Monday, 27 August 2012

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

I was sent a copy of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" by Amy Chua absolutely ages ago so firstly I'd like to apologise for how long it's taken me to get round to reviewing it.

At first I simply scanned through and read snippets with the intention of starting a review that I could add to.

But I got hooked and couldn't stop reading the bit I was on, so I decided I wanted to read it all properly and then review it - after all, it grabbed my attention every time I picked it up to scan through!

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua, review on Emma in BromleyThe problem is, I have two very small people and absolutely no "me time" so it's actually taken me an age to read the whole book as I ended up going back and re-reading bits and on the odd occasion I did find myself with "me time" there was always something more pressing - like laundry... or shaving my arm pits without an audience!

I wanted to review this book as its got quite a lot of hype about it - and to be honest - I expected it to be a conflict of interest, after all, I am a bit of a "hippie mummy" extended breastfeeding, no nasties toiletries, organic food, baby led weaning, free play, unstructured art, baby wearing, no cry bedtimes, co sleeping etc - you get the idea - (my motto is "save the planet, go organic")

I was expecting to pick at this Chinese mother and her pushiness and have nothing in common with her and her parenting techniques.

So you can guess what happened right? I loved it and actually have the same principles in many aspects of parenting!

I expect my children to be high achievers - Blake could count to ten and recognise most letters of the alphabet by the time he was 18months - he learnt this with gentle parenting, lots of reading and counting toys and playing with numbers rather than a very disciplined teaching experience. The outcome is the same.

Although I'm an "Eco mummy" and definitely a western mum I recognise there are some elements of a Chinese mum inside me too!

It was easy to enjoy this book - Amy shares with us arguments and tantrums too - I loved the argument she had with her daughter, trying to get her to try caviar! Although caviar isn't something I'd try and get my little people to eat, I do have the same battle only with organic carrots instead and I share the same expectations of my children respecting and obeying me certainly in public.

Amy pushes both her children to learn music and they are taught within a very structured program, I also believe music is important but where Amy has her children playing violins and pianos at preschool age - I simply let Blake play with his daddy's guitar and a bag of percussion instruments! I fully expect my children to develop and grow a love for music naturally rather than forced and I expect the same outcome as Amy did - to master what they play. (I would like a baby grand piano but we don't have the room or money for one!)

Most importantly - this book made me giggle - its funny! And that is important to both parenting and "me time"

Would I recommend this book?

rrp £7.99 by Bloomsbury

Additional information:
The most talked about book of the year The Sunday Times bestseller The New York Times bestseller Der Spiegel bestseller

Key Features
Author(s) Amy Chua
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Date of Publication 02/02/2012
Language(s) English
Format Paperback
ISBN-10 1408822075
ISBN-13 9781408822074
Genre Pregnancy & Parenting

Publication Data
Place of Publication London
Country of Publication United Kingdom
Imprint Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Author Biography Amy Chua is the John M. Duff Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Her first book, World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability, translated into eight languages, was a New York Times bestseller, an Economist Best Book of the Year and one of the Guardian's Top Political Reads of 2003. Her second book, Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance - and Why They Fall, was a critically acclaimed Foreign Affairs bestseller. Amy Chua has appeared frequently on radio and television and her writing has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, Harvard Business Review and the Wilson Quarterly. She lives with her husband, two daughters and two Samoyeds in New Haven, Connecticut.

Emma in Bromley x

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Our Lollibop 2012 round up

We went to the wonderful "Lollibop" festival in Regents Park, London on Friday 17th August and we had the most amazing time!

My little ones are Blake aged 3years and Maegan aged 14months.

We were travelling into charing cross and then taking the bakerloo line to regents park tube stop and then walking through the park.

It was a tough journey with little ones and a pram - lots and lots and lots of steps! Luckily though, there were a few kind gentlemen around to help on some of the steps but for next year, I will definitely be revising my route!

collage of photos of Blake and Maegan Clement having fun at Lollibop 2012 Regents Park LondonThere was so much going on that there was no chance of boredom - there was so much to do that one day really wasn't enough and I might consider doing two days next year!

We got there just in time to catch The Gruffalo on stage - Blake had been very much looking forward to this! It had already started but that didn't matter - you were welcome to join in (or leave) at any point with the live acts.

Yoga with the waybuloos was fun for both my little people and was sooo cute to see all the children who joined in! So many adorable little people!

Blake had a great time riding a balance bike around a circuit in the halfords tent which included a hill, tunnel and monster!

We had lunch under the shaded area in front of the village green stage which showed funny acts while we had a picnic! - plenty of beanbags and deck chairs around! We watched this great performer (George, i think) who was a hoot but I felt sorry for him! There were a couple of kids who were a right handful! - one tried to pull the entertainer off a tightrope and a girl passed underneath him! Eek!

Had an amazing time in the B&Q mini makers tent - Blake made a coaster - there was an excellent man who can only be a grandpa who helped Blake saw the wood to make his coaster and then he moved on to another table to sand down the edges and on to a decorating table to do painting and sticking!

The 3ft and under area was awesome for both my little people - lots of little tykes toys, slides, cottages and cars! Lots of wow! Toys and a soft play tent - Meg's favourite! a classes area with baby sensory, signing and baby ballet, and a tent where Blake took part in a magic show!

There was a play area full of games and toys that Blake enjoyed while I fed Meg with yummy freebies from the Ella's kitchen stand!

Blake had free haribo's that people were giving out!

We saw a bit of the zingzillas live on stage - they truly rocked! And Blake had his face painted for the first time - as a tiger raaahh!

The day wouldn't be complete without an ice cream! plenty of ice cream vans about :)

There were bits we missed such as the John lewis lane which looked like a row of shops full of toys! And the transformers stand - the queues didn't have any cover and we found it to hot to keep waiting - it was a glorious hot and sunny day! The puppet making sounded great but we just ran out of time! Meant to try again later but there was just so much fun going on!

There were several sets of portaloos around and a couple of boob and botty tents - nappies, wipes, changing mats, microwaves, bottle warmers and water fountains all free to use and a private area for breastfeeding with thanks from John Lewis.

As a blogger, I was invited to visit the bloggers lounge which was great - refreshments and shade for the kids with colouring in pictures a welcome 5 min break!

Most definitely want to go again next year! An amazing day out! 

Emma in Bromley xx

Feeling the pinch!

We've had a tough month for money - just a little harder than normal. To get by I've even had to sell things on eBay for food money!
After hubby's pay day finally coming round it was time to do a much needed toiletries shop from Boots, there's an extra points day on so I thought I'd take advantage of that.

When I got to the till with my not even heavy basket I went a shade lighter and felt quite shaky when I was told my shopping came to almost a £100, i'd expected it to be about £40 - I'd stopped adding up as I was going round!

I had to do that really really embarrassing thing of deciding what to put back!
What you get for £72 in Boots! expensive toiletries, can't believe the cost of my shopping

I'm mean seriously! £100! That is a lot of money! I put back shower gel, some toothpaste (I'd fallen for the 3 for 2) a new sippy cup for Meg and deodorant. - all stuff I'd rather have if I'm honest!

I managed to reduce it to £72.17p - I was still astounded that some nappies and a few toiletries would come to this! I'd bought a few offers like 1/3 off the kids suncream (1 of only 2 brands Blake isn't allergic to!) and bubble bath. 2 for £12 on condoms (no "accident" yet please!) and 3 for 2 on vitamins and herbal - this is the first time I've succumbed to multivits for the kids!

Here is a photo of our shopping - do you really think this is worth over £72?
I don't - I feel well and truly ripped off!

  • Pack of 48 nappies
  • Pack of 22 nappies
  • 1 tube of toothpaste
  • 1 packet of cotton wool
  • 2 for £12 rubbers
  • 1/3 off kids suncream 75ml
  • 1/3 off kids bubblebath
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • travel size shampoo
  • 3 for 2 multivits (and teething powder) 

I just can't help but feel that soon, the cost of things will get so high, we won't actually be able to afford to eat, wash or live!

Emma in Bromley x

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Fun afternoon in Bromley and Downham

I'm doing our regular walk to the post office when I spot a white tent on the green grassy bit opposite the school on Launcelot Road and my instant thought was oh no - a police tent!
Given that in the past 3 weeks there was a 16 year old stabbed to death followed a week later by a knock on our door to see if we had witnessed anything after someone tried to break into our neighbours house with a shovel, I think that's a justified reaction!

However - this wasn't a police tent at all - it was something lovely for a change!

The local youth project had put on a fun afternoon for the local residents of Launcelot Road, Bromley (br1) Downham border.

The white tent was a make your own smoothie bar - where you power the blender by cycling!

There was also a marquee for karaoke - not one for me, I'm only allowed (or should that be aloud!) to sing in church - I'm banned from any other singing!

Blake really fancied a go on the huge inflatable slide - but to get to the slide you had to scale a wall inside and he was just to small to manage it and I couldn't go in to help him up! Ended up helping him get back out :(

And another inflatable that I've not seen before with a massive planet to dodge while people pushed it at you!

All looked fun and was a refreshing change for the local community (except maybe the portaloo!)

Emma in Bromley xx

launcelot road bromley downham fun afternoon youth project

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The hobbit, a book review and competition

I've always been a bit of a bookworm and I still am! I'm pleased to say both my little people seem to be the same too!
Blake Preston Clement reading J R R Tolkien's The Hobbit

I think I was about 7 or 8 when I first read my Dad's copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, I remember spending hours studying the maps printed into the book and I really loved the characters. It's a book I've returned to at various points in my life along with the Lord of the Rings.

I can't wait to see the new film The Hobbit out in December, I know the book will always hold a special part in my heart.

I was really happy to be sent a review copy - its been a while since I read the book last - at least ten years and I no longer had my own copy.

I've really enjoyed reading parts aloud to my little boy, he loves the opening parts describing the home of the peaceful bilbo baggins and just like me, loves to study the maps! He's also into dragons but I'm mindful what I read about Smaug to a 3 year old!

I've really enjoyed rekindling my love for this story, filled to the brim with adventure, mythical beasts and magic!

Available to buy here

To share the magic of the book,
I have 2 copies for my lovely readers to win so you can read them to your children too!

How to Enter
All you have to do is leave a comment below with your own wizard name (what would you be called if you were a wizard!) and a way for me to contact you if you win! (twitter id or email addy etc)
Two readers will win one copy each, sent out directly from the lovely PR lady.

UK entries only please.

Winners selected using, please reply with your details with 7days of winning or another winner will be selected.

Bonus entries:
Tweet a link to the comp including @beachpebble
Like "Emma in Bromley" Facebook page
Pin the comp on pinterest
Google + this post
Follow me on GFC
Please leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries (max 1 for each method)

Comp closes at 12noon on Monday 27th August!

Emma in Bromley xx

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The half-baked cake review!

I love baking cakes, that's no secret, but I do lack two things, a good mixer and time!

Blake and Maegan enjoying my Half-baked cake review, scrumptious chocolate!In less than a month, I had the demands of making my daughter, Maegan's christening cake, a birthday cake for Blake's 3rd birthday and a cake for Maegan's first birthday.

The christening cake was good, all homemade- but not quite the finish I had anticipated.

Blake's birthday cake was chocolate homemade tasty mess covered with smarties.

But poor Maegan, we ran out of time and I couldn't get anyone to babysit just for an hour or so, so I couldn't make her cake - it ended up being lovely, but shop bought M&S cake. Not what I'd planned for my daughter's first birthday!

If I'd have known about Half-Baked cakes then, I'd have certainly have had one of those instead! It's a welcome helping hand!

I was sent a scrumptious chocolate Half-baked cake to review recently and I'm in love with the brand already! They are a new brand and the concept is all about readymade cake mixture, they use good ingredients such as free range eggs and real butter. 

The cake comes ready to bake! All the time consuming jobs have been done for you. I love making cakes with Blake but sometimes we just don't have the time with Maegan being at the "handful" stage where she's just climbing everything it's hard to keep her safe and supervise Blake at the same time. We also have a space issue - we just don't have to room to spread out all the cake making stuff! I love baking but I just have to many obstacles at the moment!

With Half-baked it was literally as simple as putting on my pretty pinny (pinny is optional by the way), opening the box and popping it in a preheated oven!

There are clear instructions both on the box and on an inserted leaflet - the leaflet also has diagrams and instructions to help get perfect icing too!

Blake kept asking if the cake was ready every 5 mins and was very excited when it was time to get the cake!

It was just a case of running a knife round the inside of the paper case and then peeling it off carefully.

I popped the cake on a cooling rack and once it was cool, I spread the chocolate butter cream all over the top - this was also all ready prepared!

I tried to get the cake to last - I wanted to see how long it would keep for but after 2 days there wasn't a single crumb left! I think 2 days was a record really in a house full of chocoholics!

The Half-Baked cake looked, smelled and tasted like a homemade one, it really didn't feel like cheating and I still had a sense of pride - and with a whole lot less washing up to do too!

If I was to send this to a school cake sale - I'd be confident that other mums would be asking for the recipe - this one is definitely a "granny's secret recipe" ;-)

It was a nice easy lovely treat - a nice fresh home baked cake!
We had our scrumptious chocolate cake as a treat with tea on Sunday afternoon and it went down well, even Maegan tried some!

I liked the "curiosity killed the cake" design on the base of the box - made me giggle with its cheeky little message!

Half-Baked cakes are currently available in four flavours, farmhouse apple, lemon & lime drizzle, coffee & walnut and scrumptious chocolate from selected Tesco stores with and RRP of £5 and can be found in the chilled food aisle.

The Half-Baked website has lots of video tutorials and competitions so worth a little nosey!

Great idea and already on my shopping list!

More cake inspiration on my pinterest cake board

Emma in Bromley x

Saturday, 11 August 2012

teenage stabbing on Launcelot Road

I'm not sure what I want to say in this post and I'm sure I will ramble - only that I'm sure I feel that I want to say something about the incident!

A week and a half ago, part of our road was cordoned off by the police and family on Geraint Road soon told me that they had been woken up at 6am to police knocking on the door.

the area outside 93 launcelot road which marks the murder of a 16 year old boy stabbed to deathIt soon transpired that there had been a fatal stabbing at or 93 Launcelot Road opposite HAKA school at 4am.

The same morning some crazy man had attacked an elderly choir group with a machete only a few miles away and there are a lot of teenage gangs in lewisham so all sorts were running through my mind in terms of safety for my children.

A boy was the victim, he had just turned 16 only a few days earlier - I don't know any of the people involved or many details but what I've heard is that the boy who was killed was trying to separate two other children who were fighting at an unsupervised (seriously! Where the flip were the parents!) house party on a tuesday night! 
if your teenager is friends with kids with knives - you don't let them have a party without a responsible adult! - actually, that should be - you don't let them have a party full stop!

The police and emergency services had spent about an hour trying to save the teenager's life but were sadly unable to.

The police spent the day looking for the murder weapon and searched all the gardens and drains on Launcelot road and surrounding roads - including our own garden - a necessary but equally disturbing experience! I don't know if or where they found it.

The following day, across the road from the murder house, in the afternoon, there was a safer neighbourhood stand with an officer letting people know that it wasn't believed to have been gang related and that retaliation wasn't anticipated.

I don't know what would drive a person to carry a weapon to a party - let alone use it on someone - and again- not the person they were actually quarrelling with.

When I was 15/16 I went through many interesting phases - goth, grunge, pagan, vegetarian, red striped hair - at that age you are trying out new things to discover who you might be and develop into - shame to think you could be killed for what you might be interested in or friends you are with at such a small part of what should be your total lifespan.

That safer neighbourhood stand only seemed to have been there briefly for the afternoon the day after the murder.

Perhaps they felt that was adequate - there wasn't even anything about the victim - nameless. To me, a murder - whatever the reasons, a few doors away from my home - that is a very big deal.

A week after, when I walked passed, the only thing to mark anything had even happened was a few flowers tied to a lamp post.

That made me feel very sad - for someone who was only 16 and a few days old - I expected to see quite a lot of tributes.

Such a young life taken for what I can grasp as silly reasons, a life not even named, no photos, cards, or candles and hardly any tributes.

I don't think I will ever be able to understand why children feel the need to carry weapons (or viscous dogs) and actually use them fatally on each other, it is, in my opinion, ridiculous - this is the UK, a (mostly) good and lucky place to be a child, its not a war torn life threatening country and there can be no good to come from children with knives especially in a privileged country to grow up in - even the UK's most poverty ridden areas (which launcelot road isn't by the way) are in far better shape than other parts of the world.
Why don't these children see how lucky they are? Don't geography teachers show what it's like in other countries anymore, don't their parents let them watch the news? if these knife carrying tough kids swapped places with kids in Syria - I wonder if they would see how much they should respect life?

The officer on the safer neighbourhood stand had shocked me by telling me that in the borough of lewisham (where technically Launcelot Road falls - even though it's BR1) knife crime in children is a DAILY occurrence - raising two small children in the area - the future scares me.
If so many children are carrying weapons capable of taking life, why are their parents, teachers and peers not doing anything about it?

Children with knives - this is not ok.

Such a shame and so much pointless sadness.

Emma in Bromley x