Thursday, 29 September 2011

Press Request... Calling pregnant ladies

Calling pregnant ladies...

A leading pregnancy magazine is looking a first time pregnant woman aged 24 to 35 who is blogging about pregnancy and pregnancy related things to be interviewed and attend a London photoshoot in a couple of weeks.

pic : Google images

They are also looking for a woman of the same age who loves her body even more now that she is pregnant and a woman who has been inspired to start her own business whilst being pregnant but is still to give birth. Everyone will be interviewed and attand an early October photoshoot in London. All expenses paid, hair and make up taken care of and you can take a plus one to hold your hand.

If this sounds like you. Please email pasqualijones [at] btinternet [dot] com ASAP.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Press Request... Family with teenagers needed

I'm looking for a family - mum, dad with a couple of children aged 10 - 14 - who'd like to earn £500 by volunteering as models for an after-school shoot next Monday or Wednesday. We're after a real family rather than unrealistic 'model' types, and the shoot should be fun -  you'd have to smile nicely and play computer games on a DS!   It's for a quality broadsheet and the shoot would be in East London. If interested contact lucybulmer [at] blueyonder [dot] co [dot] uk
pic : Google images

Don't get me started on... the cost of school trips

I get that this seems to be turning into an annual moan about my children's primary school but what can I say? It just seems to get to me more and more as each year passes.
I've moaned about the price of school dinners, the stresses of World Book Day and how we dealt with racist bullying.

This term I will be mostly moaning about the cost of school trips.

I have three children in primary school. Its a state school, not a private school but it seems that just about every other day I have a letter about one trip or another and the cost associated with it.

I'm not a mean parent. I like that fact that my children get to experience lots of different things. Its the way that the school goes about it that really gets me.
Take last week for example.

Sonny came home from school with a letter outlining the payment plan - yes payment plan for his year six trips.

Trip to an art gallery - £6.10
Visit to a Hindu temple - £3.00
Cycle proficiency - £15.00
Trip to a Warning Zone (?) - £9.35
Oct 7th payment for June residential trip £60
Oct 28th payment for June residential trip £60
Nov 25th payment for June residential trip £53.45
27th Jan payment for June residential trip £60
24th Feb payment for June residential trip £60
23rd Mar payment for June residential trip £60

That little lot totals £386.90 + the £100 deposit that I paid last last term for the June 2012 residential trip, giving me a grand total of £486.90.

Then late last week he came home with a letter outlining how 'all year 5 and 6 children have been given the amazing opportunity to take part in the Young Voices Concert at Birmingham's NIA in December'. 
Both Sonny and Biba (who's in year 5) said that they didn't want to do it and so the letter went straight into the recycling.
It's not that simple it seems as I've had the school music teacher hunting me down for permission slips. When she grabbed me in the playground and I explained that they didn't want to do it I was told that it wasn't optional and that I had to return the permission the next day.
The Young Voices Concert is great, but its 50 miles away, in Birmingham, on a school night and they will miss swimming and dancing classes that I've already paid for.
Then for the guilt trip.

"Of course you will want to come along to support your children, tickets can be bought from the school office and are £15 each. Young Voices T-Shirts for the children taking part can also be purchased at £9 each."
So that's £15 each for Yan and I and an additional £15 for Betty (who should be at home in bed) + £18 for two t-shirts and £30 petrol and +? for parking.
The concert ends at 9.15pm but we have to collect the children from school so we'll arrive home at around 10.45pm - if we are lucky and then we will have to face a huge battle to get them out of bed and out of the house in order to catch the school bus the next morning.

Not my idea of fun.

So Sonny's trip total for the year has now topped £500, no doubt Biba and Betty's will do the same. Its a lot of money that many people just haven't budgeted for.

Am I alone in this, or does the same thing happen at your child's school?

Monday, 26 September 2011

Win a Limited Edition Yan To Jacket

I've been wanting to run a Yan To giveaway for ages and I've finally managed to get my hands on one of his Limited Edition Jackets. This is 1 of only 10 made (I have one and I LOVE it) and the others were sold in Harrods.

Made from cashmere wool, the jacket features a super a high neck that can be worn as pictured below or zipped up to create a roll neck. It's a versatile piece that looks great with anything. This is the last remaining piece and it's a size 10.
RRP on the jacket is £425.

To enter simply follow the instructions below and good luck!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Freckles are hot news!

Looking forward to next Spring.... it looks like I'll be rocking my freckles at long last!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cybher 2012 is here...

The Cybher site is now live and tickets are on sale!

Cybher is the first all inclusive female blogger event of its kind in the UK. It will bring together the most influential bloggers and speakers from all corners of the blogosphere to network, inspire, share and learn.

There will be fashion, food, lifestyle, beauty, tech, photography, social good and travel to network, inspire, share and learn. There will be brands that interest all women and not just parents. In fact there will be so much on offer that you will question how we managed to fit it all in.

If you're a woman and you blog then Cybher is for you. Simple.

The schedule is coming soon, but you can expect workshops, debates, conversations, and aspirational speakers covering a whole range of subjects.

You can keep up to date with news and additions to the schedule at and you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook too.

Thank you to everyone who has shown me support over the last couple of months. You know who you are and you have been amazing. And an even bigger thank you to Yan, Claire and Emma - you guys rock.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Disney Back to School Giveaway

I mentioned these fab Disney Stationary sets in my back to school post and now I have some to giveaway.
The reusable Cars and Tangled carry cases are packed with everything a little one needs to get organised in the stationary department including pens, highlighters, notebook, ruler, sticky notes and tape.
I have one Cars and one Tangled set worth £10 each to give away - please make sure you state which design you'd like to win.
Good luck!

Enter using this really cool new geeky widget!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Coasting Along for Water Aid

On Saturday, accompanied by group of intrepid bloggers (and their children) I took to the South Downs as an ambassador for Water Aid's Coast Along project. 
Our five mile circular route around the stunningly beautiful coastline had it all.
Excitement, fresh air, drama, sunshine and a little light rain but we completed our task with vigour and pride despite the challenges we met on the way.

My team mates Rosie Scribble, Nixdminx, Bumpwear Claire and Mummy in Manolos and all of their beautiful children aged from 3 to 11 were pretty amazing. Lots of new friendships were made and no one wanted to say their goodbyes when it was time to leave.

A very big thank you to Premier Inn for our accommodation. The staff at the Eastbourne hotel were lovely (they even packed us off with a bag full of emergency Haribo to keep our energy up on the walk) and to the Rabbits, you guys rock.

It isn't too late to support us. Our Just Giving page will remain active for a while longer and every single pound donated makes a difference.

Here's a few pics from our adventure and some info on Water Aid and why they need your support.

Leaving home...

Team Bunny...

Eva, Claire & Biba with Lo in stroller...

The beautiful view...

A bit tired....

 But a weekend by the sea needs a bag of shells...

About Water Aid

Water is essential for life, yet one in eight of the world’s population do not have access to it and almost 40% of the world’s population do not have adequate sanitation.
WaterAid is a leading independent organisation which, with its partners, uses practical, sustainable solutions to enable the world’s poorest people to gain access to safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation.
We work in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region and campaign globally with our partners to realise our vision of a world where everyone has access to these basic human rights.
We believe that the provision of safe water and sanitation is an essential first step in the climb out of poverty
Women and children walk on average 6km to often unprotected water sourcessuch as rivers or muddy dugouts.
In urban areas people have no choice but to collect water from polluted waterways or pay sky high prices to buy it from vendors. The average weight of water carried is 20 kg.
Carrying the heavy water containers back home is an exhausting task, taking up valuable time and energy.
This lack of access to clean water and safe sanitation impacts severely upon health, education, and income:
  • 4000 children die needlessly every single day – more than Malaria, AIDS and Measles combined.
  • Over half the hospital beds in Africa are filled with people suffering from preventable diarrhoeal diseases.
  • Women have less time for productive activities because of time spent collecting water or caring for sick family members.
  • Illness and lack of sanitation facilities in the classroom mean children are unable to go to school and miss out on an education.
Inadequate sanitation and water keeps people living in poverty. You can change this by joining Coast Along for WaterAid and help transform lives:
  • £50 could pay for a handpump in Nepal, providing a community with life – changing clean water
  • £100 could supply a village in Madagascar with the tools needed to maintain its water point long-term
  • £150 could provide people in Ethiopia with a safe and hygienic composting latrine

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Walking for Water Aid

Just over fifteen years ago as I lay in intensive care, I was told that I'd never walk again. I've been on a pretty amazing journey since then but this Saturday 10th September I'll be well and truly stepping outside of my comfort zone as I join a group of friends as we take part in Water Aid's Coast Along.
What we're doing, really is no big deal.... a five mile walk around the beautiful scenery of The South Downs, but I haven't actually told anyone (my own children included) that in reality I'm not sure if I can make it, that I haven't walked five miles since 1993. 
I'm pretty good at masking how much it hurts to just put one foot in front of the other but I am determined to make every single step of those five miles. 
I will be tweeting and Instagraming along the way and any support you can give us will be greatly appreciated.

Especially if you live around the South Downs and I need rescuing.
You can donate here.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Back to School HP Photosmart Printer Giveaway

My lot are into their second week of school now, but for lots of parents today is the very first day of their little ones school lives.

I have a bumper of week 'Back to School' giveaways for you kicking off with this Photosmart Printer from HP.

The competition is now closed - the winner has been drawn and notified. Thank you for entering.

To enter all you need to do is a leave a comment on this post telling me what you do with all of the photographs you take? Perhaps you print them out, upload them to social networking sites like Facebook, Flickr and instagram. Or do you just upload them and store them on your computer?
The winner will be chosen at midnight (GMT) 12/09/11 at random from all of the comments left on the post. Usual terms and conditions apply.

Before you enter, HP have some great printing tips to share with you.

Between the school run and supermarket shop, juggling work and playtime –  all the while being a domestic goddess – you’ll notice how quickly time flies! So whether you’re ‘freezing time’ with pictures to capture those precious family moments, helping the kids with a school project, or just reviewing work documents, here are a few printing pointers to get the best out of what you’re doing.

There’s more to print than meets the eye,  so grab yourself a cuppa and take five to read some creative, green and money saving printing tips!

Think before you print
It sounds obvious, but using the wrong materials or the wrong printer settings is one of the most common reasons for poor quality materials and it gets expensive.

·         Print in draft: Get your green head on if you’re going to be printing a lot of text, especially if you’re only proofing homework, or maybe documents from work. Printing in draft not only helps the environment but it will save you time and money too!

·         Long lasting memories:  On the other hand, for vibrant long-lasting pictures which will take pride of place on the mantelpiece – make sure you’re using the right paper and ink. Most photo printers now deliver professional quality photos at home so it’s time to get snap happy.

Take advantage of the technologies available!
Every day we hear about new gadgets, apps and innovations in technology – print is no different. Make sure you know what’s new in the world of print to make your experience as easy as possible.

·         Beyond wireless: HP’s unique ePrint technology means you no longer have to be attached to a network or even a laptop / PC in order to print! Every HP ePrinter has its own email address, so as long as you can email something (from your mobile for example), you can print it, from anywhere in the world, to your printer at home.

·         Holiday snaps:  Why wait until the holiday is over before sharing the family holiday photos with granny and granddad – using HP ePrint you could email them a picture of your family on the beach and it will immediately be printed out, bring the sun, sea and sand to your parents’ front room!

Don’t forget the environment

·         Look for the duplex printer function, allowing you to print on both sides of the paper every time you hit print – most new printers have them. Selecting this option means you halve your paper usage and use less energy to print - without compromising on quality - but you’re doing your bit for the environment too!

·         Certified sustainable: keep an eye out when buying your ink and paper that your purchases come from a sustainable source, or are accredited with a reputable energy award. Not only are HP papers and inks all EnergyStar certified, but HP is also the only print company which operates a ‘closed loop’ recycling programme, meaning cartridges are recycled back into new cartridges (rather than downgraded into poorer quality plastics). To date, HP has manufactured more than ONE BILLION recycled cartridges using this process!

Colour counts!
Finally, don’t forget that you can make anything come to life by designing and printing it in colour – and doesn’t have to be an expensive luxury!

·         The colourful party: Get creative with the kids and design their next birthday party invites with them. They’ll love being hands on in the process and invites will come to life by making them personalised and printed in colour. What’s more, printing at home is likely to be less expensive than purchasing pre-designed invites off the shelf. Why not print some fun decorations for the party from your printer too. Designing special placemats, goody bag cards and even hats will make sure everyone remembers the party for a long time!

·         Colour means business: if you want to make a real impact with potential clients, new customers or a new supplier, remember that printing your marketing materials in colour will add an extra dimension that black and white simply doesn’t muster.  One company we know of starting printing invoices in colour, with balances in red ink, and found payment response times increased immediately – people don’t like seeing red on a statement! How could you make your business more effective with colour?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Xbox Security Settings Have It Covered

I'm a geeky girl at heart and I know that not everyone would find the prospect of a live demonstration about Xbox's security settings exciting.... but what can I say? They promised tea and cakes and to share how they were planning to win the Battle for the Living Room. It was a no brainer really.
So last Friday I met with the other LadyGeek #XboxMums at a swanky London hotel for a discussion about the security measures that they already have in place and ways to improve them.

XboxMums and Kudo Tsunoda who threw himself in at the deep end and cared not about the consequences.

We're an interesting group of women, all with different experiences of home gaming and all with different aged children. I suspect that it's pretty difficult to create a secure environment for so many   differing needs but I think that within their 'Family Pack' Xbox have totally nailed it.

The problem as I see it is, that thanks to the modern trend of instruction-less products, us parents have to actively search out information online in order to understand the true capabilities of the amazing bit of kit that sits before us.. But who does that??

Take my family...
I think it's safe to say that we are 'avid gamers'. I had my first computer (a Commodore 64) in 1983 and my children have all grown up with games and technology as a part of their lives. 
No1 son had his first Xbox in 2002 and an Xbox 360 when they launched in December 2005 (they sold out at launch but I tracked one down on ebay in time for Christmas). #GoodMummyKarma
Last year No1 son went away to uni, taking his Xbox 360 with him and after months of begging, pleading and keeping his bedroom tidy I bought Sonny his very own 360 for his tenth birthday.
He took it out of the box and set it up independently. Minor input in the form of asking for the wifi key and he was online and off.
I never considered looking for parental settings because in all honesty I had no idea that they even existed!
I do now though and I have to say that I'm blown away by Xbox's attention to detail.
Did you know that you can age restrict games and online content? So if your sneaky little one tried their luck at age inappropriate title when your back was turned they'd need to know your security pin to even get it to load.
Worried about the length of time they spend gaming? You can set the parental timer so that the console switches off when they've reached their set time limit.
I love this feature - but that's the control freak in me! I especially love the ability to log into your console's settings through the web interface and make these changes from wherever you are.
That's ultimate parent power!

I would love to know about your home gaming habits. Do you have games consoles? Which ones do you own? Do you limit game play time? Do your children play games online? Do you worry about security settings? Do you let you children play games that aren't classified as age appropriate? Do you use security settings on your console? Are there any security settings that you'd like to see in the future?
Please do leave comments and suggestions as they will all be fed back to Xbox.


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