Sweet sixteen is a distant memory for me but I do remember my Mum telling me I should go on the pill immediately. Strange birthday present was my thought. I had no intention of having sex quite possibly ever and certainly not any time soon.

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My oldest son turns 16 tomorrow. I have felt fed up all day even though things have gone well. He is not a hugely demanding kid so his present wishes are manageable enough and will make him happy. He’s a bright, sensitive and loving boy who still gives him Mum a hug and brings her little gifts. He also eats junk food and has an amazing ability to ignore the mess in his bedroom which I guess is fairly average for a 15 year old lad.

Where has 16 years gone? I certainly did not turn into the sort of mum I had hoped I would be. He has had plastic toys, watched copious amount of television and I lost the battle completely when my Mum bought him a games console when he was about 9 years of age. Guess what he is doing now? Yup!

I feel sad. I saw a pram outside a shop today and my heart ached a little. I have bleated on for years about all the challenges and restrictions of parenting and yet … Can I go around again? Can I meet him for the first time and tell him that I am clueless so will be relying on him to be the parent? Can I hear him say “Rover” as his first word because that is his granddad’s car? Can I watch his obsession with all things Thomas the Tank engine grow? Not to mention Bob the Builder. Can I go to my late parent’s home again and see the special desk they bought him or relive the Christmas where they got him the ride on car which would a few months later lead to him terrifying us by going for a drive in the village without telling us. There is the cute red and yellow uniform that he wore to his Montessori nursery that set him on absolutely the right path considering the horrors of our education system to come. Can I laugh until I cry at the Nativity play where he refuses to get off centre stage and keep flashing his “big boy pants?”

He is lovely. He has my wild untamed curl and my good skin. He has a round face like his Dad. He is tall already towering above my husband. He really is a young man. I can see this and I am proud. He is the boy who when a kid called him gay said “I am not but there is nothing wrong with gays anyway”. He is the one who stood up for a child who was bullied in a racist manner on a playground. He hates injustice. He listens to me when it really matters and bores me crazy about video games at other times. He is wonderful but can I just stop and go around with him again?

As for the sex thing, he reckons he is more interested in learning to drive. Some things don’t change!

Writing matters! I am a writer and when you think about it, most of us are. Consider all the writing you did at school or work. Think about all the notes you have sent to your child’s school. If you juggle many tasks, perhaps you rely on the power of the to do list.

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This year’s National Stationery Week aims to keep Britain writing. Here’s an A-Z of why writing really matters:

A is for: Archives. Handwritten documents and notes have been passed down through centuries to permanently record some of history’s most important events – not just consigned to a virtual trash bin.

B is for: Beauty. A hastily-drawn up email will never capture the sheer beauty of a handwritten letter

C is for: Caring. Handwritten notes, letter and cards are the most personal form of communication. Think love letters and cards that are treasured for decades. A handwritten letter shows courtesy and etiquette. Emails declaring ‘I love you’ just don’t cut it in the same way

D is for: Diaries. Imagine pouring out your innermost thoughts, feelings and emotions and keeping it stored in a computer file to treasure for all time. Doesn’t have the same ring does it?

E is for: Education. The dawn of the computer era is upon us but when schools, colleges and universities set a project they’ll still expect it to be completed in legible handwriting. It’s up there with reading and ‘rithmetic.

F is for: Failsafe. There’s no need to rely on computer batteries or storage space. Handwriting can be enjoyed anywhere, at any time, without the need to rely on technology.

G is for: Generations. If something ain’t broke then don’t fix it! Generations upon generations have used handwriting to get their message across. It’s just as important now as it ever has been in the past.

H is for: History. We know so much about the rich past of the world we live in purely down to handwritten documents passed down over time. There were no emails when the Magna Carta was drawn up…

I is for: Imagination. Crafting a handwritten letter stimulates the brain and imagination, and is proven to heighten the feel-good factor

J is for: Jargon. Can you remember the most important documents of all time being littered with LOLs, ROFLs or L8Rs? No, neither can we! Handwriting encourages the correct use of language

K is for: Knowledge. They say that knowledge is power. And it is proven that the brain takes in far more information when it is being written down

L is for: Learning. Evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep. Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information.

M is for: Memory. Handwriting enhances brain activity and memory, helping to keep the mind sharp

N is for: Nostalgia. Ever dug out old school notebooks, diaries and cards from years gone by to relive happy memories from the past? Threads of text messages and emails just don’t provide the same sense of nostalgia

O is for: Opulent. It’s not just artists that get to go wild with creativity. Beautiful handwriting can bring a page to life

P is for: Pen and pencil – the instruments that bring our thoughts and emotions to life on the page. You know how the famous saying goes – the pen is mightier than the sword!

Q is for: Quill. Let’s take a moment to step back in time! The quill was used to write with ink before the invention of the dip pen. Shakespeare’s world-famous plays would have been written down using a quill – and the literary masterpieces have certainly stood the test of time

R is for: Romance. Great love stories tend not to be rooted in the foundation of a text message or email! Think instead of soldiers in battle taking hope from letters sent from their loved ones back home or cards filled with soppy scribblings and cherished for years

S is for: Signature. Even if you’re never intending to become a scribe, everyone should practice their signature. Some of the most memorable moments in history have come from people signing on the dotted line…Think treaties, marriages, births, autographs – or even football contracts

T is for: Text Messages. Let’s face it, texts are a handy way of quick communication. But they’ll never beat a carefully-crafted handwritten message

U is for: Unique. Nobody wants to follow the crowd so handwriting is a perfect tool to express personality and individuality. Every person’s handwriting is unique

V is for: Vision. Our vision is for writing by hand to co-exist in perfect harmony with technology in this digital age

W is for: Writing. Because writing by hand really does matter!

X is for: X Factor. Handwritten notes just have that extra little something that makes them super special!

Y is for: You. Just like fashion sense and choice of hairstyles, handwriting says a lot about who you are

Z is for: Zeal. With handwriting proven to stimulate the mind and imagination, sitting down to write a letter will produce a feel-good factor. It’s a fact!

The importance of handwriting is being highlighted as part of National Stationery Week – as we launch a campaign to ensure Britain keeps writing!

A number of states in the US have removed cursive handwriting from the curriculum and then reintroduced it and Finland is also removing it in favour of teaching typing skills. MPs, celebrities, teachers, youngsters and parents alike are now joining forces to make sure the UK continues to prioritise handwriting as an important skill.

Handwriting is part of our daily lives and while modern technology has transformed the way we communicate, the skill of handwriting remains important in education, employment and everyday life.

Do you love the sales?

It won’t surprise my regular readers that I enjoy getting a bargain. That is why you will often find me in charity shops and occasionally on Ebay.

So I was delighted to know there is a website where you can find out all about the sales in different shops covering a range of items from fashion, electronics, home, garden, sports, gifts or anything else that takes your fancy.

It’s a busy time for us as a family so here are things I am considering from Love the Sales. I would love you to tell me which items you like best and what you enjoy about sales.

I do love a man in a waistcoat. My husband wore one at our wedding. I think 3 piece suits look smart. He has an interview coming up soon and I think he would look great in this suit from Hugo Boss.

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He can also wear it to our wedding anniversary dinner and I would love a dress like this one. Vibrant colours suit me and I think this dress would be very forgiving of the mummy tummy.

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My daughter’s birthday is coming up and her wardrobe needs updating and these items would suit her well now that she is turning 12 and growing up fast. I highly recommend you checking out some great fashion items for all the family including from Tommy Hilfiger and Boden.

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Finally we are doing up our patio area to make it a pretty place to spend our Summer days and evenings. I absolutely love this stylish barbecue from Laura Ashley.

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Do you like my wishlist and what do you most love about the sales?

Hospital blunders are irritating at the very least and sometimes downright dangerous.

I had no real experience of hospitals until I gave birth to my first child. At one of my first appointments, my records were muddled up with someone of the same name. Understandable perhaps as quite a coincidence that someone with the same name as me should be pregnant at exactly the same time as me in such a small country town.

With my third child, I was told by a midwife that after spotting late in pregnancy, his view was that I should never have left hospital until I gave birth. All was well in the end and I delivered a bouncing 11 and a half pounder!

My husband has really suffered due to hospital blunders. He has 3 forms of psoriasis which is unsightly and leaves him embarrassed and often in extreme pain. After decades of various treatments he was given injections which made the condition really manageable and reduced the scaling to almost nothing. When we moved between hospital areas, the injections stopped and he is now as bad as he ever was although fortunately has lobbied and is now back on the injections. My husband wrote to anyone who would listen which helped but not every person feels capable of doing that.

With both my late parents, I felt mistakes were made both clerical ones leading to lack of check-ups after major illness and my poor Dad falling due to lack of staffing during the night. I don’t think it is right that other elderly patients had to pick him up and get him back to bed.

If things are to improve, there needs to be a culture of openess that investigates concerns and learns from mistakes made.

Have you experienced hospital blunders? Was medical negligence at play or was it just a case of extremely stretched resources? Perhaps those two are linked.

Infographic: Hospital Blunders

New blog hops will be hosted by this blog as I fancy jazzing things up a bit, finding new blogs to read and remembering to visit my favourite old-time bloggers.

I have a lot of ideas and have decided to go with this weekly selection of blog hops.

1. Blogging to Jogging – a weekly blog hop about healthy living including weight loss journeys, exercise and fitness posts and healthy eating recipes. Will open for business every MONDAY.

2. Births/Deaths/Marriages/Birthdays and Anniversaries – the life events that really matter most of all. Will open for business on TUESDAY on a revolving basis so one week it will be births, the next deaths (tributes to our lost loved ones) and so on.

3. It’s all about me! I want folks to link up posts that are about themselves as individuals away from parenting duties – hobbies, work, fashion and beauty or anything that shows what an amazingly ordinary/extraordinary person you are. Open for business on WEDNESDAY

4. Thematic Thursday – I will set a theme and ask folks who have blogged or want to blog on that theme to link up. Open for business on THURSDAY.

5. Mummy Me Time – a blog hop to encourage mums to carve out time for themselves and to tell us what they did with that time. Opens for business on FRIDAY

6. All Change – a blog hop where mums can say how things could be made better for mums and families. In the hope that policy-makes at all levels will sit up and take notice. Opens for business on SATURDAY

7. Showcase Sunday – a free for all where you can link up ONE post old or new that matters to you.

Hope to see some of you joining in and know it will help my blog organisation so win-win.