Recently I keep coming on here and starting to write but it just doesn’t feel right, so I stop and stare at the screen and then shut my laptop for another day. I feel like in every last post I say – The next post won’t be so emotional, it’ll be back to the humour of my early posts. But I feel unsure of sharing humour, or sharing happy moments at the moment when we are living in a world which has moved from global pandemic to war, and people are suffering unimaginable terror, sadness, loss. What’s the right thing to do?
I suppose the answer is to look inwardly first and realise how bloody lucky I am. To soak up the time we have, to ‘try’ to live in the moment and enjoy, enjoy it all and by that I don’t mean you have to be chasing some big moment, or feeling like you have to constantly be striving to be more than you are, to have a better job, a bigger house or to go sky diving, learn to fly blah blah blah, or even have a big smile on your face every single day, that is impossible, but in general, I mean enjoy the life you’re living, its ok to feel content in the here and now, to enjoy the minutia of life if you’re lucky enough to be able to (I am going to get a bike though, and I’m gonna feel proud of myself when I start to ride it). To realise that by being able to walk down the street without fear of a bomb dropping or having to pack my children up with the bare essentials and bunker down underground while gunfire spews overhead. We are only born into our situations by chance, by sheer luck and it would be the greatest waste to take any of it for granted.
“To be content doesn’t mean you don’t desire more, it means you’re thankful for what you have and patient for what’s to come”
I started Rex and the City way back when I had my son (Rex) just over 6 years ago and it was always supposed to be like a diary, something myself and my children can look back on. I have a hand written diary for all of my children which I have written in consistently since the day each of them was born. They are filled with milestones and funny anecdotes, I can see them grow and change through those diaries and move into the people they’re becoming. It’s amazing to see how their characters differ but their bond is still so fierce
So while Juno is still very small I can already start to see her little personality come through, she is always smiling, this huge gummy grin, or staring with her huge blue eyes, entranced as she watches her brother and sister fight to cuddle her, lay on her, prop her up, put bows on her, squish her, talk loudly in her face, even put make up on her when I’m not looking (Stella Brown!). She is just Joy personified.
Stella is my little diva, a girls girl, larger than life, knows her own mind and is smart as a whip. She loves her siblings fiercely, and has a knack for getting her own way. But she’s also sensitive and can get shy if she’s asked to do something in front of people she doesn’t know or feel comfortable around.
And Rex, my eldest, the one who made me a mummy. He has a beautiful old soul, he’s sensitive, brave, independent, a thinker, in fact at parents evening the other evening his teacher told us he has a ‘great mind’ I’ve always thought the same. He’s also boisterous with an unrelenting amount of energy which we try and keep in check with what feels like millions of sports clubs.
They’ll all be different as they get older, but I hope they will continue to be each others biggest fans, biggest supports and biggest protectors. One thing this time we find ourselves in has taught me is how important it is to cherish all the moments, sing the praises of every accomplishment, show unconditional love and make sure they feel proud of themselves always.
This week we go back to South Africa and I can’t wait to write my first old school travel blog when I get back, I’ve always known that life can be short and maybe that’s why I find it so important to have everything noted down. So alongside getting my bike, I’m going to stick to making sure this next blog really is fun, and really does take advantage of a gift like travel. See you on the other side.
Well its been a minute, last time I wrote was during a time of tragedy, last time I wrote we had just suffered the still birth of our daughter Daisy (August 2020). Whilst we still grieve (& always will) we also have had an incredibly joyful moment with the birth of our daughter Juno in October 2021 and nothing could describe that moment better than this quote that I read:
‘It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of any storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath. It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and cloud. Without the storm there are no rainbows; and here, in life after the rain, one can still find joy.’
I want to start writing again, I’m no literary master but I enjoy it & if there’s one thing we have all learnt from this lock down its to start doing things we enjoy more, regardless. Also I like the idea that the children can read back over these little life stories as they grow up. I want to document Juno’s entry to the world as I did with the others, so here goes…
I was booked in to be induced at 10am on Thursday the 7th of October after a relatively high stress, high anxiety pregnancy, I had been constantly worried about getting prepared for her arrival with things like getting the bassinet out and clothes etc incase it would jinx it all, but I was being monitored & scanned every 2 weeks and looked after by a top consultant which helped settle my nerves no end. The children were getting geared up to meet her with Rex, for some reason, fascinated to know whether she would have the same skin colour as us or if she would be black…I wasn’t entirely sure why he was so eager to know this, but I assured him that if indeed she was black that I would have some quite serious questions to answer from daddy. I had kept the pregnancy very low key, only telling people when it was too obvious to not, my poor father didn’t know till I was 6 weeks away from having her, we were meeting him in Italy for a holiday (he was coming from home in South Africa) and I thought he would otherwise have the shock of his life!
The end couldn’t come fast enough, I was desperate to get our little girl out safe and sound so when it came time for the induction I was more than ready. However, when we got to the hospital on Thursday morning it was clear that staffing was short, 10am came and went then at 4pm they tried a “gentle” induction but after some contractions we were back where we started. So at about 2am Chris went home and I tried to get some sleep. Friday drifted along and I was constantly being told that they were too busy to do the induction so not only was I getting stressed but also was acutely aware that I’d only bought one change of clothes…so my idea of feeling and looking nice, clean & vaguely human after having the baby was quickly scrapped (don’t judge you all know how important the immediate post baby shoot is for getting that shot for the gram). Anyway, after a full breakdown to one of the kind ladies on the ward I was finally moved upstairs to the induction room at 10.30pm on Friday, I promptly tried to get hold of Chris but it seems that a late night in the hospital on Thursday had meant he was just absolutely exhausted on Friday night (In my head this is being said & should be read in the most sarcastic of tones) and therefore slept right through my labour. Thankfully I had a wonderful midwife and aside from a blip when my blood pressure dropped massively and I more or less passed out and could just hear “her heart rate is dropping” and came round to being injected with some kind of medicine, it was a very calm and peaceful labour. She arrived without fuss on Saturday the 9th at 09.20am, Just her and I, it was peaceful and perfect.
I was desperate to get home after having been in the hospital for what felt like forever, though they wanted me to stay in for another 24 hours I begged and so after some checks I was able to leave about 6pm that same Saturday. I was so excited for Rex and Stella to meet Juno, Chris had been sharing videos with them that I had sent him from the hospital and he had said they were already soin love with her.
I remember Rex meeting Stellafor the first time how excited and interested he was, so watching them then both meeting their new sisterafter losing a sister and the excitement from them was just the best ever! Please also note Stella’s best impression of Moira Rose’s Bébéin the video. Everyones favourite Frenchie took the role of eldest sibling as seriously as he always has, monitoring me extra closely in the week leading to her birth, curling up round my tummy whenever he could. He was a constant source of love and therapy after losing Daisy and so I think he knew he was needed even more this time round.
Even though it was the third time round, I couldn’t remember a damn thing about when a baby does things, when was I going to sleep again? That should read when AM I going to sleep again (as we enter the 4 month sleep regression)? How do you tell if they’re constipated? how often should they poo? Is she blind if she isn’t looking me by day 2 (genuine question I kept asking Chris)? I looked back in the diaries I have written for the other two, but turns out I hadn’t filled them with anything of any use rather written pages of smooshy love letters to them, which is lovely but entirely unhelpful. Much like her sister she was not one to enjoy her own space, but instead preferred to be curled up in my arms, which I was happy not to do anything to stop despite the strictest of midwives saying its creates bad habits, quite frankly I didn’t care, the joy of her little self curled in a ball in the crook of my arm, like a little hot water bottle, cooing as she slept was worth it.
and so here we are 4 months in to the day and in the midst of sleep regression, exhausted but utterly joyful too. She is the smiliest little lady (turns out she’s not blind 😅) so after a sleepless night she drops a huge grin and all is forgiven. Rex and Stella constantly suffocate her with love and whilst the initial change brought with it a range of emotions from them (more on that in another post) they are settled into life as a trio (plus Tony) and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I started writing this blog some time ago with the intent of writing about lockdown and what we have been up to and the wonderful news that we were expecting out 3rd baby, however part of me was also unsure about talking about it openly I’m not really sure why, with both my previous pregnancies I happily posted pics of my growing tummy and the impending arrival, either way I was stuck on the blog and what to say and so it sat in my drafts and time went on.
Then at 7 months pregnant we were left shattered by the news that we had lost our precious and most wanted baby girl. Two days after finding out, I was induced to have her and after 6 hours of labour she arrived, peaceful, perfect and asleep – we named her Daisy.
We all know the saying that ‘time stops for no man’, but after this loss, another major loss in my life after losing my mother when I was young, it has been resonating with me more and more. I felt this unwavering need to not stop, too gather up my children and keep things as normal for them as possible and because carrying on is the only thing you can do. Death seems much more tangible and possible when you have experienced loss so closely.
Coming home from the hospital was painful beyond measure, physically I was hardly able to stand and mentally I was broken seeing her little empty bassinet and the clothes and blankets we had saved for her from our other children. I’m the kind of person that when something bad or distressing happens, I put my armour on – i’m good at it, it means I can carry on. There is also a sense of inbuilt fear that no day is promised and I want my children’s memories to be abundant of us and each other and filled with happiness. I tried to keep the waves of tears for when I was alone or with my husband, but they would sneak out as I sang nursery rhymes to my children in the evenings.
‘There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.’ – Washington Irving
So with that, though it may seem strange, I straight away put everything away back up in a spare room and 2 days after giving birth we were on the road fulfilling a pre planned week of road trips to various stately homes and farms etc for the kids, was it the best idea? physically definitely not, but mentally I had to do it, the other option of staying home alone, miserable and heartbroken was not an option and I definitely was’t going to leave my poor equally heartbroken husband to do it alone. We did it, it was hard but we did it.
Without Brute I don’t know how I would have coped, he was really the one holding us all together, he was taking on the bulk of everything, forcing me to rest, dropping off and picking up the children from school and nursery. checking in on me all the time, he was our rock and the kind hearted hero we know him to be all whilst also dealing with the loss of a child. He actually wrote me a letter recently about all of this which was far more eloquent and beautifully written than what I’m putting down here. But what I want him know simply is we love and appreciate him more than he’ll ever know.
Daisy’s funeral was two weeks ago, it overwhelming and didn’t seem real, but honestly there is nothing like children to keep you grounded. Stella certainly doesn’t understand exactly whats happened though she knows Daisy is her sister and Rex though he understands Daisy isn’t coming home and is sad about that he doesn’t get the concept of death and nor should he need to. We let them run care free round the church and as my poor husband was trying to read his beautiful eulogy they were trying to blow out the candles and pull down the flower displays. Then that afternoon Rex was doing his homework and he had to fill in a page that asked what the best thing he did this summer was, his response was ‘can I put seeing Daisy’s little box’ (meaning her coffin) hmmmmm probably not the best thing to read out to a class of 4/5 years olds but I must say it did put a smile on my face after a rough day. Sometimes what you need is the honesty of a child.
It’s been 6 and a half weeks at the point of writing this since losing Daisy now and since then I have still mainly wanted to cocoon with my family. the days are up and down and all around. I remember a perfectly true line that Suze Rotolo wrote ‘Time heals, after all – although the clock that marks that kind of time has no hands’.
We have been so lucky that our dearest friends and family have been so wonderful checking in on us, sending food, flowers, chocolate, you name it, we felt this enormous amount of love, it enveloped us and helped tremendously. I think of her everyday and always will, I still find myself tearful (yesterday the tears slipped out while I was on the bike at the gym, with some poor elderly gent next to me trying to avoid eye contact). I think I feel stronger and thats a good thing. Healing is messy and there is no timeline for it, that much I know already.
Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes is is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim. Vicki Harrison
I made this video during lockdown. Forever grateful for my children, family and for Daisy.
Two years ago my dearest friend, her husband (also my dear friend, Nicky) and their 4 month old baby girl upped sticks and head off to start a new life in LA – extremely selfish I hear you cry, my thoughts exactly – how dare they leave London (leave me more to the point) and head off to a land where people don’t age (physically at least), the sun always seems to shine, frozen yogurt is on tap and celebrities & Scientologists gather in equal measure.
“I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.” Andy Warhol
At school both our families lived overseas so we spent many happy summers in America with her parents driving down to the Jersey Shore from NYC, where we would live out all our teenage angst to the dulcet tones of Green Day, Ben Folds Five, Third Eye Blind etc – my diaries of those summers make me smile and cringe in equal measure. So it is without question that when the move to LA came that I was plotting my first trip out there.
The trip came last July. When they initially moved I had my own newborn and we had just moved house while we were renovating. I bided my time and pitched the holiday to Brute only to be told he didn’t have enough holiday time and needed to train for his mammoth bike ride across the mountains of Europe. There was only one thing for it, go solo, with the kids…easy!
The strange thing was that whenever I told people in my over excitement, they seemed to give me a look of excitement mixed with confusion and possibly fear.
“You’re travelling to LA by yourself with a 3.5 yr old and 1.5 yr old”?
“Sure! I mean how hard can it be” I’m not the kind of person that gives myself too long to think about these things, I tend to go with the ‘it’ll be fine’ approach and then I find it generally is, I don’t research, ask too many questions or do anything that could put me off and on this occasion it was for the best…
Loaded into the cab we headed for Gatwick, smooth sailing so far. Exit cab, hmmm no trolleys, throw a child under each arm, leave luggage on the pavement and run a good 300 meters to the nearest trolley to find that you have to put £1in the damn thing to use it!! Obviously I have not one piece of shrapnel in my wallet other than the usual couple of 2p, 1p and a few random euro. Borrow £1 from some unsuspecting holiday maker, load up and start the roughly 100 mile walk to the check in desk one hand pushing a loaded up trolley and the other pushing a loaded up double buggy. Major crashes avoided, luggage dropped, security passed we made our way to the gate and I may have blacked things out but we got onto the plane.
I was ready for Rex to sit happily for a few hours watching movies and then calmly fall asleep and prepared to do a bit of pacing of the aisles until stella did the same. Incase you’re wondering, that’s not what happened. Instead I had made the fatal error of booking an outward bound flight at 2pm in the afternoon so both children had gone entirely feral being confined to a small space. I glanced across at my neighbour, praying that he would have mercy on me, he was a young musician with a bobbed haircut who was clearly leaving a loved one back in London as he said over and over on the phone before takeoff in a very delicate Australian accent how much he loved this person whilst my children screamed and bashed their feet on the windows and kicked the chairs in front of me and I swore intensely under my breath and attempted to pin them to their shared chair. The last hurrah was when I called the air hostess for an emergency large glass of wine which, after a second of it being placed down on my tray one of the children smacked their hand down on the table and the whole glass ended up on my neighbours lap without so much of a sip of it entering my mouth…I won’t go into detail, but he was the kindest stranger I have ever come across, no stress and offered me another wine – an angel in indie band clothing.
Feral for the first 5 hours
passed out for the last 6 – thank god
Feral for the first 5 hours, passed out for the last 6…I don’t need to say which half of the journey was preferable.
The most important thing is, we made it and from then on it was the most wonderful trip – we staggered out of LAX which must be the worst organised most stressful airport on the planet and into the arms of my dear friend, Koz – it was the evening in LA and we were smelly and tired and broken but we were also overexcited, Koz and I particularly so. We cracked open the wine immediately, put the kids to bed and next thing I know I woke up in my underwear on my bed, it was the next morning and my head was beating…testament to the fact that we shouldn’t be separated for long periods of time.
I’ve been to LA a couple of times before, but not as a mother, and it did not disappoint, particularly as they had based themselves in the gorgeous Santa Monica area of LA. They definitely have the weather on their side so we went to the beach almost daily (closest being a ten minute drive from the house), or to the many splash pads that they have around the city to help cool down from the mid summer heat.
Then when you’re suitably tired, hot and bothered there are frozen yogurt places almost everywhere you look and they are the best – for some ungodly reason we don’t seem to pay homage to the frozen yogurt like the Americans do. Everything is bigger in America and their idea of a selection of frozen yogurt toppings is a full on pick n mix sensation and though the connotation of frozen yogurt makes one think of health and wellness if you’re anything like me your toppings to yogurt ratio is going to weigh heavily in on the side of toppings!
hardly visible Fro Yo smothered by sweets & choc = perfect
One of my favourite things to discuss is food and one of my favourite things to do is eat so lets do more of that – my gosh does LA do food well – there is an abundance of farmers markets open on the weekends, from the fresh fruit and veg at Brentwood Farmers’ Market to the Smorgasbord in downtown LA there are endless options all super child friendly and a great thing to do and place to grab lunch.
Brentwood Farmers’ Market
Give them fresh peaches and they will comply
Photography skills not up to much here – sign flagged by the bins – but you get the gist – this is the smorgasburg.
Let’s be real though this is a holiday so there needs to be some non child fun too, we learnt early that it does not pay to try and take 3 toddlers out to dinner even if it is early when you want to relax and have a drink…on night 3 we went down to the famous Gjelina on Abbot Kinney, I mean the food is major but my god did my two make a scene, made worse by the fact that darling little Zoe behaved like an angel the whole time while my two took in turns to see who could scream the loudest. Deciding that we probably needed to order quickly and get them fed and home the almost unbearably hipster waiter/struggling actor sauntered over and when asked if he could recommend some options “no, no its impossible for me to do that, you need to just go with what you feel” …I mean are you KIDDING ME – glances shot round the table between us as we bit our tongues in equal measure – could he not see the tension in my face, could he not see the desperate looks of the other diners, willing us to eat and get out as quickly as possible so they could enjoy their evenings in peace! When we eventually got our food, the madness was at an all time high with us taking it in turns to take Rex and Stella outside to blow off some steam. Needless to say we bailed with food in hand back to the safety of home.
BUT we had some fabulous meals without them too – Sitting outside on the rooftop at Margot in Culver City offering the best of Mediterranean coastal food. Yours Truly on Abbot Kinney in Venice, a girls night out in West Hollywood at E.P and L.P and obviously you can’t go to LA without a long boozy lunch at Nobu Malibu. There are so many great places, there is no real public transport though so you’re gonna have to flex that Uber account.
Nobu Malibu showing off
Not at all thrilled to be having a child free Boozy lunch
Sitting here after 100 days of Lockdown in London and reminiscing about being in LA this time last year is almost torture and I feel like I could really ramble on, but everyday was happiness, it really was. There was never pressure to do anything, but so many easy and fun things to do for us and the kids, cruising down to the beach and not just local ones, we also went down to Manhattan Beach to see some other dear friends that have moved back to LA from London which is beautiful. Or just sitting in the garden with the giant paddling pool (and a glass of cold rose). Going to the incredible Cayton children museum or even watching the LA philharmonic warm up at the Hollywood Bowl, well that is until you are ushered out due to slightly over excited small people who don’t adhere to rules or noise levels.
Not just any old cafe or Fire engine – its all part of the magic of the Cayton Childrens Museum.
When you think LA any honest human will wonder if they’ll spot a celeb – I mean i’m not afraid to say my eyes are peeled as soon as I got off the plane, will I see the Hadid sisters sauntering through the airport (ideally not, I’m not sure my mental state could handle that). Or god forbid Jen Anniston on her daily hike, I would likely drop dead on the spot. But you know who we did see and who rocked my world…Henry Winkler, I mean obviously it wasn’t the spot I thought I would get but hey who didn’t love Happy Days!!! Just wandering around the Brentwood Country Mart with his wife, daughter and grandchild – his wife, walked past Koz and I and said “you have your hands full!” but not in a snarky way, but a knowing way and It cemented our love for them.
So if you couldn’t tell already, the trip was the biggest of successes, it was just all happiness and sorry (not sorry) for sounding so gushy, but hey you have to tell it as it is. On our last full day, we booked in Koz’s baby sitters to look after the children and we went shopping…and had the most bizarre encounter, I can’t remember the name of the shop but it had lots of gorgeous over priced clothes and we were just mooching when this quite over zealous attendant came over to see if we needed anything, she then kept coming back to check we were ok (every Brits worst nightmare, right?) and upon realising we were both English she then out of nowhere said “R-I-P Princess Diana, I’m so sorry for your loss” to which we both sort of nodded and in our awkward British way muttered something like “yes it was very sad” she then proceeded to go off on a tangent about conspiracy theory’s surrounding her death as if it happened last week. Bear in mind this lady was no more than late 20’s (and was likely was on a come down from the night before) and when I say she went off on a tangent, I mean it, she went on and on and when she eventually stopped so we could shop, when we saw her again she would say again “I just wanted to say again, that I’m sorry for your loss & RIP Princess Diana” at which point we just grabbed some over priced clothes for the kids, paid and fled before bursting into hysterical laughter. No better way to leave La La Land hey.
The only thing missing from this trip was Brute, but that gives us even more reason to head back there when all this chaos is over and who knows maybe by the there might be a new president there…one can but hope!
There are too many special moments and memories so I made a little video compilation below instead, enjoy 🙂
Have you ever wondered how it could be possible for Jeff Bezos, the inimitable force behind Amazon, to be worth a whopping $137 billion – well in the lead up to my children joint birthday party I found out…It’s down to my husband and I.
I knew before the party that we had a verging on dangerous relationship with Amazon, relying on it for any and every last minute need. But as we got closer to the day in question the deliveries starting mounting at an unprecedented rate, everyday we were receiving several parcels and at this point I had not once but on several occasions been stopped whilst out walking the dog by the delivery driver, sometimes just to say Hi as I now saw him more than my own family and sometimes to say he had yet more parcels and should he just leave them in the front garden if I was going to be out for the day. We had gone beyond the awkward stage of when you open the door a couple of days in a row to the same delivery man and do that awkward chuckle and a bit of a ‘yup its me again smile/grimace’ we had now grown to be acquaintances, maybe even friends.
This was our first full on, firing on all cylinders childrens party that we had thrown, Rex was turning three and is now at an age where we couldn’t get away with essentially having a party for ourselves with our friends whilst the children, mostly unable to move sit around dribbling, cooing, giggling and crying. Instead he told us in no uncertain terms that he wanted a super hero party with lots of cake (Stella, who was turning 1 sadly didn’t get much of a look in when it came to the theme) and Just like that, like any good bossed around parent we set about planning this double whammy monstrosity.
Stella turns 1 and Rex turns 3 and just these two balloons cost about 5 times their combined age…
We booked the venue and then I set about finding an entertainer, now having absolutely no idea what I was looking for I went solely on reviews, and found a lovely company called JoJo Fun Kids and after much toing and froing about whether they could in fact provide the correct super hero, Spiderman was booked. Spiderman, also known as Dom, called me to introduce himself, I knew almost has soon as he’d said ‘Hello Sophie, this is Dom’ that a springy, camp and almost certainly a musical theatre practitioner was on the other end of the phone and naturally was thrilled, we clicked immediately. It was only post party that my darling friend who has his own events company gently raised his eyebrows when I said how much we were paying dearest Dom…note to self, must.do.more.research.
Then it was down to the nitty gritty and this is really where things pick up pace, because I don’t know about you, but once the big things are in place (venue, entertainment) its down to the fun part, the details and this is where Mr Bezos starts ringing up his enormous bill.
Party Bags – straight to Amazon obv – literally everything related to super hero – ADD TO CART.
Fancy Dress Outfits
Me: ‘OMG look at this amazing Hulk outfit’ ADD TO CARD
My Husband: ‘oooooh and these huge Hulk Gloves ‘ADD TO CART’
Me: ‘oh and look a mask’ ADD TO CART
MY Husband: ‘and face paints, we could paint him green too (event though he’s wearing a suit) ADD TO THE DAMN CART
Then onto Stellas outfit..oh and ours…
Outfits on point thought, so totally worth it
Cake – I actually home made both of the cakes but hell would freeze over if we didn’t quickly add in some edible paper super heroes to pop on top of them – Amazon here we come!
Just showing me cakes off
Balloons – I left the shop (yes an actual physical shop) with 10 huge balloons plus a bunch of normal ones thinking how nice and seemingly extremely lucrative it would be to own a balloon shop – I would be rich without hardly needing to do anything.
More Balloons – Hmmmm not sure if we have enough balloons, ill just nip onto Amazon and buy some more, sure why not.
Now I am actually all for small brands and I do my best to buy from them, but when it comes to dealing with this kind of situation, Amazon is your one stop shop, it’s also our one stop shop for every random thought that we have and think we therefore need to buy: Horrendous Polyester Fancy dress outfits, boxes of 10 roles of wrapping paper, 3 million straws etc etc i’m just V jealous I didn’t think of this before Jeff
The party was in fact a huge success (thank god) and Dom was everything I had hoped for and more, he arrived bang on time though possibly looking ever so like he had come straight in from the night before, I imagined him slipping out the doors of G.A.Y dressed to party and straight through the doors of our local church hall dressed head to toe in his finest polyester spiderman outfit, which really left very little to the imagination. That said, he had the children, all 30 of them, singing to the beat of his drum, screaming with laughter (as were the parents as he dropped innuendo filled comments, leaving some of the fathers blushing for their lives) and when his part was over they followed him quietly and in a perfect line through for tea…whilst I stood thinking how many years of ageing he had saved me.
I mean look at Hulk (AKA Rex) rushing over to meet Spider-Man (AKA Dom).
Once tea was finished, E numbers had reached peak highs and sugar crashes were just around the corner we packed up the enormous amount of mess that children have a wonderful talent for making and made our way home, children straight to bed, us straight towards anything with a cork…and relax.
The site of 30 children chowing down without a care in the world, surrounded by a tonne of manic parents
So party done, Bezos et al significantly richer and us significantly poorer party season is over for this year. It is to my absolute relief that the childrens birthdays are both in January as they will be having joint birthday parties until they are old enough to come to us with a bullet proof argument as to why this is no longer possible.
New Year new me? Not likely, I gave up making wildly outrageous resolutions like giving up chocolate & sweets for a month a long time ago and never ever have I attempted the dreaded dry January. Instead I have made compromises with myself such as giving up sweets/chocolate but just on weekdays – we’ll see how that goes this year shall we? What it will actually mean is that come Friday (cause Friday is essentially the weekend) I will begin a 3 day sugar worship. In fact on the 1st of January 2019 Brute said to me ‘New Years really only starts on the 2nd because everyone is hungover today, so we don’t need to give up chocolate until tomorrow’ I loved him more in that moment.
What I do actually genuinely want to ‘take up’ or resolve to do, is to give some time to me, ‘Me Time’ as it’s seemingly known, something that slowly over time has become less and less of a thing. It’s easy to unknowingly slightly lose the things that make you you over time and one thing that I could never lose but feel like I haven’t spent enough time nurturing is my great passion for music . Having studied and played my whole life I have found in recent years, particularly after having had children, that I listen to music less and less, probably compared to a lot of people I still listen to it a lot but I used to sit for hours and hours making playlists, listening to records, reading about musicians, going to concerts (small and big) and I miss it. Yesterday though I was in the kitchen and looking at this picture which is on the wall in our kitchen:
Each of these pictures was a table name at our wedding, afterwards we collected them up and made a collage of them. They are some of my absolute favourite artists and yesterday on the 1st day of the new year I was looking at it and decide to ask the ever (un)helpful Amazon Echo AKA Alexa to play me some Miles Davis on shuffle and after we had gotten past her not understanding, playing it in the wrong room and asking for the name again that lyrical trumpet came flowing through the speaker and It made me happy. I decided then that that was what I needed to start doing again, more things that make me happy. I also remembered that I wrote my dissertation on Miles Davis at Arts & Music School and got 97% which is pretty major, I’m allowed to brag because I was not a very scholarly or well behaved person at uni and was politely asked to leave shortly afterwards – Be good in school kids!
And so it is that “12 Months of Music” is born! It’s nothing really, just me telling myself that in each month of 2019 I’m going to take the time to listen to those great artists that I love and that make me feel happy and hopefully teach my children a thing or too.
My newest band members – I’m on piano in front of them 🙂
Right It’s time for me to get on, I have a double whammy super hero birthday bash to organise for next weekend, and currently the entertainer has gone AWOL and I have no back up – perhaps I shouldn’t have hassled them so much already…Ill look into that as something to work on for 2020…
This post has taken rather longer than I hope to get out, so apologies – This is mainly due to the surrounding teething issues, potty training issues, weening issues and lack of food issues (that’s me not the children, I’m on a desperate diet and all I can think of is the enormous box of maltesers in the fridge). This morning after week 1 of trying to work out and be good I weighed myself and have put on 1kg – ‘That alway’s happens when you first start properly training again, its water retention and the muscles getting swollen” I love my husband for knowing that unless I hear this, I will throw the scales at the mirror, storm to the kitchen, throw open the fridge and eat all the maltesers cause who bloody cares away way if the scales are going to be such bastards to me all the time. This is the worst time post baby, the last stone, it is as stubborn as a mule & refuses to remove itself from my body.
Anyway, since we last spoke, which was back in March when things had been a bit testing with Rex and we were all over the place and juggling more balls than the most professional of clowns. We are now back in London (thank god), the house is finished (this phase anyway) and we have treated ourselves to a few trips away. My god the difference it makes being back home is immeasurable, we are like those robot people in Westworld who get shot 500 times and then get taken back to the lab, reprogrammed and sent back out into the world good as new (ready to be shot all over again) – in fact that link I’ve embedded pretty much describes how we felt. So after a fabulous family trip to Australia the time came for my annual girls trip to Ibiza.
A few days of full on hedonism, wild all night parties leading on to all day beach parties…is perhaps what me 10 years ago was capable of. Though we did plan for one blow out night, super club night out and my friend Caroline had even gone as far as to tap her brother up for the full VIP treatment, but when the time came for us to don our glittery bras and gold hot pants a vision of my 10am flight home for fathers day on Sunday having had 1 hour of sleep all but stopped me in my tracks – lame I know, but I’m not 20 anymore and thats ok. Other than that slightly unrealistic attempt at going BIG, we thrived on a more relaxed Ibiza this year, wonderful beach clubs and fabulous boozy dinners.
My sister and I flew out a day early, She hadn’t been to Ibiza before so I was keen to have a bit of hang time just us. An Ibiza holiday begins really before you even get there, the night flight on easy jet is almost legendary, its people watching at its best. The troops of hen dos and stag do’s, the groups of young guys and girls just out of school and impatient to dive into the San Antonio revelry. The glamorous fashion types, whose ‘flight wear’ is pristine and whose new season Chloe sunnies are on from dusk till dawn. It’s a veritable feast for the eyes. I was sat next to two boys (I say boys they were about 19/20), definite Ibiza virgins and visibly shaking with excitement, heavy dance music blaring out of their headphones, with 2 cans of strawberry flavoured cider each placed carefully on their tray table, you could tell they were gearing up for the holiday of their dreams. That is until we came into some turbulants and one of the boys began desperately clinging to the chair in front, his knuckles going whiter and whiter, tears welling up in his eyes, his skin sheet white – he was certain that we were about crash, convinced that Ibiza would be a dream he never realised. Poor chap, once the plane calmed down he was hit with his second blow when he released his friend had been texting with a girl already out in Ibiza and was planning on going straight to meet her when he got there. I thought of him at one point during our trip and wondered if he’d managed to get out of his trip everything he had wanted to, I genuinely hope so.
The first day we decided to relax by the pool of our hotel and recover from our late arrival. We grabbed some drinks at a bar next to our hotel Xaxa Restaurant as the sun went down and then headed off to a restaurant my dear friend Craig had suggested.
wonky glasses and all
The view from the bar
One tip for travelling in Ibiza is that you can never guarantee getting a taxi when you want one. There is one taxi company that services the island on one radio so if its busy you could be waiting hours (its happened to me on a few occasions) so book one for earlier than you need.
Es Torrent is totally off the beaten track, Its located in a secluded bay and is beautiful and peaceful, the perfect place for a relaxing dinner with the very freshest and best seafood you could ask for. I had to order the fish when I booked the table so went with the whole seabass and fresh prawns which didn’t disappoint. Most people frequent Es Torrent in the day time when you can also spend the day on the beach. But the evening is stunning, its quiet and the stars are amazing.
There were two super yachts moored in the bay, the owners of one of the boats were at the restaurant with us. The other one lay quietly in the darkness until a speedboat attached to the main boat sped to shore with a long haired man aboard who on arrival, jumped ashore and met a white range rover with tinted windows in the car park for about 5 minutes before scuttling back to the speed boat and whizzing off – you can make your own assumptions about what he was up to on his quick trip ashore.
The restaurant isn’t cheap, we paid 250 Euro for two people which included only one bottle of wine, it was worth it though and I would certainly go again.
The beach at Es Torrent
We met my friends Charlotte and Caroline at breakfast the next day – I had made the fatal error of having fruit from the buffet breakfast the day before and so was suffering the consequences with a pretty dodgy tummy, though was also weirdly pleased about this, every little helps when trying to shift that last bloody stone particularly when you’re she purpose was to eat and drink for four days straight.
The girls had rented us a car which was handy in the day time when getting to beach clubs – we didn’t have a booking for our first day so once we had finished annoying the reception staff by moving rooms for the second time we hopped in the jeep and cruised down to the area around Blue Marlin to check out the options and quickly settled on Tropicana Beach Club. None of us had been before and we were all pretty bloody impressed. The clientele was a slightly older generation so we obviously felt like total babes, that is until two ludicrous looking ( by that I mean gorgeous) dutch bronzed bombshells came and sat right behind us and whilst we carefully ordered salads for our lunch they sat munching on amazing looking pastas with the calories seemingly vanishing as they were consumed (probably launching themselves onto me, never to leave again).
OK, I know I said we had salads, but we also had chips…and Jamon…don’t judge
The beauty of Cala Tarida is that the bars/restaurants on the coast there get the best sunsets, so once we were back from the beach, we showered, changed and walked down to the Cotton Club which was a 10 minute stroll from our hotel. You can have drinks perched above the restaurant to watch the sun go down before going down for supper.
To mix the good with the bad, the annoying thing about this part of town is that there is nowhere that’s particularly near that you can go after dinner, so once you’re a few bottles of rose down and ready to start the party you’re stopped in your tracks and have to either schlep into town or pop next door for an espresso martini for the road.
Look at us, ready and eager to take on the town, only to be faced with closed doors
Note to the wise, if you don’t drink coffee, don’t suddenly try and get with the kids and drink espresso martinis, it doesn’t end well, it ends with not a single ounce of sleep (I realise how lame that may sound given where we are).
The devils drink
Turns out I wasn’t the only one that didn’t sleep, It’s a funny thing, we are always so excited to get away from it all and just have some girl time etc and as mothers we are all in one way or another quite sleep deprived. But once you get there, desperate for a bit of shut eye, a snooze, napping, deep deep slumber, it suddenly seems unable to come. where as at home sometimes I think that if I put my head even near a pillow I would pass straight out and not wake up till several days later. I guess you need a bit more time to adjust to being away from the little rogues, but then we’d miss them too much – I think next time i’ll just take sleeping pills.
So on little sleep we headed to El Chiringuito which while it probably doesn’t have the best beach (it’s not great for swimming) – the restaurant itself is mega and such a treat, it’s the kind of place you could happily while away the hours drinking bottle after bottle of rose, plus they do a superb bowl of fries. After soaking up every last ounce of sun we could possibly get along with some exceptional people watching under our belts we headed back to get ready for the evening.
OK, so I get the beach isn’t exactly bad, but that’s how spoilt you are in Ibiza.
Ok, perhaps I should take it back about the beach.
Restaurant of dreams
The evening took us to a fab find – Patchwork at Sa Punta They filled us with Incredible sharing platters of Lebanese food, great music, cocktails and endless bottles of rose. It’s also not too far from Destino as our taxi driver pointed out to us, not realising we had moments earlier cancelled our guest list access to Pacha in favour of a boozy dinner and bed – know your audience Mr taxi driver!
I mean look at that view
the evening was fabulous. It was the greatest way to end a holiday – happy, healthy, tanned, full of good food and probably far too many bottles of wine and with the greatest of girl gangs.
One key ‘high’ of the evening was spotting two older gents (by older, I mean they were well into their 60’s) having massages as the dinner table, they had obviously indulged in more than just a cocktail or too and so we watched while their eyeballs all but rolled into the backs of their heads, then upon leaving the restaurant they approached us and asked which club we were off to as they would share a taxi (they looked totally flummoxed when we said we were off home) it turned out they hadn’t slept in 2 days and were pushing for a 3rd as were off home to Paris the following day…oh Ibiza, how I love you – until next year!
Im going to start this blog with a video which if you don’t find heart warming well do you even have a heart? I took a video of Rex coming home from staying with my sister and brother-in-law and his cousin Ivo (who he ADORES) to meet baby Stella – I have just re-watched it and it is beyond lovely, the sheer look of wonder in his eyes as he see’s her for the first time is magical. Also it really makes me laugh that he storms in and cruises down the slide on the way over. Now its no feature film and I really must work on my directing skills, but still, what a memory to have on tape.
On a side note please excuse the war zone that is our house – if you read my last post you’ll know we were packing the place up ready for gutting.
If i thought we had a lot going on, I can only imagine how much that all is to a two year old. I think Rex’s initial thoughts on Stella coming home were ‘cool, sweet little baby, she seems great and can definitely stay a day or two’ then a few days later ‘ok, hold up why is this baby still here and why on earth is she taking away the attention from me and why is she constantly attached to my mother like some kind of limpet’? Cue attention seeking tantrums from hell and heavy handed ‘hugs’ for Stella – that child will be made of tough stuff when she’s older.
it’s important to note, that he adores his sister, he just doesn’t know his own strength yet.
If that wasn’t hard enough to see, the 5 day post natal blues then come a-calling – I remember after I had Rex I would just sit in the bath and cry, I couldn’t understand quite why I was so tearful, I was missing my momma more than ever at that time for obvious reasons, I had no idea what I was doing (who does) and needed that support, that big hug when exhaustion had taken over. So I knew what to expect the second time round, but it hit me in a different way. This time my emotions were entirely directed to Rex, he was acting up in quite a big way and most of his anger seemed to be directed at me, me and the limpet seemingly taking up permanent residence on my breast. I was no longer able to give all my attention to him and that was more upsetting than I had thought. It’s amazing how you don’t realise the bond you have with a child until things change and you can’t give him your undivided attention. He started waking up in the night (this is a child that was sleeping through the night from about 8 weeks old), he was throwing tantrums on an insane scale, I mean throw yourself to the floor in a fit of rage insane, screaming till he lost his voice, hitting me and only wanting ‘daddy’ and it was breaking my heart. I was finding myself losing my temper constantly. On top trying to look after Stella, field Rex’s mood swings (and my own) we were packing up our house and living in general hell so when we actually did get to our rental house I felt a huge sense of calm.
Nailed the serious look of defiance – on a side note I can’t even with those perfect pouty lips and big blue eyes
Next step was settling Rex into a new nursery and that first settling in day was just the worst…the teachers took him off outside to the playground and I could see him from inside, he was there with no-one around him not wailing but with tears rolling down his cheek, looking frightened and unsure of what to do, totally vulnerable. In that moment as I stood watching him with tears filling my eyes as one of the teachers tried to get me to fill in endless forms I realised that I was in fact part of the problem (I know, unimaginable). My dearest friend charlotte who I have leaned on in an immeasurable way through both my pregnancies had mentioned to me, when I was regaling her with my latest issue, that it’s easy to forget just how young the elder child is when you have a second baby and here I was doing exactly that. Tired and getting frustrated and talking to him as a child MUCH older than his years, expecting him to understand and forgetting that he is a baby himself, only just two and with all the changes that come with turning two he was having to deal with an enormous amount of extra emotional baggage.
We still have tears and screaming at bed time but instead of letting us all go into meltdown I try and take a deep breath (a glug of something alcoholic) and remember that patience is key and that all he needs is to know we’re there and he’s safe and listened to. Boy has my new zen parenting style paid off as two nights ago a rather genius thought came to me. I was home alone and Rex had started his screaming as soon as I said goodnight, I sat there thinking, how am I going to keep doing this on the nights I’m home alone? Particularly while Stella is so reliant on me, I can’t lay with him for 20 minutes like I can when Brute is home and able to hold the baby (a screaming baby is hardly the best lullaby). So I went in to see him and he was saying he was scared (another emotion that can flood a two year old) at that moment Tony appeared at the door keen to see what the fuss was about and wondering when he would get some peace and quiet to carry on his own napping…cue lightbulb…I gently said to Rex ‘Would you like Tony to sleep in here with you?’ ‘YES’ he said eyes wide like saucers so I popped Tony on the bed, told him Tony would love to sleep in with him and keep him company (I imagine an internal eye roll from Tony at this moment) and said goodnight to them both and that was that, no noise just straight to sleep and last night Tony just wandered straight in and hopped onto Rex’s bed and off they went to sleep. I suppose if you think about it, it’s like being told you can have a sleep over with your best friend every night so no wonder he is feeling more settled. I realise this may not be the long term solution, but while it works and he is happy then we’re all happy.
The answer to all our prayers, the long standing hero of our household and the best of friends to Rex
Never far from each others sides
Alongside that I’m trying to have special ‘us time’ going out for tea and cake or going for a walk and having lunch – anything so he knows that he is still very much at the forefront of my mind and my heart.
looking on proud as punch as my son devours handfuls of marshmallows and chocolate cake
All I know is it’s a minefield and I have no clue as to what I’m doing but just try each day to do the best I can. It makes me realise how amazing all my friends are too, I can’t tell you the amount of time I have sent needy messages desperate for answers on what to do next and they never fail to come through for me. From all this chaos has come so much learning so whilst parts of it have been painful, I’ll take that pain for immeasurable happiness.
Right I realise my last couple of blogs have been rather serious and possibly also a bit ‘woe is me’ (who’s the attention seeker now) so next blog I promise to bring back the laughter of blogs gone by.
The first two weeks of this year were mental to say the least – we have started the first part of a huge building project on our house in London, packed up our house and moved out of London to a new house. We have started Rex at a new nursery for the next three months too…oh and we had a baby!
I have no idea why we did this all at the same time – perhaps we were both having a psychotic episode? Or is it just part of the human condition to decide to take on so many major life moments in one go? Either way although it has been somewhat testing shall we say, the outcomes will be and have been wonderful.
The most wonderful part of all of this was of course the birth of our little girl, Stella. This time round we decided not to find out the sex but myself and Brute were absolutely convinced we were going to be having another boy, it’s a weird feeling I just couldn’t imagine myself having a girl – I definitely thought my lot in life was to be surrounded by boys (something as a hormonal teenager I would have given 2 thumbs up to).
I hadn’t given much thought to the birth itself, to be honest that was on purpose as I was more nervous about it all this time round, knowing what to expect, I’m definitely one of those people that likes to maintain a ‘it’ll be fine’ facade because to be honest you have to get through it one way or another, but on the inside the stomach was slightly knotted. When I was pregnant with Rex I had envisaged a water birth, no drugs and all very serene , the baby would pop out and i would look flushed but calm with a beautiful glow about me, a bit like the episode of Friends when Rachel has her baby and looks at the end how I hope to look on a normal day (I am biased as I have a major love for Jen Aniston, so her in any state including post giving birth is a look I’m down with) annoyingly that is quite (incredibly) far from what happened and how I looked at the end of it.
Instead, 9 days after Rex was due, I went into labour, had to have my waters broken manually which is a pretty undignified feeling and though I started in the serenity of the water bath I was soon dragged upstairs literally kicking and screaming in pain to be induced as I wasn’t dilating. If I was going to be induced then I was going to take every pain killing drug they could find for me along with it. Another 12 hours later Rex arrived. Brutal, yet ultimately the most incredible thing in the world is delivered.
With my little hunk in the hospital the day he was born – so alert!
With Stella is was totally different, I had assumed I was going to be in for another late baby until the week before my due date and Brute said we should place bets on when she was going to arrive, I suddenly had this feeling that she was going to be on time, Brute went with 5 days late (they do say your second is usually earlier & a quicker birth in general) Sure enough at 01.30am on the morning of Saturday the 20th January 2018 I got up thinking I needed my usual middle of the night pregnant woman pee, only this time i didn’t quite make it to the loo and instead found myself stood in a pool of water, I woke Brute up and said ‘I think my waters are breaking’ to which he said ‘well don’t just stand there, get to the toilet’ (he’s lucky i’m so understanding) half an hour later my contractions started and they came on strong very quickly, Brute was set up with his contraction app which within in minutes was flashing red and telling us to get our asses to the hospital as otherwise this baby was going to pop out on our pre renovation laminate bedroom floor, not a first glance at the world anyone should have to deal with. So after at least 5 stops for contractions we made it to the car and zoomed to Queen Charlottes and Chelsea hospital where they took one look at me and said ‘it won’t be long now’ cue internal freak out – I’m not ready, I can’t do this, help!!!! I was whizzed into the birth centre and hopped into the bath and by then It was full on, I knew I couldn’t have any pain relief if I was going to have a water birth, but it’s what I had wanted the first time so I was going to give it my best shot. It was quite a blur, I just remember asking how long left till the baby arrived (the sounds awfully polite, in actual fact I think I scream when the F*%k is this baby coming, get it out of me) to which the midwife calmly said 40 minutes – how on earth they can tell that is beyond me but she was spot on – sure enough, 40 minutes later through a haze of swearing, punching Chris in the arm and almost breaking his hand this little angel arrived into the water as calm as day, it took a minute before Brute said ‘is it a girl or a boy?’ I had totally forgotten that we didn’t know and when we realised we had a little girl every other feeling vanished, and pure love took over. That is of course why people have more than one child, you forget the pain of labour so quickly…damn them and the pure joy they bring.
So that was it, 3.5 hours from my waters breaking to Stella arriving, and yet still I didn’t look anywhere near Rachel in Friends…hmmm I’m starting to think she wasn’t really giving birth after all.
My little dream team on the day each of them was born. Rex on the left and Stella on the right – I know new borns all look similar but they could ONLY be siblings!
Now, Before I go any further, I need to just shout about how amazing the midwives and staff were at Queen Charlottes and Chelsea, this is my second birth there and both times they made me feel as at ease as is possible. The calm, caring, positive, encouraging attitude and incredible knowledge they have, well they are just all round bloody wonderful people. It’s a serious testament to their love of and commitment to their jobs. I was in such safe hands from beginning to end and though I thanked everyone profusely when we left the hospital I feel like they do the most incredible job bringing new life into the world countless times a day and they deserve more praise than is possible to impart. Once Stella had made her grand appearance into the world my midwife made sure I was comfortable on the bed with Stella, whilst another came in with toast and tea for both brute and I. We were then (once we were up to it) moved next door to a fresh room with a double bed and offered breakfast (both of us).
Super important that Brute was comfortable in bed as soon as possible after the birth…he’d been through a lot.
We were told in no uncertain terms to take our time, have a sleep there was no rush to leave the room – we were so touched by how comfortable they made us and ultimately indebted to them for helping to bring our two children into the world safely.
I’m going to leave it there until next time as I wanted to write a separate piece about what comes next, the huge highs the very real lows, what it all meant for Rex and where we are now (plus an adorable video of the moment they met, be still my beating heart etcetc). Also my little limpet needs to feed for the 100000000000000th time today so I’m going to settle into some serious Winter Olympics action – who knew curling could be this gripping.
Marching out of the hospital that lunchtime with my little babe, Stella
In theory I have 5 days to go until this new little person enters our lives, though anyone who has had a child knows that due dates are not something to bet on. The last few weeks haven’t been easy, and I’ve found myself getting stressed about the impending arrival – not because I’m worried about having two children, but because we have decided to start building works on our house, meaning we have to move out whilst this happens and have said baby all in the same week whilst also having a couple of baby scares and general illness. This is all our doing, so I wouldn’t even be sympathetic to me having read this.
Anyway, I was hoping to go into this next stage of motherhood relatively relaxed and feeling strong, but I’m not quite there yet. I do remember though about 10 days before my due date with Rex, we (myself and a bunch of school friends) were supposed to be going down to the countryside to see our dear friend who was over from Australia, but I was bed bound with a mega stomach flu so I’m pretty sure it’s just our pretty incredible bodies getting rid of all the grossness and preparing for the impending arrival.
However, yesterday and infact this morning I have been reminded, which I shouldn’t really need to be, just how lucky I am and it has come through the medium of Social Media (which I have frequently discussed my love/hate relationship with). There has been a story doing the rounds about a girl called Holly Butcher who passed away only a few weeks ago and at only 27 years young from a rare form of cancer. In the lead up to her passing she wrote a note for her family to share when the inevitable happened and she sadly lost her life to the cancer and it is the most honest and beautifully written note, something that I dare anyone to read and not feel like they should re-evaluate. I (as I’m sure many other people do) have a habit of complaining about relatively minor things sometimes (see paragraph 1), ‘I have a cold, ugh’, ‘I’m tired, ugh’, ‘I wish I could have this, or do that’ and when you read a letter like that of Holly’s you are quickly put firmly back in your place, not in a harsh way, because lets face it, we all need to complain sometimes just for a bit of relief, but if you let it get the better of you (which we all have) it is actually just a huge waste of time, when instead we could be using that precious time to do something that makes you happy. I’m not talking about having the flu, forcing yourself not to complain and instead booking yourself to do a sky dive because we should all be doing things that make us feel more alive, but having the flu, having a quick sulk and then allowing yourself to curl up with your children or partner or friend or pillow and watch your favourite film for the afternoon and NOT feel guilty about it, not feel lazy, not beat yourself up about it.
This weekend I had planned to take Brute away for a special birthday lunch in the countryside and my sister had said she would take Rex for the night so we could have a good old sleep in before baby two arrives – it would have been the second time in 2 years that we had a night off so we were just the tiniest bit excited about sleeping in. Also it was the anniversary of my own mummy passing away and I always like to keep myself busy on that day each year and do something that is fun and happy. However as luck would have it we were all struck down with some gross flu bug so all plans were cancelled and we were house bound, now whilst I certainly complained, 2 hours sleep a night at 39 weeks pregnant with a sick family just isn’t cool but I kept reminding myself that actually we were all in it together and really, how lucky that I have this little family to sit around and watch endless telly with while we all groan about how rough we feel. More than that I knew that it would pass and I could change plans and as Holly said, ‘It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively effect other people’s days.’ Instead we went down to the river in the evening, walked in the freezing cold to the pub and over ordered food, then sloped home for a night in front of the TV, together.
I couldn’t have been more thankful for reading that extraordinary letter these past few days, it lifted me out of a ball of self pity and instead has made me make some little promises to myself for the year(s) ahead – Less whinging and wallowing and more appreciating, doing, finding the positive and loving – I am luckier than I ever imagined in so many ways and it would be a great shame to not realise, cherish and use that. It also made me realise how wonderful my friends and family are, those that sit by and gently take on the barrage of sulky messages whilst sending back only positivity, flowers, options, resolutions etc.
This will likely be my last post before the babe arrives and so on this rainy, grey London day and with a slightly bunged up nose I’m going to take my son and do what he loves the most at the moment and that is to build a tower of wooden blocks, over and over and over again whilst Sia plays Chandelier on repeat in the background, because the genuine excitement on his face as the tower falls down for the 100th time never gets old.
An oldie but a goodie – This is from July 2016 when we were housebound & Ill but also super pumped to just be in it together