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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?


Blog every day in May, day 16 (more than half way! Can’t believe I’ve got this far): What is your ideal way to pamper yourself and relax?

When I started thinking about this question, I realized I wasn’t exactly sure what “pampering” meant. Was it just about going to a spa with girlfriends or treating yourself to an expensive manicure, or was there more to it? So I looked it up.


1. to treat with extreme or excessive indulgence, kindness, or care.

2. Archaic. to overfeed, especially with very rich food; glut.

Ignoring the archaic meaning for a minute (I do occasionally indulge in one too many pieces of Belgian chocolate or one too many slices of toast just before bed but that’s about it – unless someone buys be a bag of crumbly fudge. Then there’s no stopping me)… That wasn’t really ignoring it, was it? Oh well. Moving on… My favorite forms of pampering (in the sense of indulging or treating myself) are as follows:

1. Plonking myself down on the sofa with a good book and a sweet cup of tea. And actually getting to read/drink something before someone starts using me as a climbing frame, decides to throw a tantrum, turns on the television or calls me to wipe their bottom/clear up a puddle of pee/extract a little brother from their hair or some other such emergency.

2. Having a bath. On my own. Without bubblegum-scented bubble bath.

3. Sleeping in. Even if it’s only until 8.30.

4. Lying on the ground. Don’t ask me why, I just love lying on the ground. Last weekend, the sunshine made a brief appearance. I moved our furniture out of the way and opened up the big doors onto our balcony. Now, I could have sat outside on a chair, but instead I chose to lie on the floorboards just inside the doors, feeling the fresh breeze mingling with the warmth of the sun. My crazy monkeys climbed all over me to get in and out, occasionally stopping for a cuddle or to poke me in the eye and it was perfect. It was also one of the best things about our Easter holiday in England: lying on my back, on my step-mum’s lawn, or in the long grass in the field next door, while Charlie and Amélie hunted for insects or happily chased each other. Bliss.

My step-mum’s lawn, by the way, is amazing. Yes, this is a complete tangent. It’s very mossy which I’m lead to understand is meant to be a bad thing. But I cannot agree. It’s like having access to the biggest mattress in the world. It’s just so soft and springy. When we first got there I was quite worried because Charlie kept on falling over. Not just the “woops, you tripped” kind of falling but the “holy mother of smoked mackerel! Who just punched you? You went flying!” kind of falling. He was all over the place. He would run towards me and then, just as I was about to reach out to hold him, he’d fly backwards, his whole body lifting into the air, landing with a thump in a pile at my feet. And then I realized: he was doing it deliberately. And with glee. Here was a boy who had grown up doing face-plants onto hard wood floorboards, pavements and city parks, suddenly realizing that he was practically bouncing when his body hit the ground. He loved it. And yes, he is a lunatic.

PS: if this blogging project isn’t indulgent, then I don’t know what is. So to anyone who has got this far and is still reading: thank you for pampering me!

Amélie, enjoying a moment of quiet solitude – I noticed that a lot of what I consider “pampering” involves quiet solitude. 

17 May 2013 - 9:55 PM ingrid - In a selfish way I'm so glad you decided to do this project. I find myself laughing loudly as I read, shake my head in agreement and so on and so forth. Thank you for "pampering" me with one of the things I enjoy which is taking some time to check your blog and do all of the above. As a floor layer myself I can't wait to find me a patch of moss and try it out. Have a beautiful weekend ..full of sunny and pamperings. Is that a word?

17 May 2013 - 9:55 PM ingrid - oh. where's my mind? (shh..I know). Lovely photo of the lovely Amelie. Always.

17 May 2013 - 11:04 PM amanda - There is no comparison between left and right. Never ever tell her to sit up ever love the lefty...

18 May 2013 - 9:51 AM Cass - I know, right, Amanda? The righthand one looks so unnatural. The lefthand one is one of my favorite ever of Amélie. It looks like a modern version of an old dutch painting, like the Girl with the Pearl Earring.

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