When I was 8 I hatched a plan with a school friend (with whom I spent hours and hours acting out scenes from Grease) to move to Hollywood when we were 18 and become actresses. We had it all worked out. We’d waitress and before long we’d be spotted by a producer and become movie …

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In true Elizabeth Gilbert style I’m sobbing on the bathroom floor, feeling the cold tile beneath me, clutching my towel to my face. Then I sit bolt upright, stunned by a realization. I stagger to my feet and rush to my laptop. Before I can give myself a chance to rethink my epiphany, I dash …

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Last night was the first time in three years I’ve cried because I missed home. I had a craving for fields. Yes fields. And woods. And the smell of bonfires. And strawberries. Summer and autumn sights and smells. So if you dropped me back in the UK right now I’d swear at the cold and …

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November 20, 2012

After screaming blue murder for two hours last night because she didn’t want to take a shower and thought her daddy and I were EVIL for even suggesting it, Alula fell asleep exhausted and tear-stained (the tears tracking pathways through the dirt we had failed to clean off).

She awoke this morning and promptly started screaming once more about how much she hated us / wanted new parents / couldn’t believe we were insisting on a shower every day…

By the time 7.30 rolled around I could not wait to hussle her out the door and collapse onto the bed in a catatonic ball of mother guilt, idly wondering if it was too late to put her up for adoption. As she stomped off down the path I told her to check in with her friends in the car pool as to whether they washed daily or not.

She came home quite sheepish, thank the Lord, and got in the shower without arguing. I mean, the kid goes to school in a jungle. A jungle with a farm attached to it. She goes on regular treks through said jungle and pretends to be an ant or a plant whatever her green studies teacher (Pak Awsome as he’s called by the kids) is teaching them about that day. She comes home so encased in dirt we practically need chisels to prise her free.

That drama over with, Alula bounced on the bed and informed me that during Green studies that day, while pretending to be a plant, she had shuffle hopped over towards Jack, her amour, and whispered (in a plant like voice I assume…) ‘Jack do you want to go out to dinner with me?’

I suppressed the giggles for long enough to ask what he said in reply.

‘He said yes of course,’ said Alula, tossing her curls. You gotta love her self-assurance. ‘I’m going to wear my prettiest dress and take a flower from the garden.’

John who happened to be there listening to this part blanched. His eyes grew buggy. He stared at me as though I was to blame for our daughter’s wanton ways. But secretly I’m delighted because it’s about time she started having some boy playmates. I had an older brother and loved hanging about with the boys as I grew up. It taught me a lot.

Like how to burp on demand.

‘Mummy?’ Alula asked as she laid there in a daze beside me (probably imagining the flower decked unicorn she would ride to her dinner date) ‘Why do all the boys love me?’

To be fair, this week two boys have declared their love for her so this wasn’t her being big-headed. She was naturally curious.

‘Because you know how to read,’ I told herImage. ‘And you’re super smart.’

I am hoping that instead of picking out a dress to wear to her date, Alula will pick out a few books from her bookshelf to take along instead.