Thursday, 29 July 2010

Retail Therapy

There's nothing like hitting your local shopping centre with your children for a spot of retail therapy.

No, there's actually nothing like it.

I need real therapy after that experience.

I went out with the purpose of buying some goodies for the kids with some vouchers I found in the cupboard.

I came back with a headache and possibly a stress-induced ulcer.

Some chocolate buttons would set the tone, we would stay for a maximum of an hour and then we would meet The Boy for lunch.

What could possibly go wrong?

For starters, The Goddess was rudely awoken from her nap by the older two squabbling over whose turn it was to turn off the inside car light (switched on because we went inside an underground car park of course).

Off to Waterstones we went to buy an audio book. It should've been so easy. I knew the one we wanted, but despite instructions not run off, I found myself chasing The Peaceful One around the shop.

Ironically, I finally caught up with him down the child psychology aisle.

After that I reduced the number shops I had planned to visit, headed to one more store and then got the heck out of there.

At times the sibling rivalry is intense.

In that short amount of time, we had 'But she pressed the lift button before me.'

'I'll put the ticket it, you put the money in and I'll collect the change.'

'No, I want to put the ticket in.'

'It's not fair, It's my turn go into the car first.'

It's exhausting being caught in the 'he said, she said' crossfire. I'm trying my best to encourage them to work it between themselves but it's early days.

Meeting The Boy was a welcome break, or an extra pair of hands at least. Lunch was a tasty but rushed sandwich as we passed The Goddess back and forth between us.

Then it was back to mayhem as I attempted to buy an item for myself. En route home I stopped by a local sports shop. I just needed a pair of running trousers. I've entered a 10k run and need to look the part - raggedy tracky bottoms just aren't going to cut it.

So as I tried on a pair of shiny running leggings (looking like Sandy from Grease only with sausages for legs), whilst the baby cried and the others ran under the clothing rails, I remember why I barely venture to the real shops and do nearly everything online.

Retail therapy now has a whole new meaning to me.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Happy holidays?

So the holidays have officially begun.

And honestly it got off to a damp squib.

Minxy got up at an eye-crunching 5am and refused to go back to sleep, waking up the whole house and generally creating an atmosphere of grumpiness.

Nevermind, I thought cheerfully, it's only day one of the holidays - there's plenty of fun ahead.

Actually, I thought bloody hell if this is the start of things to come, I'm going to be counting down the days when they go back to school.

Off we went to intensive swimming classes. At 8.45am. Goodness knows what possessed me to book lessons that early, but it felt like a good idea at the time.

It seems like the whole planet have children who are swimming like Michael Phelps. I do not. Due to my own rubbishness, mine sink like stones and wail if a mere droplet of water touches their precious faces.

I actually love swimming, so seeing The Peaceful One cry for the entire lesson and Minxy cowering as she was 'helped' into jumping off the side was quite a painful experience. Major motherhood FAIL. Private lessons are now at the top of the list.

With the class over, it was off to meet friends at the adventure playground. This one has a No Adults policy (except the helpers) and it's great to let the children enjoy themselves without the ever watchful eyes of their parents.

Thing is, it's for over fives, so The Peaceful One looked longingly at the others having a gay old time. Then started crying. Again. Poor sausage. He was clearly having a bad Monday.

I'm guessing half of childhood is spent wishing you were older, wanting to be five, ten, sixteen. Then you hit 30 and you start wanting to go into reverse.

Age can really come into its own when you are trying to address the needs of all your children, and it's highlighted further doing a simple activity like going to a play park.

Next year, The Goddess will be toddling about, so maybe it will be time to start splitting up the brood and finding more age appropriate activities.

Until then we'll be ploughing through all the local delights that are on offer.

How are your summer holidays panning out so far - glad of the lack of routine and relaxed, or hitting the wine before bedtime?

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Moving on up

Moving house is one always cited as being one of the biggest stresses you will undertake.

Yet, two friends and their families have done just that to massively improve their lives.

One good pal has left the big schmoke for a quieter more affordable part of the country, which also happens to have good schools, great facilities and all round pleasant surroundings.

The other family are about to leap into the great unknown as a job opportunity is taking them Down Under.

Our friend Laura who I believe was literally born wearing high heels, said about her Aussie adventure: "The heels at sea for the next 3 months. Fare thee well, trusty heels. I shall miss you and your agonising beauty."

Good to see her priorities in place. But those heels will still be strutting their stuff in their new home. Sydney is the destination, so beach and city living combined. Can't go wrong I say. But it's definitely not for everyone.

At the leaving BBQ of the soon-to-be ex pats, I got chatting to one lady who had just spent 12 years living in Australia, only to be pining the whole time for the UK.

She told me that a three month trip to Oz turned into over a decade, two children later, the novelty had worn off and she just wanted to be back with friends and family.

Just goes to show that home really is where the heart is.

I'm addicted to property sites and love to have a nose at what I can get for my money in some far-flung corner of Britain, and what I would love, but could never afford.

Currently my heart is near my own family. The children have cousins who live locally, and one set of grandparents are only up the road. We see everyone regularly and it wouldn't be fair to deny them the chance to have these relationships whilst we live so close.

We've moved a fair few times in and around the same area, and I definitely think we have a few more moves in us.

But who knows what the future holds?

What part of the world does your heart lie?

Friday, 23 July 2010

School's out for summer

So many thoughts, so little time.

It's been a while since I put my fingers to the keyboard.


A combination of being busy, being too tired, and having a six month old baby who doesn't understand the concept of sleeping in the evening, have thwarted my blogging efforts.

Still, I'm here now.

It was a big day today as school's out for summer.

And what an emotional day the end of term turned out to be.

Tears from parents, teachers and children alike.

For the children leaving for secondary school it was an end of an era, for us at the relative start of the school years we could see what we had to ahead of us. And it wasn't pretty.

Most of the mums blubbed their way through leavers church service and it really made me realise how quickly your children grow up.

Minxy came home sad that she wouldn't have the same teacher next year.

A friend lamented: "I feel like whacking on Mamma Mia, putting on Slipping Through My Fingers' and really wallowing in it."

So bring on the holidays. No more crazy mornings, no more ferrying back and forth, no more homework. It's all about freedom and going with the flow.

Or is it?

With six weeks to fill (actually eight for The Peaceful One who starts nursery in the autumn), you need to get your wits about you to keep the troops entertained.

Luckily a visit to grandma's will break it up, and I'm hoping that the weather will stay dry so we can maximise the park action.

The main thing is I'm going to try and enjoy every moment as I know how fast their childhood is whizzing by.