I can't believe this is my 10th Mother's Day. I feel like I should be full of confidence in my mothering. But I'm still working things out. I expect I'll still be winging it in 10 years' time. But one things continues, I keep giving it my best. I feel like worrying takes about 15% of my time. No one wants to screw their kids up. But you have to keep trying, and keep hoping that they don't publish a memoir entitled 'Why My Mother is the Worst'.
Anyway, we had a lovely day, for the most part. My son ran into our bedroom at 6.20am shouting, 'can we bring Mummy tea in bed now?!'. After Husband and I yelled at him, he ran off and I slept til almost 9am. Moozles and Dubz love bringing me breakfast in bed on Mother's Day. And apparently they love watching me eat my breakfast. Every little bite of toast. Every sip of Earl Grey. Every damn year.
My son is in Year One, and this term they are learning about space. Dubz is constantly talking about the Milky Way galaxy, so we thought a family trip to the planetarium was in order. It turns out that London's only planetarium is located in Greenwich (south east London). We decided to combine our visit with the National Maritime Museum, as well as sneak in a boat ride and lunch. And what a fun day it was.
If like us, you live in south west London, you may know that it's a bit of a pain to go from west to east London. But sometimes you have to bite the bullet, especially when there's a cool attraction that you don't want to miss. So, after we arrived at Waterloo, we decided to take the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf, and then hop onto the DLR to Greenwich. While the latter offers lovely views to Greenwich - this ended up taking 45 minutes. It would have taken half the time if we had just taken two trains from Waterloo East. But sometimes it's nice to take the scenic route.
One thing that I love about Kingston-upon-Thames is that there is always something going on. Sometimes, when we have no plans, and we don't feel like staying home, we just pop into the town centre looking for fun. A few weeks ago we had a free Saturday so we went to check out the grand opening of The Entertainer in the Bentall Centre, Kingston.
To celebrate it's opening, The Entertainer had free face painting and character visits (Dubz was especially excited about Batman and Robin Lego). And of course, there was the lovely new shop. Somehow, Dubz managed to get us to buy him a new box of Ninjago Lego. That boy is Lego-mad. And since my daughter could not be left out, I took her to Claire's to buy new earrings. In exchange for their new things, I made everyone walk around Zara with me (cue evil laugh, muwharrr).
This past Christmas we decided to escape the cold of London and enjoy some Florida sunshine. My mother lives just outside Orlando, along with my aunt and grandmother, and we thought it would be nice to spend Christmas with my family and then have a few days at Disneyworld. So we swapped our woolly hats for sunglasses and headed for some winter sun and of course to see Mickey Mouse.
Many people call it Disneyworld, but there are actually six Disney parks falling under that header. Magic Kingdom is the original park in Florida, and it is considered to be the main park. It is where the classic rides are located (such as Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Space Mountain). It is where you will find Cinderella's iconic castle, you will see all the Disney princesses, and you will experience the many parades and shows featuring all of your Disney favourites.
Did I ever mention that I was an introvert? It's probably partly genetic, but I think it's mostly to do with the way I grew up. I was the youngest but was raised as an only child. I never lived with any of my siblings. And while part of me was lonely, part of me enjoyed the solitude. Or maybe I just grew accustomed to spending a lot of time on my own. Regardless, it has shaped me into an adult who needs a certain amount of alone time.
Over Christmas, I spent a wonderful two weeks in Florida with my family. And though we had a lovely time, I was excited at the end of the trip for some time to myself. While I love spending time with Husband, Moozles and Dubz, my sense of well-being requires alone time. I need to have quiet so I can think and read and write. And even when watching television, I don't like people talking to me or walking near me.
Before I moved to the area, I knew that Kingston-upon-Thames was known for its shopping. And in the last few years, it has gotten even better. And it's not just shopping. There are restaurants, cafes, as well as pubs, bars and a delightful theatre. There is so much that you could easily, and happily, do to spend a day in Kingston.
A few weeks ago, I took Moozles and Dubz to enjoy some of what Kingston has to offer. We started off in the Bentall Centre. It is an indoor mall housed in a gorgeous building. And it houses some of my favourite homeware shops (Zara, H&M and West Elm). We are currently renovating our house, and I have been spending a lot of time exploring the internet for gorgeous items for my home. But sometimes you just need to get to a shop and see things in real life.
It's been a bit tough feeling festive this year. Our home renovations still haven't finished, and we don't even have a Christmas tree. But on Friday, we took the time out for some family fun in Kingston. The kids and I went shopping at Bentalls and had afternoon tea at the Hilton Doubletree. Husband then met us at the Rose Theatre to watch Alice in Winterland.
Fans of Lewis Carroll will be familiar with both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Alice in Winterland is a combination of both books. Alice's world is falling apart and all she wants to do is stop time. Her journey to Wonderland helps to show her how important it is to move forward and to accept change. The show had some really touching moments, but there were plenty of exciting moments and fun songs.
Can you believe it? Christmas is almost here. It's just over a week until the big day. I feel like we spend November, eagerly awaiting the acceptable moment where we can decorate and discuss festivities. Often we start too early as we're just so damn excited. And then, before you know it, it's mid-December and we have Christmas-fatigue.
I read that Christmas-fatigue is a real thing. It's not just something people say when they're tired of thinking about gifts and visiting their families. Apparently our hormones can go out of whack, leading us to feel sad and tired. We spend too much time partying, eating unhealthy food, buying and wrapping presents, and drinking too much booze. Simple.
When I was a teenager, my friends and I used to go to Pizza Hut all the time. We loved their salad bar and personal pan pizzas. But I haven't been to Pizza Hut much since my early 20s. A few months ago, we happened to be near one and had dinner there while my daughter was at a party. We were surprised at how good it was and vowed to take her (Moozles loves a salad bar). So last weekend we went to the new restaurant in Kingston-upon-Thames to try out the new menu.
First of all, I noticed how family-friendly Pizza Hut looks. There is lots of banquette seating, the colours are bright without being garish, and the artwork shows pizza-related superheroes. The children's menu has a little and bigger option. My five-year old had the smaller meals and my nine-year old had the bigger one. And while we waited for our food, we all enjoyed the salad bar.
In my 20s, I was obsessed with shoes and handbags. I spent my 30s thinking about things for my babies. Now, in my 40s, I'm all about my home (okay, okay, I still like shoes and handbags). So I was thrilled when I heard that West Elm was opening their second UK store in Kingston-upon-Thames. And I was even more thrilled to be invited to the grand opening on the 8th December.
Personally, I love mid-century modern. I like furniture to be comfortable and useful, but also interesting. West Elm is like my mecca. Even if you're not looking for big pieces, or if you have a small budget, you are able to find accessories here that add a unique feel. They have some amazing plates, mugs and Christmas decorations that are both vintage and modern and oh so quirky. And despite West Elm being a chain, it's not like you'' end up having the same armchair or mirror as half of your friends (I'm looking at you IKEA).