I am not feeling particularly upbeat today but I know from experience that that is the very best time to focus on my weekly positives. There is nothing particularly wrong. I am having to watch the pennies really closely which is never fun. My daughter is not well. Unusually, I have also found a number of bloggers less than pleasant this week. It is rotten when you are doing your best to please people and you just get grief. Right, let’s focus on the good stuff.

1. Although my daughter has had a couple of health issues this week, she is improving aided by various medication and lots of rest. She is currently snuggled up on the sofa with a duvet watching a soap opera. Nothing wrong with that!

2. My oldest son is getting very proactive about his future. He made a list of what he thinks he needs to do. Some of this involves getting involved in blogging and social media which was a surprise but something I can help him with. His diet has also improved again with him taking charge and doing a better job of making sure he eats healthy food.

4. My youngest son just gets on with things in his usual way with good humour. He is my ally when it comes to meal planning.

5. Reading is going well so I did a review of a book of feminist fairy tales and am currently reading a book about adoption and trauma.

6. I sorted my bedroom out which was long overdue. It is looking good and I found some more books to read in a laundry basket of all places. I have also sorted out the room we use as a wardrobe.

7.Strange happenings apply this week. I came downstairs the other day to find my husband steam cleaning the floor. My youngest son said he thinks he might use some of his time cleaning and my oldest son said he would clean the oven if I showed him how to do it. There was even one morning where the two lights that it is impossible for anyone to switch off me were actually switched off by the time I got up.

8. I am still sleeping well and getting in my regular walks on the private road near us and when it is not too boggy on our favourite forest path.

9. I found two cheap bins for the house which were nice and spacious. Isn’t it funny how storage and bins become so thrilling when we are mums?

10. We went to a car boot sale type thing and my daughter picked up a super expensive toy in its box for less than a fiver.

11. I am enjoying lighter evenings and slightly milder temperatures. It is not perfect but it suggests Spring is at least considering showing up soon.

12. I should also report that my husband is a great grand father for the second time with a new baby girl on the planet. Yes, he is way older than myself!

As ever, this summary of the cheerier stuff has lightened my mood. It is so important to keep counting our blessings.


R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

My Random Musings
Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Travelling solo as a woman is something many of us dream about. Some of us summon up the courage to do so and for some it remains out of reach for now. As a woman, you should never say never to exciting opportunities to broaden your horizons. With this in mind, I am delighted to share the experiences of Janice B Gordon who kindly also share some useful tips for travelling solo as a woman because one day you are going to do it, right?

Travelling Solo

“I have been travelling Solo for over 30 years, I have had many adventures and highlights with a few close shaves. However, I gained more profound cultural experiences and friendships travelling alone. When you travel alone more people both tourists and locals will talk to you. Couples are self-contained, and groups are intimidating to break into.

I remember in Kenya in the 1990’s I was invited to a village wedding as a guest of a waiter I met at my hotel. They were not many solo black women travelling solo in the 1990 so this gave me an honoured status in black countries. Kenya has a historic blend of Indian and African traditions. Having spent my English school holiday in Antigua, I was used to outdoor latrines and the killing and cooking of a celebratory goat or cow to feed the villagers. Antigua is a small Caribbean Island so when I say village the guest list must have counted over 400 well-wishers. The music, the colours, henna hands and feet, the food operation and the cultural explosion was an experience I will never forget.

I remember visiting Egypt.I stayed in Sharm El Sheik with many English and European tourists. Some would look at me as I came down for dinner. It can be uncomfortable, you get either ‘poor woman, she is on her own, come sit here,” or “he is my property, stay away” Remember this is about their fears, not yours.

Travelling Solo

I am in my mid fifties. If you are fit and healthy, age is less a barrier than confidence. However, the more solo trips you do, the more confidence you build. Local people are generally respectful and generous. Of course, if you speak the language it helps, but I only have basic French and fluent English, and it has not stopped me.

When I was age 19, I planned a trip to Barcelona travelling with my Mother and twin younger brothers. Since then, I appear to have built up a reputation as the Gordon family independent travel agent. Planning a recent 10-day tour of Ireland, I hired a 9 seater minibus staying in Airbnb’s with 4 generations of the Gordons half of which came in from the US. I do not like organised tours and like to do my own research and decide where I want to stay and what I want to see. This is easier now that it has ever been as everything is online.

I have just returned from Agadir, Morocco and the highlight was hiring a car and driving through the Atlas Mountains on the road that was cut into the mountain by the French army in 1920. Driving on worn dirt and tarmac roads often with no barrier up hairpin and corkscrew bends but the most spectacular views of the Atlas mountain range made a 200KM 8 hour drive amazing.

Travelling Solo

The first time you do anything it can be scary. Here are my tips for the first time solo traveller whatever your age:

• Research and plan your trip listing your top 10 things to do

• Travel light and wear layers

• Take a first aid kit and necessary medication (this stays in my travel bag)

• Get a travel credit card (cheaper withdrawal and exchange rates)

• Look-up local salutations (good morning/evening, thank you, how much? which way? put on a post-it and carry in your purse)

• Smile a lot, it gets you into and out of situations

• Take your phone and if unlocked get a local sim depending on where and how long you are staying

• Always use Google maps, and the translator apps are useful

• Always obey the speed limits (try to avoid police interaction)

• Always trust your gut and stay safe

• Ensure the hotel or host know where you are touring and your expected return date

• Be super polite, it is not always tipping that gets you the best treatments

• Get out of the hotels and experience the culture. Go off the beaten track but be street smart

• If you have an attitude that you have no rights and are a guest in someone else’s country, you will be OK

• Take a selfie stick- so you get in on your own photos

If you do not like your own company at home, then this might not be your cup of tea.

I love solo travel as there is no one to negotiate with but yourself. You have the time and space to think and do as you please, this is freedom. It is never too late to try it!”

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Post Comment Love
My Random Musings

The Silver Moon Storybook is a beautiful book that would make a great gift for any age from younger children to adults. It consists of seven short stories of the fairy tale variety weaving timeless themes into its wonderful stories.

Silver Moon Storybook

What I loved about the book

The book is lovely to hold in hardback with a dark blue cover beautified by silver lettering and images. The text is broken up by lovely black and white images that capture the imagination. You have around one illustration per two pages on average and I really don’t miss colour because the images are wondrous. The stories are short but detailed enough for you to actually care about the characters. This is a world of magical creatures from unicorns to clowns, from mermaids to witches, from spiders to wise old crones. The themes are the important ones in life such as learning, love and loss. There is a feminist element to the book too although I believe people who do not identify as feminists would enjoy the book too.

What I disliked about the book

As I often do with short stories, I had a feeling the endings were not satisfactory sometimes and a little rushed. I can see it is a challenge to do a long denouement when you are sticking to the short story format. Perhaps I was just a little sad to leave each magical tale behind.

How I felt when reading the book

It felt liberating to return to reading fairy tales again. I am passing on the book to my daughter first and then my son but it was lovely to indulge in this book as a middle-aged woman in my own right. Aspects of the book really moved me particularly when themes of freedom came up possibly saying a lot about how I feel about my lot in life right now. There was a lovely bit about people coming into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime that also resonated with me deeply at a soul level.

What I questioned about the book

I questioned that the feminist angle to the book was not strong enough for my tastes or at least not what I am used to having read feminist fairy stories a long time ago. I asked the author about this and loved her response.

I included several stories about men in The Silver Moon storybook because I see these feminist fairy tales as a challenge to patriarchy, not to men themselves.

It’s absolutely true and correct to say that men are the main material beneficiaries of patriarchy – after all a patriarchal society is built around the needs and expectations of men. However we also know that patriarchy damages men as well, for example by perpetuating stereotypes like “boys don’t cry” that leave men struggling to identify and manage their emotions. We only have to look at rates of male violence and male suicide (suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50) to see the gravity of the effects of this emotional neglect.

When I call myself a feminist, and this a feminist book, I base that on my belief that feminism offers us a route to equality – not just material equality, but emotional equality as well. To me this means addressing not only the myriad, material and very visible ways that patriarchy hurts women, but also the more insidious and hidden problems that affect men. I believe that if we can come to a better understanding of how women *and* men suffer under patriarchy, we have a better chance of convincing people to work together to address the issues we face and make life better for everyone.

Also, rather cynically, the straight white male is still the ultimate top banana of social hierarchy; if we want to effect real, radical change, he’s the one we will need to convince if we want him to share, and we simply won’t manage that without due consideration to his side of the story. This is why I correct anybody who says I’ve written a book of feminist fairy tales “for girls” – these messages are important for boys to hear as well; through my enormous clown and my gnome I provide them with role models showing that it’s healthy and important for men to feel emotions, to make emotional connections with other people, and to stand up for women in the face of toxic masculinity.

Lastly, I wanted young women to see these men being strong and fighting back against patriarchy – it’s important for women to know that decent men are allies, not opponents. I could easily have written a book filled simply with stories of empowered women winning the day, princesses fighting the dragon and casting all my male characters as abusers and oppressors, I just don’t think that would be a fair or accurate reflection of the true nature of our struggles towards equality.

Conclusion

I recommend this book for yourself or as a lovely gift for a loved one. It reminded me a little in some ways of the Brothers Grimm tales due to its diverse characters and settings. I think it is a book that I will need to return to again and again to get the most from and that is a positive. Next time around, I will take notes and there is an actual section where you can do this at the end of the book. I loved how some of the same characters came up in different stories catching me by surprise. These days that’s a little like reconnecting with people you knew long ago via Facebook. I also felt that the book was a little like how they say your life flashes past you at the time of death. All of the characters felt they had appeared for a reason and has powerful lessons to teach if only you could decipher them. I would score this book as a 9 out of 10.

https://www.somethinglovely.scot/silvermoon

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