Happiness is…

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… getting your face painted. Spending a sunshiny day at Godstone Farm with Nonna (on her birthday!) and your sister and Mummy. Eating a picnic lunch. Having loads of time to go crazy in the soft-play play-barn. Petting rabbits. Seeing stinky pigs sleeping. Having a mid-afternoon ice cream. Getting to explore the adventure playground and shooting down the toboggan run with mummy (who scraped her elbow!). Listening to Disney Princess music all the way there and back. Seeing Nonno when he came back from work. Falling asleep in the car in your PJs, face-paint still on, and snoring happily even when mummy lifts you out of your car-seat and puts you carefully into bed and cleans your face before kissing your head and turning out the light.

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… having free reign to explore the toddler soft-play and little play-houses with windows perfect for playing peekaboo. Holding a baby rabbit with mummy and kissing it on the head. Eating sandwiches and crispies and many many many strawberries sitting on Nonna’s lap. Seeing chickens and goats and horses and pigs and cows and sheep and… Snoozing in the buggy for two hours, without a care in the world. Going weeeeee on the slide and swings. Getting a bit dirty in the sandpit. Feeding myself (well, a bit!) dinner. Falling asleep in mummy’s arms after a busy and fun-packed day.

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Impatient of Richmond

I’ve always known that I’m what you could describe as the impatient type. When I walk anywhere, I walk fast; when I go shopping, I want to be in and out in a flash; when I pop into Starbucks and see a queue longer than three people, I’m outta there in a flash. Nobody needs coffee that much that you should have to wait approximately 8-10 minutes to get it *shudders at the thought*.

Slowness is my nemesis (even if it is arguably not actually a word… is it a word?!). Walking behind a casually ambling pedestrian is likely to cause steam to puff out of my ears, especially if they’re zig-zagging so I can’t even overtake. Argh! I once heard a rumour they were going to create a fast-lane for pedestrians on Oxford Street – wow, I am totally down for that, where do I sign?!

One of my absolute bugbears? Even more than slow wifi, slow talkers and slow walkers? – the slow shop assistant. I swear to god…

The other week I happened to find myself in a big Tesco superstore in Hounslow. The girls and I were on our way to Hounslow Urban Farm for a fun day out and I swung in to the supermarket to pick up some bits for a picnic lunch.

“We’ll just pop in and grab some foods for lunch quickly before we reach the farm” I announced to the girls, with optimism in my voice, truly believing that on a Wednesday morning around 10.30am that surely it was possible to dash in and out of a Tesco in Hounslow in under ten minutes.

What a fool I was.

It wasn’t that it was busy, nope – the aisles were fairly deserted in fact. It wasn’t that the children played up – nope, they were as good as gold sitting in the trolley as we whizzed around supermarket sweep stylee. Was there some sort of store-based siege? a person collapsed in the yoghurt aisle awaiting an ambulance and causing normal service to be interrupted? Nope and nope. So what was the root of the delay you ask…

A slow check-out lady.
FML.

It wasn’t that I was in a rush – it was my day off, we were on an outing to the farm but we weren’t meeting anyone, the pigs and cows were unlikely to be tapping their wrists asking “what time do you call this” as we pulled up to the gates. But that’s not really the point is it? I wanted to be in and out quickly and efficiently, is that too much to ask?

Apparently it is.

So I approach the check-outs and scan the scene before me. It is here I make my first mistake. I opt for a queue that has a mere one person standing in it – not one person behind the person being served, just one person. One person only, already being served, off and away, up and running, action stations.

Ha!

I watch as the check-out lady continues to beep beep her way (slowly) through the woman’s shopping, not a care in the world, beep beep, la la la, beep beep.

I start to get a bit fidgety, I’ve already been there at least a minute and I’m beginning to suspect that there is no sense of urgency with either the customer or the check-out chick.

They are engaging in casual and idle chit-chat. I start to hop from one foot to the other and sigh loudly and repeatedly to express my annoyance. They ignore me.

Beep, beep.

A man joins the queue behind me, “don’t join this queue” – I exclaim loudly – “I’ve already lost 5 minutes of my life that I’m never going to get back!” He looks at me bemused and grimaces nervously. I fear he may be glad of the company.

Beep, beep.

She can’t have had more than 15-20 items on the conveyor belt thingy. HOW IS THIS TAKING SO GODDAMN LONG?!!!????!!!

I huff and puff a bit more.
“Are you happy mummy?” Allegra asks me from the comfort of the supermarket trolley, as Claudia hits her over the head with a pack of Dairylea Lunchables (don’t judge). “We’ll darling,” I say, “I’m a bit frustrated we’ve been standing in this queue for soooo long!” (approximately 7.5 minutes by this point).

I am ignored.

Then the customer pipes up with a question: “how much does that come to so far love?”
Check-out lady: “what?”
Customer: “what’s the total so far?”
Check-out lady: “the total you’ve spent? so far?”
Customer: “yeah, how much does it come to love?”
Check-out lady: “ummmm let’s see, oooh £14.53 so far…” – she pauses with the beeping.

Customer: “in which case, I think I’ll leave the Turbo DVD and the packet of chocolate buttons”
Check-out lady: “what’s that?!”
Customer: “the Turbo DVD and the chocolate buttons, I’ll leave those behind, I won’t get them today…” *points quite clearly at the items she no longer wants*

Check-out lady (looking confused at the remaining array of items she has yet to beep through the till), *looks up and smiles, picking up a handful of DVDs that were sitting on the conveyor belt* – “shall I just show you them one by one and you can tell me which ones you want and which ones you don’t?”

Kill. Me. Now.

“The Turbo one, the Turbo one, THE TURBO DVD!!!! She doesn’t want the Turbo DVD or the packet of chocolate buttons!!!” – I yell say, pointing with emphasis at the rejected items.

The customer and the check-out girl look at me surprised with an air of “who rattled your cage?” about them. I get no show of solidarity from the man behind.

What?!? I am merely trying to be helpful! So I eyeball them back, I may even have had my hands in the “tragedy!” by Steps position.

“Oh dear god!” I exclaim as I reverse out of the queue with more under the breath / not quite under the breath frustrated muttering.

I go to the neighbouring check-out, should have done that sooner but clearly I’d invested too much time to leave by that point! My second mistake.

I declare my annoyance to the new check-out lady. She looks at me blankly and frankly non-plussed.

But I’m in and out of there in seconds and march with purpose past the other check-out, the lady still beeping, the customer still idly chattering.

I feel I have secured a small victory by being first to leave the store.

Don’t judge.

I realise that impatience is not exactly a virtue, but seriously… SERIOUSLY!!!

Impatient of Richmond.

Review: Hold That Thought, Milton!

51OiEbJ+C9L._SX385_Hold That Thought, Milton! is a funny (if slightly bizarre!) new picture book by award winning author Linda Ravin Lodding, which tells the story of a young boy – Milton – who has a lot on his mind (I know how he feels!). When Milton loses his beloved frog – the amusingly named Burp! – he takes matters into his own hands and in trying desperately to ‘hold that thought’, thoughts around Burp eventually burst from his mind and trigger a rather peculiar transformation!

It’s a little weird….

BUT, undeniably amusing! And the fantastic illustrations by Ross Collins really do make the story explode off the page, which adds a lot to the book.

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We’ve had the book about 3-weeks now and have read it a dozen times. I don’t think it initially appealed to Allegra, but the more familiar she has become with the story and the more she gets her head around the whole concept of someone struggling to contain their thoughts and then them ‘bursting out’ with rather amusing consequences, the more she has really started to ‘get it’ and enjoy it. I think she certainly loves the fact that the funny-looking frog is called Burp – well, we all find that amusing, right?!

Here she is walking you through part of the book in her own words:

Hold That Thought, Milton! is published by Parragon Books and is available from Amazon, RRP £5.99 – I would suggest it’s particularly great for age 4 years and over and given my little girl’s love of ballerinas and princesses, it’s not likely to become a firm favourite – although I’m delighted to have something else to read at bedtime that is a bit different and she definitely finds it funny, so it makes a nice change for all of us, but I think it would probably be a particularly big hit with (burp-loving!) boys.

Disclosure: Parragon Books sent us this book for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are honest and our own.