because weâ€™re mums and so much more
million mums ... massive diďŹ€erence
life is a daring adventure happy mums = happy families mummo.co.uk
million mums ... the Downing Tweet Christmas Party for million mums
all photos are courtesy of the Downing Street photostream on Flickr and are reproduced here under the Creative Commons license
welcome to the second edition of mummo magazine, created entirely by mums for mums to celebrate Mothers’ Day and to help support the ongoing ‘million mums’ campaign ...
Some of you will remember the first ever edition of this magazine, which we produced for Mothers’ Day last year and which we thought would be a one-off! Well, guess what, the feedback was so fantastic that we decided to do another one ... Once again, I’ve been blown away by the amazing and varied talents of all the mums who’ve been involved. Multi-tasking mums with myriad skills who, in addition to raising their children, manage to build successful careers and businesses, contribute to their communities, have dreams and dare to make them happen. And who are lovely, lovely people as well! It’s proof of what mums can - and do - offer to society. So let’s celebrate motherhood not just on Mothers’ Day but every day ... And, while we’re at it, let’s help to make motherhood safe. Did you know that around half a million women every year die in pregnancy and childbirth, leaving an estimated two million children motherless. That’s a global tragedy. What makes it all the more tragic is that the vast majority of those deaths are preventable. We know what needs to be done < which begs the question, why isn’t it being done?! The truth is that, in many parts of the world, women are still very much second class citizens, whose lives are simply not valued as much as those of men. And yet, at the same time, women are often at the heart of their country’s economy, society and culture. Women - and the bonds between them - provide the glue that holds everything together. The problem of maternal mortality will only be solved through political will, which means that we need to speak up, and speak together, to demand change. I’m pleased to say that the ‘million mums’ campaign has made great progress and is really gathering momentum, but it needs your help to become an unstoppable force. So please, please, if you enjoy this magazine, show your gratitude by joining ‘million mums’, making a small donation (or even a big one!) and adding your voice to the campaign. In the two years between Mothers’ Day 2009 and Mothers’ Day 2011, a million women will die needlessly due to pregnancy and birth-related complications - let’s give each and every one of them a voice. From us to you, with love
Happy Mothers’ Day! PS. If we can do this, imagine what else we can do. Jo Rheam, founder of Mummo © Mummo Ltd : March 2010
mummo magazine ...
mind and body seven steps to more time for you
Suzy Greaves, The Big Leap Coaching Company
I am not stupid
Rosie Scribble, mummy blogger
beach ready belly?!
Ann Garry, www.yourfoodmatters.co.uk
Lisa Talbot, www.lisatalbot.co.uk
Julia Lockwood, www.juliashomeopathyworks.com
tapping it all away
Sue Atkins, Positive Parents
a new kind of school
Lizzie Overton, Lewes New School
Sarah Holden, Room to Bloom Garden Design
Hot Cross Mum, mummy blogger
angels and demons
Sandy Calico, mummy blogger
home education: why would you?!
Grit, mummy blogger
is there sex after babies?
More Than Just a Mother, mummy blogger
Rachel Foux, www.householdcompanion.com
Josie George, mummy blogger
a place for everything
Emma Fletcher, The Decluttering Company
Sticky Fingers, mummy blogger
what sort of parent are you?
Dr Clare Bailey, Parenting Matters
carrot cake with a twist
if I had my child â€Ś
Diana Loomans, www.dianaloomans.com
hard at work
Sam Pearce, Mumâ€™s the Boss
life through a lens
Maleah Matthews, www.maleahmatthews.com
Karen Skidmore, CanDoCanBe
Jessica Zoob, www.jessicazoobdesire.com
saving the world with jelly ...
Deirdre Bounds, Parties Around the World
cool kind clothes
Alison Rothwell, Arabella Miller
family and home
career and business
friends and fun have toddler, will travel
Alice Griffin, www.alicegriffin.co.uk
off round the world
Victoria Wallop, mummy blogger
spring is in the air
mums join together
Melissa Talago, Peekaboo Communications
community and contribution million mums, massive difference
Mummo and the White Ribbon Alliance
Nadia Pendleton, Community Kitchens UK
slim your waste
Karen Cannard, www.therubbishdiet.co.uk
Gigi Eligoloff, Mums Rock
the bank of mum and dad
Merryn Somerset Webb, Moneyweek
waste not, want not
Hot Cross Mum, mummy blogger
This magazine has been a creative collaboration between all the lovely mums listed above. Everyone has given their contribution freely, in support of the million mums campaign.
ÂŠ Mummo Ltd : March 2010
mummo mind and body
seven steps to more time for you ...
although you may not get to spend it quite like this!
Is ‘me time’ a distant memory?! Life coach Suzy Greaves shows you how to start making yourself your number one priority <
A recent study showed that 86 per cent of mothers felt exhausted, tired and stressed the majority of the time.
Does this sound familiar? You wake up, wake the kids, make breakfast, make their packed lunches, get the train to work reading the background material for your first meeting, work through lunch because you’ve got to pick up the kids at three. You take them to their dance class / karate class / swimming, make tea while talking to your best friend who is having a crisis, then make dinner for your other half who rants about his work because he’s having a crisis. You wash up while packing lunches for the next day before sinking into the sofa and falling asleep in front of the TV. Me-time? It’s non-existent. If this is your life, you’re not alone ...
The media is full of tips on how to cram in more while juggling the plates to amuse the kids while cooking dinner, but if we are to make some lasting changes, reclaim our life and find some me-time, we need to address the deeper issues. I see clients exhausted and still working like dogs, not because they are failing to multi-task effectively but rather because they are driven by their unconscious fears and the emotional habits that lurk beneath the surface of their every day. Until we discover and transform these habits and fears, we will always be feeling overwhelmed with zero me-time. Try this powerful and potentially lifechanging seven step process:
It’s affecting our health and our sanity too. What on earth is going on? Why are you doing so much?
1 mummomag mummo magazine
Why you do what you do?
Write down your answers to the following questions: When you were a child, what earned you brownie points and approval? (eg. being good, keeping your head down, being clever, etc) What earned you disapproval? (eg. being loud, being different, being naughty) What decisions did you make as child in order to survive and thrive in your family? (eg. be good / kind / successful) How are those decisions showing up in your life now? (eg. by ‘being good’ as an adult you feel you need to say yes to everything) 2.
What are you afraid of?
To uncover any unconscious fears, imagine saying ‘no’ to three of the most demanding people in your life your kids, your partner or your boss, for example. Then write down the answer to this question: ’What are you afraid would happen then?’ And repeat that question until you get down to the ‘root’ fear. For example, if I said no to my boss, she would shout at me. What are you afraid would happen then? I would cry. What are you afraid would happen then? I would lose her respect. What are you afraid would happen then? She wouldn’t like me any more. Bingo, there you have the root fear. 3.
Face your fear
Fear is strongest when lurking under the surface of your life. Shine a light on it and it generally shrivels. On a sheet of paper, write the worst case scenario of your fear (lose your job / be left alone / be destitute) on one side of paper and an action plan of how you’d handle it on the other side. Once you face your ultimate fears, you realise you will cope. 4.
What are the consequences of not changing?
Write down five specific consequences of what will happen if you don’t change and don’t integrate some ‘me-time’ into your life. Fast forward one year, then five years - what will happen to your health, your relationships, your family?
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
What do you want?
Identify specifically what you want in the way of ’me time’. How much time do you want - one hour a day or one weekend a month? Where do you want to have your ‘me time’ - in the park, the spa, the pub? How do you want it - with your partner, friends, on your own? Now work out what you need to get it. Say no, delegate, brainstorm, ask for help? Write a specific step by step plan - ask your husband to babysit one night a week, delegate and train up colleagues at work, try out different ways of saying ‘no’ until you have a charming way of turning down almost anything. (Try: ‚How lovely, but so sorry won’t be able to help / do that / be there.‛) Once you have a plan, start measuring what works. A client of mine worked out that by saying ‘no’ four times a day she gained one hour’s me time. 6.
Stop being an adrenaline junkie
If you’re drinking coffee to get you going, eating sugar to calm you down and are always late (although it’s never your fault) you’re an adrenaline junkie (AJ). And if you’re an AJ you’ll find it hard to find any time for yourself as you're constantly over promising and setting yourself up to fail by trying to cram too much into your life. Identify three triggers which give you the adrenaline rush and eliminate them. For example, if you’re constantly late, leave 15 minutes early for every appointment. Or if you’re constantly over promising, deliberately under promise regardless of the reaction you get. 7.
Get more than you need in every area of your life
What do you need more of in your life? Time, space, money, energy, love? Figure out what you need in order to be happy and healthy, then double it. Then plan a way of getting it - whether that be sitting down your loved ones and asking for support or scheduling in three nights a week where you do nothing but lie in bed and sleep. Your very first step, though, is to book in some time to sit down, on your own, with a notebook and a cuppa (or even a glass of wine!) and work through the process I’ve just described. Trust me, it’ll be worth it. After all, an exhausted mum is no good to anyone, whereas happy mums make for happy families!
mind and body
Suzy Greaves is the UK‟s leading life coach and author named as „one of the top ten gurus in the UK‟ by The Daily Mail. She has written two books: „Making The Big Leap‟ (voted one of the top ten life changing books by The Independent on Sunday) „The Big Peace‟ (described as „the ultimate guide to contentment‟ by The Daily Express) She‟s also a media columnist and celebrity coach, and runs the Big Leap Coaching Company which specialises in career change. See her websites at: www.thebig-leap.com, www.thebigpeace.com, www.bigloveexperiment.com Five words to describe me: enthusiastic, brave, impulsive, loving, determined Things that make me happy: peanut butter sandwiches, lying in bed watching „Superman Returns‟ with my son and dog, lunch with my best friends, a bed with clean sheets Vices: too much wine, a filthy house, an obsession with teenage vampire novels Virtues: I‟m very kind Motto in life: be brave Favourite book: „The Artist‟s Way‟ by Julia Cameron and, for a novel, „Fingersmith‟ by Sarah Waters Favourite film: „Little Miss Sunshine‟ Favourite music: the soundtrack to „Mamma Mia‟ Favourite food: peanut butter sandwiches My children: I‟ve got a son called Charlie who‟s seven. He‟s funny, boisterous, loves Dr Who and super - heroes and can use the Force like nobody I know! A day in my life … My day starts at 7am. My office is at the top of my house and lunch is whenever I stop! My son gets home at 3.20pm and wreaks havoc. I relax by getting my Jack Bauer fix watching „24‟ or reading unsuitable novels (the „Twilight‟ trilogy). My day ends in bed with a good book.
‚Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‚I will try again tomorrow‛.‛ Mary Anne Radmacher
‚We don’t have an eternity to realise our dreams, only the time we are here.‛ Susan Taylor
‚Promise me you’ll always remember: you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.‛ Christopher Robin to Pooh
I am not stupid ‘Rosie Scribble’ questions the continuing stigma around mental health ... About four years ago I received a letter not dissimilar to this, with the accompanying graphics: Dear Rosie, I have sent you this letter. I have sent this letter for you to read. My name is Alison. I would like to invite you to a group. It is a group you might like. It is a group for people who have depression. Depression is an illness.
Dear Alison, I have sent you this letter. I have sent you this letter to read. My name is Rosie. I am a person. I have feelings. I am a graduate. I have four A Levels. I am intelligent. I am articulate. I have a comprehensive grasp of the English language. I do not need to receive letters in bold type and plain English. I do not need pictures to aid my understanding. There is nothing wrong with my eye sight. I know what depression is. I have experienced depression. That does not make me stupid. In my experience, a huge stigma stills exists in society surrounding mental health. It is a stigma which affects those experiencing mental health distress today as well as those affected in the past. Let's make a difference and break the silence that surrounds mental health. See Breaking the Silence.
Rosie Scribble is a mummy blogger based in the Midlands. She is a single parent to a sixyear-old daughter nicknamed IJ.
The letter came from a mental health professional. I used to suffer from depression, it is quite common, many of us are susceptible to bouts of blackness from time to time. Life isn't easy.
Five words to describe me: ambitious, driven, thoughtful, friendly, busy
However, just because in the past I have been added to a database that clearly classifies me in the 'mental health' category, does not mean that I cannot read. Nor does it mean that I need to be sent letters in bold type and very plain English. I do not need pictures to assist with my understanding.
Things that make me happy: hearing my daughter laugh, clothes shopping, waking up to sunshine, escaping in a good book, writing, a tidy house (which is rare)
If I had replied, it would have gone something like this:
Favourite film: „Slumdog Millionaire‟
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
Motto in life: Keep calm and carry on. Life is too short to worry it away.
mind and body
beach ready belly?!
Nutritionist and mother of two, Ann Garry explains the low GL way to lose that muffin top for good < Fat around the middle, belly fat, love handles, abdominal weight, visceral fat or muffin top – you can call it what you like, many of us mums are all too familiar with it! You may have worried about your hips and thighs in the past but now your mid-section is making up for lost time. The good news is you can lose your muffin top for good but first we need to understand how it got there in the first place. And no, it’s not all down to picking at the children’s leftovers and eating their party bag cakes (although that doesn’t help!). Believe it or not, there are underlying biochemical processes at work that result in increasing abdominal fat as we age.
It’s all to do with stress and the action of the stress hormone cortisol. Well there is no shortage of that in our busy lives as mum! Millions of years ago, our bodies were designed to react quickly to danger. When your brain thinks your life is threatened it stimulates the release of adrenaline and cortisol which mobilise glucose to provide instant energy for 5-10 minutes, allowing you to run from the sabre toothed tiger. This is the ‘fight or flight response’. The problem with modern day lifestyles is that stress (our ‘perceived threat’) is almost continuous and comes without the natural release that either fleeing or fighting might provide. Unless you do something physical, all that extra energy, in the form of glucose and fat, has nowhere to go. It is simply deposited as fat - around the middle of your body because it’s close to the liver where it can most quickly be converted back into energy if needed. Your body is only trying to help! It tries to keep a convenient store ready for constant use in your stressful life. To compound this, cortisol levels in the blood often remain high for a while after a stressful event, increasing your appetite because your body
thinks it should be refuelling after all this fighting and fleeing. This means people under chronic stress quite often feel constantly hungry and have cravings for carbohydrates and fats.
The golden rules for balancing blood sugar are: eat 3 meals and 2 snacks every day always eat breakfast eliminate all sugar and refined carbohydrates add protein to each meal and snack eat essential fats avoid caffeine, sugary drinks and alcohol don’t eat on the run change the way you think about food
So there you have it, it’s not that we are all weakwilled and greedy. There is a real biochemical explanation for why we mothers often struggle with fat around the middle. The question is, should we be worried about it and what can we do about it? Gaining weight around your middle does more harm than simply making your waistband too tight. While putting on weight in general can have negative effects on your health, abdominal weight gain is particularly unhealthy. Too much belly fat increases your risk of: heart disease breast cancer diabetes metabolic syndrome gallbladder problems high blood pressure colorectal cancer
Researchers have also found that abdominal fat cells aren't just dormant energy waiting to be burned up. The cells are active, producing hormones and other substances that can affect your health. For example, some fat-cell produced hormones can promote insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Others can produce oestrogen after menopause, which may increase your breast cancer risk. Researchers are still sorting out how the excess hormones affect overall health, but they do know that too much visceral fat can disrupt the body's normal hormonal balance. So given that ‘stress’ is part of our modern day lives, what can we do to get rid of our muffin tops for good? Dieting and cutting calories DOES NOT WORK! It simply puts the body under further stress, reduces your metabolic rate and encourages your body to hold on to all the fat. An eating plan which balances your blood sugar throughout the day will eliminate further fat gain and will encourage the body to burn fat. This is a low GL (glycaemic load) way of eating. © Mummo Ltd : March 2010
This may sound daunting at first but you can get help. There are lots of great resources to support you including books, websites and workshops. Have a look at zest4life programmes, they are based around a 12 week format where you attend a 2 hour workshop once a week and learn about the low GL process and how to put it into practice. You’ll find more information at www.zest4life.eu. You could also find yourself a nutritional therapist to support you - look on the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) website for practitioners in your area. Good books include Patrick Holford’s Low GL Bible and his Low GL Cookbook. Exercise or physical activity has never been more important. If you have fat around the middle of your body caused, in part, by the activity of your stress hormones, exercise MUST become one of your priorities. By simply making time for exercise in your life, you can control the potentially damaging fight or flight response. Muscle is metabolically active. This means it requires fuel in the form of calories just to maintain it even when you are sitting doing nothing. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you consume, and, if you don’t overeat, the more fat you will burn.
500g (1lb) of muscle burns 75 calories a day, whereas 500g (1lb) of fat burns only 8 calories a day! This is one of the infuriating reasons why men tend to find it easier to lose weight than women - they generally have more muscle than women.
mind and body
So let’s look at a real life example of how this work’s in practice.
Let me introduce Linda - she is 38 and has been dieting since she was a teenager. In November 2009 she enrolled on a zest4life programme and weighed in at 16 stone 10lbs and carried much of her weight around the middle. She described herself as having low energy levels (rated as 3/10), low self esteem (5/10) and poor eating patterns (4/10). Linda began the low GL eating plan and after 6 weeks she had lost a stone in weight and her energy levels and self esteem had increased up to a rating of 8/10. She has continued with the programme since Christmas and as of 5 February has lost a further stone and now weighs 14 stone 10 lbs. She is on target to make 12.5 stone by June and 10 stone by October. She reports that she neither feels hungry nor has cravings and that she has so much extra energy that she has been forced to take up exercise to burn it off! She has joined a gym and has had great pleasure in ditching her old clothes to the charity shop and buying a new wardrobe for work. In her words: ‚I am never going back‛. Losing weight the low GL way is changing her body’s biochemistry. The weight Linda has lost is mostly fat and she has become more efficient at burning fat, thus making it easier to maintain.
So there you have it, if you are ready to take the challenge and lose the muffin top for good, learn about the low GL approach. You will not only lose the inches and pounds but you will discover increased energy, more balanced moods and a new zest for life!
Ann Garry is a nutritional therapist practising in the Marlow, High Wycombe and Maidenhead areas (Buckinghamshire). She is married with two children: Natasha (12), a “mermaid” who swims 7 times a week with a local club and Sebastian (10), a goal-keeper, comedian and mathematician. Ann‟s website is www.yourfoodmatters.co.uk Five words to describe me: healthy, loyal, trustworthy, committed, passionate Vices: chocolate (yes, even me!) - I love Hotel Chocolat! A day in my life ... My day starts at 5 or 6am (depending on Natasha‟s training times), I take her to the pool and then return home and go for an early morning run - I figure if my 12 year old can get up and exercise at 6 in the morning then so can I! Once the children are off to school, I start work. I am running 3 Nutrition programmes every week so I dash off to the local hotel and prepare for the group session. Lunch is usually a quick soup/salad with John (my husband) if he‟s at home and then into my office at the bottom of the garden to write up my notes from previous consultations or prepare for the next Nutrition seminar. The children come home between 3 and 3.30pm and then its a quick healthy ‘second lunch‟ for them to fuel them through their activities:- either swimming, football, cross country, athletics, rowing or dance. Then they are out at their sports until 7/8pm when we all congregate for family dinner. We became used to eating late after living in Spain for 2 years and by their standards 7/8pm is still very early for supper! I relax by talking with the children or watching something we all enjoy such as a family movie. My day ends usually far too late, often close to midnight by the time the lights are turned out.
Award-winning personal stylist, Lisa Talbot explains how to dress for your shape < Fed up with the way you look? Feel like you’ve got nothing to wear? ‚I just don’t have time for me, I’m a mum!‛ If that sounds familiar then read on < We make an opinion on anybody within the first seven seconds of meeting them and before they say anything. Our image is our personal branding. When we become a mum, whether we like it or not
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
life does change, but that doesn’t mean our style has to change too. It may just need some tweaking. Every woman deserves to look good and feel great. I am a mum of three and a self confessed jeans person. That’s my dress style and it fits my lifestyle. So I’ve built my daily wardrobe and my ‘look’ around a few pairs of great jeans. This means that I can get up, get dressed quickly, get the kids off to school and feel confident and comfortable while doing it. You can build a superb capsule wardrobe in a cost effective way these days. Style doesn’t have to be expensive - there are so many fab shops like H&M, Zara, Top Shop, Primark and so on in our high streets which are brilliant for all types of clothing. If your budget can stretch further then you have House of Fraser stores which I love as there are so many great brands in one place, which makes shopping fun, even
mind and body
you? If that’s the case, then make your jeans the staple garments in your wardrobe and invest in a few really good pairs. You can make jeans look either very casual ( not scruffy ) or super smart. With all clothes, the proper fit is essential - having a great fitting pair of jeans will make you feel wonderful as you go off to the toddler group. With your denims, add some wonderful tops: longsleeved T-shirts with a tank top or a boyfriend blazer, a shirt and a wonderful necklace will look amazing. Scarves can be worn all year round, they add an extra shot of colour to any outfit. If you are pushing a pram make life easy for yourself and wear comfortable shoes. If you’re used to wearing heels, all well and good, but if this isn’t practical for you then go for a pair of cute ballet pumps or glitzy Geox casual pumps. A belt is also a superb accessory to jazz up any outfit, and there are hundreds of different styles and widths available in the stores. A belt can really jazz up your jeans. In my mind, a belt completes any outfit. Okay, so shopping isn‟t quite what it used to be! with a buggy. And believe me, I’ve done it with a double buggy so I understand that speed shopping is a must if you’re not going to give up and go home empty-handed! Before you go, think about the shape you’re in, the stage you’re in and the sort of things you really need to add to your wardrobe.
Motherhood stage Post baby Whilst our body recovers from the shock of the past nine months, don’t put pressure on yourself by trying to get back to your pre baby weight too soon. The best style of clothes to make you look and feel amazing will be tops that skim over your tummy, for example; empire line dresses and tunics. A darker colour can be slimming and a great piece of costume jewellery will draw the eye away from your middle.
If you do manage to get out the house for a night out with friends, your jeans can be dressed up very easily - just change the top to a glitzy one (very Spring trend! ) and add a pair of heels in a bold colour. Marks and Spencer have wonderful coloured shoes this season or try Jones who always have an amazing array of shoes to die for. The school run mum I found this one of the hardest times in being a mum. My twins were going to big school (relief and sadness!) but I knew the school gate would be very daunting < and I wasn’t wrong! I know the morning routine prior to dropping the children off at school is a ‘suicide hour’, getting them up, breakfasted and dressed all before 8.30am is hard work! ‚There is no time for me‛, I hear you cry or ‚I’ll get myself ready when I get back from school drop off!‛. Making your wardrobe easy will make your life easy, I promise. Building a capsule wardrobe is worth every penny.
Pre-school mum ‚I just wear jeans all the time‛ - does that sound like
Build your wardrobe around a few key pieces to suit your body shape, that way you will always look great.
I would recommend you have the following: jeans, a smart pair of trousers, a dress, a skirt, and tops that can be worn with all. If you find accessorising difficult, pop your necklaces / belts on your hangers, that way they become another piece of clothing. I would also recommend a boyfriend blazer ( Spring trend again ) which will add smartness to your outfit. The working mum The type of job you have will determine what you wear to work. Do you need to be formal or can you be more casual? Are you customer facing? What is the ‘style’ of your workplace? If you hold a position of authority, remember that your image needs to portray authority. Wearing a smart jacket / blazer will set off any outfit. For your wardrobe to work for you, it needs to be balanced between home and work. For example, a full-time working mum’s wardrobe will be 5 days working, 2 days (smart) casual. That way, you’ll get more from your wardrobe and it will be quick and easy to get yourself and your family ready in the morning. Our image is our personal branding at all times, but this is particularly true in a work environment where what we wear and how well we are groomed sends a very strong message about how we will do our job.
‚Fashions fade, style is eternal.‛
clients to do so, whether they go out to work in the corporate world or have the important job of a fulltime stay-at-home mum. No matter what job we do, walking out the door looking good makes us feel wonderful. Having an understanding of your body shape, whatever it may be, means that you can learn to dress in the most flattering way for you. It makes shopping so much easier and gives you greater confidence, as you know you are making the most of your assets! When I talk to my clients I tell them to imagine their body is a parcel. Dressing your body is no different to wrapping a parcel. For a curved figure, imagine a ball - you would wrap a ball in soft, floaty fabrics such as chiffon, cotton, jersey, etc, This is because a ball is curved and we want to follow and accentuate the curves. For an angular body, imagine a shoe box which has straight lines and corners. It can be most easily wrapped in strong fabrics such as cotton with lycra, linen, corduroy, strong denim, etc. This is because we want to accentuate the angles. I would recommend that the start of determining your body shape is to have a properly fitted bra, as this will give you accurate measurements. Once my clients have a properly fitted bra they often cannot believe the shape it gives their body. Some even find a cleavage they never knew they had!! There are 4 common body shapes <
Yves Saint Laurent
apple pear hourglass rectangle (or banana!)
Body shape Being a Style and Image Consultant I know just how many of you struggle to find clothes that suit and fit your body shape. I firmly believe that when you look good, you feel great, and the best asset we all have is a smile on our face. When we smile, our confidence is greater and you will find more people are drawn to you and want to listen to what you have to say. I also believe that we should dress according to our personality and lifestyle, and I always encourage my
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
On the next page, I’ll show you how to dress to suit your shape ...
Lisa is offering Mummo magazine readers a fantastic 20% discount on any personal consultation. Just quote MUMMO.
mind and body
The apple shaped body tends to be broader on the top and has a narrower bottom half. The weight of this body shape is generally carried around the tummy, therefore the waist is undefined. This body shape usually has a wonderful cleavage with slim hips and legs. The body shape is curved
The hourglass shaped body is allegedly the ‘perfect’ body shape. The waist is small and short, the bust is larger and the hips and thighs are slightly larger.
Clothes to suit Fine knit jumpers, wrap around tops, shirts, single breasted jackets, flat fronted trousers, straight or wide leg trousers, jeans with wider waist bands and straight or boot cut, A lined skirts, Empire line dresses. Clothes to avoid Chunky knits, baggy tops with no structure, ruffles, stripes, both horizontal and vertical, shoulder pads, skinny jeans, pencil skirt
pear The pear shaped body usually has a flat tummy, is long in the waist and has a smaller bust. This body shape is a mixture of curves and angles. Clothes to suit Most T-shirts, boat and slash necklines will make your shoulders appear wider which will balance out your bottom. Any tops and jackets that show off your waist. Empire line dresses. Shoes / boots with a heel are great for this body shape as they add length and make you walk tall. Clothes to avoid Avoid tops that end in a straight line across the widest part of your body. The eye will automatically be drawn to this point.
Clothes to suit Fitted styles to show off your curves, fitted tops, corset tops and wrap-over jumpers, jackets with belts, pencil skirt, fitted and A line skirts as long as they are fitted around the waist and the hips. Most trousers will suit, high or low waisted. Clothes to avoid Boxy style jackets, Empire lines, tapered trousers, straight up and down dresses, dresses cut on the bias.
rectangle / banana The rectangle body shape or ‘boy’ shape is like a lot of the catwalk models. This is a very athletic figure which is able to wear most of the trends on the high street and look fabulous in them. The shoulder and hips are equal in width, therefore the waist is not easily visible. With this body shape the illusion has to created of curves. Clothes to suit A line skirts, floaty tops, skinny / tight fitting jeans, dresses that are fitted tightly around the top and the skirt has a flare to the bottom, halter and slash neck tops, double breasted jackets Clothes to avoid Pencil skirts, boot cut / flared jeans
Images courtesy of and © copyright to iStylista Ltd - www.istylista.com - thank you
Lisa Talbot is a personal stylist and image consultant, not to mention a mum of three! You can book her for consultations via her website www.lisatalbot.co.uk - or by email - email@example.com. Five words to describe me: mum, fun, easy-going, stylish, relaxed, loves people (oh, and can‟t count!) Things that make me happy: my job - I love what I do, and it makes me happy to see my clients find their smile and confidence again Vices: coffee Motto in life: Looking good makes you feel great (and everyone deserves this!) Favourite book: I don‟t read books, I love poring over style magazines like InStyle and Vogue Favourite film: „Dirty Dancing‟ Favourite food: I love all food, but especially anything I haven‟t had to cook myself! Favourite smell: freshly cut grass Favourite piece of clothing: Jeans - I love them - skinny, bootcut, straight, whatever. And anything with a tactile fabric. My children: Robert is 21 and lives in Florida. He‟s a golf pro … he loves the sunshine. Thomas and Maisie are my 6-year-old twins. Thomas is gorgeous but high maintenance and Maisie is horizontally laid back which is super as if I had two like Thomas I would be in a mental institute by now!! A day in my life … Oh where do I start?!!! My day begins at 6.30am when the alarm goes off and I wonder where the night went! Thomas and Maisie wake up about 7am, we all have a cup of tea in bed watching the news on GMTV! After showering, the mad hour begins - children to get dressed, breakfast time, packed lunches to be made, teeth and hair brushing and leave for school at 8.30am. Dave ( my husband ) just gets up, gets dressed and goes to work. I‟m sure he has the easiest part of the morning! We leave for school with Max ( my 2 year old Rottweiler) in the boot of the car. Once the kids are dropped off at school, I walk Max, even in the pouring rain. I plan my diary so that all of my consultations are carried out in school hours. I go off to work wherever that may be … but it never feels like work! I usually finish work by 1pm which leaves enough time for me to grab a sandwich, let Max out for a quick wee and then get to school for pick up at 3pm. Thomas, Maisie and I always have a cup of tea with a biscuit when we come home and we catch up on everyone‟s day. Dave rescues me from our lovely children about 6.30pm for bathtime and story reading. The children go to bed about 7.30pm when we then have our tea. If I‟m not working in the evening I spend it „tip tapping‟ on my laptop whilst sitting in front of the telly ( much to Dave‟s annoyance ). Although he says he is deaf to the sound now after 10 years. Bed is about 10.30pm, when I sit and watch the telly to wind down whilst Dave goes to sleep as soon as his head hits the pillow! Another day over!!
Remember, get a generous 20% discount off a personal consultation with Lisa when you quote MUMMO. © Mummo Ltd : March 2010
mind and body
Homeopath and mother of three, Julia Lockwood dares to broach the difficult subject of postnatal illness < How could it have been that two weeks ago I was happy, optimistic, and in concert with the shifting lump within my womb? Now the baby is out, I feel no connection with it. Don’t recognise it. What’s more, I’ve gone mad, and I think it’s permanent. I’m frightened of going in the car, of going outside even. Frightened of the pain in my burgeoning breasts. Frightened of the huge responsibility this tiny, howling bundle has bestowed upon me. My partner doesn’t understand. The house is falling apart. I’m falling apart. I’m isolated, feel alone, and so, so
tearful. The nightmares are violent and truly disturbing, and baby doesn’t sleep either.
Can’t cope, must cope, won’t cope. I want to scream: ‚Take it back! I didn’t ask for this!‛ Every mother’s experience of postnatal illness is different, but the effects can be emotionally and psychologically devastating. In that early period of motherhood, where the first three days seem like a year, and the first week a lifetime, the intimate bonding between mother and child is of primary importance in casting the die for the relationship for a few years to come. Not only that, but the birth experience itself, if managed to the mother’s satisfaction, can elevate her to feelings of empowerment, creativity and strength that will nourish her ability to perform the rigorous duties of motherhood well into the child’s adolescence and beyond.
Unfortunately, as so often happens, the birth process is completely taken out of the mother’s control. She becomes a passive carrier of a parcel which needs to be delivered. She becomes the recipient of strong drugs, of harsh medical devices, of insensitive words from insensitive midwives and doctors. She may well ask, ‚Where is the love?‛ for the birthing process in the UK today is governed by how the labour progresses within the agreed bounds of that particular hospital’s insurance programme.
After the birth, hospitals think, ‚Well, you and your baby have both survived, that’s all that matters, and now off you pop.‛ They should also be questioning themselves. ‚That was a traumatic experience. Will it have long-term effects on her as a person and as a mother?‛ As a homeopath, I see in all my patients with depression how a previous trauma or a long-standing grief resurfaces when a new trauma occurs. The trouble is that these past events are often © Mummo Ltd : March 2010
unrecognisable to the patient any more. My job is to bring light to the whole situation, to help the patient draw connections and heal the past so the present can be enjoyed with good health, good energy and creativity. The causes of postnatal illness are complex and unique to every individual mother, and again, homeopathy will help to get to the root, the nub, the centre of the disturbance, and treat that. In general terms, however, I can see possibly that postnatal illness can arise from a common, very early trauma. So early that we would not be able to recall it, even if we were super self-aware individuals. But it is there, ticking away like a time bomb to resurface explosively at childbirth. It is that trauma that occurred to most babies of the 1960s and 1970s (ie. us): that of the routine separation of babies from mothers during the first week or two of our lives. It may have happened to young, 1980s-born mothers, too. It happened to my first son in 1997. This separation causes babies to cry, which is their main defence against abandonment, ensuring their survival. But when not picked up, these babies developed what psychologists call ‘learned helplessness’. There is no point crying, because noone will act on the crying. This leads to submissive behaviour. Animal tests have been carried out to establish what learned helplessness actually is, and how it affects our hormonal and immune systems at a very deep level. Learned helplessness leads to lower levels of adrenalin as the fight or flight reflex is repeatedly suppressed. The results of animal tests have shown that when an animal is repeatedly hurt and can take no action against it, the adrenalin rush, fight or flight, is replaced with an increase in blood pressure, and the increased secretion of hormones like cortisol and noradrenalin which depress the immune system, making the animal more susceptible to acute or chronic illness. This theory is laid out in the book ‘Primal Health’ by the leading French birth expert Michel Odent. He states: ‚The implications of all these basic experiments are of paramount importance. They help us understand just how much a person’s entire capabilities are decreased when they have no control over what happens to them, and can only passively submit.‛
mind and body
Going back to why mothers’ very early lives might affect their susceptibility to postnatal illness, is the fact that in hospital in labour, the fuse of their time bomb is ignited. Mothers are once again in a situation which is out of their control. They become passive patients, whose birth plans are often ignored, and whose fear is not able to be borne out by fight or flight. They are cast again back to their first days when, cry as they might, they could not get to be with their own mothers, and the safety and emotional well-being they afforded. And between a mother’s passive state in hospital, and the active state she needs to be in when she gets home with her new baby, lies a huge crevasse lined with the potential for postnatal illness. She has to go from a state of learned helplessness to complete self-reliance in one day.
Who can bound easily across a crevasse like that, with giant sanitary towels in place, new scars, and howling baby in tow? As grandmothers and aunts live so far away from us, mothers have to do everything, straight away, at a time when they need to be resting, eating, drinking and feeding their babies, and nothing else. It’s a big enough job – recuperation from childbirth, particularly a caesarean birth, is never taken seriously, and the need for it is vastly underestimated. The media is awash with stories of celebs who spring back to their before-pregnancy weight and are back at work within days of the birth. These women are suppressing huge hormonal shifts, are ignoring their own needs and those of their babies, and their actions are neither normal nor desirable if health and happiness is the desired outcome. In terms of postnatal illness, everyone is different, and has their own unique susceptibilities. For you, it may be that the overwhelming responsibility of caring for a newborn child is the trigger, or your relationship issues with the father or grandmothers of the child. It could be none of the above. But in all cases, even those where there is no predisposing trauma or present issue, new mothers are awash with hormonal activity. In the peripartum
period, there are massive hormonal changes, which could be implicit in developing postnatal illness. For a start there is the elevation of cortisol which occurs during a stressful situation. Elevated cortisol levels have the effect of decreasing levels of serotonin, the ‚happy‛ hormone, thus leading to feelings of depression. (This is theory, although the exact hormonal mechanism that causes depression is still uncertain.) Cortisol also depresses the function of the immune system, as explained above. Levels of the sex hormones, progesterone and oestrogen, are fluctuating. Progesterone is the hormone which increases during the last two weeks of before your period, and is identified with the depressive feelings of pre-menstrual tension.
So in postnatal illness there is a double whammy of hormonal (emotional) upheaval and a body feeling weak, tired and prone to infection. Fortunately, homeopathy is a great way to help mothers at a deep level, and help their hormones find balance again. We have remedies made from endocrine glands which secrete hormones, and remedies made from hormones themselves. We have remedies which correspond directly to hormonal activity, and as homeopathy works on the law of ‚like cures like‛, we can select those remedies which most appropriately echo your symptoms, your particular version of postnatal illness. We have remedies which help patients who are suffering from acute grief, or acute anxiety, or more chronic, deep-seated blue feelings. The possibilities for homeopathy to match your state and then elevate your emotional, mental and physical health are just vast. As a homeopath, I take a long consultation in which the patient can explore all those issues which are causing pain. I also take a keen interest in promoting the health of my patients and providing support outside of these consultations. Homeopathy is a shoulder to cry on, an ear for distress, a well-educated source of information, and a world full of remedies whose healing potential could be infinite, and which gently assist the patient along the road to a place of optimum health, happiness and well-being.
It is always advisable to contact a registered homeopath if you are suffering from postnatal illness, as it can be severe, and needs professional attention. Homeopaths are trained to assess varying levels of health, identify causes and analyse symptoms. A homeopathic consultation also allows you to explore all the feelings you have about yourself and your new baby, and unlocks this emotional and mental door to greater self-confidence and happiness.
However, the following remedies, which are readily available from places like Boots the Chemist, may bring you some relief in the short term. Aconite: Following a traumatic labour, when you feel extremely fearful, that you or your baby might even die. Bad nightmares, feel generally worse at night. Possibly attacks of panic or terror. There may be a feeling of indifference to your family.
Ignatia: Feelings of anger and disappointment, as if your beautiful ideal of having a baby has been shattered. People needing Ignatia have trouble holding back the tears, but try to control outward signs of emotion by sighing, biting their lip, nervous coughing or twitching.
Arnica: Generally indicated after giving birth for all women. It‟s especially good if you feel bruised, and want to withdraw from people, not to be touched or bothered. If you say, “Leave me alone, I‟m OK”, and feel morose and grumpy, then Arnica is for you.
Pulsatilla: You feel terribly emotional, up and down, sometimes laughing, but often bursting into tears. You need the support of others around you all the time, and will even manipulate them into getting what you want. You feel you need sympathy and pity. You feel ten times better being in the open air, rather than in the house. Lycopodium: When the responsibilities of motherhood are too hard to bear, and you feel like running away from your family and new baby. You feel an extreme lack of self-confidence, and helplessness, but may hide this from others by telling them how good a mother you really are. Generally you feel worse between 4pm and 8pm.
Sepia: Everything is dragging you down, and you feel dragging sensations in your body, too. You are extremely tired, but actually feel better for vigorous exercise, for example, dancing with the new baby or doing housework. You feel estranged from your family, and have trouble bonding with your baby. You might even feel violent towards other members of your family.
Julia Lockwood is a registered homeopath practising in the Marlow and Maidenhead areas of Buckinghamshire - www.juliashomeopathyworks.com. She‟s married and has three sons: Bryn (12), Rowan (9) and Conrad (6). Things that make me happy: Laughter; being with my friends and family; walking up mountains; seeing sick people become healthy; being in wild open countryside; the sea and forests; good music Motto in life: I have two - “Better light a candle than curse the darkness” and “A ship is safe in harbour, but that‟s not what ships are for.” Favourite book: „Way of the Peaceful Warrior‟ by Dan Milman Favourite film: „Gladiator‟ Favourite music: people, especially my children, laughing Favourite meal: something with lots of fresh, garlicky vegetables Favourite smell: newborn babies (I‟ve only smelled my own!) Favourite outfit: my running clothes Most treasured possession: my dad‟s Breton shirt
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
mind and body
tapping it all away ... Sue Atkins of Positive Parents talks about Emotional Freedom Technique, a new therapy for the 21st century < Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a great tool to help anyone deal with the negative emotions and events of our everyday lives. It is highly effective in addressing stress, anxiety, phobias, fear, trauma, anger, illness, pain and sadness. It is as useful in helping a child get over the pain of being called a nasty name as it is in helping an adult gain emotional freedom from a long standing trauma.
What is EFT? EFT is based on tapping different Chinese meridian lines with your fingers. You may have seen Paul McKenna on British television demonstrating how tapping various points on your body can alleviate stress, anger and phobias. He has also shown how it can treat weight loss, smoking and other addictions and, in fact, I first became impressed with it when I was regularly assisting Paul on his Easy Weight Loss seminars. Whoopi Goldberg used EFT to eliminate her fear of flying. And Chris Evans was impressed with it on his BBC Radio 2 Show recently. Tens of thousands of people worldwide have already used tapping to conquer their anger, increase their energy or let go of negative feelings. It has been used to great effect in treating trauma victims in Kosovo, Iraq and Uganda and after natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.
As an EFT Parenting Specialist I use it with parents and children as another tool in my coaching toolkit, as it’s a completely safe way of eliminating stressful or anxious feelings with no side effects. I teach parents how to tap out toddler tantrums and night terrors, older children’s nightmares, exam nerves, negative self talk including teenage embarrassment, OCD, self consciousness and shyness. I even used it to tap out my own daughter’s anxiety over starting her new secondary school so that she could move forward much more happily during the first few weeks. And I show parents how to tap out their own feelings of frustration, guilt, stress and overwhelm. I use it to help parents of children with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and ADHD, or children with a mental block in one area of school work like Maths or IT, as it can help get positive energy flowing in the right direction and make a difference in performance and attitude. It’s a great tool for developing self confidence and peak performance too. There is substantial scientific evidence that these simple tapping methods can provide impressive relief. I’ve personally observed this time and time again, and have seen many stunning results.
More benefits ... It can work really quickly. whereas conventional ‚talk therapy‛ can take months or even years to have an effect, EFT often does the job for you cleanly and thoroughly in one or two sessions It can help to resolve physical ailments as well as clear out emotional debris. headaches, back pains and other discomforts often tend to improve or vanish as emotional issues improve, and you may find that you are more resilient to everyday stress It is perfectly safe. • there are no known side effects You can apply it to just about everything. you use the same basic procedure for your fear of spiders as you do for improving your golf you can also use it for everything from the common cold to severe back pain
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in fact, EFT has had reported successes for nearly every emotional issue including fear, trauma, depression, and grief EFT is not perfect but it usually works well up to 85% of the time and the results are sometimes spectacular. Because of its unique approach, it can work where nothing else does and, to many, it represents a new doorway to healing and feeling better. The technique consists of tapping gently on acupressure points while ‚tuning in‛ to a feeling or emotion and saying phrases that affirm how you actually feel compared with how you want to feel. The effect is an immediate sense of relief as the ‚charge‛ from the negative emotion is released. I believe it is one of the simplest and most powerful tools a parent can use on themselves or give a child, which is why I am passionate about EFT and sharing it with you.
How to do it ... Step 1: Use the fingertips of one hand to tap the fleshy part on the side of the other hand. This is called the Karate-Chop point. Then say a Set Up Sentence 3 times: “Even though I feel (sad, frustrated, angry, stressed, overwhelmed, fed up, anxious, tired, ill … or whatever is appropriate for you) I deeply and completely love and accept myself because I am a really great person”
Step 2: Tap on each of the acupressure points shown in the relevant diagram, about 5-7 times each, starting at the top of your head and working your way down through your body to the point under the arm and finishing off at your karate chop point again. If you haven’t found complete relief do the sequence again until you do.
mind and body
So there you go, all you need to do is memorise the basic recipe (as shown on the previous page) and then bear in mind the following few pointers:
EFT is an emotional form of acupuncture except that we don’t use needles. Instead, we tap with the fingertips to stimulate certain meridian energy points while we are ‚tuned in‛ to the problem.
you can use EFT for any negative emotion from anger, stress, fear, or food cravings to a physical pain from earache to asthma always use a Set Up Sentence and be very specific, aiming the tapping at the specific emotion or feeling you want to reduce trust your intuition and say whatever comes into your mind as a parent, when in doubt, tap yourself first then tap with your child be persistent until all aspects of the problem have vanished be curious and playful and try it on everything!
Toddlers and children
Example Set Up Sentences For you ... Even though I feel guilty about leaving the kids < I deeply and completely love and accept myself Even though I am worried about money < I deeply and completely love and accept myself Even though I feel like screaming and running away < I deeply and completely love and accept myself Even though I am embarrassed by my child’s behaviour < I deeply and completely love and accept myself For your children … Even though I don’t make friends easily < I’m still a great kid and I love myself Even though I find reading really difficult < I’m still a great kid and I love myself Even though I’m angry with mum and dad < I’m still a great kid and I love myself Even though I keep thinking there’s a monster under the bed < I’m still a great kid and I love myself Even though everyone says I’m dull because I don’t drink alcohol < I’m still a great kid and I love myself
For more information, example Set Up Sentences and stories of success, visit Sue‟s website:
Sue Atkins is a former deputy Headteacher who now runs her own parent coaching consultancy, Positive Parents, and has recently been appointed as an Ambassador for Schools Home Support. She lives with her husband and two children in a farmhouse in Surrey. Five words to describe me: enthusiastic, passionate, fun-loving, committed, loya Things that make me happy: chatting with friends, meals out with the family, watching Chelsea FC, seeing change and transformation in the families I work with, walking my three dogs, reading self development books - PEOPLE! Vices: Chardonnay, Toffee Crisps
Virtues: dedication, positive energy, love of life
Motto in life: Life is what you make it Favourite book: „Awaken the Giant Within‟ by Tony Robbins Favourite meal: Chinese - crispy shredded beef! Favourite smell: Stargazer lilies My children: I have two, Will (17) and Molly (15). Will is passionate about sport and wants to be a sports journalist - he is placid, calm and good in a crisis. Molly is into clothes, photography and friends and wants to be a photographer. She is taller than me and fun to be with as she a quirky sense of humour!
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
family and home
a new kind of school ... Lizzie Overton is the headteacher of Lewes New School, a school that is at the forefront of curiositybased learning ... My 6 year old daughter Eartha loves to draw on the steamy glass shower screen while I soak in a hot bath. She is generally content to let me watch and listen while she chatters on about what she’s up to. But recently she insisted on a more focused interaction where I had to guess what exactly it was she was drawing with the only clue being that the pictures were to do with projects that were going on in her class at school. As we played it became clear that she was using the game to puzzle out for herself how a recent project on maps had moved on to one about
pirates. She’d been off sick for several days but had heard about the new theme from a friend. Despite the fact that I’m the headteacher of her school, she didn’t expect me to be able to shine any light on the matter. Educated in a school where learning is led by the group’s collective curiosity and imagination, Eartha knows that her questions, as well as those of her peers, are at the very heart of all that goes on in her class.
Projects are shaped as one question leads on to the next and the absence of pre-determined activities means that she and the other children have a strong sense of ownership and direction with all that they do. As she skipped out of the bathroom to find her pyjamas I heard her declare, ‚Oh well, I’ll ask my friends next week!‛.
Four years ago my now 10 year old son Ruben was at a similar stage in his schooling. After many years as a class teacher I was at that time enjoying a break from my career. I hadn’t expected to find the perfect school but I was hoping that my energetic little boy, who had enjoyed a positive experience in a local nursery, would make an easy transition to his first school. Instead I observed how opportunities to learn through playful exploration were immediately limited to make way for a highly competitive culture where kids were expected to hop through attainment hoops as quickly as possible. The threat of missing ‘golden time’ on a Friday afternoon or the promise of a headteacher’s award were not enticing enough to persuade him to keep hopping. Many a day ended with the teacher asking if she could have a ‘little word’ about his behaviour.
One of the most important lessons I ever learnt as a young teacher was that a child’s co-operation in the classroom depends on how interested they are in what’s going on with the learning.
I knew that the programme of activities which were rolled out year after year allowing little space for anyone’s curiosity or imagination, didn’t stand much chance of engaging any child. I was loath to be that teacher-turned-parent who suggested that my child might be playing up because he was bored. On the other hand it was clear that he wasn’t on track for a happy or productive time at school. I did a search on the web to find out about alternative primary schools and came across a new school in Lewes which, although still in an early stage of development, was intent on providing a smoother continuum with the play based learning that most children enjoy before they start formal schooling. I was so excited by what I had found that I applied for the job of headteacher, enrolled my children and relocated my family for a new start! Over the last four years I’ve enjoyed working with teachers at the school to shake up the lingering Victorian notion that it’s the adult who holds the questions and answers and it’s the job of the child to follow compliantly behind until it is their turn to take over. The legacy of this notion is a society so satisfied with its ‘right answers’ that it forgets to ask the questions that could breathe new life into our education system and today’s other major challenges. It is now very clear to me that if our thinking is to follow today’s needs rather than the tram-lines of the past, we will need instead to build up what Guy Claxton in his book ‘What’s the Point of School?’ refers to as our ‘learning muscles’. Our school, like many others, thrives on the energy and goodwill of parents who are keen to be involved. Whilst my son points out from time to time (usually with a sentence that begins, ‚No offence mum but ....‛) that having your mum as headteacher does carry the risk of repeated embarrassment, he would also admit that having your parents involved with your school is generally a very good thing. In my mind, however, the greatest support that parents can offer their children is to understand that we’re all in this learning game together. ‚The test of successful education is not the amount of knowledge that pupils take away from school, but their appetite to know and their capacity to learn.‛ Sir Richard Livingstone, Oxford, 1941
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
family and home
Whether in the classroom or in the home, our children learn best not from the answers we give them, but from the example of our own curiosity. So, when your child next asks, ‚Why do the birds sing in the morning?‛ or ‚How did the world begin?‛, don’t search around for a right answer but, instead, offer something along the lines of, ‚Hmmm . . . good question . . . I wonder . . .‛ and then listen and wait for your child to initiate the game of puzzling out the answers together.
VIDEO: watch children from Lewes New School perform their own version of David Bowie‟s famous song: „Changes‟ ...
Lizzie Overton is the headteacher of Lewes New School in Lewes, East Sussex. She has two children, Ruben (10, in pic) and Eartha (6).
‚Learning power is the lifeblood of a happy life.‛ Professor Guy Claxton, University of Winchester
Things that make me happy: having two lovely children, and remembering that life isn‟t meant to be perfect Favourite scent: lemon, roses, and clothes after they‟ve dried outside on the washing line A day in my life … My day starts at 6.30am when my partner wakes me with a cup of tea.
Lizzie at home with her daughter Eartha.
My office is reasonably well organised, a little small but adorned with pictures and messages that the children at school bring me - and the odd cartoon about teaching from „The Guardian‟. My children come to school with me on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My partner picks them up at the end of the day but it‟s hard to drag them away because they prefer to stay playing with other kids in the playground. On the other mornings, when I am not working, I cook them a big breakfast and my partner takes them off leaving me to enjoy some time alone. I relax by walking, gardening, cooking, sewing or just hanging out with my children or a friend.
Lizzie working with a small group of children.
My day ends with a bath, reading the kids stories and, whenever I can manage it, a reasonably early night. I‟ve been known to tuck myself up with the kids at 8.30pm after a particularly hard few weeks!
outdoor space. Mum-of-two Sarah Holden of Room to Bloom shares her tips on how to design a great garden < Until I studied garden design, I had always assumed that a garden ‘evolved’ through the addition of spurof-the-moment purchases, presents and plant cuttings from friends and family. When I first had a garden of my own, I didn’t even think about its actual design - it just ‘was’, wasn’t it? As a garden designer, now I know better! Now I consider my garden a place of pleasure, a haven for wildlife, a chance to do my bit for the environment, and most importantly, a place for our family to enjoy. A well-designed garden is a place where people want to be, a part of their home that they are proud of and a
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magnet to draw them outdoors as soon as weather permits! A garden does not require a design to be lovely- many evolve through years of love and care - but in today’s busy world, a design can kick-start the process and get you what you want more quickly and with less trial and error! So, for those who may want to make some changes to their garden, here are some of the steps you should take: Step 1. Consider what you want your garden for. Your ideal garden will have both a wishful aspect and a practical aspect. For example, do you want your garden for entertaining friends and family, a place of seclusion and escape from the ‘real’ world, a reminder of that magical Moroccan garden you visited last summer, or a sensory delight? This can all be possible, but don’t forget that your children need somewhere to play, the washing needs to hang
family and home
somewhere, bikes need storing and you do enjoy eating home grown vegetables! Step 2. Make a list of what you do and don’t want Make a list so that you capture everything, as you will then be able to incorporate these into your design, and decide areas of compromise, if necessary. Do you want a formal garden, or a cottage-style garden? Would you like your garden to follow a theme, such as a colour scheme, or an exotic garden? Do you want a water feature, lighting, a pergola or a summerhouse? Step 3. Survey your garden The garden survey is very important, as it will dictate the design. This requires careful measuring to give an accurate record of the size of your garden, the position of the boundaries and any main features within the garden. Changes in level should also be measured, as this will have an impact on your final design. You will finish up with a scale drawing that will be the starting point for your design drawing. Step 4. List the opportunities and constraints that your garden has Unless you have recently moved to a new house, you are probably familiar with your own garden’s personality and the opportunities or constraints it may have. It is better to work with what your site has to offer, rather than otherwise - for example, if your soil has an alkaline pH, use plants that prefer alkaline soil, rather than trying to change your soil acidity. Your design will need to consider many elements including: existing plants and trees views from the house sunny spots and shady areas frost pockets and damp areas resident wildlife views beyond the garden noise wind exposure soil quality and pH existing hard landscaping Step 5. Now you can think about the design! Your design may be a complete reworking of your garden, or simply a few adjustments to what you
already have. Either way, don’t forget the ‘must haves’ on your list, as well as the existing constraints of the site. Using very rough sketches, you can position the different elements within your garden, using photocopies of the survey you drew up previously. This way, you can decide where you want the patio, compost area, main pathways, plant borders, etc. You can decide on the shapes you wish to use in your garden - straight lines and symmetrical shapes usually give a more formal feel, whilst curves and random patterns will make the garden feel more informal. As you consider the design, do take into account the following design principles: Simplicity keep it simple! Unity all parts of the garden should work together this can be achieved by limiting your
colour palette and the range of materials you use to make a more aesthetically pleasing and structured garden also, where possible, try to ensure that your design works with your house; otherwise it could look a little odd! Scale & proportion make sure the size of the different elements in your garden work together and are in proportion with each other for example, don’t make a tiny pot of geraniums the sole feature of a large patio! Focal point include some feature (object or plant) to draw the eye and to act as the centre of attention this will lead you into the garden and may also lead you from one area to another by enticing you around the corner too many focal points, however, will cause confusion!
if possible Soft landscaping: consider your planting in terms of suitability with your own micro climate and soil, colour scheme, texture, final height and spread, seasonal interest, hazards (eg. family allergies, thorns, toxicity, etc) and maintenance requirements If you have ever considered designing your own garden, I hope the above steps will help you both in understanding the process and in providing you with a path to follow. However, if you want to have a go, I’d suggest that you also read up on it a little more as there are lots of useful reference books available to help. Otherwise, perhaps this article has given you a taste of what can be done, and if you would prefer the services of a qualified garden designer, feel free to contact me and I will happily do it for you!
‚Coffee. Garden. Coffee. Does a good morning need anything else?‛ Betsy Canas Garmon
Space consider this in relation to the size of a person and how that space will influence how you will feel for example, dividing a garden into ‘rooms’ will give a sense of intimacy, and the use of symmetry will make the space feel formal Almost there! You will probably have a pretty good idea of how your garden will look now, so start drawing! This shouldn’t take too long, as simple is best. It is also important that the design reflects your personality as it is you that will have to live with it! In addition, of course, you’ll need to consider your budget (don’t design anything you cannot afford to build) and the size of the space available. Once you have an overall design you are pleased with, you will want to think about the materials you will use ... Hard landscaping: try and use locally sourced materials, as these are more in keeping with where you live limit yourself to two or three different materials © Mummo Ltd : March 2010
family and home
Sarah Holden runs Room to Bloom Garden Design and lives in Lechlade. Although she‟ll travel anywhere for masses of money, she works mainly in the Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire areas. You can contact her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Frazzled’ The new fragrance especially for mums. With subtle undertones of exhaustion and rage, complemented by hints of frustration and self-doubt, with a heady aroma of worry. Don't just be. Be ‘Frazzled’ ... courtesy of Hot Cross Mum, more on page 108
Things that make me happy: peace at the end of the day, a job well done, something to look forward to, achievements- especially the girls‟
Sandy Calico blogs at Baby Baby. She is married with two little boys: Presley (2½) and Cash (1½).
Vices: quick to judge, speak before I think Favourite book: „Black Beauty‟, „Jane Eyre‟, „101 Dalmatians‟! Favourite music: Supertramp!
Virtues: I‟m pretty good with money!
Favourite food: raw fish, a rare steak My children: I have two little girls. Alice is 4 and a half, Ava is 17 months. Alice is faithful, loving, sensitive, kind and popular (especially with the boys!). Ava is happy, funny, mischievous, demanding, expressive.
Motto in life: It‟s nice to be important, but it‟s more important to be nice. Favourite music: The Flaming Lips A day in my life …
The garden at Snowshill Manor in the Cotswolds
My day starts at 7am when the boys wake up and then it‟s pretty full on all day. At lunch, the boys and I share sandwiches and yoghurts. My office is a laptop on my dining room table. My children love to be outside and are perfectly behaved in public. At home they can be a handful! They are now at an age where they are starting to play together. It‟s lovely to watch their two blond heads bent over their toys. I relax by writing short stories and a blog. I also love to sing. My husband and I write and record songs and perform them live at open mic nights (when we can get a babysitter). My day ends with a kiss from my husband. I usually fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.
angels and demons Blogger Sandy Calico describes what goes on in her head ....
picking away at my good intentions. Greedily eating away at my energy reserves.
The devil is my mind's screensaver. The devil says ‚why did you think this was going to be easy?‛ The devil says ‚go on, shout louder, your normal voice isn't effective‛ The devil says ‚stick the television on, have a bit of peace and quiet‛ The devil says ‚give them pizza again, they'll only throw anything else on the floor‛ The devil says ‚pretend you can't hear them calling‛ The devil says ‚you're not cut out for this, perhaps you should go back to work, let someone else look after them‛
I have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. The angel has a soft voice. If I talk at normal volume I tend not to hear her. I speak over her without even realising it. Sometimes I speak over her deliberately, because I can. If I'm shouting I even forget that she is there. The devil has a loud and clear voice. Sometimes all I can hear is the devil. The devil is in my head. Slowly chipping away at my confidence. Nonchalantly
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
The angel says ‚you are a good mother‛.
family and home
home education: why would anyone do it?! Meet Grit, a mother who home educates her tenyear-old triplets and shares her reasons why < The day we were stopped by the police and an educational welfare officer, I was buying fruity buns in Tesco. Squirrel was counting buns up to ÂŁ1.80 in her head and working out if it is cheaper to buy Tesco own brand or special offer Warburtons. Suddenly the police loomed over my shoulder. I was questioned for fifteen minutes and I grew increasingly angry. The police station tour was one I'd hoped to be
booked into with our local group, but not right now, thanks. We were due in Sheffield. We were already late setting off, and I hadn't yet acquired a lunch I could throw over my shoulder at 70 mph up the M1. Hence the fruity buns. It's a hazard, choosing home education. Especially now, as I'm writing this, when we are beset on all sides by suspicion. In this last week alone it has been suggested on the BBC that home education is a cover to abuse our children. This is the same week that Fern Britton on Radio 2 suggested that home educators are a group so apart from normal society that we do not even follow the same rules as everyone else. Parliament is, meanwhile, considering legislation to allow any inspector access to our home and astonishingly enough - allow unknown inspectors private interviews with our children.
I think, if we look at history, we can see here how people in minorities are marginalised, excluded, and given many undesirable attributes which are used to justify further punitive legislation. And is this ever an uphill struggle? Raising public awareness over a perfectly legal educational choice? Despite all this, I would still say home education is a fantastic choice for a child, a family, for parents, and for society. Changing perspective We decided to home educate our triplet girls after a brief fling with the local nursery. Perhaps it was the way the staff, although friendly, simply couldn't offer a personalised education. Squirrel yearned to play with the sand box. Day after day. Yet it was tantalisingly out of reach. Other things had to be done. It was never the right time. She had to go outside, or stay inside, or something. Perhaps it was because the children were escorted to an area outside the nursery called 'the garden'. The garden was an unforgiving, bald, asphalt patch, with metal railings studded all around. There were lane markings on the ground for children to run plastic vehicles in circles. Maybe it was the way that when the sun shone, and we all wanted to visit woods or parks or - what the heck - to drive to the seaside and equip Squirrel with buckets and spades, that I had a dreary, burdened feeling of obligation.
The final straw was finding out that Tiger, my tiny girl, was hiding in the toilets, frightened because she never knew what to do, too worried to ask, fearful of getting things wrong, scared by the nursery room knockabout, feeling vulnerable, frightened, and alone. Then I began to question why. Why was I bribing Tiger to go? Why was I trying to coerce her? Why was I forcing myself to do something neither she, nor I, wanted to do? Why was I taking my children to nursery at all? The decision was made. And in September, my children did not go to school.
At first I had the most wonderful feeling of liberation. Now we could do anything, go anywhere, find out everything. There remained the last fear. The dreaded word: socialisation. The one thing that home educators are always accused of: the worst, the most awful. Taking a child away from their age group. Plunging them into a non-school world. Ever seen the film ‘The Matrix?’ Socialisation is a worry. But that's all. A worry. The shocking discovery is that we are living in a deeply complex, multifaceted society. And in a mainstream society, you are aware of only a part.
The whole world is our classroom. Why not teach about leaves and soil by running through woods? Why not teach about insects by chasing butterflies?
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
family and home
the bottom of this society, from right to left and in all directions, and there you have it: the people you can meet in our home educating world. We have met children of global travellers who speak several languages. We have met gifted children, and children with significant disabilities, both mental and physical. We have met children of people who live in poor areas where every penny is accounted for; we have met people with acres of land. We have met people from all faiths, and those with none. We have met parents who are educationalists, factory workers, farmers, bus drivers, psychologists. We decide what we like to do, when we like to do it ... Pack our notebooks, pencils and reading books, and take a train to a London museum.
We have extraordinary tolerance for that diversity. That is a quality I believe we pass to our children. I have never yet encountered any child in the home education world bullying any other. And one thing we all have in common is our desire to do what we think is best for our children, and protect the freedom we have to live the life we all choose. The other world Once started on this track, you may find you question all that once you thought unquestionable. You may find you become critical, more aware of political process. You need the support of your immediate community, and community issues affect you profoundly.
We can be miserable in a Post Office queue â€Ś And if that's not taking a fully functioning citizenship role in today's society, I don't know what is.
You are sat not far away from dozens of home educators, busily networking, meeting in parks, scheduling lessons, organising workshops, meeting in playgroups, making theatre visits, arranging tours and group outings. In your vicinity there is at least one organised group, and many others who connect with their own social networks and communities of support. All the groups network, and there is no limit to the discussion lists you can find and join once you enter that community. I would go further, and say that there is a wider, more diverse range of people within the home educating community than you have probably met at the school gates. Take a pencil, and draw lines from the top to
The people around us - you - are our greatest resource. When I need to teach the children woodwork, I find a woodworker. When I need to teach French, I find a French speaker. When I need to teach tennis, I find a tennis player. All these people are you - our neighbours, near and far. Networking with these people puts home educators at the heart of our society. We give back in turn. My children now help me create materials for a local toy library. They are well known at the local libraries. The town caretaker greets them. T he local shopkeepers know them, and at the local museum, they are welcomed like old friends.
One day I expect my children to volunteer there, dress up, and help out, probably greeting school children on their annual tours. So if you thought home education could be in the best interests of your child, and you were placed to make that jump, you would certainly feel adventurous. Your life would change. Your socialisation would take on a different form, and you may simply have too much in your diary to do it all! But be aware that you may need to be brave. And in public. People will question your decision, and you could find yourself defending your choice at a moment's notice. Even, in fact, while standing in Tesco en route to Sheffield, holding six fruity buns.
„Kids need to learn how to be free of their parents‟ I totally agree. I have no idea where they are.
Grit is the home-educating mum of ten-year-old triplet girls: Shark, Tiger and Squirrel. She is married to Dig who is, as she puts it, “big in commas”. She also blogs at Grits Day and Smug Home Educating Bastard! Motto in life: “Let not great ambition overshadow small success.” I got that out of a fortune cookie, but it does for me, especially the days that I look at a three metre high sculpture and I think, “we could make that from papier maché. I shall put it in the diary for next Tuesday after French.” Most treasured possession: Our freedom of choice. I do not take it for granted. Keeping alive our freedoms requires social involvement and active participation. A day in my life … In the land of home ed, no two days are ever the same. I can truly put my hand on my heart and say that. This week in the diary I have cinema, ice skating, French, arrival of relative, craft activities, overnight stay in London, swimming, two group meet-ups, felting group, walk in woodland. Last week it was birthday party, visits to friends, tea party, woodwork, friends over, social meet, quilling. The week before it was Chinese celebrations, library, sewing craft, lakeside workshop ... You get the picture! I keep a rigorous diary because if I didn‟t, I‟d never remember where/when we are supposed to be for what purpose.
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
Want to learn wood carving? We learn from a wood carver.
We can take a working lunch. Projects are not dictated by another person‟s agenda.
family and home
is there sex after babies? Let’s talk about sex < with bold mummy blogger More Than Just a Mother ... Never mind sex before marriage, the hot debate centres on who’s having sex after children. How much, how often, and how soon. Just as soon as the first flush of parental excitement has faded, the new baby is sleeping more than twenty minutes at a time, and you’re able to sit down without an inflatable ring, the question of sex rears its < er ... head. ‚Oh darling ...‛ your husband whispers, as he slips into bed beside you, a hopeful hand ferreting beneath your brushed cotton jammies, fingers struggling to locate the furrow where your Spanx pants end and your nursing bra begins. ‚Harry’s six weeks old today‛.
This will be the only time your husband knows for certain how old your children are, so make the most of it. Just as you have always known exactly how many weeks pregnant you are, whilst your husband pontificates that you are ‚about half-way now‛, so you will always know the precise age of your offspring, in days, weeks, months and eventually years. Your spouse, however, has latched onto just one date. One phrase has leapt out at him from the scores of pregnancy manuals littering the house. Just a solitary sentence out of the entire NCT antenatal course has filtered into his consciousness and quite possibly into his Blackberry as an Outlook reminder:
‚It is advisable to wait until the six week check with your GP before having sex.‛ An innocuous instruction prompting a dismissive snort the first time I read it. You actually think I’m considering having SEX again? Somehow, when men read this same sentence, the words get thrown up in
the air and jumbled up, and when they fall back down again they read:
‚You can have sex again when your baby is six weeks old.‛ Which just isn’t the same thing at all. I honestly don’t know how it happens, but a chat with my mummy friends over a glass of vino has revealed that each of us has had to fend off an amorous partner on the stroke of six weeks. With an over-enthusiastic labrador as a bed-fellow, there are a variety of physiological stalling techniques at your disposal, from spurting milk ducts to unmentionable goings on down below, designed to deter even the most ardent admirer from delving too deep. P-Day for me was around 10 weeks after having the twins when I finally decided I had to get it over with, if only to stop my frustrated husband from using so much hot water when he disappeared into the shower every morning. We are on a meter, after all. I was so busy gritting my teeth and wondering if the crossstitch would hold, that I forgot about contraception until the crucial moment, interrupting Husband’s ‚Yes, yes, yes!‛ with a howl of ‚Noooooooooooo‛ as I wriggled out of harm’s way before our new-found fertility became responsible for another batch of babies.
against the kitchen table. (No, I don’t know what came over me either, but Eastenders had finished and my wireless connection was on the blink. The scrubbed pine has had a good going over from Mr Muscle. Which makes two of us.) I glanced down at my erstwhile slender torso, where my spaniel-ear bosoms swung enthusiastically yet pathetically, like marbles in knee-high socks, incapable even of masking the corrogated curtain of stomach skin draped behind in elegant folds. In an attempt to distract myself I looked around to find something to focus on. Is that marmite on the wall? I didn’t even think we had any marmite. Oh God, I hope it’s marmite... This morning I have a new resolution. A determination to reclaim my lost sexiness and embrace this strange new body I didn’t order, but nevertheless find myself zipped into. It has to be possible; the world is full of weird and wonderfully shaped women who have active sex lives and are presumably confident in their skins. Most of them have appeared alongside Jeremy Kyle. I have no wish to feature on reality shame-TV, however I am embracing both their wobbly bits and my own and vow to never again suck in my stomach, puff out my chest, or insist I enjoy the missionary position simply to avoid the forces of gravity. I will continue with the pelvic floors though; the Harry Potter effect can’t be overcome by magic alone.
It is with nostalgia that I look back on the pre-baby sex of my early married days; the spontaneity, the raw desire, the ability to orgasm without leaking wee ... Forget working full-time, or running a business, there is nothing that epitomises multi-tasking more than a post-natal woman having sex. Holding in your stomach for an hour (well okay, fifteen minutes) whilst simultaneously tightening your pelvic floor in an attempt to redress the fact that you now have a vagina like Dumbledore’s sleeve, is a feat not to be sneezed at. Last night I was caught up in the moment and allowed Husband to flip me over and take me from behind
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
family and home
More Than Just a Mother writes a fantastic blog whilst also managing to work full-time and bring up three small children. Here‟s what she says about herself … I am a 'glass half full' person and definitely more Tigger than Eeyore. I am a terrible cook and would live off toast if left to my own devices. Or perhaps just bread, to save having to actually prepare anything. Life is too short for arguments, celibacy, or failing to kiss and make up. My children ... I I had a long battle with infertility before being lucky enough to fall pregnant with twin boys in 2006. My boys were born at 28 weeks and were the most beautiful, precious things I have ever seen. When they were a few weeks old, my eldest son contracted meningitis and we were asked to make a choice about his future. We chose to give him dignity and we removed intensive care from him. He died in our arms, aged five weeks. Four months later, I fell naturally pregnant with twin girls, sending me into a flat spin for the duration of the pregnancy, terrified history would repeat itself. My girls were born safely at term, fifteen months after my first labour, and I'm ashamed to say I wasn't the grateful woman I should have been. They were the 'wrong twins'. It triggered a severe form of PND and post-traumatic stress disorder, and the next few months are a bit of a blur. But we got through it, and I can pin-point the exact moment I fell in love with my daughters. So now I muddle through life with my three toddlers, laughing and crying in equal measures and writing about it all A day in my life ... I get up at 5.30am to get a run in whilst my husband and all the children are asleep; it's the only chance I get. At 7am the nanny arrives and I leave my pyjama'd, sleepy-headed pygmies in her care. Work is varied, exciting, hectic and challenging and I frequently find myself without time for a wee. I race home through rush-hour traffic to take-over from Mary Poppins at 5pm for tea, bath and Beebies time with my tribe, loving each minute but clock-watching all the same. By 7pm the last child hits the pillow and I hit the bottle. Bliss.
Rachel Foux is a psychosexual therapist with almost 15 years‟ experience in the field of women‟s health and healing, in both physical and emotional / relationship matters. She has practices in central London and Hertfordshire. Her website is www.householdcompanion.com She is also the author of „The New Mum‟s Guide to Sex‟, and has appeared on TV shows such as Good Morning and The Good Sex Show. She is married with two school age children.
If you live with each other, look at how you juggle your domestic life. Seek a practical system where workloads are fairly distributed and harmonised so that any resentment is nipped in the bud.
If you have children, remember to invest in valuable time as a couple outside your parenting roles by going out for a romantic dinners or the odd weekend away alone where you don’t talk about the kids! Keep baby clothes and paraphernalia out of your bedroom to remind yourselves that you have an adult relationship that requires its own space and time to nourish and flourish.
Rachel Foux shares a few tips on how to make love to the same man forever ...
Incorporate bland domestic duties with foreplay and sex. Try not to have sex in bed last thing at night. You may be more inclined to doze off than indulge in a bit of rough and tumble. The living room, early evening after the children have gone to bed, or anywhere else in the house that’s beyond the convention of your bedroom will stoke the fires of passion and will encourage you to experiment with positions if you’re doing it on or against awkward furnishings. It can add more to the excitement!
We all aspire to have a loving relationship that will stay strong and passionate until our dying days. But in truth, even when we do find that special someone, the reality of keeping the spark alive over an indefinite period of time requires great effort and discipline. Sometimes this can prove disheartening. Interests may wax and wane under the pressures of modern life, impinging on our sense of wellbeing and impacting on intimacy.
Inject adventure and fun into your relationship - try new things together - some sexual, some not < from tantra to tango. Do anything that gets you rocking and rolling in a non-domestic, non-duty bound way. This is how you'll keep meeting a new face in an old partner and fall in love again and again.
Sexuality isn’t just about making love with your partner or dressing like a sexy diva, although these are both excellent ideas. It’s also about reconnecting with the flame that burns inside you. Like all fires, you’ll need to fan the flames by doing things that feed you. It takes commitment from both partners to nourish your relationship with love and tenderness to keep it burning bright. Even when you’re having bad times together, a low burning fire is better than no fire - it’s always easier to reignite embers than a completely dead fire. Ultimately, the most valuable thing you can do in your relationship is to keep the lines of communication open, both verbally (‚I love you!‛, ‚You’re great‛) and non-verbally (stroking, cuddling, looking into each other’s eyes). Without this, you will wake up one day feeling that you’re sleeping with a stranger or living like brother and sister, and not as lovers.
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
Variety keeps things fresh, so break old habits by surprising each other. If you usually make love, same place, same way on Saturday mornings then surprise him by slipping into bed mid-week wearing a sexy little number with some chocolate body paint!
‚I’m a terrible lover. I’ve actually given a woman an anti-climax.‛
family and home
A poem by the brilliant mum blogger Josie George of ‘Sleep is for the weak’ and ‘Judith’s room’ ...
I could train wild animals, Poo wouldn’t make me queasy. I’ve braved a toddler cutting canines So a lion would be easy.
Can I not be a mum today? I fear it’s not my calling. The hours are crap for starters And the job description’s boring.
Even prison inmate Seems more attractive by the hour. At least I’d get my meals served And time to take a shower.
I’d rather be an astronaut. At least it’s quiet up there. My wobbly bits would suit no-grav, Suspended in the air.
Can I not be a mum today? One day, that’s all I ask! I promise then I won’t resent My normal humdrum tasks.
Or I could try out espionage. I’d be great at fearless guile: ‚Yes sweetheart this is REALLY fun!‛ I’d lie through sugared smile.
One day of something different To be adventurous, inspiring. After all, I’m over qualified: Is anybody hiring?!
I hear Human Research pays well, Volunteering’s all the rage. And you get to lie down everyday In an aesthetic haze.
Josie George is married and has a little boy, Kai, who is 18 months old. She lives in Staffordshire, where she looks after her son and tries to grab every moment possible for her writing. She blogs at www.sleepisfortheweak.org.uk and has also set up an online community for women who write: www.judithsroom.com. Five words to describe me: creative, self-deprecating, honest, empathic, daft Things that make me happy: Writing, knitting, chocolate, black tea with lots of sugar, walking through the sunshine with my boy, chasing leaves and cats, taking photographs, and time to myself. Oh, and writing. Did I mention that one? Vices: Endlessly self-critical and annoyingly introspective. Also prone to exaggeration and being hopelessly needy. Easily distracted. Oh and stubborn, REALLY stubborn. Virtues: I can think my way out of anything, I learn fast and am quite irritatingly good at the things I throw my hand at. Motto in life: "If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried." Favourite food: Pizza, strawberry milkshake, and cake. I am a grown-up, honestly... Favourite smell: My son's head when he's not had a bath for a day or two. Like damp sawdust - just delicious ... Favourite outfit: My pyjamas Most treasured possession: My brain My children: Just one at the moment, Kai, but more planned. He‟s a spirited, independent, sensitive little monkey. Full of fun and life and curious about the world but hasn't quite figured out if he likes it yet. Loves singing, diggers, watching too much TV and running amok through the town centre. A day in my life ... My day starts ... at a stupidly early hour. Normally 5am ish. Yeah, I know ... not good, is it? You probably get the desperate humour now, right? At lunch ... I usually forget to eat. Unless biscuits count? My office is ... marked out by the arse-print on my sofa. My assistant has a habit of biting my knees and trying to sit on my head. I really should get a new job … My children ... will probably end up destroying either my health, my sanity, or both … but hey, if I didn't have any, I wouldn't have anything interesting to write about, would I? I relax by ... learning new things, writing, and imagining myself as a pirate / international spy / Robert Downey Jr's girlfriend. My day ends ... When I fall asleep on top of my laptop and my husband nags me to go to bed.
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
family and home
a place for everything ...
Not a domestic goddess? Don’t worry, professional declutterer Emma Fletcher has the answers to your home dilemmas ... I just don't know where to start. The clutter is overwhelming. Take a deep breath, do one room at a time and do it thoroughly. Assign a home for each possession and put like with like. Don’t buy any new storage items until things are either gone, or placed where they should be. Make sure you have boxes / dustbin liners with you in each room to put things in, otherwise you will just create more piles. Make sure they are labelled.
What on earth am I going to do with all the toys. I don’t know where to put them and I can’t get the kids to clear them up. If you find your living room is always strewn with toys and paraphernalia, try a fun storage solution for the kids. See 'A Place for Everything' for animal storage bags and boxes in fabulous colours. These can be easily kept out of the way in a corner or under a table, but the fact they’re so fun will hopefully encourage your children to tidy their toys away into them! The laundry is everywhere and falling out of the cupboards. There just isn’t enough room for it all. Take all your duvet covers, pillowcase, sheets, etc and put them on the bed or table. Then sort them into sets or, if you prefer, ‘like with like’ - in other words, all pillowcases together, all single sheets together, and so on. If everything is pressed it will take up far less room. If you don’t have a linen cupboard, laundry can go into plastic boxes or mesh underbed bags.
Make sure everything is labelled. This will save time and energy and avoid you pulling everything out just to find one pillowcase.
My wardrobe is stuffed full. I’ve put on weight and can’t bear to throw anything out as I’m on a diet and I’m sure they’ll fit again soon.
Fitted sheets: Make sure both top corners of the sheet are puffed out. Fold it in half from bottom to top. Fit the bottom two corners into the top two corners. Make the sides of the sheet perfectly even by laying it flat on the bed and smoothing down Fold it in half again from bottom to top, then fold from left to right Lay the sheet neatly on a shelf, tamping down in order to prevent any creases from forming. No need to iron them because when they are pulled tightly over the corners of the mattress, any creases will disappear.
You have to be brutal with yourself and try everything on in the first instance. If it doesn’t fit, or is too young or old, chuck it out. If the diet is serious and the items are 'good', put them away for a while and go back to them. Do not buy anything until your goal is achieved, especially a bigger pair of stretch black trousers from M&S.
And here’s another useful tip: Put a whole set of bedlinen together inside one of the pillowcases. There are five of us in this house and the shoes are everywhere. My husband goes mad when he gets home from work and trips over them all, which is not a good start to the evening! Shoes seem to get everywhere and can be very irritating. Make sure you have a good solid wellmade shoe rack, or a large basket which can be picked up quickly and moved around. See the ‘Tetbury Hall Bench' by the Cotswold Company as an example. Then encourage everyone (bribe them if necessary!) to put their shoes away as soon as they take them off. The bathroom cupboards are bulging and I can’t clean them properly. I just don't know what to do. First of all, declutter the cupboards and chuck out sticky old nail varnishes and well out-of-date lotions and potions. Go and buy some good quality, inexpensive plastic boxes without lids. Make sure they are going to fit by measuring before shopping. Put like with like in each box - for example, all your lipsticks in one, all your eyeshadows in another. Then, when you clean, just pull out the box. Also, it is much easier to see what you have and the box can be taken elsewhere, ie, to do your nails, etc.
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
If you weed your wardrobe well, you will be liberated and much happier to carry on with your goals. If you need help from a friend, please make sure that they are honest about an item. Think about your lifestyle first and tailor your wardrobe to suit it. Don't buy more kitten heels if you never wear them. Buy good quality and only buy something if it goes with something else. I can’t get on top of my own admin. The bills and school newsletters are scattered all over the place so I can never find them. Nothing gets done and then I forget about a coffee morning or a meeting. The same principle applies as to the first question. Put all your admin in one place before you declutter and sort it out. Ideally your desk / own space should be in or near the heart of the house and then you will get much more done. You need a good filing system - a drawer / basket / file with dividers for each subject. Most importantly, you need an ‘in’ tray / ‘things to do’ tray which must be portable. Ideally, this is something like a basket which can be carried around with you, to the television, to bed even! Everything goes in there. Secondly, have one notebook or diary (whatever size you like) and make sure that everything just gets written down in there. My house is so bad, I don’t think I could bear the embarrassment of someone helping me to declutter. You don’t need to worry about a 'declutterer' like me coming to help. However bad you think it is, I have seen worse. Nothing will faze me and I have been through most of it myself. Sometimes it’s better to be with a caring stranger. At least we can be objective and honest and are not emotionally involved.
family and home
the negotiator Emma Fletcher is a professional declutterer who runs The Decluttering Company www.declutterer.co.uk. Five words to describe me: gregarious, enthusiastic, outgoing, honest, kind Things that make me happy: dog walking, socialising, keeping house, reading Vices: too much wine and fruit crumbles Motto in life: after a bad time, just keep going, one day at a time … Favourite book: „The Kite Runner‟ Favourite film: „The Holiday‟ Favourite meal: Sunday roast Favourite smell: roses Favourite outfit: my blue Nicole Farhi floaty dress and silk coat (Bicester Village!) Most treasured possession: my blue and white jug on the website, my dogs and my husband! My children: I‟ve got two fantastic stepchildren, Edward (18) and Ellie (19) who are bright, funny and great fun. A day in my life … At the moment I‟m looking after a 10-week-old puppy, which is quite demanding, and if I‟m not out decluttering I‟m working at home. I relax by reading, watching television, just pootling about and having a glass of wine at the kitchen table! My day ends with cooking supper, watching EastEnders or a film, book and bed.
Mummy blogger Sticky Fingers describes a familiar family scene < How many of you have experienced this scenario at meal times? "How many more mouthfuls of dinner until I can have pudding?" "All of it. Eat all your dinner." "No. How many mouthfuls but don't say all of it." "Well you've hardly eaten any, so 55 mouthfuls." "Now you're being ridiculous. How many mouthfuls and say a proper number like 10." "Ok, 10 more mouthfuls. But mouthFULS, not just a sliver on the end of your fork." "How about 8?" "No. I said 10." "But you meant 8, didn't you?" "Err, no." "I'll eat 8 and then shall we decide then?"
This is a regular and infuriating conversation I have with my 4 year old daughter at the dinner table. It's a constant negotiation and has become so bad I've started increasing the amount I put on her plate to compensate.
I look at my plate, and there joining my single sliver of carrot are a clutch of new friends, two potatoes and a telltale trail of gravy joining our two plates together. Doh!
I'm not a 'finish your plate' kind of mum by any means. You eat until you're satisfied, then you can have a pudding if you still want one. Or if mummy hasn't eaten them all. Or hidden them so she can eat them all! But the trouble is, the minute Mia has polished off her pot of yoghurt or bowl of custard or whatever, 15 minutes later she's asking for 'snacks'. "What about this cottage pie you've left? Shall I warm that up for you?" She looks at me like I've asked her to eat mud, chooses to pretend I don't exist, turns her back on me and starts rooting through the fridge. Today the art of negotiation has moved up another notch. "Mummy, do you want to swap your carrots for my potatoes?" (I have one solitary sliver of carrot left on my plate.) "No thank you. I'm going to eat all my own dinner, thank you." "Well, how many mouthfuls then?" Oh brother. I give her a look that says 'ask me that question one more time and you may just be wearing that meal'. I think she picks up my vibes and sits quietly spearing a 'bush' of broccoli, then asks: "Can I have a drink please mummy?" I feel a warm glow upon me as the flush of parenting success makes me sneak a crafty smile as I get up to go to the fridge. I sit back down and she's still prodding at a lone piece of broccoli. Holy cow, she's nearly finished. No more negotiating. The look was all that required obviously!
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
Tara Cain is a mummy blogger with two children, Daniel (7) and Mia (4). As she says, she‟s been “talking mumbo jumbo since 2002” on her blog Sticky Fingers. Vices: Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. But I don‟t drink, I don‟t smoke and I don‟t spend hours shopping, so I figure I‟m allowed! Motto in life: Treat others as you wish to be treated. Favourite film: One? Are you kidding? I‟m a total movie junkie. Most treasured possession: My wedding ring. My husband is my childhood sweetheart (we were at school together) and we‟ve been together for - gulp - nearly 19 years now. We‟ve had plenty of highs and lows but he‟s a keeper!
family and home
what sort of a parent are you?
Dr Clare Bailey, GP, mother of four and founder of Parenting Matters, explains the importance of our parenting style < Do you run your family like an army general? Or are you so relaxed that teatime’s more like a chimp’s tea party? If you’re interested in finding out more about your parenting style, go online and try this quiz <
Have you ever wondered whether you’re much stricter than other parents? Or perhaps if you’re more laid back than most? Or even too indulgent with your children? Many parents watch how other parents respond to their children and wonder whether they would have reacted in the same way in that situation. I was in great admiration recently of a mother with a very chatty and enthusiastic 3 year old in the supermarket. She was talking through items on her shopping list and encouraging her son to find them and put them in the trolley. He was really enjoying the task, trying so hard to be helpful and flinging things haphazardly in the trolley - I would have struggled with the temptation to race round quickly and get the job done, avoiding breakages on the way. And then you see the familiar scenario of someone giving in to the wails for sweets at the checkout. Is the first parent more child-centred and the other more
permissive? Most parents have a sense of what sort of parent they are, be it strict, laid back or somewhere in between, yet it can be interesting to see how our own ‘parenting styles’ compare with other people’s, and to get a clearer idea of what sort of parent we really are. All parents have their own unique blend of ‘parenting styles’, which simply means we have a preferred pattern of responses when with our children. For example, we all lie on a spectrum between ‘being engaged’ and ‘being uninvolved’ or between ‘being strict’ and ‘being relaxed’. Although this will vary according to the age and personality of each child, we will all have our own particular approach which tends to become the ‘automatic’ or ‘default’ style, especially when under pressure. The approach you fall back on is often determined by how you were brought up, your own personality, culture or simply what you have picked up from those around you. Research shows that there are four main parenting styles (D. Baumrind, Maccoby & Martin) - do you recognise yourself in any of these?
This is in some ways the ideal parenting style, balancing clear limits and appropriate expectations with warmth and involvement (as with the mum involving her son with shopping and making it fun). However, she probably wouldn’t allow him to add a bumper bag of Mars Bars to the trolley, and would explain why.
These parents are warm and engaged with their children but with fewer or inconsistent limits and expectations. They would be more inclined to give in at the checkout as they hate to see their child upset, despite explaining how sweets will rot teeth. 3.
These parents tend to be laissez-faire, less involved and with fewer boundaries. They probably won’t notice the additions to the trolley or mind very much anyway.
Here there’s a stronger emphasis on control and clear limits, over and above warmth and involvement. This kind of parent probably wouldn’t be inclined to let their child out of the trolley and would stick firmly to what’s on the list. Take the quiz on the Parenting Matters website to find out more about your own parenting style, and what you can do to become even more effective ...
‚I looked on childrearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honourable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it.‛ Rose Kennedy
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
family and home
Dr Clare Bailey is a GP who also runs parenting courses through her company Parenting Matters. Five words to describe me: enthusiastic, determined, a good listener, bubbly
carrot cake with a twist ... Ingredients 2 eggs 150g of brown sugar 100ml oil 200g finely grated carrot 50g walnuts 75g finely chopped pineapple (fresh or tinned) 50g coconut flakes 200g wheat flour 1 teaspoon of cinnamon 1½ teaspoons of baking powder 1 teaspoon of salt
A day in my life … My day starts at 7.50am, I try to go for a run before breakfast or to practice meditation for 15 mins (having just done a mindfulness meditation course) before launching into the day. If I‟m honest, though, more often than not I lie in for another luxurious15 mins. At lunch, at the surgery on my GP days, I grab a sandwich and packet of crisps during a lunchtime meeting. When working from home I usually reheat anything left in the fridge, often in strange combinations such as leftover stir fry with a sausage and baked beans. I avoid skipping lunch as I would grind to a halt midafternoon. My office is at home in a converted stable and fives court. My children: I have four children - Alex (19), Jack (17), Dan (15) and Kate (10) who are the centre of my world and who are endeavouring to keep it that way for the moment. They inspired me to start Parenting Matters as I realised that the more children I had, the more skills I needed … not least because, being such different personalities, they each needed a different approach. There is no „one size fits all‟ in parenting. I love them to bits but have no illusions of attempting to be the perfect mother (whatever that is) and good enough is fine most of the time. I relax by going for walks with my lovely husband in the fields at the end of the lane. My day ends by putting away the inevitable remaining debris strewn by the kids (and husband), putting the dog out, getting caught up reading the papers, locking the doors, turning off the lights ... then my husband says he‟s going to bed too … and he does!
Instructions 1. 2. 3.
Whip eggs, add sugar, continue whipping till it gets fluffy then add oil bit by bit. Add carrot, pineapple, walnuts and coconut flakes and mix gently. In separate bowl, sift flour, add cinnamon, salt, baking powder and mix well. Add to the dough, mix to combine all ingredients. Pour dough into baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour at 150 degrees (slightly lower for a fan oven).
This recipe is reproduced under a Creative Commons license from www.nibbledish.com
If I had my child ... If I had my child to raise over again,
Diana Loomans © 2009
I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less.
This poem has been reproduced with the kind permission of Diana Loomans.
I’d do less correcting and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes. I would care to know less and know to care more.
For more info, visit www.dianaloomans.com
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious and seriously play. I’d run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging and less tugging. I would be firm less often and affirm much more. I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later. I’d teach less about the love of power, And more about the power of love. © Mummo Ltd : March 2010
career career and and business business
Hard at work ... Sam Pearce from networking company Mum’s the Boss shares her ‘Working from home lament’ ... I’m meant to be working I’ve so much to do But the beds all need changing And I must clean the loo I want to be blogging I’ve so much to say But I’m constantly cooking Or clearing away I must make a phone call But the kids won’t stop squealing There are crumbs on the rug And cobwebs on the ceiling I need to start working I’ve emails to send But I’ve just had a text From a newly dumped friend It’s toddlers nap time I need to get cracking
But the food’s been delivered And the bags need unpacking I must cook from scratch Something quick and delicious Cos takeaway’s quick But it’s hardly nutritious I promised I’d schedule Some ‘me time’ today But the chances of that now Are dwindling away The kids are in bed now There’s just no excuse But I’m dead on my feet now – Oh, what’s the use! But admit it, you wouldn’t change it for the world!!
mummo mummo magazine magazine
Sam Pearce co-founded Mum‟s the Boss, a support and networking group for mums who work at home and/or run their own businesses, with her friend Helen Woodham. Currently they have groups in Bedfordshire and Leicestershire, with others planned. You can find out more at www.mumstheboss.co.uk. They also blog at www.mumstheblog.co.uk and bake great cakes! Five words to describe me: colourful, creative, community-minded, chatty, curvaceous
coming soon <
the mummo marketplace
Things that make me happy: baking, cuddles, a good book
so if you’re a mum in business, why not be one of the first to set up your stall?
Vices: chocolate, Twitter addiction, online shopping Virtues: good at baking cakes, good listener Motto in life: To thine own self be true Favourite book: The five people you meet in heaven by ???
advertising in the mummo marketplace is meant to be
Favourite film: „Chocolat‟ Favourite music: the soundtrack to the film „The Piano‟
affordable £5 per month for a standard ad or £10 per month for a premium ad
Favourite meal: lamb roast dinner Favourite smell: cinnamon Favourite clothing: my collection of colourful coats Most treasured possession: my KitchenAid mixer My children: I have two girls, Annie (4) and Molly (nearly 3) who are very chatty, clever - like their mum, obviously - and a bit bonkers!
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
If you’re interested, just email email@example.com to reserve a space!
career and business
life through a lens ... Self-taught photographer and mother of three, Maleah Matthews captures the exquisite beauty of nature ...
Photograph shown opposite: Lemon Drops
I currently have this motto hanging on my computer monitor. I like it because it reminds me that one day maybe I can achieve my dreams!
Photographs shown on this page: Poppy Enchanted Garden Collection Mod Meadow Collection Breath of Spring Photographs shown overleaf: Faintly Pink Love Blooms II Sugar Plum Vines Star Struck
Maleah is kindly offering Mummo readers a 10% discount on any purchases of her work. Just email her details of the what you‟d like to buy and she‟ll arrange it for you.
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it. William Arthur Ward
career and business
Photographer Maleah Matthews lives in Eugene, Oregon in the States and is married with three children. You can see more of her work at www.maleahmatthews.com and you can also visit her Etsy shop. Things that make me happy: I love playing with my kids, doing just about anything outdoors, and my favourite happy place is visiting the ocean. My favourite thing to do is to spontaneously pack my kids and camera for a day of exploring or hiking! Favourite food: I love Thai food and all things chocolate!
Favourite smell: The salty sea air
Most treasured possession: My camera gear, I would be lost without it! My children: Delaney (8) is my very artistic child, she spends hours and hours crafting and drawing. In fact she has become quite helpful to me during our photo excursions, she has a good eye for spotting things to shoot. She is a kind little girl with a very old soul! Mason (6) is the family comic, always trying to make us laugh. He's very athletically inclined and enjoys doing all things that make him go fast, or as he says "makes me go speed!" He's very sweet with his sisters and he and Ella are the best of friends when they're not the worst of enemies. Ella (4) is in a HUGE hurry to grow up, she wants so badly to catch up with the big kids, we just let her think she is to keep the peace, lol! She can play in the dirt and mud, but she dearly loves to dress up and wear lip gloss. She is the "spice" in the family!
Social media marketing specialist, Karen Skidmore asks whether Twitter is a whole load of twaddle ... Twitter is officially the ‚most-talked‛ about website this year. You can’t seem to open up a copy of the Daily Mail or watch Friday night TV without a mention of someone’s tweets. Politicians, comedians, radio presenters, C-list celebs – they’e all at it, aren’t they? But how does Twitter work as a business tool? And is Twitter something that you should be doing to help promote your business?
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
First off, I have to confess that I love Twitter. I find it an easy and highly effective way of communicating with both potential clients and business buddies. Twitter drives more traffic to my website than any other website and gives life to my blog, with plenty of fellow Twits stopping by and adding their comments to my articles.
Having been on Twitter now for almost two years, you could say I’m twaddicted! But just because I love Twitter, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should love Twitter too. There are too many business owners feeling under pressure to start tweeting yet, after a few weeks of fumbling about, their Twitter account is deserted and unused. And, let me tell you - there is nothing worse for your business brand than a deserted Twitter account.
career and business
So before you jump on the Twitter bandwagon and start using it as a business tool, here are five questions for you to answer.
customers that you are now on Twitter, only to fade away in a few weeks’ time because you have run out of steam. Have an objective and a plan!
Question 1: How well do you know your target customers?
Question 5: What do you tweet about?
A common trap business owners often fall in to when it comes to technology and marketing is discounting an approach because they don’t like it themselves. For example, ‚I hate email so why would this email marketing work for my business?‛ It’s essential to choose the communication channels that are right for your specific target clients - and not for you. You may not have started tweeting yet, but do you know how many of your target customers are? And if they ain’t tweeting, then is it really the most effective tool to be using? Keep your target market in mind at all times.
Sharing a daily tip, recommending resources, making a special offer once a week - the opportunities open to you are huge. The important fact to remember is, though, that if you try to sell on Twitter, it just won’t work for you. You have to create value and use Twitter as a communication tool - not an opportunity to just sell, sell, sell. Whatever your plan is, just make sure you tweet for your target customers. For more about Twitter and how to use it in your business, visit www.CanDoCanBe.com/ twitterchecklist where you can access ‚The Twitter Checklist for Small Businesses‛ for FREE!
Question 2: How many of your competitors are tweeting? Being one of the first to be tweeting in your profession or industry could actually be a good thing. Becoming an early adopter could help to differentiate you from ‚all the rest‛. But don’t be a copy-cat tweeter if you find there are plenty of your competitors already out there. Just because they are tweeting, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right for you and your customers. Make sure you answer question one!
Question 3: How much time do you have? One of the biggest challenges business owners have is time. And this is especially so with social media tools, such as Twitter. Twitter can be a HUGE timewaster < and quite addictive too! But if treat Twitter like any other marketing activity, have a clear objective and plan out a simple strategy - such as the number of tweets a day and what to tweet about - you will find Twitter will only be a time waster if you let it.
Karen Skidmore is a mum, marketing coach and social media marketing specialist. She works with small business owners to help them use the right marketing tools in their business to attract the right clients. For more articles and marketing tips, visit her website www.CanDoCanBe.com Five words to describe me: practical, straightforward, perceptive, chocoholic, curious Things that make me happy: sunshine, warm wind in my face, my children giggling Motto in life: You can do and can be anything you want - you‟ve just got to decide what it is and GET ON WITH IT! Favourite film: ‘Sex and the City’
Question 4: Who should be tweeting? A Twitter account can be set up to represent an individual or a business. And there is no reason why several people can’t tweet from the same Twitter account to share the tweet-load. But if you are going to start tweeting, you need a long term game plan. There is nothing worse than announcing to your
Favourite music: David Bowie Favourite smell: summer rain on a hot day My children: Jodie (almost 10) and Harvey (almost 8) - they’re both independent, strongwilled, creative and verbal!
Tempest 1, mixed media with oil on canvas, 150 x 120 cm, from the Escape Collection
ÂŠ Mummo Ltd : March 2010
Jessica Zoob took a risk: she gave up her career to paint full-time. Now sheâ€™s living her dream ... 59
career and business
Chinese Dream One 1 & 2, oil on canvas, 75 x 75cm each, from the Desire Collection, donated to Save the Children
Dragonfly Dancing, mixed media with oil on canvas, 200 x 90cm, from the Adventure Collection
On the eve of the millenium, Jessica announced to her husband, David, that she was jacking it all in for a new career as an artist. ‚He was horrified because we had just bought a wreck of a house and had two children and we really needed my salary too, but I just had to do it. It was complete and utter self indulgence, but I was so inspired by the joy and freedom of seeing my own small children paint that I wanted the same for me. Now I know this is what I was put on the planet to do.‛
‚I can walk out of my house and see a puddle or a leaf or an old wall and that will be enough to captivate me and start me thinking about its beauty. I can’t imagine ever sitting in front of a blank canvas and not knowing what to do.‛
Early Morning Rain 2, mixed media with oil on canvas, 150 x 120cm, from the Escape Collection
Early Morning Rain 1, mixed media with oil on canvas, 60 x 120cm, from the Escape Collection
Bliss, detail, one of a pair, overall dimensions 120 x 210cm, from the Escape Collection
Jessica’s forthcoming exhibitions < ‚I paint for the joy of it and each painting speaks of a particular journey in my own life. There is only ever one painting in the world that tells that story and people fall in love with the paintings that connect most eloquently to them.‛
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
21/03/10 - 26/03/10 Images to Dream Into London Design Week, Chelsea Harbour Design Ctre 08/04/10-30/04/10 Adventure (solo show) The Medici Gallery, Cork Street, London
career and business
Fragile, oil on canvas, 200 x 170cm, from the Desire Collection
Jessica Zoob was once a theatre designer, then a corporate designer, and is now a successful artist. She has two daughters - Ana (14) and Kat (11) - and lives with them in Lewes, East Sussex. You can see more of her work on her website: www.jessicazoobdesire.com Five words to describe me: optimistic, passionate, driven, creative, enthusiastic Things that make me happy: my daughters, sunshine, my work, dancing, swimming in the rain Vices: workaholic Virtues: workaholic Motto in life: live in the moment Favourite book: „The Secret Life of Bees‟ by Sue Monk Kidd Favourite film: „The Notebook‟ Favourite food: chocolate! Favourite music: tango Favourite smell: springtime Favourite clothing: my painting trousers Most treasured possession: family photos A day in my life … At the moment pretty much all I do is work! 9 till 9 usually. I used to walk and swim and dance and see my girlfriends but things have been a bit crazy recently. I am hoping to get some balance back soon. Luckily I absolutely love my work, and my girls are very good at looking after me!
Deeply crazy, mixed media with oil on canvas, 60 x 120cm, from the Escape collection
saving the world with jelly and ice-cream Deirdre Bounds, founder of i-to-i travel and now of Parties Around the World, talks about a brand new approach to party giving ... A precious Saturday and another children’s party to attend with my 4 year old, Ava. I’ve only just replied to say that we’re coming (Tilly’s mum, who I’ve never met, kept on texting me as she needed to know the numbers - I’m so bad at getting back to people!). Doh! I don’t have a present for Tilly, who’s having a ‘Fairies & Scaries’ disco party. Now some mums are just organized and float around the Early Learning Centre
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
for hours getting ten presents at once - sadly, I’m not one of those (I mean, do they really exist?). So we gulp down our breakfasts and, while my husband keeps our two children occupied, I dash to Sainsburys to buy Tilly a present. What on earth would she like? I have no idea, I’ve never met her < so I grab a Dora the Explorer pencil case and sticker book and hope for the best. Thankfully Ava has a Scaries outfit as it’s just after Halloween and the party is a scream! Well, not quite for us parents drinking tea and eating HobNobs, but the disco is a success. The pile of presents wobbles on the table and Tilly’s mum looks proud and flustered at the same time.
The party bags and the cake-encrusted car seat are the only material memory of the afternoon.
career and business
Ava’s exhausted but has had a hoot. I watch Tilly’s mum piling the presents into a bin liner while Tilly is trying to open them and having a bit of a tantrum. She’ll get them home and write the thank you cards that we’ll be receiving soon. I wonder whether I’ll see my Dora the Explorer pencil case doing the rounds at another party as a recycled gift? It doesn’t matter < or perhaps it does?! This was exactly the scenario that I faced four years ago with my son’s first party at the age of four - the invites, the chasing of parents, the pile of presents, the tantrums and those bloody thank-you cards! The whole process - which should have been a joy - well, it just stressed me out. To be fair, I was running a very large travel company which I’d founded eight years previously, and while I had no problem with the concept of organising a party for my child, I did look around that day and think ‘There must be a better way than this’.
Surely, with the internet and everything, we could find an easier way to organise our children’s parties?
organise their children’s party efficiently, then we’re killing around seven birds with one stone.’ So we engaged a great designer and web developer and began the slow process of making this idea work. Everything was fine until we went to the bank to arrange card taking facilities on our site. You see, there’s a slight legal problem in that we cannot take money and hold it on behalf of a third party (the charity). It’s fair enough - I mean Carl and I could have expensive tastes and take our families off to Barbados or somewhere! So we engaged an organisation called ‘The Charities Trust’ - which is also a charity by the way - to be the financial gateway. Not only that, they also arrange the Gift Aid, which means that charities we support get around 118% of what is paid. Next, the choice of charities to support - well, that was pretty easy as we stuck to a set of three simple criteria: 1. 2. 3.
What I also couldn’t get my head around was the excess of presents. I wondered what values it was teaching my child. I figured there must be a different approach, one that was not only easier, but also educational and ethical. And so the idea for partiesaroundtheworld.co.uk was born, way back in 2005. The major problem was that I was so busy with my travel company that I just parked the concept. I subsequently went on to sell my travel business in 2007 to TUI Travel and had about a year off. Then, in early 2009, I was working on a project with a Leeds based entrepreneur called Carl Hopkins and the concept of PAW was always in my mind - so I ran the idea past Carl. He immediately saw the need for it and agreed to work with me to bring PAW to life. Carl’s wife was expecting a baby so he was truly behind the idea. I suppose it became a bit of a crusade for both of us. We looked at the model and thought ‘OK, Just Giving and Oxfam Unwrapped’ seem to work very well, so if we take the lead from those two great organisations for the idea behind the ‘gift giving’ and also think about what busy parents may need to
something that children can engage with and understand no more than 12 different charities as too much choice could confuse a mixture of UK / overseas along with animal and human interest
To be fair, the charities snapped our hand off so, sticking to our criteria, we chose to work with great names such as The Born Free Foundation and some smaller charities doing things like teaching children to swim in Africa and helping youngsters with learning difficulties in the UK. By July 2009 we had a site that could help parents organise the perfect party in six simple steps. We also decided to make the set-up process free of charge:
Parties Around the World causes < As a parent hosting a party for your child, here’s how it works: 1.
Choose a charitable cause for your child’s party from our list of 12 child-friendly causes
Then set up a party page online and issue electronic or printed invites
Guests are invited to RSVP online (no more chasing) and to donate to your child’s chosen cause
This is just a selection of the charities that your child could choose to support with their party.
Fab football Buy footballs for the Homeless World Cup
Buzzing bumblebees Plant flowers for bumblebees
You receive real-time updates about who is attending and can also manage the party page online
After the party, you can print out personalised ‘thank you’ cards at the touch of a button
Your child receives a special certificate announcing how much they have raised, to be proudly hung on their wall.
Delightful dolphins Keep the seas clean for dolphins to swim and jump
Water babies Help children in Africa who need to learn to swim
Meddling monkeys Keep Afrika the chimp safe
Dance, Dance in Africa Keep tribal traditions safe through education
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
career and business
The launch Towards the end of July 2009, we did a beta launch that means it was a test bed to see how the whole site works and fix any glitches - and yes, there were some. The launch was held at a Leeds Primary school - 70 children, Carl and I, 70 balloons and a small helium gas bottle - laugh - seriously, we ran out of gas so we were frantically blowing these balloons up manually so all the children had one each for the balloon race! We were EXHAUSTED. It was great fun though, launching a business is a big adrenalin rush and we were pumped. Our first booking By September we’d received our first booking - a joint party for 60 children - and you guessed it, we didn’t have the facility to book a joint party, but we fixed that and arranged the party. We were just so excited to have the booking. We were also chuffed that PAW had received a double page spread in FlyBE magazine - I didn’t even know it until someone said that they were on a flight from Exeter to Norwich and read about it. The response has been excellent, with people saying ‚At last, somebody has tried to smash the children’s party merry-go-round!‛ Ava’s party The big challenge was my daughter’s birthday. She’s just turned 4 and I thought - ‚OK, Deirdre, put your daughter’s party where your mouth is‛. I sat Ava down at the PAW site and asked her what she liked. I reminded her that she loves honey and started to talk about how honey was made. It’s no surprise then that she chose the Bumblebee Foundation. After that it was seriously so simple. The party set up page was quick and easy - I just typed in the venue and time details and then a list of people to invite. Quick as a shot there were individual invites ready to be downloaded, printed off and put into the school bag to take to school. The RSVPs started to trickle in - I got an email notification as soon as someone had responded and I could also manage Ava’s party page online. As the party date grew nearer, I did feel a pang of guilt about Ava not receiving a bunch of presents, but I stuck to my guns. On the day, everyone arrived with a card and a couple of people did bring small gifts because they felt guilty, but others mentioned that it was great not to have to
go out and buy presents! To be fair, Ava didn’t notice about the presents and cared even less - she had a whale of a time and that’s what mattered. At home, she opened her couple of gifts and I was grateful that I didn’t have to manage an unwrapping frenzy! There was none of that - just a great day. It was very special. To cap it all, the next day I went back to the party page, pressed ‘print thank you cards’ and down came 15 personal cards showing the amount raised. I whizzed them off the printer and put them in Ava’s school bag ready to be given out. The certificate for Ava’s wall should be here soon < and, oh yes, £78.50 plus Gift Aid is on its way to the Bumblebee Foundation. The future ... Now we are in early 2010 and the take up from PAW has been modest. Currently we are considering whether to change the model so that half goes to a charity and half goes back to the child for a ‘dream’ present. That’s the challenge in business; to look at things through other people’s eyes, not just your own. We’ve developed a survey to find out more about what mums would like from the Parties Around the World service. It would really help us if you could spare a couple of minutes to complete it. The future looks positive for PAW - even though it’s a slow burn, we still believe that it’s the right time for this. Often an idea isn’t wrong, it just needs modifying and, with your help, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Deirdre Bounds is the founder of i-to-i.com, the world‟s largest gap year company, which she has now sold. She‟s also the author of ‟Fulfilled - a Personal Revolution in 7 Steps‟ and the founder of Parties Around the World (www.partiesaroundtheworld.co.uk). She is married and lives in Yorkshire with her husband and their two children, Frankie and Ava. Five words to describe me: motivated, mad, manic, straight-talking, funny Things that make me happy: sitting outside our house in Greece, watching our children play in the sea while the sun goes down Vices: food, clothes Virtues: my handshake is as good as a cheque Motto in life: This too shall pass (good and bad experiences) Favourite book: „Cold Comfort Farm‟ Favourite film: „One Flew Over the Cuckoo‟s Nest‟ Favourite music: Buddha Bar compilation or Genesis Favourite meal: you can‟t beat a good Italian! Favourite smell: getting off the plane in Greece Favourite clothing: a fake fur brightly-coloured bomber jacket, purchased at Manchester Fashion Week Most treasured possession: my mother‟s Irish Primary School Certificate My children: I have a son, Frankie, aged 8, who‟s a gentle soul, and a daughter, Ava, who‟s 4 going on 40! My American husband is a Frank Sinatra fan! A day in my life … My day starts at 6am. We take it in turns to make fresh coffee and juice and bring it to bed. We chat for an hour before the children wake at 7am - then all hell breaks loose! Lunch is usually a soup or sandwich if I‟m at home. Otherwise I‟m at a function desperately trying to avoid the desserts! My office is an unused bedroom in my house. My children are taken to school by our great nanny. She also collects them. I relax by running, meditating or reading spiritual literature. My day ends early, around 9pm, with a good mag, the weekend papers or a book.
Deirdre will give 50p to the Parties Around the World charities for every person who completes her survey, so please take a couple of minutes to have your say. © Mummo Ltd : March 2010
career and business
cool kind clothes ...
Alison Rothwell, founder of Arabella Miller organic clothing (and various other businesses!) tells the story of her success so far ... What motivated you to go into business for yourself? I’d always secretly hankered after having my own business, but I’d never really had that great idea or felt brave enough to take the jump. Part of not feeling brave enough was the fact that I was the family breadwinner, as my husband and I had swopped roles a couple of years earlier and we depended on my regular wage. My background is public relations and marketing, and although these are skills that many
choose to use as a self-employed business, at the time I didn’t feel ready to start building up a freelance business in those areas. After I had my youngest child I wasn’t able to return to my previous job and this seemed to be the catalyst for me to set up my first online business, the organic children’s clothing company, Arabella Miller. As time went on, my previous skills in online marketing started to make their inevitable way to the surface and I started to be approached by businesses to manage their internet marketing and search engine optimisation. So I built a further two businesses, Tribal Mash, an internet marketing consultancy, and the SEO Training Club, which helps small business owners learn how to diy their search engine optimisation. I now also have a couple of other interests, an online baby bedding site (which my husband manages) and Self Employed Mum, an online magazine I publish together with professional blogger, Natalie Lue.
Tell us a little bit about what you do ... At the moment I concentrate on Tribal Mash and the SEO training Club as they are the newest businesses, and my husband runs the bedding company. I’ve also just appointed a UK distributor for Arabella Miller, which is helpful.
How did you get started? I started Arabella Miller after our youngest daughter developed severe baby eczema (inherited from Daddy!) and we looked for eczema friendly baby clothing to ease her skin irritation. Wearing organic cotton baby clothing really helped to relieve her eczema and when she outgrew her organic babywear, we looked for more organic cotton clothes for children. One day, when we couldn’t find any funky kids T-shirts I liked, I decided to produce my own. Tribal Mash and the SEO Training Club began after the success of Arabella Miller. Using my previous skills I was able to build the Arabella Miller brand quite quickly and others wanted me to do the same for their businesses too. The SEO Training Club was started after I spotted a niche for helping small businesses who needed or wanted to do their own internet marketing.
How did you find your first customers?
Alison with her younger daughter, Ruby
Little Arabella Miller found a furry caterpillar, First it climbed upon her mother, then upon her baby brother. "UGH" said Arabella Milller, ‚Take away that caterpillar!"
My first customers for all my businesses have found me online.
Nursery rhyme, anon
What have been the highlights so far? Making the TV finals for ITV’s ‘Search for a Mumpreneur’ was great - although a strange experience. TV exposure is not quite how I expected it to be. I made some close friendships with some of the other women who took part which has been a great outcome. I also was really thrilled to win a Mums Club award last year as it was an award from my business mum peers, and that’s very satisfying. There are so many highlights I could talk about including, for example:
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
career and business
the first TNT lorry with Arabella Miller clothing the first customer who bought something and I didn’t know them! the first article in a magazine the first radio interview I did (my mum came too and she was so excited) ... I would urge any business mum to write their successes down and look at them when you are down in the dumps - it really helps you to keep going when things are tough!
Any low points? Low points have been being let down by suppliers. It’s incredibly frustrating when things go wrong and it’s not in your power to put them right!
What’s been the best business decision you’ve made? Five months ago I decided to hire a freelancer to assist me and it has been a huge godsend. I had literally run out of hours in the day and having an extra person to work on my projects has been of real benefit to the business. I also don’t have to worry about the red tape and day-to-day management of hiring and managing a member of staff as it’s a different type of working arrangement.
We all know that hindsight is a wonderful thing. What, if anything, would you do differently in retrospect? I’m not sure I would do anything differently, as even the things that haven’t worked out as well as I hoped have been important learning points and have led to other avenues opening up.
Where are you ‘at’ with the business now? Arabella Miller and new baby Nursery Bedding businesses are ticking along nicely under the helm of my darling husband. The SEO Training Club is developing into a really useful business resource, but still needs a lot of my time on the development side. I’m also working on a couple other related business ideas - watch this space!
What do you think are the secrets of your success? (And don’t be too modest about this!) I think having an inquiring mind has been a great help - I really get involved in the research side and this is a good way to work out if a business idea is strong enough to be successful. I am also a very effective networker, particularly online. This has been a help for everything from potential business partners to having someone to moan with when things aren’t going to plan!
Speaking of plans, what are your plans for the future? I’d like to continue to develop other online businesses, particularly on the publishing side. The SEO Training Club has shown there’s a real need for no-nonsense information about internet marketing,
What do you enjoy most about what you do? I love the freedom of working for yourself and also the accountability - I’m responsible for the successes and the failures! I love the fact that I can get up in the morning and decide what it is I’ll be working on that day.
Finally, how do you juggle work and family? If I didn’t have such a supportive husband, I simply wouldn’t be able to do this. He’s been a constant ‚cheerleader‛ for me and the businesses, but also a voice of reason when I need an alternative perspective. My eldest child is old enough to appreciate the work I do and I’d like to think I’m a positive role model for her. My youngest just seems to like seeing more of me than she would if I had returned to the workplace.
Alison Rothwell is a mum of two (three if you count her cocker spaniel, Jedi) and lives in a small village in Lancashire. After a career in public sector marketing and PR, she set up her first online business - Arabella Miller - after the birth of her youngest child. She now juggles being a wife and mother with her other business interests including an internet marketing consultancy and an online publishing business. Arabella Miller: www.arabellamiller.com SEO Training Club: www.seotrainingclub.com Tribal Mash: www.tribalmash.com Self Employed Mum: www.selfemployedmum.co.uk You can contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org Five words to describe me: enthusuastic, multi-tasker, inquiring, networker, geek Things that make me happy: spending time with my family, Walking through fields, gardening, aimlessly wandering through cyberspace Vices: red wine, Lush bath bombs, procrastination, handbags Virtues: tenacity, approachability Motto in life: Just do stuff. First you have to fail, then you can improve. (With thanks to Seth Godin.) Favourite book: „The Lord of the Rings‟ Favourite film: „The Talented Mr Ripley‟ Favourite music: „The Smiths‟ Favourite meal: Fritto Misto with a glass of Prosecco Favourite smell: newborn babies Favourite clothing: my “homewear” My children: I have two girls. Ruby is 3 and Martha is 11. Martha is a bookworm and a bit of a tomboy. Ruby is creative and enjoys dressing as a fairy! A day in my life … My day starts with Radio Four at 7am or Ruby making an entrance, whichever is earliest! At lunch, I’m at home with my husband. My office is either my small room above a local shop or a corner of the dining room. My children are at school, nursery or with daddy. I relax by taking a long, deep, hot bath with something that smells nice. My day ends at going on for midnight when I turn off my Macbook.
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
friends and fun
have toddler, will travel!
Alice Griffin, author of ‘Tales from a Travelling Mum’, talks about taking her daughter around Europe < Life is a gift, I believe this to be true, and with this gift I want to experience all that I can, push my boundaries, really feel that I am alive. I think it goes without saying that these beliefs make me somewhat attracted to the enticing world of adventure and that this has often led me into the arms of travel. In my opinion the two marry perfectly because whenever I step outside of my comfort zone into the greater world, there is an adventure at every turn, revealing itself with each blink of the eye.
This spirit for adventure did not just grip me out of the blue. No. It is something deep within, something that I have turned over, explored, played with and nurtured every day throughout my life. When I was small I would pack a lunch and head off for the day with a thought in my head that I was going to the ends of the earth to climb trees, when really I was going to the next estate. Since then I have been lucky enough to leave my imagination at home and go out to discover the real world. People sometimes ask ‚but what are you searching for?‛ and as I get older I realise that I’m not necessarily searching for anything in particular, I’m simply trying to live in a way that feels worthy of the breath I have been given. For me, this means exploring, seeing new things and taking chances because, let’s face it, when you strip it all back , our time on this earth is short. All well and good, but when at age 28 I fell in love and then at age 30 fell pregnant, I wondered whether this philosophy of life might have to change.
out from their slumber only to ensure that their parents were not too drunk to wheel them safely home. Baby monitors and thermometers not necessary.
All around people said: ‚You must settle down when you become a mother!‛ and ‚You can’t go gallivanting here and there with a baby!‛ I would walk home from work thinking to myself that travel was such a huge part of me, how could I give it up? I wanted my unborn child to know me, to understand who I am as a person, and so instead I opted to defy critics and when my beautiful daughter Isabella arrived I popped her in a sling and along with my husband we took her on a series of small adventures by plane, boat, train, bus and car. What I have realised since is that travel and adventure are entirely possible with children, you just have to leap right on in! We certainly did that when, as a family (dog included), we sold our house in a UK city, gave up our main income, packed up a camper and headed off on the roads of France, Spain and Portugal for an open-ended road trip. Isabella had just turned one when we left.
I believe wholeheartedly that life certainly should be a daring adventure or nothing at all, and why should it be any less with children? They do not need as much as we think they do, are far more adaptable than we give them credit for and literally burst with excitement at the new faces and experiences that they encounter. I think it’s more about us parents learning to keep cool than about children learning to adapt. Dealing with an exploding nappy in a tiny toilet cubicle, pacifying screams on a flight and running for a ferry loaded with buggy, sling and backpack – I’ve done them all and, yes, it can be daunting, but if your baby doesn’t mind then why get flustered?
‚I travel a lot. I hate having my life disrupted by routine.‛
Some people expressed concern as to how she would cope with this dramatic change of lifestyle. Well, I have to say that if I have learnt anything it is that the younger you get your children used to travel, and in fact anything a little out of the ordinary, the better. She was oblivious to the fact that she was living in a camper with limited gadgets instead of a modern house. She enjoyed the freedom of life spent in a swimsuit paddling in rivers, running barefoot across the fields of South West France making hay, and she even mastered her own olive-picking methods when we spent time on an farm in Extremadura, Spain. However, when our journey saw us captivated by a small village in the Andalusian mountains and brought to a five-month standstill, the undeniable true freedom of childhood really unfolded. Dusty walks across the campo at last light, picnics in the mountains watching eagles soar up above, tapas perched at the village bar every Sunday - obligatory cheek-pinching by the proprietor thrown in for free.
Caskie Stinnet, American editor and writer
During our year on the road Isabella settled into our changing environments with ease and we even managed to maintain certain routines throughout 3am at the local fiesta and Isabella and her four young friends were snuggled up in their buggies, peeping © Mummo Ltd : March 2010
friends and fun
Seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes is nothing short of exhilarating, it reminds me of what it feels like to see things fresh, untainted by life and maturity. In some ways it is hard to imagine my old life travelling solo; it would be such a shame not to have Isabella by my side, eyes glinting, cheeks rosy, a small arm sliding behind my neck whispering, ‚Look, Mummy! Pretty! Me lucky!‛ This world is a gift, I believe that, and to be in awe of its beauty and feel lucky to experience it, for me, is the most precious lesson I can teach my daughter.
Where in the world were these photos taken? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
me and Isabella pondering life in the Estrela mountains, Portugal out walking and picking flowers in NW Spain me and Isabella on a diving boat, Norway me in the Andalucian mountains, Spain Scott and Isabella having a picnic lunch in Avignon, France walking in the Sierra de Baza Natural Park, Andalucia, Spain Isabella on a local farmer’s mule, Portugal me and Isabella hanging out in Athens,
Alice Griffin is married and has a daughter called Isabella and a dog called Milla, both of whom she took travelling! She recounts the family‟s adventures in her book „Tales from a Travelling Mum‟. She is currently working on her next book. Five words to describe me: adventurous, positive, dreamer, caring, fun-loving
Things that make me happy: my family, travel, walking my dog, writing, ice-cold beer on a summer‟s day somewhere where there are mountains, water, hot dust and friends
Motto in life: Follow your heart ... it might not always be a smooth path, but it is always exciting and interesting. Favourite book: Difficult! Either „The Alchemist‟ by Paulo Coelho or ‟As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning‟ by Laurie Lee Favourite meal: Toad in the hole made by my dad (with veggie sausages) followed by syrup sponge pudding made by my mum! Favourite outfit: Shorts, vest top and Birkenstock sandals. They mean freedom. My day starts when Isabella wakes up and wanders through to our room loaded with her teddies and blankets and jumps in for a cuddle. Lunch is good when there is not a lot of conversation and just a lot of mmmmmmmms. We all love our food. My office is wherever there is a space to put down my laptop. As we are currently „static‟ that tends to be the breakfast bar in the kitchen as I can pretty much do anything and still keep an eye on emails and play music! I do often reminisce about the wonderful garden office I used to have before we sold up and went on the road… but I wouldn‟t change it ;-) Isabella loves to dance around the kitchen dressed as a fairy, Snow White or a bumble bee depending, and enjoys helping with any cooking that is going on. In the evening if I‟m not writing then I relax by watching a good film snuggled up with hubby and Milla and probably some knitting. My day ends with reading in bed by candlight.
‚Life is either a daring adventure < or nothing.‛ Helen Keller
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
friends and fun
“Wherever you go, go with all your
off round the world ... Yes, Victoria Wallop is packing her bags and preparing for the adventure of a lifetime < along with her husband and three kids!
up everything to go travelling around the world with three small children?
Long term travel is for students and hippies, isn’t it? Parents of small children don’t drop everything and head off round the world. So what makes two normally cautious adults, who don’t spend beyond their means, stay up late or drive too fast want to give
We have a few reasons for wanting to embark on such a long trip. The most important reason is that we want to spend more time with our children while they are still young enough to enjoy being with us. Life is short and precious. It may be a cliché, but it’s true.
In November, we will be leaving London with our children aged 8, 6 and 4 and flying to LA for the start of a nine month trip which will take us around the Pacific from Hawaii to New Zealand, Australia, South East Asia and Japan. We will rent our house, sell our car and give up our coveted school places in exchange for squeezing into budget hotel rooms, travelling on chicken buses, home (or should that be road) schooling and carrying everything we need in a backpack.
Now seems as good a time as any. We are mostly out of cots, buggies and nappies, and have also had a chance to catch up on a bit of much needed sleep. Travel is not something I could have contemplated during the exhausting newborn years. Our eldest child will be in Year 4, one that a teacher friend said was ‚eminently missable‛ and we’ll be back for the beginning of Year 5, which will give her plenty of time to catch up before the dreaded secondary school entry. The younger two will miss Year 1 and Reception, so as long as we keep up with reading and numbers, they’ll be OK. Victoria‟s children - Dickon, Eve and Edward - on holiday in Switzerland last year.
Yes, we could wait until the children are older but who knows what the future will throw at us? We have the means and the opportunity to do it now, so why not? Our children go to a lovely school, but I don’t believe a few months off will do them any harm. Children in the UK are the most academically assessed in the world. We are also encouraged to fill their spare time with tutoring, ballet, swimming lessons, tennis and brownies. We are looking forward to stepping off this treadmill for a while and if we can do it on a tropical beach, so much the better. Our youngest child’s birthday is the end of July, which means he’ll start school at 4 years and one month. That seems wrong to me. Formal schooling (albeit at a great, child-centred school) should not start that young. The opportunity to keep him with us for one more year is very appealing. Of course none of this would be happening if my husband and I didn’t have a shared love of travelling. Before we had children, we took every opportunity to don backpacks and head off on adventures. We’ve always preferred Tokyo and Fez to the Costa del Sol and have very happy memories of sleeping under the stars in the Rajasthan desert, eating pickled wild ferns for breakfast in a Japanese ski resort, and snorkelling off tropical Malaysian beaches with a curious shark for company. These memories of previous trips together have sustained us through the long years of sleep deprivation, nappy changing and tantrums. It seems obvious to us that, as our children grow older, we should share this love of travel with them.
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
I think it will be great travelling with children. Instead of being outsiders, looking in, we will have something fundamental in common with many of the people we meet. I’m looking forward to sharing conversations with strangers about children’s ages and sleeping habits. It will be just like the playground on Clapham Common, but hopefully warmer, and a great way to get under the skin of a country. Children have a very different way of viewing the world to adults, and I can’t wait to see what ours make of Buddhist temples, Asian markets and the vast expanse of nothingness that is the Australian outback. They will encourage us to try things we might not otherwise. We were intrigued by the Hello Kitty theme park last time we went to Tokyo, but felt too silly to visit. This time, it is at the top of our list, along with buying ‚cool Japanese Transformers‛ and watching Sumo. And I’m sure sweet eating around the world will merit a blog of its own. Of course it won’t all be sweet eating and theme parks. An undertaking like this carries plenty of risks, getting sick being one of the most worrying. We will be visiting countries with malaria, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis and other nasties and we need to decide how best to protect ourselves and our children. We are also risking our children’s places at their lovely school. We will be officially leaving and there is a chance that we won’t be able to get them back in on our return. Missing family and friends will be hard, but hopefully blogging, email and Skype will help. And we will have each other. We are also making plans to meet up with some family members for a holiday within our holiday.
friends and fun
For all the worries and the downsides, it’s going to be an amazing experience. We will trek through rainforests, stroke elephants, shiver on glaciers, munch bushtucker and marvel at volcanoes spewing lava. We will be swapping squeezing onto the Northern Line and the morning search for homework and swimming kits, for paddling in turquoise waters and playing on beautiful white sand beaches.
It won’t all be easy, but it will be an adventure. I wonder who will learn more, the adults or the children?
Victoria Wallop is married with three children and writes a blog: It‟s a small world after all. Five words to describe me: optimistic, loyal, thoughtful, funny-once-you-get-to-know-me, happy Favourite food: toss up between roast chicken with everything and Vietnamese Bun (noodle salad with chargrilled meat on top) Vices: chocolate, preferably Green & Blacks dark milk Favourite book: I couldn't choose one book, it depends on my mood. If I need cheering up, „Pride and Prejudice‟ or anything by PG Wodehouse does the trick. „Brideshead Revisited‟ stands up to re-reading many times Favourite smell: definitely proper coffee My children: Eve is almost eight years old. She likes cheerleading and everything 'old fashioned', particularly wearing a shawl and pretending to read by candlelight. She is looking forward to missing school and visiting the rainforest. Edward is five years old. He likes the Wii, animals and being outdoors and his love of bugs extends to eating them. Needless to say he is looking forward to visiting Thailand, where he has heard you can eat fried crickets. Dickon is three years old. He likes all forms of transport but doesn't like spiders or worms, which might be a problem in the rainforest! A day in my life … My day starts with a proper cup of coffee and piece of toast served in bed by my lovely husband, Steve. We then have the usual rush to get dressed, ready and out of the door for school and nursery. I have two hours or so to catch up on housewifely duties and get ready for our trip, but in reality, spend most of it blogging and twittering. I collect Dickon from nursery for lunch then we play complicated games involving spiderman, dinosaurs and power rangers until school pick up time. Then it's tea, bath, bed for the children and supper with Steve for me. I relax in the evenings by watching TV, reading and always a scalding hot bath before bed.
perfect liberty, to think, feel, do just as one pleases.” William Hazlitt
h a w a i i
Victoria is particularly looking forward to Hawaii hmm, wonder why?
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
friends and fun
spring is in the air ...
Six suggestions to help you make the most of it ... Celebrate the start of spring
Get a dose of art and history
Witness the colourful blaze of more than 38,000 bulbs planted at Holker Hall and Gardens in Cumbria, to celebrate the property‟s 60th season. www.holker-hall.co.uk
See some of history‟s most coveted artworks in „Victoria and Albert: Art and Love‟ in The Queen‟s Gallery at Buckingham Palace. From 19/03/10. www.royalcollection.org.uk
Take part in a Ribbonwalk
Visit the Enchanted Palace
Choose to walk either 10 or 20 miles, in beautiful countryside and with amazing camaraderie, in support of Breast Cancer Care. www.breastcancercare.org.uk
Gaze in wonder at the way artistic greats like Vivienne Westwood have transformed Kensington Palace‟s sumptuous State Apartments. www.hrp.org.uk/kensingtonpalace
Go on an Easter Egg hunt
Follow a bluebell trail
„The World of Beatrix Potter‟ hides 100 huge Peter Rabbit eggs across Cumbria. The egg hunt map goes online at 10am on 31/03/10. www.golakes.co.uk
Get local info from the Woodland Trust, or Arlington Bluebell Walk in East Sussex has 8 breathtaking trails. www.woodland trust.org.uk www.bluebellwalk.co.uk
mums join together One of the most powerful features of Mummo is the ability to set up groups < When I first had the idea for Mummo (a scarily long time ago now!) part of what I wanted to do was create a way for mums to ‘find’ and communicate with each other. It struck me that women, and perhaps mums in particular, are generally great at supporting each other and coming up with interesting, innovative yet practical ways to get things done. I wondered what would happen if we could more easily track down and connect with the kind of other mums we needed, whether we were looking for mums in the same area, mums with the same sense of humour, mums with the same passion for salsa or mums with a certain set of skills. I also knew, from my own experience in my own town, that a ’virtual’ community of local mums could be a phenomenally powerful thing < and I saw Mummo as a way of enabling this to happen all over the country. A Mummo group is an ideal way to get together with other mums over some common ground. You can share 'insider' info, ideas and advice. You can organise community initiatives or plan a campaign for change. You can contribute to a group blog and, soon, you'll be able to place classified ads so that you can buy, sell and trade within your groups. And, of course, you'll also get to know each other and, more than likely, become good friends. All without leaving the house. And all for free! © Mummo Ltd : March 2010
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead, American anthropologist (1901-1978)
Want to set up a group?
join Mummo first of all and sign inclick on ‘groups’ in the left-hand navigation click on ‘new group’ in the pink header panel or right-hand column fill in the form and save - that’s it!
friends and fun
rediscovering me ... re Melissa Talago, mother of two and business owner, set sail from British shores in September 2009 on her own daring adventure < It was a cold January morning, a few weeks into the new year. My resolutions to ‘get fit’ and ‘make time for me’ hadn’t been ignored entirely, after all I had made it to one exercise class. But both were proving difficult. With two young children (aged 3 and 4 at the time), a husband who was constantly out of the country for work and my own small business to run, the only real exercise I was getting was spinning on the hamster wheel of life.
Flicking through the Sunday papers, a picture of a yacht crashing through waves caught my eye. ‘THIS COULD BE YOU!’ the caption read. It was an advert recruiting crew members for the Clipper Round the World yacht race, the only race of its kind sailed by amateurs with little or no sailing experience. ‚Wouldn’t it be great to do something like this?‛ I asked my husband. Expecting the inevitable weary sigh of ‚Yes dear‛, I was surprised when instead he said: ‚If you want to do it, go for it.‛ I laughed it off. It was a ludicrous idea. I could barely find the time to go to the loo by myself, much less set sail across an ocean. But that evening, I snuck onto the race website and sent off an email asking for more information. Within minutes I received an information pack. What it described whet my appetite even more, but also confirmed just how impossible it would be for me to do it.
A single leg of the race would mean me being away for 6 weeks. On top of that I’d have to squeeze in four individual weeks of training. Given that during the previous five years I’d never been apart from my children for more than 48 hours, this seemed impossible. And then there was the small price tag of £8k that came along with it, not to mention what I’d do with my business. ‚Oh well, it would have been nice,‛ I said to my husband. To my surprise he said: ‚If it’s something you really want to do, we can make a plan.‛
If I’m honest, I’d never had a deepseated desire to sail across an ocean. But I did want to rediscover life beyond the laundry pile. I wanted to find me. So I took the plunge. I filled out the application form, paid the initial deposit and went for an interview to secure a place on a boat. Just like that, 2009 changed from an ordinary year to one of sheer lunacy. The old saying of ‘How do you eat an elephant? In bite-size chunks’ became my mantra.
Next up I needed to make some money. Once I added up all the costs, the bill was rapidly nearing £12k. I created a blog (www.moretolifethanlaundry.com) and with the support of other mummy bloggers, managed to drive awareness of my adventure, which resulted in people donating money to my mission. I wrote to potential sponsors, sold advertising on the blog, held an online auction with prizes donated by clients and held a nearly new sale in a local village hall. My weekends were spent driving around sticking posters up or mailing out prizes. All of my efforts took the sting out of the price tag but by no means got close to covering it. Then the training kicked in. This included: three intensive weeks of sailing training at sea, pushing me physically and mentally while getting to grips with sea sickness; one week of brain-achingly difficult navigation and meteorology in a classroom; a day of sea survival training involving swimming fully clothed and clambering about in life rafts; plenty of 6 mile runs and doing core stability training at home to ensure I was fit enough to pull my weight on board. It was an incredibly steep learning curve including the writing of several exams, but the wealth of knowledge I earned, so utterly different from my normal life, was liberating.
First issue to tackle was the maternal guilt. Was it right for me to head off for six weeks on my own without my children? After foolishly posting the question on a parenting forum, it became clear that there were two parenting factions: the mothers who felt I was being selfish and unfair on my children and those who wholeheartedly endorsed my plan and wished they could do it too. I quickly realised that the life lessons I’d be giving my children would outweigh any potential separation issues. Once I’d mentally made peace with myself, the practicalities of booking in the training and organising childcare had to be arranged. Without the luxury of lots of family in country to help out, I managed to cobble together cover by getting my husband to take time off work (no mean feat!), using the help of friends and paying through the nose for a nanny. From a practical point of view, leaving the house for every training session saw me having to write extensive lists on how to keep the household running, while emotionally, it was incredibly hard to leave the children, despite them holding up marvellously. © Mummo Ltd : March 2010
friends and fun
That’s me in the middle with a red bandanna and a white glove! Every minute I wasn’t training, fundraising or looking after my children, I was working on my business to earn the money I needed. We reverted to a ‘make do and mend’ mentality in the house. My wardrobe didn’t get a new non-sailing related item added to it all year. Left-overs became the new take out. Summer holidays were spent in the garden. By scrimping and saving, I managed to cover the mounting bills. This left me with one more challenge. What to do with my business, a PR company – www.peekaboocoms.co.uk - that I run from home. Having toyed with the idea of taking on freelancers for a while, I was forced to take the plunge and do it. I recruited in three members of staff to keep the business going while I was away. After doing extensive handovers, I turned off my mobile phone and shut the door on working life for 6 weeks. On 13 September 2009, we set sail from Hull with over 200,000 people sending us on our way, including my husband and boys waving from the front row. As we walked on stage in our crew gear - looking every bit like professional sailors rather than a bunch of amateurs with a hankering for adventure - it hit me that after the months of hard work, it was finally happening. Me, a mum, who until the start of this
year had never dreamed of doing something like this, was about to sail across the Atlantic all the way to Brazil, via France. And so the adventure began. For six weeks, I lived and worked alongside complete strangers in a 68 foot space, eating tinned food, having the occasional salty shower, sleeping in swaying bunks and wearing the same pair of knickers for days on end. I learnt how to steer by the stars, do sail changes in the dark and understand complex instruments. I discovered muscles I didn’t know I had (farewell bingo wings!) and learnt new skills I’d never previously contemplated < like sewing, plumbing and extreme catering! We saw sunrises and sunsets that made us weep with their sheer beauty and witnessed menacing squalls with fierce rain that washed the sweat off our sticky bodies. We experienced energy-sapping heat and bone-aching exhaustion from the constant night wakings of the watch system. We heard whales gently blow alongside us and watched dolphins cavort in our bow waves. We celebrated loudly as we sailed across the equator into a new hemisphere and sat mute in awe at the magnificence the night sky. We danced, sang, laughed till our sides ached, cried, shared secrets and discussed life.
Mostly - and best of all - I simply felt free to be me. I wasn’t a mum, a wife, a daughter, a friend, a neighbour, an employer, a businesswoman or a homemaker. I was just me. The person living underneath all those roles and labels. Someone who hadn’t had an airing for some time. And it was great to let that someone out. Standing on the bow of the boat with a view of Sugar Loaf Mountain as we finally entered Rio de Janeiro, what struck me was just how normal it felt to do this. How had it ever seemed like such a foreign concept? How is it that everyone doesn’t do this? I had to remind myself of the awesome journey I’d been on all year to bring me to this place, with the incredible amount of work it had taken and all the amazing support I’d received. And while it may have
seemed like a daunting thing to take on all those months ago, it was worth every minute of effort that went into it. Waiting for me on my return was a grateful husband and two far more confident little boys, inspired to set off on adventures of their own. My business was ticking along brilliantly and the house was still standing. As for me, I came home a lot fitter, with colour in my cheeks and a stone lighter (hooray!). But most importantly, I returned with my soul refreshed. I now know that no matter how big the laundry pile or how long the ‘to do’ list gets, it is possible to escape the groundhog day that life can become. There are adventures out there just waiting to happen. You just have to go find them. You never know, you might find yourself in the process. Highs Walking onto the stage in Hull in our crew kit, with our boat song blaring out, crowds of people cheering and knowing that I was part of something utterly amazing Being on the helm for the start of an around the world yacht race Speaking to my son on his 4th birthday from the middle of the ocean Holding an impromptu disco in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in a dead calm Listening to whales swimming alongside us during a full moon Seeing the coastline of South America for the first time Lows Missing my boys - and having to wave goodbye to them in Hull (their faces nearly broke my heart) Eating tinned beans, corned beef and mystery meat for weeks on end The extreme heat from which there was no escape Being permanently sticky, sweaty and stinky Missing the scoring gate and getting stuck in a wind hole moving us from 2nd to 6th place Having to do Mother Watch - ie.. cooking for 18 people for 24 hours in the world’s smallest cooking space
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
friends and fun
Melissa Talago is married with two sons and lives in Berkshire. She runs a Peekaboo Communications, a PR consultancy specialising in the „tums to tots‟ sector. She also blogs at Home Office Mum and More To Life Than Laundry. Oh, and she manages to fit in the odd amazing adventure as well! Things that make ne happy: cuddles from my children, spontaneous get-togethers, bracing walks in the country Motto in life: This is your life so start living Favourite book: The Twilight series Favourite music:: I‟m a big fan of Newton Faulkner Favourite food: Thin crust pizza Favourite smell: Freshly baked bread My children: I have two little boys, Josh (5, almost 6) and Jamie (4). They are typical little boys, boisterous, loud, protectors against baddy aliens, full of cuddles, lovely! A day in my life … My day starts at around 6am (or ealier depending on when the kids get up). Then the usual mad rush to make lunches, get kids dressed and off to school before I start work at 9.30 am. Lunch is something quick taken out of the kitchen cupboard and eaten at my desk upstairs! My office is a spare room in our house. It‟s a permanent mess that looks more like a playroom. My children are at school and pre-school before they spend the afternoons playing with me or going to Karate. I relax by walking on my own, reading or having a glass of wine! My day ends much too late - usually 11 or 11.30pm because I stay up to read.
365 photos slow down and become more aware of your surroundings gain all sorts of interesting insights into yourself, your life and the world you live in create a wonderfully evocative record of your existence
Here’s an idea: take a photo every single day for a whole year ... I don’t know about you, but in our family the camera tends to only come out on high days and holidays, and I forget to take pictures on ‘ordinary’ days. And yet, it’s often the little things that we take for granted or perhaps don’t even notice normally - that can evoke the strongest memories.
So why not give it a go? If you’re interested in a photographic challenge, you might also like to check out these sites:
There are lots of people already engaging in the 365 photo challenge and publishing their pics on the web. Feedback suggests that the simple act of carrying your camera with you everywhere you go, and having to come up with at least one photo a day, actually helps you to:
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
mummy blogger ‘Sticky Fingers’ runs a weekly gallery in which she encourages other mums to post their best photos on a particular theme Susannah Conway runs an online course called ‘Unravelling: Ways of Seeing Myself’ which is all about using photography to increase your self-awareness and reconnect with the real you.
community and contribution
The ‘million mums’ campaign calls on mums around the world to help make motherhood safe < One of my close friends is expecting her second baby any day now. I texted her last night to see if there was any news. I received this message back: ‚No, nothing happening yet, but we’re all pretty excited now.‛ That one short text sums up for me the difference between pregnancy and childbirth here, in the UK, and in the developing world. Here, for most of us, pregnancy is a time of promise and anticipation, culminating in celebration when our precious little one finally arrives. Okay, so that may not be exactly
how it is for everyone but, regardless of individual circumstances, as a society we don’t tend to see having a baby as having one foot in the grave! And yet, for women in many countries, that is the stark reality <
pregnancy and childbirth are the biggest killers of young women of reproductive age in the world today more than half a million women die each year due to pregnancy and birth-related complications, leaving an estimated two million children motherless over 80% of these deaths are preventable maternal mortality rates have not improved for more than 20 years
This post is „recycled‟ from last year‟s magazine to save reinventing the wheel!
Imagine this < Imagine going into labour and saying goodbye to your husband or partner, and your other children, knowing that the chances are you may never see them again < In Niger, a woman’s lifetime risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth is 1 in 7. Here in the UK, it’s more like 1 in 8,000.
a woman dies every single minute of every single day due to pregnancy or birthrelated complications
Imagine going into labour and having to walk to the nearest hospital < In the developing world, women in the throes of labour often have to walk miles and miles, across rough terrain, in the heat of day or cold of night, to get to any kind of medical support ... Imagine going into labour and not being allowed to go to hospital < In some cultures, women are prevented from seeking medical care because it’s too expensive or because of the risk that they will be seen by other men. Imagine going into labour and being left alone, for days, to deliver your baby by yourself <
white ribbon = hope
Half of the world’s women give birth at home, alone or with only an untrained friend or relative to help. Imagine what would happen if things went wrong and there was no-one who could help < More than half a million women die each year due to pregnancy and birth-related complications. Millions of others are left with horrific damage - like obstetric fistulas - which often results in them being ostracised from their own communities. Of course, the women are only half the story. Often their babies die too. If they survive, their chances of living beyond two years are massively reduced without a mother. Any older children also suffer hugely. They, too, are more likely to die. They are also far more likely to suffer from malnutrition and stunted growth, and far less likely to get immunised or educated. The implications for girls tend to be even greater, leading to a continued cycle of poverty and poor health.
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
community and contribution
Siti’s story < Siti is an Indonesian woman who died eight years ago after giving birth to her sixth child. Like most women from her village, she worked very hard even while pregnant. She awoke before the sun rose each morning and did her household duties until her husband's eyes closed late in the evening. She cooked all the meals, but she did not eat with her family. Instead, she ate after everyone had eaten their fill, which often meant that she did not get enough food for herself. She developed iron deficiency anaemia and did not receive any antenatal care. Because she had gone through pregnancy and given birth without complications five times before, her sixth pregnancy was not viewed any differently. Although there was a trained midwife who lived in a nearby village, Siti's family decided to ask the wellknown traditional birth attendant in their village to assist with the birth. When Siti went into labour, complications arose and she suffered from postpartum haemorrhage. The decision makers of the family were not home at the time, and Siti was not brought to a health care facility until two hours later. Siti died due to delays in seeking care, reaching care, and receiving care, like so many women do in Indonesia.
It’s a tragedy The statistics on maternal mortality are nothing less than tragic. Not just for the women whose lives are needlessly cut short. Not just for the families left bereft by the loss of their wives, mothers, daughters and sisters. No, ultimately, this is a tragedy on a bigger scale - for the communities, cultures and economies of many countries in the developing world. Mothers play a vital role in the economic health of their families and communities. Women are the sole earners for more than 25% of all households. Their income is more likely than men’s to go on food, education, medicines and family needs. Each year an estimated US $15.5 billion in potential productivity is lost when mothers and newborns die. In addition, when problems arise in childbirth, families often end up spending money on medical interventions that come too late and that they cannot afford. Communities must then take on the burden of caring for the bereaved and impoverished family, and governments are forced to manage the widespread effects of this cycle of poverty.
So what can we do to help? As mothers, there is a huge amount we can do to change this situation, especially if we come together and harness our collective power. That’s the idea behind the ‘million mums’ campaign ...
This fabric panel forms part of an exhibition called ’Promises to Mothers Lost’, organised by the White Ribbon Alliance to commemorate women who have died needlessly in pregnancy or childbirth. It is dedicated to Siti Nurjanah Binti Erna by Aliansi Pita Putih Indonesia (Indonesia White Ribbon Alliance).
Add your voice Just go to the website www.millionmums.org and provide your details. You only need to give your name and an email address and you’ll have added your voice to the campaign. There has been no improvement in maternal mortality statistics for over twenty years, despite the fact that we know what needs to be done and we know how to do it. Why no change? Well, it seems that women are still a very long way from achieving equality. They simply do not have the same rights as men. Their lives, apparently, are less important. We need to put pressure on the governments of the world and call for them to take action. Mums matter.
Donate some money Just go to the website www.millionmums.org, with your credit or debit card in hand, and give whatever you can afford. If a million people gave just a pound each, that would make a truly massive difference. And, of course, the more money you give, the more lives we’ll be able to help save. In the developing world, it doesn’t take much - just £10 will pay for an emergency Caesarean section when a woman gets into difficulty in labour. S
What is ‘million mums’? ‘million mums’ is a new campaign that aims to tackle the challenge of maternal mortality. It’s being driven by the White Ribbon Alliance, in partnership with Mummo, and will run from Mothers’ Day 2009 to Mothers’ Day 2010.
Spread the word
The campaign has two simple goals:
As mothers, we know only too well how much mums matter. For most of us, the experience of becoming a mum strips us of any complacency or arrogance we might have had and leaves us humble, exposed and vulnerable. Suddenly, we’re excruciatingly aware of how much we’ve got to lose. And we instantly discover the unspoken bond between mothers, the bond of understanding. There may be a thousand other differences between our lives, but one thing binds us together. We’re mothers, we love our children, and we will do anything to protect them. So please join million mums.
to bring together a
voices to speak out against the needless deaths of women in pregnancy and childbirth to raise a million pounds to help the White Ribbon Alliance to make motherhood safe
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
Tell every mum you know. All of them. Send them the link to this magazine or just the link to the website www.millionmums.org.
community and contribution
yummy mummy Nadia Pendleton, founder of Community Kitchens UK, suggests a way to make cooking for your family fun! I’m founder director of Community Kitchens UK or CKUK (pronounced ‚cook‛) a not-for-profit organisation bringing together vulnerable people in community centres to cook a week’s worth of fresh healthy meals. Since having my son Luca (20 months) and being pregnant with number two, I have met lots of mums who, like me, fast realised that along with the joys of having a new baby comes a huge lack of time!
I’m a real foodie and, like the mums I met, love cooking. With a lively baby who rarely slept for more than 15 minutes at a stretch I found it hard to cook fresh interesting food every day as I used to. Loath to rely on ready meals or snacks, I decided to set up a ’yummy mummy’ Community Kitchen from my home. A group of six of us get together fortnightly to cook up a storm and have a great time doing it. We chat over a decaf about the recipes we want to cook then compile a shopping list, which I then bulk order online to be delivered to my place the night before the cook-up. On the day we take turns looking after the babies and preparing the dishes so that there is enough for each mum to take home at least two generous portions of each dish. We sometimes cook big batches of foods for the kids and other times for ourselves. At the end of it we have three or even four different meals to take home to the fridge and freezer not bad for an afternoon cooking, chatting and having a laugh WITH our babies.
How to start a ‘yummy mummy’ kitchen ... If you want to cook delicious fresh food AND save time, money and effort get together a group of four to six of your mum friends and start your own community kitchen. Simply answer the following questions to help you set up:
What happens if someone does not come? Decide if you want to have a cut off point for lateness. Usually even 20-30 minutes late means it can be hard to get everything prepped and cooked in the set time. Money matters
The basics How often will we meet? Once a week? Once a fortnight? First Monday of every month? What days and times are most convenient to meet? Where will we meet? Each mum’s place on rotation? What about those who don’t have space? Will the same people host each week? How long will we meet for? Think about prep, cook and clean up time. Three to four hours is average. How many recipes will we aim to cook in each session? How will childcare be arranged? All take turns to prep, cook and watch the kids or one person / two people child-mind on rotation each session while the others focus on the cooking? Perhaps if one person can’t or doesn’t want to cook they can take the lead on childcare? Does everyone have adequate transport to get home with cooked food? If not, can anyone give lifts, help others? Who will plan the menus and choose the recipes? All bring one recipe for each session and lead it, or the person whose kitchen it is chooses the recipes for their week, gets them agreed with the others and orders all the food accordingly What will we do if someone has food allergies or intolerances? What will we do if someone doesn’t like certain dishes? Make more of another, take a majority vote or all have to agree on the recipe? Who will do the shopping? On-line works best so who will order? The hostess, the same person each week? How do we cater for our group size with recipe portions? Two portions each of each recipe, one baking dish each or more? Is there enough equipment to cook with? Will people bring their own pots and pans / oven dishes or will you use the host’s? © Mummo Ltd : March 2010
How much will be spent each week? Can we lower costs by using less meat / fish? Where will we get the start-up supplies? Where will we do the shopping? Can anyone bring their own home-grown produce? How will they be compensated for it? How will we arrange payment for shopping? Will we pay in advance for shopping or in arrears? Can we allow debts to accumulate? How will we keep records? Pick one bookkeeper and have a kitty box, any under-spend one week means you can buy treats the next week or keep it till the end of the month and all go out for a well earned drink! Occasionally there may be a participant who is not able to contribute any money. The group decides whether the participant can contribute something else, eg. garden produce, childcare, transport or whether another arrangement can be made.
community and contribution
Working out the cost
£3.93 x 3 recipes = £11.79 in total
This process depends on the group, however generally the total cost of the food is worked out and then divided by the number of servings needed for the whole group. This cost is then multiplied out for each participant based on how many servings they need for their family.
Example 2 Another way to manage food costs is to divide the food out into even amounts for each person who cooked. This way the cost is divided equally between members. For example, if there are 5 people cooking and the total cost of food is £55, each person pays £11.
Example 1 The group is making 3 recipes with a total of 14 portions for each recipe (14 x 3 = 42 portions in total). The total cost of the groceries was £55.
£55 ÷ 5 = £11 per person
£55 ÷ 42 portions = £1.31 per portion Sam has two other children aged 7 and 9 years. She takes home 3 portions of each meal prepared - one for herself, one for her husband and half for each of her children. Thus Sam pays: 3 x £1.31 = £3.93 per recipe
Shopping Stick to the shopping list!!! If you want to cut costs use comparison websites for your groceries. Also compare frozen to fresh vegetables and local market prices to supermarket prices. Weigh or count foods rather than buying in prepacked bags to make sure you only pay for and use what you need.
community and contribution
Health and safety Remind people of good hygiene practice while cooking - hair up, clean nails, etc ... Decide what will happen if one of the mums or children is ill. Will they attend? It is a good idea if someone in your group has done a first aid and food hygiene course. Make sure there are fire blankets and a first aid kit and everyone knows if you have a smoke alarm, also let people know the quickest way out in an emergency. Baby logistics Does the host have room for prams or is it slings only? Is there parking nearby? Bus routes? Trains? Taxi share home? Does the host have enough baby equipment or should the others bring mats / toys, etc?
Community Kitchens is a small social enterprise bringing together vulnerable people (single mums, low income, unemployed, elderly, new immigrants) once a week in existing community kitchen facilities to cook up to a week’s worth of healthy food in one three-hour session. By joining together, the cost of food is cut down, people try new foods and learn new cooking skills as well as other skills such as budgeting, organisation and teamwork in a fun and sociable setting. This enables them to (re)connect with their community and meet new people, helping them out of isolation. For more information see www.communitykitchens.org.uk
Nadia Pendleton is married with one son and another on the way any day now. In fact, she wins the prize for most committed contributor, sending stuff through on her actual due date! Nadia is the founder of Community Kitchens UK and author of „The Melting Pot: The World in Your Kitchen‟. Things that make me happy: my family, travelling to new places, cooking and sharing food with family and friends Motto in life: “Whether you think you can or you think you can‟t, you are right”. Most recently I have tried to live by the mantra “Be the change you want to see in the world”. This was shared with me by a wonderful Rwandan refugee lady in London who came to Community Kitchens as she wanted to do more for her community. Despite everything she had gone through she thought her peers should forget about the fact they had been victims in the past and do something in the present to make a change - truly an inspiration. Favourite film: It changes all the time. I hate horrors and love a good cry but am not a fan of predictable rom coms (except at certain times of the month when I banish my husband to the pub, put my son to bed and veg on the sofa with maltesers and popcorn!). Favourite smell: Anything that takes me back to moments past - foods, people‟s perfumes, the rain. Favourite piece of clothing: I live in skinny jeans and boots. Most treasured possession: There is nothing I could not leave behind. When I‟ve been travelling I‟ve found it liberating to carry just one bag and not buy anything except food to eat and drink but I do love photographs. My house is full of them. My children: I have a 21-month-old son, Luca Kai, and am due to have another son today! Luca is energetic, very talkative, creative, inquisitive, funny, very polite and sweet. Obviously I‟m going to say adorable, clever and kind … as most mothers would!
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
community and contribution
So you’re up for doing something daring in 2010?! Well, why not try a charity challenge? That way, you get an amazing adventure and a good cause gets some cash.
The next page highlight just a few of the challenges that are up for grabs, both here in the UK and overseas. It’s designed to give you a taste of what’s on offer and is by no means an exhaustive list. For more information on the kind of trips available, visit the websites of any charities you’d particularly like to support and/or check out the websites below: Across the Divide Do It for Charity Ultimate Travel Company Charity Challenge Classic Tours
Tall Stories Action Challenge
17/07/10 - 18/07/10 Oxfam Trailwalker, South Downs
25/11/10 - 05/12/10 Parkinson’s Disease Society Nepal Trek
01/09/10 - 05/09/10 Macmillan Cancer Support Trek the French Alps
18/11/10 - 28/11/10 Home Start Trek Costa Rica
04/09/10 - 12/09/10 Action Aid South African Community Project
07/10/10 - 16/10/10 Marie Curie Cancer Care Kilimanjaro Climb
23/10/10 - 31/10/10 British Heart Foundation Great Wall of China Run
04/11/10 - 14/11/10 Scope Community Project, Cambodia
02/12/10 - 12/12/10 Open challenge (support a charity of your choice)
Saigon to Angkor Wat bike ride
04/02/11 - 13/02/11 Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Rajasthan Tiger Challenge
24/03/11 - 03/04/11 Open challenge (support a charity of your choice)
Brazilian Trek and Kayak Challenge
whenever you like! The Anthony Nolan Trust Diving with sharks
Go on, what are you waiting for? You know you want to really! And it might be a great opportunity for your family to find out just how much you do for them. Believe it or not, though, things won’t grind to a halt without you ... but you’ll come back to welcome arms, refreshed and revitalised and ready to be ‚mum‛ again..
© Mummo Ltd : March 2010
community and contribution
slim your waste ...
A Suffolk mother of two, Karen Cannard decided to try and create zero waste for a week. This is the story of what happened ... Do you ever have a little green nag that sits on your shoulder, poking you in the ear, telling you that you should reduce your waste and recycle more? If so, The Rubbish Diet Challenge could be just what you need to give it a good old boot and stop the nagging once and for all. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, that’s what I got when I signed up to my local councils’ bin-slimming challenge in January 2008.
I’d seen an advert asking for local residents to have a go at a Zero Waste Week. Not feeling entirely confident that we could go for one whole week without creating any rubbish, I set up my blog to chart our progress and to seek help from friends in the blogosphere along the way. And after just eight weeks, with the zero waste challenge as the finale, all we threw away during the last seven days was one first-aid plaster. Since then, our contribution to landfill has been as little as one carrier bag’s worth of rubbish per month. Before the zero waste challenge it used to be six huge bin bags! When I first started to reduce our rubbish, I actually thought I was a pretty good recycler. However, I was surprised at what I’d learnt, not just about how little I actually knew about my local recycling facilities, but also about the impact of food waste on the environment. So when Zero Waste Week finished, I knew I couldn’t turn my back on the issue. I wanted
to keep finding out more and share it on my blog. The real turning point came when I visited a disposal site on the day that landfill taxes were about to go up and saw the resources that were just being buried in the ground and wasted. It was then that I really knew I had to overcome my natural shyness and help put the issue of waste firmly on the consumer map. I wanted to find a novel way of inspiring others to join in. So the blog, which was only intended to last up until Zero Waste Week, is still live-and-kicking two years later. Now, in 2010, I’ve launched The Rubbish Diet Challenge with an online guide to help those who also want to tackle their waste head-on!
mean and how to make best use of your local facilities. Each week, readers are encouraged to weigh-in as well as keep tabs on their expenditure, which helps to measure the financial benefits of reducing waste. The challenge ends with a Zero Waste Week, with advice on how to avoid rubbish when you are out-and-about and how to reduce the amount of waste created at events such as Christmas and birthdays. There are even tips on how to put your challenge into the media spotlight and get others involved, should you want to raise awareness of the issue within your community. There are also lots of personal anecdotes to keep you entertained and to provide reassurance and further inspiration where needed.
What makes The Rubbish Diet Challenge different to other waste reduction ideas? Most campaigns ask us to reduce this, recycle that or re-use the other and that’s great as it encourages consumers and those in the manufacturing chain to consider ways in which they can tackle waste. However, with so many messages hitting us on a daily basis, it’s tempting to think ‚that’s a good idea, I’ll tackle it later‛ then get back to our very busy lives, forgetting about our good intentions. The Rubbish Diet Challenge helps those who are serious about reducing waste to grab the bull by the horns with a slimming plan that tackles their rubbish in a very short time period. It’s a bit like WeightWatchers, but for your bin, with regular weigh-ins to measure progress and help maintain the momentum for trying new ideas each week.
Top tips for Rubbish Diet beginners ... 1.
Firstly, become best friends with your local recycling officer. Visit the website www.recyclenow.com, which has lots of information about what can be recycled in your area, plus advice on composting.
When shopping, look for products that you can buy loose as well as alternative products with packaging that can be recycled easily.
Remember a reusable bag isn’t just for groceries. Use a smart one for other shopping too.
If food waste is an issue in your household, then check out www.lovefoodhatewaste.com, which is packed with tips on how to reuse leftovers and includes recipes from top celebrity chefs as well as advice from householders across the UK.
Focus on ditching your disposable items for reusable alternatives—for example, swap kitchen towel for washable cloths - and remember to seek out refillable products where possible.
How would it work for me? As with any diet plan, you begin with a weigh-in to establish a starting point. It’s also a good time to establish some realistic goals and a time-frame as a focus for your project and find out if any friends or family want to take part too. The slimming plan then takes you through an audit of your bin, to create a hit list of things that regularly get thrown away. Ideas for eliminating this list are shared over eight separate weekly sections, which motivate readers to think about everyday activities with waste in mind. There are top tips on how to avoid packaging and how to reduce waste at source as well as bags of information about what recycling labels
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community and contribution
And finally ... Enjoy that special moment when you hear the drone of the bin lorry in the full knowledge that you don’t have to scarper to put out your bin. If you play your cards right it could last for months, and for some, it may even be years! For more information about how to put your bin on a diet, visit my blog at www.therubbishdiet.co.uk where you’ll find The Rubbish Diet Challenge available in 8 manageable sections. And who knows, as well as doing your bit to conserve resources and help tackle climate change, it could even save you some money too.
Karen Cannard created The Rubbish Diet Challenge. She was shortlisted for two national awards in 2009, has been featured on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and is a regular guest on BBC Radio Suffolk and other regional stations. She is also a speaker at sustainability events in the East of England. She has two children: Joseph (8) and Thomas (5) who she describes as “lively, funny, quarelsome and caring - a bit like puppy dogs really”. Five words to describe me: optimistic, creative, happy, generous, time-poor Favourite book: „Remembrance‟, Theresa Breslin Favourite music: currently Lada Gaga Favourite smell: jasmine Favourite clothing: my very forgiving wrap-over dresses!
Let’s have less of this And more of this
Most treasured possession: my memories A day in my life ... My day starts at 6.30am to download emails and messages, followed by breakfast and inching the kids out of the door for the school dash. Lunch is a quick ten minute affair, or an occasional meeting with friends. My children arrive home from school at great speed and race over the threshold in an animated manner. I relax by socialising with friends, having a relaxing bath or enjoying a night in with my husband watching a romantic comedy. My day ends at 11pm, when I crash into bed and and plan the adventures of the next day.
But now I'm inundated with declarations that are making me feel decidedly on edge - ‘Election to be decided at the School Gates!’ ‘Mumsnet Election!’ ‘Cybermums will decide!’ And I know I have to make a decision soon but, to use a slightly predictable analogy - if you want us to go shopping, then give us something we want to buy. Not just more of last season's neutrals - cut taxes, smaller class sizes, cut spending, blah blah blah (seen it, bought it, bored of it).
mum power Gigi Elioff of MumsRock talks about what politicians should do to win the mum vote ... I know I should feel guilty but I'm beginning to lose interest in the upcoming General Election. I've still not decided who to vote for. And the scary thing is, I really don't think I'm alone. I've only ever voted Labour (there, I've said it!) and occasionally in local elections I've voted Lib Dem, or Green. Once, I actually didn't vote. This was mainly because I knew my other half was going to vote for the other side, and frankly I couldn't be bothered with the walk. As he pointed out, he'd only cancel out my vote. So we stayed in and had a nice cup of tea instead.
And while our American cousins had a very real and exciting choice between candidates - silver-haired statesman versus gutsy ex-first lady, versus the new (black) hope of Barack Obama .... We get Dave, Gordon and Nick. All white, all male, all middly aged, middly road, middly piddly boringly predictable. Yet, this time round they are apparently courting us they want to know what women want, the motherjugglers, the fairer-sex thinkers, the SAH biscuitnibblers. But courting us with what? Where is their initiative, their arsenal of new and inspiring policy, their genuinely passionate pledges to change our lives, and those of our families, for good? Their mouths are moving, but I don't think I'm alone in thinking, I can't hear a buggery thing. So I suppose what I am saying is this. If you want us to vote, to believe in you, then give us something to believe in. Because the way things are going, come Polling Day, we'll be staying in to wash our hair.
Gigi Eligoloff is a former TV producer and the founder of the Mums Rock website, a place for “mothers with attitude to shop, share and rant”. She has a son, Kit, who is three. Things that make me happy: chocolate, sleepy children (not drugged, though - that‟s very wrong), sunshine streaming through my window, toes in the sand, good red wine Favourite film: „Brief Encounter‟. No contest. A day in my life ... My day starts with the inability to wake up despite the fact that my son is slamming a copy of „Noddy‟ on my head screaming “Read it to me ... NOW!”. Lunch is Neighbours, Redbush tea and chocolate - not very healthy, is it?! My office is in my living room and very close to the TV and kettle. I relax with trashy TV, Scrabble, smooth red wine and marathon baths with rose bath oil. My day ends in the nick of time.
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the bank of mum and dad ...
Editor-in-Chief of ‘MoneyWeek’, Merryn Somerset Webb explains why we should put our financial needs first < Ask any mother what she wants for her children and one of her answers is likely to be financial stability. None of us can bear to think of our children going short of anything. So we spend a lot of our time worrying about saving for their futures. Should we top up their Child Trust Funds? Should we start saving into Stakeholder Pensions for them when they
are babies so that they never have to worry about their own old ages? And should we all go without now to make sure we put enough aside to pay their ways through university? Clearly, caring for our children like this is a good thing but there is a huge problem with the way that we tend to prioritise their needs: in doing so we often neglect our own. Most people of new parenting age are in debt (the average under 30 has more than £7000 of non mortgage debt) and have done little or nothing about saving into a pension. Worse, according to a survey from Scottish Widows a few years ago, 50% of women stop saving altogether when they have children. And those who do still save do so not for themselves but for their families. It is easy to think that your children’s needs should take precedent over your own future needs, and to
feel selfish putting money away for the long term if it might be needed for the short term. But this is a backto-front approach to money. After all, your children won’t thank you if you save a few grand for their first house deposit but they then have to use that and more to pay your nursing home fees because your pension pot is empty.
The truth is that your own financial security is one of the best gifts you can give your children. They may not know it now but in 30 years’ time they’ll be very grateful to you for spending less on them and saving less for them so that you can pay your own way in your old age.
your baby is born a voucher for £250 (£500 if you are in a low income household) will drop through your door. The idea is that you invest it in a fund of some kind and then top it up to its maximum of £1200 every year so that, when your child hits 18, they have a nice little pot of cash built up to get them started in life. I’m not convinced about the topping up bit (for all the reasons stated above and because the second you put money into a CTF you lose control over it) but it is important that the first £250 and the next tranche of £250 that you will get when your child turns seven - are used well. But how? You get three choices: 1. 2.
Once you’ve taken care of yourself you can, of course, start to save for your children (houses may be getting cheaper but university certainly isn’t). But when you do, remember that there is no need to do it in a special way. There is little tax advantage in putting money into accounts just for children and interest rates in children’s accounts tend to be worse, not better, than those for ordinary accounts. You are, I think, better off just saving and investing as best you can and leaving the choice of what to spend your savings on later. A nice lump sum will obviously make a difference to your children as they become young adults.
You may, of course, want to spend all the money you’ve saved on financing your children < but you may also, after 18 years of selfless dedication, prefer to spend it learning to surf in Hawaii while they join their peers behind a Tesco checkout every weekend!
In my opinion, this is the option you should take. The last decade has been a dreadful one for stock markets and there is every chance that the next few years will be awful too. But over the next 18 years the odds are that the best returns will come, as they usually do, from the equity markets. By investing your CTF voucher in them, the odds are therefore that you will leverage the cash into the best possible start for your baby. You can find a list of all the funds you can put CTF money into at www.childtrustfund.gov.uk.
Who knows? You might as well leave your options open. All that said, there is one thing you must do for your child if you haven’t already: properly invest their Child Trust Fund. Some time in the few months after
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You can put it in an approved savings account and leave it in cash for the duration. You can put it into what is called a stakeholder account (where it is initially invested in shares and then shifted into less risky investments as the child gets older). If you do nothing, this is the default option the government will choose for your child’s money. You can opt for a shares account so that the money is invested in the stock market for all 18 years.
Merryn Somerset Webb is Editor-in-Chief of MoneyWeek and author of „Love is Not Enough: The Smart Woman‟s Guide to Money‟ Vices: red wine and Lindt 70% chocolate
waste not, want not Bish Muir, author of the ‘Use-it-all Cookbook’ and mother of two, shares her tips for reducing food waste ... As a former ‘Fairy Liquid girl’ - having been chosen from a sea of precocious, blond five year olds to don a witch’s outfit and utter the immortal words ‚I’m a witch with long scratchy fingers and I’m going to make you a witch too!‛ - it is perhaps appropriate that, many decades later, I have returned to the kitchen, and my Fairy Liquid, albeit for a very different reason. My inspiration for the ‘Use-it-all Cookbook’ came from my mother. When she wasn’t ‘door stepping’
advertising agencies, she was perfecting the art of using up leftovers, creating wonderfully tasty meals from what appeared to be nothing more than the odd carrot, half a pot of yogurt and some bacon. Of course, as a product of post-war rationing, she is not alone in possessing resourcefulness when it comes to cooking. Having once worked as a royal footman at Buckingham Palace, TV chef Gary Rhodes revealed that even The Queen insists on keeping the leftovers from the Royal Sunday roast and making them into cottage pie and rissoles during the following week! I can just visualise Her Madge in a pinny in the Royal Kitchen! So, why is this a dying skill when now, in the current economic climate, it is as relevant as ever? Much of the answer lies in the fact that these resourceful skills have not always been passed down through the generations and we now live in a largely ‘throw away’ society.
Every year 6.7 million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK, of which 4.1 million tonnes is either unopened or untouched. To put this into some kind of perspective, on average, each household will throw away between £600 and £700 of food per year - that’s between £15,000 and £24,000 in a lifetime. And the problem is getting worse, with food waste increasing by 15% every decade. This is not only a huge waste of money but also disastrous for the environment. Food waste in landfill creates methane, a greenhouse gas twenty times more potent than CO2. It also creates a run-off called leachate which, as it runs down through the ground, removes any nutrients from the soil, leaving the land baron and devoid of all life. So, what can we do about it? Well, here are my top ten tips for reducing food waste and saving money: 1.
Make a shopping list
I have a note pad permanently glued to my fridge and so, whenever I notice something is running short, I just add it to my list right there and then. Whilst this might seem extreme, even the most basic glance around the kitchen before you go to the shops is better than nothing and saves the build up of ‘veg mountains’ festering in your fridge. 2.
Shop at the right time
Try, wherever possible, not to shop when you’re hungry or when you have small, tired children with you. Doing so is tantamount to food budget (and New Year’s resolution) suicide! Go shopping when we are hungry and all rational thoughts about menu planning and money saving go flying out of the door and we end up with a trolley full of naughty snacks and Gu chocolate pots! 3.
Don’t be a food snob
We all know about the scandal of supermarkets discarding any fruit and veg that aren’t totally perfect. Unfortunately, as a result we are conditioned to turn
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our nose up at anything that is slightly wrinkly and old (no hope for me then!). But the odd wrinkly carrot or apple can be an ingredient for a number of delicious recipes, for example, casseroles, crumbles, soups, etc. 4.
Be brave - don’t be afraid to experiment
We might all have our Mrs Cropley moments (the hapless organist from ‘The Vicar of Dibley’, whose specialities included peanut butter and anchovy sandwishes!) when our kitchen exploits have disastrous consequences and we might have to reach for the phone for a take away, but don’t be afraid to try. Like any art, experimenting is a very important part of creation and throwing a whole load of leftovers into a pot to make a ‘broth’ or stew is worth a try! 5.
Buying seasonal vegetables and fruit can reduce your food bill substantially. If you don’t know what’s in season at the time, go and visit your local farm shop or veg market where they will nearly always only sell produce that is in season. It’s also better for the environment as the produce won’t have travelled half way around the world to get to your table. 6.
Ignore sell buy / use by dates
We’ve completely forgotten how to use our senses when it comes to food. With the exception of fish and meat, very little is going to harm you if it is slightly out of date, so smell, taste and sight will usually tell us if something is edible or not. Caution must be taken with fish and meat though, and both should be consumed within three or four days of being purchased or unfrozen. 7.
Be bold with mould
If cheese has a little mould on it, cut it off, don’t throw the whole lot away. Equally, if you have a little mould on the top of your yogurt or jam, just spoon it out, it’s only penicillin after all! 8.
Keep a cupboard full of essentials
Most recipes use many of the same core ingredients, so keeping a regular stock of these in your kitchen will
enable you to rustle up a variety of dishes adding any leftovers you might have in the fridge. These essentials include: onions, flour, butter, oil, sugar, stock cubes, pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes and so on. 9.
Trust the Tupperware
There is a reason why our mothers went to those parties. Carefully stored leftovers will stay fresh in the fridge for much longer and can then be produced again at a later date to make a soup, pasta sauce, filling for a baked potato, etc. 10.
Recycle for baby
We spend a fortune on buying wonderful-sounding ‘organic’ baby food for our little angels but if you are feeding your family a well balanced diet, then you should be able to liquidise the leftover vegetables, fruit, chicken and fish from the family meal, add a little stock or water and serve that to your baby. It’s much cheaper and you can even freeze it in ice cubes to be brought out at a later date. Small changes can make a huge difference - just spending five minutes a week planning our grocery shop could probably save around 15% on our weekly food bill. It doesn’t take a great deal to save money and help the environment and if everyone changed their habits just slightly we could produce massive results. So to get the ball rolling, here are a couple of favourite recipes of mine which are easy, quick and universally loved.
Chicken Crunch My whole inspiration for compiling a book about using up leftovers came from this one recipe which is ideal if you have any leftover cold chicken or cooked or raw vegetables. This is also perfect for children as they love the cheesy, crunchy topping. Ingredients: 500g chicken or turkey meat (cooked) 200g broccoli or leeks, chopped, or peas (cooked or raw) 1 small tin sweet corn (optional) 50g butter 2 tablespoons plain flour 250ml milk / vegetable water 1 tablespoon mayonnaise 1 tablespoon lemon / lime juice 200g grated cheese Salt and pepper 1 packet of crisps / 3 tablespoons stale breadcrumbs Method: 1. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / gas mark 6. 2. Boil or steam any raw vegetables for about 5 minutes so they are still crunchy, keeping the water from the pan to use later in the sauce if you wish. 3. Put the chicken and cooked vegetables into a flat-bottomed ovenproof dish and add the drained sweetcorn (if using). 4. Melt the butter in a saucepan and blend in the flour. 5. Gradually blend in the milk, stirring constantly over a medium heat until the sauce becomes thick and smooth. Use vegetable cooking water instead of some / all of the milk if you wish. 6. When you have a reasonably thick sauce, add the mayonnaise, lemon / lime juice and half the grated cheese and stir in well. Add salt and pepper to taste. 7. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Crunch the crisps into small pieces and sprinkle these, or breadcrumbs if using, evenly over the chicken and sauce, followed by the remains of the grated cheese. 8. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden.
Serve with rice or potatoes.
Banana and Biscuit Pudding
Bish Muir is the author of The Use -it-all Cookbook. She is married with two children.
I defy even those who pronounce themselves the worst cooks in the world not to be able to throw this one together! Not only is this a perfect way to use up any slightly mushy, brown bananas but it also finds a home for any slightly soft chocolate digestive biscuits or the remains of biscuits at the bottom of the tin. Recently, I tried this using ginger biscuits and it was fantastic - although it got the thumbs down from the children as it had no chocolate in it! So, chocolate covered ginger biscuits might be a good compromise! Ingredients: 3 or 4 ripe / over ripe bananas 250g natural yoghurt (or combination of yoghurt and double cream - whatever you have left in the fridge) 2 tablespoons brown sugar Squeeze of lemon juice 6 or 7 chocolate digestive biscuits (or any other leftover sweet biscuits or crumbs in the bottom of the biscuit tin) Method: 1. Mash up the bananas in a flat-bottomed dish. 2. Add the yoghurt, brown sugar and lemon juice and mix well. 3. Tear off two sheets of kitchen roll (still attached to each other) and lay out flat. 4. Roughly break the biscuits onto one sheet of the kitchen roll and fold the second sheet over the top of the biscuits. 5. Crush the biscuits inside the kitchen roll with a rolling pin, making sure you crush all the lumps. 6. Sprinkle crushed biscuits on top of the banana mix and flatten down with a fork. 7. Put the pudding in the fridge for an hour before serving.
Five words to describe me: tireless, personable, a contributor, scatty, sporty Things that make me happy: music, happy children, sunshine and peace Vices: untidiness, chocolate and taking on too much Virtues: good cook! Favourite film: „Amadeus‟, „Finding Nemo‟ Favourite food: anything Malay Favourite piece of clothing: a hippy top from Hong Kong, made from scraps of different material sewn together My children: I have two: Jamie (11) and Molly (9). Jamie is impish, fidgety, sporty, very affectionate and a little bit naughty. Molly is an angel - gentle, laid back, intuitive, moves through life at a snail‟s pace, doing just enough to get by! A day in my life … My day starts with a cup of tea in bed before the chaos of the school run. At lunch, I sit with my husband in the kitchen and discuss our respective work. My office is the kitchen table! My children do loads of after school clubs so come back tired and hungry. I relax by reading, swimming, playing tennis and falling asleep in front of the telly. My day ends ... falling asleep in front of the telly! Then I drag myself upstairs and fall asleep in front of a good book.
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Blogger ‘Hot Cross Mum’ sums it all up beautifully ... Flashing shoes: Lightening McQueen duvet cover: Scooter: Fireman Sam fire engine: The look on a small boy’s face when his beloved soft toy has been painstakingly sewn back together
€28 €10 €20 €15
There are some things money can buy. For everything else there’s mummy.
Hot Cross Mum is a mummy blogger and freelance writer, living in Ireland. She‟s also written a novel which is just dying to be published! Here‟s how she describes herself ... “I am two parts mum, one part writer. I hung up my professional boots in March 2009 to take up my new post as a 'Stay At Home Mum'. Let's just say that life has been very busy ever since. Staying at home with my two boys is by far the toughest job I have ever done, but I am sure they will be eternally grateful to me and will shower me with flowers and take me out for lunch when I am old and doddery. Why are you laughing? My days are now less about deadlines and boardrooms and more about washing lines and bathrooms. I worry about what to cook for tea and get annoyed about standing on bits of Lego in my bare feet and finding raisins stuck to my purse. It's not that I'm complaining really, it's just, well, a little more hum-drum-mum than yummy mummy.” See also her celebrity mum blog ...
If you’ve enjoyed this magazine, please spare a thought for all the mums around the world who lose their lives in pregnancy and childbirth. Imagine if you had had to kiss your husband goodbye when you went into labour, because you knew the chances were you might never see him again ... Imagine if you had had to walk miles and miles in the throes of labour, just to have a chance of minimal medical care ... Imagine if you had to give birth alone, without even a midwife, let alone a doctor ... Imagine if your children were left motherless ... Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?
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The thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. We know what needs to be done. Together, we can help make motherhood safe for women everywhere. So please, join ‘million mums’ right now, give a donation if you can and add your voice to call for change.
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all the mums who‟ve contributed articles, images and blog posts - I never cease to be amazed at how talented you all are all the mums who are going to join, donate to and help spread the word about the „million mums‟ campaign - hopefully that includes you! my lovely sister for all her design input, which she‟s given gladly despite having too much on already - she‟s a star! my mum, because she‟s my mum, because she‟s been on “granny duty” yet again and because she‟s always there for me my man, who is 100% supportive even when he thinks I‟m mad ...and who has made far more than his share of packed lunches this past few weeks! and last, but obviously not least, my children, without whom I wouldn‟t be a mum and I wouldn‟t be doing this - I love you “more than the sun and the moon and the stars” xxxx
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