My heroes

You know when you try to think of heroes – people you’re inspired by, whose example you aspire to? I’m currently sitting in the swimming baths watching my daughter’s swimming lesson and I think my children might be my heroes.

Daniel is 6. He’s quiet, intelligent and analytical. But he’s quietly confident, an intelligent leader among his friends,  and a diligent, analytical hardworker. He has determination and he doesn’t shy away from a challenge. He’s caring and compassionate and draws people to him.

I want to be like my son.

Emily is nearly 4. She’s dynamite – she lands with a splash wherever she goes and she doesn’t know the meaning of quiet. But she is confident, funny and dances through

life. She has friends and she cares about people. She lives in the moment and she can focus when she needs to.

I want to be like my daughter.

My kids make me immensely proud; not just for what they can do,  though what they can do constantly astounds me,  but for the strong and wise people I see them becoming. They make me more than proud though, they set me an example, and this is a fairly new and startling revelation.

My children are definitely my heroes.


Doing Ok

So, my posts lately, as well as being ever so slightly erratic, have not been particularly cheerful, have they? Apart from the Saved by Cake one. Cake is always cheerful, unless something goes horribly wrong. Well, I thought I might pop in and say, I’m doing ok.

What inspired this? I was hanging washing on the line, the children were playing with abandon and joy in the garden, the sun was shining and warm and I had one of those really special moments where you stop and realise “right now, I’m happy’. Actually happy, properly, daft-smile-on-your-face-for-no-reason happy.

A few weeks ago, no matter what anyone said, I couldn’t have counted my blessings if they jumped up and hit me in the face with a wet herring. I could reel of a list of things that were going well but that just didn’t translate in my brain into ‘These are things about my life that tell me life is good’. Now I can see them for the gifts that they are: my kids are happy and healthy (now that Daniel has got over the horrible tonsillitis that spoiled his last fortnight of term) and sun-kissed and soaking up fresh air and sunshine (yes, even in the north-east of England! Well, it’s all relative) and clever and inquisitive and loving and, most important, they know they are loved. My husband is tired but seeing real success and fulfilment through his business. I’m throwing myself into cooking and learning to enjoy being a housewife for the first time since taking on this, frankly, terrifying and exhausting role. And I am letting my brain tick over; I’m not saying I’m writing again but there are rusty old cogs beginning to turn again. Today’s blog post is tangible proof of that (can a blog post be tangible? The metaphysics of the internet!). I’m getting closer to my family and closer to my real self. Once I find my real self again, the Real Becca (scary, eh?) I can begin to reconnect with the world again; I’m starting, in my own little way.

One of the tv shows the Best Beloved and I enjoy together is Outnumbered, the semi-improvised sitcome about the Brockman family.. It’s mad, chaotic and messy, and funny and true. One of the ongoing character traits of Sue, the mum, is her we-all-so-do-that tendency to compare herself to all the other mums. But you know, I think the Brockmans have things pretty well-cracked. Sue has a job and her house is untidy but not dirty, more a ‘lived-in’ look, she has a stable marriage and they have a secure income and a gorgeous house. More importantly, their kids are hard work, yes, but they’re intelligent, sociable, conversational, curious and they have a strong bond to each other despite the frequent spats. I think Sue’s doing ok.

I think I am too.

Getting Organised

First of all, I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped out with my appeal for stories for Willow Burn Hospice. I’ve had some great stories already but I’d love some more! Check out this post if you need a reminder and please keep spreading word around. I’m looking at around the end of March or beginning of April to bring the stories together and put them into something ebook-shaped; any questions just email me at Thank you!

Right, today’s post. Well, my last post on my Happiness Project brought some amazingly kind and supportive comments, and made me rethink things a little. While I still want to work on all the areas of my life that I listed in my post, I’m officially abandoning Happiness as a Project. So there. I’m just going to concentrate on making small changes, one day at a time, listening to what my messy mind is telling me I need to focus on at the time.

Right now the universe is sending me clear and frequent messages that it’s not just my mind that’s messy. If I had 50p for every blog post that’s cropped up, book that’s sprung out at me, etc etc, on organising, decluttering and spring cleaning, I’d be able to afford a cleaner. But no benevolent being was giving me those 50p’s (mutter, grumble) so I have to do it myself.

I’m no natural housewife but I acquired a tiny nesting instinct while I was pregnant with Emmy that has hung around and turned me into a vague resemblance of a homemaker. I have somehow gained a few habits that are helping to keep 13 years’ worth of accumulated STUFF at bay. Now however I’ve had enough.

I’m a perpetual learner – I can’t afford to be a perpetual student and pay for courses and things but I’m always picking up books and searching for new blogs and sites and learning about new things, new subjects. It stops my mind being permanently corroded by Spiderman and Peppa Pig (which is wonderful in its way but, y’know…). Now I’m turning my attention to home-making. I’m a bit fed up of not being able to find things, worrying if the house is clean enough for my in-laws to come around or fighting my way through the utility room which is stuffed full of boxes of things that “we’re going to sell at a car boot sale one day soon”. They’ve been there a year. ENOUGH ALREADY.

The last couple of days I’ve been searching out blogs and books and found some that have not only given me some ideas about where to start but actually fired me with enthusiasm. I’m thinking that if I can get on top of my house a bit, making it a pleasant place to live and not being constantly so weighed down by guilt over undone jobs that I never summon up the energy to do them, I will be happier, freer and have more time and energy to do the things I love like reading and writing. Win-win. Plus, a book that I’m reading has pointed out that housework done energetically can actually work as exercise so there’s another win for me.

If you want to know which blogs are firing me up, there’s Organizing Junkie (which is a TREASURE TROVE), A Bowl Full of Lemons, and Clean Mama for starters. And I highly recommend a flick through Pinterest – put organize or organise or any variation on the verb that you fancy and you’re spoiled for choice with people’s tips, solutions, blogs etc. Since I found these blogs I’ve started a housekeeping Bible file and a brain dump book, as well as sorting out a to-do app on my phone.

There’s a couple of cautionary caveats though. First of all, if the housework is my job (which it is – this isn’t feminism stepping back 50 years or anything, it’s just the way it is) then it happens on my terms. I set the schedule, I hold myself accountable. Therefore I officially give myself permission to throw away any comparisons to other people’s houses, standards, whatever. Not helpful, not necessary.

Second, I’m not trying to be a perfect housewife for the rest of my life. I’m trying to help myself get organised today so that life works more smoothly and easily for us all, most of all me. And I shall repeat that mantra every day. It’s taken me 31 years to learn the messy habits I have; the only way I’ll unlearn them is one day at a time.

Today, I shall do my best. Tomorrow doesn’t matter until it’s here.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34




I hate February. I’m actually beginning to really hate February. Last year and the year before Andrew lost two of his grandparents; my maternal grandmother died at the end of January nearly twenty years ago, and Andrew’s other grandad fell ill in February several years ago and died two months later. Now my own grandpa is dying, my grandma is struggling with dementia (not to mention losing her husband of sixty-something years) and I’m starting to think February is cursed.

It’s grey and cold, neither winter nor spring, and any foolhardy plants that spring up are quickly frostbitten and put in their place. I’m amazed they still keep trying every year; I’m seriously considering hibernating next February and urging everyone I love to do the same. All the energy I was finding before Christmas has been hit by the mess that is January and I can’t quite summon it back, not properly. Although happily my writing doesn’t seem to be taking the same hit. If anything, it’s helping.

Daniel’s class have been studying growth. They’ve brought home little pots containing cress seeds and grass seeds. I’ve eyed each of these warily as I’m not what you’d call green-fingered. I kill off almost any plant within minutes. As we have a first floor flat with no possibility of a garden this isn’t TOO much of a problem. Not much call for a gifted gardener up here, but these school projects have needed to be done so like a good mummy I tried to forget about my Kiss of Death to plants and take care of them. They didn’t do too badly. The cress lasted two weeks; the grass is still going.

Then last week he brought home a pot with no shoots or signs of life, just thick, black soil in a pot with a coloured label that he’d drawn himself.

‘It’s a sunflower, Mummy,’ he said proudly. ‘We have to give it sunshine and water and measure how it grows.’ Oh, no. This isn’t grass or cress, this is, like, a real flower. It needs to be looked after and there’s a real chance it will fall victim to my curse and never even shoot and then he’ll have to go into school and tell his teacher and all the other children whose mummies probably have beautifully cultivated gardens that his mummy killed his sunflower and… ok, I’m rambling. But I did fret, just a little.

So I took it home, put it on the kitchen windowsill with the grass and the cress and watered it. I watered it whenever the soil felt dry but to be honest I didn’t expect much. And sunshine? It’s the North East of England, in February, which as I’ve already explained is cursed. Put together with my napalm touch, the sunflower was doomed before it even got to the kitchen windowsill.


Last week a tiny little green-white shoot peeked up out of the soil. Then it grew- it actually grew! Now it has four little leaves, a strong green stalk and it’s still growing.

It’s like a reminder that life does actually go on. I check it everyday – heck, I check it everytime I go to the sink and marvel that despite everything, the sunflower is growing and stretching up, seeking the sun just as it’s supposed to.

It’s suddenly, the last day or two, become desperately important to me that I don’t let the sunflower die. Daniel’s still vaguely interested but I have put all my hopes of a happy spring on this sunflower. I don’t know why – it’s silly. My grandparents are old and frail, and I know everyone has to die sometime. And life isn’t too bad aside from that – Andrew’s business is going really well, the children are happy and healthy and my writing is progressing nicely all things considered. I’m just not very friendly with February.

But March will come soon and the sunflower will keep growing.


Well, well. It’s been a while *guilty look*.

Sometimes life just gets in the way and you need to focus on priorities. Lately I’ve had to deal with some head stuff and make sure I kept myself and my family going which has meant writing and blogging have taken a back seat, as has podcasting though I’ve tried to keep that going. Things seem to be getting better now so I’m throwing myself back in there! So I thought I’d put a bit of a bulletin together, as I know all you fans were wondering what had happened.

*peers out into darkness waiting for applause*

Ok. I’ll get on with it then…


My work in progress has been put away for a while. I was at a stage where I was putting all the wrong sort of pressure on myself and I wasn’t doing it for fun any more. I’ve since read a book Awaken the Writer Within which helped me start writing and enjoy it again. I’ll be writing a bit more about this in another post as it helped me decide…


to take the plunge into NaNoWriMo madness again. This time instead of using it as a way to start a long-planned project, I’m totally using it for fun and without any of the pressure of “this has to go somewhere”. I know it seems mad – there’s all the pressure of making the word count, but I’m honestly not worried if I don’t make 50k by November 30th. What matters is what’s already happening – I’m having fun with some characters and situations and remembering why I want to do this. So far I’m not on schedule but  not massively behind and whatever happens, I’m going to be going out of November happier than I went out of October!


My last attempt at organising and structuring the blog doesn’t seem to have worked out so I’m back to taking blogging in baby steps. Again, it’s about remembering what the blog is for which is just what it says on the tin – er, sorry, address bar. My Little Notepad, not My Little Online Presence or My Little Guide to the Universe (although, oooh, shiny new idea…) or My Little How Not to Write. It’s about having some online expressive space and not about becoming A Blogger. So there. Oh, and hopefully in the next two months I’ll be getting a beautiful new look designed by my wonderful husband whose design business is really taking off, so in the meantime I’m going to strip it down to a nice, minimal look ready for the new Me.


There was a little hitch, because of the stuff I mentioned above, which meant that interviews haven’t gone out QUITE on my schedule but hopefully that’s all back and running nicely now. There are some great guests to come and some old favourites returning. I have to say, I love doing the interviews way more than I ever expected, and I hope to see it going from strength to strength in the New Year.

That’s all for now folks. Thanks for listening…