Diary of a Lockdown, day 2: is it possible to get teenagers tagged?

Today the teenagers seemed to ‘get’ what this lockdown means. Until now, their social isolation included going for a haircut, having the girlfriend over to watch a film, going to a barbecue and sleep-over.  Last night when 6ft-tall son went out to buy ’emergency crisps’ I started to wonder whether I could arrange to have […]

Smashing X-boxes – and other tales of living with teens

This is what an Xbox looks like after it’s been dropped from a first floor window. It happened a year ago and it wasn’t my finest parenting moment. In fact, it was the culmination of years of frustration at the grip of computer gaming on my sons – who were then aged 15 and 13 […]

Have an un-Happy Christmas

This will be the first Christmas without my Mum. And our boys’ first without any grandparents. So you’ll forgive me for feeling a little sad and nostalgic. There will be no Christmas visit home this year. The small village in Nottinghamshire where I grew up remains the archetypal “home” of my imagination, even though I’ve […]

My feelings of loss – and how they’re lifting

Over the autumn and winter my sister and I have been moving our elderly mother into sheltered housing and selling the family home that had been a solid and reliable part of our lives almost since we were toddlers. Yesterday my sister called to say she was making one final trip to Meadow Cottage to […]

Fun for a day – with no computer, wii or TV

30-plus ideas for a screen-free day indoors My children’s addiction to screens – computer, Wii and television – is a frequent source of conflict in our house. It’s all they want to do. And although I don’t want them to be screen addicts, I know their addiction is largely my fault as I’ve used screens […]

What to do about my wine habit?

What to do about my wine habit? For decades it’s been my default reaction to stress. Nervous about meeting new people at a party? Have a little drink. Exhausted after a challenging day at work? Unwind to the sound of cork unscrewing. Upset and angry? Drown my sorrows. I’ve practised them all. It’s a well-established […]

A crap mum’s top tips

First, the disclaimer: I find being a parent hard. It doesn’t come easily and I seem to be a slow learner. My kids are nearly 6 and nearly 8 and here are the top tips I wish I’d been quicker to learn: 1. Chocolate is heroin. We managed to keep our eldest unaware of the existence […]