Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Win a ticket to a fabulous blogger conference

The FunFest Blogger Summit, a family-friendly blogger conference and brand ambassador exhibition,  is now celebrating its second year on Saturday, September 10th at the fabulous Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire.

Whether you’re a mum, dad, grandparent or a general lifestyle blogger, the event has something to offer you, providing bloggers from across the UK the opportunity to learn from peers and media experts, attend masterclasses on growing audience figures, meet top toy brands looking for brand ambassadors and tips to make money from blogging.

Ahead of the event,  a free family ticket is available (worth £50). The family ticket will allow a blogger,partner and children free access to the days proceedings, including lunch and refreshments, and that all-important goody bag at the end of the day! A chance that you don't want to miss. 

Simply send your details to darrell.carter@mimrammedia.com and include the names of those that you’d like to bring with you.

This offer closes on Thursday 8 September at 4 pm when the winning entry will be selected. Darrell Carter will contact the winner.  
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Monday, 5 September 2016

A family friendly FunFest Blogger Summit - tickets still left

The summer may be drawing to a close but there is one silver lining on the horizon for bloggers in the form of a family friendly blogger conference. The Funfest Blogger Summit 2016 is being held on 10 September in Whittlebury Hall , Northamptonshire.

There are still tickets left and here are some good reasons for you to attend:

1. An array of top brands across a variety of toy and entertainment firms will be looking for blogger brand ambassador partners. Companies seeking opportunities with bloggers include 'The Entertainer', 'Jumbo Games', 'Insect Lore' and 'ICB Toys'. For a full listing of company names please click on this link. 

2.   The day is structured to begin with a conference in the morning and, after lunch, the expo will open. The morning conference sessions will cover a number of topics for bloggers including how to create a successful partnership with brand names, a session on 'An Invasion of Privacy?  Should you be featuring your children in your content?' and the growing popularity of VOD . There is plenty more listed in the conference agenda. 

3. Meet up with other bloggers and swap ideas in the 'networking lounge' which will be a relaxed and informal environment

4. Bring your kids! A 'children's zone' will be set up to help parents enjoy the morning conference session safe in the knowledge that their children are having fun too. The event is all about fun, so why should the kids miss out!

5. Children will play a crucial part too in helping their blogger parents pick the best of show brands and products which will culminate in an award ceremony.

The Funfest blogger summit is for all bloggers and is suitable for both beginner or those who have been blogging for a number of years. Tickets cost only £20.

Join in the conversation on https://twitter.com/funfestuk and https://www.facebook.com/funfestuk


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Monday, 29 August 2016

When cancer strikes twice in the same family

Late last year I wrote a blog post titled 'How do you tell your child that Dad has cancer?'. We were extremely fortunate in that the cancer was caught early enough to be eradicated successfully. A sense of relief had since settled upon us and become really quite embedded in our day to day lives so as to make us falsely ignorant of the fact that cancer could strike again.

It has and this time with another member of the extended family who is very young.

The diagnosis came out of the blue. She was in a dance performance on Friday evening (26 August) and felt weak and faint. It was decided that taking her to A&E would be the best thing to do. Within an hour she was diagnosed with acute leukemia. I was out dining with a friend al fresco style by the Thames when I received the call.

Life is full of dramas isn't it?

The family gathered together this weekend to help look after this lovely child. We are hoping and hoping and praying that she will come through it all. The next four weeks are crucial as to how her body reacts to the chemotherapy.

Life is full of surprises and sometimes these surprises are just blinking unwanted. 
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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Now if Corbyn had sat ON the train THAT would be a story

This so called 'traingate' saga really annoys me no end. For those who have missed this non-story, Corbyn alleges that he had to sit on the floor of a train because it was packed and that there were no seats were available. Virgin trains, whose train he was on, have issued a statement alleging that Corbyn was not telling the truth i.e there were seats available but Corbyn chose to sit on the floor. A number of people have verified Corbyn's version of the journey.

If ever there was a non-story this is it. There are thousands of people up and down the country who will testify to a lack of seats especially when travelling on a Sunday afternoon. Often these seats are reserved with reservation notices stuck into the headrests. You sit in these seats at your peril because if the person whose reservation it is turns up then you are left without a seat. Better to look for an unreserved seat when you board and good luck with finding one of these too.

With the story now running for a number of days anybody would think that Corbyn had done something really silly like sing and dance and sit ON a train.


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Friday, 19 August 2016

On 'World Humanitarian Day' remember that humanity begins at home

The phrase 'charity begins at home' is, when you think about it, talking about a sense of humanity that ought to be nurtured in the home. We are all exposed to little acts of humanity and kindness everyday - the person who opens a door for you, money given to a homeless person, the bus driver who stops when he sees you running for the bus - but we don't equate these acts of kindness with the concept of humanity. Therein lies the mistake.

The word 'humanitarian' is always only associated with the work carried out by aid agencies, NGOs, the UN and government agencies that provide aid whether in money or in kind. It is always seen as a delivery mechanism as opposed to a cumulative or individual act of helping others in need. The theme of this year’s commemoration is “One Humanity.” According to the US Department of State, this year's Humanitarian Day 'asks all of us to stand together, to recognize our shared responsibility to help those overtaken by calamity'.

Image result for world humanitarian day
It falls to everyone of us to help to make a difference. It starts at home with not looking away when large scale disasters, war scenes or stories about refugees are featured on the news. By not turning away you are more likely to experience sympathy or empathy which will spur you on to act in a variety of ways to help. It starts at home when you decide to donate a sum of money, no matter how small. It starts at home when you share via Facebook or Twitter or any other social media medium news of human suffering to raise awareness of what is happening. By raising awareness it also puts pressure on governments and agencies to act in the interests of those who are suffering.

So you see, on 'World Humanitarian Day' let us remember that all of us have a role to play while still applauding those courageous men and women who physically make monumental humanitarian efforts to work in areas where strife is endemic.

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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

A one click quick guide for parents on where to access help post A Level Results

Tomorrow, 18 August, is A level result day. Parents, understandably, can feel quite confused and in the dark about what to do once the results are given out. Most children will go into school to get their results in the morning while others will receive it in the post. Almost all universities will be on standby to advice students on whether they have been accepted onto their preferred course or not and to assist with clearing.

While there will be plenty of help and advice on hand it is still helpful to know where to go to especially when time will be of the essence to get into the university that your child has set his or her sights on.  Remember A level result day can be stressful for both parents and children but knowing where to go for help and what the process involves can reduce the level of anxiety.

Below are links that can help demystify the process.

1. A detailed step by step guide on what will happen on result day and what you need to do

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/0/results-day-2016-a-step-by-step-guide/

2. Explanation of the UCAS clearing system. 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/0/ucas-clearing-2016-how-to-apply-and-how-does-it-work/

3. A detailed guide on how to apply for a different university than the ones originally chosen if your child has performed better than expected. 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2016/06/27/results-day-2016-a-step-by-step-guide-to-adjustment/

4. Childline has published advice on how to deal with disappointing results. Mental wellbeing will be am important factor to consider.

https://www.childline.org.uk/info-advice/school-college-and-work/school-college/exam-results/

5. UCAS website

https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/apply-and-track/results/results-%E2%80%93-what-you-need-know

All the best.





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Friday, 5 August 2016

The Mother Blame Game


Image result for mother blame

Have you ever felt the burden of blame being heaped on you as a mother? Mothers are blamed for a whole host of child activity ranging from the mundane like having a child with a snotty nose to something major such as having a child who is a mass murderer (Adam Lanza the mass shooter in 2012 whose mother was blamed even though she was the first person he shot).  'Mother blame' is the name of the game.

A journal titled 'The Mother-Blame Game' published by Demeter Press lays bare the extent to which blame permeates the lives of mothers. The journal is an interdisciplinary and intersectional examination of the phenomenon of 'Mother blame' in the twenty-first century. It dissects the socioeconomic and cultural expectations of what constitutes “good motherhood” because 'Mother Blame' is a divisive concept which sifts the supposed good mothers from bad mothers.

I have a special interest in this book because feminist mothering is not a well known concept in the UK so I often use 'Mother blame' as an entry point explanation of how feminist mothering is a mitigating and fight back set of ideas which frees mothers from having to conform to a patriarchal idealist version of a good mother.

The patriarchal narrative assumes that mothers have a monopoly on their children's lives and, therefore, can be blamed for things that go wrong. In the introduction to the journal the editors, Vanessa Reimer and Sarah Sahagian, challenge this supposed monopoly by arguing that "family members, peers, and social institutions such as schools, churches and media play varying roles in children's lives as they grow". 

The myriad of participants in a child's life does make one wonder why and how the patriarchal culture locates only the mother with blame. The journal uses the explanations of the maternal theorist, Adrienne Rich, as a starting base for analysis. Rich wrote about how the patriarchy determined what part women shall play or not play and "in which the female is everywhere subsumed under the male".
Subsequently, Rich explains, the patriarchal society assumes that women are 'natural mothers' who have no further identity beyond that of being nurturer to their children. Consequently, mothers who 'fall short' are blamed.

Falling short of mother perfection results in 'mother blame' which , according to the journal, is commonly used to persecute "the welfare mother, the teen mother, the career woman who has no time for her kids, the drug addict who poisons her fetus, the pushy stage mother, the overprotective Jewish mother" and, scarily, this is not an exhaustive list.

The chapters are divided into four thematic sections which cover facets of 'mother blame': Mother blame and the body, blaming 'othered' mothers, mother blame in popular culture and sharing mother blame stories:strategies for success. The cultural practice of 'mother blame', as evidenced in these sections is pervasive.

This journal isn't a read only for mothers. The editors don't have children but confess to being guilty of 'mother blaming' in the past. Their transition was helped with a "critical lens informed by feminist politics and maternal theory" which enabled them to recognise the standards against which mothers are judged that "no human being could ever live up to them".

In the spirit of collective sisterhood the editors invite readers to join them in "daily, purposeful efforts that will continue to debunk-and finally end-the 'mother blame' game".

I have responded to this invitation by making a list of ways in which I have personally suffered from 'mother blame'. As a start, I am not going to defend myself anymore when my daughter eats at McDonald's. She only does it about once a month and sees it as a treat rather than a staple diet. Yes, 'mother blame' even creeps into eating habits. I was once also blamed because she got off an escalator in a train station rather slowly.
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