Auction junkie?

Its late because I want to return the commitment my daughter demonstrated earlier today when she very carefully laid out all her unwanted toys, games and shoes and took pictures of them for eBay. My daughter is a capitalist. She wants to buy but knows her mum and dad wont turn her into a spoilt little brat and will only buy things if it is a) Christmas, b) birthday or c) a reward for a significant achievement. So in-between these events, she has to work for it.

I am an only child and I was spoilt. I received pocket-money from each parent (as they were divorced) and I grew up with no awareness of budgeting (as my mum wanted to ensure I never had to worry about money because of her own childhood experiences).

So on the flip side after a few debt car crashes, i want to ensure my children are aware of the value of things and what it takes to earn and therefore be more responsible about buying.

So in addition to housework my daughter is thinking up other ways to make money and has discovered eBay – hence why I have to keep hunting for my tablet round the house. The only problem is eBay is quite addictive – am I encouraging an auction room junkie?

Best go now as an item I am bidding on is about to run out…..

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading. 

Schizophrenic Sailor Saturday

“A bad day at sea is better than a good day at the office or school…or even, at times, home’.

I had never put this saying to the test but today, in force 5 plus winds, we put it to the test.

I am relatively new to sailing. I did my RYA 1 and 2 in a crash course in my late teens (in 3 days our whole crew hit a wreckage and capsized and spinnakered into Royal Naval waters and got booted put by the Military Police). I always had designs on logging up enough hours to go for 3 plus but it didnt happen until the day my husband (slightly more experienced than I) took the plunge and decided to buy a boat the whole family could enjoy. We have only owned it a year (and have already grown out of it) but it has changed our lives. Every spare moment we get we hike down to the coast and have become obsessed with tide times and weather.

Today the wind was up, which was fun (although feel slightly nervous when we are on the heel and glance down below to see the dogs upended out of their bed and baby boy astride the keel for stability…..while our daughter just leans back and carries on reading her book). The world and his wife were also taking advantage of the wind and everyone was buzzing around tacking and zipping along. Sailing is a bit like patting your head and rubbing your stomach while hopping and skipping – you have to have your wits about you.

Even anchored its a challenge on choppy seas. For example, making coffee, putting baby boy on potty, getting daughter out of a wetsuit and trying not to wet yourself because it was ages since you visited the loo (and there isn’t one aboard).

Perhaps the biggest challenge is the job I had of hoisting the sails. Sails are schizophrenic. On a calm day you study the sail as it makes its steady journey up the mast and cajole it to take some wind and when it catches you cajole it some more, but all in a very relaxed manner while munching maybe on a cucumber sandwich and sipping tea. On a windy day it feels like you are trying to haul up a bag of concrete that threatens to swing into your face at any moment and rather than studying it’s progress you hoist it as quickly as possible while it has a fit. You do this while trying o to stay upright yourself by some kindof pole-dancing move round the mast. This is made even worse if you are trying to take the sail down. Add a lunatic genoa to the mix trying to swipe you from behind and it feels like you are involved in a pub brawl.

But believe it or not, it was strangely enjoyable and a very good way to spend a Saturday…..

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Toddlers and testosterone

“Ow, that was my foot!”…..”Dont do that to the dogs!”……..”Leave Sisters toy you are breaking it!”…..I scream ‘No’, my daughter screams ‘No’, the dogs growl in their doggy way of saying ‘No’. I contemplate running out into the garden screaming like a banshee, but instead I keep drinking coffee…..

All this commotion caused by a little boy of 2 and a half years.

Once we had friends round he seemed to have calmed down a bit but not sure whether the effect of his behaviour was simply diluted.

Then we got him out into the open air. Before letting the dogs out, I got him out of his seat, put his wellies on and just said ‘OK now go….burn off all that energy and testosterone and whatever else is wiring you today’. We were at the horses that I help to look after and so there was an open field reserved for winter grazing that baby boy and the dogs could just let rip in, along with, as it turns out, their 2 friends and my daughter. I must admit I felt pretty liberated too – an open space, wind in your hair and some primal screaming.

Then later at bed-time, baby boy woke up walked onto the landing and promptly projectile vomited everywhere. I managed to get him into the bathroom for the next installment. Once that was all over and I was about to wash him, the poor little chap weed himself.

I have been a full-time mother for a few weeks now and it is one rollercoaster of an experience. One day you are in awe, the next you are happy, then you just want to cry and sometimes jump off a bridge. But thats what, bizarrely, makes it so special.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Oh the joy of being ‘Mum’

I am going to try not to sound bitter in this next paragraph….

My cycle test to be a bikeability instructor for primary and secondary schools went well and they want me to do the full course. Downside being that, as a Mum of a 2 year old, childcare costs will mean my earnings are minimal. However this will improve as he gets closer to school age. Hubby doesnt understand this. Thinks I should stay at home until I am in a position to earn ‘decent money’. But when will that be…. when they turn 18? The fact is that jobs that fit around school time dont tend to be big earners. But when I have proposed to hubby that I take on the full-time breadwinner role and that he stays at home, he back-pedals faster than Chris Hoy in reverse. Why is it women who have to organise and deduct childcare from their salary thus limiting what they can actually do as a job?

So I guess my issue is not with parenthood but society’s historic approach to womanhood.

On a separate note, Oxfam emailed me about the appalling situation in South Sudan, which seems to be un-reported in the media. The country is nearing a famine and thousands of families are in refugee camps living in appalling conditions…… all because of war. If you can help please visit this site.

This blog is for Unicef. As i missed last night’s blog, £1 in the pot to Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

PS I did feel a bit of an idiot in my over-sized hi-vis gear and my panic buy helmet from Halfords, particularly when positioned next to  lycra clad and cycle shoe heeled streamlined instructor.

PPS, if you are in need of a laugh,check out the Sam Mendes film ‘Away We Go’.

 

 

 

 

 

Testing times

Tomorrow I will have to take a break from blogging in anticipation of preparing for a bike test. This time a bicycle with a view to getting a job as a bicycle instructor. I like cycling but not to the extent that I wear lycra, I have even had to buy a helmet in anticipation of the test. I will be expected to negotiate a busy roundabout without causing a crash and demonstrate how I would teach a 10 year old to negotiate the roundabout.

My bike is loaded with a basket and baby seat , yet the google profile image of my examiner is of a racing cyclist in style of Chris Hoy (gulp).

Exam nerves have a negative effect on me. During my motorbike test, I sailed through the gymkhana test through cones. However, on the road test I got obsessed about coming out of the parking bay at the test centre at a certain angle and tipped the bike over before I had time to negotiate the road. The examiner let me carry on once I had righted the bike and by the time we returned 40mins later, he said he would have passed me had I not tipped the bike at the beginning.

So I do not do myself any favours (needless to say I passed 2nd time).

Fingers crossed! I will report back on Thursday.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

 

Love handles and seagulls

My obsession of washing machines was thankfully short-lived. We now have an ex-rental Bosch that is actually washingpur clothes hurrah! Having the ability to wash is vital and when you are denied that ability it is more than just frustrating, you feel like a student all over again..

My new obsession is tackling my love handles. It seems I cant escape them. Next year is my 35th and a friend once said to me that once you hit 35 anything stuck to your body by that point remains there til you die. So I have 6 months to shift unwanted lumps and bumps before everything is set in stone (or flesh). I have resigned myself to the ‘junk in my trunk’ bum, which I have learnt over the years to ‘package’. Love handles on the other hand just cant resist to give me a little ”muffin top’ regardless of what I am wearing. If I could choose a cake to resemble it would NOT be a muffin. I am thinking more along the lines of a chocolate eclair (brown and slim). There is a cake in my local cupcake shop that you can buy called a ‘Dolly Parton’, which consists of a meringue top, with a cherry. My favourite is the ‘Clark Gable’ which has a coffee fondant (to be alittle more up-to-date it should be re-named the ‘George Clooney’.

Next, why the seagulls? We have a small boat moored in a harbour on the South coast. It has now appeared on the Seagull version of google maps as ‘a good place to hang out and poop’. Last time we we t to the boat, the gulls had really gone to town. I refused to embark until all the poo had gone, so I bobbed up and down on the tender while hubby scrubbed and I occasionally threw him the odd baby wipe. So I have been reading reviews on the best things to repel gulls and have opted for this rotating mechanism that spins with the wind.

But while I was bobbing up and down on the sea waiting, a huge splash sound came from the starboard side and as I turned I caught sight of the end of a tail of something very big. We were in the shallow waters of the harbour so I struggled to think what it could have been. Then a movement caught my eye and I turned to see a seal about 30 metres from us, its beautiful head and huge eyes looking at us – I shouted for my hubby to catch sight of it, then it disappeared and popped its head up further along the channel. It was a lovely moment to be on the sea and catching a glimpse of such a beautiful creature sharing eachother’s environment. It made all the seagull shit worthwhile.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

Time out with Lee Evans

If you are on Youtube and happen upon some cctv footage of a man and woman changing out of their bike leathers and into normal clothes at break-neck speed by the side of a motorbike it could well be me and my husband.

When you have children and dogs, one night out without them takes some serious planning. After dropping them all off at grandparents and friends, we had 1hour and 45 minute to make a 2 hour journey o the Lee Evans performance and I hadnt organised parking. So the bike was the only option. Thank God we chose that mode of transport, because the parking next to the venue was full, so we just squeezed the bike through some bollards round the side of the venue, got changed and legged it to the entrance with a minute to spare until the show was about to start.

It is difficult to describe what makes Lee Evans so funny in writing. He manages to turn everyday occurrences into the most funny descriptions covering animals, marriage, driving, drinking and everything in-between. He notices that ‘teenagers become paralysed when you take their mobile phone away’; ‘what would happen if retrievers were used in bomb disposal units?’ and ‘why do we say ‘bye’ multiple times at the end of a conversation? He acts out each scenario in a hysterical way that is pure comedy genius. I couldnt think of a better way to take time out.

This blog is for Unicef.

Thanks for reading.