It is Monday so it is the day when bargain-hunting bloggers celebrate their finds over on Liz’s Me and My Shadow blog.

Last week, I published my shopping list for charity shopping and so on. I am delighted to report that I have found my beanbag for just £5 and will be collecting it tomorrow. It is very pretty and is going to be all mine although my daughter may well fight me for it. Picture will appear next Monday with who knows what other treasures.

There is a bric-a-brac stall at our local hall on Fridays. I am finding it a brilliant source for birthday cards. I hate paying huge amounts of money for cards that just got thrown away within a day or so. Here you get new cards for 40 pence or so, lovely especially when your children are going through one of those times where one or two of their friends has a birthday party every week.

As I turned the corner into the hall last week, I spied this “essential” item.

It was love at first sight and the fact it appeared in the 50 pence bargain box helped too. Yes, she has seen better days but haven’t we all?

I put her on the woodburner initially but on discussion with Him Indoors, we agreed she should live right next door to the telly which guarantees that she will be in my eyeline a lot.

Today, I visited the charity shop which was in disarray as the manager had not turned up. A volunteer had opened up but the till was locked and they had no float. I bought some things but had to leave them to go off to the supermarket to change a £20 note. They were still in chaos when I got back but I still have my sentimental finds.

I think regular readers might get the subtext of this find for just a £1.

Inspired by my post on random things I like which I think all us Magpies could enjoy doing, I bought this for the kitchen.

Nowt wrong with being sentimental from time to time.

I have had so much pleasure out of my rabbit friend but she still needs a name. Any suggestions?

National Adoption Week – a birth mum’s tale
I know she doesn’t understand. She will blame me I am sure. I can’t see her. I can’t face the upset it will cause to my family. What will she expect of me anyway? I can’t be her mum now. It is too late for that. What good would it do?

I had her in the Sixties. It is true that they were swinging and I had a great time in the dance halls of London. Away from Ireland, away from my parents, being young and free.

I thought I was in love. An Irish lad of course. A plumber by trade and a great dancer to boot. We talked of marriage. I was probably young and daft. I fell for his charm and was easily led. I don’t like to talk about it but he hit me. In the end, I decided he was not a good bet.

The problem was by then I was pregnant with his child. I had to hide it from Mammy and Daddy. This was difficult as I usually went home at Christmas every year. As I was due in mid-December, I had to say I was working over Christmas. I don’t know whether they believed me. They never knew about their grandchild.

He came to see his new daughter and said she was beautiful. A big baby with curls and soft skin. We argued though and he went away. I don’t know where he ended up.
My daughter went to a Yorkshire family. I told them to make sure she had a big garden to play in and to keep her in the Catholic faith.

I had to take my baby up to Yorkshire and hand her over to the nuns. I left her with a blanket and a doll I had bought her. I wonder if she still has it. (SHE DOES BY THE WAY)

Diary of an imperfect mum

I feel I have so much to say about the #groovingmums blog hop. I may well break this down into several posts over the course of this week.

The #groovingmums blog hop is about encouraging mums to rediscover themselves, to reinvent themselves, to seek out some time just for them and their interests and perhaps to just live a little more vibrantly. Each mum decides how they want to tackle this journey. From weight loss to volunteering, from new courses to seeking employment, from having a new hair cut to having a special day out or anything else for that matter. How can we sum all this up in a badge that you can display on your blog should you wish to do so.

Katie, one of our #groovingmums helped me with this so huge thanks are due to her.

In the Celtic calendar Halloween is the New Year festival of Samhain. It marks the time of death and rebirth, of letting go of that which no longer serves us and celebrating our new intentions. That sounds quite groovingmumsy to me!

I opened a fortune cookie yesterday and it said the sunflower was relevant to me. Could this be because us #groovingmums are turning our faces to the light?

Last week, as well as our regulars we had some newbies and we love you already for your honest posts and willingness to change and add a little spark to your lives one step at a time. Have you noticed how we all seem to be in this together supporting each other on the good, the more challenging and the bloody awful weeks?

I had asked #groovingmums to consider how 5 weeks of the blog hop had helped them and was really touched to see that people really can see a benefit to their lives and in very individual ways.

I also wondered how we could deal with the frankly shitty weeks where we are hit by negative self-talk, external setbacks and so on. We all seem to have had these in the last month or so at different times and in different ways. I liked the suggestion that we should care for the carer (ie ourselves as mums). Part of that is not beating yourself up if you think you are not up to taking part at all, yet, every week or whatever. The whole point of establishing this blog hop was to help people not to hit people with a big stick.

Now here are possible challenges you may or may not feel like giving a go this week.

1. Photographs – Put a photograph up on your blog post about #groovingmums If you don’t normally do this, do it in a way that is comfortable to you. Even if it is from the back if you really don’t want to show your face to the world yet. For those who do put photographs of themselves on their blog, do it differently. Put on fancy dress, flash your pants like Glasgow_Mummy, whatever does it for you without making you feel overly embarrassed. Break out of the comfort zone one step at a time. I will be joining in on this one too tomorrow but for now, if you want to see me in all my triple-chinned glory, check out the Britmums Live website. It took me weeks to pluck up the courage to do this so I do know the photo thing can be very daunting indeed.

2. Write the blog post you have in your mind but are scared to publish. Every time I have done that on some quite controversial topics, I have had supportive comments so put it out there and see what people think. You can always set up comment moderation so you are in charge of which comments go live.

Ready, steady go. Your mission is to write a blog post about how you are doing one or all of the following ..

1. Rediscovering yourself

2. Reinventing yourself

3. Making time for yourself

4. Getting your Groove Back

5. Developping your va-va-voom

Then send the link for your blog post to me on mums-the-word@live.com and I will promote it here and on Twitter and other social networks.

Visit back here tomorrow to see my post as I am on the journey too and some of my achievements are really tiny but still vital for me in moving forwards. I need your support just as the other #groovingmums do so please do try to leave a comment here and on the other posts. If you are not on Twitter, do let me know if you would like to be alerted to new entries to the blog hop via email. On Twitter, if you want to know what us #groovingmums are getting up to, just enter #groovingmums into the seach box and all will be revealed.

N.B. Yes you are good enough to take part. No, you don’t have to do massive steps, the slightest move forwards counts. You will tap into a lovely group of mums just keen to share the journey with you. Newcomers are really welcome and if you have any questions or concerns, just email me on mums-the-word@live.com

Let’s get grooving!

Joining in with one of my favourite blog hops where we celebrate our reasons for cheerfulness every week to keep ourselves in that sensible frame of mind that despite the challenges, we are in fact blessed. If you want to find out more, do check out http://mdplife.blogspot.com

1. I have butterflies in my tummy already and am totally excited that I have heard today of the date of my 25th anniversary college reunion. Yes, of course that means that I started uni at the age of 5 lol. It happens next September so I am wondering what size I will be then but know that it will be a whole lot smaller than I am now. It will be so lovely to visit THE most beautiful building in the world and to hook up with old friends and acquaintances. It will be very Porterhouse Blue and I cannot wait.

2. I am happy to report that both my boys got good reports from school at recent Parents’ Evenings. They were both acknowledged for their wonderful vocabulary and levels of general knowledge. So surrounding them with books and babbling on about all manner of things to them seems to work. I am also delighted that my older son who is very bright but really struggles with handwriting is to be given a statement of special educational needs which I hope will protect him as he moves up to secondary school next year.

3. I am happy to have a new pet, a cream labrador bitch who is just lovely and very easy to have around.

4. I am glad that my Dad is going on holiday tomorrow after missing out twice over the Summer.

5. I am pleased to see how my children are popular and how party invitations keep flying through the door for them.

6. I am over the moon that I have picked up some great bargains recently and will be reporting back on #MagpieMonday on my little treasures.

7. I feel grateful that I am managing to stick to my healthy eating regime and hope to have an important milestone to report as part of #mumentum on Monday.

8. I am loving getting to know new #groovingmums and am delighted to be trying out a whole new blog hop on writing that should help me and others move forward on that front. Check out women’s inspirational stories here http://kateonthinice.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/you-really-can-rediscover-the-woman-you-know-you-really-are/ and get involved with writing here http://kateonthinice.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/are-you-a-would-be-writer-join-wordsmith-wednesday-blog-hop/

9. In the last week, I was mentioned more than once in blog posts on the Prompt on Best Blogs. I have two blogging awards that have hurtled my way and I have been tagged in interesting memes. Great to have blogger friends, ain’t it?

10. The wonderful Caroline over at http://cazandbelleblogspot.com gave birth to a lovely baby boy this week. How wonderful for a woman who has had to handle so much. I don’t know Caroline but her story moves me. Also, a very good friend Kat is due to give birth to her new baby anytime soon.

Hey, what’s not to be cheerful about?