We had a lovely evening out on Wednesday evening at a very lively Spanish tapas restaurant on the river at Canary Wharf. A friend and I took a menagerie of children to test it out. Tapas is a meal that I think always works very well with kids as they […]
Posted by Family Affairs on 28-07-2013 in BLOG tagged with Camino / Canary Wharf / food / KIDS / spanish / tapas Posted by Family Affairs on 27-07-2013 in BLOG tagged with control / festivals / Holidays / KIDS
This is how I feel.
Out. Of. Control.
This is a very strange feeling – in fact I don’t like it – never been one for enjoying floating about aimlessly or scary rides which flip me any which way. I like feeling grounded and IN CONTROL.
This is mostly about my children. Who apparently this summer don’t appear to need me at all. Neither do I appear to have any influence on what they are currently doing with themselves. I am finding this marginally depressing and a teeny bit exciting.
Take my firstborn son for example. He is somewhere in Belgium. At a festival called Tomorrow Land. Or Tomorrowland. I’m not really sure. In a town called “Boom” which seems appropriate – sort of like they’ve lived their whole life just waiting for an enormous electronic festival to descend on them year after year.
Anyway, life with children I thought was meant to be about shared experiences and frankly, he has gone. Yes, I know he’s old and that is therefore normal but it still feels strange. I still can’t help parenting him from afar “where r u?” is something I appear to be texting him a lot and by the time he’s bothered to reply he is two days of being somewhere else. “Don’t take any illegal substances” is another text I sent prior to his submergence into a two day love-in – or whatever it is and I don’t even know what I’m talking about – are there illegal substances there or do you get shot at dawn if you have any or are all illegal substances in Germany actually legal? So you see? My mind is a little whirl of rubbish as I wonder where he is – EVEN WORSE than this was the text I sent in reply to “OMG the line up is AMAZING” – I actually asked him who was playing in manner of someone who for a the smallest of moments thought they might actually be a teeny bit hip “Tiesto, Sebastian Ingrosso, Hardwell, Steve Aoki etc”.
Are they artists or DJ’s? Or Names of Beer?
This is not good. I am going to make my children take me to Ibiza.
No I’m not. That is really sad.
I’m going to find a friend to go to Ibiza with.
No I’m not. I’m going to breath deeply and remember that I am too old to go clubbing anymore.
No I’m not.
You’re never too old for anything.
It’s all in the mind.
So. That is my son.
MY DAUGHTER – OMG – how worried have we all been about our girls. Out in a resort where there was a brawl followed by a stabbing and now ultimately a murder. So very, very sad. She said she walked past all the paramedics as they were trying to save him. A young British boy. What a tragic waste. Of course you imagine that the whole area is therefore dangerous – but of course it doesn’t really work like that. This is all drink fuelled. THEY ARE DRINKING TOO MUCH. But. She is home. Safe and sound and very very happy. “I’m not gonna lie mum, that was the best holiday I’ve ever had ever in my whole life” – this was said with eyes nearly shut on the table at 7pm – she has had no sleep for a week and is absolutely covered in bruises. Something to do with falling off a stool on the first night with her friend.
Don’t believe me?
My youngest has just had his 13th birthday and is finding his feet. Getting his voice. Testing the water.
This age is the worst. All that testing does my head in.
I’m not sure I’m ready.
SO YOU SEE? DON’T YOU THINK I HAVE GOOD REASON TO FEEL OUT OF CONTROL?
I wish I was a Black Widow Spider, then I’d just weave my web around them all, wrap them up and strap them on my back.
Or maybe eat them.
That would make everything a whole lot easier.
Posted by Family Affairs on 27-07-2013 in BLOG / REVIEWS / TRAVEL tagged with family holidays / Independence of the Seas / Royal Caribbean Posted by Family Affairs on 22-07-2013 in BLOG tagged with Children / chores / holiday / jobs / money / pay Posted by Family Affairs on 22-07-2013 in DIVORCE tagged with DIVORCE / lawyers / quickie / separation / trauma
Reports claim famous TV chef Nigella Lawson will be legally split from her art collector husband Charles Saatchi by the end of the month. Well how come then it takes “normal” couples months to divorce? Although I guess if you’re happy just to walk away with whatever you personally own […]
Posted by Family Affairs on 22-07-2013 in BLOG tagged with A & E / critical / emergency / means tested / money / NHS / politics Posted by Family Affairs on 22-07-2013 in DIVORCE tagged with dating / DIVORCE / eHarmony / london / Love / traveling Posted by Family Affairs on 21-07-2013 in BLOG / REVIEWS / TRAVEL tagged with action / crusie / Family / flo rider / fun / Independence of the Seas / mum bloggers / Royal Caribbean / sally gunnel / ship
Last Saturday my youngest son and I spent the day onboard the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship – “The Independence of Seas” for a fun-packed day of activities with some other parent bloggers and their kids as part of the Royal Caribbean’s “Royal Mums & Dads” campaign, which allows parents to find out more about the onboard family holiday experience direct from other parents who have experienced it with their own kids. Sally Gunnell is one of their brand ambassador’s and was onboard with us to enjoy the day.
She says that “as a busy mum, I’m always looking for opportunities to spend more time with my family. We have spent years looking for the perfect family holiday – one that combines quality family time, with complete relaxation for my husband and I, and wall to wall fun for the boys. A few years ago I discovered Royal Caribbean for the first time and, having never cruised before, now struggle to imagine us doing anything else”.
Here we are waiting to board, in the departure lounge:-
Once onboard we were given the opportunity to explore the rock climbing wall, the sports area, play some mini golf and even see the FlowRider in action (a surf simulator guaranteed to give you hours of fun and memories that will last a lifetime).
Here is my son having ago. Next time he’ll have to make an attempt to stand up, but for now he was just happy he managed to stay on!
Here is Englishmum having a go:-
and Littlemummy after she’d fallen off!:-
My son playing Crazy Golf:-
After that we went off to do some cupcake decorating – not sure my son was up for that until he realised he would be making replicas of mini burgers which were amazing:-
and here I am looking ridiculous whilst taking photos:-
Then it was time to see some of the world-class entertainment onboard the ships. Our treat was an ice show – yes the ships have their own ice-rinks onboard, how amazing is that?! – and the spectacle enthralled kids and adults alike:-
All of that excitement had helped us to work up quite an appetite and lunch was a very grand affair – in one of their splendid restaurants. The ships have numerous restaurants and cafes to choose from onboard and flexible dining times for guests, which works really well if you have young children that need an early night or slightly older ones who can’t wait to dash off to the teen disco, whilst you relax in the bar (or the spa)…
Back to briefly check out the other pool area:-
Wandered about the shops and restaurants:-
We thoroughly enjoyed our day out and certainly my son was hooked “when can we go back? It’s all SO cool”….and it does make me think, particularly as a single mum that a holiday onboard a ship with many activities to suit each individual child (and myself) might be the perfect answer to a successful family holiday.
Posted by Family Affairs on 20-07-2013 in BLOG tagged with death / Family / Friends / giving / Hong Kong / Memorial / old age / service / Thanksgiving
The only good thing that I can think of about dying before your time is that you get a good turn out at your funeral – and even that isn’t a massive advantage for the recipient unless of course you believe that they are already hovering above enjoying the scene….
Take my Grandmother for example – she is going to be 100 in October and I really hope she makes it. Amazing eh? However, she will have absolutely no friends at her funeral – all dead. She has even managed to outlive one of her children. I’m already dreading an empty room. Seems so awful somehow to not have a full house of friends and family to give thanks for your life….
That said, I’d far rather be her than our lovely family friend who died recently. Her London memorial (she had a service in HK and a buddhist ceremony on the river in Thailand) was last Friday. She was the most beautiful woman you could ever meet – “both inside and out” as my mother always used to say. In fact she also used to say “if she wasn’t so lovely I would hate her because she’s far too beautiful to be my friend”. She died tragically, aged 69 from a fatal illness. So unfair. The service was wonderful. Just as it should be for her, beautiful, moving, peaceful and with a touch of humour thrown in for good measure – just what she would have wanted. Her beautiful granddaughter who shocked me when she stood up because she looked so like her sang “Ave Verum” with a choir and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. She reduced the entire audience to tears (if they weren’t already).
She’s left behind her gorgeous husband, her three children and many grandchildren as well as lots of old family friends like us who all grew up together in Hong Kong and had such wonderful memories to share. She was my favourite of all my mother’s friends – she was the one who talked to me like I was an adult when I wasn’t quite there yet, who made the effort to keep in touch when I left home, met me for coffee in London, kept an eye on us all after our father died, did as much as she could for my mother in her grief. She was the woman with the biggest heart. With enough time for everyone. She was always on the go and never sat still for a minute – flitting across the globe at a moment’s notice. She was happy to share her last penny with anyone and everyone and so the choice for one of the readings was entirely fitting and a good reminder for us all about what it means to give.
Then said a rich man, “Speak to us of Giving.”
And he answered:
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
There are those who give little of the much which they have – and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.
From “THE PROPHET” by Kahlil Gibran 1883-1931 a Lebanese poet and philosopher
…and then there was another reading that also moved me to tears – all about Friends and of course it’s at times like this, whilst you sit and grieve for her and those she has left behind, you also take the time to sit and reflect about how lucky you have been that you’ve had good friends that have supported you through very difficult times – huge swathes of time that raced by during which my friends and family were there supporting and cajoling along the way with some sort of invisible safety net and now it’s my turn to help other friends who are in difficult situations for various reasons – the ebb and flow of life – it’s so important to remember how much we all need each other:-
FAREWELL MY FRIENDS
It was beautiful as long as it lasted
The journey of my life.
I have no regrets whatsoever
save the pain I’ll leave behind.
those dear hearts who love and care..
and the strings pulling at the heart and soul.
The strong arms that held me up
when my own strength let me down.
At every turning of my life
I came across good friends,
friends who stood by me,
even when the time raced me by.
Farewell, farewell my friends
I smile and bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears for I need them not
all I need is your smile.
If you feel sad do think of me
for that’s what I’ll like.
When you live in the hearts of those you love,
remember then you never die.
Rabindrath Tagore 1861-1941
Posted by Family Affairs on 20-07-2013 in BLOG tagged with car / girl / son / travelling / washer fluid
Why is it that boys when they’re away on holiday have this ability to assume that you have nothing better to do than sort out their life in their absence?
My son is currently inter-railing with his girlfriend and having a lovely time – I know this only because I am “stalking” him on Facebook – “stalking” being the words the kids use if they think you are actually looking at their Facebook page. Chilling and strolling and eating and drinking whilst I am busy trying very hard not to get heat exhaustion on the trains and tubes on my way to work and back.
He’s off to a festival this weekend and a friend of his is driving his car there to meet him. I was quite impressed that they’d even managed to formulate a plan of this magnitude, but forgot that inevitably they would have missed out a few things…
First from work I get a text asking if I could urgently send a photocopy of his passport or driving licence to a friend who needs to prove that the ticket she bought off him is his. No idea what he’s talking about and strangely I don’t carry photocopies of my children’s passports about my person at all times and no I can’t leave the office to go home and sort it.
Posted by Family Affairs on 19-07-2013 in BLOG / DIVORCE tagged with blob
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