Sunday, 22 June 2014

Midsummer: Just The Two Of Us






Do you ever feel that your life is really inadequate and dull? Not blog-worthy? I sometimes do.

I was so preoccupied with life last week that I kind of forgot it was midsummer. I sometimes make a Swedish summer cake with custard and strawberries, but since it was just Angus and I, and he doesn't like strawberries and I'm on a diet, it hardly seemed worth it. So, with John working late shifts and Bella away, it was just the two of us, pottering around together. He did not stop talking all weekend. Chatter, questions, thoughts, more questions. One child is easier - less toys out, less mess, less juggling, less of the two children talking at you at exactly the same time, both wanting instant answers. One child is also harder - no playmate, no one to go off and build dens with, just Mummy as the source of all entertainment and conversation. So there was no Midsummer barbecue, drinks with friends, none of that. The trouble with blogland and Instragram is that, if you're not careful, you can feel that EVERYONE but you is having an amazing time in their amazing campervan/yurt/allotment/garden/park at a lovely event with golden setting sun, wildflower posies, organic sausages, bunting, cocktails in jam jars (Why the jam jars? What's that about?) while you are lying on the sofa watching The Good Wife in your tracksuit bottoms. 

So what did we do? On Saturday I had a very nice pub lunch with my friend Kate while Angus played at a friend's house. It was extra lovely for the absence of little people; it felt a bit naughty, like we were bunking off. Three hours of Saturday afternoon were stolen by the ironing pile but, just for a day, that ironing basket is empty which makes me feel that I'm doing something right and gives me a nice smug feeling. I was slack about bedtime and let Angus play for much longer than usual while I sat in the garden enjoying the evening sun and taking photos of the flowers.

We spent this morning in the garden, pottering and tidying up. I picked some flowers (sparingly - we don't have many!) and put them in a jam jar. Yes, a jam jar. They are for jam and flowers, not cocktails. Then, when we were finished and scrubbed clean, I put a tablecloth on the outdoor table, plonked the flowers down on the table, and Angus and I had lunch out there. Nothing fancy - chicken salad for me, cheese and crackers for him - but I needed to feel like I'd made an effort, done something celebratory. Then we got the bus into town (we got the best seats - top deck, right at the front) and went to the Lego shop then had coffee and cake. And now I'm sitting here taking stock of my weekend and thinking that it wasn't so bad, and now Bella is home from Brownie Camp (suntanned and filthy, she loved it) and John is home from work, now that I have my favourite people all around me - it all feels right in my little corner of the world. 

52 comments:

  1. Sounds a pretty nice weekend to me. I know what you mean- sometimes it's easy to forget that blog land isn't the total real picture, just a prettified sample! Hope you have a good week. X

    ReplyDelete
  2. As much as I love blogging and reading blogs, the whole thing makes me feel terrible about myself regularly. But only if I let it, which I am learning to stop doing. I often feel like I'm the only one not using some expensive yarn or fabric for her projects, not wearing beautiful shoes, not buying cool things for my home. Then I remember that some people are just show-offs, and that what I do is considered interesting and cool by some people too. I'm glad you had a good weekend with Angus. I'm sure he loved having you all to himself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blogs and Instagram can Booth inspire and lead to a lot of stress /pressure, I agree. I really like descriptions and photos from everydaylife, though.
      Your weekend sounds nice Booth with time alone with your chattery son (sometimes you hardly recognize your child and it's temper when spending time just the two of you) and with your grown-ups only lunch.
      I love your garden with the nice terrasse and the cute playhouse.

      Delete
  3. Lovely weekend! Adore your photography! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sound like a very pleasant and well balanced weekend, Gillian, with lovely little interludes - and you DID get your ironing done too! Blogland can be a bit of a trap in some regards, but as long as we remember to just keep doing what's right for us and be true to ourselves, I think that's all that matters.
    Have a happy week, xoJoy
    PS Beautiful photography once again.x

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really love the look of that place house, and the outdoor table and chairs with a table cloth and jar of flowers looks very inviting. I get you on the jam jars...I like using mine for storing sewing things like buttons and lace. I love the sound of your weekend. Have a great week Gillian xo

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sounds like you had a nice weekend with Angus, doing little jobs then going out and having a treat. It's easy to forget that blogland is just a snapshot of people's lives/interests. As for cocktails in jam jars, I'm afraid I can't enlighten you on that one, we're more likely to share a bottle of beer in our house :o) Have a great week.
    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Gillian, I often feel the exact same way. We don't have the opportunity to travel near as often as we would like, with me being a stay at home mom it's just not in our budget. It's really hard to not compare ourselves to others, but we have to remember to be thankful for what we do have. Your weekend with Angus sounds like it was lots of fun. I am also happy to hear Bella enjoyed her weekend away. I love your blue and white tablecloth and pretty posy from the garden. Happy Summer!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a good mama your are, Gillian....a trip to the Lego store, ironing done...post worthy indeed :) xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. In my opinion, you had a "blog-worthy" weekend !
    Looking around Blogger, I also think sometimes, oh my, am I such a boring person...
    But you know what they say, the grass always SEEMS greener on the other side of the fence.. It's just in the eye of the beholder...
    Ps - I agree about the jam jars. Jam or flowers. And maybe buttons (and screws fot the hubby). That's it. But no cocktails. Pfff.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Don't get me started on jam jars! I saw lasagne in jars on Pinterest the other day, why? In what possible way is is better to make lasagne in a jar?

    I'm never afraid to blog about my dull life. I've found that readers love real life, and as Bilbo Baggins said 'it is no bad thing to celebrate an simple life'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thats made me splutter my tea (drunk from a mug not a jar). Why? Why would you do that?

      Delete
  11. I know what you mean. Sometimes when I put my photos on my blog I wonder what people think, (not another river picture or socks again! )
    But we can't all be doing mega exciting thongs all the time. When I read your post about your weekend I thought it was lovely and sounded quite idyllic. Quality mother and son time.
    As for the good wife, I'm quite a fan myself and just can't believe they've killed Will off!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh Gillian your post resonated with me! I just take a break when I feel like that. It's hard but I tell myself that my blog & IG account are about capturing my life, no-one else's. being genuine is important, keep up the good work! (I didn't do any ironing or pick flowers this weekend -fail!) xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  13. Things! It should read things!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great post and it sounds like you had a lovely weekend. Sometimes I feel inadequate when I see other peoples gardens / houses / life etc but you have to roll with what you've got. As for the jam jars -- I don't get it either !

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wondering if perhaps putting my revision notes in a jam jar might make me feel my life is more instagram worthy?

    There is a fine line between inspiration and aspiration on social media. Your blog treads that line much more successfully than some, inspiring us to see the joy in simple, genuine things and giving us a glimpse into a real life rather than a carefully edited, curated one. Your weekend sounds lush, and whilst I did manage a midsummer fire I was wearing tracky bottoms for it, drank my alcopop from a glass and went to bed a 9.30!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh Gillian I do live your blog, it never falls to make me feel better. My home doesn't look beautiful (it's an 89s bungalow) and I watch a lot of telli in my jammies. My garden is a mess! I do sometimes feel a pressure to have something exciting for my blog and to blog once a week, which is crazy. It's supposed yo be for me and I don't have the pressure of a lot of followers so ... Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  17. sounds like you had a good relax actually! I love the geraniums in the little window box and that lovely blue check table cloth and flowers, very summery. Just the right amount of celebration! go with the flow! Heather X

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love having one child as I can pour all my love and attention into him, and not ever worry about being even. But - the double edged sword - yes, it is hard being the source of all entertainment and need!! ExtwEEmly hard sometimes. I adore my son with every fibre of my being and he knows that, so I don't feel a bit bad about saying that sometimes he is like a blood-sucking leech draining every bit of life out of me. (well, a teeny bit bad, actually...)
    x

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think as Ingrid says, the grass always seems greener! I think my blog is a bit dull and wonder why people read it. I don't lead an exciting life and my pictures are basically the same, but I remember it's for me. It's my record. If people choose to read it and interact then that's fab but if they find it boring they'll move on! Most blogs do post snippets of their lives, and the prettier bits at that. I know I do. I want to look back at my blog in years to come and remember that there was a lot of nice and lovely in my world in amongst the boring and mundane. I don't fancy looking back at pics of my laundry piles and messy rooms, so I don't post pics of anything like that. But that doesn't mean to say that I don't have it......and i'm more than keen to point that fact out to anyone who thinks my house must be lovely and my life great......because some days they both suck! It's all about remembering people choose to show the nicest bits on instagram and blogs, and it's always better to not dwell on others lives so much but love what you have in your own little circle, because that's real deal. xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I post the pretty bits too, because i want to savour and remember them. Yes, you are right Vanessa, that is a very good point very well made. I've been feeling a bit adrift and out of sorts lately and I think I felt I was missing out on the party!

      Thank you xx

      Delete
  20. I do so agree with what you say. I'm never sat in a golden cloud outside of a campervan with bunting and trendy things in jam jars. I did go to the allotment yesterday at 7am, and then spent a very hot hour in the car afterwards with a small hungry muddy boy when the car wouldn't start. Blogland can be a bit overwhelming sometimes I find. What I really need to know is that there are some other people out there with cupboards stuffed full of junk, no space, dust, broken things all over the place and a sense that sometimes it's a struggle. I need to know I'm not alone! I had to buy a car battery yesterday, after a REALLY expensive garage trip last week, the computer is on the blink, the guinea pig has a big abscess, the fridge is making a horrible noise and our trip out to see OH's family yesterday was a disastrous waste of time and effort. I'm off to ring the vet. Hope you have a good day Gillian, CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
  21. Sounds like you had a good time with Angus!!!! I really try and find inspiration from blogland and not worry too much about other stuff!!!! We live quite an isolated life and it's wonderful to find all these inspiring and kind people out there!!! Have a great fun filled happy and fab week!!!
    Love
    AMarie xxx

    ReplyDelete
  22. I bet you loved the colour coordinated lego in the jars. I do! I think your weekend is definitely blog worthy, you are describing what families do, which is not always all that exiting but nice nevertheless. I have had a very similar weekend actually, I cleaned the bathroom and sorted through bags and bags of clothes handed down to us. I went out for drinks with friends on Friday night and generally pottered about the house. I like it that way. It is lovely to have some one on one time with each child, I rarely get moments like that and cherish those I do get (even though it tires me out). Cocktails in jam jars? I think I don't spend enough time with the trendsetters. Have a lovely week Gillian. x

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hmm, we are not actually hipsters, but we have been using mason jars for drinking before they were considered cool. They are cheaper than fancy glasses, they fit our style, and they are glass, not plastic. Also their chunky shape makes them good for little mouths to drink from, with Mom's safety hand nearby.
    It looks and sounds like you had a good weekend with your son; I am sure that he appreciated the time with just Mom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are the least pretentious person in the world, Katie. You have listed all the practical, sensible reasons to use jam jars as everyday drinking vessels. To be honest, if someone made me cocktail, I'd drink it from a child's plastic beaker. I'd just be really happy to have a cocktail in my hand!

      Delete
  24. I loved this post! I don't have a blog, but I can begin to understand the pressure bloggers might feel to write about all the amazing things they've been up to! It's pressure enough to put a fun / amazing status / photo on lFacebook once in a while! I am so inherently interested in people and the lives they lead, so give me abit of real life any day! Thanks for sharing x Claire

    ReplyDelete
  25. I know that your life is blogworthy Gillian, because it is your life and that is all that matters. It isn't boring at all. Everyone has up times and down times and well share differently, so sometimes it seems all bad and others all good, but I very much doubt that anyone is doing anything other than sharing what is happening at the time. Take heart and keep going. Glad that you and Angus had some time together! xx

    ReplyDelete
  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Love this and how you've highlighted that blogging helps us relish the ordinariness of everyday life. As for the jam jar thing, I hope I'm never served a drink in one. I'm sure to dribble.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hello from Canada - your blog today made my heart so happy - the ordinary things all together make up all of our lives too! Just like your day! And reading about it, so similar to my day, my interests just makes me smile. Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  29. celebrating the simple is the best, bilbo is right. and i'm with you on the jars, they are only way to display flowers in my opinion. as for celebrating the solstice i worked all weekend and stayed up very late waiting for delayed house guests...... oh and the shift key is broken, hence no capitals or brackets.....

    ReplyDelete
  30. Yes, my life has been exactly that lately, not blog-worthy at all. I haven't even thought to have my camera out either, quite shocking. It sounds like a lovely weekend though, nice and low key, and it was nice to have the sun at last wasn't it?

    S x

    S x

    ReplyDelete
  31. The power of a blog like yours is that it captures ordinary, everyday things and makes them beautiful. Who wants to see silly stuff like people drinking cocktails from jam jars anyhow?

    ReplyDelete
  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hey Gillian,
    Good grief I hope I'm not one of those people. I am soon to blog about our Campervan. She is literally the only "cool" thing I have ever done in my life. Just ask Liz Noall or Pernille Krafft, two FB chums. They'll tell you what a complete twat I am! (Although you have probably realised this for yourself ;)
    I have had similar thoughts this weekend, although mine have strayed into the people who seem very insincere and fake in their blogs and on IG etc etc etc. I just can't be doing with it. I've had a cull and I feel so much better. The blogs that I'm left with are those tales of normal and everyday, with snippets of fab thrown in. Because we all have them. You did with Angus this weekend. And that's how it should be.
    You were the first person I felt I connected with in a meaningful way in this weird bloggy place. And I'm so glad that I did. Generous and genuine, I'd say. There's nothing wrong with that.
    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
  34. Sounds like a good weekend to me - and sometimes the sofa, trackie bottoms & The Good Wife combo is just what one needs :-) (Eli Gold is my favourite!)
    But I must confess I was served Pimms in a jam jar once and I rather enjoyed it ;-)
    Have a happy week with your favourite peeps all back together again,
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  35. You are lovely Gillian and I love reading what you have to say :-)
    Tracey xxx

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Gillian, I just wanted to say that I have thought about this post a lot. You see most of my sons childhood was spent like this. One adult and one child. It's not easy. There never quite feels like enough people for a group, or to make a celebration. I often went down the lego shop route, or it's equivalent! and when they are occupied, there often wasn't anyone to bunk of with. I can see that you really experienced this at mid summer. Made even more pronounced by all the staged photos on instagram. Please don't believe the hype. I think we all have our blessings and sometimes the challenge is to recognize them, even in adversity. I have wept over this screen countless times as I've watched other people celebrate in a way that I often don't manage to.(I'm sure I'm not alone in that!) Sometimes when I'm sharing something celebratory the only people I'm sharing with is here. I don't mean this to sound negative in any way towards you, if anything it was confirmation to me about how challenging it really has been when someone who tends to appear to experience things differently has to manage that situation. Anyway, it touched a nerve! I wanted to share. I hope all your group members are back and balance is fully restored for you. Heather X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Heather, and for your lovely warm and supportive words. I thought one on one time with Angus would be brilliant, but it was quite strange, wondering if I was "enough". You are right, one adult and one child is not easy, and you have had that and then some. You have my respect. Take care. xx

      Delete
    2. Thank you Gillian, that interesting because I think the 'am I enough?' thing has been a big one for me. I think it's good to be vulnerable now and again. But it's also good to be brave and bold enough to fully share all the good bits you have, whatever they are. We need that too. Otherwise how can we know anything different to what is normal for us and it increases our expectation of what's out there and chances of finding it! I have enjoyed reading about your world and family life. Take care, Heather X

      Delete
  37. I don't have a blog but I read quite a few and I realise they are just other lives, no better or worse than my own. I like to hear about the lives of others and sometimes I am inspired to do something new by a blog, however ordinary it may seem to the blogger, it might be something new to me. So don't worry, you're doing good girl!
    On the one child thing - I have one daughter and I spent ages playing and messing about with her as a child. My husband doesn't work shifts but he does work long hours. Now she's 15 I think we have a good relationship and definitely have the same sense of humour which has got us both through some trying times - as she will say 'You laughed Mum, I'm off the hook'....... Drat!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Well Gillian, your blog is always interesting and I love the way you celebrate the every day things in life. Nobody's life is ever perfect or exciting all the time! If everyone's was, we wouldn't appreciate the special moments when they came along. We need the slightly more mundane days to balance out the really great and exciting ones. Your weekend with Angus sounds lovely. Miss M is often on her own at the weekends with either one of us as It is quite rare for G and I to have a weekend off together, we try to make the best of it as often at weekends play dates don't always happen as other kids tend to be off doing things with their families. However, we make the best of it as you have done this weekend with your boy. Hope Bella enjoyed Brownie camp?
    Marianne x

    ReplyDelete
  39. Sounds to me like an absolutely perfect midsummer weekend! The simple things, the putterings...those are the things that truly make me happy and feel like I had a good day. Sounds like you and Angus had some wonderful bonding time...just the two of you...and you know, sometimes those slow, rather uneventful days can be more memorable than the fast, fun-filled exciting ones. I do know, though, exactly what you mean about feeling like everyone around me is having a wonderful, exciting time...and me, well, like you said having a rather un-blog-worthy kind of week.
    Enjoy your summer and keep blogging...even the things that seem un-blog-worthy to you. I think those posts are my favorite kinds. :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. " if you're not careful, you can feel that EVERYONE but you is having an amazing time in their amazing campervan/yurt/allotment/garden/park at a lovely event with golden setting sun, wildflower posies, organic sausages, bunting, cocktails in jam jars (Why the jam jars? What's that about?) while you are lying on the sofa watching The Good Wife in your tracksuit bottoms. "

    Isn't lying on the sofa watching the Good Wife in tracksuit bottoms an amazing time? My husband's been lying to me all these years? Next you'll be telling me that when the Ice cream van chimes play it DOESN'T mean they've run out of ices!?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes it is! I love The Good Wife. And I'm wearing my tracksuit bottoms right now. :-)

      Delete
  41. Thank you all so much for the comments and thoughts. I love so much to hear what you think. I am as guilty as the next person of sharing the good bits and not so much bad. I think I was just in a bit of a grump last weekend. Normal service will resume! x

    ReplyDelete
  42. I have enjoyed reading all the comments tot his post, it has certainly hit a nerve and rung true with many here in the blogosphere.
    I send you many congratulations for getting to the bottom of the ironing basket, that's something to celebrate for sure!
    Blogging should be about real life, our own real lives.
    Lisa x

    ReplyDelete
  43. How you celebrate/mark the passing if midsummer is up to you surely? It sounds like yours was perfect :). I am sorry that I am one of those people who could blog about a totally different day, camping......friends....sunshine.....fires on the beach.......but now I have come home to a mad whirlwind of a life and my house looks like we have been burgled!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Don't you just wish that blog comments had a like button, just like Facebook. There are loads of comments here I would just love to press like on. Happy Summer, peeps.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Ever since I read this post, I've seen nothing but drinks in jam jars! People even buy jam jars to use them for styling their drinks. I haven't tried it myself, but I can't help thinking that it must be an odd feeling the jam jars being so "thick" compared to ordinary glasses.

    ReplyDelete

Hello there! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I read them all avidly and I always try to answer questions.