They say every child is different, and how right they are.

First time around, I was blessed with what, on reflection, I appreciate was something of a miracle baby. At six weeks old, Bee was sleeping 12 hours through the night. Throughout her early years she could be left with anybody, was happy to go anywhere in the car, would eat most things, and was generally a pretty chilled out child. It was all down to me of course. Me and my ‘relaxed parenting style’.

Oh, how we laugh. View Post


Last night Bee and I went for dinner at Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Bee does love a good chain.

The restaurant was entirely glass fronted, so we chose a table in the window, where, once we had run out of things to say to each other, we could amuse ourselves watching people loitering about outside, trying to decide whether to go for a burger or Yo Sushi.

About three minutes later, we were watching a woman on her own, who was spending an unreasonable amount of time looking at the menu outside. “Maybe she’s meeting someone,” I suggested.

“Nah,” countered Bee, “because then she wouldn’t be looking at the menu would she?”

“She might,” I said, “if she was just trying to make herself look busy.”

Bee didn’t look convinced. “To be honest,” she said, “she does look like the kind of person who’d go to a burger restaurant on her own.” View Post


I had a text conversation with Bee last week that almost brought a little tear to my eye.

She was staying with my mum back in Bridgwater at the time, and appeared to have had a moment of dawning realisation.

“Just walking along the street I’ve seen like 10 people, I feel so isolated like when people end up in a sinister town in a horror film. Even the water tastes distustinger than I remember.”

“Lol,” I replied, (I AM a cool mum), “is this Bridgwater? I told you all along it was shite :)”

“Yeah it is,” she replied, “I realise that now. I heard the advert for Gloucester Road gear boxes and I want to go home :( xx”

She wanted to come home! It was a very lovely moment. That feeling, finally, of my decision to uproot us being validated, reassurance that despite months of complaining, of emotional blackmail, Bee had finally seen the light.

Wanting to strike while the iron was hot, I decided to follow it up with a Folk House brochure. “Is there anything in here you fancy doing?” I asked, quite aware of Bee’s usual hatred for any sort of organised activity. “I thought I might do a hula hooping course, or there’s a Saturday workshop for making your own knickers out of vintage silk scarves?”*

I was expecting a look of disgust, or at best the funny face Bee does when I suggest silly things – a raised eyebrow and half smile, as if to say ‘really? And you are considered a grown up?’

But no.

Instead Bee took the brochure from me, and browsed with something akin to genuine interest. “I quite fancy doing beginners guitar,” she said casually.

I forced a similarly casual air, not wanting my excitement to put her off. “Sure,” I said, “that sounds like a good idea.”

Organised activities! Bee wants to do organised activities!

*takes deep breath*

Of course, the whole ‘living somewhere where stuff actually happens’ plan has the drawback of being quite expensive, but it’s a small price to pay. (Not literally). Yes I am having to work a lot, but everything seems to be working out ok, and I haven’t had to resort yet to cash for gold.

Besides, once we’ve finished at the Folk House we’ll be able to make our fortune with our guitar and hula hoop routine.

*These are both actual things you can do there.


This weekend I went for a rummage in the 20p bin at the Amnesty bookshop, and came across a collection of poems from a writer called Grace Nichols, called Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman. How could I not buy it?

My favourite so far is called Grease – poetry for women who can think of better things to do than clean kitchens.



Grease steals in like a lover
over the body of my oven.
Grease kisses the knobs
of my stove.
Grease plays with the small
hands of my spoons.
Grease caresses the skin
of my table-cloth,
Grease reassures me that life
is naturally sticky.

Grease is obviously having an affair with me.



New research published this week by the University of Bristol, claims that within families, teen pregnancy tends to be contagious.

What an odd term to choose.

Contagious. Makes it sound like a nasty disease doesn’t it? Not, in my humble ‘I-was-a-teenage-mum-and-I-don’t-live-off-benefits’ opinion, a terribly positive start to the piece.

The study found that having an elder sister go through a teen pregnancy increases the chance of a teenage pregnancy in younger siblings – known as a ‘peer effect’. This peer effect is apparently a powerful force, doubling the likelihood of a younger sister becoming pregnant as a teenager, from one in five to two in five. View Post


This morning a Boden catalogue arrived in the post.

Before I knew what was happening, I was idly flicking through it.

‘That dress is nice,’ I thought to myself, stopping on a page with a wholesome looking woman happily riding an old fashioned bike along a cobble street, ‘and looks like really good quality.’

I didn’t ask for the Boden catalogue, I don’t know how they found me, but this is clearly the beginning of the end. How long now before I’m wearing Hunter wellies for the school run and hankering after a Cath Kidston tea towel set? View Post


I’ve always felt a little guilty about being such a fan of Legally Blonde, and not just because of my slight girl crush on Reese Witherspoon.

I love Elle Woods for her enthusiasm, her passion, and her fondness for pink, but, as you can read at Ready for Ten, I’ve always questioned whether a woman who gets into Harvard on the basis on a video of herself in a bikini is really the best role model for Bee and Belle.

Maybe not, but I do admire her initiative. And if I looked half decent in a bikini I may well do the same.

Regardless of the feminist arguments for and against, I can’t help but love the film, so when I found out the musical version was coming from the West End to the Bristol Hippodrome, just days after we moved to Bristol, well… that’s got to be fate hasn’t it? Snaps for us, as the Delta Nu girls would say.

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The whole ‘work at home’ concept is a godsend for many parents.

Take today for instance.

I went to wake Belle up at about 7.45am, and was greeted by a less than enthusiastic response. “I feel sick,” she groaned, in her usual dramatic style.

“Well, you do say that every single morning, so I think you’re probably alright,” I replied.

“But this is different from just-woken-up feeling sick. Honestly!” she added, sensing my scepticism.

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“But hoovering is fun!” insists really-not-very-new-anymore boyfriend. “How can you not enjoy hoovering?”


As I’m sure regular readers will have realised by now, cleaning in general does not feature highly on my list of Fun Things To Waste Time Doing When I Should Be Working. It certainly features less highly than watching Jeremy Kyle whilst eating chocolate Hobnobs, or having a little lie down.

Still, when Vax offered me a go on one of their new Air Force Total Home upright cleaners, I admit I was intrigued. It claims to be the most powerful vacuum cleaner in the world. In the Whole Wide World. That’s quite a claim. As a woman who’s never spent more than about thirty pounds on a vacuum cleaner, I couldn’t help but wonder if the whole experience might turn out to be a little more satisfying if I had a machine that actually picked things up.

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I have a lot of patience for a lot of things.

I don’t get angry in traffic jams, I don’t mind queuing for things, I’m happy with rain, and generally I am very tolerant, possibly a little too tolerant, of rude and selfish men.

(I’m not referring here of course to New Boyfriend. He is lovely and not at all selfish. Rude about my cooking sometimes maybe, but only because he is jealous of my outstanding culinary abilities.)

One thing though, one thing I cannot abide, is stupidity. It may be cruel, but I can’t help it, I have no patience for idiocy. “I do not suffer fools gladly” as my Gran used to say, as she cracked open her thermos of gin. (My Gran did actually take me as a child on an outing to the beach and take a thermos of gin and tonic. She also once drove up and along the pavement for quite some time, narrowly missing several pedestrians, but I can’t remember if these two incidents were related.) View Post


Well, here we are. All moved and stuff.

We’ve been in the new house a grand total of ten days now. All the boxes are unpacked, the broadband is set up (miracles do happen) and I’m at the point now where I have time to sit back and reflect. What I realised, on reflection, is that I have moved us to a city where basically none of us know anybody.

And yes, I knew that really, but I was so focussed on the long-term, on the picture in my head of us all thriving in a vibrant city, surrounded by interesting people and activities, that I forgot about the bit in between, the bit where you have to go out and meet people. View Post


I was cleaning Belle’s teeth the other night when she started to cry. Partly I’m sure due to the fact that I was feeling a bit cross and my vigorous brushing was making her gums bleed, but partly just because she was tired at nearly the end of a long week, and when she’s tired she likes to come up with a little something to feel sad about.

“It’s going to hurt even more you know if you’re sobbing,” I tell her, full of sympathy as always, “because your head keeps bobbing about.”

“It’s not that!” she wailed, pausing to spit blood into the sink, “I’m sad for another reason.”

Of course she is.

I blame Jacqueline Wilson. Ever since she started reading those books it’s like she’s aspiring to be some kind of damaged child in a care home, wrestling with divorce or the death of a much-loved cat. View Post