Maseratis and keeling over

My problem: unless I am under enormous pressure and have Satan breathing down my neck, I am the laziest and most unmotivated chick you’ll ever meet in your life. And this is just it – my life is too damn comfortable. It’s just too easy for me to bob along, have everything come easy, live the good life and just enjoy doing cool stuff with my husband and son. Don’t get me wrong – I am so happy it’s just… …STUPID. It’s really quite ridiculous. Then again, joy is my default setting, I get it from my dad I think (the guy is  unbearably cheerful) and it just seems to be my nature to look on the bright side of life. Now, that’s not a bad thing. I’m just saying.

So I wake up every morning feeling happiness and gratitude, and how could I not? I’m truly blessed. No, I haven’t bought a Maserati yet (a GranCabrio in midnight blue, per favore), nor do I own a holiday home on Waihi Beach (YET!) but that’s just a matter of time and until then I have everything I could ever possibly need or want as things stand. But what I have discovered is this: as wonderful as it is to be emotionally fulfilled and have these two (B and Monkey) along with living where we live, blessed with amazing friends and family and have the life that we do, I need something else to fire me up. Hence I have hit a point where I feel incredibly restless and a little flat. I need a focus, goals… ….what I need is PRESSURE! I want to achieve. It’s one thing to strive to be a good person (and for the large part I believe I am), to be kind and empathetic and so on, but I think we all to some extent want to do well beyond our personal qualities whether it be having expert knowledge in some field or coming home each day knowing we really made a difference somehow. Just be able to say: “I did that”!

Before I met B I spent some years as a single mother in this insanely expensive city that is Londinium, so I know what I can be and achieve when I’m under tremendous amounts of pressure and stress to make things work. I know that I am a BADASS when I have to be.

There it is! When I HAVE to be.

So, the time has come to set some goals and targets and form a plan for the near future. B and I have been together for four years and a few months (and yes, we still celebrate every month – we just celebrated 51 months – cheesy, eh) and so we are ready for the next stage. These first few years were building stones and we’re currently cruising on a comfortable plateau having last year bought a home and this year got hitched.

My goal: in two years from now make a nice little income from making jewellery (I will in three month’s time be able to call myself a silversmith, and after that a Diploma course awaits and progressing on to more precious metals and stones) and the rest of the time focus on writing. That should nicely bring me back into an existence where I once again feel productive, that I’m achieving and that I’m doing something really worthwhile. That and getting super fit! I think at 41 I’m still at a stage where I am probably able to achieve something pretty awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I like ME, but I’m curious to see if I could go a little drastic and tickle the fitness fanatic in me (if that fanatic exists – perhaps I’ll just discover that I just LIKE exercise but won’t LOVE massive amounts of it). I don’t intend to turn bodybuilder or aim for no body fat or be a size zero or anything stupid like that, but just see what I might be able to do within reasonable limits. After a summer spent celebrating, my first two runs this week felt like death. Actually, they were not as bad as I thought it’d be but death nonetheless. I know it won’t take long though and hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to run, say, 5k without keeling over. We’ll see. It’s a start.

Our goal: we’ve set up a budget, which was pretty scary as it showed not only how much we could (and should!) save without forsaking random trips, holidays, nice clothes and several date nights every month, it also showed how we fritter money away like it’s confetti. So a bit more focus and if we just hold back a LITTLE – honestly, there are no big changes required, just a few small adjustments – we should with good margin be able to buy a decent holiday home in Sweden within five years should we choose to. I’m more keen on NZ, but no need to decide. Who knows what, when or even if – all we know is that if we just keep to this little plan, the ‘how’ isn’t going to be an issue.

For now, I will continue to appreciate a lovely Plan B job that I do enjoy and that the people I work for are lovely so there is – as I said before – no reason for me to complain, I simply don’t have anything to complain about, but I just need stuff to happen! I’m no good at this cruising phase we find ourselves in. What to be careful about also is how fired up I get starting things off – I’m so awesome at that bit! What career would allow me to do that? Be the proverbial firestarter? Anyway, it’s applying the plan, follow it and stick at it I suck at. Feeling very, very determined so time will tell… It usually does.

Advertisements

Greenery and Excel sheets

What a glorious morning! It’s been one of those when no matter how tired you are when the alarm goes off, once you open the curtains a little and see bright blue skies and budding cherry tree branches right outside, you can’t possibly feel anything other than full of life and euphoria. I always walk a lot, but this morning I took the longer route along the river bank, soaking up the beauty around me and thanking my lucky star for placing me in this very spot on the planet, in this moment, in this life that I have. Sometimes I even make myself feel nauseous at my almost obnoxious love for what I have and get to experience. Might not be all that much to anyone else, but I genuinely feel I am so ridiculously blessed it’s almost sickening.

We’re in full swing purchasing (or trying to purchase) our first home together and poor B has spent more time wangling with mortgage brokers and solicitors this week than he’s been able to work. Endless paperwork, endless questions, endless copies or this, that,.the other. Think the only thing no one’s asked for yet is my goddamn bra size. Oh well, hopefully this burst of migraine inducing faff will pass and once all is agreed with the bank, we can just get on to planning the fun stuff. That’s really the part I’m looking forward to, partly because I love lists – ooohhhhhh I feel a big and over complicated Excel sheet coming on!

Well. I did enjoy all the viewings, and we viewed a fair few properties of varying standard. Anything from a worn down and quite frankly AWFUL ex-council flat the agent described as “delightful” (the clue was really in the word “ex-council”, but filled with optimism we had a look anyway and at least it made us realise what we DON’T want!) to the sweetest little Victorian cottage on the sweetest little road. The latter was unfortunately £50k or so over our absolute max, but the one we ended up falling in love with showed us this is how it was meant to be.

Our new home – so long as all goes right – is very much like where we live now. Identical building, identical huge shared garden, identical size. Its 80 square metres give us just as much space as we have now, with the difference that it’s newly refurbished with gorgeous wooden flooring and flawless walls, new kitchen and bathroom and all brand spanking new. It doesn’t have a dining area but the lounge is big enough to have a dining table along with everything else, the kitchen is bigger, so is the bathroom and both bedrooms are huge. Gah! It can’t get much better and this is turning into a nail biting exercise as I don’t like ‘maybes’ or ‘ifs’ and just want it all signed, sealed and us delivered into it. I don’t do pessimism though, so I have of course already imagined a thousand times over how wonderful our already wonderful existence will be living there.

Not Chiswick, as our budget would only achieve the aforementioned kind of ex-council dump, so we’re heading further out south west into Teddington, a beautiful pocket of leafy Richmond and we will have Bushy Park just around the corner – cross the road and head down a path roughly 300 metres and you’re there! Just like I’ve imagined life and how happy we’ll be there, I’ve also already got countless images of what those early morning or early evening runs will be amongst greenery and deer.

OK, Anna, time to come back down from cloud nine and try to patiently wait in this odd thing called reality until such time I am in a better position to count all my kick-ass chickens. So nearly time to head off into another brilliant weekend with my BFF B, possibly starting with drinks on the south bank after dropping Monkey with his dad. And as always, I cannot wait, despite being Monkey-less (always sucky but I try to focus on the numerous good things and I normally survive). Hm… I do need to do a bit of work first though…. Best get on it.

To life!

Delicious realities and Zara handbags

Friday! I’m so ready for the weekend and know it’ll be a great one. It’s a beautiful day here in London, a crisp chill in the air and glorious sunshine, so I’m looking forward to my walk home in a little bit. Have been a super efficient work machine all day, so have got everything on top of my list out of the way – a whole bunch of to-dos transformed into ta-daahs! I was in early as usual so stealing a few moments to blog doesn’t seem like an unforgivable crime. I work for the best people in the world (seriously – they’re so wonderful I’d want them to be my BFFs if I didn’t get to have them in my life work wise but perhaps with time they’ll become friends too – I do hope so because I genuinely really like them), so the last thing I’d want to do is take the piss. Oh, did I not mention? I get to sit here in a Grade II listed home – beautiful – and do a varied and fun job, lovely employers to boot. Even when there are things I should have thought of they say it’s THEIR fault. I feebly correct them, or try to, in those moments but perhaps they are just too nice to find fault even in messy me? And there’s lovely coffee on tap from a fancy coffee machine. Ticks all the boxes along with a few additional ones. I think the only way to improve this would be a fancy Sauvignon Blanc machine and a private office at Graceland. Hm… Maybe not even Graceland, given the King passed on many years ago. Hah! Smug, me? Oh yes, you bet I am.

Anyhow.

Monkey is unfortunately with his dad for a week now, which always sucks and even after nine years of this I can’t stand being away from him, no matter how much I try to focus on the fact that this is best for him. Oh well, he’ll have fun with his dad, stepmum and their dogs I’m sure. B and I are today – as always on the 4th of each month – celebrating our monthly anniversary and so it’s date night. Let’s see…. Today it’s 33 months since I first laid eyes on the delicacy that is B at the Bell & Crown on Tuesday 4th of June 2013. Gosh, in just three months three YEARS will have passed since that first, gorgeous moment.

That evening is still so clear in my memory that I can recall every little detail. I remember exactly what I was wearing – torn blue jeans, a white oversized shirt, Superga sneakers, my huge Zara handbag (my favourite one!) and my hair in a ponytail. Can’t say I’d made much of an effort, and perhaps that’s why I remember it all like that. The moment I saw B, I immediately cursed under my breath for not dolling up better than that, because suddenly there was this unbelievably gorgeous man and I looked, well, not so gorgeous. I remember the exact spot where he stood, and the suit he wore (his grey one), light blue shirt and black shoes. Those amazing, huge, blue eyes of his met mine and I could feel my cheeks go hot. He gave a little smile, took a couple of steps towards me, placed his hands on my shoulders and gave me a kiss on the cheek, looming down from above.

I think it took me several minutes before I could breathe normally again.

I also remember where we sat inside, and the spot on the wall outside that we relocated to. I kept thinking how out of my league this beautiful, charming, smart and witty man was, and how he must be staying for more than one drink just to be polite. The sort of chick you’d expect to see on his arm would be something along the lines of Cameron Diaz, so in my head I’d already ruled everything out and just enjoyed his company for what I assumed would just be this one time. Several hours passed and suddenly it was closing time. The wonderful B offered to walk me home and again I just assumed he was just being polite and the perfect gentleman, so I declined and we said goodnight by his car half way back en route to my place.

But then suddenly his hands were again on my shoulders and first I offered my cheek thinking that was what was coming. His hand gently went to my chin so I was facing him and then he kissed me. I hate myself for saying it, but I honestly thought it was him being a nice bloke and more of a friendly kiss almost, because how could someone like THAT possibly fancy lil’ ol’ messy ME?

Turns out he did and over the next few days and weeks I fell in love like I never had before and had never thought possible with the man who is my soul mate, best friend, partner in crime, lover, stepfather to my son, confidante and my future husband. If I weren’t the person this is all happening to, I’d dismiss it as a fairytale. Because it is, only it’s deliciously, dizzyingly real.

Punches and duels

All is fair in love and war, it’s been said, so when B and I now both have Jawbone fitness bracelets I’m pulling no punches. Along with tracking steps, heart rate, calories burned and sleep, the app also comes with ‘duels’ – basically you connect with friends or whoever who also has the Jawbone fitness tracker and challenge each other to beat each others’ step count over a set period of time.

To be fair, I was already at advantage as I walk Monkey to school and then home again via my own route to work, so without trying I already clock up a fair proportion of my daily target of 10,000 steps compared with B who just gets in the car. No wonder B hopped around the bed for a good ten minutes the other night – naked, I might add, which was ever so delicious to watch – to get a few more steps added to his score. But I’ve been an absolute con artist. Due to a hangover on Monday (due to another fun weekend – I mean, when was I last NOT hungover on a Monday?) I didn’t walk (let alone RUN) much beyond from home to Kew Bridge and then the back the same distance at the end of the day, so by Tuesday we were pretty much head to head and I was leading the duel by a fraction.

Not having that!

B got ready to head to the gym last night and I put in an Oscar winning performance intended to make him believe he would surpass me by FAR by pretending I was just going to stay on the couch and watch TV. As he was getting ready to leave, I even walked around with the TV remote in my hand to further cement his misguided belief he might beat me. As soon as he was out the door, I got on the treadmill and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed his horrified reaction when he smugly went to check the app tracking us both to see how much he’d beaten me by only to discover he was done for.

Yep, I’m an evil genius.

This morning I walked Monkey to school, then despite rain and wind whipping the shit out of me I kept on marching all the way to Richmond (utter waste of make-up, it has to be said) to make sure I kept ahead of him. This afternoon I got on the treadmill as soon as I got in to get another 35 minutes of running on to my step-count and even sent poor B a photo of my sweaty boobs to goad him further. What can I say, I’m a very bad girl. Wore my Hooters top and everything to make it even worse for him.

So now that he’s on his way home, he is 12,000 steps behind (which roughly equates to an hour long run), I’ve poured myself a glass of wine and he has no way of catching my round ASS! Yeah!

 

 

Balls and Botox

At work and struggling to be productive today, I’m just not in the zone. Got back early Monday morning from the most amazing weekend in New York, where B took me (spoilt much?) to celebrate my 40th. Spent Monday first sleeping and then trying not to sleep so we’d be able to turn our body clocks back to normal, and yesterday I went to work full of energy and was so efficient I got through almost everything my bosses have left for me to do this week (they’re away the whole week). Today, however, I just can’t seem to get going so instead I’ve busied myself with planning for B’s birthday.

Yep, the Sexy One turns 50 in April and I think he’s freaking out a little. He just seems to take that liiiiiiittle bit too much delight in telling anyone willing to listen (and anyone unwilling to listen too, for that matter) that we are now both in our 40s. That’s fine, sweetie, but there’s nothing you can do – IT’S HAPPENING, BABE. You’d never think it though, coz this amazing partner of mine is a sexy beast with to die for looks and could easily pass for ten years younger. He could run circles around men in their 30s with his long, lean and muscular physique.

*** Must stop visualising B naked as being turned on whilst at work seems very, very wrong. ***

I could most certainly not pass for ten years younger, which pisses me off as we therefore look of similar age and people don’t understand it’s a joke when B points out about us both in our 40s thing. For that reason I make sure I laugh as loudly as I can each time he says it. And he says it a lot. I think it was the first thing he realised upon waking up Saturday morning, but at least he’s focusing on our ages starting with the same digit as opposed to how he now has a fiance in her 40s, which has a slightly off-putting ring to it.

And, so, we made New York ours. I’d been there several times before and so had B, so it was magical to experience it in a new way altogether. We ate truckers’ breakfasts, glorious New York strips and downed countless drinks in bars of varying respectability. We walked the High Line, watched ice hockey at Madison Square Garden, an eternity ring from a jewellers called Anna made its way onto my finger somehow (again – spoilt much?!) and B got to put his arm around several ladies – some with more balls than others, especially his new friend who goes by the name of ‘All Beef Patty’, whose huge multicoloured wig added at least six inches to “her” existing 6’6 frame.

So yes, finally 40! I don’t know why I’m not freaking out about this like most people seem to, but I just know it’ll be my best decade yet. 30 didn’t bother me either. Strangely, the only time I can recall ever feeling funny about age was when I turned 20. For fuck’s sake – 20!! I just remember feeling ever so slightly wistful about no longer being a teenager. Perhaps I have welcomed both 30 and 40 because I feel ageing has always been a good thing due to being a bit baby faced – I looked about 14 until I was 28 or so, so a bit of living etched on to me has only been a good thing.

Or I’m eyeball deep in denial and will be hit with a mid-life crisis of tsunami proportions soon, but then there’s always Botox so I’ll roll with the punches – who needs facial expressions anyway?

 

 

Warm Furballs and Flights

Sunday night. Candle light. Fireworks tearing through the sky. Hendrix snoozing on my lap. Monkey at his dad’s. Phone pinging and a message telling me B is checked in and is boarding his flight. To Prague this time, and four nights that I now have to endure without my honey. All in all, unbearable.

I feel so lost when I’m not around him. Let alone the pain of not having my Monkey with me, it’s multiplied a thousand times now that I have to spend days on end without both my boys. When B has to go away with work, it’s easier if Monkey’s around, just like the weeks my son’s with his father are somewhat easier to deal with when B’s around. Gosh, this sucks on so many levels. Luckily, there’s this little warm furball on my lap, her silly little nose resting on my left arm, making it difficult to type.

Please God, let these next few days pass quickly.

At least I’ve got some more writing done and also feeling hopeful that one of the jobs I’ve applied for may come through.

Minutes and Dream Boats

What a day. Monkey is turning 11 in November but has the attitude of a disgruntled 16-yearold, so taking him shopping was never going to be a smooth ride. What did we need? Baskets for Hendrix’s toys and stuff, some school shirts for aforementioned Monkey, fresh yeast from the Swedish shop in Barnes for baking cinnamon buns, a printer and nail polish, maybe a new mascara if we were to pass somewhere stocking Benefit make-up. OMG. Aforementioned attitude set in even before we’d left, and by the time we’d got into the car I was losing my mind. Seriously – as much as I love my child (and no one could love anyone or anything more than I love this Monkey of mine), I was ready to ask for a refund. F*ck me, apparently it gets worse once those little buggers are ACTUAL teenagers.

Luckily, Monkey turned the charm back on, and I soon forgot about wanting to put him on ebay.

The printer was the real gem and has already proved incredibly useful when it comes to the writing – it’s so much easier to go over drafts when you’re marking up actual pages, as opposed to scrolling up and down a screen. Also, it sort of forced me to print off all those things I have to give an overhaul and face what I need to do. All good, really. No school shirts, no mascara and no Hendrix boxes, but Rome wasn’t built in one day. At least we got the yeast, but I can’t face baking along with making dinner so it’ll just have to wait until tomorrow.

Part of the reason I want to bake a few batches of beautiful cinnamon bun heaven is that tomorrow – apparently – is International Cinnamon Bun Day, and also B’s brother and family are with us next week and I’d like to treat them to something nice, beyone taking them around seeing stuff they still haven’t ticked off on their London-list. Oh, and I like stuffing my face with those things too. I think during our weekend in Italy, I piled on a couple of pounds, so that sure as hell won’t help but I was always better when I’m cuddly so hey-ho.

Jeez, as we speak Monkey’s dad (the ex-husband) rang to make arrangements for tomorrow. What a modern, broken family we truly are. We’re heading over to east London to watch Monkey play football, so B and I will be parking at the ex’s place, get Monkey changed and after that we’re all heading over to the football ground together, happily chatting about the weather no doubt. Eesh! Awkward’r’us. To be fair, it could be a lot worse. My divorce was, compared with B’s, pretty amicable, which means I have a functioning (if not overly friendly) relationship with my son’s father, as much of a tw*t I think he is. We are able to be nice to each other around Monkey (always were) and as much as we may have disliked each other over the years we have always communicated when it’s been about him. Thank God I conducted myself in a way I can now live with and that now benefits Monkey.

B’s sitting across from me here at the dining table, and I know he probably feels neglected, hoping these 20 minutes will be up soon and my attention will once again be all focused on him. It’s hard, actually. Did I mention B is f*cking HOT? It takes all that I have to keep on typing when this dream boat is right THERE. I’d just need to get up, walk a few steps and then slide down into his lap and shower him with kisses. That’s exactly what I’ll do when these bloody minutes are up! OK, I cheated – I just checked – 2.45 to go. Just over two minutes until I will kiss those delicious lips, hug that insanely gorgeous man tightly and tell him how much I love him. F*ck me, I’m so f*cking lucky.

Hendrix is sniffing around my feet, probably wanting to bite me but finally knows she’s not to do that. Only one walk today by B and Monkey, compared with the three walks per day I take her on, so she’s probably full of excess energy. Perhaps I’ll throw a ball with her when the rugby’s on. Alright. Timer says 30 seconds, so that’s me done!