We all know that the key to productivity is to wake up at 5am, head for the gym, hack our bodies at a master spin class while enjoying an egg-white, kale and alfalfa smoothie and then meditate while listening to a podcast on Tuvan throat singing.*
We all know that we would be happier if we relinquished our desire for material gains, delegated our inboxes, made our own zucchini pasta and walked to work.
But what about when our desire for material gains includes not dying of poor, we’re the person inboxes get delegated to, and walking to work would take about three and a half hours each way?
Real life does not exist for the Ultra Productive. They have people to manage their inboxes, fix their meals, walk their dogs, clean their houses and organise their lives.
People like us.
Almost every tip from the lifestyles of the ultra-successful revolves around them being eye-wateringly, unimaginably, embarrassingly rich.
Even the walking to work bit.
Especially the walking to work bit.
And what about the rest of us? We who imagine and dream and aspire to be able to lounge around making alfalfa smoothies instead of trying to wrestle our errant offspring into their school uniforms (a feat akin to stuffing an octopus into a Pringles tube) while checking our work emails on our budget smartphones with cracked screens and gulping down a spoonful of yesterday’s spag bol because we don’t have time to make toast?
We crawl from one day to the next until the weekend and the ravening hordes (probably called Harry and Olivia) descend upon us at six a.m. and demand to be entertained.
We pass them our tablets, and then confiscate it five minutes later when we realise that Youtube video has swearing in it. We deal with the tears. The arguments. The bargaining. (Actually, I’m impressed by the bargaining.)
Then we go out.
That is the one moment when the playing field between Mr Kale Smoothie and the rest of us starts to level a bit.
We all have Saturday mornings when we have no idea what to do with I’M BORED. We all have those moments when we’ve travelled all that way and the soft play centre is closed and the bawling starts and thank heavens for the internet!
It’s impossible to know everything about every town, especially when most of us get squished out from town to town as jobs change and opportunities change and even Peckham is gentrified now.
I’m pretty good at knowing where the local treasures are, but I have this huge urge to share with people when I find something that just gives me some peace for an afternoon. For instance …**
David Woricker really ought to be a children’s television presenter, so it’s a treat to have that kind of engaging personality dangling a huge tarantula in front of my enthralled youngster. As well as toddler-friendly lectures about creepy crawlies, the park has alpacas and donkeys and bunnies and piggies to be fed and petted and snuggled. They run regular themed events, can be booked out for parties, and can easily entertain a family for at least a couple of hours. It’s inexpensive and there’s enough indoors to make it fun even if it rains on the day.
One of the UK’s heritage outdoor swimming pools, the lido was constructed in the 1930s and, with its distinctive art deco-style architecture, is the only Grade II listed coastal lido in the UK. The newly-refurbished, newly-heated pool is a great way to spend a hot summer’s day.
They really pull out the stops with this northern attraction. Taking a lot from Disney World (especially the use of forced perspective to make it look bigger), the attention to detail in Chester’s animal house is really impressive.
The best part is the bat cave (if you like bats), though there is also the butterfly house, a huge tropical enclosure filled with luscious plants and absolutely enormous winged insects. There are the usual elephants and giraffes and rhinos and apes, and it does whatever it is that zoos are supposed to do – but where most other zoos I have been to have been faintly disappointing, Chester Zoo is the real deal.
I could go on and on, but I am always immensely grateful when another parent or carer recommends to me something that will keep my offspring amused for a few hours. And, obviously, there’s an app for that.
Kinfo has loads of recommendations like those above – from parents, not sponsors – so at least that’s one less thing to feel stressed or guilty about.
It’s not out on Android yet so I’ve signed up for email alerts, but if you have an iphone, you can grab it there.
Some semblance of sanity, a happy child and some fun memories to collect. Shhh. That was almost peace and quiet …
*Actually, that isht’s cool.
**Disclosure: Isabelle at Kinfo and Deryck at the Lido are friends of mine, but the recommendations are genuine