Alone

The sun is streaming through my lounge window. The lounge is as tidy as it ever gets. The house is not quiet, its peaceful. And I feel reborn.

Its hard to explain how having my four year old start school has made me feel. Yes it’s been sad and yes it’s been heart wrenchingย but it’s also been somewhat liberating. In a way I wasn’t expecting.

I have yet to clean the house. I will, I promise, but I’m just taking my time. My time. Time for me. Imagine that!

Hot coffee. Peaceful toilet trips. Sometimes I feel like I’m just sitting in stunned silence.

I have used my new office just once this week. I will use it more, but at the moment I’m getting used to being in the house, my house, alone. I didn’t realise how rarely that had actually happened in the last four years until now. Even the peaceful times when Oscar was younger, were when he was napping. He was here and I was ‘en garde’ so to speak. Now there is no one here. Just me.

I’m listening hard. And hoping to hear myself.

For the first time in a long time.

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Our Favourite Five – September

September? How the dickens can September be over already? This month has just shot by and I think in part it’s been down to the lovely stuff we’ve done. Also I don’t know about you, but for me the year always speeds up in the Autumn. Maybe it’s because of the darker nights, maybe it’s because of the many festivities to come. As they say, time always flies when you’re having fun!

Anyway whether I can believe it or not, the month is coming to an end and therefore it’s time for Our Favourite Five, linking up as ever with the lovely Suburban Mum. So here we go:

1.Ragdale Hall

At the beginning of the month you may have seen myself and my chum Bethany swanned, yes there really is no other word for it, swanned off to the health spa Ragdale Hall for a long weekend. We left our children with their fathers on the Friday morning, took three trains to Melton Mowbry in Leicestershire and had the most amazing weekend of relaxing, pampering and laughing. I’m planning to write a full post about our time there, but I couldn’t not include Ragdale in my favourite five for September. In fact it’s probably in my favourite five for the year!

Escaping from the children!

Bethany and I escaping from the children!

Spa happy!

Spa happy!

Cheeky

Cheeky!

2. Baths

I’ve been a big fan of baths for a long time. I love a good soak and I love my Lush bath bombs. Recently, I’ve not been having them so often (too tired, no time, insert rubbish excuse here), but last Saturday morning I just decided instead of a shower I really wanted a bath and I really wanted one with my Lush Butterball Bath Bomb. So I got the bath ready and was just getting in when Oscar and Daddy came bounding in. But instead of getting annoyed, I just decided to go with it and when Oscar asked to get in with me, I just couldn’t refuse. We never had baths together when he was a baby. I’m not really sure why. I think I was too scared. All the medical staff told me I shouldn’t (just as they told me not to do loads of other things I now realise were actually my choice to make) and as a new mother I just did what they said. Ahh well. Any how back to our bath. We dropped the bath bomb in together and had so much fun watching it fizz and melt. Then we spent a good hour just playing together and chatting to Ben who sat on the floor next to us. Oscar was just so relaxed. It was a great bonding experience. Rather than feel sad that we didn’t do it sooner, I’ve ordered some more bath bombs from Lush and am hoping to make our family baths a more regular occurrence.

For our next bath I've ordered The Experimenter from Lush!

For our next bath I’ve ordered The Experimenter from Lush!

3. Lunch

We’ve been all about packed lunches this month. Firstly we got Oscar’s gorgeous, personalised Dabbawalla lunch-bag from a friend in America, then I got to meet Grace from Eats Amazing at the Capri-Sun #PackedLunchLove workshop. Ever since, I’ve been using my cutters to make all sorts of exciting things, such a cheese and carrot coins and moulded eggs. Oscar has started staying for lunch at preschool one day a week and it’s been great to see him eating the bits I put up for him, but also to hear that his teacher loves what I’m doing (she really liked the coins ๐Ÿ™‚ ) Nice to know that the effort is not going unnoticed, so thanks for the inspiration Grace!

 

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Carrot & Cheese coins

Star eggs

Star eggs

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First ever preschool packed lunch. Not overly ambitious but one step at a time!

4. Boden

The boy had something of a growth spurt over the summer. I knew that and had bought him some new clothes recently. Only, it never occurred to me that his coats were now also too small, until it chucked it down with rain and we had to walk to preschool as week. Suddenly his raincoat was more like a jacket! It was time to upgrade – and fast! I looked about and saw nothing that I liked. Everything seemed a bit, well, boring and he’s got a lifetime to wear dull navy, grey or green. So when I found this coat from Boden I fell in love with it and with a 20% off & free delivery voucher I got through the post, I knew it was the one for us. It came super quickly (thankfully) and the boy loved it as soon as he saw it. So much so that he wanted it on straight away despite having nothing but a tshirt underneath! I got it in a size 4-5 and while it’s a little bit big, I’m hoping it’ll last. He does look so very handsome in it!

Boden Boys Fleece Lined Anorak.

Boden Boys Fleece Lined Anorak.

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All coat and no knickers ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Bundled up for preschool – nice a toasty

5. Top Knots

I’ve got pretty long hair. Sometimes I like to wear it down, swept over one shoulder. But some days I just can’t be doing with it all round my face, so I just scrape it all back. I’ve got pony tails down pat but boy can they get boring after a while. So this month I took it upon my self to learn how to do a messy top knot. They seem to be all the rage, but I just couldn’t figure out how to get that volume and look. Enter the trusty Pinterest, who told me to do a whole load of back combing and invest in some bobby pins/kirby grips. And to actually knot the hair. I always thought the knot bit was a figure of speech, that it was just a bun by another name, but no! You actually knot the hair. Some days the grips stay in all day, other days they’ve fallen out within the first hour! But I’m getting there. I like it as a look and it goes really well with knitwear. A great combo for Autumn!

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Messy top nots a go go!

 

 

I do love looking back at the month like this. It reminds me just how much fun we’ve had. What in September has made you and your family happy?

 

A Dress to Impress – a wedding guest shopping haul

So you may or may not remember I had a rather unusual weekend planned for the weekend just gone. When I say unusual, the sad thing is that it didn’t used to be unusual. We had friends to stay and I went shopping to buy things for me. That used to be so run of the mill that it was hardly worth talking about. Today, time spent entertaining (anyone other than the boy) and focussing on me a2re a luxury and one to be absolutely cherished. If you’re new to this blog and wondering what on earth happened to turn something so ordinary into the extraordinary I can sum it up in one, sweet word.

Oscar.

Yeah, it’s the same old story. Girl meets boy, girl moves in with boy, boy and girl live together doing their ordinary things and taking them fully for granted for years, girl and boy get married, girl gets pregnant and kisses goodbye to shopping days and leisurely trips to the hairdressers. I kind of guessed this would be the case, which is one of the reasons we chose to wait to have him. We wanted to be selfish for a bit. I’m so glad we did.

Wistful sigh

Anywho! As these weekends are so precious to me now, I thought I’d record it in something of a haul post. I’ve never done one before (partly cos I don’t go shopping enough!) So I hope you enjoy.

Saturday morning saw my friend Michelle and I getting up and ready in record time. We left the house as soon as we could, leaving the boys to sort the children out. This was going to be a proper day off and although I know Michelle felt bad leaving her hubby with their daughter all day, I’m sorry Ben I really didn’t. Maybe it’s because I’m with Oscar all the time with no break at all in the week? Or maybe I’m just a heartless wench – whatever!

We chose to get the train so we didn’t have to worry about parking and we behaved like two excited girls on a school trip the whole way there (by which I mean giggling and stuff – we didn’t moon anyone or sing rude songs, well much ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) When we arrived we cracked on with the job of finding me a dress for the wedding I’m off to this Saturday. The first shop I wanted to try was Pepperberry. As I’ve written about before I’ve had great success in Bravissimo, their sister shop, and wanted to try some of their dresses which are fitted depending on your chest size. I tried on so many styles and designs, in any number of combinations, from 18 Super Curvy to 16 Really Curvy, but not one fitted me properly (except one, which I quite liked until Michelle took a picture and I realised how mumsy it made me look – gah no!) So I left, feeling a little down. If I couldn’t find something in the shop that actually catered for my shape, what chance did I have elsewhere?

Bleh! Couldn't look more frumpy.

Bleh! Couldn’t look more frumpy.

We wandered up the high street where I saw Joules. I mentioned how gorgeous their little peoples clothes were and glanced through the open door, where I saw the most amazing mint and floral shift dress. It was so summery. I pointed it out and Michelle suggested I try it on, and any others that might be around. Despite my initial reticence (“nothing in here will fit me!”) I picked up two dresses and took them into the changing room. The mint dress sort of fitted except it was a bit too tight across the boobs (story of my life) and the sleeve length wasn’t right for me.

Not right for me but such a happy dress. Joules - Marcie Dress size 18

Not right for me but such a happy dress. Joules – Marcie Dress size 18

So I held out no hope for the ivory and floral number Michelle had picked out. It was the only dress I’d tried on that I could do up myself and it fitted perfectly. Everywhere. I took a step back looked at the mirror and welled up. It really accentuates my new shape. Since losing 6 stone I actually have a waist and boy does this frock set it off! I became so emotional I wasn’t actually sure what to do with myself and ended up ducking back into the cubicle and closing the curtain on a poor bewildered Michelle! After that I had no option but to buy it. It didn’t matter that it was a shape, colour, pattern, design I’d NEVER have bought or worn before. It was the dress. Simple.

Joules - Julie Dress, Size 18

Joules – Julie Dress, Size 18

Now I know this isn’t a picture of me in the dress, but I promise to post one once I’ve been to the wedding. I’d love my family to see me in it first; nothing beats the real thing for impact ๐Ÿ˜‰

I couldn’t believe I’d achieved what I set out to, even before lunch! Which for the record we went to Nando’s for. Who knew Nando’s could be so low syn?! I had a Butterfly Chicken (medium heat) for 3 syns, a large spicy rice for 5.5 syns and a mixed leaf salad and a diet coke for nothing. A full on proper meal for 8.5 syns! The lowest sandwich I’ve ever found was 13 syns. Madness! It was really nice and I will definitely be going back.

After such an early dress success it meant I could relax and enjoy wandering round for the rest of the day. I got some make up which I’ve desperately needed for a while now. A new mascara to replace the rubbish No7 one I’m using (I used to love their 360 mascara til they stopped making it and flogged me one that is NOT the same), a neutral eye palette (great for travelling and pretty much the only colours I wear these days anyway) and a new creme blusher from MAC (I’ve used this blusher for years, but the last time it ran out I tried to economise by buying a much cheaper No7 one. What a false economy that was!)

A rare make up haul!

A rare make up haul!

Soap and Glory Thick & Fast Mascara in Super Jet Black - although I fear the wand may be too big for my stupidly short lashes :-(

Soap and Glory Thick & Fast Mascara in Super Jet Black – although I fear the wand may be too big for my stupidly short lashes ๐Ÿ™

Soap & Glory Lid Stuff

Soap & Glory Lid Stuff Neutral Eyeshadow Palette

MAC Cremeblend Blush in Ladyblush - which sounds a bit too much like lady bush to me!

MAC Cremeblend Blush in Ladyblush – which sounds a bit too much like lady bush to me!

And in keeping with my theme of trying more bold summer wear, I also got a t-shirt from M&S in an amazing neon orange. Had I not worn it yesterday and splattered pomegranate juice all over it while making tea last night I would have posted a picture! I’m hoping it comes out in the wash, but for now you’ll have to believe me that its an awesome colour and it makes me look uber tanned!

We had the most relaxing day, just pottering and chatting and I want to say thank you to Michelle for coming with me and to Ben and Lee for looking after the children. I know Oscar wasn’t the easiest to handle when I left, but he needs this as much as I do. I came back feeling like a different person. Only that different person was just me and I don’t often feel like that.

I’m so excited for this coming weekend. Oscar gets to see his favourite person in the world (his cousin Lucas) and to have a night away from me. I get to see my family and I get to see Stacy marry her Craig. I also get to wear my dress and feel like a grown up.

I can’t bloody wait.

 

 

Not sponsored, not paid for, just me

 

 

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