Monday, December 28, 2015

books: 2015

I did it again! Managed to keep a list, and for the large part keep it updated. I completed it this morning, discovering that I read a total of 25 books this year (fewer than last, I blame Instagram), and a lot more 'girlie' books than last year.
It wasn't a wildly inspiring year of reading it must be said, and a high number of these I sailed through - interested enough to keep reading but not entirely absorbed.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Green Lion by Henrietta Rose-Innes
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
We are All Completely Besides Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

The Pratchetts, Adrian Mole and The Time Traveller's Wife (still one of my favourite reads of all time).

We're heading out of town for a few days ... see you in 2016 little blog.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Similarly to last year, I loved watching my children this Christmas.

They're good kids. 
We had the pep talk - not too heavy - about appropriate gift receiving behaviour. Reminders about thank yous and subtly-handled disappointments, about avoiding comparative analysis of received gifts and the definition of compromise (you know, that thing where no one is happy?).

They're the only children at both our annual family Christmas gatherings. Christmas without cousins is weird for me. But they are surrounded by adoring aunts and uncles - adults who are happy to spend time with them and listen and play - there is something kind of wonderful about that.

Stella is so independent now. She takes herself off when the adults get boring. Makes up her own games and rituals wherever she goes, claims her space. She has the sweetest thank-you, and she's generous with it. She spontaneously hugged a couple of relatives who'd she only smiled at shyly last year. She wore a pink floor-length princess dress of Christmas day. 
The length is note-worthy as she also wore no knickers.
She seems to currently be a Fruitarian.

Her favourite presents: a soft toy tiger, the robo-puppy above who is already driving us all mental with his barking, a volcano kit (the mould is setting as I write this) and a 361 part Lego Technic set
She aced the set in about 6 hours over 24 (starting on Christmas night and completing it at about 3pm this afternoon). It is recommended for ages 9-16. 
Charl sat with her, supervising gently, but she placed 95% of the bricks, 'reading' the instructions herself for every step.

Frieda read the whole of that book today. She's also read most of her new recipe book, Comfort, and made us a couple of simple dishes. She's been watching Jamie Oliver and Nigel Slater at my Mum's house and the recipe book, plus some fun dessert glasses proved to be a well-received Christmas present.
She entertained the crowd (us, my parents, a few close family friends) on Christmas Eve with her no hands pants routine (she's pretty good!) and was just hilarious.
Yesterday, as my sister-in-law put her famous Christmas dessert on the table, Frieda grinned and mouthed to me across the table; 'There's layers to this shit player, Tiramisu, Tiramisu' - she cracked me up. We do love this video too much at the moment, but it's got some sass ....

My sister-in-law does Christmas very prettily (and her tiramisu is gorgeous).

As are my girls. And Christmas. And holidays.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

25 things about right now (including 3/5).

1. 3/5 didn't kill me, and it sure as hell didn't make me stronger. But it's done.
2. I hired an au pair.
3. I fired an au pair.
4. Life is too short for my kids to be unhappy. Especially not in the summer holidays.
5. Technically I have 2 days left of work, but I'm done.
6. So, so over it.
7. The big push tomorrow, the big 'putting to bed' of two, massive, growing projects until the new year.
8. The goal: out of office messages on the four different email addresses I'm managing - turn off push to phone for emails - no data use, just surfing on the home wi-fi. That's as off the grid as I can go.
9. And as I'm sizzling right in the middle of the effing grid right now, that's pretty far off.
10. I'm not sure I can do it in one day ...
11. I read this, and it reminded me to be wary of this in 2016.
12. I've developed a strategy, which presently puts me in exactly the same place I was this time last year - working hard, playing hard, pushing it. This year I'm working hard, playing hard, pushing it.

13. 3 nights on the jol last week: Thursday, Friday, Saturday - girls, girls, girls, wine, books, gifts, kids, food, clothes-swaps, G'nT's, laughing and food, and so much dancing.
14. And for 3 nights in a row I had some version of this conversation: 40 is fucking great. It really is.
15. But ja, burnout - let's not do that again.

16. Standing on the lawn in the dark with some mates, watching Kid TV.
17. TWO toad encounters in one evening and I didn't freak out! This is monumental.
18. Christmas started today. A family brunch as various people will be travelling over Christmas. (By people I mean my brothers, and by travelling I mean Thailand and Chile respectively. Bastards.)
19. We've gotten into the vibe at home too, in a nice low-key way. Mid-November. I thought this year I might just put those Christmas books out in a basket with the Xmas tree, but almost the next day Stella asked, with a sparkle in her eye, 'Are we going to open the Christmas books again Mum?'.
20. 'Of course my angel.'

21. We had 5 little friends staying over last night for the 'Slumber Party' the girls have been asking to have for weeks now.
22. My daughters' friends are becoming real people in my life - showing distinctive signs of the women they will become - I'm really enjoying it.
23. I was in a friend's teenage daughter's bedroom recently and I suddenly got so excited: teenage girl bedrooms - they are murky and marvelous, and I have two to look forward to! Secretly I still miss mine.
24. The last push - I'm going to whack it in 24 hours. I need to be on holiday. I. Must. Gather. Strength. for next year.

25. Must remain unfuckablewith.