One of Belle’s favourite teddies is a rather strange looking creature named Frogmal.

I made Frogmal myself as a Christmas present after a visit to Camp Bestival one summer about six or so years ago. There was a vintage caravan there, selling these home made stuffed toys that were deliberately a bit quirky and wonky looking. They had parcel tags tied around their necks with unusual names on them. I’m sure you can picture the scene.

‘I want one of those for Christmas!’ said a small at the time Belle.

‘Pah!’ said me, also probably a little smaller, waist wise, ‘I could make you one of those!’

I remember Belle looking sceptical. She doesn’t forget though, bless her, so for the next six months I had weekly reminders about the toy I had promised her. Christmas got closer, and the toy remained unmade, until I was forced, probably on around December 23rd, to scrabble around for bit of fabric and a needle. I found an old dress of Bee’s and got stitching. I didn’t have a sewing machine and it took bloody ages.

The end result wasn’t exactly the artisan craft we’d seen at the festival, but Belle seemed to like it. Petplan insurance View Post


Yesterday we went to Bee’s graduation. 

Here we are see: 

Bee's graduation

(Bee has a mini can of gin and tonic, which she made me stop and buy her on the way.)

I’m not going to lie to you, as ceremonies go, it was pretty boring. I love Bee and everything, but I wasn’t that fussed about the 469 other people who took turns to go up onto the stage and be given a fake scroll. I amused myself through Applied Sciences by sending Bee sneaky messages under the programme. Her phone was in my bag, but I thought she might like to read them afterwards.

It was worth it, as apparently they were the best bit.

Although the ceremony was fairly dull, I wanted to write this post for two reasons. Partly, Bee has been on at me lately to write something about her.

‘What do you want me to write?’ I asked her.

‘I don’t know, anecdotes or cute stories or something.’

Also though, I wanted Bee (and everyone else) to know that even though I could probably have got by without the whole ‘and now the prize for outstanding achievement in applied baking technologies’ thing, that it doesn’t actually matter. I don’t need a ceremony to remind me how clever she is you see, or to make me feel proud, because I already am. I’ve always been proud.

I was proud when she said she wanted to go to university in London. I was proud when she went, and didn’t run home again even though she was lonely and it was a bit scary and she gets anxious about stuff. I’m proud that she stayed there for three years, working hard, managing panic attacks on her own, and getting on with things. I’m proud that she came home in the holidays to work nearby for extra money and experience. I’m proud that she supported herself working weekends in a call centre. I’m proud that she started her own blog and writes really funny, thoughtful posts.

And I’m proud that she was drinking a gin and tonic before 11am.

Good work Bee.


What TV shows did you like to watch as a child? I guess it depends on your age, but given that Sesame Street began life in the US way back in 1969, chances are you’ll have watched it at some point in your life. In fact, a 1996 survey found that 95% of all American preschoolers had watched the show by the time they were three years old. (That’s fun fact number one for you right there.)

Strangely, Sesame Street wasn’t quite so quick to catch on the UK. The BBC hated it, and refused to show it, and ITV showed it reluctantly, but in a limited way. It wasn’t until the 1980s that it established itself properly on Channel 4, where it stayed until 2001.

I got to watch Sesame Street twice over then – once in the 1980s when I was little, and then again in the late 1990s when Bee was small. (It does feel a bit weird that I was watching kids’ TV only a decade apart from my own daughter!)

I seem to remember it being on over lunchtime when Bee was small – a 12-1pm slot maybe? We didn’t have the vast array of choice that we have now, and no Sky or cable TV, let alone the internet. When a show came along then that Bee enjoyed, (and that I did too), we seized upon it as a beacon of light relief in what could otherwise be a very long day. (Life with a toddler can be pretty dull when you are 19 and have zero money.)

Sesame Street was that beacon.

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Bee was round for tea the other night. Belle was cooking and we were watching Dirty Dancing because apparently neither of my children have ever seen it. (Which officially makes me a bad parent.)

‘Mummy’s smiling a lot,’ said Belle, from her position in the kitchen chopping onions, ‘it looks weird.’ (Our downstairs room is one biggish space that’s half a kitchen and half where we watch TV.)

‘Yeah, why are you smiling?’ asked Bee.

‘It’s a good film!’ I said.

‘Yeah but not that good,’ said Bee, ‘not as good as Wikipedia said it was going to be.’ (I don’t understand why she can’t just watch a film and wait nicely to see for herself what happens at the end.)

‘Well I like life,’ I said, cheerily.

Bee looked doubtful.

‘No one likes life,’ she said, ‘they do it, but no one actively enjoys it.’

‘Well I do,’ I said, smiling. ‘I like waking up and getting up and doing things like going to work and getting coffee.’

‘PAH!’ said Bee, looking really sceptical by this point, ‘NO ONE likes getting up!’

‘I do,’ I said.

Because actually I do, most of the time. I mean sure, there are days when I’d rather not straight away, but that’s more because I’m enjoying so much the feeling of being in bed, not because I particularly have anything against life outside of bed. I’m just generally quite cheerful. (Which is why I find it so hard when I do have periods of feeling sad or anxious.)

Most of the time I just bumble along, looking forward to lunch, buying props for photos, not thinking too much about anything serious.

It’s nice!

slummy single mummy View Post