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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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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Monday, 2 November 2015

The Lost Art of Postcard Writing

Letter writing, unexpected smilesThere was an unusual item of mail in the Anderton house last week that  made a change to the usual bills, statements and advertising junk. It was  a postcard all the way from the US in an unfamiliar, difficult to decipher handwriting. I read the thing (as you would), smiled at the content I could read and quickly put it down again - deciding that it had been delivered to the wrong address.

On the way up to bed that evening, I mentioned to Mr A that we'd received mail that wasn't ours and did he know of anyone by the name of Mr Kent, (which was how I'd read it) who lived locally? I'd racked my brain several times over and failed to come up with who it might be. It transpired that Mr A had no idea either.

The scribbled lines were filled with anecdotes and humour that I suspected only the true recipient would understand. I couldn't bear the thought of them not receiving their postcard all the way from Washington State with news from their friend or relative when such care had gone into its words - albeit in handwriting that was barely legible.

Letters and postcards seem to be a thing of the past with modern technology and it transpires that we can stay in touch from wherever we are in the world. Although that wasn't the case this summer for daughter, Sophia. There was no signal in the middle of the Oregon wilderness where she stayed for almost three months. Apart from the occasional email, I wrote to her each week with news and crazy anecdotes from home in an attempt to make the 5000 mile distance between us feel not so far away.

Doesn't that make a letter or postcard something to treasure? Will anyone hold onto a memorable email to reflect on in the years to come I wonder?

Picking the postcard up again the following morning, I finally managed to fathom out the name of the sender... it was Smudge. Next I noticed the recipient was KatKat. This was my daughter's nickname at Camp America during the summer. Staff are referred to by nickname rather than their actual name and I vaguely remembered my daughter, telling me she'd met a friend called Smudge.

Talking to my daughter over the weekend via Skype, I decided against telling her about the postcard. Instead, I've written to her and tucked the card behind my letter for her to discover for herself.

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton   

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Friday, 16 October 2015

On Raising my Daughters as Feminists

Daughters, FeministsI've raised my daughters to believe they were capable of anything. Olivia and Sophia were encouraged from a young age to experience whatever life had to offer and to adopt what worked well, and discard those things that didn't. During their childhood, it was their father who gave up work for a year as I returned to work full-time when the girls were just 3 months old. In the following years, we adjusted our work/ life balance several times over to adapt to new careers and the needs of our growing family. Gender stereotyping never came into any of these decisions and as parents, we dealt with whatever needed to be done.

As a result, my daughters see men and women as equal, and feminism is something that is ingrained in the very core of their being.

I don't know whether it was coincidence, but neither daughter was overly fussed on baby dolls, or the colour, pink. Instead, they preferred Lego, K'Nex, cars, trains and their Fisher Price garage. Outside of school, their interests included ballet, Japanese and rowing. The majority of Olivia's friends were boys, while Sophia's were all girls - I had no problem with either of their choices. Any attempt to cajole the girls into preferring traditional toys were thwarted. This caused frustration with both grandmas, who were convinced that girls should be, well.... girly. I recall my mother being especially horrified when I bought Sophia a Scalextric set for Christmas one year. It was what my daughter had asked for - what was I supposed to do?

My daughters are shocked by issues of sexism as this isn't anything they have ever experienced. They are particularly critical of how men and women are portrayed in advertising and find it hilarious that women are supposed to love housework, while men are generally categorised as hopeless in any domestic situation - obviously, neither classification is true.

In the mid 1980s when I started work, sexism was rife. It wasn't unusual to be asked about what underwear I'd chosen for the day. This was humiliating even though disguised as 'harmless fun.' Thankfully, we've come a long way since the eighties and today, the workplace is a more harmonious environment. I hope that my daughters are never subjected to sexism and believe that mutual respect for both sexes and recognition for achievements and hard work is excellent progress.

All our kids need to be taught about the issues surrounding sexism from a very young age and yet, as a mentor to teenagers, I come across many who don't believe that they have the right to respect from the opposite sex. This revelation comes as a shock after believing that we'd come so far. I'm only too happy to discuss the issues surrounding inequality, discrimination and respect with any of the kids, in the hope that they will go on to have successful relationships and pass on this valuable life lesson to their own children someday.

I'd love to hear what you think. Please feel free to share your thoughts...

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton

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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Week That Was - 21st September

This week has been all about my daughters leaving for university and it seems like no time since Sophia arrived home from the US. As a result, life has been pretty manic in the Anderton house and our time together as a family of four was lovely, but all too short. I now have to wait until Christmas to see my daughters again :o(

This was my week...

Birthday celebrations continued on Monday, with a visit to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. As my daughters have grown up with the Harry Potter books and films, this was something they had wanted to do for a while. As I'd expected, the girls had a wonderful day.

Butterbeer ice cream comes highly recommended, although I wasn't quite so taken with the actual drink.

Note to self: the next time I book the cat in for a check-up at the vets, I'm going to have to be more resourceful and not only remember to put notices on the doors...

...but also remind the rest of the family to keep the windows closed as well! The cat spied an opportunity to scarper when Sophia opened the conservatory window. I was alerted to the fact she'd escaped, after seeing her disappear over the top of the shed while I was upstairs folding laundry. We arrived just fifteen minutes late for her appointment after I ran out into the garden and bribed her back in with a bag of Dreamies.

On Thursday I dropped Olivia off at the coach station. I was convinced that she'd loaded her bag with bricks as the two of us struggled to carry it. Mr A and myself had already moved our eldest daughter into her new house back in July, which meant that we didn't need to make the 500 mile round trip with all of her belongings. You can read about this here and here if you wish.

Saturday was all about getting Sophia packed up and ready to leave. My youngest daughter does not travel lightly and the scene at home was very chaotic indeed. Everything came together eventually.

On Sunday we were up early. All the way there I couldn't help thinking about what we'd left behind and sure enough, there were several things that needed to be replaced. This always happens. 

By the time we arrived home again on Sunday evening, it was rather late, I fell asleep on the sofa and stayed there until bedtime. I'm happy to report that Sophia's new accommodation is lovely and her new housemates, delightful. I'm optimistic that the third and final year at university for my daughters will be fabulous.

Sharing the house with daughters who are away for most of the year is bittersweet. I just get used to having the two of them around, only for them to leave all over again. Right now, the house is a little too quiet for my liking. I'm guessing this will take a week (or two) to get used to.  

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

Copyright©2015 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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Friday, 10 July 2015

A Cautionary Tale for the Uninitiated - Part Two

Earlier this week I blogged about moving our daughter and a friend out of student digs and into our holiday apartment for the week. You can read this here if you missed it.

Part two picks up exactly where I left off...

Unable to locate C after lunch, I ask Olivia about food preferences, 'Oh, it's OK,' she says, 'C eats everything.' I hastily scribble a list and leave for the supermarket, plotting a Moroccan mezze themed dinner, followed by strawberries and cream.

After serving dinner, it turns out that C isn't fussed on Moroccan.

And I've since discovered that C eats everything apart from... cereal, apple pie, yogurt, bananas, lemon meringue, Moroccan (obviously) and anything that's spicy. I have no problem with any of it, I only wish she'd enlighten me when I ask as I don't want the poor girl to starve.

On Tuesday, as their former landlady requests they return to finish tidying up the house, Mr A and myself let out a silent whoop of joy and escape for the entire day. By the time we arrive home, the girls are dozing after a 'hectic' day and we've run out of milk, biscuits and orange juice.

We also discover that the Pimms has been drained, a bag of chocolates with two choccies left and a pretzel packet discarded on the coffee table - sans pretzels.
Now I hadn't seen a single episode of  The Big Bang Theory before last week and to be fair, under normal circumstances I'd have found it mildly amusing. After the umpteenth box set and multiple hints that other television programs were available however, my humour was starting to wane. 'Isn't Celebrity MasterChef on tonight?' I said hopefully on Thursday evening. 'No, I don't think so,' said my daughter. It was just as well we had company. My hormones had created a mix of murderous thoughts and the tide was in, so there was no escape to the beach.

Instead, I open a bottle of wine, down a single glass and return for a second, only to discover that the girls have polished it off. There is no more wine. I snarl (inwardly) and disappear into the bedroom with a book.

We'd hoped that the girls would want to sample the nightlife and venture out alone some of the time. Not so. As luck would have it, the days are so long at this time of year that Mr A and myself peek out of the window late evening and escape to the beach if the tide is out, or make the short walk into town in search of a bar and solitude. This backfires as C and Olivia can get ready like lightning whenever they feel like it and insist on keeping us company. And though we enjoyed their company, the restaurant and bar bills are greeted with gasps and warrant frequent use of the credit card.

After requesting that Olivia email her new landlord as I was hyperventilating at the thought of moving the pair of them out of our accommodation and into new digs before 10 am on Saturday, I am treated to one of those looks that says, 'Yes, I acknowledge what you've said, but as I don't want to do it, I'm going to ignore you.' Naturally it's me that caves and trawls through the ocean of emails to locate the landlord's details. I fire off a quick message and am delighted with a speedy response. The girls' stuff is dropped off late on Friday afternoon and I'd have dished out another hug, but he didn't look the type to have appreciated it and his wife was up to her eyes with the cleaning.
On Saturday morning after moving out of the apartment and delivering the girls to their new home, we sneak into the local gin palace like a couple of fugitives. We briefly consider downing one of the 57 varieties available before coming to our senses and the reality of the 250 mile schlep all the way home. We settle for pots of tea and treacle tart and promise that next time around we're going to try quite a few.

Until next time...

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton

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Sunday, 5 July 2015

A Cautionary Tale for the Uninitiated Parent - Part One

When both daughters left for university, I imagined that our parenting conundrums would be over. Surely our daughters would discover new found wisdom and fathom out the minutiae of life in the real world with only minimal input from their parents once they'd left home?

With our role as full-time parents drawing to a close, we filed our memories under, 'Nice while it lasted, but now they're all grown, I guess it's time for us to move on.'

I continued to miss my daughters more than they'll ever know, and often found myself in their bedrooms contemplating what it means to be a mum with young adults for children.

The honeymoon period was delightful, but after only several weeks, one daughter required assistance. Naturally, we dropped everything to help her.

Although our services are called upon less frequently, an entirely different set of skills is required. This often results in advanced problem solving, brain ache and the need for several bottles of wine that you tell yourself are entirely medicinal.


We are just back from moving beloved daughter no. 1 into new digs. As there was an entire week before moving out of her old house and into the new, we booked an apartment overlooking the sea and thought we'd enjoy a holiday at the same time.

It started with an innocent enough, 'Mum, C has nowhere to stay.' We'd met C on several occasions during previous trips to see our daughter and she is truly lovely. And so, our automatic response was to say, 'Yes,' and help out, obviously. Someday it might be your daughter who's in need of assistance; you'd like to think that someone would come to her aid.

On day one, filled with enthusiasm, we were ready for the off by 5:30am. After a fabulous journey with minimal traffic, we're on the beach by 10am, making the most of a hearty breakfast in the beach cafe and feeling very smug indeed.

We arrive at our daughter's accommodation and discover mounds of belongings heaped in the lounge, hall, kitchen and both bedrooms. Nothing is packed. And somehow, the realisation that these mounds have to be moved today, into our gorgeous apartment hits like a not-so-subtle brick.

After checking in and emptying the car of our tiny suitcases, we make a further three journeys to round up their errant stuff and move in.

In doing so, we hog the lift for a very long time and intermittently, a load arrives at level two along with a complete stranger who is too polite to do anything but help and reminisce about similar experiences with their own offspring. I am grateful for their patience and the realisation that there are people who are benevolent and generous with their words and time.

After lugging the stuff down the corridor, the apartment looks as though it's been ransacked. I vow to make it look gorgeous again just as soon as I can summon the energy.

Saturday's dinner is a very delicious fish and chips overlooking the harbour, followed by falling asleep over a large glass of (medicinal) Pimms and the earliest night I've had in ages.

We're up early on Sunday morning and off to the beach in search of cowrie shells, shrimp and solitude. Is there anything more lovely than time at the beach I wonder?

After a busy morning beachcombing, we head back. Only, we can't get into the apartment as we're locked out. Between the four of us, we have three pairs of shoes, an assortment of shells and sea glass, some loose change and no phone. Weighing up our options, we discover that none of the neighbours are in. Our daughter gets the giggles and we are both cross with her. Only we keep our thoughts to ourselves as we don't want C to think we are horrid.

There are images of calling a locksmith and having to gain permission from the owner and the rental company. Obviously, we'll have to foot the bill. To add further insult... we're all famished.

Out of the window I spy a car pull up and an unsuspecting neighbour returns to her apartment. I ask for a hug after she announces that she has a spare key and buy our saviour the biggest bunch of flowers I can find the very next day....

Part two is posted. You can read it here.

Until next time...

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton
Image credit: Pixabay
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Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Cost of a Prom

It was February half-term 2011, and the search for prom dresses for my twin daughters had begun in earnest. A mum can never be too organised with these things, and several weeks passed in a blur of shopping expeditions before we spied exactly what we were looking for. Two full-length dresses, in complementary colours - one midnight blue, the other, burgundy. Both were perfect for my daughters' petite frames and reasonably priced at £165 each.

I may have commented that the combined cost of their dresses was actually more than my wedding dress. However, I was very happy that we'd found them and the dresses were ordered - we arrived home feeling very smug indeed.

And then it hit me, actually, we weren't finished at all. In fact, we'd barely made a start on the shopping list. What about shoes and bags and tiaras? I didn't want to think any more. I may have been delighted that I'd had the foresight to save in advance for what was turning out to be rather an expensive time.

A couple of weeks later, I spied a pair of Geox silver strappy sandals for the bargain price of £24.99. I purchased these quickly and spirited the pair home, in the hope that they'd be a match for Olivia's midnight blue gown. Fortunately, she adored them.

The following week Sophia spotted tiaras in the wedding department at a local store and out came the credit card again...

Meanwhile, the cost of the tickets to the actual prom came in at £30 each. And a friend suggested hiring a party bus, rather than a limo. The bus, complete with DJ, bar (serving non-alcoholic drinks as the girls were only sixteen) added to the growing list of expenses.

We shopped for a second pair of shoes for Sophia and settled on these burgundy diamante sandals...

In the meantime, the dresses had arrived at the shop and needed to be altered. As I can barely sew on a button, I wasn't daft enough to attempt a prom dress alteration, the cost of this was £35 per dress.

And let's not forget those last-minute essentials - two clutch bags plus an assortment of new make-up to complete the look.

The day of the prom dawned bright and sunny and my daughters spent most of it excitedly getting ready for their Oscar-themed prom night. We nipped off to the hairdressers, where Sophia opted to have her hair up and Olivia settled for curls. And by this point I'd stopped adding up what I'd spent as it was starting to scare me a little.

The final look was impressive and was one of the first times I realised that my daughters were growing up fast. I have no idea how that happens, one minute they're babies, the next you're waving them off to the prom and they're looking too glamorous for words. How did the time go so quickly?

The party bus was a great mode of transport to the prom, but I think the vote for most inspired transportation for the evening went to a group of lads who hopped in on space hoppers. I'm guessing this was a slightly cheaper option. I only wish I'd thought of it first. Kidding.

My daughters won an 'Oscar' for best double act and given their escapades at school during the past few years, this came as no surprise to their mother.

A recent survey from My Voucher Codes found that students in the UK are catching up with their American counterparts when it comes to spending on a prom. Clearly, I'd spent more than average on my daughters and this came as no surprise whatsoever. The survey has been published over at A Girls World if you'd like to read more.

Until next time...

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton

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Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Curious Incident of the Socks in the Airing Cupboard

The number of odd socks in the airing cupboard had been puzzling me for some time. There were twelve of the things blinking at me each time I opened the door and the only suggestion that my daughters may have something to do with it - was that every last one, was theirs.

I'd toyed with the idea of flinging the lot into the ragging bag, but wondered if the mystery might unravel after the girls arrived home.

A couple of weeks ago, Sophia was packing for Camp America. She had decided that fifteen pairs of socks were ideal for her needs. I spied several pairs that turned out not to be matched with their twin and found each of the errant socks in the airing cupboard pile. Since when did the wearing of odd socks become a thing I wonder?

Meanwhile, undies were in short supply. With only five pairs located for Sophia's suitcase, we skipped off to M&S to purchase more. As Olivia had left for uni a few days previously, it appeared that she had taken most of them. More undies means you can wash less often and this is a good thing when you're a student - apparently. She also had one of my cardigans from White Stuff. I only know this as she was wearing it when I last saw her on Skype. Grrr. She'd also taken her sister's swimming costume - this meant another trip into town.

Since Sophia's left home for the summer, the end is in sight for the laundry pile. I've re-discovered a cerise fleece, one not-so-white cardigan and a pair of cashmere mittens - all of which have been missing since January.

Meanwhile, my gorgeous new walking boots from Trespass have upped and left with my daughter and will be spending the summer in Oregon enjoying horse riding and numerous hikes in the woods.

I've also misplaced a waterproof jacket, but rather than look for it - I've decided that it's probably on location with one of my offspring. Hopefully this will reappear in September when my daughters are home celebrating their 21st birthdays.

I've concluded only - that being a similar size to my daughters is not necessarily a good thing.

Ever wonder if you're going mad?

Until next time...

 Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton
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Friday, 19 June 2015

Even From 5000 Miles Away, a Daughter Can Still Worry her Mum

I was asked recently whether or not parenting gets simpler as children grow older. And my answer was a resounding, 'No!'

Instead, whenever there's a problem, it can take forever to sort out and can leave you with a headache that refuses to budge for several hours. There are times when you feel like the hired help and I find that the role of PA often features heavily in my duties now that the girls are older. Also, the pay is rubbish, non-existent, usually results in negative equity and with the added time difference in Oregon for one daughter (GMT - 8 hours), it can be tricky to negotiate.

Last Friday we waved daughter, Sophia off at Heathrow airport. As she's spending three months in Oregon and travelling afterwards, we were careful to cover every eventuality and make life as simple as possible for her. She'd trusted me with access to email, banking and sim provider for top-ups etc and I'd also received a lengthy list of things to negotiate during the summer.

We were expecting a text from our daughter to let us know when she'd arrived safely in camp. It never came. And so we waited, thinking that Sophia had curled up and gone to sleep after being awake for too many hours. The following morning we rang her sister - there was no way Sophia wouldn't have called her twin. Olivia confirmed that Sophia had texted (twice) from O'Hare (Chicago), but she'd heard nothing since.

And so I did that mum thing and started to wonder, 'How long is too long without hearing from my daughter?' I know she's 20, but seriously, how long should I wait?

By Tuesday night I'd caved. I'd gone from not wanting to interfere in my 20-year-old daughter's life, to needing reassurance that she'd arrived in one piece. And so, in full mum detective mode, off I went...

1. Checked her email: nothing.

2. Olivia checked Sophia's Facebook status: nothing.

3. Accessed her phone records: there were 2 texts to her sister, one call lasting 1 minute and 25 seconds to a US number, we're guessing when she was at Portland Airport to meet with her lift to camp and then, nothing.

4. I rang the company providing Sophia with mobile cover in the US and after much discussion it turns out that there is no signal whatsoever where she's staying.

Grrr... Seriously... How can they not have known that this would happen before she set off? Surely there have been people staying there previously who've experienced a similar problem. As she was using the sim recommended by Camp America, I thought we'd covered every eventuality. I wasn't naive enough to expect the signal to be any good in the middle of the wilderness, but had hoped that she'd be able to text or use her phone occasionally from the staff area in camp.

Next, I scrolled through her email, until I spied one from the camp she's at and fired off a quick message to the camp leader. Fortunately, she replied quickly.

I also emailed a contact at Camp America asking if an alternative sim provider could be used to ensure my daughter can stay in touch during her three months away. I hope to hear something soon.

We're not a family that stays in touch every day. My daughters lead busy lives and as long as they call home at least once a week (or when something's wrong), I'm fine with that. The girls have never been attached to their mobiles twenty-four-seven and I don't even own one. But I really need to be able to communicate with S as she's away for so long.

As usual I'm not convinced that I should be interfering at all in my daughter's life and I'll probably be ticked off when she does eventually makes contact. I'm still her mum though, and that's what we do.
In the meantime, I've resorted to snail mail and fired off an email in the hope that when she eventually finds access to the internet, she'll know that I still care.

Latest update: I finally received an email last night...
'I'm settling in well and camp is beautiful. The flight from Chicago to Portland was amazing, I thought we were going to land in the river, but the runway appeared just in time :o)'

Don't you just love her!

Until next time...

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton

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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Bon Voyage

Bon VoyageWe're awake a little after midnight and heading down the M40 in no time at all. I'm not convinced of the merits of a couple of hours sleep, but I may have dozed a little, (unlike my daughter) and keep reminding myself that I have work to do once I arrive home.

Sophia bumps into a friend from university at Beaconsfield services which is slightly surreal at 4 am on a Friday morning, but they compare notes and fond farewells before we rejoin the motorway and head towards the M25. We arrive at Terminal 2, Heathrow and Sophia spies several Camp America T-shirt clad teens and twenty-somethings. They're all travelling to different US cities, but stick together anyway and talk of plans for the next three months. I guess this is how the summer will unfurl - they'll get used to talking to new friends with shared interests and support each other throughout. 

I have no idea how you're supposed to feel saying goodbye to your daughter for three months - but there's excitement mingled with apprehension. I hope that Sophia will stay safe, be happy and have a summer filled with adventure. When you head home with your newborn baby - you never imagine that someday she'll grow up and go exploring all by herself. Our children are not ours to keep however, and I have to remind myself that Camp America will be the first of many adventures.

After check-in, Sophia delivers a final hug and heads off to departures with new friends. The group have waited for everyone to get through check-in before leaving en masse, which is sweet. One hug is not enough with my daughter, but I manage to restrain myself, 'Have a great summer,' I say, but she's already gone and just like her first day at school, she doesn't look back.

We return to the car and leave the airport. Stopping for a crazy-early breakfast at a service station and arriving home again in time to start work. Who needs sleep?

Sophia has two flights, the first to Chicago, the second to Portland in Oregon. I check the flight status several times during the day and hope that my daughter is sleeping; by the time she arrives at camp she'll have been up for almost 48 hours. Why is it that she's never mastered the art of sleep before flying anywhere in the world? She's been the same ever since she was a toddler - this has always driven me slightly mad.

At time of writing I still haven't heard from my daughter... I'd been warned that the chances of finding a signal in the middle of the woods in Oregon was almost zero. This doesn't make it any easier. The eight hour time difference doesn't help. I've gone old school and written her a letter that will take between five and seven days to arrive. If all goes to plan she'll head into the nearest town at the weekend and find an Internet cafe - maybe we'll even get to Skype. I guess she's busy having fun and making new friends, which is exactly how it should be.

For now, it's just me, the cat and Mr A for the summer. I plan on borrowing my nephew for a few days as the house seems too quiet and the cat's already cross with me for scooping her up and extracting too many hugs.

Until next time...

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton
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Thursday, 26 February 2015

A Million Miles from Home

I love you so much, maternal loveThe phone rang yesterday morning and I was surprised to hear daughter, Olivia on the end of the line. As it was early in the day for her to call, I sensed that all was not well. She mentioned that she'd been feeling poorly for a while and her condition had deteriorated overnight. She was having difficulty breathing and also burning up. And it's times like these that render you helpless as a parent when you're 250 miles from your daughter at uni and wish that she hadn't ventured quite so far from home. I suggested she take some Ibuprofen and make an urgent appointment to see her GP.

Had she been to the GP surgery in her uni hometown since starting back in September 2013? Nope. Did she even know where the practice was? Nope again. I told her to call a taxi and promised to call her back at 12 pm.

Olivia might as well have been a million miles from home for all the help I could offer. I'm still fiercely protective where my daughters are concerned and yes, I know they're all grown up - it doesn't make it any easier. I warned my husband that I may be gone by the time he arrived home from work and distracted myself with mundane tasks in the house to kill time while I waited to call her back.

Fortunately her GP was brilliant. She prescribed antibiotics and steroids and dished out great advice about telling her housemates that she was unwell. She was also instructed to go straight back to the surgery if she had any concerns whatsoever. And I am so grateful for the excellent care Olivia received. It's reassuring to know there's help available, especially as this was the first time she'd been to the surgery and she's so far from home.

Later in the day we Skyped and had a longer chat. Olivia was planning to take a nap having slept badly the night before. She'd taken 40g of Prednisolone, her first antibiotic and a couple more Ibuprofen to keep her temperature down. She still looked poorly though and I offered to drive down. "Mum, I'll be fine," she said.

Does maternal instinct ever disappear I wonder? I guess not as my daughters are now 20 years of age and I still revert to type whenever there's a problem. We'd previously done a frantic dash to see Sophia just 6 weeks after she left home for uni. How I turned my back on my youngest daughter and left to return home after sorting out her problems I'll never know. By the time we arrived home I was an emotional wreck.

In my eyes when my daughters are sick they might as well be 4 years old. Us mums do stuff - ferrying to doctors appointments, dishing out meds and hugs as required, making food to tantalise them with and anything else necessary to help our offspring recover. That I can't do this makes me feel useless. Having said that, Olivia's shown that she's more than capable of sorting herself out in a crisis and I guess that means she's growing up.

I have just rung my daughter again and I'm happy to report she's feeling slightly better today. Yesterday, she confessed to watching CBeebies on BBC iPlayer and curling up on the sofa while her housemates were at uni. I only wish I was there to give her a hug. It's what we do. For the record, it doesn't matter whether they're 4 or 20 years of age.

Get well soon hun x

Until next time...

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton

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Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas by Olivia

Olivia's been home for just over a week now and I couldn't be happier. She graces the house with her own inimitable style and has thrown herself back into family life. 

She's been making the most of home cooking and we've made cookies together. It's fair to say that we're both pretty clueless in the kitchen and my eldest daughter's a little distracted with some tight deadlines looming at the start of next term, but I was rather surprised to be told, 'Next, you add the ground almonds and raspberries.'

'Really, I thought we were making pecan and cranberry cookies?'

'Oh drat,' she said, 'I'm following the recipe for bakewell tart.' Fortunately, the cookies turned out OK in the end.

She's also been busy with the Christmas decorations and did this with the nativity set...

It's a bit weird, but I kind of like it. And, she's also sprinkled a bit of festive magic on the refrigerator...

Even the cat's joining in with the festive mayhem. Whenever she falls asleep, Olivia digs out her Santa hat. As always Kitty isn't impressed in the slightest....

Fortunately, the tree looks fairly normal, shame it's leaning slightly, I have my fingers crossed it will stay upright until the day after Boxing Day when I'll be looking for any excuse to take it down.

Olivia's thoughtfully offered to help her sister by eating the first 20 chocolates out of Sophia's advent calender before she arrives home at the weekend. We're collecting Sophia on Sunday and depending on the roads the journey can take anything between two to four and a half hours each way as we're completely at the mercy of the motorways and the M6 can be horrendous.

Olivia's opted to stay at home to work on her essays in bed until lunchtime and cook us a meal to come back to, which will be lovely. Here's hoping she can follow the recipe. Once Sophia's back, the Christmas celebrations will officially start. I can't wait to have both daughters home and enjoy the chaos for a couple of weeks. Christmas with older offspring has its own kind of magic.

And finally, here's a taste of what Sophia has to look forward to in her bedroom... after Olivia decided to explore up in the loft and re-discovered an entire box of stuff that I wasn't allowed to donate to charity earlier in the year...

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.

And Happy Holidays to all of my blog readers from the US.

Until next time...

Copyright©2014 Izzie Anderton

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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

What happens at ours...

With less than two weeks to go until Christmas Day, I thought I'd write a post about what happens in our house over the festive season...

I love Christmas Eve - the realisation that you can do no more makes for a peaceful and relaxing time at home. We usually go to the cinema to watch the latest festive offering and this puts everyone in a great mood for the holidays before the relatives come over and spoil everything, I'm kidding. Coming home after the film, downing a sherry (or two) and knowing that I no longer have to wait for my daughters to fall asleep as they're all grown up and the presents are already under the tree is bliss. After leaving sherry and a mince pie on the coffee table for Father Christmas and a sprinkling of carrots on the floor for the reindeer, chances are, Mr A and myself will be asleep before our daughters.

If the girls are out partying on Christmas Eve, I have no idea what time they'll make an appearance on Christmas morning. We never had any rules about what time they were allowed out of bed; but one year when they were little, it was just 4 am and as we'd only managed a couple of hours' sleep, Mr A and myself were shattered.

On Christmas morning Mr A will make a pot of tea, forage for the tin of biscuits I've been hiding and we'll wait for the girls to wake up and climb into our bed with their stockings... it's a bit of a squish now they're older. I'd never had a stocking before I met my husband and I love the randomness of what goes in there; for me, this is my favourite part of Christmas Day. It's traditional for the girls to have a small plastic animal in their stockings and even though they protest about it, I have a feeling they'd be upset if I no longer did this. After sneaking downstairs, we open the presents slowly while scoffing more biscuits and enjoying a fresh pot of tea. I always keep one present back for the girls to enjoy later on and it's always a surprise that they won't have asked for. Their gifts this year are mostly essential items required by students as they've really learnt to appreciate books and anything else that's required for uni. 

My dad's coming over for breakfast and I have no idea what's on the menu, but it'll most likely feature smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, pain au chocolat, croissants and Buck's Fizz. We're breaking with tradition and going to my sister-in-law's for dinner, we've never done this before, but Mr A's family are fabulous hosts and I can't wait to celebrate Christmas with them. We're all contributing something and we're taking dessert... I may have cheated ever so slightly and ordered one of those delicious chocolate praline cakes from M&S (see pic above). There will be other options too - I'm thinking strawberry and Prosecco trifle and maybe a Christmas pudding.

I always feel slightly nostalgic at this time of year and spare a thought for absent friends and relatives. It's not always a happy time for everyone and I think the festivities can stir all kinds of emotions that are best left alone.

On Boxing Day, we'll probably host something here. I tend to make most of my plans at the last minute and entertaining in our house is always pretty informal. Usually it involves lots of alcohol and huge optimism that guests will think that my cooking is passable.

Chances are that the celebrations will last from 21st December (the date Sophia comes home) all the way through till the 3rd January (the date Olivia plans to leave) as everyone will want to catch up with the girls before they vanish back to university for another term. I plan on making the most of my daughters' company for as long as possible.
How do you celebrate Christmas at yours?

Until next time...

Copyright©2014 Izzie Anderton
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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Three Little Words

I have always hugged my daughters and told them they are loved at every available opportunity. And now that they're older I can’t see any reason to stop. Over the years I suspect they mostly learnt to take this for granted and often when I’m dishing out words of affection it's received with... 'Oh Mum,' and closely followed by a sigh. Just occasionally the gesture gets reciprocated and that makes me very happy indeed. Now that both daughters are away at university (and I don’t get to see them until the holidays) I’ve resorted to writing letters and emails that end... Hugs and kisses, Mum xx

I’m not convinced either daughter appreciates the gesture.

During my daughters' sometimes challenging teen years I never said that they weren't loved… even in the middle of a row. If I was mad with either of them, I'd say, 'I love you, but I don't always like what you're doing.' I guess you have to remember you're the adult, no matter how bitter the argument.

I have a nephew, he's twelve years of age, gorgeous and mischievous and I know I'm going to have embarrassed him by saying that. My sister tells her son each and every day how much she loves him and he's started to resent this, just like my daughters did a few years ago.

During a recent visit to my sister's house I was chatting to my nephew and as he’s in training to be a teenager, he was not amused that his mum was dishing out her daily dose of affection.

'So, who's crazier then... me or your Mum?'

'You're both as bad as each other,' was his honest reply.

'Do you want to know why?' I asked.

'I guess so,' he said.

'Well, how would you feel if no one ever said that they loved you and you didn't feel as though anyone cared at all?'

'I guess I'd feel sad,' he said.

'Exactly, I said.'

I don't suppose he'll do anything but protest the next time his mum tells him how much she loves him... but maybe my nephew will remember our conversation and think about what life would be like if no one said those three little words at all.

Until next time...

Copyright©2014 Izzie Anderton

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