Sunday, 17 January 2021

Mummy, I can feel the magic in the air

Lots of people thought we were bonkers moving before Christmas. What lots of people did not realise was, we didn't really have a choice. Our landlady issued our official notice which expired in December 2020. Although she also texted and explained the letter was a paperwork exercise, it did feel like we were sitting on a ticking time bomb. 
The estate agents trickled through the house, the photographs were taken, the For Sale board was erected. I fought back tears when I saw pictures of our lovely home listed on the internet. It was brutal.
I can't tell you how many hours I spent viewing properties online, chasing agents, staring at the ceiling in bed, unable to sleep, a million thoughts and worries whirling through my exhausted brain. 
Because not only did we love our cottage, we loved the village it was situated in. I can honestly say the seven years we spent in Ingrave were some of the happiest days of my life. And not a single day passed when I did not feel lucky and grateful. 
There literally was not another property to rent in Ingrave, in all the time we looked, and we were warned it would be a rare occurrence. It's a small village and most property is large and expensive, thus, even if a rental did become available, we knew it would probably be out of our price range. It was sickening that we didn't have enough money to buy the cottage, it would have been the perfect opportunity to finally step on the property ladder and secure our village life. 
Now don't get me wrong, our cottage was small. I did often say I wish I could stretch it somewhat. So, there was a tiny speckle of hope at the end of the dark tunnel - a bigger house would be nice. 
Also, have you ever tried moving in a pandemic? Let me tell you this, it is not easy! For every house we called and asked to view, in surrounding area, there were literally twenty others on the list! Because even though others were looking to move - perhaps young couples living apart, banned from dating, wishing to move in together, or friends not allowed to meet up, wanting to share a home -  there wasn't enough properties available. 
We were despairing of the disappointments. Then one day, Marks friend informed us his current tenant had lost her job, therefore his rental property would be free. Okay, sadly it was not in the village, we were reluctantly giving up on that dream, but it was in the next town and we would have more space. Plus it boasted a period fireplace, something I had decided was one of my top wishes.
We viewed the house with an open mind and a hopeful heart. We liked it. We could imagine living there. And funnily enough, minus the wooden beams it actually reminded us of our cottage, but bigger. Let the packing commence! Oh my goodness, how did we accumulate so much stuff? It really did feel like a loosing battle. Somehow we managed it.
We moved fourteen days prior to Christmas. Yes some people thought we were mad, yet I was looking forward to finally relaxing within our new walls and enjoying the festive period. Other people admitted to being envious, those who were going stir crazy and longed for new rooms and area to explore and a much needed change of scenery.
I think it helped to soften the blow, moving in December. I was excited about a new beginning, during the magical month of Christmas. I always go slightly overboard at Xmas and I was brimming with ideas to make our new home a happy place for me, Mark and Tommy. 
I like to think I succeeded with this. More decorations were purchased, a larger tree was bought and the countdown to Christmas Day began. And do you know what my favourite moment was? Something I will never forget, following all the mayhem and uncertainty. It was after we were finally unpacked and able to enjoy our familiar family treasures. It was Christmas Eve and Tommy looked at me with his little eager face and said, "Mummy, do you want to know something? I can feel the magic in the air."

Mr Elf on moving day. I assured Tommy he would know we were moving and low and behold, here he is with his suitcase. 

There it is, our period fireplace. 

Our new Christmas tree in our new home.

Mr Elf counting down the days with magical pixie dust, I don't think he could fund any chalk. Like the sleeping bag Mr Elf.

We also celebrated his birthday in our new home. We had an indoor picnic, party games and watched the Elf movie after dark. Amazing what you find yourself doing during lockdown. 

I can't resist setting scenes. 

Christmas Eve box, a little tradition, with new pjs, snowman bath bomb and Christmas crafts and chocolate. 

He's been!

Well you wouldn't expect Mr Elf not to have a present, would you?

Saturday, 16 January 2021

When Father Christmas knew Tommy wanted an Evil Unicorn mug

I don't even know what an evil unicorn is, do you?
Well, I have learnt the definition of evil. I am also familiar with unicorns, so to speak, although I haven't actually seen a real one. 
I am guessing an evil unicorn features in some sort of computer game, the mind boggles. 
But what I was impressed with, and Tommy too, was the realisation that Father Christmas knew he wanted an evil unicorn mug. See, he is listening all the time. This proves my point when I often tell Tommy to be good as Father Christmas is watching. 
Or maybe we have Mr Elf to thank, as he showed the list to Santa one night. Tommy had great fun writing his present ideas, on special paper which we shrunk in the oven. Then we politely asked Mr Elf to kindly take back to the North Pole, whilst we were sleeping. This was the night before we could use said list as a Christmas tree decoration forever more. 

Happy spooky Halloween

As mentioned before, Tommy loves Halloween, so it's a big event in our house.
Costumes are carefully chosen. We have a nice collection, which Tommy still wears, as he does love a dressing up day. This one has flashing eyes, so it was a winner in his eyes. 

Decorations are unearthed from the loft. And left around our house for quite a while afterwards. Oh I do love a theme. 

I am always drawn to velvet pumpkins and have some fabulous ones. I won these in a competition on Instagram! Lucky me. 

We play games. Last year it was the Halloween treasure hunt (something I evented) and Halloween bingo (bargain from Amazon which has been played many times).

Now we have a trick or treat sweet shop. 

This Halloween, I decided it would be fun for Tommy to make a decoration. Wow, it took ages. He lost interest after half an hour, therefore I took over. Then I got bored so we played Halloween music and danced around the house, next we all smeared fake blood on our faces. You just never know what some days will bring do you?
I finished the picture in the end. It only took four days. 

All I need is WiFi and my cousin

Remember when we said, “Imagine being in lockdown in the winter?”
Then we all gasped and shook our heads, whilst also commenting that at least the sun was shining and we could escape into our gardens and enjoy walks in our local area. 
Erm. We're in lockdown in the winter. 
No we can't escape into the sunshine, it is currently freezing. So cold in actual fact that it is snowing. Which incidentally, for the first time in goodness knows how many years, I don't mind that it's snowing, because I don't have to travel anywhere or be anywhere, due to the recent restrictions. To be honest, I wish it would snow a bit more. Then we could at least make a snowman in the garden and that would be something different to do. 
Yes I am trying to be thankful for all the snippets of freedom we experienced last year. Alongside trying not to be too despondent at the disappointing start of this year. 
Thus, let me reminisce, if you don't mind, about a time when Tommy was allowed to see his cousins and I was permitted to see my parents. 
And here are some photos, of when Tommy could see his cousins. I don't have any of my parents I'm afraid as my mum and I both despise our photographs being taken, yet I do have sweet memories of picnics and games in the garden together.
So there COVID-19, you can't break my happy memories. I simply will not allow you to.

Do I have the best sister-in-law or what? When the rumours started flying around that we would soon not be allowed to mix with others (again), she invited us to their house for Tommy's pre-birthday, with games, cake, an indoor cinema, and matching pjs. It was ace. 

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

The 7th birthday party

You know when you think you're really organised and super in control? Okay, believe me, I love planning, but this was even a big deal for me. Because in my wildest lists of things that could go wrong, I did not expect this year. Did anyone?
I recall actually being laughed at, but not in a sinister kind of way, when I spoke to the pleasant lady in charge of the village hall bookings. And the children's entertainer definitely sounded amused when I repeated the date, then hastily agreed booking early was wise to avoid disappointment.   
Phew, little did we know just how disappointing this year would turn out.
I realised back in January, when flicking through my 2020 calendar (you know the one which is eerily empty from March onwards?!) that Tommy's birthday would fall on a Friday, followed by Halloween on a Saturday. And Halloween happens to be his favourite celebration - other than his very own birthday. A Halloween birthday party! Genius!
That will teach me for being so smug.
I thought I had it all sorted. I even discussed with the parents, whose kids also love Halloween. We excitedly decided on trick or treating after the party, with a stop off at the local pub, which always boasted fab decorations and atmosphere.
My goodness gracious me, who would have thought parties, and life as we know it, were to be banned. For that's exactly what happened.
As the date drew nearer and nearer and more rumours and announcements appeared, I realised I had to conjure a plan B, followed by a plan C.
Dear Tommy, he really was ever so understanding and sensible. It was not the huge party in the hall that I had painstakingly arranged. Nor was it the family home gathering that I hurriedly rearranged. But there were banners, balloons and birthday cake. We did our best.
As Marks father lives on his own he was allowed, by the government rules, to join our 'bubble'. Therefore, he visited in the morning with presents and was awarded hot sausage rolls and homemade fairy cakes. After he left I aired the house (this was not due to his unfortunate body odour, it was advised due to COVID-19), flash wiped all surfaces and part 2 was greeting my parents.
I will let you into a secret, they were only officially supposed to remain in the garden. But come on, this was October 30th and the outside heaters I ordered failed to deliver. What was I to do? Let an 86 and 74 year old stand in the freezing cold?
We did, however, obey the 2 metre rule, we kept our distance inside and Tommy was overjoyed to see more members of his family. This time there were ham rolls and a Roblox birthday cake, smothered with chocolate fingers, buttons and twirls.
I was thankful the grandparents were able to see their grandson, and Tommy was overwhelmed with their company, smiles and gifts.
Next, following my parents departure, and more cleaning, Tommy's best friend (who lives nine houses away) was able to join our garden and sweet shop. Thus, both boys were able to sit by the back door chatting, stuffing their faces with sweets, content in each others company.
Luckily, Tommy had no idea of the anguish I suffered trying to make things as fun and happy as possible. I had all these big plans, yet when it came down to it, he enjoyed a simple day.
And what made every stress and worry worthwhile? When we retired to bed that night and he looked at me with his serious face and said, "Mummy, I tried to imagine what my birthday would be like, and do you know what? It was even better than I imagined."
And that my dear readers, was all I needed to hear. 

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Year 2, I'm coming for you!

With his new haircut and trousers that no longer fit him (we've experienced a growth spurt since the picture below, which reminds me, I must order another pair), Tommy was only too delighted to begin year 2.
Arr, just look at him standing all straight and proud.
As much as Tommy loves home (phew, I remain eternally grateful for this fact during current circumstances), I think he was itching to see his school pals once again.
It was also nice for mummy (that's me, ha, ha) to chat to the other mums and dads, in the school playground, and begin some sort of normality
Well, it was nice for a while, until the headmaster penned yet another of his famous letters and introduced a new rule. Face masks must be worn on the school premises at all times.
I'm definitely a fan of keeping safe and all that, and I actually agree with this precaution. But alas, smiling and talking are not an easy option in a leopard print face mask.
Yes I have all sorts of fabric coverings, flowers, patterns, plain, which depend on my mood and outfit. Who would have thought there could be so much choice? Also, really the priority is, are they recently washed and therefore clean? 
So all in all, it's been a weird back to school. If I’m perfectly honest with you. 
And parents evening was conducted via a telephone call. Not exactly the intimate affair one has grown accustomed to, in the noisy school hall. Yet we learnt Tommy does not like to sharpen his pencil.
Oh and he's a charming boy, who tries his hardest at all times, and his teacher couldn't ask for more. 
Due to this last comment, if you could see me now (which is probably best that you can't, my hair is a right mess and my skin has unfortunately suffered somewhat) I am literally beaming. 

Monday, 7 December 2020

The Peppa Pig party

Since I last eagerly tapped away on my keyboard, the country experienced another lockdown, due to the worrying 'second wave' followed by a tier system formula.
Currently, based on where we live, my family and I are in tier 2 (3 being the worst). This means we are not allowed to mix with other households again, but shops and restaurants have reopened. There are still rules to be abided - we are permitted to visit restaurants but we must sit with our own family only, and facemasks must be worn inside shops at all times. 
For the purpose of this post, I would like to remember a time where life felt kind of normal again, albeit for a short period.
It was my nieces 3rd birthday, and we had such a fun afternoon at her house, for the Peppa Pig party. Yes we were officially able to visit another persons home!
Oh those were happy days indeed.