Cybermummy 2011 - Thanks and Thoughts

I can't believe that it is almost a week since Cybermummy '11 and the hype is still electric.  I'm reading lots and lots of blog posts with varying accounts of the day.  But I was brought up good and proper and have been instilled with good manners.  This post is to thank those who made it all possible.

Cybermummy 2011 - Contemplation

There had been such a build-up and hyperactivity about Cybermummy 2011 that I was excited, worried and nervous all at the same time.  There is so much I want to say, so much I have already said and an awful lot that warrants a post of its own.  So, with that in mind, here are a few highlights of my day in London with over 400 other bloggers, a few famous people and a lot of emotional moments.  The rest will be serialised over the next few days and linked in appropriately.  Feel free to come back to this post and use it as an index to see if I have updated.

Sophie King : Writing Workshop at Cybermummy 11

When the agenda for Cybermummy '11 was announced I was very excited to see that Sophie King (aka Jane Bidder) was hosting a writing workshop.  Wanting to attempt to write a novel in the very near future I thought the workshop would be full of inspirational hints and tips that I could stash away until I was ready to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).

Sophie King opened her workshop by asking a room full of bloggers what made them different; what their niche was, or their reason for blogging.  Little Miss Gobby here immediately put up her hand and said
"Yes, I became a grandmother at the age of thirty six..."
There was a glimmer of disgust in her eyes.  She composed herself and asked,
"So what is your blog name?"

Cybermummy 2011 - Too Excited

I feel sick.  I've built up this bubbly, clever, innovative online persona and it's all going to come apart at the seams.

Tomorrow I shall be heading to London to seek my fortune attend the Cybermummy '11 convention.  Depending on how much you read my blog, view my YouTube channel or look at my Facebook page you may or may not be aware that this is a massively important event (for me) this year with regards to blogging and writing.

Life Insurance

Due to a change in circumstances, we bought our own house a few years ago after years of renting, both privately and with housing associations.  It was only when we signed the mortgage papers that we realised how important life insurance was.  Insurance companies were crying out to insure me but we were stopped at every door for my husband, simply because we were open and honest about his mental health condition. 


I hardly ever use trains. I live slightly off any direct route to anywhere so driving has always seemed to be a more convenient option plus I have an incessant fear of arriving anywhere late and heading to the wrong place. However, I decided that after driving into central Manchester and getting lost on three previous occasions, catching the train to attend BlogCamp last Friday would be the better decision.  Plus the venue was adjacent to the station (Bonus Point #1) and the return fare was £10.70 (Bonus Point #2 as fuel and parking costs would have probably been around £25-£30).

100 Years Of Feeling Closer with Nivea

NIVEA celebrates its 100th birthday this year and they commissioned Professor Geoff Beattie to carry out research as a barometer of closeness in Britian.  The research was based around whether modern technology is bringing us closer than ever to each other or is it creating boundaries?

You all know how I feel about social media.  I love the way that I have intertwining circles of friends from all walks of life, most of whom I would never have "met" if it hadn't have been for the Internet.  I have entrusted a small number of them with some very personal information and others have afforded me the same trust in return.  Sometimes it feels easier to provide someone you've never met with personal information as they can give a neutral opinion and who are they ever going to tell?

A love/hate relationship with Friday Twiz

So which camp are you in?  
All you regular players with your sarcasm and wit... you're giving the FridayTwiz a bad rep!  
Or are you?

Blognonymous : Tantrums

This post was submitted to me within the ethos of Blognonymous.  This contributor has requested the Blognonymous platform because she wants and needs advice but doesn't feel able to ask openly on her own blog.  This is a mum at the end of her tether.  

If you would like to offer any kind of support in the comments but prefer to remain anonymous yourself then there is a "guest comment" facility - sign out of Disqus (if you have used it before) and you will see "guest" appear as an option.

If you would like to contact the Blognonymous team please click on the image to the right for more details.

Tea Review

I'm a "nice and strong, good splash of milk and three sugars please" type of girl when I'm having a cup of tea and I'm not usually overly fussy about what brand the teabags are either.  There is a definite art to making a decent brew too.  I have to leave the teabag in for a while, then spin it round a bit, then squash it against the side of the cup a few times, take it out, add the sugar then add the milk.  You CANNOT add the milk in at the bottom of the cup as the water scalds it and you don't seem to be able to get the tea quite so strong... See I'm VERY fussy.  Everyone else in our house drinks coffee or hot chocolate and I rarely drink tea when I'm out and about because no-one else seems to make it right.

Anyway, London Tea have sent me a selection of teas to try and, well, hold me back... I am a changed woman!  I have discovered fruit blends and flavoured teas with a vengeance.

This review came at the right time too as I am on a bit of a pre-holiday detox and my normal brew just doesn't taste right with sweeteners in.  I have had berry-flavoured tea in the past but never really stuck to it and now I'm thinking that I just hadn't tasted the right flavour yet.

Everyone has had a dip in the "selection box" - the white box on the right - which has nine different flavoured teas in.  Even my daughter took one of each type home with her to try!  My favourites out of there have to be the White Tea, Elderflower & Apricot, the Lemongrass, Ginger & Citrus Fruits and the Peppermint. And I've found that most of them are sweet enough even for me.  I've not had to add more than two sweeteners to any of the teas, including the English Breakfast or the Earl Grey.  Their selection boxes are a great idea and if anyone is ever stuck for a present for me then, well, you know...

On the London Tea website they even have a section which explains how to use their pyramid tea bags to make Mocktails - tea-based, alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails.  Great for an summer evening in the garden (when we finally get the nice weather).

Nancy Dell'Uded

In homage to Nancy Dell'Olio I thought I'd give you a run down of my average day.
(have a read of the above link first - takes you to a transcript of the original article)

I wake up early, despite the fact that I probably haven't got to bed before 12.15 am and have spent much of the night tossing and turning as I am a light sleeper.  Oh, the tribulations of parentdom and the fact that I have to sleep with someone who snores.  I am gifted to not need a lot of sleep.  It's a good job really.  I have a very busy schedule and if I sit down I am worried that I might nod off so I stand up again.


Did someone mention Karaoke? *clears throat*... *takes a deep breath*...What?  You don't want me to actually sing?  Damn!

I'm a massive fan of singing at the top of my voice in the car going to and from work and I love a bit of karaoke on a night out (*ahem* previous karaoke observations *cough*) so this tag from Liz is a great excuse for me to open up YouTube and pick out a few stock favourites that I find myself scribbling down on  those tiny scraps of paper give out by the DJ in the pub.  Er, yes - I'm the one that can't really sing but they have to drag out of the pub at the end of the night begging for "just one more song."

A sigh of relief

Yesterday I heaved a massive sigh of relief.

I have had to admit that I can't carry on the way I am - work, family, study, writing, blogger extraordinaire, International Twitter Queen...  it's all very tiring, y'know.  But even I could recognise the signs of the cracks showing.  Nothing major but just that sense of feeling of always mulling stuff over, never stopping, knowing that there is no midnight oil left to burn.

Review : Bonusprint - Square M Photo Book

I never usually get round to printing off photographs these days as they are usually uploaded to Facebook or sent to friends and relatives by email.  It's a shame really as I love looking through old photo albums.  Anyway, Bonusprint asked me if I'd like to try one of their products - the Square M Photo Book (RRP : £12.99) - and rather than just trusting my own judgement I asked five friends to help with the review too.

100 Words - The Fish Is Dead, Long Live The Fish

Number 2 and Number 1
After our goldfish had the meal of their lives yesterday morning, I noticed that Number 2 was looking a little peaky.  He was gasping for breath at the top of the tank, lying on his side, dive-bombing to the bottom of the tank then slowly floating back up to the top again.  Repeating ad infinitum.

I changed the water, much to the protest of Number 1, and pondered whether to put Number 2 out of his misery there and then.  I didn't though - not sure why.

Today he is back to his normal self as if nothing had happened.  Weird.

Babysitting the Grandchildren

We probably don't babysit the grandchildren as much as we should.  Rachel only lives around the corner so we see them quite regularly and I never really expected to be a grandparent quite so soon.  In a very selfish way I wanted some time to myself where I didn't have to change shitty nappies and get up at 5.30am because there was an unpaid demand for it.  However, I also didn't want to be the type of grandparent that never babysits and last week it seemed that Rachel was at her wit's end with some personal worries and just the general stresses of being a parent to two toddlers.  I've been there, I know how it feels.  So, after a prompt from Kev we offered to have them both overnight last night.

You And Your Tween : A Netmums Book Review

I am into the third round of "Tweens" only the first and second time there wasn't really a name for it - it was just the "difficult, pre-teen years".  And with that comes the stress of puberty, not being a child any more nor being old enough to be given too much freedom, the transition from primary school to high school and everything in between.

The team behind Netmums have created a number of books aimed at guiding you through the parenting years and their latest offering is You And Your Tween by Hollie Smith.  Together with psychotheraputic counsellor, Chrissy Duff and parenting coach, Elaine Halligan and many forum and website contributors from Netmums they have created a well-thought out guide to the Tween years which can often be challenging for both parent and child.

Wikio Parent Blog Rankings - June Preview

It's time for another sneak preview of the Wikio Parent Blog Rankings for June (if you like that sort of thing).  Last month I sent Neila Metz from Wikio a list of frequently asked questions regarding these blog rankings and you can find that post here.
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