Advertisement feature in association with ŠKODA

Do you ever feel like your kids treat you as something of a taxi service? Do you ever wish you actually had a meter installed, so you could at least be earning a bit of extra cash while you drove them around?

That would be cool wouldn’t it?

‘No problem love,’ I’d say to Belle in a cockney accent, ‘I can drive you to dance – it’ll cost you six paaaand.’ (That’s me doing the accent.)

Of course it would never work – teenagers notoriously have no money because they spend it all on frappuccinos and make-up palettes. What they DO have though is TIME (when they’re not watching important videos on Tik-Tok and practicing make-up looks) and ENERGY (if you catch them after a frappuccino.)

And when you have a taxi fare to pay, TIME + ENERGY = CHORES.

That’s the theory behind the ŠKODA Parent Taxi App – start the meter running when you set off, and depending on how far you travel, and how generous you are with the settings, your time and trouble gets repaid to you in the form of chores completed by your grateful teen.

Skoda Parent Taxi App

Skoda Parent Taxi App review

Sounds like a good idea doesn’t it?

A little while ago, ŠKODA invited me and Belle to have a play with the app, and put together a short video of us where I drive about and try to look young and cool and Belle tolerates me. It’s less than a minute and gives you a good overview of what the ŠKODA Parent Taxi App involves: View Post

Advertisement feature in association with LifeSearch

How much thought have you given to your digital legacy? If you were to die suddenly tomorrow, do you know what would happen to your email or your social media accounts? Does a loved one know your passwords? Would you want them to see all of your personal messages or would you prefer to have your social media accounts automatically deleted when you die?

What happens to your social media accounts when you die?

Like many things linked to death, it’s something that many of us are reluctant to talk about. We bury our heads in the sand, or figure that once we’re dead it won’t be our problem, but with more and more of us having a significant digital presence it’s not an issue you can afford to ignore, especially if you want your death to be as painless and hassle free as possible for your family.

A new study by the UK’s leading life insurance broker, LifeSearch, shows exactly how unprepared we are when it comes to our digital legacy. The study* showed that nearly a quarter of people would like to see automatic deletion of social media accounts on death, and that although more than 1 in 10 people are already worried about the fate of their online accounts, a whopping 92% haven’t prepared by telling loved ones their wishes for their digital presence after death.

I took my own little Twitter poll and it turned out to exactly replicate the findings of the LifeSearch research – most people hadn’t even considered their digital presence after death, and only 8% have a plan in place, meaning 92% don’t have anything solid for loved ones to go on when they die.

digital legacy

To try and help, LifeSearch has launched a campaign called Let’s Start Talking, which encourages the nation to be more open about the subjects that make us uncomfortable, including death, illness, money and mental health. It’s well worth a look if you want to have a difficult conversation but aren’t sure where to start. View Post

I’m not sure that ‘leader’ is the right term to use here really. I don’t ‘lead’ by any stretch of the imagination – I’ve been volunteering at my local Brownie group for a term now and, thanks to my top notch memory, I still don’t even remember any of their namesThey don’t seem to have noticed though, and as long as I never have to take a register I think we’ll be okay.

Brownie helper? Is that better? That makes it sound like I might just be taking their coats – more of a concierge role. Let’s stick with leader. I do have a Brownie name after all. (Nightingale. Thank you.)

I know that I’ve joked about Brownies in the context of my midlife unravelling, and likened it to me almost auditioning for a role in the local production of Aladdin, but I actually love being a Brownie leader. When you’ve got used to living with teenagers, who aren’t exactly known generally for their zest for life, hanging out with a group of 7-10 year olds, who still get a thrill out of putting their hand up when they know the answer to something, is pretty uplifting.

They actually ENJOY STUFF! Like properly enjoy it, in a pure way, with a lack of self-consciousness that’s a lesson in itself.

This week we did circus skills and it was my favourite week so far. The session was led by circus man Steve, who was absolutely brilliant with them, and seeing them so engaged and interested was infectious. I found myself back in my primary school self, totally engrossed. My sole purpose became balancing that peacock feather on my finger so well that Steve noticed and praised me.

Benefits of being a Brownie leader

How I felt when I flipped a spinning plate in the air and caught it on a stick first time and Steve said I was wasted at Brownies and should join the circus.

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I had an email this weekend out of the blue from a woman looking for some advice. I was flattered, although slightly concerned on her behalf, that she had come to ME for advice. I don’t exactly have a great track record. She was interested in whether or not to tell dates about having children, and my experience of dating as a single parent.

I hope she won’t mind me quoting part of her email, as it’s anonymous:

‘I am a single parent with young children.’ she wrote. ‘The thought of dating again terrifies me and partly because I am afraid of being judged. Did you feel like you were judged when you went out on dates as a single mother? Did you find it awkward bringing it up especially when the man doesn’t have children? I’m going through all the ‘what ifs’ in my mind and frankly I sometimes feel like a failure.’

I wanted to share it because I’m sure it’s something a lot of single parents worry about and I thought it might be useful to think about it a bit.

should you tell dates about your children? View Post

It occurred to me this week that it’s a long time since I got really cross with someone. Like REALLY cross, with shouting, and maybe swears.

It’s because the only people I tend to get angry with are boyfriends. I have a lovely family, who I never argue with, and my friends are friends for a reason – I like them and we get on. I’m not one of those people who thrives on having regular bust ups with people they’re meant to care about. It’s just not me.

As far as I can think, it must be about two years now since I’ve had a proper row with someone. Maybe two years since I shouted? That’s a long time isn’t it?

I kind of miss it.

how often do you shout

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should you have kids if you hate children

Can you be a parent if you hate children? It’s a bit of a weird question I guess. Technically of course you can have children – perhaps the question really is should you, or maybe even why would you?

I’ve been thinking about it because of a conversation I had recently on Twitter. I’d been harping on about my midlife unravelling and a man replied telling me that his life wasn’t quite where he had expected it to be by this point in his life. He had never been married, he told me, no girlfriend, no kids, no pets. He spent a lot of his time alone he explained.

I asked how he felt about this – was it that he wanted all of those things, or was he actually quite happy with how things were, but feeling under pressure to tick the boxes.

His reply surprised me. View Post