The children went back to school and nursery this morning, so I have returned to a quiet house, attempted to clear a little bit of the chaos, make inroads into the laundry mountain, and take a moment to reflect on a lovely week off. And this is what we did:
- Had friends over for lunch, and it was nice enough to eat in the garden. Which is good, because all our children keep on growing, and our dining room now feels a bit cramped with 8 people in it!
- Went for a traditional British seaside day in Hastings. The sun shone (mostly), the wind blew, we went to the fairground, we picnicked on the beach and we paddled, although we had to abandon plans for an ice cream in favour of hot chocolate in a warm cafe when I realised the 4 yo was actually turning blue with cold on the windswept beach.
- Started to teach the 4yo to ride the ‘grown up’ bike we just inherited from our neighbours whose son has outgrown it. Actually, my husband did this while I curled up in bed with a hot water bottle and period cramps.
- Baked lemon and poppyseed cake. Yum.
- Watched The Sound of Music snuggled on the sofa together.
- I had a sproglet-free night out for a good friend’s birthday, when we got to chat in person rather than on WhatsApp, eat dim sum, and watch a brilliantly funny and thought-provoking show by comedian Kieran Hodgson. And only a (relatively) small percentage of our grown-up conversation was about our offspring’s eating and toiling habits.
- Got the train to Liverpool to see my parents for a few days.
- Took my mum out for a delicious afternoon tea to celebrate her birthday.
- Went to the pictures to see The Secret Life of Pets II (well, my parents took the kids, and I got a couple of hours to pootle round the shops and then do a bit work).
- Had a brief lunch with my brother in the middle of his working day – much to the excitement of my youngest in particular, who adores Uncle Matt.
- Went to the community coffee shop at my parents’ church, where the children spent the morning throwing themselves round the church hall in a series of frenzied and incomprehensible games which bemused us but seemed to amuse them.
- Walked through the Triangle country park, which is at the end of my parents’ road and admired the elderflowers, wild roses and verdant greenery.
- Went for a family swim in the Hampstead Heath lido.
- Had a picnic and walk and a spot of tree-climbing on Hampstead Heath afterwards.
Not bad for just a week off school! It has been a great mixture of outdoor fun, catching up with friends and family, and eating cake. Just the way I like it.