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Alexander Residence: 01/05/11 - 01/06/11

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

You're late! You're late! Your late! For a very important date.

As the White Rabbit in Alice In Wonderland would say.  And indeed today has been one of those days, where we have been late, after late, after late, but we did have a marvellous adventure in a rabbit warren which I must blog about.
Architects of Air's Luminarium

Each June Architects of Air erect a huge inflatable sculpture, outside the Lakeside Theatre in the grounds of Nottingham University. It looks like a cross between a circus top and a bouncy castle, but it's actually a series of tunnels flooded with different coloured lights, kind of like futuristic rabbit warren or chill out zone.

This is the first year we have made it in, mainly because, theatre being my thing, I have normally just booked to see loads of performances for the children's theatre festival.  Although, just like the theatre festival, the Luminarium was magical.  I would have liked to have spent more time in there, as soon as I went in I felt my mind clearing.

Unfortunately I don't have children who cling to my heels, or have the faintest notion of what getting lost in a seamless rubber maze might be like.  So I spent quite a lot of time trying to keep track of them.  Still they loved it as you can see from the video. And apart from going from shopping, to a play, to this, to swimming lessons, with no time to process it all, so did I.

Wish they wouldn't always run off in opposite directions though...

The Wheee! Lakeside Theatre Festival runs this weekend In Nottingham, and is packed with children's theatre performances as well as plenty of free entertainment   The Luminarium is open from now, until Sunday, with sessions for children and adults only too.

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Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Parenting Changed My Life: The Music Video

I couldn't possibly tell you how having children has changed my life, how much effort goes into juggling a 2 and a 4 year old, how much they can do in one little hour, how they make my head spin. But I can show you how it feels if you like?

This was filmed one afternoon when I was struggling, stressed out trying to finish my creative writing diploma and wondering what on earth I was thinking when I quit my job to be a stay at home mum.   

There will be days like this.  People tell you to make the most of it. They won't be this young and wonderful and small forever.  But you don't care, because you're knackered, you're stressed about life beyond kids, you're bored of squabbles, of them not listening, of piles of washing, of putting away the same bits of plastic, of cooking nursery food, of staring, frozen into the middle distance in case they think you're daring to do something for yourself.
Repeat after me.  Good enough parenting.  

Editing it today I look back and see how much fun they were having, how much we did in that afternoon, and how much they learnt even if their mum wasn't firing on all cylinders.  I didn't film the tears, the tantrums, the washing pile, I will next time.

Music credit:  A night of dizzy spells by  Eric Skiff (Resistor Anthems)
Resistor Anthems (Eric Skiff) / CC BY 3.0

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The Gallery My Backyard

What really excites me about our backyard, is the way my dad passes on his love of gardening to my two, just like my Grandad did with me and my brother.

I never paid enough attention, but now my 4yo is teaching me that it's fine to just give it a whirl and see what happens.  I think her fingers are a lot greener than mine.  Or maybe she's just less afraid of getting it wrong. Our garden is still patchy, as we learn what to do with it, but I am very grateful to have a Head Gardener like my Dad.

The children have their own little patch of garden, which they call the Gran garden, in memory of my mum.  They can do what they like with it, but there have been some nice surprises:

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Listography Top Five Albums by a band

I especially love music listographys. Not that I have great taste, as was born out on Saturday at my birthday party, where my random iPod drove everyone mad.

Anyway, if my ipod and all my CDs were nicked (heaven forbid I hear some friends cry), these are the ones I would rebuy, in their entirety, without question, as opposed to just buying a couple of the best tracks off I tunes.

1. Morcheeba -  Big Calm.  Keeps me sane.
2. Stone Roses.  I am nicking this off Kate. It's a work of genius.
3. Massive Attack Greatest Hits. Is that cheating?
4. Artic Monkeys.  Because you can't beat singing along to Mardy Bum at the top of your voice when drunk. 
5. Toploader. Onka's Big Moka.  We had this CD in our much loved and long traded in, T bar roofed car, before we had kids. Guaranteed to cheer me up and take me back to driving too fast along French highways with the wind in my hair.

And my suggestions for hosting Listography? Top Five crisps/ bar
snacks. Top five novels. Top five chocolate bars. Although Top five songs to get you on the dance floor
 is my favourite and I have some corkers for that.  Please Kate?


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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

My Cybermummy Sponsor

I honestly thought my birthday couldn't get any better. My family and friends went out of their way to make my 34th truly magical. Dad treated us to a huge curry on Friday, my brother and his girlfriend took the kids during the day on Saturday.  I had a haircut, and they made me cake. Even though I left it to the last minute to invite them, friends came to help me party on Saturday night.

I was just collapsing on the sofa on Sunday, after dropping the last of my guests at the station, the kids were in bed, the hangover was subsiding.  A quick check of my iphone and there in my inbox was an email entitled 'Happy Birthday!'  It was more than just birthday wishes though, it was an email letting me know Netmums wanted to be my Cybermummy sponsor.

I am thrilled to bits because Netmums made a huge difference to my life when I first moved from London to Nottingham, eight months pregnant with my first child, knowing no-one. I made some good friends through Netmums. I've also made good use of the Nearly New area.

I also have a lot of respect for Netmums campaigns, particularly the Real Parenting Revolution which calls for 'a societal understanding and acknowledgement of the challenges of being a parent in our post-recession era', in other words, championing 'good enough' parenting, and challenging the unachieveable, yet much touted ideal, of the 'perfect parent'. 

Netmums really 'get' blogging and have been great to work with.  As part of the Netmums Bloggers Network I've had the chance to review some fab new products and been recompensed for my time and expenses. My reviews have been featured on the Netmums site.

So I am thrilled to be a Netmums representative at Cybermummy.  Thanks Netmums, I think 34 is going to be a very good year!

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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday


Friday, 13 May 2011

Baby Show tickets giveaway

The generous people at Pampers offered me a pair of tickets to the Baby Show.  It's my birthday that weekend and our baby days are gone. Yesterday that true milestone of the end of the baby days was within sight, there was a wee on the potty.  So in honour of these things, I would like to gift my tickets to a more worthwhile recipient.

The Baby Show is at the NEC Birmingham 20-22 May.  So you need to act fast.  Waste no time in leaving a comment below if you want to enter.  The tickets cost £20 on the door.
And as I have mentioned nappies, I'll leave you with this thought.  Why don't they make them with slogans printed round the top like boxer shorts?  My boy would rock that look.  Sorry rubbish photo but I love it.
Competition closes midnight on Monday, UK entries only, one winner will be picked at random.
Don’t forget to leave a twitter name/ blog address so I can get in touch to get your postal address quickly if you are the winner.

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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Back from my metaphorical fishing trip and a visit from the hobmother

Forgive me blogosphere I have sinned my last post was.. ages ago.  How ironic that I titled it Gone Fishing. 

I did have an actual holiday.  We had a week in the caravan in Malton, Yorkshire. Great spot for escaping and having fun with kids, more ideas on my camping blog. I scheduled some posts while I was away, it was the return bit that stumped me. 

My blog is like my mental filing cabinet and I feel wrong if I haven't tidied loose threads so here's some highlights of the missing time:

I downed three glasses of champers before Kate and William even said I do at a good friend's royal wedding party. I also cycled 7 miles to get there.  I am still not a royalist.

Mr A and I spent much time on the rightmove app whilst hanging out in Yorkshire. We're not moving, just restless.  We were tempted by a B and B in Robin Hood's Bay, until I remembered I already do enough laundry and cooking.

We took our bikes for a service (last used in Herne Hill c.2002), dad bought us a trailer for the kids and we've been cycling lots.

Mr A resigned and went on garden leave. After bickering for a few days about the location of the toaster and other such trivial domestic matters, we realised if we can pull it off, we have a great opportunity to share the childcare and the breadwinning for a change.

Mr A and I enjoyed the free hospitality bar at Nottingham Arena and laughed knowingly at John Bishop's stand up gags about parenthood.  We rolled home very drunk and fell asleep on the sofa, my Dad tried to make us go to bed, but we were snoring.  Just like being teenagers again.

We stayed in the most amazing party rental house in Gloustershire for a good friend's 30th, complete with hot tub, and forgot we were parents.

Until we came home to find the 2yo had flooded the house and the 4yo had found her vocation as a make up artist.  And that we had hangovers, an empty fridge and two little people who wanted to be noisy and eat lots.

My dad has grand designs on our garden and wants to foot the bill.  We've done some sketches.

We spent what would have been my mum's 64th birthday in Robin Hood's Bay, keeping busy, knowing she would have loved it.

My laptop started displaying sideways, so I threw a tantrum. Mr A let me on his so...

I finally typed up the best part of my final OU creative writing assignment, a film script. Then lost it for three hours on Mr A's PC.  Hallelujah!  Just needs lots of editing now.

I finally returned the dish from when my friend made me a lasagne just after mum died.  Dunno why but it seemed significant somehow.  She said grief is a rollercoaster, you just have to ride.  Very true.

I spent a lunchtime in children's A and E glueing Miss L's head back together. She's fine now.

A woman I met in the hot tub last weekend, told me about her husband getting a worm thing in his foot in Thailand.  I am now paranoid my sore toe is a mysterious tropical disease.

So that's it in a nutshell. 

Oh and the Applicances Online Fairy Hobmother visited and offered me some vouchers for Amazon. 
Suggestions on what books to spend it on gratefully received.

Leave a comment and he might visit you too.

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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

CyberMummy 2011 Sponsorship Opportunity

I'm really excited about CyberMummy, the UK’s premier blogging conference devoted to parent bloggers. The conference takes place on Saturday June 25th 2011 in London. It will be a fantastic opportunity for the Alexander Residence to network and gain inspiration, but also holds immense potential for brands looking for an ambassador.  I can be your ears and eyes at this high profile event and keep you up to date on what's happening in the parent blogging community.  I'm looking for sponsorship to attend, and here's what I can offer in return:

I am looking for sponsorship to cover:

Conference Ticket – £80
Train  – £80
Hotel – £130

Total - £290

In return I can offer a unique package made up of a combination from the following:
  • A blog or vlog post/s about your product / brand and a giveaway.
  • Links to your site or service on Twitter and Facebook and in all my Cybermummy posts.
  • A badge or an advert on Alexander Residence's sidebar during 2011
  • Creative consultation on working with bloggers
  • Original copy for your website
  • Local media coverage if relevant - I live in the second highest concentration of under fives in the UK
I am an English and Drama graduate, a trained Drama and Media teacher, a creativity in education consultant, a creative writing student and, of course, a MUM to a four year old girl and a two year old boy.  I will make a creative and confident ambassador for your brand, both in writing and in person.
Alexander Residence won a BritMums Brilliance in Blogging award in January and continues to grow. Alexander Residence is in the Wikio top 100 Parenting blogs and has been nominated in eight categories for the forthcoming  MADs blog awards.  I am one of the handpicked vloggers working for Britmums and a member of the select team reviewing products on behalf on Netmums. 

Please click on my PR and Contact pages to find out more about me and to receive more information.

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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Gone Fishing