Friday, 30 June 2017

Post assignment perk me up

Hooray, I have now finished my first year of my post grad diploma in Parish Church Studies and I am absolutely shattered. In the last week I did a couple of almost all night study sessions where at 4-5am I thought, well I best get some sleep. Hence I look tired and my good friend remarked that I could perhaps carry my shopping with the the bags under my eyes. 
Hooray, I have now finished my first year of my post grad diploma in Parish Church Studies and I am absolutely shattered. In the last week I did a couple of almost all night study sessions where at 4-5am I thought, well I best get some sleep. Hence I look tired and my good friend remarked that I could perhaps carry my shopping with the the bags under my eyes.  So with summer ahead, what can I do to improve my well-being before the work all starts again in September?

Beach visits

Firstly I will be going off to the beaches of North Wales for some brisk walks and that feeling of freedom on wide expanses of sand. Saltyness on my cheeks and the thundering roar of the sea, well the Dee Estuary..... Flintshire is the nearest coastline to visit and is 25 miles long, of which my favourite beach is Talacre - flat sands, a forgotten lighthouse and a series of dunes for a nature walk. Offshore there are the wind turbines, this is an industrial coast but still it is a great spot to visit for some gathering of thoughts and recharging the batteries. When you have so much space around you it is somehow a great release of stress and all those tensions of finishing essays disappears for me. The beach is great for people watching which also helps with the unwind. 
Talacre Beach

Beauty Session
For some pampering and relaxation, perhaps a Mummy Makeover Package is required  since studying and being a mum is hard. Late nights revising and writing after a little one has gone to sleep really take their toll. dark circles, skin looking dull and excess weight from midnight snacking! So a trip for some beauty therapy would be utter bliss, from laser resurfacing of the skin for a more youthful look to toning up, removing toxins and improving circulation for firmer skin. I would like to feel better and less as if the years are catching up to me, some sleep and tlc would be most welcome.

Nature therapy
Just like going to the beach, immersing in the natural environment is a way I like to unwind. Living up the road from a huge forest is great and going on the trail works burns off calories and stress. The country park also is a place I like to visit and walking through the woodland at this time of year, listening to the birds and hearing the breeze rustle the leaves is so calming. I also like to try and identify the flowers that I come across, a challenge with identification book in hand and a sense of satisfaction at learning something new. The local conservation groups have id sessions where you can meet other nature lovers and it is great way to learn and enjoy being in nature at the same time. For the time I really need to relax, I find just sitting on a bench on a nature walk is a way I like to release any negative energy and feel at ease. Looking at the landscape around me, the colours of the grasses and the flowers, the mixture of textures and seeing the movement and rhythm of the flower heads is a free and easy way to feel at ease again.
Rosebay willowherb

Flying a kite

I remember my first kite. My father bought it me, it had a tail with red ribbons that trailed beneath its red and yellow diamond frame. I ran up a hill in the park and then ran down, desperate for it to take off and dance up in the clouds. You can pick kites up over summer in some of the budget supermarkets - it's an annual offer, look out for them. The best fun you can on a breezy day, as the kite soars and you control its movements, so do your worries fly away. Look out for kite festivals as their colourful array of fun kites, coastal towns often host these events.
kite flying

Local pool
If I can't get to the beach and the sea then the town pool will be great. We have two in my town, one a paddling pool with a giant toadstool fountain and the other an outside pool in a park, swimming beneath great pines and oaks. Enchanting and freeing. There are many places in the UK to swim outdoors, wild swimming is popular and the tradition of lidos still mean you can find a unique pool to visit. Compared with swimming in a leisure centre and its echoes and smell of chlorine, outdoor swims are more opening to the senses, more inspiring for feeling within nature and a wild feeling for an exhilarating rush. My son loves our outdoor paddling pool, splashing away and I can relax knowing that he is happy. 

This summer will be a chance for me to get back to having some fun after the heavy workload. I'll still be reading for my course but the extra time will be well spent doing other things whilst the sun shines. 

*Collaborative post

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

On finding a school place

This year I  have decided to put my son into school as I had been home educating him since his brief spell in preschool. Now was the time for the once anxious boy, now out of his shell to venture into the big wide world and burn off some of his energy. My nerves and my house can no longer take it but he needs to added input for his speech and language among other things. Little Bird is ready to play with paints and glue, to be in a stricter routine of playtime and lunchtimes with learning activities structured around him and this has become impossible at home as well....I'm mum and he can mess me around quite a bit. We need a break from each other, different adult in his life to have influence and provide encouragement. He needed the extra time at home but now he is simply too bored and needs more than I can provide Monday to Friday. I felt like I was giving up for a while but then I realised it was simply a case of things changing and our natural development as mother and son. I feel better now that I'm being a good mum and recognising that now my little boy needs more. 

At the moment I am in waiting situation with the LEA, despite him having a full statement it seems there are lots of meetings to be had, hoops to jump through and lots of red tape. It's strange how getting him into school seems so much harder that not sending him in the first place when the LEA were keen to talk. Now, it's delay after delay and meeting after meeting, panel after panel....time wasting. The issue is really that there are no school places left, unless somebody moves at the last minute or changes their mind. Where will he go? I perhaps will know later this week but it is frustrating and a bit of a worry. I'm staying positive and then I can start to buy everything he needs which will be really exciting as he's never had all those school type things before.
Little bird walking along a path

5 things we need for school:

1. A school bag for all LB's books, spare clothes, drink, pencil case and the passing to and fro of notes between the teacher and I. Probably a rucksack with a nice pattern on it like cute dinosaurs or animals that is easy to wipe clean and comfortable straps for his shoulders. 

2. One of the most important items for any school child are name labels for EVERYTHING! From his coat to his bag and lunch box, they will all have some colourful labels with a little picture beside them. They will help LB know which things are his, 

3. We will also need some stationery items for school, a jolly pencil case filled with pencils, coloured pens, crayons and a ruler. For home a new calendar to keep track of school events and a notebook/diary for my bag - after all with parent's evenings and future Nativity plays to watch I will need to make sure I can quickly make a note. 

4. I can remember my school lunch box as a child, it was turquoise and had little cherubic-like characters on it, plus stickers on the back - such was the craze in the 1980's. For LB I'd like to find a cheap and cheerful lunch bag that will last a couple of terms since they get quite grotty there is not point spending a lot as I will replace it every few terms. I would quite like to find a space themed set for him complete with drinks bottle. Then I will have to look to Pinterest and try and be one of those super Bento making parents!
Bento box

5. Finally a PE bag for those shorts, t-shirt and pumps. I was not a sporty child and shied away from PE lessons but perhaps my son will enjoy sports day and the egg and spoon race - I bet he won't though he's too much like me. However, we shall see and he'll certainly have a smart bag to take his things in. 

Then of course there will be the new uniform, although until I find out which school he will be going to I have no idea what it will look like. Hopefully next week I will have some news......

*Collaborative post

Friday, 2 June 2017

Chimney pots

'If there's more than one crow they are rooks, if there is only one rook it's a crow.'

An idle moment looking out of the window, rooftop staring. There's always some drama being played out on the tiles or by the terracotta chimney pots. Today there is a crow on lookout, shiny black, a look of slight annoyance like his feathered chum is late for their meeting. Check the time again. That's 15 minutes now. Late.
crow on the rooftop Sat on top of the louvred pot, the tallest one for the best view up the road, across the terraced houses and up to the hedgerows filled with chattering sparrows who are far too busy to notice a crow and whose constant traffic only annoys the corvid even more. No sign of the crow's mate. Check the other direction where the traffic lights change yet again. No sign. Late. 

Beak open, caw some obscenity, another glance and then off with black, yet a shimmer of purple wings. 
crow on chimney pots

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Family changes

Family life is fluid, we all change and grow. As we raise our children, our ideas change and life events change the direction of the family. I'm very grateful to have a family, although not big or exciting, it's a little unit that I'm nurturing and my son (Little Bird) is my best friend. 

This year sees him start school, later than most as he's 7 so this will be a big change for all. Now it's June it feels a little like it will be our last summer of freedom before having to go along with the routine and holidays of the school which is a little sad but I'm hoping that school will bring great things and it will be an exciting adventure for him. Whilst he is at school I will be able to focus a little more on my post grad studies and look at what happens next for me. It's easy to lose sight of yourself when you have children and this in itself is a change that can cause friction and issues within the family. I was interested to see in an infographic (see below) from Slater Gordon just how many marriages end in divorce, 42%! A good Family Law solicitor is an important contact to have for modern life. 

Me and my son

Family is important to me and it's great how diverse the family unit is, LB has two half brothers and they get along fine and we have bits and bobs of help from the rest of the family. LB's aunty now lives around the corner and his grandparents are not too far away which is a blessing for when life gets tricky. 

The #FamilyMadeSimple infographic surprised in with the fact that 1 in 30 grandparents provide full time care for their grandchildren. I certainly see many a gran or grandad walking past my house pushing a buggy in the daytime. 

So we shall see come September just how much life changes, after 7 years I could go back to work, having opted to stay at home full time and home educate LB. Both of us stepping into new territory and I'm sure we will encounter new issues to work through along the way. I'm expecting that I will spend a lot of time helping LB adjust and settle into school, he can get quite emotional so there will be many tears and uncertainty - and the same goes for me. But that's what family is all about, you go with the flow and support each other and communicate, life always changes but it's good to have each other.

*Collaborative post