Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

April 19, 2011

The Life Cycle of a Blog

Blogs are strange things. As a veteran blogger of two whole years, I've seen lots of new bloggers enter the blogosphere, while others lose their interest in, reason for, or time for blogging and, sadly, disappear.

Quite often I have said, "That's it - I'm leaving it there." Like 'Fawlty Towers' and 'The Office' I plan to leave on a high point and before everyone tires of my mutterings and musings. And then, something happens - one of the children will do or say something, or we find ourselves in a bizarre situation, or I read something which pushes my buttons and I turn to my blog to share my thoughts with anyone who's listening.

So, I've come to the conclusion that, just like everything else in life, blogs have a life cycle. And this is it:

Blogspawn - a new blog is born. It is full of energy and multiplying cells and cannot do anything but grow and develop. It feels a little restricted though, swishing about under the surface and not quite knowing how to get out there into the pond. It is easily intimidated by the fully grown Blogs and can't ever imagine being that big.

Blogpole - finally free from its initial Blogspawn confines, the Blogpole starts to move around; expanding its world by having a look around the pond and seeing what else is out there. Blogpoles are a little braver than Blogspawn and start making friends with other Blogpoles. They go off and search the pond together and feel much braver. They also have loads of energy and enthusiasm and are delighted with their new found freedom.

Bloglet - Now the Bloglet has legs and can really get out and about to see what's going on out there in the pond. With their new limbs, Bloglets go rushing around; they never seem to stop - dropping in here, there and everywhere. Bloglets are full of great ideas and join in with all the activities in the pond. Blogs, Blogpoles and Blogspawn are a bit in awe of them and their unfaltering enthusiasm.

Blog - Finally, the fully formed, Blog emerges. It is big, bold and confident and can hop around the pond at will - or may even leave the pond entirely for periods of time. Blogs enjoy being part of the pond, but also enjoy lazing around on lily pads, thinking of something original and interesting to say. They feel exhausted just looking at the Blogpoles and Bloglets zipping about. Blogs sometimes like to find a nice bit of mud to go and hide in for a long time - they might tell you they are going, or they might just go. Some Blogs even say that they are going away for good. But they usually come hopping back to the pond at some point; back to where they started out as that small bit of Blogspawn many moons ago.

Big, fat Blog, or Blogspawn - what stage of the Blogging Life Cycle are you at?


April 18, 2011

Spring Treats: Liz Earle Perfume, Happy Hopperz and DVD reviews

A quick round up of some excellent Spring Treats - tried and tested by, and Hot Cross Mum approved!

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No 1: If there was ever a perfume perfect for the Spring and Summer, the new Liz Earle perfume must be it. This is the first scent Liz Earle have created and I absolutely love, love, love it. Over 98% directly derived from natural ingredients, the fragrance includes ingredients such as lavender from France, damask rose from Turkey, Italian bergamot, and spicy patchouli from Indonesia. If I had to give an idea of what the smell is reminiscent of, I would probably say some of the Jo Malone scents, although it shouldn't really be compared to anything because it is so original and fresh and lovely. It really is the nicest fragrance I've had in a long, long time. It has become a new favourite and will be on my birthday and Christmas wish lists from now on! The cost £40.35 for the 50ml eau de parfum spray.

Happy Hopperz - these new toys are excellent -think space hopper for tots! They are ride on, inflatable animals in a range of styles (cows, horses, bulls, rabbits, reindeer) with ears or horns for children to grip on to and sturdy feet to steady the bounce. My 3 year old absolutely loves his blue bull. Happy Hopperz are perfect for sunny days in the garden, or rainy days inside and can even be deflated and packed up to take to the park or on holiday. They are a brilliant toy (and I'm hoping they will start making adult sized versions very soon!). Happy Hopperz are available from as well as independent toy stores and and retail at £19.99.

The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Gahoole - this is a beautiful movie which my 5 year old absolutely loved. From the producers of Happy Feet, the movie features stunning imagery and an inspiring good versus evil story. We were all hooked from the start. It is a step up from our usual Disney/Pixar movies - a sort of Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter style story - with owls! The movie is available on 3D Super Play, Triple Play and DVD as well as on 2D Triple Play and DVD. The voice cast includes Abbie Cornish, Miriam Margolyes, Helen Mirren, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess and Hugo Weaving. Check out the official Facebook page or watch the trailer below.


April 13, 2011


Life is busy. Crazy. Not enough hours in the day. Rushing around, tripping over toy trucks and piles of washing. Flustering about the lack of vegetables consumed in the last 24 hours. Grabbing a quick shower. Writing 'to do' lists - adding to them and rarely crossing anything's bonkers most of the time and manic the rest.

But among all the rushing and nagging and worrying, there are moments. Quiet moments. Funny moments. Amazing moments.

Like yesterday, when this conversation took place in the car on the way back from the shops where I had bought my 3 yr old a new 'army' sun hat.

Me: "Do you like your new hat then?"
Him: "Mummy. I love it soooooooooo much that I can't even smile."

Moments like my five year old pulling my hand eagerly into his school classroom at the open evening last night and proudly showing me his spring colouring book and his daffodil and his handwriting and his wonderful drawings and asking me whether he starts Senior Infants next week or next year?

Moments like at the weekend when I'd dragged a summer skirt out of the back of the wardrobe and thrown it on to be greeted with, "Oh, mummy. I love your....that....'thing' (pointing at the skirt) is sooooooo beautiful."

Moments like an unexpected 'I love you mummy' when you're chopping carrots.

Moments like a 'cafe' hastily thrown together on the garden table with juice in the teapot and fairy cakes just baked and out of the oven and cries of 'Cafe Lady, please can I have something else to eat at the cafe'.

Moments like realising your 'fussy eater' isn't actually all that fussy any more as he eats a green bean and says, 'Mmmmmmmm, that's delicious.'

Moments which we often forget to talk about, write about or acknowledge because it's just easier to complain about all the crap.

What 'moments' have you had recently?


April 11, 2011

Staying safe in the sun with Nivea Sun Kids

So, there I was at the weekend, frantically searching for sandals and shorts, sun hats and suncream. It was fabulous weather - the sound of lawn mowers and the smell of burning sausages filled the air. The sun had well and truly put his hat on and was out to play; and so were we. "It might be gone tomorrow," we all cried and spent every possible moment outside before the inevitable rainy summer comes along. Sorry, but you just know it will.

Having a child with the fairest of the fairest Irish complexions and matching red hair, I am probably more than justified in my frantic efforts to keep him covered up and protected from the sun. "Where's your hat?", "Drink plenty of water," "Sit in the shade for a while," "Come and get your cream on." That's the only thing the poor boys hear me saying when the sun shines.
Thankfully, he is now at an age where he will actually stand still long enough to let me put the sun cream on, so I no longer need to do the 'Suncream Dash' around the garden.

He also has slightly sensitive skin so the new Pure & Sensitive sun lotion and spray range from Nivea Sun Kids is perfect for him. It is 100% free from perfume, colourants and preservatives, and is especially developed for kids’ sensitive skin. The formula is dermatologically approved and hypo-allergenic and has a SPF of 50+. It helps protect immediately against sunburn and long-term skin damage, and is also water resistant which will come in handy when the paddling pool is dusted off, cleared of spiders and inflated at the speed of snail.

So, although as I write, there are hailstones bouncing off the garden chairs and it is blowing a gale, I'll definitely be keeping my Nivea Sun Kids lotion somewhere handy so that the next time the sun puts his hat on (and he will, very soon, right?) we'll be right out there with him.

Nivea Sun Kids Pure and Sensitive is available exclusively at Boots. For more information visit


April 7, 2011

When Hot Cross Mum met Edith Bowman

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of spending an evening in the company of Edith Bowman in the fabulously swanky surroundings of the Soho Hotel in London. Just a regular Tuesday night, right? Well OK, not quite - although I could very easily get used to it!

Edith is one of the ambassadors behind the Proctor & Gamble 'Proud Sponsor of Mums' campaign in Ireland and the UK (have you seen the gorgeous TV ad yet - tear jerker or what?). Edith spoke to the press about the findings of Proctor & Gamble's report into 'The Changing Face of Motherhood', which highlights how the role of mothers has changed over the decades. The report was commissioned by P&G (the company behind brands such as Ariel, Fairy, Pampers and Olay) in the run up to Mother’s Day. I then scooped a private interview with Edith about her role as a busy working mum and her involvement in the P&G challenge to live as a 1930s housewife for a day. Here's what happened.

HCM: Hi Edith. Gosh, you're stunning. I'm a little bit starstruck. (why didn't anyone offer to do my hair and make-up? Hmm). Would you like to sip your champagne and munch on a mini burger while we chat?

Edith: Hi Hot Cross Mum. Oo, yes, that would be fab.

HCM: So, Edith, tell me about your challenge to live as a 1930s housewife? You certainly looked a lot more glamorous doing your challenges than I did!

Edith: The challenges were amazing, but I never want to see another washboard for as long as I live. It really shows you what hard work it was back then.

HCM: I agree. Did you see me trying to wash clothes with a washboard? Pathetic! So, what was the hardest part of the challenge for you?

Edith: Erm, everything! I basically wouldn't be able to work if I had to live like that now. I think we take for granted all the modern appliances and products we have now to make our lives easier - although we do fill up the time we have gained with other stuff. Life is very busy for mums now.

HCM: So you won't be trading in your dishwasher for carbolic soap and a wire scourer then?

Edith: (laughs) No!

HCM: Did I mention that your hair looks amazing? I did. Right, let's carry on then. So, Edith, you're clearly an extremely busy woman. What is your schedule and how do you manage to juggle your career with family life and your little boy Rudy?

Edith: (clearly melting at the mention of her little boy) - It's really tough. As a working mum I know how hard it is to juggle everything. I absolutely love my job and am very lucky to to do the job I love. I want to work to give Rudy the best I can, and for myself because I still have things I want to achieve. I leave the house at 6am for The Breakfast Show and am usually home by 11am. Rudy is in nursery 5 mornings - we try to keep his schedule as normal as possible. We don't have family living nearby and haven't had a nanny since last August so me and Tom (Edith's husband - the lead singer with The Editors) have to be very organised and juggle our schedules. I'm hugely appreciative of the support networks I have of my mum and friends who step in and help out. I had to put my mum on the sleeper train from Scotland so she could mind Rudy while I am here tonight.

HCM: So, you don't have a nanny? Is that through choice?

Edith: Yes. We made that decision because we want Rudy to have a normal, family life and be surrounded by family and people who are important to him; who will be there as a constant, whether that is me, Tom or his nana. It's hard work but we just have to be very organised.

HCM: How do you spend your free time with Rudy?

Edith: When I collect him from nursery I love taking him swimming, or we go to the cinema -just normal, everyday things really. Our time together is really, really important to me.

HCM: So, is Rudy into music? I guess he must be with such musical influences around him?

Edith: He is! He goes into the studio with Tom and bashes on the drums! He's into the Beatles at the moment - he calls John Lennon 'John Lemon' and likes singing 'Yellow Submarine'. He also thinks the Dizzee Rascal song 'Bonkers' is hilarious.

HCM: You clearly adore your son.

Edith: Rudy is amazing - I learn from him on a daily basis. He's the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about at night. As a mum you just feel this massive sense of responsibility.

HCM: Ahhhhh -that's so lovely. You're so normal and down-to-earth. Please can I sit and chat to you all night? So are you doing any of the summer festivals?

Edith: Yes, I'm doing T in the Park in Scotland. Coldplay, The Arctic Monkeys and The Foo Fighters are headlining. It should be fantastic.

HCM: Excellent. So, you won't be wearing your 1930s headscarf to that event then? Well Edith, I know you want to sit and chat to me all night but I really must be fair and let some of the other people talk to you and take your photo. It has been an absolute pleasure meeting you. Please feel free to pop in for a cuppa if you're at the Oxygen festival in Ireland this year - I live just down the road.

Edith: My pleasure Hot Cross Mum (shakes my hand). Love your ring by the way.

And with that she drifts off into the waiting crowd. She liked my ring. That must make me cool, surely?

Edith Bowman is the loveliest lady and clearly a doting mum who works hard to balance her career and family life just as the rest of us do - her 'me time' is as limited as the next person's. It's really refreshing to talk to a celebrity mum who isn't surrounded by nannies, but who faces a familiar struggle to schedule and organise and spend time with her child while holding down a job she loves. Cheers Edith - you rock! Follow Edith on Twitter @edibow

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