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

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Finding my feet

Well, here it is, my first ever blog post.

I must admit that I actually feel a little bit silly, a little bit full of self-doubt as I sit here at Number 15 watching the rain fall outside on a grey and gloomy day in East Anglia, I can't quite believe that anyone is actually going to want to read what I have to say.

The question is - what do I have to say?  Will anyone care? Well, I guess that is what we will find out, and I very much hope that this blog will give me the opportunity to find not only my feet, but also my voice, my words, my thoughts.

In this crazy life that I lead I hope that by blogging I can give myself the chance to sit still, to consider, to remember and to share it all with lots of other lovely people whose lives are (most likely) just as crazy as mine!

Here's a little bit about me; 

I have somehow made it to the vintage years of the mid (or late, if I'm honest) 30's whilst still feeling like I don't know much more than when I was 12. 

I live in the pocket-sized palace that is Number 15, with my less-than pocket sized man (let's call him The Big Guy), and three currently pocket-sized people; child 1, child 2 and child 3.  We share our already quite full palace with a sprocker called Daisy, and a brood of 8 chickens at the bottom of the garden, with ever-changing names whichever child you speak to!

I have a part-time community-based job that seems to take up an inordinate amount of time, for very little recompense, but which if I am honest I really do enjoy.  I love being part of a community, knowing the people who live around me and being able to make decisions that directly affect me and my life - in that sense I am very blessed.

My other, and definitely more important job is being a wife and mother.  I hope that I do a passable job at both of these things, but more often than not I worry that I don't.  I worry that I get it wrong, and I worry that the wrong decisions I make now will be important later on, but somehow despite all of that me and The Big Guy have managed to create three wonderful pocket-sized people who never fail to surprise and delight us....and if I am honest push us to our limits too!

Right now, if I want to enjoy myself I will; curl up with a good book (I'm just starting out on "The Versions of Us" - I'll let you know how it goes), do a bit of crochet (a new hobby which has been strangely addictive and which I now could not be without),  pound the local footpaths with Daisy, do some digging in my garden which I love, but I must admit gardening for me is more by luck than judgement at the moment, or I will just sit on the sofa with The Big Guy enjoying a glass of wine.

All in all, it sounds pretty good doesn't it?  So, that's the sound bite, that's my first ever blog post, now come with me on my new blogging journey and let's see what the reality is really like.....

I'd love to hear from you, and get to know who's out there.  Please feel free to message me, and I will be back soon with news from Number 15.

Much love,