Credit: Simon Strandgaard

The excitement of the last few weeks and the events of last Friday have tipped DD over into a bout of shingles. Which means no school, no going outside, possibly not being a bridesmaid in a wedding. 

Day 1 of quarantine is begrudgingly done. I sense the next five days are going to be a challenge. She’s started a round of antivirals, and has dosed up with vitamins B & C. She’s pretending she doesn’t have a fever even though her cheeks are flushed and her eyes are glassy and she willingly took a nap this afternoon. 

However, she has her paternal grandmother visiting and this is good, because Granny has oodles of patience and entertainment up her sleeves. We’re going to need it!

Just a Little While Longer

sidebyside“Do you think you want to try walking to school by yourself now? Or walking home?”

“Why? Do you not want to pick me up any more? Are you busy?”

“No, darling, but we did talk about you wanting to be more independent. I’m just reminding you the option is on the table.”

“Is it inconvenient to come get me?”

“No, angel, not at all. I love walking with you and chatting with you. It’s one of my favourite parts of the day.”

“Me, too. So if you don’t mind, I mean, if it’s not a bother, let’s just keep doing this till I’m in Year 8.”

“OK, no problem.”

And that is my parenting win for this week. My daughter is not ashamed to be seen with me in public. At least twice a day. For the next two years. Boo-ya!

The courage to be imperfect

wpid-img_20150825_141358.jpgIf you read my post Wholehearted last year, you will know that my favourite quotes and talks on vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame come from Dr. Brené Brown, research professor and author of Daring Greatly, The Gifts of Imperfection and Rising Strong.

Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 19 million views.

Here are some of her quotes which really resonate with me:

The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.

‘Crazy-busy’ is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.

I can encourage my daughter to love her body, but what really matters are the observations she makes about my relationship with my own body.

Are you a Brené Brown fan? Have you watched her TEDx talk? What did you believe about vulnerability and being vulnerable?

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!


Things Kids Say: Thursday #3

School picture day, that annual event which causes a fair amount of entertainment in this household. DD always threatens to pull some hilarious poses, and I’m never sure until the proofs come through.

The morning of picture day dawns, stormy and grey.

comics-151341_1280DD: Hey, Ma, can you help me with my hair, please?

Me: Sure, what were you thinking?

DD: Well, 40s pin curls.

Me: I think that might be a bit much to pull off this morning. Anything else?

DD: Yeah, how about that hairdo that Mia did for me on that shoot?

Me: Mia the professional hairstylist with two assistants?

DD: I’m sensing that’s a NO. What were YOU thinking?

Me: More like up or down. Ponytail or not.

DD: (eye roll & sigh) Fine. Good thing I have personality to make these pictures interesting.


Things Kids Say: Thursday #2

I apologise if you’ve seen this on my Twitter or Facebook feed already, but it has to be re-shared. If you’ve got corkers to share, do join in via the linky on E’s post.

comics-151341_12809yo: Hey, Ma, you know how bad things sometime happen to good people?
Me: Yessssss
9yo: Well, you gotta help me fish my socks outta the toilet.

Why, oh, why, are her socks in the toilet? In her haste to be efficient, she confused the loo for the wash basket. Easily done, one is fabric and has a seaside motif, the other is porcelain and not covered in shells. Yep, definitely interchangeable.

Recently, all I seem to do is put out fires and chase myself. I find myself muttering, ticking off check-lists in my head. I had a mini-meltdown at work this morning over nothing work-related because I am just so weary. It’s bone-deep. I need help.

WHOA. I need help. (This is a bit of an epiphany for me, self-proclaimed Superwoman!)

So I am going to look for an extra pair of hands a few days a week to lighten the load. I cannot do it all. I just can’t. But first, I’m going to bed so I can be well-rested for my flâner dans les rues de Paris this weekend!

Are you Superwoman/Wonderwoman/crazy lady? Can you juggle everything? What’s the first thing that takes a hit off your priority list when you’re struggling? Is it you?

Have a wonderful Friday, and follow me on Instagram if you want to see my photos from Paris ❤

Things Kids Say Thursday: The English Language

#thingskidssaythursdays #what #tweenI thought I was going to have to dig through my archives and Facebook posts to find something good for Things Kids Say Thursdays, but my darling DD came up trumps today.

I picked her up from school and on the walk home, we talked about her homework.

Me: So what’s your homework like this weekend?

DD: Mostly good, the maths might be tricky. We’re researching homophobes for English.

Me: WHAT? Seriously, that’s progressive. How on earth are you going to find a list of homophobes?

DD: Well, I’ve got a few in my head already.

Me: Really? (At this point, I don’t know whether to be impressed, disturbed, panicked…) Well, could you give me some examples?

DD: Sure. Bridle, bridal. Serial, cereal. Alter, altar.

Me: Homo-PHONES, kiddo, homo-PHONES.

Yep, never a dull moment.

If you’ve got corkers to share, do join in via the linky on E’s post.

Weekdays are exhausting, and weekends are exhausting!

Weekends are slightly less exhausting this autumn because DD has scaled back her activities on the weekend in order to take on additional ballet training during the week. This just means weekdays are a little more exhausting, so I could have done without the two school meetings this week (painful at the best of times, but worse because they were the first ones minus the Breton Bestie). Worse yet, the focus was the nuclear arms race that is Getting Your Child Into The Best State School in Two Years’ Time. I’m deadly serious. It’s cray-cray. But I’ll save that insanity for another post, and return to my weekend.

Our new routine on a Saturday is a lie-in, homework for all of us (well, doing accounts & expenses for the grown ups), then lunch, then DD to class and me to a coffee-shop to abuse the free WiFi and to catch up on the blogosphere.

This Saturday, I got itchy feet and chose to look for some new magazines to read. Clearly, my colleagues have set the bar very high, because I found nothing of interest. As in, zip, zilch, nada. I did discover Uppercase magazine online later last night, which I found quite exciting, but I really felt a little saddened by the fact that there’s so much crap out there to make us feel lesser, inadequate, un-shiny and imperfect. The experience left me feeling grumpy and jaded, but blessed to have the job I have, and to be able to help get some good content and material to market. Small wins.


Today was a little more emotionally charged. We were invited to a pre-farewell party for a good friend – yes, you heard that right. Pre-farewell. It was wonderful to catch up with friends we haven’t seen in a while and we even got party bags, but the sickening reality is, after 6 years, this friend has finished her term with her employer, and has to return to Australia. AUSTRALIA. That’s a whole different continent and a whole different hemisphere and a crazy-long flight to get there! This also means that Thanksgivings are going to be small, quiet affairs going forward (who da thunk that a mutual love of American holidays would bring an Icelander and an Australian together?). She’s the ‘aunt’ that DD has had most contact with over the last 6 years, so DD is sad, too. As much as I love where I live, I’m getting too old and cranky to make new friends now. The old ones fit me just right. Sigh.

So for now, I’m looking forward to seeing the Breton Bestie in three weeks (cue a rendition of ‘I Love Paris’) – we’re going to walk, and talk, and I’m going to enjoy the wonder of my daughter discovering Paris. I can’t wait to see her face when we she sees Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and Galleries Lafayette for the first time. When we return to London, we’ll have my ‘second’ parents visiting from the States for a few days. I haven’t seen them for five years so this is a treat! And then we’re having  a final Thanksgiving/family dinner with DD’s honorary aunt. Did y’all not know London Thanksgiving falls between Canadian and American Thanksgiving? Heathens! 😀

What do your weekends look like? Who bears the brunt of chauffeuring the family to clubs and activities? Any good magazine recommendation (digital or print)?

Let’s Talk About Sex, baby!

#chicks #sexed #birdsandbees #tweenMy regular readers can’t have missed the fact that I’m raising a tween. Most days, she’s pretty darn awesome. Some days she’s your average budding hormonal pre-teen. Every day with her is entertaining, and I can safely say I’ve done more personal questioning and growing in the last nine years than I did in all the years before I became her mother.

One of the agreements my husband and I made early on was that we were always going to be open and as honest as we could be. We were not going to shy away from the tricky topics (like sex). I read Maria’s article, 10 Easy Ways to Talk with Your Daughter about Sex, when DD was about three, and I thought, “Yes! We’re doing this.”

So we’ve had free and frank talks over the years, giving her facts and separating the fiction. Well, I’ve done most of the talks – Husband Dear has been conveniently absent from the trickier ones. We also got her Girl to Girl: Real Questions and Honest Answers about Growing Up and I cannot praise it enough. She loves it, and it covers off far more than I would have thought to address.

Nothing could have prepared me for this conversation, though….

DD: Hey, Ma, when did you plan to get pregnant?

Me: Well, you’re living proof the Pill doesn’t always work, even when you follow the directions.

DD: So you were just having sex for fun?

Me: uhhhhhh……….

DD: Sex strikes me as a sweaty sort of activity, it just doesn’t seem like something you’d do for fun.


DD: 1 – Me: 0

And by the time I had gathered my wits, she was on to the next topic. The saints preserve me!

If you’re laughing, I highly recommend ‘OMG, Where’s Her Penis?‘ by the awesome E. Feel free to share your parenting sex-talk woes in the comments, or leave links to other entertaining posts! I need to know I’m not alone in this…

God Save the Queen

#unionjackClearly, DD isn’t quite up to speed on the British monarchy, based on our conversation today. 

DD: Hey, Ma, how’s my pension plan doing?

Me: It’s doing OK. Obviously, it’ll go up and down based on the markets, but you’ve got at least 50 years to grow it.

DD: And you’re doing your best, right? All the research?

Me: Yes, my love, but why are you so worried? Have you been watching the news?

DD: Yeah. I was watching earlier, and I mean, if the Queen of England has to work over 63 years and she can’t retire, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Me: …

Your Majesty, I promise I will do a better job of educating my child for as long as we liveth in the UK. And Happy Longest Reign!