I am not very good at being a girl. I think it’s because I grew up with boys and a mum who is not very good at being a girl either. I’ve never minded this. She is amazing with horses, and gardens. She can do the Telegraph cryptic crossword and has read James Joyce’s Ulysses. I grew up lugging bales of hay and buckets of water at the stables. I grew up between the hard elbows of my big brothers. My early childhood influenced me. I don’t wear nail varnish. I hate brushing my hair. I care more about my house being clean than looking clean on the school run. I didn’t play with dolls as a kid. I made dens with my brothers and went fishing. Because of these things, when it came to wanting children, I hoped for boys. I got three girls.
So last week I won 'Columnist of the year' at the Regional Press Awards (RPA). A friend of mine sent his congratulations, and then added 'does this put you into a national final?' My answer was no, because I don't write for a national paper, I write for a local and I am proud of it. Yes, there is pride in regional journalism. The Liverpool Echo earned a standing ovation at the RPA as it was presented with a special chairman’s award by Trevor Hicks, president of the Hillsborough families’ support group. Trevor lost both his daughters in the disaster that killed 96 people 27 years ago. He singled out the paper’s Hillsborough reporter Eleanor Barlow, who attended almost every day of the inquest, for special mention.
I first started running when I was 22 and had replaced cigarettes for baguettes and cream cheese. Before long I could not fit into my clothes. Luckily for me, the place I was working at had a gym on-site. To my shame, I discovered that I was so unfit, it would be dangerous for me to try running on the treadmill. I was instructed (by the awesome Elle, who was my fitness inspiration and is still my biggest girl crush of all time) to power-walk, then add a slope in slowly.
So another school morning has been and gone. It’s 9.30am. My house looks like it got raided by the police and I’m ready for bed. Why does this always happen? I start planning for the school run at 8pm the night before.
I lay out tomorrow’s clothes on the sofa, in the order the girls need to put them on. I put bowls, spoons and cereal on the table. I prepare reading bags and lunchboxes. I lay shoes by the front door. I line up toothbrushes, vitamins and face creams, set up the ‘hairdressing station’ with sprays, brushes and an assortment of bands and clips.