Category Archives: The thing about being a mum!


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

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

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

It’s not quirky… it’s tradition..!

Funny what December does to people, isn’t it? We see the best and worst of people over the Christmas season and I find that fascinating. As I’ve mentioned before we’ve tried to get away over Christmas every couple of years and sometimes we’ve gone with family and other times, like last year, with friends. Sometimes, it’s just us… our little gang of four. But you know, they’ve all been brilliant times in brilliant locations and sometimes – as in North Wales in 2004, we’ve had snow ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!! Could it get any better?!

Capel Garmon, Christmas Day 2004

Capel Garmon, Christmas Day 2004

Having said in previous posts that I have mixed feelings about the build up to Christmas, I am a bit of a traditionalist in some ways when it comes to Christmas Day. If you think about ti, you take in adulthood some of the traditions you had a child and then bringing those into a relationship means combining two sets of family traditions and from there you kind of create your, unique, quirky take on ‘doing the Christmas thing’!! Continue reading

The BIG question… the one we dread!

What is the most difficult / heart breaking question a parent can be asked at this time of year….? While I’m not a parenting guru, I do happen to have 14 years experience (more than some people have in their careers and they call themselves experts?!) so let me shed some light on this tricky topic….

In trying to keep my promise to Child No1 about not banging on about how much I dislike aspects of this time of year, I’m currently searching for my festive Mojo! Yesterday I started the Christmas cards, having completed a therapeutic culling of the list a few days ago! And I even started buying a few little gifts on my weekly shops. I also found this cute little shop on my occasional foray into Summertown, when I’m up in Oxford – a new shop, run by a delightful couple selling trinkets and gifts which would be fab for Christmas – I’ll spend some money there next week, for sure. I know the Mojo is there, despite my finest efforts at sounding like Ebeneezer Scrooge… and the reason I know it’s there is that I can hear the bell… you know the little tinkling in the dead of night when everyone else is asleep. The sleigh bells that tell me HE is picking up lists and checking on the naughty and nice kids. The reason? Because I still BELIEVE….. if you haven’t seen The Polar Express, you’ll have no idea what I’m on about – stay with me…

Continue reading

Isn’t it funny?!

Just a short post today..but funny how things turn out. Tuesday has turned into catch up day and after a manic weekend skipping round the lanes of North Cornwall this weekend and a busy day in Oxford yesterday I know today will be a day of emails, meetings, washing, careers event (No1 child – not mine!) and shortly a 3km run to blow away this nagging headache. But as I was catching up with the news this morning I strayed onto my Facebook page to be greeted with one of those features where it lets you share your ‘on this day last year’ memory type things! You know the score… some of it can be quite funny, especially if (like me) you’ve been ‘doing’ Facebook for a number of years – you do forget the funny things you post!

Well this time last year I wrote a blog post about the start of the nest emptying process… or rather the fact that No1 & No2 are growing into independent young people and we’re just going to see less of them. Reading back through it made me smile – take a look here at what I wrote! In short No2 child had just left for a week away with school, No1 was off to the theatre with school, their lives were starting to change and I could see all of this coming without really being able to anything about it – and why would I?

The funny thing is, while No2 is not on his residential this week, he’ll be late back from school tonight – “Got rugby tonight mum, might be a match, dunno… see you when I see you…”, No1 is volunteering at a careers event at her school (one she should be attending anyway) and then I have to rush her home, feed her and get her back to school so she can go on yet another school theatre trip. The school are nothing if not consistent!! But when I look back over the year since that post, the drifting away hasn’t been so hard. Involvement in cadets has meant No1 has been away more than ever before – village fetes, camp-outs, residential trips, military exercises… you name it and we haven’t had time to breathe! Just this morning over another hurried breakfast we were trying to organise the next family weekend away, only to find it clashes with a birthday sleepover she wants to attend… cue lots of huffing and puffing! Some things never change!

Because it’s been a year of change for me I’ve probably not noticed the little shift as much as I might have done in my more predictable routine of yesteryear. As things settle for me in the New Year (fingers crossed), it may become more apparent that while I have been looking in the other direction, my babies have gone. And in their place…. let’s hope it’s not our version of Kevin and Perry!


And on that disturbing thought…..

Have a lovely day, I’m off for a jog/plod/bimble!

MJ xx

He’s not all that, you know….

Strange kind of week really. It started when the game I was meant to be going to last Saturday was called off due to the weather…. waterlogged pitch. It left me at a bit of a loose end… a Saturday at home with ‘nothing’ to do. Whilst I thought all my match prep was wasted, I can hear little voices on my shoulder telling me all prep is good practice, so it’s never really a waste of time! Somehow, we filled the weekend and it leaves you wondering how you ever fit everything in!
Continue reading

The easiest decision you’ll make today…

Happy new week!

The sun continues to shine here, I hope that it is shining with you too? The word count continues to grow and I am ever hopeful that I will hit my 30 day target of 50,000+ words. Being in Dorset again over the weekend gave me a renewed motivation, with big blue skies and blustery runs along the coast path. If only being on a windswept hill-top looking out to sea was as romantic as the BBC portrayed it in the excellent Poldark remake! How come Demelza’s hair didn’t look like a bird’s nest every time she walked along that hill-top coast path?! And where’s my Ross Poldark??! (‘Wrong county’ I hear you cry, but as we head off to Cornwall very soon I may get lucky! … oh the nonsense the poor Hub must put up with!) Continue reading

Look who’s back!

….. Hold on tight, here we go again….!!! Look who’s back..!

I spent an hour today reading through some of my previous posts, by way of trying to capture where I was when I was writing them and what I wanted to achieve. A self-imposed break was required and while I’m not here to discuss that, it’s enough to think that my cup of heroes and villains hath overfloweth…!! Or something like that!

My last post (link below) brought a tear to my eye all over again – not least because once more the Hub has proved to be the pillar in my otherwise shaken world and I’m not entirely sure how I will be able to repay him… As an aside, a friend read that post and commented on the analogy. ‘Why granite?’ she asked. ‘It’s not an attractive rock, really, is it? And your Hub is (for his age!!) still in good shape – I mean, isn’t there a more suitable rock you could have used?!’ It was a well meaning question I suppose and she’s right – he’s not doing too badly despite the speckles of grey. But you know, I think I got it spot on and I went on to tell her that Dartmoor, a place synonymous with Granite Tors is a stunning place whatever the weather. As a student in Plymouth, I spent many a day on the moors navigating over bogs and around the Tors – come rain or shine, or fog… or storms… or more rain.. (you get the picture!) But I loved it – the changing weather makes the same view look different each time. I guess that what I was trying say about the Hub… we’ve thrown a lot at him over the years and he deals with it in his way. Sometimes it might not be the way other people do it, or like it, but he deals with it!!

And now onto more pressing matters… today I have managed to go for a run, do 2×7 minute Davina workouts (and my legs feel it now), weed the garden and it’s only lunch time! This afternoon is the most important job… gotta bake a cake for Child No.1’s birthday, before she gets home.

Nice to be back peeps! Be kind to me!

MJ xx