Sunday, 27 February 2011

Behind the Scenes.... Silent Sunday

The girls have spent the whole week filming in Ireland for Annabel Karmel's forthcoming TV show. We've had a great time and we've all made some amazing new friends. The show airs in April, we can't wait to see it!
Biba is wearing a dress by Vertbaudet and Betty wears No Added Sugar.

Thank you to Vertbaudet for sending the dress that Biba is wearing for us to review. What can I say? Stylish, easy to wear, washed really well and easy to iron and it looked great on screen.
When Annabel's Kitchen hits CITV in April you'll notice that she's not the only one wearing the dress! It was so good that we had to prize it away from the wardrobe mistress!

If you're not familiar with Vertbaudet, they are a French based company that launched into the UK in 1997 selling through their catalogue and website. They specialise in baby clothing but also sell a wide range of girls and boys clothes as well as a great maternity range and a some cool nursery equipment.
I've bought many beautiful dresses from them over the years - pop by and have a look for yourself.

Don't forget to stop by Biba's Silent Sunday post too, she  loves your comments.

Friday, 25 February 2011

When can you leave your child home alone?

In the summer of 1978 I was seven and as both my parents worked full time my fourteen year old sister was charged with my care. It was never going to work and for a number of reasons;
1. She was a teenager.
2. She had a new boyfriend.
3. She resented been lumped with me.
4. Her friends thought I was funny and cute.
5. I'd recently blabbed to our parents that I'd seen her smoking.
6. She has always hated me.

It took about a week for her to work out how to get rid of me and by the end of week two of the six week break she was paying me 10p to entertain myself each day and all I had to do was be home by 4pm.
I was more than happy with this arrangement as even at my tender age I knew she resented my very existence and I didn't really want to hang around with her and her boyfriend anyway.
I wanted to be out exploring, running, building mud pies, making dams and dens and so I did. I walked miles that summer, well I think I did. A mile is an awfully long way when you're seven.

When I was nine we moved a hundred miles to a big busy city. By is time my sister was at college and with both of my parents working I became a 'latch key kid'. I made my way home from school, switched on the TV and entertained myself.

When I was ten we moved house again and I refused to go to yet another new school. Here began my first commute. A long walk, a bus ride and another long walk to and from school became my daily routine. Until I discovered the joys of the sweet shop where I'd just blow my weekly bus fare in one greedy swoop and then regret my actions deeply as yet another extra long walk stood before me twice each day. I don't think ten year olds are great at budgeting.

I look at my own children who at seven, nine and ten have never been left alone to fend for themselves, who have never had to make the painful choice between sweets or walking to school and have never had to sit for three hours in the cold and the dark because there is no one home to top the electricity meter up.

But when is the right time to relax the rules? To let children be children? To offer the chance to get from A to B under their own steam?

I don't think that my three are anywhere near that time but perhaps that's me being a control freak?
How old are your children? Do they get themselves to school and back? Do they spend time on their own at home?
I would love to hear how you've handled this transition.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 18 February 2011

Win a Copy of Despicable Me!

I loved Despicable Me when I saw it at the movies. And on Monday - just in time for half term this must-see family animation is released on high-definition Blu-ray (triple play), DVD and in spectacular stereoscopic Blu-ray 3D.
I actually have no idea what stereoscopic Blu-ray 3D is but boy does it sound good?! 

It's also available for legal digital download from iTunes and Amazon on the same date, which is great if you live in the sticks like I do.

Despicable me is a modern version of the classic 'baddie comes good' story that's packed full of laughs from start to end.

Bald, black coated Gru (Steve Carrell) dreams of becoming the World’s Greatest Villain but he's no match for his wimpy, nerd nemesis Vector who out-villains him and steals the shrink gun he was going to use to steal the moon. But Gru has a cunning plan to get it back. A plan that involves adopting three totally cute orphan girls who  change his life forever.

Packed with great characters that include Russell Brand as the mad scientist, Julie Andrews as Gru’s miserable, nagging mother and the irresistible bright yellow cheese puff shaped Minions.

I've got a Blu-ray copy, packed full of bonus features, games and three new Minion movies to give away. 
To enter leave a comment on this post with the answer to this question:

Who is Gru’s nemesis?

A)           Vector
B)            Minions
C)            Mad Scientist

Big clue... the answer's in my post!

You can also download a set of Despicable Me Top Trump Cards, that are really cool. Funny Girl is busy cutting them out right now in readiness for her forthcoming bid to take over the world!

Have you see the trailer?

Competition terms and conditions.

The comp is now closed. The winner is @MrsWebster147

Kodak Competition winner announced

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter this great competition. The winner of the super cool Kodak PLAYTOUCH HD Video Camera is @CherishedbyMe

Please let me have your address so that I can get it out to you.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

An Unusual request - Model Wanted

Following on from my post earlier this week about Yan To's live garment creation during London Fashion Week.... he's decided that he wants to ditch the mannequin and create his piece straight onto a real life human being! So, he's on the hunt for a fashion lover to take centre stage in this innovative, exciting project.

The human mannequin needs to be patient and outgoing as Yan and his team of three will construct, pin and stitch directly onto her, creating a truly unique piece of his SS12 collection.

It's not all glamour though, there'll be lots of standing and quite possibly a few stray pin situations too! 
Not put off yet?
Then read on...

Are you:
  • Size 8-10
  • 5' 6" and above
  • Able to stand for long periods
  • Happy to stand in a store window all day
  • Free this Saturday 19th February between midday and 6.30pm in London
The finished garment will take it's place in an art meets fashion exhibition at Layers and the human mannequin will go home with a piece from Yan To's current collection as a thank you.

If you'd like to be considered please email - press [at] yan-to [dot] com with your height, dress size, age and a photograph.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Has The World Gone Mad?

I was in a bit of a bad mummy place this afternoon when it suddenly dawned on me that whilst Yan was busy creating one of his pieces live in store as part of London Fashion Week I was on swimming gala duty.
This normally wouldn't be too much of an issue but the girls and I are off to Ireland next week for their filming slot in a forthcoming new CITV show and we will have been at dance show rehearsals all day and, well, I have loads to get sorted and I haven't even thought about packing.
So when Yan and Sonny went off to tonight's training session I asked Yan to tell them that we couldn't make it on Saturday after all.
Calmness descended over me and I instantly knew that I'd done the right thing in pulling them out.
My calm was to be short lived.
After informing the team manager, Yan had been told that it was OK as this wasn't a league gala and that they'd had to field their slowest swimmers so that they didn't get penilised.

Fire and brimstone may have engulfed me at that moment. Am I missing something? I was a swimmer, my dad was a coach. I trained every day for at least ten years of my childhood. Taking part in a competitive sport is about winning. It's about being the best. Well it used to be, though clearly not any more.

ModelGirl was over the moon when she was picked for the gala. Swimming's not her thing but she aspires to fill her spot in our family of county champions. And that drives her on. Makes her work hard in her lessons and gives her something to strive for.
Until tonight.

Am I missing something? Has the world gone mad? A swimming gala where you don't win if you swim too fast...
This modern practice of wrapping our children up in cotton wool to save them from getting hurt really has gone a step too far. Children are driven by the need to compete - many adults are too. Is that so wrong? Do you really want moments like this to be a thing of the past?
I would love to hear your thoughts.

Picture Credit: Rebecca Adlington takes Olympic Gold

Monday, 14 February 2011

Yan To at London Fashion Week

During London Fashion Week my uber talented other half will be creating one of his unique pieces live in Layers, Conduit Street.  Stop by on Saturday February 19th from midday to witness his organic approach to garment construction first hand.

I'm obviously biased, but his collection is a true work of art, made even more unique due to the fact that he's self taught. From ad man to designer in the space of just one year. He shy's away from sketching preferring to think through a design or to create straight onto a form. His pieces are wearable, individual and innovative, using common materials in a totally unique way. He's created his label with a unique point of difference, something that he believes to be essential. Fresh and level headed his views set him out as modern fashion rebel.

His debut SS11 collection is available in Harrods of Knightsbridge now.

Are you a fashion blogger or writer that would like seasonal collection updates? If this is you, please email your details to; press [at] byyanto [dot] com or leave a comment with your url.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Silent Sunday..... Yum

Don't forget to pop over to the Silent Sunday Linky for a window into this weeks goings on in the blogosphere and see what Biba's posted this week over on Bibas Photos

Friday, 11 February 2011

CyberMummy, Social Media Week and WIN a Kodak Video Camera #smwldn

I've had a whirlwind of a week to say the least. From the UK to Germany and back again via a spot on a Social Media Week panel with my CyberMummy partners Susanna and Jen.
Our 'Meet the bloggers' session was hosted by social media guru Eva Koegan and we were joined on the panel by the brains behind #Blogladesh Liz Scarff and some of the guys from the boutique blogger channel that I am part of, Handpicked Media.
It was really interesting to hear the views of my contemporaries and our comments threw back lots of reactions from the audience so it was a job well done.
To celebrate Social Media Week #smwldn, Kodak have given me one of their new PLAYTOUCH video cameras to give away to one of my readers.
This is an great camera with easy to use functions like edit, tag and uploads directly to all your top social media sites like Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is;
1. Leave a comment on this post with your with  your answer to the below question.
2. Subscribe to my blog (if you don't already do so), using the form below. If you don't subscribe I won't be able to contact you if you win.

The new Kodak Camera is called PLAY........what?
(A little clue to the answer can be found in the next sentence and in BOLD CAPITAL letters!
The Kodak PLAY TOUCH camera retails at £169.99. Full spec is available from the Kodak site. Good luck!

Enter your email address:

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ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions.
Loquax Competition
Competition terms and conditions can be found here.

Mummy-Tips - This is Me meme (apparently)

I would say a big thank you to fellow blogger Tara Cain for tagging me in this meme - but I'm not thankful so there you go! 
I did however have a portrait beautifully crafted by my youngest daughter on my office wall (hidden behind the door) ready to share. 

Popeye eat your heart out! 
For those of you sniggering as you read. I do not own red trousers or a red T shirt - so there!
This post was for the naughty Ms Cain's This is Me Meme and in keeping with the official rules I'm tagging the following lovely people.

  • A Modern Mother
  • Jenography
  • Mary Poppins
  • Maternal Dementia
  • The American Resident
  • Cherished by me
  • BabyGenie
  • MummySmiles
  • Mums Rock
  • ObjectivityRach
Rules are as follows:
  1. No shirking. You are tagged and that means you have to join in or else.
  2. Ask your child to draw a picture of you. It doesn't matter how old they are...age is not an excuse for not joining in.
  3. Post the picture on your blog.
  4. Call it the 'This is Me Meme'.
  5. Come back here and post your meme url into the comments so we can all have a good laugh at your expense.
  6. Then pop over to Tara's post to add it to her linky too.
  7. Tag some further victims.
  8. That's it.
  9. Erm... good luck!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Blogladesh shortlisted in the MediaGuardian Innovation Awards

I've some amazing news to share with everyone who tweeted, blogged and generally made a noise about our Save the Children Blogladesh campaign..... we've been shortlisted in this years MediaGuardian Innovation Awards!!!

The 2011 awards celebrate the most successful innovative digital communications across a range of categories. We made our impact in the Campaigning Category and have been shortlisted alongside Starbucks Love Project and FairShare Music.

I still can't quite get my head around what we achieved. Blogladesh was an incredible journey for all of us and I'm honoured to be their ambassador. 

The winners are announced on 24th March.

Wish us luck!

Press Request - Did you struggle to have a baby?

A top women's magazine is looking for a case study of a woman who struggled to have a baby - perhaps because of problems conceiving or recurrent miscarriage - who has now gone on to have a healthy pregnancy/baby. Or maybe you're an older mum who had a trickier time getting pregnant because of your age?

If you have a story to share please email jessicapowell [dot] freelance [at] gmail [dot] com 
with a bit about your story and your contact details. If your story is featured in the magazine you'll receive some gift vouchers in return.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Press request.. Do you use Farmer's Markets?

Prima magazine is looking to speak to a mum who loves to shop at farmer's markets.
It’s for a small item and she only need a few sentences and a lovely pic, hopefully at the market with her children. Ideally her children would be aged 10 upwards. A good op for anyone who likes to promote real food and a great plug for your favourite farmers market.
Please leave a comment or pop the journalist an email lucybulmer [at] blueyonder [dot] co [dot] uk.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Silent Sunday... FunnyGirl

For Silent Sunday. Don't forget to stop by the Linky on Jay's blog and also pop over to see what my other daughter has posted for her Silent Sunday.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Wikio February Parenting Blog Rankings.... sneaky peek

I've just been sent the sneaky peek of Wikio's February parent blog rankings and it's all change in the top 10 - lots of climbers and a slip of five places for me:( It's great to see the BMB blog enter at number 3 though. 
The full listings will be published by the end of the week over at Wikio. - February Parenting Ranking
1Sticky Fingers
2Me and my shadow
3The BMB Blog
4Sleep is for the Weak
5Redtedart's Blog
6Baby Budgeting
7journey of the mocha bean(s) and mummy
8Mummy from the Heart.......
9ParentDish - UK
11Monkeying Around
12The Diary of a Frugal Family
13Madhouse Family Reviews !
14Thinly Spread
16Who's the Mummy?
17PhD in Parenting
193 Bedroom Bungalow to Let in Crazytown
20Rosie Scribble
Ranking made by

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

How to make the Best Roast Potatoes Ever...

Every now and then a product comes along that slips so seamlessly into your lifestyle that you can't imagine being without it. That's how we feel about the fab new Tefal AciFry that we were sent to review.

We were of course sceptical, (we alway's are). 
A fryer that can produce chips with a crispy 'deep fried' taste using only half a teaspoon of oil? Ummm, whatever. 
Yan got stuck in straight away with a packet of oven chips, that being slightly pre cooked go in oil free. We all stood around and stared at the frozen chips tumbling around inside, willing them to cook. 
Fast forward half an hour and this is what we'd made.

Crispy chips made in a Tefal ActiFry

'Oohhhh' we chorused, just like Toy Story's Aliens waiting for The Claw. We were impressed. Even Yan was impressed - and he doesn't do impressed on a regular basis.

The taste test confirmed that these were quite simply the best chips we had ever experienced and there was no mess inside the pan. A quick wipe with kitchen roll and it was as good as new.

Day 2 - The kids burst in from school chanting 'chips, chips, chips' only to be met by my mean face and a firm refusal to eat the same thing two days running.
A row of sad faces stood before me.
"But Mum.... we love those chips...." cried FunnyGirl.
They weren't getting around me. No today was roast potato day.

Potatoes peeled, cut and ready to go. Into the ActiFry with half a spoon of oil. We stood and watched them tumbling around, willing them to cook.
Fast forward half an hour and look at what we made....

The best roast potatoes ever

Hello..... is that roast potato porn or what?!

I don't usually get excited about kitchen gadgets but the Tefal ActiFry really is fab.
It can be used to cook chips, potato wedges, sausages, scampi, stir fries and I did spot that Maria from MummysBusyWorld had really pushed the boat out with her seafood empanadas! 

Cooking time is longer than conventional frying but there's not a spot of oil or mess in sight.
There really is no better endorsement than one coming from my husband, who hand on heart states that the ActiFry is the best thing that we have ever been sent to test. Ever.
Tefal Actifry

RRP: £199.99
For stockist details call 0845 602 1454 or visit

I was sent this product to review.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Gallery... Shapes

Being the super organised person that I am..... I thought I'd get this weeks picture up nice and early...

I've come across some brilliant new blogs and some awe inspiring photography over the last few months thanks to Tara's weekly Gallery meme. I love the way she lets us slip into an easy routine and then she throws hardball when we were least expecting it.
I'm good with specific themes but ones like this week, so vast in their possibilities really make me work! I have to say I've been stressing and then I took this picture of my beautiful cat Cheryl and her giant alien triangular ears just did it for me.

If you're into iphone photograph, you absolutely have to get onto Instagram. You can download the free app from the app store and it will become your new love over night. You can find me there @sianto.

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