A wonderful escape to a favourite place and a chance to be together… #happy.
We paid visits to Bolton Abbey, Yockenthwaite, Skipton and Ilkley with a mix of good old sunshine and showers, meaning the sun showed off the beauty of the Dales perfectly. I captured some lovely and relaxed off-duty photos of everyone, most of which I’m not allowed to share here – that’s teens for you!
I also enjoyed a lovely meal cooked by the three of them (tidied up afterwards by Dan and I, no surprise there!).
It really was a highlight and actually very well done, including the retro but always well-delivered prawn cocktail as a starter, nachos for the main (a firm family favourite… go large on the jalepenos). And to finish it off, made from scratch and loaded with calories (“do we add the cream to the Philadelphia?”)… strawberry cheesecake!
It transpires that Maddie is the boss in the kitchen – no surprise there! But there was remarkably little falling out… but I won’t hold my breath waiting for the next time.
But it was fab. A big thank you to my trio, as these holidays I honestly seem to be cooking for five, which turns into a meal for eight, or leaving meals under plates and then reheating them when they don’t arrive home! It’s all-go but as long as I know where they are at any given opportunity, then I’m fine.
While we were away Dan also had to manage his boys and the various jobs he had on. Although, we definitely monitored the discreet disappearance moments! Those generally signaled conversations to Ecuador as Joe’s girlfriend is currently away.
Whilst I would have have liked a screen embargo when we were away, we did allow it. For Dan and I too, to be fair. But I loved the easy chatter on occasions and the bursts of laughter and the shared family teasing. It always makes my heart sing and I love to sit back and observe their relationships. Ever changing, they are typically sibling-like but anchored with deep-rooted love. That I LOVE to see.
We are awaiting GCSE results at the moment. I just hope Joe will get what is needed for his chosen subjects at sixth form. I felt a real shift on social media this week as A-level results were released. It felt more private – less about what the results and grades were and more the general feeling of ‘phew’… and then onto the next stage of life both for the child and the parent.
I am always so very delighted when I see the posts of Tom’s peers. The passing of the driving tests, the off-to-university pictures… but I must admit that I sometimes get a weeny pang and my heart trembles a tiny bit….
But, today in the post arrived Tom’s certificates from college… a very big deal that signifies a year of development and learning and a step towards his sparkling future.
Oh, and by the way we have a date in September to visit Foxes, the specialist college in Somerset that we are determined Tom will attend… somehow! He will be assessed for suitability, then the battle for provision will commence! My biggest battle to date I feel. Contenders, READY…. (a lá Gladiators!!)
As Tom is a young man now, I recognise we have walked the path already that so many are setting out on. What particularly resonated with me this week was a post from a mother who’s young son, also with Downs Syndrome, is due to start mainstream secondary school in September.
It took me back in a split-second to my own fears when Tom was moving on… so I sent her a little video to hopefully lesson her worries. It was of Tom receiving his award for ‘Most Inspiring Student’ on the very last day of his school career.
I also sent a little gem that I came across of Tom and I doing some history homework together! He still remembers the facts, although I’m really not sure that he will be needing them in later life!
So, to ALL parents whose child (with additional needs or not) moves up to ‘big school’: have faith, stay strong and I truly hope your experience mirrors ours.
A blooming perfect (accidental) match! Are you a matchy-match or clashy-clash kinda girl? I’m both, but was secretly rather thrilled when these babies coordinated! And then I wore my Derhy dress, Baukjen jacket and yup, you guessed it, Ophia earrings with my Aimee Kestenberg bag.
Oh, and we even sell FitFlop at QVC now! Cripes-alive I may even bleed QVC if you cut me!!! Hardly surprising really after 21-years.
The other morning when I came downstairs to find a note left from Maddie reading: ‘pretty please may I borrow your (new) Baukjen jacket…’ my response to her was, in fact, a yes. But with a ‘please be very, very careful. It is new AND expensive, so look after it’. Provisio!
So, how’s your summer been? I know we momentarily had some crazy heat, but really I feel a little cheated. Is it just me? I really don’t feel we have sat outside enough, or had friends over enough, or cranked-up the pizza oven, chilled in the new ‘Love Shack’… is it a sign of the times? Are we too busy being busy or didn’t I pay enough attention? We have been busy that’s for sure, but who isn’t?
That said, I’m currently preparing for our trip to Barcelona. I have one child who packs weeks ahead given half a chance – Tom totally loves a trip away and always wants to keep his Kipling red suitcase out in his bedroom for next time.
Then I have another child who would leave the house without anything if left him to his own devices. But Madds is our super organised Queen of packing, who is loving the Z-pac set, especially as we will be moving around Spain a lot and I don’t want to be rifling through the entire case at each stop.
My hope (…ha ha!) is to reach for a Z-pac and say: “this is ALL you’ll need for the next couple of days?”. We shall see if I manage to be that efficient!! I also need to make sure I have my J Pillow on-hand, especially as we are driving from Barcelona and then ultimately to Seville for our last few days. I always nod-off in the car and have a giraffe neck, so end up so uncomfortable!
My biggest issue when packing is not knowing my mood, so I want to take ‘this and this and this…’ etc, etc. I need to remember I don’t need sooo much, alhough I do like a little outfit, it must be said…
I had such a funny moment at QVC this week when I sat quietly after a Deciem. The lovely Gill Gauntlet was taking a photo for me, when suddenly a voice said: “looking lovely Clairey”. I totally jumped out of my skin – the mirror has a camera inside it! Very freaky and very Big Brother I thought… I shall be very wary next time I look in the mirror, that’s for sure.
It will come with the launch of the very new and very gorgeous Show-Off Shimmer Lotion, which leaves your skin looking so pretty. Weird how moisture – and a subtle fairy-like sparkle waving its magic over you – can really make skin look better… a bit of love goes a long, long way!
I had been struggling with my body-care after the hot flushes started, but this lotion is light and quickly absorbed to be shown-off in the daytime with its lovely shimmer. It’s been a pleasure trying it out. Also included in the set are the Supersizing Glory Days day cream, which is a 4-in-one moisturiser, along with the award-winning neck and decollete cream Trouble Shooter.
Plus, the superb Bomb Complexion B12 Cocktail (very easy to add in to your skincare, with no feeling of overloading). This amazing product helps you face the world plumper-looking and more revived. It’s funny how we are happy to throw ‘plumper’ into the equation when it comes to our skin, isn’t it!? Smart Balm Eye Cream then completes the fab five-piece collection.
Don’t forget the pre-launch at 9pm on Wednesday 19th August ahead of the midnight launch. It is without-a-doubt a popular slot, with huge numbers of you ordering them It’s nice to get sorted, isn’t it?
I’ve already had lots of questions about the Lola Rose duo of bracelets I’ve been wearing. They are one of our Big Deals on QVC, so are available for a week from midnight Sunday 25th September at a fabulous price.
There are some great colour choices, so choose yours swiftly and they’ll make lovely gifts. I went for the blues, not that I’m feeling it… it just happens to match so many things I’ve been wearing. I notice and I’m not usually a blue girl!
Now, I posted this picture on my Instagram of my gorgeous new (bought in a millisecond) gold sign. It was so super reading everyone’s responses, so I’m leaving it right here with the words…
Loads of love