Monday, 15 April 2019
If I'm honest, the fear of the unknown kicked in the night before and it was Mr M who gently nudged me into going. I rarely venture out with the two of them on my own - I found it so hard to do when O was little, and now we have a nap routine, I've got the perfect excuse to not push myself out of my comfort zone. The stress levels are always sky high. Ridiculous when you see everybody else managing.
Anyway - we made it. We met up with four lovely mums and their little ones. A, after a little bit of encouragement, merrily gallivanted about with the other toddlers and O happily sat in his pushchair. I realised that a) meeting new people is fun (if you like embroidery, take a look at Sophie's website and if you're looking for party downloads, take a look at Little Party Hacks) b) Wisley is just down the road and our membership is woefully underused and c) fresh air and space is the perfect combination for an afternoon nap.
We'll definitely be going along to another meet up soon.
Tuesday, 26 March 2019
I had an awful childhood. My father died when I was 8 and I was sent to boarding school. No one told me that my mother had remarried until I was driven home to a strange flat in London because our large family home had been sold. My mother then separated from my stepfather and we had no money, so I had to give up school at 16 to work.
I grew up in a large house with staff and ponies and had the loveliest childhood. Sadly my father died when I was 8, but I was lucky enough to be sent to a top notch boarding school. My mother remarried, he was a consultant, and we went to live in London, staying in 5* hotels all over the world. When I finished school, I became a model and lived in London. It was so much fun.
It's so easy to lead with the negative, to get that immediate hit of sympathy, but have you ever considered the long term effect? For you? For others? Does it subconsciously colour your daily outlook? Has the story changed incrementally, unintentionally, each time you tell it? Can you remember the original version? I'm guilty of hamming up the negative for a bit of drama, but I also know how draining it can be to listen to the same story time and again where the storyteller doesn't seem able to move on. Don't get me wrong. It's good to get things off our chest, a problem shared is most definitely a problem halved, and it's good to be a sympathetic listener. But how different might your story be with a rosier lens? Could reframing put a spring in your step?
Monday, 25 March 2019
This is Mrs B. We met through the WI a decade ago. Many a glass of red and a world put to rights before kids. Then we all moved. There's now a two hour car journey, an unreliable motorway, a busy diary and four children under the age of 4 between us so we've not made it to their not-so-new house yet. But they were back down in our neck of the woods this week, so we managed to squeeze in a coffee and a catch up, and it felt so wonderfully jumper-like. As I drove my brood to meet Mrs B's brood (you can't see baby M in this photo but she's there in a baby Bjorn carrier hidden by Mrs B's coat), I remembered that the last time I'd driven to their flat was for Mrs B's baby shower three years ago when I was quietly pregnant but not quite ready to share the news. I love this photo of Mrs B shepherding two very excitable little girls home. Why? Because these little girls have only met three times in their three years and became thick as thieves after their initial shyness. And because A immediately took to Auntie B, seeking her out and insisting that she hold her hand. I wish they lived down the road still, but for now just watching this little friendship blossom makes me so very happy.
Friday, 22 March 2019
Thursday, 14 March 2019
But today during nap time, for some reason, I decided to bake scones. I do love a scone. There's something so comforting about them - which is somewhat needed with this weather of late. I like mine cold, with all the trimmings and a steaming mug of tea. Creme fraiche instead of clotted cream is rather controversial but a surprisingly good alternative and what's usually in the fridge. The majority of shop sold scones are a tad mediocre - either so dry that they turn to dust as you try to spread them with butter or so cloying that they get stuck to the roof of your mouth. A pile of scones sitting resplendent on a cafe counter will immediately get my hopes up, especially when they're as big as my hand, but invariably they're more rock cake with a bit of height than the Enid Blyton afternoon treat that I was so looking forward to.
Anyway, I've not made scones since I was at school - I always thought that they were a faff to make. Turns out, they're super quick to make and even quicker to bake. I used this Delia recipe - and it's perfect. Naturally I couldn't find the proper cutters, so had to improvise, but the recipe made eight decent sized scones that cooked in 12 minutes. What's not to love! I honestly can't believe I've not made them this century.
Sunday, 10 March 2019
Sunday, 24 February 2019
2. How do working parents manage with poorly bambinos? We're struggling and it's starting to make us question why I'm back at work trying to secure a job if this is how it's going to be in the short term.*
3. It's been odd having our chatterbox whispering all week - the house has been so quiet. She took to banging the table to get our attention. The great news is that her voice is starting to come back and she's no longer quite as scared of coughing as she once was.
4. I celebrated my last child-free Friday with a calming spa treatment at Foxhills, courtesy of Mr M. It was such a treat - an incredible body massage, followed by a facial - my face still feels joyously polished and my skin hasn't broken out. Although I didn't fully relax because I'd forgotten to look at the name of the locker I'd electronically locked my worldly goods into and that was ALL I could think about during the 90 minutes of calm. All was fine and I thankfully didn't have to ask for help. Note to self...PAY ATTENTION especially when having a bit of flap!
5. I picked up my new bookclub book, Mothering Sunday, from the local library. I've gone from having a reading drought last year (thanks O) to over committing (to myself) and 'joining' two bookclubs (@abookishbakerclub on IG) and a local Facebook-but-meet-in-real-life one. I now have a silly number of books on the go (Mothering Sunday, Becoming and French children don't throw food). Thank goodness Mothering Sunday appears to be pretty short. And with a large font.
6. This incredible weather saw us both outside tidying the garden whilst the little ones napped. It was a milestone for us and reminded me of two things - life is getting back to normal, and how comically abnormal we were in our twenties when we bought the flat with the ginormous garden and spent every weekend digging, clearing or raking. Sometimes fuelled by champagne. I miss it.
7. I made it to the gym for the second half of my induction. A session with a personal trainer, who was wonderful and listened. She didn't treat my "I can't guarantee I'll be at the gym once a week let alone once a month" line with the expected "YOU'LL ALWAYS BE A QUITTER WITH THAT KIND OF ATTITUDE" motivational speech, but instead has created me two fitness plans - one for home and one for the gym. Amazing. I'm doing this to get fit and strong, so that I can keep up with the little ones and fix an ongoing lower back issue. I get to use those trendy ropes on a boat thing. I am going to hurt tomorrow.
8. Wine, wine, whine, whine, wine.
*yes, I know - it really is that odd.