O5rcB_NXbIeHbJV7JFNcdfqL-vY Mummy From The Heart...

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Being a Digitial Activist - I'm Speaking at BritMums Live 2015

Me as part of the panel I sat on in 2012

It is always a pleasure to go to BritMums Live each year. This is definitely my favourite blogging event of the year and one I have not missed for about the last four years. I've spoken before, I've been a butterfly (to welcome newbies) and I even moderated a room last year but my favourite thing is to just be there; meet friends, eat good food and soak in the atmosphere.

This year I am on a panel on the Saturday morning and I'm speaking alongside Hayley Goleniowska, Karen Cannard and Jean McLean. Our session is titled - “Digital Activism – Charities, campaigning and shaping the world we live in” and we will be discussing what it is like to campaign (both on and offline) for what we believe in.


Take a look at the bios of the women I'm proud to sit alongside -

Hayley GoleniowskaA former language teacher and voice-over artist, Hayley is now the mum of two gorgeous girls, the youngest of whom, Natty, has Down’s Syndrome. She blogs, speaks, provides training and writes articles on the subject for parents, teachers, medical staff and other organisations. Through her blog Downs Side Up, she aims to both offer support and encouragement to new families with a diagnosis and to gently change perceptions of Down’s Syndrome through her powerful words and beautiful photographs. Natty is also a clothing model and an amazing ambassador for children with disabilities everywhere, featuring in countless newspapers, magazines, journals, TV and radio programmes. You can find Hayley on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest@DownsSideUp

Karen Cannard is the co-founder of The Rubbish Diet Challenge, a feel-good slimming club for bins that motivates “dieters” into reducing waste beyond their expectations. Writing as “Almost Mrs Average”, The Rubbish Diet began in 2008 as blog about her council’s Zero Waste Week challenge, during which Karen unexpectedly reduced her family’s waste to just a plaster. She has since influenced thousands of people and has featured on Woman’s HourThe One Show, C4 Dispatches and ITV’s Tonight documentary “Throwaway Britain”. She is a local columnist, BBC Radio Suffolk’s Bin Doctor and a Trustee of Reuseful UK. She has been highlighted for the second year running as one of the top 10 most influential people in the UK’s resource sector. As well as helping people feel great about making a difference at home, Karen is also passionate about waste reduction innovation that’s making an impact on the UK economy. Follow Karen at @therubbishdiet.

Jean McLean is Head of Mobilisation at Save the Children. Her role involves influencing and campaigning on high profile issues relating to child survival and protection. Her work has contributed to over half a million people engaging David Cameron to tackle hunger. This resulted in the pledging of  £2.7bn for nutrition interventions to aid 1.7 million children.  Prior to her role at Save the Children Jean worked for the National Union of Student as Head of Communications. During her time she mobilised 52,000 people to participate in the biggest student demonstration in 30 years. She also developed the campaign strategy to reverse a decision by HSBC bank to charge graduates interest on their ’interest free’ accounts, saving graduates over £20 million in the first year.

I've recently written a piece for the BritMums blog which explains why I think it is important that all of us with a wide readership ought to reach out and campaign but do come along to our session (planned for 9.35am Saturday morning) armed with all your questions and we will happily share our experience with you.

Here are a few links to previous posts on the same subject that you might enjoy -

Google hang-out with BritMums discussing what it is like to travel as a blogger with a Charity

My top tips for successful charity/ blogger relationships

Watch the Blogging for Good Panel I sat on at BritMums Live in 2013

Some days I wonder why I do it

Coverage of my trip to Ethiopia with ONE

Coverage of my Operations Christmas Child shoebox trip to Belarus

Coverage of my trip to Washington DC for the ONE #AYAsummit
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Saturday, 2 May 2015

Great places to visit in East Devon/ Dorset

We are off to stay at a beautiful self-catering cottage at Mazzard Farm at the end of May for a long weekend and we are all very excited. This isn’t an area of the country we have explored before but it is only a four hour drive and just along the coast from my beloved Bournemouth.

I’m starting to think about where we may go and visit when we are in East Devon, so I asked for recommendations on one of the blogger forums I use and I got a whole ton of suggestions of local places to visit and even better than that, I was pointed to loads of review posts, so I can really ascertain what might suit our family.

Mummy’s Little Stars was the first to make a recommendation and she suggested we go to Escot, which is a 220 acre natural haven in the heart of East Devon. Looking at the pictures in Fiona’s post I know my kids will love it here. We live in 220 acres of natural wood and parkland and this looks very similar but with the added bonus of a huge maze, trampolines and tons of trees to climb on. I can see why Escot is called the Natural Place.

Mary at Over 40 and Mum to One advises we visit Charmouth for the beach and discovery centre there and it appears there is fabulous rock pooling, so that will be a big hit, just look at this beauty –

Image Credit: Over 40 and Mum to One

Thursday, 30 April 2015

What would you do with an extra £100?

Without wanting to sound like I have more money than I know what to do with, £100 isn’t that much really. It isn’t going to change my world or make a massive difference to me. So when TSB asked me what I’d do with an extra £100 I had to have a good think as nothing came straight to mind.

They asked me the question as their TSB Plus account has just turned one and it offers a fabulous 5% AER on savings up for £2000, so this means you would make £100 interest in a year. They said ‘would you give it to charity, pay it forward, treat the children or treat yourself?’ So I had a think about the last couple of weeks and what I’ve spent money on that is not an everyday spending (you know like boring food shopping).

The first thing I recalled was last Sunday putting extra money into the church offering, this money is destined to head straight to Nepal and help the people there after the tragic earthquake. So that was the first £20 spent and it is very important to me as a Christian to make sure I am giving to those less fortunate than myself. The bible commands that I should give to God first and then seek to settle my own living expenses and I know this is a very alien concept to many but it works for our family and we are really happy to sponsor two children each month via Compassion, as well as giving into various projects and at church.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A Mile in Their Shoes (What I Learned From Mums)

Image by Zirconicusso at FreeDigitalImages.Net
Today I have a guest post from Dave, this isn't sponsored. I just liked the content and agreed to host it. Here is a little about Dave -

Dave runs Silverback Coaching which provides a mix of Personal Development, Kettlebell and Nutrition Coaching (although not all at the same time!).  He has worked with clients all around the world to achieve life changes and he still can’t believe he has found a way to earn a living doing what he loves.  Dave and his very patient wife (Una) just passed the 20 year mark which he maintains is a triumph of love over exasperation.  They have 2 moderately wayward teenagers and a scruffy springer spaniel who desperately needs a clip.  Dave is just getting to grips with the blogging thing and provides coaching insights on a regular basis at silverbackcoaching.co.uk 

This post is inspired by the Mums but it’s really for the working Dads.

OK – back in the old days, when the work was black and white and everything looked like a Hovis advert, men did man stuff and women did everything else. We have moved on, mostly. We now have equality in the workplace (almost) but it sometimes seems less so at home. I still see clients who live out the ‘traditional’ division of labour in the home.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Dear So and So - The Girlie Day in London Edition

Dear Kate,

It was so fabulous to spend the day with you Saturday, I can't believe it is nearly two years since we have last seen each other. That is when you can tell a great friend, when you can just pick up and act as if we last caught up yesterday.

Uni pals rock, Mich xx

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Three reasons why I'm proud to be British

I'm sat in a gorgeous tea room in Battle High street as I write this post and it is about 3pm Sunday afternoon. My husband and all three children are in a church just a stones through away. Why are they in church and not me you may wonder? You'll know I'm a Christian and love church, so it may seem a bit strange but I've already been to church this morning and worshipped and the service that my husband and children are in is jam packed full of beavers, cubs, scouts, adventurers, sea scouts and leaders. This is a little elusive club they now have without me! No really, I love that they all have something special in common with Daddy.

Thursday 23rd April was St George's day in England and this is our national day, a day where we are supposed to celebrate being English. That is the reason for today's parade through Battle town and church service that my family are all in. Growing up my husband was very involved in scouting and I've seen lots of photos of him marching through his home town as a cub and scout and he talks fondly of those marches and how he enjoyed them.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Visiting Rye, East Sussex - Perfect for the family

Last weekend we took our pastoral group over to Rye for an afternoon out, enjoying time together and the local area. Our intention had been to have a picnic on Winchelsea beach and then head into Rye but for a lovely sunny day it certainly was windy and there is no shelter on Winchelsea beach so we left that for another day and picniced in the park in Rye instead.

This turned out to be just perfect as many of us headed in the children's play park for some fun and others laid back and enjoyed the sunshine and a relax. The park on Fishmarket Road is excellent and has something for everyone, loads of good play equipment, large fields, room to picnic and play, a bowling green and car park with toilets.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Am I Fat and Proud? #EffYourBeautyStandards

I've just been watching the Channel 4 programme Plus Sized Wars whilst I did my household chores and I have to say I'm left with really mixed feelings about being a plus-sized woman.

I am and have been for at least the last decade between a UK size 20-24 so I very much fall into the plus-sized category. Am I proud of being this size? No not really. Do I feel healthy at this size? Pretty much. Could I be healthier? Yes completely, in fact I often feel I am living on borrowed time awaiting the illness or ailment that might catch up with me because I am carrying about seven stone in excess body weight.

Your size, body shape and body confidence are massive issues for millions of women (and men I'm sure) and I truly feel we are all unique and should do what is right for us. God did not make us all to be a skinny size 10, he loves diversity and I believe there is beauty in all people. What appeals to me won't appeal to you and vice versa but that does not make either of our preferences the right ones. We are just different and that's good.

Image Credit: Tess Halliday

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