Lost, not found

I feel lifeless.  Just one blog post in June so far.  I’m finally not ill anymore but it seems as though I’ve been zapped of all my creative juice.  I haven’t crocheted, crafted, or stitched in days and it is a lonely and confusing feeling.  I am happiest when I am making and when I come up against a creative block, I feel lost.

I want to run away sometimes. Hide from life. I would love nothing more than to have more space. Space to create, to stash my fabrics and papers and yarns and hooks.  Space for my children to play, to stash their own treasures, to stop the cascade of toys that is currently overtaking my bedroom and living room and kitchen…

I have an oppressive feeling of being trapped. Of not being able to dig my way of this tangle of a mess I call my life right now.  Each time I feel I am moving forward, creating a plan of how to do great things, I feel knocked back.

I. HAVE. TO. GET. OUT. OF. HERE.

My kids are constantly fighting, screaming, jumping, pinching, whining.  Running amok like caged animals worked into a frenzy by their imprisonment.  I’m tired of being referee. And I’m tired of yelling. And tidying. And cleaning up mammoth messes. I have a collection of cleaning sprays and scrubbing cloths at the ready to tackle the endless finger smudges on walls and pen scrawls on the furniture.

I am a single mom. In every sense of that word. I single-handedly take on the job of mother and father, judge and jury. I am the “fun” parent yet also the one who has to mete out punishments.  I do school runs, parent-teacher meetings, grocery shops, doctor and dentist appointments, ballet classes, homework help, baths, bedtime stories, kisses, cuddles…  I don’t remember the last time I managed to eat breakfast before rushing out the door to get Emilie to school.

I’m not complaining, I guess I am venting.  My kids are what keep me going. But I’ve almost completely lost my sense of self through my devotion to them.  My name is Liam’s mum/Emilie’s mum/Zoie’s mum.

Who am I really?

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Just a little under the weather

I’ve been ill.  This past week all my stresses caught up with me.  At one point I couldn’t even move from my bed, burning with fever, aches and pains in every joint, and a thumping headache to match.  Blogging was out of the question. Breathing was hard enough…

But crochet I could.

And I did.

Behold, my Gumdrop Slippers, careful crafted.

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Someone needs to have a baby so I have an excuse to make more of these sweet things! 🙂

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P.S.  I’m pleased to report that I’m on the mend and have some exciting new projects in the pipeline!

Thrifty Tuesday

I am developing a very healthy obsession with thrift/charity shops.  The deals you can find are so awesome and easy on the wallet!

My latest finds were treats for my wardrobe: a fabulous floral garden party dress and a beaded geometric necklace.

Dress cost: £7

Necklace cost: £3

That’s a sweet new summer outfit for just £10!  Happy indeed!

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I love playing dress up! 🙂

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Five Minute Friday – View

Here we go, here we go, here we go now!

It’s a cold, wet Friday here in not-so-sunny London.

Today’s Five Minute Friday topic is: VIEW

Here’s what I had to say:

The view from where I am sitting is bleak.  Fat grey clouds punctuate a gauzy skyline. Haze and blur as far as the eye can see.  The rain is periodic. It comes in sprinkles and scatters, splashes and splatters.  The wind whips the soggy leaves around my drenched garden and I think, thank you mother nature for this practical joke – surely this can’t be summer.  Such a view.  What a view.  Perhaps I should change my point of view?  The ground is nourished, my thirsty tulips sip each drop of water that the clouds release.  Bursts of fresh new green abound. Soon the view will blossom and bloom thanks to this momentary gloom.

Annnd, I’m done.  Trying to see the positive side of 8 degree (Celsius) weather and incessant, drizzly rain.  The last line rhyming was unintentional. 🙂

Happy Friday! Hope the weather where you are is much more cheery!

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Five Minute Friday – Song

Shhhh…. it’s Saturday, but I won’t tell if you won’t.

My Five Minute Friday is a little delayed but better late than never I always say!

This week’s topic is: SONG

So without further ado:

I’ve always wished that I could sing. And by sing I mean having a half decent singing voice, not the crackly strained alto I currently possess.  I bravely took up choir in high school, secretly jealous of the sopranos with notes like tinkling bells, while I slouched in the back row and croaked along like a timid toad.  But honestly I’m not that bad. I think.  I held out hope that my kids would be blessed with better pipes than I was. Until recently that hope was high – and then I caught my daughters’ rendition of Incy Wincy Spider.  Clearly the inability to carry a tune runs in the family. As I type this I can hear my mother churn out a song in the kitchen. It is being butchered. Something mournful and reminiscent of ancient Sunday services in the parish church. Scary yet somehow soothing in its familiarity.  Sing, song, sung.

True story.  And I made myself chuckle!

Happy Friday, er Saturday!

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Five Minute Friday – Brave

Today I am participating in a freewriting exercise called “Five Minute Friday”.  You can read all about it here on Lisa Jo-Baker’s site.

The challenge is to freewrite on a topic for just 5 minutes – no more, no less.  You cannot edit, backtrack, or change what you have written. This is pretty much the whole point of freewriting, you see.

This week’s topic is: BRAVE

Here is what I wrote:

I have a little boy. He stole my heart. From the moment I laid eyes on that tiny bundle, snuggled myself against that soft, warm cheek, I was in love. Unconditionally and inextricably.  My boy is the embodiment of brave. Poked and prodded from just a few weeks old. Many nights spent on hospital wards. Endless lists of medications, supplements, tests, trials, and all that comes with being “special”.  Because he is special, in every possible definition of the word.  He never lets his challenges hold him back.  He is bursting with energy and love and kindness.  He minds his manners yet can also be loud, rambunctious or downright over-the-top.  He does silly things like hug random strangers and slightly embarrassing things like lick the shopping cart handle.  I once filled up with tears when he threw a tantrum in public until I realised that it was me who wasn’t coping, not him.  I needed to be brave. Like him.  He has taught me about myself in ways I could never imagine and I am eternally grateful that I can call him my son.

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And that’s it.  When I looked up at the screen and re-read what I wrote, I felt a tinge of pride.  Not bad at all.

I found it therapeutic and enjoyed the challenge of not being allowed to alter the words that flowed freely from my heart. I am notorious for editing, perhaps to a fault.  I find myself tweaking things that I wrote back in high school — now some 15 years in the past.  This was a wonderful exercise in restraint and I welcome it.

Freewriting is something I have come across in the many creative writing and literature classes I have taken throughout both my degrees.  But this is the first time I have used the technique as a blog post.  And I rather like it.

I think I will try to keep up with “Five Minute Fridays” — it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone.

Have you ever tried freewriting?  What do you think of when you see the word BRAVE?

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(credit goes to Lauren @ The Thinking Closet for inspiring me through her own “Five Minute Friday” post today!)

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Summer off

There is no point in pretending that I have been able to give this blog the attention it deserves, so I won’t.

I come and go. But for now,  here I am!

On an upbeat note, I had a pretty great summer! I visited the Olympics, the Paralympics, took the kids to Disneyland Paris, participated in the Notting Hill Carnival in full feathery & revealing costumed glory, and escaped on a girly weekend to Brussels.

All in one month. Thank you August! 🙂

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Mastered!

So you remember that dissertation that was kicking my butt a few months back? Well it turns out it was I who did the butt kicking! Yes, I was delighted to learn a couple of weeks ago that  I earned an “A” on the most important thing I have written to date. The piece was a work of non-fiction which provided a glimpse into the tumultuous time in my life when my newborn son fought valiently for his life and the gamut of emotions during that period. And now, he is 7 years old, an absolute joy, with a cluster of special needs ranging from hemiplegia (a form of cerebral palsy), speech delay, learning delay, and the odd seizure — but he is still here, still my shining star. He defied all the odds and provided the inspiration for me to master this Masters!

As you can imagine, a whole lot of tears and sleepless nights went into this degree and receiving such a great grade certainly made the journey worth it. Two days ago, the university officially awarded me my Master of Arts in Creative and Cultural Industries. I am beyond proud!

Next up, graduation on 18th September — what fun to wear that cap and gown one more time!

And no, I won’t stop here. There is indeed a Ph.D. on the horizon….  🙂

I am not dead…

I have been on holiday. Ok, not really.

As much as I wish I could tell you that I have been on a sandy beach somewhere, soaking up UV rays and sipping on something fruity and very alcoholic, alas, tis not so.

In its final weeks, my MA dissertation soundly kicked my butt. I exerted every last ounce of mental, emotional, and physical energy into writing 20,000 words of the most important story I have ever told. Two bouts of bronchitis, one UTI, and a semi mental breakdown later, and I think (fingers crossed) I am finally on the mend. I have been celebrating by sleeping. Move over Rip van Winkle…

Now it’s time to pick myself back up, dust myself off, and get cracking on bright new things ahead. Coming up in the next few weeks is Zoie’s 2nd birthday and party and I have been busy planning away excitedly. I am also on the hunt for some work experience (better put this MA to some use right?) and I have grand plans for this blog as well!

Fun times ahead! So I’m back, and I really hope I can stay this time. 🙂

The Birthday Party

Well!!  I managed to pull off my biggest party to date with 30 screaming, excited kiddies, approx. 15 bewildered but well-fed parents, and 1 busted up sweet-laden pinata — and I’ve lived to tell the tale!

Emilie’s 5th birthday party was a smashing success — 1 year in the making and 3 months of intense planning and organising and hand making of decor. Budget busted, brain fried, but the smiles on the faces of the kiddies was worth all the effort, heartache, paper cuts, glue gun burns, and drained bank account!

Can’t wait until I get the professional photos back so that I can show you all of the pretty party things.

In the meantime, here is a pic of the birthday girl posing (in costume) with her mountain of gifts. It really was a great day!