Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Virtual Reality Life

From my first ever follower on twitter a couple of years ago, some people in my "real world" have scoffed and exclaimed that they "don't get" twitter or facebook and why would I spend my time typing conversations to strangers. 

I have always responded with comments about how interesting the people I talk to are, they are usually like minded, with similar interests or lifestyles, although not always and this adds to the interest for me.  I have come across such a range of people with all sorts of stories to tell, people I would otherwise never have met.

 "Ah yes, but you can't be real friends with them can you?".   I beg to differ, I went to my first Mumpreneur Conference with the lovely Harriet who I met via twitter.  We got on from the moment I climbed into her car at the services in Somerset, we chatted all the way to Birmingham with no feelings of self consciousness or awkward pauses.  Several of us from the West Country got together and created the Devon Coup, we meet up and go for lunch, attend parties and events and generally have a great time.  We are all different ages, backgrounds, both male and female and we all get on really well together. 

I've gone on to meet lots of the people I regularly chat to at both the Cybermummy conferences, at PR events and days out.  The majority of the people I have met were as lovely in the flesh as they were online and our friendships have flourished.

One friendship  I took to the next level was with the wonderful, inspiring Jen from Mum_TheMadHouse and her family, who came to Devon this weekend and spent three days with us.     Our families met at events in the past and her two boys are similar age to the twins.  Despite the awful weather we had a lovely time taking them to local attractions, we all mucked in together, there was no being on best behaviour and with similar attitudes towards life, husbands and children I can honestly say we had a lovely time.

All four boys working on becoming the next generation of Virtual Reality Real Lifers !

Not a great picture.  I may have had a glass or two of wine, hence the camera shudder effect.  They all ate my roast dinner though.

Never let it be said that spending time on twitter is wasting your life, I have had more fun, more laughs, some tears, lots of support and encouragement and best of all made the most amazing friends, had the best opportunities and am even starting to make a living.  All thanks to Twitter, blogging and Facebook.

Today the house is strangely quiet.  Role on December when we all meet up again at the Tots100 Christmas weekend at Butlins.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Boys' Autumn/Winter clothing Trends & John Lewis Giveaway

Many thanks to all who entered.  The winner picked at random by a spooktastic No1 son last night is :

DONNA @littlelillypadco

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED .  More giveaways coming soon ......

Boys’ autumn/winter clothing trends

Dressing your lads in the latest trends doesn’t have to mean spending a packet, using up the money they’d rather you spend on toys, or kitting them out in impractical outfits. Here, guest blogger Jo-ann Fortune highlights three affordable looks that will work with any little boy’s wardrobe.  

I am also really pleased to be able to offer you the chance to win a £50 gift voucher courtesy of John Lewis.   You can spend it online, in store at any John Lewis or Waitrose store !  Fantastic prize just in time for Christmas.
 To be in with a chance of winning please follow this blog and leave a comment in the comments at the bottom of the page telling me what you would spend the voucher on if you won.

Arctic explorer

Fur trims, ski wear and Alpine knits were championed on the catwalks as key design details for boys this winter. Parkas, worn over chunky knit jumpers and cardigans are season staples, and look great paired with checked lumberjack shirts and durable cords. Accessorise with fur-trimmed footwear – Ugg boots are still huge – trapper hats and mittens or cosy woollen toggle hats and scarves, but as with all kids’ accessories, don’t spend a fortune as they’re likely to be the first thing to get left behind on a day out…

Protective padding

Padding or ‘quilting’ is central to two of the biggest boys’ trends this season: heritage and urban. With the fashion focus on the English gentry look filtering down from the men’s clothing catwalks, smart country wear is a big hitter in kids’ clothing ranges: Barbour-style riding jackets adding statement style to any outfit. In the city, padding is just as cool, with bold bomber jackets and colour block quilted gilets clashed with stripes and prints for a fun yet functional look.

Urban layering

Many of the big name kids’ clothing designers have used checked shirts as a base for urban layering this season, creating a wide variety of easily achievable looks. Build up an outfit with a classic denim jacket and jeans, hoodie and Shemagh-style scarf for a cool street vibe, pair a chunky cardigan with knee-patch trousers and over-sized specs for a bit of geek chic or keep him warm with a waistcoat, long scarf, trapper hat and chunky boots for a look that works just as well in the country as it does the city.

What key pieces have you invested in to keep the little ones looking cool while wrapped up warm this season?

All images courtesy of

This is a sponsored post - I received clothes for my children and the voucher to offer in a giveaway.  
Competition closes on  Monday 31st October at 8pm.  Winner  selected at random.  Open to UK entrants only.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Family Football Festival

We were recently invited by Netmums to go along to see Bristol City play at their home ground of Ashton Gate. This is part of the Family Football Festival taking place during the months of October, November and December.  Follow the link to their facebook page and go see what its all about.  It's a great initiative designed to combine the excitement of a football match with activities and events which would appeal to children and families.

This was the twins first ever football match and only my second !  Daddy is a seasoned Birmingham City supporter, but we won't hold that against him.  We set off early to make sure we arrived in Bristol in plenty of time and even managed to find a craft fair to have a mooch around beforehand along with some amazing wall art !

Painted on the side of the Tobacco factory Theatre, amazing and just a little bit freaky.

Arriving at the ground we were on the list for on site parking, feeling just like VIP's we drove into our allotted space.    As we were a little early we decided to have a hot dog and a walk around the ground.  Jarvis, who is fast becoming football obsessed found a souvenir in a bin !

Then onto the Festival part of the day.  Designed to encourage more families to attend matches, a large hanger was filled with local family friendly companies :including  Bristol Zoo, Noah's Ark Zoo farm, Heart Radio, Frankie & Bennies, Bristol Aquarium and more.   Each had informative stands with live animals or interactive activities for the children to get involved with and all offering discount vouchers to their attractions. 

There was also face painting, bouncy castle and beat the goalie.

The twins meeting a real live dragon ! 

The Boa didn't feel like they expected it to ! 

Lots of experiments for Milo the "Geek" boy "my favourite part of the day mummy"

FACE PAINTING From Heart Radio

Scrumpy the Bristol Mascot

Tickets !

Daddy said the BCFC Stood for Birmingham City Football Club, erm nooooo daddy don't say that too loudly whilst sat amongst all this red and white of the Bristol City supporters.

One for the girls *cough*  David James - goalkeeper !

and finally some football .......

We had a great day out at Bristol City, I must admit I wasn't too thrilled initially at the thought of going to watch a football match but I can honestly say with all the activities, the wonderful atmosphere in the stadium, all the half time entertainment from local schools, teams, dancers, competition winners etc it really did make for an enjoyable family day out.  We were seated in the family area which was really friendly, everybody had seats (and stayed in them for the most part, except of course when a goal was scored).  The twins loved it and it was lovely to go as a family and see so many people involved in sport.  We will certainly be taking the twins to see our local team play from now on.

Many thanks to Netmums & Bristol City for offering us this opportunity.

I was paid and  received family entry to the event.  All content, views expressed and photographs are my own.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Freaky or Fabulous ?

I took this photograph yesterday, it was painted on the side of the tabacco factory theatre in Bristol.   I am still not sure if I am freaked out by it or if I love it, just had to share.  What do you think ?

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Halloween in style

Looking for something different for your little ones this Halloween, don't have the time to make an amazing outfit ?  Not inspired by the cheap mass produced items on offer by the supermarkets ?  Take a peak at these lovelies all available from independent retailers.

Fab baby/toddler girl Skull & crossbones appliqued onesie, red or black pettiskirt, stripy leggings all available from All About The Boys (no longer available in online store, leave comment for details)

Sooooo Cute !  baby bumble bee hat available from Saidonia  UK Seller on Etsy

What little boys doesn't want to be a dinosaur !  ROAR!  Available from MaukyJo

Stunning Moishe Monster costume from Where the Wild Things are !  Probably out of the price range for most of us, but a totally wonderful example of the work and creativity of Independent business owners.  Available from ElleIndustries

Friday, 7 October 2011

Where's Mummy ?

Where's Mummy ?  I want my breakfast !
Where's Mummy?  I need some socks!
Where's Mummy?  I want a drink!
Where's Mummy? I've no clean shirts!
Where's Mummy? There's no toilet paper!
Where's Mummy?  I've overslept!
Where's Mummy? The hot water's not working!
Where's Mummy? There's nothing to eat !
Where's Mummy ? I need a lift!
Where's Mummy ?  I can't find my teddy!
Where's Mummy ? What's for tea !
Where's Mummy ? my uniform's dirty !
Where's Mummy!!!!

She's sick in bed

and nobody noticed ............

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Businesses with blogs

I started my blog initially to support my online business.   I do believe that it is essential  to embrace all aspects of social media to give your business the best possible chance to survive in these tough times and even more so if you are only an online business and don't also have a bricks and mortar shop.  All of the big brands now have facebook, twitter and often blog links on their sites.

After spending a great night with my fellow business finalists at the Mad Blog Awards on Friday night I thought it would a good idea if I actually looked at their blogs !  I have come across most of the finalists during my chat on twitter but amazingly hadn't found time to really take a look at their work.

The first business blog I looked at was the wonderful Lyndsey from The Queen of Easy Green take a moment to check out her About Me page !  I was blown away by her achievements !  Who knew !

 Next up the lovely, bubbly Becky from Baby Budgeting   we have met in the past and her tips on how to save money and  afford to stay at home when your children are young, are inspiring.  As a mum to three sons myself I know what a massive battle it is between returning to work and paying childcare or choosing to stay at home and cutting your income.

The winner of our category Friday night was another Lovely (honestly we had the nicest category of ladies ) Lisa From The Mummy Whisperer     I will admit to having never looked at Lisa's blog before but her concept of helping mums to be happy and content which has an obvious benefit to their family is a simple but inspiring idea !  She was a deserved winner and as for her GORGEOUS baby girl !  What a beauty, I am so regretting not getting a picture taken of her lovely sparkly shoes next to my sparkly shoes on the night !  Where was that Shoe blogger !

 One lady I do know (because I advertise on her blog)  is the fab Laura from Little Stuff  this was the first business blog I read after deciding to set my own blog up.  Its packed full of ideas, reviews, recommendations for shopping etc and is a must see for any parent.

After reading through these blogs I thought it actually might be a good idea to keep looking for more businesses who have blogs.  There are so many great small businesses battling away in these tough times.  I try to feature some on my Supporting Independent Businesses features but just don't have the time to find everybody.  If you are a small business and you also have a blog.  I would love you to link up your blog page below.   Maybe if we get enough interest we can make it a regular feature and if you are interested in being featured in a supporting Independent businesses post then please also leave a comment below.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

My 15 minutes of fame and the Vosene Nitwatch Campaign

The boys are settling back into school routine after the long Summer holidays.  The routine at the school gate is also falling back into place.  One topic which doesn't take long to crop up with the mums & dads is the subject of nits ! or to give them their correct term head lice.  (I have learned an awful lot about the difference in recent weeks). 

 After listening to yet another conversation on the subject, a germ of an idea started to form, I have worked with Vosene in the past and am still in regular contact with the lovely Holly.  I know they are running the NITWATCH campaign on their website and because we were lucky enough to receive samples of their products also know that the Vosene Kids range contains ingredients repellent to head lice, so what about a joint campaign in Exeter.  Emails flew back and forth and before you could say "prevention rather than cure"  I was being told that I was booked on a slot on local radio to talk about "my campaign" !

Sadly I didn't think to get a recording of it, I was so nervous about the fact that it was a live show, all my plans went out of my head.  I didn't even manage to get a photo !  Luckily the presenter was a seasoned pro who guided me through the "guest slot" and it went off without a hitch.

Next day, The team from Vosene arrived in Exeter in their big white van, stocked up with samples, balloons, flyers and a giant sized Louse costume ! 

Me with the fabulous Michelle from Vosene in her Louse costume !

We kicked off the day by being interviewed by the local BBC Spotlight programme at Nippers hairdressers in Exeter. Another nerve wracking but great experience.  Again it was only available to see for one day, I dowloaded it to my facebook page but now its not available to watch due to licencing laws ! Not very good at this am I !  Two shots at capturing my fame for all time now lost.  Never mind, I hear we will be in the local paper this week, although the photographer who was following us around on the day has told me that they are using a photo of the head louse and not me!  I mean honestly ! outshone by a bug!

You can see the film crew and camera in the background

After Nippers we decided to take a walk around Exeter City centre, passing on our message about head lice and handing out samples and flyers.  Look at the lovely fetching polo shirts we got to wear !

Exeter high street accompanied by two lovely mums from the twins school Julie and Mandy .

Next stop the Cathedral Green where the lunchtime shoppers and office workers sit on a nice sunny day to enjoy the view of the Cathedral and look on bemused whilst a giant louse gets beaten to a pulp by over enthusiastic School children !

After a quick break for lunch it was off to the local pre-school.  I must admit I was a bit unsure about the reaction our giant head louse would receive from the toddlers but no need, they loved her .  Although they did keep referring to her as a spider. 

We left them with balloons and lots of free samples and made our way to The twins school.  We set up camp outside the school to wait for hometime and were a source of much amusement to the passers by in cars and buses.  The parents started to arrive and soon everybody got into the spirit of the event.

One final picture Milo came out of school to see what all the fuss with his mummy was about.

We had a great day. I really do think we were successful in getting the message out to the people of Exeter in a fun way that Head Lice are not something that should be talked about in hushed tones, its not dirty people who get them.  Anybody can get them. They go for all hair types but if you catch them early with regular inspections, use shampoos or hair products on a regular basis which contain natural ingredients like Lemon Eucalyptus Oil ,tea tree oil and lemon grass and wet comb your hair to remove them.  Then we can all reduce the risks of infection and receiving the dreaded letter home from school.

Thanks again to Vosene for a great fun day and also to the lovely Julie and Mandy two fellow mums from school who did an amazing job and gave their time freely to help out on the day.

This is not a sponsored post, I was not paid or incentivised in anyway !


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