Thursday, November 30, 2023

NaBloPoMo 30 London Baby

Up with Phoebe at about 630am for a short feed and then getting her dressed for nursery. She's just starting to have opinons about clothes which is both cute and annoying. Then went in to wake Lydia about 7am. Tom came down to get her dressed whilst I went to get dressed, with Phoebe being my little shadow and trying to get things out of drawers for me.

Dashed downstairs to leave, Tom taking girls to childcare whilst I went to the Southampton Airport station to get train to London.

Listened to music for once on train and knitted on way there, all cosy in my cocoon coat. Treated myself to a coffee, and then day of team planning, which I think went well but I can never tell.

Home again about 4pm, listened to meditation tracks on way back and had a nap. Probably snored loads, but I don't care.

Made it back home for about 5:30pm, had dinner whilst helping clean Phoebe up from a potty trainin accident and meeting all Lydia's endless food demands. Then did quick bath for Phoebe, and sorted her hair out, then swapped and did Lydia's bedtime. She really didn't want to settle, up and down a few times. 

Evening of admin sorting Tom's passport and driving licence renewals, Christmas food orders and working on my 2021 photo book. I'm very behind with these. 

And that's the end of November for another year.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

NaBloPoMo 28-29

Tuesday 28 November
Working from home today. Got extremely frustrated with my slow work computer when trying to edit this reel. Went out at 245pm to pick up Martin from the airport, then carried on working from home until Tom and the girls got back. Played with kids whilst Tom got tea. They were adorably excited to see Martin. Phoebe wanted me to do get bedtime and sing the 'baby Jesus' song again. (Away in a Manger). Had to swap with Tom as she wasn't settling, went in to cuddle with Lydia instead. Then worked on reel all evening, eventually switched to my own faster computer. Came out all right!

Wednesday 29 November
Home with kids today. Tom out early for work, morning went pretty ok for once. Phoebe desperate to wear her super sparkly tutu dress again. After school drop off went back home to get Martin and went to Places Leisure in Eastleigh for one of their Crafty Tots sessions. Phoebe mega into it and didn't want to leave. 

Short play in the playground, then off to Smyths Toys in Hedge End and Sainsbury's for Christmas shopping and grocery shopping. Phoebe very excited about everything in the shops, kept her in the trolley to keep her contained. Wanted to hold Martin's hand the whole time too.

Then back to school for pickup with a pit stop for potties and to pick up ballet gear. Got Lydia and went straight over to ballet, stuffing snacks in the kids. Traffic in Southampton has been so terrible, I wanted to try and beat it by going straight there.

Managed to get Lydia in ballet ok, so after another potty stop, walked from Highfield to Portswood with one of the ballet mum friends and Martin and I went in search of hot chocolate whilst she went to shop for advent calendars.

Back in the car for a looooonng journey home, Phoebe feel asleep, disaster! Home for dinner that Tom had cooked in child free peace, then straight in to bedtime and snuggled with Lydia for ages where she couldn't get to sleep.

Downstairs to rewrite school playground equipment grant application and to check emails ahead of day in London tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

November 22 - 27

 Apologies world, life got away from me!

Wed 22 November

Second day of team conference. Woke up well rested from un broken sleep, had hotel breakfast, spent day listening to some very interesting nature campaigning sessions with Haroon Mota from Muslim Hikers and Tayshan Hayden Smith from Grow2Know. Left a bit early to beat traffic, got home in time for kids bedtime.

Thursday 23 November

Usual day of meetings and then went to my sister's after kids' bedtime to be her body double and help with sorting out my neice's toys. Gots loads done with her, felt really productive.

Friday 24 November

Glorious day for me, usual school run then off to Hinton Ampner to film some video for social media content of their Neverland themed Christmas offer. Absolutely stunning, such a treat.  Even got to have a hot chocolate! Then home to start uploading all the footage. Knocked off in time for Lydia's school Christmas fair - absolute choas and extortion, but she loves it. Took her swimming then home for tea and dancing.

Saturday 25 November

Got kids up and dressed, then off to Robin and Olivia's extension warming party over lunch, Lydia adorable in her Victorian lady crinoline dressing up dress. Then off to kids opera at the Mayflower by the WNO with Ellie, Andy and Aoife. Met Lydia's friend Rosa there, much shenanigans over seating arrangements. Opera good, had some famous pieces and a kids friendly story poking fun at opera tropes. Phoebe quite wiggly, but liked 'the sad lady singing' Walked over to Nandos in Guildhall Square after as it was kids tea time, again chaos but fun.

Sunday 26 November

Quiet day at home sorting out old toys before Christmas, doing the washing and the washing up. My parents popped in for a cuppa on the way home from seeing my Grandparents. Hadn't told Lydia she was very excited to see them.

Monday 27 November

In the Micheldever office today for 1:1 with one of my direct reports, lovely and peaceful. Lots of meetings! Home in time to help with tea, kids went to bed pretty quickly, then had takeaway curry with some mum friends from school.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

NaBloPoMo 20 and 21

Monday 20th 

I can't even remember much of what I did today. I think everyone slept in a bit after our late night with friends round for dinner and there was much shouting and gnashing of teeth trying to get out the door. 

Home from the school run via the newly reopened bakery to pick up bread, and then a day of work calls. Also spent a lot of time calling various mental health services to try and work out what other talking therapy I can access which took a lot of my time and energy.

Made roast dinner left overs for kids but neither very interested when they got home from school/nursery.

Had lovely dance party before bed, I love dancing with the girls, trying to find interesting songs for them and messing around. Lydia decided on a new special dance move with Daddy where he swings her between his legs rock and roll style to go with the special one I do with her where I swing her round from one side to the other whilst stepping over her.

Phoebe wanted me to put her to bed tonight, I sang her to sleep to try and avoid feeding to sleep. She asked for the 'jesus song' which means Away in a Manger apparently.

Then off to dancing afterwards. I love going to my Ceroc class. The act of following a lead, concentrating on the moves, takes up all my brain. I can't think about anything else. I live for when a lead gives me the space to breathe into the music, add my styling, take it one step further. I can't wait for Martin to be here so I can dance with a familiar partner and really play and improvise.

Home about 1130, faffed with packing, bed about midnight 

Tuesday 21 November

Phoebe woke up about 3am, wouldn't really go back to sleep, so took her to spare bed. She fed and slept on and off until about 6am. Took her back upstairs to my room and sat her in bed with the Twirlywoos on my phone to occupy her whilst Tom dozed and I showered and got ready to leave. She very sweetly "No want mummy go work, mummy stay in our house" all soft round cheeks and cuddles.

Left to collect my colleague Job from Romsey at 6:35, arrived 7:10, then off cross country to A34 and M4, wanting to avoid the Swindon rush hour. Delightful convo all about her new house purchase. Stopped for breakfast and coffee, arrived at head office about 9am.

All day in Marketing Directorate team day, kind of conference thing. Great to catch up with central colleagues and former regional team alumni and interesting session on being good ancestors thinking about our legacies. Day in opened with fantastic voguing performance from the dancers from the recent NT Space to Have a Ball Outernwt project. 

Spent evening catching up with regional colleagues in a local bar, my team is fully dispersed round region so a real treat to all be in the same location for once.

Back at hotel now, enjoying the freebies with my accidental room upgrade due to the hotel being busy - chocolate bar and cans of Pepsi and posh coffee. Bed soon!

Sunday, November 19, 2023

NaBloPoMo 19 - music

Lydia appeared in our bed at some point in the night last night. My back was sore and I couldn't carry her back down and Tom was unwakeable, so I went to sleep in the spare bed instead.

Managed to get a pretty decent amount of sleep in there, and went to help get the kids dressed when Phoebe woke up. 

Did some tidying in our room before breakfast, lots of clean clothes to put away, whilst the girls caused chaos around us. Mainly clip clopping around in my high heels.

Then downstairs for breakfast, and some tidying. Tom started to prep this evening's roast dinner and I took Lydia to the shop for some supplies. She bought some of her pocket money with her and bought a comic. She likes to pay with her cash herself which is sweet 

Tom had an alarm go off at work so he went out to check on that whilst I got Phoebe down for a nap, and got some lunch ready. Lydia was tickled by drinking soup out a mug rather than a bowl and busied herself for the rest of the morning making birthday cards for people.

Once Phoebe was up again, gave her her lunch, and started packing to go out to the Turner Sims Family fun day on the bikes. The Turner Sims is the University of Southampton concert hall. We were meeting one of Lydia's school friends and their family there. They had craft activities and free facepainting, singing workshops and a musical performance from London Rhymes who were very good multi-instrumentalists and singers. I think I will be singing the 'Eight Tickly Tentacles' song as an ear worm for a while!

Quick cycle ride home, Tom on cooking duty whilst I got dining room sorted. Same little friend and parents round for dinner, the older girls disappeared upstairs to play fancy dress whilst Phoebe made friends with the parents. She decided they were her friends and wanted to know if they were coming back when they left! Lovely evening of chatting away. Feels nice and normal to have people round for Sunday dinner again.

They left about 7pm, did a speedy bedtime for the girls before tidying up the kitchen. Lydia fell asleep holding my hand, adorable. Then I wrote the first of the Christmas cards on front of the TV.

Saturday, November 18, 2023

NaBloPoMo 18 - birthday

 Up bright an early with the kids this morning. Snuggled up on the lovechair feeding Phoebe and cuddling Lydia whilst looking at cake icing videos to discuss very advanced plans for birthday cakes. So far Lydia wants a Teddy Bear's Picnic at the Seaside theme, and Phoebe wants a 'Red cake' :)

Got them dressed - both selecting party dresses as we were going out for my Dad's birthday today. Lydia wearing one of mine from when I was little. Usual chaos trying to get out the house, but good natured all round. Quite a delayed journey due to going in to town to get a click and collect order of a new raincoat for me, and three potty stops for Phoebe.

Lunch was at the InExcess garden centre at Landford near Salisbury. Very nice cafe, very understaffed. Poor team there, they did a brillant job all things considered and the food was nice. Lovely to spend time with the family. There's 11 of us when we all get together now, with sisters, partners and nieces. My godfather Kelvin, dad's old uni friend joined us too and it was lovely to see him too.

After much walking around the garden centre to entertain Phoebe and chatting and drawing, we went home about 3:30pm and curled up for a bit watching TV before I made a quick pasta dinner.

Went out to babysit for a one of Lydia's little friends tonight whilst her parents went out to a concert, got a lot of online Christmas shopping done. 

NaBloPoMo 17 family

Up early with kids, had fun time playing with them and getting them dressed. So much so thatv it got to 8am and Lydia hadn't had breakfast and I wasn't dressed.b Phoebe took some convincing to wrest her PJ's and dressing firm to nursery as a fundraising thing for Children in Need. Lydia also had non uniform day in exchange for bringing in peizes for the Christmas Fayre next week.

Quick turn around later and it was a fast march to school in the rain, carrying Lydia over a big muddy puddle. Just made it time for the bell. Then big quite at reception to hand over bottles. Lots of jokes that we were actually stocking the bar for the staff Xmas do.

Then home via a peep at the reopened baker at the Triangle, for a morning of NO MEETINGS! Managed to finish a task that had been hanging over me and to run training in the afternoon.

Finished up in time to cook tea and watch Phoebe whilst Tom took Lydia to swimming. My sisters and Aoife arrived for Family Friday dinner and then it was a fun evening of kid chaos and Friday night disco and giving Aoife her second birthday present of a scooter and accessories.

Ellie and Verity stayed until 1030pm having put Aoife to bed earlier, and we had a great chat. Such a good time.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

NaBloPoMo 15 16

Wed 15 November

Swimming day with Phoebe today after dropping Lydia off from school. She absolutely loved it and was so keen to keep jumping in off the side. She's turning in to a regular little fish. We stayed for a bit of the stay and play and she took great pleasure in watering my hair.

Home for nap time and and then Tom came to mind Phoebe whilst I went to the doctor's, but turns out I had a telephone appointment! They're finally going to refer me to endocrinology to look at my PCOS etc.

Then off to school to get Lydia and off up to ballet. Bit of stress getting there but managed to have nice coffee with the school mums. 

Whizzed back on the bikes, Tom had made delicious dinner.
Bedtime not too bad, watched some TV and tidied up before my bedtime.

Thursday 16 November

Everyone had a bit of a stressy morning, but got Lydia to school on time. Back to work this morning for meetings. My sister and neice popped in for a cuppa over lunch after their swimming lesson nearby. Then off to hospital for some tests to look at some gastro issues I've been having. 

Whizzed back across the city to get back in time for Lydia's parents evening. I've not cycled so fast for a very long time. But made it with 5 mins to spare. Lydia doing well at school, very proud of her.

Cycled her back, gave the kids cold bits for tea. Bath time then bedtime. Made pasta for tea whilst Tom got Phoebe down, and we're now watching TV. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

NaBloPoMo 13 14 flickers of joy

Monday 13 November

Lydia had an inset day today so we had a relaxed morning bumbling around playing before cycling up to the hospital for her blood test. She was very brave about it, even though she was very scared.

Went into town afterward for well done ice cream and to buy Christmas and birthday presents and autumn socks. She was an absolute star all day and we had such a nice time looking at all the decorations and lights and her playing at being my personal stylist. It was so good to have a good day with her, not a day of shouting.

Home for leftover beef stew and pasta, Tom played trains with the girls before bedtime. He also started bedtime as I went to Phoebe's nursery parents evening. Nursery very happy with her, and say she's very kind and caring towards her friends which is nice to hear.

Ceroc class for me in the evening. They had one of their monthly advanced masterclasses on tonight, which I've always managed to miss before somehow. Really enjoyed it and got to dance with some new people which was great. I'm still a bit rusty, funding it hard to find the cues from the leads sometimes, but it was still absolutely life giving. And makes me want find other dance classes to try. 

Tuesday 14 November.

Phoebe up at 4am, didn't really go back to sleep. Tom Tom over at 6am and I went back to bed until 8am. Rushed to get dressed but got Lydia out of house and to school in time.

Back for a morning of back to back calls, and catching up on emails from being out the office for two days. Then went to town for a cuppa with my friend on my lunch break and then up garage to pick up my car. £500 lighter for a new bit of plastic and a wiring loom for the cruise control and needing to go to a specialist to get it recalibrated, home for more work on summer evaluation before the girls got home.

Savoury pancakes for tea, then bedtime. Seemed to have cracked Phoebe going to bed with no milk, with Tom doing her bedtime and I doing Lydia's. Lydia settled quickly after reading me three stories to get ahead on her reading challenge.

Then back to work for a bit, and tidying up before bed. Just sitting down to chill out for a bit before going to sleep.

Sunday, November 12, 2023

NaBloPoMo 10 11 12

First fail of the month.

Friday 10th Nov

Car had airbag warning light comes on last night, so after walking Lydia to school, took car to garage with Tom and he drive me back home. Worked from home in morning, had afternoon off. Got house tidied up for Bradshaw weekend guests coming this evening. Collected Lydia from school with Phoebe as Tom had burnt his hands (not too badly) trying to grease a shredder. (Don't ask.)

John and Adele arrived after kids bedtime with a Vietnamese takeaway, Jess and Andy and kids later still. Evening of wine and chatting.

Saturday 11th Nov.

Up early with kids, Tom went out early to get bread and milk. Much chaos, but all made it out to Milestones museum in Basingstoke for 11am. Kids enamoured with vintage arcade. Dragged them away to get lunch in cafe, Phoebe then getting fractious, so left others in museum and drove her around to get her to sleep. Kids apparently enjoyed 1940s sweet shop. Phoebe very sad on way home, had to bribe her with snacks.

Did firepit, hotdogs and toasted marshmallows for tea, lots of fairy lights and mulled wine. Very festive and jolly including an outside disco with Lydia, Lara, John, Andy and me whilst Tom put Phoebe to bed. Then more wine and chatting whilst Tom made Beef Bourgogne for tomorrow's lunch.

Today 12th November

Phoebe awake at 4am for an hour, always amazed that Lydia doesn't stir when they're in the same room and Phoebe cries. Went back to bed till 9am, Tom up with kids at 6. Much playing all morning from kids whilst chaps typed up their trip a bit more. Took Phoebe up for milk and a nap just before lunch, which was delicious.

Film time after lunch as kids knackered. John and Adele left about 3, then picky bits for tea and then Treharnes went home. 

Watched Diwali fireworks out of loft bedroom windows with Lydia whilst Tom got Phoebe to bed, Tom read Lydia's story and I chilled out in bed. Cut Tom's hair when he was fine with kids, and did a bit of tidying.

Always impressed at how our kids and the Treharne kids just muck on and start playing with each other like they live next door and play together every day rather than living 2 hours away. They're both really sweet about Phoebe wanting to join in.

Thursday, November 09, 2023

NaBloPoMo 9 nothing sort of day

Sometimes I marvel at how small my life has become.

Woke up to feed Phoebe about 7, she asked to feed in Mummy's bed which is what she calls the spare bed as we go in there so as not to disturb Tom.

Got her dressed for nursery, Lydia came in to play, they played baby seals really nicely for about 30 mins. A glimpse of the future I hope.

Phoebe off to nursery with Tom. Lydia and got dressed, and ate our pancakes on the way to school as we were running late again. Not too many dramas this morning.

Then home and straight into work. Loads if emails to catch up on, couple of team meetings. An award nomination for regional work awards, that was nice. Too much to do and bit enough time as always.

Stopped at 5pm and started cooking the tea Tom had prepared. Girls came in desperate for me, so fed Phoebe and watched a programme with them whilst snuggling on sofa.

Fajitas for tea, gobbled up by Lydia. Phoebe bit snotty and under the weather so took her up for bath early. Full curly girl hair wash routine for her, then took her for milk. Swapped with Tom so he could read her stories and get her to sleep and went to finish up Lydia's bath.

Managed to get her in bed by pretending she was a big baby. Lots of her threatening me and trying to negotiate but tried to keep it light and plain. She was alseep by 1930. More house tidying to do tonight.

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

NaBloPoMo 8 - very soggy

Stupidly agreed to walk to school in the pouring rain and to Lydia scooting to school. So off we went togged up in our raincoats, and a bush wee in woods on the way from Phoebe delayed us further. Only just managed to squeak in before the bell.

Went for a very rainy walk around Bitterne precinct with Phoebe to kill time before swimming. She is such a delight at this age, constantly singing and saying hello to people.

She loved her swimming lesson especially jumping in off the side. We stayed for a bit of the stay and play after, mainly her watering me with watering cans but she likes it.

Then she was starving and I wanted to warm up so we went to hide in the Wetherspoons. She wanted milk as she was tired so she fed to sleep and ended up napping on the banquette wrapped in my scarf. Meant I could eat my lunch in peace and she then really enjoyed eating when she woke up. Panini for me and veggie pasta for her. She was really intrigued by the open fire and flirted with all the pensioners having their lunch.

Next we went to the Rhyme Time at Bitterne Library, where Phoebe was a bit braver about joining in with the songs and really loved the craft activity of making a little paper duck. She seems to quite like arts and crafts like Lydia.

Very quick march down the road to collect Lydia from school. Happy to see my mum friends in the playground, feels a bit like being part of a gang now.

Home with a grumpy Lydia despite me stuffing her with snacks. Just about managed to get her out of the door and changed for ballet in time. 

Had coffee with the ballet mums whilst class was on, took 30mins to get home again. Need to cycle next week.

Only managed half my tea as Phoebe very tired and grumpy. Abandoned it to take her upstairs, she fed to sleep, had to try and get her in PJ's without waking her.

Then bedtime with Lydia who was pleased to have mummy and daddy for a change. But stressful but she was also by 745.

Finished my dinner and tidied the house with Tom before 30mins of TV and bed 

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

NaBloPoMo 7 - inclusivity

Early start for me today as off to hear office for some inclusive leadership training. Lydia still asleep when I left.

Traffic not too bad, arrived with 20min to spare. Trainers very, very good. Lots of inclusive training practices which I want to work into my own work, even little things like acknowledging people's energy levels and saying you don't need permission to take a break at any point.

Training itself well structured and thought provoking, again a few actions I need to take on for my whole team, like all leads doing the inclusive recruitment training as they support with recruitment even if they don't lead it. 

Burrito for lunch with my team members also on course, nice to catch up 

Traffic home pretty bad, had to stop for a coffee as falling asleep at wheel.

Lydia grumpy on my return, as was Tom. Managed to keep bedtime on track, nice reading time with Lydia again, but harder to persuade to go to sleep this evening. Just about to have some cold bits for tea myself, Tom's out at home group.

Monday, November 06, 2023

NaBloPoMo 6 - another boring day

Up early with the kids. Lydia very grumpy, asked Tom to take her to school so we did a kid swap rather than our usual school runs.

Normal working day today at home for me, back to back calls, pretty boring, and long. 

Finished up at 5pm to sort cold bits tea for girls. Again Lydia pretty grumpy but managed to get them all in to bed. Spent nice half hour reading with Lydia.

Then went to Ceroc class in Chandler's Ford. Very good for me to do something that pushes me out of my comfort zone and had a few superb dances amongst lots of good ones. Finding it hard to relax into it and making a fair few mistakes, but only my second class back after a very long break so hoping it will settle soon. 

Sunday, November 05, 2023

NaBloPoMo 5 - coming home

Jess and I got up in a leisurely fashion around 8am and I w went to the gym before breakfast. Made the most of having the chance. I've been diagnosed with non alcoholic fatty liver disease, a side effect of PCOS insulin resistance and need to work on staying healthy, easier said than done when you've small kids and work nearly full time.

Met Jess for breakfast, chatting to the restaurant staff, apparently there were only 9 people staying in our hotel that evening.

After going back to the ton to get changed and packed up, drove back to Jess' via garden centre and a farm shop. Picked up a new waterproof coat for me and some Christmas bits for the girls.

Greeted by some very excited to see me kids, which was nice. Stayed at the Treharnes till bed time to give us a chance to get packed up.

Lydia wanted to come with me on the way home, so listened to lots of Cbeebies bedtime stories. Had to charge car on way, ended up in some random car park in Hemel Hempstead as they had rapid chargers.

Home about 1130pm, and to bed, absolutely shattered.

Saturday, November 04, 2023

NaBloPoMo 4 - relaxed

Today we woke up about 8am and leisurely meandered to breakfast. There was only one other couple eating breakfast in the huge restaurant space, and some kind of training event setting up the other side of the building. It must be very busy here on a weekday.

Then it was off to the fancier hotel for our spa day. They have a thermal spa suite as well as treatment rooms. We've had a really relaxing day with a hot stone massage and facial, and then floating away in the hydrotherapy pool outside whilst it rained on us, and enjoying the different temperatures of sauna and steam room.

A mezze platter lunch was included, and one of my favourite bits of the day was curling up in an egg chair with my book for an hour.

After floating back to our room to drop off wet cossies, we found a cosy pub for a couple of drinks and a chippy for some substance to take back to our room. We're now relaxing again and settling in for a night of Strictly and sloe port. What an absolute treat.

Friday, November 03, 2023

NaBloPoMo 3 - away away

Man I have such a Moana earworm. 

Day off today for my annual spa weekend with Jess, pay back for Tom and Andy going away with John for their Bradshaw train adventures.

Sheer the school run and loading the dishwasher, drove up to Leighton Buzzard to get Jess. First time doing kinder distance in Tom's electric car, had to stop at Fleet for a top up. His is an older model so range is only 150 miles. Almost felt quite luxurious stopping and having coffee whilst it charged.

Was bit of traffic on M25 but not too bad. Had cup of tea at Jess' before heading off again. We went for lunch in Leighton Buzzard to a very nice Turkish restaurant which had a great fixed price menu. We had falafel, borek, lamb and chicken yogurt beity, baklava, kadayifa and ice cream. It had very dramatic interior design, all black and gold, and the food was really really good! 

After a short mooch around the charity shops we headed off to our location for the weekend, the Wyboston Lakes Resort. This weekend away, rather than doing a full overnight spa package somewhere, we'd gone for a day package somewhere with a thermal spa, and booked our accommodation separately.

This site has three accomodation centres, one aimed at training, one at events, and a more upmarket hotel with the spa. There's also some offices with a co-working space, a leisure centre, something called a knowledge centre, and a water sports centre on site. It's quite pretty with lakes and nature reserves surrounding the mainly 1980s building.

We'd booked to stay in the midrange event centre, but due to low occupancy there, they'd shut that site and moved us to the training centre. I wasn't impressed that they'd not reduced the price as the training centre rooms were a lot cheaper, so I complained and we got given a superior room in the training centre instead.

We checked in about 5pm, and spent the evening chilling, eating our leftovers from lunch, and going for a swim and sauna at the leisure centre. We also walked to the nearby Lidl to pick up some supplies for the evening. It's so nice to be catching up with an old friend.

Thursday, November 02, 2023

NaBloPoMo 2 - stormstuck

Lydia's school was closed today, like all Southampton schools, because of the weather warnings. When I checked the Daily Echo website in the morning, it seems like Southampton got off pretty lightly, but there was a bit of flooding about the city.

So working from home and home-schooling it was. Tom took Phoebe off to nursery after breakfast as that was open as normal. I set Lydia up with some TV and some workbook type books we have for Maths and English, and tried to get on with my work.

It wasn't that successful as for once Lydia was not obsessed with the TV and kept coming to interrupt my calls. Which was a surprise as she usually loves the TV. At lunch time as we were both getting very grumpy with each other, I made her go out for a walk, compromising on her wearing socks and sandals despite the rain, and we were both much better for it. We bought some pick and mix and a cake from the Bitterne Park Stores at the Triangle, and some lip balm from Boots.

After lunch I tried again for a bit, and got her doing some Cosmic Kids Yoga for a bit too. It was a bit too much like the Covid lockdowns hearing the theme tune so I'm gently re-traumatised.

I clocked off at 5:00pm and made Lydia some tea just as Tom and Phoebe came home. A bit of a fractured tea-time of playing and eating and wildness before I took Phoebe up for her bath time as she needed her hair doing.

I have to do a fully curly girl routine on her. Detangle spray and brush through, conditioner wash and brush through, then curl cream and brush through, all whilst she play away in the bath. She probably needs this doing twice a week, but we're lucky if I manage once a week. I sometimes refresh it by spraying it with water and reapplying a bit of conditioner on my hands. Her hair is soooooo curly and silky and fine.

Then a bit of milk for Phoebe before bed, and reading with Lydia. Phoebe is probably coming to the end of her time breastfeeding - she doesn't always ask for it in the morning or at bedtime, and Tom can now put her to bed on his own. She does still usually ask for it if I'm with her and she wakes up from a nap and when she gets home from nursery, though the last one I often manage to delay to bedtime, otherwise she won't eat her tea very well. I'm a little sad about it as it means my last baby is rapidly growing up, and I won't have the excuse for quiet cuddles in the same way.

Lydia read to me before bed, and then we listened to some of the bedtime stories on Cbeebies radio instead of having me read another story. She needs a lot of support for bedtime at the moment, so I am lying with her for a bit and giving her a cuddle until she's sleepy. I should probably try weaning her back off that, but she seems desperate for the attention and contact time.

Now for a bit more work to catch up before a day off tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

NaBloPoMo 1 - mainly in cars

 Welcome back to my regular but infrequent personal mass observation experiment where I blog everyday for a month.

Today is my Wednesday when I'm at home with Phoebe. I also do both school runs and take Lydia to ballet on Wednesdays.

Was a bit of a damp one, and we went to school by car as I had errands to run in the afternoon. Hard work getting everyone out the house, but managed it. Phoebe very good at walking holding my hand this morning, nice change.

After we'd dropped Lydia off, I tried going to pick up some of the online shopping I'd ordered, but it hadn't arrived yet. So we went back to swimming, halloween themed session today which was fun for Phoebe. She really enjoyed kicking a floating real life pumpkin to encourage her to kick whilst lying on her back. 

We stayed for a bit of the fun swim after where I had my hair throughly watered by Phoebe using all the little watering cans. We went back to Next after that, successfully picked up by order, and I had drive thru for lunch whilst Phoebe napped.

We went to Bitterne library after Phoebe's lunch to drop off a book. I'd forgotten they had a rhyme time singing sesson on Wednesday afternoons. She wasn't mad keen on joining in with the songs, but really wanted to do the craft activities. Will try that again another time. She was a happy little soul most of teh day.

Picked up Lydia at 3.15pm and drove home so she could get ready for ballet. Both girls downed a lot of snacks and Tom was fortunately home in time to watch Phoebe. Means she doesn't have to stand outside the Portswood Residents Association in the rain for the best part of an hour whilst Lydia's in ballet, and I get to go have a grown up cup of tea in a Portswood cafe with the dance parents I know from school.

Traffic was terrible coming home, Lydia and I were in the car for the best part of an hour, and it's only like 2 miles away from home tops. We had a big Moana sing along session as she's quite into the film these days.

Chicken and rice for tea, Phoebe and Tom had eaten whilst waiting for us. Then Tom was out for pizza with his friends tonight, so I did solo bedtime. Some shouting on my part as Lydia really didn't want to do anything she was asked. I am a pretty rubbish parent most of the time these days, I have zero patience for anything.

Lydia not actually asleep until 8.30pm, so only had energy to make cup of tea and flop in front TV before bed.

Very windy and rainy in night due to Storm CiarĂ¡n. Rain on the velux windows of our loft conversion bedroom very loud because of the angle, like rain on a tent, kept me awake for lots of the time.

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Such a lovely day with Phoebe today

She was all smiles and playing boo, and hiding things saying "where's it gone? There it is!"

Lots of asking for songs and chatting to people on the bus. So charming that one old couple gave her a chocolate biscuit from their shopping! 

Sunday, December 04, 2022

I don't really sleep any more

I've set something off in my lower back today, going over a pothole on the bike or bending over too many small girls as I slicked back their hair into ballet buns before Lydia's dance school show.

The spasming takes me back into early labour with the girls, listening to Tom breathing as he sleeps beside me sometimes stirring and making little soft humph noises. Those soft kind noises the warm pleasant sound he'd make when comforting me in years gone by.

I don't really sleep any more. If I go to bed after Tom I lie awake with this ache in my chest, mentally pressing on a bruise and letting myself fall into unwanted pictures that arrive of the girls in mortal peril. Or feeling overwhelmed by how much I was, am, was? loved by my family, again bringing a tightness to my chest. It's this bittersweet sensation that one day all that will be gone, or will end somehow.

I'm scared to go to sleep and of what dreams my brain will bring me today, and of waking up stiff and sore, unable to get out of bed easily, an unwelcome reminder of my aging.

Thursday, December 01, 2022

NaBloPoMo 30

Ridiculous day today. Treated myself to a day using the car as so tired and had difficult morning trying to get Lydia dressed and out the house.

Took Lydia to school, then took Phoebe for her second chicken pox jab, then home to sit on the drive whilst Phoebe napped. Tom kindly brought me out some lunch for everyone and a cup of tea as was taking Lydia to dentist at lunchtime.

Changed Phoebe's nappy in the boot of the car when she woke up and then went to school to pick up Lydia. 

She was clearly nervous but was very brave at dentists and all was fine with her teeth. Got two stickers and was very pleased to be having packed lunch in the car rather than school dinners.

Then home again for a couple of hours to get Lydia's ballet kit and do some washing before school finished. Poor Phoebe. We don't actually get to do much fun together on my day at home, she just gets dragged to Lydia things.

She did enjoy walking from the car to school or from school to the car, trying to copy what she's seen Lydia do and balance on the kerb on the path to school. She also wanted to stop and pick up all the leaves.

Doctors wanted to see Phoebe about her bumped eye at 4.30, so Tom was aiming to get home for 3.30 to take her off my hands, but traffic was bad. He rang just as I parked up on the drive, so we left again without stopping and met him at ballet instead.

Lydia refused to get dressed in the car, I got so cross with her. She has no concept of time and I feel so anxious about being late. Managed to get her to get dressed only to find that I'd remembered the time wrong and we had another 10 mins. I hate myself for that. Did mean she had time to comfortably go to the loo before class.

Went back to the car and sat there for the class as it was so cold. 

Home in the bad traffic, trying very hard to change my parenting attitude. Got back a similar time to Tom, good timing so he could hand Phoebe back before going out on call. Freezer tea for everyone, and a Granny phonecall, then bit of TV before bed.

Bed time not too bad, but struggled to be pleasant to Lydia after earlier. Phoebe fed for aaagggeeess until about 9pm. Then got advent calendars and Christmas decs out and filled advent calendars and sorted washing and filled dishwasher. Went to bed so tired in my clothes at midnight, Phoebe woke up at 12.30 and fed for God knows how long. With hindsight probably the chicken pox jab. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

NaBloPoMo 28 & 29

Couple of days of calls and meetings work wise, nothing much to report. Struggled with motivation today, often do on cold winter afternoons.

On school run duty both days, Tom taking Phoebe to nursery on Monday, and Granny having Phoebe on Tuesday. Had horrible time getting Lydia ready for school on Monday ending with me shouting at her about putting her coat on.

Today she was fine, having had a couple of hours of Granny attention whilst they got ready in the morning. Annoyingly she was eating her third course of breakfast when I came down still in my PJs with Phoebe at 8am, with hair undone, teeth unbrushed and no shoes and coat on. We'd all slept in because Phoebe had slept in.

Had to pick Phoebe up early from nursery yesterday as she's developed a bit of a black eye/swollen eye after falling over on Friday and after submitting an econsult, the docs wanted pics. She was inconsolable as agreed just woken up from her nap and it took me 10mins to calm her enough to get in the car seat.

Played with kids after school yesterday and today, Lydia was recommended a TV programme called Dog Squad by my mum about real service dogs as kind of superheros. The girls love it, so we've been watching that for telly time. Had a dry run at making Silhouette windows for the local Christmas Trail. Looks like we might have Christmas dinosaurs. 

Gym last night once girls in bed. Putting washing away tonight once they were in bed. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

NaBloPoMo 27

 Woke up nice and late. Went for breakfast then back to the room to chill for a bit. Couldn't quite face a swim after all the buffet.

Next up was a tour of three different garden centres. Went to Hilliers at Botley thinking we'd mooch a bout then get a light lunch, but it wasn't quite big enough to occupy all the time, so had a look round and did some Christmas shopping, then went on to the Garden Society on Allington Lane - heaving there and cafe too busy for us. Next tried Haskins, had a good look round and did some more shopping, then had a cake and drink in the cafe there.

I love looking at all the beautiful decorations. Sometimes I think I'd love to start again with a whole new colour scheme with ours, but that would be very wasteful. I saw some fun fairy lights that were teal, pink, purple and orange too.

After a quick look round Hobbycraft and laughing at having stunk the car out with our leftover cheese from last nights supper, we had to go home and face the music.

Returned to a napping Phoebe and three big kids in the garden, and two tired looking dads. Apparently the kids hadn't been too bad whilst we were away, which is a blessing. Think we'll manage to go away again.

Fed Phoebe when she woke up, which my poor rock solid boobs were very grateful for. She had some lunch whilst the bigger kids played and Jess and Andy packed up to go home. They left mid afternoon. Then telly time for Lydia whilst Phoebe fed on and off, and Tom napped. Tea and bath time, Phoebe managing to throw Lydia's pjs in the bath again when my back was turned. Sigh.

Phoebe not that interested in going to sleep, managed to get downstairs at 8:30pm for a snacky dinner of leftovers and an evening of stuffing nappies and TV. Hard time getting to sleep, always get lots of pictures of terrible things happening to the children when I try and go to sleep at the moment, so had to use meditation track. Very poor quality of sleep tonight.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

NaBloPoMo 25 and 26

Fri 25 Nov

Got up with Phoebe and got her and Lydia ready whilst Tom accidentally slept in. Took Lydia to school with little drama 

Home to work from home with a couple of calls and some more planning work then a cycle ride across town for my therapy session. Mainly talked about Phoebe's birth, think it was a good session.

Got back about 5.30 to grumpy everyone as Tom had had a difficult afternoon getting girls from school and to swimming due to Phoebe face planting as he was just leaving for school. I got them settled eating and helped Tom get stuff ready for our friends coming to stay.

Gave the girls a bath, Phoebe is just obsessed saying "ba, ba" with increasing urgency whilst we wait for it to fill and trying to put everything in, clothes, nappies, bath toys, books.

Lydia was sleeping in Phoebe's room so our friends' kids could have the bed and sofa bed in her room. Fed Phoebe whilst reading to Lydia, managed to get her to sleep before our friends arrived and gave Lydia a hug to try and settle her.

Then Jess and Andy and the kids arrived, and after a quick loo stop Jess and I went off for our spa weekend. Andy and Tom go away for a railway trip with our friend John every year, so this is so we get a child free weekend too.

We're at the Botley Park hotel, just about made our 8pm dinner slot.

Package came with a bottle of prosecco so had that after dinner and then a blissful night of uninterrupted sleep.

Sat 26 Nov

Woke up about 8, breakfast at 845am. Nice buffet breakfast, lots of people watching opps.

Surprised myself by choosing to go to the gym for an hour, then massage and facial. First time Jess and I have had a session where we've been in the same room at the same time together, was quite fun! Best massage I've had in a while too. Really loved it.

After a peaceful sit to recover in the relaxation room, got changed then popped out to get some supplies for the evening.

Afternoon tea at 2.00pm. Can tell I'm a grown up now as I'm very happy to ask for what I want now. Didn't fancy having the afternoon tea in the dining room on the hard chairs so asked if we could have it in the lounge instead. Which was fine! Don't ask, don't get. Spent very pleasant hour or so eating cake and crafting.

Thought we'd then check out the pool. Was closed for cleaning so went in the steam room and sauna first before a little swim.

We're now back in our room eating cheese and grapes and watching Strictly. I am very relaxed...

Friday, November 25, 2022

NaBloPoMo 23 and 24

I'm so old and tired these days that I have to look at my calendar to remember what I've done.

23 Nov

Wednesday so tired after being away. For some reason Tom didn't get up to help with girls so I got them both ready but everything took ages, ended up taking Lydia to school by car as hadn't swapped bike seats back. Home to get Phoebe and her swimming things and set off by bike.

Swimming for Phoebe which she loved, especially jumping in from a sitting position towards me. She's a right little adrenaline junky. Poolside showers weren't working again. Everything's a bit run down at the leisure centre, especially the changing rooms fixtures and fittings 

Home again, Phoebe having inevitably fallen asleep on ride home. Transferred her to buggy and got with making lunch and tidying up, and checking the oil in my car. She had 2 hours sleep, then woke happily and ate her body weight in pasta and peas. Packed for ballet and went to get Lydia.

Arrived 5 mins late but didn't seem to be a problem. Got Lydia on bike and placated her with snacks, then over to ballet. Lot less rainy this week. Got her changed on the veranda without much drama then sat chatting to the only other mum who stayed for our hour. Phoebe mainly sat on the bike eating snacks then when she got grumpy got her out and gave her some milk.

Home without any dramatic stops this week, to picky bits and fish fingers tea for the girls. My friends Jo and Claire arrived about 615 for dinner and to say hello to the girls before bed time. Lydia went to sleep ok, but Phoebe wasn't having it. So I brought her down when our Lebanese take away arrived and she pottered around in her sleeping bag write happily, munching on flatbread like some Disney caterpillar.

Tried putting her back to bed after we'd eaten, so I could actually talk to my friends, ended up having to swap with Tom. Was nice to chat to Jo and Claire, they're such interesting people. They left about 1000pm just as Tom managed to settle Phoebe so we went to bed at this point.

24 Nov

Slept really badly, I blame the wine. Up with Phoebe around 6, Lydia came in to sit with us whilst Phoebe fed. Got it dressed, then took both girls down for breakfast. Tom then took Phoebe to nursery before he went to work. 

Tried wearing my new earplugs whilst getting Lydia ready for school, really helped me cope when she was being shouty.

Drove her to school today as was feeling tired and couldn't face argument when she asked about the car. Used it as an excuse to get fuel and check oil was ok.

Back for day of back to back work calls. Sat in the living room for a change as the messy study was too distracting. Need to book a day with Tom to tidy it as it always gets forgotten and I find I can't get the motivation to tidy a whole room like that unless I'm doing it with someone.

Tom came home to work mid afternoon, both cycled up to get girls. Got tea for girls whilst they watched TV, then they rang granny for a video call today they ate. Phoebe got very excited when she heard the dial tone and started shouting for "Gaga" as she calls my mum.

Bed time a bit tricky as both girls only wanted me and ask three of us kept bumping heads on things or getting scratched in the ensuing chaos. Both went to sleep pretty quickly, and Tom had made a start on our dinner whilst the kids were eating so we could eat promptly when we made it downstairs. Couldn't face housework so watched a couple of programs and went to bed

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

NaBloPoMo 20, 21, 22

Sunday 20 Nov

On Sunday Lydia tantrumed about getting dressed for so long she missed Sunday School. We went to the Triangle for milk and some supplies instead.

Then a quick lunch and a very grumpy exit all round, but went swimming at the Quays as Lydia wanted to go swimming all together. The family swim is in the leisure pool bit with a beach and bubble pools and flumes etc. Went by bike which is always fun. All had a whale of a time splashing and floating about. 

Getting out took us longer than we thought, so ate in Nandos in West Quay as no time to go home and cook. Was really nice, both girls behaved pretty well. Dark cycle home, phoneme feel asleep on bike and kept flopping over, need to find better way of propping her up.

Tom kindly cleaned out and vacuumed my car whilst I packed to go away in the evening

Monday 21 Nov

Up with Phoebe, fed her, then got ready to go to Swindon for a directorate team day. Took Phoebe to nursery for opening time at 7.30pm, eating my toast in the car. Picked up a couple of colleagues at Winchester then drove all of us on to Swindon.

Arrived in good time, even including a coffee and loo stop. Sessions opened with some amazing Punjabi drummers and dancers which got everybody energised. Very good to see colleagues in person who I've not seen since 2019 and hear about 2023 plans. Also had audience session with Lord Tony Hall, one of our new trustees 

Had a bit of a goodbye thing for a colleague moving to a new team in the closing drinks before a Pizza Express meal with those of my immediate team staying over. Was so nice to spend time with them.

Back to Jury's Inn hotel to check in and then out to an art deco cocktail bar for a few drinks with other regional colleagues before bed.

Slept amazingly in king-size bed with no wake ups ...

Tuesday 22 Nov

Woke up at 7am and got myself ready, down for breakfast at 8 with team. Really nice hotel buffet breakfast. Think half the directorate were staying there, made for nice atmosphere.

Then back to HQ for day two. No drummers today, but I was chairing a panel Q&A so I was a bit nervous. It was the external speakers plus our head of Innovation Development, and one of the external speakers was video conferencing in. All worked ok, and lots of people said I did a good job which I'm happy with.

Also heard from our DG who is always so inspiring, especially as an example of female leadership.

Home about 3.30pm back to Winchester in about an hour to drop colleagues off, then lots of traffic home. Made it home for 6pm to do girl bedtime

Saturday, November 19, 2022

NaBloPoMo 19: a day at home

I've realised I get very antsy if I spend all day at home and don't get out.

Tom out 2am to 7am on call, going out just as I was coming back to bed from trying to settle Phoebe.

Girls slept in till past 7am, Phoebe woke me up happily chattering on the monitor. Took my clothes down and fed her so I could get dressed downstairs and not disturb Tom too much. Lydia came in and climbed all over us until we were done and went down for breakfast.

Had breakfast, then watched TV and played until we were done getting dressed. V. annoyed that Lydia was so excited it was Autumn Socks Day that she'd snuck off upstairs to wake Tom up as I'd said we couldn't open our socks until he got up. So much for letting him have a lie in.

Tom got up about 10:00 am in the end. Everyone very happy with their autumn socks, and Phoebe even had an extra pair courtesy of her fairy Godfather Jon.

Lydia's little friend arrived for a play date about 1030am. Spent the rest of the day playing nicely on the whole bar a melt down at lunch time with unfortunate shoving incident on Lydia's part. Friend didn't like lunch so had two pieces of toast instead as I didn't want them to go home complaining of being hungry. Played with dolls, colouring, trains, lots of make believe including camping in the garden, lots of mummies and babies and pets and owners. Phoebe toddling around following them most of the day, had two naps in her cot today, a miracle. I get the same anxious feeling when Lydia has friends over as I used to get when I had friends over as a child.

Friend picked up at 3.30, got Lydia ready for ballet rehearsal, painfully slow but got there in the end, then have kittens get tea and played with Phoebe until she returned. Cold bits for tea for the girls tonight early, we had the same later once they were in bed. Had huge dance party on the kitchen whilst Lydia ate as Phoebe loves music and dancing. Danced around for ages, was really joyous.

Fairly quick and painless bedtime, then downstairs to eat and knit for a bit. Bedtime now.

Friday, November 18, 2022

NaBloPoMo 18: spare day

Lydia had an inset day today, or as she charmingly named, a 'spare day'. 

Phoebe up once in night, then up at 545am so fed her then took her down for breakfast. Lydia also up v. early, got in to bed with Tom but too wriggly so he set her up with breakfast.

Took Phoebe to nursery then home to spend time with Lydia. Decided to have a bit of a yes day to try and spend some nice time together. Needed to go get autumn socks for Tom and thought we might get him a Christmas present too. She wanted to go into town on the bus as that's a big adventure so said yes to that, and took our time to get ready to go out, her dressed in an angel costume because well she's 4 and why not.

Got bus into town, used whizzy ticket on app qr code thing, Lydia asking is this our stop every time. Into West Quay for quick toilet stop, who do kids always try and open the cubicle door before you're finished? Then into John Lewis to look at all the Christmas decorations. I let Lydia take her time, made for a much more pleasant experience all round.

Here are some of my favourite ones, bathing Santa or paintbrush bauble anyone ..?

Once we'd exhausted that source of entertainment, slowly chose Autumn socks. Still haven't posted other godchildren's ones, need to do that tomorrow. I declare it a week long festival .... Sigh....

Christmas present wise, Lydia decided Daddy wanted sweets or chocolate and was quite bored of shopping at this point, kept picking things up and saying 'this will do' in a resigned way. His finally selected gift is very modest so far...

Once everything purchased, sat down to eat the cakes we'd brought as snacks, then on to the Christmas market as we'd clocked the carousel whilst on the bus. Lydia sweetly wanted me to come with, so we rode in one of the chariots together. Also saw an old steam engine that's been traveling around to raise money for Children in Need.

A stop in the Works to buy a Christmas present for one of my Godchildren and then on to Greggs to buy lunch. Sat on the edge of the park people watching whilst we ate and having a nice chat about nothing much. Walked on towards Bedford Place up pick up Phoebe's shoes. 

Lydia spotted the big Christmas tree in Guildhall Square and it inspired her to have a dance, so we did that for a bit. Then she was intrigued by the poppy wreaths at the Cenotaph and we went to look at those and had a chat about what they were for.

Made it to French and Sons to get the shoes, absolute Southampton institution, all wood paneling and mirrors. Mum used to take her nannying charges there to get shoes in the 80s, and has been around for much much much longer than that. Children's shoes are eye wateringly expensive when they're the properly fitting ones, and your kids have v. Wide feet like ours do.

Lydia v. Tired after her early morning at this point, so bank to the park to get the bus home. Again loved the excitement of being on the bus. Home to watch the end of Mary Poppins and unpack and re pack for swimming. Lydia finished off her lunch as afternoon snack whilst I got things sorted.

Off on the bike to swimming, love flying around on it. Lydia enjoyed her lesson. I sat and caught up with shopping and bills whilst I waited. Got in just after Tom and Phoebe. Phoebe v grumpy after a late nap, perked up with some milk. I defrosted some cheesy pasta for their tea whilst Tom watched TV with them.

Shower for Lydia and bath for Phoebe after tea. Lydia v. Cold post swimming, so in bed with dressing gown and hot water bottle and blow dried her hair. Came in to find her trying to read her reading book to herself.

Phoebe did not want to settle, so brought her back down for a bit whilst Tom and I ate and watched some of Stanley Tucci's show on Italian cuisine and culture. Tom then called out for work, Phoebe eventually went down at 9pm after doing a huge poo.

Tom back not long after, had cup of hot choc and watched end of Mr Tucci's show. Just off to bed now.

Today a lesson in not rushing leading to happier mum and Lydia. Need to find ways to apply that when we do have deadlines.

NaBloPoMo 17: family time

I was on school run duty today as I was working from the Micheldever offices to keep my direct report company.

Arrived just in time for the bell, Lydia very happy to go in laden with book bag, waterproofs and PE kit for after-school club.

Drive to office blissfully uneventful, ploughed through many meeting calls then drove home. Got back before everyone else so had 15 mins to lay table before dinner. Tom had prepped the enchiladaa before going out.

Tom back with girls from nursery and school about 5pm, shortly followed by Andy. Ellie delayed by Aoife needing milk post nursery, but still made it pretty much in time for dinner. Nice to all be together after a few weeks off due to illness.

Slightly wild girl bedtime, Tom very grumpy about it. Then sat chatting to Ellie and Andy, always such a delight.

Did tidying up then bed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

NaBloPoMo 16: better than surviving

One of the things on self care for busy parents a friend shared with me was to purposefully move more slowly. Physically rushing when you don't really need to can heighten your stress levels.

So tried that today when Lydia was getting cross about going to school - and guess what, we weren't late, and I mostly kept my cool. Phoebe had had me up and down a bit in the night, so had handed her over to Tom at 6.30am and he took the girls down for breakfast whilst I caught up on a little sleep.

Took both girls up to school as Phoebe had potentially her 2nd chicken pox vaccine and/or swimming. Arrived 2 mins before the bell, Phoebe very unhappy with being carried where we didn't have time for slow toddler walking and very happy to walk back to the bike after Lydia had skipped in to class.

Went over to travel clinic at nearby pharmacy for Phoebe's vaccine, but had voicemail saying it hadn't arrived yet and to call to reschedule. There's a worldwide shortage at the moment apparently. So off to swimming, Phoebe full of joy and waving at everyone whilst we were getting changed. Classes running 10 mins behind today so had time for a top up feed which kept her happy. She seemed to enjoy it today, other classes recently have seen her clinging to me, unsure and unhappy, so it was a nice change.

Then home on the bike, Phoebe falling asleep as usual, managed to transfer her to the buggy without waking which was a win. 2 hours whilst she napped, so I cleaned the mould off the conservatory windows, made fairy cakes for Lydia's snack for the week, and made lunch. Then ate with Phoebe and had the usual Wednesday video call with my mum whilst we put some washing away. 

The time between getting back from swimming and going out again for school feels so short! Togged up in rain gear and stacked bike with ballet supplies and just about got to Lydia in time as Phoebe was insistent on walking from bike to school gate again.

Over to ballet in the rain, battling my fear of tipping the bike. Have to get Lydia changed on a veranda outside the community hall where her class is, not so fun in wind and rain. Will try doing it under one of the ponchos if it's rainy again. Then a very soggy hour waiting for her, managed to get Phoebe to shelter with me watching the Twirly Woos on my phone rather than running around the dark residents gardens eating gravel.

Once class was done, home in the increasingly heavy rain. Bike clonked out just on Cobden Avenue, not sure why. Tom was amazingly passing in his car, and kind delivery driver from kebab shop helped me get bike on pavement. He also lent us an umbrella and brought us sweets and some chips for the girls whilst we waited for Tom. Tom took girls home in car and I walked bike home. Nothing obvious wrong with it, will ride with caution on Friday and see what's up.

All changed into PJs for tea of cold bits for girls, then up to bed. Had nice chat with Lydia whilst Phoebe went up with Tom and she finished eating. Fed Phoebe to sleep, then went to help Tom with dinner. Chatted about how we're going to find another £75 a week to cover Phoebe's extra nursery session come Jan. Then went to wrap Autumn Socks Day socks for godchildren before bed.