Sunshine Blogger Award: Sweet stealing and spelling

I was invited by the very lovely Anna Brown to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Award. It’s a nice little tag post where someone asks you 10 questions, which you then answer and nominate 3 more bloggers to answer your own 10 questions. It’s a nice way of shouting out to other bloggers you like and learning more about them.

1. If you could visit any point in history for just an hour where, when and why?

Okay this is overly sentimental, perhaps, but give me a break – I’m still in grief mode. I would go back to Florida in Summer 2003, when I was living with my grandparents. I would sit my grandma down and ask her all of the questions I never got to ask, and tell her the things I never got to tell her.

2. What film does everyone else love that you think is totally overrated?

Does it have to be a film? Because the thing that really fits this question for me is Breaking Bad. Everyone thinks it’s so great, right? I tried really hard to watch it, but it just sets my teeth on edge. I had nightmares about the episode with the bathtub. If you’ve watched it you’ll know what I mean.

But I do like that joke that went round, about how if Breaking Bad took place in the UK, the whole story would never have happened because the NHS would sort him out for free and he wouldn’t need to sell drugs.

3. If you were a cocktail what would your ingredients be and what would you be called?

This is a really hard question! I’m no mixologist! Can I be a drink that already exists? I would be a bourbon sour, because it’s classy and complicated but not up itself. Also, it’s American but slowly becoming more accepted in the UK.

4. What five items are always in your handbag?

Besides the obvious wallet, keys, etc., I assume? Too many pens, an emergency sanitary pad, headphones, lipstick and business cards (two types – one for blogging and one for my day job).

5. If you had to lose one sense, which one would you choose?

Hearing because I think you probably lose the least amount of quality of life. You can still drive, see where you’re going, look in the mirror (I’m vain like that), unlike if you were blind. I love to eat so I don’t think life would be worth living without a sense of taste, and your sense of smell is linked to taste. And life without touch would be very lonely. I’m already losing my hearing anyway, I think, from listening to too much loud music as a teenager.

6. Have you ever broken the law? Details required unless a court case is pending.

When I was about 12, I stole some sweets from a store because I really wanted them and didn’t have any money. I felt so guilty that I went back the next day and left the money on the counter before running away. I’m such a rebel, right?

7. How do you de-stress?

I could probably make an argument for running or even blogging, but let’s face it: it’s wine.

8. If you could only eat one meal and drink one drink for all eternity without negative repercussion what would they be?

Does that mean I could only ever eat that thing, or just that I could eat as much of that thing as I want? Anyway, I reckon it would be a spicy chicken tikka masala with some vegetable sides, pilau rice and naan bread, with a Strongbow cider. If it’s a full meal, I would require poppadoms with chutney beforehand and cupcakes for afters. Really moist and spongey cupcakes with lots of icing on top – American ones, not stodgy British ones.

9. If you could choose a week away with your partner/children to ANYWHERE IN THE WHOLE WORLD or a week away solo to the place of your dreams, which would you choose? (and where’s the place of your dreams?)

There are so many places I’d like to go, but my big dream is to go to India, with a mixture of sightseeing and relaxing on a beach in Goa. A week might not be enough. I would either go with my partner and not my kids, or maybe take them when they’re much older than they are now.

10. Tell me three things that make YOU wonderful.

I’m honest, loyal to my friends, and good at spelling.

I’d like to invite 3 blogger friends of mine to participate next:

And here are your questions:

  1. What fictional place would you most like to visit?
  2. What’s the farthest you have ever been from home?
  3. If you could have one day where there would be no consequences for doing socially unacceptable things (not necessarily illegal – just rude), what would you do?
  4. Who would play you in the movie of your life?
  5. What is one song that would HAVE to be on your life movie’s soundtrack?
  6. What is the number one thing on your “bucket list”?
  7. What is your favourite conspiracy theory, that you really hope is actually true?
  8. Would you rather travel to the past or the future, and why?
  9. What is your favourite word? Mine is defenestrate.
  10. Name 3 things you are grateful for today.

Blog Toast Tuesday: 20 September 2016

Welcome back to #blogtoast Tuesday, my weekly feature where I offer a congratulatory toast to two blogs that I like. Virtual booze does not have the same effect as real booze, but perhaps my modest praise can take the edge off your day in much the same way.

The Unsung Mum: For the underestimated and unacknowledged rad mum

I’m realising that my very favourite blogs are funny and poignant ones that highlight the hard bits of parenting with a self-deprecating sense of humour, and try to make us all feel better about ourselves. The Unsung Mum is doing this right.

Her posts are written in the third person and feature hilarious illustrations that appear to have been drawn in Microsoft Paint or suchlike. They are usefully labelled in case you are in any doubt about (for example) which bits of a picture are shit and which bits are chocolate.

I particularly enjoyed “How to rid yourself of the mothers’ group Twatty McTroll Face“, about those women both online and IRL who make you feel bad because you use disposable nappies and don’t make your own hummus – and how we can defeat them.

Her most recent post, “The Unsung Mum and the PND disaster” describes the things that went through her head when she suffered with PND. I relate to a lot of it, but also appreciate her very wise statement that PND comes in many different shapes and sizes. The most important bit is how she says it was a friend that helped her the most, telling her “it’s okay not to be okay”. It’s a good reminder of what we should all tell our friends sometimes when we think they might need it.

Our Rach Blogs

In a Twitter conversation recently, Rach told me that people don’t like her (her exact words: “I’m like thrush”). Based on how interesting her blog is, I find this hard to believe. But then again, people don’t like me either. And I only sometimes like people.

There are lots of things I like about this blog, and as one of its features is Top 10 lists, I’m going to be all thematic & shit and list the reasons I like her blog. I’m only doing 5 though (I don’t have time/too lazy to do 10).

  1. She writes feminist stuff. Her recent post, “What do you mean you don’t want kids?” was brilliant. Nobody thinks being childless or choosing childlessness makes a man less of a person, so why are people always implying that about women?
  2. She questions everyday bullshit. I like this one where she wonders why we always say sorry to each other for stupid things like pressing the same lift button at the same time. I’m not British-born so I work harder than anyone to say sorry all the time (to prove my Britishness), but maybe I should stop that.
  3. She writes about mental health and PND awareness, a topic that is also close to my heart.
  4. She is a good writer. Every post unfolds just like you’re reading a really good column in a really good newspaper.
  5. She covers an eclectic range of topics. I’ve read a lot of advice in the blogging world that says you need to make sure you stick to a niche, but I’m sceptical about that. It’s my blog and I’m going to write what I want. I’m glad she does that too.

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you mention @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!

Blog Toast Tuesday: 13 September 2016

It’s time for my weekly feature, #blogtoast Tuesday, where I toast other blogs I’ve discovered and enjoyed in the previous week. I’m actually running a little late today. I like to queue up my #blogtoast post on Monday night and publish on my Tuesday morning commute. But last night I got my nails done instead. You gotta’ live a little, right?

So here I am blogging on my lunch break. I’m going to have to make it fast!

The Adventures of Beta Mummy: Doodlings and ramblings on what a f*cking disaster parenthood can be

Her blog’s subtitle just makes me feel safe. Yes, parenting can be a f*cking disaster. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thinks so!

I’m also glad I’m not the only one who thinks an asterisk is the perfect way to write the f-word online. It’s like a swear, but not a swear. Nobody’s sure if it really counts as swearing. It’s Schrodinger’s swear.

Anyway, I love the concept of Beta Mummy, who just doesn’t look as polished and sorted as Alpha Mummy. Alpha Mummy attends all the playgroups perfectly coiffed and dressed, with no sick on her shoulder, and engages in sparklingly witty conversation with other Alpha Mummies. Beta Mummy comes rolling in late, with no money for the playgroup “fee” and some cheerios stuck in her hair. Beta Mummy illustrates these sorts of scenes with hilarious drawings.

But Beta Mummy knows that not all is as it appears – I love her post, ‘Even Alpha Mummies Struggle’.

She is also one of the hosts of the fab Chucklemums linky, where you can link up your funny posts. I’ve only linked up one that I thought was worthy, but someday I might write something vaguely funny again!

Little Paper Swans: A food + mama blog

A very different sort of blog – Little Paper Swans has beautiful photography and great lifestyle posts.

My favourite feature on her blog is her Weekly Meal Plans for under £30. I’m always struggling to come up with new ideas of things to cook without buying loads of ingredients or making loads of effort! She packages it up for you nicely so you can pick and choose what you might like to cook. You can get further inspiration from her great selection of recipes.

She also has a great series featuring other people’s birth stories. I really enjoy hearing about other people’s experiences.

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!

Blog Toast Tuesday: 6 September 2016

It’s time for my weekly feature, #blogtoast Tuesday, where I toast other blogs I’ve discovered and enjoyed in the previous week. I toast them like you do with champagne, not like what you do to bread, just to be clear.

I have been featuring 3 blogs every week, but that’s getting to be too much for my brain. At least it is for me tonight. So I’m only featuring two this week.

We’ve had a really tiring weekend:

  • We ordered our new kitchen for our new extension that’s being built. That was a nerve-wracking expensive purchase, full of lots of decision-making.
  • We moved my 22-month-old from his cot to a big boy bed. Someday he might even sleep in it – he certainly didn’t last night.
  • And we dealt with a wicked nit invasion. I’d never had or seen lice before so I found that pretty stressful!

So I think you might see a theme for this week’s post – two blogs with recent posts about staying calm!

Mindful Mummy Mission

I discovered this blog tonight while participating in the #EatSleepBlogRT linky. She was a featured blogger on Petite Pudding’s newbie showcase. I thought her featured post on mindfulness for mums and dads offered a really realistic approach to parenting. It sets goals but keeps in mind all of the challenges life puts in the way.

I have to admit that I have never thought seriously about mindfulness – it all sounded a bit hippy-dippy to me – but her site is very convincing about it. Her About page discusses the scientific evidence that points to mindfulness being healthy for body and mind. She also explains how it is easier to put into practice during our busy daily lives than you might think. And her tone of writing is down to earth and not even slightly worthy or preachy. She has changed the way I think about mindfulness and I’m going to make more effort to incorporate it into my life.

I also really liked her post about mindfulness for bloggers – it’s so easy to let blogging and social media take over your life!

alifeinpracticeblog.com

I first found this blog in the #KCACOLS Facebook group. She posted ‘Negative Automatic Thoughts, Part 1: What on earth are NATs?‘ I had never heard of NATs before, and I’m surprised about that. It should be something people are talking about. Feelings of inadequacy that intrude on your life and cause anxiety must be something that affects a lot of people. I can certainly see some of these symptoms in myself. And giving a name to this, instead of just passing it off as no big deal, can be a step towards coping with it.

I also enjoyed her post about ‘Finding Your Calm Button‘. It’s about finding the one thing that can calm and centre you when you feel your day and your thoughts are spiralling out of control. When I was younger and used to live in the USA, I would go for a drive to calm down. Now I live in the UK, that sounds like a silly idea! Driving here seems like much harder work – or maybe I’ve just realised that getting behind the wheel when you’re upset probably isn’t the best course of action. On the weekend when I was freaking out about lice, I stopped and had a cup of tea – I’ve obviously been well assimilated into British culture. But I am going to think about another way to calm myself when caffeine isn’t at hand!

Please do join me in toasting the best blogs by tweeting your favourite this week with the hashtag: #blogtoast (and if you @themumreviews I will retweet you – it’s win/win!) – or let me know just what you think of me in the comments!