The phone call came just before setting off on the school run time. Alex nearly did not answer it as she found school runs enough of a torment every day without the censure of teachers and yummy mummies if she turned up late.

It was her Mum.

“I’ve got a question for you but I don’t know how you will feel about it. You can say no if you want to”

“What is it Mum?” asked Alex with her eye on the kitchen clock.

“Well, we were just wondering if we could come and spend Christmas with you this year?”

Lots of thoughts went through Alex’s mind in an instant. She would love her parents to come for Christmas. It was a long held dream but because her Mum was the ultimate control freak, she had never expected it to happen.

There were concerns about how her husband would feel about the idea along with abject panic at the thought of matching her Mum’s fantastic cookery.

“If Joel does not want us to come, just say so.”

“No, he will love it. It’s a great idea”

“We’ll only stop for Christmas Day and Boxing Day”

“You can stay as long as you like. Listen Mum, I’ve got to pick the kids up now”

“Alright love but remember what I said. If Joel does not want us there, we won’t be offended”.

Chuckling to herself at the idea of any rejection of her Mum not resulting in major offence, Alex ended the call.

What had brought about what in any other family would be a fairly normal request she did not know. She knew it was probably big but could not work it out.

My husband had a great job offer confirmed yesterday. It is on the South coast in Hampshire so our lives will be changing a lot in the coming weeks and months.

It is very exciting and I suspect will bring lots of opportunities our way. Inevitably it is also a little daunting with accommodation and schools to sort for a start.

My husband is over the moon if a little in shock after such a bumpy few months. Even right at the end, the Royal British Legion were threatening progress by refusing to provide a decent reference. That changed amazingly enough after I took to Twitter. A little direct action always helps in cases of injustice.

The good thing about them being so difficult is my husband made contact with other potential referees who were more than happy to help and phoned up the new employer to tell them so.

Initial talks suggest that my husband will start work a week on Monday so he will go down alone initially.

I feel odd today.

I have a day where I can stop trawling job sites and so on.

It feels a long time since I concentrated on me and my hopes and dreams. I am a bit like my late Mum and throw myself into any project and the main project has been getting my husband sorted out since last May especially as the treatment by his last employers had an adverse impact on his mental health. Challenging months and I have not always revealed just how challenging. Now there is time for me and also time to spend more quality time with the children.

The children are all positive about the move. I think they are relieved that this period in our lives is nearly over and that a new adventure awaits. Of course, they will miss their friends but they will make new ones.

We are moving to the area that my late Dad spoke of with such affection having done his Royal Navy Training there in World War Two. That seems very right. I imagine how keen he would have been about the move and how he would have insisted on regular booze cruises over to France. Would like to think he had a little hand in all this.

Thank you to everyone who has offered support practically and emotionally in recent months. It really has got me through and helped me to keep hope even on the bleakest of days. You know who you are and you are amazing.

Now to start trawling accommodation sites!

It’s blogging award season again.

So as someone who has won a few blog awards in my time, I thought I would share my secrets on how to win a blogging award.

1. Start a blog but don’t say who you are for years.

2. Don’t join any blogging networks because you do not know they exist.

3. Be so clueless that you never put photos on your blog. As for anything else technical, well forget it.

4. Run away from any idea of self-hosting because it must be complicated surely.

5. Avoid blogging events because you are not a “real” blogger.

6. Wonder what statistics are and when you find out get a bit daft about them and then decide you have no intention of missing out on life whilst chasing stats.

7. Attend blogging events occasionally and do one or more of the following:

a) Struggle to say hello
b) Hide in the loo
c) Have steamed up glasses
d) Get ridiculously drunk

7. Start working for a blogging network so you become ineligible for their awards and unlikely to get one from any other network.

8. Join in linkys only if they really interest you.

9. Write what you want when you want and how you want. Take a break when it feels right to do so.

10. Get a gimmick and be aware this might give people the wrong impression of you.

Well that’s how I did it.

What do I take from this?

If you are yourself and don’t jump through hoops, you might just get an award anyway.

And if you do, at least you will know it is for the real you!

All the best and remember award-winning or not, your blog is amazing because it is yours!

It’s a bit like Valentine’s Day. You might get roses but if you don’t you can always treat yourself to some.

With love from me to you.

P.S. Unlikely things do happen

To my darling boy

You said you were the only one in the school without a Valentine.

This is your first year of being a teenager and all that angst sets in from time to time.

You may not have a Valentine but you will never be without love.

This week I have struggled.

When I feel down, I behave in a less than ideal way. I focus too much on me and not enough on my children or husband. I get irritable and angry. I want to be alone.

Through it all, you are the one who understands me best.

You remind me that you love me. You tell me I am good enough. You tell me if we stick together we can get through anything.

A highlight of a very challenging week was you and I going to see the film about Nelson Mandela.

You were the only child in the place.

It was a long film but you watched, listened and learned. You had your view too both of the events portrayed and of the quality of the film.

When you were a baby you had a play nest with a crackly sunshine toy that played “You are my Sunshine”

You still are even when the clouds cross my sky.

I thank you for that and I love you so very much.

Twice this week, I have sent you on errands and you have returned having donated to charity.

I love the idea of the collectors being surprised at a 13 year old digging deep to help others.

You are a very special boy.


Let’s keep counting on each other.


Mum x