Monday, 31 January 2011

Win £100 worth of High Street vouchers for survey on nappy rash

The lovely people of Mum Panel have kindly asked me to inform you about their most current survey on nappy rash creams. The survey aims at parents with children aged 0-4 years that have used Sudocrem, Bepanthen or other brands to sooth their child's nappy rash. If you have experienced nappy rash on your little one, take a moment to fill in the survey and be in with a chance to win £100 worth of High Street vouchers. But be quick: The survey closes 2nd February!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

My Big Mumpreneur of the Month Giveaway

As I promised in yesterday's big Mumpreneur of the Month feature with Aycin Wateridge from B Organic Skincare, I have got two gorgeous Ladies Gift Bags (each of them worth £35) to give away to two of you, my lovely readers. If you win, you can choose between the following:

Bath & Shower Gel will leave your skin soft and nourished whilst Grapefruit and Lemongrass will help energize you and get you started for the day. A big tub of  Pure Organic Shea butter with grapefruit and lemongrass will help you feed your skin whilst Vitamin E and rosehip oil will help to replenish dry and damaged skin and naturally promotes elasticity and firmness. Gorgeous body lotion will leave your skin soft and nourished without leaving any nasty chemicals residue on your skin. Grapefruit and Lemongrass will leave you fresh and energized. Use it after the bath and shower gel to compliment the body lotion.

The luxurious organic lavender and ylang ylang gift set is the perfect treat for mummies that need a soothing break. Organic Bath and Shower Gel with Certified Organic Lavender and Ylang-Ylang Our Bath & Shower Gel will leave your skin soft, squeaky clean and nourished whilst certified lavender and ylang-ylang essential oils help you relax and pamper yourself. Pure Organic Shea butter with lavender and ylang ylang will help you feed your skin to promote its elasticity and firmness while leaving an absolutely gorgeous smell on your relaxed body. Use it after the bath and shower gel to compliment the body lotion.

How to enter the competition:

  1. Follow my blog using Google Friend Connect (required)
  2. Visit B Organic Skincare and tell me what your favourite product is (required)

For 1 extra entry:

● mention this giveaway on Twitter including @caro_mad and the link to this competition (you can use the button below to share this post, but do not forget adding my name to assure I see that you have tweeted)

Please, do not forget to let me know how many entries you get using seperate comments.

The closing date of the competition is 17/02/2011
The winners will be chosen at random.
The winners' name will be shown on this page.
Competition is open to residents of the UK only.
The prize is non-refundable and cannot be transferred. No cash alternative is available.

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

And the winners of a B Organic Skincare Gift Bag are
julkenny222 - @relisys222
kemo_2002 - @kemo_2002

Congratulations - I will be in touch shortly!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

My Mumpreneur of the Month: Aycin Wateridge from B Organic Skincare

1. Can you quickly introduce yourself to our readers?

I am Aycin, mum to a beautiful little girl and founder of B Organic Skincare.

2. When and why did you decide to become your own boss?

My daughter was born with severe eczema. It was so severe that she even had it on her eyelids and it was red. She suffered with Eczema for a couple of years and during this time we tried everything on the market. We couldn’t find anything that was gentle enough to not dry her skin. This included the prescribed medication, ointments, bath milks etc. I started investigating what we should and shouldn’t be doing to make sure she could get some relief from the scratching which resulted in her being covered in blood every night.  She still has those scars on her arms 3 years later.

I started educating myself about all the chemicals that are in the bath and body products that were supposed to be helping and ended up putting some things together. I then teamed up with a really good bunch of professionals from different fields of expertise who helped me to create B Organic Skincare.

3. What sort of products do you produce and sell? And which one is your absolute favourite?

We have Bubble Bath, Body Lotion, Shampoo, Conditioner, Hand Soap, Hand Lotion, Bath & Shower gel and Handmade Organic Soothing Body Balms with Face Skincare to be launched very soon.  I love and enjoy them all, but I am really so proud of our Soothing Body Balm which soothes Eczema, Dermatitis and Sensitive Skin. It is so mild it can be used on babies as well. It works wonders!

4. How do you juggle being a successful business woman and a mum and wife?

My daughter comes first and she always will. I fit my working schedule around her time table. We have our quality time and she understands sometimes mummy has to do some work in the morning, check my email etc whilst she plays with her toys and I start working once I drop her to school lunch time. I fit all my business meetings, visits around this time and I continue working after she goes to bed as well. My husband has been the best supporter whilst I was building this business and he still helps me with the business on the IT side of things whenever I need it. He understands that I love my job, I actually don’t see it as a job that’s why I don’t mind working till midnight most of the evenings. We make sure we have family time as well so it’s not always about work.

5.  Is there anything you wish you'd known before becoming a mumpreneur or wish you'd done differently?

I knew it was going to be hard. I didn’t get any bank loans or have any investors, so it was all me. This can be very stressful at times as I have to juggle my budget all the time, some things can’t be done as quickly as I’d like and have to wait, this can be very frustrating. What I learnt is that it really doesn’t matter how good your product is, if people don’t know you exist they won’t buy it and you need to be prepared for everything.
6.What do you love most about your job and what are your plans for the future?

The advantage of running your own business is the flexible working hours. I can have time with my little girl and have these precious moments whilst she grows up, take her to dance classes, swimming and do silly girly things together. I love picking her up from school every day and cooking together. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this otherwise.

B Organic Skincare will be available nationwide in the Pharmacies and Health Stores in February, this is very exciting for me. We are currently working on improving our products to make them even better. We are also about to launch our Face Skincare line for ladies very soon.  I am currently working on getting our Soothing Body Balm reviewed by a very well known organisation, we may even have a chance at winning some awards for this lovely product! Next the rest of our lovely luscious organic range with no nasty chemicals.

If you love the sound of B Organic Skincare, pop around tomorrow to win 1 of 2 ladies bath sets.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Competition: Win CARES for your child's holiday safety

The holiday season is around the corner and many of you will fly into the sun whilst on a plane for at least a couple of hours.
I don't want to unneccessarily worry you: But have you ever wondered about your child's safety considering there is only a lap belt to hold your child in case of an accident? All car seats or high chairs come with a great variety of safety features and several harnesses to make sure that your little one is safe. A plane that travels at a high speed however only provides you with a simple lap belt to ensure your toddler's or child's safety.
Louise Stoll, a former Department of Transport executive, found the perfect safety feature for parents traveling with children. The product called CARES stands for Child Aviation Restraint System and is a safety device designed for children who weigh between 22-44 lbs and that are sitting in their own airplane seats. The device that only weighs 1lb and provides an equivalent level of safety (ELOS) to a car seat can be used with every regular aeroplane lap belt and installs in just one minute on any size plane seat. A special DVD and instruction card guarantee the correct installation on board and a carrying pouch makes sure that you've got all your equipment together when you go on your holiday. CARES is currently allowed on all major EU airlines, all UK airlines and in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapoore, Switerland and Israel. In the UK it can only be bought from Mothercare's Online Store for £79.99 but because I know that holidays are expensive enough, I have one CARES to give away in today's competition.

How to enter the competition:

  1. Follow my blog using Google Friend Connect (required)
  2. Leave a comment telling me what country you'd love to take your child to (required)

For 1 extra entry:

● mention this giveaway on Twitter including @caro_mad and the link to this competition (you can use the button below to share this post, but do not forget adding my name to assure I see that you have tweeted)

Please, do not forget to let me know how many entries you get using seperate comments.

The closing date of the competition is 14/02/2011
The winners will be chosen at random.
The winners' name will be shown on this page.
Competition is open to residents of the UK only.
The prize is non-refundable and cannot be transferred. No cash alternative is available

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

And the winners of the CARES device is 

Jane Willis -  @compergrapevine

Congratulations - I will be in touch shortly!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Gallery: Children

This is my first ever Gallery post, a great blogging feature that Tara over at Sticky Fingers invented, and I have to say that I absolutely love the topic for my first week: Children. 

Below you can see a ultrasound picture of my little girl that was taken at my 20 weeks scan not too long ago. I will finally get to meet her in 10 weeks and I can't wait to start taking millions of pictures of her to share with you.

If you want to find out more about the idea behind the Gallery and want to have a go yourself, pop over to Tara's blog and read more about it here.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tuneful Tuesday

I love the fact that Carol over on New Mummy seems to love music just as much as I do. Even better is that she has managed to crack the days of the week to make our lifes more musical. According to her new musical week it is Tuneful Tuesday today. So here is one of my favourite tunes at the moment:

Mumford and Sons with Little Lion Man

Monday, 24 January 2011

Play Mais review and giveaway

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present: Play Mais, the perfect craft toy for rainy afternoons.
Play Mais is eco-friendly, green and a completely natural modelling material for creative little hands. You can play with it, build with it, create with it and yes, you can even eat it if you get really hungry during your creative crafts session. Play Mais is an award winning craft toy from Germany that is now taking the UK market by storm. But why is it so popular?

Play Mais is using 100% natural ingredients such as sweetcorn and plant dyes that are moulded into colourful building material that sticks to each other using just a dab of water. That means, no mess, no ruined carpets and lots of creative fun.

Play Mais is available from Top Banana Toys Ltd. and comes in various sizes and themes, e.g. Animal Farm, African Jungle, Deco Safari, Princess or Sea World. Boxes cost between £4.99 and £19.99.

I have two boxes in size L to give away to two lucky readers.

How to enter the competition:

  1. Follow my blog using Google Friend Connect (required)
  2. Leave a comment telling me what you would create with a box of Play Mais (required)

For 1 extra entry:

● mention this giveaway on Twitter including @caro_mad and the link to this competition (you can use the button below to share this post)

Please, do not forget to let me know how many entries you get using seperate comments.

The closing date of the competition is 05/02/2011
The winners will be chosen at random.
The winners' name will be shown on this page.
Competition is open to residents of the UK only.
The prize is non-refundable and cannot be transferred. No cash alternative is available.

And the winners of a big Play Mais set each are
mumsarcade - @netcurtains
Paula Virgo - @PaulaHaylock

Congratulations - I will be in touch shortly!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

5 top tips on how to furnish a nursery on a budget

As there are only about 11 weeks left until we meet our little girl it is about time to start thinking about how to create the perfect nursery for our little one. Of course, everyone wants the most beautiful room for their baby but what if money is tight and you are on a budget? Don't fear, in the coming post I will show you five different ways of furnishing your baby's room without declaring bankruptcy once you are done.

Spread the cost
Lots of retailers do offer you to open a credit account. This way you can either pay the price in small monthly installments that suit your budget or even buy the furniture now without paying anything for up to one year. It's always worth to shop around, though, because the APR might vary from retailer to retailer – some might even offer you interest free credits when you buy from them.

Ask family and friends
If you don't insist on buying all your furniture brand new, why not ask family and friends if they want to get rid of exactly the things that you are looking for? Hand-me-downs are a great way to save money and with them coming from people you know you can be sure to receive items that come from a clean house hold.

Car boot sales
Bargain hunters that don't mind spending a day or two at a car boot sale might be able to find the perfect item for their nursery. You will have to keep your eyes open and turn up early, but if you are lucky you might make a great bargain that allows you to splash out your money at another place. And don't forget all the stories that come with your retro cot bed or wardrobe.

Gumtree, Ebay & Co.
If you rather shop from the comfort of your home then websites such as Gumtree, Ebay or Trade it are a great way to hunt down bargains without having to spend a day in the cold. You can choose between trying your luck at an auction or buying products with a set price. Lots of products are second hand but you will also be able to find brand new products that are a fair bit cheaper than the ones you find in the shops.

Almost every town or city in the UK has a Freecyle group by now and that means that you can pick up lovely furniture without spending a penny. Just register online, let people know what you are looking for or rummage in their offers. The items you'll get are second hand, but the only thing you'll pay for is the petrol when you pick them up. Fair deal, isn't it?

My next post will give you five ideas on how to decorate your nursery without having to rob a bank.Think being creative and some DIY.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Hurry up and BaM! - Become a Mumpreneur

You want 2011 to become your year? A year that you can look back on as a mum and a successful business woman? Then the BaM! e-course might be exactly what you have been looking for.

The course was developed by Erica Douglas and Antonia Chitty and both of them are living proof that there are lots of flexible ways to earn from home, even if you have small children to look after, if you’re studying, if you have health problems that limit the work you can do or simply if you are tied to school hours.

The membership site for the course (monthly fee of just £14.99) will be made up of e-lessons sent to your inbox and a private members area that will host multi-media study materials along with a live chat area and a forum. All in all, the course does not only offer you a perfect step by step quide on how to develop a successful business idea but also helps you to keep motivated when things might look tough.

The course will be split into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced, but you pay the same monthly fee throughout that covers all your materials and access to the members area.

Here is what happens:

Beginner – e-Lessons are one every three days and focus on you taking those first steps to earning your own income. We focus on mindset, taking action and dealing with failure. Within the first few weeks you should be earning enough to cover your BaM! subscription. By the end of this section you should be earning a steady but small part-time income.
Intermediate – We focus on taking your seed idea and growing it into something more established. e-Lessons cover everything you need to know about running a small business and creating a business plan. Monthly expert webinars will focus on specialised areas. By the end of this section your income should have completely replaced your ‘work’ income.
Advanced – The e-lessons look at finding more customers, creating the work/life balance you dream of, expanding and selling your business. Webinar experts will be people that have been there and done it. You’ll only reach this level of success if you work extremely hard at your idea, however if you achieve it then your earnings are uncapped and may even include a lump sum on selling your business.

If you want some fresh wind in your life and you feel you are ready to fullfil your dreams then be quick: registration on the membership site closes 22 January 2011. There you'll also find out more detailed information on the structure of the course.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Review: dreamgenii® Pregnancy Support & Feeding Pillow

Being seven months pregnant I do know from my own experience that once your belly starts growing it is quite common to get restless at night and to have difficulties to find a comfortable position to sleep in. What I didn't know is that clever mummy and entrepreneur Vanessa Blake developed the perfect solution for all sleepless mummies-to-be: the dreamgenii® Pregnancy Pillow.

The award winning pregnancy pillow consists of a back support cushion and a quilted pad as well as of a bump support cushion and a leg support. When we first opened the parcel I was sent from dreamgenii® my boyfriend and me had a good giggle about the funny looking shape of the pillow but after reading the instructions and explainations on the packaging the design of the pillow soon made sense. The pillow which is being recommended by midwives and also used in countless delivery suits around the UK does not only support you back, bump and knees, it does also help you to lie on your left hand side which is the best position for pregnant women and their babies. I have known that sleeping on your left side supplies your baby with the best possible amount of oxygen, however, I have always struggled to get comfortable on my left side. I either couldn't get comfortable or I had problems staying on my left side falling back into my routine of sleeping on my belly. Having used the pillow for a week now I can say that it has changed my sleep completely. I have no problems getting comfortable anymore and I have noticed that I don't even turn around during the night but remain in the position I fell asleep in. The only problem is that my better half found out about the benefits of the pillow and tries nicking it off me in the night, but there is no way I'm going back to restless nights and bags under my eyes – at least not until our baby girl is born. But comfotable sleeping isn't the only thing the dreamgenii® Pregnancy Pillow has to offer. Another benefit is that the pillow doesn't become useless once you gave birth. It easily turns into a feeding pillow and helps you to sit in a comfortable position while breast or bottle feeding your baby.

Ok, at first glance the price of £45.99 might seem a bit high for a pillow but having tested it I would highly recommend it to everyone that is struggling to get comfortable at night. I wouldn't have thought I would ever say this as I have never had any problems sleeping but there is nothing more valuable than a good night's sleep and comfort.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Review: WellStart Child Development Tracker

Product: WellStart Child Development Tracker
Price: £9.98
Buy from: WellStartAmazon or Play
Suitable for: future parents or parents
Score out of 5: 4 out of 5
Initial Reaction: What do I do first? But don't worry, the software is so easy to use that even technical embryos start exploring instantly.
Pros: lots of easy to understand information that is updated regularly, possibility to upload your own photos and information
Cons: missing pictures of child development in weekly overview
Value for money? Brilliant

We have started using the software a couple of weeks after finding out we are expecting our first baby and I have to say I am glad we've got it installed. The software is basically self-explanatory and whenever we want to read up on the development of our baby girl (and that is a lot), we can simply log on and find all the information we need in one of the many texts provided on the different stages of pregnancy. As daddy-to-be isn't a keen reader, it is brilliant that all the texts are really short and easy to understand, however not lacking any of the information you need to understand what is happening inside your body.
What I really love about the WellStart Child Development Tracker is that all the information provided is by medical experts, so you can be sure you don't trust the “knowledge” of wannabe-experts. Another brilliant feature is the calendar that enables you to keep track of all your appointments and also allows you to update the different stages of pregnancy with your own media.
Altogether, I am really happy we are using the WellStart software because it gives us the safety future parents need to fully enjoy the long 9 months before holding our baby in our arms. The only thing I am missing are pictures that show me how my baby's looks change from week to week but I can check out the software's online service for that, so it really isn't a big deal.

I have tested this product for New Mummy's Tips Parent Panel. If you are interested in giving the software a test run yourself, click here for a free trial.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Seven Secrets

As you might see from the number of posts on my blog, I am relatively new to the world of mummy blogs, however New Mummy has tagged my blog on her website so that all my readers will get to know me a bit better by reading seven of my well-kept secrets.

1. Lots of people think I am quite tough. Well, usually that is right but as soon as I watch a film that has only the slightest element of sadness in it I turn into the biggest crybaby ever seen. My worst moment so far was watching "Evita" - I started crying during the intro just because I found the music really emotional.

2. I can handle spiders and all other creepy crawlies but as soon as I see a snake (be it on telly or in a zoo or any other situation) I freak out big time. And if I say big time I actually mean humongously - sweaty hands, shaking, panic and night mares that scare the living daylight out of my better half.

3. I hate white food: egg white, milk, rice pudding and fish are only a few of the white things I wouldn't even want close to my mouth. I find them that disgusting that I sometimes even refuse washing sauce pans that had these things in them, because I don't want to touch them. Breast feeding is going to be fun!

4. I'm singing everywhere and always. I used to sing in a choir for more than 13 years and sang many solos in front of hundreds of people, but I get stage fright when friends and family want me to sing to them. Weird, I know.

5. I'm rather cold than too hot. That's why I don't like to have the heating running when I am driving and I never blow dry my hair.

6. I can cope really well with pain but as soon as I get a local anaesthetic my body goes all funny and I faint although actually feeling absolutely fine.

7. When I was about 15 I had the biggest crush ever on a boy that went to my school. So far not really unusual, but when I saw him walking on the other side of the road and noticed I was wearing really unsexy tracksuit buttoms, I put my magazine up and pretended I was reading. Massive fail: Just that moment I  noticed that I held my magazine the wrong way round and got so embarrassed that I tripped over the kerb and pulled a ligament.

To make this whole thing even more fun I am tagging 15 of the blogs that I am reading regularly hoping they'll join the game and share some of their secrets. Here they are: Mediocre Mum, All Baby Advice Blog, Mummy loves, Scottish Mum Blog, Baby Baby, New Mummy, All about the Boys, Baby Budgeting, Mummy Mishaps, Something Blue, Mostly Yummy Mummy, Mummy's Shoes, Rosie Scribble, Plus 2.4 and last but not least My funny Bunny.

Review: "Love is" calendar from It's your Story

A couple of weeks back "It's your story" sent me a great personalised "Love is.." calendar that made a perfect Christmas present for daddy-to-be.

All I had to do to get the calendar printed was supply some information on my partner and me, e.g. our favourite restaurant and TV series or important anniversaries and our resolutions for the New Year. Within just a couple of days of sending out our personal information, we received a big A3 envelope with our calendar in it and I have to say Ben absolutely loved it. Every month shows a picture of the famous "Love is" couple and leaves lots of space for your own entries, e.g. birthdays, appointments and so on. The best thing is, though, that you have an absolutely unique gift with a personal touch - something I thought Ben would find a bit kitschy. I couldn't have been more wrong, he even proudly presented it to his best mate. If that's not true pride.

All in all, I'm really pleased with our calendar and would definitely recommend "It's your story" to everyone that looks for a present that is that little bit extra special. On their website you can't only personalise calendars but also create lovely books for toddlers and children that make your little one the main character of their favourite fairy tale or bedtime story. I'll definitely be back for some gorgeous birthday presents for my friends and family because with  "It's my story" I can be sure they will get a present nobody else has.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Just another Mummy blogger

I've been thinking about setting up my own blog since falling pregnant and here I am. My little girl is due in 12 weeks and I am more than excited to finally meet her. Exactly for that reason, I thought blogging about my experiences on my way from freedom-loving young woman to mummy would be a good way for me to keep track of everything that happens on my so far biggest adventure. I will furthermore review some products that I think are relevant for mums, babies and, of course, children and family life in general and hope to provide an entertaining reading experience to all visitors of my blog. Have fun exploring my blog and don't forget to pop around every now and then.


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