27 February 2015

Who's The Worst Driver You Know?

I was recently asked to write an article about the worst driver I know, but didn't want to offend that particular person and risk ruining our relationship!  Plus, I was mindful of people we know who have experienced hurt as a result of some bad driving and didn't want to make light of it.

The angles discussed reminded me of a survey yonks ago - that much searching has not yet found - which resulted in a majority of the people asked claiming they'd rather be told they had no sense of humour than to be told their driving is bad.

It's obviously a really touchy subject!

The point of the post was to talk about the More Than Telematics Insurance.  This is when a small black box is attached to your car to monitor things such as your speed and your braking to build up a picture of your driving style. This information is then reflected in your insurance premiums and savings of hundreds of pounds can be made.

It is especially aimed at young drivers but, with any luck, it will also be helpfully vital, because I once attended one of those Speed Awareness courses (*blushes*) where they opened with the shocking statistic that speed is the biggest killer of young people worldwide.  (More info in this report HERE).

That kind of figure never leaves you and much searching has not yet found the notes I made that day either, which is a shame because it was enormously interesting.  They also advised, for example, that your laptop or handbag can kill you in a crash should they (or any other large object) fly off the passenger seat and hit you at speed and even a mobile phone can cause a nasty injury.  This is something else I've always remembered so, to this day, all our stuff goes on the floor of the car.

There were lots of people there like me, who took our tests around 30 years ago and many things have changed on the roads since then, including the cars.  It was a very worthwhile cause and it's a better investment of resources - education and re-education - than fiscal fines.  We all came out humbled and I am definitely more cautious now.

So it's not only young drivers who could benefit from being assessed in this way.  It's easy to get into bad habits.  According to them, the average time checking for traffic at a junction before pulling out is under four seconds.  Four seconds!  Which is downright dangerous obviously.  Especially for motorcyclists who won't always get glimpsed in a glance. (You'll find yourself checking how long you take - or don't - now!).

more than car insurance, telematics box, jeremy vine, dangerous driving,
Jeremy Vine
(Image Daily Mail)
And the lovely Jeremy Vine from Radio 2 (someone who I secretly have a crush on) did a feature on his lunchtime programme a while ago saying he was probably going to have to give up his cycling to work because he honestly feels he's risking his life on the roads regarding the ridiculous amount of unthinking driving he encounters.

What he said was startling:  'Every morning when I leave the house, my wife says farewell in the manner of Japanese women who waved off pilot husbands in World War II.'  

He wrote a brilliant article about that HERE - so he's done the bit about some of the worst drivers we know for me and he also, much more recently, held a discussion on his show about how relationships can disintegrate when people with more nerve than I have actually criticize someone else for lacking ability or awareness behind the wheel.  Like I said - very touchy.  Made me hoot though.

Would you rather be told you had no sense of humour (or anything else) than be told your driving is bad?

Who's the worst driver you know?  We won't tell anyone.  Honest ;)

[Disclosure - this is a commissioned post].

25 February 2015

Everything Different.

the sea, brighton,
One perspective. 
It can be a lonely business being a writer.  I like to take the lap top into town sometimes, purchase a coffee whilst perusing the passers-by and be away from the distraction of domestic drudgery.  It’s much more fun than being at home and the very best way to get things done.

There’s never any shortage of something interesting to see in or near Brighton.  There will be people with green, purple or pink hair.  There will be an array of bright and breezy coloured weird clothing combinations and business persons - suited and booted - will mingle with the sandal-wearing vegans dressed in hemp.  Plus, of course, depending on the venue of the day, there’s always the possibility of working with a sea view.

It struck me recently though, that I sit in the same places, in the same cafes, ordering the same things in them and, lovely as they all are, it felt like time to shake it up a bit.

sea, brighton,
A different perspective.
My first few forays were unnerving.  There wasn’t always WiFi for a start.  Or anywhere to plug anything in when my battery was getting too low.  At least when you’re familiar with a place and they’re familiar with you, these things are a given. (I always ask permission before using anyone else’s power and you can’t always find someone somewhere new!).

Then there’s the parking issue. I HATE paying over the odds for that when the cash could go towards something nice for lunch instead, so that threw me a bit too and it was quite hard to continue my ‘Everything different’ drive. 

Plus, the kids didn’t like it when it came to the week-ends. We’ve been going to alternative parts of the beach – or *gasp* not going at all.  Even just walking in the opposite direction has rattled them and they haven't appreciated my daring little detours when we're driving.  We’re playing more board games, watching less movies (if you don’t count the shedload while the little one was ill in half-term) and generally just jazzing things up.  It seems they needed it equally as as much!

But then, then, oh then, after a few months of this, I found myself back in an old haunt and, for a moment, considered sitting somewhere really out of character and ordering a liquorice tea, in order to, you know, keep the whole new change thing going.  However, I treated myself, instead, to what would have been my usual fayre.  The pleasure took me by surprise - it felt like I’d come home.

For a start, it alleviated any lurking loneliness.  The familiarity of my coffee was a complete comfort and joy.  And I realised why we pick our places and we stick with them until we’re perhaps, too stuck - it’s because we've chosen them over and above the rest for a reason.  They suit us.  We love them.    
We've enjoyed ‘Everything different’ - it certainly has its place.  Getting out of a rut has been good for us all, but it has also brought extra pleasure to what I was already doing and where we were already going.  The children have become more (graciously!) adaptable and the exploring and venturing further afield will continue, spoiled as we are with a wealth of opportunity where we live - between the foot of the Sussex Downs and the coast.  Now that the kids are older, it's time for us all to spread our wings a little further.

Just don’t let me dye my hair.

Have you tried anything new lately?

sea, brighton,
A change of viewpoint. 

16 February 2015

How to Make Pancakes - French Style.

crepes, pancakes, how to make, French pancakes, shrove tuesday, pancake day, mardi gras,
Our French student, Victoire.
I'm not known for my recipes, but the ones I occasionally share by my Foreign Language students are popular because they're original and authentic and this one is no exception.

It is one that my current lovely lady from France has introduced.  Her mum makes their crepes with rum IN the batter.  Taking the view that it would be rude not to insist she showed us as * Shrove Tuesday (or Mardis Gras as they call it) approaches, here are the ingredients -

250g flour (any kind, including gluten free)
3 eggs
pinch salt
1/2 litre milk (whichever is your normal sort, including coconut)
1 large spoon oil
1 large spoon dark rum

Place the flour in a bowl, with a hole in the middle. Crack the eggs into it, add the salt and mix with a wooden spoon.

Pour the milk in a little at a time, keep mixing until it is all liquid, add the oil and then the rum.

Leave the mixture to stand for two hours, occasionally stirring gently.

When it's time to cook the crepes, you can add a little water or a touch more milk to make it less thick if you want to.

Heat a little butter in your pan and add a ladle of mixture. Cook it slowly but well, then flip it over for the same.

[Or - it's common for the French to use an electronic machine called a Crep'Party which stands in the centre of the table.  It makes six at a time, so everyone present does their own, kind of fondue style].

They traditionally serve them with hot butter and sugar - much more delicious than it sounds, Nutella or caramel, jam or just sugar.  Victoire's favourite is banana, melted chocolate and cream.  They don't seem to do savoury ones, which is normally my preference, but having tried hers and added some extra rum for good measure, I can't complain!    

They would work perfectly with coconut milk too.

We made a pile of ten and kept them warm with foil. They don't stick to each other because of the oil in the mixture and there wasn't really any need for butter for frying because of it either.

Et voila!  The kids declared they could eat them for ever.

'Shrove' emanates from the word 'Shrive' meaning to confess and 'Mardis Gras' is French for 'Fat Tuesday,' referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting and penitential season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday

Bon Appetit!

(And in case you missed them here's a couple of other goodies -

How to Make a Perfect Carbonara Sauce. 

How not to make Fajtas but how to drink Tequila. ).

29 January 2015

Watch Out, There's Man Flu About!

man flu, #manflu, michael mcintyre,
Source - Pinterest.

So it turns out that Man Flu is a real thing.  According to a recent study in America, it seems that the hormone oestrogen plays an important role in strengthening our immune systems.  Darn it.  

We all know that men don’t possess the level of oestrogen that women do, but this is where they fall down when it comes to their ability to fight cold and flu viruses. Their lack of it actually makes their immune systems weaker, which in turn means they not only contract viruses more easily than the fairer sex, but feel the effects more seriously.  

I am so glad I am not married anymore.  Because aside from finding toe nail clippings on the sitting room floor, nursing a man who is justified in feeling sorry for himself and could quote this kind of thing at me might make me divorce him anyhow.  

Unfortunately, he would be backed up by the (informal) Twitter study of #ManFlu on the link, which, instead of it being limited to the wusses down south as I expected it to be (speaking as someone who lives right down there) it's being claimed as a genuine illness all over the country!

I asked some friends of mine what drove or drives them mad about their partners aside from nursing him when he's far more ill than we'd ever be:-

The lovely Becky from Lakes Single Mum relishes the joy of no-one snoring next to her in bed, my gorgeous friend Sarah despairs from having her husband leave wet towels on the bathroom floor and the beautiful Actually Helen, who is also still married says she wouldn't need to see her osteopath so often if she weren't constantly picking up socks and pants from the floor!

The very generous Joy seems to be fighting a neverending losing battle with the toothpaste tube and dreams of waking up every morning knowing that it has only been squeezed from its end, plus the marvellous Mari, who's living proof of hope triumphing over experience as she's on her second time round, sometimes thinks she might prefer not to have to pass every idea she has by someone else and lusts to live happily ever after 'in her land of make believe!'

As tempting as it is to pick up on that last statement and link it to men and Man Flu I shall resist, seeing as it's now a solid and proven thing as it can get, but I really can't restrain myself from mentioning that, due to their lesser levels of oestrogen, they never go through a full blown labour, do they? ;)

This clip here of Michael McIntyre relaying a conversation with his wife about why his washing is next to the laundry bin and his dirty plates are next to the dishwasher is something we can all identify with and should be shown to any remaining husbands sharpish - well those who aren't dying from #ManFlu.  It is absolutely terrific.

Disclosure - this is a commissioned post but all words are my own obvs.

26 January 2015

I Was Married to a Sociopath.

Some things hit you between the eyes.  Others take a little longer, then whack you around the face to boot, as if to wake you from your stupor.

And then, you're finally free.

'He's a Sociopath,' someone had said.

'A Sociopath?'  I thought.  'Psycopath' had often crossed my mind, but 'Sociopath?' What on earth did that mean?

It seemed a good Google was in order.

This produced amazing and instant results.  It explained everything.  With relief and awe amidst feelings of incredible shame and foolishness, the truth dawned:  I'd been married to one.

I perused page after page listing the signs and symptoms and the eye-opening continued.  It made complete sense.

Not that there was anything I could do about any of it.  Only my perception had changed.  His behaviour would continue to hurt me. Worse, it would affect the children too.

It wasn't as if the tell tale stuff wasn't there at the outset of what would be a doomed and mostly miserable relationship, it sure as hell was, but so clever are they at luring you in to their 'Woe is me' story, making you feel sorry for them and exploiting every last fibre of your kind and giving being that it may be many years before you manage to eventually extricate yourself.

If you work with a Sociopath, you will feel bullied and humiliated. So, too, if a parent or your partner could be classed one.  It's difficult to recover.

This is what Professor Robert Hare says in one of his books 'Without Conscience' -
'Sociopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate and ruthlessly plough their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret.'
In my experience, you fall for Mr. Charming - the attentive, caring, witty and understanding part of his personality which hides a ruthless, cunning, deceitful and domineering one.  Your friends will be impressed.  Your family will welcome him in.  You don't tell them about the snide comments when they begin.

You think you are happy.  You make excuses for him.  The criticisms about your cooking, the dissing your driving and the sneers at your appearance insidiously mount.  You slowly become quieter, the more of you that is extinguished, the more your confidence evaporates.

You might try to talk about it.  Your friends and family make excuses for him.  You don't tell them how bad it really is, because in-between times, in public, you see the man you thought he was, believe he is, if only you can help him.

You try harder.

He blames everyone else.  He blames his luck.  He thinks everyone is out to get him.  You try harder again.  You can see someone brilliant and extraordinary with incredible potential, perhaps with depression, or even Asperger's, but these are condidions which cannot be turned on and off at whim, depending on who's watching.   You are confused, you feel wretched and guilty.

By now, you might have children with this person.  Something else that will add to his angry temperament.  He will try to make you happy.  Becaue he's so f*cked up, he will fail.  Your heart can't switch around as his moods do.  Much damage will have been done.  Many tears will have been shed.  Yours and his.

In outward ways he is great.  He saves the real him for you, when no-one is looking.  He will punch walls, smash a glass table, but never hit you.  He is intimidating and his favourite remark is that you don't know anything about anything.  He makes you fight to be heard.  He condemns your opinions, disregards your feelings, ignores your efforts and dismisses your desires.

You try harder.

You may become more assertive.  He merely ups his menacing game.  But his mask might start to slip - in front of the children.  The neighbours will notice.  Your friends get a glimpse - the few from whom he luckily didn't manage to isolate you.  All the 'Who the f*ck is that?' comments every time one of them rang will have unnerved you and those who went by the wayside will have increased your insecurity and fed his power.

You will feel embarrassed,  but you will start to open up, take legal advice even.  They label it 'Emotional / Domestic Abuse.'  Years later you will hear the newer, posher term 'Intimate Terrorism' and know exactly what it means.  You will peer past the glamourous exterior of Nigella Lawson, identifying with the pain, hurt and betrayal in her eyes and you will sense that she, too, despite her dignified appearance, deep down, is broken.

You secretly make notes of things.  And then one day, he finally goes far too far, so, with newfound boldness, you quit, calling it a day, at last accepting it's not you who is crazy.  

All your previous attempts to finish the relationship will have been met with threats of suicide, promises to seek help and counselling sessions might even have been had, but to no avail.

And when you're divorced, you think it's over.  But, no, he wades back into your life, throwing his weight around, banging on about his right to see the children who he goes on to upset and disturb with alarming regularity.

Your life is toxic with him in it.  You don't want him to win.  You have to protect your sons - yet you don't know what is actually best for them.  You tear yourself up trying to do work out what that is. You find yourself required to rely on professionals who don't even get their names right.  They suggest your ex-husband is a controlling 'Narcisstic Sociopath,' but they add the caveat - 'If what you are saying is true.'

They throw in 'Anti-Social Personality Dis-Order' which is deemed more acceptable to the courts, but it's expensive to prove.   For every step forward feeling heard, there are a couple back.  Despair sets in. You are dangerously demoralised.  Frustration must be overcome with yet more faith and fortitude.

Fortunately for you, your friends no longer hold back.

You are exhausted, shattered from so much trying, yet still you continue.  Some women will go under, but you're determined not to be one of them.

You are free of him now, but the children aren't.  You do your best to faciliate a healthy, loving relationship but you wonder whether it's possible.  It's no longer about how he made you leave the bedroom three times a night when you were breastfeeding because he 'couldn't stand the f*cking sucking sound.'  It's about how your eldest son has 'dark feelings in his heart' he attributes to his father and how the youngest one clings to your Foreign Language Students (enforced upon us all by his lack of contribution) and more or less any other man he meets and calls them all 'Daddy,' as unedifying and mortifying as it is.

You have to stay strong, brave and decent, everything he isn't.  But you cope.

You have to for the childrens' sakes.

And your new life may falter, but it will still be there.

sociopath, psycopath, loved and lost,
Articles and Sources of help -

Psycopath vs Sociopath - What's the difference?

Sociopath Signs: Is your Ex a Sociopath or a Narcissist?

womens aid (National Domestic Violence Helpline) 0808 2000 247
RESPECT - helpline for men 0808 8010 327  / anyone else 0808 802 4040 
RISE (Brighton & Hove) 01273 622822

10 December 2014

Things I've Nearly Said...

Sometimes I begin a blog post and it never sees the light of day.  This is because, just as in 'real life,' as we're all aware, conversations are started but almost impossible to finish with two young children around.  Throw in a Foreign Language Student who *shock* actually wants to practise his English with me whenever he can and even more moments will pass and lots of stuff on lots of levels will be abandoned.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.  The students can make my life a living hell when they're inconsiderate and party all the time, so it's a refreshing change to be treated like a human being and not someone here just to do their washing and change their sheets and feed them when they deign to turn up.  Every now and then we get one who is actually interested in the family, integrating and not treating the place like a Hotel.  They're in a no-win situation really as I'll moan when they do and I'll moan when they don't (to myself), as any free time it's possible to muster when the kids are in bed disappears into the night with them.

It's been quite challenging amusing interesting, however, explaining #TheApprentice and #I'maCeleb to a 41 year old man whose English isn't quite up to translating that yet.  Seeing as he's from Libya, my opinion about the Mel vs. Edwina argument - 'Nothing wrong with independence' (Mel Sykes) vs. 'Without a bloke she'll end up a bitter old woman' (Edwina Currie) would have been too exhausting to try to chat about and completely wasted on someone who can have four wives if he wants to.  And I never got chance to bring it up on the blog where, for the record, I was going to suggest that Edwina seems the far happier woman. #Justsaying.

Plus I was going to chat about how I hoped that cuckoo Kendra woman paid tax on the $500 000 she boasted about earning in the six months she claimed to be a stripper.  Before she went up in the world to and of prostituion - which is what living at the Playboy mansion involves.  Apparently, the old man (83 at the time), calls you upstairs when it's you he fancies.  She had no qualms in admitting that she slept with him (plus I bet she wasn't saying her incredibly annyoing 'OMG' every five seconds then;) ).  And the lovely Libyan and I didn't get very far with that convo either.  He comes from a mainly Muslim country where women's elbows and ankles must be covered, so it was a tad too embarassing!

Anyway, moving swiftly on, my ancient but amazing runaround has had a new clutch probably double the worth of the car itself and I've recently found myself in the peculiar position of reading a book that didn't seem anywhere near as good as the film that inspired me to borrow it from the library. Everyone knows the rule generally goes the other way and, despite keeping reading and hoping, it never happened.  And it's huge, so there's many an hour of my life I'll never get back.  If you get the chance, though, I recommend 'Philomena' - a great movie based on a true story.  The book is completely different and left me a bit meh.

The other night was far more entertaining.  The eldest was in a Christmas Concert at the esteemed Brighton Centre.  There were over 40 schools performing altogether and it was a charming event, made all the more challenging amusing interesting by my companion, the youngest, who had virtually stripped off in the heat of the place and was making those farting sounds with one hand under his armpit and moving his elbow up and down sharply, perfectly in time to Ding Dong Merrily on High.

This would be inbetween him alternating trying to sleep on the floor because it was well past his bedtime and standing up attempting to out-sing the whole lot of them without really knowing all of the words or tunes to any of the songs.  He has no shame that child.  I pretended not to notice those knowing looks passing between the poor people who were unfortunately seated within earshot.

But as if my perpetual humilation wasn't enough, I found myself faffing about with all our layers afterwards - coats, scarves and gloves everywhere, with both their little boy woolly hats perched temporarily on my head in an effort not to lose anything, just as the first man I've fancied in a few years came by to say Hi.

I guess some things are better not said or done!

What have you been up to?

5 December 2014

Co-Parenting at Christmas.

Christmas is a tricky time of year for separated and divorced parents.  In the early days, no-one knows what 'the right thing' to do is and then as you become more familiar with family law and are happy with the arrangements, the kids throw a spanner in the works.  They've become older, have formed their own opinions and you're lucky if they want to see any of you, let alone celebrate two Christmasses with both sets of parents and aunts and uncles and grandparents. *Big Sigh!*

For some of us, the single parenting / co-parenting situation can be fairly straightforward.  For others though, it's nigh on impossible.  My experiences have led me to ascertain that if one of the parties was really darned unreasonable during the marriage, they're likely to remain that way when you have ongoing dealings with them.  And I'm not just talking about mine (*rolls eyes at continual exapseration with nutty ex-h*) but others' too. 

Fraught feelings pass, but in the early days, and / or especially at this time of year, we might need help. There is no 'right way' for everyone.  What serves your family best is key, as is spelled out in this brilliant co-parenting guide which has come to my attention.  When both parties put aside their anger and focus on damage limitation, much can be achieved.

It's produced by The Co-operative Legal Services and it's FREE, full of helpful tips and advice on the issues we need to consider and I really recommend a read.  It keeps co-parenting after divorce as straightforward as is possible.

In the interests of reducing stress around the logistics of the festive season though and making it more enjoyable for everyone, they've provided me personally with their Family Law expert Jenny Beck, to whom I've posed these rather probing (genuine, obvs) questions and seeing as no circumstances are black and white her answers are in blue ;) !  I hope they go some way towards alleviating any anxiety you - or someone you know - might be feeling. 

Jenny Beck, The Cooperative Legal Advice, Family Law expert. 

Our Questions & Answers:

  1. What's the normal arrangement for divorced or separated parents re their kids at Christmas? time? There isn’t a ‘normal’ arrangement as such. It depends on the parents and children’s individual needs and circumstances. Ideally, children would spend equal time with both of their parents during the Christmas holidays and arrangements such as whether mum has the children on Christmas Eve and Christmas day and dad has the children on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day would alternate year on year to make things fair. 
  1. My ex-husband was supposed to have his first set of children every other Christmas, alternated with New Year, but the children didn't really want to be away from their mum and I didn’t think it was fair - what’s best in this situation?  It’s understandable that your ex wants to spend Christmas Day with his children. If the children don’t want to be away from their mum, perhaps both parents could come to an agreement that suits everyone. For example, the children staying with their mum on Christmas Eve allowing the father to visit them at home on Christmas Day? That way, he benefits from seeing them and they don’t miss out on spending quality time with their father at an important time of year. This is of course is dependent on whether the parents’ relationship, is an amicable one. If it isn’t amicable, I wouldn’t advise this and would instead advise that the parents reach an agreement such as the child spending a few hours on Christmas Day with their father. Children pick up on negative atmospheres which can lead to them being very unhappy. 
  1. What about if the children are used to a big family bash at the in-laws with aunties, uncles and cousins etc. and now you're looking at a quiet Christmas at home.  Won't they be missing out?  Do you think it's really fair for them to miss out on what they're used to?  I think it’s important to put children’s’ needs first. Family is so important and it’s good for children to build relationships with extended family members. Having said that, it’s vital that children develop relationships and bonds with their parents. I think in this case, there needs to be a compromise. Could the children not spend Christmas Eve with one parent and that side of the family and then Christmas Day with the other parent and their family? That way each parent and their relatives are able to spend some time with the children. 
  1. What kind of sway do you think the children should have when decisions are being made re arrangements, vs what the law says?  The law suggests that children’s wishes and feelings should be taken into account in decision making but the weight placed on those views will depend on age and maturity. The reality is that asking children to decide what they want places them in a really difficult emotional place and this sort of pressure should be avoided at all costs. The adults should understand their wishes and needs and make sensible decisions to meet them . These decisions are best communicated in a united way so that the children are presented a plan to suit them with both parents in agreement. 
  1. I know some estranged couples that live near each other who share the day with the children - the morning at home, the afternoon with the non-resident parent.  What do you think of that and how long past the separation point do you think that's a good idea?  Each family’s individual circumstances are personal to them. There is not a one rule fits all approach when it comes to separation. Where parents have an amicable co-parenting relationship, it is beneficial for all parties involved. For some ex partners, however this is just not possible as they struggle to communicate with one another on a weekly basis, let alone spend time together daily. Where separated and divorced parents have continued to attend all family events and functions together as a family and a new partner is introduced, it can become quite awkward as the new partner might be uncomfortable with the ex being around so much. 
  1. How confusing do you think it is for the children for the non-resident parent to come round for the day and share it all together - like some people seem to be able to do?  Providing both parents have sat down with the children following their decision to separate and clearly explained that they are no longer going to be together but that both parents will continue to see them as much as possible, it shouldn’t be too confusing for them. Much will depend on the relationship between the parents but these arrangements can work. 
  1. What about where the kids don't really want to see their other parent anymore but presents still arrive? How best should they / we deal with that? Although it’s often hard to do its very important for parents to encourage a positive view of their ex and presents should be given and communication encouraged. Children’s views change over time and allowing a parent to become completely marginalised presents real emotional risks as children grow up. Often they can end up demonising, or idealising the absent parent and this can impact on their relationship with their primary carer and other family members. It also impacts their own self esteem. 
  1. And where do the grandparents stand all round?   Grandparents are often  important sources of support and stability, particularly when they can be balanced and not take sides between sparring parents. Relationships with wider family are always important to children and Christmas is a time to enjoy them. 
  1. And what about where the parents have kids on set days and they fall on Christmas and you can't get your ex to be flexible and the kids are complaining - and the days are a court order - where does the law stand? It is beneficial for both parents and their children to have a routine and set days or weeks in place so that all parties involved are clear on arrangements and so that parents can make relevant childcare plans. For Christmas and other holidays throughout the year, parents need to be more flexible and plan in advance of these holidays and occasions. Most well thought through orders will provide for holiday periods. If your ex-partner isn’t flexible and refuses to change set days or weeks, I would recommend seeking advice such as mediation. A mediator can take some of the pressure of you and can help by sorting through your arrangements to ensure childcare suits both of you. 
If you can think of something we haven't covered, please do make contact.  Leave a question below or Tweet me at @anyaharris01.  You might come up with the elementary question that occurred to me in the middle of the night which has escaped me since and, as always, your comments are most welcome too! 

Disclosure - This post is in association with The Co-operative Legal Services. 
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