I don’t know about your house, but mines gone football crazy!
Our lives pretty much revolve around the game on a normal day, but the World Cup seems to have upped the obsession to extreme levels. We have our flag flying and I’ve agreed that I will face paint my son’s face and buy him a red and white curly wig and one of those horn things. I may live to regret the horn but its not for long, and it may mysteriously disappear if things get too much.
If you want to join in with the World Cup madness, why not deck out your budding footballer in a pair of World Cup Shoes by Inch Blue.
For a chance to win a pair of these, answer the following question:
Who was Captain for the first World Cup game of 2010?
Come and meet us at The Pregnancy and Baby Fair on Sunday 6th June 2010, Somerset County Cricket Club.
10.30am – 3.30pm
Come along to buy baby and toddler clothes, gifts and equipment. There will be lots of information on antenatal, postnatal and family services.
Have your little one photographed with professional photography sessions with Firetop Photography, and get involved in a range of taster sessions and talks.
A cafe and mother and baby facilities will be available, and you will be pleased to know that there is a Toddler Play-zone to keep your little ones smiling.
There are some fantastic raffle prizes and goody bags for the first one hundred families through the doors.
What is the NCT (National Childbirth Trust)?
NCT’s network of local branches exists to reach and support all parents and parents-to-be during a time of change in their lives. This network is possible because of the dedication of their volunteers, who along with local members organise a wide range of social activities and events to enable local parents to meet other parents and access valuable support. Local branches also fundraise to train specialist workers and fund projects.
The NCT offers a range of support services for parents. They are most known for their antenatal education and breastfeeding counselling, but they also run courses for new parents to help them adjust in their new role as parents.
The services are open to all parents. They charge for services like the antenatal and postnatal courses. This is to cover the cost of organising courses and training our teachers and facilitators to an exceptionally high standard. They do offer discounted rates to parents on low income and advise anyone wishing to access to discuss their situation in confidence with their booking coordinators.
They also run the Pregnancy and Birth Line and the Breastfeeding Line to support parents. They publish the free Bumps & Babies magazine for expectant parents, and there is also the website.
This will be our first show, and we’re really looking forward to it, if not slightly nervous. We hope that the weather is nice and that plenty of families come to see what we have to offer. I have yet to practice at setting up the stand so that we can see that everything fits. Fingers crossed that I’ve remembered everything needed for the fair.
I’ll post some pictures and let you know how we get on. If you’re in the area, don’t forget to come along and see us.
I had a fabulous day yesterday at The Baby Show, NEC, Birmingham.
Although I didn’t have a stand of my own, I was given the opportunity to go along and help out on the MumsClub stand.
We handed out the Business Mums Journal and chatted to women who would like to or are considering starting their own business. It was quite nerve wracking to begin with, but after a few fumbled attempts I got into the swing of things. I met some lovely fellow mumsclubbers who all made me feel very welcome. It was great to meet women that I’ve been chatting to for some time in the flesh.
Especially exciting for me was the fashion show which featured one of our Sophie 4 Sophie reversible dresses, Green Dot Pink Dot. The baby girl looked utterly gorgeous being carried down the catwalk by a yummy mummy. It was such a proud moment seeing the dress being modelled at such a big show. Here are some pics.
If you like the idea of working for yourself or you are an established business mum, I can’t recommend MumsClub enough. I’ve been a member since the beginning (its free by the way!) and it has been a lifeline for me whether it be to find out more information regarding accounts and tax down to the best place to purchase carrier bags.
I’m pleased to say that we will be attending The Baby Show, NEC, Birmingham on Sunday 23rd May 2010. Not quite brave enough to face you all on my own, I’ll be attending on the MumsClub stand (H36)
Come along to the MumsClub stand (H36) where you will meet MumsClub founder, Jane Hopkins and a few mums in business. MumsClub is a fantastic website for mums who own their own business or aspire to do so. The website is abundant with information on setting up and running your own business, whether your at the idea stage or an established business. Networking is the fun part of owning your own business, and MumsClub has been a precious lifeline for me since the start. If you can’t attend the show, then check out the website.
Exciting News – See if you can spot one of our gorgeous dresses which will hopefully appear in the fashion show. I’ve picked one of my favorites, The Green Dot Pink Dot reversible dress by designer label Sophie 4 Sophie.
Kindness Costs Nothing – Taking care of yourself in your pregnancy
Pampering isn’t essential to a healthy pregnancy; millions of women around the world don’t ever pamper their pregnancies. But living in the West exposes us to ever more sophisticated marketing campaigns and products that you’re made to feel you must buy. Don’t buy into it! Keep your cash to extend your play times with your baby, and instead of buying ‘specially designed for mums-to-be’ products and luxurious lotions and potions, just be very kind to yourself. Do you need to spend £40 on anti-stretch mark oil (it exists I assure you)? What you do need to do is take good care of yourself in simple and in-expensive ways.
Relax every day for 20 minutes (whether that’s during a long bath or listening to music)
Moisturise well Drink plenty of fluids
Eat a varied and healthy diet
Keep active for fitness and flexibility
Laugh and sing whenever you can
Put your feet up, whenever you get the chance, to rest your legs
Get out in the fresh air
Have early nights if you need to
Talk out your stresses and strains with your nearest and dearest
Get a lovely massage from someone close
Let someone you love wash or brush your hair for you
Place cucumber slices or cold teabags on tired eyes
Chill out and take a nap if you have a headache or are just shattered
See your doctor if you feel worn out
No amount of expensive lotions and potions can beat the above for a healthy, glowing pregnancy. Find out what works for you. It can be relaxing just to have your feet rubbed to to stroke your cat, your don’t need to buy ‘stuff’ to bring you peace.
Taking care of yourself costs more in terms of effort than money but it really can change how you feel – and tell yourself ‘you’re worth it.’
The above is an extract from How to Afford Time off with Your Baby 101 Ways to Ease the Financial Strain by Becky Goddard-Hill (Vermillion, 2009)
You can also buy Becky’s book ‘How to afford time off with your baby” at Amazon, Tesco ,Waterstones and lots of other reputable book shops. I’ve just purchased the book and look forward to reading it.With a new addition to the family pending (September) we’re very keen to learn how budget without missing out. I’ll let you know how I get on! Don’t forget to subscribe to Becky’s blog as well!
Inch Blue Shoes – I fell in love with Inch Blue Shoes as soon as I saw them. Not only are they completely gorgeous, but they’re designed to allow your baby or toddler’s feet to breath and grow naturally.
Inch Blue shoes have been designed to give total comfort for little growing feet. They are made exclusively from soft natural leather allowing your baby’s feet to breathe.
And they’re not just for babies, Inch Blue make shoes for toddlers and children aged up to 4 years, which make them ideal for use in nurseries.
All Inch Blue shoes are hand made in the UK and are endorsed by:
M.E.A.Ch MCSRx Chiropodist and Reflexologist
Supple non-slip suede soles ideal for tiled and wooden floors.
Soft breathable leather that protects and allows feet to grow naturally
Elasticated Ankles for ease of fit and ensures shoes really do stay on
Recommended for babies as the next best thing to bare feet
Loved by toddlers
Inch Blue shoes are recommended for indoor use or travelling in the car or buggy etc.
They require very little care and will take on that “used leather” look as they mold to your babies foot – this is natural and shows that they are being well used. If shoes do become dirty simply clean with a damp cloth or with approved leather cleaner.
Use our chart to help you decide which size will fit your child.
Teeze Slogan Romper Suits are made from 100% supersoft cotton with zinc-free poppers for easy dressing.
Teeze clothes are 100% cotton and machine washable. They have been ethically produced with the environment in mind. They meet the Oeko-Tex standard with no harmful chemicals or dyes used in the making. Plus the production ensures that the people making the clothes have been paid a fair wage and get regulated working conditions awarding them the Ethical Trade Tag.
Meet a fellow mum in business, Debra McVicker from www.hamptonblue.co.uk
Partners in Hampton Blue Debra McVicker and Tracey Houston (sisters)
My sister and I launched our gift website called www.hamptonblue.co.uk in June 2009. It’s an online boutique for jewellery, accessories and gifts. We stock everything from costume and semi-precious jewellery to occasion bags, scarves, photo albums, candles, gifts for children, men’s gifts – the list goes on. Hampton Blue is a one-stop shop for self-indulgent treats and all those gifts for family and friends.
As a mother of two young children, age 8 and 3 (and one more on the way) I was faced with the choice of going back to working as a Training and Events Coordinator for a major charity and having to pay childcare for two children or going self-employed and attempting to grow my own business. As much as I enjoyed my job, I had reached a time in my life when I wanted to have more control over what I did every day and I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my two kids. Hence, the idea for Hampton Blue was born! I also managed to talk my sister, Tracey into coming on this little adventure with me.
When did you found the business?
After many months of research and a lot of hard work, we launched our website on 5 June 2009 (our mum’s birthday coincidentally).
What have been the main obstacles you have faced so far?
There is a huge amount of work and long hours involved in setting up any business and it is not for the faint hearted. Therefore, personally, it is sometimes a struggle to fit it in around family life and I find myself on the computer late into the night. We have loads of ideas for the business that we want to implement, but there are only so many hours in a day and so much cash in the bank!
Also, neither one of us has worked in retail, except from part-time jobs when we were younger, so it’s a steep learning curve. The whole domain of e-commerce is something else we have had to learn from scratch. We know our limitations and therefore, it was obvious to us to bring in the professionals when needed. Hence, we hired a graphic designer and web designer to design our logo/brand and our website. It was extremely important to project ourselves and our business in a very professional manner at all times and this begins with what people see on screen – the Hampton Blue website.
The main challenge of online retailing at this point is getting people to the site and impressing those individuals enough to want to buy and come back again and again for repeat orders. It’s not like a bricks and mortar shop, where you have an immediate passing trade. We need to raise our profile and let people know we exist.
Also, unlike bricks and mortar retailers, potential customers can’t touch and feel the products, so it’s imperative that our photos are clear and our descriptions as accurate as possible. Additionally, a number of individuals are still apprehensive about the security of shopping online, so it was our intention from the beginning to install secure measures on our website to help instil confidence in our website.
Potential customers want a site that loads quickly, is easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing and secure to shop on – we hope we have achieved this with Hampton Blue
What are your plans for the future?
We want to build on our product line and bring new and innovative gifts to the consumer. It’s a work in progress and we hope to add a wedding gift section, as well as offering gift vouchers very soon.
Also, consumers are becoming increasingly interested in where the products they purchase come from and how they are made and therefore, we would like to add more Fairtrade products to our website and are constantly on the lookout for new Fairtrade suppliers. Additionally, it is our intention to source local artisans for more individual and locally crafted products that we can offer on the Hampton Blue website.
What makes your business stand out?
We have created an online boutique that offers consumers an aesthetically and intellectually appealing forum where they are able to have a stress free and relaxing shopping experience and at the same time find unique and interesting gifts for any occasion. As a mother of two young children, I know firsthand how hard it is to manage everything on a daily basis – work, family life, social events, etc., so we hope that we have made life a little bit easier for the busy consumer.
We offer our customers a high standard of customer care and efficient delivery service. Our products either come wrapped in tissue paper with a Hampton Blue sticker or in a gift bag and we offer a wish list service on our site that individuals can use for birthdays, weddings, Christmas or any other special occasion. They can make their wish list and then email it to friends and family. There are many other ideas in the pipeline, but as a start-up business, funds are limited, so one step at a time!
Looking back at how much we have achieved in such a short space of time I am extremely proud and would encourage any individual with a business idea, but a little bit of reservation to take the plunge – after doing their research off course!
I’m really pleased with the new prints and designs by Zutano. This range of clothing is a particular favorite of mine as everything is bright and fresh looking, but its stuff that you can mix and match which is great for little ones.
What have we added?
We’ve added a selection of Bibs, Onesies, Baby Blankets, Socks, T-shirts and hats. The above bib is Big Dot Chocolate which I think is my favorite.
There is also:
The Bugaboo Blanket – This cotton blanket is 100% cotton and is fully reversible with one side of little friendly bugs and the other stripey. Also available in this print are bibs and t-shirts.
Lovely Paisley is a very girly print and is available in Hats, Bibs and Blankets.
There is more to come and will let you know as soon as they are available on site.