Our Favourite Five – November

November is finally over and so begins my favourite month of the year. But before I get completely caught up in strings of fairy lights, presents and the smell of cinnamon (oh and being kind to my fellow humans etc etc) I want to take a look at what we enjoyed about November.

1. Spirit of Christmas Fair

You may remember myself and my friend Helen went to the Spirit of Christmas Fair last year and had a whale of a time. I wrote all about it here. Anyway after the fair, I completed a customer feedback survey and blow it all if I didn’t win two free tickets for this year’s show. It gave Helen a very legitimate reason to leave her children at home with Daddy (thanks Geoff!) again and come all the way from Devon to spend the weekend with us and come to the Fair with me. We had just as good a time this year, although as I don’t have a target to reach this year we definitely spent more time in the food hall, sampling lots of delicious goodies! We also went to another workshop. This year’s was canapes with Executive Chef Barry Vera. It was fun and all that (who doesn’t love choking on a wasabi oyster!) but it was a watching only workshop, unlike the hands on Biscuit Decorating we did last year. No matter, we had a super day and came home just as tired but happy as we did before.

Thanks to Helen for coming with me, thanks to Ben for looking after Oscar and thanks to Spirit of Christmas Fair for a great day out!

Helen with a reindeer made from dried fruit. As you do!

Helen with a reindeer made from dried fruit. As you do!

Helen and I in the same place we took a photo last year. Cos we're just that cool!

Helen and I in the same place we took a photo last year. Cos we’re just that cool!

My purchases from this year's Spirit of Christmas Fair. Can you see a theme?

My purchases from this year’s Spirit of Christmas Fair. Can you see a theme?

2. Pusskins Plush

My friend Jane started making whimsical, beautiful things in felt and cloth a little while ago and I actually bought my first item from her etsy shop, Pusskins Plush, two years ago. However this year she’s been working on a line of one of a kind Unicorns and I fell in love when I saw the ones she’d created for Christmas. Here she is. She is this year’s Christmas decoration. Isn’t she a beaut?

Gingerbread the Unicorn

Gingerbread the Christmas Unicorn

And it got me thinking about Oscar’s decoration for this year. I had a picture in my head, but knew I didn’t have the skills (or patience, let’s be honest) to make it myself. I decided to ask Jane if it was something she could do and blow me if she didn’t say yes. What a doll! And as she was being such a sweetie, I also asked her to make one for a friends daughter too! Jane’s been amazing updating me all through the process and I received the photos of the finished articles a few days ago. They’re on their way and I cant wait to put Oscar’s up!

My very very rough drawing of an idea for Oscar's decoration. In case you cant read my writing - that's meant to be a train!

My very, very rough drawing of an idea for Oscar’s decoration. In case you can’t read my writing – that’s meant to be a train!

3. Boo Face Photography

How could I talk about November and not mention our Pony Pals shoot with Boo Face Photography. I wrote all about our experience here (and if you haven’t read it yet, you’re the only one who hasn’t! Who knew little boys running around with tiny horses could be so popular 😉 ). It was an amazing experience and gave us some fantastic memories, as well as some wonderful images to keep. Seriously, if you haven’t seen the pictures go and look now!!!

 Boo Face Photography 2015

Boo Face Photography 2015

4. Mog the Cat

It’s that time of year when big stores release their Christmas advert designed to pull at the heartstrings and make us cry. At least I assume that’s what they’re for. I’m always a blubbing mess when I watch them! Anyway this year’s Sainsbury’s ad is a little different. Based around the ever popular children’s book character Mog, it’s my favourite of the season, for several reasons. Firstly Sainsbury’s are using the ad to support Save the Children and to improve child literacy across the UK. And who can argue with that? Secondly it’s really cleverly filmed and the boy absolutely loves watching it. Over and over! But mostly it’s because it reminded me that I still had my early 80’s copy of Mog’s Christmas. I decided that, as the boy seemed to love the ad so much, I’d dig it out for him. He was thrilled to have the book, but the more I read it the more I realised how potentially useful it could be. Mog’s Christmas is all about how difficult it can be for Mog when everything in the house starts changing and she doesn’t understand why. This is something many autistic children struggle with too and so I’m hoping that by reading the book together, we can explain to Oscar the kinds of things that might happen and help with any anxiety the festive season may cause him. Good old Mog!

image

My original 80’s copy of Mog’s Christmas

5. Tots100

Much as I don’t really pay any heed to these sort of things, it was a lovely surprise to find out I had entered the Top 500 of the Tots 100 this month. The Tots 100 is a scoreboard, a Top of the Pops if you will, for UK parent bloggers and there are 8000 members. I’ve had the badge on my blog since I began blogging, but only linked it up earlier this year. Once you get into the Top 500 bloggers your badge updates and shows your ranking. It was a massive shock to see I’d jumped up the scores and got a number in my badge this month. I have every expectation that it will be gone by the next round of scores, so I took a snap of it to remind myself I was there once! Yay me!

A Top 500 blogger? Get me!

A Top 500 blogger? Get me!

What did November hold for you? Or have you already forgotten in the glare of gorgeousness that is December?

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My MAD Award Nomination

Tots100 MAD Blog Awards

 

OK here’s the deal. I started this blog two years ago to give me some head space and to find out what the dickens I was supposed to be doing with my life now I had become a parent. I didn’t go into this for other people to read, they just did. And two years down the line I’m still touched and amazed every day that people still do.

So imagine my utter surprise to find out I’d been nominated for a MAD Blogger Award! Despite sounding like I rant and rave (MAD actually stands for Mum and Dad), what this is is a really big deal in the blogging world. It’s recognition of those who write and share across the parenting blogging spectrum and I am HONOURED to have been nominated in the Pre-School category!!

Wow.

Again

Wow.

I’m actually getting a little teary here! Anyway, I don’t know who nominated me (you can nominate yourself I think, I just couldn’t be so vain glorious), but I am so so grateful that they did. Thank you whoever you are.

So here’s the thing. I never imagined anyone would think enough of my blog to nominate it for an award, and I am under no illusions that I’ll get through to the finals,but I would be doing my nominator (and myself) a disservice if I didn’t ask you to vote for me.

And just so you know, here’s how it works:

Stage 1: Tots100 invite bloggers and their readers to nominate, and share their favourite blogs across a range of categories, covering everything from parenting to food and photography.

Stage 2: Five bloggers in each category with the most nominations, along with one blogger selected by the judging panel, will be shortlisted as finalists.

Stage 3: Tots100 invite the public to vote for their winner in each category, with the exception of the Blog of the Year award, which will be judged by the judging panel.

The winners of the awards will be revealed at a red-carpet awards ceremony to be held in London during September, attended by finalists, judges and sponsors, along with a few specially invited guests.

Yeah so – it’s pretty serious!

The nominations are still open, meaning you to can nominate me for the Blog of the Year or to reach the short list in Preschool. If you’d like to do that (it literally takes a minute) you can do here:

http://www.tots100.co.uk/nominate-in-the-2015-mad-blog-awards (Nominations are now closed!)

Should I reach the short list I’ll be sure to get back to you, asking very kindly for you to vote for me, if you should be so inclined.

Thank you so much for all your support, be you someone who found me last week, or someone who has been reading since that first ranty post about Primark I wrote back in 2013! I love what I do, but that anyone chooses to read it has been the most life affirming thing I’ve ever come across and is the reason I keep Mrssavageangel (bless her heart) going.