My word of the week is Reprieve. Just like last week the word came to me very clearly and strongly.

We are still here thanks to the generosity of someone special.

We stumble on trying to work out if we should move, when and how whilst also trying to sort out a heap of other things out particularly my husband’s ongoing search for a job and its impact on finances.

Reprieve can mean the postponement of a punishment. Quite why life is punishing us right now I do not know. Perhaps it is just our turn for challenging times. Everyone has them after all.

Reprieve can also mean temporary relief. It is a big relief here with lots of “Phew!” moments. Having said that, it may yet be only a temporary thing. The future is unclear for my husband. He gets interviews but, as he says, no cigar. He got some really great feedback today but a job rejection is still a job rejection. It makes it hard to make plans.

However, for today, it is important to celebrate the reprieve and to keep on keeping on.

My son came home a few days ago saying that he had been invited to a sleepover at a friend’s house.

My first feeling was one of joy that my son seems to have found his feet socially. I asked him to ensure he got full information on where the sleepover was taking place, contact numbers, timings and so on.

This morning, he admitted he still has not got me any of this.

Over the last few days, I have got more concerned and more against the whole idea of him going on the sleepover. I do not know the family concerned. I have not met the friend concerned. How do I know my son will be safe in this unknown environment? If I am not pretty certain he will be safe, I am minded not to let him go. As you can imagine, me expressing such ideas impresses my teenage son not at all.

I look back to my childhood. I went on one sleepover probably when I was around his age or a little older. What made my parents think it was OK for me to go? I imagine as they are not here to ask that the fact that the parents of my friend lived in a posh area and had professional parents made them feel OK. Of course, they had lived in the town for generations and my Dad knew an lot about people through his police work. There were connections through church too.

We are relatively new to this town and don’t know many people well.

I tried to explain my concerns to my son who said I was accusing the parents of his friend of being “mass murderers”. Now I did not say that although I guess they might be for all I know. They could sanction smoking, drug use or the drinking of alcohol by teens. They could be violent or worse. Even if people have a Criminal Record Bureau check, all it actually proves is that they have never been caught for anything by the police.

I can imagine that people will think I am over the top and too protective.

Then I think about my step-daughters who were abused in their own home by their mother’s boyfriend.

I think of my friend who disclosed how a very professional man and a great friend of her parents’ abused her.

I think how many professionals I have known who use drugs regularly.

Of course, the reality is that if he goes he will probably have a wonderful time and be perfectly safe. If he does not go, it may impact on his relationship with the friend badly. I really don’t want to stop him having a good time so I think maybe I should just take the risk and let him go. Except every instinct as a mum screams against that.

Which raises the whole question of letting children go as they get older. It is a very scary business. You invest all that time in keeping them safe as they are growing up and then at some point they are on their own in a world that whilst wonderful is also “big and bad” sometimes.

Sleepover or no sleepover?

What do you think?

The Pramshed

I am joining in with Wobbles Wednesday the brilliant linky run on a weekly basis by @AutismMumma, a very lovely lady who helps mums support each other as they try to shed the pounds and stones.

I lost lots of weight last year. Then my husband’s redundancy hit and I started to comfort eat and undid so much of my good work.

It is a New Year so I am making a fresh start.

I have already given up alcohol as part of my attempt to raise money in Cancer Research UK’s Dryathalon.

I am trying to remember all the tricks that helped me stick to healthy eating before. I may well revisit some of my old posts about Wobbles.

Today, I will measure myself as I can’t quite face the scales just yet. It is the thought of seeing those numbers telling me how I failed by giving in to my emotions when challenging times hit. I think I might look for the new Paul McKenna book on emotional eating.

Yesterday, I did a really good day of health eating – cereal, ham sandwich with Weightwatchers bread and a mackerel salad for tea. It reminded me of how much I enjoy healthier options.

I have put things in the house like bananas and Weightwatchers yoghurts for when the munchies strike.

Right now I feel better already.

I am looking for an organisation/brand to sponsor the costs associated with me attending Britmums Live, a major blogging and social media conference run by the UK’s largest parent blogger network with over 30 000 Twitter followers and thousands of registered members. It takes place in June and is attended by hundreds of bloggers and social media influencers. You can find out more about the event here

What are the benefits of sponsoring me?

Imagine having me as your representative at the conference chatting to people about your product or service. I could wear branded clothing or let people have your business card.

Should you become my sponsor, I would promote you with an introductory blog post once the sponsorship is agreed and in place. If you would like me to host a competition or post a review of a product or service, we could look into that too. I would be happy to post an advertorial post too once content is agreed.

Obviously, I would tweet about my sponsor before, during and after the event.

How much would sponsorship cost

I am looking for help with the costs such as travel and accommodation as this is a two day conference in London. I live in Yorkshire. I will provide a detailed breakdown to potential sponsors.

Who am I and what is my blog about?

groovinggrabbadge

I am a 45 year old mother with children aged 8-13 years.

I am an award winning blogger recognised for my Outstanding Contribution in the MAD Blog Awards and for Brilliance in Blogging.

My blog has diverse content including food, travel and parenting. It also has a strong emphasis on supporting other women via initiatives such as Groovy Mums. I have considerable experience of raising awareness of charities too.

My blog is well read and has good levels of engagement. I have thousands of Twitter followers.

I would hope to develop a long-term and positive relationship with my sponsor.

If you are interested in finding out more, please email kateonthinice@gmail.com and we can discuss things further.

I am taking part in the Dryathalon fundraising campaign for Cancer Research UK. This involves giving up alcohol for the month of January.

Whether by nature or nurture, I do like a tipple. My drink on a night in would be bacardi and coke. Sometimes I change this to brandy and coke which was one of my mum’s favourites. I like a glass or two of wine especially on the nights where my nerves feel a little frazzled. Baileys used to be a regular event back in the day but is a rare treat since having the children.

After years of drinking, I am getting a bit fed up with it. I don’t cope with drinking as well as I used to. It can make me feel very down. I also find myself resenting the amount of money it costs. So I decided to give up drink for January and possibly beyond.

Then I heard about Cancer Research UK’s Dryatholon and thought it would help motivate me to stay on track and also be a bit of a tribute to my mum who died from cancer in 2009.

I have completed a full week without a drop of alcohol. To be honest, I am a bit disappointed with the low number of people who have sponsored me but I know lots of folks are doing sponsored events and also times are hard out there for people. The truth is the time to judge how I have done on the challenge and sponsorship wise is at the end of this month. It is also important to remember that there is no correlation between people liking you and people wanting to sponsor you. I like a lot of people who do sponsored events and I am pretty random at who and when I sponsor people. Often I intend to sponsor someone and then forget to do so.

I don’t think I have met any of my donors (except myself). Who knew that strangers would donate? I get very excited as I see my donations increasing towards my target which I set ridiculously high at £150.

So how have I found me first week as a dryathelete?

I have enjoyed the process a lot. I turned down a glass of wine waved under my nose. I found a bottle of wine in a cupboard that was long forgotten and put it right back there. I am getting a bit bored of drinking diet coke but will investigate other non-alcoholic options.

The joy is that I feel so much better in myself. I feel a lot more upbeat and also very motivated to take on challenges. I even beamed on the school run this morning. I seem to be getting more stuff done too.

I have noticed that I seem to be dreaming more and have had a couple of nightmares. I don’t know whether that is related to giving up drink or not but something makes me think it might be.

I have every confidence I will successfully complete this challenge.

Here’s to another booze-free week!

Sponsors welcome and here is my fundraising page

www.justgiving.com/Catherine-Holmes-dryathlete2014