Most of us associate October 31st with witches, spells, potions and curses. But it’s not just a day to celebrate magic of the supernatural kind. Halloween happens to coincide with World Magic Day, an annual celebration of illusions, tricks and sleights of hand. And whilst you may not know how to pull a rabbit from a hat, or saw a glamorous assistant in half, there are plenty of ways you can get involved in World Magic Day this year. Origins of Magic Day No doubt you’ve heard the name Harry Houdini. Often regarded as the greatest magician who ever lived, he wowed audiences across Europe ... read more
Election 2015 – Round 1
If you live in the UK you must have been living under a stone if you haven't noticed that there's going to be a General Election in May this year. Here we are just a week in to 2015 and already all the political parties seem to be setting off in full election mode determined to get our votes in what is possibly going to be one of the closest run elections that we've had for many years. The mainstream media is obviously already starting to get excited about this, but it may seem a bit early to start blogging about it, apart from the fact that in my ward in St Albans we're actually off to the ... read more
The mutiny over the mutiny over the Bounty Mutiny
If you've had a baby in hospital here in the UK over the last few years you're likely to have encoutered a lady (and I think I'm right in saying that they're nearly all ladies) from Bounty visiting you in your hospital bed to give you your "Bounty pack" and offer you their service of taking some photos of your new baby. You're also likely to have been given another bounty pack by your midwife at your first booking appointment. These packs come full of (helpful) leaflets, plus lots of advertising, vouchers and free samples from companies that you may not have heard of pre-children, but that are ... read more
Digital Postcard from #TeamHonk in Ghana
Since my last post Team Honk have arrived in Ghana and following them on social media is extrodinary, humbling and emotional. They are out there seeing the good work that Comic Relief have done in the last 25 years and so far they have visited the Virtuous Women's Bakery and a school in the slum areas. This morning I am sat watching Jonathan Ross and Davina McCall (yep three bloggers and now on first name terms with them both!) doing a series of live TV link-ups from a vaccination clinic where Comic Relief money has paid for 1 million vaccines for small babies. As part of ... read more
Honk, honk for Team Honk and Comic Relief!
Blogging is one of those things where some people just don't "get it". They think it a complete waste of time and something that is only done by people that sit at home without enough social skills to go out and interact with the "real" world. Those people who do "get" blogging, and social media more generally, know that it's far more than that and that these days social media really can change the world. Here in the UK there are three particular bloggers who are about to use the power of blogging and social media to help change the world in support ... read more
Child poverty here in the UK?
I struggle a bit to put my finger on quite why, but since I became a parent I've realised just how fortunate my daughter is. I've spent many sleepless nights worrying about children here in the UK that don't have three meals a day, who don't have a safe warm house to live in and toys to play with. I want to provide my daughter with everything she wants and needs - that's a mother's instinct - and I know that the few times I can't give her something (admittedly normally something trivial) it does break my heart. I was fascinated and pleased therefore (if pleased is the right word to use here) ... read more
Please don’t apologise Team GB
Just in case you haven't noticed I should probably point out that there's a bit of a sporting event going on in London at the moment. Although technically it's not just in London as there are Olympic football matches all over the country and sailing down on the coast and probably a few other events in other places that technically don't fall within the London postcode district. As long as you're aware of Lord Coe's "sports day" then you must also be aware of how amazingly well Team GB are doing at the moment. Gold medals have been coming in thick and ... read more
I was completely shocked when I today read on twitter say that nearly 60% of families do not own a single baby book. I've seen statistics like this before about things like the average number of books in a UK household being just five, and previously I've never been able to get the facts to back up what I've read. This time though Beachy Books were able to point me in the direction of this article from The Bookseller. According to the research that has been done, 57% of families do not own a single baby book until they receive their Bookstart early reading packs. These packs are ... read more
Have you ever thought about what happens to food that's still on the shelves of your local supermarket when it reaches its "display until" date? Much of it is still perfectly edible, but as it can no longer be sold it instead often ends up just going in a shop's general rubbish. Wasted food - not nice, but sadly a fact of life in many shops. There are an estimated 400,000 tonnes of surplus food that can reclaimed each year from food retailers here in the UK, but all this food can be turned into healthy and nutritious meals. Food poverty is another huge problem facing us here in the UK ... read more
Set our children free!
You frequently hear people talking about how children of today don't play outside enough. Older generations often use the "in my day" phrases when telling of children only bothering to come home when they knew a meal would be on the table and then spending the rest of their time climbing trees and exploring for miles around where they lived. The reality is that a lot has changed since "those days". Neary every home now has a TV set and many childrens have one in the bedroom too. There are also games consoles and handheld games which children like to spend time on too. ... read more