Sunday, 23 December 2012

PAPS

This is the 3rd week of the #PAPS.  A chance for the blogging community to give a big "shout out" to another blogger who has written a blog post that has resonated with them.  No self promotion, just a chance to tell another blogger that you like what they have written and for you to share that with a wider audience.  You can read more about #PAPS here.

This week, my post of the week goes to a friend, someone who makes me laugh but who has the most wonderful way with words.  She is writing a book, and believe you me, it is going to be WICKED.

Let me introduce you to Kellie from one of my favourite blogs, Big Fashionista.  She writes about all sorts, has a brilliant sense of humour and very strong opinions.

The post I have selected is entitled  You are NOT alone this Christmas and it is a post that everyone should read and share.

I'd love to see who you are shouting out for this week.  Don't forget to link up below!

Peace and Love



S.A.M xoxo




Friday, 21 December 2012

Shoes.


One of my school mum friends has just written the following, I saw it on facebook and asked if she minded me putting on my blog - it SO deserves a wider audience!  Heather, this is BRILLIANT. I think you are BRILLIANT.  You should consider a career in writing!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Firstly - who is Heather?

Heather Bennett - Heather’s academic background is in historical research, as she studied history at Roehampton prior to joining the History of Design programme at the V&A/RCA. Heather is currently research and writing her dissertation thesis on home shopping catalogues during the mid 20th century, as well as co-editing the Bodies, Dress, People & Identities column for Unmaking Things.

Here's what she wrote:


"I'm no Carrie Bradshaw when it comes to shoes; I am pretty much wed to my trusty Converse and rarely wear anything else. But there's something about shoes, something that resonates internally at the sight of an empty pair. I was reminded of this when, by accident, I stumbled across the children’s shoes cupboard at the Museum of London, where I volunteer. Upon opening the cupboard, I was greeted with row upon row of sweet little shoes, which once upon time were filled by tiny little feet. Immediately, I found myself drawn into cooing over the tiny proportions, and revelling in the nostalgia of the endearing, quintessential seaside buckle sandals, sat beside the classic red Mary Jane shoes.


Photos taken by Heather Bennett for the Museum of London


It was the chance opening of the museum's tall boots cupboard, however, that really brought home to me the way in which shoes reverberate, transmitting the echoes of the past. Inside the cupboard were rows of huge, dark, imposing boots, standing to attention formidably in a line; the largest boots I had ever seen. These enormous, arresting boots, seeming, once, to have been inhabited by giants, but are now eerily empty, left me feeling somewhat spooked.



So what is it about shoes that arouse such feelings? Historian Giorgio Riello suggests,
Of all the garments shoes are uniquely independent from the physical body. They have shape that they keep even when the wearer is absent […] shoes are ‘self-standing.’ This peculiar nature explains why they often stand for something else that is not physically present.[1]

Riello is not alone in considering how shoes have come to stand in for those who are not present in the flesh. Stephen Kelly considers this in his chapter, 'In the Sight of an Old Pair of Shoes', in relation to the Holocaust,
The empty shoe has become a signifier of the scale and human impact of Nazi crimes [...] in the endless reproduction of images of piles of shoes at Auschwitz or Birkenau. In contemporary forms of cultural memory, images of shoes accumulated by death-camp workers have come to stand, metonymically, for murdered Jews.[2]
The mounds of decaying shoes that the victims of the Holocaust were forced to abandon have come to stand in for the murdered Jews themselves, being often deployed in an attempt to demonstrate the sheer scale of lives lost, and to evoke a tangible connection between the suffering of the past with the viewer in the present. One such example of this is the permanent Holocaust Exhibition at the Imperial War Museum in London, where amongst the most haunting exhibits is a Perspex wall holding eight hundred individual shoes.

Stephen Kelly raises a very important concern regarding the use of shoes in this manner, arguing that it is reductive to use them as a stand in for the victims of the Holocaust, 'Reduced to an absence signified, paradoxically, by what remains - namely, shoes - victims of the Holocaust are again robbed of the fact and distinctiveness of their historical existence.'[3] This is a real concern in terms of the Shoah, but also in terms of reading objects for meaning more widely, where the fear is of reducing the people of the past and their experiences to being metonymically stood in for by objects.

Objects are deeply entangled in the events of people's lives and are fundamental in preserving history. Janet Hoskins's 'Biographical Objects' examines how objects can tell these life stories, which otherwise might otherwise remain hidden. She argues that people and objects are intrinsically intertwined, that objects mediate for the person and are part of telling their story.[4] But what if the person is no longer alive or able to tell their story through an object? What if those objects are the shoes of the victims of the Shoah?

One project that I believe successfully combines objects and an understanding of the experiences of people from the past is The Holocaust and The United Nations Outreach Programme, 'Footprints for Hope Project'. This programme is designed to connect teenage students with the victims of the Shoah through close examination of a single shoe. Rather than homogenising the experiences of many, or seeking to imagine a fictional person with a fictional narrative, this project is embedded in historical fact and recognises some of the limitations of object centred study.[5]
Students are asked to consider a small child’s shoe: who does the shoe belong too? How old is the shoe? How was it made? What is it made of? Is it hand made? What can we tell from the condition of the shoe? The students are then asked to consider what we do not know and what cannot be determined from the shoe, such as the name of child who owned the shoe, when they were born, what language they spoke. The only other thing known about the shoe is that it was found in Auschwitz-Berkenau and, therefore the fate faced by its owner.

Taking the shoe and the wider context of what is already known about Auschwitz, the students are then asked to picture what happened to the owner of the shoe and their journey from train to death chamber. In essence what the students are urged to do is to consider the object and the Holocaust from an object-driven perspective. They are urged to remain mindful of what we can extract as fact, what is probability, and what is purely speculation. In mapping out what we can understand about the object we can say something about who owned it, acknowledging that there was once a person who once filled the shoe. Their identity is not reduced to a shoe, rather their absence and the absence of their personal story both before their arrival Auschwitz and after is considered and acknowledged.

The experience of the unknown, absent child is not homogenised into the mass experience, rather it is acknowledged and considered with all that remains as physical evidence of their existence. In doing so, whilst limitations are recognised, there is an attempt to provide a representation of the lost, of the millions of unknown individuals who have been denied their story and which can only be in some small way partially constructed.

It is what we as design historians strive to discover from objects, we are driven by object but endeavour to uphold respectful for the people to whom their story is intrinsically intertwined with the object as we try to unravel a little piece. Careful consideration of context and treading a narrow pathway between what we know and what we seek to know. Shoes are potent objects for consideration and whilst it is difficult to exactly pinpoint as to why shoes resonate and connect with people, it is however clear that, ‘you cannot put the same shoe on every foot’ when it comes to reading history.[6]


This article was originally published on Unmaking Things, a website related to the V&A/RCA History of Design Programme 




[1] Giorgio Riello and Peter McNeil, ‘ A Long Walk, Shoes, People and Places’, in Shoes: A History from Sandals to Sneakers, ed. by Giorgio Riello and Peter McNeil (Oxford: Berg, 2001), p. 3
[2] Stephen Kelly, ‘In the Sight if an Old Pair of Shoes’, in Everyday Objects: Medieval and Early Modern Material ed by Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2010), pp. 57-70 (p.63)
[3] Ibid.
[4] Janet Hoskins, Biographical Objects, (New York: Routledge, 1998), pp. 2-7
[5] Paul Salmons, ‘The Footprints for Hope Project’, The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, United Nations (2011), http://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/educational%20Footprint.shtml [accessed 16 December 2012]
[6] Publilius Syrus, Maxim 596

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Ugg boots for Children - Review

I've been quite vocal in my dislike of Ugg boots.  My Pixie on the other hand, has been coveting a pair for a long time.  A few of her friends have them and she has been pestering for a pair of "fluff  boots" for a while now.  I've always resisted, namely because a) I don't like them and b) They are expensive in comparison to leather boots.

However, even though I thought I would be all Margaret Thatcher "this lady is not for turning" on the issue, we were offered the chance for Pixie to review a pair and I have to admit, right here and now, that "this lady has indeed turned".

Pixie chose to review a pair of Pink (hot pink no less) Bailey Bow Uggs.  That look like this on the website:


When they arrived, I have to say that the first thing that struck me was that despite being a solid boot, they were really, rather incredibly light and, dare I say it, Stylish.  The bows on the back are adorable and as they are fixed, there is no chance of them coming undone - genius!

They have twinface sheepskin on the inside which means they are incredibly snug and warm.

Pixie adored them and hasn't taken them off since she got them.  In fact, I would wager a bet that she is the ONLY Inn Keeper in the last 2, 012 years who has worn them in the nativity.



Pixie Wears:

Jacket by Monsoon £39.99
Skinny Jeans by Stella McCartney Kids £39.99
Boots by Ugg: £120 Bailey Bow in Pink

As for my opinion?  I have to say, I am now a convert.  Whist I have always thought Uggs to be ugly and very generic in style, I have been pleasantly surprised at their Collection range which are all made in Italy.  Check out these bad boys which would look amazing with Skinny Jeans on a night out.



However, I am seriously considering getting a paid of these for everyday wear on the school run:



What do you think??  Head on over to Ugg Australia UK for a look at their latest offerings.

Peace and Love


S.A.M xoxo

Disclaimer: We were sent the Bailey Bow in Hot Pink for the purpose of this review.  However, as you can see the thoughts are mine and mine alone.

Christmas Meme

My lovely T has tagged me in a Christmas MeMe and as it has been simply AGES since I did one, I have taken the time to participate. Well it is Christmas after all!!

Here we go?

What is your favourite thing about Christmas?

Easy one - the fact that HAW has nearly 3 weeks off every year and we just get to hang out as a family.      We have an open door policy and have friends over a fair bit for mulled wine and chilling out.  I love the whole tradition of Christmas and we have lots of lovely things planned that we do every year - PJ's delivered by Santa on the doorstep Xmas Eve,  Trip to the local panto, up to London to see the lights, Santa at Harrods and the obligatory ice skating.  I LOVE it!

What is your favourite make up look for the season?

I love the classic but simple look of lashings of mascara and a bright red lipstick!  The best lipstick  by far for longevity is MAC pro longwear  which will last the whole day without re-applying and will last whilst you eat, drink and  heavy duty kiss (ha!)  under the mistletoe without budging!   You should also take the time to look after your skin as the excess of over indulging and radiator heat will wreck havoc with your skin.  A good, thirsty moisturiser is a must!

Real or Fake tree?

Absolutely has to be real.  Can't abide fake as I am a traditionalist who enjoys the whole process of going en masse to select the "best" tree, then decorating it as a family with hot chocolate for the kids and mulled wine for the grown ups.  I also HATE tinsel so we have a ton of baubles, lots of lights and more importantly, a shed load of home made goodies that the kids have made over the years.  I also let the kids choose their own decoration each year so that when they leave home, they have a collection for their first ever tree.    I'm sitting here now and can smell the tree - who wouldn't want that lovely smell to greet them every day?


Giving or receiving presents?

Whilst I love getting presents, I definitely prefer the act of giving.  I have had 63 pressies to buy this year (not including the kids stockings!) and each present has been carefully thought out with the recipient in mind - I try to be a bit unique and luckily get to attend many Christmas Fairs as part of my job and so get to meet lots of lovely independents who have a unique array of gifts.  I really hope everyone likes what they have got this year!

Do you open your presents in the morning or the evening??

We are woken up with squeals of "He's been, He's been" at around 6am, and then we get all three kids snuggled into bed with us with heaving stockings.  I spend a little bit extra on the stocking presents as would rather get them things that they will use throughout the year rather than plastic *pocket money* toys that are broken or lost by boxing day.  I also get around 70% of their stocking fillers from the Charity Shop saving money that way.  Have got some brilliant bits this year including a remote controlled mini (BNIB) for just £3!    The kids then get their Santa presents (ie the big ones!) as soon as we go downstairs and then play with their toys whilst we get lunch read.

We leave our tree presents from other friends and family until after lunch.  We always pass them out and watch each person open one so there isn't a mad rush and mountain of paper.  I think it is important to take the time to see what each other has and for me to make a note for thank yous!

What is your favourite Christmas Film?

I adore Elf.  What's not to love??? 

What is your favourite Christmas Food?

Oh my, that is a hard question!  I love the whole indulgence of Christmas food and the planning and preparation takes a fair while and has been the topic of family discussion these past few days.  We have decided on a shellfish platter for starters followed by our tradition of a 3 bird roast.  I think if pushed, I would choose pigs in blankets as this is the only time of year we have these bad boys and I LOVE them!!

I am going to tag the following but please feel free to join in even if I haven't tagged you!

Manic Mum

Northern Mum

Mothers Always Right

I am Typecast

Geek is new chic

 Kat a Pillar

Mum in a Hurry

Dummy Mummy

Inside the Wendy House

Life, Loves and....

Can't wait to see how you all celebrate!

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo







Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Perfect gifts for Girls

Having a daughter after two boys is a funny kettle of fish.  Whilst I don't stereotype and offer gender specific toys, Pixie has always been the girliest of girls.  I painted her room before she was born using a palette of red and cream with lots of vintage Laura Ashley fabric for the soft furnishings and bunting,  but since she has been able to talk, all she wants is pink or Disney!  We tried to get her involved in the Rugby Club, but she flung herself on the floor when she got tagged and sobbed and sobbed when her knees got muddy.  I believe in letting our children express themselves - who can forget the time that Pixie chose to dress like a gypsy ?   

It has been a year now since my little Ballerina Pixie started dancing.  In fact, I blogged about her first ever dance recital and she has taken to it like a duck to water.  We have now added drama into the mix and she has definitely found her niche.

Whilst looking for some stocking fillings, I came across move dance wear who not only have everything a dancer of ANY genre could want from flamenco dresses to street dancewear, they also have a vast array of gifts, perfect for fans of dance.

I really REALLY like the Tyrell Katz range of ballerina goodies and having bought this brand before, know that it is really long lasting and great in the dishwasher.  Have a look at the range here, it starts at £4.95 for a plate.


They also have a huge range of dancewear that and I really like the Mirella cap sleeved tutu which is priced at a very reasonable £19.95 and has three layers of tulle with sparkles on the middle layer and beading on the neckline.  It's just gorgeous!



I'm really impressed with the huge range on sale and if you have a prima donna in your household, I am sure you can find something suitable.

Peace and Love

S.A.M xoxo

Disclaimer: This is an advertorial.  

Monday, 17 December 2012

How do you talk to your children about devastating news?

Today Beansey aged 9 came out of school subdued.  He came home and went straight upstairs to his room.  I thought perhaps he was tired or just wanted some "down time" and when I went upstairs, he was lying on his bed quietly crying.

When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that "a very bad man had shot 20 children in America and that he never wanted to go to America and would a bad man come and kill kids in his school?".

I was shocked and upset at his questioning, and on further discussion, it seemed that they had all watched something called "news bites" today and it was reported and then discussed in school.  He said that a few children were crying and that he didn't want to sleep on his own tonight in case someone got him.

What happened in American was tragic and upsetting enough for adults, so how are the little people meant to deal with this?  It meant we had to have a conversation about why the man did it and what his possible motives could be, it made for an uncomfortable discussion that just upset my son further, despite my best efforts to assure him that events like this, whilst devastating are actually incredibly rare.

When we heard the tragic news last week, my husband and I decided that we wouldn't tell the children, this was OUR decision as although they are streetwise in the sense of knowing there are "bad people" out there, we don't want to expose them to every tragic event that does unfold.

Terrorist attacks, shootings, muggings and child aduction are all widely reported and in the 24/7 news cycle that we live in.  It is often quite tricky to sheild them from current events that we are exposed to daily but I do my best to "drip feed" them news as and when I feel it is appropriate.

We made the decision not to mention the tragic shootings in the US as I knew my eldest would be distrubed and upset.

Tonight I have had to reassure him that it won't happen to his school, we had to discuss why God lets the bad people do things to good people (if anyone can guide me on that I'd be very grateful as I struggle myself with this) and I had to hold him until he fell asleep with the light on.

I am a bit miffed that the school chose to tell him, not all children are emotionally mature to deal with such events but most of all, I am sad that my little *big* boy has had to be reassured that what happened is dreadfully sad but also very rare.  

The biggest gift after love that we can give our children is to communicate with them, for them to feel secure and confident and for them to know that no matter what, as parents we do everything we can to keep them safe from harm.

I came across this website tonight which has helped me to assess the situation.  I hope that if you are also facing tricky questions then you'll find some answers here as well.  

Hug those close to you that little bit tighter tonight.  I know I did.

Peace and Love


S.A.M xoxo

Saturday, 15 December 2012

PAPS - Pimp a Post Sunday

I was so happy last week when 13 (!) people joined in with the inaugural #PAPS.  I spent a lovely Sunday evening discovering new blogs from around the World and reading posts that other bloggers rated.  Everyone who took part said they really enjoyed it so here we are again this week and I am really looking forward to reading the posts that YOU have rated.

The purpose of this linky is to take a few minutes out of your day to write about another blogger.  I want you to pick your favourite post of this week and tell me why.  This is about showcasing a post that is not a sponsored post or competition but something that is original and well written.  The reason why we all started blogging in the first place!!!  Then, quite simply, link up, tell the person that you have nominated them so we can all share and pass on the love.   If you could leave a comment on the posts you enjoy, that would also be ACE!

So, without further ado, my nomination this well is from a blogger who I know well.  In fact, I take ALL credit for getting her blogging in the first place and aren't I glad I did?

This week Tanya from Mummy Barrow has written a very honest and heartfelt post entitled Mrs Starfish.  

It is a post full of beauty, hope and nostalgia.  It touched me and had me nodding my head in agreement.  I think the majority of us can emphasise.

Thanks for joining in!

Peace and Love


S.A.M xoxo




Social Pix





SocialPix - LoveAllBlogs

Friday, 14 December 2012

Super Amazing Mum - Top 10 tips to eliminate Christmas Stress!




My gorgeous ones last year......

You all know I adore Christmas.   Last Christmas was amazing and I am looking forward to another cracker.  However, as we all know, it doesn't just happen without planning or preparation.  So, without further ado, here are my top ten tips for a hassle free Christmas so you can enjoy rather than stress!

1) Write a list of who you need to buy for and cross them off as you do so

This may sound obvious, but we don't always know what we are going to buy for whom.  I attend lots of Christmas Fairs and will pick up something that I see and think "oh that's super for X" stuff it in my present cupboard and then forget I have got them something already.  If you write a list (I use my iphone notes app) and update it as and when you buy a present, you'll then keep on top of what you have already got.  

2) Start your shopping early

HAW and I always take a day out in the lead up to Christmas to spend some time together.  This is typically to pick up some last minute bits, but we usually end up drinking cocktails somewhere! So my tip is to start looking and picking bits up from November onwards.  That way, you'll have most of your presents and won't start panicing if you can't find the *must have* present.  Enjoy the process and by planning ahead you'll find shopping a pleasure rather than a chore or panic.

3) Write and send your Christmas Cards on December 1st (really!)

Rather than worry and stress about international deadlines, sit down and spend the evening with a glass or 2 of wine and get the cards out of the way.  I do this every year and although I still have some that need posting/handing out, I am not stressing about getting them done!  I had my cards made this year by Halo Lifestyle Photography who used images from a London photo shoot we had.  Personalised and   luxurious and saved me time as well!

4) Don't miss posting deadlines

We have family in Scotland and overseas and I can't stress enough how mean you'll feel if you forget international deadlines for posting!  I did this once and felt like the worst Aunty in the World, I often use Parcelforce who are dependable and represent great value (especially their next day delivery service) and you can rest easy not stressing about whether or not your presents have or haven't arrived.

5) Take time out for YOU.

Yes you have read that right, I really do believe that in order to be the best mum/wife/sister/daughter you can be that taking time out to look after yourself means that everyone is happy.  I get regular manicures and treatments and take vitamins and have hot bubbly baths to soothe my soul.  I can guarantee you'll feel better for it.

me getting eyelash extensions 


6) Wrap a few presents each night

I actually like to take the time to wrap presents.  There is nothing worse than getting to Christmas Eve and wrapping in a frenzy, forgetting labels and what present is for whom.  Whenever I am home alone in the evenings, I wrap a few presents a night, taking my time and actually finding the process quite theraputic and relaxing.  It means that come Christmas Eve you can enjoy the evening rather than getting stressed out.

7 Remember there is no such thing as "a perfect Christmas"

The perfect Christmas is the Christmas whereby you are relaxed and happy.  Don't bow to the pressure of what magazines would have you believe as being the "perfect Christmas".  These are styled shoots and not reality.  I repeat, NOT reality.  It is YOUR Christmas as well so don't stress about trying to provide the impossible for your guests.

8) Order your Christmas Food for delivery or collection

Experience has taught me that rushing around the supermarket on Christmas Eve is one of the most stressful things to do.  I did this one year when cooking for 12 and it was no fun whatsoever.  I now book my shopping to arrive on the 22nd and that then gives me 2 days for last minute panic buys.  It'll really make a difference so book your Christmas Deliveries NOW.  

9) Preparation, Preparation, Preparation.

Once you have taken delivery of your food shop, start preparing in the lead up to the big day.  I do all my veggies on Christmas Eve as trimming sprouts of stalks can take a couple of hours.  You REALLY don't want to be doing that on Christmas day as you'll be missing out on all the fun.  

10) Delegate

Sounds obvious but so many of us are guilty of wanting to do it all.  Great Aunt Maud or your MIL love to feel as if they are helping out, so by getting everyone (and that includes the children) involved makes for a stress free and happy time for everyone.

Finally - ENJOY!

Peace and Love



S.A.M xoxo

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Pimp a Post Sunday - PAPS

Welcome to the inaugural #PAPS.  This is your chance to nominate a post from the past week that has touched you in some way.  It could be funny, sad or have you nodding your head in agreement.  You can read all about my reason for starting this linky HERE.

So, without further ado, here is my nomination.

It is written by Metropolitan Mum and is titled the potato chip incident.

It made me laugh a lot and also bought back memories.   

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

There are a few guidelines that I'd like you to adhere to:

1) No sponsored posts or reviews
2) Please write a brief post about who you have chosen and why with a link to their post in your blog that can be linked up below for us all to share, read and enjoy.
3) If you enjoy a post, then please do leave a comment to show your appreciation.

Now, all you need to do is link up a post by another blogger that has rocked your boat so we can go and share the love!  

Peace and Love


S.A.M xoxo


Thursday, 6 December 2012

May I introduce the PAPS.......

Last week I was sad to read that one of my favourite bloggers Crystal Jigsaw has lost her blogging mojio.  Today, I saw that another fab blogger not supermum has blogged similar and to be honest, I have been feeling the same.  When I started blogging a few years ago, it was all about the writing (good or bad) the community and companionship   Lately it feels as if you need a PHD in social media to just keep up.  It seems that we are expected to know how to write code, edit HTML and be experts on various different media platforms. 

Google +, twitter, facebook, Bo.lt, Stumbleupon, well you get my drift, the list AND time commitment goes on.  There are rumblings everywhere about stats, and charts and petty jealousies over who has been invited to what, and who is NFI.  

At the heart of it all is a feeling of discontent.  A lot of bloggers are getting fed up with the commercialisation of blogging.  A community that was once all about the content and companionship  is rapidly becoming a commodity as blogging turns into a social media enterprise.    It is all about the self promotion.

I miss the randomness of blogging, I used to love dipping in and out of my favourite blogs catching up with family news or reading something funny.  Now, I have to scan through a plethora of sponsored content and reviews to find that hidden gem.   Time is crucial, I quite simply don't have the time to do this and so, am missing out of some of brilliant posts.

Then I had my lightbulb moment.

What if others felt the same?  What if we could show some of the love and pass on a post by another blogger that has touched us in some way.  A post that has made us roar with laughter, nod in agreement or sob in compassion?  What if we could have a central place where we could link up so that the wider community could find these amazing posts that would otherwise fly under the radar. 

What if we left some "comment love" for the post that was pimped?  

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you the PAPS.  Otherwise known as "Pimp a Post Sunday".  I'm even going to give it a #PAPS so we can all find it easily.  

I'd love you to do the following:

1) Write a quick intro to the post that you are pimping and why, it must be a post that has been written in the last week on another bloggers blog
2) It can be from around the World, any genre and any topic.
3) Link up your post so we can find all the good reads

Easy huh???

Any other things we should add?? 

Peace and Love


S.A.M xoxo