A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Daughters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daughters. Show all posts

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 I'm still looking for answers.
 
Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton


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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Week That Was... 9th May 2016


Daisies, Blue SkyAfter another busy week, we were treated to some rare, but welcome warm weather at the weekend. I'm hoping that this is just the start of a fabulous summer ahead. It was lovely to see so many people out basking in the sunshine and taking the opportunity to explore the great British countryside. The evenings were heavy with the scent of last-minute barbecues and here, the first Pimms of the season was enjoyed in the garden. Today, the rain has returned with a vengeance. Here's hoping it won't be too long until the clouds disappear and we can get on with making the most of summer.

This was my week...

Sudeley Castle
As the weather was glorious, we chose to ignore the mountain of monotonous tasks requiring our attention last weekend and ventured out to visit Sudeley Castle in the Cotswolds instead.

Sudeley Castle, the Cotswolds


The castle was built in the 15th century, possibly on the site of a 12th century castle and is surrounded by ten beautifully laid-out gardens. The chapel, St Mary's, is the burial place of Queen Katherine Parr, sixth wife of King Henry VIII.

Queen Katherine Parr, Tomb, St Mary's, Sudeley


It's a fascinating place to visit and comes highly recommended.

Reading
The Promise of Happiness by Justin Cartwright. This was a gift from my daughter and looks promising so far. It's perceptive and features lots of amusing observations about a family in crisis. I can't wait to see how it ends.

Daughters
Both daughters are working hard on dissertations and final pieces of work for university. Parcels filled with treats were dispatched recently - containing sweets from their favourite sweet shop in town, sachets of hot chocolate for windswept beach walks and cold evenings spent camping at a rowing event. Plus cookies and breakfast biscuity things perfect for pulling all-nighters in the library. Final letters from home featuring nonsensical news and motivational words were posted yesterday.

I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of my daughters.

How did the last 3 years at university go so quickly I wonder?

Holiday 2016
And finally, the holiday is booked... after much trawling through the internet last weekend in search of the perfect vacation for 3, (yes, you did read that correctly). Sophia's going to work for Camp America again this summer, so we offered to take Olivia along. It's been a while since we've taken a holiday with either daughter, but I'm looking forward to spending time with my eldest. We settled on a week in Sorrento at a hotel that's right in the centre of town.

Today, it's 63 days and counting. Not that I'm keeping tabs.

The Week Ahead...
I'm looking forward to Music Night on Friday and Eurovision on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. For Eurovision 2016, I'm hoping for lots of cheesy, eccentric entries and will probably be tweeting live throughout. I hope to see a few of you on Twitter on Saturday night. You know the rule about not tweeting after wine? Well this goes out of the window for Eurovision as I suspect that everyone's having a party on there.

It's amused me that the US will get to see Eurovision broadcast live for the first time this year. I can't wait to see what they make of it.


Well that's about it for this week. Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead whatever you're up to.


Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton
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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, 11 April 2016

I haven't lost all my marbles, but there's definitely a hole in the bag


I haven't lost all my marbles, but there's definitely a hole in the bagThis week has seen one daughter, closely followed by the other leave for their final term at university. Today the house is quiet, the beds and the fridge are empty and I'm alternately missing the mayhem and making the most of peace and solitude. It will take several days to adjust, but the past week has been an interesting one and I have loved having both daughters home as it adds a certain crazy dynamic to life.

This was my week...
  
Music Night
On Friday we attended another fabulous music event at a local venue. This time Olivia tagged along and it transpires that she can drink her mother under the table. I guess that's what happens when you've been at uni for two and a half years and had lots of practice. I, on the other hand am losing the ability to drink even two glasses without feeling completely sozzled. Note to self: drink less.

Cooking for four, three, two
Why does it take me an age to work out how much food to prepare for dinner when the girls have gone exactly? The quote, 'I haven't lost all my marbles, but there's definitely a hole in the bag,' springs to mind. Last night I set the table for 4 and only 2 of us were home, although there may have been a sneaky addition to the table. See below...

The only baby...
We jest that the cat is the third child we never quite got around to. We adopted Kitty from a rescue centre when our daughters were just 6 and she has been an adored member of the family ever since. I'm often heard to utter the phrase, 'Just because you're a cat doesn't mean I love you any less.' Sadly, she is besotted with my husband and only humours me with her presence when he's not at home :o(

A fellow blogger posted a photo of her cat eating breakfast at the table last week. Occasionally our cat invites herself to join us and Mr A and myself (secretly) find this rather amusing - neither of us has the heart to make her get down. I joke that she's better company than some of the people we invite over for dinner.


Cat, eating, table


Reading
A proof copy of a book that's yet to be released! The Course of Love by Alain de Botton - Review to follow very soon (I hope).

Happiness is 49 flavours
When I was little I remember owning a pencil case featuring Snoopy holding a multicoloured ice cream cone and the quote, 'Happiness is 49 flavours.' Back in the 80s - I was dumbfounded that there didn't appear to be anywhere near that number of varieties available in the small provincial town where I grew up. As an adult, I'm still rather partial to ice cream and only too happy to test out a new flavour. Last week while out on a walk with my daughter we spied Ferrero Rocher ice cream and in the interests of research, we had to try it out. I'm happy to report that it was rather delicious. Nothing however, has beaten the dizzy heights of 2012's Pimms & Strawberry ice cream. If you happened to spot a blogger and her daughter dodging rain showers while attempting to devour ice cream cones in Shropshire last week, it was probably us.

More happy news...
There was a small whoop of joy in the Anderton house on Tuesday. Daughter, Sophia rang to tell us the date of her graduation and it transpires that yes, we will be able to attend both daughters' ceremonies in September. It won't be easy as they're 375 miles apart - but it is going to happen.

Nominated
I have no idea who nominated my blog for Best Writer category in The Mad Blog Awards, but thank you so much. I wasn't even displaying a badge and was very surprised to receive a tweet on Friday.

Favourite Blog Post
I haven't featured a favourite blog post for a while, but this was an incredible read from Tattoed Mummy this week: Dads are rubbish at housework and parenting. The title (which is not what it seems) resonated well with my own experience of going back to work when my daughters were small and leaving my husband in charge. Pop over for a read if you haven't already. 

That's about it for this week. Here's to another awesome week whatever you're up to...

Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton





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Monday, 28 March 2016

Sooty, Storm Katie and Sleep Deprivation

SootyIt's been mayhem in the Anderton household since Friday. Actually, Friday evening wasn't too bad. Mr A and myself escaped to a local Indian restaurant and went to comedy night with friends, leaving the girls home alone. This was pre-arranged before dates were discussed for the girls' return from uni. I may have had one too many glasses of wine and wondered why, when I'd gone out a few weeks ago and only managed a packet of crisps for dinner, I felt more human than I did when I arrived home this Friday.
 
Having lost her voice completely since she came back, I resorted to calling Olivia, 'Sooty' at the weekend. She's had to tap people on the shoulder before whispering what ever she needed to convey. Yesterday's family lunch for 8 was hilarious as she persuaded her sister to order her meal and answering questions was a bit like Chinese whispers.

Later that afternoon, I watched The Boat Race with daughter, Sophia, who's a keen rower, Olivia meanwhile, decided to take a bath. She was in there for so long, that after an hour I went upstairs to check she was OK. Sophia poked her head out of the lounge and shouted, 'Had you better check she's alright?'

'Well I would ask,' I said, 'but she's lost her voice.' In the end, I asked Olivia to tap the side of the bath if she was OK. She was fine.

After watching the final episode of The Night Manager, last night's sleep was filled with nightmares as Storm Katie passed by and rain lashed the windows. I woke up several times fearing the worst for our leaky roof. Tonight, there will be no wine, or nightmare-inducing TV - instead I'll watch a cartoon before bed and have a hot milky drink.

It's now Monday and both daughters have escaped from the house and gone for a walk; out into a day that's threatening rain and blowing a gale. One has my walking boots, the other borrowed a coat. 'Mum, would you mind locking the door?' This is daughter-speak for the house keys are still at uni somewhere. Maybe? Who knows?

'No,' I said, 'I don't mind at all.' Grateful thoughts filling my head at the possibility of a couple of hours peace after a sleep-deprived night.

'You look just like the cat when she's about to do something mischievous,' said Sophia as I appeared at the front door.

'Really?' I said, taken aback that she might suggest such a thing. I struggled for a second, to come up with a suitable response.

'I was just thinking you've asked me to lock the door, but there was no mention of letting you back in.' I said with a smirk, before adding, 'Only kidding. Love you.'

Later I may go out for a walk, but not until the girls are home obviously, as they won't be able to get back in the house if I'm not here.

You'll be pleased to hear that 'Sooty' has made a full recovery and that makes her mum very happy indeed.

 
Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton

  


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Friday, 18 March 2016

No Photos Please...

No photosThis is a post I've been meaning to write for a while. I've done a lot of blog reading this week and it was refreshing to find a fellow blogger who doesn't like having her photo taken. Thanks Debs for your honesty and inspiring me to finally get around to writing this. You can read Deb's original post here if you wish.

As bloggers I guess we're supposed to feel comfortable in front of the camera. I'm filled with admiration for those who are happy to smile and post their picture-perfect snaps online. I only wish I could be so relaxed and happy to join in.

It's just that I really don't like photos with me in them. Never have. Never will.

That explains why there are exactly 4 photographs of me on the entire blog. Instead, you're more likely to find pictures of me disappearing into the distance...

Luxemborg gardens, Paris

Or admiring something in a window...

Laduree, Macaron, Paris


This is the best my husband can manage.

I'm confident in all other aspects of life - I have lots of friends, I'm happy to socialise in groups and also enjoy my own company. At work, I talk to the teens in my charge about anything and encourage them to be the very best they can be. Nothing really fazes me all that much to be honest.

Get a camera out though, and chances are I'll do a runner.

My daughters on the other hand, photograph beautifully. As I'm usually the one behind the camera - this provides the perfect excuse to avoid being photographed at all - yay! I don't however, have permission to post photos of them on the blog - that is their decision to make and I am more than happy to respect it. There are snaps of my daughters all over the house though, and they are truly lovely.

Over the years I've done this...

1. Accidentally 'borrowed' memory cards and deleted any images that have me in them. Family are becoming wise to my antics and have learnt to email one another with the photos before I can get my mitts on them.

2. For years my photo ID for work was concealed by a photo of our cat - fortunately no one noticed.

3. The bio photo for the blog was taken on a professional photo shoot - I loathed every minute of the experience. Over 200 photographs were taken and I struggled to find 3 that I was even remotely happy with.

And I've never ever done this...

1. Taken a selfie.

How scary is the camera on Skype exactly?! As my daughters tend to Skype late into the evening, I am sans make-up and realise that I am turning into a cross between Jabba the Hutt and my mother. Sorry Mum x

It wasn't always this way. This 1973 snap of me aged 5 is kind of OKish - but I still don't like my smile.

Izzie Anderton, aged 5, schooldays
 
Please tell me I'm not the only one who doesn't like being in front of the camera?


Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton

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