*VLOG* VOGUE 73 QUESTIONS

OH. MY. VLOG.

I did it. I put my big girl pants on, figured out how to work the laptop camera and filmed my first ever vlog! It was terrifying but not a total catastrophe so I guess we’ll go with it. Thanks to Jane at Maflingo for nominating me to answer the Vogue 73 questions (you can read her answers here) and also to Helen at Just Saying Mum who’s post Come On Girls, Embrace Your Inner Vlogger! which may have just given me the little nudge I needed to go for it!

Watch on YouTube: Mess & Merlot- Vogue 72 Questions

1. What’s your favourite movie?
Clueless – I know what you’re thinking, highbrow right? What – everrrr…

2. Favourite movie in the past five years?
The BFG

3. Favourite Hitchcock film?
Psycho

4. A book you plan on reading?
Oscar Wilde Plays

5. A book that you read in school that positively shaped you?
My History of Art books!

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SHE LOVES HERSELF – BEAUTY, BABY & ME

 

Welcome back to another week of She Loves Herself, this time with Fi who blogs at Beauty, Baby & Me , a gorgeous place full of positivity and motivation (so it will come as no surprise that this is a cracker of a post!) Fi has an enviable approach to body confidence, basically, the girl’s got it sussed…

 

Name 3 parts of your body that you love and tell us why they’re so fabulous?
My eyes! I think you can really read how I’m feeling in my eyes, I’m quite open and this reflects that which I’m quite proud of. Plus they are quite a striking green colour so they are a bit unique too!
My bum! It’s always been part of my body I’ve felt confident about and my husband says it’s like having his very own Kylie 🙂
My legs. Everyone on my Mother’s side of the family has lovely long legs and I’ve been very lucky to inherit that!

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SHE LOVES HERSELF – RHYMING WITH WINE


This week we’re joined by Dawn from Rhyming With Wine. If you’re not already familiar with her brilliantly funny poems please pay her a visit, guaranteed giggles inspired by motherhood and day to day life with kids!

Just a very quick one from me to thank everyone who has tweeted, read or contacted me about the series so far – I’ve been delighted to hear so many of you are enjoying the guest posts and finding them inspirational. It’s nice to be nice, to others and ourselves.

Take it away Dawn…

Name 3 parts of your body that you love and tell us why they’re so fabulous?

I’m quite fond of my eyes. I mean they definitely come in handy for all of the seeing and things, but they only need a bit of mascara and they change may face completely from “Just got out of bed” to “This is me!” My hair has really started to grow having done babies and breastfeeding twice now and I have one of those long styles that I can do about 100 different things with to suit my mood (and time rations of course). I never thought I’d say this but I really quite like my boobs now too! They were never anything to notice before, but they are definitely my favourite part of my “Mum” body and I can still rock a fairly low cut top when the occasion calls for it!

Share a memory of when you felt particularly good about yourself.

About 7 months after my youngest was born, “Daddy Pig” and I were lucky enough to attend our friends’ wedding at the same place that we were married in the Lake District. I was around 4 months pregnant with my first when we got married and while I managed to fit in my dress (thank goodness for a lace up back) I was definitely carrying a fair amount of “maternal storage tissue”. With each of my pregnancies I gained around 3 ½ stone and I’m sure that at least 2 stone of that went on the second I peed on a stick! Somehow though I gradually lost my baby weight both times, and by the time of my friends’ wedding I was down to a personal best as far as weight goes. I actually wore a catsuit (not exactly Michelle Pfeiffer / Catwoman style, but still – a CATSUIT!) It was something that I would never usually wear and my Mum had more or less picked it out for me on a shopping trip. After nearly 3 years of pregnancies and breast-feeding I felt good. I felt like I was still a woman and not just a mum, and I felt proud to stand with my hubby at the place where we were married knowing how much my body had been through and achieved, and that “I” was still in there.

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SHE LOVES HERSELF – BABIES, BISCUITS & BOOZE

 

A massive thank you to everyone who read or commented on the first SLH post – I was so happy to see such a positive reaction and hope you all found it enjoyable and inspiring! This week we’re joined by Ellen from Babies, Biscuits & Booze who very kindly agreed to take part to show her support and sprinkle a few body positive vibes onto the interwebs…

Name 3 parts of your body that you love and tell us why they’re so fabulous?

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SHE LOVES HERSELF – MERET BOXLER

 

Welcome to the first of my new series ‘She Loves Herself’! I’m so excited to start this series of regular guest posts sticking two fingers up to the world of body shaming and sharing some love when it comes to our fabulous bodies – squidgy bits and all!!

Kicking off the series is the wonderful Meret Boxler who describes herself as Former national radio DJ, freelance journalist, writer, speaker, podcaster, recovering lifetime yoyo-dieter/exercise addict/compulsive eater, self-love establisher, body image improver, body positivity promoter, Health At Every Size (HAES) advocate, size-diversity acceptance promoter, weight-stigma and fat-phobia fighter, women uniter, big hearted human,cat lover, book worm and friend.” 

I mean could she be any more perfect for a debut guest post? She also writes in TWO languages, German being her first (yep, and I struggle to blog once a week in English!) Meret lives in Zurich, Switzerland and is a relatively new ‘discovery’ for me. Having listened to her podcasts and read her blog I found her backstory and determination inspiring- in fact I have to thank her for the support which gave me the courage to stop being such a big baby and just get on with starting this series – thanks Meret!! So let’s hear what she had to say…

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**COMING SOON!** ‘SHE LOVES HERSELF’

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One project I have been really keen to work on is a series relating to body positivity, something you’ll know I feel strongly about if you read my previous posts Why Body-Shamers Can Kiss My (Squidgy) Butt! and All the Carbs Please…. Both received many open and honest responses from readers who have been affected by external pressure to look a certain way, often leading to a negative body image. For some this was ‘just’ feeling unhappy in their own skin but for others it led to a warped relationship with food and even eating disorders.

Loving our family and friends comes so naturally but it seems there’s a lot of work to do when it comes to loving ourselves. As women we are often under pressure to meet unrealistically high standards in many aspects of life, but none more so than our physical appearance (and often we are our own worst critics). We poke and prod our squidgy bits, lusting after a toned tummy or leaner legs, after all we’ve had SO much practice at picking fault it comes naturally.

Whether it’s pressure from the media, society or even closer to home, there’s no sign of this quest for perfection going anywhere soon. As a mother I find this pretty depressing. The thought of my daughter growing up with so many negative messages about women’s bodies and the worry of what impact that will have makes me sad for her.

Although the recent trend for healthy rather than skinny is encouraging, even this has been taken to extremes in some cases and ultimately resulted in a ‘healthy’ eating and exercise regime which is basically another form of restrictive dieting under a different guise.

A movement towards body positivity is definitely growing but it is still FAR outweighed by the negative messages we see targeting women (and it is mainly women) in the public eye. So what can we do? Well the obvious solution would be to say “Knickers!” to the whole nonsense and get on with living life, but it’s HARD. It takes courage and self confidence that has been knocked out of some of us from an early age, year on year. BUT we are not blameless. If we are to change anything we need to take responsibility and we need to do things differently. In the same way that eventually body bashing becomes second nature we need to become better at BEING NICE TO OURSELVES! I know, crazy concept.

There is a wonderful Eleanor Roosevelt quote which I have used before but it says it perfectly:

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Next week I’ll post the first of my ‘She Loves Herself’ series, my own small step towards encouraging positivity and reinforcing the idea that we need to just stop the silliness, okay? I am so excited about my first guest and can’t wait to introduce you and share her answers – eek!

This series is all about ordinary people refusing to be made to feel inferior anymore and having the courage to say “Actually my body is pretty bloody brilliant and what I choose to do with it is my business!”. If this is a subject that you feel strongly about or have been affected by then I need your support people! If you’ve had enough of being told you need to change and would rather be part of something positive then why not take part in the series? Just leave a comment below or email me messandmerlot@outlook.com – I’d love to hear from you!

X

 

 

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SISTERHOOD OF THE WORLD BLOGGER AWARD

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A few weeks ago I was tagged by Jane at Maflingo to take part in ‘Sisterhood of the World Bloggers’, a series of questions set by Jane which I have finally gotten round to answering.(I’ll then tag 5 bloggers to take part with some questions of my very own). Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

 

Who would you most like to meet and why? Given the opportunity to meet anyone  I would choose my Granddad on my Dad’s side, who died long before I was born and never had a chance to meet. On a lighter note, maybe Greg Davis? I don’t know why but I find him weirdly fascinating!

Image result for greg davies inbetweeners

 

What’s your earliest childhood memory? I can’t remember much before about the age of 5. They’re all pretty random things that have stuck in my mind, more snapshots in time than actual experiences. An apron that used to hang on the back door, or a very specific bathroom tile that had a pattern a bit like a bird if you squinted. When we lived in Dublin my Aunt lived on the same street and I remember visiting her and discovering a big bar of chocolate in the kitchen drawer. Obviously I broke off a chunk and started scoffing only to discover that someone had created the most revolting tasting chocolate as some sort of sick joke! Diabetic chocolate has come a long way since 1984.

What’s your favourite film and why? I rarely have the inclination to watch a film these days unless it’s something really special but as a teenager I used to watch ‘Clueless’ over and over again, usually on a Sunday while doing the ironing in my parent’s living room -it still makes me smile.

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Name three of your ‘guilty pleasures. Just three?? OK Hagan Dazs straight from the tub with my favourite ice-cream spoon. Preferably on the sofa, in my jammies after the kids have gone to bed. Blogging (OK, reading other people’s blogs) when I have an endless list of jobs to do. Post-school run cake for breakfast – I’m not sharing!

Which superhero would you most like to be and why? I’m not up on my superheroes (sorry Jane!) but I had really vivid, recurring dreams of flying as a kid so any one that can fly would be UH-MAZ-ING.

What’s your proudest moment. Oh God as a parent I get ‘Proud Mum’ moments about the most ridiculously small things all the time. I rarely feel proud of myself, in fact it makes me uncomfortable just trying to think about it (hello Catholic Guilt!) Maybe the first time someone said they enjoyed my blog -writing is a totally new thing for me so it was like validation that I was doing alright.

What’s your most embarrassing moment (I’ve shared mine, you share yours!)? When I was younger my Mum would insist on calling me ‘Fanny’ – more ‘years of utter mortification’ than embarrassing moment.

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What or who makes you laugh and why? My family aside (hey, if you don’t laugh you’ll cry) silly humour really makes me laugh. The Inbetweeners, Alan Partridge, The Office, Man Down, Gavin and Stacey, Peter Kay – you get the picture.

Who’s your favourite character from a book and why? Easy. The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Stuffs face, sleeps for a fortnight, emerges a fabulous creature.

When was the last time you cried? Yesterday. Becoming a mother has turned me into a massive cry-baby!

My nominations for Sisterhood of the World Bloggers tag are:

Rhyming With Wine

Beauty Baby Me

Slouching Towards Thatcham (honorary Sister!)

Just Saying Mum

Pink Pear Bear

Here are my questions for you:

  1. What is your favourite thing about being a blogger?
  2. 10 minute sit down with a cuppa and an iPad, what’s your go-to blog/app/website of choice?
  3. Summer or Winter?
  4. If you could have any piece of art (money no object) on display in your home which would you choose?
  5. Who would play you in a movie?
  6. And which lucky actor gets cast as ‘Love Interest’?
  7. If you could return to somewhere you’ve visited before where would you go?
  8. What’s your favourite way to relax after a long week?
  9. What was your first ever concert?
  10. If you were invisible for the day where would you go?

Looking forward to hearing your answers. Remember to tag me if you tweet so I can re-tweet your post – enjoy!

X

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EVERY DAY’S A SCHOOL DAY- PLUS *GIVEAWAY* MATHS PUZZLE

So despite the fact I’m typing this in what feels like the Earth’s core while the paddling pool is filling outside, I think we’ve all accepted that the Summer holidays are over and normal business has resumed – boooo….

Thankfully the kids have settled back into the old routine nicely while I’m still busy clearing up/recovering from the aftermath of school holidays.

Spud and Flump thoroughly enjoyed their break from the classroom (as much as I enjoyed my break from the school run!) but in an effort to stop their brains from grinding to a complete halt I employed a few sneaky tactics to encourage learning in a relaxed, enjoyable way.

  • Reading. Every year we take part in the Summer Reading Challenge which encourages children to read books in order to earn stamps, which they can then exchange for prizes. This year was particularly special as it was also part of the celebrations to mark the birth of Roald Dahl 100 years ago! It’s free and had both kids devouring books enthusiastically – the power of a scratch n sniff sticker eh?
  • Writing. We chose postcards while on holiday to write and send to friends back home.(Did you know it can take the average 5 year old up to 35 minutes to choose 4 postcards? Neither did I). Spud kept a diary of his adventures in a caravan, wrote to Blue Peter and penned his very first best-seller based on Ronaldo and himself fighting aliens in space in order to save the world from an invasion. I successfully tricked Flump into practicing her writing by ‘playing schools’ with free printouts from this website which worked brilliantly until she decided she was going to be the teacher and I was the pupil.
  • Maths. I wrote about my kids very different approach to learning in Beauty and the Brainbox and this is particularly evident when it comes to numbers! Spud is a natural, he just ‘gets it’ and writes out number grids and times tables for fun . Sadly it doesn’t come quite as easily to Flump who has a more ‘I do not like the numbers and you cannot make me like the numbers’ attitude when it comes to maths. When the lovely people at HappyCalc  asked me to review their new maths puzzle I had a feeling it would be right up her street. I was right…

The box comes JAM PACKED with pieces (138 to be exact), a mixture of illustrations and numbers which are combined to make simple equations and awesome spacecraft creations. As you can see Flump took over the floor with her sprawling masterpiece and the space theme couldn’t have been more apt as this is her Year 1 topic – result!

 

It’s aimed at 3+ from an educational point but to be honest any child who enjoys puzzles would love it. In fact Spud is almost 8 and spent ages playing with it, particularly enjoying all the funny little illustrations (I have to say I was impressed with the details, so many different little creatures to spot!). Unlike any other jigsaw I’ve seen this one is completely free form with no specific rules, allowing the child to create their own original design every time. Ideal for any little anarchist.

If you’d like to get your mitts on one you can purchase here  (currently on offer for around £23 plus P&P) or you can WIN one by entering via the link below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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COOEE!

hello

Hello!!

Just a super quick half pint of a post today as I refamiliarise myself with a laptop and poke my nose around the screen to say “Hi!”

So it’s been 3 weeks, did you miss me? Pah, bet you didn’t even notice I’d gone. Charming! Well I missed you lot, keeping me entertained and distracting me from all the very important things.

We’re at the end of our first week back to school here and so far, so good. With the exception of just one little meltdown (me, in the middle of M&S) we’re settling back into the old routine nicely and so far nobody has lost any uniform and Mummy hasn’t forgotten anything important. OK, I forgot the cheque for school dinners but apart from that, all good. On reflection my kids appear to be doing school a lot better than I am, hmmm… Oh, oh and we’ve walked to school four days in a row now and only had to run twice to beat the bell – I can tell you’re impressed. To be honest though, that’s mainly because we got stuck in a traffic jam on Day 1 and Spud was almost having kittens at the thought of being late for school, as a result we are now too scared to ever drive again JUST IN CASE.

Anywho, now that the chalk dust has settled and I’ve had a chance return the house to some sort of order I’m sooooooooooooo looking forward to getting back to blogging, lots of ideas I’ve been itching to crack on with over the holidays.

More of that soon, school run beckons – lovely to be back, looking forward to catching up with you all next week.

Have a great weekend!

Charlie.

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ZOATS – SURPRISINGLY OK!

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Ordinarily I’d never have courgettes in the house, I’m not a fan but my Father-In-Law grows them so we usually end up with a couple every few weeks. Never one to waste food I’ve tried a few ways to transform them into something tasty including cake, fritters and tzatziki dip. Today it’s zoats, a combination of oats and grated courgette (or Zucchini, hence the ‘Z’oats). You can pimp your zoats however you please, topped with fruit, nuts, seeds, honey, chocolate chips, basically whatever you would normally put on porridge.

I had some fruit that was looking rather sorry for itself so decided to use that up. IMG_0910

For this bowl I used:
Half a massive courgette (1 small courgette) grated
1 apple grated
1 banana (half mashed, half reserved for topping)
Large splash milk
Topped with blueberries, banana and cinnamon
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Just mix it up and either cook on the hob or microwave as you would porridge and add toppings. The result? Now I’m aware the concept may sound very wrong, but actually the courgette doesn’t affect the flavour one bit and the texture is similar to grated apple. It bulked up the meal (that’s a tablespoon in the top image!) added fibre and sorted my courgette quandary – all in all a total winner, I’ll definitely be trying this one again, maybe with a scoop of protein powder next time (proat-zoats??)

Have you tried zoats yet? More importantly can you recommend any other recipes that use lots of courgettes (that don’t involve a spiralizer)??

x

 

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