27 June 2011


This weekend I went to Cybermummy.

I'm still recovering. Yes, there was wine. Yes, I drank on an empty stomach. But I'm not talking about a hangover, although I will admit to being rather jaded. I'm still feeling overwhelmed and a little unsettled. It was all a bit much for me.

I think the conference was too big, there was too much going on, it was too commercial. I felt I had to get my passport signed by every PR and was disappointed that I had spent time on this and missed most of the sessions - particularly the time management one!  I would have preferred to pick and choose which brands I spoke to (mainly my sponsors, LEGO Duplo, my friends at Three and Leapfrog and also Johnsons - I loved their recycling initiative - and the new Crocs were a pleasant surprise). The PGUK recharge room was a great idea though and I loved my massage. Looking at the photographs of me on the day I really should have asked this guy to do my hair!

The day was bustling and busy and there was simply not enough to eat. I liked the lunch, but would have preferred to sit down to eat. I would also have liked something in the evening, a sandwich would have been enough to line my stomach!

I'm sorry if this sounds negative because I mostly did have a wonderful time. There were many highlights.

I adored catching up with old friends and making new ones. I love it when you just get on with someone so well that conversation is easy.

My Meet, Greet and Eat party went well, I even had my own Twitter hashtag for the night!

I got to meet Sarah Brown again. I loved her keynote speech. She spoke passionately about the power of social media. I am looking forward to reading her (signed) book.

The crowd-sourced keynote was an amazing celebration of blogging. What a wonderful collection of warm and witty writers. I had the honour of speaking last year and enjoyed relaxing in the audience this time, even though Nickie made me blub.

The Blognonymous team met for the first time. We had our long-awaited group hug. It was emotional.

The vlogging session was fantastic and it was great to finally meet Nick. I was inspired to take some video on Saturday night. Sadly must of it can not be used, this is a family blog after all! I will try to edit out all of the 'toys' and see if there's anything I can publish. Tears squirted out of my eyes last night, I cried with laughter watching it back.

In summary, I feel better for finally writing this post. By focussing on the positive, by looking at the photographs and by remembering all of the wonderful conversations with friends I have realised what Cybermummy meant to me. It was a chance to step out from behind the laptop, to connect with my online support group and to develop real life friendships. This is what I will take away with me.

Oh and I did some arts and crafts with Jay. Ooh la la ;-)


22 June 2011

Three Word Gallery: Grow Your Own

This week it's a Three Word Gallery at Sticky Fingers. The three words I have chosen are Grow Your Own.

We're not big gardeners, but we like to keep the garden neat and tidy. As the children get older it is easier for us to all spend time outside.

My children love being out in the garden. They simply want to help. Here they are doing some weeding. 

Thanks to the influence of Mr Bloom's Nursery they like to feed Compo (our compost bin) everyday. I let them.

We were invited to the launch of that and another new CBeebies programme (the mighty Rastamouse) earlier this year. Sadly, we couldn't make it (gutted doesn't get near how we felt), but they were kind enough to send us the goody bag from the event. In the bag were some lettuce seeds.

We sowed them in a pot, watered them and ran over to look at their progress every day.

We grew our own lettuce. What a fantastic thing to do and so simple.

Maybe we'll branch out and grow a few more veggies. I'll keep you posted.


21 June 2011

Meet, Greet and Eat

I've organised a party in London for Cybermummy Eve. I've called it Meet, Greet and Eat. It has sold out.

I can't tell you how stunned and flattered I am that people want to come (and have sent me cash!). I already know some of the bloggers who are coming, we've either met before or are virtual friends, but there are a fair few that I didn't know of until they contacted me. I now have a load of new blogs to read.

My reason for organising a party? I wanted to have something to do on the night before Cybermummy that didn't centre around me sat alone in a hotel room in my pants, eating biscuits.

So who am I meeting, greeting and eating with? Here's the full list of blogs, some new, some old, all fabulous:

Not Supermum
Jam and Clotted Cream
Adventures of an English Mum
The Five F's Blog
Cherished By Me
Mum in the Sun
Savette Gazette
SFR Product Reviews
Childcare is Fun
Emma and Three
Sell it Baby UK
(Mostly) Yummy Mummy
Knees Up Mother Brown
Mummy Loves...
Play Activities
Mummy Musings
Momma on the Rocks
Inside the Wendy House
Baby Born Free
Multiple Mummy
And 1 More Means Four... And 1 More
Making It Up

Wow, that was a marathon session in adding links! Please click on them, make it worth my while.

There's no real structure to the evening, no formalities, no dress code, no pressure. We're just going out for a friendly, relaxed, fun meal. There will be wine, but we won't be dancing on the tables. No, we won't! We've all got a busy conference ahead of us the next day. Having said that, I will be taking sunglasses, water, ibuprofen and Berocca with me - just in case.

I know there are a few people who missed out on getting a ticket, I am sorry I couldn't accommodate everyone. Maybe I'll do it all again next year...


The Winner of the £50 Matalan Voucher is...

Congratulations to...

... @Rhodak09

I will be in touch :-)


14 June 2011

The Gallery: Dads

So, Sunday is Father's Day.

I have a lot to remember. Presents and cards for Andy from the children and the same for Andy's father. Quite why my father-in-law is my responsibility, I'm not sure. Luckily he is a wonderful man and it is my pleasure to buy him some chocolates and a B&Q voucher now...  and again on his birthday.. and again at Christmas.

Three and two year olds are great though, they can't resist telling their dad that they've made cards and bought him chocolates. "They were on offer, Daddy" piped up Cash. Yeah, thanks, kid.

At this time of year my thoughts turn naturally to my late father. This is the fifth year now that I haven't had to buy him a box of Liquorice Allsorts and an amusing card. I only started making cards after he died, he had no idea I was even vaguely artistic. My children will never make him a card, like they have done for their other Grandad. They aren't even aware that they should have a Grandpa too. They know one fact about my dad and that is how he had to break the bathroom door down when I had locked myself in, aged six, and couldn't get out. I couldn't resist telling Presley and Cash this cautionary tale, as they played with the lock on the downstairs loo. Otherwise, I don't really talk about him. I will, when the boys are older, but right now they're too small to understand death. I hope it's a while before they have to.

I really really really miss my dad. I miss the twinkle in his eye, his generosity when it came to sharing his ice cream and his plain talking. I even miss him telling me - in great detail - about every feature on his new camera, while I sneakily read the paper. I worry that, as the years go by, my memories of him are fading. They're slipping away, like the remnants of dreams when you wake. I remember us both laughing until we cried but I can't remember what started it each time. I'm desperately trying to hang on to how it felt to share those moments of utter joy with my old man. Writing about it helps.

For more information on The Gallery, check out the fabulous Sticky Fingers. I must just take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Tara and to Copperdot for my competition prize that arrived today. I won't say any more as I don't want to spoil the surprise on Sunday. Fingers crossed Andy hasn't read this far!


Review: Interflora

These beautiful flowers arrived today from Interflora. The delivery man asked me if I was eighteen (bless him) before he also handed over a bottle of champagne. What a treat. I shall save that for the next time we move house.

This fragrant and colourful hand-tied arrangement really cheered me up. I love fresh flowers in the house.

I have always used Interflora for the big life events that call for flowers as they are so reliable, but I forget that they are there for all occasions and don't just have florists in London. Check out these Father's Day gifts. Last order date for Father's Day is 2pm on Friday.

Thank you Interflora, you made my day.


12 June 2011

Win a £50 Matalan Voucher

It was my two year 'blogoversary' last month. I didn't get round to even writing a post about it, but Matalan were kind enough to send me a £50 voucher. So, belatedly, I'm giving it away to one of my lovely readers.

I've been having a browse and Matalan have got some gorgeous kidswear:

These boys surf t-shirts are cool

This two-piece set is great value

I'm loving this cute set too

You'll get a lot of fab stuff for £50!

To enter, please visit Matalan and then leave a comment on this post telling me what you would buy if you won the £50 voucher. Please leave your Twitter id or email address so that I can contact you if you win.

For an additional entry, send the following tweet and let me know in the comments that you have done so:

I've entered @sandycalico's £50 Matalan voucher giveaway http://sandycalico.blogspot.com/2011/06/win-50-matalan-voucher.html #scmvg

I'll pick the winner, using Random.org, at 8pm on Monday 20th June 2011.

The small print: UK only, sorry. No cash alternative. Only one entry per person, plus one additional entry for tweeting. Thank you :-)

Good luck!


1 June 2011

Did you get any tickets for the Olympics?

Are you celebrating winning the lottery today? Were you one of the lucky ones granted tickets for the Olympics?

I'm not and I'm gutted.

I've been excited about London 2012 for ages. I applied for tickets in the ballot. I carefully chose the events I wanted to attend and applied for the highest banding I could afford. I also threw my hat in for the big two, then men's 100m final and the opening ceremony. If I'd been successful in every event I applied for, the tickets would have cost £700.

£700 is a lot of money. We haven't got £700 to throw around, but I so desperately wanted to attend the Olympics in London. I dared not apply for any more tickets than this, just in case I won them all.

I wish now I'd applied for more.

This morning I saw the pending transactions on my Visa bill were £400. I started jumping up and down, squealing with excitement. This was it, I'd got one of the big ones. Then I remembered it was 1st June, the day my car insurance is renewed. I actually burst into tears.

I'm desperately disappointed. I know I'm not alone. I, along with anyone else who received no tickets this time, will get first refusal to apply for any unsold tickets later this month, but what is left? Handball? Meh. I want to go to the stadium.

I can understand why a ballot is a fair way to allocate tickets, but I wish LOCOG had been more open regarding the number of tickets on sale at each price banding.

Take the closing ceremony, for example, some tickets were up for sale for £20.12, but how many? I applied for these - after all, you've got to be in it to win it. There may have only been two tickets for sale at this price, but 20,000 for sale at the next banding. This information would have altered my buying strategy.

I'd also like to know why there were only 20,000 tickets available for the men's 100m final. How many seats are there in the stadium? 100,000? Hmm.

Hey ho, there are worse things happening in the world than me not getting any tickets for the Olympics.


Make Me the Next Model 2011

This isn't me. This is my friend, Max. You can vote for him, or anyone else, in the Make Me the Next Model 2011 competition. You can enter too if you like, you have until 12 noon on Tuesday 28th June 2011. The prizes for the two winners are a £2000 shopping spree at Next, a photo-shoot for Next and an introduction to the Storm model agency.

Next learnt a lot from running the last model competition, yes, that baby competition, and they have sharpened up their social media presence. Last week I attended their Autumn Winter '11 collections preview, along with four other bloggers (and loads of fashion editors). We discussed the up-coming Next Blogger Network and how Next can work more effectively with parent bloggers.

Then we saw the clothes, beauty and home ranges that will be in the shops from the end of this month and online from mid-July. I was pleasantly surprised at the good value. I found quality clothes at reasonable prices. I particularly loved the young boys range.

And for myself, I need this hedgehog handbag!

Next paid my travel expenses to attend the AW11 event. I went home with a goody bag and a £25 Next voucher. Oh, and I had a manicure.


Child of Walmart

You may be familiar with the website People of Walmart, if not check it out and come right back.

Thanks for coming back!

I love the fact that no matter how bad I look trudging round Sainsbury's in my uniform of jeans and a top, I don't look as bad as anyone on that website. I may have forgotten to brush my hair, but at least I don't have acres of flesh spilling out of my trampy clothes. Oh no, my flesh is carefully hidden. I wish I was brave enough to go out in a hot dog hat though.

I am proud to announce that I have my very own Child of Walmart right here.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin