Happy Tracks in the Snow

sustainable parenting working from home children books yoga storytelling Woodcraft environment

Carbon output – scary video! August 29, 2007

Filed under: environment,General,parenting articles — paulabrown @ 4:46 pm


Filed under: General — paulabrown @ 3:42 pm


Just come back from a lovely mini-festival which was brilliant, run by Tatty Bumpkin‘s creator, Sam Petter. More info to come…


Keeping your sanity with September looming…

Filed under: parenting articles — paulabrown @ 3:30 pm

So getting ready for playgroup/ nursery/ school etc is daunting and with Christmas not far behind, it’s a time of hair-pulling, teeth-grinding, wine-swilling insanity for some parents. If you have time read ‘Stopping: The art of being still when you have to keep going!”, recommends several ’stillpoints’ a day when you stop, also talks about ’stopovers’ like holidays where you rest for a while and some people need ‘grinding halts’ where you have to have a life changing retreat from it all to work stuff out.

I used to work as an educational tour guide with teenagers which was fairly full-on! I learned very quickly to snatch 10 mins or so to just be still and calm before the little blighters got drunk on cheap French cider again! Good practicing for parenting two manic boys though!

Tatty Bumpkin and Relax Kids CDs both good for kids to learn to move, breath and relax by the way!


School uniform – a sustainable parent’s dilemma August 24, 2007

Filed under: environment,parenting articles,school,the kids — paulabrown @ 1:28 pm


So I grabbed a pack of 2 red polo shirts in Asda (my son school just do red polo shirts and blue sweaters with logos as uniform) and when I got home I was shocked to see they were £2 – just £1 each. The claim most supermarkets make that you can get an entire uniform for less than £20 is true then.

Now I’m a bit of an old hippy when it comes to organic, fair trade and the like but I’m also aware, not having the luxury to live in an ivory tower, that trying to keep afloat financially with kids (at whatever level of income) can be hard at the best of times. So what to do?

The clothes my employer Tatty Bumpkin  makes are either made on a fair trade co-op in Sri Lanka or in a very kosher factory in Turkey that we’ve checked out so I feel like a hypocrite buying these clothes knowing full well the state of the factories that make clothes that cheapily. Alas we don’t make organic / fair trade polo shirts.

I then came across Spirit of Nature – an eco-online store that makes organic and bamboo mix polo shirts (check them out) – bamboo is an amazing fibre we use in the Tatty Bumpkin kid’s clothing collection. It’s got a long list of environmental benefits, is UV resistant, feels like silk, dries quickly, regenerates quickly, needs no pesticides, even does the washing up, sends the birthday cards and will cook the tea if you ask it nicely!

So the compromise I’ve gone for are 3 organic / bamboo polo shirts and 2 Asda sports and 2 uniform as back up. Not a great solution but the best I could afford!


another literary classic!

Filed under: General,parenting articles,poetry and stuff — paulabrown @ 9:48 am

I love this poem!

Stevie Smith – Not Waving But Drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he’s dead

It must have been too cold for him
his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.


The Fisherman… (by Heinrich Boll) August 20, 2007

Filed under: General,parenting articles,poetry and stuff — paulabrown @ 7:47 pm



An American businessman was standing at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.



“How long it took you to catch them?” The American asked.


“Only a little while.” The Mexican replied.


“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” The American then asked.


“I have enough to support my family’s immediate needs.” The Mexican said.


“But,” The American then asked, “What do you do with the rest of your time?”


The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor.”



The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds you buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.”


“Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own can factory. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”



The Mexican fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”


To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”



“But what then, senor?”


The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO (Initial Public Offering) and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”



“Millions, senor? Then what?”


The American said slowly, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos…”


A blue day… August 19, 2007

Filed under: parenting articles,the kids — paulabrown @ 8:18 pm

So I’m back from holiday and swimming in emails and washing, am hormonal and irritable and tired. Today is a blue day. I’ve recently started colour coding my days for amusement – red days are days of high energy or of being cross, green days calm and serene or days spent mostly outdoors. Yellow days are happy days or days when I eat a lot of butter. Or ice cream. Or cheese. Blue days tend to follow as I realise how chubby I’m getting and can’t work out why… Purple days are days spent in deep spiritual contemplation. I haven’t had one of those yet but it’s early days…

You can also categorise children – my two preschool boys remind me so much of puppies sometimes it’s not funny (high-energy, simple, loyal, friendly) so they are now categorised into dog days. Today was a quiet, serene labrador day but most days are red setter days, occasionally lumbering Great Dane days or yappy Jack Russell days. Some days they are like our old Samoyed (white fluffy husky-like and awfully cute) and often they are like Jackalls. If you’re a dog lover and have boys -try it!

If you’re really getting into it and like chocolate you can also do it to people at large – chocolate=good, bread etc=bad so that bread roll people are horrible; pain au chocolat people don’t appear to be so nice but really have a heart of, well, chocolate; Kit Kat people seem nice on the outside but there’s nothing inside worth writing home about; Penguin people are great through and through and Green and Blacks’ 70% cocoa dark chocolate(or Maya Gold) are the best people of all… (apologies for product placement, please substitute with your preferred brand / home cooking)…