Saturday, 1 February 2014

New Home

After a month of hibernating and writing the new Scottish island mum website is now live.  This blog remains as an archive for Scottish island mum 2013.  Pop across to the new site to learn how to jump sixty feet in the air on a beautiful water fountain.  xx

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Scottish island mum on the radio.

Scottish island mum will be making an appearance on BBC Scotland on their programme Morning Call on Wednesday 22nd January from 9.45am.  She will be debating the pressures put on children to make decisions about careers.

The new Scottish island mum lifestyle web site is almost ready to be launched.   This will include a section on education.  There will also be an e-book available on 'active learning' that reflects Scottish island mum's view on what makes good education and it will be packed full of useful resources and ideas. 

Meantime, start following Scottish island mum via her facebook page and keep up with where the journey goes next. 

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Day 365 - the final blog post.......xx

Tuesday 31st December

Oh my goodness how emotional do I feel? We find ourselves at the end of a remarkable year and an even more remarkable project.  Blogging every day for a year was the challenge and this now becomes the achievement.  It has to be one of the proudest achievements of my life.  This is not just because the challenge has been met but more about what has developed from the challenge.  I could never have known so much would develop from a little blog and I could never have anticipated the interest it would draw.  This interest blossomed very quickly into a dialogue between myself and the readers of the blog and that, I believe, is the most powerful aspect of the whole project. 

I thought it would make a fitting end to look back on the year and focus on some of the highlights.  But before that I would just say that the overwhelming outcome of looking back through the blog is the realisation that life ebbs and flows all by itself.  Those of you with religious faith that worships a god will probably put this ebbing and flowing down to that and I respect that.  I don't, however, worship a god.  I believe that our destiny is largely in our own hands and we are ultimately responsible for our own lives.  That said, the spiritual side of me has long since felt that other powers are at work mainly drawn from our natural world and the science that underpins that.  I am not sure it matters where the belief lies but what does matter is that we understand that our lives will always ebb and flow and it is our response to those shifting tides that make us who we are. 

Scottish island mum began as a simple idea.  I had dabbled with writing on and off for years but lacked the necessary discipline to take it anywhere.  Writing something every day for a year seemed liked a good step forward and I am not sure that it was any more complicated than that.  So back in January the project started and has done nothing but go from strength to strength since those fledgling days and I find myself in a completely new space at the end of the project. 

This new space that I know inhabit is based on the experiences from the year but also my deliberations and reflections on those experiences.  That is what the blog does as it gives you a space to pause, reflect and think out loud.  I would say at this point that I am not sure we make enough time for these most valuable of actions.  Life in the 21st century is so busy that we rarely make the time to reflect and I do think that is a missing aspect of our lives. 

Looking back through the year I have tried to focus on highlights that would not have existed if it were not for Scottish island mum.  She worked her own very real magic at certain stages in the year but this time I was ready for her.  In providing a space to reflect I could learn much more quickly the lessons from the experiences and change direction as I needed to.

Without Scottish island mum there would not have been -

The need to create a space to write in and the birth of the hen hut in January would not have been envisioned.

The transformation required for a clapped out summer house to become a little haven where nothing but creativity can blossom.

The sense that growing willow on the property could be something that we could be using productively by the end of the year. 

A space to reflect on home school and why we began this journey ten years earlier and where it had taken all of us.

A connection with an old friend, the lovely Di, out of a disconnection of the island from power for a week when Arran went dark.

A discovery and review of the work of Hannah Frank and the connection with her niece with who I share so many perspectives on life.

So many butterflies in my life that carried the hopes of so many on their wings and also led me down a more committed route with my work with international charities.

An opening event for the Hen Hut that brought new friendships both real and virtual.

The seed of a new web site that focused on all things positive in the world.

The launch of Molly's blog Conservation Stories which makes such an important contribution to our world.

The discovery of prayer flags and the sharing with so many including two very special nieces that went on to raise their own money for the Butterfly Tree charity.

A feature article in a national newspaper about Scottish island mum and a ridiculously large photograph of me that was actually taken in a pub car park in Portsmouth. 

A fully documented visit to the Isle of Eigg and the meeting of a lady who lived in a time gone by.

A realisation about how right the inhabitants of the Isle of Eigg are about how to live their lives. 

A lifetime ambition to be realised as a piece of my work was published on Waverly Fitzgerald's site Living in Season.

A necessary sharing of grief as it featured the year on far too many occasions. 

A chance to write my own dedication to my beloved Paul who I will miss until my last breath.

A sharing of the experience that is the island 'Highland Games' standing beside my soul sister the lovely Angie.

An opportunity to write a dedication to each of my four children and to truly understand what makes them unique. 

The inclination to try a rewilding challenge and to document how it changed my whole perspective on life and how I live it. 

An approach from the United Nations to begin working for them by using my emerging skills in writing to affect new thinking and change in places that are lost in our world.

The launch of One soul many hearts providing a sharing platform for all things good and positive in the world. 

The chance to share coppicing our first willow crop and taking it through to 'Whimsical Willow' with a real sense of family pride. 

The opportunity to tease out some thinking and secure the name for Buds and Blooms the new wedding flower business for 2014. 

A chance to 'speak' via email to people from all over the world who all have a stake in Scottish island mum. 

The opportunity to take up roles in UNICEF and now Save the Children as well (hot off the press) to work as an activist and use my skills in writing to make a real difference. 

The sense that I now know exactly who I am and what my role is in life from this point on. 

That is quite a list by anyone's standards so you can probably feel the emotion building in me as I begin to think about signing off.  In true Scottish island mum style lets us take a gentle peek at the future as she sees it today.....

Scottish island mum hopes to -

Concentrate heavily on her work with UNICEF and Save the Children to start to make a real difference on national and international platforms as requested to do so.

Build a brand new Scottish island mum that offers a lifestyle blog sprinkled with magic dust home grown on the island - the link will be posted here as soon as it is live.

Get back to storytelling as part of Scottish island mum and beyond.

Be a far more compassionate and much quieter human being.

Get pregnant again (OK, this one is a joke to check you are still with me).

Help as many people as I can through my Kindness project including encouraging others to consider the place of kindness in their lives. 

Take my very recent experience in 'soul walking' some place new but no idea at the moment where.....

Be the best person I can possibly be. 

All that is left now is to say a huge and very genuine thank you to all of you who have stuck with the project as it ebbed and flowed.  Your friendship and support throughout the entire journey has made it what is has become and what it can still become in the future.  Those of you that know me well (which is probably all of you) will know that I am mindful to dedicate achievements beyond myself and there is one person who is the most obvious person to dedicate this entire project to. 

I dedicate Scottish island mum in its entirety to my beloved late father.  He would be so proud of this little project. 

It has been a complete honour.  xx

Monday, 30 December 2013

Day 364 - Only two to go.....xx

Monday 30th January

Goodness me this is the penultimate blog for Scottish island mum.  I am struggling to believe that this project has lasted a whole year.  Time definitely marches much quicker the older you get.  As my 18 year old son leaves on the boat to see the new year in with his friends in Glasgow I can see the changes in my family. Somehow they all grew up and I may not have noticed.  With now two adult children in the family the dynamics have shifted slightly and I perhaps need to spend time reflecting on that.  In particular, I need to reflect on my shifting relationships with them and ensure that I am making the necessary adjustments.  Molly remains a frequent visitor but now has two homes and I have understood that and made those adjustments.  Harry remains at home but is looking to spread his wings a little further in 2014.  George is about to start his qualifications and therefore will spend more time studying by himself and that leaves more time for Max on a one to one basis.  I  see all these changes as wonderful opportunities and I also see four incredibly grounded and compassionate human beings.  2014 is a big year for me as I turn 50 but it is also a big year for the children and Pete.  Pete will reach 50 before me so he can lead the way.  The children will adjust their horizons as they do every year and Pete and I will need to adjust our view finders accordingly. 

Having just spent a few hours with Molly extending and deepening her blog, Conservation Stories, I can see how much she is ready to enter the working environment that is animal conservation.  Typically Molly, she is researching people who have their bird ringing licence that live near Nottingham so that she can do her apprenticeship with them while studying for her masters.  Does she sound like anyone?  She remains a good few steps ahead in her thinking and that continues to work for her.  The changes to her blog are really exciting and there are lots of ways to get involved.  I will be doing a full editorial on it on One soul many hearts once she has it ready. 

Harry has his year ahead planned. He begins work on a building project virtually on the beach early in the new year to give him some income until March when the growing season  gets underway again and then he will be back on the plot.  He also has the willow crop to extend with his brothers on Hazelbank.  Studying continues on his diploma in Sports Nutrition and then he wants to take his gym instructor qualification.  He has a busy year ahead because he also wants to pass his driving test. 

George will complete his English and Maths qualifications before beginning his level 3 work with dog care.  I am also confident he will be making lots more cakes as news of his talents are spreading.  George wants to take on more work on the smallholding so he will be working with me on the cut flower crop. 

Max continues with home school but I am also hoping that he will pick up some more work with charities.  I am keen to see where this work takes him as he has the biggest heart in the family.  I am hoping that he will do some guest blogging for One soul many hearts on its new page about helping others. 

So, you can see that they are all growing up and finding their own way.  Pete and I are very good at shifting our relationships with them to reflect these changes and I do think that is so important.  It is hard when they leave home but if you shift the relationship accordingly you will find that they want to come back and visit often. 

Those of you who are on facebook already know that my news is that I am to become a Children's Champion for UNICEF.  This is the little project that has been in discussion for a while.  This role will extend my deepen my activist role with the organisation and I consider it a huge honour.  I am also in discussion about setting up a UNICEF fundraising group for the Scottish islands but you will have to keep an eye on the facebook page for Scottish island mum to see if that is confirmed.  There are two options with this project.  The first is that the virtual group is limited to people who live on the Scottish isles and the second option is that the whole project is run through Scottish island mum which includes networking with the other Scottish islanders but also includes readers of Scottish island mum.   A decision has not yet been made but I will post details on the facebook page as soon as we have news on this. 

I will be working with Scottish MPs to push the UNICEF agenda and the changes that we need to see in Scotland.  This includes a huge commitment to supporting children from poorer families and ensuring access to good education for all.  I will also be working with MPs out of Whitehall on issues of international development.  So, at the end of Scottish island mum it is like the final piece of jigsaw has slotted into place.  Tomorrow I will spend some time looking back to see just how all this came about.  It is my story but it involves all of you and is, I think, truly remarkable. 

Until tomorrow.  xx