The Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2014

by RosieS on March 28, 2014

Tesco Mum of the Year Awards set.jpg

Before I get carried away with the glitz and glamour of the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2014, let me tell you a little story. It sums up my experience of the event perfectly.

As the ceremony was about to start at The Savoy in London, I wandered into the cloakroom with fellow blogger Mari. I was buzzing at the excitement of discovering I was sitting next to Brian ‘Westlife’ McFadden, so his name was mentioned a few times in our conversation. My voice might have been a little more high-pitched than normal. I might have been waving my arms around a little.

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Giggling like someone much younger than my real self, I noticed a petite lady with blond hair wearing a gorgeous fitted dress smiling in my direction. She’d overheard my excitement and was sharing my moment of silliness. We laughed then went our separate ways.

The next time I saw her was when she stood up to collect her award for the Charitable Mum of the Year. It turns out that her name is Laura Young. She’d tragically lost her eight-year-old daughter Verity to cancer in 2009 and had gone on to set up The Teapot Trust charity providing art therapy to sick children. I’d struggled to hold it together hearing the family’s story.

It was that moment – when I saw Laura stand up and instantly recognized her from the cloakroom incident – that summed up my experience of the awards. It was a mixture of excitement and sadness. The excitement of the celebrities, the venue, the company and the food together with the sadness of what many of the award winners had gone through.

Ultimately though I couldn’t help but feel uplifted and inspired by what they had gone on to achieve and the differences they had been able to make to the lives of countless others as a result. Hope out of despair. Triumph out of tragedy, often again the odds. Simply incredible.

There were eight incredibly worthy winners in total. You can see them all this Sunday on Channel 5 when the awards are broadcast.

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There’s also music from the incredible Sam Bailey that will give you goosebumps, and from Boyzone, who don’t need any introduction really.

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The gorgeous Emma Willis presents the awards and there are appearances from Sara Cox, Esther Ranson, Denise Lewis, Ola Jordan and many more.

There are lots of other celebrity to look out for in the audience too, and some bloggers you might recognise. I’m sitting way too close to the front. Did I mention who I’m sitting next to?!

I’m an official blogger of the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2014. You can catch up with the event this Mothering Sunday at 6.10pm on Channel 5, repeated on Wednesday April 2nd at 7pm.


Hello March

by RosieS on March 18, 2014


I’ve discovered recently that if you’re a blogger and you haven’t written a post in a while, your fingers start to twitch. You find yourself reading blogs and thinking about your own, wondering what to write, where to begin, what to say.

So I thought I’d start here, at the beginning.

My contract at work came to an end at the beginning of the year. It was half expected but not totally, so it caught me by surprise. I’d had a sense before Christmas that the end was in sight and my worst fears were confirmed in the New Year. Not the best start to 2014 admittedly, and not the easiest of Christmasses, but here’s the thing. We’re fine, life has continued and after several months of angst and soul searching, some incredibly important decisions have been made.

I haven’t blogged about the last couple of months because I needed time to make those decisions, and time to consult family, ponder a little, sulk a little, say goodbye to my previous work life and get a few things straight in my head.

When one door closes another opens, they say. But what if there are several doors and you are not sure which one to pick, especially when you know the direction you decide to take will determine the course of the next ten years or so?

So I weighed up a few pros and cons, looked at the job market, had a few interviews and tried to work out what it would be like if I had to leave home early in the morning and arrive home late at night – what that would mean for our quality of life and how I’d cope with not seeing much at all of IJ.

Then there are childcare costs on top of everything else, and suddenly the glossy job in London didn’t seem quite so glossy and I made the decision to work for myself, for the time being at least.

Knowing my job was under threat, I worked solidly over Christmas and set up my own company. It’s an ecommerce venture. A little different to anything I’ve tried my hand at before. My experience is in retail and digital so I’m combining the two. I commissioned a logo and branding designs, worked with a web designer, researched the market, sourced products and created, what I’m hoping will be a future for the two of us.

Of course companies don’t launch over night and can take years to return a profit, so I’m also planning on doing some consultancy alongside it. That means another website, plus training materials and a marketing plan.

So I’ve been busy. I’ll share some of the details when I’m past the planning stage. It’s surprising what you can achieve under pressure and when you’re absolutely determined that now you’ve moved to south and got that secondary school place you worked for, you’re 110% determined not to give up.

Which is why it’s taken a while to write a post. There’ll be plenty more to follow I’m sure.

*The photo at the top has nothing really to do with this post. I just liked it.


The Photo Gallery: Guilty Pleasures

by RosieS on February 26, 2014

Piers Morgan Shooting Straight book

I know, I know.

There’s a line that exists between those things you admit to on the Internet and those you do not.

And I’ve just stepped right over it.

But I do like his books.

Visit Tara’s blog for more guilty pleasures.


No stencil

I ranted about this issue on my personal Facebook page last week, but I’ve decided to share it here as well as I’m still annoyed. Also, as the issue of NHS databases, privacy issues and patient confidentiality are currently being discussed in the news, it makes sense to highlight the fact that our data is put at a far greater risk when professionals behave irresponsibly, as I’ve just witnessed.

It is quite simple. Patient confidentiality means exactly that. Confidential patient details should remain confidential. When we give out our personal details, we have to trust that only those who need that information will be given access to it.

So imagine my horror last week when, sitting on a packed London-bound commuter train, one commuter suddenly started discussing confidential work matters over the telephone to a colleague while the rest of the carriage was forced to listen.

The occasional overheard work conversation is pretty standard practice on a commuter train, but this was different. This was a health professional, possibly a psychiatrist but more likely to be a senior social worker, based on the nature of the conversation, discussing his caseload.

Obviously I’m not going to post the conversation here. But suffice to say he gave out full names, background details and listed their current symptoms. All sensitive details and all highly confidential – information none of the passengers on that train should have been given access to in any shape or form.

This is totally unacceptable. No one wants to discover their lives and current state of mental health have just been relayed to a train carriage. Disclosing confidential information about anyone – particularly those who are already vulnerable – is highly dangerous.

To the health professional discussing his caseload on a train. Don’t be so damn irresponsible.


Tesco Community Mum of the Year Lynn McManus

by RosieS on February 21, 2014


This post isn’t about me; it’s about Lynn McManus who has just been announced as the Tesco Community Mum of the Year.

But Lynn’s ongoing support for children with special needs does make me think about my own daughter and the difficulties she had as a baby and toddler. IJ needed daily physiotherapy to help her eventually learn to walk. I blogged about my little miracle walker some time ago. So the world of special needs, although no longer relevant to us now, is one I know a little about.

This is Lynn’s story.

After her daughter was asked to leave a soft play area because of her behaviour, Lynn, 53, from North Shields, Tyne and Wear, set up the charity Pathways4All to help find a permanent place where children with special needs could play and learn without judgment.

As experienced foster carers to around 40 children, many with special needs, Lynn and her husband Terry, who have five children of their own knew that they needed to create a play environment where children felt safe and nurtured.

That was back in 2005. Over the course of the next seven years, along with a group of volunteers, the couple raised £500,000 towards their vision. They then set about refurbishing a former TB isolation unit on the recommendation of Tim Lamb, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Sadly, Tim died of a heart attack just seven months before the centre opened, so Lynn named it after him.

Over 900 children now access The Tim Lamb Children’s Centre. It includes that much needed soft play area, a sensory room, a space for teenagers, a parents’ room, and offers cooking, crafts, messy play and computer skills. It is used by special schools, other charities and over 300 families have registered to access the facilities.

All the result of a child being asked to leave a soft play area and a mother deciding to do something about it.

I am proud to be an official blogger of the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2014. You can find out more about Lynn’s story on the Tesco Living website.

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