1. It makes motherhood worthwhile!

    Wednesday, May 30, 2007
    I should have known it was going to be one of those days today as soon as I woke up and realised I'd overslept. But, like any other day, I was cheerful in the hopeful anticipation of a nice, pleasant day. Little did I know what fate had in store for me...

    Within an hour of waking, Little Angel had almost wrecked the place. It started with her somehow getting hold of my favorite Dior nail varnish and attempting to paint the carpet. The kids swore it must have been a ghost-no-one would ever give her my most expensive cosmetics to play with.


    While I was cleaning up the mess, she then decided to climb up and pull the shampoo from the shelves where I'd thought it would be safe. Then she proceeded to throw toilet paper across the landing. And so on, and so forth.

    Until it gets to the point where I really honestly think for a moment that I'm going to lose it completely, and she comes back in from the garden with a wilting daisy in her hand. "Sorry mummy, luv ooh!"

    Sweetness personified. It's moments like this that make being a mum worthwhile!
    Continue reading »
  2. Tasty Tuesdays: Easy Peasy Tunisian Salad

    Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    Tunisian style salad is really easy to prepare and makes a tasty side-dish for any meal. It's usually eaten with a spoon (as the vegetables are finely chopped for this dish), but can also be eaten with bread: a traditional Tunisian method of eating!

    Here's what you'll need:

    • Half a cucumber

    • About 2 mewdium (or one large) tomatoes

    • Small red onion

    • Capsicum peppers (1/2 each red and green)

    • Olive oil

    • Lemon juice

    To decorate:

    • Black olives

    • Boiled eggs

    • Fresh parsley

    • A few lettuce leaves

    Here's how to make your Tunisian style salad:

    1. Get yourself a large mixing bowl.

    2. Finely chop the onion and add to the dish.

    3. To finely chop the cucumber, here's a little trick: get a sharp knife and make slices about 1/2 a centimetre wide across the pale flesh of the halved cucumber (towards the base). Make sure you don't cut theough: you want these slices to stay on for the time being! Turn the cucumber round 90 degrees and do the same again, like a cross hatch design. Then cut through the green skin as though you are making slices: the small chunks should come off perfectly! Once you've chopped all of the cucumber, add this to the bowl.

    4. To chop the tomatoes, cut into quarters and remove the flesh (set to one side). Then chop the more solid parts as fine as you did the cucumber. Add this and the squishy parts to the bowl.

    5. Finely chop the peppers; add these too.

    6. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the bowl. Mix well and taste. Add more seasoning/olive oil/lemon juice to suit your taste.

    7. Serve in a large salad bowl on a bed of lettuce leaves. Add black olives, slices of hard boiled eggs and sprinkle with a handful of chopped fresh parsley.

    8. Enjoy!

    I hope you enjoy this easy recipe, which is something we enjoy regularly at home. More Tunisian recipe ideas next week!

    See also:

    Technorati Tags:

    Continue reading »
  3. Little green fingers

    Sunday, May 27, 2007

    Exactly one year ago, we moved to this "new house" and were blessed with a front door on the ground floor, lovely neighbours and most of all, a huge garden space for the kids!

    For over ten years, we'd been living in a first floor flat. Sure it was roomy and in a nice part of town, but with the kids it was hardly desirable. Especially when Hubby dearest and I married and my step-children began to stay each weekend. When little Angel came along, it was almost unbearable. There was nowhere safe for the children to play; no green space to admire, and certainly no area to sit out in the sun in the summertime.

    I'm so glad to be here!

    Last summer was something of a frenzy and we barely had time to relax and enjoy our new home. Between decorating, clearing the jungle in the back garden and our two-month trip to Tunisia, there was barely any time to cultivate a garden. This year, we've had more time to enjoy the outdoor space: we had the garden turfed, created a space for plants and installed a fence to keep prying eyes away from our precious ones. We even bought a sand pit and playhouse for the kids. And for the first time in my life I've been able to grow things from seeds. I feel so proud of what we've achieved!

    What I love most is the change I've seen in the children: they all seem so much happier, even on rainy days like today. And they're developing a wonderful interest in plants and the environment; especially my little man, who today insisted we go to the garden centre so he could buy a plant with his pocket money!

    I thought he would have chosen a Venus fly trap, which he could feed with the ever increasing number of huge spiders that plague our lounge. Luckily, the garden centre didn't have any in stock. I say "lucky" because I can't stand that he picks them up and lets them run all over him! It's not that I'm scared of spiders: I just have a strange fear of them crawling on my feet...

    Anyway, he settles on a seedling cucumber plant, and little Angel insisted she got in on the action by nursing a cherry tomato plant back to the car. It was so sweet watching them water their little seedlings, and give them pride of place on the kitchen windowsill "because mummy, it's too wet for them to be outside just now!"

    In this last year, I've seen my little seedlings blossom and flourish. I love to watch them grow...

    Technorati Tags: | | | | | | |

    Continue reading »
  4. "Green" cleaning can really save you money!

    Saturday, May 26, 2007

    These days we're bombarded with advertisements for the latest (and supposedly, greatest) cleaning products on the market: washing up liquids, laminate floor cleaner, toilet limescale remover... The list is endless!

    What such adverts fail to tell you is that there are essentially five natural ingredients you can use to keep you entire home clean and bright. Much better for your purse strings, and better for the environment too! So I present to you my list of five essential natural cleaning products, which can save you pounds on your monthly cleaning bill, and make you feel so much better that you're helping to save the planet by using them:

    1. White vinegar: a natural disinfectant and cleaner; can be used to make windows and glass shine! Reduces mineral and lime deposits, and can be used to treat stains.
    2. Lemons: traditionally used for cutting through grease; also great as a deodoriser and fragrancer.
    3. Olive oil: a wonderful alternative to furniture polish (see Tracy's post for a great example).
    4. Bicarbonate of soda: when mixed with water, this forms an alkaline solution which is great for all round cleaning (such as surfaces, fridges, floors, etc). Use neat as a scourer with a kitchen sponge, or form a thick paste for stubborn stains. Combine with vinegar for an extra strength cleaning solution.
    5. Borax: a great disinfectant. Dilute in water to replace your usual disinfectant for mopping or cleaning nasty messes. Can also be used to clean toilets, clear drains and as an insecticide.

    And here's some examples of how these essential ingredients can be used for all your cleaning needs:

    All purpose cleaners:

    • Dissolve 4 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda in 1 litre of water for an all purpose cleaning fluid.
    • Add a few slices of lemon for a pleasantly fragranced washing-up solution
    • Mix to a paste with water and a few drops of vinegar for really stubborn stains or burnt pans.


    • Mix half a cup of borax with five litres of hot water and clean with this solution (be sure to wear rubber gloves as borax is quite strong and can harm your delicate hands!). For a fragranced disinfectant, add some of your favorite herbs, steep for five minutes and strain; alternatively fragrance with a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
    • 2 tablespoons of borax, lemon juice and 2 cups of hot water can be combined to make a great antibacterial surface cleaner; decant into a spray bottle and use like a regular disinfectant spray (much cheaper than branded chemical solutions!

    Glass cleaning:

    • Equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle make a great window cleaning solution (use more vinegar if your windows are really dirty). Buff to a shine with crumpled newspaper.
    • Alternatively, use 1/2 a cup of lemon juice and two cups of water, and apply as before.

    Toilet cleaner:

    • Flush the toilet to wet the bowl, and sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda. Spray on vinegar and leave overnight for best results and scrub with a toilet brush to clean and deodorise your loo. For stubborn stains, leave the solution overnight before scrubbing, to make it gleam!

    Drain cleaner:

    • Pour 1/2 to 1 cup of bicarbonate of soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Leave to foam for a few minutes, then flush with boiling hot water. Does exactly the same as expensive drain cleaning solutions!

    These are just a few of the ways you can clean your home using inexpensive, natural products. For more ideas, take a look at these hints and recipes.

    All of these ingredients are cheap to buy, and could be purchased from your local supermarket (try a hardware store if you have trouble sourcing borax). You can also purchase great value natural cleaning products online from Soap Kitchen Online.

    Related posts:

    Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | |

    Continue reading »
  5. Do it yourself day!

    Thursday, May 24, 2007

    I'm feeling rather proud of myself tonight; albeit exhausted, with hands that ache so much I'm barely able to type!

    Whenever Hubby Dearest goes abroad without me, I set myself a plan of household tasks to do before his return. Often it's something simple, like painting the windowsills and hanging new curtains (my initial plan for this week). Other times, I get some mammoth task in my head that I simply have to do. Like today, for example...

    Quite unexpectedly, our new kitchen table arrived. We hadn't even got rid of the old one to make room for it. Darned delivery men, they should have called to let me know. And unloading great ugly boxes into my freshly cleaned kitchen was like waving a red flag to a bull!

    So, I dismantled the old table and chairs, fixed up the new ones, stepped back and admired the view. But then I remembered the other box lurking in the shed: the cabinet for the lounge that Hubby dearest has been planning to build for nigh on six months, "as soon as I can find someone to take the fish tank off our hands" (which is another great ugly unwanted piece of furniture, taking up space in the house).

    Of course, I checked the instructions first. And you know what I found? A great big picture of a woman symbol (the kind you'd find on a lavatory door to discern the ladies' from the gents') WITH A LINE THROUGH IT! As though it were trying to say that a woman should not try to assemble this alone! Beneath was a picture of two women symbols and an "okay" tick. But really! Do the manufacturers seriously think that women can't assemble flat-pack alone?

    I was planning to scan that manual to show the world that chauvinistic imagery, but unfortunately little angel spilled juice all over it. All that work, and kids/cooking/cleaning/washing/bath time/story/etc done too.

    Hope hubby feels sufficiently guilty when he arrives back to see my efforts!

    Technorati Tags: | | | | | |
    Continue reading »
  6. Now what..?

    Wednesday, May 23, 2007

    My little man's not quite so little anymore... In July he'll be eleven. Almost a teenager! As much as I love to watch his development, I often wish children would stay children forever. Like yesterday, for instance.

    Here's the gist of the conversation we had:

    "Tidy your room up please; it's bedtime soon."

    "I'll do it in a bit."

    "No, tidy it now. It's bedtime soon!"

    "No, I'll do it later. You can't control me..."

    Meanwhile, he was in the process of tidying up his awful boy-mess. But for the first time, he had me stumped! I sense the approach of difficult teenage-hood approaching. Does that mean "you can't control me" will become a regular saying?

    Oh dear. And I'd hoped that the threat of being grounded/losing pocket money/confiscating the computer would suffice until he was much, much older. Don't misunderstand me: he's a great kid, and I'm quite proud of how well-behaved he is compared to other kids I know.

    My old neighbour's son, for instance. He's a couple of years older than my son, and it seems his mum has simply lost control. He doesn't go to school, because he simply walks out; he swears at everyone; he smokes... When the lack of parental respect breaks down, what methods of discipline can you employ, except to bind and gag them? (only joking, of course!)

    At the end of the day, he'll always be my "little man". I only hope I will always be the "Mum" he respects.

    Technorati Tags:

    Continue reading »
  7. Tasty Tuesday Recipe: Tunisian Tagine

    Tuesday, May 22, 2007

    So, here's my first recipe of the "Tasty Tuesdays" series: Tunisian tagine with tuna, parsley and cheese. This is a really simple dish which you could use as a starter or accompaniment to a main meal. It's also nice for the kids to snack on!

    Here's what you'll need:

    • Six medium eggs
    • A small can of tuna chunks, drained
    • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
    • Grated mild cheese (enough to fill a small teacup)
    • A medium sized potato, peeled and cut into small squares (about 1.5 cm wide)
    • One small onion, finely chopped
    • A drop of milk
    • Oil for greasing
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Small ceramic/earthenware roasting tray (or a casserole dish, if you don't have the roasting dish).
    • (Optional): a lemon to garnish

    Here's how to make it:

    1. Heat your oven to a high temperature (about 220 degrees centigrade)
    2. Boil the potato in salted water for a few minutes until they're almost cooked. Drain and cool.
    3. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat together. Add the drained tuna, cooled potatoes, parsley, cheese, chopped onion, a drop of milk (to make sure the mixture isn't too thick!) and seasonings to suit your taste.
    4. Grease the roasting dish with the oil, then pour in the mixture ensuring everything is evenly spaced.
    5. When the oven gets hot (it really does need to be hot for the tagine to rise!), put the roaster/dish into the oven on the top shelf. Cook for around 20-25 minutes until the eggs are set and the top is slightly golden.
    6. Remove from the oven, cut into squares and serve with slices of lemon. Yum!

    You can change some of the ingredients to suit your tastes. For example, you could replace the tuna with cooked chicken; use spring onions, or replace the meat with small pieces of char grilled red and green peppers for a vegetarian treat!

    Hope you enjoy this recipe! More from Tunisia next week...

    Technorati Tags:

    Continue reading »
  8. Tasty Tuesdays!

    When I cook (which is virtually everyday!), I like things to be simple, and still taste delicious! I learnt the hard way that food cooked from fresh ingredients tastes so much better than frozen/prepacked/convenience foods from the supermarket. And I say "the hard way" because I truly didn't know how to cook when I first set up home!

    With the help of my husband (who incidentally was a restaurant chef for some years!), various magazine recipes and books, I finally learnt how to prepare something tasty from scratch, often with very cheap ingredients too!

    So, I present to you "Tasty Tuesdays": my weekly recipe section where you needn't worry too much about having weighing scales, measuring jugs, or the expertise of Delia Smith! My recipes are tried and tested on the most discerning palates (hubby darling and fussy kids), but have always come up trumps!

    In honour of my Tunisian husband, I'll begin with a series of tasty Tunisian recipes, which are really delicious and can be adapted to suit any taste. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as we do at home!

    More on this subject later...

    Technorati Tags:

    Continue reading »
  9. Is this going to be a problem..?

    Monday, May 21, 2007

    Adorable as she is, my little angel seems to be quite addicted to her soothers (or "do-do's", as they are called in our house!).

    I'm dreading the day she has to give them up and become a "big girl"... Which may not be too far away now as she really needs to give them up before she begins nursery school. This wasn't an issue with my son: he never took a liking to them, and so I was never faced with that awful parent guilt of having to take them away!

    Ah well, there's still time for her to give them up willingly...

    Technorati Tags: | | | | | |

    Continue reading »
  10. Store cupboard staples: a list of essentials you should never be without

    Sunday, May 20, 2007

    After reading Tracy's article about the freedom of household routines, I remembered a great tip from Marguerite Duras: keeping a list of store cupboard essentials.

    This is something I've done for a while now. On our fridge we stuck a list of all the kitchen essentials we can't do without, and tick things off as they need replenishing. That way we never run out of household essentials. There are loads of meals and uses for these items, so even if an unexpected guest arrives, we always have something to cook for them, and have the essentials for keeping things clean.

    Here are the basics we list:

    • Salt

    • Pepper

    • Harrisa (Tunisian chili paste)

    • Mayonnaise

    • Milk

    • Tea and coffee

    • Sugar

    • Eggs

    • Butter

    • Hard cheese

    • Potatoes

    • Pasta

    • Tinned tomatoes

    • Tomato puree

    • Tinned tuna

    • Onions

    • Garlic

    • Flour

    • Bread

    • Olive oil

    • Olives

    • Lemons

    • Vinegar

    • Good quality chocolate

    • Wine

    • Toilet paper

    • Light bulbs

    • Washing powder

    • Kitchen sponges with scouring pads (Spontex)

    • Fuses

    • Heavy duty tape (gaffer tape)

    With these things kept in stock, we're never caught out. These pantry essentials are also very cheap to buy in bulk, which is great for households on a budget! Lemons, vinegar and cheap washing powder suffice for most household cleaning tasks: vinegar and soapy water for windows, powder and lemons for cleaning dishes, surfaces and floors; lemons for chopping boards (see this post for more ideas). With the food I've listed, it's even possible to create an impromptu three course meal for unexpected guests:

    1. For starters, spoon some harrissa and mayonnaise on a plate; drizzle in olive oil and serve with flakes of tuna, olives and slices of french bread for dipping.

    2. For the main course, a dish of pasta and home made tomato sauce sprinkled with grated cheese, or an omelet served with potato wedges and flavored with the cheese.

    3. Chocolate and coffee for desserts, or if you have the time you can make a cake with these basic ingredients, flavored with the zest of a lemon.

    The good quality chocolate and wine can also be gifts for your guests. Toilet paper is undoubtedly essential for any household, and you'd be surprised how useful strong tape can be!

    Of course, our list won't suit every household, but you can always adapt your list to your personal needs. It's a very useful thing to do, and with such basic store cupboard essentials you know you'll never be thrown off guard again! In the near future, I'll also be posting some tasty Tunisian recipes, many of which use these store cupboard essentials with only a few other ingredients.

    Please leave your comments if you have useful lists you use for better organisation in your home: I love to read hints and tips about better organising my home.

    Technorati Tags:

    Continue reading »
  11. Save money on your amenity bills (and be more environmentally friendly!)

    Friday, May 18, 2007

    Hubby was rather wild when we received the electric bill a few weeks ago. He wasn't impressed yesterday when we had the gas bill...

    "We always use more heating/lighting/gas for the cooker/etc in winter," I tried to explain. But still, our monthly payments have increased by more than 100%.

    It's time to cut down on our use of these facilities. So I've been reading up lots about how to use less energy in the home. Not only does this cut down on bills, but it also helps the environment as we use less fossil fuels! So here's a few of the best tips I've found. I hope they help you reduce your costs and environment bill too:

    • Use low energy light bulbs. Many companies offer these for free to help reduce the cost to the environment. We were actually given a pack for free by our local housing authority; you can also buy packs of 2-3 from "Poundland" stores.
    • Turn the washing machine temperature down to 30 degrees as much as possible. You'll save 25% of the electricity cost for heating the water, and most coloured washes are still cleaned just as well.
    • Switch off appliances at the wall plug, or unplug them altogether. Appliances such as TV's and DVD players still use energy when on standby mode. So when not in use, make sure they're not eating into your bills!
    • Invest in double glazing if you can. Okay, I know this is an expensive job, but you'll really notice a difference. Our old apartment had double glazing, and it cost so much less to keep warm than it did at our new house (until we had the new windows installed). In the long run, you'll save a lot of money!
    • Draftproof your home: letterboxes, ill fitting doors and windows can all become more efficient by installing draft-proof fuzzy tape. Many local authorities in the UK will do this as a free service (or very cheaply) if you make an application; in many cases, this includes cavity wall and water heater installation.
    • Invest in a washing line and some pegs! Tumble dryers use up so much electricity to get clothes dry. I've barely used mine at all these past few weeks. In fact, only once because it rained solid for three days...

    When I discover some more tips I'll be sure to post them here. In the meantime, you should also check out these websites for more information on reducing your bills/making your home a more environmentally friendly place:

    Technorati Tags:

    Continue reading »
  12. How I persuade my kids to eat vegetables

    Wednesday, May 16, 2007
    Eat your greens!

    I'm a lucky mum: my kids are great eaters! They eat veg and fruit with every meal, and snacks usually comprise of apples, grapes and (for my youngest) olives. But it hasn't always been this way...

    My son (now ten) was a very fussy eater. At one time, he would only eat bland foods, chips and pizza. No sauces, and virtually no greens. Trying to persuade him to eat vegetables made mealtimes hell.

    Slowly but surely, my husband and I managed to help him change his ways. It was no quick or easy task, I assure you. But eventually it worked! Here's a few of the things we did:

    • Eat as a family: if you and the kids all eat the same meals together, they'll be encouraged to try the same foods as you.
    • Encourage the kids to try new foods, but don't try to force feed them or it will make things worse. Eventually, you'll learn which vegetables are considered "edible", so work with it! If your child decides they like peas, try mixing them with corn next time.
    • Hide vegetables in sauces they enjoy. My son liked tomato sauce on pasta, so sometimes I'd puree carrots and mix this in with the sauce. The strength of the tomato made it barely noticable.
    • Always have healthy snacks within easy reach. Apples, carrot sticks, cucumber and the like make great snacks between meals, which can come in very handy when the kids arrive home from school claiming they're starving! If these are readily available (and sweets/crisps are not), this could well be a way to persuade them!

    When we visit our family in Tunisia, I notoce a vastly different approach to mealtimes from what we are used to. Tunisian families always eat together, and rather than have a plate each, food is served in larger "communal" dishes which the family all share. My nephews and nieces eat virtually everything put before them, even really spicy foods and salads: they learnt from quite an early age that if they don't eat what's on the table, their older brothers and sisters will! This isn't an approach we've adopted at home, but it's an interesting method!

    For some great meal ideas for kids, visit Kelly's Kids Dish blog. Kelly has also created a weekly feature called As easy as abc Monday" in which she shares healthy and child friendly recipies for food groups from each letter of the alphabet (A is for apple, B is for broccoli, etc...). There's some tasty treats in store on her excellent blog!

    I'd also love to hear about any other veg-success stories (or otherwise!) from other mums. Please leave your comments and stories below.

    Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | |

    Continue reading »
  13. Mommy Bloggers are taking over the world...

    Though I've blogged extensively for over two years now, I'm a relative savvy to the mommy blogger community! It was actually only a few weeks ago that i read my first "Mommy Blog" and thought: hey, this is what I really want to do. I certainly didn't realise how big this community was...

    There are some really great mommy blogs out there, and quite a few which I now read everyday. Check out my blogroll on the right for some of my favorites. You can find loads of quality mommy blogs at BlogHer.com, and also on the excellent TheMomBlogs.com.

    Then there is the site I found today...

    Guy Kawasaki's blog, How to Change the World, was certainly not a blog where I would have expected to find a comprehensive list of great Mommy Blogs to peruse. I've certainly come across his blog before while working on my other site. But thankfully he's addressed the issue of men blogging about the world of women:

    There is a contingent of readers of my blog who do not like when I write about blogs/blogging/bloggers. I’d guess there’s also a contingent who do not like when I write about non-business, non-tech, non-male subjects. To these readers, I say in advance: “You can never support a mom, much less a mommy blogger, too much, so deal with it.”

    Great words, Guy! Thanks for supporting the mums of the blogging world!

    You can read his full list of Mommy Blogs on this post. I'm off to check out some more...

    Continue reading »
  14. The Carnival of SAHMs (Stay at Home Mums)

    Tuesday, May 15, 2007
    Summer's blog, Wired for Noise features a great regular feature called The Carnival of Sahms. Here you can read some great blog posts about SAHMs (stay at home mums) and the issues which concern us.

    This month, the carnival features a post from here at Glamumous! Be sure to check out Summer's blog for some great posts and articles (Thanks for the add, Summer!)

    Technorati Tags: | | | |
    Continue reading »
  15. The Bean Jar Theory...

    ...candy or beans?
    I just read a really interesting post on Tertia's blog about "the bean jar married sex theory". Here's the basics of it:

    When you meet someone new, someone you think you might end up getting serious about, go out and get yourself a jar and a big packet of beans. Then, every time you shag, put one of the beans in the jar. Carry on doing that until you get married.

    After your wedding night and once you are back from your honeymoon, take that full jar of beans out again. From then on, remove a single bean for each time you have sex with your partner. You’ll never empty that jar again.

    How true is that? It's too late for me to try this experiment now (we've been married for three years), but I certainly doubt we would have come close to emptying that jar of beans. Long-term commitment certainly seems to put a damper on your love life, especially where babies are involved...

    Even so, I'd love to hear success stories from those who have kept the light of their love life burning fiercely in spite of passion-dampeners (ie: kids), marital issues and time!

    Technorati Tags:

    Continue reading »
  16. Madeleine McCann, still missing after 11 days

    Monday, May 14, 2007

    Most likely, you will have heard the tragic news of Madeleine McCann's dissapearance on May 3rd from a holiday apartment in Portugal. It has now been eleven days since her parents last saw that beautiful little face. Though I am not a religious person, I pray for her safety, and I pray that no parent ever has to go through such an ordeal again.

    It seems that little Madeleine, who would have celebrated her fourth birthday only a few days ago, was snatched from a holiday apartment, where she and her twin sisters were sleeping while her parents were dining in a nearby restaurant. Massive rewards have been offered for information leading to her safe return, and huge web-campaigns have been set up on the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) websites.

    While I may have my opinion on the behaviour of little Madeleine's parents (as I'm sure many of you do), all that concerns me is that the poor child is returned safely to her parents' loving arms. It breaks my heart to think of poor Madeleine, frightened and desperate to see her family again.

    If you or anyone you know have any information please call Portuguese Police direct on 00351 282 405 400 or call Crimestoppers in the UK on 0800 555 111.

    Technorati Tags: | | |
    Continue reading »
  17. Happy Mothers' Day!

    Sunday, May 13, 2007

    Here in the UK, Mothering Sunday is the second Sunday of Lent. But I would like to wish all you mums in the United States and elsewhere in the world a very happy Mothers' Day! You all deserve it!

    Above is a video sent to me by Marie of Mommy Community.com. Thank you Marie! I hope you all enjoy her lovely video.

    Technorati Tags: | | |

    Continue reading »
  18. How I set up my Blogger custom domain

    Saturday, May 12, 2007
    I used GoDaddy to register my domain name, as this company seemed the cheapest dot.com domain provider, and also because they supply a free email address and basic hosting account with each domain, which has come in rather handy.

    However, I'd read quite a few complaints about using GoDaddy for custom domains with Blogger hosting, so I was rather careful to make sure I did everything correctly!

    Please do note that you can only link your site as http://yoursite.com or http://www.yoursite.com. Not both. It just doesn't work that way. My advice is to use the www prefix, and if you can make a simple redirect page in your host root, as I'll explain later

    I followed Blogger's advice to the letter, and everything works fine. Here are the basics of their tutorial, or you can read the whole thing yourself on this page.

    1. Buy your chosen domain name and create your account.
    2. Once your domain has been registered, log in to your control panel, and choose to "manage domains".
    3. Click on the area marked Total DNS Control, and then on Total DNS Control And MX Records.
    4. Look for a record prefixed "WWW". If there isn't one, add a new CNAME record; if there is one, you'll need to edit this record instead.
    5. Insert these settings exactly as they are described! For the "Name" type "www" (as in www.yoursite.com). For the Host Name, you need to enter "ghs.google.com". Don't change or enter anything else except for these two functions. If this is a new CNAME, click "add". If you are editing an existing CNAME, click "update" and "continue".

    Before you link this domain to your Blogspot blog, you may well want to check that all the settings are correct. To do this, you'll need to "ping" your new domain and ensure the host points to ghs.google.com.

    If you're a Windows user, this is quite simple to do using the "command" feature. Windows 98 and ME have a "command prompt" program in the start menu; Windows XP has the "run..." feature, which brings up a box; simply type in CMD, hit enter and you'll get your command prompt.

    Then all you need to do is enter the following:

    ping www.yourdomainname.com

    substituting yourdomain.com for your domain name and suffix. Hit enter, and see what happens. It should look something like this:

    Pinging ghs.1.google.com [] with 32 bytes of data:
    Reply from
    bytes=32 time=85ms TTL=247
    Reply from bytes=32 time=89ms
    Reply from
    bytes=32 time=86ms TTL=247
    Reply from bytes=32 time=86ms
    Ping statistics for
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received =
    4, Lost = 0 (0% loss), Approximate round trip
    times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 85ms, Maximum = 89ms, Average = 86ms

    Notice that the ping recognises that my site is hosted with ghs.1.google.com. This means that I can (and indeed, have) followed the next step in telling Blogspot my new domain name. If you don't notice the host is registered as Google, wait a little longer before following the next step.

    Log in to your Blogger control panel. In the settings section, click on the publishing tab. Near the top of this page, you'll notice "publish to a custom domain". This is what you want to do.

    When prompted, enter the domain name you have directed to the ghs.google.com host, including the www prefix! Continue, and you should see that your new settings have been saved.

    View your blog to ensure everything works and looks okay. Don't worry if at first you get a "404 file not found" page: it can take a few days for DNS settings to propogate across the whole internet. You can always switch back to Blogspot hosting and try again in a day or two. When this does work okay, you'll see your blog exactly how it is normally seen, with the exception that your new domain name is in the address bar. Blogger takes care of all the inter-blog links, page titles and such for you, and even redirects traffic from your old name.blogspot.com address to your new www.yoursite.com address! This is great as it means it's unlikely you'll lose traffic or page ranking stats.

    Now here's the awkward part: as I mentioned earlier, you can only have http://www.yourblog.com or http://yourblog.com. Not both. Blogger/Google simply haven't recognised that this may be important, and only offer the function of linking one address to your blog. But in a strange way, this is good: you don't have to worry about having two seperate blogs listed in Technorati, for example.

    I advised that you use the www prefix for a good reason. Many domain providers offer a single page (often called a "holding page") with each domain name. This will show when you type http://yourblog.com, even though www.yourblog.com will link to your Blogger blog.

    So make use of it!

    If you are able to edit the HTML, you could create a redirect page to automatically redirect visitors to your www address. That way, you won't lose any visitors at all. To make the page redirect to your www address, you need to insert this code between the head tags, substituting "mysite.com" for your domain name. You can do this using an HTML editor (I prefer Notepad).

    <head><meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=http://www.mysite.com" /></head>

    The part content="0; means that there is no pause before the browser is redirected. You can change this to "5" for example, to give a 5 second pause if you also want to include an explanation for the redirect in the body of the page. It is also a good idea to include a hyperlink to your www address in the body of the page, just in case the visitor's browser doesn't recognise the redirect command.

    If you look at my redirect page at http://glamumous.com, you'll notice that there is an 8 second pause and an explanation for the redirect. Play around and see what works for you!

    Similar posts:

    Technorati Tags:

    Continue reading »
  19. The perfect pair of jeans...

    I must be awkward. As much as I love jeans, I have the greatest trouble in finding a pair that fits well. They're either too big on the waist, or are way too tight on the hips, making me walk like a cardboard cowboy... On the odd occasion that I have found a great pair of jeans, they're too expensive!

    What's a girl to do?

    Thankfully, help is at hand! Thanks to TheMommyBlog, I encountered the great Zafu Jeans Finder. It's perfect! All you have to do is answer a few questions about your body shape, style preferences and the like, and they find results for the best pair of jeans to suit you and your shape. Really, it works! Best of all, they search hundreds of brands in order to find prices and styles to suit any budget. I found a pair of designer jeans in exactly the style and colour I love for only £15! I couldn't believe my luck!

    What's more, you can always find the jeans you like, then go to your nearest outlet to try them for yourself before commiting to a sale online (I did this earlier today to check the accuracy of the jeans finder). And guess what? Zafu was right: the Levis I tried fit like a dream! But I'll buy therm online instead as the price was much better...

    Give it a try and let me know what you think!

    Technorati Tags: | | | |
    Continue reading »
  20. Glamumous.com now up and running!

    Glamumous.com is now up and running (almost) fine!

    The only restriction is that you need to enter www.glamumous.com to get to my blog. This is due to Blogger restrictions on associating the custom domain to either http:// or www. You can't have both (which is quite unfortunate).

    However, I have set up a page at http://glamumous.com to redirect people to the www address, and ensure no-one gets lost! I'll post about this later. In the meantime...

    Technorati Tags:
    Continue reading »
  21. Parent and child parking: why is it being abused?

    Friday, May 11, 2007

    Abuse of parent and child parking spaces is one of my pet hates. In fact, it often infuriates me that people with no children deliberately park in these spaces, ensuring that struggling parents with crying babies, buggies and arms full of shopping have to struggle across the car park.

    A few weeks ago, I spotted an empty parent and child space in the local shopping centre's car park. Just as I was manouvering to drive in, a white transit van nipped in instead. I was slightly miffed to say the least, but when I saw a single guy step out in worker's overalls, no child in sight, I was infuriated:

    "Hey, I was just about to park there!"
    "So what? I got there first!"
    "It's a parent and child space. I don't see any kids with you. So move your van."
    "No! There's no law against me parking here, is there?"
    As luck had it, a parking attendent overheard our "conversation" and told the guy he'd better move if he didn't want to get a ticket for "obstructive parking". That's right: "obstructive parking" not "abuse of parent and child facilities"! Still, I felt better that his behavious had been corrected.

    Here in the UK, those who abuse disabled parking facilities are fined when caught. However, those who abuse parent and child allocations are not. I personally feel it is about time this changed.

    Continue reading »
  22. ... Soon to be Glamumous.com!

    Thursday, May 10, 2007
    In the next few days, the address for Glamumous will change from glamumous.blogspot.com to glamumous.com!

    I've decided to buy my custom domain, and maintain Blogspot's excellent free hosting. An added bonus is that glamumous.blogspot.com will automatically redirect to the new address. I also have a new email address: amanda at glamumous.com!

    Great, eh?

    Technorati Tags:
    Continue reading »
  23. Calling all UK "Mommy Bloggers"!

    To me, it seems as though blogging hasn't taken off in the UK as much as elsewhere in the world. I'd love to read more Mommy Blogs by mums who are based in the UK, perhaps share stories and links.

    So if you're a mommy blogging from our small islands, please get in touch! Leave your comments or send me an email: I'd love to read more about you!

    Continue reading »
  24. My new blog header

    Wednesday, May 9, 2007
    Last night, I finally got around to customising my blog header, which turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be!

    I made the header using a combination of Publisher and Photoshop, then uploaded it to my hosting account on another server. I'm rather proud of how well the design turned out!

    Then, rather then change the background image through the header widget, I read Peter Chen's excellent tutorial and added an extra widget to the header section; this enabled me to add an extra widget (HTML/Javascript), in which I created an image link to my header enclosed in link tags to the Glamumous home page.

    After much tweaking of the header-wrapper/background images and the like, I finally have the (almost) finished design you see now. Please leave your comments to let me know what you think so far!

    Similar posts:

    Technorati Tags:

    Continue reading »
  25. Tackle it Tuesday

    Tuesday, May 8, 2007
    5minutesformom.com have a great project on their site called "Tackle it Tuesday". They invite mums to contribute their hints and advice about tackling problem housekeeping chores (which is great for mums like me who really don't like housework!).

    Read all about it here!

    Tackle It Tuesday Meme

    Technorati Tags: | | | |
    Continue reading »
  26. Free Blog Design Giveaway!

    Everyday Mommy is giving away a free Blogger or Typepad makeover as a Mother's Day Giveaway! What a great idea! To be in with a chance of winning this great prize, simply leave a comment on Everyday Mommy's post here explaining why you'd like the blog design, and including a link to your URL.

    Good luck!

    Continue reading »
  27. Great, I can post by cameraphone!

    Monday, May 7, 2007

    Great, I can post by cameraphone!
    Originally uploaded by

    Here's a picture of my little princess, my first post by camera phone! Thankfully, blogging by phone isn't limited to those who live in the US! Using a flickr account you can post images straight to your Blogger blog. Thanks flickr!

    To learn how to blog by cameraphone using Flickr, read this page, focusing on the "Do you have a cameraphone?" and "Do you blog?" sections.

    Technorati Tags: | | | |
    Continue reading »
  28. Using Haloscan to enable trackbacks (only) in New Blogger

    Sunday, May 6, 2007

    Trackbacks are a way of linking blogs to each other when referencing another blogger's post. They're quite useful and interesting to use, but unfortunately Blogger has not yet made this an inherent feature of the new Blogger software.

    As an alternative, I decided to install Haloscan on my blog, to enable trackback links. So far, I've found Haloscan to be very useful! It has a feature where you can automatically install Haloscan comments and trackback features into your Blogger template, which is great for those who have a classic template and don't wish to use Blogger's comments system.

    Unfortunately, I don't fall into either category: my template is now heavily modified, and I do want to use Blogger's comments! So I tried to install only the trackback links. Big problems there...

    To cut a (very) long story short, I believe I have found the way to do this. Here's my step by step guide to what has worked for me:
    1. Get yourself a free account with Haloscan

    2. Once you have your account (and most importantly, your username), open your Blogger dashboard, then click on Template>Edit HTML. Ensure "expand widgets" is ticked.
      Just before the closing head tag, insert this code, being sure to replace "yourhaloscanusername" with your appropriate UN:

      <script src="http://www.haloscan.com/load/yourhaloscanusername"
    3. Then add this code where you want your Trackback link to appear, again replacing the username:

      <a class='comment-link'
      expr:href='"http://www.haloscan.com/tb/yourhaloscanusername/" + data:post.id +
      "/"' expr:onclick='"HaloScanTB(" + "\""+ data:post.id + "\"" + ");return
    4. I included this just after the comment link as in the following example:
      <b:if cond='data:post.allowComments'> <a
      class='comment-link' expr:href='data:post.addCommentUrl'
      cond='data:post.numComments == 1'>1
      </b:if> </b:if><a class='comment-link'
      data:post.id + "/"' expr:onclick='"HaloScanTB(" + "\""+ data:post.id + "\""
      ");return false;"'<script
    5. Preview your template first to make sure everything works okay. If it does, then save your template and begin to receive your trackbacks!

    Please let me know if this modification works for you by leaving me a comment below. Happy trackbacking!

    Related posts:

    Technorati Tags:

    Continue reading »
  29. Disclosure Policy

    Saturday, May 5, 2007
    This policy is valid from 13 November 2007

    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact amanda [at] glamumous.com.

    This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

    The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Those advertisements will be identified as paid advertisements.

    The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

    This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

    To get your own policy, go to http://www.disclosurepolicy.org

    Continue reading »
  30. Creating a 3 column Blogger template

    Thursday, May 3, 2007

    As you can see, my Rounders4 template now has extra sidebars to the left of the main column. This has been the most difficult, and yet most satisfying customisation I have made to my Blogger template yet!

    I won't explain every detail as this would make my post extremely long and boring, so instead I'll just go through the basics of the process in order to give you the general idea.

    1. I copied the CSS relating to the layout of the sidebars, and made this unique by substituting "sidebar" for "left-sidebar" wherever found. So this:
      #sidebar-wrapper {width: 240px;float: left;word-wrap: break-word;overflow:
      Became this:
      #left-sidebar-wrapper {width: 220px;float: left;word-wrap: break-word;overflow:
      Note that I also changed the width of the sidebar wrapper, as I didn't want it to be too wide!

    2. I then added the new sidebar to the left of the main template by ading the following lines of code just before the "main-wrapper":
      <div id='left-sidebar-wrapper'><b:section class='sidebar' id='left-sidebar' preferred='yes'/></div>
    3. Finally I changed the width of the #outer-wrapper and #header-wrapper elements to include the width of the new sidebar.

    After much tweaking of margins/background images/widgets and such, I finally have the template you see now. It wasn't easy, but I think it was well worth the effort!

    The only "problem" I have with this template is that things look odd when I alter the layout in my dashboard: it looks as though the right hand sidebar should be displayed underneath the main section, but it doesn't... To make sure everything worked correctly in all browsers and screen sizes, I did check with Browsershots.org (a free and rather useful service), and everything seems perfect ion all formats I have previewed.

    If you would like to use my template for your own (New) Blogger blog, please get in touch and I'll send you the basics as XML.

    Related posts:

    Technorati Tags:

    Continue reading »
  31. Ditch the bags and help a chartitable cause!

    Charibags in action!

    At the supermarket today, I encountered a stand selling Charibags: heavy duty, reusable bags for shoppers, which not only cut down on waste from plastic carriers, but help raise funds for local children's charities and Sheffield Children's Hospital.

    "What a wonderful idea!" I said as I snapped some up. At only a couple of pounds each, they're great value, and most of the expense is driven straight to helping our local children.

    If you live in Sheffield, snap them up at your local school/supermarket/Sheffield Children's Hospital, and know that you're helping local charities, as well as the environment.

    You can also buy these online from Chariband.co.uk.

    Edit: Glenda of the Charibags organisation has kindly replied to my email and sent me some promotional pics to post (thank you Glenda!). So now you can see the Charibags for yourself in their variety of sizes:

    There is a choice of black or blue charibags in a variety of sizes including the traditional "shopper" at only £2, and the students shoulder bag is a snap at £3!

    Continue reading »
  32. Creating a "label cloud" in the sidebar

    Wednesday, May 2, 2007
    Continue reading »
  33. Whatever happened to courtesy?

    Today I began to wonder if courtesy is slowly disappearing in our society. I like to think that I have good manners, and that in turn I have taught my children a good set of moral values. Unfortunately I cannot speak for the rest of society, and was today downright disgusted with the actions of my social "neighbours"...

    On the route of my "school run", there is a stretch of road which passes by an area of social housing for the elderly; it's well signposted to direct drivers to be more cautious in the area as the elderly often cross this busy road on their way to the local park. As I was driving through, I saw two ladies waiting to cross the road. Suddenly, one of these ladies (who incidentally was aided by a walking frame), collapsed at the kerb.

    I immediately pulled over to see if I could offer any help. But the car in front of me actually sped up, swerved around the scene and didn't seem to pay a second thought to the welfare of the poor lady! And if that wasn't bad enough, at least two pedestrians changed their route to avoid the scene. No "Are you alright?/Can I help?". No courtesy whatsoever!

    Thankfully, the lady wasn't injured, though she did seem rather shaken by the incident. I helped her up, and luckily a nurse from the nearby care home (I do hope this is the correct term!) had seen the incident and offered to sit with the ladies after I gave them a lift back to their house.

    This incident made me think of all the other times I have seen people ignore the "rules" of common courtesy: it seems that young people rarely give up their seats on public transport to those older than them; few drivers slow down to let others pull out of a junction. And the amount of times shop assistants have seemed so surprised when I say "thank-you" for helping me pack my bags...

    I've always believed in the saying: "what comes around, goes around". Perhaps people are becoming too busy in their own lives to consider how their actions and courteousness affects other people. Yet if everyone could take just a few moments from their busy schedule to do just one courteous thing for a stranger every day, I'm sure the world could become a better place to live in!

    cour·te·sy n. pl. cour·te·sies
    a. Polite behavior. b. A polite gesture or remark.

    Technorati Tags: | | |
    Continue reading »
Nexus 5 Two Column One Line Description Avatar Logo Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged.

Blogger Buster LogoSmashing Logo© Nexus 5 Two Column.