It’s been a few weeks since I posted a blog. The main reason for the absence is that I’ve been suffering from cold, coughs and the like and generally feeling under the weather for a while. To top it all, I had to have a baby tooth removed at the dentist yesterday. I am in my 40s, and the dentist discovered this baby tooth a very short time ago. I don’t know why it hasn’t been spotted before, and at my last visit the dentist decided it was breaking up and had to come out. So I went along yesterday evening for what I was hoping was going to be a quick extraction. Except only half the tooth came out and the root was as stubborn as hell. The dentist got a variety of forceps and tried to prize the root out. It felt like he was boring into my skull at times and after 10 minutes, I started to panic a bit. Anyway, he continued his pulling for a while longer and eventually the difficult root did come out. I got up from the chair feeling pretty rough and paid the receptionist handsomely for the privilege. With a sore mouth today, I do worry about how dentists can say and do pretty much anything to our mouths and we wouldn’t know whether the treatment was needed or not.
Chilly, baking and pyjamas sums up this post! It’s freezing in London at the moment, and it’s set to get even colder. So I guess we’re going to have to wait a while longer for spring! To put me in a better mood despite the cold, I did lots of baking with my son yesterday afternoon. You get a cosy, smug feeling from baking cakes on a cold afternoon. And the best part is when they turn out so yummy like our carrot cake, and fairy cakes did, and you get to enjoy them as a family with a nice cup of tea.
The pyjamas thing is just to air my frustration at not being to find warm pyjamas to fit my 13 year old anywhere in the shops. I’ve been searching since last October and can’t find the right size in any of the shops. I don’t like to shop for clothes online but I might just have to resort to that, as I’m not sure I can let him carry on with his current ones much longer. Wish me luck!
The first 2 weeks of the New Year have been so hectic to say the least. On the schools front, we’ve done a parents’ evening, got some mock exam results and kicked off yet more GCSE revision. We even managed a couple of trips to the sales and picked up some good bargains on clothes. There are also some very good offers in our local supermarket, so I’ve been stocking up on things. I’ve a had an early spring clean around the house last week, and sorted out the front garden while the weather was mild. Back to winter this week in London though, but at least the evenings are getting lighter. Can’t wait for spring to arrive properly!
Yesterday evening watching the news, I thought how refreshing it had been not to have heard the words ‘economic crisis’, ‘eurozone’, and ‘recession’ in the main bulletins for the last week. Instead we had non-stop coverage of Prince Philip in hospital, two shocking murders – one in Oxford Street and the other in Salford – , and the usual array of unrest in Syria, Egypt and other places. But it was all very shortlived as this morning we had a New Year message from none other than Nick Clegg telling us about the difficulties ahead and an economic rescue mission. As we go into the new year, let’s hope that these economic woes ease and we all have a truly happy and healthy 2012.
There are some great cities in the world, and London is right up there with them. As a family with two teenagers, there is never a shortage of things to see and do here, and the best bit is that a lot of things are free to visit. Last weekend, we went to the Natural History Museum – we’d last been when the children were little, and there is always something new to discover. This time, it was the giant sequoia tree trunk which is hundreds of years old and it’s fascinating to think about all that happened in the time the tree’s been around. From the museum, we walked to Harrods. The children have never been but they wanted to see it all lit up when the sun went down. They thought it was ‘awesome’, but they didn’t really didn’t fancy wandering around inside as it was packed with Christmas shoppers. Finally, we stopped over for a stroll and hot chocolate at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park – what a great idea this is for really getting into the Christmas spirit! I even found time during a lovely day to try out my photography skills.
It’s feeling very Christmassy now – decorations being put up in the houses around us, the shops are all kitted out festively, and the adverts on telly all have a Christmas theme. I was thinking yesterday about some lovely memories from Christmas’s past when the children were much younger. It always used to be their wonderful nativity plays that signalled that the festive season was upon us. We’ve got some lovely photos and videos of them in the plays, singing hymns and having mince pies after the performance. And who can forget the headteacher who sang so loudly and completely out of tune! Another fun thing we used to do is to make some of the decorations for the house – I remember afternoons spent making baubles from the previous year’s Christmas cards. I really miss those times when the children were little. Now they’re teenagers, they cringe at nativity plays! But they’re into celebrating in different ways now – we’ll be going into central London over the holidays to admire the cool decorations and to provide some inspiration for GCSE Design and Technology homework in places like Regents Street and the Winterwonderland at Hyde Park. And my eldest is planning lots of games and quizzes for a family fun day indoors on Christmas Day – so we’re all really looking forward to Christmas!
I spent some time with my father-in-law this afternoon and we were talking about my mum-in-law’s life. She sadly passed away 8 months ago, and we all really miss her as she was one of those people who always had a smile on her face and got on with everyone, young and old alike. But I learnt some new things about her life today which made me reflect on just how hard she worked and why she is such an inspiration to us. She left school at the age of seven in 1939 and worked on her parent’s farm and helped with household chores. Yet even though she had a very limited education, she was a fluent reader and writer of her birth language, Gujarati. She was also an expert at knitting, crochet and needlework making clothes for her children and to sell. She made cushion covers, patchwork duvets, intricately embroidered tablecloths – I have some in my house. She was a master cook and she even found time to run a newsagents in London for 11 years. In between, she’d raised 4 children and 2 of her 8 grandchildren. In fact, she was running her house and getting on with things until 2 weeks before her death when she went into hospital. Reflecting back on her happy life brings home the fact that you don’t need lots of money or a fancy education to make a success of your life and be a true inspiration to your family.
Over the last few months, alongside looking for a new job, I’ve also been learning a new skill – that of digital wedding album design. My husband is a photographer (www.photosbydinendra.wordpress.com). He’s shot quite a lot of weddings this year and rather than delay albums or take someone on to help, I thought I would learn how to design them. So a few courses and lots of practice later, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I have enjoyed creating beautiful albums designs to showcase a couple’s special day. At the forefront of my mind is the fact that the album is going to be their most cherished book for years and years to come, and it’s vital that it tells the story of their wedding in a modern, contemporary way that will remain relevant for a very long time. The icing on the cake has been the wonderful feedback a couple of weeks ago from the couple featured in my first ever album, who were in touch straight away to say they loved it!
It’s been a manic couple of weeks as my daughter and I do the rounds at colleges and sixth forms so she can think about what she wants to do after she leaves secondary school next year. All she knows at the moment is that she wants to do A Levels but as far as we can see, no one does all the A Levels she wants. That means she has to think about doing other subjects which she’s not really keen on. And like lots of other 16 year olds, she’s not sure about future careers so it makes choosing A Level subjects even harder. The subjects which sound appealing like Media Studies and Film Studies are apparently ‘soft’ subjects not looked upon favourably by good universities. Then add to the mix the mock exams which are coming up in two weeks, a real GCSE next week and deadlines fast approaching for lots of assignments and I realise this is going to be a testing time. If I was still working full-time, I’m not sure I could have properly supported her. And ‘supported’ is the key word. I am adamant that she makes the decisions about colleges and subjects, while I stick to the supporting.
It’s birthday week for my family. My son, daughter and I share birthdays within a week of each other. My son is officially a teenager, my daughter hit the milestone sweet 16 and I’d rather forget my age. We decided to do something different to celebrate this year. My husband, who is a professional photographer, and I organised a ‘forever friends’ birthday photoshoot for my daughter and a few of her best friends. So they all headed off to a lovely local park for the shoot for a couple of hours. I’d forgotten how girls love posing and their photos are lovely – a timeless memory of friendships and of enjoying the moment. On the same day, my son’s friends came over and did what boys love – playing the latest electronic games. The birthday lunch was pizzas, cake and lots of salad and finger veg – who said teens don’t eat their vegetables? This lot loved the carrots, peppers and cucumbers. In the afternoon, the girls and boys got together to play the board games we’d retrieved from the back of the cupboard. The monopoly, scrabble and connect 4 went down a treat and made for one of the most enjoyable birthday get-togethers they’ve ever had. Now to think of a treat for myself!