Monday, 31 August 2015

Back to school

I'm not sure you ever really lose that 'back to school' September feeling at this time of year. Tomorrow is my first day back at work for over two weeks and it feels like a lifetime since I was last in the office. Just like lots of teachers and school kids this week, I've been getting myself prepared for the first day back tomorrow. When I was eleven years old, this ritual used to involve fastidiously packing and repacking my pencil case, laying out my uniform at the bottom of the bed, and setting my alarm (and by that I mean an ACTUAL alarm clock, not just a phone setting) a good 30 minutes earlier than was actually necessary. This time round, getting prepared basically means making sure various electronic items are charged and ready to go, but the essence of the ritual is the same (and I've planned out my outfit in my head at least - don't think I'll ever stop doing that).

While last week I was dreading going back to work and our holiday coming to an end, I have to secretly admit that (whispers) I'm actually looking forward to it a bit. It's been wonderful to be off, but it's been long enough. We've been lovely and lazy, but I need a bit of drive now. I have space in my mind to fit in some other stuff. I can't wait to get on the train and read my emails and get back into everything, safe in the knowledge that Arlo is happily playing with all his little mates at the childminders. I know it will make me happier, and will make our next day together even better for having missed each other a bit. That's the thing - there's nothing like a bit of time apart to make the time together feel really special.

So bring on the working week please - after all, the sooner we get to it, the sooner the weekend will come.

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Sunday, 30 August 2015

The view from our holiday

Oh hi there, sorry for the radio silence around here of late, we've been away and getting right into holiday mode for the last two weeks, i.e. not feeling like doing much. I've had a break from work and blogging and clothes washing and setting an alarm and all the usual stuff, and it's been brilliant to break the routine and chill for a while. I don't want to wang on too much about our family holiday and all the things we got up to, but here are a few snaps that I captured along the way - is Wales pretty or what?! We had a few gloriously sunny days, a lot of very rainy days, and a few in-between grey days, but every single one was lovely. Two whole weeks of proper family time, and not even the sun getting his hat out could've made it better.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Dressing Arlo - is it Autumn yet?

As I write this, I'm looking out of the window to see a lot of rain. A LOT. We're in Wales. The first three days of our holiday have been absolutely gorgeous weather - perfect sunny beach weather with not a cloud in the sky - so I guess the law of averages would say that we're due a rainy day. It's got me thinking of Autumn, which is just round the corner. Judging by these clothes Alex picked up for Arlo (all from John Lewis, in case you're interested), he's thinking of Autumn too. Of wooly jumpers, Autumnal colours, and needing long sleeves rather than short ones. is it Ok to admit I can't wait?

Friday, 14 August 2015

Out of office

This boy...  some pics of a grey day we recently spent roaming around our local cemetery. It's very pretty and car-free which makes it a good place for Arlo to explore, so I hope that doesn't sound too weird a hang-out spot! Arlo's love of animals has spread into his clothing and he has some real favourites that he always asks to wear, including this tee covered in little jungle animals - wrestling this off at the end of the day for bath time is not fun!

In other news, I just put my out of office on, as we're off on our holidays this weekend. Two whole weeks off work. Two weeks straight of looking at this face. Lucky. Not sure how much blogging that means will be happening around these parts, I'll just be doing whatever feels right. For me, 'whatever feels right' probably includes things like: reading magazines, having brunch, going to the beach and generally just having a bit of a lounge at every opportunity. For Arlo, 'whatever feels right' will most likely be wearing this animal tee shirt for two weeks straight. But each to their own.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Things I'm thankful for... the weekend away edition

We did some really good weekending this weekend. It was so good I forgot to blog, or even think about blogging, one of those ones. It reminded me of all the things I'm thankful for, and in a week that's also been a bit mixed and had some not great things happen I feel like it's more important than ever to be thankful and remind myself of all that's good - for me, that list includes:

  • Old friends. The really comfy ones. Where you chat, or not chat (and that feels totally OK and not-at-all-awkward) and it's easy and comforting and you remind yourself why they're such good friends and that you really bloody need them around to remind you who you are and what's important.
  • Cake. Because really and truly the hunk of carrot cake pictured above saved me from a terrible hangover on Sunday and for that I am eternally grateful.
  • The sun (who has since departed) for making everyone altogether more happy.
  • My trusty Saltwater sandals. For going with everything and being just so comfortable that I never want to take them off because all of my other shoes all of a sudden feel just too warm and stuffy.
  • Arlo's brain cells. Bear with me on this, but after a particularly difficult week, where we cursed the 'terrible twos' and wondered who'd come and swapped our usually sweet and caring boy with an irrational, tantrum-throwing goblin child, something's clicked and the Arlo we know and love is back. Not only is he happier and more rational since the weekend, he all of a sudden knows loads of new words, so I'm putting it down a developmental leap that was going on in his brain that he's now worked past. Yay for brain cells!
  • Having a bit of a think. Was so interested to read this collection of thoughts from atheists sharing how they find meaning in a 'purposeless universe' - I was struck by the reoccurring themes running through them all as they listed the things that make their lives meaningful - friends, love, learning, teaching, being creative, enjoying the simple things. SO true, and all things to be thankful for. Today and every day.

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Friday, 7 August 2015

Friday I'm in love... with delicious kitchens

Kitchens really float my boat. Lovely kitchens. It was the kitchen that really sold our house to me when we first looked round - in fact it's probably my favourite room in the house. Apart from paint one of its walls bright pink within 24 hours of getting the keys (it was that important) we haven't done a single thing to it since we moved. It's big enough for three people to dance around in while waiting for dinner to cook, and that's good enough for me.

So the kitchen isn't a room we plan on doing anything to in the near future, but that doesn't stop me swooning at lovely ones on Pinterest occasionally often, and having a litte daydream about what I'd have in an ideal world - wooden worktops, lots of open shelves, a Smeg (it's the dream, let's be honest). Here are a few current faves - all taken from Pinterest here, along with lots of lovely other kitchen pics that you're welcome to swoon over too.

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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Out to sea

I managed to sneak a few pics of Arlo through the gaps of the big wooden boat he was 'driving' at the park last week. It was a grey day but the view made up for it - I'll never get tired of looking out over the sea from this little row of green beach huts. A calm moment in a month that was anything but calm. Planning on filling the rest of the summer with more moments like this.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The barrenness of busy

"Beware the barrenness of a busy life" - Socrates. I saw someone post this on Instagram yesterday and it's been popping into my head ever since. I reckon he was on to something. This last month has felt very busy, and now I come to think about it, it's felt a little barren too. Lots going on, but not so many things that I actually want to remember. Many things happening, but few lasting memories. Alex and I have both had very busy work months - he's been working weekends to make up time on a big job that's just been finished, and I've had a lot of long days in London which have seen me creep out of the house before anyone wakes up, and creep back in again to find everyone tucked up in bed already.

So July's felt like a bit of a hard slog, but I'm so hopeful for August to come and be all kinds of nice to make up for it. Alex's big job is now finished, so he gets his weekends back, and we're both on official count down to our holiday at the end of August - two whole weeks of not very much stretching out in front of us, not very much 'busy', but more 'lazy', which I think are the best times of all.

Today was our first family day together for weeks, and we made the most of it. I'm writing this on the sofa next to a little boy who's snoozing away, totally knackered after a morning spent on the beach. Considering we live on a little Island surrounded by beaches, we hardly ever go. I plan to rectify this from now on, because we had so much fun today. Buckets and spades were purchased. Sandwiches got sandy. Body parts were buried in the sand. Lots of giggling happened. All the good beach things.

Then this afternoon we hung out with the type of friends that crossed over from the 'friend' category into 'family' years ago. Friends with lots of kids that all became a little gang of pals of various ages, with Arlo the littlest trailing along behind them, trying to keep up. More giggling happened. And some swimming. Also a below-par attempt at completing the Observer cryptic crossword. And now we're home and Arlo is snoozing and we're making burgers. Beat that July, you long-and-fairly-boring month! And hello August, very happy to see you, let's make this month less busy and more lazy please. Because that's when the best stuff happens.

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