While I’ve attended many bloggy, social media, and mom blogger conferences and events in the US, next week will be my first in the UK. I’m headed to BritMums Live.
The Ultimate Brit Mums Live meme was created by the author of the blog A Boy With Aspergers to help get people socializing before the big event – while you’re supposed to be tagged by other bloggers – I’m just going ahead and tagging myself :0)
The meme rules ask that you copy and paste the questions, answer them, then tag another two to four bloggers to do the same. Also don’t forget to link your post back to A Boy With Aspergers linky.
Q: What’s your blog title/URL and how long have you been blogging?
My blog title is “Transatlantic Mom” I’ve been blogging in various forms for the past 5 years. This blog is only about 1.5yrs old – as I started it when I moved from the US to the UK.
Q: Will Brit Mums Live be your First blogging conference?
Well while this isn’t my first rodeo – it will be my first UK blogging conference.
Q: Did you bag yourself a sponsor?
Nope, just myself.
Q: Are you attending both days?
Yes I’ll be there both days but I might be a little late the first day – I’m pretty busy at work lately so it’s going to be hard to get that time off.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the conference?
I’m really looking forward to meeting a lot of the UK bloggers I’ve been connecting with on blogs and Twitter in person. Everyone’s been so nice I can’t wait to meet in real life.
Q: Are you wearing Branded Clothing ( you’re sponsors brand)?
Well I won’t be wearing anything all that special. Having attended these in the past – at Mom Blogger events – the women do generally dress up a bit (dress for each other etc) but at the social media conferences they go for comfort
Q: What is your planned style for this event?
I’ll probably be aiming for somewhere in between looking nice and comfortable enough to sit on the floor. Maybe jeans, tshirt and nice jacket.
Q: Are you hoping to be nominated for a BiB award?
Nope, I’m new here – just coming to say to everyone.
Q: If so what category?
If I were to be nominated for something – maybe next year, I’m not sure what category would be best. Maybe: expat / travel / family … I dunno, you’re reading my blog you tell me.
Q: Will you be looking to network with Brands?
Yes, I always love speaking to brands and helping make connections and problem solving.
Q: What do u hope to walk away having gained from the conference?
I’d love to meet my new UK blogger friends in person – so that we’re not necessarily creating new connections online, but reinforcing offline ones :0)
Q: Will you be dressing up in the toilets for the Friday night BiBs?
Nope – I’d rather be comfy than cute. I’ll have just worked a full day/week and even dressing up for the girls couldn’t make change into something snazzy in the toilets.
Q: Are you speaking at the conference and if so when, where and how do you feel about doing so?
No. But I’ve spoken at many blogging/social media events in the US and even put on my own. I’d be happy to speak at future BritMums or other conferences.
Q: Will you be joining in the early morning bloggercise on the Saturday?
Nope – I live in London and Saturday is my morning to lie in :0) My wonderful hubs gets the boys up and tries his best to give me a little extra sleep on Sat AM.
Q: What speakers are you most looking forward to listening to?
Gosh there are so many – some of whom I’m familiar with, like Ruby Wax, Jane Blackmore (Northern Mum) and some whom are new to me that I can’t wait to hear from like Katie Davis-Holmes (Kate On Thin Ice) and others not listed here.
Q: What workshops will you be attending on the Friday (Day 1)
Crap. There are workshops? No seriously – I better go look at the conference info hold on…..
Q: What Workshops being held on the Saturday (Day 2) have grabbed your attention?
um yea.. still need to look that up, clearly.
Q: Are you booked into a hotel for the Friday night, if yes which one?
No I live in London so after a dinner or drinks with the other expats will be headed home.
Q: Will you be looking for after party drinks?
Yes, am headed out with some of the other expats.
Q: Are you worried about not knowing anyone or being confident and socialising on the day?
Well, I’ve done BlogHer and SXSWi for years and am used to not knowing people. What I am worried about is the “star” syndrome that’s been popping up at BlogHer the last few years. I’ve been in BlogHer parties and events and people come up read your name tag (and blog name) and their like oh, well you’re not a famous blogger and walk away. The last year – I started hiding my badge so people would actually have to have a human conversation before deciding I wasn’t cool and then running away, not just judging me based on page rank and blog name. That’s one of the things I like about SXSWi you can speak to anyone, all who are there are there because they are passionate about all things interactive – you can be speaking to CEO’s and new bloggers and everyone is really just happy to meet and learn from other people.
Q: What are you most likely to be found doing while attending Britmums Live?
I’ll be learning from other people, whether it’s from hallway conversations or panels or workshops. If you see me – be sure to come say hi – I’d love to meet you in person.
I don’t really know all that many bloggers – so you know what – I’m tagging all of the other people like me! If you haven’t been tagged but want to respond to this – I’m tagging you hear and now! (I’ll even add your name in here after the fact if you contact me )
Often it feels like the only “ME” time I have to enjoy media is when travelling. Planes – trains, automobiles you name it – that’s when the channel is my choice! You wouldn’t think I’d have to travel half-way around the world to enjoy a little Oscar-nominated time, but there you go!
Each year I have a conference that falls about 2 weeks after the Oscars. As I have moved further and further away from the venue, my travel times have increased. The last 2 years it was a 13 hr flight each way (including a 1 hr layover). This means – plenty of time to watch all of the Oscar Nominees and Award Winners on in-flight entertainment! Noise canceling headphones, champagne, ice-cream, new moves and my own remote! How could I go wrong? Once I made way through the Oscar worthy movies I turned my attention to the pop-culture favorites including The Hangover Two. Terribly funny, until the very end where I was almost throwing myself in front of the video and flailing around with the remote trying to block the screen/shut it off as it showed extremely graphic movies to the rest of the plane passengers seated behind me (I was in the first row, aisle seat)
With all honesty – let’s just say this isn’t my first rodeo. I’m a busy working Mom, so for movies, books etc I enjoy pure escapism. It’s my time to give my brain a little rest. I’m a big fan of romance novels (or “Bodice Rippers” as my Nana would call them). especially the Paranormal Romance genre. In any case if you’ve read 1,2,3+ romance novels you tend to recognize the cliched phrases, and if you’re like myself if you’ve read about one heaving busom or turgid member you’ve read about them all and quickly begin to tune them out.
So, besides just reading books – I’ve found for really data-heavy work my best way to stay focused on the work itself is to listen to something. I sometimes listen to audiobooks if I’m working with large data sets or repetitive tasks to keep me focused, or while commuting.
If you’ve never been on the London tube during rush hour – you’re in for an experience. You will never be so close to so many people who don’t make eye contact in your entire life. Being short, I generally spend my commute snuggled under the armpit of a stranger or 3.
So, a few weeks back I was listening to one of my audiobook romance novels – I had picked up a paper and was idly perusing it, listening to my book and surrounded by silent people on the tube. (That’s right only tourists talk on the tube) Suddenly this train ride seemed more silent than others. I looked up from my paper – and shockingly everyone WAS LOOKING AT ME. This is not normal behavior for the tube or London in general. I quickly ran a mental inventory. Am I having a nightmare? Nope. Am I naked? Nope. Is there toilet paper on my shoe? Nope.
Hmmm. And that’s when I realized… The romance novel was still playing. Loudly. Via crappy headphones. That were broadcasting a very VERY dirty sex scene to the entire carriage and I had mentally blocked out the whole thing – and everyone was staring at me as I supposed listened and broadcast my smutty smutty story across the whole carriage….
Face burning, I remained stoic. Turned down the volume and kept my face bored and still…you know, kept it real cool! And hopped off at the very next stop! :0)
Since then I’ve got a fantastic pair of in-ear noise canceling headphones that can’t be overheard – and better yet, a Kindle! Woohoo! Now I can read whatever I want without having to fear about people judging my book by it’s cover. And if you spot me on the train and wonder what I’m reading on the Kindle? Let me enlighten you – it’s Fifty Shades of Grey.
So that’s my story about Me-dia, and I’m sticking to it – how about you?
Shortly after I became pregnant with my first son – the OB told me, “When you have kids – travel is what you do with the kids, and vacation is what you do without.” Hideous cold unfeeling cow I thought then – now? Not so much. Now I think you marvelous insightful woman – should you not have sought a different career path, like life counselor, spiritual advisor or 0800 psychic?
I love my children I truly do and they are wonderful, thoughtful, energetic boys. Which means when it comes to travel – which we do frequently, we have to contain their energy and enthusiasm in a small crowded space. Which often can be a challenge.
With each of my sons, long distance travel started at 6 weeks of age…. and hasn’t let up from there. Throughout out journeys I’ve learned a thing or two from experience and even more from other travelling Mums and Dads. Come share your experiences with others and learn new tips about Travelling with Kids at our next #MumsNight.
As an extra special treat we’ve been given some giveaways to share with our #MumsNight guests. Because what’s good for babies – isn’t necessarily the best for older children we have two age specific giveaways featured below.
We’ll be sharing tips, personal stories and tools to help you have fun, stay safe/sane while travelling with kids.
Please join us on Twitter from 8:30pm -9:30 pm BST Monday May 7th.
Follow @TransatlantiMom and the hashtag #MumsNight to view the discussion – and be sure to add the hashtag #MumsNight to each of your tweets to join the conversation.
Giveaway for Toddler and Child Mums
Carddies are little Card People to colour in and play with for hours. Carddies are packaged in a perfect, robust card box. You can carry them everywhere! Each Carddies set has double sided little Card People and a scene to colour in, high quality Carddies colouring pencils, and plastic stands which all bring the Carddies to life – and better yet were created by Mums!
3 sets of Carddies will be given away to winners – 1 London, 1 Knights and 1 Cavemen (these will be selected randomly for the giveaway winners)
When travelling with babies – especially when we stayed in hotels, one of our biggest challenges was how to bathe baby while on the go – so imagine my delight when we found this FlexiBath collapsible, foldable – toss in your suitcase baby bath! Amazing.
Flexi Bath is the brainchild of Danish designers who created the first and only hard plastic children’s bath tub which you can fold up flat and put away within seconds.
Enter below for your chance to win one!
The lovely people at WhiteStep UK, creators of the Flexibath have also given us a coupon code just for our #MumsNight guests. Party goers will receive 15% off the Flexibath range, including the bath, bath toys, and brand new bath support. The code is PARTY15
(disclosure: I have in no way been compensated for these giveaways – all brands etc featured in the twitter party and giveaways are chosen by me, and the brands represented in the giveaways are providing the prizes to the winners directly with no compensation to me)
I loathe cleaning, I truly do – but there are certain times when I can really get into it. Spring is one of those times! It’s the packing away of winter things, the deep clean on the house that helps me say “hello summer.” There’s something really satisfying about it – like the feel of slipping between clean sheets.
So since I really don’t like cleaning, I’m all in favor of finding ways to do it better, faster!
Please join us for this week’s #MumsNight discussion where we’ll be sharing tips, secrets, ideas and cleaning confessions for “Spring Cleaning Hacks.” Hopefully we’ll all come away with a few great ideas to spend less time cleaning.
Also, to make the evening even more fun we’ll be running a giveaway! I will send the winner (within the UK) a pair of Cath Kidston washing up gloves and a 20 GBP gift card to Tesco. Feel free to use it one whatever you want, although I’d recommend cleaning supplies and gin!
I am in no way being compensated or sponsored for this post, or giveaway ( I bought it for you myself! ;0) )
So I’m really looking forward to tonight’s #MumsNight – Spring Cleaning Hacks and I had perused quite a few spring cleaning checklists – but none of them incorporated everything I wanted so I’ve made my own to share with you.
Feel free to download, print, use and share it.
While I didn’t go into the detailed steps of how to do everything it lists out the activities by room. It also assumes that this is a 1 time deep clean and that you’re regularly cleaning and dusting etc. If you need to get organized for your weekly clean here are some great checklists – check out these pretty printables by Evelyn Kate Designs and also Modern Parents Messy Kids
You can dowload a .pdf version by clicking the link below – or print the image as displayed below. The .pdf version will print better.
So I was very inspired by last week’s #MumsNight – Slow Cook / No Cook lazy cooking ideas. Everyone shared so many fantastic recipes and ideas! While I only intended to spend about half the time on slow cooking – it became the conversation focus. Having not been a big slow cooker previously – I realized I must be truly missing out. But that’s not what sealed the deal for me. You see – with my husband and I working all day, someone else picks up our kids and serves them tea before we get home. Quite frequently my husband arrives in time to feed them too, (if he wanted to). It was at the end of a very long week last night that I learned my boys 4 & 6 had had Ramen noodles for tea, EVERY night.
When I expressed my displeasure to Hubs he said “But they love Ramen noodles!” My response? “They love chocolate and crisps too, but they aren’t for tea – these boys need some whole meals, protein and veg!” It was definitely time to change my meal planning and take action!
Previously my meal planning mostly consisted of me sketching out what we’d eat for dinner each night (making more for lunch leftovers) and putting in the order for grocery delivery, then also doing a few quick shops during the week for bread or butter or milk, minor staples that may have run low. But clearly just having a full fridge and a plan aren’t cutting it.
So, my new plan is to involve the boys in the menu planning – and then to prep the dinner the night before and to slow cook it during the day so it’s ready for their tea and our dinner.
I explained it to the boys and they are very excited about it. We’ve already photographed three meals from this weekend, Lumache Carbonara (told the boys it was Mac & Cheese), Slow Cooker French Onion Soup and also Roast Chicken and Vegetables (our Sunday standard).
Of these – I was most surprised and delighted by the Slow Cooker French Onion Soup. The flavor was spot on and it was sooooooo easy! I think I’m a convert to slow cooking, it only took once!
So for the Lumache Carbonara, we served this with a side of salad and garlic bread. The entire meal for 5 people was less than 5 pounds (and made leftovers!)
Of the three dishes this was the quickest and easiest. I bought the Lumache pasta (any other shell type pasta will work too), and the sauce (Sainsbury’s fresh Carbonara sauce) along with a fresh garlic baguette and bag of salad on my way home from work. The pasta took about 11 minutes to cook, the garlic baguette about the same – and I mixed the salad while it cooked. The sauce I microwaved for about a minute – and mixed after draining the pasta. Meal accomplished in under 15 minutes and for less than 5 pounds.
Next up was the Slow Cooker French Onion Soup – I took a look over a few recipes online but wasn’t completely happy with them so modified them a bit for a richer tastier version.
Ingredients you’ll need:
1 slow cooker (duh)
3 large onions sliced thinly
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce (or more if you like)
1/4 teaspoon of seasoning salt (or half salt/ half garlic salt)
4 beef bouillon cubes
8 measuring cups of water
For the toast:
Thinly slice the onions and put the onions and butter into the slow cooker on medium heat for about 20-30 mins to sauté until a bit brown around the edges. Add the flour, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning salt, bouillon cubes and water and cook on medium to low for about 5 hours. (You can actually eat it about after 2 hrs once the onions are soft – but the longer you leave it the better the taste) Check the taste throughout – you may need to add more water if it’s a little salty for you or a little more Worcestershire sauce if it’s not flavorful enough for you.
For the toast on top, once you’re ready to serve the Slow Cooker French Onion Soup, slice the baguette, grate the cheese and put the cheese on top of the bread slices in a pan. Put under the grill for about 4 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from the one, serve the soup and put the cheesy bread on top.
Serve with a fresh green salad.
For 5 people this meal again came in well under $5
So next up is our weekly Sunday night staple, Roast Chicken and Vegetables. The vegetables vary by season, but the general ones include potatoes, celery, carrots and onions.
1 large roasting chicken
3 tablespoons of butter
2 garlic cloves or about 1 teaspoon of garlic puree
1/4 teaspoon of seasoning salt
4 large carrots
2 jacket potatos
(2 celery stalks and 1 onion optional)
Each week when we order groceries it includes 1 large roasting chicken. I like to do it on Sunday evenings so we have a good meal to start the week, and leftovers of chicken and roasted veg to incorporate into dishes throughout the week. The large chicken is 5 GBP itself so with the vegetables and or side of bread/yorkshire pudding and salad comes to about 7GBP and makes several more meals out of leftovers. This is probably the best bargain meal you can make for a family in terms of flavor, fillingness and frugality!
This meal, is definitely one of the easiest and tastiest. First take the chicken and place it in a large baking dish. In a small little bowl, gently heat the butter in the microwave until soft and then add the garlic (either pureed or pressed) along with seasoning salt. Be sure to mix thoroughly. Then around the neck of the chicken, reach your hand underneath the skin but above the chicken breast from the neck end – break through the small membrane around the neck so your hand reaches under the skin over the top of the chicken breast from the neck end. Take the butter/garlic/spice mixture and spoon it under the skin over the breast from the neck end – being sure to get it all the way towards the back. After this under the skin breast area has been saturated massage the butter/garlic/spice mixture into the outside of the chicken on all sides.
Cut the lemon in half and put the 2 half pieces into the internal cavity of the chicken from the rear.
Slice the vegetables and put them around the chicken. Place the whole thing in a fan oven pre-heated to 180C and cook for about 1 hour 20 minutes, turning it halfway through front back and stirring the vegetables around a bit.
Poultry is cooked if the juices run clear when the deepest part of the bird is pierced with a thin skewer. If the juices are pink continue cooking for a few minutes and retest Adjust times according to your particular oven. We always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. ( You don’t want to mess about with undercooked chicken.)
You can serve this with a side salad or even Yorkshire Pudding
So those are some of the main meals we had over the weekend and I plan to put the slow cooker to good use this week with a selection of slow cooker meals to provide the boys with a more nutritious tea and have dinner ready and waiting once we return home from work. Here’s the plan for this week, which we’ll photograph and add to our visual menu plan. What’s not listed below is that each night we also have some type of green salad, either romaine or spinach based. What do you think? Any suggestions?
We had almost 70 people online for #MumsNight this week making it a very fun and interactive session! While the original idea was to focus on many different lazy cooking ideas – there was definitely more interest in sharing tips and ideas on slow cookers. Thanks again to @mediocre_mum for cohosting, thanks to Crock-Pot UK for providing the amazing slow cooker, and congratulations to Andy from @dadcooking2nite who won the Crock-Pot! Below you’ll find a recap of the discussion including lots of tips, tricks, recipes and more.
There were about 600 tweets during this #MumsNight so the recap below includes the highlights, if you don’t see your tweet below or thing we missed something good, please do add it to the comments section below.
(if you’re looking for some of the amazing tips and recipes shared – please visit the recap! )
Being a busy working Mum it’s often a challenge to put tasty / healthy or at the least, palatable & nutritious food on the table. It can often be a struggle to get good food on the table quickly when we juggle so many other duties. If you feel this way you’re not alone.
Stay at home mothers put in on average 14 hours a day cooking, cleaning, and carrying out childcare (via DailyMail and Legal & General)
When the work is done for seven days a week the figure comes to a total of 98.5 hours
The time includes an average of 29 hours a week looking after the children, seven hours doing laundry and four hours as a taxi driver.
A further eight hours are spent cooking and cleaning, four hours shopping, five-and-a-half hours ironing and four hours doing household chores.
Seven hours are spent as a story teller, two hours as a homework tutor and three hours as a sports coach. Other weekly jobs include first aider, stylist, sewing, tidying up, answering phones, gardening and serving tea and snacks.
And four hours a week are spent washing up and one hour is spent as a counsellor listening to children’s problems.
Of course there are tricks and tips that can help cut down the time spent in the kitchen – without compromising on taste. Whether you enjoy cooking but want to learn how to do more in less time, or don’t particularly enjoy cooking and want to learn some new tricks to lighten your load and add new dishes to your repertoire - you should join us on Monday for #MumsNight We’ll be sharing tips, personal stories and tools to help you spend less time in the kitchen – and more time enjoying yourself at the dinner table with your family. Please join us on Twitter from 8:30pm -9:30 pm BST – Monday April 16 Follow @TransatlantiMom and the hashtag #MumsNight to view the discussion – and be sure to add the hashtag #MumsNight to each of your tweets to join the conversation. This event will be hosted by myself @TransatlantiMom and @MediocreMum who is an absolute whiz in the kitchen and SuperWoman with a slow-cooker! We hope to see you there and can’t wait to learn your tips & tricks and share a few of our own. Also – you can register to win a free Crock-Pot slow cooker, courtesy of Crock-Pot UK 1 Winner will receive a: Next Generation Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker
5.7 Litre capacity – ideal for up to 6 people
2 heat settings
Convenient keep warm function
Dishwasher, oven and microwave safe removable pot
Dishwasher safe glass lid
Adjustable cooking times and 20H countdown timer
Crock-Pot Next Generation slow cooker: This sleek and contemporary model can cook delicious dinners for up to six people so is perfect for dinner parties or family suppers. It also has a digital timer that counts down the minutes as your food cooks and when the time is up, automatically reduces the heat so you’re ready to serve. For more information about Crock-Pot or for slow cooker recipes visit their Facebook Page *I have not been paid or compensated by any brand for this post or giveaway. Any questions please ask – or feel free to visit my disclosure statement. (more…)