Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Up on my Soapbox

Today I’m going to be sharing five of my controversial views.

You might not like or agree with them, but it’s my blog and my opinions so read on and decide for yourselves.

Here goes with the first - it’s a biggie and has got me in quite a bit of hot water over the years but …


Of course, as parents, this wasn’t a decision we took lightly and I spent most of my pregnancy reading up on the pros and cons.  I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want my son pumped with unnecessary drugs that, in this day and age, he didn’t need.  We live in London in a dry and warm house with a clean water supply, a healthy diet and in modern times.  Measles is not a killer - of course there can be complications, just as people can die from a common cold - but I wouldn’t have the fear of God put into me by alarmist Ad campaigns.  No childhood illness in the UK need result in a fatality, and we are scare-mongered into thinking they do.  I firmly believe that vaccinations line the pockets of doctors and pharmaceutical companies and I wasn’t prepared to put my son at risk purely to fund their jollies.
The upside is that, despite almost being ostracised by ante-natal mummies (“We’re protecting our babies so that you don’t have to!”) he was the healthiest of his group and avoided the constant ear, nose and throat infections - but, of course, that was just because I was ‘lucky’.


This one has caused many an argument between family and friends - how could I be so heartless?  I’m just being honest.  The simpering, shy, pathetic ‘head-down-thing’ did nothing for me.  OK, she was young and naïve when she married Charlie, and she didn’t have a great time with the whole ‘three of us in this marriage’ issue, but boy did she make up for it!
So I hear you ask, what is your real problem with her?
My answer, whenever I get shot down in flames, is I think she forgot that, first and foremost, she wasn’t a Princess or a heartbroken wife, she was a mother.
We all remember the fantastic shots of her cavorting with her boys at various holidays or on water-slides but would those images stick in her sons’ minds when they heard about the next man she was having a fling with or the fact that she might have been pregnant when she died?
Sorry Di - mother first, your needs second.


Now you can all jump up and shout “Sour grapes!”, but hear me out.
They don’t make sense.  Just this week I’ve been told that my work is ‘too commercial’.  Huh?  So what’s Jordan or any number of other celebrities who manage to get their dross published?
I’ve also been told (in the last week) “Don’t sign with anyone else, until I’ve spoken to publishers”, only to be let down the next day with “The publishing world is the worst it’s been in forty years.”
Have they asked themselves why?
New writing talent is now coming to the point where backs are being turned on the traditional route.  Agents’ days are numbered.  Check out my ‘Fabulous Feisty Indies’ (Michelle Betham, Laurel Mayer) and you’ll realise we’re a force to be reckoned with.
Be afraid, be very afraid.


In countries where women are required to cover up, we do so out of respect for other cultures.  This is only right and proper.  When in Rome, etc.  And yet our country is heaving with muslims in burkha (covering the face is optional, by the way), posing a potential security threat, while others are demanding that Christians in certain professions should not be allowed to wear crosses for fear of causing offence.  You can’t have it both ways - demanding your own customs on the one hand while claiming offence at displays of faith by others.
We also have a growing problem with polygamy, where additional wives are given ‘single mother’ status and are hence causing a drain on our social security system through their entitlement to housing, benefits etc.  There is no onus at all for the man to fulfil his moral obligation to provide for his family - our society is actually paying for the population explosion within a culture that will eventually overwhelm our traditional family values.
Please do not misinterpret my comments as racism or faithism - I just think that our views on equality have become distorted (see previous post).


Yes, we all know it’s bad for our health but some of us are hardened addicts - you must have seen us pathetically puffing up outside pubs, restaurants and clubs?
I believe that if businesses were allowed to promote themselves as ‘for smokers’ they would be booming.  Those of us who are stupid enough to be continuing with this revolting habit would be flocking there.
I, for one, would instantly head to a restaurant where I know I can quite happily light up after a meal rather than shiver like a leper in the cold.
Not big, not clever but true.

End of my controversies - told you that you might not agree, but you have the right of reply by leaving a comment … or freely expressing your opinions in your own blog!

If you want a bit more controversy, I had to publish my book in my maiden name as London mummies may never have spoken to me again.  I lived the life of Libby and that was how I was made to feel. ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ is available on Amazon (see .com site outside UK) - see what you think - should I have written it?  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

My Clutter Nutter

Our son turned sixteen at the weekend and was delighted to be given his own PC from us.  No more fighting over the home computer for his slot to do homework, play games or watch YouTube.

Sixteen and approaching manhood.  All gifts are now either computer or gadget-based with the odd book, deodorant or clothes thrown in for good measure.

So let me take you on a tour of the house that we share with this teen.  I’d heartily recommend a hard hat and steel capped boots.  Also, if you’re an asthma sufferer, please make sure you have medication with you as vast quantities of dust will be involved.

Let’s start with the kitchen/diner - to our left you’ll see a green toy box under the stairs.  Let’s have a closer look inside shall we?  Ooh, two hundred matchbox cars and assorted bits of ‘very important tat’ accumulated for over a decade and never touched.

Cupboard to the right - a fairy princess castle (!), a ‘dig your own fossil’ kit (unused), boxes of magic tricks, a dozen or so board games and a popcorn maker.  Once moved, none of this goes back as successfully as it came out and will usually result in a few choice expletives. (us not him)

Welsh dresser cupboards - numerous sticker and colouring-in books, a second tranche of board games, dried up felt tip pens and a cardboard puppet theatre.

Welsh dresser drawer - every Kinder egg toy known to man circa 1997 - 2003, McDonalds toys and assorted trashy party bag gifts i.e.: rubbers, yo-yos, bouncy balls.

Kitchen cupboards one, two and three - Play dough and cutters, paints, glitter, glue, feathers, beads, balloons, painting by numbers, more felt tips and various incomplete works of art.

Upstairs to the sitting room and all looks fairly normal - TV, Playstation 3, new PC … but look behind the door.  Another bigger toy box filled to the gunnels with trains, cars, puppets, more yo-yos and things with tangled wires that hold the whole mish mash of stuff together in an unruly heap (I’m sure most of you can relate to an uncoiled Slinky which pulls everything into its grasp).  There’s also a shelf filled with DVDs and PS3 games which involve shooting blood from zombies and severed limbs from soldiers.  But if you just move one slightly to the left you’ll see they nestle incongruously with ‘Sooty’ and ‘Rugrats’ videos.

Up to the top floor and his bedroom also looks like that of a normal teenage boy - guitar, keyboard, amp, socks, rolled up bits of paper and general junk.  Until you notice the bulging cupboard doors, behind which lurk every baby-toy, puzzle, game and teddy ever bought or given.  Not to mention under the bed, boxes of Lego, marbles, more trains and dressing up gear - even every school exercise book he’s ever completed.

Add to this approximately 200 reading books (takes after his mother!) and over 300 Beano comics and that just about sums up our little hoarder.

We’ve obviously done what every self respecting parent does at some point in their journey through parenthood, known as the ‘the sneaky chuck’, but we have a particular breed of hoarder on our hands - the one with the memory of an elephant.  Every gift, large or small, is readily recalled by him - who gave it to him and when.
This obviously makes the sneaky chuck virtually impossible.  He’s yet to discover that his toy ironing board and hoover have made their way to the charity shop but, if he ever does, I fear things may get messy.

We’ve even tried monetary incentive with him and suggested a car-boot sale.  We’ve tried to get him to envisage every jigsaw puzzle as a pound, every Lego set as four, a box full of odds and sods at 10p an item and you soon have (in this case) at least few hundred quid.

But no, this is a hardened hoarder we’re dealing with - too sentimental to part with anything.  He admits he’ll never play with his ‘Kitty Vet’ or ‘Puff-Along-Thomas’ again but he just needs to know they’re there.

So we plod on living in a house that looks like a cross between the Early Learning Centre and Toys R Us.

When he finally flies the nest, I wonder just how much of this essential history will find its way onto the removal van and how much he’ll expect to leave behind with good old Mum and Dad. Can’t help but feel that most of it will be ready for the Antiques Road Show rather than a car-boot by then.

Did you know you can read eBooks on your computer or Smartphone with a free app from Amazon?
Why not give my debut novel ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ a go.  It’s available on or .com.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Help Save the Children (No donation required!)

I only blog on Wednesdays now but am making an exception today as I’ve been tagged by Maria@feistytapas to take part in a worthy cause.

On Saturday, The Save the Children Campaign held their first blogging conference.

When we moan about the NHS we need to stop and think that children in the poorest countries are dying purely because of the lack of basic healthcare.

Half of the 8 million children who die each year are in Africa, yet Africa has only 3% of the world’s doctors, nurses and midwives.

We all watch the news and see the adverts which break our hearts but usually feel there's nothing we can do unless we put our hands in our pockets.

Well there is - and this is where bloggers are taking action.  Founding Twitterers @michelletwinmum and @helloitsgemma set their initial target for 100 people to sign the petition at Save the Children and then to write 100 words about a health care professional they have dealt with in the past.  We must then tag other bloggers.

So instead of sitting back and doing nothing or feeling guilty because we never get around to making that donation, we can sign THIS PETITION to makes these requests:

Dear Prime Minister,
We call on the UK Government to:
1) Attend a high level event during the UN General Assembly where the UK and other governments make commitments to fund, train, deploy and support more health workers.
2) Commit new and additional support to help key countries strengthen their health workforce.
3) By the end of the year,  articulate how the government will support countries to deliver on the UN Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health.


When I gave birth to my son, I needed to be cut and stitched.  During the days that followed his birth, the stitches were agony - so much so that I could barely sit.
In the comfort of my own bedroom, my cool and calm midwife removed a couple that were causing the trouble and I felt like a new woman.
Looking back, as much as it was unpleasant at the time, I realise how fortunate I was - not only to have my lovely midwife, but to have had the professional services on hand to carry out an episiotomy in the first place.  In poorer countries, women and babies are dying purely because a simple procedure such as this would present a major risk.
Please help by joining this great cause and signing the petition above.

I now tag fellow blogger & Twitterers:

Thank you.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A-Z of Me

Today I’ve been tagged by the lovely WriterDove (after she’d been tagged by MelkshamMum) to write an A-Z about me, based on a set of questions. So here goes …

ANORAK … Do you have a sad side?
Insisting that my loved ones ‘check in’ with me.  Making sure they’ve arrived safely and all is well.

BODY … What physical attribute would you most like to change?
I would love to have a new bladder - I’m not saying it’s ‘leaky’ it just fills very quickly and makes the theatre or travelling a nightmare.

CELEBRITY … Which one would you most like to date and why?
Curtis Stigers, Richard Gere, Colin Firth, Dec (not Ant), Tim Minchin.  Oh ONE, sorry!  And why?  Because they’re gorgeous and hubbie wants Kylie!

DEBUT … Tell us about your first ever blog post. What made you start blogging?
First ever blog was about school phobia, as my son suffered with it from the age of 11.  I began blogging to promote my book but also to train myself to write every day - even when I didn’t want to.

ERROR … What’s been your biggest regret?
Starting smoking.  It’s foul, expensive and has me horribly in its grip.

FUNNY … Who’s making you laugh?
My husband, son, mother and friends.  They never cease to amaze me with their wit.

GRAND … If we gave you one right now what would you spend it on?
It would be gobbled up by our debts before I had the chance to spend it on clothes and shoes.

HOLIDAY … What’s your favourite destination?
Holiday?  What’s one of those then?

IRRITATE … What’s your most annoying habit?
My husband tells me that it’s leaving my toothbrush at the end of the bath.  I’m not irritating!

JOKER … What’s your favourite joke (the one that makes you laugh every time you hear it)?
What’s the difference between kinky and perverse?
Kinky is using a feather, perverse is using the whole chicken!

KENNEL … Do you have any pets?
We have two cats and two (stinking) goldfish.  I would love to have my old dog Ralfie back but he’s now in doggie heaven.

LOVE … Are you single, married, engaged, living with a long term partner?
I am married (17 years) to my soul mate and bestest friend ever.  With him by my side, anything is possible.  (but not the whole chicken!)

MEAL … What’s your ultimate starter, main and dessert?
As much as I’m a bit of a foodie, I think I’d go pretty retro with a prawn and avocado salad, steak and salad followed by cheese and biscuits.

NOW … If you could be anywhere right now where would you be and who with?
With my sister and having a laugh - unlikely and not happened for a while but I live in hope.

OFF DUTY … What do you do in your spare time?
Listen to music, read, play Guitar Hero with hubbie and son, have mad dinner parties with friends, knit, make cards, cook and visit charity shops.  Addicted to Gold TV when the Writing Fairy abandons me.

PROUD MOMENTS … What are you most proud of?
My proudest moment was giving birth to a fantastic son (natch!).  I’m also proud of my marriage, my mother and my nephew.

QUEASY … What turns your stomach?
Apart from the obvious - pee, poo and blood - the thought of anything happening to one of my loved ones can have me rushing to the loo.

RELAX … How do you relax?
I do yoga three times a week but wine is much nicer.  You can’t combine the two though, I’ve tried.

SONG … What’s your favourite song of all time?
‘Picture in a Frame’ by Tom Waits.  Not the prettiest voice in the world but listening to it makes me think of my lovely dad (although he’d never heard it - it’s all in the words).

TIME … If you could go back in time and relive it again, when would you choose?
Probably our wedding day.  I would say the day I gave birth, but getting married was more fun, less painful and didn’t involve gas and air.

UNKNOWN … Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows?
I’m very open and honest so I can’t think of anything.  I once had sex with Richard Gere?  Will that do?

VOCAL … Who is your favourite artist?
Being greedy once more - Bowie, Tom Waits, Ella Fitzgerald, Curtis Stigers, Manilow, The Beatles.  The list is endless.

WORK … What’s your dream job and are you doing it now?
Writing or acting.  Have had a go at both and am still finding my way.

XRAY … Any broken bones?
No but I suffer from bouts of sciatica due to a recurring disc bulge.

YIKES … What’s been your most embarrassing moment?
Too many to mention!  I covered these in My Watermelon Moments.

ZOO … If you were an animal, which one would you be?
I really wouldn’t want to be a zoo animal - they live outdoors and I like my creature comforts.  Please can I be a pampered pooch or lap cat?

I now tag my fellow “Fabulous Feisty Indies” writers, who I know will rise to the challenge - Michelle Betham and Laurel Mayer.

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Misfit Intermission

Mummy Misfit is approaching burnout!

I’ve posted a blog every single day since launching my book at the beginning of June and it’s starting to take its toll.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it was the only thing I had to think about but, of course, life’s not like that is it?

I spend a good part of each day promoting my book and working on my new one.  I also care for my elderly mother and crack the whip over a teenage son.  Somewhere in all this, I have a life too.  Somewhere!

So I’ve made the decision to start blogging weekly.  I don’t feel like I’m selling out as I did when I considered cutting back in the past.  I just feel I have to step back a bit to save my sanity.

And you wouldn’t want to be reading the ramblings of a mad woman anyway, would you?  Although, I admit, sometimes this blog has been a little on the wacky side.

So from now on I shall only be blogging on a Wednesday.  I’m hoping my lovely loyal followers, here and on Twitter, won’t feel that I’m letting them down, but I just feel that the time is right to take a change in direction.

I’ve not taken this decision lightly.  I’ve spoken to other bloggers and writers and I haven’t come across many who manage to blog every day.  It’s a huge commitment and, as I’ve covered a wide variety of subjects that continue to generate traffic to my blog (and hence my book), I feel I can now afford myself the luxury of taking my foot off the pedal for a bit.

Hopefully, if I complete this next manuscript quickly and get snapped up by a savvy publisher, I’ll have lots of exciting news to share with you and more time to share it.

So … remember, check in every Wednesday for a touch of Mummy Misfit.  Follow me on Twitter and I’ll send you a reminder.

This is not goodbye, just à bientôt.

If you’re going to miss my daily blog, why not give my novel a read instead?  ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ is available on Amazon for Kindle, PC or Smartphone.  Check out my reviews, you won’t be disappointed!  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Signing up for Strictly

So, ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ has started again - must mean winter’s on its way.

I’m not one of those who watches it religiously but, if we’re around, we like to see what’s going on in the glam world of sequins and stardust.

I’ve always believed that the programme could be taken further.  Why can’t we have a ‘non celebrity’ version?  ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Come Dine With Me’ can do it, why can’t ‘Strictly’?

This had me asking myself, would I or wouldn’t I?


The gorgeous outfits and the time spent in make up and hair.  OK some of the outfits are a bit OTT and I’d imagine it would take several hours to scrape off the war-paint and the fake tan before looking totally normal - but I’d lap it up. 

The weight loss - a real bonus for most of the contestants.  What a fun way to lose those pounds.  Even if they didn’t drop off, everything would be more toned and flexible.  Bring it on!

The yummy dance partners - a huge incentive.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for romance or even a tiny flirtation.  I’d go for the ones with a sense of humour (they’d be dancing with me, so they’d need it).  Yes, give me Brendan Cole or Anton Du Beck and I’d be happy.  You can keep your greasy looking, cheeky slime balls - give me a bit of a laugh!

Meeting Brucie, Len and Bruno - how fab!  It would just make my day - or even longer if I survived.  Sir Bruce, at last - took a while but he got there in the end.  Len is just a legend and I want to give him a big hug and, as for Bruno, so rude and so funny all at the same time.

The satisfaction of having a professional teach me how to dance properly - what an opportunity!  Imagine.  The next time I hit the dance floor at a social occasion - I could wow people with my moves.  Dragging hubbie around the floor in my wake.

THE CONS (based on the pros)

Sooo … the outfits are great but they’re also quite revealing.  My legs are OK so, no problem there but some of them show bottom cheeks and belly buttons.  I’m not saying I want to be treated as an Ann Widdecombe or an Edwina Currie and disguised in floor length chiffon, but I’d be slightly concerned if I saw a G-string and a bra as my outfit for the week.

The weight drops off because of the sheer hard work and stress.  What if I couldn’t remember all the moves and made a complete plonker of myself?  I remember at drama school, I’d always get the dance routines in the end!  I’d never be happy with just taking the info and getting on with it.  I always had to perfect each move and then move on.

If it took me too long to pick up a move, would my gorgeous dance partner find that his sense of humour had deserted him?  I can just see myself being flung across the floor for the umpteenth time - but not as a sexy move, just in anger.  How long would their patience last?  And imagine the embarrassment of totally ballsing up on the live show - that would surely get you an Anton hissy-fit and a tongue-lashing from the evil Craig Revel Horwood.

The judges don’t hold back on their comments, do they?  I’m a big softie and if they said my bum wobbled or my face looked like a rabbit in the headlights, I’d probably just splutter and blub.  I just know I’d get that horrible hot feeling and go to pieces - not a good look with all that make-up going on.

The professional can impart all his knowledge and try to get me on track, but what if nothing works for me and I’m still pants?  Or … even worse … what if I think  I’ve mastered the moves and I go out there strutting my stuff with confidence and I look like a dork?  I then head off to my next social occasion and hit the dance floor, only to have everyone saying, “Mmm?  Didn’t learn much, did she?”

So, ‘Strictly’?  Would I or wouldn’t I?

You bet your bottom dollar I would!

Would YOU?

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle. Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

When Fiction Seeks Facts

Today I’m being interviewed by Libby, the main character in ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’.

She came to my modest town house and shared a coffee in my kitchen.  It was good to see her after taking so long to create her.

“So, Amanda, why did you decide to write the diary?”

Well, Libby, my son has been in private education since he was four and, like you, we’ve struggled financially.  I realised I had a wealth of information and funny stories at my fingertips.  Hubbie and I chatted and realised there was a book waiting to happen.

“So, does that mean it’s all true?

No, most definitely not.  My characters are a complete mish-mash of people I’ve met over the years and the majority of the events are figments of my imagination.

“As the main character, do I represent you?”

Now that’s a tricky one to answer.  There are elements of me in you and I most certainly had the feeling of ‘not belonging’ many times.  I’ve also had those feelings of being out of my depth but I think I’m really much more like Scottish Lou - the overly protective, paranoid mum … yes that’s actually me!

“You must have had fun writing the gorgeous Fenella?  Does she really exist?”

I loved creating Fenella - I think she’s an absolute hoot.  Of course she doesn’t really exist - she’s a smidgeon of a friend, a sprinkling of Margo Ledbetter from ‘The Good Life’ and a hint of Patsy from ‘Ab Fab’.  None of my characters are based fully on true life - that would be boring.

“Do you plan on taking your characters further in a sequel?”

I’ve already completed the synopsis and written the first 20% - some new characters and a slightly darker plot - but it’s on hold for a while as I’m working on a new project.  If a publisher decided snap me up and wanted a sequel, I’d knuckle down and get it out there as soon as possible.

“Does that mean you write quickly?

I wrote the diary in three months and then spent many months editing and revising.  I also completed word cuts and amendments for two publishers - this gave me the final manuscript.  Once I have an idea, I plan roughly and then fly with it.  I love it when the characters tell me what should be happening and I enjoy the surprises they throw at me as they take on a life of their own.

“What was your reason for publishing in your maiden name?

The honest answer to that is … I’m a coward!  I’m only in contact with one of the mums from my son’s prep school and she’s completely in the picture(she was the next person to read the book after my hubbie) but I didn’t want the other mums to know I’d written a book.  If they find out, that’s fine, but I just didn’t feel comfortable going public and having tongues wagging.

“Finally, were you ever tempted to let me have a fling with Pritesh?”

Ooh, Libby, you almost make it sound like you would have enjoyed it!  No, course I wouldn’t let you get up to anything with him - your marriage to Ned is far too strong.  Who knows what I’ve got in store for you in the next book though.

At this point Libby brought the interview to a close with a little blush.  Maybe she does have a bit of a soft spot for Pritesh?

To find out more about Libby’s life and the dramas of being a prep-school mum, head over to Amazon and download for Kindle, PC or Smartphone.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Friday, 9 September 2011

My (not so) Sporting Career

My son is now happily installed in sixth form and loving the grown up feeling of being top of the tree.  His school phobia is a thing of the past (see older post) and everything’s going swimmingly.

Well almost …

We still have an issue with sport.

Due to his problems in the past, his school have been very lenient as regards his participation.  Being younger than his class mates, football and rugby have terrified the living daylights out of him - some of those kids are big!  He’s taken part in tennis and some circuit training but that’s about as far as it goes.  He’s a fantastic social cricketer (seriously, he’s a natural) but hides his light under a bushel and has yet to showcase his talents at school.

This year there are more options open to him - they have the use of a local gym, can swim and also take part in classes like Boxercise.

And yet he’s still squirming and trying to find any excuse to dodge it - I’m waiting for him to pull the ‘I’ve got my period’ trick because, trust me, that was one of my personal favourites and he’ll try anything!

Is it something in the genes?

Let me share my school sporting history with you and let you decide for yourself.

I once spent a lovely afternoon day-dreaming on the field during a game of rounders.  I was quickly brought back to life with a swift whack to the head by a rounders ball - they are hard!

Being tall for my age, it was expected that I would be good at netball.  By the age of nine, my classmates knew never to pick me as a team member.  I galloped around the court like Bambi on speed, totally useless but embarrassingly enthusiastic.

This led to the downfall of my sporting career.  I wanted to be good at netball and wasn’t, so what was the point in bothering with anything else?  Long jump would be my thing, I was told.  Long legs must mean you’re good at long jump, surely?  No, again useless.  Wobbly, skinny Bambi legs were just unable to co-ordinate themselves to do what they were meant to do, resulting in a flying leap of faith that achieved nothing but giving me a face full of sand.

Soon after this I cottoned on to the fact that girls were using the ‘period trick’ to be excused from sport.  The amount of periods I said I had should really have had the teachers seeking medical help for me but at least they didn’t have to waste any more time trying to find my sporting niche.

Cross country running in a gym-slip, Aertex top and bottle green knickers during the dead of winter is just cruel.  I can remember my legs resembling tins of mottled corned beef, my ears aching with the cold and my eyes streaming (not good when you’ve slapped on layers of black eyeliner and caked mascara).  Desperate times called for desperate measures.  Three of us decided that this lesson was inhumane.  So we took it into our own hands.  We’d set off with everyone else, make it look like we were in it for the duration and then hide in the bushes behind some trees.  An hour later, as the goody-two shoes returned to the starting point, we would time it to perfection and join them looking exhausted.  Many hours were spent in those bushes discussing the merits of David Bowie or Bryan Ferry - a much healthier way to spend an afternoon!

In my final year at secondary school, we were playing a netball match and one of our team members lost a rather unsavoury looking sanitary towel on the court.  This would have been embarrassing for her except for the fact that good old Bambi here leapt into the area just as it landed, so everyone thought it was mine!

Enough to put you off sport for life, I tell you.

I’m still hoping that my son will take the bull by the horns and get involved in some sort of sport this year - he’s a growing lad (tall and stick thin) and exercise will be good for him.

But with my track record, I’m not really in a position to lecture am I?

Fancy giving an eBook a go?  Check out ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ on Amazon.  You can download to Kindle, PC or Smartphone with a free app.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Careering Through Life

I’ve previously written about my dream jobs, and last week I wrote about jobs I’d never do, so today I’m sharing some of the more peculiar jobs I have done in the past.

Now I’m not saying I’ve ever been a chicken-plucker or a taxidermist but there are a few, how shall we say, interesting things I’ve done for dosh.

I worked as a dental nurse/receptionist part time while at drama school.  I’m terrified of the dentist!  I’m the world’s worst patient - and probably not the world’s best dental nurse.  I worked for a lovely Chinese gentleman who would always tell me to leave the room if things were going to get gory.  He knew that it was better to have me outside, than flat on the floor in a dead faint.
He eventually coaxed me into his chair and totally transformed my smile.  He would then cheekily inform patients that he’d done ‘everything a man could possibly do’ in my mouth! … He hadn’t!
One of the funniest moments was when he was injecting a patient with local anaesthetic and, just at the moment she grabbed his leg in panic, he said “It’s OK, you’ll only feel a little prick!”  An age old joke, but the comic timing was brilliant and it really happened.
We also got rather tiddly at a Christmas lunch and he decided that it was best not to complete any work on that afternoon’s patients.  So instead he gave them a compensatory glass of wine in the dental chair and kept telling them “Look, my nurse can’t even walk in a straight line!”  It was all very ‘Carry on Dentist’.

Hubbie and I once worked for one overnight stay as security in an old antiques market.  We set off with our duvet, portable TV and dog ready to protect the sprawling (and slightly creepy) property.  Hubbie did one round of nightwatch patrol (keeping in touch with walkie-talkies - we’re talking pre mobiles) and then we barricaded ourselves into the office, snuggled down with the dog and went to sleep!  If you want tough guy bouncers to keep a beady eye on your valuables, don’t ask us!

I’ve stuffed envelopes for a credit card insurance company.  At 5p an envelope, I would literally work through the night with my sister, brother-in-law and friends.  I could earn enough money to fund a night out in a club and a cab home.  The only trouble was I usually ended up walking rather strangely, as sitting on the floor working for hours on end played havoc with my back.

Hubbie and I modelled.  Now don’t get over-excited, we’re not talking Posh and Becks style.  We had a modelling shoot at a disused school in North London for … wait for it … industrial aprons.  They were heavy duty, dull fabric with multiple pockets for hammers, spanners and screws.  Some had rather alarming ties which went up through our legs and around our bottoms - a bit too bondage for my liking.  Once we’d got over the giggles we had a great day and were paid well for it.  We have no idea where the pictures appeared and probably don’t want to know.  We saw copies of them and, luckily, our heads never appeared!

Before we were married, and during another bout of redundancies, we set up a company called ‘Willing Wombles’ to survive and pay for our wedding.  We would undertake most jobs, big or small.  Our contracts included typing, decorating, dog walking, nannying and driving.  We were even asked to set up a crèche at a military wedding in the City.  Hubbie, sister and I had responsibility for 30 kids aged between 6 weeks and 12 years.  We called it ‘The Little Drummer’s Club’.  I was juggling the babes in arms, sister had the toddlers and hubbie kept the raucous ones entertained.  It was one of the most exhausting afternoons of my life but we were paid handsomely.  ‘Willing Wombles’ kept our heads above water and we had the wedding of our dreams.  Soon after that hubbie returned to work in the City and I fell pregnant.  The rest, as they say, is history.

So what weird jobs have you done?

Ever been a traffic warden?  Bet you won’t own up if you have, because you know we all hate you!

So, come on spill the beans - the dodgier the better.

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle. Now in paperback at Lulu.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Normal Service Will Not Be Resumed ...

I couldn’t sleep last night.

And not because I was worrying about the animals in the rain or the homeless people on the streets - I regularly toss and turn with such issues on my mind!

It may sound daft to you (and indeed amuses my friends) but things like this concern me and I feel a bit of a rant brewing.  It will be short and sweet but I feel the need to offload.

Next year (April 4th, I believe) TV broadcasting will be going exclusively digital.  “What’s so wrong with that?”, I hear you ask.  Technology, moving forward, crisp pictures with endless channels.

Well, I’m worried.

What about all those old people, just about surviving on a pension, still watching a huge-backed monster of a TV that they’ve had for some thirty odd years because it just never dies?  What if they have no means to upgrade?

This could be their only source of company during the day and the long nights.  They might well be watching the ads, which inform us of next year’s change, and not even understand the implications.  What if they have no one to ask?  Of course, the ads helpfully suggest they can go online for more information … get the picture?  Well, they won’t, literally.

We can’t assume everyone has 42-inch flat plasma screens, Sky, cable and the likes.  Many elderly people can’t get their heads around the new technology and prefer to stick to just the channels they know.  My mother has a constant battle navigating her Freeview recorder box and now leaves it to my son to programme.  And this is a pensioner with a close network of family who talk her (patiently) through things - what if she had no one?

It’s not enough to say that most people will be equipped and ready for the changeover.  I’m worried about the ones who won’t - either due to a lack of resources or awareness - as I don’t believe they’re a small minority.

I can’t bear to think of poor old Alf or Betty in their bedsit settling down with their beans on toast, ready to watch Corrie, only to have their lifeline suddenly blink out.

But there’s nothing I can do to help them because I don’t know where they are, these poor old people who’ll get left behind.

Now I’ve really made myself miserable and getting it off my chest has done no good whatsoever.

When insomnia knocks next time, I’m going back to worrying about creatures in the rain.

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

His Tiny Hand

My son set off for his first day of sixth form today - fifteen years old and growing like a mushroom.

How did I get to be the mother of a teenage boy who is now taller then me?  Where did those years go?

From the minute they get sucked into the wheels of the school system, it’s practically a blink of the eye and they’re approaching adulthood.

I look back over his school years with fond memories and treasure every moment, even the bad ones.

I remember …

That first day at nursery - both of us bags of nerves.  He never grew to like it and I would always find him waiting by the window for my return.

Starting school - with faithful penguin, ‘Teeth’ (see older post), stuffed in his book bag for comfort.  ‘Teeth’ went to primary school every single day.

The day he decided that he didn’t think much of this school lark and would sob his heart out every morning.  The solution?  To meet his best friend and nanny, and go through the school gates with them.  If only his problems at secondary school could have been solved so easily.

The evening he came home and said “If they make me write the letter ‘W’ one more time …!”  It was soon after that I had the call to say it would be a wise move to put him up an academic year - he was bored.

The time I had to go to the school because he bit his friend on the finger after getting over-excited in a game!  The teacher actually found it funny, and said that he’d been known to do worse things to a friend himself (!), but obviously had to deal with the situation.

Every play and carol service - he played characters from an ant to a granny (in one of my old nightdresses!).  I can feel the tears in my eyes and the lump in my throat.

The Father’s Day card he brought home which displayed the words ‘Happy Farther’s Day!’

The prize giving ceremonies - poetry, handwriting, cake baking, public speaking.  The proud bits of being a mum.

That gut-wrenching feeling when my mobile would ring and the caller display read ‘School’.  Thankfully it was never life-threatening but my stomach would still drop to my boots.

The sad, sad day he left the security of his prep-school ready to head off to the next chapter in his education.

The even sadder days which followed when he developed school phobia (see older post) and was quite simply unable to get himself through a classroom door.

The joy of knowing that the phobia was finally behind him - three long years later.  Seeing him go to school a happy, confident boy with friends.

The pride of knowing that he took his GCSE’s a year early and, with all the problems he’d encountered, he still did well.

Being a mum (even to one) is one of the most mentally exhausting jobs in the world.  You’re learning as you go and constantly doubting yourself.

But boy, is it worth it.

Most of all I remember his tiny hand in mine and how it’s now bigger than mine.

And I know how my mum must feel.

Read all about being a mum who never feels that she belongs. ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ is on Amazon for Kindle, PC or Smartphone with a free app to download.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Little Boy Lost

I found a child in the park yesterday.

There he was, snot bubbling, blotchy teary eyes, clutching his scooter as he wandered aimlessly around the park café saying “Mummy? …There must be somebody here!”

He was about four and totally terrified.

Other mums looked on - and did nothing.  But were they sharing my thoughts?  Should I get involved?  Would it make me look like a paedophile?  In an age where even female nursery assistants are involved in child abuse, what if the mother suddenly appeared and thought I was trying to grab him?

When he made to leave the balcony area of the café mumbling “I go look for her”, I decided I had to do something.  I wouldn’t be one of those people too weak to step in and take action.

As I did so, you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief from the other mothers.  “Phew, I don’t have to get involved,” it said.

He explained to me that his little brother had been naughty and run away and his mum had gone to look for him.  This meant that she’d obviously return to the café for the ‘Lost One’.

He kept insisting that he go across the park and look for her and I knew this wouldn’t be a good move - it’s a huge park and there was a big charity event going on.  He would have become totally lost or worse.

Through his tears, he kept saying “I don’t know why she’d leave me here!”  It was heartbreaking.  I told him that his mummy hadn’t meant to leave him there and that she’d definitely be back for him soon.  He needed to know that she’d return to the place she’d left him and he must stay put.

Thankfully he held my hand (and relinquished his scooter!) so I knew he wasn’t going to dash off anywhere.

Eventually a frantic mum appeared in the distance, dragging along ‘The Naughty One’. The relief on both mother and son’s faces said it all.  She thanked me and made a hasty retreat, clearly wanting to get home for a stiff G&T.

This event left me questioning why we’re so reluctant to make a move in situations where we know help is needed.  I’m always telling my husband and son never to get involved in ‘have a go hero’ actions.  My advice is always, if you see trouble, move away and call the police.  Your one ‘good citizen’ move could see you with a knife in the back.

But where children are concerned, and the only danger is to them, why are we so tentative?  It would be my worst nightmare to have ever lost my son in a park (never happened, as I’m the No: 1 paranoid mother!) but if I had, I would have hoped that a caring parent would have taken him under their wing and reassured him until we were reunited.
Those mothers who just looked on and then looked away would surely want someone to step in if it were their child?

What would you have done?  Did I do the right thing or should I have turned a blind eye?  A friend’s mother got a good telling off for interfering a few years back - child wasn’t lost, just distraught.  But how was she to know?

To finish on a lighter note, we were stuck in traffic a few days ago and we saw an elderly lady leave McDonald’s with her skirt tucked in her knickers - all on show to the world, she tottered down the high street.  Suddenly a young girl came running out of McD’s and obviously told her of her faux pas - she sheltered her from behind as the old lady sorted herself out.

This simple act restored my faith in human kindness.

It also had me questioning, would I have done the same thing?  Because you just never know if you’re going to be on the receiving end of a black eye for your troubles!

Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Sound the Trumpets (Part Two)

Last month I shared my UK reviews (see post) with you so today I’m thanking my ‘.com’ readers and publishing a selection of their thoughts on ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’.

I’ve never been one to brag, but needs must!

Kimmidoll - Captivating page turner!
Congratulations to the author on writing the first book in a long time that I was hesitant to put down (although unfortunately my Mummy Misfit life required that I sneak bits in here and there whenever I could). Diary of a Mummy Misfit is a ‘must read’ book that draws you in by it's colourful characters and entertaining scenarios. This is a story that on more than one occasion had me likening particular events to my own life. The characters are relatable and you will often feel yourself getting caught up in the emotions that they are experiencing - be it anxiety, fear, joy or relief. Reading this book on a Kindle meant that I never really knew how many pages I had left in the book and whilst I wanted to read ahead and find the resolution to each hilarious issue that Libby encountered, I didn't want to reach the end of the book. I quickly felt enveloped into Libby's misfit life and have often found myself wondering what she is up to now. I can highly recommend this book as an entertaining and captivating read.

Jane - Laughs mixed in with real life pen portraits!
I loved ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ and read it practically in one sitting. I was completely transported into Libby's world - the worries of not fitting in; trying to work out who are the real people and who are the fakes; watching the people around tackle with their own life journeys. The organising of the Christmas fete and associated commands from those on high brought back memories of being involved in committees with useless figureheads. I felt Libby's pain and Fenella's rage. Amanda accurately creates the world of private education where the "haves" often consider everyone else to be beneath them and the "have nots", who more often than not are just like us - normal people tackling real world challenges. Yes money does make life a lot easier, but most of us are making ends meet on average incomes and struggling to fit in and look right. (Even if we deny it). Being a complete chick lit addict I can't wait for Amanda's next book! BTW I'm not a mum so will never get to experience the wait at the gate or the boring social evenings. Can't say I'm too upset about that based on ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’!

Mike - The crazy world of British Private Education
I came to this after enjoying the frantic ‘May contain nuts’ by John O’Farrell. I polished this off during a pleasant flight to the Sun - Thank you my lovely little Kindle! ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ is a much more anchored, realistic tale of life amongst the Battersea / Fulham set. Lot's of modern cameos - someone will have fun putting this on the screen - all the usual Mumsnet suspects : LK Bennett, Guardian readers, Bankers, Ac-tors, Cath Kidston, Alpha Mummies, Range Rover drivers. Those irreproachably, irredeemably middle class ‘Social Stereotypes’ from the Telegraph.  As a book, it certainly makes you think - why have literally millions given up on Blair's Bog Standard State Schools and Academies in London? Why are more nearly a fifth of all Six formers in Private Education? And what is it about affluence that makes people even more insecure?  Curious that it's only on Kindle - you'd think it would have been a Blog which turned into a Paperback. Maybe there's a ‘Julie and Julia’ style blog somewhere that I don't know about.  Going back to John O’Farrell's book - ‘May contain Nuts’ was an amusing read, and an entertaining TV play, but would have been better without the exam substitution and ultimate conclusion.  ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ is the better book -realistic characters, and better social commentary on those terrifying Schoolgate Mothers. Could have done with some more polishing - think of it as the Yummy Mummy's version of the ‘Manchild’ BBC TV series, but I enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to Amanda Egan's next book. Conclusion: Ideal holiday or commuter read - for Mumsnet Alpha Mummies and their, almost, patient husbands.

Tara L. - A Kindle Store Gem
I discovered this book while browsing for a holiday read and wasn't disappointed. I hadn't heard of the author, but the storyline appealed and the free download sample was as good as any chick lit I'd read in diary format.  Brought plenty of laughs and the author perceptively sums up some very recognisable types you meet in the vulgar monied set. This isn't wealth bashing, but it makes you question who is richer. Something for everyone - chaotic family life, school gate competitiveness, gays, a cultural mix - all wrapped up in witty and well captured observations.  A definite recommend!! If you like a diary, it's a grown-up Bridget Jones without the snobbery of Rachel Johnson. Should be in paperback.

Laurel Mayer - Funny, Bright & Witty! Loved it!
The diary format of this book serves it so well! Libby's diary reads with such humor and sharp wit that it is impossible to not laugh at her candid remarks about her daily interactions. Libby's diary reflects all the things that one thinks, but doesn't say. There is so much to love about Libby. She doesn't take herself too seriously and her easy personality makes it completely natural to cheer her on as she takes on some rather cold and callous characters. Love the British humor as well as the universal themes that Amanda Egan explores. Overall this is an extremely witty novel from a debut author. Can't wait for the next book!

So there you go - a few more happy readers and a few more reasons why you should buy my book.

‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ is available on Amazon UK or Com for Kindle, PC or Smartphone   (you can download a free viewing App for these at the Kindle store).  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Vocation, Vocation, Vocation ...

I’ve blogged in the past about jobs I’d love to do for a day (see older post) so thought I’d share the five jobs I’d NEVER want to do.

Out of pure nosiness, I’m also tagging some fellow bloggers/writers at the end of this post - the one’s I know will rise to the challenge!

First up …

I could never be a surgeon, doctor, midwife, gynaecologist, vet - in fact any profession which involves flesh, puke, pee, poo or blood.  I just can’t do it.  I only have to see a tiny cut with a few bubbles of blood and my knees start to play up with the ‘wobbles’. The smell of vomit has me instantly retching - and I’m such a baby I still cry when I (rarely) throw up.

Security guard in a shop - now I’m not being snobby here, I’ve worked in enough stores as a Saturday girl in my time and that was boring enough - but how do these guys keep themselves awake?  They stand, often in the same position, for hours on end.  The most exciting thing likely to happen is a quick wander around the store or the thrill of a shoplifter.  I’d like to think that they either go into some kind of Zen-like meditative state or maybe, with all the people-watching they do, are constructing a best-selling novel in their head - ‘I Know What You Did in Aisle Five

As much as I love animals and I said that I’d do it for a day if I could have my memory erased afterwards, I couldn’t work with rescue animals.  I just wouldn’t be able to sleep in my bed for worrying about them.  My house would become a refuge for all my ‘favourites’ and then I’d worry about the ones I’d left behind.  I even lie in bed some nights when it’s raining and worry about all the creatures that are out there in the storm.  Yes, I’m really that bad!  Hubby knows that I should never be set lose on animals - I’ll often try to bring a ‘stray’ home from the park or I’ll fall in love with a particularly scruffy dog (the best) and be love-sick for days!

With my fear of flying, I don’t think it would be a great idea for me to be part of a cabin crew.  Hey, it would be great for meeting all those fantastic gay guys but I think I’d be fired on my first day for knocking back the bubbly (to calm my nerves!) and screaming hysterically every time we hit the slightest bit of turbulence.  I’m the type of passenger who watches every move and facial expression of the crew.  Why isn’t she smiling?  Why is he looking flustered?  I like to befriend them so that when we’re about to crash, I’m the first to know.  I once became SO close to a lovely gay trolley-dolly that, when he should have been strapped in his seat, he was holding my hand, wiping away my pathetic tears (ear problems) and telling me that if anyone should have been upgraded to First Class, it should have been me!  No, a career in travel is not for me - or the passengers!

I used to say that I’d hate to be a toilet attendant.  Yuck, it’s pee, poo and blood all over again.  I still believe it would be incredibly boring (and smelly) but my opinion changed (just ever so slightly) when I visited Harrods a few weeks back.  As loos go, pretty plush - not the ideal working environment but, if you’re going to work in a bog, it must be one of the best.  I still felt that it would be the most mind-numbingly boring job in the world but … one thing caught my eye.  I saw the amount of money that was handed to the lovely Jamaican lady who greeted everyone with a smile and an offer of designer perfume.  She cleaned, she polished, she sang and had sparkly chat and witty repartee with the piddling ladies.  I’d imagine twenty of our Great British Pounds would have crossed her palm in the time it took me to do my double squirt (wee and Lancôme perfume).  I just hope that Harrods are decent enough to let her keep all the money - she deserves it.

So, that’s my five … over to other great bloggers, my ‘Fabulous Feisty Indies’.

What job would you say “NO” to?


Diary of a Mummy Misfit is available at Amazon for Kindle.  Now also in paperback at Lulu.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Return to Sender

Last night I saw that nerve-janglingly irritating advert …

“It’s Mother Nature here, with your monthly gift.”

Oh boy, it’s just as well I’m not suffering from PMT at the moment because the effect that it has on me when I’m ‘normal’ is bad enough - I want to maim someone.

I’ve taken part in many market researches in the past and I quite simply cannot believe that this ad was run past sane, level headed women for approval.

Along with ‘Have a happy period’ the advertising agencies have just got this so wrong.  It can only have been a group of suits who came up with these mad campaigns.

Let’s set the record straight, shall we?  The monthly cycle is neither a gift nor happy.  Would you like to open a beautifully decorated box only to discover a period?  No, I thought not.  And unless delighted not to be pregnant, I don’t know of many women who skip joyfully down the street with a glint in their eye and a song in their heart on the day of its arrival.

Here are the facts:

Periods can be painful.  As a teen the only thing they’re good for is getting off sport.  I once had three in a month!
They can be worrying.  You can spend your life trying not to get pregnant and then when you want to, you can’t.
They mess with your sex-life, your underwear and your moods.
They will always arrive on the day you least want them.  White trousers today?  Oops sorry!
They make you look and feel like a slug.
They make you eat the most ridiculous amount of chocolate.
They don’t just arrive - they take their time.  Agonisingly sore boobs, swollen belly, a zit here, a zit there - NOW I’ll move in for the kill.

Periods cannot and should not be glamorised.  ‘Pearl’ tampons don’t make the whole experience prettier.  I like to wear pearls around my neck and on my ears and don’t want to associate them with monthlies.  Similarly, a zany little leopard skin holder is not a discreet way to carry our ‘needs’ - everybody knows what’s in it! (Funny story here; my son saw one in a charity shop and nearly bought it for me because he thought it was a mini cigarette case!).

Why do these products need to be advertised at all?  It’s not like we have a choice as to whether or not we buy them.  I can honestly say that I have never watched an ad and thought, “Mmm, must give that a go next month.”

I’ll soon be approaching the menopause (another one of your lovely gifts, Mother Nature?) so I will be able to say goodbye to the ‘joy’ you have provided me with month after month since I was thirteen.

Forgive me if I don’t wipe a tear from my eye and look back fondly over my time as a menstruating (what a word!) woman.  But you see, as gifts go, this one stinks.  It wouldn’t have been quite so bad if you’d managed to level the score sheet up and provided the male species with something equally as yucky - and don’t go throwing the “Oh but they have to shave every day” line in - I know some post menopausal women who have to do that as well.

So as my time with ‘Auntie Flo’ draws to its close, the only thing that gives me a real laugh is the day I found out about her.  My mum called me into the kitchen where she was furiously ironing sheets and very matter-of-factly filled me in.  It wasn’t until years later when my two sisters and I were discussing it with her, that we found out she’d used the same ‘distracting ironing technique’ on all of us.

Now, pack your bags and get out of town.

For a peek into my debut novel 'Diary of a Mummy Misfit' (or synopsis at Amazon link to right), view my previous posts 'A Taste of Mummy Misfit' and 'Second Helpings of Mummy Misfit'.  Now also available in paperback at Lulu.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

There's no 'U' in Committee

Have you ever been a member of a committee?

I’ve worked on a couple - one for a well known local charity and one for my son’s prep school (this particular one lasted for about five years in total).

They were … how shall I put this? … interesting experiences!

Committees should work as a team.  A collective body of seemingly like-minded people coming together to discuss an objective and to get the job done smoothly and effectively.

Yeah, right!

Maybe I’ve been on some dodgy ones but, from conversations I’ve had with others, I think you can always expect to find ‘the types’ who are more obstructive than useful.

Here are my top ten tips for being a valuable member (and not a tool!)

  1. The meeting has not been laid on for your benefit.  No one cares how difficult it’s been to make time for this in your busy schedule.  We don’t want to know about your youngest’s bowel habits or your painful Brazilian.  In short, this is not a platform for you.

  1. Only speak if you have something really vital to add to the proceedings.  And then be concise - people have homes to go to and unnecessary comments or repetition really aren’t helpful.

  1. If there’s alcohol involved, please try to limit yourself to a couple of glasses.  You might become very passionate about a subject that, in the morning, will mean nothing to you.  It’s a meeting not a party.

  1. Don’t sit and constantly brag about, “How things used to work when I was Chair.”  You’re not chair anymore and sometimes a reshuffle can only be a good thing.

  1. If you want to use the meeting to moan about every single issue discussed (or some not even on the agenda) and how things should be done differently, maybe it’s time you moved on.  Devil’s Advocate is OK but doing it just to cause mischief is time-wasting.

  1. Be prepared to do some actual graft rather than just be a mouthpiece.  And if you commit to a job, do it.  It’s not fair to be a passenger and then bathe in the afterglow of a job well done by someone else.

  1. Chucking bucket-loads of money at your cause and bragging about it really won’t make you popular.  You could be doing that from a much quieter and more dignified position.  No one likes a show off.

  1. You must have a genuine desire to make a difference. This isn’t a forum to big up your ego or to score social points.

  1. Go in with a spirit of compromise rather than get arsey if your ideas aren’t accepted.

  1. Be punctual.  It might be socially acceptable to arrive at a party fashionably late but we have a table of people waiting to get down to business and we really don’t care if you’ve made a stunning entrance in this year’s Prada.

Meeting is now adjourned, minutes taken and issues discussed.

Thank you!

Join Libby and Fenella in my debut novel ‘Diary of a Mummy Misfit’ as they encounter the mad world of committees, bitching and botox.  Available at Amazon for Kindle. Now also in paperback at Lulu.