Phew! Sanity retained

My daughter has turned 10 – like a fast car, she has gone from 0 to very tall and grown up in what feels like hardly any time at all…

But with double figures comes other issues – the start of hormones, mood swings, self consciousness etc etc.

Add to that, new home, new school, new friends and a new hobby and it is a whole melting pot of milestones to be overcome.

To try and Tarmac over life’s first bumps in the road you do as much as you can as a parent, sacrificing sanity, energy, time and money. Today, while I was taking my daughter around a massive shopping mall to visit a hairdresser for a second time to get her new haircut right (the one that she wants to have to make her look older ….but not too much), my husband is trekking down to the coast to get the present she has been waiting patiently for since before Xmas (a Xmas/birthday combo) – a sailing dinghy.

As my daughter was facing the prospect of wearing a bag over her head to school on Monday it as very very important that hairdresser attempt number two transformed her toddler triangle Bob into the latest semi-pixie style she was craving. So I went straight to Toni and Guy and yes it worked – her self esteem was restored…….minus ££££ for having used an ‘artistic director’..I am hoping she we will like the style as it grows over many months! As for my husband – there is no way he will understand that £65 for a haircut is worth paying to protect a girl’s self esteem so I am looking forward to the next meltdown when he logs in to the banking..

While on the girly shopping trip to retail heaven (or hell depending on your viewpoint) we also emptied out Smiggle and she saved the rest of her birthday money for the Lego camper van – which has an insane number of Lego bricks and an age recommendation of 16+.

The actual night of her birthday I battled M25 traffic to get home in time for the birthday cake and to see her friend who had stayed for tea after school. Then we were up beyond bed time, looking over her tenth birthday photo book my mum had made to try and salvage some time together inbetween work, school and the demands if a baby brother.

In short it’s not easy being 10 and not easy doing the best you can as a Mum – but it’s sooo worth it and I hope she looks back on all of it with good memories. That is what I am trying to preserve the most – a childhood of fond memories that can be used as the fall back when grown up life gets rubbish.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

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This post will only make sense if you are horsey

I’m 36, been riding since I was 3 and lost count of how many horses and ponies I have ridden. But, one year out of the saddle and it feels virtually as if I am going back to square 1 – pleased if I nail a smooth canter transition.

For my birthday I had a flat work lesson with an inexperienced trainer but dressage rider by the name of Pablo. He was great – got me on the lunge and then picked apart my position – just what I needed. (I have to confess rather enjoying him demonstrating what position my body needs to be in for the ideal location in the saddle!).

I kept reassuring my horsey ego that even the top riders in the world need their position fine tuned from time to time.

We then went in to the arena, where dressage horses and riders were sauntering round like they owned the place (because they did) and in I come with my silk and champion hat and a steamy complexion after already exhausting myself for 30 mins on the lunge. It wasn’t just my fab but slightly less than forward going horse Nikon who was physically steaming under a coat….

I was asked to obey the rules of the road when it came to passing people but I was too focused on holding on to a relatively good position, keeping impulse and not passing out to worry about whether I was playing a game of chicken with the other riders.

My poor hearing combined with Pablos Spanglish meant some instructions were lost in translation..

But I loved every minute of it, passing rows upon rows of beautiful horses in stable blocks that went through the alphabet, inhaling the most comforting and heart-warming smells – the horse….I have missed my four legged and swishy tailed, twitchy eared friends. 

This blog is for fellow equines and UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

20 January 2016

Today I’m 36.

I started the day with Krispy Kreme donuts, had cake at lunchtime then cake followed by pizza at dinner. Mmm, a healthy lifestyle will return again tomorrow. But for some reason today I couldn’t stop eating. 

All the commuting, charging around, work, housework and nibbling at bits and pieces to stay slim etc has come to a peak and it’s like my appetite was just saying ‘enough already….eat girl eat’.

I had a heavenly treatment in a shared room with a friend at lunch time but not completely relaxing as we were both too busy chatting and catching up on the list days since we moved house in the new year.

I then spent the rest if the day at work with incredibly oily hair from all the lotions and potions massaged into it.

At home after getting through the commute traffic, I managed to see the children to bed after sharing some choc cake with them. 

I would love more time with them…..you can never have too much time with your children.

Now I am starting to stare down the road and round the corner to catch a glimpse at 40 …..once the childcare costs reduce my saving will start for the big 0 – top of the wish list is a dude ranch in Montana. A dream I have held for a long, long time.

In the meantime looking forward to riding a nice horse this weekend after 10 months out if the saddle. 

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Long-term weekends

When you are busy all week, the prospect of a busy weekend feels a bit daunting.

But the weekend just past is one of those times when you think, this is one for the long-term memory banks.

Our recent move is to an area closer to people than pheasants. Public transport is a novelty to be explored. So, despite taking twice as long to get there, on Saturday we set-out on an expedition to IKEA via public transport. The journey on the train and tram became part of the day trip itself, much to the delight of my 4 year old. My soon to be 10 year old however, with a fresh set of hormones and her first spot, was not so keen. At the end of the day our final walk home was prone to tantrums and breakdowns. Having been chauffeur driven since she was born, my daughter is yet to be educated in the joys of getting somewhere minus the car. Comments about children in third world countries who have to walk miles just to get water did not have the desired effect.

It’s a whole new lifestyle and personally I like it. 

Today was my first outing as an independent visitor, taking a child in care out for the day on a monthly basis. Our first jaunt was go-karting followed by pizza and although at times it was a little awkward as we get to know each other, it was a great activity to do as we discussed lap times and braking into corners etc. I am a go-karting petrolhead so had to contain my enthusiasm at times – I can be a bit competitive, but while everyone else got the demon treatment, I made sure my young person got the chance to really shine in the track – and he did! With cracking lap times given he has only done it twice before.

I am already looking forward to our next outing and feel privileged he has let me into his life. It is one of the most rewarding things I have done.

This blog is for UNICEF.

Thanks for reading. 

Migration between counties

We have moved.

Children are happy, I have an hour and a half’s commute each way and the dogs look confused. There are still boxes dotted around the place awaiting to be stored into furniture we have yet to buy, or a shed we have yet to erect.

What I find most bizarre is the house we left after 8 years, where our daughter spent her early years and our son was born, was left without a backward glance from us. I have been waiting for the mourning/yearning for the old house to kick-in, but it hasn’t. 

In fact our new house feels right. The furniture certainly helps, but it does give the impression that we gave been here a lot longer than 2 weeks. I am hoping that is a good sign.

Another factor is the are – we hardly know it. So just as we are discovering the house, we are discovering the area round it – the dog walks, the shops, the community etc – it’s all there just waiting to be explored. We just have to try and squeeze this exploration into the weekends as we are both working like dogs in the week to pay mortgage + bills.

Exciting things are happening. I need a job change for obvious reasons….for me though one of the biggest changes is volunteering to be an independent visitor who takes a young person in  are out for the day to enjoy an activity once a month. My first activity is this weekend and I cannot wait. It will be nerve-wracking for both of us as it feels strange initially but hopefully my young person will enjoy my company and fund our visits beneficial. 

As this blog is for UNICEF, I donate a fee to the charity for participating. Due to commitments, I am now going to do twice yearly donations rather than £1 per missed post. 

This blog is for memories, this blog is food for thought and discussion,  this blog is for UNICEF.

The world needs UNICEF more than ever right now. 

Thanks for reading.