12 Months of Music

New Year new me? Not likely, I gave up making wildly outrageous resolutions like giving up chocolate & sweets for a month a long time ago and never ever have I attempted the dreaded dry January. Instead I have made compromises with myself such as giving up sweets/chocolate but just on weekdays – we’ll see how that goes this year shall we? What it will actually mean is that come Friday (cause Friday is essentially the weekend) I will begin a 3 day sugar worship. In fact on the 1st of January 2019 Brute said to me ‘New Years really only starts on the 2nd because everyone is hungover today, so we don’t need to give up chocolate until tomorrow’ I loved him more in that moment.

What I do actually genuinely want to ‘take up’ or resolve to do, is to give some time to me, ‘Me Time’ as it’s seemingly known, something that slowly over time has become less and less of a thing. It’s easy to unknowingly slightly lose the things that make you you over time and one thing that I could never lose but feel like I haven’t spent enough time nurturing is my great passion for music . Having studied and played my whole life I have found in recent years, particularly after having had children, that I listen to music less and less, probably compared to a lot of people I still listen to it a lot but I used to sit for hours and hours making playlists, listening to records, reading about musicians, going to concerts (small and big) and I miss it. Yesterday though I was in the kitchen and looking at this picture which is on the wall in our kitchen:

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Each of these pictures was a table name at our wedding, afterwards we collected them up and made a collage of them. They are some of my absolute favourite artists and yesterday on the 1st day of the new year I was looking at it and decide to ask the ever (un)helpful Amazon Echo AKA Alexa to play me some Miles Davis on shuffle and after we had gotten past her not understanding, playing it in the wrong room and asking for the name again that lyrical trumpet came flowing through the speaker and It made me happy. I decided then that that was what I needed to start doing again, more things that make me happy. I also remembered that I wrote my dissertation on Miles Davis at Arts & Music School and got 97% which is pretty major, I’m allowed to brag because I was not a very scholarly or well behaved person at uni and was politely asked to leave shortly afterwards – Be good in school kids!

And so it is that “12 Months of Music” is born! It’s nothing really, just me telling myself that in each month of 2019 I’m going to take the time to listen to those great artists that I love and that make me feel happy and hopefully teach my children a thing or too.

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My newest band members – I’m on piano in front of them 🙂

Right It’s time for me to get on, I have a double whammy super hero birthday bash to organise for next weekend, and currently the entertainer has gone AWOL and I have no back up – perhaps I shouldn’t have hassled them so much already…Ill look into that as something to work on for 2020…

 

 

Return to the White Isle

This post has taken rather longer than I hope to get out, so apologies – This is mainly due to the surrounding teething issues, potty training issues, weening issues and lack of food issues (that’s me not the children, I’m on a desperate diet and all I can think of is the enormous box of maltesers in the fridge). This morning after week 1 of trying to work out and be good I weighed myself and have put on 1kg – ‘That alway’s happens when you first start properly training again, its water retention and the muscles getting swollen” I love my husband for knowing that unless I hear this, I will throw the scales at the mirror, storm to the kitchen, throw open the fridge and eat all the maltesers cause who bloody cares away way if the scales are going to be such bastards to me all the time. This is the worst time post baby, the last stone, it is as stubborn as a mule & refuses to remove itself from my body.

Anyway, since we last spoke, which was back in March when things had been a bit testing with Rex and we were all over the place and juggling more balls than the most professional of clowns. We are now back in London (thank god), the house is finished (this phase anyway) and we have treated ourselves to a few trips away. My god the difference it makes being back home is immeasurable, we are like those robot people in Westworld who get shot 500 times and then get taken back to the lab, reprogrammed and sent back out into the world good as new (ready to be shot all over again) – in fact that link I’ve embedded pretty much describes how we felt. So after a fabulous family  trip to Australia the time came for my annual girls trip to Ibiza.

A few days of full on hedonism, wild all night parties leading on to all day beach parties…is perhaps what me 10 years ago was capable of. Though we did plan for one blow out night, super club night out and my friend Caroline had even gone as far as to tap her brother up for the full VIP treatment, but when the time came for us to don our glittery bras and gold hot pants a vision of my 10am flight home for fathers day on Sunday having had 1 hour of sleep all but stopped me in my tracks – lame I know, but I’m not 20 anymore and thats ok. Other than that slightly unrealistic attempt at going BIG, we thrived on a more relaxed Ibiza this year, wonderful beach clubs and fabulous boozy dinners.

My sister and I flew out a day early, She hadn’t been to Ibiza before so I was keen to have a bit of hang time just us. An Ibiza holiday begins really before you even get there, the night flight on easy jet is almost legendary, its people watching at its best. The troops of hen dos and stag do’s, the groups of young guys and girls just out of school and impatient to dive into the San Antonio revelry. The glamorous fashion types, whose ‘flight wear’ is pristine and whose new season Chloe sunnies are on from dusk till dawn. It’s a veritable feast for the eyes. I was sat next to two boys (I say boys they were about 19/20), definite Ibiza virgins and visibly shaking with excitement, heavy dance music blaring out of their headphones, with 2 cans of strawberry flavoured cider each placed carefully on their tray table, you could tell they were gearing up for the holiday of their dreams. That is until we came into some turbulants and one of the boys began desperately clinging to the chair in front, his knuckles going whiter and whiter, tears welling up in his eyes, his skin sheet white – he was certain that we were about crash, convinced that Ibiza would be a dream he never realised. Poor chap, once the plane calmed down he was hit with his second blow when he released his friend had been texting with a girl already out in Ibiza and was planning on going straight to meet her when he got there. I thought of him at one point during our trip and wondered if he’d managed to get out of his trip everything he had wanted to, I genuinely hope so.

The first day we decided to relax by the pool of our hotel and recover from our late arrival. We grabbed some drinks at a bar next to our hotel Xaxa Restaurant as the sun went down and then headed off to a restaurant my dear friend Craig had suggested.

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wonky glasses and all

 

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The view from the bar

One tip for travelling in Ibiza is that you can never guarantee getting a taxi when you want one. There is one taxi company that services the island on one radio so if its busy you could be waiting hours (its happened to me on a few occasions) so book one for earlier than you need.

Es Torrent is totally off the beaten track, Its located in a secluded bay and is beautiful and peaceful, the perfect place for a relaxing dinner with the very freshest and best seafood you could ask for. I had to order the fish when I booked the table so went with the whole seabass and fresh prawns which didn’t disappoint. Most people frequent Es Torrent in the day time when you can also spend the day on the beach. But the evening is stunning, its quiet and the stars are amazing.

There were two super yachts moored in the bay, the owners of one of the boats were at the restaurant with us. The other one lay quietly in the darkness until a speedboat attached to the main boat sped to shore with a long haired man aboard who on arrival, jumped ashore and met a white range rover with tinted windows in the car park for about 5 minutes before scuttling back to the speed boat and whizzing off – you can make your own assumptions about what he was up to on his quick trip ashore.

The restaurant isn’t cheap, we paid 250 Euro for two people which included only one bottle of wine, it was worth it though and I would certainly go again.

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The beach at Es Torrent

 

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We met my friends Charlotte and Caroline at breakfast the next day – I had made the fatal error of having fruit from the buffet breakfast the day before and so was suffering the consequences with a pretty dodgy tummy, though was also weirdly pleased about this, every little helps when trying to shift that last bloody stone particularly when  you’re she purpose was to eat and drink for four days straight.

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The girls had rented us a car which was handy in the day time when getting to beach clubs – we didn’t have a booking for our first day so once we had finished annoying the reception staff by moving rooms for the second time we hopped in the jeep and cruised down to the area around Blue Marlin to check out the options and quickly settled on Tropicana Beach Club. None of us had been before and we were all pretty bloody impressed. The clientele was a slightly older generation so we obviously felt like total babes, that is until two ludicrous looking ( by that I mean gorgeous) dutch bronzed bombshells came and sat right behind us and whilst we carefully ordered salads for our lunch they sat munching on amazing looking pastas with the calories seemingly vanishing as they were consumed (probably launching themselves onto me, never to leave again).

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OK, I know I said we had salads, but we also had chips…and Jamon…don’t judge

The beauty of Cala Tarida is that the bars/restaurants on the coast there get the best sunsets, so once we were back from the beach, we showered, changed and walked down to the Cotton Club which was a 10 minute stroll from our hotel. You can have drinks perched above the restaurant to watch the sun go down before going down for supper.

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To mix the good with the bad, the annoying thing about this part of town is that there is nowhere that’s particularly near that you can go after dinner, so once you’re a few bottles of rose down and ready to start the party you’re stopped in your tracks and have to either schlep into town or pop next door for an espresso martini for the road.

 

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Look at us, ready and eager to take on the town, only to be faced with closed doors

Note to the wise, if you don’t drink coffee, don’t suddenly try and get with the kids and drink espresso martinis, it doesn’t end well, it ends with not a single ounce of sleep (I realise how lame that may sound given where we are).

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The devils drink

 

Turns out I wasn’t the only one that didn’t sleep, It’s a funny thing, we are always so excited to get away from it all and just have some girl time etc and as mothers we are all in one way or another quite sleep deprived. But once you get there, desperate for a bit of shut eye, a snooze, napping, deep deep slumber, it suddenly seems unable to come. where as at home sometimes I think that if I put my head even near a pillow I would pass straight out and not wake up till several days later. I guess you need a bit more time to adjust to being away from the little rogues, but then we’d miss them too much – I think next time i’ll just take sleeping pills.

So on little sleep we headed to El Chiringuito which while it probably doesn’t have the best beach (it’s not great for swimming) – the restaurant itself is mega and such a treat, it’s the kind of place you could happily while away the hours drinking bottle after bottle of rose, plus they do a superb bowl of fries. After soaking up every last ounce of sun we could possibly get along with some exceptional people watching under our belts we headed back to get ready for the evening.

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OK, so I get the beach isn’t exactly bad, but that’s how spoilt you are in Ibiza.

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Ok, perhaps I should take it back about the beach.

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Restaurant of dreams

The evening took us to a fab find – Patchwork at Sa Punta  They filled us with Incredible sharing platters of Lebanese food, great music, cocktails and endless bottles of rose. It’s also not too far from Destino as our taxi driver pointed out to us, not realising we had moments earlier cancelled our guest list access to Pacha in favour of a boozy dinner and bed – know your audience Mr taxi driver!

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I mean look at that view

the evening was fabulous. It was the greatest way to end a holiday –  happy, healthy, tanned, full of good food and probably far too many bottles of wine and with the greatest of girl gangs.

One key ‘high’ of the evening was spotting two older gents (by older, I mean they were well into their 60’s) having massages as the dinner table, they had obviously indulged in more than just a cocktail or too and so we watched while their eyeballs all but rolled into the backs of their heads, then upon leaving the restaurant they approached us and asked which club we were off to as they would share a taxi (they looked totally flummoxed when we said we were off home) it turned out they hadn’t slept in 2 days and were pushing for a 3rd as were off home to Paris the following day…oh Ibiza, how I love you – until next year!

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Girl Gang at Patchwork.

 

 

 

 

 

The Baby Adjustment Bureau

Im going to start this blog with a video which if you don’t find heart warming well do you even have a heart? I took a video of Rex coming home from staying with my sister and brother-in-law and his cousin Ivo (who he ADORES) to meet baby Stella – I have just re-watched it and it is beyond lovely, the sheer look of wonder in his eyes as he see’s her for the first time is magical. Also it really makes me laugh that he storms in and cruises down the slide on the way over. Now its no feature film and I really must work on my directing skills, but still, what a memory to have on tape.

On a side note please excuse the war zone that is our house – if you read my last post you’ll know we were packing the place up ready for gutting.

If i thought we had a lot going on, I can only imagine how much that all is to a two year old. I think Rex’s initial thoughts on Stella coming home were ‘cool, sweet little baby, she seems great and can definitely stay a day or two’ then a few days later ‘ok, hold up why is this baby still here and why on earth is she taking away the attention from me and why is she constantly attached to my mother like some kind of limpet’? Cue attention seeking tantrums from hell and heavy handed ‘hugs’ for Stella – that child will be made of tough stuff when she’s older.

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it’s important to note, that he adores his sister, he just doesn’t know his own strength yet.

If that wasn’t hard enough to see, the 5 day post natal blues then come a-calling – I remember after I had Rex I would just sit in the bath and cry, I couldn’t understand quite why I was so tearful, I was missing my momma more than ever at that time for obvious reasons, I had no idea what I was doing (who does) and needed that support, that big hug when exhaustion had taken over. So I knew what to expect the second time round, but it hit me in a different way. This time my emotions were entirely directed to Rex, he was acting up in quite a big way and most of his anger seemed to be directed at me, me and the limpet seemingly taking up permanent residence on my breast. I was no longer able to give all my attention to him and that was more upsetting than I had thought. It’s amazing how you don’t realise the bond you have with a child until things change and you can’t give him your undivided attention. He started waking up in the night (this is a child that was sleeping through the night from about 8 weeks old), he was throwing tantrums on an insane scale, I mean throw yourself to the floor in a fit of rage insane, screaming till he lost his voice, hitting me and only wanting ‘daddy’ and it was breaking my heart. I was finding myself losing my temper constantly. On top trying to look after Stella, field Rex’s mood swings (and my own) we were packing up our house and living in general hell so when we actually did get to our rental house I felt a huge sense of calm.

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Nailed the serious look of defiance – on a side note I can’t even with those perfect pouty lips and big blue eyes

Next step was settling Rex into a new nursery and that first settling in day was just the worst…the teachers took him off outside to the playground and I could see him from inside, he was there with no-one around him not wailing but with tears rolling down his cheek, looking frightened and unsure of what to do, totally vulnerable. In that moment as I stood watching him with tears filling my eyes as one of the teachers tried to get me to fill in endless forms I realised that I was in fact part of the problem (I know, unimaginable). My dearest friend charlotte who I have leaned on in an immeasurable  way through both my pregnancies had mentioned to me, when I was regaling her with my latest issue, that it’s easy to forget just how young the elder child is when you have a second baby and here I was doing exactly that. Tired and getting frustrated and talking to him as a child MUCH older than his years, expecting him to understand and forgetting that he is a baby himself, only just two and with all the changes that come with turning two he was having to deal with an enormous amount of extra emotional baggage.

We still have tears and screaming at bed time but instead of letting us all go into meltdown I try and take a deep breath (a glug of something alcoholic) and remember that patience is key and that all he needs is to know we’re there and he’s safe and listened to. Boy has my new zen parenting style paid off as two nights ago a rather genius thought came to me. I was home alone and Rex had started his screaming as soon as I said goodnight, I sat there thinking, how am I going to keep doing this on the nights I’m home alone? Particularly while Stella is so reliant on me, I can’t lay with him for 20 minutes like I can when Brute is home and able to hold the baby (a screaming baby is hardly the best lullaby). So I went in to see him and he was saying he was scared (another emotion that can flood a two year old) at that moment Tony appeared at the door keen to see what the fuss was about and wondering when he would get some peace and quiet to carry on his own napping…cue lightbulb…I gently said to Rex ‘Would you like Tony to sleep in here with you?’ ‘YES’ he said eyes wide like saucers so I popped Tony on the bed, told him Tony would love to sleep in with him and keep him company (I imagine an internal eye roll from Tony at this moment) and said goodnight to them both and that was that, no noise just straight to sleep and last night Tony just wandered straight in and hopped onto Rex’s bed and off they went to sleep. I suppose if you think about it, it’s like being told you can have a sleep over with your best friend every night so no wonder he is feeling more settled. I realise this may not be the long term solution, but while it works and he is happy then we’re all happy.

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The answer to all our prayers, the long standing hero of our household and the best of friends to Rex

 

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Never far from each others sides

Alongside that I’m trying to have special ‘us time’ going out for tea and cake or going for a walk and having lunch – anything so he knows that he is still very much at the forefront of my mind and my heart.

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looking on proud as punch as my son devours handfuls of marshmallows and chocolate cake

All I know is it’s a minefield and I have no clue as to what I’m doing but just try each day to do the best I can. It makes me realise how amazing all my friends are too, I can’t tell you the amount of time I have sent needy messages desperate for answers on what to do next and they never fail to come through for me. From all this chaos has come so much learning so whilst parts of it have been painful, I’ll take that pain for immeasurable happiness.

Right I realise my last couple of blogs have been rather serious and possibly also a bit ‘woe is me’ (who’s the attention seeker now) so next blog I promise to bring back the laughter of blogs gone by.