Monday, 16 December 2013

#PeckishCat Save A Bird Today

Jingle all the way and save a bird today

I get load of requests to post content on my blogs this one tickled me slightly so I'm sharing.

Probably because this smiling beauty is actually a highly tuned assassin responsible for the death of many birds, mice, shrews, snakes and rabbits. She even brought home a baby duck one day.

Bad kitty.



Apparently, up to 55 million birds are killed every year by bad kitties like Cheryl, so do share this post and Save the Birds by ensuring your cat is a jingle cat! #PeckishCat



Then pop over to Peckish and download their free activity pack.

*This is not sponsored content, it's educational :)

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Beatrix New York Tablet Case Review

I've written many times about my bag habit, so when I was offered these lush tablet cases from Beatrix NewYork, I obviously said yes!

I'm from the school of thought, that one can never have too many bags. There's always that next new outfit or previously unchartered ground that calls for one thing and one thing only. 

A new bag.

iPad Cases, Tablet Cases, Laptop Bags

They of course come into a category of their own and if you are anything at all like me - then they are actually the main category of bags in your life as I never leave home without at least two bits of tech and my essentials to stay connected.

The kids do a lot of travelling from A to B and an awful lot of hanging around at dance classes and swimming galas, so having their iPads in protective bags is essential to my sanity.

Enter the Beatrix NewYork tablet cases in four rather cute designs and two tween girls to put them through their paces. 

Beatrix New York Bag review.

First Impressions

Cute designs that appeal to all ages. Very nicely padded with a lush soft lining that keeps screens clean and scratch free and a top loading zip for easy access.

Added Bonus

They are also water resistant, PVC, Phthalate, lead and BPA free, should you want to chomp on them, though I see no reason to want to. And the 10.1" size makes them perfect for a range of tablets and not just iPads.

A perfect xmas gift I think! 

Available in the UK from John Lewis, or visit www.beatrixny.com for more info.

DISCLOSURE: I was sent a Beatrix New York tablet case in order to write this review. However the views and opinions are all my own.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A Younger Me : The Gallery

21 Again


Sian To MummyTips aged 21

I turned 41 this week and spend some time pondering about what age I would like to be if I could turn back the clocks whilst keeping hold of my 41 years of life experience.

I settled on 21 because I was about to change my life in such an earth shattering and unnecessary way. The bright life in this photograph masks everything that was going on inside me.

Hindsight is such a wonderful thing don't you think? I certainly would have done things differently if I'd known then, what I know now.



Thursday, 10 October 2013

Scrabble Art Wall Tiles

My baby turned a big old 10 last week, a milestone for sure. As they get older I find it more difficult to come up with original pressie ideas but I nailed it this year with these awesome Scrabble Art Wall Tiles.

Scrabble Art Wall Tiles

Betty loves them. I love them and they have the extra bonus of adding up to 10!

Handmade in Northamptonshire, by the only officially approved Scrabble Art company in the UK. You know that you're buying something that's been made just for you, with the love and care that you want in a gift for someone you love and you are supporting a creative, family owned business.

I don't know about you but that means everything to me.



Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Bonusprint Photo Book Review

I used to be a prolific Photo Book creator. Birthdays, holidays, days out and general memory dumps. I love them but they've been a casualty of my lack of spare time. I've got so many pics that need cataloguing and preserving that the offer of a Bonusprint Photo Book Review was just the inspiration I needed.

I opted to make a book full of the images from my London Underground Blog. I've been meaning to do for ages but just never got around to it.

The Bonusprint Photo Book online creating tool is really simple to use. Choose the size and format of your book, upload your images, place them onto your layout and order. 
That's really is all there is to it. 

Free Photo Book with Bonus print and Emmas Diary

I made my Photo Book using the £15 complimentary voucher that you get when you register with Emma's Diary. You can register and claim your voucher at http://bit.ly/18xqgZ3.
Bonusprint Photo Book prices start at just £6.99.

And my book? I LOVE it!

Bonusprint Photo Book Review Geekisnewchic


Bonusprint Photo Book London Underground lover


Disclosure:
This is a review post. I was given a complimentary £15 voucher by Emma's Diary and Bonusprint in order to write this review. All opinions and images are my own.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Coombe Mill Cornwall : Back to Paradise

Back to Coombe Mill

We loved our stay at Coombe Mill earlier in the summer so much that we booked a return trip for the last week of the holidays. Now, here I am on the final evening of our stay feeling quite sad about packing up and heading home. 

We all love it here. 
I'm actually able to switch off and spend quality time with my family, the kids lay off the tech and have actually spent this whole week without arguing. This is epic in our household.

In addition, the girls have a great new friend that they've spent the last two days with. Climbing hills, delving into caves, splashing in the river, catching hens, chatting, laughing. Good times.

That's the essence of Coombe Mill. Something for everyone. 

Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays

Coombe Mill Holiday

We've been staying in Millers House on this trip. A large stone cottage that sleeps 9. It's big, well equipped and perfect for two families actually. I could happily send for my animals and never go home.




Wednesday, 21 August 2013

World Photography Day : The Gallery

Monday was World Photography Day. A single day of celebration of photography from all over the world. 

Eden Project Sunflowers

I spent the day at the Eden Project, Cornwall. Where did you spend the day?

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

How to do a French Drop Plait

I know that we promised to make our hair tutorials a regular thing and it's about time we got around to posting another one! This is a two minute tutorial on how to do a French Drop Plait.

Enjoy - and please do let me know how you get on!


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Coombe Mill : The Best Family Holiday Destination in the UK

We didn't go away on holiday last year. So it was with much excitement this time last week, that we set off for Coombe Mill in Cornwall for a week close to my dad.

This was officially our second trip to Coombe Mill (the first was a flying visit a few weeks ago) and we were all looking forward to some quality, computer free time together!

Set in 30 acres of beautiful, secluded woodland, Coombe Mill really is a haven for families with children of all ages. We stayed at the Water Mill (sleeps 7), a beautiful cottage, converted from the original 16th century water mill. The accommodation has everything you need for a home from home stay including microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer, a decent hair dryer and WIFI.

Coombe Mill Cornwall

A stay at Coombe Mill really is whatever you want it to be. My girls would have been happy if we hadn't moved all week. (They actually complained every time we did leave). 
There's so much to do on site, from the daily farm feed runs to splashing around in the river and grooming the donkeys. They also had the freedom to roam around the site and at 9 and 11 they LOVE Coombe Mill.

Coombe Mill Billy Goats

For a family of tech addicts, we actually, truly spent a week offline and I for one, feel totally refreshed. Coombe Mill does that. It takes you back to nature, offers your children those basic outdoor experiences that we had as kids and as much as my kids love their iPads, they have barely touched them all week. This makes me happy.

Coombe Mill A great family holiday

I've stayed in many places in Cornwall over the years and Coombe Mill is by far the best. I wish that I'd discovered it before now because I know we'd have had many more awesome UK holidays to clock up next to this one. BUT, now we have discovered it, we have already booked to return.

If you're looking for a family holiday in the UK, I cannot recommend anything more highly. Coombe Mill simply rocks.

Take a look at www.coombemill.com for their official information.

This is not a sponsored post. I've not been paid to write this and I've not received a free holiday. I simply think that Coombe Mill is awesome. 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Gallery No 149 : Into the Archives

I wasn't going to join in this weeks Gallery theme. I got quite emotional looking through everyone's pictures and that made me really miss my mum. 

Six months on and it really isn't any easier. I'm still randomly bursting into tears at the most bizarre things (that only she would understand).

This photograph of Mum (aged 9) fell from the bottom of a drawer in my office last week. Her way of showing that she was with me?

Anyway, what I have realised after pinning it on my wall, is that Betty (who is also 9) really, really looks like my mum.

I'd never seen that before.

My mum

For The Gallery over on Tara Cain's blog. If you don't know what it's about, pop over and have a read.

Monday, 15 July 2013

The End Of An Era

School broke for the summer on Friday and as term ended, so did Biba's time at primary school

It's emotional and even though I've been here before, this year feels different somehow. I'm still not sure why.

Maybe because I'm not ready for my little girl to move to 'big school'? Or maybe because I don't want my little girl to make that next step towards teenage independence...

Leaving Primary School
I hope that her next school allows her to realise her dreams, just as mine did for me.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Kitsch Retro Deer and Kids Room Inspiration : Pinterest

I've been quietly enjoying myself on Pinterest, since it launched in beta a couple of years ago. I see Pinterest as my personal space. It's free from just about everything I do on any of my other networks and that's just how I like it. It works for me. Especially at 4am when I can't sleep!

I've been working on a couple of new boards for the last few weeks, that I'm finally ready to share.

If you aren't on Pinterest yet, or would like some tips to help you pin better, have a read of the Pinterest for Bloggers session post over on Claire's blog. It was one of the most commented about sessions at Cybher this year, and well worth a read.

You can find me at Pinterest.com/sianto

Kitsch Retro Deer

What can I say? My life just wasn't complete before I created this rather special board. It makes me happy.


Kids Room Inspiration

Cool and funky ideas for all over the house.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Gallery : My Inspirational Women

When I first started blogging there was this huge misconception from my 'real world friends' that relationships formed online, through blogging and social media, were at best, sordid and at worst, down right bizarre.

I spent hours, in those early days, trying to explain, to those friends, that Twitter wasn't just about telling the world what you'd had for your tea, (though in an odd, totally out of character coincidence, I actually did tweet about fish fingers earlier) weird. 

Anyway. This isn't about me, it's about a group of  amazing Inspirational Women, that I'm celebrating for week 145 of The Gallery.

Cybher Inspirational Women

 Jay, Erica, Sarah, Tara, Lizzie and Claire. 

My friends, who support and abuse me in equal measure. 
They don't judge me.
They ALWAYS believe in me and my ability to pull a miracle out of the bag. 

But what I don't think they realise is just how much they inspire me, each and every day. 

I'm not sure #why? or how but they all rock.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Shopping NEXT SS13 Kids Collection

My girls are big shoppers - there's no surprise there. They love fashion and as they swiftly approach their tweenage years their style is becoming, well distinctly personal.

At 11 and 9 they are both very brand aware, though this is in some part at least a result of Yan being a designer and Biba having ten + years modelling experience under her belt at the ripe old age of 11!

It's fascinating to sit back and watch their individual style grow. Betty at 9, would be at your sporty end of the Spice Girl range, whereas Biba at 11, can easily range through Baby, Scary, Posh and back again without taking a single breath or settling one complete look. 
It's eclectic but always comes together once a pair of her trusty Dr Martens boots are in place.

Our shopping trips are increasingly interesting, we are kind of in that in-between no-mans-land of kids clothes departments with their cutesy ranges and the neon lure of the high-street stores smart enough to stock small sizes in a 4 or a 6. We roam uneasily between the two, always in the search of a bargain or something we simply cannot leave behind.

One of the kids departments that we still frequent is NEXT (I still buy all of their school uniform via the NEXT Directory), so when Collective Bias™ asked if we would like to check out the new SS13 collection, and share our in store experience, we had to say yes.

Biba has a history with NEXT, she's modelled for them many, many times over the years and as a local client, was one of their in-house sizing fit models.
The best thing about being a fit model is that you know that all the items in the range are made to fit you! We never had problems with sizing in NEXT, Joules, Adams, Asda etc as she was their standard size!

NEXT Fosse Park leicester

We shopped at NEXT, Fosse Park, Leicester. It's a two-storey 'out of town' store with childrenswear nestled away to the rear of the spacious womenswear department.

First impressions.... too many styles, crammed into a poorly lit, cramped space. The isles are too narrow to allow a pushchair to pass through without knocking numerous garments to the floor and little or no thought has gone into merchandising or hanger appeal.

In usual circumstances (i.e., if I wasn't being asked to share my in store shopping experience), I would have walked straight back out due to the blocked isles and screaming kids.

And actually, we did leave the store and decided to get some food in the hope that a full tummy might make the experience more enjoyable.
Turns out that was a good plan, because when we returned it was to a calm, shopper free department that was much easier to browse.

The NEXT childrenswear collection goes up to age 16 online but in store the biggest size on the floor was an age 12. Rails were fully stocked with all sizes but the number of styles crammed in was just too much to take in. A total fashion overload.

NEXT SS13 Girls Geek T shirt
Geek T-shirt - obviously a big hit with Biba!
Both Biba and I pulled out some fab key pieces but we had to work at it.
If more thought had gone into shop floor display, our customer journey would have been less overwhelming and we would have left the store with more than two items in our basket. 

The cashier point is just outside the children's department towards the back of womenswear and despite it being 1.30pm on a Saturday lunchtime there was only one member of staff behind the counter and she wasn't in a hurry to serve us, even with a queue steadily growing behind us.

The till points were a mess. Piles of hangers and paperwork strewn across the counter as well as the shelf behind. If the store was crazy busy and you could see that all staff were engaged, that wouldn't have made such an impression. But the store wasn't busy and that mess should have been under control.

So what did we buy? 

NEXT SS13 girls denim playsuit
Betty wears NEXT denim playsuit £19 - in sizes from 3 to 16 years
Biba NEXT floral print dress
Biba wears NEXT floral print dress £21 in sizes from 3 to 16 years

Do take a look at our full store experience in pictures over on G+.

Disclosure :
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® #CBias #SocialFabric. All opinions are entirely my own.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

LOVING : New Tripp Trapp® in Lava Orange and Aqua Blue

I very rarely blog about my clients but when you are lucky enough to work for a brand that you love, their has to be the odd exception to that rule.

Today is one of those days because I'm head over heels in love with the two new Tripp Trapp® colours that were launched today. Meet Lava Orange and Aqua Blue.

Tripp Trapp Orange and blue

I'm in LOVE, like really in love but then I have a full on Tripp Trapp® fetish. 
I bought my first, second and third Tripp Trapp's before I worked for Stokke and over the years as old colours are retired and new ones come into the collection I buy another (or three). I have these grand ideas that I'm going to give the kitchen a make over by changing the Tripp Trapp's (well that was my idea when purple was launched) but I love the loved, used nature of my original chairs that have now been in daily use by my children for 12, 11 and 9 years.

We all sit on Tripp Trapp's when we are round the table - we own adult dining chairs, Varier (was Stokke) Date's but don't use them. 

Tripp Trapp® addicted.... and I NEED that orange beauty in my life - and quite probably the blue beauty too.....

Which would you choose?! How do you choose?! HELP!

The new colours will be in store from May. 

*Disclosure: I work for Stokke but my addiction and views are entirely my own

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Youth, me, The Gallery

They say that 'youth is wasted on the young' and now that I'm into my 41st year, I have to agree. I wish I'd appreciated my teenage years and not been in such a hurry to grow up. But that's an easy reflection to have all these years later.

I found this photograph of me in a big folder with my name on it, when I was sorting through my mums things after she died.

Sian To - Cybher aged 11

It's 1983, I was eleven, the same age as Biba is now. It was taken for the round of auditions I did for residential dance schools ahead of my senior school years. The auditions were scary and it turned out that we couldn't afford the fees despite my success. 
My life path would had been so different if I'd spent those final school years training instead of being headstrong and breaking all the rules for the hell of it.

Parenting really isn't easy and I'm deeply regretful of my grumpy teenage attitude now that my mum is gone. I truly hope that my children have a safe passage to adulthood and that they reflect on their youth  with love and happiness.

For The Gallery : Youth, do stop by some of the other posts on the link, even if it's just for the 80's perms. They are epic.


Bloggers Needed

Are you a blogger with a baby under 12 months - or are you currently pregnant? If you are I'd really like to hear from you for some client review opportunities over the coming months.



I'm looking to expand my list, so if you've never worked with me before please do give me a shout. 

If you are interested can you please email me with your name, blog url and the age of your baby?

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Filofax Doodle Review Part 1

I LOVE Filofax, I'm a long term user. That sound's wrong but you know what I mean?!

I received a press release a couple of weeks about about the new Filofax Doodle and yesterday that release was followed up by a Doodle for me to try out and share my views on.


We love it. I love it... it's like being back at school but being allowed to write what the hell you like on your English book.
A real review will be coming soon but the excitement got the better of us last night and we made this little vid. Enjoy...


Disclosure : Filofax sent me this item to review. All views are my own.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Together : The Gallery

This is me, aged 12, taken on holiday in Cornwall...the year was 1984.

I din't speak to my parents much that year, or the next, or the next and in all honesty I didn't really speak to them much at all in the years after 1984. 

Sian To
Me - aged 12 in 1984. Already bang into The Smiths and with a face to match. 


I don't know why, but I do know that look on my face because I see it every day when my own daughter looks back at me.

When I see that look... I hope, with all my heart that she is bigger, better and stronger than I have managed to be in my life and I hope more than anything that she manages to secure that bond with her sister and that they are there for each other.... together... forever...

Annabel Karmel Princess Cookbook
Photo of my girls as seen in the Annabel Karmel Princess Cookbook

For The Gallery over on Tara Lara's epicness... She's be the real No 1 Mummy Blogger to those who've been around long enough to know what shit sticks.... 


Word.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Dear PR - NO, I won't write for free

I've never been one to PR bash but as I've spent the last 18 years of my life employed in that very industry, promoting a plethora of brands, it wouldn't be quite right would it?

But enough is enough and as the number of active UK bloggers goes through the roof the ever desperate, insulting PR requests increase ten-fold. 
I have the benefit of being able to see the situation from both sides of the fence but now it's quite frankly, out of control.

Here's just one example from the 37 PR requests that I received (for just one of my blogs) today. Names and brands have been changed to protect the guilty.

Hi Sian, I have an embargoed press release (below) that I thought would be perfect for your blog. Do give me a call for high-res images or more ideas and high-res images click on link (sic). 

That's not my grammar going astray there...

Press release on snazzy new (embargoed product follows). 

I love it. It's totally me so I ping an email back to say...

LOVE IT. Can you send me a sample so I can have a play and photograph it to the theme of my images?

PR's reply...

Hi Sian, I'm sorry but we have been inundated with requests and are really limited on samples as it's a new product. Is there any way you can work from the image in the release?

This is where I start to get really peeved. You see, I had a release from the same brand yesterday, about another brand new product, that was equally as awesome and equally me, that I would have loved to review. 
Yep, I got the same reply. Inundated with requests, new product, use pics, blah, blah, blah.

Back to today, ANOTHER email lands, from the same brand about ANOTHER new embargoed product that would be perfect for me to feature on my blog. Only this one I don't like but as I'm already half way through my essay of a reply to the suggestion that I review from their press release pic I carry on.

Me...

Dear PR, 
Thanks for coming back to me. I hope that you don't take this the wrong way but there really is little point sending out press releases to bloggers if you aren't willing to follow up with product samples.
We are inundated with coverage requests like this everyday but we are not magazines with publishing houses behind us (even though may of us have more readers).
Saying that you've been inundated by requests so you aren't willing to send me a sample, simply says to me that you don't think my coverage valuable enough to justify the return.
If that is the case, please don't spam me with one sided requests because they will not result in my blogging about your products.
If this is your definition of blogger outreach then you are way off track.
I pinned and mentioned the product in the release you sent yesterday (sorry inundated with product requests again) and it was heavily shared but as my coverage isn't worthy, I've removed the links and pics.
I'm sorry if this comes across as being stroppy, I really didn't intend it to. However, if your policy is to not send out samples to bloggers perhaps you should state that clearly in your releases (along with the option to be removed from your mailing list). Then everyone would know where they stand, you wouldn't be 'inundated with requests' and us bloggers wouldn't have our inboxes flooded with requests to sell our time, space and content for nada.
I'm guessing that you don't work for free, please don't expect us to do the same.
Kind regards, 
Sian

To which I receive a swift reply explaining that the releases are for brand new products, that they really do have limited samples and they just didn't factor in that so many people would be interested.

Like seriously? I'm sure that this global brand isn't paying peanuts to be represented by this agency. Good job they have so much faith in the products they are promoting eh?

To end on a positive note, I was also offered an old product to review, which is nice and current isn't it? They don't want to upset me and really would like me to post a review on my blog.

I bet they do. The last I featured of one of their products my post sat at the top of Google Search for their brand name for a couple of weeks and has to date had over 18,240 views.

Perhaps I'm just being grouchy today? But I'm not convinced. Come on brands / PR's - step it up a gear and stop being so unworthy and insulting.

Rant over.

Out of interest, how many approaches like this one do you get? How do you respond?



Wednesday, 13 March 2013

C if for..... Candy Crush

For week 133 of The Gallery : The Letter C can only be for one thing... CANDY CRUSH!!!

Candy Crush Level 102

An ode to the hours of my life lost over the last couple of weeks, that I will never see again. Addicted??

Browsing The Gallery on TheStickyFingersBlog is THE ONLY way to while away the time between Candy Crush life fills. It's official. 

Now what level are you on???

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Dreading Mother's Day

I'm not looking forwards to Mother's Day this Sunday. I feel lost without my mum and uncomfortable with the notion of celebrating or even talking about mother's, when I don't have one.

I know that she's only been gone for a few weeks and I'm told that in time I will just learn to live with hole that her death has left inside me but it's just too soon for that now.

Since she died in January my inbox has been like a slow dripping tap of shoddy approaches from PR's desperately trying to scrape every possible inch of coverage from the Mother's Day cash cow. I know that sounds bitter but when 9 out of 10 emails begin with...

'Hi Mummy-Tips, We have been following your blog for quite some time and we just love it. Especially that post you wrote on xxx (pick anything from the archive and paste), it was brilliant. I'm approaching you on behalf of a brand Y and we would love to know if you are planning a Mother's Day feature that we could get involved in?'

It has taken every, single, ounce of my good nature not to reply to these delightful approaches, explaining that if they had actually looked at my blog this year they would know that my mum is dead.

I came close on many occasions. Then today I read this beautiful post from my pal Eva. She's another motherless, cynic with a PR background...

I found comfort in her words and the realisation that it wasn't just me struggling with this crap. We decided to celebrate International Women's Day (on Friday) and to just try to get through Sunday the best way we know how. 

All was good - until this afternoon I asked my fellow Facebook, Candy Crush, pals for a new life and who should pop up in my 'selected friend' list? 

Yes, my mum. 

I'm impressed that she's reaching out to me via social media but, boy do I miss her....

Mothers Day Candy Crush

I love you mum. x

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Justice For James Bulger

Twenty years ago today, two-year-old James Bulger was taken from his mothers side in a shopping centre in Bootle near Liverpool. 

Taken by two ten-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables who tortured and murdered him before leaving his tiny body on a train track.

The world changed that day. And as a young mother with a two-year-old son of her own in 1993, James's murder haunted me. I spent hours and hours trying to understand what would possibly make two children do what they did to that beautiful, innocent baby.

Justice for James Bulger
Photo : James Bulger via Google images
Robert Thompson and Jon Venables were of course caught, tried and found guilty, making them the youngest convicted murderers of the 20th century.

They were sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure, with a recommendation that they should be kept in custody for "very, very many years to come..."


Convicted murderers Jon Venables and Robert Thompson
Photo : Venables and Thompson's now infamous arrest shots from 1993
Very, very many years only seemed to constitute eight years in a secure children's unit for Venables and Thompson and they were released to secret locations, with new identities, banned from contacting each other, the Bulger family or from visiting the Merseyside region at all.

In a further 'comforting' gesture from the government and to see the boys back on their way into society, a worldwide media injunction was imposed preventing the publication of details about them, their shiny new identities or their geographical location. (I'm so pleased to know that through the tax I've paid from working hard my whole adult life, I've been complicit in funding Venables and Thompson's new lives - NOT.)

Maybe, just maybe, if this awful story ended there and Venables and Thompson were never to darken our lives again, things would be different but that isn't the case.

In March 2010 Jon Venables was returned to prison under an 'un-specified' violation of his licence terms. This violation turned out to be the serious charge of downloading and distributing child pornography, featuring children as young as two-years-old. Venables pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years imprisonment.

Then in February last year, lawyers acting on behalf of Robert Thompson informed Scotland Yard of their plans to take legal action against News International in the wake of the phone tapping scandal, that could see little Jamie Bulger's convicted killer being paid tens of thousands of pounds in compensation after his voice mails had been targeted by The News of The World between 2002 and 2007.

Now the phone tapping of celebs has never sat well with me but for Thompson to claim compensation for his phone being tapped should surely be looked upon as a proceed of crime?

His phone was tapped because he tortured and murdered a baby boy. How is it right that he could potentially walk away from this a very rich man when the Bulger family are still fighting for justice?

So - this is the point of my post. The Bulger family have a petition in place and they need 100,000 signatures in order to get the government to re-asses their policy on allowing notorious criminals to cash in on phone-hacking compensation.

At the time of posting there are already 8069 signatures on the petition. They can reach the 100,000 mark in no time with your help and if you want to see some justice for little James, please share this blog post far and wide. 

Sign the Notorious criminals cashing in on phone hacking compensation e-petition and lets all do our bit to get at least some justice for the beautiful James Bulger.

You can follow the James Bulger Memorial Trust Charity on Twitter @jbmt1







Thursday, 7 February 2013

Wreck It Ralph Review

Back in November the girls and I whizzed off to Disneyland Paris to attend the premier of Disney's newest animation, Wreck-It Ralph. The movie goes on full release this weekend and here's why we think it should be top of your half term 'To Do' list.

Set in the 'behind the scenes' world of arcade game characters, Wreck-It Ralph is a clever, colourful, classic tale of underdog coming good that appeals to the whole family.


Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) has been overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, Jr. (voiced by Jack McBrayer), the good-guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.

Wreck It Ralph Vanellope von Schweetz
Vanellope von Schweetz in Sugar Rush

On his quest, Ralph meets tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voiced by Jane Lynch) from the first-personaction game Hero’s Duty, and feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart-racing game Sugar Rush, who may just tun out to be Ralph's first real friend. But everything changes when a deadly enemy is unleashed, threatening the entire arcade. Of course, Ralph finally gets his chance to save the day—but can he do it in time? 

Hero’s Duty World Wreck It Ralph
Ralph in the World of Hero’s Duty 

I love the way Wreck-It Ralph taps into the nostalgia of classic 8 bit arcade games from the 1970's and 80's and combines it with modern candy coated animation (Sugar Rush) and awesome first-person shooter animation (Hero's Duty) as Ralph game hops to save the day.



I'm notorious for falling asleep in a darkened cinema, but Wreck-It Ralph had me chuckling and entertained from beginning to end. It's a feel good movie that's set to become a Disney classic
Word of warning though... when you get home, you may just be itching to dust down that old Commodore 64 and indulge in a spot of gaming, old skool stylie!

Wreck It Ralph
Ralph in his own 8Bit Game - Fix It Felix JR.

Wreck-It Ralph crashes onto the big screen on February 8, 2013. You can see it in Disney Digital 3D™ in select cinemas. No prizes for guessing what we'll be up to this weekend! The girls are desperate to see it again.

Check out the official Wreck-It Ralph website at www.disney.co.uk/wreck-it-ralph there are some cool games you can download (just incase you got rid of your C64 years ago!).

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The Gallery : Noses

Aggy has THE cutest nose I have ever seen!

Cornish Rex pink nose

For The Gallery.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Mum

It's been a tough week and despite my mum being ill for so many years, one that none of us really saw coming.
I was woken by the phone ringing very early on Tuesday morning. The home phone never rings, we don't even have a handset upstairs but I knew right away the conversation that lay waiting for me on the other end of the line. I raced to the phone and despite knowing what he was going to say, my brother's words hit me like a ton of bricks. BOOM. After twenty plus years of suffering from emphysema my mum had just passed away. 

Practicalities kicked in and my brother, No1 son and I headed to my dad in Cornwall. We had strength in each other's company but dad's phone rang constantly and seeing him break just a little bit further with each and every call chipped away at us.

I chose to see her at the hospital and it hit me then that she was really gone, that I didn't have a mum anymore. That was quite simply the worst moment of my life. 
Please cherish yours because when she's gone you will need her more than you ever did.

I dedicate this post to my mum, who despite battling such an awful illness for so long, was a huge inspiration to so many others.
I love you mum.





Sunday, 20 January 2013

Epic Sledging

I love my kids and moments like this one caught on film are epic.

 

If you have any cool snowy vids, do leave a link in the comments.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Crock Pot Rice Cooker Review

On the run up to Christmas I was approached by Crock Pot to see if I'd be interested in reviewing one of their Rice Cookers. I've always liked the idea as Yan's mum uses one and she makes very good rice!


Crock Pot Rice Cooker

The Crock Pot Rice Cooker is really easy to use. Add one cup of rice (cup measure included) and two cups of water, switch on and get on with whatever you doing. 
Your rice takes around 10 minutes to cook and when it's done it automatically switches over to the keep warm function. It really is that simple.


I have to say that that it makes perfect rice and the non-stick pan is really easy to clean. It's dishwasher safe but a wipe with a smooth cloth in the sink is all it really needs. 
I don't know about you but I'm prone to killing pans when I cook rice on the hob. This feature on its own is enough for me to never use anything else.


I cooked, Char Siu Pork with broccoli served on a bed of perfectly cooked rice from the Crock Pot Rice Cooker.

Char Siu Pork with broccoli and rice

I love the rice cooker so much that I ended up buying one for No1 son for Christmas too!

For more info visit www.crockpot.co.uk or their Facebook page CrockPotUK

Disclosure : I was sent the Crock Pot Rice Cooker for review. No payment was received for this post. All review posts are 100% honest.

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