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You know you’re a mum when… #1

Amy with the spraying can attacking mum

You find a small person on your living room floor making snow angels – in August!

Your pre-schooler tells you they want to lose all their teeth, so the tooth fairy can visit.

Your washing load has tripled since having children.

You find yourself haggling over Peppa Pig or Sofia the First.

You wake up with the tail of a ginormous plastic dinosaur up your left nostril.

All you hear during the Nick Jr ad-break is “I want that, mummy. Mum, Amy wants that.”

Relaxing baths end with Barbie’s skinny arms poking into your skin.

You can’t remember what your living room floor actually looks like.

You catch yourself watching Bunny Show Jumping on YouTube – don’t ask!

You are regularly used as a climbing frame.

What made you realise you’re a mum?

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FGM: The Mental And Physical Effects

FGM is a damaging procedure that causes untold physical and emotional damage as well as reinforces the second-class status of women in the cultures that practise it

Thanks to the recent Girl Summit in London the topic of female genital mutilation (FGM) has received more attention in the mainstream media than ever before and rightly so. The figures alone should be enough to make people sit up and take notice, with an estimated 3 million women and girls at risk of FGM every year.

Female circumcision is a direct violation of human rights. It is a violent method of control that disempowers women and can lead to lifelong problems, both physical and mental.

The Physical Effects of FGM

As with any assault, FGM carries with it several physical impacts, all of which are harmful to a girl’s health.

  • Increased Rates Of Infection. Because FGM is usually carried out by people with no medical training in non-clinical settings, rates of infection from the procedure are high. Girls are often cut with old knives, scissors and even razor blades which are rarely clean and so rates of infection from tetanus and HIV are elevated. Throughout their lives they will also be more likely to suffer from uterine, vaginal and pelvis infections.

  • Higher Rate Of Infertility. Women who have undergone FGM often experience stagnation of menstrual blood and other vaginal secretions which causes inflammation of the pelvis and infections. These can in turn affect the womb leading to infertility.

  • Higher Rate Of Maternal And Child Mortality. Due to the damage wrought on the reproductive system girls and women who have undergone FGM are twice as likely to die in childbirth. The risk of giving birth to a stillborn baby is also elevated due to obstructed labour.

  • Chance Of Death. At the most extreme end of the physical effects is the chance of death either during or shortly after the procedure. FGM carries a risk of haemorrhaging due to poorly performed incisions which can lead to death. The chance of dying from tetanus infection in the weeks afterwards is also raised.

The Emotional And Mental Effects of FGM

As you would expect following such a traumatic and painful event the problems extend beyond the physical. The mental effects reverberate throughout a girls’ life.

  • Increased Incidence Of Mental Disorders. According to one recent study, girls who have undergone FGM are more likely to suffer from mental disorders.1 In the study 46% of girls had symptoms indicating anxiety disorders.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress. The same study also revealed that girls who have undergone FGM exhibit a higher prevalence of post-traumatic stress. 74% reported suffering from distressing re-experiences of their circumcision.

  • Lower Self-Esteem. Girls who undergo FGM have lower self-esteem than uncut girls in their age group. They often suffer from depression too.

FGM is a damaging procedure that causes untold physical and emotional damage as well as reinforces the second-class status of women in the cultures that practise it. It’s a global problem and one that doesn’t have an easy solution, but by working together we can end FGM within a generation and save millions of girls and women from the trauma and distress it wreaks.

statistics fgm, how many cases of fgm, which countries in africa practise FGM

To find out more about how you can help with FGM, please visit Plan UK

This is a promotional post with images from the DFID – UK Department for International Development.

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5 Things to Consider when planning a kids party

Most of the time, parents will fall into one of two boxes when it comes to kid’s parties. They will flourish as party planners and love the whole process, from brainstorming and organising to hosting and supervising, or they will crumble under the pressure and will hate the idea of a kid’s party from the beginning until the end.

themes kids birthday party, party ideas, things to do at a kids birthday party

Kid’s parties don’t have to be stressful though. They should bring out the kid in you, and give you the chance to make a memorable party for your little one that will be the envy of all of their classmates. That doesn’t mean you will have to spend a fortune, though. There’s no need for over-the-top cakes and fancy themes or venues. Work within your budget, play to your child’s wishes, and you will have a very happy (albeit sleepy) birthday girl or boy afterwards. Here are five things for you to consider, to help to make your kid’s party as successful as possible.

The Budget

Consider how much everything will cost and set a budget to stick to. This doesn’t just mean the venue, the food and the entertainment. You should also bear in mind the cost of the party bags, the cake, and the party dress – everything to do with their birthday party that you can think of.

Things to Do

To help you to set the budget, write a list of everything that you need to think of, and tick them off as and when you do them. Checklists are a great way of keeping on track.

The Theme

disney princess birthday partyIf you’re planning on a theme, set one early so that you can give clear instructions on the invitations. If it’s a straightforward party with no fancy dress theme, you can still treat the birthday girl or boy with a new outfit. This needn’t take a chunk of your budget, either. George’s range of girl’s party dresses are affordable and of great quality – perfect for any birthday princess.

Think Outside the Box

Why book the same thing that has been done a thousand times before? A soft play centre or village hall with a disco may be the easiest option, but how will your child’s party stand out from all the rest if that’s the route you choose to go down? Think outside the box and make it a little different, and they’ll remember it forever. Perhaps a petting zoo, a trip to Go Ape, a Build a Bear workshop or some
Disney princesses wouldn’t go amiss?

Obviously, this would take a chunk of your budget, so plan wisely.

The Invites

Make sure that you send out the invitations in plenty of time, so that the chance of friends being able to attend is as high as possible. Make sure that you include on the invitation all of the details that the guests will need, including time, date, dress code and contact details. If you’re on a budget, consider designing your own and photocopying them – far cheaper and more personal!

Remember that after all this is said and done, the main person you need to make happy is your child. Ask them what they want – if they’re happy with a couple of mates around for tea, then why bother spending a fortune on a party that they don’t need? Whatever you do, your child will love it.

This is a promotional post with images from Teresa Forn.

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3 fantastic ideas for using sprinkles when decorating cakes

When it comes to decorating cakes, sprinkles are a fantastic family favourite. They add a dash of colour and fun to any type of cake, but why just sprinkle them in the usual fashion?! There are plenty of ways in which you could use sprinklesto achieve some pretty unique displays, so it’s time to get creative and experiment using cake sprinkles in loads of different ways! Here are some great ideas to get you started:

1. Birthday cake with sprinkles as the number

birthday cake with sprinkles as number

Children love to have their birthday age written on their cake (adults not so much…!) so if you’re making a child’s birthday cake then this is a wonderfully creative way to add the age. Find a shape cutter for whatever age you are baking for and lay it on top of the cake. Fill it up with sprinkles just as they’ve done in this example here:

Carefully lift the cutter away and you should be left with a perfectly formed number to display the birthday age. This works really well against a light backdrop, so use a white royal or fondant icing as a base. Your birthday cake will look like a professional has decorated it!

2. Sprinkle cookies & pretzels

chocolate covered pretzels with sprinkles

When throwing a birthday party, it’s good to remember that biscuits, cookies and pretzels are a brilliant addition to any celebration, and making these is the perfect opportunity for a little creative flair! Make your biscuits and pretzels unforgettable by icing them before adding a light dusting of multi-coloured sprinkles over the top. We love this pretzel idea here:

The important thing to remember is that you should add the sprinkles while the icing is still wet. This way you can be sure that they’ll stick. Don’t forget to take a photo of your work before it all gets gobbled up!

3. Cake pops with sprinkles

cake pops with sprinkles

Regardless of how old you are, everybody loves a lollipop! Make cakes in a ball shape, add a stick as a handle and then ice the cake (pink icing will make the pops look especially delicious!). While the icing is still a little wet, it’s time to dip the lollipop in a bowl full of sprinkles. Or you could lay out the pops before pouring the sprinkles over them instead just as they have done here – it’s totally up to you.

Display the pops on an attractive cake stand and arrange them so that they are easy for party guests to grab as they pass by. They’ll be the talk of the party and you will love watching them being devoured.
Sprinkles for cake decoration come in all manner of shapes, colours and designs so when it comes to achieving a memorable display, the sky’s the limit! So the next time you are decorating a cake, set yourself a challenge to use your sprinkles in the most creative way possible.

This is a promotional post with images from Little Life Of Mine BlogChocolate Therapy Blog, Love from the Oven via Flickr.

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My Underpants Rule – a Twitter competition

If there was ever a time to protect our children and teach sexual predators like Rolf Harris and Jimmy Saville that they are no longer untouchable, the time is now! And that is why former police officer Kate Power and her husband Rod Power have written ‘My Underpants Rule’, a book aimed at children from 4-8 years that teaches children how to be safe without scaring them.

‘My Underpants Rule!’ is a fun and informative book that introduces children to the rule “what’s under my pants belongs only to me!”. Colourful pictures, rhymes and different scenarios explain to children when it is appropriate and inappropriate for adults to look or touch their private parts.the underpants rule book

The book, available from Amazon, is not only a valuable conversation starter and guide for parents, but also makes it a lively experience for children.

Amy is now 3, but I still found it important to go through the book with her and although the recommended age group for ‘My Underpants Rule’ is 4-8 years, she got really involved. The colourful pictures grabbed her attention and the rhyming pattern really kept her interested, so I would think that this is maybe even suitable for children a little younger than 4 years.

Research suggests that at least one in 20 young adults in the UK experienced sexual abuse as a child, but most incidents are not reported to the police, and three-quarters of children who are abused do not tell anyone about it at the time, so this book really can’t be introduced early enough.

If you would like to win one of two copies, all you have to do is follow @caro_mad and retweet the tweet below.

Giveaway terms and conditions: UK entrants only. 18+. 1 entry per person. 1 prize. 2 winners receiving 1 copy of My Underpants Rule. Giveaway is not associated with Twitter. No cash alternative. You must follow @caro_mad and RT this giveaway tweet to enter. Giveaway closes 9pm 26/08/2014. Winner chosen at random using random.org from valid entries. Winner will be informed by DM. If prize isn’t claimed within 1 week a new winner may be chosen. Mummy Alarm’s decision is final.

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Monday Parenting Pin It Party #64

Hello, Hello, Hello. It’s Monday again and actually it would be the lovely Otilia‘s turn to host this week’s Monday Parenting Pin It Party, but the God’s of the internet are against her and have played silly games with her blog. As we still want you to be able to link up your posts, I’ve quickly stepped in.

Before we get going however, I want to share with you my two favourite posts from last week. First up are these adorable Miffy at the Seaside crafts from Crafts on Sea. They’re based on the book Miffy at the Seaside and great for kids of all ages. I found the idea of developing crafts around a book really cute and there’s nothing better than spending the summer holidays on the beach and making your favourite TV or book character come alive, don’t you agree?

miffy-at-the-seaside monday parenting pin it party

My second favourite are these bug themed lunch ideas for kids from A Little Pinch Of Perfect. They are super cute, healthy and I can totally see kids going wild for them. Amy is currently into everything everything creepy and crawly, so she would absolutely love a lunch like this.

Bug themed lunch ideas for kids monday parenting pin it party

If you want to link up your posts this week, grab the badge below and get involved. If you haven’t joined in before or don’t quite know what the Monday Parenting Pin It Party is about, here’s a quick recap for you:

Mummy Alarm

The Monday Parenting Pin It Party is a linky that is traveling from blog to blog, giving you the chance to link up your best craft, recipe or parenting posts, so that we can share them on our collaborative Pinterest board and show them some comment love. Each host also picks, their two favourite link ups each week and awards their favourite posts their very own special badge. Cool, right?



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Is romance dead?

is romance deadThey say romance is dead, but is that really true? The people at My Single Friend HQ have asked me to share a romantic moment, gift or rendezvous with them in a bid to win one of three fabulous ASOS vouchers.

Now while I don’t believe that romance is dead, it’s been more than a while that I’ve been on a romantic rendezvous. There have been romantic moments in my life and I do like a little stroll down memory lane and remember them. My first boyfriend, who I’ve been with for 5 years, made a beautiful CD for my birthday one year  - full of songs that described our relationship. He even made a booklet and wrote a couple of sentences about each song and its meaning to him. It must have taken him ages.

I however found it utterly cringeworthy and didn’t really know how to react to it. I loved the songs and now I think it was a really romantic gesture (maybe), but back then I don’t think I was mature enough for such a deep and meaningful present. It was quite overwhelming really. The relationship didn’t last – I ran a mile when he phoned up my mum to discuss children and marriage, but I still have the CD and I won’t throw it away – because the music on it is still lovely.

What would you say: Was my CD an act of romance or just utterly cringeworthy? Also, what was the most romantic thing someone has ever done for you? I’d love to hear your stories.

Image credit: EladeManu via Flickr

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Amy and Sophie have a splash

Sophie splashing about at @Bristol

Amy and Sophie splashing at @Bristol

Amy splashing in the pool near @Bristol

Amy about to jump in the pool

Amy making funny faces

Dare devil jumps into the pool

Amy drenched in water at @Bristol

After our afternoon at Wookey Hole, we decided to let Amy and Sophie splash about in the fountains and pools at Millennium Square in Bristol before going for dinner at ZaZa Bazaar and look how much fun  these two had!

Their eyes lit up as soon as we told them that they could jump into the pools and once they were in the water there was no holding back. They splashed each other, they splashed us. They ran and they jumped. They giggled and shared the deepest belly laughs and we sat back and enjoyed seeing our girls so happy. Okay, admittedly we were also quite envious that we couldn’t jump in and roll around in the water without getting arrested for not drunk but disorderly, but that’s life when you’re grown-up.

What is really lovely to see is the close bond that Amy and Sophie have formed over the last 12 months. They’ve only met twice, once at Ascot last year and then on our short break to Devon earlier this year, but they’re getting on like a house on fire. They share beautifully, walk hand in hand and give each other hugs and kisses that make our hearts melt. It’s lovely seeing their little friendship develop and I’ll hope they’ll stay friends for a very long time – giggles, splashes and all!

 

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Wookey Hole: A day with friends

Amy at Wookey HoleAmy and Sophie having a cuddledragon at wookey holefairy garden at wookey holegorilla at wookey holeAmy underneath the gorilla at Wookey Holedinosaur valley at wookey hole

Wookey Hole is a lovely place for little ones as there’s so much to see and explore, so it was the perfect place to take my lovely friend Andrea and her daughter Sophie when they came down to Bristol to spend the day with us.

The caves of Wookey Hole are a 45 minute drive away from Bristol, tucked away in a small valley on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills near Wells in Somerset, and can be visited by the public all year round.

The girls both did great during the tour through the caves. When we last visited, a little over a year ago, Amy got really scared because it was so dark inside, but while queueing for the tour, we explained to the girls that it would be dark at the beginning of the tour but that we’d soon see a lot of coloured lights, a witch (they both seemed to be really excited about that part) and lots of stinky Cheddar cheese which is stored in the caves of Woookey Hole.

Once we had made it back into daylight, we walked through the garden, discovered dragons, mermaids and fairies and stopped for a slush puppy before visiting the dinosaurs. The girls loved that and would have climbed onto each and every one of them, had we let them. We had different plans though: a trip to the witches laboratory.

I had no clue what this attraction was about as it is relatively new, but it was a fun 4D experience sending us onto a lost island with dinosaurs chasing after us – think Jurassic Park, but with wobbling seats, a dying airplane and a splash of dinosaur poo for the audience. It was hilarious. Poor Sophie however didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so some light entertainment was on order next: We headed into the main building and attended a show of Wookey Hole’s very own circus.

All artists were teenagers and children and I was so impressed with the show that they put on. They juggled, climbed on ropes, performed magic tricks and rode unicycles and I just can’t believe how versatile everyone was. The girls were clapping along and shouting Bravo, while munching on a big bag of popcorn and the show really made a lovely end to our time at Wookey Hole – not however our day. But more on our day of fun in tomorrow’s post.