Doing My (Very Small) Bit for the Insects

I never thought I would find myself making major lifestyle changes on behalf of the insect population of the world. In days gone by, I was guilty of seeing insects as the enemy; moths flitting in through the kitchen window, cockroaches scuttling across my path in the toilets of a Tokyo bar in summertime, That…

The Stick Collection

I am outside, trying to separate a 25 metre set of Christmas lights (“warm white,” I’ll have you know. I’m keeping it classy) from the house. It all starts simply enough. I know how they’re attached. All seems straightforward. I was there when they were assembled, after all, one torrid night in early December in…

Diary of a Snow Day

Writing this, I feel almost giddy with the realisation that we have had not one, but three snow days in the past two winters. Back in my London days, working in a city that enjoyed a snow day roughly once a decade, and at a school that would stay doggedly open if the four horsemen…

My Morning Routine

I’m sorry, this is not the kind of post you think it’s going to be. I am not going to appear on your computer screen like a paragon of virtue shining radiantly from YouTube, mixing kale and chia seed smoothies in my Nutribullet whilst simultaneously performing a sun salutation (multi-tasking!) alongside my identically attired and…

How I Am Now Really Into Old People Hobbies, Like Gardening

I have killed a plant. A dracaena marginata, no less. They are impossible to kill, I am told, by the Received Wisdom. You can’t go wrong with one of those palmy things with the spindly leaves. They love ill-treatment and general neglect. There is one in the school reception, and someone actually hung baubles off…

My New Year’s Resolution to be a Better Parent And Teach My Child To Read

The school have sent a strongly worded email. Not just to me, I hasten to add. Clearly I’m not the only one whose waning enthusiasm for Biff, Chip and Kipper books is beginning to show. Four times a week, children must read, it says. Four times a week they must have something written in their…

In The Bleak Midwinter

At least it’s not a fridge, I say to my mother. We are just going out, and as I turn back to survey the front of the house, my eye falls on the abandoned Christmas tree sitting forlornly on the drive, waiting it out until the time in mid-January when allegedly the council will come…

How to Get Your Child To Sleep, Or Not, As The Case May Be

“Mummy, can I have my red plane?” It is 8.30pm, and Piglet has just appeared at the kitchen door, where I am trying to wolf down my dinner as quickly as possible before the next interruption.  It’s the fourth time he has made a bid for freedom from the tyranny of bedtime; the last involving…

It’s 2018 Folks, Here’s How to Be A Very Poor Excuse For An Activist

I blame Twitter.  The endless shouting match of horror, the voices of reason and justified outrage mixed in with the voices of hate and division.  The internet used to be a place where the worst thing you could do was illegally download a song you liked.  Now, it feels as though to be in the…

The First Day At School

I remember very little about my first day (or year) at school.  In fact, all I remember was that it was 1984, Madonna was riding high in the charts, and at some point my mother had a questionable bubble perm.  They also had real lipstick in the wendy house, and one day I put it…