Whilst many little girls dream about growing up to be a princess or a mummy or a doctor, my sights were set on becoming the quintessential aunt. Not that I knew the word “quintessential” way back when, but I did know and love the flamboyance and witticisms of Auntie Mame were far more attractive than nappy changing or balancing a silly crown on my head.

Like Auntie Mame all aunts obviously had riches to swan about in grand homes and travel lavishly; have the wisdom of a life well lived to indulge in outrageous and delicious passions; share beliefs with young impressionable souls and espouse, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death”.

My reality proved to be far different although thanks to my considerate siblings I can boast a brood of 10 nieces and nephews with whom I am deliriously besotted.

Being an aunt can be all the lovely, happy, fun bits without the nerve-racking, sleep deprivation and mundane chores most parents would gladly swap. Like the extra cuddles and giggles, or the games you get to play totally lost in a child’s uninhibited joy. You can savour a little one seeing and learning something for the first time. Most of all, realise there is no limit to how much and how many your heart can love.

An aunt can make mum and dad happy by offering babysitting services or cooking a meal, lending a hand during stressful times and organising special “auntie kidnapping” mornings for parents to enjoy a lie-in and a peaceful post dawn cuppa.

A confidant, a big sister, bff, and role model are some of the helpful ways you can love your sibling and your nieces and nephews.

And in times they (whether adult or child) need a hug and support you can wear your Agony Aunt hat. The listening is more important than the counselling as you may find yourself in the middle between the adult and the child, at which stage you might just suggest the wise words of The Lady’s very own Patricia Marie, a qualified and caring therapist who has the common sense and imagination to solve any problem.

I’d also sit everyone down for a screening of Auntie Mame to escape the drama and stress even if it’s a temporary diversion.