Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Supporting Independent Businesses

February 29th, always a special day, and perfect to launch our first ever Independents Day .  Hopefully if there is enough interest we can make this a monthly shout out to all hard working independent businesses.

Here's how it works :

If you have a blog, please write a short post mentioning and linking to three or so independent businesses that you follow, buy from or just plain admire.  You can of course link to your own business if you want to.    Its all about building up the links to help people find our businesses.

Leave a comment below with a link to your blog so we can all pop over and take a look.  It would be really great if you would link back to this post and if you want grab the badge code.


Tweet about the independent businesses you are supporting and mentioning the hashtag #IndependentsDay


Link or share this or your own post on Facebook

You don't have to be an independent business to get involved or have a blog.  Comments, tweets and facebook mentions will all help enormously. 

Here are just a few of the many great independent businesses I have come across.  I will be featuring more each month so if you want to get involved please leave a comment below so I can find you.   Wonderful selection of quality branded footwear for children at affordable prices. - owned by Claire   Beautiful dresses for little girls - owned by Ipshita  Teaching & learning resources for children - owned by Elaine   Creative and Educational toys, games and gifts - Owned by Fiona

Icklebabe    Illustrator of all things cute, whimsical and fun - owned by Helen

Claire Close   Artist who takes inspiration from the cliffs and coast of her home in Exmouth, Devon

Sparkle and Spin   Stocking the best of Danish kids clothes

Picaloulou     Beautiful hand knitted  clothes for children - owned by Shireen

TalkingTots  Helping children communicate with confidence - owned by Tracey and Lisa

Discovery at Rosehill   A debut novel by Author  Katheryn Brown   Wearable, individual clothes - owner Claire

Please copy and paste the code below to your blog to display the button and show your support for Independent Businesses

Code broken for the moment will replace soon : (

Independents Day

Don't forget to link up or leave a comment

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Blog Camp UK Meet and Greet

So looking forward to BlogCampUK, I missed Sally's blogcamps last year.  It will be great to go back to my hometown.    I am a nightmare at recognising people so please do make sure you come and say hello if you recognise me on the day and don't be offended if I look a little confused at first.  I'm getting old you know.


Name : Karen Jones

Twitter ID :!/allaboutheboys

My Blog's About :  My business but has developed into family stuff, fashion and support of other independent businesses.

I also Blog at   which  documents how we are renovating our home on a budget, my love of white and vintage thrifting.

Likes:    Twitter, facebook, blogging, boot sales, thrifting and my family in that order (kidding) .

Dislikes: Bullies, my husband's restless legs in bed, people who swear around children and bad manners.

Off now to check out some of the other bloggers on the list. Can't wait to meet you in the real world.

Karen xx

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Independents day

It's been a busy few months for my businesses and personal life but I have finally found some time to sit down and get back to supporting hard working independent businesses.  I've come up with a new badge (hope you like it) and would really like to start a regular feature to showcase all that is great about British independent companies. 

It's just an idea, but how about we have just one day a month where we blog and tweet about our own and other independent businesses.  They can be new or established. Retail, artists, crafters, business advisers, counsellors any kind of business at all as long as it is independent.

I firmly believe that hard working and often overlooked independent retailers will come into their own during these tough times.  Many of us know only too well what it takes to survive.  We know how to adapt and develop, how to look for opportunities and how to move our businesses forward, often whilst also supporting our families and with very little or no support from the banks or financial institutions.

Let's celebrate our greatness, lets have Independents Day !

I  am going to write a blog post on Wednesday 29th February I've chosen the leap year date because it's unique, special and is reason for celebration, just like all Independent businesses. 

Before that, I would love you to comment below with a link to your (or another ) independent business and I will feature a selection of them Next Wednesday to kick of the Independents Day campaign. 

 It would be great if you have your own blog if you wrote a post showcasing companies that you love and linking back to this post.  That way we can spread the links around and hopefully draw attention to lots of companies that people might like to take a look at and hopefully buy from or support.

You don't have to be an independent business to take part, infact it would be amazing to receive support from anybody.  It can be a lonely and insecure place running your own business, to receive acknowledgement that you are doing a good job makes such a difference. 

If you are on twitter and want to tweet about it please use the hashtag #independentsday 

I'll have a badge for you to next week if you think its cool enough to pop on your site to show your support.

Thank you


Friday, 17 February 2012

Back to the Future

I don't often read my old blog posts but this one caught my eye today Who would you put on the naughty step  and I have to admit it still makes me cry.  It also made me see how far I have come since I wrote the post, and got me thinking there are many, many wonderful bloggers out there who write great posts, most of them seen by a fraction of readers and many of which could help, inspire or motivate people. 

Like this one from my amazing "virtual friend" Helen Waving a little goodbye   I think most of us can understand where Helen is coming from in this post and now nearly a year later, if you follow Helen, maybe we now know some of what was behind this post.  Her blog is beautiful, whimsical and full of too die for images. 

Or this post from a lady I have been lucky enough to actually meet and somebody I greatly admire Scottish mum  who writes about respite care for her child. A subject very close to my own heart.  I have a severely disabled brother and know only to well how it feels to be screaming inside for support and not getting it.  My mother suffers every day.

One of the first blogs I read was by Emily from More Than Just A Mother .  I will forever remember that SHE actually approached ME at the ToysRus event and said "hello Karen" (she knows my name) .  To this day I still fall about laughing at this post Silly Moffa

So how about we dig out those old blog posts that made us laugh, cry, inspired us, motivated us or just about had any kind of effect on us.  Write a post including one of your own and two posts written by other bloggers which have affected you in some way.

Can I  just ask :

All posts are older than one month.

You include a  link back to this post in your blog post.

You leave a comment below so we know which blogs to pop over and read.

Hopefully people will think its worth writing a post about.  I'm looking forward to discovering lots more hidden gems to read.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Cybher Meet and Greet

Just received confirmation from my fantastic sponsors (more on that one later) so I have been able to confirm my ticket for Cybher. 

I thought it would be good for me to take part in the meet and greet as I am a total nightmare when it comes to recognising people "in the real world". 


Name : Karen Jones

Twitter ID :!/allaboutheboys 
Height : 5'6" but shrinking with age

Hair : A mess, getting shorter and greyer

Five things you should know about me...

1. I am 50 this year !!! No seriously, thats not me, it must be my mother right ?

2. I'm married to my childhood sweetheart who I met again after 25 years.

3. I am too sensitive for my own good.

4. I currently run three small businesses.  I love working for myself, it was the best decision I ever   made.

5. I have 3 sons.  Twins aged 7 and a soon to be 17 yr old.

Off now to check out some of the other bloggers on the list.  Can't wait to meet you in the real world.

Karen xx

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Have you missed me ?


Nope, thought not.

You didn't even notice I wasn't on twitter did you ?

Having spent the best part of the last two years glued to twitter every day almost without fail.  I felt at first as if my arm had been cut off last week when our Internet service went down.  I do have my mother's old blackberry but to be honest trying to tweet and use the Internet was more trouble than it was worth.

Twitter and facebook have become as much a part of my daily routine as getting out of bed in the morning.  I was bereft at first, how I would manage without it,  it would be like giving up wine,  Heaven forbid!

People would miss me.  They would wonder why I wasn't replying to them. 

I got a shock.  Not one tweet to me all week .

Guess you are not as popular as you thought you were Karen ! 

Puts things in perspective doesn't it ! 

At first I was hurt, then a bit huffy and then "oh well, never mind" and got on with living in the real world.

When I first started using twitter I had to follow lots of people, I would actively engage as many people as I could. Leaving responses to their tweets, hoping somebody would reply and soon they did.  Then two way conversations began. Very quickly I found that if I tweeted, people would respond, then people followed ME !  I had arrived.

Maybe I got complacent.  I try very hard to follow my twitter stream, commenting and responding and I hope tweeting people just because I am thinking about them.  But how often do people actually tweet you without being first prompted ?

Over the last few years I have used twitter as a source of inspiration, for business, for support, to support, made amazing friendships that have gone on to become real life friendships. made amazing friendships that remain amazing online friendships.   Seen news breaking as it happened, been involved in fab campaigns.  Witnessed all sorts of fights and falling outs.  Come across some seriously nasty people who know how to use twitter and contentious issues to to manipulate traffic to their blogs.

So now I have my Internet back, will twitter ever be the same again ?

Probably not.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

My Phonics Kit Giveaway


Many thanks to all who took the time to Enter.

The winner is:

CATHERINE @Mummylion   - Congratulations

More Giveaways coming soon xx

Much-loved characters Biff, Chip and Kipper offer helping hand in run up to the Government’s new phonics check for year 1 children.
‘My Phonics Kit’ includes a CD-ROM with eBooks and phonics support; reward chart; sticker sheet; tips for parents; and 3 phonics workbooks. It has been created by educational experts, to be totally in line with how children learn to read in school. The Kit combines decoding practice with engaging stories and interactive features – making learning to read a fun and exciting journey.

Independent literary consultant, Laura Sharp, who led the development of the Kit, said: “The Oxford Reading Tree is a well-established programme and a trusted resource used by teachers across the UK. We have developed ‘My Phonics Kit’ to give parents this same level of support and enable them to provide as much guidance as possible to their children with reading activities at home.”

‘My Phonics Kit’ is now available to purchase at an RRP of £9.99. It is the latest addition to the wide range of Oxford University Press phonics resources for parents, which includes the free eBooks and advice on, the ‘Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper’ books available on the high-street and the ‘Songbirds Phonics’ series by the Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson.

I have one new and sealed  copy of the My Phonics Kit suitable for 5/6 yr olds in year one to giveaway.  Just leave a comment below to be eligible.

You can get an additional entry by following this blog.

Giveaway ends on Sunday 12th February at 8pm

Winner will be selected at random

Thank you and Good luck !


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