Mum's blog

Our mum's blog is for Surrey mums to reach out to other mums with information, concerns, tips and everything else that is on their minds.

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Some of you may be aware of changes that Google has made to its algorithms this week. I won’t bore you with the technical detail of this (not sure if I quite understand it myself anyway!) but suffice to say that we at Surrey Mummy completed the redesign of our website just in the nick of time.

Having analysed our website visitor statistics over the past couple of years, we realised that two thirds of you either use a mobile or tablet device to browse Surrey Mummy. It was a no-brainer to set about making sure that our website was faster, clearer and better for mobile users.

So it is sort of a happy accident that, as the last six weeks of redesigning the website draws to a close, we are right on time to sit back and hopefully enjoy an increase in our Google search rankings.

On the subject of the new website design, as well as retaining the essence of what we are about in terms of what’s on events and things to do listings, we have introduced a couple of new features.

The first is the Mum’s blog, which we have started as a point of discussion on all sorts of issues, topics, happenings and ideas that we come across as we go about our business. Most things go here and we are hoping to have a team of bloggers contributing on a regular basis. If you’d like to join us as a blogger then do get in touch.

Secondly, we have better advertising spaces for more prominent advertising opportunities, with a wider banner space at the top and bottom of all pages as well as a larger promotional feature slot. So do contact us about advertising if your target audience is parents in Surrey and you have a business you would like to promote via Surrey Mummy. We can also offer banner advertising on the newsletter now as well as the usual editorial spot.

Finally, we have exciting plans for the future. We want to kick start our for sale section again, this time allowing sellers to list for free. We’ve had feedback from local mums that this would be a real draw to the website. We are also planning to experiment with the world of video blogs (or Vlogs as I’m told they are called!), so watch this space.

Inevitably we are experiencing glitches here and there as we get the website working as it should, for example we haven’t quite got the listings looking as they should yet, but please bear with us. And do feel free to feedback your experiences with the website and any thoughts and ideas. You may well have spotted something that we have missed.

 

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Most families who applied for primary school places in Surrey will have heard this week about which school their child has been offered a place at. Most will feel elated or relieved, but for a few their anxieties and worst fears over this process will have been realised.

If you are one of those whose child has not been offered their first choice of primary school, it is worth looking into whether you can appeal against the decision.

The appeal needs to be made to the school that was your first choice ie. the school that you wanted but didn’t get offered.  The first port of call is the Surrey County Council school admissions appeals web page. This contains details of the criteria for appeal, the timetable involved and information about contacting the school.

Do bear in mind before you start the appeal process that there may be an insurmountable reason for you not getting your first choice place. The ruling on limiting infant class sizes to 30 means that, unless a genuine mistake has been made, you are unlikely to make a successful appeal.

However, don’t despair. There are other resources available to help. Truth Education, based in Surrey, aim to help parents with all matters arising on education and schooling.  Their article, Not got your primary school place? Keep calm and carry on… is highly relevant to the process this year too.

Of have a read of 'How to Win Your School Appeal: Getting Your Child into the School of Your Choice' by Ben Rooney, which comes highly recommended for helping you make sure that you appeal in the most effective way.

We have further information in our feature, What to do if you don’t get your first choice school, as we discuss many of the options available.

Over the years we have known many people who, with patience, have managed to get the school of their choice at some point as others decline places or move away from the area. Whatever happens, we wish our Surrey Mummy members every success in this sometimes difficult and painful process.

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I've just finished a conversation with the umpteenth person to ask me whether my pregnancy was planned and it's made me wonder why so many people think that this question is acceptable.  

What really baffles me is that, once someone is pregnant and clearly planning to keep the baby, how can the answer to that question possibly be relevant to anything.  So it was planned... well that's nice.  So it wasn't planned... well, oh dear, but that's nice anyway.  If someone is willing to volunteer that they're delighted as they've been trying for ages, or that it was a pleasant "surprise", then fine, but why feel the need to ask? 

I asked my husband about this and he offered two solutions.  One was that men don't really know what sort of questions are appropriate to ask.  Well, I have been asked it by more women than men, so that blows that theory out of the water.  The other is that it is my age (thanks, darling!)  Apparently at the wrong side of 35 (I've just turned 39) and with a 6 year old child already, unless I've been unlucky, it would be an unusual choice to have another child now.  To that I would say that, if that is the rationale, then perhaps people should assume that the person has been unlucky and, if they haven't told you any of the details of their "bad luck", then they clearly don't want to talk about it with you.  But anyway, it might not be such an unusual choice - whilst most people aim for a smaller age gap, there are some benefits to having a bigger age gap and perhaps for that person those benefits are significant.

So I've concluded that it must be symptomatic of the age we live in.  With some people sharing every detail of their lives on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, perhaps we feel that we can freely ask a number of personal questions?  Well, it's not the way I roll, but maybe I'm just different? I'm off to see what Debretts Guide to Modern Manners has to say on the subject...

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We would love to have mums contributing to our blog on a variety of topics. Most things go,  but you have to be a genuine mum and please keep it clean.

So, how to go about it in 6 easy steps.

1. You need to be logged in first (Login box at the bottom of the homepage).

2. Once you are logged in, go to the BLOG section, at the far right of the top menu. Then click on the icon on the black menu bar which is a box with a small pen inside. When you hover over this icon you see 'New blog post. Start creating your new blog post'.

3. You are then ready to fill in the form and complete the details with your blog. Please make sure you give it a title and select a category.

4.Photos and images can be inserted, but the leading one should be 1150 pixels wide by 200 pixels high.

5. Click the blue button Publish Now when you are happy with it.

6. We will be notified that you have uploaded a blog and we will review and approve it, after which it will be published.

Many thanks for contributing to our Mum's blog. We are sure that these will prove a great resource to Surrey parents.

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