There is one simple question that splits parents neatly into two groups. Two groups who each take equal offence at the other’s morally reprehensible approach to parenting. If you are looking for something that defines the difference between a yummy mummy and a slummy mummy, this is it.

(Ooooh, what could it be??)

No, it isn’t the breast vs bottle debate.

It has nothing to do with your feelings on state vs private education.

It’s not about washing your hands before meals, or how much television you let your children watch.

It is this:

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This month saw the arrival of my second post-Christmas credit card statement. I felt rather pleased with myself opening it, because I knew that even though I accidentally spent about £1,500 on it on Christmas presents, I paid off the balance almost completely in the first week of January.

*looks smug*

So self-satisfied was I in fact, that I almost wanted to punch myself in the face.

My eye was caught though by the line telling me I had ‘£13,416 available to spend’.

Hmm…

£13,416 is quite a lot of money…

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Having calmed down from my fury of Thursday night, and after agreeing to balance the crafts and foot rubs with a workshop on women in the media, I’ve got a quick weekend competition for you. Just to lighten the mood. I’m going to be quick though, as Take Me Out has just started. (Seriously, how great is Take Me Out?? No likey, no lighty…)

Here’s the deal…

Aromettes are a new coffee thing from Douwe Egberts. It’s like ordinary ground coffee, but pressed into single serving bean shapes. Not only does the process apparently lock in the flavour, but they also look very cute in a glass jar.

I’ve tried some, and they were pretty nice. You can get them exclusively in Tesco from Monday if you want some of your own.

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What kind of parent are you?

Photo by Nick Wilkes on Unsplash

Most of us have a vague idea in our heads of the kind of parent we want to be.

Maybe you want to be the strict one, the kind of parent that can get homework done swiftly with just a carefully raised eyebrow, or perhaps you’d rather be the ‘they’re going to do it anyway so I’d rather it was under my roof’ type, who dishes out cans of Strongbow and condoms every weekend.

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I have never left a partner for someone else.

I don’t now if this is unusual or not, but despite a good mix of long-term, short-term and half hour-long encounters, I have never ended one relationship to start another – no overlaps, no angst-ridden dilemmas, never even anyone else waiting quietly in the wings.

I’d like to say this is because I’ve always been smart enough to end a relationship when I knew it wasn’t working, before it fell apart enough for me to fall for someone else, but anyone who knows me will be snorting derisively at that idea, so that isn’t it. What can I say? I’m not good at endings.

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I’ve always been a doodler. At university, I never took notes. Instead I would spend lectures creating pages of elaborate swirls and circles and lines. I was paying attention too obviously, it just helped me concentrate.

I still doodle a lot now – borders of flowers around pages, concentric circles, pretty pictures of cottages with white picket fences and apple trees in the garden – so when I was asked to create a doodle for National Doodle Day, I was more than happy to oblige. I take any form of procrastination very seriously.

National Doodle Day, which takes place this year on 11 February, is basically a fundraising activity, raising money for Epilepsy Action, and supported by Dodo Pad. Loads of celebrities take part, submitting their own doodles, and you can vote through the Doodle Day website for your favourite. There’s also a fab competition – send in your very own doodle and you could win an iPad. Not bad at all.

Anyway, they asked me to doodle something, promising a graphologist would be able to tell me something insightful, and this is what I did:

What do my doodles mean?

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It’s been a while since I did a straight product review. ‘Thank God!’ I hear you cry. They are dull after all. I personally hate reading them.

Still, when Ikea offered me one of these mega-cute inflatable ladybirds (with the catchy name of Sagosten)… well, I was putty in their hands. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a parcel, it was nearly Christmas, I thought I could wrap it up, pretend I’d bought it specially, and Belle would never know…

Belle has got a bit fed up in recent months with my product reviews. Now, if I ever give her anything, she narrows her eyes cynically and asks ‘do I have to write a review?’ So this time, I went for a plain and simple lie, passing the ladybird off instead as a thoughtful gift. *bad mummy*

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As parents, we tell lies all the time. These are mainly to our children. For example:

“Do you like my picture Mummy?”

“Yes!” you exclaim. “It’s brilliant!”. No it isn’t, you’re thinking, it’s rubbish, I can’t even tell what it is.

“The tooth fairy is real isn’t she Mummy?”

“Yes of course darling!” you reassure. No she isn’t, you mutter under your breath, now shut up and go to sleep so I can shove 50p under your pillow.

According to a survey published today by Netmums though, it’s not just the kids we’re lying to. We’re also lying to each other. If you thought playground peer pressure was behind you, apparently you’re wrong – as parents we are constantly comparing ourselves to other mums and dads, and finding ourselves lacking. In order to cover up our feelings of inadequacy, we’re lying about our parenting – how much TV we let the kids watch, how many meals we cook from scratch, and how much quality time we spend as a family.

It will come as no surprise to regular readers that I’m happy to admit that my children watch a fair bit of television. It’s not that I don’t want to do wholesome eight-year-old activities, it’s just that, well, ok… I don’t want to do eight-year-old activities to be honest.

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I’ve done my life the wrong way round really. I have a child starting her A-levels this year. I am only 32.

When I grow up I don’t want to be wealthy. I don’t want to settle down. I don’t aspire to have a big house in the country, with a mortgage to match, or expensive holidays. I’m not looking to start a family either. I’ve done that bit.

When I grow up I want to be free. I want to shed responsibility, not gain it. When I grow up I want to be able to choose where I live and what I do. I want to get up and go to bed whenever I feel like it and if I fancy going somewhere for a while, I will just go.

I’ve always harboured a secret dream of living in a mobile library, travelling around, selling interesting books and visiting interesting places.

A friend saw this and took a picture for me. “I thought it’d be perfect for you,” he said. “It has ‘The Universe at Your Fingertips’ written down the side.”

I love it.

The Universe at Your Fingertips.

That’s what I want when I grow up.

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This week, I was presented, crowned, if you will, with the Stylish Blogger Award.

Yes, that IS it, and no, you’re right, it is less of an award and more of a small picture, but still, I take praise wherever I can find it.

It was given to me by the oh-so-stylish and achingly funny Emma of Cocktails at Naptime and Mommy Has A Headache fame, and involves a rather complicated set of instructions, which I will attempt to follow here. View Post

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So far so good on my 2011 reading challenge – one down, twenty four to go.

It’s quite a long time since I tried to talk intelligently about books, 16 years in fact since I did English at school. I’ve been to book groups sporadically, but they often tend to be more about the snacks and the wine than the books, plus you have loads of other people to bounce off, so you get more of an idea of the right thing to say.

However, I have resisted the urge to google The Great Gatsby for clever sounding things to say, and obviously I couldn’t be bothered to read the introduction, so I basically have no idea what the book is meant to be about. Instead I’m just going to go with how it made me feel. Don’t laugh…

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There comes a point in the life of blog where the initial excitement wears a bit thin and you start to think about what it means to actually send your thoughts out into the world all on their own, where the ‘Yay! People are reading my blog!’ turns into a ‘Bugger, people are actually reading my blog.’

When you’re sat at home by yourself with nothing but a laptop, a selection of bad nineties music and a packet of bourbons for company, you forget sometimes that a world exists outside the front door. You forget that the words you write are potentially going to be read by thousands of people. Ok, maybe hundreds. Or tens at least.

For some people, it’s the thought of strangers reading that is uncomfortable, the idea that someone you’ve never met, on the other side of the world, gets to peek into your mind and learn all sorts of things about the way you think.

For me it’s more the people I know. The collection of family, friends, colleagues, boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, boyfriend’s ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends’ girlfriends… I know I have at least one of each among my readers…

*waves* View Post

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