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.
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.
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
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
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
The wallpaper we made over the holidays?
Despite just using the basics: Lining paper, leftover emulsion paint and cut up sponges – has worked a treat.
(Even though it meant embracing chaos)
This was the before state of the downstairs toilet. A mini dumping ground of DIY and general clutter.
First step was a deep clean of the tiles. Vinegar, though powerful on the nostrils did the job. A little bit of re-grouting was needed – and then I was going to dye the grout a dark grey, but I was concerned the new grout was of a different consistency – less chalky, more rubbery so would they dye the same colour? It was an easier decision to not risk it. Besides the new pristine white of the tiles was impressive. Finally, paint – white on the ceiling and the Little Greene Paint Company’s French Grey Dark on the woodwork which is a soft, pinky grey that seems to blend with any thing. A continual stream of Radio 4 plays on the ipad helped the process along..
The wallpaper went up easily: The lining paper was one of the thickest available and was aided by both pasting the wall and paper, and leaving the paper for a few minutes to fully soak up the wallpaper paste.
The randomness of the print meant there was no problem on the join – second piece went up where it went up. Bliss.
The finished job.
Except there’s always one thing left to do…a fitted mirror over the sink. Sigh.
Better get ordering.
Laters, Kate 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!
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
We’ve been printing.
Very simply with Sainsbury’s basic sponges bought for 20p a packet, onto lining paper and using left over paint from the kitchen renovations. Cheap as chips.
This is all part of the great downstairs toilet upgrade project, which after 10 years of abuse is sorely needed.
The idea is to paint the woodwork a mid-grey, homemade wallpaper above the dado (why not?!) and dye the grout (more on that in another post) between the metro tiles a charcoal grey.
(A bit like this)
The marbling was part of the experimenting plan for diy wallpaper for the toilet..except the problem was we could only make it in small sizes which gave a patchwork effect. With printing we can make the runs as long as we need. Brucie bonus to control within the chaos.
The inspiration for the print came from the above picture…
And the general sense of informal uniformity from pictures like these.
Embracing the idea that symmetry can just be too damn predictable.
What is working so well is the straight lines versus the diagonal against the curves of fingertips pushing the sponge into the paper. I think I’m in love.
Shame the next few days will be spent doing all the boring bits like filling and sanding.
But watch this space.
Laters, Kate 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..
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
I’ve read that personalities can be divided into two camps – cowboys and farmers. The cowboys are the restless ones, always roaming and seeking new pastures whilst the farmers solidly plough the same field over and over again. Our ski holiday embraced everything cowboy: Constantly on the go, incredible scenery, crisp air, the smell of wood smoke, peace (piste…and pissed as well) as well as a true sense of wonder.
A fusion of manmade and natural – an icicle chandelier.
We were in La Rosiere on the French side of the Aosta valley, ski-able into Italy. And by all accounts, were lucky to have snow.
They were using snow cannons when we first arrived, but as the runs were in full sun it still made for great conditions. And then it snowed.
I’ve never seen this before – three rainbows, one on top of the other, made by the sun refracting through ice crystals in the air.
It always amazes me how slopes look flat in pictures!
We decided Charlie is really a secret snowboarder!
And what did I wear?? John’s old two-piece from the eighties! Maybe not quite pure vintage swagger, but on a ski slope..the joy is no-one cares!
And now I suppose it’s time to return to farming…and wrestling with the Einstein quote that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
The silver lining is our holiday proved that perfectly decent wheels can aways be reinvented..
Laters, Kate x