Noah lost his third tooth on Sunday evening. It was his front tooth at the top. The gap is huge. He looks kinda funny, a bit odd…a little goofy. Although, incredibly cute.

It was a process, it had been wiggly for a while and I watched him every day, trying to get that sucker out. It didn’t want to budge…but he got there in the end.

It is meant to be simple. It happens to every child, right? It is to be expected. It’s almost business for a young lad. A transaction. Every time a tooth comes out, it goes under the pillow and by the time he wakes up in the morning, a shiny penny is in its place. It’s a handshake. It’s a deal. Final. Normal.

So, why do I take it so badly?

Why do I get a stinging in my tear ducts each time I see that big, gappy grin edging towards me with his little milk tooth tucked in to his clammy hand? Why does my lip start to quiver and my stomach feel a little sick with the thought of it? Why do I take any little sign of him growing up so badly?

Why does it hurt my heart?

I wish that sometimes I could pretend to be a bit harder, with no regard for the way of things. The truth of things. That Noah is quickly growing up and it makes me dizzy.

Why do I sneak in to his room before I go to sleep each night, just to watch him breathing and dreaming. Why does that time matter to me so much when he doesn’t even know I am there? Why do I feel the need to steal his face for a few more minutes in the day, during his stillness, his healing, his growing.

Am I trying to delay the inevitable? Trying to control it perhaps?

I know deep down that his growing up isn’t on my terms, not really!

He surprises me everyday, with his knowledge, his acceptance of the world… the way he handles scissors in arts and crafts.

I’ve taught him, sure? I raise him, definitely! But, he leads the way… he would be bored, unchallenged and uninspired if he waited for me to pick up the pace, to catch up with him. We both know, I wouldn’t be able to do it and I would happily wrap him in cotton wool if he would let me.

I would do just about anything to be able to turn back time some days, so that we could both have our own way.

It’s a shame I can’t.

 

Instead, I have to shove a smile on my face and put on my best wings.

Because ‘The Toothfairy’, she loves this shit.

With Love, Ria x

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Saturday was beautiful. It was warm, on the cusp of hot in the sunshine. On days like that, it’s not okay to stay inside watching the world pass you by from the window. It’s important to grab these moments with both hands and throw yourselves in to the day with open hearts and open eyes. It’s important to be a part of it.

Winter is full of days which are spent counting down to the blissful summer ones. The waiting is a long, boring, hard road… but when we finally get what we want, we don’t always appreciate it.

On Saturday, me and mine appreciated it.

The sun shone early. I opened my eyes to it beating through my window and it instantly uplifted me, it instantly made me happy…and I started counting.

I counted down the seconds for my sister and her bunch to arrive so that we could go walking, into the woods.

Away from the shops, away from people, away from white noise, lists, schedules and time.

Into The Woods

We walked into a woodland clearing and the light flickered over my new baby niece’s face as she slept like an angel.

The Cousins explored and noticed things.

Into The Woods

Ellenah busied herself, picking flowers. She didn’t stick to the path, she mapped out her own route to follow and like a little honey bee, she bounced between foliage, collecting her happy thoughts as well as the beautiful wild flowers that grew there. She clustered them up into the palms of her sweaty little hands like she had seen them all for the first time.

Into The Woods

My Nephew looked upon the shallow stream where we could once cross by a man-made bridge, a dam… He tried to formulate a plan to put it back.

Into The Woods

My two shuffled dangerously close to the edge together. They held each other, tested their boundaries, supported each other, strengthened each other…and didn’t let each other fall, they didn’t let each other go.

Into The Woods

My free-spirited Niece threw caution to the wind and much like her mama, no doubt told herself ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’… with faith and trust in herself and her senses, she was in her perfect playground.

Into The Woods

With the freedom to roam, climb and run, my usually sensitive boy picked up a stick and some confidence with it, to lead his own way as he weaved through the paths. He was grubby, sweaty and he smelt pretty clammy but he looked so free, so alive, so light…like he could almost fly through the trees.

Into The Woods

And, us mama’s… we watched our children be like we used to be as children. We watched them feel the same way as we once did. We watched them connect to something pretty special. The world. And, it mattered to us. It mattered that we got to be with our children. Completely. They didn’t need to wait for us to stop juggling life around and it felt really nice.

Into The Woods

We absolutely stole the sunshine, we took it for ourselves, for our moment to exist, simply.

Into The Woods

Away from normal, the counting, the hoping…the waiting.

Into The Woods

And it was wonderful!

Into The Woods

With Love, Ria x

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I could definitely hear little chatters coming from the other side of the wall. There was whispering and I could feel the effort to be quieter than usual, seeping through the wall and in to the pitt of my stomach.

Of course, they must have found the eggs!

The biggest child sneaked into his little sisters room, probably climbed under the duvet with her so that she knew he was there and would open her sleepy eyes to start the day with him. This happened almost every morning. But on this day, I could see it. On this day, Easter Sunday to be exact… hand in hand, they tipped their little toes softly past my bedroom, over the landing and down the stairs. Here they found all of the goodies that the ‘Easter Bunny’ had left them for being so wonderful.

MAJOR CRAPOLA! Why didn’t I set my alarm and wake myself?

WAIT! Was that…. yeah…..foil wrapping being pulled apart? Shit! I could practically smell the chocolate from my bed!

I crept out of bed quietly, opened the door the same way and followed the sound of little voices.

I opened Noah’s bedroom door expecting to find both children, surrounded by shiny foil while shoving chocolate by the handful into their little mouths but trying to wipe their chocolate moustaches away with the other.

But, I opened the door to a tidy room, bright with morning light which danced beautifully over the two little faces looking up at me as they played with lego together. They smiled. I smiled.

Relief washed over me.

I sat down and joined in with the game and helped build a house with white walls and flowers. I said ‘Happy Easter’ and they said it back. They told me how they didn’t think that the Easter Bunny had made it in time…perhaps because of the heavy rain in the night. I smiled to myself and said ‘Maybe?’ and I asked them if they had checked downstairs.

And because they like to surprise me… They said ‘No’.

I told them that maybe they should!

And Ellenah bolted.

‘NOAH…YOU SHOULD COME DOWN HERE!!!!!!!!!!!! EASTER IS HERE!!!! WE GOTS EGGS!!!!’, we heard the little one shout in her biggest voice.

So we quickly followed.

Easter Sunday 2016

Easter Sunday 2016

Our home backs onto a woods and as I looked out of my kitchen window, I saw the tallest trees swaying around, the rain lashing against the window and saw the wind slice across the slightly overgrown grass in the back garden. It wasn’t exactly the ideal setting for an Easter egg hunt really…but… my big brother was coming around to hide one hundred and thirty eggs anyway, for Noah, Ellenah and two of their cousins (plus the tiny new one) to find together.

Easter Sunday 2016Easter Sunday 2016Easter Sunday 2016We are very much an ‘If you wait for the perfect day or time to do something, it will never come’ kind of family…so we went ahead, threw on our wellies and went out to face the elements. We ALL had such a wonderful time.

Yes, we got incredibly muddy! Yes, it was cold! but boy, did we laugh?!

Easter Sunday 2016

Our afternoon was something along the lines of a pretty great Easter egg hunt, all wrapped up with hot cross buns and a hot brew on top. Lovely! You can’t beat family time like it.

Easter Sunday 2016

And then, everyone went home.

So to round up such a lovely day, me and mine decided to head out for dinner at our local Ask Italian restaurant for some delicious food.

Easter Sunday 2016

Easter Sunday 2016

And…it was really nice to regroup, talk about our day and discuss the memories that we had made. Just us. We came away ready to collapse underneath our blankets and get all kinda cozy, to watch The Croods together … but completely unable to really make a start on the mounds of chocolate eggs which had taken over my dining table.

And there we stayed, happy and occasionally drifting in and out of sleep in each others arms, until bedtime rolled around and we said ‘Goodnight!’ to Easter Sunday 2016.

With Love, Ria x

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A Letter To My Younger Self

Dear Ria,

Do you remember when thirty years old felt a million years away? Well I’m coming at you from twenty nine years old with our flirty thirties lingering. It used to feel so old but actually it’s quite nice living here, peaceful almost.

The best thing about it is hindsight, I say best thing sarcastically (yes cherub, you’re still pretty sarcastic and yes you know it’s the lowest form of wit…and no, you still don’t care too much about that!)… because actually, it can really sting sometimes. Oh the things I wish we would have known Ree!

This is so weird, I feel like a wise relative or something, like it’s not us… but it is. When you get here, you will have learned some lessons, some really hard ones too. You are naive now… you don’t stay that way completely. I’m afraid to say, I’m still figuring out if that is a shame or not. It means that life has hardened you a bit but it also means that you are learning not to let people control you so much or better still, try and break who you are.

You still like to see the best in people and life but you’ve seen another side of it, you’ve seen how you can’t control everything that happens in the world or the people in it. You’ve felt it hurt you. You’ve learned that it’s the people closest to your heart that will break it. You’ve learned how to piece it back together and you have understood that every crack changes you…and it is absolutely meant to. True to who you have always been, you hold on to the lessons and any good that you can possibly keep hold of in the palm of your hands. You know that you will need it to help you move on, move forward and grow.

You don’t hate yourself in your late twenties. In fact, you are pretty happy with how you turned out. You’ve never lost sight of the path you could have taken and what that would have meant for you. Unhappiness, loneliness, pity and unfulfilment. I’m proud we didn’t choose that life… our smile is too big for it.

I’m proud of us for a lot of things. I’m proud that we stopped using Dream Matte Mousse on our skin which was two shades too dark. I’m proud that we always wrote down our feelings, it helped us to better understand ourselves. I’m proud that we knew how to walk away from people who were not good for us and i’m proud that we respected ourselves enough to put ourselves first in some real life defining moments of our journey.

We didn’t always get it right. We gave too many chances sometimes and not enough in others. We have always struggled with finding the balance between being too harsh and too soft, too forgiving. Some of those people and friends didn’t deserve that extra time, those extra chances… and some really did.

We have always struggled with expecting people to live up to our expectations of them. I’m happy to say that we are working on that, most definitely. We accept people as exactly that these days, people…in their own right! It’s pretty liberating and I wish we had done it sooner. We feel more free for it and the world suddenly feels a lot more exciting, new almost!

You have two children now… can you even fathom it? They are literally incredible…like so cool! Noah is six and a half now and Ellenah, she is four. You have been on one crazy adventure through motherhood so far Cherub but you wouldn’t change a thing…apart from maybe you would try not to be so perfect. You wasted energy on that and nobody actually cared about it. I think that you were trying to prove something to yourself. I know that we are bad at math but do the sums, you were a young mama at the fresh age of twenty-two. Honestly, it has all worked out well but you spent a while building a wall around your bubble so that it wouldn’t burst or break. So that you wouldn’t break. You didn’t break! It has truly been the greatest thing that has ever happened to you…or ever will I’m guessing.

You are a good mum! So in the future when you see that line on the pregnancy test and you start laughing to stop yourself from crying out in self doubt… please know that it will be okay, you will be okay… it is okay. The reality is, it blows okay out of the water. It is amazing and wonderful and awesome and super and glorious and yes hard, I won’t sugar coat it but so completely worth it because nothing has ever up until this point, made you feel so proud of yourself than being the mother that you are.

Noah and Ellenah love you. And that is all that you need to make every day bright.

Katie- Fay is still your firm best friend and I don’t doubt she always will be. She really was a find when you grabbed hold of her at play school and hoped that she would be your pal. I’m pleased to say your friendship has NEVER faltered since that day. Rich is still your brother from another mother. You don’t see Anna enough and that bond is special. Nobody will understand your childhood like she does!!! Laura, you wouldn’t have met yet but that friendship is one in a million. When you go on a course with work to Brighton for a week (when you worked in finance…haha, I know right?!)… it is going to be special. You will get drunk, almost end up in the sea, invent the best inside jokes that will make you laugh every time and she will be the bridesmaid at your wedding.

Yep, we grew up and got married! His name is Matt! He is handsome and love has been an adventure. It has been perfectly imperfect and he will teach you the absolute best and the hardest lessons in your adult life. Think of a tornado and take a deep breath before he sweeps you off of your feet the day after you packed your things and walked out on the home and life that you had started to build with your long term boyfriend at the time.

Remember what I said about walking away, giving too many chances, hurt and heartbreak…but more importantly, what I said about choosing yourself in some life defining moments. That was one of them.

You grew yourself some balls over the years Girlfriend… and I don’t mean your boobs…they didn’t grow much. Gumption though, you developed that…strength and courage. And…I’m really glad!

Of course, there are many chapters and adventures in between all of this and a lot of fun but you need to experience it first hand. Those moments bring you to now and regardless of the good and bad…you wouldn’t change a damn thing! Because…You are happy now! Not just content. I know we’ve always had a bit of a thing about the difference between the two. I will say though, you have learned that ultimately, happiness is what you make it. You can actually choose it… and you must, always!

The thing that I’m thankful our adult life has taught us is that anything bad that has ever happened, anything mean anyone has said or how negativity has made you feel… It really is empowering. You survived it! You realise that nobody comes out of life unscathed and the more people you talk to about their stories, you will often feel sick, surprised, sad… and you will be ever so grateful for your own.

You’ve said goodbye to the bad parts. Others aren’t as lucky as you.

And on that note… I’m excited for everything to come ‘Smaller Me’… I can feel adventure in our heart, our smiler is bigger than ever and I’m really looking after us. Please don’t be in too much of a hurry to get here, okay? Promise me?

Love, Ria x

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For the last two months, my go to lipstick which I have been reaching for on a daily basis is Angel by Mac Cosmetics.

Mac Angel Lipstick

Believe it or not (because it is one of Mac’s bestsellers!), this is quite a recent addition to my make-up collection and it only found its way there because the shade ‘Creme Cup’ wasn’t available at the time of purchase. Creme Cup is an oldie but a goldie to me and ‘Angel is the next best thing!’ as the lady behind the counter told me. I actually prefer Angel now.

It is a frost finish which gives it a very pretty pearl effect to the lips and it is supper flattering for an every day look. I am in love with how much control I have over the colour payoff. It applies quite sheer but it is so buildable and can result in quite a few different looks… you could easily take this little beauty in to the night.

I have fair skin and I really like the way that it looks on me. Some pink nudes can wash me out and make my face look very flat. This shade really lifts my face and makes me feel super confident… and dare I say pretty?

I don’t wear this with a liner or a gloss, it is very low maintenance and because I don’t have much time, I really appreciate that in a lipstick (and anything where beauty is concerned really!)

It lasts really well on the lips, especially for a formula that is quite sheer and actually what I like most about this product is that when it starts to wear off and away, it leaves your lips looking so moisturised, plump and like you have still made an effort to pull yourself together. Because the colour gradually wears away, it leaves that slight pearl tint to your lips for hours which looks beautiful. It doesn’t go patchy and you don’t need to worry about what your pout looks like so you can wear it with confidence. I am terrible at re-applying so this lipstick is simply perfect for me.

I would definitely recommend and truly believe that it is well worth the £15.50 price tag.

With Love, Ria x

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