An experiment

TLDR, it didn’t work.

After what can only be described as a terrible, no good, bad day at work, I had three glasses of wine with dinner on Thursday. I woke up with a hangover on Friday morning, I felt terrible all day and at the family fun night at school in the evening, tried to make myself feel better by having more wine. As you do.

On Saturday I again felt awful.

Sunday night, I finished off the bottle left over from Friday and for good measure had another bottle too.

Yes, another bottle.

Monday morning rolls around, I’ve now had a hangover-esque headache for over three days, my alarm goes off and instead of waking up and getting on with stuff, I turn it off and head back to bed.

Most importantly, my mood has slipped. Badly. By drink two on Thursday night, I’m already regretting my decision, but let’s just compound the information I’m smacking into my head with alcohol.

I wanted to print off my year planner again to start crossing off my days again afresh, to pretend it hadn’t happened, but I’m going to leave those three days unchecked. To remind me. I cannot do this any more. It’s not just about not drinking, it’s about managing me.

My mood had been stable all year, Sunday I could feel the old black dog creeping in to my field of vision. I’m also disappointed in myself.

Day one.



You choose the action, you choose the consequences

better parent

This is particularly relevant today.

Peanut and I did not leave the house in the best of moods. He didn’t want to get dressed. I had asked him repeatedly for 20 minutes to get changed from his PJs into his clothes. After his last warning ‘This is the last time I’m asking you, I will put you in the car in your pyjamas’ he still didn’t make any move to get changed. I put all the bags into the car (handbag, lunch bag, gym bag, Peanut’s bag plus another odd bag with a banana, flask of tea and a book in). Came back, took a deep breath – he’s still not changed.

I put his clothes and shoes in the car, came back and picked him up, putting him into his car seat, him kicking and screaming, saying he wanted to get dressed. I said ‘We don’t have time, we have to leave now’.

Trying to reason with a whirling dervish is not easy; I put the Pet Shop Boys on, drove to kinder, with him carrying on like a pork chop in the back of the car.

We got to kinder, I stopped the car and asked if he wanted to get dressed now.


Then I will take you in as you are.

No! I don’t want to go in my pyjamas.

Then let’s get dressed.

No! I want to go home to get changed!

We don’t have time.

By the time we got in the building, I was nearly crying. I was so angry I didn’t greet anyone, I just carried him up to his room. Went in, put his bag down, and sat on a chair to get him changed.

I slammed the door shut, taking my mood in the room with me. I told the educator, she was welcome to him this morning. I get eyebrows raised if I’m late to work, I hate being late – to anything! In a previous life, I turned up to work half an hour early, (even commuting to London I was early, underground permitting). I also stayed till the job was done, unless I had an appointment in the evening.

But now the clock I work to is run by a four year old who doesn’t understand the concept of it. Most days it’s not a problem, today I was tired, (insert hysterical parental laughter), I was fed-up with running around like crazy JUST to get out the house. He can get dressed on his own, and I don’t ask much of him in the mornings. Just to return his bowl to the sink when he’s finished breakfast and to get dressed.

I’m the adult, I’m aware of that. When he was dressed and calmed down we had a chat about our feelings and I apologised about getting angry. I also told him he was allowed to not like it when I was angry, to that. I received the most withering of four-year old insults:

You’re not coming to my party.

I’ll tell him he’s all out of luck about that later on.

If not now, when?

When I was little and my mum was cleaning the house, the stairs would gradually fill up on the right-hand side with things that needed to be returned to their places upstairs. This would include piles of folded clothes, books, toys, any odd bits of shopping that needed to go up to the bathroom like replacement toothpaste, shampoo and so on. My dad, my brother and I would walk past these little piles, time and again, until we were asked in a ‘louder’ voice by mum to take them upstairs. Either that or a pile would get dislodged, she’d have to sort it out again, it must have been a never-ending source of frustration to her – and something that I’m now bitterly ashamed of.

Our son is two years and eight months old, like many children he’s got various boxes from IKEA in an Expedit unit that he puts his toys away in. One is labelled with a picture of jigsaw pieces, another with a picture of trucks, another with a train and so on. He’s only little, but when he helps us tidy up he can see where to put groups of things. He’s also got a basket that holds his cuddly toys; it may well get upended, but before he goes to bed, we treat the basket like a hoop and ‘shoot’ the toys away. It’s never too early to encourage your child to take responsibility for their belongings, he loves helping us, so we’re making the most of him being excited about running around with the duster and a cloth, smears and all, he’s helping. Continue reading “If not now, when?”

Why Out On A Limb?

People call them ‘a-ha!’ moments, Oprah calls them God-winks, whatever you call them, it is that jolt of recognition you get when you hear, see or do something that resonates deep inside you. It may be something that just makes you go ‘Hmmm’ – but everyone knows what it feels like. When I read this quote (I’m looking at the original picture I cut out of a magazine as I type this) I knew I had to name my company Out On A Limb.

“Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is” H. Jackson Browne

When I listen to my gut, my heart and trust in my intuition, I feel better in myself about making the right decision at the right time. Going Out On A Limb, trusting that if you take the first step, the rest of the staircase will be there, is difficult. Which is why when you’re making big life changes, you need someone to walk beside you.

We will walk beside you as you set up your new life. We will help guide you through the chaos to the other side and to always having a dining room table you can eat at. Little things add up to a lot, sometimes you can’t see what needs to be done, that is where Out On A Limb comes in. Trust in us, we will help you.

A few lessons I’ve learned along the way

  • Five minutes preparation the night before is worth fifteen in the morning;
  • It says Dry Clean Only for a reason;
  • If you’ve not worn it in a year, you probably won’t wear it again;
  • Likewise, if you put an item of clothing on, to promptly take it off because you don’t like it or how it makes you feel – and do that twice, it’s time to sell or donate it;
  • You know that box that you took unopened from your old attic, and then shoved in the attic at your new house? Get rid of it, don’t even open it, if you needed what was in there, you would have opened it years ago; and
  • If something is worth keeping, you need to love it and use it regularly.

What is your most pressing problem?

  • “My house is lost under a blanket of toys, but some adults live here too.”
  • “Why do I have nothing for dinner, despite spending $100 at the supermarket yesterday?”
  • “I know I’ve got something to wear in there somewhere.”
  • “We’re moving house soon, and I don’t know where to start!”

Specialising in assisting working parents & logical to the point of simplicity, Maddie will help you see past the mountain of ironing & piles of paperwork, to a workable, sensible solution that involves the whole family in pulling together and working as a team in maintain your home.

Everyone has days where they wish their lunch was ready to go & their clothes were already ironed. Sometimes we all need a bit of help, or even a prod in the right direction.

Maddie can and will help you recognise what is important to you and your family, and most importantly, will help you achieve it.