So my children have this week made their Christmas lists.
I know what you're thinking;
"OMG, are you mad? It's August what are you doing woman?"
But, when you have children like mine it's best to prepare yourself for the shock well in advance of the event. And sure enough, as expected, their lists consisted of an amalgamation of interesting things which they haven't a hope of getting.
These lists included; an ipad 2, a laptop, hair straighteners, a £150 doll, an x-box live one years subscription, a 42 inch TV and most surprising of all was...
But, this moped came with the specification that it wasn't to be a second or third hand Moped, it had to be brand new!
Yes son, keep dreaming was my immediate thought when I read this one.
I seem to have gone drastically wrong somewhere. My children are living under the false impression that my husband and I have an abundance of money endlessly floating around our bank account (I bloody wish!) just waiting for them to think up unusual and novel ways to spend it.
They seem to believe they are millionaire kids and can have what they want whenever they fancy it.
Oh to be a child and live in blissful ignorance, what a wonderful life!
I have the cutest puppy in the world.
When you look at him you would be forgiven for thinking he's a loving, placid kind of pet and most of the time he is just that.
However, this cute heart melting exterior hides a dark secret.
He likes to eat books!
Yesterday I caught him chewing on my A4 hard back copy of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. He had completely ripped off the dust jacket and it was strewn around the floor in pieces.
He was sat with one paw on the book chewing the spine to bits. The little monkey had gone to my bookshelf, managed to select the Coleridge book and began his feast!
Anyone who knows me well will know that I love my books and this particular copy was a beautiful, illustrated copy with fantastic illustrations to go alongside the poem.
As you can probably imagine I was not happy. Dylan, my puppy, took one look at my open mouthed shock and ran and hid under the table.
Hiding under the table is something he always does if he knows he's been naughty or has found something he wants that he knows he shouldn't have.
He leant very quickly that once he's under that table I can't get him out. He just backs away to the other side out of my reach.
So I ended up chasing the puppy from one side of the table to the other. He seemed to think it was a huge game and decided that me chasing him round the house would be fun.
He is much faster and fitter than me and likes to change direction often, without notice which gives me the slight suspicion that he is trying to herd me like a flock of sheep.
In the end I gave up trying to catch him. He however, wasn't having any of that and woofed at me to chase him some more.
So my poor book is ruined and is now the curse of the ancient mariner and my puppy didn't even get told off and sent to his room.
So last weekend, my very kind in-laws came to stay and told my husband and I that we were, without question, going out for the day together whilst they look after the children.
Not being one to argue and deciding that this was an offer we couldn't refuse, last Saturday morning we found ourselves in the car leaving Grandma, Grandad with instructions to collect our daughter from Ballet class, if they take the puppy to collect her, we usually take him to the pet shop and get him a 25p chewy stick, then they need to take the dog to the groomers for his haircut. We left praying that all three children and one puppy would not behave in a way which would put off kindly Grandma and Grandad from ever offering to have them again.
So with fingers crossed and feeling like convicts making a jail break, my husband and I set off, quickly before they changed their minds, for a day visit to the National Trust Stately Home, Ham House, close to where we live.
After forgetting that in London, 10 miles could take an hour, we eventually got to Ham House and had a fantastic time looking around the house and gardens.
Once we had dragged out our visit with a trip to the house shop, we decided that it was time to go back and see if the children had managed to drive Grandma and Grandad insane yet, and if not, what did they do so I can copy.
Getting back, however we discovered that all was quiet. Our daughter had been picked up from ballet, the dog had been to the groomers and had been to the pet shop. But, instead of buying the dog a 25p stick as we suggested, Grandad decided that he deserved a great big, expensive chewy bone.
Needless to say, we are very grateful to Grandma and Grandad and they can't have been put off too much as they're back again this weekend to babysit.
The trouble with men is that they're an alien species, they absolutely have no idea how women work or how their minds think.
However, they are extremely good at making you think they understand what you have said and that they wholeheartedly take on board everything you've pointed out.
Men can actually be very clever and somehow always manage to get their way, but equally, they just as easily be extremely stupid. For instance; you could tell them that you think honesty is the most important thing in a relationship, they'll agree with you, but in the very next breath five perfectly formed lies will trip off the tongue as if nothing had happened.
You're then left thinking that he's either an idiot or doesn't care.
So, why is it these things happen?
It's like I said before, men are from another planet.
A very famous book on this subject once taught me, the reason men and women always have the argument which ends in women saying; "You're not listening." is because that statement means a different thing to a man than it does to a woman.
This is definitely something I have found to be right in my life. As an example, in response to that statement my husband would almost certainly respond with;
"Yes I am, I've heard everything you've said".
Now the women amongst us will know that when I say "You're not listening" what I actually mean is "you're not taking in and considering what I'm saying before acting on it".
The term 'listening' means different things to each of us and the confusion which leads to frustration is in this misunderstanding.
So, I'm back to where I started, men are an alien species and they don't speak our language.
So in my current novel in progress, I'm writing a part of the book where the main character, Anna, falls asleep on a train and has a strange dream.
We - the readers - follow Anna into this dream and experience it with her. Now, without giving away any secrets, I can tell you that the dream is quite significant to the story line and is a clue to a later development.
Hmm, that's all your getting, otherwise I'll give the whole plot away!
But the whole thing about writing this dream sequence got me thinking about dreams in general and the strange things our subconscious mind show us when we sleep.
So, with this in mind, I'd like to know what the strangest thing you've ever dreamed is?
Don't worry I won't put it in my book, I've already finished the dream scene.
Get thinking and let me know what strange thing your mind has told you.
I'm so excited, I just had to tell you all.
I am in the process of starting an online shop dedicated to everything and anything to do with WW2 and the 1930s/40s.
Anyone who knows me well will know that I am obsessed with the period and anything connected with it. I even wrote my final year University dissertation on the era and the amazing biography of Helen Forrester.
The new site is primarily going to be a bookshop and information source for anything to do with the period. The shop part has been created on an affiliate basis with Amazon.
I decided to do it this way as being an online independent bookseller competing against the likes of the mighty Amazon would be a very great battle indeed.
This way, I can categorise everything great Amazon have to offer on the subject and put it all in one useful place.
You will be able to buy books from the site through your amazon account, so you can be certain that anything you purchase is coming directly from them in the same safe, secure way they always deliver.
The site is also going to feature some other interesting things like WW2 inspired clothing, music from the era and Art Deco jewellery (all the rage at the time).
However, it is primarily an information source and I aim to build it into a site with lots of articles and material from the era including; interesting stories, academic research, historical facts and events going on around the UK.
I will make another announcement when the site is ready to go live.
I hope you will come and visit and let me know your thoughts. I am always interested in hearing feedback and suggestions.
Have you ever had one of those days where everything seems to go wrong?
In fact, today has been exactly that. Things started off OK but quickly went descended into complete chaos. It's almost laughable how one thing after another seemed to break, stop working, freeze or just be down right awkward.
If I was writing the events of today in a piece of fiction, any publisher looking at it would laugh and say that it's not realistic enough, that it was unbelievable and that things like this just don't happen.
Well they do, and today seemed as if everything was being thrown at me all at once.
But what's the point in my boring you with this?
To let you know that life is stranger than fiction?
No! The point is to remind you that even when things get so bad you feel like you just want to scream and, jump up and down like a two year old, it won't always be so bad. There will be improvements even though it appears that the whole world is against you sometimes.
Tomorrow is another day, (so I keep telling myself).
Have you ever been a reader?
One of those people who prefer to spend the weekend in the library lost in other worlds, stories, education and facts?
I'm talking about the kind of people who spent their teenage years in the library reading rather than going out, (in other words 'geeks').
Well I will admit it, I am one of those people.
I was the girl at school sat in the corner with a book and not much to say, who looked ever so slightly uncomfortable around kids her own age.
I just loved books, all I wanted to do was read and I frequently sat up late into the night, when my mum thought I was asleep, reading my books.
Nothing much has changed, I still love books and still read as much as I can. However, time to sit down and read is now the issue.
Between ferrying children to tap classes, ballet classes and cadets, there's working, making tea, washing, homework, sorting out fights and squabbles, walking the dog and every other little thing that demands my attention, reading my book has now become a luxury.
I would expect there are a few of you out there that can relate to this?
Even if it's not reading, I am sure there are many things you used to enjoy that are a great rarity now you have important things like mortgages, husbands and children?
Let me know what you used to love doing.
It was my birthday this week so I decided that it would be a fantastic idea to get everyone going to the Roller Disco in London.
For anyone who doesn't know what this is, it's basically a night club where everyone wears roller boots. So last night off we went to this amazing place with a circular ring in the centre to skate round.
As it was my birthday, I got sparkly skates with wheels that flashed different colours when you move, very cool!
So skates on it was time to stand up and show everyone what I could do, now you would think that as a girl who lived in roller boots as a child and hardly ever left without them on my feet that I would still be able to skate pretty well, wouldn't you??
Wrong! I was absolutely terrible!
What's worse, my husband and everyone else didn't seem to be afflicted with "Olive Oil Syndrome" like me. In fact everyone else seemed to skate away like they do it every day.
So after falling over a few times I decided that roller skating is a skill that I lost at the time I cut my hair short and stopped my mother putting me in flowery dresses!
And I have now put it in the box of other childhood loves that I am useless at as an adult.
Nevertheless, it was a very good night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself despite spending some of it sat on the floor looking up at the people who could actually skate.
I would definitely recommend it as a fun and interesting night out.
Sometimes I wonder which of us is the parent and which is the child.
My eldest son came to me last weekend and informed me that we were having a party for his birthday and had already invited some people, and needed me to let him know what food we were going to have.
Now, is it just me, or is there something slightly wrong with the balance of power here?
Especially as I now find myself having to prepare the house, food, drink, decorations, etc for a party I don't remember being consulted on, but then why should I be consulted? I'm only the mother, the one who looks after him and makes sure he's OK, nothing important really.
So I find myself wondering if I am the parent or if in some weird twist of fate, I've become the child and he's the parent making all the decisions. And if this is the case, when did the power balance shift, because I don't remember giving it permission to change the rules?
When was it my son grew up, was there a particular date and time where the minutes and seconds were counted down until he became a grown up and suddenly able to make decisions all by himself, and why does he need to grow up anyway?
Although, I can see him objecting very strongly to me trying to wrap him in a blanket and push him in a pram at 15 years old.
So, I will have to accept that my fate is now the observer as I watch him go through his life making his own mistakes more and more.
I seemed to have blinked and my fat, chubby cheeked baby has turned into a tall, dark skinned youth with big dark eyes and an uncanny resemblance to my dad.
Whatever happens in his life, I am very proud of him.
Happy 15th Birthday son, xxx