Category Archives: Mummy Update

Scarlett Summer Photo Blog


For a while now I have wanted to do a photo blog….I am finally going for it.

Scarlett’s summer…each week I will pin what Scarlett has been doing since summer started.

You can follow it here.

London 2012 – my Olympic adventure


Monday was the best day ever….after months and months of trying to get tickets we finally made it to the Olympic Park.

I’d spent weeks checking the travel, the weather, the events on whilst we were there and finally it was here.

We started out at 9.30ish driving to Milton Keynes station, quite an easy road trip – helped by the sausage sandwiches provided by our adventure companions Kirsten & Dan. Train in from Milton Keynes to London Euston, 1st tube to Oxford and then central line to Mile End – I remarked to Marcus that we had been travelling  for 4 hours!

We chose Mile End as we were off to Victoria Park, firstly to have our picnic and then to visit BT London Live.

Our picnic was of epic portions:

Us having our picnic at Victoria Park

Our epic picnic

Then the only disappointment of the day – at @BTLondonLive we were told we couldn’t take in any food or liquids. I couldn’t understand this as you could take snacks into the Olympic Park – also the zip wire we have pre-booked wasnt open! No pre-warning or explanation. I am still waiting to hear back from @BTLondonLive about why we had to throw food away!

NB: Glad we didn’t do the zip wire after Boris!

In Victoria Park there was quite a few attractions, big screens, sports to try, food and great things for kids. Scarlett decided she wanted to bounce and it was the best £5 I have ever spent:

Scarlett on trampoline

I jumping Mummy

Watched the diving on the big screens, atmosphere starting to build and then off went, walking to the Olympic Park.

WOW as we entered by Victoria Park even the grass looked amazing. It wasnt until we had gone past the privileged area did we see the crowds! What an experience.

We looked round and was amazed by each and every venue, began taking pictures in front of every event. Started to find box offices, we were directed to the one outside the basketball areana…..so into the queue we get!

After queuing for about 20 mins the volunteer said we are running low….honestly I thought we would have three adults crying! Luckily we got our tickets and off we ran to the arena. Our seats were amazing:

Great seats at the London 2012 Olympic Basketball Arena

London 2012

Great game from the Russians and Brazil women – the atmosphere was amazing and we all loved it!

After that up the hill we went to get our picture taken under the Olympic Rings, even queuing for that was great as we had an amazing view of the mens team at the Gynamastics on the big screen to our left and the GB hockey to our right. For every goal they scored and the for that split second we have silver the whole park erupted!

To be fair at this point we were all so happy with our experience we wanted to chill and make our way home.  Off the Maccies 1st where I was impressed with our quick we were served. The big London 2012 store was net where we all picked our survenors, me a mug, Scarlett a car and Marcus a keyring. Then off home we went.

It was the best experience ever and I have spent every night looking for more tickets!

At the time of publish the table looks like this:

Great interactive graphic

Everyone has called 2012 the digital games and the sponsorship games.

Below is some great articles:

Team GB Campaign

Transport & Email

Social Media Charts

Olympics Sponsorship

Who did it best? Personally I loved Twitter

Olympics & 2nd Screen

Twitter helps man find lost Olympic ticket

Could  m-commerce have helped Olympic tickets

Gold Beats

Social Olympics

Tweets by day inforgraph:

Shows tweets by day during Olympics

Tweets by Day

Olympic Media

Olympic Media

 

Google Blog analysis of the social olympics

71 things your child needs to know


This article caught my eye – 71 things your child needs to know

I have copied the 71 things and noted what Scarlett can do and what she is learning and what she will learn – great resource to see your child devlop

Personal and Social Development

Approach to learning

  • Shows eagerness and curiosity as a learner – my little girl loves the library
  • Persists in task and seeks help when encountering a problem – her fav saying is “no Scarlett do it” but she will ask you if she fails!
  • Is generally pleasant and cooperative – generally yes!

Self-Control

  • Follows rules and routines – likes routine – bath, bottle & bed
  • Manages transitions (going from one activity to the next) – tends to go from one to the next to the next
  • Demonstrates normal activity level – is always on the go

Interactions with Others

  • Interacts easily with one or more children – has loads of cousins so interacts with kids all the time
  • Interacts easily with familiar adults – is happy to be with her extended family
  • Participates in group activities – is always one of the pack
  • Plays well with others – know how to share
  • Takes turns and shares – will always share
  • Cleans up after play – if mummy helps!

Conflict Resolution – looking forward to this

  • Seeks adult help when needed to resolve conflicts
  • Uses words to resolve conflicts

Language and Literacy

Listening

  • Listens with understanding to directions and conversations – amazed about how good she is with this
  • Follows one-step directions – being doing this for ages
  • Follows two-step directions – started doing this recently

Speaking

  • Speaks clearly enough to be understood without contextual clues – it was just us that understood her but now everyone can
  • Relates experiences with some understanding of sequences of events – tells everyone what she has done and in what order

Literature and Reading

  • Listens with interest to stories read aloud – loves stories
  • Shows interest in reading-related activities – loves the libary
  • Retells information from a story – only the bit from night garden where iggle piggle isnt sleeping!
  • Sequences three pictures to tell a logical story – not yet!

Writing – she loves to draw but not mastered writing yet

  • Uses pictures to communicate ideas
  • Uses scribbles, shapes, and letter-like symbols to write words or ideas

Alphabet Knowledge – loves her game with the alphabet

  • Recites/sings alphabet
  • Matches upper-case letters
  • Matches lower-case letters
  • Identifies upper-case letters
  • Identifies lower-case letters

Mathematical Thinking

Patterns and Relationships

  • Sorts by color, shape, and size – started doing this!
  • Orders or seriates several objects on the basis of one attribute
  • Recognizes simple patterns and duplicates them

Number concept and operations

  • Rote counts to 20 – 1-7 at the moment
  • Counts objects with meaning to 10
  • Matches numerals
  • Identifies by naming, numerals 0-10

Geometry and spatial relations

  • Identifies 4 shapes- circle, square, rectangle, triangle – gets shapes into shape holes and understands circle
  • Demonstrates concepts of positional/directional concepts (up/down, over/under, in/out, behind/in front of, beside/between, top/bottom, inside/outside, above/below, high/low, right/left, off/on, first/last, far/near, go/stop) – wow she knows all of these!

Measurement

  • Shows understanding of and uses comparative words (big/little, large/small, short/long, tall/short, slow/fast, few/many, empty/full, less/more. – everything is little or big!

Physical Development

Gross-Motor Skills

  • Pedals and steers a tricycle – her feet cannot touch the pedals but she tries
  • Jumps in place, landing on two feet – counts 1,2 and then jumps – where ever she is!
  • Jumps consecutively- 7 jumps – not yet
  • Balances on one foot for 5 seconds – not yet
  • Hops on one foot 2-3 hops – not yet
  • Hops on one foot- 6 ft. – not yet
  • Throws a ball with direction- 5 ft. – tries
  • Catches a thrown ball with arms and body – lets her dad catch!
  • Climbs a playground ladder – scarily but yes!
  • Skips smoothly for 20 feet

Fine-Motor Skills

  • Stacks 10, one-inch blocks
  • Strings 4 1/2″ beads in two minutes
  • Completes a seven piece interlocking puzzle
  • Makes a pancake, snake, and ball from playdough
  • Grasps pencil correctly – started to do this
  • Copies:  vertical line, horizontal line, circle, cross, square, V, triangle
  • Copies first name
  • Prints first name without a model
  • Grasps scissors correctly
  • Cuts within 1/4″ of a 6″ straight line on construction paper
  • Cuts out a 3″ square on construction paper
  • Cuts out a 3″ triangle on construction paper
  • Cuts out a 3″ circle on construction paper
  • Uses a glue stick appropriately
  • Uses appropriate amount of glue for tasks

The Arts

Creative Arts

  • Identifies 10 colors:  red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple, black, white, brown, pink – starting to really learn her colours
  • Uses a variety of art materials for tactile experience and exploration

Music/Movement

  • Participates in group music experiences
  • Participates in creative movement/dance – loves to dance

Creative Dramatics

  • Makes believe with objects – goes shopping all the time
  • Takes on pretend roles and situations – she loves being the mummy

I plan to revisit this list in a year….the changes

My grown up little girl


A follow-up to last weeks post, two things made me feel like my little baby is gone and been replaced my a beautiful, clever little girl (I’m biased I know)

Firstly, we changed her trike into a bike which she loved:

 

Scarlett on her bike

Scarlett on her bike

Then she spent her last day in toddler room at nursery and from next week will be in the big kid class……

I’m looking forward to an active summer and found some great resources for things to do. My favs list so fare is:

Summer Time Bucket List: 50 Activities for the Kids: maybe for summers to come, but  a great list:

  1. Go Catch some bugs – got her net ready!
  2. Watch a butterfly hatch from a chrysalis.
  3. Make and enjoy fresh kid-made limeade.
  4. Paint with fizzing sidewalk paint.
  5. Dream of winter by making snowglobes.
  6. Take a mini-road trip to a new destination.
  7. Make homemade bouncy balls.
  8. Make a fire, create and roast campfire food.
  9. Freeze some fun toys in ice and be an excavator and chip them free.
  10. Jump rope – create a fun durable rope from marker lids.
  11. Play I-Spy outside! Great way to notice the little details in the world around you!
  12. Clean out the trash cans… and then make noise with them!
  13. With a balloon and a CD fly a CD hover craft.
  14. Play with your food – eat a pretend Lorax!
  15. Watch ants change colors and learn about how they digest food with a fun outdoor experiment.
  16. Kool-aide Slurppies. Nothing says summer time better than slurppies by the pool.
  17. Visit a farmers market together and make veggie smoothies (or a dessert smoothie) with the produce.
  18. Fill a dry kiddie pool with a variety of items for a giant sensory tub activity.
  19. Watch pill bugs race. See if you can collect a whole “family” of bugs.
  20. Make and eat some homemade kid-made butter.
  21. Add some fun to your slip-n-slide, with shaving cream!
  22. Use damaged pool noodles for art, a sword fight, or to create a marble run.
  23. Play outdoor bingo – go on a hunt for the items on your card. Whoever finds things in a row first wins.
  24. Experience and explore gravity by playing with pulleys
  25. Decorate rocks for your garden – with melted crayons!
  26. Have a lazy boardgame afternoon.
  27. Pick a flower, with your favorite color of paint make flower prints.
  28. Explore the colors of the rainbow with ice.
  29. Play with glow sticks – put them inside balloons, dump the contents into jars of water, paint with them, etc.
  30. Create with your recycle bin – make art and toys out of trash.
  31. Have a lemonade stand with the kids – put smiles on your neighbors faces.
  32. Decorate some tin cans and create some DIY windchimes. Compare the sounds of different sizes/shapes of cans.
  33. Collect your summer memories into a keepsake jar.
  34. Create art sculptures with tin foil.
  35. Decorate your yard with balloon people OR make a bunch and hand them out at the park – put smiles on the kids faces.
  36. Get muddy and make some dirt soup with the kids!
  37. Paint with water outside – I love mess-free art!
  38. Foam – a messy project, great to incorporate with washing the car! Make foam and then use the flakes to wash the car.
  39. Make a water xylophone with the kids to make music with.
  40. Freeze bananas (or grapes, strawberries, etc. Dip them in chocolate or yogurt for a fun summer treat.
  41. Play with giant bubbles – the bigger the better.
  42. Take your kids fishing. Don’t have a pole? Go pretend fishing.
  43. Explore your shadow – trace them, chase them, make them dance!
  44. Have a tea party – outside. Bring your friends and stuffed animals.
  45. Make a splashpad at your own house with a DIY PVC pipe sprinkler system.
  46. Have fun decorating the garden with some paving stones.
  47. Water the yard – the slow way, with homemade watering cans.
  48. Explore scents outside with a water table experiment.
  49. Play and mold sculptures with Rice Crispie Treats
  50. collect items for a bird nest – that the birds can use to decorate their nests with.

 

Being a mum, holidays and weddings


My mum brought me a great book for my birthday – Just Like Mum Says.  It’s full of quotes about being a mummy, I cannot believe Scarlett is nearly two – our lives have changed so much in those two years.  If you are a new mum I highly recommend this book.

One of the biggest things I have noticed since becoming a mum is how tech savvy we really are. There must be a million plus mummy bloggers, millions of mums online to answer questions you pose or review the new must have baby thing. I found them all a great source of comfort and practical help from when Scarlett was born. It seems now that marketers are catching up to how “online” mums are.

The IMoms summit seemed a great place to visit – shame it was in the US.  Here is a few links to some great articles:

I recently read a great story about a courageous mum, who turned her family’s stressful events into a business, in-turn helping other families.   After her son was born early and she struggled to find clothes that fit him, she started a clothing line for premie babies – she helped families by adding humor to the clothes. She found humor helped her & husband through the tough times and it looks like her clothes are helping other families.

Scarlett & I are very lucky, we have a great husband/dad – he is Scarlett’s full-time carer and I think he should write a blog/book for other dads about how to do it! Found a great infograph following dadsummit.com (another great US event).

One of the greatest articles I found was 71 things your child needs to know – I have started a new post (will publish soon) to track what Scarlett does know, what she is learning and what is far off!

on 29 April this year it was our 1st Wedding anniversary – we were on holiday celebrating. This was Scarlett’s 1st holiday and she loved it! From the drive to their airport to the final coach home she loved HOLIDAY.  For anyone interested I have reviewed our holiday and our favourite restaurant (which we went to for our anniversary dinner).

As I had never been aboard with Scarlett before I wasnt sure what to take – I found a great list online that helped me pack & prepare. It seemed like I had everything but the kitchen sink, but I think my husband, mum & daughter will agree I had everything we needed………..

 

 

Digital Engage Conference


I was looking forward to the digital engagement conference, there was some great content and new insight. I was tweeting all day and updated this blog with the key highlights. #LCDconf

Unlocking power of social media – Action on Hearing Loss Are people ready to hear the message?

  • Segment your audience
  •  Great opps – ability to respond to external environment, evolving, ability to target
  • How to migrate from one Facebook page to another -activity
  • Build up relevant and interesting content
  • Curate content of interest from blogs
  • Engage with detractors but only correct inaccurate facts
  • Use of Storify create stories of conversation put on website
  • Content strategy include user generated content i.e. social media supporters and service users
  • Service user Facebook pages engage with other service users
  • Survey in why interested and what else would like to see

Social Media ROI Big Lottery

  • Use your plan to look at where/what we should be listening too
  • What does success look like
  • Return on engagement – reputation building, better customer satisfaction & brand awareness
  • Help people tell their own stories – video is a great channel

 Online advocacy Action Aid

  • Interactive map of research, engaging and shareable
  • Invest in content
  • Plan responses to campaigns allow time to react
  • Making content work for different platforms, google docs
  • Facebook petitions
  • Split testing content
  • Strong email and action sequence
  • Measuring impacts by measuring change of conversation tone

Optimising your website HSE

  1. Make things easy to find
  2. SEO keyword objectives and strategy
  3. News blog in wordpress feed RSS and website
  4. Keep it tidy
  5. Redirects or customer friendly error pages
  6. 2. Accessible
  7. Site morse to review website
  8. Developer guidelines
  9. 3. Easy to use
  10. Page objectives
  11. Formats other than text
  12.  Keep in touch
  13. Measure and improve

Day in Life of a Journalists

  • Use twitter to contact journo as starting point and way to sharpen pitch
  • Balance between personal and professional
  • Local radio and press use twitter highly to break stories
  • Check what people say on twitter etc before hiring, each employee should be google searched
  • Allow freedom plus guidelines if you allow them to be a pr spokesperson you should allow them social media freedom
  • Content and relationship is king
  • Staking online claim to stories even if you don’t have a mention, build keyword ownership too.
  • Have content ready for your “oh shit” moments
  • Use twitter and live blogs together
  • Hash tags are the best ways to reach out in social media campaigns

Power of the smartphone Breakthrough Breast Cancer

  • 60% mobile phones used for Internet surfing
  • 50% UK smart phone
  • 13% of all web pages are accessed from mobile
  • Reasons for struggle and success, mobile users low attention spam
  • Dialogue, mobile web or on device apps
  • Engagement, data and money
  • How we do we operationalise digital?
  • Buy in from senior management
  • Social media guidelines are common sense not an environment of fear

Bigger Budget Campaigns Amnesty International

  • Societal, technology used to help or solve social problems i.e app development
  • Social change encourages an engaged consumer S
  • ociety campaigning, part of a cause
  • Failure is a necessity fail early, fail fast, fail often for innovation

Digital Presence

  • Diversify across right channels, focus on results and understand user behaviour
  • Consider sustainability, once built how will you maintain
  • Sliding scale of quality matched back to user
  • Up skill all workers on elements on digital

 

Thanks to twitter I get to keep up to date with conferences even when I cannot attend, the recent Social Media Marketing Conference is an example. I was unable to attend but was able to track the conference via Twitter, here is a saved search showing a selection of Tweets from the day.

Also, last nights #socialskills from the @theidm

So Facebook has brought Instagram, as a android phone user I hadn’t experienced Instagram but with a new app on the store and a Facebook purchase I wanted to see what it was all about. Ive installed it on the IPad and will try to link my phone.

Links to some great articles about the purchase:

The numbers

To challenge Apple?

Instagram – the timeline

Wrap Up

I have also joined Tumblr and will see whether this is much different to wordpress as a blogging tool.

Last Wednesday afternoon I started noticing updates on G+ about a new design,  I opened my profile page and there it was!. The new G+ profile page, bit like Facebook timeline + white space.  I was interested to see what else they had changed and what that would mean. Below is a list of the changes and some key articles about the changes:

  • Header Image and Profile Photo Changes
  • Customize Your Navigation for Business Communication
  • Page Promotion on the Right-Hand Sidebar
  • Trending Topics and Explore Section
  • New Hangouts Page
  • Enhanced Photo Albums and Videos
  • Easily See Who’s Engaging With Your Page
  • Easily Switch Between Page Admin and Personal Account

Google Blog announcmenet

Major design overhull

Love or Hate?

The numbers

I read a really good book -What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us by Guy Kawasaki – wondering whether he will amend his book with the new changes?

I’m loving the Ipad at the moment & using it more and more. A certain drawing app may have something to do with it.

Draw something stats

Showing the popularity of draw something

 

Recently read a great article on innovators and how we are all innovators just what type I am. I think I am an experimentalist!

Had a great Easter, the kids enjoyed their Easter hunt, just wish I had taken some photos!

Being a mummy in spring


I love being a mum and as Scarlett gets older I am loving it more & more. Since she started nursery she likes to be doing stuff and as I spend my week at work and away from her I like to do stuff too!

I found a great article about 10 things to do in Spring and I am trying to do them all:

  1. Plant some seeds, bulbs, plants – we have some that we are hoping to plant at my moms or we will do some cress heads  – if that counts
  2. Go for a walk – she likes to walk with her daddy to see the horses
  3. Go to a Farm – my friend at work has invited us to his farm to see the animals which we are looking forward to
  4. Attract wildlife to your garden – not sure how we could do this in our small garden?
  5. Make a sundial – Scarlett may be too young for this
  6. Go for a bike ride – soon we will be taking the harness of her smart trike making it more like a bike!
  7. Go for a picnic – she loved the picnic she had with her Nanny on Sunday
  8. Do some Spring Crafts – today she made loads of easter crafts for our Easter Egg Hunt on Friday….watch this space
  9. Bird watching – on Sunday we saw a lovely Swan on the canal by our house – Scarlett seemed mesmerised by it
  10. Spring Clean – we are still hoping to move so a spring clean is on the books

NSPCC are launching a new campaign based on the success of many viral videos S$&t kids say.  It is a very powerful video and a great way to use a trend for the right campaign.

If you are like me you will be a family on a budget, most of the people I follow on Twitter give me great tips about being a family on a budget. Recently I found a great blog – family budgeting – described as creative ideas for raising a family on a budget. Does anyone have any recommendations?

Wanted to share a great tip with you about an emergency kit for your car – it inspired me to update mine! And I found this tip on Pinterest

The independent did a great article on the 7 ages of motherhood – I am the First Time Mother wondering if I will ever be the experienced hand!

10 apps for motherhood – I am not sure I will use any of these but I do think the iPad is great for moms, kids and families alike.

One of my favourite blogs – beingamummy – back on mother’s day she answered some questions on motherhood. I loved the article so much I wanted to answer them for myself:

Describe motherhood in three words
Rewarding, amazing and exhausting.

Does your experience differ from your mother’s? How?
I had my little one at the same age my mum had me but I think things have changed so much. Also I went back to work when my little girl was 5 weeks, my mum stayed at home until I was in school – I think that makes our experiences very different.

What’s the hardest thing about being a mum?
Lack of a decent night sleep and when she is ill.

What’s the best thing?
When your little one first says Mummy, when they smile and how everything she does she does with a smile.

How has it changed you?
Lots and lots.

What do you hope for your children?

Health & to be happy.

What do you fear for them?

The riots last year made me really worry what world will be there when Scarlett is older.

What makes it all worthwhile?

Scarlett’s smile when I get home from work or the kiss I get 1st thing in the morning.

Something I have learnt being a mum is limit your chores! This may be a surprise to people who know me but I am trying to worry less and less about the chores and spending more quality time with my family.

 

Facebook valuation


Facebook is due to release its figures soon, it has been valued at $100 billion – found a great article about whether this is realistic – Think Facebook’s $100 Billion Valuation Is Nuts?

With it being the end of the 1st month of a new year I find my To Do list getting larger – I read a great article about this recently – it left me thinking so what do I do? Then I found some great advice:

1. Schedule in your calendar anything that feels important but not urgent.

2. As your final activity before leaving work in the evening, set aside sufficient time — at least 15 to 20 minutes — to take stock of what’s happened that day. and to decide the most important tasks you want to accomplish the next day.

3. Do the most important thing on your list first when you get to work in the morning, for up to 90 minutes.

4. Take at least one scheduled break in the morning, one in the afternoon, and leave your desk for lunch.

I will be trying to implement these so I will let you know how I get on!

Christmas as a Mummy


As a kid I loved Christmas, as a mummy I am sooooo excited.

This weekend we talk our little one to see Santa, she was excited, mainly because Mummy was but then Santa’s elf lead us into Santa’s grotto and her smile and excitement disappeared. I was lucky she didn’t scream the place down whilst we tried to take the picture!

Scarlett visiting Santa at his Grotto

Scarlett not sure about Santa

We then spent Saturday morning putting up the tree – she loved the decorations but isn’t too bothered with the tree – I turned over the ends so she couldn’t pull them all of and she seems bored now…. I wonder if that will change!

Saturday evening I wrote all my Christmas Cards and Scarlett keen to get involved scribbled across all of them, some lucky recipients got a bit of biscuit too…… I was a but surprised when I dropped her off at Nursery on Monday to get a list of the kids in her room – I asked her do you know who ** & ** is and then I remembered she is 15 months! Is it too early for her to be sending her own Christmas Cards?

We have lots of Christmas activities planned, I am looking forward the most to our PJ/Xmas film watching with just Mummy, Little One & her Cousin (1 year older!)

I’m probably more excited than her about Christmas, I just cannot wait to see her face on Christmas morning when Santa has visited……… What are you looking forward to?

5 things people might not know about me


After reading a post by Dave Fleet – 11 things people dont know about me  I did wonder what dont people know about me. Do people know everything because of social media and my online presence?

Everyone knows I’m married – one of the 1st things I did was change my status & name on Facebook, everyone knows I have my daughter – her picture was posted to Facebook within hours of her birth. Everyone knows who I work for just by me checking in at work.  So what is left that people may or not know about me:

1. I am a neat freak – everyone who visited my house pre-baby thought I had series OCD!

2. Girl Racer – I loved my sports car & it did break my heart to exchange it for a family car!

3.  I love NKOTB and was happy to see them at their 1st reunion tour – hoping to get tickets for the 2nd tour alongside Backstreet Boys

4.  IPAD2 – I love my IPAD2 and wishes we could have one each as we have to share custody between my little girl and my husband & I – do other families have to do this?

5.  Xmas – I have always loved Christmas but found the excitement get less and less the older I am. This year by little girl will be 17 months so I am hoping she will start to get the excitement I had as a little girl.

What things do people not know about you?