Blogging

Another Year of Mum’s the Word (part two)

The Best of 2013

Following from yesterday’s post rounding up the most popular Mum’s the Word posts from January to June of 2013, today’s post is finishing up by showing you what our readers loved during July to December.

JULY

The beginning of July saw us exploring a local heritage centre, Prittlewell Priory. I was also pondering whether Brits would be healthier if the weather wasn’t so bad, and wondering if our kids are lonelier than we were when we were little. In mid-July, I shared our family’s secret recipe for the best sandwich you’ll ever eat and also confessed to being a Helicopter Parent. Finally, I mused over whether saving the planet has become the reserve of the middle classes and whether us in a lower wage bracket could offer as much in the way of conservation.

AUGUST

In August, I decided that I’d much rather be a ‘Hippo Mum‘ than a Tiger Mom. I also wrote a post to celebrate mine and Husband’s 7 year wedding anniversary as well as musing over why people have an inbuilt expectation for people to have kids as soon as they get to a certain age. Finally, I was asking why, in this day and age, people still seem to look down their noses at electronic devices for kids.

SEPTEMBER

I announced my pregnancy at the beginning of September and continued the month by comparing my two pregnancies and talking about my going onto insulin. On an entirely different note, I also wrote about the Michael LeVell rape case and a separate post about the shocking statistics related to women not reporting cases of rape.

OCTOBER

I kicked off October by thinking about giving kids a social conscience, after Sausage asking if we could visit Russia one day and having to explain about their hard-line approach to homosexuality. I also shared one of my all-time favourite recipes, for authentic southern chili, given to me by my mother-in-law. I finished the month with three Sausage-centric posts, one about the issue of boyfriends, another about how annoying I find it when toy companies make ‘girls’ versions of things by making them small and pink, and finally wondering if baby number two will struggle to live up to her super awesome sibling.

NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER

We’re still in December (for the next 36 hours, at least!) so I thought I’d roll these into one. I’d been thinking about this post for almost a year before I finally wrote about whether artists need to be poor to be relevant. Since I became pregnant, Sausage has had to be more independent, and I was worried it might affect our relationship for the worst. I also got rather upset by the Government proposal to reward breastfeeding mother with vouchers, and pregnancy hormones were definitely on my mind. One of the most important and personal posts I’d written all year was the post regarding the foetal cardiology scan we had to have done in November.

We got crafty at the beginning of December with our woollen baubles and Christmas papercrafts. I also got thinking about TV shows and how they don’t all age as well as others and finally got on my soap-box about discrimination against redheads.

So there you have it; a full year of Mum’s the Word in two posts! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading what I’ve had to say over the past year and continue reading Mum’s the Word in 2014. If you want to receive posts straight to your inbox, you can submit your email address in the box over there ——-> in the sidebar, or click on the button below to subscribe via Bloglovin’.

Follow on Bloglovin

Happy New Year to all of our readers!

Blogging

Another Year of Mum’s the Word (part one)

The Best of 2013It’s hard to believe that this little ol’ blog of mine will be into its 5th year of life in 2014 – I can be flaky at the best of times and I never thought my blog would be going this long, nor have the readership it has now, let alone some of the fabulous opportunities it’s given us a family in those years. It’s gone from strength to strength, especially over the past year, and I’m really excited about the year ahead, not least of all when we’ll gain a new family member in February, who’ll no doubt be featuring quite heavily!

In the meantime, I thought I’d give you a round-up of my favourite posts from the year and those which have been most popular amongst you guys, to give you a kind of ‘Mum’s the Word in one post’ and maybe show you something you might have missed. Hope you enjoy!

JANUARY

There were two post from January of which I was particularly proud; this rather scathing account of what it means to be British is a good read if you need a chuckle, while my summation of the ‘horse meat scandal‘ might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it will hopefully make you think.

FEBRUARY

Sausage had us worrying about her self-image at the beginning of February, thought not for the reasons we’d expected. I was also offering some alternatives to the usual Valentines schmaltz, to help you if you aren’t a fan of generic outpourings of affection.

MARCH

A leading charity had me rather upset at the beginning of March, with their poor approach to fundraising. I also got sick of spam and came up with a way to save myself a serious amount of time each day. This letter to Sausage for International Women’s Day was one of my favourite posts of all time.

APRIL

April was a busy month, with a few posts that I’m rather proud of. Firstly, I shared my Bavarian-style pretzel making, which was a huge success. I was also mourning the loss of More! magazine, a publication which was huge during my formative years. I was also getting you to delve a bit deeper with this (wholly tongue in cheek) post about domestic goddesses and whether they’re really as on the ball as they seem. Obviously, April was the month in which Margaret Thatcher died, so I also had a couple of political posts, one about her directly and another about expanding our political options.

MAY

Sometimes, as a blogger, you find that comments on posts become bigger and more interesting than the posts themselves, and this post about the correlation between Christianity and the spread of AIDS in Africa was certainly one of those cases. The end of the month saw me getting onto a couple of women’s issues, namely make up and feminine hygiene products.

JUNE

June was a mega-busy blogging month which kicked off with me blogging about our absolutely awful trip to Chessington World of Adventures. Things took a more serious turn when I asked my readers their thoughts on the death penalty and continued with a different post about whether Ian Brady should be allowed to take his own life. On a lighter note, I was all over the complaints that the BBC received when Holly Willoughby wore a mildly revealing dress. I blogged about my hormones at the end of the month (when I was pregnant and didn’t even know it!) and finally, I was INCENSED about my Husband calling me ‘The C Word‘…though it might not be the one you think it is…!

I hope you liked the selection of posts I chose – and don’t forget to check back for part two, later in the week!

Anger · Art · Beauty

Red Hot or Ginger Minger?

My friend Aly has got a bit of a thing for ginger men. I suppose you could say that I have too, given the fact that I’m married to one, but the other day she posted a link to a site called Red Hot. Red Hot is the brainchild of a guy called Thomas Knight, who’s photographed a whole bunch of good-looking red-headed males and is exhibiting them in a London gallery this year as part of a campaign which is associated with the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

red-hot1-732x1024

Most people are aware of the stigma which seems to be attached to red-headedness, and as someone who grew up with a ginger Dad and a ginger best friend during High School, it always left me entirely bemused. I could never quite add up, in my head, what could be supposedly so negative someone’s hair colour, but the fact that the Anti-Bullying Alliance are involved just shows how deeply the stigma runs. As a mother to a red-headed child, it’s quite scary, if I’m honest.

Sausage is a pretty girl with a shock of bright red curls (and her best friend at school is ginger, too. In fact there are 4 of them in her class!) and she’s constantly complimented on her beautiful hair. In fact, she’s been know to (sometimes rather obliquely!) announce it at random, to strangers, as if they might not have noticed; “I have ginger hair!”, she’ll proudly say. It’s genuinely painful to me that, one day, that pride herself and her uniqueness might be stripped away by thoughtless bullies who don’t have the imagination to come up with a better insult.

I was under the, perhaps slightly naive, impression that the whole anti-ginger thing was dead and buried. The likes of Damien Lewis, Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Karen Gillan and Christina Hendricks have done wonders for making the world see how beautiful red hair is (even if some of them do come out of a bottle!) and it seemed to me that such narrow-minded nonsense was long-gone, but if the Red Hot guys are anything to go by, with their PR assault on the UK, then there’s still a long way to go before the insults are completely forgotten.

It was in the news this year that many sperm banks have stopped taking donations from red-headed men altogether because nobody wanted them. So, a woman is so desperate to conceive a baby that she’ll use a donor, but only if that baby has less of a chance of coming out ginger? Madness!

The thing that baffles me the most is that I completely fail to see what it is that’s wrong with red hair? Where I live (and I’m assuming in other parts of the UK, too) there’s a huge trend for girls trying to dye their hair red at the moment. It never looks as nice as natural ginger and you can see it’s fake from the stratosphere, but the intention for redness is there. Perhaps I’m biased because the two people I love most in the world are redheads, but to me it’s gorgeous. I know taste is wholly subjective, but I simply cannot see what is so objectionable about ginger hair that makes people act so appallingly to others.

So, come on people, tell me what it is that’s so bad about red hair? And if you can’t, I suggest you think twice before you make a ‘funny’ comment next time. Let’s change our stupid, pre-programmed bullshit and actually think about what we’re saying and how we’re treating a whole bunch of people. You wouldn’t comment on someone’s race/weight/sexuality in that way…would you?

Health · Review

Review of patient.co.uk – In Association with Tots100

Patient.co.uk_logoA while back, the peeps from Tots100 got in touch and asked if any of us would be interested in reviewing the health and well-being website, patient.co.uk, and given the fact that I’m currently pregnant and have a series of ongoing health issues, I thought it might be beneficial to me to give it a go.

After registering, users go through a questionnaire which I found to be really comprehensive. I had to give details of existing conditions and medications that I take, as well as questions about my medical history and family medical history. There’s a whole section of questions which are associated to lifestyle, including height, weight and exercise habits and by the end of it, I really felt as though I’d gone through every aspect of my medical and personal details.

Based on all of the questions, patient.co.uk then gives users a Q-score, which indicates areas which are good and those which need improvement. Obviously, the site picked up on the fact that my weight is far from ideal, but the thing I liked was that it didn’t focus entirely on the negatives. It made note of the fact that I don’t smoke and that I drink probably about once a year and took that into account, which is nice because sometimes, as a person with weight issues, it can really feel like the doom and gloom is poured on when it comes to anything health related, with nothing positive to focus on. In fact, overall I did better than I thought I would, which puts me in a far healthier frame of mind when it comes to attending to my health – I can make smaller, more manageable goals and not be put off by the feeling that I’m climbing a metaphorical Everest.

The site then signs you up for a 12-week health programme and emails you each week to remind you of your goals and encourage you as you go along, which are really helpful for motivation and maintaining the right frame of mind. The recommendations that I’ve received so far have been really helpful for me and will definitely help me to stay on the right track once the baby is born, and not slip back into old eating habits.

Patient.co.uk also have a handy widget which allows you to do a 30-second health check to see how healthy you are, which is really useful if you just want to do a quick assessment of yourself:

I’m really glad I took a look at patient.co.uk as it’s allowed me to really focus on what changes I need to make to my lifestyle and has made me realise that it doesn’t have to be an uphill struggle. It’s nice to find a site which highlights the positives and doesn’t make me feel like a failure before I’ve even started and I think it could be beneficial to everyone, even those without the need to lose weight, as a way to concentrate on being the healthiest you that you can be.

Books

The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race – Kids Book Review

We’re HUGE fans of reading, here in the Mum’s the Word house and although Sausage loves all of the usual classics, we also try to expose her to stuff which isn’t so mainstream. That’s why, when we were asked to review The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race, I did that thing that you should never do…I looked at the cover and decided that it looked like something we’d love.

The Weasel FC High Res

Luckily, my initial assessment was absolutely spot-on!

The story revolves around a race between the various animals in the title and the book actually had us all in stitches. We’re huge fans of the slightly surreal and it reminded us of the original Octonauts books (which were pretty different to the current line of books and merchandise) or some of the kids books written by Monty Python’s Terry Jones. One thing we’re pretty hot on in our house is finding stuff which isn’t patronising to kids – we’d rather explain words to Sausage than have her shielded from them, and The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race seemed to talk to kids in a totally non-condescending tone, which is something we love.

The illustrations are absolutely stunning in a modern art kind of way – the blocky colours and quirky characters really sparked Sausage’s imagination, as did the verse used to tell the story. She’s really into poetry at the moment, particularly books by Dr. Seuss, and this fits perfectly with the types of stories she loves.

This is one of those books which is requested to be read at least every other night, sometimes more, but I don’t even mind reading it so often as it’s just a delight. James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon have done an amazing job of creating a truly magical kids book which I can see becoming an abiding classic. I hope Sausage keeps her copy and reads it to her kids and grandkids in the future.

(review contains an affilliate link. The book was sent to us, free of charge, for the purposes of the review, but the opinions are our own)