Monday, 14 September 2015

The Craft Channel Launch

If you’ve followed me for a few years you’ll know that in my previous life (before kids) my career was very much anchored in the craft industry and I was involved in editing some pretty fab craft magazines which you’ll still find on the newsstand today.

So, always keeping a finger on the crafty pulse, I was pretty excited to be asked to attend the press launch of new, aptly named, craft TV shopping channel, The Craft Channel.

Hidden on an industrial estate in West London you’ll find The Craft Channel studios which have been given a new lease of life, painted hot pink and were decorated with balloons and flowers, ready for the arrival of many craft industry veterans. I got to meet some fab bloggers, editors and journalists as we all gathered to celebrate this launch and it really was a fantastic day out.

Watching a show being filmed!

So interesting to see behind the scenes!

We were given a tour of the studios, watched a show being filmed and got to mingle with the craft industry’s finest. I loved meeting the next generation of craft journalists who have now replaced me in my old job at Aceville Publications, as well as Editor of Mollie Makes – Lara Watson (I’m a long time fan), and editor of Die Cutting Essentials, Becky Higgins.

It was also so lovely to meet Amanda of Ginger Mum fame and Anthea of Zing Zing Tree – bloggers who were there doing what they do best and raising the profile of the blogging industry.

Dawn Bibby & Julian Ballantyne showing off the goodie bags!

The Craft Channel will not only be selling all of your latest craft products – covering papercraft, jewellery making, scrapbooking, chocolate making, baking and food – but it will be providing loads of demonstrations,  informative talks, interviews and magazine style chat shows full of your favourite craft celebrities – including Queen of papercraft, Dawn Bibby, the Crafty Beggars, Julie Peasgood and Wendy Turner and if you've ever tuned into a shopping channel you'll probably recognise Debbie Greenwood and Julian Ballantyne!

The channel launched this morning on channels Sky 261 & 660, FreeSat 402 & 815 & FreeView 254. If you’re the type of person whose house is full of scrapbooking paper, unfinished projects and crafty gizmos that your non-crafty friends just don't understand then I think you’ll love this new venture and I hope they fill that gap in the market that takes crafts to the masses and shows people what a fantastic hobby it can be.

Check it out at
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Thursday, 3 September 2015

A human problem that deserves a human response

I've had enough.

I've had enough of humans.

Humans that live in their cosy little houses, with their cosy little western life, with their 2.4 children and their parents round the corner who are living on to a ripe old age.

Humans whose main concern for their children is whether they're in the correct catchment area for their preferred school.

Humans who have never lived in a warzone.

Never witnessed a murder, let alone a mass murder. Let alone the mass murder of their own relatives. Friends.

Humans who have never had to leave behind their homes, families, careers, communities and possessions while they flee for their lives, not knowing whether their families or friends made it. Not knowing whether they died amid the chaos, or perished en route.

Humans who have never had to pretend to their children that they were going on an exciting adventure rather than embarking on a perilous journey where only the lucky survive and the only alternative is guaranteed death.

Humans who have never had to face the choice of which child to save from drowning as they float amidst a sea of bodies - their rubber dinghy capsized because they were not alone in deciding it was a safer bet to put their lives into the hands of human traffickers than stay home and hope for survival.

It's these humans who seem to think they're qualified to judge, qualified to pass comment. It's these humans who declare that the migrants are coming here for a comfortable life on benefits, who brandish them a blight upon society, criminals, thugs, a swarm of beasts.

But it's these humans who have never walked a mile in their shoes - let alone trekked across nations to reach an unknown destination.

I fail to believe that ANY mother would put their child's life at risk in the way that we see day after day, unless they were utterly convinced it was the best option. I fail to see how ANY person would attempt to cross the channel under a lorry unless they were in a state of absolute desperation.

I don't care whether you think they should stay in the first 'safe' country they find. I don't care whether you think they use illegal means or violent means. The fact is, they are humans.

I've seen the comments: 'I hope they all drown', 'why not just send them all into the tunnel and then send the trains through.'. Are you serious? The fact that you even think this crap suggests to me that these refugees are more human than you! How dare you place less value upon a fellow human being because of their refugee status?!

People are dying!

People need help!

People are desperate!

This is a complex problem, in complex times. Nothing is black and white. But it is not a political problem. It is not a religious problem. It is not a societal problem. It is not a racial problem.

It is a HUMAN problem.

And for that, it deserves a HUMAN response.

So, may I plead with you, to think before you speak. Think about the fact that these are individual lives. Individual stories. They are somebody's mother, father, brother, nephew, son, daughter. They had lives. They had educations. They had careers, and families, and homes. They were happy until their lives were turned upside down by war, conflict, genocide, terrorism. We cannot begin to fathom how desperate they are, that they honestly thought that they stood a better chance as a refugee than in their homeland (and while we're on that point, please educate yourself on the difference between a migrant and a refugee).

I live in Kent - the gateway to Europe. I see the effects that illegal immigration has on our communities, on our council budgets, on our road system (hello, operation stack!). I have seen videos of immigrants climbing out of lorries just down the road from where I live.

Am I angry? No.

I'm heartbroken. 

My heart hurts for these people. My heart hurts for their grief, their broken and dispersed families, for the fact that they may never find out what became of their relatives and homes. My heart hurts for those who have perished along the way. Europe has a lot to learn, our government has a lot to learn. Nobody has an instant solution or a magic wand to make this go away.

But in the mean time, let's have a bit of compassion.

And if you can, allow that compassion to move you to action.

History will judge us for our inaction.

Here's a great initiative you can support, run by an everyday person who saw the need and decided to do something about it:

You can also email your MP here.

Share this blog post or any other articles you find which highlight the human plight of the refugee crisis.

Read this interview with Dawn O Porter on how you can get involved.

If you want to shift your focus to Greece then check out this page.

Save The Children are running a Crisis Appeal here.

This article in the Telegraph includes a box at the bottom with five ways you can make a difference - including volunteering your home as temporary accommodation.

Know of any other initiatives of note? Let me know and I'll continue to update with links so everyone can find ways to act.
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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

If my kitchen could talk...

Dear Emily,

I know you're not much of a domestic goddess, and I absolutely realise that I am here to serve your needs but I wondered, if you wouldn't mind, if I could maybe give you some feedback. I'm not trying to be rude, and I realise you should be able to live your life however you want to, but I'm sorry to say we can't continue in this manner so it's time I spoke up.

  • I am only small so may I remind you that the sideboard next to the sink would be much better purposed if you didn't cover it in dirty dishes. It could be used to house an extra appliance, a food preparation area or even a decorative fruit bowl would do the trick. 
  • Following on from that, everything would run much smoother if you endeavoured to wash up your dishes when you use them... not when you need them!
  • Please inform your husband that I hate the way he drips tea bags across my nice, tiled floor on the way to the bin. He can either leave them on a saucer or quite simply, he could squeeze them out on the side of his mug to limit the drips.

My prized possession

  • Clearly you favour your coffee machine as your appliance of choice but the smoothie maker is gathering dust in the back of the cupboard and feeling left out. Also, if you showed your kettle, toaster and microwave the same amount of love that you show the coffee machine then everyone would be far happier. A quick wipe and descale wouldn't go amiss!
  • That space behind the door currently filled with an old hoover and a mountain of old carrier bags? Sort it out! You could fit a freezer in there for crying out loud! (And we all know your mini fridge freezer under the counter would appreciate the extra space).

And finally, I hate to bring it up, but there's been a couple of occasions where you've left the oven on. Not just the oven, but the hob. Now come on now, I wouldn't be a good household kitchen if I didn't raise this with you. Pay attention!

Forever in your home,

Your Kitchen

Alright kitchen, you've said it, I'll try harder - especially with Bake Off and autumn comfort food round the corner I'm kind of feeling inspired to change my ways and make more of you - or at least the resulting food that might come from you. But you're gonna have to get the hubster on board. I've tried to talk to him about that tea bag thing but even in eight years of marriage we've never quite cracked that old habit - you're not liking the tea stained look then? Your not-quite-a-domestic-goddess, Emily
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Friday, 14 August 2015

Post Comment Love ~ 14th-16th August 2015

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So this week I have the privilege of hosting Post Comment Love for the lovely Vicky Welton over at while she is away on holiday (hope you're having a fabulous time, Vic!).

I'm a little bit nervous about it because I'm slightly in awe of her as a blogger (ssshhhh!) so it feels kind of strange to be having such a well thought of, successful linky of hers over here in my little corner of cyber space! Despite that, I'm glad you've found your way over here and I'm excited to get to know you all and find some new, lovely blogs to read.

The last few weeks have been a bit quiet over here because we've had a couple of breaks, holidays and celebrations and it always seems to take me an age to get back into a routine with blogging, life. This week, however, hubby is working a five day week (finally!) which has given me a chance to catch up, settle in and get some things done! Normal service will resume, I promise (whatever normal is, anyway!).

We've been loving the sunshine and are sad to see it slip away from us, spending time with family, reading this book, buying more books (The Works have a lot to answer for, I'm telling you!), and making September plans which may all fall to pieces should I bite the bullet and get a job - you can read about that ongoing struggle here.

Anyway, thanks for dropping by, and without further ado, on to the #PoCoLo fun!

If you are a regular linker then it would be great if you spread the #PoCoLo word. However, if you are new then welcome! Post Comment Love is all about sharing posts which you have written this week which just haven’t got the attention they deserve and, with them all in one place, we can help each other share the comment love. This is one of the easiest links EVER. You don’t have a ‘special theme’ to have to write about, the post can be personal, sponsored, a photo, a review, a competition, your own linky, something you've linked to a linky….WHATEVER you like – as long as it’s one you've already written this week! If you want some publicity and attention, then you are in the right place!

Please make sure you go across and comment on at least two other linkers posts. Linkys work if everyone supports each other :) then spread the #PoCoLo about this link up on Twitter. The post you link up has to have been written in the last week. The link will go up every Friday at 6.30am and close on Sunday evening at 8pm.

Don’t forget our #SoFoLo community on Google + and our #PoCoLo Facebook group where you can come and post your PoCoLo post for some more shares as well as any of your social media accounts of yours that need more followers.

If you link up, don't forget to tweet me @EmilyDavies85 as I'll endeavour to give you all a shout out at some point over the weekend!

Vicky has a list for the Newbie Showcase running into March 2016. If you would like to be featured then please email her at so she can put you on the rota. Remember, your blog needs to be under a year old to feature from the time of sending your email to her.

Now, unfortunately the Newbie Showcase Vicky had organised for this week has been unable to take part which is a shame. So, I hope Vicky and the rest of you awaiting your Newbie Showcase don't mind - it's not my intention that anyone should skip the queue, but I wanted to offer something up to you all in its place rather than leave you hanging. I'd instead like to introduce you to my friend Kate at Yes, She Writes.

Her blog is just over a year old (sorry, cheating!), but it has only taken shape recently as she has relaunched it this month and it is pretty awesome. She blogs about beauty, fitness, books and basically anything that takes her fancy, but she's funny and quirky and all those good things in between. You should definitely check her out, but I particularly think you'll enjoy this post about her love/hate relationship with yoga and this post about her secret super power - complete with crap pen drawings to illustrate (you'll like them).

Now, onto the Linky!

An InLinkz Link-up

EDIT: Sorry, the linky isn't showing in situ - can't work the html. If you click the link above it will take you to all the other linkers and to link up your own post. Thanks!

Post Comment Love
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Post Comment Love"><img src="" alt="Post Comment Love" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

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Thursday, 13 August 2015

Decision Making

I used to be a pretty kick ass decision maker. Some might say impulsive, but I never wondered about long term life decisions, I just pushed doors, saw which ones opened and walked through them.

Let me give you an example:

Picture the scene, I've just turned 17, sitting in the lounge with my parents:
Parents: Now, we know this is a bit of an upheaval but Dad has got a job 60 miles away which includes a house. We're all moving 60 miles away.
Me: Well I'm not coming!
Parents: Why?
Me: Because I need to finish my A-Levels at the same college. I can't leave.
Parents: Well where will you go?
Me: Hmmm... well, my youth pastors who I'm not all that close to have had a lodger move out. I shall become their lodger!
Parents: Ok.....

So I did.

One year later......

Not the best Boyfriend in the world: I'm moving to Wales.
Me (between sobs): I shall come with you! I know we're crap together, but I've finished my A-Levels now and I can't continue being a lodger here. I shall move to Wales too!
Not the best Boyfriend in the world: Where will you live?
Me: We will find someone for me to be a lodger with.

So I did.

Other seemingly impulsive decisions might include, but are not restricted to, going to City University because it was the only one I bothered to go to the open day for, taking a job in Colchester even though I lived in London and had no intention of moving (this commute lasted four years) and marrying my husband (I'm not sure you have to think about Love, right?!).

I've never regretted any of these decisions. In fact, a huge amount of the good stuff in my life happened precisely because of these decisions. But now, decisions are hard to come by.

In fact, you're more likely to find me sobbing in the frozen aisle because I can't decide between chicken nuggets and fish fingers than you are to find me marching through life in a decisive, seize the day kind of manner!


Because I have this munchkin to think of!

This indecisiveness was highlighted this week because last week I decided to get a job. We need money, I don't work, simples. Right?

Except no.

I have a munchkin to think of. She's not yet two and a half, she's never been in childcare. Full time childcare is a lot to throw her into all at once.

This is what my brain looks like right now:

Can we afford childcare? 
Do we have the support network to enable us to both work full time? 
We'll lose certain benefits, can I earn enough money to compensate for that and the childcare? 
Will it be worth it? 

What other things will we have to sacrifice if I work full time? 
Will we never have another baby if I go back to work now? 
Can I handle the stress? 
Is it feasible to work part time? 
Or would we just end up earning less, losing more benefits and be worse off? 
Are there even any part time jobs in my skill set out there? 
Will childcare vouchers help? 

How the **** can I get my head around all of these hypothetical figures to see if this would hypothetically be worth it? 
If I do manage to get a job, will there be space at the nearest nursery? 
Who will do pick up / drop off and how because we don't drive? 
How will we find the upfront costs of childcare before I earn my first pay cheque?


So anyway, as you might be able to tell, despite having applied for a couple of jobs in my initial enthusiasm, I'm pretty nervous about the consequences of this decision, and this panic has got me caught like a rabbit in the headlights so I haven't made progress and applied for any more (yet!).

I'm kind of hoping we will hit the jackpot and I won't have to make this decision at all! (Ha! We don't even play the lottery).

Any advice?

Do I just jump right in and cross each bridge when we get to it? Or do I try to come to a well thought out plan before getting there?

I miss the impulsive me!
Read More »

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Book Review: Live, Love, Lead by Brian Houston

In Christian life there is one book that stands above the rest and that should be our first port of call - The Bible - obvs!

However, when other people have walked a journey and are further along in that journey it would be silly not to arm yourself with the wisdom that they have picked up along the way. I mean, if somebody has already learnt a lesson (often the hard way) and then there is an opportunity for you to learn that same lesson without having to go through the hard stuff, why wouldn't you?

My former senior Pastor, Brian Houston, released this book, Live, Love, Lead recently. This is a man who has been in prominent Christian ministry for decades, he's learnt a few things, often the hard way, and he's chosen to put it all down in a book so that we can learn those things too. How thankful am I?!

I read it in three days. I highlighted and annotated it. I prayed and journalled my way through it.

Whether you're just starting out in your Christian faith, you're not a Christian at all but wouldn't mind applying some Christian principles to improve your life, or you've been a Christian for years and are in ministry, there's something in this book for you.

I attempted to read a chapter a day so that I could really meditate on the lessons learnt, but it was such a page turner that it didn't always work out that way!

It's easy to look at these high profile ministers who have been in it for decades and think that they've had it easy or that they have it all together, but this is Brian's most honest, autobiographical and transparent book to date and you very quickly find out that he's had to face some trials and tribulations - some within ministry, some within his own personal life but with heightened pressure because of his profile.

Each chapter is full of anecdotes and stories, accompanied with the biblical perspective, teaching and scripture. This style makes it both a fantastic read and a challenging lesson. I'm left with lots to mull over and apply into my own life. It covers issues of purpose, pioneering, facing tough challenges, trauma and coming out the other side with integrity and authenticity.

I am so thankful that Brian chose to write this book. I believe it will change many lives and his honesty and vulnerability over some tough issues is something to be admired.

Available here.
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Saturday, 1 August 2015

My heart is full

My heart is full.

It's been all quiet on the blogging front the past few weeks. Life gets like that sometimes. I am easily overwhelmed by the endless tasks, plans and responsibilities of life, and blogging is often the thing that takes a back seat. I'm ok with that. I hope you are too.

The last few weeks have been particularly busy. We started last week with a funeral, ended it with a christening and sandwiched a massive three-day church conference in the middle. I've then needed a week to process, reflect, recover and to get up and go again.

But my heart is full.

My heart is full, knowing that God, in all His glory, chose to sacrifice His Son so that I could have a relationship with Him.

My heart is full because I know how woefully inadequate, unworthy and insignificant I am. I know what I'm like. I know that I am so far from perfection. I know that I am a total work in progress, sometimes a wreck, and yet God knows me better than I know myself and still chose to make a way for me to have a relationship with Him.

My heart is full knowing all of that, because not only did He want a relationship with me, but He also decided to call me, equip me and gift me so that He might use me for His purposes.

My heart is full because 10 years ago He planted me in a church that had more vision than I could ever have for myself. A church that encouraged me to live a full and expansive life, a life worthy of His sacrifice. A church that taught me to reach for the moon, dream big and trust God for the impossible.

My heart is full because despite my failings God wove my life into His plan so that I might participate in a purpose beyond my wildest imaginations.

My heart is full because I live in a day where 10,000 people can fill the O2 Arena for three days and lift the name of Jesus over London, over Europe. That as a result, the eternal destiny of many individuals, families, churches and nations are changed.

My heart is full because we are now living in days and seeing things come to pass that 10 years ago we only dreamed of and believed to be impossible.

My heart is full because even though we are no longer a part of this particular church, we carry its legacy wherever we go. Our lives are changed, and the lives of other people are changed because of the investment of many wise, visionary and amazing people who have gone before us.

My heart is full because those wise and visionary people knew me as an awkward, shy and lost 19 year old and still saw something in me that was worth investing in.

My heart is full because many of those people are still investing in us today - their legacy is in us as our legacy will be in future generations.

My heart is full because despite suffering losses, God has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams. I would have been happy with any child, and yet God saw our loss and entrusted us with a child who is the embodiment of His blessing.

My heart is full knowing that my children will be raised to believe for the impossible, and it will come to pass.

My heart is full because I'm only now seeing the impact of our own lives over people that we have had the privilege of leading over the years - to see their lives move forward has been one of my greatest joys.

My heart is full because God continues to have a plan and a purpose for my life, one to give me a hope and a future. I am only scratching the surface when I think of what has been before and try to imagine what is in our future.

My heart is full because the best is yet to come.

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Friday, 17 July 2015

Book Review: Secrets of the River by Jess McGlynn

You may remember a while back I interviewed my blogging friend, Jess McGlynn about the release of her debut novel. Well, it may have taken me a while, but I finally finished it. Let me reassure you, it didn't take that long because the book was hard-going, merely because I go weeks without picking up a book!

The book follows our protagonist Isabelle as she attempts to flee a deep, dark secret following the death of her fiance. She finds herself hiding out in a tiny, seemingly quiet, French village with her sister, Martha, where she soon discovers that everyone is hiding something.

The secrets begin to unravel as Isabelle forms friendships with three very different men. Who will she end up with? And will they be able to overlook her past? These are the questions that keep you turning the page along with a good number of sub-plots to keep the other characters interesting also. My only criticism would be that some of the sub-plots would make great novels in and of themselves and I was left wanting more depth to them! (Maybe an idea for a spin-off, Jess?)

For a debut novel, I think Jess has done a stellar job - and that's coming from someone who is normally quite sceptical of the self-publishing movement! If this is what she can write as a first novel with little professional input then I can't wait to read her next book and I truly hope that her talents are one day noticed by the publishing big-wigs.

If you like chick-lit and are looking for a good pool-side read this summer, that has both romance and mystery then you should definitely check this book out. And at £1.99, I don't really think you can go wrong.

Download Secrets of the River here.
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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The day London stood still

"The city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. ... Nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail." ~Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London
People always ask you where you were during significant world events. Where were you when Princess Diana died? Where were you during 9/11? I remember these things vividly. I remember being glued to the television, the feeling of disbelief as events unfolded before my eyes. My memories are through the filter of BBC News. I remember footage, complete with red ticker tape scrolling across the bottom.

My memories of the 7th July 2005 are slightly more fractured. Because I wasn't watching events as a BBC News viewer, far away. I was a Londoner. I didn't watch events unfold on the TV, I was somehow, tenuously a part of it.

I was 20 and working for my university on a residential summer school. We were looking after 15 and 16 year old kids from the local area of Islington. They were there to broaden their horizons. To be encouraged to look at University as an option. To be told that they could achieve anything they wanted to achieve, that they had potential, that the world was their oyster. Many were from disadvantaged backgrounds, many were from minority backgrounds, but all had the ability and potential to achieve to degree level.

It was the beginning of the day and the children were gathered in a university classroom, I don't remember what for. The activities hadn't begun yet, so maybe it was some kind of briefing. We were going on a trip that afternoon - I forget where. We soon realised it wasn't of significance.

Our supervisor came in and called the leaders into the corridor, her face had drained of colour. "There's been a series of explosions on the underground," she said "we don't know all the details yet but we need to keep the kids here for the time being, they cannot go outside, at least until we know what's happened. They think it was power surges."

We were in a tiny classroom with about 20 children. I don't remember what we told them. They did have mobile phones, but this was before smart phones. They couldn't look up all the details on Twitter. Some attempted to call family members but all the networks were down, there was no phone signal, nobody was getting through.

After an hour or so we were able to transfer the kids into the careers centre. We walked them down in groups. By this point we knew about Russell Square. We knew it wasn't power surges. Terrorism. Probably Islamic extremists. I don't know how the kids felt. Many were Muslim themselves. I don't ever remember making the connection. They were just kids. I don't remember any of the children making the connection. They had grown up together in school. Race and religion didn't come between them in their world. They were all just good friends. They were Londoners.

At this point they were all allowed to use the phones in the office to attempt calls home. There were only a couple, and the phone lines were still down. It took a series of attempts. We just constantly listened to the silence as the lines failed to connect. The more the kids tried, the more they panicked. Their sisters, brothers, mums and dads used the underground for work. I remember a girl crying, saying "My mum uses the Piccadilly Line." There were very real possibilities that their family members were caught up in this, somehow. We allowed the children to try first and after a while I tried my parents - just to let them know I was safe. 

I remember not being sure whether they even knew. Did my mum watch the news during the day? Did they know what had unfolded? Were they even worried about me? Were we just overreacting?

We walked our groups back to the halls of residence.

Of all my memories, this is the most vivid. By this point it was probably around lunch time. It was about a 10 minute walk down a normally busy street.

I remember the silence.

I remember the desertion.

I remember there was no traffic. No movement on the roads.

I remember business men in suits marching through the sunshine all headed south. Men just marching by foot, the only form of transport. Marching towards the Thames, probably headed to Charing Cross, Waterloo, London Bridge. Would they get home tonight? Were there trains? I don't know. I just remember each one in solitude, just marching in unison. How far some of them marched, I don't know. It was eerily quiet. It was silent. Everyone grim, solitary in their mission but united in their knowledge of what had occurred, and what that meant.

It's not often the streets of London fall silent. Even in the dead of night, if you head down to the West End, you'll come across intoxicated revellers, club promoters canvassing on every corner, buses and taxis locked in heated jams and everywhere you look someone will be trying to sell you something.

If the streets of London cease to emit sounds, lights, crowds and traffic, something, somewhere is terribly wrong. Something was terribly wrong.

But do you know what else I remember?

I remember bouncing back.

I remember people asking whether I would board the tube again and defiantly stating that it was highly unlikely that another bombing would take place the very next day, in fact, with such heightened security, London had probably never been safer! 

I'm not sure whether we were proven right or wrong a week later when police foiled a copycat attempt yards from my house at Oval.
I remember marvelling at how life went on. At how in the days that followed London was not shaken. It could not be moved. How our best and strongest response was to continue as normal. How quickly the tube network was restored to full service. I remember in the weeks afterwards, feeling strange travelling through those stations on the tube, knowing that just weeks beforehand people had died there.

I remember the sense of defiance. The sense of community. I remember how Londoners came together, every race, creed, religion and colour, to show unity in our grief. Grief for the lives lost and the lives left behind. But also grief for our great city, marred and tarnished by this tragic, senseless act which appeared to achieve nothing and yet ruined everything for 52 tragically heartbroken families.

So today, 10 years on, 10 years older, in a world so different, where terrorism affects so many across the globe every single day, I just wanted to say, 

I remember.

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Friday, 26 June 2015

Rend Collective, Sleepy Foxes & Play Dough ~ #littleloves

Wow! I can't believe it's Friday already! And you know what Friday means.... that's right, time for #LittleLoves (unless it's last Friday, in which case I didn't get round to it! Ooops!). So, because I missed last week (and no doubt many of you lot did too because you were all at BritMums, right?), this one might be a bit of a combination over the last fortnight, but there's lots to share! So, here goes:


I haven't done much proper reading this week, but I have been trying to read more blog posts and doing a bit of research.

I found a great article by Elle&Co about growing your Twitter following. I'm not great on stats (as I'm sure it shows) as I'd rather invest my limited time in writing than doing loads of in depth social media strategising, but if there are some simple hacks that will get my blog in front of more people then I'll have a go.

Much of this article is nothing you haven't read before - you just have to implement it! BUT, one thing that I hardly ever do is include pictures in my tweets - mainly because all of my social media is linked up - so pics will more likely appear as links to my instagram etc. I've been making more of an effort with including pictures in my tweets - particularly the ones that promote my blog posts - and my engagement has definitely gone up - worth the extra effort!
Read the article here.

I also loved a post from Suzanne at 3 Children & It called Why I Will Not Apologise to my Children. Sound harsh? It's about the standards and rules that she puts in place for her teenage brood and she's not going to apologise for having those standards. I think there's a huge gap in blogland for mums of teenagers - probably because teenagers don't want to be blogged about, which is why I love Suzanne's blog (we need to know what to expect, right?). She manages to blog positively and respectfully about her kids whilst giving us a peek into the world of teenage parenting.

One of the rules I loved was that her kids mobile phones have to be left downstairs after 9.30pm. I do worry about the impact technology has on kids today - it's nothing like what we had as kids. I got my first phone at 14, but it was so basic, it just text and called. There was no picture messaging, no apps, no internet, no facebook - I worry what our kids will be exposed to in 10 years at the pace technology goes, so this rule was definitely one to file away for the future!
Read the blog post here.


Chicago Fire! Never watched it before, and it's totally not cool, but we saw the trailer for the new series with the massive explosion and had to tune in. The result of the explosion was pretty disappointing (I was expecting a lot more people to die...). We ended up watching two episodes back to back and now it's on series link. Also, Jesse Spencer (aka Billy Kennedy, poster boy of my youth) is in it (does this guy ever age?!).


Ruby has been looking cute in dresses. We picked up a couple of jersey dresses in H&M for £2.99. You can't go wrong! Combined with a denim jacket and sneakers she is set for summer. Apologies for the lack of cute pics but you get the idea...


I've been loving a bit of Rend Collective this week. If you're a fan of Irish folk music then you might want to check them out. One of my favourite tracks is My Lighthouse.


I made something! I blogged about them here but I was just so thrilled to be able to stitch something up - I haven't done sewing in ages! These sleepy fox brooches were just a little kit that came free with a magazine a while ago but they were enough to get the creative juices flowing.

...and lastly

I've been getting creative with Ruby. Despite being quite creative myself I have to make a real effort to get creative with Ruby. I find the mess a bit scary, she doesn't sit still long enough to justify the effort and personally I prefer being out the house so we're rarely at home long enough to do anything. BUT play dough is the answer! She's been loving it, and I love it because the mess is minimal and it's easy to get out and put away. It has, however given me the confidence to try some painting with her. We have all the bits and pieces we need, but we might do it tomorrow when we can get out on the patio!


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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Introverts & the toddler years

I'm an introvert.

This doesn't mean that I'm shy, or scared of social interaction. It doesn't mean that I hate people or that I don't want to spend time with them.

It means that lots of social activity drains me of energy. Physcially, mentally and emotionally. I recharge by spending time by myself. I have to make a point of making time for myself otherwise I very quickly become drained, burnt out and the very thought of social interaction leaves me heading for hibernation.

When in hibernation, I don't want to talk, I find it difficult to make decisions, I get overwhelmed, stressed and tired very easily. I don't answer calls. I struggle to even answer texts! I back off from social media. I lose all creativity. I just want to be on my own. For a little while. To create some headspace.

It's not a bad thing, it's not a weakness or an illness, it's merely a personality trait.

By contrast, extroverts are energised by social interaction. If left alone for long periods of time, they become lethargic and depressive, they need to go out, meet people, do things and the more they do, the more they want to do! 

Often it feels like the world is geared towards extroverts. Work, church, family life is all built upon social interaction and if us introverts aren't careful, if we don't prioritise that alone-time, we burn out quickly.

But that's ok. Up until a couple of years ago I was good at that. I would often stop off at a coffee shop on my way home from work, or my long train commute gave me some space to think, or when my husband worked weekends I would while away lots of time sunbathing in the park, mooching around town, or reading a magazine in Starbucks. If I did that, I was set. I would live at a million miles an hour - working in a busy job, evening drinks, church meetings, socials, serving all day in church on a Sunday. All that was manageable and great and fun because I had that alone time built into my schedule.

Then... I became a mum.

Oh God!

The first few months were great - I mean she slept loads and cried very little. As the months turned into years I learnt to make the most of nap time - still being sure to enjoy it by doing my own thing.

Then... she stopped napping.

Oh God!

And since then, well, it's got harder.

Since then, there is no alone time. From 7am until 8pm. Toddlers require constant attention. They ask constant questions. They make constant messes. They need constant help. It's just, well constant.

"What you doing, Mummy?"

And for an introvert, constant is bad. Introverts need space. Physical space (decluttered, tidy space), mental space (time to think without being asked 'What you doing, Mummy?') and emotional space (to feel that you can process your thoughts and feelings without interruption).

Introverts + toddlers = burn out.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my toddler. I love her cute face. I love her constant questions. I love that she is there, all the time, I love that she is dependant upon me. I love that I can be there for her 24/7 for as long as she needs me. I love that I am the one who gets to watch her every move and lead her through this first stage of life. I love that I can devote myself to her for this period.

I love it!

But it's exhausting. It's draining. It's hard.

So what's an introvert to do?

Get up!

If by some miracle she decides to have a lay-in and you wake up before her, get up! Don't waste that time sleeping. Get up! Grab yourself a hot drink and go and sit in the garden or curl up on the sofa. 15 minutes is enough to make you feel energized for the day.

Tidy up!

I often find that if the house is a mess then I just curl up and hibernate. Keep tidying, even when it feels pointless, even when she just gets everything out again, just keep at it. It's much better than surveying a state of chaos come 4pm and just giving up.

Fuel up!

It sounds obvious but we all do it. It is often 11am before I realise I've not had anything to eat or drink. Low blood sugar equals low energy and lethargy which is not going to help you when you get to a state of overwhelm. Be sure to eat and drink.  


If you set her up to do some painting, or play dough, don't just hover around and supervise. Sit down with her and do something simple, but creative. An adult colouring book, a cross stitch, or stitching up a felt brooch or something. I did this the other day with those fox brooches. I couldn't believe I managed to create something like that during Ruby's awake time, but the resulting feeling of creativity and accomplishment made me feel like I'd done something for myself and it got the creative juices flowing.

Cuddle up!

And when the day ends and little one is tucked up into bed, try to make the most of your evening. You might feel like crashing and burning, you might be too tired to even utter a sentence, but at least have a cuddle with your other half - it's easy to block them out, but they need to see you just as much as you need to be on your own!

And when all that's done...

... book a babysitter. Go to a coffee shop, mooch around town, go for a run or curl up with a good book, alone, just to recharge.

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Monday, 22 June 2015

Dear Daddy, Love Ruby

Dear Daddy,

Mummy had a busy weekend and didn't get to write a nice Father's Day post for you. I know you were disappointed. All the other mummy bloggers did one. I didn't want you to feel left out.

Here's us, we're so cheeky...

I know I'm only two, and you think I don't understand a lot. You think I can't always say what I'm thinking. That's ok. I know it doesn't always make sense to you - you'll get there, you're still learning.

But one thing I do understand is that you love me. You do tell me all the time, but apparently actions speak louder than words, and I wanted you to know that your actions are SHOUTING REALLY LOUD - just like me when I want you to come and get me out of my cot in the morning.

I love that we have special time in the mornings before you go to work. You let me come downstairs with you even when it's early. You let me switch the TV to 'Beebies even when you want to watch the news people talking. You even let me sit on your lap and share your breakfast! (You're much better at sharing food than Mummy is, well done, it's good to share).

I love that before you go to work you let me help get your bike ready. I pass you a towel so you can wipe the saddle from the rain. And I always pass you your hat too - apparently it's a very important hat. Lately, you've even let me sit on your bike! I love that you always make sure I give you a hug - even when I don't want to say goodbye - because you know I will miss you (but I think you might miss me a little bit too).

I wish you would just let me drive this thing one day!

I love that when you get me dressed at the weekends you always choose a princess dress. Mummy likes me to be practical but secretly we both know I am a princess and so dresses are the only suitable choice - thanks for your cooperation on that.

I love that when you make food you let me sit up on the counter so I can see what's going on.

I love that when we go to the park you always try to have a turn on the see-saw even though you are far too big. I love that you poke your head over the top of the slide to give me a kiss before I come down.

I love that when we go out for coffee you don't mind reading with me or colouring with me so that we all have a nice time (and so that Mummy doesn't get stressed by me running around).

This is a funny story!

Try and stay within the lines, Daddy...

I love that when we are out you buy us ice cream to share. Mummy can't eat ice cream but that's ok - all the more for us! (Thanks for letting me always have the flake).

Can we stop with the pictures and just get on and eat this thing?!

I love that you take me to church every week and even when you're talking at the front you let me come and give you a hug (if Mummy doesn't stop me in time!).

I love that when you watch the football you always tell me who to cheer for - for some reason you don't like red shirts very much.

I love that when we are out you still carry me everywhere even though Mummy is too small to do that (she says it's because I'm too big but we all know what the real issue is).

I love that you eat pretend picnics with me even though you are a big man and would probably prefer real cake to knitted cake! It's ok, I'm sure the miniature coffee makes it better.

I love that when you come home from work you make faces through the back window until I see you. I love that when I knock at the back door, instead of coming in you just knock back. I love that you take me outside to see Mr. Cat, even when it's entirely inappropriate like when it's raining, or when dinner is ready, or when I'm not wearing shoes!

I love that in the evenings we do acrobatics - you let me slide down your legs, you fling me over your shoulders or up into the air. You do this even when Mummy says we're supposed to be quietening down before bed - it's ok, it's fun (you do get quite excitable in the evenings, I hope you get to sleep ok).

I think this is what Mummy means when she says we should have quiet time...

I love that when I climb the stairs to go up to bed, you poke your nose through the bannisters to give me a kiss. I love your big cuddles and that you always like putting me to bed because I've missed you (and you've missed me too). I love that you sit with me until I fall asleep.

I love you for all the things you do.

But really,

I love you to the moon and back.

Because you are you.

Love and cuddles,

Your Ruby. xxx

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Thursday, 18 June 2015

What I made: Sleepy Fox Brooches

On Tuesday I had a massive sort out of magazines (I'm a bit of an addict) and, being a long time subscriber of Mollie Makes, I discovered I had a huge stash of little craft kits that come free with these types of mags. In need of some creative mojo, I set about making one up.

I've now resolved to make all the kits that I have (there's probably nearing 30!).

I started with this sleepy fox brooch kit from Mollie Makes, issue 32. Designed by Samantha Wood at Polka Dot Dreams, they were just staring at me from in amongst all the little kits and they seemed sweet enough and crying out to be made!

The original kit looked like this:

The templates and instructions could be found in the mag (I knew there was a reason why I keep all my mags so organised and pristine!).

And here's the finished result!

Having not sewn in a while, I'm quite proud of my evening's creative achievements! I'm not the neatest of stitchers and I appear to really struggle with symmetry but I'm so pleased with the results.

It's always nice to do something creative of an evening and these were the perfect mini project. Now, onto the next one tonight... so many choices!
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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Surprises in the Post ~ #BringBackPaper

Every day I look forward to the postlady coming. I don't know why, our postlady is nice and everything but all she seems to deliver is bills, junk mail or stuff for previous tenants. But I look forward to it all the same in the hope that one day, just maybe, somebody might have decided to send me a little surprise. It rarely happens, but we live in hope!

That's why when I saw on twitter that Jocelyn from the Reading Residence was running a #BringBackPaper postal swap I couldn't resist taking part.

Unfortunately, I neglected to take a picture of what I sent to my swap partner but it included some pretty papercrafting bits and pieces and the like. I also should have blogged about this a couple of weeks ago, but hey, I have been wanting to share this with you!

I waited in anticipation for my parcel to drop through the door - both of us had sent ours after the deadline, we seem to both be the type to leave things to the last minute (I hadn't forgotten, I just always wait 'til deadlines!).

It arrived!

OMG! I am such a lucky girl! My swap partner had taken such care and thought in choosing what to include. She included things that were so 'me' and I discovered from her letter that we actually have a huge amount in common. It was so nice to receive a lovely, handwritten letter but all the goodies were beyond my expectations!

If you can't see from the photograph here, I got a notebook, some letter writing paper, stickers, a cross stitch kit (just in case I'm interested in craft... um yes!), a miniature pen, some ribbony paperclip bookmarky things, some post-its, lollipops, a selection of drink sachets, a unicorn pencil and some bags of Haribo.

Seriously, how lucky am I?!

If you love paper, stationery, reading, writing and creating then you need to check out Jocelyn's #BringBackPaper series and get involved. She runs swaps, events and challenges throughout the year so hop on over and see what's happening. This month's activity is a Twitter Party next Wednesday!
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Monday, 15 June 2015

Hats: Toddler Style

I don't remember the last time I bought clothes for myself. I wander through clothes departments, not particularly enamoured with anything in particular, my uniform is jeans and t-shirts. If I need to dress it up then I add heels and a blazer, if I'm slobbing out then I pull on a hoodie. I guess I'm a classic mum. Nothing is practical. There's never the occasion for it. And I spend all my time running after a toddler, it's all about comfy shoes!

However, take me into the toddler fashion department and given the chance, I'd buy everything on the rail! We don't often splash out, but I'm far more likely to be tempted by something for Ruby than for myself. This week we were able to pick up a few bits and pieces. 

Ruby's not great at posing. How I would love to do little photo shoots against a nice white wall like Mummy Daddy & Me Makes Three! But Ruby isn't that compliant. And I don't have a nice big white garage door to pose against. So apologies for the lack of decent pics, but hopefully you get the idea!

Here's our little haul after a diversion into the clothes department at the supermarket:

Pack of two skirts, £4. Pack of two hats, £5 - How cute are these hats?!

The hats have been a big hit and Ruby has been wearing hers everywhere - though trying to get her to wear it the right way round is a different story. She's just too cool for school.


This week we have also bought:
  • Toddler pants in the event that Ruby suddenly becomes de-traumatised by the thought of her potty! 
  • A pretty little bag so that she could carry around her own purse and hankies. Unfortunately, this lasted a mere couple of days before it was left in the shopping centre food court - luckily it was empty! No matter how often you check and double-check - it is inevitable that something will get left behind! 
  • New shoes, as mentioned here.
I think that's all the treats we'll have for a little while. We need to save our pennies! Next time, I'll buy stuff for me, promise!

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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Sunday Thoughts

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." ~ Isaiah 55:8-9
God's thoughts are not like your thoughts. Well this has to be one of the hardest lessons we ever have to learn! And I still struggle with this one!

I have a lot of thoughts. Most of them, I believe to be true, right and correct. I mean, I have a lot of opinions and I am pretty good at arguing a good point. It's very rare that any of us believe ourselves to be wrong.

So how does it feel to know that God's thoughts are not like our thoughts?

God's plans are not necessarily the same as our plans.
God's desires are not necessarily the same as our desires.
God's dreams for our lives are not necessarily the same as our dreams for our lives.

Now, I'd like to think that for the most part, my dreams are aligned with God's dreams. My thoughts are aligned with God's thoughts (although I doubt he's too impressed with those secret, bitchy thoughts that I really shouldn't allow air-time). I'd like to think that my plans are aligned with God's plans. Wouldn't we all?

But sometimes, when things aren't going our way we might start to question those thoughts.

And here's the key to remember.

God sees the bigger picture. Trust His bird's eye view.

God sits outside of time. He knows everything. He knows what's going on in the future. He knows how other people are feeling. He knows. He knows what's going to turn out for the best.

Yesterday I had to apply suncream to Ruby. She didn't like it. She didn't understand the purpose in it. It made her uncomfortable. She wriggled and squealed and whined.

As her parent I saw the bigger picture. I knew what the alternative to wearing suncream was - pain, discomfort, long term skin damage, maybe even cancer! I knew what was best for her even if she didn't see it herself at the time.

So when God's thoughts and plans turn out not to be your thoughts and plans, try to align yourself with God. He does know. He does see. And ultimately He will prove to be wise and all-knowing. He knows what's best for you.

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Friday, 12 June 2015

Facebook, Pizza and New Shoes ~ #littleloves

Happy Friday everyone! We've had a lovely week, it's actually starting to (dare I say it!) feel like summer! Here's our #littleloves for the week:


Not much has been happening on the reading front. Not even blogs. I seem to while away my time scrolling through Facebook and Twitter, not really engaging much, just scrolling (naughty!). I have continued with Secrets of the River, though. I'm 60% of the way through and have a feeling we're just getting to a twist in the tale. I've enjoyed reafing all the book reviews that keep popping up in the blogosphere - they pique my curiosity!

I also found this article from Single Mother Ahoy about improving Facebook reach and engagement. I'm not usually that fussed about whether I'm doing well on social media - it's a miracle I find time to blog, I can't spend hours working out a social media strategy! But I applied one tip (linking my Instagram to my blog page instead of my personal page) and my engagement has improved so we're on our way to improving our reach!


Image courtesy of KEKO64 at

Highlight of the week on the box? Definitely Dominos Pizza: a slice of life on Channel 4 last night! I could not believe the commitment, passion and dedication these people have for their jobs! The chants, the speed pizza making contests (including the lunging and stretching to warm up!), the manager of the year awards ceremony... I mean these people live the brand! It was so American and yet right here in the UK. Highly entertaining and funny, yet whilst laughing at them you are mildly impressed by their dedication and passion for their work (if you're going to work there you may as well enjoy it, right?).


New shoes! Ruby and I both got new (almost matching!) sneakers. Ruby had a few treats this week but that's best saved for a whole separate toddler fashion post. But the sneakers were definitely a fun, necessary purchase.  Mine are another New Look 9:15 bargain at £10.99. I think they go up to an adult size 6 so definitely worth a look if your feet are on the smaller-to mid end of the scale. Ruby's were from Mothercare for £10.


Ruby, shouting, ridiculously early in the morning! "Mummy! Come get me!!!! Mummy!!!! I'm here! Mummy!!!! Mummy!!!! Come and get me!!!" Anyone else find this with the lighter mornings? Ruby normally wakes at 7 or a bit after. She's now shouting for me at 6 or earlier. She has blackout curtains which help, but they dont block out all the light. Anyway, I'm getting quite tired at these unearthly wakeup calls!


After our little cardmaking adventure last week, I may have caught the bug! I've got so much papercrafting stuff and there is an instant gratification to cardmaking - you can finish it in an hour and feel like you've been creative. So, on Saturday we were invited to celebrate the 2nd birthday of a pair of lovely boys we know. The perfect excuse to use this dinosaur stamp!

Another one I can't personally take the credit for, but how cute are these little hankies my mum made for Ruby? She's been suffering a bit with a runny nose of late and we're wondering if it's hayfever. She's been using her dad's disgusting snot rags or whatever has come to hand. So my mum made her her own special handkerchiefs!! So cute.

...and lastly

This week we registered for our previous church's European conference! We used to go, and serve, every year but now that we're a bit further away its quite expensive to factor in transport and hotels on top of the registration and despite wanting to, we haven't managed it for the last couple of years. We're really excited to be there this year and it will be a little child-free break as well! Cant wait! 



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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

To the fash-pack regarding festival fashion

A word to the Fash-Pack,

It's at this time of year that you fill your magazines with articles such as 'Your top 10 festival must-haves', 'Essential festival beauty fixes', 'Your festival survival guide' etc. etc.

I just want to say ENOUGH ALREADY!

I've managed to reach the ripe old age of 30 without ever having attended a festival. In fact, I've glided through my twenties without even going camping (one night in a gypsy caravan doesn't count). I'm sure there are many of us who have managed to avoid this special version of hell.

Spending three days in a tent, covered in mud, amongst crowds of people with no access to the basic facilities a girl needs in life, isn't my idea of fun. It just isn't. And though I like music, I'm no superfan of anything in particular. Add into the fact that at 4ft 11' I wouldn't actually be able to see any of the acts because crowds of people aren't transparent and you've got a pointless expedition for me personally.

Image courtesy of CC Flickr, Ross Huggett

There's plenty of other things to do in summer - days at the beach (but leave it out with 'Get beach body ready'), fab city breaks and picnics in the park. But on the whole, let's face it, we're all just living our normal lives in slightly warmer yet unpredictable weather. We're still doing the school run, heading into our swealtering, non air-conditioned offices, squeezing ourselves onto the tube or finding a quiet moment in a coffee shop. And I don't think turning up in short shorts, a kaftan, wellies with an oversized daisy crown to any of these events would be entirely appropriate.

Now I know that these are the trends and all that, but these 'trends' seem to roll around every year. Spring is for the nautical trend, summer is the festival season and autumn winter is all about parties (also things I don't seem to attend these days). And quite frankly I'm a bit bored of it all. It's a bit predictable. If you could use your imagination a bit and package these features up a bit differently that would be great.

I mean, I see the word 'festival' on your page and I flick straight past it. What should I wear when I'm out digging in the garden? Or at the park with my toddler? Or off to the first, slightly premature, BBQ of the year? How do I look good pushing a trolley round Asda?

'Cause whilst I'm sure a lot of folk are off to a festival for all of three days this summer, I'm not. And I doubt I ever will be. I actually can't ever imagine staying in a tent - we're just not all that practical. So let's try and do summer for the rest of us, just once, please.


I'm linking up here:

Mama and More

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Sunday, 7 June 2015

Sunday Thoughts

"God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure." ~ Ephesians 1:5

Do you know that if you accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour then you are adopted into God's family?

You might have heard that. But I was thinking about this and I realised that often we live, not as if we've been adopted into His family, but as if we've been fostered into His family.

When you are fostered, you live with your new family, you are welcomed into their home and their lives, you might even enjoy some of the benefits of your new family. Most of the time it might feel like they are your family. They provide you with shelter, clothing, food - they often love you as if you were their own.

But they are not your family. You still retain your identity from your previous family. And at any point your old family could come back and claim you as their own, removing you from your new family (and rightly so, in most cases!).

When you are adopted you live with your new family, you are welcomed into their home and their lives, you enjoy all of the benefits of your new family - including an inheritance. You feel like this is your home. They have provided you with shelter, clothing, food; they love you as if you were their own, unconditionally, forever, no turning back.

And here's the key: you are given a new identity.

When you are adopted you are given an adoption certificate - with your new name and your new parents detailed on it. This replaces your birth certificate and is used for all official purposes! The old you ceases to exist in the eyes of the law!

When you are adopted into God's family, you receive a new identity. It's for forever. It's a clean slate. A new life.

No one can take that away from you! God has claimed you as His own and He's not turning His back on you! The old has gone, the old has ceased to exist, the new has come, you are a new creation!

Yet we live as if we are merely fostered. We enjoy some of the benefits of our new family but we keep going back to our old lives. We beat ourselves up for what we've done in the past, we cling to old hurts, old shame, things that we need to leave buried. We don't live in our new identity!

God's not going to give up on you and send you back to the orphanage. The enemy has no claim on you as if he can walk back into your life and claim you as his own - you are God's. You have a new identity. You are a new creation. You are His heir and will inherit the keys to the kingdom!

When we realise this we will stop living in the past. We will live with confidence, free from shame, free from whatever has gone on in our past.

Are you living as if you're fostered or adopted into God's family?

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