Things I Discovered – March

Things I Discovered.Badge2Well hello there everyone.  Those of you who follow me regularly will spot I’m a tad late with this one…..Let’s just say that the one overriding, big, fat Thing I Discovered this month is the realisation that I am not a super-human.  You know, someone who can run a Quiz Night, perform in her first gospel concert with the oh-so-amazing London Community Gospel Choir, start work on her first piece of paid editorial and writing work (YES!!!), attend a Mayor’s Ball with fellow St Alban Bloggers, come down with flu, AND write a Things I Discovered post!!!  (Yikes, did i really do all that?!) So you can guess what fell off the Shelf of Achievable Aims this month….and I’m seriously in need of the Easter holidays.

All this is to forewarn you that this will be a short but sweet edition of my usually longer, more illustrated version.

So, here we go:

Eat: Mango Hedgehogs or How to eat a Mango Without Needing a Bath Afterwards

My grandmother spent her early years in India; she was what you might call a ‘Raj Baby’.  So mangoes to her were like apples to us. She used to tell us that her mother would advise the best place to eat a mango was in the bath – because of the sheer mess a ripe one makes!  She clearly hadn’t been shown how to cut them the way a Canadian colleague of mine did, whose dad was an ambassador and so he spent many a moon in foreign, mango-filled lands.

This is how.  First and most important rule – don’t peel the skin off first!  Take a large knife and cut the mango into three, by first slicing it just to the right of the stone – about two thirds across.  Then switch sides and do the same to the other side.  This leaves you with two bowl-shaped mango chunks and a chunky middle stone section.  Take the bowl-shaped ones and cut into it just up to the skin in criss-crosses, then push the skin up and you have a ‘hedgehog’.

Mango Collage

You can either cut out the cubes that way, or hand out the hedgehog to be eaten straight from the skin.  My son eats the whole load, skin and all!   Peel the skin off the stone section and slice off the chunks, then hand the stone to whichever child shouts the loudest to suck at it for ages.  Bingo!

Read:  Musings from Motherhood, Sadie Hanison’s debut book

PrintBloggers amongst my readers will no doubt have heard of the wonderful blog Older Mum in a Muddle.  For those of you who aren’t bloggers, Older Mum is Sadie Hanison whose exquisite writing has woo-ed me and reeled me in to keep going back for more.  She writes poetically and honestly about the delights and challenges of motherhood in ways my soul relates to, as well as touching on that terrible subject, post-natal depression, of which she has suffered.  When I heard she was publishing a book using excerpts from her blog, I ordered it straight away.  It’s actually a mini-booklet, which I love all the more as I’m more likely to read something short these days.  Her writing is a mix of poems and what I call ‘prosetry’ – short reflections that have the feel and elegance of poetry.  Illustrated by the lovely Helen Braid, herself an exquisite poet, blogger and graphic designer, its a lovely little book to have by your bed, in the loo, or an ideal present for any of your mum friends.

Grab a copy for only £4.50 plus p+p by going to her site:

Play: Rebound Net

I shared this one back in September, but as few of you were reading this back then (it was my second Things I Discovered) I thought I’d repeat it, as its a fab find and ideal for the coming warmer months…..

Rebound net in actionIf, like us, you have a boy who likes to kick a ball about, has no other brothers to return the ball back to, and you have no wall to kick a ball off, THIS is your answer.  It’s a fantastic, very easy to set up/set down net that you can put anywhere in your garden (as long as its not too close to neighbours who don’t like throwing balls back over the hedge….).  At 7ft x 7ft its a good size, and you can even play tennis on it, albeit with a bit more welly than normal when placed on a bumpy grass surface.  Plus it packs away into a slim bag that you can bring on holiday with you.  At £64.95 it is birthday present material, but well worth it. We bought it from The Soccer Store (who offered free postage and a no quibble replacement net when a pole broke) but you can also get it from Quick Play.

Seasons of Life: When you give up a career for your kids, it doesn’t die. It comes back in a richer form….

This is a really exciting Thing I Discovered which I’d have devoted a whole post to had I not had the March I’ve just had…  I’m sure my reference in my intro to my first paid writing and editorial work won’t have escaped your notice. Well, many a moon ago, before my first child was born, I used to work for an international charity in policy & advocacy work – you know, a job that involved travelling around the world and using my brain. One of my projects was to hire and work with a consultant to devise conflict analysis tools and workshops for country offices working in conflict zones or unstable areas (half of the world basically).  After I left to embrace motherhood in all its fulness (wry smile there) it took off with others developing and improving it.  Ten years have passed, and after 50 workshop in 24 countries, World Vision want to write a book about it, to share the lessons for the other charities and donors that are interested in it.  They knew I was looking for writing work, which i’d kept alive with this blog, and guess who they asked to help write it and provide overall editorial control?  Funny eh?!

I’ve also been a bit proponent of looking at life in ‘seasons’ and this has just confirmed this even more.  Things don’t tend to die, but come back in a different, often richer form if we let them take their natural course.  Rather like the title of Sadie’s book, interestingly….

So, if you’re feeling like your past professional life is in a ditch waiting for someone to bury it, stop those thoughts! You have wonderful skills, knowledge and talents from those days that will one day be brought back into use, and not only that, be all the richer for you having walked the motherhood route on the way.

If you liked this post, I wouldn’t mind a little vote in the Writer category in the Britmums Awards, that closes next Saturday.  Lovely, thank you!


21 thoughts on “Things I Discovered – March

  1. This is wonderful news – there’s hope for us all yet! I am now starting to see fruits of my labour too and finally feel as though I’m actually having an impact on the wider world (not just my kiddies!). Most of it isn’t paid (as yet) but I’ll get there one day! I am so glad you have shared the football net again cos I’m really keen to get of these for my son – he would love it! Definitely going on the bday list for September 🙂 Well done Siobhan and a lovely post as always 🙂

    • You certainly are, S! Your blog has really taken off in popularity this year, as a result you’re making quite a big impact! Well done you. I’m looking forward to taking a pic of you holding the trophy for Family winner at BML….! Thx S.

  2. Funnily enough, I am returning to teaching in a couple of weeks. It’s funny how life goes. And I have always wondered how to do that to a mango! Thank you 🙂 (I am not going to say anything about linking this month, just in case!!). Thank you for linking to PoCoLo 🙂 x

  3. Great post! I totally feel like my professional life is in a ditch at the moment – my fixed-term contract at an international development charity came to an end a couple of months ago and I’m getting no responses to job applications. It’s demoralising, but I like your way of thinking in terms of seasons – hopefully there’ll be a new one starting soon! And speaking of season-related things, I want one of those football nets for myself – great find! 🙂

    • Thanks Tom. Interesting, as I used to work for an international development charity, and that’s who I’m back doing consultancy with now! If you’re the bread winner, that’s hard. I presume you’re on linked in? Yes, seasons is the way to look at things when it comes to parenting. Best of luck in finding work, but try not to stress! S

      • Yes, I’m the only earner so it’s a bit worrying at the moment but I’m on LinkedIn and several other places and looking every day. Really hoping I get something soon, as I can’t enjoy the time off knowing that we’ve got no money coming in! Here’s to a new season! 🙂

  4. S, firstly congratulations, talk about hitting the jackpot with that job! You must be so elated, I know what that means to you! It also means something concrete on the CV to show more editors along the way. The only way is up. 2014 is a year for rewards, steps, disasters and faith for many it would seem for you it is a year of fruit! As always love the things u discovered… I’m off to buy mango as you’ve just reignited my taste buds! X

    • Thank you so much, Emma! I really value your thoughts and comments, not just because you’re a great writer, but for who you are. And yes, isn’t it exciting. It may not be the creative non-fiction I so enjoy writing but its something. And its quite a big project. I was a bit concerned that I’d be too much out of the loop in international development thinking, but i’m catching up much quicker than I expected. Enjoy the mangoes! Sx

  5. Wow what an exciting month (well apart from the flu – that bit I’m sure you could have done without) but well done on everything else! My kids adore eating mango hedgehogs too x

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