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Posted in Journey to Joy, Life | 19 comments

Capturing magic moments from my leaky bucket

Capturing magic moments from my leaky bucket


“Mummy, when did your Nana die?”

When my eldest asked me that question over the half term break I was stopped in my tracks. When did her Great Grandmother die exactly and how old was she? I realised that I didn’t actually know for sure. But I DID know, at one time.

When do these important details leak out of our minds? I sometimes think my brain is like a bucket with holes in the bottom and thoughts, facts and figures constantly pouring in the top.

Doing too much, not being present, everything leaking out.

Then that night when I went to bed, early after the dreaded lurgy that’s been circling our family members finally took up residence with me, I was drawn to my old notebooks, sitting on the shelf in the corner of our bedroom.

These Moleskines, filled with sketches, notes, cuttings, thoughts and feelings, reminded me that it’s only through writing these magic memories down that I really capture them. Not just the dates, the numbers, but the moments shared, the laughter, the tears, the joy, the pain, the fear and even the loathing.


I spent some time flicking through those notebooks, reliving moments in my life that had dripped away without me realising. Moments like the sketch I made in Tuscany on our James Villas holiday in 2008 before the children came along…

Tuscany sketch

… like the caricature of me done in my PR days by the famous Jed Pascoe which I copied in my notebook to remind me of those debauched but oh-so-fun days…

Jed Pascoe Sketch

… like the cartoon of me pinching together the skin on my stomach just before my second at-home hormone injection, my special needle pen safely in the fridge with disposible needles and alcohol wipes as we continued our infertility journey in Shanghai, China…

Belly pinch

… like the photograph of two boats at the Tongli Water Town, three hours drive from Shanghai, where my expat girlfriends and I spent time together wandering the narrow streets and marveling at local life in the sunshine…

Tongli water town

… like the line drawing of the view from one of the bedrooms in our China apartment where I worked as a freelance writer, bashing out articles for expat magazines…

Sketch from bedroom window

… like this postcard of Yoko Ono from her ‘Fly Exhibtion’ where my friend Amy and I took a tour of her work before making wishes and hanging them to a tree that was then sent to Ireland and buried under the John Lennon ‘light’.

Yoko Ono

All these memories, all these moments in time. If I hadn’t captured them would I have remembered them? Or is the very act of capturing them enough for my brain to release them to make space for the day-to-day?

Reliving them again brought me so much joy!

So I asked my own Mother, when did Nana die? And she told me. It was 2008 and she was 95. Sadly she never got to meet her granddaughter.

I don’t want to forget these important things. I want to pass them on to my children, I want the memories and the legacy to continue. And so I will continue to journal, sketch and scrapbook when I can, as well as blogging, and I will pick up my pen and capture those magic moments that might seem trivial at the time.

Because as well as realising how good things really are in our lives right now, sometimes joy comes from appreciating the amazing moments we’ve had in our past and how far that journey has carried us.

How do you capture the precious memories in your life? Do you sketch, scrapbook, journal, blog – or all three?

Linking up with All About You at Mama and More, Share with Me at Let’s Talk Mommy, Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum, PoCoLo at Verily Victoria Vocalises, Welcome to the Weekend at Claire Justine



  1. After reading the amazing book you bought me, I started toying with the idea of a gratitude journal but after reading this, I think I need a gratitude AND an every moment I want to remember journal.
    Your images inspire me. Aren’t you a hidden artiste?!
    I found some old diaries from my early teens, filled with pictures of The Spice Girls, short stories, song lyrics etc and was blown away trying to remember the girl I was then.
    I hope you continue to journal xx
    Tinuke recently posted…The week that was – quick meals and clubs

  2. Ahh, your notebooks are brilliant; you are such a good artist. I wish I had kept something like this but I am not creative at all and I never remember to keep a diary or anything unfortunately. At least I have my blog now. I feel the same as you with the bucket with holes and forgetting memories you never thought you would; it’s rubbish and quite sad xx

  3. So much joy in this post, but tinged with sadness as well. Love those drawings, I’m always in awe of people that are talented in that department :) My Grandma also passed away years ago, when I was just 11. I would have loved for her to still be around today, and for my kids to know her, because she was one incredible lady. The best people always go too soon xx
    Reneé @ Mummy Tries recently posted…Today I Choose Joy

  4. Lovely post, and lovely memories.

    The whole reason for starting my blog was so that I can keep and share my memories. I have forgotten loads, but some have come back

  5. I love your sketches and how lovely to look back and revisit those moments. I’ve kept a diary since I was seven and still write in it occasionally (not the same diary – have been through quite a few notebooks in nearly thirty years of journaling) and it is lovely to look back on. Those moments are all too easily forgotten unless we stop to record them in some way.
    Louise recently posted…A natural caesarean birth

  6. Your sketches are amazing! I don’t document as much as I should, I’ve always taken photos but never really written about them, other than the baby year books. I really must, dementia is rife in my family so this may be more important than I could ever imagine one day #sharethejoy
    Ali recently posted…Monthly Melfie with my 3 boys

  7. Ah…there are so many things that leak out, aren’t there. My grandfather told me how he met my gran, no one else knew. I was so proud of the fact that he told me, I remember the moment we shared, just him and I in his hospital room. I felt loved. So much. I can remember the moment clearly, but cannot remember what he told me. I certainly wish that I would have written it down, now it is lost.

    Your moleskin journals are incredible, what a wonderful life you have led. The walk down memory lane would be so enjoyable assisted by the memories you painstakingly recorded! Thanks for sharing them.
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…Dried Fruit and Honey Cheese-ball.

  8. Age is no friend of memory…and neither is keeping on top of a household of small children and their social diaries!! Writing things down and scrapbooking is the only way I remember things but I find in this digital age many photos I would’ve printed, written on and added to a stationary book are still in my phone/Ipad. You’ve inspired me to get my memories back up to date (if that’s not too much of am oxymoron!)
    Tracey @ mummyshire recently posted…Spring into Stella & Dot {Review}

  9. I’ve always relied on my good memory but as I start to age and face my own mortality I become more and more aware of the value of blogging and journaling. I’ve just begun both practices and am forever grateful I’ve learned then.

    • Oh Heidi this is such a powerful comment, thank you. Like you a relish my blogging and as well as becoming my business it’s also such a rewarding part of my life x

  10. Ahhh lovely to keep memories alive. I love scrapbooking and capturing as many old memories of the family for my children’s future so they can have them as memories passed down. Another reason I love blogging too. Lovely post. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
    jenny recently posted…Share With Me ~ #8

    • I agree Jenny it’s such a good way to keep our memories alive x

  11. Before the kids came along my husband used to joke that he married me for my memory! Now years later, I feel the pressure of being the keeper of family lore and think scrapbook in might be the way forward. Your sketches are wonderful!
    Clementine Buttercup recently posted…

    • Thanks so much Clementine! I tend to spend all my spare time on this blog so it was a real reminder to get back to my memory capturing x


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