Pippa's blog

How do your children play?

Find out what me and my two lovely kids play together as part of the Playful Learning Tour. And enter to win a wonderful inspiring prize that will transform your summer holidays...

The Playful Tour is travelling around the world in August to celebrate the launch of the Playful Learning Ecademy, bringing our children together through play...

How do we like to play?

I have two lovely children - Jago (5 1/2) and Loveday (2 1/2). If you're wondering, they are both perfectly respectable Cornish names...

All the kids on the tour are being asked the following questions:

Where do you live? We live in Penzance, in Cornwall. In the United Kingdom.

What season is it there now? Summer!!

What is your favourite way to play?

Loveday: I love playing princesses!

Jago: I hate playing princesses and I love playing Power Rangers. I go to the Power Ranger Centre (Mum: I think this is the local playpark) and fight Nylocks.

Loveday: I am pink Power Ranger! I like princesses, cats and knights. Painting cats.

Jago: And I like Attack! The game is called Attack! Knights versus monsters. I like going to the playground

Loveday: I do, I like going to the playground.

Jago: Can we play trains? (Mum: this is an interminable game we play when going anywhere by foot with the buggy, especially the park - everyone holds on & I collect tickets and pretend to make train driver and buffet announcements in a silly voice, stopping about every 10 metres for yet another station... Green Bin Station, Postbox Station, Park Gate Station... it is the bane of my life. Oh yes, I love playing with my children...)

What do you like most about learning with friends?

Jago: Everything!

Loveday: Everything!

Can you tell us something special or different about where you live or games you play?

Mum: The kids didn't have much of an answer for this one so I made this collage of pictures of some of the things they get up to and showed it to them to see which of the pictures they liked best... It does genuinely star a pink Power Ranger. We don't have much of a garden (you can see the whole extent of it in the picture of the sword, it's about 3 paces wide, 5 if you're a kid...) but you can see how utterly blessed we are with playgrounds, parks, beaches and fields within walking distance...

Jago: I think all of them are cool but I think the best one is me with my Power Ranger sword.

Loveday: I like the one with Kwazii

Jago: We met him at the Seal Sanctuary. He's an Octonaut.

Loveday: Not a little Octonaut

Jago: He was bigger than you wasn't he mummy.

Loveday: Bigger than me too. I like the bandstand at the playground. Dancing and running.

Watching my kids play is one of the greatest joys of my life. And playing with them (when it's not the train game) gives me such wonderful creative freedom. Inspiration and hilarity that spreads to all other aspects of my life. 

What sort of things can you study at the Ecademy?

The very first Ecademy course I did with my 2 and 5 year olds was "Put Ups and Put Downs".  It's short, fun and insightful, and we loved doing this together.

It gave us a whole new language to talk about what kind of behaviour makes us feel good or bad, and resulted in my lovely son making this 'put-up' for his dad. Which pretty much made my husband's month!

"Put Ups and Put Downs" is available completely free this month - so head on over and sign up.

We've also had a go at "Starting A Writers' Notebook". My son loved making his own special book to write in, but at 5, he isn't very keen on the actual writing yet, so I think that's one to go back to when he's a bit bigger.

However, we really enjoyed getting stuck in to "Be A PeaceKeeper" with his 6 year old friend - even going on to create our own adventures, hunting for our favourite peaceful places in the local park to share.  I loved doing the exercises too! Jago can't wait to try Backyard Science Investigations next...

Now, it's your chance to win ALL of these Ecademy courses to try with your children.

You can win a fabulous prize!

Lucky us, we've had access to all these courses for free so that we can join the Playful Tour. Now YOU can win a scholarship to ALL of the Playful Learning courses for you and your children to enjoy.

We have LOVED doing the courses we've joined in with, so this is a truly fabulous prize - I couldn't recommend them more.

To enter, all you have to do is comment below - let us know what you and your kids love playing together most (and maybe even what your equivalent of the 'train game' is...).

For an extra entry after commenting, tweet this:

Just entered @storyofmum's competition to win a @playfullearning scholarship here #playfultour http://www.storyofmum.com/playfullearningtour

We'll select a lucky comment or tweet randomly on 22 August to win the fabulous prize!

Follow the rest of the Playful Tour:

We've had great fun finding out how other kids are playing around the world - my kids look forward to checking out these posts every day - why not play along with your kids too?

August 1st: Playful Tour Kick Off http://playfullearning.net/playful-tour/ 

August 2nd: Oh My Handmade, Canada http://ohmyhandmade.com/blog/

August 5th: My Organized Chaos, Japan http://www.my-organized-chaos.com/

August 6th: Childhood 101, Australia  http://childhood101.com

August 7th: Mindful Parenting, Australia  http://www.mindfulparentingmag.com

August 8th: Pickle Bums, Australia http://picklebums.com/

August 9th: TrashN2Tees, USA http://trashn2tees.blogspot.ca/

August 12th: Simple Kids, USA http://simplekids.net/

August 13th: Mee A Bee, Japan http://www.meeabee.com

August 14th: A Happy Adventure, NZ/China http://www.ahappyadventure.com/

August 15th: Story of Mum, UK http://storyofmum.com/ 

August 16th: Poppy Haus, USA http://www.poppyhaus.com/

August 19th: Kid World Citizen, USA  http://kidworldcitizen.org/

August 20th: Salsa Pie, USA http://salsapie.blogspot.ca

August 21st: Everything Mom & Baby, Canada www.everythingmomandbaby.com/

August 22nd: Simple As That, USA http://www.simpleasthatblog.com/

An Everyday Story, Australia http://www.aneverydaystory.com

August 23rd: Made By Joey, Canada http://madebyjoey.blogspot.com

August 26th: Growing Up Herbal, USA http://www.growingupherbal.com/

August 27th: All Done Monkey, USA  http://alldonemonkey.com/

August 28th: Thirteen Red Shoes, USA http://www.thirteenredshoes.blogspot.com.au

August 29th: The Tiny Twig, USA/Africa http://www.thetinytwig.com/

August 30th: Swoon, USA http://www.swoonstudio.blogspot.com

Satsuma Press, USA http://satsumapress.com/

Who's behind The Playful Learning Ecademy?

Mariah Bruehl is a parent, educator, entrepreneur, and author of the book Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder (Shambhala Publications, 2011). In 2011 she launched the Playful Learning Ecademy, which takes virtual-learning experiences to a new level by incorporating the best practices in education with engaging hands-on lessons, bringing parents and children together from all over the world into a unique, creative community environment. 

links

Playful Learning website 
Playful Learning Ecademy 
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest 
Instagram

#SOmum Make Date: Weds 14 Aug: 8.30pm - 10pm

We're joining up with Bloom Remedies for our next #SOmum Make Date this Weds 8.30-10pm on twitter (find world times here if you're not in the UK). Our theme is our wonderful Mum Bodies again, in need of some Summer love!

We'll be chatting to other lovely mums, writing poems to our lumps and bumps for Ode to Mum-Bodies, and coming up with ways to be better body role models for our kids.

If you're feeling particularly brave, and want to join in with Love Mum Body as well, (sharing a photo of a bit of your body you'd like to love more, or making a model of it out of plasticine and sharing that with us...), we'd love that too!

And as if feeling better about your body wasn't enough of a brilliant reason to join us on its own, you could also to win some gorgeous mum-body goodies from our co-host Bloom Remedies - add #SOmum to your tweets to enter, and follow lovely Marie @Bloomremedies.

Marie will be choosing three random tweeters for prizes as we go - an Easy Love Organic Body Oilan Orange Cardamon and Geranium Body Butter, and a Herbal Organic Hand Balm...

Plus, if you add your line to our Ode To Mum-Bodies this month (we'll inspire you to join in when we chat) you'll enter our competition to win a goody box packed with organic treats:

For the full competition rules, visit here.

Bloom Remedies is an organic skincare company in Cornwall that makes fresh skincare and bodycare products by hand, using essential oils to create the most natural and delicious smelling body treatments you can find. 

You can find out more about them here.

Look forward to seeing you and your miraculous mum-body on Wednesday!

What is a #somum Make Date?

It's a chance for mums to get together on twitter and tweet while we attempt to do something creative - like doodlingtaking a photomaking stuff or even squidging plasticine.

We give ourselves some creative me-time and connect with other lovely mums. We do it every second Wednesday of the month and we would love you to join us. New friends are always very welcome.

You don't have to be a clever crafter, an artist or wordsmith. We're all about having a go regardless of talent or experience. Most of all, it's about getting together and having fun.

If you just want to chat, that's completely fine. If you just want to make something and lurk and never tell us you're there, that's fine too. We're just happy you're making time for you. 

Invisible Mothers

I’ve been asked recently why we have created this exhibition. Why do these stories matter? 

For all the lip service paid to the 'family' agenda by politicians, mums' voices are ignored. With immediate income the only measurable evidence of our worth to society, we remain invisible. We are 'encouraged' towards paid work, whether we want it or not, to survive - as tax credits are 'rebranded' and quietly removed, vital early years support systems eroded, and an evidenced need for additional midwives ignored. 

We are labeled "a family nation" when they need our vote, and branded as unworthy of society's support when they don't: "single mums", "young mums", "stay at home mums", and the quickly dismissed voices of "hobbyist mommy bloggers": our complex lives reduced to an easy sound-bite. Short term party politics offers no incentive to make a change that lasts a childhood.

Mumsnet is consulted by government - does that impact change, or is it just another PR story? Mums who have suffered great pain and loss become inspiring voices for important campaigns, but sadly they are in the minority - their tragedies sell papers. Celebrity mums are only seen, mostly in bikinis, to assess how quickly they achieved or failed to achieve immediate post-baby weight loss. Another way to make us invisible, smaller, lesser, too distracted by our 'failing' bodies to act

What of the rest of us? Doing nothing exceptional. Apart from creating a whole human being, maybe more than one. Bringing them up, teaching them, investing in our global future at its deepest damaged roots. Facing loss, facing pain, facing joy, facing change. Loving with a heart the size of a house. Every day. We create people, people! There are few things more amazing than that everyday miracle.

But as we read bedtime stories to our children before we work into the night, we are not heard. As we push our buggies through town struggling to balance our waning budgets, stressed children and economy shopping, we are not seen. 

I appreciate the lie-in and the flowers and the home-made cards, but Mothers' Day does not give me a voice. (Yet somehow it's enough to recharge a maternal love so strong that I will continue in the face of any difficulty for another year, ignored and unheard…)

I know that many other groups are equally voiceless in society: dads, women who are not mothers, and many more. Mothers are just my undervalued area of expertise.

Is it that we are so busy loving our children and doing our best in spite of it all that we don't have time to protest?  Or that we have been unappreciated and ignored for so long that we don't believe we deserve to be heard?

Even more bizarrely, from where I sit at story of mum, I can see that mum bloggers are quietly changing the world. They are running social media campaigns for charities and transforming big business’s approach to marketing. Crafters are turning craftivist. Mothers are finding our voices online, being heard by each other. The brave and the confident are nurturing community through building virtual 'family' with love and compassion.

It's a tiny drop of perfect poo in the giant nappy mountain of all the mums whose voices are not being heard, but great things grow from manure.

That's the why. Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves is our attempt to create a communal loudhailer, to share our stories so that others can understand our point of view, so that we can all understand each other.

We are celebrating all that mothers do. The miracles, the mess, the challenges and the joy. Our diversity and strength. Our vulnerability and wisdom.

We're telling our stories in paper chains, in photographs and poetry, in precious parts of our identity pinned to a washing line. For the past two years, we have been gathering everyday mums’ stories online, and now we’re taking them on the road. Into galleries and public spaces.

We welcome any mum with a story to share. Our virtual tour is gathering more stories, connecting mums worldwide, bloggers and non-bloggers alike.

Together, mums are stepping out of the computer to be seen and heard. 

And as for the politicians? Well we all know that yelling doesn’t work with children. But maybe we can tell them a story.

 

This month our story is our bodies. Join us to create a shared Ode to Mum-Bodies.

You can also add your voice to our next #somum Make Date on twitter from 8.30 - 10pm UK time on Wednesday 14 August. More info here.

Or come and see us at our next exhibition stop at The Exchange in Penzance, Cornwall from 12 September to 10 October. More info here.

Emergency! Send pants

I've just been looking through my son's Religious Education book from his first year of school, and found this.

When I finally stopped laughing, I started thinking about my pants. Specifically, the kind of pants we wear as mums. And I started to wonder if my son was so very wrong - maybe, just maybe, an emergency pant intervention could change my world...

We listened to the story 'An Important Meal' and talked about Holy Communion. We then decided what we would give to others who don't have what we do.

Teacher: "What would you send to those elsewhere who don't have what we do?"

5 year old son: "I would like to send my pants."

I can imagine his teacher's face. Solve the third world's problems with... your pants??

But I can see his logic. He's a generous caring boy and he knows that children elsewhere often have very little food, water, and clothes. What's the first thing we all put on in the morning? Of course. Pants.

Plus, in his case, it's normally superman pants. Which gives him a superhuman start to the day, superhuman powers, and the superhuman ability to rescue all those in need. How kind of him to think of sending those very pants to a child with nothing.

That grand gesture got me thinking about my own pants. Or lack of them. My pants don't make me feel very special at all. They don't reflect how I feel about myself. Or worse, maybe they do...

What do I live in? Cheap plain everyday pants made of cotton with barely a swish or a ribbon. Four for a fiver. That's what I think I deserve.

Well, I deserve more. And so do you.

What's your favourite pair of pants? A slinky pair? Maybe even a superwoman pair? And... how often do you wear them? Are they saved for special occasions or do you have a silky pair for every day of the week?

I have a drawer full of delicious underwear - you can see some below. It makes me feel beautiful and special - but most of the time, it just lives in that drawer, hiding from moths.

And what about the infamous Bridget Jones 'magic pants' - do you have a pair of those? I have those. I most definitely have those. I test-drove my own personal magic pants in a tiny changing room full of empty cardboard boxes - my enthusastic sweaty wriggling and jiggling to get the ridiculous things over my thighs very nearly resulted in a public humiliation tumble of Starsky and Hutch car crash proportions.

In the years since having children, I've probably worn a pair of tummy-tucker magic pants more times than I can remember, certainly more often than I've worn any of those lovely silk knickers.

And which of these pants truly are magic? Which make me feel better about myself?

Is it the squish-in flatten-down bulge-at-the-bottom uncomfortable-if-you-sit-down pair that makes me look like I like lettuce more than chocolate? 

Or is it the let-it-all-go silky soft lace-ties knickers in which I could happily lounge around the house dipping my toes in a chocolate fountain all day?

I'd say it's the latter. And I really should wear them more often.

And yet Kate Middleton walks out of hospital 24 hours after birth and everyone is surprised that she hasn't strapped her bump into tummy-flattening pants. That's the world we live in. No wonder I don't bother to treat my body with knickers that feel wonderful.

Well, I hope Kate was wearing her very best knickers along with the humongous post-birth pads. Because us mums should be celebrating our beautiful mum-bodies and proudly treating them to the very best. We should all be wearing our favourite silk pants every day, even when there's no one else around to see them. 

My son's Emergency Pant Mission has reminded me that instead of trying to pretend I'm not a hard-working loving mother who has carried and birthed two beautiful kind children and has the rounded soft miraculous belly and bottom to prove it, I should be celebrating my beauty with special pants. Not pants that magically turn me into someone else. Pants that make me feel the magic I already am.

Pants that love my body just as it is, and all that it has made. Pants that feel good. Pants that remind me as I slip them on: Me, in these pants? I'm an everyday sexy superwoman responsible for miracles. And so are you.

Emergency. Send pants!

I would send them my pants

How about you? Do you treat yourself to special pants...? Let us know below.

This month we're celebrating our mum-bodies with an Ode To Mum-Bodies - join in and add a line to our communal poem! You can also visit amazing inspiring posts from mums, and see honest brave pictures of the bits of our mum-bodies we'd like to love more over at Love Mum Body.

Ode to Mum-Bodies - competitions!

Ooooooh you can win your gorgeous mum-body some gorgeous mum-body goodies from Bloom Remedies this month!

Bloom Remedies is an organic skincare company based in Cornwall that makes fresh skincare and bodycare products by hand, using essential oils to create the most natural and delicious smelling body treatments you can find.

I'm currently using their Frankincense and Rose Moisturiser for er-herm... 'mature' skin (purchased by my husband as a gift, on request...!) and it's lovely. They also do fabulous baby balms, body butters, bath salts, man cream and much much more... You can find out more about them here.

We'll be giving away delicious body treats to three lucky tweeters at our #somum Make Date - three mums taking part will win an Easy Love Organic Body Oil, an Orange Cardamon and Geranium Body Butter, and a Herbal Organic Hand Balm...

Plus, one very lucky mum adding a line to our Ode to Mum-Bodies this month will win a goody box packed with organic treats:

Yum yum, lucky mum!

How to enter

1. To win yourself a random body treat, join our #somum Make Date on twitter on Wednesday 14 August from 8.30 - 10pm UK time and tweet using #somum. Marie will be co-hosting the twitter party and randomly selecting tweeters to receive little body treats as we go. Make sure you are following @bloomremedies and @storyofmum on twitter. 

2. To win yourself a box of organic goodies, add a line to our Ode to Mum-Bodies, and make your body feel better with words. You'll have to register to join Story of Mum first, but that's quick and means you get to join our lovely friendly community as a bonus!

Full official rules below...

First competition

  • Duplicate accounts, automated entries, bulk entries or third party entries will be disqualified
  • Winners will be chosen at random from all those tweeting using #somum between 20.30 GMT and 22.00 GMT on 14 August 2013. 
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The competition will run from 20.30 BST and 22.00 BST on 14 August 2013 in Great Britain.
  • story of mum is compliant with the data protection act. While we will share the twitter names of winners and their tweets with great excitement, we will not pass on any other details to any third party without your prior consent.

Second competition

  • Duplicate accounts, automated entries, bulk entries or third party entries will be disqualified
  • Winners will be chosen at random from all those uploading a line to the Ode to Mum-Bodies that fits the brief described here to this webpage between 12pm BST on 1 August 2013 and midnight BST on 31 August 2013. Please note that you need to join the story of mum community in order to upload a picture or story.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The competition will run from 12pm BST on 1 August 2013 and midnight BST on 31 August 2013 in Great Britain.
  • Story of mum is compliant with the data protection act. While we will share the twitter names of winners and links with great excitement, we will not pass on any other details to any third party without your prior consent.
  • If you don't want to enter the draw, that's absolutely fine. You can still take part in either activity, just contact us to let us know you don't want to be entered in the competition.

Remembering a Mother

Marie Millward lost her mum many years ago. She won our competition in April to have a poem composed for her by the lovely Vanessa Matthews of Ordinary Life... Less Ordinary. Here are the beautiful and poignant results - two poems in fact. Thank you Vanessa for capturing Marie and her mother's story so beautifully. Thank you to Marie for sharing them with us all here.

 

Originally shared by Marie on 12 July on Facebook:

I've been meaning to share this for a while, but as today would have been my mum's birthday, today is the perfect day to do it.

A few weeks ago I won a competition on the Story of Mum website run by the lovely Penny and Pippa Best.

The prize was to have a poem written for you by the brilliant writer and poet, Vanessa Matthews. In the end Vanessa wrote two poems, the one shown on the photo of me and my mum and the one below.

I really love the poems that Vanessa wrote and hope you do too, whether you knew my wonderful mum or not.

 

Unbreakable

The hole in my heart 
can’t be closed by a stitch
a simple pull of thread
can never untether me
from the sense of regret
at the missed moments
memories yet to be made

With every photograph 
distance stretches between 
a past, a present, a future
disconnected but bound
waiting to be found again
just across the bridge
that links now and then

But I do all I know, the best I can
to take one more step, prepare
ruffle soft hair, kiss scuffed knees
make do and mend to the end
because the unbreakable spirit 
that is mother and child
can never truly be undone.

 

Marie's poem

Do Not Disturb: Mummy is at a #somum Make Date

Our last #somum Make Date was a full on dream-fest of crafting and chat. We shared what we would do if we only have 5 minutes to ourselves, or an hour, or (a brain exploding concept) a whole week...!

Do Not Disturb Mummy is...

Our key discoveries? Attending a #somum Make Date can double as a fat-burning work-out (which was handy while eating chocolate...) and that most of all, we dream of... sleep. 

We listed the lists our beloved children yell at us (How would you complete the sentence, "Mummy I need..." or "Mummy, where's..."?). Too often, we struggled to answer the question of what we would do with time to ourselves - that's how hard it is to imagine time for US.

We dreamt of quiet coffees, catnaps and waking up when WE'RE ready. Of drinking champage in bubble baths, knitting and reading, long walks and foot massages. Of making a million and listening to the explicit versions of the songs we love... 

Our fantasies got bolder when we had a week to ourselves. We'd go ski-ing, horse-riding, read on the beach all week, daydream, watch sunsets, go on a cruise, immerse ourselves in a film festival, and travel on a private jet piloted by Johnny Depp. We'd learn Welsh.

We shared our top mum tips for making me-time:

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help
  • Ignore the housework
  • Spend less time on social media
  • Put me-time in the diary and stick to it
  • Meditate
  • Get up a little earlier
  • Learn from others who manage to make me-time (like some of the men in our life...)
  • Give ourselves permission to take time for us. Because we deserve it.

And yes, for some of us, it's simply too hard to take even these steps. Life is too full, too complicated right now. And to those, we send an extra special hug and lots of love - we were so happy that you made some time for you to be with us.

You can read the full storify below. And of course, make your own sign...

Hollie McNish is coming to play!

I can't hold it in any more... We've loved Hollie's work for a while. Now, with the release of Hollie McNish's latest spoken word piece on breastfeeding (it's amazing - watch it below) and her previous piece on immigration going beyond 1.2 million You Tube views (that poem's below too, and also brilliant), we're more excited than ever to announce that Hollie will be our featured poet at our Story of Mum Make Date at the Photographers' Gallery in London on the evening of Friday 18th October.

Our communal mums' poem is a giant kenning to which we've had over 130 submissions already.  At each of our exhibition events, a different poet is 'curating' their own version of our giant mums' poem for us to share with you all, and we're thrilled that Hollie will be stepping up to take that role in London. So add a word now and you might hear your own words live or on You Tube some time soon.

Hollie will also be performing a couple of her other pieces too - and is doing it all for love and cake, because she is so darned ace.

Check out Hollie's album: "Push Kick: a journey through the beauty, brilliance and bollocks of having a baby" if you haven't already - I love so many of these, but Banana Baby, Dilemma and Morning Sounds are particular favourites... Proceeds from donations for this ace free-to-download album currently go to support the Rosie Hospital campaign - listen to it here

Here's Hollie's most recent breastfeeding piece which has hit the headlines over the past couple of days. "Embarrassed" makes a brilliant case against the shame we feel at feeding in public. (Family warning: there are some rude words in both of these, but mostly they rhyme, so it's educational...).

 

And Hollie's previous viral hit, "Mathematics", faces up to the nonsense mathematics of anti-immigration:

 

We would love you to come along to join us in London too. Sign up for our newsletter for information on booking your place as and when we know the final details.

You can find out more about our "Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves" exhibition here. And visit the amazing mini-exhibitions curated by mums around the world as part of the virtual tour running alongside the events and exhibition programme. 

And listen to lots more Hollie McNish on her website and on You Tube.

 

We're holding our next #somum Make Date on twitter this Wednesday 10 July from 8.30 - 10pm UK time. (find times for other parts of the world with this very handy calculator) . We'd love you to join us to make Do Not Disturb signs for mums - find out more here.

Do Not Disturb: Mummy is Dreaming BIG!

I don't get enough time to dream as a mum. I don't get enough time to myself. I don't get enough time, full stop.

So... this month's activity is all about making a little bit of undisturbed time for ourselves, to do something for ourselves. Come and join in!

Join in any time online, or join us on twitter from 8.30 - 10pm UK time (find times for other parts of the world with this very handy calculator) using #somum on Wednesday 10 July.

We'll be talking about what we'd like to do behind closed doors, or in front of them, or basically any time we have a few precious minutes to ourselves.

We need to nurture the nurturer. So naturally, we'll be making wishful "Do Not Disturb: Mummy Is..." signs.

You can doodle, you can collage, you can just scribble down a few words. Whatever feels good to you.

When you've made your creation, upload it to the gallery here. If you haven't joined story of mum yet, you'll need to do that first, but it should be quick and easy...). And you'll be entered into our fabulous competion to win the cheeky cool cat below.

Win a limited edition art print of a cat you wouldn't want to disturb!

Jason Munro's cat picture from ArtfinderThe lovely people at Artfinder have offered us this limited edition print by Jason Munro (designed especially for Britmums last month).

The print features a seriously relaxed pink sunglass-wearing cat. In fact, this cat is so relaxed that it is showing us rather more bottom than I would really like to see. It makes me smile with shock every time I look at it. Which I think is a good thing?

Maybe, just maybe, us mums can feel as chilled-out as this proud-bottomed cat as we hang our Do Not Disturb signs off the door... Let's hope so.

The print is 35cm by 35cm and is mounted on a thick card. Artfinder's admirable mission is to enable everyone to enjoy art, by making it more accessible and affordable. They showcase the work of artists internationally, helping artists worldwide to make a living from doing what they love. Which is an idea almost as cool as this cat.

Look forward to seeing you and your Do Not Disturb signs on Wednesday 10 July. And don't worry, there is absolutely no need for you to show us your bottom. Just your dreams.

(PS You can give yourself another chance at winning a second copy of this print if you visit our Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves virtual tour stop over at More Than a Mum...) 

What is a #somum Make Date?

It's a chance for mums to get together on twitter and tweet while we attempt to do something creative - like doodlingtaking a photomaking stuff or even squidging plasticine.

We give ourselves some creative me-time and connect with other lovely mums. We do it every second Wednesday of the month and we would love you to join us. New friends are always very welcome.

You don't have to be a clever crafter, an artist or wordsmith. We're all about having a go regardless of talent or experience. Most of all, it's about getting together and having fun.

If you just want to chat, that's completely fine. If you just want to make something and lurk and never tell us you're there, that's fine too. We're just happy you're making time for you. 

 

Competition rules

  • Duplicate accounts, automated entries, bulk entries or third party entries will be disqualified
  • Winners will be chosen at random from all those uploading a picture of their Do Not Disturb sign that fits the brief described here to this webpage between 12pm GMT on 1 July 2013 and midnight GMT on 31 July 2013. Please note that you need to join the story of mum community in order to upload a picture or story.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The competition will run from 12pm GMT on 1 July 2013 and midnight GMT on 31 July 2013 in Great Britain.
  • Story of mum is compliant with the data protection act. While we will share the twitter names of winners and links with great excitement, we will not pass on any other details to any third party without your prior consent.
  • If you don't want to enter the draw, that's absolutely fine. You can still take part in either activity and load up a photo, just contact us to let us know you don't want to be entered in the competition.

Storytelling: Why YOUR stories matter

So many people said they wished they'd seen my Storytelling presentation at BritMums Live that I decided to record it at home as a google hangout. It's not my finest hour, but the key information is in there, and the hats!

Of course I should probably redo it without the phone ringing in the middle, and with a better grasp of the technology, but I want to spend time with my kids instead, so it's this or nothing for now.

Here it is in its raw and enthusiastic form...

Storytelling: why YOUR stories matter

 

 

It's a 20 minute presentation in two parts (and two hats...):

Hat One looks at some simple storytelling principles that I use in my work as a story editor, with examples of how you could apply these to a blog post. This is all stuff you know instinctively, and are almost definitely doing already. The story editor's perspective simply provides a framework to help you become more conscious about how you use these tools and why.

Hat Two looks at this wonderful project, story of mum, and our firm belief that anything you create holds a story. I share some examples of creative activities we've played with here to get you thinking - how could you use a creative exercise like ours as a way to share your story, explore feelings, or prompt a blog post?

 

 

 

If Hat One inspired you, would you like me to post more videos about storytelling for bloggers? I have lots more to say if anyone wants to hear it...! 

Just let me know below.


If Hat Two inspired you, we would LOVE you to come and join us at story of mum! If you join up here right now, you'll even get a free ebook of well-deserved mums' reward charts, you can't say fairer than that.

You can also join our next #somum Make Date on twitter on 10 July from 8.30-10pm UK time.

 

Read more about my experience of BritMums Live here.

Read more about the I'm a Mum and a... photos I took at BritMums Live here.

 

And here's an extra bonus creative idea for Hat Two fans:

The Book Of Me

book of mum

Our good friends over at Hopeful World are about to start their new course The Book of Meformerly known as (Heart) My Art, this Monday 1 July. A group of us story of mum mamas got together to do this very course a few months ago and it was ace - inspiring, fun and thought-provoking. It really got our creative juices going and prompted blog posts and personal revelations.

For 12 days, the very lovely Ria Sharon gives you short creative activities to do, activities that can fit around the busy life of a mum. It's just 10 minutes a day of play and possibility - and a wonderful way to use creativity to explore who you are. If you fancy taking part in The Book of Me, then we'd highly recommend it. 

This is also my first ever affiliate link (as praised by bloggers at BritMums Live as a great way for us all to support each other and help to promote projects and people that we love...) so if you click on it and sign up, we'll get a small contribution to continue supporting our work at Story of Mum too. Lovely indeed.


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