Playboy and Disney, hand in hand

Before I went away I wrote and scheduled a post about the attitude of members in a recycling group that my husband runs on Facebook.  Fast forward to our return and scrolling through the list of requests I see a number of

I know that this subject has been done to death but it is now heading for its second generation.  At some point in the past ten years the lines seem to have been blurred regarding Playboy merchandise and the ethos of the Playboy name.  My daughter happily scrapped through her young tweenage years without the glare of the Playboy logo on jewellery, pencil cases and clothing but it was starting to creep into the younger market.  Now, the logo is everywhere.

The Mumsnet Initiation Process

I am always on the lookout to reach to new audiences and I am loving the way in which some very popular websites such as Netmums and Mumsnet are embracing the boom in blogging and finding ways to promote blogs and bloggers to their readers.

I mention Netmums and Mumsnet specifically because I applied to be part of each of their new blogger networks and have had totally conflicting experiences.  Each have set up what is going to be a valuable source of blogs, information and assistance.

I'm Back!

I HAVE RETURNED full of ideas, enthusiasm and a tummy bug *pukes and runs to the loo*.  I have to say a massive thank you to my guest bloggers who looked after this place whilst I was away (there is a link to the photos and some little holiday videos on my Facebook page).  Didn't they do a grand job?  Just in case you missed any of their posts, here is the full list:

Guest : Turn It Off And On Again

Welcome to a guest post from Kate.  Most of you possibly already know Kate through Twitter or her blog.  What you may not know is that Kate used to work in IT support and has offered the recount of a very funny phone call as a guest post.

Kate blogs at "The Five F's" and you can find her on Twitter as @kateab

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Guest : The Aftermath

Welcome to a guest post from Kirsty.  Occasionally the lines of Twitter and blog blur and you forget how you connected with someone.  You "bump into them" in odd sorts of ways but this is what I love about social media.  I have also only just realised that Kirsty is a "local" - I'm hoping to meet up for a coffee some time soon.  You will soon see why I chose to use this guest post from Kirsty.

Kirsty blogs at "Tantrums and Teardrops" and you can find her on Twitter as @KirstyHigginson

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Guest : What Am I Worth?

Welcome to a guest post from Nicki.  We know each other through the Parent Blogging network that has matured over the past 12 months or so.  Nicki writes a blog with no theme other than it being a personal blog with her own opinions, family posts and occasional reviews.  Here she explains why she chooses to sometimes open up her blog to review posts - a contentious subject in our corner of the blogosphere.

Nicki blogs at "Curly and Candid" and you can find her on Twitter as @NickiCawood.

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I’ve been blogging for a bit now and I love it. I’ve been lucky enough to have built a good follower base and have moved up in the ratings (and what not) pretty quickly. That’s all brilliant, (clever Nicki!) but it’s been hard slog at times mainly due to my not taking the time to stop and ask myself...what am I worth?

From day one I would post or review anything I was asked to. My catchphrase became “Of course I can”.  I was so grateful in the first few weeks and months that anyone considered me “good enough” to send review items to, press releases to, or gawd forbid actually ask to be featured.  One day, when I had no fewer than SEVEN parcels delivered with things to test and review, and my email box was absolutely packed with requests for this that and the other... something snapped.  What the hell had I agreed to? This was not what I wanted for Curly&Candid or for myself.

I just didn’t have time to review anything and everything (anyone who has never reviewed, if you do it properly – it’s not a quick five minute job by any means!), and I didn’t want to give away my time for free as such. Putting a price on my time, Curly&Candid’s space and my social media network (because how well that is maintained is key to how far a post can reach) is not an easy thing. I’ve had to stop saying “Of course!” and starting thinking, “What’s in it for me?”. If something will be entertaining or useful to the readers, adds something to the blog or I find it particularly interesting (What? It’s my blog!), then I’ll consider saying yes.  

Reviews can be interesting, I enjoy doing the occasional one, however I do not want to run a review site – that’s just not me. Reviewing a packet of sweets or a shower gel, nice to be asked folks, but the time I’d spend writing a review, taking and uploading a pic or two and what not doesn’t make it worth my while. I now approach each email with an open mind and can decide at a glance whether it’s worth me looking into it.

Mercenary? I don’t think so, I’ve finally got to the stage where I can put my foot down and be firm, both with myself and with people who do like to take the piss a bit.

For me, working out what (I think) I’m worth and growing a pair large enough to tell people, has been the making of me. I just wish I’d done it earlier!


My husband had one of his bright ideas one evening in June.  He started a local recycle group on Facebook.  Initially, it was because he had four dining chairs that were "free to a good home" but thought it would be community spirited to keep the group going seeing as though we don't have a local Freecycle/Freegle group any more.  Well, that last bit is a lie but it is run by a bunch of tossers who can't even control their own membership and have no idea how to manage email settings... but I digress.

Guest : Claiming Your Feminist Identity

Welcome to a guest post from Melaina.  I read Melaina's blog and we recently met for the first time at BlogCamp Manchester.  Melaina writes a regular series about feminism and I always glossed over those posts, simply because I had a narrow-minded view of feminism.  After actually reading one of her posts and a chat with another blogger I had a bit of a "aahhh, that's it" moment and I got all excited about my epiphany; fired up and wanting to write so much.  Melaina had already written about her "aha moment" and has allowed me to repost it here.

Melaina blogs at "Transatlantic Blonde" where she holds a weekly link-up based around feminism.  You can also find her on Twitter as @Melaina25.

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100 Words - Life's Little Mysteries

I'm sure it's not just me but in my twenty years as a parent I have never been able to clear up any of those little mysteries that seem to happen with great regularly.
  • No-one, other than me, ever seems to be able to change a toilet roll
  • Whenever I send someone to the corner shop, there's never any change
  • I buy a roll of sellotape a week but can never find any when I need it
  • Why do I look at my wrist for the time, even though I haven't worn a watch for about 12 months?

What’s yours?


Guest : Twelve Reasons Why A Filofax Is Better Than A Significant Other

Welcome to a guest post from Kyla.  We know each other through the Filofax network that has sprung up on Twitter and through Philofaxy - the blog dedicated to all things Filofax and beyond.  I asked Kyla to feed my Filofax obsession whilst I am away on holiday and she has written this post which I resonate with totally, obviously. 

Kyla blogs at "Musings of a Caribbean Princess" and you can find her on Twitter as @CPrincessUK

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Blognonymous : The Reason Why

This isn't a normal Blognonymous post.  This is one that I felt I needed to write after Cybermummy '11.

The concept of Blognonymous isn't anything unusual.  It started with a group of bloggers, having a chit-chat on Twitter one night, talking about how we all blog without constraint, in our own name - and how we enjoyed that freedom.  But it was apparent that there was a number of bloggers who wrote in their own name but also felt that they couldn't say exactly what they wanted on many a personal level.  We wanted to change that so we decided to offer our blogs to anyone - blogger or not - who needed to release emotions, without consequence, to a wide readership where advice and support could be sought.   It's blogging anonymously (see what we did there?) but on an established platform.

Guest : Drugs, Alcohol, Prostitution and Families

Welcome to a guest post from Tracy.  I'm not sure that any of you will have encountered Tracy before as she tweets on a locked account simply because of the nature of her job - more of that in a minute.  I know Tracy from a forum we both joined many moons ago.  Neither of us post on the forum any more but our friendship continues.  When you read her post, you'll understand why I'm in awe at what she does, so naturally, every day of her working life.

Tracy doesn't have a blog but she should - she's such an amazing writer.  Please join her in a discussion in the comment section.

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Guest : One For Sorrow, Two For Joy

Welcome to a guest post from someone I know from Twitter.  @EhMum makes me laugh so much with her random tweets so I asked her if she'd like to write me a guest post.  This heartfelt and honest post really touched a chord with me as my daughter wanted a boy so much each time she was expecting.

Jude prefers to remain semi-anonymous but blogs at "EhMummy" and you can find her on Twitter as @EhMum

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The Gallery : Grandparents

Let me take you through a visual generational introduction to my family.  When I was born it was the first time that there had been five living generations in our family.  My great-great grandmother lived until I was two years old and I'm sure there is a photo of us together somewhere but I don't appear to have a copy.

How Does Your Garden Grow...

I've never really got to grips with gardening. The garden has always been a place for the children to play out, somewhere for the dog to have a bit of a run around and we have never been creative, just always keeping on top of tidying up. Then when you move to a house with just a yard - and not even a little patch at the front - you miss your garden dreadfully.

On Monday, I came home from work to be told that we had acquired an allotment. This was a bit out of the blue, to say the least. Kev had been helping a friend with his own allotment and heard that a few plots had come up for rent. In a simple case of being in the right place at the right time and having the annual ground rent available, we became the leaseholders of Plot 30.
I was a bit dubious - Kev sometimes has fantastic ideas and goes at them head on, only for the enthusiasm to fizzle out after a short while. This time I think (and hope) it's different. The allotment is somewhere where he can go to escape the mundane-ness of each day. The allotment will be somewhere where he can show his creativity. The allotment will be somewhere where he can let off steam. The allotment will be somewhere where we can work together as a family.
He's been there all week, just pottering. I begged him to take photos to show the "before" state of the plot but he forgot to take the camera. He hadn't done too much before I managed to get down there on Saturday so this is pretty much in its beginning stages. The chap who had the plot before us hasn't tended the plot for such a long time but we're very lucky that it we aren't starting at the beginning. It's exciting. I want to see into the future to see what we can make of it.

The drive up to the plot is lovely. There are a variety of plots; some mature, some just starting, some quite overgrown, some that make me want to leave home and move into their shed. There are chickens and ducks and an air of serenity.

First sighting of the plot. IT'S MASSIVE!! We have to build a front fence and the committee is going to help build the fence between us and the plot to the left. We have a greenhouse, some raised beds and a shed.

We have bushes laden with fruit, some almost ready for picking. I'm going to have to learn how to make pies now! Stand by for recipe requests.

We have an apple tree bursting with apples. Hidden in the tree is a small bird box full of chicks. There is even a little swing for the grandchildren

And the shed... Kev has always wanted a proper shed - like those from Solid Sheds. He has shed envy of the highest order when nosying round other potting sheds. Look - four days in and he's already set up with a proper "kitchen" area and has the rest of it planned out for all his bits and pieces.

I have been told we will have chickens. I shall have to think of clever or amusing names for them. I'm liking the idea of honouring 80s pop stars. Himself wanted a goat but has been told that "hooved animals" are not allowed. Thank god for that!

But it doesn't end there. We have this section too. A mysterious forest that leads down to the canal. It reminds me of Enid Blyton's Enchanted Wood. This section will really be last on the list but it just needs a bit of clearing and we can build a little wooden jetty-type affair so that the boys can fish on the canal. We also appear to have inherited a tree-swing too (the 12-year old was already ours).

Wikio Parent Blog Rankings - July Preview

And here we are again.  Another month goes by and another shift in the rankings of the Wikio Parent Blog Rankings.  So, for your delectation, here is the sneak preview of the rankings for the month of July 2011.  You can find all previous previews (try saying that without your teeth in!) by clicking on the "wikio" label on this blog post.

Friday Funny : The Morning After Cybermummy

So, to round off my blog posts about Cybermummy '11 I thought you might like to hear about a little adventure I had in the hotel during the night.

But first I must set the scene.

The lift at the Travelodge, City Road, London is the hottest and most stupidest lift ever made.  No matter what floor you are on when you request the lift it will go from bottom to top (Floor 7) and then all the way back down again, stopping at each floor on the way.  Sometimes you may be lucky and only go up to Floor 5.  But, no matter what time of the day or night it is, the temperature in the lift is bordering on being able to melt titanium.  Our room was on Floor 1.

I had ventured out for the evening wearing jeans and my now-famous t-shirt.  Iconic or Ironic - you decide:

Picture credit: Tara Cain.
The chesticles and the double chin are all mine!

We partook in some laughs and drinks and retired to our room at god-only-knows what hour.  The last thing I remember doing is taking off my jeans and lying face down on the bed.  The last thing I remember hearing is Manda saying, "Don't let me go on Facebook at stupid o'clock!"

I woke up suddenly and checked my phone.  It was 6.02am.  I clambered out of bed, tripped over 14 Cybermummy goodie bags, stumbled towards the bathroom in a still semi-inebriated state and lurched through the door.  I heard a click as it closed behind me and realised I was in the corridor wearing only a "social networking ruined my life" t-shirt and big white knickers.
*knock knock knock* loud whisper: Manda, let me in.  MANDA!
*knock knock knock* slightly louder: MANDA! FOR FUCKS SAKE! MANDA! MANDA!
*knock knock knock* quite loud for 6am: MANDA... MANDA... MANDA... oh fuck it.
I looked left and right, held my slightly too-short t-shirt down so that it covered my Blogger's Paunch and scuttled to the lift.

The lift took AGES to arrive.  It went all the way to Floor 5 and stayed there.  I jabbed the button and waited.  It came down slowly, floor by floor.  I hopped in and pressed the button for the ground floor.  I looked in the mirror in the lift and realised what a state I looked.  Make-up half way down my face, a t-shirt that wasn't long enough, milk bottle white legs, slightly too overweight to be running around a London hotel at 6am.  And I was sweating buckets.

The lift went all the way back up to Floor 5, stopping at each floor on the way and opening its doors, exposing me to whoever might be stood there (luckily, no-one), then finally arrived at the reception area.  I did a sort of scuttle-shuffle type walk up to the concierge, lolled on the desk and whispered
"I'm really sorry.  I'm still drunk and I've locked myself out of my room."
After confirming my name, the receptionist gave me another keycard, I glanced around to see cleaners getting on with their business and a few people walking past the front door doing that 'looking but not really looking' double-take thing.

I legged it back through the door from reception, jumped into Lift Tropicana, pressed the button for Floor 1, went all the way up to Floor 5 without stopping then back down to Floor 1 one floor at a time.

I wobbled through the door of our hotel room to find Manda curled up like a little caterpillar in the duvet on her bed, oblivious to everything.  I looked like I had been dragged through a hedge backwards and had a bucket of water thrown at me. I collapsed onto my bed and back into a coma.

The noise of a shower running woke me up.  I had no idea what time it was and was convinced it had all been a terrible dream.  That was until I saw TWO keycards on the bedside table, next to my phone...

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