Life, Death & Everything in Between.

Just like buses when they all come along at once, it would seem that life can sometimes be just like that too....calm for ages, not a lot happening followed by total and overwhelming craziness.

I've been blogging for 5 years & I blog fairly consistently, most days and even when I'm away on holiday...but life has overtaken me this past month.
I could feel myself going under with it....and I had no choice but to let it take me.

We moved house last November....into the house that we had inherited from my in-laws, the house that my husband had moved into as a teenager.
It's a lovely house, a Victorian terrace....everything - and I mean literally everything - needs work.
It's quite a project.
I always knew it would be a challenge, one that I went back & forth on.
Two years ago I said that there was no way I would move into this house.
Never say never.

We are at stage 1....for which we are awaiting planning permission.
We have a great architect, I am doing my research....I am so ready for actual work to begin, hopefully it will all start in late April.

All our furniture is in storage, lots of making do is going on....most days I have my positive head on.
Most days....
First world problems, as they say....good ones to have but still challenging ones, and the work hasn't even started yet!

Next week my daughter will become a teenager.
A teenager.
Thirteen years old.

I can hardly remember my life before her but you cannot believe where the years go & how quickly this time comes around.

I read an interesting article recently which talked about ""Moods & Meltdowns - the workings of the teenage brain"...fascinating stuff, particularly since my daughter has over the last 6 months or so, become the archetypal think it won't happen to your child, but it does....
One day we'll look back & smile, not just yet though ;)

I always felt that I pretty much breezed through the toddler years, I had easy children, pretty good sleepers, non-fussy eaters who reached all their educational milestones without any trouble whatsoever. Primary school went along smoothly, happily, just as it should.

Sleep-deprivation was my only challenge....and that eventually passed.

It wasn't that I ever felt smug or over-confident or that I had all the answers....but I did feel that I was doing okay & I felt in control.

Oh, how quickly that feeling can leave you....and over the past year, I have felt more & more bemused/confused/bewildered with my eldest child!!

Never have I felt more challenged, more unsure....this seems like not only the hardest part, but also the most important since suddenly she is a different person & the thought of her leaving home at 18 for Uni seems to be approaching rapidly
(and there have been some days recently when I don't mind admitting that I am already looking forward to that!)

There has to be some kind of irony in the fact that just as I am gearing up to impart my best pieces of wisdom, she invariably not only doesn't want these little gems in fact she wants no conversation at all! She wants to be left alone.

She's not the daughter that I the same way that I am not the daughter that my mother was.

Different times, different expectations, different family situations & also different personalities.

I have had many discussions with my own mother recently about various issues that we have been having with my daughter - both specific & general issues - and it's been fascinating & quite revealing.

On paper my daughter has a much "easier" childhood than I did, but I think these are challenging times to grow up is fast, people are judgmental, it seems that everyone has an opinion & isn't afraid to voice it & everything is commented on, liked or stuck on a screen.
Social media, is it a good or bad thing for today's teens....discuss?

Thanks to the mobile phone, school doesn't end at 3.20pm & resume at 8.25am the next day, it continues every waking hour, there's no let up.

My daughter is permanently attached to her mobile phone, it's been the cause of umpteen arguments....she loves it, I loathe it.

I have a mobile phone, I text frequently....but equally, I know that a face to face conversation with someone who is a real friend is better every single time than an exchange on social media.

I want her to know the importance of genuine contact & true friendship....
a text is simply an add-on, it might contain real feeling, but generally only if the foundations of a friendship are already there, it's not necessarily a basis for building a relationship.

You have to already know & understand the sender in order to read the tone of the words accurately & with understanding.

It is also extremely easy - and tempting - to say things from "behind" a screen....
words that in real life, you might think but never actually utter.  

Challenging times.

Houses & children....patience required, at times in bucketloads.

This past week I have started walking again, a 3 hour round walk across Hampstead Heath....I love the Heath & the sunshine only makes it more beautiful.
I've been feeling under the weather & am aware I need to be a little kinder to life, one body & all that.
I've started with green smoothies in the morning & am eating better.
I have also booked a couple of trips, travel is always a good thing.

Next on the list : more sleep!!

My beautiful grandmother Muriel died last week, just a few days after her 95th birthday.
She had been bedridden for some years & had had Alzheimer's for about 18 years but she was a wonderful nanny to me who gave me some of the happiest times of my childhood.
I'm going to write about her in another post because there are some lovely things about her that I want to share.

There's something special about the grandparent-grandchild relationship, it's unique in a lot of ways ....I consider myself truly fortunate to have had the most wonderful grandparents, Muriel was my last surviving grandparent and I miss them all.
I miss them in a good way though because just as a happy childhood never leaves you, neither do the best grandparents.

I read a great quote this week which read
"si non va bene bene, chiamare tua nonna"....if nothing is going well, call your grandmother.
So true.


  1. So many things to say in response, so many parallels, so much in common! Where do I start? I'm there with you sweet, I understand, I agree, I worry, I am in entirety in the same boat. And I'd love to hear about your grandmother and I'm sorry to your loss. It's 10.26pm so I have to sleep now (good habits) but will return tomorrow! L x

  2. So sorry to hear about your grandmother. It sounds as though you have wonderful memories of her and your times together to cherish a lifetime. Your long walks sound the perfect solution to clearing your head and taking care of yourself.

    Taking care of body, mind and spirit are high on my agenda again these days. Reading real books and taking time to just sit and do that, alone, is high on my list. Letting my kids see me reading and not on a screen - how can I continue to tell them to leave the screens alone when they see me checking phone, email, iPad etc etc! Running, better eating and as little spring cleaning are making me feel good.

    My 11 year old is pushing all the wrong buttons right now. I am dreading the teenage years already! He is asking for an email / Instagram account. We are stalling! He cannot agree with anything and will argue until he is blue in the face! I'm sure I was never like this, certainly not at 11. Sadly both my parents and grandparents are not alive to ask (maybe they would have something different to say!). Good luck. Enjoy the spring sunshine that I believe you are getting right now.

  3. I am sorry to hear about the loss of your Grandmother. My own daughter has a wonderful relationship with my Mother which is something I did not have so much with my own. I look forward to hearing your stories and memories of her in a later post. I so get where you are with your daughter, your comment on the school day no longer ending or starting at the school gates is so true. Different times, different

  4. Sounds like you are having a wave of events, take a break and go do something fun you enjoy. I am sure that your Grandmother left memories you will have the rest of your time on earth. I have been saying my Mothers name a lot this winter. I dream of her so often, she always looks young in the dreams. Looking ahead at your new home is exciting, I wish you much happiness in it.
    Expecting another snow storm, Bye bye for now. yvonne

  5. Please accept my condolences on the death of your dear Grandmother. As to your daughter and the rest of life, "cast your cares upon God for He cares (mightily!) for you".. Life is constant change but the knowing doesn't make it easier.

  6. Oh sweet girl ~ 95 candles ~ if we could all be so lucky to be able to light those. I read this at lunch today and made it a point to log on when I got home so I could send you a virtual hug. We do love our grandmothers and losing the last one makes things all the more bittersweet. You know they have lived a good long full life but it is still so hard to say goodbye. I miss my Grammy Brown and smile when I see her writing on recipes or cards that I have kept. I wish I had of gotten to know my paternal grandmother but early twenties and Alzheimers do not really blend well and it is my loss.
    And a teenager in the house ~ oh my dear. I know you have had your share of challenges already and I will just say hang in there which I know you will. Like you said ~ someday you both will be able to look back and laugh but for now keep calm and carry on. I know the 14 year old in my life has thrown me a couple of curve balls lately ~ where is my happy go luck sweet pea ~ I have this depressed teen so auntie is trying her best to be there for her and hopefully bring a smile back on her face. OK ~ I have gone on too long ~ cannot wait to hear about the renos and the planned holidays. Love you. xo

  7. Oh my Simone - your emotions are running at full speed, sending a big hug and lots of love your way, sweet friend. Sending my condolences to you, losing someone you love no matter the age is always hard - but memories will always abound that will bring a lot of smiles to you in due time. About that teenage thing - praise the lord I am out of that phase.....haha...not to make light of it as it's a pretty stressful time in a parents life as well as the teenager but things will get a lot better in a few years - buckle up for the time being though and be kind to yourself during these difficult times. I shed many a tear during Stephanie's teen years (Matt's were much much easier to be honest) and she hated me half the time, which made me realize I was doing something right but hurt my heart terribly at the time. Fast forward to the college years and all is fabulous - when they leave home, they FINALLY realize what a wonderful parent you were and all will be redeemed...haha.....That is where I am right now and loving it, although missing Steff's daily physical presence in my life (but I talk to her quite a few times during the day which is always nice.) Enjoy each stage, it passes quicker than you can imagine (and I know you're banking on that right now..) xxoo

  8. Simone, I am so sorry about the passing of your grandmother. Coupled with a teenager and house renovation, it is no wonder you are not pulling your hair out. Be kind to yourself, life is indeed full of ups and downs and you need your mental and physical strength to get through them.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    A big hug, Elizabeth

  9. My gosh you have a lot going on. I think it's okay if you let some things slip for a while, including your blog. That said, I'd miss it! I have no wisdom on the teenager front...I will be following in your footsteps there. I do believe that social media is not a good thing for teenagers, and I'm so thankful it wasn't around when I was going through it. Things can escalate so quickly, tone cannot be interpreted via text/post, meanings can be misconstrued so easily. I don't know how to avoid it, though. I guess we just try to keep the communication lines open as much as possible, even when they don't want to talk to us. But again....I'm several years away, so what do I know?

    Now renovations I know about. You will need to keep those positive thoughts and patience at all times. It will be harder than you thought. But once it's done, it will be so worth it. Make sure you celebrate every step along the way. Try to find little areas of the house that you can organize, take control of, just so you can remind yourself that it's your home!

    And I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother. You're so right - having good grandparents is a true blessing, and how wonderful that you had yours for so long.

  10. I've been meaning to get back here and leave a comment but life has gotten away from me lately. Plus, I'm still without the internet and am currently tapping on my IPhone which makes comments so difficult. I'm one of those one finger tappers. Is that a sign of my age? I think it might be. But I loved this post, especially the tender words about your grandmother. I also was blessed with a special grandma and I still feel her feisty spirit around me. Hang in there with those teen years and keep a sense of humor. Sending you warm (71 degree) love from Southern California ! (My new, messy, box-filled home)


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