That was our Chiswick weekend that was – The Snowman, Christmas PJs and Turning Nine
This weekend was a very special weekend in the Chiswick Mum household as my darling baby turned nine – just a couple of days before Christmas celebrations start on 1 December. Nine I tell you! When I started blogging he was only four! I’ve been ricocheted by a whole rollercoaster of emotions (I don’t think that’s mixing my metaphors – rollercoasters do ricochet their inhabitants, er, don’t they?)
Chiswick Daddy can’t understand why I’ve been getting teary-eyed: “He’s nine. And last year he was eight. And next year he’ll be ten,” he says to me. “Just live in the moment – forget about age.”
But I am a bit of a time worry-wort. I feel time rushing away from me – and even though I know it’s important to live in the moment (and that’s one of the main reasons for this blog, to document the small milestones of living-in-the-moment-dom), I still feel that I want to freeze time.
I am a bit of a worry-wort in general to be honest. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a glass half empty person…
Although at the same time I never cease to pinch myself and think how lucky I am to have the wonderful gift of my amazing son, to live in an area I love so much, to have the ability to work full time and yet only four days a week, due to flexible working – giving me my precious Fridays to breathe, write and be just me for a few hours between school drop off and pick up.
And to know how lucky I am for the fact that my son is surrounded by love from our extended friends and family. And that lovely people actually read my blog, and that as a consequence I get the chance to try out shows and experiences that quite frankly couldn’t otherwise afford to do in such great measure. (I buy a lot of experiences too – on the basis that for our little family experiences give us more pleasure than objects. Not that you’d know it from the cluttered state of our house!).
Anyway, I digress. Which is probably why I don’t get my weekend round ups ever published in time.
So here in a convuluted whistle stop way, with a bit of rambling thrown in for good measure, is my weekend that was in 5 steps.
Our weekend in 5 steps
1. Chilling out in Crepe Affaire on Chiswick High Street
I like Crepe Affaire’s brunch deal – where you get a free cappuccino (or other hot drink if you’re so inclined!) with your crepe.
I also like Crepe Affaire’s atmosphere. The music’s always good, and I like seeing the groups of mummies and pre-schoolers hanging out and meeting up. I also love the way the free water is served – several ice cold jugs with different things in – lemons in one, cucumbers in another…I firmly believe that you can tell 90% of an establishment by the way it serves free water to its customers.
2. Checking out the Hatley’s Black Friday sale.
One of my absolute highlights of Christmas season is buying this year’s Christmas pyjamas for all the family – pyjamas that arrive with the elf on the 1 December. It’s an indulgence that has become one of my Christmas rituals – and I look forward all year to my new Christmas pyjamas (and I don’t buy PJs for me in between!)
I’ll be honest – I’m not a big Black Friday fan. It seems to have piggy-backed (or perhaps piggy-banked would be a better term) onto the growing commercialism of Christmas. I love Christmas – the magic, the 1 December box, the tree, the trimmings, the family sing songs, the crackly stockings full of indulgent playthings, the thoughtfully chosen gifts for the people you love, but not the constant buy buy buy jewellry/technology/expensive-gifts-to-show-people-you-love-them-even-if-you-get-into-debt messaging that increasingly encompasses it.
I saw a great poster the other year that whether you’re Christian, Other or Atheist I think all can appreciate. It was Jesus looking bemused, saying ‘Where did I say you have to buy so much stuff to celebrate my birthday.’
Anyway, feel free right now to call me a hypocrite. It would be deserved, as this is a preamble to tell you that I went into Hatley’s Black Friday sale and spent £49 on matching Christmas onesies for Chiswick Boy and me. For many households in Britain this will be the entire shopping budget, and I’m aware that I write from a privileged position.
Oh but think of the family photos as Chiswick Boy and I prance around in our matching onesies throughout December! And like all the Hatley pyjmas they’re well made, and generously printed all over. (And, er, I’m going back for one for Chiswick Daddy…sh!)
3. Settling down to watch Mastermind on a Friday night
One of my weekly highlights is settling down as a family to watch the latest contestants sweating in the scary black chair and keeping track of how many Chiswick Daddy versus me get!
I used to watch it with my parents (well in the years we had a telly, as sporadically my parents would get rid of the telly as a cultural eyesore. Between the ages of 9-12 and 14-15 we had no telly in the house. For my 15th birthday I got a portable black and white set for my room which was one of my prized possessions, and my cultural awakening consisted of late night movies on Channel Four and Miami Vice on a Saturday night.)
Mastermind, Brideshead Revisited and Fawlty Towers were family viewing treasures in the telly years. So it’s fitting that Chiswick Boy now helps us continue on the tradition. He loves watching Fawlty Towers on DVD too. So all that’s left is to one day introduce him to that wonderful piece of TV history, Brideshead Revisited.
4. Being spellbound by The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre
Chiswick Boy and I had press tickets for this and it was as magical as you’d expect it to be. I cry at the Snowman on DVD each Christmas, so it’s not surprising that I shed tears at the real life version.
It lends itself to dance so well, and it was a complete delight from start to finish.
I’ll be writing a full review on my blog later this week so I’ll go into more detail then. But the absolute highlight for me was when Chiswick Boy gasped ‘oh’ when the Snowman and Boy started to fly. The magic of theatre and Christmas and childhood encapsulated in one moment!
5. Catching up with my son’s godmother
My son’s godmother is my best friend, but although we both live in London, work / tiredness / family commitments mean we don’t see each other as often as we should.
We met Godmother in Cafe Nero on Saturday afternoon, for the very godmotherly-like unveiling of Chiswick Boy’s present. The one thing he had his heart set on – the eyewateringly expensive (aren’t they all!) Lego set, Joker land. After the excitement of the unveiling, we headed to his next treat – a godmother treat of a happy meal at McDonalds.
We had a very special birthday party over the weekend too – but I think that this deserves a little blog post of its own, so more on that another day!
So what did you get up to at the weekend? And what are your pre-Christmas rituals?