Good Gifts

Good Gifts

What’s the greatest gift you have ever given anyone? I can’t decide between two. The first was a £25 fountain pen I gave my Grandad for his 60th birthday back in 1987. It cost me a whole year’s worth of pocket money- I was 8 when I started saving for it and 9 by the time I picked it out from the Parker counter in Selfridges. Every birthday card I received from Grandad after that said ‘signed with THE pen’!…

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What Katie Didn’t Do

What Katie Didn’t Do

Have you ever parked your car somewhere and then not been able to find it?  This was commonplace for me before moving to a place where I’m not allowed to drive.  In fact, the very last time I lost the car was just before we moved overseas.  I think the experience made my husband grateful that I was temporarily hanging up my driving gloves… I was collecting our children from school when it happened.  It was a rare day when…

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The Eye of the Storm

The Eye of the Storm

Last Thursday night, I waved our son off to rugby practice and started clearing away the remains of teatime.  It was still early and so perfectly light outside.  Not that I was thinking about it being light.  When it’s light, you just expect it to be light.  But then, a second later, it was utter darkness.  The house was cast into a black-orange gloom. I poked my head out of the front door to see what was happening and quickly…

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A Burning Desire

A Burning Desire

‘How can you tell that I cooked dinner tonight?’ my husband asked our children last night, beaming around at us as we sat eating Deliciously Ella’s lentil bolgnese.  (He hadn’t cooked dinner- he’d warmed the dinner I’d made earlier in the day…) He enjoyed answering his own question.  ‘Because there are no plumes of black smoke coming from the kitchen, because we’re not all furiously waving recipe books at the smoke alarm, because we can’t hear the noise of the…

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Guarding Our Hearts

Guarding Our Hearts

Paul Newman once famously said, ‘I don’t like to discuss my marriage but I will tell you something which may sound corny but which happens to be true. I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?’ When my husband and I were on holiday last week, he had a craving for steak but with three children in tow, we ended up at a burger house and this quote came back to me. I remember reading it…

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What’s Your Dream?

What’s Your Dream?

A holiday of a lifetime has brought us to Hollywood, the land of dreams, according to some. It is according to the happy man at the end of ‘Pretty Woman’: ‘What’s your dream?’ he asks. ‘Everybody comes here; this is Hollywood, land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t, but keep on dreaming.’ As I sit with my husband and children outside Hollywood’s Griffith Observatory, one of the locations in the film ‘La La Land’, we look across to…

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Palm Reading

Palm Reading

I knew travelling 27 hours for our Easter holiday would be challenging. To be honest, we probably wouldn’t have done it if we hadn’t made the mistake of mentioning Disney to the children before researching the journey. There are some things you cannot do to a child. Bandying the word ‘Disney’ around, then telling them to forget it is one of them. We live in the Middle East. Getting to California involved rousing our children at 1am to fly to…

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The Tattoo Parlour

The Tattoo Parlour

Vanity led me into new and unchartered territory this week. This time it was my eyebrows’ fault. Before Monday, they were almost invisible after years of plucking (my mother warned me in my teens that they wouldn’t grow back but who takes fashion advice from their mum when they’re 18?). For a long time, I’d wanted to regain the eyebrows of my youth. It must have become a bit of an obsession, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have told the organiser…

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Breaking the Silence, Mending A Marriage

Breaking the Silence, Mending A Marriage

This article felt too personal to put my name to when it was published last year in ‘Contact’, the Armed Forces Christian Union Magazine. But with my lovely husband’s agreement, I have decided to share it here as I believe God not only breathes new life into the ashes of a situation but can use them to help others. According to The Marriage Foundation, only 9% of couples who spilt up have a high conflict relationship; 60% are happy and…

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