Finding Autumn At The Park

Saturday was the official start of the half term break and it was such a gorgeous day. The sun was so warm, so beautiful and it was beating through my bedroom window from the moment that we opened our eyes.

We spent the morning pottering around the house, being a little lazy and giving in the the freedom of the holiday. The freedom of the weekend. I managed to drink a hot peppermint tea while I talked to my little favourites. For ages.

It always surprises me in the most pleasant way how they see life, how when I give them a little time they will talk to me for hours, how they always want me to be included in everything that they want to do, play and make and how openly they love the family that they were born in to. How happy they are.

We ate lunch together, at the table where we talked some more, laughed and talked about our plan for the afternoon.

Finding Autumn At The Park

My sister and her beautiful little family were heading to us in the early afternoon to take the children out on their scooters and bikes. We were going to hit the park on such a beautiful day. It was too much of a perfect autumnal day to waste it.

Finding Autumn At The Park

There was so much excitement about our mini adventure. Noah watched the clock and Ellenah asked me constantly if it was time to leave.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finally we were on our way and the kids zoomed off in front.

Finding Autumn At The Park

They enjoyed the park. They played on the outside gym, the zip wire and the assault course. We collected leaves and jumped around in them. It was just so nice to see the children wearing rosy cheeks, big smiles and laughs.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Seeing them all happy makes me happy.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Finding Autumn At The Park

Making memories with them, even the simple ones at the park, makes me feel lighter, content and like I am a part of something so incredible.

Finding Autumn At The Park

Being with them shows me life through their eyes. The beauty of it.

I’m so excited about the rest of half term and all of the joy, love and memories that will come with it. What are y’all planning on doing with your little loves?

With Love,

Ria x

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The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The 'Leaving For University' Party

It was raining. All day. Our plans for a garden party, to send our niece off to university in style, were looking less likely. We checked in with the weather forecast that told us it was brightening up. We looked outside. Heavy rain. We waited. We deliberated. We remained hopeful that the empty promises would show up for us after all.

The 'Leaving For University' Party

The 'Leaving For University' Party

The 'Leaving For University' Party

The 'Leaving For University' Party

We catered for thirty- something. A gorgeous, continental feast waited in bags while we ran around in the heavy rain, fixing fairy lights into the trees and hanging bunting all around. It was literally raining on our parade, ‘pissing it down’ all over our vision. And we checked the weather again. It was meant to be brighter by now. It was meant to have stopped. But the rain fell, straight down…No messing about, with the lone intention of making everything wet and ruined. And still,  like mad women, my sister and I set out the garden tables with jars full of flowers and tealight candles that we hoped would flicker in the night sky.

The 'Leaving For University' Party

It would have looked beautiful.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

It did look beautiful, in the end.

The 'Leaving For University' Party

Fifteen minutes before everyone arrived, we pulled the party inside. It was ‘The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof’ and the fairy lights looked beautiful against the slightly steamed up glass of my conservatory. It mingled with the bunting and we scattered the jars of flowers everywhere. I think, in the end… It looked better.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The decorations blended in perfectly with the buffet for all, jugs of pimms and strawberries and cream. In the end, the raindrops set the perfect scene as they enveloped the glass and looked quite beautiful. It felt warm, cozy, friendly and the perfect place to say ‘cheerio’ to one of the most lovely people that the world now gets to know.

*Deep breath Ria… You can write this!

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The reason that we wanted the night to be so special, is because it was for someone pretty amazing. Our niece. The beautiful Erin. The girl with the kindest heart.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

I am from a very close knit family and we like to celebrate each others successes in life. Erin has been accepted in to her first choice of university and will be taking a huge leap, away from her family and away from home to be one step closer to the career of her dreams. It was absolutely something to celebrate.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She is about to embark on such a wonderful journey. She is about to meet a lot of incredible people. People who will change her world completely. People who will challenge her. People who will sit with her in the library all night, in their pyjamas because the night they were meant to finish their work, the student bar were selling shots for 50p…Something crazy like that.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will learn about chance, change and all kinds of things about who she is. She will have a lot of dodgy photograph’s taken of her in this time… but they will always make her smile / laugh/ feel something.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will dance. She will drunk dial her beautiful mama in the night to say hello (her mama will most probably answer!), she may sing karaoke and she may fall asleep in a fair few lectures (if she remembers to set her alarm for 2 o’clock in the afternoon and makes it in.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will eat way too many noodles. She will down too many drinks because she will lose at too many drinking games. She will regret this.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She may do this, for many consecutive nights.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

It will not make her feel better.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will probably ponder this over a dominoes pizza because she had a voucher, somewhere!

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

She will get to be exactly were she is meant to be, at this time in her life. She will get to do all the things that comes with being young, with the world in the palm of your hands.

The Goodbye Garden Party With A Roof

And yes, even though I told her all of this the other night while drinking prossecco straight from the bottle, I have to say it out in to the world so that she always knows it…

I am really proud of my her. She has always been so smart. Smarter than I ever was. But… in the last couple of years, she has had to fight for her next steps in to the big wide world. She hasn’t been the girl that everything just goes right for. She has been knocked down…and so she brushed herself off and stood back up. She did not crumble under pressure, expectation or fear…and that is what makes me most proud. Because like always, she holds herself with strength, courage and belief in herself… Even when it probably would have felt easier not to. Easier to give up.

She didn’t!

We have all watched her grow into such a beautiful young lady, so mature, comfortable in her skin and well adjusted. She used to be someone who remembers listening to ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ by Green Day with me, in my teenage bedroom when she was small and then, as if by magic she became the person who I watched Bridget Jones with for the very first time. And we laughed like mad people. Like friends.

So, even though it will be emotional to see her go. It is bittersweet. She is ready for this. She has got this. She is going to love this. And as I’ve said it a million times before…

I am so proud of her and she truly deserves to have this chance, to follow her dreams and to be all that she can be.

With Love, Ria x

 

 

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Happy Campers

The summer holidays started in the best way for my little family and me. As you grow up and older, knowing what makes you happy is so important, as is keeping things simple and smiling as often as you can. I don’t mean the kind of smile that is meant for anyone else’s benefit. I mean the smile that grows on your face because you are smiling from within. And I don’t mean the happiness that you are told to feel, I mean the kind of happiness that comes from knowing yourself, knowing what you like and endeavouring to always have it.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

When we bundled in to the car with our battered, outdoorsy clothes and very minimal other things for a few days away, I couldn’t wait to get on the road and make our way to our happy place. The place with the white cliffs that overlook the sea. The place where you can fall asleep around the fire, that crackles from the wood that you found for yourself. The place that when you look up into the sky in the black of night, you can actually see the stars. The stars that go on for days and mesmerise you.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

The place that isn’t glamorous, it isn’t exotic or in any way luxurious…but it is where we fit! It is where we are happy, truly happy. It is where we are away from the strains of routine, away from the lives that we are conditioned to lead and away from all of the ‘busy’ that sometimes conceals what is most important.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

‘Tent Life’ isn’t going to be for everyone and back in my early twenties, before I became a mother… It wouldn’t have been on my radar at all. I was busy bouncing around different countries and places during annual leave. My passport, suitcase and best clothes were my favourite things. The life I lead now, my reality… It is so different from life back then. I’m not saying that I never want to step on a plane again, I do! I want to see as much of the world as possible, I want to show it to my children. I’m just saying, I’m glad that I am someone we are a family who can find peace, excitement and joy in being outside. We can find the humour in showering under droplets of cold water, hair lathered and standing in the cold, waiting for the water to come back to our cubicle. We can feel true delight in the high pitched whistle of the kettle, once it has boiled after about twenty minutes (way longer in stronger wind)…This means it’s time for our morning brew. Up to half an hour to make and three seconds to drink so it doesn’t get cold. We can feel good about sharing our bedroom with a variety of insects, even seeing the opportunity to whip out my nephews new microscope to take a better look at the ones we didn’t recognise. We can feel right at home in our tent, we can sleep well and we always feel sad to go back home, to the ‘real life’ one.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

I know that I’m probably not selling it to you and I’m not sure that I’m trying to if I’m honest. I’m just sharing something special, something responsible for many happy memories, many smiley faces and a freedom for my children that this scary world doesn’t always allow them.

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Happy Campers

Camping is what it says on the tin. Especially where we go. It is basic. But… what more do you need when you are spending time, quality time with the people that you love. You are not ruled by the ticking of a clock. You are not a slave to technology. You don’t have to tell your children to ‘wait!’ because, well, for what? They have you, in the moment, in the now…They have everything that they need. Your time, fresh air, space to run and to breathe and to laugh…To hop and skip if they want.

Camping might not be for you…but believe me, your fingernails might get dirty… your mind, your soul and your spirit however, will feel nothing but clean.

Love, Ria x

Happy Campers

 

 

 

 

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London 2016

The hustle and bustle of London is less than an hour away from my sleepy home town. London is everything that Faversham isn’t.

London 2016

It is a place for the dreamers, the hopefuls and it is rife with opportunity…yet, there is a hint of failure that hangs in the air, a little desperation, a lonely sadness. Faversham is a quiet place! People don’t come here to make their dreams come true…but it isn’t lonely.

I’ve spent time in London, before I became a mama…and not the touristy kind! Not like on this day when I came with my family. I’ve been present in a few scenes and London always makes me feel the same way about it. Like it’s the best place that I have ever been to… artistic, electric, historically superior and proud. It is somewhere that leaves me in awe and makes me feel excited in the pit of my stomach. At the same time, it could feel like the worst place… where humans sleeping rough is normal, expected in shop doorways where people walk past them and don’t notice them anymore. It’s a place where everyone rushes and nobody makes eye contact on the tube. Teenagers grow up quicker and surely, true friendships must have a special back story. I admire those who fall in love here, that’s a story I would love to hear.

Regardless of these things though, I can’t help but love it, love being there, being a part of it. Even though it is somewhere that I we could never really belong.

When we could, we avoided the tube and opted to walk, it was a nice enough day and the children wanted to see as much as possible. We allowed the buildings to tower over us. Allowed ourselves to feel small, a little insignificant for a while. We enjoyed the buskers, the different smells and the unfamiliar roar of collective sound.

London 2016

London 2016

We genuinely enjoyed the experience of The Natural History Museum. In Faversham, we have The Fleur De Lis which homes a penny farthing from back in the day (and some other local history)…nothing of this magnitude. It  was so interactive for the children and they have been talking about the history of dinosaurs ever since. It made a lasting impression and we will definitely go back.

London 2016

London 2016

We couldn’t visit London without showing Noah and Ellenah Buckingham Palace and the grounds surrounding it. It astounded them, the whole day did really. The idea that London is home to many other people threw them because it is worlds different to where we are from. They didn’t falter though, not once! Children are so resilient, more flexible and open to change, aren’t they? By the end of the day, they understood the tube, the pace and because they Noah asks a lot of questions (about the queen, brexit and what he has learned about at school) and I answer most of them… They understood how London nurtures creativity and diversity, does it unapologetically but can’t quite bring itself to welcome everyone with open arms. So forward in so many wonderful ways, so backward traditional in others.

London 2016

London 2016

London 2016

Our visit to Leicester Square was my favourite part, it always is. On this day, there was a jump rope team doing a few routines and getting the growing crowd pumped.  Further along were some Bollywood dancers filming a scene and on from there, past the little fountains, were a dance group who spun on there heads, flipped around and made fun of us all. Noah and Ellenah loved these guys. And as we started to walk to catch the tube ahead of our journey back home, there was a young girl with her piano, singing Alicia Keys songs…she was really talented. There is a togetherness about Leicester Square, a happiness…good vibes. It was the perfect place to end our family day out in London.

And, as much as we were happy to return home, to our country bumpkin lives, where we are surrounded by countryside, charity shops and childhood memories… We look forward to going back to ‘The Big Smoke’ soon. For more exploring, to have our eyes opened a little more and to make more wonderful memories, as a family.

With Love, Ria x

p.s. Do you have any recommendations on places we should visit next time. Maybe the calmer side of London? Something we are missing out on?

 

 

 

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Noah's 7th Birthday

It was a Saturday. Saturday the 2nd of July 2016…A special one! The day my son turned seven.

I woke up early, before anyone else…even the birthday boy and the sun was beating through my bedroom window. It was bright and warm and I lay there thinking of this day seven years back. I thought it would be a day, much like the others before it. A day when I felt heavy and hot in the closeness of summer. A day when I wondered if it could be ‘The Day’. The day when a tiny, new life would make me a mother for the first time and a brand new chapter could begin.

Noah's 7th Birthday

Indeed, my new chapter began as I gave birth to my little boy Noah, in the bedroom of our home. It was the first one that we lived in as a family. I met him for the first time as I perched on the edge of the bed and he was passed up to me, so small and fragile. And from that first moment I saw him, I knew I would love him for the rest of my life. I held him close to me, close to my racing heart and I felt so lucky. We sat there for a while, oblivious to the chaos of labour and delivery around us… oblivious to the paint pots, boxes and memorabilia from our ‘life before’ and having not long moved in.

It was just us. Noah and me on a brand new and completely crazy adventure. An adventure which has spiralled us through the happiest times, most exciting times, the most wonderful milestones and with a little bit of sadness to keep us humble, real and feeling blessed for how lucky we are.

And suddenly we showed up here. To his seventh birthday. In reality, we kind of rocked up, a little surprised and wondering where the time went. I know I did anyway. It feels like only five minutes ago when I snuggled him up in his fluffy, orange towel, breathed in his newborn scent and looked into his beautiful, alert eyes for hours at a time because it was all I wanted to do above everything else. I Just wanted to watch him and marvel at everything he did. And now, he is seven…which feels so much bigger. It feels like a new chapter has begun.

Noah's 7th Birthday

The night before I was emotional and wondering how I would stop myself from falling apart but when it came down to it, I was happy for him to go forth and be seven. Happy for him to take on his own ripple of life and all of the incredible things that come with it.

Noah's 7th Birthday

And the day was just lovely. His birthday weekend was actually!

Noah was surrounded by the people who love him, who have him and those, who in my opinion, are blessed to truly know him. Those people with their own life ripples, ripples that will cross with his throughout life, time and time again.

Noah's 7th Birthday

Noah's 7th Birthday

Noah's 7th Birthday

And Noah spent his seventh birthday weekend so very happy and loved… and falling apart didn’t even enter my mind. It’s almost like, when I think that I will falter the most and selfishness will fall from my eyes… when it comes down to it, I realise that Noah’s future is just too bright and exciting and I can’t bring myself to do it, to let them go. So a smile happens instead, many smiles actually…And I am so glad.

Noah's 7th Birthday

Noah's 7th Birthday

With Love,

Ria x

 

 

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