Thursday 31 March 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 - Week 13

Welcome to this weeks Reasons to be Cheerful.  It has gone a little bit different over here this week and I have done you a Vlog.  Seeing Wendy and Paula show off their talents last week I thought I ought to get in on the act - what a harrowing experience I have found it to be,  not sure I'll be back in front of the camera any time soon!
Anyway enjoy......

and these are the promised photos of dh -

You know what to do now, share your #R2BC.  I thought that might be an easier hashtag than #Reasons2BCheerful - what do you think?

I have put the badge over in my side bar if you want to grab the code and use it in your post, that is where it will always be from now onwards.  No obligation thought, I would rather you are sharing your reasons and spreading some joy than feeling stressed about any perceived rules.

Have a marvellous week.  See you next week?  Same time, same place.  

and can I just ask a quick favour while you are here please?

Would you mind leaving me a comment with some feedback on R2BC.  What do you like about it?  What would you like to see changed?  Would you like a prompt each week to help stretch you and make you think about why you should be grateful in different areas?  (ie: home, family, work, nature, being). Have you got any great ideas for improvement?

Thanks a lot, Mich x

Notes From The Heart...

Dear So and So...

It has been a long time since I last wrote a notes from the heart post!  Far too long....  I love the 'Dear So and So' link up that Kat at 3 Bedroom Bungalow created and I have been remiss in not joining in recently.  So I aim to kick myself up the bum and start it again.  I remember when I used to do these posts regularly, they were always the ones that people would say to me they loved.

So off we go....

Dear JJ

Boy do we have some ups and downs with you little man. I feel so proud of you right now, you are trying really hard at school, your teacher tells me that he can see the immense effort you are making and I am really loving the fun that we have together.  My heart swells when I realise that Daddy and I are doing OK and you are growing up to be a delight.

When we saw the child psychologist last week for your next consultation in this long line of assessments towards finding out if you have learning difficulties you conducted yourself really well and gave me the space to talk to the Consultant.  It was nice to meet with a professional who understood what I was saying and recognised that there could be a real need that you require help with. It will be interesting to see what your occupational therapy assessment brings up and once you finally have your full communications disorder assessment in the next year we will know much more but for now I feel that it is a good thing that you are in the system and now have a professional championing your case.

Thank you babe for being you.  You make my life so much richer.

Mummy xxx


Miss M

Thank the Lord that you are on the path to being well again.  Chickenpox really knocked you for six didn't it? You can be such hard work at times. How stubborn can a 3 year old be?  Your definance is not OK young lady, as I have told you many times before I am the boss and you will do as you are told.  This is not because I am a mean Mummy but because it is my job to teach you right from wrong and also some manners.  I love you with a passion that is untrue but you have to stop pushing me to the brink.  You are such fun when you are behaving yourself and life is much easier for us all.

Here's hoping for a good week....

Mummy (who loves you soooo much!) xxx


Miss E

Yes you can be stubborn at times and have some funny, quirky little ways but generally you are an absolute delight, where did you come from?  I am sure you are not really one of my children.  This beautiful mellow manner that you have is totally unfamiliar to someone as manic as me.

Thank you baby for providing me with a little bit of tranquility.

Mummy xxx


Dear blog,

I love you but why do you absorb me so much? I seem to have got in this awful habit of blogging every day and it is not even because I feel I have to it is because I have so many posts brewing in my head that I need to get them out but I do wonder how I will sustain this, so you may just see a few less from me and that will be a good thing.

Your master!

To my wonderful readers,

I love you and value you.  Each and every one of you, whether you pop in every day or just stop by twice a year, you are what make my blog what it is. Whenever I used to post one of these notes from the heart I used to tell you I had X number of followers and that my next target would be X.  Well, I think I have come of age since then, as I now have over 330 followers on here, 180 on my review blog and over 500 subscribed through feedburner.  I feel OK now, I do not need to set another target.  Currently I sit at number 13 in the Tots100 parenting chart and 9 in the Wikio parenting chart and I feel pretty darn proud. My aim has always been to keep my blog as an honest reflection of me and all that is important to me and I think it does that.

Cheers all, Mich x

To my food obsession,

I hate you, I want you out of my life.  If only I did not have to eat, things would be so much easier.  One day this big issue will be solved but for now I need to put one foot in front of the other and keep going....

I need to learn to love myself from the inside out.  Another blog post on this coming real soon.

Unhappy in Herts!

Wednesday 30 March 2011

#TheGallery - Comedy Teenage Hair

This weeks theme at the Gallery is hair and I thought it was only fair to share some of my teenage comedy moments at University!

With nothing to do (obviously!) Mich and J decide to create a very strange hair style!

On holiday with M, the bunches look seems to have arrived - WTF  or should I say 'Peace Man'.  I am pretty sure I did not really go out looking like that!

Oh I missed a trick last week, how well would this have gone down for the education theme? So here we have the back to school party.  1 good school girl and 2 naughty ones!

and just to show that I did not always have strange hair at Uni, here is a more normal picture of me, ready for a night out.  It makes me smile to realise this is 19 years ago and I still really have the same hair style!

In case you wondering where my penchant for comedy hair comes from, you just have to meet my dad, aka Tin Tin!

Tuesday 29 March 2011

What does your bank statement say about you?

Image Credit
On the drive to work this morning I was listening to Premier Christian Radio and there was an interesting feature about the march which happened in London on Saturday and also about the strength of feeling in the UK that the average person is being treated unfairly with all the new funding and benefit cuts that are happening.

I am proud to know a friend who got off her bum and went to the march this weekend and stood up for what she felt is right. I am embarrassed to admit that I do not really have a full clear picture of what is going on in our economy.  I rely on my husband to keep me up to date with what I need to know and I also allow his opinions to help form my own.  This is not because he is controlling or this is his wish, I am just a bit out of the loop.  I rarely listen to the radio, read a paper or watch the news on the TV, I am normally busy doing something else. 

Anyway, this radio feature then went on to discuss that there has been a public outcry for new taxes, which some are naming the Robin Hood taxes, ie that the rich give to help the poor.  This of course led to discussion about the banks and how much some people are earning and how little the banks can be paying in corporation tax.  It was stated that Barclays made £60 million profit in 2006 but paid just 2.4% in corporation tax, due to all the loop holes that they can make use of.  How can that possibly be right when someone who earns £20,000 gives back approximately 22-25% of their earnings? 

What is it they say? The rich get richer and the poor get poorer but this is abysmal and actually just makes me want to sit down and cry  but I know that would not help anyone.  So what can I do?  an average mum of 3 who works part-time and does various other activities including charitable ones. A cash poor, tie poor Mum. What can I do to make a difference?  If you have an idea please do leave me a comment, I would appreciate it.

Surely this inequality is where the focus needs to be, lets start with the concept of fairness. It is not right that some people in the UK do not have a bed to sleep in or that they cannot remember their last hot meal yet others may have just earned £7million for a years work. I am not saying it is wrong to earn good money, if you do well, work hard, are talented, have been given a good break or similar then you will earn more than the average and well done to you but you have to apply the biblical concept of 'enough' surely? Once you have enough money to live comfortably then how can you justify stock piling more and more money?

I know that often I am dreaming of more: staying at home and not having to do paid work, just being able to volunteer; that kitchen re-fit; a second car; an abroad holiday.  All things that may come one day and things that I know are not essential but what about those people who are dreaming of the next car when the last one is only a couple of months old or having the bathroom refurbished when it was only done a year ago or having their 40th party on an exclusive Caribbean island for the cost of £400,000.  These things I just cannot see are right or OK.  The concept of enough has been well and truly forgotten there.

So today, why don't you take a look at your bank statement (and credit card statement or is that statements?) and see what it is telling you.  Where you actually spend your money is where your real priorities lie.  Looking at mine I can see most of our money goes on buying and running our house, feeding and clothing us all, giving to charities, having meals out or take aways, buying and running our car and saving for our children's future. If I wanted to cut down I could spend less on our food bill, clothing and meals out but actually none of them are done to excess so I feel quite happy we are spending wisely and being good stewards of what the Lord has provided us with.

I would have hated to look at that statement and know that money was being wasted on alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, excessive gadgets, crazy mobile phone bills, gaming systems and games, beauty products, glossy magazines or anything else in the same vein. Go back a few years though and you certainly would have found that many of those things featured on my statement in a disproportionate manner to the amount I earned.  I regularly over spent and bought unnecessary items.  It is great to realise how much things have changed for me in the last 10 years or so.

Don't get me wrong I am not telling you to stop spending on the things you enjoy, I am just saying take a look at your own spending habits and analyse where the money is going and you might just be surprised. 

Are you looking after the money you have or is it being frittered away?

Whether you decide to make any changes if entirely up to you.  In fact having sat and read this post a few times I might just have to make some changes to the amount I spend on clothes for the kids and myself.  A fabulous blog post I read a little while back has sat at the back of my mind niggling away at me and really I know I should be more cautious in this area.

Monday 28 March 2011

More on Monday... Peppa Pig World and Grandparents Fun

As you have probably seen, most weeks I join in with Silent Sunday where I post one picture and recently I have followed the rules and not posted any explanatory words but then the other week I saw an expansion on Silent Sunday over at The Alexander Residence, called More on Monday and I love this idea.  So here is my very own More on Monday post.

We had a really wonderful weekend and it is great to share....

Saturday - I'll let you guess where we went!  Full post to follow, later in the week.

The Sunday - a family day with the grandparents

Don't you just love getting out in the fresh air.  Needless to say they all slept well Sunday night!

Sunday 27 March 2011

A Late Post for #SilentSunday

In case you are not aware, the concept of Silent Sunday is to post 1 photo with no explanation and the photo should have been taken in the last week. If you would like to look at loads more Silent Sunday posts, click on the badge below....

Friday 25 March 2011

Flashback Friday - Mich, Queen of Hip Hop?

There I was this afternoon minding my own business on Twitter when all of a sudden I got an email notification to say I had a new follower on Twitter (I so must turn those off, what a waste of virtual paper!) and my jaw dropped when it said Eric B and Rakim was following me. That may mean absolutely nothing to you but if like me, back in the late 1980's you were into the Hip Hop music scene and hung around with the a group of ‘beat boys’ that would mean fair bit! Recall the song Paid in Full? That was probably my favourite from them ‘This is a journey into sound…..’ I am humming away right now, much to dh’s annoyance.

I have no idea why I got a follow from them; maybe they are physic and knew that I used to love all this type of music. Oh come on, alright then I do actually still really like this kind of music. I am so old skool! I used to be there with my crew carrying a piece of lino around and a can of furniture polish, while one of the boys had the beat box. No I did not do all the dancing; I had no talent in that area. I was just there to support from the side-lines and get off with the boys! (Sorry Mum)

My memories from this time are pretty vivid; these really were my formative years from about age 13 – 16.
  • you could find me wearing Adidas or Nike shiny satin zip up tracksuit top in the brightest colours possible, costing a small fortune and all the better if it was a rare one imported from the US!
  • Nike trainers with fluorescent parts or wide laces
  • Sasperilla Jeans
  • Big gold hoop earrings
  • Hair that was far too big, back combed fringes with a ton of hair spray!
  • The boys spraying tags onto any surface they could find
  •  A black leather belt with big gold buckle that said 'Sexy'.  Ohh yes I had the look!
  • Breakdance the movie
So after this reminiscing I had to find you a photo and share as most people will not know this little nugget from my past. When I revealed before on a forum I was part of that I used to be into this type of thing, the women all pissed themselves. Apparently this does not fit with my wholesome image.

OMG, how much mascara Mich?  and that hair??

If I recall rightly, I was doing a 'dying fly!'
Linking up with Karin  at Cafe Bebe for the first time...

Thursday 24 March 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 - Week 12

Considering I am off work with bronchitis and a general case of being run down I am feeling very chirpy and happy right now.  Praise the Lord!

Here are my reasons for being cheerful this week -

*  Spring has sprung and that makes me feel so happy.  It was a joy walking the kids to school this morning and looking at the glorious cherry blossom on the trees. A trip to the park, washing on the line, a spot of gardening this afternoon and some sand play for the kids all make a very happy Mich.

Miss E is not actually brave enough to climb it!

Look at that sunshine!

*  Look at this picture, who would not be happy with this little delivery?  have I been tempted?  well yes and I have given in to that temptation just a bit.  Back on the band wagon today and not eating on my emotions. Dh will be polishing off this little lot for me. Have you tried Divine chocolate before?  it really is the business (far superior to Green & Blacks in my opinion) and of course the part I also really like is that all their varieties are fairtrade and thus my enjoyment is not at anyone else's expense - perfect!  I always purchase mine at Oxfam. At the moment Divine are running an award as well for the most divine woman.  The winner will receive a bespoke piece of jewellery worth £1000, go and take a look.
*  In just a few short weeks my family will be heading off to Butlins for the Spring Harvest Christian festival.  This is one of the highlights of my year and we have such an amazing time together and with God. To say I am getting excited for this is an understatement.

*  I am lastly so thankful that my hubbie is happy at work at the moment.  He is the sort of guy who never seems to happy with this job.  His own work ethic is very strong and his expectations of himself are high and thus can create an atmosphere that is not the most joyful for him, but after a restructure and taking on some new staff his more mundane responsibilities have been passed on and he is really enjoying work.  This is a massive thing to me.

So what about you?  What is making you smile this week? Any gratitude you fancy sharing with us all, don't be shy....

As I said before do not be constrained by 3 reasons, write as many or as few as you like.  Change the format for your posts if you fancy.  As long as you are happy/ cheerful/ grateful/ thankful then write your post and link up to spread a massive dose of positivity.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy with a Heart

There is the badge if you want to add it to your post and don't forget to take the blog hop code from below the linky and paste this into your blog so that new readers can jump from blog... to blog and also promote your post and the link up by tweeting with the hashtag #Reasons2BCheerful.  Just do what you are comfy with, no pressure! 

Remember to go and visit some others on the blog hop and leave them an encouraging comment and feel free to leave me a comment too, I love them as much as the next person and will always come back and say hi if you leave me a comment on my Reasons post.  I know I have not been able to comment on every post linked up in the last 2 weeks, sorry - that is the problem with 3 people being ill in a house of 5, time goes out the window!

..and before you go, I must remember to point you over to Maxabella's I'm Grateful for... link up.  Join up your reasons post there and make some new Aussie friends.

Of course Jen's Blog gems is still open too. Link up every other Sunday and air your archives.

Wishing you a fabulous week, Mich x

Wednesday 23 March 2011

#TheGallery - Celebrating Home Education

It's been a while since I joined in with the Gallery, which is a shame as I love the concept but such as life...  you know how busy things are sometimes and there just always seems to be something that just needs to go on the blog at the moment!  Yesterday I saw the Gallery theme was education and wondered what on earth I would post.  Tara said in a tweet that she was hoping for lots of old school photos but the more I thought about that the more wrong it felt.  When I was school, it was all about being with my mates and having a laugh.  I had no real interest in education to be honest, the amount of time that I spent in the isolation unit (yes really!  I liked to chat, can you believe that?) was unreal.

So again I thought about the word education and that did definitely fit more with doing my HND, degree and then Masters, so I have many great graduation pictures that I could put on here but I have to be honest again and say that my formal education has not really done a lot for me in life.  I believe that if you want to be a lawyer, accountant or work in another formal profession then going to Uni and getting your degree is the right thing to do but if you want to work in a vocation then don't bother unless you have the money to spare!

The best education I have had has been from my life experiences, learning from my hard working and moral parents or working way way up the ranks at work, happy to take on the crappy jobs when needed to earn the respect of my staff.  I was always the hotel manager who would wash the pots when needed. I am now the HR Team Leader who will do some filing, archiving or make the tea.  I have no problem with status, I know who I am and what I can do.  There is nothing I need to prove by not mucking in.

So the photo I have picked for this gallery is one taken just yesterday and it is Little Miss Chickenpox (also known as Miss M) having a nap with one of her teddies as they are poorly. By just being me I have taught my daughter (without meaning to) that when someone is upset and poorly you sooth them however you can.  Whilst Miss M was very poorly Sunday night she laid on top of me and I stroked her hair and sshhed her.  It was not too comfy for me but it seemed to be the only way she stopped crying and was happy for a while. So today, she explained to me that Ted would not stop crying and he better lie on her tum tum where it was all soft (that will be my flab!) and she could give him a cuddle and make it all better. Proud did not even come close.

I think this kind of natural and intrinsic teaching and learning is marvellous and this is what home educators really excel at.  I have a couple of real life friends and some bloggy ones who do Home Ed and I have such respect for them as I can not even imagine how hard it must be but I also see that if you keep your eyes open and spot the little things it could be overwhelmingly rewarding too.

What a great piece of education for me today! 

Here are a couple more pics of Miss M with her poorly teddies.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Introducing my CyberMummy Sponsor...

I have been keeping this under my hat for months now and at last I feel the time is right to reveal to you who my sponsor is for CyberMummy.  To say I am excited to be going to Cybermummy is an understatement, in fact I am pretty terrified. I know of many lovely bloggy friends going and I can not wait to meet them all but....  I am a little scared as to what they may think of me.  Another post to follow on that shortly.

Anyway back to the matter at hand.  Who is my sponsor?

Have I bagged a massive baby brand?

Did I score with a fabulous days out venue?

Will you be getting a ton of fab freebies from my sponsor?

The answer is no to each of those, sorry!  The good news is that you do not have to look at any advertising on my site!

But it would be true to say that my sponsor can be a bit of a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Just look at this photo on a Mr Hyde day, arrgghh.  Enough to put you off your dinner!

Some call her 'The Painted Lady!' and others know her by a different name.  Do you recognise her?  Pretty scary isn't she.  I better do a good job on her behalf on the day and pick up all the latest news and blogging tips.

Want to see what she looks like on a better day? OK this one might ring a few bells!

I have made the decision not to take a sponsor.  I was toying with the idea before Christmas but to be honest I can afford to go and therefore would love all the sponsors to go to people who could not be there otherwise. Also, I was only ever going to take a sponsor if I could be completely behind their brand and that would have been pretty tough as I am a picky old bird!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Mich x

Monday 21 March 2011

Beautiful Silver Jewellery for Mothers Day

So with Mothers Day fast approaching what will you be giving your Mum on April 3rd? or even what will your children be giving you?

I know the answer to one of those questions so far.  As for my gorgeous Mum, I am not quite sure yet and to be honest she reads this blog so even if I did know it would not be getting published. The exciting thing is what lovely pressies have my children got for me!

Here is a sneaky preview. They have now been re wrapped and Daddy has stashed them away to pretend that he chose them for me on behalf of the kids.  Little do they know that Mummy got to choose her own treat and didn't I do well?

Both pieces of jewellery are hand crafted at a studio in Brighten by the company Scarlett Jewellery.  Take a look at the site, they do the most amazing pieces, I am about to start hinting for a bracelet next! What I really loved is that because the pieces are hand crafted they are truly unique.  The comfort studs I received are just slightly asymmetrical and this adds a quirky charm to them.  The earrings retail at £30.00 and I love their classic simplicity.  If you prefer something a little different there are some lovely styles, the pair of angel wings stood out to me.

The necklace is called spoons and I chose the Mother and Baby option. Sarah Fenton, the designer says the collection is symbolic of family devotion - nurturing and protecting your loved ones, inspired by the 'spooning' effect of adults embraced around one another and their child.  Isn't that just a lovely visual picture? and now I am able to wear this beautiful reminder of my relationship with my hubbie and children every day. The retail price of the necklace is £69.00 and it is worth every penny.  I am totally satisfied with my purchases. The necklace chain is a good weight, it is still pretty and feminine but has enough weight that I feel happy it will not break if one of my little ones tugs it. The spooning rings were also heavier than I expected and they sit just perfectly on the skin, nestling into each other.

I ordered the jewellery on Monday and it arrived by Royal Mail registered post on Friday.  The items were perfectly packaged for safe travel and upon unpacking I was pleased with the time taken to make sure my present looked special. Beautiful monogrammed charcoal grey box with scarlett coloured outer box and there was a silver cloth and thank you card included.

If you are stuck for ideas for mother day or want to hint to your other half then do go and take a look. I recommend that you investigate the popular mojos or there is a whole equestrian range if horses are your thing.

This is a  review post, I was given a credit for £50.00 to choose something to review.  My husband paid the rest for my Mothers day gift. I was not instructed what to write, my views are honest and my words are my own.

Just call me Tired & Run Down Mummy!

It's official I am very run down at the moment. The doctor today told me I am tired and run-down, oh and I have a case of persistent bronchitis hence becoming run down!

About 4 weeks ago I got anti-biotics as I was coughing, wheezing and spitting water over colleagues at work (yes, yes, just do not ask, first day in a new job, they make me laugh ad I manage to spray the woman whose job I am taking over, will they let me live this down???  no it appears not! All their fault you understand, they should not make a woman laugh so hard when she has a mouth full of water and can hardly breath) and basically the infection never went away.  I have been insisting to dh that I am fine and it would get better soon but it has not, so after feeling just terrible this morning I toddled off to the local drop in medical centre and received anti-biotics and a puffer to help me.

Oh and I was told to rest up for a week.  Rest, I said to her with a 3 year old who is suffering very badly with chickenpox (hence my posting at this time of night, we are downstairs and have a sofa each, watching DIY programmes, the only thing I can find at midnight suitable for 3 year viewing!). She smiled sweetly and told me we could relax and be poorly together - oh goody, that will get my work done!

Whoops, poor attitude slipped in there. With a kick up the bum from my more positive self I will see this week as a chance to relax and get well.  No work, no running round, no kids coming to tea, no nothing.  Just lots of TV watching and snuggling with my babes.

Let the getting well commence...

Saturday 19 March 2011

What Kind of Play Parent are You?

I was looking at the kids play room the other day and thinking about the kind of play that I partake in with them.  I realised that I am quiet picky in the sort of play that I do and mostly I only want to join in with the stuff I enjoy.

Is this wrong? No I don't think so.  The important thing is to engage with your children and actually make an effort to play and do things with them.  Yes we should be encouraging them to undertake a wide variety of activities but many of those can be self-led, with siblings or peers, with other relatives or at playgroup/ school.  So as Mums or Dads we do not have to feel the weight of the world on our shoulders and feel obliged to take on all roles.

Take a look at this photo -

Can you guess what I like to do with my kids?  I think these shelves belong to me rather than them.  On them we have board games, puzzles, play doh and craft activities - all things I love to do with my kids! Don't worry, their playroom also features baby dolls, a playhouse, cars, trains, lego, make believe area, dress up and so on.

I tweeted the question  'Tell me, what kind of play do you actually enjoy with your kids?'.  I was amazed at the amount of responses I got, it was very reassuring to see how different we all are.  From these tweets I have devised a few categories of play parent (just for fun!).

First up we have the Discovery Style Play Parents. My dh is one of these, off he goes on a nature trail with the kids to see what they can find.  JJ asks a question about something historical well then it is onto the PC to look it up and discuss all the ins and outs. @Suburbanmummyuk  fits into this bracket and said 'I like being in the garden discovering leaves and worms and getting dirty!'

The next category is also a favourite of mine, Little Mummy Style Play Parents. We tend to involve the kids in whatever it is we are doing, be that cooking, cleaning, laundry or gardening.  The other day when Miss E was off with chickenpox we had been doing some cleaning and I gave her the option of sitting down and playing together or tackling the next room. She choose the cleaning, it just shows that you can not predict kids! Another couple of parents who slot in here are @kateab 'I like practical things - they love helping me cook and stuff. They are good peelers!' and  @jomag_mrsp 'baking cakes/cookies and dancing to my ipod tunes'. Hannah at @MetalMummy84 agrees that music is the way to go! 'I love dancing with my 2 year old. She will press play on her music and say "Dance" and I have to swing her round the room!'

I bet you can not guess the kind of tweeters who are going to fall into this category? The Get Crafty Play Parents are an active lot and you can find them making, getting messy, modeling playdoh, painting or other such activities. I asked @nurturestore what is your favourite kind of play? Cathy said 'Ooh hard to choose but I'd say playdough, fab for mixed ages - we love our ice cream play dough recipe'. Click on the link for nurturestore for that great recipe. Rebecca at @twobecomefour is waiting for the time when she can join this group 'at the moment I'm just loving the cuddly, tickly play (if you know what I mean!) with the twins. can't wait to get crafting with them though! X '

My girls with their playdoh, on Thursday morning!

Now this next kind of play, just baffles and bores me if I am honest.  So I tweeted and asked if anyone actually enjoyed this kind of play with their kids and I was inundated with responses.  So here we have the Imaginative Play Parents. 'I do!! :0)' said @missielizzieb. @christinemosler said 'I love the imaginary play stuff when we create a world of our own and leave this boring one behind!' and @clare_anderson commented that she is 'pretty rubbish at arty stuff and it doesn't hold his interest. Anything using imagination is good in our house! We love making up stories and pretending to be fireman or space men! I don't dress up mind!'.  Oh, spoilsport Clare, that might have made a fun post!

@scrapbookerry  added 'we do lots of building happy people farms and trains have lots of stories round them' and I think that @Wanderlust_lust idea is beautiful 'I like making up bedtime stories in which my kids play a central role. They luv it as well. They are usually adventure themed.'

I am happy to do building tasks, like making a lego house or cafe and I enjoyed making this train track for Miss E when she was off ill last week but then it is over to the kids to do the imaginative bit!

Play out of Home Parents. I did not receive a tweet from anyone who fell into this category but this was me when JJ was small and I was a first time mum.  I think the change from a pressured career where you are constantly on the go to being a Mum meant that I did not have the confidence to play at home much,. So many of JJ's play experiences where from attending toddler groups, play parks and soft plays.
and the superheros of all play parents has to be The Jump right in and do it all Play Parents. These are the people who just love to play.  I think Dad's often fall into this category.  In fact Liz Fraser wrote a good post on this just the other week. Examples of these super players are @WhimsicalWife  'I love art/crafty stuff or Lego or den building :-) I build completely OTT dens, think sheets tied to bannister's and doors and tunnels and LARGE scale ;)' and @Mum_TheMadHouse 'We love board games, dens and creative play. In fact I just love being able to be a child myself.  I am getting in to lego, but the marble run baffles me!'
So where do you fit in?  One of these groups?  A superhero of play who does a bit of everything (and enjoys it, that is the part that characterises them! lol) or something else completely?

If you have read this and are looking for some good ideas for play then head over to
Nurture Store where Cathy holds a Friday play academy each week, Red Ted Art where Maggy will take you on an amazing craft journey or I have been recommended to visit Play Activities too.

Happy Playing, Mich x

Thursday 17 March 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 - Week 11 Link Up Today!

My reasons for being cheerful this week -
  1. The meme I created last Friday is slowly working its way round the parenting blogging sphere (and maybe even further afield for all I know).  I am loving watching it move and discovering new blogs.  It puts a massive smile on my face to think that loads of people might be feeling affirmed and good about themselves.  Yay!
  2. It looks as if Miss M's chickenpox are coming out, she did catch it off her sister.  Why, you may ask is this a good thing?  Well we have Peppa Pig World a week on Saturday, London Zoo the Saturday after and then we are off to Spring Harvest, so praise the Lord the contagious bit will be out the way before all the fun starts....
  3. I know I had this reason last week, but it has to appear again! This is such a biggie for me.  You might have read my post about giving up compulsive overeating for Lent and I am pleased to report that at the moment God is holding me and helping me to refrain from compulsive eating (in the main, I'm am not perfect!).
  4. I feel like I know what I am doing with my new job now.  I have really enjoyed this week and had something to get my teeth into.  Miss M having chickenpox will be a bit of a spanner in the works,  but I will get through it.
As I said before do not be constrained by 3 reasons, write as many or as few as you like.  Change the format for your posts if you fancy.  As long as you are happy/ cheerful/ grateful/ thankful then write your post and link up to spread a massive dose of positivity.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy From the Heart
There is the badge, if you want to add it to your post and don't forget to take the blog hop code from below the linky and paste this into your blog so that new readers can jump from blog... to blog and also promote your post and the link up by tweeting with the hashtag #Reasons2BCheerful

Remember to go and visit some others on the blog hop and leave them an encouraging comment and feel free to leave me a comment too, I love them as much as the next person and will always come back and say hi if you leave me a comment on my Reasons post.

..and before you go, I must remember to point you over to Maxabella's I'm Grateful for... link up.  Join up your reasons post there and make some new Aussie friends.

Of course Jen's Blog gems is still open too. Link up every other Sunday and air your archives.

Wishing you a fabulous week, Mich x

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Guest Post: Welcome to Mumbai!

As many of you will know, my gorgeous hubbie went to India for 10 days about a month ago.  He went with 6 other Christians from our Church to offer his love and support to a community in the rural area of Latur.

I have managed to convince him that it would be fantastic to feature a short series of posts from him giving us his first hand experience of the situation he encountered in India.  Today he talks about arriving in Mumbai.

After a long 9 hour flight it was good to be able to stretch my legs and get off the plane. Entering the airport you could be forgiven for thinking you might be at any airport in the world. It is a modern building and I can see signs of international brands as I look through windows to the departures area as we walk down the corridor leading to customs. But as we leave the building the realization that we are in India begins to dawn on me. The first experience is the taxi ride to our accommodation at the YMCA in Mumbai Central. Our luggage is strapped to the top of the black and yellow cab and we all squeeze inside. The driving is on the left but that is the only similarity to the UK. It is 3 in the morning as we drive off. The taxi has to sign out of the airport. Whilst we wait for the driver to do this, numerous ladies with babies come up to the window begging for money. We have to wind up the windows to stop them reaching in. As we leave the airport the vast poverty in Mumbai is quickly seen with people sleeping along the sides of the road, under the arches of bridges and in the rows of corrugated steel slum dwellings that line the streets. The roads are dusty and bumpy and the air has an unpleasant pungent smell.

At the YMCA we get a very warm welcome. Security at the gate and porters help get our luggage into the building and we check in. The accommodation is better than I was expecting, the rooms are basic but have AC and satellite TV, but no time to enjoy this as bed it awaiting.

We are all up at 9am and go down for breakfast. A self service buffet with a variety of Indian and ‘English style’ breakfast items. Afterwards a couple of us go for a walk to experience the local area.

With the overwhelming change of culture and the hustle and bustle of the city, there is an element of culture shock. The roads are awry with cars, taxis and motorbikes. There is a constant buzzing of horns, and the vehicles are unpredictably weaving the streets like dodgems. We are only in Mumbai for the day before heading out to rural India so we are not so much sight seeing but orientating ourselves to our newfound surroundings.

Such a powerful picture, look at those stunning tower blocks in the
background and then the rather different building closest!

This area was used for everything! That is people's homes ajoining the
railway line, this area was used as their bathroom

You could be easily forgiven for anesthetising yourself to the scale of the poverty that is evident. Sadly regardless of your view or intentions there is very little you can do that would have any immediate impact to this situation. Like any large city there is another side, with great affluence sitting side by side with the other extreme, highlighting the problems of social inequality. So is there anything we can do to help?  Yes, by supporting international development charities such as Oxfam  or Save the Children they can be the agent to change the social situation and by purchasing Fairtrade products we can make a real difference to this world. Don't forget that a collective of small actions can make a very big impact. It is easy to look at the pictures above but you need to remember that behind them are real lives. Real lives that they need our support to change for the better.
So there is a question for you - Do you always buy fairtrade?