Slummy Single Mummy

Jo Middleton is a freelance writer and mother of two girls, aged 17 and 10, who enjoy relentlessly winding each other up in high-pitched voices. Jo writes the award-winning blog Slummy Single Mummy and likes to escape from real life with wine, biscuits and TV reruns of Miss Marple mysteries.

Playing to your strengths

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on Tuesday, 16 October 2012
“What would you say is your best talent?” Belle asked me a few months ago. “Singing, dancing or pastels?” She appeared to be compiling some sort of survey about me.

“Singing?” I suggested, hopefully.

She grimaced.

“Dancing then?” Her eyebrows shot up and her eyes widened.

“I’ll put you down for pastels…” she said.

This weekend though, even my creative skills were called into question. It’s Saturday, and we are spending a wholesome afternoon painting pottery. I am attempting to create a fearsome dragon with an aged bronze look, and Belle is painting a pair of ducks in a shade of pink not normally associated with wildfowl. My dragon isn’t doing so well. Every extra layer of mossy green I dab on just seems to bring him closer to death.

“It’s certainly eye-catching,” says Belle. “It will make people stop and think ‘I wonder what the artist was trying to do here?’”

“That’s true,” I say, looking sad. “You’d definitely notice it.”

“It’s not that bad,” she says, trying to sound positive. “I’d happily have it in my room.” She turns away and mutters quietly under her breath, “behind the bookcase.”

“Hmmm,” I say, dabbing on the few final, fatal splotches, “I’m not sure it’s wonderful exactly.”

Belle gives me one of those looks you give a child who has tried really hard at something, pats my arm and barely conceals a wicked smile as she offers words of comfort.

“Perhaps you’d better stick to pastels.”

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