Stop Matronising Me

If you tweet, you may have come across the fabulous @_millymoo. She’s a barrister and a clever ‘un too. She introduced me to a new word (coined by @ozgirlnc). MATRONISING – women telling other women that they’re not doing it right; looking down on the beautified.

I’ve got a good degree and a good job and a spray tan and acrylic nails and very high-maintenance hair. My friend runs a car dealership and has breast implants. My Twitter friend has botox and a beauty salon – her hobby’s neuroscience.

I don’t like men who sneer at women for the way they look. Equally, I take it badly when I hear women sneering at other women because they like a nice product.

Twice recently, I’ve been told I can’t be a feminist because I have a Brazilian. I can be whatever I want. Don’t matronise me.

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Simply Irresistible

Things I will never be able to resist.

  • Waving back to a puppet
  • Nuzzling a baby’s neck
  • Singing both parts of “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” – loudly, badly.
  • A fingerful of peanut butter
  • Stroking fur
  • Chocolate ginger
  • Popping bubble wrap
  • Sniffing flowers over garden walls
  • Red shoes
  • Paddling
  • Biting the end off an ice-cream cone
  • Walking on a wall
  • Glitter
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X Marks the Spot

 Guest post – another lovely story from @PrincessofVP 🙂

The Princess was sitting in the window seat of the tallest tower in her palace. This was her favourite seat as she could see the Dryad’s forest and, if she craned her neck, catch sight of the sea with the white sea-horses cresting the waves as they galloped to shore to hear the Mermaid sing.

It was all quiet in the palace. The Snow Bear and the Lemur had gone to see Mrs Bizzle for a cookery lesson and the Princess was enjoying the peace and a chance to read.

Jeremy the Beagle humphed and sighed. He didn’t like reading. It was too quiet and still and meant he didn’t get to play. He humphed again, inching closer to the door. Cocking one eye at the Princess, he saw she hadn’t noticed so he humphed again then, quick as a flash, squeezed through the door and ran down and down the spiral staircase, scampering through the kitchen, and then leapt through the open window.

“Woof!” he announced to the world. Then, nose to the ground and tail wagging, he set off to find adventure.


Lexie Doodle was curled up in her basket. She had been banished to her bed while Dr Bear did important work in her surgery. She thought about scratching at the door and whining but last time she did that she’d been told she was a Bad Dog. Lexie shivered; she didn’t like being a Bad Dog.


Her ears pricked up. That was her friend Jeremy’s bark. Rushing to the window, she put her paws on the worktop and looked out. Jeremy was in the garden, wagging his tail. “Woof?”

Lexie thought. She knew she was supposed to stay in bed. But she also knew if she batted her paw against the door handle and pushed quickly it would open. And Dr Bear said she wasn’t to be disturbed so if she went outside she definitely wouldn’t disturb anyone.

With a quick swipe of her paw, she opened the door and bounded outside.

“Woof!” said Jeremy approvingly

Through an exchange of barks and licks the dogs established adventure was needed and they set off, tails wagging, to explore the great wide world.


At Mrs Bizzle’s cooking lesson, the Lemur had sticky paws and a slightly bruised tail as Mr Bizzle had trodden on it. This wasn’t really Mr Bizzle’s fault as he was a little absent-minded and so very tall it was such a long way from his head to the ground he sometimes didn’t see small furry creatures until it was too late. He’d been very kind about it though and given both the Lemur and the Snow Bear a lollipop. Mrs Bizzle had also wrapped a bandage around it so know it was more bandage than tail!



He looked out of the window as he washed his paws then did a small peep of excitement. In the distance he could see Lexie Doodle and Jeremy the Beagle’s tail as they tracked through the fields. Sidling over, he nudged the Snow Bear, “Psst, Snow Bear, look!”

The Snow Bear was practising her icing and the nudge made her do a big squiggle. “What?” She looked up to where he was pointing. “Ooh, where do you think they’re going?”


The dogs didn’t know where they were going but by following their noises and all manner of interesting scents they found themselves on the cliffs by the sea.

Jeremy liked the sea. Sniffing around, he started barking excitedly as there, set into the rock, was a rickety old staircase. “Woof, woof, woof.”

Lexie hung back for a moment. She’d never be so far from home without Dr Bear. But the lure of the unknown, plus the chance to paddle her paws in the sea, was irresistible and she quickly followed Jeremy.

The stairs were old and, at the bottom, wet and damaged from sea-water. But they led to the most beautiful cove, seemingly untouched by visitors ever. Jeremy bounded over the rocks and splashed into the sea. Lexie padded across the sand, exploring, then stopped. What was this? A piece of paper? Well littering on beaches was wrong, The Mermaid had taught her that. Picking it up between her teeth she turned to go and bury it at the top of the beach but then a piteous whine from Jeremy made her drop onto her belly.

“What have we here then? A spy?”

Peeking up, Lexie could see the scariest man she’d ever seen. Dressed all in black, with long straggly hair, gold teeth, and a cutlass stuck through his belt. Lexie had only heard about pirates in stories but she knew enough to recognise one. Worse, he was holding Jeremy by the scruff of the neck.

“Well, we all know what we do with spies. It’s back to the ship with you, my lad.”

“Awww, leave him be, Cap’n. Tis well known that it’s bad luck to have a dog on board.”

Lexie sneaked another a look. The Jaffne had also climbed over the rocks and was facing the captain, hands on hips.

“Be it now? That’s a rumour I never did hear. Ah well, ” The Captain set Jeremy down and knotted a scarf round his neck., “if we can’t find out who he’s with we can always eat him. Plenty of meat on a beagle.”

Jeremy whined again and pawed the sand. He didn’t want to go on a pirate ship but to be eaten on one would be even worse. The Captain shook him roughly. “Quiet, you mangy cur! And tell us what your owner has done with the treasure map. OUR treasure map.”

Map? Lexie dropped the piece of paper she had picked up and looked at it. There were wavy lines, and a ship, and… Was it? Yes, it was. A tiny X if you looked carefully. And everyone knows that X marks the spot.


Taking the map back up between her teeth she bounded forward, her fur bristling. She stopped out of arm’s reach of the Captain and dropped the map, deliberately putting one paw on it. “WOOF.”

“What be this now? Another one of ye curs, is it?” The Captain reached out but Lexie flattened her ears and growled. She knew biting people was wrong but surely the Captain was a Bad Man.

The Jaffne burst out laughing. “Outdone by the dogs, Cap’n.”

“Shut it you and take this one.” The Captain thrust Jeremy the Beagle out of the way and stepped closer to Lexie. “Now give me that map, you.”

Lexie bared her teeth and growled louder.

The Jaffne caught Jeremy’s by the makeshift collar and gave him a broad wink. “Cap’n, I be thinking that if we let this fella go, his friend might back away from yon map. Isn’t that right?”

Lexie pawed the sand and yipped. Treasure was fun but not nearly as important as friends.

“Bah!” The Captain threw his hands up in despair and backed away. “Dogs, stupid dogs. Give me a cat every day. Let the beast go then but if I don’t get my map…” He leered horribly as he drew his finger across his throat.

The Jaffne knelt by Jeremy and whispered in his ear. “Ye run to your friend then up them steps as fast as you can. All will be well, promise ye.”

Jeremy gave one quick yip in response and then bounded away. Lexie saw him go and, in one final act of defience, pawed sand at the Captain before bounding away up the rickety steps.

The sound of the Captain’s curses and the Jaffne’s hoots of laughter followed them up to the to top of cliff. Collapsing at the top, trembling in fear and relieft, they looked out to sea. There, on the horzon, was the pirate ship that in their excitement they hadn’t seen before. The wind blew stronger and rippled out the flag.


By mutual agreement, they both turned and ran.


Skittering back into the village, they quickly rubbed noses.Lexie then skidded in through the open door and settled down into her bed.

Jeremy raced on and on, back through the open window, across the kitchen, then up and up the spiral staircase to flop by the Princess on the window seat.

The Princess woke with a start and a yawn. “Oh Jeremy, I fell asleep. You good dog for staying there and looking after me.”

Jeremy thumped his tail sleepily.

“And look, I can see Snow Bear and the Lemur coming home. Let’s see what cake we have for tea.”

Jeremy thumped his tail again. “Woof!” After adventures, there was nothing better than cake.












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Things Nobody Tells a Student Teacher

Things nobody tells a student teacher:-

  • A child can work a dead dog into any topic of conversation.
  • Not all parents are pleased when their child loves their teacher.
  • The most beautifully planned lessons will always be interrupted by a child wetting themselves.
  • Your bag will be full of other people’s rubbish that will “come in handy” in the classroom.
  • Poundshops are a teacher’s best friend.
  • You’ll have an easier time if you tell people you work for the Council.
  • You should never volunteer for anything.
  • You will become an expert identifier of nits and chickenpox
  • The sky won’t fall in if you’re on first name terms with your families.
  • At some point, someone will make an allegation against you. Make sure you’re in a trades union.
  • The approved time for your first glass of wine on a Friday is 4:30 p.m. (no later).


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New Learning Fun Blog

To make things easier for those who follow me for Learning Fun ideas I have set up a new blog All previous posts can now be viewed there.

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The Lost Lemur

Another guest post from the fabulous @PrincessofVP. A lovely children’s story – and I’m in it again!


“The Dryad was tending her forest. The wild flowers of Spring were all busting out in a blaze of colours. She pottered about, twisting a root here and adjusting some leaves there, making sure everything could get the benefit of the soft Spring sunshine.

Slowly she became aware of an unusual noise and looked around. It sounded like a soft snore but at lunchtime on such a beautiful day she couldn’t understand why anyone would be asleep. Exploring a little further she then saw the most peculiar sight; a black & white tail was sticking out from a patch of daffodils. And there, in the middle of the flowerbed, a small ring-tailed lemur was fast asleep, paws over his nose.

“Well what am I to do with you?” wondered the Dryad.

She sat down next to him in the daffodil patch and stroked his fur softly. But even though he emitted a soft peeping noise and moved closer, the lemur didn’t wake up.

“Really I ought to take you to see Dr Bear but she is away with Lexie Doodle. Perhaps I should take you to the Princess instead. Because you’re a long way from home for such a small lemur.” Scooping him up, she started the walk to the Princess’s palace.

She hadn’t gone very far before her friend the leopard loped across her path. “Oh leopard, darling, please would you carry me to the palace? I found this lemur and I think we need to take him to the Princess.”

The leopard snorted and twitched her whiskers but allowed the Dryad to climb onto her back with her furry passenger. She considered lemurs to be silly creatures.


In the palace the Princess and the Snow Bear were making moon and star biscuits. Really the Princess was making them and the Snow Bear was making a mess with her floury paws.

They both rushed to the door as they heard the Dryad call out then the Snow Bear uttered a little squeal of delight. She’d never seen a lemur before.

“I found him asleep in the forest,” said the Dryad. “He’s a long way from home and I think he needs looking after.”

The Princess agreed. “Snow Bear, take him upstairs and put him to bed with a hot water bottle. It’s important for lemurs not to get cold. You can stay with him until he wakes if you want.”

The Snow Bear took the small lemur from the Dryad and carried him carefully up the stairs. She’d never looked after another animal before and felt all important. She tucked the lemur into bed and cautiously filled a hot water bottle to tuck next to him then waited for him to wake up.


The Lemur slowly opened his eyes and wondered where he was. It was very warm and comfortable and definitely not the forest he remembered being in.

“Hello” said the Snow Bear. “You’re awake.”

The Lemur sat up quickly, his tail straight & quivering, and looked at the Snow Bear with beady amber eyes. At the sight of her nice smile he relaxed again. “Hello,” he replied. “Where am I please? I fell asleep in a forest, I think.”

“You did. The Dryad found you and brought you here. This is the Princess’s palace and she’s my best friend in the whole world.” The Lemur’s eyes widened. He’d never met a Princess before. “But what were you doing in the forest?” asked the Snow Bear.

At her question, the Lemur shivered and shrank back down into the duvet. “I was running away. I was sent to the North to work and it was cold and the rain and snow blew sideways into my fur. I couldn’t stand it any longer so I ran for as long and as far as I could to find some sun.” He looked at the Snow Bear anxiously. “They won’t make me go back, will they?”

The Snow Bear’s eyes filled with tears. She had heard scary tales about the frozen North from her friends. “I’m sure they won’t.” She held out one tiny paw. “Come on, let’s go and ask if you can stay right now.”

The Dryad and the Princess were both outside playing fetch with Jeremy the Beagle. They listened in silence as the Snow Bear spilled out her new friend’s story and the Lemur looked up at them both with big scared eyes. “Please don’t make me go back.”

The Princess and the Dryad shared a look. They would never send anyone back to the cold North. “Of course you must stay,” said the Princess. “I will write and tell them you are staying with me.” The Snow Bear and the Lemur capered in delight.

“But you must help me in the forest,” said the Dryad.

“And Dr Bear in her surgery,” added the Princess.

The Snow Bear squeezed the Lemur’s paw reassuringly. “That’s ok, helping them both is heaps of fun so it doesn’t feel like work at all.”

The Lemur made a bow, flourishing his tail like a French courtier. “Thank you very much, ladies. I am very, very grateful.”

“Woof,” added Jeremy the Beagle, wagging his tail in approval.

“And now it is time for tea.” The Princess led them all inside and the Lemur’s eyes widened in surprise for the table was laden with the moon and star biscuits, a big bowl of all his favourite fruits and, best of all, the largest chocolate cake he had ever seen. Gosh, he thought to himself, I really am the luckiest lemur ever.”

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My Vegetable Love Will Grow…perhaps

I’ve got performance anxiety. Ten years ago I put down very extensive and indeed expensive decking in my garden. I don’t like grass. Borders, gravel paths, decking – all good; grass  -sneezy, weedy, needy. All the bad dwarves, in fact.


Fed-up with it now. Now, I’m all about the vegetables. I’ve ordered myself a greenhouse and I’m having two big vegetable beds built. Here’s the plan.

The greenhouse will be bursting with lusciousness – heritage tomatoes full of sweetness, purple and chocolate-brown peppers glowing in the sun, grapes hanging from the ceiling promising juicy delight. Unless, of course, I forget to water them, or they fry in the sun because I left the door shut in cracking-the-flags heat.

Same with the vegetable beds. Will they be a miracle of organic beauty? Flowers companionably planted alongside peas and rocket, strawberries bursting out of their beds? Perhaps. Or perhaps there’ll be one pea, one raspberry and a mouldy strawberry. Not even The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s going to eat that lot.

I’m worried that it’ll be the cheese plant all over again. I nearly killed it. It needed water, and feeding; regularly, not just once a month if it wilted. In a last attempt to save it, I planted it outside and ignored it. It’s 7′ tall now and glares at me like Audrey 2. That plant remembers me.

And that’s really the cause of the worry. My garden is full of perennials. Plant them close together and you never need water them. Cut them back twice a year and throw manure at them now and again – job done and the local wildlife will kiss your face off.  These veg babies will require care. If I forget to feed and water them, they’ll die horribly. (You’ll be relieved to know I’ve never owned a dog)

The worst of it is, I’ll be learning to be Geoff Hamilton under the merciless stare of my family, who, like all families, will never let me hear the end of it if I fail.  If there are foody successes you’ll surely be the first to know. If you see me at the Sainsbury’s produce counter  though… look the other way.


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