I thought I would write this tomorrow but I am hurting tonight.

Dad died 2 years ago tomorrow as the seasons changed.

I went upstairs to my bedroom earlier. Nobody came up to see me or not until New Tricks was finished because that is more important.

I am hurting because I know Dad would have been there no matter how tired he was, how much pain he was in himself, whatever programme was on the telly or how dazzling his career was. I guess I was spoiled. Nobody will love me like that again.

My children tell me how vital he was to this family. They remember him giving them custard creams after school. My eldest son remembers being bullied and none of my efforts working. Granddad advised to thump the bully and (although I banged on about pacifism) it was the one thing that worked. They remember how my Dad had a good relationship with pets being particularly fond of our ginger tom Maximus.

My daughter tells me my Dad always meant happy family and smiling faces.

I have done a lot of things that Dad would have loved to hear about in the last 2 years – awards, trips abroad and even making money. I blogged out his memoirs and people read them. Dad always believed I under-sold myself. He wanted me to believe that people did really like me (something I always struggled with).

On the home education front, Dad would have said “It’s a new idea to me but if you think you can do it, I know you can and that you will have thought it all through.” He would have asked me if I needed any money or any help at all. He would have thrown himself into a new adventure and I would have known I was not alone with it.

And with Dad’s impeccable sense of timing it is midnight and a new day and he is still dad and still dead.

Rest in peace Dad until we meet again. I miss you.


Thursday seems to have flown round so it is time for my weekly Striking Mums post.


Can I just say how delighted I am with how people are responding to the whole concept of Striking Mums?

It is great to see very diverse mums taking part sharing their stories and truths. I love it when I see some real outcomes that I hope Striking Mums helped bring about – someone making an appointment for a health check, someone booking onto a course or carving out some precious time for themselves.

Last week, mums blogged about learning again very much in their own individual ways.

Common themes were how lack of time and money can act as barriers to education. It was noticeable that having a supportive family makes a huge difference and not every mum has that available to her.

There are certainly a lot of learning opportunities out there from psychology to macaroons, from English Literature to hairdressing.

What was clear from the posts last week is that you can learn as a stay at home mum, as a teacher, as a home-educator, as a student and as any combination of these things. Mums noted how therapeutic learning can be including during challenging periods of mental health difficulties.

One mum shared Nelson Mandela’s quote that “Education if the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

So that is learning for us.

I have learned that I need to write a wrap-up post in future as there is so much good content in the blogs linking up to Striking Mums.

This week, I want to talk about keeping mum. Keeping mum means not speaking or staying silent. Please interpret the questions in a way that makes sense to you as the individual you are.

1. Have you lost your voice? When and how did that happen?

2. How do you use your voice? Are you using it for yourself, your family and/or a good cause?

3. Is there anyone in your life who would prefer you to stay quiet? Why would they want that to happen?

4. Whose voice do you miss most and why?

5. What do you need to speak up about? Who to? What support do you need to help you do that?

6. Is your inner voice helping or hindering you?

Finally, I wanted to hand out a honorary Striking Mums award to Jamelia and Janet Street-Porter who have spoken out about their experiences of domestic violence. Please do what you can to support the Loose Women campaign on this vital issue. If you are experiencing domestic abuse or think you might be, the link will take your to sources of support. When people speak out about these sort of issues, they always help other people.

I would love to have your comments and if you blog in any way about yourself and how you are taking steps tiny or otherwise to change your life, please link up below. I will comment on every post, promote them on my social networks and include links in a round-up post next week.

Please use the hashtag #strikingmums on social networks.

Please grab the rather attractive Striking Mums badge in the sidebar and display on your blog.

Most of all, please visit the other people linking up to lend them your support.

I have set up a Facebook group for Striking Mums – you don’t have to be a blogger to join this. You do have to be a mum.

I have also set up a Pinterest board for Striking Mums

Have a good week and I look forward to hearing your voices.

Today, I finally managed to get registered with the local GP in a move towards greater well being.


I am not too impressed with all the silly little barriers to getting this done. You had to know your NHS number. You had to deliver your forms back yourself. Blah. Blah. Even today, the receptionist just copied my identity proofs and handed them back with no further guidance. I assertively asked for the Patient Information Leaflet I could see behind her. Shouldn’t that be handed out as a matter of course to new patients. This leaflet tells me I will be called for a check up which is good because I have various little health niggles.

1. Fatigue – I am OK but then when I do get tired, it is crushing and catches me unawares.

2. Itchy skin – this comes and goes

3. My toe nail has turned a strange colour.

4. I also sometimes think it would be an idea to get a little counselling. I have found it helpful in the past.

5. Smear test – embarrassingly overdue.

6, Weight – tedious to go on about it again but it does need sorting as I could tell as I trudged up the hill back home.

7. Thirst

Today, I walked with the children and handed those forms in. On the way back we had a little picnic.

This is not a momentous well being post but I have at least made a baby step in the right direction.

If bloggers had beatitudes, what would they look like?

What do you think of these ones?

Blessed are those with low stats, they show how to blog for the love of it

Blessed are the shy and self-effacing, they will end up getting awards

Blessed are those who mourn because sometimes even virtual hugs can help.

Blessed are those that make space on their blogs for charities and good causes, they will get a feel-good factor from making a difference.

Blessed are those who read and comment on other blogs, they will make blogging friends

•Blessed are those who do not chase stats and awards by whatever means, they will be able to look in the mirror and be proud at what they see

•Blessed are those who speak out when they see bullying or trolling, they will show the path for others.

•Blessed are those that have the courage to tell their truths, they will help countless other people and gain a little comfort too.

* Blessed are the blogging glitterati who make loads of dosh from blogging, always get awards, get invited to the best events and have millions of readers. They too have their stories and no doubt occasional wobbly moments.

I wonder what your blogger’s beatitudes would look like.

The Bloggers' Beatitudes

One of the world’s most loved children’s characters is venturing out of his cave and onto our screens once again with the launch of the first ever Gruffalo: Games mobile app.


Just in time for the new school term, children will be able to test The Gruffalo’s quick-thinking and super smart moves in a series of simple but classic games, helping complement the key skills they’ll soon be learning at pre- and primary school.

The Gruffalo: Games app has been launched today by Oscar-nominated entertainment company, Magic Light Pictures, and is based on the much-loved picture book, The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

The games are based on traditional and well-known children’s games that everyone will be familiar with, including snap, three-in-a-row, matching and jigsaws – but each with a monstrous twist!

In two of the games, 3 In A Row and Snap, children are able to play against The Gruffalo himself, who, despite his terrible tusks and terrible claws, is surprisingly good at card games. Children will find plenty of challenge trying to beat him!

The beautifully designed and illustrated app is aimed at 3-7 year olds and features six games set to music from the films. Gruffalo: Games captures the essence of the stories by featuring both The Gruffalo and other popular characters from the book, including Mouse, Owl, Fox and Snake.


The enduringly popular children’s character comes to life in this new mobile app which has been designed to entertain children and engage them with the real world, as well as The Gruffalo character.

The Gruffalo:Games follows in the footsteps of the highly successful Room on the Broom app which was launched by Magic Light Pictures in October 2013.

Martin Pope, co-founder of Magic Light Pictures, said: “It seemed a great time to launch the Gruffalo: Games this year as it coincided with The Gruffalo’s 15th anniversary celebrations which have been taking place across the country this year.

Gruffalo Games Mobile App

“The games are fun, challenging and encourage imagination and we’re thrilled that The Gruffalo’s many fans will be able to enjoy them as much as we do!

“It’s been a pleasure and honour to work with Julia’s wonderful rhymes and Axel’s amazing illustrations, and we’ve worked closely with them to ensure we stay true to their characters.”

Magic Light Pictures developed the app with Stormcloud Games, who they had previously worked with on Room on the Broom: Games released late last year.

The Gruffalo: Games iOS app is available to download priced 2.99.

I have a lovely giveaway for my readers

A 15th anniversary edition of The Gruffalo book, DVD, plush toy and the app – worth £25.00.

It is so easy to enter via the Rafflecopter below. Open to UK residents aged 18 years and over.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com