The Photo Gallery: Talent

by RosieS on October 22, 2014

The Erechtheion, Athens

During my trip to Athens earlier this year I met a hugely talented Instagrammer called Christian Graham, known as The Pasta Master online.

Christian was a member of our party and as I sat next to him on the outward plane journey, I watched with fascination has he spent literally hours editing his photos before uploading them to his Instragram account, only doing so when they were exactly right.

It became obvious, watching Christian at work over the course of the weekend, that being one of the UK’s top Instagrammers requires commitment, dedication, extreme attention to detail, a drive for perfection, creativity and the ability to spot a photo opportunity where most of us wouldn’t.

I’ve been more than a little addicted to Instragram ever since, and have Christian to thank for that.

I took this photo at the top of the Acropolis during that trip. It’s a steep and slightly precarious climb to the top as you’re walking on very smooth marble a lot of the time. But it’s definitely worth it, not only for the Parthenon but also for the view, which is stunning.

View of Athens

There is so much there to photograph.

The side of the Parthenon

The side of the Parthenon.

The Erechtheion, Athens

The Erechtheion.

Pillars from the Parthenon

Pillars from the Parthenon.

Greek artifacts

Greek artifacts.

Dionysus Theatre, Athens

Dionysus Theatre.

But the photography you really need to check out belongs to Christian here:

This week’s photo gallery theme is: Talent.

Thanks Christian for the inspiration!


Are you a slave to your mobile phone?

by RosieS on October 20, 2014

Phone dial with web icons

It’s definitely saying something when your daughter greets you first thing in the morning with the words, ‘I’ve switched your phone on for you.’

That’s exactly what happened this weekend.

It was only a couple of hours later, reading an article in The Times called ‘Free yourself from digital slavery – for a day at least’, that I remembered IJ’s words.

Part of my morning routine, along with my ‘essential-in-order-to-function’ cup of coffee, is to check my phone and make sure the world is still turning and I haven’t missed anything urgent overnight.

I’m able (now) to resist the occasional urge to check my phone in the middle of the night, so I figured I was going pretty well.

But it’s fair to say I rarely do anything without my phone being within reach. The fact I’m typing this post on my phone proves my point.

The Times article stated that ‘digital technology has enslaved many people who would be happier if they gave up mobile phones and emails for one day a week’ according to Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

The argument is that the constant need to respond to electronic messages distracts ‘from family life and spiritual reflection’. Without such interruptions we are able to control our own agendas, and enjoy the peace of mind that goes with knowing there’s no expectation to reply to texts, emails or messages.

I’m not sure I could manage a whole day without my phone, although I agree that the ‘always on’ mentality doesn’t allow for any essential quiet time.

I actually like feel connected to my online life. It has to be a case, then, as with everything in life, of striking a healthy balance.

But there’s a problem.

I’ve discovered that while my phone is switched off in order to ‘distract from family time’ IJ, aged eleven, is tapping away on hers.

And THAT, if nothing else, has to be the reason why I now need to spend a lot less time attached to my phone.

Are you a slave to your mobile phone too?

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BEAR partners with the WWF

by RosieS on October 17, 2014

Opening the Bear box

The arrival of a gift from the team at BEAR offered the perfect excuse to get my camera out and photograph my gorgeous niece and nephew, while at the same time boosting my ‘awesome aunty’ status.

The brand didn’t exist when IJ was small so we weren’t familiar with it, but my three-year-old nephew is a fan, so it seemed best that he opened the box along with his sister.

Kids with bear products

It contained a lovely range of BEAR products, badges and party hats to make, plus a gorgeous world map.

Save our paws BEAR campaign

The gift was to celebrate Bear’s fifth birthday and its partnership with WWF. They are working together to help save the paws of the world’s most endangered wild species. BEAR will make a donation to WWF for every pack of special WWF Paws sold.


The world map was a great way of helping the children understand the different bears of the world, where they live and a number of key facts about them.

Save Our Paws map

Who knew that there was such a thing as the Sloth Bear? They live in Asia and have a gap in their front teeth so they can hoover up termites.

Opened bear product

My three year old nephew wasn’t able to offer a coherent review of BEAR’s products, but he did eat three packs in a row, which I’m taking as evidence that they are pretty good.

Thanks BEAR for our gift. Here’s what my niece thought of it:

BEAR badges



The Gallery: Eyes #SeeTheMiracle

by RosieS on October 8, 2014


In a hospital in rural Malawi, a grandfather is this morning preparing for life-changing cataract surgery that will restore his sight. This time tomorrow he’ll be waiting to have his bandages removed and see the world clearly for the first time in over a decade. He’ll also see his grandson for the very first time.

It’s the first of one million miracles Sightsavers are campaigning to achieve with their A Million Miracles campaign. The aim is to give sight to one million people living in some of the poorest parts of the world.

And you can be part of it. You can watch live as the miracle is broadcast from Malawi on October 8th and 9th at 13.30 (UK Time), hosted by YouTuber Doug Armstrong. Just visit

You can also follow the #SeeTheMiracle hashtag on social media. It’s going to be amazing, emotional and for one family, totally life-changing. I’m nervous and excited as I write this and my thoughts are very much in Malawi.

This week’s Gallery theme is: Eyes #SeeTheMiracle. Click over to Tara’s blog for more entries.


For all the bad in the world …

by RosieS on October 4, 2014

After the week of grimmest news both nationally and internationally, it’s easy to dwell on the thought that there’s so much evil in the world. And I found myself doing exactly that this weekend. I can’t say I’m feeling the happiest of people as I pen this post.

Yet it’s uplifting and reassuring to think that for all the bad, the evil and the depraved in the world, there’s also the good, the remarkable, the inspirational. What hope these people offer at a time when it’s hard to feel hopeful about life, about the world, about our ability as a human race to care for one another.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been supporting Fieldcraft with their social media. As you read this the team are in Africa working with Sightsavers on a global digital storytelling project, which will include live broadcasts from rural Malawi. In the first broadcast on October 8th, hosted by YouTube star Doug Armstrong, one grandfather, Winesi, will receive a cataract operation that will give him back his sight (we’re reassured it won’t be gory).

The following day (October 9th) a second live broadcast, also from rural Malawi, will show Winesi having his bandages removed and, it’s hoped, he’ll be able to see properly for the first time in 12 years. He hasn’t been able to see his wife for two years. He has never seen his grandson.

There are many fabulous bloggers supporting this campaign and they’ve all written in greater detail about Winesi and the Sightsavers project Fieldcraft are overseeing, and also how you can help. Head over to Thinly Spread and you’ll find them on Chris’s blog hop.

All I can really add is that the live broadcasts take place on October 8 and 9th at 13.30 GMT + 1 – the first time a live cataract operation has been broadcast from rural Malawi, it’s going to be incredible. Just head over to where you’ll find detailed information about the project including the live broadcasts. You can also follow the #SeeTheMiracle hashtag on social media. I highly recommend you follow Fieldraft on Twitter and Facebook.

And finally, there’s a dedicated and devoted team of inspiring individuals working behind the scenes to make this project happen. Sometimes it’s hard to see the good in this world. Thankfully it is there.

Blogging for Sightsavers



September 17, 2014

When I was eleven years old I got my own real life doll to play with in the form of a baby sister. I’d threatened to leave home if I got another brother, so it was just as well she was a girl. I’d put my foot down and decided that two brothers was enough. […]

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The photo of Alice

September 12, 2014

Not far from where this photo was taken is the image that sticks in my mind when I remember our recent trip to Richmond. There’s no photo to share here though as it didn’t seem appropriate to take one. The image in my mind’s eye is of IJ looking intently at a colour photo of 14 […]

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Does growing old mean becoming invisible?

September 9, 2014

Sitting on a train waiting to depart from a station whose name I can’t remember, except to say that it was somewhere between Brighton and Havant, I watched an elderly lady walking along the opposite platform. She walked with a stick, her back hunched over and shuffled her feet as she slowly made her way […]

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The one about secondary school uniform

September 4, 2014

This week we’ve entered a whole new world. Not the world of secondary school, early starts, timetables and growing independence. Not the world of hiding just out of sight at bus stops to check IJ got on the school bus without incidence and is safely on her way. Not the world of waiting until it’s […]

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Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015 – Nominate now!

August 23, 2014

It’s that time again! Time to nominate an incredible mum that you know for the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015. You don’t have a lot of time as nominations close on 5th September. So you could read the rest of this post, or click straight over to the nominations page. I’m delighted to […]

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