The Middle Ages

Dear Reader, if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you will have seen the luscious red velvet cupcake I posted a few days ago, to mark my turning a year older. Not wiser, or funnier, just older. One year short of I-think-I-might-be-grown-up-now.

Being the research ninja I am, I thought looking into the mid-life information on the interwebs might give me some pointers as to how best to blow through this next stage of life. Boy, was that a bad idea! It’s all insomnia and dipping oestrogen levels and visceral fat around organs and reduced muscle mass and bone loss and depression. Seriously?!

How about joy – I’ve finally got my head together (somewhat!)? Joy that I can share my wisdom (stop snickering!) with my daughter. Joy that I have more in my bank account now, than in my twenties, to buy all the books and drink all the coffee. Joy that I can afford all the nice gel insoles to support my falling arches and depleted knee joints. I’ve still got about thirty years of several careers to try out. Or I could just keep doing what I do, because I do it well. I love being a mentor. I’ve found my rhythm. I’m excited that DD is old enough for us to travel together and enjoy these years before she heads off to live her life.

IMG_20170422_132637_755So while I’m sure my oestrogen levels are going to drop, and I’m going to get crankier, and my widening middle is more down to my age than garment manufacturers ganging up against me, I still think I’ve got more fun to look forward to than behind me.

Like more red velvet cake. Nom nom nom.

Resolutions (the birthday kind)

I’m baaaaaaack! (minus the Jack Nicholson connotations)

I took some time out to connect with people face-to-face (girls trip to Amsterdam). It was wonderful. There was a lot of good food and laughter and culture and the acceptance that we are all ageing (mostly gracefully). So the next girls trip is going to be scheduled at a luxury spa somewhere!

AMS Collage.jpg

Today, I turned a year older. Not too much wiser, but older, fer sure. I always feel like my ‘new year’ is my birthday. It’s usually the first day of summer in Iceland and the return of hope that the warmer, brighter months are on the horizon.

So this year, my resolutions are just a reiteration of what I’ve already said before. Could-do, not have-to. Time out when I need it. Face time. Letter-writing. Clawing back on obligations and maxing out on family time.

(and happy 90th birthday to Her Majesty The Queen)

 

 

 

One decade on…

Although Daughter Dear has run a countdown the entire month, I’m almost startled to realise that it’s been ten years since she made her beleaguered entrance into the world. That she’s closer to leaving home for the big, wide world than she is my little baby. That she’s closer to getting a license. Voting. Having her heart broken.

I can’t believe I’ve been a mother for ten years. What a wild ride it has been! Hairy and terrifying for the first half, exhilarating and intoxicating for the latter half. DD has made it through hell and back: needles, tests, drugs, more drugs, experimental drugs – and come out fighting the other end. Triumphant, even. Welcome to double digits, petit chou!

IMAG0662On your tenth birthday, baby girl, I want you to know this: you are my inspiration, my joy, my love. You are the embodiment of fierce, and beautiful, and everything that is good. You are sassy and irreverent. Your curiosity knows no bounds. I love that you love books. I love watching people flock to you, because you include everyone and make people feel welcome and safe around you. Your manners are impeccable. Your ability to navigate your way around London astounds me (especially when you seem to know all the secret passages around Camden Market!). I love your quirky sense of humour. Your ability to burst into dance whenever the mood strikes you (often on a crowded platform). I love watching your face light up when you tell a story, hazel eyes dancing with glee or outrage. That I just have to see your face after a long day, for my world to be right again. That I can’t wait to chat with you, and hear about your day. I could list so many more wonderful pieces of you, but they wouldn’t ever equal the sum total of YOU.

If someone offered me the option to ‘engineer’ a baby, it wouldn’t have come close to the perfection that is you. So for every day of the last 3653 days of my life (that’s how old you are), my flawed self feels humbled and awed and blessed that I get to be your mother. I will never stop feeling like I won the lottery.

Happy birthday, my precious! May you have many, many more.

❤ Your cray-cray mama

 

Flashback: Last year’s posts around this time were about re-wiring the brain (neuroplasticity, if we’re using the science-y word) and expat holidays.

Mags, cakes & pointe shoes

It’s been a busy few weeks. I’ve been on social media constantly, just not as me 🙂 And by the time I find the time to be ‘me’, I am all tweeted out. 

The publishing firm I am contracting at has bought another magazine, and of course, until the lawyers checked everything and the contracts were signed, we had to keep schtum! However, it didn’t stop the frenzied calculations and planning happening in the background. This week, I get to comb through all the data and make some sense of it. Nerd alert: this is my happy place, so don’t feel sorry for me. The absolutely gilding-of-the-sugar-lily-atop-the-iced-cake? I am now supporting not one, but TWO, of my favourite magazines. I am almost sick with delight. It’s deeply satisfying to know that I had a small part in enabling the company to get to a position where it could buy another magazine, but the biggest win is working with not one, but two, incredibly creative, intelligent teams. Pinch me! 

39579_1457211161286_1891862_nOn a personal level, I’ve been prepping for DD turning 10. Ten. Double digits, baby. Anyone who says age is just a number has never seen my child turn 10. The countdown started weeks ago. I did not realise this was going to be such a huge deal for her. She has been changing slowly and steadily over the course of the school year, taking on more responsibility for herself and it has been wonderful (and heart-breaking) to note. Her ability to navigate the Tube system and central London still stops my heart. She is a city kid now. Dance is taking more of her energy and focus, as she is readying to go en pointe. It almost seems too soon; when did my little wannabe ballerina morph into this poised classical dancer?

Her excitement about turning ten has not worked its way to her gift list. She’s still pretty laissez faire about what she receives or does on the big day. She just wants a madeira cake (that’s pound cake to you Americans and sandkage to the Scandinavians) for Saturday breakfast, so I am working on gluten-free adaptations so I can share a slice with her. My first experiment has gone so well that I’m just going to stick with it for Saturday, and make a peppermint & caramel fridge tart for back-up. I will post the recipe with some measurements soon.

For now, it’s back to recorded episodes of Madam Secretary and catching up on reading my favourite blogs; I’m woefully behind!

 

Happy Birthday, Dad!

#carrot #cake #spelt #walnut

Some carrots were harmed in the making of this cake…click on the photo for more…

Today, my amazing dad is 65. His adoring granddaughter said, “Don’t be ridiculous. He couldn’t be a day over 53.” It’s a mutual admiration society; they are as thick as thieves when they are under the same roof, and anything “my John” says at any point in time is gospel.

This year also marks the first time he’s finally admitted to possibly putting his career of over four decades to rest, and this is possibly the last birthday he will spend away from friends & family. I have no idea what his plans are, but I hope he finds peace and fulfilment as he enters the next phase of his life. No doubt it will be an adventure!

❤ you, Dad!

Expat holidays

Expats are experts at the little traditions we have to weave into life abroad to remind us of home. In ours, we have the 13 Icelandic jólasveinar, who make an appearance every year from 12 December (not sure who gets more excited about the little gifts they leave, daughter or husband). And our family birthday rituals, which include cake and hot chocolate for breakfast; yes, Icelanders love sugar!

This year, I turned the tradition on its head. We had not one, but two, cakes, for the 9 year old! An Icelandic marengsterta filled with salted caramel & cream, and a peppermint fridge tart, from South Africa. My darling daughter dutifully had a few bites of each before sweetly reminding me that she does not have a sweet tooth, and could she just have a cup of tea with some plain biscuits? Next year, I’m going back to the regular cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Why mess with success?

Birthday Collage