Friday, 27 May 2016

Best. Day. Ever.

There is nothing better than an inset day. It's a freebie, like winning the lottery or a 2 for 1 offer in the supermarket. Except when the sun shines and there are ponies, gerbils and kittens - then it's a through-the-roof brilliant day. We even had cheese straws which in my kids eyes counts as the Best. Day. Ever.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

The blogs that never were

It was always going to be a little of a stretch to write a blog a day.

The weeks are now zooming past at an alarming speed, 5 weeks and 4 days until we leave. And during this time of turbulence there are peaks and troughs, assurance and insecurity and times so very special it seems ludicrous we are leaving. That always happens.

So in short, our week in titles:

Scream if you wanna go faster! - an afternoon of hilarity at the funfair, am sure a little wee escaped

Champagne and tequila - and white wine and mojitos, it was messy for his birthday

Coming 'special' again - ponies are the greatest levellers, learning to come last

Horse Boy - my next career, therapeutic riding for children with autism

Lidl - seriously, how cheap?

The Royal Mews - a glorious afternoon of pomp and ridiculousness, finding ponies in London

New hat - with go-faster stripes, silvery stars and a great big pom pom on top

Book club - the endings begin

Tuesday, 17 May 2016


The stress has arrived as we are 6 weeks and 5 days away from our move to Mallorca. Great bucket loads of nerves, jitters and adrenaline have finally come to to say 'Hello!' before we go. Lists are in the kitchen, there are lists on the fridge, sub-lists on the list, lists on my phone, lists in my head and my favourite - the list at 4am making me jolt wide awake.

And then there are the wobbles.

Are we doing the right thing? Is Mallorca too busy in the summer? Will I make friends? Will the children like it? Can we afford to do this? What job will I be able to get? What about friends and family we leave behind?

All I can do is chip away at those lists and keep talking about the wobbles, for in 7 weeks time we will be there. So will ALL our belongings including the cats. It is so very hard to see that reality when there is a mountain in between to climb.

But hopefully, once scaled, there will be an extraordinary view from the top.

Friday, 13 May 2016


We had 2 humdingers of a meltdown yesterday.

The first was over maths. That's to be expected now, maths and A just do not mix - like oil and water, no matter how hard you shake or how much you increase the pressure - they stubbornly refuse to get on. We have a book of maths problems, suitable for 9-10 year olds, and all I ask is 10 minutes a day, or when we remember - to have a little try.

Cue the harumphs. The moaning, the screaming, the tears, the stomping, the door slamming and yesterday, throwing her pencil across the room.

I try so hard to be patient, to explain it in a number of different ways, we use pony analogies often and still the penny does not drop. We will keep trying - and I will keep being the punch-bag.

The second tantrum of the day was in the evening. She had been stuck inside from 8.45am until 5pm, practising the school play after a whole day in the classroom. It's too much, they were both like coiled springs, balls of fiery anger and in need of a glass of water, some food and a serious run around the garden. After an hours rest I thought we should crack on with homework. A project about Mars.

She just does not seem to care about the state of her work. It was scribbled, drawn scrappily, spelt wrong, no full stops or capital letters and looked like something a 5 year old would do...I felt like a Victorian school teacher.

I think I have been too relaxed. She knows I pay little attention to education and do not place value on the current system. But she's behind, she cares little about her assignments and couldn't give two hoots if she comes last. She has zero interest in school work and finishes quickly to get outside, play ponies, ride ponies or play with her pony playmobil.

Why am I surprised? I was exactly the same at 10.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016


I will miss Freddie when we go, really miss him.

Freddie is a Shetland. A fat, hairy pony of the naughty kind. He has forelock (a fringe for those of you not too pony orientated) that sticks out in crazy directions which won him a competition at Forelock Books. Freddie even writes his own blog each week, detailing his antics and pony thoughts. He is strong but kind, he his hilarious and infuriating, he is hairy and soft, but most of all he has the incredible ability to lift your mood even on the bluest of days.

Freddie should be available on the NHS.

A and P came out of school all wound up and grumpy. They hadn't eaten enough food at lunchtime, they hadn't drunk enough water, they had been stuck in all day due to the rain (I'm not sure when rain ever hurt anyone?) and their cheeks were a sweaty red from 30 odd kids all crammed in a classroom. A began worrying about her SATS exams for next year and that her homework about the planet Mars HAD to have a model to accompany it. Lazy bloody homework, model making - guess who's doing papier mache this weekend.

We needed to go and see Freddie. All of us.

And there he was running up and down his fence excited to see us. We stroked, fussed, hugged and groomed him. He even had his mane plaited.

We meandered through glorious bluebells and blossom confetti. We smelt the heady fragrances more pungent after the rain. We all agreed not to make a planet Mars model, but draw a picture instead - sod it. And we all started laughing, noticing, being in the wonderful moment that is Bedgebury forest with a Shetland.

And when Freddie's work was done for the day, he rewarded us with this hilarity. Turn up the volume and enjoy!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Badminton Horse Trials

He hates it when I watch horses on the TV. I can't do it quietly you see. There are shouts, squeals, tears, oooooohs and ahhhhhhhs at the enormous fences they jump. And he's not that keen on my running commentary all the way through.

What a good job he was away last night so that I could go to bed at 8pm and watch hours and hours of Badminton Horse Trials on the iplayer. A thrilling and iconic competition which made me miss Fletch terribly. I hardly slept for dreaming about attacking the Vicarage Vee or the impressive lake complex. My body was full of adrenaline and excitement for believing that one day I would do it again.

My time with horses is not over. I have just had a little break.

This is only the beginning.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Summer for one day

What a glorious day of sunshine, a real scorcher that required sun cream and a barbeque. And how lovely that it landed on a Sunday enabling us all to be together, to admire the tulips and have a game of swing ball. There really is nowhere like Sussex in the sunshine.

Hanging up my pelvis

An unexpected lump hit my throat after I waved goodbye to the last set of expectant parents yesterday. I had to take a sharp intake of breath in stages to prevent the tears from falling. I didn't expect to feel emotional after my last antenatal session as a teacher of birth and parenthood preparation classes, but I did.

It was a long and drawn out training to become an antenatal teacher, the course took me 4 years to complete as I tried to fit in essay writing around having a toddler and a baby. I discovered I had passion, real passion about women's birth experiences and wanted to be a small part of parents new journey, as they set out on the enormous path of having a baby.

It has been fun, it has been challenging, there have been many tears and there have been hundreds of adorable babies. I have met some weird and wonderful people along the way, all of whom have enriched my life enabling me to grow and learn.

Thank you to each and every one of you.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Fattie catties

It's traumatic for the cats going to the vets, the 15 minute drive sets their hearts racing and their paws sweating. Goodness knows how they will cope with the drive to Gatwick and a flight to Palma. Yes we are taking the cats with us.

It was just a booster jab today and the kindly vet checked the girls over and weighed them on the scales.

"Do they go outside?" the vet queried.

"Er no, not really," I replied "Are they very over-weight?"

"No, not at all, in fact they seem to have lost weight," he answered. "It's just that they are very soft, they have very little muscle," he said feeling their bellies.

"I don't want to offend you, how can I say this....they are couch potatoes!"

Well, yes I knew that. But how on earth do I get a cat to exercise? They are sleeping themselves to death.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

After school

They used to have more variation in their hobbies - like swimming, dancing, gymnastics and the like. They have all slowly petered out or been given up. The 4-legged furry friends have taken over completely, slowly and surely turning my children into pony-mad kids, especially A - she dreams, draws, reads about and breathes horses. I think P just does it because we like it, she has yet to find her passion, being only 7 years old.

I take their jodhpurs, boots and hats to school, they play 'Guess the snack!' from the school gates to the car, scoff the food and get changed, so that when we arrive at the stables they are ready to run, apple core in hand - to greet Louis and Dexter.

They are so lucky to have two of the sweetest, cheekiest and cutest ponies to ride. I get just as much out of it as they do, grooming, cuddling, tacking up and running along side them as they trot up and down the country lanes every night after school.

What a healthy, wholesome childhood. Learning to take responsibility for such a noble animal, mucking out and mucking in - especially when the weather is less than glorious. I have never regretted a single moment or penny spent with the horses and intend to find some very fast when we land in Mallorca.

9 weeks and 4 days.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

One a day

It's 9 weeks and 5 days until we leave.

The packing, the clearing, the painting, the selling, the chucking, the planning, the organising and the endless list-making has taken over my life. A move is an enormous thing. A move abroad is even bigger. A move abroad with a husband, 2 children and 2 cats is gargantuan. Some days it feels an impossible leap and others, a natural course.

The consequence being that SussexMama has been neglected, her enthusiastic start has dwindled to a couple of posts a month. So in celebrating all things Sussex I pledge to write a blog a day, a little something saying Thank You to her offerings and teachings.

Spring must have sprung, as the cat finally wanders into the garden after a winter by the fire