My February was filled with love and not just the red foil-covered, cellophane-wrapped, chocolate-smothered commercial stuff. This month has been sprinkled with all sorts of amour and when you’re not in a romantic relationship it’s particularly important to remember that there are far more types of love than just the gooey, heart-stopping, vom-inducing kind. When you’re surrounded by gushy “we” couples it can be hard not to feel alone, bereft and lacking. It’s good to be reminded that, just like Wet Wet Wet said, love is all around me and so the feeling grow-oos.
(I read this brilliant piece on the joys of non-romantic love which explains some of these really interesting thoughts far more eloquently than I can.)
Meet Me in Paris
This month I had an amazing weekend trip to the beautiful city of Paris. It was my first visit there and completely impossible not to fall in love. The architecture, the art, the food, the wine, the accent (*swoon*), the fashion, the EVERYTHING. It was a jam-packed few days as we tried to squeeze every drop of tourist joy out of each moment and see as much as we possibly could.
My top five personal highlights were…
- Palais Garnier (the ACTUAL opera house featured in the Phantom of the Opera, see more on why the timing of this was perfect) The building itself is just incredible, its history and personal importance to me even more so.
- Mona Lisa (when I was pregnant with F I started a cross stitch version of this painting and quickly discovered just how many shades of brown and black there are in the world. I also bought the kit online from Hong Kong so was never quite sure if I was doing it right. The project remains unfinished.) It was fascinating to see the crowds gathered around her, taking selfies and queuing with their backs to the most beautiful giant canvas I have ever seen on the opposite side of the gallery room. It was a weird and wonderful insight into the oddness of our modern world clashing with the historical significance of one of the world’s most famous paintings.
- The Eiffel Tower – it was quite a gloomy morning so it wasn’t until later on in the day when the clouds lifted that we got to see its full glory. F’s deadpan “Looks like a pylon” (along with his Arc de Triomphe “Looks like a big staple”) will be remembered in family history, together with the fact that F and my nephews climbed the steps of the tower twice because they got in the wrong lift to the very top (and ended up back at the bottom again)
- Remembering some GCSE French – F’s face when I came out with some dust-covered phrases from the depths of my teenage memory was just brilliant. The shocking realisation that I might know some stuff and can still surprise/impress him gave me all the Mum joy. Getting to spend time with my boy will always be the best thing I can ever do.
- Paris actually IS full of love – I know it’s a cliché, but it’s TRUE. The wedding couple taking photos with the Eiffel Tower backdrop; the proposal on a park bench (she said YES! The upper-deck of the sightseeing bus cheered); it could all make you dry heave but alternatively it could also warm your heart and remind you that love is possible. I chose the latter.
Massive thanks to my sis for organising the trip & the best Christmas present – making more marvellous memories.
My Funny Valentine
Valentine’s Day when you’re single can be a lonely version of hell like no other. (Likewise if you’re in a rubbish relationship). Instead of wailing into a bucket of power ballads, this year I went for the most entertaining dinner with a bunch of hilarious folks and had the best night out. We had delicious food & wine, laughed our socks off, got serenaded by a sexy saxophonist and went home with giant bunches of red heart balloons. Hands down, one of the best Valentines I’ve ever had. (Second only to snowy New York where me & my sis fell asleep at our midnight dinner after several Manhattans in a near pitch-dark jazz club….why have I spent more V-Days with my sister than anyone else? True love that is)
Our little puppy Pamela turned one this month. In her drama-filled first year she has brought so much love and happiness to our little family. She’s had so many health ups and downs for such a young pooch but she fights so hard to get better, just like a proper Hammond. Unconditional love is like no other and even on my saddest days her tiny face & giant googly eyes always make me smile. Having a birthday celebration for a dog seems a bit bonkers – and it is – but she’s my bestest little girl and I plan to make her little life the loveliest it can be.
It’s been a month full of LOVE. That’s not to say I don’t get sad and have a big old sob about loves lost now and then. Social media (and especially those who work in this field and are utterly INESCAPABLE despite unfollows…) has a lot to answer for here. (No YOU sat & watched his keynote in angry tears like a massive loser)
But you suck it up, you share with the group chat, you wail, you laugh, you low-key reference a rubbish relationship in a throwaway line in a blog post, you remember all the love in your life in all its forms and you get the hell on with it.
Love is all around. You’ve just got to feel it in your fingers (and feel it in your toe-ooos)
Bring on the Spring flings…
(Edit note: The month ends at probably one of the most personally challenging times of my life. I promised I wouldn’t miss a monthly post, hence the fluff on love & stuff. Perhaps something more meaningful next time, we’ll see)