Friday, 26 July 2013

Center Parcs July Challenge - A Childs Nature Checklist!

As you know, Center Parc villages are set in acre upon acre of natural landscape and they each village has their own team of Conservation Rangers to look after all of the flora and fauna!

One of the most popular activities the Conservation Rangers run for families staying at Center Parcs is the Rangers Ramble. One of our experts leads families through the forest, helping them spot and learn about animals and plants in the forest.

This month’s challenge is all about nature and helping your kids to learn more by getting to know the animals and plants that surround them every day. By taking part in this month’s challenge you could be in with a chance of becoming a Center Parcs Family Blogger.

With that in mind we set out to discover our surroundings - we have lived here almost 6 years and still havent been on a lot of the country walks close to home!  Now that we have Nina thought things are changing!

We noted down the items we were meant to find for the challenge but the kids were getting disheartened when we couldnt find one mummy to the rescue quickly kept eagle eyes open and shouted out what they should find as i saw it first! lol  

 Snails hiding....
 A long haired animal! lol
 Hungry bugs! 
 ...lots of bugs in the water! 
 A snake - its ok we didnt find that one!! lol
 Pretty flowers...

We will definitely be creating more check lists while we are out, it kept the kids entertained and amused for ages ...  we walked twice as far as usual which is even better! 

This is my entry into this month’s  Tots100 and Center Parcs July challenge. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Beautiful Day!

I love the summer!

Thats all!


Monday, 15 July 2013

Summer Days!

Another day, another visit to the beach!  

This time though we took Nina! 

Ive never known a dog be so scared of the water!

 She went as far as Evie then turned and ran back, we were sitting a couple of feet behind but she still wouldnt leave our side! lol

Evie as ever was enjoying herself and loves nothing more than throwing stones into the water - i swear if she could have been in there perfecting her mermaid style she would have!

 Nina looks like she had a good day non the less and im sure the freedom and space of the beach was a little intimidating as she sat beside us on her lead most of the time.  Other dogs were splashing in the water and wandering round - she didnt even flicker! lol
Evangeline has developed a little winning streak (i think shes taken mine as im not winning anything at the minute!) 

She won a giant colouring set with a Tiny Pop colouring competition...
and a summer buggy parasol with Clair de Lune...she doesnt have a buggy anymore but we needed one for the chair in the garden as shes a little monster for keeping her sun hat on - this way shes still covered and its her own little shaded chair!  


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Evies new blanket!

I can knit, I can crochet, put a batch of fabrics in front of me and i can make something out of it......but ask me to make a quilt where it requires lots of pieces of fabric the same size then I hope youre ready for a laugh!!

I cant cut patterns to save my life (yes even squares!!)  So when my Mother In Law (Sue) started making on her sewing machine I was hoping we would be the lucky recipients of said gorgeousness!

I neednt have worried, Sue is a dab hand at sewing and this is her first attempt at quilting! Isnt it fab!!   I love the fact its backed with spotty fabric and its not too light coloured either which means Evie can take it with her in the car etc and we dont have to worry about little hands being spotless!

After coming down to visit us yesterday we spent most of the morning in the garden chatting about everything and anything.  We hung the blanket on the washing line to have the beautiful summer sky backdrop and i managed to get some great close up shots! 

Thank you so much Sue it truly is beautiful! 


Daniel Footwear Competition!

There is a fabulous competition over on the etailPR blog to win £150 worth of vouchers to spend at the equally fabulous Daniel Footwear

I created this little wishlist of goodies that would keep any shoe addict happy - now i just need to convince hubby i need 8 new pairs of shoes!! 

Starting from the large white pic and working in a clockwork direction my wishlist shoes are....

As you can see, there is something for everyone and every occasion - whether its glamming it up at the festivals, walking the red carpet or picking the kids up from school!  

A girl can never have too many shoes! 


Monday, 8 July 2013

Vistaprint Business Cards! Blogger Style!

I have been wanting some 'blog' business cards for a while now.  

Ever since attending a book launch last year where there were other bloggers handing out their cards!  I still have them and made a mental note to get my act together to promote my blog outside of online promotion.

It was so easy to create bespoke business cards with Vistaprint and I loved the fact I could add photographs to the one I chose.  I have a lots of pictures to chose from and wear many hats so to have just one photograph on a card wouldnt have told of the many things I do.  This way there is something for crafting, baking and my book too!   

You can choose what information to include and what you want to share - heck theres even a space on the back for my avatar picture and 'ask me about sponsorship' section! 

Vistaprint have top tips for creating the perfect business card... 

Pietro Pagani, Creative Manager at Vistaprint, shares his top five tips...

1. Include obvious information like your address, phone numbers, email and website, but also think about including a logo, a corporate message or motto, to make it unique.
2. The reverse side is a good place to offer something a bit different, such as a photo, image, map or calendar. 
3. Your business card reflects the credibility of your business so the design is important. Keep it relevant and simple.
4. Position the information to ensure it doesn’t get lost or look a mess. It's important to communicate who you are and what you do straight away. If you do use colours, make sure these match or complement any colours you may have in other promotional materials. 
5. If all this sounds like too much, simply choose a design from our gallery and customise it! We’re all professional graphic designers here, so you can rest assured you’ll be receiving a top quality, professional design that is sure to stand out from the crowd.

Here is the official press release from Vistaprint...

Small business owners missing a trick as research reveals importance of networking
- 56 per cent of Brits would be more inclined to use a service from someone they have met face-to-face
- 38 per cent of people say a business lead can come off more than three months later

A recent poll by, the UK’s leading business card specialist has revealed that consumers prefer personal contact through networking, however small business owners aren't clued up on its benefits with 12 per cent not even knowing what networking is. 

More than 26 per cent of small business owners aren’t currently networking because they don’t think it’s relevant to them, however results from the  survey show that 56 per cent of Brits would be more inclined to use or recommend a service from someone who they have met face-to-face.

More than 54 per cent of small business owners believe they are good with people, yet 20 per cent say that having the confidence to approach a new person face-to-face is their biggest barrier when networking. 

Networking doesn´t always have to be such a scary prospect and business leads can often simply come from friendly social situations. Some of the more surprising places small business owners have sniffed out business leads include local recycling centres, the scene of a traffic accident, on a flight or even at the hairdressers, proving networking is something that can be done anywhere and anytime.

Sanjay Lobo, Vice President Marketing at said: “36 per cent of small business owners say drumming up new business is the least favourite part of their job, but simple networking is an effective way to gain new business and is just about having the right tools and building relationships.”

Handing out business cards for example, can be an effective networking tool, with more than 56 per cent of small business owners using them. Consumers often refer back to business cards for contact details with 56 per cent of the public saving them in a drawer or on the fridge for a later date. More than 38 per cent of business owners said some leads from giving out a business card have even been known to come off more than six months later.

A business card is not only an effective networking tool, but a professional and attractive one has swayed more than 58 per cent of people to choose one particular service over another. has a range of professionally designed business cards available which can be easily customised to give each business its own unique personality.

To view the entire range of thousands of Vistaprint business cards start creating your own, visit,


*I was not paid for this blog post, all opinions are my own.  Vistaprint gifted me the business cards free of charge but this in no way influences my opinions*

Friday, 5 July 2013

Money Supermarket Retail Royalty Charity Challenge

When Money Supermarket announced their  Retail Royalty Charity Challenge i knew it was something I should take part in! #retailroyaltychallenge

I read the rules and waited for the pennies to download - £30 in total to get as much as we could for our chosen charity.

While I was waiting we were deciding on which charity to support and decided upon our local Stray Aid at Coxhoe.  

As hubby had the day off work we went to visit and see what they needed most...this way we werent just buying bits that would sit unused.

As we walked in all of the staff looked cheerful and asked if they could help.  I explained we just wanted to look around etc and they said no one was allowed to see the dogs etc as they just all barked and no one got a good impression.  What a fabulous thing to do!! I would never have thought of this as ive always associated stray homes with masses and masses of 'barking' dogs all vying for attention, all yelling 'pick me pick me!!' 

They pointed out a board which housed all of the dogs pictures and said they had a dog in the office that was so withdrawn and nervous that she was staying in their with them as she couldnt handle being in the kennels. 

 This is when Nina came into our lives!

Head down and tail between her legs she drooled non stop and shook.  Apparently she had been neglected, bred from and left outside all her life so had no social skills etc and was on medication for anxiety :(   One look at her little face and we knew we were doing more than donating to a charity.

Nina came home with us that day. *heart*

She is starting to come out of her shell, is a complete softy with the kids and cats and is just so full of love that its really hard to understand how anyone could treat something so beautiful so awful :(   Nina now has a lovely home with a family that love her lots and we got so much more out of this charity challenge than we ever thought going into it!

We took Nina back today to visit the staff at Stray Aid along with all of the goodies we bought for the challenge and the staff were so happy with how she looks 'wow shes putting on weight already' ... 'i cant believe how well she looks' :)  

 I managed to get in total 114 items for the challenge £30 budget.

30 sachets of cat food
3 boxes of dog treats
3 play balls
4 double food and water bowls
10 treat bones (5 packs of 2)

and because there is always washing and cleaning to do in the kennels etc
4 bottles of dishwashing liquid
20 scrubbing pads
40 pairs of rubber gloves (2 boxes of 20)
(all watched over by Nina to make sure we stuck to the rules!) 
We also took the rest of the Wagg dog food and Tesco tinned food we had for Nina as we have now moved her onto a better food to build her up :)

Thank you MoneySuperMarket - you have given us so much more than we ever thought we would get from this challenge! 


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Busy Weekend!

 Its been another busy weekend here at the Nicholas house!

I have been making and dispatching the first ever Deborah Nicholas Designs candles for the monthly candle club!  So excited to see how they are received :)

Sunday was spent at Beamish Hall fair where the kids played hook a duck and won .....yes you guessed it....

...a goldfish!  Life isnt the same unless you bring a goldfish home from the fairs! 

As Evie won the fish she got to name it - meet Tara Diva!!  (where that came from i dont know!) lol
 Our little family just keeps on growing and its fabulous to know that Nina is starting to feel comfortable enough here that shes making herself at home!  Yes that is my seat and yes she was actually asleep with her head on the cushion! 
How has your weekend been?  Got any pics to share?