15 Fascinating Facts about February and Why it Brings Hope

Hurrah! February is almost upon us and although technically, it’s still classed as winter, I can’t help but feel hopeful.

Hopeful because the never ending month that is January, is almost banished for another year.

Hopeful because after having after having a quiet month since an extravagant and costly Christmas, we can now start LIVING again.

Hopeful because this week I have noticed snowdrops in bloom. I’ve seen daffodils and crocuses raising their heads and the Camellia in my garden is starting to flower.

Hopeful because, if it’s not my imagination, the evenings seem to be getting a fraction lighter. Instead of the gloom descending at 4pm it now seems more like 4.30 or even 4.45 and every little bit helps!

Hopeful that I’ve started to leave the heating off for one or two days completely in the last couple of weeks (although today, on the last day of January, it’s been firmly switched to ‘on’ all day).  Winter feel like it’s been endless and I’m not the best at coping with the cold or the dark. But with the launch of February, I’m suddenly hopeful that spring may actually be around the very next corner.

And hopeful that all of those strong-willed, determined people who clung on to being Dry for the longest, most depressing month of the year can stop going on about how good they’ve been, resume their normal business of drinking wine, and stop making us drinkers feel bad again!

15 Fascinating Facts for February

So, without further ado, here’s some facts to celebrate February and all that it may bring.

  1. The birthstone for February is amethyst which the ancient Greeks believed when worn would protect the wearer from drunkenness. Those Dry January people may need to wear this when they go out on their first bender this weekend.

2. Keeping with the theme of purple, the birth flower for February is violet or iris.

3. February is the shortest month in the year with 28 days unless it’s a leap year when there’s 29. But before Julius Caesar reformed the calendar, February was the only month to have an equal amount of days; all the rest had 29 or 31. Even numbers were considered unlucky back then, so February was considered an unlucky month and one which was dedicated to honouring the dead and performing rites of purification.

4. Leading on nicely to how February got it’s name. The purification festival –  Februa which was the equivalent of a Roman spring cleaning festival!

5. Famous people born in  February include Drew Barrymore, Sheryl Crow, Simon Pegg, John Travolta and Jennifer Aniston.

6. The zodiac sign for people born in Feb is Aquarius and Pisces and according to a recent study, people born in February are more likely to be artists. Hhhmmm…. well my Dad’s born in February and he’s started painting so does that count?

7. February regularly appears in the most commonly misspelt words of the English language.

8. Originally, the Romans had a ten month calendar which started with March and ended with December. There was no January or February as winter weather had little to do with the harvest, so the winter months were given no period of distinction.

9. Every year February ends on the same day of the week as October!

10. Valentine was a Roman priest in 3AD. When Emperor Claudius banned marriages because he thought married men made bad soldiers, Valentine thought this unfair and married people in secret. A Roman festival held in the middle of February to celebrate the start of spring, saw boys and girls pick names from a box where they would partner up for the festival and occasionally, later, get married. Later on, the church turned this into a Christian festival and used it to remember St. Valentine too.

11. Despite it being the shortest month in the calendar, February is busy with celebrations relating to Valentine’s Day, Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Chinese New Year, Groundhog Day in The States along with ‘Bachelor’s Day’ if there’s a leap year on the 29th.

12. Old English names for February include Solmonath (meaning mud month) and Kale Monath (meaning cabbage month)!

13. Much Ado About Nothing is the only Shakespeare play to mention February.

14. February is the only month that can pass with no full moon, but there is one this year.

15. A leap day is where an extra day is added every four years to the calendar on the 29th February to  balance out the fact that the Earth does not orbit the sun in precisely 365 days. Our next leap year will be in 2020. According to tradition, just as the calendar is balanced out every four years, so too are the traditional roles of men asking women to marry. Every four years on the 29th of February, women are “allowed” to propose to men on this date. He should be so lucky!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these facts. Half term is nearly here and it will soon be spring. Have a wonderful February!

Why I Love A Shiny Brand New Year. 2018 Goals Vs 2017

It seems inevitable to write a blog post about New Year’s Resolutions, but it feels good to put some goals out there and also to look back at how things went last year.

Whilst January is completely depressing with long evenings, cold weather and everyone skint and promising “never to drink again”, there is something I love about a New Year. There’s the promise of hope; a blank page just full of possibility. Perhaps this WILL be the year that we conquer the world and make our millions. Failing that, perhaps this year we will lose weight / get fit / fulfil our dreams to achieve something. I get a bit excited that perhaps this year it will be the year that SOMETHING will happen.

Granted, I’m never sure at what stage that excitement wears off and the drudgery kicks in. Maybe it only lasts a week or two, but whilst I’m feeling upbeat and positive it seems like a good time to look back on what I wanted to do last year and think of things I’d like to achieve in 2018.

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When The Inn Keeper Needed The Toilet And Other Highlights From The Nativity

We’ve had two nativities to watch in the past week. Our eldest was a narrator and our youngest had her first school nativity as an angel.  I don’t know what it is about watching your child in a nativity that is so emotional; my husband and I were both tearing up. Is it pride at how well they’re doing? Amazement at their confidence? Wonder at how much they’ve grown?

I wrote about the 7 Things to Love about a Nativity a couple of years ago when my eldest daughter first started school. It’s true, who doesn’t love a nativity? It definitely gets you in the festive spirit and it’s also an emotional rollercoaster: feeling proud and emotional too.

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Things to Love and Hate about Winter

The past three days has seen the UK experience heavy snow fall and below zero temperatures.  Anyone would have thought that it had never snowed before with all the attention it has been getting. The kids loved it. I enjoyed watching the kids and the snow from the inside.

I’m not a fan of this extreme weather or indeed this time of year. I’m much more of a summer girl who likes the sunshine, warmth and long evenings. But in a bid not to be a grumpy kill joy, here’s some of the things I do like about this time of year.

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Feeling S.A.D?

I thought my tiredness might have been down to a particularly heavy weekend with friends on both a Friday and Saturday night (I can’t do two nights in a row anymore). But days later, I’m still struggling with tiredness. I can’t get up in the morning and feel the need to go to bed about nine o’clock at night. I’m drinking even more than my usual eight cups of tea in a day in a bid to try and stay awake. By the time I’ve picked the kids up from school at three o’clock I feel like I could get under the covers for a nap.

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Side of Playdates

Now that both my kids are in school, they seem to have a far busier social life than me. Every week at least one of them has a playdate with friends and this is on top of the usual after school and weekend clubs. I like my main purpose is to taxi them around to their social activities or collect them from friends’ houses.

Bearing in mind our youngest is still only four, I find it amusing that she trots off to other people’s houses without any care or hesitation. She had her best friend from her class over to play the other week and we were on constant countdown for weeks until the day would arrive!

Playdates for me seem to have their definite advantages and disadvantages so without further ado, here’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly side of playdates:

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Feeling a Bit Lost with My Labels

I’ve been a bit quiet on this blog for a while now, it has felt more than just a common blip of lacking inspiration. Perhaps it’s the changing of the seasons, but I suspect the main reason for feeling a bit strange is due to our youngest, Eva having started school in September. All through the summer I knew it was coming and felt emotional about not having my little side-kick around anymore. My husband watched me like a hawk during early September in case, I might have a bit of a slump.

The truth is that I was busy. I had a sudden rush of freelance work on and lots going on with project kitchen extension. So I relished the new found freedom of “getting stuff done” without the constraints of having to constantly think about Eva. And then in October it all came to an abrupt halt. The work dried up,  the kitchen was finished and I felt lost. I had a delayed reaction to missing Eva; the pang of not having her around anymore suddenly kicked in. I missed having my little person with me again. I’d go shopping and the sight of other mums out with their little girls almost sent me wailing.

It occurred to me that whilst I missed having HER, I also missed having a sense of purpose. What was my role now?

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6 Reasons Why I’m Glad The Builders Have Now Left

For the past 10 weeks, we’ve been living in chaos whilst we’ve had a new kitchen extension built. Before it started, I don’t think we had any idea about how much the work would affect us all, we set up a make-shift kitchen in our dining room and luckily had a spare fridge in our garage. We started out trying to eat quite healthily, but the novelty quickly wore off and we ended up eating microwave meals for the last month. With kids, it’s much harder to deal with. Especially fussy kids that don’t eat much other than pizza, sausages and pasta; the options without an oven or hob were severely limiting!!

Before
After

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The End of an Era as Youngest Starts School

This week, as most children go back to school, I’m aware that this is my last week with Eva at home before she starts Reception on Monday.

I can’t quite believe we are at the point where my baby, my youngest will be off to school.

Big Deal

Starting school is a big step for all children and let’s face it the parents too! For most children it’s a longer day, there’s uniform to get used to, a new place with a new teacher and new friends to make. It’s exciting and daunting at the same time. We had some odd behaviour from Eva over the summer which was down to her being anxious about school and feeling a bit lost. More recently, she’s been excited about things like her new school shoes and being at the same place with her big sister – Alice. But she still has her moments; just this week she has had quiet periods where she admits to me in a little voice that she’s nervous. After a week of refusing to go to bed, I finally lost the plot with her last night only for her to break down into huge sobs and tell me how she was scared about starting school and how much she’s going to miss me. It broke my heart and no matter what I said, she just continued to howl!

  Finally asleep on the sofa after sobbing about school for over an hour

For me, it’s going to take some getting used to as well. I will need to adapt to not having any little people around with me during the week anymore. Wednesday was always the day that Eva and I spent off together and whether it was a trip to the park, an outing to the supermarket or just getting on with chores at home, I will truly miss having my little side-kick around.

Enough?

When the girls were babies, I can remember my Nan saying that we should enjoy our children as much as we could before we lost them to school. I know what she meant. From Monday the girls will be at school for most of the day and for most of the week, leaving me to pick up the grumpy, moody, scrappy bits in the morning and mid-afternoon.

When I had both girls at home there were many moments of hard work. There was a point where both were in nappies and like most other mums I had to deal with tantrums, potty training and fighting. It was exhausting but equally, it has gone in a flash. I can’t believe that come Monday, they will be gone.

As I sit here and marvel at how it can be possible to have exchanged nappies for school uniform in such a short amount of time, I can’t help but wonder whether I could have made more of those early days. Could I have done more? Could I have played with them more? Could we have done more trips out? Could I have spent less time on my phone and given them more of my undivided attention? I guess I’ll never know, but it’s no good looking back, we can only move forwards.

Looking at The Positives

I know that next week will be an emotional time for Eva and for me. It will feel almost like grieving knowing that I won’t have them around during the day, but I’m determined not to be too depressed or too nostalgic. Here’s some of the positives that I need to remember:

  1. Eva is more than ready for school, she’s quick, on the ball and wants to learn.
  2. Once she’s in the routine of going every day, I know that she will love school.
  3. This is my time. As a friend recently said to me, the world is my oyster. I can focus more on my freelance business, go shopping, do some more writing, try to exercise more or whatever I want.
  4. Weekends will be more precious.

It will definitely feel like the end of an era next week when Eva starts school. I know that it will be an emotional time, but it’s the start of a new chapter with hopefully lots to look forward to for both of us as well.

Wish me luck next week!

 

Trying on school uniform ready for next week