My top five family holiday destinations


When the cold weather and dark nights start drawing in, who can help but dream of sun-kissed beaches?

Planning our next vacation helps me to turn my focus away from the long Winter months and give us something to look forward to, once the Christmas tree is packed away and I’m hitting the gym to get rid of the festive excesses.

We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some fabulous family holidays, and over the years I’ve built up a list of real favourite destinations with lots to do for the kids and adults alike.

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My Walt Disney World checklist


Resistance is futile when it comes to the magic of Disney.

Not a child – or adult for that matter – can fail to be seduced by Walt’s world.

And if my kids aren’t belting out “Let It Go” in a Frozen stylee, they’re beating their chests and singing “Oooh be doooo, I wanna be like you” like the little monkeys they are.

So it follows that Walt Disney World is on our wishlist of holiday destinations.

But since becoming a single parent, I’m aware that I can probably only afford one trip – and I need to make it count.

So planning is essential to make sure we get it right and make the kind of memories which will last a lifetime.

Here’s my checklist of things to do before heading to Orlando for that much-longed-for family trip.

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Spread the love & #PrayforParis if you want to



I got on my soapbox just a little bit this weekend.


Because of the number of people on social media sharing stuff like this




On the face of it, this cartoon is polite.

But don’t be fooled. The message is “you can stick your prayers… we don’t want or need them… we know how to express sympathy and solidarity – and your way is wrong”.

This was inevitably picked up by those against religion – be it Muslim or faith as a whole – as a way of arguing that believing in God(s) is the source of all evil and the reason for the world’s problems.

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Sending the right Christmas message



With social media making it easier to keep in touch, I’m finding many of my friends don’t bother with Christmas cards any more – preferring to post an online message of festive cheer.

But they still matter quite a bit to me, as a way of telling people I don’t see every day that they are in my thoughts.

I think they’re also a good way of showing the boys that life is about more than typing out a text or poking someone on Facebook.

Putting pen to paper is far more personal than a snowman emoji, and a better way to hold onto relationships that matter.

Christmas cards might be the one time of year I sit down and write to someone I haven’t seen in a while – summarising the news of the last 12 months and how the kids have grown, suggesting a meet-up in the future and even enclosing a family photo.

So Christmas cards are important to me. When it comes to sending them to my loved ones, I go for the following types:

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Saving for my children’s future


I love being a mum. It’s a journey that, despite leaving me pulling my hair out at times, I am truly happy to be on.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I catch myself wondering whether or not I’m doing a good job. There’s no right or wrong way of being a mum but I do hope that my children will always be happy, healthy and well educated.

I often wonder what they are going to end up doing career wise when they are older. Have I got a little doctor, teacher or astronaut (if my little one had his way) on my hands?

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To my sons: An apology


My beautiful boys,

I’m sorry.

Those two words don’t quite seem to cut it. But they’re true.

Since your Dad left a few short weeks ago and we became a fractured family, you’ve had a lot of adapting to do.

And I’m sorry for so many things.

But in these last few weeks I’m especially aware that I need to apologise to you, for some things in particular.

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9/11: A snapshot in time


I was surprised to see a former colleague share this on Facebook today.

Me, on September 11 2001, standing with colleagues in the newsroom of the paper I worked for, watching the horrors of the terrorist attacks unfold on television.

It’s a snapshot in time, of 14 years ago.

What does it make me think?

It makes me think how I was only 28 at the time. How I hadn’t even got married by then, how my two children hadn’t been born…

Basically how far I’ve come since.

But how so many lives ended abruptly on that day…..

And all of that possibility, all of that life, was never lived.


What to expect when you’re becoming a single parent


For months now I’ve been dipping my toe in the water of single motherhood.

But this shit is about to get real.

The ex has stayed in our spare room four days a week, but he will be moving out permanently in about a fortnight now.

Since deciding to split, we’ve maintained the facade of family until the kids got into the Summer hols. Then we broke the news and started the journey on helping them adjust.

It hasn’t been easy, and I think the final hurdle will be when reality hits and we actually become two separate households.

Ex hasn’t been able to get into his new flat until the beginning of September. But now his move in date is just around the corner and my apprenticeship as a lone parent is almost up.

I will be totally in charge of the welfare of two boys, aged nine and six. Eeeek!

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Money habits to teach your children


I can’t believe how quickly my boys are growing up. The years seem to be flying by and they’re becoming fully-fledged little men before my eyes.

While I’m excited to enjoy every landmark, I have to admit I’m starting to worry about getting them into good habits for the future, especially when it comes to money.

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I’m not the Mum who…



I’m not the mum who knocks up a delicious meal from scratch every night, filling the house with smells of freshly baked bread. I’m as far from a domestic goddess as you could possibly get.

But I will spend an entire day fashioning a dinosaur-shaped birthday cake for your party. Because I love you dearly and being your parent means stepping out of my comfort zone.

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