A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Birthdays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Birthdays. Show all posts

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Let there be gin...


Happy, Smiles, Cartoon, FacesIt's been a quiet week in the Anderton house and I'm guessing it will pretty much stay that way until daughter, Sophia comes home again at the beginning of June.

I've agreed to cover extra hours at work during the next 2-3 months and also had to turn down a couple of offers of work. This last week has been all about getting organised for the weeks ahead and by Friday night I was fast asleep on the sofa by 9pm. I am enjoying both jobs so much that I don't want to have to choose between either of them.

This was my week...
 
The randomness of Twitter
Twitter in all its nonsensical brilliance made me smile on Tuesday. In one tweet a famous author and philosopher liked a tweet I'd posted about his latest book release, in the next I was tweeting a pug from across the pond. It's impossible to make these things happen, but when it does, I am reminded of just how much I love social media, (especially Twitter) and all its eccentricities.

Let there be cake, gin, chocolate and flowers
My gorgeous mother-in-law was 87 on Monday. As always her gifts included gin, tonic, flowers and chocolate. They are the only things she truly loves to receive. Hence, this is what I buy for her each and every year.

Let there be gin

On Saturday
We woke up to find it was snowing heavily; fortunately it didn't stick around for long! In the evening, we had guests over for dinner. For once I made the effort and cooked everything from scratch. I made teryaki salmon and rosemary pan-fried potatoes with broccoli and carrots for main course, followed by tiramisu and buttermilk cupcakes for dessert. I am one very messy cook. Fortunately there are no photos to prove this.

Shopping
I haven't been shopping in ages. But I did order a new suitcase for daughter, Sophia this week in anticipation of her trip to the US in the summer. After much deliberation, we found one in her signature colour, red. I'm hoping this one will last longer than the one we bought last year which came back trashed!

Olivia
At 7:10am on Monday, I received a call from my eldest daughter. She was working at a newspaper last week to get some journalism experience ahead of leaving university. There had been a thunderstorm on Sunday evening, this had caused a disruption to the power supply, as a result her alarm didn't go off the following morning and each of the clocks in the house read a different time. By some miracle she made the 7:50am train and arrived at work with minutes to spare. You can guess who rang her each morning for the rest of the week?! 

Favourite blog post
My favourite post for this week comes from Sarah over at Mum of Three World with her bittersweet post about children growing up and no longer wanting to spend time with their parents. I was reminded of the phase with my own children and can remember feeling like an unwanted toy. You can read Sarah's brilliant post here: School holidays are crap.

Motherhood, illustration
 

Well that's about it for this week. Have a great week whatever you're up to x

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton

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Monday, 15 February 2016

Macklemore, Birthdays and Missing the Coach


It's been an amusing week in the Anderton house and I've giggled at my daughter's latest escapades, before realising that she's old enough to fathom things out perfectly well on her own.

The past week has featured the following...

Missing the coach
Daughter, Sophia was in London last week getting her work visa for Camp America. Her appointment at the embassy went without a hitch and her visa application was successful, but somehow she managed to miss her coach for the journey home. Huge thanks to National Express for transferring her ticket to the following day and checking that she had somewhere to stay. I can't believe how fabulous their customer service is and no, this isn't sponsored, I just wanted to say thank you. That's twice in as many weeks that National Express have helped out my daughters!

Birthday girl
On Saturday I celebrated another forty-something birthday. As I've given up craving gifts that collect dust and chocolate only adds inches to my waistline, I guess that puts me into the 'impossible to buy for' category. My daughters' surprise gift of concert tickets to see Macklemore in April however, meant that I was one very happy bunny. I'm wondering if I'll be the second oldest member of the audience and guess that one of the bonuses of getting older is that you really couldn't care less. My husband sent me this card... yep, that's what happens when you've been married as long as we have.

Humorous cat birthday card


Buying
I treated myself to a new pair of wellies at the weekend. My old ones were shabby and not at all chic so, when I spied these little beauties I was completely smitten. Does anyone else love wearing wellies as much as I do? I'll look for any excuse to wear them. Isn't paddling in the sea in the middle of winter while donning a pair just one of the best things ever?


New floral wellies

Valentine's Day
We didn't celebrate Valentine's Day, although Mr A did bring me a cup of tea and a biscuit in bed. I already had birthday flowers, concert tickets and really didn't need anything else. I did however, catch Mr A talking to the cat and concluded that there's another woman in our marriage. She's an adorable furry ball of mischief and appears to have my husband well and truly wrapped around her paws.

My favourite read for this week
My favourite blog for this week comes from Claire at Life, Ninja Killer Cat And Everything Else with her post: The Expectation of Self Bucket List. It's all about wanting to experience so many things but holding back due to self-imposed limitations. It's a great read.


Well that's about it for this week's round-up post. I'm lucky enough to have half-term off and lots of plans for the week ahead. Look out for another post on Friday.

Here's hoping you have a fabulous week whatever you're up to.


Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton




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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Week That Was - 14th September 2015

OK, so this post is late. Things have been a little crazy in the Anderton house for the past week and that will be why...

Tuesday - time spent re-acquainting Sophia with all of the fabulous music she's missed from the UK charts during the summer. Both daughters have given up hope that some day their mother will stop watching the music channels. In-between music, I tackled the washing mountain that Sophia had thoughtfully abandoned on the garage floor. As she was away for three months - this may have taken some time.

Mr A turned 50 on Wednesday and sadly, had to work :o(

Running his own business means that days off are rare. We had a Chinese takeaway and downed a bottle of wine when he finally returned home. Sophia didn't have a fortune inside her cookie and was unimpressed by the one I hastily scribbled for her...

'She who sings and dishes out hugs, makes a mum very happy.'

Later we watched Lilo and Stitch. All four of us curled up on the sofa with the cat. This is not something that happens all that often, now that both daughters no longer live at home.

On Thursday I made Olivia cry. It was my grandmother's funeral, and my daughter had the misfortune to sit next to me. I'd thought I was done with crying, but as I listened to The Last Waltz I reminisced about happier times celebrating Gran's 90th birthday and started to sob. And then, I was upset because my daughter was upset and sobbed some more.

The house was a hive of activity on Friday. I say 'hive' in the loosest possible sense - as it was only me who was crazily busy with preparations for my daughters' 21st birthday party on Saturday. By the time my daughters had crawled out of bed I'd shopped, decorated the house, cleaned and collected the cakes. For the rest of the day I may have gotten a little snappy each time somebody did something to unravel all my hard work.

The party went well on Saturday. We tried a new kind of tea in teapots - which was actually, Pimms. There were also mini scones with strawberry jam, lemon curd and clotted cream, plus tropical chocolate shards, strawberries, a profiterole mountain and two birthday cakes. There was also a proper buffet before this - but as I have an incredibly sweet tooth, the desserts were my favourite. It was so lovely to see Olivia's godmother as we don't get to see her as often as we'd like.


The girls birthday was on Sunday and we may have had a lie-in to compensate for our late night on Saturday. Mr A made French toast with blueberries and strawberries for breakfast and you know how children pick one gift and love it more than anything else? Well, Olivia loved the adult colouring book from her godmother and kept disappearing throughout the day to colour bits in. Cute or what?! Their birthday was quiet in comparison to Saturday, with various friends and family popping in throughout. The birthday celebrations however, continued on Monday with a trip to London.


Here's to another crazy week whatever you're up to...

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton





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Monday, 7 September 2015

The Week That Was - 7th September 2015

I've decided that Mr A celebrating his 50th birthday on the 9th, followed by 21st birthday celebrations for my daughters just four days later was very bad planning on my part. Consequently, the last week has been mostly chaotic and there have been several sleepless nights. I won't bore you with the details. Instead, I've focused (mostly) on the highlights.

The week that was...

I wasn't aware that Radio Four were allowed to utter the words, penis and testicles - but in a special collaboration with Men's Hour on Bank Holiday Monday there was discussion on the pressure to look good and somehow, it came up (no pun intended). This was an unusual diversion for Woman's Hour, but the topic brightened up an otherwise dismal day. I was even retweeted by the awesome, Jane Garvey.

I don't know what came over me on Tuesday, but I decided to attempt a second batch of mini scones and made tropical chocolate shards. These have been frozen ready for our party next week. That evening I watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Sometimes it's good to escape from the mayhem and enjoy a timeless classic. This is one of my all-time favourites.

On Wednesday I spotted Christmas cards in the shops. I may have snarled. I do not want to think about this before November. Rant over.

On Thursday I walked into town with Olivia and met my sister and nephew for breakfast. As the morning was a chilly one, I ordered porridge with berries.

Are those new earrings? my sister asked.

'No, I've had them for ages. They were a 40th birthday present from you.'

'Ah,' she said, with no hint of recognition whatsoever.

On Friday we made a three-tier Victoria sponge and a welcome home banner in anticipation of Sophia's arrival the next day. As Saturday was another ridiculously early start - we laid everything out for our trip to Heathrow and questioned whether we were starting to think like grown-ups. Why is it that anything that involves picking my daughters up from anywhere involves us leaving the house between midnight and 4am?

It's the simple things in life that make me happy, and every Friday on Radio Two, Simon Mayo plays Mahna Mahna by The Muppets. How much do I love this song?  I decided that this would be an awesome song for Mr A and my daughters to attempt at karaoke and shared this thought with Olivia.

It's best I don't share her response.

Saturday was all about collecting Sophia from the airport. I was honoured to be rewarded with the first hug as she appeared in arrivals, and I felt rather emotional as I hadn't seen my youngest daughter for three months. I'd thought that she might sleep all the way home in the car after being awake for 48 hours... not so. Instead, we were treated to a selection of songs learnt at camp, and tales (good and bad) from her amazing summer. Once at home she finally crashed and slept for the rest of the day. Having all four members of the family home at the same time is very special indeed.


Sunday was all about spending time together, just the four of us.

There's something I've not shared during the past couple of weeks.

My 95-year-old grandmother died on 23rd August. We'd been anticipating the inevitable for several weeks - that didn't make it any easier. As Sophia was still in the US, we made the difficult decision to not share the news until after she had arrived home.


My favourite blog post for last week comes from Rubbish Wife. Her thoughtful post called What's The Rush? was perfectly timed as I've been rushing everywhere and not necessarily living in the moment.

Here's to another crazy week. Have fun whatever you're up to.

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton
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Monday, 31 August 2015

The Week That Was - August 31st

It's been an amusing week in the Anderton house. I've loved having daughter, Olivia, home and have really enjoyed her company. I'm trying not to think about the girls leaving for their final year at university in the third week of September.

This was my week...
 
On the way to the supermarket on Monday, I spied my husband's old car and waved like an idiot at the person behind the wheel, before realising that it wasn't being driven by my husband. Apologies to the lovely lady I waved at - who obviously had no idea who I was. I can only blame my hormones for the momentary lapse.

I woke early on Tuesday morning, slap-bang in the middle of a hot flush and came downstairs dreaming up plans for Olivia and Sophia's 21st birthday party. I also chatted to a couple of people on Twitter who were similarly sleep deprived. It seems there are a lot of us around at 4am. Later that evening I fell asleep on the sofa at 9pm. How come I take my best naps in front of the TV?


After weeks of asking Olivia what she would like for her birthday, we went shopping on Wednesday morning. My instructions were simply, 'I've stuck a four hour ticket on the car, please find something.' Neither of my daughters is materialistic - which is good, except for when you have no idea what to buy them. Olivia came back with a small selection of gifts. Now all I need to do is find something for Sophia - she arrives home from the US on Saturday. As we haven't seen our youngest daughter since 20th June, I'm predicting lots of hugs, kisses and sleep after her long journey from LA to New York and from NY to Heathrow.

On Thursday, I asked Olivia if she thought a themed party would be a good idea. 'That's an excellent idea,' she said. 'We could have a Harry Potter party. You and Dad could come as Dobby and Kreacher.' She went on to pick characters for almost every member of the family, plus close friends and neighbours. Party plans are underway - sans theme, as I didn't want to upset our guests. So far I've bought balloons, cake candles, bunting and booked a delivery slot with Waitrose.

On Friday, my gorgeous nephew turned thirteen. How did that happen exactly? Thirteen years ago we were on holiday in Gran Canaria when he was born - seven weeks early, perfectly healthy and weighing only 3lb 3oz. It's hard to believe that he's almost as tall as I am, or that he's a teenager. Fortunately he still loves hugs, but I'm no longer allowed to mess with his hair :o(

My sister hosted a party for my nephew on Saturday and miraculously, the weather was kind. We drank a lot of Pimms in the garden and I taught my nephew a fun game involving clothes pegs. I have a suspicion that my sister isn't going to thank me for this. It was dark by the time we arrived home and I was rather taken with this view of moonlight filtering through clouds from my bedroom window.


On Sunday I made a batch of mini scones that resembled The Leaning Tower of Pisa. The plan was to freeze these ready for the party in a couple of weeks, but as they didn't turn out as planned, we ate them instead. I'm hopeful that batch number two will be more successful.
 
The Leaning Scones of Pisa

My favourite blog for this week comes from The 40 (ish) year old Domestic Goddess. I snorted with laughter as I read her post: Was my Mum really a Hairdresser?? My mum was also a hairdresser and I have a similar assortment of hideous snapshots hidden away in photo albums. To this day my mother wonders why I hardly ever visit the hairdressers.

Here's to another crazy week. Have fun whatever you're up to.

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton


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Monday, 26 January 2015

Owning less and doing more...

Less, Minimalism, ExperiencesNext month I'll be celebrating another birthday and that means I'll be even closer to fifty than I am already. Friends and family are asking what I'd like for my birthday and my answer is, 'Nothing at all.'

Here's the thing, I spent a considerable amount of time last year offloading tat we no longer needed. In the process I created space in the house and now that it's less rammed I spend less time keeping it tidy. I don't miss things falling on top of me every time I open a cupboard, or any of the belongings that once spilled out of the drawers and onto the floor. And for that reason I'm not tempted to fill the house up ever again. There are things I'll never part with, like cute pictures drawn by the girls when they were small, photo albums filled with treasured memories of my daughters growing up and an assortment of what can only be described as bizarre crap, which includes my collection of cat's whiskers and shells from far-flung beaches.

Tackling the loft is still an ongoing process but as I'm rather taken by the prospect of only storing suitcases, sleeping bags and Christmas decorations up there, this motivates me to carry on. To start with I was unconvinced that any of the accumulated tat in the loft was worth anything at all, but selling a handful of vintage Ladybird books on eBay for £80 has made me think again. As I'd scribbled my name in most of them I was surprised they made so much. I've also sold my daughters' collection of Harry Potter Lego for £375 and I'm sure they'll put the money to good use on books making the most of student life just as soon as I pay this into their bank accounts.

Mr A and myself have decided to create memories rather than accumulate more stuff we don't want. We're never going to remember the time we shopped for... insert whatever, but hopefully we'll remember concerts, trips to the beach and special days out

For Christmas Mr A bought tickets to see Michael Bublé. And previously I've bought tickets for Pendulum and Noah and the Whale - both concerts were awesome. And yes, for the record we do have quite an eclectic taste in music.

In November we spent a week in Cornwall celebrating our wedding anniversary. We were also away for a few days last week after deciding to escape the demands of work and home and a bathroom that's mid-renovation. On the positive side the house will take less time to tidy up once the work's all finished as there's less stuff to put back.

How much stuff does one person need exactly? I find the older I get, the less I shop and the more I want to make of life a whole lot more...

Until next time...

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton


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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Birthday Season


OK, so it's September already and my thoughts are turning to OMG, 3 members of the family all have birthdays coming up. Mr A will be even older than he is already on the 9th September. And my daughters turn 20 on the 13th! First of all, how the heck did that happen? and secondly, that makes me feel old!

Buying gifts for my daughters has become even more of a challenge since they left home for uni. One has become master of losing stuff, while the other likes to keep life simple by not keeping lots of belongings at her rented house. I have a feeling that the thought process behind it goes something like this...

Less stuff = Less mess. 

To add to the mix they're both rubbish at coming up with suggestions and storage isn't exactly abundant. Hence gifts need to have a purpose and not take up too much space.

And so it falls to me to come up with ideas and I tend to go for gifts that can be useful with maybe one or two, inspired choices. This is what I've come up with so far...

Lights from Cable & Cotton to cheer up their drab studenty rooms...

Mojito for Olivia
and Cherry Pop for Sophia


















Converse Pumps

Sophia has been a fan of Converse for a very long time. And as her current pair are looking rather worn, I've treated her to a pair of these...

Converse Well Worn Hi Trainers

Olivia, on the other hand prefers Skechers and so I've picked these out instead...

Skechers Bobs Utopia Lazy Daisy

Swatch watch....

As Sophia's a rower, any watch has to be waterproof, so I've gone for this...


Swatch - Pretty Sexy
Right now I'm struggling to find a watch for Olivia, so I guess that means just one thing... another shopping trip.

Perfume

Sophia has asked for only one thing: perfume. As she's been borrowing my Coco Chanel all summer long I was only too happy to oblige. This is what she's chosen after a month of spritzing fragrances in department stores...

Kenzo Jeu d'Amour
Books

Olivia has asked for some of her reading list for this semester as she's studying English Literature and loves books. This is what I've ordered to help her out:
  •  Black Skin, White Masks - Frantz Fenon
  • The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly - Jean-Dominique Bauby
  • Falling Man - Don Delillo
  • A Tale For The Time Being - Ruth Ozeki
  • Belinda - Maria Edgeworth
  • The Nature of Blood - Caryl Phillips
  • The Book of Daniel - E. L. Doctorow
  • The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacialupi
  • The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner - James Hogg
  • Quicksand & Passing - Nella Larson
  • The Grass Is Singing - Doris Lessing
 Books are always appreciated by my eldest daughter and she is always happy to receive them.

After I've sorted all of my own gifts to my daughters sussed, I dread the onslaught of calls from friends and relatives... "What are we going to get the girls for their birthdays?" And I'll be thinking: I haven't a clue and I'm their mother. Vouchers anyone?

Mr A is even tougher to buy for as he's not materialistic in the slightest. I've concluded only that we'll have a lovely day out... just the two of us. I'm certain he will appreciate some time away from the mayhem at home.

So, what do you buy your nearest and dearest when you're stuck for ideas and need all the help you can get? All inspiration gratefully received...

Until next time...

Copyright©2014 Izzie Anderton


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