Never have I felt the juxtaposition of town and country more acutely than a recent weekend dash to New York and back for a dear family member’s wedding. Saying goodbye to straw bales on the school run and green fields (plus two small girls) to be greeted by cabs honking, neon lights flashing and the whoosh of urban living was a far more epic contrast from our every day life than I could ever have imagined. Continue reading
Dear Reader, as you may have read a couple of weeks ago, I was in the top 6 finalists of the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Lifestyle award. Something which I was totally stunned by (and quite over the top excited about) since I only started writing Margot tries the good life in October 2012. As the BiBs awards ceremony loomed closer and several wardrobe crises later (I did actually consider the ballgown and wellies option for longer than perhaps was actually sensible), I was thinking of sending a note to Barbara to go in my place. Then I remembered she was in Provence (more than likely learning how to make her own perfume) and would be of no help at all! The day of judgment dawned and I managed to get myself to The Brewery in EC1 without too much mishap. Paralysed with nerves, I lurked outside for some time then hid beside the cloakrooms before finally taking the plunge and entering the drinks reception. A glass of fizz in hand (sadly no gin), I met some lovely lovely people who I had previously only known through Twitter – that in itself was a surreal experience I don’t mind admitting to you. Everyone I met at Britmums Live asked if we had moved yet and the inevitable question of livestock and growing my own fruit and vegetables was on the cards too! Not yet, not yet was the reply. Very nearly though…. Anyway, I am cutting to the chase, dear Reader, I promise. No, sadly, I did not win the award and yes, my practised Oscar nominee losing face came in handy BUT I did feel very honoured to be on the list at all, especially as the winner has a fantastic blog (Mamma Syder from The Syders).
Jerry reminded me when I got home that 9 months ago, I never would have dreamed of being in the same room as some of the nation’s favourite bloggers and even a generous handful of published authors. He was utterly right of course and I do feel a little proud of myself for getting all the way to the final of the BiBs in the first place. NOW I blog about our puppy, Monty, at the NFU Countryside website here and I have recently been offered the chance to blog for the National Trust’s London and South East region. Margot, a lifestyle blogger – whatever next?! So thank YOU, dear Reader, for getting me to here because without you reading, tweeting and following my story, I might never have managed any of it! One last plea: please go and tell lots of people about Margot tries the good life!
Now that Britmums Live is over and awards ceremony is done and dusted, I can start focusing on our move in 5 weeks’ time! In fact, in the spirit of getting things ticked off the list, I booked the movers and packers this morning. It is finally sinking in. We are moving. Primrose only has another 4 weeks left at nursery and Jerry and I are frantically filling the diary with last minute must dos and must see people. It is within spitting distance as they say. Maybe just maybe, I might write a book about all of this one day, dear Reader….. In the meantime, I shall have to keep plaguing Country Life until they are so sick of me that they give in and let me loose on their glorious magazine!
Birthday celebrations (mine and Jerry’s), bank holiday, toddler getting up at 5am every day (east facing bedroom curse), Monty’s first puppy class, launch of his (and my) new monthly blog on NFU Countryside and a guest blog post for the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging award for Fresh Voice….that was the week that was. Dear Reader, to be honest, I am still reeling from it all. To add to the list of fab, fantastic and in the case of the 5am starts, downright frightful, I made a fatal error and did not put my brand new pair of shoes on the very top of the bookcase and they were instantly eaten by the Monster before he could be stopped. I can report that in just one week, the wardrobe casualties are stacking up: 2 tunics, a chiffon dress, 1 pair of shoes and a beloved cardigan which now has pinholes in it. Puppy teething?! Pah! We seem to have acquired a pup with the chewing skills of a beaver. Nothing is safe! I know, I know, how could I possibly be cross with this sweet little face…..?!
So passing on my TOP TEN tips for the first weeks of owning a furry toddler could not have been a more apt post for my Britmums Fresh Voice voting plea! Between the children, dog and turning another year older, I found myself nearly at the bottom of the beautifully packaged bottle of Hendricks gin which my dear Papa so kindly gave me for my birthday!
Here are my handy hints if you missed them:
1) Reacquaint yourself with lack of SLEEP – coffee and Jerry’s dressing gown are my new best friends. No sooner did Poppy start sleeping through, my nightly toddler escapades have now been replaced with standing in the garden in pyjamas, praying the neighbours can’t see me.
2) Explain to both toddler and dog that sharing is lovely but perhaps not when it comes to teething toys.
3) Do not buy any new shoes – dog will chew ONLY the new ones. (I am still mourning the loss of my floral pumps….)
4) Buy a dog guard for the car – emergency stops on the A4 due to dog jumping from boot to back seats are best avoided!
5) Do not let husband to allow dog to sit on sofa. (My days of wearing black are over……..)
6) Try not to attempt to house train pup and potty train toddler at the same time. Poppy now thinks a piddle outside (a la pooch) is an acceptable practice.
7) Hone your Mummy sixth sense in order to catch sneaky 4 year old feeding the dog at mealtimes. Otherwise, you may find that dog enjoys mushrooms from Coq au Vin as well as puppy kibbles.
8) Remember children and dogs often suffer from temporary deafness……although that may just be in our household! You may find the investment of a whistle worthwhile…worked for Mary Poppins.
9) Do NOT leave your gin unattended at any point. Following that thought, definitely don’t forget to wash out a glass that puppy has found and licked, before serving your guest another drink from said glass! (Luckily my dear Papa has a very good sense of humour!)
10) And lastly….have your camera ready and drop everything to capture children and dog enjoying the simpler things in life together. Running through the long grass, chasing butterflies and setting up tea parties NEVER seemed as much fun before Monty came into our lives! After all, as Gerald Durrell, author of My Family and Other Animals, knew so well “A house is not a home until it has a dog.”
The full Britmums post can be read here. Tonight at midnight marks the end of the voting for the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging awards and I can honestly say that I am still surprised I even made it this far. Thank you again because when I started writing the blog in October, I truly believed that I would be writing posts that would drift off into ether and no one (except my Mamma and Jerry) would read them. I am grateful to you, dear Reader so thank you thank you thank you for the follows, the comments, the encouragement and for the precious votes. Gin and kisses to you all! I promise ‘normal’ Margot capers shall resume next week! Jerry has been badgering me to get on with crossing off some of the items on my to do list….
Oh and if you do fancy following Monty’s adventures on NFU Countryside, then look no further…..you can find his little paws here.
Puppy Puppy Puppy!!! After 8 weeks of waiting, we finally brought our scrumptious spaniel home last week, dear Reader! Jerry, Poppy, Primrose and I stood on the doorstep for our first family photograph and it felt like we were bringing home another newborn baby! So far Monty is proving to be every bit as gorgeous in temperament as he is in looks and doesn’t even mind when well meaning visitors ask if he is a Springer! His first night went so well that Jerry and I were slightly worried that he wasn’t breathing. I suddenly wished that we had bought a CCTV-style baby monitor so that I could check on him without having to go downstairs and wake the whole household. The last pup to leave his mother, he had already spent one night on his own and after a long day’s play with our girls, he was so exhausted that took himself off to his bed inside his crate. We didn’t hear a peep from him until we all got up at 6am the next morning (Jerry and I never get a lie in as Primrose and Poppy are the early to bed, early to rise sort of children……sadly). There have been the piddles and puddles as we expected but he is pretty good at calling us to open the back door to be let out now.
He has also proved the perfect tonic for dearest Poppy who has been very ill, having caught the dreaded chickenpox, with infected spots and temperatures of seriously high proportions. Not an inch of skin could be seen on her and she was unable to do much more than flop on the sofa and whimper just like a little pup. In response to her obvious distress, Monty has licked her, let her snuggle down with him and even rest her head on his back – thus proving that a well known fact that dogs are extremely good therapy.
A trip to the vet and first jabs over and done with, we are now looking forward to the second jab when we can FINALLY take Monty out for a walk. In the meantime, I have resorted to taking him out for a wander inside my coat so that he can begin to get used to all the sights and sounds of the Big Smoke as I push Poppy in her buggy. I am not entirely sure why I received such strange looks……surely everyone carries a dog in their Barbour, dear Reader?!
Alongside the Brilliance in Blogging awards shortlisting (which is fantastic and many many thanks to those of you who voted for me), I have some other exciting news to share this week, dear Reader. This month will see the launch of Monty’s own blogging adventures and he and I will be sharing our puppy ups and downs as a monthly featured blog on the National Farmers Union’s Countryside website and magazine here so do look out for us! The first installment will be published next week and Monty and I are looking forward to seeing our names in print – huge thanks to NFU Countryside for making it happen!
PS…..Being on the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging awards shortlist is truly marvellous and I cannot thank those of you who nominated me enough. There are TONS of fantastic blogs on the list. They all deserve a vote in my opinion and I am honoured to considered among them. Do vote for your favourites at Britmums – I know I speak for all the bloggers when I say it means such a lot to us that you read and follow our capers!
I had such a ‘whoooah there, hang on’ moment this week that I half expected Cilla Black to pop out from behind the curtains in a leopard print number singing ‘Surprise Surprise’, falsies and all, dear Reader! Monty, our new pup, certainly did not appreciate the sound barrier breaking shriek that accompanied my surprise and sadly, gin o’clock was too far away to contemplate immediate celebration….although it was rather tempting.
Turns out that Margot, ‘little old (soon to be even older) me’ has been nominated in the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging awards – a complete surprise that I made the list at all (must thank my dear Mamma for casting all the votes) and I am honoured to be considered amongst some really witty, endearing, inspiring and truly well-written blogs. Just being nominated for the ‘Fresh Voice’ and ‘Lifestyle’ categories alongside such good quality writers is humbling – do have a look and read as many nominees as you can Britmum BiBs nominees. I have some real favourites on the list!
When I began writing Margot Tries the Good Life in October last year, I never thought people (other than Jerry and my Ma) would actually read it, let alone follow it and write lovely post comments and tweets about my capers. I have never really been one for blowing my own trumpet (where writing is concerned at least) but as a fellow nominee said to me…..BACK YOUR BLOG! So, dear Reader, if you are so inclined and you really enjoy Margot, then please do cast a precious vote for me http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B82J3SN The deadline for votes is 12th May. Do like Margot on Facebook here or tweet me @Margotgoodlife too!
There, enough said.