Britax Sponsors the Bliss Buggy Push

900_nsrqc1308845756As you probably know, the Mum’s the Word family were chosen as ambassadors for Britax and are huge fans of their products. Our Affinity has been all over the country with us, transporting Burrito Baby around London Zoo, Tropical Wings, Bluewater and Lakeside shopping centres (frequently!), Drusillas Park and Hello Kitty Land, as well as many other places and numerous walks up and down Southend seafront! I adore the Affinity for so many reasons, not least of all how comfy BB looks when she’s in it, but also for the easy handling and soft suspension. It’s a great buggy and the perfect partner for the Bliss Buggy Push, a 5km family walk which aims to raise money for the special care baby charity.

LOVING the sunshine today, but v.grateful for the canopy on June's @BritaxUK Affinity!

A photo posted by Mum's the Word (@mumstheword84) on

Here’s the blurb:

This is the third year that Britax will sponsor the charity initiative, and following the success of last year’s 40 events, organisers say the 2015 fundraiser has the potential to be the biggest one yet.

Bliss is once again encouraging people across the country to organise a Buggy Push at a park near them to raise money to help premature and sick babies as well as their families. One in every nine babies is born premature or sick – that is around 80,000 babies every year.

Partnering with Miffy, the iconic children’s character, the headline London Buggy Push is taking place on 13 June to celebrate Miffy’s 60th birthday. Alongside sponsorship of the event, Britax will also be offering families the chance to win one of its stylish and award winning Britax Affinity pushchairs.  The three highest fundraisers who take part in the main events at either London, Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh will be able to select a light-weight Affinity in their preferred choice of colour and take home the matching Cosytoes and Changing Bag – the perfect prize for any mums on the go looking to make a fashion statement.

Amy Voller, Brand Director EMEA from Britax comments, “As a brand devoted to helping families find their freedom, we are delighted to once again be working with Bliss. Through this partnership we can not only encourage parents to get out and about with their little ones, we can also raise awareness for a fantastic cause that is very close to our hearts. We are behind every single family that choses to take part – best of luck!”

If you’d like to organise your own Bliss Buggy Push or find an event near you, take a look at the Bliss page. To find out more about the Britax Affinity or the rest of their range, click on the link to head over there.

Bingo Through the Ages!

Bingo is one of those things which has seen a real resurgence in recent years. When I was a kid, bingo was the domain of old ladies with a blue rinse and the thought of going to a bingo hall would be dire for most under the age of 70! These days though, bingo is something that is enjoyed across the generations and you’re just as likely to see a Hen Party at your local bingo hall as you are a coach full of octogenarians.

Paddy Power (click here) has put together an infographic, and according to their research the average age of bingo-lovers is actually going DOWN, not up! Read on to see some more interesting facts about bingo…

The other interesting thing about bingo is how much the game has changed – these days, 85% of bingo is played online, with just 15% of players going to a dedicated space to play, which means that it’s even easier to hit the jackpot from the comfort of your own sofa. Also, bingo is well and truly a women’s game, with only 10% of bingo-hall-goers being men and even only 20% of online players are male!

The thing which attracts so many women to bingo is that, be it in a hall or on your own laptop, there’s a real community spirit to the game. Sitting together enjoying a game of bingo with a tipple and good friends can be a real pleasure, but even online games don’t have to be isolated as there’s always lively chat going on in the chat windows of the games.

Bingo is a great way to make friends, catch up with old ones and spend a little bit of time and money having fun, and best of all, you’ve got the chance to win a pot of cash – what could be better than that?!

Star Stable Review

Star-Stable-5Sometimes, having two kids with a large-ish age gap can mean that it’s tricky to find ways to spend one-on-one time with your eldest. Burrito Baby gets me to herself all day while Sausage is at school and although we’ve tried to maintain certain activities, like swimming, that Sausage and I do together, sometimes fitting things in around naps and bedtimes can be hard. That’s why, when I was asked if we’d like a free membership to Star Stable for Sausage and I to play together, I jumped at the chance.

Sausage is pony mad, having done some casual lessons for the past few summers, and loves anything to do with them, so the chance to design and name her own personalised pony within the game was definitely right up her alley. We downloaded the game and it loaded up with ease, even on my slightly decrepit laptop. Within the game, you use the directional keys to move around, along with the mouse for clicking on menu items, which made it a doddle for Sausage to get the hang of.

The actual environment within the game is really attractive – galloping through meadows in various weathers makes it feel really authentic, and although I’ve never actually been on a horse in real life, there’s something about the way the horses move that looks really lifelike – no mean feat for a game which doesn’t require a top-end graphics card to run.

One thing that Sausage really liked was the requirement to actually care for your horse within the game. Trusty steeds must be fed, watered and groomed, otherwise they simply won’t perform properly, giving a really ‘all-round’ feel for what it is to own a real horse, which require a lot of upkeep.

There’s a chat window which can be opened within the game, allowing you to interact with other users while you trot around, and although this is something I’d be slightly wary of if Sausage were to play the game by herself, playing it together means that I can keep an eye on any chatting that goes on, and to be completely fair, there seemed to be entirely innocent chat about school and the game going on, leading me to think that the boards are closely monitored.

If I’m being completely honest, I haven’t only played the game whilst Sausage has been around. More than once over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself with half an hour to spare and have been drawn in by the game, which I find oddly relaxing! There’s something about the slightly soft focus and gentle background music which I find really soothing and I could easily wander around for hours if Burrito Baby let me!

Having played other online games of this type before, I have to say that I wasn’t expecting Star Stable to be as good as it is, but the graphics, game play and character options were all really impressive. If I could add one MINOR criticism, it would be that it’s only possible to play as a female character, and while I get that the game is mostly aimed at tween girls, it would be nice for there to be a couple of male character options in case boys wanted to get involved too.

All in all, Sausage and I are really enjoying Star Stable and would definitely recommend it to other girls, aged 6 and upwards, as well as to Mums who want a nice game that they can enjoy with their little ones, to give them some quality time together without costing a fortune or even needing to leave the house!

Sponsored Post: World Baking Day with Stork

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Today’s the day! Then one we’ve been planning for a couple of weeks; today is World Baking Day and the lovely people at Stork challenged us to make something spectacular for someone special, using Stork. As you’ll know if you read our previous post, we chose to make for my mother-in-law, as a thank you for everything she does for us and for being an all-round brilliant person.

We decided to bake a Victoria sponge cake as it’s MIL’s favourite, and we made it special by using fresh cream. Also, MIL isn’t a fan of the bits in jam, so Sausage and I painstakingly sieved every single pip out of the jam before spreading it on the cake as we couldn’t seem to find any jam without bits in the supermarket! Here’s the end result:

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Needless to say, MIL was chuffed with her surprise. We had her round for Sunday dinner and fed her a lovely lamb roast before presenting her with the cake and although she needed half an hour to let her dinner go down, we all enjoyed a slice with a cup of tea as soon as we had enough room.

Baking with someone special in mind always makes the process that much nicer, in my opinion. Sausage and I put more care and attention into the cake than we would have during any normal baking session because we wanted it to be perfect for MIL, who really deserves the best.

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We had a lovely time doing this project. From preparing and baking the cake, surprising MIL and enjoying it together as a family, it’s been a wonderful undertaking from the beginning and something that Sausage and I will definitely be doing again. I was also pleasantly surprised by how well the cake turned out, never having actually used Stork before but the sponge was light and fluffy and tasted amazing.

Thanks to Stork for setting this challenge, to Sausage for being my beautiful assistant and mostly thanks to my mother-in-law, for being the sort of person  we want to make cake for and not being a stereotypical nightmarish MIL! We love you!

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Sponsored by Stork.

NO MORE TOREEN! An Alternative Malt Loaf Recipe by Mummy Pat

malt loafMy friend Sarah is awesome. I’ve known her since I was 11, when we were united through a shared love of Friends and Oasis and although we rarely see each other, she’s one of the people I’d really miss if I ever did the unthinkable and quit Facebook. Amazingly, she seems to be one of only a small bunch of girls from our school who is a dyed-in-the-wool Leftie, although not really that amazingly since we went to a particularly snotty all-girls grammar school, populated mostly by girls from upper-middle-class-pull-the-ladder-up-behind-you types. Also, not all that amazingly because Sarah was raised by her Mum, Pat, who is about as awesome and righteous as it gets and so she was bound to turn out pretty bloody brilliant.

Since the news broke that the Tories would be dictating to us all again for the next 5 years, it’s become apparent that there are several brands who are big donors to the Conservative party and now loads of people have decided to boycott those brands, one of which being Soreen, as revealed in an article in The Mirror a couple of months ago.

Anyway, being the super amazing lady that she is, Mummy Pat has decided that she won’t be buying oppressive patriarchal malt loaf anymore and has allowed me to share her recipe for homemade malt loaf which, as a bonus, won’t try to strip you of your human rights. Here’s the recipe:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mummy Pat's Amazing Tory-Free Malt Loaf
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Baking
Serves: Depends how thick you cut it!
Ingredients
  • 1 MUG ALL BRAN
  • 1 MUG SULTANAS
  • 1 MUG SUGAR
  • 1 MUG MILK
  • 1 EGG
  • 1 TEASPOON MIXED SPICE
Instructions
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a LARGE bowl as the mixture swells
  2. Leave overnight, covered with a plate or tea towel
  3. When ready to cook, place mixture in a lined loaf tin
  4. Cook in the centre of an oven, preheated to gas mark 3/140 Fan Oven/160 Conventional Oven for around 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when poked into the middle
  5. Leave to cool and enjoy with lashings and lashings of butter

Eat and enjoy, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be contributing to the Tory coffers! Thanks Pat!

No Child Under 5 Should Expect to Die. #Stopatnothing

World VisionWorld Vision is a charity which offers humanitarian aid, development and advocacy across the globe to the poorest and neediest people. It is active in in more than 90 countries and is the 11th largest charity in the United States with total revenue of over £981 million. They’ve teamed up with BAFTA award-winning creative agency Don’t Panic to create video to highlight under-five child mortality and get people taking action for all children dying from preventable causes.

The video really does put a stark message across in a very effective way. Andrew Hassett, Director of Global Campaigns for World Vision says “We want the viewer to be confronted and shocked when they are faced with a young girl thinking about her future. We want the video to prompt them to take action,”

He adds “With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expiring at the end of the year and leaders meeting at the UN to discuss the next set of development goals, we have a once-in-a generation opportunity to accelerate progress and end the preventable deaths of children in the next 15 years,”

“We will only reach that objective if the most vulnerable and hardest to reach children are counted, heard and reached. Those are the children who live in war, fragility and instability. They don’t have a birth certificate, can’t access healthcare services and are dying from wholly preventable causes like pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria.”

Next time you’re watching a Premier League football match, bear this in mind; the average Premier League stadium in the UK seats just over 18,000 fans. Now imagine those fans are all children and the vast majority of them are going to die, TODAY. It’s only when you picture the sheer magnitude of what 17,000 people looks like that you can get your head around how serious this is.
World Vision are hoping to get as many social shares of the video above, using the hashtag #stopatnothing, to spread the message that no child under 5 should expect to die. 17,000 is a HUGE amount of children to be dying every single day. Please visit http://www.wvi.org/gwa to share the campaign today.

Thanks.

In The Wake of the General Election. #GE2015

It’s been a funny old weekend. I woke up on Friday morning before 5, feeling like I’d had concrete poured into my stomach and couldn’t get back to sleep again because my brain was racing. HOW could this have happened? How could the country have voted the Conservatives in again for another 5 years? Over the course of the morning, my fear turned to anger. I couldn’t see how a vote for Blue was anything other than self-serving and utterly lacking compassion and social conscience and so I made a declaration. I took to Facebook and wrote this:

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Yeah. I know. Pretty divisive.

My reasoning behind such a statement was that I genuinely cannot see how I have a single thing in common with someone who would willingly vote the Conservatives back into government. I can’t get my head around real, actual people thinking that the Tories can do anything but serious harm to this country. Anyone who can look at how ill and disabled people have been forced back into work, how the NHS is desperately over stretched, how the rich have been given tax cuts while the poorest of us are being fined for having too many bedrooms in our homes, are not people I’m happy to call my friends.

In the following hours, I had a lot of backlash. I had people calling me names, suggesting that I was ‘pathetic’ and ‘small-minded’, I had people outright challenging me to stand by my statement and then having tantrums when I did. I had another blogger (who, I must say, I really barely know) start a whole new thread on her own Facebook page, inviting people to agree with her on how despicable I was for removing her as a friend because of our conflicting views.

All in all, I’ve now got 20 less friends through Facebook than I had this time on Thursday. I know because before I posted the status above I took a note of my numbers, just for the sake of science. Many of them are people I’ve known since school, girls who’ve known me since I was 11 years old, and some are other bloggers. People were really quick to tell me that I was wrong and a few tried to defend their reasons for voting Tory, saying that they thought the Tories represented what was best for them and their families. Hardly anyone tried to engage me in a reasonable debate, rather choosing to call me a bigot and an idiot.

I’ve got to say, I don’t think I’ve ever been more disillusioned than I am now. For me, the Conservatives represent everything that is wrong with this country. I simply cannot get my head and my heart to reconcile the fact that so many people are willing to see the death of the NHS, the repeal of the Human Rights Act and so many other key tenets of what makes this country great. All I can see is that the people who have voted Tory have happily taken from the state, in the form of healthcare, emergency services, education and cushy Government funded jobs, and then pulled the ladder up behind them. What’s that old phrase? Oh yeah…”I’m alright, Jack”.

One person, someone I’d previously liked and respected, told me she’d voted Tory because if Labour had got in, the proposed Mansion Tax would have prevented her and her Husband from buying the lavish new property they’d had their eye on, while another said that, because her Husband was a Letting Agent, the Labour proposal to cap letting agent fees (fees which have got so high as to be utterly prohibitive in recent years, forcing families into unregulated slum housing) would mean they could no longer afford their lifestyle. If that’s not a massive “FUCK YOU” to the rest of our country, I don’t know what is.

Being willing to watch families stand in queues at food banks because they can’t afford to eat and old ladies dying of hypothermia because they can’t afford to heat their homes, for the sake of your own prosperity, shows a complete lack of humanity.

I’ve done a lot of soul-searching over the past few days to try to work out how seemingly decent people can so happily drop the axe on everyone else for their own gain. My poor Husband (a paid-up member of The Green Party) has been a sounding board for most of it, and although his politics are in line with my own, he’s able to be a little less ‘black and white’ about things than I am. He’s of the opinion that good people can still vote Tory and that there’s been too much misinformation by the press, manipulating the moderate middle to believe that the Tories have their best interests at heart. Hard working people who don’t have time to research policies, people who come home and read the Murdoch-poisoned rags and believe what they’re seeing.

I can’t say that I’m entirely buoyed by the thought that, of the people who voted Tory, half of them did so out of selfishness and greed and the other half did so because of their utter lack of research. I’ve only been on this planet for 30 short years, but I think it’s safe to say that this has been the most information-rich General Election to ever have been run. There have been websites inviting people to test their opinions against policies to see where their actual values should lead their affiliations and yet people are still voting blindly. I’ve heard untold people say that they voted for the Tories because their parents did, or because their Husbands did. Sister Suffragette, I think not…Mrs. Banks

I’m not suggesting that every single person who voted Tory did so out of either stupidity or selfishness, but not one person yet has managed to give me a reason for their vote which I’ve been able to get my head around, or reconcile with them also being a good person.

The one good thing that’s come of this is that I’ve sorted my own political affiliations in my head. In the run up, I was wavering between Labour and Green, but ultimately went for Labour as I had strong faith in Milliband and his genuine socialist views. In the wake of him leaving the party, I’ve come to the conclusion that New Labour isn’t quite the socialist party across the board that I had hoped it was, and as of this week will be a paid up member of the Green Party. There’s a meeting in a coffee shop locally next week which Husband and I are hoping to attend as I’m done with being an keyboard warrior, I want to get out and actually act. I’m also now part of a few online groups of women who are banding together as a sisterhood against Conservative rule. I genuinely think we’ve got the power to make a huge change.

I was also hugely relieved to see the protests in London, despite ALL of the major news sources refusing to give it coverage. In the run-up to the election, I actually said to Husband “there’ll be riots if the Tories get in”, and then had to face the sinking realisation that if they DID get in it would be because the majority of people wanted them in power and therefore probably wouldn’t be unhappy about it. So to see that there were plenty of others as unhappy as me has given me hope, albeit small in the face of another 5 years of right-wing oppression.

To the 20 friends I’ve lost in the wake of this election: I’m sorry that things had to be this way. I’m sure you did what you thought was right for YOU. Unfortunately, I’m more interested in what’s right for everybody and I just cannot carry on pretending that it’s okay to screw everyone else over for your own gain.

If you’re interested, there’s a list below of posts and articles that I’ve found really interesting and informative over the past few days. Please also link me to anything you’ve found useful in the comments below:

Chrisopher Everard: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200525108166139&set=a.1179223136677.19518.1711111543&type=1

Dissapointed Idealist: https://disidealist.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/that-wasnt-an-election-result-it-was-a-5-year-prison-sentence/

Douglas Hine: http://dougald.nu/the-only-way-is-down-18-notes-on-the-uk-election/

Green Party Women: http://greenpartywomen.org.uk/news/2015/04/10/green-party-candidates-campaign-to-lift-ban-on-job-share-mps-begins/

The Independant: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/every-major-british-political-party–except-the-conservatives–currently-led-by-a-woman-10238390.html

The Ramblings of a Formerly Rock and Roll Mum:  http://www.rocknrollmum.com/2015/05/general-election-outcome-my-dads-thoughts.html

Bright Green: http://bright-green.org/2015/05/09/ge2015-left-you-feeling-1-dejected-and-disappointed-2-exhausted-3-relieved-read-on/

Another Angry Voice: http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/asset-stripping-bankrupt-britain.html and http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/austerity-is-con.html

Animals Rock! (Win VIP prizes across Port Lympne Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park)

720x325-BannerI think it’s safe to say that everyone on the Mum’s the Word household is an animal lover. Obviously, we have our faithful old pooch, Chuck, who I’ve written about umpteen times, who’s our favourite creature in the whole world, but each of us has a distinct favourite animal aside from our old boy.

Sausage’s favourite animals are cats, any type of cats, but if she were pushed to narrow it down, she’d probably say a lynx. Amazingly, The Lynx Trust is in talks with the Scottish Government to reintroduce lynxes to the wild up there, so Sausage may well be able to see them in the flesh, on home turf in the very near future!

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Burrito Baby is a huge fan of what she calls a “Wo-Wo” (that’s a dog to you and I) and will happily proclaim every four legged creature she sees to be one. She’s obviously a huge fan of our Wo-Wo, but does get a little spooked by how loud his bark can be!

Chuck

I think Husband would probably say the honey badger is his favourite creature. They’re SUPER tough, taking on lions and winning on a regular basis, despite their short stature, and there’s something about their bolshy-yet-irreverent attitude that I can totally see the appeal of.

honey_badger

For me, it’s a close call. Chameleons are a huge love of mine, and I’d absolutely love to have one as a pet. However, if I were to put a point on my absolute favourite animal, I’d have to say it would be a lorikeet. These beautiful, colourful birds are so gregarious and friendly and are an absolute delight to be around. We’ve been to several attractions which have lorikeet enclosures, where you can go in and feed the birds by hand from a cup of nectar, and it might sound daft to a non-animal person, but the first time I fed them was one of my treasured life experiences.

Made some new friends today.

A photo posted by Mum’s the Word (@mumstheword84) on

Do you have a favourite animal? Well, if you make a video and share it, you could be in with a chance of winning VIP prizes across Port Lympne Reserve and Howletts Wild Animal Park, including a bespoke safari experience, the chance to play animal keeper and passports for you and the family. The Aspinall Foundation has launched the Animals Rock! competition and want you to make a clip of 60-seconds or less and post it to either the Port Lympne Reserve or Howletts Wild Animal Park Facebook page. The contest will be judged by none other than Paul O’Grady himself – WE LOVE PAUL!

So, if you want to be in with a chance of winning one of these fabulous prizes, make a video and get yourself over there to upload it.

Sponsored: Bake the Worlds’ Happiest Cake with Stork on World Baking Day

World Baking Day 2015World Baking Day falls on 17th May and the lovely people at Stork are encouraging people to bake themselves happy by creating the world’s happiest cake. You see, the concept behind it is that baking makes you happy, de-stresses you and adds to your overall feeling of well-being. Therefore, if you bake a cake with the best ingredients and serve it up to your favourite people then you’ll end up with the happiest cake in the world!

Stork are asking people to choose someone for whom to make a cake and to get baking on 17th May to spread the happiness and I thought I’d blog all about my baking journey to share with you guys.

The person I’ve chosen to bake for is my Mother in Law, who we’ll call MIL for the purposes of this post! My MIL is genuinely one of the nicest people in the world. When I hear my friends moan about their in laws, I’m never able to join in because there’s nothing I can moan about. She’s the sort of person who’d help anybody if they needed her, she’s always there with a cuppa and a packet of Penguins if we need a shoulder to cry on and the girls, Sausage and Burrito Baby, absolutely adore her. She’s a proper Nan, feeding them up on biscuits when they go to her house having us over for fish and chips on a Saturday so we can all spend time together.

MIL is also one of those people who rarely takes time for herself, so Husband and I like to spoil her when we can, be it taking her for meals or just having her over to us for dinner and a film. She’s one in a million and absolutely deserves to be baked for on this special day.

MIL is fairly simple in her tastes, going for classics rather than fancy new flavours, so we’ve decided to honour her with a Victoria sponge cake, which is her favourite, and we’ll make is special by using fresh whipped cream for the filling, as well as using Stork instead of butter.  Victoria sponge should be super light and fluffy and Stork is a great way for ensuring it’ll turn out perfectly.

I’ll be reporting back after World Baking Day to show you how we got on and what MIL thought of her cake, so keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meantime if you’d like to get involved, or encourage your own blog readers to take part, you can visit the following pages for more information:

Visit worldbakingday.com/uk for more details and select that special someone
to bake for.
Join the World Baking Day Community on Facebook
Follow the World Baking Day on Twitter, Instagram, Google +
Pin the World Baking Day on Pinterest
Check out Stork’s Website, Facebook and Twitter

Stork

Sponsored by Stork

Election Day Fun

Today is the big day. Husband and I have already been and placed our votes and will be keenly watching the results as they roll in overnight. I’m glad to have got our voting out of the way and can now go about my day knowing that I’ve done my bit for democracy, but those crazy cookies over at Superbious have decided to have some fun with the events of the day. They’ve put together some pictures showing what the children would look like if the leaders of the main political parties were the parents! Click the link to see the full selection of hideous adorable mash-ups.

I’m not entirely sure that Nicola Sturgeon would make her kid have the very same haircut as her, but I can definitely see potential for a Labour/SNP coalition baby!

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Mark Pearson founder of My Voucher Codes, added:

“We thought that with all the serious election talk, some people would like a bit of a break and see something more humorous. The tongue and cheek look at what coalition leaders children would look like, does also highlight the possible options of who could be in power in the UK for voters as they consider who to vote for.”

At the risk of taking too serious a tone, I genunely think that this election day may be one of, if not THE, most important of my lifetime. The UK is on a precipice, in terms of quality of life for the poorest citizens and the over-stretched middle, and real changes need to be made. I’m looking forward to hearing the results of this election, but at the same time feel very worried about what might be to come in the next 5 years.

One good thing to come of the elections is that we’ve been able to use them as a vehicle to teach Sausage all about democracy and why it’s so important to vote. She’s announced that she’ll be voting for the Green party, but only in her head until she’s old enough to march to the polling station!

If you want to keep up with everything that’s going on today, the BBC has a live Election 2015 page which is being added to constantly and is a really good source of information.