Woo…hooo…. the sun is shining again and I can confidently say that Spring is springing!! It’s not fully sprung, but the Daffs I planted in the tubs in the back garden are out and look lovely! The birds are cautiously returning to the feeders… cautiously because the new neighbours have a cat and said feline sits on the kids playhouse and eyes up the bird feeder like it’s a McDonald’s drive-thru!

Last week Child No1 turned 15 and I had a mini crisis over that, I don’t mind telling you. I mean… 15 for goodness sake?? How, how, HOW can I be the mother of a 15-year-old?! Looking back at being 15, I realised it actually wasn’t too bad an age… I had a boyfriend my parents approved of (until he dumped me!), the music was awesome (late 80s was superb wasn’t it?!), the films were classics (Rainman was my fave at the time), I was involved in a project at school that widened my circle of friends and allowed me to develop my leadership and presentation skills and generally, before GCSE mayhem arrived, it was a good time. Then I think about No1 and I worry about how much pressure we place on children of their age… it seems so young to be thinking about career options, exams etc… yet in two weeks time she has a full week of Year 10 Mock GCSEs…. 9 exams in 5 days… the results of which will determine which papers she sits next summer… oh the pressure! So actually, I was happy that her birthday stretched over a couple of days and ended with us having a big family meal at the local carvery and scoffing gurt lush cake!


Her birthday also signaled a year in which there have been so many changes in our lives. You know I always intended the blog to chart a journey. It just wasn’t quite the journey I thought it was going to be… it’s been a whole lot better. This post is a bit like that ‘view-stop’ you take on a long walk up a hill or mountain. You know the one… when you’re all puffed out and NEED to catch your breath… but you don’t want to let everyone else in the group know you’re flagging. So instead, you say you just want to stop and ‘admire the view!!’ Only when you do stop – rather than looking up at just how far you’ve got to go, you look back down and marvel at how far you’ve come and how wonderful the view is from here…


And boy, what a view…. in the last twelve months I …

  • Learned to use my voice in a whole new way… and still learning
  • Interviewed cricketers, Olympic rowers, swimmers, footballers, football managers
  • Had 2 articles published on the BBC Sport website on Cricket and swimming
  • Dined at the Leander Club – home of British rowing, (twice!) on one occasion sitting next to a London 2012 Olympic Gold medalist
  • Worked… yes WORKED at Wembley at a Cup Final!
  • Took the kids to Normandy again and camped in the rain
  • Walked 1000 miles in the year with No1 and raised money for cancer research
  • Visited 18 football grounds I’d never been to before and sampled tea at every one of them. (Sometimes cake, or chips too!)
  • Went to my first ‘Obby ‘Oss May Day in Padstow with the family
  • Wrote more words towards my book than I’ve ever done
  • Went to see Deal or No Deal being filmed (twice!)… I never did get to see them being shown on TV!
  • Pushed my new-found skills to their very limits and beyond and hey… I didn’t break! In fact, I’ve been quite good at times I reckon

So… yeah… it’s been a good year. And OK… I might be the mother of a hormone-fuelled teenager, but I’m having a great time and right now, that’s what counts! And even better, I’ve not reached the mid-life crisis stage yet. So who knows what mayhem I’ll be up to by then! But that’s waaaaaaay off……………..

Hoping the sun is still shining wherever you are!

MJ xx

Voices in my head!

No… it’s OK – I’m not going mad… yet! Mind, there are some who might consider that I have gone waaaayyyy past that point! I just thought I’d use this blog post for what the blog was originally intended and that was to give you… dear, loyal followers an insight into this protracted, sometimes deluded and always moving forward journey into getting something published! Right now I’d be happy to have tonight’s dinner menu published (it’s chicken curry and rice, if you’re interested?!) Continue reading

Home alone…?

So one of this morning’s headlines on the news was that in the last year, 510 people have been arrested for leaving their children ‘home alone’. The youngest being a baby aged 6 weeks, the eldest 15 years old. Hmmm…. on doing a bit more delving, it seems that it’s not caused the stir on social media I thought it might. More of a little ripple. So I figured it was worth a post here, but way of creating conversation. It raises the whole ‘Madeleine McCann’ thing again, doesn’t it… only it kind of takes things to a whole new level.

home alone

It’s worth taking a look at the report here – it makes for interesting viewing. The Madeleine McCann case certainly brought parenting choices into focus at the time. Behind closed doors people were breathing a collective sigh of relief that it wasn’t their child, when they had taken similar chances for the sake of a few hours peace and meal with their other half. What the McCann case did was make it publicly, socially unacceptable to leave your child in a similar environment and selfishly (?) grab some food – EVEN if you had all the apparent safeguards in place. Continue reading

All work and no play…..

Seems like all I’m doing at the moment is laying foundations and it’s pretty tough going…


Found someone I think I’d like to edit my book and am in the process of sending her a gazillion questions about the process of publishing. Might put her off… to be honest, I haven’t got the foggiest clue about what the next step is as far as that’s concerned, or even if the bloody thing is any good. Funny how you learnt to resent something when you you doubt it’s worth. Truth be told… I love it so much I don’t want someone else to say they don’t! I’ve spent so much time with it and no doubt will have to spend even more time with it over the coming weeks. I’ve said this before but some of those characters become like ‘friends’- in this world of having online/distant friendships, it’s so much easier to develop a fondness for people in writing – and in some cases a dislike (!). But then some of those, shall we say, less pleasant characters, come out as a result of dealing with less pleasant people in real life!  Anyway… I digress (what a surprise..!)

I’m also laying foundations in other areas…. new career move is progressing steadily. Trouble is I’m impatient and I was probably the toddler who though they could run before they’d mastered walking! Couple of opportunities have cropped up and I suppose, a bit like the writing, when you enjoy something so much, it’s tough to accept the knock-backs… but it wasn’t like I wasn’t warned… these things happen and it’s not like there’s nothing out there… it’s just the nature of the industry! One door closing means there’s scope to look for the next door that’s ajar!

Went for a tea in the local cafe this morning, took a magazine – one of those celebrity type things with the glossy pics and the impossibly thin models (yes we know how to torture ourselves with the unachievable, don’t we!?) Anyway, having overdosed on who’s knocking off who, which 30-something bimbo is married to which 60-something sports star and which celebrity events we forgot to be invited to… I stumbled across the horoscopes! Yes, I know some people think it’s claptrap, but isn’t it funny when you’re looking for direction, if the horoscopes look positive, you wonder if there might be some truth in them…

Aquarius (that’s me!):

The world, it seems, is full of hoops to jump through, rules to abide by, agreements to honour and promises to keep. That’s fine if we feel comfortable about the expectations others have of us, but not if we are asked for more than we feel we can supply. Events have left you wondering how much you really want to commit to someone or something. Soon, though, you’ll gain renewed enthusiasm. 

Oh I can’t wait for that renewed enthusiasm to surface….

In reality, these are the facts…

  1. It was such a great weekend of celebrations that anything I do this week will pale in comparison
  2. It’s raining (again) and the wind is howling
  3. I’m no worse off than I was this time last week – in terms of work, skill level, ability
  4. It’s raining (still)
  5. It’s only bloody January for goodness sake
  6. I’m in a far FAR better place in all aspects than I was this time last year
  7. Lots of good people support what I do and give me lots of sound advice – listen to them!
  8. It’s raining…..

So suck it up, man up, jog on (and whatever other analogies I can think of)… there’s a book to be finished, matches to be researched and a diary to fill. I am in actual fact a great believer in fate… all things happen for a reason and everything we experience shapes the person we become. So lovely as Jonathan Cainer’s advice might be… if you work hard enough, the rewards will be yours to claim!

But first…I’m off tho find some chocolate…. last week I prescribed sleep and chocolate as the best cure for most things. So I’m off to follow my own advice… it’ll be tough but someone’s gotta eat those Minstrels I bought earlier!

MJ x

Tunes that make me smile

This was something that I wanted to add to my post reflecting on the year gone and the year ahead and simply… I forgot! I could have gone in and edited the post, but it would have got lost, so I decided to create a separate post. It’s got sod-all to do with writing, but who cares (most of my posts aren’t, are they?!)… this is my blog and I’ll post what I like!! Anyway… you know how songs remind you of different periods of your life – good and bad – well I just wanted to share a couple of songs with you. For no other reason than that they make me smile and remind me of some of the high points of 2015. Continue reading

Your New Year Challenge

So yesterday I spent part of the day with my sister. We took advantage of us both having some time off at the same time – not always something we have managed to combine! Anyway, we were having a conversation about the new year and our plans for the next few months… we almost share a birthday (one day apart) and were discussing her forthcoming party (it’s a BIG-ish birthday for her this year!) Conversations turned to how we planned to keep costs down – four children between us – we share an understanding of being ‘robbed’ of any spare change for stuff. By that I mean everything from sweet treats (clear off you loony health freaks – of course I’m a normal mum and my kids have occasional sweet treats), to cinema trips with mates and everything in between. Continue reading

Farewell… not Good Riddance


Now seems as good a time as any to reflect on the year gone and think about the plans for the coming year. I posted something similar last year, 5 days into the New Year and in it I explained that I don’t make resolutions – I never keep to them – instead, I set myself some targets for the year. In writing our annual (love em or hate em) Christmas Newsletter, I think I made the comment that we hadn’t experienced a more dramatic year since the children had arrived – 2015 will certainly be the year everything changed! I reflected on the challenges of 2014 and how much I was looking forward to 2015 – how this was going to be MY year… the year I made it work. I couldn’t have realised just how right I was going to be! Below are some of the pledges I made – the targets I set for 2015 – Continue reading

My kind of Christmas

Christmas drnks

Hello all – just a quick check in. Hoping that you have managed to find some time over the weekend to relax and enjoy the festivities? Ours was a busy one. Because Christmas Day fell when it did, it meant the Hub had quite a bit of time off. Normally he’d work until lunch on Christmas Eve and then be back in the car for the day after Boxing Day. As it happens, he worked one hour on Christmas Eve, then we went over to Cirencester for a last-minute wander round the shops and a chance to try to feel a bit more festive. Child No1 said this year is the least festive she has felt – I think it’s the weather that’s robbed us of a that extra special festive oomph! But, with Michael Buble’s Christmas CD blaring out in the car, we did a good job of getting int he spirit on our day out! Continue reading

In defence of the Christmas Card

So, the Christmas card is apparently falling out of fashion…? Instead people are preferring the seemingly soul-less social media festive greeting or a pre-Christmas text (sent to their entire address book). It got me thinking why… is it time? Cost? Apathy? A cultural shift? Well, let me, just for a while shout out for the humble Christmas card and fight it’s corner just for a moment…

One of the bonuses of working from home some of the week, is that I am here when the postman arrives. He’s nothing to look at and if I’m honest, I reckon we have a different postie everyday anyway. I rarely see him and when I do he always look different! When I was out at work everyday, I would come home to find that someone (normally the Hub) has collected the post from the doorstep and opened anything vaguely addressed to him. Which meant that I would be left with the junkmail/bank statements/bills! They’d be perched on the corner of the dining table, dropped there as he made his way through to the kitchen to grab some lunch and forgotten about. The thing is, I rarely got to open the ‘exciting’ post… the Christmas cards! Sometimes he would leave them propped open, but more often than not added to a pile on the side until I got round to putting them up – not realising who had sent us cards until it was too late to send one back in return…. Continue reading

The tunes have started…

Much as you want to, you now can’t avoid them… they’re everywhere – on TV adverts, in the shops, in the shopping arcades and even the BBC TV channel ident tunes have added some Christmas jingles to their normal offering, to make it more Christmasy! The festive songs and tunes have arrived…. and now, spending time in a radio station means I really can’t escape them! Thankfully, the presenters I have the pleasure of seeing and listening to, when I’m there have chosen to avoid the real clichéd tunes. They’ve opted for things like The Darkness (a great track and title!) and Coldplay’s Christmas Lights (this took the accolade of being the first Christmas tune I allowed to continue playing on the radio last week!)

I wrote a post last year in my daily Advent posts about whether Day 8 was too early for tunes… for some people I realised December 1st is too LATE, but there others, who like me (middle name Scrooge), prefer to wait a little longer. But as I said, unless I sit in the house with the lights off and the TV on mute, there’s no avoiding it now, so we might as well embrace it! My post last year here has some great links to YouTube videos for some of the tracks that I really never get sick of over Christmas! Do take a look – there are some great ones there (in my opinion!) and it does get you feeling festive!

Here’s a couple more for you, starting with Coldplay (easily one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live) though never saw this one performed live! So I may be a little biased, but it’s a song that grows on you, I reckon!


This one – another offering from the lovely Michael Buble  – is a staple on our Christmas iTunes list. Talking of which, when we went away last year to North Wales, we took the iPod and loaded it with all our fave crimbo tunes, which we played non-stop all week! Over 120 tunes, from all sorts of artists! By the end of the week, even the Hub was craving a little bit of 80’s & 90’s nostalgia!

And how could I not include the old crooner himself… Bing and White Christmas… just perfect!

Have a great day!

MJ xx