Monday, 6 July 2015

The wonders of a new home



Coming back from this morning's dog walk I picked some flowers from my garden. Not a major event but really special in that these are not plants that I have grown, these are plants I have inherited from the previous owners. Throughout the day I have looked at my little vase of various flowers including penstemon (thanks to my twitter friend @gardening_greek for the identification) and remembered how lucky we are to live here and how perfect the house and garden are.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

And then this happened.......



"Oh my goodness Scarlett you won't believe the time I've had since we were last together in Devon!
"Well firstly, as you probably know by now, I was scopped up with the other toys and put in the wrong suitcase. Then I was put in the wrong car and when I woke up I was in Bradford on Avon and there were three other elephants that looked very similar to me. I was a bit unsure at first but we soon became friends and have been generally having an elephantastic time. They eat jelly for breakfast here and have banana pizza which I found a bit odd. When we are all asleep the snoring is quite horrendous.
"I tried several times to tell them that I was just on holiday here and that I actually lived in Ipswich, they listened with interest to my tales of blankie and the new house but they seemed to think there were pirates in Ipswich and that it wasn't safe to go back. I tried to tell them it was a lovely friendly place but they kept on chanting "West is best, West is best" and making more jelly.
"Anyway time went on, Christmas came, then Easter and then it started to get warmer and I started to miss Ipswich and my Scarlett and hearing about her days at school. So the other day I saw a Mummy and I did something naughty - I blew my trumpet - just a gentle trumpety squeal and she saw me! She seemed quite baffled as to my being on the bookcase. Anyway she seemed really really happy to have come across me and I thought maybe she was so happy she would keep me and I would never get back.
"However I have since heard the Mummy saying I'm going in an envelope and in the post which I'm assuming is like going on a train or EasyJet because she has talked many times about me being lost and going home.
"I won't fib Scarlett, I have loved my adventure but I am sooooo delighted to be COMING HOME xxxx I can't wait for you to try jelly for breakfast too (I like earwig and marmite flavour best) and I'm sure when we get Daddy Dan to try a banana pizza he will want to be introducing them at the pub."

Monday, 25 May 2015

Elie the missing Elephant


Elie was bought for Scarlett when she was born.
But 'she' hasn't seen for over a month and this is causing much angst, particularly when the day has been long and a good sleep is needed.
We are not really a family who lose things (I am actually quite uptight so never really take anything too precious with us when we go anywhere and undertake a beachcomb before we leave).
I am so surprised that this has happened I just keep thinking I will open a drawer/bag/box and there 'she' will be.
We have been offered replacements by really kind friends - typically the style has been discontinued - but Scarlett is now of that age when she won't be fobbed off. She doesn't want a new one, she wants Elie back.
She wants Elie, smelling like Elie and looking seven years old.
So all I have left is to turn this into one of life's platitudes - that sad things happen, we do lose things that we love but we carry on and we do learn to live without them.

I'm sure there's another drawer I haven't checked.......


Friday, 22 May 2015

The right knickers


Imagine the scene. It is New Year's Eve 2011, Scarlett is three and we are visiting friends in Bath. The children are playing at a play park just on the outskirts of the city centre when Scarlett announces she really needs the toilet whilst standing at the top of a very tall slide. By the time I have retrieved her, the inevitable has happened. Faced with no change of clothes (I have never been that sort of mother) I have no choice but to run to the nearest shops - almost closing, no pressure. It being Bath, these are The White Company and Joules. I have to buy knickers and jeans - and this event is subsequently christened The Most Expensive Wee in History.
Four years on. Scarlett has outgrown the £35 Joules jeans but The White Company's £10-for-two 2-3 year knickers are still going strong. They fit perfectly, as do the 3-4 and 4-5 pairs that I have bought in subsequent years. We have been through packets and packets of supermarket and high street knickers, some very pretty, some with characters, some with bows but all very soon faded, twisted and leaving marks on the skin.
We can't manage a week with just 6 pairs so we need more.
Imagine my horror to find that the 6-7 pants, in fact all the pants, have been sold out on The White Company website FOR AGES. I have tried Customer Services - they congratulated me on my love of their product and suggested I keep checking. Hmm.
A girl can't manage her day in the wrong knickers so I'm afraid we have gone with Johnnie Boden and his £24 for seven stripey pants (with great reviews) after he sent me a £10 enticement this morning.
Knickers have made me very middle class.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Outrunning a good diet?

Image courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am feeling frustrated.
The age old problem of weight loss.
A few weeks ago there was a load of press coverage on something that I have known for a while - that exercise is really good for you but it doesn't always cause you to lose weight. So the science goes along the lines of - if you run for an hour, you will only burn enough calories to cover one meal a day. A day. So you have to run an hour every day, if you believe in the scientifically challenged theories of cutting 500 calories to lose one pound in weight a week.
Or you can just eat less, or you can do both.
But what if you eat really well, exercise a lot and the scales don't shift?
Questions buzzing around my head at the moment are:
Am I eating the wrong type of food?
Should I be fasting?
Do I have an intolerance?
Is it OK to eat some carbohydrate?
Should I eat no carbohydrate?
Are my portions too big?
I have spent so much time and money on these questions and still I am getting on and off scales and letting the number consume me.....

Monday, 18 May 2015

Going with the flow....?

Yesterday marked the end of my second year back at university - and the end of Level 4. I am pretty sure I have passed....
This academic year has been much harder for me than the last. Starting undergraduate sociology modules with no background in the subject has been hard hard work. There has been little time for anything other than family, work and study since October but now I am standing in the light at the end of the tunnel.
In fact today has been a rare day with no appointments, nobody expecting me, no work to do, nothing at all.
I had some mad idea that I was going to have some kind of detox day, surviving only on pureed vegetables and water but that was over before it had really started. I have however read yesterday's newspaper, finished the novel I have been slowly working through over the last few weeks and started on this month's Psychologies magazine.
There has also been a visit from the plumber (ultimatums do work), a leaking conservatory, a smashed bowl of risotto and a weepy daughter - but overall it has been a Good Day.
Unlike last year, I don't feel the need to fill my university days with something else.
I am going to work (of course), visit friends, enjoy (and care for) our lovely new home, do some exercise, read and just try to chill out a bit more.
Can the target-driven side of me just give in and do it?

Monday, 29 December 2014

2014 - learning more about me

This time last year, I decided to study me so I could end the year with more answers than questions and go into 2015 with no rules or restrictions.
In January I signed up for Suzy Greaves' 12 month Life Upgrade course and dutifully looked into my personal, financial, health and home habits to see what was and wasn't working for me. I also had a couple of one to one sessions with Suzy which were invaluable.
A few months into the course I decided to investigate my eating habits. I dusted down my copy of Eating Less by Gillian Riley, read it cover to cover and made notes.
A very good friend leant me a copy of The Happiness Project over the summer and I used this to compile my very own list of Commandments and Secrets of Adulthood.
My final piece of the jigsaw came through a chance conversation relating to frustrations around food. I contacted Jo and I really think she is one of those people to have changed the course of my life.

So this is what I have learned:
Sleep solves most things.
When food is controlled I comply but then I rebel.
It's important to me that I always do the right thing.
My inner critic needs to be karate chopped neatly and succinctly.
I have used alcohol to numb and soothe.
Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good.
Food plans, diets, regimes and restrictions made me feel safe.
If it's hysterical, it's historical.
I can get an awful lot done in ten minutes.
When I think I don't need yoga, that's when I really need yoga.
If in doubt, hum "Let it go"