Lots of news!

I have lots of lovely news to share right now, and I’m really excited about where Mother’s Milk Books is going!

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the next book we’re going to publish is a poetry collection entitled Look At All The Women by Cathy Bryant. I’ve long been a fan of Cathy’s poetry so I’m really pleased that I get to be the publisher who produces her second book of poetry. Cathy is also an accomplished performance poet, and also happens to be a lovely (and very funny) lady so it’s been great to work with her on this collection.

One of my favourite areas of book production is cover design. I can’t quite reveal the cover of Look At All The Women, but I can say that I’ve been working with an amazing mama-artist who has created something simply stunning. We’ll be revealing the final design very soon!

Reviews for Musings and Mothering and Letting Go, by Angela Topping, keep on coming in with Saffia Farr, editor of Juno, recently writing:

“Letting Go is a wonderful anthology of poems reflecting on family life through the generations. They are funny, perceptive and sad. ‘Last Gifts’, about a mother dying, is desperately poignant, with strong emotions portrayed through simple words and phrases. Reading this book reminded me, again, to treasure and enjoy my family as they are now.”

Musings on Mothering continues to get glowing reviews (with 8 out of 10 reviews being ‘5 starred’ on Amazon.co.uk). Lucy Pearce from Dreaming Aloud also recently reviewed the book saying:

“This book is a celebration of motherhood, attachment parenting and breastfeeding. An impressive collection of writing, poetry and art on the theme of motherhood. The talent of the contributors was humbling, and much of the poetry and art truly breathtaking, each expressing in their own unique way the ineffable nature of motherhood. Sensitive, reflective and beautifully compiled – it brought me to tears many times.”

You can read her full review here (which also includes reviews of lots of other wonderful books on mothering).

I also had Diane Wiessinger, co-author of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, contact me recently to say some very complimentary things about Musings on Mothering (which makes me grin from ear to ear since Diane is one of my favourite writers, and of course The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is one of my favourite books!).

It’s incredibly heartening to be getting these fab reviews, so I hope they encourage you to stop over at a certain store… (that’s The Mother’s Milk Bookshop, by the way (!) where these books are currently on offer) or to visit any one of our fab stockists.

In addition to all this loveliness I’ve been interviewed twice in the past month: over at WriteWords (which is chock-full of useful resources and encouraging words for writers – if you’re an aspiring writer go check them out!) and: Beautiful Misbehaviour. I was delighted to have been asked by Stephanie Arsoska of Beautiful Misbehaviour to take part in her series of interviews on ‘creativity and motherhood’ (other interviewees have been author Carolyn Jess-Cooke and Holly McNish –  so I’m in good company!) and you can read the full interview here.

I’ve been inundated with many great submissions so far (the fairy tale book is almost full now – although there’s still time to submit a short story if you think you have something suitable) and I really hope to be able to make 2014 the year that I publish more than one book! It’s all very exciting, and if you want to be a part of it, do keep tuning in to the blog or say hello on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you again for all your support.

Interview: Alison Lock on motherhood and creativity

I am delighted to be able to post yet another wonderful interview on the Mother’s Milk Books blog – this time from poet Alison Lock whose beautiful poem ‘On the Carpet’ – which featured in Musings on Mothering – really struck a chord with me. Thank you again, Alison, for taking part!


Alison Lock is a writer of poetry and short stories and a facilitator of Life Writing courses. She is also the mother of four sons and has always been interested in the ways that creativity can support and nurture the time spent together during the early days of parenthood. Her first collection of poetry, A Slither of Air, was published in 2011 and her collection of short stories, Above the Parapet, was published in 2013 by Indigo Dreams Publishing.

1. Have you always considered yourself to be a creative person?

I think everyone is creative but it comes out in different ways. For me, I have always been involved in some creative activity, whether it be playing music, sewing, felt-making, or writing poetry and short stories. When the children were young I liked to go on walks with them and gather leaves, twigs, stones; anything for making collages etc. I never really thought of it as being creative, it was just what we did. Now I believe that even if there is no visible output we cannot help ourselves but be creative – it might be simply that we bring our creative side to how we read a bedtime story, the expressions we use, the way we draw on our own experiences in the telling of a story. I am particularly drawn to the imaginative, the eclectic, the irregular things in life.

2. Has motherhood enhanced your creativity? If yes, in what way and why do you think it has enhanced your creativity?

I have been a mother for longer than I have not — with 18 years between my youngest and my eldest — and, of course, once embarked on, motherhood never ends, so it is difficult to imagine what I would be doing if parenting had not been my primary role. Creativity has been a necessary part of this process and has seen me through some difficult times. These days I write and although my writing is not overtly therapeutic I can see that elements of my life are reflected there. It is inevitable that we draw on our own life experiences, if only subconsciously; sometimes they form the mere shadow of a story.

3. Do you have any tips on how to find time for your creative work amongst the everyday busyness?

Nowadays, I am very focused on my writing and once the school day has started I retreat to my office. I know that if I begin my day with housework, my opportunity will slip away. I admire those people who are more organized than I am but it is not the way I work. I am ashamed to admit that I do not even write lists.

4. What does breastfeeding mean to you?

When I was pregnant with my first child, I read Penny Stanway’s Breast is Best — a bible for the positive effects of breastfeeding in its time. I wanted to give my child all the benefits that are associated with breastfeeding but unfortunately things did not go to plan (although my subsequent babies were successfully breast fed) and I was left feeling guilty. I still do believe that breast is best but I am aware that things do not always go to plan and that it is important to be supportive to all mothers whatever their choice.

5. Were there any pieces in Musings on Mothering that spoke to you particularly?

Musing on Mothering is a beautiful book. It shares everything about being a mother (and a father too) expressed through prose and poetry, photography and artwork. It is about the joys and the sorrows too. It is about uniqueness and similarities and it is about sharing and communicating and reaching out to mothers at moments when mothering can seem a lonely and a thankless task. There is so much richness, so much experience and generosity gone into this book and I believe that all new parents will find nourishment there to help them through the darkest nights.

6. Are you working on any particular project right now?

I am putting together another poetry collection, I am rehearsing a long poem to be performed with a musician, I am writing a novel for young adults, and I am also in the process of writing some new short stories. I know, it sounds impossible, but I like to have too much to do!

7. Is there any one piece of work that you are particularly proud of?

I think that has to be my first collection of poetry, A Slither of Air. Like most first books, whether they are novels or collections of poetry, they often come about as a kind of build up of experiences and a tipping out of words and thoughts and ideas. I was so delighted to be offered the chance to have my work published and it opened the door to so much more.

8. Is there any one person (or persons) that you consider to be a true inspiration to you?

Although there are inevitably some, whether artists or not, who have influenced my life, I cannot pick out one and say that they are my inspiration. There are too many people to be admired, many who do good works in all walks of life.

9. Is there any one piece of art or music, or writing that has influenced you, or inspired you to continue creating?

I sometimes find that listening to music or visiting an art gallery will trigger new ideas, often they are the unexpected things, or the unplanned visit. I visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Park when I get a chance too. I find the outdoors is the best place to think. At home I listen to my collection of old vinyl records.

10. What would you to say to someone who doesn’t consider themselves a creative person, but would like to try their hand at something new?

As I said before, I believe we are all creative, but it is finding the source and the channel that suits us best. There are many arts and crafts to try out and I would say – indulge yourself, don’t be afraid to try something new; give yourself the opportunity to explore your creative side and you never know where it might lead…

When they’re gone, they’re gone!

Back at the start of the year, Barb Sheppard, a long-term LLL Leader and supporter, hand bound a copy of Musings on Mothering (with accompanying handmade box) to auction off through ebay for the charity La Leche League GB. It raised over £70 for the charity – 100% of the proceeds from the sale going directly to LLLGB – with various interested parties making a bid for it at the last minute!

I had a few spare copies of Musings left in loose-leaf form after the original litho print run, so I thought it would be lovely to get them hand bound and offered for sale via our store The Mother’s Milk Bookshop – particularly for those who were interested in the auction. Barb kindly agreed to putting in the necessary work, so here they now are! We did have 7 but one has been snapped up already… I hate to say it, but when they’re gone, they’re gone! There are no loose-leaf sheets left and no plans on any more print runs so that’ll be it… a true limited edition. 🙂

If you’d like any more details about the book which has an RRP of £35 feel free to email me on: teika [at] mothersmilkbooks.com

And if you’re interested in doing some Christmas shopping over at our store, please do use the discount code PARENTING to get a further 15% off the price of your basket (valid until the end of November).

Thank you for your continued support, and happy shopping!

Musings on Mothering is one! Time for a giveaway…


Today Musings on Mothering is one year old. So I want to wish it a Happy Birthday! Obviously, this book has been a big part of my life for the past year (and the year before that too) yet I still can’t quite believe that a year has passed since it’s first publication. Here’s a little reminder of some of the great art and poetry within:

Musings on Mothering on YouTube

I’ve been delighted by all the lovely reviews and greatly appreciated the fact that readers have taken the time to comment on it and recommend it to their friends and family. Royalties from sales of the book, as well the proceeds from the hand bound copy sold for auction via eBay, have now amounted to almost £700. This money has gone directly to the wonderful charity La Leche League GB and I feel this to be quite an achievement for such a tiny press, run mostly during one or two hour slots in the evenings! A big thank you to all who have helped to make this happen, and special thanks go to Barb Sheppard for creating the hand bound copy that sold in the auction.

To celebrate this birthday I am giving away one very special copy of Musings on Mothering. Throughout the past year I have tried to add as many contributor’s signatures as possible to the inside front cover of one of the books. Considering that there are approximately 100 contributors and that they live across the globe this is pretty tough! But by the time the giveaway ends I hope to have the inside cover crammed full as I’m hoping to pick up some more ‘autographs’ at the next LLLGB conference which is taking place on 11th and 12th October 2013.

So, the prizewinner gets the signed copy and two runners-up get a print of their choice from The Mother’s Milk Bookshop and each prizewinner gets ONE free entry to the Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize. Free shipping – to anywhere in the world – is included in the value of this prize. Many thanks for your interest in this giveaway, and good luck!
Musings on Mothering front cover

How to enter:

There are a few different ways to enter. Each method (given that you leave a separate comment for each method completed) will count as a different entry, so the more you do, the more chances you have to win.

– Leave a comment on this post telling me what creative projects you’ve undertaken in the past year. Made a start on knitting something? Taken up watercolour painting? Begun to write your first novel? Created a window of time to do some sewing?

– Tweet the following phrase – Happy Birthday #musingsonmothering! Published by @MothersMilkBks raising funds for #breastfeeding charity @LLLGB http://bit.ly/17bXLxJ  – and leave a comment saying you have done so.

– Like Mother’s Milk Books on Facebook, leave a comment saying you have done so.

– Follow @MothersMilkBks on Twitter, leave a comment saying you’ve done so with your Twitter username.

– Follow the Mother’s Milk Books blog by entering your email address in the ‘subscribe’ box, leaving a comment saying you’ve done so.

The competition will close on Wednesday 9th October 2013 at 12.00 noon, GMT.

Terms and conditions:

This competition is open to all.

All correct entries received by this date will be entered into a prize draw and the winner will be chosen randomly.

The winner will be notified on this blog and be contacted within five days.

The winning entries will receive the prize as stated on the blog post. There is no cash alternative, no returns or refunds. Frames for prints are not included as part of the prize.

My first GIVEAWAY! (And it’s my birthday…)


So it’s my birthday today, hooray! And, I think it’s Mother’s Milk Books’s second birthday this month too (I’ll have to check on that one though! – it’ll involve going through my diary to figure out when exactly I laid the foundations for the press, hmm…). Anyway, in order to celebrate birthdays, daffodils, spring and the coming of warmer weather I’ve got a few lovely gifts to give away.

Two mounted – AND SIGNED – prints of the following: ‘Mother, child, daffodils’ by Kathy Grossman, along with ‘The Daffodils’ poem by Marija Smits. Getting Kathy’s autograph on the print was a rather involved process – it came from the printers to me, then over to America and back. It really is a one-off. The other print had hardly any distance to travel, but still, it’s a special poem, which was inspired by Kathy’s stunning art.

The above artwork and poem were first published in Musings on Mothering and have also featured in La Leche League International’s magazine Breastfeeding Today. The editor, Barbara Higham, posted it up on the LLLGB Facebook page Breastfeeding Matters where the daffodils-inspired art and poetry was shared amongst many. You can see it here on the Breastfeeding Matters Facebook page.

Please note that the frames are not included in the giveaway, but the mounted prints fit a standard 8 x 10 inch frame. I bought these two simple, but elegant black frames from the friendly people at BEST4FRAMES.

As well as the prints there are two packs of greetings cards included in the prize – the winner gets to choose between the following four packs of 5 greetings cards.

All of these cards are available to buy from THE MOTHER’S MILK BOOKSHOP and fingers-crossed there’ll be some more prints there soon too. 10% of the profits from the sales of the greetings cards are going to the wonderful charity La Leche League GB.

Free shipping – to anywhere in the world – is included in the value of this prize.

How to enter:

There are a few different ways to enter. Each method (given that you leave a separate comment for each method completed) will count as a different entry, so the more you do, the more chances you have to win.

Leave a comment on this post telling me what you think about the above greetings cards. Beautiful? Useful? You can always do with more cards?!

Tweet the following phrase – I’d love to win the signed prints and 10 greetings cards from @MothersMilkBks #competition http://bit.ly/129ElVk  – and leave a comment saying you have done so.

Like Mother’s Milk Books on Facebook, leave a comment saying you have done so.

Follow @MothersMilkBks on Twitter, leave a comment saying you’ve done so with your Twitter username.

Follow the Mother’s Milk Books blog by entering your email address in the ‘subscribe’ box, leaving a comment saying you’ve done so.

The competition will close on Sunday 26th May 2013 at 12.00 noon, GMT.

Terms and conditions:

This competition is open to all.

Mother’s Milk Books will not be liable for applications not received, incomplete, or delayed.

All correct entries received by this date will be entered into a prize draw and the winner will be chosen randomly.

The winner will be notified on this blog and be contacted within five days.

The winning entry will receive the prize as stated on the blog post. There is no cash alternative, no returns or refunds. Frames are not included as part of the prize.

‘If, for Childbirth’ – a poem by Nadia Raafat

I am ever so pleased to be able to share this poem, written by Nadia Raafat (one of the contributors to Musings on Mothering), on this blog. Thank you again Nadia for giving me permission to publish your thought-provoking poem here.

If, for Childbirth

If you can keep your faith when all about you
Are losing theirs – instilling fear in you
If you can trust your body’s path to birth when loved ones doubt you
And know that this is what your body’s meant to do.

If you can plan a due month not a due date
Remembering babies come at their soul-appointed time
So that at your 41 week appointment
You do not feel ‘overdue’, or ‘past your prime’.

If you can wait and not grow tired of waiting
For a posterior cervix reluctant to dilate
And despite two sleepless nights of cramps, frustrating,
Ignore a negative or fearful mental state.

And if you finally transfer in, and are inspected
And find you still have many hours left to go
Can you find the trust and strength to still be patient
And to epidurals and syntocinon, still say ‘no’.

If you can close your eyes and turning inward,
Surrender to that mighty force inside
As it throws you to the edge of your existence
And let perception, bone and sinew open wide.

If you can follow your instinct into positions
Which enable good descent and pelvic space
You’ll have no need for ventouse or obstetricians
To mar the crowning of your baby’s head and face.

If you then fill the birthing room with grace and presence
As your newborn crosses worlds with searching gaze
And with warm and tender whisper guide her gently
To your naked warm embrace, your heart ablaze.

And if, from here, you fill each post-natal minute
With sixty seconds worth of loving run.
Then you have honoured Birth and the Spirit in it.
And your journey as a mother has begun.


Nadia wrote this poem when she was pregnant with her third child – who is now three and a half years old.

Nadia is a Mother, Yoga Teacher, Birth Educator, Doula

High Heels and Lipstick

I’m so pleased to be able to share another excerpt from Musings on Mothering. Many thanks to Rachel O’Leary and Rosie Evans for giving me permission to share their contributions over at Story of Mum.

I’ve always thought Rachel’s piece ‘High Heels and Lipstick’ powerful and thought-provoking. Do women compete a lot? Do we make too many assumptions about how we’re coping with the challenges of motherhood compared with other mothers?

If you’re not aware of Rachel’s piece already, do take a moment to read it… the picture she conjures of a mother ‘drowning in isolation’ is so, so vivid.

Feel free to share away. Thank you.

A few words from the winning bidder of the recent ebay auction…

I was delighted to receive the following feedback from Lucy Holmes, who was the winning bidder of the hand bound hardback edition of Musings on Mothering:

“The handmade boxed copy of Musings on Mothering is absolutely beautiful – perfectly put together by Barbara who did a truly amazing job. What a talent! There was even a lovely note in it from her, which I am leaving in for posterity and to remind me who made it. It’s really special to have managed to win the book as my two poems in it are the first ever to be officially published so to own a completely unique one-off copy of my first ‘publication’ is something to treasure and which will be handed down to my daughter in the future. What a perfect way to mark the creativity of motherhood! I was thrilled when it arrived… Thanks so much for putting this all together.”

I am so pleased to have been able to help raise just over £70 for La Leche League Great Britain through the auction, and doubly pleased that Lucy’s delighted with the book. Thanks again to Barb and to all those who got involved in the auction and helped spread the word.

Early auction of a unique handbound copy of ‘Musings on Mothering’ is now live!

I wanted to alert you all to a fundraising auction in aid of LLLGB. With the great help of Barb Sheppard, an ex-Leader and long-term supporter of LLL, I have put together an ebay auction of a unique handbound hardback copy of Musings on Mothering. 100% of the proceeds from the sale will go to LLLGB. Please do take a look at this unique book, which took Barb absolutely hours to produce, and share widely if possible.

I know I’m biased, but I really think this would make for a great Mothers’ Day gift! So if you’d like to make a bid, Barb and I would be delighted!

Thank you again Barb! You’re a real star. 🙂

First royalty cheque received by LLLGB

Before the end of January I managed to get the first royalty cheque for sales of Musings on Mothering (to date) sent off to LLLGB. A short while later I received their acknowledgement.

It is really lovely to know that due to my efforts – and the efforts of all the wonderful contributors – Mother’s Milk Books has managed to raise this so far. Hopefully there will be many more royalty cheques to come!

Many thanks again to all those who made this possible.