Friday, 27 June 2008

Is there such a thing as "post party stress disorder"???......

Is it possible to poison small children with too much suspiciously highly coloured food? Yes, you've guessed it, today was party time in the VH household. Eight 3 & 4 year olds ran riot through my tidy (not for long) home and, I hope, had a great time. The adults?............well we shared a jug of Pimms and pretended it was sunny!

Now I'm no baker (i blame the oven) and this cake proved to something of a challenge. Can anybody tell me why Barbie has such ridiculously long legs? It was either chop them off or sacrifice the sponge cake I'd made for us long suffering Mummies. In the end I decided I just could not amputate limbs just for a cake so we made do with strawberries and cream instead. May I say Barbie looks slightly relieved!

Small hint :: it really is impossible to keep Barbie's dignity intact when cutting the cake. She ended up with her (impossibly small) bottom hanging out of the back of the cake and looking slightly like she belonged in a very dodgy food related porn film!

As usual it's been a busy week and I'm feeling slightly frustrated because I've so many post ideas in my head but not the time to write them, probably how a lot of you feel out there.

Last Sunday Andrea and I went to London to visit a trade fair. We met the man behind the now famous "Sarah Smith" dishcloths with the flowers that have been mentioned here in Blogland so many times. After leaving we decided to have a little trek around the capital and managed (thanks to me) to get onto totally the wrong tube. We ended up in Portobello Road and from there walked about 6 miles (no joke) back to Kensington where we'd parked, via a very convoluted route worked out using only a tube map! Along the way we stopped for Sushi and walked through Notting Hill and Kensington Gardens. We laughed so much whilst we walked that I was beginning to rue my decision not to have followed my pelvic floor exercises! It was a truly great day out with a fab friend, one I'll remember when I'm old and grey and pushing her round in a bath chair (she's older than me, as I keep telling her!).

I haven't forgotten the giveaway, next post I'll choose the winner. Have a lovely weekend all, I'm off for a large glass of wine, a lie down, and a chat with my other half...................(or, truth be told, to slob in front of the tv!)

Friday, 20 June 2008

Gifts galore!............

What a lucky girl I've been this week, little gifts have been popping up everywhere!

What a nice way to get back into the swing of everyday life......................

First of all my lovely giveaway from Lisa, a gorgeous embroidered apron, a flowered napkin, some lovely lace trim, a copy of the magazine that I hear so much about in the US but we can't get here (boo!) "Romantic Homes", and yes, it is fab!. We also got a big packet of Smarties (curiously missing from the picture, who could the culprits be?) And Lisa, Ian passes on his gratitude for the now famous "Tim Tams" - yum!! Lovely, lovely, lovely, all of it!

Speaking of Ian, he returned from Manchester with some more Harvey Nichols goodies. Oh how I love having a man who loves a good food hall! Our normally barren biscuit supply is now bursting at the seams with "grown up" treats and he also brought me a lovely cup and saucer for my French style cafe-au-lait, just to remind me of our fab hols. The flowers came from a neighbour as a thank-you.

Next the postie came a-knocking with this little bundle from the ever gorgeous Catherine at Mollycupcakes. Two little parcels for the little people. What excitement they caused, Kit was in yellow heaven and Jack devoured the book. Catherine is one of the nicest, most generous blogger out there, you must visit her blog!

Lastly, my scrumptious boy made me my very own paper fastener flower bouquet. What more could a mum ask for? I'm hanging onto these moments, he's growing up so fast!

All in all I'm feeling very blessed this week, no doubt something will come and smack me in the gob to bring me back down to earth next week but for now I'm just going to enjoy the moment!

And now....................the latest giveaway. Whilst in France I couldn't pass up on the opportunity to purchase the lastest "Marie Claire Idees" and what do know, another one just happened to slip into the trolley with it! Anyone who would like to get their sticky mitts on this and a couple of other little treats I'll pop in, leave a comment. I'm not showing a picture of it because I forgot to take one, but it'll make it even more exciting dontcha think!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend........................

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

A day of simple and slightly surreal pleasures........

Back into full blogging mode, although I do have to catch up with you all. Two posts in two days must be a record in the VH household.

After a lovely weekend of nosing round houses and seeing some lovely artwork at the open studios in Stroud and a relaxing Father's day, Monday started off in its usual fashion. Coffee with Andrea and Maureen straight after school drop off. We decided to go al fresco and enjoy the morning sun. Deep in conversation and munching on pastries we were suddenly joined by an elderly gentleman who just wanted a chat. After regaling us with his military history he then proceeded to serenade us with songs by Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole, in very hushed tones. Slightly surreal to be sung to at 10am on a Monday morning but there are worse ways to spend your time!

Kitty had her first session at school and after a slightly hesitant start seemed to enjoy it. She didn't want me to leave her but after realising that I was the only neurotic parent left (as usual)I reluctantly bade her farewell. It was very difficult, she looked like a little lost sheep amongst all the other faces. I'm pretending that September is a very long time away and making the most of the couple of months we have left together at home. It's very hard to know that my baby will be in the whole school system so soon and again I wish we had the continental scheme of keeping them at home a bit longer. Ahh well, such is life.

I do love having a bookworm for a child but it costs us a fortune. I try to use the library as much as possible, but being chronically disorganised means I run up fines larger that the national debt and therefore ashamed to show my face. Charity shops are a great help and on Monday Kit and I trawled them and came home with a few goodies. Hence this is where number one son was to be found after school that very evening................................

..................not the most comfortable armchair but perfect in his eyes, also great for watching my neighbours dogs at a safe distance, dog phobic as he is!

Thought I'd end with some holiday pics. It was a wonderful holiday, the weather was very mixed but we did get to the beach, and many of the towns we wanted to. We ate oysters galore washed down with cider, too many baguettes and crepes to think about (why are the French so healthy??) and wandered down lovely quiet cobbled streets dreaming about living there. Bliss.........

................a spot of Saturday Night Beach Fever!

........................the house in the middle is mine!

................Kits first horse riding attempt, she loved it!

Thanks for all the lovely comments about Ian's mum, they really are much appreciated. Life goes on here, as it has to with two young children, they are a great distraction.

Watch this space, a little giveaway coming shortly.....................

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

The best and worst of times.............

Another long absence, my sincere apologies. I'm sure some of you must have thought we'd sailed to France and decided never to come back, we were sorely tempted, let me tell you!

I've ummed and ahhhed about how to phrase what happened to us over the half term break. In some ways I was reluctant to blog about it because it's very personal, hence the long absence. Unfortunately when we were on the way to the ferry we received the news we'd been been dreading, that Ian's mum had taken a very serious turn for the worse. We turned back and Ian drove straight to Scotland whilst I went to my folks up north. Sadly Helen died that night at 10.30pm, but Ian made it in time to be with her. Although not completely unexpected it was a very sad time for all of us, Helen's children in particular.

Helen was a truly remarkable, brave, selfless and lovely, lovely woman. It was a privilege to have known her for the past 12 years, and she was the best mother, grandmother and friend you could wish for. She will be very sadly missed by us all.
We decided to still have our holiday, a week later, the day after the funeral. We thought it was probably the best remedy for our little family. It was a good decision, we had a truly lovely time, chilled out, played together, read lots and drank lots of French cider, it was the tonic we all needed.

I'll be back later this week, there's so much to catch up on.

Julia x