April 30th was a sad, sad day for Belle.

It was the day we had to give back the Hyundai Kona that we’d been test driving for two weeks, having covered around 800 miles in 14 days, three of which I was out of the country for. At a stage in her life, mid-GCSEs, aged 15, when not much in the world feels designed to bring joy, there is apparently one thing that does – driving around in a nice car, listening to Cardi B very loudly and switching on my seat heater every few minutes and seeing how long it takes me to notice.

As you can guess from my mileage, I made the most of it.

Hyundai Kona

Over the course of the fortnight I did test out all the important little things, like the size of the cup holders (key), and all of my finding are in this Twitter thread if you fancy looking back through.

There were loads of clever little features that I loved, like the fact that it turns the music down a bit when you’re reversing and the blind spot detector for motorway driving, and I really enjoyed the high seating position. It was very spacious and the back seats were SUPER easy to put up and down – fiddly seats are a pet hate of mine, but these worked in one movement and were easy to put down from the boot side too.

I feel at this point that I should say something authoritative about the ‘handling’ but to be honest I’ve never been entirely sure what that means. It went round corners, and no one threw up, so I consider that a win. Have a look at the website for all the techy stuff. View Post

As you may remember, I had grand plans for my garden when I bought my house last year. ‘A tropical paradise’ was how I described the picture of it I had in my head.

The reality looked like this:

garden makeover tips

Sexy garden times.

As you will have seen if you read my garden makeover post, I had the foundations put in place for the tropical garden of my dreams, and the last few months have been spent gradually adding in plants and pots and strings of solar powered vintage lights, so that now it looks more like this: View Post

Note to my Dad: this is one of those posts you’ll want to skip over.

I was out for dinner a little while ago with some friends. We’d had a small half glass of wine or so and we were talking about boys. We were discussing one boy in particular, who I had happened to say in passing that I thought was nice.

‘Ooohhh!’ said one of my so called friends, ‘I’ll message him and tell him you LOVE HIM!’

‘I don’t LOVE HIM,’ I pointed out, ‘I just said he was NICE.’

She messaged him to tell him I loved him.

God.

‘While you’re there though,’ I said, only slurring very slightly, ‘you could casually drop in my renovated vagina?’

Everyone looked at me.

‘Renovated? Like with scaffolding?’

‘Oh,’ I said, the half glass of wine clearly muddling me, (an allergic reaction maybe?), ‘not renovated. REJUVENATED. That’s it. My vaginal tissues have been rejuvenated.’

We got distracted then by talk of my vagina, and then the fried camembert arrived, so I don’t think the boy had the opportunity to be seduced by my vaginal tissues, rejuvenated or otherwise.

Probably for the best.

Geneveve treatment review

A pretty dinner and wine photo in lieu of a close up vaginal tissue shot View Post

Post in association with Vileda

Vileda EasyWring and clean turbo mop

When you manage to coordinate your mop head and slipper pom poms

At any one moment, how many thoughts about ‘stuff’ are going through your head? How often do you find yourself trying to remember to buy toothpaste and get the wine out of the garage for your mum at the same time as making a child’s packed lunch and putting on a pair of tights?

(Me this morning.)

The fact is that we have a lot of things to do, and sometimes it’s hard to actually do them all.

JK Rowling sums it up pretty well. ‘People very often say to me,’ she says’ ”How did you do it, how did you raise a baby and write a book?’ And the answer is – I didn’t do housework for four years. I am not Superwoman.’

She had the magical wizarding kingdom at her disposal, so what chance for us mere muggles to keep on top of cleaning?

To try to help me stay on top of my own housework juggling act, which mainly involves me balancing cleaning tasks with important things like making my own party rings, Vileda recently sent me an EasyWring & Clean Turbo – a mop and bucket set that is designed to make cleaning floors a veritable breeze. Vileda’s plan is that by equipping me with one of their labour saving devices that I will be more inclined to keep my house clean. View Post

In association with National Citizen Service

In just over two months Belle (my baby!) will have finished school.

This is a MASSIVE deal for us as she has basically hated school for 12 years. Every day has been a battle, every evening from Sunday to Thursday has had the shadow of school hanging over it. The last year in particular has been hard and I know it’s going to be a massive relief for us both when June 19th comes round and she has her last GCSE exam. (She says confidently, with an edge of desperation in her voice.)

But then what?

She has plans for college of course, but that’s not until September. That’s nearly three months of potentially blank space, space that Belle could well fill with a cycle of sleep, Netflix and Instagram. I want to make sure that alongside a bit of R & R* she makes time for things that are actually interesting or useful or worthwhile.

The flip side of course is that at the same time I have to run a business and make enough money on my own to pay the mortgage and support a family of five. (Sure, three of them are cats, but they expensive taste in biscuits.)

(Oh! How did that get there?)

So what to do?

Family will be a first port of call – a few days with my Dad in Cornwall here, a few in Ireland with my sister there – but the thing with family is that it’s EASY. I want her to do something that challenges her too, something that pushes her outside her comfort zone but gives her confidence a boost in the process. The trouble is that Belle quite likes her comfort zone and has been a little scarred over the years by me packing her off on various activities – activities that really are things I want to do, (like week long courses where you have to pretend to be a spy and crack codes), only I can’t because I’m a grown up.

Yesterday I mentioned the government backed National Citizen Service (NCS) to her and she DIDN’T STRAIGHTAWAY SAY NO. This was an amazing thing. I immediately sent her a link. 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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