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Ta muchly for visiting. Here you will find musings, ramblings and a few statements of fact. They say women can have it all, motherhood, careers and crazy social lives. But what if we don't want it all? What if we want some of it sometimes and other bits not so often? Here I'll mix and match as the whims and energy levels take me. Your tuppence worth is always welcome!

The mask...

The mask...
Life is for loving and living no matter what it involves...

Monday, 25 April 2011

Thank you Prince William and KateMiddleton for another bank holiday

Here we are at Easter Monday, day four of a bank holiday-fest with not one but two more to look forward to within the space of a week thanks to the wedding of Prince William to his 'peasant' bride Kate Middleton. How lovely of them to bestow something on the nation in celebration of their big day; will this be an annual treat? I hope not.

Call me sour-puss if you will but I could do without another day of bank holiday madness. I blame it on living in a seaside town; if the statisticians are to be believed a whopping 400,000 people have descended on Brighton this Easter to enjoy the unbelievably un-British hot weather beside the seaside. At any one point 150,000 bodies were worshipping the sunshine on our boiling shingle. Is this the place to take two wee ones seriously lacking the sense to stay put in a crowd? I think not. Especially not toddler girl who assumes a bright red shade as the weakest of the sun's rays strike her fair complexion and yet refuses to keep her hat on for more than an hour. As for applying the saving grace of factor 50 - try pinning down a raging tiger it will be easier.

Thankfully we had the wondrous National Trust to fall back on; throwing caution to wind on the cost of petrol we scuttled out of Brighton as fast as our wheels could take us and headed for Standen House. This old Arts & Crafts estate is amazing. They've built a fantastic zone for kids out of woodland; this has two cunning bonuses. The first is shade; not to be sniffed at when the temperatures soar and sun lotion is a battle best avoided. The second is a crazy, clambering, rough and ready range of amusements for small folk that can be bashed and scrambled on with wild abandon. No need to fret or worry about potential damage and it is self contained so they can't disappear into the masses and send your heart rate into the danger zone. Throw in some perfectly placed picnic table with stunning views and you have it made.

The beautiful Arts& Crafts estate of Standen House; views aplenty
But there is no need for a bank holiday to head out there; it's open every weekend for 9 months of the year. While I see that bank holidays are quite lovely really I can't help but heave a sigh a relief once they are over; entertaining wee ones is hard enough without having to fight the crowds for the fun-stuff. As for the double-dose next week; well best get the National Trust book out and start hunting for salvation.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Can you picture the Royal Wedding photo album?

Unless you have been dwelling in a cave these past few months the crazy media feeding frenzy that is ramping up for the nuptials of the century as William and Katy tie the knot can not have passed you by. While I fervently wish it would simply slide past my consciousness I am unable to avoid its approach. Which got me to wondering how would they do it if they had total freedom. An even more radical thought, what if they were footing the bill? As anyone who has ever said the immortal words 'I do' will appreciate the fact of a wedding quadruples the cost of everything involved. That bunch of roses you see for £20? Oh no, with a special wedding ribbon added they suddenly cost £80. And then there are the photos. Capturing all those smiles doesn't come cheap. It is amazing the bride and groom can smile at all with what most shebangs cost these days.

Hubby and I did it on a budget so tiny it probably doesn't even cover the cost of the confetti for our dear darling Royals. Thankfully we have creatively wonderful friends who loaned us their talent at no cost so the wedding album is bursting with great shots of the big day. A good photo is hard to beat for bringing back memories or simply just a smile. But not all days of our lives are 'big days', more's the pity as the excuse for champers would be quite brilliant. What about those days that slip past full of laughter and silliness? I've come round to the idea that it's why they invented mobile phones. There is a back catalogue to rival Annie Liebovitz of snap shots and caught moments; these show our little family in progress through this life and are worth more than gold to me. Flicking through the digitized photo albums is an instant mood enhancer.

Possibly the greatest photo collage of all time...
Another up-side to the digital photo is home printing; cheap and instant, like a Polaroid without the shaking. As the job hunting (mentioned in the last post) is something of a non-starter I decided our house needed a big mood boost; a karmic shift of sorts. What better than a huge collage of family photos? An old framed poster was the perfect size, so out went Klimt and in went the wee ones along with a carefully edited selection of mummy and daddy. Home printing allowed me to plunder the back catalogue, printing pics of all sizes to build up a massive A1 sized gathering of all that was good with life. Just looking at it makes me feel all fortunate and soft centred. We now have a new vibrant bit of 'art' for the walls and all for the cost of some paper and ink. And I have pinned down dozens and dozens of reasons to be cheerful in the face of job hunting torment and impending Royal weddings. Say cheese!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Is SEO the way of the future?

A lemonade purse is all well and good but there comes a time when a gal wants more; like champagne or at the very least a nice class of rioja. This freelance lark is fine when a stable income isn't a priority but in these times of new austoryty - oops sorry that is austerity isn't it. Silly me. As I was saying; with belts pulling in faster than troops in Libya it has reached a point when a return to the world of the office is a must. After three years at home with wee ones I have discovered that employers are less than thrilled to see my CV land on their pile. And what piles they are; great towering edifices of hope and desire. My experience and skill set is, even if I do say so myself, rather good. But a communications job in Brighton - make that ideally a part time communications job - is harder to find than hen free pub down Western Road on a Saturday night. That is unless you work in the SEO trade. For those saying 'what the heck?' this is Search Engine Optimisation. It is a way of marketing online that can be rather brilliant (white hat) but sometimes rather shady (black hat), oh I know the lingo I do. You naughty spammers you.

As I left the world of corporate communications waddling with my baby bump, the world of SEO was new territory to be explored. It appears that in my absence it has not only been explored but conquered and Brighton owns the whole damn kit and caboodle.So it was with a huge sigh of relief that I discovered a free - yes free - conference all about SEO right here in Brighton. If you tweet you'd find it under #BrightonSEO. These lovely SEO people are so brilliant at what they do that they kindly shared their wisdom for naught but the pleasure of people listening and they offered free coffee and danish pastries into the bargain. I genuinely think they deserve a huge round of applause for their efforts; it was well organised, had an amazing range of speakers and for me proved the ideal learning platform for this growing area of communications. Did I mention it was free too - ah yes.

Brighton, a city that is King of SEO

If you want more info on this wonderful event visit Brighton SEO.

Now thanks to the info sharing joy of Twitter and the wonderful generosity of #BrightonSEO I am armed and dangerous; ready to write SEO copy for the highest bidder. Well, at the very least I would be comfortable adding it into my marketing mix and this adds another layer of polish to the old CV. Can SEO be part of my future? Let us keep fingers and toes firmly crossed.

Monday, 4 April 2011

What would Angelina Jolie do?

There are those mums that tell their kids "I don't want anything for mother's day." Who are they kidding? I mean really you spend all year being on hand for cooking, cleaning, hugging and playing, listening, making and general all round providing. Isn't it nice, just for one day (okay let's make that two days as your birthday must come under the same joyous rule book) to kick back and be indulged? Call me selfish if you will but I like to wallow in the 'me-me-me' of this glorious hallmark holiday. Come on, they don't call it Mother's Day for nothing now! I will bet my last chocolate in the box that even a jet set A Lister like Angelina Jolie welcomes the chance for her brood to show some mommy-love.
From People magazine website - Angelina and her babies. All mommies need a pampering...
With the wee ones being a tad too wee to actually understand what this day is all about I have to manage my expectations a little but big tall hubby helped them deliver a day to treasure. Now when I say I want something, I mean bare minimum a card. And did they deliver? Oh yes they did. Wee boy came home with the sweetest card ever from nursery (it is good to know that he loves me because I make him smile - AND - give him chocolate) and both made gorgeous cards with a little handicraft daddy-help. You can't beat handmade when it comes to cards; all that budding creativity on show and it costs next to nothing. Indulgence can come cheap.

Not quite as secret as secret squirrel but lovely none-the-less.  
Of course the chocolates and flowers didn't go amiss - although wee boy blew any surprise factor by announcing first thing, "Daddy has secret flowers and chocolates for you mummy." Well, not so secret now are they? Bless. But a little mummy-me-me-me-ness does not have to involve presents (welcome though they are), nope what made my day was the constant stream of hugs and kisses from wee boy and toddler girl flagged with the cry "Happy Mother's Day", and big tall hubby's willingness to take on all kid-duties from dirty nappies to bedtime stories for the day and cook me dinner into the bargain...and to do the dishes after. Now that is what I call a pampering.