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What I dun on my weekend: Autumn flava and a dead squirrel.

What I dun on my weekend: Autumn flava and a dead squirrel.

Well, now it’s technically gone and done an Autumn *gumble grumble where was the Summer please grumble arse grumble*.

I don’t really mind the idea of Autumn – all cosying up with #cinnamonlatte and fairisle socks while you hug a few pumpkins next to a radiator and hide from children doing the annual sweet collection dressed as skeletons and witches. But the days of everlasting greyness plus the diminishing daylight, all multplied by never knowing what the fuck to wear because will it rain??? Will the sunshine be kind?? Is the scarf overkill??? Was this jacket too light?? WHY DID I NOT WEAR THERMAL LEGGINGS?!?! Ugh.

I find Autumn quite melancholic, although necessary. I used to really enjoy September with everything feeling quite “new school term!” and the fresher temperature, but that’s changed in the past few years because I love the Summer, and we don’t really get a proper one in the UK, so I feel like I’m mourning the death of a season that only half showed up, the fickle fucker. I’ve only had my Summer duvet on for about five fucking minutes, and it looks like I’ll be changing it back up to the chunky mutha sooner rather than later.

I’m an Autumn baby, too, so I feel I should LOVE this time of year. But while most posts you see or read on the subject of Autumn are all “LOOK AT MY GINGERBREAD MAN PYJAMAS/HOT CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!!/OOOOOH IT’S NEARLY C-WORD (LOL LOL LOL I DIDN’T SAY IT BUT LOL CAN I PUT MY TREE UP YET LOL)”, I’m all “CAN I PUT THE FUCKING HEATING ON YET?!?!/YORKSHIRE GOLD OR GTFO/WHO LEFT THE GATE OPEN AT THE C-WORD FARM BECAUSE THEIR APPEAR TO BE FUCKING CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS IN THE SHOPS ALREADY”

This weekend was the start of the Autumn, and I’m trying to make sure that I spend as much of my weekend outside as possible.

We hit up Oldbury Park in Fishponds on Saturday, threw some pooh sticks, flew a kite (badly) and went for a long stroll. Unfortunately, we also saw a squirrel murdered by two Lurchers. We all froze to the spot with mouths agape, Noemi included, while these two dogs cornered the creature and ripped it to shreds. It all happened so quickly and it was squeaking while the owner tried to extricate it from his dogs’ mouths. Sooo, yeah. That happened.

But, y’know, otherwise a lovely day…

On Sunday, we ventured out of Bristol to Marlborough. A couple of years ago my family and I moved from Southampton to Bristol. I didn’t really gel with Southampton, but loved the friends we’d made there, so we like to try and meet up with them relatively regularly, especially when they do things like, y’know, create brand new humans together. Cute babies, pub lunch, ridiculously changeable weather, and a walk around Avebury stone circle before tea and cake. Because tea. And cake.

Despite the fact I’m a bit of a grumpy bitch about the whole “Autumn” shenanigans, this weekend suited me fine.

In defence of inconsistency

In defence of inconsistency

Consistency has been a concept I have struggled with for MANY. FUCKING. YEARS.

Seriously, even writing this post has endured some fairly industrial level procrastination. In fact before even finishing the first sentence, I have:

  • Watched an entire episode of Pretty Little Liars (TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF OF THOSE PANTS OF JUDGEMENT. I SEE YOU…)
  • Had a shower
  • Got dressed
  • Sent WhatsApp messages to Lotte (follow her, because she’s FUCKING AMAZING) (Aside: I also made an epic typo of boundless hilarity, and now “Wetherspoons”, the brand of affordable and popular British uber-pubs, shall now henceforth be known as “Wergerspoobs”. Much better.)
  • You will notice that even this list suffers with procrastination and lacks consistency
  • Seagulls
  • Ballsack
  • I don’t even know what I’m doing…

My school reports are all dotted with “Gemma doesn’t apply herself” and “Gemma lacks consistency”. And to be honest, I’ve always known there was more in me, I just didn’t see the point of studying for History or Religious Studies when, really, what was I actually going to do with those in my life? (PRO TIP for any teens out there wondering if there really is any point to studying these subjects, I can conclusively declare NO, there is literally and figuratively not one point UNLESS you like them and enjoy them or you just really want to own it at Trivial Pursuit. Get the basics sorted with Maths and English, try and remember a few phrases in a different language that enable you to get by when your family find themselves lost looking for the B&B in a quiet European village and everything else? Seriously, just do the ones you enjoy. Operative word being YOU. Lesson over…)

Even with things that I love, I lack the staying power. I get to a certain level and I’m, well, just done with it. Guitar, keyboard, roller skating, reiki, Michael Jackson.

And consistency is the thing you really need in your life if there’s an area that you want to become masterful in. Running a business, for example, means consistently, day in, day out doing something that moves your business forward, that keeps you in the forefront of people’s minds. Being a fucking epic piano player means, day in, day out, practising playing the piano and the theory and putting your music out there in the ether. Same for being great at a sport, same for pretty much anything else you want to be great at.

But, the big issue is that CONSISTENCY IS FUCKING BORING. It’s ENDLESSLY DULL. The few things I wanted to do endlessly as a youngster were gymnastics, art and singing – and even some of those had boring bits in. The former stopped when my mum decided I wasn’t going to lessons anymore (heartbreaking), and the latter two ended when I went to Grammar school and realised that there were so many other people better than me, so really, what was the point. (Plus, I won’t lie, boys were increasingly more interesting.)

If you are like me, there are two ways you can approach the lack of consistency problem:

1. Choke down consistency every day, and just get it done and reap the rewards of achieving the goal that you desperately want to achieve.

or

2. Accept that you are never going to fall in love with the process of doing the endless work and – despite what the world might say about it – stand proud in your ok-ness about that.

Fact is, it’s OK to be a perpetual starter; things can never be truly finished anyway, especially when it comes to art or anything creative. It’s OK to only do things that you like. You might not be the next trillionaire business mogul, but is that what you even want? (Hint: if it is, then seriously, choke that consistency down like the filthy gruel it can be or get someone else to do the bits you hate).

When you grow up in a world that wants you to hit goals here and achieve All The Things, it can be hard to understand that, actually, it’s totally fucking fine to flow from one thing to the next, doing what you enjoy.

Looking back on all my reports, my lack of consistency and lack of application were down to the fact I was pretty bored. Boredom for me means I either need to step up to the next level of challenge in that area, or I just need to stop doing the thing that’s making me feel bored and try something completely different. I’d wager the same is true for you.

Find the enjoyment in your own process; and hey, it’s ok if that process looks like the physical dance interpretation of fusion jazz while tripping on mushrooms.

A local fair for local people

A local fair for local people

One of my favourite pastimes is haemorrhaging money so my child can bounce on different equipment, so when we heard that our local fair was in town over the weekend, we hit up that mother faster than you can say “four minutes bouncing for £4”.

It started well; £7.50 entrance fee, and we lost my mother to the second hand stalls around the perimeter. We’ve started a concerted effort to help Noemi understand the value of money by giving her a set amount at events like this and letting her decide how she wants to spend it, but understanding that once it’s gone, it’s gone.

You have never seen a child become so frugal in such a short space of time, so tentatively, I think it’s working.

First stop: Spacehopper Hurdles

Yes, it was as cool as it looks. Noemi excelled herself against a couple of two year olds who couldn’t quite fit on the Spacehoppers properly, and won a rosette for her efforts.

There are some things that are quite commonplace at all local fairs in the UK – perhaps elsewhere, too:

  1. A rock band with a singer dressed like she’s going to fancy dress party as a medieval serving maid
  2. Five different types of bouncy castle, all with extortionate prices-per-minute and teeming with more than the recommended safe number of children.
  3. Groups of bored teens
  4. Rain, or the threat of rain
  5. A parent trying to console a screaming little shit child.

And there are things that never happen at local fairs, like leaving with change from a twenty pound note.

Noemi’s next bouncing apparatus was a castle/slide combo. By the way, it turns out it is really fucking hard to get Noemi in focus while bouncing, so these rather artsy shots will simply have to do.

Jon and I laughed for the full five minute bounce time at the name of the bouncy castle manufacturer. That name was fucking inspired!

Our next move was a bit of a mistake, because we decided to wait in a MAMMOTH FUCKING QUEUE so that Noemi could end up on one of those trampoline bungee thingies.

FORTY-FIVE MINUTES (and one tin of Thatcher’s cider – mine, I hasten to add) LATER, and she was launching herself into the air with the greatest of ease.

After spending her final 30p on a Sherbet Dip Dab (STILL A THING APPARENTLY!), we watched four impressive ladies showing us their Zumba skills on stage and headed home.

About that playdate…

About that playdate…

The kids be CRAZY after school. New year, new term, new teacher. It’s all a touch overwhelming, really.

A weekday play date seemed just the tonic.

Or so we thought…

It started out well playing quietly with the train set. Us mums drank tea. Then it quickly degenerated.

“I’m making a Mummy Block!”, my friend and I heard from upstairs.

Oh dear… In case you aren’t clued up on what a “Mummy Block” is, just imagine a pile of ANYTHING  found easily to hand in a child’s bedroom blocking the door to stop grown-ups entering. Luckily, we arrived to a pile of ankle height Schleich animals, Not too taxing a blockade.

Then, I was brutally attacked by a crocodile.

Fearsome.

But suddenly, the battle cry came, “LET’S THROW ALL OUR CLOTHES ON THE FLOOR!”

And within mere minutes, we watched dejectedly as three young children gleefully threw every conceivable item they could find on the floor. Pants, socks, t-shirts, handknitted cardies, fluorescent trousers – you name it, it came out.

Piles and piles and piles of it. It was actually quite impressive.

After a brief respite of a fish finger tea, us mums grabbed some bags and stuffed all the clothes into bags. Because, come on, it was 5.30pm and re-folding and tidying away reams of clothes was not going to happen that night. Added to that, we were surrounded by three children with that special glint in their eye – the glint that says “Welcome to Crazytown. Population :ME”.

Us mums were corralled into the lounge and screamed at for several minutes – not in the tantrum way, but in the “how-loud-can-we-scream-this-is-hilarious-hahaha-now-mum-has-a-headache” kind of way. I let the kids take pictures using my camera. Possibly a mistake, as I ended up with several shot of the ceiling, the arm of the sofa, some books, and three pictures of Noemi’s (clothed) arse. I was snapped myself, however, and here is that result…

A strong look, I think you’ll agree.

Things I found in my house today left randomly by my child

Things I found in my house today left randomly by my child

Now I’m 5 years into this parenting lark, I’ve become used to lots of stuff that I’d barely even thought of before I had a child; only ever knowing the names of people’s babies at parent-and-baby groups, human faeces – seeing, smelling and talking about it on a daily basis, tantrums, never being able to leave the house without shouting words like “toilet!” and “shoes!” at least seven times.

But unless you have one of those magical children who love tidiness and order, you’ll likely have experienced the phenomena I call “random children’s crap creep”.

My daughter has an innate talent of wandering into rooms, depositing her random possessions on available surfaces and then leaving. It’s like discrete fly tipping (only you can never throw away these items, because ARE YOU FUCKING MENTAL?!). If left unchecked, the crap creeps into other areas. Sometimes there are special crap collection zones where, in the space of a 24 hour period, unprecedented amounts of utter shite can pile up often causing anger (yours) or injury (also yours, fucking Lego and Schleich toys).

This post serves as a part-documentation, part-art-project on the random crap I found in my house today.

1// The Stinky Animals Are On My Fucking Bed Again

Noemi’s favourite bedtime foursome. They’re well-loved and infrequently-washed (hence “stinky”). Often there’s an individual animal that goes walkabout. Stinky Rabbit (the one far right), once disastrously got trapped under her mattress for a week. When I found her, I had to write a postcard saying she’d been to Spain.

 

2// Bracelet On Carpet

We’ll just ignore the state of our bedroom carpet here (threadbare. Moving on.). Noemi made this bracelet with a bead set she bought with some birthday vouchers. No idea why it’s on the floor in my room or how long it’s been there.

 

3// Floorasaurus

Another floor decoration. A Brachiasaurus. Great artwork. My bedroom floor is not the place to be displaying it, however.

 

4// Love Notes

Two felt hearts and a piece of paper that says only the words “daddy”. That’s it. Discarded artwork is a strong theme in our house, apparently.

 

5// Miscellaneous Nature

Kids love nature. They love it so much. I honestly wish shops could take acorns and dead daisies as currency because I’d be one rich bitch if that happened based on the state of my handbag. This fir cone is currently sitting on my kitchen worktop amongst a pile of paperwork and admin that I can’t be arsed to handle.

 

6// Whatever The Fuck This Is On My Bathroom Shelf

WHAT EVEN IS IT?! It looks like a tiny plastic hat in the style of Brian from East17. WHY?!

 

7// The Place That Everything Gets Left Because You Can’t Take It To School

I get it. Toys are exciting and you want to show your friends. But when the school have a clear “don’t bring in your own toys” policy (probably because this shit happens), I’m not going to let my child take her shit to school. So, everything gets left on the windowsill in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs. Currently it’s filled with: 1 x Fluttershy doll, 1 x annoying tweeting bird pet thing that records voices, 1 x Union flag, 1 x jam jar that at one point was being used as a pen pot on her desk (I am yet to find the pens that once resided inside it).

Ever-present reminders that YOU HAVE KIDS.