The end of 46 Days

At the beginning of March I had a crazy idea. Instead of giving something up for Lent, I would try to do something every day. The idea for 46 Days came from there. Today is the 46th and last day.

I thought I’d have a look back through the last 45 days and see what’s happened:

0 people offended (that I’m aware of…)

1 holiday booked

1 disastrous week of night training

1 graduation attended

1 Margot Leadbetter moments

2 bouts of nostalgia

2 guinea pigs (Charlie and Lola) arrived

2 fish (Eddie and Bob) bought

3 fish (Maisy, Eddie and Bob) died

3 Easter bonnets made

4 3rd birthday parties attended

4 One Born Every Minute liveblogs

5 separate illnesses (2 for me, 2 for G, 1 for R)

6 twinny observations (I could have written hundreds of posts on this)

7 Friday photos

8 rants (I’m amazed there aren’t many more)

That’s a fairly average seven or so weeks in the HoT. Ok, so you don’t buy guinea pigs and kill off goldfish every day, but everything else was pretty normal…for us at least. It’s a nice little snapshot of our lives.

I only missed one night – when I was away for work – and I made up for it the next night with two long posts.  I have to say, as the weather improved dramatically in April I found it much harder to generate enough enthusiasm to sit down every night and write a blog post. Last night I ‘cheated’ and uploaded the Friday photos from my iphone whilst slumped on the sofa after another busy day. Thank Steve Jobs for the WordPress app!

I speculated at the beginning of all this that a period of sustained creativity might make me want to do some creative writing. It hasn’t, but only because I haven’t had time after writing 46 Days posts. There are a couple of ideas percolating in my brain but I can’t commit them to screen just yet.

Instead I’ve been exploiting my creative mind in different ways. I’m really into card-making at the moment. If there’s an event coming up I’ve probably made a card for it! My cards aren’t going to make me rich and they definitely look ‘home made’ but I hope people appreciate the effort. I attempted my first scrapbook – a graduation present for my Mum. I love getting creative with photos, bit of paper, a stack of embellishments and a ton of pritt stick. I have also made great progress with my latest cross-stitch and am already thinking about the next stitching project. I might do something really challenging this time…

As I get older I can no longer sit in front of the telly of an evening once the girls are in bed. I have to be doing other things, so that I feel my evenings aren’t wasted. That reminds me…I have very strict rules on my ‘me time’ activities. They are all done in the evening in the precious few hours I have when the girls are asleep and before I go to bed. During the day I’m either spending time with the girls or working.

I’m looking forward to having a few nights off (maybe even a week or two) from blogging – or the tyranny of the blank page (which only affected me twice in 46 days) and the feeling that I ‘have’ to write something. I might try something similar later in the year. November is my bogey-month so I might try 30 Days or something like that to ward off the SAD.

That’s all in the future. Now, I’m off to make a Mojito and await our take-away delivery.

Cheers and thanks for reading!


Friday photo – 1/4/2011

My Mum graduated today and we all went along to support and celebrate with her. Open University graduations are wonderful. It clearly means so much to everyone involved. We all took loads of photos but here are a couple of my favourites:

R, Mum, G


G, Me, Mum, J, R

Mums lie and bears do their business in the woods

I was amused to read an article on the BBC website today: ‘Mothers admit to parenting lies‘ because this is what I (and lots of other sane-ish parents) have been saying for AGES!My favourite bit of the article is the testimony from the mother who claimed she couldn’t come to the phone because her hands were covered in flour from all the wonderful baking she was doing when she was actually in bed. Brilliant!

Being a Mary Poppins Mother is a. Unrealistic and b. Anyone that claims to be perfect is probably lying. Well YUHUH! One of my friends (Jan) has coined the phrase Real Parent (RP) and I’m going to shamlessly steal it. I don’t think I’ve ever lied about my parenting (although the girls did go through a phase of eating more Shepherd’s Pie than was probably healthy for them) but I’ve certainly made much more of an event that the facts warranted. I’ve banged on for ages about the honesty gap in parenting and I’m glad that this is now gaining more recognition.

In the spirit of being a fully-fledged RP, here are a couple of examples of honest parenting:

1. Last weekend we took the girls to the cinema to see Shrek 4 and left after half an hour because they were scared. To pacify them we went to Starbucks and had chocolate brownies.

2. Yesterday I let G have croissants and crumpets for lunch. She did not have any fruit.

Oh! I’m throwing my hands up in horror here! Aren’t we all daft? Being a parent is hard enough without putting on a show of how brilliant we are all the time.

Real Parents rock!


A letter to the 18 year old me on A-Level results day

Dear Jo,

Right now you’re feeling pretty crap. So much was expected of you – and you expected so much of yourself – and although you’re putting a brave face on it I know that inwardly you feel like you’ve failed and let everyone down. You didn’t. You really didn’t. I know you were predicted 4 A Grades and the AABC you got feels horrible but I just want to tell you that you did brilliantly. If I could give you a hug (wouldn’t that be weird?) I would.

You got the best grades of all the girls at school and the second-best grades overall. The local paper took your picture. Everyone is so pleased for you. Cambridge was always going to be tough and with the benefit of twelve years of hindsight I can tell you that your results were meant to be. You’re the first person in your entire family to go to university – that’s awesome! Don’t ever forget that.

You’re going to have a great time at Reading University. You’re going to be so frightened to start with and you’re going to make some great decisions and some terrible ones. I’ll be honest – for the first two years you’re going to make some unbelievably bad choices. I know you find that hard to believe because you think you’re really clever and wise and I don’t want to spoil things for you (because you have to experience this stuff yourself) but just know that however bad it may seem (and it’ll get pretty bloody bad for a time) you will get yourself out of it and do really well.

Not only are you going to get a great degree, you’re also going to do a Masters! Although you think you’re never going to get a boyfriend because no-one could ever possibly want you, you have one or two (or three…). Just when you decide that all men are horrid and that you’re going to stay young, free and single for a good few years you’re going to meet someone totally awesome and fall hopelessly in love with him. (he’s going to wear massive t-shirts with holes in and have terrible hair to start with but stick with it…and ‘guide’ him gently towards a make-over, ok? 😉

Anyway, I’m not going to give away everything but by the time you’re 30 you’ll pretty much have it all. You’re going to be a working Mum (being a Mummy is going to totally blow your mind and there’s a nice little surprise – or two to look forward to) and wife and have a pretty decent career – in a field that might surprise you. That’s probably more than you could ever imagine at this point.

Just a few more things:

  1. Don’t ever drink cider
  2. Don’t eat too many kebabs from the van
  3. Stick to your motto: work hard, play harder
  4. Buy some new clothes – you DO deserve to look nice and you don’t have to look like Saffy from Ab Fab’s uglier sister. You’ve got a lovely figure. Don’t hide it under baggy, shapeless clothes.
  5. Sort your hair out. That fringe really isn’t working for you and the bob makes you look 65.
  6. Get some nice, small glasses. You look like a crazy owl.

That’s all I have to say really. Chin up and have a great time at Reading. You worked so hard to get there and sacrificed so much. Now I want you to go on and do great, interesting things.

Lots of love and hugs,

Jo (19 August 2010)