Friday, 4 July 2014

Summer Hols

Just a quick post to say thanks so much for all your amazing support on the Telegraph thang I wrote. 11K shares!!!! Super chuffed and totally blown away by all the lovely comments. Thank you!

I'm taking a break for the summer but normal service will resume in September. I may do the odd post and will try to comment on blogs now and then, but mainly I will be savouring a long uninterrupted summer with my children - the eldest starts school in September. Gulp! So I feel the need to make the most of this precious time. And drink Pimms.

Have a lovely summer people, but don't forget me. Catch up again in the Autumn. xxx

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Sunday, 22 June 2014

What I REALLY thought about BritMumsLive

Wow, BritMumsLive, what a weekend. So many highs;

  • It was AMAZING to meet the real people behind the blogs I've admired since the first time I ever hit publish. I was so nervous of things going 'Catfish' but all went swimmingly. Everyone was even more lovely and inspiring in real life.

  • The Bloggers Keynote - such talented, strong, funny, inspiring bloggers. You made me weep fat tears, laugh like a child and be proud to be a blogger. Definitely the best part of the programme. 

  • The seminars - at last, I have a slippery grip on Google +, SEOs and the point of going self-hosted. It's takes a lot to make me see the point of these things but somehow the Britmums seminar leaders did it. Thank you!

  • The organisers - everyone I met was super helpful and well organised. Good job.

Just a few teeny, tiny lows... And bear with me on these. I am sooooo nervous about posting them. Please don't bury me forever Britmums. I'm just being honest - like many of your seminar leaders urged. Not all of them though...

  • Some of the speakers joked about lying and sleeping your way to the top. Once would have been fine, but it just kept coming up. First up; know your audience, speakers. We're mums!!!! Lying around sleeping? What's that then?

  • But seriously, no matter how you take those throw away comments, they're not inspiring. Who wants to be flat on their back, when they could be staring at a keyboard, pouring out their soul to an unseen, unguaranteed audience at two in the morning, between baby-wakings and six am starts? ;-) Who wants to fake it in the only place that's 100% theirs? If we can't be ourselves on our blogs - our passion, our pride, our biggest platform - what's the point? For me, blogging is all about being yourself, answering to no one and doing what you love. Like hell I'm gonna trash that with ANYTHING that doesn't feel true. Especially not now I've got a daughter. I don't know why that makes a difference, but it does. 

  • Awards. Yep, this is a tricky one. Hands up, I was shortlisted in Fresh Voice, but didn't make the final, so maybe this is all bitterness. But I can't talk about the BiBs without talking about how disappointed I was with how things worked out. For me, Fresh Voice winners (and any category, really) should reflect the every-woman who's worked hard, probably in their very limited and precious spare time, to pour their heart into something that means the world to them - whether that's writing, making people laugh, aiding a cause they believe in or indulging in a hobby they love. Awards that celebrate this should not be pitching talented, passionate enthusiasts against celebs with professional expertise, a massive network, professional experience, resources and a built-in audience behind them. Especially in the Fresh Voice category, which by definition is supposed to be about newbies. I'm not saying this year's winner doesn't have a good blog that she cares about - more that she should not have been in this category. There's a reason you don't see celebs winning The Voice, Britain's Got Talent and X Factor; It's. Not. Fair. That said, the finalists took the results way more gracefully than I did and any bitterness is mine alone, as far as I know.

Anyway, can't quite believe I've posted this. Please don't hate me celebs. Please don't banish me Britmums. I'm speaking up for what I think blogging should be all about. Is it just me?

Friday, 20 June 2014

I'm going to Britmums Live!

Twitter ID@mmearthmother
Height: 5ft 2
Hair: Dark, short, bed headesque...
Eyes: Blue
Is this your first blogging conference?
Yes! Whoop whoop!
Are you attending both days?
Yes. Fully expecting to be a shadow of myself on Saturday thou.
What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2014?
Putting a real life face to my blogging buddies. Blog geekery. Having a conversation without a bottle in my hand. Oh wait....
What are you wearing?
Turquoise maxi dress and Converse. I tried very hard to remove the Converse but it ain't happening.
What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2014?
Meeting new blogging buddies. Getting to know those I've already met on-line.
Do you have any tips to pass on to others who may not have been before?
I'm a Britmums virgin so your guess is as good as mine. But my good mate Wry Mummy has done these cracking posts, which I'm living by.
What To Wear To BritMums Live? I am caught between a tart and a frump.
What To Drink At BritMums Live? Where I come out as a gin-refuser. Makes me melancholically murderous - you'll thank me for refraining.
What To Say At BritMums Live? Have you done your "Murder Board" yet?

Can't wait to meet you! xxxxx

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Do I really want Baby Girl to be a high flier?

I used to dream of being an air hostess when I was a kid - yes they were still called hostesses back then, but let's not dwell on that. I loved the idea of travelling the world, getting to eat those cute little airline meals and OK, the uniforms were pretty cool too - FOR THE 1980s.

Weirdly, things don't seem to have moved on since then. In fact, they've regressed. BA's female cabin crew now wear prim little retro hats and more make-up than a New Romantic. (Blusher and lipstick, at the very least, are compulsory.) Hell, they're not even allowed to wear trousers. Outlawed in 2010, apparently, despite the Baltic temperatures on most flights. 

And what happens to those fresh-faced feminists who flout the rules? Grounded, a la Jodie from a Very British Airline who was fired from the BA training program after being asked to reapply her lipstick four times on Monday night's show. Yeah, cause that's what all cabin crew need; MORE make-up. Us women are totally unpresentable without it, don't you know? 

Check out this video by BA if you need convincing.

Now, I like my slap as much as the next woman, but if I was ordered to wear it by an employer to 'add an extra layer of confidence', along with a 1950s-esque uniform I had absolutely no say over, I don't think it would make me feel proud and professional. I think it would make me feel like a doll, but then maybe that's where the term 'Trolly Dolly' comes from...

Still, at least British Airways don't expect their female cabin crew to take their uniforms off. Undeterred by being branded sexist in 2012 and having the ad for their charity calender banned for being offensive to women, Ryanair continue to put the cheap into cheap airlines

Their 2014 calendar features female bikini-clad crew members on all fours on the beach.

Poor Miss July - Ryanair were obviously too tight to even stretch to swimwear - she had to make do with her bra and pants. #Tightarse

Memo to Ryanair boss from Miss July; 'We said we wanted to burn our bras, not sunburn in our bras. Duh!'

So, what happens if Baby Girl decides she wants a career in the skies? I'll be encouraging her to be a pilot instead.

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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

It's a phase. Keep telling yourself that.

The 17 month old is going through a Climbing Phase. I found her on the kitchen unit the other day. She pulled a chair over, climbed on top and manoeuvred herself onto the work-surface in less time than it took me to construct a basic train track for Bouncing Boy. (Clearly need to work on my track timings.) It’s been a long time since we got through a mealtime without her climbing out of her high chair and onto the table when she fancies something on my plate. So that’s every other mouthful then...

I don’t know why I’m surprised. The kids have been going through freaky phases since the day they were born. Everyone knows about the Putting Everything in The Mouth Phase, The Car-Seat Fighting Phase and The Picky Eating Phase – Dr Google can’t help us enough when it comes to these perfectly-normal developmental behaviours. ‘Try fashioning vegetables into cute pictures’, it advises. Yawn, yawn. Tell us something we don’t know.

The Breath Holding Phase, for example. What’s with that? You know, that one when your toddler has thrown everything they can think of throwing, kicked everything they can think of kicking and shouted everything they can think of shouting so resorts to a spot of turning blue instead. No? Just us then... Perhaps you've endured this phase in its other guise; The Head Banging Phase.

And just when you think you can breathe again, the Toddler enters another death-wish phase. The Putting Everything Round Her Neck Phase. Baby Girl was a big fan of this one. She’d settle for necklaces or belts at a push, but only if she couldn’t find a handy electrical cord plugged into the mains first. I’ve read most tricky behaviour is part of nature’s grand plan to nudge babies through developmental transitions but seriously, what possible learning-point can come of this? Sorry, evolution, but you’ve fucked up on this one.

Other phases are less life-threatening, but just as annoying. Like the Poo and Wee Phase my son is rocking at the moment. Loudly. This lesser-acknowledged phase is all about shouting inappropriate words at inappropriate times. Bouncing Boy can shoehorn ‘Poo’ or ‘Wee’ into the most innocent of conversations. Hell, sometimes he doesn’t bother with sentences at all and just chants rude words at anyone in shouting distance. Baby Girl has her own version:  she can’t get her vocab round ‘Poo’ or ‘Wee’ yet, but is enjoying the reaction she gets from yelling what sounds like ‘Die! Die! Die!’ at 100 decibels at anyone in passing.

Even more embarrassing is The Naked Phase. Bouncing Boy dips in an out of this one at will. Toilet training only legitimised his habit, giving him the perfect excuse to get his bits out in public. Mastering the standing-up-wee heralded a celebratory combination of The Naked Phase AND The Poo and Wee Phase at the same time. Awesome.

So, what strange phases have your kids put you through? I’ve heard rumours of Drinking Bathwater Phases, Pants on the Head Phases and Random Base Jumping Phases. These too shall pass. But in the meantime, do tell...

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Why Kids Need to Learn To Win And Lose

Today's post - on why kids need to win and lose - is over on the HuffPost blog- please click here and have a read! All comments much appreciated here, or even better, on the HuffPost site. Muchas Gracias!

PS, in case you don't have time to click through, I'm sorry to report I didn't make the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Final. But am chuffed to have got as far as I did and really appreciate your support. Thanks again for your votes and encouragement. xxxx