Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Review - Bags of Love Photo Canvas Print

In my youth, I was never one for taking many photographs.  My attitude was ‘why stand still, taking photos of your life when you could be out there living it?’.  It's a motto that stood me my youth.

But now, as a mother, I am becoming obsessed with photographs.  The one thing about children is that they grow up so fast.  I want to document my children’s path in this world, from mewling newborn infants to know it all teenagers and beyond.  These are memories, like my wedding day, that I cherish.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Let's get flexible

A couple of weeks ago, after more than eight months of holding down my full-time, Monday-to-Friday-in-an-office job, I decided that enough was enough.  I handed in a flexible working application.

Image credit: Stuart Miles |

I work 7.5 hours a day, five days a week and I have a commute that takes up another 2.5 hours in total (on a good day).  They're long old days.  I leave the house after having a quick breakfast with my children and come home just in time to give them a bath and get them into bed.  If I'm lucky, we get about half an hour of playtime in there too.  Then, once Sophia and Dexter are in bed, it's time to crack on with housework, this blog and, of course, my Working Parents United website.

I'm shattered.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Tips on caring for children with chickenpox

We have The Pox.  Of the chicken variety.  Poor little Dexter is slowly getting covered in spots, although is still able to carry a smile (my brave little boy!).

Chickenpox is one of those illnesses that I suppose it's inevitable children will get at some point.  I was just hoping that they wouldn't catch it so soon.  At the moment, Dexter doesn't seem to letting his spots trouble him, which is good news.  But, I'm on alert and gearing myself up for Sophia becoming ill.  She's fine at the moment but I'm sure that will change at some point fairly soon.  Because she's older, I'm certain it will be more of a battle to stop her scratching her skin.

What is chickenpox?

Friday, 19 October 2012

Review - Legoland Windsor Resort

With half-term fast approaching, have you any ideas about how to keep your children occupied?  Have you thought about Legoland Windsor as a 'day out' destination? 

The end of last month was pretty hectic for me, not least because of the launch of Working Parents United.  There was a lot of work involved behind the scenes (and still is) and the launch was tiring yet exhilarating in equal measure.  So it was with great relief that a week off from work fast approached.  My husband and I planned lost of fun activities for the children – it was going to be a real getaway for us all – and Legoland Windsor was amongst them. 

Monday, 15 October 2012

Children and stage shows: Tips for an enjoyable experience

Last year when I started this blog, I wrote about the Disney on Ice: Worlds of Fantasy show that my husband and I took Sophia to watch.  I described how she was mesmerised by the vast majority of the show while Dexter stayed at home with his grandparents because he was only around seven-months-old or so at the time.

But, one year on and things are different.  One year on and both Sophia and Dexter have grown so much.  They're both taller for starters but that's not really what I mean.  Their personalities are getting more distinct every day, they are able to do more and more complex tasks and they are also able to sit and watch their favourite films from start to finish.  One year on and I think both of them would enjoy sitting through an eye-catching, fun, spectacular show.  And, as luck would have it, there's a new show in town which I think they will love and can't wait to take them to see - Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The newest member of the family

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Getting a cat? What to buy...

In a few days time we will be welcoming a new addition into our family - a beautiful, little white and blue kitten.  There is much excited anticipation here in the Chez Mummy household and we've been busy making our home cat-proof, ready for his arrival. 

There's so much to think about when getting a pet and so many things to buy.   Here's our must-have list of essentials when preparing your home for a cat...

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Review – The Vampire Diaries Season One DVD boxset

The notion of vampires intrigues me.  I enjoy the mythology in which vampires are steeped; the historical truth behind them; the superstitions from whence they sprang.  I even wrote tens of thousands of words on it for my major dissertation at university (the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show to be more precise).

The fairly modern idea of teen supernatural dramas – of which I believe Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the first – brought forth an interesting concept of high school as the stage for metaphorical battles and issues which teenagers face every day (such as ‘fitting in’ and being accepted by peers, being popular, bullying and teenage romance).  If you think about it's quite fitting - vampires are sexualised beings and adolescents have raging hormones of their own as they deal with puberty and, inevitably, sex.

Where Buffy began, others have followed and the Vampire Diaries is one of the most recent in this line of American teenage vampire angst dramas.  I’ve come to this particular television show relatively late – its fourth season is about to begin on ITV2 tonight, while I’m still languishing in the midst of season one – but it’s an interesting one to watch.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

ONEMums in Africa: Show your support

As you know, I am a ONEMums Ambassador - part of a group of bloggers (who are mums, obviously) who support ONE, a grassroots advocacy organisation dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.

Two of my fellow ONEMums have been lucky enough to be asked on a trip of a lifetime to go to Ethiopia and see first-hand how ONE is helping third-world communities in need.  They are Michelle from Mummy from the Heart and Jen who writes over at Jenography and is a co-founder of BritMums.  They jet off tonight for two weeks and will be joined by a bunch of American mommy bloggers and an Ethiopian-born model and philanthropist to see the good work that is being done.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Jingle Puzzle review and giveaway

Sophia is mad on jigsaws, she has been since she was about 18-months-old.  You can see she gets a thrill out of putting a picture together piece by piece and I enjoy seeing her co-ordination and mental agility develop as a result.

So, when we were given the opportunity to review a new kind of jigsaw - a Jingle Puzzle - I thought it sounded like the sort of thing Sophia would love. 

Jingle Puzzles are made by Music for Kids and is sold by the website Musicroom.  Each set (of which there are currently four) includes a music-based puzzle, a sing-along CD with bonus story and an activity booklet and stickers.  These puzzles are aimed at three to six-year-olds, to engage them with their first ‘hands-on’ introduction to music.

We were sent an Old MacDonald's Farm Jingle Puzzle to review and, you lucky readers, I have one to give away too!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Forget the blame game, the priority is to find April Jones

On Monday 1 October 2012, five-year-old April Jones from Machynlleth in Powys, Wales got into a van at around 7pm and hasn't been seen since.  Her parents are naturally said to be "shattered" by her disappearance and the whole community is in shock, with large numbers of people turning out to help search for the little girl.

Stories like this are heartbreaking, especially as a mother to two young children.  I hope April is safe and unharmed, and quickly.  When I was a child, my family used to holiday regularly in Machynlleth, staying at a caravan park just outside of the town.  Although I haven't visited the town for around 15 years, I certainly remember it as a small, quiet, sleepy, market town nestled amongst large Welsh hills.  It's one of the reasons why April's disappearance has particularly affected me.  I remember Machynlleth as being a place where nothing ever really happened; it was so ordinary and so safe.

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