Thursday, 29 July 2010

Taking a break

You might have noticed that I’ve been somewhat absent for a while. Only a few posts in a few months, rather than many every month. This has not been for lack of inspiration or a feeling ennui about blogging. It has nothing to do with too much or too little PR love… or hate.

It has been entirely down to work. Stupid, crazy, hideous amounts of work. This is one of the problems with working for yourself – for most people, at least, the work comes in waves. You have a generally placid sea, where you sail along with little effort, get most of your work done during the day and have just enough money to keep you afloat. Then you have the tempestuous weather, where you get almost no sleep at all, are constantly bailing out water trying to keep from sinking under the tsunami of work and have to strap yourself in for fear of falling over the edge. And then there’s the over-calm seas, where you have to get out the paddles to move at all, where you have the time and the energy to enjoy yourselves, but can’t reach the dry land where you can afford to do anything.

We have, of course, been in the tsunami. Hopefully, by the time we get back from France (we’re on holiday at the moment), it will be settling into some choppy, but steerable weather. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll manage to post more than once or twice a month. Even if it’s closer to the big storms, it should still be calmer for us, as we’ve built up a good bank of freelancers and have learnt that we can delegate a lot more than we thought we could. We’ve developed strategies and processes and should be able to much better weather any storms to come.

So, yes, we’re on holiday in France for a week. More than half way through the week and I really wish we were staying for two – or longer even. I'm only just getting to the point where I feel relaxed and wound down, but have now already started to worry about the work that we have to do on our return. And it’s Rosemary’s birthday next week, too, and things to do for that. Chris’ mum is staying behind for the week, so we will have on-tap childcare. But it’s still going to be busy and I absolutely need to ensure that there is no work to be done on her actual birthday.

So, I leave you (hopefully not for as long, this time) with my new motto: Taking a break. I might not be able to manage a week in France every month, but I can make sure we carve out some definite break time – family time at the weekend, couple time at least one evening a week, and me time at least one evening a week. Let’s see how long we can make it last.

So, tell me about you… Are you on holiday? Have you been feeling overwhelmed or overworked? Are you yearning for a work-life balance or a bit of me time? What would your new motto be?

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Messy Play by Huggies® Wipes Blogger Challenge

Before I talk about Cybermummy, I need to tell you (very, very late) about the Huggies Messy Play Challenge. I’ve had these pictures for a while and been so stupidly busy with work that I haven’t had a chance to post them:

CIMG0655 CIMG0609

Eleanor’s main source of messy play these days is food, though with the lack of clean floors in our house at the moment, she’s also getting a lot of wipe action on our feet, every time we pick her up after she’s been crawling around! As we did with Rosemary, we are following the baby-led weaning (BLW) route. It is fantastic and has worked really well for both of them. But it is definitely not the cleanest way of learning how to eat. One of the catchphrases that goes with BLW is ‘Food is fun until you’re one’, because the babies continue to get all the nutrients they need from the breastmilk (adjusting their intake of milk according to how much or how little food they’re consuming). (I’m not sure how it works with formula-fed babies, though I imagine it’s fairly similar.) We had been using flannels to clean Eleanor up after meals, but she started getting quite spotty (probably because we weren’t cleaning the flannels frequently enough, of course), so we switched to wipes, which leads to less spotty cheeks (though not especially environmentally conscious!).

I’m afraid I’m one of those mums who tends to avoid messy play in the house as far as possible. Presented with the plea ‘Can I do some painting?’ I will do my utmost to find something else to do instead – often baking, which probably takes much more cleaning up. And gluing? No. If I have anything to do with it, she gets to do that maybe twice a year. (Fortunately, Chris is more up for messy play, providing the plastic sheet is out, she wears an apron and she only paints on the paper.) So, when there’s an opportunity for messy play at playgroup or the children’s centre, Rosemary laps it up. And I’m very happy to let her go for it, because someone else will be cleaning up the mess (if it’s at the children’s centre, that person might well be my sister, so sorry Eva!). And, yes, we make prodigious use of wipes to clean up paint, cake mixture, glue, felt-tip pen, mud… when she does get the chance to get messy.

What about you? Do you let your children loose with the paints and the mud pies whenever they want to? Do you limit it to other settings? Do you have some incredibly organised strategy that allows them to get messy without creating lots of cleaning up for you (please, please, please share your secret, if so)?

The next half an hour I don’t really have, I will be telling you all about our trip to London and my wonderful day at Cybermummy. (So, that will probably be just in time for next year’s conference, then!

If you fancy winning a Huggies goodie bag, why not take some pictures of your kids getting messy? The rules are below, but there are only a few days left to do it, I’m afraid, as the closing date is 14 July.

clip_image002Messy Play by Huggies® Wipes Blogger Challenge

Inspired by some of the Huggies® mums recent posts, Huggies® Baby Wipes wants to see your photos of your little ones really getting messy. Child psychologist Janine Spencer says, “Giving children the freedom to play messily helps them develop their imagination and social skills. It boosts their confidence and helps them understand the world around them. That’s a small price to pay for a bit of mess.”

The rules are as follows

  1. The messier your baby is in the photo the better. (The challenge is cleaning up!)
  2. Post the photo to your blog with The Messy Play by Huggies Wipes challenge. (It can be an old photo or a previous post).
  3. Send a link of your blog post featuring your Messy Play photo to @Huggies_UK on Twitter or to participate.
  4. Check out to see all the blogger submissions and links to their blogs. Submissions will also be shouted out by @Huggies_UK on Twitter.
  5. The top 3 messiest entries will receive Huggies® gift packs of Huggies merchandise. (and if the messiest children are mine, you are definitely doing a bad job…)

[I am a Huggies Mum and an independent blogger. My affiliation with Huggies does not change my capacity to blog independently. I have agreed to disclose in my postings when I receive a product, sample or sponsorship from Huggies. In no way am I financially rewarded by Huggies. They sponsored me to go to Cybermummy, not to mention feeding us croissants and looking after our bags! And have also given us a fair few packets of wipes, recently, which is very handy while BLW!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Cybermummy meet and greet

Carly over at Mummy Shoes has had the great idea for us to post a picture and short bio to help recognise people on the day (although I'm rubbish at remembering names so sorry in advance if I get your name wrong)
Name:   Tasha Goddard (occasionally known as Coding Mamma, though I rarely seem to do any coding these days)
Twitter ID:   @TashaGoddard
Height:   5ft 4ish
Hair:   Longish and darkish – getting it cut this morning, so might not be long anymore
Eyes:   Changeable – really, they can be green, brown, grey, blue…
Likes:   Reading, writing and arithmetic


This is me, though I probably won’t be sporting face paint on the day.