A Little Pony Who Changed The Course Of Time.

“I am his eyes. He is my wings.
I am his voice. He is my spirit.
I am his human. He is my Horse.”

There once was a sad little pony who lived on a desolate and lonely hill. He was cold, always hungry and often tired,

He was with lots of other poorly horses who were in the same situation as him. They stayed together to keep each other warm and for protection.

One day, big groups of people came and one by one the horses were selected for new homes and taken away. The sad little pony and his brother, went in a stable that was safe and comforting.

For the next few years the sad little pony became less and less sad.
He grew lots and noticed his tummy had become covered in toasty warm muscle, which kept him comfortable in the winter.
He was fed twice a day, treated so kindly and given much love.

The little pony learnt how to ride properly, how to stand still, how to trot and canter and listen to the people who lavished him with such love and care.

One day the little pony met a young girl.
She was very gentle and loved the little pony instantly, giving him hugs, kisses and lots of love. The young girl loved to whisper words of encouragement into the little pony’s small ears.

The young girl spent many, many weeks coming by the little pony’s stable, feeding him, taking him out for walks and riding him in the fields.

And the little pony began to be sad no more.

A few months after the little pony and the young girl had been spending more and more time together, they were told that the little pony come and live with the young girl.
“Do you want to come home with me?”, whispered the young girl excitedly.
“You can come and live with me forever and we will go on so many adventures together.’


So the little pony who was no longer sad and the young girl, who had also been sad for a very, very long time, found her happiness in a sweet but very lost pony.

The young girl knew that she wouldn’t just be working on the horse, she would also be working on herself, learning more and more about the inner whispers of her heart, through the beautiful creature that she was so fortunate to call hers.


And she realised that whilst only two feet moved her body, her little pony’s four feet were responsible for moving her soul and finding her brave once again.

“Thank you sweet boy”, she whispered to him, “I didn’t realise that once I was sitting on my lovely boy, my world would become so much clearer. ©

This is the story of my daughter, Holly, and her rescue- horse, Socks.

If you are unaware of the benefits of Equine Therapy for those who struggle with mental illness, anxiety and depression, here is a brief explanation of how these beautiful creatures can make such an impact on the human heart and mind.

Whilst, the obvious benefit is working outdoors, exercising and taking responsibility for something besides oneself, Equine Therapy allows people struggling with mental illness, to identify or process their feelings, something many with this type of disorder find very difficult.

Equine Therapy is a way to get in touch with emotions in a non-verbal way. It encourages the person to look for the clues as to how their horse is feeling.
Horses are very sensitive animals and will react to emotions even when you don’t realise you are exhibiting them.
In a way they mirror what is going on inside your head.
If you are anxious, so will your horse be. If you are calm, your horse will take their cue from you in a measured manner.

Equine Therapy is a brilliant way for individuals to create safe spaces for those who suffer from anxiety.
It helps them to feel they are able to exhibit positive emotions around their horse because their horse is so in-tune with their actions and non-verbal communication.

Plus, the daily routine of caring for another living creature is a huge positive. Especially for those who struggle to maintain positive habits and routines.

We have found the arrival of Sock’s in our family to be a life-changing experience and I would encourage anyone who is thinking of using Equine Therapy as a tool for anxiety or mental health issues to look into it more – for yourself or your loved one.

There is something quite beautiful about the gentle wisdom in a horse’s eye that can put even the most troubled of souls at peace.
Which is exactly what our lovely boy Socks, has done for our daughter.

We will be forever grateful for his life and their connection of two hearts, one soul.

Welcome to the family Mr Socks. You are so loved.

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When You Can’t Stay.

Baby Turtle You Must Go.



Hey there little baby turtle. Look’s like you have quite the journey ahead of you.
I know the path before you looks scary. So many bumps and turns, as far as you can see.

And you are so little!
It doesn’t seem fair to struggle out of your warm nest, buffeted by the security of your siblings and the earth that is your home. Your haven.

I know the future is a scary unknown.
But it is most impossible for you to consider staying.
You can’t remain, yet leaving is utterly terrifying.

What if you don’t make it, you think?
What if you are swooped upon by those huge creatures that fly above you? Their fierce talon’s and black eyes, piercing your newly born form?

I know you are frightened – but the thing is – you can’t stay here.
You need moving tides and challenging waves, currents that will push you on new sea adventures.
There are others who are a part of your story, who you are yet to meet. Who will colour and enrich your journey in ways you don’t understand right now.
But you will.

Your mama has already returned to her watery home, little one.
She had to go. It was her time. She is free now and waiting for you to take that first tentative step.

So, look for the cues little one. The signposts that will guide you. They are here to be found.
The slope of the beach, the white crests of the waves, the natural light of the ocean horizon.

You really do have to do this all on your own.
The deep scary ocean that sits before you – is also going to keep you alive.
It’s waiting just for you.

You only know this tiny portion of life now – but – oh there is so much else!
The joy of reaching your destination, the lure, the promise and the hope.
It is enough little one. Enough for you to want to try. To make that leap from your nest to forever home.
For when you do reach the sea, you will swim. Instinctively you will know how.
And swim you must!

Away from the dangerous near shore-waters and those predators that seek to destroy you.

Swim to the sweet place little one, and lose yourself in those hidden crevices.
The secret homes that are ready, waiting just for you.
Beyond the horizon that you stare at in awe each day.

Your new home. It’s there. You just have to find it.
And summon all of that courage inside you – to make that first step.
Big deep breath – and – GO!

 

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The Two Sides of a Woman’s Heart – Lion and a Lamb.

The Two Sides of a Woman’s Heart – Lion and Lamb.


I read a wonderful excerpt from the Henri Nouwen Society today. It says, in a condensed version, that there is within us a Lion and a Lamb
Spiritual maturity is to let The Lamb and The Lion lie down together.
Your Lion is your adult, aggressive self. It is your initiative-taking and decision-making self.
But there is another side – in the fearful, vulnerable Lamb. This is the part that needs affection, support, affirmation and nurturing.
 
The fine line is enabling a balance of both.
When you heed only your Lion, you will find yourself overextended and exhausted.

When you take notice only of your Lamb, you will easily become a victim of your need for other people’s attention.

The art of spiritual living is to fully claim both your Lion and your Lamb.

Then you can act assertively without denying your own needs. And you can also ask for affection and care without betraying your talent to offer leadership and be in control.
I have thought a lot about The Lion within me over the past few months.
For many of my formative years, I was a Lamb. Bullied at school which led to all sorts of insecurities. Then entering the modelling world at 15, which in many ways, fed those feelings of being small and unworthy, amongst a very material world.
However, something quite dramatic happened to me when I became a mother. At the very sniff of danger, I discovered a roaring Lion surfaced within the depths of my soul.
Where was this fierce beast when I hid in the girl’s toilets at school – not wanting to face the gang who threatened to dunny flush me?
Why did my Lion heart not roar when it was only me to stand up for?
But that creature was there all along.
Hidden between my beating heart of fear, jumping around my rib cage like a wild animal.
It was only when I had offspring of my own that I allowed The Lion’s teeth to be bared. It leapt out of my chest and threatened to tear the perceived enemy – limb from limb.
Because I knew what it was like to feel fear and smell danger. I knew what it felt like to be cornered and sneered at. And the very thought of my children facing that – alone – was too much for my mother’s heart to bear.
And yet again, when our family have faced such disappointment and despair these past few months, I have been aware of the Lion’s mane flash before me, leaping directly from my heart and in the way of danger.
It has quite simply been my protector and gone before my every move, staking out any perceived threats and lurking in the shadows, just in case another arrow is fired in our direction. Lest anyone fall.
My Lion has my back.
He is my protector and saviour.

Like the great Aslan, in ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’ -an explicitly Christian fantasy story, with an explicitly Christ-like hero at the centre of it.
Except that here, Christ is represented by a giant talking lion with a wild, dangerous edge.
Aslan isn’t safe, just like a wild lion. But he’s good.
 
And whilst I am grateful for the wild Lion within, I am all too aware that lions are wild beasts and can maim and hurt others. I want to protect but certainly not hurt.
I definitely want a balance of The Lamb, who is the sweet centre of my mother’s heart – the affection, nurture, support and wholly affirming part of me, that if I am honest, is a lot nicer and definitely more gentler.
The Lamb is the true essence of who I am.
The Lion enables me to take bold steps forward in situations that scare me.
I think, I definitely need both in my life.
But I want to acknowledge the danger of The Lion and usher The Lamb into the central part of my soul.
And the wisdom to acknowledge when one may be more dominant than the other.
I want my courage to not always roar and instead, be at peace in the knowledge of the very presence of The Lion within me.
It is my hope that this empowers The Lamb to gently whisper to me, at the end of the day, and say, “let’s try again tomorrow because today – you are enough already”. 
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Lily’s Kitchen the Perfect Pet Food & Snacks

Lily’s Kitchen the Perfect Pet Food
& Snacks.

“Handle every situation like a dog.
If you can’t eat it or play with it,
just pee on it and walk away”.
‘Unknown’

We took our labradoodle out yesterday for some retail therapy at our local Pets @ Home.

If I ever want a bit of socialising, I just take Queenie out for a spin and watch her delightful nature attract attention.
It didn’t take long for a lovely lady to stop and pat Queenie’s head and tell her she was incredibly beautiful and wasn’t she “just the sweetest labradoodle ever”.


My mind cast back to the times when Queenie used to chase the chickens, eat dead birds whole, consume poop bags, run after cars and ingest whole table legs, and for just a moment I thought – you didn’t know her when we weren’t friends!
It was a long and agonising relationship. Touch and go for a time.
I wasn’t sure we would make it to be fair.
Except we thankfully did make it and yes, she is gorgeous – now.
But it was a rough ride for quite some time, when I would only ever refer to her as “that black dog”.

I would like to be a dog actually. Sleep, eat, play, repeat.
I could handle that on a daily basis. And if none of those needs are met, I would just pee on and walk away.
Simple and uncomplicated.

Yet we complicate things. Us humans.
Especially with dogs, according to dog behaviorist/dog whisperer, Cesar Millan, “Life is simple. Dogs have no material needs, they just enhance the beauty of togetherness”.

Of course, we would never approach a random stranger, tell them how cute they are and ask to pat their head.
Or heaven forbid, sniff their bottom.
That’s just awkward.

But dogs – they break down barriers. Keep it simple and become magnets, between people and animal.
They are wonderful ice-breakers, fabulous companions, kind-hearted and so very faithful.

It is for this very reason why animals and especially dogs, wiggle their way into our hearts, and stay their forever.
And also why we want to give our pets the very best nutritious food on the market.

Lily’s Kitchen

We have long been a fan of Lily’s Kitchen for Queenie as well as our four cats.
I don’t know any other product that literally makes Quennie drool the minute she sniffs it.
Gushes of water on the floor, slobber hanging from her mouth. She loves Lily’s Kitchen so much – it has an immediate effect on her salivary glands.
Gross but true.

Lily’s Kitchen create naturally delicious, wholesome food which is packed full of wholesome ingredients.
I like the fact that I can actually see pieces of vegetables in their products and they don’t smell like mass produced dog food.
The smell doesn’t put me off.
I think I could actually eat it too – and not die or start barking (not recommended obviously!)

Lily’s Kitchen have very appealing packaging, in lovely colours that remind me of mulberries, blackberries, cherries and sunny exotic fruits.
And they have a huge range of goods to suit all types and sizes of dogs.

Our favourite, aka Queenie’s most-drool worthy bites – are the mini treats.
Their Famous 100% natural Bedtime Biscuits with nutritious honey, probiotic yoghurt and soothing chamomile and passion flowers,  smell seriously divine.  A perfect little nibble to give your dog at the end of the day.
And whilst, I am not a fan of beef liver and wouldn’t care to eat it for tea, Lily’s Kitchen Rise & Shine nibbles, with said liver, fresh carrots (you can see) and botanical herbs are oven cooked until golden and crunchy. Cue drooling – not me, my dog.
These little power-packed biscuits provide a wonderful range of vitamins and minerals, as well as alfalfa sprouts and turmeric micro-nutrients.
They look so appealing (for the benefit of owners like me who like all things aesthetically pleasing), shaped into mini flowers, enriched with back-strap molasses, giving them a deep caramel hue.

And I will let you in on a secret.
Lily’s Kitchen have snack bars for dogs that are packaged like muesli bars and look like little pieces of chocolate.
I can’t tell you the amount of times, I have glanced at the packaging and wanted to eat it.
It’s dog food! I know right!

Queenie absolutely loves their Sun Shiny Day bar with banana, papaya, sunflower seeds and dandelion root.
The strap line is “perfect for pockets and busy dogs”.
And it seems owners who forget to eat and grab one for the road.
Just kidding. Don’t eat it.
Although if you did, I wager it would taste really good.

 

This post is an affiliate post and should you purchase Lily’s Kitchen products through the links we will be paid a small commission 

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Running with Horses on the Beach.

Running with Horses on the Beach.

Running with Horses on the Beach.

Running with Horses on the Beach.My daughter, Holly, her two closest friends and I, spent a pleasingly mild winter’s afternoon riding horses on the beach in Suffolk on Sunday.

The three girls are all confident around horses.
Me, not so. As in, not at all.
It was such a treat for me though, to watch the girl’s joy and excitement around these amazing creatures.

Running with Horses on the Beach.The last time I was on a horse (a few months ago), I literally had to stop the tears of fear from streaming down my face.
Horses are huge! Sitting on the back of my enormous (and supposedly docile) horse, I saw my life flash before me.
“This is it, this is the moment I die, crushed to death on a muddy field, under the hooves of a great beast”.
I’m not kidding, I was terrified. I think my horse knew it too, as he kept trying to buck me off!
Apparently, I kept ‘my seat’ when my old horse got spooked (by a scratchy tree-branch!) and reared up. It was more blind-fear and a death grip on the reins to be fair.
I tell everyone that ‘my seat was good’, even though I have no idea what that actually means. It sounds horse-clever and smart.
I can’t ride to save myself, but my ‘seat’, well that’s worthy of praise.
My family, I have an inkling, are sick of hearing about my near-death experience. There is a lot of sighing and eye rolling when I bring the subject up. Apparently, I bring it up a lot, which I find a tad harsh. I mean, I nearly died that day!

Following the girl’s, with the greatest of respect (my eye’s peeled on their ‘seat skills’), we meandered through the busy town and ended up on a large stretch of beach. Amongst the seagulls, children playing at the water’s edge, with beanies and jackets and fishing boats snoozing over the winter, we watched the girl’s ride their horses along the water’s edge.
Running with Horses on the Beach.
For Holly, it was a momentous moment. Actually, a bucket list moment.
A huge big tick for cantering along the ocean. Made possible through the support and friendship of her squad, her friends and allies.
By no means was today’s ride a small thing.

It showed me, again, the gritty resilience that is my girl, despite her being temporarily paralysed by the illness, Bi-polar.
Even though today took a week’s worth of building up energy to set foot outside her home and a tonne of adrenaline to kick start her tired mind, she did it. She did it!

Holly taught me something today, that even if you are low or remarkably unwell with a mental illness, there is hope.
There is a bright light on your agenda.
It can happen. For you.
Running with Horses on the Beach.
I was so proud to see both the girls flying like the wind, on the back of these glorious animals.
The feeling of being in control of such an enchanting creature, I can only imagine, is a most extraordinary experience.
One, I am content to appreciate from the safety of the water’s edge!

Life can be so cruel. In the midst of suffering and hardship, it’s not every day you can give a huge tick against your bucket list.
I was so fortunate to be a part of that experience.

Obviously I have Holly’s permission to write about her Bi-polar disorder here on this blog. I am proud of her in ways she will never know or even understand.
Her honesty in her weakness shows immense courage.
It affirms our common humanity. We all suffer at times in our lives, however, Holly today, did not hide behind fear of being judged or criticised.
Her vulnerability has deepened her friendships and produced a new sort of strength and determination.
There is much I have to learn from my warrior first-born. She inspires me every day.

Next time, maybe, just maybe, it will be me riding a horse. With my exceptional ‘seat skills’, I might be in with a chance.
Even manage a little trot. On a very old, gentle, kind, geriatric, three-legged, one-eyed, slow horse.
But a horse nonetheless. Who appreciates my manoeuvres when bucking occurs.

It might even tick my bucket list.
Running with Horses on the Beach.

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Living the Dream Days.

Living the Dream Days.

‘I still remember the days I prayed for what I have now’
-Unknown

I was in the car, driving, the other day and a thought suddenly came to me.
I am living the dream days, the answer to many, many prayers, prayed years ago.
Whispered in my mind and softly under my tongue, daily.
Over and over and over again.

Whilst we were residing in Australia, we prayed specifically for big things.
Namely, finding a beautiful space to live in the English countryside – Tick.
To be able to experience different places and travel to Europe, often, – Tick.
For the children to settle and love their new home – Tick.
For me to settle in England and not want to return home to Australia – Big Tick.
To own chickens, have a large dog to run with and a few cats to be seen sleeping in the winter sunshine of my country cottage – Tick, Tick, Tick.

We hit five years in the UK this June.
I hope to become a British Citizen this year.
This is our forever home and we are so grateful for all of those whispered prayers years ago.
For they have been answered. In full.

But so very often, I fail to look back.
I fail to acknowledge all of those answers that were the big, big prayers of my life in the past.

You know, why?
Because I have new prayers. I want for new and different things. My prayers change. I don’t settle for those very important things because they are in the past.

And I don’t care very much for that trait in myself.
I know, I have a tendency to look forward, straining for the next thing.
I am learning to enjoy the now, but it is so not in my nature to do that.
Because I love a challenge, I love new horizons and change.
Which results in me not remembering the prayers of the days of past.
The important ones I am living now. Today.

For this new year, I resolve, to sit and just ‘be’ in the now.
To be so very thankful for the stunning view I wake to each morning.
The wildlife that surrounds me. The horses that graze in the fields.
The windmills we see in the distance and the white sails of yachts meandering through the broads, taking their time.

These are those days. Right now.

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When Mummy Misbehaves.

When Mummy Misbehaves.

There are times in my life when I have misbehaved.
The last episode I can recollect is fairly recently.

We have four cats.
The fourth one joined our family by accident.
Which you will understand when I tell you the story.

Our 13 year old son, Harry’s, adorable tri-coloured rag-doll cat, Pearl, went missing for five weeks.
He was devastated.
It broke our hearts too.
Each night, before bed, he would call and call Pearl but she never came home.

Now, I have to admit, I’m a sucker when it comes to my children and their animals.
I have always wanted our family to experience the joy of fur-babies.
And Harry’s sadness was killing me.

So, in an attempt to see a smile on his sweet face again.
We bought a kitten.

Actually, Harry bought a kitten.
And I assisted.

Little kitten, came from humble beginnings.
In fact, I would say, more like squalor.
His brother was available as well and we desperately wanted to take him too.
But we couldn’t have four cats.
Right?

So we named him Floyd.
He is the most treasured cat on this earth. And utterly charming.
He follows the children around everywhere and cries when they lock him out of the playroom.
He is photogenic and sooky and all squishy and snuggly.
He is Harry’s best fur-friend and we all LOVE him.

I didn’t exactly tell my husband, Matthew, we were buying Floyd.
I didn’t exactly keep it from him.
I just failed to shed light on my intentions.

To be fair, I don’t have a good track record with my method of acquiring animals.

When we were living in Australia, my brother’s cat had kittens.
He lives on a farm and already had a few cats.
He didn’t want more. But I did.
We selected our little ginger girl and her sister was the only one left.
My brother said he would have to dispose of her (he wouldn’t) and dangled the line in front of me asking if I wanted her.
Matthew had already called me Catherine (twice) and said ‘no’.
(When he says my name, instead of ‘babe’ or ‘darling’, I know he is serious and I shouldn’t push the subject!)

I’m not sure what happened next, as my memory is vague, but somehow little sis ended up in our car, underneath the passenger seat en-route to her new home – ours.
I was in so much trouble when hubby found out.

So, understandably, this time, when Matthew came home from work, I was a little (lot) nervous.
I went down the route of ‘we have a surprise!!!’
And…
‘Ta-da!’

I spoke rapid-fire about how we had actually rescued Floyd from a life of misery and crime.
It was our duty as kind citizens to embrace him into the team and love him and actually, I exercised great restraint, in not extracting his brother and bringing him to the safe house.

His words were, ‘Catherine (ouch), it’s happened again.  But (phew) I know how sad Harry has been and it’s too late now to take it back.
At least we don’t have four cats. Three is our max’

Two days later.
Pearl came home.
Oops.

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