I get by with a little help from my friends….

frienship.jpg

A number of studies have shown that an individuals sense of happiness and overall well-being are enhanced through good friendships. From the moment we are infants and we are able to socialize we start trying to create bonds with the people we interact with the most.

From what I have observed with my kids in childhood friendships are often based on the sharing of toys, and the enjoyment received from performing activities together. As parents, we are the ones in charge of making sure these friendships are maintained by organizing play-dates for our kids or taking them to various activities where they can interact with other children.

Growing up I was always good at making friends. I am not naturally shy or introverted so I was able to approach kids I thought would make good friends.Friendships got a little complicated when I was 13. I remember a lot of tears, disappointment when I realized certain girls didn’t want to be my friend anymore and a lot of confusion. I know this is totally normal when growing up but I was happy when at 14 I made the most amazing group of girl friends. There were about 12 of us and we were inseparable. We all liked to do well in school, we all enjoyed sports and we all looked out for each other. When I was 16 I moved to boarding school in France and was faced with having to make new friends.

AMIGAS.jpg

After I finished high school in France and had made some good friends from different parts of the world (Holland, Scotland, New York, France, Italy, Belgium) I moved to England for university.

Making friends in University in England involved a lot of drinking. Basically, if you didn’t drink then you didn’t socialize. So a drinker I became!! I made two good friends, Nat and Caroline,  in my first year and somehow that was all I needed.  I see university as the best years of my life. I met so many interesting people, traveled and had a lot of fun.

girl friends.jpg

When I graduated and moved to London I found it harder to make friends. Maybe it was the fact that only three months after graduating I got pregnant or that I worked in an office with only three other employees. All I know is that suddenly the only friends I had were my husbands and the ones I had from university.

Scientific studies have shown that loneliness and a lack of social support have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, viral infections, and cancer, as well as depression. I can say I have experienced the depression side of things personally.

When I moved to California, I was once again I faced with making new friends. Having a five year old daughter gave me hope. I thought that surely I would be able to make good friends with the others moms I met. Unfortunately, that was a lot harder than I realized. When my daughter started kindergarten I realized that most moms were so relieved that they finally had some kid free hours in their day. They would drop off their kids and walk away before I had a chance to introduce myself. When it was time to pick up the kids they would chat to the people they already new and weren’t very open to meeting new people.

Then I decided that I would try and make friends through the moms of kids my daughter was friends with. Only problem with that is that at her age when I arranged a playdate the mom would drop off the kid and come back later…..so much for my brilliant idea!!!

After months of feeling really lonely and isolated I was finally able to become friends with two moms. That was a life saver. I would go for walks with one of the moms after we dropped the kids off at school. It made such a difference in my life.

mom friends.jpg

The real change happened after I had my son last year. All of a sudden I had access to a group of new mommies who needed friends just as much as I did. When you go from not having kids to having them your friendships change. Maybe you have kids at the same time as your friends and you enter that new season together, but that is not always the case. More times than not a new mom has all this free time during the day with their little baby and they are also desperate for some adult interaction.

mommy fun.jpg

I joined a bible study group with lots of new mommies and a mommy and baby workout class called Stroller Strides. I finally hit the mother-load for new friendships. These moms are my lifeline. They cheer me up when I need it, they encourage me when I think I am failing as a mother or as a wife. They make me laugh, they help me with my kids when I need it and they WANT to hang out with me. I cant imagine my life without them.

mommy friends

The only thing I hope for is that when our new babies reach school age we don’t become closed off and alienate other moms who are looking for friendships. It is so easy to stay in our comfort zone or to be selfish and closed off and think to ourselves “well, I have enough friends” or “I really don’t have the energy to make new friends right now” but you never know when there is a person out there feeling alone and isolated and in desperate need of a friend or maybe even just some friendly conversation.

 

Advertisements

Bruschetta for me and Bruschetta for you!

I love love love restaurants. Being served, choosing from a variety of dishes knowing that I don’t have to lift a finger is bliss. Then the fact that I don’t have to clean up or wash any dishes is also what fills my heart with joy.

Other than going out to restaurants to dine, I enjoy cooking for friends and family. When I lived in London we couldn’t always go out to dinner. Having a new baby meant that we were confined to the house when our friends had plans. So I decided to start inviting people around for dinner. Best solution ever. We got to spend time with our friends and socialize while the baby was asleep in the next room.

One of the dishes I loved making for my guests is tomato, basil and mozzarella bruschetta. As a starter it is simply delicious. It is quick to make and people always really seemed to enjoy it.

 

Brushette

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 handfuls nice mixed ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil , leaves picked
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • good-quality white wine or herb vinegar
  • 2 large French baguettes, sliced
  • 1 ½ pounds fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

DIRECTIONS

  1. Slice bread and toast under the grill/broil in the oven or in a griddle pan
  2. Rub each slice of toast with a cut garlic clove then drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  3. Wash the cherry tomatoes, place the cherry tomatoes in a deep bowl and squash them roughly
  4. Tear the basil and put into the bowl, season with salt and pepper and add some olive oil and some vinegar
  5. Slice the mozzarella and place into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients
  6. Place the mix on top of each sliced piece of bread and drizzle with the remaining sauce, then put under the grill to lightly warm them.

 

Enjoy with friends in the comfort of your own home!

 

Bon Apettit!

 

 

 

 

 

You used to call me on my House phone…..

House phone

Remember when you used to sit at home all day waiting for one of your friends to call so you could find out what you were doing that Friday night? Or when you were on the phone having a very intense conversation with the guy you like only to have your mom pick up the other phone and demand that you hang up because she is expecting a call? Seems like centuries ago to me. Nowadays most people don’t even have a landline. They are perfectly content with their cell phones where they can be reached at anytime, anywhere.  It’s crazy to think that by the time my kids are teenagers they might have never made a call from a landline. I guess nowadays the most landlines are found in offices.

What got me thinking about this is all the time I used to spend waiting around for the phone to ring or for my friend to be back home to take my call. What do we do with all that spare time now? Oh I know, Facebook, Instagram, tweet or most likely do something else on the web. As a mom I can tell you that my phone has saved my butt on more than once occasion. Screaming toddler having a meltdown in a very public place, easy just hand them your phone and it’s like an automatic mute button. What did moms do before?

I was talking to my cousin about this the other day. He was saying how before cell phones people were more dependable. If you made plans to meet a friend at 6pm at the mall, you made sure you were there at 6pm. If you arrived and your friend wasn’t there….well, you waited, sometimes for half an hour. Nowadays, people run late or just don’t show up because they know all they have to do is text or call to make it right. How about using your phone for navigation? Did you ever take a road trip and you were the navigator? Holding that big paper map, making sure you paid attention to every turn off and town you went through. How easy do we have it now where all you do is enter the destination and then a “lovely” computerized voice tells you what to do.

How about when you visited a new city and you wanted to find a nice restaurant to eat in, or a museum or a shop. You stopped someone local, made some small talk and they would give you tips on where to go and how to get there. Nowadays we have become somewhat antisocial. We don’t dare speak to a stranger or make eye contact with them unless it is absolutely necessary, i.e. your phone battery is dead or for some strange reason Google isn’t working!! I can’t get over how much things have changed in such a short space of time or how dependent we all are on our cell phones these days.

Here are a few little Telephone Throwbacks and fun facts:

  1. Mark Twain was one of the first people to have a phone in his home.
  2. Only 5% of people have used a phone booth or pay phone in the last year.
  3. Be careful while using your mobile phone, it has 18 times more bacteria than toilet handles.
  4. Do you know that the present mobile phones have more computing power than the computers used for the Apollo 11 to land on the moon. Crazy!!
  5. Around 80% of the world’s population has a mobile phone and more than 90% of adults have their mobile phone within arm’s reach all the time (I tell you, we are totally dependent on them).
  6. More than 4 billion people own mobile phones but surprisingly only 3.5 billion use a toothbrush. Yikes….