Thursday, 28 June 2012

JellyStone Designs Pebble Bangle & GIveaway

Jellystone designs are extremely funky teething jewellery - . Check out Trials and Tribulations of a Brummie Mummy for a great competition to win a teething necklace of your choice.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Stop blaming 'asylum seekers' for all the nations ills

This is my blog, and my chance to sound off once in awhile so I'm going to take my chance and probably start a heated debate while I'm at it.

In my job as a housing benefits officer, I have lost track of the amount of times I hear the comments along the line of 'we shouldn't be paying so much money to asylum seekers/immigrants/foreigners'- *delete as appropriate. This kind of comment is made by a wide range of peoople including colleagues, managers and claimants. It really rubs me up the wrong way as it shows a basic lack of understanding of what the reality is! I bite my tongue and grin and bear it, in order to keep the peace. I also know that this way of thinking is so ingrained in some peoples thinking, that no amount of persuasive arguments will help them change their minds.

Here are seven facts about immigration and asylum seekers that people may find interesting:
1, More people emmigrate each year from the UK than immigrate into the UK. 336'000 emigrated last year and 239'000 immigrated here.

2, Persons claiming Asylum are often held in 'detention centres' (similar to prisons). 25,900 people were held in detention in 2010 including 9 children despite the government stating they would end the practice of detaining children.

3, Persons claiming Asylum are not given money to live on, but are given an Azure card which is credited with £35 for a single person (compared to £67 Jobseekers Allowance) and can be used in a limited amount of supermarkets for food. Here is an interesting article on the reality of using these cards -

4, Refused asylum seekers are not given any monies to live on, leaving families and persons destitute.

5, Refugees (including families) are usually housed in cramped shared accommodation with no private quarters. I saw an excellent exhibition at St Fagans Museum in Cardiff which included a mock up of one of these houses. It was definitely an eye opener.

6,The benefit rules for immigrants are extremely complex, and relatively few qualify for any assistance. 371,000 foreign-born claimants are claiming for out-of-work benefits, out of a total 5.5 million recipients, which is relatively a small percentage.

7,90% of social housing tenancies are held by people born in the UK

Here is an interesting article, which you may want to read-

I know the issue is complex, and there are those which enter the UK to take advantage of what the UK has to offer in terms of benefits etc, but in reality this pales into insignificance when you compare the monies we pay out to long term benefit claimants who have been born in the UK.

There are a whole raft of benefit reforms due in, in the next few years which are going to dramatically change our welfare system. Some of the changes I agree with, some I don't. I will be blogging more about these issues, as it is something that I feel strongly about, especially as I work on the front line of a benefits office.

I am sure that there are people reading this who disagree passionately with what I have , but everyone is entitled to an opinion. This is simply mine.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

I need some space!

Let me start by saying I adore my son Bryn. He is 8 months old now and I love seeing him grow and develop. Having said this, I need to be honest and say that he wasn't planned.

As I have already said in some of my earlier posts, money is tight and we only have a small two bedroom cottage which was already pretty cramped with just one child. When I found out that we were expecting I admit I had a little cry (I guess I should have paid more attention in my sex education classes!). The enormity of what was about to happen was crushing and I wasn't sure how we were going to make it work.

As my pregnancy went on, I slowly started to accept what was happening and start to plan for the future. We initially explored our options, and decided that we would try and cope with the accommodation we have. We couldn't move as we were in negative equity, and had no money for a deposit. We also didn't have enough money for an extension although we did have enough (thanks to my lovely father!) to pay for a small do it yourself conservatory which we were able to have built on the front of the house to give us a bit more room.

We also found out about this great product called a Shanticot ( which would allow the baby and our daughter to share a room. It is like a bunk bed but has a cot on the bottom and a toddler bed on the top.

The day finally came for Bryn to make his entrance, and we hoped that we could cope with the space we had. Unfortunately we reached crises point after me having spent six months sleeping on the sofa, with Bryn in his Moses basket. He woke every hour during the night so it just wasn't feasible for him to share a room with either his sister or his father (who was back in work full time). We decided we desperately needed another bedroom so made the decision to get a loan to enable us to buy another house and we would have to rent out our house until it wasn't in negative equity anymore.

This was incredibly risky but at the time we felt backed into a corner and this was our only option. As time went on, the situation with Bryn improved as I returned to work Full Time, so started to bottle feed. He now only started to wake once at night (I can only assume that something was not quite right with the breastfeeding previously) and I was able to sleep back in the bedroom, with Bryn in a small cot.

My husband and I were getting more and more nervous about moving house and the risk we were taking so we decided at the last minute to pull out. After speaking to the father in law he said that he could build us an extension which would give us the extra bedroom that we needed, for a price that we could just about afford. This seemed the perfect solution but unfortunately things have not since gone to plan.

We decided to make an offer for a bit of wasteland that the next door neighbour owns, but unfortunately she wasn't happy with price we offered and refused to tell us what she wanted for it. This wasn't the end of the world though as it just meant our extension plans had to be scaled back a bit but we could still just about squeeze an extra bedroom onto the back of our property. We were anxious to remain on good terms with the next door neighbour but she seemed to be uncomfortable talking to us since we made our offer.

Today my husband spoke to her to fill her in about what we had planned, out of common courtesy. Unfortunately she wasn't happy with what we had planned, and has said she is going to seek legal advice. She is quite within her rights to do this, but I feel very disappointed tonight, as I know that this could seriously delay our plans. It also means our relationship with her will probably be strained which is far from ideal when we have just made the decision to stay where we are.

I really despair sometimes! All we want is enough space for our family but it looks as if it is going to be an uphill battle to achieve, like most things in my life at the moment.

Monday, 11 June 2012

My entry for the Next mummy stylist competition

Everyone knows that NEXT provides good quality and stylish clothing on the high street at prices that won't break the bank. I have a number of slightly mad friends who wake up in the middle of the night and start queuing in the early hours ready for the NEXT sale. This is the highlight of their year and the look on their faces as they bring home their bags is priceless. I can't say I am that dedicated, but I do love the clothing and have the chance to win £500 by styling my own NEXT outfit from either the maternity or the children's wear ranges. I am a little daunted by the prospect as I am no fashion icon but I am going to give it my best shot! I have chosen girls clothing suitable for my 2 year old as these are the items I would love to see her wearing this summer.

Whilst browsing I have come across a fantastic range called Oh Buoy Tom Boy. I can't say I am one of these mums that enjoys dressing their daughters head to toe in pink (although the mother in law tries her best!), and I find boyish fashions adorable on my little girl so this range really appeals to me. These striking yellow skinny jeans would look great on my daughter as she is very skinny, and has long legs (the complete opposite to me!).

I would style the jeans with the wonderful swallow print blouse which is a little understated compared to the jeans but will give it the colour contrast that it needs. I wouldn't dress her in too much yellow as she might start to look like a banana!

In the summer, it is important to keep your little ones head covered up, and if you have to do this, you might as well do it in style. This summer hat could be teamed with a wide variety of outfits so that is why it gets my vote.

No summer outfit is complete without a pair of cool sunglasses, and you can't get much cooler than this funky spotty pair, and only a snip at £4.

Lastly but not least, she would need a pair of fun but comfortable shoes to finish off the outfit. I opted for these pretty but practical summer sandals.

I think this yellow and blue outfit is a vibrant number that my toddler would love to wear, and her mummy would also love to see her in it. I am hoping you agree!

This is my entry for the Next Blogger competition. Why not have a go yourself! Check out for all the details you need.

All Baby Advice NEXT Mummy Stylist Blogger Competition

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Oh let the sunshine!

Well, we've finally got round to booking our family holiday, and will be going next week. Its not to far or exotic but we love west wales so are very happy to have booked a swanky penthouse for the week overlooking the beach. One thing that I am hoping for though is some sunshine! Wales is famous for its beautiful coastline and also its rain! If the sun does make an appearance, I will be hopefully be getting these funky sunglasses out that I found on

They do a fab range of designer and non designer glasses/sunglasses, with low prices so go and check them out!