The three amigos x

This school year and certainly the start of 2018 has been tainted by the unavoidable: Our eldest facing the horror of Year 6 secondary school exams.  A hideous time and one of the horrible consequences of living in London where there are too many children chasing too few places.

As a parent you can make the decision whether to join the pressure party or take a more fatalistic approach – for many reasons, our choice is the later.  But even the choice of a relaxed attitude is not without it’s mental fuck ups: Guilt, doubt, even fear – We chose this school route for them – nobody put a gun to our heads – and when the kids are lining up to go into another exam it’s not easy to stand firm against a serious onslaught of questioning anxiety.

A shining light during this time has been our weekly cold water swims at the open air lido in Tooting.  Started at the beginning of September as a conscious way to replicate and appreciate what the kids were going to go through, it was meant as a challenge – could the three of us swim through the year without wetsuits? We’ve watched the saturated colours of summer turn to the stark realisation of winter, leaves turn and mists fall.

We kept going, even when it meant swimming in the sea in October.

Each week is the unspoken question – is this the week we fail?

And each week, as we emerge newly pink it’s like we’ve been fitted with a new coat of bespoke armour ready to face the world: Bulletproof mate, bulletproof.

It’s been a joy, a pleasure, life affirming and life saving.

I swear our blood is a different colour now.

Laters, Kate x


  1. ReneeWritesNow!

    Hilarious, Kate! (I live in Florida and even I don’t swim in the winter!) Your American readers – like me – probably don’t understand “secondary school exams,” so could you explain? Our kids suffer through SATs in their junior year of high school and those scores dictate college acceptance.

    • Maison Bentley Style

      I think it’s equivalent to your middle High school – the stats are roughly 1 in 8 will get in to the school they want. I hear the stats for Harvard are 1 in 10 which maybe gives some perspective. It’s hard not to be drawn in, but my hippy spirit says believe and trust xxx

    • Maison Bentley Style

      It is such a hard one – I’ve made the decision that academic success has to come intrinsically from them, my role is to advise character development, but it means choosing the long, slower road which run contrary to the instant gratification of our modern life. In this situation I know it’s right – but didn’t stop me feeling the guilt. It’s a mad world xxx