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#100happydays – day 13


imageTuesday…work day…stress day.

Make packed lunch for only child who refuses school dinners.

Retrieve dusty Beaver uniforms from bottom of wardrobe.

Tidy house in anticipation of cleaner’s weekly visit.

Empty shed in search for bike lock for ill-prepared 11 year old who wants to cycle to school.

Load toddler, dog and kids who aren’t cycling into car.

Sit in traffic jam imaging 11 year old has been involved in horrific accident.

Rush kids into playground and check 11 year old survived journey to school – he did.

Drive toddler to nursery.

Leave toddler crying at nursery.

Feel guilty.

Take dog for walk in quagmire-like park.

Try to discourage muddy stream dipping.

Feel ignored.

Load filthy dog into recently cleaned car.

Drive home and unload filthy dog into recently cleaned kitchen.

Straighten wind dried hair (no time for make-up).

Leave dog whimpering at home and walk/jog to train station.

Feel guilty.

Metros all gone.

Feel bored.

Squeeze onto overcrowded, smelly tube train.

Feel nauseous.

Arrive at tube stop to discover lift out of service.

Climb a gazillion steps.

Feel breathless.

Shovel in chicken sandwich, reply to texts and check emails on walk to work.

Spend afternoon in prison/work.

Feel drained.

Walk/jog back to tube station texting 11 year old to check he survived cycle ride home – he did.

Buy medium skinny chai tea latte from Costa.

Feel happy ☺️

Squeeze back onto tube. Tube delays. Miss train connection.

Wrestle on to next train home.

Get into now filthy car.

Drive to nursery to collect toddler.

Drive to childminder to collect kids who didn’t cycle.

Beavers drop-off.

Cook fish fingers and chips for tea.

Feel guilty.

Abandon bath time.

Beavers pick-up.

Use TV to pacify children before bed time.

Wait for Tesco food delivery.

Get phonecall from Tesco saying food delivery delayed.

Eventually unpack Tesco delivery to discover I accidentally ordered £9 worth of cheese strings.

Feel frustrated!

Write blog entry owing to superstition that missing #day13 will lead to #100unhappydays.


#100happydays – day 12



It’s Monday, it’s cold and I’m a teeny bit hung over. But taking these two for a walk around Forty Hall in the sunshine was enough to put on smile on my sallow-skinned, heavy-eyed, washed-out, make-up free face today. Who’d have thought two little souls could share such enthusiam for piles of leaves, chasing squirrels and pigeon poo.

#100happydays – day 11



I’ve just had the loveliest afternoon out with my Two Tashas! We originally met at Fresher’s Week in 1996 and have since helped see each other through the highs and lows of the last two decades (I feel old!!) In recent years, it’s been harder for us to find time to indulge our shared passions for good wine and gossip. So today marked our first girls’ night out of 2015 and we were celebrating Diot’s secret wedding with prosecco and pizza. Despite the the time lapse, our friendship picks up from where we last left off. We can be honest and blunt and no one gets offended. And we can talk, philosophise and laugh for hours about previous partners (mostly assholes), past dilemmas (now seemingly trivial) and people we used to know (but now only follow on Facebook). A happy day with my gorgeous gal pals!

#100happydays – day 9


imageCan a sneaky snooze count as a happy moment? If so, then that is mine today. The last time I slept through the night was approximately December 2002BC (before children). Since then my increasing brood and my decreasingly bladder control (the result of spending a full three years of my life with a child in utero) has, for the most part, prevented me from ever having a full 8 hours of uninterrupted kip. Add to this my tendency to lie awake at night making to do lists in my head and it seems unlikely that I’ll ever ‘sleep through’ again. So when Niamh nodded off in the car almost an hour before school pick up, I parked on the driveway, reclined the driver’s seat and snatched a little shut eye (#whatmusttheneighboursthink) I then managed to take the dog for his second walk of the day (with Niamh still snoozing in the pushchair), drag my disgruntled kids around Tesco, make a pasta feast for five (we had one extra for tea tonight) and go for a 45 minute run. So as it seems there’s a lot to be said (and achieved) for having a power nap, I may need to schedule another one tomorrow. Disclaimer – for obvious reasons I wasn’t able to take an asleep selfie but this one of Niamh gives you the general gist of how I must have looked (although I possibly had a bigger mouth gape!)

#100happydays – day 8



I’ve felt so tired today that I was very happy to let the local library entertain my gang after school with a free Harry-Potter themed craft making workshop. As it’s nigh on impossible to find an activity they ALL like to do these days, I’ve now realised that if I piled tissue paper, pipe cleaners and cotton wool balls onto the kitchen table each day, there would be a lot less arguing. That said, having watched what happens when Niamh is let loose with a glitter dispenser and some PVA, I don’t think I could cope with the mess.

#100happydays – day 7



The big news story today has been that 50% of us will get cancer. And as my commute to work on a Wednesday allows for almost 2 hours of uninterrupted radio listening, I’d heard doctors, patients, researchers and Vanessa Feltz debate the issue extensively before arriving at HMP Bronzefield for my morning’s work in prison. Thankfully I found a rogue wine gum in glove box to lift my mood.

It’s been a bonkers day as my work days tend to be. The school called asking that someone collect Reece who’s hacking cough had got the better of him – thankfully Dave beat me to it as Reece had told the office staff that his mum was in prison today. (I’m expecting a few raised eyebrows when I next pop in to pay the dinner money). I squeezed in a dog walk in the woods but forgot to wear my wellies. My new crazy horse doc martens have yet to forgive me. And I legged it back to school just in time for a parent teacher consultation that took much longer than I’d planned leaving me with little choice but to run a few amber lights on my way to collect Niamh from nursery. Then it was karate drop off time; toddler bath time; change the bedding after last night’s ‘wee accident’ time; lecture toddler about not weeing in bed again tonight time; story time; eat a plate of whatever I could find in the fridge time and finally flop time. I’m miffed that I didn’t manage to squeeze in my pre-planned evening run, and that I’ve eaten a fair few more wine gums than planned too. But now that I’ve finally got my feet up in front of a vintage episode of Friends, I’ve found my happy moment.

#100happydays – day 6



Day 6: When Beano Met Snow. Our 6 month old puppy discovered snow for the first time today and couldn’t decide whether to lick it, kick it or wee on it, so he all three. I decided to take advantage of my rare kid free, work free morning and took him to the woods where there was a fresh dusting of snow on everything and hardly a soul in sight.

imageThere we spent a peaceful hour making foot and paw print trails and taking photos of the wintry landscape (well, I took the pictures and Beano mostly photo bombed them). My stress levels soared momentarily when I realised that with the main pathway buried under an inch of snow, I was a little lost. Challenging my inner Bear Grylls, I fleetingly contemplated whether or not I could work out where I was using only the position of the sun and the wind direction. Then I remembered that I’m a crap survivalist and that there was a fence that ran parallel to the path back to the car park. Beano and I were saved! Mother Nature 1, Abbi nil.

#100happydays – day 5




In the chaos that typifies my daily routine, organising, tidying and cleaning are my coping strategies. And as we’ve spent the last couple of weeks reorganising and redecorating the boys’ bedrooms, my domestic domain has been even more muddled that usual. But with three boys at school, one toddler at nursery, one boyf at work and one dog asleep on the heated kitchen floor, I was able to indulge my Inner Clean Queen and tidy the boys’ bedrooms properly and perfectly for the sake of these panoramic shots. Panoramic shots rock!

#100happydays – day 4



Happy moments a plenty today! I started the day by tickling my two year old and eight year old into hysterics as we hid under the duvet covers to evade imaginary crocodiles. I then had Sunday lunch (a sausage casserole) prepared and cooking in the oven before meeting one of my besties for a chinwag over a chai latte in town. And having pinched her brilliant “screen-free-til-3” weekend rule, I left the boys at home playing chess! Yes, chess!! Mid morning Dave and I took the kids and dog to Trent Park for an “isn’t nature wonderful” walk. After an hour of stream stomping, tree climbing, mud flinging fun (marred only by my desperate need for a wee and Reece’s complaints that his toes has frozen solid), Seb summed up the morning in classic info-mmercial style with the comment “screen-free time is actually really good because we can play together!” After a hot lunch and a toe-thaw, the boys and I spent a cozy afternoon in the cinema watching the surprisingly amusing/moving/frightening/tear-jerking Big Hero 6 and Dave took Niamh swimming. So my happy moment has been tricky to shortlist as I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a fair few today. Even the 15 minutes I spent with Reece at bedtime, listening to him read an entire chapter of The Demon Dentist (and only stumbling over the words “incredulous” and “surreptitiously” which I’m sure even David Walliams himself struggles with…) would make the cut on any normal day. So my day 4 happy moment is day 4 itself. I’m now bracing myself for the Monday morning blues.

#100happydays – day 3



I clocked just over 10k in my running shoes today, despite the snow and sleet. Cue some smug satisfaction! I’d like to say it felt good but it really didn’t. Note to self…must get warmer, trendier, more flattering running gear for the winter months. Wearing multiple layers that included my university sweatshirt, leg warmers and a bobble hat, I looked and felt ridiculous. And I reached new heights of embarrassment whilst running past a wedding reception in full swing at Forty Hall. My pre-planned route took me via the immaculately attired, dry haired guests twice. Cringe-central! But my run today means that I’ve reached my monthly distance target of 90k; a goal that’s particularly significant to me as I’ve been recovering from a knee injury since November and have had to taper my training. What’s more, my weekend run is now done and dusted leaving me free to glug wine and relax to the max tonight, content in the knowledge that I won’t need to pound the pavement tomorrow. Phew!