Saturday, 27 February 2010

World Book day and the playground Mafia

I have a problem... 
On Friday it's World Book Day and our children are expected to go to school dressed as a literary character. So that doesn't sound too bad in theory - and it wouldn't be if it was about the children and the books that they love but it isn't.

World Book Day 1
When Sonny was in the reception class I managed to wing it. ModelGirl was crazy about Charlie & Lola so I made him a T-shirt like Charlie's stuck him in a pair of jeans and packed him off.
No problemo...
World Book Day Charlie and Lola

But when I arrived for parents assembly I realised that I'd been way off the mark.
There were fictional characters from every realm with costumes so amazing that they had clearly been working on them for weeks. Prizes were handed out to the two best dressed in each year and parents glared through glued on smiles, trying to hide their envy, disappointment and sheer hate for the chosen few.
Welcome to the world of competitive parenting.

World Book Day 2
Now I have two children to dress and this year I was prepared. Regardless of the opinion of my daughter, she was going as Alice from the literary classic Alice in Wonderland. 
I had a replica dress made for her and with her beautiful long hair she looked perfect. I was convinced that she was in with a chance of scooping the prize. I wanted her to be proud of me for getting her such an amazing costume that everyone would love. I had been sucked in. I was one of them now and I hated myself.

There were butterfly's as we entered the playground.... and snow queens and wizard's and animals of all descriptions. I took stock. Did a playground sweep and to my horror of horrors I spotted another Alice... (scraggy dress.. no competition there) and another and another.

The disappointment in ModelGirl's big brown eyes as she looked up at me made me shudder and we walked solemnly to class.
Sonny who had no interest in dressing up was over the moon that I'd let him wear his Dr Who suit. They have Dr Who books right?

Assembly time.... The parents all checking each other out in the queue, jostling for a spot on the front row, confident that the prize was theirs. 
ModelGirls class was up first. 
A boy in a home made robot suit that rendered him unable sit and A Hungry Caterpillar nailed it. Their parents obviously well versed in what was at stake here.
Sonny's class up next.

Oliver Twist - he was good, a deserving win. I looked around at the other parents, their expectant faces feigning joy for the chosen few. The next name called was..... 
Sonny.....
Are you kidding me?
World Book Day Dr Who costume

He was dressed as a sci fi character that had spurned books, he should have been disqualified not taken the prize. And now they were all staring at me.... the parents who had spent weeks planning and making sewing and painting. I was the enemy. Feeling the full wrath of the playground Mafia.

So where do I go from here? I've got three children to dress this year. No time to shop, a husband in Paris, homework, dance rehearsals, swimming club, gymnastics and work.
I hate the expectations placed on parents by school. Wouldn't it be better to spend the day reading and sharing stories than putting yet more pressure on frazzled parents?


This is going to be a hot topic amongst parents of school aged children this  week. I knew it wasn't just me feeling it. 

Read the second part to this post here.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Balance... what balance?

I'm a wife, a mum, I run a business, I blog, I Tweet. I stay up too late and don't get up early enough. I ferry my children to after school activities nearly every day of the week.
I travel (more than I want to) with my trusty companions MacBook, Blackberry and dongle always by my side. The online merry-go-round never sleeps and I struggle with irony that my social media addiction has turned me into an anti-social work horse.
I no longer watch TV and I've been reading the same book for months and months as my business morphed from a regular 9 to 5 into a 24/7.
I'm eager to kick the balance into gear. To regain myself and take some time out with my family and friends but every time I try I'm thrust into computer hell and two days back from where I started.

How has blogging changed your life? How do you keep your work / life balance in check?
I know that I'm not the only one struggling to make it work and welcome any thoughts, tips and advice.

Wordless Wednesday....


Feel the love.....

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Yan To interview from LFW

Hear about the new collection from the man himself. The AW10 Yan To collection is truly amazing....I know that I am biased but what do you think?


To watch more, visit live from fashion week

Monday, 22 February 2010

teens, kids, mum...

Until recently I had never really seen having children that spanned a couple of generations an issue. No1 was ten when TotallySonny came along - he  did have a major wobble but it in all honesty it didn't last that long. I'd been convinced that 'Only Child Syndrome' would kick in and from the moment that my new baby arrived my life would be hell.
It wasn't.... and despite being the big one zero, No1 son actually took it on the chin. He seemed to like the new bundle of blurghhhhh and as time went by the bundle of blurghhhhh decided that No1 son was actually the one person in the whole universe that he totally wanted to be with.
Now TotallySonny is nearly ten himself and No1 son has flown the nest - all the way to uni and I'm a mother without child. 
It's odd. A strange feeling. For me maybe more so as I've been a mum for more than half of my short life. 
I want more than anything for my children to lead happy fulfilled lives that I am a part of but I feel that I am trapped in the center of a very strong merry-go-round of competition, admiration, pride, judgement, rivalry and hate and I don't know how to make it stop..
My children hate each other or love each other. There is no middle ground and no understanding and it drives me to tears.
I know that every parent has similarly frustrated moments with their brood but I really have no idea about what I should do to make each end everyone of my children happy. 
I'm welcoming your comments and thoughts. Perhaps you have a wonder theory or you've simply decided to build a very big tower that can house / school our girls until they are  thirty and ready to face the world...

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Yan To in Metro

A proud day seeing my amazing hubby in national print this morning. He's off to LFW later today. Good luck honey. Your new collections rocks and we are all so proud of you. xx

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Case Study request for Pregnancy and Birth

This is actually totally fab. I did it when i was pregnant with FunnyGirl and the pics are the only ones i have of me pregnant. Not bad considering I have had four children!

BE A PREGNANCY & BIRTH DIARIST

Pregnancy & birth magazine is looking for pregnant women to star in its best-loved feature – Nine Month Notebook. This feature sees a pregnant woman tell the story of her whole pregnancy and birth. You’ll also star in the ‘six week check up’ in the following issue, where you’ll reveal what the first six weeks as a new mum are like.


We’re looking for women who will be about 6 months pregnant in April, who’d like to get involved. You’d need to be willing to keep notes on your pregnancy and life as a new mum and have a telephone interview with a journalist. You’ll also need to be available to attend a photo shoot in central London on April 1st and another with your newborn baby and your partner (where applicable) - date tbc.

In return you’ll get:

 *   Your hair, make up and styling done for you at both shoots.
 *   Professional photos taken with your bump and your family that you’ll get a CD of to keep.
 *   All your expenses to travel to and from both shoots paid.
 *   The lovely keepsake of your pregnancy story in P&b.

If you’re interested in getting involved in this fun feature please leave a comment with contact info - email or Twitter and I will be straight back in touch.
Please note – this is a popular feature that we get a lot of applicants for!

A sunshine award... for me....

 
What better start to the day can there be than getting a bright and beautiful award from a fellow blogger? This has been bestowed on me by fellow pr type mummy blogger, Catherine from BabyGenie. She did a great Memory Monday post yesterday spurred on by my childhood love of the Pipkins. It looks like we are all going a bit nostalgic!
To accept the award I am to use the logo within my blog, pass the award along to 12 other equally deserving bloggers, link your nominees and then let them know by leaving a comment on their blog and then share the sunshine by linking to the person that gave you the award. I only have six to pass it on to though as Catherine already had most of mine - darm it!
My deserving bloggers in need of some sunshine are..

Monday, 15 February 2010

Case studies needed for Cosmo Bride and Pregnancy & Birth

I'm posting this for a friendly journalist that I know. If you think that you might be the case study that she is looking for leave a comment on the post and I will be in touch. I will remove this post as soon as she has found the right people to feature.

DID YOU BECOME OBSESSED WITH WEDDING PLANNING?
One of the UK's top wedding magazines is looking for a bride or bride-to-be
who become obsessed with wedding planning - working out plans in the wee
hours, checking forums when you should have been working etc. We'd like to
have a quick chat with you to hear about how you became obsessed, whether it
had any negative facts and any time-saving, planning tips you worked out so
it didn't totally take over.

Your comments will feature in a piece about getting the perfect
work-life-wedding balance to help other bride-to-bes achieve stress-free
planning.

HAS PREGNANCY CHANGED YOU?
Pregnancy & birth magazine is looking for women who feel pregnancy changed
them to star in a real life feature. Maybe you were always career driven but
now want to be a stay at home mum? Perhaps you always thought you'd get
married but now it doesn't seem a priority? Or perhaps being pregnant has
changed your attitude to your body?

If you're chosen to star in the magazine you'll get to attend a photo shoot
in London where you'll get your hair, make up and clothes style and get
professional photos - a CD of which you'll get to keep.
Shoot will be on March 9th in London.

DO YOU WANT TO SAY A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO SOMEONE WHO HELPED YOU THROUGH
PREGNANCY?

Pregnancy & birth are looking for mums or mum-to-bes who want to thank
someone - a partner, friend, doula, midwife, family member etc - who gave
you amazing support or help in your pregnancy or birth.

You and the person you're thanking will get to attend a glam photo shoot in
London to have professional photos taken together. You'll get to keep a CD
of the photos and your travel expenses for the shoot will be paid. 
Shoot will be on March 9th in London.

Help my domain name's been stolen


All my regular readers are aware that I have been having more than my fair share of computing issues recently. 
First I wiped my blog, then I found out that my custom url wasn't attached properly to my blogspot creating probs with my stats, then I lost all of my email when the cats decided to re inact a battle on my keyboard......
Then on Friday I had what was quite possibly the worst problem to date.
My work domain had expired. Usually you get an email or a letter from the people that you registered it with asking if you would like to renew. I didn't get a letter or an email and my domain relapsed and I stopped receiving email.
You would think that this isn't such a major problem, that you simply get in touch, pay your money and away you go. But things are never that straightforward are they?
After many calls it transpired that my domain - the one with the great natural Google listings (search for baby PR and that's me right at the top) had been bought up by someone else.
This kind of thing goes on all the time. These companies wait for active urls to lapse and they snatch them up and there isnt really anything you can do about it.
I tracked the company down to an address in Mumbai. I tried to go onto their website but my mac threw up one of those scary malaware warnings..'visiting this site may damage your computer, asre you sure that you want to proceed?'
Erm.... no actually, things are bad enough without causing more damage.
I contemplated the reality of having to change my web address. No one would be able to find me - as my old details would still be traveling around in cyber space and at that point I realised that your domain should be one of your most treasured possessions. 
I got onto the Indian site using my iphone, found the contact details and gave them a call knowing full well that they could potentially ask for £££ or simply refuse to give my url back at all.
I got away very lightly with paying just $100 and within five minutes my site was back and my email service resumed.
It was an awful experience though and one that I wouldn't wish on anyone else.

Before I go and stick my head in the oven can I ask if you have ever linked to my blog that you check your link?
I am having real problems linking my yummymummytips url to my blogspot address and I'm now fed up of trying!
So it's goodbye to YummyMummyTips.com as I will now be happily residing right here on blogger at http://www.mummy-tips.blogspot.com
If you could amend any links it will make a sad blogger a bit happier!

...... was only kidding about the oven.... it's electric.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Memory Monday part 2

Thank you to everyone who has already joined in with my Memory Monday meme. I 've seen some fab posts.
I'm sticking with the 70's again today and I'm taking you back to my childhood.
Picture the scene.....
This is me aged 5 or 6. I am on a beach in Wales though you would never have guessed that due to the fact that the sun is shining. I'm clearly having fun - or pulling faces because I don't like the sand in my pants... (still don't in case you wondered), but on the whole this is a happy scene.
A little later and the sun is still shining and I am making a right old mess with an ice cream but happily sitting on a towel to keep the sand out of you know where...
Now this is where things turn dark.
I was a thumb sucker and I had the manky of mankiest ribbons that had many years ceased to be the blanket it once was, but I loved it and I took it everywhere with me.
My parents were desperate to part me from my beloved smelly ribbon but I was having none of it.
We were holidaying with family friends and the family friends had a dog. Lets call him Bob in the interest on non disclosure.
I liked Bob - we had been playing together on the beach for most of the day.
I'd been having fun letting him knock down my coffee cup sandcastles and watching him dig. Then things got bad. Very very bad. As we packed up our belongings to head back to the car I felt a huge surge of panic. My silky ribbon was gone.
I cried and I sobbed for days. I was anxious and I couldn't sleep. I wanted my ribbon back with every inch of my being.
Then one morning the holiday photographs flew through the letterbox (shows how long ago this was... post, morning??) and as I sat on my mums knee looking through them she started to chuckle.
"Look.." she said "I managed to get a shot of Bob burying your ribbon."
I looked at her - I thought she was joking but she clearly wasn't. I know that I was only five but something changed between us that day and the feeling I had as she chuckled has always stuck with me. 
My crew have all had their attachments. In just about every photo that I have of Sonny's pre school years he has his thumb in his mouth and his Cuski draping over his shoulder. ModelGirl has her cot quilt that she still sleeps snuggled up in even though she is eight and FunnyGirl has a bit of a thing for all things silky..... but we'll talk about that another time.. 
I've never felt the need to take their comforters away - especially as I gave it to them in the first place. 
I know that they will  give it up when the time is right for them but I have other parent friends that have resorted to the same drastic measures as my mum did. 
It seems to be quite a contentious issue - but what do you think? Is there a right time to ditch the dummy or blanket and how will you go about it?
You don't need to be tagged to join this meme just let me know so that I can link to you. 

Saturday, 6 February 2010

FunnyGirl does Chubby Bunny.. with a twist

So not to be out done by her older siblings, FunnyGirl insisted in getting in on the act. Only she doesn't do marchin mallows (as she calls them).
"Well" I said; "I can fit at least 12 chocolate fingers into my cavernous gob... if you take after me... you could be in with a chance..."
And so, the challenge was set... and yes this is stupid.... and hell yes it probably is a choking hazard. But come on.. Are we really, seriously not allowed a little fun?
Of course, if there are any minors reading my blog.... which I doubt.. then Please do not try this at home without full adult supervision. IT IS DANGEROUS TO EAT CHOCOLATE FINGERS.. OK!
video
And in keeping with the fellowship of the blog... I tag my BlogHer buddie (miss you too...) Rach @ Grasping for Objectivity, Rosie (how could I not) @ well RosieScribble of course, Sonny (he needs a re match cause he can't take being beaten by a girl) @ TotallySonny and the slacker Claire (who cheated by getting her big mouthed sailor bf in on the act) @ OMG.
Lets open it up here. Chocolate fingers (have to be the real ones.... imitations are not the same size!) or you can stay with the march mallows... up to you.
I am not wimping out on my own personal challenge set by The Sailor.... but I am telling you now, 5 is pathetic!

Friday, 5 February 2010

Sonny Does Chubby Bunny...

I was tagged earlier in the week by my buddies Claire. She was tagged by Karin (I think), but the truth is Claire is a cheat! She got her sailor boyfriend to complete the challenge on her behalf.
She also tagged my poor defenceless blogger of a son....
So here he is with his attempt at the challenge.

Please do not let your children try this unless under complete adult supervision!

video
Right..... so not one to be out done by her big brother..... ModelGirl in all her supermodel splendour decided that she had to get in on the act too...

video
Coming soon...... FunnyGirl does chocolate fingers! I will of course step up to my own Chubby Bunny Challenge - as soon as my cold has gone....

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

It's true... I am a freak!

I have to begin by thanking each and every one of you for helping me to achieve this great accolade.
When I began my online experience - it was tentatively (till I decided on the spur of the moment to leave my family and shoot off to BlogHer in Chicago that is...).
Of course - since then I have never looked back and I have grown and my business has grown beyond all expectations.
I have met some amazing people that I know will be my friends forever and I've met a few people whom I simply block (cause I'm polite when I want to be...).

So where is all of this going you are of course asking????? And so I present to you....... 
The official Twitter Graders Elite.... Top Tweeter in Market Harborough!!!!!
Yes... little old me... sad but true and conformation of my freak status... I have finally arrived! i am THE TOP TWEETER in Market Harborough.....

Of course I'm not one to sit back and bask in my 5 minutes of fame..... you may have heard rumblings in certain mummy blogger circles about this summers CyberMummy conference that I am co-partnering. You will be pleased to know that we (should) have our site live really soon - but if you want to register your interest please just leave a comment.....

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