London life (and no kids):
- you walk 20 minutes to and from the tube station every morning and evening, with a sense of urgency
- you race up and down escalators and steps and along corridors in said tube stations as if your life depended on it
- even if it is a lazy Sunday afternoon in the park, you still walk dangerously fast
- skinny lattes are the drink of choice from the work's coffee shop
- you eat salads from the work canteen for lunch, only occasionally allowing yourself a little spoonful of croutons sprinkled over the top as a special treat
- you go out drinking straight after work and forget to eat an evening meal, sometimes fitting in a stint in the gym beforehand
- you go for a virtuous swim on a Saturday morning before some very speedy clothes shopping, this is because a) you have time, and b) you can afford to
- the skinny mannequins donning beautiful clothes in shop windows everywhere you look keep you focused
Country life (with kids):
- you amble from the kitchen to the sitting room while polishing off the kids' peanut butter on toast
- you live in the middle of nowhere so have to drive EVERYWHERE
- when you do get to walk, you sedately shuffle along with your slow-moving child through a muddy field
- hot chocolate is the drink of choice
- you not only eat your own lunch but you also polish off your kids lunch too, followed by pudding
- once the kids are in bed, you reward yourself for a hard days work, with a pizza, and a chocolate orange, washed down with a bottle of wine
- you promise yourself that you will go for a swim every Saturday morning but the combination of a 30 mile round trip to the nearest pool and the guilt you feel about leaving the kids with your husband, means you only go once a year
- this means that the only exercise you get is when you occasionally get the hoover out
- living near a town where the nicest shop is Primark you feel utterly uninspired
And so you leave your kids and your country comforts, and go on a jolly to London. You put some mascara on, and get taken to a posh club, and you feel like you have momentarily rediscovered your old self. Apart from you are two stone heavier. You feel like a whale, despite tactically wearing black, and placing your favourite (Primark) scarf over your stomach. Apart from one bloke you spot, you are the only one wearing jeans and Converse. And you bet the bloke didn't get his jeans from Sainsburys. You are put out that they do not sell cider at the bar. You get odd looks when you get your camera out to take photos of the decor (to show your kids).
You sit on the platform at Paddington station on Sunday afternoon, feeling knackered from the 3am bedtime the night before. You feel sad that you are leaving your lovely London, and seek comfort from a Cadbury's Creme Egg. You reminisce fondly about the night before, but you cannot wait to get home and give your kids the London toy buses you have bought for them, and the giant marshmallows from Hamleys.
You also look forward to sitting at the bar in your local, unselfconsciously eating a packet of cheese and onion crisps, pint in hand, talking to the landlady about moulting chickens, your children and husband playing bendy dominoes in the background.
You can't wait for the train to get in.