Tag Archives: London

a wonderful weekend


Some of my wonderful #WhatImWriting friends.

You know the sort of weekend that’s so good that regardless what Monday throws at you, you keep smiling all day long? I’ve just had one of those. And I don’t mean just smiling a little bit either, I mean like, huge cheshire cat grins often accompanied by little chuckles at random moments and even the odd guffaw (when passers-by least expect it). Oh yes, I’m talking a properly stonking good weekend.

It began with a plan of military precision involving leaving my eldest son with my husband up in Northumberland on Friday and my younger two with my parents in Yorkshire on Saturday and then leaping on a train all by myself (that is BY MYSELF, alone, no kids, on a train, on my own and did I say I was by myself?) and going down to London. I got there at 12.56 (a not entirely pointless detail) and immediately went to meet up with some of my wonderful #WhatImWriting gang.

And what a meet up it was! There were eight of us. We met for lunch. Lunch went on for eight hours. It was awesome: I can honestly say these women are soul food to me – proper, hearty, ‘eat as much as you like and you wont ever get sick because it’s too tasty’ soul-food. They are all intelligent and creative and strong and brave and brilliant and beautiful and being in their company made my spirits soar.

It also made me *rather* drunk. Oh yes. The sort of drunk where you text your husband from the loo to tell him how much you love him and how much you love everyone and then you realise later that what you sent looks more like ‘I higglibley fulsip ve’ than the message you were really aiming for but never mind because he knew what you meant. The best kind of drunk, then.

Anyway, we well and truly put the world to rights and then just to top it off, straight afterwards I went out for a meal with one of my friends from my university days who I don’t get to see nearly often enough. And he came and met me where we were having our epic lunch (The Parcel Yard at Kings Cross – this isn’t remotely a sponsored post but we had such a good time there, they deserve a mention) which somehow made it even more lovely because it was like a bit of my history (18 years of friendship and counting) intersecting with a much more recent part of my life. Not quite sure why that felt so lovely but it did.

And, AND just to top it off even more than it was already topped off, the next day I had brunch/lunch with one of my very oldest, bestest friends (39 years of friendship and counting – we met before I was born… ) by the end of which my spirits were in the stratosphere and my heart was bursting all over the place with love.

I then caught the 12.56 train (see – I like a bit of symmetry) back to Yorkshire, picked up my younger two boys (who’d had a brilliant time with my parents) and drove back home to Northumberland in time to babble joyfully and semi-coherently at my husband, find out that his time with our eldest boy was ‘pure joy’ (I shed a little tear at that description) and then collapse into bed to dream of… well, we decided that what happens in The Parcel Yard stays in The Parcel Yard so I couldn’t possibly divulge any more…


Writing Bubble

friendships old and new

I’ve just returned from a fantastic couple of days in London, meeting my ‘What I’m Writing’ blogging friends for the first time. It was only my second night away from home (without my kids) since the birth of my youngest, two-and-a-half years ago, and I think I’m getting a taste for it. Not that I don’t love being around my boys most of the time but it is fantastic to be ‘footloose and fancy-free’ for a weekend!

view of the shard

The view from my hotel window – much more impressive than I’d expected!

And what a weekend! I set off with my younger boys (six and two) after school on Friday, leaving the eldest (eight) with my husband for some father/son bonding time (good plan – they both loved it), and headed down to Yorkshire to stay with my parents for the night. First thing the next morning I left the boys with my parents and hopped on the train down south.

As I watched the beautiful Yorkshire landscape whizz past the window it occurred to me that there was nothing I needed to do that moment – no demands on my time, no small people to entertain, no deadlines to meet (or not ones that couldn’t wait) so I… *drumroll* read a magazine! A really crappy one! I learned all about Botox (it may smooth out your skin but often causes muscle wastage that hollows out your appearance thus making you look older in the long run… oh, and recent research suggests that overuse when young affects you psychologically since mirroring other people’s facial expressions helps develop empathy… interesting eh?) and also about who’s dating who, celebrity diets and whose body I’m supposed to wish was my own. Hmmm.

Anyway, before my brain was even half filled with fluff (it was a three hour trip but my head has a large fluff-capacity) my train arrived in Kings Cross and I was off to meet my gang.

What I'm Writing lunch

L-R Reneé from Mummy Tries, me, Rachael from Honest Speaks, Rebecca Ann Smith, Nikki Young Writes, Emily Organ and Sophie is…

It was SO fantastic to meet them all. It felt a weird mixture of completely surreal and utterly normal. These were people whose faces I’d only seen in FB profile pics, whose voices I’d never heard and whose lives I only knew about through words on a screen… and yet they were also people who I’d chatted with online and read and shared so much with through our blogs that I felt I knew them well. Conversation, laughter and wine flowed freely over a delicious four hour lunch and over cocktails afterwards. We talked about real stuff – who could be bothered with small talk? The only downside was that we didn’t have longer – so we’re already planning a next time!

Having had a wonderful Saturday, the next morning I rounded off my London experience with a leisurely brunch with my oldest friend. We first met before we were born (well ok, our mums met in antenatal class) and we’ve been best friends ever since, but seeing her was an all-too-infrequent treat. With my new-found freedom though I’m hoping to change that.

On getting back to my parents’ house later that afternoon I was met by two delighted boys who’d had a fantastic weekend with their grandparents. My six-year-old then gave me this story which he’d written (and illustrated) for me on post-it notes. I didn’t think he’d paid attention when I’d told him where I was going but clearly some of it had sunk in, well, the location anyway:

trip to London story

It’s rather prosaic for him (his stories usually involve castles, trolls or flying pigs) but I rather liked its blunt, straight-forwardness. He’s wrong about one thing though – this isn’t the end. It’s just the start of the story.

Writing Bubble
Little Hearts, Big Love