31 May 2011

I'm an 'On the Go' Mum with Three

I was invited to be an 'On the Go' Mum with Three. My initital reaction was 'I can't, I'm a technical dunce', but I guess that's my angle. I'm keen to learn how a smartphone can save me time.

Three's research found that mums could save 135 hours per year by making the most of their mobiles.  I want 135 more hours per year! At the fantastic launch event we discussed ways to save time and money with mobile internet. In the two weeks that I've had a smartphone (with MiFi) I've been able to get online and reply to emails when out and about. I've used Google Maps for directions and Vouchercloud to get instant discounts. I'm loving the app store at the moment.

The time I've saved by being away from my laptop has so far been spent playing I'm afraid (I'm Sandy Calico on Words With Friends if you fancy a game), but I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon. There are some wonderful educational apps and I've let my boys play on my phone when I've needed a little time to make phone calls (using my other phone!). This has been a life-saver as I'm dealing with solicitors and estate agents in readiness for our second house move of the year. I can also keep an eye on Twitter and read blog posts when the boys are playing in the garden and I'm huddling in my white plastic garden chair trying to keep warm.

If you have any favourite apps, please let me know in the comments. We can share time-saving tips.

Also if you've got a great idea for app that would help you save time in your busy life, well, we may be able to do something about that! More on that at a later date.

In the meantime...

Are you Britain's busiest mum? You can find this brilliant competition on Three's Facebook Page

"We’re on a mission to reward Britain’s busiest mums with the precious gift of time.

We’ve got weekly prizes of BlackBerry® Torch™ 9800 smartphones up for grabs, as well as a five star holiday to the Caribbean for one lucky winner and their family, including a make-over and photoshoot in OK! magazine

For your chance to win, tell us in 50 words or less why you, or a mum you know, should be crowned Britain’s Busiest Mum, and how a mobile makeover could help save you time.

We’ll also donate £1 to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity for every entry."

Good luck if you enter yourself, your mum or a friend.

Disclosure: Three paid my travel expenses to the launch event and have provided me with an iPhone4 on the One Plan with the all-you-can-eat data package, along with a MiFi, paid for until the end of the year. Oh yes, I also had lunch with Denise Van Outen:

That's Denise, on the right. She is such a friendly person and completely down to earth. We chatted about babies, parenting and the In the Night Garden iPad app that her daughter loves.

Here are someone else's gorgeous children being distracted by an iPad:

We also got taught how to ice cupcakes:

I decorated these. No, really I did!



30 May 2011

Save the Children - No Child is Born to Die #passiton

My friend, the fabulous @ChristineMosler from Thinly Spread, flies to Mozambique today with Save the Children. She is travelling with @tchee (who I know from Twitter) and @liliesarelike. Chris will be vlogging daily at In The Powder Room.

They are following the progress of a live vaccine from its source to its recipient, a child being raised in poverty.

I was lucky enough to attend a blogging conference at the Save the Children headquarters earlier this year. I heard first hand of the work they do and how they help children in the UK and around the world. We discussed blogger activism and tried to answer the big question, what can I do?

The answer is, simply, something.

You can sign this petition.

Rosie and Josie both tagged me in the world changing meme. If you would like to join in you can check out their wonderful blogs. Tag, you're it.

If we all blog about this campaign and talk about it on Twitter, using the hashtag #passiton, we will create a buzz. We will raise awareness of the issues facing those who are in need. Eight million children die from preventable diseases every year. Please join the campaign.




22 May 2011

Party Party with Baby Baby

So, you've got your ticket to Cybermummy. You've got your travel arranged and booked your hotel.

Now what do you do?

What if you've never met another blogger and are nervous about going to the conference, nervous about being in London on your own?

Maybe you went to Cybermummy last year and want to make the most of the opportunity to catch up with your friends.

Well, I've got a cunning plan.

On the evening of Friday 24th June, the night before Cybermummy (or Cybermummy Eve as I'm calling it) I'm having a party. I'm calling it

  'Meet, Greet and Eat'.

The idea is we meet at the Travelodge, er.. greet each other, then go over the road for something to eat.

I've booked the highly regarded Italian restaurant L'abat-Jour for a private party.

I will be selling tickets very soon. They will be £25, payable in advance via Paypal. For that you get a three course meal (starter, pizza and pudding), including a glass of wine, followed by tea or coffee. Service charge is included, as is your first (mini) goody bag of the weekend!

This is an open invitation to anyone attending Cybermummy. I'm hoping that I get to make some new friends, so it doesn't matter if you've been blogging for three weeks or three years you are welcome. You don't need to have met anyone beforehand. I can guarantee you will have a few buddies by the end of the evening. Dress code is casual, this will be an informal do.

So, who's in?

Please leave a comment to let me know you're interested. Also leave your blog URL (so I can have a nose, I'm always looking for blogs to add to my reader) and an email address so I can contact you when the tickets go on sale. Tickets will be sold on a first come first served basis.

*sits at laptop, looking pensive, refreshing the screen, hoping that someone wants to come to my party*


20 May 2011


The lovely Sardine Tin is running a mystery blog swap today. You can find out what it's about and check out the list of participants on her blog. Each of us has been paired up with another blogger and we've written guest posts for each other.

I've been paired with... well, that would be telling.

Once all posts have been linked, why not try to guess who has been paired with whom. Who is hosting my post today? Who do you think has written the following wonderful post on potential? I wish I had!


(Mystery) guest posting on Baby Baby? Oh my. What to write?

I find myself browsing through Sandy's archives. Archives full of touching posts. Full of emotion.

So what to write?

I thought I'd write about potential.

After all, as parents, isn't potential what we're banking on?

A friend showed me an article in the Sunday Times this weekend about Tiger Mums (I would link, but it's behind the paywall). 

About how (and I'm paraphrasing) evidence shows that, all things being equal and assuming that a generally acceptable parenting standard is applied, the advantages that you try to give to your child make little difference. If any, it's temporary. 

The best way for you to influence your child's future? With your genes.

This obviously doesn't mean you should let them run feral. But all that all hothousing? The extra classes, the tutoring? It won't affect their long term success, any more than giving them a general ethos that education is important.

But what is my child's potential? How far should I, can I, try to influence it?

I take after my dad on this front. We're both smart. Good at school. Great potential. The opportunity to do great things.

And yet we both struggle to apply that potential. To do anything but to coast. 

That coasting? Partly because the things that material success bring are not all that important to us. The coasting gets us enough to be where we want to be, do what we want to do.

Partly because our families mean so much to us that we don't want to take too much time away from that.

And partly because that drive just doesn't seem to be there.

I have great ideas. I'm good at what I do. I could do much more. But why? 

I feel something missing. But I'm not sure what.

And if I struggle with this, with the gift of my genes, will my child too?

Will I have passed on potential, but without drive to do something with it?

Can I inspire action? Can I turn my coasting around, and show that great things can be done?

Can I achieve my potential to show the next generation of my family how best to achieve theirs?

I don't know. But I can try.


11 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday: We've Moo-ved!


9 May 2011


I think I may need to add a new stripe to my parenting badge of honour.

I was trying to entertain my children in the GP's waiting room the other day. They had been playing nicely with their sticker books and I felt smug and rather proud. Well, you know what they say about pride, don't you? That's right.

Here comes the fall.

Presley, 3, POINTED to a large young man (think Roland from Grange Hill, aged about 18) and uttered these mortifying words in a loud, clear voice, with perfect diction:


I mouthed a 'sorry' and grimaced at the poor lad as he pulled his collar up over his red face. I told Presley that we don't talk about people like that. The boys then abandoned their sticker books in order to climb all over the seats and shout a lot.

By this point it was too late to tut loudly and pretend they weren't my children.

Oh. The. Shame.


8 May 2011


Moving house is a strange experience. 

Every time we move we say never again.

Every time we move we attempt a de-clutter.

Every time we move we say we will NOT pay a removal company to move our rubbish.

Then, when we're sorting through our 'stuff', these ice cream tubs appear.

They date back to the 70's and 80's. They are filled with treasure. The kind of treasure that fills you with nostalgia and longing for people and places that are no longer there. 

I slide my hand through the marbles, rolling the china boulders between my fingers. My brother and I used to play marbles carefully, not wanting to damage these beautiful glass spheres. We never played for keeps. Now they're all mine.

These crayons smell amazing. I remember getting wax under my fingernails as I covered piece after piece of paper with patterns, the same patterns I doodle now.

Finally, a tub of teenage treasure. My badge collection. I never collected anything whole-heartedly, but I managed to amass quite a few badges over the years.

Oh how I loved Adam Ant. Loved. Completely.

So what did we do with these tubs?

That's right. I couldn't throw them away. We paid Pickfords to move them for us. Again.


6 May 2011

Dear so and so...

Dear shopping thief,

Thank you for making my mum cry. As if it wasn't bad enough that she has had to leave her home of fourteen years because of an earthquake and move in with me and my noisy family thousands of miles away, you decide to steal her shopping.

You stole a pensioner's shopping. I hope you're proud of yourself. Yes, I know she shouldn't have left it hanging on the back of a toilet door in M&S, but how hard would it have been to simply hand the bag of shopping in at the store?

Enjoy the back spray and deodorant, you can smell nasty and nice at the same time. Try not to choke on the chocolate. The Boots Advantage card was new, so you'll be disappointed not to have any points to spend. Finally, you stole a carefully chosen sympathy card. I hope you don't know anyone who has just lost their mother.

I hope you can sleep at night.

Yours, also in tears,


This is my first go at a dear so and so... For more letters and the wonderful woman who started it, click the banner below:

Dear So and So...

4 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Woo hoo!


3 May 2011

The Gallery: April

They* say you forget the content of most encounters. You just remember how it made you feel and the end.

April was a busy and eventful month. We moved to a new house, 170 miles away from our old house, my mum and step-dad came to stay with us, after moving 12,000 miles away from their old house, we went to a wonderful wedding (no, not that wedding), we potty trained and gave our dummies to the dummy fairy. Oh, yes, and we had an offer accepted on a house we'd like to buy too.

So, how did it make me feel? Well, it's complicated. I've spent most of the month feeling stressed. I've had to summarise and categorise my 'to do' lists. I'm shopping and cooking for six. I'm tired. There have been highs (weddings and nights out thanks to our live-in baby-sitter) and lows (hangovers and seriously crappy showers in every bathroom of our rented house).

Now April is at an end, I'm left with a feeling that I wasn't expecting. I'm feeling proud to be British. Yes, that wedding was glorious and a great way to end a pretty amazing and sunny month.

The photograph? Presley stood his Happyland bride in front of the television to watch the Royal Wedding. Bless.

For The Gallery. The theme this week is April.

*I'm not sure who 'they' are. I heard this theory ages ago and am too lazy to Google it!

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