Feeling the squeeze

Call us squeezed, call us sandwiched, call us what you like but there’s no escaping us – a generation of 40 and 50+ (women mainly) struggling under the competing demands of children and elderly parents.

People are living longer. Once 70 was called a ‘good innings’ but now it’s more like 90 or even 100; bringing with it all the baggage of old age – loneliness, ill-health, dementia, disability.

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woman with comedy moustache

Musings on a moustache

Movember was ages ago, but this week I’ve been thinking moustaches, female ones. It started when I had my eyebrows shaped in one of those pop-up beauty places, with the squidgy chairs, that you find in the middle of shopping centres and department stores. Towards the end of the job, the therapist asked if I’d like my ‘top lip’ attending to.  This question always throws me – ‘Oh, I don’t think so,’ I reply, in a terribly British fashion.

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What’s so funny about middle aged women?

It’s always exciting to discover something new – even when everyone else knew about that particular something ages ago. For me, it’s been the incredible world of podcasts. It all started when I happened upon the BBC’s Fortunately podcast with Jane Garvey and Fi Glover. The first time I downloaded this 40 minute blast of random chat – it was the fields of chaff episode – I was blown away by just how bloody funny two midlife women can be.

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is gender neutral the end for the Barbie doll

Does a gender neutral Christmas list mean the end for Barbie?

It seems that attitudes to gender roles are finally shifting – when it comes to Christmas shopping, that is. More than a quarter of parents surveyed said they won’t be buying gender-specific toys for their children this year, according to a poll conducted by eBay.

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Advent calendar

Ten ideas for an eco-advent calendar

Go into a shop and the shelves are encrusted with mince pies; switch on X-factor and it’s Christmas ads all the way. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the festive season has truly arrived.

I’m not big on Christmas, but certain aspects of this crazy and overindulgent glut-fest do give me a warm glow. One of these is advent calendars.

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housework gender gap - playmobil woman cooking

Is changing the sheets the last frontier of gender equality?

I once heard a feature on BBC Woman’s Hour about how modern families share the domestic chores. It ended with a tweet from one woman. Her husband had, on a rare occasion, proactively put out the recycling – great, except that it was the wrong recycling.

It’s been said that housework is the final frontier of feminism. But in a world where equality in the public sphere is much discussed, sharing the domestic load isn’t always part of the debate. Continue reading →

dinosaur teeth

The trouble with teeth

This half term my daughter had four healthy teeth extracted ready for braces to be fitted in a week’s time. It hasn’t been the jolliest of holidays; for her, getting braces has been a part of the progress to adulthood to be put off for as long as possible. It’s been tough for me too. Seeing my wee unicorn in the dentist’s chair for such a big procedure was hard to stomach – not least because my family’s relationship with teeth has often been a fraught one.

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