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.

kitchen view

What awful weather we’re having! I wanted to go for a walk with the girls and take some shots to show you where we live but I stayed safe inside where it’s warm and cosy. This photo was taken from the kitchen window yesterday during a rare ray of sunlight.

Please note my Christmas Poinsettia still thriving on the window sill – first time EVER I’ve managed to keep one so long and my chicken from Key West which I have since seen in tourist shops dotted all over the UK and Europe!

sunset

As for outside, I see first of all the estate agents bill boards and then the magnolia tree in the centre, planted by the previous owners and just beginning to bud. I adore this tree and think it’s possibly my favourite, alongside a Weeping Willow oh and this one, a Walnut tree which I can see from the back windows, taken last summer when I spotted these fabulous colours in the sky.

St MIldreds

We live just outside London in North Kent so we’re surrounded by country parks and village pubs. We’re also only 50 mins from the seaside where we spend most of our weekends once the weather permits. Here’s a snap from last summer at the end of the day before packing up with one twin (Bessie) sliding out of the buggy! I love the way the tide turns so dramatically in this part of the world, leaving a hard surface to walk on.

big ben

And I couldn’t leave without a photo of London which is my favourite city in the world. A shot of Big ben taken a few years back now whilst taking my Italian friends on a tour.

These photos are for Tara’s The Gallery week 5 – Outside my front door, please go and have a look at the other entries which are fabulous.

Tara – I promise to sort out the badge by next week! – been a bit manic this week over here x

The best job I ever had was with the people you can see here in the photo and it has to be said they are the loveliest people to work with.

This job was my lifeline out of Italy and back to the UK. It was the job where everything started to fall into place for me and for my life, at long last, to start going right and it was the job that restored the confidence in me that had been chiseled away over the years in Italy.

I moved from Italy on the 31st August 2004 and first day at work was 3rd August, the following Monday. A turn around that still today defeats all belief. How did I do that?

My role was in the Travel Trade Relations Department. I was to work alongside Diego (not in the photo but on holiday in Thailand at the time!) and it was our job to promote Italy with all of its beautiful destinations to the Travel companies that you bump into everyday with the hope they would put more and more destinations in their brochures for you to choose from. From Thomas Cook to lastminute.com, they all came under our umbrella.

In order to promote Italy to its best, we had to have contacts with the Italians of course and the tourist departments in every region would call us up with ideas to promote their corner of the peninsula. So you see it was our job to connect the two together, the regions would run workshops and invite members from various travel agencies to their homeland. They would organise flights, accommodation and entertainment and in the few days they hosted these new contacts they would show off their towns, resorts, museums and restaurants to the best of their abilities. Of course the best bit was frequently we were asked to go along too, in order to help with the hosting, the translation and the organising.

Have you had the pleasure of The Italian Experience? If you have you’ll agree it’s one you’ll never forget, if you haven’t make sure it’s on your list of ‘Things To Do Before I Die’. I promise you won’t regret it.

An amazingly open, friendly bunch of people, and they adore children making us look so stern sometimes. Their food, their ice cream, their wines, their art. I could go on forever, please go there and see for yourself.

I personally helped out on a trip to Rome another to Venice and my favourite a ski trip to Trentino where I had previously lived for so long. Not to mention all of the events organised in London, around the UK and Ireland.

I left the company as Paul and I wanted children and time was running out for me as 40 had been and gone. After losing a baby at 21 weeks of pregnancy and a succession of two more miscarriages, I opted to find a job closer to home so my body stood a better chance at getting pregnant and holding on to it.

I miss the job which brought the best out in me, I miss the buzz of working so close to Oxford Street with the flagship Topshop store just over the road but most of all I miss my wonderful colleagues. I’d give my right arm to go back tomorrow but this cannot be whilst my girls are so small and maybe wouldn’t be right. Things change, people move on. I could probably never recapture that time again so it remains a favourite memory with the badge of Best Job Ever.

If you have a quick mo, visit their web site which was one of the last projects I was working on before I left. Italian Tourist Board

This post was writen for Josie’s Writing Workshop I chose prompt 2 and am so pleased I have had a chance to remember these wonderful people in my blog. Writing workshopThanks Josie :)

It was my first evening out with the managers after work. I’d been really nervous about going along as I didn’t know if I’d be out of my depth but I wanted to impress and get to know my peers better after only one month that I’d been working with them. I thought it would be in my best interests and so pushed my nervous self on to meet them at the pub around the corner.

I was fresh out of college and working as a trainee manager in Wendy’s burger joint in London. Not the most glamorous start to my ‘would be glittering mega successful’ career but with my self-confidence just hovering over zero I didn’t believe I could go for the BIG jobs so I decided I’d start my career with something easy.

It was all very American. The uniform, the training book with easy to follow diagrams on how to make your special square Wendy burger, how to cut your iceberg lettuce to perfection ensuring maximum usage and everything from cleaning the floor to laying up the salad bar was written up in easy to follow directions in my training managers book. Each task got ticked off as they were covered and I was allowed to move on to the next exciting challenge.

I was still wearing my uniform of navy trousers and white shirt as I crossed the road feeling the butterflies whizz around in my tummy. The overall manager greeted me by name in his American accent and went back to his conversation with the other Big Cheeses sitting around him, I didn’t know what to do with myself and opted for the table with my store manager and a fellow trainee manager who’d been working there for a few months, Sandra.

I went into the bar and ordered half a pint copying Sandra’s choice of drink and came back out and stood around half listening to their chat about nothing. She was joking crudely with our manager who was Asian. They were getting increasingly ruder and I was smiling and laughing along as I didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to do and figured to go with the flow.

I promised myself I’d get to the end of my drink and politely leave as there was nothing in this for me. They were obviously on a different level to me and I wasn’t interested in joining in. Not that I’m a prude, I can hold myself with the best of them but I was uncomfortable.

The question came like a bullet out of nowhere as my attention had been on people watching whilst I sipped my beer in the late afternoon sun.

‘Do you fuck Paki’s? My manager was asking me with an intense, steady look in his eye.

It was just me and him. Sandra had turned round to talk to the Big Cheeses and I lost my tongue. What the hell was he asking me? Was he being serious? Was it part of a joke that I had missed?

I did one of those stilted disguised laughs that come out too loud and distorted to be real showing my immaturity and naivety. I so hoped he’d pass on to someone else and pick on them as I didn’t know how to reply.

‘Do you?’ he insisted. ‘Do you fuck Paki’s?’

He said it again. It was so obviously crude by choice of the ‘f’ word, he was out to frighten and belittle me putting me on the spot for reasons unknown to me.

‘No, I don’t’, I replied in a croaky voice that didn’t sound like mine the no resounding louder than I had intended.

I didn’t know. I mean, Do I? I had never been in a situation that could possibly lead to sex with anyone other than the guys I met at school or college and they were mainly white or black. The fact that he referred to himself as a Paki, also threw me, I mean it was an expression that I had been taught not to use ever and here he was using the word himself to refer to himself and to embarrass me.

What was he trying to prove? Why was he doing this to me?

Sandra butted back in the conversation and I downed the rest of my drink and said my goodbyes.

As I made my way to Oxford Circus tube station I felt confused. The enormity of the situation was only slowly starting to register. What had I done to deserve that?

This guy (I can’t remember his name) was married with two small children, his wife had come into the store one afternoon.  Had I given him the impression I was an easy lay? I don’t think so as he didn’t interest me in the slightest. Was he trying to pull me? Blimey crap technique! Or was he just being vicious, born with a huge chip on his shoulder and taking it out on me?

Millions of questions burning in my mind for hours after the event

Who knows? Fact is I handed in my notice shortly after unable to work with this man any more and the funniest thing is years later on a return visit from Italy, I was sitting on the tube minding my own business and as the train came into a station, I looked up to check where I was and noticed the man opposite staring at me.

Now I can’t be sure but I swear it was him but I held his stare. He looked away first and not one word was spoken. As I stepped off that train I knew I was in so much a better place than he was.

Tonight is MY night, yeehaaaa!

Yep, the other half is out on the razzle with work mates, it’s been in the diary for weeks and has finally arrived and boy am I looking forward to it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love our evenings together, we play with the girls, put them to bed, eat, chat and watch something on the box cuddled up on the sofa with a glass of wine (me), a beer (him) and some chocs if there are any in the house. Bliss!

But boy do I enjoy an evening on my own.

My preparations start a few days beforehand when it pops into my mind that Friday I’m on my own, ‘Brilliant, I can spend a guilt free evening surfing the net and catching up on all the posts I haven’t yet read.’

When I shop I make sure I’ve got something nice to eat but quick to produce as I don’t want to waste my time cooking for one! Tonight I’ve gone for Chinese, and have put some wine in the fridge.

I will have the TV on in the background but won’t be looking at it, well maybe the odd glance at Comic Relief.

And you know the worse thing? Even though I will have all this me time I still won’t accomplish everything I want to do because I will get sidetracked from one blog to another or one site to another.

I will eventually turn the PC off to go to bed and think ‘Oh bloody hell! I didn’t reply to that email, check that site for tickets, pay my account, check for new property and so on and so on and so on.

But one of the things I would like to start tonight include, blowing the dust off The Book and start to rewrite it. This has been on the To Do list since January and still hasn’t been attempted. So I’m setting myself a task and a time limit as I fear without these I just won’t do it. A healthy kick up the rear end would be very persuasive.

I don’t really know why. I think editing and re writing come under the umbrella of boring, tedious work and this is why it gets pushed aside. So no more laziness, it’s got to be done.

Wish me luck and make sure the God of Writing decent stuff is round mine tonight! :)

How do you spend an evening on your own?

Photo

Over the past four months we have had our house on the market and therefore we, more myself, have had to deal with estate agents.

Now they are notoriously known for their very low stakes in the ‘most trusted profession lists’, I think a national poll recently had them one from the bottom only being pipped to ground zero by politicians.

I have been speaking to four people in the office we’re using, two female and two men.

When I am speaking to the men and they are giving me feedback from a viewing or advice on how to get the house moving (ie lower the price) I always find myself trying to second guess them. My trust in them zero. I spend hours after the phone call going over our conversation and trying to understand the hidden messages they’re not telling me.

Whereas if I speak with the lovely Jade or Teresa. I take their word as it’s given and once I’ve put the phone down I leave it and get on with other things. I feel incredibly more comfortable and have no concerns about if what they’re telling me is the truth.

Is this just me? Or do women manage somehow to install more trust between themselves?

Do you feel ‘safer’ when dealing with women rather than men?