For the past few weeks, I’ve been getting ready for Christmas. As well as putting the tree up ridiculously early, I’ve made the cake, bought the presents and assembled the stockings. Even though my children no longer believe in Santa, the crinkle of my dad’s old golf socks stuffed full of presents on Christmas morning still makes their faces light up.
But this year, for the first time since they were born, I won’t be there to celebrate with them. I’m leaving my husband Fred, daughter Inès, 15, and son Vincent, 12, to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic as part of the annual Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. My four-woman crew of mothers is called the Mothership, and between us we have 11 children, the youngest of whom is four.