Monday, 30 June 2014

Is it our Human Right to a have a holiday?

"It's my Human Right to take my kids on holiday"
There was a father on the news this morning who took his children out of school to go on holiday. He was hit by a penalty fine, and he would do it again if it means he can take his children abroad. I sympathised with him. He was unable to get authorised leave from his job to take them during the summer holidays - in Jon's job it's the same.

I'm sure when Ruby starts school we will suffer the same frustrations. Jon will have to jump on the office calendar on April 1st to bagsy all the good slots before the other parents jump in with their requests. With only three people per department being allowed leave on the same day, August is pretty much a no-go zone if you're not a parent of school age children.

HOWEVER - what really gets my blood boiling is when people quote the Human Rights Act to basically say they can do whatever they want to do.

I'm not an expert on the Human Rights Act or on family law, but I am 99% certain that it does not cover your so-called 'right' to provide your children with a holiday abroad every single year.

You have a 'right' to a family life - which involves you having access to your children, spending reasonable time with them and being involved in their upbringing. This does not need to take place in the Costa Del Sol.

Your children have a 'right' to an education - if you decide to take them out of school on a consistent basis, potentially, you are depriving them of that right. It can be argued that seeing the world is an education and they should have the right to experience different cultures - on some level I agree. But are you really using this opportunity to educate them when you take them on a package holiday to Spain? Honestly?

If I can't afford to take Ruby, Jon and I on a holiday abroad every year, could Ruby later sue me for breaching her Human Rights?

Now, don't misunderstand me, I agree that we should be able to, within reason, make decisions that are within our children's best interests. The Government should not be able to make these decisions for us and I object to a 'Nanny State' who polices us so closely that we are no longer able to make these decisions.

But that's not my big issue here.

Here's my big issue:

The Human Rights Act is in place to protect us from the great injustices of the world: human trafficking, slave labour, lack of education, abuse, poverty. There are people, the world over, in this country and abroad who are living far short of the Human Rights that should be standard in every society. A civilised society will do everything within their power to prevent these breaches from happening and to raise the standards to ensure that people can live without fear, without lack, without injustice. They will live in freedom. They will be educated. They will be able to exercise their faith, they will be able to have an opinion and independent thought and they will be able to express these thoughts without fear of repercussions.

You do not have a Human Right to do whatever you want and then use the Human Rights Act to justify your actions.

You broke the rules. You were reprimanded for it. You accepted your fate.

But don't go on national television and pretend it's your Human Right to break the rules. It makes a mockery of everything the Human Rights Act stands for, and it makes a mockery of those people who live every day, genuinely suffering due to breaches of their Human Rights.
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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Get Good Summer - The most productive 10 weeks of the year!

I love a resolution and I need no excuse to make one - when it comes to goal setting, I am there!

It's keeping those resolutions that are the problem!

So when Claire over at Clarina's Contemplations challenged us once again to Get Good Summer I got that excitable feeling that comes with the thrill of setting a new list of goals. The (rather good) idea is that we spend the next 10 weeks having our most productive summer ever. We set ourselves five goals and each Thursday we link up and see how we're all getting on (first rule of goal setting - be accountable!). Then, by the time September rolls around, we'll have achieved so much we won't be able to believe our eyes!

But before my imagination runs away with me as I dream about the complete turnaround that my life is about to take, remember, the goals must be specific, measurable and realistic.... hmmm, here is my downfall. When it comes to goal setting, I am always vague, flaky and entirely unrealistic (I like to think of it as ambitious!).

But anyway, in a bid to Get Good Summer and to turn my life around in the space of 10 weeks, here are my goals, out here for the world to see and judge me on. Who knows what could happen!

Blog three times per week
My little corner of the web often falls into neglect when life gets busy and I feel overwhelmed, but I know it takes 21 days to form a habit, right? And three posts a week is achievable - it's not the ideas that I'm short on, it's just prioritising it, that's all.
Specific goal:
To spend Sunday evenings each week planning, writing and scheduling three blog posts

Set up my home office
Since moving house I've been feeling in a state of disarray. My dining room is currently full of boxes of paperwork, I have years worth of paperwork piled up and I can never find anything I need. I've had four double-booking disasters in the last month when previously my schedule was programmed into my brain. I'm also finding that although I 'work from home', I actually work from Caffe Nero which is bad for the bank balance. I believe a home office, now that we have a nice space under the stairs, is in part the answer to all of these problems to help me on my way to a more organised, efficient wife, mother and business woman (and it will save on those coffees!).
Specific goal:
To create an area that I will enjoy working in, where everything is organised and easy to find. I will purchase a desk and two filing cabinets, set it all up, file everything away and commit to working there instead of going to Caffe Nero.

Get Published
Since becoming self-employed, I've focused my attention on the editing side of things because that's where my client base is. However, my real passion is writing and I don't do enough of it. I always wanted to be a journalist, not necessarily an editor, so over this summer I commit to getting my writing published.
Specific goal:
Over the next 10 weeks I will brainstorm, research and pitch five article ideas to publishers, as well as try guest blogging on other people's blogs. I will take the rejections and use it as a springboard into a new habit. When updating my blog, I will think in terms of showcasing my writing for publishers to see.

Finish that quilt
When I was on maternity leave I began making a quilt for Ruby. I started out with great vigour and enthusiasm. I stitched together the quilt top and was very proud of my achievement. Then I stopped because quilting and binding it seemed too hard. By the time September rolls around, Ruby (now 15 months) will have her quilt!
Specific goal:
I will set aside Thursday evenings to finish that quilt!

Invest in my marriage
This year it has very much seemed like Jon and I have been passing like ships in the night! He's had more opportunity to work overtime, then when he comes home he takes over from looking after Ruby while I work. We're often out doing various different activities with church and I don't remember the last time we had a weekend with no plans. I certainly don't remember the last time we had a date... I think it was January!
Specific goal:
I will schedule three date nights over the next 10 weeks and arrange a babysitter in advance, ensuring that there is a budget for us to do something nice together.
So, here's to the best summer ever! Every Thursday I'll be letting you know how I'm getting on and linking up over at Clarina's Contemplations. Why not join in the fun?! Link up every Thursday and follow along on Twitter with #GetGoodSummer.
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Monday, 16 June 2014

How World Cup 2014 can IMPROVE your marriage!

"Over the next month, Jon, you can watch as much football as you like!"
I declared on Thursday.

What are you saying? Think about what you're saying, you mad woman!... however, if you're serious about that, you are the best wife that ever lived.

Jon had a big grin on his face. He had arrived home to a patriotic England flag above the fireplace, Brazilian flag bunting strung up around the lounge, a nice cold cider, some chips and salsa, popcorn, the lot. World Cup 2014 had arrived in the Davies household!

Yup, you are the best wife in the world!

Aside from the festive decorations I had picked up in Asda, I had also embarked on a bit of footballing nostalgia on the behalf of my dear husband. I had bought him an official Panini World Cup 2014 Sticker book. Complete with five extra packs of stickers.

Woah, slow down, how can you ever top this amazing gift of generosity, nostalgia and general football geekery!

Jon rushed to the dining table, tore open the shiny packaging, devoured the packs of stickers as he began turning the pages and gently, oh so carefully, placing each sticker in its rightful place. Oh the fun, we will have!

Some might believe this to be marital suicide. Some might think that this amazing act of selflessness came with no strings attached and the result would be a couch potato football hooligan, hogging the remote and sofa for the next six weeks and refusing to carry out any tasks unless they neatly fit into a 15 minute half time slot.

Those people would be wrong.

I can inform you that I now have the most productive, helpful husband in the world. In fact, he's now begging me for chores around the house!


Well you see, my declaration of love did come with two conditions. They were well thought out conditions, they were intended on making my life easier and more productive. Here they are:

1. You can watch unlimited football until the World Cup Final... as long as you do the washing up every day.
The washing up is a constant source of frustration in our kitchen. My eczema means that it's actually really painful if I do it myself and it causes a huge eczema flare up, this means my husband forbids me from doing it, but it doesn't always mean that it's done when I want it done. If my husband washes up every single day, leaving me a clean kitchen with clean pots and pans, then I am quite happy to cook every day, meaning that he can watch the football. If he was expecting me to cook in a dirty kitchen while he watched the football then this would be a surefire recipe for disaster!

2. You can watch unlimited football until the World Cup Final... as long as you put Ruby to bed every single night.
If Jon commits to doing Ruby's bedtime it first of all means he continues to take an active role in her life while the World Cup is on. Secondly, it gives me a break meaning that I don't resent him for watching football while I'm struggling with Ruby after having looked after her all day. It also means I have a few minutes to set myself up to be productive after she's gone to bed, without being distracted by the TV. Bring on the lists!

3. You can increase your World Cup Bonanza by performing additional tasks...
Yup, there are rewards to be had! Jon can only gain more stickers for his sticker album if he performs tasks around the house. Mowing the lawn on Saturday morning garnered him three packs of stickers. Changing his address with his credit card company, one extra pack. Daily tasks (like the washing up) and parenting tasks don't count (Jon shouldn't - and doesn't - need any encouragement to look after his own daughter!) but administrative tasks that would otherwise take weeks to get round to, they can be completed in minutes if there's a packet of stickers to be had.

You see, two weeks ago we moved house. There's still a lot to be done. That Christmas Tree that's still on the dining room floor? Put it up the loft and I'll give you two packs of stickers. Changing your address with the bank - one pack. Sorting through your wardrobe... hmmm that's got to be worth five packs!

And you know what? I'm starting to quite like this system!

Jon is a footballing freak and at times like this, I am the definition of a footballing widow. There was no way he was going to let World Cup 2014 pass us by. And why should he? It's something he's passionate about and it only happens once every four years. So I had to concede defeat before it had even started - why argue about the inevitable? Instead, let's embrace the football! Embrace my husband's one big passion in life. Get involved! Make it fun, and use it to my advantage.

Over the last few days I've had the most attentive, most productive, most helpful husband in the world, and despite his football addiction, I love him more than ever!
How are you making World Cup 2014 work in your house?

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