Frumpy Mummy

Sometimes I look in the mirror (the picture is not me looking in a mirror, just in case you were wondering) and think, what happened? Where’s my style gone?

When I was younger I had quite a strong sense of style. When I could afford my own clothes as a teenager I was a bit of a hippy. Late teens to early 20’s I just wore black. Early to mid-twenties I was retro/geek chic. Somewhere around late twenties when I started a proper job, and I earnt a bit of money, I started to follow trends. I’d buy cheap fashionable clothes, that I think I got away with, and lost my own sense of style. This became worse after I had my son when my weight was all over the place and comfort was placed way above style.

Now at 40 I’m starting to take an interest in looking good again! Just for me to feel confident in myself. But I’m a bit lost. I’ve been doing the same make-up for 10 years and essentially clinging to my jeans as though my life depended on them.

Looking back at my style I think my favourite period was my geek chic phase. I also like the 1940’s and 1950’s style. I can’t afford to throw out all my clothes and start again but I’m going to try and remember this when buying any new clothes. I’m not going for a sudden transformation but a phasing out of clothes that don’t fit very well and are not very flattering. First of all I need a big clear out to actually see what I have, then I need to take the time to put an outfit together properly rather than picking random things, that don’t need to be ironed, before I head out in the morning.

I’ve told myself I can’t buy any new clothes until I have a new job. Not only because of the lack of income but also the type of job I get will influence any new clothes I’ll be buying.

I have to be realistic, although I love 1950’s dresses and pencil skirts I am not a dress person! I live in jeans. But I do want to smarten up my look, add a few signature pieces and most of all wear clothes that flatter my figure.

I’m off to check on Instagram what 40 year olds are wearing nowadays!

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School’s Out for Summer

The Boy has just finished his first year at school, not only am I pleased as punch that he has had such a good year but I’m preparing myself for a full-on 6 weeks holiday.

As I find myself unemployed, it falls to me to do the bulk of the childcare over the coming weeks.  Part of me is really looking forward to spending such a huge amount of quality time with The Boy. Part of me is worried. How am I going to fill 42 days straight?! The Boy is not one for playing on his own yet, everything needs my input even if it is just sitting next to him when he builds his Lego Bat cave. Will I go gaga if I have to play Snakes and Ladders 20 times in a row or watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for the 100th time? How many banana cakes can we make? What if it rains? Where does all the K-nex go?

We’re hoping to go away for a week as a family, he’s also got cousins and grand parents to visit. Apart from that we’re on our own. We’ve a few people to call upon for play dates but not as many as I was expecting after a year of school. We have a library and parks near by which I imagine will get quite a few visits.

I like to plan. Plan and organise. The Boy is very head strong though and he certainly has his own ideas. He wants to start with lunch out at Nandos!

I guess for this first long holiday I’ll have to take each day as it comes. I’ll try and get out and about each day, even if it is just to the shops for an ice lolly. For house activities there is baking which he enjoys and building with recycling. Very rarely does any cardboard or yoghurt pot make it to the recycling bin as The Boy takes it for his craft table which to most people just looks like someone has emptied a bin on a table but to The Boy it is robot/weapon/fort in the making.

I might set him some challenges perhaps building something big with the recycling, drawing his own map to the shops or writing a story. And of course there is always homework to do. We’ve been given lots of work to prepare him for year one. I don’t think we had homework at five year’s old so it is unlikely I’ll be pushing that too much. I do want him to have a really fun, memorable, six weeks as it might not happen again for a long time. But for now I have joined the ranks of the stay at home mums so I better get my act together quickly and throw myself into the next six weeks with the gusto of a five year old.

 

40, redundant woman with child care responsibilities, seeks part time, well paid, term time only job!

I’ve been in my current job for 8 and half years and it has certainly had its ups and downs. I always planned to move on after the second baby but the second baby never came and when I was able to take flexible working when the little one went to school last year, I thought why change the status quo?

Fast forward a few months and I’m being made redundant! Instant panic set in when I heard the news. 40 and redundant what on earth am I going to do? I’ve had a few months to think about it now and I’ve calmed down.

The obvious choices are get another part time office job, 3 or 4 days a week, or try to get an office job in a school. These are the types of jobs I have experience of, I’m skilled in and which would fit in with home life. However, the idea doesn’t really fill me with joy.

What if there is another way? A creative self-employed option? A work from home option? That is the dream of so many parents.

My dad said he thought it was funny I worked in an office as when I was younger I’d said it was something I’d never do. And certainly the start of my career wasn’t going in that direction. I completed a theatre degree and wanted to be an actor. After a couple of years of rejections, and badly paid jobs to pay the bills, I realised that although I loved acting I didn’t like the lifestyle and I wanted a family and a house.

I started doing drama workshops and almost went into teaching but segued into arts admin instead. I don’t know what made me make that choice at that time. Looking back, I should have gone into a behind the scenes theatre role. But I started an arts admin career. We managed to buy a flat and then a house and have a baby. And everything is plodding along quite nicely until you get made redundant and you realise you really don’t want another office job.

Taking inspiration from my mum, who retrained as an upholsterer at 40, I’m looking for something new. Or possibly, looking back to childhood dreams, something old. With the possibility of working for another 25 years looming ahead of me I need something to pay the bills, fit in with family and to possibly enjoy!

The risk adverse side of me wants to get a part time job as soon as possible and build a new business on the side. I think this is a positive way to start. But it will be hard to find the energy and the head space to learn a new skill and/or develop a business. I am going to give myself a couple of months, after looking after The Boy for the 6 weeks holiday, to find a part time job that I will enjoy. A new environment, and possibly sector, will provide new challenges. I will try and focus in on what my new enterprise could be in the next 6 months, as I don’t know where to start, and next year I want to be working towards something new.

The next 6 months are going to be interesting.

5 things about a 5 year old’s party

The Boy is 5! The time really does go quickly. Last year we went all out for his birthday party. He was going to be leaving a lot of his friends at nursery as a lot of them would fall into the school year below him. We hired a church hall and a bouncy castle and let about 30 kids run crazy for a couple of hours.

This year we really didn’t want to do that again. The Boy has actually found it quite hard to make friends at school so he just wanted to invite a few (12 in the end!) people, a mixture of school and nursery friends, and was happy to have it at the house. So we went old school, pass the parcel, musical statues and jam sandwiches. That was the plan anyway.

5 things we learnt

1 – Kids at 5 enjoy free play! I did my best to organise party games which I think they would have enjoyed but The Boy and the most popular boy in his class were not interested and without their engagement the rest of the group was lost. We did manage a tug of war and a few goes at Duck Duck Goose.  We were lucky to have good weather so they entertained themselves outside for most of the party. (Do not expect the adults to help shepherd their kids – they were happy staying inside and chatting with the other parents.)

2 – They are too excited to eat! I tried really hard not to over cater. A couple of sandwiches each with some extras on the side, fruit, veg and crisps. A slice of cake and an ice lolly for pudding. But there was still lots left over. I put some things out for the adults too, but I think it was too hot and early for them to want to eat.

3- The Boy loves a present or a party bag but to be honest most of the kids were not that interested. Perhaps because I was offering them all a book! The Boy loves books though. Every child is different and I think as long as they go home with some sweets they’re happy.

4 – 2 hours is plenty of time. An hour of play and they already wanted their party lunch at 11.30am. I managed to push them to midday with the plan that after lunch they then went home. It was such a nice day though that everyone wanted to stay and play in the garden. I didn’t mind but I could see them getting bored near the end but I felt I couldn’t chuck people out.

5- Kids are happy. I worried that there wouldn’t be enough to do, that they wouldn’t want to play the games and wouldn’t want the food but kids at 5 are happy little people. Things didn’t exactly go to plan but everyone was happy and that was the main thing.

One thing we didn’t consider was the post party blues. The Boy was so sad when everyone went home it took the rest of the day and making homemade slime to cheer him up. But the next day he was back to his normal happy self, chattering away about all the things that had happened and playing with his new toys. Next year he wants a special trip out, I’m trying to think of ideas already!

 

Life Begins and 40 (maybe)

It keeps happening, I can’t seem to stop it. I just keep getting older and older! Turning 40 is …interesting. I’m quite a level-headed person and know that age is just a number but for some reason the big 4-0 has been making me look at my life… a lot.

Physically I feel about 50 and look like I’ve not seen a mirror for 5 years, coincidentally the age of my boisterous little boy. Mentally I feel drained and like I don’t have a minute to remember who I am.

However, turning 40 has somehow made me more focused. First about how I wanted to celebrate my birthday but also about going through certain areas of my life and making some changes. Career, appearance, family, they could all do with an overhaul. I’m sure I’ll be writing blogs on all those things in the near future.

For my Birthday I planned the whole day, starting with a day of work and a lie in! After dropping the little one off at school we went for pancakes then went into town for a few hours of board games at a games café. Then we went to a nice burger place before picking up the boy for a party tea. We even managed to squeeze in a movie before bed.

I have decided I am actually going to celebrate all year round. So far I’ve visited family for afternoon tea, seen Mamma Mia with a good friend, been to the cinema on my own and spent a weekend in Bruges. I’ve been out more times this year than the past 5 years, which is why my life needs a bit of a make-over, but I’m feeling quite positive that a few tweaks to my life will make all the difference and a happier mummy can only make a happier family.

Back on the blog

After a long hiatus I’m back on the blog!

The original aim of this blog was to highlight some of the cool things do in London with a family. When I returned to work full-time it got harder and harder to find time to write the blog but also to go out doing cool stuff when all my boy wants to do is look at trains and go on the tube!

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The boy is coming up to five and things have settled down a little now he’s in school. We’re in a very good routine and I’m managing to carve out a little time for myself – it’s only taken 5 years! So, I decided to start the blog again.

I’ve given the site a make-over and this time my focus has shifted. I’m not sure I’d call this a Lifestyle blog, as I’m seriously lacking in the style department, but it is a life blog. I’ll be looking at the family finances, getting crafty and overhauling my frumpy-mummy image.

The older I get the more I find life worrying and overwhelming so I’m using this blog as an open diary where I can share my general anxiety disorder. But if that sounds too serious don’t worry, I’ve not lost my sense of humour so I’m hoping there will be plenty of laughs along the way.

 

Open House

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This is the weekend that London throws open the doors of its hidden and mysterious buildings and welcomes you in. I’m wondering what people would make if they came round our flat without giving me the chance to stuff the cupboards full of the debris that covers the floor on an average day. Unannounced guests would certainly think that we’d been burgled. It looks like a child is in charge which is not far from the truth.
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Shop Local

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Wow! What a Bank Holiday weekend, and I don’t mean that in a good way. My poor Baba had flu and the other half had food poisoning. It all got very messy and miserable (hence no blog). I think we could all do with a quiet weekend now and with the weather looking distinctly British I think we’ll stick to pottering around locally.
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More tea vicar?

teapotIn case you missed the memo, this week has been National Afternoon Tea Week. I’m not a tea drinker but I certainly like the idea of afternoon tea.

I was given a Tea for Two Voucher a couple of years ago that I was determined to use. Having registered it online to get a list of the venues I could use it in, I discovered that none were in London! And then I couldn’t exchange the voucher as it had been registered. So one rainy October afternoon I dragged my sister and her two young kids all the way to Windsor. Which seems like miles away when you don’t drive and you have two small kids in tow. To cut a long story short it was an exhausting, not entirely satisfying experience.
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