March has been an interesting month. It has felt pretty full-on, intense, and, if I’m honest, rather stressful at times. I’m going to be quite glad to see the back of it.
We still have no kitchen following the fire we had last month, although thankfully things are starting to move forwards now and we should have a fully functioning kitchen just in time for the Easter holidays – yay! Hopefully it will be worth the nearly two month wait. There have been constant phone calls, emails and meetings with all sorts of different people: building surveyors; cleaning companies; kitchen fitters; flooring specialists; rubbish removers; project managers and insurance companies. Trying to feed five people with no oven or hob has been…challenging, although you’ve got to see the funny side of having to do the washing up in the bath (!) now that all the cupboard units and the sink have finally been removed.
Beyond that it’s been one thing after another. We’ve had a trip to A&E after we thought Mimi broke her thumb (thankfully she hadn’t), then she and the husband both caught a really nasty tummy bug and were poorly for days, plus my Grannie passed away unexpectedly towards the end of the month, resulting in a whirlwind trip to Spain (where she lived) for her funeral. Add into that the logistics of navigating drop-offs and pick-ups for multiple sports competitions and play rehearsals, on top of the usual school, work and club schedule and nowhere near enough sleep and my head has felt ready to explode most days.
But despite all of this there have been some really lovely things to focus on this month which have absolutely kept me going through the chaos. Here are all the little things I’ve been loving lately throughout March…
At very end of February I started reading Bill Bryson’s ‘Neither Here Nor There’ and finished it within a day or two of March beginning. I’ve always loved Bill Bryson’s books documenting his travels around the world and they quickly became my reading material of choice whilst I was travelling in Australia and New Zealand many moons ago. I used to pick them up dirt-cheaply in charity shops and then either leave them behind in dorm rooms and campsites for other travellers to enjoy or post them home so I could read them again once I returned to England. I’ve added so many places to my travel bucket list as a result of reading about his adventures.
This one was one I hadn’t read before – it’s all about his solo travels in Europe and it had me snort-laughing from page one. He is hysterically funny and I love the way he writes – slightly self deprecating, a bit bewildered at the situations he finds himself in, and with descriptions that allow me to visualise the scenes perfectly.
After that I didn’t pick up a book for weeks – my brain was so full of everything that’s been going on that I simply didn’t have the headspace to think about anything else. I wanted to take something with me for the journey to Spain for Grannie’s funeral though and so I borrowed ‘Wonder’ from my eldest daughter to read on the aeroplane. I’m really enjoying it even though it’s not the easiest topic to discuss – it’s about a boy who has a facial disfigurement and it focuses on how he navigates school, friendships, family relationships and his own sense of identity. I’m currently about two-thirds of the way through it and I’m finding it to be really quite heart-warming so far. I’ve heard that the film is supposed to be good too so once I’ve finished the book I think I might have to watch it.
It’s been a month of sports competitions for Mimi: three cross-country events, a handball match and a netball tournament. The husband and I try and take it in turns to watch her and she really is excelling in every event she takes part in. Her team got through to the District Finals in the handball competition; they won bronze in the netball; and she came 23rd, 22nd and 14th in her respective cross-country runs (out of fields of approximately 80 to 100 girls each time). Next month there are two football tournaments plus the next round of the handball finals for her to attend!
I’ve also been to watch Lola’s class assembly at school all about Ancient Egypt. I love that I get to go and see all the girls in their various school-related activities and I hope it’s something they remember when they’re older – that I showed up and paid attention and cared about what they learnt at school.
We managed to sneak in a Sunday morning trip to the Odeon Kids Club showing of ‘Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet’ at the start of the month which we all enjoyed. One of the trailers was for the new version of ‘Dumbo’ which looks like it’s going to be good so I’m pretty sure we’ll try and see that during the Easter holidays.
On the 1st March, which feels like it was years ago now, we heard which high school Mimi is going to be going to in September. Thankfully it’s the one she wanted – the same one as her big sister. Ella is excited to be able to show Mimi around and I think Mimi is secretly quite pleased that she’ll have Ella there to look out for her during the first few weeks. All of Mimi’s best friends got into the same school too and there is a good programme of extra-curricular sports activities that she’s already really looking forward to joining. I still can’t believe that I’ll have two out of three girls in high school in less than six months time!
I was watching a video that an American photographer friend of mine created documenting their holiday in Holland (which was so beautiful it made me cry! You can watch it here) and I fell in love with the song that she chose as the soundtrack to the video. A quick ‘shazam’ later and I discovered that it was ‘World I Wanted’ by Secret Nation. I’d not heard of them before but after listening to several of their tracks it’s safe to say that they have a new fan.
I also heard the results of the Shoot and Share competition that I entered back in January. Voting took place throughout February and the results were announced this month. I was absolutely thrilled to find out that I had two images in the top 10%, one in the top 20% and two in the top 30% of the ‘Travel and Landscape’ category (which had 28,552 images submitted altogether), as well as one image in the top 30% of the ‘Newborn’ category (which had a total of 39,479 photographs in it). My photos were ‘favourited’ 95 times, which I’m very happy about and it gives me something to work towards next year as well – I’d like to get over a hundred. You can see the winners for each category here – they’re absolutely stunning and every single one deserves it’s place.
I’d like to say that I made pancakes for Pancake Day but not having a working kitchen hampered that a little. So it ended up being good old M&S to the rescue – who knew that microwaveable pancakes could taste almost as good as homemade? The girls were so sad that morning before school thinking that they weren’t going to be able to have any pancakes for tea, so I surprised them. Sometimes it really is the little things that matter most.
I’ve also been making lots of big decisions regarding the kitchen. I’m usually someone who likes to take their time over making important choices like this but when it came to choosing the design of the new kitchen we’re getting (in the aftermath of the fire) I only had an hour to decide on absolutely everything – cupboards, doors, worktops, sink/taps, handles, oven, hob and extractor hood. I really hope that what I’ve chosen all works well together!
March means World Book Day and I think the girls were all pleased with their costumes. Ella went at Clary from the Shadowhunters/Mortal Instruments series of books that she’s currently really into. We tried out hair chalk for the very first time and she was so pleased with the result. I’ve never even dyed my own hair so trying this out on my twelve year old daughter was definitely one of those moments in motherhood that I’ll always remember. Lola went as a cat from her favourite series of books by author Holly Webb (as did her best friend, Jess). Mimi chose to go as Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter. She’s managed a Harry Potter character almost every year so far – Harry Potter himself, Hermione, Luna Lovegood, Professor McGonagall and now Professor Trelawney too!
As I mentioned earlier, my Grannie passed away unexpectedly, just six weeks short of her 99th birthday. We all truly thought she would make it to be a hundred. I spent a whirlwind 24 hours in Nerja in Spain (where she had lived for the last eighteen years) for her funeral, plus another 20 hours worth of travelling to get there and back! It was, of course, a sad occasion but we gave her the very best send-off that we could.
The whole family gathered together to celebrate her life with copious amounts of laughter, food and sharing of stories & memories about her. We took plenty of photographs of everyone together, pored over old photo-albums that she had diligently kept over the years and learned about her life as a nurse and ambulance driver during the Blitz . I think she would have approved. It was wonderful to spend time with various cousins who travelled over from Paris and Australia, whom I haven’t seen for over fifteen years, as well as those who I’ve seen more recently but not often enough. And I loved spending even a short amount of time in Nerja, a place that holds many fond memories for me.
I’m now even more determined to take my girls out there for a holiday so that they can experience the magic too.
April shows no signs of slowing down with our kitchen finally being installed over the course of the next two weeks; the husband and I both squeezing in as much work as possible before the Easter holidays commence; our annual family trip to our happy place in Cornwall; and having a good balance of as much fun and downtime that we can possibly pack in before the final school term of the year begins. I’m very much looking forward to switching off my brain for a couple of weeks and focusing on family time, new adventures and making memories together.
Joining in with Mummy Hearts You and Little Loves.