Monday, 31 December 2012

2013 calendar giveaway, courtesy of WSPA

Image credit: WSPA
Before we all wake up tomorrow in a completely different year to the one we're in now, are you prepared for what 2013 might bring?

If you're anything like me the answer is probably, 'not quite'.  With so many things going on in my family's life - appointments, clubs, childcare arrangements etc. - I find that if I don't make a record of them anywhere, they can very easily get forgotten.   Plus, 2012 seemed to fly by so I'm probably going to need a calendar to help me keep track of the days!

Yes, something like a calendar is vital for us.   Of course, then there's the problem of whether you buy a 'celebrity' one (and risk looking like you're going through some sort of mid-life crisis, desperately trying to cling onto your youth) or a standard, non-descript one from your local newsagents (making you look ancient and boring to whoever may walk through your door).  Thankfully, the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) have produced their own charity calendars.  So not only will you get an attractive wildlife calendar, but you'll know you've donated to a good cause.

And for those of you who may not yet have gotten round to buying a calendar for 2013, I have three copies of the charity's Bears Wall Calendar to give away.  Interested?

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas 2012: The year the magic began

Christmas 2012It came.  It saw.  It went.  Christmas that is.  The big day that we'd been preparing for and building up to for weeks beforehand is over and a new year is fast approaching.

I'm a little sad to have waved goodbye to Christmas 2012.  For the very first time, Sophia understood about Father Christmas and was so, so excited. 

She became Santa's Mum and Dad's little helper throughout December; wanting to help get all the Christmas decorations out; set up the Christmas tree; hang up the tree ornaments; helping to wrap presents (not hers or Dexter's obviously because Santa and his elves do all that). 

The countdown to Christmas began on December 1st - the Christmas tree was already up and the re-usable advent calendars (which I love) filled to the brim with little treats. 

Friday, 28 December 2012

(Review) Holy Smoke Batman! It's The Dark Knight Rises DVD

Batman Logo
Image credit: | Flickr
"Dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, dinn-er, Batman!" 

I bet you were all singing along to that weren't you?  You don't have to pretend; of course you were.  And thinking of that old Batman joke I'm sure (why do you think I wrote the quote as I did?!).  

I used to watch Batman and Robin growing up.  What a camp, colourful delight of a TV show it was.  My favourite villain was always the Joker, although my sister being a little older than me admired Catwoman.

Tim Burton brought both of these arch-enemies to life in his first two Batman films as dark yet over-the-top caricatures.  I throughly enjoyed both films.  Then came Christopher Nolan, re-telling the Batman story in a way I didn't think possible.  Finally, we got to understand how Bruce Wayne came to be such an awesome fighter and owner of some very cool 'toys'.  He gave us a chilling and psychopathic Joker (much kudos to Heath Ledger for his performance) and now, in his latest (and supposedly last) Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, Catwoman joins the fray.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Santa Claus is coming to town

"You better watch out, you better not cry.  You better not pout, I'm telling you why.  Santa Claus is coming to town."

Ho, ho, ho.  Merry Christmas!

Santa Claus is coming to town

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Even our chairs are getting festive!

Elmo gets festive with Woody and Buzz

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas: "Show Real" video challenge

Earlier this year I began a video challenge linky - my bi-monthly "Show Real" video challenges - to try to encourage more people to experiment and have fun with video.  You may or may not have noticed that I've not actually set a challenge for the last few months; I've been rather pre-occupied with other ventures (like developing and building my Working Parents United website).  Sorry about that.

But, I can't let this year end without a Christmassy video and I thought, what an ideal topic for a "Show Real" video challenge!  So here we go folks - what does Christmas mean to you?  Do you have any particular traditions?  Any favourite songs?  Have you got any Christmas crafts you'd like to showcase in a video?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Edible Christmas wreath recipe (Domestic Goddesque guest post)

It's exactly one week until Christmas Day.  One week!  For me, work (in the employment sense) is starting to wind down and my thoughts are now well and truly turning to the big day.

We have our presents sorted, organised, wrapped and posted (where applicable), so we've nothing to worry about on that score.  It's just the issue of food now.  Not only are we making sure we have enough supplies to see us through until the end of next week but also that there are a few treats for us to enjoy too.  It is Christmas after all.

So here, with a fabulous Christmassy recipe is Kelly from Domestic Goddesque.  Not only does her edible Christmas wreath look yummy, this is a great crafty activity and one I shall definitely be trying out with Sophia.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

When work gets in the way

Image credit: David Castillo Dominici |
You may have noticed that I've been a bit on the quiet side recently.  It's felt peculiar not posting anything on this blog for a whole week.  I wish I could say I've been off living the high life with my family, gallivanting with high society or having wild adventures.   Sadly it's none of those things. I've been working, plain and simple.  Working long days, sometimes 12-hours long, and it's taken me away from the things - mainly people - that I love the most.

I work in PR and there are times when I work on press launches.  These involve organising a press conference, booking venues, writing briefing documents, advising spokespeople, 'selling in' the story to the relevant journalists etc.  It invariably involves a lot of time, effort, work and stress.  My most recent press launch was held earlier this week and saw me having to become single-minded in my work focus and working long hours to get the job done.

Although there is always an immense sense of satisfaction and pride when it all goes well, it doesn't thrill me like it used to.  That's because I know it's come at the expense of time with my children and if there's one thing I can't stand, it's having my precious time at home being stolen from me.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Win! Christmas ice skating at Westfield Stratford City

In London, one thing I notice about winter and the onset of Christmas, is the sudden appearance of outdoor ice skating rinks.  It always looks such fun and so festive with the Christmas lights lit up and a choice of whizzing (or stumbling in my case) around the ice or taking a break and warming your gloved hands around a cup of mulled wine.

So, with Christmas Day now only three weeks away - yes, only three weeks! - I'm offering one lucky reader a family ticket for four people (minimum of two children) to enjoy a spot of outdoor ice skating at Westfield Stratford City on the date of your choosing.  Ever fancied trying out some of those Dancing on Ice moves?  Now's your chance.

Ice Skating at Westfield Stratford City
Image credit: Westfield Stratford City.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

From woman to mother: The discovery of that first pregnancy

Image credit: Fred Jala | Flickr 
Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, who have announced that they are expecting a royal baby.  What wonderful news to top off a fantastic Jubilee year! 

I wish them all the best and hope the pregnancy runs smoothly.  Discovering you're pregnant is a magical experience and although Kate is reported to be suffering with hyperemesis gravidarum, I am sure they are so excited at the thought of the two of them becoming a three (or maybe more - who's taking bets?).

Their announcement took me back to 2008 when I first found out that I was to become a mother for the very first time.  Taking the decision to begin a family is a truly momentous step; a decision very easily taken but one that will change your priorities and identity for the rest of your life.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Review - Merry Stickmas! Card making kits for kids

So, today is the first of December.  There's no getting away from it - Christmas is well and truly on its way!   With that realisation comes the knowledge it's once more that time to set aside a number of evenings to commit to the writing of Christmas cards.

I must admit that I don't overly enjoy writing out Christmas cards - my wrist begins to ache after a while - but I do enjoy receiving them and hope that the cards I send can help raise a smile on the faces of those who get them.  When in comes to family in particular, I like to try and personalise cards as much as possible and get the children involved.  That way, the card is almost like a gift in itself to family members who we don't get to see as often as we would like.

And this year is no exception.  I was wondering what we could try and do this year - possibly some potato printing or a glittery, hand-drawn picture - when the offer of trying out some card making stickers landed in my inbox.  Merry Stickmas! Card making kits are aimed at children aged three and above and cost £6 per pack with free UK-wide P&P.  Each kit includes six sheets of stickers, 12 blank cards, and 12 envelopes in each pack.

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