Ask Me Anything

By Alison January 17, 2011 14 Comments 11 Min Read

So I invited the questions and in they came and thus I’m thrilled to have at my disposal a lovely list of reader inspired writing prompts.
This is how it’s going to work: when the mood takes me I will peruse the list for a question I have the answers to that day and in the manner of spilling my head on to the page without stopping to over think or provide you with the contrived version of my life, I will answer your question to the best of my ability and hopefully you will get to know me that little bit better…
Today’s question comes from Katherine. Thank you sweetie, for taking the time to ask…
“How do you spend a day at home?(along this line of questioning ~are you mostly home during the week, do you have one day that you run all of your errands?)”
Are you ready for this? Lets start at the beginning. I don’t like waking up. I dream the most scrumptiously delicious series of dreams every single night and deeply resent opening my eyes. But hey ho, that’s life and once I have untangled myself from the layers and layers of cosy quilts I weigh myself down in, I’m ready and willing to face the day…
Most mornings now, my little boy Finley, is already up and ready to barrage me with the long list of questions and observations rattling around his head. Today he took the time to inform me that I looked like I had lost weight. Then he asked me how it felt to look like Darth Vadar. I responded with instructions to go downstairs and get the morning party started. He carried on pretending his bedroom was Doctor Who’s tardis and I disappeared to take the kind of wake me up fast shower that involves a brisk loofah, eucalyptus oil, some minty shower gel and prayers to the Gods that be that the morning will go smoothly…
Next up I dress, throw all covers off the beds, open curtains and cajole Finley into his dressing gown and down the stairs. Which is I think akin to trying to organize a herd of naughty goats.  I then toast gluten free bread for Finn’s packed lunch, warm a GF brioche and top with jam, slice a banana and spoon yoghurt into a teeny tiny bowl. This then is his breakfast, which he eats at the table I set the night before, still talking ten to the dozen, as I  make two cups of tea, pack his lunchbox, empty the dishwasher, move the first load of washing into the tumble dryer or hang it on the line, wipe down the kitchen surfaces, vacuum up any crumbs on the floor with the diddy hand held hoover and collapse on the sofa with my tea for a few minutes, simultaneously checking emails, blog comments and my feed reader, while taking the first call of the day from Richard, who will by now be walking the distance from his car to his office in the centre of Liverpool where he works as a graphic designer for a tiny publishing company.
Next up Finn usually joins me on the sofa for a morning snuggle while we both finish our cups of tea, then it’s time to get him washed and dressed, which is quite frankly the stuff of Mommy nightmares. When he was four Finley was diagnosed (dubiously) with Sensory Processing Disorder and while many of the behavioural symptoms associated with this diagnosis have dissipated over the last three years, eating neatly and getting dressed are still huge problems and thus getting dressed before breakfast is not a possibility because it usually ends up in a change of uniform before he goes out the door which sends both our stress levels sky high! So after breakfast, Finley goes up the stairs with four instructions: to scrub his nails (magnificently filthy always, regardless of the bath taken the night before!), wash his face, brush his teeth and wet his hair, to dampen down the chaos that is his curly locks. And off he goes. Singing to himself. And stopping to build a lego man on the way and returning to remind me that three weeks on Tuesday he needs to wear non-uniform to school. And I repeat my instructions and off he goes again, while I clean the breakfast things away,  check his school bag for homework and face wipes, fill his bottle with ice cold water and place his coat, hat and scarf over the chair ready for him to climb into once he is dressed. Then I go upstairs to supervise the tooth brushing, dab a little make up on and quickly eradicate the mess created by a little monkey performing his morning absolutions.
By now it is twenty to nine and without fail, I start to feel demented. Though I have resolved not to shout, and to only repeat my instructions once to save myself going around the bend, still, it is at this point that Finley’s constant, darling chatter starts to do my head in. I shuffle him into his room and trying to resist helping him, instruct him to get his uniform on. He does. I get into my coat and boots, re-arrange the confusion that is my now dressed son, help him with his coat, refuse to allow him to skateboard to school, ignore his whinging and shuffle  him out the door. And there we are. In the fresh air. We walk to school holding hands, negotiating the time he will be allowed to spend playing Club Penguin that evening and discussing the mis-demeanours of the other kids in his class,  a subject which is currently Finley’s favorite topic of conversation and causes him much hilarity, so proud is he, of the other childrens antics. (Hmmmm).
As school is less than two minutes away, we get there quickly and encounter lots of our friends, grown up and little, along the way. Most often Kath, who is Mommy to Eleanor (and my partner in single Mummy crime), Chris and Siobhan, who are the writing parents of Caitlin, and Diane, who is Mummy to Emily and Harry. And in we all parade in a noisy charabanc of chatter, until we arrive at the back entrance to the school and find ourselves confronted by the stern gatekeeper of the school, our headmistress. She who will not let worried Mummy’s into school and instead listens distractedly to the kind of daily worries we would rather share with she who will be in close contact with our child, the class teacher, and promises to pass on the messages of two hundred parents to said teacher when she see’s them. And we, the obedient, do as we are told and watch our children carry bags and coats across the hall and disappear into their classrooms until it is safe to perform the kind of see you later happy dance deliciously exasperated by a dose of parental guilt and a spoonful of Mommy worry.
And then my day begins. Each varying according to it’s name. On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday I work. On Tuesday I start my working day with coffee with Kath, or pop into Ormskirk and drink coffee at Costa and grab any groceries I need to see me through till Friday, before heading back home to write. And on Friday I go shopping with my Mum.
Most days, either way I spend ten minutes gossiping and moaning with the other Mum’s at the school gate, before walking home, and letting myself in to the debris of the morning. I then, spend an hour performing the housekeeping tasks of the day, talk to my Mum, listen out for the beep that indicates my Dad driving past my house, and call him quickly to say good morning,  light candles, dance to my housekeeping tunes of the week, tidy up, set my work space up ready to plunge into work when I’m ready, puff up cushions and generally get the house ship-shape, before pouring a cold glass of lemon water, making another cup of tea and eating whatever it is I’m calling breakfast these days (this morning, breakfast biscuits, blueberries and a vanilla yoghurt). And then its Brocante time, so I sit down and plough through email (I get a lot: up to 100 emails a day, not counting all the stuff and spam, that is best ignored), quickly scout the newspaper sites, waste ten minutes chunnering around the joys to be discovered in my feed reader and then set about faffing with the site: updating the books in the sidebar, choosing pictures for my pinboard, writing posts, sending out downloads, keeping accounts of downloads bought and paid for, checking off my to-do list, and generally keeping the wheels of my little kitchen table industry turning.
At eleven o’clock (without fail: he’s very reliable), Richard calls again and we discuss our mornings and I take this as an alarm call and spend twenty minutes planning out the evening meal: taking anything I need to out of the freezer, putting the slow cooker on, baking or adding things to my shopping list. Then it’s back to work, and from here on in, I do the big jobs: the planning of upcoming downloads (like the blogging planner coming soon) or the writing and researching of current subscription only downloads, like Trash It or Treasure It.  I work until one thirty, then stop to eat lunch, monitor progress of dinner, make the beds up, and do the big housekeeping tasks of the day. Then at three, I finish up on Brocante (kind of resentfully because I could go on loving my site to bits all day), close down the computer, organise tasks for Finn on his return and then dab on a bit of lip-gloss and set out for the playground once more.
This is both the best and the worst part of the day. All the Mommies gather in an gaggle, while we wait for the kids to come out, catch up on each others news and generally compare kiddy troubles and then the children are paraded on to the playground and released one by one to waiting parents. Finley is ALWAYS at the back of the queue. The only child not wearing his coat and usually trailing his bags on the floor, and the only child to charge towards his Mummy and throw himself at her. We hug and then he runs away to let his soft out on the school fields, to build the den the kids are making, and to roll his lunch splattered self down the muddy hill and add a little more mayhem to the uniform that is destined daily for the washing machine. And then, by hook, line and sinker our children are talked down from the joy of freedom at the end of the school day and we Mummies manage to grab their hands and walk them home.  This involves a lot of screeching on my account. I am that Mommy. But home we eventually go. Finley now, like little boys across the land, reluctant to share his day and insistent that mostly he has been doing “nothing” but Tilly has got a new dog and Marks Mummy is having a baby and Miss Geeson is very, very funny.
And then it is upstairs and out of uniform and into home clothes, and we sit down with another cup of tea to watch “Horrid Henry” and read a chapter or two from his reading book (much against his will now he is independantly reading Harry Potter and finding books sent home from school beyond dull). Then Finn draws, or plays on his DS, or builds Lego towers while I wash his uniform and empty lunch-boxes and root through his school bag for the silly amount of non-stop homework seven year olds are expected to do these days. And then it is Daddy time. Mark calls three nights a week as he works very close by and is always at hand to help. And in he comes and chats with Finn, and then sits and watch’s me cook Finn’s dinner, chatting about his day and generally being the lovely man he failed to be before he left, because when all the anger and sadness was said and done, we remained best friends and parents to a scrumptious boy and thus will always be united to that end. So he sits with Finn while he eats, helps him with his homework after his meal and generally has some Daddy time, while I get Finn’s uniform pressed for the next day, clear the kitchen, organise his bedroom and the bathroom for the joy that is the bedtime routine, chat with Richard as he walks home from work, and  use my ipod to check that there are no online crisises occuring in my absence.
By now the house is cosy. All my candles are lit, the bedroom lamps are glowing, the house is warm, we have said good-night to Mark and Finley’s hot chocolate cup is out and ready for snuggle-time. His bedtime is at seven thirty and he has the choice to go to bed then and go straight to sleep or get into bed at seven and read for half an hour, which is usually now the option he goes for. Before lights out, I sit with him for a moment  or three, hugging, listening and whispering I love you’s, because this is the time  Finn is most likely to share his pint-sized troubles, then when he is tucked in nice and tight, I say goodnight and go into my own bedroom to make it ready for my own bedtime, pulling back the covers, puffing up the pillows and spritzing my lavender pillow spray before taking a long shower or bath, dressing in something cosy and going downstairs to start the grown up dinner.
Finley stays with Mark on a Wednesday evening and Friday nights one week and Saturday nights the next, and Richard usually only stays over at the weekend, though he calls here after visiting his Dad at the residential home, most evenings of the week. So I come down the stairs,   sparkly and ready for the evening, call my Mum and set about cooking the dinner, while popping in and out of the living room to  watch my precious soaps, and waiting to hearRichards key in the door. And then we eat and snuggle and Richard falls asleep and I hit him awake and pout and he laughs at me and I moan and then we have a glass of wine and make friends again, watch TV, talk about the decorating we are both too tired to do, discuss our day, the worry that is his lovely Dad, Finley, and plans for all our tomorrows, then kiss on the doorstep, before I watch him drive away all over again.
And then it is just me and the house. Some nights I am reluctant to go to sleep and turn on the computer again, or switch on the iPlayer to watch a little BBC something or other neither Finn, nor Richard would be interested in. Other nights I potter around, filling the dishwasher and washing machine, straightening the living room, putting away magazines and tidying up the myriad of remote controls I now seem to own. Then I blow out the candles, spray something sweet into the air, lock all the doors and climb the stairs. Then I pop into Finn’s room, switch off his lava lamp, tuck him in all over again and kiss his sleepy head good night. Next I rub ineffectual night cream and eye gel into my young wrinkles, swipe the sink, pour cleaning stuff down the loo and go to my room to get undressed for bed.
My favorite time of the day. I get myself propped up, with my Kindle and my glass of water and read in silence only shattered by Richards call to tell me he is home safe and say goodnight. And when that is done, I read some more. And some more. And then I do something really silly which involves drifting off to sleep for a few minutes, Kindle in hand, before popping my eyes back open to read just a little before before I switch off the light and fall truly, madly quickly back into the dreams in which I began my day.
Did I ever tell you how much I love my life? It was only writing it down, that I can see just how blessed by so much love I am…


  1. Wendy says:

    Magnificent. I just LOVED reading this post.

  2. Lucy says:

    Fascinating! Us Mommies simply must have our routines in order to have time to ourselves and not go completely insane! I can see quite a few similarities in my own daily routine even though my work is quite different to yours. I know some find routine a bore but I thrive on it, I think the key is to schedule some time for doing the things you love otherwise it would be drudgery.
    Thanks for sharing Alison, I've really enjoyed your daily posts this year, it must be hard work to keep it up but, us readers get so much pleasure from your writing, please know that I for one am so grateful.

  3. Lovely lavender pillow spray stuck firmly in mind… must try!

  4. Gena says:

    Oh how lovely your life surely is Alison! and so well deserved,you work very hard at making it so,you have the cleverest way of making it all sound,well……scrumptious!

  5. Helena says:

    Loved reading this! It all sounds lovely, and I must say, I'm impressed at how much you seem to accomplish!

  6. Megan says:

    I loved reading this, your life really does sound so scrumptious. I so wish I could get myself as organised, sometimes I think I need to personally fly you here to whip my disorganised backside into perfectly scrumptious and harmonious vintage housekeeping shape lol. Megan xx

  7. Hausfrau says:

    It was so fun reading about how you spend a typical day–I loved it!

  8. Sasha says:

    How wonderful! As my own routine has been somewhat shattered by the renovation of our new house (with me as project manager?!?) and the disruption and downright invasion that involves, reading your post and remembering how lucky I will be when I can reclaim my home and my own comforting routines again, made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You are shining that light at the end of the tunnel for me! Thank you for sharing such a personal insight to your life. x

  9. Carlie says:

    This was quite a long post, although riveting somehow. I don't think I would ever have imagined it would be so interesting. You have a very happy sounding, amazingly tranquil life. I'd love to come visit. 🙂
    And I'd love it if you'd stop by my blog and leave a comment on my latest post. It made me think of you and I KNOW you'd have a few wise something's to offer me.

  10. Lynda says:

    dear A: it occurs to me that our flat is quite like the Tardis except in one vital area. It appears to be smaller on the inside. However, Trashing and Treasuring is in progress, so I don't trip over K9 quite so often as I used to and my assistants are not quite so mardy. Have a good day! L.
    PS what would happen if Darth Vader collected Finley from school one day??

  11. Sandy says:

    Thanks for sharing your day, Alison.

  12. Katherine says:

    I loved reading this post, Alison! This is so inspiring, to me–Thanks for answering!! ♥
    I couldn't comment from my iPad the other day–silly thing wouldn't open any internet pages for me!

  13. Your blog has shot its way onto my daily must-reads. I just love the way you write. Even something as simple as describing your day is transformed into a glorious, exciting-sounding saga.
    Love it!!

  14. Love, Mimi xxx says:

    Oh Alison, what an utterly scrumptious piece of writing! I am moving soon and am rethinking my daily routine and planning to step into a lovely new one, and remembered years ago you writing about your morning and evening routines. I was trying to find that when I found this, and it sounds just blissful! I am so glad you shared!

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