Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Great British Tennis weekend - join in! #GBTW

I'll have to admit that I've been known to go shopping rather than watch tennis. That was in Madrid, a couple of years ago. Whilst I may not sit glued to the television when Wimbledon is on however, I do love hearing updates and rooting for the British stars and underdogs. There's something about these two weeks that always reminds me that summer is here - strawberries and cream, Pimms.... and rain.

Tennis is a sport which I played on free courts with my brothers when I was younger. More of a gentle knock-about than a full-on competition always suited me fine; I'm definitely not gifted in the sporting department. I blame it on my small lungs. Seriously, that's a thing, I've been tested for it.

Anyhow, despite all of this, I was actually quite interested in the news that tennis sessions and fitness-oriented activities are being offered for FREE in many clubs and leisure centres on Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th of July this year as part of the Great British Tennis Weekend. Here's me, having a quick go on a court during the BritMums Live conference last weekend:

Wedges are not necessarily advisable for playing tennis...
Even though I know I'm no Annabel Croft (showing my age now), I've booked the whole family in for our free session at our local centre to see what's on offer that weekend. In various locations there will be Family Time, Free Play, Cardio sessions and Highland Spring Mini sessions on offer. Apparently there will be coaches on hand to help us at our family session, which is probably just as well. It could be an interesting morning...

You can find out where your nearest events are on the Great British Tennis Weekend website. What's not to like?! Go on, give it a go, and let me know what you thought of it!

I'm working with the Lawn Tennis Association on their #GBTW campaign. Sign up for your FREE tennis activity here

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Monday, 27 June 2016

BritMums Live 2016 round-up

So this weekend I attended BritMums Live, a conference for around 500 bloggers (mums and dads, and even non-parents, as it happens) which takes place annually in London (here's my review of last year's event!). It involved a full agenda of sessions to help us all improve our blogging, everything from writing workshops, creative inspiration and travel blogging through to understanding SEO, Google Analytics and innovative ways to make money. I honestly wish I could have gone to all of them - even after six years of blogging, there's always more to learn.

A large group of some of the editors who write monthly round-ups for BritMums on varying topics - mine is SEND (thanks to Kirsty from Hijacked by Twins for the pic!)
What made this weekend's event special for me though, was the people (oh OK, the cake and drink helped too). After six years, I know quite a few names and faces, but only get to see them in person once a year. I can honestly say though, that the vast majority are the some of the friendliest, loveliest people I've ever met, and it's so fab to be able to catch up with them all at events like this. Although it was busy in terms of the schedule this year, I didn't find it crowded; I love the venue the event is held in every year (The Brewery in London) and enjoy being able to move around and have lots of hugs (yes, I'm a hugger, sorry folks who aren't!).

BritMums is all about the people! Just sorry I didn't get photos of everyone, but here's a few of the lovely ladies I got to see...
With so many old faces to greet, my only slight regret is that I didn't get chance to talk to many 'new' faces. I'd had great intentions of finding people who were looking alone and seeing if they fancied chatting, but I got side-tracked. I totally hope nobody felt alone though and that they couldn't come and talk to me/us - remember we were all 'newbies' at one time or another. Next time I'll make more of an effort.

There are far too many people to name check and include links of here, so I've decided to be diplomatic and not include a list. Thanks though, to everyone who talked to me on the Saturday - and especially to those I spent lots of time with on the Friday evening - I definitely enjoyed the 'Fringe' event held at the Holiday Inn Camden and hope that'll be a regular feature now. A special thanks to my lovely roomie Clare who writes at Sons, Sand and Sauvignon - so kind of you to let me drop in at the last minute!
Me and Clare from Sons, Sand and Sauvignon enjoying the Friday night 'bash'
BritMums run the 'Brilliance in Blogging' Awards alongside the conference, and I'm still quite shocked that so many of my lovely readers voted for my little blog to help make it reach the Top 5 in the Inspire Category. Wow, just wow. It was amazing to see our name up there on a big notice board! Thank you all so much. I didn't win, but I never expected to as all the others in the group have amazing blogs - the winner was lovely Michelle, who writes at The Joy Chaser (and that's two links now, I am definitely stopping there!).

Brilliance in Blogging Awards Finalists 2016
So much went on at BritMums Live that I can't possibly blog it all (no, not like THAT, I just mean it was a very busy weekend!) so instead I decided to upload a photo slideshow so you can see just some of the lovely blogging friends I met again and shared hugs with. So much more to say, but I'll stop with a huge thanks to Jen and Susanna and all the organisers for giving us this opportunity to learn and socialise. Let's do it all again next year!

Oooh and here's the video which the fab Colette from We're Going On an Adventure put together, which gives you an even better idea of what went on this weekend!

Linking up with:

Life with Baby Kicks
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Saturday, 25 June 2016

Finalist in Inspire category

Thanks to a little hospital trip (update part 3 still outstanding, coming soon...), I don't think I really had chance to say Thank You.

Thank You to everyone who supported me over the 10 days I was in hospital to our youngest girl; social media kept me going and all of your messages helped get me through each day. Sometimes, just knowing someone is caring is all that matters.

Another huge thank you to everybody who voted for me in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards. I can still hardly believe that I made it through to be a Finalist in the Inspire category. Up against some amazing blogs, and a great bunch of ladies who all have much to say and who try to do good in the world. I'm currently at the BritMums Live event in London, and the Awards ceremony will be taking place later on today. Just to know that many people appreciated my blog enough to make the effort to vote for me warms the cockles of my heart, so thank you all! Not expecting to win at all but I have taken many photos today and no doubt there will be a future post summarising my experience... 😊

(This photo is not one I have taken today funnily enough. I obviously need more lessons on how to blog on a mobile...)
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Friday, 24 June 2016

48 vs 52: Let's not forget

Gutted, so gutted.

What have we just taught our children? That it's OK to throw your toys out of the pram when you're not the biggest player? That we think we are better than 'them'?

Not my children. They know that I think it is better to be open and work with everyone; to look at all sides of the story and not assume you are the best or that you know everything. To be tolerant, and inclusive, and not always think that the grass is greener.

I can already hear the Leave voters - 'ah, the economic drop is only temporary', 'oh, now we get chance to decide what our country will do, it's much better'.

How do they know? How do they think they are capable of steering this country in the right direction - and more importantly than that, who do they think is going to steer it? The picture of Farage with his hands in the air made me feel physically sick this morning. Or maybe they'd rather have Boris in?

There is no strong leader of our country. That's just another reason why we were better off in Europe.

How do we think all the foreigners in our country feel this morning? Let's not forget, many of them save lives and help us in all sorts of ways. What happens if they decide to leave to 'go back to their own countries'? Do you want to be operated on by someone who wasn't quite so dedicated at their studies? We have much to learn from other countries still, and there were many ways they could have helped us. I'm guessing their doors are not going to be quite so open now. They're busy. They don't need us, they learned how to speak English some time ago.

My first thought was that I'd like to jump on a train and go to Europe, visiting as many people as I can to tell them I voted in, to try and somehow stop the bad feeling. Do you think anyone over there is ever going to remember that 48% of us wanted to be in?

I think not. I think what they'll talk about for a while, is how we want to tighten our own front door to stop the terrorists and immigrants getting in. Let me tell you people, those terrorists are already here. The London bombings? Those guys didn't just pop over on the Eurostar for the day. Immigrants? We pretty much all are, apparently.

After a while, they won't even be talking about us anymore. What exactly do they need us for? Do we have an never ending supply of oil that no-one else has? Do we have the cleverest scientists?

I'm sad that my girls won't get to experience life as I did when I grew up. The excitement of being able to visit other countries, and of being welcomed everywhere. These are new scary times we are entering into - who's to say whether they will be better or worse? If I was a betting person, I know where my money would go....
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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Siblings ~ June 2016

It has been a very busy couple of months for us; roll on the summer holidays! I can't let the month go by without my usual siblings update though. I love the fact that I can document here the changes in my girls over the years, and there's usually more than one photo of the two of them together that I can choose from every month.

This time, I seem to have 'lost' some photos which were taken on the actual day (it's the 15th of every month). I'm living in hope that I'll somehow find them again, but in the meantime I'm going to use a couple of others: first, a photo taken today on Father's Day, so it includes their Father which is quite fitting I guess! We were over at our new house, having loads of fun in the garden with some water balloons....

The other one I'll use is one which cheered me up massively when Sasha and I were stuck in hospital. Sasha was obviously missing her big sister lots, and each time Tamsin came in to visit it was lovely to see them close together:

Oh, and see now I've started, I just can't stop. There have been lots of happy sisterly times since we came back from hospital, so here's a few more:

That's all for this month folks, I'm already looking forward to next month's!

The Me and Mine Project
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