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Meet The Little Pickle Crafter

September 22, 2016 Read more

Since the business has grown bigger than my family and friends now, I thought I'd do a quick bio about me and the business so that you can know who you are buying from!

This is me, and my very own Little Pickles ❤️They are the whole reason why I'm here and in business. I founded the company in 2014 after having an 'epiphany' moment and realising that after 13 years as a Financial Adviser I wasn't enjoying it anymore as much as I should- the long hours awa...y from home in meetings, appointments and travelling were not allowing me to spend time with the most important people in my life.

I decided to take my hobby and turn it into a business, and working flexibly around my pickles means we are all much happier!! I am constantly inspired by my family and friends to create new things, and whilst it's not always easy to combine running a business with being a full time mum, I wouldn't change it for the world.

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Meet The Little Pickle Crafter

September 22, 2016 Read more

Since the business has grown bigger than my family and friends now, I thought I'd do a quick bio about me and the business so that you can know who you are buying from!

This is me, and my very own Little Pickles ❤️They are the whole reason why I'm here and in business. I founded the company in 2014 after having an 'epiphany' moment and realising that after 13 years as a Financial Adviser I wasn't enjoying it anymore as much as I should- the long hours awa...y from home in meetings, appointments and travelling were not allowing me to spend time with the most important people in my life.

I decided to take my hobby and turn it into a business, and working flexibly around my pickles means we are all much happier!! I am constantly inspired by my family and friends to create new things, and whilst it's not always easy to combine running a business with being a full time mum, I wouldn't change it for the world.

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The children are back at school – you’ve given them your best. Is now the time to do something for YOU?

September 14, 2016 Read more

As a Mum, I know what it’s like to feel over-stretched and stressed, worn down by daily routines, not getting enough sleep or never having time for yourself.  We all want to be the best Mum, wife, daughter and friend we can be, but sometimes we get knocked off course, getting a bit lost without a clear vision or purpose.  Sometimes we need a key to help us to unlock our full potential.  A series of Life Coaching sessions is a great place to start.

I am a qualified Life Coach based in Bicester, with a passion for coaching Mums.  I can help you to feel calmer and in control, bring clarity around what really matters to you and create valuable thinking time for you to focus on your life. I will help you to have a clear vision and to set an inspiring goal for your life, helping you to get from where you are now to where you want to be, breaking it down into manageable steps.  You will feel energised, empowered and motivated to bring about the changes you desire.

London based Mum, Daniella: ‘I have been able to move forward in several areas of my life with Jackie’s support. She is so calm, listens to everything I say and she has enabled me to find my own solutions.’

 

My story

In 2014, once my children were both at school, I decided to take some time to re-evaluate my life.  I undertook a series of life coaching sessions which resulted in a dramatic improvement in the quality of my relationship with my husband.   Prior to my life coaching sessions, I had noticed a pattern - every 3 months or so I was saying I felt unloved.  I was trying to explain how I wanted to be loved but it wasn’t going down well.  I knew my husband loved me but I didn’t ‘feel’ it.  Through working with my coach we were able to unpack how my husband was demonstrating his love to me, I just hadn’t been noticing it.  I was wanting him to love me in ‘my’ way and not his way.  I found my life coaching sessions were inspiring and empowering and left me feeling energised and equipped to flourish in my role as a mother, wife, daughter and friend. 

I love the impact that coaching conversations have. In 2015, I trained to become a Life Coach and set up my own business, Future Path Life Coaching. It’s a privilege seeing my clients transform into strong leaders in their families, being both present and productive.

A different perspective

Being a Mum can be isolating.  You may have several friends who you can talk to and share with, but when did you last stop and think clearly about your life?  When did you last have someone to help to unpack your thoughts and gain a new perspective without making judgement about what you are saying?  Conversations with friends can be great.  You swap similar stories and if you’re in a fix they’ll give you some tips and suggestions about what to do.  A conversation with a coach is different as your coach will not give ideas or advice but, through asking powerful questions, will help to unlock what is already inside you. You are the best expert on your life. 

1 hour heavily discounted SORT IT session

I am currently running an offer, exclusively for Oxfordshire Supermums - a 1 hour SORT IT session for £15 including coffee.  This is a mini coaching session, to give you a flavour of what you could achieve in a series of sessions.  With the children back at school, now may be the perfect time for you to focus on what’s important to you.  It’s time to sort it!

One Oxfordshire client commented after a series of life coaching sessions: ‘I gained a clear understanding of my pathway to a more content life and the steps I need to take to achieve this.’

Interested? OK, what now?

Connect with me through the Supermum Oxfordshire website, via email Oxfordshire@supermum.org or find me on Facebook www.facebook.com/futurepathlifecoaching/  for a Mum to Mum no obligation pre-coaching conversation, to explore how coaching can help and then book your 1 hour SORT IT session.

I offer a series of 6 Life Coaching sessions at intervals of 3-6 weeks.  Each session is around 60-75 minutes in length and can be conducted face to face or via telephone / Skype.   Individual sessions cost £65 each.  A series of 6 sessions costs £330 (£55 per session).

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Hopes For The New School Year

September 09, 2016 Read more

The new school year is upon us and this week Little H starts year 1. I’m still finding it a bit unbelievable that my little baby is into her second year of school!

I was nervous for her yesterday. New teacher, new classroom and the children have all been jumbled up into new class groups. In usual Little H fashion though she was really excited and woke up at 6:30am asking to put her uniform on. She ran off into breakfast club without a backward glance and I drove off to work pleased that we are back into the usual routine rather than trying to remember which relative is babysitting today.

In her first year I just hoped that she’d enjoy school and get through the day without any tears or worries. Apart from a couple of incidents early on with a horrible boy Little H really enjoyed Early Years and we couldn’t have asked for a better end of year report.

Year 1 is a bit more serious I suppose – this is proper school now, last year she didn’t ‘legally’ have to be there! So here are my hopes for the new school year…

Make Lots Of Lovely New Friends

We’ve already had the “a girl in my class said she didn’t want to be my friend” and that’s just after the first day! Little H just wants to be friends with everyone and she doesn’t understand if someone doesn’t feel the same. She’s also very sensitive and takes it very personally if another child doesn’t want to play with her. I hope that she finds a nice little group of friends in her new class and doesn’t get left out.

Stand Up For Yourself

Following on from the above I’d love it if Little H learnt to stand up for herself a bit more this year, rather than letting kids say mean things to her or push her around. She certainly doesn’t take any crap at home so it would be nice if a bit of this feistyness made it to school!

Carry on working hard

Little H tried so hard last year with her reading, writing and maths. Of course it was a struggle to get homework done at times but she always did it with no problems once we eventually managed to get her to sit down. Her report said she always tried hard, was enthusiastic and asked a lot of good questions. I hope that going into Year 1 she’s still interested and tries as hard.

Stay Happy

One of the lines that stood out on Little H’s first school report was when her teacher said that she “brightens the room with her big smile, and always makes everyone around her happy”. This is exactly how everyone in our family describes her, but it’s even better to have people outside of the family say the same thing. How lovely would it be to be seen like that rather than a grumpy, stressed out adult – I hope she stays like this for as long as possible!

 

Above all I just hope that another year of school goes smoothly – and I can get a parking space fairly near! If you have a child starting school or going back to school I hope that it goes well for you.

Read this and more of Sarah's blogs at Digital Motherhood

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Meet The Little Pickle Crafter

September 09, 2016 Read more

Since the business has grown bigger than my family and friends now, I thought I'd do a quick bio about me and the business so that you can know who you are buying from!

This is me, and my very own Little Pickles ❤️They are the whole reason why I'm here and in business. I founded the company in 2014 after having an 'epiphany' moment and realising that after 13 years as a Financial Adviser I wasn't enjoying it anymore as much as I should- the long hours away from home in meetings, appointments and travelling were not allowing me to spend time with the most important people in my life.

I decided to take my hobby and turn it into a business, and working flexibly around my pickles means we are all much happier!! I am constantly inspired by my family and friends to create new things, and whilst it's not always easy to combine running a business with being a full time mum, I wouldn't change it for the world. 

Read more

Are You Wasting Money On Marketing?

August 20, 2016 Read more

Here are 5 ways that you may be wasting money on marketing :

 

You're not capturing any feedback

If you don't measure and monitor you are putting in the work without any real clarity. Gauge people's feedback so that you know if they like your venue, product, service, video, Facebook post etc. Measure and monitor so you know what needs developing. Use surveys, questionnaires or just ask or
talk to people!

You're not keeping a log of what you spend

If you're not keeping a log or managing a budget, who keeps tabs on how much you're spending?

You are not attracting any new business or enquiries

Truth is, even if you're spending thousands of money on advertising, if nobody is responding to it, you may not be making best use of your budget. Review what may be the cause of this.

Your customer data is not being used

So you may be guessing all the time. Stop it! Access the data you have, connect with people who have expressed an interest to buy your products or service. Talk to previous and current customers. Use that data!

You're not using the right marketing channels

Perhaps you've just decided you will use social media and local papers as your tools to reach your target audience. Do you know if these channels are where your audience are? Research and work out where they may be, before you part with any money!

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Bunnionaires Shortbread

August 15, 2016 Read more

Mmmm, we love this in Bun house, pure indulgence! Not on a my weekday menu, but the weekend says ‘Yes Please.’ So try the #MrsBunTheBaker.Bunnunaires Shortbread.

INGREDIENTS

SHORTBREAD…125g Butter, 50g Caster Sugar, 175g Plain Flour
CARAMEL SAUCE…4 tsp Golden Syrup, 200g of Condensed Milk, 125g Hard Margarine, 100g Caster Sugar, Capful of Vanilla Essence (optional)                                                                            CHOCOLATE…150-200g in total of Milk, White and Plain Chocolate.

image

 

METHOD

• Pre heat the oven to Gas 3, 160c 350f
• To make the Shortbread. Cream the butter and the sugar together, add the flour slowly, so not to drown the creamed mix, keep going till it is all mixed well.
• Mix it to a dough and flatten down evenly into a swiss roll or 7/8 inch square tin. Prick it all over with a fork and bake for 15-20 minutes.
• For the caramel, place the fat, sugar, condensed milk, vanilla (if using) and syrup into a non stick saucepan (preferably) Leave on a low heat until the caster sugar has dissolved.
• Once it has dissolved, turn up the heat and boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring continually to stop it from burning. It will turn a golden brown colour.
• Pour this over the shortbread base and leave to cool, preferably for an hour.
• Melt the chocolates seperately and pour blobs of each over the top, then swirl together for a marbled effect and leave to set. Cut into squares, Big or small!!

ENJOY! Mrs Bun the Baker

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Books and Apps for School Starters

August 10, 2016 Read more

Well, we’ve completed a whole year of Early Years (or Reception) and are now into the first school summer holidays. This summer we won’t be quite as stressed and worried as we were last year, as we all now know what to expect from school.

We’ve discovered some great books and apps that have really helped Little H with her reading, writing, and generally getting used to school.

If your child is going to be starting school in September you might want to check out some of these books and apps for school starters…

Books

Starting School by Janet & Allan Ahlberg. This is a great book if your little one doesn’t know quite what to expect from school. The children get up to all sorts of fun things that will hopefully make your child excited about starting.

I Am Absolutely Too Small For School. We got this book from the local library and Little H didn’t want to take it back. In true Charlie & Lola style it’s cute and funny, and puts any fears of starting school to rest.

Topsy & Tim Start School Sticker Activity Book. We bought a few workbooks and this was a clear favourite. It has lots of stickers, activities to practice writing letters, and shows what happens in a school day.

Apps & Websites

Teach Your Monster To Read. This website is great, though we found it hard to use on our Android tablet so you may need to sit your child in front of a laptop. At the start of the game your child can create their own monster, choosing from a selection of heads, arms, legs etc. Once the monster’s ready you complete little games in return for pieces of your spaceship to get your monster back home. The games start with recognising letters and sounds, and gradually get harder. The game is free to sign up to.

Reading Eggs. This is very similar to Teach Your Monster To Read except that your child can carry on using it for more advanced reading as they get older. If you sign up you can access the app version for free – a subscription costs £40 per year, but they do also offer a free trial.

Mathseeds. This Maths game is from the same people as Reading Eggs and is aimed at 3-8 year olds. There are lots of activities which once completed allow your child to progress through the game. A year’s subscription is £30, and again they do a free trial.

 

Read this and more of the blogs from Digitial Motherhood here

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How To Keep Young Children Safe Online

July 31, 2016 Read more

 

I’m sure I’m not alone in letting my 5 year old use a tablet to play games or watch YouTube videos – allowing her to use ours is the only way we manage to get to sleep past 05:30!

We all know what to tell teenagers about being safe on the internet- be careful in chat rooms, don’t put personal details on Facebook, don’t send naked photos to your boyfriend – but a lot of parents don’t realise that we also need to be vigilant with much younger children.

You might think your kids are safe because they don’t know about chat rooms or social networks yet, but it’s worth having a think about what they do look at.

Here’s some tips on how to keep young children safe online…

 

YouTube

It seems that most young children are a bit addicted to YouTube these days. Whether it’s watching people unbox toys, doing make-up tutorials or watching episodes of Peppa Pig, our kids can find enough videos to interest them for hours.

The worry with YouTube is that you can click through to recommended videos and end up watching something completely different to what you started on. Little H was watching My Little Pony cartoons one minute and the next she was watching some awful video game called Five Nights at Freddy’s – thank god I was sat next to her at the time!

If your child is a little YouTube addict it might be worth replacing the app with YouTube Kids. It’s an official app that’s much more child friendly both in it’s use and in the content. There’s also parental controls that allow you to set time limits or restricted searching. So far we haven’t come across anything dodgy on this app.

Making Videos

The natural progression from watching YouTube videos is kids wanting to make and upload their own videos to be the next Zoella or Stampy (I’m acting like I’m cool and know who they are!).

How to keep young children safe online | www.digitalmotherhood.com

Little H hasn’t quite worked out how to shoot a video on the tablet yet, but she got a VTech Action Cam for her birthday and has taken loads of videos of herself playing with her toys or scooting along.

She has begged me to add the videos to YouTube but I’m not really comfortable with this. I don’t like to mention her name on my blog or post too many of photos of her as I don’t think it’s a good idea for too much information about her to be public, there are far too many weirdos about these days. This is why my Facebook is private and I have a different Instagram for friends to see photos of her.

Putting content online

If you do allow your child to put video content  or photos online there’s a few things you should be aware of…

  • Don’t allow kids to mention personal details like their name, hometown or school.
  • Make sure they don’t film videos where the front of their house or the street name is visible.
  • Recording a video or taking a photo in their bedroom or while wearing school uniform could attract attention from the wrong kind of people.
  • Any video or photo could receive negative comments – how would your child cope with being trolled?
  • Are they likely to be teased if school friends see the video – for example will they be made fun of if they’ve filmed themselves playing with toys.
  • If they do get embarrassed by the videos or photos at a later date, it may be difficult to remove all traces of it from the internet as you have no control of where they have been shared.

Apps

Little H is a master at finding new games and installing them onto the tablet, I didn’t ever show her how to do it she just worked it out like I’m sure many kids do. At the moment she’s only really interested in Disney games, Dr Panda, or Princess nail salon apps, but once they know how to find and download games they could obviously find all sorts – you probably don’t want your little one downloading Grand Theft Auto or something similar.

It’s definitely a good idea to keep an eye on what your child is downloading, and ensure that there’s no apps that have public access to any videos or photos they might take. You probably already have a password in place to stop them from downloading anything that costs money, this would hopefully stop them from downloading games like GTA anyway.

Online Games

With some games – such as Minecraft or Sims – you can interact with other players. Unfortunately it’s not always children playing these games, and it’s a prime place to target yound children. With a lot of these games you can change the settings so that you are playing by yourself, I’ve done this with Minecraft and Little H has no idea. Admittedly it would be harder to fool slightly older children, so make sure you know what the games they are playing involve.

Parental Controls

You can set up parental controls with your broadband provider, directly on a smart phone or tablet, and within many apps and games to make sure that your child can’t access any adult content. Some tablets even have settings to turn off the WiFi after a certain amount of time so that you can restrict the amount of time they use them for.

Cyberbullying

I am so glad that online bullying wasn’t a thing when I was growing up  – dealing with it at school was bad enough, but nowadays kids can be bullied by their peers in the comfort of their own home as well.

Whilst hopefully not something that younger children will have to deal with, it’s worth parents being aware of the dangers as it may be something to watch out for as our children grow up. Cyberbullying can include texts, emails or messages on social networking sites, and the scariest bit is that they can be anonymous.

If you notice that your child seems upset after being online they could be a victim of cyberbullying.

Talk To Your Kids

It’s quite hard to know how much to tell younger children about staying safe – similar to having the ‘stranger danger’ chat without scaring them. It’s definitely a good idea to warn them about chatting with people online, encourage them to tell you if anyone tries to start a conversation with them or asks them for photos.

Make sure that they know never to tell anyone their name, address or what school they go to. You also want them to know that if anyone is mean to them, says anything nasty, or if they see something they don’t like, they should let you know.

Keep an eye on them

As lovely as it is to be able to get on with a few chores while they sit quietly, it’s also a good idea to sit with them and watch what they do on the phone or tablet. Play the games with them, check what they are searching for and keep an eye on their search history.

I hope you’ve found these tips on how to keep young children safe online useful, if you’re still worried about your child using the internet maybe have a chat with their school as they will no doubt have come across these issues before.

Read this and more of Sarah's blogs over at Digital Motherhood

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Free Summer Swimming For Croydon’s Under-16s

July 21, 2016 Read more

 

Free summer swimming for under-16s is available at all of Croydon Council’s leisure centres for the six weeks of the summer holiday. As well as free swimming there will be crash courses for those new to the water, and centres will offer a range of fun and fitness activities, including inflatable sessions in the pools, junior gyms, trampolining and water polo. Regular football and basketball sessions are also on offer. Membership cards for the free swims are available from the centres at South Norwood, New Addington, Waddon, Thornton Heath, and Purley.

To be eligible, people must either be resident in the borough or attend school here. Parents or guardians need to complete the form and pay a £2 one-off admin fee, after which members can swim for free as many times as they like. Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: "For the third summer in a row we are investing in free swimming. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the summer holidays and I'm really proud that in difficult times we are able to do this again"

With the summer holidays offering a great opportunity for young people to try out new physical activities or hone their skills in sports and athletics the council’s centres welcome first-timers as well as those who already make regular use of the facilities. Membership cards need to be shown at every visit for free swimming, and lost cards can be replaced for £3

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