Living Life Thankful

Living Life Thankful

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Image verses Reality

Image in my head: Nonchalantly standing in Hunter boots, wearing Joules style gillet , guillet, body warmer, sipping designer beverage bought en route, cheering the team on and taking occasional snap to instagram and facebook the success of my son's footie team. (Who, please dear Lord, are finally due a win.) All done and dusted in one hour fifteen minutes and home in time for lunch.

Reality: Schlepped  across muddy field in torrential rain, my decade-old, sensible Clark's leather boots finally giving in to years of duress so that my socks  are beginning to feel a dampness they shouldn't.  Sporting my similarly old, all-purpose jacket zipped to the throat, and  wearing a pair of well worn gloves, lingering in the pockets from the last football season; I trudged across the the pitch, ready to do my duty as a supportive parent. In a desperate moment realising I'd left my good one at home, I had armed myself with the only umbrella left in the car; a miniature, Disney Princess one. I decided against purchasing some brown liquid purporting to have something to do with coffee from Baz's Cafe Shack and arrived pitch side only to be told that the match was  cancelled due to the pitch being waterlogged. (I could have told them that from the comfort of my own home, thirty minutes before we set out for the match.)  A sense of relief prevailed for both myself and my eleven year old, who is more of a fair weather player.  We set off back across the muddy field, now knee deep in mud, clambered into the car, grinned at each other and set off in search of hot food and drinks.

Lesson learnt: Life is not a rosy commercial. For the most part real life is messy, changeable, unpredictable and  we are often to be found knee deep in the brown stuff. The best thing we can do is throw out our image of how life should be and just get on with how life actually is. Let's laugh as much as possible at ourselves as well as our circumstances. It's good for the soul.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Day by day nothing changes

I just noticed that it is two months since I last published a blog and in that post I promised that usual blogging would recommence. Intentions mean nothing without follow through though do they? For the best part of a year, I have been 'living life to the full' or perhaps better titled, 'living life full throttle' (What single parent doesn't?) which has meant little time for blogging about it. To attempt to catch you up on the happenings in my life in one post felt too much of a task to tackle so instead I will attempt to blog more frequently with where I am at now in life and in so doing; y'all can pick up what's been going on in my crazy but very blessed life. In the words of the very wise, C.S.Lewis, "Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different...."

Sunday, 7 September 2014

I'm back!

Watch this space, new blog post coming soon. (No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I have been out there.... 'living life to the full'. Details to follow.)

Monday, 6 January 2014

My Search is Over

My search is over. After three years of looking, I am rejoicing in that I have found what I was looking for. I can relax; knowing that there will be no more dithering, eyeing up and debating over my choice.  I’ve had my fill of; not quite right, too tall, too short, too narrow, too wide, and too artificial or just don’t have the yum factor. Yes, I am admitting to you all that I will stop shopping around as I now have the perfect pair...of boots. I said, 'BOOTS.'

It may sound ridiculous but it had become as hard to find this elusive footwear as it is to find the perfect pair of jeans. I have been scouring the shops for the last few winters, in vain until now. My daughter and I braved the sales three days after Christmas, we weren’t so desperate as to venture out prior to that; only madmen and crazy people hit the shops on the 26th and 27th December. By the third day after Christmas, these wild, sale obsessed scavengers are thinner on the ground and one is less likely to be sucked into the frenzy of ‘tat buying’ because the merchandise has already been swarmed over and is depleted in volume.  (Admission of slight guilt though as I found I could not leave the sales without purchasing at least one set of colourfully lidded plastic pots.  Although, in my defence, my current stock seems to have vanished in true ‘laundry odd sock’ fashion so it will most certainly be used.) 

Why has it been so difficult to buy a fabulous pair of boots? Well, I must admit that the list of criteria was rather lengthy. They had to be leather, brown, have a slight heel, be comfortable, not be too cowboyish, (so not me, sorry country fans) be knee high, (Being only five foot two inches tall most knee high boots reach to my thigh and make me look like...well you know who we all picture when we say someone wore boots that came to their mid-thigh.), neither could they be too wide (Puss in Boots look is not what I'm going for.)  or narrow, as I wanted to be able to wear with skinny jeans tucked in. (I use the term ‘skinny’ loosely.)  This long list did not even include the b word...budget! Are you beginning to understand why it has taken me so long to track down the perfect, well perfect to me, pair? 

As I slipped on the final pair of boots, it was like coming home. They were perfect in every department. I’m absolutely over the moon with my lovely brown, leather, just the right height, width, heeled and importantly priced boots! Oh my word, STOP THE PRESS, I’ve just had a thought. What if it takes me as long if not longer to find the perfect, well perfect to me, man?  Time to boot up.  

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Ditching Christmas

‘What?’ ‘You’re joking.’ ‘No way!’ ‘You’re funny Mummy.’ What you may ask was my suggestion to the children to elicit these responses from them.  With a hopeful tone, I dropped this on them, ‘How about we don’t do the whole Christmas thing this year and go away on a cheap holiday in the sun instead?’ 

So, as the kids were  not up for my ‘ditching Christmas’ idea, traditional extravaganza it is then.  I decided I’d best gird my loins with tinsel and get this show on the road.  I ‘hauled the decs’ out of the loft, threw the Yuletide, Mariah Carey CD on and we set about Christmasifying our home. You’ll be pleased to know that I let the children place the baubles where they liked on the tree, no readjustments from me. However, I did only allow them to have boxfuls of goodies that would match our new decor; just silver, white and light blue adornments allowed. 

With the festive mood filtering through our home, I turned my attention to presents. I gave the children my usual spiel about Christmas being a time for remembering whose birthday we were celebrating and that it wasn’t all about what they were gonna get! I heard myself rattling off the phrase, ‘The important thing is that we are all together.’ ‘Yeah right Mum,’ my teenager smirked. With that, I gave them each a piece of paper and a pencil and asked them to write a list. To their credit, the three older ones only put around four items on their lists. The only thing that my little gal could think of that she wanted, was a doll.  Never mind that she already has 12. In her mind, one can never have too many babies.  The irony of that is not lost on me and it is certainly at Christmastime that I understand why many families stick with the average 2.4 children, WAY cheaper! Before I allow you to think that my children are complete saints for having provided such short lists, I should perhaps point out that at the top of each of their lists in shouty capitals was written, MONEY.  The cheeky little imps. 

Now, as those of you with children already know, our little treasures have a knack for scanning each others' stashes and knowing right away if the piles aren’t even. Present count is an important part of the preparation. I would like to think that my older ones are beginning to understand that as they grow up, their presents become fewer due to the fact that their wants become exceedingly more expensive. For the littlies however, quantity and even distribution is important. My advice in this department; if something comes in parts, then wrap each one completely separately to prolong the ‘opening enjoyment process’. 

As I think back on my childhood, I can’t remember what I got for Christmas when I was six, or nine or even fourteen.  What I do remember is the wonderful feeling in the room as all of the family gathered, opened gifts and basked in the joyous atmosphere of that special time of togetherness. I get that, at the moment, my kids are still of the age where Christmas is about the gifts but I also seek to provide them with the magical moments of shared togetherness because that’s what I want them to be able to look back on with fondness when they are grown up.

So, as we pause to celebrate in our own special ways, from my home to yours this Christmas, I wish you magical moments of shared togetherness that will linger in your and your loved ones’ memories for years to come.

Monday, 9 December 2013


Harassed I tell you, that’s what I was and by my friends no less. Let me explain how it happened.
I had a full day off work, my children were at school, I had declined an invitation for morning coffee, (no mean feat) and unusually I had no appointments to attend so I decided that I would finally get to grips with painting my kitchen. It had been a project, long under discussion and my friend had already chosen (simply because I’m hopeless with colour charts and not a good decision maker) and picked up the paint and paintbrushes that I would need.

 I spent a couple of hours prepping the kitchen and was just about to start when my phone started beeping.  It was friend number one, aforementioned who had given me a nudge to get my kitchen sorted in the first place. ‘Measure your kitchen windows for me and I’ll pick up the new blinds for you.’  So, off I went, scouring the house for a tape measure. No sooner had I replied with the measurements than another message came through, ‘Have you started painting yet?’ She knows me so well and that even at the eleventh hour, something will ‘come up’ and I will put off starting the kitchen.  I assured her that yes, I was literally about to dip brush into paint and I’d get to it if she stopped messaging me. 

Two walls later, my phone beeped again.  Friend number two wanted to know if I had booked a Dr appointment yet about my itch.  (Should one mention an itch in a public blog? Please rest assured that it isn’t THAT kind of itch but more of an allergy induced, requiring super strength antihistamines, kind of itch.)  I assured her that yes, itch was contained, being treated and no recommendations of creams and preparations from her would be necessary, regardless of how hilarious the product’s write up on amazon was. 

Just as I was finishing off the first full coat on the final wall, you guessed it, my phone beeped again. Friend number three had tagged me in a post. ‘Had I started my ‘30 Day Challenge’ yet?'  It is a fitness plan that requires you to do so many squats, crunches and planks each day for 30 days and the idea is that you post your results in order to encourage one another. It all looks so fabulous and simple to start with; all listed and plotted beautifully on a colourful chart, a few enthusiastic fitness fanatics (sorry but there is no other word for them) had already started taking screen shots of their planking times and posting them for us all to see.  So, I assured her that yes, I had indeed made a start. After my initial flippant thought of there’s no way on earth I could manage 30 ‘crunchy bars’ in a day, I had You tubed each of the exercises; just to make sure that when I actually commenced the challenge properly  that I would technically be optimizing it. Surely this background research counted as having started the challenge?

By 8pm that night, having given the whole kitchen and utility room two coats of paint, I could barely move and fell into a chair completely shattered. The expression ‘I’ll just give the room a fresh lick of paint’ makes it sound like a quick process; not an all day job that gives you a full body workout and renders one almost comatose with exhaustion. I must admit though, my kitchen does look fabulous. Thank you friend number 1: you did such an awesome job of kicking my butt into getting on with it, friend number 2:  you’ll be glad to know that the hard graft completely took my mind off my itch, and friend number 3: surely painting for an entire day is equivalent to me completing the first three to four days of the challenge? 

How blessed am I to have such wonderful friends? To all those reading this, I wish you the same level of harassment that I enjoy.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

What's on yours?

I'm feeling a little fed up for a number of reasons this evening. So, what would I recommend to someone else feeling like I do? I'd suggest they make a gratitude list. Not easy for me to take my own advice but here goes. 

I'm thankful for the shelter and warmth of my lovely home and will overlook the muddles and mountains of ironing. 
I'm thankful that I am currently in employment so that I can provide for my household; not quite everything we want but almost all of what we need.  
I'm thankful that my teaching job is fulfilling and provides me with an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many different children; even the ones who refuse to sit still and require me to make good use of the eyes in the back of my head. 
I'm thankful that my four year old was happy to skip home in the pouring rain because I'd decided we could walk instead of fighting for a parking space near school. 
I'm thankful for friends; near and far who support, encourage and keep me smiling when I'd rather cry. 
I'm thankful for the kind bus driver who let my thirteen year old ride the bus home even though he didn't have the correct money because his mother had given him a euro instead of a pound coin. 
I'm thankful for delicious, M&S, microwave meals which are ready in just a few minutes; greatly appreciated after spending an hour and a half traipsing to the shops, in the pouring rain, battling rush hour traffic, as well losing a child for a good ten minutes all whilst attempting, not successfully I might add,  to purchase a new pair of school shoes for my nine year old. 
I'm thankful for surviving a mini heart attack when my child blurted out just five minutes ago, 'Did you know it's parent's evening,' followed by a long drawn out pause where I started hyperventilating, but then thankfully finished his sentence with, 'tomorrow night?' 
I'm thankful that this day is drawing to a close and I can shut my weary eyes, rest and wake to a brand new day; another opportunity to just be me and do the best I can. 

Okay, feeling better now that I've seen how much I have to be grateful for. What would be on your gratitude list?