I am now mum to a school aged child.  I find this really astounding that I have a child who goes to school!  It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was at school, but time flies and here we are!

Over the summer Joe and I spent a lot of time carefully and gently preparing Violet for school.  She was not looking forward to leaving pre-school and the thought of going somewhere new with new people essentially terrified her.  Also there was the fact that none of her close friends from pre-school were going to her school.  I felt immense pressure to strike the right balance getting her school-ready mentally whilst not freaking her out to the point she would refuse to even entertain the idea!

The school were really great with the preparations.  She had a 90 minute session in her classroom with her teachers and peers in July whilst us parents were ushered to a separate building to await feedback.  She hesitated at the door but somehow agreed to stay without upset.  I walked away from the classroom in amazement.  As I collected her she seemed relaxed and happy.  I could not have asked for a better outcome and told her how proud I was!

One of the mums set up 3 meet-ups in the local playground so that the children could familiarise themselves with eachother and hopefully form the beginnings of some important friendships.  Undoubtedly Violet gained some confidence from her little brother being there – she likes to be protective of him when out and about – and again she amazed me by playing a little with some of the girls.

We chatted to Violet about what her teacher would be like.  We almost created an image of her in Violet’s head and talked about her as if they were already friends.  We were trying to make her teacher familiar to her despite them only having met briefly.  The hope was that this key person in her life would be someone she already liked and felt comfortable with.

Then there were practical things like getting herself dressed and going to the toilet independently, being able to carry her plate with food on it and being able to use a knife.  All things that for a summer-born child are quite challenging.

We shopped for her uniform together and let her choose her own shoes.  We were hoping that it allowed her to feel like she was in control of the process rather than having it done to her.  She was genuinely excited about wearing her school uniform and proudly showed it to friends and family.

Everything seemed to be going really well.  She had gone from huge anxiety and worry about school to more acceptable and understandable nerves about starting a new phase in her life.  Joe and I kept putting ourselves in her shoes to try and imagine how she was feeling.  We talked positively, were up-beat but also discussed her concerns with true empathy.  It wasn’t right to just dismiss her genuine emotions as ‘being silly’.

The first day of school came.  Violet was prepared.  We were prepared.  And I’ll fill you in on the start of infant school in another post.

 Have your kids started at a new school this year?  Did you feel like you had to go through the same level of careful preparations as us?  How have they settled into their new routines?

I collected Ezra from nursery this evening. This is the conversatin we had in the car.

Me: What did you do at nursery today Ezra?

Ezra: ‘aintin’

Me: Painting?

Ezra: Yeah!

Me: Who did you do painting with?

Ezra: Nina

Me: Edina? Is Edina your friend?

Ezra: Yeah. Nina.

Me: Who else is your friend?

Ezra: Daddyyyy

Me: Ah, who else is your friend?

Ezra: Sissy

Me: That’s lovely. Who else is your friend Ezra? <hopeful!>

Ezra:………..

Me: Am I your friend Ezra? Is Mamma your friend?

Ezra: No!!!

Coming from a real mummy’s boy I’m not quite sure how to take this!


Capturing Moments

It was my birthday this week. I was really very spoilt by Joe! I got my lovely Storksak Elizabeth bag back in August but he also arranged to have one of Violet’s drawings made into a brooch. It’s not just any old drawing, this is me with the baby in my tummy!

I’m not huge into jewellery. I wear my rings, a bracelet I was given by a dear friend for my 18th birthday and a simple necklace chain. I tend to wear child-friendly jewellery I don’t need to take off. So although I appreciate beautiful jewellery I don’t always have much chance to wear it. And I suppose this makes presents quite tricky for Joe. But he really got this spot on. A beautiful reminder of my third pregnancy and my daughter’s precious drawing turned into something I will treasure! This is now proudly pinned to my blazer and won’t be coming off! It fits my jewellery wearing criteria perfectly!

If that wasn’t enough, Joe also arranged a babysitter for Saturday night and booked us a table at a Michelin star restaurant in Tunbridge Wells called Thackeray’s. This was the first time a friend had babysat the children and for me felt like a really big deal. There are very few people I could leave the children with. But Katie at Curious Little Teapot is one of my favourite people and I knew would cope just fine with whatever these 2 little terrors would throw at her!

Getting dressed up was fun. After all it’s not something I get to do too often! Violet was my makeup sidekick. She just loves watching me put it on, asks a ridiculous number of questions and also tries to help me! I had powder applied to my neck, back and she even used the brushes to do some dusting!! Oh well…!

After some last minute wobbles from Violet about us going out we left. The restaurant was only half an hour away in the car but the trusty sat-nav didn’t quite take us to the door! Eventually after about 4 U-turns we found Thackeray’s.

The atmosphere was so relaxed and friendly. We have been to a few Michelin star restaurants previously which have been more trendy but I really think this one suited us the best for how down-to-earth everything seemed yet the quality was still first class.

There were 3 menus; a tasting menu, a menu exceptional and a market menu. We chose from the market menu.

As you can see, the selection is not huge so as I don’t eat cheese and foie gras doesn’t really appeal I was a little forced towards the rabbit as a starter. I had never tried rabbit before. But what better way to try it for the first time than when it is cooked at its best!

Oh my goodness, it was divine! Very light and delicate in flavour. So tender. And the scallop was delicious. I had chosen very well, and now I will look out for rabbit again on a menu! Joe had the trout which he couldn’t praise highly enough. Goat’s cheese and beetroot are 2 of his favourite things.

For my main I chose the pork.

This dish was just so yummy. I am no food critic so my descriptions are probably super basic, but ‘yummy’ and ‘scrumptious’ really sum this dish up. I have really started to enjoy mushrooms in this pregnancy so to find a giant mushroom on my plate was an added bonus!

Joe had the turbot.

He said it was an amazing dish and the subtle curry flavours were sublime. We were both so happy with our meals so far!

Here’s the desert menu:

I had a hard time choosing, I could have eaten it all! But eventually I went for the raspberry delice and Joe chose the cheesecake. Both of us were so happy with our selections. We tasted eachothere but were both glad we chose what we had.

Isn’t it pretty! Really refreshing, delicious and the perfect way to round off my birthday treat. Except it wasn’t the end!

Joe and I had such a great evening out. We try to have child-free time as much as is practical and acceptable. It’s important for us to be a couple. Husband and wife. Not just mum and dad. Last night was perfect and another fantastic experience trying new food cooked by the best.

Thank you Joe for being an amazing husband. And thank you Katie for being an awesome friend!

If you get the chance to visit this restaurant then DO!!!

I’ve been nominated by Naomi at Not A Perfect Mum to write 20 facts about me. So here goes!

1) I hold dual nationality – British and Finnish. Most people know this about me, but I had to write it first. It’s important!

2) The children are also dual nationals. Joe and I felt it was really important to get their heritage and identity as Finns registered.

3) I’m a lover of all things Scandi. Design, interiors, clothing, accessories… They are all so effortlessly cool and so practical.

4) I’m an only child. I think I do miss not having a sibling.

5) So I’m making my children have lots! Baby #3 is on the way!

6) I’m a total Londoner. I moved away for 3 years when I went to university, but gravitated back as soon as I could. I just love this city.

7) But I love where we live on the Kent/London boarder. It’s the best of both. Quick links to central London and a short drive the other way into the English countryside.

8) When I was 17 I trekked around the Guyanese rainforest for a month! We slept in hammocks slung between trees in the jungle, ate questionable food, drank questionable water and had our eyes opened to life outside of ‘civilisation’. It was a truly wonderful experience.

9) I’m t-total. Alcohol has never appealed. It tastes bad. It’s expensive. It’s not good for the body. It’s just not for me. I am not in the least bit curious about drink and very comfortable with my decision.

10) I also don’t eat cheese. In the same way most people cannot understand why I wouldn’t eat something so amazing, I cannot understand how most people eat something so awful!!

11) My favourite food would either be bbq ribs or a seafood linguini. Now I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!

12) When I’m not off having babies I work full time. It’s a real juggle and life never stands still. I crave TIME. But this is how life is right now. I’m lucky to have my family and I’m lucky to have my job.

13) Three years ago I had 2 lots of surgery to remove lumps from my breast. I was lucky that they were benign. The only symptom I had was leaking clear fluid but sure enough scans showed there were 2 small masses. It was such a worrying time and I’m eternally grateful to the NHS for the swift treatment.

14) I love craft. I’ve taught myself how to use a sewing machine and how to crochet. Above, I said I crave TIME. I wish I had more time for craft. Thankfully I can take crochet with me so I can frequently be found with a work-in-progress on my commute.

15) As a child my dad’s nickname for me was ‘tiger’. I call Violet ‘scampi’ and Ezra ‘tinker’.

16) Joe and I got married in the winter. It was the best day of our lives.

17) Joe and I are very different in so many ways. We have a lot of contrasts in the things we like, our experiences, how we grew up. But we fit together perfectly.

18) My best travel experience was a 3 week trip to Peru. I trekked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, stayed is Cusco, stood on floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca. I cannot recommend Peru highly enough as a country to go and explore.

19) I think this next baby will be born at home. That’s the plan anyway!

20) I never spot celebrities but in the past week I have seen Mo Farrah and Emma Thompson!
I’m now going to nominate the following blogs to post their 20 facts:

Laura at Five Little Doves

Bethany at Being Mummy

Mary at Mamma Croft

Katie at Curious Little Teapot

Becky at Spirited Puddle Jumper

Jenni at Chilling with Lucas

 

Image courtesy Jen Chooses Joy.

I’m a born and bred Greenwich girl. Literally.

I just love it. And the older I get the more and more I appreciate this beautiful pocket of London.

As a child I remember going to Greenwich Park with friends for picnics, playing ‘it’, hide and seek, sitting on our skateboards and zooming down the hills. Greenwich evokes many happy childhood memories for me. Then as I got a bit older I started discovering the vibrant village and buzzing market. I loved strolling through by all the stalls, making sure I always stopped at my favourite jewellery shop on the corner. And in more recent years I have really enjoyed the food market, my favourite being the teriyaki stand!

Yesterday we arranged to meet Joe’s sister and boyfriend at Greenwich. It had been too long since we had last been to Greenwich together so it felt just brilliant to walk through the park and look at the amazing view of the City. We met up at the Cutty Sark. Joe, Violet and Ezra played chase while I sat down for a breather  (i’m 5 weeks away from having this baby now!). Ezra enjoyed running after the pigeons, exclaiming “LOOK” as if these birds were the most amazing thing he had ever seen. To a 21 month old I guess they were!

Once my sister-in-law and her partner arrived we headed to the market to get some food.

I had my sights firmly set on the teriyaki stall and could practically taste the fresh squid in anticipation. Joe was looking forward to some fresh salmon. To my utter shock and huge disappointment the stand wasn’t there!!!! There was sushi, Portuguese pastries, gluten-free cakes, vegan and raw food but NO fresh squid!!!!!! In the end I got a chorizo bread and Joe had a lentil lasagne. They were both very good but I still feel sad that my favourite food wasn’t available. I wonder if it has gone for good or this was just a blip. Does anyone know?

For pudding I had some Nutella and strawberry pancakes!

This definitely lifted my spirits!

I also visited the drinks stand and got myself a watermelon juice. Joe had a fresh lemonade and gin!

We then walked to the park. Autumn has arrived which I’m not-so-secretly quite happy about. The 30degree heat in London was starting to get to me and I was struggling to cope. This cooler, fresher weather is certainly much more manageable. With autumn the leaves are turning crunchy and one of my favourite things to do with the children is collect conkers. Greenwich Park was abundant with conker trees and we spent a lovely time squashing the fallen shells and popping out bright, shiny conkers. Violet quickly filled any available space in the bottom of the pushchair with beautiful marbled conkers. Ezra also loved running around the trees with a conker in each hand showing anybody who would listen!

Finally we walked over to the playground. This was updated about 2 years ago. Gone are the usual metal framed swings and climbing frames and now there are huge wooden frames, swings, play houses and covered walkways.

The playground really is excellent, with plenty of picnic tables, grass areas, a little cafe and well serviced toilet facilities.

Our last stop in the playground was the sandpit. This is the same sandpit I played in as a little girl so I am fond of it despite not being a huge fan of sand! There is a water pump the children can use to get water into one area of the sand and there seemed to be a lot of buckets and spades which were for general use. Violet and Ezra both really loved pottering about in the sand.

We then trudged up the hill and headed for our car. I could easily have spent so much more time in the park, it’s so huge and there is loads to explore. But for us it was home time.

I absolutely loved our trip to Greenwich and will make sure we go back soon.
Have you been recently? What were your favourite places to visit? And any ideas where the teriyaki stall has gone?!
Capturing Moments