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Yes, it’s true I am still alive. I began this year with the bold idea I would make time for me and continue to blog. It’s now August and this is my first blog for 2018 – go me! Hah!

I threw myself into running Langleys Accommodation with my gorgeous husband and the fabulous Kristy. I dreamt about bookings and Airbnb descriptions for months and between that and the kids kind of lost track of things. I have no idea how working mothers do it. I am in awe because by the time I have done my 3 days and finish Friday evening I can open the front door and disappear under the mounds of laundry and dishes. Everyone is very lucky I continue to manage to find clothes for my kids – I would say clean clothes but some days that was probably a little untrue!

But this year was Dad’s 70th and my brother and I planned a surprise party (pretty much all Olly to be honest!). In turned into less of a surprise once Dad started to try and take over but we did manage to keep my arrival under wraps which was lovely. So I am writing this in the ‘sunroom’ in 30 degrees with the sun blazing and for once no plans for anything bar wandering some gardens later with Dad. It has been utter bliss and a fabulous 20 days of catching up with friends and visiting old haunts.

I arrived on a Thursday in Heathrow and managed to get on the wrong car rental bus and then had to drag my – admittedly light suitcase – down past the bumper to bumper entrance to the M25 to the right place. The guy handed me my keys and rather worriedly asked me how I planned to pay for any damage, he seemed slightly unimpressed with my comedy quip that I didn’t plan to do any damage. No one has any patience at 5:30pm on a Thursday apparently. I braved the M25, eyeing each car that dared to come near me with suspicion and arrived at Claire’s.

Jetlag is not nearly so bad with just yourself to worry about, although the summer sun at 4am does mean the little voices in my head are annoying “hey look it’s light. It’s bound to be like 7am or 8am!”. Claire threw me a fabulous school friends party on the weekend, nothing better than seeing someone after 3 years and knowing you can just pick up where you left off.

I spent afternoons trying to persuade her 2 gorgeous little girls to like me – slightly more success with Jess than Molly – and have sailed through being called ‘that lady’ to Auntie France (don’t ask) and settled into Auntie Rozzie with a smile.

 

I whizzed around Wimbledon shops, drove past the old home to discover it is no longer my home and got a bit teary outside Mum’s old work. Then pootled over to Purley to visit Glenn and Fi and the NCT girls. A whistle stop tour of everything and everyone. It always feels a bit like that, never enough time.\

 

I caught up with Olly in London and he took me to the most amazing contemporary dance exhibition at the Tower of London. Just breath taking in their abilities and I took way too many pictures and videos of the day.

Then the party day dawned and I packed up and headed to Dad’s surprise. It was a lovely afternoon topped by the fact that I was definitely not someone he was expecting.

I got to catch up with family from Somerset, London and family friends from all other. Still slightly disconcerting when someone says ‘it’s lovely to see you Rosaleen’ and you have no idea who they are then. Only to realise the last time they saw me was when I was 6 months old!

I spent the final week just pottering with the family. We visited gardens, saw friends of Olly’s in the most gorgeous cottage setting. I sat in the sunshine, read books and whiled away the hours. It was bliss. In the last few days I shot back to London to see Claire and the family one last time, caught up with Uni friends in Greenwich – I was a complete tourist and took the river boat! Then zipped to Andover to meet Katherine’s gorgeous little boy William and back to Dorking to have dinner with my Uncle and Aunt.

Now it’s the last day before I get back on the plane to head home. It’s raining in true English form! I am hopefully slightly more tanned than when arrived! I have eaten Pork Pies, crispy aromatic duck and pancakes and hula hoops. I have aimlessly wandered around Tesco and M&S, bought way to many clothes in the sales and spent hours in an English garden enjoying the sunshine. It was short but sweet and hopefully I have packed everything and everyone I could in. Who knows when I will be back but until we meet again England, you excelled yourself!