So half term was part ‘chill out’ time and part ‘let’s start prepping for our move down South’. We won’t move until the summer and whilst I lived in London for 11 years before relocating back when Oliver was 1, it feels like quite a big move as we have two kids now.
You can read about why we’re moving in more detail in my post ‘Moving Back Down South‘.
It’s exciting times. Very exciting times.
So 4 days were spent driving around Berkshire and Windsor, scoping where we might live, hanging out with friends and basically eating our own body weight in Pizza Express and Nandos on rotation: the kids’ faves.
Let me tell you something you already know that I learnt on this trip.
When you hang out with people you love without the day-to-day stresses of life, that endless juggle, just having fun, you become your most bad ass, amazing self. Like the most chilled out happy mama you could hope to be. I was walking on air the entire time, wondering why I can’t be always be Miss (freaking) Honey rather than Miss Trunchbull every day!
Xander being the diva that he is if he’s not centre stage when we’re snapping!
I’ve also realised I need to be outside, in the countryside more. Ironic as we currently live in the Yorkshire countryside, but being a blogger and vlogger means most of my days are spent tapping away on my laptop from my kitchen table, only getting some air on the school run.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore the creativity, freedom and flexibility of being a mumboss. I love it all. But I also love getting outdoors, hugging trees (I know I’m a bit of loon but you wouldn’t want me any other way, right) and being at one with blooming flowers and greenery as far as the eye can see.
I need to feel free in work and in life and nothing feels more liberating than getting your Hunters on and hitting the open countryside.
My good friend Jacqui, blogger extraordinaire at Mummy’s Little Monkey and one of my oldest blogging comrades (above), suggested we spent the day together at Cliveden House near to where she lives. For over 300 years Cliveden was an exquisite home to some extraordinary characters from earls to dukes and even a prince. It’s achingly beautiful there and we could have spent our entire holiday in its grounds.
…Our kids had never met before but after the initial shyness, were soon playing under the trees in a makeshift den and pulling poses like only bloggers’ kids can. It was a total dreamboat of a day. A chance to catch up with Jacqui and frankly, start planning our new lives. Working out where we’d go with the kids on weekends, foreseeing how we might live when we finally move. It’s sounds a little weird writing this on (digital) paper but it’s that downtime that dreams are made of, the ability to imagine the life you’ll lead, with your family. It’s the end point that helps us through the greyer, more emotional areas of leaving family we love here and uprooting our babes..
I have to say, these pictures make my heart swell. That sweet sunshine in a usually cold February at the most elegant of stately homes, our kids just being kids exploring, playing and posing together making me want to wee my pants. Hashtag Tena Lady. It was seriously the most perfect day.
I also got a chance to hang out with one of my best pals during our break: William Wynn-Jones who I’ve written about on the blog before (he’s the last man standing when it comes to my male friends and was always my fave take that former loser male mates ;). Seriously though, Will is someone I love like a brother. I adore his wife Sarah who I feel like I’ve known forever, and I fell instantly in love with their beautiful son, Henry whom I met for the first time on Sunday.
Dining at Bill’s scoffing the entire menu between us (no joke), catching up on a whole year’s worth of life in person since we last met in 4D was a flipping joy. We worked off the bajillion calories after with a walk by the gardens adjacent to Windsor Castle.
Will and I have known each other since our uni days, he studied medicine, I, media. I’m so proud and grateful our friendship has survived these many years and a million fun times from revising together in Hyde Park to wild nights out in the West End and just being there for one another through milestones in our lives. I literally can’t think of a memory at uni that didn’t feature Will.
I’m so excited to see his family grow with another baby due in the summer and as cheesy as it sounds but to witness Will go from a young man to a Daddy.
Will is the most gifted doctor too and a true trailblazer in all that he does (he’s so humble that he will completely hate me for writing that but it’s true and I’m certain the world will witness this soon for themselves). I actually remember Will and I walking around the National Portrait Gallery one weekend during our university days, and Will informed me quite matter-of-factly that he was certain my portrait would one day hang in there. What an honour and goal to have. I hope I don’t let him down. I am certain Will’s own portrait will do. He’s the sort of chap who is heading for a knighthood one day, mark my words.
I also managed a shopping trip to Festival Place Shopping Centre in Basingstoke where the boys bought new white Converse trainers that I’m not banking on remaining white for long.
…So, there you have it. Time away, a slice of complete and utter bliss in what can sometimes feel like one tremendous whirlwind at times.
It was more than trip away to be honest. It was a turning point. Our break reinforced that a move for this family, is absolutely, the right move.
Soon, the house hunting will begin.
I’ll be sharing a vlog of our week, the start of weekly vlogs, soon!
P.S. I’d like to say thank you for all the emails, messages, comments and support I’ve received from readers after my post on moving went live yesterday. The kindness and care that so many of you have taken, even from as far as the US to wish us luck and to offer suggestions of areas and estate agents has blown me away. Thank you so much x