NOW can we talk about Christmas? 
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NOW Can We Talk Christmas?

For weeks now, people have been hissing at me on Social Media for talking about the C word. I can't help it. I'm just a big kid at heart, and I love love love Christmas. After years of living in Germany, I adore the Adventszeit, and am delighted to see Christmas markets popping up all over UK. Last weekend we went to the market in Edinburgh and stocked up on Lebkuchen, Dominosteine and other German treats. 

My Adventskranz (wreath with candles) was lit for the first time on Sunday. If you missed it, our post on Jump! Mag explained what it is, and how to make one. We've already made and eaten the first batch of Plätzchen

A photo posted by Jump! Mag (@jumpmag) on Nov 12, 2015 at 6:56am PST

This year, Emily from International Elf Service has been aiding and abetting my love of Christmas. The creator of the wonderful Elfie Christmas Letters, Emily has a fantastic Facebook Group for fans of the festive season. I will warn you though - if you join in, you may well end up attempting to recreate awesome Pinterest crafts. In our house, this never ends well. Anyone remember the coloured ice balloons... 

I've been chatting to Millie Slavidou this week, author of our Christmas in Greece book, about the sad lack of holly bushes in her adopted country. This came about when she asked me to take a photo of some holly for her post on the etymology of the word. Talking of Millie ... she's just launched a new blog, The Conclave of Sapphro, which features the work of a group of women writers. 

Finally, on a non-Christmas note, I've been trying to get to grips with Snapchat, the Must Have app for teens. I like to stay informed of the latests social media apps and services, but sometimes I must admit I struggle. After taking like a duck to water on Twitter (no quack jokes here please!), I found Snapchat incomprehensible. Luckily, young Polly wrote a great article on using Snapchat, and as she so wittily put it,

'I realise now that it actually seems rather complex as I write this, but my 16-year-old brain managed to absorb all of this information - therefore so can you.'

Thank you all, and I'll see you on the other side, 

I'm Reading ... 
Here are some of the articles I've enjoyed this week 

This one is by a member of our Facebook Group - 30 Reasons Your Career Only Gets Better in Your 30s. I have to say that the old 'life begins at 40' definitely hit home for me. I'm much more confident and happy now, than I've ever been. 

These excerpts from a book of interviews of Women at Work from the 70s are worth a read. The receptionist who was overwhelmed by being on the phone all day - I wonder how she would cope with the constant influx of emails and texts that we deal with nowadays? Which reminds me - don't forget to unplug and take a break from your phone now and then! 

Do you have a teen who would be interested in the Teen Tech Awards? This competition is for UK students from 11 to 18 years. Registration must be completed by 16th December, with the completed entry due in March next year. There is a prize of £1000 for the winning school, so pass this on to your kids' school and ask if they'd like to get involved. 

Finding out how people in other countries live is endlessly fascinating. This week, my bilingual myth buster was guest posted on MumAbroad. If you are a parent abroad, do have a look at the other fabulous articles on the blog. 
This week saw a return of Asha's #SimpleTastes series, with a delicious and easy recipe for Banana Pancakes. The idea behind this series is quick and easy meals for busy families, that don't take a lot of prep and can be done while supervising homework, between ferrying kids to after-school clubs, or taking the dog for a run around the park. Asha normally concentrates on main courses, but she spoiled us with a delicious dessert last week. This would also make a great weekend breakfast. Do let us know if you try them out! 

On a more serious note, I've been talking about 'reputation management' this week. I first came across this term a couple of years ago, in a discussion about eSafety. Normally used in reference to companies or brands, it is becoming ever more important to private individuals.

When kids start using social media independently, it's time to talk to them about the long-term repercussions of mistakes that they make. This isn't intended to frighten you, or you kids, but to make you aware of the pitfalls, and how to avoid them. We'll be following up with a blog post on how to recover from mistakes, and what to do if your teen goes viral.
Some of you may be travelling to visit relatives over the festive season; if your kids suffer from motion sickness, the drive can be a nightmare. We used to have to travel with at least one change of clothes and several towels, but I'm glad to say that my son has outgrown the worst of his travel sickness. We still have these  handy vom bags in the car, and avoid dairy products on the day of travel, which definitely helped. If your child suffers from motion sickness, and has ever wailed despondently 'Why does this always happen to me?!!', distract them with this post from Samantha Gouldson, explaining the science and giving some tips on preventing the 'MUM STOP THE CAR' moments we so dread. 

This woman didn't suffer from travel sickness. Or nerves, it seems. Betty Skelton was an aviator and racing car driver, who combined nerves of steel with a great sense of adventure. She first started asking her parents to let her fly a plane when she was 8 years old, and it took her just 4 years to wear them down. Born in a time when women weren't allowed to become pilots, she decided to be come a aviatrix, and perfected the art of flying upside down while just ten feet off the ground. Megan Hockley wrote about Betty Skelton this week for Jump! Mag, and I've just found some fantastic YouTube footage, which I've added to the post. 
This week on our Facebook Group we've been discussing... 
We've been chatting about piano exams, vegetarian options for Christmas dinner, the correct number of children to have and this quite disturbing article about mothers being jealous of their daughters. Not to mention a rather intensive discussion on a women's right to chose NOT to have children, even when she is still young. 

Come join us! 
Every week in our newsletter, I like to highlight a charity or organisation that is doing something wonderful, or could use our help. Obviously, it's impossible to donate to every charity, but you can help by sharing the link with others on social media. If you would like me to share a charity next week, please let me know (but no sponsored or individual go-fund-me type campaigns please). 

Today is World AIDS Day, and I'm thinking of an inspiring young mother I met some years ago in Kenya. When Jacinta was diagnosed with HIV, she didn't tell anyone. So great was the stigma in her village. It wasn't until she realised that she was pregnant, that she asked for help. Her health clinic teamed her up with a 'Mother Mentor', and helped her come to terms with her diagnosis, and start to take better care of herself - and her baby.

Find out what's going on in your area here, today on World Aids Day. 
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