I woke up this morning feeling a little bit sad and lonely. A tad pathetic maybe, but after spending the weekend at the Cybermummy conference surrounded by so many interesting, intelligent, funny women, waking up on your own is bound to be a bit of an anti-climax.

One important thing I’ve come to realise since I became single and started working at home, and which Cybermummy reinforced for me, is that I am a People Person. I’ve always thought this was a bit of a silly expression. We are people, of course we like other people, but I see now that there are some people, like me, who really thrive on company. Basically I am a show off who needs an audience.

I love meeting new people, particularly new funny people, and ESPECIALLY new funny people who enjoy drinking tequila, aren’t afraid to be loud in public, and are partial to a little lie down on hotel floors. And oh my God, everyone was soooo funny. I wasn’t the person who had the ‘little accident’, but I certainly came close.

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Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there lived a beautiful princess with a fondness for good grammar, and an unsuitable prince who was devilishly good at scrabble.

One day the unsuitable prince told the princess he was in love with her. He seemed rather perplexed though, so while he had a little think about it he put the princess in a well for safekeeping.

The well was very deep and dark and the princess was rather shocked. She was in love with the unsuitable prince too, but hadn’t been expecting him to feel the same, and she certainly hadn’t been expecting the well. The princess lived quietly in the well for a while. There wasn’t much to eat, but suddenly she wasn’t very hungry, and managed quite well on a diet of wine and the occasional Babybel. Sometimes she thought about escaping, but the light at the top of the well seemed so far away, and the walls were slippery and difficult to climb.

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You know I  never imagined that being a blogger would get me free stuff. Honestly. I started the blog really just as a way to get people to tell me how funny and clever I am, not for freebies.

So it was a lovely surprise, a few months in, to find people offering me things. For free! I know – it’s amazing isn’t it? It makes me feel terribly powerful, as though people are watching to see what I do so they can be like me. Most of the time of course I get offered complete rubbish (no, I really don’t want to try out a TENS machine on my tennis elbow), or things that are completely irrelevant to me life, like baby thermometers. You can tell then that the person asking hasn’t actually read my blog at all, they’ve just seen the word ‘mummy’. If they actually read it they’d realise I am not the kind of mummy to take temperatures. I am much more a ‘really darling? *sips G&T without making eye contact* I’m sure you’ll feel better after a nice sleep…’ type of mummy.

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This is just a quick follow-up to my ‘would you let a man in your bed who didn’t know the difference between there and their’ post…

I have a google alert set up for my name (is that vain? probably…) and this afternoon I had an email to tell me that I was being mentioned on the ‘Forces Penpals’ website. Intrigued, I clicked through the link, and discovered, to my delight, that I am being quoted as a ‘relationship expert’ (if only they knew…), advising men in the British Forces to get their spelling and grammar up to scratch if they want to make a good impression.

It made me laugh quite a lot. I never knew I had so much power. Thanks to me, the Army will now be churning out thousands of wonderfully literate soldiers, penning beautiful love letters home from all over the world.

Ok, maybe not, but a girl can dream. And if it means that just one extra man takes a bit more care with his capital letters then it’s a job well done in my eyes.

Photo credit – Arslan

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Thank you all so much for your fab suggestions for my online dating profile – I loved them all and was very impressed by how well you clearly know me already!

On Thursday evening I sat down to compile all the comments into a profile, picked a handful of the most appealing/chesty photos I could find, and officially ‘went live’. I feel a bit like a fridge on special offer in Comet now, but am trying to think of it as a sophisticated PR exercise, rather than a blatant selling of my soul.

Since Thursday evening I’ve had emails from six men – a mixture already of funny, sweet and downright odd. I haven’t got as far as actually taking out a paid subscription, so haven’t replied to any yet, but it’s giving me time to think about them and decide on my next move.

My main dilemma is just how open-minded am I supposed to stay at this stage? I dislike the way online dating makes me judge people, and I feel particularly shallow making assumptions based on pictures, but what else do I have to go on? Knowing that a man is looking for ‘a woman as comfortable in a pair of high heels as hiking boots’  doesn’t tell me much, and surely everyone likes a ‘cold beer in the sunshine’? I know I should remember that attraction can grow over time, and that I need to keep my options open, but I do feel I should discriminate in some way.

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I think it was Hamlet who wisely said “To date, or not to date, that is the question.” It was something along those lines I’m sure, and he was right, it is definitely my question today.

I’ve been single now for over two years. There have been a few brief flings in this time, but nothing I’d consider a ‘relationship’ in the sense that you call someone your boyfriend and feel happy about asking them to take the rubbish out or farting in bed.

During this time I have been through periods of proactive dating, where finding a partner has become my most pressing yet seemingly impossible goal. I’ve also had moments where the thought of having to go through the whole ‘getting to know someone’ process has just seemed too hideous to contemplate.

In the last few months though I feel like I’ve reached a healthy plateau. I don’t feel the sense of mild desperation I felt in 2008, when I was still new to singledom, I’m generally pretty happy most of the time, yet I still have the feeling that something is missing. I don’t need a partner, but that doesn’t stop me wanting one. (And it’s not just the implant removal talking).

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For me, putting up a tent is a bit like giving birth.

Bear with me on this…

Obviously there isn’t the same actual physical pain involved, no one would ever camp if there was, but there are plenty of parallels. Think for instance of that moment when you come to pack the tent away. You look at the tiny bag, you look at the tent, surely one just isn’t going to fit in the other? See what I’m saying here?

I don’t camp often if I’m honest, (why would you pee in a bucket and eat food warm that’s meant to be cold/cold that’s meant to be hot when you could stay in a hotel?) and all my camping is at festivals. I set out full of enthusiasm, I’m confident I can do it without pain relief/crying, but the minute I set the bags down on the inevitably sloped and rocky patch of grass next to the toilets, I turn into a monster.

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When I had an email this week to tell me I had been nominated for a Gurgle blog award, my first reaction, (after ‘what’s a Gurgle blog award?), was a mild panic – a dread at the prospect, after the whole MAD blog award thing, of having to bang on at everyone to vote for me again.

It would just have made me so irritating.

I replied to the people at Gurgle, (who it turns out are part Mothercare), and explained my ‘voter fatigue’ concerns, and they kindly reassured me that the nominations are being judged by a panel, so I wouldn’t have to annoy anybody. Phew!

So, feeling much better about the whole thing, I let out a small ‘hoorah!’

I get this special badge and everything:

I am nominated in the ‘best mummy blog writing’ category. I’m not sure how the nomination came about, whether I was plucked at random or genuinely cherished, but in any case, I am thrilled, if for no other reason than there are apparently goodie bags involved. Seriously though, it’s not just about the goodie bags.

Sometimes I worry that I am just sat here on my own at home spewing out nonsense, only to have it disappear into the ether, so it is always lovely to know there are people actually reading it. Of course I know there are people who do – YOU are right now of course – but it’s lovely none the less.

I sense I’m waffling now, so I had better stop. I can see I’m going to have to improve my public speaking before I have to stand up and make my acceptance speech.

Summary for people who got bored and skipped to the end: I got nominated for an award! Yay! Thanks!

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Do you remember a few weeks ago when I got my contraceptive implant taken out? You may not have wanted to know about it, but I told you anyway, and there you were, stuck with it.

I’d been wondering for some time about the impact it had been having on my emotional and physical health, having had it for six years, and I wanted to give you an update, to let you know if I’ve been feeling any different.

Oh

My

God

I feel like a different person. Seriously. Aside from the fact that I want to have sex with pretty much everyone I see (it did say it could suppress your libido, but this is ridiculous…), aside from that, I just feel like ME again. I’ve always tended to be the jolly one of the family, and the growing anxiety and nagging melancholy I’ve felt over the last year or so has felt all wrong.

But now..

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You may remember a few weeks ago I rose to the challenge to write a post including a camel, and even tried my hand at fiction into the bargain. Well, quite a few people liked it and wanted to know what happened next, especially my number one fan Brian. So last week while on my Arvon course I tried out my new writing and editing skills and wrote the next instalment. I also reworked the first part quite a bit, so here is the whole thing, from the beginning all over again. (It’s not long, I promise, my editing was harsh). Please let me know what you think – I can take brutal honesty – I had plenty of practice last week.

Amy lay on her back, covered by the shell of a car. Only the rise and fall of her chest marked her out from the other bodies. The sun moved slowly across the sky, as though scanning for some form of live. It shone through the broken car window onto her face, and she stirred.

Her eyes flickered open. “Well,” she thought, “that’s that then.”

They had seen it coming, it wasn’t a surprise, the only real unknown being what kind of survivor she would be. Would she battle on regardless, fighting fate at every corner, or would she just close her eyes again? As it happened, her instincts took over and, driven purely by thirst, she eased herself out from the wreckage.

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Hello – I’m back!

What do you mean you hadn’t noticed I was gone? I’m hurt.

For four days and five nights last week, (yes I counted every precious hour), I was staying at Lumb Bank in West Yorkshire, formally owned by Ted Hughes, and now one of the inspiring properties belonging to The Arvon Foundation. I was staying with 15 other aspiring writers, indulging ourselves in an almost-week of writing, drinking and talking about books.

Our live-in tutors were the writers William Fiennes and Mark Haddon and they were both fantastic – so experienced and knowledgeable and generous with their time. Plus quite fanciable, which is always a bonus.

The picture is a view from Lumb Bank. You can see why you might be inspired can’t you?

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Last night I gave in to my most self-destructive instincts and went to see Sex and the City 2, knowing full well that I would come out feeling poor, fat and completely lacking in style. It’s a bit like drinking – you know you’ll feel bad about yourself the next day, but it’s fun at the time.

I’ve read some pretty shocking reviews, and it has been criticised heavily for the product placement bonanza, so as I pulled up at the cinema in my TVR Tuscan I was feeling a little anxious, hoping that I wasn’t wasting my one child free night out per fortnight. I stepped out of the car, smoothed down my Chanel shift dress and checked the time on my Rolex, gazing admiringly as the last of the day’s sun sparkled across its jewel encrusted face. I was just on time.

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