28 Jan 2011

This Much I Know Is True - An Interview with Jo

Well here we are - interview number two - and I am honoured to have on my virtual l-shaped navy sofa tonight, the very lovely @bobbinsandbeans aka Jo!

Jo/Bobbins is mum to 2 child shaped demons. She is technically a lone parent but receives so much support from her fiance that it renders the term "lone" invalid.  She has worked in fashion and education and both are totally fruitloop.

We are eating virtual cheesy pizza (her request, no calories either - bonus) and drinking rose wine. We're not listening to any music because Jo has synesthesia set off by music!* Apparently it can be a little distracting trying to talk through an auditory rainbow of sound/vision/emotion combined. Anyway, on with the interview.....

Me: What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Jo: I'm not really one for nuggets of condensed wisdom, my mum used to have a saying for everything and used to invariably get them wrong or mix them up. One thing she did say often was that you cannot make people's mistakes for them nor can you expect them to learn from yours. 

Me: Describe yourself in a dating ad
Jo: Fat, fabulous and almost 40. Opinionated but excessively reasonable single mother seeks person to share demon wrangling responsibilities and to pour the wine. Height/weight/age unimportant, honesty and humour vital. Previous applicants should piss off.

Me: What is the nicest thing you have done?
Jo: I don't know, I don't know if I am a nice person. I do things because they are right or because it makes me feel good to do them. I don't do things totally altruistically. I know that I would rather do someone a good turn than a bad one though and I like to think that's nice.

Me: So lets talk about your 101 things in 1001 days project, what made you start it?
Jo: When I started the project I was in limbo to be honest. I started it just under a year after my husband left me. I was a single mother with two small children, one of whom is classed as profoundly disabled, I was unable to work so lost my career, my mother had died earlier in the year and I felt my life had no real direction. I had managed to lose me somewhere along the line. 

Me: What did you gain from the project - which by the way, I think is pretty inspiring - and did you like some challenges more than others?
Jo: The project gave me some direction, some focus and something to look forward to. I have changed some of the challenges as I've gone along. They are now more "me" because when I started I was not sure who "me" was anymore.

I don't like/dislike any challenges in particular. I am particularly proud of the ones that have meant me going out and initiating things and speaking to new people. I had very little self confidence when I started this project but now I have more. That above all else has made this project worthwhile. 

Me: As we can tell from your answers, you've got a great writing style - what keeps you writing?
Jo: I write because it keeps my brain working.  Before I became a stay at home mum, I was a teacher and loved the challenge of trying to force spreadsheets and databases into the reluctant minds of surly teenagers. I have also always been a bit of a performer! I love to make people laugh, I love to entertain. I used to act and sing and do all kinds of things but now I don't. So I try to do it in words. 

Me: Moving onto the boys (aka the demons, such a great name!) What do you love about being a mum?
Jo: Is this where I am supposed to say everything and tell you how they have made my life complete?

I hope not because that's a load of tosh quite frankly. I love the cuddles, I love watching them grow, I love how funny they are, I love seeing other people I love in their expressions and gestures, I love when they achieve, I love that they need me, I love that they love me, I love that they are individuals not just clones of me or their father. I love them, warts and all. I could live without the tantrums and the 5 a.m alarm calls. I could live without the worry that comes with being a parent. I could live without the fear that something will happen to them. I could not live without them.

Me: Let's finish up with some fun questions, first up, what would be your last meal?
Jo: Roast lamb dinner cooked by my mum. In reality I'd cook it myself and it would be the favourites of the people I love. I love cooking and really have the food-as-a-way-of-expressing-love thing in spades.

Me: What is your favourite song?
Jo: Not a song as such but I love the symphonic poem In the Steppes of Central Asia. by Borodin, it triggers my synesthesia in a way that nothing else ever has. I could not speak or stop shaking for an hour when I first heard it.

Me: What really annoys you?
Jo: Well lots of things really, but perhaps I'll just say that I hate parsnips!

Me: Tell us a secret about yourself 
Jo: I have in my time done some modelling for a fetish photographer that involved some BDSM props and poses. I have also had stories published on a specialist BDSM website

Me: And finally, what do you know to be true?
Jo: I know that the truth is subjective and can be bent, I prefer to deal in facts, the facts are not subject to emotion. I have been "accused" of being overly reasonable but what I really do is try and strip things back to the facts and make decisions based on that. After I have ranted and kicked the cushions around the room of course, I may be logical but I'm still human

Thank you very much for letting me interview you!

If you're interested in reading Jo's blog you can find it here and you can follow her on twitter @bobbinsandbeans

That's all from me for today, check back on Sunday for my Top 10 Favouritest Secret Things To Do/See/Eat in London. If you missed this week's photo essay, check it out here and watch out for some exciting stuff next week involving S.E.X + an interview with a great steampunk author.

Thank you + goodnight

Stupidgirl has left the building

*Little known fact, I have number synasthesia 


  1. 'Previous applicants can piss off' HA! Love it.

  2. Love it! I could imagine me giving the same answers to some of that lol

  3. Like a regular show. I like the L-shaped sofa visualization. 'Branding' is important and you are starting to do that. Keep it up! Press for concrete reponses and not generalities like other interviewers often do. People like to 'know'.....Keep telling us!

  4. Fab interview - loved it :)