How distressed ham and old boots nearly ruined a night out

Going out post kids is a whole new thing, and I’m not just talking about the need for getting the babysitter, the hell of the 6am start after the 4am finish, or the fear of parenting with a hangover.  No I’m referring to those precious hours before you go out.  Do you remember when you used to have it all planned?  A long leisurely shower, plus manicure, pedicure, epilation, rehydration, moisturisation, loud music, soft lighting, make up, trying on clothes, and perhaps a few friends around to help.

Oh how things have changed…

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Everything seems a little more hopeful

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, a red geranium is swaying in the September breeze, and everything seems a little more hopeful.  There are still a lot of challenges to be faced, but maybe, just maybe, I am more able for them than I have been for a very long time.  But I still feel the need to write up my reasons to be cheerful, so here they are..

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Looking after number one

It’s been a week of blah.  I’d planned my regular reasons to be cheerful post, but all the things I hoped to feature did not happen.  I have to wait.

And some of the waiting is leading to stress and a few glasses of wine.  But mostly I’m using the time to look after myself.  Because for the first time in many years I finally have some spare time: I’m not doing any paid work now, and my two teenagers have – so far – been to school every single day since the new term started.

So I’m trying to retrain the way I think and not feel guilty about taking time out.

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When you’re offered meetings instead of services

Dear meeting organiser,

Thank you for your letter about the information meeting.

I hope that you will understand that I am not really interested in a pie in the sky document that no doubt took many well paid man and woman hours to produce when I can’t get a therapist on the phone, I’ve had to cancel my daughter’s one night a month respite again due to concerns about her care, and this year’s school leavers from my daughter’s school had not started in adult services last time I checked.

Also the meeting time clashes with my children’s bedtime.

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Giving to get

We’ll give you a pound for every mile you run, they said.  With a slight snigger.  After all I was far better known for partying than athletics.  So it was with great satisfaction that I collected £13 from each of them.  And handed a large cheque to a long forgotten charity.

Now there are requests for money every single day it seems.  Some more successful than others.  And the massive success of the Ice Bucket Challenge got me thinking about what makes me want to give to charity.

And what makes me vow never to donate:

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Looking for reasons to be cheerful

I used to yearn for a quieter and more settled life, but an older wiser woman told me that it would never happen.  And I’m beginning to think that she was right.  As soon as something gets better, something else goes wrong.  Here I have two new battles to fight: for Smiley’s future and my own health.  My mystery lung problem is still not resolved, but I’m off to the consultant tomorrow.   I’m not anxious about that at all, oh no!  And I’m hearing nasty rumours about services for adults with disabilities, which I will have to secure for Smiley as she finishes at her wonderful school next summer.  Expect more blogging on this topic soon.

But today is all about the good stuff...

Going unplugged

Have you ever unplugged everything?  Or just felt like it?  Obviously not the fridge or the washing machine, I’m talking about the telly and the consoles and the broadband.

I would love to do that, I really would.

Perhaps you dream of hazy summer days playing cricket in the garden and chilly winter nights gathered around the Monopoly board by the fire.  And d’you know what?  That was my childhood.

But it’s not my children’s childhood.

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She’s emigrating

It was a phone call out of the blue.  A friend is leaving Ireland for work, a young woman I’ve known since she was very young.  I’ve read plenty of articles about sons and daughters leaving, but this time it’s very close to home.  Next summer I could be saying goodbye to my eldest daughter, as she leaves College to shape her own future.  It’s unsettling.  I’ve waved good-bye to Angel before as she left for adventures in Africa and Rhode Island.  But she always came back.

 

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Cheesecake and apple desserts, made with Cornflakes!

Do you have a press/cupboard full of half finished cereal packets slowly going stale?  Probably loosely open too, and of course it always happens when you buy the large “budget” sizes to save money.  Why does this happen?  Here, the kids get fed up with the same taste, or I’ve bought them something different as a treat, or they go off cereal altogether and eat toast for a few weeks.  Right now we have a slightly different problem, with left over Cornflakes every week.  Sometimes I can sneak them into the new packet, but not if there’s a large amount, or they’ve already started to go soft.

Earlier this summer I began making No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Corn Flake Bars with Smiley, but we got bored with eating them every week, so the hunt was on for other tasty recipes.  So here are two more – one naughty and one fairly healthy – and I’d say you could swap the Cornflakes for other left-over cereals too.  Both recipes are very loosely based on ideas I found on-line.

Vanilla Cornflake Cheesecake

How to make this here