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My Daughter will be turning five in May next year, so I am starting to introduce her to the concept of telling the time. She has been asking to have her own watch, so when I came across Furry Friends I thought this would be the perfect first watch for her to learn to tell the time. Not only is the fun design really eye-catching and bright, but the watch is durable too. It is aimed at children from three years old and upwards.

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The watch we have is the Zany design. There are six other designs to choose from and I think they would make a great stocking filler this Christmas. The watch has the following features:

– Quartz Movement
– Soft PVC Strap
– Splash Proof Only (1ATM)
– Size: 21cm x 3cm
– Packaged in attractive PVC case
– 12 month guarantee

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Learning to tell the time is such an important skill for your child to learn. It can improve their independence by recognising when it is the right time to get up in the morning or go to bed! We are starting to introduce Amelia to the concept of time telling with an analogue wooden clock. This simple wooden toy has been really helpful to start conversations about what time it is? Moving the arms allows Amelia to try and show us what time it is and simulates lots of discussion about what activities we do at particular times of the day.

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Furry Friends watches are currently priced at £12.99, however for a limited time only if you enter the code: monster1 at the check out, you will receive the offer price of £8.99. With free delivery too you still have time to get one for Christmas!

For all the latest offers you can visit their online shop via their website or follow them on Facebook .

We recieved the Furry Friends watch for the purpose of this post, however all opinions are my own and are an honest reflection of what I thought of the product.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Body confidence can mean different things to different people. To some people it would be being able to wear a bikini on holiday or looking great in skinny jeans. Too others it might mean being able to stand tall and having pride in yourself.

To me body confidence is a lot more than how a person physically looks. I believe it is more  about how we feel inside and how we reflect this to the outside world. I was really surprised and sad that the other day my Daughter came home from school and told me that one of her peers had called her ‘tubby’. I of course gave her lots of reassurance and she has not mentioned it again since. But it is shocking at this young age that other children are already making personal and hurtful comments about another child’s appearance.

I was bullied as a child at school because I was overweight. This started at an early age I was only eight years old. I remember feeling excluded and that I didn’t fit in. I was a child of the 1980’s and the schools that I attended did very little to help me. It is not like now where pastoral care seems to be high on the agenda in education. Recently at my Daughter’s school every child was sent home with a booklet on bullying. This made me realise just how far we have come, that we are actually trying to prepare our children and make them aware that this is a common problem. The booklet gave helpful advice for both parents and children, so is something that I am definately going to read with my Daughter.

When I was at school in the 80’s and 90’s of course social media didn’t exist in the way it does now. We had very little in comparison to what children have now, but there was still expectations on how you felt you were meant to look. Now children and young adults are constantly bombarded with images on social media. So it is no wonder that many of our children are concerned with the way they look. As parents I think we need to be reassuring them that this is not how they have to look and make sure that they know that some images are airbrushed and are not even real!

The way I would like to make a difference as a Mother, Friend and Health Professional is to educate others that it is ok to be different. This is my pledge, I would like people to do three things when they engage with other people:

  •  Try and look further than the a person’s physical appearance, there is always something more to that person.
  • Talk and really listen to people, gave them the opportunity to let their personality shine through.
  • Don’t be so quick to judge and gave everyone you meet a chance.

I have been inspired to write this post because of Dove’s #PledgeToBeReal campaign. I met the Dove team at the Mumsnet Blogfest and took the below photo.

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I just had to write this post, as I really need to get it off my chest. Over the last seven days I have seriously been considering packing in blogging and just giving up. I’m sure many bloggers go through these sorts of emotions, but maybe not many admit to these feelings of self-doubt.

It all started last week when I attended Blogfest . I came away from my first ever big blogging event with mixed emotions. Part of me was inspired by some of the amazing people I met and heard speak. But another part of me felt totally overwhelmed by the amount of hard work that is in front of me to be any sort of successful blogger.

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The award ceremony at the end of Blogfest was an important part of the day, as this recognises bloggers who are successful. When I got home from the event I was keen to sit down and read some of the blogs who either won the awards or who were nominated. After I had done this bit of research I realised that of course, blogging isn’t just about writing reviews and having sponsored posts. What it is really about is connecting with your audience. It seems to me that the way this is done is by either writing in a humourous and connecting way. Or by writing about issues that are engaging or personal to you. Opening up and being honest about the realities of life.

While I was at Blogfest I attended a Round Table session on Mental Health hosted by Aby Moore from You Baby Me Mummy . I really admire Aby because I know how hard she has worked on her blog. She has built a very successful blog up in only eighteen months. Now she uses her expertise and knowledge to help other bloggers. Aby did a critique and blog coaching session for me a few weeks back. She gave me lots of ideas on improvements I could make and how to make my blog more professional.

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Me with the lovely Aby Moore

The Round Table session was really helpful for me as it was a space for fellow bloggers to open up about their mental health issues. Aby did an amazing job at creating a safe and supported environment for bloggers to discuss how their mental health impacts their daily life. Some of the blogger told their personal stories and also explained how writing their blogs also provides an outlet for what they are going through.

My point is that attending this discussion stirred up a lot of emotions in me. This is because four years ago I suffered with post natal depression following the birth of my Daughter. Thankfully now I am well on the road to recovery. Ever since I started writing my blog I have wanted to write a post about what I went through, but because I feel that there is a stigma attached to a health professional suffering with a mental health condition I have held back.

I have heard a lot of bloggers say that have a burning desire to write and that is definitely in me. So my feelings of self-doubt this week were definitely triggered by attending Blogfest and this is not what I was expecting to happen at all. This week I even wrote my post detailing my story of post natal depression, but for now it is going to stay in my draft folder, as I am not ready to publish it just yet.

I have had a good long hard look at what I have done so far with my blog. I have put a great deal of time and effort into it. Newbie bloggers have so much to learn, especially if you have spent your working life in a sector that is so far away from this sort of social media world. After all I work in health care so the whole concept of building your own brand and marketing yourself is a totally new thing to me.

After much soul-searching I have decided to continue with my blog. I am definitely not giving up because I know I have so much more to say. So I am pleased to say this is not the last you will hear from me after all!


Candyfloss & Dreams

My first blog post for Mummyofthesuburbs was three months ago, so what have I learnt in this short period of time and how do I feel now about blogging now?

I am sure many bloggers will say there are certainly highs and lows. For me there have definitely been more highs than anything else. Of course there have been times when I have doubted myself and wondered why on earth I decided to do this? Is anyone really going to read any of my posts? I have logged into my WordPress account numerous times a day to see if my visitor count has gone up. Sometimes it hadn’t and then other times like when I posted my review Top Ten Tips for Keeping an Organised Diary I have been really surprised how many people have read my post.

I think confidence is what holds back a lot of people in blogging. So many times I have questioned my abilities? I have felt like a fraud and have sat there looking at all the other blogs out there wondering how I am ever going to be anything like them? Then I had a break through, I decided that I am just as good as anyone else. OK, I don’t have any sort of qualification in writing or journalism, but I am a Mother, I work as a Registered Nurse, I have travelled the world and I have lived on this planet for forty years.

So here are my tips for the complete novice

  • Research everything – make sure your understand from the start what makes your site appear professional. Get the right template for your blog and make sure it has the capabilities to be flexible. I made the mistake of choosing a really simplistic design, which looked great but I couldn’t adapt it. I kept it for a while and then when I couldn’t have a side bar, or social media buttons I decided to go back to one of the free options that WordPress offer.
  • Get help from friends and family –  It sounds obvious, but I bet there are lots of people you already know who could help with your blog in some way? For example I managed to get an invite to a bloggers event just by asking around people I knew.
  • Read and read more – any free moment I get, I will be reading other people’s blogs and looking at their various social media streams. I’m always asking myself what do I like or dislike about their blog? What can I learn from what they are doing?
  • Put yourself out there living in London does help, as this is where numerous blogging events happening. My initial dilemma was how do I get invited to anything? This is where I had to start digging a bit deeper. My first discovery was when I was browsing the magazine shelves of WHSmith (not really something I do a lot, as I many read online these days) but I came across the bloggers magazine Blogosphere. From this I found that they run events and meet up for bloggers and I brought tickets for their Christmas Fair. I am also attending Mumsnet Blogfest 2016, I know there are ways to get sponsored tickets for these type of events, however as I still new to blogging this time I was happy to pay. I know that the networking opportunities I will get are well worth it.
  • Don’t give up – at the start I sometimes thought how will I ever get any recognition for what I am doing? I have tried lots of various ways to get brands and companies to take an interest in my blog. From writing emails asking if I could review their products? To contacting them or mentioning them on Twitter or Instagram. Iv’e had plenty of knock backs where a brand has politely told me that I do not have a big enough following or readership for them to be interested at the moment. I have been pleasantly surprised too, because some brands have been happy to re-tweet my posts and some have still been interested in me or pointed me in the right direction.

I know lots of bloggers write posts about what they wish they had known when they started out, but for me I am happy to accept that this is my learning journey. At this stage of my blogging career I am not going to know that much. I am just taking it for what it is. Now nothing is going to stop me, I love blogging it has given me a new purpose in my life and surely that is what it is all about!

The Pramshed

DSC_1319What comes to your mind when you think of Notting Hill? A hang out for the rich and famous. Home for excessively rich bankers. Setting of a very popular 90’s film. Portobello Road Market and The Notting Hill Carnival. Perhaps these are all phrases that would spring to your mind about this uber trendy area? But to me I think of my place of work and my lunch break hang out. That is because I work in this lovely area of London. I have spent many a happy hour exploring The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Here I will take you on a whistle-stop tour of the best shops and boutiques to fulfil any parents shopping appetite. The nearest tube station is Notting Hill Gate and Portobello Road is just a short 10 minute walk away.

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My first stop has to be London Tree House, at 146 Portobello Road, W11 2DZ. A Children’s gift shop which specialises in traditional British characters, such as Paddington Bear amd Peter Rabbit to name but a few.

One of my great finds when I was in there recently was a hair accessories range by BowtiqueLondon. They make really cute handmade hair clips in a range of designs. My Daughter Amelia Loves wearing them in her ponytail!

 

 

You won’t want to miss my next find, just down Blenheim Crescent is Honeyjam Toy Shop, it is simply one of the most beautiful and original Toy Shops I have been to. The owners Jasmine Guinness and Honey Bowdery have made their shop into a real Aladdin’s cave of toys, games, art, activities and kids fashion. I especially love the pocket money table, where your child could choose something that doesn’t cost a small fortune.

I brought my Daughter a lovely cat necklace by Pop Cutie. This is a brand made in Denmark and it went down a treat with Amelia who is a big fan of cats and any sort of jewellery that she can squirrel away in one of her treasure boxes!

Next on my list is Pylones at 172 Portabella Road. It is  a French based company, which sells every day items in quirky brightly coloured designs. It appears to have a Japanese influence. Perfect for a quirky adult gift too.

A lovely boutique shop at 88 Portobello Road. The owner also a gift shop in Hampstead at 31 South End Road, NW3 2PY. The vintage inspired kids children’s night wear really got my attention it is by Powell Craft.

Next head down to the well healed area of Westbourne Grove and you will find Fara Kids Charity Shop . I have been going here for a number of years now, because I know this is the place to find excellent quality second hand bargins. If you are lucky you might find some designer labels and most likely brands such as Mini Boden, Joules and Little White Company to name but a few!

Some other shops you might like to go to in the Westbourne Grove area:

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JoJo Maman Bebe

Marie Chantal

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Finally why not relax and take the weight off your feet after all that shopping, at one of my favorite Artisan Bakeries Gail’s, they are at 138 Portobello Road, W11 2DZ (they also have other branches throughout London). I would highly recommend their chicken and parmesan brioche roll and they make great coffee too.

For more photos take a look at my Instagram account and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

I have been trying to find ways to get into representing brands or reviewing products and I have made my first break through with Childs Farm. I am now an official brand ambassador! I love their products and have been using them for a while for Amelia as she has sensitive skin.

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So some of my hard work and research has finally paid off. I have spent a lot of time reading other people’s blogs and looking at how they make social media work for them. I came across another blogger on Twitter who had just become a Childs Farm Ambassador, so I though I would contact the company and offer my services. Then to my surprise I got an email back from them with a questionnaire to complete and I have been accepted!

So what does this mean? Well first of all they are going to be sending me lots of lovely samples for me to hand out to friends and other people I might meet. So please let me know if you would like me to save some for you? It also means that if you would like to buy any products from the online shop at  www.childsfarm.com and enter the code CFAMB298 at the checkout you receive 30% any of the products. I’m also going to be one of the first people to get sent new products and will have the opportunity to test and review them.

Well that’s it for now, I’m off to do some more research. I think I am on a roll!

 

 

It’s taken me a while to pull myself together and write my first blog post. It’s taken a bit of courage because although I know I am going to enjoy blogging, I do feel that it is is opening my life up to the world. That is the whole point isn’t it!

I decided to call my Blog ‘Mummy of the suburbs’ because of where I live in Ealing, West London. Ealing is know as ‘Queen of the suburbs’.

  It’s something I have been wanting to do for a long while. Every since I had my Daughter Amelia who is now four years old, many of my friends have commented on how I always seem to know about the best child friendly places to go.  I enjoying spending time reading reviews in any of the free parent & child magazines that seem to be of abundance around London. So I’m hoping to use my Blog to do some reviews on some of the places I frequent with Amelia and David my Husband when I manage to drag him along!

One of my other loves is children’s fashion. Any of my friends reading will already know how much I love to dress Amelia in the latest cute outfits. One of my favourite pastimes is to search for hidden treasures in the numerous charity shops of London. I especially like to visit the more well healed areas of the capitol. I might not find anything, but I love the buzz of never knowing what I might find! I also founded a small business called Mummy Traders, which is a children’s dress agency specialising in pre-loved designer clothes. I put my business on hold in January this year, but I’m hoping to relaunch it soon.

I work as a self employed Practice Nurse, so my job takes me all over London. I look on it as one of the perks of the job! I think I deserve some benefits as I spend most of my day in a GP surgery listening to people moan and groan about the NHS!  I often end up working in parts of London that I have never been to before, so I think that makes me best placed to perhaps advice the Mummy’s of West London to get out there and discovery some new places a bit off the beaten track.

Finally I want to thank my good friend and sort of relative (don’t ask it is complicated) Emma Bradley. She is a successful blogger and editor at Tots 100. Emma popped over to see me recently in Ealing, while she was on her way to the Capital Summertime Ball. Emma has inspired me to start blogging as she has successfully made a career out of it and in turn has given up her day job as a teacher. She has also raised the profile of the medical condition  Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH) which her Daughter Erin suffered from.

So that it’s for now. I’m really excited to be on my blogging journey finally!

Check Out Emma blogs at the links below:

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Tots100

TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs
TOTS100

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