I had a bit of an odd moment of parental pride in myself last week. Belle had been complaining about having problems with her reading – she says that it’s difficult to concentrate and sometimes the words look blurry or have lights in front of them – so I said that the next day I’d make her an appointment for an eye test as a first step. Off we went to bed. My memory is terrible, so I set a reminder on my phone. The next day when the reminder popped up I called them straight away.

When Belle got home from school it was the very first thing she asked.

‘When is my optician’s appointment?’ she asked as she took her shoes off by the front door.

‘I made it today!’ I said proudly, thinking how impressed she would be with me for remembering.

‘Well I knew you’d make it,’ she said, ‘I just wondered when it was.’

And THAT was the bit that made me proud. The fact that it had never occurred to her that I WOULDN’T do something I had said I would do, when I said I would do it. I felt reliable and solid and lovely.

Anyway, that little anecdote was my silky smooth way of leading you into a story about National Eye Health Week and the importance of getting regular eye tests. It’s something I’ve always been good at remembering for myself, as I wear glasses, and Belle has been having them since a young age as she really enjoys them for some reason. I remember how disappointed she was for the first few times she went, being told she DIDN’T need glasses.

If you’ve not had an eye test in the last couple of years though, then you MUST. (I have mine booked with Optical Express so watch this space for my next pair of colourful new glasses.) As well as it being important to take care of your eyes themselves, there are quite a few serious illnesses that often get first picked up in eye tests.

why do i need an eye test?

Take 12-year-old Alan Watson from Edinburgh as an example. (That’s not Alan in the photo.) When Alan attended his local Optical Express clinic with his mum for his annual check-up, Optical Express Optometrist Amna Bashir noticed blurred margins on comparison of previous photos.  As a precaution, Amna called the hospital and arranged for him to be seen that day. View Post

Last year I got an email from a couple of lovely ladies who run a company called Masked Pony Productions. They asked if I’d be interested in writing a short comedy sketch based on my blog for a new mum comedy short series.

‘Absolutely!’ I said, Googling how to write comedy sketches.

They wanted something that was in the style of my usual writing, perhaps inspired by some of my most popular posts. One of my personal favourites is the one where I get dressed up nicely for a smear test and the nurse can’t find my cervix, so I had to include reference to that.

Bee’s favourite ever post is the one where I go to a cafe and a random family come and sit down ALL AROUND ME while I’m just trying to have a coffee. That had to be in there too. (Have a read – they are both funny.)

I set to work.

‘This will be easy,’ I thought to myself. ‘I’m HILARIOUS.’

Turns out though that it’s actually pretty hard to write things that sound funny when they are said out loud by someone else. I mean sure, I can write stuff down and it sometimes makes people laugh when they read it, but writing a script is a whole different thing.

Still, I had a bash. The idea is that the mum is so desperate for a bit of time away from her kids that she has pretended she has to go to a smear test. (Hopefully you’ll get that – otherwise I have done a BAD job.)

This is the final result:

(Try to laugh remember.)

My best bit is the Granny saying ‘I’ve no idea’. It’s EXACTLY how the real life Granny said it to me in the coffee shop when they’d invaded my table, and that was always Bee’s favourite bit of the post I wrote about it.

So what do you reckon? Be honest – should this be the start of a new career or am I best sticking to looking pretty for smear tests?

When Bee was about five years old she asked if she could get her ears pierced. I said no, she was too young. She asked how old she would have to be.

‘Nine,’ I said.

Nine felt like so far in the future that it would never happen. Of course she remembered, and on her ninth birthday off we trotted to Claire’s Accessories.

A similar thing happened when Belle asked if we could get a cat.

‘When we own our own house,’ I said, never believing that THAT would be a thing. And then lo and behold, here we are. And here are the kittens.

I didn’t mean to get THREE.

We went along to our local rescue centre to look at a brother and sister and then this ginger and white stray was in the room with them, and he purred loudly and well, I couldn’t just LEAVE him could I? That would be mean.

Let me introduce them: View Post

Post in association with Metis®

Metis® fruit recipes

Imagine if you will that a plum and an apricot go on a date.

They get on well as they have a lot in common – they both like classic crime fiction, they love to travel, and they both have a stone in their middle, that sort of thing. One date leads to another. On the second date they crank it up a notch and do an activity – segway maybe. Or pottery painting.

Time passes, stuff happens, and they have a baby. They call it Metis®.

Metis® fruit recipes


Oh how I wish that’s how it happened! View Post

This week Bee and I came up to London for a couple of days for her to have gamma knife treatment. A gamma knife sounds like a pretty scary thing, although weirdly it doesn’t actually involve knives. We decided to say we were going for a relaxing spa break anyway, just to take the edge of.

The gamma (not) knives were to treat Bee’s AVM, which is a tangle of blood vessels in her brain which was discovered accidentally when she had an MRI for something unrelated.

I thought this post was going to be all about how worried I was, and how you never stop being a Mummy even though your child is grown up, and all of that sort of stuff.

And then I realised, sat in the waiting room while Bee had a metal frame screwed into her head, how selfish that sounded.

‘Woe is me, having to sit in this big comfy leather chair while my daughter undergoes complex brain treatment! Poor me having to worry about her!’

The primary emotion to come out of the whole experience was actually pride. As I sat in that comfy chair I could hear Bee having the frame fitted and I could hear her afterwards chatting to the staff. The woman who had gone in before her had come out in the wheelchair, crying and saying she couldn’t walk, so fair to say I was nervous on Bee’s behalf.

Until I heard her little voice from next door.

‘That was fine,’ she said, ‘not as bad as I thought it was going to be.’

‘Really?’ Said the nurse, sounding surprised. ‘That’s good to hear!’

‘Yeah, it feels a bit like when I had my braces fitted.’

I felt a swell of pride and love in my chest and nearly had a little cry. (There WAS a box of tissues in my little wairing room so it would have probably been okay.)

She was just so calm and brave and I was so proud.

Of course being Bee, beneath the calm exterior she was quietly coming to terms with her own death, but you would never have known. Bee has written her own account here, so please do go and read it because it made me cry all over again.

As it turned out I had even more reason to be proud coming up. Bee had come back from having an MRI and an angiogram, ahead of the treatment itself, and we were waiting for them to get the laser all loaded up and aimed.

The doctor came in, along with FOUR other members of staff.

‘We found something a little unusual,’ said the doctor, which I felt was a rather cruel way to begin – it wasn’t exactly the X Factor. I was worried that they’d discovered a pair of old scissors or something in her brain.

‘Since we did the last angiogram it turns out that the AVM had started to heal itself.’

Heal itself?!

‘So we don’t think we need to do the treatment after all.’

Well. I knew Bee was special, but I never imagined she could miraculously cure her own brain.

So there we go. That’s what story of when Bee didn’t need have her brain radiated.

Getting the balance right as a parent can sometimes be really hard.

On the one hand you want to help your children in any way you can, do things for them and make sure they happy and relaxed. On the other hand you want them to learn how to do stuff for themselves, to take the initiative, and to discover that NOT doing stuff has consequences.

For example, Belle starts year 11 tomorrow and roughly three times a day for the last six weeks I’ve reminded her about homework, and to do things like wash her PE kit. I’m not going to do it for her though. There comes a point where they have to appreciate that not washing your PE kit means going to school with a dirty PE kit and that’s that.

The downside of all this ‘teaching’ though is that when you enquire about the whereabouts of their lunchbox on the last day of the summer holidays you get presented with this:

Mouldy sandwich

*throws up a bit in mouth*

This, as far as I know, was once a sandwich. View Post