I ❤️ the NHS

When I first arrived in the UK 17 years ago, my parents insisted I get myself private health insurance, “just in case,” given various medical issues arising from my cleft as well as my faulty oesophagus. Armed with a BUPA membership, I thus embarked on my new life as a Londoner.

Then, in my third year as a PhD student, I had a stroke, and my health insurance came to good use. I was very lucky that the stroke didn’t cause any permanent damage and within a few months, I’d made a full recovery and resumed life as normal.

I’ve since used my insurance to cover various non-emergency related procedures, and I’m exceedingly grateful to have been able to afford private health insurance.images

However, for any medical emergency, NHS is my first choice. Continue reading

License to Unplug


Draughty windows, cracks in the walls, unreliable builders, and a to-do list so long it was tempting to throw it in the bin and forget all about it; yesterday I was a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Always fidgeting with my iPhone, checking my emails, getting an update on the news, a quick look on Facebook and Twitter…hands-1167618_640

Retrieving the crumpled up to-do list from the waste bin and looking at the endless list of demands, reminders, requests, etc, I felt at once extremely sleepy and decided to take a short ‘power nap’ before getting on with my day. button-393841_640

I set my Power Nap app on my phone and lay down on my bed, but not long after I’d closed my eyes, the phone rang. Continue reading

Making a Difference

On the London underground last week, my 9-year old pointed to an ad featuring a newborn baby.

‘What’s that, mummy?’ she asked.

‘It’s an appeal for people to donate £3 to help buy thermal blankets for Syrian refugees,’ I answered, and my daughter nodded.

donate-654328_640‘We’ve talked about the refugee crisis in school,’ she said. ‘Can we make a donation, please?’

OK,’ I said.

‘But we’ll need to give more than £3 if we’re going to help children and babies like him,’ she said and pointed again to the infant in the ad.

So that’s what we did. Continue reading

All I Need is Zzzzzzzzzz

I’m no super mum and neither do I pretend to be one. It’s hardly a secret that I am next to useless in the kitchen. Fish fingers and pasta is just about the only thing I can manage without burning the food to a cinder.

Last week my husband asked me to watch the beans he was cooking while he went to fetch the girls from school. By the time they got back the whole house was filled with smoke as I’d completely forgotten about the beans. At least, we discovered that the smoke alarm wasn’t working.

Leave me with a pile of school uniforms to iron and I’ll surely burn a hole in them. I’ll never be a domestic goddess for sure though I am pretty good with the vacuum cleaner.

If you ask my daughters what their parents’ greatest skills are, they answer:

“Daddy is a great chef and Mummy is really good at sleeping.” IMG_0360

In fairness, I do have other skills, but it’s true I love to sleep. Besides, when you’re middle-aged like I am, it’s no longer cool to say, “look at me, I only slept four hours last night.”

It’s been years since I could manage on less than six hours of sleep without sacrificing my sanity; now I need at least seven hours of shut-eye, or I’ll become intolerably grumpy, if not outright aggressive. Just ask my husband.

Francesca Martinez, one of my comedic heroines, also likes to sleep a lot. She even goes as far as to suggest that if people got more sleep, there would be less trouble in the world.

Margaret Thatcher reportedly slept for only four hours a night when in office. Says Martinez, “maybe that was why her politics were so inhumane – she was just cranky all the time. Perhaps right-wingers would be more empathetic if they spent more of their lives asleep.”

Never mind the burnt dinner then; I sleep in the service of world peace.

sleeping-690429_640Sweet dreams!