Sunday, June 23, 2013

Studio tour

Well as you know the painting is flowing again - so I wanted to bring you into my creative space to show you what I'm up to right now...

HEALTH WARNING: The colours are BRIGHT and liable to lead to feelings of intense pleasure.

My new painting table - I realised that one of the things that was blocking me was trying to paint on the floor - after I moved studios I had nothing to paint on - this solved the problem! I much prefer painting flat - never really been into easels.

Come in past my dad's pots and paintings... (colour runs in the family!!)
My work bookshelf, paintings, creative altar and there, on the wall, behind the  rainbow mama's head, is the plan for the next BIG book!

Colour is where I'm at right now - I am LOVING it so much. Even more than usual (is that possible?)

I was running out of a number of colours, so I looked up my dealer of choice (Jacksons online) for my drug of choice: Golden brand fluid acrylics. I was almost out of a number of my favourite colours: Quincriadone Magenta (don't you just LOVE the name?!), Azo gold, Ultramarine Blue (phthalo green shade) and Dioxine Purple. And tried some new colours - LOOK at that Teal and Cobalt Turquoise. Pyrol Red would make any vampire happy. And the Diarylide Yellow (sounds like it would make you REALLY hyper if you consumed it at a kids birthday party!!! - or it's what you'd reach for for a case of delhi belly! It was instant color-gasm!

Unfortuantely they didn't arrive on a work day, so I went up to unpack them, and 40 canvases ( eeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkk!!) and some new brushes, with my sweet 3 year old in tow. She LOVES unpacking AND painting. So we cracked out the canvases (I had bought lots of little canvases for the kiddies as I often have painting helpers!

So my first shot of course was with the Teal and Turquoise. Onto my "Blood Maiden Butterfly" picture which had been stuck. OH they made it come alive! Then a glaze of Quincriadone Magenta over everything and suddenly the colours were jewel like. On went purple and yellow, and it's nearly there...

When I saw all the blues I thought to myself, must try them watery to make a beautiful sea-scape, as watered down they are like the most vibrant watercolours you've ever seen. Ash obviously read my mind, because that's what she did, all by herself. She loved the little wooden stretching pins which come with each canvas, and chose to stick them on all over.

And to get the full feel of painting with me, this is the sound track to my painting - inherited from the Bloom True class I did online with US artist Flora Bowley. Kyrstyn Pixton - like Florence and the Machine meets Tori Amos. Her first track, Crusade  is my all time fav. It is FREE to listen to. Though I will be paying for my own download copy. 

I am not affiliated in any way to any of the products I have mentioned - I just love them!

I'm hoping to do an exhibition later in the year. And also to have a couple of Open Studio days. The new paintings will also be added to my greetings card range - nearly out of stock again!! I'm also going to be looking into how to provide larger prints of my paintings - so many people have asked at this stage - if you're an artist can  you let me know who you use to make great quality art prints?

It has been so exciting working on commissions this year - one for a book cover, one for a girl's empowerment workshop and a couple for JUNO magazine. If you're looking to commission an image, do drop me a line lucy @ thehappywomb. com. Or if you spot an original work, do inquire about prices - most are available for sale!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

This year I'm celebrating!!! Not usually being one for birthdays - they tend to bring me out in panic attacks and turn me into a sobbing wreck - this year I've approached it a bit differently - with a month of self-nurturing, informally known as "the month of me" - I was going to blog about it here, but found I needed it to be private, to be focused on me... rather than feeling a duty to share it with everyone else.

So instead I wanted to share the love another way, as I come out the other side of the month of me... and offer you 1% off the price of my books for every year of my life...

Just how old am I? Well my body and soul feel 43, or even 53 (which would be GREAT for your discount!!), which except for the creaky knees, rapidly whiting hair and crunching pelvis, is a good thing - it's the age I always imagined I needed to be to become myself in my fullness -  which I have felt for the first time this past year. But actually my birth cert tells me that I'm turning 33. Still can't believe I'm that "young"!

So I'm offering 33% off ALL of my books: MOON TIME; MOODS OF MOTHERHOOD  and REACHING FOR THE MOON (NOT cards, moon dials or gift sets) bought from The Happy Womb. You can buy as many as you want in one order - you get 33% off EVERY copy you buy, from the moment you get this email, until 20th June 23:00 (MST) (relax European friends, it's a US time, you'll all be fast asleep - except me, cos I'll be up pre-dawn to go to a very special women's performance with my soul sister! )

Use  discount code BDAY33 when you reach the shopping cart to avail of your 33% discount.

(All books come signed with a Dreaming Aloud bookmark. Irish customers will find a partial postage refund in their package to reflect postage costs.)

The plan is, I share this discount code with you as a gift. You buy all the books from my site that you've been longing for, but lack of cash has stood in your way. I pack them up and send them out on Friday, before heading off on our family holiday for more soul- nourishment (Barcelona here we come!!!) whilst you luxuriate in my books and get some much needed women's soul-magic, which is, I promise you, contained within their pages.

So stock up on my titles you haven't yet read. Treat yourself to the paperback versions of Kindle versions you may have gotten for free. Get a gift of one for a sister, daughter, niece or friend... This is, and will be, the biggest DISCOUNT sale of my books ANY WHERE this year. So HURRY!!! and remember to use  discount code BDAY33 when you reach the shopping cart to avail of your 33% discount.

And what can you give me for my birthday? (Thank you for asking!) I'd love a review on Amazon... or Good Reads... or your blog.

Thank YOU!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The unspeakables

First it was just grumpiness.
We put it down to her being just-three.
But it went on...
So we thought she must be coming down with something.
Then she got really fussy about her food.
Plus whining a whole lot more.
And tantrumming.
And night waking.
And then one night as I was putting her to bed, the dreaded words... "my bottom itches."
A friend had told me that day that she had just treated her kids.
Another had treated hers the week before.
So we headed straight to the pharmacy.
And it life got much better.
But we only treated her.
Because it hadn't been that long since the whole family had been double-dosed.
And then her older sister's tantrums grew.
And nightwaking.
And school-refusing-three-hour-biting-screaming-tantrums.
And we thought it couldn't possibly be the unspeakables.
This behaviour was just SO extreme.
Her face pale.
Dark rings under her eyes.
Angry and oppositional.
Wore her uniform (after we spent three hours getting her into it) day and night for a week.
It couldn't be worms.
Could it?
This is insane.
There has to be something bigger wrong with her.
And I thought about the post I wrote.
Proclaiming this miracle cure we had found.
And how thousands of mothers around the world had read it.
And I worried that it had just been coincidence.
That I would have to write a retraction... "sorry folks, it wasn't really worms..."
We had never had any physical proof that the unspeakables were really there.
We had to hold off on treatment for a few days - long car trips meant the side effects of the treatments were less desirable than the unbearable tantrumming.
And then we treated her.
One tiny tablet.
And four days later our girl was back.
Rosy cheeks, dark circles gone. Loving, happy, relaxed. Sleeping deeply. Skipping to school.
It really is her... our... miracle cure.
We have all just taken the second dose again... the moment I heard those infamous words "my bottom itches".

No idea what I'm talking about - read here...

Friday, June 14, 2013

Joy Pockets

Little gratitudes in the midst of everyday living...

10 days of sunshine 
A weekend retreat last weekend.
Watching Shiloh Sophia's painting videos
Cycling home
Starting the next book
Painting in rainbow colours
Girls' kisses
So many good books to read and review
New paints on their way!
Anticipating my birthday AND our two week holiday!
An incredibly successful launch for Reaching for the Moon - no one saying it's pants - if you think so, please keep them thoughts to yourself ;)
A great radio interview - cos these things usually terrify me (tho still can't listen to my own voice for more than 2 minutes without toe curling embarrassment). 
Homemade custard - well done Mr DA

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Colour me happy

I'm back painting again, and loving it. Did I ever tell you how much I love playing with colour?

Ah yes, I did!

What struck me yesterday as I was busy "getting stuck" was nothing less than a revelation. I'd heard it before. But never really live it very often in my painting - but whenever I do, magic happens. So I thought I'd share it here.

What if I can't make any mistakes?

No, this is not woo-woo hippy-shit. It's true. The painting, or the book or whatever, if you are creating it from your own depths, has no way that it is supposed to be, supposed to look... it can be whatever it turns out to be. There are no mistakes. Really. Truly!

There is only creating. And re-creating. And re-creating. And re-creating. Until you decide to stop. I wrote a lot about the creative process in The Rainbow Way. And now I am really living it. I usually have to write stuff to get it into a deeper part of my consciousness.

So here is how I have been playing with colour this past couple of days. All in varying stages of "completion"...

Working over underpainting can be scary - you get attached to what is, and nervous that you will ruin it all. That's why this one has been paused for so many months. But courage in hands it has gone from this...

To this...

This one needs to be seen in person - the colours just put me into a trance... I had SO much fun doing it. It's called Rainbow Tapestry.

I shared this one on Facebook last week, but not on here... it's called Tree Sisters,  inspired by the organisation Tree Sisters. It's nearly done...

This one is probably going to be for the next issue of JUNO magazine, to go alongside a feature on girls' rites of passage. She emerged this morning. After months of underpainting going nowhere, she still has quite a way to go, but I love the movement, and the patterns on her dress, being echoed by what will probably be butterflies wings, against the rich, flat gold.

And this is one I did for last summer's exhibition, as everyone seemed to love watermelon pictures, and I sold my first. It was too simple, it didn't sell, so now it's going in a more cherry blossom polka dot direction! Still a way to go, but the colours make me feel so summery, it's a hard one to photograph in the morning sunshine!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Doing it right: what I knew before I had kids...

Welcome to the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting in Theory vs. in Reality
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants are sharing how their ideas and methods of parenting have changed. 

I am very honoured that my post was selected to be featured on the Natural Parents Network  website today, so you'll have to head over there to read the whole thing!! 

I also wanted to let you know you can catch me on today talking about my new book, Reaching for the Moon: a girl's guide to her female cycles which launched last week, currently available from my website The Happy Womb and Amazon.


Before I had children I knew, to the marrow of my bones, that I would do it right.
I was born to be a good mother. A mother who was available, devoted and loving.
A mother who was always there, without question.
I would know how to soothe a crying baby. Though of course my babies would not cry very much.
And my babies would sleep.
Because I would do it right.

Read more about my parenting journey in my guest post today at Natural Parents Network. They are featuring my post - Doing It Right: What I Knew Before I Had Kids - for the June 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Doing It Right: What I Knew Before I Had Kids at Natural Parents Network

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (posts will be live and updated no later than afternoon on June 11):
  • My little gastronomes — "I'll never cook a separate meal for my children," Maud at Awfully Chipper vowed before she had children; but things didn't turn out quite as she'd imagined.
  • Know Better, Do Better. Except When I Don't. — Jennifer from True Confessions of a Real Mommy was able to settle in her parenting choices before her children arrived, but that doesn't mean she always lives up to them.
  • Judgments Made Before Motherhood — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks back on her views of parents she came in contact with before she became a mother and how much her worldview of parenting has changed!
  • A Bend in The Road — Lyndsay at ourfeministplayschool writes about how her visions of homeschooling her son during the elementary school years have changed drastically in the last year - because HE wants to go to school.
  • I Wish Children Came with Instruction Manuals — While Dionna at Code Name: Mama loves reading about parenting, she's not found any one book that counts as an instruction manual. Every child is different, every family is different, every dynamic is different. No single parenting method or style is the be-all end-all. Still, wouldn't it be nice if parenting were like troubleshooting?
  • The Mistakes I've Made — Kate at Here Now Brown Cow laments the choices she made with her first child and explains how ditching her preconceived ideas on parenting is helping her to grow a happy family.
  • I Only Expected to Love... — Kellie at Our Mindful Life went into parenting expecting to not have all the answers. It turns out, she was right!
  • They See Me Wearin', They Hatin' — Erin Yuki at And Now, for Something Completely Different contemplates putting her babywearing aspirations into practice, and discussed how she deals with "babywearing haters."
  • Parenting Human BeingsErika Gebhardt lists her parenting "mistakes," and the one concept that has revolutionized her parenting.
  • Doing it right: what I knew before I had kids... — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud, guest posting at Natural Parents Network realises that the number one game in town, when it comes to parenting, is judgement about doing it right. But "doing it right" looks different to everybody.
  • A synopsis of our reality as first time parents — Amanda at My Life in a Nut Shell summarizes the struggles she went through to get pregnant, and how her daughter's high needs paved the way for her and her husband to become natural parents.
  • Theory to Reality? — Jorje compares her original pre-kid ideas (some from her own childhood) to her personal parenting realities on
  • The Princess Paradigm — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen had planned to raise her daughter in a sparkly, princess-free home, but in turn has found herself embracing the glitz.
  • Healthy Eating With Kids: Ideal vs. Real — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs had definite ideas about what healthy eating was going to look like in her family before she had kids. Little did she realize that her kids would have something to say about it.
  • How to deal with unwanted parenting advice — Tat at Mum in Search thought that dealing with unwanted parenting advice would be a breeze. It turned out to be one of her biggest challenges as a new mum.
  • How I trained my 43 month old in 89 days! — Becky at Old New Legacy used to mock sticker charts, until they became her best friend in the process of potty training.
  • My Double Life: Scheduling with Twins — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot was banging her head against the wall trying to keep up with the plan she made during pregnancy, until she let her babies lead the way.
  • Parenting in the land of compromise — As a holistic health geek trying to take care of her health issues naturally, Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama regrets that her needs sometimes get in the way of her children's needs.
  • Practice Makes Good, Not Perfect — Rachael at The Variegated Life comes to see that through practice, she just might already be the parent she wants to be.
  • 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering: How to Free Yourself and Your Family — Sheila Pai at A Living Family shares in theory (blog) and reality (video) how she frees herself from 3 Dangerous Myths about Parenting and Partnering that can damage the connection, peace and love she seeks to nurture in her relationships with family and others.
  • 5 Things I Thought MY Children Would Never Do — Luschka at Diary of a First Child largely laughs at herself and her previous misconceptions about things her children would or wouldn't do, or be allowed to do.
  • Policing politeness — Lauren at Hobo Mama rethinks a conviction she had about modeling vs. teaching her children about courtesy.
  • The Before and The After: Learning about Parenting — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work reminisces about the perspective she held as a young adult working with children (and parents) . . . before she became a mother.
  • Parenting Beliefs: Becoming the Parent You Want to Be — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how we can make a mindful decision to become the parent we want to be. Decisions we make affect who we will become.
  • The Great Breastfeeding Debacle — In Lisa at The Squishable Baby's mind, breastfeeding would be easy.
  • What my daughter taught me about being a parentMrs Green asks, "Is it ever ok to lock your child in their bedroom?"
  • Sensory Box Fail! — Megan at The Boho Mama discovers that thoughtful sensory activities can sometimes lead to pasta in your bra and beans up your nose.
  • Montessori and My Children – Theory vs. Reality — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares her experiences with Montessori parenting and describes the results she sees in her now-adult children.
  • How I Ended Up Like My Tiger Mom With Peaceful Parenting — Theek at The Laotian Commotion somehow ended up like her Tiger Mom, even though she purposely tried for the complete opposite as a peaceful parent.
  • I Like The Mother I Am Now More Than The Mother I Intended To Be — Darcel at The Mahogany Way thought she would just give her kids the look and they would immediately fall in line.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Good Job... In Praise of Praise!

People in the big wide world can often be pretty short on praise. 
People in the natural parenting world can get their knickers in a tremendous knot about it. 
I know how it makes me feel. 
And sure I should be a big enough person, and it shouldn't matter, I should just instinctively know how great I am. 
But truth is I don't. 
And it does matter hugely. 
To me and most people I know. 
To be honest I don't enjoy spending time round people who are totally convinced of their own awesomeness with no room for a compliment top-up... 
I like to hang with my fellow neurotic/ creative/ sensitive types...
we tend to be more quirky, and empathetic... 

I like saying genuine encouraging things to everyone. 
Big and small. 
I LOVE appreciating people. 
In words.
Written or spoken.
It's one of my hobbies. 
It makes them... and me... feel great.
And it tends to kindle more magic in the world.
I'm not into bribery or rewards. Or stickers. 
Fucking stickers. 
But appreciation.
We all need to feel the glow that someone values who we are and what we are doing. 
It shouldn't be the be all and end all. 
But it really matters. 
I can be quite impatient and moaney with my dearest kidlets.
I give out when I'm cranky.
But I'm aware of my negative speak. 
It comes out when I'm not right.
And when I focus on it, I get all tangled up in guilt and yuckiness. 
So I try, when I can, to focus on the power of my positive words. 
And I think that my words of appreciation outweigh the bleeurghs, two or three to one... at least. 

It was only on reading the e-book, Encouraging Words for Kids by Kelly Bartlett,
How unimaginative I am so often when I appreciate my children.
That realised how many times a day certain words fall from my mouth....
"Good job!" 
Often "Great Job!" 
Which is like a double "Good Job!"
She centres in on this... so it seems I'm not the only one who's over-using this praise bullet in my affirmation arsenal...
What do I mean by this. What am I really communicating?
It's a positive affirmation, sure...
But a bit lazy. 
And then I thought, prompted by this... I am encouraging them to think of what they're doing is good. That they need my approval. That they being good...
And a "work"
Time to come up with some alternatives...
I love the suggestions she gives. 
I will be printing them off to have them at eye level to remind myself. 
They are precise. 
Far more imaginative than "Good Job!"
So now every time I say "Good Job!",  I am aware. 
Bing goes my inner ear!
And I turn it into something more specific. 
To tell my kids WHAT it is I am enjoying and appreciating.
I also loved another blog post I read months ago, lord knows who by, where the mama noticed herself doing this and thought hard about what she was wanting to communicate. And she realised that what she was really trying to say was: "I love watching you..." "I love seeing you..." 
She wanted to reflect back the pleasure that she got in watching them, being with them, witnessing them. Not their achievement, or behvaiour. But her joy at their being their and being them and doing their thing, and her having the privilege to watch them do it.
I've adopted that idea too. 
And love saying it and my kids love hearing it. 
And its true for everyone who loves their kids.
We love seeing them being their mad, quirky, intelligent, feisty, courageous, inquisitive selves.

Encouraging Words for Kids by Kelly Bartlett, is part of the e-bundle of 22 Mindful Nurturing e-resources available until this Sunday for just $24.95. So this is almost your last chance to buy.

Questions about e-bundles and e-books and what I get when you buy via me - see here!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Reaching for the Moon launched today! Grab your FREE e-copy!

Ooooooooooooooohhhh mama what a day! 

I have (as those of you who are on FB/ Twitter or signed up to my mailing list) been launching of my third book – Reaching for the Moon, the girl's version of my much-loved first book, Moon Time. (Be sure to read to the bottom of this post to find out how you can get your FREE e-copy!)

WOWSER the response has been tremendous! The steam is fizzing off my computer! And my brain! I'm feeling short of breath and my heart is racing - in a good way! Within an hour it had been requested for review for a US parenting magazine!

It's so funny how different it is to the launch of Moon Time. My very first book launch. A bit like the first time one has sex (yes, it does all have to come back to sex on here, that's how we roll at Dreaming Aloud!) - messy, feeling very exposed and not very coordinated.

What amazes me is how much social networking has changed since the last launch, just how BIG Facebook is... and how much more connected I am to so many beautiful, connected women (how much I have changed), and how much of an appetite there is out there for my work. It is truly humbling. And exciting. 

There are three responses I am getting 
1) "Oh wow, I've been waiting for a book like this..."
2) "I've been waiting for YOU to write this book - at LAST, I've been asking for at least a year!"
3) "Another book? Seriously... Which one is this again?"

This is Reaching for the Moon - a girl's guide to her female cycles.Written especially for girls aged 9-14 as they anticipate and experience their body's gradual changes. This has been requested time and again by mothers, godmothers and aunts who wanted a gentle, loving, soulful introduction to women’s cycles for the special girls in their lives. 

ISBN: 1482363038
80 page paperback or Kindle.

Beginning with an imaginary journey into the red tent, a traditional place of women's wisdom, some of the gifts and secrets of womanhood are imparted in a gentle, lyrical way including:

* The secrets of the moon.
* The secrets of our cycles.
* The gift of self-care.

 Along with practical advice on:

* Preparing for her first period.
* Choosing menstrual products.
* Herbal healing.
* Celebrating menarche.

Reaching for the Moon is a nurturing celebration of a girl’s transformation to womanhood.

It is available as a signed copy + bookmark + FREE greetings card of one of my paintings (usually €2.50) from The Happy Womb. £6.99 + P&P
(Orders will be dispatched from 11th June. Offer available until 23rd June.)

It is also available from Amazon as a paperback or ebook.


From today until Sunday (midnight PST) you can download your
FREE Kindle version, so you can sample it before purchasing for the special girls in your life. (Please note you do NOT need a Kindle to read it. Kindle books can be read on tablets, android phones and computers).

Free Kindle copy - UK customers only.
Free Kindle copyrest of world.

Please do share it far and wide, on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and by email - let's get copies into as many mama's hands as possible.


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