100 Days of fun – The Finale

There just wasn’t a lot of fun anymore. A lot of busy-ness. A lot of doing this and that, holding everything together. A lot of toddler love, which holds my heart never endingly, but every so often I’d still feel the engulfing absence of former fun.

I was a single mum, growing a mini-me single-handedly.

I managed a home and ran a business. In fact, I ran three with sporadic income. A hopeful entrepreneur.

Responsibilities and aims here, there and everywhere but I also knew my blessings – opportunity, education, a wonderful son, health and loved-ones.

I still missed a little bit of grown-up fun though.

Dressing for a date fun.

Dancing all night fun.

Laughing so my grin stuck fun.

There wasn’t much of any of this.

Not only was I missing fun but I realised a fundamental part of me was missing.

I wasn’t much fun myself anymore – not much fun to be around or be with. I was serious now. Everything was important, committed, tough but that’s just how it had to be. What did I have to complain about? Suck it up. I made these choices.

There was a sense of self-harm about it, self-flagellation.

Deep down, I longer for fun and not only for its sake but also, very clearly, for my mental health.

Fun is important.

Fun manifests fun.

Fun brings joy, endorphins and stress relief.

Before, I had always considered myself a fun person and without it I was missing a lot of positive energy. Not good for me or my son, so, I decided to stop stopping grown-up fun and to start having some.

The aim was to document everything on Instagram as ‘100 Days of Fun’ but, then, Coronavirus happened and this wasn’t fun for anyone. No dancing for the world, shopping off, dates on hold, the economy tanking and people dying. It couldn’t have been bleaker. I felt helpless for others and fearful for and of everyone. What was happening to us?

I decided to stick to my fun 100 days. Stick to Instagram. Stick with doing something good consistently as I needed it now more than ever and maybe someone else would like it too.

I improvised and did collage instead of shopping, laughed on video chats with friends and danced alone in my flat. I went for walks with my beautiful boy in beautiful places and I took photos of dishes I cooked.

What was more important though for me than anything was the process of it all.

The process of thinking of something fun to do that I could post about. The process of being committed to showing up consistently. The process of initially feeling this new project was a chore and of pushing through to then find it joyful. Every part was therapeutic during a time when the world was in limbo.

I began to look forward to posting my next fun picture and did it one day after the other, again and again, until there were 100 of them.

On September 23rd, the day after the Autumn Equinox this year, I put my final day on Instagram. This 100th post showed a picture of my son staring adoringly at a tractor and its’ trailer. He loves tractors and the effort he put in inspecting every inch of it made me smile, so, I took a photo and shared it online.

Doing 100 days of fun has shown me some things. That setting myself a challenge and sticking to it feels good, pushing through the uncomfortable parts of change gets me to a place of ease and positivity and doing fun stuff brings fun back into life. I hope you enjoyed my 100 Days of Fun too.

Here’s looking forward to all dancing all night again soon! Wishing everyone a wonderful start to an autumn of more fun…


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Single Parent Summertime

It’s here! The sun, strawberries and sandcastles of a British Summertime. How wonderful!

I love this season and I love a bit of camping in the great outdoors, but a recent trip made me realise camping can, concisely, sum up the hardest thing I find about being a single parent…

PHYSICAL EXHAUSTION (camping can be bloody hard work).

Maybe it’s also that I’m getting on a bit (42, I know I don’t look it – lol) but doing every job that needs to be done for a camping trip is tiring. Never mind adding in everything that’s needed for a toddler’s camping trip too!

It took me nearly 2 hours to gather together everything required, from every cupboard and drawer in the flat, and squeeze it in the car (and I still forgot stuff). Then, there’s the getting to the site, unloading, erecting and sorting the tent, bedding, tables, chairs, roll mats, food, toiletries – followed by a succession of early mornings, sweaty days, chilly evenings, bbqs, lack of fridge etc. etc. etc. – all happening with toddler in tow.

Camping in the summertime, on your own with a little one, involves a lot of physical work – lifting, shifting, moving and sorting – whilst continually ensuring my son doesn’t kill himself on a tent peg or guy rope.

I was physically spent and it’s at these times I find single parenting hard.

There’s just not much left in the tank so playing a new game or reading another story is an effort rather than a joy, but, I also understand for me to be on good form I should employ tried and tested actions which keep me on track (whether I’m camping or anywhere else):-

  • Firstly, I listen to my body. I didn’t used to do this but would then burn myself out and catch some illness or other. In current times though, more than ever, it’s key to look after our health so if I feel tired, I rest, chill and try to get an extra hour or two of sleep.
  • I also generally slow down and do less in the daytimes for a couple of days. I don’t push on and I don’t, in any way, compare myself to others (we don’t need to hike/cycle/swim every day). My son and I hang out, read, colour, play and laugh at home – whether that’s in a tent or flat. Instead of cooking a big dinner with lots of components one evening, we might just have beans on toast. I make life simpler.
  • I always make sure I practice self-care. I am kind to myself, giving myself a foot rub with oil as a treat or meditating and listening to the birdsong outside. Treats can never be over-estimated!
  • The last and most powerful thing I do is to be in the present moment with gratitude. I am mindful to whatever wonder is happening and I am grateful for it – my son playing with his cars on the picnic rug outside our tent, to the sun setting across the far hills or to the crackle of the barbecue getting going.

These strategies always set me straight, be it in the summer (when faced with the unenviable task of rolling a tent back up) or in the dead of winter (whilst climbing 4 flights of stairs to our top floor flat with 4 bags of shopping).

I just slow down.

I live in love and congruence with my body.

I am grateful for life and its’ joys.

And it generally does the trick, exhaustion goes and energy flows.

Hopefully these ideas might help you too if you (‘re mad enough to) decide to camp with a toddler. We’ve got our next trip already planned ?!

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