The serious business of ‘business’

I keep thinking I’m missing something…..because business is so very very serious right? Wrong. Or at least, wrong in my case.

I’m sure it doesn’t need to be. I actually really enjoy it. And mess it up. And make it right again. And fumble around trying to understand it.

I don’t ‘power dress’. Or pay for PR. Or wear sky scraper heels (is that what business women do…..? I don’t know). I feel very intimidated by those types of ladies. And by men in suits for that matter.

And I don’t lie awake thinking about it. Or worrying about how to make more money (ha!) or find more customers, or beat the competition, or ‘put myself out there’.

I don’t have a marketing plan. Or a business plan for that matter. I’m not sure I know what SEO stands for (……joking….I do really….kinda).

I just like it. And have a bit of fun. And enjoy making stuff. And meeting people. A friend and I were chatting (…..’a meeting’…..) yesterday and we decided that marketing is just about ‘relationships’. Meeting folk, showing them your stuff, being nice.

Just relax everyone will you?

I don’t need a master class on recognising my USPs, or ‘finding a niche’, or ‘dressing for success’, or some other crap. I just make stuff. You might like it. Take a look :)

 

Theft

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Please don’t steal from me. I have worked so very very hard.

This was my studio.

I moved into it in May 2011.

My first son was 7 months old, and there was barely a square inch of his skin that didn’t have eczema.

I devoted (almost) every free moment to trying to help him.

I thought about little else.

It took me 12 months to perfect just that tiny bar of baby soap.

12 months.

I moved out of my little studio in November 2013, pregnant with baby number two. I spent many an hour, in those 2.5 years freezing my ass off in that studio. FREEZING. Developing recipes, creating products, formulating the wonderful butters and oil blends that my beautiful sons have now benefitted from.

I have absolutely and utterly poured my heart and soul into my little business.  It has seen me through some of my darkest times. I have earned awards. Featured in books. Become a writer for a magazine. I have worked so bloody hard.

Please don’t steal this from me. You know who you are.

I love giving birth

There. I’ve said it. I love giving birth.

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And if it wasn’t for my age, I’d be planning on doing it again, and again and again.

But you’re not supposed to love it really are you?
I mean, they say it’s scary, and difficult, and hurts….a lot….
But I didn’t find that was so. And it feels like I have some big secret that I’m not supposed to talk about.

For me it wasn’t scary. Or difficult. Or really all that painful. I loved it.

It was peculiar. And bizarre at times. And an effort – I mean, babies don’t just pop out like a ‘jack in a box’ (ha! Imagine if they did! Freaky…). But it was also incredibly exciting, and beautiful, and so so natural.

And most of all, my god, it was empowering. Wow. I have felt the strongest ever – physically, emotionally, mentally – whilst giving birth. What an incredible talent we have. That women can do that. Grow a baby and then release it into this world.

We are so lucky.

I love giving birth.

10 best baby toys

I’m by no means an expert on baby toys, but I know what my kids have loved. Here’s my top 10:

1. Wooden baby gym. Don’t bother with any of these cloth ‘arches’. Go straight for the robust wooden ones. There’s some beautiful types of wooden baby gyms out there, but you can’t beat the ikea one. It’s cheap, sturdy, and easy to sell on.

2. Wooden baby beads. As well as looking pretty, they’re great for teething/chewing on. Held together by an elastic string, they can be stretched apart and manipulated. Great for developing those grasp/grips/fine motor skills.

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3. Mobile. You know you don’t need to spend a fortune on an ‘all singing, all dancing’ musical mobile. Babies love to watch anything thats moving. Amazon sell a great ‘crib mobile attachment clamp’ to which you can attach any mobile at all. Choose something you think looks pretty. I’ve got a range and I swap them over from time to time – a wooden dinosaur one, a capiz shell one (sounds gorgeous) and a one made out of old CDs tied together (great for catching/reflecting the light).

4.  Rainmaker. These sound great and are pretty easy for little ones to grab, roll along the floor, pick up.

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5. Door bouncer. Good old Lindam. Baby number two predictably LOVES throwing himself around whilst hanging from the door frame by elastic. Hilarious to watch, if nothing else.

6. Nursing necklace. Why didn’t I know about these when my first was a baby?! These are amazing pieces of kit and I wouldn’t be without one now. It’s become natural to pop one on when I get up in the morning, and there’s some gorgeous ones out there. Check out etsy for some lovely handmade ones. Baby can fiddle, chew, pull on, play with – all whilst they’re comfortably sat on your hip, or cuddled in for a feed. Perfect.

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7. Cot gym. Heimess do a great little cot gym. It’s the same principle as the baby gym but it can be tied to a cot, a pram, a car seat – so really portable. And pretty to boot! 

8. Puppet. We have a great little puppet that comes in very handy for promoting giggles, distracting from tears and introducing foods when weaning. 

9. Cloth books. They are generally filled with crinkly noisy material and in bold contrasting colours. Great to look at, suck on and generally cover with dribble, in our experience.

10. Lamaze octopus. We were given one of these when my first son was born, and it’s now getting used a lot again second time around. Fabulous and for my money, it’s the best Lamaze pram toy around. Loads to chew on, very colourful, noisy/crinkly and it doesn’t hurt when it gets bashed on your face (bonus!).

 

Notes to a first time Mother – part one

So now that I’m well under way with Motherhood second time around, I’ve got a few insights into the first experience……Things I’ve done differently this time around……Things i wish i’d known the first time.

1. Being pregnant SUCKS. Well, mostly anyway.

009Forced smile….pretending this is such fun…

Yes you’re growing a human being and yes that’s totally amazing etc etc……but you feel like crap. Most. Of. The time.

2. Labour is fine. Stop worrying about it. Baby has got to come out at some point. And no you’re not gonna die (hopefully…).

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3. Baby needs to sleep. All. Of. The time. Don’t underestimate this. Let him, or help him to, sleep. A Lot. Or life will be very stressful for you both.

025Over tired = lots of crying = wheres the wine??

4. You need to sleep. All. Of. The time. But you wont be able to. Now where’s the justice in that?!

5. You will buy loads of STUFF for baby. Clothes (they’ll all get crapped on). Nursery decor (he’ll never sleep in there anyway). A cot (a COT!!!! What was i thinking???). Toys…. Don’t waste your money. He doesn’t need any of it really.

6. You will try to do too much. Stop it and sit down.

7. Your baby will be beautifully groomed and sweet smelling. You will look like crap. FACT.

8. Your house will look as if it has been ransacked. You will adjust your hygiene standards to accommodate this. Oh and poo will get everywhere….

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Poo – getting everywhere

9. 9pm will be a late night.

10. 3am will be party time – but not as you knew it.

11. But then this will happen:

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and everything will be more than OK.

 

Working from home

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I really don’t know how much longer I can cope with working from home.

By the time I’ve cleared myself a space, amongst the toys, and the bills, and the un-read newspapers, hung out the washing, made the beds and put away the dishes, there’s barely time to sit down and think through where to start.

My husband is incredibly kind and happily takes off with the kids for the day so that I can get cracking. But I really struggle to focus, when I’m sat amongst books, toys and teeny tiny underpants.

And it doesn’t help that there’s this staring at me too

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I’m guessing I might need to start hoping and praying that some bargain studio space comes my way……and soon!

Natural sun protection

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Some oils are known to have a natural SPF –  you don’t necessarily need to reach straight for the thick white lotion.

Here’s a recipe for a pre-sun protecting oil blend, using some oils said to have a reasonably high SPF.

Raspberry seed oil 55ml ( 28-50 SPF)

Macadamia nut oil 30ml (6 SPF)

Avocado oil 10ml (4 SPF)

Vitamin E oil 5ml 

 

For more on how to look after your skin naturally through the summer, see my article in the latest issue of The Mother magazine.

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It’s harder than it looks….. A new business on its way

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All of it is harder than it looks. 

How do you ensure that everyone is happy, and that everything is done?

I’m waking every two hours through the night to feed my baby.  I’m helping my eldest son deal with the adjustment to sharing my attention with his brother. I’m keeping a marriage going. I’m running a business. I’m updating my hydrotherapy training. I’m training for my lifeguard renewal.

I’m also starting a new business. Again. I’m going to be running workshops for children with Developmental Co-ordination Disorder, using my Occupational Therapy background and skills.

I just hope I can do it all. Meet everyone’s needs.

Its harder than it looks……

The big eczema secret

When my first son was battling eczema, the solution seemed to be so out of reach.

I tried different products – dozens of them.

i researched different ingredients.

i drove myself insane trying to find a way to end his suffering.

It consumed me. Day and night. (Yep I became quite a bore! My poor husband…..)

So son number two has been showing some signs of the dreaded eczema too. But I’m on it like a hawk.

My ingredient of choice is Shea butter. 100%. I love the stuff. My baby butter is rich in the stuff and my baby is lathered in it All. The. Time.

 

Because you see, I discovered the secret of heading it off at the pass. Or keeping it under control if you’re already it it’s clutches. There’s no magic remedy for eczema. No special magic ingredient. No one thing that works for all. It’s just incredibly simple really. Apply, apply, apply.

I expect my first son’s skin was somewhat dehydrated. I thought I was doing enough. Body butter in the morning. Body butter at night. But now I see the results on baby number two. I’m covering him, massaging him, stroking his skin with my delicious baby butter over and over again. Repeatedly through the day. And I seem to be winning this battle this time.

 

Find your product of choice (or mine!) and just keep going.

It really is that simple.