May 2019

And it’s a new month. Not just any old month, but my birthday month at that. I like having my birthday. I don’t mind getting older. Plus I am going to spend this birthday in sunny Spain so I have something to look forward to. After a little trip the week before to see my parents with the offspring. So a busy month but a good one at that. With a little bit of work thrown in and another half term, but the boys spend this one with their dads so I don’t have to worry too much about that one.

I also have to start looking for a new au pair this week. Our current one is the loveliest and simply the best we ever had, and she would have stayed another year, alas she got a place to study at home after all so she is going back to ~France in July. I am now obviously quite biased – two crappy German au pairs, one brilliant French one. Guess where I would like the next one to be from.

Finding an au pair is quite a daunting thing actually. It’s a bit like ‘Married at first sight’ only you are kind of forced to sit it out for a year because the thought of trying to replace them half way through as school year is so terrifying you put up with rather a lot. So let’s go back to painting our family in the best light possible, writing hundreds of ‘applications’, Skype interviews and fingers crossed we find someone who can put up with us for 11 months and we with them. I shall continue to update you on my progress.

It is traveling week. Flying with the children to Germany week to be more precise. It might involve taking them out of school for half a day but my airline of choice has such a shitty schedule to fly where I need to go, it’s not really possible otherwise. Now before you get all upset, I hardly ever do it and I would never take them on an entire holiday during school times, but I really cannot see the harm in half a day.

The week itself has been filled with work and au pair finding, which is quite time consuming and really not one of my favourite activities. But until my youngest can stay at home without permanent supervision there is no other option. Only another three or four years ……

Getting through the airport with three children is not one of my favourite activities either, especially as something ALWAYS happens. This time, my oldest decided to put some jelly beans in his hoody, so it got scanned and scanned again, because their semi liquid state mean they could potentially be very dangerous. I guess. For the waistline at least. Thankfully we don’t suffer from earaches anymore so the flights themselves are not too bad.

I have to admit, I am getting more and more homesick these days. I don’t think it’s to do with the disaster going on in the UK called Brexit (please refrain from arguing politics with me, as a European, I obviously have a very different outlook on this than some Brits), but after a long time away, it is drawing me back to my roots. Of course it is not as easily addressed, I still have the boys and they are not old enough to be left or plucked up and moved but Something has to change about this. What I cannot say.

Two days are not enough to do much, but I managed to catch up with an old friend again and then we had the little matter of Son B’s birthday to take care of. We went to his favourite pizza place in town and my mum made him a dairy free birthday cake which he loved.

Coming back on Sunday lunchtime, he got the rest of the day to celebrate with his dad. Happy child all around. This my friends, has been a good week.

The last week before a half term always seems to be a lot busier even though you don’t really do anything else. The boys had this one with their dads so I tried to spend some more time with them before they are off for ten days. Somehow, quality time in our house always seems to involve home made pizza and cake galore. I have recently by accident discovered that adding more flour to pancake batter with some cinnamon and clove (firm favourites in our house in the cake department, my Christmas obsession is obviously genetic) makes some kind of spiced buns that taste surprisingly yummy and disappear in record time.

I bugged the boys to watch Aquaman with me, of course purely because I think it’s a great film and not at all for the fact that you could really watch it muted and the screen frozen on a fishy Khal Drogo. They did so albeit under protest and repaid me by connecting their switch to my tv – sometimes I hate modern technology.

Overall we had a lovely week together though, quite chilled and with a lot of laughter. As much as I complain about them – and to be absolutely honest, I don’t believe those perfect mothers out there who never once have enough of their offspring – I love my three beyond comprehension. I enjoy my free time but I also miss their madness and I quite like it now that my older two have their mobiles and I can call or text them if I want to. Not that I always get a reply, but never mind.

As I have next week off too, I had to pack for my next adventure, this time in Madrid. We had a really early flight, so my lovely Nelly stayed the night at mine. And being the responsible grown-ups we are, we threw an all-nighter, with ice cream, hot chocolate and some fizz (alcohol free as yes, I am still not drinking). I love being my mature and sensible self sometimes. I shall report back to you of my next little adventure once I have safely returned.

There is nothing like an early morning taxi ride to the airport to start off your week, especially when you are completely hyper on coffee after not sleeping at all the night before. The adventures of Marie & Nelly continue in Spain this week, in Madrid to be precise. Being well prepared – with travel guide and hair straighteners in tow – nothing could possibly go wrong.

It’s my birthday week and I was really looking forward to spending it in this place, my only contact with Spain so far has been a visit to Mallorca twenty years ago and although I was in Tenerife a few years back, I wouldn’t necessarily count that either. One minor detail that had slipped my attention though – and made Nelly laugh on a number of occasions – was the fact that this week was also the champions league final week. Which happens to take place in Madrid. I might have sworn a few times at random footballs being dotted around the city or the giant screens and other football related irritations adorning the plaza mayor asnd ruining my pictures.

Our hotel was right in the city centre, with a roof top pool and terrace that came in rather handy as it was really hot. Madrid is an amazing city, the architecture and parcs are so beautiful and the food is delicious. We spend a lot of time browsing the local supermarkets for interesting looking food, carrying our treasures back to the hotel for late night feasts and eating our body weight in Churros in the Mercado de San Miguel.

On my birthday, we started the day with cakes for breakfast, snacking our way around town popping into all those opulent churches you find everywhere dotted around and went for a paella and an evening walk in the Retiro. The day ended watching the sun going down over the roofs of Madrid, cocktail in hand. I can get used to spending my birthdays like this.

I was working on the weekend – I tend to do that now as it gives me most of the week off but I am not using up too many holidays. I did miss my little monsters though and was quite glad to get them all back on the Sunday. Now for the last stretch before the summer holidays.

Much love marvelous people. Candidly yours, TC.

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