Thursday, 26 January 2012

Competition over at LEDHut...

LEDHut are trying to gain followers on thier new Facebook page and they're running a competiton too where you can win a TV!! Head over:

Monday, 23 January 2012

How To Make a Ben 10 Paper Mâché Mask: Swampfire

It's no secret that Mister A is a huge Ben 10 fan, so when I was trying to think of something fun to do on a rainy weekend I immediatey thought of making a mask. We sat down together to look through the books and Mister A chose one of his favourite aliens... Swampfire.

This post is a step by step guide to how we made the mask from scratch.

You will need:
1 balloon
1 newspaper cut in to small rectangles
Kitchen roll cut in to small rectangles
PVA glue mixed with water
Paint - red, yellow, green and white
Tissue Paper (we used peacock blue from Paper Chase)

Blow up the balloon to just larger than 'the head' that the mask is for.

Rest the balloon in an empty bowl. Using a brush, add the PVA glue mixture to the balloon and start to add the newspaper strips, overlapping each piece. Cover each strip with more PVA glue.

Cover the balloon and leave to dry. We did 3 layers of newspaper, drying completely between each layer, followed by a layer of kitchen paper and then 1 later of peacock blue tissue paper.

In between drying your layers you can start to cut out the pieces of your mask from the cereal boxes...

Paint the pieces and leave to dry

Once painted your pieces are ready to stick but first you will need to cut a section from the back of the mask so that it can fit on to your child's head (see final image)

 To glue: First take the yellow centre piece and glue it in to position

Leave to dry, then glue the red horns in to place

Once dry glue the final flames on to the mask

Then glue the eyes on to the mask and again, leave to dry

Next cut out a mouth from the mask and outline with white paint.

Finally, add one happy boy....

Well that's it folks, it takes a bit of time and patience but it's all worth it in the end. Let me know if you make one of your own, or even if you jave a request for our next mask!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Friday Funny

Over the past year or so Mister A has struggled with the concept of jokes. I can't tell you how many "Why did the [insert random object here] cross the road?" *cue raucious giggles* Because his friends were on the other side!! *cue further laughter from eldest as he thinks he's the new Jimmy Carr*

No matter how many times I try and explain how a joke works and that it has to be funny and he can't really just make up his own punch lines - it seems to just go right over his head... UNTIL NOW.

Yesterday, Mister A came to me looking rather excited. "Mummy, mummy, I've got a joke for you..." I won't lie... I did begin to muster up my fake laugh. "Go on then, what's the joke?"

Why did the flamingo stand on one leg?

I don't know, Mister A, why did the famingo stand on one leg?

Because he'd fall over if he didn't!

Well I nearly cried!! An actual joke... can you believe it... I'm so proud!!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Stressful January Linked to Increased Anger Issues In Women

When I read today that January has been identified as the most stressful time of the year, it came as no surprise. For some of us it's stress  haofving to return to work, for others it's the financial stress of dealing with the Christmas aftermath of credit card bills and then there's the weather..!

As a working mum I was interested to see recent statistics produced by the British Association of Anger Management (BAAM) which have found that the extra stresses of the season are having particularly detrimental effects on the UK’s female workforce.

The survey concluded that stress in women has increased dramatically with 80% of women feeling unsupported, over-worked and insecure in their positions. Worryingly, these increased stress levels have resulted in feelings of depression in 60% of cases and anger issues in 43%.

These perturbing statistics raise the question – is the workplace ill-equipped to deal with the needs of women and is this lack of empathy for the female workforce creating the increased stress which leads to depression and anger?

Mike Fisher, BAAM’s Founder, highlights the dramatic increase of females suffering from anger and health problems that are linked to stress at work:

“Our client base is approximately 40% female and we see the effects every day of stress and depression. The health effects are serious”.

Of the female respondents to the survey many reported feeling increased tension, negative changes in personality and hyper-sensitivity to colleagues, partners and other family members. Almost half of all surveyed claimed that the stresses of work had caused them to feel depressed and to increase their alcohol intake significantly. Even more concerning is the number of women who admitted to having experienced chest pains as a result of their heightened stress levels.

Hands up those of you that have had a really poop day at work, only to get home and take it out on your other half or even worse - your children. Well ladies, you're not alone it seems that with nowhere to turn at work stressed out employees are increasingly bottling up their feelings causing them to lash out the people who love them the most.

Julian Hall, Director of the Derby Clinic, says:

“What these stats show is that an individual’s ability to deal with stress in the workplace is directly linked to their motivation, productivity and their health. What we know from our core client group is that since they are unable to express this at work they end up taking it home with them and acting it out on their families. An employer with foresight will place this at the core of their employee well-being strategy”

With the UK at risk of facing a “double-dip” recession and very little being done by employers to deal with the health of their staff, things are looking particularly bleak for our nation’s workforce and in particular, our women.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you an employee or a stay at home mum? How does stress affect you?