An Apology

So, let’s start off with a small apology.  Since returning to work earlier this month, the blog has taken a massive hit.  Being a mum and working full time is as difficult as you’d imagine.  Despite not having the full range of teacher duties (marking, planning, data and assessment etc.) I still find that I have very little time left, and the little time I do have is spent with Baby and Daddy. The house is getting untidy, it is driving me mad but Daddy is also a full time worker so as you can imagine, it’s a struggle.  Of course it is about prioritising and unfortunately, a tidy house is not high up on the list.  That’s not to say that I live in a pig sty, this is purely my inability to deal with my interpretation of untidiness. We’ve barely got time for each other but our relationship is as strong as ever so we’ll manage as we always do.  We will soon be celebrating our first wedding anniversary, so that is something to look forward to.

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Anyway, like I said, sorry for not being so active at the moment.  I am hoping to be able to pick up the pace again after the October half term as I’ll be looking for a new job or, fingers crossed, already in a new part time job.  Life will always find a way over the bumps.  Perseverance is key.

Now, what should you look forward to between now and Christmas? Well, I have a few sponsored posts coming up, my first ever bloggers event, plenty of autumn, winter, Halloween and Christmas themed posts as well as a couple more in my ‘Mummy Rants’ series. I will also be looking at writing about our first year of marriage. I am planning on doing another spotlight post featuring my sister.  She is an awesome freelance illustrator.  I’ll also be doing a few other posts based around mindfulness, bullet journals etc. So keep an eye out for the next few months.

Again, thanks for sticking with me during this slight down time.  I will be back with a vengeance soon enough.  It means a lot to me that you’re all still here.

 

Peace and love,

Monsterful Mama

 

 

 

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Why you Shouldn’t Keep a Password Spread in your Bullet Journal!

So today’s post is about preventing identity theft. In my relatively short time using a bullet journal and being a part of the fantastic community I have witnessed several horrifying spreads. No, I’m not being cruel and talking about individuals designs, I’m talking about Password Spreads.

Now I fully understand that it’s hard to remember your passwords for everything; social media accounts, work computer passwords, various email accounts, application passwords or even gaming passwords but, and this is a big BUT, in what crazy universe did you imagine they would be secure in your bullet journal??

If you’re like me, you take your bujo everywhere. If you keep a spread for your passwords and then lose it or have your bujo stolen what do you imagine will happen? In an ideal world if you lost it, some kind soul would hand it in to the shop/cafe where you left it or even into the authorities. This is not an ideal world that we live in. Imagine that the person who finds it is less than kind, what will they do with your bujo? Have a flick through to see that juicy, personal information is ripe for the taking? Now try to think about ALL of the personal details you’ve got in there, birthday trackers, period trackers, your name and address…

Now this questionable individual not only has your bujo with your password information but also knows where you live. Anyone store their bank details in there too? Great, this person now has everything they need to commit fraud and potential burglary if you had your bag stolen with keys-or without, this persons morals isn’t about to care for a smashed window or broken in door. A quick whizz around your house, they know where to go because of the cleaning/decorating spread you created, pick up your electronic devices and this person feels like they’ve won the lottery. Let’s face it, they might well have done. You made it so easy for them.

Now you’ve lost everything. You’ve been burgled. The criminal stole only a few items but your house no longer feels like the sanctuary you spent ages trying to create. You don’t feel safe in your own home. Your bank has cancelled all of your cards but with technology today, they don’t your cards to take your money. You try to put a post up on Facebook for friends and family. You want to let them know that you’re ok but if they have any information, maybe a neighbour saw something, that they could contact you somehow, but you can’t because the criminal has now changed your Facebook password and claimed your identity. They’re going though all of your pictures and statuses trying to piece together the person they’re stealing from, so they can become you. You’re now the victim of theft, burglary and identity theft all because you left your passwords in your journal.

Now obviously I am painting a worst case scenario here. Yet it could happen. I hope you can understand just how dangerous it is to store all of your passwords in one place. You run the risk of all the above and possibly something even worse, like being held accountable for all of their spending, losing your home etc. Because you felt like trying to remember all of your passwords was too hard a task.

So, how can you securely find a way to store them all? Firstly, there is no secure place to store your passwords. Your mind is the most secure place. If you do not trust your own mind to remember, ask a responsible family member.

If you really must have a hard copy of your passwords, don’t store them all in the same place. You could also try to find a way to encrypt even your written copies of them. Take a look at this website for a few ideas – Life Hacker

If you want to keep them digitally then you can save passwords on your electronic devices, but again if you lose it or it’s stolen they have easy access to your passwords. There are even password apps that can store all of your information but I personally wouldn’t use them. If you are considering it, do your research. Make sure the creators of the apps are genuine. I believe you can check with Apple or Android if your not sure.

There are so many useful websites and articles out there to help you to stay secure on-line. Here are a few handy ones:

  1. Washington Post
  2. cnet
  3. PC World

I’m not going to claim to be an expert on on-line safety. Far from it. But I do know enough to protect myself from worse case scenarios. I know that bullet journals are not the place for your passwords so please do not store them there. If you have already consider destroying the page somehow. Remove it and shred it. Glue the two pages together or glue something in over the top of it. Anything that will destroy the page if they try to unstick it will work. Use permanent marker to black it out but black out both sides of the page as some pens ghost or imprint depending on the pen or paper you have.

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have to worry about this kind of thing. I truly hope this post has helped people to understand. I hope you you can see the danger you place yourself in if you keep these kinds of personal details in your bullet journal. Bullet journals should be fun and functional and I would hate to lose mine, but if I did I know I can rest assured that there is very little in there that a criminal can use- unless they care for detailed recounts of child birth and breast feeding!

Thanks for listening,

Monsterful Mama

Mama Rants 2 – Parent Parking Bays

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So, today’s rant is bought to you by ‘twats that park in parent parking bays’.

So many times I’ve gone into town or to the local supermarket and stupidly driven down to the parent parking bays expecting to find a space. It’s silly of me to assume there will be any available spaces for us because it is quite obvious that the generously sized spaces that are conveniently located close to the store entrance are very enticing to some (lazy) people. Now, let me set this straight, this is not a parking ‘faux pas’. This is down right lazy and irresponsible. Most recently we witnessed a woman casually drive into a parent parking bay (she didn’t even straighten her car up – I also hate people that park REALLY lazily!). I watched and waited to see if she would try to get a pushchair out of the back of her car. She did not. She was wearing gym clothes so I assume her workout was so intense that she could not walk the few extra steps from a normal parking bay.

‘Won’t somebody please think of the children?!’

I’m honestly not sure why on earth you would do this. Are people really that lazy? Do they even realise the hassle of trying to get a baby or toddler out of a normal bay? The spacing in parent parking bays, or even a disabled bays are much bigger than normal parking bays for a reason. Not so you can haul your tired, post workout butt out of your car and so you can walk fewer steps to the shop. They are separated by a walkway for a reason, so that we can park and have clear access to our boots without the hassle of some twat who has parked right up our jacksie! They are placed closer to the shop so that there is less danger to any small children that may be walking to the shop with us. With cars reversing in and out of bays, many without double checking, the car park is an extremely hazardous place for littlies.

This young lady was not the first, nor will she be the last offender. Men are just as bad. I’ve seen countless men sitting in the parent bays, no child seat in sight, having a ciggi and a chat. These spaces are not a layby – if you need to pull up for a cigarette, do it somewhere else. I do not want my children having to breathe in your cancerous fumes. I am not sure how people can be so inconsiderate. Anyway, does anybody really know the law around these parking bays. We all know that you should get a parking fine if you park in a disabled bay without a blue badge and get caught (HA! I wish more people would get caught out by this!), but is there even a law or any rules to parking in parent bays? If not, should there be?

Should the government be able to ticket people who are taking up our parking spaces?

Well, after having a quick Google, it would appear that there is no law that is being broken (why on earth not?) when people do this. Although there are some leading supermarkets that apply their own set of rules for this (yay). The problem being, is how can they really enforce this rule without the help of the government? According to one source (Motor.co.uk), Asda have been known to hand out a Parking Charge Notice (not to be confused with a fine) to offenders for up to £50. This is however, fairly easy to avoid paying. Other supermarkets have their own rules in place but are quite relaxed about it.

So the question is, should the government; local council or even the police, be able to issue fines to people who are taking up our parking spaces? I think the answer has to be yes, not just for the sakes of us poor parents struggling to get a parking spot, but also so they can make more money to be able to fix the roads (pothole season is nearly upon us people), so that they can get more people out in car parks to help enforce parking issues and eventually make more money for the police departments (or Theresa May and her cronies back pockets more like) so they can better police our streets.

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As fairly new parents, I would like to add that for us it is purely about the space needed to get baby out of the car safely. We don’t mind having to walk a bit to the shop. We are the kind of people that even before we had our baby, we would park far away (less opportunity for simple folk to ding our car doors) from the shop entrance. I hate having to leave the push chair base at the back of the car in the road whilst I try to navigate a tight space to get Zosia out. I worry that somebody will try to steal the base, or the nappy bag etc. I am not silly enough to leave my handbag on the pushchair. I worry that if I try to put the shopping in the car first, somebody will either hit the pushchair or try to snatch her. I shouldn’t have to be worried about these things. I should be able to have my pushchair beside my car, not worrying about dinging the car next me or anything else, and safely get my baby into my car. Is that really too much to ask for?

I would love to hear about your parking woes (yes, I know it sounds dull) so let me know in the comments. Also let me know what you think about expectant mothers using these bays. Should they be catered for in these bays or have their own?

Thanks

Monsterful Mama

An Interview with Chloe Lee – Wedding Photographer

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If you know me personally, you’ll know that I don’t make friends easily. So, about a year ago I joined a little group in my borough. Most of the people in the group were older, by quite a bit. There was a few people nearer my age but admittedly I do tend to judge a book by its cover (I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t but it is an easy way to spot people who may have common interests). So when I first saw Chloe, with her big glasses, tattoos and quirky attire, I knew I wanted to get to know her.

Long story short, were now very good friends. We have a lot in common so get on really well. I knew I wanted her to do our photography the moment I saw her website. It’s full of great images that are bright and colourful. So after doing a bit of on-line stalking, we finally asked her to be our photographer. But, Chloe wasn’t just our photographer, she also had a place at our wedding as a friend and was involved in a lot in the build up to the big day and even helped with my hen do and the morning of the wedding. We’ve spent many hours together sorting the creative aspect of it all, hand making a lot of the decorations. My hubby and I consider ourselves very lucky to be able to call Chloe a friend.

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Copyright of Chloe Lee Photography

‘I prefer to document the day as it happens. I’ll still capture all the little details that you’ve planned and made, the family photographs for your nan’s mantelpiece and of course awesome portraits of you having fun and being super loved up.’

Whilst sipping coffee and having a catch up, I decided to do a little interview with Chloe. Having the chance to interview a friend is a strange thing, but it’s a great experience. I took the chance to ask her some questions about her work and life, so I’ll stop gushing about our friendship so you guys can get to know Chloe for yourselves.

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Chloe and I. Copyright of Monsterful Mama and Chloe Lee.

About Chloe

Chloe Lee (26), born and bred in Essex, is a Harry Potter obsessed wedding photographer. She studied photography at college and went on to do it at degree level in Bristol. Having dabbled in fashion photography for a while, she then found her calling as a wedding photographer and has been for two years. Her image style is alternative, fun and quirky, and is pretty relaxed and informal. Chloe becomes apart of your day with her insane ability to mingle yet be invisible so that she can catch those candid photos of your big day. You can find out more about her here.

What hobby would you do if money was no object?

If I had all of the money, I would love to get into property developing. I love up-cycling furniture but renovating a house would take that hobby to a whole new level!

What skill would you like to master?

I would love to play the piano, especially classical piano. I think when played right it is so beautiful and such a hard thing to master. Although I maybe would say it’s much like art in that I do think it’s a lot about having musical talent than simply learning a skill.

What are some small things that make life better?

Chocolate, tea, cheese, Netflix…

When did you first know that you wanted to be a wedding photographer?

After I photographed my first wedding! I helped a friend on a wedding as uni term was nearly over and I wanted to get out with my camera and it was like I’d stepped into another universe and literally was that cliché light bulb moment of “Wow! This is so much more than I thought it would be,” and from then on, I spent a few years doing the occasional wedding or assisting job to build up my portfolio.

What are you most looking forward to in the next ten years?

Hopefully buying a house, travelling and meeting lots of awesome couples!

What habit would you like to unlearn if you could?

Nail biting… it’s my worst habit.

What has been your favourite experience?

Ah there’s been so many! Going to France to shoot a wedding was pretty awesome though!

List five things you always carry with you.

Phone, pen, notepad, lipstick and business cards.

Who would you have photograph your wedding?

I’m super lucky to have lots of talented photographer friends but from the moment I discovered Camera Hannah’s work a few years ago, followed her journey and then met her earlier this year so, it would definitely be her without a doubt!

How would you describe your photography style?

Alternative, Fun, quirky, informal, creative, and colourful!

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So, if you’re getting married, Chloe is available and doesn’t mind travelling the extra mile.  I would definitely recommend her to you all. You can check out her gallery here.

Chloe on Facebook

Chloe on Instagram

Thanks for reading.

Peace and love,

Monsterful Mama

10 Things That Make Me Happy

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Copyright Monsterful Mama

I know that I have recently done a post about happiness, and those being the three main things so let’s make this one a bit of fun.  Call it a ‘getting to know you’ kinda blog post!

The Ten Things That Make Me Happy are…

  1. Family: So of course this is a given. My little family are my world. You can read about them in more detail here.
  2. Pens: Lots and lots of pens. Brush pens, fine liners, fountain pens, highlighters, bright ones, pastel ones, black and white ones. You name it I will happily buy it for the right price, which leads me on to number three.
  3. Bullet Journal: I love getting creative in my bullet journal but it is also a fantastic way to get organised. My motto before was that I was an organised mess. My style was organised chaos but now with my bullet journal I can manage appointments without forgetting them, track progression of my blog in my blog bujo and get to keep on being creative with the many challenges in hand lettering etc.
  4. Food: I have a love hate relationship with food. I LOVE to eat it … all… but it does not agree with my waistline. I love cheesy pizza, stringy, gooey pizza, salted caramel flavoured thing, peanut butter on toast, a good old fashion roast dinner, cake of many varieties, coffee flavoured things too, chocolate of course… the list goes on. It actually surprises me that I am not bigger than I am! I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. If we go out for dinner, I will often chose a vegetarian option because my husband is a vege-phobe!
  5. Washi Tape: There are sooooo many different varieties of tape out there in the world, and like in Pokemon, I want to catch them all! I use them quite sparingly in my bullet journal but I just love to collect them. They are just so pretty!
  6. Video games: I don’t mind which platform but would prefer the PS4 and PC over Xbox. I used to love Nintendo but they have made their consoles big and clunky and unnecessarily so. They had great consoles with the N64 and the GameCube so I dont know why they had to mess about with it all. I love to play games such as; Skyrim, Terraria, Minecraft, The Sims, Stardew Valley, Starbound, Anno, Don’t Starve, Legend of Zelda, Fallout 4, WoW, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Civilization, Life is Strange etc. I love a bargain on Steam or on the PlayStation Store especially if it is an indie game.
  7. Taking Pictures: I love taking pictures. I’ve been referred to as the happy snapper before. I won’t go so far as to claim I am any good at taking pictures, but I do okay. My degree is in Photography but again, there are no guarantees that, that means I am good. I mostly take pictures of my little girl now but the degree has helped with setting up a few flat lays for the blog. I am currently in love with using black and white film in my Instax Mini. I’m now very jealous of my best buds skills in photography, so much so I got her to do our wedding! Chloe is awesome at capturing the natural quirkiness at weddings. I have enlisted her help many times when it comes to my own photography.
  8. Travel: I haven’t seen much of the world but I have loved seeing the bits that I have seen. Japan has got to be the best place we’ve been. We love going somewhere with lots of history or culture. There are sooo many more places on our list but, what with having a baby, we know it will be a while before we can tick the big ones off. Meanwhile, seeing a bit more of the UK will keep us occupied until Zosia is old enough to fly comfortably.
  9. Self Care Time: Because I have spent so many years living alone, I do enjoy a bit of me time, alone time. It is great to get to grips with thoughts and feelings and sometimes just to clear some of the cobwebs away. I will often take a coffee break on my own (mostly with Zosia though) in a café in town. I will mill around town with no real intent to buy things, although that doesn’t mean I won’t buy anything! It’s not really about buying anything, it is about being by myself.
  10. Creativity: I have always been a bit creative but never really known how to channel it. I’ve tried performing arts, photography, painting etc. I still don’t really know what my creative ‘niche’ is but I am loving the process of trying to figure it out. My sister is an illustrator so I’ve always been jealous of her mad skills for drawing and using watercolours. At the moment I am trying to learn new digital creative skills with my hubby teaching me tricks on PhotoShop, Illustrator and CSS/HTML etc.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed getting to know me a little more. Here are my tags for bloggers that you should get to know!

  1. itsallzara.co.uk
  2. http://thismamacan.com/

Thanks

Monsterful Mama