 4pm and again its podcast in the car ride home - helps with traffic! I am a big fan of hydration so I am always attached to a bottle of water that I carry around, I use my car rides as a good time to get my daily hydration in if I have slacked during the day.

Once home, its time with my kitty, usually rolling out my yoga mat, having a swim and then working on RitualKind and planning the month ahead. The weather is so good so I am pretty much outside first thing in the morning and the minute I get home.  I love cooking so being in the kitchen and making dinner is usually some me time to switch off - but I do have days when cooking is not my favourite! I am human!

When my husband gets home we will usually spend some time catching up outside, eating dinner and relaxing a bit. Ending the night off we either read or watch series before bed.

For me, morning and evening time outside is my meditation time. I try be present and relaxed in my space and generally use the time to switch off and just be and enjoy nature. I am always trying new rituals, my  latest one is using body oils made by my friend Kate from Heart Tree Natural. In the mornings I use the Happy Balance body oil to lift my mood and assist with hormone balance and in the evening I use the Mind unwind body oil to help me relax before bed. I try and add bits of self-care in to my day.



Tell us something you have learnt from having a side-hustle.

You have to believe in yourself and back yourself 100 percent, even on the days when you think you can’t and don’t want to, YOU have to back yourself. Most importantly you just have to jump right in and DO IT. I am a planner and love it when the stars align and everything is perfect, but running a side-hustle has taught me that sometimes you just have to keep on taking a leap of faith and jump right in, again and again, otherwise you never put anything out there.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? 
In other words – what is your “WHY”

We have one life and one chance to make the most of it. I always feel ready to start the day when I tap into gratitude and remember that I am fortunate enough to have food on my plate, a roof over my head, a job, love, care, kindness and the ability to feel a range of emotions and experience everything from moving my body to travelling to beautiful places and engaging with incredible people. Most of all, that I am a living breathing healthy human and I never want to take that for granted.


Favourite place to go for coffee?

Ah without a doubt Starlings Cafe, Chardonnay Deli and Dalebrook Cafe!

What does self-care look like for you?

Self-care for me is really being kind to yourself when you want to indulge in all the doubt, and all the conditioning we have had in our lives that hold us back from putting in the time to provide space for who we really are and what we really need. It is breaking the cycle of self -negative talk and giving in to a greater sense of self-worth and value. It is listening and tapping in to my intuition and honouring what I need, If that is half an hour to catch up on admin, a quick home workout, an ugly cry in the car, reorganising my cupboard, swimming in the sea, taking 10 min to paint or read, it all comes down to really tapping in and understanding that you are worthy of time that is focused on you and what you need in that moment. It is allowing myself to be free of notions that hold me back and prevent me from being the best version of myself. It is investing in my health, wellbeing and spiritual self as much as I possibly can.  I could go on and on ;)

Favourite Instagram accounts at the moment?

@Ogiyogini

Website link www.ritualkind.co.za
Instagram - @ritualkind

Other social media sites you hang out on?

I am currently loving Pinterest! (Natalie Jepson) or (RitualKind

Thank you so much Natalie for sharing your story and for inspiring us all to believe in ourselves and take time for self care rituals. 


Gatherings

22 February 2019

I wanted to have a page where I have all my gatherings in one place - it something I am so proud of and something that brought me such peace and joy!  I'll give you a bit of background...

When I was on maternity leave with Jack back in 2014, we lived in a beautiful village on the outskirts of the Cotswolds in England.  The summer of 2014 was honestly one of the most happiest times of my life.  I had a new baby, it was a warm summer and everything just felt good.  I started creating photos on instagram and made so many online friends whom I am still in contact with now.

Inspired by Instagram and all the beautiful images I was seeing everyday, I decided to go on a walk everyday and gather any fallen leaves, nuts, berries, sticks, flowers and make them into images.  I clearly remember going for a walk with Jack in the carrier, he would fall asleep and we would get home, I would put him in his bed and then I would rush downstairs and arrange the gatherings into images and take photos sometimes as quickly as possible because I knew he would be waking up any minute!  Other times I would do it while he was in his highchair having a snack or playing contently. (Not something that happened that often!!).

When I fell pregnant with Harry and then moved to South Africa I lost the routine of gathering and then got back into it and lost it again.  I am not a consistent person and I learning that this isn't a bad thing!! I ebb and flow like most of us!

Anyway - so I want to try get into gathering again and sharing an inspirational quote with it once a week or even once a month so I will see how I go.  In the meantime, here is my collection of Gatherings.  I hope they bring you happiness and inspiration!

If you want to collaborate in any way or want to buy some framed prints - pop me a message!


 





♥♥♥♥♥




Conversations with Creatives: Keri Bainborough

14 February 2019


I decided to start this series to inspire others by sharing the stories of some of the woman who I admire in the creative industry.  Creativity comes in many different forms and we can learn so much from each other.  I hope you learn something from each of these amazing women and find yourself nodding along when you read through these posts.  May these words help you along your creative journey and that you find others who can cheer you on.
♥♥♥♥♥


Today on the Conversation with Creatives series is Keri Bainborough.  I first came across Keri on Instagram and was immediately drawn to her strong spirit and how comfortable she was in her own skin.  She is an honest woman who is a fierce believer in being kind and supporting woman.  Let's see what she has to say...


Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you are doing at the moment?
Hi there! I’m Keri and I’m a mom, a writer, a bit of an entrepreneur and, of course, a creative (as we all are!). At the moment I’m working on a number of projects, including curating a community of sisterhood through my moon journal business, La Luna La Femme, creating and hosting my podcast, Walking with Wildflowers, writing and sharing about my vegan lifestyle over on my blog, We Are The Wildflowers, writing an online course for new moms and putting together a small ebook of meals for vegan kids! I have also written a vegan guidebook called A Guide for Wildflowers for newbie vegans, which is available for purchase on my online shop, along with the La Luna La Femme monthly moon journals. Oh, and I’m studying behind the scenes too. This feels like a lot now that I’ve written it down - but that’s just the way I roll. I like to have a finger in every pie.




What does a typical day look like for you?
We’re usually up at about 5am with out little girl - she is an early bird like her mum! We have coffee in bed and then head downstairs where my husband and I take it in turns to cook breakfast and feed Imogen whilst the other one goes for a run or to gym. Then Immy is either off to play school for a few hours (which we also take in turns as she has not settled in by herself yet) or we have child care so that we can do some work. Then it’s lunchtime - I try to make Immy something healthy from scratch every day, as she has a big appetite at lunchtime and I like to cram in as many good nutrients as I can while she’s hungry! In the afternoons, there is a lot of napping and Peppa Pig watching on Immi’s side whilst we do more work. Sometimes, we will take Ims out to the beach or the nature reserve or go for a swim to expend some of her energy before dinner at 6. Dinner is usually quick and easy food like veggie burgers and chips or pasta. Bath and bedtime for Immy starts at about seven and after she has gone to sleep, we pretty much pass out on the couch, bloody exhausted! In between all of this, a lot of dish washer loading, vacuuming and gardening happens too.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?  In other words – what is your “WHY”?  (Apart from a toddler who is up at the crack of dawn!!)
Human connection. For me, that’s what it’s all about. I love creating and nurturing that connection through words and images. I have a deep desire to change the world and help others live a life free from unnecessary pain. And I just really want everyone to be happy in their own skin and to be kind teach other. (Oh, and if everyone can stop eating animals, that would be awesome too.)

Can you tell me more about your vegan journey?
I’ve been vegan for aaaages now! I think I’m in my fifth year of avoiding animal products whenever I can. I’m not perfect, sometimes I “slip up” and eat or buy something with a trace of animal product in it, and I’m open about that. Veganism is not about perfectionism and unforgiving vegans who try and pretend that it is just damage the good vibes for everyone else. I know that for a lot of people, Veganism is a big deal, and a major topic of conversation and argument, but for me, it’s common sense. You know, in the beginning, I used to wake up in the morning, and the first thing I would think is, “I’m vegan”. It was my first thought, because, yes, initially, it was such a massive lifestyle change, especially for a steak-loving farm girl married to a chef and restauranteur like myself. But honestly, it’s second nature for me now. There is nothing left to discuss or argue. The proof is in the pudding. It is now a fact that we now have only twelve years left to reverse the effects of climate change and the number one ways we can all do that, every single day, is to fly less, be vegan and have less children. If you’re educated and privileged enough to know why eating vegan and living a vegan lifestyle is the single best thing you can do for our planet, then there really is no excuse as to why you shouldn’t be vegan, or at least eat a vegan diet 90% of the time. Having said that, I also know how hard it can be initially to go vegan or plant-based, and what a mind-fuck it is at first - that is why I wrote my vegan guidebook and it’s also why I will soon be offering my services as a vegan mentor for people wanting to make this amazing change to their lives.

I often feel overwhelmed with all the things I want to do, achieve, start, accomplish and then don’t because of time constraints – how do you make the time to work on your business?
I wish I had the answer for this… I feel like I am always fighting the clock - especially since becoming a mum. The days fly by and I usually only get one or two things ticked off my to-do list. It is getting easier as Imogen gets older and doesn’t need me to be present 24/7, but yes, it is something I struggle with. I guess the only way to deal with it is to stop beating myself up, accept it is what it is, and to just get started on the most important things that need doing every day first. This unfortunately means that I get my admin done first (because survival) and that my creative processes, such as writing, have taken a major back seat, which I am very sad about. But every now and then (usually in the inner spring and summer seasons of my menstrual cycle), I will be blessed with a big burst of creative energy and will stay up until the wee hours of the morning writing and working on my projects. I kinda live for those moments these days! I never appreciated them fully when I was childless, so there really is a lot to be said about how becoming a mother forces you to stop being a procrastinator - which I totally used to be.

You recently started a podcast – which I know a lot of people would love to do too – any tips for getting started with that? 
Ah, the podcast! I just love this new medium of communication. It’s the new blogging, isn’t it? People don’t have time to sit and read long blog posts anymore, but they can listen to a podcast whilst exercising, or communting, or cleaning their house… I do a lot of podcast listening when washing dishes! As for getting it started… I just kinda did it! And I did it without too much thought, as I’m the kind of person who if overthink about something too much, I will never start it. I read a couple of blog posts about starting your own podcast (Lucy Lucraft has written a great one), and once I found out how to get a host (you need a hosting site for your podcast - most people use libsyn.com) and tinkered around a bit on Garage Band, I simply used my Voice Note app on my phone to record my first episode! Now that I’ve finished my first season and seen the numbers and found that people besides my mum are actually listening to my podcast, I’m hoping to be a little more “professional” with my second season - maybe organise a few sponsors, actually line up my guests for interviews and use an actual real life editor to help me. But I would say my number one tip for starting a podcast is to just do it! Put it out there and see what happens.



Favourite Instagram accounts at the moment?
@LaLunaLaFemme - yes, it’s run by me and @Amy_Keevy, but I do just love the amazing community of like-minded and strong women we have created with this account.
@yoga_girl - always! Rachel makes me tear up every day.
@tribedemama is amazing for empowering women and mothers and featuring other accounts which do the same.
@verylacey - ah, she is just a dream. In my next life, I want to come back as Lacey. She is such an inspiration to me.
@underthehood_podcast - it’s all about menstruation, motherhood and female empowerment - topics I love, obviously!
@the_green_dietitian - Jessica is an amazing vegan nutritionist in Cape Town and I love her practical, no-nonsense approach to vegan health. Her five minute meal posts are some of my favourites - great inspo for a mama like me with not much time to cook dinner!
@bryni - she’s a dear friend and one of my very first fellow vegans! Her pictures are just so dreamy and I am very envious of her wonderful Instagram husband, @keanebalt.

When is your next event/gathering/workshop?
I’m not sure yet - but La Luna La Femme will probably be holding a new or full moon gathering in March - sign up to our newsletter to keep on top of our latest news and events!

Other social media sites you hang out on?
FB - @WeAreTheWildflowersBlog

Check back next week for another conversation! ♥

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