A letter of love…

close up of child’s hand holding mud and making heart shape
close up of child’s hand holding mud and making heart shape

This letter is a response to the monthly Family Matters writing prompt for February, the month of love. It is a letter to myself, and to all other mothers who ever doubt themselves.

To the Mother-Who-Worries,

First of all, you are not going to win any parent-of-the-year awards. But that’s alright because they don’t exist. There are no such things.

(Hmmm, I just googled it, and apparently, there are such accolades out there!)

OK, you’re still not going to win though, because you’re not perfect. You are human. And as such, unlike good old Mary Poppins, you are practically imperfect in every way…


And you don’t even need a piano, just a family!

blur of hands playing a piano
blur of hands playing a piano

Did you know that a piano needs to be tuned every 3 months in its first year, then at least twice a year thereafter, unless it is noticeably out of tune?

I didn’t know this. Probably because we don’t have a piano. The closest we have is a tired old keyboard we picked up off Gumtree that we brought out and dusted off at the start of the first lockdown. I thought I’d spend all my extra time (ha!) learning to play it… I learned how to play ‘The Sound of Silence’ REALLY well.

And that was it.

I haven’t…


child bent over pond looking into the water
child bent over pond looking into the water

I always hoped there would be moments of wonder and awe in my children’s childhoods. I wanted them to have the chance to pause and take in the magic around them. So, without a doubt, the biggest benefit of not sending them to school every day has been the gift of time.

Home education has opened up both the time and space for them to wonder at the small marvels in their worlds. They have had time to select the perfect stick while out on a walk in the woods, or the prettiest shell at the beach. Time to stop…


Sometimes the smallest acts take the most courage.

girl unicycling on moors with moody sky as backdrop
girl unicycling on moors with moody sky as backdrop

noun: courage

> the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.

> strength in the face of pain or grief

If courage is the ability to do something that frightens us, then most of us are courageous many times a day, every day. When we think of courage we tend to think about extraordinary people doing amazing things. It brings to mind extreme physical feats, overcoming impossible odds, taking huge risks, acts of utter selflessness. There are indeed many ways a person can be courageous, but courage can be found in the minutiae of everyday life too.

For some…


And to let me do it instead.

a man sits at a laptop working whilst opposite a girl puts a toy giraffe on her head
a man sits at a laptop working whilst opposite a girl puts a toy giraffe on her head

The sound of a chair scraping backwards and a door opening sends the dog into a frenzy of tail-wagging. A hush falls over the rest of the house - as if it is holding its breath. My husband emerges, a bear waking from its winter hibernation. He leaves behind his cocoon of phone calls, video meetings, presentations and stacks of folders in search of sustenance and a brief respite from the business world. And from a safe distance, my daughters and I wait…

Last March, like many families, we turned our dining room into an office so my husband could…


The photos you didn’t know you needed.

girl holding a pink rabbit cuddly toy to her face
girl holding a pink rabbit cuddly toy to her face

I recently shared some photos I took of my tweenage children with their childhood comforters, or lovies as we call them. These were photos I didn’t realize I needed until I had taken them. The connection that my daughters have with these grubby, worn pieces of cloth is a huge part of their childhoods. It’s a relationship that has been incredibly special to them and to me, so why have I never captured it?

If, as a family photographer, there were precious photos that I had failed to make, other parents must also be missing out on capturing some of…


Let go of the ‘shoulds’, you will feel much better for it.

Everyone has words that they love and others that they can’t stand to hear. If you want to see that in action, try shouting the word ‘moist’ in a room full of people…

My mother used to physically recoil if I exclaimed that something was ‘cool’ (when the word was indeed still cool). Her vitriol, thirty years later, is now directed at ‘lush’. Likewise, I have an irrational dislike for the word ‘anemone’ purely because I cannot for the life of me say it.

There is one word though, that I would like to see sent permanently to the sin…

Victoria Clare

Photographer; Teacher turned Home Educator; Introvert; Coffee addict; Book lover; List maker; Master project starter; Sporadic project finisher.

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