Decorating Monster Cupcakes At BKD London

In the last few months, my three-year-old has really started getting into baking (so much so, that when she’s watching us cook lunch or tea, she tells us, “NO. You’re not cooking, Daddy, you’re BAKING.”)

She has a Gruffalo apron and loves rolling up her sleeves and getting messy in the kitchen.

We started off gently, by making chocolate cornflake cakes (which – WIN – she enjoyed making more than eating, leaving more for us) and then in January, her pre-school set the kids a weekend baking task and we made ladybird cupcakes. Because the point of this task was to get the kids to measure, mix and decorate the cakes, I tried hard to let my control-freak instincts go, and allow her to pour flour into the scales and spoon mixture into the cupcake cases. I even let her help me hold the electric whisk (repeating every three seconds “don’t put your hands near the moving bit!”)

She gets such a kick out of baking, so BKD London‘s cupcake decorating classes sounded right up her street. Run by Adelle in a swanky North London canal-side apartment (other classes are run from the nearby Proud Activist gallery/bar/restaurant) the class we went to was a monster cupcake session.

Adelle from BKD London

Cupcakes ready to decorate

A nice cuppa

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Is It OK For Feminists To Like Disney Movies?

Anna and Elsa from Disney's Frozen

I’ve often spoken of my love for all things Disney. There’s something so magical about the theme parks, isn’t there? So much so, that at 18,  my best mate and I, er, went to Florida on holiday, when most girls our age would have gone to Ibiza. Honestly, we did. I sometimes want to go back to my 18-year-old self and give her a good talking to. But the theme parks are something special, and just walking into a Disney Store makes you feel a bit tingly.

But being a Disney fan and being a feminist don’t always sit well together with me. The movies don’t send out the most pro-women messages. The female characters usually have some kind of weakness and they’re saved by a dashing male hero. Often, all she wants is to fall in love and be whisked off her feet by a handsome prince (Some Day My Prince Will Come… well Cinderella love, he might not. And actually, that’s OK, because you’ll manage fine on your own.)

Frozen was a welcome change from the norm – with strong female characters and a twist at the end that sent out the message that true love doesn’t always have to come from a man. Sisterhood rules.

But at the moment, I’m choosing to turn a blind eye to my feminist instincts, which are telling me to stop my three year old from watching Tangled four times a day and Cinderella twice a week.  Is that bad? Am I the worst feminist ever? (Don’t answer that.) But I kind of think: well I watched Disney movies, growing up, and I grew into an adult who has strong feminist views. I think it’s because my mum is so pro-equality and brought me and my brother up to really believe that women are as important as men and should always be treated as such. I’m hoping to do the same with my daughter – balancing off Disney’s old fashioned ideals with feminist messages.

Something that really made me smile was a YouTube video that my daughter came across while watching clips of Frozen. (Don’t get me started on having to hover over her while she navigates YouTube, in case she stumbles across something unsuitable…)

This video is a Disney princess video that the feminist in me is HAPPY for my daughter to watch. Which is just as well, because I’ve seen it 17 times in the past 24 hours….

What’s your take on feminism and Disney? Can the two live in harmony? Or do you have to choose between them?


Using Your Brain To Make A Difference

Brain Awareness Week

When I start to think about it, I can’t even get my head around how important communication is to me. We communicate so much, every day, and we rely on speech, on our ability to have conversations, on typing texts and emails. If we suddenly weren’t able to do these things, it would be devastating. I recently spent an afternoon at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in South West London. The hospital is doing amazing things for people who have profound disabilities – people who have acquired brain injuries and people who have degenerative neurological conditions like Huntington’s disease.

Some patients at the hospital are unable to communicate, unless that have access to an amazing (but very expensive) piece of equipment called EyeGaze. It’s a small camera and sensor which attaches to a normal computer monitor which picks up on someone’s eye movements to control the computer. Just a flicker of the eye can help the patient speak, write emails, surf Facebook and even play games.

To highlight Brain Awareness Week (which is happening right now – 10th to 16th March 2014) the RHN invited some comedians, bloggers, campaigners and fashion icons to the hospital to try out the EyeGaze equipment. I went along two weeks ago, and my breath was taken away by how clever EyeGaze is.

You can see how I got on, trying out EyeGaze, here in this video and you can see how bloggers Poppy Dinsey, Charlotte and Kara got on too. I’d ask you to use your brain and donate today. Give a patient at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability the chance to communicate again – the equipment is so expensive but it’s life changing.


Oh Pretty, Lovely Mother’s Day Gifts

I’ve always loved Mother’s Day – from being a small child, taking breakfast in bed to my mum and saving up pocket money to buy her a bottle of Blue Lace perfume from the local chemist, to more recent years when it’s ME who gets a lie in and breakfast in bed (yessss!)

This year, swanky department store Selfridges sent me a Mother’s Day package – wasn’t that lovely of them? (Note to my family: this doesn’t mean I’m not expecting a card and prezzie from you…) Inside was a selection of beauty treats. Acqua Di Parma perfume, a Clinique eyeshadow palette in lovely browns and natural colours, two Clinique nail varnishes and Clarins anti-ageing serum. THANKS Selfridges… and actually, they’re all bloody good ideas as Mother’s Day presents because most mums like to be pampered, right?

Mother's Day Ideas Continue reading

You Know You’re A Member Of Bad Mums’ Club When…

Bad Mums’ Club. Are you a member? I am. Here’s how you know if you are…

1. The first thing you do when you wake up is reach for the iPad so your child can watch Ben & Holly while you come-to and remember which day it is. Oh bugger, it’s Monday. Better get moving, then.

2. Your dinner menus are a rotation of: fish fingers and peas, sausages and broccoli, beans on toast. (What? All the major food groups are there, aren’t they?)

3. You think bribery is a perfectly acceptable way to encourage your children to do things. Worse still, you bribe them with chocolate and ice cream. (True story: my three-year-old announced to her key worker at pre-school when I picked her up one evening: “If I behave all week, Mummy is taking me to the toy shop.” I might have cringed.)

Bribing your child with ice cream = WINNING

4. You realise that you’ve fallen behind with the laundry and you haven’t got any clean clothes for your child. So you stick a Halloween-themed t-shirt on them and scrape mud off their jeans so they can be worn again. There, no one at pre-school will even notice…

5. You tell your family that you’re off upstairs to “tidy up” but really, you sit on the bed with your iPad, catching up on Twitter, just to get some peace from Peppa Pig for ten minutes. (Shhh, don’t tell my husband.)

6. Your child’s toys are in a mass heap in the corner of a room – no order, no organisation, just a mass of plastic, wood and furry toys. You keep meaning to organise it all properly, but you haven’t quite got around to it yet.

7. You don’t take your child to swimming lessons. This is a big unspoken no-no in some parenting circles. We took our daughter to swimming classes when she was eight months old, she hated it, we found it stressful, we stopped going.

8. After a particularly trying weekend, you actually look forward to going back to work on Monday morning. Yep, work feels like a rest in comparison to parenting a challenging child. (SAHMs, replace work for “the gym”.)

Sometimes my job is preferable to parenting

I’m linking this post up to The Bad Mums’ Club – a collection of posts by bloggers on our failings as mothers. Of course, we know we’re not really bad mums, but I think it’s important to highlight all the imperfect stuff we do, as well as the amazing rose-tinted moments. It’s good to keep it real, right? At the moment, The Bad Mums’ Club consists of me, Morgana from But Why Mummy Why, Aimee from Pass The Gin and Katie from Hurrah For Gin (Can you tell, mum bloggers like gin?) but really, everyone is welcome.

Here’s the badge, if you are a blogger and you fancy writing a post and popping the badge on it:

Not Another Mummy Blog
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