I’m definitely not a ‘shopper’ in the ‘Oooh I simply must have yet another pair of shoes’ sense, but one type of shopping I do like is buying presents. To me, shopping for gifts feels like getting all the fun of buying pretty things, but without any of the guilt. It’s a present after all, something you have to buy, so it just can’t be helped can it?

It’s probably why I enjoy Christmas so much, and why I’ve bought rather an alarming number of Christmas presents already – every time I get the urge to spend some money on myself, I buy a present instead, and then I don’t feel bad.

Anyhoo, this is why I didn’t mind too much when Bamarang asked if I would have a poke about on their website, and see what I thought. Bamarang only launched at the beginning of this year, but are going all out to create a sale site with a bit of a difference. Yes they bring you massive discounts, but what they also want to do is bring you carefully chosen brands and designers, that they’ve picked because they really love their products.

As we speak they are in the middle of a one week only kids sale, with five specially selected brands, who they have chosen for their high quality, heritage and traditional values – Le Petit Prince, Vilac, Juliet the Band, Solar International and Trousellier.

All the products are discounted, so if you’re like me and can’t resist starting your Christmas shopping just a tiny bit earlier than strictly necessary, now would be a great time to stock up on gifts.

A few of my favourite things on sale right now:

This Bunny Angel rattle from Trousellier is very cute indeed, comes in a lovely gift box, and is reduced to just £6.50:

"Bunny Angel"

Bunny Angel

You can’t go wrong with a wooden train set can you? Ours was one of the only things I kept to hand down to future babies, and this Noddy version from Vilac is rather lovely:

"Noddy train set"

All aboard!

It’s not just toys either. Juliet and the Band do a beautiful range of kids’ clothes – this grey dress is my favourite on sale at the moment:

"Juliet and the Band dress"

Too cool for school

 

If you like the look of any of these, and want to have a bit of a browse, you can sign up to Bamarang now and get £10 off your first purchase. Lucky you!

This is a sponsored post, but all the content and opinions are my own.

Lots of people moan about their partners when they’re in a relationship. I’ve been guilty of it myself in the past – it’s just too easy isn’t it? You don’t want to make a fuss, you want to avoid a row, so instead you content yourself with complaining to your friends over a glass of wine or two, or fantasising about what life might be like if you were single.

Personally though, I’m more than happy to be in a relationship. Yes there may be petty annoyances sometimes, but I think on the whole it’s a pretty good deal. I certainly find it easier than having to spend hours writing witty yet approachable online dating profiles.

I love the intimacy of being able to share my thoughts with someone and not be judged, I love the contentment, being able to relax and be myself, and I love the security of knowing there is at least one person who is putting me at top of their list.

*vomiting noises*

Yes I know it’s soppy but what can I say? I am a happy bunny. Still, I’m not going to go on about it. Instead I’ve been thinking about all the little things that I like about being part of a couple, and have come up with a list of my top seven more light-hearted reasons why I’m glad not to be single:

  1. You never have to worry about dating a man who twiddles the hair on his mole ever again.
  2. You have someone to warm your feet on in bed. My feet get painfully cold, so I really do like this one.
    "cup of tea"

    Tea for two

  3. You can order a take-away without either having to do a pathetic ‘meal for one’ or ordering too much and looking like a greedy pig.
  4. There is someone else in the house who will make you a cup of tea without huffing and puffing and complaining about never having asked to be born.
  5. When you’re really tired at bedtime you can just run upstairs really quickly and the other person has to turn off all the lights and check the doors.
  6. If you are feeling a bit sad, there is someone around who will notice and give you a cuddle.
  7. You can sigh heavily and look wearily at a full bin/overgrown lawn/empty fridge and someone will probably do something about it.

Seriously, what’s not to love? What are your best bits about being in a relationship?

Photo credit – hellojenguine

Did you register for olympic tickets? More to the point, did you get any??

I didn’t on either count, and on reflection feel like a bit of a spoil sport. Having the olympics just an hour or two up the road is a once in a lifetime opportunity after all, perhaps I should have been a bit more enthusiastic?

The trouble is, when I picture myself going to watch the olympics, the scene I imagine incorporates rather too much queuing, traffic and general complaining from the children for my liking, and all to get a not terribly good view of someone competing in a sport I’m not that interested in. You can see why I’ve opted instead for being an armchair olympic spectator. All I have to do is walk downstairs, and there is no queue at all normally for tea and snacks in my kitchen.

The olympics are famous for including a rather questionable selection of ‘sports’ over the years, so in lieu of getting real life olympic tickets, I thought I’d come up with a few olympic events that I think really would be worth queuing for:

Celebrity competitive cupcake eating – we’re massive fans in our house of Man Vs Food, and I think competitive eating would translate into an awesome olympic event. If you make it celebrity only you could even turn it into a profit-making occasion, and try to claw back some of the billions of pounds we’re spending on the whole extravaganza. I’m thinking an auction – highest bidder gets to be an official Olympic Fondant Wiper. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would pay for the privilege of strategically wiping cupcake icing from Colin Firth’s cheek between mouthfuls.

"competitive cupcake eating"

One your marks…

‘Supermarket scuffle’ – Have you ever seen anyone kicking off in a supermarket? Two frazzled mums arguing over the last reduced pack of chicken chunks maybe? It’s compelling stuff. Come on, don’t pretend like you’re above all that, and would ignore the whole thing and head for the organic chick pea aisle. You know we all love a public argument. Loser gets pelted with stale rolls.

"bread rolls"

Roll up roll up…

 

Teeth cleaning contest – This is just a personal thing that I thought might help with the little issue I have getting Belle to clean her teeth. I was thinking if it was actually an olympic sport, something where there was a medal at stake, she might be more inclined to put in the training. And if she could sell tickets, even better. She does love putting on a show.

A girl can dream right?

Cupcake photo credit – snowy******* and bread roll photo credit – minato

Well firstly, did you enter? If not, then I very much doubt you’ve won.

If you did enter my competition though to win a beautiful charm bracelet from Merci Maman gifts, then now is the time to take a seat and have a cup of sweet tea to hand, just in case.

Just to remind you, here’s what you could win:

"personalised charm bracelet

You don’t have to have my kids’ names on yours. You can if you like, but it would be weird.

OK then, the winner is…

*dramatic Britain’s Got Talent style pause and close up of Ant and Dec looking nervous*

…Claire Butler! Well done Claire!

Don’t worry though if you didn’t win. As a consolation prize Merci Maman gifts have set up a special 10% discount code so that everyone who entered can get some money off their own bracelet. To get your discount, just shop on the Merci Maman website and use the promotional code ‘mummyblogger’ before 22nd May 2012.

Thanks for taking part!

There has been a lot of talk this week about the cover of Time Magazine showing a mum breastfeeding her three year old son.

"Are you Mom enough?"

Are you Mom enough?

 

What exactly is the question here?

Are you Mom enough to continue to provide your child with vital nutrients just because they can walk unadided now?

Are you Mom enough to offer your child a source of comfort and security?

Are you Mom enough to want to protect your child from infections and allergies?

Well yes I am. Thank you very much.

I breastfed Belle until she was two and a half years old. I’d do the same again, for longer if I felt like it. I’m not ashamed of it because IT IS NORMAL.

"Are you Mom enough?"

Belle gets experimental on her first birthday. This perhaps is not so normal. Swallowing upside down isn’t easy.

 

So here’s what I think – breastfeeding a three year old is normal and something to be proud of. There is no evidence at all that breastfeeding an older child does them any harm, physically or emotionally. In fact the opposite is true.

Discuss.

Go on, I dare you.

Today the finalists for the Loved By Parents awards were announced, and I’m very excited indeed to be a finalist in the ‘Blogger of the Year’ category. Now I’m not one for awards normally – I get all the self-worth I need from a strong sense of inner confidence and…

Hahahahaha! Who am I kidding?

That’s rubbish.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am totally praise driven, and that a lovely shiny award is just about as good as it gets for me. It explains why I had no friends at school, but I can’t help it, I like people to say ‘Oooh well done Jo, that’s right, aren’t you clever?’

I don’t even care if they don’t mean it, I just find it comforting to hear.

So…

Best you vote for me in the Loved By Parents special award for Blogger of the Year, or else I will cry myself to sleep every night, convinced that no one loves me and that I’m worth nothing.

No pressure.

That’s right, off you go…

"Loved by parents awards"

Pretty please with a cherry on top

P.S. If you’re wondering how to use your other votes, can I suggest The Day That in the creative ‘best innovative gift’ category, and a few votes for Cuddledry in the bath section? Just if you fancy it. It’s not that I work for them and want them to say ‘Oooh Jo, aren’t you clever?’ or anything.*

*Not strictly true.