And just like that our baby is 2…our simple party fun

Over the last week we have enjoyed celebrating our beautiful Mila’s 2nd birthday. It is incredible how fast the last 2 years have sped by! I agree with the quote that says “the days may be long but the years are so short,” how very true this is!

When Mila was a baby, Luke and I had a discussion about how we would like to celebrate birthdays and what we wanted the focus to be about. For us we decided that we would alway make sure birthdays were very special day where we celebrated together. There would be certain years that we had big parties, turning 1, 5, 10, and 13 (thats as far ahead as we were thinking at that stage) were some of these. On the other birthdays we decided there would always be some sort of celebration but there were some things we would definitely do and other things we would leave out.

The first non negotiable thing that we plan to do every year is have a family celebration. This year we chose dinner as the meal that we shared together as Luke was away over the weekend and it was going to work in best with other family. Mila loved this special family time where the focus was all about celebrating her!

As Mila gets older we will let her invite one or two of her friends to join our family celebration but this year we decided to have a small party in the garden the following weekend where two of her friends could come for a play.

I love to be creative and decorate but on the smaller party years we agreed to do simple decorations rather than big fancy ones. On her actual birthday this year we hung balloons and bunting and wore hat party hats. Mila came out into the lounge in the morning all smiles as she exclaimed with her hands held high above her head, “because it is Mila’s birthday we have balloons!”. Reminding me that it is the simple things that she found most exciting and made her day that extra bit special.

Having a birthday cake is another tradition we will do every year. This year I followed Mila’s current interest in ducks and made a duck pond for two of her rubber duckies to swim in. Mila requested her cake had “two candles, because Mila will be two years old”, so they were stuck in the top of the cake too. It was so much fun for me to be able to involve her in the decision making this year and I could see she loved being able to participate in the planning process too.

For us birthdays are all about being together as a family, having fun and celebrating with the ones we love.

For Mila’s small party with her friends the following weekend she chose to have a Belle and Boo (her favourite books) themed party which was very simple to achieve (which was wonderful for a mummy who works part time and didn’t have too much time to prepare for it!). What is even better is the only thing we bought for the party were balloons (rainbow coloured ones chosen by Mila) and party hats (also picked from “Mummy’s favourite shop, spotlight” lol) the rest we borrowed or dug out of cupboards!

This years party proved to me that birthdays don’t have to be an expensive exercise, they don’t have to be full of activities (this I realise will change as she gets older), they can be created and made very special without all the fuss and and pressure there sometime is around them.

Mila and her friends had a wonderful time playing, dancing, running and enjoying a few simple treats to eat. I enjoy setting up environments that promote exploration and create an invitation to play. Our simple picnic party set up (inspired by the Belle and Boo books) was perfect to encourage this type of play.

So now we have a 2 year old! What a wonderful little lady she is too. We could not be prouder to be her parents, she is so kind and caring, full of cheeky grins, laugher, chatter and songs. We look forward to the coming years but for now choose to celebrate and embrace the present, enjoying all the snuggly cuddles and cute things she says, dancing through our days like ballerina’s as we navigate the challenges and joys having a 2 year old brings, for I am sure these days will all to quickly become a memory too.

Here are a few photos of Mila’s Belle and Boo picnic party…

 

I would love to hear how you celebrate birthdays in your family. What special family traditions do you keep?

 

Photography by Luke Marshall Images

 

 

 

Petal Pocket Happenings…

I’m sitting here in front of my laptop with so many thoughts in my head but feeling unsure of how to articulate them! This is often the way when I start to write a blog post! I have around 8 nearly complete posts sitting in here at the moment that I just need time to finish!

Over the last two years I have been sharing various things on this blog. Sometimes regularly but more often than not sporadically as I have had the time and energy.

This blog started off as a way for me to inspire myself  (and hopefully others) to make time to be creative, a way to share my passions and some of my world. Over the years it has been a mixture of craft, Mila, my thoughts, passions and life.

I’ve been having a wee break from social media over the last few months and this headspace has made me question what the important things to share in this forum are. Don’t get me wrong social media can definitely have a positive role to play in our lives but when it becomes a huge distraction, overwhelming and what we turn to in every spare moment it can become unhealthy, for me it certainly did!

For a wee while I have been questioning what the main purpose of this blog is and where I see it going. It’s not fully a typical ‘Mum blog’ or a ‘lifestyle blog’ or an ‘educational blog’ or a ‘craft blog’. In reality it is a mish-mash of all of these topics!

I was considering stopping it all together and focusing on other things but I just keep coming back to it and feeling like there is so much I still want to share.

In no way is my life perfect, I hope that I can through my words and images share an honest and real picture of my world. 

No matter what my intentions are I most probably wont be adding new posts every week lol but what I can commit to is sharing when I can about the things that I value most in this world. I will be sharing about my relationship with God, my experiences being a mum and wife, I will share about things I feel passionate about like early childhood education, and I am sure there will be some creative aspect too!

In my opinion blogging should be an uplifting, challenging and encouraging space, this is my aim for this year. 

When I chose Petal Pocket as a name for this blog I wanted it to be about adding a little pocket sized bit of pretty, inspiration or encouragement to your day. Petal Pocket includes those pretty moments, the inspiring, the challenging, but also includes the not so pretty, natural, real stuff that happens. I hope you choose to continue joining me on this journey.

Sophie

My Word for 2017

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For those of you who have been following my blog for a wee while you may recall a post I wrote last year on my decision to throw away making New Years resolutions (which I never really followed through on) and to instead choose one word to shape my year.

My word for 2016 was ‘purposeful’. Here is a small snippet of what I wrote in that post:

“Purposeful means ‘having clear aim or purpose’. After brainstorming all the things I want to work on and develop in myself this word stood out as the one which tied them all together. I want to be purposeful in the way I develop meaningful connections with others. I want to make purposeful choices about what I invest my time in, celebrating the simple moments by slowing down and being present rather than rushing and constantly being ‘busy’. I want to focus on being authentic and real which comes from a deeper understanding of my purpose in God and understanding my gifts and personal area of influence. I want to be purposeful in how I care for myself and those around me.”

In the last days of December I found myself reflecting on the year that has been. I am happy to say that I feel I have lived with purpose, I know I have made purposeful choices, connections, and been more purposeful about how I have spent my time. Of course there are always things I could have done better, but overall I am really excited to see that choosing that one word at the start of January 2016 has positively influenced the way in which I have lived this past year. 2016 has bought with it joy, special memories as well as challenges and hard times, however I am so thankful that throughout it all I have been able to live with purpose and having this word as my focus has really helped this.

Would I recommend choosing one word instead of often making numerous New Years Resolutions? Absolutely! For me personally this has worked so well. If you are interested in learning more about One Word 365 check it out through this link.

I really love the freshness and the hope that a new year brings. There is a sense of a new beginning, a chance to wipe the slate clean. No matter what has happened in the past year (and for so many I know it has been a tough year) it is time to leave that behind and move forward into what this new year holds.

My word for 2017 is ‘Flourish‘. I love the meaning of this word which is ‘to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favourable environment’.

I don’t know what lies ahead in this coming year but I know that I intend to flourish in all aspects of my life. I plan to be intentional about the environments I am part of and am creating around myself. I want to see more growth in the way I pursue, follow and share my passions and giftings. This year is going to be full of growth, new adventures and many blessings I am sure!

I am confident that the best is yet to come, 2017 I am ready for you!

 

 

Thank you

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As New Years Eve approaches, 31 days of wearing a dress each day for Dressember is coming to an end. I want to say a huge thank you to those who have supported me this month, whether through your encouragement, your donations or your interest in what I am doing, it has all been so appreciated.

As you will know by now after all my social media posts, stopping slavery is something I am very passionate about. I must say it has been a huge challenge for me to post a photo of myself wearing a dress every day this month! But I believe that every person deserves to be free so it has been a small price for me to pay.

Through the Dressember initiative collectively so far (there is still time to contribute, see the link here) we have raised over 1.1 million USD!!! This money is going to support the work that A21 and IJM do to rescue, and then restore lives of many who are trapped in slavery. This money is nearly enough to fund 175 rescue missions! When each mission can rescue between 1-500 people this means between 175 and 87,500 precious lives will experience the freedom they deserve as a result of many people’s generosity.

I have found it a privilege to participate in Dressember, to be part of something that is bigger than myself, bigger than just wearing a dress. Something that brings hope, something that gives freedom, dignity and a brighter future to so many.

I’m not going to lie, wearing a dress everyday has not always been convenient or easy but the cost of my momentary discomfort has been well outweighed by the outcome. It has reminded me to be so thankful for the freedoms I take for granted. I have seen that no matter how big an issue may seem, together every little bit does make a difference.

Wearing a dress each day has reminded me of the beauty I hold within, of the strength I carry to make a stand for justice and the voice I have been given to speak up for those who may not be in a position to speak for themselves.

Today I want to say thank you to YOU! Thank you for being a part of this journey.

Sophie xxx

Dressember

One more sleep till Dressember! Over the last few weeks I have had a few people asking me the question “What is Dressember?” I am so glad you asked!

I think it is easiest to sum up what Dressember is by this (hopefully) simple equation…

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Me + a dress = me wearing a dress (which raises awareness for Dressember) which = (equals) donations made by lovely people such as yourself, which then = FREEDOM to many people who are trapped in modern day slavery.

Simply put I am choosing alongside some friends and hundreds of others around the world to wear only dresses for the month of December to raise awareness about modern day slavery. This campaign is so much bigger than just wearing dresses for a month, it is my hope that by wearing a dress (something I certainly don’t wear everyday) I will raise awareness of the work that organisations like A21 and International Justice Mission are doing to free people who are in slavery. Our team has set a goal of raising $5000 collectively. Through the donations of generous people like yourself we can offer much needed finances to these organisations that stand against injustice and strive to enable all humans to experience the basic right of freedom and restoration.

If you would like to read more about what modern day slavery looks like or find out more about why I am participating then please follow this link back to my previous blog post called A Little Dress.

If you would like to donate to our team here is the link for you to do that. Every little bit counts 🙂 It is very exciting to know that over the last 3 years people participating in Dressember have raised over 1.5 million to end human trafficking. This year they hope to raise $1,500,000 it is not even December yet and $90,059 has already been raised. I look forward to giving you an update on this rapidly growing total over the next few weeks.

Thank you for joining us in supporting this worthwhile and highly important cause.

Sophie xxx

 

 

 

Broken

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“Oh dear…broken! Oh no baby bear” 

Mila’s favourite story to read at the moment is The Three Bears, every time when we get to the page where baby bear discovers his chair has been broken she exclaims “oh dear…broken! Oh no baby bear”.

 

I am feeling very thankful that we have not had to face too many broken things during the earthquakes and aftershocks over the last few days. The images and stories emerging of the damage and destruction caused up and down our country is truly heartbreaking.

I am reminded in times like this where there can be so much uncertainty and fear, that there are always things to be thankful for. Natural disasters like this certainly encourage us to draw closer to the ones we love. Life is so precious and should never be taken for granted.

‘Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.’ Psalm 30:5

My prayer is that where so many people are experiencing worry, uncertainly, brokenness and fear, it will be replaced with hope and peace, that unexplainable peace that only comes from God. I hope you know that no mater what night you are facing at the moment, no mater how dark it may seem, there will always be hope, you can be certain there will always a dawn. Joy will come in the morning.

 

 

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Hi friends!

You may have noticed things have been a bit quiet on the blog over the last month. This has been due to a number of factors but mainly because I have been using every spare moment I have had to complete a online course about slavery through The University of Nottingham. For those of you interested here is brief overview of what the course covered.

I highly recommend participating in this course which is rich in information about slavery both past and present. It really opened my eyes and broke my heart to see the magnitude of this problem but also highlighted the many ways in which we can all make choices to bring about the freedom and rehabilitation of those that are freed.

Stay tuned for many exciting things coming up over the next month that will inform about and support organisations that are doing amazing work to free those in bondage. If you missed my last post about Dressember you can read it here. You can also follow me on instagram petalpocket_nz or on Facebook for additional posts and links to information regarding bringing about freedom for those enslaved.

Much love

Sophie xxx