Friday, 15 April 2016

Falling out of love.....

Don't worry big guy - it's not you! (thought I'd better start with that!)

I have been thinking about this blog post for a while now, and I know that if I was a good blogger I would be telling you all about our recent caravan weekends (which were truly fabulous), some bits about what's been going on with life at home (the usual mayhem!)  and maybe something about some forthcoming decorating plans...but enough of all that, what I really want to talk about is me!....("typical!" says The Big Guy)

So, my question is; what happens when you fall out of love with something that was important to you, something that you consider to be a major part of who you are and how you think about yourself?

I have thought of myself as a runner for 9 years now.  When Child 1 was born it was the activity that I started to help me to recover a body that vaguely reminded me of what I had before children, it gave me some time just for me at a time when I felt I was never alone with my thoughts, so yeah, basically it restored my sanity.  Since then I have been running every week without fail (barring illness), I have competed in lots of races, half marathons, London Marathon and various other small races.  These events have helped to give me confidence, focus and motivation, they have made me feel good about myself.....that is, until now.

Over the years, despite regular practice I have started to slow down, particularly over long distances, and races have felt like a lot more effort.  This year, my amazing and very supportive brother-in-law became my running buddy as a way for him to keep fit, and for me to speed up keeping up with him, and yet my most recent race time was not what I had hoped it would be, and I crossed the line feeling disappointed with myself and like I had let myself (and him) down.

Since that day, and for the first time in 9 years I haven't wanted to put my trainers on, and when I have hit my running trails the familiar buzz has eluded me.  I have lost my running confidence, I don't even want to enter a race...I have fallen out of love!  

So, I ask myself, what happens after you have fallen out of love?  

I guess that there are two options; When you fall out of love with a person it is usual to just stop seeing them and to extract yourself from that relationship however painful that is - is that what happens to me and running now?  Is this the time to start seeing someone else (swimming or cycling perhaps?)  Or on the other hand do I work on our relationship, do I spend time with running to remember what I once felt, do I try some new type of running to bring that excitement back into our relationship?  

I don't know the answer to those questions, and I know that, if I let myself, I could quite easily never put my trainers on again, and very quietly forget that I ever was a runner, but I am not sure that that is who I am or who I want to be.  I am sure that I don't want to be the one who gives up, I don't think that I could feel proud of who I am if I did that.  

Perhaps what this is then, is a temporary separation, we're on "a break" as Ross from Friends would call it, let's hope that by my next blog post we've made up again - watch this space.....

Much love,


Wednesday, 30 March 2016

When five became seven.....

Here we are in the middle of the first week of the Easter holidays, so far this week has involved the consumption of chocolate and more chocolate, relaxed routines (loving the no-school-run mornings!), caravan-prepping ready for our first weekend away of the year and lots and lots of family time.

So far, it's been fairly relaxed....and then this morning arrived and five at number fifteen became seven at number fifteen with the arrival of my niece and nephew.  Wow....who knew five children could create so much noise, mess and mayhem?!?!?!?

My niece is almost 3 and her gorgeous brother is just over 1 and I do absolutely adore them both; they make me laugh, they give my 1,2 and 3 lots of fun, my niece does some pretty amazing singing (ha ha!) and my nephew is always ready for a cuddle.  When I am feeling broody, and missing the feeling of somebody on my lap they are a perfect reminder.

BUT...after only a morning, I really remembered what a tough stage baby/toddlerhood was; there was snot, flying food, sharing issues and horror of horrors - dirty nappies!  

I can't even begin to remember how I used to cope with it all, especially with the added sleep deprivation - how did I ever do it??  What today reminded me of was what it felt like to cook food whilst juggling a baby, the knowledge that no matter how quickly I tidied up it would a mess again in less than 30 seconds, how you can never have too many of the same toys, and the fear that can be instilled by a baby holding a pen!!

My respect to all of you going through this bit right now - you are heroes!  Hang on in there - it gets SO much easier!!

We relaxed this afternoon with a family walk at the forest, the crazy dog exhausted herself in the river,

kids 1,2 and 3 hunted for the perfect stick for a slingshot (much harder than it sounds!) and we discovered a dragon skeleton on the forest floor, 

the nephew practised a few steps and the niece did some more of her fabulous singing, and I made a self portrait (uncanny isn't it?)....

 All in all it was a pretty relaxed way to spend the afternoon, how did you spend your weekend, are you all managing to cope with baby and toddlerhood?  I would love to hear from you all.

Much love,

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Home is where the stuff is...

It's been a little while since I last blogged, for various reasons, namely poorly children and an incredibly hectic schedule,  I am now immeasurably looking forward to the next 30 minutes where I can order my thoughts, splurge my feelings and generally take stock!

In addition to the poorly Numbers 1, 2 and 3, last week was full-on in a way that I am not sure I can sustain at pushing 40!!!!  In fact, it was so full-on that from Monday to Saturday I did not spend one evening at home.  It was not until I hit 7pm on Sunday evening that the sofa and I were reunited once more.  I can't begin to tell you how good that felt!  My sofa is big, squishy and REALLY comfy and so that night I gave it my full-on attention - I didn't move for hours...heaven!  

It was a full-on week, but it was full of pretty good stuff like running my local cinema showing of "Woman in Gold" (a surprisingly good film), a night out chatting with a very dear friend, a book group meeting discussing our latest read (and of course gossiping about lots of other things) and an excellent night at the theatre with two of my most favourite people in the world.  

Really, I can't believe that I could possibly complain about any of that...BUT as lovely as all of those evenings were, and as much as I enjoyed them, I felt so happy to be home on Sunday night, sitting with The Big Guy, enjoying a glass of wine and picking up the crochet where I left off.  It was a very normal night, nothing exciting happened, but the very "home-ness" of it just felt absolutely lovely.

When I was thinking about writing this post I looked online about what others would say about what "home" means to them.  The overwhelming message was that for most people home is where the people they love are, and that if you have your loved ones then you have your "home".  

And yet...., and yet....

I can't quite escape the feeling that if I had taken all of the ingredients; The Big Guy, Numbers 1,2 and 3, the crazy dog, and plopped us down in another house I wouldn't have been able to make it "home" without something else.  The more I thought about it, the more I realised that for me, home isn't just where the people that I love are, it is also where our life is, the place in which we do our living and also the things that we do it with.  Our house if full of "stuff" that we have bought and chosen ourselves, and with those things we have built memories together; good, bad, happy and sad.  When I look at my sofa I don't just see the sofa, I see books and stories and film nights and crochet....and on and on.  In our garden are plants that we have put in the ground together, the climbing frame that Numbers 1, 2 and 3 have spent summers on, the trampoline where much bouncing happens.  

I look round my house and I see our things, and all of these things have become part of what our home is, part of where our memories are, and between the house, the people, the animals and the multitudes of stuff - this is home - and how could home ever be anywhere else?

Where is home for you?  Are your things part of home, or can you take yours with you?  I'd love to know what you think.

For now, me and my sofa have a date at home.....

Night, night.


Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Making the most of this version....

Well, you will be pleased to know that I have finally finished my latest read "The Versions of us"

....and to be honest I feel very pleased that I have finished this book too!  I had high hopes for this novel, I loved "Life after Life" by Kate Atkinson, "The Time Travellers Wife" is one of my all-time favourite reads, and I thought Sliding Doors was a cracking film.  Why then did this novel, which seemed so influenced by all of them leave me so decidedly luke-warm?

The novel is the story of Eva and Jim's life told in triplicate.  The story begins with the same moment when the two are at university in Cambridge and Eva falls from her bike.  In versions one and three Jim helps her up and in version two he doesn't.  The stories diverge from that point and tell three different versions of their lives.  In each story their lives are intertwined, and there are key moments that are shared (although different) in each version.  The idea is a really interesting one, unfortunately the novel skips between versions each chapter and it becomes really difficult to keep up with which story you are in, who's who and what has happened.  I almost resorted to writing notes to keep up!  Perhaps my brain has become addled over the last few years with children, lack of sleep, and the rigours of daily life, but honestly....this just felt like hard work!

Don't get me wrong, I like a book to challenge me, I don't want to be bored and I like new concepts, but the fact is that I didn't care enough about either Eva and definitely not Jim to make me want to do the leg-work to get through it.  

Saying that, the book does make some interesting points - such as; life is never perfect, whichever way you choose to live it, the decisions we make can have ripple effects throughout our whole life, and it questions what true love really looks like.

All in all though, what a disappointing feeling it is to have gotten to the end of the book and realise that I haven't really enjoyed the process, that I have only finished it because I want to make sure I can follow the discussion at book group this week!  The realisation of all those hours that I have spent reading something that I didn't love and which could have used on something that I actually did enjoy!  

It's at those moments that I remember how precious time really is, how little of it there actually is, that it slips away before you even notice it.  Sadly I don't believe that there are multiple versions of my life for me to live, and that if I don't make the most of this one then that is it!

So, "The Versions of Us" may not have brought me much joy this week, but let me show you a couple of things that did:

I made my first ever loaf of bread this week.  It was totally yummy if I do say so myself, although it didn't last too long once The Big Guy got his hands on it!

These beautiful bundles of sunshine are brightening up my dining room table and bringing me much joy every time I look at them

And Child 2's new blanket is hooking along very nicely I think.

I have an unexpected day with a poorly Child 1 at home today, which means that not much in the way of work is going to get done, but there will be the chance for some chat, some quiet time together, and the more I think about it I guess that is what I think it is all about - making the most of the version of life that I have got.

Anyway, there's an important game of Cluedo to get on with...

If you get the chance please let me know what have you been reading lately, I would love to hear your recommendations, and how do you feel when you get to the end of a book that you haven't enjoyed??

Til next time, much love to you all,


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Stolen moments...

Hello again lovely peeps,

It's a very rainy March day and life continues apace here at Number 15, housework needs doing, the dishwasher needs to be emptied for the gazzillionth time, children 1 and 2 need help with homework, child 3 has something extremely important to tell me RIGHT NOW......every now and then it can all feel a little bit overwhelming!

Don't get me wrong, I know that one day, probably before I even notice it, my life will be too slow, too quiet and perhaps even a little bit lonely, but until that day takes me by surprise, I do sometimes long for a little bit of "me-time", I would like the opportunity to listen to the music I like, to actually finish the weekly crossword, or even to be able to pay attention to the person I am talking to on the other end of the phone.

And yet....when those rare moments do come for a sneaky five minutes of peace, I find it is almost impossible to let myself do any of these things that I have longed for, in fact I positively search out jobs that "need" to be done. Today, instead of sitting down with my cup of tea and enjoying a few pages of "The Versions of Us" I told myself that since I had a moment, it was only right to take the bin we use for food waste down to the compost bin...and whilst I was at it I might as well clean out the chicken coop.  Result? Empty food waste bin, clean chickens....cold cup of tea!

Cold tea, unfinished book...but lovely Mother's Day flowers!

So, I ask myself, when was the last time that I could do something for myself without feeling guilty, without feeling like I should be doing something else?  I simply can't remember!  The fact is I do get a lot done in a short amount of time, but on the other hand, the crossword is never finished, I can't manage more than one book a month, and as for painting my've got to be joking!

I wonder, do any of you feel guilty if you take time for yourselves, and if so should we worry about it or should we just congratulate ourselves on everything that we have managed to fit it??  I would love to know what you think.

Anyway that's it for today - it sounds like the washing machine has finished....I'd better go load up the tumble dryer!

Much love, 


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Fires, fresh air and family

Here I am - back again, wondering whether that first post was the start of something wonderful whilst worrying that I might not actually be able to think of anything to talk about again!   

Luckily for me (in lots of ways) today is Mothering Sunday and so we at Number 15 have made the effort to slow down, take some time off from all those jobs that still need to be done, and spend the day together.

We have been walking in the woods, climbing trees,
paddling in the river, and exploring dens.  We've cooked up coffee and hot chocolate on the Kelly Kettle (The Big Guy's best birthday present ever!) and I undertook a sock swap with The Big Guy to bring my frozen toes back to life         (not an easy task in the middle of a forest in winter! Note to self - add "learn to knit woolly socks" to the list of         things to do!)

It all sounds like a pretty blissful day doesn't it?  And isn't that the beauty of an online place to share your life and thoughts - it offers you the opportunity to leave out the bits you'd rather not remember, the bits that you would rather other people didn't know; like the squabbles, the whiny child, the moment that you lose sight of child two in the forest and panic about the million things that may have befallen him!

On the approach to Mother's Day I have been thinking a lot about this motherhood malarkey and what it means to me, and more importantly to them.

In this new online age I find it increasingly difficult not to compare myself and my life to the lives of others as they are presented in the online world.  The problem is that in those comparisons I constantly feel lacking, disappointing, and full of self-doubt about my achievements (and lack of them), my choices, and the life that I lead.

 What I spent today trying to remember is that life is not perfect, I am not perfect, and my family are not perfect either, but that this is the life that I have chosen, the life that I love (including all of its imperfections) and that the quest for perfection would make me (and my family) very unhappy indeed.

So what does it mean to me to be a mother?  Well, it certainly means limiting my expectations, and understanding that things will not always go exactly as I had planned, but it also means finding the joy in those moments that don't go right; relishing the fact that I am the only one that can help with grazed knees, celebrating the fact that I know my children inside out and recognise that a bad mood can be solved with a drink and a snack, laughing when clothes come home mucky and wellies need water poured out of them!  It means taking the time to stop and enjoy the day with people that I love most in the world, and helping them to build a memory bank that could rival the perfection of any Facebook feed!

Do any of you worry about these issues, what does motherhood/parenthood mean to you? I would love to hear your thoughts....

On other points I am rattling through "The Versions of Us" and I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts about it with you.

Speak soon,  Sarah.xx