Wednesday, 10 September 2014

a Bowie birthday

At the weekend I headed down south for Eve's 30th - a birthday picnic and sports day style games in the park dressed as her idol Bowie (thank god she didn't choose her other idol Alice Cooper).

I wasn't sure how much effort I'd make, but getting ready at Eve's meant I got carried away and went full on with red hair and pale, bold make up. Eve looked ace and her boyfriend almost (but not quite) stole the show from her with his efforts in drag!

It was fun walking the streets of London in fancy dress, but the feeling of being coated in all sorts of crap got to me after a while so I removed it for the evening in a pub. (That and the fact that all bar one of my fellow Brooke folk dressed up and I'd sweated the majority off anyway).

I rarely catch buses in London but it was the easiest way to Eve's. I'm not too familiar with east London so I loved driving through Stoke Newington. I discovered so much more than I had before, with loads of cute caf├ęs and vintage stores. Clissold Park, which we made home for the day, was lovely too with ponds, deer, a pretty house (complete with pretty bride) and lots more that I'm yet to explore. I just love London parks and feel like sometimes greenery is even more accessible in London than when actually living in the country. They're just the best at parks - and by they I mean the Victorian's!

So, in summary:

  • I really, really miss having London on my doorstep
  • The Brooke was perhaps the best decision I ever made, they employ the greatest people 
  • I wish I could have been teleported into my bed with my baby in the morning
  • I realise I'm leaving the London part of me behind - I forgot my oyster (again)
  • I'm turning into one of those mums, you know, the ones that show pictures and videos of their babies and talk about poo. A lot. To people that came to an East London girls birthday. Enough said.
  • I will consider spending more to buy an open return next time, or just come to terms with my body clock running three hours earlier than it used to
  • I miss sitting next to Eve everyday and singing the Friday song
  • I'm pondering opening my own re-fillable wine store up north

Monday, 25 August 2014

have baby, will... work

Dream job sounds cliche and OTT, because yes, I'm sure there are better paid jobs out there that would involve travel, musicals and food, but that's sort of what I feel about the job that I recently applied for and have managed to secure. Rather than 'dream job' perhaps I should say ideal, because right now it's my ideal job, ideal for where I am in my life and the experience I can offer.

I'd been keeping my eyes open as the need to return to work when my maternity pay ended in the Autumn was always on my mind. The role that I'd been looking out for came up, but a little sooner than desired and... full time. I really wanted to secure a part time position so that I could spend more quality time with Hugo, but I knew that the likelihood of a part time position was slim to none. It's much easier to negotiate part time hours when already in a role I guess. 

Despite my baby brain waffle, a telephone interview, presentation and two interviews later, I managed to secure the role. Although I asked if they would consider part time in my application, they said they could only offer full time, however they were kind enough to allow a phased return, with part time hours until October. 

It was a huge consideration. I've never seen this role advertised before and it's exactly what I've been looking for. Added to which, I haven't seen any part time roles that I could apply for, so to go part time would likely be a minimum wage job, not using any of my skills or experience.

So I went for it and I start tomorrow! I'm excited to start part time, the team seem lovely, I got really good vibes and I think the role and organisation will suit me. I admit I am absolutely dreading full time, but I just need to make every minute with Hugo count and make it work.

I took some big risks to start a family when I did and although it wasn't quite to plan, I have the most perfect baby and my life has turned around for the better. I feel truly happy. I am sure I will feel judgement and guilt, but things happen for a reason and I'm excited for our next chapter.

Hugo's first holiday - the Northumberland Coast

A fortnight ago we packed up a rather overflowing car and headed off to Northumberland to join mum and dad in their caravan for a week. It was our first proper trip with Hugo so packing was horrible and we'll definitely be able to pack lighter in future. I guess we won't have much choice for our next trip to Bermuda!

On the journey there I was thinking I could never ever have my own caravan because of the fear of towing it. Following a caravan in horrendously windy conditions was horrible enough, I had my heart in my mouth the whole time, but the idea of being in control of that would be worse. But as soon as we arrived I started thinking about how much freedom it would give to be able to have cheap, comfortable enough holidays and explore the UK and even into Europe, so caravanning and campervanning is definitely something I'd like to explore, if I could get over the transportation issue.

Our home for the week was just outside of Seahouses, north of Alnwick on the coast. We could see both the sea and Bamburgh castle from the campsite in the distance - the campsite itself wasn't much to shout about, but the location was great.

The week was very chilled, going at our own pace. It was great for mum and dad to have time with Hugo and Adi and I managed a bit of us time too. It will probably be the last time the five of us can fit in the caravan, but we'll definitely join them again even if it means pitching a tent. Some of the highlights:

- Seeing Adi's face on the first night as he realised that he'd left all of his tops at home - one of those priceless, had to be there moments
- Relaxing evenings in a cosy caravan playing card games - my new favourite is hearts, I think it's safe to say Dad's not quite as keen as the rest of us thanks to some absolute thrashings
- Windy walks on the beach
- Pretty castles - Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh, Alnwick, Lindisfarne
- Fab fry-ups cooked by mum each morning - who needs a hotel?
- Getting active, back on the bike and a game of tennis - I definitely need practice
- A roadtrip to Scotland to see Rach and a lovely walk across the bay in Dunbar with her family
- Trying a new fish - Lemon Sole - this may not sound at all adventurous, but for someone who has only just branched from (heavily disguised) Tuna to Cod, its saying something. I'm determined to find new flavours I enjoy
- Discovering secluded bays - Low Newton beach to be specific - mum has a way of going off-piste and it turning out great
- A wonderful, relaxing massage to ease away seven nights on a rock solid caravan bed, and a nights stay at Doxford Hall to celebrate our anniversary (albeit feeling more shattered and full of cold after)
- Dressing up in a pretty dress to go out for our anniversary, ending up in a near-empty curry house, collecting desert from Morrison's and putting wellies on for a beach walk - I guess stuffy restaurants and hotels isn't really our thing
- Elan's pizzeria in Seahouses - absolutely fantastic pizza, so good we went twice
- Crazy Golf - although this may have got slightly competitive! I ended up getting worse as I went along, but I love it and wish there were more courses nearby
- Popping into the country's biggest book store - Barter Books. I'm not a big bookworm but even I was taken aback at the old station turned into a store, complete with toy train going around the ceiling
- Bamburgh - a lovely little village right on our doorstep. Top tip would be to avoid the Copper Kettle tea rooms - its a typical tourist trap that don't need to work hard for custom, so the cakes aren't freshly baked, instead head to the Castle Inn, a lovely pub that we went to on the first night to celebrate mum's birthday