Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Year that was 2011

In 46 B.C.E. the Roman emperor Julius Caesar first established January 1 as New Year’s day.  Janus was the Roman god of doors and gates, and had two faces, one looking forward and one back.  Caesar felt that the month named after this god (“January”) would be the appropriate “door” to the year. 

I'm not really fussed about New Years Eve but then again I also celebrate Christmas and yet we all know Jesus wasn't born in December! SO thanks Caesar for giving us another excuse for celebration and a day when we can all look back on what we have and feel grateful.  I actually just spent half an hour writing a letter to Belle about all the things she has done this year but have decided to save it for her next birthday which is fast approaching. Ahhh my baby girl will be turning 3 next year!!

In light of all my umming and arrhhing about where to go with this blog I have decided to focus on Mummy's Shoes on this post.  It has been quite a whirlwind year and I have been given so many opportunities, attended some amazing events and met some fantastic people and friends who I shall remain in touch with forever.  I could list all the events and great things I have done but instead I will pick just one, I don't want to bore you.

The highlight has to be...being chosen by P&G to be a judge for the Champion Mums' Foundation. Going through all the hundreds of entries was emotional!  Being one of 5 judges with the likes of Sue James (Editorial Director of Woman&Home), Gilly Sinclair (Editor of Chat), Sophia Warner (Our 100m & 200m Paralympian) and Roisin Donnelley (P&G Marketing Director) was a real honour. I was worried I was going to feel a bit out of place in that room at first but soon felt at ease, as they really were the most lovely bunch of ladies! I even managed to get some tips from Sophia on how to train for the Mum's Race on sports day :-) We picked some amazing entries and some of the wishes have been fulfilled already. So thank you so much P&G for that amazing opportunity.

Little old me. The "Blogger"

And plans for 2012?

To be just as good as 2011 I think. I am so blessed to have my family and friends around me and I just wish for their health and happiness. I would also love our house move to go ahead in the new year as we are a little in limbo at the moment with it being the Christmas hols.  

Finally I just want to thank you, my readers. This blog started off as a place to document Belle's 'first steps' and has grown this year beyond anything I ever imagined. The growth has forced me to question its direction and purpose but I think that is a good thing.  Thanks for sticking with me even when a week or two will go by without me writing a post.  I have set up a new blog over at www.StepfordWifey.com where I will be writing hopefully a lot more in the new year. So please do pop over and follow me there.

Love Us xxx

Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas Crafting, Chicken Pox, Cabin Fever and all that jazz

Belle got the dreaded Chicken Pox and only right bang slap in the middle of her First Ever Nursery Nativity Play.  I was so upset, not because I wouldn't get to see my angel on stage with her little halo (I am not being a deluded mother, her part in the nativity was an angel) but because she had been practising for a couple of months and she was SO excited. But, alas, these things happen and at least it is over and done with now.

A week in the house was quite testing though, calling in the 'craft' heavies was essential. So if you need ideas for when your little one gets chicken pox and you are house bound have a glance through these pictures for a bit of inspiration.
Baking and decorating!

We bought these wooden shapes from www.craftshapes.co.uk
Belle painted some whilst I did the others so it was fun for mummy and daughter :-)

Paper Chains!

Fresh Air!
When Belle had chicken pox we did a lot in the garden.  She loves helping sweep the leaves...
...with an iron?!?

German Friendship Cake
A friend popped over and dropped off a German Friendship cake, whilst we were housebound. SUCH a lovely idea! I had never heard of it before. It takes 10 days to 'grow', you add sugar and due to the live yeast it rises. You then take 3 cups out and pass it on to 3 more friends to do the same.  You then bake your cake from the remaining mixture! Love it! Belle loved watching it grow.

Pixie Advent Calendar.
The fact chicken pox fell within advent was great really as every morning Belle had a present to look forward to. A lot of people on twitter asked where pixie was from...She is from Chamomile Barn. But you could use this idea for the week your little one has chicken pox no matter what time of year, as a reward for no scratching!

Finally if your little one feels to uncomfortable to nap, I found taking her out for a drive great! 
It gets you out the house too.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Wordless Wednesday: She's writing a list


Purely Belle's List, in her own words. Not sure how I am going to find all those games (well aside from hungry hippo which I am secretly happy about)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

End of the Road?

Either I have lost my blogging mojo or I am ready to end this chapter.

I haven't written in a while, my inbox is teeming with PR emails, some of which you may call impressive opportunities.  Offers of Christmas Hampers, makeovers in London, a Spa day, a tv commercial and not even the offer to be sent a ton of chocolate is making me muster the energy to reply.  I haven't written about Belle's first day at nursery or any other exciting things which have been going on.

I am happy, we've been poorly, but life is good.  A new business in the pipeline.  Our offer on the new house got accepted.  All the family are healthy and Belle is, well she is just adorable and amazes us, making us laugh too much by the things she comes out with.  So perhaps I am just ready to move on from this blog?

Something else has been playing on my mind too.

I received a lovely email the other day from a reader. It was heart-warming and she went on to say how she loves my blog but it was these words that made me think "I wish to have your life when I'm older". It has really made me think...

Am I portraying a life which is just not realistic?

I do seem inclined to tell you all the good news, post all my favourite pictures. I have tried to talk about the hard times in parenting, the teething and sleepless nights but the truth is I wouldn't change it for the world, so I don't grumble too much.  Perhaps it is subconscious and it, if I am honest, does reflect my personality too. I don't tell the world my problems, I am not one to shout from the rooftops if I am having a stinking day.

So here I am. Worrying I am not fulfilling what I set out to do with this blog.  I wanted to help parents with commonplace parenting problems.  I wanted to show how rewarding being a mother can be, how utterly out of this world it is to bring a little life into the world, for the daddy too!  How it really is the most awe-inspiring thing you will ever do in this life, but it is not easy!  I wanted to show how your life can still remain your life though and I wanted to document all Belle's special first's.  There are far too many stereotypes surrounding mum's, so I wanted to balance my mummy life with my personal life, however intertwined they may be.  In doing this I have attracted an audience of non parents, a growing number of teenage girls and now I am questioning how much I am helping.

Am I actually feeding the very thing I hate?  Those images of women in the media which lead to young girls feeling insecure, always trying to live up to an exaggerated or fabricated image?  Or perhaps, on the other hand, with all the media images of women could mine be less damaging and actually encourage more girls to aspire to be good parents one day. Or am I simply worrying too much?  I don't think so, we all have a responsibility in society to do and be the best we can.

Should I be more candid with my writing, don't only post about the pleasing and exciting stuff?  I have written about upsetting things before but because my blog is not anonymous it unfortunately caused more problems then it cured.  Perhaps less pictures and images?  But then that is the creative side which makes me, me. Finally Belle is her own little person now, she is forming her own opinions, she doesn't just look like every other 'baby' either. Because of this I am starting to feel it is not my right to put her life out here. It doesn't sit quite right with me anymore.

So there we have it, have I just made my mind up about this?

Saturday, 12 November 2011

When you thought I wasn't looking

My mum sent me this poem the other day and I had to share it with you:


When you thought I wasn't looking

Author: Unknown
When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator,
and I wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake for me,
and I knew that little things are special things.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed that there was a God to talk to.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt,
but it's alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I saw that you cared,
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking,
I looked....
and I wanted to say thanks for all the things
I saw when you thought I wasn't looking.


Thursday, 10 November 2011

The one where Belle says "Goodbye" to her daytime naps

It seems we have come to the end of the road with Belle's 2 hour daytime naps. It was nice knowing you 'me time' and those cheeky cups of tea were blissful, while it lasted.

Belle is 2.5 (going on 25) and no matter how busy of a morning she has had she is now refusing to have a daytime nap. For 2 years she has loved her 2 hour nap, which she always took around 1-2pm. But for the last month or two she has decided they are not necessary and she has far more important things to do like, apparently...

Me: "Belle it's nap time now"
B: "I have to tidy my playroom"
Me: "OK two minutes of tidying and then bed"
B: "I need 8 minutes"

And yesterdays was "I not tired mama I think I just need a rest on the sofa"! Since when did 2 year olds get so smart!

By 6pm she is tired when she doesn't have a nap but she seems to cope well and doesn't get grumpy with it. She sleeps through the night and wakes at 6am on the dot every morning.

Is this OK? I worry she is not getting enough sleep and I know that it is so important for their brain development. She will sometimes fall asleep in the car on the way back from nursery for ten minutes but that really is it. Today we had friends coming over in the afternoon and a busy evening so I actually sat in the car for 25 minutes while she slept in there so she was well rested. I very nearly asked my neighbour to bring me a cup of tea!

I give her 'quiet time' still so she can relax and wind down a bit but she has so much energy! The other week we went to a friends wedding and she woke up at 6am and carried on partying all day and night until 11pm and then woke at 6am the next morning again as usual.

Look at that boundless energy!

Is this too young to drop her daytime naps? Do I just need to toughen up and get a bit more strict by taking her up to her room in the day? Or is it OK to let her decide when she wants to nap in the day from now on?

I wish there was a way of sharing her energy.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Schwartz Slow Cooker Recipe: Giving mums the gift of time

I was recently contacted by Schwartz regarding their new range of slow cooker mixes.

Schwartz were going to come over and film me trying out one of their recipes to show how simple they are and how they can save so much time. But alas, Belle got poorly and then myself and hubby caught the nasty sickness bug and we missed the boat.

Not wanting to let a gem of an evening meal go to waste I filmed it myself this week for you. The recipes are fabulous for those days where you just haven't got much time to cook. This meal took me under 15 minutes to prepare! So here you go:



Monday, 31 October 2011

Justin Fletcher's New Album: Hands Up


News for all you Justin Fans out there
(I know there are a lot of you!)

Justin is releasing a new song called Hands Up!
(available on the 14th of November)
and
A new album which is out on the 21st of November

You can pre order the album here


We were lucky enough to receive a copy of the album before the release date and I can tell you it is amazing. Belle was up and dancing within seconds and we shall definitely be using it for birthday parties as it has all of the party game classics on it! 

I actually did a video of Belle dancing away to it but can't share that just yet! It is a fantastic album for the car, home and for parties!

Justin is also now on Twitter here
AND
Facebook too here

Friday, 28 October 2011

Isabella Oliver Clothing: Review and Competition

I was recently contacted by Isabella Oliver to see if I wanted to try out something from their site.  Their clothes are timeless and so I had quite a hard job deciding what to pick.

In the end I went for The Flared Jeans as I have one of their wrap dresses already, which I adore! For those of you who haven't heard of Isabella Oliver, they are a London based British women's wear label, renowned for dressing pregnant celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Gwen Stefani and Natalie Portman. Not only do they offer beautiful maternity wear but they also now have a ready-to-wear '365 Collection' for the modern multi-tasking woman!

Beautiful packaging

The Jeans


The sizing comes up perfectly on them and I love that they are a little flared as I tend to go for skinny jeans.  I also like the dark indigo colour too, as again, I tend to go for pale blue denim normally. They are not too low or high waisted, I would go as far as saying they are the PERFECT fit and definitely a classic look! They always look quite smart no matter what I team them with, even a little white vest top!

I can't rave enough about these jeans BUT don't take my word for it try them out yourselves BECAUSE the lovely people at Isabella Oliver are giving one of my readers the chance to pick a pair of jeans from their site.

TO WIN
If you would like the chance to pick any pair of jeans from www.IsabellaOliver.com then simply do the following:

Leave a comment below (in the comments section) with a way to contact you eg twitter ID or email

For an extra entry please tweet about this competition stating  "Win a pair of Isabella Oliver Jeans! Go to @MummysShoes blog to enter 
http://tinyurl.com/isabellacomp " 


Terms and Conditions:
• This competition will run from 28th of October to the 11th of November 2011
• The winner will be chosen at random
• Competition is open to residents of the UK and Ireland only
• Prize is non-refundable and no cash alternative is available

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Autumn fashions for Mummy & Babe

The weather has taken a bit of a turn, there was even a frost on the ground the other morning! So I decided it was high time to put away the summer dresses, get out the knits and boots and do a bit of a wardrobe update for Belle and myself. So we went shopping, mainly in Next!

My nanny always bought us our winter coats and my mum has carried on this tradition and gets Belle her winter coats too. I adore the two she has chosen this year and they look adorable on!

I have put all the web links underneath the pictures so you can pop over and look at the items.


In the above jacket plus Beret and Shoes both from Next too

The second coat she got was this Mink Trim Parker I love the lace detail

Also bought a skinny rib polo neck to put underneath it here



This looks SO cute on!
Cute Tights of course, a must for the colder days!
Ditsy Floral and animal Tights here
Cable Knit Design Tights here




(Shoes and Tights from Next as before)

(from L to R)
Pink Bow Pumps which Belle calls her dancing glitter shoes


For a wedding I am going to

Pink Midi Vintage dress from H&M
With a slim or chunky tan belt.

I love lace, what more can I say!

This is one of those essential winter knits I will be slinging over jeans for most of the winter :-)


My beautiful customised umbrella from Love Umbrellas !


Of course this is my favourite item of the month, or should I say year!?
My Mamami Amara Bag!
I will of course dedicate a post to this very soon so you can appreciate the sheer gorgeousness of this stunning bag! But I can say it has not left my side for the past week and has received so many compliments when out that I have lost count!

P.s This is not a sponsored post, I know we were 'repping" Next quite a bit there...I simply adore their children's range this season and hence the number of purchases!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Gallery: Faces

The theme over at The Gallery this week is ‘Faces’. I deliberated over this one for quite some time.  My nanny who's eyes told a thousand tales, sparkly blue like my daughters, a reminder of where we all came from. My mum with her stunning green eyes, always loving and caring for us no matter what. My dad, a wonderful father and a genius.  My husband, 9 times out of 10 displaying his serious 'thinking' face, he thinks too much about things but I love him for it. Or perhaps my brothers, always winding me up but all so fantastic! Or maybe my friends, always making me laugh and creating fab memories.

An obvious one, which you would probably all expect from me is my little Belle, who we call cherub chops because she is just too adorable for words (expect when being a little diva). But I decided to use this one...my little family all displaying...happy faces


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

tinyme launches in the UK and what a great brand!


Last week myself and a handful of other bloggers headed to Oundle Mill for a lovely meal and introduction from tinyme


I'll be honest with you, my attendance was mainly an excuse to have a catch up with one of my twitter BFF's Chet and Helen from Blog Match but I was pleasantly surprised by tinyme and their adorable range of personalised products for children.



Here's a bit of background for you, about tinyme, a lovely story! And boy are they enthusiastic about their products, which is so nice to see:


Once upon a time 3 young dads (who happen to have 13 kids under 9) combined a whole bunch of geeky high tech machines, some generous dollops of cuteness, a slightly loopy team of people and mixed them together with the world wide webby thingy. The result was amazing.... a comprehensive range of affordable, premium quality, designer personalised products for kids. All custom made and shipped out in a jiffy.

I loved so many of their products but a few which I will definitely be purchasing are:

These adorable wall stickers



We were given some samples of the wall stickers to take home and Belle has loved playing with them! They must have been taken on and off the wall about 40 times and they still have their stick!! My favourite designs are the birds, flowers and tree's!

Secondly I loved the vast range of personalised bags, just perfect for when Belle starts Ballet:


Again there are colour and design choices and of course the option to have it personalised with your child's name too.

Finally another thing I will definitely be getting are these fab cupcake toppers, perfect for a party! These are actually free printables if you pop over here you can get your hands on them!


There are lots more amazing products, from wall charts to personalised stationary and name labels!

Thanks to blog match and tinyme for a fantastic event and for great company!