Friday, 9 September 2016

Zoflora product review

With two young boys and a husband who works in the building trade the house is often a mess if I am honest!

It was more so in the summer when the boys were constantly in and out of the garden and raiding the kitchen cupboards!

So when Zoflora contacted me to try out their products I jumped at the chance to try it out.


We received one 120ml disinfectant in the 'Green Valley' scent and one 250ml disinfectant in 'Citrus Fresh'.

As they are concentrated you have to dilute the disinfectant with water, I think this is great as it makes it last so much longer, I put my diluted solution in a spray bottle to make it easy to use when I needed it.

I will say I have mainly used it within the kitchen, it's always nice to know that 99.9% of bacteria & viruses are being killed, odours eliminated, and all day freshness achieved. I've been really impressed with the disinfectant, I was worried that the smell might be too overbearing, as sometimes I do find these sort of products that way but actually it is fairly subtle but lasting enough to notice when you come back in the room hours later.

I would say that my favourite scent of the two is probably the 'Green Valley' one as it just leaves a lovely, lush, fresh smell, the citrus one I prefer for bathroom cleaning as I didn't overly like the citrus smell in the kitchen.



I keep it in the kitchen as it is the room we mainly enter into and out of the house from our backdoor so our floor is in often need of a quick clean, that and two messy eaters who like to drop their food on the floor. It is really good to use on the worktops after cooking too and leaves the room looking and smelling so fresh.

You can use the Zoflora undiluted as well, but only on certain surfaces such as ceramic, metal sinks, drains and toilet bowls.

I would definitely recommend this product for use in the home, it lasts for such a long time when used diluted too. Just remember to always read the labels and keep the product out of the reach of children too.

The one thing I might suggest to Zoflora is that I would prefer the product to have a lid that was more child proof rather than a normal screw cap.

Zoflora can be bought from many shops, and for more information please look at their website:    http://www.zoflora.co.uk/




I received the products mentioned for this review, all words are my own. 
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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Tips for craft stall first timers!

So the past few weeks have been busy, not only with the end of school fundraisers (and the long list of days where the kids need to bring in bottles/raffle tickets/chocolates and tombola gifts...) but also because the end of the school year has been busy with teacher notebook orders, and I took a first step. After a year and a half of trading online, I finally did a stall (in fact two)!

So obviously I am a complete newbie at this type of selling, and with some social anxiety chucked in the mix it was always too much for me to contemplate. But I thought long and hard, and this was the next step I needed to take! I chickened out of proper craft fairs but went along to a local school fete and Sam's preschool fete, I mean I couldn't chuck myself into the deep end first time could I!?

I had quite a lot of stock made up already (internet selling is also proving more difficult than I thought it would...) and I made up a fair amount of smaller and cheaper items up for the summer stalls. 

Thankfully both my venues I knew I was inside, and with them being school fetes the tables were cheap at £10-15, so were good for a taster to starting out. 


My top newbie tips!

Before you get there

1. Target Audience
Find out who your target market will be at your event, these were at schools, so I did some lower priced items (hair clips, bookmarks, piggy wallets etc) alongside my more expensive frames and hoops). 



2. Stock
Make up enough stock, although you don't want to be overloading your table, you want there to be enough to show, excess stock can be kept hidden under the table if need be and restock should things sell.

3. Practise setting up
I don't know about you, but sometimes I can't visualise something until I am actually physically doing it, I did a mock set up which helped me see what I needed to do, what was missing, and any changes I needed. I also took a photo to help me for future reference.



4. Insurance
You should have it already, and all venues should ask for it, but if you haven't set it up now, it isn't worth the risk these days!

5. Storage
I got myself two plastic tubs as well as the crates I was using for displays to store my makes in, makes for easier travel.

6. Money
James bought me a reduced lockable cash tin/organiser in Makro, and although it's massive, it is practical. Take note of how much money you have before you head off, and make sure you have plenty of change too.

7. Card reader
This is up to you, and depends on the price of your items also, I took my iZettle along with me, sadly no one bought an expensive item at my stall, but I do know of other crafters who love them at proper craft events.

8. Remember a snack and a drink and comfy shoes if it's a long event

Once you are there

1. Time
Leave with plenty of time, I always get into a bit of a flap if I'm running behind. Most places leave you an hour to set up-it's amazing how fast this hour goes by!!

2. Set up
Deep, breath, work out your surroundings and table space (varies if you don't have your own to bring) and work out how best to set up your makes.

3. Smile
Once set up smile and look approachable. This is probably the bit I struggle most with if I am honest, I'm not rude just very shy and self conscious

4. Hand out cards and leaflets
Even if people aren't buying try and engage and hand over business cards if you can, with any purchase I made I tried to remember to add something with my details on it also. Here's a leaflet I made up



Tips and things to remember

A flat sheet is great as a table cloth.

There are many places online to get business stationary. Mine were done through Essah Aitch and I have been so pleased with my stickers, cards, tags and notes, nice to know you are helping another small business too. If you don't have money make your own leaflets on word or pic monkey.



Use shelving, crates, and boxes to add height to your table (this is one thing I need to work on in the future).

Buy a frame and print off your logo and basic info to put in it to show it all off.

If you can, get some one to help you, a). to keep you company and b). give you a helping hand if you need

Try not to get too disheartened if you don't sell much, I have learnt that school fetes people don't really spend much, but again they are a fairly cheap way to be seen too, it just depends where you are positioned too I guess.
.............................................................................................................................................
In terms of my events, the first was in a primary school and it was very busy, I had some lvoely comments about my work, but I only sold £29 worth of stuff (table was £15) if you exclude the £30 frame someone had pre-ordered off me that is. I thought the hair clips would have sold like hot cakes but sadly not!



The second was my son's preschool, much smaller footfall, £10 table and I sold £11.50, so not the greatest success, but in all honestly I didn't expect to do well there. I was a bit miffed as I had to turn down a day trip with James and the rest of his family to the Isle of Wight for it but ah well. You live and learn.



Hope these tips are of some help to someone :)

Friday, 8 July 2016

Now TV kids pass review

Our kids were a little bit miffed when we recently cancelled our Sky subscription to help save a few pennies, so when we were asked to review the new Now Tv kids pass I jumped at the chance. 



We already have a Now Tv account and use it on our Roku box so setting up the Kids pass was super easy, only taking a minute or two to add the code.

For £2.99 a month you get 6 live Tv channels: Cartoon network, Nickelodeon, NickToons, NickJr, Cartoonito & Boomerang, as well as being able to choose and watch the shows at different times, you also get box sets from Cbeebies, CBBC, and Milkshake. 

NowTv have worked with children to help design the new interface for the Kids section, I think it works really well, my 6 year old used it without any help and actually my 3 and 1/2 year old figured it out really quickly too-I found this out when he swapped shows half way through watching TV one morning! 

I like the fact they have added auto play so that the next episode shows without having go back to any main menus and choose again, especially for those times when us parents need a little break or to get some work done (come on we all do it don't we...)! Although this does sometimes make it a little harder trying to get the kids to come off of it!

If your child loves a certain programme it gets added to the top of the page in a favourites folder, as you can see my two like Paw Patrol like I'm sure many kids seem to!


I will admit Sam can be a bit of a telly addict, so when he was poorly this past week and off preschool whilst I had some craft orders to complete NOWTV really came to the rescue! He loved watching it from his awesome space rocket tent snuggled under his blanket with his special pillow too-so thanks again NOWTV :)



Alex hasn't had much of chance to watch it after getting a technology ban for some naughty behaviour/a very messy room, but I have a feeling it will probably get quite a bit of use over the summer holidays!!

If you wanted to try the Kids pass out, there is a 14 day free trial, more details on the website...

Monday, 28 March 2016

Mad Blog Awards-Nomination!!

My phone beeped at me this morning and I thought it was just my facebook business page notification going off as I'd just joined in, in some networking.

 But it was a lovely surprise to have a tweet saying my blog had been nominated in the lifestyle category!!

 It's the first time I have ever been nominated for anything blog wise so thank you to who ever it was, it's brightened my morning up after a couple of crappy weeks!


Monday, 14 March 2016

Mother's Day 2016

I had such a wonderful Mother's day last week. I think it was the first one where I REALLY felt spoilt. 
Where I REALLY didn't have to lift a finger at all really. So well done to James for finally getting it right after 6 years ;)

The boy's popped to the shop with James to get some breakfast and they came back with a lovely bunch of daffodils which are still sat proudly on the windowsill so they have lasted well.


 The boy's actually had no patience with their cards and had given them to me on Friday after preschool and Alex on the Saturday morning after panicking it was still at school! So it was a nice surprise to receive another big Mother's day card off them too, our secret written in too-the only thin I'll ever have of it's existence.


We went to the local zoo, Cotswold Wildlife park, it's somewhere we can gone to before on Mother's day and it's somewhere we will visit a lot this year as we bought a season pass. 

We were joined by my parents and one of my brother's, and later also by James's parents, Nan and some of his brothers and sister and fiancée, so it was a right family affair!

It was very cold but we were well wrapped up, the boys have behaved the best I think they ever had, which made the day so much more enjoyable for us all-definitely the best Mother's day treat. 

We got around to most of the animals, and the boys loved it, there is a really fun park there which was fun for both the boys and the big kids! Although I don't think Sam liked his first trip down the tube slide as he sort of turned over whilst in there and came out the wrong way-my little trouper didn't let it deter him though as he went straight back on it!

I think it is honestly the happiest day I have had in a long time, no arguments, no whining kids and lots of fun. I am so glad that this past weeks events didn't happen sooner, as it was nice to be so happy that Mother's day and so unaware of what would happen this week
I needed that day, and now I can look back on it and smile, at least I had one Mother's day with all my babies. 



Friday, 11 March 2016

Early Miscarriage


I didn't know whether to post this, but it has helped me this morning, and it may help other's please don't continue to read on if it will upset you. 

This morning the weather was foggy just like my head.

My breasts no longer swollen and sore, just cramps and pain where my baby should be.

It is still so raw, so new, I'm not quite sure what to do.

It is so hard to grieve for something you only saw at first as two lines, and then in a horrible bloody mass. Last night when it eventually happened (I say eventually as I knew it was inevitable and wanted the waiting to end) I paused, I freaked out, how could I just flush what would eventually been our baby away? It made it so, final.

It sounds silly, you know it is common, but you always think 'it will never happen to me', we have been lucky- all our pregnancies we have got pregnant first time, I was lucky in both the boy's pregnancies that I didn't have complications apart from bad sickness and one small scare with Sam, their births have been, dare I say it easy in the sense it was pretty much 'textbook'. So when I fell pregnant this time, of course we thought the same would happen. Naive? Maybe.

As much as you try not to get too excited, or plan ahead too much, you can't help but do it, think of what the future may be, what it holds for them, how it will change your family.

I stupidly thought things felt different this pregnancy and my only thought was perhaps it's a girl, perhaps she won't make me so sick like the boys did. I didn't once think that it could have been because things weren't as they should be, I had all the signs, swollen sore boobs, tiredness that is only felt when pregnant (although not as much as when with the boy's looking back now), and eating everything, I could have had shares in Malteasers the past few weeks.

I felt ill Tuesday morning but it wasn't pregnancy related, I could tell. Then when wiping (TMI sorry) I saw a streak of blood in discharge, barely anything but like any pregnant mother I worried, I googled, and read anything I could, I thought it was probably spotting, although had never had it with the boy's so that was stuck at the back of my head. But gradually throughout Wednesday the blood was more, still barely anything but changing to red colour, the warning colour for bleeding in pregnancy. Wednesday evening James went out to a comedy gig with my brother's and Dad as it was their Christmas present, I put the boys to bed and went for my shower, and then I knew. Alone in the bathroom, I knew the end was starting, a red streak in my knickers.

When James came home he knew something was wrong, we embraced in the longest, tightest cuddle we have had whilst I burst into tears, at that point I was still hoping I was just 'spotting', I would be in that small group of people that bleed but still go on to have healthy babies, but I think deep down I knew, I knew.

I thought if I was miscarrying that it would have happened quicker, over night I would have woken with pains and cramps, but I didn't, I slept great, felt great when my eyes opened. So it was a kick to the stomach to find darker blood, clots, and lots more of it than the night before in the bathroom that morning. I walked the school run in a daze, popped to Asda with Sam for essentials, trying to avoid my eyes from the newborn nappy packets on the end of the isles, the newborns in the trolleys and the pregnant bumps, we got home and I spent a lazy day on the sofa, with Sam giving me cuddles and behaving so well, he has no idea how much that helped.

The cramps started around lunch time, not really painful, but there, I still wasn't sure if it was just my mind playing tricks like it does sometimes when googling your symptoms. But come 4-5 o'clock it there was no hiding from it any more. I somehow ate dinner, whilst having bad pains, whilst the boys looked on saying "Mummy isn't well". We finished off watching a film in our bed with the boys that night, us four snuggled, I grabbed James' hand and flinched, this was it, I waited for the boys to do their teeth before I went to the bathroom where the worst of it happened.

I thought that would be it, I thought miscarriage was quick, I thought it would be one big loss of blood and pain and it would be over like it is on the telly. I didn't think it would be days of it, days of constant reminders of what could have been.

Of course that's just the physical pain, I think it will take a while for us to get over this loss, our baby may only have been 6 weeks, but we will mourn the loss of another child, another sibling for our son's, grandchild for our parents, a niece or nephew for our siblings. But of course in time we will.

We will move on, hug our boys that bit tighter and closer and carry on.

Life, you never know what it is going to throw at you, but you have to come through the other side stronger.


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Sometimes life gives you a kick in the stomach

Two lines,  
Our little secret. 
Smiles upon our faces 
Hopes, dreams, wishes. 
Planning ahead for what may be. 


Red. 


Hopes, dreams, wishes turn to fear, sadness and pain. 
Smiles turn to tears. 
Thoughts to what could have been. 



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