Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Everyone is beautiful at the ballet.....

That song is running through my head at the moment (and only for the chorus of it, not the sad story verses).

Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, I loved the ballet. My sister started lessons and I was desperate to join in, even though the teacher wouldn't take anyone under 4 or 5 I think (Mum will correct me). I danced in the corner until the teacher let me join in properly at age 3.

From then on I was obsessed. I had all the ballet books, danced as often as I could and I was good. I was en pointe almost at 7 (well we were in Russia and that was normal there!). I dreamed of dancing at the Bolshoi and took classes with the junior company.

Then I got osteomyelitis in my left ankle. We were in Moscow and no one knew what it was for ages. I was eventually flown out emergency to London and was in hospital for a long time, learning how to walk again and very very ill. I was also very angry and hurting and quite obnoxious to be with (God, how I understand now how AWFUL this must have been for mum who had come with me, leaving Dad and Kirsti in Moscow - sorry Mum...).

Anyway - the doctor said one day to his colleagues "we have to get this little girl better, she's a dancer". And I said through gritted teeth "I WILL NEVER DANCE AGAIN"

And I never did.

Until tonight.

I went with my lovely friend Hannah to the London Theatre School which happens to be just round the corner. And they do adult ballet classes. And Hannah has been going for a year and loves it so I decided to try it.

It was wierd. I was so nervous. And excited. And there I was again, in a studio with a barre. And we began - there were only three others in the class, all of whom had been going for nearly a year. And we did some basic warm ups and barre work. And the teacher asked me if I was sure I hadn't danced since I was 7.....and I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I'm not flexible obviously - and I'm not fit. And my left ankle - where I had the osteo - isn't strong and mobile anymore and I can't full pointe with it.

But I remembered. My arms naturally assumed positions, and my feet followed. I felt graceful! All 17 stone of me! And I felt like I was good at it. And I almost wanted to cry.

In a way I saved myself heartache by stopping ballet at 7. I would have wanted to go all the way and even if I never got heavy, I would have been too tall and would have had my dreams dashed. I was a stubborn little kid. And I stuck to my guns. But I'm really happy that I danced tonight. And I was GOOD!! And I am so indescribably warm and fuzzy and happy inside now. And on the brink of tears.

My childhood love is re-awakened. I've still watched a lot of ballet over the years (and had Moxie and Rob SERIOUSLY take the piss out of me for it). And deep down inside I'd like to be Darcey Bussell.

But for now, I'm going to go sew elastic on my new ballet slippers. And dance every Tuesday night in a little studio in Catford. And love it all over again.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bye bye Lingfield....hello Preschool

I just collected Toby from his private nursery, Lingfield Day Nursery, for the last time. As of Monday he's going to preschool five mornings a week.

I love Lingfield - both the boys went there for a year prior to going to preschool and it is such a fantastic nursery. I can remember looking at lots of different ones when Oscar was little and I was teaching Monkey Music. I read Ofsted reports and visited about 4 different ones. I knew the minute I walked in that Lingfield was right for us. As well as a great Ofsted, it had such a lovely atmosphere. Lisa showed me round and I really liked her, her caring manner, her knowledge of what I'd be looking for - she answered all my questions before I even asked them.

Oscar loved it there and Toby has too. I've just been reading the profile they give you when your child leaves - I've still got Oscar's and now I can keep Toby's as well. The thing that strikes me is how accurate it is - you really feel that Michelle, Toby's keyworker, knows him really well, understands him and loves him. Michelle has taught Toby "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and how to pout. And they share a love of chocolate.....

Toby isn't the easiest of kids - I'm sure the nursery will be a lot quieter now he's gone! He's loved all his time there though, and we will both miss the Lingfield Ladies....So here is a very public and heartfelt thank you to all the Lingfield staff, past and present, Sam, Lisa, Michelle, Clare, Sarah, Zara, Emma, Steph - I know I'm forgetting people and I'm sorry...but THANK YOU!!!! My boys are the better for being in your care. As am I cos it gave me some time to myself!

If you're looking for a nursery in Grove Park you can't go wrong with this one....

Monday, September 14, 2009

Toby's first day at preschool

Just a quick blog entry to mark this event...Toby started preschool this morning. He's been to private nursery for about 6 months so I wasn't worried! But this will be every morning and it's the same one Oz went to.

There were tears....but it was Toby complaining that the door wasn't open when we got there. He couldn't wait to get in! As soon as the door opened he was off!!!

I didn't take a picture....I'm remiss....but he enjoyed himself thoroughly.

I had my first Bouncing Beats class - only 4 people came but then again they haven't started publicising it. It went really well - class structure was ok - bit short - it'll be better next week.

And on a great lovely thank you note - Scrummy Cakes ran a competition as part of National Cupcake Week to win cakes for your workplace. I won! I had to explain why I thought my workplace deserved a treat and once I explained the great work the Limelight Centre and Preschool do, I was a shoe-in! So THANK YOU to Lynda and Scrummy Cake Company who made our Monday absolutely sweet. I highly recommend their cupcakes - an indulgent and delicious treat at any time! And they also do AMAZING occasion cakes. Go check em out.

Happy National CupCake Week!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Facebook killed the blogster

It's awful. I have a virtual farm, I've joined the mafia and have succesfully bred 5 puffer fish. What is wrong with me? Facebook is

I've been totally neglecting this blog and it isn't as if nothing has been happening! Oscar started school.....Year One!! Hoorah! He's loving it actually and I'm really liking his new teacher. She's strict. But I think he needs that.

Toby has got a place at the Limelight Preschool which I'm so pleased about - Oz went there for a year and he loved it. Toby used to be desperate to get in the door when Oz was in there and will love the drawers full of plastic animals. He starts on Monday.

I briefly lost my job at the Limelight teaching preschool music - I was covering for their regular teacher over the summer due to illness - then they offered me my own class on a Monday....then asked me to continue to cover the Friday class....and now the teacher isn't coming back until at least October so I'm teaching the Tuesday class too! 3 times a week! I love it - it's been such fun coming back to teaching after Monkey Music pre-Toby. I get to write my own lesson plans, develop ideas and now I even have a small budget so we can order some instruments.

Toby is getting better as far as tantrums go - still has them but not for long. He's also incredibly whiny in the mornings....and he can't share. He's SO possesive at the moment - everything is "MINE" - as in "mine biscuit" "mine dinosaur" - it's like having a mini German in the house!

I read a really interesting article in the Daily Mail (shocking I know) that I wanted to share too - read it here - my favourite quote was "I believe rigid baby behavioural programmes, such as Gina Ford's Contented Baby regime, do not work. Human babies are not like dishwashers that you can switch on and off." I agree! Hoorah!

Now what else....I started writing this post yesterday, full of ideas and information now my brain is blank. We entered a competition at the Goose Green Fair an age ago with a photographer called Nousha - we "won" a free photo session and a framed print. I won a similar draw with Snappy Snaps - we had the session and the photos were SO bad I didn't pick up the free one. I also once tried to take the boys to Pixifoto studios in Bromley and they behaved so atrociously that I swore never to go again...

However - Nousha's website looks amazing so we thought we'd have a go - Rob had the day off and we haven't got a single nice picture of the four of us. Lionel, the photographer and owner of Nousha is amazing. He was a royal photographer for 20 years and you can tell - his pictures are breathtaking. He sent Rob and I out of the room while he photographed the boys and the results are amazing. Oscar had better shots than Toby for obvious reasons but it was SO hard to pick the ones when it came to our free picture. We ended up buying another large frame with 4 pictures in it too. Nousha don't do digital prints or CDs or anything but honestly - forget Venture or Snappy Snaps - if you want some amazing family photographs (or any other kind), I highly recomment Nousha. Here are a few of the shots I screengrabbed from our online catalogue - these are the ones we rejected so imagine how good the ones we chose are! I'll post a pic of the framed ones when we get them.

What else.....I'm looking forward to Autumn - it's my favourite time of year - darker evenings, crunchy leaves, halloween, gorgeous colours....all of it - love it. I like the sunshine but prefer the colder weather - I know it's wierd but I can easily get warmer when I'm cold, I find it harder to get cool if I'm too hot. And I'm always too hot in the summer.

I'm quite content at the moment. Which I'm glad about - feel like I winge too much sometimes - especially on my status updates on FB and sometimes on this blog. But things are good.

Oh except on Monday Rob flies to Utah for a week for his annual astronomy laser type thingy conference. So I'm a single mum from Monday to Monday - a weekend on my own! ARGH!!!! So I may be wingy next week but I have a good reason. If anyone wants to come over and play/take my children out for the day/send me valium I'll be very grateful. I've always said I have the utmost admiration for single parents and I bloody mean it. Until your other half goes away for a while you don't realise just how much they do - even when we complain that they don't do enough!!!

So I'll be on my own and lonely in the evenings next week. Might mean more blogging.....or might mean I expand my farm on FB and try and breed rare mountain gorillas in my FB zoo.........