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For exotic, Motherland pre-2010, written from Phnom Penh, the extraordinary, chaotic, steaming capital of Cambodia, where smiles mask sadness and mangoes and jasmine tumble freely over walls that keep poverty out. For ordinary, recent ramblings from my so

Updated: 2017-12-05T08:24:37.441+07:00


HEALING SPIRITS! (and where are all the childwen Mummy?)


It is not uncommon in my yoga classes for someone to be quietly shedding tears. From time to time someone sits and sobs their way through the class. The music and the closed eyes make this more comfortable. And I positively encourage it. No tissues or hugs that interrupt the person in their grief and cause them to feel concern about the people around them. Just leave them be to cry out their pain. In the past year three of my yoga students, all of whom were also private clients with deep trauma and pain, two with life-crippling addictions, have passed away. In one way or another, each of these deaths was a kind of suicide. And so it was me, the teacher, who sobbed her way through the class last Friday, in the little hall by the church where the funeral of one of these beloved women, was, simultaneously, being prepared. While able to express myself comfortably to a certain extent - to sing and chant with my fellow yogis was a great comfort - there was obviously a level of restraint since I was teaching. After that, I really needed to go into a field and scream, as I remembered doing after the passing of my beloved yoga teacher, but I had another appointment. From there I went to the funeral and did my best, as did the rest of the packed church-full, not to cry too loudly. Watching her sister, another beloved and inspiring yoga student, bravely stand and read a poem about sisters, moved me to let the tears and snot begin to flow. But it didn't feel acceptable to really let go. By the end of the funeral I felt I would burst. The field beckoned but instead I did my weekly hour with elderly folk with dementia. It was wonderful... no tears but plenty of laughter as I sat in an arm chair wearing a wedding hat, to keep one of the women company - she is very fond of the dressing up hats - inviting them to stretch their arms up between nodding off. "Breathe in Glenys and wave your arms about! Wake up Brenda! Yes Betty, I do have children, three of them... And relax your arms down and breathe out and have a lovely rest. That's wonderful Bob. Oh thank you Pat, your hat suits you very well too! Yes, I have three children. And breathe in and stretch your arms up again! Eileen I am not sure John wants you to tickle him... and relax. Swap hats Pat? Ok, why not ... thank you, your's looks great too! And brea.. Sorry Betty? Yes I do! Three!" And to collect the children from school... by the end of the weekend I was so full of unexpressed grief that I was cross and impatient and snappy. It was Monday morning when I finally sat down and cried. Why is a church, packed full of people who are likely to have in common the fact that they dearly loved and cherished the soul who has passed on, a place of such emotional restraint? A room full of people desperately trying not to cry, to wait until they are alone at home to let the tears flow, if it's not too late and the feeling hasn't been pushed down inside somewhere. Where, in our society, is it acceptable to cry and really not care how loudly or for how long? I keep wondering how the close relatives of the dear souls passed on are managing in their grief. Or how my wonderful close friend, who's mother just passed away, is finding time and space for her grief. Watching one of my yoga students break down and sob in class yesterday inspired me... a soul brave enough to feel what she was feeling when she was feeling it without trying to be or do anything else. This is why I love the Kundalini Yoga tradition of chanting Akaaaaal - the great undying - for 17 days after the passing of a loved one. We have been doing this in class lately and a room full of like-minded souls, inhaling deeply and bellowing out a long exhaled Akaaaaaaal feels like the most tremendous release of grief and pent-up emotion. I am reminded of the day I heard that my yoga teacher trainer passed away and I went into that longed-for field, a field right behind the house, it is important to note. I chanted Akaaaaaal at the top of my voice for a good few minutes. Then I asked her to speak to me. I sent her love an[...]

How to laugh before breakfast and other yogi ideas …


Most of my yoga students have heard me go on and on about cold showers, though most seem unconvinced, it has to be said. I totally understand that they think I am crazy. I used to raise my eyebrows just as sceptically when my old yoga teacher told me about them - until I tried it myself. I have always been the queen of hot baths, preferably accompanied by a cup of tea or a glass of wine and a good book, or my best friend sitting on the loo seat to chat to me (three sisters = no inhibitions), or on the end of the phone as a last resort. So, how can it be that in the last three weeks of living in the coldest, snowiest weather I can remember since I was a child, I have had precisely one hot bath and 22 cold showers? You only have to try it once to know the answer.Honestly, I have had a cold shower every morning since I arrived, including the day we got off the plane from 30 to -2 degrees and snow, and a friend’s very under-heated flat. It takes your breath away of course. In fact it makes me laugh every time I do it, which is a good enough reason to do it in itself – how many mornings do you have a good laugh before breakfast? Other benefits of hydrotherapy or ishnaan (cold showers) are well known. The practice keeps your skin radiant and softer, (this is definitely true for me, and no product has ever helped my skin before) opens up your capillaries, flushes all your organs (not literally, you should keep your mouth closed), keeps blood chemistry young and healthy and it stimulates healthy glandular secretions. It also strengthens and widens your aura, your electro-magnetic field, your light and your radiance.You have to do it right though (for right, read, my way:-)). I do not follow all the rules of Ishnaan (there is a sequence of body massage you are supposed to follow but that takes about ten minutes which I think is way too long and uses up too much water.) But here is the more eco-friendly - or more cowardly - two minute version. The winter version. In the summer I can be under for much longer and wash my hair too if I am feeling brave. Of course in Cambodia it was hard to get a shower to be cold enough and you would be sweating minutes after getting dry, but in England, summer or winter, the water runs seriously cold.In the bathroom, or near enough to it, do a few minutes of energetic yoga. Squats, breath of fire, and aura strengthening arm raises are my favourite. Then put some almond oil in your hands and massage your whole body for as long or as short as you like. Then get in the shower and start by putting your hands under and gradually put your whole body under while massaging your body vigorously as you do. Wash with some natural soap and when you have stopped laughing and have had enough get out! Dry yourself, get dressed straight away and ideally follow with your favourite yoga. And have a cup of yogi tea afterwards as you sit back and bask in your bravery and radiance. It is that simple.I challenge you to try this for a week and come back and tell me how you feel. I do this every morning, preferably before the children wake up, and when I sit down to do yoga, despite the floors being made of stone, the sun not yet having risen and the heating not yet having come on, I really do feel very warm and very calm. And I bet if you asked my family whether they could tell which days I did this before breakfast they would be able to tell. (I just asked. They can.) It makes me a better mother there is no doubt about it. I feel uplifted and energetic throughout the day after this ritual, and I am much more patient and fun with my children. Go on, have a go :-)N.B. Do not practice the above if you are pregnant or have any health issues that would make this not a good idea. If at all concerned google Ishnaan and ask your doctor first.[...]

Recipe for Yogi Tea


Sorry, this has been a long time in coming. So, for a wonderfully delicious tea that strengthens your bones, purifies the blood, aids healthy digestion and is a natural antibiotic here goes:

To 1 1/2 litres water add 5-10 slices of ginger, 20 cardamom pods
20 peppercorns, 15 cloves and 3 cinnamon sticks.

Simmer for 40 minutes. Add 1 tbs. black tea (optional) then reheat to the boiling point, remove from the stove, and strain. Add honey/milk to taste.

It keeps in fridge for a week and is also nice iced (well, if you are in tropical Cambodia, that is, not snowy Kington!) Jemima likes it diluted with lots of milk and it is good for teething. My father is addicted too now, and the house smells lovely when you are making it.


Click here for more recipes

Rambles about new life and new school in Herefordshire! (Unedited, sorry)


Hello hello, we are on line in Herefordshire hooray! And someone has just posted this: Tell us about your household and family and town in Herefordshire! (who are you? :-) and so I shall. And tomorrow I will add lots of snowy pictures too. It is beautiful and white and frosty here and today was the coldest day recorded in Herefordshire in 30 years apparently. It was barely under freezing which by my Norwegian friend Tone's standards must be a hot day given that it is -30c there right now, but for England it is a bit of a national emergency when it snows. Schools are closed, buses and trains cancelled, rubbish remains uncollected... and today I think we ran out of salt. (I mean we as in England, not the Treasure-Evans, and salt as in grit, not table salt) I love it! We are forced to surrender to the powers of nature for a change. Having to take a day or two off work is also a good reminder that we are not that important and the world will not collapse without us. I can say this easily though because James and I are not working yet. At least not in the economically-recognised manner of the word. Cooking, cleaning, rearranging and rebuilding our lives while taking care of two children is keeping us busy enough though. Oh I miss Sophy. (Oh, I must blog about our farewell at the airport. Sophy's entire family came to see us off, placing garlands of jasmine around our necks and pressing their noses into our necks for minutes at a time, sniffing our skin as they do with children, as as if to remember forever how we smell. It was overwhelming and moving and I sobbed my heart out. I really do miss Sophy, and I do not mean for her washing up or childcare. I miss her warm, gentle presence in our family and I wonder how she is doing without her darling Bella to make her laugh every day. Ah, more about leaving Cambodia later.)Jemima started school on Monday and completely loved it. I missed her so much at lunchtime, after five years of having her home! But I love her school as much as she does. It is very eco- and socially conscious, small and familial. Really, I had to stop myself from throwing my arms around her teachers in joy and relief. Jemima's teacher is very zen and softly spoken and manages to make a class of 24 children seem more like a class of ten. The atmosphere in her classroom and in the whole school was so happy and peaceful and there was a lot of emphasis on kindness and caring for each other. We were all really welcomed and spent the whole morning there. The Head Teacher is young and gorgeous and seems to adore her job. And she had so much time for us. She had time to play with Bella, share ideas about James' career, and chat to me, on the first day back at school before giving a lovely and inspiring assembly (yes I nearly cried then too). This is something I have loved so much about this last week - everyone seems to have time for us. Everyone we meet stops to chat and seems genuinely interested in us and our children. They all seem to want to come to yoga too so I better get that organised soon. And the health food shop will re fill our Ecover bottles! Ah how I have missed little things like this! Kington is small (about 2-3000 people) and has a lovely high street currently adorned with coloured flags and each house as a Christmas tree on the front wall, upstairs hanging over the street, as has been tradition for centuries. There are small independent shops for everything and a Co'op, with lots of organic and fair trade products. Our house is a mile out of Kington surrounded by hills and fields all covered at the moment in a blanket of snow. We can sit in our kitchen and watch twenty birds having their breakfast in the garden, including the robin that comes right up to the door, if Bella is quiet enough. There are log fires inside, snowmen outside and I have seen the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets every day since we arrived. I am totally loving cooking and being domestic in such gorgeous surroundings and we have been sledging o[...]

Life in England... goodbye ice creams and sunshine, hello school uniforms and snow!


We are back! England has welcomed us gloriously with snow and sun and frost and despite wearing hats in bed we are actually enjoying the cold. While there are many things I shall miss about Cambodia, right now I am loving the fact that I can run and skip down the road with the girls safely (apart from the patches of black ice), that they wake up at 830 each morning instead of 6, and that they have learnt how to walk further than from the front door to the gate or Tuk Tuk once more. We have walked up a hill every day since we arrived, been sledging, had hot chocolates by the fire and they have even stopped complaining about the ten layers of clothing they have to wear each time they leave the house. It is good to be home.

Yes, it feels like the right decision despite having left so many precious people behind. We still think and talk of Cambodia all the time and this feels like a holiday for the girls I am sure. For me it is frighteningly real. Jemima starts school on Monday. MONDAY! I have nightmares about her wearing the wrong uniform (we have not got it yet!) or arriving late or not being able to start the car but she is completely relaxed and excited. While I am in mourning at the thought of her not coming home for lunch all she can talk about is the school puddings she has read about on the menu on the school website!

I am sure this blog will be a bit of a T-E family settling back into life in the sticks for a while, so if you are good friends you will enjoy, especially if reading from our old beloved hot and sultry Cambodia. If you are new to Motherland you may find it more interesting to read some of my other less mundane scribblings :-)

What will I take home from Cambodia?


A dear friend asked me yesterday, what will you take home from Cambodia? Today these words come tumbling out, fast and furious. I could edit it but I don't want to. Better to give you the raw unfinished rough draft, a from the heart flow …


So many smiles mask so much pain.
So much gold, so much dirt.

Gold Towers, evictions, Lexuses, rape,
Swimming pools & sewers where children play.

White sand islands, plastic bags,
Coconuts palms, foreign owned.

Colourful weddings, music and lights!
Bride unrecognisable. Woman in chains.
Make-up that hides her soul.

Glinting green rice paddies, warm russet earth,
Yellow afternoons.

Sunsets that bathe a whole city in red.
Monks swathed in orange, photographed daily. Fed by the poor. Faith uncertain.

Mangoes and jasmine, cyclos and street kids.

So many smiles. So much pain.

What will I take home with me from you, Cambodia?

Scents and impressions of all of this. Branded into my soul.

And more.

Healing, love, art and peace
Destiny found and embraced

Humility, outrage and hopelessness

Hope, patience, empathy and light.

Flow, grace. Nightmares and dreams.

Tolerance for dogs and music and traffic
Yearning for space and tears and passion

A desire to see something here change
The fear that nothing will

Friends, forever, deep in my heart.

Soul touched. Soul love.

Bella! Conceived and nurtured from nought to two. Naked and free, loved everywhere.

Jemima, already five! Wise and beautiful, loving and strong.

James, closer every day. Forgiving, brave and true.

Loving, warm and trusting. Open hearts, open lives.

Cambodia embraced us all.

How can I leave?

How can I stay?

Trust. Trust and let go.

For more rough poems click here

Who is out of control?


A thought for the day on tantrums - as a few people have asked me about this lately. Many people think that a child who does not have tantrums must somehow be happier or more secure. Parents absolutely dread their child having a tantrum in public. Children who have tantrums are often tutted at, what unacceptable behaviour! The mother who drags the tantruming child screaming out of the room (yes I have done it too) is, however, often sympathised with and considered absolutely right in her actions. The lack of empathy for a tantruming child in a public space often makes us parents respond wrongly simply because we know that all everyone wants is for that child to shut up, and we feel those judgments flying in our direction. We prioritise pleasing the crowd and getting the hell out of there fast, meanwhile increasing the already toxic levels of the stress hormone cortisone flooding our child's brain. If only we were able to accept and understand that tantrums happen, and for a reason, then maybe we would all be able breathe and smile and be supportive as the parent and child work together to find ways to calm down. I absolutely believe that tantrums are normal and a sign that the child has a strong will that is alive and kicking. If we look at the five minutes before a tantrum starts we can often easily see how right and understandable the tantrum response was and how we can try to prevent it in the future. Imagine we could not express in words what we wanted to achieve and when we tried to no one understood or everything went wrong. Imagine we were whisked up from a game we were playing and undressed and plopped in the bath without prior warning. Imagine we desperately wanted to wear our green t shirt over our red dress but were not allowed out of the house until we had changed. When we put ourselves in our children's shoes, trying to remember how small and 'about me' their world is, a tantrum almost always seems easier to understand and less likely to make us angry in our response. And maybe we will see that while some tantrums are beyond our control and will always occur at some point - one child snatching a toy from another - others are quite clearly of our own making. I very recently witnessed a 4 year old boy playing with my daughters very sweetly. Something happened which I did not see - I think he did not come when his dad asked him to but perhaps he snatched something from someone, I am not sure. But what was a peaceful scene of kids playing one moment turned into a horrible scene of anger. Guess what happened? The dad had a tantrum! The boy was smacked on the bottom and dragged off screaming and kicking and thrown in the car. So upsetting to watch. I wanted nothing more than to ask the dad to stop and think. (Actually I would quite liked to have sent him to the naughty step but I don't believe in them. At least not for children.) How he would have felt to have been humiliated and physically hurt in front of his friends and then banished without the chance to say goodbye. I could just imagine the feelings of injustice and lack of control flooding the little boy's brain as he sat crying in the car. How can we expect our kids to have control over their behaviour when a parent has no control of his own? I was ready to tell him: "You have just violated your child". But he was gone too fast. He might have replied that I had no right to tell him how to treat his own child. Of course I think I do. His child is not a possession but a person with the right to be defended.It is appropriate for a child to have a tantrum; just not a parent. And if children have a safe space to express their will, without suppression, but with support and love and help to process deep feelings, and gentle boundaries when appropriate, both parent and child can learn from each experience and both will be stronger and more emotionally aware as a result. Here is what I wrote a good while[...]

Leaving Cambodia.. for real this time..


Ok, I know this blog has been sleeping for a long time. (I haven’t.) I also know that I wrote about a year ago that we were leaving Cambodia and I never quite got round to writing that we were not leaving after all. But this time it is true. After four incredible years here we are flying home for Christmas and not coming back. At least, not any time soon. So of course I have to write. I can’t imagine anyone visits my blog now it has been such a long time since I last wrote, but I need to write anyway, for the girls and to relieve my heavy heart. Oh, and for my mother. I know she will be reading. :-) Cycling home last night through Phnom Penh at dusk, having spent the afternoon playing yoga games and creative arts with a team of Cambodian counsellors and social workers who are in great need of some Time for Me (as the project is called) to release stress and trauma and to learn to support each other, I was ready to cancel our flight booking. However much I long for the green hills of Herefordshire and however much I am excited for our new life in the countryside, I still cannot really imagine saying goodbye to this extraordinary city and its wonderful people. Last night the streets were madly busy, the uncovered sewer, or black river, was especially pungent, the sun was huge and red in the sky, weddings blocked off whole streets on my bike route, and the air was its usual warm, damp, musky self, with that unmistakable Phnom Penh smell that hit me the first time I stepped off the plane and which I will never forget.There was a time, three years back, when I would have been so ready to leave here. Now, although I know leaving is the right thing for us to do in many ways, it feels as though time is slipping through my fingers. I don’t feel ready to let go, no matter how much yoga I do for the 1st chakra!What has been incredibly moving, and also quite surprising, over the last few weeks, is to see how Cambodians become very emotional and expressive when it comes to goodbyes. I am used to the smiles that mask the real feelings within, when it comes to most of my Cambodian friends. However I am beginning to understand how goodbyes trigger off subconscious memories of previous endings - endings which, for most Cambodians, have been deeply painful traumatic events. I can honestly say that not a day has passed in the last week or so when someone has not welled up on seeing me or the girls. I totally understand of course. I fight back the tears (or let them flow forth actually) several times a day at the moment, at the market, in nearly every yoga class I teach, and especially when hanging out or working with one of my dearest friends and yoga colleague in Cambodia, Mindy, and her son Ivan, Bella’s best friend. Seeing my girls with their friends, lovely children who have come to mean so much to me, many of whom are also my little yoga students, is probably the hardest thing of all. It is at times like that when the urge to stamp my feet and shout “No, I can’t leave them!” comes upon me. But I was not prepared for the sheer amounts of love and expressed sadness from the Cambodians in my life. Bella and Jemima’s teachers, our beloved nanny and house help Sophy, her daughter, her daughter in law, her daughter’s friend…. It is overwhelming, exhausting but it is so honest and real that I would not want it to be any different. A friend reminded me that the pain of leaving honours the deep relationships we have built here. If it were easy to leave what would that say about the last four years? I never thought I would feel at home here, but right now this is the most at home I can imagine feeling anywhere. The fact that it is not our home is one of the main reasons we are leaving I suppose. To go back to England and put down some roots. Once we have a home back in England maybe one day we will feel free to move overseas to live ag[...]

Ideas for Halloween fun!


If you are new to Phnom Penh don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll miss Halloween this year. My daughter is still haunted by the image of four giant eyeballs passing silently down St 57 in a Tuk Tuk at sunset. This year, given the recent bloodthirst for Stephenie Meyer’s series of Twilight novels, I expect to see a lot of romantic, well-intentioned vampires lurking in the shadows of Phnom Penh. Should they come knocking at your door, don’t be alarmed. Meyer’s vampires are mostly vegetarian. You might want to hang a crucifix and a string of garlic round your neck to be sure, but they will probably be pacified with a spider web chocolate fudge muffin or a basket of bleeding eye balls. Read on for more haunting Halloween party ideas and ask at your local school for details of organised Trick or Treat Tuk Tuk tours. Happy Halloween! Repulsive recipesSpooky spider web chocolate fudge muffinsPreheat oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Heat 50g dark chocolate, 85g butter, 1 tbsp milk until melted. Stir. Cool.Mix 200g SR flour, ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda, 85g brown sugar, 50g castor sugar. Add 1 beaten egg, 142ml sour cream. Mix well. Stir into chocolate don’t over mix. Bake in greased muffin tin or cases for 20 min. Spread cooled muffins with melted dark chocolate. Pipe 4 circles of white chocolate on top. Drag a skewer from centre to the edge to create a cobweb effect. Alternate dark on white.Sugared eye balls Fill a basket of blood-shot, blood curdling starey eyeballs and offer them to hungry vamps at your door. Dip marzipan or cookie dough balls into melted white chocolate, add a smartie for the pupil and drip red colouring for veins. Black grapes in icing sugar or lychees are an easier option!Who can make the creepiest cookie? Let your kids loose to decorate their favourite cookies – you could turn it into a party game. Pumpkin pieA traditional Halloween party would not be complete without pumpkinPreheat oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Bake a pumpkin. Scoop out the flesh. Use 1 cup mashed for the pie, freeze the rest or mash with butter, salt and pepper for comfort food. Grind a packet of Ginger Nuts / Digestives with a pinch of ground ginger / Cinnamon Grahams. Mix with ¼ cup of melted butter. Stir and cook for 2 mins. Press mix into bottom of greased tart dish. Bake 10 mins. Turn the oven up to 220°C/Gas 7Mix pumpkin with 100g sugar, ½ tsp salt, 1½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ginger, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp allspice, ½ tsp cloves and 1 tin evaporated milk. Pour into cooled biscuit base. Bake at 220°C for 15 mins. Turn the oven down to 180°C. Bake for another 35 mins. Serve warm with double cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy cold, set leftovers the next day.Freaky fashion Olympic market (upstairs) and Orussey Market (outside) has great fabrics and sequins for costumes, including a range of printed fake fur for animal costumes. BKK market is worth searching for princess costumes and black and red velvet dresses for your little witches and devils. Pick up a pumpkin while you are there for your lantern carving.Cheeky Monkey at Le Jardin, St 360 also sells good costumes. Why not support Friends’ face painting team at their shop on St 13? They have a good creative repertoire or take along your own ghoulish design.Ghastly, ghostly gamesApple bobbing is the perfect Halloween game for the tropics. Hot and sticky Trick or Treaters can cool off whilst trying to pick up floating apples from a bowl of water… with their teeth! Warning – face paints may run.Pin the tail on the devil, wart on the witch’s nose, fangs on the vampire... let your kids decide!Wrap the Mummy – use loo roll or old sheets torn into long strips. Who can wrap up their friend the fastest?Sleeping witches, vampires, ghosts… again let your kids decide! The kids lie very still on the floor and when you move you are out. Perfect for calming down sugar fue[...]

Think your child will never eat spinach? Think again...


Asia life article July! For many parents, feeding our children is the most stressful aspect of parenting. We tend to associate meal times with battles over control, bribes we later regret, left over food and a lot of mess. Georgie Treasure-Evans offers a few ideas and some child-friendly vegetarian recipes to bring the fun back into family meals, as well as a balanced healthy diet. It is a common misperception in many countries that children like their food plain and easily distinguishable. Here it is rice porridge. Where I come from, fish fingers, alphabet chips and tiny frozen veg spring to mind. You may find it hard to imagine your kids eating the necessary pulses and leafy vegetables that replace the iron, protein and vitamins that we get from meat and fish. Luckily the reality is that most young children love strong flavours and will happily eat whatever their parents do, allowing for personal preferences, of course. Resistance at meal times usually has more to do with how they are feeling than with the food itself. When a child is ill, tired, upset or over excited his appetite is often the first thing to go, followed shortly by his ability to behave as we might wish them to.The best advice I received for dealing with meal times is to relax, let go and trust that your children will eat what they need when they need it. Offer everything in small helpings and allow them to create a little mess as well. Give them some of the much sought after control that they so rarely experience in their young lives. And make it fun.The tried and tested recipes below are just a start, to get your own creative juices flowing. Enjoy the process as much as the result. Remember that small kids love to cook and are more likely to eat what they have helped to make! Let them help you or your cook chop soft vegetables, grate cheese, crush the garlic, and lick the bowl. If you are in a hurry give them some pots and their own ingredients and let them make messy mixtures on the floor. Lentil Bolognaise (vegan)This can be a sauce for pasta or baked potatoes, with cheese on top if not vegan, or topped with mashed potato (sweet and normal) and baked as shepherd’s pie. Make lots and freeze half, or blend into soup. Soak green lentils or mung beans over night, cook red and yellow split peas from dried. Tinned lentils are a quick alternative. Fry 2 chopped onions and 1 garlic clove in a large pan with olive oil until soft. Add chopped carrot/courgette/pepper/aubergine/mushrooms (any or all as desired) and two cups of lentils. Fry for another minute. Stir in vegetable stock and simmer for about 40 minutes, adding stock until the lentils are soft. Add two cans of chopped tomatoes, season to taste, fresh thyme and oregano go nicely with this. Ten minute green spaghettiPuree steamed fresh or frozen spinach – either on its own or with a bit of cream / cream cheese / splash of milk, and grated nutmeg. Pour over pasta and pile grated cheese on top. Spinach quicheFind a short crust pastry recipe and follow, or buy ready-made from Veggies, on St 240. Line a quiche dish and bake blind for 10 minutes (score the pastry with a knife first). Fill with steamed spinach and cubes of feta. Pour over mix of 3 beaten eggs, half a pint of milk, and a teaspoon of English mustard. Grate black pepper on one side for adults. Bake for 30 mins approx. Spinach is a great source of iron but you can replace with any veg you like.Courgette pasta Get the kids to cut or grate courgettes. Steam and toss into favourite pasta shapes with a little sour cream, crushed garlic and grate cheese on top. Add pine nuts or cashews for protein.Peruvian bean stew with fetaCut 1lb potato and1lb pumpkin into cubes and cook until nearly soft. Fry 1 onion and garlic, 1 optional chilli, 1tsp cumin and add 1 tin of tomatoes. When the onion is soft stir in [...]

Back to school...


This is for any parents resisting sending their children to pre-school or kindergarten, and lacking faith in their decision. Bella started three mornings a week at her sister's little pre-school last week. Now she runs around the house singing, with attitude, "Jemima! You are naughty poo poo pee pee!" So that is what they mean by socialising. Long may it last.

Good enough mother or pathological feeder? Setting our children free to be themselves


Wow. I have just read something that really resonates with me and my experience of my own life and of being a mother. (I know it has been ages since my last post and that most of my readers have given up on me. I have been in the UK but now I am back and will try to keep it going weekly from now on :-)) In between nappies and feeds and everything else I have pretty much spent the last few years working really hard to discover a sense of inner peace and an end to the constant self-judgment I slowly realised was my every day state of existence, not to mention trying to discover who that self really is. I have finally let go, accepted that I am who I am, begun to rather like that person, warts and all, and – which is why I am blogging about this at Motherland – in doing so I find I have set my children free to be who they are, rather than who I wanted them to be. And James for that matter. Therapy seems better value when you look at it this way, four for the price of one. (I definitely agree with the yogic belief that the woman is the spiritual care taker in the family and if she is happy and healthy and whole the family will blossom in her light, but that is something for another day.) A while back I blogged about Jemima driving me crazy with her negativity – which I thought totally inappropriate for her age, quality of life etc. The First Breath She also tended to whine a lot and I heard myself call her a ‘spoilt brat’ on more than one occasion and generally completely failed to accept whatever feelings she was experiencing, instead trying to make her experience a different sort of mood, one that I found more acceptable, and more lovable. Basically I wanted Jemima to be perfect and lovely and well-behaved and always impressive, without being aware that all this pressure was actually what I had been heaping onto myself for years. It is almost as though now that I allow myself to be real, i.e. flawed, and having finally found a degree of self love and self esteem, my children are also allowed to be real. And I have noticed most of her negativity has since vanished anyway, perhaps simply for having been allowed to express it and have it recognised as a valuable emotion. It wasn’t as though I was this horrid mother before or that now I am a saint. Of course I was always aware of what I needed to do to let my babies flourish emotionally, but it was hard, which is probably what brought me to embark upon my own journey of healing in the first place, so that I could be a truly happy mother of truly happy children. But however subtle it may be, since my own inner transformation, I see such a change in my response to my girls, and they definitely seem happier. I find myself indulging - or honouring is probably a better word - their feelings and needs with what I see they are looking for regardless of whether or not I think they should be feeling what they are feeling. Well, most of the time. I still flip occasionally and I heard myself telling Jemima yesterday to ‘just stop crying about this right now because it not something worth crying about!’ Not exactly the emotional response she was craving, which brings me to what I have just been reading about.I am reading a great book called Yoga and the Quest for the True Self by Stephen Cope. In it he looks at why so many western adults experience a crisis of self, either a sense of false self or a total lack of self – you know, the kind of craving for something deeper or more satisfying in our lives, a void that can lead to addictions, teenage breakdowns, extra-marital affairs, mid- life crises … or that lands us on the therapist’s couch looking for meaning of life. It comes as no surprise that this sense of false self is most commonly attributed to the breakdown of ext[...]

Yoga is being in the moment with your kids


Gosh it has been ages as usual. I am revising for my exam (will soon be a fully certified yoga teacher hooray) and if I had blogged as well I would definitely have been neglecting the girls. Last weekend I attended a course for teaching kid’s yoga and heard these very reassuring but also quite challenging words: Mothering is yoga. If you can be truly present in each moment you spend with your kids, that is your yoga. At first this came as a huge relief given that many of my fellow yoga teachers are practising for two hours each morning before dawn while I am still catching up after five years of broken sleep! But when I thought about it more I realised that this is probably my biggest challenge as a mother and in life generally. I am always planning the next thing: tomorrow’s play date; the bath at dinner time; the stories at bath time, thinking about work when I am ‘playing’ with them… These words really helped me to change my approach to the time I spend with the girls and I feel so much better for it.The first effort I made to strengthen my commitment towards being fully present with my kids was to buy batteries for the watch I forgot I had. At the moment I use my phone as a clock and I end up texting while I am with the girls far too much. Really, I would never do that with friends - well not that much  - because it is blatantly disrespectful, but here I am day after day using my phone when I am supposed to be playing with the girls. From now on I will leave my phone on silent or at home when I am on mother duties. I don’t hesitate to turn it off when teaching after all!And my second triumph was this afternoon. “Let’s arrange your dolls house Jemima!” This is one of my favourite games. I would secretly like to be an interior designer, and/or live in Jemima’s dolls house. It has three floors and a roof you can take off in the sun! Wouldn’t you? You should also know, so that you can truly value the extent of my personal growth that took place this afternoon, that if you asked James ‘Who says what goes where in this house?’ you would know by his heavy sigh that I am a total control freak when it comes to creating the kind of home I want to live in. How else did we end up with a bright pink kitchen (in England)? It was very cool actually, I must dig up a picture before I lose your respect.Anyway, there I was rubbing my hands together with glee at the thought of arranging the perfect kitchen, a very attachment-parenting style bedroom and a playroom with a dolls house – a mini-one in case you are confused. We will call it a dolls dolls house. (We argue about this one every time – the dolls dolls house is actually a TV according to Jemima and she likes to arrange all the dolls on the bed watching it. This says a great deal for my parenting skills I know!) Anyway, just as I was getting started I hear: “No Mummy, put the cooker up here next to the double bed!” Silence. Deep breath. I am serious. Last month I would have been unable to help myself. “Wouldn’t it be very dangerous and smelly to sleep next to the cooker?”, I would ask, while already restoring order in the bedroom and internally berating myself for my total void of child’s perspective. It’s sad I know. Yes, Monica from Friends does spring to mind. Not this time. This time I was right there with her. In the moment.“Brilliant idea! I would love to roll out of bed and make my tea and scrambled eggs without having to move rooms!” I meant it too. She was delighted and by the time we finished we had put the beds in the sitting room (there was no room in the bedroom after we moved in the kitchen sink) and the tv/dolls dolls house in the bathroom to watch/play with in the bath. And the barbeque next t[...]

Travelling with kids (Asia Life, June)


As Georgie Treasure-Evans prepares for three weeks backpacking around northern Laos with her husband and two girls under five, she shares a few tips to help you plan for your own family adventures. Her top tip? Keep it simple! The long school break is a strange time for both parents and children alike in Expatria. There is the inevitable sadness brought about by yet more goodbyes to beloved friends, often distracted by wonderful, albeit exhausting, trips home to reconnect with friends and family. For some there are agonizingly long days hanging about in Phnom Penh waiting for everyone to come back and schools to start! But these long ‘summers’ also provide the perfect opportunity to explore the beautiful and exotic places so easily within our reach. Here are a few tips to make travelling with children enjoyable and stress free. What better region to brave with children than southeast Asia, cheek pinching aside? You are welcomed everywhere by willing babysitters and play mates – from local kids to fully grown backpackers. You can relax on long bus journeys as the children get passed around your fellow passengers for a good dose of ogling and boiled sweet-pushing. Nobody cares when you ask the bus to make five loo stops in half an hour. Even a tantrum provides intriguing relief from the tedium of the journey.Here are a few essentials to add to your usual list. Keep it simple and only pack what you and your kids can carry! 1. Take your favourite baby carrier, and a cotton sling that folds up small. The Ergo carries new-borns up to four year olds, perfect for long walks or late night transits.2. A wet cloth in a plastic bag is great for washing faces and hands. Waste-free, it is eco-friendly and lighter than a pack of wipes. Though accepting that your off-spring will look and smell rather like street children for most of the trip can be quite liberating, and helps you pack half as many clothes.3. A bendy, plastic ‘catchy’ bib that you can fold up and shove in a pocket is great to stop children picking food up off the floor. It doubles up as a nose bag if you fill it with raisins for children snacking on the loose. 4. Bags of nuts, dried apricots and prunes are filled with protein and iron for when the children’s diet becomes less balanced. Otherwise Royal D and local snacks will probably suffice.5. An inflatable highchair that folds up small. Really. It makes having to eat out three times a day with babies or toddlers bearable.6. Stories and songs downloaded onto an MP3 player with headphones and/or speakers.7. A book of children’s songs or the words to your favourite songs. Be prepared to sing. For hours....8. A small kit of natural remedies. E.g. Echinacea for fighting colds, Lavender oil for mossie bites and restful sleep, Citronella for mosquitoes, Chamomile for calming and skin irritations, Aloe Vera for sun burn, Rescue Remedy for shocks, Tea Tree for antiseptic, Eucalyptus for blocked nose, Pro-biotics for keeping Thrush at bay for sugar-fuelled kids... herbal tea bags are good too.9. A full first-aid kit, sun screen, sun suits and hats and mossie guard.10. Toys come last on my list from experience. Travelling kids mostly play with their environment. You know: rubbish, old tin cans, cigarette butts, plug sockets, hotel loo brushes, filthy shoes. My nine-month-old daughter played with a half full plastic water bottle for three weeks in Vietnam. If we didn’t have it on long journeys we were in trouble. But, if you have room, pack a bag with small toys that you can empty onto the floor wherever it becomes necessary. E.g. finger and sock puppets, face paints, fuzzy felt, small dolls with removable clothes and long hair, hair brush, beads for making jeweller[...]



I have just been told by my homeopath that she has never, ever met another woman in her life who breastfeeds as much as me! Hmmmmm.... is this a good thing? Is it possible to over breastfeed?

I have been pregnant or breastfeeding or pregnant for both for over five years now, and I suppose I am vaguely curious to find out what I look and feel like when I eventually stop. And it is true that in Laos was on the boob nearly every hour when possible, or sometimes simply on it for hours... but what else is she going to do on a five hour bus journey right?

I have always found it easier to stick 'em on than to face the screams and complaints if I don't. No idea how I will be received back home in the summer! I have long stopped caring about what anyone else thinks when I breastfeed but am aware that here in Cambodia anything goes, whereas in the UK I am in danger of causing an accident when some unsuspecting passer by catches a glimpse of 22-month-old Bella clambering onto my lap, demanding 'mam mam!' (Actually she is quite polite. She now says very softly: "Please, Mummy. Bit of mam mam now?"), from time to time pulling off to chat, baring me to all, or humming loudly while feeding, and generally being far too big and active to pass off as a baby. Her hands are always occupied in some Khmer dance or scrunching up my tummy fat. Still at least no one understands 'mam mam'. Jemima used to come back for holidays when she was two and I was pregnant and shout "I want mummy milk" in front of my in-laws. Cringe.

Not that my homeopath recommended I stop or feed less, mind you. She was just merely recognising that it is possibly related to my constant recurring colds and coughs.
It is possible that all this breastfeeding is wearing me out. Ah well, I would love to hear from those of you who also think back over their day and realise that they just may possibly have fed their nearly-two-year-old rambunctious toddler, urm, say, eight times in a 12 hour period. (and I work most mornings!) I know you are out there! And half of you probably feeding at night-time too which thank goodness I have finally stopped doing. I am off to put Bella to bed.. on the boob of course. Hoping to have a little snooze myself. Look forward to hearing about wearier boobs than mine ;-).

P.S. Still wonder if I should rename my book "Places I have breastfed". I topped the list this year in Laos by feeding B on a log, half-way up a very steep hill in mountainous jungle, over looked by two young park rangers (or very possibly poachers actually) with AK47s slung over their shoulders. I have felt more relaxed before. James was half an hour behind us with a very ill Jemima on his back, so we were all alone. This was a few hours before we got arrested but this is another story. Coming soon I promise.

Colour purple?


Hello! Yes, back safe and sound from adventures in Laos which I will tell you about soon. Just thought I would post while waiting for an internet search to tell me how to make the colour purple.

I know, I know red and blue, of course. Of course! But have you actually tried to make purple from red and blue paint? I am in the middle of painting a mural on Jemima's and Bella's bedroom wall and I am telling you, red and blue simply do not make purple. Certainly not a nice, calm, pretty purple at any rate. Red and blue make brown. Yes they do. Every time. Or worse, they make a wild, angry, dirty purple. Please help.

I am desperate to paint my mermaid's hair before Jemima comes home. She is sitting on a rock at the bottom of the sea brushing her hair. My mermaid, that is, not Jemima. At least I hope not. She has a lot of hair and Jemima wants it purple. My mermaid, not Jemima! Although Jemima also has a lot of hair, but thankfully doesn't want it purple. Yet. As I said, please help. I eagerly await your encouragement and purple tips.

I suppose I could just go out and buy a pot of purple paint ...