Recent Happy Things | Autumn & Festive Edition

31 Dec 2023

Recent happy things

 I’m writing this in the run up to Christmas and the irony that we are about to celebrate a time of love and peace is not lost on me. It is very hard not to look at the news right now and come to the, not particularly unreasonable conclusion, that the world is fucked. The utterly horrifying situation in Gaza and the government looking the other way, the government investing in fossil fuels whilst scientists could not make it more obvious that climate change is going to have truly devastating effects if we don’t act… just the government in general really. Although I suppose I can’t blame them for Matthew Perry dying, which I was far more emotional about than I care to admit. RIP Chnandler Bong. 

I know this is an extremely lucky and privileged position to be in, but sometimes I find it very hard to make sense in my head that so many awful things can be happening in the world, but I also still need to go to work, think about what needs adding to the weekly shop and wrestle my toddler into his highchair to the dulcet soundtrack of Hey Duggee. That there can be so much suffering and yet we’re wrapping presents and planning cheeseboards. My life, writing a list of the good things in it, all just feels very silly in comparison. I want to hold onto all the joy available to me but please know, I know the below is privileged and a result of the sheer luck of being where I am in the world. 

Conker hunting – I’m not sure I’ll ever get over seeing my baby experience something for the first time. Our favourite playground has a conker tree (let’s brush over questionable health & safety of a conker tree hanging over a child’s slide) and when I introduced Alfie to the concept of hunting conkers, despite my low expectations, he was immediately engaged and we spent well over an hour collecting conkers and putting them in his pockets, taking them out his pockets… and repeat. 

Lunch @ Sky Garden – a day trip to London that involved having fancy lunch with views across the city. What’s not to like? More here

Meeting my best friend’s baby – I don’t think I will ever get over seeing my oldest friends become parents. It is so joyous and so wait we’re the parents now?! all wrapped up in one squishy newborn cuddle. 

My first night away – I left Alfie overnight for the first time (with his Dad, not alone with the local takeaway number) and I tell you what, getting to have a proper catch up with all my girls without needing to keep one eye on what chaos my toddler is creating was just delightful.

Holiday at home – a good combination of life admin, a day trip, a couple of meals out. Obviously, the toddler got a temperature one of the days because it is the apparent rule that if you make plans without your child, they will immediately time their illness for that exact day. How do they know? 

Recent happy things

Recent happy things

Recent happy things

Recent happy things

Pumpkin patch – we had a very lovely trip to the pumpkin patch (more here), and it was a lot of fun to see how much more Alfie could engage with this year. I also very much enjoyed the pumpkin bread I made with the leftover pumpkin – autumn in a cake. 

Bonfire night – It’s been eighty-four years since I last went to a firework display thanks to Covid/newborn baby etc so I was really very excited to do Bonfire night again this year. So keen that I went to buy tickets for our local display the moment they were announced and the guy in the shop didn’t even know they were selling them. Awkward. Alfie was not entirely convinced by the loud noises, but he was mesmerised by the bonfire and seemed to love being out late, the atmosphere and all the kids with various light-up toys, so we’ll take that as a win. 

Getting ahead for Christmas - last year was a learning curve about what it means to have a child born at Christmas time. My main conclusions: get ahead and properly plan if you actually want to enjoy the festivities during December. And we all know how much I love those festivities. I’m still feeling the pressure, I’m not going to lie, but we did have all the presents bought by the end of November and that has definitely made a difference. 

The start of the festivities – ooo I do love this time of year. The tree is up, the house smells of vanilla and cinnamon, it is highly likely you will trip over a pile of baubles (Alfie likes to pull three of the tree at a time and then leave them in little piles around the house, usually in dangerous places like the middle of the stairs) and I have the overwhelming feeling that I just want to curl up on the sofa and eat mince pies. It’s a hinderance when you work from home, let me tell you. 

Our first night away – it happened! Gary and I left Alfie with his grandparents and had our first night together without him. I love that kid, but it was absolute bliss. More here.  

Candles and cosy vibes - I have no shame in admitting that one of my favourite things to do at this time of year is draw the blinds, light a candle and watch some good telly from under a blanket. TV is so good this time of year. Equally, so is reading a book from under a blanket with a candle burning and some kind of baked good by my side. Basically, everything is better with a blanket and a candle. On one of the first evenings of October, there was biblical levels of rain, and I grabbed my book, blanket and candle and got onto the sofa with a contented sigh. It was a real vibe until a spider the size of my head loomed out from under the sofa. I mean technically, that is in keeping with the spooky season, but I was categorically NOT HERE FOR IT. The logical conclusion was to burn the house down, but my long-suffering official spider-remover (otherwise known as my husband) evicted the beast from the premises and I could get back to my cosy vibes. 

Hope you’re doing okay dear reader. I hope you had a merry Christmas and a happy new year x