Happy Easter!

IT’S EASTER WEEKEND, the clocks are going forward and the sun is finally shining. But whether you’re Christian, follow another religion or don’t really believe at all, Spring is still a very special time. For Christians, Easter symbolises the resurrection of Christ – and new life as Mother Nature awakens after winter.Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 10.51.28 While modern-day Easter makes us think of fluffy chicks and chocolate eggs, even from pagan times the Egg was the ultimate symbol of fertility. Christians soon adopted it as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection from the tomb, being a casket from which new life emerges. Many ancient cultures also had a Spring Mother Goddess who banished ‘old man’ Winter, including the Anglo-Saxon Eostre and Nordic Ostra.
And even today babies born on Easter Day are though to be especially lucky in life, with celebs including Harry Potter star Emma Watson, actress Melissa Joan Hart and actor John Rudd also Easter Sunday babies. Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 10.50.45
But as well as giving birth to new life, Easter can also be a time for creating a new life. Chocolate is a well-known aphrodisiac and midwives report a surge of babies born nine months after the long Easter Weekend!
Here at Channel Mum we have our own brood of Easter chicks about to be hatched, with lots of our Vloggers pregnant and more to be announced soon. And while we’re following their unique journeys, we’d love to hear your birth story too. We’ve teamed up with our friends at the Positive Birth Movement to hear all about your birth, so fill in our survey for your chance to win £150 in supermarket vouchers – but just don’t spend it all on choccy eggs!

We wish you and your family the most wonderful Easter, with love from all the team at Channel Mum x

Happy International Women’s Day

Hot on the heels of Mother’s Day, today is International Women’s Day (IWD), a chance to celebrate amazing women around the world, recognise achievements and raise awareness of women who have a far harder time than us in the UK. If you live in China, Ukraine or Vietnam and 12 other countries, today, you will be enjoying a public holiday to celebrate IWD!

Although it feels like raising daughters here in the UK we have it great, we’re still short of gender equality in many places, including the workplace. Our recent video about the working mum struggle demonstrates how women who are mums struggle to ‘have it all’. Research shows we earn 20% less than men in the workplace for doing the same jobs and 6 out of 10 women feel that having kids is bad for your career.

Watch the full video here:

Today Sky News has an all female line-up in recognition of 100 years of IWD and the Google Doodle (you know that bit at the top of the Google home page) celebrates the day too with a special video.

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But for us, the best bit about today is how YouTube have chosen to celebrate 100 years of International Women’s Day. For the whole month they are celebrating female role models as a way of inspiring the next generation of female story tellers on YouTube. Their goal is to support the creation of female-driven content and to inspire women to pick up their cameras and start vlogging and create a world where everyone can be heard. Exactly the same reason we started Channel Mum! We quickly realised there was a distinct lack of UK mum vloggers when we started out a year ago. And from just a handful mum creators this time last year, we’re delighted to have over 130 creators signed up to Channel Mum and it’s growing every single day.

Watch the YouTube Spaces video below as female vloggers around the world portray the most incredible women of the past 100 years. Emily Pankhurst and Marie Stopes didn’t make it into the list as it’s just the last 100 years – so they didn’t qualify!

What a great video! Let us know who inspires you!

The inaugural Channel Mum #MumVidCon

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 22.44.04The twenty ninth of February 2016 is a big day – and not just because it’s a leap year so you can pop the question to your other half! Much more importantly, it’s the first ever MumVidCon: the conference for UK mum vloggers hosted by us together with YouTube and ITV.

Just a year ago when Channel Mum first set up, YouTube was awash with teen channels – but there were fewer than 20 mum vloggers in the UK. In fact we had to launch a sponsorship programme to encourage mums to pick up their cameras.

Fast-forward a year and things look very different. We’ve just launched a website which brings together more than 110 mums – and wonderfully some dads too – vlogging from every corner of the UK. Viewers can now watch honest, real-life experiences on everything from trying to conceive, through pregnancy, birth, newborns, toddlers to tantrums and teens. Or they can simply tune in for a cuppa and a little window into someone else’s world, with all the daily ups and downs of family life.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 22.47.09Our amazing family of vloggers are making a real difference to families in lots of different ways. From major events like pregnancy announcements, relationship issues or managing your mental health, to the everyday but essential parts of family life like shopping hauls and meal planning – the Channel Mum crew always have a vlog which will help.

So, MumVidCon is a chance for Mum Vloggers to come together for the first time as professionals. To look at best practice guidelines, to understand why we do what we do, to examine how the big metrics work and enable us to make vlogging a career. But, also to realise what really drives us and why reaching just that one mum who sees your story and feels better is a real success.

Vlogging is powerful. By putting yourself out there, sharing your story can change one mum’s day – and it may change her life and her child’s future. You have that power. So we’d love you to be part of this very special day. Here is the programme and speakers. When we originally booked the room for 50 people, we were a very small team. Now we’re kicking ourselves as we want to invite ten times more people – but no one could have predicted the community would grow so fast, or that we’d find so many talented people. So if you didn’t get a space, that’s my fault, I’m sorry! We’ll put it right by putting everything useful on social media and putting video highlights up afterwards.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 22.49.18For us, this event is about the spirit of YouTube – being open and collaborative and sharing what we’ve learned on the journey so far. It’s about giving back, paying forwards and growing together. And making some new friends along the way. So do follow our hashtag #MumVidCon across social media where we’ll add anything interesting and useful including links to videos, print outs, takeaways etc. Also, we promise we will get the BIGGEST venue we can next time and invite ALL the mum vloggers we know. So if you feel we don’t know you yet, drop us a line at hello@channelmum.com and we’ll add you to our ‘friends’ list – or get involved on social and say hello.

Looking forward to chatting with you on #MumVidCon

Siobhan

#MumTalk shining a spotlight on maternal mental health

More than 1 in 10 women experience mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year of having a baby. Here at Channel Mum we know first hand what that feels like so we’re delighted to be taking part in #MumTalk from 11am todScreen Shot 2016-02-23 at 23.54.34ay – a special event organised by Sport Relief to shine a light on Maternal Mental Health. You can watch some of our vloggers sharing their experiences with depression and anxiety.

Sport Relief cash has been helping people affected by maternal mental health and to highlight what many women face, and to reduce the stigma, Channel Mum are joining forces with the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, Bluebell Care Trust, the Royal College of General Practitioners and MIND. We hope you’ll join us in following the stories @SportRelief are sharing and contributing to the conversation using #MumTalk.

Today TV presenter Fern Britton shares her experience of maternal mental health alongside other mums and dads from across the UK, who have also been affected. You can watch their stories in a unique set of films from the team at Sport Relief.

Fern Britton said: “Everyone tells you that having a baby is going to be perfect, so you try to be the perfect mum. However, you’re not blooming at all, you’re blooming awful. I was lonely, isolated and frightened. I felt lost, like a failure and I couldn’t identify with who I was anymore. When the doctor told me what I was feeling was Postnatal Depression it was so liberating, I felt such a sense of relief that I wasn’t going mad. Once my family knew, I started to get better. Once I could talk to my family and they understood, it was a wonderful feeling.”

“The minute I said the words to someone, help it was there for me. If I had known how easy it was to get help I would have told someone sooner. Having been through this and getting better myself I would urge any mum who might be feeling in a dark place to tell someone – don’t wait! If you tell someone, you will get help, and you will get better.”

Sport Relief is back from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March and there are more ways than ever for you to take part, change lives and feel proud. The money raised will transform people’s lives in the UK and across the world’s poorest communities, including people affected by maternal mental health problems.

 

 

Your favourite Christmas ads in 2015

‘TIS the season to make money – and retailers across the UK are locked in the annual battle of the Christmas ads.

The seasonal scrap pits supermarkets and catalogue firms against department stores and food retailers to create the most memorable commercial, and set the tills jingling as consumers flood through the doors.

As sure as Santa arriving on Christmas Eve, John Lewis has swept the board for the last few years, creating a string of weepie mini-epics to tug on consumer’s heartstrings, and show spending lavishly is the way to have a very merry Christmas.

 

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Previously, competitors have tried to copy the firm’s signature style with highly emotional story-led commercials, but this year there’s a change taking place that could impact on future festive ads.

With more young under 30s – dubbed the Millennial Generation – having children, there’s a subtle but very real shift away from overblown ads to something which better serves the busy family consumer.

New research from our young audience here at Channel Mum shows while the John Lewis ‘Man on the Moon’ ad still registers as the favourite with shoppers, the most effective Christmas ad is Aldi’s, and fellow discounters Argo, Lidl and Asda all polled better than pricier rivals.

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Most significantly, a third of mums quizzed said they plan to shop at Aldi after watching the current ‘Favourite Things’ campaign, compared to just 31 per cent who will buy from John Lewis. While the percentage point difference is small, it’s the first time we’ve seen it – and it’s in line with the more product and price-conscious shopping habits of millennial mums.

What Aldi has done very well is combine the strong pricing and product message, wrapped up with emotional pull and a sprinkling of seasonal hope and positivity. It’s a hard thing to do well but the advert looks effortless and it also appeals to children as there are so many delicious and shiny things to look at – and all the ones kids love!

And there’s also been a change in the way young consumers feel about the money spent on the John Lewis ad. Almost half of young mums feel the £7m cost of the commercial was heavily excessive and would have been better spent in part as a charity donation, while a quarter complain there is way too much hype about it each year. Again, this is the first time we’ve seen these sentiments and is indicative of a new generation coming through.

Now each generation has its own ideas and identity, so with even more young mums holding the purse strings next year, it will be fascinating to see how the changes develop. We know Millennials are practical and price conscious but also aspirational and adore bling and glamour, so bring on the ad that combines all of those and we’ll find next year’s Christmas commercial winner!

 

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The Channel Mum Team is growing!

It’s been a busy few weeks here at Channel Mum. You may have seen our video about Halloween costumes in the papers, been tuning into pregnancy announcements and diaries from several of our vloggers, or watched one of the million minutes of video that has now been watched on our channel – if so, thank you very much for helping us hit such an exciting milestone!

Behind the scenes we’ve also been busy chatting to several vloggers who you may already know as they’ve had their own successful channels for a while. And we’re delighted to announce that they are joining our lovely family of Channel Mum vloggers! Here’s a little round-up of the new faces who you’ll spot on the channel very soon:

Katie & Baby is mum to two-year old Ellie and has amassed more than 20,000 subscribers on her channel, where she vlogs about life as a mum and also about her upcoming wedding. Welcome, Katie!

Laura Byrne is the face of the Belle’s Boutique channel.  Laura started as a beauty vlogger and is mum to one-year old Harrison. She recently returned to work, so joins our crew of working mums here at Channel Mum.

Also joining us is Canadian mum of two Emily Norris who lives in Essex and provides ‘mumspiration’ on all-things to do with life as a mum over on her channel.

Leanne Colbeck – AKA Umbumgo – was one of the first mum vloggers on YouTube, having set her channel up nine years ago, during which time she has had no less than five children. She’s something of a YouTube stalwart and we’re delighted to have her joining Team Channel Mum!

2.2 Children & A Dog‘s Jess Atherton is next up! Jess is mum to Joshua and Sophie, as well as four-legged Milo! She’s keen on crafts and baking – welcome, Jess.

Emma Ross, who you may have seen on her Mamalina channel is mum to baby Jack, and our very own earth mother! Emma is a keen yogi and makes her own shampoo and baby products, as well as being a fan of festivals and travelling.

We’re also very excited to welcome Holly Smith who has built up a large following thanks to her money-saving and couponing tips aimed at mums. Holly, who is a mum of two, suffers with Asperger’s syndrome and a physical disability. She regularly appears on TV as a money-saving expert.

Win £250 this month!
Don’t forget to subscribe to Channel Mum so you never miss a thing from the new and old faces on our channel! By doing so, you’ll also be in with a chance of winning a £250 shopping voucher, which we’re giving away to subscribers every week throughout this month.

New Talent Announcement
If you’ve applied to be a Channel Mum vlogger, we’ll be in touch and will be announcing our next round of vloggers in the New Year.

Channel Mum latest sponsored talent

Siobhan at ITV NewsIt’s been a busy time for Channel Mum, after announcing that ITV have taken a minority stake in us last month.  We were busy visiting the ITV news studios this week and here’s our Siobhan wondering what button to press next! We’re still surprised the news came out on time on Tuesday…

Anyway, on to our latest important announcement, our latest round of Channel Mum New Talent Vloggers! The standard again has been so high and our lovely judges have had a really tough time wading through so many excellent applications and working out who to put through. Here are the three lovely girls who will be joining the Channel Mum vlogging team this time:

Kate Bridge: Kate lives in Wales in a small town by the sea with her crazy, noisy and lovely family.  The family spend most of their spare time on the beach and she loves baking, photography and is into fashion and style. She’s a self-confessed big kid and enjoys most of the things her kids enjoy.

Nicola Johnston: Nicola has a one year old daughter and an 11 year old step-daughter and she’ll be vlogging about life as a first time mum, a step-mum, a post-natal anxiety sufferer and sharing all the tips she’s learnt along the way.

Jeorgia Cook: 21 year old Jeorgia is mum to her surprise baby Jax. Newly single, she’s embarking on a fresh start on her own with her toddler. She’s hoping to become a midwife and has just completed a course as a breast feeding specialist. She enjoys DIY projects, photography and cooking.

A big welcome to our three new vloggers, their Panasonic cameras will be winging their way to them next week!

Don’t forget to subscribe to Channel Mum on YouTube and look out for intro videos from Kate, Nicola and Jeorgia appearing soon.

‘ITV takes minority stake in Channel Mum’

If you build it they will come
A message from Siobhan Freegard. Lovely news for Channel Mum yesterday when we announced our new Godparent: ITV. The official ITV release is here and you can follow all the amazing press coverage live on our Twitter feed.  But I thought I’d tell you a bit about the story behind the headline. What is Channel Mum and why?

The Why
I had been watching the rise and rise of YouTube and video, but assuming it was primarily ‘for the kids’: a crazy, high energy, new generation media combination of Minecraft, make-up tutorials, teenage boys playing pranks on each other and of course, Zoella. Nothing for me there, move along please.

We all like the occasional funny-cat or viral video, but someone will always post the best ones on Facebook or the Mail Online will pick them up, so even the ‘grown-ups’ get to see these eventually. But then I was having coffee with a younger mum, a Millennial in her twenties and we were discussing the generation-spanning, every day mum dilemma: what’s for tea. We both moved to our phones to google a particular recipe and while I landed on a recipe website, she went straight to a video. I stopped and asked her why and her simple reply was a perplexed ‘why would you want to read all those WORDS’.

The What
So I started to think about video differently. What could video convey that text can’t? What can video show better than words can tell? How could that relate to mums in other ways than recipes? Taking a deeper look into YouTube, I found a small number of ‘mummy vloggers’: mums who tell their stories, of their daily lives in video diary form.  The ups and downs, struggles and victories of life with babies and small children. Their audience are other mums, pleased to tune in for a short while to watch other mums and learn, empathise, compare and contrast their lives. I loved these young mums and their stories and invited them to come together to create a single destination – a place mums could carve out as their own on YouTube that isn’t lost within the wilderness of teens, pranks and funny cats. And so Channel Mum was born.

The How
Thanks to sponsorship from Panasonic, we were able to create a mentoring programme for mums out there who had stories to tell, but who hadn’t considered a career in vlogging and so, each month new voices join the channel. Channel Mum is very new, but it already feels like a community, a safe place for mums to come and share their stories and their lives – whether as vloggers or viewers. As Stacey, one of our vloggers told me, ‘Our generation in some ways feel it’s easier to talk about our problems to a camera, than to a person’.

I have always maintained that ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ but in modern times, as young families have become increasingly isolated and further apart from their extended family, Channel Mum is finding its place as the modern day village for millennial mums. I am immensely grateful to ITV for recognising this need and for coming on board to support the growth and development of this new village and I am very proud of all the vlogging mums sharing their lives and breaking down barriers and supporting each other on the intense, overwhelming, confusing, amazing journey of parenthood.

Come join our modern day village of mums.

Channel Mum’s Latest Vlog 20

Yay! It’s the Channel Mum Vlog 20 time again. Our Vlog 20 is a round-up of the top twenty mum-focused creators on YouTube – our clever algorithm crunches the numbers, analysing both reach and engagement metrics to benchmark performance. Take a look to see who the movers and shakers are this time and big congratulations to everyone who has made it into the list – we know just how much time and effort goes into creating your vlogs alongside being a parent.

Vlog 20

A big welcome back to sisters Claire and Lucy who run one of our favourite foodie channels on YouTube, Crumbs Food, they’re back in the Vlog 20 this time straight in at number twelve.  They’re not just about recipes though, we’re loving their vlogs on surviving the summer holidays. Roll on September…

The top ten looks very similar to the last Vlog 20, with not too much movement, apart from an appearance from The Witt Family who have climbed from twelfth place to tenth place. Congratulations to you Claire.

We have one new entrant this month, congrats to My Pretty Mummy, who’s gone straight in in joint fifteenth place. Emma lives in London with two under-fives and one is a leap year baby!

Congratulations to everyone who’s made it into our Vlog 20, certificates are winging their way to you right now, please do tag us if you share them on social media. If you, or someone you know, has over 1,000 subscribers and would like to be considered for our Vlog 20, please drop us a line at hello@channelmum.com. Happy vlogging.

New Channel Mum Sponsored Talent announced

Channel Mum's newest addition
We’re a little late in announcing this month’s newest members of the Channel Mum family because there was much excitement as the stork arrived for our Clem. He dropped off her gorgeous newborn boy called Ezra Jack (if only it was really that easy…).

We’re always astounded by the quality, and quantity, of the new talent applications we get every single month and it’s a tough job for our judging panel to sort through them. Here’s who we’ve selected this time:

Sarah Cantwell: Sarah is mum to daughter Rosalie who is almost one. She lives in Didcot and will be vlogging about her life as a mum and home-maker, plus growing your own and cooking with it and keeping chickens. She says, “I’m not a farmer or an expert gardener. I’m just a normal mum, trying to eat clean and feed her family the best way I can, so that they can all grow and perform to the best of their ability.”

Susie Verrill: Susie has a cute son called Milo and says: “My videos will be funny, but relatable. Although it’s great to see glossy images of motherhood, they’re often not a true reflection of day-to-day life and I’d love it if people could watch my videos and feel like they were just listening to a friend.”

Jules Furness: Jules will be sharing what life is like for her and husband and their gorgeous son Josh who is nearly one. Expect parenting tips, fun, days out and insight into what adoption is really like.

Lucy Roberts: Lucy is a mum of two and is expecting her third baby. Her big passions in life are capturing memories and having lots of adventures. She’ll be vlogging about how a third pregnancy is the polar opposite of a first pregnancy, plus all the exciting adventures she has with her family.

Sarah Nash: Sarah is expecting her first baby any day now. In her own words Sarah is “opinionated, fun, chatty and a says it how it is kinda person.” She’ll be vlogging about her journey going from no children to what it’s really like to have a baby in the house and how it lives up to expectations.

A huge welcome to all these fabulous ladies who will be joining Channel Mum later this summer when they receive their Panasonic camcorders. We’re also delighted to welcome the following vloggers who are (or are about to be) featuring on our channel with a guest playlist: Natasha Bailie, Charlotte Taylor, Rebecca Meldrum, Lisa Lumley, Katie Ellison. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss a thing!