Tough Week: surviving the hard times 

Had a real howler of a week. The kids have been on school holidays since mid-June and our au pair is going back to Sweden soon. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage things without her. She’s leaving to look after a poorly relative: I did the right thing and invited her to rent a house nearby for the relative and then she can keep her job with us and look after the woman the rest of the time. She refused. Disappointing. 

Ugh. And on top of that I missed my Amazon prime order and now we are completely out of Nespresso capsules. I’ve only the pale ones left and there’s no point me drinking anything lower than an 8 and there really aren’t enough Starbucks in the Cotswolds. 

Plus Jeremy has been working away masses recently and keeps Facetiming me when I’m trying to do Insta stories. He doesn’t understand that I work evenings.  

And I have a moral dilemma: the handbag J bought me for our anniversary is on sale at Net-a-Porter. How do I buy it in navy without hurting his feelings? Ideas on a postcard! 

On top of all this going around in my mind, I’m also finding it really tricky to transition my wardrobe. What is going on with this weather! It’s been Hunters under DVF at this week’s garden parties and even I struggled to pull that one off! 

Holiday: do it the right way

Packing

Me- I always get my clothes dry cleaned and packed for me. For the kids- I buy pages 78-92 of the Boden catalogue three weeks before leaving and then pack them straight in to the children’s matching suitcases. Jeremy- two pairs of linen shorts, a pair of pink chinos, and two polo Ralph Lauren polo necks- it’s the same every year and has been since we met. 

Nectar and her suitcase

Flights

Duty-free for make-up. A strong gin in the bar. Eye mask and a snooze on the flight. The children know not to wake me. In fact, I often book myself in to first class so Jeremy and the kids can have some time just the three of them. 

Hotel 

Anywhere with turquoise water, a crèche and a good wall to pose against. 

I had to float my phone on a lilo to get this shot

Memories

If a blogger has a good time on holiday but there’s no pics of it on social media, is it really a good time? No. It’s not really a memory at all. A memory, for me, is a flattering photo of family printed on a canvas and displayed in the hallway. It took three attempts and €5 to a local beachcomber but this is my favourite memory from our last holiday. 


Social Media

Obviously I ban the children from having tablets at the taverna tables, but I need to have mine to record our meals and memories. My Insta followers love seeing my outfits and Twitter goes in to turmoil if I don’t update my followers about how happy I am. 

 

Smug Mummy Guide to Making Friends

1) I always say you should walk a mile in someone’s shoes before you judge them, but certainly not if they’re Uggs. Also, I’m not massively in to Converse because I think it’s a sign that someone’s lazy so they probably wouldn’t ever even walk a mile anyway. The footsteps I fall in with are usually from Dubarrys or Hunters. But not muddy ones. I don’t want people thinking I have to walk my own dog.

2) Make up

I am blessed with excellent skin and obedient hair, but I always take time to do my make up. I have  a sister website called glamforthefam.com because I believe a woman should always look good-even if it’s just for the children and the gardener. 

No judgement, but I wouldn’t be friends with someone who didn’t have blow dried hair- if she doesn’t respect herself, how can she respect our friendship?

3) Creative

The one thing all my girlfriends have in common is that they work. Each one of us has our own Etsy shop selling bespoke children’s wear and/or handwritten whimsical quotations for other stressed out mums. The arts are so important. 

4) Charity

I am heavily involved in charity fundraising. I look for similar selflessness in friends. One of my ‘Smell the Flowers’ memes went for over £470 at a charity auction. The headteacher said it was an invaluable contribution towards to school’s new stables. 

Overall, I think high standards are essential to a friendship. Sometimes I am so lonely I cry in the pantry whilst gorging on Dutchy oatcakes, but I would rather that than spend time with women who think it’s ok to order bar snacks on a night out. 

Easter: a time for healthy eating and thankfulness 

I don’t think it’s acceptable to use Easter as an excuse to let standards slip. 

Because my children are at the most prestigious private school in the Cotswolds area, they naturally have very long holidays. Everyone knows the rule: the more you pay, the less they go. I was just laughing with Tiffany that Nectar’s been home since mid-March!

It’s really important to use this time for wholesome, family activities. I so believe that spending time as a family is important. That’s why I set out a whole schedule of craft activities for the children to do with the nanny whilst I’m at a spa with the girls. 

I am so ready for this girls’ break: it’s been really stressful trying to sort out rotas for cleaners and childcare what with all these Bank holidays. Inconvenient. 

Jeremy has taken some time off work for the Easter break. It is nice having him home to help out but sometimes he can be really critical. Just yesterday he asked me if I fancied doing something fun soon. He was implying I was boring and I was livid so I took the Evoque and drove off to book club without saying goodbye. 

And I know I am fun because I’ve spent quite a long time on Pinterest planning an Easter egg hunt with a twist. I wanted to find something that was a bit different and I’m super excited about it. Basically, they follow a load of clues that I’ve written in my calligraphy class and at the end they have a prize. I’m so pleased because, as my children never eat chocolate (dairy intolerance), I have made a donation to Oxfam and they each have a certificate to say they’ve bought a chicken for a family in Sudan. They’ll be thrilled! I did the same for Nectar’s stocking last Christmas and she took the certificate in to show her friends. I was so proud. It never came home actually, I must chase that up. 

Smug Mummy’s Life Hacks 

Valet

Because I’m not 14 and need the pocket money, I never clean my own car. Because my kids aren’t going to grow up to be blue collar workers, I wouldn’t dream of getting them to do it either. I always get my car professionally valeted. Try and have it done by the foreigners at the John Lewis car park. That way you can hit the sales and feel like you’re doing a good deed. 

Ocado

No one I know actually visits supermarkets any more and I think it does the neighbourhood good to have Ocado vans coming and going. 

Mindfulness 

I pride myself on keeping a good home, a good body and a good marriage but I also know the stress of wearing all these different hats can take its toll. So, whilst he was on a business trip, I converted Jeremy’s study in to a home meditation retreat for us both. 

Gardener

Some people might be jealous of our seven acres of unspoilt Cotswold land, but it’s actually a real bind. People don’t know how hard it can be to grow leeks and graze sheep. Because of this, we’ve employed Giles. I teasingly refer to him as our ‘tenant farmer’ which he thinks is a hoot.  

Social media

I don’t have time to keep up to date with current affairs-who does!- so I get most of my news from facebook and Instagram. I try really hard not to be political, but my ‘Stronger Apart’ EU meme went semi-viral. 

Even on holiday, it’s important to have your ‘me’ time

Our Weekends

Homework

We spend a fortune on school fees for Nectar and so my expectation is that they will take care of all her learning. Sadly, Nectar’s teachers clearly deem it appropriate that we bear some of that burden and thus a portion of our weekend is spent helping her complete homework. The plus side is it gives me an opportunity to use part of my brain that has lain dormant since graduating top of my year at Cambridge. The essay I wrote for her on Oedipus complex in the works of AA Milne was very well received: ‘a work of almost unbelievable insight’

A walk

Last year, Jeremy bought us all matching Hunter wellies. For six months they lay spotless in the bootroom: the countryside is for instagramming, not meddling in. However, J wanted us to ‘do more as a family’ and now insists we walk each weekend so now we all pull on our boots and Barbours and walk to the shops to pick up The Telegraph on a Sunday. 

Playdates 

As much as I’d love to, my severe gluten allergy means I am unable to host play dates for Ambrose. Luckily his devoted sister Nectar lets him tag along when she visits her friends: she makes me give her £7.20 an hour in line with minimum wage. 

Relaxation

After my hard week of school runs I think it’s important for Jeremy to pick up some of the slack at the weekend. He has his long commute home to unwind so Sunday mornings are my me-time. I tend to do some yoga and practise my calligraphy by writing aspirational lifestyle quote for my Insta follower: I know they give people so much joy. 

Ambrose Gets Ill 

DS Ambrose is poorly. He just doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I’ve given him agave and bay leaf for his temperature and it’s not having any effect. He also seems to have a terrible rash but camomile hasn’t worked so it must be serious. 

I knew something was wrong when Ambrose slept past 5.30. He’s normally up and charging about letting off his creative steam by paint balling in the bathroom or nerf-gunning the help but he’s been ever so quiet this last week. 

I will try an olbas oil inhalation tonight and if he’s not better by tomorrow I’ll take him to the homeopath. 

Although, I am rather enjoying the quiet.