OK, I'll fess up. When I started this blog I lived at River Cottage, a little small holding in the beautiful Wylye Valley but then I moved. So now I live in a beautiful little village in the same valley with my two gorgeous, funny, intelligent children, The Boy, 18 and The Girl, 16. They were clearly swapped at birth and must spend all their waking hours wondering who their real parents are. I've followed no discernable career path, having worked in publishing, the arts, Slebrity PR and as an airstewardess in the Middle East (see what I mean!). I've lived abroad for many years most recently in France. I now work in child protection for our local authority in between raising Orpington hens, writing my next book and pretending to be self-sufficient. I am proudly a single mother
You are just a shade short of 5'8 and a size 8. That is not fat. Not in my book, not in anyone's book. Our society has become obsessed with body image. I spent my teens thinking I was fat too. When I look at photos of myself, I see that I wasn't. You'll just make yourself miserable. Not only are you not fat but you have inherited your grandmother's hourglass figure and great legs. Women the world over would kill for that!
2. Be you
Never be afraid to be who you are, whoever that may be. You don't have to conform to any stereotype or rigid societal idea of what you should be. Embrace your individuality.
3. Don't change
You have an incredible sense of justice. I don't think I have ever met anyone who is so non-judgemental, who accepts everyone for who they are and will be an advocate for other people's right to be themselves. You aren't afraid to stand up for them either. You should be a human rights lawyer or an advocate for people who can't defend themselves. Their opponents wouldn't stand a chance.
4. Keep that sense of social justice going!
Yes, I know I would have rather enjoyed my tea in the quiet of the garden the other day when you wanted to talk to me about the iniquities of the Texas Abortion Bill but you know what? I was so impressed with your knowledge of the argument, the process, the different points of view and although we didn't agree, you have every right to your viewpoint and your argued it well and with a degree of intelligence that is rare in a 15 year old. I would imagine that there weren't many other 15 year olds in the UK who even knew it was being debated and although it was passed, it doesn't mean the battle is over. There will be more battles in the future and you should take them on!
5. So you're not one of the 'popular' girls
So what? I know it doesn't bother you and it certainly doesn't bother me. Having seen some of them I'm glad you're not. Anyway, your brother is one of the coolest kids in the school so you can just bathe in his reflected glory. One day they'll stop saying 'Oh, you're The Boy's sister' and they'll know your name!
6. Talk to people
Talking about what bothers you is NOT a sign of weakness. It's a sign of someone who is emotionally intelligent. The old saying about a problem shared being a problem halved is true. It doesn't make you a burden.
7. Not all men are bastards
Don't let recent events shape your future. Just became the man with whom you have had the longest relationship has turned out to be not who we thought he was, don't be put off. Sometimes we don't understand why people do what they do but in the end it's them that lose out. Don't ever let it be you.
8. You ARE brave
You really are. Brave enough to take on what life is throwing at you and stand tall and strong. We put you into school in France with little more French than 'the sky is blue' and you met the challenge head on. Three weeks after you started, you went away for a 5 days school trip with a bunch of kids you didn't know and who you could barely communicate with. How brave is that? And your first singing solo. You stood up in front of 200 people and sang a beautiful love song that ironically reflected what was going on in your life. No-one had a clue that only 10 minutes before you had been crying hysterically in the toilets because you couldn't do it. You did it and you were amazing. Everybody told you so and they meant it. I know the person you most wanted to be there wasn't but the rest of us were and you stunned us with your bravery. Remember that when you think you aren't brave enough.
9. And you are clever!
Forecast 11 As and already an A level at A grade at 14? Believe in yourself!
10. Don't be too capable
You come from a long line of strong women but don't let yourself be too capable, or at least don't let your future partner know how capable you are. You deserve to be cared for and nurtured as much as you will care for and nurture others. Let other people take responsibility for their own crap, you don't need to.