I’ve got no Klout (unless you want advice on toothbrushes)

*in case you are reading this out loud with a small child, or you are my mum – this contains some swearing*

I had to laugh today, when I received (yet another) e mail from Klout. Please can I take a quick moment to ask my non-blogger buddies: have you EVER heard of Klout? Until two days ago, I hadn’t and for a blogger, I think that’s bad. I’d read a few blogs that had been mentioning Klout and I felt very strongly that this was something that I should know about. It sounded important. So I googled it and found out that: “Klout is a website that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the Klout Score.” I ventured slightly further and suddenly found that I had not only signed up, but I had my very own Klout Score. It’s measured between 1 and 100, with 100 being Zoella (I actually have no idea what score Zoella has, nor do I give a shit). Think of a number between 10 and 11 and you’ve got my score 2 days ago. Today that number has gone up to 53 – it’s a fickle business this blogging lark. Perhaps it’s reflecting the blood, sweat and partner’s tears that I’m putting into Twitter…or perhaps I’ve read the stats wrong.

Anyway, back to that e mail I received from Klout today.


I’M A FUCKING EXPERT!!! And not only in one or two areas…IN 9!!! It said, ‘congratulations’, so I thought it meant something. I thought that maybe it had detected an expertise in parenting, or picking wet towels up from floors, but no. I’M A FUCKING EXPERT IN TOOTHBRUSHES!!!

In addition to this bombshell, being an expert in Gordan Ramsay didn’t exactly excite me, as I know sod all about the bloke, except that he swears a helluva lot more than me. I will give Klout some respect, however, on picking up on my expertise in ‘Martial Arts’ and ‘Divorce’. Both of which I do know quite a lot about.

Blogging is so much more than just, well…blogging. It’s SEO, RSS, MOZ (careful – it bites). It’s complicated shit for a technophobe like me. I belong to a different age: 3 TV channels and then OMG along came that weird and arty channel 4 and everyone went ooohhh! There’s lots of debate now about parents being under the influence of a mobile phone, whilst in charge of a child. NO SUCH LUCK FOR ME. I was stuck with the bloody kids all day, with no respite and 4 of them. 4 kids under the age of 5 and no mobile phone to keep me company and get me through the crap. No Facebook or Twitter to break up the monotony of days on end with only snot and poo for company. I know – if you are just a few years younger, you can’t imagine it, can you?

Just like I can’t imagine ever getting my head around all those analytical tools. I think that I’ll just stick to what I’m good at. So if you want to know whether to go for a medium or soft bristle, you’ve come to the right place.


Driving Whilst Under the Influence of Parenting


Sitting on the loo this morning (sorry for the image, euuggh), I realised that I had my pants on back to front. Now, before you worry for my mental health – I can reassure you that it wasn’t a thong. It was fairly easily done with this particular pair of pants. So much so in fact, that as I was in a hurry, I didn’t even rectify the situation. Yes, I am writing this blog in back to front pants.

You see, the thing is, us parents are a busy bunch. Just the fact that I even noticed my pants whilst grabbing a quick piss, is a bloomin’ miracle and the truth is, we’re all doing crazy things whilst under the influence of parenting. Most of the time we’re all happy to admit that we’re parenting whilst over the limit – over the limit of what we can actually handle and it makes us do things that we would never normally do. As a friend of mine discovered yesterday.

She’s just got a new car. She’d had a manic day. She’s a teacher and also has two young kids. After the school pick up and probably having squeezed a few things in between, she deposited each child at different clubs. Hurrying off to max out the time before pick up again, she jumped in her car and was reaching for her seat belt, when an angry voice said: excuse me! She turned around, only to find a lady strapping her child into the car seat. My friend exclaimed: what are you doing in my car?! To which the woman replied: it’s MY car! Awful realisation then hit. She leaped out (she was in a huge hurry), jumped into her car (parked next to it and very similar) and reversed out of the space at speed safely, shouting out the window as she drove off: at least I’m not a big, burly man! (I’m still trying to imagine the aftermath of this from the woman’s view point…laughter? Terror? Anger? Certainly a story to retell in the school playground the following day.)

So you see, when you are having one of those days, even if it’s every day, just think of me in my back to front pants and my friend in the wrong car and repeat to yourself: thank f@€k I’m not the only one! We’re all guilty as charged.


Teenagers!!! I’ve just got to say something about them…to get it off my chest: they’re just so bloody amazing sometimes! Quite often actually. To be honest, I haven’t wanted to mention it in case of repercussions (demands for a raise in pocket money, for example.) However, I really feel that I have to come clean and admit, that while teenagers have the ability to annoy the crap out of us, they are also flipping brilliant. Not just mine, many, many teenagers.

Firstly, they come to my rescue with the t.v., specifically remote controls: five of them…I have no idea why we need 5 remotes, but they know. One shout of: heeeelp! and at least two or three teenagers appear and they are happy to try to work out the problem too. They are willing at a time when I am losing the will and I really love them for that.

Then there’s the times they cook for me. Scenario: stressful day, I’m feeling guilty as it is for f##king up somewhere…a planner unsigned or a letter forgotten and daughter 1 will text: shall I cook tonight? Yes! Yes please, because I have had a really shit day and you have no idea how much your text means to me. Even packed lunches will be made if I ask and combine it with a look of pity.

image  All made by daughter 1…I looked particularly pitiful on this occasion, with                             a  glass of wine in my hand and sunglasses on

They babysit. Not just their younger siblings and other people’s rugrats for money, but some teenagers I know pick brothers and sisters up from school and take on quite a lot of responsibility, at a fairly young age.

While I’m at it, I want to shout about all the teenagers who are child carers. Those children who have a parent who really need their help and are not just whingeing that they are stressed – what a bloody amazing job they do! My heart aches for them that they may be missing out on stuff their friends are doing, but my heart sings for what it means to that person they are caring for and what they are undoubtedly gaining from doing it.

I am incredibly impressed with how my teenagers deal with exam stress. I was so bad at this one. I went into melt down at year 7 exams, but you guys have it sorted: revision (revition – you applied a rule, just the wrong one) folders, flash cards, face time friend work buddies… I admire you because you have it all worked out and under control. I will just buy you vitamin water and maltesers to get through the worst bits. I’m a good mum 😃 (I will then get cross that you finish all the treats on day 1…)

image                                       First subject to revise: English

What about how they deal with friends and specifically other girls. Oh my they can be cows. I admire teenager girls for dealing with other girls. I can’t comment on teenage boys, as I have none. However, I suspect that their experiences with friends are very different. Girls require the diplomacy of Donald Trump’s hairdresser, the patience of parents at Peppa Pig World and the thick skin of a politician. We can only hope that our daughters will grow up having high self esteem and courage of their convictions.

So, here’s to teenagers: you make us angry, you make us cry, but as long as you keep making us dinner from time to time and making us laugh, we will all stumble through (with the odd bruise).


I’m finally getting to grips with Twitter. I still understand feck all about it, but I can send a tweet. The etiquette still sounds complicated and my fear is that people take things very personally on Twitter, so if I f##k up, I’m doomed…struck off people’s radar, never to be retweeted again. It’s all really scary stuff for a Twitter virgin. Twit-err? I do feel like a complete twit. Potty training was more straightforward than this. Even the owner of Twitter admitted this week that it is too complicated. Bring out a simplified version, I say. You’d make a mint…well even more of a mint. If I wasn’t such a technophobe, I’d be having a go myself and retirement would be all sewn up.

One thing that I’m realising about Twitter, is that there is no shame. People will tweet the hell out of a blog or a photo, just in case it wasn’t seen the first time, or the second, or the third…and if you did see it all three times, you just want to scream at it: Ok, enough already! Heightened paranoia set in with me, as I leaped on the bandwagon and posted a blog for the second time in 8 hours. I nervously pressed: tweet…and waited for the tweets of wrath to come flooding back at me in a tsunami of rage. Except they didn’t, because the reality is, that no one really cared about it the first time and it just came and went on people’s news feed the second, #werenotbothered (can’t use an apostrophe – goes against everything I have been taught). I like to think that this is because I am yet to build a following and therefore my audience is currently limited. Now is the time to cock up on Twitter, while no-one is there to notice.
In the process of trying to get my head around with Twitter this week, I do feel that I have sold my soul to it – my children have fed themselves and partner would have divorced me, had we been married. I can sum up my Twitter journey this far by hijacking a Madonna classic. Sing along guys (please humour me.)
Like a #virgin
I made it through the Worldwide Web
Somehow I made it #through
Didn’t know what a hashtag was
Until I found you
I must tweet
Only on Facebook and Instagram, I was sad and blue
But Twitter made me feel
Yeah, it made me feel
Shiny and new
Hoo, Like a #virgin
Retweeted for the very first time
Like a #virgin
Makes my heart beat
When I go on line
It’s gonna take up loads of time, but
My fear is fading fast
Been sharing and liking for you
‘Cause Twitter love must be passed
Hoo, Like a #virgin
Retweeted for the very first time
Like a #virgin
Makes my heart beat
When I go on line

The Truth About Everything

I had a cuppa with my mum today. I didn’t like your blog about thongs, she told me. Get the negative over and done with, mum, I thought. Everyone else did, I said defensively, it went down really well. Anyway, it was based on scientific facts. I know, she replied, it was the extra bits you put in that I didn’t like. Omg, I thought to myself, she liked all the bits about yeast and bacteria, but balked at my humour – I’ll never win her vote.

Last weekend when we met up, it was all about the Guardian: the Guardian says this and the Guardian says that. She got it as a freebie. You seem to like the Guardian, mum, I commented. Well, I won’t be getting it again, she said. Do you know how much it is? Apparently, it is a lot more than the Times, but I wouldn’t have known. I get the Times, but of course I am of the opinion that all papers are full of shit and loaded with their own message. Did you see that programme last night? mum asked. ‘The Truth About Healthy Eating’. Apparently, wine, tea and coffee counts towards your daily water intake, eggs and bacon beat cereal and fruit for breakfast and frying isn’t so bad after all. But hang on a minute! What about all those reports that say that bacon causes Cancer, too much wine will kill you and just the mere mention of the word, ‘fry’, puts nutritionists in to a flat spin? I didn’t see the programme, but I could sense that mum was not in the mood to be crossed.


                   Fiona Phillips with Dr Gordon McDougall toasting the mantra:                                    oh fuck it, consume what you want moderation and balance

I really have come to the conclusion, that we should all just eat and drink what the hell we want – in moderation. I know damn well that I can lose weight by cutting right down on carbs, because I have had to do it many times before to compete in Taekwon-do. But it’s hard bloody work. It literally takes over your life. It makes you hugely unsociable, as you take your own food to a BBQ or when catching up with a friend for lunch. Yes, I have been there and I had a goal to reach, which gave me the motivation to do it. However, that is unsustainable. Life isn’t simply about the short term and we need to find a way of eating and drinking that is sustainable long term. This is why we like hearing programmes that tell us that eating bacon is ok and drinking wine counts towards your water intake. Because we think: yes, I can sustain this and when someone tells you that a kale smoothie is what you should be having for breakfast, you think: shit, that’s going to bloody kill me every fecking morning.

Have you heard of the term: orthorexia nervosa? I hadn’t, until I read it in the paper last week. Apparently, it entered our dictionaries a year ago and means: an obsession with healthy eating. A new eating disorder has descended. Yes, it is a DISORDER: avoidance diets can cause deficiencies in vitamins and irons. What was once considered to be confined to a Jesus sandal-wearing brigade, has now become mainstream. Instagram is awash with pictures of kale smoothies. Deliciously Ella is like marmite – you either love or hate the brand it has become. Lots of people love it: their website alone gets 5m hits a month. Healthy eating has, as the article I was reading points out, become a status symbol… but boy, can it judge…and crikey, can it lie: confessions of a food blogger, Besma Whayeb, on the pictures that she posts, for example:


You know what I think: moderation and balance…oh how those two words have a beautiful ring to them. Mainly because they are not screaming at you: DON’T!!! they are shouting at you: DO!!!





Ps don’t be a slave to moderation…the occasional blow out is good for the soul. No-one should be judging you except you and don’t be too harsh.

Oh, and if you’re still not convinced, I’ll leave you with this:



Elderly People Cross-ing ☹️

When I was younger and I mean much, much younger…say about 10 years old, one of my mum’s friends was driving me somewhere and we passed one of the, ‘Elderly people’ signs. She went off on a rant. Her beef with it seemed to be, as far as I could work out from a 10 year old’s perspective, that these signs were derogatory to old people and that they stereotyped all elderly people as being bent over.

According to an article in the Telegraph last year, ‘the sign was the winning entry in a children’s contest almost 35 years ago and has indeed been widely criticised for implying all elderly people need mobility aids or are disabled’.

‘Critics of the sign’, probably my mum’s friend included, ‘have argued that the signs are unnecessary, and that people who listen to music or text as they walk are greater hazards than elderly people… Dr Ros Altmann, the pensions expert and campaigner, said the signs were redunadant and called on them to be banned. “I think we do not need a sign to warn people of older people,” she said.’

Well, I’m not so sure. I mean, don’t we all get grumpy and more openly opinionated when we get older and think that we can get away with it? Please say yes, because this is the one bit of growing old that I am looking forward to. I remember my 90 year old Nanna telling the cleaner she was fat. I whispered to Nanna, you can’t say things like that, to which my Nanna loudly replied: yes I can because I’m old and she is fat!

Back to the signs and a company called: Spring Chicken, set up a campaign to readdress the issue: “We want to change the image of ageing and bring some wit and humour, and a more accurate reflection of older people, to these signs.” their spokesperson said.

So I thought I would share with you a few of the best entries and you can choose your favourite – but only if you are over 40. No young ‘uns are getting a say in our oldies’ thang…

I was reminded of my mum’s friend and her negative reaction to the original sign, by a couple of recent events. Firstly, I am now a part of the Post-40 Bloggers group, which presumably is a stage for a blogger. Perhaps one who started out blogging about nappies and sick in their 20’s or 30’s and then finds themselves with teenagers in a post 40’s club. For me, I am a few years past the entry age, although I still had to show my ID. I have no issue with being post 40 – happier in your own skin and all that – however, it was the second recent event that really made me think: I’ve joined Gransnet! So, you’ve heard of: Mumsnet, right? The forum for parents to argue converse about such diverse subjects as: penis beakers and fat balls (calm yourselves, ladies. I’ll save those for another blog). Anyway, Gransnet is the equivalent for Grannies (and grandads). You’re not a granny! I hear you cry and mutter, ‘fraud’ under your breath. Well, I kind of stumbled (bent over) in via wishing to enter a children’s book writing competition that they are running. Someone had retweeted a tweet about it and as I have just finished my first book for 2-5 year olds (don’t worry, I curbed the swearing), I thought that I would enter. It never occurred to me that it was GRANSnet, like MUMSnet (am I slow?) and was quite happy to join this website, in order to enter. I received my username and I was in. It was only when I browsed the site that it dawned on me that the, ‘Gran’ actually stood for, ‘granny’.

So within the space of a day, I have gained entry to a post 40 blogger’s group – which I am extremely honoured to be a part of, as there is some fantastic talent in there – AND joined a group for granny’s! Partner is having a field day teasing me, as he is 3 years older than me and I’m always banging on about his age, so now is his chance for revenge. I’ll let him have his few moments of fun, but I am safe in the knowledge that I will always be, ‘the younger woman’.




The Power of the Beast of Empathy

I hate zoos – I always have done. I have never understood why huge beasts, such as lions and let’s topically say, gorillas, can be kept in enclosures for us weird humans to gawp at. I think that zoos have improved since I was young and animals are kept in larger enclosures with hiding space. However personally, I still don’t like zoos. I even felt like an imposter in the Kruger National Park. No wonder the animals all sloped away from us, with our yelling and gesticulating and posh cameras pointing at moving bushes.

My statement is an entirely subjective one and doesn’t delve into such issues as wildlife conservation and the amazing work that zoo keepers do within their profession. It is simply my personal feeling.

So, reading about the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo last weekend, I, like everyone else felt saddened that a gorgeous creature had been killed. My initial thoughts were actually with the gorilla. Every time I read about it or heard about it, my heart ached for that amazing beast. It didn’t actually cross my mind to blame anyone, I just felt sad. Then came the hate. Not from me; I felt like a bystander in a zoo, watching and listening as bait was thrown into the social media lions’ enclosure, only to be ripped apart and spat out with judgement and venom: at the zoo keepers, at the parents…on the whole I think that Harambe the gorilla escaped the peoples’ wrath.

I repeated my mantra to myself: never judge a person until you have walked a mile in their moccasins. I read the arguments, I listened to the news reports, I watched the video and rather than judging, I tried to empathise with the parents. I had already empathised with Harambe, but now I had to readdress the balance in my mind. So I thought about the parents of the 3 year old boy, who managed to get into the enclosure. I imagined that one of my daughters was in with Harambe. I thought about how helpless I would feel and how I would be holding my breath every millisecond she was in there. I imagined how, with every movement he made, I would be screaming at him not to hurt her, whilst at the same time knowing that he is not a human and that I could not reason with him. I thought about how I would feel so out of control. I imagined how I would feel when he first dragged her across the water, as she went under and I would feel her fear and disorientation. And when he took her away from my sight and it went quiet, I imagined my complete and utter terror and how every part of my body would feel wretched with despair. Not for seconds, but for 10 whole, long, gut-wrenching minutes.

I am a human and a parent. I know that we are not as perfect as others would want us to be. We are not as perfect as others expect us to be, although they themselves are not perfect. I imagined myself holding my daughter when the keepers brought me to her. Holding her tight, away from the grasps of a 450-pound gorilla and I thought to myself that as much as I empathised with that gorgeous beast, I would want my daughter back in my arms more than anything else in the world.




Do the Sniff Test and Save the World!

Yesterday morning I gave partner’s towel a sniff. I know what you’re thinking – live life on the edge, well I did. I gave it a great big sniff to decide whether it needed to go into the wash. Now, I have a theory: towels don’t get that dirty. I’m talking about the towel you use to dry yourself off after a shower. I mean, am I missing something here? How do they ever get dirty? Surely, in theory, we could leave a towel unwashed for months and nobody would die…or even notice. Bath towels fill up a wash. They take a fair bit of drying, depending on their quality of course, and if you tumble dry them, you are harming the planet – apparently. All this when they have only ever been wrapped around a squeaky clean bod.

I admit that a problem may arise if a clean towel is not properly dried. It then retains a horrible fusty sort of smell and this brings me back to why I gave partner’s towel a good old sniff. I am not going to tell you how often we wash our bath towels in this house, for fear of reprisal. I saw that very question asked on a parent forum and I was amazed by how many people replied: every day. Now, either they are lying, or like nothing better than to wash a towel. I like nothing better than giving the towels a sniff and a nod and pouring a glass of wine, or making a cup of tea, whilst simultaneously congratulating myself on doing my bit towards saving the planet. Not through any particular Eco reason, just because I can’t be arsed haven’t got time to wash six bath towels every day.

Unfortunately, on this occasion partner’s towel failed the sniff test and had to go straight into a 90 degree wash. I blame the weather, it’s getting confused and thinking it is November and so nothing is drying properly. However, in the normal run of things, if everyone just did the sniff test on their bath towels, the planet could be saved!

I’m not sure that the sniff test can be equally applied to sheets. When the kids were younger, thanks to a regular cycle of bed wetting, nosebleeds, worms and nits, their sheets got washed very regularly. Nowadays though, there is no other reason to wash their sheets than: shit, I haven’t washed their sheets for weeks. Please no hate. They all shower/have their baths at night. They go to bed clean as whistles and really can’t generate that much dirt, by simply lying asleep.

Don’t worry, although I apply my above theory to bath towels and kids’ bed sheets, hand towels, tea towels, dog towels and our sheets are washed very regularly, but I am not going to tell you how often, just in case I am judged.

What’s Wrong with a Thong?

As I put on my thong this morning, I remembered that I read an article last week telling me that thongs are officially ‘out’ and that they suit no-one (harsh – the fashion journalist obviously hasn’t seen my luscious peaches framed in an Anne Summer’s special). Did I heed advice and remove the outmoded item …did I feck. I carried on regardless with post 40 impunity. No longer do I feel the need to adhere to lingerie advice from the experts. The article mentioned, with pictures, the new sort of garment that has replaced the thong and I just wasn’t convinced. You see the thing is, that for all its wrongs, it has many rights. My teenage daughters are repulsed by the idea of sporting one, let alone their mother displaying her butt cheeks (and I’m not talking public performances, I’m referring to the odd occasion they walk into my bedroom when I am in a state of semi-undress and scream: “that’s disgusting!” as they scarper). However, I am still a thong believer.

Let’s face it, it’s been, ‘dead’ before and replaced by boy pants – I like them too! Please don’t let these also be dead, or my underwear drawer will be a coffin full of decaying pants from a yesteryear.

During my extensive research for this blog (hmm) I came across possibly one of the most yucky articles I have ever read. Even worse than those featured in: breast fed babies’ nappies weekly (no, that doesn’t really exist and yes, I do advocate breast feeding where possible HOWEVER I also remember the nappies…) It was an article published by Cosmopolitan, titled: 13 Times You Should Never Wear a Thong. I clicked on the link innocently enough, thinking it would cover such things as: when wearing low cut jeans and if you have piles, but no. I shan’t link drop, just in case you are reading this whilst eating breakfast, but I will give you an idea of the content by picking out a phrase from each point:
I’ll just start with the intro by Jill Rabin, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynaecology: ‘the fabric can easily shift between your rectum and vagina…’ Feeling sexy? Read on:
1. ‘avoid icky, uncomfortable outcomes’ The mind boggles…
2. ‘can foster bacteria growth that disrupts your vagina’s healthy balance’ Eurrggh, suddenly mine is itching me…
3. ‘you could sweep up bacteria that rival those in a porta-potty’ I remember those portable potties and having no shame whipping it out in the middle of the pavement, if the toddler so much as intimated at the word, ‘pee’ or ‘poo’, but I digress…
4. ‘bacterial vaginal infections’ not my bag…
5. yeast infection’ been there – doesn’t blow my hair back…
6. ‘if you’re skipping your daily shower’ Never. Couldn’t. Ever…
7. ‘your tampon string rub up against your rectum, then drag it forward to infect your vagina’ too technical for a creative type like me…
8. ‘bad news’ yes, I’m getting that now. In fact, I won’t go on to 13 as it may be unlucky for some of us who rather like them. Well, not any more. Thanks to Dr Rabin I feel that only a thin piece of lace sits between me and nasty infection, possibly death – it wouldn’t read well on my headstone. I shall consult my daughters for suitable alternatives. I did Google alternatives, but it all got a bit: hot girls in thongs and I felt I should keep my browsing history, like my mind and my body, clean.

Feeling Fat

I was accosted the other day by one of my lovely blog readers. Hello MadHouseMum, she said. I’m enjoying your blogs, but all of us who know you, know that you are lying. You haven’t got a muffin top or a bra bulge! and off she cheerily went. It was strange being outrightly called a liar – albeit in a very jovial way and I gave partner a slightly concerned look. You see, the thing is, I have, but I guess that everything is relative. What lovely blog reader sees is a relatively fit person – I do teach Taekwon-do for love and money – and she knows that I have always beasted personal trained people for a living. What she will not realise, of course, is that through injury I have not been able to train so much and since my shoulder operation last month, I am not able to train at all. So, although outwardly I still look relatively trim, inwardly I am feeling fat and unfit. The only diets that I am used to are fairly extreme carb starvation combined with hard training, to get down to my competition fighting weight, but now I am faced with trying to watch what I eat because I can’t exercise. Now, I feel like I am seeing diet and exercise and the struggles therein from an altogether different perspective and from my perspective right now, it is hard and I do notice those bulges that I’ve blogged about.

I looked at them in the mirror this morning. I tensed my tummy muscles and thought that I looked OK. I turned to partner: if I do this in Spain, I told him, I think I’ll look alright. (Note, this comment was referring to a front view of myself – the rear side is a whole other story). Do I look as if I’m sucking in? I asked him. No, he said. You just look very tense and then he laughed sarcastically and went on: don’t relax on holiday, whatever you do, just spend the whole time looking like that.

He’s got a point, I thought to myself and so has lovely blog reader. Outwardly I do look ok and inwardly I just need to chill.

Beach 2

That was then…no jumping around on the beach for me this year!