British Mummy Bloggers Meet Up at London Zoo

Yesterday I attended my first Blogger meet up and it was such good fun. We went down to London Zoo (which doesn’t seem to have that many animals btw!) to meet 30 other parent bloggers who belong to the British Mummy Blogger network and their families. It was sponsored by Proctor & Gamble and www.supersavvyme.com who laid on a very nice buffet and pavilion for us all to meet up in.

BMBmcollageWe all had our photo taken together and it was so lovely to meet so many people I’ve commented on and tweeted with in person. I got to meet my ‘Twitter Family’ as Paul and Miss L call them  – Sandy Calico from Baby, Baby, Karin from Cafe Bebe, Emily from Maternal Tales, Sophie from Soph4Soph, Karen from Rubbish Diet, Nixdminx and Natalie from Bambino Goodies who has I swear one of the most adorable babies ever and is doing a guest post here this week. It was also great to catch up with my ‘Red Magazine’ partners in crime Susanna at A Modern Mother & Potty Mummy (btw check out her new blog look – I did it!) and have a great gossip with them too.  I didn’t get to talk to everyone which was a real shame and I missed loads of people I would have loved to meet, but next time I promise I will.

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The three of us then headed of with our lovely friends Sukilou and her family, to explore the Zoo. Which pretty much was us giggling and getting very wet and cold trying to find some animals who all seemed to be sensibly hidden somewhere warm (see the Merkat above in the heat lamp). I had the best day and I’d really like to thank everyone involved for organising it.

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Christmas Decoration Tour

I know I’m not the only one who gets a little too excited about the Christmas Decorations going up. I am on literally a countdown to Tuesday when Miss L and I can put them all up 🙂  So I was wondering if this year you’d like to share your Christmas decorations?  I’m going to put up a Mr Linky from the 1st Dec – 24th Dec so we can all see how mad we’ve gone!

I hope you’ll all have fun joining in!

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Decluttering for Christmas

I’ve been looking round the house and realised that I probably need to do a declutter before Christmas, before we bring anything else into this house.  To make it less painful I think I’m going to a room at a time, rather than trying to do one big mass clear out. I think it’ll take a couple of weeks, but I’ve discovered that if I rush it and try and do it all at once, I get frustrated, bored and then I don’t do it.  And now Hubby is finally reading the blog on RSS I will actually have to do it!

I try to follow the decluttering advice of ‘if you haven’t worn it in 18 months then you’re not going to wear it’.  And if it’s still in the box it came in a year later, chances are it’s not going to be played with/used. So bearing this in mind I’ll be creating the following piles

To Keep, Friends with Younger Children, Charity, Recycle, Tip

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So here’s the plan

Lounge

Clear out the side board of old candles, and all the general Miss L colouring/toys stuff I’ve shoved in drawers when we have visitors.

Dining Room

Move the Wireless Printer upstairs to the office where it should be

Paint the little table which I’ve been meaning to do for 8 years

Have a clear out of old XBox & PS2 Games as we don’t actually have either anymore!

Kitchen

Discover what is exactly at the back of the corner cupboards? Who knows??

Clear out the canned foods & Dried Foods that aren’t in date

Our Bedroom

Old Clothes have a charity turn out and put summer clothes into storage (suitcases on top of the wardrobe )

Magazines…..honestly I don’t really have 4 piles in there….maybe 😉

Return all of Miss L’s things that she never ever uses or plays with that have made their way into our room.

I’m also going to make the tiny built in cupboard in our room into the airing cupboard and make the airing cupboard into extra storage for seasonal clothes etc.  The sheets etc will fit into our cupboard and be more accessible.

Miss L’s room

This is the big one…. sort through old toys, sort through books, clothes etc

Under her bed…who know’s what’s under there? But clearning it should create more storage.

Clothes…she’s had another growing spurt and I know there are loads of summer clothes that need to goto charity.

Tame all the school work, we’re not doing too badly with the actual work but I need to clear down the things she’s made and put them into storage/throw out.  There is only so much you can have on display made of out toilet roll!

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I always, always give Miss L the final say over giving away toys, or saving items. But I’m proud to say she’s really good about donating to charity and has been know to offer all her toys to’little girls who might not have any’ – Proud Mummy moment! Finger’s crossed I can get all this done before Christmas!

So are any of you going to do a Pre Christmas De-clutter?

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Charity Auction for Cumbria Flood Recovery Fund

On the 19th November Cumbria and the surrounding areas suffered with the worst flooding ever.  As we know from previous floods, lives will be devastated and it will be a long time before those affected will be back in their homes. With Christmas coming this is going to be a bleak time for many.

Kat at Housewife Confidential has come up with an idea for a Silent Auction details can be found here she has also set up and email address specifically for this auction: cumbriafloodauction [at!] googlemail.com.

So if there are any PR’s, Crafters or Store Owners reading and there is anything you can offer to auction please contact Kat at the above address or drop me either an e-mail or leave a message below.

Thank you x

*Update – more information on Kat’s site of how to donate – click here*

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Talking to Journalists…

So yesterday I had an email from a very nice man from The Independant newspaper asking if he could talk to me about my views on the political parties for the next elections.  I agreed it’s the first time my generation have been of interest to political parties, normally no one has given a crap about who we’ve voted for.

So we had a chat on the phone and I explained that I thought that none of the political parties were doing a very good job of listening to women and what they want or need.

My points were:

Simplifying the process and encouraging women to start their own businesses. It gives women the ultimate work/life flexibility. In rural areas essential as there is very little employment, flexible or otherwise.

Childcare Vouchers – essential to working women, childcare for one small child here in Cambridgeshire is £800 a month. A family of four living on £35k a year are not rolling in money with the cost of housing, childcare, food, and fuel and therefore certainly shouldn’t be penalised for working by taking away their childcare vouchers. Because apparently £35k makes them ‘middle class’ no it makes them struggling to make ends meet!.

I meant to have a rant about education and the fact that a quarter of children at 11 can’t read or write – but I didn’t get time.

I also said that on the positive side that Labour’s flexible working policies have been brilliant but by extending it (3 years maternity is currently being mooted) they run the problem of possibly making mother’s unemployable as companies don’t want to deal with large amounts of paperwork and women taking large chunks of time out.  On the not so good side they have created a huge government which is unsustainable and thrown lots of money at banks without reform, and that it needs to be reigned in but I don’t think they with the current leadership are able to do that.

But I’m also not convinced that the Conservative Party are up to the job. They have yet to put forward any innovative policies, just the same old, same old with a new spin.

So what did all my important views and insights get boiled down to

“Labour don’t seem to be doing particularly well due to the amount of money they have thrown away, and thrown at the banks. I’m undecided, but I won’t be voting Labour. Yet the Lib Dems need to convince me. I’m sure Brown is very nice, but is hard to warm to. Cameron seems more human, with a seriously ill child, and that’s really helped him appeal to mothers.”

Argh!   A throw away comment about Gordon Brown a the very end of the conversation! What I actually said about David Cameron was that as he’s had a very sick child (now sadly deceased) and he seems to understand the NHS (that said thinking about it so has Gordon Brown!) and that has made him seem more human to women.

If they’d asked me what I thought about the leaders as individuals then I would have given a much better answer, you know left out all my opinions about the state of the country and how to improve it for women and children and talked about what they wear or something!.

End Rant!

*UPDATE* here are the Blog Posts from my fellow interviewee’s for their takes on it Karen at Rubbish Diet, Sandy at Baby, Baby and Claire at 20SomethingMum

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Belle and Boo

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I have been fans of Belle and Boo for a long time since I saw the beautiful charity prints they made to raise money in memory of Superprincess Ava Rosemeyer.  I keep a keen eye on their store and I thought their new range for Christmas was just gorgeous.

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My Favourite Picture is Starla – she looks so much like Miss L

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Check out the whole Belle and Boo range here they are just gorgeous

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The Queen’s Visit

I was a very proud Mummy this morning.  Miss L’s year were selected along with some other children from local schools to greet the Queen and Prince Philip on their visit to celebrate Ely Cathedral’s 900th Anniversary.

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They must have been standing out there for nearly 2 hours, and it was really windy and cold and they were all so brave.   I got there with Miss L’s digital camera (which is annoyingly better than mine!) only to discover that there was no battery – argh! So I have to take all these pictures on my iPhone. I’m hoping some of the parents in the crowd managed to get some better photos than I did.

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The kids were entertained by the local police, filmed by the local news, had their pictures taken and apparently Miss L was interviewed by Heart FM radio station! I’ve not been able to track it down though, I’d love to hear it.  So they had a whale of a time!

The video above shows how tight security was.  We were told about the trip and the kids being involved at the last minute and there were police everywhere, something our very small City is not used to!  But they did a very good job, on what looked like a massive operation.

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Prince Philip arrived first and came over to talk to the children. Miss L says he spoke to her – I actually caught it see above! But she can’t remember what he said – kids! 😉

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Finally the Queen arrived but because of the cold and wind she was ushered straight into the Cathedral, while all the children cheered.  Later one of Miss L’s classmates gave the Queen a posy from all the children at their school, it must have been a lovely moment for her and her family.  I’m so proud of all of them!

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Christmas Banners

Just been Christmas cool hunting on Etsy and look at what I found

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*LOVE* these Christmas Banners! They are from StoriaHome and she kindly ships internationally on request. Pop over and have a look at her other goodies, I’m rather liking the Birthday banners too.

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How the Feature Wall turned out

I decided to go for it after all the postive comments after my Feature Wall post and I had to cover the wine!  So yesterday I popped to the local DIY store and picked up some Crown Paint in ‘Stepping Stone’ (it’s a Duck Egg Blue) and this afternoon I got to work on the alcoves.

lounge collage

The finished article

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Sorry I took the photos in the dark so they aren’t brilliant but you get the idea.  So now I need to change my tiles to reflect the new colour and get some new cushions in the same colour and I think it’ll look ok.  I’m really pleased with it, and it certainly looks better than wine on the wall 😉

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Friday Link Love

Half term is over and it’s the end of the working week, so I’m taking some time to go through my Google Reader.  So here are the picks from my Reader….

Home & Style

Wee Birdy test drives Rebel, Rebel’s flower school – I wanna go!

Mrs Brooklyn Limestone in Apartment Therapy – Her home is amazing, well deserved.

The City Sage Bib Necklace from Michelle Roy – Just gorgeous

Callie Grayson and Cranberry Glass – not really seen it before, very pretty

Tea for Joy – Pastel Prints – really lovely.

Decor8 Colour me Pretty – Purple Yay!

Christmas

Poppytalk – Tag Time – great selection of tags for wrapping

Children

India Knight – Cardboard Dinosaur – too cute!

Cafe Bebe – 1 pack 1 Vaccine Campaign for Pampers – great cause

Parenting

Insomniac Mummy Good Intentions Journey through Breastfeeding – I so related to this

Yummymummytips and her Post Natal Depression – it could happen to any of us, I’m so proud of her for recovering after such trauma.

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A Letter for Santa….for a great cause

The NSPCC have just launched their Letter from Santa fundraising initiative gives parents, grandparents and anyone else the chance to nominate someone special to receive a magical letter from Santa for a suggested donation of £5. The letter is personalised with the child’s name and age and is sure to confirm that Santa will be making his usual stop in the child’s home town to wish everyone a merry Christmas. The letter is written in a hand script font and is beautifully illustrated on quality colourful paper. The envelope shows that it’s been safely delivered through ‘express Rudolph Mail’.

Letter from Santa is a brilliant way to put an extra twinkle into Christmas this year and make a child feel extra special. The appeal also helps us to raise money to support children who are perhaps not as fortunate.

“It is important to remember that Christmas is not a time of celebration for every child. Over the 12 days of festive cheer last year, ChildLine – a service provided by the NSPCC – counselled over 3,500 children who were in danger or distress and had nowhere else to turn. By supporting this appeal you will be helping to provide support, advice and protection for these children who are in desperate need of help.”

Also on offer is a Baby’s First Christmas letter from Santa, which is the perfect keepsake for newborns celebrating their first festive season.

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Guest Post: {Thrifty Christmas} Card Holder

I have agreed to post this entry from Snaffles Mummy as she does not want to spoil any Christmas surprises for her friends. More of Snaffles Mummy’s ideas for a Thrifty Christmas can be found here.

So, I will now hand over to Snaffles Mummy…..

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Firstly I would like to thank Liz for posting this for me.

I am so excited about my latest Thrifty Christmas creation that I am desperate to go running to show my best friend it. However, I am having to restrain myself because my creation is for my friend. I am also intending to keep it a secret from my other friends too as I think it can easily be adapted to different designs.

My inspiration came from the Tesco Christmas magazine for a Union Jack Christmas Card Holder. My best friend is loving all things Union Jack at the minute so rather than a card holder I thought it would work just as well as a notice board.

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All instructions can be found on the Tesco website. It was very quick and simple to make and can be done in any colour combinations. I managed to locate all supplies at Boyes for less than £7. I have seen smaller versions in shops on sale for £15.

So, here is the finished article. I cant wait to get started on other colour combo’s.

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