Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Quick, Quick, Slow.

This summer holiday has been wonderful in many ways but it has not been well balanced. It is quick, much too quick, then slow. Crazy, hectic, rush-around days followed by spells of inactivity and relaxation. 

We break up for the holidays and I set about my to do list with in a perky and efficient manner. 


All wardrobes and chest of drawers are emptied, sorted and refolded. Nothing is spared. 



I throw out, among other things, eighteen tops, eight bags, five belts, two bikinis and one bridesmaid's dress. There are things in there from ten years ago! My name is Gillian and I am a shameful hoarder. We give six bin liners of clothes to the local charity shops.

Then to stay with Abigail for a week of fabulous sloooow; lavender farms, cricket matches, village fairs and day trips. Bliss.


But then we're back in Leeds - for only forty eight hours - and its quick, quick; unpack, washing, ironing, emails, appointments, constant rain, re-pack, Then garden is a mess but there's no time to do anything about it. Then we get to Durham and it's slow again; trips to the park, a little shopping, coffee and cake, family time, relaxed breakfasts, long evenings and time to finish some crochet bunting for a friend.


Then home, and quick!, rush-rush, unpack, wash everything (oh look, it's raining again, hello tumble dryer) and prepare for the arrival of my sister, Anna, and nieces who are coming the next day. Sweep and vacuum, shop and bake. I forget to put the chocolate chips in the peanut and chocolate cookies because I am so distracted.


We set the alarm clock every day and are up and out early each morning for the kids' swimming lessons. The car is given it's annual pre-holiday, once-a-year-only, wash and wax.


We go to the farm and the park. Lawns are mowed, hedges trimmed and weeds pulled up from the garden. John paints the front door and garage doors. The car gets new tires. The house is delightfully noisy all week with the sound of small people busy playing. We make yogurt push-up ice lollies and they are a dramatic failure. Not sweet enough for the kids and the yogurt has "bits in" which is about the worst thing that can happen, apparently. I liked them.


Homemade pizzas were much more warmly received, thank goodness.


Then we wave goodbye to Anna and the next day our good friends from university and their children come to spend the night, More washing, vacuuming and cooking ensues. In between that we just about remember to buy Bella and Angus their school uniform. John makes a pot of chilli. We have a lot of fun, drink a lot of wine, laugh a lot.


The kids make dens.


I have to have a two hour nap on Sunday afternoon. I honestly could not keep my eyes open. I very rarely sleep in the day. I associate napping with being ill or with the dark days of early parenthood. It feels like such a waste. If I had the time to indulge myself like that, to absent myself from John and the kids, then I'd at least like to do something nice with my time, like read or crochet. Not sleep. I think it was my body's way of telling me to stop.

I will slow down, soon, just as soon as I've packed and popped into town for baby wipes and contact lens solution. I feel like I'm in one of those anxiety dreams where you have only ten minutes to pack and you're going to miss the plane and you can't find your passport. 

Oh, holiday. I am ready for you. I am going to re-balance. Are you better at balancing things than me? Please share your tips.








42 comments:

  1. My name is sarah and I'm a shameful hoarder!!! Sound like you've had a very busy time. Sarah

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  2. I'm not much better at it but I think you're a lot busier than I am. I don't know how I'd cope. I really love the photos in this post - more of that daily-life stuff I so relish in blogging. I am intrigued by the matryoshka hair clips, where did you get them?

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    1. Sorry it took me so long to reply to this! They were a present to Bella a few years ago. I think they were from Accessorize or Claire's Accessories, somewhere like that. x

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  3. ah so many good photos in this post... love the den in the last one... so cute. I hoard too, I found this out when we had to pack everything up to move house. On the plus side our belongings are far more streamlined now! x

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  4. My husband hoards. It is a constant battle! :)
    We are an all or nothing household. Manically busy or total switch off. There's not much in between.

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  5. Oh my dear Gillian... I'm afraid we've had the same summer... at times I've been too busy... other tines too lazy but I've enjoyed it all! I don't think you need a lot of tips... I think your children are blessed to have you. You're one of those moms that make life fun and interesting... yes you're busy but look at all you've accomplished!! Summer is a perfect time to clear out cupboards and drawers! I've been doing the same thing! You're an awesome person! Just remember to take "you" time.... a pedicure maybe?
    Have a great holiday my friend!
    Tammy x

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  6. I've been clearing out here too. I still need to be more ruthless, there's not enough storage space for the stuff I want to keep. I'm a bit of a hoarder but I have it reasonably under control, so I think - I'm sure others think my style is cluttered but that's how I like it.
    Enjoy your holiday. Ours are over now, the kids were back at school today/yesterday (Tuesday!)

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  7. You were able to make many people happy in such a short period of time. That's a good thought to bring with you as you re-balance. Have a good holiday!

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  8. Our summer has been slow, so I like the idea of your busy summer. Going here and there sounds like fun to me. Our budget has not allowed for very much travel this summer, but we are hopeful that next year will! Your pizza looks delicious and so does that pot of chili. Yum!! I do hope you are able to slow down and relax on your holiday. I know you will! Enjoy it! And I cannot wait to hear all about it!

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  9. That lavender farm is so pretty, and that homemade pizza had me drooling!

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  10. Love this post and photos(although I was surprised as I thought the title said 'Quick, quick stew' - not wearing my reading glasses). I love the school holidays but like you sometimes feel frustrated that I've not accomplished enough, not caught up with enough friends or not taken enough time out to relax. I suppose getting a bit of down time into each day is the key but you have young children and that's virtually impossible. Your home sounds like the right balance between organised efficiency and lots of spontaneous fun. Hope you all have a fab holiday. Claire xo

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  11. I have to say sometimes I feel like my whole life is like that... Always going. But it's nice to know at some pint we have time for wine, good dinners with friends and to regroup and have time to put it all in writing... Someday you will love to have all this stories to go back to... And life goes on... Slowly... Peacefully. Enjoy it and you will always have the feeling of happiness around you :). Beautiful lavender field !

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  12. We desperately need to tidy our chests of drawers! :-)))
    I love your cooking :-P Looks yummy!

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  13. Gosh you have been busy bees ..... your holiday will do you the world of good, sounds like you need it!
    I love having time to think on holiday, making plans, and sorting 'life'.
    Have a wonderful time!
    love jooles xxx
    P.S that pizza looks sooooooo good.

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  14. We started with the sorting in my daughter's room and have done the clothes, it's the toys next. Saving that for a quiet day.
    I think you did well to listen to your body and take that nap, it's so easy to push on and the regret it later when the fuel tank is well and truly out.
    Well done on the school uniform buying, I'm struggling to find everything, it seems the sizes I need are the ones sold out!
    Lisa x

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  15. You definitely need a holiday - it's well deserved! I get so fed up constantly laundering loads of bed linen after overnight guests, that I am seriously considering imposing a "minimum 3 night stay" so it makes it a little worthwhile - and more fun because friends will stay longer :-)
    Enjoy your slow break,
    Xx

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  16. I'm sure it's all been done beautifully! have a nice rest when you get there. you deserve it! nice bunting by the way! Heather x

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  17. I wish I knew the answers for you, but being in extreme anxiety mode myself at the moment I wouldn't be much help. Just from the pics, it seems you have exceeded yourself and done so much for everyone else, so while away, please, please,"relax" and come back refreshed.

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  18. A bit of the same here I'm afraid. Four very long days out in a row last week meant exhausted children, and like you I even had a short sleep on Sunday afternoon (I feel exactly the same way about napping - such a waste of time!) So I have no tips at all I'm afraid. And you have reminded me that I need to think about school uniform. And school shoes. And I really don't want to. It does sound like you're all having a wonderful time though, and the children will have some lifelong memories of happy summers. You're a star indeed! Hope you have a lovely holiday.

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  19. fun always seems to be full on at our place. and the de-clutters are always epic too!

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  20. Gillian,

    It's all or nothing in the holidays. I think you have got the balance right - for the children anyway!! I went to bed at 8pm last night. I didn't even tidy round before I went up, and that NEVER happens! It sounds as if you have had lots of lovely visits and visitors. Your holiday is just around the corner. Make time for yourself while you are there.

    By the way, I always Spring Clean in September. The children are at nursery/school/college (yikes) and all those jobs I meant to do in the summer finally get done then.

    Lovely pics. As always. You do capture those moments beautifully. Clever girl ;)

    Leanne xx

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  21. Oh gosh ... my head is spinning just reading this ... go and have a restful, peaceful holiday ... you really deserve it ... we have been busy here too and to be honest I am looking forward to the start of school ... seven weeks into the holidays and I am flagging a bit too ... Bee xx

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  22. It sounds hectic, but in a good way. I loved the school holidays when my two were little, lots going on and fun all the way. Things will settle down again when they're back at school so enjoy the hustle and bustle while it lasts.

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  23. It sounds like you have had a busy yet enjoyable Summer. Those lavender fields look dreamy, I'd love to be there right now.
    I hope you enjoy your holiday, you really deserve it!
    As for tips on balancing, I'm afraid I am much the same. My life feels quick, quick, slow at the moment. So if you find a good balance please share (along with the recipe for those peanut and chocolate cookies, they look yum!).

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  24. Only you could make a pile of pants look pretty!!!

    You're absolutely right, the summer hols are mayhem one minute and relaxy the next. I think that's why we parents are rendered frazzled heaps by the time the new school year begins! It strikes me that you've been extremely hospitable and got the balance pretty much spot on. (Never fight a nanny nap - they are extremely restorative!)

    I love a good purge and am saving mine for September. Until then, your six bags have given me enormous vicarious pleasure!

    Hxx

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  25. Just slow slow slow here. I veer between thinking its exactly what we need and feeling guiltily that the kids are bored.

    Have a lovely holiday...I'm off to buy all your donated goodie but first you need to tell me where you gave them!

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  26. As someone who does not have school holidays I can pace myself a bit, even so I still manage to plan badly and end up with little time between one thing and the next. I always forget the preparation bit! I am not a hoarder cos we don't have the space, it is one thing in, one thing out here. That said I do still declutter on a regular basis usually after birthdays and Christmas when we have lots of new things looking for a home.

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  27. Mmmmm the pot of chilli looks delicious!!! :D

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  28. Ooh, lots of ticks on your to do list. Just one question. How do you manage to get your homemade pizzas so perfectly round? My dough never ever cooperates.

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    1. John made that one - he says he rolled it into a rough circle then used the palms of his hands to push into the edges of the tin. Or something! x

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  29. Ha ha! Your post rings so true - like my life is a DVD and someone keeps jumping between Fast-Forward and Pause buttons, when all I want is to Play! I felt better after my holiday - I chilled out so much on hols that since being home I've forced myself to not fret so much, and indeed I find I'm less anxious. But I also made sure I hoovered and mopped before going away - somehow it gives me joy to return to sparkly floors... ;-) Chrissie x

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  30. This all sounds very familiar! We started the summer hols with 3 very quiet and peaceful days at our friends house, lazying about on the terrace with Pimms in hand while the kids were playing in the garden, endless cups of tea and glasses of wine, it was lovely. But after that it's been very busy, rushing to swimming, getting the kids out of the house - mainly to avoid them fighting and screaming all day!, taking on some other children too, nodding off after lunch because I'm used to my quiet time in the afternoon when M at school and Y in bed.. I love being busy but I feel exhausted!!
    Just like you we're off for the last weeks of the term, which I think is the best timing - we'll be recovering from the last couple of weeks and also stocking up on energy for the new term. I'm looking forward to having a slow 2 weeks soooo much!! It'll be lovely to switch off. Enjoy your holiday!!!

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  31. I'm the wrong person to ask about balance but I enjoy being busy and having lots to do, though I do need alone time too. Summer seemed to last forever when I was at school and now rush by in the blink of an eye. I wonder if your children would have the same impression or whether they think it's going by too quickly. It sounds like they've had a fabulous summer with lots of activity and companions with even more great times to come. x

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  32. Balance is something I strive for but am still learning. It is so hard over the summer as it is me and the boys as Drew has to work, however, I am looking forward to our week in France and we are taking my niece so that the boys have more company

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  33. Not much balancing happening here I'm afraid ... we're having a crazy summer too, the only consistent thing has been constantly having too much to do. Your last few weeks look like much more fun. With the Mr's work commitments I don't even know when we'll manage a holiday!

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  34. Goodness, you have been busy! I don't think I'm any better at the balancing but you have a lot more to show for your holidays than I do! You certainly will deserve that holiday of yours, I hope you get to relax a little there :)

    S x

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  35. Soooooo glad to hear I am not the only one with clothes that are years and years old in the wardrobe, I do try and clear out from time to time, but they become so beloved... Also the idea of the bridesmaid dress and what it was like, hope you liked wearing it at the time!

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  36. I long for the summer holidays and then I pack them so full of the dull jobs life has to offer (cleaning out cupboards, sorting paperwork etc) so that I am 'prepared' for September that I am exhausted and drained. Been in bed by 9.30 most nights. Rubbish! X

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  37. Definitely not! I look forward to the holidays and pack so many jobs, visits and day trips in that I end up a quivering mass of jelly. I made a colour coded calender to make sure I didn't double book and overstretch myself ( sad, but true) but am suffering from long day trips and a red nose...

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  38. Oh my golly gosh, you very weirdly just described the anxiety dream I had night before last. I was on a ship, in a cabin, trying to change my clothes and repack my suitcase with only five minutes to do it before the ship docked and I had to get off. I started to get undressed and I found I had layers and layers of dirty clothes on and couldn't get them off fast enough, and then no clean clothes to put back on. I woke up in an absolute sweaty panic, I suspect caused by Yarndale Bunting !!! lol!
    Enjoy your holiday xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  39. My goodness Gillian, you have been a busy bee! You definitely deserve your holiday 100% and I hope you really enjoy it and have a super relaxing time :)

    My name is Caroline and I am a hoarder!!! But I am most certainly the worst kind, I think I am not a hoarder, but I really am! I can see my cupboards bursting as I type :(

    Caroline xxx

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