How do I start a post when I am still a little in shock from yesterday’s events?

For those who missed it, we held a Twitter party using the hashtag #groovymums.  If you are a #groovymums you are officially on trend according to Twitter.

The original idea was to acknowledge that the Groovy Mums blog hop and online support network established in September 2011 was 6 months old.

I thought most of the participants of the groovy mums blog hop would take part and maybe a few interested observers.  I was amazed to see loads of people joining in and some very interesting debates and chats taking place.

At some point in the party and yes I was sober but my head was still spinning, people started to tell me that #groovymums was trending at number 2 on Twitter.  This still seems very surreal to me but does at least show the power of mums when we get together and tell our stories.

Topics covered included ..

How to combat the isolation many mums feel

How to still have your own identity when you become a mum

How powerful or powerless mums are in society

How peer support can help mums move forwards in their lives

How media images and the celebrity culture affect how mums feel about themselves

What things get left behind when you become a mum and whether you can recover some of them

The hopes, dreams and aspirations of mums

How to increase energy levels and feel better physically

How to tackle mental health issues including post-natal depression and where to access support

Mums’ self-image

How to get involved in volunteering and how it might benefit mums

How to get back to work or into self-employment

How to get involved in learning

How mums can carve out me time and what mechanisms help them to do so

Whether partners and children can benefit when a mum puts herself first sometimes.

As you can see, it was an awful lot to get through in one hour.

I would like to thank so many people but if feels like the Oscars where I could end up writing for ages as so many people helped.  Particular thanks go to the parenting and blogging networks (Tots 100, Britmums, Love All Blogs, Mumsnet, Netmums).  None of this would have happened without those women in the last 6 months who have joined in with the Groovy Mums blog hop.  Personally, huge thanks go to Hayley, Louise, Caroline and Kat who are always there to put me back together again when I need it.  Finally, to each and every person who promoted or took part in or get in touch about the Groovy Mums Twitter Party.

Now for some more questions so please leave a comment, contact me on or tweet me @kateonthinice

1. Should we have another party or regular parties?  If so how often and what time suits people best?

2. Do you have any particular topics you would like to see covered via Groovy Mums?

3. Do you think you might link up blog posts to the Groovy Mums blog hop?

4. Would you like to take on a new role with Groovy Mums?  It will be unpaid but might be rewarding in other ways or enhance your blog profile.  If you are interested in this, please email me and I will be in touch by the end of the week with more information.

5. If you are an organisation or business, would you like to link up or partner with Groovy Mums in some way?  I am very open to ideas so drop me an email.  It would be lovely, for example, to see some prizes offered to participants at the next party.

Groovy Mums continues to evolve so all ideas and feedback are most welcome.

In them meantime, if you have a blog or website, you are most welcome to use the Groovy Mums badge which you will find in the sidebar.

If you think that the party was inspiring, changed things and/or stood out, you might want to consider voting in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards using the bright pink buttons on the right.  Thank you.


Do you like bargain-hunting?  Looking for second-hand finds in all manner of places?  Will it be the charity shop or ebay?  Are you a member of freegle where you can get all sorts of items for free?  With the sunshine finally showing up, the new Sunday cult of car-boot sales provides yet more opportunity to fill up you home with life’s little essentials and more.

I used to link up with the lovely Liz’s Magpie Monday blog hop every week.  It is still one of my absolute favourites.  I am still bargain-hunting and yet all too often I am failing to link up.  I blame the fact that it is Dad’s pension day so we go off to town for various adventures.  Also life is getting fuller and busier which has to be a good thing.  However, I miss my Monday ritual and checking in with the magpies.

So without further ado, here are my recent finds.

1. A stylish computer desk and chair and chest of drawers all from a Netmums member.  Total price was £25.  All the items were in as new condition.  The computer desk is very popular with the children and has served many purposes.  In fact, the only one it has not served yet is to hold a computer but that will come.

2. On my Friday visit to town, I saw a lovely item in the window of the charity shop.  I go in regularly so the manager knew what I was going to ask about before I even opened my mouth.  The price was £7.50 which I thought was very reasonable.  However, I foolishly had no cash on me.  I emailed Him Indoors as he was due in town just before 5 to pick up the children from an after-school club.  I said could he get it but only if he was back in time.  Him Indoors got major Brownie points when he emailed back to say he had telephoned the shop and reserved it.  The manager said lots of people had looked at it so I think I may well have missed out if Him Indoors had not made the call.  So what was it?

It is in a silver colour with gold detailing.  It is a mother with a baby and two children.  I have 3 children and it just seemed right somehow.

I am sure the magpies and others can tell me more about it but I have never seen anything quite like it before.

Now scurry over to the Me and My Shadow blog to check out all manner of beautiful and quirky things not least of which is the hostess with the mostest Liz.

Oh and if you think this blog is inspiring, leads to change or stands out, do click on the shiny pink buttons on the sidebar and vote for me in the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Awards.  Thank you.

I am talking about the dead.  Where do they go?

I was brought up as a Roman Catholic.  I think Catholics do death well and it is always good to have the concept of an afterlife to fall back on.

Things get trickier when you start questioning it all in your teens and onwards.

My mum died in 2009 so the grief is much less raw these days.  Through Penny over at the Alexander Residence blog and her amazing Little Legacy blog hop, I have reflected on my relationship with my mum and the not always easy life she led.  I have more peace than I did.

Yesterday, I looked around to see if there were signs of Mum.  We went off to an Army Cadet open day.  Not my idea of a fun day apart from the fact I am a mum and knew my boys would love it, all three of them lol.

Mum would tell me that the spirit of a person lives on.  What does that mean?

Does it mean that whilst the boys went on a climbing wall, I focussed on the tombola and bric-a-brac stalls?  Very much my mother’s daughter both in buying yet more clutter and also in paying over the odds feeling sorry for the organisers that few people had turned up.

Does it mean that I was surprised on winning on the tombola that the prize was some Tweed?  You know, Tweed the perfume my Mum used to wear when I was little.  Or does it mean that when I have these moments where I feel mum is playing tricks on me, I remember that Peter Kay comedy sketch where he pokes fun at the bereaved.  “You see that packet of quavers, that’s him”.

Does it mean that as we went to a certain town to do some shopping, I remembered how Mum used to like the houses there.? Not palatial houses by any means but houses she could not realistically aspire to.

Is it when I hear myself saying things she would say and I swore I never would?

Dad and I had our usual fish and chip lunch date on Friday.  I was telling him that Mum gave up smoking one Mother’s Day.  I had bought her a plantpot and on a whim filled it with sweets.  She was ill in bed with flu or similar.  She went without a cigarette all day.  She told me that she had always said that if she gave up for one whole day, she would not smoke again.  Instead, she replaced cigarettes with humbugs.  We worked out this was probably exactly 30 years ago.

When I wrote my mother’s eulogy, the only bit my brother put in was that at the age of 38, Mum went on the Town Hall stage and sang some cheeky song all dressed up in a wild fashion.  Mum always said I was a slow starter but here I am at 43 trying to get a burlesque calendar off the ground.  Mum’s showtime routine was for charity and the calendar will be too.

Does that mean her spirit lives on?  I would like to think so.




Run Jump Scrap

It is high time I shared some of my bargain finds.

Here is a door stop found in the charity shop.  It cost £1.50

Continuing the animal theme, I bought this bell.  I always find my children are dispersed widely at dinner time so here is a bell to summon them to the table.

This one cost just £1

Him Indoors does buy me flowers despite not being the most romantic soul on the planet.  I never seem able to find a vase so I bought this one for £3.50 which I thought was a bit pricey but it does the job nicely and will encourage him to buy flowers more often.

Then there is my absolute bargain find which is this double bed acquired from the Netmums Nearly New Boards for just a tenner.

Yes, the bedspread also came via Netmums and was brand new.

I also picked up some Cosmopolitan brand bedding recently.  Sheets, duvet covers, valances and pillow cases all for £11 and brand new.  A lovely subtle print of purpley flowers on a cream background.  The photograph did not do it justice so I am not going to print it until I do a better job with the camera.

On my shopping list currently for bargains are …

Chests of Drawers

Computer Desk and Chair

Kitchen and Bathroom storage solutions – if anyone has any ideas on storage for these rooms, let me know.

I am making a commitment not to buy as many toys in charity shops as the children lose interest in them so quickly these days.  There will be a bigger focus on outdoor stuff now that the weather is better.

Linking up late but better late than never with the wonderful and inspirational Liz over on the Me and My Shadow blog.  Get over there and see some other lovely bargains of the beautiful, quirky and wonderful type.

<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”” border=”0″ alt=”Me and My Shadow” /></a>

With the lure of electronic screens in all shapes and sizes tempting your children with interesting activities all day long, it may be difficult to convince them to go outside. You may also be reluctant to expose your child to the dirt, viruses, and dangers that lurk outside your home. Here are some reasons why you need to work harder to do just that.

Fresh air makes healthy kids

Even prisoners in incarceration are entitled to 60 minutes of fresh air each day. It’s important to schedule an hour of outdoor play for your child or to ensure that they are getting that fresh air time at school or daycare. Your child will get a healthy dose of Vitamin D from the sun, even on a slightly overcast day. This is a great mood lifter during the long months of winter when daylight hours are shorter. Dress your child for the local weather forecast and ship them outside. Being exposed to fresh air also helps to build a healthy immune system, so your child will be less susceptible to colds and other viruses.

Outdoor play fuels the imagination

The world is a big place. Encourage your child to get outside and discover it. “Free range kids” are given few items for play but rather they are challenged to make their own fun, simply by being outside. Remember the good old days when you were growing up?

Maybe you had a bicycle, a ball or a hockey stick but you probably didn’t need much else in order to keep yourself busy until the street lights came on and it was time to return home. Leaving a child to his or her own devices, with trees, parks and play structures within easy access, allows them the freedom to use and build their own imagination. They are learning the lifelong skills of self-reliance and independence.

Play builds character

All you need is one more kid to make a game. Organize a play date, or take your child to the park so that they can team up with a buddy for a game of catch, one-on-one or hide and seek. If you end up with a throng of children looking for entertainment, introduce them to one of the games you grew up with. You don’t need much in the way of equipment for Kick the Can.

Games that encourage running, climbing and jumping are great exercise. And even if it isn’t time for a team practice, you can organize a quick game of ball hockey, basketball or Frisbee. Participating in team sports helps your child to learn about leadership and collaboration.

Every time you encourage your child to take an hour outside, you are helping them to develop a love for a healthy, active lifestyle. They might even discover a future career during their outdoor adventures, as a conservation officer, park ranger, biologist or naturalist. An hour of outside play a day is just what the doctor ordered.