The speed limit is 70

Promise I did actually know this and have done since I got my (bike) license on 30th September 1998. What happened was last year, whilst living out the long summer holiday with the tv for company and sanity, there was a debate about the government changing the speed limit to 80mph. To be honest I just half watched that one show and listened to a couple of newsflashes on the radio and somewhere in my head, decided that it was a done deal and the speed limit was now 80.

On the way back from the 5 year olds camping trip and having jammily dumped all the (warring) children in the car with my partner so I could ride back in peace and tranquility with Ashna, she said something about how easy it was to accidentally do 80mph in her car. I looked at her quizzically and asked why was she doing 80 accidentally when that was the speed limit? I’m sure you guys can imagine the conversation that followed so I won’t bore you with it.

Today my partner and I were driving to the beach (yay for him working a term-time only role) and I happened to tell him about the conversation with Ashna. He confirmed that speed limit was 70 and he had always thought that I just liked cruising down the motorway between 80 and 90. Erm. No. I genuinely thought I was legal the whole time. Next on the to-do list. Learn speed limits and try to stick to them.

me ‘doing’ childcare with the boys. At least the car got cleaned!

Free childcare is amazing

A big shout out goes to my lovely sister this week for having the kids almost the minute we got back from camping, on the first day of our school holidays so I could get some work done. You’ve heard me say a lot of times that single parenting is hard. Especially when you’re expected to be the childcare through the loooooong summer holidays. Add to that I work from home, am in the process of building 3 websites and don’t want my kids to be plugged into the tv for every waking hour while I work. Not going to lie, it’s hard. I find it really difficult to accept help when it comes to my kids. Single parenting with not much money can feel like I’m burdening people with my kids when asking for childcare favours. That doesn’t seem to be the case though, my sister offered to have them, the boys’ Dad has had them overnight every night this week so I can get work done and not miss out on quality time with the boys. Perhaps I’m overthinking things and asking for childcare help isn’t burdening people at all.

Wrapping a football: Not so easy

A couple of weeks ago I wrote asking what the hell do you buy a five year old? I had a lot of tips from friends and headed to T K Maxx and luckily (I hate shopping) I managed to find everything we needed in their sale. Out of his entire birthday haul the most played with presents have been a £5.99 football and the Amazon box my sister’s gift arrived in.

All was good until it was time to wrap the presents. I saved the football until last because I thought it would be easy and was running out of time. It was not easy. I don’t know how other people manage it and make it look neat. This did not look neat or even like a football by the time I’d finished with it. I may be good at website design but wrapping is definitely going to be delegated to the (long suffering) partner from now on. If you do want my (mainly useless as it looked so crap) tip for wrapping a football, cut a large square of paper then bring it over diagonally, corner to corner (so you’re making some sort of triangle) and make sure you have a lot of sticky tape. It won’t look like a neatly wrapped football but you are giving the gift of surprise as no-one will know what the hell is under the wrapping. You’re welcome.

Image courtesy of the wonderfully funny Veronica Dearly

Worry less, act more

I don’t know about you but I am terrible for what I call getting lost in my own head. In counselling it’s known as ruminating. Where you go over and over the same details, either hanging onto injustices or trying to work out what actually happened. I’ve had a lot of that happen in the last few months and feel that I’ve been stuck in a cycle of thoughts which hasn’t been particularly helpful.

To be honest I’m not sure what snapped me out of it, about a month ago. One day I realised things were what they were and going over and over the details wasn’t going to help. My friends who have been amazing listening to me working things out were long overdue to hear the fun side of life, what was working and what we were enjoying. It’s been such a relief to be back in a good headspace again. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get bogged down in the complications and intricacies of life though. It means that I’m better able to fit them into the relevant categories, ask myself is this an issue I can solve? If yes, act on it, if not, try not to ruminate on it and move on. What a difference it has made! I’m finding it much easier to work out where things are my concern and where they’re not and trying not to get wound up in the process. Why on earth didn’t I learn this 10 or 20 years ago? I could have saved myself hours/days/weeks of angst that I could have either acted on or let go and I could have saved my friends hours/days/weeks of having to hear about it. I guess better late then never definitely applies here.

When in doubt, take a walk

The start of the summer holidays are always a bit of a shock and I’m never prepared for the lack of routine, constantly making the kids snacks and being in each others’ company all the live long day. Liking a challenge, we decided to test this on the very first weekend by taking our blended family, 2 dogs, my friend and her son, on a camping trip. A lot of fun was had but there was also the inevitable lack of physical and head space. Having forgotten in the month since we last went camping, that my partner and I always p*ss each other off in the first hour of putting the tents up, then get over it in the second hour, I decided I had had enough of (not) helping and took myself off for a walk. This was great – I hadn’t told anyone where I was going, citing the dogs needed walking and with 2 adults holding the fort, I didn’t feel any need to rush back.

A couple of times during the 3 day trip, Ashna said let’s go for a walk, which I found out on the second (consistent) time was code for, let’s dump the kids on your partner and bugger off to the pub. Who am I to argue? A child free hour with a shandy by the sea and nothing to worry about, meant heading off for a ‘walk’ was perfect. In the evenings my partner and his daughter would go for a walk, with the dogs, just to have a few minutes of head space and peace and quiet from our rabble of boys. Only difference was that they actually walked, rather than escape the campsite to the nearest licensed building.

When in doubt and everything is feeling that little bit too much, put on your shoes and head out for a walk. Finding a pub en-route is optional and remember that they don’t open until 11:30am.