“I really hope we make pancakes at school today,” said Belle as we walked to school this morning.

“We did already make pancakes though,” I pointed out, “I was up early making the batter remember?”*

“Yes, but I didn’t do any of the making. You did the batter, and you cooked them, and you even put the fillings in.”

“You did the chewing though,” I said, “and that’s one of the most crucial bits.”

“It’s not really making though is it?” argued Belle. “If anything I unmade them.”

Fair point. We walked along for a bit in chummy silence. View Post

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February.

Eurgh.

Not a very inspiring month is it? It’s cold, the evenings are still dark, and you know that at some point you’re going to be forced to make pancakes that no one really wants to eat. Hardly surprising that my mind has been wandering forward to summer, imagining being able to sit outside with my lunch, feeling the warmth of the sun on my shoulders.

I’m having a bit of dilemma though when it comes to planning holidays. For a start, you know when you’re taking children with you that it’s never really a ‘break’, so you’re reluctant to spend too much money or travel too far for what will essentially be like being at home but without your own bed and favourite tea bags for comfort.

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I’m not really here!

I mean I am a real person obviously, but I’m actually writing this on Thursday, and you’re reading it on, well, not Thursday. How cool is that?? I just told the computer, and it remembered to do it all by itself. I feel like a character in a Graham Greene novel, sending a letter out to a spy in some far flung part of South America, with instructions for him to post it on a particular day, at a particular time, from a postbox marked with a black crow.

I love being at that age where although I can use it fairly well, technology still has the power to amaze me. How do voices come out of your phone without it even being connected to anything? Where even IS the internet?

It’s all very impressive.

So here’s my question today – if you weren’t here either, where would you rather be? You can be anywhere in the country, in the world, in the whole universe, doing anything you like.

Of course if you weren’t here, and I wasn’t here either, which I’m not, this conversation would never have happened, and you wouldn’t know what the question was to answer it, but let’s try not to think too deeply about the whole thing.

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Last weekend I had the whole weekend to myself.

I will say that again for emphasis. The Whole Weekend.

It doesn’t happen often, but the forces of nature and orbits of the planets and such like all aligned so that everyone apart from me was somewhere else. The prospect was quite overwhelming, and by Saturday night I had resorted to making origami animal friends for myself, but we’ll brush over that part.

Keen to make the most of it, I set off on Saturday morning for a day of doing all the things that no one else in my family enjoys terribly much, like mooching about in book shops, and spending money in cafes. One thing I particularly like about being on my own is that you can leave places as soon as you like, so after fifteen minutes or so in a modern art gallery, when I realised I didn’t really understand what was going on, I could just leave, nodding sagely to myself, and know that no one would judge me. View Post

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So, this week is half term, joy oh joy. Seriously, what is it with all the school holidays?? Just when you’ve settled back into work – BAM! – there’s another one.

Anyway, this week, to make up for the fact that I’m spending most of my time working, (by which I mean hiding), in my attic office, on Tuesday I took Belle and a friend from school to London. We began our day with a tour of the CBBC studios, where they got to do all kinds of exciting things like pretend to be Newsround presenters, and sit in chairs that Take That had once sat in.

Although Belle spent the whole tour with an autograph book clutched in her sweaty paw, we didn’t see anyone famous. No Chuckle Brother photo opportunities for us. Outside the studios though, while we were deciding which tube to take, we had better luck.

“Look!” Belle’s friend whispered excitedly, nudging me and jiggling about on the spot as a vaguely familiar looking man strode purposefully past us, “it’s HIM!”

“Who, who!!” Belle joined in frantically.

“Well don’t just stand there then,” I instructed, always one to play it cool, “run after him!” View Post

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Who doesn’t like champagne and smoked salmon for breakfast? A fool, that’s who, a fact that Lego appreciated as they plied me with booze and snacks this morning, whilst I played with the new Lego Friends range and got disproportionately excited about the teeny-weeny coffee machine and ketchup dispenser.

(Gosh, that was a long sentence wasn’t it? I really must be excited).

If you haven’t come across it already, Lego Friends is the new range of Lego designed particularly for girls. It’s the same Lego building experience, but is based on years of research and development that has shown that girls prefer more ‘real life’ play, featuring scenarios they encounter in their own lives. As a mother of two girls, I can vouch for this. Most little girls I know aren’t interested in aliens and robots and rockets, they want realism and detail. Hence the tiny ketchup dispensers. View Post

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…that last post was my 300th!

My 300th post, and I marked it with nonsense about guinea pigs wearing clothes.

*ashamed*

To make up for it, here is a link to a very serious news story about the extension of the Bank of England’s quantitative easing programme.

There, that feels better.

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According to the BBC today, more and more people across the world are putting their pets in clothes. We’re expected to hit the £30million mark this year in the UK alone. Crazy times. Personally I find it depressing enough having to buy clothes for my children, so I definitely would not waste money on dressing a pet. That said, the only pet we’ve had recently has been a goldfish, which would rather limit my options anyway to swimwear.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you a few alternative pictures of dressed up animals. Just for the lols, as the cool kids say.

So here you go… View Post

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This time last week I was at The Steady Table writing group, sneakily writing a blog post about writing a blog post, which feels terribly confusing. A bit like looking in one of those horrible mirrors in the Debenhams changing rooms where you see the vastness of your bottom reflected again and again as though there are a hundred bottoms lining a long corridor.

Tonight though, I am determined to be more creative, and not to just write about dull things like the mystery muffin someone has just bought from the cafe. (“We don’t know what they are,” says the waiter helpfully, “they were just on that tray when we got here.”) View Post

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Exciting times today my virtual chums.

I’ve had a couple of competitions running over the last few weeks, one to win a fabulous 3D mobile phone, and another to win a book of sex tips. And no, they don’t come as a package, although that could be fun too.

*mind wanders*

Anyhoo, today I am announcing the winners of both competitions, so hold on to the edge of your seats… View Post

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Today I want to confess a pet hate.

Self-styled crazy people. They drive me nuts.

“Oh yeah,” they cackle, “don’t worry about me, I’m bonkers, all my friends say so!”

*cue jazz hands and novelty bow tie spinning in circles*

I just don’t understand it. Is it a confidence thing? Do these people believe that they’re basically so dull that they have to create this madcap personality, who is constantly entertaining their friends by doing absolutely bonkers things like eating sandwiches made with hundreds and thousands and tomato ketchup?

This afternoon then, I felt the urge to rise to the challenge, to show these mavericks just how crazy I can be when I want to. Have a look at this picture: View Post

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As the wrinkles spread and the boobs head south, we still feel likes teenagers inside don’t we? Today I have a guest post from The Undercover Granny, on getting old, grey hair, and staying positive…

When I was young and heard old ladies saying they still felt 18, I used to snort with derision. How could this possibly be true? Surely there is some kind of old person’s switch that flicks the moment you reach 50 and thoughts of music, clothes and romance are replaced by a desire to knit, grow lavender and tut loudly at anyone having even the tiniest bit of fun.

Now 52 and a granny myself, I realise this is, of course, complete nonsense. I still feel as if I’m in my early twenties and it’s only the odd creak of my bones and the strands of grey in my hair that remind me I am no longer a mere slip of a girl.

When my son was small he embarrassed me hugely in a queue in a shop by asking loudly why old ladies all had the same haircut and if they all went to the same hairdresser. It is perhaps this alone that has left me determined to keep my hair longish forever and not succumb to the pressure to have it teased into a white helmet.

In most respects I feel no different now to how I did in my younger years. But it is undeniable that growing older brings with it a sense of peace.

In your teens and early twenties there’s a real immediacy to every problem. If you might have to miss a party it can feel like the end of the world. If a boyfriend is drifting away it feels, momentarily at least, as if your life is over.

With age, however, you learn that you won’t die if you don’t buy that gorgeous yellow mini skirt and, in fact, having some money in the bank or not running up an overdraft is a lot better for your emotional wellbeing.

In essence, I believe you are the age you feel – as long as you look after your body and mind – and that it can be really freeing to leave behind the tiring drama of youth. Just make sure you retain a sense of optimism and the feeling that anything is possible.

I’d love to hear how you feel on the subject.

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