Category: Family life

A Birthday x

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This post was edited from two previous posts to celebrate Bella’s eighth birthday and tenth birthday. I decided I couldn’t improve on the sentiment contained, except to say, you never think it possible, but the words grow more concentrated with each passing year x

Today is my daughter Bella’s eleventh birthday.  She was my IVF baby, born after six years of heartache, seven miscarriages and 2 years of no pregnancies (which I am sure was psychological. But it really didn’t help).  With her birth on this day all those years ago, I finally became a Mummy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I still carry the scar tissue..infertility is a time I wouldn’t wish on anyone –  you beat yourself up for the futility of hoping, nose permanently pressed against the glass, it becomes personal;  A retina searing pain that makes you disappear under the burden of inner reflection..the only person to blame being you.  Something so simple, so natural…so unachievable.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We literally threw everything we had at it..and we were oh so lucky.  The tides finally turned and she arrived..the most beautiful baby I had ever seen..a fairy child.

And she remains the most beautiful inside and out child to this day, the rarest and most delicate of gifts.  And now we celebrate her eleventh birthday..it’s hard to believe – it seems only yesterday I was holding that tiny baby, watching the face of Big Ben tick round that first night we spent together in St Thomas’ hospital.  I look at her now and have the most enormous chest restricting rush – she is my open-heart production – vibrant, living, learning..I never used to worry so much about life, now there’s more grey..I’ve become an observer, teacher and pupil too. it’s weird – you think your helpless child will be totally reliant on you – you have your experience and that need to guide and help, but it’s just not true.  Instead it’s a constant balancing act that I don’t think anyone can get totally right: You want to lead, but you don’t want to helicopter. You want to love and cuddle, but you don’t want to smother.  There’s an undeniable pleasure in growing together in habits, tastes and socks…but the easiest thing as a parent is to see your child as a mini-you where you now have the ability to correct all your imperfections..or to see the person they are now as the character they will always be and deny them the space to grow..thoughts like that just end up passing the negativity down the food-chain, or so it seems to me..but then who am I to say?

I know I don’t want her to be the child that has everything – but even deciding that is choosing a course of action, adding an intrinsic quality, another detail.  I don’t believe that love is materialistic, instead I believe adversity supports initiative – resilience has to be one of the greatest gifts a parent can bestow.  To that I add manners, self-respect and confidence  – far more important in real life than examination certificates.  I want her to have the space to find out who she is away from any expectations of mine and to be able to express that in any situation.  I want her to have the confidence to stand up and say her opinion whether it’s right or wrong.  I want her to make mistakes, whether it’s in her maths homework or something bigger, to learn there are always solutions if you look hard enough and mistakes are part of the stepping stones of life and shouldn’t be avoided…sometimes they lead you forward.

Life is as delicate as a falling feather but should always be a glorious caper..I hope she has a wonderfully misspent youth with sunshine smiles and audacious bursts of laughter, she is my joy, my love, my heart…and I hope that when the time comes, I have the sense to set my treasure free..

Does mother know best? You dream about it..but ultimately kids appear from nowhere and have wills of their own and you’re just ordinary people trying to get through life the very best way you can, showing them the world and hopefully a way of looking at things that opens the door to where the magic lies….

I celebrate and raise a glass to you our wonderful, amazing, incredible, magical daughter!

Laters, Kate x

 

Update

There was a fire at Aghii Anargiri yesterday, the place in Spetses where my parents have their holiday home and where we just left last week.

To put the first picture into context, this is the view from the balcony.  The House with the awning is the same house with the awning in the fire picture in the bottom left corner…the fire came down from the hills on the left.  My mother was at the house – my father, sister, niece and three friends were all at another beach -Xylokeriza – they all made it to safety, though some with only the swimming costumes they were standing in.

There was a huge fire in 1990 that many of us remember with horror: Nothing can prepare you for the sound, noise, speed, smell. The difference with this fire was it started in the morning which gave the helicopters and water planes a chance. The downside was the high winds, ready to whip the flames back into action.

 

Today’s media update:

The wildfires on the Argosaronic island of Spetses and at Anavysos, east of Athens, were under control on Wednesday morning after a difficult night with strong winds that threatened to fan them further.

The forest fire on the southwest part of Spetses appeared to be contained by the dozens of firefighters on the island.

The fire broke out on Tuesday at noon at the forest near Aghii Anargyri, near the top of the island’s mountain, and headed west toward the beach before swinging south toward Xylokeriza. This is the same forest area that suffered from the 1990 wildfire. It has undergone extensive reforestation.

The few scattered holiday homes in that area were not damaged, thanks mainly to the rapid response of the local and regional fire service. Six helicopters and at least three airplanes contributed to the battle with the fire on the touristic island up to late in the evening on Tuesday. A helicopter and two aircraft resumed operations on Wednesday morning along with 70 men on the ground plus many volunteers.

The island’s mayor Panayiotis Lyrakis spoke of a possible arson, on which his deputy, Paraskevi Stofyla expressed her certainty.

Swimmers at the popular beach of Aghii Anargyri were evacuated with sea taxis as the flames appeared particularly threatening.

“The blaze passed passed by 10-11 holiday houses but fortunately there was no damage caused,” stated Lyrakis.

My family are now making their heartbroken way back to their house.  This was the stunning bay of Xylokeriza, where most of our group were swimming that fateful day.

This is it now.

Whilst grateful that lives are safe, all who know this place as a heavenly paradise will appreciate the sense of grief and bleakness to see it so ravaged and hurt. We await to see the pictures of our beautiful bay.

 

Laters, Kate x

Camping x

It’s been half term already and we’ve been camping with friends.

Living the simple life in a field, blowing giant bubbles.

Can you tell we enjoyed it??

We weren’t far from the coast.


And next to the site was a high ropes playground..

Including a terrifying giant swing!

Truly the stuff of nightmares!

As was our departure.  Not a sight you want to see…..we lost the car keys in the long grass on the first day.  But it was OK as we kindly got driven back to London to fetch the spare set.  Except we got hit by a super-storm…Damp got in (She’s 19 years old) and short circuited the electrics so the spare key wouldn’t work…and the manual key? Was part of master key that got lost! At least once we got in we were able to drive away, which was more than the car behind us – they’d lost all their keys, including their house keys and had to be towed away from the campsite!

 

Laters, Kate x

Bank Holiday x

Every May Bank Holiday we try to go to the May Fayre at Morden Hall Park, a National Trust property at the end of the Northern Line.  It’s a old fashioned cocktail of traditional family delights far removed from it’s urban setting.  Apart from the display above..bikers doing their thing..

Except afterwards you could have a free go over an obstacle course yourself..and that’s what makes it’s so special. People are there because they love what they do and want to share it.

In amongst the stalls are little gems like this one for rescued reptiles, where the owners are happy to talk and answer questions.

These two had been inspired by watching too much Harry Potter..

You never know what you’ll see next.

Wholesome, good family fun. Until next year.

Laters, Kate x

Cornwall x

We’ve blown away the winter cobwebs with a week with family in beautiful Cornwall.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather.  Each day the sky was kingfisher blue, though it was a matter of how hot your blood was whether you braved the cold of the spring sea..

The surf gang preparing to face the waves. Note Grandpa Jack behind in three coats, hat..and eventually gloves!

And in!

Cousin love.

This was the natural rock pool close to where we were staying on Treyarnon Bay, large enough to swim in…

(There was this framed postcard of the very spot at the cottage. Shows it even better.)

Watergate Bay and meeting with friends.

The perfect natural slate plate for the perfect hot dog: Barbie on Constantine Bay.

And then a cheeky seagull actually stole a hot sausage off the barbie!

Impromptu wine chiller.

Bruce heading to the surf.

Sophie-bond-girl-extraordinaire following suit.

Charlie and Lexie.

Finding sea diamonds.

At a diamond place.

Laters, Kate x

First Craft x

Monday madness, first day of the hols and the sun was shining…we spent it in the garden with lovely friends marbling everything we could find.

We used these marbling inks from Brian Clegg for £9.50, ordered from Ebay..

(Plus the metallic set of 10 for the same price…they added a certain sparkle)

They couldn’t have been easier to use – drop on to water, mix with a skewer if you fancy, lay paper on top then peel off and dry..

The results were impressive.

This could be the wallpaper for the downstairs toilet..

So easy, so joyful!

Laters, Kate x

Easters Hols..

This is the last full day of term. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Time for books to be put aside and real life to start.  These are a few of the projects on the list…

(All details Pinterest)

Now we play!

Laters, Kate x

Front door x

After 14 years of council-style reinforced glass the front door finally got it’s makeover on Friday.

The before picture! Complete with piece of paper stuck on with door number scribbled on it.  Attractive.

The finished design by Nikki  (click for her details) was beautifully based on the doors we have between the kitchen/diner and the sitting room.

 

The result is a delight, especially when the sun pours through and creates rainbows on the walls.

Above we’ve gone for simplicity of plain glass and the number to let in as much light as possible.

The added bonus was that Keith-the-amazing-stained-glass-man turned up in his pre-war Singer car! How supper cool?

A charming success in every way!

Laters, Kate x