July 2019

Pinch, punch, seventh month of the year.  Or something like that. Now we are officially in July, the first half of 2019 is over and done with. Scary stuff. Time passes so much quicker when you get older and have to deal with the mundane stuff of going to work and paying bills. It also means we are now closer to Christmas. Just saying.

I am still running and I have now inspired a couple of fellow mums from school to go running with me. We don’t go together all the time but it is a great motivation – or competition? – and actually despite my lone ranger attitude when it comes to sports, it is quite fun to run with others. It also improves my social life so I will definitely keep it up. Go me.

It has been another week of working a lot but I guess I just have to grit my teeth and stick with it, it should slow down a bit over the summer. I don’t mind being busy at work but when it goes into the early hours of the morning it throws my body clock out of sync entirely and a day off gets lost in just hanging around rather than using it to do things.

My youngest has been very excited this week because it is his school fair on Sunday and of course we all went to support the school. As soon as we arrived, my older two just disappeared into the masses and the small one immediately spotted the water fight area so he was busy too. That left me to find myself some lactofree cake – I am still in mourning over my loss of cheese and butter – and wander around, chit chatting with other mums for a bit.

After an hour and a half, I collected one very wet child, two still dry ones and an au pair from various points around the school, fed them all a burger on the way home and back we went. Overall, a decent week. I like weeks like this.

This week has been ridiculous at work. I worked as much as I normally do in the weeks running up to Christmas. To say I am overtired and very grumpy is a bit of an understatement. But then there are holidays to pay for and things I like to get so maybe I should not grumble too much and see it as a blessing in disguise. Well I can try at least. I just like having a good moan every now and then and work is a great target for it.

It has started to dawn on me that our wonderful au pair is going to leave us soon and I am really going to miss her. We have found as new one already, French too, from the same area as well, so I see that as a good omen. She seems very nice too and she exchanged a lot of emails with our current one which hasn’t put her off so fingers crossed we are on to another winner here.

July is a funny month. It’s a run up to the summer holidays. It seems to go quicker than other months and it marks the end for so many things. Or maybe it just feels like it now because once you have kids, they define the course of the year. For many years. A small eternity in fact.

As you can tell, not a lot has happened this week. In fact I’m not entirely sure where it’s gone.

This has not only been the last week of the entire school year but is also the week our beloved au pair is going back home to pursue new adventures. As in university. We are going to miss her terribly. She has been great with the boys, like a little sister and friend to me and she will forever be remembered for christening the cat to ‘le chat’. Unfortunately for her successor, she has as lot to live up to.

Work is a bit of a drag at the moment. The weather is reasonably decent and I’d rather be outside enjoying the sunshine than being stuck inside a stuffy old warehouse unpacking school socks and trousers. Because we are getting ready for the new school year already. I wish I was that prepared ….. Of course you can count on the last day of school bringing torrential rain and black skies for the next six weeks because that is English weather for you.

My youngest brought all the things he made in school throughout the year home gradually over the last couple of days; I’m not entirely sure where I am meant to keep it all, I probably should rent an extra room. Or maybe I finally sift through the boxes and boxes of stuff I have collected of the children’s art works and random stuff and what not to make sure there is only keep worthy stuff in them. But then I find it difficult to part from their beautiful creations so it might not be a good idea. There must be another corner in the loft I have not yet filled up with bits.

Now, our au pair was leaving super early on Sunday morning, taking a bus to Paris for a stopover with some family – plus you accumulate a lot of stuff in a year and the air fares for excess luggage are extortionate so dragging four giant bags on the bus seemed a better option – so we had a celebratory meal on the Friday night. Quite befitting, it had to be Spoons for the last supper, what else. Of course Nelly came along too. Family after all.

Sunday brought us an emotional farewell and then the boys gradually went to their dads too for their first week of summer holidays. All of a sudden, it was all so quiet…..

It is the first child free week of the summer holidays – well the first week of the summer holidays in general so I am off to a good start with that one. Mind you I know we have a few weeks ahead of us to spend some quality time together as well and I am already dreading it. Did I say that out loud? Of course I mean I am very much looking forward to it. I really do. But I also know that whoever came up with the concept of six and a bit weeks of no school for children very obviously does not have any themselves. Or does not see them very often.

I do not have holidays myself yet, so I am having a working week but I managed to sneak in a little trip to Copenhagen with my favourite travel buddy and honorary daughter Nelly. I don’t know when she started to have the cheek to call me her travel mum, but after being outraged by it for about ten seconds I decided it was better to embrace my fate, especially as I could well be her mum.

Wednesday morning saw us flying out to Denmark. Now, I must say, I am absolutely in love with Scandinavia. The food is fabulous, the architecture gorgeous and everyone is friendly, tall, attractive and has a bike. It happened to be a couple of very hot days but the breeze from the sea made it bearable and dear God we walked a hell of a lot. We had a hotel right in the city centre near Nyhavn so we did our tried and tested concept of pop out, come back, pop out again that we have down to a T.

I did, rather foolishly, ignore my lactose intolerance because who can say NO to liquorice ice cream and cream cake? I did suffer for it but boy was it worth it. We ate a lot, saw so much and still not enough and spend a great evening in an old amusement park flying in a chain swing high over the city. Sickness inducing but you only live once. We just stayed until Friday night but it was a fantastic few days. And made us hungry for yet more travels.

I had to work Saturday and Sunday but as I am off for two weeks after that it was more than bearable. Now  just have to brace myself for two weeks with my little monsters. Wish me luck.

Well hello summer holidays! Two weeks of blissful family activities, delightful day trips and happy memories. As if. Any parent knows that the summer holidays are the single most stressful period of time for any mum and dad, especially when you are working and trying to balance out of sync childcare, riot running children and your own mood which will already be rather doom and gloom at the prospect of what is still lying ahead of you.

Despite the best intentions, it’s been more of a chill week than anything else, but the nthe weather has not really been that great so I think we can use this as an excuse. We did have a couple of long overdue catch ups with friends, started sorting out school stuff – let’s try and be prepared this year – and attempted the dreaded chore of sorting out wardrobes. Boys done, mine still to go. Wonder why that is…… Any advice on how to ruthlessly tackle mountains of clothes you know you haven’t worn in years will be gratefully received.

Saturday has been travel time again, this time to the Pas-de-Calais for a week of beach holidays with my parents. Taking the car to Dover and crossing the channel on the ferry is still one of my favourite things to do despite the massive stress of having to drive on the wrong side of the road on the continent. Which is never really that bad but of course you imagine it to be horrendous.

I love the ocean. I have traveled a lot to hotter places in the last few years, but I have to say, I feel much more at ease in the Northern countries. I prefer cold to warm. The rugged shores of Northern France will always be one of my favourite places to chill and unwind. How much I get to do with my parents and children together 24/7 is another matter. I’m not the best having constant company forced upon me, let alone being pushed into the role of permanent mediator. We shall see.

Much love marvelous people. Candidly yours, TC.

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