A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. 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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Friday, 28 August 2015

Where is Your Happy Place at Home?

For me, the living room is my happy place at home. It's where I curl up on the sofa to read, take my best naps, and watch random TV programs such as World's Greatest Motorcycle Rides, Ice Road Truckers and Salvage Dawgs. It's also where I catch up with friends over cake and steaming mugs of coffee.

It's here that the cat sleeps peacefully on the sofa and takes up most of the space, despite having her very own cat bed that she's ignored since the day we brought it into the house.


It's a room to come together as a family, to enjoy films and share stories about the randomness of our days. Here, you'll find the latest collection of shells and poster-sized photos from far-flung family holidays on the walls. There are also a couple of throws for cooler evenings and a small collection of art glass vases.



The living room also houses our collection of DVDs, CDs and a few of our books. Who knows if we'll ever listen to The Party Album by The Vengaboys, or watch Muppets From Space on DVD again? They're sitting on the shelf - if ever we're tempted. There are books from my twin daughters' early years, all favourite bedtime reads that I can't quite bring myself to offload. There's also a signed copy of the latest novel by Sarah Winman, a thoughtful gift from daughter, Olivia. Who knew a room could contain so much? If you take a look when it's tidy, you'd hardly notice so many belongings hidden among the shelves. Each and every one creating memories of family life in the same house for the past eighteen years.



It's where we drink tea after arriving home from work. Our place to retreat to at the end of a crazy day and forget all about the outside world over a glass of wine (or two), while burning incense or candles under the gentle glow of fairy lights.

I can't begin to imagine life without a room to unwind in.

Back in 2013 there was a near miss at home, when one daughter's bedroom almost went up in flames after a mishap with a candle. We were fortunate that her quick-thinking prevented the unthinkable from happening. The burnt windowsill and smoke damaged paintwork were soon repaired, but our thoughts turned to the possibility of 'What if?' and the sickening realisation that everything can change in a moment.

What would we have chosen to save, after ensuring that family members (including the cat) were safe? If, that is, there had been time to salvage anything at all?

The experience encouraged us to think about the value of our possessions accumulated over the years and how much they might cost to replace. That figure was more than we thought and our contents insurance was adjusted accordingly.

If you had to replace all of the stuff in your happy place at home, how much would this cost?

Legal & General have been insuring homes for over 90 years and have a helpful Home Contents Calculator to calculate the cost of replacing items in individual rooms of the house. You can check out their buildings and contents cover here.   

This is a collaborative post.

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton






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Monday, 17 August 2015

The Week That Was...

Social gatherings are like buses in the Anderton house. There are none for ages and then several turn up at once. Last week there were so many invitations that I had to admit defeat and decline a couple. The thought of partying every night fills me with dread and as I get older, I need a night off in-between to recover.

On Monday... I helped my dad with some gardening. Now I'm pretty rubbish at this, but I looked at the state of his lawn and borders and realised he needed all the help he could get. The realisation that a parent isn't coping as well as you'd thought is a sad one. We talked of putting his house on the market and moving to somewhere more manageable. I can't tell you how horrible it was to have this conversation.

Monday was also the Writing Group Summer Social, along with bottomless jugs of Pimms, lots of wine and scrummy cheese and nibbles. I was tired. We sat outside. I'd begged Mr A to collect me at 10pm, so that I could be in my PJs and reading a book by 10:30pm. And for once I managed to sleep quite well. This is what usually happens most nights: The Trouble With Sleep.

There was an invitation to a friend's house on Wednesday. As she lives just up the road there was a whoop of joy as neither of us had to drive. I have experienced some of the worst hangovers ever at her house. Her husband is a generous host who cannot bear to see a millimetre of empty space in a wine glass before refilling it. I vowed to stick to two glasses. And failed miserably. Four bottles of wine between the three of us, (Mr A was drinking beer) meant I was feeling delicate for most of Thursday. This led to the realisation that I need to come up with a new strategy next time. Mr A suggested I drive as I won't down a single glass of anything containing alcohol when I take the car.

I took several pictures during the evening, but this was the only one in focus...

View from a friend's garden
Daughter, Olivia phoned early on Thursday morning and announced that she would be coming home next week. Despite feeling under the weather hungover I felt very happy indeed and may have danced around the kitchen. She soon picked up that I was feeling below par and said, wasn't she supposed to be the one drinking? Ever been told off by your daughter? I felt well and truly chastised. Apparently she was up at 5am and had been to the beach, this made me snort with laughter as it wasn't so very long ago she was doing stuff like this...  Mum, You Know You Love Me...

I may have spent much of the day reading blogs and trying to find a few new ones to add to my reading list. This was my favourite discovery last week from Kate, over at Yes, She Writes. Anyone who's a book lover will identify with her brilliant post about the problem with books.

 
On Friday, I hopped off into town to buy food for a post I'm working on about food banks. As I'd been given some money to buy stuff, I was determined to make this stretch this as far as possible and went to several stores to buy as many special offers as I could. It was raining heavily for most of the day and I reached that point where I couldn't have been any more soaked than I already was. I returned looking rather bedraggled and realised that wearing Converse that morning wasn't one of my better decisions. On Friday night I consumed no alcohol whatsoever.

I'd agreed to attend a Golden Wedding Anniversary party with my father at the weekend. Sadly, my stepmum died four years ago from 'the big C,' but we still keep in touch with her lovely family who live just outside Bath. Their welcome was very warm indeed and I don't think I've ever had quite so many social hugs and kisses in one weekend. I wish we saw a lot more of them. For the record no alcohol was consumed.

On Sunday, after lengthy goodbyes and one heck of a delicious breakfast, we drove home again. The cat had missed me, I'm not so sure about my husband. I have a feeling he may have relished the peace and quiet.

Linking up with My Week over at Mummy Barrow.


Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton




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