Something for the weekend – Eatin, Runnin, Readin… etc

Happy weekend! In our house we’re looking forward to our last weekend at home for a while (more on that later), so we’ll be doing all of our usual favourite things.

Eatin…

On Friday nights we always go out to our local pizza restaurant with a group of friends and neighbours. To me it’s a wonderful way to put a fullstop on the week and welcome in the weekend with it’s different rhythm – otherwise (especially with small kids) we were finding our weekend nights tended to look exactly like our week nights – and weeks and months were slipping away from us. So now a family night out to ring the weekend in is our ritual.Read More »

A Happy New Year

Champagne, fireworks, hugs and kisses, and the ushering in of a brand new year. The celebration of the exchange of the old for the new, an acknowledgment that everything can be made fresh again.

This is new year.

May 2017 be for you and the people you love a year of positivity. A year of challenges instead of obstacles, when bumps in the road mean we’re feeling the ride more fully.

May it be a year of commitments kept. Of surrounding ourselves with people we can depend on and being that person for them in return.

May it be a year of kindness. To our children, our spouses, our family and friends, our acquaintances, to the stranger in the street – and to ourselves as well. Let’s listen more, understand more, empathise more, and judge less.

May this be a year of loving ourselves more. Loving ourselves enough to take responsibility for the changes we want to make in our lives.

May it be a year we use our bodies more. Live in them more, be more inspired by what they can do and how amazing they really are. Let’s put good things into them and ask good things out of them – because nothing is more important than our health and the health of the people we love.

May this be a year of more sunrises – of realising how much more we can get done in our day if we commit to starting it just an hour earlier.

May it be a year of gratitude. Of looking at the glass as not just half full but running over, and understanding that the more we focus on what we have, the more room we leave for even better things to come.

May this be a year of good books and good TV, of keeping up with what’s going on in the world and using technology no more than is productive.

May 2017 be a year of vision. Vision of what we want for ourselves in every area of our lives, and of how we will get there. Let’s write it down and use it as a road map. Let’s plan it out and know where we’re going – because, unfortunately, hope is not a plan and distractions are everywhere.

May it be a year of friendship – old friends, good friends, new friends. We never know who’s out there waiting to come into our lives.

May it be a year of good food and good conversation, and these two things in combination with one another as often as possible. But let’s listen more than we talk, let’s ask questions instead of telling stories – and watch and see how much more we learn about the people who matter to us.

May it be a year where we accept that many of these things will not occur at the same time as one another and that imperfection really is one of life’s only true certainties. It’s in the grey areas that the magic happens and the surprises reveal themselves. Let’s forgive ourselves more, laugh at ourselves more.

In 2017 I wish you love and health and sunshine and sweet kisses and uncontrollable laughter and perfect cups of tea and every good thing you wish for yourself.

Let’s make this a very, very happy new year!

Love, Catherine

Marooned

As I sit down to write this, CNN plays in the background – Hilary Clinton has just given her concession speech, and it’s a strange day. As topsy-turvy as the world felt when I woke up this morning, my overarching thought today is, “It’s good to be back.”

Because for the last 5 weeks, our house has been a technological desert: no internet, no TV. It was an unfortunate series of events – a house move, a hurricane, a population needing to have power reinstalled (meaning our needs were rightfully low priority for the cable company) – which left us living in 1995 for over a month. We had power and hot water, a roof over our heads and all our comforts, so it felt wrong to complain – and I didn’t. But now that we’re back online I fully feel what has been missing, and it’s like coming down from a high altitude. The truth is that without internet or cable TV, I felt adrift, disconnected from the outside world – and when you live on a physical island, you find it’s preferable not to live on a metaphorical one as well.Read More »

Parenting for the future: A conversation that made me think

Through my career the thing I’ve loved most has been meeting smart, savvy women and listening to what they have to say about things they’re passionate about. I worried that when I gave up work to be a stay-at-home mum (SAHM), I’d find fewer of these conversations in my daily life. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because – and it seems so obvious when I say it out loud – we SAHMs had former lives. We thought about things other than establishing sleep schedules, diverting tantrums and ways to cunningly disguise vegetables (not that these things aren’t vital to our day-to-day existence!). And – through the haze – we still do. I’m so grateful for the women my new “career” as a SAHM has introduced me to. Clever, caring, funny, kind women – who are mums first, but bring so many different experiences and opinions to the table. 

One of these women is Fleur Heyworth. I love it when a conversation around a dinner table gets meaty – and at Fleur’s table, there’s no shortage of substance. A Cambridge-educated Barrister, she took a break in her career to have two children, before relaunching her working life with the UK government at the Mission in Geneva as part of the Legal, Political and Human Rights team representing the UK at the UN and International Organisations on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. She is now an Independent Consultant working with Women@theTable and the International Service for Human Rights, and has set up a website called Closing the Gap.

We recently got talking about what the future looks like for our children, and the part we as parents have to play – not just in our nuclear  families, but in the world we’re leaving for our kids to be in charge of one day. I found that the work she has done with agencies for change in Geneva have given her a wide and fascinating view of the world, and ideas to share that I believe we would all benefit from.

So I asked her to write down her thoughts after our conversation, and this is what she said…Read More »

Autumn, you beautiful thing

My favourite season is here. And I’m missing it.

I know that, hailing from paradise, I really don’t have grounds to complain, but in the decade I’ve been living in the Northern Hemisphere this has been my favourite time of year – and now that I’m staring down the barrel of hurricane season as opposed to the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, I find I’m really missing it.

There’s just something about Autumn. The light falls differently and everything is golden. The air smells cleaner, the leaves decorate the pavements, and I always feel a calm settle on my soul: the world is no longer waiting for something to happen. In Autumn I always feel as though I’ve arrived at wherever I was rushing to be, and I’m sitting back and soaking it all in. I just love it.Read More »

Links I’m Loving Lately…

When I started this blog a few months ago I had to wade through all the usual hang-ups that aspiring writers are afflicted with – the nagging fear that I don’t actually have anything interesting to say; that almost four years of being a stay-at-home mum had turned my brain to mush; that writing about my life and experiences as though they were noteworthy or interesting would make me look like a total megalomaniac; that putting myself out there would be an embarrassing failure… But I wanted to start writing again so with a bit of effort (and a stern talking-to from myself), I pushed aside these feelings and dived in head first – and it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Since pressing “Publish” on my first post, the biggest surprise this blog has given me (and its loveliest gift) has been the engagement and sense of community I’ve experienced with readers and other bloggers. I started it as a personal experiment – encouraged by a friend and properly convinced when I read a sweet article on how blogging makes you a better person  (on The Champagne Supernova – now one of my favourite blogs), but it has become a part of my life I wouldn’t want to be without and I think it may have saved my sanity a bit this year.Read More »

School of Oprah

Oprah lesson 5When I was a teenager, The Oprah Show was on TV every day at 6pm. For my mum and I, it was our special time. Homework done and dance classes finished, we would always, always watch together – on the couch with a cup of tea or at the kitchen table while dinner bubbled away on the stove. It was more than just a TV show – it was our daily meditation, the full stop at the end of our day, one of the many things we shared in quiet companionship.

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Thank goodness for The Girls

A welcome beep of my iPhone, a What’s App message from half way around the world. A girlfriend sending a joke, telling me about her day, asking me about mine. A ream of (desperately solicited at 3am) advice on what to do about my 8 month old (who has mysteriously stopped sleeping through the night), an inspirational news story from the Rio Olympics, a photo, a microwave recipe for chocolate cake, five little words that make everything better: “It’s going to be fine.”

Thank goodness for The Girls.

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The Things We Forget to Tell You…

To the husbands, to their dads,

This is what we forget to tell you…

I hear you with our child in the other room, the music of your laughter mixed with hers the most beautiful sound I know. The vibrating baritone of your voice in perfect sync with the joyful bubble of hers – a domestic symphony, the soundtrack to our family’s happiness.

You carry the weight of our hopes and dreams, but you always leave it at the front door. Your capable arms hold our world together, and your cheeky grin lights it up. The Boy who won my heart piece by piece all those years ago – so much The Man now as you coo at the baby or carry your small girl around the house upside down. Games of catch, tickles, dive-for-shells, and building sandcastles; early mornings snuggled down in a fort of your making, with milk and cartoons while mummy sleeps; your secret handshake; the way she looks at you.Read More »