Thursday, 7 October 2021

Did I Just Lose Myself?

 I don't know if it's because of the covid pandemic, the lockdowns, the tricky challenges and curveballs life keeps throwing my way or because I'm trying to find a secondary school for my youngest child (already!) but I'm feeling a little lost. I'm not sure where I sit in life anymore and I don't feel like there is any part of "me" left.... it's like "where did I go?" 

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Midlife Crisis or Wanderlust Gone Wrong?

When I was little, I daydreamed of travelling the world, I loved globes, atlas' and maps - many of my favourite books had a map in them - even if it was of Middle Earth. 

I'm not your usually sunny beach in Spain sort of tourist, I'm by no means at all an adrenaline junkie but I do have an explorer spark -  when we went to Vegas for our tenth wedding anniversary, one of the highlights was kayaking down the Colorado river and honeymooning in the Maldives meant I was usually snorkelling in the sea with reef sharks and giant turtles. 

Where most of my friends are eagerly anticipating European beach holidays, I'm hoping for an icy trek to a remote Icelandic waterfall, a conservation holiday to the Galapagos, visiting the city of Petra, indulging my spiritual side in Bhutan, Hugging trees in an eco resort in Costa Rica (Luxury eco resort of course)  keeping my fingers crossed for an untouristy Inca trail to Machu Picchu, taking the train with the glass roof through the Rocky Mountains, learning to cross country ski through a Finnish forrest, loosing myself in a small Greenland village or pushing myself to my limits crossing a wobbly wooden bridge on a hike to base camp, Everest.  One of my all time favourite Movies is the Secret Life of Walter Mitty and in it he visits many places on my destination wish list and his imagination is very much like mine.

I have wanderlust and it's bad, an itching desire to explore the world. Our children are almost 12 and 10 and have never been abroad - if we are ever lucky enough to all have time off from school/work at the same time, we have such a large family scattered across the UK that holidays abroad keep being shelved so we can see our wonderful family, with Covid I anticipate it'll be over two years since we last saw some of our family. 

In the 12 years of being a parent, I have managed to travel to Verona for two short weekend breaks and Las Vegas for a 5 day epic celebration, believe me when I say they were wonderful trips and I really don't mean to sound ungrateful, It's just I envisage more travel than that in 12 years. 

Summer 2020 was supposed to be the first year we were taking the children abroad - it seemed like the prefect opportunity to celebrate our eldest finishing primary school ... but covid happened and like all middle class families on the outskirts of London, we got a puppy instead. 

Summer 2021 looks like a write off to - if the pandemic reaches a stage where we are safe to travel, the chances of us all having time off from work and two schools at the same time, having someone look after our puppy and finding a European holiday are slim. 

I can't help but feel a bit deflated, as I'm getting significantly older, I can't actually see a moment in my life where I go to any of the places on my destination list, I think it really hit me when I watched the Sherpa documentary - firstly - it was an eye opener just how exploited some of the Sherpa's are, I would not expect someone to risk their life so that I could have a hot towel or fizzy pop (and how dare the Everest tourists who do, demand that!) and I can't believe that it costs an eye-watering  £100k to climb but the documentary said Sherpa's aren't even paid enough to cover their own funeral costs (if they perish on the mountain it would cost £400 for their funerals)

I think the biggest realisation was that for me, my Everest ambition has passed my by, apart from it being a totally unaffordable sum of money, my goals slowly shifted, I used to think I had as good a shot as anyone at reaching the summit (when I was about 13 I remember conquering Striding Edge on Helvellyn and thinking Everest was totally accomplishable)  then I used to scale it back to camp one and then I started to think I'd probably die just trying to get to camp one but I still wanted to have a go and now base camp isn't even an option! I cannot see a point in my life where I would be fit and healthy enough to do the challenge now I'm a mum in my forties, life has simply passed by quicker than I was able to realise that dream. It was enough for me to go and have a little cry in the bathroom, Its just hit me quite hard that I am indeed a mum in my forties who is never going to climb Everest or even just reach base camp ... so in reality is my wanderlust actually evolving into some sort of weird midlife crisis?  

I tried to give myself a reality check, after all I definitely wouldn't swap my children for anything, not even Everest and crying in the bathroom because I'm not going to explore the world like I thought I would back in 1987 is a little over indulgent ... and not to mention utterly ridiculous when there are literally millions of people loosing their lives to covid right now. 

Get a grip Emma, you can do better. 

Grand Canyon by Emma Clement - Emma in Bromley

Monday, 29 March 2021

Easter 2021 Inspiration Guide

With Easter coming this week, I feel a little unprepared and I know I'm not alone so I've popped together a little last min inspiration guide.

Emma in Bromley - Easter 2021


Add an instant sprinkle of spring with a window cling, we love the ones from Stickers4Walls a family run company,  because they are super easy to apply and not at all sticky making them easy to remove and reuse too. An absolute winner.

Emma in Bromley, Easter 21, Bunny Window Clings - Stickers 4 Walls


I love the "Wildlife in Spring" print from Victoria Eggs and it just sits perfectly with Easter - a new British made tea towel, something for me and a nod to spring - this print puts a smile on my face and reminds me of growing up in the countryside.... I might just need to go back and add a tea cup to my collection too!

Emma in Bromley Easter 21 Victoria Eggs Wildlife in Spring Tea Towel


In the past it has been difficult to find vegan Easter eggs (Especially ones that aren't just dark chocolate) but then the last few years have brought a wonderful choice unfortunately this year I've really struggled - I had 2 online grocery deliveries where neither had any vegan eggs left and the few shops that are open are really lacking, my local Holland and Barrats this year only had a choice of 2 so It's been like a massive step back - I've had to go online, my go to online vegan shop didn't have much choice left at all so I had to try harder to find something good and I'm excited to have discovered a new brand -  HiP Chocolate (Created by John Cadbury's great, great, great grandchild)

Emma in Bromley Easter 21, Vegan Easter egg HiP Chocolate


With 2 weeks off for Easter and we are still limited to where we can go, or what we can do I suggest grabbing a den kit - I particularly love the simplicity and tactile nature of the Wooden Den Kit currently on offer for £20 from Hobbycraft Everyone loves a den - if we are lucky with the weather - maybe we can put it up in the garden but if it just rains everyday (As is the norm for school holidays) then we can watch a movie from our dens!

Emma in Bromley Easter 21 Wooden Den Kit Hobby Craft

Hoppy Easter xx

* I have received non-returnable press samples of some of the items shown for the purpose of this post content and photography. 

Monday, 22 March 2021

Preparing for Easter

Easter is really close but nobody is really talking about it, maybe its because it'll be another lockdown easter - another easter without a big family gathering or cousins playing together, perhaps it's because the schools have only just returned - with only 2 full weeks of school before the easter break, we haven't really had that chance to breathe, think and plan yet or could it simply be the lack of retail presence? 

Easter Crafts 2021

Easter is usually so heavily commercialised but most of the shops you would pop to for egg hunt supplies (I'm looking at you Hema) or crafting inspiration, chocolate treats or home decor are all closed - whilst some are still doing online shopping - not everyone is and its so hard to browse for inspiration and I can't be alone in feeling frustrated by "out of stock" messages every time I click on something. 

I've also noticed a lack of chocolate goodies in the few shops which are open, it feels like there is less variety, I had my eye on the Nomo Caramel egg which is exclusive to Tesco - I've tried 3 branches and online and it just isn't available... and the vegan creme egg is no where to be found - H&B said they aren't stocking it this year! 

Wondering what the secret is? where are all the goodies? is it possible to shop in only a few places rather than so many bits here and there? 

It looks like we will be doing a very small family of 4 roast dinner, a small egg hunt around the house and I'm struggling to see how we can fit any Easter crafts in, I'm hoping to at least make a spring wreath!

What has everyone else planned? 

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Finding Craft Love in 2021

I've always loved crafts, I've attempted many and I'm always drawn to them. I can cross stitch, I can do a very basic knit, I can sculpt things from air drying clay and I can make a pretty beaded bracelet but if we are being honest here, I'm not very good at completing a project, I always get distracted by parenting needs ... and I know I shouldn't say this but ... I'm also a bit rubbish at crafts - I love them, but I'm not a natural. 

Children learning to Knit, Lockdown Crafts and childhood anxiety and OCD

The thing is, I've recently been incredibly drawn to crafts, I don't know if part of it is pandemic boredom - There isn't really a whole lot we can do in a pandemic and I need to keep my mind busy and my children busy.

Or is it just that very brutal confrontation of our own morbidity and wanting to leave something to cherish behind? Being fortysomething with only one kidney really makes you contemplate survival odds.

I started making my daughter a scarf using just basic knit, I attended a Hobbycraft press event and there was an amazing knitter there who refreshed my memory on the basic technique my nana had taught me when I was somewhere around 8 but this particular event was back in 2017 and between serious building work on our home and the wonderful chaos that comes with parenting, this partial scarf got left in a box until just a few weeks ago when I rediscovered it and with a mixture of both boredom (these days I tend to feel a bit 'meh' if you know what I mean?) and the curiosity of my children - "what is it?" "How do you knit?" and the predictable "can I have a go?" I picked up that partial scarf and it is now a bit longer partial scarf that may become a snood because it takes me forever just to do one row, this is the most imperfect scarf you can imagine, full of holes, mistakes and quite bobbly for something that isn't even close to completion!  BUT most importantly I have (almost) successfully taught my two children the basic knit! 

I purchased wooden knitting needles and a small ball of multi-coloured cotton yarn for them both - I think for children, the tactile combination of the wood and the natural yarn is quite grounding, I read somewhere that it's very calming for children suffering from anxiety (which most children in a pandemic are facing) and it's great for childhood OCD, it's also a much needed screen free task!

So now I am so full of creative ideas I feel like I could burst! My children also want to explore "off screen"  - I want to try new crafts and expand on the ones I can already do, but most of all I'd like to make things to gift to the people in my life. 

We are entering a weird stage where schools are returning but nothing else is back to normal, not to mention the schools are only back for a couple of weeks before a 2 week easter break. 

I know I'm not alone with feeling a little worried about the children going back and I need to keep my mind occupied so it's the perfect moment to pick up a few new skills.

Have you tried a new craft or rekindled an old skill during lockdown?

Sunday, 14 February 2021

February begins with happy news

 It's like there was this crazy rush in December - all the focus was on preparing for Christmas, adapting plans to coincide with the latest, ever-changing  covid rules. It was intense, focused a mission completed. 

Then there was January - a month known for its "blues" but with the chaos of distance school learning January was insane, every day felt like the same long battle of trying to co-ordinate devices, internet access and schoolwork - at times we had 3 live meetings on the go at the same time with Blake's year 7 meaning his love lesson has up to 180 students, Meg's year 5 live lessons grew from 30 to 60 participant where one teacher was off and then there was my husband on his live calls too. My days were spent rushing around - literally feeling like I was pulled in every direction making sure everyone was logged onto the right thing at the right time, both children heavily relying on my assistance to be able to do the work. and of course keeping everyone quiet whilst hubby was working from home - including the puppy. 

If I'm brutally honest, January felt really low for me, we the worry of an elderly relative in hospital and my sister's pregnancy, to the fear of people getting ill - I find it hard not to panic on the days hubby has to go into London (once or twice a week) with the heavy restrictions it sometimes feels like we are just surviving, it doesn't really feel like life all that much sometimes. I have a reoccurring nightmare which I get at moments of stress and its just waking me up most nights at the moment. I know I'm not really ok but the important thing is that I know I will be!

February started with the best of news - we have a new niece! Niece number 7 (and 2 nephews) I feel blessed to have such a lovely large family and so many nieces and nephews to fuss over - It's just frustrating that it would be a 12 hour round trip to see her (and lets face it, I'd be terrified of going near a newborn right now!) 

Friday, 29 January 2021

What happened to January

 You know me, for years now my January tends to revolve around the London toy fair so with it being cancelled it seemed to leave a bit of a massive gap - It seems such a shame to have not been able to see or share with you all some of the wonderful toys to look forward to - after all I think it would be a welcome boost right now. Last year I remember how crazy you all went when I shared the video footage I took of Playmobil's Back To The Future range!

I feel like most of all though, this January I have just kinda stumbled through it. 

Theres been a roller coaster of emotions, there's been moments where I feel literally broken and moments where I feel so extremely lucky. 

Most of you are parents so I know you will all appreciate just how exhausting it is to Home School/ Distance Learn our children - like many others, I'm constantly darting from helping my primary age child and my first year secondary - neither are quite yet at the stage where they can sit unassisted and simply get on - both need my help/advice/assistance whether it be from teaching quadrilaterals to helping visualise the life cycle of a rock to the impromptu science experiments the year 5 teacher likes to hand over. Like you, I have a daily chart so I know which child needs to be doing what and when. My eldest has 6 classes a day - some are live, some not - its hard going trying to fit them all in and even if he stuck to the time table he would be sat at a desk in front of a screen from 9am to 3pm but he always has work left over to go back to so it usually takes a few more hours on top. It's such a long time for a child to be in front of a screen. My 9 year old has 4 live video calls and 3 independent learning sessions after the calls each day.

It's exhausting but I feel lucky that it is my only major complaint.

I had planned 4 posts fo this month and I just haven't been able to write them. I'm sorry. Please check in soon, I will have more to share in February.

Emma x