Fun benefits of blogging you never thought possible

Blogging is something I love to do, and it’s an honour to share with you my ramblings of parenthood and to showcase so many wonderful bloggers doing the same thing that I do. Blogging has fast become a hobby that so many people enjoy to do, sharing their passions and experiences in so many different niches and genres. But, while so many people are starting one up, there are still loads of people you can come across every day that hasn’t the faintest idea of what a blog is, or even why to start one? So I thought it would be nice to share with you some of the fun benefits of starting a blog. By no mean are these specific reasons to give it a go, but if you find yourself unsure about taking that leap of faith then maybe this will inspire you to start a blog yourself. 

Making friends

When you start a blog, I’m sure the last thing you thought you would do is make lifelong friends, but blogging can simply do that for you. Once you start interacting with your readers and other bloggers, you begin to chat online and support one another. It might be sharing their latest post, or liking and commenting on an Instagram post. But over time, that becomes more and can even become a friendship. Then you have blogging conferences you can attend where you can network, meet and share with bloggers. People doing what you do, and share your passion and enthusiasm for it.

Trying out new products and services

While you are by no means getting something for free when you review a product or service, given the level of time and effort that goes into writing a credible review, it is a huge benefit to try out some amazing items over the course of your blogging journey. You may find it a little concerned to give your address out to people you don’t know, which is why more people consider a different address to receive their deliveries. Or even for normal mail something like virtual mail could take those worries away, and allow you to access mail on the move online.

Helping others

There are times in our lives where we go through things we never thought we would. Grieving loss, dealing with health issues or even emotional battles we never thought we would have to face. Blogging can be seen as a form of therapy to some, but what you actually may end up doing is helping someone out in their time of need. There are many subjects that are often not talked about enough, and blogging could help reduce the stigma surrounding that subject. Besides, even if you help just one person with your thoughts, it’s surely worthwhile to continue writing about your experiences. It may not sound like a benefit through definition, but it can certainly make you feel like you are doing some good in the world. Websites like dailypost./sensitive-topics/.com have a lot of advice on how best to approach the subject.


It could turn into a career

While it may seem like a bit of a pipe dream to some, many bloggers, who started out blogging as a hobby have turned their passion into a career. They may have even published books because of their blog, created products, or even just use their blog to reach out to people. Not all of us have a job that we love, and quite often some employments can have a detrimental effect on family life. This is why a blog could be a huge opportunity to earn an income that works around your family. While it may not be everyone's dream, it certainly is a huge benefit. The opportunities in the blogosphere are only getting more lucrative, and it’s an exciting industry to be a part of.

It could help you built a support network

If you blog about something specific, or have shared your experience on something that may not be publicly discussed enough, you may find that a huge benefit to sharing your experiences through your blog, is building a support network. This might be a Facebook you create specifically to offer support. It might be working with charities to help the campaign or get the message more in the public eye. You could build up a network or commenters where people interact with one another or find each other on various social media platforms. It may not seem an obvious benefit, but this could help you personally, or someone else.

So there you have it, some fun benefits to blogging that you never thought possible. I hope this may have inspired you to perhaps give blogging a go yourself.

Collaborative post

Slash the cost of your kid's clothes bill

Buying clothes for the kids is like fighting an uphill battle. As soon as you’ve bought them, they’re already too small or covered in stains and mud. It seems like you’re buying them new stuff every week and your bank account won’t thank you for it.

There isn’t really much you can do though. Kids need to wear clothes, and you can’t send them out and about in scruffy rags, so you’ll just have to grin and bear it. What you can do, is take some of the stress off your purse with a bit of clever shopping.

Here are a few ways you can save money on your kid’s clothes bill. 

Ignore Collections

Right near the front of the shop, you’ll find some great looking displays that hold collections of matching pieces of clothing that look good together. You might be tempted to get them a nice matching outfit, but it’ll cost you a lot more and the truth is, the kids don’t care if their clothes are matching, they’ll probably wreck them in a week anyway. Instead, head to the back of the store where they hide away all of the cheaper items.

Get Discounts

You can easily get discount codes from places like that will get you a surprising amount of money off your shopping. That way, you can get some better quality clothes that will last a bit longer, without having to pay over the odds for them. It’s also worth asking in-store for any discounts, you never know what you might be able to save.

Plan Ahead

At the end of a season, there is always a period of crossover where the past season’s items are a lot cheaper. When autumn turns to spring, for example, and buying a load of jumpers, can save you a big chunk of money. You’ll have them laying around for a while before they get used, but when winter rolls around again, you’ll already be prepared. If you buy all of your clothes in the off season, you could massively reduce the amount that you are paying.

Share Clothes

You can save yourself from buying multiple sets of everything by getting the kids to share. That doesn’t mean getting your son to wear a dress if he doesn’t want to, but there are plenty of items that are easily interchangeable. Coats, jumpers, gloves and hats can all be swapped around so you don’t need to get everybody their own pieces of clothing.

Get Play Clothes

One of the reasons that the kids go through clothes so quickly is that they get put under a lot of strain when they are playing. Sliding around on the grass and falling out of trees is bound to ruin anybody’s clothes. This is especially frustrating if you’ve bought them a nice, expensive new shirt and they come back with a giant hole in it a few days later. The best thing to do is to buy separate play clothes that are cheap, so it doesn’t matter when they inevitably get ruined.

How do you save money on your kids clothes?

Collaborative post

Post Comment Love 26th - 29th May

Good morning and welcome back to another Post Comment Love. I'm looking forward to getting back to reading your posts regularly and am so glad to be getting back to a routine.

The boys are on half-term now (I've got LP at home today) so next week is going to be hectic again. This past month and a half seems to have flown by and I've got almost nothing done. It's a strange time for us but eventually I'm sure we'll settle into some sort of normality. 

The boys have been great at keeping me occupied and I've somehow managed to switch off at times and just enjoy the moment. Walks in the sunshine, getting outdoors, it's all good for you and we've done quite a bit of it lately. 

If you have your kids off this coming week enjoy that family time, and if not enjoy your 'me' time!

Blogger Showcase Kalé from various blogs!

Who are you?

I am Sir LeprechaunRabbit. 

I am more than just a long-eared wordsmith, I am a GraveYard Rabbit -- you have have probably seen me or one of my cousins in the cemetery! 

I am a rare breed: a researcher rabbit and a bunny bartender! (Just ask anyone who frequents Treeverne Upon the Gene during #genchat the oldest genealogy chat in the Twitterverse!).

How did you discover blogs/blogging?

Blogs, actually, found me, Dearie. We met over tea. Speed dating, I think it was (it was so long ago!). 
It was if we were old friends; hit it off straight away -- and were asked to leave. 
It was an accident, you know? The teapot mysteriously sailed off the table and shattered clean through the Shoppe window! 

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging because it seemed like the next step in our courtship. We told each other everything, but it was very discouraging (still is, when the other patrons hear us laughing and carrying on about dead people, photographing graves and dancing in cemeteries.).

What do you find most challenging?

The biggest challenge with blogging is like making the perfect cuppa tea, before your teapot escapes!
If you can do that, you will captivate your audience and they will never leave you ... Oh! And you need cakes, and sweets ... lots of sweets!

What is your favourite topic to write about?

Strangely enough, my favourite thing to blog about is cemeteries! Each one is different and unique -- yes, they may look the same: unkept, overgrown and dark, but each one is filled with stories of history, war, love, loss, culture and art from the city or town it resides near.
Traipse through one and you can learn and judge the pride, growth, failures and ugly Truths of the thousands who lived before.

Are you blogging for fun or do you have goals?

With 3 blogs, I can write for fun and with a goal or two in mind. 
Fun is poetry and creative writing. I've been at it since 1973, and am rebuilding my website (Rainbow Gateway) for the third time. (The two previous free web host sites went bankrupt.).
Goal writing is more for cemetery and genealogy sites.
Rock of Ages: Grave Concerns is in its 7th year! Besides taking the creepiness out of these limestone libraries, I explain the changes in the craft of stonemasons, what designs they carve, the changes in the materials they carve and even how the objects are carved now!
Your Roots Are Showing, Dearie! is 6 years old and covers genealogy and family history, through stories about a young widow named Emily and her children. 
It is days before Christmas in 1939 when the young Mum of eight (seven destructive boys and a nine-month daughter) is told her husband is dead! 
Emily's youngest boy was my father.
There are also stories of a nine-year-old girl, who was pulled out of school in Grade Five to take care of her very sick mother and three younger siblings, while Daddy and her two older brothers tended to the farm.
She cooked, cleaned, chopped wood for the stove and pumped water for the washing for ten years until her mother died.
I got to meet that wee nine-year-old when she was 23 ... her name was Mum!

What is your favourite thing about blogging?

Blogging is a lot like gossip. You control how much (or how little) of a secret you tell. Anyone can gossip ... I mean, blog, Dearie! 
But a true artist paints your entire experience: weeping tears of Joy, SCREAMING in Rage!, wallowing in Sorrow then buckling over in side-splitting Laughter ... using only words

Have you ever attended a blogging conference and if so, what did you think?

I have attended many conferences over the years, but I have never heard of a blogging conference. How does that work?

What are your 3 best posts?

One from each blog. Hoping it meets with your approval 
1 The Shattered City 
2 Clockwork: A Canadian Remembrance
3 A Vow Between Brothers

Are you a tea and biscuits or coffee and cake person?

With my European background, tea and cakes is the proper choice to make from your mixed up menu!

What's your idea of a perfect night out?

A perfect night out will never happen. It is impossible to walk into a national library or archive, find a book of interest and then crack open that book and find my family tree laid out to the early 1600s!

Your perfect night in?

The perfect night in involves the Internet, lots of tea and access to census and vital statistics from an assortment of pay-per-view website databases.

What would your best friend/OH/mum or kids say is your best quality?

I am certain there would be no happy consensus among family and friends, as each have been incurably exposed to different levels of my insanity!

You can connect with Kalé at:

Twitter: @leprchaunrabbit
Snapchat: hobbes_k
Periscope: @leprchaunrabbit 
Skype: leprchaunrabbit 

Thank you for answering our questions Kalé and feel free to grab our 'featured' badge and display it ever-so-proudly on your blogs!

Post Comment Love
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Post Comment Love"><img src="" alt="Post Comment Love" style="border:none;" style="width: 250px;" /></a></div>


Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked.

The rules; Link up your best post written in the last week and we'd like you to comment on at least two other linked posts, as well as the hosts. 

Help us spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter and include the badge on your post.

Please do pop over and say hi to this week's Blogger Showcase. It's always nice to get a comment or two. 

If you'd like to be featured in our Blogger Showcase please do check out the questions and email your answers to us at

Thank you for popping by.

Post Comment Love
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Post Comment Love"><img src="" alt="Post Comment Love" style="border:none;" style="width: 250px;" /></a></div>

Why you should exercise (besides getting fitter)

Everyone already knows that exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. However, lots of people seem to look at it with a degree of antipathy or outright derision. For someone who does not like working out, the idea of getting up early on a Sunday morning to go jogging in the cold is just out of the question. They may ask themselves why anyone would put themselves through it. The answer, in its simplest form, is that people do it because it is good for them. It helps you maintain a healthy weight which is important, especially in the light of a study that was published recently which found that metabolically healthy overweight people are still 50% more likely to suffer from heart disease. Body positivity is really important, but the reality is that being overweight is not the healthiest option. Exercising also keeps your muscles, bones, and joints strong as well as lowering your blood pressure (hypertension). It also reduces your risk of thirteen different types of cancer. Finally, as if any more needed to be said in defense of exercise, it can help with your mental health too. It does not need to cost anything either. Paying for an exclusive gym membership or taking classes are both good ways to work out, but are by no means the only ways to do it. Going to the park and jogging is completely free, as is doing lots of fun exercises at home. However, the benefits of exercise do not end there.

Here are a few more to consider: 

1)  The social aspect of exercising is often overlooked. It is especially useful if you are trying to lose weight. Having a group of people with whom you work out will make it more enjoyable, but it will also help you keep going back. Everyone, even people who dedicate their lives to exercise, has days when they feel like just kicking back for a while. That is fine occasionally, but if you are trying to lose weight it can become a habit, and that is not good. Developing a group of friends who will encourage and motivate you is important. Besides, you get to spend time with people you like which is good whatever you’re doing. 

2)  Apart from just doing exercise for its intrinsic benefits, you could use it for its extrinsic advantages too. One of these is being able to make money from exercising. You can do this by becoming a qualified personal trainer with a company like Origym. If you are passionate about exercise, helping other people do it and achieve their goals must be just about the best job that you could imagine. With a little training, it could be a reality. 

3)  If you are altruistically minded and you like pushing your limits, you could also use exercise to raise money for charity. It is estimated that only 1% of the population will run a marathon in their lifetime and yet those same people will raise immense amounts of money. For instance, since its inception, the London Marathon has raised £770 million with £54.1 million of that being raised in 2015 alone.

How do you exercise?

Collaborative post

Perfect Wedding gifts from Home of Juniper


It is not often that I come across a retailer or product that I fall instantly in love with from just a photo. Apple is the only one that comes to mind, and that was just with the Apple Watch! However when I came across Home of Juniper recently that's just what happened. I scrolled through their website picking out products to buy and noticed that I was picking out a lot of things for my niece's wedding in the summer. You see Home of Juniper have some perfect wedding gifts as well as home furnishings and even jewellery.

Regular readers will know our family has had a tough time lately and it's been hard to see the light on some days. That certainly wasn't the case a few days ago when I received a gorgeous package from the lovely people at Home of Juniper.

As I pulled the packaging open a scent filled my nose, it was a gorgeous smell but I couldn't figure out what it was. I was so excited to open the package and find out what the product was that smelled so good that I didn't take photos until I had everything open.

This Happily Ever After Candle was the scent I could smell, it is rose and geranium and it is so nice. I'm quite particular when it comes to scents in my home, lavender is my favourite, but as soon as I smelled this I knew I'd be buying more things with this scent. The candle itself comes in a beautiful glass with "Happily Ever After" written in gold on the front of it and costs £4.50. Home of Juniper are proud to say that their 'candles with a conscience', made in the UK, are cruelty free and made from ethically sourced natural plant products. The burn time (as stated on the website) is 20-30 hours - I haven't tried it out yet.

You can buy this or personalised candles, I think they'd made great wedding favours or gifts.

A loving heart is the truest wisdom.

Charles Dickens

The candle wasn't the only thing that was scented in my package. I also found a Love & Hugs x diffuser. I have found a love of diffusers, I find they're the perfect combination of scent and long lasting. I don't like strong scents and I hate having to change the air fresheners constantly throughout the house so diffusers seem to be working well for me so far. I have to admit to doing a little dance when I spotted this diffuser, it totally goes in my office! The perfume base scent is a classic and just like the candle it isn't too overpowering. This is Home of Juniper's best selling fragrance and you can get the scented candles in this fragrance too.

All the Home of Juniper diffusers are made in the UK in a family run factory. Each diffuser is made with an alcohol free, natural vegetable base and a range of high quality aromatic oils. This 50ml diffuser should last 6-8 weeks approximately and costs £9.50. Again I think this would make the perfect wedding gift, but it could also be a 'thank you' gift or a birthday present. 

I couldn't help but smile at the Sow In Love seeds, I thought they would make the perfect wedding gift. I imagined a husband and wife planting the seeds and seeing the wildflowers bloom year after year, reminding them of their love for one another. Each packet, costing £8.95, is made by hand in Derbyshire and contains a mix of wildflower seeds.

If you have a love of Bone China you should check out the jug and sugar bowl. The Contemporary lidded jar (sugar bowl) and the jug are designed in Leicester and made from new bone china which makes them dishwasher safe (yay!) and great for everyday use. You can buy them separately, the lidded jar costs £12 and the jug costs £9.95, OR you can buy the beautiful Contemporary Tea Set which includes both the jar and the jug and a Sue Pryke mug, all for £28. What an elegant wedding gift this would make right?

The heart dish you see is available as part of the In Love Gift Set for £8.95 and would make the perfect thing to put a wedding ring on when you're not wearing it. It would be great as a mini gift from a child too. With the In Love Gift Set you also get a pack of the "Sow In Love" seeds and a lovely paper flower handmade in Derbyshire by Paperbea.

This Heart Necklace (pictured above on the left) in mixed metal is so cute! It has one silver-plated heart and a smaller rose gold heart on a snake chain. It is made in the UK and ethically made and comes in a small organza bag wrapped in tissue. For £8.00 you could nab yourself a great piece of jewellery to wear to that summer wedding, or you could buy it as a gift for someone else (don't forget to add the gift box!).

Love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I love the Blush and Rose Gold Heart Bracelet, (in the photo above, on the right) it's a gorgeous colour and easy to wear. It goes with just about any outfit and doesn't irritate your wrist when wearing. I sometimes find with bracelets that they can irritate my wrist and I end up not wearing them but I think this will become a staple feature in my summer wardrobe! This bracelet costs £6.50 (an absolute bargain!), is FairTrade and designed in the UK. Like the necklace it comes in a small organza bag wrapped in tissue.

Add a little something extra to your home with this lovely Hanging Wood Heart decoration for £2.50. Designed in Lincolnshire it would be a cute addition to any home, I'm going to be hanging it somewhere in my office. 

Arriving home after spending the day at a wedding the first thing you're going to want is a tasty drink to settle down with. Why not try Home of Juniper's Raspberry Dream Hot Chocolate or Madagascar 61% Hot Chocolate, both costing £2.50. I haven't tried either of them yet (but am looking forward to) but the Madagascar hot chocolate is described as "Malagasy cocoa from the Sambirano valley in Madagascar has unique fruity aromas, slightly spicy and a little sharp." and the Raspberry Dream hot chocolate is a classic combination of rich, dark chocolate with deep, pink raspberries. Home of Juniper have added a drop of pure lavender oil too for "our own flowery twist on a fruity favourite".

You can see more gorgeous images on Instagram, connect with Home of Juniper there or on Twitter.

If none of these appeal to you why not take a look at Home of Juniper website in the Wedding Ideas section, there are lots of gorgeous, elegant gifts for you to look through. While you're at it be sure to check out the other areas on the website too and find gorgeous classic storage for your home or luxurious throws for the lounge. 

Like I said, I don't often fall in love with a brand or product only from sight but Home of Juniper are one of a few and I will be spending time on their website deciding what to buy. I love the elegant style of products as well as the clean design of the website. Not only that but the products don't cost the earth either.

Whether you're looking for home furnishings or elegant, stylish wedding gifts Home of Juniper should be your first port of call.

If you like what you see and decide to buy I've got a free-shipping code for you, add "morgan17" into the coupon code area. The code is valid until 31st May 2017.

Which product is your favourite?

Building Lego Star Wars TIE Striker set 75154


In our house there's always a Lego set that is either waiting to be built or has just been built. Not only do my boys like Lego but the Hubby and I do too and we always enjoy new sets, even if it's the boys that are meant to be building. After LP's birthday he decided to build one of his new sets; the Star Wars TIE Striker.

Starting building the Star Wars TIE Striker

The starting is always easy with Lego sets, the instructions are brilliant and the bricks fit together well. I tried to leave LP alone while he was building this set, as he was 8 he wanted to try and build it himself without any help.

He did really well and managed to build most of it before he struggled at all.

The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence. 

Denis Waitley

When it came to fitting the wings he struggled a little but after talking about what he had to do he managed to fit them himself.

With both wings fitted to the Star Wars TIE Striker (and many drinks had) LP began to struggle, there was a piece that wasn't fitting correctly and he couldn't work out why. Then he tried to push the piece in so hard that a wing broke off and some pieces went flying across the table.

Tears ensued. He was upset because he'd spent so long working on it and it was broken. Cue Mama Magic. I'm awesome at fixing Lego sets (even if I do say so myself!) and helped LP fix his broken model. Within 10 minutes it was all built again and I moved away to let him continue.

It wasn't long before LP was shouting me to tell me he'd finished.

He enjoyed building the Lego Star Wars TIE Striker set even though it was a little hard for him. He rose to the challenge and apart from a little hiccup he did well.

The Lego Star Wars TIE Striker set was perfect for LP, being 8 years old it was difficult enough to make him have to think, but easy enough that he could build it mostly alone.  I think this set would make a great gift for any Lego/Star Wars fan.

You can buy the Lego Star Wars TIE Striker for £64.99 from the Lego shop.

Imagination is the highest kite one can fly. 

Lauren Bacall

LP's next challenge is his Lego Star Wars Millenium Falcon that he got for Christmas. He hasn't started it yet but I'm hoping he'll give it a go during half-term.

What Lego sets do your kids like?

Post Comment Love 19th-21st May

Welcome back to Post Comment Love, our little linky that welcomes any post, any topic, any blogger, as long as it was written in the last week. Thank you for coming back week after week to link up, you are awesome!

If you're a regular linker to Pocolo you'll know I've skipped the last couple of weeks. Our family have been going through a tough time, we lost my father-in-law two weeks ago and as you can imagine I needed to spend time with my family. It has been the hardest two weeks I've ever known and I just want to thank Stephanie for being an awesome friend and taking on Pocolo on her own. It gave me the time I needed to be with family and I am eternally grateful.

The most important thing in the world is family and love. 

John Wooden

Getting back to normal (whatever that is!) has been hard. On Monday the Hubby and I told each other we'd get back to work and try to get things done. For me, that was the hardest day. It didn't seem right somehow, to be getting on with life and doing regular day-to-day things felt so wrong. Most of the day I sat at my computer messing with photos. I couldn't write. It's a slow process but I think we're getting there. I keep remembering the good times, like when we took the in-laws with us to Orlando. It was amazing and I'm so glad we were able to have those times. Now, when I think of Orlando I remember those awesome trips.

It is so nice to be back co-hosting with Stephanie though. It's a good distraction and I'm looking forward to reading your fabulous posts.

Blogger Showcase Samantha from A Thousand Yellow Daisies

First of all I'm loving that blog name, aren't you? Samantha has a passion for creativity and loves writing about anything in the creative industry. Her idea of a great night is a home cooked dinner over music and candle light then snuggled up warm with a good book or tv show for the night. Find out what her answers to our other questions are over on Stephanie's blog.

You can connect with Samantha here:


Post Comment Love
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Post Comment Love"><img src="" alt="Post Comment Love" style="border:none;" style="width: 250px;" /></a></div>


Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked.

The rules; Link up your best post written in the last week and we'd like you to comment on at least two other linked posts, as well as the hosts.

Help us spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter and include the badge on your post.

Please do pop over and say hi to this week's Blogger Showcase. It's always nice to get a comment or two.

If you'd like to be featured in our Blogger Showcase please do check out the questions and email your answers to us at

Thank you for popping by.

Post Comment Love
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Post Comment Love"><img src="" alt="Post Comment Love" style="border:none;" style="width: 250px;" /></a></div>

Where have you been?!

Yes, I'm here. I'm back, writing a post and everything! First of all I want to apologise for my absence, but it was necessary.

On 4th May our family suffered a huge loss when my father-in-law died. While we've seen it coming for a long time nothing can really prepare you for it actually happening. We are all heartbroken and I'm not sure when things will be normal again, or even if they will. We're all in a kind of limbo at the moment, not really knowing what to do with ourselves or how to cope.

Like I said, we saw it coming. Way back in November 2015 we found out that my father-in-law had lung cancer. I chose not to write about it out of respect for my family, it was a private issue and I didn't feel right writing about it. The only mention of anything I made was in a post called Learning to surf the waves of life in which I wrote about how life can knock you down but you have to get back up. 

Right now I'm re-reading that post because I need to hold on to that strength... for me, for my boys, but most of all for the Hubby. I will be his rock.

As an adult this is really the first family death I've had to deal with. My Nan died a few years ago but at the time I hadn't seen or spoken to her in years and while I was upset I didn't feel the loss as such. This time is very different.

Visiting the in-laws every weekend, watching the boys play card games with their granddad, and listening to the numerous stories told, it was a part of our lives and that has suddenly changed. It is going to be a long time before any of us will be able to think of this as normal

Our world has changed, and now we must learn again. Learn to live life with a piece missing. I'm not sure how we will do it, but do it we will. 


Sexism and Slummy Mummies

As a blogger I tend to read posts on Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis. I'll see people getting annoyed about things and read about other bloggers' lives. It's a lovely way to stay connected. I don't often feel the need to write about what I've read but over the last few days I've seen a couple of stories in particular that made me want to write. The first was about sexism, the second about Slummy Mummies. I'm going to start with the sexism.

About Sexism

Marks and Spencer recently released some school uniform that has a special hem, it is stronger and less likely to drop making "less work for mum". Sexist right? Well, actually I don't think it is. It's a generalisation and you know what, I don't think it's a bad thing. The majority of mums are the ones that do the sewing, let's face it. I do in my house, that's for sure.

The statement wasn't there to insult men I'm sure, we all know there are some wonderful men out there that do the sewing and the taking care of the children. But we also know that they are in the minority. More often than not you'll find that even if the woman of the household has a full-time job she is also the one that does the sewing and the cooking. 

Yet the uproar on Facebook continued. Women were outraged at the sexism. It was SO unfair to those men that a store like Marks and Spencer would say such a thing. Outrageous! I can't help but think it was all a bit ridiculous. Generalisations exist for a reason, in times gone by the woman has done all of the sewing and even now that is still generally the case. The whole thing made me think of a David Mitchell Soapbox I once heard in which he says "Most people in a Jimmy Choo sale are women and most people at a football match are men". 

Even if you are a feminist and can't believe people still say things like "less work for mum" you can't discount the fact that it is still most mums that do those jobs. 

I found it all a bit silly to be honest. And if we're really talking about sexism, haven't men tried to discount women for hundreds of years? That is exactly why they're "women's jobs" and why we are up in arms when it is thought that a woman does these jobs. And now some people are annoyed that it's unfair to the men?! 

I am proud to be a mum, I do those jobs and they are my jobs. I wouldn't tell a man he can't do them, nor would I expect a man to tell me I couldn't do something. Can we say we're all equal and have done with it?

We came equals into this world, and equals shall we go out of it. 

George Mason 

The Slummy Mummies

Again on Facebook there was an article doing the rounds from the Daily Mail. I won't link to it because it's not fair to the women named in the article. The women mentioned were bloggers I have heard of but I don't read their blogs, Hurrah for Gin was one of the blogs mentioned. 

I know the mentioned bloggers to be mums who swear, drink gin, and do their best. They are mums who are honest about motherhood. They don't try to pretend that everything is perfect, posting wonderful Instagram photos with pretty, smiling children. 

The article tried to make out that these women are in a race to prove how terrible a mum they are. That is obviously not the case. They clearly love their children and want the best for them, why else are they working so hard keeping a blog going and connecting with people on social media. 

I don't swear, I don't drink gin (I think bourbon is much better!), but I do do my best. I don't tend to read sweary blogs, not because I'm judging but because I don't particularly like it. It is a personal choice. I understand that some women find it easier to vent by swearing, and that is fine. Everyone is entitled to be themselves. 

And that's the key thing here. We are all different, we all deal with motherhood in different ways. Some swear and drink gin, some don't swear and drink bourbon, and some yell, scream, and cry and don't drink at all. 

We are all MUMS. We are all trying to get through motherhood with our sanity intact. We are all doing our best.

I write my blog to help all stay-at-home mums realise they're not alone. 

To help you see that it is hard, it's tiring, and some days you will want to throttle your children. But also to show that being a mum is the best job in the world. 

Calling another woman a "bad mum" because she chose to give her children fish finger sandwiches for lunch is nonsense. Saying she's terrible for swearing is nonsense. Can we stop the mum-shaming? 

There will be so many times you feel like you've failed. But in the eyes, heart, and mind of your child you are super mom. 

Stephanie Precourt

Us mums should stick together and build each other up, because when the children are grown and we're on our own we want to be strong, able women who can set a good example to our adult children.

Supporting each other, caring, being there. These are great things to teach our children, and I, for one, will be doing just that.

Here's to Sarah Turner, Clemmie Telford, Katie Kirby, and Steph Douglas, because they're real mums just doing the best they can and being honest about it.

How I turn tears into smiles with Elastoplast

Having two boys, one being very active, I've had to deal with many cuts and scrapes in the past. Bumps on knees, cuts on heads, over the past 12 years I've learned to deal with my boys' tears in many ways and it usually depends on how they've hurt themselves.

When BP was very young (about 2 years old) he loved to run around, he would run everywhere. He ran from one room to the other, he ran up and down the drive, he even ran into the kitchen at dinner time. This, of course, meant that he was going to get hurt at some point. Despite my reminding him not to run around all the time he continued and one day at home ran into the corner of the dining table with some force, cutting the side of his right eye. At the time the Hubby was at work so I went into Supermum mode. I picked BP up and hugged him while I walked into the kitchen to grab kitchen towel and ice. BP was a big fan of Bear in the Big Blue House and so I put that on the TV and luckily Lunar was singing her song (his all-time favourite song). While I encouraged him to sing along I checked out the cut at the side of his eye. It wasn't long before I was driving us both to the local hospital to get him checked out. 

BP was a clumsy child and I remember having many hospital trips with him after bumps to the head or cuts to the chin. We even visited a hospital in Orlando, Florida after an accident in a playground which ended with him cutting his chin (he still has a scar now). Bear and his Big Blue House was great for turning his #TearsIntoSmiles when he was very little, he would sing along with the songs and forget all about hurting himself. 

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. 


As BP got older it became more difficult to console him with TV programmes and a special hug from mum or a tickle from dad always helped.

LP on the other hand hasn't had many accidents, but he is far more active. When he was younger he didn't really hurt himself, he managed to get around without bumping or scraping himself. However, as he started school and began attending football clubs and playing with friends he started to get hurt more often. I do remember one time, on the way to school, he walked into a bollard and gave himself a black eye. He was chatting to me while walking to school but wasn't looking where he was going, he turned around and walked straight into the concrete bollard. Lots of hugs and quiet time and he was smiling again.

Once or twice I've been called to school because he's been hurt playing football, and more often than not simply chatting to him about his day turns his #TearsIntoSmiles. He gets so enthusiastic about his favourite topics (maths and science) that it's easy to distract him. 

It wasn't too long ago though that we had a little trouble and not even talking about maths would console LP. He'd been running around the house and had managed to somehow run into a brick wall and scrape his hip. It looked very angry and sore and it took a while to calm him down. Luckily dad was on hand to give cuddles and tickles.

I know one thing that always made my boys smile was having cute or fun plasters and I love these plasters from Elastoplast...

Frozen and Star Wars plasters are great for making those scrapes disappear under an awesome picture and are certain to make your little ones smile.

Whenever I'm buying plasters I'll instantly grab Elastoplast, they are internationally renowned for their quality. I didn't know but Elastoplast has been sold in six countries across the world (Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK) since 1924.

It's not all about the plasters though, more than 200 tried and tested products are sold in countries from Germany to Chile, the UK to Australia, under the brand names Hansaplast, Elastoplast and Curitas. The product range includes products that offer relief from foot problems, sport injuries, pains and strains. In fact I remember spraining my ankle a few years ago and having to wear an ankle support.

As the boys are older now they don't tend to cry when they hurt themselves unless it's serious. They both try to be 'brave' and sometimes don't even bother to tell me they've been hurt until I find a bruise and then they'll explain what happened. I guess that's a consequence of them being older and not wanting to show they're vulnerable. But no matter what, as their mum, I will always do my best to turn their tears into smiles, usually by tickling them.

Smile, it's free therapy. 

Douglas Horton

Despite my boys being older and trying to hide their injuries I will continue to buy Elastoplast plasters, just in case. Well, the awesome pictures make me smile too so maybe I'll use them myself!

This is an entry for the BritMums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast. 

Why you should go for your smear test

A couple of months ago I received my letter, you know the one, the one that makes your stomach turn and your shoulders drop; it was time for my smear test. I always put it off. I wait weeks before booking my appointment and do all I can to avoid going to the doctors. But after recent events I will be more vigilant about having my smear tests and I'm about to tell you why you should go for your smear test.

The letter

So, as I said I booked in for my smear. The thing with the smear isn't the fact that I've got to have someone poke around my private parts, when you have children the whole dignity thing disappears, it's more about being uncomfortable. On more than one occasion I've laid with the speculum in place for more than 10 minutes and, well, let's just say it's not nice. I always dread the smear test just in case that happens again.

But let's get back to the story, I went for my test and all was okay. The nurse did her thing and it was over in no time. Job done. Breathe a sigh of relief. 

She mentioned me receiving a letter soon, but if I hadn't heard anything in 3 weeks to get back in touch.

Three weeks to the day later a letter arrived in the post and even now, as I write about that letter, my stomach is turning. It is THE WORST letter I have ever received. 

Out of the blue.
A complete blow.

I was blindsided. 

Abnormal cells...

Follow up appointment...

Tears blurred my vision, panic struck.

Luckily the Hubby was around and we talked about it, Googled specific words like "high-grade dyskariosis" and read the leaflet that arrived with the letter. 

Googling something usually doesn't help, it can leave you feeling like you're going to die, but this time it did help. I learned that the chances were good and that even if I did happen to have something wrong the chances of it turning into Cervical Cancer were low.

I spoke to my mum, who told me she went through the same thing years ago. I spoke to friends who said the same. It seems it's not uncommon and I wasn't alone. 

The wait

In the end I had to wait three weeks between receiving the letter and going for the appointment. Even after talking to friends and my mum it was still a troubling few weeks. I did okay, I managed to wrap myself in work and luckily the boys were off school so that kept my mind off it too. 

If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. 

Dale Carnegie

The day before the appointment my nerves began, not because I was worried about the outcome but because I was worried about the procedure. The morning of the appointment I had to get LP ready for school so I didn't have time to be worried. Thank goodness!

The appointment

Arriving at the hospital was fine, I had to drive myself because there was no one other than the Hubby to take LP to school, but it was fine. I told myself it would be over in no time.

I walked in and took a seat in the waiting area. It wasn't long before I was called and spoke to the Consultant who explained what would happen. She told me that if they found the abnormal cells they could cut them out while I was there and asked if I wanted them to do that. Well, duh! Of course I said yes.

She then showed me to a changing room where I had to get undressed and put on a gown. I was then taken into the procedure room.

The treatment

The colposcopy was fine, apart from an issue with a speculum breaking (!) the inspection went okay. Once she'd finished looking through the microscope she said they would go ahead and do the treatment. And that's when the pain began. 

It wasn't excruciating pain, it was like severe period pain. First I had to be given a local anaesthetic and I could feel the poking and prodding. Unpleasant but bearable. The odd poke hurt and made me cry out, it was difficult not to. I also noted that the anaesthetic made my legs shake, quite a lot. The nurse warned me about it beforehand and tried to chat and make me feel better. It helped a little but what with the nerves and then the poking, I was feeling rather exposed. 

The procedure itself was over in no time, I felt a little heat and towards the end a sharp pain but other than that it was fine. Well, as fine as you can be with your legs in the air having had a speculum in place for about 20 minutes! 


Straight after the procedure I was good, I took a moment to let my legs stop shaking and then went back to the changing room. I was happy to get my jeans back on and walking into the resting room was good. I got a cup of tea and a minute to rest while the Consultant told me about aftercare.

Driving home

It wasn't until I was driving home that I started to feel uncomfortable. Like period pain but very strong. The drive home was difficult, bumps in the road hurt and changing gear made the pain a lot worse. 

If you happen to be going for this procedure I would highly recommend going with someone so you don't have to drive. 

In the afternoon I took pain killers that didn't help much and spent the day on my bottom. I barely moved. Luckily I'd planned for that and had a great plan for dinner!

The moral of the story

Okay so that was a long winded story, I know, but here's the thing, if you go for your smear test and they find abnormal cells they can do something about it. Having abnormal cells found doesn't mean you have cancer, it just means you need to be checked. When they know what kind of abnormal cells you have they can then take action, for me it was the LLETZ treatment. 

If you ignore your smear test reminder and don't get checked those abnormal cells will continue to grow and mutate. Abnormal cell results on your smear test are a warning, it means that if it's left it could grow into cancer. It DOES NOT MEAN you have cancer.

While going for a smear test is uncomfortable, embarrassing, annoying, it is also necessary. 

The Doctor told me that 98% of cases of cases that have treatment go on to have normal smear test results after the treatment. The treatment is successful in 4 out of 5 women. During the procedure the Doctor also said that around 60% of women in the local area don't go for their smear test. 

I was surprised. While receiving the letter telling me about my abnormal cells was a shock and it has been a worrying few weeks I have now had the procedure and there is nothing else to worry about. I am on the road to recovery and should be back to normal in about 6 weeks.

A smear test lasts 5 minutes. The impact of cervical cancer lasts a life time.


If they find something they can treat it, but they have to find it first. Don't put it off because you'll be uncomfortable or embarrassed. 

Please, when you're sent that letter get booked in for your smear test, don't put it off, don't ignore it.