5 Things not to do at a Smear Test


I'm a big believer in the old cervical smear. Not as in: "I believe they exist, not like unicorns and friendly sales assistants in WH Smith, both of which are clearly mythical creatures."  More as in: "They are a good and important thing."  Which is why I was only 18 a few months late in having my most recent appointment with the nurse for my scheduled test. Lots of women worry that a smear test is embarrassing or inconvenient. But hopefully this post will reassure you and set your … [Read more...]

40 Box Sets to See Before You’re 40 (Part 2)

best tv box sets

So here it is: part two of my ultimate guide to box sets. There's years of research and intense lying about has gone into this post. Oh yes. Yesterday, I gave you my entirely personal, partisan selection of the best 20 box-sets for fans of comedy, guilty pleasures, family dramas and teen shows. Today, I'm all about supernatural, sci-fi, and (vaguely) medical and legal drama, along with a couple of shows I didn't quite know where to place. If I've missed one of your favourites, let me know … [Read more...]

40 Box Sets to see Before You’re 40

best tv box sets

Like many a woman before me, I’m a big fan of a TV box-set. Once upon a time, I used to buy actual DVDs from HMV, or order them from the US to play on a specially purchased DVD player from a shop on Tottenham Court Road. These days, being a box-set fan is a LOT easier – there’s iTunes and Netflix for most stuff, and since becoming Amazon-free at the start of this year, I’ve managed to work out several new places to get my box-set fix. Over the past 20 years or so, then, I've watched more … [Read more...]

A Way with Words. And Washlets.


For 25 years, I've earned a living as a professional writer. Words are the tools of my trade. And yet - to be honest - I'm terrible with words. Particularly the spoken word. I can write about pretty much anything, but put me face to face with someone and ask me to chat about anything personal, intimate or emotional, and I'm worse than useless. I'm like a destructive force of nature. Writing gives you time, doesn't it? To consider and measure the words you use. To add a drop of humour … [Read more...]

Meeting People: why is it so hard?


So here's the thing. Deep breath.  I've met someone. It happened a few months back - I was at a meeting, they were at the meeting, our eyes met. We laughed at each other's jokes. I didn't really think any more of it. Fast forward to the New Year and I was at an event where I didn't know anyone. Except suddenly I looked up and - aha! - the day got significantly more interesting, especially when I overheard them telling someone how funny they thought I was (Although with hindsight, I … [Read more...]

Desert Island Discs: the lowbrow edition.


Music's a funny thing. A piece of music can transport me back to a moment better than any number of photographs or videos. I can listen to music and remember where I was, who I was with, and how I felt in an exact moment in time. Knowing this, you'd think I'd be - well - more circumspect in my listening choices. But no, I had my first kiss to Lionel Richie's Dancing on the Ceiling. I'm just setting expectations because I've been asked to share my Desert Island Discs playlist with you by … [Read more...]

The one about the new bracket.


True story: when I was younger, I was convinced, properly, one thousand percent confident, that I'd die before I was 21. It made sense at the time. I'm quite an imaginative person, and I literally couldn't imagine myself being THAT old. It's fair to say I don't deal with ageing gracefully. It started around 28. I remember spending that birthday in a foul mood because everyone knows that 28 means "late 20s". 29 was the last year of my 20s. That was a bitter blow to take. Turning 30 … [Read more...]

So long, 2013.


So, I think this is where I'm supposed to say that 2013 was a wonderful year, I feel complete, and I'm all full of good intentions for 2014. Well, kinda. Truth be told, I find writing those posts a bit narcissistic. Every year is the best ever, and everyone feels blessed and they're all surrounded by loads of family and friends who are amazing and they're following their dreams and - well, honestly - I'm just a bit too Northern for that sort of thing. Or something. So - in Northern fashion … [Read more...]

Little Moments: 2013

flea christmas

The passing of another year always makes us reflect, I think. It's natural to think about where we've been this year, what we've achieved, and where we want to go next. For me, it's great because reflecting reminds me that, while bits of 2013 involved a lot of hard work and late nights, and the odd frustration, the important stuff - well, that's all here. We're all happy, healthy and financially stable. Flea is bursting at the seams with happy, and growing up into a person I'm proud to … [Read more...]

Of course that happened.

embarrassed egg

Sometimes, dear readers, just sometimes, I feel as though if there's a disaster within a 50 mile radius, it'll find me. For example, I don't know anyone else who's injured their own breast with a vacuum cleaner. Or discovered a dying smoke alarm - right after it's been plastered behind a new wall. Truth be told, public ineptitude and outright humiliation is bread and butter for this blog. But this week? This week I reached a new low. It started well. I arrived in London for my meeting, … [Read more...]