Monthly Archives: January 2014

Childhood wishes

Standard

When I was a child I was obsessed with horses. Properly obsessed, for a while. I used to dream of having lessons, and badgered my parents weekly and raged at the unfairness of having to learn the bloody piano instead of fun horsey stuff. So instead I read ALL the  books on how to ride and earned myself an encyclopaedic knowledge of types of horses and what all the various bits of tack were called. This knowledge has dribbled out of my ears over the years and has now been been replaced with things like types of wine and what all the various bits of cheese are called.

Aged around twelve or thirteen I started working at the weekends at a stables. The deal was, ostensibly, working in exchange for lessons, but the lessons never materialised despite the (slightly scary) yard owner’s promises every single week. What happened instead was that I’d work solidly mucking out and leading small children round on ponies for six hours, and once a month or so the owner would remember about me and put me on a too-big horse and send me out into the woods for a hack. Often unaccompanied. Terrifying stuff. I spent more time on my arse than on horseback, unsurprisingly.

Anyway, this lasted a couple of years, and then I grew out of horses and discovered vodka and boys. And life went on.

Molly has been having lessons since she was seven. She’s nine now, and bounces around on a Thelwell-esque pony over jumps and round corners with aplomb. I love watching her. It’s been really good for her in all sorts of ways, she listens to her teacher, she is disciplined about it and keen and it gives her a ‘thing’ to talk about with her friends. She does gymnastics too, for much the same reasons. She is animated in discussions about her hobbies, engaged and interested and delightful. Which, for an ‘explosive’ and tricky child like my Pie, is worth rubies and diamonds.

It occured to me this morning, while I was in the bath, that there’s actually nothing stopping me having lessons now. In fact, I’m not sure why I haven’t done it before. So when I took the Pie up to the yard I asked what they could do for me. Well. It turns out they are quite keen to get the ‘rusty mums’ back in the saddle, and there’s a whole cohort of us. Not sure what I think of the Rusty Mums sobriquet, but that’s what they are calling us and who am I to argue.

In my usual gung ho foolhardy manner, I have booked myself a fortnightly lesson. So midday tomorrow will find me astride a huge formidable beast (called Squirrel), on a lunge rein, being instructed in the art of not falling off. I am not sure whether I am more scared than excited but I’m going to grab life by the balls as per usual and give it a go.

The twelve year old me is overjoyed. The thirty four year old me is wondering what on earth I’m thinking. But, you know, I think it’s important to listen to your twelve year old self and it’s a really wonderful and warm feeling to fulfill a wish that you’ve harboured since your early teens.

I’d love to know about your own childhood wishes and whether they came true as an adult; did you ever buy yourself a Mister Frosty for example, or finally learn to ice skate? I know my husband has filled our house with the Lego he didn’t have enough of as a child, which always makes me smile.

Or do you try and live vicariously through your own children by giving them all the things you never had?

I love a bit of wish fulfilment, and I’m going to carry on trying to grant as many wishes as I can, both for my family and for my own inner twelve year old. It’s good for the soul, I reckon.

Love and kisses xxx

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

I have too many books.

Standard

I moved the bookcases from our bedroom into the landing, for the purposes of the Estate Agent photos (all done now, and I will post them as soon as I have them in my possession).

The bookcases are big and deep and double filled. It took aaaages to empty and move them. And that’s not the half of it, the big cupboards in the front room are full of books, the unit in the hallway is stuffed, the cupboard in the bedroom houses a secret stash. There’s a wall shelf in the bedroom, and one in the kitchen. Then there are all the books on both my Kindles.

I can’t help it. I adore them. Years ago I had a ruthless cull and regretted it instantly. I rebought pretty much every one I discarded and hugged them close by way of apology. I cherish each and every one of them. It’s an eclectic mix: bodice rippers, autobiographies, classics, psychology textbooks, graphic novels, collections by my favourite authors, bestsellers, books by local authors, books written by my friends, highbrow, lowbrow and everything in between. A few are pristine and handled with kid gloves (like my hardback illustrated Stardust and my new Walking Dead compendium). Others (most, to be fair) are dog eared and bathwater-wrinkled. You can distinguish Rob’s paperbacks from mine by my broken spines and folded corners (he HATES this and thinks I’m a book heathen) but for me books are there to be read, reread and enjoyed and only a chosen few get the delicate treatment (the pretty ones, really). I  usually fall asleep on whichever book I’m currently living in, at the moment it’s A Dance With Dragons and that hardbacked beast is HEAVY when I doze off and drop it on myself. 

In case it’s not obvious, I LOVE reading. I always have. I’ll pretty much read anything, although I have my favourites, mostly Neil Gaiman and Marian Keyes, who between them cover a fairly broad spread of genres. Occasionally I’ll find a book I’d forgotten about, and dive into it gratefully. One of the most wonderful feelings in the world is rereading an old favourite to discover you have forgotten the ending and get to discover it all over again. There really should be a word for that.

I can’t even bear to get rid of books I hated, just in case I want to try them again. The Slap, for example. I hated it. I barely got halfway through before giving up. But maybe one day it’ll be the right time for me to read it and there it’ll be, on my shelf, ready for me. This is why I am drowning in books. It’s an addiction.

I thought having a Kindle would help, but all that’s happened is that I’ve bought hard copies of books I’ve enjoyed digitally. Which is sensible really, because if the zombie apocalypse happens I’ll still have m’books. You know it makes sense.

Fortunately, the new house has a whole room for them. I’ve been browsing the Ikea website and planning my shelving solutions. Hours of joy, and a whole Pinterest board in the making. A room with a sofa and a wall of bookshelves. Yes folks, I’m going to have a LIBRARY. I may never leave it. And I’ll have room for even more new books…

 

So the decluttering, dusting and mad tidying continues…

Standard

It’s a big day today. The Estate Agent is coming round later to do the photographs. It’s very exciting but I’m a mite stressed by it. We’ve kept the house at an acceptable level of clean and tidy all week, (well, by our standards) but now we really need to go into overdrive and clear the decks.

I staged some photos last week for some pre-emptive feedback online, and it opened up a whole new level of criticism that I hadn’t prepared for. I pride myself on my rhino hide where my home is concerned; developed mostly to deflect the well meaning ‘advice’ doled out daily by my wonderful mother and sister. We are not the world’s tidiest people and as much as I admire the glossy, minimalist, box fresh appearance of my loved ones’ houses, it’s never a look we’re never going to achieve for more than five minutes. We love all our things too much. And we’re too lazy busy with other important stuff.

Anyway, most of the feedback was really useful, in fact it all was, but some of it just wasn’t practical. We are taking the advice to change my lovely patchwork duvet for a plain one, for the photos. And we are going to move the bed around. I’ve rearranged the front room accordingly and it works. The kitchen is devoid of signs of life except a lonely fruit bowl *sob*. However grateful I am for all the pointers and the time people took to reply, we will NOT be putting the piano in the garage, or the computer away, or painting all my walls cream, even though it may be the best advice ever. And there really is nowhere else to put my bookcases. I have to find the balance between staging the rooms and living here until it’s sold. Obviously if we don’t get any offers I will rethink, but that’s where I’m at for today.

Putting it out there for feedback made it clear to me that taste and what people look for in a house are entirely subjective. I already knew this, of course, but it was interesting to see all the differing points of view on having a piano, toys and books in a room, for example.

I took my sister with me for the second viewing of the house we’re buying, and she really really really didn’t like it. All the reasons I love it (loads of room to improve, separate living room/kitchen/playroom) were reasons she hated it. She wants open plan living, I want a room I can shut the door on. She notices and recoils from wonky skirting boards and mismatched lightswitches, I think all those things are easily replaced to my taste. She lives for clean lines and bare surfaces, I like a degree of lived in clutter and All The Things. It takes all sorts, and thank goodness it does.

I’m confident that the right person for this house is out there (who knows, it could even be the people whose house we’re buying, they are coming to view next week…) but it doesn’t stop me having conniptions about todays big declutter. Which, really, I should start getting on with.

I will, of course, post photos for you all. Just let me get it all tidied up first.

 

xx

 

 

Positivity and Shizzle

Standard

I’m having a really nice time at the moment.

Does that sound trite? It isn’t meant that way. I think nice is underrated.

There are lots of big things happening for me to get my teeth into, but also lots of warmly pleasant smaller things that just make my days seem to coast by on an upwind of lovely.

You know about the big things, mostly, I think. The house is on the market, and our offer has been accepted unconditionally, meaning we have as much time to sell ours as we need. Isn’t that nice? We have cashed in our endowment and paid off all the lingering, annoying debts we owed: the kitchen overspend; the car that I desperately wanted needed; the court stuff and the credit cards. My role as full time out-of-the-house-working mum of three is going better than any of us dared hope; the house is clean and tidy-ish, Rob has stepped manfully into the void I left with regards to cooking, cleaning, shopping and, well, general running of the house. Okay, to be honest, it wasn’t a massive void as I was never what you would describe as ‘gifted’ domestically speaking. So it’s fair to say things are better on that front now. Which is nice.

But there are also lots of small occurrences daily that make me pause, and smile, and be thankful for what the universe has given me. The Chums are nothing short of amazing; The Boy is in both the SuperMaths and SuperReading groups at school (I don’t think they’re called that except in my head, actually), which is just wonderful. The Pie is riding up a storm and cartwheeling like a pro at her various activities. I am living slightly vicariously through her at the moment and I am, as ever, thankful that we can afford for her to do most of the eyewateringly expensive extra curricular hobbies she adores. The Littlest Chum just charms the pants off us all. He’s massively into Doctor Who at the moment and I can confidently state that there is not a lot funnier than a two year old walking round menacingly repeating ‘hey, who turned out the lights?’ in a monotone.

I am mindful, daily, of how fortunate I am to have a husband who treats me like the Queen Of Fucking Everything while also being deeply sexy, screamingly funny and, as it turns out, a whizz in the kitchen. I’m sorry, I know bragging isn’t attractive, but this is my blog and I’ll brag if I want to 😉 He really is the icing on my daily cake.

My little sister is in early labour, I reckon, so will be having my niece IMMINENTLY. I’ve just spoken to her and I am feeling very optimistic that THIS IS IT so fingers crossed. I have to say that she sounds like she’s actually giving birth, and I don’t think she realised how out of breath she was. She’s complaining of backache, braxton hicks and feeling like the world is about to fall out of her bum. Cast your vote now for the result, people of the internet. The poll is open, and I’m going for Friday at 2pm.

I know this is a chuntering vom fest of saccharine, and I know I do this a lot. But I do think that counting my blessings is vital to my general wellbeing and demeanor, and I highly recommend it as a tool for making life seem that bit sunnier. I am a firm believer in the fact that there is nothing I can’t get over or through or around, and that grabbing life by the testicles is the surest way to get the most out of it. So thank you, universe, for the epic bounty. I’m enjoying the ride, and long may it last.


I’ll leave you with this thought:

May you be poor in misfortune,

Rich in blessings,

Slow to make enemies,

And quick to make friends.

But rich or poor, quick or slow,

May you know nothing but happiness

From this day forward.

 

Later, kids xx

Delayed Gratification

Standard

Waiting and planning has never been my thing. I’m a bit rubbish at it, if I’m honest. I can empathise a lot with my two year old when he wants things NOW NOW NOW as frankly that’s how I feel most of the time.

But I’m working on it.

A few months ago I fell in love with a beautiful pair of shoes. Just the right shade of green, with enough of a heel to give me height but not totter, a perfect curve of platform and toe, oh I was smitten. But, dear reader, I walked away. And then back. And then away again.

I was on an economy drive and I have dozens of beautiful shoes. But the memory of them lingered, and I spent many a moment wistfully recalling the way they cushioned my feet while lifting my calves, how the suede felt against my fingers and how they would go perfectly with my green top. I didn’t regret not buying them, knowing from experience as I do that the fleeting rush of a shiny new purchase doesn’t stack up against the hollow black fog of mounting debt. But I did often think of them.

Life went on, as it does, and the memory faded. And then, on a boot-finding mission in the sales yesterday, there they were. Like manna from heaven. I’m sure there was a parting of clouds and a chorus of trumpets as I crossed the store to pick them up, one pair, in my size, HALF PRICE.

The shopping gods were on my side yesterday. Praise be.

And I actually think the delayed gratification aspect of the purchase made it all the sweeter.

I need to start applying that to all areas of my life. Our lives are about to change massively for the better because the long term savings we have paid into forever have finally matured. I’m crap at saving, as a rule, but this was Enforced Saving in that it came out of our bank every month (in an eyewatering amount) and was locked away in an untouchable account. We regretted it sometimes, in the doldrums of mounting bills and a too small house, but now it’s finally time to reap the rewards we are congratulating ourselves massively for a sensible plan. Aren’t we clever? Don’t shit your own ears off, we are occasionally quite sensible.

We had always planned to move house around now, but being the NOW NOW NOW person that I am I have spent the last few years obsessively scouring Rightmove and trying to fast forward time. Can you imagine the Tigger-esque vibe in this house now that we are actually in the process? There is every chance my head might bounce off.

Delayed gratification is my new thing, I’ve decided I like the feeling. I’m now all about planning for the future and putting things off until an appropriate time, instead of steamrollering ahead and grabbing at life with both fists. Well. We’ll see.

xx

New Year’s Resolutions.

Standard

Yeah, it’s that time of year again. Having looked back over last year with my last post, I am now looking ahead to 2014 with this one and ruminating on the things I’d like to achieve.

I’m into Dry January in a big way, I really enjoyed the freedom of it last year and carried it on into February. It didn’t last the year and I don’t really expect it to this year, but it’s a nice break for my poor addled liver (and purse). I haven’t smoked since NYE either, but that has more to do with the tail end of this stupid bug which is now into full blown snot and hacking cough territory. Bleurgh. No booze or fags will sort that out. So 2014 (or the first couple of months, anyway) is the year of Sobriety.

This year starts with us being out of debt and with healthy savings. We have done some complicated rearranging of finances, spurred on by a potential new house, and by using our previously untouchable savings we can clear all our debts and start the year with a healthy pot of saved money. If this house purchase happens we will be in a much bigger house and with much more disposable savable cash, and if not then we will be able to save tons and buy the next suitable house that comes along. So 2014 is the year of Untold Riches.

I have decided to be a better, more forgiving person. I spend too much time being stressed or shouty (with The Chums in particular) and fretting about things I can’t change. I resolve to be much calmer this year. I’m not particularly fighty anyway but I am checking out of any potential drama. It’s unhealthy and ridiculous to obsess and gripe about Other People because the only person anyone can change is their own self. So from now on I am a duck and it is all water. If the older Chums are squabbling, I will count to a hundred before wading in. If no one is getting ready in the morning I will refer them calmly to my timetable of events instead of roaring at them that we are late. If people on the internet are irritating me I will turn off the screen and do something else. And if my neighbour parks in my spot, well, actually I’ve always just laughed at that because it is a hilarious silent battle. So 2014 is the year of Zen.

Lastly, housework. I hate housework, I really do. It’s boring and I have many many better things to do. But I do like having a nice tidy house. Rob now does more than half the donkey work but we are still fighting daily against the piles of STUFF and clutter. It would be so much easier to keep tidy with less stuff to clear up. Our new house (fingers crossed) is twice the size. We don’t intend to move all the things in. You know how I dream of a skip? It’s happening. So I fully intend to have twice the house and half the stuff, and therefore no clutter and half the cleaning. It’s a whole plan. Even if this particular house doesn’t happen (it will it will it will though) I am still getting a skip and ruthlessly ridding our house of all the stuff we don’t need. Loads of it can go to charity as I don’t actually have a house full of rubbish, despite what my Mum says, but we do all own All The Things. So 2014 is the year of Minimalism.

So really, as ever, my resolution is to Be More Awesome. I am fairly awesome anyway but there is always room for improvement even for the best of us. Minimalism, Zen, Untold Riches and a dollop of Sobriety. Be More Awesome. It’s all happening.

That’s all for now. I will leave this post with the words of much wiser dudes than me: Be Excellent To Each Other.