Forty isn’t old, if you’re a tree

the big 40-closeup3 2

So, does life really begin at 40? 

I turned the big four-oh on Sunday, and it feels….I don’t know, weird.

You know, when you are young, you look forward to turning 18, and then 21 because it is cool, because it is when you become an adult and can do things you couldn’t do when you were younger – like learning how to drive!

But, when you are young, turning 40 seemed like light years away – and it seemed like something only older people did. And now, it’s here… and that person is me! It seems surreal, and yet if I live to be 80 years old then I have only really lived half my life, and still have another 40 years left to go.

So really it’s not old, it’s just middle aged. So why am I weary of this age? Should I be worried? Why am I not excited at the prospect?

However, I think the forties is going to be a time of contemplation and reflection. Maybe I should just look back and reflect on all that I have achieved so far. It has been a pretty good life. My dearest hubby organised a big party for me on Saturday (see pic below!) where there was a slideshow of photos from my life – from my birth to the present day, from my 1st birthday with my parents and grandparents to the 1st birthday of my darling twins. Watching those photos flash up onto the big screen was like an awakening that I have had a life. I celebrated that night with some of my nearest and dearest.

And I think that is the most important thing in life – that we have friends and family who care and who will always be there.

As Gandhi rightly said: ‘Where there is love, there is life’…

InstantStudio-thobani-40th-0186

I’m Climbing Snowdon for Charity!

brainhandsRecently, a group of amazing bloggers that went under the united name of TeamHonk climbed Mount Snowdon for Comic Relief. I would have joined them, but I had already signed up to climb to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity. I am now going to attempt to follow in their epic footsteps on April 1st (no joke)!! 🙂

As most of you already know, I am a volunteer Ambassador for The Brain Tumour Charity (formerly Samantha Dickson Brain Tumour Trust). This charity is the result of a merger between Brain Tumour UK and The Joseph Foote Trust. Their work is inspired by Samantha and Joseph who were 16 and 9 years old respectively when they sadly lost their lives to a brain tumour.

Brain Tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and young people under the age of 40 in the UK. Around 400 children are diagnosed with brain cancer every year and around 100 of them never make it. As a parent, this statistic is immensely worrying for me and I’m sure for any other parent out there. Being told that your child has cancer is every parent’s worst nightmare. One mother described how she felt when she heard her daughter had a cancerous tumour. “It is like having a gun with ten chambers held against your child’s head and being told it is ‘good news’ that only two of the chambers contain a bullet.”

Many of us will have all read in the papers recently how a mother, Sally Roberts took her 7 year old son and went into hiding after he was told that he would need radiotherapy to treat his brain tumour. This poor mum did not have the support she needed and did not want to subject the child to the potential side effects of radiation, so she ran away.

The only way any of this will get any better is by your help and support. We need your generous donations to spread awareness, provide funding for research and diagnosis, and provide better support and care to patients and their carers. So please donate by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.

A friend of mine once said that living with a brain tumour was an uphill battle. So, I think climbing a mountain is an apt gesture. I will only climb for a day, but there are thousands out there that are struggling to ‘climb mountains’ every day…

I can almost see it.
That dream I’m dreaming, but
There’s a voice inside my head saying
You’ll never reach it
Every step I’m takin’
Every move I make
Feels lost with no direction,
My faith is shakin’
But I, I gotta keep tryin’
Gotta keep my head held high
There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb
Please donate by clicking here – http://www.justgiving.com/Amisha-Thobhani
Thank you.

Thank you Mum…

Mum I love you xxxxxx
Mum I love you xxxxxx (Photo credit: Andreas-photography)

How can I ever thank you mum for all that you have done and continue to do for me?

Words will never be enough, but I just wanted to write something for you to read…

Thank you for always being there,

For all the times when you take my pain away,

For understanding me when others do not,

For knowing exactly when I need a shoulder to cry on,

Or a hot cup of tea and a comforting chat!

Thank you for being my best friend,

For never questioning me,

And for just being there with a huge hug and a knowing smile.

Thank you for being my inspiration,

For always being calm,

For never judging or taking sides – even when we are wrong!

Thank you for all your guidance and wisdom,

For looking after me and my family,

For being not only an amazing mother,

But a fantastic grandma with an endless supply of chocolate and funny stories!

Thank you for teaching me how to be a good mum,

For showing me that I do not always need to be so protective,

For reminding me that it is okay to let go and to look after myself,

Because my kids will still love me unconditionally,

Just like you have loved all of us.

If I turn out to be half as great a mum as you, then my kids will be  very lucky indeed!

Happy Mother’s Day to you, and to all the other wonderful mums out there who should be appreciated not just today, but everyday as I believe that Mothers are the closest thing to God on this Earth…

A Swizzfiggling Storyteller!

charlieandthechocfactory

To coincide with World Book Day this week, I thought I would share with you my love for books. When I was younger (much younger!), I used to love reading Roald Dahl books – and now my kids love reading them. How wonderful is that!

Recently, we visited the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden and it was a lovely day out. (By the way, I am not being sponsored to write this post – I just like Roald Dahl a lot). It is a tiny, cosy, quaint museum which can easily be covered in 2 hours and leave enough time for the scrumdiddlyumptious homemade cakes and a cup of tea in The Twits Cafe. It even houses the famous writing hut where Dahl wrote all his books.

It wasn’t just my kids that learnt a lot about the great man, but I learnt quite a few things myself…

Did you know that Roald Dahl’s favourite book of his was ‘The BFG’?

Did you know that he was a WWII fighter pilot who needed 6 operations on his spine after a crash in the desert?

Did you know that he was a James Bond style secret spy in America?

Did you know that he wrote the screenplay for the Bond movie ‘You Only Live Twice’?

Did you know that he helped invent the Wade-Dahl-Till valve which helped drain fluid from the brain?

Did you know that he loved chocolate, but not chocolate cake or chocolate ice-cream?

Was there anything that he could not do?!

What I love most about him is that his inspiration came from his everyday life experiences and adventures. He would just use his memory to exaggerate some of the truth and turn it into magic. For example, he was sent to lots of unpleasant boarding schools with strict teachers that inspired ‘Matilda’. At one of these schools, Cadbury would send boxes of chocolate to get tasted. This is where Dahl took inspiration for my favourite book of his, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.

Being a chocoholic myself, I adored the idea of winning a golden ticket to visit a chocolate factory where you could bump into all singing, all dancing Oompa Loompas from Loompaland, a rich river of gloriumptious melted chocolate and lickswishy everlasting gobstoppers! Mmmmm….bliss!

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl

English: The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centr...
What is your favourite Roald Dahl book?
#goodwork comic relief

Stonking Honking Bloody #GoodWork!

GoodWork-300px

Where do I start?!

If you haven’t already heard about all the #goodwork furore surrounding the 25th anniversary of Comic Relief, then you must have been on another planet! 🙂

Yes, it has been 25 years already. Can you believe it? It is something that we have all grown up with – wearing the famous red noses (even though we couldn’t breathe), watching the hilarious entertainment on TV, the excitement of the barometer climbing as live donations came pouring in, and of course the pictures of the sad, hungry, poverty stricken families in third world countries (I personally had to switch the channel at this point as it always made me cry).

The cynical ones amongst us always wonder where our good money is going, and whether it is actually going to benefit people in need. Well, three lucky, young ladies (Annie of Mammasaurus fame, Penny from the Alexander Residence and Tanya a.k.a. Mummy Barrow) had a chance to become part of the Comic Relief family that flew out to Accra in Ghana in order to find out and report back on all the good work that has been done from your donations.

One of the projects that they attended was a Vaccine clinic in Accra where they observed mothers taking babies for their jabs. Below is a digital postcard that Annie kindly sent showing mothers waiting with their children and holding Child Health Record books to see the nurse who will vaccinate their child. The clinic also issues Birth certificates as many of these women will have given birth at home.

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These kind of clinics are lifesavers for these children and can literally mean the difference between life and death. I remember attending similar medical camps in Kenya with my dad who is a GP. He and others gave free check ups and treatment to everybody who turned up. It is a great feeling to be able to help those who are less fortunate then ourselves, but who deserve our help and care just as much as anybody else.

For the past 25 years the money raised through Red Nose Day has been changing the lives of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa. Let’s Keep Up the Good Work. Find out how at rednoseday.com

What type of Creepy Crawler is yours?

Creepy Crawlers (or Cheeky Crawlers as I like to call them!) are approximately 9 month old babies that are starting to become independent and are on the move. You remember this phase as it was when your child would lick, swallow, move, insert up nostrils, and break anything in it’s path by any means possible leaving a trail of quashed bananas and destruction in it’s wake!

My twins are 6 years old now, and I was trying to remember what they were like when they were really little. The thing that had struck me the most was even though they are twins, they each had an absolutely different method of getting around and about.

My son used the old fashioned, traditional, tried and tested Classic Crawl method. This is the one where the baby puts their weight on the hands and knees, and moves one arm and the opposite knee forward at the same time.

My daughter, on the other hand completely surprised and shocked us at the same time! She did not crawl on her hands and knees, oh no that was too easy – but she did something that can only described as a Beyonce Booty Hop Crawl! She not only shuffled along on her little bottom, but when she wanted to speed things up, she would literally lift her whole body up off the floor whilst still in a sitting position and then use her hands to propel herself forward before landing on her bottom again! We even had relatives who would come home and video her in motion because it was so fascinating and hilarious at the same time.

There are lots of methods of crawling I’m sure, but some of the more popular ones are listed below.

The Bear Crawl – similar to the Class Crawl, but the baby keeps the elbows and knees straight, and walks on the hands and feet like a bear (cute!).

The Leapfrog Crawl – the baby makes a bridge with the arms and legs and then thrusts forward.

The Crab Crawl – the baby moves backwards (oh dear!) or sideways like a crab, using the arms to push instead of pull.

Commando or Belly Crawl – this type of crawl involves moving forward while dragging the belly against the floor like a slithery snake!

Bottom Shuffler or Scooter – As it says on the tin, baby shuffles on it’s bottom (weird, but it works!).

Whatever type of crawler your child is, don’t worry as they will all eventually start to walk, and then run – which is the time when you should all be afraid, be very afraid….

So, what type of crawler is yours?

Twins dancing gangnam style

Twins doing it Gangnam Style

Just saw this video and had to share it with you all. These twins are just sooooooooo adorable!

I couldn’t stop laughing watching them trying to dance. They actually know all the moves!

Also, I cannot believe how this one song has got everybody dancing from babies to Britney Spears to Zara Phillips to Ellen Degeneres to the Secretary General of the UN.

This is one dance craze that has literally taken over the world!

I made my twins watch this too and they loved it…

What do you think?

Keep calm and gangnam style

A (funny) prayer for Mummy – MishMash Style!

Gangnam-Style

Dear God,

Please make the Prime Minister (whatever his name is) go away
because he made Mummy’s child benefit go away.
That’s why we do not like him.
He is a mean and nasty man.

Please can you make Mummy thinner
(her request to you, not ours)
Because she does not like diets,
But she loves salted caramel macaroons
And Nigellissima’s Italian desserts.

Please can you bring back Strictly Come Dancing.
Mummy loved Louis and Flavia.
(We think it’s because he can do the splits and she has shiny hair).
She also loves MIC – that’s Made in Chelsea!
(But don’t tell her that we told you so as she doesn’t want anybody to know).

Please can you make Mummy’s blog go viral,
(another one of her requests for you)
But if it is anything like the Norovirus that we got over the holidays
Then please don’t!

 

Oppan MishMash Style
MishMash Style
Op op op op oppan MishMash Style

Please, Big Man in the Sky
Op op op op oppan MishMash Style

Finally, please give Mummy a job
Otherwise she will just sit at home

And eat cakes all day
And watch Made in Chelsea (sshh!)
And blog, blog, blog…..

Please, Big Man in the Sky 
Op op op op 
Eh eh eh eh eh eh

 

Christmas tree

The Secret Room

Xmas Tree2This year at the twins’ school Christmas fair, they had a room called The Secret Room. This is the kind of room that you would imagine Santa’s little helpers to be working away in the night before Christmas. Although, I use the term working very loosely, as this was a fun room! I secretly wish I had a room like that when I was at school. For a start, all the lights were off apart from a few fairy lights twinkling away in the corners. This just added to the magic of the Secret Room…

There were shimmering Christmas trees adorned with bouncy baubles and tangled tinsel. Soft, white ‘snow’ had settled everywhere like a sprinkling of icing sugar. The tables were covered with a myriad of treasure items such as glitter, beads, stickers, feathers, sequins and sparkling jewels. The gifts were placed lovingly all around the room. These ranged from bracelets, smellies, candles, and mugs to Santa oven gloves and even back scratchers?! Who uses those anymore? Although, Hubby did buy me a wooden one for our Wood Anniversary, but that is another story for another time!

But, by far, the best bit about the Secret Room was that no parents were allowed in there! How cool is that? Of course, there were a few responsible adults in the room to help wrap the gifts and keep an eye on those over zealous kids who might get high on the glue and the smelly pens and just go crazy!

The rules were simple:

1. Pick a gift for your parents.

2. Pay for the gift by giving money to one of the friendly adults in charge.

3. Decorate the gift.

4. Take it to back to the friendly adults to get it wrapped and labelled.

5. Present it to your parents or place under the Christmas tree at home.

6. Enjoy!

Now, this was the first time that we had received gifts from the twins without any supervision at all so I was really intrigued and excited to see what I would get!

So, come Christmas Day, we all tore our gifts open like a pack of wolves!

mirror

  From my daughter, I got the most beautiful, little heart shaped  mirror decked with amethyst coloured stones.

From my son, I got a …….. just take a look at the photo.

toilet roll

Yes, it is what it looks like! When I asked him why he got me a Sudoku toilet roll, he just laughed! No comment…

But, for me, the best present was from the big man Santa himself. We had gone to take the twins to see him in his Grotto. I think he was the REAL Santa! He had a proper, long, white candy floss like beard, which some of the kids had tried to pull off, but could not. His thighs were as large as tree trunks, and he had looked like he had definitely eaten all the mince pies!

After he sat the twins down, and had a quiet chat with them, we were all ready to walk out when he turned to my Hubby and I and said “Your kids are a real credit to you Sir and Madam. You should be proud of them.” Maybe, he says that to all the parents(!), but not only did he make my day, but he made my year! Thank You Santa.

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Happy New Year to you all!

cherub angels

Sleeping with the Angels

Cherubs2

Isn’t it ironic that at the end of my last post I was thinking about life, and what a wonderful world it is. Then, just 2 days later we all heard about the children and adults who mercilessly died at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newton, Connecticut.

There are no words to describe this atrocity, and yet there are so many words such as loss, grief, tragedy, anger, pain, disbelief, agony, guilt, mourning, despair, suffering, torment, heartbreak…

Every time I think about it, or read, or hear about it, I shed a tear. But, I cannot even imagine for a second what the families involved must be going through. I do not know what else to say, but I found this poem and I wanted to share it with you…

Mommy,
Please don’t be so sad,
I miss you so much too.
It’s beautiful here where I am
But I worry a lot about you.
I sleep with the angels
watching over me
There’s only love up here.
I’m never lonely or afraid,
‘Cause God’s so very near.
I never cry or hurt myself
I see my loved ones everyday.
I play and laugh and sing a lot
And I hear you when you pray.
Please Mommy,
don’t be mad at God
You see, he loves me too.
And even though 
you’re not here with me,
I’m really still with you.

So, the next time that we moan, or get down about life, work, the weather, our families – just think about those whose presents are probably still underneath the Christmas tree, but who will never get to open them…

Be content. Be thankful. Be grateful.

R.I.P. Sleeping Angels.