Wednesday 27 February 2019

A child of the 70's parenting in the 1990's.

This is me, born 1971, most photos are either in B&W or sepia. In most of my childhood photos, I'm not wearing any clothes.

On a beach in Wales on our annual holiday. Around 1974.

Fast forward 30 years. One of only a handful of photo's we have of all 5 of the kids together.
On a beach in France.
These are our kids, child 5, 3, 2, 4 & 1. Born in 1988, 89, 92, 95 & 99.

My parenting journey started in 1992, child 1 & 2 are my step children who were added to my family in 2000.

When my first son was born I had to pay to have a seat belt fitted in the back seats to secure the baby car seat. That car seat kept all 3 of my kids safe and was used by friends also.

In 1999 I got my first mobile phone, I was 28. It was also the year my last child was born. It had no camera or internet access. I had internet in the home but it took ages to connect and load and if the phone rang, it cut out mid 'Ask Jeeves'.

We didn't have SKY or BSB as it was back then till 2002, but we did have a more than the 3 TV channels I grew up with, there was no bedtime hour and if we wanted to record something to watch later it was on VHS.

When I was a child we didn't get VHS until I was 11 and I was the TV remote control.

Cinema when I was a child and a rare one, the first movie I remember seeing was ET, I was 11. 
For my children a trip to the cinema was for a special occasion. 

We had no one to compare our child's development with other than family members, local play groups and in school.

When we weened our children they ate the same food as us, just pureed, there was no stress about bottle or breast, no one judged us for our choices.

We lived in a small village and used local playgroups, we all attended the same anti natal classes and saw the same midwife and health visitor. We were pretty much all of the same when it came to finances and lifestyle and parenting styles.

We got in a car with our kids and drove for hours on an annual holiday, camping or in a chalet for which we saved up the cash, packing the food from the fridge, with maybe 1 night in a restaurant, but always taking picnics on days out. 

If an unexpected bill came up, there was no annual holiday.

We had 2nd hand furniture and didn't replace curtains and carpets just because we didn't like the pattern and we didn't redecorate just because.

We managed these journeys without tabs and electronic devices to entertain the kids with.

We didn't have google to find '10 things to do with kids on a car journey' or "kid friendly restaurants' We planned our trip before we left home and had a picnic on route.

We baked crispy cakes without a recipe, we used cardboard boxes and plastic bottles for junk modelling without reading a blog post for guidance. We let the kids play in the garden with plastic tubs and water, we didn't call it a 'mud kitchen' 

We explored the local woods, collected twigs and stones, but didn't call it 'educational play' 

We used the TV and VHS as a baby sitter. We visited our neighbours taking the baby listener with us.

We let the neighbours kids take our kids over the park for hours at a time and just yelled for them when dinner was ready.

We bought 2nd hand baby items and had hand me downs. We swopped maternity clothes.

We shared day care with our neighbours around our work hours and often had 6 kids between us. We bathed them and they stayed over night even as tiny babies, sharing beds.

We saved up for Christmas and birthdays were held in the home, with pass the parcel and musical bumps. We made sandwiches, home made cakes and poured jugs of squash into plastic beakers. 

We borrowed crockery and cutlery from the neighbours and carried chairs across the cul de sac on Christmas day.

We held weddings and christenings in the local social club, with everyone contributing a dish or two.

We were a lot less stressed, there was less competition, there was little comparison.

I'm grateful I'm not parenting under the glaze of social media.

My parenting differed little from how I was raised other than my kids had seat belts and car seats, I stood in the footwell on car journeys and sat up front without a seat belt.

My parents didn't have mobile phones, but neither did my kids so they knew what time to come home and if they were late we'd know where to find them.

My children will face new challenges when they become parents. I don't know if they'll get dragged along with the latest trends or whether they'll be creating new ones.

All I know is the advice I received as a new parent on the 'do's and don't's' such as co sleeping, or lying a baby on it's back or side' whether to bottle or breast feed, will have changed and who knows maybe they'll receive the same advice I did, because it's back in fashion.

How much do your parenting styles differ from your parents with you? Are there any similarities?

Sunday 24 February 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 8 Dubai to the UK

I arrived back in the UK on Wednesday, it's cold here. Back for around 3 weeks, no return flight booked yet. Have scheduled lots of lovely meet ups with friends and family and hopefully will have lots of down time. The local pub has closed, but other than that not much has changed since I was last here in September.

Rather boring photos this week, but they do sum up what's been going on in my week. You'd be forgiven for thinking Sunday's photo was taken in the UK, but no, it's Dubai wet, windy and on the chilly side.

48 Sunday Dentist again, to have the crown fitted and a new plate adjusted so I don't look like one of the Proclaimers. Called in at a friends, cleaned the garden and balconies (again)

49 Monday Took Peter to the airport. He won't get back until after I leave on Wednesday morning. Met a friend briefly in IKEA, assembled this unit and cleaned upstairs in the house and got the spare room ready for a visitor Peter has over the weekend.

50 Tuesday Took the cat with me and Bob to the dog park, then off to boarding for the next 10 days, as when Peter returns he'll be off again and it's too much of a hassle for him to pick up and drop off again just for 2 nights. Had my nails and eyebrows done on my way home and stopped at the car wash also. I washed all the dog and human bedding, cleaned the litter tray, ironed and cleaned downstairs.
So weird eating my lunch without the cat and dog filling the gap in this photo.

51 Wednesday up at 4am and taxi to the airport. A none eventful flight arriving in the UK around mid day, collected car hire, drove to South Wales, unpacked, went for coffee, topped up my phone and dinner in the pub with a friend.
Fridge stocked with essentials from above friend. Milk, tea bags and chocolate.

52 Thursday Drove to Newport for a food shop, the flat was devoid of everything other than toiletries and cleaning products as it's not been used since October. Batch cooked in the afternoons so I can eat easily after being out for long days with family and friends. Popped into see the Things and fell asleep on the sofa.
Forgot I had to climb a flight of stairs.

53 Friday Picked up child 3 and went to Gloucester to visit child 1, took her for a walk locally then off to the care home offices to demand why I've learnt all this new stuff from the staff yet no one had emailed to say what was going on. It's a constant battle to find stuff out.

54 Saturday Coffee with my nephew and his partner and they announced their pregnancy, around 22-24 weeks and only found out a few days ago. Popped into see child 2 briefly and called in at my old neighbours who I first met in 1994. 25 years just melted away and whilst helping one strip wall paper it felt like time had stood still.
The only photo I took today.

On the blog this week:

A visit to Dubai Miracle Gardens and Butterfly centre

Coming back to the UK and meeting up with friends of 25 years, has made me realise we really don't make friends in the same we as we used to. Do we make real friends anymore?

Photos and plans from around the home this month in Dubai

Friday 22 February 2019

Miracle Gardens and Butterfly World.

I love visiting the gardens in Ajman, not far from the Mall of the Emirates and if you're visiting Dubai, there's a frequent shuttle bus.

Entry to the gardens costs AED 50 and to Butterfly World AED 55. Sadly you need to enter one from the other or face a longish walk around the perimeter as once you leave the gardens you can't re enter on the same ticket.

I visit in term time when it's quiet, but avoid the end of the school day as the roads round there are chaotic at the end of the school day and make sure you have google maps handy and 3G switched on as the roads are changing on a monthly basis with new developments.

Each year the theme for Miracle gardens changes. This year it's cats and there's a full size replica of Emirates Airbus A340, festooned in flowers.

Creating a garden in the desert requires a lot of water and planning. You can see more of my efforts on the gardening tab.

 If you look closely you'll see that not many types of flowers are used, just tried and tested ones, with built in irrigation systems and regular dead heading and replacing.

Designed inside a circle, paths lead you to new finds as you explore freely.

View from the pavilion. It's quite a skill getting photos without anyone in them, hence why it's better to visit during the school day.

There are tonnes of restaurants to choose from under a covered area of plants and umbrellas, but watch out for the over head irrigation section.

Every time I visit I have yet another idea for the garden, sadly I neither have the space or the skills required to do anything on this scale.

Next up is the Butterfly World.

It's easy to just walk round the first dome and go back outside. There are a further 4 chambers accessed through a string/rope netting/door. Make sure you walk round the whole place.

I'm not a big fan of the dead butterflies creating the art work in the entrance area by the cafe. I'd like to think they were made a long time before we wised up to the damage we were doing to the species, but sadly this doesn't appear to be the case.

Be careful as you walk round though, there are butterflies on the ground.

There are clear pictures on how to hold a butterfly in special areas, sadly too many parents weren't supervising their kids and wings were being grabbed. The adults were placing butterflies on their children's heads for photo opportunities and some of the kids were hysterical swatting the butterflies away while parents laughed and took more photos.

The rooms were large with high ceilings and there was lots of space for the butterflies to fly around and escape to. 

And plenty of feeding stations where you could take close ups without disturbing the butterflies.

This is only my second visit to the butterfly world, both times with visitors, don't think I'll be going again though.

But Miracle Gardens has a big thumbs up from me and my next trip might involve a book and a spare hour or three.

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Do we make real friends anymore?

Online friendship has a whole new meaning to it. We have friends we've never met, voices we've never heard. We can reveal intimate thoughts and feelings to total strangers, we can blog to an unknown audience about our marital and family problems.

But do we actually make friends any more these days? You know meet the type of people you just gel with? Does your partner get on with their partner? Can you just chat freely anytime of day or not? Can you turn to them in a crisis?

I have a childhood friend for 42 years, who is on my facebook, but we don't really interact anymore. A school friend for the past 34 years, who I lost touch with for a 10 year period but we just picked up where we left off. I've a former neighbour who is a friend of 25 years, who I see regularly but we don't chat online. Our kids have known them longer than anyone else apart from family members.

I have another friend met through one of the kids, of 18 years, who I can also talk to about anything, at anytime. The same with another of 16 years.

I also have a friend who falls into in the above category, who I met at Uni 20 years ago.

My husband has a couple of lifelong friends of 42, 33 and 25 years and one met through work and a shared love of music for 3 years.

We both know each others friends very well and their partners and families, we share mutual confidences and we can call on them and vice versa in an hour of need.

These friendships are often strained by the distance from where we live in Dubai and several other, long term, friends have fallen by the way side as our lives have changed.

Since joining twitter in 2009. I've made lots of new friends, people that I no longer interact with online but meet up with when we're in the UK. My husband also knows these people and calls them friends, when I asked him to help me list the number of people we know, message, visit, go to the pub with, I was surprised at how many he named and how quickly.

But new friends, one's met in the last 8 years, since we moved abroad have been harder to find.

We know none of our neighbours over that time, with 2 country moves and living in 4 different houses.

We do have friends though, real people, from our time in South Africa, met through the kids and through charity work. They were and still are very important in our lives and we visit at least once a year and they visit us and we chat often on whatsapp.

But in the last 4 years since we moved to Dubai friends have been harder to find. I've no job, the kids have left home, our neighbours move frequently and in fact in the past 8 years I've only learnt the name of one of them.

I have met people in the dog park, but we meet up only once a week for coffee and a chat and our lives remain separate the other 6 days of the week.

There are two other couples we know here in Dubai, both met online and we all get on. We're planning a holiday to America with one set this year, sometimes we see them often, other times it's several times a week. The other set we just meet once a week at the pub quiz.

All the friends in the UK are reasonably local to where we have our base. They make an effort to meet up with us, they initiate the meet ups when we visit, many have been to at least one of our homes since we've been away and all have put me, my husband and a combination of kids up over the years, collected us from airports, been on the door step in an emergency, helped with obtaining documents we've needed, run errands, had our post delivered, looked after our flat. We've been involved in their lives as well as them in ours, births, deaths, marriages and christenings.

I don't actually need anymore friends, the ones we have are the best in the world. I just need a few of the above closer to where we live. Someone to meet for a coffee, someone who just pops in or I just pop to theirs. Someone to walk the dog with, stay over when Peter is away or me at theirs. Someone to shop with, talk crap with snd just generally provide me with a bit more company and share the good and bad with, without waiting till I've flown 3000 miles.

Sunday 17 February 2019

Around the home this January 2019

There have been a few changes around the house this January, making way for the new sofa we've ordered for the TV room.

We purchased a couple of new rugs from the market in Masafi. This red one in the lounge and 

this pale green runner for the hall.

 We also moved the white IKEA furniture from the hallway (book case and plant stand) to the upstairs area.

I love these repurposed drawers used as book shelfs which are now upstairs also.

The sofa is made to measure and this is the area it will be in. The old wicker furniture which we acquired in South Africa has now been relocated to the balcony behind the curtains.

The spare room is the next to be tackled (receive a make over) the MFI furniture (out of shot) will be replaced with a simple desk and a storage unit for files. I'll tackle that job in March.

Do you have any plans for your home this spring?

Saturday 16 February 2019

One Daily Positive - Week 7. More dentists and a migraine

WTF are the neighbours doing at home every afternoon? The bounce, bounce, bounce for almost an hour everyday is the 8 year old playing football indoors before his parents return from work, lord knows what the maid is doing and I do wish whoever it was that plays the bannister rails would stop also.

I'm not sure they realise how noisy they are, they apologise and shut up when I complain, but that's only ever after 11pm and before 6am and mostly involves the dog barking.

Peter has agreed with me, no neighbours when we next move, even if it isolates us or costs us more.

41 Sunday Dentists at 8am and driving across the city is stressful, crown prepared, more moulds taken and plate adjusted. Head was hurting before I left home, had booked pedi and manicure and hair cut. Dropped some things at a friends and straight home to bed with a migraine.

42 Monday Migraine kept me awake from 3am, spent the entire day in my pj's, in bed, in the bath, on the sofa, slept, watched TV, ate.

43 Tuesday Off to the dog park first thing, still not feeling right so a lazy afternoon, another dog walk and an early night.

44 Wednesday Took Bob out for a coffee, swept the sand off the balcony, watched TV, sorted craft stuff and paperwork.

45 Thursday Bob's 9th birthday. We had a McDonalds and cake.

46 Friday Brunch at Nara. 2 for 1 all you can eat and house drinks for a total of £30. We of course over did it and spent the afternoon and evening on the sofa binge watching The Grand Tour. The neighbours decided to make a noise until almost midnight, not impressed.

47 Sunday A lazy day, coffee out, watched TV, carried out a few jobs, hubby cooked dinner and we watched football in the afternoon. My hometown Newport kick off late here against Man City so a late night for us.

Can I please ask if you join in with the blog hop that please find the time to visit and comment on everyone who does the same for you, it's polite at the end of the day. I read and comment on every single post that links up, every single week, even if I'm on catch up. There's a few of you here who haven't been over to my posts yet.

I might not be a baby/mum blogger or even have a job, monetise my blog or be an influencer you need to follow, but I'm here, every week, taking part and have a wide range of life experiences to share.

On the blog this week:

I guess it's because the kids have left home and I'm stuck in limbo, but it's not helped with all the ill health, family deaths and losing my teeth over the past 18 months, but I'm starting to feel old.

Animal antics - Bob needs a bath and Pushkins has been exploring the balcony.

Creating a garden in the desert - my gardening in January has been all about rain and sweeping sand

Friday 15 February 2019

Creating a Garden in the desert. January 2019

This is our garden in Dubai. Yes it's small, but we also have 2 balconies we can sit out on. It's low maintenance due to the heat of summer and it being impossible to garden when it's 45c, but you'd be surprised at how much does grow.

We've had rain in January, it's been most welcomed,

however there is a down side,

sand and dirt in the rain and from the balconies.

I finally managed to purchase some covers for the outdoor furniture that we acquired in South Africa, it's been moved outdoors to make way for the new sofa. 

My seedlings have grown well, from sunflowers to tomato plants and

even my nasturtium flowered this year.

There's been a slight issue with Bob digging in the garden and the lawn has been reseeded.

Thinking I can borrow this tip from the local golf course and spray paint the gaps.

Despite the rain I've still needed to water the garden.

Mum and I came across these fun tulip chairs on the beach.