This week’s good cause is a project focused on bringing together families for active, creative, open-ended play in a natural environment.

So, what’s the problem?

A lack of good quality, affordable, child centred, nature-based, whole-form education in our local area.

How does your organisation set out to solve it? What makes your approach unique?

We want to start a network of independent ‘micro-school’ classes, sharing ideas, funds and resources. We want to inspire other parents so that, like us, they can organise locally and hire a teacher to give full attention to a small group of children, teaching in a style that they choose, as often as they feel is needed, using whatever methods they see fit.

We want our class to be in a beautiful location and the environment to be an extension of the classroom, in all seasons of the year. We imagine that even classes using different methodologies could share and be connected, perhaps encouraging new innovations in teaching or rediscovering old ways in the process.

View Post


Today I’m very please to welcome Adam Fouracre from Stand Against Violence, a charity that’s local to me in Taunton. Please offer whatever support you can, whether that’s a donation or simply a share of this post. 

Thank you!

Stand against violence charity Taunton

So, what’s the problem?

Violence in the UK is a surprisingly big problem. For a developed country we still suffer 1.9 million incidences in England and Wales per year. More worrying still, and largely overlooked, is all those indirectly affected by a single incident. We only tend to think of the victim and sometimes immediate family, but it’s thought that 10-20 others are actually affected by any one incident. In fact over 60% of us will experience the effects of violence each year and unfortunately this means that you will be very lucky if you get through life unscathed by violence at some point.  View Post


This is a new regular feature for me – every Tuesday I’m going to highlight the work of one charity, often a small group working hard, but falling below the radar. Times are tight for everyone, but if we all do our bit and give a little money or time where we can, then we can make a difference.

This week’s organisation is the Honeypot Children’s Charity. Please read, share and help to bring a little bit of happiness into the lives of children like Wallis.

support for young carers View Post


Last week Bee and I met in London at a random house in a residential street. Inside we found a hyena chatting casually to a grizzly bear and a small child with curly hair dressed up as a crab.

“This is my daughter Bee,” I say, introducing ourselves to a man dressed as a bee. He looks briefly confused but takes it in his stride. “Bee is here to be an elephant.”


Let me explain.

We are taking part in some filming for WWF’s new Wear it Wild day on Friday June 5th. The house is full of animals representing different letters of the alphabet and the aim is to create a video to raise awareness of their latest campaign to raise awareness and much needed funds for vulnerable animals around the world.

In fact, here it is! Look out for Bee with a trunk made from some plastic tubing: View Post


Well, just about, but there are a couple days left in May so just chance to squeeze in a four lovely things.

So, May, what’s the weather been doing? Surely it’s meant to be getting a bit warmer now? I have a festival to go to this weekend after all, and a tan to be worked on. OK, perhaps not the tan bit, I’m more of a burnt scalp sort of girl, but it would be nice at least to have the feeling that summer was going to be with us soon. I shall never be beach body ready, but I’d like to get into flip flops at least.

On the ‘getting ready for summer’ theme then…

May favourite things View Post


Living in a rented house has a lot of benefits – rent doesn’t fluctuate with interest rates, I’ve never had to pay huge legal costs when I move and if, heaven forbid, the boiler breaks down, I don’t need to pay to fix it. I wrote a long time ago about my attitude to car maintenance, (it involves satsumas), and I’m not sure I’d be very good at being in charge of a house.

The downside though is that it can be hard to really stamp your mark on your home. All of the walls in our last three houses have been white and I’ve had to resist the urge to splash the pink paint around. Instead, I try to inject splashes of colour through furnishings and accessories. I am basically Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen in a dress.

I thought I would give you a little tour of some of my favourite colourful spots in my home, to prove that renting doesn’t have to mean boring. View Post


It’s not a trick, every single one of you can get a free copy of Big Hero 6 right now, when you sign up to TopCashback.

It works on a 100% cash back basis – you click on the link to buy the DVD from Amazon, and you get 100% of your money back. I’ve used the site before for similar offers and it’s brilliant – you can get money back on all sorts of things that you’d purchase every day, meaning that over the course of a year you can save an awful lot of money.

Having been through plenty of periods in my life when cash in scarce, to say the least, I know how important it is to save money wherever you can. I’m that person, the one who buys cards and wrapping paper in the sales in January, ready for next Christmas. Sure, I often forget I’ve done it and buy it again in November, but the thought is definitely there. View Post


increase blog traffic

First of all, let’s get one thing clear, content really is the key here. You can do every single thing on this list but if what you’re writing is essentially shite then it’s pointless. What are you playing at? Just take some time to write something decent.

Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s get down to the business of how to promote your blog.

So, you’ve written something ace. Maybe you have an amazing product to tell me about. Perhaps you’ve taken the best picture of a pig in wellies that anyone has ever seen. Good work. Now comes the tricky bit – getting people interested.

Unfortunately there isn’t one easy peasy way to get millions of people visiting your website or blog, but there are lots of little things that you can do, that if done regularly and as a package of activity, can help boost traffic.

Here ‘s a by no means comprehensive list of 43 ideas to get you started, in no particular order: View Post


Can you remember the day your first baby was born? How about your second? Who am I kidding – everyone remembers don’t they? That’s the whole point – even though you’re making good use of the gas and air, and a little distracted by the pain, it’s etched on your mind forever. (That said, it does help that I wrote down exactly what happened when my first daughter was born, as that was nearly 20 years ago.)

Even though 2,000 babies are born every day, each and every baby is special, and as we celebrate one very special birth, (hoorah for a new princess!), Pampers wants to celebrate #everybaby born into a world of love, sleep and play in a new captivating film directed by award winning documentary maker, Elizabeth Stopford.

In this moving piece of real-time content, you can watch the epic journey of everyday parents, mirroring the excitement of the new arrival in London. In the 90 second film, created in the same 24 hours that the eyes of the world were fixed on London, we follow the journey of the parents from nervous anticipation through to those precious first moments with their newborns, bringing to life the emotion, adoration and love felt by every parent on the arrival of a new baby.

Take a look and share the film in celebration of #everybaby. View Post


I’ve been really struggling with my focus over the last few weeks and am slightly concerned that I may have some sort of adult ADHD. Normally I’m pretty flighty, but today has been ridiculous. Work has gone something like this:

10am: Open Twitter. Worry that I’m not interesting enough, tweet a bit of random nonsense.

10.02am: Open blog analytics to see how much traffic comes from Twitter. Worry that my traffic sources aren’t diverse enough.

10.04am: Ask friends how to increase traffic. Set up Stumble Upon account. Start to read article about making the best use of Stumble Upon but decide I don’t have time. Check emails. Open another tab but immediately forget why.

10.13am: Start reading article about link building. Check all external blog links. Decide to launch link building campaign but then change mind.

10.17am: Worry that blog will never be awesome. Check ebay for nearby ottomans.

10.20am: Check emails and worry about lack of link building campaign. Wonder if I should make a living instead by writing other people’s dating profiles. Browse available URLs for new business. Get as far as checkout and abandon purchase.

You see what I mean? It’s not a style of work conducive to productivity. I’m not saying I need to start stockpiling brain health supplements or anything, but it’s kind of annoying.

After several hours of this I’m feeling exhausted and have only done about half an hour of paid work. My head hurts from the heady mix of adrenalin and constant frowning and all I want to do is lie face down in some grass. I decide to do a test to see if I have adult ADHD. A quick Google of symptoms suggests things like forgetfulness, mood swings, repeatedly starting but not finishing tasks, risky behaviour and lack of motivation.

You can do the test here, if you dare.

My results are in…

Adult ADHD quiz

OK, that doesn’t look so bad. It’s probably out of 100 right?

Oh, apparently not. View Post


Two events have occurred in the last week that have made me wonder about a sideline business writing people’s online dating profiles for them. I’m sure there would be a market for it – no one I know (apart from me!) has enjoyed writing a dating profile for themselves.

Firstly, I had lunch with a woman I met recently at a networking event. She showed me her current profile and I offered some tips. Essentially I told her, (hopefully in a nice way), that her profile was a bit dull and basically said the same as everyone else’s.

Let’s get real here, who doesn’t like socialising with friends, Sunday lunch in a nice pub and curling up on the sofa with a film and a bottle of red wine? If you’ve ever spent any time on online dating sites you’ll know that about 97% of people say these exact same things. I suggested instead that she try to think a little deeper and be a bit more specific – what books had she read and why did she enjoy them? What music is she listening to and how does it make her feel? Essentially you have to tell people what makes you tick as these are the details that people connect with. Yes, you risk putting some people off, but by keeping in generic you miss the chance to really appeal to anybody.

Later in the evening I had a message from her:

“Jo Middleton you are a genius. I have rewritten my profile and just uploaded it. Three new messages have come in in five minutes. I am laughing out loud. You are a star.”

Obviously that’s going on my testimonials page when I get the new business website set up. View Post


“I don’t remember you ever sitting down and talking to me about sex,” Bee said to me when she was down for a visit last week. My friend Lucy was there and we were looking at a set of books about discussing bodies, sex and relationships with children.

These books in fact, from Educate and Empower Kids:

30 day of sex talks

“Well,” I said, feeling bad in case it was something I had totally forgotten to do, “I don’t think it should be a case of actively sitting down and spewing it all out. It should be more of an ongoing dialogue, a continuous learning process.”

This sounded legit. Plus I definitely remember showing Bee and a group of her friends how to use a tampon. (Not actually the insertion process, more of a detailed mime.)

“Being around your mum growing up was basically one long sex education class,” added Lucy helpfully.

Well. Quite.

View Post