The World According to Izzie

A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Week That Was... 24th June 2016


Always remember to plan aheadI'm wondering if there's any such thing as a normal week in the Anderton house?

Here, it's more a case of define normal, move the goalposts several times and just run with it. I've decided that it's good to find humour in the ridiculous. I suspect it's the only thing keeping me sane.  
 
This was my week...

Monday
Monday evening provided a welcome reprieve from the rain showers and we ventured out for a walk and came home via the pub. There is something rather indulgent about sitting in a beer garden on a Monday night and drinking Pimms in the sun. Life's too short not to enjoy a glass of something on a Monday don't you think? Note to self: make the most of the great British weather whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Why  I don't send Mr A into town all that often
On Thursday Mr A went into town to run a couple of errands. As I arrived home late that evening, I asked about his day and it transpired that as there was a queue in the bank, he promptly turned around and left again and instead of picking up the couple of items I'd asked for, this is what he bought...

                                                   2 French lavender plants
                                                   A bag of compost
                                                   Some rechargeable batteries
                                                  A thoughtful gift for the love of his life...

Abandoned cat toys on a wooden floor

In case you were wondering, this is the love of his life and here they are curled up on the sofa...

Man and cat curled up on the sofa
 
The cat has never ever played with anything that's a conventional cat toy. She prefers getting hold of things she isn't meant to have and fixating on them for days. She will sulk if you take it off her and so we've mostly given up. She looked at her gift on the floor, shot Mr A a withering look and wandered off into the garden for several hours.

Daughters
Sophia arrived safely at Camp in Oregon and we managed to Skype on Sunday. The camp looks unspoilt, rustic and she is enjoying herself immensely. She won't be home until September. After last year's Camp America trip, followed by travelling around for 3 weeks, I am feeling more relaxed about her being away this time. If you love them, you have to let them go, right? Oregon is 8 hours behind the UK and I find thinking about what she might be up to at any given moment strangely comforting. I have no idea why this is.

Olivia, meanwhile has been on a work experience placement and arrives at home next week along with 3 year's worth of whatever it is they accumulate at university. 

Reading
I've recently finished reading To Be Continued by James Robertson. This will be reviewed at a later date on the blog, but was a thoroughly enjoyable, slightly surreal read. Thanks to Penguin for the advance copy.

The week ahead...
If I'm not around much over the next few days, it's because I'm in Cornwall collecting Olivia from university and will be staying for a few nights. Beloved daughter has already made plans and we're off to the local rum bar for cocktails and maybe the gin palace... as well as packing up all of her belongings ready for the move home.

Gin Palace in Falmouth


Have a fabulous weekend. See you when I get back x

Izzie

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton


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Monday, 20 June 2016

To my daughters as they leave uni...


Anything is possibleIt seems like days rather than years since you were switching classes at school, hosting stage shows for Beanie Babies and loved playing with cars, rather than dolls. My sweet little bundles of mischief... all fun and laughter, now all grown and ready to face the world after three years at uni.

Your mum has no idea how the time has passed so quickly. All I know is that you have grown up a lot. Occasionally you agree with something I've said and that makes me smile. It's not so very long ago that we didn't agree about anything at all. I guess that makes you your mother's daughters. You compare me to the mum in The Goldbergs and yep, I'm always fighting your corner and wanting the best for you both.

I grew up in the eighties where my own experience of parenting was a decidedly laid-back affair. I vowed to be different when I had a family of my own and I was. If you're lucky enough to have children some day, I'm sure you'll create your own style of parenting and want to kick yourself for all the things you did wrong in later life too. You learn from mistakes. It's taken me a long time to realise that children need to fall down a few dozen hundred times and learn how to fix their own problems.

While at university we've had our share of early morning calls and attempted computer fixes over the phone.  There have been calls via Skype when a mum knows instinctively when something is right (or wrong) and I've pleaded for kisses and dished out hugs (not always reciprocated). We even did an early morning sprint across country when concern turned to despair. It all worked out fine in the end.

It's still being a mum, but not as you know it - this parenting from a distance. And just as I'm getting used to life at home with your dad and the cat, life is about to change all over again.

You are going to have to humour me for a while as I get used to the new status quo. I will try my  best to leave you to get on with your own lives and if I don't, feel free to remind me.

It's time for you to unleash yourselves on the world...

Be awesome. Go, have a few adventures and, if something isn't right, don't be afraid to change it for something that is. Chances are the career of your dreams won't happen overnight and instead of going from A to B to find whatever it is you're looking for, there will be a few pit-stops along the way. Life is all about reinvention and re-writing the rule book when it no longer meets your requirements. If something makes you unhappy, then it's time to move on and find something else.

For the first time ever, your future is unwritten. How scary and utterly brilliant is that?! 

Be happy,

Mum x

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton
 
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Sunday, 12 June 2016

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Charlie's AngelsDaughter, Sophia left on Friday for the US. Three months away from home, working for Camp America for the second time.

We hadn't even pulled off the driveway before she had a hunch that something had been left behind. Parking outside the house, we extract her rucksack from the boot of the car and she riffled through the contents for several minutes without spotting anything amiss. 'As long as you have your paperwork, currency card and passport, you'll be fine,' we reassure her. 'Anything else can be replaced.'

We're on the M40 in Oxfordshire when she finally remembers what's not in her bag.

It's the keys to her suitcase.

I may have uttered a couple of expletives under my breath and told my daughter that she was an idiot. I apologised immediately and did that mum thing where you run through the consequences and try to come up with a solution.

Now I'd offered my daughter a selection of locks for her case and suggested that she use one of the more secure ones. She is, however, her mother's daughter and because I had suggested it, she had used the inferior one that came with the case. For once, I was grateful she hadn't taken my advice.

Now us mums have a lot of light bulb moments. Moments so inspired that you can't believe you didn't come up with the idea sooner. We're driving into Beaconsfield services when I yell, 'I've got it. We can pick the lock on the case.'

'Really,' says Sophia rolling her eyes.

'Yes, really,' I add. Riffling through the contents of the glove box and my handbag, I round up a pair of tweezers and some safety pins. Once we've pulled into a parking space, the boot is opened and I am ready to give it a go.

I manage to pick the lock within seconds and we bound off into WHSmith to buy a replacement. This time around we choose one without keys and settle on a numerical combination lock instead. I may have made a note of the number (just in case she forgets this too).

If you're wondering why there's a Charlie's Angel picture, this is why...

Back in the late 1970s I was a huge fan of the TV series Charlie's Angels. In the days before the internet, games consoles and mobile phones, kids played a lot to relieve the monotony that was a 70s childhood and generally keep themselves out of mischief.

As part of my super-sleuth skills, I taught myself to pick the lock on my Cheney vanity case using only a hairgrip. In my adult life I have never been called upon to use this. A bit like mastering trigonometry for O level maths. I digress...

Forty years on, my 'detective' skills are finally being put to good use. Fortunately, this hasn't resulted in my getting arrested... yet.

To Sophia,

Have a brilliant summer in the US and try not to loose anything else.

Love you,

Mum xx

P.S.

Your keys were the first thing we spied when we arrived home. You had left them in your sister's bedroom. 

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton





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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Two Graduations, 8 days and 1000 Miles


1000 miles, 8 days, 2 graduations, twins, happy mumIf there was one thing I hadn't anticipated with twin daughters at universities 375 miles apart, it was the possibility that they might both graduate during the same week. This should have been no surprise, since they started university on the same day back in September 2013 and have been challenging their parents with problem solving conundrums ever since.

We had known Olivia's graduation date for some time, but Sophia's uni were more elusive and refused to divulge dates until April. The thought of not being able to attend both ceremonies made me want to curl up and have a good cry. I compared it to having to choose your favourite child. In the end, it was Mr A who sat me down and suggested that I go to Olivia's, and he would go to Sophia's.

I was so happy when we finally received the news that we could all attend both ceremonies. I hastily started scribbling plans for our hectic week in September... booking hotel rooms and emptying our diaries.

If all goes to plan in September this will happen...

On either the 2nd or 3rd September, (she can't remember which day - bless!) we'll drive to Heathrow to pick up Sophia after her summer working in the US. This involves a round trip of 250 miles.

On the 5th September, we'll drive 250 miles south with Olivia and a possibly still jet lagged, Sophia and stay in a hotel for 2 nights. Olivia's graduation is on the 6th at 5:30pm. We are probably going to celebrate the night before however, as we're on the move again the following day.

We check out of the hotel after an early breakfast and drive the 250 miles home. Maybe there will be time for lunch before we leave (again), travelling 125 miles east to stay at a different hotel for 2 or possibly, 3 nights.

Sophia's graduation is at 10:30am on the 8th September. We'll attempt to party for the rest of the day and if this doesn't happen (because we're asleep), there's always the 9th. 

I've worked out that in the space of 8 days, 3 of us will have travelled 1000 miles. The 4th member of the family, Sophia, will have travelled 6000 miles if you include her flight.

To add to the mayhem, Mr A and my mother celebrate birthdays on the 9th September. My mother turns 70 this year and dearly wishes to attend both graduations. Who knows if we'll get enough tickets? Fingers crossed.

One thing's for sure though... I will be one incredibly proud mum and couldn't be happier that I can attend both daughters' graduations.

This wasn't anything I contemplated back in the day when we arrived home from hospital with our daughters, placed the two of them on the sofa in their car seats and wondered what we were supposed to do next?

Olivia and Sophia Anderton, twin babies

Almost twenty-two years on and I'm still looking for answers.
 
Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton


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