Regular readers will know I am a huge fan of JML who are the people who come up with clever gadgets to make our busy lives that little bit easier and at affordable prices too. They kindly sent me a Hurricane Spin Scrubber to try out. Now there is a name to conjure with. It is just what you need to make bathroom cleaning quicker and less of a chore. It costs £39.99 but let me tell you it is so worth it!

Hurricane Spin Scrubber

The trouble with bathrooms is you have to reach up high and down low to clean them properly which is a pain. There are always tricky corners and areas that are hard to get to partly because usually our bathrooms are small rooms but have a lot of big things like baths in them.

With three interchangeable heads, spinning at an incredible 300rpm, and an extension pole that means you can reach every corner of your bathroom without bending or stretching, Hurricane Spin Scrubber will blast through grime and dirt.

I rarely find housework fun but it has to be done and apparently every day of my life. The gadget is so easy to put together according to my husband who will play with a gadget whilst showing absolutely no interest in the harder housework tasks most of the time. The Hurricane Spin Scrubber gives you a cleaning brush or rather three on a long slim pole. This is great as it does not take up much room at all when not in use.

I actually really enjoy using the Hurricane Spin Scrubber and it makes such a difference getting into trickier areas and speeding up the whole process. If it had a radio in it that played “I want to break free”, it would be absolutely perfect but I bop around as I use it anyway.

Family Fever

You learn a lot when you become a blogger. One of the benefits of blogging for me is learning about things I did not know enough about. This includes special educational needs. It is so inspirational how parents share their stories so openly and do their utmost to support other families. Blogging about special educational needs matters and I am delighted to share my interview with Ann Hickman who writes Rainbows are too beautiful  and was a finalist in the BAPS SEND Blog Awards 2017. Ann is also Britmums SEND Round-Up Editor and contributes posts to The Mighty Site and Huffington Post

Why did you start to blog?

It really was a spur of the moment decision.  I was in the playground one day with my autistic son and for the first time ever he played with another child for a few minutes without my help.  Sounds small, but for me, having a nearly non-verbal five year old, it seemed amazing.  I wanted to tell someone about it.  After I got home I googled ‘start a blog’ and wrote my first post that afternoon.  I wrote several times a week about the little things and then it just sort of expanded.  

As my sons and family grew I was being asked for advice by people and I thought I actually had a bunch of information and experience in my head that others might like to know so started sharing helpful information too as well as our stories.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

Excited.  It was new and something I’d never done before.  The blog never really ‘took off’, just slowly built up.

How do you feel about blogging today?

I enjoy it. I think about what I want to write about.  I feel less pressure to write all the time which is nice.  I also love that it brings me friendships and opportunities such as speaking and writing, that I value very much. 

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

It’s the small things, like helping others when they feel alone or changing an opinion.  Last year I responded to a journalist who wrote about a disabled child in a restaurant.  My post changed her opinion of kids like mine and that’s something I’m proud to have done. 

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

Oooh.  I’m the Britmums SEND Editor at the moment, so I like attending the Britmums events.  But it’s probably going to the BAPS Awards.  It’s a smaller blogging awards especially for special educational needs bloggers.  As a group we don’t tend to get out much as out kids can need specialised help sometimes and it’s wonderful to meet up with these bloggers – that’s always the highlight for me at most events. 

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

Very little. I include helpful information, services and products in my posts which come with a payment or in exchange for goods. These are sometimes reviews and sometimes links.  I turn down things that don’t fit in with our blog and our readers – making money is not what my blog is about. 

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

I blog about some quite sensitive topics.  Sometimes the real things I’d like to publish I don’t.  I sometimes read them out to my other half to tell me if it’s ok or not. 

What surprised you most about blogging?

I liked it! I’m still doing two and half years later and I didn’t think about that when I started.   

How do you balance blogging and family life?

This can be a hard one.  Being mindful helps and asking what do I want to do now?

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

If I didn’t like it anymore.  I like positive reinforcement and if things start to go down hill, I tend to jump ship with everything except family and friends. 

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Enjoy it. Figure out what you like and what’s important to you and your blog and try to stick with it. 

Huge thanks to Ann for sharing her blogging journey with us. Do you have a story about blogging that you would like to share with me?

Winnettes

As I try to persuade my husband to give up smoking cigarettes, I thought I would blog about the reasons he should. I hope some of these will encourage other readers who are quitting cigarettes.

Bad for the smoker’s health

My parents would often tell me that when they started smoking back in the 1940s, they did not know about the health risks. Smoking was seen as glamorous and part of being one of the crowd with so many doing it.

For many decades now, we have known smoking cigarettes is not good for your health. One in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease. Those are not great odds and I am so pleased I never started.

Terrible for the family of the smoker

I remember both my parents in their smoking days. They were heavy smokers and I used to choke in the back of the car on days out with them. Both my brothers tried smoking and it is a real fear of mine that when a parent smokes, it can justify the whole idea of doing so to their children. I like to think my kids have more sense than that but it is till a concern. My husband’s older children all smoked and I am hoping mine will buck that trend.

Anti-social

Smoking used to bond people socially but now it divides them. People who don’t smoke often don’t like to around those that do. With smoking bans, the non-smoker can feel quite abandoned as their partner or friend takes off for their fix outside.

You make huge savings when you give up smoking

Smoking only gets more expensive over the years and really does impact on an individual and family’s budget. On average, those who give up save £3000 per year. That is a huge amount for most people. What could you do for you and your loved ones with that money in the bank?

My parents were persuaded to give up smoking in different ways. My mother gave up when she was ill and did not fancy a cigarette. She had always said if she could manage one day without a cigarette, she would give up. She was a very strong-willed woman and stuck by that. My Dad always used to give up smoking for Lent and one year decided to become a non-smoker to save money.

So although my husband has tried and failed to quit smoking on many occasions, I still think there is hope and I will keep on trying to persuade him to wave goodbye to cigarettes for good.

100 years of women’s right to vote in the UK certainly sounded like something to celebrate and there was a lot of coverage of this anniversary in the media.

Woman

The reality is only women who were over the ago of 30 and who met a property qualification were allowed to vote. That meant 60 per cent of women in the UK remained without the vote. Quite why you needed to be over 30 to have a view on who should govern the country I do not know. It is also worth noting that this Act we were supposed to celebrate so much also let men over the age of 21 vote because apparently they had the brains to do so at a much younger age than their female counterparts. The property qualification makes me smile but wryly. The UK and its over-emphasis on the value of person according to their property status does so much damage.

So yes I am pleased by any move towards an increase in fairness for women but there were flaws in this act and women 100 years later clearly still have a lot of battles to fight for a fair deal.

I can’t cover everything that needs to change for women and men in one blog post so let’s tackle Chloe’s questions for Best Boot Forward this week.

If you could change one thing, and one thing only about the world we live in today, what would that be? We’re talking anything you like here. Would you want to close the pay gap? Would you banish all modern technology? Or might you fancy living in a world where wearing socks with sandals was compulsory..?

I used to fight a lot for women’s rights and still hate the injustices they face. However I am starting to question why always aligning with our own gender does us any favours at all. If we looked at the abuse of power against anyone whatever their gender, perhaps we could remove a lot of the battles and win the war for a better world for all of us. I hate the abuse of power and one thing that I would wave a magic wand for immediately if I could is to remove domestic violence from our world. I would also like us to be able to walk without fear on our streets. I would like all landlords, employers and government agencies to act with fairness too.

2.How do you think making that change would affect you personally?

I would do a merry jig! Seriously I have certainly had my share of abusive employers and landlords in my time. If there was a fair distribution of power in society, I would also be less scared of offending the men in my life over the years and do less housework allowing me to do more merry jigs in my best boots of course.

3.If we wound the clock back 100 or so years, would you see yourself as a Suffragist, a Suffragette or neither? Why would you have made this choice?

Suffragist is a generic term that includes not just women but also men who supported the cause of women’s suffrage. I do wish more men would stand up for women’s rights but then again perhaps more women should stand up for men’s too. Suffragists behaved in a peaceful manner and sent letters to their elected representatives to raise voice in their support. I use words persuasively I think so perhaps this would have appealed to me.

Suffragette is a term used to refer to women members of the groups that were violent and aggressive and indulged in acts of violence to draw attention of people to their cause. I am not a violent person but there is the odd rare occasion where I see people being attacked or abused where I can head that way a little. I get very passionate about things so who knows?

Such a challenging question as if I am completely honest, I am not convinced by democracy as the best system that it is held up to be. That’s a whole blog post in its own right!

”Best

If you are getting ready to go on your next roadtrip, it is important to prioritise your health. This is especially the case at this time of year. After all, nothing can ruin your break quicker than falling ill. Keeping that in mind, read on to discover four important tips you should follow to maintain your health while travelling.

Car Seat Safety Tips

Tip #1 – Watch what you drink – It can be very easy to get carried away with alcohol when you go away for a week or weekend. However, this can be dangerous if you drink too much and you don’t know anyone. It is important to be responsible. After all, do you really want to spend a day of your vacation in bed? Not only this, but there have been many people that have blown their holiday budget in one night because they have overindulged in alcohol.

Tip #2 – Be mindful of sleep deprivation – It is important to be mindful of sleep deprivation. If you have had a long journey, it is likely that you are going to be short on sleep. A lot of people travel during the night to avoid traffic. So, once you get to your destination, make sure you catch up on sleep. This does not mean that you should take lots of naps, though, as this will only mess up your routine even more. Go to bed an hour or so earlier than you usually would once you get to your holiday location, and this will give you the bit of extra sleep you need so that you do not suffer the effects of sleep deprivation.

Tip #3 – You can indulge, but don’t overindulge – We have a tendency to go a bit crazy when we go on vacation. We tend to have a starter, main, and dessert, and then second helps, and that is only at lunch time! There is nothing wrong with indulging. You are on holiday, after all. But, be careful not to overindulge.

Tip #4 – Don’t forget to take all of your medication with you – The importance of this cannot be overlooked. You should grab your phone right now, and set an alarm that reminds you take your pills, inhaler, and nebulisers with you. The last thing you want to do is get to your holiday destination only to discover that you have forgotten your medication. If you are not able to give your body what it requires, you won’t feel 100%.

If you follow the four pieces of simple advice that have been provided above, you can ensure your vacation goes as smoothly as possible. You will be able to keep those illnesses at bay so nothing gets in the way of you having an amazing time.

Twin Mummy and Daddy