Last week was mine and my husband's 8 year wedding anniversary. We used to go away each year for our anniversary but since we've had kids our celebrations have got a little more reserved each year. The first year after we had my eldest daughter we managed a couple of nights away while my parents babysat. Last year our youngest daughter was 6 weeks old at the time of our anniversary, and wouldn't feed from a bottle, so she slept in her pram alongside the table while we had a meal out. This year my husband had to go to a class the day of our anniversary, but we did manage a meal at a local restaurant the night before (minus kids in prams).
So, over the last few weeks I've spent some considerable time looking at anniversary gifts. When looking for gifts I think we all want to find something that has a personal connection; that has that special feel and is unique and meaningful to us. Neither my husband or I wear our wedding rings much any more, but I was keen to have something less formal I could wear that recognised our partnership. It got me thinking about some new design ideas combining handwriting from two people - we're imaginatively calling it the 'yours and theirs' collection.
The idea behind the design is that one side is your writing, and the other theirs - joined together by a large ampersand. In the last week we've mocked up a couple of sample necklaces using the words Mr&Mrs and You&Me. I must say I absolutely love my You&Me necklace, I can definitely see it becoming a firm favourite. Like all of our jewellery what people choose to write, and why, are entirely open - hearing the stories and inspiration behind the pieces we make is one of the things I love about it.
Next up is transferring the design to other products - almost certainly a key chain and perhaps some wall art. They'll be hitting the store soon so keep an eye out.
It's been a tough few weeks in our house as our eldest has been settling into 'big' school. She'd been in her nursery since she was 4 and a half months old, so leaving her group of friends, and going somewhere she didn't know anybody, was understandably daunting. I hadn't anticipated the emotional toll it would take on the rest of us. Safe to say things have been more than a little fraught at times. Thankfully, she now trots into class quite happily and is full of stories when she comes home.
Over these last couple of weeks I've reflected a lot on my decision to take voluntary redundancy. Admittedly our finances will probably never be so healthy as they were, but on an everyday basis life is so much easier! My husband and I both worked for a family-friendly employer only a 15 minute journey from our home, and our daughter's nursery was on the same site. It really doesn't get much better than that for families; but none the less we were rushed and stressed.
Children get sick. Deciding which of you should leave that important meeting, or call in for another unplanned day's leave is stressful. You are letting people down. They've already been sick twice this year. No matter how flexible a company is they cannot account for the pressure we put on ourselves.
Things only get worse when they move to school and you can no longer rely on the extended hours care provided by a private nursery. While many schools offer before and after school clubs they are often over-subscribed and come at a cost - not to mention the guilt you feel thinking of your child at school while all their friends skip merrily home.
So anyway, fingers crossed we can keep this going a little while longer. And good luck to everybody juggling work and childcare - you're doing great!
My name is Sarah. I live in Warrington, UK, with my husband, two daughters and dog.