O5rcB_NXbIeHbJV7JFNcdfqL-vY Mummy From The Heart...

Friday, 3 July 2015

Perfect Journey Stop - Avon Heath Country Park, Dorset

At least once a year we travel to Poole/ Bournemouth to take a holiday or mini-break, I love this part of the country and having spent a few years living there whilst I was at University it feels like a second home to me.

The coastal journey from East Sussex to Dorset is pretty long and there can be some horrendous delays along the way so by the time we reach Ringwood we are desperate to lett he kids get out of the car and to run some energy off. The Avon Heath Country Park is located on Birch Drive just off the A31 an it has everything we need (and more) when we make a stop-off.

Sibling Harmony Thanks to Lego Elves

Oh my word, if you could have seen my house last Thursday you would have been astounded, it was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop and believe me, that is not normal!  We came home from school and my twin girls found that a couple of sets of LEGO had been delivered for them to review, but not just any ordinary LEGO, it was two recently released sets from the magical LEGO Elves range. None of the children were familiar with this new range but they were all chattering away about how cool it looked, including my 11 year old boy.

Miss E got a massive smile over her face and Miss M's smile dropped as she realised that she would not be having the joy of making these up that day as she was being disciplined for some outrageous behaviour the day before. Then my 11 year old son JJ practically got on his knees and begged to be allowed to help Miss E make the castle as he is Lego crazy.

Visual instructions help my daughter with dyslexia
Miss E decided that she should make the smaller set herself and that JJ could help her with the big one the next day, which was a good compromise as I wanted to see how she handled making it alone, without any help. Both boxes are labelled as being suitable for 8 - 12 year olds due to the complexity of the designs and Miss E will be 8 in a few weeks but as she is dyslexic, some things can take a bit longer for her. I'm pleased to report that making the LEGO set herself boosted her confidence loads and she was able to do it all by herself as the instructions are of course visual, rather than written.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Back to School #TipsAndTricks

I admit it, I am one of those awful annoying people that have all my back to school stuff ready just as the kids break up from school in July!  I know, I'm impossible, I've been told before but I can't bear the idea of spoiling my wonderful six weeks holiday with the kids by having to worry about how busy the shoe shop will be when I go along at the end of August with all the other parents rushing to get things sorted.

I realise I take a risk and they might have a massive growth spurt over the six weeks in the summer, but that seems to happen less and less as they get older, so I've not been caught out the last few years and to be honest if you are buying from a reputable shop most will take your items back (if unworn and with labels/ in packaging) to swap for a bigger size if it does happen.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Dear So and So - A Bloggy One

Dear PR person,

I know it is your job and I am sure you are very lovely so I don't want to be unkind to you, but do you realise that because I've been blogging such a long time now I get about 50 emails a day asking me to tweet, post, share etc and I just cannot do them all? In fact I don't even want to do them all even if I had infinite time as my readership would be bored to tears!

I'm a busy woman with three kids, a husband and three voluntary jobs, as well as my campaigning and paid writing work. I have no spare capacity to read all your press releases and then to promote your products for free. I won't be rude to you but at the moment I'm struggling to respond to every email, so please do not chase me 2 or 3 days after your email if you've not heard from me.  Just know that I can't do it right now but leave me on your mailing list and next time I might be able to help.

Thanks a lot,

Michelle (not Mummy from the Heart as so many people love to address me! grr)

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Digital Activism - Why bother?

I can't find who to credit this picture to but thank you and let me know if it is you!

Last Saturday I was privileged to be part of a session at Britmums Live on the subject of digital activism and how it's shaping the world we live in. The 40 minutes went past way too fast and I don't feel I got to share all the information I wanted to, so here I am sharing the rest (and a few things I did get the chance to say for those of you who didn't make it to the session).First off let me reassure you that digital activism does work, it is not just slactivism or armchair activism as some people call it. I can give you so many examples of where bloggers have made a difference; we have a voice,
influence and credibility.

Digital activism works
Here is just a couple of examples - back in 2011 Chris Mosler was heading off to the US for a UN General assembly after her trip to Mozambique with Save the Children (STC). About 30 bloggers have been at a STC conference that day and at the end Helloit's Gemma and I wanted to do something to increase the amount of people who had signed the #healthworkers petition and show the UN assembly the strength of opinion on the need to fund more health workers in developing countries. So we set the challenge for bloggers to write 100 words on what their midwife meant to them and we targeted ourselves to get 100 posts live. Within 36 hours there were 164 posts shared and linked up and over a million impressions on twitter. It was an awesome time and possibly the most viral post I've ever had with in excess of 35,000 hits on that page within about a week.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Making Flying easy with Park, Stay and Go at Crown Plaza Heathrow

Our family has never travelled abroad together and this is something I am determined to change in the next year. We don't need to go anywhere massively expensive or fancy like Barbados or Australia, we just want to get away and enjoy the sun, a new culture, some authentic local food and time together.

As this post goes live a load of my blogger friends and their families are off to Corsica, a French island off the coast of Italy with Mark Warner and I have to be honest and say I am more than a little green with envy. Our family would love to have travelled with them and joined in with the sailing, kayaking and cycling but alas JJ has transition days for secondary school and it is super busy at dh's work so this next week doesn't work for us.

It has been a frenzy on FaceBook these last few days with people getting ready and organising cars and airport transfers and I was happy to point them to the fabulous Park, Stay and Go offer at the Heathrow Crown Plaza Hotel. Why would you bother trying to get to Heathrow on the day of your flight when you can arrive there the day before, enjoy a swim in the pool, eat dinner at your leisure and stay in a luxury hotel room? Then also have the peace of mind knowing your car is being looked after in the special parking areas for park, stay and go guests.

Friday, 26 June 2015

The Excitement is Building for Shrek's Adventure! London

My kids are starting to get really excited. You would think that I might have learnt by now, not to tell them we are going somewhere amazing until the day we are due to go but I can't keep the surprise and I love to see their excitement. I just find it a bit hard to put up with the constant questions for over two weeks!

Have you heard there is a new family attraction opening on the South Bank, London? Right by the aquarium and Coca Cola London Eye there will be Shrek's Adventure! - a unique walk and ride attraction for the whole family. Step into the kingdom of Far Far Away and enjoy a brand new madcap Shrek adventure where amazing DreamWorks animation, captivating story-telling and a good dose of Donkey’s cheekiness awaits.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Pressure, pressure everywhere

It is a crazy old world we live in nowadays; everyone and everything is so driven, so target focused and so opinionated. Whatever happened to live and let live? Or don't worry, be happy? OK they are cliches but for me I don't think they will ever go out of date.

I've come to realise that many of the things that make me unhappy or uneasy are from the pressure I feel. Pressure to conform, to be perfect, to be online everywhere, to be the best parent, have the most successful blog and to always succeed. Logically I know none of these things are right, never once did Jesus say 'my disciples, you must strive to be the best and only then will I accept you'. No, never. 

Instead what bible says is 'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.' (John 3:16 ESV) That message is for every one of us, He accepts and loves all of us, we just have to make the choice to accept Him back, I also love the verse that days  'Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?' (Matthew 6:26 NLT).

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