Messy Play for Matilda Mae – Minecraft gem art

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a Messy Play for Matilda Mae activity – and just as long since we’ve done one! Today, with two weeks left of the “Summer” holidays and flagging slightly on this grey day, we’re indoors painting and gluing, using up the left over gems from the crafting table at Gabi’s Minecraft Birthday Party.

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We don’t have a lot of paints left, mostly just green, so the minecraft theme comes in handy.

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Gabi is using the plastic “gems” which we bought from Oscar’s Den party shop – but I’m pretty sure you can get from most art shops – to label different blocks and ores found in minecraft (his favourite game in the world which he plays, talks, dreams about non-stop).

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We also love these foam letters from London Art shop on the Finchley Road.photo 5They’re not cheap but they’re really durable and amazing for home-made cards. The boys love them and have used them for my mother’s day and birthday cards (courtesy of Daddy) and school teacher’s end of year cards. They do shapes too.

I just left them for 15 minutes unattended to write this blog, working away happily – or so I thought – and have just gone back in to find Gabi has drawn on himself, albeit very beautifully, in permanent pen…

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and Luci has done this… Oh God.

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So, I guess our next Messy Play activity will be a little more structured and supervised. But at least it’s kept them quiet for a while. Right, I’m off out to buy more paint… Click on the badge below to read more about Messy Play for Matilda Mae and link up your own messy play posts!

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Honouring Matilda Mae on 2nd May

Today a Royal Baby was born. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate and William, welcomed a beautiful baby daughter this morning, 2nd May. I was so happy for them and it made me surprisingly uplifted and broody, too! But my thoughts and energy today were with another family.

Because today, 2nd May should have been…would have been the 3rd Birthday of my friend Jennie ‘Edspire‘s beautiful baby, Matilda Mae who died of SIDS on the day she turned 9 months old. And I know they are celebrating her birthday-in-heaven today down at Coombe Mill in Cornwall. Coombe Mill is their special place where they went to scatter Baby Tilda’s ashes, a place their twins Esther and William, and now their rainbow baby, Bea, really love and find peace and comfort in. They are celebrating their special angel birthday girl with pink and purple, with presents for three of their children who can open them on their sister’s behalf, with bubbles and stars… all special things that say Matilda Mae to them.

And I remembered her in thoughts all day and sent presents too and hoped my love reached them, but mostly I thought about writing this for Jennie… to let her know My Plan to honour Matilda Mae on her 4th Birthday, 2nd May 2016.

I feel a bit silly writing about this, my next Matilda Mae fundraising event, when I haven’t even blogged properly about my Matilda Mae Violin Marathon, successfully completed on 3rd July last year. I have hours worth of videos of me playing, alone and with others, chamber music, scales, solos, tears, joy, laughter, champagne and most of all, lots and lots of money raised (£2,700 or thereabouts) for The Lullaby Trust. I feel guilty often for not blogging about it, after all the money given, all the support of so many people, but the truth is I wouldn’t know where to start and remembering it makes me too emotional. It is probably, after giving birth to my two boys, one of the best, most meaningful things I’ve ever done with my life, but for some bizarre reason I can’t bear to think back on it. It brings up too many emotions. I will do it one day, I just don’t know when…

So, onwards and upwards and eyes forward, I am again planning another musical marathon of sorts, to remember Matilda Mae, but this time I’ll have a little help (I thought people might get bored of hearing just me on violin for another 26.2 hrs!). I hope to do it on 2nd May 2016, what will be Matilda Mae’s 4th birthday in heaven (That number is so big, it just doesn’t seem right, but it is indeed so…)

Matilda Mae ‘Musical Marathon’ House Concert for The Lullaby Trust

My hope and plan is to repeat the marathon theme of last year, but instead of playing alone this time to invite all the musicians I know (thousands!) and any of their friends from far and wide, my family, my pupils, my friends’ pupils, my colleagues and quite simply ANY musician, professional or amateur who would like to be involved, to join me at my house for a mammoth, marathon Longest House Concert!! I will be throwing open my doors, like I did last time, but this time there will be space set aside for a proper audience, with my living room filled with chairs, and if the weather is good, also in the garden. There will, of course be champagne served along with the music only this time, entry to the concert will be £10 per ticket. People can donate too if they can’t make it, and I will live-stream on the internet again like before. I hope audience will come and stay as long or short a time as they like, come and go at any time and that friends will stay and jam through the night again like last time! If there is a lull in proceedings, where no musicians are around to play at any given point, myself and Remus and even our little Gabs – now a pretty decent little violinist! – can fill the gaps and keep the concert going but with any luck I will be able to organise timings so that the concert runs continuously for…. however long it may be!!! (And it could be VERY, VERY long!!!) This is the main gist of my idea, anyway. I have plenty of details to work out and some of the main features may change (including the date… I’m aiming for around her birthday date, but I want Jennie to be able to attend so it may need to move.) But with a year to plan it and fundraise, I have time to work it all out and make it a musical marathon Matilda Mae would be proud of.

Happy Birthday in Heaven Tilda. See you Next Year at your Special Concert.

My 2015: Pre-planned & In Progress

It’s not like me to be organised or to plan ahead at all. In fact as a general rule I like things to be as unscheduled and surprising as possible – I think I’ve always enjoyed the freedom and spontaneity that brings. Some, probably most people prefer the sense of security, order and control that planning ahead gives them and need the sense of knowing (or thinking they know 😉 ) what’s coming. I, on the other hand, always panic if my diary becomes what I deem “too full”, too far in advance (by which I mean a month…) It’s as if I am losing control of my ability to choose my own life and giving my power away to whoever I have promised to meet, visit, work for, etc. I’d say protecting this flexibility and freedom in the life has become my driving force over the last few years, probably to the point of dysfunction!

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I don’t quite know why, but I’ve always felt a deep sense of security in having my life unscripted, unplanned and un-promised and in being free to change, cancel or create something in the moment, according to what’s going on in my world at the time – fitting in with what’s right for me and mine in relation to all those quirks of life that you can’t predict, not what you think will be right for you months before, when we are all, as far as I’m concerned different people to the one we’ll be a few weeks hence. It partly stems from a fear of being trapped and partly, since becoming a mother, from a deep fear of promising to do something that will separate me for too long from my children.

Somehow, however, this year, 2015 is turning out to be my most highly planned-out year yet. For the first time in years my entire life is getting booked up, day by week by month, to the point where I find myself planning a project in 2016 already and getting accidentally ahead of myself all the time, thinking it’s coming up this Spring rather than next.

And you know what?…  I like it!

This is probably because everything that’s going into my diary is awesome and exciting. I feel pretty blessed and grateful that this is my life!

So here it is….

My 2015

January & February

A crazy whirlwind of orchestral work, acting classes, Theo Paphitis’ #SBS Winners’ Event in Birmingham and visits from my parents, my parents-in-law and brother and sister-in-law from Bucharest, one after the other! To say nothing of Remus’ massive televised concert in Romania and all the work involved there, events and concerts here in London.

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March

Classical Babies‘ 5th Birthday Concert is approaching and my acting partner Natalie and I will be writing and filming a scene for our showreel together, needing a DOP, lighting, music, the works. It’s a big project and we’re on a deadline of 31st March.

April

On 2nd April, I fly to Bucharest for a couple of days to see Remus play Paganini 1st Violin Concerto with the Enescu Philharmonic. For those who don’t know, I love Bucharest, it is a home from home for me, full of friends and family, great culture and events and favourite places to eat & drink! A trip there is always a treat. From there, we go straight to Cornwall where our boys, Gabi & Luci will be waiting for us at my parents’, already on their Easter Break. We haven’t been able to visit Gorran Haven (literally my ‘haven’ from the madness and pollution of London) for months much to our collective disappointment and I am practically gagging to breathe the sea air, take walks and chill with my mum and dad. (Though I’m tempted to pop up to London for a few days for an acting intensive at GFCA. We’ll see…)

May

Classical Babies will feature at Music in the Round, at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield! On the 18th, my youngest, ‘Luci Puci’ will turn four years old (which I can’t believe) and on that very same day, I’ll be jetting off on tour to Mexico with the City of London Sinfonia (including a couple of free days to look around!). This is my first real tour and although I’m gutted at missing Luci’s birthday, we’ll celebrate the day before and he’ll never know the difference. My amazing parents, officially the best people in the World, will look after the boys. ❤

June

In June, Remus’ brother and sister-in-law, Lucian (Snr) and Dana come over with their kids, Eva and Vladi – exactly same ages as Gabs and Luci, minus 3 months! – and we will nail Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park and Thomasland, Drayton Manor in one weekend. (Crazy but has to be done!)

July

After a visit from my parents for my nth birthday and Gabi’s 6th (he’s already requested a minecraft cake), Remus and I leave the kids in Cornwall again (sorry, Mum and Dad!) and jet off to Sinaia, in the mountains in Romania to teach violin at a Summer Masterclass course. Also, to be honest to enjoy a bit of kid-free time together in a beautiful place, even if it is a working holiday.

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A summer holiday with the kids in Cornwall follows and then our lovely, car-crazy Dacia expert, Danuț (who lovingly and perfectly restored our Renault 12) and his family come to us in London. (I say our R12, and she is, but really it’s Remus’ baby.) Then, just one week later we’re into…

September

… when my Luci starts school! From then on really, Autumn is a big mystery, for the following reason… Oh man, this is complicated, it’s really needs a blogpost of it’s own to explain. But to oversimplify it, for this post’s sake, for a year or more now I’ve been really tempted to audition for this four-term Postgrad acting course (MA equivalent) at GFCA, the school where I’ve been studying part time for the last 2-3 years. Both boys will be at school at it’s time I really do something with my life. I really want to be able to get work as an actor and not just fanny-around with it like I have so far, but the course is crazy-intense. I’m on the fence big time. But that’s another post… Suffice to say, I don’t know what I’ll be doing with my Autumn. It could be that, or more classes, auditions, violin work, Classical Babies, being a mum, a bit of everything like I do now… Who knows. Whatever it is, I know it’ll be creative and I know it will be worth it.

Which brings us to…

December

On the 10th December my Classical Babies String Quartet will be part of a big Charity Christmas Carol Concert in Knightsbridge to raise money for my most loved charity The Lullaby Trust (who I did my Violin Marathon for in memory of Matilda Mae). It will be a really beautiful event that I’m so proud to be helping with. I can’t wait for Luci’s first school nativity and  the usual Christmas stuff with the kids and then, for the first time ever for us (me and the boys) and the first time in maybe a decade for Remus, we’re spending Christmas in Romania! I’m very excited, because we get to spend some quality time with Lucian and Dana and our niece and nephew in their new apartment in the centre of Bucharest and the kids will go bonkers together! Then the parents in law will come over for Christmas Day and the big dinner. Sarmale!!! (my favourite Romanian food) Then for a week after, over New Year, we’re going the four adults, four kids, to a cottage/cabin place in the countryside where the kids can play in REAL snow (not the kind of single-layer flakes that close Heathrow airport) and we can sit by the fire and drink wine! PERFECT.

So, not only do I have the most pre-formatted year up my sleeve, I also have great plans for 2016 including a joint Azoitei family ‘Bucharest-London branch’ holiday somewhere hot and kid-friendly in the Summer, but also a brilliant idea for a big Lullaby Trust fundraiser in memory of Matilda Mae, akin to the violin marathon but quite different. I can’t wait! 

Maybe being organised is the way to go after all… Though I really think that after all my years of playing it by ear will stand me in good stead when some of these best-laid plans of mine ‘gang a-gley’.

Luci’s Finished Room

When Remus was back from his big televised concert in Romania (more on that later…) we made a start on Luci’s room, taking out all the unwanted old toys and the big cupboards to make way for the bed.

imageOne day while I was out working with the BBC Concert Orchestra and then at acting class, Remus was looking after the kids and planned to paint the room, if they let him (nice warm magnolia instead of the horrible old graying off-white.) He thought he’d only have time to tape up the skirting boards etc. and maybe one coat if he was lucky, but in reality he ploughed through and completed the whole lot. It was super quick-drying paint so, somehow forgetting I really, really wanted to be there for this bit he went ahead and moved the bed up there, with the kids helping him carry every slat up the stairs, super-excited and jumping up and down around him as he worked.

The poor guy worked so hard and expected I’d be happy so was a bit taken-aback when I came home, went up there to find Lucian asleep in his “new room” and promptly burst into tears!! I had so wanted to have the room finished just as I’d been planning for weeks (as seen in Lucian’s New Room). He felt so guilty when he realised how much I had dreamed of being there to present Luci his first ever very-own room and see the look on his face! But in his defense it was the only free time he had, the whole thing just snowballed with the kids around getting excited and he hadn’t quite realised (trying reeeeally hard not to say, “I had“!) that as soon as the bed was moved, the rest would have to follow on the same day as Luci would have nowhere to sleep…

Anyway, we rescued the situation. I carried Luci downstairs into my bed so he hardly remembered being in this room:

imageand woke up next to me. And I soon accepted that it was all for the best and couldn’t have been helped. Sometimes things just roll and you have to go with it and we ended up finishing way earlier than we would have otherwise. I kept him out of there until I managed to get the whole thing finished and got his new bedding and all the stickers and transfers on the wall – his name from Blue Daisy, my favourite ever baby shop which has sadly now closed, and the beautiful stars, to match the rug from Great Little Trading Company at the head and the foot of his bed. The stars were inspired by two things, his name ‘Lucian’ means light and he is my star and the light of my life completely, and they remind us of a very special little star in the sky, Matilda Mae who is the inspiration behind this blog:

And the numbers (also from Blue Daisy) on the opposite wall:

So, the room finished, here comes Luci to inspect his new place: photo 4

Here’s the boy, discovering his new room. He was quite cool about it, but one thing I noticed watching his body language and energy while he looked around was this kind of holding himself bigger, a really subtle puffing-up of the chest type stance. I could see him thinking, “Wow, they really take me seriously if they did this.” The poor boy has spent his whole life stuck in with Gabs, tagged on to whatever his brother is doing or has, getting all the hand me downs and never anything of his own personality and style and suddenly now he has his own place in the house and clearly, I can see him feel, his own place in our family as a VERY IMPORTANT PERSON. !!!

One of the things I love the most about Luci being up in the roof is the big window that lets in so much light:

This means that Lucian can see the stars and moon from his bed at night time, something he loves and was very excited to learn!

Night Night, Luci. We Love You! xx

Night Night Luci, We Love You xx

Night Night Luci, We Love You xx

Justgiving: Matilda Mae Violin Marathon!

So, in just over one month, on 2nd July, I will be embarking on my VIOLIN MARATHON for Matilda Mae, to raise money for The Lullaby Trust and so the time has come to start fundraising and training (i.e. practising in increasing amounts every day) in earnest and write an update on how it’s all going to work. Continue reading