Return To Sheldon Spa

So to end ‘My Weird And Wonderful Week’ quite perfectly, on Sunday morning, Matt and I escaped for three whole hours to Sheldon Spa in Faversham- my secret place, my hideaway. Last year for my best friends hen day, I visited for the first time and immediately knew that I wanted to come back with Matt for a romantic morning of peace and tranquility. Matt turned thirty years old quite recently, so I booked in for a belated birthday treat. It was just as lovely as I remembered.

We came with a little breakfast picnic of pastries, blueberries and smoothies and hung out on a lounger for a few minutes to have a morning cup of tea and some refreshing lemon water to start our relaxation.

The pool was so warm like a bath and we were actually really good and did some lengths before we hit the sauna.

The sauna was incredible. I suffer with a sun allergy and after we had some incredibly beautiful weather recently, my skin really suffered and it hadn’t yet managed to soften up properly and get back to normal. The steam and heat really cleaned out my pores and my skin felt incredible after using it. We sprinkled some eucalyptus oil on the stones before pouring (perhaps a little too much) water over the top and it smelt so beautiful. I felt like I could really breathe and let any worries of the previous week simply float away, completely out of my system.

We managed about seven or eight minutes in our first burst and then moved on to the jacuzzi where we chatted and let the bubbles massage our (pretty tired) bodies. It was just lovely!

I managed to read some of my book as I hooked myself on to the side of the pool and treaded water. After being a part of the promotion on Thursday, I really wanted to get lost in it and honestly it is so good so far. Once I am finished, I will do a book review and let you know a more detailed opinion for anyone thinking about reading it. As I read, I did tell myself off a little. I definitely need to make more time to read. It’s the perfect escape from reality and… it reminds me how much I really hope to write a book of my own one day. That would be my dream come true.

Matt went for his treatment which was a half an hour back, neck and should massage…and I read the whole time that he was there.

Then it was my turn (and I had the same treatment). The massage was amazing. I felt so pampered and relaxed after and I think I may have fallen asleep for a little while. I obviously needed it. I probably needed to catch up on the sleep that I lost when I was full of worry in the past week. When it was finished, it took me a while to regain my place in the day… I felt like I was somewhere else completely. It was amazing.

It takes a lot to leave me short for words, but I was too relaxed to speak.

Return To Sheldon Spa

It was so nice to have a little space in time to be completely selfish for a change. It was nice knowing that Noah and Ellenah were safe and happy so that I could feel much less guilt about taking some ‘me/us time’ on their time.

Sometimes it is so hard for me to listen to what my body really needs. What I really need, as a person.

The truth is, I want to give everything that I am to the people that I brought in to the world. When I say that they are my everything, that’s no joke. The parenting thing, I’m totally in it, one hundred and ten percent! The reality though, is that I can’t give EVERYTHING because then there would be nothing left…no good bits, no patience, no understanding, no empathy! And, I would be half the person that they deserve. I want them to have the best.

In this video HERE, I talk about ‘Me Time & Motherhood’…but I am terrible at taking my own advice.

It’s only when I went to collect the children after the spa and Ellenah had a melt down about who would help put her shoes on, I realised that I felt way more confident in handling the situation and myself. That little bit of time away stripped everything back and gave me a fresh start and a fresh voice.

I mean, I can’t be nipping off to the spa every day for a little talk with myself, can I?…I’ve gotta get real and knock that wonderful idea on the head.

But, surely I can save a little piece of myself in other ways. For the greater good?

How do you mama’s revive yourself and you sanity to be the best mum you can be?

With Love,

Ria x

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Our Happy Normal

Last night at the dinner table, because school life has been stressful for Noah and emotions have been running high over how quickly I am running out of time with Ellenah, I tried to make everything feel a little bit lighter by announcing a game of ‘Simon Says’ to break the tension.

None of us felt too much like talking but I couldn’t endure the silence that was lingering over us, exposing our thoughts. The pending SATs questions that Noah isn’t sure he can answer, the fear that my son will feel inadequate after trying so hard to raise him knowing his worth and the fear of saying or doing something wrong at a vulnerable time. I’m not one for walking on eggshells… I’m more likely to crunch through them shouting ‘F*ck!’…I’m certainly not good with silence.

So we played as we ate…and it was really funny. We laughed, got things wrong and Ellenah pulled moody, sore loser faces when she got caught out and everything started to feel ‘normal’.

I realised how much I have desperately needed our normal. Our happy normal.

And, the songs that I thought were ‘cool’ as a young one played out from Spotify and we sang along and wriggled in our seats to the beat. And we talked about ‘everything else’ and we talked about the childrens ‘make believe’ and we all started to come back to the family unit that I am so proud of. Like we had come home.

Our Happy NormalWe finally finished eating and ‘Wannabe’ by The Spice Girls started to play. So I did what any self respecting Mother who grew up in the nineties would do and I pretended to be a member of the band, singing every lyric (even the rap) and making up some really epic dance moves. Noah laughed so hard, I thought he might just burst and Ellenah giggled so much that she made snorty noises (which made her laugh even more!)… They thought that I was so funny, a little weird…but funny all the same.

It felt so wonderful to be able to cheer them up and to watch them feel so free.

Isn’t it funny? When you have children and you understand unconditional love in a way that you never imagined possible…the things that you would do to make them happy, feel better and feel good.

Our Happy Normal

Last night, I knowingly flung myself into the centre of their chaos just so it started to make sense to them again. So that we could all come back together. Because that is how we work best. Together is how we are happiest.

Last night, Noah and Ellenah went to bed happy, worry-free and with achy tummies from laughing.

Our Happy Normal

And when they slept, I sneaked back in to their bedrooms to watch them dream, so peacefully. It helped my heart feel better. It reminded me to have the confidence in myself to make sure they know that ‘everything is going to be okay and they are so very loved.

Our Happy Normal

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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Times have really changed you know? Long gone are the days when I would have had solid New Years Eve plans. When I would have secured tickets for somewhere that the drinks would be flowing, when I would need to go shopping for something glamorous and I would get excited with my friends for weeks leading up to the big day. I’ll be honest, back in my more wild days, those ‘New Years Eve’s’ never quite went to plan. There was one year we tried to…ahem… smuggle our friend over a pub garden wall because she couldn’t get tickets, one year my other friend fainted, one year I realised that my relationship at the time was over and all fuelled by too many alcoholic beverages and sealed by singing a rather interesting version of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and it would be a ‘Happy New Year To All!’

Those were exactly the times that they should have been. Young, wild and free. With nothing else to do than have a lot of fun (which, I did!) and make the mistakes (which I did!), that I like to think have made me a good person now (I hope anyway!).

I mean it’s not grim now. New Years Eve is still special. And apart from one year when I was pregnant with Noah, had the flu and could just about squint my eyes open mid-sleep as the clock struck twelve… as always, I have thoroughly enjoyed them. I like to be around family, people I love and care about and people that I wish the year ahead will be kind to. You won’t find me curled up at home with a book and a solitary party popper. I still crave a plan. It’s just now, my plans include two little people who I want to see the new year in with (even though they are usually fast asleep on the sofa covered in confetti and the streamers from MANY party poppers going off around them. Of course they don’t hear a peep so I kiss their little cheeks and whisper ‘Happy New Years’ into their ears. I really mean it too. More than they will ever know anyway.

This year, my nearest and dearest whipped out our cowboy hats, denim, dungarees and plaid and made our way to my big sisters house for a Country and Western Party. And just like every year…there were jelly shots and just like back in the day, the drinks were flowing. We listened to Dolly Parton, sang out loud to the songs we grew up with and danced. My mum got tipsy on cosmopolitans for the first time in years and started singing out a rather diverse, if not a little random, rendition of ‘Love on the rocks’ by Neil Diamond and by the end of the night, she was feeling a little peculiar and soppy. Yes Mum ‘I love you too!’…..

And true to form, Noah and Ellenah were fast asleep. Noah clutched a blow up cowboy under his arm and had one leg hooked over the recliner chair, mouth open and dreaming (big hopefully!) and Ells looked peaceful and still, oblivious to the party cascading around her. I kissed them like always. I hope their year is just so wonderful. I’m glad I managed to catch a little snap of them before we went to the party. Their bond gets me in the heart, really and truly.

I didn’t get too many photographs really. I was too busy living in the moment and seeing in the New Year the right way if Im honest. And because we are being honest and all…some of the photographs are hidden on my hard drive because if I so much as pretend to put them near a blog post, my mama will not be impressed, I mean she was really singing!

I hope you like the photographs that I did capture and I know we are already flying through January and all but what did you get up to on New Years Eve? Did you make any resolutions or get a New Years kiss?

Love, Ria x

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

Country & Western Party #NYE2015

 

P.S. ‘Let’s Sparkle This Year’ x

 

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