Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is asking people from across the country to take part in their annual baking campaign, Bake it Better, taking place 19-25 October 2015.

Taking part is simple: register your interest at bakeitbetter.org hold a bake sale whenever and wherever suits you and sell your yummy homemade treats for a donation to the charity.

Great Ormond Street Hospital bake sale View Post

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Is it a handbag?

Is it a camera bag?

It’s both!

It’s from a company called Mooli, a London-based fashion tech start-up. Mooli aspires to create designer-inspired tech bags ideal for cameras, laptops, tablets and more. Their flagship product is the Hampton Camera Bag for DSLR photographers.

Mooli camera bag View Post

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“Do you ever worry about Belle going on too many mini-breaks?” Bee asked me a while ago.

It’s true, we do go on a lot of mini breaks. It’s one of the things I love most about blogging – the opportunity to try new things and to travel, even if it is only down the road to Devon. I try very hard not to take it for granted, but I also have to remind myself that I’ve worked hard to grow and develop my blog, that these opportunities don’t just throw themselves in my lap.

(I’m not sure where that need for a bit of self-reassurance came from. Probably hormones. *casually scoffs plum crumble for breakfast*)

I actually have had plum crumble for breakfast, on both of the mornings we’ve woken up this weekend at the Bideford Bay Park Resorts holiday park. I made it when we arrived on Friday night – an excuse really to use up a pile of nearly mouldy plums – but I’ve pretended it’s basically like eating toast and plum jam, and is really totally fine.

(Gosh, I really am hormonal aren’t I? Stop justifying everything…)

I’m writing this on the Sunday morning. I’m sat up in bed with a cup of tea while Belle watches a programme on CBBC about kids going to work in a factory in Brazil, to try and make them appreciate how much their parents do for them. I’m hoping it might inspire Belle to bring me a fresh cup of tea, but nothing has happened yet. View Post

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We’ve focussed a lot over the last few weeks on children and young people, so today’s #CharityTuesday post is about animals. I’ve been speaking to Adrian Thomas, who works to inspire people to give nature a home in their gardens, about the work of the RSPB.

RSPB

Credit – Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com)

So, what’s the problem?

Nature is having a tough time of it. Hedgehogs, skylarks, wildflower meadows, even the ‘common and garden’ sparrow and starling are all disappearing fast. I‘ve been involved with nature conservation for 30 years now, and I’ve seen the changes first hand and they’re frightening. The State of Nature report, launched by Sir David Attenborough, found that 60% of British wildlife is in decline, and with more and more people using more and more resources, the outlook doesn’t look good.

The natural world is vital to us; it makes up the complex webs of life on which we and our planet depend, and I believe it enriches our lives too, so we have to look after it. View Post

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It’s a tough old life being a blogger. A couple of weeks ago I had a day out that’s the perfect example – I popped down to Cornwall, ate some mini pasties, tried on bras at the Mish Lingerie shop, had an ice cream… it was all very stressful indeed.

buy lingerie online

buy lingerie online

Who am I kidding?? It was awesome! Seriously, I know I must be about the most annoying person in the world, always blathering on about my mini breaks and days out, but bear with me today, for I bring you a serious message.

Today I’m talking bras.

First up, a confession. I am one of those women who dresses for comfort. I may only be 37, but wardrobe wise I’m about 68. If I could get away with ordering all of my trousers from a Sunday supplement then I probably would because, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t rather have an elasticated waistband? Unfortunately, this makes me a bra fitter’s worst nightmare, as I’m the sort of person to think ‘I’ll just go up a back size, just to be comfy…’ View Post

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As you may know, a couple of years ago I visited Ethiopia with World Vision, and ever since I have sponsored a child there – Eyerus. If you can’t commit to child sponsorship, you can support World Vision with one off donations too.

So, what’s the problem?

Poverty, conflict and disaster leave millions of children living in fear. Fear of hunger and disease. Fear of violence, conflict and exploitation. Fear that robs them of a childhood.

How does your organisation set out to solve it? What makes your approach unique?

Our local staff work in thousands of communities across the world to free children from fear. We live and work alongside children and their families to help change the world they live in for good.

Our worldwide presence means we’re quick to respond to emergencies like conflict and natural disasters. We also use our influence and global reach to ensure that children are represented at every level of decision-making.

We can do this because people like you are prepared to sponsor, donate, pray, campaign or simply share the stories of boys and girls who have been given lasting hope for the future. View Post

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Eat a cream tea to help save a child’s life? Why would you not?? It’s certainly a lot more fun than running a marathon or shaving your head. Today’s charity is a very important one, so please do have a read and help if you can.

Action Medical Research

What’s the problem?

Research is the key to saving many children from a lifetime of suffering, yet surprisingly, medical research into conditions that devastate children’s lives is poorly funded in the UK. Action Medical Research has a critical job to do in helping fill this gap to protect children. View Post

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Today I have a guest post from Veena at Mum to Millionaire. I recently recorded a podcast with Veena, sharing my blogging tips, so now Veena is returning the favour by sharing her vlogging tips!

vlogging tips

Veena V here from Mum to Millionaire – Radio presenter turned receptionist turned online entrepreneur. I’m a single Mum to a hyperactive 6 year old and I just so happen to be a YouTube addict!

So you’ve seen loads of Mums creating a successful blog, now you’ve seen that Mum down the road vlogging and getting thousands of hits. Do you fancy giving it a go? Before you whack out your phone here’s three mistakes that all new YouTubers make:

1) COPYING OTHERS Maybe if you copy that Mum down the road and record the exact same baby hauls, pram reviews and how to make fairy cake videos you’ll be super successful too?

WRONG – you must record videos that YOU want to make. What are you passionate about? What is your style? Look to other vloggers for inspiration but don’t copy them. You will get people watching your videos if you strive on being the best version of yourself.

Yes its blimin’ dam hard to build a YouTube following, but just remember to be consistent and love the videos you make, then it will never be a chore.

2) BAD SOUND & LIGHTING – The way YouTube has evolved over the last few years means you simply can’t get away with bad lighting and sound. But don’t worry – it’s really easy to ramp up the quality of your videos.

If you’re vlogging at home, always film in front of a window – with the light shining on you. 90% of my videos are filmed with natural light, its free so make use of it! You can also buy affordable external microphones that can plug straight into your smartphone. Or if using your webcam you can buy cheap USB microphones that will really make your videos sound much more professional.

If you can’t be bothered with all of that and just want to start recording a few videos then remember to be as close to the cameras internal mic as you can.

3) NO CLEAR GOAL – I find this one a little sad. A lot of people start vlogging because they see everyone else doing it. Just because another blogger has started making videos it doesn’t mean you have to.

If you do decide to pick up your camera, think to yourself why are you doing it? Is it to be ‘famous’, do you want to drive traffic to your blog? Or maybe you want to document your family’s life & don’t care about how many views you get.

I make videos to help people get started on youtube and strengthen my brand. I know some people who just want to make money. Whatever your reason, be focused and be clear.

I really hope this has helped you & if you want more youtube tips, here’s six more mistakes vloggers make:

Remember if you want to do something in your life, just do it! Take action today & create an incredible life for your kids – yes I know that sounds cheesy but its true!

I recently had the privilege to stare at Jo’s beautiful face when she was a great guest over on my blog and talked about the truth about blogging. I LOVE Jo’s wit and how brutally honest she is – take a listen to her on the Mum to Millionaire blog and you can also listen on your phone.

Come on what are you waiting for? Grab your camera and try vlogging – you never know where it could lead….

Veena V x

 

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My featured charity this week is Magic Breakfast, a hugely important charity helping to provide meals for children living in poverty. Please read about their work and support them with just £3.50 a month.

Magic breakfast #charitytuesday

So, what’s the problem?
At least half a million children in the UK go to school hungry each day*. A hungry child cannot concentrate, missing out on core, morning lessons and a chance at educational success.

How does Magic Breakfast solve it?
The charity provides free, healthy breakfasts (of porridge, low sugar-low salt cereal, bagels and fresh fruit juice) to primary, secondary, PRU and SEN schools where more than 35% of pupils are eligible for free school meals. It helps schools to set up and run breakfast clubs and establish alternative ways of getting breakfasts to hungry children, if needed, including playground and classroom feeding. Over 17,500 children in 443 schools currently benefit from eating a “magic” breakfast each day.
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A lot of people get a bit high and mighty about online gambling, as though you’re out on a park bench every night, swigging from a bottle of cheap gin out of a brown paper bag, but it’s really not like that. With most things, an ‘everything in moderation’ approach works well – I have an online betting account, but I use it responsibly and find it fun. I’ve placed a bet in a casino and everything.

Here are a few top tips then to help you gamble responsibly:

Only bet what you can afford to lose

It seems obvious, but of all the advice I can give, this is the one thing you should remember. You might go for an evening out and spend £100 on dinner and drinks and that’s fine, you choose to spend £100, you have fun, and that’s that. It’s the same with gambling – if you can afford to spend £100, then lucky you, go for it, but don’t bank on winning.

Shop around

There are masses of deals to be had online, so do shop around for the best online casino bonus and offers. Take care to read the small print so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.

Make it about something other than the cash

I have quite a fun way of gambling – if there’s an event coming up that I really don’t want to happen, like the Tories winning a general election, I place a bet on it happening. That way if the worst happens and they do win, I have some cash to compensate and if they don’t win I may have lost my money, but at least I can be happy politically!

Make it social

The classic image of an online gambler is something of a social recluse, so to avoid isolation, how about turning it into a social event? If you have other friends who are interested in the occasional flutter, why not invite them round for the evening so you can enjoy a bit of online gambling fun together?

Collaborative post

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This week’s good cause is a project focused on bringing together families for active, creative, open-ended play in a natural environment.

So, what’s the problem?

A lack of good quality, affordable, child centred, nature-based, whole-form education in our local area.

How does your organisation set out to solve it? What makes your approach unique?

We want to start a network of independent ‘micro-school’ classes, sharing ideas, funds and resources. We want to inspire other parents so that, like us, they can organise locally and hire a teacher to give full attention to a small group of children, teaching in a style that they choose, as often as they feel is needed, using whatever methods they see fit.

We want our class to be in a beautiful location and the environment to be an extension of the classroom, in all seasons of the year. We imagine that even classes using different methodologies could share and be connected, perhaps encouraging new innovations in teaching or rediscovering old ways in the process.

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Today I’m very please to welcome Adam Fouracre from Stand Against Violence, a charity that’s local to me in Taunton. Please offer whatever support you can, whether that’s a donation or simply a share of this post. 

Thank you!

Stand against violence charity Taunton

So, what’s the problem?

Violence in the UK is a surprisingly big problem. For a developed country we still suffer 1.9 million incidences in England and Wales per year. More worrying still, and largely overlooked, is all those indirectly affected by a single incident. We only tend to think of the victim and sometimes immediate family, but it’s thought that 10-20 others are actually affected by any one incident. In fact over 60% of us will experience the effects of violence each year and unfortunately this means that you will be very lucky if you get through life unscathed by violence at some point.  View Post

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