My life

This weekend was my birthday weekend. The big 30. I went back to Amsterdam (my home away from home) to spend it with my nearest and dearest girl friends. Despite a rather shaky start (my best friend accidentally booking to come over the weekend er, after my birthday (have fun this weekend babe!) a vomiting child and my stolen mobile, waaaaah) we had a brilliant 48 hours in the city we used to call home… and what an amazing, vibrant city it is. I love Amsterdam. I started feeling rather homesick for the buzz, the activity, the cutting edge design, the inspiration, the choice of restaurants (check out Bo5 next time you are in Amsterdam – incredible food with a French / Arabic influence and lush cocktails), bars, museums.

We moved around a year ago to a sleepy village in rural England. It wasn’t a hard decision, I’d been wanting to move back to England for ages. Having a small child in a foreign country made me miss my family, my roots. I wanted her to know the childhood I had known too. I wanted her to be English! Not that the Dutch aren’t rather fabulous too :)

Moving from a capital city to the place we now call home was somewhat of a culture shock to say the least. There are a lot of differences, not being able to cycle everywhere being one, er have you seen the hills! But the main difference is that we live a very simple life here, almost as if in times gone by. The folk round these parts (of which I am of course one) like to preserve the historic; old fashioned houses and public houses, traditional styles, countryside and English heritage. We have castles, old churches and reams and reams of countryside, farmland and woodland on our doorstep. The life is quiet, laid back, peaceful. A country walk here, a pub lunch there, a cozy snuggle by the fire. And it is lovely.

It’s like comparing chalk and cheese. Of course some people will always like chalk, some cheese and there are pluses and minuses for both. (I’m not sure how good cheese is for drawing). Anyway I digress.

My thoughts led me on to what is best for a small child, or should I say my small child, growing up.  It must be great to be surrounded by so much to do, all the people buzzing round, ice-skating on the square, giant libraries with every book  you could ever imagine, cafe’s and playgrounds galore and a beach close by. But along with that comes a faster pace of life (and even then Amsterdam is more laid back that most capital cities I know!)… and I guess we kind of like our relaxed life here. We keep busy enough, lots of time outside, playgroups, doing craft and activities and visiting friends and family (who are of course irreplaceable). Whats more I think that for a child it’s the parents and the exposure, stimulation and influence they bring that matter.

Not living in a big city, surrounded by the awesome array of shops stocking all the latest clothes, technology, stuff and things does have another advantage. The calm and peace are good for the soul. And interestingly I also find that I am no longer triggered in the way I used to be to buy buy buy. “Ooooh I need this, Oooooh I want this.” I’m not engulfed by it. We are surrounded by trees who shout “come and climb me!” I read somewhere recently that your best memories of childhood are often spent outdoors in nature. Thinking back over my 30 years I realised just how true this statement is.

Perhaps this is a real benefit to living where we do. Wow I sound old ;) And when I do need my culture or shopping fix, thank god for the internet is all I can say.

 

Due to a very blustery storm we’ve been pretty much trapped inside today. Despite this it’s been very enjoyable. We’ve played, we’ve read, we’ve got creative.

For D this involved mostly cutting (which she is really good at despite the fact she is left-handed and has right handed scissors!). Cutting gives her endless pleasure, today she cut string, paper, elastic bands, chalk…you name it! I do have to keep an eye on her as the little monkey will literally cut up anything she can find! She has already given several of her teddies a haircut :/

As for me (among other things) I was inspired by a blog I read called http://www.theimaginationtree.co.uk and made D a little play world for her my little (sea?) ponies. Ok, it isn’t really a scratch on the fab seaside scape from I.tree but with an impatient toddler, it had to be quick. I took a large tray which I covered in tinfoil. I scooped up a handful of shells we collected last week at the beach and added them. I made some very speedy seaweed out of pipecleaners and added some blue “waves”. Last but not least I added some rocks, which turned out to be crucial as D spent a lot of her time acting out a game of hide and seek involving said rocks. She spent at least an hour or two today playing with this “small world” creation and chose to add water and a boat to enhance her game.

And if that wasn’t enough fun for one day. D decided she wanted her face painted as a ladybird (which she of course very quickly smudged hence no picture!). I discovered something though, having your face painted by mummy is fun BUT painting your mummy’s face is SO much more fun! She spent ages painting my face and laughing as she did it.  I did have to swallow the urge to say “right that’s enough” as I got a huge splash of wet red paint on my eyelid but oh she was having so much fun and well it washed off (in the end). Not for everyone but if you are stuck for something to do and want to give your child something that they will find really funny. Let them paint your face, it doesn’t hurt. Much!

 

Well that’s it, 2012 is fast approaching. It’s time I take a look back over a great year at some of the things I’ve / we’ve done.

sitting on a dock of a bay (wow that sunshine seems a long time ago!)
  • I started a blog (albeit a little late in the year) and here you are reading it!
  • We moved house to a lovely village in the countryside with a village hall, shop and very own duck pond. It is incredibly picturesque and I’m happy.
  • I enjoyed my D days. Singing, dancing, silliness, rhyming, imagining and watching her grow beautifully into a little (she would argue BIG) girl.
  • D started her Montessori preschool with ease (this time) hooooray!
  • I became an aunty for the first time and will never forget holding that beautiful boy in my arms. Can’t wait to watch you grow little one.
  • I have made some fantastic new friends who are great to have around. Still miss the ones who aren’t so close (geographically) though.
  • I said goodbye to some old ‘friends’ who were sucking the positive energy out of me. Try it some time, it feels very liberating.
  • I delved into the art of reiki healing and started to heal myself (and the occasional friend in need).
  • I picked apples from our very own apple tree this year (embracing the country life) and made some delicious appley treats.
  • I finally got a piano. I had wanted one for ages. It was free and even delivered for free which brings me nicely to my next point…
  • I read “Ask and it will be given”. The best book I’ve read in a long time. Must read again, and again, and again.
  • I helped my dad to move closer to his beloved family. It’s good to have you around Dad.
  • I opened an online shop (I managed to squeeze that achievement into 2011 too didn’t I?) I’m only selling a few creations right now but this is going to be an exciting project for 2012.
  • I started a business (poppies and pirates). Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten about you ;)
  • I started running.
  • I stopped running (I lasted about a week). 2012? Hmmm we will see.

And a whole lot of other awesome things (too many to list) but looking back it’s been quite a year! Wonder what 2012 will have in store? Running? Meh…. I’m thinking zumba this year ;)

 

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