All the reasons you SHOULD travel with your toddler

It was May of last year when we took to the skies with our then 19-month-old little lady, and we flew to Ibiza for a week of sun, sea and sand!

I won’t lie, I was anxious beforehand. I took to careful planning like it was a military operation and lists were checked numerous times!

Of course, this was a biggie though, 2.5 hours there and back not to mention the transfers in between.

Next month, we are jetting off to Edinburgh, and despite it not being as long a journey, I feel way more relaxed this time around, and I think it’s just taken that first leap to trust that it can be done.

To some, travelling with babies/toddlers just sounds like a nightmare never to be entered, but it can be easy if you make it so.

When we went to Ibiza, we had a couple of hiccups that were, unfortunately, out of our own control along the way but overall it could not have gone better.

So, why travel with these unpredictable little humans you ask? Well, there are more reasons than you may be thinking!

1. Some will say “they’ll never remember so it’s pointless.” I don’t believe this to be true personally. As they grow, and as you travel more, of course, there are going to be things that those first few trips away have given to your child, such as integration and acceptance with other cultures! When we were playing on the beach in Ibiza. my curious little toddler went over to a lovely Italian lady and her grown-up daughter next to us and there she stayed for a good 20 minutes. Language didn’t matter, and it was beautiful to see!

2. Self-catering apartments – Gathering your family up in a little hotel room sounds less than ideal, but when it’s a self-catering apartment, this was made for families! We all know how fussy some children can be with food in particular, so being able to get a mini shop in for yourselves is the perfect solution, and saves on eating out all the time! You can get great saving on these apartments too at the touch of a button.

3. Speaking of food, if you have an adventurous little one, they may try something new! Isla loved her first taste of battered squid!

4. Travel cheap – Under 2’s are free to fly (except taxes may vary) and normally get to stay free with Mum and Dad in a hotel room. You will find that public transport and certain attractions will be free for them also!

5. Travel whenever suits you – When you aren’t limited by school holidays, time is yours!

6. You are making fond memories for yourselves too!

 

Have you got any more reasons you would add to the list?

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I’m sorry I’ll never be the perfect mother…

I’m sorry I was weepy, after giving birth,

I’m sorry I didn’t feel like the superwoman of this earth.

I’m sorry I didn’t count the seconds down to the time of every feed.

I’m sorry for the unpurchased pregnancy books, to which I took no heed,

I’m sorry I left it six weeks to have some me time,

I’m sorry I didn’t leave it longer, how selfish was I?

I’m sorry the dishes lay unwashed as the bottles fill the sink,

I’m sorry for not keeping up, while being so sleepy I can’t think,

I’m sorry for taking my baby outside at two days old on a crisp October day,

I’m sorry I never layered her in the heaviest cotton wool if they knew, what would they say?

I’m sorry I weaned as early as told, to meet my baby’s appetite,

I’m sorry I gave her foil packed purees, would I ever get it right?

I’m sorry I never breastfed because I didn’t want to,

I suppose when you have to care for your mental health, you only have you,

I’m sorry that there are just some days I don’t want to leave the house,

I’m sorry there are some days, that all I want is out,

I’m sorry for letting my girl, tantrum in public view,

I’m sorry that I realise, that she’s a person too,

I’m sorry that there are some times when fish fingers and beans are part of today’s diet,

I’m sorry we give some things, just for a bit of quiet,

I’m sorry that my girl is full of confidence and might,

I’m sorry that I will never want to put out that light,

I’m sorry that I respond when my baby wants me close,

I’m sorry that sharing a bed is a regular dose,

I’m sorry that there are certain times I fret and some I do not worry,

Basically what I’m saying is, I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

‘Stop defining my child’s personality by her gender!’

 

​Ever since I had my baby a little over two years ago, I was surprised at the amount of conversations that involve gender differences.

“Boys are easier”

“Girls are more sensitive”

“Boys are bullies”

“Girls are faster learners”

But this is something I have been thinking a lot about lately, and I tend to disagree more and more each time. In fact, it drives me a little mad! What on earth has got us thinking that aspects of our children’s personality boils down to the gender they were born with? Why do we want to put them into these little jars of division that we do to ourselves across the board each and every day?

 

​My girl is an extrovert, she loves cars, loves babies, gives as good as she gets, and has the temper to match the vibrant personality. Is that because she is a girl?

Because I’m pretty sure there are boys out there who are the very same in some ways.

We need to start realising that our children are the way they are because it’s their personality, and certain things are because of how we have raised them, and none of that is a bad thing.

“It’s a girl/boy thing” to me is just a phrase thrown out there, and simply doesn’t make sense.

Perhaps it is a reason people use to explain why your child is this way or that way?  No parent needs to do that, as every child in this world is unique in their own special way. You do not have to apologise for a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night, one who doesn’t listen, one who has the most explosive tantrums, or one who takes a little more time to learn.

And you also do not need to explain why, to anyone. Gender is a sex, not a personality trait.

Whether your child is quiet, boisterous, laid back, out there, sensitive, strong-willed…..Be proud of that. Not because of their gender, but because they are yours.

 

Delight to disaster – the Santa trip!

Thursday, 14th December was a day we’d been waiting for; a very special day because… we were going to visit Santa!

Was I possibly more excited than the two year old? Well, maybe…

We were up bright and early that morning, bag packed from the night before, I was quite literally winning at this parenting game! This day was going to be THE best day, and nothing could burst my happiness bubble!

Off out the door we skipped, bundled up in our Thursday best, looking forward to meeting Daddy at our destination before seeing the big man himself, fully equipped!

 We strolled down to the bus stop hand in hand with not a care in the world, and the little lady waited with me like a little champ. This was going to be easy, or so I thought…

 

The bus arrived, this was it…we survived the wait without a hitch! Absolutely delighted with life we hopped onto the bus, only to see there were no downstairs seats, but it was no biggie, upstairs we went! (BIG mistake)

We departed our hometown with the cutest little waves and bye byes, then it was time to break out the snacks that I had so pleasingly put together the night before.

As I lay back and relaxed in my seat, I gazed out the window thinking about how stress-free this trip with toddler had been so far. I mean, this was a breeze!

As we got closer and closer to our destination, I got a phone call from the other half to check we were close by.

“On the stretch now!” I said chirpily, “we’ll be there in the next few minutes, everything is perfectly fine!”.

And right there, I jinxed myself.

Pulling into our destination, about five minutes from arrival, I looked to my right and Isla wasn’t looking so good. She was quiet, turned around in the seat, and lay down beside me.

OH GOD NO.

“Are you ok baby?” I asked her, absolutely sh*tting myself but putting on a brave face of course.

And then it came. She sat up, facing the back of her seat, and I swear I had to remind myself I wasn’t in fact watching a scene from The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

It didn’t stop either. Oooooh no…It kept coming, vomit after vomit, while being clung to like a tree to a koala bear. I had lost the game.

Eventually we came to a stop and there we were, my girl sobbing, clinging, both of us covered in so much vomit I was thinking how the hell did that come out of someone so little, and my pride had quite literally jumped out the window and ran off into the sunset, never to be seen again.

Lovely passengers around us offered help in the form of little pocket size tissues which was so nice of them but I don’t think they realised there was an actual vomit monster lurking beyond our seats.

We were then helped off the bus by one of the passengers, as I broke the news to the bus driver with my tail between my legs.

“I’m so sorry, she literally just got sick five minutes ago, so so sorry…”

He was kind enough to let us off but what I really wanted to say was “I was a bit too confident this morning and she wouldn’t take that bloody travel sickness lolly before we left, and I am dying inside of mortification. She WILL be hearing about this in years to come, don’t worry.”

Off the bus, greet my other half with an ashen face ushering him to the closest bin to dump the no longer “good” stuff that was destroyed in the disaster. The evidence if you will.

We went in and I got the little lady into a new set of clothes, and she was back to normal, like nothing ever happened!

Off in we went, saw the big man, smiling, laughing, loving life, albeit minus a few items of clothing. Oh, and maybe my dignity but hey, I didn’t stink of vomit anymore!

I will now take the time to say rest in peace to our beloved coats, hat and bib, lost to travel sickness, because of an overly-confident, and actually quite unprepared Mama.

Note to self: You are NEVER too prepared!

“You’ll only embarrass yourself”: The words that shocked me during my pregnancy

We walked into the tiny check up room that day. God, I remember it as if it were only yesterday.  My other half and I had already had the conversation multiple times over. This was our little window of time to ask what we had been wondering.

You see, we don’t own a car, so of course, being first time parents, we were trying to cover all angles and put the question forward. We asked very casually, about the possibility of getting an ambulance should we feel the need to when the time comes.

We lived 49kms away, had no car and of course there weren’t many offers of driving a pregnant woman in at any given time, especially if it were in traffic for instance, and let’s face it, Dublin can be a daunting drive for many so I wouldn’t blame them, I certainly wouldn’t fancy it!

And for such a very simple question, I have to say, the response given totally took me back, and to this day I know I should have said something, but little did I know I would encounter this sort of attitude again after this, which I have spoken about in the past.

“I wouldn’t recommend it.”

“If you turn up here in an ambulance you’ll only embarrass yourself and waste people’s time.”

I’m pretty sure I was speechless.

Even after a less than delightful mini scan, wavering the doppler over my clearly scarred tummy, it was clear she just didn’t want to be there, and didn’t want to know. And now, that was being put onto us, soon to be brand new parents.

People could ask why didn’t I just go for the closest hospital to me, but it wasn’t as simple as that to us, and the decision wasn’t taken lightly.

It was especially my partner who was concerned about how my body would cope with carrying a child, and what may come our way, which I too had personal worries about, being born with Spina Bifida myself, which also meant my birth plan changed slightly too.

A thorough talk through with our wonderful doctor confirmed that this place was THE place to go, to put minds at rest, to be in the safest of hands. And all of a sudden, I didn’t feel so safe.

Was I the drama queen for choosing a hospital further away? Should I just have to put up, and shut up? Was it right that I had to one day, sit across from a lady who had just miscarried, as she was squeezed in between midwives checkups in a room full of very pregnant women? Even after I had my baby, being told to stop my crying because I had nothing to cry over, still rings in my head.  In life, you need to choose your words wisely. Your actions too.

Pregnancy is not a hindrance, and neither are people.  Being pregnant is a seriously trying time for a lot of people, and for every single person, you don’t know what’s around the corner.

There are a lot of lucky parents with beautifully healthy babies. And then there are those who unfortunately miscarry in any stage of pregnancy, have a stillborn after not even having a doubt in their minds that they were to hold their baby forever in their arms, and not in their thoughts.

Cot death takes young to older infants, with a parent unknowingly kissing them at night, expecting to see them well and alive the next day. You cannot judge someone for being careful or worried about the future they do not know about yet.

It all brings me back to the caring profession and how much it sometimes lacks in my eyes.

Opinion: Is non-parenting the new ‘parenting’?

Lately, I have just been so taken aback by others. Other adults, grown-ups, those who are supposedly big enough to know better.

And every time I think about it I still come back to the same thing. Why do people have children?  Only a few days ago I read an article about how there was a working couple on the lookout for someone to toilet train their child, for a solid €50 an hour, with a bonus if the training was completed before December 23rd, right before the in-laws arrive for Christmas.

Am I the only one who thinks the world has gone mad and that this is INSANE?

I get that some parents ask for help, or that a creche or playschool helps with the process in certain situations if the child is attending. That, to me, is totally different and makes sense, we all need help throughout our parenting journeys.

And for a lot of parents, working is a must. Getting someone in, however, hired into your home, to do the one thing that you as a parent should be dealing with first hand, but want a stranger to do without your input is bizarre to me.

Then what’s worse is putting a time limit on the poor child. Any sane person knows that our little ones don’t have time limits. Nor do their little bladders. This situation is only one scenario where I feel like parents are becoming disconnected to their offspring.

Is it the importance of a work ethic? Is it boredom of being a parent? Are some children just an accessory? I just don’t know. I worry that all of this will come crashing down on young heads as they grow for future generations. That there must be a time for everything. That work is everything. That being made to do something that you are not ready for, is ok.

Back in the day, things were a lot different.

Screen time was in the form of an after school treat or a long-awaited Saturday morning show. Now you have everything at the touch of a button, when and pretty much where you want.

After school study was the dreaded detention. Nowadays, it’s after school study which many parents choose to be the better option, prolonging a young minds day. People spoke face to face or a couple of times a week through the landline. We now glue ourselves to our mobiles like they are the most treasured possessions.

In today’s world, people seem so busy that it’s a rarity to actually meet someone for a coffee on an ongoing basis. Maybe that’s it….are we simply just too busy?

It was always the way in past generations that parenting advice was passed from family and friends, not books or google. Now we seem to love putting ourselves in those little jars I have mentioned before – the “helicopter” parent, “attachment” parent, the “co-sleeper” and what a long list it is.

Perhaps it is a crisis of confidence. Maybe parents, these days, prefer to outsource because we are so afraid we are going to do it wrong?  In days gone by, people didn’t have any more time than we do now. They made time. They took things slowly, embraced the now rather than the future “what ifs”. Sometimes, we just have to take it all back and realise that nothing lasts forever, and we need to grasp life, and our children’s little lives before it slips through our fingertips.

The number one person kids need is you, the parent, the caregiver, the protector.

If you aren’t there for those really small things in life at the beginning, how are they supposed to trust that you will be there for the tougher times in the future?

Be present, be involved, be there (when you can).

Children are not accessories. They aren’t robots. They are human. They are the little humans that we produce to love and nurture and to not only watch them flourish, but also to catch them when they fall.

Children need your time, not a stranger’s. Where do you stand on the issue?

100 Questions, 100 Answers!

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So the lovely Clare from The Tully Tales has nominated me to take part in 100 Questions, 100 Answers. I figured it would be fun to give it a go, and it’s always fun having a nosy at what others have to say too! Make sure to head on over and check out what Clare had to say along with her other lovely posts! So here it goes…

THE BASICS

1. What’s your name? 

Rachael Rochford

2. Any nicknames or aliases?

Mama, Mammy, Rach, Rachy…

3. Your gender?

Female

4. Your star sign?

Capricorn

5. How old are you?

29 (Will be hitting 30 this month, eek!)

6. Your relationship status?

Happily loving and living with my partner of 6.5 years!

7. Any children?

One girl! My little Isla..

8. Any pets? 

None

9. Any tattoos or piercings?

One tattoo, ears pierced, used to have my nose pierced also many moons ago!

10. What do you like about yourself?

I love to see other people happy! I think it’s a good mindset to have in order to be happy yourself.

11. What do you dislike about yourself?

I am a total, over the top, worrier.

12. Righty or lefty?

Lefty!

LASTS

13. The last thing you drank?

Coffee of course!

14. The last thing you ate?

Ready brek

15. Your last phone call?

To Jeff, my other half

16. Your last text message?

To Jeff, acknowledging that he was nearly home from work.

17. Your last email?

To a local business, finalising my 30th get together plan!

18. The last song you listened to?

A Peppa Pig song……yeah….

19. The last book you read? 

That was probably Chris Hadfield, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

20. The last time you cried? 

A few weeks ago, toddler life is tough!

21. The last blog you read? 

The Tully Tales 100 Questions, 100 Answers!

22. The last person you spoke to?

Jeff

23. The last place you visited? 

Whitewater Shopping Centre

24. Your last holiday abroad? 

Siracusa, Italy back in June!

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HAVE I EVER?

25. Have you ever gotten back with an ex?

Yes

26. Have you ever been cheated on?

Yes

27. Have you ever cheated on someone?

No

28. Have you ever lost someone special to you?

Yes

29. Have you ever been so drunk you threw up?

Ha, yes!

30. Have you ever fallen out of love with someone?

No

31. Have you ever met someone who changed you?

Yes

32. Have you ever been in a situation where you found out who your real friends are?

Absolutely! Motherhood has been especially evident of that one.

33. Have you ever kissed someone you probably shouldn’t have?

No

34. Have you ever found out people were talking about you behind your back?

Yes

35. Have you ever broken someone’s heart?

I would like to think not!

36. Have you ever kissed a stranger?

Yes

37 Have you ever had your own heart broken?

Yes

38 Have you ever had sex on the first date?

No

39 Have you ever been arrested?

No

40 Have you ever been attracted to someone that isn’t the gender you usually find attractive?

Yes, girl crushes are a thing! Haha, not anyone I know personally though.

41. Have you ever done something you regret?

I no longer have regrets in life.

42. Have you ever had a threesome?

No

43. Have you ever embarrassed yourself in public?

Yes

44. Have you ever misjudged someone?

Absolutely, I think we are all guilty of that!

MY BELIEFS AND OPINIONS

45. Do you believe in God?

No

46. Do you believe in yourself?

Yes, when I became a mother more than any other time of life.

47. Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Eh, obviously?

48. Do you believe in ghosts?

Yes

49. Do you believe in aliens?

Yes

50. Do you believe in miracles?

Yes

51. Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?

Yes

52. Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes

53. Can money make you happy?

Yes, to an extent.

54. Would you describe yourself as a feminist?

No

55. Are you pro-life or pro-choice?

Pro-choice

56. Do you have strong political beliefs?

No

57. Do you have strong religious beliefs?

No

58. What do you think the most important thing you can give a child is?

Love and affection.

RIGHT NOW

59. Are you eating anything right now?

No

60. Are you drinking anything right now?

No

61. What are you listening to right now?

Peppa Pig in the background (it’s this toddler life I’m telling you!)

62. What are you thinking about right now?

How many more of these there are! Haha

63. What are you waiting for right now?

To finish these questions!

64. What are you most excited about right now? 

Bringing my little lady to see Santa next week!

65. What’s your pet hate right now?

My other half leaving wet towels where they shouldn’t be left.

66. What’s your favourite thing right now?

Being with my daughter everyday, regardless of how hard it is at times, there is nothing better than being here for the small moments!

67. If you weren’t answering these questions, what would you be doing right now?

Doing the dishes!

FIRSTS

68. Your first best friend? 

A very special lady I still call a best friend.

69. Your first kiss? 

I’ll never tell! Haha

70. Your first celebrity crush? 

Gary Barlow when he was in Take That, and Nick Carter from The Backstreet Boys.

71. Your first holiday? 

First proper holiday abroad was to Turkey in 2008, at the little age of 20!

72. Your first pet? 

Mackley the dog

73. Your first regret? 

Life is too short for regrets.

74. Your first job? 

Bag packing!

75. Your first childhood memory? 

One that sticks out in my mind is getting a beautiful aqua coloured bike for Christmas/Birthday

WHICH WOULD I CHOOSE?

76. Love or money?

Love

77. Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook

78. Hook up or relationship?

Relationship

79. Dogs or cats?

Dogs!

80. Coffee or tea?

Coffee

81. Beer or wine?

Beer

82. Sweet or savoury?

Sweet

83. Introvert or extrovert?

Bit of both really!

84. Vampires or werewolves?

Werewolves? I don’t really know!

85. Seaside or countryside?

Seaside

86. Summer or winter?

Summer

87. Books or movies? 

Movies

88. Horror or comedy?

I like both!

A FEW RANDOM QUESTIONS TO FINISH

89. Do you wish you could change your past?

No, because I would not be where I am now, have what I have now if I did change it.

90. What’s your dream job?

Would love to be a writer for a living. Also still waiting to win the lotto!

91. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Watching One Born Every Minute..

92. What are you afraid of?

Spiders, heights, don’t really like Ventriloquist dummies either!

93. What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?

A nurse or a vet

94. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

A magical cleaning power to make my home instantly tidy!

95. If you could change anything about your life what would it be?

I wouldn’t change anything, all roads lead to bigger better things!

96. Would you want immortality?

No

97. If you could interview anyone alive or dead who would you choose?

That’s a tough one. It would be between Michael Jackson, Prince or Princess Diana.

98. Would you say you are happy?

Yes

99. What one piece of advice would you give to yourself at age eighteen?

Slow down! Life goes by quicker than you know. Love yourself more.

100. Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

Happy in life, wherever that may be, doing whatever that may be, with my little family.

Phew, I made it! If you would like to join just follow the rules as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their site.
  2. Answer the questions honestly (skip any you don’t feel comfortable answering)
  3. Tag 10-20 bloggers to take part (let them know on social media).
  4. Post the questions without your answers at the bottom of your post so that they are easy to copy and paste for the people you tag.

I’ll now nominate some of my favourite fellow bloggers to take part!

  1.  Nicola from Simply Homemade

2. Dee from Thoughts Tots and Tea

3. Adelle from Dodees to Daquiris

4. Benny from Daddy Poppins

5. Orlaith from Adventures in Tandeming

6. Karen from Our Irish Family 

7. Sinead from Shinners and the Brood

8. Jolene from One Yummy Mummy

9. Laura from The Baby Boobie Blogger

10.  Orla from Orla the Irish Mammy

And that’s my lot! Finally, copy and paste the questions below to take part!

THE BASICS

1. What’s your name?

2. Any nicknames or aliases?

3. Your gender?

4. Your star sign?

5. How old are you?

6. Your relationship status?

7. Any children?

8. Any pets?

9. Any tattoos or piercings?

10. What do you like about yourself?

11. What do you dislike about yourself?

12. Righty or lefty?

LASTS

13. The last thing you drank?

14. The last thing you ate?

15. Your last phone call?

16. Your last text message?

17. Your last email?

18. The last song you listened to?

19. The last book you read? 

20. The last time you cried? 

21. The last blog you read? 

22. The last person you spoke to?

23. The last place you visited? 

24. Your last holiday abroad? 

HAVE I EVER?

25. Have you ever gotten back with an ex?

26. Have you ever been cheated on?

27. Have you ever cheated on someone?

28. Have you ever lost someone special to you?

29. Have you ever been so drunk you threw up?

30. Have you ever fallen out of love with someone?

31. Have you ever met someone who changed you?

32. Have you ever been in a situation where you found out who your real friends are?

33. Have you ever kissed someone you probably shouldn’t have?

34. Have you ever found out people were talking about you behind your back?

35. Have you ever broken someone’s heart?

36. Have you ever kissed a stranger?

37 Have you ever had your own heart broken?

38 Have you ever had sex on the first date?

39 Have you ever been arrested?

40 Have you ever been attracted to someone that isn’t the gender you usually find attractive?

41. Have you ever done something you regret?

42. Have you ever had a threesome?

43. Have you ever embarrassed yourself in public?

44. Have you ever misjudged someone?

MY BELIEFS AND OPINIONS

45. Do you believe in God?

46. Do you believe in yourself?

47. Do you believe in Santa Claus?

48. Do you believe in ghosts?

49. Do you believe in aliens?

50. Do you believe in miracles?

51. Do you believe in the power of positive thinking?

52. Do you believe in love at first sight?

53. Can money make you happy?

54. Would you describe yourself as a feminist?

55. Are you pro-life or pro-choice?

56. Do you have strong political beliefs?

57. Do you have strong religious beliefs?

58. What do you think the most important thing you can give a child is?

RIGHT NOW

59. Are you eating anything right now?

60. Are you drinking anything right now?

61. What are you listening to right now?

62. What are you thinking about right now?

63. What are you waiting for right now?

64. What are you most excited about right now? 

65. What’s your pet hate right now?

66. What’s your favourite thing right now?

67. If you weren’t answering these questions, what would you be doing right now?

FIRSTS

68. Your first best friend? 

69. Your first kiss? 

70. Your first celebrity crush? 

71. Your first holiday? 

72. Your first pet? 

73. Your first regret? 

74. Your first job? 

75. Your first childhood memory? 

WHICH WOULD I CHOOSE?

76. Love or money?

77. Twitter or Facebook?

78. Hook up or relationship?

79. Dogs or cats?

80. Coffee or tea?

81. Beer or wine?

82. Sweet or savoury?

83. Introvert or extrovert?

84. Vampires or werewolves?

85. Seaside or countryside?

86. Summer or winter?

87. Books or movies? 

88. Horror or comedy?

A FEW RANDOM QUESTIONS TO FINISH

89. Do you wish you could change your past?

90. What’s your dream job?

91. What’s your guilty pleasure?

92. What are you afraid of?

93. What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?

94. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

95. If you could change anything about your life what would it be?

96. Would you want immortality?

97. If you could interview anyone alive or dead who would you choose?

98. Would you say you are happy?

99. What one piece of advice would you give to yourself at age eighteen?

100. Where would you like to be in five years’ time?