All in a morning…

Mojo Mums

Emma from Mojo Mums shares her morning. Sound familiar…?

My morning:

5.00 – Get woken up at by daughter who has had a bad dream.
6.30 – Get woken up by husband going to work.
7.00 – Get woken up by son.
7.03 – Take kids downstairs and get them breakfast.
7.15 – Go upstairs and have a shower.
7.20 – Go downstairs as kids are fighting about which TV channel to watch.
7.21 – Back upstairs to begin wardrobe debate.
7.23 – Go downstairs to confiscate the remote control.
7.24 – Back upstairs, finish getting ready.
7.30 – Pick up various bits of dirty underwear from the bathroom floor, most belonging to my husband,. Make beds, get uniform ready.
7.35 – Ignore yelling from downstairs.
7.45 – Go downstairs to put on a wash, empty dishwasher, clear away breakfast things and tell kids to get dressed.
7.55 – Get toothbrushes from upstairs and bring down with toothpaste on and put in downstairs loo.
7.58 – Search for clean school jumper, hairband and different socks as son refusing to wear the ‘lumpy’ ones I put out for him.
8.00 – Tell kids to get dressed about 8 more times.
8.05 – Look in book bags from day before, sign homework, remove paperwork with newsletters, bills and goodness knows what else.
8.10 – Make packed lunch for my son and for myself.
8.12 – Ignore more yelling.
8.15 – General tidy up of breakfast things and wash up saucepan from last night.
8.25 – Remember to fill water bottles and get snack for my daughter and put in their bags.
8.28 – Tell kids to finish GETTING DRESSED.
8.29 – SON HAS DISAPPEARED WANTING TO REMOVE HIS TROUSERS. Starting to panic as I want to leave now.
8.30 – Daughter on toilet now for what looks like may be a while…
8.33 – Managed to get daughter into car, son still nowhere to be found.
8.34 – Engine on – start to reverse out of drive without son (on purpose as this usually works). Son makes an appearance at door with shoes half on, crying.
8.35 – Wave to friends calmly and happily cycling past on their way to school hoping they haven’t just heard me yelling.
8.36 – Off to school – nowhere to park –find space.
8.40 – Walk to junior school say goodbye to daughter.
8.45 – Walk to infant school – teacher prizes son off me as he’ doesn’t like school’; apparently it’s ‘too long’.
8.50 – Walk back to the car take a deep breath and drive to work.
9.00 – Arrive at work AND RELAX!

My husband’s morning:

6.30 a.m – He gets up, has a shower and leaves the house.

Who Wants Apps? WeWantApps!

When I treated myself to an iPad a couple of months ago, I knew I wouldn’t have it all to myself, but I didn’t realise how much my 4 year old son would love it. He now refers to it as “my iPad” and, frankly, he’s right.

The only problem we’ve had so far has been finding the right apps for him. We’ve installed many that have turned out to be too easy (the educational ones) or too simple (the games) and he quickly gets bored. Others have proven to be more suitable for older kids, leaving him frustrated.

So when I was asked to review WeWantApps! I jumped at the chance. Released worldwide on 22nd August, it has been designed to recommend age-appropriate apps for young children (0-14 years old). With several categories to choose from, including Games, Education, Books and Learning for Life, it could make it so much easier for parents to find the right apps for their kids.

The first thing I noticed was the really user friendly interface. It’s very easy to select your search criteria: age, category (Education, Games, Books or Other), Language, Platform (iPhone, iPad or Universal) and Price (Free or Paid). Then you simply hit “Search” and within seconds the results are generated. My search for free iPad books in English, for the age range 4-5, provided an impressive 254 results. We are now the proud owners of Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” (recommended age 4-6), “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (age 3-8) and “Toy Story Read-Along” (age 4-10).

As well as making it quick and easy to find the most suitable apps for your child, WeWantApps! lets you share your favourite apps with other parents and friends, and checking out the apps they love. The Daily App recommendation is handpicked by the WeWantApps! team and is a good way to discover new apps that you might not think to search for. Every single app has been reviewed by the WeWantApps! team, giving parents peace of mind that their iPhone or iPad is a safe place for their children to learn and have fun.

My son and I will definitely continue to use WeWantApps! I was getting fed up searching online for app recommendations, and the sheer volume of the results means I’m bound to find at least a few that appeal to my little one. He has just started school, so I’m pleased to have a simple way to find lots of educational apps to make learning fun.

The only improvement I can suggest to WeWantApps! is to allow parents to narrow their search further within the category, for example by searching for a keyword or topic (such as animals or nursery rhymes). However it’s still early days for this app, so I’m sure plenty of improvements are on the way…

For WeWantApps! updates, new features or surveys check out You can also like WeWantApps! on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Disclosure: No payment was received for this review. MOTB bloggers write with honesty and integrity at all times.


Little Fashion Gallery to stock H&M/UNICEF’s ‘All for Children’ online

H&M’s ‘All for Children’ range

Have you seen H&M’s super cute ‘All for Children’ Collection? We like it because it’s being launched in collaboration with UNICEF with a view to protecting children’s rights in cotton producing areas of Tamil Nadu, India.

If you don’t have an H&M near you, fear not. Little Fashion Gallery has just announced that it has been chosen as the exclusive e-tailer of the range when it launches on the site on 18 October 2012.

All for Children is a unique five-year collaboration project between H&M and UNICEF and has been created around an illustrated book, which will be sold with the collection. The book tells the story of two children playing and having fun with some animals and an evil magician who casts a spell on them. The animals conjure up a plan to help the children to protect themselves against the magician who has banished them to the moon! The children break the spell and organise a party to celebrate their victory and to show their appreciation to the animals.

The collection includes both dressy and casual pieces all with a unique design and refined details. Materials used include cotton, wool and silk all of which have been worked together to create a playful spirit which is dedicated to children. The colour combinations are soft and autumnal: greys and navy are mixed with amber and aubergine. And pastel shades like old rose and nude are combined with shades of brown and green.

The clothes themselves are for both boys and girls and in addition to clothing, the collection also comprises around 20 accessories and interiors products including stickers, a tent and even an elephant lamp!

Sizes range from 92cm to 128cm (approx 1 – 8 years) and the collection itself will be easily recognisable as it features a special ‘H&M All for Children’ hang tag which explains all about the collaboration between H&M and UNICEF.

Will you be trying out the new range?

Two mums, three kids and a stork

social shopping for mums

Two mums, three kids and a stork

Meet our Mums: Claire Jeffreys

Normally, I’ve got plenty to write about. Words swim around my head and I need to grab a notebook and pen to write them down before they get lost in the deep, dark recesses of baby brain. The only real problem I have with writing is finding the time to do it, between changing nappies, ferrying the kids here, there and everywhere, fighting my way through a dozen loads of laundry, and trying to get a fledgling business off the ground.

But when someone says a certain three little words, my fingers freeze.

Write about yourself.

So I’m copping out and I’m going to tell you about my new baby instead. No, I haven’t added to my brood (two children are plenty for now). The latest addition to my life – one that demands just as much attention as a newborn, and is the next best thing in terms of challenge and reward – is StorkUp.

social shopping for mums

StorkUp was conceived last year and actually has two mummies. Fiona and I met through a local Facebook group and quickly realised that apart from having young children (three under 5s between us) we had lots in common – including something of an obsession with internet shopping. We both loved and were frustrated by it in equal measure. We wanted to find the best products for our children, at the best prices. Not too much to ask, surely? Unfortunately, in our experience, it seemed to be.

So we decided to do something about it. Several months later, we’ve just invited our first pool of beta testers to try StorkUp, a social shopping community for mums and mums-to-be. It’s a place for them to discover, organise and share all the great baby and children’s products they find online. It’s going to bridge the gap between online shops, review sites and parenting forums, and make deciding what to buy for our kids easier, less time-consuming and a whole lot more fun.

Starting a business can be exhausting and frustrating. Juggling it with family life makes it even harder. As if I didn’t already have enough on my plate, I decided to start a blog a few months ago. When my son was born in December 2007, I started taking photographs – lots of them. I diligently printed them and created photo albums documenting every stage of his first two years. By the time his little sister came along in August 2010, the photo albums were a thing of the past. I still loved to look at them and remember those amazing early days of first-time motherhood, but I had long stopped updating them.

So my blog, At least Daddy can cook…, is an alternative. It’s a random collection of photos of my children, recipes (as I try to match their Dad in the kitchen) and tales of family life, past and present. It has become my virtual diary – something to help me remember these changing, exciting times.

For exclusive pre-launch access to StorkUp (i.e. a sneak peek before the rest of the world), Mums on the Blog readers can click here to sign up. If you refer three other mums to StorkUp, you become a Founder Member and get lots of special perks! 

Encouraging children to read

Child reading

Nikki Thomas looks at new research suggesting low levels of literacy among children. 

I was really sad when I read recently that according to research by the National Literacy Trust, one in three children has never owned a book.  That is a really shocking statistic.  Never owned a book?

I was talking to someone at school about it and they said that reading isn’t for everyone.  But I disagree with that statement completely.  Of course there are some people for whom reading is more difficult or challenging and there are always some books or types of books that don’t appeal, but reading is such a wide and varied thing, there must be something that can appeal to everyone?

I have always been an avid reader.  I love reading.  I was introduced to books from an early age by my mum and then discovered Enid Blyton in my later years at primary school and I never looked back.  There are some books that I have read over the years that I haven’t completed and there are lots of books that I wouldn’t even start.  Currently, I’m lucky if I read a whole book every six months, but I still read; newspapers, magazines and information on the Internet.

My husband claims that he is not a reader.  His mum bought him books when he was little which he showed no interest in and so she gave up.  Her assumption that he wasn’t a reader rubbed off on him, but she was wrong.  He didn’t like the books she bought him and he wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the books he had to read at school, but he loves reading.  He reads biographies and autobiographies of sporting people and politicians and he recently completed the Harry Potter books, which he loved.

I am seeing a similar development with my children.  My two eldest sons love books of all sorts and love reading.  They have constantly got their heads in a fiction book and particularly with my eldest who is now sixteen, his ability in English at school is outstanding and I have no doubt that his reading has played a big part in this.  My seven year old is similar.  However, my six year old is more like my husband.  He has never settled to reading like the other two.  He does read, but he is obsessed with sport; football and rugby in particular.  He can read the sports pages of any newspaper and loves books with sporting facts and figures.  He does like some fictional books and sometimes likes books such as Horrid Henry and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  But give him the back page of a newspaper or a sport-related book or magazine and he will sit for hours reading away.

School reading schemes drive me crazy at times.  As parents we work really hard to encourage our little ones to read and some of the books they come home with are awful to say the least.  I do find it frustrating sometimes, I have filled my house with books of all types in an effort to give the children access to books for reading, for reference or to help with school work.  I’m often glad that I have as even my seven year old, who will read anything, struggles sometimes with the choice of books available.  My six year old often utters the words; “I hate reading”, when I pull another non-fiction book out of his school bag, that he has chosen for choosing sake.  I have chatted to the teacher about it, but he is sent to choose his own books from a selection within his own ‘band’. The thinking behind the system is that he has to stay within a certain band as the books in the band above are not suitable for his age group.  But surely, it is more productive to let him read something he actually enjoys reading.

I suppose my point is this.  Reading is a massively important part of growing up.  I think reading to children when they are little is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child.  It gives them a positive start and also shows them the importance of reading.  But the other point is that ‘reading’ is not just about books.  Reading is all around us and in a world that is dominated by computers, we do have to embrace the media if that is a way of encouraging our children to read.  I am happy for my six year old to read me the football results, not because I have any interest in football, but because he wants to read it and it is what he is interested in.

The findings by the National Literacy Trust were based on 11 -16 year olds, which is the age where children do become distracted by so many other things.  This to me underlines the importance of encouraging a positive attitude towards reading when they are younger, hopefully then when they reach the teenage years, they will continue to see reading as a good thing and not as a meaningless waste of time.