The obvious choice would be my dear husband who puts up with so much and does so much for us all. Despite his fear of needles, he's really stepped up to the mark and has been trained by the nurse to give Miss T her weekly methotrexate injections.
But sadly the reality is that we'd never get anyone to look after the kids for a whole weekend for us to be whisked away to Tuscany, so instead I'm going to nominate one of my closest friends, Caroline, who is equally deserving of a surprise treat.
And I reckon it would be a real surprise for her because although we have many things in common, the online world is not one of them. Whilst I spend my days blogging and on facebook, twitter and Instagram, she once asked me exactly what a blog was and whether it was the same thing as facebook. So she may not ever even read this!
In many ways that element of our friendship reminds me of the set up at Tuscany Now. With a brilliant online presence in the form of a fantastic website where you can browse their selection of suberb villas, find out about the region of Tuscany and let them know your specific requirements to get tailored advice. Yet they also have oodles of on the ground knowledge that comes from first hand experience making them true experts - you can speak to them one to one on the phone or even in person at their London based offices. A perfect combination.
There are so many reasons I have for nominating Caroline that it would take several blogposts to cover everything, so instead I'm going to focus on a few memorable things that have happened over the past 12 years where Caroline has just shone as the amazing true friend that she is.
Firstly she understands. She really understands what life is like for me. We both have boys (who were born just 6 months apart ) who can be very, how can we put this,...'challenging'.
Individually each of them is really hard work, but together they really are double trouble. I think anyone else would have given up by now, but our friendship is so important to us that we keep on meeting up despite knowing we will have a challenging day.
A case in point is one of the hardest days I have ever had with J. We'd arranged to go on an organised educational fungi hunt with Caroline and her kids. And both boys were being incredibly uncooperative that day. J struggled a lot and her son was extremely vocal about how much he hated fungi shouting it out loud for the entire group to hear followed on by telling them about the fungi he had growing on his foot with his fungal toe infection.
Thankfully we both laugh about it now but it was a very hard day at the time.
When we were homeschooling J and D, Caroline was one of the few people who realised just how full-on homeschooling can be as I didn't get a break from the kids throughout the week. I remember her meeting us at the park whilst her kids were at school when I was heavily pregnant with Miss T to run around and play with J and D at a time when I was unable to.
When postnatal depression struck after Miss T was born, Caroline was one of very few people I could speak to because I knew she had been there and she understood. I would text her when I was having a difficult day and she would have the most wonderful words of wisdom for me that would get me through the day. I have a lot to thank her for.
But most of all she deserves this because she's a mum. A busy, frazzled mum, like me. Who rarely gets anytime for herself and when she does, she uses that time to help others. A mum who runs around after her kids non-stop without complaining. A mum who at times just wants to scream and tear her hair out but just smiles, keeps calm and carries on.
|Image created on http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/|
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We'd spend a couple of days away from it all (and more importantly away from the kids!) enjoying the views of the Tuscan countryside, and seeing the must-see places that this beautiful region of Italy boasts.
Of course the leaning tower of Pisa is a must. And whilst there is absolutely tons to do in Tuscany from visiting the iconic Duomo to the Basilica di Santa Croce, I have a feeling that there is magic to be spotted everywhere you look around you whether it be picturesque views of rustic Italian farmhouses in luscious green fields or the peachy terracotta streets and alleys with vintage bicycles leaning against walls.
I imagine that it really is one of those places where the reality matches, exceeds even, the picture postcard perfection that I visualise in my mind when I think of Tuscany.
We'd return from wandering the pretty streets of Florence, seeing a few of the must-see sights, tasting the authenticity of pasta the way it should be done, and we'll feel refreshed and relaxed and ready to face whatever the kids may throw at us.
Now there's one thing missing from this blogpost. We've been good friends for 12 years. We meet up regularly. But rarely get a chance to stop and sit still. So in all those 12 years, it turns out that we are always kept so busy running around after our kids whenever we meet up, that we have NEVER had the opportunity to get a photo of us. So if we did get to Tuscany, I promise there would be a blogpost to follow packed with selfies of us with all the sights of Tuscany as our backdrop.
So with the absence of a photo of me and my friend, thankfully Tuscany Now came to the rescue by providing a couple of stunning photos to use in this blogpost so I'll end with those to get you dreaming about Tuscany as much as I do.
|image courtesy of Tuscany Now. Stunning views!|
|Image courtesy of Tuscany Now.|