Some of the best friends you make in life are those you meet when you have children... That shared experience of joining the mysterious motherhood club bonds you together in a very real way, making you a part of each other's day to day lives. Having someone to share those early trials and tribulations with can be a lifesaver and for me that person was Suzi Peake - another of my desert island friends.
We moved back to our first home in North Wales a few weeks after our first daughter Arabella was born and within days we met Suzi, with her firstborn Isla, sitting out on the grass. She was the first Mummy-friend I made and it was no time at all before we were spending a few days a week together. Whether out for long walks pushing the prams, at each other's homes for playdates, sharing stories over tea and toast (or the occasional Prosecco when our husbands took the girls out for Daddy Daycare), or bonding over our kids delight at discovering their world around them, Suzi was the best friend I could have possibly hoped for in those early years.
Our daughters were equally delighted about having found each other and the friendship that grew between them was beautiful and very special. From tentative crawling, to chasing each other around wherever we went, to kicking up leaves and picking flowers, to afternoons spent crafting, painting, baking, playing and reading lots of stories, they did it all together and had so much fun. As did we!
Suzi and I also shared the joys of pregnancy with each other... Our second kids were born a few months apart and we looked after each other's daughters during the arrival of the babies. Sadly we left for NZ when they were both only a few months old and the Potter-Peake years came to an end, but there is no-one who will ever replace them in our hearts.
Suzi is wonderful and wise beyond her years. There was many a time she rescued me with her centred, down to earth approach to life and kind, thoughtful ways. She is strong, courageous, extremely intelligent, the most marvellous mother and a truly fabulous friend to those who are lucky enough to have her in their lives.
Dear Dear Suzi, I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the years we spent together, I will always cherish the fun, fond memories. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wisdom, your love, your support, your exceptional company and above all your friendship... x
Now over to you:
1. What does Lovelyness mean to you?
There are many things that cause me to think ‘that’s lovely’ – from a beautiful sunset to an unexpected act of kindness from a stranger.
2. When are you happiest? What brings you joy?
The tiniest things bring me joy, but they almost always relate to my family. Watching my son read his first book, my daughter swim her first length, a walk with my husband and children as the leaves fall … they’ll move me to tears and make me feel like I’m one of the luckiest people alive.
3. What are you most grateful for in your life?
The unwavering support and love of my husband, no matter what. My two children who constantly amaze me and surprise me, and the fact that I have a profession that allows me to balance my time with work so that I can be there to drop them off and pick them up from school every day. Also, my group of strong, independent, vocal and brilliant female friends, many of whom I’ve known since University.
4. What would you list as your top 3 priorities in life?
There’s only really one: trying to strike the right balance between work/play and life for everyone in our family. We all need time to ourselves and time together (in 2’s, 3’s and 4’s), and I think that the time we stop checking if the balance is right will be the time we get it horribly wrong.
5. Who’s your current role model and why?
I don’t really have one at the moment. I’m very happy with where I am in my life.
6. Who do you see as being lovely and why? (Famous or not)
There are many people that I admire greatly, and I’d have to mention my friend Katie here, who became a single-parent when her husband tragically died of cancer 8 years ago. I admire anyone who brings up a child alone, and Katie has battled hard and sacrificed a great deal to provide her daughter with every opportunity, security and love – in often difficult circumstances. She’s finally now getting a chance to shine in her career and is doing brilliantly, I am so proud of her. We could all learn something from her positivity, attitude and determination ‘not to be a victim’.
7. What's your favourite type of food?
Tapas/Smorgasbords/sharing plates/buffets – anything with lots of choice – my daughter calls them ‘picky bits!’
8. What are your favourite pastimes?
Dancing with my daughter to Strictly Come Dancing, doing jigsaws with my son, walks as a family, reading a great book, the first glass of wine on a Friday night with my husband when the kids are in bed, girlie weekends with my pals, the list goes on!
9. Do you have a favourite quote?
No. I think people are far too quick to rattle off quotes at times. As a copywriter, I often get frustrated when organisations and people use other’s quotes to try and make sense of what they do. I think it’s lazy. Quotes can be helpful, but there are also times when people throw them around in a preachy way, and I’m more interested in the individual or story hiding behind the quote.
10. Where’s your favourite place?
Generally speaking anywhere in the open air with my family. Or a hot tub with my best girlfriends.
11. Which is your favourite season and why?
Summer. Though I seem to sit and spend around 3 months waiting for it to arrive. It’s the unfortunate affliction of living in Britain.
12. Do you have a signature style?
I don’t think so, but I suspect my friends and family would say I do. They’ll pick things up in shops and say ‘this is very you’. I think I just like what I like.
13. Who was your biggest inspiration growing up and how have they shaped who you are today?
I didn’t really have an inspirational figure growing up. If I could go back to that time, knowing what I know now, I would say my mum. I couldn’t appreciate how much she sacrificed for her children back then, but I sure as hell do now. I just wish she was still alive so I could tell her what a hero I think she was.
14. Which qualities do you value most from those closest to you?
Honesty and loyalty. I’m not very good at asking for help or support, and I really value my friends that know that, but pitch up and give it anyway. I’m not one for drama or wallowing – and I love my friends that come round and make me laugh.
15. What are your best attributes? What are your worst?
Best: I’d like to think I always find the time to be there for those who need me.
Worst: Impatience. If I’ve made a decision about something, I’m not very good at waiting for it happen. I can also be rather grumpy, especially in the mornings – and I’m not good at hiding my emotions, they’re written clearly over my face!
16. How would you most like your friends to describe you?
Always there to listen and offer up advice without being judgemental (I hope).
17. If you could pick any place in the world to live, where would it be and why?
I’d share my time between Colorado, the Isle of Skye, Glasgow and Thailand, depending on the season, dress shopping requirements, R&R needs and of course Midge numbers (anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting the wee Scottish biting Midge, be grateful…)
18. What are your aspirations for the future?
At the moment I’m in a place where I’m happy to see how the next few years unfold. I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunity life will present next. It’s a good place to be as there’s no pressure.
19. Can you recommend: a lovely song, a lovely movie, a lovely book?
- Book: I read so many picture books to my kids that make me say ‘What a lovely book!’ I think we should all read children’s books more often, they’re good for the soul.
- Movie: I can't think of any movie that sticks in my mind I'm afraid.
- Song: I constantly have the soundtrack to Annie in my head as it's Isla's all time favourite at the moment!
20. Any Lovely Last Words?
That would be too like a quote for my liking.