My Dad is a primary school teacher so the end of term was always a fun time in our house. Partly as we got to have him home with us for the holidays, but mainly because sometimes he would also bring home the school’s BBC computer and my sister and I could play Malory Towers. Malory Towers was the very height of technological sophistication – a text based murder mystery where you had to type in things like ‘go to garden’ and in return would get such edge-of-your seat replies as ‘the gardener is here, do you want to talk to him?’
Nail biting stuff. Read more
I am a big believer in women supporting other women. As my career has developed over the last few years I have benefited a lot from the support and advice of other women in business and always try to give that back to others too. I will always try to answer questions, offer tips and meet up with local women for a coffee and a chat if I can.
In the blogging world too I see how important this network is and the value of women offering both practical and emotional support to other women.
We really can do and be anything we want. There is absolutely no shame in asking for help when you need it. Read more
It won’t surprise you to hear that for me, the answer is ‘not much’.
This isn’t because I am spending all my cash on the latest fashions for myself, it’s just that spending on clothes generally just isn’t something that really appeals to me. Perhaps if I worked in an office I would feel a bit more motivated, but why would I dress up in a fancy skirt just to sit at home on my own? That would be a bit weird. Read more
A couple of weeks ago Boyfriend and I took Belle for a day out at Berkeley Castle. Although it’s less than an hour away from us I have to confess I had never even heard of it before, let alone visited, despite the fact that we love a good castle and have National Trust membership and everything.
(Berkeley Castle isn’t part of the National Trust, I was just using that to prove my wholesome castle-loving credentials).
We were very lucky in that we ended up going on a rare sunny day – perfect for exploring the beautiful gardens and enjoying a cup of tea and an ice-cream outside the yurt tea room. I am a big fan of yurts and we have had several holidays in them, so thought this made for a really interesting alternative to a cafe in an outbuilding.
The castle was stunning, especially seen from the outside on such a beautiful day. There were a few places that felt like they could have done with a little TLC, but then I guess you can’t expect spotless paintwork in a building that’s hundreds of years old! Boyfriend actually preferred the whole feel of the castle to many of the National Trust properties we have visited – he said it felt much more authentic and liked that a lot of it was original furnishings, even if they were a bit battered, rather than spruced up versions of the originals bought in to create a nicer picture. I was really taken with a lot of the amazing carvings and knockers on the doors too.
One of the highlights for us was the butterfly house. There must have been something tasty in our suntan lotion because the most gorgeous butterflies kept landing on us and just sitting there for ages. Belle loved being able to stand like a tree and have them rest on her arms.
All in all we had a really lovely day out, and here are some of our favourite pictures to prove it:
Our top tipsfrom our own experience:
- Either tag along with the guided tour or buy a guide book in the shop before you go in. We weren’t offered one when we got our tickets, but it turned out there wasn’t a lot of information generally lying around and we could have done with a few more pointers.
- Think a little bit about when you want to have lunch. You can’t take picnics into the house and gardens, so you might want to time it so you can eat either when you first get there or when you have looked at everything and can come back out into the picnic area. We got there about midday so ended up doing an awkward in-out-in thing.
- D0 go in the butterfly house (accessed through the shop) as this was one of the highlights for us.
- Do visit the website before you go for opening times. These are somewhat limited due to weddings so it’s worth checking.
The Castle was recently awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, given to top 10% of attractions that consistently receive outstanding reviews. All profits from entrance fees go to the upkeep of the castle.
I am a Taurus.
This means I am all about the good things in life. “Think physical pleasures and material goods,” says one website, “for those born under this sign revel in delicious excess. Taurus adores comfort and likes being surrounded by pleasing, soothing things. Along these lines, they also favour a good meal and a fine wine.”
It is true. I do revel in delicious excess.
A situation like this is my idea of a good time: Read more
I was reading the latest copy of Psychologies magazine over the weekend. It’s one of the only women’s magazines I can tolerate because it actually includes features other than the eight secret ways to give the best blow job ever, top tips to drop a dress size in a week and six sexy shoe styles you can’t live without.
(These are obviously the only things we care about as women after all – how to impress men and other women.)
This month one of their features really got me thinking, although perhaps not in the way I was meant to. I think I was supposed to read the conversation between Kim Cattrall and Janet Street Porter and think ‘gosh, what two fantastically funny and self-assured women’. Instead I thought ‘bloody hell, so these women think of no one but themselves?’ Read more
Here’s a question:
You’re a busy, over-worked mum with three kids. Your 13 year old daughter has arranged a school night sleepover with her best friend as they have a school project they want to work on. They hang out a lot together and you know her mum reasonably well. Your daughter wakes up though not feeling well, and doesn’t go to school that day.
What do you do?
A. Do you ask you daughter to text her friend to let her know she can’t come over?
B. Do you call her mum in your break at work to explain the situation yourself?
C. Do you forget completely to do anything at all and remember at about tea time? Read more
Once you’re too old for club or college life, purchasing drugs can be problematic and risky – unsuitable for women with jobs and children. “It was fun when we were young, but not now that we want to keep control of it. We need it done efficiently,” says Rachel, 37, who is married with three children and works as a freelance photographer from her home in Bristol. She buys cocaine, mephedrone and MDMA from Karen, the mother of her son’s best friend, who goes to the same local primary school. And because it’s convenient, they swap the cash and drugs from buggy to buggy, while picking up the kids from school.
“No one would ever suspect, says Rachel, who’s active in the PTA. “There are a few like-minded parents who buy from her as well. It’s a nice primary school and they’d be surprised that some mums buy drugs in the playground.”
This is an extract from an article in this month’s Marie Claire about women and drug use. When I read it I actually just sat for a minute, open-mouthed, unable to say anything. What made the whole thing worse is that ‘Rachel’ almost sounds proud, as though her and all these other mums are playing some sort of kooky game. Read more
What does Father’s Day mean to you? Is it just another day, another chore on your to-do list, or is about something more than that – an opportunity to say thank you to the parent who so often gets a bad press and comes second in the cuddles line?
I’m not a father myself (obviously), but imagine it must feel like a tough job sometimes. Unless you’re one of the new breed of stay-at-home-dads then chances are you don’t get to spend a lot of time with your children and especially when they are young you can often end up feeling like you are playing second fiddle to mummy.
Daddies are important though, and by daddies I don’t necessarily mean the man who makes up half your DNA – I mean the man who is there for you, sees you every day, helps you with your homework, tells you off sometimes when you are naughty. The traditional 2.4 kids family isn’t the norm nowadays, and I think that all those men around the country bringing up children, whether they actually fathered them or not, need to know how admired and cherished they are. Read more