Blimey, not yet a whole week in to my littlest going to nursery for a couple of hours every afternoon and I already feel like a completely changed person. It's making a huge difference to my days and, dare I say it, I think I may have found that elusive balance. Thankfully, despite having suffered from the most horrendous separation anxiety for the first three years of his life, he has taken to school with a spring in his tiny step and a smile on his gorgeous face. Which also means that I'm enjoying my new found fifteen hours a week of freedom without a modicum of guilt. Of course I miss his squishy cuddles, as I do his brother's, but, I'm not going to lie, having a daily opportunity to think my own thoughts without interruption is brilliant.
Having not had a great deal of time to myself for six years, I've become adept multi-tasking, from morning until night, always aware of the never-ending list of things to do or accomplish, and inevitably thinking about one thing whilst working away on another. It's a great way of getting things done but not always the right way to go about savouring moments or taking the time to enjoy what you're doing.
In just a few days, my shoulders have started to relax a little and I'm happy to lose myself in a single task, content in the knowledge that I have a regular slot of time to get things done. And that's what's making the biggest difference ... I don't panic about when my next opportunity to work is, when I'll have time to write, when I can pop out to take photographs, when I can book appointments, when I can nip out on errands. I now know when I can do all of those things and it has had an incredible impact. My eyes feel like they're fully open rather than squinting in to the middle distance as I'm mentally working through how much I can fit in before the clock ticks midnight.
Having those hours also means that I don't have to do the 'ugh, realllllllly boring' stuff when the boys are around, too. Phone calls are made while they're at school, shopping collected, emails answered, chores completed. Mornings can be spent with my littlest in the park or playing with his trains, and then when I pick them both up from school, we can chat over ice-lollies, read books, and then head out to the park again before starting dinner. Life is balanced.
On Friday, I even found time to bake without two pairs of chubby hands trying to steal the mixture. I made almond biscotti following this Delia recipe ... it's one of the best biscotti recipes I've come across, but my recommendation is to also dip them in melted orange chocolate once they've cooled. We polished them off over coffee on Saturday morning when giving my new cup and saucers from the Denby Halo range an outing. They really are the most precious design, incorporating two tones of glaze to produce the stunning speckled finish. They have a really special look and feel to them and will no doubt feature regularly on my Instagram feed as I get to grips with my new coffee machine and attempt to master a touch of latte art. Something else I plan to do in my fifteen hours!
If the past few days hadn't been lovely enough, the most gorgeously scented parcel from Orla Kiely arrived at my door with a lavender candle inside it. It smells divine! If you've ever read this post, you'll know how much I adore the smell of lavender. It takes me right back to just before my eldest was born. Lighting the candle six years later, in the week I waved both boys off to school, seemed quite poignant. It's now sitting on my dining table, the lavender smell still emanating from it. And it's so pretty too. I love the Orla Kiely tulip stem design.
So it's been quite a week, with more excitement to come. Decorating plans, lovely work projects, Jilly Copper's new book, and dinner out. I hope you've had a fabulous start to September, too!
A huge thanks to Denby for sending me the gorgeous Halo cups and saucers to photograph for this post and to Orla Kiely for gifting me the lovely candle. I feel thoroughly spoilt.