I like to think that as a parent I have passed on a wealth of knowledge and experience, setting my children up to thrive as adults, make sound choices etc etc.

In reality it’s likely that the only thing they will remember is my rule of ‘second crappest’.

(Probably because of the catchy title.)

The rule of second crappest is a simple yet effective one. Whenever you are looking to make a purchase or choice of some kind you simply go for the second crappest. In Tesco looking for baked beans? You don’t want to buy the super cheap ones where they can’t even be bothered to use coloured labels, but there’s no need to splash out on Heinz unless it’s your birthday or something, so instead you plump for the Tesco own brand. Second crappest.

Although I’ve always done it, it became a proper thing when Bee started shopping on her own. She would text me from the shops:

‘Which pasta should I buy?’ she’d ask.

‘I don’t know, whichever you want!’ I’d reply. (Patiently.)

‘But there are so many!’

‘Just get the second crappest.’

‘Okay.’

And there it is. View Post

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It’s nearly Valentine’s Day, which means it’s time for a little flashback to the Love Log.

Do you remember the Love Log?

I think it was the funniest thing anyone has ever written to me about. Please go and have a read if you haven’t already, or even if you have. It warrants a second visit.

Back now? Good.

Because you really DO NOT want to buy your loved one a Love Log, (unless you are doing it as a way to get out of being in a relationship with them), and because you want something better than a teddy bear holding a satin heart saying ‘Be Mine’, I’ve picked out a few potential Valentine’s Day gifts that I think are not too crap.

Champagne flutes

This range of LSA glass is my very favourite ever. I have the tumblers, wine glasses and these champagne flutes and I have given various sets as gifts. They are really affordable (only £29 for four at Red Candy) but they look more expensive than that, which is a key consideration when choosing a gift. Give with a bottle of champagne for extra loveliness.

LSA champagne flutes View Post

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This week we had a visit from a plumber. It doesn’t happen often because I’m more of the ‘wrap something around it to absorb the leak’ school of thought, but the cupboard under our sink was a little past that. I share this story as a way to make you feel better about any awkward moments you may have had with tradespeople.

So, he arrived.

‘The sink is over here,’ I said, already feeling like a goon because he is a plumber and if he can’t recognise a sink then really, what’s the point?

‘Thanks,’ he said, ‘let’s take a look.’

Now this, I appreciate now, was the moment where I should have offered him a cup of tea. However, I knew it was going to be a quick job, and I was wary of that whole awkward ‘you’ve made me this tea so I’m going to have to drink it but it’s actually scalding my throat’ scenario.

So I hesitated.

When you hesitate in a situation like this then that’s it, you’re finished. You can’t offer a plumber a cup of tea when they’re nearly finished – that would be like me coming into the room in stockings, carrying a Cosmopolitan in a sexy way. (How do you actually do that? Cocktail glasses are very easy to spill.)

Okay, so he doesn’t get tea. I can style that out. 

He goes out to his van to get some tools. What do I do now? I don’t want to have left the room while he is gone, that feels weird, but I also don’t want to just be standing there in the middle of the kitchen, waiting, so I sit down on a dining chair and have a look at my phone.

He comes back in. I finish the email I’ve been writing.

NOW WHAT?!

He is under the sink and I am sat in silence on a dining chair.

It’s weird.

I hesitate again though, and there, I’m stuck in the chair. I can’t leave now can I? That would be odd. But I can’t really make small talk about the sink, especially as his head is underneath it. So I sit some more in silence, as though I’m an invigilator in an exam. I send a few more emails, mainly to avoid looking up and accidentally making eye contact. I feel like the whole thing has gone too far and speaking now would just draw attention to the preceding silence.

Eventually he finishes, and I look up and smile casually, as though I’d forgotten he was there and I always sit like that in the kitchen.

‘What is it you do then?’ he asks as he gets out his forms.

Oh God no. 

I hate this question, especially when it comes from sensible grown up people in their sixties who have real professions, like plumbing. I consider making something up, but I’m not a good liar.

‘I write a blog,’ I say.

He looks confused, but doesn’t say anything. I’m so exhausted by the stress of the whole ‘sitting in silence in the dining chair’ thing that I can’t even explain. I just leave it hanging silently while I sign the paperwork and show him out.

Next time I’m just going to wrap something around the leak.

awkward moment with a plumber

Image – Emanuele Ravecca/shutterstock.

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7 books that could change your life

If you’re anything like me then you’re going to be very excited about this competition. I love books, and especially books that are aimed at teaching you something about yourself or helping you to improve your life. (Apart from that AWFUL one I ranted about earlier this week of course. Damn that woman.)

None of the books in my competition are hideous like that one.

These seven books all come from one of my very favourite websites of all time, The Book People. What that means is that technically, although the RRP of the collection comes to more than £89, you could buy them all from The Book People for less than £30. Now you see why I like The Book People so much.

So this is what I’ve got in the collection: View Post

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When I was about 14 I spent a lot of time lying on my bed, (which for a while was a mattress on the floor because I was bohemian like that and too cool for a bed), staring at my face in a mirror. Already at that age I realised that lying on your back was a flattering angle – a bit like a facelift, only less painful. It’s the same with legs – they look better when you lie down and stick them in the air because the fat falls backwards and doesn’t hang over your knees.

I’m 40 next year and I must admit that the prospect of examining my face close up in a mirror feels somewhat less appealing now. I’m not going to say ‘Oh my God, I look so old!’ or anything annoying like that because I think we both know that I don’t particularly, but just over the last year I have started to notice changes. My hair has started to dry out, my tummy is round even when I’m lying on my back, the fat around my elbows is squishier and the skin on my face is definitely looser.

I notice it most around my jawline. I’ve always had a decent jawline, but over the last 12 months it has noticeably softened and I’ve started to get a little pouchy bit under my chin. I can feel the softness under my jaw and up to my ears – I feel like I can pull my skin up behind my ears a little bit and get a squishy area around my earlobes that wasn’t there before. My skin tone isn’t as even as it once was either.

This is me, under harsh light, no editing. So basically how I look every day.

(Try not to look at the eyebrows.)

Boots No7 lift and luminate range

Boots No7 lift and luminate range

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