Category Archives: Rachel’s Reflections

A Suitcase of Memories

me and my grandad

When I look through old photographs with my kids, they are full of questions.

  •  Who is in them?
  • When and where they were taken?
  • How old was I ?

Photographs are a wonderful record of the past but when I am no longer here, will  a photograph  be sufficient to tell my story?
I have recently  lost people from my life. Listening to their eulogies, made me realise how little I really know about them. When I am gone, what will my children know about my childhood? What will they remember me telling them? What will they know about family they barely knew or never met?

my grandad driving a lorry in WW2

In my grandad’s last years, he kept his memories in a suitcase by the side of his chair. It clearly gave him comfort to browse old papers and photographs. The suitcase was a treasure trove of family history.  Each photograph was carefully labeled with a year, a description and who appeared in the photo. There were many photographs of people and places from World War II. Accompanying them were letters, cinemas tickets, call up papers and other fascinating historical documents.

My personal favourite is this safe-conduct paper, presented by German soldiers when they surrendered.

safe conduct paper German soldier ww2
This inspired me to add descriptions and dates to photographs from my childhood. Over time, I’d like to catalogue our digital photographs to provide more detailed descriptions.

Coincidentally, when sorting boxes in the garage, I  came across a box of keepsakes. I often wonder if I hoard too many personal things and considered clearing out some of the box. I found  scrapbooks of my theatre days and old video tapes of shows I was in. I also found 2 boxes of wedding cards. These seemed prime material for a clear out, but inside the boxes, I found many more cards than I had imagined, giving a clear picture of significant people in our lives at that time. The boxes also contained the booking details from our honeymoon and keepsakes from the trip, reminding me of details I had almost forgotten. Detailed memories are quickly forgotten. These seemingly sentimental keepsakes, will perhaps feature in my suitcase of memories one day?

wedding memories

It is always hard to balance what to keep and throw away.  Perhaps in the modern age of social media it isn’t as important? I’m glad my grandad treasured his suitcase of memories and left them for us to know what mattered to him. I’ll continue to document my life and hope when I’m just a memory, my family will value them too.


Why Mums and Dads Shouldn’t be Camera Shy.

A few months ago a Facebook post asking dads to take more pictures of their partners went viral.  The post is re-surfacing this week.   I recently wrote a piece about it that had a lot of favourable comments if you would like to check it out.

Messy Hair and No Make-Up, the One Reason we Should Stay in Front of the Camera Anyway.




An Apology of Sorts.

This post is an apology of sorts.

When I started this blog I wanted to share my ideas and knowledge of early education but I also used it as a way of expressing the realities of life with 3 young children.

As I browse through my more recent material, you could be excused for believing that I have an idyllic life. The sun is always shining, my kids roam around outdoors all day, I come up with amazing things to do with the kids, I take them out to interesting places, they are creative, funny, clever and well-behaved, we bake, pick fresh produce and make fresh juices………

I find many inspirational articles from other blogs but for all the thought-provoking stuff I read, there are also a proportion that make me feel inadequate. I hope I’m not turning into one of them.

The amazingly organised Reggio inspired playrooms put me to shame. My boxes are neatly labelled, everything has its place but I am by nature a messy person so there always seems to be something that doesn’t quite fit or is not put away properly (if it is put away at all ).

Some positive parenting blogs show everyone acknowledging their child’s feelings, talking in a calm whisper and never using the word ‘don’t’. It’s great in theory but I sometimes need to read stories of people whose kids are too loud or women who are struggling to make it through each day.

The reality is:

  •  When I’m trying to sort out paying a bill, finish a spreadsheet  or manage a booking and the kids keep nagging me for food over and over – I shout.
  •   When I’m almost at the end of my task and one of them knocks something over, needs help on the toilet or they start arguing with each other I get exasperated.
  • At the end of the day when I’ve just about used up all my resources and they are still running around challenging every instruction, I speak to them in a frustrated tone.
  • When I’m trying to keep a train of thought in my head for more than 5 seconds and they have asked me yet another question – I discourage their inquiring minds.
  • When I’ve stayed up late and I just can’t seem to get going in the morning I allow them to sit and watch television for a lot more than the recommended 30 minutes.
  • When I rush them around from place to place and they stop to admire a stick, a bee or a flower, I tell them to hurry up.
  • When I feed them pasta and pesto for the 3rd time that week because I’m not organised enough to prepare food in advance.
  • When my eldest wants to read me a chapter of Harry Potter, I’ve always got something more important to do.

So, if you feel inadequate when you look at the things we do, remember they are just a snap shot and really I am just like you.

If I’ve burst your bubble and you’d really like to think I’m perfect that’s okay too, the things we do are real, but who can be perfect for 24 hours a day?