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We love adventures, be they big or small, at home or away. This weekend we decided to have a bouncing competition. We went into the garden for some fun on the trampoline. I gave the kids some chocolate Barny snacks, for fuel, then they proceeded to bounce into outer space. To be honest, my daughter Moozles did most of the bouncing. Dubz was a bit too busy exploring the chocolate centre of his chocolate Barny sponge cake.

Barny snacks are great for a day out, picnic in the garden or even just as a snack for the after school/nursery pick-up. They don't have any artificial flavours or preservatives. They come in chocolate, strawberry, apple and milk flavours. My son prefers the chocolate and my daughter prefers the strawberry. I don't have a preference as my kids have never shared any with me. Maybe one day Barny. Maybe one day.

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We were sent two packs of Barny snacks for the purpose of a review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own (and my kids' own).

 

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My word of the week is 'Open'. This week I did something brave. Brave for me anyway. I did not climb a mountain or battle a disease. But I opened up. I showed a teeny tiny part of my heart, for all to see. There is a small part of me that was afraid for familial fall-out. I no longer care. My blog is my own. It is my head and my heart. it is where I ramble. Sometimes my words are crafted and thought out completely. Sometimes, like yesterday, I just let the thoughts pour out onto the keyboard and then I press publish.

So thank you to everyone who has tweeted or commented. You have allowed me to feel safe in this space. You have allowed me to open up and share a piece of me. Thank you to everyone who has read my post and made me feel that this is a place in which I can continue to grow and develop. If you want to read the post in which I open up, it is here.

 

The Reading Residence

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Whenever people ask me about siblings and growing up, I kinda stumble on the answer. The thing is, it's kinda complicated. I was born almost 39 years ago in The Seychelles, the youngest of eight children. I was very much an accident. My biological mother had a sister who was unable to have her own children. So I went to live with my aunt and her husband. I would often visit my biological parents at the weekends, but always wanted to go home to my Parents.

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When I was six years old, we moved to the Bay Area, in Northern California. Far away from my biological family, I grew up as an only child. It was a lonely existence. We lived a 45-minute drive from my school (and all my friends) so I spent the weekends at home, playing on my own. My foreign parents did not know about clubs or classes. I would play in front of the mirror, so that I could pretend that I had a twin sister. I would read books, and escape to different lands and be a different person.

My biological family moved to the UK when I was a teenager. I visited them a couple of times, but felt so alien. I was growing up so differently than my siblings had done. These were the days before email so it was tough keeping in touch. There was never enough time to catch up. Years later, when I fell in love with a British boy and moved to London, I thought it would be my chance to build a relationship with my family. But again, we were so different. I had grown up attending private schools and a private university. I am quiet and like to take in my surroundings. None of my siblings have attended university. They are louder and more forthright.

I thought that having children might bring me closer to my siblings. But most of my nieces and nephews are in their teens or twenties. I even have a niece and nephew in their early 30s (my two eldest siblings are in their 50s). There are times I have tried harder. But recently I have been pulling away. They are all so close. They speak to each other every day and see each other frequently. They expected me to slot right in. But I cannot. I am not used to a big family. I am used to being alone.

My biological siblings also expected me to have a renewed relationship with my biological parents. But how can you explain that you do not need new parents in your 30s? One Mom is enough, do I need a new mother at my age? As for my dearly loved and dearly missed Dad, he passed away five years ago. No biological father could ever take his place.

And I have to explain to my children that I have two sets of parents. How do you explain adoption when you aren't entirely sure why you were given away? Being adopted isn't something that happens when the adoption papers are signed. It is forever and constant. No matter how much you love your Parents, you always have a place in your heart that hurts from not being wanted. I wish my biological family could understand this. I wish I could explain how I feel. I fear that I will just keep pulling away.

I am linking up to Mama - and More for All About YOU. Go check some posts from some Wonder Women!

 

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Californian Mum_PeckhamRye

We went for a picnic yesterday in honour of a friend's birthday. We went to Peckham Rye, in South East London. Unfortunately, most of the people had toddler boys. This did not go down well with Moozles. She had expected to have another 'big girl' to play with. Luckily she had her brother to play with, and her Daddy (I was busy catching up with my friend who I haven't seen in months). But at one point, Moozles was so annoyed that she went off to sulk at a nearby table. But it's hard to sulk by yourself when you have a little brother. Dubz went over and just sat next to her. She didn't sulk for long. But I managed to take this picture while she was making a grumpy face.

Californian Mum 1

I wish I could help Moozles see how lucky she is. She has someone who absolutely adores her and who loves playing with her. She never has to be sad and alone, like I was as a child. She may have sad times, but never for want of company. She has a sibling there, always ready to keep her company. Always by her side.


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My party shoes are ready (by that, I mean my sneakers/trainers) because I'm going to Britmums Live 2014. For those of you not in the know, it's the UK's biggest two-day blogger and social media conference. Many of us BritMums Live attendees are writing posts introducing ourselves. As my blog name suggests, I am an American living in London. I've been in the UK for 12 years so my American accent is softer than it used to me, but it gets stronger when I'm around other Americans. I use British words like 'trash' instead of 'garbage' and 'pavement' instead of 'sidewalk'. But I still call the 'lift' the 'elevator', and I pronounce tomato as 'tomayto' not 'tomahto'. I sometimes say 'dude' and 'whatevs'. I definitely don't wear a fanny pack (I'm looking at you Brummy Mummy of 2).
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Name: Elfa
Blog: Californian Mum in London (I've just moved from Blogger to self-hosted!)
Twitter ID: @CalifornianMum
Height: 5 '6
Hair: Dark brown
Eyes: Brown
Is this your first blogging conference? Yes. *knees quaking*
Will you attend both days? Yes. I'm even staying at the Travelodge, despite living in London. PARTAY!
What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live? Getting to meet many of the lovely people I've met through blogging.
What will you be wearing? A dress and leggings, or maybe jeans and a t-shirt. Depends on the weather. And there'll be a cardi. There's always a cardi.
What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live? I hope to get a better understanding of blogging and how I can improve my writing and photo-taking. I'd also love to meet some brands.
Do you have any tips to pass on to others who may not have been before? No tips. I know practically nothing (I've only been blogging for seven months). So bring on Britmums Live 2014!

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Hey, you, you looking at me? It's still me, Californian Mum in London. I'm the same, just a bit fancier. I've made the move. I am now the proud owner of www.californianmuminlondon.comI had assumed I would have quit blogging by six months, but seven months on and I'm still loving it. In fact, I have been well and truly bitten by the Blogging Bug.

But I felt like I needed more than Blogger could offer me. It's been a time-consuming process. If anyone thinks they might want to start blogging, just buy your domain and go for it. I've had to migrate posts and get used to WordPress. And I have to start from square one for my Tots100 score (though obviously rankings aren't everything). But frankly, I'm tired.

I'm sure I will be messing about with my blog logo, and organising my blog and theme some more in the future. But I have missed writing this week. So am going live. Today. Please check out my new blog. Say hello. Let me know what you think.