We have some catching up to do. Forgive me for the fact that this includes Christmas, luckily there aren’t many sequins because we did most of our partying earlier in the month. When I left you in 2017, it was the eldest’s 21st birthday and he was due to arrive home from London late that night. So, we’re picking the story up as we arrived at the railway station to meet him.
The 21st birthday
Poor boy, I don’t think he was expecting quite such an enthusiastic welcome but I dived straight in for that long awaited hug.
Earlier in the day I had posted this old photo on Instagram to wish him a happy birthday. It ended up being one of my most liked pictures ever so I thought you might like to see it. To me it encapsulates our relationship which has always been one long conversation which as you can see, began before he could even talk…
Anyway… back to the future. He was keen to pop out for birthday drinks with his school friend but first there were presents and cards to open…
…this was clearly a cheeky one from one of his brothers!
The White Company sharing board made a few M&S nibbles look even more special…
Oak sharing board (gAW17)
… and Mr MC and I had made a cake. It was a labour of love because we knew the Nike branding had to be spot on!
So, it felt as though Christmas had finally begun. Little did we know that there was something rumbling in the background. Earlier that afternoon, the middle one had arrived home from school looking grey. We didn’t take much notice because he’d been to his Sixth Form social the night before and stayed with a friend so we presumed that signs of ‘fatigue’ were self inflicted.
However, just as we were going to bed, we realised that he really wasn’t well. He’d picked up a tummy bug that was doing the rounds and so we all had a rough night (he has never been one to suffer in silence). At 2am I went down to see how he was doing to find him lying on the bathroom floor feeling sorry for himself. His (by now very merry) big brother was sitting on the side of the bath chuckling away and consoling him with tales of “great student chunders I have had.” Brotherly love!
The deli shop
So, the next day all plans had to be changed. Even a school performance had to be cancelled because no-one could play the middle one’s part. I popped out with the eldest to do our Christmas deli shop but our evening plans for pizza and Star Wars were put on ice.
Dropping like nine pins
I spent the next day at home, cooking and baking… middle boy was on the mend and all was going well. We sat down to a table laden with some of my freshly prepared goodies and I looked across at the youngest to see him blanch. Yes, you’ve guessed it, he had succumbed to the bug. He was really poorly and so I spent a very long night with him, holding a bucket and mopping his brow, followed by another day down.
By the morning after that he was feeling ok. We had tickets for Elf The Musical at The Lowry in Manchester and so we decided to go. Elf was brilliant and we were so lucky that everyone was well enough to see it because in the car on the way home, my tummy started to grumble. It was my turn.
Skirt; jumper; coat, over the knee boots all M&S AW 17; black hands free clutch
I didn’t sleep very well and in the middle of the night, it hit Mr MC so you can imagine our groan when the younger one came bouncing into our room at 8am wanting to open his stocking. The middle son was raring to go too but… the elder emerged holding his head saying, “I don’t feel very well!”
You only have one Christmas morning so we opened the stockings and then quickly contacted the people who were due to come round for drinks advising them to stay clear. We then had a chat about what to do next. Even the younger two still had no appetite but I just couldn’t let Christmas Day go by without preparing dinner. So, we pulled on our gladrags and smiled our best smiles for our annual Christmas Day picture (you can tell that the smiles don’t quite reach the eyes of three of us)!…
…I dressed the table as planned and we sat down to dinner…
… lasting all of ten minutes before we reverted to this.
So this is how I spent the afternoon (thank goodness the pyjama fairy brought me a nice new onesie). I felt disappointed but there was nothing we could do about it. The only consolation was that it was a bonding experience. It feels like ages since I’ve had feverish heads resting on my knee, appreciating the presence of their mum.
Christmas Day was definitely a different one for us this year, as was Boxing Day. The only member of the family who enjoyed a good Christmas dinner was Gary who over the next few days polished off all of the meat and quite a few of the veg. He turned his nose up at sprouts though.
White Company Onesie (AW17)
We finally emerged feeling unusually thin and raring to go. Walks in the crisp, frosty weather were what we needed…
At last we were able to get back on track with our plans. I had planned a party for my siblings and their families which meant I was finally able to cook for people who would eat! Mr MC was back on his usual ‘snapping’ form with a new viewfinder that he was keen to play with.
Cobalt lace top (now 50% off); Boden jeans (AW16); Boden shoes (AW15)
I am the baby of the family – my sister and two brothers are 20, 18 and 13 years older than me and so we all lead very different lives. It’s ridiculously rare that all four of us manage to get together at once, in fact it’s usually only at Christmas. There are currently 19 of us in our close family if everyone manages to come.
As you will know if you follow me on Instagram, we will soon be 20 because my nephew and his fiancée are expecting a new arrival (Oscar) who has already been making his presence felt. Her waters broke at 26 weeks and so she has been undergoing extreme measures not to deliver him. The plan is to try to get to 18th January when he will still be a month early. Oscar – hang on in there!
Here are five of my mum and dad’s eight grandsons – they would have been so very proud of them.
A snow day
The next day surprisingly was a snow day. The Lake District is captivating when everything is white and we just had to get out in it…
…and then warm up in a country pub…
… before finally going for our rescheduled Star Wars and pizza date.
New Year’s Eve Eve
Too soon it came to the dreaded parting of the ways as the eldest went back to London and we headed over to Newcastle to see my mum-in-law. As always, she was keen for us to leave the boys with her for the evening so it made sense for us to book a hotel and minimise her laundry…
… which meant we could sample the delights of the city centre. We found this restaurant modelled on a Bangkok street market which was fab. It’s called Zaap – do go there if you’re in the city.
It felt like so long since we’d been out on our own together and we always relax more when we’re away from home. The problem with living in a small community is that you always end up bumping into someone who wants to chat.
Here we were doing the end of year relationship audit that I featured on here a couple of years ago. We made some Project Happier plans for 2018 – I even took a notebook with me although I didn’t write very much down!
New Year’s Eve
The next morning we had an early whiz around the shops but the best of the sales were over which is probably a good thing.
We then had a speedy journey home because it was New Year’s Eve and we had friends coming over. It was my favourite kind of party because they brought the food so all we had to prepare was chilled fizz and I’m an expert at that. You’ve already seen our midnight picture.
We stayed up far too late, as did the friends who we were meeting for a new year’s brunch the following day so there are no pictures of that. In the end, a Christmas that went wrong at the beginning ended well. I think life likes to remind you every so often that it can’t always be planned. Maybe I tempted fate by blogging about how to put on a great Christmas for so many weeks!
So that brings us pretty much up to date apart from one last thing:
Thanks to your votes, I found out on New Year’s Day that I’ve made it through to the finals of the UK Blog Awards again. It was much harder this time because a lot of other over 40 bloggers had entered the first round, including Samantha from Fake Fabulous, Emma from Style Splash and Jane from MyMidlifeFashion. I admire them all and so I feel very fortunate to have made it through to the last eight along with Catherine from NotDressedAsLamb (people are going to start thinking that we’re siamese twins)! We will both be doing our best to wave the flag for women over 40 on the night.
I’m so grateful to you for that and also for your comments, emails, tweets and other messages about the work/teen balance issue. I will be getting back to you and also pulling them together in a post. I loved reading all of your different angles and attitudes – as always it shows just how much we can learn from each other. What a wise bunch of midlife mavens we are!
Disclosure: ‘Midlife lately – winter outfits’ is not a sponsored post
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