Post written before I became vegan.
It feels rather emotional reflecting back on the farewell-lunch my folks threw for us back in Yorkshire, before we left for Windsor last month. And what a meal it was too! It’s fair to say Mum was never going to send us off on just a ‘little lunch’ was she (!) and this one, in association with McCain gastro chips was pretty epic (I feel hungry just writing about it)….
First though, for those who don’t know, I was born in Yorkshire, growing up in the achingly beautiful teeny town of Ilkley before moving to the north of Leeds aged 7, living there, in the house my parents still own, which overlooks a reservoir and fields and forests I naughtily partied in as a teen (sorry Mr Farmer) before embarking on a new life in London for university, and then a career in the film and TV industry.
After a traumautic birth with my first son, my small family and I, relocated back home, close to my folks. It takes a village to raise a baby (and a #mumboss), after all.
It was a wonderful 6 years for us all but the time came to move, as the commute was too much for me and thankfully, we’re incredibly happy in our new life in Windsor. We miss my family and friends but they’re visiting soon and thank goodness for FaceTime!
Now back to the lunch…
…I know you all like to know what I wear for days out so here I’m posing in my fittingly Greek style blue and white print Gap dress with a red necklace my Mum gave me she’s letting me ‘borrow forever’ (!) and tassel earrings from Topshop.
I love dressing up, even if it’s just to hang out with the fam!
It’s funny because, six years later, the exact same nerves I experienced prior to leaving my mum and dad for university, hit me once again. A cocktail of fear and excitement but most of all, certainty that this next stage of my life was going to be a bit of a game-changer (just like uni).
I’ve learnt now, age 36 that growth only comes at the end of my comfort zone.
That doesn’t make goodbyes any easier to bear though. I’m very close to my folks so the Sunday lunch before we left was emotional to say the least.
Those who follow my FB Lives will know that Sunday lunch is a ‘thing’ for this family anyway, but knowing it would be a while until the next one made it all the more poignant.
Food has always bound my family and I. So much so my parents left jobs as a uni lecturers and business managers respectively to open restaurants in the 80’s and not only are they incredibly passionate about food, but every imaginable milestone you could think of has revolved around or been marked in some culinary way too.
Driving tests, graduations, marriages, births, christenings and more.
As a family, we always stop whatever we’re doing to eat together in the evening, be it a week day or weekend. It’s part of our routine and a chance to take a pause together and to reconnect as a family. It’s rare for us not to eat together to be honest, and signifies a time to chat about our day and reflect but mostly to laugh together. No tech or distractions, just the family chatting, eating and enjoying the moment.
Funnily enough, when we first moved back to Leeds with a baby in tow, we lived with my folks whilst Peter and I worked out whether we’d be able to relocate from Bristol and settle back there, and we stayed for far longer than we anticipated, not wanting to leave. This is what happens when you mix love and good food!
Our family in that respect wasn’t conventional: us all living under one roof for a while but it worked for us!
Data released by McCain shows there’s lots of different ways you can be a family, and that more needs to be done to demonstrate the truth of what it means to be family in 2017.
McCain has partnered with our favourite: the National Portrait Gallery to launch a snapshot celebration of families in Britain and support the Gallery’s programme of free family activities for the next two years.
Families come in all shapes and sizes: same-sex parents, ethnically diverse, as we are (I’m a British Greek Cypriot, my husband is English/French born in South Africa), some live with their extended families, others are single parents…Being an honest mum, I naturally champion realism and agree that it’s time to reflect society accurately in advertising (and all media) so hats-off to McCain for depicting real life and hats-off to their gorgeously delicious McCain’s gastro chips which made for the perfect addition to my Mama’s Greek style roast chicken (tons of garlic, oregano and olive oil), a million veggies as you can see, and turkey sausages for the boys. Dreamy.
This is our family. Loud, wise and full of life.
It doesn’t matter that we’re now far one another, every time we eat dinner in our home, we remember the wonderful memories made at mum and dad’s, secure in the knowledge they’ll be many more.
This is a sponsored campaign but as always my words are honest.