Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Baby Show

Last Friday I headed off to The Baby Show at Earls Court.

Primarily I went for a meeting with a fantastic new client of mine, Giorry...I urge you to go and see these amazing bags, you will fall in love with the concept. They are essentially two bags in one, so you can have a bag for your babies items and still have a small seperate bag for yourself.  No one would even know it is a changing bags, they are that stylish and luxurious....and that is the beauty, they can stay with you for a lifetime even when your baby is no longer a baby.

Secondly I was lucky enough to go along to the Fisher Price Play Party.  It was great meeting up with some of my fellow mummy blogger friends, some old and some new. Tamzin Outwaite also came along with her little girl.  There was a short presentation by Dr Deborah Weber, head of product research, and it was really interesting to see all the work that goes into developing their toys. They showed us the research labs/play labs that are used to monitor children playing and we were shown the stages a toy goes through from initial idea to working prototype. I think the most amazing part of the play party however were the two ladies who were hired to entertain the children...they were amazing and I really would like to hire one to have at home please Fisher Price?


After the Fisher Price Party I finally got a chance to get down to the show and catch up with some more lovely peeps including Sian from Mummy Tips and Claire from Cheshire Mum and had a quick chat with the ladies from Cosatto whose products are simply fantastic.  I also met some of the Stokke team and got my 4th Xplory Textile Set in Orange!

It was a great day and as I left I realised it was rush hour and I had a massive bag of toys and a BIG Stokke Box to carry on the tube to Kings Cross. I made it to the train with seconds to spare and as I went to sit down in the calm of 1st Class all the musical toys in the Fisher Price Bag decided to go off. Luckily the people in my carriage had a sense of humour.

Oh and by the way...Out of all the toys BB was given she is most in love with her 'Laugh and Learn Puppy'.  It plays some of her favourite rhymes such as incy wincy spider, head shoulders knees and toes and patta cake patta cake.
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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Next Baby Competition 2010....A farce or the inevitable?

Click here to visit Next

I was emailed a few weeks ago telling me about a competition that was going to be run by Next to find two baby models. The terms of the competition looked OK and Next are known to be a reputable company and we love their clothes so I thought hay why not, it is a paid sponsored post and my readers might just fancy it.

Well I bow my head in shame I can tell you.

The competition is all being run through their facebook page and parents can upload one picture of their baby and at the end the 12 with the most votes will go to a casting and Next will pick the winner. Sounds OK?

Well it has turned into a complete war on their facebook page with entrants trying to bag the most votes for their little bundle of joy, people are making youtube videos to promote their children and doing 'like for like' voting. Entrants are apparently receiving hate mail regarding their children...it really is a disgrace that parents and/or people in general can behave like this.

Why the PR Company behind this didn't just say they would pick the finalists, in my opinion, is no big surprise. To enter you have to put in your email address (of which there are thousands of entrants) and anyone who votes for their child also has to supply their email address. Parents on the Next ‘Facebook Wall’ have even admitted to canvassing down their street to get votes! So Next have essentially got thousands upon thousands of email addresses all for £500 and a 12 month modelling contract!

That said I am not sure Next did foresee the complete chaos that has ensued. They had to close down their comments overnight so they could catch up on responses and they now seem to have a big team of moderators on hand to answer the questions that are coming in by the dozen by the minute.

Why does it come to this? What makes these parents become so competitive, is it just an extension of the whole 'American Beauty Pageant' Culture? Whatever it is, it is not healthy and I am scared of BB growing up in a world that is based on such 'fake' aspirations. I personally don't see anything wrong with entering your baby into the competition, but there is definitely such a thing as taking it too far.

What are your thoughts? I know a lot of mummy bloggers hosted this competition on their blog...did you know it would turn into this? I know when I was young they used to run newspaper baby competitions which were a bit of fun and nice, so do we just have to accept this is the new media and this is what happens 'these days' in the social media arena? If we do I think it is a very sad day and time we are living in.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Next Baby Boutique Model Competition 2010



Next are looking for the next superbabymodel! They’re looking for one newborn baby aged from birth to 18 months and one slightly older baby from 19 months to 36 months. If you have a baby who breaks into an adorable smile or a big grin whenever there’s a camera in the room, they want to hear from you.

Winners will receive £500 of NEXT vouchers and a 12-month modeling contract with leading junior model agency, Urban Angels. They’ll also participate in a photo-shoot for NEXT and Prima Baby magazine.

To enter and for full terms and conditions visit facebook.com/nextonline. The competition closes at 12 noon on 19 November 2010.

*This is a sponsored post

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Celebrity Mum of the Year - Win a £250 Handbag

NOMINATE YOUR FAVOURITE CELEBRITY MUM AND BE IN WITH A CHANCE OF WINNING A DESIGNER HANDBAG WORTH £250 COURTESY OF BOUNTY

The race is on for the coveted title of Bounty Celebrity Mum of the Year 2010 

Celebrity mums like Coleen Rooney, Tess Daly and Charlotte Church have faced a tough year but have come through the other side – putting them all heavily in the running for this year’s official Bounty Celebrity Mum of the Year award.

To celebrate this year’s award, Bounty is giving one lucky mum here on Mummy's Shoes the chance to win a designer handbag worth £250 – the perfect treat for mums – it’s a guilty pleasure without the guilt!

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is answer this question...


Q. Who won Bounty’s Celebrity Mum of the Year in 2009?

To enter:

Simply leave a comment below with your answer and a way of contacting you (eg your email or twitter ID).

For extra entries follow my blog and/or Tweet about the competition (on twitter) mentioning @mummysshoes (so I can log your extra entry). Simple hay?!?

The competition is open until 5pm on Friday the 29th of October and the winner will be announced here


There’s also a chance for you to vote for your winning celebrity mum by logging on to www.bounty.com/mum - you have until 5pm on 29th October to vote.

Bounty also recognises and celebrates everyday mums with its Bounty Real Mum of the Year award which can also be voted for at www.bounty.com/mum

Mummy Bloggers...Making Money and some tips for PR's

I was on twitter the other day and I saw this tweet:

Are there any groups in Britain today that are more universally respected, feared and admired than...mummy bloggers? #prcadigital

I of course think there are many other groups but the question shows how much focus 'mummy bloggers' have at the moment and how infuential they are.  I read a great article over on Mashable about the misconceptions of mummy bloggers, well worth a read.

Every week my inbox is full with emails from PR companies asking me to review products, publish press releases on my blog and attend events. Some I accept, some I ignore and some I reply to with advice or questions and some are still sitting there. I am very selective in what I accept as I simply haven't got the time to do everything, this blog is for fun and if it helps other parents then even better, regardless of the fact that it does actually make money too. If it didn't I would still write here.

On that note though, a lot of bloggers are making money now by offering professional services such as writing sponsored blog posts and content for companies.

I for one have diversified my marketing role at our IT company and set up 'Hype Media' (website coming soon, keep an eye on my blog for information) as I have been approached by several big brands (via Mummys Shoes) to set out a social media strategy for them, look after their social media channels and think up campaigns.

So for any PRs reading this here are some tips for approaching 'mummy bloggers':

1) Read the blog - There is nothing 'we' dislike more than being approached with a blanket email. For example I have had emails saying 'those mornings of the school run are approaching'...well no actually I have an 18 month old.

2) Don't expect something for nothing. Receiving a press release and then saying 'please post this on your blog' will simply be taken as being rude by most people, especially if it is quite irrelant to the blog content. More and more companies are paying money to bloggers to post articles or content on their blogs and realising that this is the new media!

3) Be personal. Read the blog and get a personal detail from it and mention it in your email/communications. For example one PR knew that I ate lots of pink waffer biscuits throughout my pregnancy. That made them stand out and I was warmed to them instantly.

4) Relevance - A 'Mummy Blog' as we know doesn't mean only writing about children, it entails subjects from blanacing work, parenting and social life, the spectrum is broad...but consider what you are pitching. For example I was pitched a computer game not long ago which was about fighting? Would I really be interested in this and do you really think my readers would be?

5) Events - Think about the time and dates of any events you hold. Most of the bloggers will have babies or children at school so it could be problematic for them and be prepared to cover travel expenses too.

6) Be honest. I once asked a PR company how many other bloggers they had approached with a competition and they told me it was exclusive to me.  A week later I realise that every mummy blogger I know is running the same thing. This left me disliking and distrusting this PR company and I still remember their name today.

7) Be friendly - You will be remembered. I have a favourite PR company who I remember and in turn I remember the products they promote too and I recommend them to everyone. They go out of their way, are friendly, personal and the amazing freebies and day trips don't go amiss either. Even when they don't need my help they email or call to say hi and offer to meet for lunch etc. In return I always try to go out of my way for them too.

8) Get in on the community - The mummy blogger community is massive and some spend a lot of their time on twitter.  Most mummy blogs will detail their twitter ID on their blog so follow them and get chatting
Finally remember there are real people behind these blogs and so being personal and friendly will get you far.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Quinny Zapp Xtra...The Unpacking

After being selected as a Quinny Caster we received our Quinny Zapp Xtra in record time and couldn't wait to unpack it. Instead of writing and taking pictures I thought I would do 3 mini vlogs for you....

video
The box!


video
First Impressions


video
Comfy?

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Project Playroom and John Crane Toys

We have just made BB a downstairs nursery and converted the conservatory into her own little playroom.  I would love to tell you what we have resembles something like this:


I love the high ceilings and old fashioned classic feel. However in reality what we have is a colourful display of foam alphabet mats and Ikea storage. Don't get me wrong we are very lucky but it is the human condition to always want more and well as it happens we are thinking of selling up soon and house hunting...exciting!

I have always loved the old fashioned wooden toys. There is something about them that exudes quality and class. When we found out we were expecting BB my mum purchased an absolutely gorgeous second hand Rocking Horse.  It is everything a rocking horse should be, old, grand and looks stunning in Grams and Grandpa's house! I am looking forward to passing it down the generations.

It is this that first attracted me to John Crane Toys.  Their Pin Furniture and Branching Out range are made from Rubber wood, which is harvested from replenishable forests when the Rubber trees have finally reached the end of their natural cycle.

BB was given these Stack-Up Blocks to review
She loves these. They are quite high when stacked (104cm!) but if your toddler is anything like BB then the bigger the better!  She loved crashing these down and because they are wooden they are solid, no chips yet and they have been given quite a thrashing!

Another great things about these is that they nest in each other for easy storage.

Here are some pics, you can click them to enlarge...





 John Crane Toys are available from lots of retailers, John Lewis, Amazon and I think I spotted them in the new Next Catalogue too! They even have a blog so be sure to go check them out here

When Baby Belle was born we were also given a whole range of Tolo Toys for her. We got so much use out of these and I have now boxed them up, ready, should another little one come along in the future :-) Even the boxes were lovely and had that old classic look about them that exudes quality

The gorgeous boxes all the baby items came in





The big items even come with drawstring bags so you can take them places with you

 .

This activity arch was BB's favourite for the whole first year of her life and kept her
amused at many a nappy change!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Competition/Giveaway with Argos

Mummy’s Shoes has an amazing giveaway for you fantastic readers this month.

We have not 1, not 2 but 3 prizes up for grabs

These prizes have been supplied courtesy of Argos, who provide a wide range of children's beds, bunk beds, and toys. I am sure you have all heard of them :-)

I find Argos fantastic to buy from because we have a store around the corner from us and it is so easy to order online, reserve in store and usually we are able to pick up the same day too. However you can also order online and have the items delivered via next day or standard delivery. Don’t forget Christmas is only around the corner now and Argos has a great range of products to suit everyone.


So onto the giveaway...


The 3 prizes are:


1)

•Set includes 1 quilt and cover, pillow and pillowcase.


•48% cotton and 52% polyester cover.







2)

•Set includes 1 quilt and cover, pillow and pillowcase.


•48% cotton and 52% polyester cover







3)

•Pink.


•Tog rating 4.

•65% polyester, 35% cotton cover.

•Fits cots


To enter:


a) Follow this blog


b) Leave a comment below in the ‘comments’ section stating which of the 3 prizes you would like


c) (optional) For an extra entry please tweet this competition on twitter using @mummysshoes in the description so I can record your entry or share it on facebook



Terms and Conditions:


• This competition will run from 1st October to the 15th of October


• The winners will be chosen at random from the 3 categories and announced on this page on Monday 18th of October


• Competition is open to residents of the UK and Ireland only


• Prize is non-refundable and no cash alternative is available

And the Winners are....

Prize 1)  Sonia Thorpe
Prize 2) Sandy Calico
Prize 3) Emma Bradley


Congrats ladies...please email me or message me over Twitter @mummysshoes your delivery details and I will pass them onto Argos.