Saturday, 23 February 2013

Half Full

The half term holiday began with a Big Event - on Friday Bella lost her first tooth and the tooth fairy visited our house. A pound coin was exchanged for a tiny (oh so tiny) tooth and I found myself sad and marveling at how it seems like only last summer those sharp little bottom teeth broke through those baby gums. How time flies.

On Saturday we traveled down to the South Coast and on Sunday we caught up with old, good friends, the very best kind, and three small people flew (or tried to fly) a kite on hill.


You can see the London skyline in the distance and just make out the new Shard building above the white tree trunk in the middle of the picture.


Monday started well. My parents got up with Bella and Angus, took them downstairs for their breakfast (Coco pops) and brought John and I cups of tea in bed. I sat propped up with pillows and read this and it was a rare and special treat. Fortunately our children are not especially early risers, any time between 6.30 and 7.30 is their normal waking time, but it was very nice to be off duty for an hour.

The sun shone and the beach beckoned.


We went with my parents and my sister, Katy, and her children, Alicia and Jeremy. Boys do like throwing stones into the water an awful lot.


I've written before of my love for the coast, particularly the places which are familiar and special to me, but really any seaside place makes me happy, whatever the weather. 


I feel restored after spending time by the sea - not just in the sense that you head feels clear after some fresh air, but emotionally restored. Better. Happier.


The cousins played in the sand. Despite the freezing wind we had to drag them away from their digging and sandcastles.


Tuesday was the day of the Big Family Lunch. My mum promised to "keep it simple" and went on to provide soup, two types of bread, salads, smoked salmon, assorted cheeses and cold meats, and then brownies with ice cream for dessert. For fourteen. The lunch was one of those long affairs which goes on all through the afternoon.

On Wednesday I turned thirty five. I can no longer tick the twenty five to thirty four age bracket on surveys. I am in the Next Age Bracket. I dealt with this by buying fabric, naturally. We went to Chichester and I visited The Eternal Maker, a shop selling all manner of wonderful crafty things; fabric, buttons, ribbons, threads. I don't think I've ever visited somewhere with such a wide range of beautiful fabrics. I was quite overwhelmed with the choice and the kids were starting to take the place apart button by button, so I bought a few fat quarters and half metres that caught my eye and two metres of Nani Iro fabric that I have absolutely no idea what to do with at the moment.



My mum made me a birthday cake. We joked about it -  would I like a princess castle? Or a fairy tale cottage? Or a mouse running up a clock? But I know she enjoyed baking it and I liked that she wanted to make a cake for me. The morning of my birthday I asked my Dad what he was doing thirty five years ago to the day and he said that after I was born in the early hours of the morning he went home and had a shower, then got on the London train and went to work. This was in 1978, long before paternity leave. When he arrived at work his boss took one look at him and told him to go home. That's nice, I said, did you go back to the hospital to see Mum? He said no, it was snowing, I went tobogganing with my sister. Err...


Thursday brought a blissfully child free morning of shopping and lunch in Wagamama. Delicious noodles are pictured above. I love my children, but it was very nice to shop without them. Behold, a funky new dress (hurry up, summer) and new jeans!!


Then there was a birthday party for Eleanor, the youngest of my sister Anna's girls. I love watching my two with their cousins. There are six of them altogether: Bella (6), Alicia (5), Jennifer (4 "I'm nearly 5!"), Jeremy (4), Angus (3) and Eleanor (very nearly 3). I wish very much that I saw them more than two or three times a year.

On Friday we traveled home then tackled unpacking, washing, sorting, emails, admin, bills. Saturday consisted of food shopping, errands to the library, bank, picture framers and pharmacy, and some bagels.


Tomorrow will bring housework, then a big pub lunch with two other families and their children, and most likely the school uniform will be ironed, reading books will be read, PE kits checked and other chores ticked off the list. Such is the warp and weft of life.

Half term. It was a glass half full.


44 comments:

the linen cloud said...

What a lovely picture diary of what was clearly a very lovely holiday ... I love your new dress too ... Bee xx

Nic said...

What lovely pictures :) where is your dress from?

millefeuilles said...

Oh Gillian, there is so much here which I can relate too like many parents out there. Your little one losing her tooth? Yes, indeed; where does that time go? The sea makes me feel happy too. I lived for seven years on the Normandy coast and every time I see sea pictures I breathe in deeply and REMEMBER! Happy birthday to you; believe me you are gloriously young! I turned 44 last birthday and, once again, I am left wondering where the years have gone?

When reading about your children's waking times I smiled and realised again the difference in parenting culture between France and the UK. Here children tend to go to bed a lot later - afternoon naps are encouraged until the age of 5, maybe. Consequently they wake up a lot later in the morning. I'm ashamed to say that mine rarely woke before 8am and, left to her own devices, Angélique would wake around 9:30!

Gosh, that was a long comment; sorry!

Stephanie

June said...

What a fabulous half term! Love that new dress! KP lost her second tooth whilst we were collecting our cats from the cattery, she bent down to pick up one of the cats and hit her tooth on some wood - it had been loose for some time, it flew out! It was quite dark and although we searched for it we never found it. The stories I had to tell about how the tooth fairy would be able to find it and know it was her tooth and give her some money for it but that she might be a bit cross having to make two journeys instead of one! I can't remember how she lost her first tooth!
June

Lisa Lawless Furey said...

What a lovely half term and belated Happy Birthday cake looked yummy! Losing baby teeth first sign of losing babyness! I love your new dress really summery! Aw summer please hurry! Enjoy your Sunday x

PinkCatJo said...

Such a lovely half term. It sounds like you squeezed every bit of fun out of it. And it's not long to go until the Easter hols - only four and a bit weeks!

I loved your Dad's story about the day you were born. On the day I was born (31 years ago this Monday) Dad left the hospital in the morning (I was born at 02:03) and went to my godmother's house for breakfast and to give them the news. Then he went back to home to sleep for a while and went into work at the BBC to film a play with David Bowie. I've never asked, but I hope he came to see me again in between sleep and work. Whenever I hear a David Bowie song I like to think there's some kind of connection with the day I was born. x

Jennifer said...

Wonderful holiday. I loved each and every one of your photos. Your dad's memories of your birth are a lot like my dad's; we were born in the same year, though I'm in the fall. My dad was not allowed to stay around the hospital so he went to a lunch counter and sat there all day because it was pouring rain out. This happened to be Thanksgiving Day, a big holiday in the US, and he ate a sandwich instead of the big traditional meal you would eat. It was a bad neighborhood and someone in the lunch place tried to sell him a gun! What a day. Things have changed a lot; I'm so glad my husband was by my side for my births! I love your new dress, I hope you get to wear it soon. :)

Lili@creativesavv said...

What a wonderful week away you had.
I think tossing stones into the water must be universal and timeless. My husband and my grown son still throw stones into the water at the beach near us. Of course, now, they're competing to see whose goes farthest!

Xelenacrochets said...

There's something about the sea...just looking at your sea pictures I feel better too. :)
I think you new dress is beautiful.
And what a nice idea about asking your dad what he did on your birthday. My birthday is today and my parents are coming...I'll ask dad too. ;)

TACIStudio said...

It seems lime you had a wonderful break and happy birthday to you... 35 is a wonderful age ( I just turned 51 and feels lime it was yesterday I was 35) ... Enjoy it...it's a great journey:)

Susan Smith said...

All sounds great and I have just found your blog because of your crocheted rug. My Mum was a crochet teacher and my great grandmother taught me to crochet too. 35 eh! Don't I wish. You are the same age as my youngest. I'll keep an eye on your blog.

dolly mixtures said...

Ahh how lovely to see the sea. 35 is a great age - enjoy. New dress and jeans a perfect wardrobe update. Enjoy your Sunday - Claire xo

A little bit Country said...

Great post! I love the beach in any weather too. P.s. I turn 35 on Thursday. Is it as good as I think it's going to be? xo

Trudie said...

Belated Happy Birthday xxx

Haddock said...

Agree on that ... any seaside place makes me happy. Nothing like sitting on a beach and see that vast expanse of water with the cool breeze hitting your face.

Gillian said...

Hi Nic. It's from The White Stuff, from their So Glad And Very range. I think it's from last summer though as I bought it for a fraction of the RRP on sale. x

Linda said...

first of all, belated Happy birthday. What a lovely time to have a birthday - on holiday! I too am calmer and happier by the sea, I love the fresh sea air, and the sound of the waves.

Beautiful pictures as always, and thanks for sharing your holiday with us :)

Karen said...

What a wonderful half term, so lovely to be with family and friends and to be looked after by your mum and dad. At 50 I still love getting my dinner cooked by mum! Especially nice that it was your birthday and that you could be treated. Love your dress. Much love to you x

Caroline South said...

Belated happy birthday to you. Looks like you all had a wonderful time away. I love the eternal maker, so many lovely fabrics to choose from. I always end up spending a fortune in there though! xx

sweetpea family said...

Sounds like an amazing half term - I love the sea even when you have to wrap up warm, infact most of our summer holidays with the children when they were small were spent wrapped up warm.
Thank you for your comment on my blog post - I would buy the fridge magnet too - maybe we are missing a new business venture x

jen said...

Oh the sea - I miss it so much! It's the one thing about Leeds I don't like - it's too far away from the coast.
Glad you have had a gorgeous few days away and many happy returns.
I'll probably see you tomorrow at the school gate! x

tangled_web said...

Aww, I remember Myf losing her first baby teeth-it goes so fast :-( Sounds like a really wonderful holiday-I love the ocean, I'd live there if I could! So lovely you were treated by your family for your birthday, hope you had a fantastic time Liz x

Coal Valley View said...

What a fabulous little holiday you've had. I love seeing photos of your part of the world. I can totally relate to the gorgeous bond between cousins and I too wish I lived closer to my sister as we only get to see my nephews about once a year. And Happy Birthday! So nice you got to spend it with family. I can vouch for the fact that 35 is a great age :-) Mel x

Sopa Azul said...

Hello Gillian, Happy 35th Birthday!!! It's a wonderful age. You are a very creative woman. It's nice to enjoy the sea while I'm sitting in my chair. A hug from Spain.

love those cupcakes said...

Belated birthday greetings. Looks like you all had a great week.

Bungalowgirl said...

Happy birthday to you too! Looks like we have both had a great week, shopping without our smalls. And 35 is just spring chicken girl. mel x

Tammy Chrzan said...

Love love love the funky dress! Sounds like you had a pretty good week! I love happy stories. I know what you mean by shopping without kids, when my youngest son is with me all I hear is "Mom will you hurry?", "Mom when are we leaving?"... "Mom do we have to go anywhere else after this?"... Makes me batty! My little girl is all about shopping though, in fact, she makes the trips too expensive, so yes... shopping without children is a small holiday!
And the tooth...
Ah the tooth... Babies just grow way too fast... My Hannah is 8 and she's still my baby!
Have a wonderful week!
Tammy x

Jo said...

You've all had such a fun week. How lovely to get together with your family, and especially lovely for the cousins to be together, especially for Eleanor's birthday party. Hey, you're in the same age bracket as me now, but only till September when I'll be moving to the on to the next one.

Julia said...

Gillian, 35 is a wonderful age...enjoy it!! So glad you had fun filled week with family! Love your new clothes and the new fabrics are just gorgeous...really love the green and white print!! Oh, and little Bella lost her first tooth...how exciting for her!
Have a great week!

Julie said...

I love the ocean, too, and really find my peace there. I grew up landlocked but after living coastal and then eventually on an island, I'll never go back. Sounds like a lovely stretch of days. xo

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful week you had! Happy Birthday too. I hope you get to ease back in with a slow and easy week this week.

QueenieDot said...

I've just stumbled upon your Blog and I'm so pleased I did!
The sea makes me feel exactly the same - it has such a power to restore, don't you think?
I'm halfway through my 35th year and it's been a good one - I hope yours is too!

Lyn said...

Belated birthday wishes to you. It was good you had some fine weather for half term and that you got to see your family. Xxx

Ladybird Diaries said...

Bella must have been very excited at losing her first tooth! Your half term break looks wonderful, and beautiful photos as always. I was also a 1978 baby! Your birthday cake looks very tasty.
M xxx

Leanne said...

I would agree to all the above about 35 being a great age! I will soon be 43, and have started using moisturiser for "mature" skin!!

Your half full half term sounds and looks wonderful.

Leanne xx

Lisa said...

A half term full of lovely family times, just perfect.
Belated happy birthday wishes for your special day too. Your cards your litle ones made a very sweet indeed.
I'm very glad there was some CK shopping as well as a few other pretties!
Lisa x

Selene said...

love your family!

wonderful post as always!

Col | Hello Olive said...

Happy birthday! This was a great post! I particularly liked the story about your dad :-) x

A Normandy kitchen said...

Hello Gillian,
What a lovely post, so happy you had such a special week. Great gifts and shopping!!
Ivan

Greer said...

Happy birthday! Xxx

Jenny said...

Such fun - all of this. Oh, and those little baby teeth - how I miss those toothfairy days. Toothless grins on five- and six-year-olds are my favorite.

Love your new funky dress.

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

Just catching up here Gillian. A glass full indeed. And Happy Birthday!

Megan said...

Oooohhh...what fun gifts to play with! My boys can't help themselves when it comes to throwing stones in water as well. Your post made me want to get outside! :)

Oh Abigail said...

We were so happy to see you all, I will never stop begging you to come back down south! xxxx