For Belle, our recent lunch at the new Ivy Clifton Brasserie, Bristol, was less about the food and more about the opportunity to wear her new outfit, bought especially for my sister’s wedding. For me, it was definitely about the food. That and the chance to look at Belle in her new outfit and sob quietly to myself about my lost youth. (Not that I ever looked like her even when I was 14, but I can dream.)

Here she is, getting in the way of one of my door pictures.

Review Ivy Clifton Brasserie Bristol

The Ivy Clifton Brasserie opened recently in Bristol, and Belle and I were going along to test it out. We make these sacrifices for you you see. We went on the day before Belle’s birthday, so that even though we were there as guests, for the purposes of this review, I could make out that it was a fancy birthday treat. (I’m so thoughtful!) Actually, for the record, Belle did have a very fancy treat on her birthday, which I did pay for, all by myself, so I am thoughtful.

Anyway. View Full Post

I was staying overnight in a hotel recently, as I do now and again, for work, or sometimes just for fun because I like hotel toiletries. I was sat (in a lying down sort of way) on the bed, watching a bit of TV before going for dinner. I sneezed. I sneezed again, and a little bit of wee came out.

(Stops typing briefly to hide under my desk.)

pelvic floor tips and exercises

It wasn’t a gush by any means – I didn’t need to pretend I’d spilt a glass of water and call down to reception for fresh sheets – but it was enough to make me feel about 63 years old. If I had had a Sunday supplement with me I’d have ordered some stretchy waisted trousers as a sort of reflex reaction. View Full Post

Bee emailed me the other day. ‘Do you realise,’ she said, ‘that you’ve been writing your blog now for half of Belle’s life?’

‘No,’ I said, ‘I’d never thought of it like that. It’s a good thing though, as it means that when she asks me questions about things she did as a child, I’ll just be able to Google them.’

(I have a terrible memory.)

I’m sure there are masses of parents who’ve been writing blogs for more than half of their child’s life, but that’s because the children are all about six months old. It feels like a bit more of an achievement when the child in question has just had their 14th birthday.

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When I first started blogging in 2009, I didn’t even think about what my life would look like in 2016, let alone what my blog would look like. In a weird way, I feel like my life and blog have evolved in unison – in 2009 my life felt very commercial, (office hours in a job I didn’t like), while my blog was more fun, with more time to be creative.

And then I jacked it all in to write for a living.

Hoorah!

I don’t think anyone would dispute the fact that my blog has become more commercial, but that’s been balanced by my life outside my blog becoming less commercial, with more time for fun. The fun pendulum has swung in what feels like a positive way.

Does that make sense? Sometimes I feel guilty about the growing commercial aspect, but if that just means I’ve created a business for myself that frees up the rest of my life for adventures, then that has to be a good thing doesn’t it? We shouldn’t feel bad about being successful.

But Belle.

I wonder if it feels weird for her to have such a huge chunk of her life documented like this? I wonder if she even remembers a time when it wasn’t? I try to be sensitive when I write about her, (as is clear from the picture above), but I’m sure there are things I post that I think are adorable, but that she thinks are horribly embarrassing. But then that’s a parent’s job isn’t it? To be embarrassing?

Except perhaps not always in quite so public a way.

Anyway, happy birthday Belle!

This is going to be a post about two of my favourite things – travel and Disney. In particular, the DisneyLife app. (A new branch of the ‘favourite things’ tree.)

If you’ve read even a handful of my blog posts before, you’ll know that Belle and I are pretty much permanently on mini-breaks, holed up in some caravan somewhere, and in case you were in any doubt at all about the Disney element, here’s what hangs, pride of place, on the wall at home. I’m not sure whether Bee was more excited in Disneyland Paris, meeting Stitch, or at Camp Bestival, where she met Seth Lakeman. It’s a tough call.  

DisneyLife app

The DisneyLife app

We are all very excited though about being part of the team of bloggers working with Disney to help people discover the DisneyLife app. And honestly, when I say I am excited, I really mean it. Not like when I say ‘I’m excited to be working with this new brand of high fibre cracker!’ (Although you know, it’s always nice to have work). This is proper ‘I might get to work with Disney! I can’t wait to hear from Disney!’ type excitement. Ask my fiancé, he’ll tell you how annoying I’ve been in the run up to this project going live. View Full Post

I have a quiz for you today! It’s only two questions, it’s not The Krypton Factor or anything, so give it a go. It has a ‘back to school’ theme:

Q.1. When it comes to labelling Belle’s clothes and equipment for school, do I:

A. Carefully iron labels onto everything, including individual socks, whilst listening to wholesome podcasts and humming classical music quietly to myself.

B. Assume that because she is now nearly 14, she’ll be able to carry a jumper and lunch box to and from school without accidentally throwing it in a hedge or leaving it in a bin.

Q.2. How many times have I had to pay to replace lunchboxes, bags and items of uniform, including a whole PE kit plus trainers, so far?

A. None. Because of the labels. Dur!

B. More times that I really care to mention. Certainly enough times to wish I had answered A to question 1.  View Full Post