Life, the universe and everything

Collage Hello friends! To paraphrase one of my favourite Robert Lowell poems*, I’m back, after three months away.

So, why the long pause?

Well, I am tempted to give the usual excuses. You know, I was heavily pregnant, I had a baby, life was a bit more tiring with three kids, Christmas came along etc etc. All perfectly true, to a certain extent. But, of course, if you really want to do something, you manage to find the time to do it, no matter what else is going on.

And, I think the real reason for the extended absence, was that last year I rather got sucked into an amateur pro bloggers vortex, if you know what I mean.

I don’t have any desires to make any money from this blog. (A brief foray into paid links, of which eagle eyed readers might have spotted two in the past two years, convinced me that it was a pretty tiring way to make money. For me at least.) But I did want my blog to rank alongside professional blogs. To be just as worth reading as those by bloggers who do use it as a way of making a living. So I was often reading lots of other blogs and seeing all the other articles out there similar to mine and, of course, almost every article ever has already been written, so I wondered what was the point of adding mine to the mix. I started to feel like yet another person photographing the wreath on their front door for Instagram at Christmas time…

I got a serious case of blogging fatigue. And Instagram fatigue as well, for that matter. It all just started to seem a little bit… …pointless.

So what’s changed? Why am I back again?

Last week, we went to buy fireplaces for our new house. We were wandering round the shop, which is full of antique and reproduction fireplaces . And we wanted one that was exactly the same as the one in our old house. We’d assumed we’d easily spot it out on the display, but there wasn’t a similar one out. Then I remembered that I’d photographed out mantelpiece for this blog a few times in 2015 and that there was likely a photograph of the whole fireplace in there somewhere. Lo and behold, there was! (This one.)

I was delighted to have the photo to show the shop manager, but also, more importantly, for posterity of the house that we renovated and no longer lived in. Of the display on the mantelpiece that marked that point in time in our lives. And which I would have never ever photographed were it not for the blog.

So I remembered that crucial thing that had been missing for me last year: this blog is, primarily, for me.

To record moments in our lives, things I’ve made, recipes I love. A place I can look back to find the details that get forgotten over time.

And if anyone else wants to read it too. Well, really, that’s just a bonus!

So, this year I will, I hope, be back for a bit more of the same. If you’re reading along, hello! Thank you! And I hope I won’t disappear for so long again.

And for now, a very brief catch up.

I had the baby! Woo-hoo. She was 10 days late, which I hadn’t anticipated, and arrived in the middle of November. She is very adorable and – though life is inevitably a little more stressful with three children rather than two – she makes our little family better in every way.

The boys are besotted with her and love to do nothing better than plant never-ending kisses on her cheeks and tell her how much they love her. When she smiles at them, they are delighted. Then they go off and beat the crap out of each other, ha ha.

When she was ten days old, she got bronchiolitis and was in the paediatric ICU for ten days, unable to breathe on her own with a collapsed lung. It was a terrifying time and brought back a lot of memories from when my first son died. It also made me think a lot about grief and children and life and expectations and, really, all sorts of things. I have been mulling over a blog post about some of that for a while, which may or may not come later. But, the most important thing, she made a full recovery and, apart from a weak chest for a few years, should be perfectly fine.

I handed in my very final garden design assignments last week. I really loved doing the course, but boy was it a lot of work. To be honest, I’m not quite sure how it is possible to make any money being a garden designer, unless you’re totally at the top of your game. Though I was pleased with what I managed to produce, I’m not convinced that it’s a career for me. I think I love learning about and working with all the plants a lot more than I enjoy wondering how you would construct a retaining wall. So the latest plan… …take another course! Ha ha, I do hope my Mum isn’t reading this as she would despair of my incessant course-taking. But there is a diploma 3 level horticulture course that is just crying out to me that I could take later in the year. And then I’ve found a really rather awesome looking masters in plant diversity. Does any of this earn money, erm, no, and therein lies the rub. We shall see.

What else? The hubby is still on shared parental leave, which is great. Our new house is still undergoing building work and will be for the next three months minimum, which is really not great. And, other than that, life continues as before.

Thank you to all loyal readers who’ve made it to the end of this page! High five for your persistence. And apologies that this is illustrated only with photos from Instagram. I haven’t got my big camera out at all in the past few months.

So, what have I missed with all of you? Hope life has been good…

* Home after three months away which you can read here if you’re so inclined.

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23 thoughts on “Life, the universe and everything

  1. Great to have you back! I have been through the same thing re blogging and had come to the same conclusion only yesterday and wrote my first post in months. Glad that family life is good (and lovely photos too) x

  2. Welcome back,your daughter is beautiful.Did we miss you?Speaking for myself,yes,most definitely.Christmas was a particularly frantic this year as my husband had been sick for several months before the Dr put him in the hospital to have test run,but he ended up in the ICU,his pacemaker wasn’t working.Then why is it not running properly,OMG he’s lost a lot of blood!!!After several units of blood,a couple weeks to get stronger,surgery to replace pacemaker that was firing continually because of his not having enough blood,oh he lost it because he was on Eliquis,a new blood thinner that is notorious for silent bleeding.Then ,Then,he got pneumonia!ICU again.Christmas shopping was done online completely,didn’t want to rush his recovery.And now I’m coasting,emotionally drained,thankfully to have a nice boring life once again.

    1. Oh my goodness, so sorry to hear that, it sounds like you had a similar end to the year that I did. I do hope that your husband is recovered now and back home with you. Yes, there’s a lot to be said for a boring life, isn’t there? The first night we were in the ICU, I thought longingly of doing nothing but pootling about in the sitting room with the kids playing / fighting and the baby sleeping and how utterly ordinary it all was and how I yearned to be back to all that. Thankfully, we are back to it now, though I have to sometimes remind myself to appreciate it…

  3. It’s good to see you. I haven’t been visiting for that long before you went off the have a baby and feel a bit fed up with your blog but I liked what I’d read and I was hoping you’d be back. Writing your blog for yourself is the best motivation to continue I can think of. I am glad your daughter is well now, what a scary 19 days these must have been. Congratulations on her arrival btw! I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your first son. x

    1. Thanks so much! The new one is a little delight, and it’s such a relief she’s better now. Now I just need to figure out how to juggle three kids and a blog along with the rest of life, ha ha. Should be easy, I’m sure…

  4. Can I say welcome back? Your followers will be pleased I am sure, because your writing is refreshing, honest and enjoyable to read. Yes, writing for yourself is the best and you don’t have to worry about pleasing others. I am so happy your daughter is well again and sorry for the loss of your son. That was a very hard time and I’m nit surprised you didn’t do any blig posts. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to manage that on top of everything else.
    Good luck with your Hort 3 course when you get to do it and I am looking forward to reading whatever you you write.

  5. Ha! I’ve been blog free for 9 months, having just come back, and I’ve not got half of your excuses. Welcome back and welcome to the world to your new addition to the family. X

    1. I saw your latest blog too! Interesting that we both took a good old break at the same time (and have both been blogging about the same time too, I think…) Must be a good time to reboot and take stock! And welcome back to you too. xx

  6. Welcome back and congratulations on your baby girl! I’ve always enjoyed your posts of life in your neck of the woods and look forward to more. Thank you.

  7. So excited to see you are back. You are actually the only blog I follow. I don’t even remember how I got started, but I feel like I know you and have seen your babies grow up. I also studies landscape architecture so there’s that too. Happy to see you had a baby girl–she is beautiful!

    1. Goodness, how lovely, thank you so much! And ah, landscape architecture, that is something else I would like to go on and study more… The trouble with my garden design course was it didn’t really give me enough detail about all the construction side of things and I feel like I would still be a total novice if it came to building a wall or anything more complicated!

  8. Congrats on the new baby! She’s lovely. Hope you’re getting some sleep!

    As for the garden course…hmmmm…are any of the old estates (or London’s parks) looking for more gardening staff? Maybe Kew? What about the palaces?

    And there’s nothing wrong with writing just for you. To be honest, I’ve cut wayyy down on the amount of blogs I read because most of them are just constantly selling you something (at least the American ones are). I understand bloggers have server and hosting fees to cover, but most of them are just using their blogs as cash-cows (as in, 6 figures or more) and they’ll sell ANYTHING to do so. They stopped feeling authentic to me – they were just trying too hard, you know? Everything was staged to incorporate some product they’d partnered with. It was like watching 2 a.m. infomercials.

    1. Thank you! Yes, she is gorgeous (says the proud Mum, ha ha.)
      I agree with you about blogs that are just selling things all the time. It’s very tedious reading endless sponsored posts. Mind you, I also have sympathy for the need to make money as well — I know lots of people put loads of time into their blogs, so it is good to make some money back for that time. I wish I could just figure out a way to do that that felt authentic for me!

  9. First of all thank goodness your new wee one pulled through okay! I’ve loved reading this post as I also have been rather quiet on my blog – but did not have a baby or any crisis. I’ve decided I’ll write when I want rather than feel compelled to write constantly – my wish is to keep mine as a nature diary of where we live and with a little bit of this and that. And I’ll pop over to read blogs – like yours – which I want to catch up with xxx

  10. Oh Sabrina! You had a girl. When we “met” was I pregnant with mine? They’ll make you humble and kooky. And yes, I’m so glad she fought to stay with you.
    I absolutely get what you went through. I’ve stayed the course, stayed small, and busted myself last year for people pleasing shoulds which made me anxious. Now everything is for the purpose of making me happy or not at all. Shoulds are shyte.
    For you,.those courses make you happy, as unpractical as they are, you love it. And your knowledge may eventually take you somewhere that makes you even happier. But for now, I’d think the courses balance the soul-sucking side effects that raising children can bestow upon you.
    Huzzah for You !!!
    Love,
    Shalagh

  11. you are one very special person. I can tell this by reading your Tshirt blog which then inspired me to see more of your stuff, writing etc. Warm wonderful and from the heart. Much nicer to read than any career blogger I have ever read. In fact I have had the same thoughts as you about blogging. So many, so why add mine. The answer is there in your blog. For me, for my life, for my children to look back on. And wether you touch thousands upon thousands or a handful of special people, makes no difference, its for you, and just for the record, you are touching hearts. Keep going whoever you are, brave lady. love from all the way accross the ocean Australia.

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