More than a Mum

More than a mum is the place I save everything that doesn’t fall into the Travel, Food and Lifestyle buckets. It’s all those little things that go into my life and make me the person I am. Expect to find, fashion, beauty, photography, hobbies and anything else that is another part of me that I thought you might be interested in.

Of course it’s not until you start packing away your worldly possessions that you realise just how much junk you’ve accumulated over the years and usually I’m quite good at ‘one in one out’

Thanks to all of my house moves I have kept down the amount of treasures to keep and each move means a huge clear out.

I have already packed off three charity sacks, I have a huge shopper full of books to go and a car load of junk to take to the dump…and I’m not finished.

When I came back from Italy I set up home in a three bed terraced home, as I had left most of my belongings in Italy I accepted all offers of second-hand goods from family and friends in order to have a comfortable home. Needs m ust as they say.

Then I moved in with Paul and he too, bachelor, had a load of tripe bits and pieces given to him from family or bought in second-hand shops when setting up home. Previous ladies had tried their best at making a home of his house but had taken the best bits with them when they left. So we lived in a mixed home for a few years, neither of us wanting to relinquish what we thought to be important :)

Then along came the twins and with them their own massive collection of goods!!! And that is what I’m desperately trying to sell via or Ebay. Car seats, sheepskin rugs for them, double buggy, double buggy sunshade (SPF 50!), footmuffs and the list goes on. Not to mention all of my maternity gear.

I tried convincing Paul to assist me in a boot sale thinking it would be quirky, fun but he’s having none of it.

‘Give it all away, or I’ll take it to the dump.’

But you see there’s a part of me that thinks it’s tragic to throw away articles when they are in perfectly good condition.

I felt a sinner last week when he chucked out two perfectly good Christmas trees (we really don’t need three!) for the dustmen to collect and I have been hoping they had the good sense to take them to a charity shop or find a new home.

‘Why didnt’ I dispose of them sensibly?’ you ask. Well Paul was in a hurry to get things done and before I knew it the decision had been made but he won’t be beating me again.

I am a woman with a mission and if it doesn’t sell I’ll take it all to a charity shop the day before we move.

Have you a loft full of junk memories you find hard to part with?

This is a picture of the garden at our new place if it all goes through. It needs a lot of work but I’m looking forward to the planning and learning all about gardens, flowers, vegetables and all.

Exciting seeing as our present pad has a postage stamp garden and should you stumble you’ll probably be at the other side in a shot.

The solicitors are working hard and we’ve received the survey report which mentions a few things that will need immediate attention but nothing too drastic.

I want a brand new kitchen and to rip out the downstairs bathroom and I know we’re going to have many a discussion on this.

Oh the fun that lies ahead!

However, we can just move in and live their quite happily but I have never had my very own brand new kitchen. In fact in 2003 I got really really close when we were renovating our house after a fire two years earlier.

It was 8th March 2001. I remember it well as it’s International Woman’s Day and a festa in Italy celebrated with your female friends. In fact I was shopping in Rovereto with Alessia and we were happily chatting about our plans for that evening.

The children were at school and would go to the hotel straight after for merenda, the Italian afternoon tea. So I had time to browse the new spring collections.

I wasn’t paying full attention when Ale answered her phone as I was mesmerised with a fantastic skirt that was sooo me. I didn’t even really notice the worried look on her face, in fact it was the first time since my return from the UK that I actually felt I was starting to relax. Times were tough but I kept reminding myself the children were my focus here.

‘We’ve got to go back’ Alessia said smiling, ‘My mum was on the phone and seems there’s a problem at home’

‘Oh? What’s up?’

‘Seems there’s a fire at your house and the fire brigade are already there, but mum said the children are both fine.’

‘Oh My God!’ ‘My house is on fire?’

The 25 minute journey up the mountain seemed interminable, the pair of us questioning what could possibly be the cause.

As we  passed the viewpoint at Serrada we saw a plume of smoke reaching up into the sky.

‘Wow, that looks like a big fire.’

I was nervous and I kept reminding myself that the kids were ok. Alessia dropped me off as close to the house as she could and I pushed my way through the crowds of people standing looking at tomorrow’s news.

The flames were licking the roof. The windows had exploded and the blackest smoke was pouring out of them. You could hear the wooden beams crack and split, hissing as the fire tore through them.

‘That’ll sort the woodworm out!’ I heard myself think to myself. I chastised myself for being so frivolous in such a dramatic moment.

Enrico was standing on the pavement with Danielle watching the fire brigade as they struggled to reach the flames due to our house being in an awkward position. He carried his usual contempt in his eyes that he held just for me and for the umpteenth time I felt like a piece of shit.

I sought out the children and ran to them. Megan was babbling so quickly her words were getting caught up and Thomas was so sweetly trying to be the man of the situation. He would be 15 in a couple of weeks.

Megan had been in the house with her school friend Francecsca, they had been watching cartoons and eating biscuits. They had noticed the smoke creeping down the stairs central to the open plan living space. They had tried hiding in the downstairs bedroom at the back of the house with the door shut but Meg had realised she ought to tell someone so closing Francesca back in the room she ran out of the house and down to the hotel where she rasied the alarm. Her uncle had ran back up and got Francesca.

The following day we went to verify the damage.

The smell

The smell of a house fire is strong, acrid and sticky. You can smell it still in your hair after a shower, on your clothes and on your skin and every saved object will carry the smell forever.


Black is everywhere, black soot on the furnishings, black water marks running down the walls from the hoses. Black the mark where ashes had fallen on my prized red leather jacket and burnt holes in it.

There was a hole in the lounge ceiling and looking through it you could see the blue sky through the burnt roof in the bedroom above.

The stairs were still in place and safe and an upstairs inspection showed the roof had gone. Everything that had been in the main bedroom had simply disappeared in ashes up in the sky. My book collection, my papirus from Egypt, my treasured bedcover, my clothes. Megan’s room was gone too, her clothes, toys, books, her school bag with homework! Everything gone. Her cuddly toys, her dolls and all of her childhood memories. Gone.

Basically if the flames hadn’t got to it, the water had and our home as we knew it was no more. Miraculously I found our family photos still intact, they stank of smoke and when I go through them every now and again they still hold a whiff of house fire smell.

Quite apt a fire at this point in my life, destroying everything we had worked for over the years. Was this a warning from the Gods to Enrico and I? If so what were they trying to say?

If nothing else, this was the first chapter of the total destruction of our relationship.

I noticed at the weekend a newspaper saying Cheryl Cole was consulting a psychic over her recent marriage breakdown and my heart went out to her.

It does seem as if women in the moment of need turn to every possible means to try and gain a bigger understanding of what is happening.

I have tried just about everything over the years. My first trip to a medium was as I was leaving college. She predicted two marriages and a move abroad. I returned to various other psychics, tarot readers and mediums over the years especially when I was feeling most insecure.

I also started to read tarot cards myself, teaching myself from a book. I had a few ladies ask me if I could read the cards for them and they seemed to think I had ‘talent’ that I ‘knew’ what was going to happen to them. My confidence grew and I discovered I was good at something. The trouble is I was so insecure that after making a cup of tea my first task of the day would be to read my cards.

One day I decided enough was enough and I threw them away, book, cards and semi precious stones kept with them to keep them ‘energised’!

But how many people run their lives with the assistance of these means?

I’m sure Cheryl would love to know what’s going to happen, where she’ll be in a year’s time and is she doing the right thing. But I think you have to take a decision and follow it through as hard as that may be.

I will admit though to having a sneaky read of  my stars each month and to getting cross with Mystic Meg should she fail to get it right. 

Sometimes I have cut out a certain prediction, kept it in my purse, for courage, inspiration or just a keepsake and re read it later saying ‘Wow, it came true!’

Maybe I made it come true myself, maybe it was the stars, planets and various astrological persuasions? Who knows?

Just to prove my point I’m going to copy a bit from  a prediction I’ve been carrying around since 2003. I cut it out of an Elle (British) magazine and it was a 15 year cycle.

In 2003, I found myself alone, single and scared about my future. I ‘needed’ to have some certainties and this is what I found

2003 – 2008

This period of wonderful upheaval is all about trusting….a new life direction…your life will fill with new people, major career advancement, exciting family events…an intense love bond.

I left Italy, started up in the UK, brand new job, new man (the best ever) and the birth of our twins in July 08.

2008 – 2013

….a dynamic period for love, esp between 2010 – 2013 when marriage is accented. You and your partner will design a home, travel and expand a social world. You’ll nurture a family, build up a business and donate generously

Well! We have spoken about marriage but there’s always something else that needs the money so it slips down the priority list. New home (tick) just bought, not too sure about the business aspect though or the donations! We’ll have to wait and see.

Note: 3/7/2014 – we got married 9/3/2013

2013 – 2018

A supercharged era, you are freed from managing other people’s lives and a demanding career. Around 2015-2016 you’ll take a risk and end up winning.

And there you have it. I don’t live by this piece of paper but it’s nice to look back on every now and then and check to see. I only wish I knew the name of the astrologer so I could Google her.

How about you? Do you use tarot or astrology in your daily life? would you be tempted to consult a medium? I’d love to hear.


Some of you will have noticed comments on posts from a ‘Romana’, mainly in Italian but the last one in English.

Of course I got an email via Facebook shortly after she’d commented asking me if I could understand it, how was the English and what did I think of her opinion?

Romana, was one of the first girlfriends I made in Folgaria back in ’86. A couple of years older than me, she gave off an air of confidence and a certainty about herself that was quite enviable. I found it difficult to think of her as Italian as she has the blondest of hair and the bluest of eyes that you don’t normally associate with the olive skinned, dark haired, passionate Italian.

Not that she’s not passionate mind! Get her talking politics, religion, current affairs and you’ll know immediately where you stand with her and what she thinks.

She is one of those friends who always have the right answer whether you like what she’s telling you or not. Many a time, she has told me her opinion and I have had to begrudgingly agree that she was right even if I wished with all my heart it was different.

She’s the one who sees things as they are. Not allowing herself to be swayed by public opinions and seeing through any veils or mists heading straight for the core of the matter.

Romana was/is a bit of a rule breaker. She divorced her first husband after a couple of years swiftly realising he wasn’t The One and moved later to a tiny mountain village to live with her boyfriend (now husband) which back in 80’s Italy was Against All Of The Rules.

She held her head up high and continued to follow her heart and is still in the same village I left in 2004 living a proud and commendable life, looking  after herself, her husband and their 15 year old daughter. And still not giving tuppence about what the villagers think of her :)

Romana has watched me from the start of my relationship with my ex. She came to visit me in hospital when Thomas was born, we attended each others weddings and we have dried each others tears. We have argued, we have made up, we have laughed at our stupidity and shared each others lives, the ups, the downs and the absurd.

Now our friendship continues via Facebook, email and the odd telephone call and she sends her 15 year old daughter Veronica over ‘To Learn Some English’ for a week in the summer. (I do try to teach her I promise!)

Do you have a friend that has stuck around like she has?

broken heartMy latest house viewer, who incidentally has returned for a second viewing, is a man. He is begrudgingly selling his five bedroom detached house after the collapse of his marriage and the past three years of singledom.

That has got to be tough. Having worked for your dream house, obtained it and then only to have it all taken away.

He has been accompanied each time by his partner for a woman’s feel on the place and she is being very positive about our little pad. They’re not moving in together as they both have teenagers who will probably fly the nest one day, for work, university or who knows? Saving their final move for a few years down the line.

He’s a good-looking bloke who you instantly feel at ease with, he was quite jovial as he walked around the house for the first time, glancing in each room. It made me wonder what on earth had happened to his previous relationship? Why had it gone all wrong?

His concerns are majorly for his children which is very touching as although they will continue to live with their mother the 16 year old son will spend every other week with him and their daughter Hannah will visit every other weekend. He wanted to make sure the rooms would be big enough for them to be comfortable.

His budget has obviously been greatly reduced as he’s had to halve any proceeds from the sale of his property with his wife but as any bargain hunter he’s looking for the max.

Our third bedroom is a box room, you can get a single bed and a bedside table/tall cabinet by the side but not much else. Ample for a weekend stay and can be done up nicely to make it even more inviting but Leigh was worried as his daughter’s current room is 17 foot.

I mentioned the fact that Hannah would have a bigger room at her mum’s and the important thing was to spend time with him.

‘Don’t talk about her mum’ he replied with a gutted look in his eye.

Three years down the line and still choking on hearing her name mentioned is sad. I felt sorry for him but I shut my mouth before I stuck my foot in it any further and left his partner to carry on the convincing. I know that hurt and it takes time to heal.

As although in my case it was the man who cheated and I was devastated that is not always the case and this gentle man has been heart broken too.

Sometimes a hurt woman can proceed in life to class all men as evil. I know it took me a long time and many debates with Paul to believe in him and more than anything else trust him and his word. This was a clear sign to me that it’s not always the man who is the wrongdoer and there are many heartbroken men out there suffering just as much.

I hope he does buy my house. He’s second viewing another before he decides and I also hope he finds the happiness he deserves in the future, all this after two brief meetings.

It’s amazing how much we pick up on someone in the shortest space of time.