So Near, No Spa

I have been looking forward to tomorrow since December. Grandy had bestowed a spa day on me and my sister as our Christmas present. Work schedules, distance and babysitting had made the orchestration complicated, but it was booked. I’d got my eyebrows and lashes sorted to withstand a day of water, steam and excessive lounging sans make-up. I’d scoured my feet to make them worthy of further pampering (because no beauty therapist deserves to endure my manky trotters in the usual state!).

And then, with my bag packed and my exit strategy planned, my sister called…the venue had had an extreme electrical fault – they were having to cancel!!!

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Funnily enough, Teflon Man’s not sad about having avoided a night of parental responsibility. My dad’s not sad that he doesn’t have to babysit a perkier, but still whiny Noodles. Noodles has subsequently reattached himself to my lap, so is also happier that he’ll get to disrupt my sleep rather than his dad’s tonight.

We can re-schedule, but it’s still devastating to get so near and no spa. To prevent utter despair I’ve tried to switch my thinking round.

Who wants five Babor treatments, access to spa facilities and champagne afternoon tea anyway? 

  
The positives of a spa-free day:

1) I’m not going to have to expose my post-Easter body to strangers.

It’s March, my flesh is flabby and pale. My brows might be spa-ready, but my thighs, stomach and backside are not. After gorging on Easter chocolate I’d have to inhale all day so as not to be mistakenly offered maternity treatments. 

I can get in shape by June though, right? 

In which case, bring on more chocolate!!!

Never mind not having a 45-minute massage. Or a 30-minute facial followed by a pedicure.  

  

2) Any stress only returns on the journey home anyway.  The A17 is a bastard of a road with or without a massage as motivation. I may as well be grateful that I get to maintain the status quo of stress levels without leaving my sofa.

That’s got to be better than a 15-minute scalp massage and salt body peel, right? And reheated Chinese takeaway will hit the same spot as champagne afternoon tea. Hmmmm.

  


3) Instead of sitting and steaming and lounging in a fluffy robe I can get stuff done. I can still wear a fluffy robe, but do the washing, tidying, holiday packing, revising. Less indulgence tomorrow equals less headless chicken action on Wednesday.

Yep, definitely better than the agonies of the use of a spa cave. I don’t need to be lying around on hot rocks loungers or making use of ice and steam rooms. *Sigh*

  

Or, more likely, I’ll be child wrangling, feeding, mopping, answering random and extremely difficult questions on the works of Jacqueline Wilson. If I’m wearing a fluffy robe at lunchtime it’ll be because I’ve not had a chance to get dressed! And I’ll still be a headless chicken on Wednesday!

Who wants a spa day anyway?  Me! I want a spa day! I want my five treatments, champagne and dinky sandwiches and to sit in a spa cave!!! So unless you’re bearing aromatherapy oils and a glass of complimentary prosecco tomorrow, approach with caution. Chances are I’ll be steaming, but not in the way I’d hoped.

All the Things We Didn’t Do This Easter

Ah, Pinterest. I’ve been here before, comparing my life to your perfection. But today’s Easter Sunday: less pressure than Christmas but still with a side order of expectation. There are two problems with trying add a dash of Pinterest loveliness to reality though: a) reality’s already pretty much rammed to be adding egg-blowing to the To Do list and b) time pinning perfection severely eats into any time available to actually replicate it!

It was never really going to happen – deep down I knew that. But you never know. Ok, I don’t play the lottery so that’s not going to happen and I don’t have any wealthy relatives at death’s door (or otherwise, to be honest), but maybe an unexpected gravy train will roll in from somewhere that will bestow upon me endless time and wealth to spend on glittery chocolate mini eggs and bespoke artisan-crafted nests.

  
Added to my lack of the impossible happening, Noodles has been unwell all week. Clingy at the best of times I have therefore either been at work feeling mum guilt in extremis or pinioned to the sofa by his little body desperately in need of constant big cuddles. 

No time for applying gold leaf to quail eggs or dip-dyeing lambs then.

  
So here’s my list of things that haven’t happened this Easter (and truthfully aren’t going to happen any Easter thereafter) even though my Pinterest and photo stream of screen grabs suggest otherwise.

No breakfast bunny pancakes.

  
Look, so cute! And surely not that hard to replicate (if I bought ready-made pancakes and chopped them into the right shapes, because I’m not going to get anything that spherical myself). But I didn’t buy them…or any strawberries, bananas or whatever that is making up the tail. Everyone had to fend for themselves instead (I’m such a bad hostess when family visit). Suffice to say it was largely Easter egg chocolate for breakfast instead.

No family day out

  

The sun shone yesterday. Which is rare at Easter (or on any family day out to be honest), so a nearby egg hunt would be great, right? From the pictures on other’s Facebook feeds it was lovely. We were glued to the sofa, remember? I was lucky to get to the loo without wailing from the smallest one. No way on Earth were we getting in the car!

So today, instead, we stuck to our house and garden. But, I guess, at least that way you get all the eggs to yourself.

  

 

I counted them all out and back in again this year, so at least I won’t be finding chocolate ovoids in random footwear come next February.

No beautiful Easter tablescapes 
  
Ploughing through laundry after a washing machine malfunction two weeks ago (with normal service only resumed yesterday) it was miraculous that we could actually identify the location of our dining table enough to clear it! 

There were tulips…but ones that were bought for me weeks ago by an angel of a co-worker who wanted to make me feel appreciated after a less than perfect Mother’s Day. There are plenty of tulips on Pinterest, but none with missing petals.

No jaw-dropping Easter roast

  

I don’t mind cheating when it comes to cooking and was planning on being inspired by The Pool’s suggestion of A 50:50 roast where you fiddle around with the meat a bit and then add ready-made sides. Aunt Bessie does a more reliable roast potato than me anyway. 

I did make my own cheese sauce for the leeks…and then Noodles’ persistent wailing because he wasn’t attached to my lap got too much and Husband had to take over!!! Which meant that not everything made it to the oven. Those bits being the only bits that Boo would eat, of course. Cue tears and chocolate making up her third meal of the day.

But at least the roast lamb made it to the table. Which is more than I did. I got to eat a tepid dinner in the living room with Noodles asleep on my lap, snoring through a bunged up nose.

  
At least I didn’t miss out on the beautiful tablescape/freshly picked tulips/decorated egg place settings that I hadn’t made.

No Easter cake

  

Probably for the best, as it would never have looked like this anyway, and my kitchen would have been covered in flour and melted chocolate and I probably (definitely!) would have sneaked a taster of  several too many mini eggs so the topping would have looked sparse.

Instead I made Crunchie Munchie Fridge Cake, encasing chocolate bars in more chocolate and topping it with melted chocolate and another chocolate bar. It looked like diabetes on a plate.

  
But, you know what, when you’ve induced a sugar coma on your entire family, no one notices that your Easter hasn’t been Pinterest perfect.

I may use that as my tactic next year too.

  

Mother’s Day Realities

Mother’s Day in the UK. I wake up not to breakfast in bed, but a Facebook newsfeed of others’ breakfasts, alongside shots of flowers and Pandora jewellery, chocolates and smiling children. As the day wore on, yet more smiling children, smiling mothers, smiling grandmothers, roast dinner shots and heartfelt quotes about love and family and #MothersDay #blessed.

Funnily enough, it didn’t work out like that here. So thank heavens for my sanity when a friend posted a pic of her washing pile with the caption ‘same shit – with lovely flowers and chocs’ whilst another friend posted a shot of an empty chair at a local steakhouse, the chair vacant as her teenage daughter had a strop and decided she’d rather just sit in the car.

  
I love my friends for telling it like it is. Because behind the pictures of family bliss lies a reality that’s less social media friendly. You can tick the boxes, but still come out underwhelmed and undervalued. Here’s what I got:

A lie-in!

  
But only because the kids didn’t fall asleep until 1am last night, so were too tired to get up at dawn.

Sadly it also means they don’t want to sleep tonight!

A Bacon Sarnie

Of my own making. At lunchtime…because with neither bread nor bacon in the house this morning it took a trip to the supermarket to stock up on supplies first. At least I used Husband’s card to pay for it.

Chocolates 

  

Bought for me for my dad (because Husband doesn’t see what Mother’s Day has to do with him – although I’m not sure how Boo and Noodles are meant to make it to Thorntons without supervision).

I was grateful for them beyond compare by the end of the day too. Without them as a bribe Boo would still be crying over her homework. Funny how the promise of an Orange Crisp or nine can make the three hours of wailing and sulking less torturous.

Precious Time With the Kids

Sadly Noodles vetoed a trip to the cinema (I was more than happy to pay for 90 minutes of quiet sitting down too, even if it involves watching an animated Panda, but he was having none of it). So instead I got to cut up bits of card into a thousand tiny pieces as Boo had a craft day (ie I then had the joy of picking up most of the tiny pieces of card from the floor and differentiating between which of the shards were rubbish destined for the bin and which were preciously vital to the project) and got to stand in the garden in the rain whilst Noodles bounced on the trampoline.

 

And there I was hoping I could have snuck in an hour at the gym. 

A Traditional Roast Dinner With the Family

  

Guess who cooked. Clue: it was me! And as for it being a picture-perfect family gathering, Noodles refused to come to the table and Boo was mid homework meltdown so sat sobbing over her six maths questions in her room. Less of a gathering; more of a distribution.

Oh, and those tulips at the top of my post. My favourite of all flowers, on display in my living room, looking beautiful with the promise of spring. I bought those for myself in the week too.

Don’t tell anyone, but next year my fellow underwhelmed mums and I have got a plan: we’re booking ourselves in for a spa day. We figure the kids might notice around teatime, the husbands as the football/obligatory Mother’s Day James Bond film finishes. Or perhaps when they log onto Facebook and notice pictures of our manicured toes on their newsfeed. Maybe then we’ll finally get to join the ranks of the #MothersDay #blessed.

The Night Before World Book Day

  
The night before World Book Day and everyone is stressed

We’ve had a text from school; it says to come in fancy dress!

But worse, it says, well actually, come and take a look,

‘Please dress as a character from your favourite book.’

We’ve only one day’s notice; we thought it wasn’t on,

But now I’ve got to find for two daughters and a son!

A rummage through the cupboard, last year’s costumes are too small. 

One thing for it, in the car, we’re heading to the mall!

Except where exactly are the clothes, the costumes there before?

The only thing we’re facing, empty racks upon the wall!

‘Who wants to be the same?’ we say. ‘Let’s be creative, it’s a cinch.’

Some cardboard, paints and sellotape will turn you into Grinch.

‘But I want to be a princess…no a fairy…no a whale.’

Riiiight, just watch me fashion that from grey sweatshirts in the sale.

A ‘cloak’ of black, a scar, a ‘wand’: ta-dah we’ve Harry Potter! 

Yes, it’s not the franchised one, but please don’t be a rotter.

Ok, some jeans a top – that’s it, your normal winter gear – 

You’ll pass as Tracey Beaker, though won’t win costume of the year.

The youngest likes Pooh Bear the best, a red t-shirt and we’ve won….

Except he’s coloured himself in yellow and won’t put his trousers on!

In the morning, all lined up; Facebook photos with a smile.

At least it’s only once a year. No need to worry for a while.