Tag Archives: friends

I’m getting on a plane (without my kids!)

On Friday, I’m doing something that I feel a bit – a lot – weird about. I’m getting on a plane without my kids!  My friend and fellow blogger BeachLifeEtc and I are going to Northern Ireland to visit another friend for the weekend. No kids, no partners – we have arranged this weekend for no other reason but that we fancy doing it.

I don’t feel weird about going away without my kids – wider family commitments have taken me away quite a lot over the last year. They didn’t like it much at first but understood the reasons for me going, and got used to having lots of bonus Daddy time.

This time, my going away has been a bit more tricky to explain – I had a chat with my daughter last week that went something like this…

‘So who are you going to visit, Mum?’

‘Two old friends who I don’t see enough of’

‘Oh – what’s wrong with them, are they ill?’


‘Is one of them having a baby and needs some help, then?’

‘Err…no’ (at least I flipping hope not – there is Guinness to be drunk in Ireland you know!)

‘Oh, I know, is it another one of those fewn-fewl-foon – well, you know those things you have when people die?’

‘No sweetheart, it’s not a funeral’.

Silence. Then,

‘So if you don’t need to help anyone and there are no babies and nobody is dead, why are you going away then?’ *Hard stare*


My rational head tells me that I need this, that I deserve it even. I know that making an effort to have a break every now and then, and do something for ME will make me a better mother.

I also know that friendships deserve time and effort. To be brutally honest, my efforts at being a friend have been on hold to a greater or lesser extent while I have navigated the last few years. Either because my friends have kids themselves and are in the same boat, or because they don’t and therefore I’ve felt far too boring and frumpy and kid-wrung-out to have the confidence to pick up the phone.

And guess what – I still feel kidknackered, boring and frumpy – but that isn’t going to change any time soon unless I make an effort to bring some non-child fun into my life, and I think it’s about time I girded my loins and did just that. So here’s to friends and seeing a bit more of them!


Oh…still here? Well done, I always thought most people gave up half way through. Anyway, since you ARE still here, and if you’ve got nothing better to do, I’d absolutely love it if you felt that LearnerMother was worthy of a nomination for ‘Best New Blog’ in the MAD Blog Awards….THANK YOU!

MAD Blog Awards

On how our Christmas starts

Christmas has officially started!

It always starts the same way for me – I have a massive tidy up and sorting session, during which I siphon off unloved toys. In secret of course – I’ve been caught doing this before and from the wailing and gnashing of teeth you would have thought I was actually chopping up and eating the cat rather than simply taking something which hadn’t been played with for about three years to the local charity shop.  Anyway, I took a day off work today to do it while they are in school/nursery and managed to get the everything done AND slip in a cheeky afternoon nap! Result!

So, the house is tidy, the piles of junk toys have diminished in size and been put into their respective toy boxes, and we are all ready to put up the tree tomorrow night*. The kids always get to be in charge of this bit, much to my sister-in-law’s horror. While her tree is a perfectly planned and exquisitely decorated example of good taste, ours – hmmm. Hand made decorations brought home from nursery /school over the  years  vie with tinsel of all the (clashing) colours of the rainbow, and it all ends half way up because that’s as high as they can reach. But you know what? I like it like that. Plenty of time for perfect trees when they’ve all grown up.

Hot on the heels of the house-tidy and Christmas tree chaos comes the arrival of our friends and their kids  for the Brecon Mountain Railway Santa Special. We only get to see these friends twice a year so it’s always so lovely to spend time with them, and because we’ve been doing the same thing for so many years now it’s always such an easy weekend with everything falling into place. The routine never varies – a late Friday night arrival, followed by a manic early start on Saturday when the kids all wake up realising their friends have arrived and are in sleeping bags on the floor next to them. One of the adults throws cereal and the remote control in their general direction while the grownups catch up over tea and toast, until the excitement reaches fever pitch, whereupon the Mothers among us share a nod and a wink and a ‘just nipping to the Co-op for some, er, supplies’ before buggering off for a lovely long coffee and catch up somewhere where there is no mobile phone signal.  Ooops.

By the time we get back, the Dads will usually have sorted lunch and some more friends and kids will be arriving ready for the convoy up the A470 to Pant station and the trip to see Santa. It’s a much more peaceful journey on the way to see the old bugger than it is on the way back, due to the fact that those LOVELY people at the railway always see fit to put something like a mouth organ in the goody bags – have you ever been on a packed steam train full of hyperactive mouth organ blowing kids? No? Really? You should try it. It’s great.

But it’s all ok because once we get back home, the kids are pyjama’d up, the DVDs and sweeties come out, and they are bribed ummm persuaded, yes persuaded, to take up residence around the TV so the grownups can stuff their faces with curry, catch up on old and new gossip, and generally squeeze the last six months into one evening, before collapsing into bed safe in the knowledge that our respective offspring will be up and demanding food and entertainment at some ridiculous hour of the morning. Whereupon brunch will be cooked and eaten, we’ll wave our friends off until we see them in the Summer, and our Christmas will be well and truly under way. Hurrah!

This is how our Christmas starts. What about yours?

*and here’s the tree!



For Libby x x x

My lovely friend,

Today you had to say goodbye to your soulmate, who died suddenly and tragically not two weeks ago. You showed such dignity, courage and eloquence, in the face of the most awful circumstances.  Your tribute was truly beautiful; through your words your love for each other filled the room, and I will never, ever forget your quiet strength as you spoke to us all about your life together.

You did something amazing today, I was so proud of you. I’m so sorry, devastated for you, that you had to do it at all. But you did it wonderfully, and I hope that the fact you were able to share such a lovely goodbye will help you in some small way.

My lovely friend Libby. I salute you. Speak soon x x x