Last night Belle and I watched Wife Swap USA.

Yes, I know it’s mostly staged and it’s all rubbish, but I don’t care. I love it. So there. I particularly love the last five minutes when they go back to their own families and, despite having spent the swap coming out with lines like “I’d rather be DEAD than spend another day with that DEVIL WOMAN!”, they take home lots of Valuable Lessons, and all become balanced, loving families, living happily ever after. And no, I don’t even love that part in an ironic way, I just like to think it’s true.

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I finally got round last night to reading Saturday’s Guardian magazine. One of my favourite columns is Oliver Burkeman’s ‘This column will change your life’, as it invariable gets me thinking about the way I live and work.

This week he was talking about memories, and the tendency to remember only certain aspects of events, namely how they felt at their emotional peak, and how they felt at the end. So, if you’re remembering a week-long holiday, your memory of it will very likely be a product of one single very happy/stressful moment, and how you felt as you were leaving. The implication of this is that it is better to focus on short moments of intense fun than to holiday for as long as possible, and that half an hour of quality time with the kids counts much more than being around them all day, every day. Phew.

It got me thinking about the memories we create for our children, and the highs and lows I remember from my own childhood. I’ve always thought of myself as a person with a fairly poor long-term memory, but one exercise we did on my recent Arvon course made me realise that there are actually a lot of interesting sounds, sights and smells buried in the murky depths of my brain, if only I can dig around enough and find them under the layers of daily life.

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I love David Mitchell. If you’re reading this David, and want to propose, I will say yes.

I know I’m not alone – I’m sure there are thousands of other women who feel the same. We really shouldn’t underestimate the power of humour when it comes to seducing a woman.

Just look at some of the other men I have been drawn to over the years – I think most of my friends would vouch for the fact that not many of them were exactly ‘lookers’, (not that I’m implying you would fall into that category David), and several of them actually had quite serious personality issues, but somehow you are blind to that when you’re laughing out loud.

Anyway, that wasn’t supposed to be the point of this post. What I actually wanted to do was draw your attention to Mitchell writing for The Observer today about The Times paywall, and asking why it is that everything connected with Rupert Murdoch is automatically classed as Evil and Wrong.

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Yes, you heard me right – I said chocolate weetabix.

*waits while readers pick themselves up off the floor*

Now before I start, I know what you’re thinking – you’re thinking ‘there have been quite a few reviews lately – what’s Jo playing at? It’s boring – we come here to read the sordid, pathetic details of her non-existent love life and feel better about our own lives, not get lectured about teddies and breakfast cereals.’

Well fair enough, I won’t do any more for ages, promise, but things have been a little tighter financially this month, so when I was asked if I wanted to try some of these new chocolate weetabix I was basically thinking ‘one less dinner to worry about.’ What can I say. I’m a cheap date.

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I’m supposed to be on a date right now.

I chickened out.

I feel bad about it, ashamed, like a child who’s scared to make new friends, especially given all the hard work everyone put in helping me create my online dating profile. The trouble is, although you got my requirements spot on, you missed one crucial ‘must-have’ for my ideal man.

‘Must creep up on me slowly, catch my eye in a bookshop, be the last person in the world I expect to fall in love with.’ Pathetically romantic I know, but there you go.

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Welcome to my 100th post!

*Noise of small brass band playing a fanfare*

I honestly can’t believe I have made it. I have such a short attention span that when I started blogging in December I honestly thought the novelty would wear off it about, ooh, a week? But do you know what has kept me going? Other of course than it being a fantastic procrastination tool (I can’t possibly start that very important piece of work now, can’t you see I’m blogging?).

It’s you! When I first started, I had never even read a blog, and I never imagined other people would be interested in what I had to say, let alone be inspired to say something back.

And now look at me. I am a hopeless addict. Every time someone comments, the attention seeking, praise driven me gives a little cheer ‘Look! They like me!’

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When I was invited to bring the girls to a Build a Bear Workshop to make our very own bears I knew I was about to become a Very Popular Mummy.

I’ve written before about the difficulties of having two kids with a seven-year age gap, and how hard it is to find things for us all to do that don’t bore Belle to death or make Bee’s face screw up with a look of revulsion. Well, I think I can safely say that Build a Bear is the one thing, possibly with the exception of dumping them both at Claire’s Accessories and saying ‘here’s twenty quid each’, that they can both enjoy in equal measure.

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I’ve often suspected that I don’t have quite the authority as a parent that I’d like. Partly I think it’s an age thing. I was only 16 when I was pregnant with Bee, and I’ve always looked younger than I am. Maybe my children would have more respect for me if I was older and sterner, perhaps with a large bushy beard – how can you not respect someone with a beard?

Given though that I have hardly any hair on my head, and only have to shave my legs about once a month, a beard is probably not on the cards.

Mostly though it is probably my own fault. I do tend to act like a child. (I know my impeccable behaviour at Cybermummy makes this hard to believe, but you’ll just have to take my word for it). I spend all my money on sweets and stationary, get drunk, often laugh at Wizards of Waverley Place. Really not very mature at all.

“It’s funny,” Bee said to me a while ago, “I don’t really think of you as the mummy, I just thought you were in charge because you were the tallest.”

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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.

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