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


What makes your house your home? Is it the stuff we fill it with? The people we share it with? The street it sits on?

We are now at Moving Day minus eights days and counting. So far things are going well – roughly half our possessions are in boxes, a quarter have been dumped at the tip or the local hospice shop, and the remainder lie scattered about the house on various floors, ready to trip me up when I go to the toilet in the night.

I’ve always thought of myself as a seasoned housemover, and scoffed at people getting stressed by the seemingly simple task of packing. What’s not to love after all about the chance to reorganise your books? Every time I have moved house before, I have relished the opportunity to start afresh, with nice clean skirting boards and carpets, to be temporarily distracted from that permanent sense of mild boredom by the dilemma of how best to arrange the sofa and television. View Post


I understand that the cool thing to do is pretend you’re not interested in your blog stats, that you never even bother to check how many people read it, and that you write purely as some kind of irrepressible creative outlet.


If I just wanted a creative outlet I’d just scribble in a notebook and hide it under my mattress, or sculpt things out of old toilet rolls. I write because I want people to read it, and to laugh, or at least smirk a bit, and so I’m always interested to see who’s reading and where they come from.

One of the most intriguing sections of the stats is the list of search engine terms that bring people to my blog. I’ve expressed surprise in the past at the number of people finding me through searches including the word ‘anal’, (my favourite is ‘anal mystery’), but at least that’s sort of expected, it’s what the internet is for after all, but some of the phrases are just downright baffling. View Post


He is very funny, I promise. Please make him very welcome – clap, throw coins etc…

I am guest posting on Slummy Single Mummy today. Which is weird as I am neither a mummy, single or particularly slummy. Married Daddy Anal?…hmm…Married Anal Daddy?…maybe not….Daddy Married Anal?…that’s just wrong – but it’ll definitely increase SSM’s traffic. Oh, the comments she will get…

I suggested that we write on the subject of booze as it is a nice wide subject, and something that we have all tried and it can also be interpreted loosely (I feel as if I have inadvertently strayed back into my previous paragraph’s subject matter) . If any of the five people who used to read my blog are now reading this blog you will know that I am a great fan of lists so without further ado I shall catalogue the 6 stages of drunkeness: View Post


“I want to do a blog post,” I say to my friend Vicky, who is sat on the sofa opposite me telling me a rather disgusting story about the time she snapped her little toe. “Right now.”

“OK,” she says, “what about?”

“I’m going to interview you,” I tell her.

“Right ho, off you go then.”

Oh dear, I’m on the spot now. “What shall I ask you?” I ask.

“I don’t know! It’s not my interview,” Vicky quite rightly points out.

“If you were a biscuit, what biscuit would you be?” (It is surely just a matter of time before The Times snap me up for a weekly interview slot). View Post


Today I have spent a lot of time pacing.

Some days my pacing is productive – I wander around the house, come across little jobs that need doing, and get them done. I feel relaxed and productive. I’m happy. Sometimes I hum or do a little skip. In these circumstances it is not really pacing, so much as pottering.

Other times though my inability to settle in any one place is not productive or relaxed. It is distracted and futile and makes my neck hurt. I am writing this in a bid to stay in one place for more than ten minutes but I’m finding it hard and the inside of my legs feels fizzy. I’m restless, like a tiger in a cage at a zoo, only far less glossy and agile.

Last week my removal boxes arrived, and this weekend I’ve begun sorting and packing. Yesterday it was definitely pottering – I methodically unstuck blutac from walls, stacked books, unhung pictures, but today I can’t recapture the same easy rhythm.

I keep starting jobs and then getting bored. I walk into a room, look around, with my hands of my hips, sigh loudly and pull a face, and walk out again. I’ve half filled several boxes and half filled the car with off cuts of wood and broken screwdrivers, but not got as far as the tip.

I even started watching an episode of Wife Swap while I ate my lunch, but got bored before the rule changes and instead decided to empty the bottom of my wardrobe. As I type, my bedroom floor is awash with old shoes, squashed handbags and broken coat hangers.

Last night I was just the same. I kept waking up in the night, feeling angry, repeatedly sitting up, frowning at my pillows, kicking my legs around and then grumpily lying back down again.

Nothing is actually wrong, so why do I have this permanent scowl?

I need some tips. What can I do to sooth my restless self, uncoil my shoulders and stop my brain from twitching? What works for you?


Today was Bee’s last day of school.

“Gosh, you don’t look old enough to have a teenager!” is the standard response when I tell people my eldest daughter is 16 this year.

“I’m not old enough to have a teenager,” I normally reply. The day people stop looking slightly shocked will be the day I know I am old.

I can remember my last day of school, 17 years ago, very clearly – all the Year Elevens gathered in the school hall, the shirt signing, the tears. Weird how at the time those people feel like your whole life. That afternoon in the hall, the mascara running and the hormones surging, I thought we’d be friends for life. View Post


I’ve hit a wall.

It’s been a couple of weeks now since I wrote anything and now I don’t know where to begin. It has become a thing, a chore, a nag at the back of my head – ‘you really should write a blog post you know…’

Yes I know, thank you brain for your ever helpful input.

You know when you leave the washing up for too long and you get to the point where you’re having to butter bread with the back of a spoon because all the knives are dirty? You know you should just wash up, but somehow you can’t. You’ve left it too long and it’s become too much. It almost feels like it would be easier to just sweep all the dirty dishes into the bin and start again with new ones.

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