Travelling Towards Change…

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I have done MANY hours of travelling about in the last month. It’s meant a lot of time away from my girls, and a friend on Facebook messaged to ask if everything is ok, as I seemed to be ‘away from my family much more than is appropriate’. They were well meaning. I haven’t been posting details of what my trips are for (mainly because it’s primarily just a series of meetings or interviews which is boring!), I have however posted pictures of the highlights. They genuinely wanted to know if maybe everything wasn’t ok at home, assuming perhaps that I’ve just been off and about on a lot of jollies, ditching my family and heading off for fun.
And admittedly within the last few weeks, I’ve posted a picture of me climbing Ben Nevis, having a bloody good night out in Glasgow for a friends birthday that happily coincided with a meeting I had up there. I’ve posted pictures of Dover Castle, and the Harry Potter bridge. Without a doubt, the recent travels have not been without their highlights.

What I didn’t post was the 36 hour travelling with no sleep tears breakdown in a train toilet, the guilt I felt from being away from my children and husband. My grief from not being with them. The loneliness of ANOTHER train journey away from home. Opportunities I went for only to receive a rejection before arriving home because the journey home was so long. Sitting in a coffee shop and having to call a friend to come and get me because I was so tired and emotional I didn’t trust myself to move. For every lovely meal of tapas with my hosts, there are at least three sad looking service station sandwiches. For every fancy cocktail, there’s been two cans of red bull to try and keep awake.

As a family we have decided that I am going to pursue a slightly different career path. The quality of life my former role was providing came at a price that wasn’t ok for our children. We knew this would mean a period of me going to chase down other possibilities, other options. Which meant we knew this would mean quite a bit of time apart. As the summertime is a slightly quieter time for my husband, it was the perfect time for me to go for it, find something that can provide for my family and keep the spark in my eyes, the passion in my belly for what I’m working on. Contrary to some belief, achieving your ‘dream life’ is constant hard work, compromise and sacrifice. Three things that we are keen to prove to our children are more than worth it to love what you do and how you live. 

So yes, I am I suppose, away from my children for a short while, longer than is deemed appropriate. Luckily, as we co-parent, they have not been at all bereft of primary parental care and love. They have also been bombarded with photos, videos and momento’s from a mummy who is missing them. From a Mummy who is doing all of this FOR them. And for the life they deserve, rich in adventure, happiness, passion and love.

And the low points have been eased by videos from home, messages of support, love and courage from my husband. And importantly, significantly eased by people who are family to us. Friends, old, new and renewed who when I’ve wanted to cry or feel alone have hugged me, made me smile, and reminded me how important the people in our life are. Especially lucky we are to have Glaswegian comrades in a particular tough/emotionally charged 48 hours. 

In answer to the FB message, I replied to say ‘everything is very good thank you, thank you for the concern, our lives are exploring different paths for a short time, but we’re doing so very much together. If you’d like to go for a coffee, I’ll happily explain in more detail.’ In hindsight I wish I hadn’t used the word ‘explain’, I certainly don’t have to explain my life decisions to someone who isn’t my husband or children! At the same time, it is her way of looking out for me, with a rather old fashioned view of how the world should work. After all, I absolutely adore the people who have been looking out for me and supporting us as a family. We are excited for where life may lead us, and what we may all achieve over the next few years. The hard work, the sacrifice and the compromises are ALWAYS worth it. The reunion cuddles and precious quality time together ALWAYS sweet enough to make up for the sourness of absence. 

I hope the travelling hours will decrease quite soon, or at the very least the solo nature of the travelling. But if it was for the best for my family, I would happily orbit the moon.

Motivational Mini Figure…

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I’ve been quite overwhelmed recently. Because of how things have come together, neither my husband or I are getting any time off in May; my workload has had to be temporarily much higher than normal & we have 2 kids under 3. 

This morning, by the time I’d had 3 cups of coffee, 9 different people needed things from me in a way that left me feeling extremely drained emotionally & intellectually. I was at an ‘hmmm, no not sure about today’ kind of place. 

Today I’m having an online discussion with students about a documentary so that’s therefore been playing over a few times on the TV in the kitchen while I respond to their questions and debate points, whilst also washing up and cooking. While doing this, I idly grabbed a Kinder Egg. I’m not a big fan of them so I gave the chocolate to the girls and I opened up the toy, and there was the pictured little badass. Reading the leaflet there’s 8 potential superhero lady figures, but only one is brunette and wearing purple. In some ways it reminded me of my blogs profile picture. It felt like a sign, like a little ‘you got this’. She’s now on the window sill & I’ve had an extra boost of energy from the superhero within. Because like a lot of people I know, sometimes, the biggest boost you can get is from within. So I’d like to extend a bit of this Kinder Egg delivered kickassery to you all. We all feel overwhelmed sometimes, we all have lists to get done we think we’re never going to get to the end of. And sometimes we all need an extra boost to keep our heads up & keep going with a smile. Love to you all, and remember, we all have 100% record of getting through the tough days, you’ve got this.

Protecting my Path…

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I’m raising a white flag. I give up.

 

Let me explain!

 

My husband and I were married and expecting a child within the first five months of our relationship. We had known each other aged 5, but the reaquaintence and subsequent whirlwind romance certainly wasn’t long winded. On our first official date, my husband told me he was going to marry me, we were the kind of couple that had previously made me sick. We’d found our kindred spirits within each other, my heart had discovered its counterpart, the lifetime scars in our souls fit like a jigsaw puzzle. Trust me when I say there is no way I can describe the way we got together without making you sick..! Ahh the gloriously idyllic Summer of 2013!

 

Outside of our hideously romantic bubble, people were no doubt assuming that our surprise pregnancy was the catalyst to getting hitched, and the crueller of them were maybe even taking bets on how long we might last before our film-esque view of life bubble was burst. Even though I’m pretty much sure that no-one really cared, I felt like I needed to prove that even though it wasn’t a planned pregnancy, I would be a good Mother, a good Wife, a grown up enough grown up to be doing these roles.

 

It made me quite defensive, literally for three years. My pregnancy hormones made me feel like a violently protective Mama bear, of my babies and my marriage. I was constantly on guard on survival mode, on the look out for some slur or some passive aggressive slight on my ability to be a Mum. After all, I my mid twenties, I was told I would be unlikely to be able to conceive and safely carry children on my own so I already felt like a fraud.

 

We’ve been planning a wedding for the last few years and have recently booked it. I was asked why we were doing it again and my answer was simple; I spent most of our ‘legal’ wedding day throwing up (morning sickness was not kind to me in my first pregnancy!), I don’t remember much of it at all (epilepsy was also not kind to me during either pregnancy!) and at that point, although we were certain of spending forever together, we hadn’t yet built a life together. Three years later? I can spend a day without throwing up (what an achievement!), I can remember my day to day (mostly!) and we have a wonderful life together. Our family is complete with our two little girls, and we have built a business together, a home together, a life together. Most of which wasn’t around when we became man and wife.

 

Soon after Holly turned 1, I could almost feel the pregnancy hormones physically leaving. My babies are safe and well, we got through the pregnancies, we’ve stumbled our way through learning how to be parents (I mean…we’re winging it, but it turns out that’s the big secret!) and things are now established enough that I feel like I can relax my shoulders. I don’t need to be 100% on my guard.

 

And it’s a lovely feeling. Over the last few weeks, I’ve really chilled out, like I’ve been playing roles that I didn’t think anyone thought I belonged in, and I’ve only just realised that not only are they definitely my roles, but the only approval I need is my own.

 

I think we all feel that there are roles in life that we’re not good enough for, or qualified enough for, or that we deserve them. And for some reason, in this celebrity obsessed, reality TV led society, everyone’s personal choices are suddenly up for public discussion. Cheryl Cole recently had a baby and almost every weekly celebrity magazine had her on the cover with different angles as their ‘story’, talking about whether her relationship was strong enough, whether the age difference was appropriate, bring up clips of their first meeting to be commented on. And that kind of societal thinking spills no ‘real life’. In reality, their first child is nobodies business but Cheryl and Liam’s, their first meeting, their ages (as long as legal and consensual), and whether she has help, doesn’t have help, breastfeeds, or frankly, even if she bathes in unicorn tears and Horlicks for the health of her baby. IT’S NONE OF OUR BUSINESS! Likewise, when I was worrying that people would think we were rushing things, whether we should have/shouldn’t have get married when we did, whether we’re raising our kids right. I care about the opinion of my husbands and my own. I will happily listen to well meaning friends and family because I’m certainly not arrogant enough to think I have all the answers. But if they disagree with what I’m doing, but it’s what I believe in, I’m going to follow my own path with my head held high. And if I fall flat on my face, so be it, at least I stayed true to what I thought was best. And if anyone laughs at my fall, they are presumably a) perfect themselves and b) a bit of a dick. And that’s more their problem than mine!

 

So as I’ve let go of the pregnancy hormones, I’ve also let go of the tension I was carrying around like a hunchback. I’m REALLY excited to continue organising our wedding day, a day we’re hosting to celebrate our life together with a humanist blessing to more accurately represent our life views. (In the same way that we’re not religious, we also don’t really value the old legality of a non religious wedding so the government necessities weren’t really very us).

 

And some people will think it’s overly theatrical, some people will wonder why we’re bothering as we’re already technically married. And that’s fine, my advice would be for them to have a less dramatic day if they choose to get married, and to only do it once if that’s what works for them. I can’t stop them thinking we’re doing things wrong, so I’m finally letting go of the defensiveness I felt!

 

I AM a Mother, I AM a Wife, I’m not necessarily any good at either role..! But I’m doing them to the best of my ability, and that’s all I can ask of myself and of anyone else. The political scene has also brought about a slightly more hostile community feel. All of a sudden, with such big changes happening and the country so divided, neighbours are suddenly turning on each other based on the colour of the poster in their windows. Family meals are exploding into dispute because of passionate thoughts from all sides. Politically, it’s been much longer than just a Winter of discontent, and never before has it been more openly discussed, which is a double edged sword, especially when the recent local elections were so poorly attended. ANYWAY, my point is, I surrender. So with my white flags, I also hold aloft my personal flags, this is who I am, what I believe, but that doesn’t put me at odds with anyone who feels differently. I personally feel like a lot of us could do with an unclenching, to respect each others life choices and views. Gone are the days where there were two streets to choose between when setting up home, the days where you went into a profession based on what you were born into, and the days gone by when your parents and circumstances dictated your life. We now have literally millions of options for all things. And so it’s understandable that we all also now have millions of variables when it comes to the opinions we hold and the beliefs we live by and nurture. But it’s ok to be different, it’s how all those different roles get filled! And what other people think about your choices are none of your business and therefore nothing to spend time worrying about.

 

I have always been the kind of person to walk my own path, since being young. Even at primary school I insisted on being allowed to play football and was then the first girl to do so, but somewhere in my twenties I lost the confidence in doing so, I started trying to fit in. and so when I started back on my own path, I forgot to do so with my head held high, I somehow did so but felt like I needed to justify my every move.

It’s not lent, but I’m giving up on it. I’m tuning in instead to the feisty little girl who was told that football was for boys and decided that she was bloody well going to be allowed to play! SHE didn’t care if anyone thought it wasn’t becoming of a girl to run round on a football field, SHE didn’t get if anyone was talking about her being different or wrong, SHE just looked at what she wanted to do, what her heart told her to do and she went from it. My apologies to that little girl, she would’ve have been very disappointed in me over the last few years, and I now have two little mini me’s watching how I behave and how I judge myself and others, and that’s motivation enough for me!

 

   

 

Bye Bye Baby Days…

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Jet lag lasts a couple of days usually if you’ve crossed 3-5 time zones. So, in theory, by the 10th March, I definitely should have been back to ‘normal’. However, I am only just getting round to doing normal tasks, in which I mean catching up on emails, getting round to replying to messages I’m behind with. Life remained chaos when I was away and consequently it’s taking me ages to get back on top of it all (HA! As if I’m ever ‘on top of it’, it’s taking me ages to feel like I’m only six feet under it rather than 12..!). So I have written blog posts on the fly but they have remained a lonely word document waiting to be finished and published.

 

Consequently, some of these entries will seem a bit higgildy piggildy as I go back and finish off, but for today, the big news is that my baby is one year old! Baby Holly turned one on the 19th last Sunday, as both kids had been quite poorly swapping bugs back and forth from each other (including a rather gunky conjunctivitis!) we’d gone back and forth on riking booking an event and inviting lots of people only to potentially have to cancel. In the end we decided to go for a meal with immediate family before some more family and some of the girls guideparents popped in throughout the afternoon to see us! We also plan to take both girls to Legoland as we did with Scarlett near her 1st birthday for a birthday day trip when both girls are feeling back to best!

 

We now officially don’t have a baby in the household! Our youngest is fast becoming a toddler. Our eldest starts school next year, in no time at all, we seem to have gone from a young unmarried couple having an “oh my goodness in nine months time we’re going to have a tiny baby,” to a slightly older now married couple having an, “look at our two beautiful little girls both turning into actual little people” (usually followed with… “ok whose turn is it to stop Holly pulling her sisters hair in the buggy..?”

 

It’s made us both very nostalgic, even slightly so for the difficult times! Obviously not the traumatic side of those moments, but we’ve looked back on the long late night drives when I couldn’t sleep (or needed a late night McDonalds milkshake in the case of Scarlett’s pregnancy, or a McDonalds Apple Pie during Holly’s!) and we’d chat endlessly about what it might be like to be parents, what we wanted for them, for us etc etc.. Sitting in the hospital watching little grey blobs dance about on ultrasound machines, the two occasions we found out we were expecting girls. For me really distinctly, despite the fact that both births are blurs because of the epilepsy medication and they were both emergency csections. HOWEVER, I really distinctly remember on both occasions staring into my husbands eyes. Knowing that everything was going to be alright because we were there together, and I was looking into his eyes the first time I heard both my daughters first cry. That’s a memory I will never forget.

 

My girls have changed my life. In so many ways, I get even less sleep now, I get peed on much more than I used to and I have more people grabbing onto my hair/clothes/face than I ever used to! But I’m also more motivated, I have more drive, and my days are even more mental than they were before but kind of brilliant. 

 

In my first ever blog post I mentioned wanting to walk the Great Wall of China with my child but that I wasn’t sure if it was something I’d realise was a bit idealistic after having children. But nearly three years in, having travelled quite a bit with both of them (there’s definitely ways of doing it and ways of DEFINITELY not doing it!), I feel like it’s doable, one day. And so I really hope that one day, both girls in hand I’ll still make that ridiculous idealistic milestone that I somehow set myself!

 

Pathetic pride…

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I am NOT a housewife. That is to say, that I am TERRIBLE at doing housewifey things, I don’t know how to keep on top of house maintenance. I’ve got a PhD for christs sake, so put me at a crime scene and I will really quickly give you the time of death, as well as provide a detailed report on what has happened. But ask me to keep on top of hoovering/various types of cleaning (past washing up), or ask me what type of cleaning agent is used on what and I will stare at you because I don’t know, and who talks about stuff like that? (Yes it’s weirder to talk about anthropology over the dinner table, fine.) 

HOWEVER. Over the last 24 hours my toddler had been rather violently sick a few times in a few places at home, and if there’s one thing I CAN do, it’s ANYTHING needed to keep my girls safe and well. So today I wiped, and swept, and mopped and scrubbed to try and make the place as germ free as possible. Baby Holly it seems (fingers crossed), just has tummy troubles relating to teething so we’re hoping she won’t catch the nasty vomiting part. 

I will never win any awards for a tidy, spotless house and I will be an eternal and constant disappointment to my parents on that front. BUT today I got the place shining for my daughters, and although this is a pointlessly long post about something most home runners most likely do all the time, I’m a bit bloody proud. (Oh also, housewives and househusbands, you are my HEROES, please teach me all you know). I couldn’t take away how rotten both children were feeling, and that’s horrible, but I was able to sleep on the floor next to Scarlett last night so she didn’t have to wake up and be sick on her own at any point. I have endless cuddles for both of them as they’re both feeling clingy, a bit subdued and generally not quite their bubbly selves. And to protect them, my floor gleamed today.

Worlds Apart…

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My littlest Ladey turns 1 in just over a month, and it occurs to me that I have very little time left with my babies! As if she could read my mind, Holly woke up at 11pm tonight with tooth pain, and so as my husband got an early night ready for a very long day tomorrow, I brought her down, and she and I are now cuddled up on the sofa watching The Crown while she has an extra feed. She’ll fall asleep soon in my arms, and after taking in the smell of her and the cosiness of being cuddled up to her, I’ll head to bed, dropping her off on the way in her cot.
I know I’ll be tired tomorrow. We’ve had a mad 24 hours after a last minute trip to St Ives to go and see family. A bit of a restorative and much needed retreat for us all. We stayed in a beautiful little cottage, and stood by the sea as the waves crashed over the bay. The sea being choppy and the air being so fresh and windy reminded me so much of being a little girl on the beach with my Grandad who taught me how to ‘read’ the sea. I’d forgotten just how therapeutic the ocean can be. For a tiny pocket of time, work stress was a million miles away, I wasn’t writing notes in my phone to monitor any signs of epilepsy, and I wasn’t responding to any emails. I was just surrounded by family, my hair all over the place because of the wind, and the salt spray of the amazing waves drenching us from our daring vantage point. I introduced my two girls to the delightful terror that a choppy sea provides! I’m not ashamed to admit that after the first few moments by the waves I burst into tears. Emotional, happy tears. I felt my shoulders unclench for the first time in, maybe years, and I truly just loved the moments, without anything else or any other worries seeping in. I could almost hear my Grandad saying ‘that’s better girl’. My husband arranged the trip, he knows me better than I know myself sometimes (eurgh, what a cliche..), and not for the first time did it feel a bit like I had been falling and he caught me. 

So I now sit with my beautiful baby, fresh from the little detoxing retreat, and I’ll be tired tomorrow but this little late night cuddle with Holly is very much worth it. After a family discussion, it’s been decided I’m going to be cutting down some of the work I’ve got on my plate. Once the girls are at school I can go back to 60 hour weeks as standard. But for now, instead of taking on the world, I’m going to prioritise my world. A few things are going on a back burner, a few things are being passed on, and I’m going to balance out instead; a little bit of work, a little bit of what I’m passionate about (theatre and charity work primarily), and a lot of family time. 

It’s a decision that in truth I’ve been a bit scared to make. Just as my career was taking off I started a family and the guilt I felt with the family support I had received in gaining my qualifications blindsided me. When I was made redundant last Summer, panic set in as I desperately searched for a new job. I was under the impression that my family would be disappointed or angry if I wasn’t going full steam ahead. As it turns out, they’ve all wanted me to slow down for a while, I was fighting a battle only against my own assumptions! 

I’m NOT a good housewife. Most of what it entails alludes me. Ask me to write 50,000 words, or to analyse various larvae development to measure time of death on a violent crime scene, and I could do it with my eyes closed. But running a household is not a skill I possess. Which doesn’t make me a bad person or a bad wife or mother. I am extremely devoted to my children. I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent, but I understand that’s par for the course and one thing I am totally confident in my abilities is how much I love my husband and children. 

Slowing down is not really in my nature(!) but there are not three more special people in this world (or any other that might exist for that matter!) that I would agree to do so for. But importantly I think, (and something I haven’t done before!) is that I’m also doing it for someone I’ve always neglected quite a bit. I’m doing it for me. (Cue huge amount of guilt for even saying so).

I’m hoping to get back to the seaside with the girls soon, or at least I look forward to getting out and about with them that doesn’t involve being on the way to a meeting, or quick coffee dates in between shifts. I’m certainly not going to become the kind of Mum that starts doing things like making leaf rubbings! But I DO look forward to running around kicking up leaves and getting muddy! 

When the girls are both at school, my health is (touch wood) back to 100%, and I have no good excuse to roll around in the mud anymore, I’ll get back to trying to change the world full time. For now, I look forward to making my girls world as happy as it possibly can be.

Dear daughters…

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A few nights ago, I was feeling particularly sentimental. My husband and I came to the end of an extremely busy month, which had various different high pressure or stressful situations, and we opened a bottle and took some time together to relax. We are very excited about this Christmas, Holly’s first ever and our first as a family of four. Scarlett is at the age where she has started asking quite consistently for ‘more treats’ and ‘I want that’, and we’re trying to teach her that that’s a) not very polite but b) not really what this season is about. 

At two years old, we’re (hoping!) that it’s just a riskier tantrum stage, and certainly several other parents seem to recognise it as a phase all kids go through. I went to bed that night and wrote them a letter. Below is that letter. 

If 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that truly, the unthinkable can ALWAYS happen! Whether it be a presidential election, a referendum or any one of the sad events that have blighted the year. But without sounding like a cheesey cartoon character, good will always prevail. A lot of bad can and will happen, but kindness and magic outnumbers it. It always has and always will, and in uncertain times, it’s even more important to believe, even more important to hold onto.

Here’s to a very happy December to you all dear comrades. I wish you every happiness and an extremely hearty dose of magic! 
“Dear daughters,

Today is the first of December, and your Father and I are both very passionate about December being magical!November has been an extremely busy, hard working, high pressure and stressful one. In a (ridiculously shortened..!) summary, Daddy didn’t have a single day off in November, an already busy month became even busier as it went along and he has been amazing. Girls, I have always been in awe of my husband, admired his work ethic and how well he treats people and this month in particular, those qualities have really shone. You are both extremely lucky to have such a strong role model in your Daddy. It’s kept me going. November for me has also been extremely important. I start Criminology lecturing in January, and I am also working with some amazing people towards increasing healthy communication about mental health for young people, as well as personal safety teaching. A wide remit including how to spot signs of danger, reducing risks, safer choices to make, a whole host of ways for younger people to take preventative measures against crime that will hopefully be incorporated into, at least a few schools. It’s going to be a long, hard slog, but you two girls are the best kind of motivation! You’ve both been at my side for a lot of meetings and countless Skype calls, a local MP told you that you, Scarlett, had a beautiful smile, and you sang Baa Baa Black sheep to him! Moments like that are alongside my research notes to remind me where we started. It may go nowhere of course, I might fail. And if I do, I’ll try again, or I’ll change tact, or I’ll have done all I can and I’ll move onto something else. But failing will be ok.

Anyway, unknown outcomes aside! November 2016 was a busy month for your Father and I. It was very tiring and at times, we were on schedules that didn’t allow for much family time. And you both know how pathetically soppy your parents are when they don’t get to see much of each other and you girls! And we think the Winter season is extra magical, it’s our favourite time of year. 

Last year was a tough one because Mummy and Holly were both so poorly before we even had our little Moop with us. And we weren’t able to deal with it as privately as we wanted to because of circumstances. So THIS year, we are determined to make it extra special! With LOTS of family time, and friends time to boot! 

Scarlett you now understand what Christmas entails and you are SO excited! We were in Bath the other day and you loved seeing Father Christmas in the streets and we picked up some Christmas gloves and a homemade wooden owl that makes an owl sound when you blow into it. You loved it! Our main goal this year is to try and make sure that you learn that kindness and good will and sharing are the most important messages in December. I know that you’re a kind hearted little Ladey though so although a toddlers will is very strong, I’m positive your generous heart will win this stage! And our little Holly! It is your very first Christmas! The bright lights are obviously attracting your attention, and you are finding your big sisters excitement very infectious. 

We’ve started our annual activity calendar so you’ve both gone to bed tonight in new Christmas Star Wars pyjamas, and tomorrow we’re going to a very special Christmas show. Both of which have cost money (although we have plenty of shows we can attend free thanks to Daddy’s work!) but that isn’t the point. Annual activity calendar is about spending time with friends and family. The first year I did it, my family in Australia took part and we sent each other pictures and videos. And since then, December has been one of the ways we catch up with people who mean the world to us but that we don’t get to see as often as we’d like.

I’m currently watching ‘Once Upon A Time’, an American series for adults but about fairy tales. It’s funny, but it’s reminded me that adults should believe in magic. It’s important to. There have been days I haven’t wanted to believe in magic, or people (which is where magic comes from really girls, it’s from people) and I’ve felt frustrated, and angry, and have wondered why I’m putting the work in. But every time, I’ve taken some time out to breathe, or (more often than not!), your Dad has reminded me what’s important in a whole different manner of ways. And without fail, things are always ok. And I’m constantly reminded that giving in and taking the easy route is never worth it. What can seem like the hardest path at the time, always seems to get us where we need to be! And yes, of course a cheesey series has the same message. For someone who can be so practical at times, both your parents can be laughably sentimental! So there have been times I’ve gone to meetings with certain character pants on to remind me to think of magic when I’m faced with middle aged men who, in a meeting, have patronised me and put hurdles in my way or have suggested that ‘as a young woman’ I would find my goals more difficult. And on particularly tough days, I’ve made a dinner of turkey dinosaurs, smiley faces and spaghetti hoops for us to indulge in childhood comforts as a morale boost. A mug of hot chocolate with squishy cream and mini marshmallows also works a treat. There’s magic in the little things, magic works! 

We are planning to make December 2016 our best Christmas yet. Our family of four is complete, safe and well. And I hope our families friends and family also have an amazing holiday season. God knows with the way 2016 went, the entire planet could do with a short break! And then, ok still a Trump presidency, but hopefully a slightly less challenging 2017 for all! We were very lucky in 2016 to have our Moop join us healthy and safe, you are a shining star in an otherwise pretty terrible year worldwide (history lessons when you’re both older will certainly be interesting when they get to 2016!). 

But, my sweethearts, as I said, magic is in people, and in December, it shines that little bit brighter, and we all have a bit extra to be able to help people for whom Christmas is particularly hard. You two make our December the shiniest it’s ever been. We love you very much and I hope you always remember to be kind, to help others and to give back, not just at Christmas time but all year round. I have no doubt you both will.

We love you very much xx”