A little R &“R”

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What I wore last Wednesday: Dress: Monsoon; cardi: South via Ebay; boots: Footglove

This week, a friend invited me to take part in the 2014 Goodreads reading challenge. This challenge allows you to set yourself a number of books to read in a year, and the friend in question had set herself a challenge of 53 – one each week and one spare. There was a time when I would have loved to enter that challenge – heck, when I was 8 I ran my own Reading Challenge for charity, reading 6 children’s novels in a week (most of which were from Lorna Hill’s Sadler’s Wells series, if I remember correctly) and raising £26 for the Katherine House Hospice in Stafford. I also wrote to Challenge Anneka to get the hospice built, but that’s another story…

The cold, hard facts are simple: I have not the time, or the energy, to read these days. I have finished exactly two books since the twins came home. (Unless you count Each Peach Pear Plum, Peepo, Katie Morag or anything by Julia Donaldson, of course, in which case I’ve probably read 53 books already this year, seeing as every time we read a board book – which in itself is most days – we do so at least twice!)  When I do find the time to read, perhaps on an evening between feeds, or just before bed, I’ll usually find myself lost in the pages of a gardening book, trying to facilitate our “Simple Life” lifestyle, or poised over a cookery book with pen and post-its to hand, marking down potential budget-and-baby-friendly family recipes based on what’s in season and in the store cupboard.

This is almost certainly the first time in my life that I have not finished at least one book a month, if not more, purely for pleasure. And I miss reading so very much! I have shelves full of books beside my bed just crying out to be devoured, and before I fall asleep at night I look longingly at them, thinking “if only…” I try to read on my train on a Wednesday, but invariably fall fast asleep after only a page or two, having usually had a maximum of 5 hours sleep the night before.

And it is not only reading that I miss: it is writing too. I have so little time to blog these days – as I said in my last entry, it can take me an entire week to write a single post. My new role at work means that I do a lot of organising, but almost no writing anymore – emails, but no real marketing copy. I miss playing with words and word orders to create effect.

Unfortunately, I think the only answer to this particular dilemma is time. Things get a little easier as each month goes by, with Dapper and I gaining just a little more time back every week. As the boys increasingly eat similar foods to ours, I spend less time in the kitchen preparing separate meals for them, and they are down to two bottles a day, which also cuts a chunk of prep time down.  And they are getting brilliant at playing together – they need a referee from time to time, but they really do make one another giggle these days. (Peekaboo is a particular favourite…)

 However, I am very aware that, rather than cutting back on tasks that eat time, I’m actually taking on more, what with starting a vegetable garden. I got in there for 2 hours this weekend, and managed to clear about a tenth of the plot – if that. I spent the Christmas money I’ve been hoarding for new walking boots on tools (still really need a wheelbarrow though!) as I figure I’m more likely to get my exercise from gardening this year than walking up mountains. And as I said before, I spend the little time I do find to read reading gardening books, because frankly, I’ve no idea what I’m doing! Not that that has ever stopped me before…

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Soaked to the skin after an couple of hours in the garden: coat from Jojo Maman Bebe, stretch cords from Matalan, wellies from Dunlop via charity shop

Green-fingers crossed, things will change as we enter summer, and I’ll manage to find a few more hours to spend on myself. Rest and Recuperation be damned, Reading and wRiting are my R&“R”!

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