Sunday, 28 November 2010

Silent Sunday....... Tea Oracle



Silent Sunday

Friday, 26 November 2010

To be or not to be....

I'm talking CyberMummy here of course...

Earlier this year (in the run up to CyberMummy10),  I was approached by a lovely community minded blogger who was desperate to help others raise the money they needed to get to CyberMummy.

We had a few long discussions about what we would like to achieve - we set up a donation link - we both blogged - and tweeted - like crazy.

The response was dreadful. Five people donated to the fund. I was one, she was one and we had three others.

We were both shocked and disheartened I have to say. We put a lot of time and effort into our little plan because we wanted as many bloggers as possible to have the chance to be at CyberMummy. All you had to do to be in with a chance of winning our prize fund ticket was post a comment and donate (if you wanted to.)

We had lots of people wanting to win - but only three people willing to put their hands in their pockets.

We were both sad that we only managed to scrape two blogger places to the conference - we both looked like this :(  :(

We didn't get it. It seems we are all too ready to ask, ask, ask but we're not willing to give anything in return.

So this year we are determined to make our 'mission' work and we need your feedback. Please be honest  - that is all we ask.
If we ran a 100 club would you be willing to pay £10 for a number? 
Obviously we would need to get 100 bloggers on board - but that's easy peasy.... right? We know enough bloggers to make a 200 or a 300 club ....

100 bloggers paying £10 each would enable 12 winners to go to CyberMummy. 

This is our little trial - if we don't get any takers we are both ready to skulk back to our corners of the blogosphere and retire from trying to help others.

Yes it's Christmas - but you really do have to give and take.

Comments please.....

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Black and White - The Gallery

I've been slacking of late when it comes to The Gallery. No excuse really, it's just that life really has got in the way. The girls 30 mile round trips for the King & I rehearsals are about to turn into double hell as the show starts its run. A show, every other day for seven weeks..... It tires me just to look at them now - fuelled by the thrill of taking to the stage in full regal attire..... for 7 weeks!
So... black and white...
imagine....
John Lennon's memorial - taken on my ride around Central Park with @CosmicGirlie. Such a lovely setting, ruined only by the multiple tourists that Jay had to fend off in order for me to get this clear Hipstamatic shot.

On the nest bench, was this man.....


We liked his sign but really and truly didn't think he would be at all pleased if we interrupted his sodoku for love, hugs, peace or beer..
Jay this ones for you my lovely...
xx

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Dear So and So part 2

Dear Macbook,
I have loved you, cherished you and taken you around the world, yet still you diss me. What's the deal with the apple mail thingy?
It's like you get that I'm at the very cusp of throwing you from the balcony and into the garden - then you give me a glimmer of hope that all is well and I email everyone that I know to say 'LOOK IT'S WORKING'... yet deep down I know this reprise is too good to be true.
I almost don't want to go home for the fear that my from field will one again be blank and my email will be redirected, deleted, SPAM.

Dearest Macbook, I promise never to say the words 'upgrade, Macbook Pro' all in the same sentence if only you please, please, please sort yourself out before you give me a total and utter nervous breakdown.
Love Mummy. xx

aside.... whilst looking for an image to support my post the first link that I clicked on was titled 'All the reasons you'll Love your Mac'. Hello Apple.... I have to say that if I had just one reason to love mine right now then I would be able to sleep for the first time in days.
Thanks once again to 3bedroombungalow for her fab meme.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Journalist looking for case study...

You know the score.... If you think this is you and you wold like to appear in a national magazine, leave me a comment and I will be in touch.

HAVE YOU REVAMPED YOUR IMAGE?

A top women's glossy magazine is looking for case studies of women who have
overhauled their image.

Maybe you've lost a bit of weight, changed your haircut, bought a new
wardrobe etc.

If this sounds like you, we'd love to hear from you to share your
inspirational transformation story in the magazine.

Please email jessica.powell@redwoodgroup.net with a bit about your story,
your contact details (including phone number) and a before and after photo.


HAVE YOU GOT YOURSELF OUT OF DEBT?

A top women's glossy magazine is looking for case studies of women who have
got themselves into a significant amount of debt but managed to get back out
of it.

However you built up your debt and however you've worked your way out of it
we'd love to hear from you to share your inspirational story in the
magazine.

The eBay Challenge is on!

Some days really cool things happen. Just little things. but they bring a sense of excitement, happiness and warmth. Today is one of those days.....
Today the eBay Christmas blogger challenge begins!

I love eBay. I've been buying and selling since October 2000 and I've picked up some really cool things - including all of my Blythe dolls! So can you imagine how excited I was when they asked me if I'd like to take part in their challenge??!!

So, this is it....
Five bloggers, each with £250 to spend on eBay in the run up to Christmas. We need to spend wisely, bag some bargains and pull in all the help we can from fellow eBayers in order to win the challenge.
Of course there's something in it for you too. We each get to pick our most helpful supporter who will then be rewarded with a £100 PayPal credit to spend how they please!

The challenge runs until 12th December, so if you want to be in the running for that £100 just before Christmas I need your votes and I need your gift suggestions.

  1. FunnyGirl 7 - likes dancing, fashion, drawing, painting, pandas and playing on her DSi. Really wants a Netbook. Isn't getting a NetBook.
  2. ModelGirl 8 - likes photography, drawing, fashion, shoes, the Simpsons, Sonic and Mario. Really wants a Canon SLR and a mobile phone. Isn't getting a Canon SLR or a mobile phone.
  3. TotallySonny 10 - likes Lego, MegaBloks, XBox, the Simpsons, Pokemon and swimming. Really wants a supersize Lego / MegaBloks kit - lets see what we can do.
  4. No1 son 19 - likes photography, Star Wars, movies in general, cooking and sleep. Really wants an iMac and a car. Needs to get a job if he's ever going to afford anything.
  5. Hubby likes - clothes, shoes, bags and beating me at Bust a Move. Really wants an iPhone 4. Sadly I don't think the budget is going to stretch that far.
  6. Cheryl 1 - likes stealing socks, snuggling in someones jumper and attacking the poor dog. Really wants a heated bed to keep her warm. Will always get whatever she wants.
So that's my list. If you've seen anything on eBay that you'd like to suggest to me simply click on the 'Suggest a Gift' tab over on the app.

The rules state that we can sell things to top up our pressie fund too, so watch the page as I will be listing loads of things over the next couple of weeks. Looks like I need to if I'm going to manage to buy for everyone!

I guess that I should add that two of the other bloggers taking the challenge are my CyberMummy partners Jen and Susanna. Head over to the Facebook App to get voting and suggesting ideas. You never know it could land you that £100!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Parent bloggers wanted!

I'm on the hunt for some fab parent bloggers with babies or toddlers for an exciting project that I'm working on. If you'd like to be considered please add your blog URL to the linky and we'll take a look.

MummyTips Live from the Mother and Baby Awards 2011!

So here we are again.. tonights proceedings may seem totally irrelevant to lots of you (but that's cause they are). But tonight is THE big night in the 'baby' industry. The one night that the great and the good join together to celebrate the last twelve months. There will be joy, there will be laughter and there will quite probably be tears if @RosieScribble and @Cafebebe don't manage to keep the red wine flowing.
So I apologise in advance if I completely mess up with this - as it's new! 
Last year I tweeted the whole thing and was so bombarded with questions that I didn't get drunk 'STOP PRESS - shock horror'. 
Clearly that isn't an option tonight and I'm prepared - ready and able.

To save time and sanity I have already listed the categories below. I will be updating winners live tomorrow evening - so do check back - if you are at all interested that is! If you aren't - sorry, perhaps I will write something of more interest soon. xx

And before everyone starts screaming .... I have no idea about the order in which the results will be called - so don't ask OK?!



Best Car Seat – Group 1
Gold MAXI-COSI – Pearl & FamilyFix Base
Silver KIDDY – Kiddy Energy Pro
Bronze BRITAX – KING plus
Best Car Seat – Group 1, 2, 3
Gold BRITAX – EVOLVA 1-2-3 plus
Silver RECARO UK LTD – Young Sport
Bronze KIDDY – Kiddy Guardian Pro
*NEW* Best Car Seat – Group 2, 3
Gold SUNSHINE KIDS – Monterey
Silver BRITAX – KID plus
Bronze RECARO UK LTD – Monza Seatfix
 Best Baby Carrier / Sling or Back Carrier
Gold PHIL & TEDS – Escape
Silver TOTSBOTS   – Papoozle
Bronze BUSHBABY – Premier Carrier
 Best Travel System
Gold GRACO – Symbio
Silver JANE   – Slalom R Matrix
Bronze BRITAX – B-DUAL & second seat unit & BABY-SAFE plus SHR II
 Best Pushchair
Gold BRITAX – B-SMART 4
Silver GRACO – Symbio
Bronze PETITE STAR – Kurvi Match
Best Lightweight Buggy/Stroller
Gold BABY JOGGER – Baby Jogger City Mini
Silver COSATTO – Yo!
Bronze MAMAS & PAPAS – Cruise Buggy
Best Twin/Tandem
Gold BABY JOGGER – Baby Jogger City Select
Silver OUT N ABOUT – Nipper Double 360
Bronze BRITAX – B-DUAL with second seat unit
*NEW* Best Pram & Changing Bag Accessories
Gold BROTHER MAX – Brother Max Milk Powder Dispenser
Silver PEEKABOO COMMUNICATIONS – Baby Hoodie
Bronze NUBY UK LLP – Safari Chimes
Best Travel Product
Gold MUNCHKIN – Travel Booster Seat
Silver MY CARRY POTTY – My Carry Potty
Bronze CHEEKY RASCALS – BubbleBum
 Best Moses Basket or Crib
Gold BEDNEST LTD – bednest crib
Silver THE LITTLE GREEN SHEEP – Organic Wicker Moses Basket
Bronze NSCESSITY – BabyBay

Best Newborn Sleep Aid – 0-3 months
Gold EAST COAST NURSERY LTD – Grow Blanket
Silver 37 DEGREES – swaddling temperature blanket
Bronze SUMMER INFANT – SwaddleMe
Best Cot
Gold kUB – Walda Cot/Day Bed
Silver kUB – Eco Cot/ Cotbed
Bronze EAST COAST NURSERY Ltd – Anna Cot
 Best Baby Monitor
Gold TOMY UK – Digital Plus TD350 Monitor
Silver SUMMER INFANT – Baby Zoom Digital Video Monitor
Bronze MOTOROLA – MBP35 Large Screen Video Baby Monitor
Bouncy Chair/Rocker or Seat
Gold CHICCO – Relax & Play
Silver MAMAS & PAPAS – Apollo Bouncing Cradle
Bronze FISHER-PRICE – Precious Planet Bouncer
Best Nursery Product
Gold KIDDICARE – Baby Weavers Splash Changing Unit
Silver CONTENT & CALM – The Cot Canopy
Bronze AQUASOLARI – Aquasolari
Best Bathtime Product
Gold CLEVAMAMA – Splash & Wrap Baby Bath Towel
Silver SUMMER INFANT – Right Height Tub
Bronze TIPPITOES – Mini Bath
Best Safety Product
Gold BUSHBABY – minipack
Silver 37 DEGREES – Sleeping Sleepsack
Bronze CUDDLEDRY – SPF50+ Poncho Towel
 "N* Best Travel Sleep Product (including Travel Cots)
Gold MAMAS & PAPAS – Sleep Travel Cot
Silver GRO – Travel Grobag Baby Sleep Bag
Bronze KIT FOR KIDS BABY – Eucalyss Folding Travel Cot  Mattress
Best Newborn Toy – 0-6 months
Gold VTECH – VTechBaby Sing and Soothe Mobile
Silver LEAPFROG – My Pal Scout
Bronze LEAPFROG – Twinkle Twinkle Scout
Best Baby Toy – 6-12 months
Gold EARLY LEARNING CENTRE – Lights & sounds walker
Silver LEAPFROG – Learn & Groove Muscial Table
Bronze MY WONDER LTD – My Wondercube
Best Toddler Toy 12 months +
Gold MEGA BLOKS – Classic Maxi Bag 70 pc
Silver FISHER-PRICE – Little People Animal Sounds Farm
Bronze VTECH – VTech Bath Friends Turtle
*NEW* Best Toddler Toy 24 months +
Gold LEGO – LEGO DUPLO Play With Numbers
Silver LEAPFROG – LeapFrog Tag Jnr
Bronze ORCHARD TOYS – Nursery Rhyme Four in a Box
Best Product for Breastfeeding
Gold LANSINOH – Lansinoh Lanolin for Breastfeeding Mothers
Silver THERALINE – The Original Theraline Maternity & Nursing Pillow
Bronze MEDELA  – Swing Electric Breast Pump
Best Product for Bottle Feeding
Gold AVENT – Philips AVENT Digital Steam Steriliser
Silver BORNFREE – 9oz (260ml) BPA-free wide neck plastic bottle
Bronze MAM UK – MAM Hold Me Bottle 270ml
Best Baby Food Range/Product
Gold ORGANIX – Organix Goodies Organix Toddler Snack Range
Silver HIPP ORGANIC – HiPP Organic Wholesome Pots
Bronze ORGANIX – Organix Stage 2 Organic Baby Foods
Best Feeding Product for Weaning
Gold FISHER-PRICE – Healthy Care Booster Seat
Silver BROTHER MAX – Brother Max Home and Travel Weaning Bowl
Bronze MAM UK – MAM Baby’s Fork and Spoon
Best Highchair
Gold EAST COAST NURSERY LTD – Multi Height Highchair with insert cushion
Silver TRIPP TRAPP – Tripp Trapp
Bronze THE RED KITE BABY  – Feed Me Ultimo
Best Baby Wipe
Gold JACKSON REECE – Kinder by Nature Natural Herbal wipes
Silver SAINSBURYS – Sainsburys 72 ECO Sensitive baby wipes
Bronze ALDI – Baby Wipes
 Best Disposable Nappy or Nappy Brand
Gold HUGGIES – Huggies Newborn with Organic Cotton
Silver TESCO – Tesco Super Fit nappies
Bronze ALDI – Junior Nappies
Best Reusable Nappy
Gold TOTSBOTS – Bamboozle S-t-r-e-t-c-h
Silver BUMGENIUS – bumGenius All in One
Bronze CHARLIE BANANA – 2 in 1 Reusable Nappy system

Best Skincare Range/Product
Gold ASDA – Little Angels Skincare Range
Silver NATURE BABYCARE – Eco Skincare Range
Bronze SAINSBURYS – Sainsbury’s Little Ones Baby Toiletries Range

Best New Innovation (judged by Mother & Baby panel)
Gold PHILIPPE LARA LTD – Hamster Buggy Bags
Silver YOOMI – Self Warming Baby Bottle
Bronze AVENT – Philips AVENT Combined Steamer Blender

Best Health Product (reader nominated)
Gold CALPOL – McNeil Healthcare UK
Silver SUDOCREM – Forest Laboratories UK
Bronze BABY NUROFEN – Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare UK

Nursery Retailer of the Year (reader nominated)
Gold KIDDICARE
Silver MOTHERCARE
Bronze BOOTS

Online Retailer of the Year (reader nominated)
Gold KIDDICARE
Silver TESCO DIRECT
Bronze ARGOS

Supermarket of the Year (reader nominated)
Gold TESCO
Silver ASDA
Bronze SAINSBURYS


Britain’s Bravest Mum – Lynsey Fuorvito





















Thursday, 18 November 2010

Little Mummy's guide to getting a CyberMummy sponsor

This is new for me - my very first guest post! I'm handing my blog over to Erica from Little Mummy who is sharing her tips on how to bag a CyberMummy sponsor.



Hello! Sian has asked me to put together some tips on getting a sponsor for Cybermummy. So here are my tips based on what I did.


Writing Your Pitch

1. Explain briefly why you're writing your pitch and what you're looking for sponsorship for.

2. Be specific about how much you need and what the money will be spent on.

3. Describe what you will offer the potential sponsor using bullet points. These should be specific points of value not 'I'm an awarded winning blogger', because although that is very impressive it doesn't say in business terms what benefits that will bring to your potential sponsor.

4. Remember that the point of sponsorship is that it's a mutually beneficial deal, nobody is doing anyone a favour so to speak. Ensure that the value of what you're offering meets the cash value you're asking for, or preferably exceeds it a bit. This way sponsors can be sure that even if you've accidently over-valued one aspect of the deal that overall it balances up.

5. Where possible assign a value to each service you'll provide, however don't just make values up. My own values were based on what I would charge for each service and where the value was unknown I said so.

6. Keep the pitch brief and to the point, professional but friendly.

Here's my pitch feel free to copy whatever bits you want from it. I do draw the line at you using the title 'Join Team Littlemummy' though ;)


Promoting Your Pitch

1. Post your pitch on your blog and promote via your usual channels (twitter and facebook etc..)

2. Contact any PR's or companies that you have worked with in the past along with any that you're currently working with. Do not go into detail about the sponsorship, mention you're looking for sponsorship and direct them to your post. If they're interested they'll read the pitch post!


Negotiating the Sponsorship Deal

1. Be prepared to negotiate the specifics. If the sponsor doesn't want a banner ad and would rather an additional blog feature then that's a fair compromise in my opinion. If they start asking for Granny's china then perhaps not :)

2. Be ready to demonstrate the value of your offering. This is your chance to mention that award you won, your top ten place and how many twitter followers you have.

3. You may be asked for stats. Be ready to provide what you have and just be honest when you don't have the stats they're asking for (try and demonstrate your value in other ways)



More Than One Sponsor Offer


I found myself in the fortunate position of having two potential sponsors. If this happens to you, you need to decide whether you're going to adopt the 'show me the money' or the 'first come first served' strategy.

1. Show Me The Money

First one to pay closes the deal. The easiest way but you may end up alienating one party and destroying future chances of sponsorhip or advertising with that party.

2. First Come First Served

You honour your first approach until they've made a decision. More difficult to manage without potentially losing both deals. On the plus side you maintain good relationships.


What I did...

I used the second strategy. On receiving a second sponsor I went back to my first approach and informed them that I'd had another approach and that please could I have a decision by 6pm.

I ended up going with my second approach but I also emailed my other approach to inform them politely of the situation. I was careful to keep the door open for future opportunies and I also mentioned that if they still wanted to sponsor someone for Cybermummy then I'd be happy to put them in touch with another blogger.

I think this approach turned out to be the best one as not only do I have a fantastic sponsor in Next Day Appliances but I've also left the door open for future opportunities with the other party and the chance that I may be able to secure sponsorship for someonelse.

This was a little more work but it resulted in a win-win all round.



Closing the Deal


1. Once you've gone through the specifics it's time to close the deal. My advice is to ask for the full amount up front by cheque or paypal.

2. Be very efficient in honouring your end of the bargain. Not doing so will only hamper your chances of getting sponsorship for future events and for everyonelse in the community.

Ok, I think that's all. I hope that didn't sound too preachy, just what I learned throughout the process.

Good Luck and I'll see you at Cybermummy!

--
Erica Douglas

Monday, 15 November 2010

Brand looking for London based blogger

CyberMummy - Sponsor a blogger call out!!!

I have a brand looking to be paired with a London blogger who has a child or children aged between 2 and 4 years.

If this sounds like you, please leave me a comment with your Twitter id or email and I will be in touch to get some more info from you.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The King & I dates


So many people have been asking me which dates the girls are performing in The King & I and we finally have their schedule through.
I thought it would be easier to list them here than have to continually reel them off! Tickets have already sold out on quite a few shows - so if you'll need to get in fast. Book here.

Friday 3rd December - Evening 
Saturday 4th December - Evening
Monday 6th December - Evening
Tuesday 7th December - Evening
Thursday 9th December - Evening
Saturday 11th December - Evening
Wednesday 15th December - Matinee
Friday 17th December - Evening
Monday 20th December - Evening
Wednesday 22nd December - Evening
Friday 24th December - Matinee
Tuesday 28th December - Evening
Thursday 30th December - Evening
Saturday 1st January - Evening
Wednesday 5th January - Evening
Saturday 8th January - Matinee
Wednesday 12th January - Matinee
Saturday 14th January - Evening

As you can see I will be spending a lot of time in my new adopted office (aka, The Curve bar) over the coming weeks!

Friday, 12 November 2010

For the love of Blythe

I'm not even really sure how we met, Blythe and I. I think I stumbled upon her online around the same time that Yan sent me an email entitled 'Some freaky dolls you will love'....
You see - I don't really like dolls. In fact those old Victorian china dolls completely and utterly F-R-E-A-K me out.
But not Blythe. I'm not sure what it is about her that drew me in but from the moment I set my eyes on her I was hooked. Perhaps her individuality, her freakiness or just that she came from 1972?
But one thing is for sure - and that's that I was hooked.
Amy Lee sits on my blog header, a Christmas gift from my hubby. The second best thing that he has bought me - EVER (I had my kitty Cheryl for my birthday last year and even though I did actually technically buy her myself..... it's a close cut thing).

Then our Blythe family began to grow - my girls who have never been ones for playing with dolls got in on the act too. They treat their dolls with the upmost respect. No dodgy outfits or being left out for the dog to chew. Their girls are loved, dressed, photographed and put away safely in their cabinet at night. Our collection grew to 13 full size Blythe's and 4 Petit Blythe's.


Then a few weeks ago I discovered that Hasbro (who own the Blythe trademark) had launched a collection of Littlest Pet Shop Blythe's. I have to say I was slightly dubious but they are totally on a par with the Petit dolls that Takara produce. I don't think that anyone but a hardened Blythe nut would be able to tell them apart.
Takara Blythe left, Littlest Pet Shop right.
There are four Littlest Pet Shop Blythe set's to collect and at £9.72 from ToysRus they are an absolute steal and a perfect addition to a girls (or her mummy's) Christmas stocking.
Anna (all Blythe's need a name you know), now resides in nick-nack corner on my desk!
Thank you once again to Toys R Us for choosing us to be TRU Toyologists. We love it!
I will be holding a Mega Toys R Us giveaway next week - so stay tuned!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Gallery...... Seasons

In a bid to clear my brain I dug down into my photo archives to take part in this weeks Gallery. A topical theme, Seasons.
I'm an Autumn girl through and through. Perhaps that's because of my November birth - but I'm not really sure. I love the rich deep colours of the leaves as they decide to fall and the crunch beneath your feet as you stride through the rich red, orange and yellow on the ground.
I love these pics of my girls. They were taken a fair few years ago at the Conker tree in the center of our village, FunnyGirl is just a toddler. 


We had so much fun collecting big juicy conkers in all of our pockets and crunching through the leaves.


ModelGirl is a bit like a tree herself! You can date her by the length of her hair and here it is so short, years away from being able to sit on it like she can now! I miss them being small, excited and worry free. Hang on to those moments and cherish them dearly.
If you are new to The Gallery, please do stop by at least a few new blogs - you never know you may just stumble across something that you totally love.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

CyberMummy - Some tips on getting a sponsor

I had such a big response following my post offering to help bloggers hook up with sponsors for next years CyberMummy that I've put together a short guide on how to approach brands and establish mutually beneficial working relationships with them.

1. First and foremost, identify the brands that you would like to work with.
Make a list. Aim high but also be practical. Don't just target anyone and everyone.
To be a good honest brand representative you need to have some natural rapport and feel good factor for the product you are endorsing. Start by thinking about the products that you love and use every single day. If you know and are passionate about a product or a brand - your sell in to the PR is already halfway there.

2. Think small too.
At last years conference we had a lot of small brands that I managed to match with bloggers. These brands really wanted to tap into the conference but didn't have the budget to meet full conference sponsorship packages. Again, research the people you are approaching. Sponsorship isn't about take, take, take. You have to offer something valuable in return and more importantly you have to follow through on your end of the bargain.

3. Part two of your planning list should include brands who have previously reached out to you.
You might not have actually worked together in the past but that prior contact is a great starting point for a conversation. If they have contacted you it shows that they already see the benefits in working with bloggers. Be direct - ask them if they would consider sponsoring you to go to CyberMummy. Back this up with a good solid case as to why they should. For example, you have children in their target age range, you already use and love their products.

4. Be honest...
You need to have a firm idea of what you actually need to cover your conference trip.
a) Ticket (£80 till 31/12/10).
b)Travel, check to see how much it will be - there are great train deals to be had if you book ahead).
c) Hotel, if you need accommodation get a price first.
Offer this information freely to your potential sponsor. Break it down so that they can see that you are being honest with them and back it up with a list of things that you are offering them in return.
Be innovative and creative when putting together your side of the deal but I don't get so caught up in the gratitude of your sponsor that you agree to a tattoo or to give birth live on their website!

5. Be professional.
Be innovative and creative when putting together your side of the deal but I don't get so caught up in the gratitude of your sponsor that you agree to a tattoo or to give birth live on their website! Put together a proposal outlining what you are offering in return for sponsorship. Here are a few basic things you could offer. (See post on CyberMummy blog for more ideas.)
  • A blog post about the product / brand and a giveaway.
  • Share link to their site or service on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Carry a badge or an ad on your blog for a specified period.
  • Offer original copy for their website.
Then throw in a few extras when you have closed the deal like announcing your sponsorship in a post, on Twitter and Facebook just to prove what a great choice they made in sponsoring you!

The opportunities to attract and work with sponsors are limitless but be practical. Don't over inflate your sponsorship costs and be prepared to share your own blogs vital statistics.

If you need any further help or advice you know where I am! Good luck - and see you at CyberMummy11! 

If you would like to read some more tips about working with brands head over to the BMB Blog and read Natalie Lue's guest post 9 Tips on how to work with brands

**UPDATE**
I have a brand looking to sponsor London based bloggers with children aged 2 to 5 years. If this is you leave a comment with your Twitter id and I'll be in touch for more info.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Racism once again..

I got married and I had three beautiful children, then one morning when our eldest child was nine years old things started to change. Something had entered our life that we as a family unit had no control over. Suddenly we had become 'the Chinese family'. I'm of white English heritage and my husband is Chinese. Born in the British territory of Hong Kong, he moved to the UK - as was his rite as a British citizen (he holds a UK passport having being born in the British Empire) when he was two years old.
When I met him and fell in love with him I didn't see a 'Chinese man'. I saw a beautiful soul full of passion and love and warmth. Someone who accepted me, nurtured, comforted me and loved me despite my many, many problems.
Of course I knew that he was Chinese but my point is that I didn't see that. 
Now I know that the reason that I din't see it is because I am not racist.
I don't see a person's colour, I see their heart and their soul and I am slowly but surely realising that this is not a universal human trait.
I blogged back in June about an incident involving FunnyGirl at school and despite their faultless zero tolerance attitude we once again find ourselves being singled out due to the behaviour of a few children.
I should be saying that I am very proud of the way that Sonny handled the situation last week. He calmly took the abuse and then reported it to a dinner lady. I told him that I was proud of him for rising above it when I really wanted to tell him that he should have smashed the little shites in the face.
I want to smash the little shites in the face. But I'm not allowed to do that because then I would be the one in the wrong.
Again I find myself in the situation of having to speak with parents that I class as friends and again it seems that I made another wrong friendship choice. After all - they have an Indian family next door and they are very good friends with them.
I know that I shouldn't make this about me - after all I'm not the one having to take the racism face on but I'm the one that has taken on the fight. Yan's had this for his whole life and he's kind of resigned to it. Why wouldn't he be after over 40 years of daily abuse? But for me it's something that has just landed right in the middle of my little world and blown it apart.
I don't get it. I just do not see why the fact that someone is Chinese, green, blue, black or two headed is something to be ridiculed. But what I do know is that my children are becoming tainted by the views of others and when it comes to who you are - that just isn't fair.
The positive side to this sorry tale is that we do feel supported by the school but we are also aware that they can only have so much influence. Children can be taught things at school but if they go home to parents teaching them to sing "Chinese, Japanese, what are these dirty knees (enter the name of any of my children) stinks" then where is the hope? 
I've always said that children are not born racist and whilst it could be argued that things are done in innocence or jest I have to point out that following the incidents in June a whole school assembly on racism plainly explained that it simply isn't acceptable to taunt, tease or single anyone out in life.
Clearly this subject is very close to my heart. I would love to hear from other people. Not just parents about their experiences with racism.
I didn't have the best childhood but I clearly didn't grow up with race issues. Is that a learnt behavior? Are parents to blame? What can I do to help my children to overcome this? 
All advice warmly welcomed. I need it. xx
Related posts: Shocked to the core
Chinky

Friday, 5 November 2010

Dear Tree and others


Dear Beautiful Tree of mine,
Against my better judgement and despite my love of your sheer beauty I have called the highways department to inform them of your demise. Please don't hold it against me as they will be coming to put you to rest next week.
Love always
xo xo

Dear Wind.
Please, please, please take a rain check on any sever blowy activity around these parts for the next week or so. Dead tree is not looking too good and if you blow him too hard he'll end up in my office and then I will be mad.
Yours - Bad Ass Mummy.

Dear Girls,
It is actually an honor to have been cast as the King's Twins in The King & I. I know that it is a total drain on you having to actually look at each other / touch each other / stand next to each other and smile at each other without each other to drop dead. Remember - without her you would be a lowly child at the back of the stage and not standing next to the King.
love Mum.
x

Dear Parent,
Thank you for informing me by text today that your child came home from school with a yellow card for calling my son a Chinky. I appreciate your honesty and I hope that you appreciate the fact that it took every ounce in his body not to punch your son in the face.
xx
Sian.

Do stop by 3 Bedroom Bungalow for more Dear So and So posts - they rock!

CyberMummy11 is coming


I did say that i wasn't going to get bogged down trying to match individual bloggers with sponsors this year but there's been so much buzz on Twitter and I've already had a couple of approaches from companies looking to hook up with and sponsors that I'm already having to eat my words!
So if you are looking for sponsorship and you would like to go onto my list please leave a comment with your Twitter id or email and your blog url and I will be in touch.
If you haven't already done so - please read our guidelines on working with an individual sponsor.

Susanna and I looking relieved that it's Jen who is up on stage opening the conference!


Please do keep on looking for a sponsor yourself. I can't guarantee that I can match you - but I will do my best.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

An interview with Peter Opsvik - Mr Tripp Trapp himself...

I travel a fair bit with my job, it's a hassle - but it's just the way it is. Other people see it as a perk but the reality of pulling yourself out of bed at 4am to drive to the airport to land somewhere in Europe to present at a meeting is about as far from glam as glam gets.
But sometimes it is pretty cool and despite flying into Oslo on a dark and very snowy morning with a migraine from hell I managed to pull myself together and regain my composure before heading over to interview a man who has had a major presence in my house for the last ten years. I was meeting the design icon Peter Opsvik - the man who designed the Tripp Trapp chair.

The Story of Tripp Trapp


The story of the birth of the Tripp Trapp chair has been much told in Stokke circles but here we take a look at the man behind the chair; the award winning designer Peter Opsvik.
Born in Norway in 1939, Peter studied art through his early twenties, graduating from Bergen Arts School in 1963 before taking a position as an Industrial Designer at Tandberg Radio, Oslo. The five years that he spent there were far from un-eventful, whilst his ‘day job’ saw him producing some now iconic portable radios, his love for furniture design was being unveiled to a larger audience.
In 1966 he was awarded a design scholarship from ‘The Norwegian Credit Bank’ and the following year whilst still working part time at Tandberg, Peter’s collaboration with Stokke began.
I met with Peter at his Oslo studio on a very cold and snowy afternoon to talk to him about the concept and development of the Tripp Trapp chair.

Me: Tripp Trapp is now an iconic product used by millions of families right across the world. When you were creating it did you have any idea how innovative it really was?
Peter: Highchairs date back to Egyptian times yet whilst they had a function they had still not been ‘designed’. A highchair was a one size fits all – yet we know that all children are not the same size. Inevitably your old fashioned highchair had a very limited use time when it was the correct size for your child and after witnessing this with my own son – I saw that it really didn’t have to be this way.
I wanted to create a chair that could grow and adapt to a child’s changing needs whilst allowing freedom of movement – but of course I had no idea just how successful it would become.

Tripp Trapp development sketch by Peter Opsvik

An early Tripp Trapp development sketch by Peter.

Me: What was the highchair market like in the early 1970’s?
Peter: All of the chairs were static. Tripp Trapp was the very first children’s chair with the ability to adjust. This came with it’s own set of issues as the ergonomic factors of the chair were not easy to explain to a generation of parents who had been brought up using traditional seating.

Me: Did you always intend Tripp Trapp to be a chair for life?
Peter: Yes. Pre 1972 a highchair was something that was only used for such a short period and then discarded. I don’t like throw away culture and there was no reason not to produce something that is built to be used daily and passed down from generation to generation. Longevity is a significant contribution to the concept of sustainable design.
Tripp Trapp 1972
Peter's son Tor in 1972.


Me: How much does sustainable design impact on your work?
Peter: It varies a lot, I prefer to develop light wooden based furniture but I think that my contribution environmentally has been in at least attempting at longevity.

Me: Do you think that sustainable design principles will become important for all designers?
Peter : Industrial products produced on a global scale can hardly be described as being truly sustainable, but I do hope that all designers will do their best to develop products that do as little damage as possible to the environment.

Me: How did the nursery industry take to your advanced concept?
Peter: Well, for twenty years it was really a stand-alone product. No other manufacturer was producing chairs that came close to the usability or life span of Tripp Trapp. Of course that has now changed and adjustable chairs are now a category of their own.

Me: Which leads me very neatly onto my next question… How do you feel when someone presents an evolution of one of your products?
Peter: Evolution is OK; if the concept has been improved, but lousy copies are not and I have to say that there are lots of the latter.

Tripp Trapp chair for life

Me: So when creating a new product would it be fair to say that one of your considerations would be what is currently available and how well it does the job that is required of it?
Peter: Yes, absolutely – I try to look for gaps in the market where there are holes that I can fix. Tripp Trapp fixed a very big hole. For the first time children were able to sit comfortably and share mealtimes with the rest of their family and on their own terms. Children should be allowed the freedom to come and go, it encourages independence and social skills that can be easily lost in this modern hectic life. Sitting at the table should be fun.

Me: And finally.. Even though it is nearly forty years old Tripp Trapp is still the epitome of modern design. How did you do that?
Peter: Simply by not following fashion. If I had been inspired by 70’s kitchen furniture Tripp Trapp would now look very dated indeed.
Peter Opsvik
Peter Opsvik.


 

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

I didn't make it to the hospital!!!!!

Did you give birth before you made it to the hospital? If you did Mother and Baby magazine would like to hear from you.
Maybe you had an unplanned home birth, or gave birth in the car, at work or heaven forbid in the supermarket (I'm sure it happens).....
If you have a great birth story that you would like to share leave a comment and I will pass your details on to the magazine.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Gallery... Show me the funny

I couldn't resist going with a pic from the blogger Build A Bear even for this weeks 'Show Me the Funny' Gallery theme. So people I bring you Laura from AreWeNearlyThereYetMummy and good old Mr Bear....
It made me laugh...
Incidentally.... FunnyGirl was very upset on seeing the above shot. Mr Bear had pledged his love for her... or so she said. Laura, we will be seeing you on an episode of Jeremy Kyle real soon.....

Vote Blogladesh!

Nominations are open for this years Mashable awards and this post is a shameless begging pitch to everyone who supported Eva, Josie and I throughout our Blogladesh trip. You cared enough to follow us and now we need just one more thing...

Please pop over to Mashable and nominate Blogladesh for a couple of their awards.... pretty please:)

The categories to nominate us in are.....
Most Creative Social good Campaign and Most Creative Social Media Campaign. 



Picture is of Yasmine, taken at the Ad-din hospital, Dhaka.


By voting for Blogladesh in the Mashable Awards you will be keeping our campaign alive. What we achieved with your help was amazing, your support gave us 'regular mums' a real voice and people stood up and listened to what we had to say. Save the Children is a unique charity and the work that they do around the world is nothing short of breathtaking. They educate, support and save the lives of children like Yasmine every single day.



You can vote for us in the Most Creative Social Media Campaign by clicking on the Mashable awards logo above.
And in the Most Creative Social Good Campaign by clicking the Mashable awards logo below. Simple!



You can vote every day... so if you have a spare 2 mins we would all appreciate it!

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