Win 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool

In recent years gin drinking has enjoyed something of a renaissance. Although gin has been drunk for centuries, gin distillers have been tapping into the growing trend for small batch, artisan and craft gins. 

In 2012, in celebration of all things gin, the Gin Festival was born. Since then the Gin Festival has been popping up in fabulous locations up and down the UK. The Gin Festival is a fantastic travelling festival; full of vintage flair and with all the gin you could possibly want. It’s a great place to go and try new gins, meet the makers, sample some new things and pick up a new favourite. 

Win 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool

Last year I went to the Gin Festival Manchester and absolutely loved every second. This year I’ll be going a little further afield and spending an afternoon at the first ever Gin Festival Blackpool. 

The stunning Ballroom at the iconic Blackpool Tower is the perfect venue for the inaugural Gin Festival Blackpool. It takes place on Friday 10th March and Saturday 11th March. Tickets are selling fast, so if you want to get in on the gin action, grab your tickets now!

Win 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool

The UK’s biggest and oldest Gin Festival will be serving up over 100 gins to the Blackpool crowd, including many new and exclusive gins. There will also be masterclasses with distillers, cocktails and live music. The Gin Festival Blackpool is an event not to be missed!

If you can’t make it to Blackpool, why not book tickets for the Gin Festival in Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham, Swansea, Torquay, Bournemouth, Bristol, Ipswich, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Gloucester, Stoke-on-Trent, Leeds or Oxford.

For more information and to book tickets, visit the Gin Festival website.

WIN 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool

To be in with a chance to win 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool, redeemable on the Friday 10th March evening session only, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will receive 4 tickets to the Gin Festival Blackpool, redeemable on Friday 10th March evening session only.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 5th March 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
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12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Home: Giving my kitchen table an update for spring

Like most people, the heart of my home is my kitchen table. We eat together around it, we do homework and our work at it, we paint, we draw, we sew, we argue and we make up. Our kitchen table gets a lot of action and it shows. Our beautiful wooden table is scratched and worn. Three years ago when the boy was a toddler we got a wipe clean tablecloth from Wipe Easy Tablecloths and it was a godsend and a real game changer.

Home: Giving my kitchen table an update for spring

This spring I decided it was time to give my kitchen table a little update. So I turned once again to Wipe Easy Tablecloths. I wasn’t sure what to go for, my kitchen is light, airy and neutral. Virtually any pattern of tablecloth would work well, I wanted one that wasn’t too busy, but with a bit of a pattern. 

I went on their website and managed to narrow it down to just a few choices, after giving it some thought I plumped for the confetti oilcloth tablecloth. It has pretty pastel polka dots on a neutral background. I had hoped it would look lovely in my kitchen and brighten the place up a bit for spring.

Home: Giving my kitchen table an update for spring

The tablecloth I liked is 135cm in width, so I just had to measure our table and order the length I needed. It was really easy to order using the website and a roll containing my tablecloth was delivered the next day. 

I love my new tablecloth. It looks really smart and it’s brightened up the room a treat. I don’t think you can beat an oilcloth tablecloth for everyday use. With a house full of messy boys and the constant rigours of family life, it really protects the table underneath. Cleaning up after crafts, painting or just a messy dinner is so much easier too.

Home: Giving my kitchen table an update for spring

Wipe Easy Tablecloths have a huge range of oilcloth, PVC and vinyl designs to choose from. You can easily find a tablecloth to suit your style and they’re really reasonably priced. Ours cost just £33 which is great value, especially as I’m expecting to have it on the table for several years.

I’m very happy with the design I’ve chosen. I think it’s light, bright and just the right amount of informal for our busy family kitchen. What do you think?

Note: I was sent this tablecloth for review purposes from Wipe Easy Tablecloths. All images and opinions are my own.

Family Fun: Art On The Run, Sunday 21st May 2017

UPDATE: Art On The Run will now take place on Sunday 21st May 2017, 11am.

On Sunday 21st May the creative minds behind the Just So Festival, Wild Rumpus invite you and your family to take part in Art On The Run. Join them for a 5K dash through the newly regenerated LIVIA Forest in Manchester.

Combining a love of the arts, woodlands and exercising outdoors, Art On The Run is like no other. Race, run, scamper, chase, sprint, scurry, bound, dart, canter, gallop, jog, scuttle, trot or walk through the beautiful forest landscape, encountering surprising and fantastical large-scale art installations along the way.

With wacky warm ups, surprises along the way and crossing the finish line with some footstomping musicians; Art On The Run looks like it’s going to be a wondrous woodland experience and perfectly curious April Fool run.

All the forest paths are pushchair friendly.  The run should take around 35 minutes, or around an hour if you choose to walk the race. Dress up, dress down, dress however you want; but it wouldn’t be a Wild Rumpus event if you weren’t at least wearing funny bunny ears!

LIVIA Forest is part of the City Forest Park an initiative by City of Trees and the Forestry Commission. Their aim is to create a huge public park in Greater Manchester bigger than New York’s Central Park.

LIVIA Forest is part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail. It is made up of several community woodlands and nature reserves linking Clifton Country Park and Drinkwater Park. LIVIA Forest is host to a wide range of habitats and wildlife. It’s just a stone’s throw away from Manchester City Centre and a great place to spend a day walking, cycling or running.

Art On The Run sounds like a lovely event, regardless of your fitness level. My super-fit husband and sporty son will likely run the whole race, whereas I’m happy to enjoy a stroll through the woodland, enjoying the sights and surprises along the way. 

For information and to book tickets now visit www.artontherun.org.uk. Art On The Run will take place on Sunday 21st May 2017 (tickets will not be available to purchase on the day). Tickets cost £20 (adults), £10 (children).

 
Family Fun: Art On The Run, Saturday 1 April 2017

Pets: Ensuring your dog gets the right food all year round

When it comes to your canine companion, you need to provide them with food that’s not only nutritionally beneficial, but also makes them as happy as they make you. Dog owners usually take a considerable amount of time deciding what food is right for their pet, but knowing which foods are best can usually be a struggle.

In total, Britain spent £899 million on dry and wet dog food in 2015 alone. Depending on the time of year and whether temperatures are mild or freezing, it can be difficult to determine whether your dog should be eating dry or wet food. If you’re walking your dog in colder temperatures, it’s vital that your dog receives a sufficient amount of nutrients in order to stay fit and healthy. In the summer, dogs can rely on a much leaner diet, so they don’t need the fatty content provided by wet foods.

Provided by natural dog food retailer Feedem, this guide will help you figure out how to ensure that your dog gets the right food and nutrients whatever the weather.

Check your dog’s fitness

We’ve all been there, you’re sitting in the living room with the dog, and sometimes, they get a bit of what you’re eating as a treat. Although you may not notice it, because you see them every day, this can be a significant contributor to weight gain. This will have an impact on your dog during their walks, as it might result in sluggishness and will affect how long they can walk for.

If you begin to notice this yourself, then change their food from a wet to dry serving, as dry foods typically have a lower fat content. As well as this, fewer dog treats are an easy way of regulating your dog’s weight; think of it like this, would you keep giving yourself a treat if you stopped exercising?

Try to remember that whatever changes you make to your dog’s diet, it still needs to be tasty for your pooch. For example, if your dog is content with wet food and they need a fattier meal to build a strong winter coat, then keep a small amount of dry food in their diet so that you’re changing what they’re eating, but it’s less of a shock to them when they’re eating new foods.

How often is your dog outside?

If your dog isn’t inclined to go on many walks, and likes to sit snug beside you rather than go outside, make sure that they’re receiving a low-fat dry food diet; it seems obvious, but when they’re moving around less, they aren’t going to burn off much of the food they eat. However, if your dog works outside all day, or likes to run around a field for hours during their walk, then try to give them 10 to 90% more fatty-wet foods depending on the dog’s circumstances.

 If you’re unsure, then consider these key points as a guide:

  • Size: Depending on your dog’s size and build, you’re going to have to accommodate this through the foods that they eat. Subcutaneous fat keeps your dog warm and aids their fur coat, so it’s important their body fat remains constant and doesn’t deplete through the year.
  • Fitness: Dog foods contain a range of vitamins and minerals to uphold the general health of your dog. Look for ‘complete foods’ for dogs that are struggling with either their health or ability to complete their routine walk, these foods will help them reach their peak fitness again.
  • Fur density: If your dog carries a stronger and thicker fur, then they don’t need foods that are high in fat. This is because dogs with thicker coats don’t expend as many calories as those with thinner fur. Dogs use a significant amount of calories by shivering to keep them warm. For smaller dogs with thinner furs, make sure they’re given slightly more food than they would normally get during the winter. This will help them stay warm.

Each dog to their own

Complete foods are the best way of making sure that your pet will receive a nutritionally balanced meal that contains fats, proteins, and vitamins – everything your dog needs to stay healthy with every portion.

These types of foods are usually the best option for your dog as they are balanced, so they won’t receive more than they need of one food type, such as fat. However, we all know that dogs can be just as picky as us, so make sure it’s a gradual change if you’ve now spotted something wrong in their current diet. If you need some advice, then consider for a moment that in 2015 dry food outsold wet food by £241 million, so if you’re stuck for ideas then choose this option.  

We recommend that your dog sticks to this diet unless your dog is exposed to temperatures that are freezing on a regular basis. In this instance, try to supply them with a wetter food that contains a type of gravy. These foods will provide your dog with a sufficient intake of calories when they need it the most. Remember, try not to provide treats alongside this diet, or they’ll need to go back to the dry foods after gaining too much weight! We all know it’s harder to lose weight than it is to gain…

dog food

Sources:

http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2014/october/how-much-should-you-feed-your-dog-fall-and-winter-32085

http://www.1800petmeds.com/education/winter-feeding-tips-dogs-33.htm

http://www.pfma.org.uk/types-of-dog-food/

http://www.pfma.org.uk/market-data

http://www.pfma.org.uk/using-the-right-ingredients

This is a guest post.

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

The February half term is almost upon us (ours is 20-24 Feb 2017). I’m starting to plan some activities to keep me and the small boy busy. In Manchester there is so much to do, but here are five things to do in Manchester over February half term which have tickled my fancy.

Steam, Sweat & Spinners at MSI

Over February half term, experience the sights, smells and sounds of steam with thunderous steam engines demonstrations at the Museum of Science and Industry. Discover the steamy side of Victorian Manchester with Steam, Sweat and Spinners. Find out about the hard work and sweat which went into working in a mill and get hands on with our Goo in the Loo workshop.

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

Join in with the Cotton Mill Circus story time. Work in a factory by day and circus by night and make your very own stories and tales with the magic lanterns workshop. Strike a pose in the Victorian photo booth or gather round the old Joanna for a good old-fashioned sing-along. Plus ride the 1830 Express find out how Manchester changed the world via an exploding balloon and a flying beach ball. There’s also a Victorian-style funfair in the upper yard – see the world from the top of the Big Wheel, win at Hook-a-Duck, and ride a magical carousel horse.

For more information about what’s on at MSI this half term, visit their website.

The Waterside Arts Centre

The Waterside Arts Centre in Sale (very near the tram stop) is one of my favourite places to visit with the boy. It’s easy for non-driving me to get to, it’s small but perfectly formed and they always have an interesting selection of things going on, from theatre, live music, workshops, films, comedy and much more. It’s all on their website.

Enjoy the timeless tale of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice on 17th February, brought to life with an irresistible blend of music, puppetry and storytelling. Or young ones might like Lolly Pops and Circus Props on Sunday 19th February, listen to the exciting stories of Lolly – as she runs away from the circus to embark on new adventures in the big world.

For older kids, who fancy a spot of CSIing this half term. Join experienced and professional forensic scientists in Forensic Science in Action. This is suitable for ages 7-11 and is on Monday 13th February, from 10am to 3pm. You bring the packed lunch and see if you can solve the crime!

Mini movie fans have two great films to choose from on Monday 20th February, with Shaun the Sheep Movie and Flushed Away. Not to mention Puppet Masters Return with Aardman Studios, running until April 1st. This fantastic exhibition is packed full of original props, puppets and production artwork from many of Aardman’s most famous films and characters. Entry is free.

Half term cooking kids club at intu Trafford Centre

The intu Trafford Centre is running daily cookery events for children during February Half Term. With different activities such as crepe stations, banoffee pie making, mocktail classes and gyozo-making sessions taking place at intu Trafford Centre every day, there’s lots to keep the kids occupied.

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

With most of the activities taking place from 12-5pm outside Topshop, Upper Regent Crescent – it’s worth checking out the website to see what’s available and when. In addition to the food and craft activities, there are limited places on these free restaurant based cooking classes. Book a place and learn to cook WagamamaTampopo or Coast to Coast

All of the activities are free for all the family and are open to all ages. Visit www.intu.co.uk/TraffordCentre to find details of what’s on and opening hours.

Stockport Hat Museum

One place I’ve been meaning to visit for ages is the Stockport Hat Museum. It’s very much on the agenda this half term. The Hat Museum is an award winning museum with two floors of interactive exhibits, taking you on a journey through the history of Stockport’s once thriving hatting industry.

The museum is home to a recreated hat factory with 20 fully restored working Victorian-style machines. Not to mention a fantastic collection of over 400 hats from around the world. Over February Half Term try your hand at a different craft each day, including felt making, decoupage and easy lino print. Suitable for ages 7+. Booking essential. 

For more information about the Stockport Hat Museum, visit their website.

Media City & Salford quays

On a fine day the boy and I love a visit to Media City. It’s easy to get to on the tram and there’s so much to do there. From shopping in the Lowry Outlet, popping over the bridge to the Imperial War Museum North, exploring the Blue Peter Garden, watching a show at The Lowry or going for lunch somewhere. 

This February Half Term we will be heading over to Media City for the day, having some lunch, doing a spot of shopping and then going to The Lowry to watch The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show which will be on from Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25 February.

Five things to do in Manchester over February Half Term

Media City and Salford Quays is a great place to visit. It’s largely traffic free so there’s plenty of space for the kids to run about and burn off some energy. There are more places to eat than I can count, and there are lots of interesting places to visit and things to do. My two favourites are The Lowry and IWM North, check them out, you won’t regret it.

What are you plans for this February Half Term?

Health: Hormone changes and dry eyes

I’d put it down to just getting older, but in recent years I’ve started to struggle with dry eyes. Part of that is probably increased levels of screen time, part of it is I now have to wear glasses and part of that is my age.

I have noticed that after a long day on the laptop my eyes are feeling it. When I go to the cinema and I put my glasses on, I feel it then too. My eyes feel uncomfortable and dry. Dry eye is a condition where your eyes don’t make enough tears to keep them moist. If you’ve got dry eyes, your eyes can feel irritated, watery and sore.

Health: Hormone changes and dry eyes

Leading Optometrist Sarah Farrant is a new mum and has experienced dry eye problems herself. She had this to say about dry eyes. “There is a well-established link between our balance of hormones and the health of our eyes. During pregnancy, the level of oestrogen in our body changes. This has a direct effect on our eye health, often causing expectant mums to experience dry eyes and find contact lenses uncomfortable, especially in the last trimester of pregnancy.”

There are many things which can cause dry eyes. A night on the tiles, tiredness, too much screen time and central heating can all affect the moisture levels in our eyes and if left unmanaged can lead to more serious eye problems.

Sarah has some tips for people who are having problems with dry eyes – 

•  Blink! Each time you blink it spreads moisture across the surface of your eye. Screen time can reduce your blink rate from 22 blinks to 7 blinks per minute and is a major cause of dry eyes.
•  Use a naturally hydrating eye drop like Hycosan Fresh (£8.99 from Boots) to help keep your eyes moisturised and feeling refreshed.
•  Studies show that supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids can decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water can also help.

Health: Hormone changes and dry eyes

I really like the design of the Hycosan Fresh bottle. I’m useless at doing my own eye drops, but this is a pump, so you just aim the dropper in the corner of your eye, press the pump and it’s in. Why aren’t all eye drops designed like this?

Since I took Sarah’s advice my eyes have felt much better. I’m making an effort to blink and drink more, take regular breaks away from the screen, and when my eyes start to feel uncomfortable I use a drop or two of Hycosan Fresh.

Note: I was sent a bottle of Hycosan Fresh for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.

Health: Making sick days better #VicksTricks

It’s February and we are slap bang in the middle of cold season; not that there’s ever really a time when you can’t catch a cold. With school being like it is – a festering swamp of germs. Bugs, viruses and colds can knock a whole class out for weeks at a time and kids are having sick days left, right and centre!

Inevitably the kids bring home germs and the whole family goes down. Whilst we make every effort not to take any unnecessary time off school and work, sometimes a sick day is what you need to knock the bug on the head. 

As a parent, the problem with sick days is that you don’t want them to be too much fun, you don’t want to give the idea that being at home is more fun than being at school, but you still want to be able to offer comfort and care to your child.

Health: Making sick days better #VicksTricks

The boy has had thankfully very few sick days off school. But when he has I always make sure he’s warm and comfortable. Snuggled on the sofa under a blanket is fairly standard. He might watch TV for a while, or do some colouring or work his way through an activity book. We will often read to each other and we will always have as many cuddles as he wants or needs. It’s a difficult balance to strike between keeping him entertained but not making it too exciting, so he won’t want more fun sick days at home.

In terms of looking after him when a cold hits, I let him drink as much water or watered down fruit juice as he wants. He’s not yet discovered the comforting hug in a mug a hot cordial can be, but that will come. If he’s suffering he can have some paracetamol medicine, and I encourage him to just keep blowing his nose. If he’s snuffly and coughing at night, the old trick of Vicks Vaporub on the feet really helps.

Interestingly Vicks have done some research into how parents cope with colds and bugs within their families –

• Over half (52%) of parents said that rest was the most important thing for making children feel better
• This was followed by ‘medicine’, which 40% of parents rely on
• More than a third of parents (36%) believe in the power of TLC

And when it comes to keeping children entertained: 

• Three out of four (75%) British parents put on the TV or a DVD
• Over a quarter (27%) read to their children
• 1 in 10 parents get really creative; either telling jokes (8%) or even do magic tricks (2%)

Of course prevention is always better than a cure. We are big on hand washing and trying to avoid getting the bugs in the first place. At the first sign of a cold, we adults start taking zinc supplements and praying for mercy. We’ve recently discovered Vicks First Defence. You spray it up your nose a few times a day at the first sign of a cold. It helps to stop the cold bugs in their tracks. 

Health: Making sick days better #VicksTricks

I admit to being a little skeptical, but last week I woke up with a tickly throat and reached for the Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray. It was easy to use and I used it for a couple of days and it really did seem to stop the cold in its tracks. I just don’t have the time to be fighting bugs, so this will be part of my bug battle armoury from now on. 
 

This post is an entry for the BritMums #VicksTricks campaign.

Chronic Health Conditions: I’m all out of spoons

In recent years the word “Spoonie” has been used to describe someone like me. Someone who has a chronic health condition. For me it’s pain. I live with pain, most of the time I am the boss of it. I manage it so that it doesn’t appear to the outside world that it manages me. Sometimes the mask slips and I have to admit that I just can’t do it anymore and I need to rest up. Today, this week, is one of those times. I’m all out of spoons.

The idea of spoons – you get X number of spoons a day and you have to choose how to “spend” them. For example a shower might take three spoons, a walk to the shops 5, but you might only have 15 spoons a day, how should you use them best? I don’t always think the spoons thing is always helpful to me, like most people with chronic health problems I have good days and bad. I might have five spoons today, but tomorrow I could have 50. And yes, some days if I use too many spoons I won’t have any or many to use the next day. I feel like I’m saying the word spoons a lot here.

Anyway, long story short. I’ve hurt my back a bit, so my pain levels are high. The numbness in my legs and pelvis is distracting, but I’m trying not to worry. On top of that I’ve got a stomach bug. I’m all out of spoons.

Today I managed to sit up in bed long enough to chug down some painkillers. Then it took me two hours to get the energy together to shakily make my way downstairs to keep the dog company. Then I had to find spoons I didn’t have to clean up the little puppy gifts she’d left me, before I grabbed a drink and lay on the sofa watching TV for the afternoon. I know the boys will be home from school and work soon, so I spent my last remaining spoon on a shower so I looked less like hell for them. No more spoons.

I’ve just had a text “what’s for tea?” To which I replied “I’m too wobbly to stand, sorry”. It’s official, I am all out of spoons.

My beautiful son is making his Beavers promise tonight. I really should go and watch him and his proud moment. I will probably make myself go, using the precious spoons I’d squirreled away for tomorrow. The dog remains unwalked for now, but she’s been played with, which was all I could manage.

I’m normally on top of this. I am normally well in control of my spoons but I’m all out. I’m all out of spoons for now and I’m running up a deficit for tomorrow and the day after.

Note – I wrote this last night on my iPad but didn’t have any spoons or energy left to publish it. I didn’t have enough to get me to Beavers to watch Ben make his promise either, so now I feel like a terrible parent. So here it is, my blog post, and now I’m going back to bed.

Chronic Health Conditions: I'm all out of spoons

Crafting: Making a Découpage Lantern for Valentine’s Day

I am part of a craft group who meet monthly. Each month we try something different and last month we did a spot of découpage. It was really simple, given that it’s essentially sticking pieces of paper onto something. This month I’ve been thinking about crafts for Valentine’s Day and I thought I’d make a découpage lantern, and it turned out pretty well. Here’s what I did.

How to make a Découpage Lantern for Valentine’s Day

You will need:
Two sheets of tissue paper 
One clean jam jar
Some PVA glue (I used Bostik White Glue)
Some ribbon or coloured rafia craft twine

Crafting: Making a Découpage Lantern for Valentine's Day

Tear up one sheet of the tissue paper, choose the paler colour. Paint the jam jar with the PVA glue and cover in the ripped up pieces of tissue paper. If you layer it up so that all of the jar is covered, but some parts have several layers it will create a nice effect when the candle is lit.

Crafting: Making a Découpage Lantern for Valentine's Day

Once the jar is covered with tissue paper, take your darker paper and cut heart shapes in varying sizes.

Crafting: Making a Découpage Lantern for Valentine's Day

Glue the hearts over the jar however you like. I covered some of the sides of my jar with big hearts and others with little hearts. Leave the jar to dry for a few hours or overnight.

Crafting: Making a Découpage Lantern for Valentine's Day

Once the jar is dry you can tie a ribbon around the top which finishes it off nicely and makes a really pretty little centrepiece for your Valentine’s Day dinner table, or just some lovely mood lighting for a romantic night in front of the TV.

Crafting: Making a Découpage Lantern for Valentine's Day

Découpage is really easy and so great for decorating lanterns and votives with. You can découpage almost anything. At my craft club we decorated little boxes which were quite pretty when they dried, but I think it really lends itself to glass and especially glass jars.

 a Découpage Lantern for Valentine's Day

Note: I am a Bostik craft blogger and I was sent the materials to create a Valentine’s craft with by Craft Merrily. 

If not now, when? Protesting the Muslim ban

As a parent, I strive to instil certain values in my child which should see him right and hopefully make him a not terrible adult. Kindness is the main one, tolerance, understanding, empathy, good manners, elbows off the table, don’t eat with your mouth open, don’t use my sofa as a trampoline etc etc.

Kindness is at the heart of almost every life lesson we share with him. Having had people be unkind to me all of my life, I completely understand how simple acts of kindness can make a big difference and I am kind, almost to a fault. It doesn’t make me a pushover, and when I see unkindness or injustice I try and speak up, or do something to help. Often quietly, because the best acts of kindness are often the quiet ones.

Tonight we sat around the dinner table and I thought I’d talk to my six year old son about Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. It wasn’t an easy conversation, but as he’d been asking about Syria last week, it felt like a good time to have that discussion. I know some of his friends at school will talk about it, so it’s best he has a little grasp of the situation.

We talked in very simple terms about families escaping from the Syrian bombs and trying to find somewhere safe to live. We talked about what if it were us and how we might feel. We talked about how kind people might offer to help these people, who just want somewhere safe to live and go to school. And we talked about some of the families who had found a safe place, but when they arrived they were detained or sent back.

Then I told him I would be going on a protest, to show that I disagreed with the Muslim ban, that it was an unkind thing to do. I told my husband I’d had enough and he nodded his head in agreement. And I said “if not now, when?” and he squeezed my hand.

If not now, when? Protesting the Muslim ban

There are protests up and down the country against Donald Trump and the Muslim ban. I’ll be going to this one in Manchester, but you can find more events on Facebook. If you feel moved to stand up in support of this issue, please do. If not now, when?