13 articles Tag Girls

Sausage’s Bedroom Makeover

It’s got to that point where Sausage wants her own space. She’s starting senior school in September, so instead of being surrounded by her sisters toys and games, she wants a proper grown up space where she can chill, watch her own programmes and do her homework in peace. As we’re in a three bedroom house, Husband will be giving up his office space and moving his desk into the dining room, and we’re planning a bit of a makeover of the room so that it feels more like Sausage’s own.

The first thing we’ll do is replace the floor; there’s carpet in there at the moment, and while it’s good quality, we want something a bit more modern for Sausage, so we’ll opt for Quick-Step Impressive laminate flooring as it’s so versatile, easy to fit and simple to keep clean.

She’s also requested a change of colour – the walls are a plain magnolia at the moment, but we’re planning to replace that with three walls of light lilac, plus one wall of a darker purple colour. It’s a nice colour scheme for a kid of Sausage’s age, but one which I think will grow with her and won’t feel horribly young when she’s in her teens.

Another thing I’m planning is a multi-functional space which will double up as both a dressing table and a desk so that she can use it for doing her homework and then use it for doing her hair and make up at other times (she doesn’t go out in make-up, by the way, she just loves to practice at home!).

She currently sleeps in a single bunk beds that she shares with her sister, but we’ve decided to give her our king size bed so that she has more space and can have friends sleeping over when she wants, without needing to find extra sleeping space! Our bed is currently a neutral wooden colour, but we’re planning to give this it’s own mini makeover with some nice chalk paint.

In terms of finishing touches, we’ll be adding shelves for books and nick-nacks, plus colour co-ordinated curtains, lamp shade and other little touches to make it feel like Sausage’s own little haven of peace and tranquillity! I’m really excited to do this for her, and I know she’s going to love the end result. I’ll be sure to share pictures with you all when it’s done!

Alternative Christmas Gifts for Tweens

There are members of our family who are easier to buy for each year, and then there are some who are just flat-out difficult every bloody year! This year, much to my surprise, one of the toughest people to buy for has been Sausage. Every other year, she’s been a doddle, but every time someone asks me for ideas of what to get her I struggle, and asking her is usually met with “I’m not really sure”. I guess it’s good that she’s either not a covetous kid, or feels like she has everything she needs, but it doesn’t make it very easy for the whole family to buy for her, so I’ve been trying to think outside the box for gift ideas for her. Here’s some stuff I’ve come up with:

Experience Days

Obviously she’s a bit small for supercar track days or afternoon tea, but there’s been a pretty big surge in experience days for kids, with things like kids paintball taking off. Sausage loves doing crafts and art, so a voucher for a ceramics studio would be the perfect gift for her as it would give her an afternoon of doing something she loves, with something to show as a keepsake at the end of it.

Band T-Shirts

Sausage seems to be one of the only 9-year-old girls on the planet who isn’t obsessed with unicorns this year, but she is finding her identity through music at the moment (her David Meowie t-shirt is probably her most prized possession!) so indulging her self-discovery with some cool band t-shirts would be much appreciated by Sausage.  

Books

Sausage has always had books for Christmas (last year it was Pokemon graphic novels!) and she’s at an age where books are still a cool Christmas gift, as long as we opt for the right ones! I’m thinking of getting her a set of The Hunger Games trilogy as I reckon she’s at an age where she’d really enjoy them.

Stationery

Sausage is 100% my kid when it comes to her love of all things pen-and-paper related. Rarely a day goes by when she can’t be found either drawing pictures or writing stories, and I know she’d love a proper hard-back journal for all of her writing, so we’re planning to find her something really funky.

Jewellery

Last summer, Husband and I bought Sausage a Pandora bracelet for her birthday, which means that charms are always a good option for gifts. She also had her second lobe piercing done and has a bit of a reputation amongst her classmates for wearing some really individual and cool earrings (I think today’s earings were BMO from Adventure Time!), so jewellery is always a really good option for us, even if it’s cheaper stuff which can be used as stocking fillers.

What are you buying your tweens this year?

Kids Autumn/Winter with Petit Bateau

Something that I love about shopping online is that I can source things which are a little bit different to what you’d normally find on the High Street. This is especially great for finding clothes for Sausage and Burrito Baby as I do love dressing them to accentuate their unique personalities, which is why I was happy when Petit Bateau asked me to put together an outfit for each of them from their new Autumn/Winter range.

Sausage is pushing boundaries with her fashion choices at the moment. She loves to be a little bit different (hence the pink hair during the holidays!) and relishes bucking against what girls in her class would be wearing. BB likes to wear things that look “pweety” (yep, that’s how she says it!) but which also allow her to charge around and don’t impede her running/climbing/dog riding. Here’s what I chose for them:

 

Petit Bateau

 

Petit Bateau by jayne-crammond on Polyvore

Grey is one of my favourite colours for clothing at the moment and I think the grey jeans make such a nice alternative to blue or black, which is what you see on most people. Sausage and BB both look amazing in most colours, but Sausage looks especially fantastic in autumn/winter palates because of her wild red hair, while BB looks great in more neautral shades because of her blond locks and pink cheeks.

I actually wnjoy shopping for the girls SO much more than shopping for myself, so spending an afternoon scouring a site and choosing things for them is a real treat! Have you shopped with Petit Bateau before? Do you enjoy shopping for your kids? What would you choose from the Petit Bateau ranges? Leave me a comment below!

Dressing Girls for a Rubbish Summer

One thing that I’ve found quite tricky these last few weeks is getting the balance right when dressing the girls. The appallingly bad “summer” weather means that the usual dresses and sandals have been completely out of the question, but it’s also not quite cold enough for coats and jumpers, so it’s been a case of finding some middle ground.

Husband is a big fan of layering because it means that you can adjust what you’re wearing if your environment changes and we’ve been trying to adopt this for the girls, too. Instead of thick coats, we’ll give them a fleece and a shower-proof layer, and they can still wear dresses, but often wear a t-shirt and leggings underneath.

Recently, House of Fraser asked us to take a look at their Kids Clothing range and pick a few things for each girl that would make it onto a summer outfit wishlist, so we thoguht we’d put together a little board for each of them to show how we cope with dressing for any weather:

 

Layering for Summer

 

Layering for Summer by jaynecrammond on Polyvore

The items on the left are what we chose for BB and the stuff on the right are for Sausage…what do you think of your choices? I think they’d be perfect for a day out while the weather is so unpredictable. What would you choose? Do you have boys or girls? Do you find it easier to shop for one gender than another at this time of year? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

“You Look Like a Girl”

boy dressed as princessThe other day, I needed to buy some new pillows so I went to the supermarket and was wandering around the clothing and home wares department having a browse. It was pretty quiet in there as it was only about 9.15am and there were only one or two other shoppers in the whole place. One other customer was a woman, probably in her mid-to-late twenties and her son, who obviously wasn’t quite school age yet, but still looked roughly 4-ish.

The kid was wandering around fairly unchecked and at one point started to try things on from one of those free-standing jewellery and accessory displays that turns – you know the ones, right? Anyway, he became particularly enamoured with a pair of novelty sunglasses which had red, heart-shaped frames. He put them on and after admiring himself in the tiny mirror for a few seconds, turned to his Mum and, with huge amounts of pride and happiness said “Mum! Look at me! I love these glasses!”.

The mother turned to him, narrowed her eyes and with pure vitriol in her voice said “Oh my god, take those off, you look like a girl”.

My initial reaction was one of sadness as I watched the boy, clearly deflated after being rebuffed by the mother from whom he’d so wanted a little bit of praise and affirmation, take off the glasses and put them gently back on the shelf. He looked really sad, and not in that “I wanted something and Mum wouldn’t buy it for me” way that kids do, but in a genuinely confused and upset way.  But the more I’ve thought about it, the madder I’ve felt.

Firstly, what is it about red, heart shaped glasses which is designated as a GIRLS ONLY thing? Even if you do subscribe to the (bloody annoying) notion that colours are somehow gendered, surely red is a pretty neutral colour? And hearts…I mean, do only girls have hearts?! Err, no.

Secondly, even if you do think that red, heart shaped glasses are ‘girly’, SO WHAT if he does look like a girl? How is that somehow a negative thing? Is it really so bad to let a child experiment with what they feel comfortable in and form their own notions of femininity and masculinity? I know loads of guys (Husband included on one or two occasions) who’ve worn pink and absolutely rocked it. They didn’t look like girls, they looked like MEN IN PINK, just like this little boy simply looked like a boy in heart-shaped glasses. There’s a big difference.

Also, I genuinely thought we were getting past the days of negative gender stereotypes? I see little boys on my friends’ Facebook timelines playing with dollies, pushchairs, vaccums, ironing boards; all toys which, even in my lifetime, would have firmly been in the girls toys aisle and equally, I see MANY girls playing with Thomas the Tank Engine – Burrito Baby got her own tool kit and farm vehicles for her 2nd birthday whilst Sausage’s favourite things are Pokemon, Match Attax and her NERF guns. But these are “boys toys”, no? Or, is it possible, that we can just have fun with things we like, regardless. Well, yes, obviously it is.

It makes me so sad to think that little boys are having their joy, their individuality and their creativity squashed by parents with an archaic notion of what it is to be a boy and I really dread to think about the issues that this could cause them as they grow up. As a parent, I strongly believe that, although it’s our job to guide our children in terms of morality, safety and care, it’s also really important to allow them to develop their sense of self.

What do you think? Would you allow your sons to wear red, heart-shaped sunglasses? Or do you think that boys should be boys and girls should be girls and that the old-fashioned line in the sand between the two genders should remain? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Guest Post: Mummy, Why are They Being so Mean to Me?

On the blog today, we have a guest post from Helen Neale, who writes at both kiddycharts.com, a parenting advice and tools site offering free personalised kids charts, and stickersstarsandsmiles.com, a much more personal blog where she promises to tidy up, but never quite gets around to it. She can be found far too much on social media, particularly Twitter.

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As the teacher passed, she could hear sobbing. She looked across the wooden hall floor, but couldn’t find where it was coming from. She tilted her head to try and concentrate. In the corner of the hall was a gym mat, positioned delicately against the climbing frames that the school children used in PE. She moved silently towards the sound, and as she approached the noise got louder. Leaning in, she peered behind the mat.

Standing pressed against the wall, tears streaming down her face, was a small girl.”

Thirty-five years ago, that was me.

Even after all this time, I can still remember vividly the teacher who found me, and helped me. But even now, I can sometimes still feel like that little girl, hiding from harsh and cutting words.

My time at school has shaped me into the woman I am today, I am sure of it. It has made me into someone who hates confrontation, so much that I will apologise for anything just to move on, and not create tension.

It has made me desperate to be liked. I turned to bribery in secondary school. Eventually, a close friend told me that I didn’t have to use my dinner money to buy her sweets to get her to speak to me. It was only then that I finally came to realise that I didn’t have to pay for friendship. Friendship was something that is freely given, and gratefully received.

Despite finally finding a wonderful friend, I was still singled out by some of the older girls as the weaker one; sensitive to criticism. I often wondered if I “just had the face for it” as I grew up.

I avoided catching the school bus home to my village if I could. When I did brave the ride on the first bus home, I would sit near the front away from the other children. I would then spend 45 minutes listening to the kids behind me, talking about me, calling me names, deliberately waking past, and flicking my hair, throwing my bag down the bus…anything to upset me. Never physical, but the constant niggles were enough to cut deep.

Suddenly though, it stopped.

The main culprit left the school; as simple as that.

The other players didn’t have their heart in it. Having finally told my mum, she helped too; giving me the confidence to stand up to them, to speak to the teachers and not to try and handle everything on my own. After the bully left, my bus trips started again. However, my anxiety and my wish to be liked has remained ever since.

If I had my time again, I do sincerely wish that it hadn’t happened, any of it. Of course I do. Thinking about those times, still stings my eyes.

But, the sensitivity it has instilled in my heart; how we should listen, and love, has made me into someone who has understood many of my friend’s darkest moments. Once, it helped save a life.

The determination to carry on despite being bullied lives on in me now too; that survival instinct has moulded me both personally and professionally.

I made it.

I was able to come out the other side. That has given me a confidence in myself that I didn’t think, as that little six-year old, hiding behind a gym mat, I would ever have. I am still desperate to seek approval from others, but it isn’t as all encompassing as it was when I was a child. It doesn’t choke me, it doesn’t mean I feel that every friend I have is just here for a while until they find someone else more exciting, funnier, or with more money for sweets….

However, I realised this week that I find myself seeking approval from my kids in a way that I wish I didn’t. Anything from the simple questions about whether their birthday party was any good, to whether they liked the dinner I made them. This even extends to the friends they invite to those parties, or sit down to have that dinner with them.

Despite all that I have achieved, there is still a wee six year old in there, desperate to be liked.

How have you overcome this need for approval if you have it too? Is there anyway to do so? Shall I just give up and have a biscuit?

If you or your children are experiencing bullying, please seek help. There are some wonderful organisations out there. Relevant sites in the UK include:

http://www.bullying.co.uk/

http://www.beatbullying.org/

http://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/

It would be wonderful if we can lend a little support to these and other organisations supporting anti-bullying campaigns, including this campaign from fellow blogger, Gammon and Chips, in the memory of a wonderful 16-year old girl, Izzy.

Get £5 to spend at borntobeyoung.com!

Sausage is getting to an age now where clothes and fashion are of upmost importance. She loves nothing more than shopping for a new outfit and is never happier than when she’s allowed to choose her own clothes at the beginning of the day. In fact, fashion has seeped into other areas of her life too; she has her own laptop and can often be found playing various ‘dress-up’ games that she finds online, and is always asking me to tie or button something she’s dressed her dollies in.

She’s recently started taking an interest in Mummy’s work, and when I get the chance to do anything fashion related, she’s almost as enthusiastic as when she gets toys to review, so being asked to write about a new kids fashion site seems very appropriate for us at the moment!

Sometimes, being a blogger means that we get cool opportunities to have a sneak peek at new and exciting things, and today I’m able to pass that opportunity on to Mum’s the Word’s readers. The lovely people over at Born to be Young, the newest online retailer of kids clothing, is offering all lucky Mum’s the Word readers £5 to spend on their site, with no minimum spend, just because they’re feeling generous! Here’s what they told me about the site:

We are building something completely new in the children’s e-commerce sector as with Born to be Young mums (and dads ) can:

– save and endorse products they like through the lollipop button (when someone clicks on the lollipop, the product gets more “credit” and is saved in the mum’s profile)

– create a profile : see example here: https://www.borntobeyoung.com/profile/1

–  follow (designers and peers) and get followed

They’ve got some absolutely stunning outfits for girls and boys, plus a whole bunch of baby items, gifts, toys, decorations and so much more. Here’s a few of our favourites:

Born to be Young

There’s lots more to come on the site before its official launch but there’s items still plenty to see between now and then, and what’s already there gives you a really great example of the quality of the items that Born to be Young will offer.

To take advantage of this offer, all you have to do is head over to Born to be Young, register on the site and they’ll send you a code to the value of £5 for you to spend on anything you want on the site. Their kids clothes are absolutely to-die-for, but I’ve also got my eye on a few of their gorgeous ornaments, for when we move next month, too.

Once you’ve been over there for a look, do come back and tell me  what you thought of the site and what you bought (or are planning to buy!). I’d love to know what you all thought.

Happy shopping, dear readers!

International Women’s Day – Sightsavers

Because today is International Women’s Day I have a guest post from the charity Sightsavers for you all to read. 

Today is International Women’s Day. We’d like to celebrate a very special group of women, lady health workers, who, in developing countries, go door-to-door to provide access to free eye care services made available by us and our partners. These women work tirelessly to help prevent avoidable blindness, travelling to some of the poorest, hardest-to-reach neighborhoods, striving to improve the health of their community.

Case study – Jeba Ansari, Mumbai, India

Jeba a Young Muslim health worker shows the right way of wearing specs to one of the resident in Dharavi slums in Mumbai to find who has eye problem.

Hirabai Bayle, living in the Dharavi slum in Mumbai, India, shares a tiny home with her mother, teenage son and four sisters. Her husband left her and her son and now Hirabai earns £13 a month to support herself and her son, selling bananas and stitching gloves in a workshop. 20-year-old lady health worker, Jeba Ansari, visited Hirabai and diagnosed her as long sighted. By providing her with glasses, Jeba ensured that Hirabai could continue to work and remain financially independent.

Case study – Sarwar Kausar, Pakistan

Inspired by a need to support her community, Sarwar Kausar became a health worker after finishing school. In countries like Pakistan, many women must be chaperoned to appointments with male health workers, which can be hard to arrange. Thousands of women go without examinations, suffering from eye health problems like cataract and trachoma. Lady health workers can visit women at home when male family members are away, passing on key medical advice to prevent eye diseases and infections.

Case study – Samina, Karachi, Pakistan

Having trained as a doctor, 33-year-old, married Samina decided to become a lady health worker, and eventually trained to become a Lady Health Supervisor (LHS) in the Karachi district of Pakistan. One of around 100,000 lady health workers in Pakistan, Samina overcame prejudice from within her own village, as a women receiving professional training, and now continues to work hard to free her community of eye health problems.

Please visit the Sightsavers website to find out more about their work and to donate to the cause. 

“Mummy, I don’t like looking in the mirror.”

Husband, Sausage and I popped into town today for a bit of a browse. We were having a mooch round TK Maxx and they’d walked off ahead of me but as I caught up, I saw Sausage do something that I found really disconcerting. As she noticed herself in the mirror, I saw her frown deeply and then turn away with a look of disgust on her face.

I mentioned to Husband what I’d seen and we both proceeded to question her on why she’d frowned like that, however she clammed up and started to get upset. My mind was racing with a combination of scathing indictments of modern society and the pressure placed on girls in terms of appearance, positive affirmations that I could give Sausage which both reassured her but stopped short of piling too much importance on aesthetic and blackout-inducing rage at the thought that someone may be responsible for damaging her confidence.

Husband was still trying to extract an explanation from her when she looked him straight in the eye and said:

“I don’t like my reflection Daddy, because it always copies me”.

Jubilee Outfit Emergency!

Don’t you just love that thing that kids do?

“Mum, can I have a drink please? Oh yeah, by the way, I’m going to a party tomorrow…”

Cue parental panic and frantic searching for details of said party, but after a quick phone call to Nursery, we discovered that the party is in fact on Friday, but there is a Jubilee theme, so the kids should be accordingly attired.

Right. Okay.

Off we went to town to look for something for Sausage to wear. First stop, Next. They had loads of pretty dresses, shoes and what-not made of various Union flag print material, but we wanted to get her something that she’d wear more than once, so we went for this:

Which will be teamed with these:

and maybe some Union Flag hairclips and white ankle socks. What do we reckon? Jubilant enough?! It’s nice for little girls to wear dresses and I can be quite old fashioned with Sausages clothes at times but I thought this was a funky little outfit that she can wear all of the items of again and again.

I’ll let you know how it goes!