Saturday, 25 June 2016

Confessions of a Summer Parent in Cosmopolitan Cambridge

I know what you did last Summer!

Summer did not have a great start with Brexit becoming a reality in a city that has a huge majority in favour of staying in the EU. Indulge me by letting me bring out the Brusselo as this illustration made me laugh and laugh.

Last summer was not a great one, me with my tennis elbow working away or resting a 'dead arm', battling the blues too - the first Summer I put my daughter in the holiday club, albeit part time. So I have great hopes for this Summer when despite everything the mood is good and we are going on holiday twice since my partner did not take any time off at the half term. We did and had a lovely week in France staying at a friend's house. Two more French holidays coming up, Brittany and en route to visit my parents in Italy. We never had such luxury before but they won't cost us the earth either, we are a frugal family... I still have my Cheapskate blog running...

When Michela was little, the best thing ever was to have a paddling pool as she would spend ages in it, so if you have a young child an inexpensive paddling pool is a must have plus a toy kitchen. I saw a really cute wooden one in Ikea recently at a very good price (no sponsorship here, just saying). The below one came from a charity garage sale. Get these two and you will be lounging in the sun with a book or magazine while your child keeps busy. Trust, me whatever it takes to distract/amuse your child for more than 10 minutes it's worth trying out!

Michela is now 9 and I just love the age as we can do more interesting things together. Today I will join her Brownie group to a trip to Cambridge Botanic Garden, the loveliest place ever! This Summer will be special and it does not matter I don't have a work contract - my arm is doing well and I am feeling upbeat (I recommend HRT even if you still have your period). We are going to have fun with crafts (sewing, papier mache'/decoupage, knitting) and we will cycle everywhere, we might volunteer to host a picnic for other families linked to the University, we will be best friends and there will be less 'Don't do that' from me. Let's enjoy this bliss before the teenager emerges!

Michela and I at the half term - we love art!

This post is an entry for the BritMums Confessions of a Summer Parent Challenge, sponsored by Anchor. Views are my own and I thought it would be a fun competition to do.

P.S. After a Facebook convo, here are a few more suggestions that came to my mind:

  • Also small items (not too small, think choking hazard) and boxes, they love filling them up and emptying them. 
  • Playdough is good too
  • Oversized drawing chalks for pavement 
  • Best and nearly free thing, a brush and a bucket of water to paint a wall with (choose one you don't mind getting damp) or the patio...

Monday, 20 June 2016

Back at home... applying for a PhD and jobs...

Standing in my garden on a recent sunny day (not today)
My contract terminated late in May so in the past few weeks, I have been applying for jobs (permanent and contract ones). I have also applied for a PhD and would like to be accepted and do some research on blogging, but of course you never know so I have still to apply for selected jobs. I say selected because I am limited location-wise (I cycle to work) and hours-wise (I have to pick up my daughter from the afterschool club before 6pm). My partner has a busy job so he can only help now and then.

I have more time now so have been spring-cleaning the house (including very dusty bookshelves), been baking and indulging my social media accounts. I have also started a new creative writing blog and you can read my fiction here. I am feeling good, either HRT is working or I have SAD as I don't do as well in winter months (this year it will be different as I will take action - and it helps having an arm that works again after nasty tennis elbow). Aside tweeting marketing stuff, I also spend more time on Facebook and other platforms discussing the EU referendum. I have no vote despite living in UK for many years so I can only join the debate verbally. I am for remain and if not, I would have changed my mind as a huge number of brexit people are nasty beyond belief (online) or do not trust rational views (figures are figures, emotions are something else).

So here is another update. I am on the lookout for new things to test. My daughter is 9 and I am a keen cyclist. Would love to test some cycling gear/accessories. Have sent a request for two products, let's see...

PS It's likely I will not be working this summer so no holiday club for my daughter. I have plans for some great stuff to do together. I am not stern on tablet/computer use, my daughter puts them down if I offer an activity, if not she can spend time on them while I do other stuff. She grew up with me hitting keys all the time, even when breastfeeding her. It would be hypocritical to limit her enjoyment. Also forbidden fruit tastes sweeter. I know what children's development people say but she did not become addicted to TV after spending hours while I was trying to work from home and no, she has not moved from addiction to addiction, she can put the tablet down if I offer time with her.