Looking up

Who do you look up to? Perhaps you've always admired a certain celebrity, actor, artist or musician? Maybe your hero is a world-changing character from history, or it may be that your hero is someone closer to home. During my (almost) 42 years of life, I have met many men and women who I have admired, listened to an been influenced by. I have been greatly blessed to have been surrounded by a varied, lively and caring community from birth. I was the first baby born in my street. My parents moved into their little cul-de-sac in the Spring before…read more >

The Joys of Childhood

For most of us, when we look back on our childhood, we have great memories. We can look through our family photo albums, laugh at the silly clothes we wore, name old friends, remember birthday parties we went to and games we played. Most of us can switch on one of our favourite childhood films (mine is probably "Big" with Tom Hanks) and immediately, we feel 12 years old, and relax like we did during the school holidays. Or it might be that we decided to sample some sweets that we frequently enjoyed as a child - for me it…read more >

What makes us US

It would not be unreasonable for me to be accused of being sentimental. I love to look back on my childhood. It was mainly very happy - we all have difficult stuff that happens like friends moving away, grandparents dying, bad days when our friends suddenly don't seem to be in the mood to be as friendly as they were the day before - but yes, generally I had a very happy childhood. I remember playing at the top of the stairs while my mum mopped the front doorstep and listened to Jimmy Young on Radio 2. I remember my…read more >

How to (not) fail as a parent…The Day We Went To The Foodbank

I will never forget our visit to the Foodbank. After seven years of no pay-rise and an ever-growing overdraft, my husband's only option was to find another job. And with a three month notice period, the only option was to resign as soon as possible, in order to be available when a new job came up. With eleven unsuccessful interviews, no new job in the pipeline, 18 weeks of sanctions (no benefits paid out) and, therefore, a month without any income at all, we were in dire need of help and support. My parents and my in-laws are always kind…read more >

The TRUTH about camping

Ahhh camping! A wonderful opportunity to live in the great outdoors, to wake up to the sounds of nature, with birdsong and the fresh smell of the trees; A time to be free from the pressures of daily life, without the noise of social media, television and the craziness of the rat race; A time for families to be united around a cosy camp the fire, snuggled up in blankets, drinking hot chocolate, toasting marshmallows and watching the sky for shooting stars‚Ķtogether. A camping holiday is a wonderful way to go on holiday, without spending unnecessary money on flights or…read more >

The Photo Bath

  We had moved into our house during a hot July, and after only a month in our "new" house - it was a Victorian semi in dire need of updating - I found myself with two small children, another one on the way, surrounded by the dust and debris of a loft conversion in progress, constantly hoovering and making cups of tea for (what felt like) an endless stream of builders, carpenters, plumb ers, plasterers and electricians. Not much has changed to be honest...the three children are taller than me now. I still have to hoover far too often,…read more >