Half term flew by in a rainy, muddy, but largely happy blur, seemingly over as soon as it started. I don't know where it went, it's not like we did anything or went anywhere in particular. John was working. Bella was away a couple of nights on a school trip to Disneyland Paris (which, no surprise, she loved). Angus had a friend to sleep over. We filled our week with haircuts, dentist appointments, play dates, coffees and catch ups with friends and family - all the things there is never time to do during term time - and of course I did some cleaning.
Working full time outside the home, I just about manage to keep on top of the most cursory housework during evenings and weekends: things like changing the beds, vacuuming, washing the floors, running a duster over surfaces, doing the bathrooms etc. John does a lot too, along with probably half the cooking, and most of the food shopping. But the school holidays have become my time to do a bit more cleaning. I usually give one day over to it and I don't mind it really, in fact I find the unhurried sorting time quite therapeutic. I make a coffee, put the radio on and do things like scrub the oven, clean the insides of the windows (the window cleaner does the outsides) and all the picture frames/mirrors, sort out cupboards, wash rugs and cushion covers. I always feel better for it.
We went out when it wasn't raining, and sometimes when it was. Children still need some fresh air and a change of scenery, as do adults.
I'm getting itchy gardening fingers, and want to get out there and start to tidy it up a bit. It's much too cold, wet and muddy right now, but I'm looking forward to some milder, dry days when I can go out there and potter a bit, inspect the plants and pots, see what's dead, what's growing. I bought a cold frame on sale recently, needing somewhere to start off my sweet pea, cosmos and foxglove seeds. All that money I hoped I'd save on not buying plants this spring spent on a cold frame - the irony is not lost on me....
But despite incessant battering from the elements, there is blossom on the cherry tree and it's glorious.
Having not bought any fresh flowers since probably last September, I have made up for it in recent weeks with daffodils and tulips. I can't help it. They jump into my trolley.
I spent most of last Sunday in the kitchen, baking chocolate and cardamom biscuits, blondies, flapjacks and a marmalade cake. I took nearly all of it into work yesterday because it was my birthday over half term and school tradition dictates that you bring in cake when it's your birthday, a habit I certainly enjoy partaking in. There's nothing better than popping down to the staff room on a rainy morning to get a coffee and find a table filled with cakes, doughnuts and all sorts of treats because it's someone's special day. It's the little things.
By happy coincidence, John was off on my birthday and we had a really lovely, slow family day at home. I got up late, opened presents and cards, did some crochet.
John baked me an orange and almond cake and my family came round in the afternoon. He said, do you really need a candle on it? Yes, definitely yes. Later, the four of us went out for a curry which was so delicious and a really nice treat.
John gave me a beautiful leaf print by Danish artist Monika Petersen which he'd had framed. I love the way the white and gold contrast with the greeny-blue wall.
This cookery book was a nice surprise since we'd been talking about it (we both really like Rachel Khoo's Little Paris Kitchen book) and I hadn't realised that she had this book out - and a TV series too, I think. I haven't cooked from it yet but there are lots of very inspiring and doable ideas inside.
My mum and dad helpfully gave me some new clothes (gifts being exempt from my "no new clothes in 2020" mission) which I'd carefully chosen, sensible things like layers and tops, items I could wear to work under a dress or with jeans at the weekend. They also gave me this beautiful maranta leuconeura Prayer Plant, a houseplant I'd had my eye on for some time. I love the way the leaves move throughout the day, rising and falling, or opening and closing slightly (hence the name I believe, like hands in prayer), but I really adore the pink stripes running down the dark green leaves. Nature so often has the best colour combinations.
Now we're back at work and getting back into the swing of things again. As it's Shrove Tuesday we'll have pancakes for pudding tonight. I'll make the thin, traditional ones and eat mine with lemon juice and sugar, although I predict Bella and Angus will smother theirs in chocolate spread or golden syrup. Hopefully not both.