Smoking – Over 65,000 Babies STILL Put At Risk By Expectant Mums Each Year In England

Despite multiple health warnings and advice from the NHS, over 1 in 10 expectant mothers in England admit to smoking
whilst pregnant – that’s over 65,000 based on average maternities per year.

woman smoking

Blackpool has the most alarming figures, with
26% or over 1 in 4 women smoking whilst pregnant. Stoke-on-Trent came second, with nearly 1 in 5 women smoking whilst
pregnant (19.10%), with Liverpool closely behind at 16%.

However, the capital is setting a great example, with only 4.9% of pregnant mothers smoking. This is less than half of the
national target of 11%.

Other low smoking towns include Birmingham and Reading.
Research analysed by, has found that just over 12% of pregnant women are smokers at their first midwife
appointment, with this only dropping by 1.9% to 10.6% at the time of birth.

Pregnant woman with bump exposed

Despite the health warnings, only a fraction of mums-to-be cut the habit. Amanda Sandford from the Action on Smoking
and Health (ASH) said: “Smoking during pregnancy reduces foetal growth and increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and
cot deaths. Although there has been significant progress in reducing the rates of smoking during pregnancy it’s vital that
work continues to ensure that pregnant women who smoke are offered support to quit.”

And the jury’s still out on whether or not vaping carries equal risks to health

A map of pregnant mums-to-be who smoke illustrates the staggering numbers, and difference in some of the UK’s major

Map of the UK showing percentage of expectant mums smoking in various towns
Image credit:

It’s a shame that the rest of the UK was not included in this research to get a fuller picture. I suspect, however, that it would be equally grim reading.

Smokers will argue that smoking is an addiction and it is well documented how difficult it is to quit, but surely, for the sake of your unborn baby’s health, you’d try to quit, wouldn’t you?  And ideally before you conceived.

House of Lords Communication Committee To Examine The Safety Of Children Online

On 11th October, The House of Lords Communications Committee will examine how safe children are from the safety of children online, as part of its inquiry into the impact of the internet on children.

Representatives from the Information Commissioner’s Office and internet safety organisations will be among the witnesses.

The Committee’s investigation is looking into the risks and dangers presented to children by the internet, as well as the benefits, and also online governance and regulation.

In the first evidence session at 3.30pm the Committee will hear from Mr Mark Donkersley, Managing Director, e-Safe Systems Limited and Professor Derek McAuley, Professor of Digital Economy at Nottingham University.

Then at 4.30pm the Committee will hear from Adam Glass, partner at law firm Lewis Silkin, and Steve Wood, Deputy Commissioner at the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Questions which the Committee will ask across both sessions could include:

• What sorts of harmful behaviours are children exposed to?
• Which types are on the increase, and why?
• How well informed are children and parents?
• Do children of a particularly young age need extra protection?
• How well does filtering work?
• What role should schools play in safeguarding?
• What rights do children have with regard to the internet and the protection of their personal data?

The evidence session is open to the public. If you wish to attend you should go to Parliament’s Cromwell Green Entrance and allow time for security screening.

You can watch the session live on the internet at Sessions can also be viewed back at any time after the event and it is now possible to clip parts of evidence sessions and share them on social media and third party websites.

You can also follow the inquiry’s progress by signing up for alerts on the Committee’s webpage or following them on Twitter @UKHouseofLords.

I’ll be reporting their findings on the blog when they are published but, as a parent I’d want to see some representation from the social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat so that their role in preventing cyberbullying and the online exploitation of children and teenagers could be examined.

Having a recommended age for using providers such as Facebook does nothing to prevent underage children accessing it and it is time, in my view, for social media to take more responsiblity for the protection of its users.

The findings of the Committee are going to be very interesting.

Parents: Do You Want To See An End To The Traditional Primary School Report?

Research from Capita SIMS has revealed that over half of parents (57%) feel primary school reports are either too generic or do not contain enough information about how their child is doing.

Capita SIMS is the leading supplier of information systems to the education sector, providing a range of software and services to schools and local authorities to help raise standards and reduce administration.

The survey,  undertaken by Opinion Matters, interviewed 1014 parents with children at state primary schools in England, as well as  850 teachers at state primary schools in England.

More than a third of primary school teachers (35%) agree with the findings, despite the fact that schools are now recording more information about the children they teach than ever before.

Knowing whether their child is happy and confident in class tops the list of information parents want to know from teachers, suggesting that mums and dads do not just want academic results on their reports.

And although three quarters of parents (74%) stated that it was very important to have information on happiness and confidence, less than half (46%) reported actually receiving it from their child’s primary school.

Teachers too felt information on a child’s happiness was crucial, with 75% stating it was very important for parents to have this information.

The results suggest that primary schools’ communication with parents needs to evolve.

Phil Neal, a director at Capita SIMS, commented “The vast majority of parents believe teachers are doing a great job, but the research does indicate that information about how a child is doing in school needs updating.

“Schools should look at the type of information they send home. Details such as whether a child helped a friend in class or is working hard on a particular project is often just as important as test results”.

Jayne Mullane, headteacher at Mersey Vale Primary School in Stockport, said: “We need to listen to parents to find out what information they want to receive. In my school, parents gave us feedback on our reports and we changed them as a result. They now include information about how much effort a child makes in class as well as details of academic performance.”

A guide for parents and schools is available, entitled, ‘Could do better: is it time to change the school report?’ It can be downloaded from, and contains a list of questions parents should ask schools about pupil progress and tips for schools on improving reporting.

Is Commenting On Our Pregnancy Bump Unacceptable?

There have been quite a few articles lately along the lines of “things not to say to a pregnant woman“.  But also quite a few about mums to be who find others touching their pregnancy bump rather offensive.

Woman with her hands on her pregnancy bump
Your pregnancy bump will attract interest

Why is it, having spent months and sometimes years trying to conceive and at a time when surely there should be celebration and congratulations, some expectant mums seems to join the ranks of the professionally offended and regard any casual comment or glance at their baby bump as a social faux pas of such magnitude that it borders on an insult?

I remember being about 4-5 months pregnant with Caitlin, having spent a good year or so trying to conceive after a miscarriage.  The Husband took me to a local Italian restaurant and we asked for a table for 2.  “3, surely” said the waitress with a smile.  I was absolutely delighted.

There’s no denying that pregnancy, and particularly the early stages, can be a rough time for lots of us.  Your hormones are all over the place.  You are too big for your old clothes and too small for maternity wear.  You’re still in the “intensive research phase” of working out what you can and can’t eat and are totally enthralled by the changes appearing in your body on an almost daily basis.

When you get to that blooming, glowing phase where your baby is developing fine, your scans are OK, you are happily nesting and putting plans in place for your new arrival, then others may notice and comment on your contentment.  It’s human nature, surely, to be fascinated by the most wonderful thing our bodies can do.

I do understand that, for some, any intrusion into their personal space may make them feel uncomfortable.  And to have your pregnancy bump clumsily prodded without asking you is a little rude.  But an interest in pregnancy is surely the most natural thing in the world.

Of course, some will want to touch your bump and see the baby kicking.  Seeing a foot push out of your belly is amazing.  Ieuan used to move about so much it looked like he was doing a Mexican wave.

Yes, you will be inundated with advice, much of it based on old wives’ tales, but most of the time, people are just showing an interest and for the rest of it, they are not sure what to say.

But to be offended by questions like “have you chosen names, what are they?” or advice such as “sleep when the baby sleeps” seems a little extreme.  Questions such as “are you going to breast-feed?” and “will you be having a natural birth”, on the other hand, are going too far.

Pregnancy is a stressful time but I think you have to let others in a little.

Having had my kids so late, I was well aware that both my natural pregnancies were miraculous and that I was extremely lucky to have the experience of motherhood.

There are thousands of women struggling to conceive, and some you probably know quite well, who would give anything for someone to comment on their growing baby-bump.

And if you think some of the things said to an expectant mum are beyond the pale, trust me, the some of the things said to us older mums are far worse!

Are The Record A Level Results A Smokescreen?

After another year of ‘record’ A level results in which pictures of leaping teenagers filled the papers, the collective sigh of exasperation from those of us churned out by the UK Education System in the 70’s and 80’s could probably be heard on the continent.

The arguments about the dumbing down of examination standards and the number of ‘silly’ subjects offered in colleges and universities continues apace (a degree in Fashion Knitwear anyone?) but actually, does the subject really matter that much anymore?

If most students are leaving with multiple A grades, how are universities and employers supposed to select the most appropriate candidates for courses and jobs?  What is the point in an examination system which does little to aid selection?

Of course pupils have worked hard and in no way do I want to detract from their efforts and the stress they have just gone through to achieve their grades.

But, really, I can’t escape the feeling that somehow, somewhere, we are letting them down.  That something is not quite right.

If you wanted to be cynical, you could say that it is in the Government’s interest to keep pass rates high so that our children are funnelled through the system to Universities where they do not impact on unemployment figures.

But isn’t this just deferring the problem?  Where are the apprenticeships which teach a trade?  Can’t we find something better to offer those kids who don’t really want to go to university than shift work in a call-centre, shovelling fries or a ‘zero hours’ contract from retailers who treat their employees like a cheap and endlessly replaceable resource?

And what a start to your working life to be saddled with a huge student loan and debts from the cost of living added on to boot.

The irony, of course, is that in a few years nobody will give two hoots about the A Levels achieved. The focus will be on degrees and experience.

An employer who needs to fill a vacancy quickly is more likely to choose the candidate with previous experience than the bright young star with a shiny collection of A Grades.  

Past experience supervising work experience candidates and trainees has also taught me that even if they are well qualified, sometimes kids have absolutely no concept of what it is to work – even the basics like dressing appropriately, turning up on time, meeting deadlines and treating seniors with respect.

I could tell you tales of interns caught watching adult websites on the office PC or playing computer games on their Nintendo DS when they thought the boss wasn’t looking.

Perhaps an increased focus on getting our young people ready for work (for those opportunities that actually do exist) would be more useful than the A Level pressure cooker which produces one seemingly homogenized candidate soup.

I think the ‘record A Level results’ celebration which happens every year now is a massive smoke screen.

And when the smoke finally clears, there’ll be far fewer young people jumping for joy.

Is it time to drop the “Worst Dressed On The Red Carpet” Bitch-Fest?

Ho-hum  It’s the night after the BAFTAs and the Daily Mail’s lead article is entitled “What Were They Thinking?  ….The Worst Dressed Stars on the Red Carpet at the TV BAFTA Awards”.

Some of this year’s unfortunate targets include Catherine Tate (“who wore an autumnal coloured dress with too much ruching that swamped her small frame and clashed with her nude courts), Made in Chelsea’s Rosie Fortescue (who “opted for an unflattering metallic dress with sheer panels by Julien Macdonald), and Hollyoaks actress Jennifer Metcalfe (who wore a dress described as “a bizarre one-shouldered black dress… which fell flat”).

Michelle Keegan was described as wearing “a loose dress by House of Fraser in an unusual pastel shade of pastel green that was very wrinkled, causing many to question the former Coronation Street star’s red carpet choice”. Bizarrely, a link to purchase that very same dress can be found directly below this helpful criticism.

Now, we can all have a few minutes of fun and shore up our frail egos by gloating at the usually perfect looking less so. 

Michelle Keegan would probably look good in a bin liner.  It doesn’t matter how terrible the outfit choices are, these are still beautiful women out to enjoy themselves.  

Imagine if, when you go out on a Saturday night, your choice of outfit was pilloried in the press the next day? You’d feel crushed, wouldn’t you?

Yes you can argue that as a celebrity you put yourself out there and have to take the knocks. Well fine, but the knocks should be related to what you actually do, shouldn’t they?

The BAFTAs celebrate and reward the best formances on TV during the past year. And where do we find the actual list of winners?  They appear in a rather bald listing right at the bottom of the article after reams of red carpet dress photos.

I loved the #WeAreThey Twitter response in support of Plus Size women, (even though I would always champion being a healthy weight as being best for us).  

Here were loads of women taking a stand and saying “This is us.  This is what we look like.  We’re happy with it.  Move on”.  

Far removed, I think, from the misogynistic drubbing female celebs have to put up with every time they put on a less than perfect frock.

Is anyone talking about the sartorial choices of  Jon Snow (Fellowship BAFTA), Jason Watkins (Leading Actor BAFTA) and Ant and Dec (Entertainment Performance BAFTA)?

Reading articles like this may make me feel better about myself for about a minute but this is a temporary buzz, like eating too many chocolates.  Don’t you find you feel a bit uncomfortable afterwards?

The problem is we women are so used to being judged on our appearance rather than our skills and we are often each others’ harshest critics.  

Until we realise that we need to support each other and that criticising one of us is in many ways like criticising all of us, it’s going to be damn hard to stop clicking on those insidiously unpleasant article links.

Tit-ter Ye Not Page 3 Haters – No Nudes Ain’t Necessarily Good News

Much has been written today about whether The Sun newspaper has finally put the vest back on its dubious tribute to the female form and scrapped its page 3 glamour photography.  Feminists have been celebrating.  Glamour girls have been decrying this slur on their profession.  


On the face of it, the removal of the embarrassment of having to explain to junior why Titania has been photographed in just her pants, and the risk of shocking the more puritanical amongst us on the train in the morning by forgetting to turn straight from the front page to page 5, can only be a good thing.  I make no comment here about the quality of the paper’s journalism, nor its prurient enjoyment of all things knobs, knockers and salaciousness because, sadly, most of the British Press is happily cantering that well worn path these days.  The Daily Mail is rapidly becoming the Daily Kardashian and its website’s side column is a paeon to a bunch of American celebrities that I have neither heard, nor care about.

Isn’t the truth here simply that Page 3 has lost its ability to shock?  That the amount of exposure breasts get is so great that interest in them has faded to a certain extent.  Are we more, thanks to the Kardashian clan, more interested in bottoms now?  Is The Sun about to launch “Arse of the Day” instead? Here’s the lovely Stephanie aged 23 from Staines showing us how to park a bike?  Mind you, I can think of a much better use for a column named thus – particularly in the run up to the General Election.

In a more disturbing vein,  the increased availability and consumption of pornography thanks to the internet is a more probably cause of Page 3’s possible demise.  There are thousands of sites offering far more disturbing and exploitative pictures of women, all easily accessible via mobile technology.  I am not suggesting that those who enjoy glamour photography are teetering on the edge of subterranean perversion.  I am suggesting that there seems to have been a sea-change in our views about sex and nudity which seems to be removing us farther and farther from the bedrock of culture and morality we used to have.

In comparison to some of the material which passes as daily newspaper fodder, the page 3 photograph has almost an innocence about it.  And that, as a mother to a 7 year old daughter, does concern me.    

Teenspeak Online – Can You Crack The Code? Yep PIR!

A recent report by CNN, covered in the Daily Mail Online lists 28 internet acronyms used by youngsters to shield their online activity from their parents’ beady eyes.

The list was compiled by Kelly Wallace with the help of Internet safety expert Katie Greer and contains details of slang such as “420” for marijuana, “POS” for parent over shoulder and the worrying “L(MIRL)” – let’s meet in real life.

Ieuan playing with iPad
Ieuan plays with carefully supervised games apps!

Happily my kids are not yet of an age to have social media profiles but my nieces and nephews are and I figure that, as parents, we should all make sure we are aware of the dangers facing our children both now and in the future.

Common sense suggests that it is best to have a family PC in a room where internet activity can be monitored, but, as we all know, real life isn’t like that. We are already explaining to our daughter (7) that it is very easy for people to disguise who they really are online. She enjoys looking at her cousins’ Facebook pages but under close supervision.

I really recommend that you take a moment to read the Daily Mail’s article which also advises on talking to teens about online safety and here’s hoping you don’t come across any of this list.

1. IWSN – I want sex now

2. GNOC – Get naked on camera

3. NIFOC – Naked in front of computer

4. PIR – Parent in room

5 CU46 – See you for sex

6. 53X – Sex

7. 9 – Parent watching

8. 99 – Parent gone

9. 1174 – Party meeting place

10. THOT – That hoe over there

11. CID – Acid (the drug)

12. Broken – Hungover from alcohol

13. 420 – Marijuana

14. POS – Parent over shoulder

15. SUGARPIC – Suggestive or erotic photo

16. KOTL – Kiss on the lips

17. (L)MIRL – Let’s meet in real life

18. PRON – Porn

19. TDTM – Talk dirty to me

20. 8 – Oral sex

21. CD9 – Parents around/Code 9

22. IPN – I’m posting naked

23. LH6 – Let’s have sex

24. WTTP – Want to trade pictures?

25. DOC – Drug of choice

26. TWD – Texting while driving

27. GYPO – Get your pants off

28. KPC- Keeping parents clueless

Not comfortable reading, is it!

Here’s the link again:

Shared Parental Leave Comes Into Force 1st December 2014

From 1st December 2014, Shared Parental Leave will come into force.  It will enable mothers, fathers, partners and adopters to choose how to share time off work after their child is born or placed for adoption. For example, the mother or adopter could share some leave with a partner, returning to work for a while and then resuming leave in the final months of the year.

Caitlin in 2008

The idea is to give greater flexibility in how to share childcare in the first year following birth or adoption.  Basically there will now be one pot of leave available to both parents which they can allocate between them. And, of course, it means that fathers will be able to play a greater role in caring for their children in the first year.

Shared Parental Leave does not replace Maternity and Paternity leave but is a separate option available to those parents who meet the qualifying criteria.  This means that a mother would need to end her maternity leave early and opt for Shared Parental Leave instead of Maternity Leave. She would then need to decide how to share her Shared Parental Leave and Pay entitlement with her partner. Maternity Leave is currently 52 weeks of which 39 weeks accrue either statutory maternity pay or maternity allowance. Paid Paternity Leave of two weeks will still be available but it proposed that Shared Parental Leave will eventually replace Additional Paternity Leave.

Qualifying criteria are explained in detail on the ACAS website but will apply for parents where a baby is due to be born on or after 5th April 2015 or for children placed for adoption on or after that date.  Employers can start to receive notices of intention to take Shared Parental Leave from January 2015, provided that the qualifying criteria are met – for example you must have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks at the end of the 15th week before the week in which the child is due.

If you think this arrangement may work for you and your partner, now is the time to start researching the new regulations to see if you will be eligible.

For information is available at

French Blogger Fined £2000 For Negative Restaurant Review

Ah blog reviews. The life blood of content for many a blogger, happily typing their reviews in return for a freebie and possible promotion on a brand’s website. Sometimes hard to spot (no, I don’t think putting a tiny asterisk alongside the name of a product really counts as disclosure) and often disappointingly incomplete in their assessment, nevertheless, personally I love to read them.


I’m not sure, though, that I would adapt my buying behaviour as a result of reading a blog review. I find it hard to get excited about the endless swatching on beauty blogs (stripes of product on a blogger’s wrist for the uninitiated) and the discussion about tone, texture and packaging when running the gauntlet of Superdrug or Boots on a Saturday afternoon makes it depressingly clear there is little that can be truly classed as new and innovative in the field of cosmetics. It’s been a long time since many of us had the time for “NOTD” (nails of the day, I kid you not) or to plan a week’s worth of outfits fully accessorized with shoes and bags. (Where did those days go?!).

However, when it comes to restaurant and hotel reviews, I do take notice. And this certainly created problems for French blogger Caroline Doudet who wrote a negative review last August of a restaurant in Aquitaine in South West France. She titled her post with the name of the restaurant and “The Place To Avoid in Cap-Ferret’. Because her blog attracted over 3000 followers the judge ruled that this exacerbated the damage and ordered that the blog post title should be changed so as to be less prominent in Google’s search results. Miss Doudet was ordered to pay £1200 in damages plus £800 costs.

According to today’s Daily Mail (19/7/2014), the blogger said that “this creates a crime of being too highly ranked on a search engine, or of having too great an influence”.  The restaurant owner said: “Maybe there were errors in the service, but this article showed in the Google search results and did my business more and more harm”.

This is believed to be the first time that an unpaid blogger has had to pay damages for a negative review but, I am sure, it will not be the last.  Without seeing the post in question, it is hard to know exactly how fair (or otherwise) Miss Doudet’s review was but surely any blogger worth their salt (or search engine results!) knows that reviews should be balanced and fair. I think some bloggers feel they are offering a public service by offering a scathing assessment of their meal or visit – and in some cases, this may be entirely true – however in future we may all need to do a risk assessment on the posts we publish so as to avoid putting anything potentially libelous into the public domain.

Many years in the field of Law (albeit as a marketeer) lead me to believe that it is only a matter of time before negative reviews attract judicial – and financial consequences which will surely outweigh the short lived joy of seeing follower numbers increase on blog platforms such as Bloglovin’.

Halal – No News Is Not Good News

The kids love to go to Pizza Express as a treat so it was with not inconsiderable disappointment to learn that all their chicken is Halal. Readers of the great tome of outrage (The Daily Mail) have been regaled all week by various infographics showing who sells Halal meat (not forgetting of course similarities with Kosher food requirements), together with helpful information about whether the animals are stunned first.

For those unfamiliar with the traditional Halal method of food preparation, the slaughter of the animal should be performed by a Muslim who must invoke the name of Allah. The animal should then be slaughtered by cutting the throat without severing the spinal cord and the blood from the veins must be drained [source: Wikipedia].

Leaving aside any religious issues, this method of slaughter is pretty revolting although, as Janet Street Porter remarked today on ITV’s uncomfortably lightweight lunchtime current issues show “Loose Women”, if you eat meat it is your responsibility to understand where it comes from and how it is slaughtered. I have heard many stories about the equally terrible treatment of cattle in abatoirs.

What is really galling, though, is the fact that our Food Industry considers it quite alright to keep its consumers in the dark or, on the part of some of our restaurant chains, to court the business of a particular segment of the UK on the basis of its religious preference. You can bet that Christians would not be shown the same consideration.

Actually, I think, for all the puffery and outraged quacking of the Daily Mail commentators, this is not a religious issue.  It’s about trust. We trust our Food and Catering Industries to treat its customers with respect and honesty. Poor old Jamie Oliver is regularly pilloried for pointing out the disgusting content of chicken nuggets but he really had a point.  

As parents, some of us (and I am guilty of this) just coast along trying to avoid those products we know are bad for our kids (e.g. any trans-fat / sugar combo, fizzy drinks, high sugar juices), but we fail to ask the really important questions – where does our food come from and, in the case of meat, what conditions and slaughter methods are used. 

I really hope this does not become an issue which results in a lack of respect being shown to any religious faith but rather acts as an enormous wake-up call for parents to start asking difficult questions and, in the case of some fast food establishments, voting with their feet.

Jo Frost’s Family Matters Talk Show (ITV1 – April 28th 2014) – Do We Have a Game Plan?

Supernanny Jo Frost has a new daytime talk show on ITV which aired for the first time yesterday (April 28th).  It’s called Family Matters and is a mix of chat and video clips showing problem families at large.  I like Jo Frost’s no-nonsense approach and only manage her level of capable brusqueness after a large glass of vino so I dutifully (cough) tuned in to see what snippets of parenting nous I could glean.

Supernanny Jo Frost
Supernanny Jo Frost on her daytime talk show, “Family Matters” on ITV1

The show featured two case studies of children who were clearly strangers to the word ‘no’ and for whom the naughty step was still under construction.  Case number one featured three year old Kyle who lived in a house where dust was the enemy and Kelly Hoppen the only welcome guest. Poor Kyle and his eleven year old sister who was kept hidden in a bedroom upstairs, was prone to tantrums due to being unable to complete with a range of ornaments and exhibited all the emotional control of Damien from the Omen.  His parents were more concerned with channelling their inner fabulousness than doing anything as messy as colouring -although I’m surprised Kyle wasn’t able to recite the full range of Pantone colours.  His aunt was wheeled in to sniff into a tissue and to hint that perhaps the parents might be better off, you know, doing some parenting rather than interior decoration and cushion plumping.

Case two featured four boys, two of whom were twins and again, none of whom were familiar with being told no – although they were apparently fully IT literate and had an iPhone.  Dad worked seven days a week and came home to hide.  Mum shouted.  All day.  Mother-in-law was wheeled on to purse her lips, fold her arms and utter useful mother-in-law type phrases such as “I think your children are really spoiled” and to wear the facial expression of a woman whose immediate response to any kind of challenge would be to suggest an arm-wrestle.

Jo, remarkably, took quite a back seat in all this, taking the role of mediator and prompter.  “What do you think you could do better”  she asked, along with other questions such as “how did that make you feel”  and the show’s catch phrase – “Do we have a game plan”?

Like most daytime TV shows, however, the format relies on creating a judgemental atmosphere and, although at the moment, far less confrontational than Jeremy Kyle, I’d say the potential for running round corridors and storming off is there.  I think it will be extremely popular with parents who can at least watch and say “see, I’m not that bad a parent really” which, let’s be honest, is really why we watch – we want to benchmark our own performance (which those less confident of us consider as fair to dismal) and see how we compare.    There might be a set of ‘rules’ for romance and sexual relationships but I’m not sure anyone’s written the ‘rules’ for parenting yet. (And no, I don’t count the military manoeuvres of Gina Ford et al as sensible parenting rules).

I think the show needs a lot more talk from Jo Frost because if anyone can give us a set of rules, she can and this was the element that I thought was sorely missing from the “Family Matters” format.

So, in the meantime, “do we have a game plan”?  Um – over to you Jo.