Accidents and Chocolate Cake

Before getting a little emotional on Friday before my last school pick-up for a long time (as my postgrad acting course at GFCA starts tomorrow – eeek!) I made sure to enjoy my last free day alone with both boys at school. I slept in, took a long walk in the sun and had a late lunch and prosecco.

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I got a little emotional thinking that I won’t be able to pick the boys up from school myself now until December, their last week of term, when my term has finished. But then, I get to drop them off, and I remembered why I’m doing this and that I’ve been at their beck and call pretty much for six years, so I think it’s time!

I really wanted to make the most of this last chilled weekend, though before the madness starts, so we had a lie-in on Saturday and I took them to the amazing Sheriff Centre Hullaballoo soft-play in West Hampstead. It’s the most amazing place, with soft play for under 2s (£2) and over 2s (£4). They get to stay in for ages, if it’s not busy I don’t think they ever kick you out! It is a huge converted church (actually still used in part as a church) but with a post office inside, sofas, free books and games to borrow, so you can sit and enjoy yourself while still keeping an eye on the kids and the café not only does coffee and nice food but also WINE and beer!! Plus the people there are lovely. In other words, it’s just heaven to a knackered parent like me. I would literally live there all the time if it were possible. They serve their tea in proper vintage, mismatched china and before my wine I had lovely porridge with cinnamon and honey.

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Unfortunately, two hours killing themselves in the soft-play is not enough to tire out my insane kids, so I put them in the garden to play and regretted it after both of them fell off the garden wall, one after the other. Luci first, nosedived headfirst off the wall, god knows how, and yelled in that way that even the most lazy, unsympathetic parent (me) uncharacteristically bombs it down the stairs immediately to see what’s wrong. He had a huge shiner on his forehead but 10 minutes of icepack and a cuddle later he was perfectly happy to sit in bed and watch Team Umizoomi. So I started dinner… 5 minutes later, Gabs runs in and falls dramatically on the floor, bent double. “Go to the toilet!” I cried, misreading his bending double. Then I noticed his weird breathing and crying: “I’m injured! You have to call an ambulance!” he cried, dramatically. I’m not inclined to panic but I did get a bit shaky when I noticed the colour drain from his face and his lips start to turn blue. He had scraped the whole side of his body and was clearly in shock. I panicked and got Remus out of his teaching room, when he started to say, “I’m tired” and go all floppy, I was starting to think I should set off the to hospital, but then we tried the magic, “How Serious Is It?” litmus test. We offered him his Samsung tablet to play some minecraft in bed. It works every time. If he wants the tablet, he’s fine and it’s a non-emergency. If he says no, it’s super-serious. So we gave him some calpol and water and checked on him and eventually he got some colour back and Mummy had a medicinal brandy (yucky cheap stuff I use for baking, but needs must!)

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Today, Sunday, I had to teach and say goodbye to some lovely violin students who I won’t have time for anymore but who I have grown very attached to. 😦 Curiously, absolutely everyone today needed work on something major on either hand and I ended up photographing everyone’s progress so they can refer back as they practise. I am keeping my smallest pupils on, who I will teach at 8:30 on a Sunday morning for as long as I can manage it. I so love my pupils. Teaching will always be something I want to do.

I also taught my Gabs, trying to help him get used to his new 1/4 size violin, which he’s finding a bit traumatic – Aspies don’t like change! I also cleaned the kitchen floor, made popcorn and a chocolate cake and a risotto and got Gabs to complete his homework. I was on fire today!

My crowning achievement was definitely the chocolate cake made as a treat for my amazing boys to say thank you for supporting me in pursuing my dreams and my new acting course! G for Gabs, R for Remus, L for Luci…

In the absence of letter cutters, I had to make templates with greaseproof paper. It didn’t work particularly well. If anyone is reading this and wants to buy me R, G & L and heart-shaped cookie cutters for Christmas I wouldn’t turn them down.

Gabs helped me decorate.

I’m not sure if they liked it…

This may be the last blog I have time to write until Christmas… I don’t know. Maybe I will have time to write a bit about the course but I wouldn’t bank on it. Any post will be a bonus! So have a wonderful Autumn, all and see you in December, if not before!

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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.

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

Beethoven in Bucharest

I’m in Romania! Continue reading

2013 Review

I remember the 1st January 2013 very well because I spent a lovely, happy day with my boys watching DVDs at home and out in the park in the mild sunshine and I thought at the time it bode well for a good year ahead… which for the most part it was, despite tiredness, some sadness and plenty of challenges. Here’s a quick look back at the highlights of life at Casa Azoitei through my eyes…

January

Gabs had been given planets and planet decals and a globe for Christmas and from the moment they went up in his room, his Space/Astronomy obsession ramped up a notch and hasn’t come down since. The boys played a lot of violin and we had a lot of snow:

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February

On 2nd February, my heart stopped when I read that a fellow blogger’s baby had died of SIDS. The blogging community rallied around her and somehow Matilda Mae’s brave mummy Jennie and I became friends and supporting The Lullaby Trust in Matilda’s memory became a new passion. My obsession with work, and indeed anything else fell away and all I cared for the whole month was spending quality time with my two beautiful boys and counting my very many blessings every day. We spent most of the month in the park, on the swings and painting…

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March

My March started super-well with two nights in Paris with Remus where we got snowed in and did zero sightseeing but had a wonderful time. I worked as a violinist a bit mostly with BBCCO, did a concert in memory of Matilda Mae for Mother’s Day and raised £200 for her Bliss Charity Precious Star Fund and Classical Babies turned 3 years old. Remus found out he was to be decorated Officer of the Order of the Royal Crown (a kind of Romanian MBE) by King Mihai of Romania! But mostly my theme of amazing time with my boys continued, the firsts signs of Spring appeared and Lucian’s terrible twos kicked in.

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April

I spent a week in Cornwall at my parents’ with the boys having fresh air, R&R and some amazing Reiki sessions which put paid to my cluster migraines. April continued trickily for us, with a major errm, I shall call it ‘misunderstanding’ (!) with a family member in Romania whose privacy I’ll respect because it’s not necessary to name them and anyway, said relationship looks to be going forward positively in 2014. But it happened to occur just before we left for a family trip to Bucharest and caused stress and sadness for all of us, not just at the time but subtley in the background for the rest of the year. However, we did have incredible weather over there, the boys had a brilliant time bonding with their cousins and Remus played some great concerts. In the end a trip I had to literally force myself to take ended up being pretty great! This was also the month Remus played an amazing Lalo ‘Symphonie Espagnole’ with the George Enescu Philharmonic and was decorated by the King.

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May

On 2nd May I drove down to Kent to meet Jennie, Matilda Mae’s mummy for the first time at the Matilda Mae Mile in Memory Walk and I played and took little violins. Lucian and I reached an emotional end to our breastfeeding journey when he had his last ever feed the day he turned two years old, 18th May. He also had a wonderful Winnie the Pooh party and got a scooter. Generally the combination of his terrible twos and Gabs’ above average naughtiness just about gave me a nervous breakdown for most of the month, yet somehow we still had a wonderful month.

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June

Nothing much happened in June. We took a lot of sunny walks around my favourite streets in our lovely neighbourhood and enjoyed what we didn’t yet know would be our last month there. We all stayed up late to watch the Super Moon. Gabs enjoyed his last month at the nursery he loved. June was sun, playgrounds, ice creams, lollies and Regent’s Park. The boys ran, and ran. It was just perfect.

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July

July was just NUTSO. The 1st was my birthday. Remus was away but hid my new violin case in the wardrobe, I had my last acting class before  a 6 month break and did this scene from ‘The Graduate’. The 3rd was Gabi’s last ever day at nursery and the day we found out we had to move. The 4th was our Gabi’s 4th birthday, his first morning at primary school and the day we found our new house! We threw Gabi a kick-ass Space Party, went for a holiday in Cornwall with my parents – got detoured to N. Ireland when my Grannie died, then back to Cornwall. Remus and I spent our 5th wedding anniversary apart while he packed up our entire flat in London and I holidayed with the boys on a Cornish beach. I was attuned to Reiki Level I, by an old family friend in the village before travelling home. I took the boys and the violins down to Jennie’s for the twins’ Gruffalo Party and also played at the BBC Proms in the Concert Orchestra. Crazy, crazy month.

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August

August. Moving month. Emotional upheaval. Endings. Gabi’s nursery ‘graduation’ on the day we moved. We explored our new home and garden, Childs Hill and Golders Hill Parks and Gabs and I had a series of “Mummy & Gabi Days” before him starting Holy Trinity Primary in September. I pretty much “love-bombed” him (as I later found out it’s called!) and loved every minute of it. I also played a second Prom with the BBCCO.

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September

There’s only one event that stands out for me in September and that’s Gabriel starting school. He was so, SO excited and really loved it. Because of his Aspergers traits we started to have more and more trouble with him as more and more children joined the class until it was full (they stagger the start dates with the youngest first) and he got overwhelmed. It took him a long time to settle but the school were fantastic and proactive about getting him assessed and on the special needs register. The month was full of meetings, form-filling and ‘incidents’ but somehow his enthusiasm hasn’t waned. We threw Remus a 42nd birthday party with the biggest violin-cake you’ve ever seen! and I played solo in the Vivaldi A minor double concerto at St. Martin-in-the-Fields with Remus in the audience watching me for a change!

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October

With Gabs at school I started enjoying some time alone with Lucian which I hadn’t really had… ever! He’s a cheeky little monkey when he’s out of Gabi’s shadow. I was out a lot playing with the BBCCO and working incredibly hard for Classical Babies. The excitement of the month was two days in Reykjavik with Remus seeing his recital and one of my bestest old friends Silla, who I miss so much. I love Iceland, we will go back soon. We celebrated Halloween.. some of us enjoying it more than others. 😉

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November

The 1st was the end of half-term and I took Gabs to Tower Bridge. It was a wet but wonderful day. We got soaked but he absolutely loved it. 2nd November was a special day. I went with the boys and some wonderful friends who agreed to play in a quartet with me at the Matilda Mae Welly Walk at Beale Park in Reading, to honour 9 months since Tilda died and to raise money for The Lullaby Trust. It was a truly fantastic day. We filled most other weekends with trips to our local park and messy play like Leaf Rubbing, painting and playing in the garden. On 28th Nadine and I went, as Classical Babies to the Theo Paphitis #SBS Winners’ Event in Birmingham and met the man himself!

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December

My first school nativity! Gabriel was an angel – “double irony” as Mrs Pillay and I both said … Oh how we laughed!! Despite his struggles to blend in to the class this term, he sat nicely, did all the actions and sang all the songs. I was most proud. I bravely took both boys to the school Christmas Disco and started to really feel part of the school community and felt truly at home and settled in our house for the first time all year. We got a kick-ass Christmas tree and posted a stupid number of photos of it on facebook and ate a hell of a lot of sweets. The Classical Babies Christmas Concert and Party 2013 was a great success with 56 people turning up with kids attached (that’s over a hundred bodies in the room!) … coincidentally the same number of times we watched ‘The Snowman and Snowdog’ on repeat. We had an amazingly quiet and happy Christmas at home just the four of us and I nailed Christmas Dinner. Yeaaahhh! What a fabulous end to the year.

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Happy New Year 2014!