Monday 31 January 2011

10 Top Tips for Taking Pre-schoolers to the Cinema (Twin Pre-schoolers!)

So, we went to the cinema yesterday morning because for once in our lives dh was off on a Saturday and we all got up in time! Upon arriving JJ announced that he wanted to see the Sorcerers Apprentice and the girls wanted to see Tinkerbell, which is what we went there with the aim to see.  Being the kind of loving mum I am I suggested to dh that he take JJ in to see his film and I would take the girls in to see Tinkerbell.  It was only after buying the tickets that I wondered what on earth I had let myself in for.  Two 3 year old lively kids on my own in a quiet cinema?  Am I bonkers? well yes - so go for it I thought.

Our first cinema experience with the girls was last July when they were just 3 years. We went to see Toy Story 3 and paid near on £50 for the privilege of listening to the girls both chatter loudly, try to escape from their seats and generally be pests. I blogged about the disaster it was here!  Dh left the film with both girls about half way through.

Then a couple of weeks ago we ventured into a cinema again, half a year after the last time.  This time the film was free and I was also pretty certain it should engage the girls and keep them occupied.  Thankfully Disney's Tangled did the job and the girls adored it and behaved much better.  Thus why I was willing to give the 2:1 ratio a go on this Saturday morning.

So Saturday was a success, so much so that I thought I would share my top 10 tips for taking pre-schoolers/ toddlers to the cinema with you, even twins where the ratio is 2:1!
  1. Do some training with the kids before hand. I have never been one to sit and watch TV with the kids but for the last couple of months once a week I get the kids in their PJs really early and we sit down and snuggle and watch TV. They have to talk in whispers and are not allowed to get down to play.
  2. Check out the Saturday/ Sunday morning kids screenings at your local cinemas.  5 of us went on Saturday for £5.00, now that is value! and you then do not mind if you do have to leave early!
  3. Arrive at the cinema in good time, so that you can get the tickets you want and good seats.  Nothing worse than disappointed youngsters in a film they were not expecting to see.
  4. In the same vein, take your seat early and then the kids have plenty of time to ask any question they fancy before the film starts. Let them help you choose the seat and feel important.
  5. Talk the kids through what will happen, ie: everyone will sit down, lights will dim, there will be adverts, then the film will start and we all have to talk in whispers etc.  It was amazing how much this helped this time.
  6. Limit the amount of fluid they drink before and during the showing.  We did 2 toilet runs in a very short film, I think it was the fun factor!
  7. Take snacks with you. If you want to buy popcorn at the cinema go ahead but I begrudge paying more on the popcorn that the ticket price! So I pop a bag at home and take it in the kids bag, I also take little bowls which fit into the drinks holders. My girls love to munch popcorn and this keeps them quiet for a few moments. I also took them a Chuppa Chups lolly each (I am sure some of you ace parents do not give your kids these, but mine occasionally do have them - you must have noticed it is honest parenting here at MFTH...).
  8. Do remember the wipes though if you give a sticky lolly!  and tissues as well, snotty noses wiped on your neighbours sleeves is a recipe for disaster!
  9. Once the movie finishes wait in your seats will others filter out the cinema.  Surely you are not in a rush?  Better to leave towards the end of the crowd and know exactly where your children are.
  10. Lastly and most importantly think positive.  This will be OK.  If you have taken them to a weekend morning kids showing then other people expect some noise and if they don't - really they should!  If Mummy stays stress free it will really help the kids to do the same. Don't jump on their every movement or noise made, choose your battles.  ON Saturday both girls stood at one point and watched bits of the film and they both sat on my lap at differing points and they swapped chairs too but that made it all exciting for them and totally manageable for me as I just stayed unfazed. At their height is does not matter if they stand in a tiered seating area, so why would I worry about it?
So there you have it.  My tips for taking your little kids to the cinema.  Have fun and let me know how you get on.  Mich x
This is another entry for the Multiples Mayhem Carnival being held over at Two become Four on Monday 7th February 2011. If you would like to join in and tell a story about your multiples please get in touch with the host of this carnival - the lovely Rebecca.

Multiples Mayhem Carnival at two become four

Sunday 30 January 2011

Thursday 27 January 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 - Week 4 - Join in Now!

We are in our 4th week and it was wonderful that 45 people linked up last week and shared some good cheer!  It will be wonderful if this keeps building week on week and we have lots of smiley, cheerful people out there!

You probably know what to do by now, write your post giving your three reasons to be cheerful and link it up, nick the blog hop code if you fancy and add that to the bottom of your post and that makes it easy for your readers to join in too, without having to visit me here, although if they want to visit me that is never discouraged! All the info is on the Reasons to be Cheerful page.

To spread the word we need to get tweeting too, use the hashtag #Reasons2BCheerful.
Grab the beautiful button as well and plonk that where you fancy - in the post, in your sidebar or don't if you do not want to, I won't shoot you!

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart

I'll be honest with you, I do not feel that cheerful today and therefore it is all the more important for me to tell you my 3 reasons to be cheerful -

  1. The girls had their jabs today.  That in itself is not a reason to be cheerful but the fact that it is over surely is. Miss M went bonkers and kicked the nurse! Whoops. Post to follow...
  2. I got organised this morning and got 2 pasta bakes all made, so all I have to do is pop them in the oven in a minute - dinner done!
  3. I am sat here on the sofa watching Come Dine with Me and blogging and it feels fabulous!
So there you go, easy as 1,2,3.

and just before you go. Do you know Jen? She is a super fab, friendly blogger and every two weeks she hosts a linky called Blog Gems - Air your Archives, she gives a prompt and you link up an old post and gain some new visitors. She has a linky open now, go and visit and say hi. or wait for the new prompt this Sunday!  The choice is yours.

Ok get set, link up now....  Mich x

Ohh, I last thing.  Did you see I am doing a giveaway as a thank you to all my fab readers.  You can win a bundle of goodies to help you have a fab night in.  Details here.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Fancy a Good Night In?

I fancied doing a giveaway on my blog, a really simple one.  Not because I have been given anything to review and giveaway but just one that says thanks to all my wonderful readers.

Many of you will know I opened my blog to public viewing in January 2010 and then dissapeared off again until April 2010 when I started to blog more seriously and instead of constant whinging about my battles with food my blog became a personal rambling of everything that relates to my family and I.  I feel very proud of the way my blog has grown in the last year and I feel very humbled by all the support I receive from many wonderful readers. January is the month I believe to be my Bloggerversary and this as far as I am concerned is my first one, as before that the blog was just an online dairy for me and no one else!

So, I felt it was time for one of you to enjoy a nice night in!  Here's what I would like to give you -

  • Next luxury foot pampering set
  • New pair of white towelling slippers for those gorgeous looking feet
  • Avon pale pink hail polish for after the foot pamper
  • Annabel Giles book - Defrosting of Charlotte Smith to read in the bath
  • Goodie bag of GU chocolate truffles and liquid caramel truffles
  • Gorgeous pale blue fabric covered journal for writing your precious thoughts
These are all new items that have either been given to me or bought by me but have never been used and have been sat in my gift cupboard for a while.  What better way to use them than to pass them onto a lovely reader who is more indulgent than I and will enjoy them ....

How to enter -
  • Chances are you already follow me, but I would love some new friends on networked blogs, so use the gadget on the right --> to follow, pretty please
  • Leave me a comment below with an email/ twitter ID so I can contact you if you win
  • If you fancy an extra entry then tweet '@Michelletwinmum would like you to have a fab night in #giveaway #win'
Terms and Conditions -
  • The giveaway will close at 12 noon Thursday 3 February 2011
  • The giveaway is open to those in the UK or Ireland
  • The winner will be chosen at random by my little man JJ (he wants to get involved, bless!)
  • There is no cash or prize alternative

Good Luck

Congratulations to @wannabefoodie76 You are the lucky winner.  Please email or DM me your address and I get the package sent out to you next Wednesday.  Mich x

Why Thank You Kind Ladies!

Last week I was very happy to go onto twitter and find 4 mentions that I had been nominated for blog awards.  How fab is that?  I am very grateful and honoured that you ladies wish to bestow your awards on me.

First up we have the Smile award  and I received this from Carole, Paula and Wendy too! Wendy even said I helped her to see joy in the mundane and grace in small things, ahh I am nearly tearful now.  I had no idea I was so wonderful!  All 3 of these bloggers have started their blogs within the last 6 months and they all make for very good reads, so do go visit them and share some blogger love.

Then the other (naff!) award I received was from Jen at The King and Eye and this is the most amazing blog.  If you have not been over to visit Jen then you are truly missing out.  I always feel like I am round a good friends having a cuppa and a chat when I pop into Jen's.  She is a real community maker and a totally nice person too.

The memetastic award was created by Jillsmo and she attached the following rules -

1. You must proudly display the absolutely disgusting graphic that I have created for these purposes (put it in your post, you don't have to put it in your sidebar, I think that would seriously be asking too much). It's so bad that not only did I use COMIC SANS, but there's even a little fucking jumping, celebrating kitten down there at the bottom. It's horrifying! But its presence in your award celebration is crucial to the memetastic process we're creating here. If you need a higher resolution version... I totally have one!!

2. You must list 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies. Just make some shit up, we'll never know; one of them has to be true, though. Of course, nobody will ever know the difference, so we're just on the honor system here.

3. You must pass this award on to 5 bloggers that you either like or don't like or don't really have much of an opinion about. I don't care who you pick, and nobody needs to know why.

So here we go, these are my five, but which one is true?
  1. I am currently in the 65th spot of the January Tots100 index.
  2. I lost my virginity when I was 14 and I am not particularly proud of that fact!
  3. I actually have 4 kids, I had my eldest when I was 12 and as such my parents raised her, so I think of her as my sister.
  4. I am a great skater and I used to compete as a child.
  5. I harbour a secret ambition to be a F1 racing driver.
So can you spot the truth when it stares you right in the face?  I know some of you will as you will have known me since I was a child! lol

Now I have to nominate 5 other bloggers for this truly fabulous (Jen called it Naff!) award -

Laura @ Yummy Mummy, Flabby Tummy (which I do not believe for a moment, just to add!)
Rebecca @ Two become Four
Alethea @ Mom on a Wire
Jay @ Mocha Beanie Mummy (as I would love to try and guess what her true one is!)
Hannah @ Metal Mummy

Before anyone even has to ask, these are bloggers I love!

Tuesday 25 January 2011

#TheGallery - I have gone for the Comedy Shot!

This weeks Gallery theme is Children, pop over and visit Tara at Sticky Fingers and see all the other fab entries that will be there from Wednesday.

I have just had the most divine hour looking through all the pictures of my kids when the twins were babies, I have some awesome ones that make my heart melt but I just could not decide on one picture and anyway the word Children for me means all my children and thus I need a picture of 3 little terrors!

One that makes me laugh every time is this one. Miss E has fallen down, Miss M is being lovingly cuddled on JJ's lap and she does not like it and JJ, well he is as happy as larry and can't stop grinning.  Ohh I could just eat him.

....and as I could not really decided on just one, here are a few that I gave serious consideration to.  Enjoy!

Monday 24 January 2011

The Horrid Henry of Twins!

Have you ever watched the TV show or read one of the Horrid Henry books with your kids?  I have, JJ is at 'that' age and he really loves it.  Then because he loves it, the twins are also starting to love it but no more, a ban has been put on watching Horrid Henry in this house.  I was doing really well and was very strict, no CBBC or CITV for the girls and then of late I have loosened up a bit but no more...

I am pretty sure it is not from watching the TV, all the signs have been there for a long time but she needs no encouragement. You see, we actually have a little Horrid Henry in our family and come to think of it, we also have a perfect Peter too!

Miss M can most definitely be likened to Horrid Henry, she is the most willful 3 year old I have ever come across. This child is extremely clever and not just in an intelligence way, she is street savvy too, knowing how to wind people up in a blink of an eye.  I mean why listen to your parents when you obviously know best?  but then go to school and behave like a perfect angel.  So many people upon meeting her comment that she is the minxy one and has a naughty twinkle in her eye and they are completely right.

I was against this good twin, bad twin idea when they were little.  Why stereotype them into being something that they are not? but I can not fight it anymore, they are. We do have a 'naughty' one! Dh and I often laugh to ourselves once all the kids are in bed about how challenging she has been and what a suck up Miss E can be. 'I'm your good girl, aren't I mummy?'.  'Miss M has been a naughty girl, hasn't she Mummy?'.

Guess which one is Miss Minxy?
When Miss E has been naughty or she knows I disapprove of something, she comes up and strokes my arm or tries to climb on my lap and tells me she loves me and that she is my good girl.  It is strange to see how much she desires my approval 'we best friends aren't we Mummy', and yes much of the time we are best friends but I am always aware to tell her that Miss M, me and her are all best friends together, 'us girls'.

I don't think Miss M feels left out, it just seems as she is very content being independent and walking her own walk.  In essence this is good, it will be great as she grows older to have a child who is street smart and knows her way round awkward or challenging situations but for the meantime it means I am stuck with a cheeky little girl who disrespects what I say to her.

As of today I am trying some positive reinforcement. The main problem is that she has stopped listening and I need to ensure that starts again - it is the crux of everything.  I am practically on the count of 3 before she does as she is told.  Clever little lady knowing the way to avoid the consequence is to give in on the brink of Mummy turning into the screaming banshee and that is where I am at for now, at the exasperated stage.  I don't like being the screaming banshee mummy! Hence the start of the positive reinforcements.  Miss E has resorted back to wetting since starting school, so she is getting a single smartie each time she uses the loo and this is working well, so today we started a smartie for Miss M when she did good listening.  That has also worked.  As I know all too well it is far harder work to catch the kids doing something good than it is to discipline for poor behaviour but the rewards for my hard work over the next week or two will be amazing I am sure.

Wish me luck....   and any tips are gratefully received.

This is my entry for the Multiples Mayhem Carnival being held over at Two become Four on Monday 7th February 2011. If you would like to join in and tell a story about your multiples please get in touch with the host of this carnival - the lovely Rebecca.

Multiples Mayhem Carnival at two become four

Sunday 23 January 2011

My How Times Have Changed!

So here is my Proud Mummy wall.  Never would I have imagined that I would have such tat on my wall (even if my kitchen is the only room left needing a makeover!) and love it!

Saturday 22 January 2011

Review & Giveaway - Blue Friesian Celebrity Style Magazine Cover, Superb Gift

I have had some great fun over the last couple of days creating my own magazine covers and 1 page spreads of spoof celebrity magazines. I created 3 in total and these are all to be surprise gifts for people.  I am really excited to be able to give them as I know the people are just going to love the effort and thought that has gone into them. The really great thing is that you can adapt the template to anything you fancy.  Take the example below, a 1 page spread from the magazine Esquire (bet you can not guess what this is based on?) it is set for a cycling theme but I actually changed it to an announcement of the Dad of the Year Award and now I have dh's Fathers day gift - perfect! This 1 page spread cost me £10 to have it professionally printed and sent to me or for £7 I could download it as a PDF and print it as many times as I need to.
Next up I created a cover for a friend of mine who has recently passed her Masters, she worked so hard on it, that it is nice to be able to celebrate with something a little different and to give her a keepsake to treasure forever.

There are a good variety of designs available at Blue Friesian, you can choose to make a cover, 1 page spread, 8 page magazine or 12 page magazine.  The pricing varies on what you wish to purchase and they get cheaper and cheaper the more you buy. Just imagine after your wedding you create a one page spread from something like KO to share your beautiful memories and photos from the day and use this as your thank you letter. You could have 50 of these printed and sent to you for only £50.00, that is only £1.00 each - no more than a decent wedding thank you card, and the beauty is that these are excellent quality A4 keepsakes - Fabulous!

So how did I find the process?
  • The first 1 page spread (and my most intricate with 8 photos and about 8 sections of wording) probably took me about 45 minutes to create from start to finish and that was learning the system too. The cover for my friend then just took about 5 minutes literally and my dh's 1 page spread was about 15 minutes.  So these do not have to be a bind to create.
  • You can only upload 1 photo at a time which worked but was not as quick as I would have liked, however the owner of Blue Friesian has showed me she is chasing her web developers for a fix to this.
  • Currently you have to go to an external tool to crop or enhance your photos to then fit them into the boxes available. I used PicNik which is free and easy to use. Again Blue Friesian are currently waiting for an enhanced version of their editing tool, this will allow you to crop and move images on the Blue Fresian website.  This will make a good service even better.
  • At one point I got a little stuck (it think it was technophobic me rather than anything else) and I emailed and received a fantastic and helpful response.  Blue Fresian pride themselves on their excellent customer service and I can certainly vouch for that, it was been a pleasure dealing with them.
  • At check out there are loads of options for you to pay.  I used paypal for peace of mind.
  • Postage is included in the cost and I like this, no hidden extras.
  • I have now received small jpeg images of my covers so that I can email them to friends, share on facebook etc and that is a super little extra.  Sadly I won't be sharing my covers here as they all contain lots of personal information that I am normally very careful to conceal on my blog!
In short I enjoyed myself, making these gifts was fun and not too difficult at all (even for a technophobe like me!). I think the pricing is good value and once I receive the products I will report back on the quality.  I have no doubt it will be anything but perfect as the service I have received from Blue Friesian so far leads me to believe this lady feels the customer is king!

Edit:  I received the covers I made in good time, the packaging was good and appropriate for the package. I was really very pleased with the quality, the covers are on 350gsm and are therefore very durable and great for framing.  If you order a magazine these come on 150gsm paper, again making them a long-life keepsake.

So now, are you interested!  Want to enter my giveaway to win yourself a £25.00 voucher to spend on the Blue Friesian website? This would create you a couple of covers or a beautiful magazine.

To enter -
  • Mandatory - Suggest the title of a baby magazine that Blue Friesion can add to their portfolio (you know the sort Practical Parenting, Mother and Baby, Prima Baby, Pregnancy and Birth) and if you are really clever you can suggest the spoof name too but that is optional!
  • For 2 extra entries visit Blue Friesian's Facebook page and press like (they do fab giveaway's on there) and while you are there check out my facebook page and like that too.
  • Once you have done that, leave me a comment below to let me know.
  • If you want an extra entry tweet the giveaway with @michelletwinmum in the tweet so I know
The exciting bit!

On 1st March 2011 Blue Friesian will launch a new cover to add to their portfolio based on which baby magazine title got the most votes, here at Mummy From The Heart...  So if you want to feel a part of the growth of this super business then get voting now!  Just leave a comment, then check back here or on Blue Friesian's Facebook Page after the closing date and see if your favourite magazine was voted the winner.

Terms and Conditions

  • Giveaway ends 12 noon Tuesday 1st February 2011
  • Open to all UK and Ireland residents.
  • The prize is not transferable or refundable and there is not a cash alternative.
  • The prize will be sent direct from Blue Friesian to the lucky winner.
  • I will use a random number generator to pick the winner.
  • I will contact the winner within 3 days of the giveaway closing.
  • Please leave an email or twitter ID so I can contact you if you win.
Good Luck!

I'll leave you with another couple of covers to feast your eyes on.  Perfect for a kid's birthday party?

This is a review post.  I was given £25 credit for the Blue Friesian website. I remain honest in my review of the service I used.

Congratulations to Becky, you are thew winner picked at Random.  Please email or DM me your email address and Blue Friesian will contact you about the prize.

Friday 21 January 2011

You can call me Lucky Bit*h!

It struck me this afternoon that I really am one lucky bit*h and I am not massive into swearing but this needs some emphasis.  I am a lucky girl. A really lucky girl! You hear me?  LUCKY!

How many mums do you know who can say they feel they have the perfect balance with work and being at home with the kids?  I fall into that completely blessed category.

A day out at Chessington, thanks to saving Tesco vouchers!
I work in the office for 2 days a week from 8.30 - 5pm and I work from home for 2.5 hours per week.  So in total I do half time- 18.5 hours a week.  This is enough to earn us the money to go on holiday (UK holidays admittedly) and buy take aways, the odd night out and nice clothes.  We are not by any means flush, we can not afford to blow £150 on the theatre and have to think before spending large amounts on the house but we we get by, comfortably.

My life is a million miles away from my big earnings of pre-children but I am so much happier for it. I see blog posts and tweets from mums working 12/16 hour days, having problems with childcare letting them down, having to commute for an hour or two every day and I think Why? Do you really need all the money it brings?  If so, then of course you have to carry on but dh and I choose to simplify our life and forget our Caribbean holidays and flashy cars for a few years and to have time with our kids. You often hear that, those with the money to spend do not have the time and those with the time, don't have the money, but so what? We have love and loads of free stuff that we can do together.

My girls have now started afternoon nursery for 3 days a week.  One of these I work and the other two I have time to myself.  Today I did a charity shop drop, bought some shopping, got myself some lunch and went home and did some work with the music blaring (all in 3 hrs!).  It was superb, I could have done with another hour or two to myself but I must not get greedy.

Tomorrow I plan to exercise to my new DVD and then spend a couple of hours blogging, writing up some reviews I need to do and maybe pitching for a cybermummy sponsor.  It feels so decadent to have this time to myself.

What JJ thinks of Mummy!

My cup is half full - I have the best of both worlds; I get to lunch with friends, be an adult and eat cake when I am at work and I get to keep my home, cook meals for my family, play with the kids and meet mummy friends when I am home.  Not a boring moment.  I can honestly say I look forward to each day at the moment.  How amazing is it to be able to say that about your life?

I am not writing this with the intention of being flash and showing off what I have.  I am just being honest and wanting to say to people that if you do not like your lot - change it!  What can you do to make things different and more enjoyable?  Are you willing to give up the costa coffee every day and the expensive iPhone to have time at home with your family?  I was. and for me it worked!

I love my family of 5!

I went to an amazing conference at work a couple of weeks back and one of our keynote speakers was Dr Richard Wiseman and he is a Psychologist and one of his specialist areas is looking at the psychology of luck.  He basically gave firm research based evidence of something I already knew was true - that those who have a cup half full attitude and feel blessed are and count themselves as lucky.  You make your own luck.

He gave an example of a millionaire who described himself as one of the most unlucky men alive. This was because he had won the lottery, £4 million, h felt he was unlucky as he had to share the £8 million jackpot - that ia not unlucky that is ungrateful in my opinion!

So have a think about what you can do to feel just a little bit more blessed.  Wake up in the morning and repeat to yourself, nothing will stress me out today, I am lucky.  This was what I started doing back in 1998 and my positivity had increased bounds since then.

Have a wonderful weekend, I fully intend to.

Mich x

Thursday 20 January 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 - Week 3, Join in Now!

Onto our third week, how about we make this the biggest and best week yet?  In week 1, 39 blogs linked up, in week 2, 36 blogs linked up and what about if we achieved 50 or more in week 3?  Aim high they say.....

You probably know what to do by now, write your post giving your three reasons to be cheerful and link it up, nick the blog hop code if you fancy and add that to the bottom of your post and that makes it easy for your readers to join in too, without having to visit me here, although if they want to visit me that is never discouraged!

If we are going to have the best link up yet, we need to get tweeting too, use the hashtag #Reasons2BCheerful and seeing as you are all going to make an extra effort this week (see I have faith in you!) I will commit to come and read/ comment on every entry that links up, it may just take me a bit of time....

Grab the beautiful button as well and plonk that where you fancy - in the post, in your sidebar or don't if you do not want to, I won't shoot you!

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart

So I suppose I better play my own game really and tell you my 3 reasons to be cheerful -

  1. I am finally having some time to myself, not to do anything massively decadent but just to be able to catch up on housework, reading, stuff on my laptop, shopping etc.  It has been divine and tomorrow I have 2.5 hours to myself and nothing I need to do. You may just catch me on twitter...
  2. Work have allowed me to start working a few hours a week from home and this means I can drop and collect all the kids to/ from school 3 days a week and that feels perfect!
  3. JJ has learn to tie his own shoelaces and now wears big boy shoes!
What are your reasons?  I look forward to reading them.  Link up now....

and just before you go.  Do you know Jen?  She is a super fab, friendly blogger and every two weeks she hosts a linky called Blog Gems, she gives a prompt and you link up an old post and gain some new visitors. She has a linky open now, go and visit and say hi.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

The Gallery: Mother Nature's Stark Contrast.

I really wanted to join in with the gallery this week and the theme of Mother Nature is a fine one; at first I thought of the miracle of carrying a baby and the stupidly enormous tummy I had when I was pregnant with the twins.  Then I realised I could grab dh's new point and click camera and take a walk and really enjoy what I saw.

So this morning on the way to school we left extra time and I asked the kids to help me look for really interesting things on the journey.  I think we did well.  I am pretty pleased with the pictures.  You all know I am a happy snapper and no more but dh's camera did good!  Well done Canon.  Also, a big thank you to Tara for helping the kids and I to pause and enjoy the beauty around us.

The contrast of nature: Full or Bare

Look at that leaf, said JJ

An icy snake, said Miss M

An amazing sky, thought Mummy

Nice red berries, said Miss E

New life, thought Mummy  (Spring is coming...)
Of course my pictures pale into insignificance when you take a look at Trish's.  Go take a look and share some love with this great new blogger who has had a hell of a couple of weeks!

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Readers, can you answer a question for me please?

Image Credit
I am sure if you have visited here before you know that I am a Christian and not just in name, I aim to practice my faith. As my strap line says I am an imperfect Christian Mummy. I try to do the best I can and be Christ like. Very often I fail and fall very short of the standards of Jesus but I won't beat myself up, as I try and if things go wrong I repent and then I know that I am forgiven. It is all part of being a Christian and trying to live by faith.

I know that a lot of my friends would say I am a very accepting Christian. I do not insist that all my friends are Christian's, I accept other faiths, I believe the world would be a better place if we were all unified in our acceptance of others. My children's Godmother was a Christian and no longer is, now believing in a menage of things, such as Reiki, Angels, Ascended Masters, Nature etc and I still love her and I still cherish her prayers for my children. I met a lady in the summer who I had chatted on an online forum to for a good couple of years. She expected to meet this straight laced Christian woman who would frown on her belief as a Pagan, she was surprised at me and told me so. A nice surprise I hope.

Many devout Christian's would probably say that I am watering down my faith and I should be out there shouting that my God is the only true God. Let's be honest that is what I believe, that is my reality but I know that your reality may be different and that is OK. If you are a person of faith I would expect you to believe that your God is the only true God and if you are a person of no faith or just do not know, that is OK too.

Having said that, tomorrow I will be sticking up for Christianity when I speak to a teacher at JJ's school. I do feel that Christianity is often marginalised in this country or not treated as importantly as some other faiths. This is a Christian country and the Queen is the head of the Church of England.

Let me tell you why I am in a tizz tonight -

Today JJ was a bit of a naughty lad (he is 7, he is a boy - goes with the territory in my book) and apparently he was singing to himself a la la a la la a la la and this apparently turned into a sing-song Allah is rubbish, Allah is stupid and Allah is nasty (disclaimer: I type this only to state what was said, not because I wish to use those sentiments myself). A little Muslim girl close to him became upset and told the teacher, apparently she cried and JJ said sorry. He was told off by the teacher and quite rightly, that is not acceptable in school or anywhere else.

Dh and I came home to a message on our answer phone to ask if we could call school and speak to the teacher in question. I will do this tomorrow and I will listen to the teachers side of the story with an open mind. JJ knows I will do this and I have told him I will get the complete truth so he has no reason to lie to me. He has learnt it is better to be honest and get into trouble than to lie and cover things.

So I truly believe that he was singing this out of boredom or stupidity not to be spiteful to the little girl who was close by. To my mind a telling off from the teacher and a I promise from JJ not to do it again should have been enough. Why does this warrant a call to the parents? Can anyone answer me that? Do you have a different perspective on this to me?

So tomorrow, if the teacher explains the story to me just like JJ did I will ask her if she would have called me if JJ had said God is rubbish, God is stupid, God is nasty. As my faith as a Christian is just as important. Somehow I seriously doubt the phone call would have been made!

I'll let you know how it goes......

Update - Afternoon 19/1/11

I have seen the teacher at school and the Head Mistress too and I was very happy with their response and the story they told me.  They assure me that had someone been being rude about God the same action would have been taken.  They also made me aware of the school policies of bullying, tolerance and equal treatment and that all incidents of this nature are treated very seriously.

I need to chat to JJ later as I did not know he had been to see the Head Mistress yesterday.  She seemed to agree with me that he had no idea how serious this was and that because he is Teflon coated he did not realise it would hurt anyone else. Yet another example of where my little man does not have the average social awareness of a 7 year old.  This will be one to bring up next time we go for his assessment with the child psychologist.

The school that believe that seeing how upset the little girl got and having to go tot he Head Mistress office that JJ won't do this again.  I hope they are right.  We will be having some more chats around this to help educate him and for him to learn this.  I said to dh earlier, that for other kids this is just known behaviour and for JJ he is to learn it as it is not natural for him.  Dh commented things will only get harder for him as he gets older.  My poor little man, I need to remain really conscious of his issues and try to find some better strategies to help him.

Thanks to everyone, you are all great.  Mich x

Monday 17 January 2011

Fancy Knowing 7 New Things About Me?

I can tell January has arrived.  Any idea why? because I have received an award as part of a meme!  Last year when I first came to blogging in January I took part in a few meme's and I remember the thrill of completing them.  I was so chuffed to have been nominated for an award and lets be honest, this is only my second January so I still feel pretty chuffed.  Except now I am supposed to be a seasoned blogger and be past all that sort of thing.  Yea, right!  Thank you Carol from New Mummy for tagging me.  I would love to think of myself as a Stylish Blogger.

As with all meme's this one comes with some rules.  I have to reveal 7 things to you that you do not already know about me.  My first thought is that this sounds like a nightmare, I am pretty open so what else is there to bare....  right lets give it a try -
  1. My middle name is Dawn and I do not like it (sorry to all the Dawn's out there).  I was named Dawn as I was born at 6am and I think that is a nice reason with good meaning but I still dislike the name!
  2. I have only ever slept with 3 men (is that too much information - are you running away now?). One was a nightmare and I may tell that story on here one day, one I thought I loved and one I still do love very much.
  3. I am 37 years old and I still suck my thumb! Only sometimes, when I am tried and never in public.  It is not something I am proud of but I know at least 5 other grown women who do the same! Gosh this is like therapy!
  4. It is 11pm (Sunday) when I am writing this and I have had over 820 page views on my blog today.  Tell me that is good - I am thrilled!
  5. I have owned 5 cars in my life - 4 Ford fiestas (all bought from new) and my current Toyota.  If I had not of had 3 kids I might have had fiesta's forever, I appear to be a creature of habit.
  6. When I was young I thought I had the talent to be a professional artist.  Luckily I gained some perspective and outgrew that!
  7. I did not learn to swim properly until I was 18 and on my first foreign holiday with my boyfriend. As such my kids will have swim lessons and learn from an early age.  I do not have enough talent to teach them but it is such a valuable and enjoyable skill
and that's the 7!  I think you have learnt enough there!

I am supposed to tag another 15 bloggers to take part in this meme (wow, how many?).  So here goes, I am going to try and tag new (and newish, within last 6 months) bloggers so they can hopefully feel that thrill I did last year. So here are their twitter ID's and linked as their blogs - go take a look and share some blogger love with these newbies.

Go read, Enjoy!! Mich x

Sunday 16 January 2011

Tweeps Share their 10 Hot Tips for New Bloggers - Part 1

Image Credit

I have been wanting to write some posts aimed at new bloggers for a while now, so here is the first of what may be..... many! On BMB today some of the new bloggers started to give me ideas of posts they would like to see, so I will endeavour to fit them into my already overflowing life, lol, while, of course be mindful of the great advice below!

I asked the question on twitter 'Give me your 1 piece of essential advice for a new blogger' and I got a great response.  You can always rely on Twitter, which brings me onto the first tip -

  • JOIN TWITTER - @photopuddle said just that 'Join twitter! It's a great way of promoting your blog and you really feel part of the blogging community'. Set yourself up with a Twitter account and start following people and chatting to anyone and everyone.  One rule - do not be shy!  Jump in to anyone's conversations on twitter, do not sit back and wait - go for it!  I found it very hard at first and it probably took me 6 months to really get into it and now I love it.  I was a slow learner, I know others who are more confident in an unknown social situation who cracked it in a weekend!
  •  JOIN BMB - @cherrymumof6 tweeted 'Join BMB, they are a Godsend'. As per twitter, be brave and just say Hi.  Start new discussions, add to discussions that are there already and any question that comes to mind - just post it and ask.  Remember, like any other online forum, manners and good etiquette are a must. Join the new to blogging group and find some new blogs to check out.... hang on that's the next tip.
  • READ OTHER BLOGS AND COMMENT, LOTS! A few tweeters had the same advice - @dawnie_brown 'Go visit other blogs and comment, you can't expect lots of views and comments if you make no effort yourself :)'. @susurem agrees 'read other blogs! And comment if you like what u read! Gain inspiration from the fab blogs + always link back to them' and an important reminder from @misssym 'Don't be put off by the lack of comments in the first few months. People will start reading if you stick at it. And just because people don't comment, it doesn't mean they aren't reading'. @bodfortea expands on this  'I'd recommend following and, importantly, reading and commenting on as many other blogs as you can manage both in and out of your genre to get inspiration and hopefully reciprocal comments/follows'.  Then on the note of comments - @suburbanmummyuk says 'respond to comments. If Dooce can do it we can too lol'.
  • ASK FOR HELP New blogger @bodfortea states 'I have met such wonderful mummy bloggers out here in blogland (including your very good self of course) and people are very willing to help so don't be afraid to ask questions' and fellow new blogger @SAHMLovingIt agrees, '1 piece of essential advice - interact with other bloggers, use the knowledge that's out there'. Use twitter, BMB, Bloggered or any blogger you have interacted with and ask what ever you need to.  We were all new to blogging once and I have never yet had a bad response when I have asked for help. Some people might be too busy to help, but it is not personal, move onto the next person.
  • RELAX AND ENJOY BLOGGING @savvymum4 tweeted 'Enjoy blogging, if it is getting a chore its time to have a break'. @lesleyannp1 offers an interesting view 'don't be scared. If people can read a blog about what someones cat ate for breakfast, they'll read about your topic too!'  I must say I have never thought about it in this way before but it is true.  Sometimes a subject is a bore to me but the post in question could get tons of comments - different strokes for different folks they say.  So make sure you use your own original voice.  Be yourself, bringing us nicely onto the next tip...
  • @Livingwithkids 'BLOG FROM THE HEART' - Have you noticed what my blog is called?  lol  I always try and be really honest on here and in real life too.  People can tell if everything you say is a put on. @cosmicgirlie agrees, she said 'Write from the heart, for you. Don't worry so much about what everyone else is thinking'. Being true to yourself is so important. @tiddlyompompom states 'be yourself, don't try to be something you're not' and @savvymum4 offers some good advice 'pick a subject you know about and don't just write a post for the sake of it'.
  • DON'T FORGET TO LIVE REAL LIFE - I find the really interesting blogs are those where the family have a full and rich life.  If you ever sit at the PC stuck for something to write my advice is to turn the computer off and go and live, you will soon find some good blog fodder! @notesfromhome agrees, saying 'live a full life - do, read, love, so on - and that will give you plenty of inspiration for blogging :)'
  • PACE YOURSELF BUT PERSEVERE - @liveotherwise keep writing. Even if you think no one is reading, keep writing but heed @Tonihargis advice 'Pace yourself. Don't blog every day if you won't be able to keep it up'.  This became a popular subject with @3bedroom jumping in too 'I second what @ToniHargis said. I tried to blog everyday except the weekends and burnt myself out for a while' and @cosmicgirlie responded 'Gotta jump on board that one. No WAY do I post every day. Pfffft no'. @mumsmyname independently also tweeted the same 'Dont put too much pressure on yourself to do it daily or weekly, enjoy it and it will just come to you'. @MumVersusKids also commented 'Schedule in some time for blogging and try and do it on a regular basis rather than just as and when you feel you have something to say. (e.g. 8 pm every night, or every Sunday night - whatever!). I know it sounds ridiculous but the biggest risk in blogging is that it is easy to get so wrapped up in writing about your experiences that you are too busy to actually experience them. Your kids will thank you!'
  • TIPS FOR WRITING POSTS - Keep a notebook with you at all times suggested @tonihargis @3bedroom @nickie72 and myself @michelletwinmum. While @cosmisgirlie uses her iPhone as a dictaphone.  I admitted to dreaming of my blog and waking to write notes and @3bedroom composes her posts in the shower!  See, we bloggers are a varied bunch! @nickie72 also want to remind you to 'always credit ideas with linkbacks and don't forget to credit photos - even from google'. @crystaljigsaw said 'Don't make your posts too long. There are many interesting blogs out there and people have limited time'. Sorry CJ, this has ended up a long post, so many great tweets to include! Lastly in this section @bodfortea suggests 'Use Reuters for ideas from news stories that you can comment on too'.
  • THINK FIRST - Before you hit that publish key think about what it is you are revealing to the world.  Remember blogs are public places that anyone can view (unless you have a private one & then you do not need to be reading this post! lol) I had not thought about this really but @3bedroom remind us that 'unless your friends and family are cool with you using them in posts, don't or ask permission to tell the story'. Lastly @notesfromhome gives us some really good advice and says 'always keep safety in mind, don't reveal too much personal information (there r some crazy people out there).  Unfortunately there are.  Before you start writing your blog make a conscious decision if you will name your children, your partner, if you will show photos and if you will reveal your home town. Just the start of a very long list you need to think about really.
and I leave you with a word of wisdom from @bodfrotea, a new blogger herself. 'Finally get posting! Jump in with both feet and just go for it'.

.....and if I can be of any help, just ask!   Mich x

(If there are particular subjects relevant to new bloggers that you would like to see me post on then leave me a note in the comments and I will endeavour to get to them all)

Thursday 13 January 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 - Week 2. Join In Now!

Here we are again, it is that time of the week! How quick this first week has passed, I have been excited and nervous for this second week wondering if people will join in again. I do hope so. I class last weeks link up as a major success as 38 of you took the time to join in and I went and visited you all and cheered myself up immensely. I can not promise to visit you all every week, my visits this week led to two very late nights and two days of grumpy Mummy! whoops.

Onto my reasons - My reasons for being cheerful this week -
  1. JJ, he is enough to make anyone happy.  He can drive you bonkers at times but on balance is divine. Here is a snippet from his prayers last night ' Dear God, Sorry that I keep TOOTing (talking out of turn - calling out basically) at school I do not mean to.......Thank you that I have the best teacher in the world....... Please help all the poor people to have money, all the hungry people to have food, all the thirsty people to have water and the people with no houses to have shelter.... Amen.  He certainly made me smile, proud and well up all in the space of 5 minutes.
  2. You guys. I love my blog and more than that I love the people who come here and visit and support me.  Things seem to be going well at the moment and I am enjoying everything bloggy and twitter too.
  3. I have been mainly abstinent this last week. If you are not sure what that means, read this post. It is always a minor miracle when I manage to go through a week without eating on my every emotion.  I weighed myself yesterday and was pleased to see I have dropped 10lb since after Christmas.  Still a long way to go but one day at a time.
Here is the lovely little button if you want to use it in your post of pop it on your side bar.  No pressure but it would certainly make me smile!

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy with a Heart

and remember that if you tweet your post or promote others to use the hashtag #Reasons2BCheerful on Twitter.  Then we can all keep up with each other!

So over to you.....  Here is the linky.....  Thanks for joining in,  Mich x

(Don't forget this is a blog hop, so you can easily get the code and paste it into the end of your Reasons post and then your friends and followers can join in without having to come back here.  Some of you did this last week and it seemed to work very well, but again no pressure).

Wednesday 12 January 2011

A Year Walked in my Shoes...

I have gained so many new readers in the last month or two, so I thought you might like to know a bit more about me and my bloggy journey, so this is my walk through 2010.  A year in my shoes if you like!  You'll see, none of them are too glamorous but that is OK as I do not aim to be a glamour puss...

The month of January was a very cold one and I was glad of my nice new brown riding boots.  A January sale bargain, just what I like!  This was the month that I decided to be brave and to open my blog up for public viewing.... little did I know what I was doing! I wrote about what I wanted to achieve in 2010 and feel really good to know that I did and this was also the month when I shared with you dear readers about my eating disorder.

In February I got motivated to go to the gym, which was great but it was a real up and down month for me in regards to blogging.  In early February I said thank you to some amazing bloggers who had inspired me as I started my journey but by mid-Feb I was feeling completely disheartened when I did not make it into a blogging carnival.  I had a moment of clarity when I knew I had got too involved in this blogging lark and I gave it all up for Lent, staying away for just over 6 weeks.

So in March, I lived my life - played with my kids, went to the park, had time with dh and thoroughly recharged my batteries!

April comes and we head off on holiday to Spring Harvest at Butlins and have an amazing family time. I am still on bloggy break and find that once Easter passes I am not that desperate to come back...  until I have some unexpected news to share - I'm Pregnant. Sadly it was not to be and I was back blogging just a few days later at 11 weeks pregnant, that actually I had lost my babe and had a missed miscarriage.

May, I throw myself into my work and think about how every bad situation has led to something positive in my life and I was not proud of myself when I made my little man cry, but it was necessary.                                                                                      

In June I asked you dear readers to help me get some perspective on my life - was it just too busy?  The answer seemed to be yes and I am pleased to say I have been remembering this ever since. Dh and I enjoyed a weekend away on our own - bliss! At this point I recall being amazed how my blog had grown from 2 readers to 53 subscribed and I posted to thank all my lovely new bloggy friends from abroad, particularly Australia and New Zealand.

July saw my girls 3rd Birthday and a super family holiday to Dorset.  I came to terms that I am a good enough parent and made a breakthrough in my recovery from my miscarriage. JJ and I also had a funny little conversation about Sex.

By mid August I was at 79 readers and still enjoying the thrill that came with my blog growing more popular. I had a fun night away with some twin mummy friends and wrote a post in response to it entitled:  Tell me am I stuck up my own arse? I got 27 comments (my most ever at that point) on a post which took seconds to do and I really felt part of the blogging community.

I shared the tale of how I lost my smile in September and I also wrote a post entitled: Sold out about the fact that I was now taking sponsored posts and review opportunities and that all money I make from blogging goes to fantastic causes such as Compassion and Hope for the Nations.

In October JJ met the Child Psychologist to start the process to assess if he has a special need such as Aspergers. We are still none the wiser! I also asked the question 'Does my 3 year old really need a DS?'  Quite a few people had something to say on this!

November was a great bloggy month, my blog had really taken of, I was listed in the Tots 100 at position 117 and had about 160 followers.  All my posts got regular comments and I was enjoying Twitter.  My how things change. This month I wrote one of my hardest posts ever, about being a child bully.

The December the year ended beautifully.  I had the idea to start the new Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 meme in January (which has been an overwhelming success - thank you). I held my first Multiples Mayhem carnival and had a very popular entry myself. I also invoke a bit of debate when I ask the question why Mums need to label themselves?

So 2010 - that was the year.....  sadly of the miscarriage but also the year that I achieved all my goals for the year, ie: falling in love with my hubbie again and spending time with my family.  It was also positively the year that blogging became a massive part of my life and I came to a comfortable place.

I am sat here today with 204 goggle followers, over 290 feed subscribers, a separate review blog, listed 51 in the Wikio parenting list, listed 117 in the TOTs 100 index, my facebook page has 118 fans and I am getting in excess of 550 page views some days.

I am happy! and I hope you are too.  Thanks for joining me on my journey, it means a lot to have you here by my side.  Mich x