It’s all about me and me time

Sometimes it’s just good to get stuff ‘off your chest’ wouldn’t you agree? And for a while now I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts with myself. I’m carrying on, plodding by and getting all my work done but something isn’t quite right.

I have forgotten some family birthdays these past few months, something I have never done before priding myself on being on time on all occasions. I’ve forgotten thank you cards to thank people for thinking of me. I have a needlework piece I’m very proud of sitting around waiting to be sewn up since the beginning of the year – look here’s proof

emily peacock cushion almost compeleted

29/01/2012 – almost there

It’s finished and just needs sewing into a cushion but I never get round to it.

I have some friends who I haven’t caught up with in far too long. I have two gorgeous little girls who I should be playing with more and talking to to more.

I have projects I’d like to start but can’t seem to find the time, books to read; I must be the only female world over whose copy of 50 Shades is lying covered in dust abandoned after 6/7 chapters!

So when I saw Mum’s and me request for Me Time posts I knew it was a sign for me to get myself out there a bit more. Interact with ‘real’ people and find some time for me.

I look at my unshaven legs, my un-filed nails and my toe nails that need cutting and I realise I have neglected myself for far too long and this is no good. I need to cut back on the time spent on the pc and start using my time in a better way.

So yesterday, after cancelling for two weeks on the trot, thanks to sick children, I finally caught up with my lovely twin mums for a coffee in the posh John Lewis cafe at Bluewater. To think only a couple of years ago we used to meet every week on a Wednesday at Twin’s club come rain or shine a real lifesaver for all of us. Even last year we managed coffee mornings whilst the children were at preschool but since the girl’s birthday  in July it’s gone hopelessly downhill. I haven’t managed to make any of the organised night’s out, I missed out the twin club picnic and many other twin club trips simply because they clashed with other arrangements we had.

I started to feel bad and that leads to my usual paranoia setting in – ‘I hope they don’t think I’m trying to avoid them’

I’m not right at the moment, I’m not thinking straight. The fact I have lost a friend recently after trying hard to make up has hit me hard and sent me into a sadness that is proving hard to kick. I worry about my other half as this loss has caused a rift with all of his friends. Friends he’s had since childhood and I’m finding that an enormous responsibility to carry on my shoulders. I wanted to say to these people, ‘I don’t care if you don’t like me or never will but please don’t do that to him.’ But they did and although Other Half smiles brightly and shrugs his shoulders I can’t get past it.

I realise at 46 this ‘feeling‘ could be hormonally emphasised too. We go through the whole rigmarole of hormones in our teens turning us into blue eyed monsters and they’re back to plague us later on. Is this insecurity, lack of confidence and paranoia connected to an oncoming menopause I have yet to acknowledge?

It’s hard isn’t it being a woman? Fitting all these different parts of life into one big whole and managing them so our families are happy and are houses are safe havens.

This was supposed to be a post about me time but maybe just dedicating space to throw my thoughts down on paper is me time for me?

After all I did have another coffee this morning with some lovely school mums. New, caring people in my life that it’s a pleasure to be with, we have a couple of Christmas party nights in the calendar where we are spreading the word and inviting lots of other mums to join in. A meal one night and a ‘Funky Friday’ another night because one thing that hits home every time.

‘If I’m feeling like this then maybe other mums are too?’

If you are then maybe you need to carve out some me time too?

What would you do?

autumn skyHave you ever done something that you later bitterly regretted? Have you thought to yourself ‘What was I thinking?’ ‘Why the hell did I do that?

Have you ever wished that if you could turn back time and eliminate that moment from your ‘timeline’ how wonderful everything would be now?

I have about one particular situation constantly, daily, weekly, monthly for over a year now and I have tried and tried and tried to put things straight but everytime I have tried I have dug myself, unwittingly, a deeper hole. I have been misunderstood and I will have to be so careful in what I write here but quite simply – I can’t take it anymore.

How do you know it’s time to give up?

Should you give up?

Can I turn my back now and walk away or will I forever have that feeling ‘You didn’t do enough’? ‘You could have tried one more time’

On the few occasions over the past year when I have tried to repair the damage and have been swept aside I have thought to myself ‘Well you tried, hold your head high and move on.’ but then that niggly feeling starts maybe the other person misunderstood what you were trying to say, maybe they too are suffering. Maybe, maybe and I fill in the blanks with all possible solutions that would account for this person’s reaction or non reaction in this particular case.

Where am I going wrong?

My last attempt at patching up was two months ago. I received an email in reply saying busy, busy times we’ll be in touch and I have waited and waited and waited. I know lives are busy, I’m in no hurry but two months and not a word kind of screams out to me, I’m not going to get a reply EVER.

Nothing.

I’m tired now. I made a mistake but I can’t carry this ball of lead around my neck any longer. It saddens me that I didn’t manage to make it right but I have tried. I can’t keep on any more and I hate giving up but sometimes maybe you just have to look a situation in the eye and close the book, put it away and move on.

Sometimes, maybe, in life we simply have to give the ‘garden’ a good weed. Feng shui of life by removing the bits that make you sad and drag you down into a spiral of depression.

Maybe this is one of life’s lessons? Learning when to let go, learning to distinguish closed forever chapters with ones that need more love and attention.

Life is hard to interpret isn’t it sometimes? How will I know if I’m doing the right thing? Can I walk away now?

What would you do?

To Have and To Hold From This Day Forward

Julia Boggio from I carried a Watermelon who is one of my favourite blogging photographers around – (she even snapped the Queen!) is holding the Brit Mums Carnival and she has invited us to make a picture story, using photos to remember a day, any day and as I was at a wedding this weekend – I do love a wedding – and I took around 300 photos, I’m going to show you what a fabulous day we had.

Groom waiting for his bride

Here is the groom waiting for his bride, chatting with his guests and I wonder if he’s thinking ‘Come on let’s get this bit done’

The bride walks down the aisle

The bride arrives and accompanied by her father walks down the aisle. I thought she was stunning.

Confetti moment

The ceremony over it’s over to the fun bit starting with confetti. It was windy and our biodegradable confetti was being blown straight into the guests on the other side of the gate but this shot captured a bit in the air, nice shot Mark! He took the photos whilst I threw confetti.

Le Talbooth in Essex a stunning setting and look - no rain!

After weeks and weeks of rain just look how lucky the couple were! Beautiful sunny, warm afternoon for reception drinks and photos at Le Talboth in Essex. There was some live music in the background, toys for the children to play with, my only problem – heels sinking into the grass but my what a beautiful place to have your wedding breakfast. 10/10 again.

The photographer taking his photos

As the happy couple walked back and forth for the photographer and the lady capturing the event on video too, we sipped champers, Pimms and pints of lager for the men. Perfect. A few canapes were also passed around but I was too busy trying them to take photos of them ;)

My man having his photo taken for me xx

New tie, new shirt, doesn’t my fella scrub up well?

Moments captured throughout the day

Now I can’t run you through the entire 300 photos as that would take forever, but I cleverly made a collage for you to get an idea of what I captured on film.

Place setting

Superb choice of flowers, the sweet peas were so delicate and colourful and don’t you just love those place settings?

The first dance

Can’t for the life of me remember what song was chosen and I didn’t want to show their faces on my blog dancing but I love this photo as it captures the moment beautifully.

Moments of the special day

More moments of the day, dancing, laughing, playing, the groom was even thrown into the air ‘alla birthday bumps’ A truly emotional day, I cried as they shared their vows, I laughed at the speeches, I smiled All Day Long, I caught up with some very special people and I have some wonderful memories.

Playing with an iPad

Of course you can’t please everyone and this little man got out his iPad later on in the day but who can blame him preferring to play the latest app over dancing with a lot of oldies?

A very special thanks to my Mum and grandad who very kindly looked after the girls for us. This is the first time we’ve been away together since they were born and we had a fantastic time. Thanks Mum xx

I do love a wedding don’t you? So who’s next? Come on spill the beans, I won’t tell anyone ;)

Ten Things I learnt from the Italians

I moved to Italy when I was 20 and left when I was 37 so I guess you could say I became an adult there. I am sure that many defining parts of my character where finely honed by the Italian culture and here are some of the best bits I brought back with me…

Italian Food

I learnt to cook! Not that I couldn’t cook before but I moved on from Learner to Cook. Mum is the best cook I know and my brother is a chef so the appreciation of good food runs in the family. However the Italians are very conscious of their food and adore telling you how their Mediterranean diet is the best in the world. I like that they use products that are in season and grown locally or at least Made in Italy

Italian Wine

Young people do not HAVE to get blindly drunk to enjoy a Friday night in Italy…sometimes it happens but it’s not a necessity. Enjoying good wine and spirits is a huge part of the Italian lifestyle. Alcohol costs a lot less and there are no age limits in bars but underage drinking exists on a much lower scale than here in the UK. Youngsters there don’t have to get trashed to prove they’re as big as the next guy or to be able to say they had a good night out.

Italian Art

Everywhere you go in Italy you cannot help but be in awe of your surroundings. Churches, town halls, villages with wall art and artists painting, sculpting or creating masterpieces in the village square for all to see. Every place in Italy, be it a tiny village or a city, has something beautiful to show.

Italian Fashion

Some of the greatest designers in the world are Made In Italy, every Italian is enormously proud of their standing in the world’s fashion stakes and this is so visible as everyone takes pride in what they wear and the majority look like models themselves. Makes it a damn sight harder to keep up with the Rossi’s I can tell you!

Italian Family

The Italians I had the pleasure to meet, all put family in first place. The elderly are looked after and respected by all. Italy is also VERY child friendly sometimes verging on the extreme as some parents let their children run riot in restaurants, shops and public places shrugging their shoulders as if they can’t do anything about it. ‘They’re children!’  Hell for waiters and shop owners but be rest assured any holiday in Italy with children will be delightful as you can take them everywhere you go and people will stop to praise them.

Con calma

or Take it easy… yes, there’s no rush, don’t go stressing yourself out, take your time and get it done properly. There’s always tomorrow.

Italian House rules

Whenever you wash your dishes by hand you MUST always rinse the soap off. True! You wouldn’t  dream of leaving shampoo in your hair. Money – don’t get in to debt. Pay as you go and go without if you can’t afford it. This makes for easy sleeping at night.

Italian Patriots

They all share a deep adoration for their country, after all they have got it all; sea, sun, sand, mountains, skiing, lakes, beautiful cities and beautiful people. Their summer vacations are taken within their boundaries, Sicily, Sardegna, Puglia to name a few. Ski trips to Trentino, Courmayeur or Alto Adige, Weekend trips to Florence, Venice, Pisa…I could go on forever.

The Italian language

Of course, I came away bilingual. My written Italian isn’t perfect as their grammar is unbelievably complicated but I can read and of course talk till the cows come home just don’t get me started on their politics….

photo by kerben

Great British Menu and a claim to fame!

Great British Menu - North WestWe meet a lot of people in life and sometimes changes mean you lose contact.

I met Simon Rogan back in 2000 when we worked together at Addington Palace, he was the Head Chef and I was an Event Manager running the weddings and conferences that he and his team cooked for. He would chat endlessly about how one day he was going to move on and I would nod yes in all the right places occasionally allowing myself to wonder if he ever would follow his dreams?

I watched him go through his business plan with a fine comb and tweak it to perfection and was secretly envious of his dreams and commitment to make them come true. Our friendship was sealed the morning I came into work a real state; my relationship had collapsed unexpectedly the night before and I was reeling from the shock. Simon Rogan taught me to smile again, he made me laugh and he restored my confidence. Thanks for that Simon ;)

He left the Palace and went to Cumbria to open his restaurant L’Enclume and me? I returned to Italy to be with my older children as they refused to settle in the UK.

L'Enclume

Jump four years to 2004 and I bumped into Simon in a station in London, I was flying in from Italy to go to an interview at the Italian Tourist Board that hopefully would get me back to the UK after the latest attempt to save my marriage collapsed spectacularly and he was in London for the night to attend an award ceremony and hopefully pick up a prize.

We chatted over a snatched cuppa, his restaurant was going great guns and was highly talked of in the critique circles that count. He was opening a second place somewhere on the Thames and all of his dreams were coming true. Wow!

Me? Er, I’m off to an interview, I went back to Italy to try, yet again, to save my marriage and it went down quicker than the Titanic and nope still haven’t a clue what I’m doing and where I’m going but hey it’s really good to see you, I’m really pleased you’re doing so well.

I know, lame conversation and he was picking up my bruised confidence again telling me my ex was a (won’t say the word he used) the young girl he left me for was a (won’t say that word either) and better things lay in store for me. Cheers Simon once again!

We finished our tea, said our goodbyes and wished each other all the very best, meaning it.

L'Enclume steak

Now it’s 2012 and I haven’t heard from him since that station cuppa. Mum called a while back to say he  was going to be on Masterchef that evening which I watched thinking he’d put on a couple of pounds and cut his golden curls. So can you imagine my surprise when one day recently I woke up thinking of him? (Nothing untoward I hasten to add) a really constant steady thought. WHERE did that come from? And WHY?

I text him unable to ignore this ‘message.’

Only turns out he’s on Great British Menu all this week, up against another three chefs from the North West and competing to win the chance to cook at a glittering Olympic banquet! Wow double wow, he made it! He’s famous and me?

Oh I write a blog, it’s about parenting, food and travel nothing you’d really be interested in and I edit the Brit Mums blog too it’s the major parenting blogging forum in the UK but probably not your cup of tea, I’ve yet to get asked to go on Strictly but hey life’s ticking along and who knows what’s around the corner eh?

Best of luck Simon, I sincerely hope you win, I’m telling you now my Event Management won’t cover an Olympian banquet but if David Beckham’s going to be there CALL ME!