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September in the Moselle

After too many long, lazy hot summer evenings drinking Rosé in the sunshine. Of corks being popped, the smell of barbecue’s and laughter in gardens. Swallow’s nose diving and bombing in the blue sky’s looking like they are having the most fun. And with the scent of lavender, the hum of insects and the chattering of birds. Summer tolls by into September our Indian summer and then the harvest.

My pocket of Luxembourg is the Moselle region. For 42 kilometers the River Moselle forms the borders with Germany. Its banks are marked with perfect lines of vines spaced with military position. Dotted between the vines are the charming unassuming village’s. Generation upon generation lovingly tend the vines. Even In the long dark days of winter they are tirelessly pruning and clearing and snipping each vine in order to give them the best chance through the bleak Luxembourg winter.

Through the seasons I walk Chloe my dog up and down the neat rows of vines and nod to the workers. At the beginning of the row a sign will tell you which Cave these vines belong to and which delicious wine we can look forward to it producing in years to come. Even in thick snow snipping and scrutinizing each vine ensuring that it is as it should be. And as the vines change from sticks in the ground, to sticks with buds to eventually healthy green foliage heavy with bunches of ripe beautiful grapes we know its time.

Not only is September when the schools return its also the harvest. Through the windy roads of the villages in the mornings tractors chug chug past pulling trailers full of workers. Ruddy faces bundled up for the chilly mornings they smile as you drive behind them and sometimes wave at the children on the way to school.

On my walks in September the vineyards are a hive of activity. You can smell the sweetness of the grapes in the air. We see the workers and hear the banter as they snip snip the bunches of grapes and pop them into their buckets. They work hard dutifully harvesting row upon row. Its hard work Im sure but there always seems to be a good atmosphere and many return year after year.

And then just like that the harvest is complete. The vines don’t look quite as proud of themselves as they once did. Empty of fruit, the lush green leaves beginning to change with the Autumn landscape. Now the work really begins.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is very proud of its wine production and Crémant. Although delicious it is very difficult to sample luxembourg wine outside of Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany. The wine makers sell virtually all within Luxembourg to all restaurants and bars. Events along the Moselle all year celebrate with Luxembourg produce. Every cork popped will be a local crémant.

Once again thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading this and please, feel free to post any comments. Debbie x

My Pinot for next year

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Our Queen is dead……

The constant is our lives she has always been there. Steady as a rock noble and wise. We have been surrounded with her name and profile on our money on our pillar boxes on our passports. Born into privilege and power yes, but if we all truly knew the sacrifice that came with would we have swopped with her?

It was my daughters birthday yesterday. A busy day planned I hadn’t looked at social media so i didn’t hear the news till late. She wasn’t immortal, she was a frail 96 year old lady approaching the end. When she lost Philip just over a year before it was said she would follow soon after. For anyone loosing their companion after so long its hard, but to loose probably the only person who truly understood her duty. Understood the challenges she’d faced over the years. That must have been very hard.

Her life although privileged was mapped out. Being Queen was not meant to be her destiny. Then when her beloved Father died when she was just 25years old she took on the biggest job ever. Only Philip her rock,was left to really understand what that had meant to her. In a man’s world where women were very far from being equal. Where in many countries women were not considered. How she must have worked to prove the doubters wrong. Prove she would serve her country and serve it well.

The counties she travelled to. As a young woman, a mother of four children. Least we not forget the days of traveling she undertook so people would know her. Would cherish the moment they caught a glimpse in the crowd of her face or handed her a posy of flowers.

When I read the news my eyes filled with tears. I never thought my reaction would be that. I just felt very sad. Sad for the end of an era. Sad that Ill never watch another Queens speech 3pm on Christmas day. Sad that although she was ready to leave we were not ready to loose her.

But despite my sadness watching the news, watching people from every walk of life laying flowers, wiping away tears, talking to the journalists with genuine emotion it made me feel proud. Proud to be British and to have called this amazing woman my Queen. As although far from a royalist I admire what this woman represented, what she achieved. The wisdom she had and the dignified way she served her country. She never felt the need to do exclusive interviews detailing how hard her life was. She just quietly got on with things. Did her job.

The news and media is dominated by her. Flowers laid at the gates of her homes, London cab drivers in tears parked in the Mall. Paddington bear posts saying goodbye. People go about their business with a heavy heart. The world is waiting with baited breath to see for what happens next….

Ah so the stories she would have been able to tell! What a dinner guest she would have been!

Im sad, and a tiny bit scared for the future without this wise old owl at the helm of our ship. I hope her son who I think was possibly privately dreading this day will make his much loved Mama proud.

Grief although it hurts is the price we pay for love. RIP Queen Elizabeth.

Goodbye x
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Passing the gauntlet

I knew I was never a great beauty. I was pleasant to look at but not stunning. As a teenager and a young adult I had problems with my skin. That made me painfully self conscious and self aware. Looking at my reflection in the morning Id pray that no more spots would appear during the day. In a time when you looked at your face less, Id hate to think what Id be like now with selfies and social media.

As I grew older I blossomed. Again, not a great beauty but I was striking with a good figure. I could turn heads, get wolf whistled at,be admired. Looking back I think part of my appeal was I never expected the attention. I never truly believed anyone would be interested in me. I might have appeared confident with good legs in tartan hot pants or a tiny lipsy dress but I wasn’t. Underneath a bold exterior I was terribly self conscious picking fault in everything. Never seeing the good parts I feel sorry for that girl now.

You see I never remember being told I was pretty, or beautiful or even looked nice. It just wasn’t said. Thats not to say that my parents aren’t good kind people. They are the best its just showing emotion was hard. My Fathers parents had him late in life and it was a very religious Irish family. They never hugged, or laughed or had fun at home. It was a cold house. My mum spoke of going there when she was courting my Dad and nobody speaking just sat in chairs. Awkwardness hanging in the air. My Dad loved his mother he never wanted for anything but there was a lack of warmth, tenderness and emotion. Your younger years are fundamentally the making of your older self. And so my Dad for all of his amazing qualities does find it difficult to show affection. He finds it hard to say those words. I love you. We know we are loved though we understand.

My mums childhood was warmer more laughter but again lacking in emotion. It was a different time. They were a good, working class family. They had routine and structure. Town on a Saturday, roast and church on a Sunday. No expectation for a girl to go to University it was out to work as soon as you left school. My mum I know felt loved but touching, hugging, kissing it just wasn’t shown. She is getting better with age. The Grandkids are constantly saying I love you and asking for cuddles she’s learning. My sister and myself are very tactile perhaps too much sometimes 😉 and I often wonder if thats the reason. And so what we were never princesses or told we were beautiful. It just wasnt said then. Did it effect me? No not really. Have I had hours of therapy and counseling delving back into my past trying to find answers. No. It was what it was. And Im just fine.

So now I just change the narrative. Break that cycle. My girls are beautiful. Of course Im biase like any mother but they are. They have somehow managed to inherit all the best parts of my husband and I. There is a Roald Dahl quote which states that if you are good, and have good thoughts, they will shine from your face like sun beams. We have that print in our house hung upstairs. Because being a good person, making someone smile, being aware of the impact of your words is far more important than how you look.

But I do love to hug them, squeeze them tell they everyday I love them. Compliment when they look good. Prop them up when they feel not so good. I love the bones of my children and could quite happily bottle their scent and wear it everyday. Holding them, inhaling the scent of their hair evokes a love, an emotion so so deep its hard to describe. A mothers love.

And as I grow older my looks are fading. My wolf whistling days are behind me. Hot pants are gone “hold you in” pants are now my thing. I see the subtle changes in my face and my body. The laughter lines, wrinkles and grey hair. And Im ok with that. I have laughed hard and deserve every one of those lines. Age doesn’t scare me. Its the passage of time.

My girls are blossoming beginning that journey. My job is to guide them, advise them, try to steer them on the right path ensuring there tool bag is fully equipped. They will make mistakes of course, there will be tears. But its almost time to pass that gauntlet and Im ok with that Im proud x

Once again thank you for reading. When a topic pops into my head I write. Then post before I loose my confidence. Any comments are always appreciated. Thank you x

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We all need to be a bit more Dame Deborah….

Ive always been a fan of podcasts you can learn so much whilst on an hour dog walk so Im always looking for new material.

It was about 3 years ago when I came across a podcast called “You me and the big C”. Big C referring to cancer. Now, it might be strange that I’d listen. I personally have never had cancer or fortunately any other serious medical condition but I was intrigued so I thought I’d give it a go.

These 3 vibrant women who was funny, rude, beautifully honest were changing the narrative. Talking about this subject that is so hard to discuss. Because the word “cancer” is so scary. Terrifying, goose pimply scary. Its a word for many that initially means death. Thats it. Ive seen what it does to family members. My mother in law confided in me that she felt like it was a monster eating her insides. She had many nightmares. I often think about how terrified she must have felt. Even my mum who thankfully survived cancer finds it hard to say the word out loud.

But this podcast was like over hearing a conversation in a pub over a couple of bottles of wine. They were friends, being brutally honest about how they felt, how the treatments were and how they managed to get up everyday with this huge dark cloud hanging over them. It felt very personal. I was hooked. As you always think how would I be with faced with such a path? Would I see it as sentence to death or another challenge to overcome…….

Of course it wasn’t all belly laughs it was cancer after all. But how they dealt with guests living with the diagnosis, the people left behind, the pain it was beautiful. There was such sentiment, empathy warmth. These women knew, they had been there in those shoes, still were so knew the right words.

Sometimes I be in the car with tears running down my face thinking of all those Id lost.

One of the women Deborah James had bowel cancer. She was a deputy Head Mistress, busy mum of two when she was diagnosed just before Christmas almost 6 years ago. She explained that initially she felt tired but don’t we all feel tired? Then her bowel habits started to change, she saw blood and when she did then go to the doctor she had a 6.6cm tumor up her bum!

Its not the best cancer to get. We all giggle about bums and poo and its something we don’t talk about. You and I know that we all poo. We all no matter who you are, how much money you have or how famous you are still sit on a toilet and poo. Its life, but bowel habits isn’t something we like to talk about. Its private, personal not something to share. And that is why bowel cancer is the second biggest killer in the Uk…….

Obviously she had gone through the motions ( forgive the pun) before starting the podcast. She was 36, a keen runner, extremely fit plus a vegetarian. Not on paper someone who is meant to get cancer but here she was. On that journey you don’t want to be on. In and out of hospital constantly having intrusive evasive treatments anything to stop this “thing” growing. Theres a cycle you go through when given any sort of bad news, despair, anger, sorrow, sadness and then eventually acceptance.

For Deborah she decided to embark on a different journey. Cancer had picked the wrong girl. She was going to fight it every step of the way. She was going to ignore the taboo of poo. She was going to shout it from the rooftops the importance of checking ourselves. She was going to share the pain with humor, glamour, laughs and show all of us how its done. Even dressing up as a poo and traveling on a train. And so bowel babe was born.

Her instagram posts were hilarious. She had one of those faces that was warm and generous like her smile. She was the person you’d invite on a night out. The person you’d wanted to be seated next to at a wedding. Bold, loud, with an infectious laugh and so much fun. A real laugh as my Dad would say. Dancing, wearing outrageous outfits, bold color’s lots of sequins oh yes, I would have loved to have met her. And many of her posts were from the Royal Marston which Im sure became her second home. She would be hooked up having chemo with catheter’s visible and still despite obvious discomfort making us smile.

I like many others were delighted when she announced in 2020 she was cancer free. Her announcement or though joyous was full of trepidation. She was fully aware it could come back and unfortunately it did.

On May the 9th this year she announced that her poor body was just not playing ball and she was moving back to her parents for care. It was a brave decision not to go home and die but she didn’t want her children to have those memories in their family home.

So what happened next… Did she rest? Did she f*** she continued her quest and raised over £6 million. She published a book, designed the “Rebelious Hope” T shirt she had a rose named after her and the icing on the cake was she was made a Dame.

She campaigned for a message to be written on toilet rolls she did everything in her power to save lives when she knew her’s couldn’t be saved.

I, like the whole of the Uk watched and listened her final weeks. Being a mother of a similar age I contemplated my mortality. How would I deal with having to leave my children, not seeing them grow into adults, see my husband build a new life without me, not meet my Grand children. And how would i spend my final days? Knowing each day could be my last in this World.

For Deborah laying in her parents garden, her skin brown from the sun she made memories, had fun had Im sure those conversations you never want to have. And then 29th June we received the news she was gone.

And so the world still goes on, everything is the same except there was an extra star in the sky last night. Deborah’s energy right till the end was infectious, she has taught me so much. Her wisdom, her courage, her drive has inspired me and I hope, that whatever life throws at me I can be abit more like Deborah xx

Thank you once again for reading this. Deborah’s story has moved me and I hope wherever you are in the world that you check your poo….. for Deborah xxx #bowelcancer

Sunday Sunday

B4k. That is before 4 kids Sundays were very different. After a lay in, one of us would throw a hoodie over our pj’s and stroll down to the corner shop at the end of the road for the papers. With hair scrunched in a top knot and sleepy dust in my eyes a nod at the neighbours I’d walk back up the hill with the tabloid paper naturally hidden in The Sunday Times…..

A vat of coffee was required and perhaps some toast as we’d lazily devour the papers. Reading the gossip first of course and taking stock on what the world looked like that day.

As we were so close to the city centre sometimes we’d walk in to town to meet friends. Grab a coffee or a bite to eat and catch up and what’s been happening. Or like most young couples join the thousands in B&Q staring blankly.

Conveniently, shops are open Sundays in the UK so you could have a mooch round then meet after. Easy times, everything casual never a need to rush..

Then, the two of us lived in a small townhouse a short stroll from the city centre. It was a bustling road always lots going on people around. Sunday was jobs day so car’s would be cleaned, windows cleaned you could hear the drone of vacuum cleaners. The smell of roast dinner’s being cooked in the air, the tolling of church bells.

Everything then was in our own time. Like most 20 something’s we were busy people. Rushing Monday to Friday, meeting deadlines and targets weekends were as they should be about us. Our own agenda nobody else to please..

I don’t remember appreciating that time. You just don’t. You just live in the moment never think forward about what it could be like. The last 14 years have been very different…..

One of the other small one spread like a star fish in your bed. They struggle to get up for school yet by some miracle are wide awake at some ungodly hour at weekends. I can’t tell you the times in sleep I’ve sensed someone stood over me only to find a dark figure looming “Mummy, can I have the iPad?”

Lay in’s nope I’d be sat in the dark looking like a scarecrow inhaling coffee whilst they sat glued to Peppa Pig. Spooning Weetabix which unless you didn’t know drys like concrete into awaiting bird like mouths.

As they got older there would be activities, friends ringing the door, breakfast table looking like feeding time at the zoo. The house humming with family activity and Radio 2. Constant needs, constant wants, constantly been called never a quiet moment.

By the weekend inevitably the house would look like it had been raided by the drugs squad. Every drawer open, discarded outfits, knickers on the floor. Toothpaste spat in the sink, not flushed loo’s. Between all that a roast would be cooked normally by me.

We all create our own family traditions and that’s mine. Every Sunday unless summer bbq we have a roast dinner. My husband and I have both concluded that it would be our final request for a meal should we unfortunately ever find ourselves on death row…. Kids I’m sure chicken nuggets.

Cooking the roast, a glass of vino and music on. Baths and bags ready for school. A load of washing on, kids laughing, bickering or screaming. Screaming about forgotten homework or essential critical item needed for Monday morning when all shops are already shut. Perhaps a touch of Frozen Planet…

Walking dog. Dog returning, cleaning dirty dog. Dog and cats following me around the kitchen till I give in on the mental torture of them waiting and feed them. Kids loud, oh so loud.

Can’t find dreaded friend book, need to find a spare passport size photo, forms to sign, swimming bag not ready!

So that’s our Sunday now. And although never a lazy one would I change it? Not a chance xx

What do your Sundays look now? How have they changed? Feel free to comment and thank you for reading. Enjoy your Sunday xx

Feeding time at the zoo

Hold my hand……

My childhood home Reading in the Royal County of Berkshire

I was a child of the 80’s born in a simpler time when summer holidays seemed to be so long and were spent out on our bikes all day till teatime. I’d gobble up my cornflakes and be out with my friends till I got hungry. That was our summer. Looking back with nostalgia I think it was a wonderful time. I remember us seeing a poster stuck to a lamp post of a missing cat. We made it our mission to find that cat and claim the award. Cycling around, calling its name looking in gardens and empty shed’s. Unfortunately we didn’t find the cat but it kept us busy for few days!

It wasn’t all fun filled adventures I remember a lot of just hanging around our corner shop or in the local park. Seeing older kids smoking and staring in awe at how cool they were. I still see kids like that today hanging round. Every generation has them. Suspended in that frustrating time of adolescence not quite a grown up but almost there. Trying so hard to look older, pretend they know adult stuff.

Another time there was this old derelict house that was supposedly haunted. According to local folklore…. We all cycled down there with one torch between us and were going to investigate. We ducked under the wire fence and wandered round in a apprehensive huddle. I think we just made it into the living room before someone made a noise and we all ran out screaming our heads off. We all promised not to tell our parents but of course one big mouth did so we were all grounded.

My best friend was Sarah. She was 6 days older than me. Very important when she turned 10 and I was only 9…..Single digits!!!

We were inseparable, same size, same bowl haircuts. Just same. Every weekend we were at each other’s house. For my birthday one year my parents bought me a fold up bike. I was mortified as I’d had my eye on a bmx but my Dad said he was tired of ruining his car with my bike when picking me up from Sarah’s. She was one of four so her house was busier and louder than mine. I loved going there and became one of the family.Her house seemed so much more exciting than mine. I think we all had a friend like that.

We took our youth for granted never dreamed about getting old. There we would be in her shed. We all our baby dolls walking round her garden with her mum’s silver Cross pram. Playing at being a mum, being independent having our own house. Making our own decisions.

At school we had what seemed back then a huge field. The boys would play football and around the perimeter there was bracken. There we made den’s in our lunchtimes. Once while digging we found some bones. Convinced we’d dug up dinosaur bones we ran with our treasure to Mrs Caulfield a dragon that was the playground supervisor. She cooly informed us in her thick irish accent that we’d probably dug up one of the Priests pet dog……so no reward.

One distinctive memory I have is holding my mum’s hand. I remember looking at her hand holding mind and comparing them. Mine. Small with Podgy fingers with pink plump flesh and her’s bigger with lines. I remember they felt rough. I was only young but I do remember feeling surprised at how they felt compared to mine.

This week I was preparing something in the kitchen and I looked at my own hands. Now my Mum’s hands. It took me back to that moment and the realization that now my kids must feel the same when they hold my hand. To age is a blessing, to have that time to reminisce shouldn’t be wistful or sad it should be joyous.

I’m happy I now have my Mum’s hands as like me my kids will know what it is to be loved.

Thank you for reading x

Summer days x
Fun x
My home x

The battle of the food……………

My love of food and cooking came late. I never cooked as a child as my Mum hated the mess in preparation. And so, although well fed I was never involved. When I bought my first house at 21 I was on my own clueless. I was fully immersed in my career playing as equally as hard and so food was simply fuel. No enjoyment, just what I had to do. I once had friends over for dinner. As they politely crunched on their spaghetti carbonara I said with a red face “Don’t worry about eating it!”

The relief as they politely pushed their plates away was obvious….

So when I had children and moved here to Luxembourg I had more time and more of an incentive to learn about nutrition and being healthy. These perfect human beings I’d created were pure. I didn’t want to fill them with processed food. Annabel Carmel’s book’s were my bible. I boiled, and mashed and puréed more vegetables than Id done in my whole life. The freezer became my friend and was packed with ice cube trays full of bland salt less vegetables.

I went from one very apt cookbook Delia’s “How to cook” to a library full of beautifully presented books. I began to experiment, adding more and more recipes to my resume. My theory being haven fed my kids every fruit and vegetable imaginable I would have created the impossible. Children that ate everything. Errrr no!!

Mealtimes were like feeding time at the zoo. Finger food every piece sniffed them thrown on the floor. Spaghetti and meatballs although enjoyed would literally end up everywhere. I often picked up child in white ikea high chair and lifted the whole thing complete with child in the shower.

As they got older they became more fussy. I’d dread mealtimes as the pressure I put myself under was huge. Social media dictated what they should be eat. All my friends seemed to be doing a better job than me. The screaming, tantrum’s, the refusing to eat, the time it took to prepare and clean up after. I was exhausted. I then decided enough was enough. I wasn’t going to give in but rotate. One night home cooked meal from scratch the next fish fingers, chips and peas.

And they loved it. My audience at last became more appreciative. I still had to cook something else for myself and husband as a 4o+ wouldn’t be happy eating fish fingers on a plastic peppa pig plate. But that was ok it was never complicated just fresh and healthy.

Now they are older. God teenagers are difficult like a different species. Only leaving their cave when they are hungry. In lots of ways more difficult as they are always trying out recipes from tic toc then walking away leaving me the mess. The two older ones still fussy but slightly more experimental. I’m not sure who should take credit for that me or tic toc. But all I want is for them to have the basic tools. I love food as my waistline now dictates and appreciate all cuisines.

But I’m glad it clicked all those years ago that it’s ok to have a night off and give them baked beans on toast. You might think everyone is doing a better job than you but I’m sure there will be someone looking at you thinking the same.

Once again thank you for reading. I hope it resonates xx

Saying goodbye

Part of the process of being a expat is always having to say goodbye to your family. It never really gets any easier as you always wonder when will be the next time. Covid brought the uncertainty into our lives that you can still make plans but never be 100% certain they will come to fruition. Then airport chaos the butterfly’s in your tummy never settle till you are on that plane. Looking at the memories on your phone unable to make new ones it took our freedom away. Being away for thirteen years now means I should be used to it but I’m not. I still always well up at the airport and drive away with tears coursing their way down my cheeks. It still hurts as much as it did 13 years ago.

My parents and nieces just left after just over a week. It’s been a tough week. Being a people pleaser I’m exhausted. Shopping for 11, cooking, accommodating dietary requirements, walking the dog ,taking them swimming daily I’ve definitely earned my money. And the heat! Gosh it’s hot, it zaps your power makes your limbs sluggish I now know why the Spaniards like siestas.

But I’ve secretly loved having in particular my Mum and Dad around. Helping me with odd jobs, keeping things ticking over cleaning wise so my house doesn’t turn into a squat. Loved it and loved also being mothered. I’m not sure how it would have been if I’d lived just down the road all these years. Easier definitely rather than doing it on my own but we wouldn’t have had these special times.

My youngest niece is 5 so I’ve missed so much time with her. Having two much older siblings she’s teased a lot and so she has to hold her own. She is so loud at home she spends a fair bit of time screaming. She also adores her mum and so when I’m there I don’t really bond with her.

This week has been lovely no screaming no tantrums just so happy to be here. My heart is full of love for this little firecracker we have had so many cuddles and snuggles she’s been a joy and she really didn’t want to say goodbye.

And so they’ve gone. The house is very much quieter, slightly grubby. I sacrificed my bed this week so will be very glad to be back in my own bed. And, as I scroll through the new memories on my phone probably with a tear in my eye I am thankful for our time and look forward to the next x

Thank you for reading I appreciate any feedback xx

So, I’ve just paid for another year on WordPress. Still, I haven’t shared this with my friends. I don’t know what I’m worried about but I am. I would feel exposed, if I got a negative reaction. I suppose it’s like thinking you can sing then standing on a stage and getting booed. It’s my secret, our secret and maybe one day I’ll promote but not just yet………

Cousin love x

Laughter….

I swear laughter truly is the best medicine. Not forced or gentle sniggering but full bellied hurt your sides laughter. The type that makes a 46 year old woman reach for her crouch ( not in a good way)… My sister and friends booked a holiday two years ago. Budget was low and so were expectations. We all knew we’d have fun but everything else we didn’t really care about. It was the holiday we never thought would come. Even the week before headlines screamed of panic in airports, queues of hundred of people and flights being cancelled at the drop of the hat. There had been so much disappointment in the pandemic we almost couldn’t allow ourselves to get excited. But the Gods were smiling on us and the day arrived.

Ive been counting down the days. Promising myself this week Ill cut out bread, booze, butter and carbs. Ill fast not eat past 8pm anything to shift that stubborn roll from my stomach. I scoured pinterest for exercise regimes to rid my belly. Of course some effort was made, but by our departure time arrived I still looked pretty much the same. This year was also monumental as I had bought bikini’s. Something I hadn’t worn for years. Id convinced myself that my navy swimming costume with built in support made me look thinner. That showing my lily white slightly flabby tummy would offend. But catching sight of my reflection I decided the costume was aging, unflattering made me look frumpy. Whatever goes on people really don’t care so why should I!

Between us girls we have 11 kids, cellulite, droopy boobs, a varicose vein or two, stretch marks, bunions and the odd hair poking out of our chins that we missed plucking but did we care NO. Love island contestants we were not,but at that small Spanish hotel on the costa brava we were the centre of attention because we laughed and laughed and laughed.

The stories we have, the escapades we’ve got up to the people we have met would make a very funny book. We forgot responsibility, school run’s, cooking and cleaning for a short few days and remembered life before that. Those days you could sleep after a heavy night till noon. When you could get in a 5am and be on the bus to work at 8am with a bar of chocolate and a carton of ribena. When you sat in a pub garden all afternoon in the sun and laughed. When your dinner was bags of salt n vinegar crisps and nuts as you didn’t want to leave. Yes we wistfully remembered those times with fondness but none of us would change what we have right now.

Of course there were a few tears. We all have crosses to carry. Those instagram perfect lives are mostly a facade, fiction. Everyone has a story, pain, and hurt and these moments of hilarity are perfectly balanced. But we discovered laying on sun loungers with sandy toes and our skin’s warmed by the evening sun was we are strong women. Warriors of life who have experienced death, depression, divorce, debt moments of huge sadness and we have still survived. We have cleaned our wounds, dusted ourselves off and carried on each time that little bit stronger. And sharing these times, listening, talking giving advise well, its made us even stronger still. Lionesses ready now for next years holiday xx

Once again thank you for reading. This is something I enjoy very much that I still haven’t shared, so any comments positive or negative are very much welcomed xx

Oh it’s been a while

I know. A promise I made to myself last summer to write weekly hasn’t transpired. Lots of reasons why. I constantly tell my girls that they can do anything they put their minds to. That « can’t » isn’t a word they should use. That anything is possible yet when taking my own advice I fall at the first hurdle. Daily I think of topics to write. Ideas, thoughts that I’d like to share with you. Life isn’t straightforward things get in the way and knowing that somewhere in a corner of the world there is a person nodding as they understand you is a comfort. Yesterday for an example I felt utterly overwhelmed. This is a feeling I quite often have. A feeling of not being good enough. Too many tasks, too many jobs and chores and not doing any of them very well. Like the last bit of butter spreading yourself way too thin.

Although I should be used to this feeling it’s unsettling and makes me sad. The trigger I think was a job rejection . Yes now I am ready to resume my position in the rat race. Hang up my Ugg boots and blow the cobwebs off my suits. In truth, I’ve been ready for a long time, yearning for that feeling of achieving something. There have been a few rejections which I expected but this was a job I felt excited about. I knew I’d be good at. I visualized myself in the role being that person. But it was a sorry but no.

It’s fine I’m over it not going to dwell just need to dust myself off and get back on that horse. I’m strong, worth so much more it’s their lose yep that’s what I telling myself.

And so today is a new day. The sun is shining the birds are getting very fat in my cherry tree. There is lots to be thankful for. I’m determined now to share my thoughts with you as writing them down is a comfort. There is that person perhaps you, that is nodding as they have those times when they feel the same. Perhaps you have different triggers, perhaps that feeling lasts longer those clouds hang heavy. Whatever the reason knowing you are not alone is enough.

Something to remember x

Sun is shining everything is sweet…….

Winter should be crisp sparkly days with a brilliant blue sky. Everything should shimmer with a light dusting of frost. Magical days….

Instead its dark, and misty. Dampness is the the air the type that penetrates your bones making you creak when you walk and stumble getting out of bed. Everything is brown and grey, the lights are on in the day its dark when you wake up and dark when you go to bed. It all feels muddy and dirty the garden is a swamp. Kids boots forever caked with mud. Hats and gloves and scarfs and waterproofs fight for space on hooks. Its truly depressing and for me zaps my energy. On days like those I struggle to remain enthusiastic my energy levels are low until I reach for the biscuit barrel. Those days feel like they wont end but we all know they do.

Yes Luxembourg winters very much like the Uk they are a struggle. Once the twinkling of fairy lights and Market festivities are put away for another year its back to the darkness.

For the past couple of years after indulging far too much during Christmas Ive completed dry January. Part detox, proving to myself I can do it and health reasons. Each time Ive done it Ive been miserable. The first week would be easy as Id still have alcohol in my system from New Year then after that although I wouldn’t miss the alcohol Id be sad. So this year I decided No. Im going to resist the temptation of a cheeky one on a Thursday night whilst cooking not drink at the week and savour the odd glass at the weekend. Life is too short to be miserable.

Winter itself is wonderful. We cocoon ourselves in our nests with fires roaring comforting ourselves watching Netflix in our comfy clothes, drinking Baileys or cups of tea. We eat rich, chunky heavy food that explodes with heat and keeps us warm. Its about warmth and comfort and using the time to sleep, mend, heal ready to reawaken like a Phoenix .

When I do venture out dressed like an eskimo to give my dog a walk in the evenings I stroll through my village and glimpse at the houses. Your home is your haven, your safe place filled with all your favorite things. Treasures from holidays, photos, books, so many memories a place where you can be yourself drop the mask and stop pretending.

With Smoke snaking up from the chimney, TV on, families winding down from the day reconnecting, disconnecting? I wonder how life is for them? Do their kids backchat, shout slam doors. Do they worry about everything even when there is nothing to worry about? Do they wonder why when you don’t want it to time flys so fast… Of course they do…

And so when you get a February day like today. When the air is cold and crisp. The light is bright showing all the marks on your windows. The sky is blue, brilliant blue with the odd fluffy cloud. Birds excitedly sing the odd insect hums. Yes the garden is still a swamp but there are signs of life. Bulbs poke their heads through the earth. Daffodils sway in the wind anticipating opening very soon. You feel energized, alive you can see the light at last.Spring wont be long now. And I think how lucky I am to see another year.

And so thank you again for taking the time to read. This for me is like sharing a secret. Ive written and harbored a desire for years to write but not told anyone. I think part of it is I enjoy it and don’t want to be told Im not good enough. Its like thinking you can sing and getting up on that stage only to hear the red buzzer….

Perhaps I shouldn’t care but I do. I wear my heart on my sleeve far too sensitive for my own good.

So again thank you. This is rough, perhaps with lots of grammatical errors but its real. X

The time has come……

But when I met my partner and hit 30 I realised I had so much to offer. We had met when I was 28 so my biological clock was banging in my ears my need to nurture was strong. I loved the thrill and the buzz of corporate life but I was tired of the office politics and my spiritual side yearned calm.

Almost by default Ive been at home with my children for a long time now. It was never the intention. I was always very career minded very driven. In some ways before I had my first daughter I had burnt myself out. That determination and tenacity given with a love of burning the candle at both ends meant I was running on empty most of the time. My work was my passion I was good at it. I always felt I had something to prove.

After some persuading him that is;) we starting trying for a baby. My natural assumption was we’d fall pregnant straight away. I like most single girls in their 20’s had spent years desperately trying not to fall pregnant. It didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t happen straight away. Unlike so many we only had to wait months for the much wanted positive result. But what those months taught me was never take anything for granted. It could have so easily gone the other way. Thousands so seemly healthy couples have unexplained fertility. No real reason just wont happen. Those months I went through a form of grief and as the months ticked by I convinced myself that Id never be a mother.

So when a healthy 8 pound girl was born naturally into water my Daisy. My beautiful sunny Daisy was my world.

I was due to go back to work after my maternity leave. It wasn’t a choice I was looking at other more flexible options but it was necessary. I was on a good salary and we needed the money to move house and grow. The quirky house Id so loved where we had so many kitchen parties now annoyed me. I didn’t want to leave my pram in the living room or have a downstairs bathroom that was cold. I wanted a family home. So when my partner was offered a big salary increase to move and set up an office in Luxembourg for 18mths it seemed scary but ideal.

Fast forward 12 years and 3 more children, 2 cats and a dog later we are still here. For years I was desperately homesick but since moving into our own home I have found an inner peace.

I feel fortunate Ive been able to nurture and care for my children. Be apart of creating so many memories. Hot chocolate and marsh-mellows on cold winter days. Impromptu after school picnics, bedtime stories, dinnertime conversation. Who knows if Id gone back to work earlier these are moments in time you can never get back.

But now the time is right for me to forge my part in the world. I want to do something for me, feel important again have my own identity. Earn my own money. Make my children proud.

And although I want this so desperately Im scared. When you are at home for so long you loose your confidence you doubt yourself and whether you can be the person you once were. You run your ship tight, know the routine inside out, can multitask triple task you name it you can do it. But can you stand up in a room full of people and sell a solution successfully again?

Ive waited a long time, had countless TED talks from friends encouraging me, motivating me and so I waited till now when all my ducks were firmly in their row to start. Im lucky to have some truly wonderful friends, strong inspiring women ( and men) who champion me and make me believe again in myself.

Ive began to realise that rather than being at a disadvantage Im actually better than I was before.

Wisdom, patience and empathy aren’t really something you can learn. They develop over time, the ability to put yourself in their shoes, make them believe in you the person rather than the brand is key.

So now rather than feeling like a washed up 46 year old I feel excited ( maybe still a little nervous) about my future.

Ok, I know I will get rejections. I know that some will feel my time at home too long. I also know that initially juggling will be difficult but Im prepared for that.

I feel stronger than I have done in a long time. I know myself, my triggers and unlike in my 20’s how to care for myself.

And so my personal journey begins.I just hope I find a company who also believes in me x

Thank you for reading. I still haven’t been brave enough to publish this on any of my social media settings or I have really told anyone.

Any constructive feedback positive or negative is very much appreciated. I apologize for any grammatical errors but I just write and post before I change my mind. Thanks again x