Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Evil Parents

We've just returned from "Butlins for the Middle Classes", sorry, Centre Parcs, which I booked for the Bank Holiday Weekend instead of going to Rome (see earlier post, I won't go on about it).

We didn't tell daughter that we had booked Centre Parcs, we just told her we were going to the Lake District.

She spent most of last week moaning that she would be dragged up mountains and have to walk all day every day.

She didn't suspect a thing.

Even when we loaded the bikes onto the car.

After turning off the M6 away from the Lake District along the A66 she still didn't suspect.

As we turned into the Centre Parc entrance she said,

"Ooo, Centre Parcs"

closely followed by,

"Oh, but we're not going there"

"Are we not?"  asked hubby.

"We've just turned into the entrance", I said.

After bouncing up and down in the back of the seat, she finally said,

"You two are evil ........................... but epic!"

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Mindfulness - Part 2

Now, when I was nearly half way through the Mindfulness course, I started to have difficulties. 

You see, I don't easily take things on faith, I need to know how and why they work (witness my A Level in Physics).  I couldn't believe in mindfulness unless I knew why it works.

I needed to know the science bit.

The neuroscience bit.

Luckily, at about that time I heard an interview with Ruby Wax on the radio.

She had the same questions that I had, but, as she herself says, she has the drive of a rottweiler, so she went in search of Professor Mark Williams, found him and enrolled on a Masters Degree in MCBT at Oxford University with the Professor himself.  She's now written a book about the brain stuff that I wanted to know, so I don't need to do the MSc to find out.

I just got her book:


and things started to make sense.

I know now how and why mindfulness works.

If you want a quicker version (about half an hour) which explains the neuroscience, in layman's terms with a sense of humour, watch this:

Monday, 19 May 2014

Mindfulness - Part 1

You may have heard of Mindfulness, it's been in the news a bit recently, but what is it?

Well, after the last term (in which I nearly fell over the verge, never mind being on it) a colleague and friend recommended I try it.  It had been recommended to her by her GP who said the only way she would come off beta blockers was mindfulness and she was trying it.

Being the sceptic that I am, I wanted more information before I plunged in, so I discovered that MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) had been developed by a Professor Mark Williams at Oxford University.  Well, Oxford Uni is good enough for me.

I also discovered that mindfulness is endorsed by NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, as being equally effective as medication for stress, anxiety and depression.  It can also be used for pain management.  Recommendation by the medical profession - tick.

I looked up courses, but they were about £200 and would take up most of my Sunday afternoons (I don't have the time, wait, that's the problem!)

So I bought the Professor's book:


An eight week course using Mindful Meditation to tame the mind for only £8.

I guess you have to be self motivated to do it from a book and CD, but I was desparate so I've stuck to it, I'm on week 6 and already feeling the benefits.  I can't believe how much calmer I feel, how I'm taking things in my stride and can even manage the pain of my tendonitis!

btw as a bonus, Professor Mark Williams has the most melifluous voice, which is perfect for meditation. (I couldn't have stuck a Californian accent on a CD)

I can't really explain what MCBT is, but the man himself can.

If you've got time, listen to this talk, it may change your life, I think it's changing mine:

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Behind Every Great Man .....

I sometimes wonder how hubby has got to the Senior Management position he is in.  

Obviously, it is because I enable him to be a "bigwig" by organising the rest of his life.  On the odd occasion he participates in the running of this family he demonstrates a complete lack of organisation, so I really do wonder how he manages to be so successful at work.

Take this example:

Months ago I suggested that we go away during Whit half term week.  I have wanted to take daughter to Rome for ages and thought this would be a good time to go.

Hubby said, "I've got a standardising meeting in the middle of that week"

So Rome was out.

A couple of months later I suggested booking a cottage in England, one with WiFi, since he just needs to be on-line to do the standardising.

"Well, I'll be busy from that meeting onward, so no point booking a cottage for a week"

So, this week, I mooted the idea of Centre Parcs, in the Lake District, for the Bank Holiday weekend, returning two days before his meeting.

"Yeah, great, book it", he said.

So I did.

This morning he looked at his diary.

 "Oh, I made a mistake", he said, "My standardising meeting isn't in half term, it's next week"

"So we could have gone to Rome?" I asked.


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

These Boots are made for Walking

Let me tell you something, I have fair weather walking boots.  

Comfortable, cosy and light, fair weather boots.  

And I've had them for 20 years.

I thought that possessing fair weather boots would mean that I would only walk in fair weather.

Hubby has other ideas.

Every walk he takes me on seems to feature walking through a stream or a bog until my feet are soaking wet.

Despite my protests that I own FAIR WEATHER BOOTS!

In an effort to make me buy some waterproof boots, hubby gave me some money towards some for my birthday present (last September) and has nagged me to buy some since.

So, on Saturday, I succumbed and bought these:

and yesterday we went for a walk on Alderley Edge to break them in.

As we were walking along the paths and through the woods I was carefully walking around the mud and puddles as usual.

"What are you doing?" asked hubby, "You've got waterproof boots now, you can walk through puddles"

"Oh no, " I said, "I don't want to get my new boots dirty"!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Meditation is no match for a 10 year old

I'm trying to meditate.

Honestly, I am.

However, the Buddhists didn't allow for my daughter.

Last night she came home and announced

"I need a superhero costume for tomorrow"


When will the costumes stop?

So, while she was at Brownies I came up with black leggings, black shirt, black gloves and I made a cat mask out of funky foam - voila, Catwoman (I know, not strictly a superhero, but the best I could do at a few hours notice).

Ok, meditate.


Then, this morning I was brushing her hair when she asked

"Mummy, what do you  know about the Caribbean?"


"Because I need five facts for homework"

"When for?"



Meditate, meditate.

Driving to school she started telling me about a rounders match she had after school today, she won't be back until 5pm, etc, etc.

"Hang on," I said, "Have you got your trainers?"


"You came home in your trainers last night, have you brought them today?"




Turn round car, meditate, meditate.

Go home, collect trainers.

Get to school (10 miles and 25 min ride away from home)

"Where's the catwoman mask?" I asked

Frantic looking in car.

"Left it at home"


Even the Dalai Lama would give up.