Sunday, 31 January 2016

Parenting: What to do?


Sometimes parenting is the most difficult job in the world. You are desperate to get it right and then situations present themselves that you have no idea how to tackle and you just have to learn on the job. Yes there are tons of manuals; books ready to tell you the best approach and there are online forums and web articles and in fact dozens of resources but really does anything beat your own intuition?

Every child and every situation is different, I've seen that with just my three children and if I am honest I look at my oldest JJ at age 12 and think that my husband and I aren't doing such a bad job. Yes he is addicted to his computer but he is a good guy all round. He's smart, he cares, he tries hard, he is polite and he is fun to be with. So I think we are right to be trusting our gut and parenting in the way that feels natural to us.

I'm having behavioural challenges with one of my girls at the moment. They are having a tough time at school and keep pushing the boundaries and acting out. This of course leads to consequences from the teacher and the last thing I want at the end of the day is yet another email to tell me of that days mishap!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Sturdy School Shoes from Hotter Shoes

Back in September JJ started secondary school and he had a new pair of what looked to be really sturdy leather shoes. Here we are just four and a half months later and they still fit him, but he has worn the leather away at the heels and they now rub. Also the insole is really worn and quite uncomfortable to wear.

With this in mind I got in touch with my shoe store of choice and asked if they might like JJ to put a pair of their men's shoes to the test. Hotter shoes are available online and from over 70 stores in the UK and I am an avid fan. I got my first pair of Hotter boots back in 2010 and I still wear them now, I also have trainers that travelled to Ethiopia with me and a couple of pairs of shoes and they all last this heavy-footed woman really well.


Friday, 22 January 2016

Getting the New Year off to a good start




I feel like Christmas is a distant memory now and I'm happy the new year is here; there is still that feeling of expectation and new beginnings. Like anything can happen as it is a fresh canvas awaiting me to draw the picture of 2016.

To be honest I came into the new year without too much thought of what the year ahead would hold and what goals I should be thinking about. I'm really not into New Year's resolutions and I just assume they will be broken, so I stopped making them some years back but I do believe it's good to have a focus and change is the only constant.

Better Health 
Over the last couple of weeks I've spent quite a bit of time in prayer and quiet contemplation of what I should be doing this year and a few focus areas have made them self apparent to me. First off I really need to get a grip on my health. I've been on too many diets in the last thirty odd years since I started to try to lose some weight. The evidence from those last three decades tells me that diets do not work for me, I now realise what I need is small, gradual changes. So I am working on changes a couple of things each month and making them habits for life. It is going to be slow and I'm sure at times boring but it is so necessary and if I can establish all the better behaviours as my norms then the weight cannot fail to fall off and my health improve.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Know your Worth Bloggers.... Pfft

Success on Blackboard from Shutterstock

'Know your worth bloggers' is a phrase I see or hear again and again. On Facebook, in blog posts or spoken about at conferences and let me say from the start I agree you are worth a lot.

But I do resent the blog police telling you what your worth is. Who's business is it if you decide to accept a sponsored post for a payment of £25 or a review for a 75p tin of beans?

When it comes to taking on work, you have to make the decisions, how much money will you accept? What is the lowest value product you will accept? Will you work for goodwill or an owed favour? Whatever you decide is OK, is just that - OK for you.

Personally I've now been blogging for eight years, I have a large readership and a good social media reach. I therefore make the decision that I do not undertake sponsored posts for less than £125 and it is extremely rare for me to review low-value products.

However spin the clock back to 2010 and I'd of happily reviewed some toddler snacks worth about a fiver and I know for sure that all the low value reviews I undertook gave me valuable experience of crafting a good review and developing a strong relationship with PR agencies and brands. Some of my fabulous early opportunities came about because I put in the hard work to nurture a relationship and to learn my trade.

As a new blogger in this completely saturated market, you cannot expect to arrive and be offered the chance to review a holiday and £200 vacuum without having put in some serious work to develop your blog and following first. So yes, please do know your worth but do not allow others to define it for you and make you feel bad.

If you are not being offered £100 for a sponsored post as you do not yet have the reach and domain authority to warrant that then agree a price that you feel is fair and you are happy with and don't listen to any other blogger who tells you that you are letting the side down and devaluing us all. It's just not true,

For years I've been offered £25 posts and been turning them down, there are always dozens of other bloggers willing to take them and that is OK. I've made the decision to say no and know that better opportunities will come up for me, My personal decision is that I'd rather do 2 posts at £150 a piece each month than 12 at £25 to make the same money. You decision might be totally different and I respect your choice to make that decision.

I'm a live and let live kind of woman and I think life would be a lot easier if more of us were but I'm always open to (polite) debate so do share your opinion if you think I'm talking nonsense.

Mich x
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Monday, 11 January 2016

I'm talking Bladder Weakness - Because we Should!

Pop Photo Art Oops Image from Shutterstock

I've always been very honest on this blog and to be fair my raw posts are often the ones that I've received the best responses to. The ones where comments, emails, tweets and even phone calls have poured in. It's not as if I'm shy - I've blogged about my issues around food and overeating, giving birth, having a miscarriage, bleeding all over a swimming pool floor and my foray with PND but I've never (yet) written about bladder weakness.

It's just not the done thing, is it? Do I really want to put it out there and say that I have to wear a pad each day and that I am avidly practising my pelvic floor exercises any time I remember. Yes you could be chatting to me in the playground and I look as if I'm concentrating but really I am squeezing and releasing with the hope that things just might improve down below if I'm a really good girl.

1. Stop the taboo and start talking about it
Sometimes I hear or read friends joking about sneezing or using the trampoline and having a worrying moment of 'wee leakage'. 'Ohh make sure you are wearing a Tena lady' is the standard response but bladder weakness really is still one of those subjects that we just do not talk about in a serious manner and I think we need to.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Five years until JJ can learn to drive - really?

Teenage boy passed driving exam from Shutterstock

The thought of my child learning to drive sends shivers down my spine if I'm honest. Where does the time go, how can it possibly be that JJ will turn 17 in just under five years?

There is so much to think about - who will teach him? How will he/we pay for the lessons when they now cost around £24 per hour? What car will he drive, surely our 7 seater is too big for a new driver? Will we have to consider buying a little run around car? but then, what about the cost of insurance? The list of questions and worries goes on and on.

I'm not the most confident of drivers. We live in the countryside but I refuse to drive down single lanes for the fear of meeting a tractor and having to reverse. I also don't really drive in the snow and thus I suspect I would not be the best person to teach JJ but with a lesson costing about £24 for an hour, that is probably more than he would earn in a day doing a Saturday job at age 17/18 so maybe learning with your parents is the best option nowadays?

Monday, 4 January 2016

10 Family Movies to enjoy on NOW TV


During the run up to Christmas and this last week whilst the kids have still been off school we have been enjoying at least one family film every day. Sometimes all the family together, occasionally just the kids and a variety of family members at other times. It is definitely one of my favourite things to do, snuggle up with at least one of my children and watch a very good movie.

I'm  absolutely loving the variety that NOW TV is giving us. The movie package is probably the one that has been used the most (so far). We have been gifted this but it costs just £9.99 per month and I think that is great value, a trip to the cinema costs nearly that for just one adult. Also the films on NOW TV are good quality and there are over 1000 movies to choose from and up to 16 premieres each month. You won't get bored or run out of things to watch - I promise you!