Five on Friday: ups and downs

Instagram photoYes, this week was, indeed, one of ups and downs. But let’s start with the positives:

  1. Hurrah, we did exchange on our house purchase last Friday! At 4.55pm, five minutes before the deadline for the day, I got a call from the solicitor to say it had all gone through. Huge sighs of relief all round, not least from the poor estate agents who had been somewhat frazzled, I think, by the endless issues with the chain. We complete in three weeks and I am just finally allowing myself to think about the fact we’re going to live in a lovely house on a road I love, in a part of East Dulwich I love and that, wow, it’s all really happened!
  2. To compound my good mood, on Monday morning I noticed that my latest photo on instagram was getting a fair few more likes than usual. And when I say, “a few” I mean more along the lines of many multiples more. It’s the one above, of my kitchen shelves. I had a little investigate and discovered that it had somehow, somehow found its way into the #dslooking top posts selection and by the end of the day I had more than 1,000 likes and a new 150 or so followers. To put this into context, in case lots of instagram influencers are reading, this is about four times more than I usually get. I was rather chuffed! (Though, also, isn’t instagram a funny place? Yes, my shelves are kind of nice, I think so too, of course, but this is so so so so far from a really great photo, or even one of my best photos, that it does amuse me it’s my most popular…)
  3. Incidentally, I put up another photo of a different set of shelves in my house yesterday – this time my bathroom – hoping to capitalise on some of the same success, but no such luck, ha ha. I guess it was a one off alignment of the instagram stars.
  4. But the downs… …also on Monday morning, I set off for the dentist to have a fake tooth fitted. Years (and years) ago when I was a student, I had a dodgy filling put in by a dodgy dentist, which meant one of my back molars ended up cracking and had to be removed. There’s been a gap there ever since, but recently my (hopefully non-dodgy) dentist noticed that the tooth above had started to slip downwards. I’ve had endless appointments at Kings Dental clinic to discuss what to do (pull out the slipping down tooth, or try and push it back up again?) and finally opted to have a fake tooth put into the gap, with the hope that the top tooth will start to go back into its rightful place. This is a very long, very boring dental story I am realising as I’m writing it, but the short version is: new fake tooth means my jaw no longer connects anymore. Only the slippydowny tooth meets the bottom teeth for the time being. So I left the dentist with a huge lisp and am unable to chew any food except on that one tooth for, erm, probably about the next six months. I’ve been working on the lisp, which I find embarrassing, and I almost sound like normal again, but chewing is still hard and I’ve been only eating soft things all week. Which isn’t ideal when you’re pregnant and starving all the time. Anyway, that’s my woeful tooth story over so onto the final down…
  5. Also on Monday: the buggers who had said they’d rent us a house close to our new house and close to the sproglet’s school decided they didn’t want to rent it out after all. Which meant I’ve had a frantic week desperately trying to secure a new rental house for us to move into in a fortnight’s time. We’re planning on doing lots of building work on our new house, so we need us and our furniture to be elsewhere for the foreseeable future. Nothing has come up in the right location, but I’m just hoping we’re going to find somewhere before the week is out. Please, please keep your fingers crossed for me!

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Five on Friday

Manor house windowEnglish countrysideCowsCountry house with flowerbedsView from the window

  1. The photos above are from last weekend’s trip to Herefordshire. My friend’s family own a house there that is the very stuff of watery-eyed English nostalgia. A huge mansion, surrounded by formal gardens, giving way to fields of cows, sheep and hay bales as far as the eye can see. In the distance, a church spire peeps out, a river rolls past and you sit, sighing, watching the sun set and feel as if all is right with the world.

The house itself is a spectacular mansion, 300 years old, and charming in that slightly crumbling way that English manor houses do so well. I coveted the peeling William Morris-style wallpaper in the bathrooms, the study filled with dark paneling and, most of all, the amazing huge windows letting in the glorious light.

It was a group of my school friends staying, with all our families and dogs, and everyone got on perfectly. We wandered a nearby castle one day, ate late into the night in the fabulous dining room while the kids (mostly) slept above, and generally caught up on life from the past few years where we’ve all been too busy for more than the occasional meal or rushed telephone call.

If it all sounds a bit vomitously perfect, I’m afraid it was rather. One of those weekends where everything, including the English weather, just pans out perfectly. (Oh and I did get actually copiously vomited on by the littlest on Saturday night after he accidentally consumed some cheese, just to bring matters back to a slightly more realistic level…)

  1. I have finally, finally sorted out that phone upgrade and am now the proud owner of an iPhone 6s. It only took me four months to get round to it. So my photos work again, the phone doesn’t freeze whenever I try to download an app and I am back on instagram once more. If you’re over there too, do say hello: @wolvesinlondon. In my absence, all those weird instagram changes have happened and I’m not sure if I’m really seeing everyone’s posts anymore (or, indeed, if they’re seeing mine) but I’m sure I’ll start to remember all those little insta-foibles like relevant tagging soon.
  1. The sproglet was back in nursery yesterday after his enforced two weeks away, following his tonsil op. Good god, two weeks of child-rearing without pause is tiring. I am soaking up two days a week to myself again, especially as my garden design course is on summer hols, so Thursday doesn’t mean schlepping over to Regent’s Park anymore. (Just sitting at home and working on all the assignments due in in November, aka, the same time as my due date, ha ha.)
  1. Both boys are off to Minnis Bay in Kent on a nursery trip today. Do you know it? I googled it to take a look at their destination and it looked rather heavenly. I liberally sun-creamed them up this morning, and sent them off with reminders to wear their hats and think about going to the loo long before they need to take their swimming costumes off. I have a feeling it might be a rather chaotic day for the nursery staff…
  1. And I can’t let this week go by without officially mentioning the heat! It’s been hot, hasn’t it?! We’ve been outside in the paddling pool most days, the boys splashing around while I quietly perspire on the grass. I need to get a comfortable outdoor chair, that’s for sure…

Hope your weeks have been brilliant and here’s to a sunny weekend!

Joining in with Amy and Five on Friday.

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Five on Friday

Poppy | Wolves in London

Hello! Phew! Goodness, it’s been a busy few weeks. I’ll try and sum it all up in five salient points…

  1. It’s been a fortnight of hospitals. Last week, the sproglet had his tonsils and adenoids removed, which meant a day at St Thomas’s and then a whole week of quarantine at home. He was pretty brave, for a boy not yet four, but groggy as anything after the general anaesthetic. He’s not quite back to full health, but talks fondly about his time at “Thomas hospital” — I think he thinks it belongs to a certain tank engine. I find it too adorable to correct him.
  2. The other major hospital visit was to Kings for my 22 week scan because yes, not content with an already somewhat hectic life, we’ve decided to add another sprog to the mix. All was well and, apart from being exhausted most of the time and huger than I have ever been in pregnancy before, it’s been the easiest pregnancy so far. The other two are looking forward to having a baby in the house and (mostly) remembering not to jump up and down on my tummy.
  3. Do you remember all the dilemmas about our house move? (You know, the one that has been ongoing for about five months now?) Well, our mortgage got refused on the house we were trying to buy because of suspected subsidence. After finally deciding not to leave London, it now looks a bit like we might have to leave London after all.. If we can’t manage to find another way to buy this house that we want, everything else round our area has got insanely expensive and moving locally just isn’t an option anymore. We’ve applied for a mortgage with someone else that we have some (scant) reason to suspect might be more inclined to lend on that house, so it’s just a waiting game, now, to find out if it will go through. Keep your fingers crossed for us.
  4. Today was the last day of my garden design course for the summer. We spent it walking round Canary Wharf and then the Thames Barrier Park looking at gardens. Actually, I started the day sitting on the floor of a Jubilee line tube in tears because I was so fed up that nobody had offered me a seat for the whole journey and I had just lost the will to battle with all the self-absorbed suited-bastards who rushed past me to grab the seats and stare at their Blackberrys for hours. It was deeply embarrassing, I have to say. (See above, for pregnancy hugeness and exhaustion and also a reason why I’m perhaps slightly more emotional than normal, ha ha…) I feel obliged to point out that even when I was sitting sobbing on the floor, nobody still offered up a seat. A commute into Canary Wharf is enough to make you give up on any belief in human decency.
  5. On a more relaxing note, we’re off for a long weekend in Herefordshire this weekend, staying with a whole bunch of my school friends and their families in a beautiful Georgian manor house. I am hoping for some long walks, long meals and general pottering around. Oh and for some sunshine, of course.

‘Til next week. Hope you all have wonderful weekends…

Joining in with Amy and Five on Friday.

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