WARNING – this blog post is a complete waste of time. Definitely read it if you are stuck at work on a boring Monday morning.

If procrastination were a sin, I’d be buggered quite frankly. I have just spent the last half an hour thinking about doing a spot of work, but actually doing online personality tests. I know it’s a Sunday evening, but I do have a bit of ground to make up from last week…

Shameful.

I probably need to get a proper job. Slacking off really doesn’t give you the same satisfaction when you work for yourself.

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International Women’s Day takes place on 8 March 2011, and is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women the world over, past, present and future. As much as we would like to believe we have achieved equality, there are still millions of women globally who are disadvantaged or discriminated against because of their gender.

But hey, let’s not dwell on that…

Let’s focus instead on the positives, the women bucking the trends, the women who are working hard, against the odds, inspiring individuals, communities, businesses and governments. Yay for women!

This year is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, and to mark the occasion, The Guardian is putting together a list of the top 100 inspirational women, and they need your help. We’re talking women who have touched the lives of others, who work to improve the opportunities for other women, and who have made a significant contribution to the fight for equality.

So who inspires you? Nominate now…

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I know it’s typically a time for feeling generally depressed, and wanting to pack away all the decorations that you pretend to like because the kids made them, but I love New Year. I love the feeling of expectation, of promise, the notion of a fresh start, that anything is possible. As soon as Christmas is over I want to get on with all the New And Exciting Things that I feel sure are just around the corner. I start tidying, throwing things away and thinking about the year to come. I itch to have the cupboards empty of biscuits for cheese, and I scoff the amaretti biscuits so I can organise Useful Things into the empty tins.

No surprise then that I also love the idea of New Year Resolutions. This year I have been thinking a lot about what I want to achieve in 2011, as it feels like a significant one for me – Bee finishes school this year, and if that isn’t enough to make you feel old, and want to take stock a bit, I don’t know what is.

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I little while ago funny man Mr Shev tagged me in a post, asking me to write about my guilty pleasures. Mr Shev predicted mine would be “Listening to Gary Barlow’s back catalogue and eating Wispas washed down with Blue Nun”. How rude. As if I would listen to Gary Barlow. Since he first wrote the post, I have been slightly distracted talking about porn, (which isn’t one of my guilty pleasures), but now here I am, ready to confess.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot and it’s tricky. Not because I don’t occasionally like to spend an afternoon at home watching Jeremy Kyle whilst eating cereals straight out of the box, but because I struggle to feel guilty about it. I’m not very good at guilt. It’s one of those wasted emotions isn’t it? Like jealousy. It doesn’t really accomplish anything. (Except really of course I only pretend not to be a jealous type of person. Goodness, perhaps jealousy is a guilty pleasure? Except there’s no pleasure in it…)

*refocuses*

Feeling guilty about things you enjoy is especially hard around Christmas. It’s an entire season set up to encourage excessive spending after all. And the replacement of normal meals with half a bottle of gin and a box of Elizabeth Shaw mints. There are plenty of things I don’t normally feel guilty about – like eating chocolates in bed, or drinking at lunchtime, or flirting with other people’s husbands – but not many things that actually make me feel bad. I thought hard though, and here are a few:

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Two different people in the last couple of weeks have asked me if I look at porn. Both seemed surprised when I said I didn’t – apparently I strike people as the kind of woman who would.

So I started to think about why I don’t, and how I feel about porn generally. I asked some liberal-minded friends too, male and female.

When I was a teenager, we didn’t have the Internet (can you even imagine it?), and there’s no doubt the proliferation of porn has been massively aided by the spread of cyberspace. It is so much more accessible, and this in turn has led to it becoming more normalised, more an accepted thing for people to do, to look at.

Now I’m no prude, and I’m not adverse to a bit of erotic fiction, but as a visual thing, porn just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe, like my attitude to car maintenance, this is a girl thing – the visual element of sex doesn’t tend to be as important for women as it is for men – but at its most basic level, being presented with the image of strangers shagging isn’t a turn on for me. I need more than that. I’m the same generally – I very rarely find myself attracted to a man based purely on looks, it is about much more than that, and sexual attraction definitely increases in the context of other things, like how well I know a person, how much they make me laugh, how they make me feel about myself.

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Since passing my driving test in 1996 I have had over a dozen different cars, starting with my first car – an A-Reg Talbot Samba with a mouldy steering wheel, nowhere near and lovely and new looking as the one in the picture – through to my current car, a hand-me-down Peugeot 206 that used to belong to my mum and that smells slightly of feet.

Along the way I’ve had an interesting mix of cars, and I always follow a simple pattern – buy something cheap, drive it until it collapses, buy a new one. Very similar in fact to the relationship I have with shoes. While I was at university, I had an old VW Golf that I loved, and which I drove almost literally into the ground, travelling over 100 miles a day to lectures and back.

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Today my blog is one year old.

For twelve whole months now I have been sharing some of the random thoughts that pass through my mind, amusing you with my dating horror stories, revealing my selfish attitude to parenting, and revolting you with my talk of smear tests.

During the year, my blog has been looked at 61,153 times, produced 165 posts (not including this one), attracted 3,270 comments and won one actual real life award. Generally I’m pretty pleased with how it has gone, especially as I started it on a bit of a whim, never having read a blog before, and with no real idea of what I wanted or hoped to achieve.

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As well as being a blatant attempt to get search engine traffic from people innocently interesting in watching the In Bruges, this is genuinely where Bee and I were last week.

Here is a picture of a chocolate shop to prove it:

Things to do in Bruges

So there, now you know it must be true.

What do you mean I could have just got that off flickr? How distrustful you are. I see your point though, it is the kind of thing I would do, so here is another one of Bee posing next to a decidedly frozen canal: View Post

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I’ve been thinking for a while now about donating some eggs. I don’t mean as a weird raffle prize or anything, I’m talking my actual eggs. Part of me. From my ovaries. You get the picture.

I’ve never had any trouble getting pregnant, even at times when I didn’t really mean to. First time round, at 16, it obviously wasn’t planned. The second time, it was a conscious choice, but I remember it more as a ‘yeah, having a baby might be quite nice to do at some point, let’s see what happens…’ sort of decision. A bit like considering a weekend at Centre Parcs. A few weeks off the pill though and bam. Baby on board.

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I’ve always thought of myself as a reasonably organised type of person. I don’t have years of old newspapers piled in corners, hideously out of date clothes hanging in my wardrobe, or an attic full of faulty televisions and broken Christmas decorations. I’m not hugely sentimental and have never considered myself a hoarder.

Just recently though, I’ve begun to wonder whether this sense of orderliness has less to do with my personality, and more to do with the fact that I have moved house a lot. In my 32 years, I have lived in over 20 different houses. Moving so frequently, you just don’t have the time to build up collections of junk you don’t need. You’re forced to continually sort and review your possessions, and if you know you’re going to probably be packing, moving and unpacking within the next couple of years, it makes you think twice about holding onto things ‘just in case’.

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I have been reading this week about David Cameron’s plans for a national happiness audit.

You have to wonder how this came about. Was Cameron sat at his Very Important Desk one day, fiddling with his iPad, thinking to himself “You know what, I’m just not sure how people are feeling about the slashing of NHS budgets, mass redundancy across the public sector and brutal welfare reform – I know! I’ll spend millions commissioning a survey to ask them!”

Seems a bit weird doesn’t it?

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No, is the short answer. But that wouldn’t make great reading, so I will try and expand…

I want to believe in the idea that at some point in my life, I will meet somebody and know. Know that this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, the person who completes me, the person I will love forever. But I don’t believe it. It’s a lovely idea, but in my mind completely unreasonable. How can you say that you will love somebody forever? How can you know?

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