by RosieS on September 17, 2014


When I was eleven years old I got my own real life doll to play with in the form of a baby sister. I’d threatened to leave home if I got another brother, so it was just as well she was a girl. I’d put my foot down and decided that two brothers was enough. It was time for a sister.

Thankfully just half an hour after waving goodbye to my mum and heading off to school with said brothers one morning in September, a new girl arrived in the family, to huge relief on my part.

The tiny dot brought home in her Moses basket, with dark red hair and blue eyes was prodded and poked by her three siblings. It’s possible during those early years that we raced her a round in her buggy at irresponsible speeds.

I might have sent her out with a ridiculous amount of hair bobbles in her hair as I practised the hairdressing skills previously used on my Girls World.

It’s not inconceivable that she was placed on bikes and skateboards as we involved her in our games. We made ramps out of old kitchen cupboards. Roller skates may have been involved.

And for me, I adored her more than I’d adored anyone. I watched over her, checked she was still breathing before I went to sleep, worried frantically I’d lose her and as she grew older I mothered her. Then for a while our roles reversed and she mothered me.

The tiny baby with the dark red hair and blue eyes grew up into a beautiful and exceptionally capable young woman who excels at whatever career she turns her hand to. Bright, talented, with an analytical brain and common sense approach to life, she’s always there when you need her. She’s everything you’d want in a sister.

Happy 30th birthday, Suzanne xxx


The photo of Alice

by RosieS on September 12, 2014

Richmond Bridge

Not far from where this photo was taken is the image that sticks in my mind when I remember our recent trip to Richmond. There’s no photo to share here though as it didn’t seem appropriate to take one.

The image in my mind’s eye is of IJ looking intently at a colour photo of 14 year old Alice Gross stuck on the side of a tree, slightly ripped at the top as it has been there for the two weeks Alice has been missing.

My daughter looking at someone else’s daughter.


Missing from her family and who knows where? What an unimaginable horror they will be going through with the passing of every agonising second.

It leaves me at a loss for words, unsure what to write in this next sentence, staring at the computer screen with nothing entering my head.

This post was going to be different. It was going to be about something as normal as test-driving a new pair of outdoor shoes. IJ’s not mine, as mentioned in my previous Clarks post. My camera is full of different poses of IJ in her new shoes.

Clarks outdoor shoes

But then another photo took precedence. The photo of Alice. Just a few years older than IJ with similar petite features and light brown hair.

So many unanswered questions but someone knows something. If you do, contact the investigation team on 020 8358 0100, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


Does growing old mean becoming invisible?

by RosieS on September 9, 2014

Empty bench

Sitting on a train waiting to depart from a station whose name I can’t remember, except to say that it was somewhere between Brighton and Havant, I watched an elderly lady walking along the opposite platform.

She walked with a stick, her back hunched over and shuffled her feet as she slowly made her way to a bench where she could rest.

She was clearly in her eighties, a well presented lady wearing a bold blue print dress and recently blown dry hair. Perhaps a teacher or lawyer in her younger days.

She wore glasses. Her sandals were white and open toe. Her dress had a narrow red belt.

I noticed all these things about her. I also noticed her look of disappointment when she could not sit down on the only bench on the platform because it was occupied.

And I noticed her look of surprise and bewilderment when none of the women sitting on the bench stood up to let her sit down as she waited for them to do so.

The women were aged in their teens, twenties and forties. There were three of them sitting there, plus their bags which were also taking up extra room on the bench.

Their combined ages probably matched the age of that woman.

The woman that was totally invisible to them.

They looked through her and did nothing to acknowledge her, while she looked at them, at the bench, at her stick then back at them. She shook her head in the end and shuffled away.

There’s not much you can do when you’re sitting on a train watching from a distance. How awful to be treated as if you’re invisible. As if you don’t matter.

Then today I read about a woman who allegedly got no help from station staff when she fell on an escalator. The reason for the lack of help was that they were not ‘people handling-trained’.

You don’t need ‘people handling training’ to help someone in need. Like the elderly lady who needed a seat. Like the lady who fell on the escalator.

You just need common sense, good manners and a little humanity.

Not really that difficult, surely?

The lady ignored on the platform stayed with me. Does growing old mean becoming invisible? I suspect her treatment is more common that I realised, which is sad and wrong and needs to change.


The one about secondary school uniform

by RosieS on September 4, 2014

Starting secondary school

This week we’ve entered a whole new world. Not the world of secondary school, early starts, timetables and growing independence.

Not the world of hiding just out of sight at bus stops to check IJ got on the school bus without incidence and is safely on her way.

Not the world of waiting until it’s time for her to come back to me so I can check all is ok.

Not the world of sitting, waiting and wondering how she is getting on with little ability to focus on anything else.

No, none of the above. I’m referring to a different world. The world of extortionately overpriced school uniform. It’s been quite an education.

No more £4 supermarket skirts. Skirts now cost £28 and are only sold in one school uniform shop an inconvenient distance away.

Sports socks have to be a specific style and colour and cost double their unbranded equivalents.

Then there’s the blazer, the football boots and the customised gum shield, the latter of which we haven’t got round to locating yet. We’re still trying to figure out exactly what one is.

All that said, IJ did look incredibly smart heading off for her first day at secondary school, as did her friends. It’s just my wallet that looking a little dented and bruised.

Thankfully there was some relief when Clarks offered us a voucher for school shoes so we could try out their in-store fitting service. As per usual we left school shoes buying to the very last minute, so discovering we could book a slot at our local store online was a bonus.

It meant that when we arrived we didn’t have to sit around waiting for our turn with equally frazzled parents at the end of the summer holidays and bored kids. We were served straight away and in less than ten minutes we’d walked away with the whole school shoes issue sorted efficiently and professionally. It’s the only time we actually enjoyed the whole process.

Clarks school shoes

So thanks to Clarks Shoes for making the start of secondary school that little bit easier. We were able to buy some outdoor shoes too which I’ll feature in a separate post.

Clarks school shoes

All I need now is for someone to invent a pupil tracking device with inbuilt mood-monitoring, so at all times of the day I know exactly where IJ is, what she’s doing and that she’s okay.

We received a voucher from Clarks for the purpose of this post.  They offer an in-store fitting service with an expert, which can be booked online at a time that suits you. 


Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015 Nominate now image

It’s that time again! Time to nominate an incredible mum that you know for the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015.

You don’t have a lot of time as nominations close on 5th September. So you could read the rest of this post, or click straight over to the nominations page.

I’m delighted to be an official blogger for the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards once again.

Last year I was privileged to attend the ceremony at the Savoy, which was screened later on Channel 5, and spend an afternoon in the company of the 2014 winners – an incredibly inspiring group of women who had achieved so much despite life throwing the most difficult challenges at them.

Still on my mind is Laura Young who tragically lost her eight-year-old daughter Verity to cancer in 2009. Laura went on to set up The Teapot Trust charity providing art therapy to sick children.

I was at the Awards ceremony the previous year too. One winner whose story particularly moved me was Margaret Aspinall. Margaret lost her son in the Hillsborough tragedy and spent twenty-four years campaigning for the truth as part of the Hillsborough Families Support Group.

Also there that day was Claire Lomas who got married, had a baby and walked the London Marathon despite being paralysed in a riding accident, which still seems miraculous.

Now in its tenth year, the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards have helped raise the profile over 80 winners and their causes and charities. And they will celebrate even more incredible mums in 2015.

Tesco doesn’t just sponsor the Awards, they own the Awards, which they started back in 2006 to recognise ordinary women who do extraordinary things.

If you know an amazing mum, head over to their nominations page. Nominations close on 5th September so act fast! For more information visit the Tesco Mum of the Year page on Tesco Living.

Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015 logo

Disclosure: I’m working with Tesco as an official blogger for the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015.


The Photo Gallery: World Photo Day

August 20, 2014

It’s thanks to Tara Cain’s weekly Photo Gallery that I’ve developed a real passion for photography in recent years, so I couldn’t miss World Photo Day. You see the world differently when you walk round with a camera looking for a shot. There’s so much more that you notice. The little things than many people […]

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Taste-testing Zoobs

August 20, 2014

Despite repeated attempts to get IJ to add vegetables to her diet, I’ve never got further than raw carrots, which she occasionally eats. She reacts to the addition of vegetables to her plate as if she is about to be poisoned. Let’s not get started on the subject of fruit, which receive much the same […]

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Tim Burgess, Italy, Chesil Beach and a new business

August 12, 2014

In possibly the most surreal week of my life I’ve hung out backstage with the Kaiser Chiefs, The Charlatans and Paul Weller, watched films in an Italian field at three in the morning, and launched a new business. And all of this in the school holidays, just to add an extra layer of complexity to […]

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The Photo Gallery: Animals

July 23, 2014

It isn’t the best image as I snapped it quickly on my phone. It was taken during our stay at Chessington World of Adventures over the weekend. The hotel backs on to a gorgeous safari park, a world away from the slight craziness of the theme park. I treated IJ to a break there to […]

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The one where I name drop Paul Weller and the Kaiser Chiefs

July 18, 2014

I’ve spent the last few weeks immersed in the world of Paul Weller, the Kaiser Chiefs, The Charlatans, The Basement Jaxx and James. That’s not a line I ever thought I’d be writing in a blog post. I’m currently managing the social media for the Umbria Rock Festival. It’s a little bit epic. It also […]

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