Today I had an intriguing email. It was titled ‘looking for a single mummy.’ It was from a man, I can only presume, who introduced himself as Henry.

Hey, am Henry from Africa, Nigeria to be presided. Am 25 of age and am really looking for care and support from any single mummy around for a son to take care of. I saw your email online so I decided that I let you know that someone is interested in your caring. Thank you for audience, I hope for a positive reply. Thank You.

Well. I had only been thinking to myself just this morning how I didn’t feel like I quite had enough to think about, so this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

Hi Henry,

Thanks so much for thinking of me for this role! Just to clarify – exactly what tasks would I be expected to perform? I’m assuming cooking and washing up as a given, but I should warn you that I’m not very good at ironing. Should I start practising or could you do without that?

Would I need to move to Nigeria or would you live here?

I eagerly await your reply.

Jo

P.S. When you say you preside in Nigeria, does that mean you are president?

I didn’t need to be eager for long, Henry was quick to respond. View Post

This week I got a cold sore.

SUCH FUN!

I made a special trip to Wilko for cold sore cream because of this:

overpriced branded medication

Yep, that’s two IDENTICAL cold sore creams as far as I can see. The Wilko own brand is £1. The branded version is £5. That’s FIVE TIMES the price. (Note that the Zovirax version doesn’t have a price per 1kg – perhaps it wouldn’t fit on the tag?)

There is no obvious difference between them, they both contain the same amount of the same active ingredient and they both do the same job.

So WHY??

Overpriced branded medication is something that has always wound me up. It just feels wrong on so many levels. Not only is it a total rip off generally, but it feels like you’re being ripped off when you feel at your most vulnerable. (Me going shopping with Belle when she is sad.)

Looking at the myriad different examples on the shelf it’s hard to believe that it even EXISTS as an industry. It’s so obviously just the same product sold in ridiculously over the top packaging, and yet people MUST be falling for it, or there wouldn’t be a market. It makes me cross to think of all of these big brands chuckling to themselves while innocent people are coughing and spluttering over their remedies.

Picture yourself with a bad cold. You’re trying to get through the day, you’re not thinking straight, you just want anything that might make you feel better, so when you see words like MAX STRENGTH you’re in. View Post

This morning I went on the radio to talk about sex robots.

Okay, so I didn’t go on deliberately to talk about that – it was one of those weekend ‘talk about fun things in the news’ shows, but I always like to see what I can get away with on live radio, especially first thing in the morning.

In case you’re interested, sex robots are going to be a new ‘thing’. Everyone is going to have one. You heard it here first.

Anyway, one of the things I DIDN’T get time to talk about was a feature in one of the weekend supplements about parenting mistakes. It was a whole long list of things that most of us probably do at some point or another, thinking we are doing the right thing, but which apparently aren’t doing anybody any favours. Stuff like following older teens on social media, making ‘quality time’ for our kids, and worrying about exam results.

(I don’t do any of these, mainly out of sheer laziness, so I felt pretty good about myself.)

One of the things the article talked about was bedrooms, and I know this is an issue that splits a lot of parents of teenagers. Should you make your teenager keep their bedroom tidy or should it be their own space where they can do as they please?

should you make teenagers tidy their bedrooms

NB: unrealistic

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A couple of weeks ago this picture popped up on my Instagram feed:

A post shared by Madelaine (@fromxthextower) on

I looked at it, scrolled on a bit, and then went back and looked at it some more. (It’s from a woman called Maddie by the way, who writes a really thought provoking blog here.)

I thought about it for a little while and started to feel a bit sad and cross all at once. Why it is that we have come to equate love with pain? Why do so many people feel that love without turbulence is somehow less worthy, less REAL? View Post

I had a day last week where I looked at the step counter on my phone and it said ‘789’.

For an ENTIRE DAY.

Gawd.

789 steps. What’s the matter with me??

(Can I just say, in my defence, that I don’t have anything on my wrist, so it does only count steps I do whilst I have my phone on me and not things like walking into the kitchen to make a cup of tea, but still.)

NOT GOOD.

I was about to say it because it’s winter – the cold etc – but then I checked myself, because it’s not really that at all, I’m just a lazy bones. I don’t play any sports, I do not RUN, (*shudders*), and unless it’s towards the packet of rich tea fingers on the floor by my chair then stretching doesn’t feature high on my list of activities either.

In fact, my own laziness was a big part of the motivation behind me getting an office a couple of years ago. When you work at home those 789 step days can become a common occurrence. At least now, (most days), I walk to my office and back. Unless it’s pouring with rain. Or I can think of another legitimate excuse.

But still. It’s a bit lame.

What’s especially lame is that once I’m actually out and walking, I really quite enjoy it. It’s a bit like the washing up – it STARES at you, taunting you, making you imagine how AWFUL it’s going to be, but it’s never as bad once you start.

I’m going to hit 40 in a few months though, and I really don’t want to become one of those middle aged ladies who groans getting in and out of chairs.

(‘Become’ – ha!)

So I have decided to take action.

It’s clearly not enough for me to HAVE a step counter, I need other people to SEE my step counter. I need to be shamed into taking action. I need to feel that competitive instinct – the one that doesn’t let small children beat me at SNAP.

(They don’t learn if you let them win.)

So I’ve downloaded the Sport Relief app.

Sport relief app View Post

You know when something happens that just makes you despair of humanity? Well that.

Here’s what happened. (I deleted the actual messages as I was so cross, so this is roughly what went down.)

I had arranged a brunch date with a guy I met online. We’d exchanged a few messages, but he seemed keen to meet. Fine. All good. And then I got a cold, which turned into a horrible cough. Anyone who knows me knows I get horrible coughs. I had visions of coughing and spluttering eggs benedict in his face.

It was not sexy.

So a few days before we were due to meet I let him know that I wasn’t feeling well.

‘Are you trying to tell me something?’ he said.

‘Well yes,’ I replied, ‘I’m trying to tell you I’m not well. I wanted to warn you, in case I didn’t get better.’

‘Right,’ he said, ‘only if you’re fobbing me off then I’d rather you were just up front about it.’

‘I’m not fobbing you off,’ I said, bristling. ‘I have a cough. I’m telling you, that’s all. Would you like an audio file?’

‘It’s just that six ladies since November have suddenly developed coughs a couple of days before we’re meant to go out, so I’d rather you were just honest with me if you’re going to cancel and then I’m never going to hear from you again.’

I was annoyed. I don’t care how many people have said what to him. That’s not me is it?

online dating View Post