Taking 5

Just having to take 5.

Taking 5 to take stock and appreciation of life.

Life is fleeting.

Time flies.


Today I woke in my old bedroom after such a deep sleep….

Today I had breakfast made for me… homemade stewed apple (made by Dad!) and yoghurt..

Today I went for the most beautiful run, frosty, fresh…

Today I laughed out loud at my favourite road sign…

Today I saw my favourite Aunt… we ate biscuits and giggled like we did when I was little..

Today I saw my Mum, she wouldn’t let go of my hand.

Today I had coffee and cake with my Dad.

Today I had gorgeous giggles with my next favourite 2 blond boys..

Today I had cuddles from one of my oldest, closest friends and business partner..

Today I saw my boys on facetime, laughing and happy..

Today I had long chats about the future with the Big Man, exciting times ahead..

Today I am being welcomed for supper to someone I don’t know…


Just taking 5.

And appreciating the small things.. the seemingly insignificant things that make a numbing day in to a wondrous one…





The formula for success

It is widely understood that there is no such thing as an overnight success.

There is no such thing as a fairy godmother or a magic wand…   There is also no such thing as luck… although many like to use that as an excuse as to why they are where they are.


Personally, I believe you make your own luck by the choices you make, the decisions you stand by and the brand, the energy that you put out….


Although today, the penny dropped.




The penny dropped, that there may just be a formula.


Based on some training I attended, some further research and a conversation, a brainstorm with a friend this morning over a herbal tea… there may well be a formula.


It isn’t a secret formula… but as I said, the penny just dropped. For me anyway.


And now I can’t decide whether to blog about it… or whether I just need to mull it over a bit more…


But this is where I have got to…



If (M + V) + (H + E) = F


Then F = P + A


Therefore  (P + A ) + (2T + C)= S….


It’s actually quite simple.




In other news, I had a crash course in negotiation this morning. Willy refused to eat breakfast, do his homework, to get dressed, to put on his shoes, to go to school..   He called me ‘Dirk’… and screamed and shouted and slammed doors.


There are some moments, I think that I am not cut out for this mothering thing…   and that I want to cry and scream back… and go back to bed.


But when the peace descends and our face off has run its course, snuggled in the kitchen chair, together, listening to him read his school book … I remember that there is no better job than that of being a parent.






Leftover risotto…

I am shocked to find myself ravenously gobbling (yes gobbling) up the boys’ leftover creamy, cheesy leftover risotto…

Even more shocked to find that I am ravenously gobbling up the boys’ leftover risotto from the pan… AND with the spoon!

I stop gobbling for a few minutes and change the spoon for a fork.

I continue gobbling.

Somehow having a fork makes it ok…

To eat from a pan…?

Or to eat leftovers?

To eat creamy carbs on a week night when I haven’t exercised?…

I am not sure…

So why I am shocked? I bet many people eat kids leftovers. I bet quite a few eat from a pan… saves washing up right?

It’s not something I would do.

The eating off a spoon – terribly uncouth.

The eating from a pan – even more so!

The eating kids leftovers – in my opinion and experience, a slippery slope of adding in extra unrequired calories a day which can lead to the middle aged middle.

These are behaviours, I wouldn’t usually allow myself to do.

My personal standards today have clearly slipped!

So that begs the question, why is that? What happened today to make me resort to eating leftover boy’s tea off a spoon from the pan?

Looking at the facts of what needed to happen today:

Tom needed to be ready to leave at 7.20am to get to school on time for 8am.

Willy and I both needed to be at the same school for 9.15am.

Willy needed picking up from the school at 2.15pm.

Tom needed picking up from the same school at 4.45pm.

2 drop offs / 2 pick ups and the rest of the day was mine to do what I wanted.

That sounds boringly easy. Simple. And definitely not ‘eating leftovers with a spoon from a pan’- like…

Or at least what I would have thought – pre-kids, suited and booted, off on the corporate ladder warpath, ignorant to life as a mum…

For adding in to the simple recipe of 4 drop off and pick ups – add in the additional factors:

The school is a 40 minute each way commute.

You could argue that I could have made one trip both ways, hung out near the school for a few hours.

However, while Tom gets dressed, makes and eats his breakfast, does his ablutions independently and without any fuss… Willy does not.

Willy likes to take his time, having breakfast in his pyjamas (he hates to get his school clothes with one spot of a meal on them, let alone any spillage of water – Mr OCD in miniature).

Willy likes 3 rounds of toast, made for him with just the right amount of butter.

Any rushing Willy or deferring him from his routine, ends up meaning disaster. He would not be ready for 7.20 am.

The return journey… I could have picked up Willy at 2.15 and hung about around school for Tom.   But Tom was on an away rugby fixture and 4.45pm pick up is likely to mean 5.15pm. And in my professional Mum’s opinion 3 hours is too long to hang around in coffee shops… or go shopping with a 6 year old (chaos or massive expenditure)…. And going home to drop Willy off and back again would be just a waste of time and petrol…

So the simple recipe of today has been logistically tricky… not only in terms of cost effectiveness, timeliness but also the added important factor of keeping 2 small boys fed, watered and most importantly happy – ensuring both of them get the same level of love and attention as each other…. (I am still conscious of Willy’s melt down only a few weeks ago because I spend too much time with Tom…albeit on school runs, but he doesn’t understand that).

Add in to the simple recipe, the ingredients that are required to keep my life plans and my business moving in the direction that I want it.

Add in to the simple recipe, the ingredients that are required to keep my health and sanity in tact.

Add in to the simple recipe, the necessary ingredients that are required to keep the household functioning, the endless list of ‘jobs’ that come with being a home owner, a wife, a friend… HMRC to ring, the garage to ring and pay a bill, anniversary present to buy, etc etc etc…

I had thought that leaving my corporate job would leave me to have a more balanced life for my children, my relationships and me….

When I imagined this balanced life – the image of an old fashioned scale came into my mind… and rather than being heavily tipped over to the corporate, career side with my family, friendships and me left wanting more, swaying precariously high up… the scale would be even, equal, perfectly level, calm, immobile…

I realize now that that is an image that is something unachievable. There is no such thing as perfect. There is no such thing as perfect balance. Trying to achieve that is setting a standard far too high, impossible! And as such just another reason to beat myself up for not achieving something…

This image and realization then triggers another memory… a clip or a talk that I stumbled across once.. A guest on Oprah, once said exactly that. Work / life balance is just another reason, another weapon for women to beat themselves up for not getting it right.

I love what she says afterwards… Embrace the beautiful mess that you are.. that we all are.

So today I embrace being a beautiful mess…. Driving the same route multiple times, catching quick coffees with friends to fill the time between road trips, scribbling business plans on note pads, phone calls from the car… a beautiful mess of a Mum with boys on my knee at tea time, boys on my lap on the sofa… coaxing little ones to bed with promises of treats… patiently watching Willy flap and cry for 10 minutes in a particularly bad night terror as I have my cup of herbal sleep tea… protecting him from sharp corners, walls and tables…

It is therefore rather fitting that my supper was a beautiful mess too… a beautiful mess in the bottom of the pan that tasted so good… off a spoon.


beautiful mess


The word that is resounding in my brain this evening as I sit to write my daily blog… is just ‘shattered’…

Shatter: “to be broken into fragments or become weak or insubstantial…”

I actually woke up this morning full of beans and that was despite minimal sleep over night last night – thanks to long drive and being overtired when I got into bed albeit early, I don’t think I nodded off until well after midnight… and also thanks to a little boy who was struggling to breathe due to a blocked nose who kept appearing in the darkness by my bedside… After the 3rd time taking him back to bed, I let him crawl into bed with me… only to be kept awake by continual sniffing, snorting and then finally snoring… and a hot wriggling little body wanting to get closer and closer to me, little arms flinging around my head…

Normally a night like that would leave me ‘shattered’ in the morning, but I am still reaping the rewards of a very relaxing week away in Cornish air…

The shattering started with the car… that is making a very strange rattle somewhere underneath and making the steering wheel wiggle and jiggle when I go over 70… Not great… something has become weak… or ‘shattered’… and so I am car less for the next few days… stranded, while someone pieces back together or strengthens whatever it is that is no longer substantial enough to carry a tonne of Range Rover. (Thank goodness for my chauffeur – aka Grandpa!)

The second shattering… well, a rather excitable, ferocious, hilarious, energetic pillow fight by the boys and some friends in Tom’s room left his prize Christening present, in tiny fragments all over his carpet… shattered; a million tiny shards that was once a good old ‘yorkshire yard of ale’ glass, proudly mounted on the beams in his bedroom…. Gathering dust (lots of it!…) until his 18th or 21st when no doubt he would neck it and then follow in the Godfather who gave it to him’s footsteps and see the contents for a second time behind the marquee…   This was not mendable…. Half an hour on my knees and a dustpan to gather all the pieces and I am still seeing tiny diamond shards glinting in his carpet. It will be slippers for a while. Disappointing… but to be honest, I am surprised it lasted the 7 plus years it has! He can save up for another…

The final shattering … me! I am now weak, insubstantial, in bits and pieces… for it was actually Willy who threw the cushion that destroyed the yard. Willy who is carbon copy of Mr OCD when it comes to perfection…. And he has to be perfect… hates to be told off, told he is wrong, not quite right… however, 32 years his junior, Willy has not yet controlled his temper, reactions to these situations of imperfection. The red mist descends…   And I have learnt that the only thing to do in these times, is stay patient… but it takes every ounce of willpower within me to keep calm, remain unreactive, speaking softly so that I don’t feed the anger, stoke the flames of his frustration…. I have learnt to give him his space.. until he has pieced his shattered ego back together…

These little episodes can last as little as 15 minutes or a couple of hours before he reappears, wanting to share something he has discovered… before quietly and softly saying ‘I’m sorry for being bad / sad / mean, Mummy’… Tonight, given the lack of sleep from the night before, it took him longer to clear his thoughts… but as he siddled up to me on the sofa, and curled into me and said his little apology so sincerely, that’s when my tension dissipated… and my resolve shattered into little pieces, I weaken and become insubstantial… and I realize how much I have been holding my breath….

While the Yard can’t be mended or pieced back together and the car can be bolted, welded or fixed, I can also regain my strength…become substantial and whole…

It’s time for sleep.