Yes, you heard me right – I said chocolate weetabix.

*waits while readers pick themselves up off the floor*

Now before I start, I know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking ‘there have been quite a few reviews lately – what’s Jo playing at? It’s boring – we come here to read the sordid, pathetic details of her non-existent love life and feel better about our own lives, not get lectured about teddies and breakfast cereals.’

Well fair enough, I won’t do any more for ages, promise, but things have been a little tighter financially this month, so when I was asked if I wanted to try some of these new chocolate weetabix I was basically thinking ‘one less dinner to worry about.’ What can I say. I’m a cheap date.

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I’m supposed to be on a date right now.

I chickened out.

I feel bad about it, ashamed, like a child who’s scared to make new friends, especially given all the hard work everyone put in helping me create my online dating profile. The trouble is, although you got my requirements spot on, you missed one crucial ‘must-have’ for my ideal man.

‘Must creep up on me slowly, catch my eye in a bookshop, be the last person in the world I expect to fall in love with.’ Pathetically romantic I know, but there you go.

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Welcome to my 100th post!

*Noise of small brass band playing a fanfare*

I honestly can’t believe I have made it. I have such a short attention span that when I started blogging in December I honestly thought the novelty would wear off it about, ooh, a week? But do you know what has kept me going? Other of course than it being a fantastic procrastination tool (I can’t possibly start that very important piece of work now, can’t you see I’m blogging?).

It’s you! When I first started, I had never even read a blog, and I never imagined other people would be interested in what I had to say, let alone be inspired to say something back.

And now look at me. I am a hopeless addict. Every time someone comments, the attention seeking, praise driven me gives a little cheer ‘Look! They like me!’

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When I was invited to bring the girls to a Build a Bear Workshop to make our very own bears I knew I was about to become a Very Popular Mummy.

I’ve written before about the difficulties of having two kids with a seven-year age gap, and how hard it is to find things for us all to do that don’t bore Belle to death or make Bee’s face screw up with a look of revulsion. Well, I think I can safely say that Build a Bear is the one thing, possibly with the exception of dumping them both at Claire’s Accessories and saying ‘here’s twenty quid each’, that they can both enjoy in equal measure.

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I’ve often suspected that I don’t have quite the authority as a parent that I’d like. Partly I think it’s an age thing. I was only 16 when I was pregnant with Bee, and I’ve always looked younger than I am. Maybe my children would have more respect for me if I was older and sterner, perhaps with a large bushy beard – how can you not respect someone with a beard?

Given though that I have hardly any hair on my head, and only have to shave my legs about once a month, a beard is probably not on the cards.

Mostly though it is probably my own fault. I do tend to act like a child. (I know my impeccable behaviour at Cybermummy makes this hard to believe, but you’ll just have to take my word for it). I spend all my money on sweets and stationary, get drunk, often laugh at Wizards of Waverley Place. Really not very mature at all.

“It’s funny,” Bee said to me a while ago, “I don’t really think of you as the mummy, I just thought you were in charge because you were the tallest.”

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I woke up this morning feeling a little bit sad and lonely. A tad pathetic maybe, but after spending the weekend at the Cybermummy conference surrounded by so many interesting, intelligent, funny women, waking up on your own is bound to be a bit of an anti-climax.

One important thing I’ve come to realise since I became single and started working at home, and which Cybermummy reinforced for me, is that I am a People Person. I’ve always thought this was a bit of a silly expression. We are people, of course we like other people, but I see now that there are some people, like me, who really thrive on company. Basically I am a show off who needs an audience.

I love meeting new people, particularly new funny people, and ESPECIALLY new funny people who enjoy drinking tequila, aren’t afraid to be loud in public, and are partial to a little lie down on hotel floors. And oh my God, everyone was soooo funny. I wasn’t the person who had the ‘little accident’, but I certainly came close.

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Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there lived a beautiful princess with a fondness for good grammar, and an unsuitable prince who was devilishly good at scrabble.

One day the unsuitable prince told the princess he was in love with her. He seemed rather perplexed though, so while he had a little think about it he put the princess in a well for safekeeping.

The well was very deep and dark and the princess was rather shocked. She was in love with the unsuitable prince too, but hadn’t been expecting him to feel the same, and she certainly hadn’t been expecting the well. The princess lived quietly in the well for a while. There wasn’t much to eat, but suddenly she wasn’t very hungry, and managed quite well on a diet of wine and the occasional Babybel. Sometimes she thought about escaping, but the light at the top of the well seemed so far away, and the walls were slippery and difficult to climb.

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You know I  never imagined that being a blogger would get me free stuff. Honestly. I started the blog really just as a way to get people to tell me how funny and clever I am, not for freebies.

So it was a lovely surprise, a few months in, to find people offering me things. For free! I know – it’s amazing isn’t it? It makes me feel terribly powerful, as though people are watching to see what I do so they can be like me. Most of the time of course I get offered complete rubbish (no, I really don’t want to try out a TENS machine on my tennis elbow), or things that are completely irrelevant to me life, like baby thermometers. You can tell then that the person asking hasn’t actually read my blog at all, they’ve just seen the word ‘mummy’. If they actually read it they’d realise I am not the kind of mummy to take temperatures. I am much more a ‘really darling? *sips G&T without making eye contact* I’m sure you’ll feel better after a nice sleep…’ type of mummy.

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This is just a quick follow-up to my ‘would you let a man in your bed who didn’t know the difference between there and their’ post…

I have a google alert set up for my name (is that vain? probably…) and this afternoon I had an email to tell me that I was being mentioned on the ‘Forces Penpals’ website. Intrigued, I clicked through the link, and discovered, to my delight, that I am being quoted as a ‘relationship expert’ (if only they knew…), advising men in the British Forces to get their spelling and grammar up to scratch if they want to make a good impression.

It made me laugh quite a lot. I never knew I had so much power. Thanks to me, the Army will now be churning out thousands of wonderfully literate soldiers, penning beautiful love letters home from all over the world.

Ok, maybe not, but a girl can dream. And if it means that just one extra man takes a bit more care with his capital letters then it’s a job well done in my eyes.

Photo credit – Arslan

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Thank you all so much for your fab suggestions for my online dating profile – I loved them all and was very impressed by how well you clearly know me already!

On Thursday evening I sat down to compile all the comments into a profile, picked a handful of the most appealing/chesty photos I could find, and officially ‘went live’. I feel a bit like a fridge on special offer in Comet now, but am trying to think of it as a sophisticated PR exercise, rather than a blatant selling of my soul.

Since Thursday evening I’ve had emails from six men – a mixture already of funny, sweet and downright odd. I haven’t got as far as actually taking out a paid subscription, so haven’t replied to any yet, but it’s giving me time to think about them and decide on my next move.

My main dilemma is just how open-minded am I supposed to stay at this stage? I dislike the way online dating makes me judge people, and I feel particularly shallow making assumptions based on pictures, but what else do I have to go on? Knowing that a man is looking for ‘a woman as comfortable in a pair of high heels as hiking boots’  doesn’t tell me much, and surely everyone likes a ‘cold beer in the sunshine’? I know I should remember that attraction can grow over time, and that I need to keep my options open, but I do feel I should discriminate in some way.

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I think it was Hamlet who wisely said “To date, or not to date, that is the question.” It was something along those lines I’m sure, and he was right, it is definitely my question today.

I’ve been single now for over two years. There have been a few brief flings in this time, but nothing I’d consider a ‘relationship’ in the sense that you call someone your boyfriend and feel happy about asking them to take the rubbish out or farting in bed.

During this time I have been through periods of proactive dating, where finding a partner has become my most pressing yet seemingly impossible goal. I’ve also had moments where the thought of having to go through the whole ‘getting to know someone’ process has just seemed too hideous to contemplate.

In the last few months though I feel like I’ve reached a healthy plateau. I don’t feel the sense of mild desperation I felt in 2008, when I was still new to singledom, I’m generally pretty happy most of the time, yet I still have the feeling that something is missing. I don’t need a partner, but that doesn’t stop me wanting one. (And it’s not just the implant removal talking).

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For me, putting up a tent is a bit like giving birth.

Bear with me on this…

Obviously there isn’t the same actual physical pain involved, no one would ever camp if there was, but there are plenty of parallels. Think for instance of that moment when you come to pack the tent away. You look at the tiny bag, you look at the tent, surely one just isn’t going to fit in the other? See what I’m saying here?

I don’t camp often if I’m honest, (why would you pee in a bucket and eat food warm that’s meant to be cold/cold that’s meant to be hot when you could stay in a hotel?) and all my camping is at festivals. I set out full of enthusiasm, I’m confident I can do it without pain relief/crying, but the minute I set the bags down on the inevitably sloped and rocky patch of grass next to the toilets, I turn into a monster.

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