Wednesday, 30 March 2016


I watched her wobble and try again. And again.

"Come here, let Mummy show you how it's done..."

I swaggered over to A and took the pogo stick from her, sure that I could do 49 bounces in a row, and more if I fancied.

I nearly damn-well broke my back! One bounce and I shot off into the daffodils and fell against the hard, concrete patio.

She wouldn't let me try again for fear of me seriously hurting myself. He wouldn't let me try either.

So that's it. I can no longer use a pogo stick. Or roller blades. I am losing my balance. I lost my nerve on a big ginger horse and I might as well take up knitting.

What happens when you get older? Do you really lose your balance and increase your fear? Do you become less naive and more aware of danger, and that holds you back?

When no one is looking, I am going to squirrel myself away in the garden and conquer that goddamn pogo stick to prove that I can still bounce. And then I will relearn the roller blades.

And jump horses over silly fences at great speed.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Goodbyes and Hello's

The countdown to Mallorca has started. Items are being recycled, sold or given away to loving homes. Skirting boards are being painted, tiles mended, bathrooms deep cleaned and toys debated over. We are renting our house out and taking minimal 'stuff' with us, a chance to welcome a new chapter without unnecessary mascots of the past.

The garden is being tidied for Spring. The bitter winter wind clings on and whips menacingly around my face as I dig and clear the detritus from the last few months. Goodbye Winter and Hello Spring. The bulbs are flourishing with the rare glimpses of sunshine, perennials awaken after their hibernation, peeping through the soil slowly and carefully as if to make sure the winter months have finally gone.

I said goodbye to my work colleagues, a group of strong and inspirational women whose kindness, knowledge and wisdom I will cherish. I have learnt so much working as a facilitator of antenatal classes, met some incredible people along the way and feel enormously privileged to have been a tiny part of couples journey to parenthood.

We are beginning to say goodbye to Sussex and goodbye to SussexMama. And it seems that only when you are preparing to leave something, a way of life, you realise how lovely it all was.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Dolly blue eye

Dolly stands listless in her stable, her head low and doesn't respond to my call. Her distended belly probably full of worms, and no food up until now.

Her teeth are ground down. Worn away from eating dirt and stones, trying to find food to survive. The vet said she was only two years old. She is lanky and hairy, black and white patchy, with her ribs showing through her furry coat.

She has no flight. Just a little bit of fight, for she eats and eats.

Keep eating little Dolly. There is love all around you now.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016


It was a day of two sides. A day of two halves. A day which told me to be brave, which told me I should teach my girls to be brave.

But not too brave.

On International Women's Day I enjoyed a TED talk by Reshma Saujani. She spoke clearly that we should teach our girls not to be perfect, when they can let go of perfection and take risks they become brave and courageous. It was an interesting talk about how boys will have a go, take risks and put their hands up even if they are not sure of an answer - and girls, well, they usually have to get it 100% right before they are confident to speak out. P is like this, her crippling sense of perfection stops her from doing things, from drawing even, for fear of it not being good, perfect.

Right, I'm going to teach my children to be wild and free, to have a go, to make mistakes, to be imperfect and to take risks.

And then my newsfeed flooded with #RideForOlivia. Olivia was only 17 when she died on Sunday, she was riding her horse at a competition when the horse clipped a solid fence and fell on top of her. Her parents saw it happen.

I cannot imagine this horror - and as we were asked to post our favourite riding pictures as a tribute to Olivia with the hashtag #RideForOlivia, I wanted to never let my children near a horse again. I wanted to wrap them up and shield them from dangers and risks.

I am reminded of the joy A feels when she rides a pony, the risks she is willing to take, the difficulties she has overcome, the frustration, the falls, the tears and the laughter. And then I realise this is making her brave, courageous and willing to take risks for a passion. For that, my darling daughters, I am very proud.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Carving out a new life

The mud is less filthy and the rain less bothersome, knowing we are to leave for Mallorca very soon. The whining wind and grey, gritty drizzle failed to get me down this morning. The irony being that it is easier to live in the 'now' when a new life lays glistening up ahead. I can wait to move to Mallorca, because it will happen in it's own good time - but for now, I am enjoying the present as well as reflecting on all that has been good about our time in Sussex.

We have just returned from a week on the Balearic Isle, a week of appointments and school searching, of trying to find a house and dragging up Spanish I thought had long been forgotten. We travelled from East to West from South to nearly-North. We discovered mountains, snowy-white sands and gentle landscapes dotted with the leftover blossoming, almond trees. Lemons and oranges shone brightly, lambs and piglets scurried across fields and the warm stone of the traditional Mallorcan farmhouse left us feeling welcomed. As though this was the right place to be for the next few years.

We are just waiting to hear if the girls are to be accepted into the school of our choice, and whether the house we really love is to be our home