shortlist banner_FINALDo you think mums deserve to be recognised for their efforts?

I had no idea of the challenges that come with parenthood when I embarked on motherhood 14 years ago and I know compared with a lot of mums I have had it very easy. Parenting can be hard work and so many mums dig deep and also make a difference outside their immediate families.

Mums have a great habit of keeping on keeping on whatever the issues life throws their way. Mums get involved in their communities and when faced with overwhelming odds, try to make a positive difference in the world. I have worked in the charity world and it is often mums who are fundraising so effectively or even setting up good causes from scratch.

Tesco have announced their shortlist for the 2015 Mum of the Year Awards. It is the 10th anniversary of the awards promising to be even bigger and better than ever. Thousands of mums from all over the UK were nominated, and I can’t wait to meet some of the 26 inspirational women shortlisted for the final. Each of them will receive a £1000 donation from Tesco to the charity of their choice. They will also attend a star-studded and glitzy awards ceremony.

I know mums who win these awards really appreciate how the publicity sheds light on some amazing charities and causes over 80 to date since the awards began.

If the mums are like those recognised last year, you can bet they will be self-effacing about their remarkable achievements. That is why it is important to highlight what they do and to help them raise awareness of the things that really matter. When a mum does great things for her community, she inspires others to do the same and that has to be a very good thing.

To find out more, and to follow the progress of the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015, follow the hashtag #MumoftheYear on Twitter. I’ll be bringing you news of the finalists very soon!

Disclosure: I am a Tesco Mum of the Year blogger ambassador for 2015. In that capacity I have been compensated for all my #Mumof theYear posts, though all copy, opinion and editorial remain my own.

I have felt a bit out of sorts for a few weeks. Always moody, my emotions have gone all over the place. I seem hyper-sensitive and this does not make for happy times particularly with Him Indoors.

I saw my GP about 2 weeks ago and he prescribed some anti-depressants and gave me details of counselling services. I sensed there was a whole new world waiting for me. That same day I became ill and it ruined my Half-Term break in Yorkshire. Eventually I ended up at hospital and the nurse looked so concerned and told me there was a real risk I was diabetic and that I should seek my own GP’s advice as a matter or urgency. To cut a long story short, a huge big reason to be cheerful today is that having had just about every blood test available to womankind, it appears I am physically fine. This also means I can start taking the anti-depressants as I did not want to take them until diabetes had been ruled out. It also means that I can reward a generous fate by finally sorting out my weight issues.

This week I also took time out to apply myself and to pursue a dream. I feel proud of myself and as ever bloggers showed themselves incredibly supportive. I am writing that novel at last and really committing to doing hundreds and thousands of words every day. My mum’s legacy can be more than a blog even if I end up self-publishing.

Today we went for a walk. I asked the children to look out for certain colours and numbers. We took photographs of our findings. They seemed to like this game. We went to the shop for some treats and got into a really amusing conversation about Frozen with the male shop assistant. I found myself bantering and giggling and it felt good.

I have moved forwards in making links with home education groups and we have plans to attend one next week. It will be good for the children and if I can overcome my shyness, it will be great for me too.

My son turns 14 at the weekend. I am looking forward to treating him. I am blessed with a sensitive, kind-hearted, intelligent and funny boy. He made me smile this week when his teacher told him “You have a very unique perspective on the world”. That’s my boy and I love him. There is a photo of me when I had given birth to him and my smile is so beautiful and you can see the happiness oozing out of me. Time for me to get back to that and if that means popping a pill and talking to a counsellor, so be it. Why do I always have to the strong one?

Why am I uncomfortable around poppies?

I went to the supermarket the other day. We had a quick snack at the café and as we walked in I notice a desk laid out with poppies and an elderly woman and gentleman looking after the stall. I hate walking on by.

Later as my husband dealt with the checkout, I went and looked at the community noticeboard which was behind the poppy stall. As relative newbies to the area, we are on the lookout for things to get involved in and events to attend.

The lady on the stall was staring at me. I felt uncomfortable. She obviously could not know why I was not buying or wearing a poppy. I had the option of telling her about how experience as an ex-service family. I know the Royal British Legion who get the income from the Poppy Appeal are guilty of mistreating some ex-service families including ours. I could tell her how they cast my husband aside after years of loyalty from him, how they knocked his self-esteem so that it took him months to find work, how we would not have managed without the help of a female friend and my brother who kept us afloat financially. I could tell her how we had to relocate hundreds of miles for a new job and that when we approached the Legion for help with costs they refused to give us a single penny.

I wondered if I could write it all down for her and then thought that was pretty absurd. So I said nothing and felt a mixture of anger and guilt.

This year I remembered all those who have served or are serving their country because the Legion cannot take that away from us. My maternal grandfather served in the Connaught Rangers and was injured at Gallipoli during World War One. My late father served in the Royal Navy during and after World War Two. The whole family maintained the silence today.

It hurts less this year now we are starting to get back on our feet.

I don’t think I will ever buy a poppy again or not whilst the money goes to the heartless Legion. And I pity their collectors who probably don’t know the whole story.

I do acknowledge that the Legion provides welfare assistance to some service families. I am just sad that they turned their backs on ours.

What does Angel Delight remind you of?

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For me it sends me in a Tardis-like fashion to the Seventies when life was so very different.

Can you remember the days where parents let you play out and so long as you got back by the agreed time they did not stress about it? Health and safety standards in those days meant you could have life on a building site without anyone worrying too much. You could also play conkers without a public inquiry.

Do you recall when mums made one meal for the whole family and you all sat down and ate it together? Not only that but you would then spend the evening together rather than disappearing off to chain yourselves to a variety of different machines.

Are you dreaming of the days where if children had an accident at school, the teacher would not only apply first aid but also be allowed to give a cuddle?

Music was different then too with my favourites being the Wombles and Bay City Rollers.

I lived with my Mum and Dad and two brothers who to my absolute delight left home in the Seventies leaving effectively as an only child.

I had brilliant birthday parties where my Mum would lay on a huge spread including a home-make cake, sandwiches and vol-au-vents. In those days you did not take out a mortgage for such things. Most things were home-made and the venue was your house.

Looking back I miss a lot about the Seventies. The interior design of the day was frankly shocking but overall there was a sense of structure and safety.

One thing that is as good today as it was then is Angel Delight. My children were very excited to be introduced to tasty dessert particularly the new bubblegum flavour.

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In fact, we have tried out various recipe ideas as well as savouring milkshakes and the simple dessert itself. You can make smoothies, lollies, cheesecakes and trifles using Angel Delight. You can even try it as a topping or filling for cakes.

This one went down very well with all the family. Simply crush digestives and mix with melted butter. Add banana slices and banana flavoured Angel Delight.

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As a mum, I love Angel Delight because it is so quick and easy to make.

You can find out more here

This post is an entry for #AngelDelightMoments Linky Challenge although I am not eligible to win as I work for BritMums.

I received 2 packets of Angel Delight and a glass sundae dish and straw to facilitate the writing of this post.

This post was supposed to be written on Halloween but ill health kept me away from creative blogging. Better late than never and if anything, the whole Striking Mums concept says it is OK to take a break when we need to and to forgive ourselves if things don’t go entirely to plan.

So do you fancy playing Trick or Treat for Mums with me?

Here are this week’s questions to inspire you. You can answer one of them, all of them or none at all. The trick of Striking Mums is that it is your very flexible linky friend. So let’s first consider tricks for mums.

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Tricks

1. How do you outwit people or circumstances who prevent you getting the life you want?

2. What clever parenting tricks do you pull off regularly?

3. What is your top time-saving trick?

4. What is your top housework trick?

5. Have you ever carried out a practical joke? How did it go?

6. If there was a trick of the light what would you like to see?

7. Have you ever been tricked and how did that feel?

8. If you designed your own coat or arms what colours, images and words would you include in it?

Actually that is quite a lot of questions so I will post about treats next week but this week, I will pick my favourite post that is linked up and a little mystery treat will sent to you.

I would love to have your comments and if you blog in any way about yourself and how you are taking steps tiny or otherwise to change your life, please link up below. I will comment on every post, promote them on my social networks and include links in a round-up post next week.

Please use the hashtag #strikingmums on social networks.

Please grab the rather attractive Striking Mums badge in the sidebar and display on your blog.

Most of all, please visit the other people linking up to lend them your support.

I have set up a Facebook group for Striking Mums – you don’t have to be a blogger to join this. You do have to be a mum.

I have also set up a Pinterest board for Striking Mums

Have a lovely week and I look forward to hearing about your mums and your tricks.