Growing up, my Nana was a legend. She passed away when I was 21 but was a formidable character during my childhood and played a large part in shaping the person I am today.
I remember being three or four and having a show and tell at playgroup – other kids brought in toy cars or Tiny Tears dolls, I brought in my Nana. She had so many stories and knew the words to all the nursery rhymes.
For most of my childhood she’d alternate between our house, her house and my cousin’s house and would come to stay with us for a long weekend every fortnight. She never came empty handed, always arriving with homemade quiche, buns and Eccles cakes. We loved her Eccles cakes. She would make either four or eight and they’d arrive in a Tupperware container that she’d lined with kitchen roll.
One weekend that she wasn’t with us, we had friends coming over and they really liked Eccles cakes so my Mum nipped to the shops to pick some up.
After searching high and low she eventually found some in Marks and Spencer…and they came in packs of four or eight. When we opened the packet we all noticed they looked incredibly similar to my Nana’s, even down to the brown sugar sprinkled on the top and the taste was identical.
Without a doubt she had been rumbled. Whether she’d always cheated or whether she was just getting old and struggled with the intricacies of the recipe I don’t know. Either way I found the whole charade endearing and now as a busy Mum juggling a family and work I have on more than one occasion found myself doing the same thing whenever the words ‘bake sale’ are mentioned.
Whilst her weekends were spent with her grandchildren, her weeks were spent volunteering – she ran a free keep fit class for pensioners (she was 90), helped out at a playgroup and also “made tea for the old people at her local Royal British Legion”, all of whom were a good 15 years younger than her. She was incredible. An absolute force to be reckoned with. She had her head screwed on, she understood the importance of family and she was always fun. Plus she let me get away with much more than my parents did and it’s her fault entirely that I’m addicted to Neighbours. When it first started my Mum and Dad felt it was too grown up for me to watch so my Nana used to tape it and I’d secretly watch it at her house during the holidays. Fast forward to 2018 and I’m 35 and have seen every single episode.
Arthur is lucky to have four fantastic grandparents who all want to play large roles in his life and we’re lucky too as I don’t think we’d be coping anywhere near as well with the trials and tribulations of life without their support.
My inlaws live just down the road and they pick him up from nursery once a week and he runs across the playground to them open armed to give them the biggest squeeze when he sees them. My parents both live about five hours away from us but we Facetime every week and they come up for a week at a time every couple of months and we go down and stay with them and he loves showing them around and telling them what he’s been up to.
It’s really beautiful to watch the relationship he has with them and see the excitement in his face when we tell him we’re going to stay at their house. It’s also really lovely to be able to get a night off every once in a while so my husband and I can go out to dinner to somewhere that doesn’t hand you a packet of crayons and a colouring book on arrival.
It’s also quite incredible to see how different our parents are with Arthur compared to how they were with us. Rules in my husband’s or my house growing up included not being able to eat chocolate on weekdays, having to be in bed by 7pm and never watching TV during the day.
When it comes to Arthur, those very parents who enforced the rules with us, are completely different. It leaves me wondering if you can even call yourself a grandparent if you don’t have chocolate in your bag or spare £1 for those terrible rides you see outside supermarkets that you always claim are broken. Maybe this is why in my eyes my Nana could do no wrong? Either way, for us grandparents are invaluable – chocolate or no chocolate.
Mum’s weekend away
This weekend I had my first weekend away from my little boy.
He’s two and a half and the most time I’d spent away from him before was one night where I was back for lunch the following day.
This weekend I went for it in full ‘Mum’s weekend off’ style. I went to London to catch up with friends, we went to cocktail bars, slept in until 9am, saw a show, went for dinners, saw some bands, did some shopping – it was full on but epic.
It made me realise how important taking a bit of time out every now and then is and I sat on the train home feeling refreshed and energised.
I missed my husband and our little boy terribly and it was great to see them in a full on waving frenzy as my train pulled into the station but as quickly as that energised feeling came, it went, to be replaced with a giant portion of mum guilt.
“Mummy DID come home, mummy DID come home” yelled Arthur running down the platform.
His words stabbed me right in the chest. Of course I came home! It was only two nights!
Since Sunday he’s slept so badly, waking in the night crying and wanting to check if I’m there or if I’ve “gone to Anna’s house in London” again.
Yesterday Rob had meetings in London for the day which started a bout of questions over whether Daddy was ever coming home or whether he was also staying at Anna’s house.
Clearly to a toddler, two nights away feel like a lifetime.
‘Glitter butts’ is new trend
Apparently the big fashion this summer that we’ll see at Leeds Festival and all outdoor events is ‘glitter butts’.
Forget having glitter make-up done on your face, that’s so 2017. In 2018 they reckon we’ll be dropping our trousers and basting our behinds in glitter and jewels.
According to fashionistas we’ll be able to turn up at an outdoor event and pay a glitter artist to make our buttocks sparkle.
Well you can just count me out of this right now. I’ve turned up to events before and paid £5 to get a bit slapped on above an eyebrow, it’s not cheap! I dread to think how much it would cost or how much glitter it would take to cover my bottom!
Beep beep beep, this glitter truck is reversing!
Caroline Verdon is one half of the breakfast show on Radio Aire. You can hear Caroline and Ant between 6-10am every weekday morning.