Tag Archives: life

Navigating the grey zone, and pear and date muffins because cake.

29 Jul
Note : pears are missing because I already whizzed them in the food processor.

Note : pears are missing because I already whizzed them in the food processor.

My step mother came over for lunch on Sunday. Technically, she’s my Dad’s ex-wife but she’ll always be my step mum.

When D Man asked me who she was it was kind of hard for me to explain so we entered into the unchartered territory of ‘STEP…’.

The easiest way for me to explain was by relating it to us, and our family and it felt very alien and surreal.

“If Daddy was to marry someone else she would be your step-mum.”

It sounded matter of a fact enough coming out of my mouth, but it tasted like a dusty tumble weed rolling over my tongue, and yet a little monkey somewhere banged a drum that made me squint with one eye as my sphincter clenched.

But that’s what a step-mother is.

We’re all doing really well though, thanks for asking.

Finding a rhythm and slipping into a groove. The kids are fine mostly, nary a blip. Weekend visits are surprisingly easy, except for that one time…. the day I forgot Ratty.

The very first blog I ever wrote was about that Rat and his place in the family has probably heightened rather than lessened over the years.

Ratty has traveled more extensively than some adults I know and Boy and Rat have never spent a night apart….But in my rush to get out the door for a Daddy sleep over night Rat was left behind.

I could blame the 4 year old because technically I gave Ratty to him to carry to the car, but you really can’t trust a four year old to take responsibility for something so important.

D Man eating pear and date muffinBy the time we realised the smelly old Rat was left behind, I was on my way to dinner with friends. You see dropping your kids off is great in many ways, but a little bit quiet and lonely in others so I’m also finding my new groove.

That’s not at all bad.

I’m on my way to dinner when I get the call that Ratty was not in the bag and not in the car, and, and, and…..

No Rat.

It kind of broke the top off something I’d screwed down pretty tight. Tears blurred my vision as I drove through the dark, and I brushed them away as fast as they came worried about my mascara and arriving at dinner looking like a Zombie but then suddenly I couldn’t keep up with them, so I just let them roll. Bloody smelly old, bunk eyed rat.

But they weren’t really tears for the Rat.

But I guess we all know that.

pear and date muffinsAnyway, I’m keeping busy, like usual, so when we had a play date recently I thought I’d whip up a batch of something to offer the guests. We’ve also been rocking them for breakfast.

I had some squishy pears in the bowl and I thought I’d make some low sugar muffins sweetened with those bad boys.

This is so easy because you chuck it all into the food processor and you’re on your way. Sort of.

 Pear and Date Muffins

What you will need :

  • 2 over ripe pears, smooshed with a fork
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 50g butter, melted and cooled
  • 125 g dates, chopped
  • 50g walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 50g choc chips, or chopped dark chocolate (optional)

pear and date muffins

What you will need to do : 

Pre-heat over to 180C. LiPlace your muffin cases in your tray.

Core your pears and whack them into the food processor and whizz them up. Throw your flours, sugar and baking powder in and then add your milk, eggs and butter.

Take the bowl off the processor and stir in your dates, choc chips and walnuts, and spoon your mixture into the muffin cases.

Pop into the over for 15-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

 

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now.

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Portrait 365 : 194 – 201

19 Jul

Don

Don

“I play Santa every year and one year a kid told me that they should sack every other Santa because I’m the only one with a real beard.”

Alex

Alex

 

“I packed my bags and traveled around the world for a year and a half. I came home with a broken foot after a paragliding accident in Columbia. I broke up with my guy and began jumping off cliffs to feel empowered; then there was an earthquake. It was time to come home.”

Kimberley

Kimberley

“I’m a child psychologist and I’m nearly finished my 7 year PhD in the transition from Year 6 to Year 7. It’s all about belonging.”

That never changes, I think.

L'il Bee

L’il Bee

Alex

Alex

“I met my wife in London and she fell pregnant within one month. Two weeks prior I had told a friend that i would never marry or have kids. We moved to Australia and got married. Two years later we had another child and I’m in love with all of them.”

 

Monique

Monique

“I’m so proud of my little 14 month old boy. I’m so proud that I created him. It’s the best.”

Amani

Amani

“You know, if you renew your library books online you won’t get a fine?”

Yep. Fined again.

Filippo

Filippo

“I used to be an engineer in the construction industry but it didn’t make me happy, so I became a photographer. I specialise in time lapse photography and I tell stories through pictures.”

You can check out Filippo’s amazing, mind-blowing, inspiring work here. He’s traveled to places I’ve only dreamed of and told stories that touched my viscera through images. Seriously, click his link. It’s like wow on steroids.

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Happiest girl in the world.

15 Jul

the holsbysI just got off the phone to renowned Australian anthropologist Dr Stephen Juan (hello shameless name drop).

We’ve spoken a few times of late and we usually speak business for 5 minutes and then spend 40 minutes talking about all things life, love and anthropology (today we also touched on chocolate; you know the big topics).

There are few people that you instantly connect with, but I can safely say I think he’s a truly interesting and remarkable human. I look forward to making up an excuse to contact him again as he’s one of those people that you feel happier for having spoken with them.

That’s a gift.

He was telling me why he feels he’s the happiest guy in the world and in the folds of his tale were numerous wonderful things that had happened to him over the course of his life, and Stephen attributed them to luck. Of course, as an observer, I can see that his hard work, and kind deeds and sunshiny energy has drawn wonderful things his way and it got me to thinking about me…. you know, cos it always comes back to me.

I have had so many fantastic experiences in my life. I have traveled far and wide, and had adventures that many will only ever dream of. It wasn’t a big deal, I just explored with a thirst for adventure and immersed myself in situations. Some were ridiculous, sure, but most were wondrous.

One of the things that Stephen said made him truly happy was thinking about how many people loved him.

Isn’t that cool?

kiki and mamaJust this morning on our way to school D Man was asking me who loved him.

“I do.”

“Who else loves me?”

“Daddy.”

“And who else loves me?”

“Kiki.”

“And who else loves me?”

“Nana”

“And who else loves me?”……

This went on until I really couldn’t think of another person who loved him.

Even family members overseas that haven’t seen him since he was a babe.

Even Mr Fluffy Pants who is actually probably ambivalent before D Man gives him breakfast and downright disinterested after.

Anyway, two times in one day is not a coincidence in my book, but a poke in my eye for me to sit quietly for a minute and think about all of the people who love me. I decided I would go beyond the obvious, like people whose butts I wipe, or I cook food for, but into the greater spectrum of people who send good juju my way because they care.

There was actually quite a long mental list, new friends who I’ve met online through this crazy business called blog who actively send me love, old friends who I may not have seen for a while but when we get together the love feels just the same as it always did, and then there are those special people who when they hug me and they beam their love directly into my heart from theirs like a bolt of rose coloured lightning.

Family near and family far, and family not related by blood but because we chose each other, and chose to adopt each other permanently into our lives.

So much lovely love.

If I was to measure my happiness in units of love radiated at me, then I really am very lucky.

I have to say that’s a happy thought.

Someone who loves me dearly, with whom I have had many adventures, and misadventures, with took these beautiful images of us recently. She put a little blog up on her site if you’d like to see the whole series. Check us out here.

Anyway, take a minute to think about who loves you because that shit really warms the cockles of your heart.

Be happy, lovers.

Life is short.

danielle colley

 

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Portrait 365 : 184 – 193

9 Jul

Bumper crop this week….. met some cool cats, heard some cool stories and had a birthday and a mama visit all in the middle.

David

David

“I used to be a professional boxer but I had to stop a year and a half ago because I’m just getting too old. And I’m busy running  my kids around and working so I’m just flat out.”

Emmanuel

Emmanuel

“Mechanics aren’t mechanics because they want to fix cars. Mechanics are mechanics because they want to build big engines and race cars at the track.”

D Man and Nana

D Man and Nana

“When I was 13 my Nana gave me a piece of advice. Love all, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.”

Mick

Mick

“I was in the army for 21 years but I got out because I was getting old. I have a bad back, bad knees, flat feet and I went deaf, otherwise I enjoyed it. I miss the big bops toys and the commeraderie.”

 

Emma

Emma

“When I was 8 years old my Dad died but I feel like he’s always beside me in the bad times, helping me to keep going. He taught me to be humble and to treat people with kindness.”
I’ve met Emma twice now and fallen in love hard with her cool range of jewellery designs, in fact, I wore her wish bone necklace for months on end. You may remember it from some of my pics. You can find her at Recreational Studio on FB and here.

Nana and munchkins

Nana and munchkins

 

Tonia

Tonia

“I went to Costa Rica as a volunteer tagging and tracking turtles. I went on this white water raft tour and I just loved the guide. I bought his kids some tee shirts from here to send over but I never sent them. I feel terrible about it, but at least I never told him so he’s not expecting it”

Danielle

Danielle

I didn’t shoot anyone on my birthday but Kirsten Cox came and shot my family. Super lucky to have someone so talented on my team!  I consider her my family.

 

Paul

Paul

“I’ve just been in the jungle in East Java, I was just hanging and surfing this incredible wave. It was a secluded home stay with a Muslim family during ramadan. They didn’t expect me to follow it too!”

Unknown

Unknown

We didn’t speak the same language, but we smiled at each other a lot. That was enough.

 

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A letter to me on my 38th birthday

7 Jul

me on my 38th birthdayDearest You,

I know you wanted to cancel your birthday this year, but there are some things that you just can’t finagle no matter how much of  control freak you are.

Time is marching, no?

Firstly, I want to take your mind back to your birthday last year. I think this last 365 days have potentially been the biggest, craziest, most momentous of your entire life. You’ve had amazing, life altering moments in previous years, but when you look at this whole year, no wonder you’re feeling raw.

Your highs have been stratospheric and your lows have been deep and dark and sometimes they’ve happened simultaneously leaving you wondering if you’re going crazy, but you’re not. You’re just experiencing life with all of your marrow and you know what?

It may always be this crazy, or it may chill out, but you’ve got this.

You’ve always said that you’re only given as much as you can handle. I have no idea if it’s bullshit, but it’s certainly something to remember as your little legs are paddling like crazy under water and you’re all calm on the surface.

Just don’t stop paddling, dude. You’ll be fine if you just keep paddling.

Your life looks so vastly different from a year ago and that’s ok. Ok?

Your life also looks pretty different to how you imagined it would. And that’s ok too.

In reality no one’s life really looks like they imagined it would, maybe it’s better, maybe it’s worse, but it’s definitely different, because we don’t have crystal balls and we can’t predict how things are going to turn out.

the holsbysI want to tell you something really important so I need you to really listen carefully to me when I say, relationships end all of the time.

It’s sad, and it’s difficult, but it is not a failure on anyones behalf. Lord knows, you tried to make it work. There is no point looking back and bombarding your brain with ‘what if’ scenarios because the only thing to do is move forward, and you have plenty to look forward to, my girl.

You need to take stock and look at everything you have achieved in the last 6 months and really start to believe in yourself. You are creating the life you want to live…. not you can, not you might -

YOU ARE.

So, stop comparing yourself to others, just worry about what you’re doing and focus on what you want. Your energy is spent much better that way.

Stop caring what people think about you. It’s none of your business what they think. You’re putting yourself out there, so they’re going to form opinions of you, that’s the nature of what you do, but just remember that the real you, the whole you, is much more than this brand and you know who you are. Don’t forget who you are.

And you’re alright. You have a few more laugh lines, and a few more grey hairs, a few more internal scars but all in all, you’re alright.

You have a phenomenal network of people who love you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them. People like to help. People like to feel useful and needed, allow them that gift, whilst receiving yourself.

Anyway, I want you to know that I love you. I’m sometimes unkind to you, but I’m going to try to be more patient and caring with you because I forget that you’re just doing the best you can.

Have a really wonderful birthday, lady. May this year shine sunny rays on you and yours and may all of your dreams become realities in the palm of your hand.

All my love,

Danielle xxx

holsby 38th birthday

 

Photos by the awesome Kirsten Cox. Check out her other work here. 

 

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Mama Bear

4 Jul

mamma bear There are few more influential women in your life than your mum. Whether your relationship is amazing or appalling that single connection can shape so much of who you are.

In this regards, I am blessed.

I know a lot of people think their mum is cool, but they haven’t met my Mum. No matter what hair brained scheme I ever had, my mum always encouraged me to follow my dreams. She told me I could be whatever I wanted to be and not to live small.

I was the kid whose friends wanted to hang with my Mum… in fact, they still do.

The mother of my childhood was a statuesque style queen.

I used to think she was a cross between Annie Lennox and Sheena Easton. She liked cool music, cool clothes, parties, dancing and she had great hair (except for the Laura Ashley period which I’m not allowed to talk about).

As a single mum she’d take me most everywhere with her as a kid and I loved being privy to the adult world, pretending to be asleep at parties but secretly watching the grown ups dancing, smoking, kissing and living it up. As a result I suppose I grew up kind of fast, but I personally think my trajectory in this department was set because of the type of person I am.

I couldn’t wait to be a grown up…. that said, I also slept in my mum’s bed with her for years. Partly because my bedroom was chronically messy, but mostly because I loved spooning up with my Mama in the night and feeling her warmth next to me.

She liked it too.

I guess my growing up process got fast tracked a little when I was about 13 and Mama started getting headaches. Not just any old headaches but real whopper doozies. Her eyesight went blurry and things started getting scary so they did some tests on her.

Initially everyone feared a brain tumour.

She had all the symptoms, but they couldn’t find it so she went from our home in Coffs Harbour to Sydney for more extensive testing.

mum and II was a sensitive kid, hence being a sensitive adult I guess, and I was devastated that I couldn’t make my mum better. I remember holding her hand and massaging her head trying to take her pain away as she lay on the bed in tears.

Alas, I was just a kid, and she had something happening inside her that was beyond our control.

The thing about my mum is she is the most vibrant, fun, and fun loving person I know. She is wise, she is spiritual and there ain’t much that could shock her.

I’ve always been able to tell her all of my sex, drugs and rock’n’roll stories and more that once I’ve heard her say -

Danielle, did you have to tell me that????

But I do. Because I can. And that’s a gift.

I hope one day my kids like me as much as I like my mum. I hope they turn to me when they have sensitive and painful scars to share, or deep fears that they want soothed.

Over the years many of my friends have adopted her as their own, and now the people she lists as her dear friends range from 18 years old to 90. She spans the ages because she is open to everyone- Open minded and open hearted.

She can cook a mean feast and she can drink up a storm and she has so many wonderful qualities that define who she is.

Multiple Sclerosis is not who my mum is. Her illness does not define her. It’s an aspect of her life just as much as all of the wonderful things and she had often said MS has been a teacher that has taught her valuable life lessons.

My mum is fun, and loving, and silly.

My mum is gentle and fierce, and fucking brave.

She is also an unbelievable Nana. She reckons these little stinkers have given her a new lease of life.

If I’m half the women she is when I grow up then I’m gonna be a whole lotta awesome.

mum and I

 

Thanks for coming to stay with me, Mama. Can you babysit tomorrow?

 

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Portrait 365 : 174 – 183

29 Jun

Been a mega week here for me so we’re a little late on this, but I figure you guys are pretty understanding about life and shit getting in the way of good intentions…….

Alessandro

Alessandro

“My life has been easy and I’m happy. Now I’m travelling for 5 weeks as I just finished university in Italy. When I get home I will get a job as an optometrist.”
He was wearing great specs when I spotted him but he whipped them off when I shot him.

 

unknown

unknown

How did they keep such a straight face???

Katie

Katie

“I moved to Lismore from Brisbane to go to uni and that first year was really hard. I was so broke that I often had to choose between food and a bus ticket. Now I work for Microsoft so it’s all good.”

Pauline

Pauline

“I love kids but I never had children. I knew my husband couldn’t have children when we married. He was a wonderful artist, my husband. His name was Frederick Nolte and he was just about to paint John Howard for the Archibald when he got sick.”
A chance meeting in the supermarket with a lady who just wanted to chat to my kids gave me a real gift.

Santhy & Waes

Santhy & Waes

“Do you spell Santhy with an X?”
“Yeah, you can.”
“But how do you spell it?”
“With an S.”
“Let’s spell it like that then.”

Chantel

Chantel

“I’m really proud of my talent to understand kids and their ability to make anyone happy. I am about to do my HSC but then I want to get into teaching.”

Doctor Doll

Doctor Doll

We took Ratty who has sore eyes to the Doll Hospital but sadly we were turned away because our medical insurance wouldn’t have covered the treatment required…. such as hand sewn eyes that we would have required surgery paid for by the hour.
Mummy will be fixing Ratty’s eyes herself.

DJ Lance Rock

DJ Lance Rock

“Dancing and listening to music is AWESOME”

Anika

Anika

My little winter owl.

Chris

Chris

“Moving here from the States was something big that I’m proud of. I moved here for my girlfriend. It’s hard being away from my family though. They’re back in California.”

Atong

Atong

“I set my own expectations for how I live my life and I’m living by them.”
I love Atong. Amen sister.

 

 

 

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Portrait 365 : 167 – 173

20 Jun

I’ve just realised that I’m 5.5 days away from being half-way through this project. I’m possibly jumping the gun by writing this spiel but I’m such a blurter….

I have mixed feelings about reaching this point.

Kind of relieved, because it’s been a bit of an epic journey but I’m also mega proud. I wasn’t sure if I’d stick with it, but I have, and if I’ve stuck it this far, right, so it’s just the same amount again (give or take.)

I’ve met some lovely people, suffered rejections and been inspired and moved, and I’m only half way.

And I’m getting better at it, which was the whole point of the whole shebangalang, right?

The more people I talk to the more I realise that everyone is amazing. Everyone makes dumb decisions, and everyone has epiphanies, and extraordinary ordinariness and ordinary extraordinariness exist hand and hand quite comfortably.

Anyway, for those of you that take the time to let me know you love this project, thank you.

I love it too.

It’s taught me as much about myself as it has about others.

Thanks for getting it.

 

 

Anastasia

Anastasia

“I am happy, but happy isn’t what I thought it would be.”
Ana and I met in mother’s group when our now 4 year olds were just weeks old. We decided we would never go back to mother’s group because listening to those chicks whinge sucked ass. Instead, we’d walk, talk, drink coffee, tea and wine, and we helped each other through that first year. Life, work, moving all got in the way and today we rectified that. I hope she knows exactly what I mean when I say that some people are just like a warm slipper.

Michael

Michael

“I think there’s hope. There’s always hope.”
Michael and I had just met at the latest Overhaul Wellness Day, and we were talking about life and love. I believe there’s hope. I also believe Michael is a wonderful optimist.

Fairy Sparkle

Fairy Sparkle

“A photo? But I haven’t even done my hair!”
“What’s something you’ve done that you’re proud of?”
“I received an OAM last week for Voluntary Service to children in hospital.”
I first met Fairy Sparkle a few years ago when I was writing a television series that I never got off the ground. I was so intrigued by her balance of eccentricity and business nouse.

Kirsty

Kirsty

“I’m loving my new necklace. I just got it today and it’s made from up cycled tee-shirts. My son bought it for me for my birthday.”
“Cool! How old is your son?”
“21 months”

 

Anika

Anika

My other heart. She melts me.

Martin

Martin

“I’d tell a young man to forget about the moment you are in now. Start to look to the future and the experience of older people around you. Get to know your family…That was lacking in my life. And write a diary.”

John

John

“I’d tell my 15 year old self to focus on health. I wish I’d done that sooner.”

 

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Portrait 365 : 160 – 166

13 Jun Bella
Yuri

Yuri

“Something that makes me smile every day is seeing beautiful girls like you!”

Kyren

Kyren

“He was drinking beer on the couch and he kind of flopped off onto one knee with one cheek still perched and he proposed to me. I was pretty happy with that approach.”

Rose

Rose

“I live in a boarding house with 23 other people. I don’t mind it though. That’s where I met my boyfriend.”

Rose had a handbag full of photographs, so we sat down and I met her whole family and saw photos of her in her wedding dress from 50 years ago. I was touched. She was very proud of her beautiful family.

Peter

Peter

“My father was a methodist minister who gave and gave and gave to people, then he died of a heart attack at 57. I’ve realised that giving and giving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

I met Peter at a talk for the Australian Blog Festival. He was speaking about the impact his sister, Diana Bliss’, depression and subsequent suicide had on his life. He is a remarkable man, who is doing remarkable work. Check him out here.

Bella

Bella

“I’ve been working on a farm in Cairns and it has changed my life. I’m here from Korea on a working holiday and I’ve decided I’m going to move here and study nursing.”

Jackie

Jackie

“I fell in love with someone who told me that my dream career was stupid and to get a real job.Stupidly I listened to him and lived an unhappy life because I thought he was the love of my life. He manipulated and betrayed me, and I still thought he was the one.”

Jackie is an actress, and happens to also be one of my kids’ best friends.  And I love her to bits.

Chris

Chris

“I pulled out a map of the world and I thought ‘where can I go?’. I don’t want to be cold, it’s got to be ok for homos, and there’s got to be hot men. I want coconuts, lots of drinking and malaria. And the answer was Brazil.”

Let me tell you a story about this kid.We met 10 years ago in East Timor and instantly fell in platonic love. We stayed in touch for a bit but it was before Facebook (we laughed when we realised this) and we lost touch. He’s had many adventures and become a man, and I’ve become me. Three weeks ago, an hour away from my home in a place neither of us ever go we bumped into each other. When we went for a beer I remembered what a freakin’ special cat he is. Happy adventures, my friend. May Brazil give you everything you wish and more.

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Portrait 365 : 153 – 159

6 Jun Unknown
Nick

Nick

“Last year I had 7 strokes, and I was 40 kilos overweight. I was a slave to other people’s dreams. Now, the only yardstick I measure myself by is my internal one.”
I was pounding the boxing bag and Nick came up and commented on my ‘wild haymaker’. He proceeded to train me with great patience and killer technique. We decided to make it a regular thing.

Ingrid

Ingrid

“I’m a writer and a poet. I’m super proud of my poetry and prose recordings. I’m doing a cafe poet in residence in tasmania soon through the poets union and then I’ll finish my collection and hopefully have a book!”

 

Unknown

Unknown

 

Joss & Elizabeth

Joss & Elizabeth

“Vivid is cool. I like the fact that you can stand right in the art and nothing else matters.”

Michael

Michael

“What’s something cool about you that you’re really proud of?”
“Oh, geez, my coolest thing is the I work at Universal Music.”

Helen

Helen

“In 1996 I won the open section of calligraphy at the Royal Easter Show and my work was exhibited in the Show Case of Excellence, I’ve stopped now though. I used to make wedding cakes. I would have made at least 5000 in my time.”
It was all about Helen’s red coat and hat. It was such a grey day but she cheered the street up with her jolly ensemble.

D Man

D Man

I don’t expect this portrait to mean much to many of you, but to me it symbolises a great achievement by my first born. For four years he’s hated swimming. Screamed and cried and whimpered the whole time. We stopped and started lessons because it broke my heart. For the last two weeks in a row, no tears.
Here he is swimming on his own, voluntarily, and he has just been laughing.

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