Bit Of Me Time

Searching for more time …

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Book Club – Chapter 12

A belated post from July…….

This book club was special because we had our “original” member who has been in KL, with us again. We had lots of catching up to do and it was great to hear that life in KL was going so well for them.  She has joined other Book Clubs in KL and they have chosen the same book as us – which makes her reading list a little more manageable.

The book I had chosen was “Jasmine Nights” and it had mixed reviews.  Not everyone finished it, and I can why quite a few got “stuck”.  That said, I did stick with it and really enjoyed it, in a summer holiday easy reading way. It’s set in 1942 when a singer has the chance to travel to Alexandria, but before she leaves home, she sings in a burns hospital and a soldier is taken by her singing that once he begins recovery he writes to her.  Their love story runs through the many experiences she has as a singer.  For an easy read, I would recommend it and most of the others have since finished it.

Moutains Echoed

Our next book proved tricky to choose too, however it was agreed that it would be “The Mountains Echoed” by Kaled Housseini.  I am looking forward to this one, as I’ve seen the film of Kite Runner and always heard what a great writer he is.


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It’s the summer party season

We have quite a few colleagues leaving or retiring this year and so there are loads of farewell parties.

This weekend we are going to the pub on Friday, and on we’re off to friends on Saturday,.  Two weeks after this we have a big party for three leavers and a hen night on the Saturday (yes, I’ll be going to both);  followed by a long Sunday lunch to say another fond farewell.  One week on again and it’s the end of term party, followed the next day by a HUGE “house cooling”.  Our children will be shipped off to Granny for the last weekend, and the previous “long” Sunday!  I then have a week to recover, before going on holiday with great friends, when I’m sure my poor old liver will be put to the test again…

summer party

Loving the social life – I’ve missed you!

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Country Bumpkins visiting the the Big Smoke

Recently, very good friends of ours asked if we would like to borrow their flat in London for the weekend.  How could we refuse?  As a family we have never been to London, apart from one visit to see “The Tiger Who Came To Tea”, which was great.  So we hopped on the train on Friday morning and settled down to a picnic lunch.  Both children were incredibly excited, even thought we’d said very little about what we were going to do.

The journey went smoothly and Husband jumped off at Clapham Junction to get the key to the flat.  Kids and I carried onto Waterloo and then onto Arsenal to visit cousins.  We had a great time and found a playground for the children and took a couple of photos of Daughter outside Arsenal football ground to be sent to her Godfather who is an avid fan.  From there we headed to Piccadilly with the intention of eating at The Rainforest Cafe. The children’s eyes were on stalks as we walked in, but as we waited for our table Son thought it was too noisy and Daughter didn’t want to wait. The reviews we had heard were mixed, so we headed off to find an alternative.

The following day  starred with breakfast in a cafe, a must for Daughter who thought it was a great way to start the day.  Son needed food and we had to manage a bit of a tantrum until he got outside a couple of croissants.  We then headed off to The Science Museum.  The most exciting part of London it seems were the “moving stairs” in the Underground. At the Science Museum we barely touched the surface, but did watch a 3D IMAX, which was all about landing on the moon.  The film was an animation and included three boy flies who wanted to land on the moon, their parents, who watched in horror on television and the real astronauts.  The 3D was certainly impressive with rockets and flies whizzing past our shoulders (or so it seemed), the only bad part was when a spider climbed down it’s web about 2 feet to our right.  Son screamed and visibly shook, Daughter removed her 3D glasses and Husband did a brilliant job of calming Son down.  Afterwards we headed for lunch and then spent a bit of time at The Natural History Museum – again barely scraping the surface.

Back to the flat for a break, and then out to supper. We jumped on a bus (disappointment that there were no moving stairs) and to Covent Garden.  We were a little concerned to see so many Police outside Parliament and even more around Trafalgar Square, until we spotted the Miner’s  Union Flag and realised it was a protest again Margaret Thatcher, whose funeral was the following Wednesday.  I lived in London for a few years, including during the Poll Tax Riots (that ages me), I was a little on edge, however it seemed to be a mostly peaceful protest and did not spoil our evening.

The weather so far had not been brilliant, but we woke on Sunday to glorious sunshine and were very excited to be meeting up with Daughter’s godmother, who was joining us on the Duck Tour.  I would recommend this tour, particularly if you manage a sunny day.  It’s different, it’s fun and (yes) it’s touristy!!  Be prepared to quacking, cheering and laughing.  You spend most of the time going by road, seeing lots of sights and then go onto the River Thames, by the M16 building, down to the Houses and Parliament and back.  The children absolutely loved it, as did the adults.

duck tour

We then headed to Tower Bridge to Strada, with quite a view for lunch!

Afterwards it was back to the flat, on the river taxi, cleared up the flat and to the train station.  Unfortunately SouthWest trains were not at their best and the six carriage train was only three.  There was literally nowhere else to stand and we were extremely grateful to the mother who squashed up with her four year old, so that our two could squeeze next to her and sit down.

When I ask the children what was the “best bit” – it was easy – “the moving stairs in the Underground, Mummy”!

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Farewell my old uncomfortable friend….

In rare moments of peace and quiet, I look around the house and hope for inspiration and enthusiasm for decorating.  We have the most uncomfortable sofa which is on it’s way out, so I have my chance to decorate (if I can make a decision!).  The sofa was my Dad’s before he got married in 1966, and although it has been re-covered, cushions have been re-stuffed etc, it is 47 years old and leaves my with a sore, stiff back most evenings!  It’s done well.  It has survived me and my brothers childhood, and more impressive than that, is that it hass survived Son and Daughters (and friends) bouncing, and playing on it.  Cushions have been stepping stones, it’s made a great den and has entertained them on wet days endlessly. It should be proud of it’s innings and it should be going to the scrapheap with it’s “head held high” (if it could).sofa

Without much of a second glance we’ve found replacements!  We will be getting two smaller sofas from friends who are moving overseas.  This gives us the great opportunity of thinking about plastering over the artex ceiling, cleaning the carpet (after a puppy and babies) and repainting.  The whole house is yellow, with door frames in a “mucky yellow”.  Four years on it’s time to make our mark and de-yellow the house.

My first task with me clearing out all the unused toys – don’t tell Daughter and Son, as these will suddenly become favourtes if they see them!  This will make space in the playroom for the sitting room furniture whilst we overhaul the room.  I love de-cluttering and always wonder why it takes me so long to get started. So now I’m off the dump…..

This is a late entry for The Monday Club

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Wow, what a day….

Get up and do stretches so that I’m not walking around like an 80 year old – CHECK

Get children dressed and through breakfast – CHECK

Change to plan B as Husband is not well.  Walk the dog (with reluctant children in tow) – CHECK

Frantically busy day at work, as four days’ worth of emails finally arrive in one go – CHECK

Collect children, get them supper’ed and into bed in one and a half hours – CHECK

Arrive almost on time to aqua aerobics – CHECK

Walk the dog – CHECK

Put the bins out – CHECK

Have a bath – CHECK

Sleep……..  smile


The meaning of Easter.

“Mummy, what has Jesus dying on the Cross got to do with bunnies and chocolate eggs?”

“Daughter, what has Jesus’ birth got to do with Father Christmas?”

“Nothing Mummy”.

“Exactly – so to answer your question – nothing”.

Happy Easter everyone – I’m off to find out more about bunnies and eggs…


Now, where did I put …..

the floor?  It’s somewhere near here, but I certainly can’t see much of it.  After a few weeks of children with bugs and the end of term in sight, the floor seems to have disappeared almost everywhere.  clean

So this weekend my main aim is to find it, hoover it and try to keep it clear for one week!  We have relatives dropping in next weekend so I have incentive and a time limit.  However, I’m starting off on the wrong foot by inviting a friend to drop in for coffee on Saturday morning and planning an outing for the children on Sunday morning!  Husband is currently down the “black hole” that is end of term rush, so I may well be resorting to TV childcare in order to crack on with the task in hand.

For now, I’m off to get ready for a night with the girls…. similar to last night – I’m on a roll.


Working Mother’s Guilt

I reckon I live life backwards when I plan which days the children can be ill, based on my working days, and when Husband has a half guiltday.  I ask myself where my priorities are and exactly on what am I basing my decisions.  The guilt of not putting my children first and then the guilt of letting my colleagues down.   The pull on my heartstrings when I know I’ve packed them off to school when they’re not quite right, just so that I can show up at work.  If only I didn’t work, I’d keep them at home – but really what else can I do?  The reasons I can come up with and the excuses are sometimes laughable.  Of course, seeing it written down like this, in black and white, it’s not a problem at all – of course I put my children first…

Then there is the debate with Husband, and at certain times it’s almost competitive about who gets to go to work (not who stays with the unwell children and takes good care of them!)  I regularly ask myself whether I should chuck it all in; the only problem is the knock-on effect on the mortgage!

I even keep a note of the extra hours worked so that if anyone tries to challenge me for being away from work because of children, although I work from home on these days, so that should not be a problem.

This is one of those weeks.  Daughter only just got through the day on Monday, and has been at home since Tuesday.  Son joined us mid-morning on Tuesday.  So I’ve running between two children who feel awful, need lots of cuddles and don’t really know what it is  they want (poor little things).  There’s the usual bed swapping during the night as they both need cuddles, books to be read after nightmares, drinks to get, honey for sore throats, medicines etc etc.

For me, it’s just so disheartening as we were in the very same boat three weeks’ ago.

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As a family we enjoy going for a swim on a Sunday morning, then getting back for lunch.  It’s not always possible and Daughter and Son are always disappointed if we don’t go.

So this weekend we did.  Daughter has just been given some dive sticks, and where she used to be worried about going underwater, all she wants to do now is dive down and pick things up from the bottom of the pool.  Son is more of an excited puppy, endlessly jumping into the pool, saying “again again”!  He’s not so sure yet about swimming underwater.

It is always fun swimming with the children, it’s something they both love, and to see the way they are improving is wonderful.  We’re so lucky they are currently at the school we both work at, as we can pop over to the pool and watch their lessons occasionally.  I was impressed and proud the other week when I watched Daughter attempting front crawl; especially as I have only learnt the this stroke about three years ago.

Unfortunately this week I also learnt that swimming and sinusitis are not great pals – so I headed home early to prepare lunch!