29.5.15

Five Things | Saying Yes

I've always been a bit of a wimp, and quite boring really. I turn down nights out thinking I should stay at home with my family. I don't really think of me and what would be good for me. And as you may know, this year I decided to prioritise myself and do things to improve myself, and to give myself more experiences.
Saying yes has become a big thing for me, even if I really want to just scream "NO!!"

From going out, spending time with friends and actually having a social life, going on holiday to Somerset where I drove, going on the back of my brothers motorbike and next week flying on my own and meeting my brother at the Isle of Man and having a break with him for 5 days, it's made me feel a bit better about myself. I bit stronger. And positively disconnected from my family and that family life, igniting this independence which is making me a better person.

The words below describe perfectly how I feel about saying yes, and about my life and decisions at the moment. I love them all.



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27.5.15

It's Not Always Plain Sailing

Last weekend after a trip to the zoo with friends, the boys and I headed to the boat to meet up with my husband, his sister and her husband...oh and their dog, Mr Scruff.
This was our first overnight stay on the boat this year, which was a long time coming! And as we finally had a new mast, and the sails had been put on, we made the most of the weekend.

We took along a bucket barbecue I bought from Waitrose last Summer that we hadn't got round to using, and bought some burgers, sausages and salady bits. My brother in law became head of the barbecue and, unlike disposable barbecues, our food was ready in no time.

There are certain times on the boat when everything feels just as it should. There is a nice atmosphere, you feel relaxed, everyone is comfortable with each other. I think the fact that sleeping on a yacht is so similar to camping in that you have to respect the people around you and to watch how much noise you are making, the lights coming from your boat and so on, so it can be a slight struggle to feel relaxed, especially when you have children.
But with no many people around anyway, it was a really lovely evening.

The following day, with everything packed in the cars. We all jumped on board and went for a sail.
All was going well until we found ourselves in the middle of a dingy race. No biggie, we thought, we would just up the power and motor on through. Then we realised we weren't going anywhere. We had power, but no speed.
We were able to get our job (smaller front sail) open and to lightly sail to a safe area, drop our mud weight so the men could see what the deal was.
Our propeller had slipped out of where it was supposed to be and there was no way we could get it back in.
So, we had to be brave and get the sails back up and try to sail the longish way back to our mooring.
It was going well. I was in the cabin with the boys and the dog. And then I heard "I've lost the steering. I've lost the steering".
I looked out of the porthole and saw the sail had been dropped quite quickly.
Due to the propeller coming loose, it had jammed our rudder, only giving us half of the steering we should have.
We were stuck. And we had gone just a metre past the ideal bank to moor up at so we could arrange getting help.

A couple stopped in their yacht to tow us to the bank but their engine wasn't big enough and we were left in the middle of the Broad, eventually drifting into the reeds.
We called the boat shed for help and we were rescued...although as the boats were being tied together the battery on the rescue boat went! We gave them ours so in theory, we rescued the rescue boat!

It was certainly an experience. And we were all amazed at how calm we were. Despite it being mid afternoon and we hadn't had lunch, and had no food on board.

This year has definitely been completely different to last year, where everything seemed to go really well, which was frustrating as we couldn't sail at first then!
And now we can sail, it isn't going as well as we hoped. But, we won't let it put us off. And this weekend we will hopefully enjoy ourselves watching the Three Rivers Boat race and won't require rescuing of any kind!



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24.5.15

This Week in 5 | 24.05.15

Last year I started a little project called 'Happy Sunday'. Every Sunday I wrote about things that had made me happy that week.
This year I wanted to try something different and just basically want to look back at 5 things in the week that meant something to me, that happened, that I want to remember.


I had to run into town this week to collect a sleeping bag for my upcoming Isle of Man trip, and also to buy some essential flowers to go in my hair (ok, not essential but shhh). We walked past a charity shop and I loved this dress, although thought it would not be in my size but went in anyway.
Firstly, why do charity shops smell SO BAD?! It almost put me off buying the dress. However, the correct size AND £4.50 had me SOLD!
I was a touch disappointed to get it home and discover the previous owner was obviously too short for the dress so has cut the hem...badly. However, my mum can sort that out thankfully and it doesn't make the dress look horrid on me.


On Monday night I had a rare treat in the form of a trip to the pub with a friend of mine.
Despite going to school together, and reuniting as friends when we both became mums in 2009. We haven't really spent a lot of time together just the two of us, without the children....other than in 2011 when I was pregnant with Harry and we had a mini spa thing.
Anyway. This year I wanted to fix that, as did she. So we had a wine night in round hers, and then she mentioned us going out to the pub for a drink and recently I've just popped to hers for a coffee on a Tuesday once I've dropped Harry at preschool.
It was SO lovely and we had a really fab time. And WILL happen again.


On Thursday Harry goes to preschool all day so with a new Dunelm opening on Wednesday my friend Christine suggested we go along.
Well, 2 hours later we emerged. It's so exciting to have a shop like Dunelm in our town as a lot of other businesses like that are either quite a way out of town and the traffic can be a nightmare, or have closed down.
We were supposed to stop for a coffee in Dunelms cafe. However, we couldn't resist the urge of toasted tea bread. It was delicious, and cheap. Again, this WILL happen again.


I'm spending this weekend at Hayley's house. On Friday we got a Thai takeaway. I haven't really had Thai food before but OH MY GOODNESS! It was AMAZING. I would seriously consider moving here just for that takeaway. We watched Sex Tape on Friday night which was really good, despite Cameron Diaz who is really annoying.


The biggest thing this week has to be that we decided to get a kitten! I say we...it was mostly me. My husband only said yes once I cried. True story.
The boys and my husband are going to collect him today (Sunday) and my mother in law is collecting his sister too. I'm so excited, although nervous too as I don't know how Jasmine, our 10 year old cat, will take to him.
Harry and I went on a little shopping trip to grab some toys and a food bowl ready for his arrival. Poundland is definitely a good choice for cat toys! Pets at Home, great for bargain toys in the clearance section.


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22.5.15

Five Things | Long Distance Friendships

Today I get to see my wonderful beautiful friend for the first time in SO long. I'm not really allowed to be all soppy about her, she'll slap me if I do, however if there is one positive thing for me to take away from blogging it would be her. Meeting her at Britmums in 2013 was the highlight of my year, and our friendship was totally unexpected.
Everyone needs a Hayley in their life...but not my one. You'll have to get your own.

I do think it is hard to maintain a long distance friendships. There has to be a real commitment and a real bond there to keep it going. I suppose it's like a long distance relationship really, or similar to one at least.

With a close friendship for almost two years now I think we're doing quite well. In fact for me this friendship has been a complete surprise as I certainly didn't expect to quite happily share a bed with someone when I've always hated sleepovers and sharing a room with someone else...yet I've shared a bed twice with Hayley now.


Whatsapp


Whatsapp is probably the best form of communication. Being able to send videos, photos, voice notes, messages, seeing when the other person is online or if they have read your message, makes it really easy to maintain regular communication. 
It doesn't have to involve super long chats and messages. Just a quick chat in the morning, or at any point throughout the day is enough to just keep that friendship fresh.
I think that Whatapp is also pretty much the virtual way of living a couple of doors away from someone. You are easily able to ask their opinion on things, or to rant or ask any kind of question. Or simply just to have a chat.

Skype


Because sometimes Whatsapp isn't enough and you miss seeing the other person and hearing their voice, and laughing at their mannerisms, eyerolls and their serious resting face.
I think you have to be pretty laid back when it comes to Skype calls and to treat it like your friend is actually sat there in your house. So leaving them to pop to the toilet is totally fine, or letting them watching you make lunch or make a coffee, answering the door to the postman, and even checking your emails and online shopping whilst you chat is totally fine.
It's also a great way to keep children interested in each other. Our children are all similar ages and get on well, yet have only met up twice in two years. However, being able to Skype and just see each other through the computer is a nice way for them to communicate, they are able to show off toys, share stories, pull faces at each other and just generally be pretty silly. It can be very noisy and very full on though.

Weekends and Mini Breaks


I remember when Hayley first mentioned a sleepover to me. I honestly thought it would never happen, and that she was a bit bonkers. However, it did happen and it was wonderful. I realised that the drive to her house is pretty simple (I don't even need to use a sat nav to get there now. Which is a win!!) despite taking 3 hours.
Last Summer we even managed to fit in a mini break as me and the boys visited Hayley and her family for a few days. It was a little stressful at times but it was lovely to visit some lovely places and to all spend quality time together. 
Although we last saw each other in October which seems like SO long ago we do regularly talk about making time to see each other and I think that as long as that thought is there, and that you both put in as much effort as you can to make it happen then it doesn't matter (too much) how long there is between seeing each other. 
Oh, and a big hug and kiss when you do see each other is essential.

Support and Expectations


The blogging community and blogging world can be competitive and there can be jealousy. One of you will get better opportunities than the other, one of you might have better ideas, more interaction, might be a bigger blogger than the other and one might just simply be more popular than the other as a person...or on social networks. 
I think from the get go the best thing about our friendship in particular was that we accepted what kind of blogger the other one is. We worked out boundaries, and also promised that if we were to share ideas that the other one would give their true, honest opinion. 
For example when it comes to Living Arrows photos I can send one over to Hayley and ask if it is awful. So far she hasn't said yes so I've been lucky. I have asked her opinion on a post and she will tell me if she thinks it is silly or a bit inappropriate. And I like that. 
I think it's nice to have a friend who understands blogging. They understand that creative side, the community, reviewing, and everything else that comes with it. And to have a friend who supports your blog, and doesn't get jealous or will celebrate and praise your achievements is a wonderful thing to have.
However, it's also nice to be able to be confident that if the blogging stopped for one of you or both of you, that your friendship would survive without that.

Privacy


Hayley subtly set ground rules at the beginning of our friendship in that we should keep it private. I am super soppy and she knows perfectly well that I would talk about her every day and have conversations on Twitter etc. And I almost felt a little offended at first, as if she didn't want people to see or to know we were such good friends. However, now I can see why she wanted it to be like that.
Our friendship is a private and personal thing. No one needs to know what we talk about, how often we talk, how many hours we talk for, what we do when we met up. When we had our family break there last year we kept Instagramming to a minimum. We wanted to more concentrate on spending our time together, and enjoy that face to face communication and to not just take photos of each other to post on social media for people who probably weren't particularly interested to see.
The occasional photo, and update of "this is what I'm up to" is totally acceptable.

Now, today I'm off to have a mini stay at Hayley's house. Which I will probably share a couple of photos of...but I may not (depends on whether or not she gives me the wifi code).
But wifi code or no wifi code, I am looking forward to lazing around in pjs and contemplating the possibility of an afternoon nap (woohoo, no children!), watching Eurovision, and clinking our glasses to another year of friendship.


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18.5.15

Feeling Ashamed

I've never been ashamed of my "condition" before, or should that be "conditions"?
I've always been proud to be open about what I am going through, what I am feeling, the feelings I have, how I am coping, or not coping.
I've never struggled to use the words depression or anxiety. I've never before been ashamed of the paranoia I suffer from, or any of the mental health issues I suffer from.
Until recently.

Despite writing about it, and being open about my feelings I, for some reason, struggled to label those posts.

Reading these posts I think is clear to anyone that I'm not in the best place, and haven't been for the last month or so. And I felt open enough to write about it, because to me that was ok. But labelling it "Mental Health" so it shows up with all of those other posts, I didn't feel brave enough to do that.
Why?
I don't know why. 
I don't know why I all of a sudden felt so ashamed of myself and for the first time felt unable to add that label because I wanted people to think I was ok.
I didn't want people to click on that link in the sidebar and to be greeted with a recent post. I wanted them to see one from March and to think "wow, she must be doing ok".

Because I'm not.
I'm not ok. 
I'm more confused than ever about how people see me. And about how I see myself.
I'm more confused than ever about my role in life. And my role in everyone else's life.
I'm more confused than ever about who I can trust.

I'm confused over why I all of a sudden felt like I shouldn't be open about being depressed and suffering with anxiety.
I was always so proud about being open about it and talking about it. Sharing my experience are helping people to understand themselves and other.

For the first time in a while, my anxiety feels it is at it's highest. This is the time I should be able to write about it, to be able to talk about it and to not feel ashamed.
There have been moments recently where I've needed or wanted people to have an idea of what I'm going through, without eyerolling and thinking I'm just a needy over the top mum.

Getting a teaching assistant to pull Charles out of his classroom recently just as I dropped him off because I hadn't said bye and love you as I was sure something was going to happen to one of us that day.

Getting anxious about a share event at Charles' school this week because of not knowing the set up or which room we would be in, or whether or not the classes would be joined together. And not knowing if parents will be joining in or watching or having any role to play. Or knowing if our children are basically being used to prove something since the school has been put in special measures.

Going out recently and asking everyone I could where the best place was to go, the kind of people who are usually there, what drinks do they have, are there many seats, wanting to know a rough layout of the place.

Not being able to go for a walk in the evenings anymore because the beautiful scenery and sunsets are attracting photographers which makes what is usually a quiet route a tiny bit busier. Not very busy, but for someone with anxiety, it is too busy.

I don't want to feel ashamed and I don't want to feel that I have to hide this part of me. I don't want to feel like I can't talk about it or write about it.
It's not a choice to suffer with it, feel it, experience it, and to live with it.
It is a choice to be ashamed by it, and to let perception from others, if that is the case, make me feel that way.
It is a choice somewhat to let others get to me by their lack of understanding.

I can't feed my anxiety with shame and embarrassment as well as everything else. It turns into this bigger whirlwind. It will become unstoppable.

I need to grab hold tight, control what I can.
Throw out thoughts and feelings that don't matter, and think about myself and no else.
This is my battle. One that no one else can help me fight, but they can easily join the enemy and I can't allow that to happen.

This is my battle, one I need to fight alone. 
Unashamed.
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15.5.15

Zizzi and the City

The only time my mum and I have visited Norwich is to either go shopping or to visit the theatre. Norwich is full of beautiful side streets with the most amazing buildings, a beautiful Cathedral and a variety of places to eat and drink.
It's one of those places we take for granted I think. We don't stop enough to look at the buildings, to appreciate the cobbled streets, and to walk away from the shops and instead look at what else there is to offer.

On Sunday we had a girly day together there. We were a bit naughty and didn't resist the urge to visit Debenhams and Primark, although coming away with a pair of earrings, a few essential lace vest tops (if you haven't seen them, get in there, have a look, and buy them. They are beautiful!) and bits for the boyswe forgave ourselves.

With the help of Google Maps we typed in Zizzi and walked from the main shopping centre to the restaurant. I felt a bit silly because although having visited Zizzi Norwich many times before, I didn't realise just how easy it was to walk there from the city without the aid of my husband.
Within 10 minutes we were stood outside, admiring the surrounding buildings and entrance to the Cathedral grounds.


Zizzi Norwich is based in Tombaland, a lovely area of Norwich with various bars and restaurants. These restaurants are set within beautiful dated buildings, rather than new modern builds, and the inside of the restaurants reflects the traditional setting.
I am a bit of a snobby one when it comes to keeping buildings looking pretty and taking care of them and there is no doubt that the surrounding businesses in this area take that seriously too.
It's so clean, tidy, and small details like window boxes make you forget that you are a short walk from a busy city centre.
Zizzi Norwich is full of beautiful characteristics. There is the most beautiful tiled floor (which you can see in one of the photos from our review of the Spring menu last year), a tree with fairy lights around it, beautiful wooden pastel chairs, a mix of wooden and steel tables. 
I love being able to watch the chefs at work and to see that they are passionately cooking your food fresh as you wait (Check out Hayley's post from October last year, she took some fabulous photos of the chefs at work)
We ordered a glass of Prosecco each, to celebrate and clink to my mums birthday, and had a look at the menu. Usually when I visit restaurants I don't take too much notice at the new items, and I think Zizzi is the only place where I actually search out the new additions straight away.

I'd already decided that the Polpette Gigante, a giant beef & pork meatball in a rich chilli pomodoro sauce, topped with melted smoky scamorza cheese, grated Grana Padano, roast chilli & fresh oregano, was a must try.
I wanted my mum to try it too so we ordered that to share, along with a Zizzi Antipasti, Prosciutto, speck, coppa, finocchiona, bufala mozzarella, slow roasted tomatoes, olives & dough sticks, which in my opinion should ordered by every table in the restaurant as a starter....it should be the law!
Well, as usual the antipasti didn't disappoint and the slow roasted tomatoes were definitely the highlight of the platter. They were so delicious and full of flavour, I don't think I have ever had tomatoes that tasted so amazing.
The meatball....oh the meatball. I have never ever EVER tasted a meatball so delicious, so full of flavour, or that I didn't want to ever come to the end of eating EVER. You know what they say about the Ikea meatballs tasting so good? Forget that, you need to try the Polpette Gigante...Ikea meatballs who?!
I have to admit, after having the first taste of the Polpette Gigante I was a bit disappointed to have to share it with my mum (sorry mum, I bet you felt the same though!).
I can't resist Zizzi's pizzas and seeing a new one on the menu was an instant win for me. I ordered the Rustica (which in my opinion is how all pizzas should be) Pulled Pork Napoli, Pulled pork on a white base of Fior di Latte mozzarella, & smoky scamorza cheese, pepperoni, crispy prosciutto, sunblush tomatoes, thyme & smoked garlic oil.
I mentioned before that the thought of not having a tomato base would maybe put me off or make me not order a pizza because I would assume there was something missing. However, the sunblush tomatoes make up for the lack of tomatoes in the base. And I think that also, having that missing from the base, brings out the flavours in all the other toppings too.
My mum really likes creamy chicken dishes, and so ordered the Casareccia Pollo Piccante, Spicy piccante chicken in a creamy sauce with fresh tomatoes & baby spinach. I must admit, it did look delicious and I wished I was in the mood for sharing so I could try some (due to a bad hangover I felt it would be the wrong decision to be trying a lot of different foods!).
The sauce looked beautiful, and had enough kick in the chicken to give the dish a lot of flavour. In fact, looking at the photo now makes me want to go back and try it!
I decided to resist the call from the Tiramisu and instead opted for the refreshing Lemon Sorbet. Oh it was beautiful and just melted on my tongue.
My mum opted for the Chocolate and Banana Calzone, sweet, warm dough filled with banana, chocolate sauce & mascarpone cream, with crema gelato & hot toffee sauce, which, in her words, messed with her mind. She wasn't sure of what to expect and when it arrived, and she cut it open she said she felt it looked like a meat pie. Which isn't a critisicm I hasten to add, but is true. As the melted chocolate oozes out amoungst the banana chunks it is easily mistaken for meat and gravy.
As someone who loves toffee and caramel, she couldn't have been any more excited by the small bowl of toffee sauce to drizzle over the calzone.

We finished our meal with a few glasses of water (me, and the offer of an Alka Seltzer from the manager...which I thought was super sweet!) and my mum went for a cappuccino. Look at how amazing the glasses are. When it comes to coffee I think it is still important for a restaurant to serve these in a "wow" way, rather than a standard heres-a-mug-of-coffee. If you want to steal the glasses, you know they've done something right (we didn't steal the glass).
As we finished our drinks and said thank you to the staff for a wonderful meal...which it was, delicious food, beautiful setting and amazing staff, Zizzi never fails to impress me and from my experience this seems to be something that is apparent throughout the company in all of their restaurants, we walked back to the car with full, but not too full, tummies and admired the sites of the city. Another thing we've never done is to look over the market from the steps behind it. It really does look so beautiful, and my photo doesn't do it any justice at all.



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Five Things | Kate Winslet

I think it's really important in life that we have realistic role models. I think it's totally acceptable, as a woman or as a man, to have someone who inspires you and who you look up to when it comes to body image.
It seems to be a big thing in the media. Body image. Personally, I can ignore it. I can ignore those magazines with pictures on the front showing how so-and-so has lost 1 stone in a day or how whats-her-face has put on a stone in an hour and really shouldn't be running towards the camera because it shows a couple of dimples in her legs. The latter celebrity will probably be the one on the cover the following week having lost a stone in a day as a result of the "OMG SO UNFLATTERING" photo she saw of herself in the press the week before.
Seriously, bore me later.
It's all so predictable and we let it wind us up. Why? Because that's what they want. They want the attention, they want to feed our body hangups, and as a result we feed their despite to want to wind us up and create these issues that really, we don't care about until it's thrust into our faces.

I think we can sometimes look to the wrong people as role models, especially when it comes to body image. We aspire to look like someone who in reality we would never look like. We don't have the same body shape, face shape, hair or so on. But because our partners like them, or because they are top 100 of the FHM Most Sexiest Women list, we think that they are the women we must aspire to look like.
It would be ridiculous of me to aspire to look like Kelly Brook (who FYI, I do not see the fuss about), Michelle Keegan, Kendall Jenner because it is NEVER likely to happen.

For me, someone like Kate Winslet is a much better role model. Not only is she ageing really really well, but she is beautiful, curvy, looks great with or without make up, and is confident in her skin.
I think there are so many celebrities and "celebrities" out there who try far too hard with the whole "sexy" thing. Yet for me, Kate Winslet does it effortlessly. It's not what she is about. She doesn't rely on being sexy, or being beautiful or on having this perfect body image to have people respect her or look up to her.
And her being realistic, and being "normal", having this achievable figure, look and attitude is sexier than a woman who has to stick on a bikini and pose in men's magazines to get by in life.

Here are five Kate Winslet quotes...tell me you don't love her after reading them...I won't believe you.





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13.5.15

Life Experiences | The Motorway

I know this is an odd thing to count as a big life experience. Living where we do, and only driving around Norfolk and Suffolk doesn't involve us driving on a motorway, a three lane dual-carriage way yes but not a motorway.
The decision to drive to Somerset for our holiday this year was therefore a pretty big one. It would be a long journey, and it would mean driving on the M25, M4 and M5.
Although it was a big decision it wasn't one that took long to make. People drive on motorways all the time, I'm a confident driver, I enjoy driving so there wasn't really much holding me back.

People seem to have different opinions over driving on the motorway. Some were very much "You'll love it. There's nothing to it" and then there were the other who have clearly had nothing but bad experiences and would continue to tell me how much they hate it and how stressful it is etc.
But on the day I was really quite excited. I couldn't wait to get off the A12 and to finally be on the M25, I suppose it kind of felt like our holiday had truly begun once we were off our "local road" and onto this big motorway.

It was really quite simple. And I ended up feeling a bit "meh" about it, mainly due to what people had said. I enjoyed it. And I was glad I did it, but there was no difference really to normal roads. Any hold ups were dealt with quickly, or as quick as possible, there was the odd queue and traffic restriction but these occur on A roads and B roads too.
The M4 and M5 were horrid and so slow, but I didn't see any point in stressing over something I couldn't control. Getting stressed and worked up would only make it worse and it was pointless.

Coming home was a bit awkward because the Sat Nav sent us a completely different way to the way we first travelled. And instead of sending us via Colchester it sent us via Cambridge. Although, in the end this worked out really well as I know the roads around there and could switch the Sat Nav off and everyone could relax.

The worst thing about the journey was having a 3 year old who needed the toilet ALL.THE.TIME. It did involve a quick hard shoulder stop, which I know is naughty but was totally essential.

The best thing though, was sitting in the garden of the barn looking over at the car, and looking at my family and knowing that we made it there because of my driving. There was a real sense of achievement and responsibility in being that person.
Again next year please!


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11.5.15

That September Thing

It's different when your second one goes through the whole school application process.
You are more aware of how the system works, where to apply, that feeling of whether or not they will get in to your first choice, whether or not you will have to appeal.
It is easier to prepare your child, and to start that conversation earlier. It is a bit more normal for them.
"You'll wear the same uniform your brother wears"
"You will be in that classroom or the other one and either Mrs or Mr will be your teacher. You remember them don't you?"

You can rely on your older child to support their younger sibling. To help them to prepare for the step from preschool to big school.

I looked on Twitter and Instagram the week school places were announced. So many people were going through the same process, and as much as it was nice to see people supporting each other, there was this big feeling for me of "you've gone through it before. It doesn't matter so much to you".
It felt as though those who would be going through the process for the first time were allowed to be more vocal, were allowed to be more emotional, were allowed to be comforted or celebrated for their school choice results.
And I felt I had to stand back.
Equally, I didn't announce our school choice result because I didn't feel it was anyone's business. No one needs to know whether or not we got our school choice. I am quite strict on keeping the boys school life private. I don't share the school name, location or uniform colour. I don't even share the teachers names because you know, Google.
I was surprised at how open people were about school choices, and their applications. At the amount of people who were announcing the results on Twitter, when their husbands were asleep next to them. It felt odd to me that strangers knew the results before family.
School applications to me are a personal and private thing. And although we, as bloggers, share a lot of our lives, we need to really take a step back sometimes and think, seriously, about child safety.
A quick Google can bring up addresses of some bloggers, and we only need to know that you got into your catchment to work out which school your child goes to. And, we probably know enough about your child to be able to pretend to be an aunty or uncle. You know where I'm going with this, right?
Anyway, I digress.

I suppose for a while I've been very laid back about Harry starting school. But then now, it's kind of hit me. And that feeling of having to stand back and let everyone else get on with it because I felt that it wasn't as important for me. But it is.

Having your second child start school is easier in some ways. I know the process of settling him in. I know the uniform and what he will need on his first day.
I don't need to panic about school lunches, or sick day and absent processes.
I know the teachers, I know their rules and their attitudes. I know how to talk to them and Harry recognises them too.
I know to prepare for the tired tantrums and meltdowns that he may experience due to the sudden long days.
I know how to deal with uneaten lunchboxes and school uniforms that went on clean and came home covered in grass stains and mud.

What I don't know though, is how to come home to an empty house.
How to have my distraction not here. Because that's what your second child is.
When the first one goes to school you can keep your mind busy with the second one.
Dropping one off at school upset, or after you both having a small fall out, is easier when you come home to another one who can comfort you.
But a quiet house and those familiar sounds just gone. Leaving you in silence.
I don't know how to prepare for that. I don't know how to distract myself from missing my older child, and my younger one.

I don't know how I will feel knowing that both of my children are now in the care of other people. And are not completely relying on me.
They are both able to take instructions from another woman, to have another woman comfort them, teach them, discipline them.

I am excited for Harry, as I was excited for Charles when he started school too. I know he is ready for it and that he will thrive.
I know he will have his hard days when he is tired and would rather be at home.
I know there will be people he will clash with, but also people who he will bond with and have the most wonderful friendships with.
I know he will have his big brother, and his big brothers friends to look after him and comfort him if he needs it.
It might be my second time, and it might be familar in some ways. But in others it's so so new.

Harry is such a big character. He is such a mummy's boy. He is always there, right by my side. Or on my lap. Or climbing on me someway.

I know he will be fine.
But me? I don't know if I will.

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8.5.15

Five Things | Going Out Out

I've never really been one to go on nights out. I think settling down really young was part of the reason. We never really had that kind of lifestyle. And it always seemed to intimidate me anyway.
But now I'm older I'm kind of seeing the appeal. I feel like now I have a couple of fun, like-minded friends that a night out would be pretty fab!
With my best friend turning 30 three of us are having a night out tomorrow. Actually OUT, not just for a meal like we did at Christmas (where we managed to finish 3 bottles of wine. Oops) but actually OUT.

I have been looking forward to it for ages. The chance to dress up, to do my make up nice, to have a drink, or two, or three, to bump into old school friends, and just to have a bit of freedom for the night and to enjoy my friends company. As well as celebrating a birthday too.

However...for people not used to going "out out" there are certain things we keep discussing...



Where do we go?

In the town I live in there are two places you go for a night out. I've done one of the places a couple of times, pre-children, but our night out this time is in the other area.
We have decided, roughly, where we will start...because that's the rules right? Even if you are all meeting at someones house and then making your way out together you still have to have that one pub/bar that you start off at? Right?
And then there are the other places.
Are we too old for them? To uncool....or too cool (I joke)? Too over-dressed? Too under-dressed? Not chavvy enough?

What do I wear?

I have done that thing where you go through friends Facebook albums to see what they wear during a night out. I've always been super paranoid about being the one who is over-dressed. I think being someone who wears dresses rather than jeans and a pretty top I am always likely to look a little over-dressed. 
And as above, how do you dress appropriately if you are visiting a variety of places? For example, a dress that is suitable for a wine bar may look over-dressed in a pub, especially if the pub is a bit grubby or tends to have rockers in there when you look really girly and therefore completely out of place.
And shoes....what shoes do you wear? Nothing too dressy, but nothing too casual, nothing to high but nothing too short.
The colour has to compliment your dress and what about accessories? Do you have a handbag that matches?? What do we do about a jacket??

Is it socially acceptable to get excited when your favourite song comes on?

I get really annoyed at girls/women (must stop calling myself a girl!) scream and squeal at the most ridiculous of things. However, I do get really excited if a favourite song of mine is on anywhere in public. And I fear that, after a few wines and cocktails, I may end up being one of those girls/women (really must stop calling myself a girl) that annoys me.

How late do we stay out?

I feel like being mums means we have to be out of the pubs and bars at a reasonable time. Can we really stay out until 1am?! If I have my own way, then that will happen. 
I'm getting a taxi back to my mums so I can sleep off whatever I consume without having a child to tend to or being woken up at silly o clock to the sound of Thunderbirds playing downstairs and being shouted at because they are both hungry.
"Yeah, so is mummy. Now, go and grab me a McDonalds breakfast please" Not going to happen!

What if we peak too soon?

Starting off drinking around my friends house as we get ready and get in the mood to go out seems like a great idea. However, we have joked about passing out on the sofa and waking up saying "Wow! Last night was great, I can't even remember going out. We must have had so much to drink". When in reality, two bottles of Asti would be all that does it.


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