The last couple of weeks have definitely felt like autumn.  I have put away my summer dresses, my wedged shoes and I have given up on the bottle of St Tropez fake tan in favour of 70 denier black tights. I am also giving myself a pep talk.  The prospect of months of drizzle which will make my hair curl, grey skies, early darkness and cold shivery mornings leaves me feeling more than a bit blah. This year, Cygnet and…

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It was Virginia Wolf who said that a woman must have a room of her own if she is to write fiction.  Virginia’s statement was a Feminist one, mine, to be honest, is more practical.  I have found that I need my own personal space, a room of my own so to speak, to truly relax and to indulge in a bit of blog writing. I have been quiet on the blog front recently.  This wasn’t an intentional blogging holiday,…

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Motherhood changed me. I am not the first mother to have said that. But motherhood changed me in ways that I could never have predicted. As a mother, I am now acutely conscious of the world that Cygnet is growing up in. I worry about climate change and the environment. I worry about nuclear war. I worry, but my worrying will not help anyone or anything. I now feel I have a personal responsibility to make the world a better…

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I have small breasts.  My chest is never going to get me a free drink, or out of a parking ticket.   Men talk to my face, because, let’s be honest, there’s little point them looking anywhere else.  As Nora Ephron once wrote in her 1972 essay “A Few Words About Breasts”  “If I had them, I would have been a completely different person”.  If I had breasts, I’d be less concerned about the wrinkles appearing on my face, the…

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I have been trying to get my head around the Charlie Gard case.  I have been trying not to criticise, because I haven’t been through what Connie Yates and Chris Gard have been through.  I don’t know, I can’t know, how I would feel, and as a result how I would react, were I in Connie Yates and Chris Gard’s shoes. For anyone who has been living under a stone without any contact with the international news or social media…

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I never really kept a diary when I was growing up.  I always used to have a notebook on the go but, looking back through them now, there is only the occasional diary entry.  There is a diary entry about how I felt when I kissed a girl in a nightclub as a student in France (tingly, excited and a little bit scared).  There is also an entry about how I felt bullied by my ex’s sister nearly a decade…

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The ancient Greeks had a working definition of “in your prime” which was around 43 years of age.  I am in my late thirties.  The idea of being on an upward trajectory over the next few years as I head towards middle age and my prime is really appealing. Unfortunately, biology and society tell me that I reached my prime was I was about 25.  At 25, I was super-fertile. My breasts were pert. My face was plump. My stomach…

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The most unexpected people believe in fairy-tales.  Often the firmest believers are otherwise intelligent and successful women who very often have been fortunate enough not to have had to deal with the shit that life dishes out. People like me believe in fairy-tales.  People like me watch horrific events unfold in the news.  People like me listen to podcasts of interviews with women about their life after the death of a partner.   People like me read an editorial in…

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Keep calm and carry on and the good old British stiff upper lip have their place place.  But when it comes to tragedy and terrorism, a stiff upper lip is not good enough.  We cannot just keep calm and carry on.  We need to talk. For the sake of the mental health of a generation, we need to share our feelings. News of the Manchester attack appeared in my Twitter feed before it broke on BBC breaking news.  I guess that’s…

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The mother of all Feminists, Simone de Beauvoir, famously wrote “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”.  In The Second Sex she describes how society conditions us to be become women at every stage in the journey of life.  Becoming a mother is also a journey.  We are conditioned to become mothers, but our conditioning is not just a societal one.  Becoming a mother is a physical, physiological, psychological, neurological, hormonal, emotional and societal experience. We are not…

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