Updated: Nov 16, 2021
Welcome back! After a few years' break here I am again - sitting at my laptop at midnight with a huge glass of merlot, writing a blog post. It's been a while since I wrote anything down and I admit I got a bit lazy. Social media and showbiz took over - apologies. Send all your complaints to Tom and I will pop them into my special folder where your complaints will be joined by emails from educational apps and pitches from tutor businesses who address their emails "Dear [man or woman]". That actually happens and I just think, 'What would their mail merge actually replace man or woman with?' Like if it worked correctly would I receive 'Dear Man'? I mean what kind of tutoring can we expect if their emails start with a really weird typo like that?!
Thinking more about my incoming email enquiries, yes it might sound a bit middle-class and ungrateful but I'd rather have a free bottle of wine from Gary Barlow than try to arrange a photoshoot with my huge alien kids on a maths tutoring app on the laptop or advertise a photo-printer for free. They're always rubbish anyway and make us all look really pale. As a blogger family, we receive two kinds of incoming enquiries - what we call 'Paid work' or 'Unpaid work'. More often than not, brands expect bloggers to place their products into our social media channels or blogs completely voluntarily. I can't think of any other industry that would expect a publication to offer their experience, advertising space, photography, copywriting and modelling without even a sniff of payment. It's bonkers! Luckily, our favourite brands we work with regularly do have a budget which facilitates our efforts on social media (and pays the mortgage!).
How am I? Honestly? I'm a mess. Not a huge mess; don't worry, I'm probably just the same as every parent of huge kids; I'm like a bonkers stranger to everybody in my house. I'm not a 'Mutya going live after a bottle of gin' level-mess (she's a lovely legend - google her) but I'm not faring well. I'm a mild mess. I guess I would describe this time of my life as winging it, with style.
Parenting the boys now they're nearly 12 and 13 is VERY hard work. It's easily up there with the hardest jobs I've ever done. Lyall and Rich are still wonderful, loving, polite, sometimes helpful and cuddly boys. But Lyall is full of teenage swagger and mood. He's also becoming increasingly materialistic; always thinking about the next new thing, often before the current fad/obsession has even arrived. Nike is the current craze - dare I ask Lyall to pop a smart outfit on, he'll appear in a black Nike tracksuit, paired with black Nike Air trainers and a black North Face hat. He essentially looks as though he should be hanging around at the bus stop by the chippy with a can of spray-paint in his hand. Rich is naughty - like really naughty and deliberately provocative to Lyall which means they squabble constantly and tell really boring tales every five minutes. They're desperate for freedom and independence, but equally needy and demanding. Parenting older kids is really, really hard work.
Anyway, over the last three years since I last wrote stuff down, I gained and lost weight, did a million school runs, became a social media influencer, fell out and made up with beautiful Tom at least 1000 times, tried to keep in touch with my own family and drank a million, nay a billion wines. I guess I should mention we also sold our little house in Leicester and bought a big new one in a gorgeous little Derbyshire town near Sheffield, where Tom's bro lives.
So I guess the point of this blog post is, stay tuned because I'm back. I'm going to be sharing real life stuff about being a parent to teens, adoption as a dad who adopted kids 8 years ago and fitness.
As I start every email ever, "apologies for the late reply" but I'm actually back now and ready to regain my place as the best blogger in the world!