Before we start, I know that actually I should be calling it Mothering Sunday, but it really annoys Fiancé when I call it Mother’s Day, and so now I do it deliberately, just because that’s the sort of annoying, belligerent girlfriend I am.

(Also, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever typed the word belligerent, which is nice, because it’s good to try new things.)

Mother’s Day then. What do you normally buy your mum for Mother’s Day? Now that we’re grown ups we can’t get away with glueing some dry macaroni and glitter to a piece of card and calling it art, so if you’re anything like me, it will be something from this list:

  • A card – one that doesn’t scream ‘I just went to the supermarket this morning and this was all they had’. (A couple of years ago I got my mum a card that said ‘Best Mum in Somerset’, which I think she appreciated.)
  • Chocolates – mid-range, unless you went SUPER FANCY and made the effort to go to Hotel Chocolat. (Get you, trying to make the rest of us look bad.)
  • Flowers – small bunch of.
  • A homemade ‘cheese stew’ – I received this rather than gave it. If you’re intrigued, you can read more about it in this article I wrote recently for Prima Magazine.

Not a very inspiring list is it? (Apart from the cheese stew.) Sorry Mum.

cheese platter

Just getting my ingredients ready to make my Mothers’ Day gift.

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I saw a tweet recently that made me laugh a lot:

https://twitter.com/EmmainWndrland/status/836118930506805248

With Belle, it would be the other way round:

(Apologies Emma for blatantly copying your tweet for this blog post.)

I would say that getting her to drink enough is the source of about 87% of my parental stress, alongside getting her to go to school and her refusal to eat any foods that aren’t beige. She has a smoothie for breakfast, but she’ll often come home from school, having had about three sips out of her water bottle, and nothing else for the entire day. I honestly don’t know how she does it. If I don’t drink water throughout the day I feel noticeably different – headachey, sick, and generally awful. I don’t understand how she can go through a whole day without it even occurring to her to have a drink.

Are all teenagers this terrible at drinking water?? View Post

Nixplay photo frame

I have a small family, but I like to think we’re pretty close. Emotionally at least. My sister Annabel moved to Ireland with her husband and two children a couple of years ago, so we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like now. We’ve been over to visit quite a few times, but it isn’t the same as being able to pop over for tea and catch up with what they’ve been doing during the day.

I know that there’s Skype and FaceTime and everything like that, so no excuse really not to keep in touch, but as I’m sure Annabel will testify to, I’m a bit rubbish at it. Work and cooking and boring stuff gets in the way. Every night in bed I think to myself ‘I must talk to Annabel properly tomorrow,’ and then another day goes by and I haven’t.

I’m lame.

I thought the Nixplay Wifi digital frame might be a nice way to add an extra dimension to our communication, and not just because it requires minimal effort from me. (Although mainly that.) It’s basically a digital photo frame, but it links up to an app, meaning you can invite anyone with the app to share photos directly to your frame. You can see where I’m going with this can’t you? Rather than it just showing my own photos, I can ask Annabel to get the app, invite her to share with me, and tada! I can see photos of her and my nephew and niece, Finn and Mia, whenever I like!

‘Cool,’ said Annabel, when I told her about it, ‘I like the idea of sending you snapshots of our life!’

Finn and Mia are only small(ish), and Annabel and I share the sense of humour of a six year old, and so I thought they’d find it quite funny to be able to take pictures of themselves with silly captions and know that they are going to appear in our living room when we least expect it. Belle has a really good relationship with her cousins, and misses them a lot, so I know she’d really enjoy getting to see them more often, even if it was via a photo frame.

Fiancé works away during the week too, and we both miss him being around, (he probably misses us too), so we thought we could add him as well. That way he could send us his latest celebrity spots, with captions of who they are. (He met Will Ferrell in a toilet last week – I do know him – but sometimes I say ‘who?’)

So, we got to work.

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I think I probably take my mum for granted sometimes. I’m not really a gushy sort of person – I prefer to show affection through mild teasing – but she’s not bad. I realise as I get older, and my children get older, how hard it actually is to ‘parent’ once your kids start to form their own opinions. (Damn them, being so sassy and confident.)

No one is perfect of course, but there are a lot of things about my mum that I am grateful for:

  • She is generous with her time and money
  • She is always supportive of me in times of crisis
  • She has a good sense of humour and is fun to hang out with

Okay, that’s enough. Let’s not get carried away. She also has way too many balls of wool in her house, and the state of her saucepans is shameful.

But still, she’s nice.

I’m very lucky with my whole family really. We are all just incredibly intelligent and witty and modest and quite honestly, anyone would be lucky to spend time with us. I mean look at us:

#Muminamillion Photobox Nectar

Basically the Kardashians. This photo is a few years old but it’s one of my favourites because there are so many of us all in one photo. (That’s me on the left, before my hair got quite so grey.) View Post

You’d think that someone who spent their working day online (me) would be a bit more savvy when it came to parental controls. You might imagine I’d be all over it, with all sorts of safety mechanisms in place to protect Belle from internet nasties.

The truth is that I’m actually pretty rubbish.

I was very strict initially about social media, and she had to beg me to let her set up an Instagram account when she was about 12 years old and was the last in her class to have one. She’s not on Facebook as far as I know, but I’m pretty sure she has a Twitter account. On the one hand, my attitude has been led by Belle. I know that she is probably far more safety conscious than me online and she just isn’t the sort of child who would want to access inappropriate material. (Yes I know, all parents say that, but it’s true.) She’s much more likely to be sharing photos of the girls from Dance Moms or watching make-up tutorials.

What I should take more account of though, is that a lot of the time it’s not just about what the child might want to be looking at, it’s what they will see accidentally. What they are searching for might be innocent enough, but it only takes a typo, or a double meaning, and the results can be far from innocent.

shutterstock_274178327

To make the point, I just googled the word ‘doggy’. Just that one word, on it’s own. It’s the kind of thing that any child might innocently search for, hoping for information about puppies. These were the top three results: View Post