I know I’m not the only person who questions exactly what the point of life is. It’s pretty bizarre after all isn’t it? You’re born, you are encouraged to accumulate all kinds of material possessions you don’t need, you die. The End.

Along the way, we are bombarded with ideas and images of ‘happiness’ – the books we should read, the places we should visit, the money we need to earn to be happy. It feels like there is a lot of pressure to strive for more and more extreme ways of achieving happiness, as though the only path to personal fulfillment involves skydiving off the Eiffel Tower, en route to a trek, barefoot, through some obscure mountain range.

Personally, I’m more a fan of life’s simple pleasures. (Read here about my perfect day with Colin Firth and some bagels…). I’ve always thought this was mainly down to laziness or a lack of imagination on my part, but a survey published in the Daily Mail today shows I am not alone. You could say of course that empathising with Daily Mail readers isn’t exactly something to boast about, but the survey was actually conducted on behalf of Radio 3, so I think that’s ok…

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Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it’s known to its chums. While several of my friends spend the month  of Movember growing moustaches in the name of raising awareness about cancers affecting men, I will be endeavouring to bang out 50,000 words of a novel.

The basic principle is this – most of us believe we Have A Book In Us. It’s one of those givens in life isn’t it? At some point in our lives we’ve all thought we could be the next J K Rowling. We just can’t be bothered. The aim of NaNoWriMo then isn’t to create a masterpiece, or to spend hours a day carefully crafting sentences, it is just to write, to make the time to sit down and actually get some words on a page. It doesn’t matter how good they are, it’s a matter of quantity rather quality, creating the habit of writing rather than thinking about writing and then getting tired and watching repeats of CSI instead. On the website, you can create a profile, monitor your progress, and link up with other writers. You can even share your work if you are feeling brave.

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This week I had an interview for a job. Although I haven’t been actively looking for a permanent job, I have been feeling a tad lonely working at home, and was thinking it would be nice to have some new work friends, a reason to wash my hair every day, and someone else to make my coffee now and again. So when this opportunity came along, and I was asked if I would be interested in applying, I thought I should go for it.

I’ve always enjoyed job interviews, with much the same perverse pleasure that I get from exams. At heart I am a over-competitive, under-confident exhibitionist. It sounds like an odd combination, but it isn’t really – I love being marked, being praised, and I strive to do well so that people will tell me how clever I am.

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This week, one of my favourite bloggers, Mommy has a Headache, tagged me in a post, asking me to come up with my recipe for a perfect man – the top ten things I look for in a potential partner. As she pointed out, it could be great advertising after all. If you can tick seven or more, please invite me out for dinner.

I fully appreciate of course that my Mr Right will very likely match up to none of these things. I have been in a flighty mood this week though, so I was glad of an excuse not to do some real work. So, here goes:

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Generally, I am pretty liberal-minded when it comes to eating and drinking. I will eat food I drop on the floor at home, happily eat left over pizza for breakfast, lick sambuca off another woman’s breast etc etc

On Sunday though, I had a drink related incident that turned even my stomach.

I was sitting in the cafe at the gym, enjoying a cup of coffee and reading a book. Before you all howl in disbelief, I will clarify that I wasn’t actually there EXERCISING. Heaven forbid. No, I was just sat waiting for Belle while she was swimming with her Dad.

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I was sat at the kitchen table at nine o’clock this morning, minding my own business, making my way through my second cup of coffee of the morning, when a new email pinged into my inbox.

“Morning Jo!” said the subject line.

“Morning email!” I thought to myself.

The email was from the producer of a programme on BBC Radio Kent, asking if I would be available to comment on a story in The Daily Mail today about whether or not it is OK to ask people to take their shoes off when they come into your house. Clearly someone has been spreading rumours about my lack of enthusiasm for housework and my generally filthy carpets.

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This evening I have been listening to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

There are certain songs or albums that always trigger memories for me. I can’t listen to Tap on my Window for instance without thinking of a certain man, and if I hear Run DMC vs Jason Nevins, It’s Like That, I’m 19 again, getting ready for a night in a crappy club, drinking peach schnapps.

Lauryn Hill reminds me of a particular time during my second year of university. I was 20 years old, a single mum of a three-year-old, commuting two hours a day to get to lectures. I didn’t get to do any of the social stuff, or even really get to hang out much, so there was very little opportunity for any sort of drunken debauchery.

However, I had my eye on a boy…

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I am proud to call myself a feminist. I support the Fawcett Society, I co-edit Women’s Views on News, I try to be a positive female role model for my daughters… basically I do my bit.

But…

Sometimes I find it a tiny bit depressing.

It’s not that I don’t care about equality – I absolutely do. The fact that women earn less than men isn’t right. Underrepresentation of women in politics and business bothers me. Sometimes though, feeling passionate about an injustice means you focus on the negative, on the things you feel are wrong and that you want to put right, and this sometimes makes me sad, because I become so tied up in all the things that aren’t fair, that I forget all the good things.

So today, when I read in The Daily Mail that men are losing out to women in many areas of life, I ignored my first instinct, namely to rubbish everything the Mail says, and thought instead about how lucky I am. This doesn’t mean I think there isn’t anything left to fight for, just that I’m not in a battling mood today.

The Daily Mail are reporting on the findings of the ‘How Fair is Britain?’ report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and highlight the fact that women are less likely to lose their jobs in a recession, more likely to eat well and look after their health, less likely to be victims of violent crimes, and so on. Well that’s all well and good, but you can read that anywhere can’t you? So, instead I’ve decided to come up with my own list of reasons why it’s great to be a woman:

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I must say I am VERY excited about this competition. I have never owned a handbag worth more than £40 and am quite sad that this in on my blog, and that I’m not allowed to choose myself as the winner.

So, what’s the deal?

Well, the race is on for the coveted title of Bounty Celebrity Mum of the Year 2010 and with competition tougher than ever this year, it’s even more important to make your vote count. Celebrity mums like Coleen Rooney, Tess Daly and Charlotte Church have faced a tough year but have come through the other side – putting them all heavily in the running for this year’s official Bounty Celebrity Mum of the Year award.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘since when did slummy single mummy care about Coleen Rooney?’ OK, so maybe it’s a little off topic for me, but we are all mums after all, we’ve got to stick together. And did you not see the words ‘win a designer handbag’ in the title? I’m doing this for you.

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Belle wants a sleepover.

*groans*

She’s never had a friend from school sleep over before, or been invited come to that. I don’t know if it’s just that at eight, she is a bit young, or if all the other kids are doing it but just not inviting her. I hope it’s the former, otherwise that would be a bit sad.

She’s never really been a ‘sleeper’. She relegated her dad to a mattress on the bedroom floor for several months when she was a toddler, sleeping in bed with me, waking every hour or so, and it wasn’t until she started school that she began to properly sleep through the night.

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How many days do you leave it before you call?

How long should you leave between relationships?

Can love survive over long distances?

How many dates before your first kiss? How many more before you sleep with someone new?

How big an age gap is too big?

How many sexual partners should you aspire to as a man? How many is it acceptable to admit to as a woman?

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When I first began blogging, I never imagined it would get read, that I would become part of the ‘blogosphere’ or that, heaven forbid, I would actually have to meet anyone face to face. It seemed quite acceptable then to pick a photo for my header that showed me at my best, i.e. plastered with make-up and with twice as much hair as normal.

When I first met other bloggers in person, I got business cards with the same picture on, and had to keep taking my glasses off and pretending to talk into a phone so that people would believe it really was me. I’ve thought about changing the picture, but it’s too late now. I’ll just have to go with it, and hope that next year the MADS add a category for ‘blogger who looks least like their profile picture’.

The full photo actually includes all of us and I would love to have the full shot on the blog, but Bee is so horrified by her hair, which in my opinion looks rather lovely and sleek, that she would never forgive me. So I’m just going to show you it here once, and hope I get away with it: View Post

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