Skip to content

I ask why 'baby on board' signs seem to wind drivers up so much...

In the back of my scruffy, mum-wagon Vauxhall hangs a sweet caterpillar in rainbow colours, warning other road users that I have a 'Baby On Board'.

It's been there since the day we drove our first baby home from hospital - crawling at about 15 miles an hour and stopping every few minutes to check Harry was still actually breathing.

I argue that the government should be spending spare money on the most vulnerable kids...

The Conservatives have announced that they are going to bring forward their pledge to double free childcare.

From as early as next year, working parents of three and four year olds will begin to qualify for 30 hours of free term-time childcare, up from 15 hours at the moment.

Thirty years ago today, a convoy of between 500 and 600 new age travellers left a campsite they'd illegally occupied on the Earl of Cardigan's land. They were heading towards Stonehenge for an outlawed celebration of the summer solstice when they were stopped by a police roadblock. The convoy turned into a field, at which point around 1,300 police descended upon them and a violent confrontation took place.

If you had bought certain newspapers the following day you would have learnt that the field had been full of heavily-armed social deviants. If you had watched the BBC at the time, you would have heard that the police had been attacked by anarchists wielding wooden blocks, rocks and even petrol bombs. But if you'd been there you may have had a different story to tell. Unfortunately, no-one was interested.

Parents are pressured into spending too much time playing with their children.

New parents face a near-constant barrage of well-meaning clichés and advice. "It all goes so fast," people will sigh. "They won't be little forever," grannies coo. "Treasure every moment," parents of older children will murmur, conveniently forgetting all those times they had to leave their room to scream into a pillow over their toddler's refusal to dress in anything other than socks and a Spiderman mask that day.

But at least those comments are well-meaning - there's one phrase in particular that gets trotted out again and again, and it makes me really cross: "The housework can wait." Wait for what?!

As the UK braces itself for the election, I asked industry experts what the next government might mean for voters' pockets.

The young have little chance of owning a property. And it's our fault.

The cost of buying a home has rocketed by more than three times the average salary over the last 10 years alone. Rents are soaring too, in fact Shelter has called them 'out of control'.

And as I sit here in a house I own, I know that we have really screwed over the next generation. We're desperate to keep property prices high and rising, because we see our homes as a pension pot or we want to escape negative equity.

It's easy to be angry at benefit claimants.

"Benefits cheat given £135k!" "Single mother of six given mansion!" "Ten-strong Somali family on benefits live in a £2m council home!" Those are all stories that have appeared in the press - and we simply lap them up.

It's so easy to be angry about the 'feckless fathers' of 16 living in deliberate joblessness on 'Shameless' estates. The single mothers having babies each year and demanding bigger council houses. The immigrants who've never contributed to the economy but are given mansions.

We look at how ‘Generation Rent' can ask for improvements and upgrades to their homes...

We're becoming a nation of renters, according to a new report from Halifax. Its research has shown that the number of young people saving towards a deposit has dropped considerably.

Last year 57% of people aged between 20 and 45 were saving up to buy a home, but this year just 43% are doing the same.

We chuck out 86m chickens a year as a nation. Here's how to stop the waste...

Did you know we waste 21% less food now than we did in 2007? Hooray for us, that's incredible progress.

But despite that considerable improvement the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign warns that we're still chucking out the equivalent of six meals a week.

As my first tenants move out, I reflect on what I've learned...

It's two and a half years since I became an accidental landlord. We needed a bigger house but we were unwilling to sell our first home, which had lost around £30,000 in value thanks to the housing market crash, which I wrote about in Should I get a buy-to-let mortgage.

This week our first tenants left, and we've been back inside the property repairing and cleaning ready for the next couple who move in on Monday. It's been a bit of a wrench seeing my former home looking so shabby, and it's made me reflect on what I've learned as a landlord, that I wish someone had told me at the start.