It’s a question that gets asked time and time again – are boys and girls just different, or do we raise them differently? Is it nature, or nurture? Only having girls, it’s a hard question for me to answer, so I enjoy spending time with friends who have sons, so I can compare notes…

Last week we went with my friend Vicky and her son Ashley to Dunster Castle. Living in Somerset, we really are spoilt for scenery and Places of Interest. Great if you’re retired or are keen on historic buildings, not so keen if you’re fifteen and like screamo.

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I saw this story in the Daily Mail today (I was looking for work reasons, not for pleasure), and just had to comment….

When I saw it, it was one of the lead stories on the home page. It showed a picture of two attractive women, one fat and one thin. By fat I mean perfectly normal UK size, not a size ten, but not some sort of fifty stone ‘the woman who hasn’t left her bed for ten years’ channel five documentary type fat. It was basically two ordinary women.

The headline next to it read “one is a virgin, one has had 50 lovers. Can you guess which is which? You may be surprised by the answer…”

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It’s official, the Sunday we spent at Camp Bestival was The Best Day of Bee’s Life.

We had a lovely weekend generally, helped along by the Pimms bus in the kid’s field, but the whole weekend was totally made for us all – well me and Bee at least – by our encounter with Seth Lakeman.

Bee has always been a massive Seth fan and over the last few years we have been to loads of gigs, seen him at festivals, and generally followed him about in a slightly stalkerish way. We were absolutely thrilled then to find out that Seth and his band were a late addition to the Camp Bestival line-up.

Much of the first day there was spent trying to find out exactly where and when he was playing, as he wasn’t in the programme, but eventually we tracked him down to a small bandstand on the Sunday afternoon. A bandstand! Did they not know who he is??

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How, as a single parent, are you supposed to work, maintain your sanity AND look after children who have six-week long holidays?? SIX WEEKS! It’s just not natural.

This afternoon, after being a full-time mum since the end of July, I have spent a blissful five hours in the house on my own designing databases and writing marketing emails, while Bee and Belle have been out shopping with my mother. I am extremely grateful.

After just two weeks of being a ‘stay-at-home-in-the-holidays’ mum, I am already reaching the end of my tether. It’s like being on extended maternity leave all over again (what a stupid idea THAT was) – my neck and shoulders feel permanently tense, and my voice has become slightly high-pitched and hysterical. My patience is more frayed than my hall carpet, which is saying something, and my poor children are suffering I’m sure.

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I haven’t posted in a while. My longest ever actually. I seem to have lost my connection with the internet this week.

Not literally you understand, I’ve just temporarily lost the urge to keep up.

I blame camping, I always knew it was unnatural. Last weekend we went to Camp Bestival, and had a fantastic time mooching about outside, drinking Pimms, listening to music and generally not thinking about real life. We were staying the in Tangerine Fields, so avoided the actual having to put up the tent bit, so our camping experience was really rather civilised. There is something so soothing about eating cup-a-pasta for breakfast and just sitting quietly on the damp grass for twenty minutes waiting for two inches of water to boil.

So when we got home I felt rather overwhelmed with real life. We had managed to live quite happily in the tent with just a suitcase full of stuff, so to get home and see MOUNTAINS of useless rubbish all over the place was a bit disconcerting. ‘Surely we don’t need all this crap?’ I kept thinking to myself as I wondered around the house.

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My last post about infidelity sparked some really interesting discussion, and has got me thinking about just what fidelity means, and how important it actually is in a relationship.

So, given I always get such thoughtful interesting responses, I wanted to ask some more questions about what loyalty in a relationship means to you.

Firstly of course we have the issue of what is cheating? I think we have established that the majority of men (all my readers excepted obviously), would probably cheat if they had the chance and knew they could get away with it, but what exactly do you define as cheating? Is it a kiss? Is it sex? Or do men take the Bill Clinton approach to just how much bad behaviour you can defend… ‘I did not have intercourse with that woman…’

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I was talking to a male friend at the weekend about infidelity and he came out with a rather shocking statement.

He said that the only thing that stopped men from cheating on their partners was the possibility of getting caught. He reckoned that if there was a guarantee that the wives and girlfriends would never find out, that ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of men would cheat.

I will say that again just in case you didn’t hear me properly – ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.

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I’m having one of those days today where you question the point of things. It’s very annoying. It could be summer holiday boredom kicking in already, but as it’s still actually only the weekend, that would seem a bit premature.

It’s a really frustrating way of thinking, and I’m hoping if I write it down, it will sound so self-indulgent and pathetic that I will be shamed into thinking more positively.

This is how the conversation went this morning in my head:

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I can’t believe it’s really nearly here. I’ve been looking forward to it with a mixture of relief, excitement and dread and now I only have one more day to go.

The summer holidays. (DUM DUM DUUUUM!)

What fun stuff has everyone got planned? Holidays? Outings? Adoption?

This summer is going to be different from most for me. It will be the first summer where I have been officially working for myself and it’s a fantastic relief not to have to worry about holiday clubs, childcare or missing out on any fun.

But that’s the problem in itself. No childcare. ‘Excellent!’ I thought to myself, ‘I will wind down to the holidays, keep work to a minimum and enjoy lots of Quality Time with the girls’. But now I’m starting to get a tad panicky. Winding down is all very well, but I do still actually have some work to do, and you know how these things happen – the minute you actively DON’T want to get offered anything, you can guarantee something will land in your lap.

So the no childcare thing suddenly seems just a little bit foolhardy. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children, they are fabulous, but six weeks of non-stop seven-year old may just tip me over the edge.

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I’m a sucker for a decent chick flick, and I really enjoyed the film version of ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’, so when I saw a copy of the book at a boot sale at the weekend for 20p – well, what could I do? We know I need all the dating help I can get.

The premise is this – if a man wants to ask you out, he will ask you out.

That’s it really. (I never said it was complicated). The authors claim that if a guy really likes you, he will find a way to get in touch, he will call when he says he will, he will want to have sex with you and he will ultimately want to marry you. If he fails to come good on any of these points, ever, then you face the facts – he’s just not that into you.

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About a month ago I posted a couple of attempts at some fiction writing, which my number one fan Brian very much enjoyed. So much so that he has been working on his own part of the story on his blog, Extremely Average. I did promise Brian I would write some more, and he has been very patient, but I have kept him in suspense long enough.

Please bear in mind this is just a first draft, so obviously I need to cut about 70% of it and change all the words, but apart from that… It carries on (vaguely) from where the last post stopped, and finishes rather suddenly due to my having a bit of a headache and quite wanting to go and have a little lie down. All constructive criticism very welcome.

As they approached the source of the noise Beatrice broke into a trot. She moved gracefully – she was much more elegant than Amy ever imagined a camel would be.

Amy hung back though, hesitant about what they might find, not sure if she wanted to bring a baby into their lives. She’d known Beatrice less than an hour and it really felt too soon to be starting a family.

She remembered feeling the same nervous dread when her Dad had taken her to meet her brother Dan for the first time. She was five when he’d been conceived, and had been quite happy as an only child. The arrival of an extra person in her carefully ordered world wasn’t something she was looking forward to, particularly when she had only recently finished rearranging all her dolls alphabetically. She needn’t have worried of course, she had fallen in love with Dan the moment she saw him – lying in his plastic box at the Farnham Centre, wearing the tiny brown hat with the puppy ears that she’s picked out for him the month before at Mr Panther’s Baby Emporium.

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Last night Belle and I watched Wife Swap USA.

Yes, I know it’s mostly staged and it’s all rubbish, but I don’t care. I love it. So there. I particularly love the last five minutes when they go back to their own families and, despite having spent the swap coming out with lines like “I’d rather be DEAD than spend another day with that DEVIL WOMAN!”, they take home lots of Valuable Lessons, and all become balanced, loving families, living happily ever after. And no, I don’t even love that part in an ironic way, I just like to think it’s true.

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