Friday, October 31

Guest Post - Gender Stereotyping by Lucy

Today I have a wonder post from a very good friend Lucy who blogs over at Lucy's Mad House.  I've known Lucy for a few years and she never fails to cheer me up when needed, she is a great person and my BritMums roomie of the past two years!  Today Lucy has a different type of post for you, something which is far from her usual style BUT a wonderful post and something I've touched on here before.
 
So without further ado I pass you over to Lucy:
 
 
Gender Stereotyping
 
Something that has never been much of an issue for me but over the last couple of weeks I have heard and read a few things that make me want to stand on my soap box and say my piece loud and clear and I thank my very good friend and fellow blogger Clare for inviting me over to do just so.

Who has a boy that plays with baby dolls and prams or dresses up in girls clothes or even wears their sisters/mums make up or nail varnish?
Who has a girl that likes Lego, cars and pretty much anything that her big brother likes?
Loads of people probably, all of my children have played freely with gender specific toys and clothes at a young age before society and the media made them feel uncomfortable doing so.

It was only the other week that my 3 year old son found some nail varnish belonging to his sister who coincidentally hates nail varnish and make up and in fact wearing pretty “girly” clothes. He proceeded to paint all of his finger and toe nails, when I asked him if it bothered him that some people think its girly he couldn't care less, he just wanted to wear nail varnish.

So whether you are for or against, your child will naturally want to try new things and why not let them? Women have fought for years about gender equality yet when in the hospital playroom with my youngest daughter and a little boy wanted to play with the pink baby stroller, straight away his mum said, “no you can't play with that, it's for girls!”. To me that says she is teaching her son that looking after children is for women.

My son saw a children's sewing machine in a TV advert and says he would like one, despite being a little young, he sees me sewing on mine so wants a go for himself. I went direct to the company and asked if they produce them in neutral colours, the answer was no it only comes in pink with big flowers on it, why is sewing for girls when there are men out there that are tailors and fashion designers?

Toy brands hear this, please please can you start producing more gender neutral toys, in neutral colours that may help society stop stereotyping. It's not going to make any less money being in different colours its going to help society evolve and be more accepting of a boy that wants to play with a doll or a tea set.

I read about a couple today who kept the gender of their child a secret from the world until he started school. There may not have been enough research into the effects but I can't see how it could be harmful at all. He will have had the chance to play and explore, I actually feel sorry for the parents that people couldn't seem to accept it and branded the mum a freak!

We all probably think we are modern and I am sure at some point we have all been guilty of gender stereotyping, I know I have and its because society, brands and the media have all made it that way but we need to change this and all these recent things have made me think about the way I react when my child wants to wear nail varnish or dress up. After all children learn by example and so we need to be setting a good one. I have done a bit of research on this and found some facts that I found to be interesting.

Boys are taught to be tough and not cry about things – this leads to them being unable to open up about their feelings later on in life. Ladies this is also why men find it hard to communicate in a relationship.

 

Gender Stereotypes associated with Women:
  • Submissive
  • Emotional
  • Quiet
  • Neat/Clean
  • Clumsy
  • Artsy
  • Housewife
  • Child rearing

Gender Stereotypes associated with Men:
  • Aggressive
  • No Emotions
  • Loud
  • Messy
  • Athletic
  • Math and Science Oriented
  • CEO
  • Money Maker

So mums, you need to be loud, messy and show more discipline and dads you need to tidy up, play tea parties with your kids and be more submissive :) if you are doing so already then good on you. This sounds good to me, I can be a right messy cow at times!

Stereo typing in the media
In adverts women are used to promote cleaning products, household items and baby products. Men are used to promote beer, lawn mowers, cars, D.I.Y products... What? So women don't drink beer or mow the lawn? And men don't clean or look after babies?
The truth is in our house, my husband does go out to work while I stay at home with the kids but when it comes to manual labour or D.I.Y, if we had a lawn it would be me mowing it, any odd jobs, painting etc, it's me that does it, my husband loves cooking and is amazing at playing with the kids and he makes a lovely cuppa.
Lets try and think of some brands that have been fair and not made their products gender specific, I know there are some toy companies that have specific gender neutral toys, I applaud them.
The ones I can think of are Mr Muscle, I always remember that because the man in the original advert looked like a school teacher that I never got on with and I seem to remember a Shake N Vac advert with a big beefy guy hoovering.

Which brands can you think of? I'm sure there are more out there.I would love to hear about any toy companies who sell gender neutral toys too.

Thanks for reading

Lucy
xx

PS: Just to make you all chuckle, whilst finishing this article an advert came on the TV where a man was looking after the baby and the woman was working in the phone shop, well done O2! 
 
Well written Lucy - I completely agree.  In our house Harry's favourite toys are the shop and the toy kitchen, while Emmy is just as happy wearing an ironman costume as she is a tutu.

If you have enjoyed this post from Lucy you can follow her blog Lucy's Mad House or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Over the threshold - October Edition

This month we have seen a varied mix of items come into the house which I will be sharing with you in this round up post:
 
Bioskin Junior Outbreak Rescue Cream



This is a rescue cream to be used for very dry skin or for an eczema flare up to help bring it under control.  This cream helps to soothe and calm dry & sore skin.  Made from natural ingredients it is kinder to skin than steroid creams and can actually be applied as many times a day as required.

A non-greasy cream which is very easy to apply and is quickly absorbed into the skin this has helped with Emmy's rather sore backs of her knees after her recent flare up, as well as being rather beneficial to Harry's dry leg and elbows.

I always hate having to resort to the steroid creams and so far I have avoided that with our last flare up.

Due to the price of this cream it isn't one I would use every day but is definitely now the one I reach for when things start to get worst.  Priced at £8.99 for 50ml and £17.99 for 150ml this cream is available from www.salcuraskincare.com and comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.

 
Taffy Mail UK - sweet subscription boxes
 
You've probably all seen so many subscription boxes over the past years, everything seems to so - healthy foods, make-up, food items.  I was recently sent a new type of subscription box - one for American Candy!
 
Now having been over to America a few years back I know that many of the sweet items over there are unavailable over here, or hard to find so this idea appealed and of course I do have a sweet tooth after all! 
 
 
 
Inside my box were:
  • Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme bar
  • 3 x  flavours of Laffy Taffy
  • Butterfinger bar
  • A&W Root Beer
  • Pop Rocks
  • Jolly Rancher
  • Nerds
  • Pop Tarts
  • Cow Tales
  • Air Heads
  • 3 x Tootsie Roll's
  • 2 x Toots lollipops 

Now some of those I had tried before, while others were new to me. 

Subscription boxes are a good way of trying things you wouldn't normally think to buy, random collections are sent and your tastes buds are dazzled (mostly) by new tastes.  We as a nation are set in our ways and tend to opt for the same things.  This was a perfect way of me trying sweets I wouldn't think to choose myself.

I won't lie - I HATE Pop Tarts but I tried them again just to be fair, nothing has changed - they are still horrid and Ginger Beer I usually don't mind but this had added vanilla too and the taste well it's one which didn't leave for a while.

The other sweets I really enjoyed and I had forgotten just how much I liked nerds.

These boxes cost £14.99 for a monthly subscription which can be stopped at any time - I personally feel this is rather expensive however they are imported so that is reflected in the price I guess.
Available from www.taffymail.co.uk

Kleenex Sensitive - New funky boxes



Tis the season of the common cold!

Well it is in this household anyway.  I've been suffering with dare I say it - man flu?  No, only kidding but I have had a horrid cold which has made me feel rather unwell with swollen and painful glands and a horrid tap for a nose.

The kids have been the same too - luckily just as it started we were sent some Kleenex Sensitive tissues, which are extra soft on noses which of course if ideal when you are unwell and blowing your nose about a million times a day.

Of course tissues aren't that exciting are they and can look unsightly on the coffee table but it is the best place to keep them - within reach.

Now these packets have just undergone a makeover to capture the contemporary look and feel of modern home's so you can now add them to your coffee table and they blend into the d├ęcor a lot better than the old designs ever did.
 www.kleenex.co.uk
 
 Kate's Cakes

I do love a slice of cake, however if you are anything like me once you've cut a slice or opened a pack, it is rather hard to stop at just one cake - I have to go back for a second and sadly sometimes a third.  I know I shouldn't but I can't help it.

These new cakes Kate's Cakes are available in Tesco and come in a beautiful box with 5 individually wrapped cakes inside each box.

By having them individually wrapped it helps to keep the fresher and to stop me eating more than I intent to.  The chocolate were my favourites and were very moist, had a lovely rich flavour and weren't sticky.  The Lemon ones were also lovely and not too over powering as can happen with Lemon flavoured cakes, they were moist and very spongy.  Perfect bite sized cakes.

They come in two flavours - Chocolate Fudge and Lemon Drizzle and are priced at £1.99
www.katescakes.com

 
 

What's the best finish for your bathroom taps?

When it comes to our bathrooms, it’s only natural that comfort and convenience are our top priorities. Having a fully comfortable bathroom equipped with all the right elements is essential if you want your bath or shower experience to be truly relaxing. And today, bathrooms are more than just a room where you perform your hygienic functions – they are more than ever a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation where you can soak or wash away your stresses at the end of the day.

So if you would like to have a completely comfortable, functional, and beautiful bathroom, there is one element that you should pay particular attention to - your bathroom taps.
 
 
Choosing just the right bathroom tap entails certain considerations. First is the type. With this, you have several options: ball taps, compression taps, disc taps, and washerless or cartridge taps. They each have their distinct functionalities, and you have to decide which one works best for your needs. But another important consideration is the finish of your bathroom tap. For this, there are also various materials to choose from. Let’s take a closer look at these finishes and materials to give you a better idea of what to choose:
 

Image attributed to John Kasawa/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 
 
Chrome

Chrome-finished taps are very common, especially the polished chrome ones. Polished chrome is shiny and looks clean, and it is always a classic and elegant choice for any type of bathroom. This type of finish also has a long lifespan and fits well with different bathroom styles and designs, whether you have a modern bathroom or a more rustic-themed bathroom. Another important factor about chrome-finished taps is that they are easy to clean and maintain and are quite affordable as well.

Brass

Another common material and finish for bathroom taps is brass. This finish has a distinct gold hue that is perfect for any type of bathroom style or design. But if you are opting for a brass finish for your bathroom taps, it would be better to make sure that it matches your other fixtures as well, such as your bathtub taps and even your toilet handles. This type of finish gives an elegant look to your bathroom and goes well with marble countertops and flooring, but also more subtly-hued tiles.

Stainless steel
Stainless steel bathroom taps are becoming increasingly popular, especially with those who are concerned with longevity and durability. Another good aspect about stainless steel bathroom taps is that they are quite resistant to corrosion and rust, especially if they are made from a combination of chromium and steel alloys.

Other specialty materials and finishes
There are also other specialty materials and finishes, such as black, mixed metal, coloured, or textured. These can add a dramatic touch to your bathroom, but make sure that they are of high quality and have a long lifespan as well. If you are interested in this type of finish, it would be a good idea to rely on a brand name which you can trust.

Whichever type of finish you choose for your bathroom taps, it’s important to make sure that you can depend on a good warranty and customer support, which are always available at reputable and reliable bathroom suppliers such as www.bellabathrooms.co.uk.
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post signature
 

Thursday, October 30

Holiday essentials I won't travel without

I'm yet to take the children abroad and very much doubt I will just yet, I'm a little scared of doing so if I'm honest.
 
It's much easier for me to pack up the car and head off somewhere in the UK, at least I know I can stop along the way if needed and if the kids get poorly we can head home again - they have this tendency to be ill on holiday.
 
We've taken a few UK breaks in the past few years including:

Cornwall - staying on a working farm and in a premier inn for a few days
We've been to Butlins Bognor a few times
Had a few long weekends away, and tomorrow we are off to Camber Sands for a long weekend.
 
As we pack up the car I tend to over pack, this isn't always a bad thing though especially as the weather is always so unpredictable, and it can never hurt to have some home comforts around for the kids.
 
There are a few things I don't travel without. These are usually children's things as it tends to make my life much easier and the nights especially a little easier:
 
My children's essentials which I never forget are (apart from essentials such as clothes):
  • Their own pillowcases
  • Nightlight
  • Milk cups
  • DVD
  • Story book
  • Teddy
Spending the night in a different bed is strange for children so packing a few home comforts helps to ease that and lets face it us parents are on holiday too so want a little peace and quiet, so the easier the kids go to bed the longer evening and relaxing time we get!

Today I've been packing my essentials, for the caravan this weekend.  My essential items were a little practical and a little luxury and included:



  • Tea bags, Coffee & Sugar
  • Biscuits
  • Weetabix
  • Marmite
  • Sweets for the kids
  • Champagne - well I am off on holiday after all
  • Chocolate.....well you always need chocolate!
  • Ribena
  • Calpol - the kids are always ill
Everything else I will buy when we get there but I know that as long as I grab bread and milk we can last a day if the kids don't fancy going out for dinner, we arrive to late for anything else or the kids are driving me bonkers after a car journey then I know I will be fine with my chocolate and champagne - I can lock myself in my room and have a mini holiday alone!
 
 
This is my entry post into the holidaycottages.co.uk UK holiday must-haves competition

Wednesday, October 29

Halloween on a budget with Poundland

This year we will be away for Halloween so haven't bothered with the usual pumpkin carving and elaborate decorations,  however I did grab a few spooky trimmings to help decorate our caravan and to help the kids dress up for the party which will be held in the club house.
 
Obviously we need to pack these so I went for small things this year which we will most likely leave behind, I could bring some home but to be honest I will only put in a safe place and lose them as I've done with last years costumes and decorations.
 
Here's our haul for this year:
 
 
 
 
 
  • Mona the Vampire Witch DVD - not too scary but a perfect quiet afternoon chill out - Harry is in the process of thinking naps are for babies, so we have quiet calm down time in the afternoons now, sometimes he sleeps but mostly he just rests
  • Chocolate Eye Ball - these come in packs of 10
  • Sweet bowls - available in 2 different designs
  • Decorated spooky headband
  • Witches Broom
  • Pack of 2 Projector torches
  •  Monster Munch Webs
  • Haribo mini trick or treat bags
  • Assorted sweets - not pictured as the kids found those!
All of the above items obviously cost £1 each with a few 2 for £1 offers available in store

Disclaimer:  We were sent Poundland vouchers in order to purchase these items as part of our on-going ambassadors role